26th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. Some weeks ago the Minister undertook to inquire why it is necessary for a person applying for naturalisation to disclose his country of origin when a recent decision provides that the actual naturalisation certificate need not necessarily show the country of origin. Has the Minister any further information for the Senate on this subject?
– The honourable senator did ask a question along those lines and I said that 1 would obtain a detailed reply for him. I have not been supplied with the details as yet, but I will get them as soon as I can. However, I think I can give the honourable senator some information which may be of assistance. In reply to a question asked of the Minister for Immigration in the other place recently the Minister said that the regulations will now be amended to delete the requirement that the former nationality of a person applying for Australian citizenship be shown on the citizenship certificate. He went on to say:
There are migrants who come to Australia from countries which no longer have a separate identity. Alternatively, some migrants were born in places which had a certain nationality at the time of their birth but which now have a different nationality. We must record the information according to the present day situation. Many people object to that very strongly - so strongly in many cases that they have refused to accept citizenship simply because the certificate would describe their former citizenship in the way that the honourable gentleman set out in his question.
The Minister was referring to the honourable gentleman in the other place who asked the question. He went on:
On examination I came lo the conclusion that the statement of former citizenship did not add anything or detract anything from the certificate of citizenship and that it served little real purpose. The only purpose it could have served was a statistical purpose. We have made arrangements for information for statistical purposes to be retained in the Department and we have isued an instruction that the statement of prior nationality will cease to be a requirement on the certificate.
I hope that information will be of assistance to the honourable senator.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. 1 ask: Will the disclosure of sales of wheat to mainland China be in the best interests of the Australian wheat growers?
– In view of certain proceedings here yesterday, I took the opportunity of getting some information from the Department of Primary Industry concerning the sale of Australian wheat. At the outset, I would like to state in reply to the question of whether it would be in the interests of Australian wheat growers to disclose the extent of our sales of wheat to mainland China, that the answer is definitely no. I ask honourable senators opposite who are interjecting to wait for a moment and I will give the reasons for saying that.
– Canada is prepared to disclose her sales.
– The honourable senator has mentioned Canada. 1 would like to inform him that Canada does not publicise the price of wheat that she sells-
– Canada supplied Senator McManus with the information.
– If the honourable senator wants to ask questions, he can do so later and I will be prepared to answer them. I have a Press release by the Canadian Department of Trade and Commerce. Ottawa, Canada. It is dated 15th November 1968 and states:
The Minister of Industry and Trade and Commerce announced today the sale of 1.5 million long tons of Canadian wheat to China -
The Minister states clearly the amount that was sold. The Press statement goes on:
– At what price?
– The Press release states:
As in the previous contracts payment terms for sales under the Long Term Agreement are 25% cash when each vessel is loaded and the balance of 75% in 18 months, with interest. The deferred payment provision is made possible by a guarantee to the Canadian Wheat Board by the Government of Canada. I extend to the Canadian Wheat Board most sincere congratulations on this successful sales effort.
There is no mention of price. The actions of the Australian Wheat Board in this connection have been on a par with those of other wheat exporting countries. I put it. to honourable senators again that it would not be in the interests of Australian wheatgrowers, particularly at this time when we have a record crop and the Australian Wheat Board is already experiencing enough difficulties in negotiating overseas sales of Australian wheat, to disclose the prices of our sales of wheat to mainland China. Sales of considerable quantities of wheat have been effected. It has been alleged that wheat has been sold to mainland China at lower prices than to some other countries. In some instances this is correct. One reason for that practice is that mainland China is in a position to buy wheat all the year round. Therefore she buys on a buyer’s market. This is good business and I think we must respect China for that. On the other hand, India has been the recipient over the years of gifts of large quantities of wheat. Australia has made a gift to India of a large quantity of wheat. But when India comes to buy wheat, as a rule, it is at a time of the year when stocks are lower than normal and it is not a buyer’s market but a seller’s market. Consequently India has to pay a higher price for the wheat. Mainland China is in a different position, as I have pointed out, because she can judge the best time to buy wheat. As I understand it, this is the main reason why the prices received from mainland China for our wheat are sometimes lower than the prices received for sales of our wheat to other countries.
I remind honourable senators that in 1966-67, when we had about 432 million bushels of wheat to sell, China took about 34% of our total exports. In respect of most commodities, if you are selling to a very large buyer - 1 do not say this has happened but ii is usually the case - you can sometimes shade your selling price a little. There is much more information that I could give to the Senate, but I merely repeat very strongly that it would, not be in the best interests of the Australian wheat grower to do what has been suggested. I am sure that the by-election for the Division of Gwydir will go very much our way because of the suggestion made yesterday.
– -Is the the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that a member of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia was recently awarded compensation for loss of pay because of his contraction . of a mysterious Asian illness? Is he aware of the origin of this disease? Does be know how it came into this country? Will he make inquiries? The case to which I refer was held last Friday before the Workers’ Compensation Commission in Sydney.
Senator ANDERSONS saw a Press comment in relation. , to. this case. Quite clearly this matter would not come within my portfolio but would be within the portfolio of the Minister for Health or the Minister for Customs and Excise, if it related to goods entering this country. . In the first instance T shall direct the honourable senator’s inquiry to the . Minister for Health and get a reply for him.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for National Development inform the Senate of the total value of minerals produced in Queensland in the last 5 years?
– There has been a tremendous increase in the production of minerals in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia. I understand that the value of minerals exported from Australia increased from about $148m in 1963 to about $448m in 1967.
– “-And every ton given away.
– That interjection is typical of the Australian Labor Party attitude. It is expected that in the early 1970s the value of exports of minerals from Australia will exceed $l,000m. In relation to the production of minerals in Queenland I can advise the honourable senator that the figures from 1963 to 1967 are as follows: Alumina, more than 3 million tons; copper, 350..000 tons; lead, 320,000 tons; and silver, 28 million fine ounces. Production of these metals has shown a spectacular increase in the period I have mentioned and similar dramatic increases have occurred in the production of other minerals in Queensland, including minerals from beach sands, gold, zinc, coal, and of course natural gas and crude oil. If I remember correctly I read a Press report only a couple of days ago that huge new deposits of lead and zinc had been discovered at Mount Isa adjacent to the existing mine. According to the report the Mount Isa mine will become ohe of the world’s largest producers of lead, zinc and copper.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for National Development had his attention drawn to a reported statement made to the Commonwealth Mining and Metallurgical Congress in London that there would be a world shortage of uranium for nuclear power within 7 years unless old mines were reopened and new ones developed? Can he say whether there have been any recent reports to the Department of National Development which indicate whether that assessment is correct? If so, can he tell the Senate of recent steps being taken to enable Australia to meet this projected demand?
– The statement reportedly made to the Commonwealth Mining and Metallurgical Congress in London is in line with current thinking in Australia on uranium resources. For several years now the Austraiian Atomic Energy Commission has been emphasising that throughout the world all the mines that are at present in mothballs will have to be reopened and new mines will have to be started by 197S. Some new deposits have been discovered in the United States of America, Canada and South West Africa. Mining companies are beginning an active search throughout the whole of Australia for new uranium deposits. At Mount Painter in South Australia new deposits of uranium have been found. An assessment of whether they are economically viable to mine has not been made at this stage, but I understand that they are very interesting deposits. Also some of the larger mining companies in the world are at present holding reserves in Australia and are actively engaged in the search for additional uranium deposits.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Health aware that following arrangements that were made to inoculate members of the Parliament against Hong Kong influenza a number of members have complained that after inoculation they contracted influenza and that some of them have stated that they have hardly ever in their lives had influenza but they contracted it after being inoculated against it? Can the Minister explain how this happens?
– Speaking on behalf of my colleague the Minister for Health, I think it would be quite impossible to explain how this happens. I can only say that I hope they are feeling better.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Treasurer. In view of the urgent need throughout Australia for the reservation of adequate open space for recreational purposes while land in rapidly developing areas is still available and in view of the financial inability, in many instances, of State and local government authorities to ensure the provision of such open space, will the Minister seek consideration by the Government of making long term loan moneys available to the State or local government authorities specifically for the purpose of enabling open space to be reserved while there is yet time?
– I think the starting point in an answer to a question of this nature should be to remind the Senate, if it needs reminding, that we have a three-tier system of government. We have a national Parliament with a written Constitution; we have a series of sovereign States; and the third tier of government is local government. In the nature of our political system, under the Financial Agreement the Commonwealth makes money available to the States. They in turn have the complete and absolute responsibility, and it is within their own choice as how they spend that revenue. In turn, in the sphere of local government, local government authorities, of course, draw their revenue from rating. Even in the loan programme there is provision whereby local government authorities can borrow up to a certain statutory amount without reference to the Loan Council. Every local government authority of which I know has a town planning system, probably with a town planning officer, and they all make provision for the planning of their area, whether it be a municipality or a shire. I would hope - and 1 know it is a fact - that they make provision for open spaces and recreational areas.
City authorities, too, make provision for open spaces and recreational areas. To attempt to draw the Commonwealth into this field of operation would, I suggest, be quite inappropriate. The Commonwealth makes money available to the States under the Financial Agreement. The States in turn, if they so choose, can make allocations to the local authorities for this purpose. I think it would be a very dangerous and inappropriate thing if the Commonwealth, which has vast responsibility for the Commonwealth of Australia, found itself in the position of interceding in an affair Which is clearly the responsibility of the third sphere of government - local government authorities.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Are we as a nation on friendly or unfriendly terms with Communist China? Are we still on friendly terms with Russia, as was stated by the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) some months ago?
– If the honourable senator is talking in classical terms, my answer is that of course we have a diplomatic exchange with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He would appreciate therefore that, in the classical sense, it is a friendly nation. We are not at odds with mainland China in relation to trade. It is possible for Australians to go to China and it is possible for the Chinese to come here in the ordinary course of events on passports. I do not think one can attempt to write any-, thing at all into these relationships which are not peculiar to mainland China. As I have pointed out, Australia has in fact a diplomatic exchange with Russia. There is a Russian Embassy in Canberra.
– In view of the possibility of the appearance before the Senate of members of the Australian Wheat Board, I desire to address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. As wheat is recognised as a basic food product, does the Minister agree that any government whose country has quantities of wheat for sale would be failing in its duty towards wheatgrowers if it took action to prevent the sale of this product? Furthermore, would not the Government be recreant to its moral and humanitarian obligations if it prevented the sale of this basic food because of the political doctrines of the government of a country whose vast population is in need of this type of food?
– Mr President, I rise to a point of order. The question asked was: Does the Minister agree?’ Is the honourable senator asking for an opinion or is he seeking information?
– There is no substance in the point of order.
– The answer to both questions is yes.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, ls the Government adhering to the stand that it will not tell the Parliament the price at which wheat has been sold by the Australian Wheat Board to China because this is a matter for the Board, which is an inde-pendent statutory body for which the Government is not responsible?
– Mr President, I raise a point of order. Insofar as the question seeks material on a matter which relates to a notice of motion appearing on the notice paper in the name of Senator Murphy, I submit that under standing order 99 the question anticipates discussion of that matter.
– Speaking to the point of order. Mr President, I think the honourable senator who raised it realised the defect in his own argument when he used the phrase ‘insofar as’. The simple answer to the point raised is that the question does not anticipate the discussion. The question is a simple one. It is: Is the Government adhering to the stand that it will not disclose the price as this is a matter for the Australian Wheat Board which is an independent statutory body? This question does not anticipate the notice of motion.
– I call Senator McKellar.
– I was a little surprised to hear the objection raised by an honourable senator on this side of the chamber. I thought it would have been raised by a member of the Opposition. However, that is by the way. The answer to the first part of the question is yes, for the reasons given earlier this morning. Again I want to say that the Government is not a seller of wheat to mainland China or to any other country. In effect the Australian Wheat Board is the agent of the Australian wheat growers. It was set up by the Australian wheat growers and it is responsible to them. The Minister for Primary Industry has certain powers over the Board but to the best of my knowledge they have never been exercised. I suppose therefore that to this extent the Board would be completely autonomous. That would be a matter for legal decision, but that has been the attitude of the Government.
The Wheat Board makes the sales. The Government sees that credits are provided for the Board so thai it can make the first payments to the wheat growers. This has been done every year. We saw a departure from that practice this year on account of the early decision of the Government, and this, of course, was for very valid reasons. When making these credits available the Government ensures, so far as is possible - and this practice always has been carried out pretty well - that they are available only for about 1 2 months. This year, of course, it will not be possible for the Australian Wheat Board to realise sufficient wheat to repay the money advanced for the first payment. Consequently the Government will now need to give a guarantee to the financing author ity, as I understand the position, in order to carry this over until the wheat is sold. The normal thing is that repayment is made out of sales. 1 think I have covered both parts of the question. Again I say that the Australian wheat growers know that the Wheat Board invariably acts in their interests. They also recognise that disclosure of prices would not be in their interests.
(Senator Young having addressed a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry)
– I have considered this matter very carefully. I know the full implications of the matters contained in the points of order. I also know the dangers inherent in the stifling of discussions, but I am not prepared to let Senator Young’s question go as it is. If he reframes it and removes from it those implications dealing wilh the motion to be considered next week, I will be prepared to listen to him. At present the question is out of order.
– 1 ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is the Minister aware that economists at a number of Australian universities have stated that, by examining the agricultural and trade statistics issued by the Commonwealth Government, it would be quite easy for a competent economist to estimate the overall prices at which Australian wheat has been sold to Communist China? If this is so, what is the necessity for the secrecy about the sale of wheat to Communist China? Is the secrecy designed not to protect the Australian Wheat Board but to protect the Commonwealth Government from the charge that it is subsidising Chinese Communism by selling Australian wheat to Communist China at less than the cost of production?
– 1 shall answer the last part of the honourable senator’s question first. The answer to that part is a very strong negative. That is not the reason at all. I thought 1 had made it perfectly clear that the reason why prices are not published is the difficulty with which the Australian Wheat Board would be confronted in negotiating sales with other countries. Do firms display the prices at which they can manufacture their products? It is as simple as that. To be quite candid, in my book economists are like doctors and lawyers. If a person goes to half a dozen he may come away with at least three different opinions from the six. I think that what the honourable senator has stated about economists is correct. I think the prices can be gleaned, but they are not made public. After all, a lot of information that can be obtained is not made public, and it is not made public for the reasons’ I have outlined. It would not be in the best interests of the Australian wheat growers to give this information.
– Does the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry agree that wheat sales to China are very important to the Australian wheat industry? Will he comment on any action which might affect adversely that market and which could be regarded as irresponsible and likely to have adverse effects upon the economy?
– Mr President, the second portion of the question, I suggest, is out of order and I ask you to reject it.
– That is the reference to ‘irresponsible’?
– Yes, and the request to the Minister to comment on something. The purpose of question time is to allow senators to ask a Minister for information and facts, not for his comments. This is not a debate on a motion of which notice has been given. The Minister is not here to comment on matters. He is here to give information and facts to the Senate.
– I want to remind lue Senate, in relation to the matter of comment that on one occasion, when I was brave enough to take a stand and ask a Minister not to comment, I did not get very much backing.
– If I can direct my mind to the latter part of the honourable senator’s point of order, let me say that in 16 years that I have been here almost every question that has been directed to a Minister has asked him to give an opinion. If you substitute the word ‘comment’ for ‘opinion’ you have the answer to this matter. The situation would be hopeless. If you took Senator Murphy’s argument to its conclusion question time would be killed instantly because no Minister would ever be able to give an answer. Today I gave an answer to Senator Laucke which I suggest was based on background knowledge. It was an opinion on the situation in relation to Commonwealth and State financial arrangements. If no comment is to be contained in an answer to a question I suggest that we might as well not have questions at all.
– The Standing Orders provide that the President may direct the Clerk to alter any question so as to conform with standing order 99 which states that in putting any such question no argument or opinion shall be offered, nor inference nor imputation made nor any facts stated except so far as may be necessary to explain such question. I put to you, Mr President, that you may direct the Clerk to alter any question to conform with that standing order, and that this should be done with the question before the Senate.
– Before you give a ruling, Mr President, I suggest that the ruling be directed also to Senator O’Byrne’s colleagues sitting on his right who canvass opinions constantly in framing questions.
– On the point of order and the matter raised by Senator O’Byrne who said that you, Mr President, may direct the Clerk to do certain things, I point out that either I have a wrong copy of the Standing Orders, because in my copy standing order 99 on page 15 - the PRESIDENT- Order! Senator Withers is on a different matter now. That relates to questions on notice. Not only does the Clerk have authority to direct my attention to. a question but I equally have authority to refuse to put a question on the notice paper, so that aspect is fairly clear. The honourable senator is dealing with a completely different matter. That standing order does not apply to the subject before us at the moment.
– What does standing order 99 mean by: ‘Questions shall not ask for an expression of opinion’?
– 1 was pleased to hear the remarks made by the Leader of the Government regarding the making of comments. This has been a burning question with me over the years. I am glad that the matter has been cleared up. I support the views of the Leader of the Government. I believe that the part of Senator Young’s question which reflects upon matters coming before the Senate is out of order. 1 again ask him. to rephrase that part of his question.
– I wish to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I refer to a question asked earlier today by Senator McManus. Would an economist making a calculation of the price paid by any country for wheat have details of the quality of that wheat? In the absence of such information what would be the validity of his calculation?
– It is a treat to be able to stand up and answer a question without some protest being made about it. 1 do not know whether an economist would have before him the information referred to by the honourable senator, but I would think - if I am allowed to think - that he should have it before him. He might or might not. This is one of the difficulties we face when trying to interpret somebody’s expression of opinion. Critics often criticise before considering the total information available. This could well be an instance of that. However, I do not know the answer to the honourable senator’s question.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs. Has the Minister’s attention been’ drawn to a Press report in today’s Melbourne ‘Sun’ to the effect that bulldozers have destroyed a rock face of deep religious significance to the Aboriginals of Gove Peninsula. What action has the Commonwealth Government taken to stop this desecration of sacred ground?
– I. saw the report in this morning’s Press. I also noted that the report stated, and”! have since confirmed this, that the Chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Affairs, Dr Coombs, had flown to Gove Peninsula to see the Aboriginal chieftain mentioned in the report, Mathaman Marika’. The episode seems to have resulted from some lack of cohesion between the company operating :n the area and its contractors, lt is most unfortunate that this should have happened. The matter is being investigated. 1 should like to express my sympathy to the Aboriginals for the destruction of what we all recognise is a most sacred place to them.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport ask his colleage to .initiate an inquiry to determine whether the windscreens most commonly fitted to motor vehicles sold in Australia are of a sufficiently safe standard, or whether a special requirement should be made to prevent the use of the type of windscreen which completely obscures the view of the driver when it is struck by a stone or other object7
– I understand that in recent times windscreens fitted to motor cars are shatterproof, inasmuch as they will not splinter and injure a passenger or driver. Unfortunately, when that type of windscreen cracks, it is very difficult for a driver to see where the vehicle is heading. The honourable senator has asked a very interesting question and I ask him to place it on the notice paper so that I may get from the Minister for Shipping and Transport the information he has requested.
– My question, which I direct to the Lea.der of the Government in the Senate, concerns information he gave yesterday about the commencement of work at Woomera on the new space communications station. I ask: As the work is to be commenced, is it proposed at this stage that the Commonwealth Government will finance the bitumenising of the Woomera road? As the Minister knows, the road is frequently under water during the winter. The Commonwealth Government has refused further to assist the State’ Government to improve the road. If the Commonwealth does not at present propose to complete the bitumen surface of the road to Woomera, will the Minister consult his colleagues to see whether such work can be done at the same time as the construction of the space communications station?
– The honourable senator has asked me a question in the context of a debate currently before the Senate I do not take it on board in that context, but I will certainly make inquiries about the bitumen surfacing of the road to Woomera. I would assume that as the density of traffic increases together with the volume of the work load in the Woomera complex, the. case for upgrading the road will automatically gain strength. I will seek the information and report in due course to the Senate on the matter.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for National Development: To what extent has Queensland benefited under the Commonwealth Gov ernment’s national water resources development programme?
– Prior to the federal elections of 1966 the late Harold Holt, who was the Prime Minister, announced that the Commonwealth Government would make available in the ensuing 5 years $50m to be spent on national water projects. All of this money has been allocated by the Commonwealth to the States. It is of interest that because of pressure from the Queensland Government the Commonwealth agreed to make available a grant of $20m for the construction of the Nogoa Dam at Emerald. This money will represent about two-fifths of the total amount being made available in this respect throughout Australia. I believe this situation has been brought about by “pressure of representations of members of the Queensland Government to the Commonwealth because of the importance of water to Queensland. We look forward to seeing the development of a big irrigation project by the Queensland Government with the aid of a Commonwealth grant in this year.
– In directing my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate I draw his attention to an article about the Philippines headed ‘Land of Guns’ published in a Melbourne newspaper a couple of weeks ago.
– I rise to a point of order. I submit that it is not in order for an honourable senator to base a question upon a newspaper report.
– The point of order is upheld.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the Minister’s answer to a previous question in which he revealed that India had paid higher prices than Communist China for identical quality wheat and that this was because India bought when supplies were short, can he now given an assurance to the Senate that, in view of the expectation that the wheat surplus which is indicated for the current season will provide a carryover for some years, wheat will now be sold to India at the same bargain price at which it is sold to Communist China?
– I did not say that wheat had been sold to India at a higher price than that received for identical wheat sold to China. I did not mention identical wheat. I still do not know whether it was identical.
– To whom is it being sold - mainland China or Communist China?
– If the honourable senator were given what he needs he would receive canary seed. As to the remainder of the question, once again this is a matter for the Australian Wheat Board.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry satisfied that the vast majority of Australian wheat growers have complete faith in the Australian Wheat Board and its disposal of Australian wheat?
– This is an easy question to answer. The answer is yes. If the wheat growers did not have confidence in the Australian Wheat Board they would replace the members of the Board with others.
– My question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development follows the question directed to him by Senator Maunsell. Can the Minister state why, despite urgings and pleadings from the New South Wales Minister for Conservation, it took so long for the Commonwealth Government to make finance available to the New South Wales Government to enable work to start on the Copeton Dam in the Gwydir electorate?
– Representations have come from all State governments for help to provide water schemes throughout Australia. Australian taxpayers have contributed in excess of $600m to provide water and electricity for New South Wales and Victoria and water for South Australia. I refer particularly to the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme which is now drawing to a close. This is one of the greatest projects that has ever been undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere. The work under that scheme was undertaken in an area adjacent to New South Wales and Victoria and those two States will be the greatest beneficiaries of the scheme. The Commonwealth has now provided additional assistance to New South Wales by making finance available for the development of a project in the Gwydir electorate.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for National Development say what progress has been made in the provision of beef roads in Queensland? How many miles have been completed? How many miles are under construction? How many miles are in theprogramme for the next 5 years?
– Over a number of years the Commonwealth Government has made large amounts of money available to Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and some to South Australia, for the construction and development of beef roads. In Queensland beef roads have played a major part in the State’s development. Large sums are now being made available to Queensland for the further development of the beef industry. This money is being provided only because the Government of Queensland has been successful in its approaches to the Commonwealth for financial assistance for beef roads and has been able to construct a large mileage of roads. I might mention that under the programmes before1 967 ten roads in Queensland, covering a total of 1,480 miles, had been approved by the Commonwealth as beef roads. During 1967-68; additional work was carried out on eight of the roads previously approved and work was started on three of the new beef roads schemes. Expenditure from Commonwealth funds for the 12 months amounted to $3. 8m. In addition, the State incurred an expenditure of $281,000 on beef roads from its own resources. Last October the Commonwealth Government approved the continuation of the beef roads programme, including that in Queensland., Financial assistance totalling in excess of $39m will be granted to Queensland under this continued programme. Up to June 1968. 800 miles of beef roads had been sealed. From June 1968 to June 1974 a further 730 miles of sealing is planned. In the 1967-1974 proposals eight more roads totalling 1,008 miles have been added. So, in all we will have a little over 1,500 miles of sealed beef roads in Queensland by 1974, constructed by the State Government and with some of the finance being provided by the Commonwealth.
– Has the attention of the Leader of the Government been drawn to an article about the Philippines which was published in a Melbourne newspaper under the heading ‘Land of Guns’ and which contained allegations of corruption and violence in the Philippines based largely on an interview with a taxi driver? Will the Leader of the Government inform the Minister for External Affairs of this and request him to inquire, in order to inform the Government, whether this article has caused bitter resentment in the Philippines as being highly exaggerated and distorted and as indicating anti-Philippines sentiment in Australia? Will the Leader of the Government ask the Minister for External Affairs to take positive steps to dispel the notion of anti-Philippines sentiment in Australia and to make it clear that we desire not only good relations but the utmost friendship wilh the people of the Philippines?
– Before the Minister answers, I must correct a ruling that I gave a while ago in answer to a query raised by Senator Wright. Of course it is the practice in the Senate to ask questions on newspaper articles. I ruled that Senator Murphy was not to do- that. What 1 had in mind was that he was not to quote a newspaper article as the basis of a question. It was a misunderstanding on my part. This question is completely in order.
– I agree with the substance of the point made by the Leader of the Opposition in this question. The Philippines and Australia are friendly nations in the complete sense. We have obligations together as friendly nations. I agree - 1 am sure that we all agree - that any adverse publicity which could tend to prejudice that relationship would be most unfortunate. We do not believe in censorship of the Press. We believe that if there is a story that should be written, we should not prevent it from being written, but along with this freedom there is a responsibility to have matters in proportion. 1 am certain that the news media of Australia realise that things should be in proportion in these matters. lt would be most unfortunate and regrettable if, because of some isolated incident, and its blowing up in terms of publicity, an affront were given to a friendly nation. We in Australia must not encourage the blowing up of these incidents out of all proportion. 1 will direct the honourable senator’s question to the Minister for External Affairs. I hasten on behalf of the Government to assure the Senate that relations between Australia and the Philippines are of the utmost importance. We cherish this relationship and we would deplore that any isolated incident should get out of proportion and do harm to our friendship.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Will the Minister agree that wheat sales to China are very important to the Australian wheat industry? Will the Minister agree also that any restrictions on the sale of wheat could reduce farm incomes and have consequent adverse effects upon the general economy?
– The answer to the first part of the question is yes, and the answer to the second part is yes also. There is no doubt that any restrictions on the sale of wheat would have an effect on primary producers, though it might be some time before the full effect of the restrictions was felt by the rest of the community. However, it is inevitable that the entire community would eventually be affected. This is something I have mentioned before. Once the wheat crop is harvested, even if it cannot be sold immediately it represents wealth. This has happened with last year’s crop. It will not be possible to sell it all within the next 12 months, but it is wealth in this country. This is something for which we should be thankful. The community will naturally benefit from it.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry and relates to the sale of wheat to Communist China. Can the sale of wheat to
Communist China be used in any way in Australia’s interest to prevent the threatened downward thrust of the Red hordes of Communist China at the approach of each federal election? If it cannot, why can it not? If it can, why has it not?
– All I have to say in answer to this question is that the Australian people have seen fit to put the present Government back in office, knowing its policies for the general economy of the country and the sale of wheat to other countries. The Australian people have shown themselves to be very well satisfied with the Government in the past, and I have not the slightest doubt that they will again show their faith in it.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that the legislation covering the Wheat Board contains a specific section which says that the financial undertakings of the Wheat Board shall be subject to the control of the Commonwealth Government? In view of that section, how can the Commonwealth Government claim that the Wheat Board is autonomous and that the Government has no responsibility for the Wheat Board’s financial undertakings?
– To be truthful, I have not seen that specific section. If the honourable senator says that this is the position then I have no doubt that that is so. I think it is fairly obvious that even if that section is in the legislation, the Government has not seen fit to interfere with the Australian Wheat Board, for reasons I have given over and over again this morning. The Government has been satisfied to leave the conduct of sales of Australian wheat in the hands of the Board which is responsible to the Australian wheat growers.
– I also address my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it not evident, from the present refusal of the Opposition to accept the right of the growers to sell their wheat through their own agency, that the Opposition is maintaining its previous attitude that the wheat belongs to the Government and that the Government should dispose of it under such terms and conditions as it thinks fit?
– Yes, I think the honourable senator has fairly outlined the situation and I do not say any more than that.
– I ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General: ls it within’ the constitutional powers of the Parliament to direct the internal and domestic affairs of a statutory body set up by the Parliament as an autonomous unit?
– The question can be answered only by reference to a particular body and its constitution. If the honourable senator is referring to statutory bodies of the Commonwealth, it is presumed that their constitutions are based upon authority. In my view the terms and conditions of their constitutions would be a proper matter for particular provisions of the relevant statutes.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, ls it a fact that land adjoining Tullamarine airport is being subdivided for real estate and housing? Has the Government given adequate notice of the big noise factor that will be associated with such an area so that people are fully informed before purchasing or building a- house there? If it has done so, will the responsibility rest with the people who decide to reside in the vicinity and not with the Federal Government?
– The zoning of areas adjacent to the Commonwealth owned airport at Tullamarine is a matter for the State Government. I know that the Department of Civil Aviation has drawn attention to the noise problem which could affect some limited areas adjacent to Tullamarine. Several months ago I had occasion to visit the proposed airport terminal at Tullamarine. It was pointed out to me that the airport was well outside the densely populated areas of Melbourne but that development was coming out towards it and no doubt would reach it. There will be a very large noise problem there if people are allowed to build right up to the boundary of the airport. I think the Department of Civil Aviation and the Minister for Civil Aviation have done everything possible to advise people and to make public the fact that there will be a noise problem for those who decide to build adjacent to the runway strips at Tullamarine. I agree with the honourable senator’s suggestion that if people decide to build there they will be doing so with a full knowledge of the noise problem
(Question No. 880)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. J 157)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– The Postmaster-General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1214)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
How many (a) official, and (b) non-official post offices have been opened in Western Australia in each of the past 5 years?
– The Postmaster-General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The number of official and non-official post offices opened in Western Australia in each of the past five years is as follows:
Is the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral aware of the importance to rural cities of a twice daily postal service? Does not the Minister recognise the disadvantage of country business and administration compared wilh the relatively easy access and cheap telephone costs of metropolitan based industry? Will the Government give immediate consideration to a request to re-establish the two mail deliveries system as it applied previously in certain country areas? If not, will the Government give immediate consideration to making communication costs an even charge throughout the community?
The Postmaster-General has now furnished me with the following information in reply:
The importance of a satisfactory postal service to rural cities is fully appreciated and this is achieved under once daily delivery conditions.
To provide a satisfactory postal service, the general standard has been adopted whereby letters posted by the appropriate closing time are delivered next day in and between capital cities and the larger centres of population, including provincial centres. To assist in achieving this standard, small or medium size letter form mail is conveyed by air, without additional surcharge, wherever earlier delivery will result. In many instances, the use of air transport achieves next day delivery in country areas, which compares favourably with the standard achieved in the capital cities. In other circumstances, the use of surface transport achieves this standard.
The principles now applying to the delivery of mail take into account the need for business and commercial organisations to receive their mail as early as possible, and main business areas are given priority in delivery over residential areas. The private box facility is available for those who wish to obtain their mail earlier, as private box mail is normally available early each morning and again in the afternoon on week days.
As the new arrangements provide a reasonable standard of postal service, .it is not proposed to re-establish the twice daily delivery of mail in country areas.
The policy on uniform communications charges was answered in some detail in reply to Senator Webster’s question No. 963 on 18th March 1969, and this policy has not changed.
– by leave - The statement I am about to read was made in the House of Representatives today by the Postmaster-General (Mr Hulme). Honourable senators will understand that when I use the first person personal pronoun it refers to the Minister. The statement is as follows:. In my second reading speech on the Broadcasting and Television Bill (No. 2) 1969 I. informed the House that I hoped shortly to announce some of the measures which the Government proposed to adopt to further extend television services. I am now able to do this. Honourable members will be aware of the very rapid development which has taken place in the provision of television services throughout the Commonwealth. Some 96% of the population will, on completion of the present stage of development during 1969- 1970, have television services available to them. The Government is most anxious to extend the service to the remaining 4%, so far as it is practicable to do so, with the least possible delay. When it is remembered that the population now without a service, numbering some 500,000 people, is spread over about 85% of Australia’s total land area, it will be appreciated that the task is one of considerable difficulty and one probably never completely achievable. Nevertheless by special measures much can be done.
The Australian Broadcasting Control Board has had this matter under constant examination and recently made recommendations to me. I am now pleased to announce that the Government has authorised the expenditure of almost $5m for the establishment, over a 4-year period, of thirtyeight low power national stations. Some of these stations will be established at strategic locations along Post Office broadband telephone routes - existing and proposed - using the normal television relay channel or, where one is not provided, the stand-by bearer which is available for emergency purposes. Others will be established in areas which are not on broadband telephone routes but to which programmes can be provided by means of minimum type microwave links provided specifically for the purpose. The establishment of some of the stations will be dependent upon the completion of the broadband telephone links between Townsville and Mt Isa, Perth arid Kalgoorlie, and Perth and Geraldton. The list of centres concerned is as follows:
To this list must be added Alice Springs to which I shall refer separately later.
In listing the above areas I should emphasise that it should not be concluded that other centres will not, in due course, be provided with service. The Board will continue its examination of the ways and means by which service may be provided to other remote areas and, indeed, to those located relatively close to existing stations but where reception is not good. I should again point out, however, that the problems involved in further extending the service are not easy to solve as will be evident from the fact that although the Government has now authorised expenditure of $Sm for the new stations the additional people to be served will probably not exceed 1 10,000.
Honourable members will have noticed from the Bill which I introduced to amend the Broadcasting and. Television Act the proposals made to provide for the licensing of low powered stations, termed repeater stations, in some remotely situated areas - mainly mining centres^- to which it is unlikely that service would ever be provided by normal type commercial stations and to which, because of . the costs involved, the establishment of national stations is difficult to justify. A number of . mining companies have indicated that they are prepared to establish and operate television stations of a modest character, if the way can be made clear for them to do sc.The scheme which has been proposed is. that the companies concerned would, establish and operate the transmitting facilities, .while the amendments I. have mentioned will give the Australian Broadcasting Commission . the authority to provide for these centres the programmes of the Commission prepared on magnetic tape at a recording studio established specially for the purpose and forwarded to the stations for replaying. An essential factor in setting up a recording studio by the Australian Broadcasting Commission would be the existence of at least six repeater stations. Otherwise it could not be justified on economic grounds. I am not in a position to name the areas in which such stations will be established as it is necessary to await firm proposals to be made by individual members of the Mining Industry Council. I should say also that the plan 1 have described will permit the extension of the National service tff Alice Springs. The distance between Alice Springs and existing stations and the absence of relay channels to that centre necessitates special measures being taken to make television service available. I move:
Debate (on motion by Senator Cohen) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) read a first time.
[12.24] - 1 move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Nationality and Citizenship Act, providing for the first time a separate national status for the Australian people, came into operation on 26th January 1949. In the 20 years since then, there have been eight amending Acts, all of them concerned with specific matters requiring attention. The Bill which 1 now introduce to the Senate implements changes which have been found desirable and necessary in the light of present day conditions and which have been approved by the Government. This bill should, of course, be read in conjunction with the existing Nationality and Citizenship Act. When the Bill is passed, and all of the amendments proposed have come into operation, the principal Act will be reprinted in consolidated form, incorporating the amendments. In the meantime, an explanatory statement setting out the effect of the various provisions of the Bill on the Act itself has ben circulated to honourable senators.
The Bill proposes some changes which are fundamental to our national status and the concept of Australian citizenship, as well as to the rules under which our citizenship may be acquired. There are, in addition, a number of amendments of less significance, some of them of a machinery nature, but all of some importance. I think it is desirable that I deal first with the more significant matters. It will be understood, of course, that throughout this Bill we are dealing only with the status of people under our own law. What there status is in the laws of other countries, only those laws can determine, and our legislation cannot and does not intervene. International law, convention and usage are of importance when conflict of law arises.
The Nationality and Citizenship Act, when introduced in 1949, gave effect to the decision of a conference in London in 1947 initiated by the British Government to consider the national status of the people of the Commonwealth of Nations. The conference contemplated that each Commonwealth country would (a) define its own citizens and (b) declare them, and the citizens of other Commonwealth countries, to have an additional common status. Our Australian legislation describes the common status as British subject’, and declares Australian citizens and the citizens of other Commonwealth countries to be British subjects.
In the period since 1949 there has been considerable change in the general usage of understanding of the term ‘British’. The term is now used by the United Kingdom authorities, as well as by other countries and people in general, to signify matters pertaining to the United Kingdom only; for example, British High Commission’, ‘British Passport’, ‘British migrant’. Many migrants from non-British countries, of whom almost 600,000 have been naturalised since 1945, find difficulty with the fact that naturalisation in Australia results in their becoming not only Australian citizens, as they wish to do, but also ‘British subjects’. They associate the term ‘British subject’ with citizenship of Britain rather than with the common status contemplated for citizens of all countries in the British Commonwealth.
At present, section 7 of the Nationality and Citizenship Act provides that a person who is a citizen of a Commonwealth country ‘shall by virtue of that citizenship . . . become a British subject’. Apart from misunderstandings which arise from Australian citizens being British subjects, it is hardly appropriate that the citizens of other Commonwealth countries - some of them Republics - should be declared under Australian law to be British subjects when by the law of those countries there is no comparable provision in relation to Australian citizens. The Government has therefore decided that it would fit the facts better and accord with the laws of other Commonwealth countries that a citizen of a Commonwealth country, including an Australian citizen, should have the status of a British subject. Clause 6 of the Bill before the Senate provides for this change.
Under this clause, the title of part II of the principal Act will be altered from
British Nationality’ to The Status of British Subject’, and sections 7, 8 and 9 of the existing Act will be re-worded to give effect to the change. The re-worded sections do not alter in any way the present position of Australian citizens, citizens of other Commonwealth countries or Irish citizens other than to declare them to have the status of British subjects rather than to be British subjects. Section 8 (2) of the present Act, which refers only to Irish citizens under 16 years of age born before 26th January 1949, is now redundant and has been omitted. Section 9 (I) of the present Act is also without application in Australia and has likewise been omitted. It was included in the original legislation as a precautionary measure in keeping with and as part of the common status.
Clause 1 3 of the Bill effects another- significant amendment to our present legislation. I have already referred to the changes Which have taken place since the Act was passed in 1948 concerning the general usage and understanding of the terms ‘British’ and ^British Nationality’, and I have described how this Bill proposes that Australian citizens should in future have, in addition to their citizenship, the status of British subjects rather than being declared to be British subjects. The status of British subjects is still important not only for historical and sentimental reasons but because the laws of the Commonwealth and of the States still use the term ‘British subject* in prescribing status as a qualification for various rights and dues.
Amongst Australians there is a growing sense of our Australian national identity - reflecting the growth in our population and in our stature amongst the nations of the world. The Government accordingly considers it to be desirable, progressively and by whatever means are reasonably possible, to give primacy to the expression ‘Australian citizen’. Clause 13 of the Bill now before the Senate therefore provides that, whenever Australians are required to state their national status, it will be sufficient to state Australian citizen’. Most Australians have to complete forms of various kinds which call for a statement of nationality: the question whether it is a correct and sufficient answer to state :Australian citizen’ will thus be Settled by this particular amendment.
Clause 20 of the Bill will ensure that no person will be disadvantaged under other Commonwealth laws as a . result of this amendment, or by reason of the amendment I .mentioned earlier whereby Australian citizens, and citizens ’. of other Commonwealth countries, will in’ future have the status of British subjects rather than being declared to be British subjects; bor will these amendments be brought into” force until such time as all State governments have had the opportunity to effect’ , the . necessary consequential changes to, their laws. The Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) has had discussions with’ the . Ministers for Immigration in the .State -governments on this subject. They are. well informed of these proposals and I think it correct to say that they support them.
The Government”’ has also decided that citizens of other Commonwealth countries who have settled in Australia should have a simplified means of acquiring Australian citizenship. At present, these migrants cannot become Australian citizens unless they apply for a Certificate of Registration as an Australian Citizen as provided for in sections 12 and 13. of, the: Nationality and Citizenship Act. This may be granted if the applicant has lived here- for a year or more, is of good character, and meets other requirements. It usually takes a few weeks to finalise applications made for the grant of Australian citizenship in this way.
British migrants, after living in Australia for long periods, come . to think of” themselves as Australian citizens. Few of them give any serious thought to making application for the formal grant pf citizenship by registration because they have nothing material to gain from becoming Australian citizens, already having the right to vote, to be appointed or elected to public office, and the like. It is therefore natural that after being in Australia for long periods they think of themselves as. Australian citizens; and so, when they wish to travel abroad, for instance, they are surprised and hurt to find they cannot have Australian passports. It is a very common occurrence that they do not have time before travelling to obtain Certificates of Registration, and as a result are obliged to obtain British passports from the British High Commissioner. The Government believes that these members of our community should have an extremely quick and simple way of becoming Australian citizens, and clause 8 of the Bill will make this possible.
Under this new provision, settlers admitted for permanent residence from other Commonwealth countries who have lived in Australia for 5 years without having committed any crime for which they could be deported may become Australian citizens as of right by giving notice to the Department of Immigration of their wish to become citizens. The existing provision whereby settlers from Britain may become Australian citizens by the process of registration is, of course, retained. The new provisions, which will become sections 11a, 11b and lie of the Citizenship Act, are drawn up to ensure that these additional means by which citizens of other Commonwealth countries may become Australian citizens do not extend to those who have not been admitted to Australia for permanent residence or who are liable to deportation, whether because of a crime committed within 5 years after entry to Australia or for other reasons.
I come now to some important amendments affecting the conditions under which migrants, both those who already have British subject status by virtue of their citizenship of another Commonwealth country and those who are aliens, may acquire Australian citizenship by the processes of registration and naturalisation respectively. At present, an applicant for the grant of Australian citizenship in either of these ways must satisfy the Minister that he or she is of full capacity’. This is defined in the existing legislation as ‘not of unsound mind’. This in turn called for legal opinion as to its appropriate interpretation and the result is that applicants have to be able to understand the nature of the act of changing citizenship. The Bill, in paragraphs (a) and Cb) of Clause 9 and paragraph (a) of Clause 10, removes the term ‘full capacity’ from the Act and substitutes in its place a more direct statement of the requirement as to mental capacity, namely that the applicant shall be ‘capable of understanding the nature of the application’.
The Government has decided to exempt from this new requirement as to mental capacity any person, of whatever age, who is of unsound mind but whose father or mother is, or was at the time of death, an Australian citizen. Without such exemption, a person of unsound mind who is over 16 years of age could never be granted Australian citizenship, because he could not be deemed capable of understanding the nature of the application. Those who are under 16 years can become Australian citizens by inclusion on parents’ certificates of citizenship, but no such possibility exists for those over 16. The Government believes that where the parents of a person are, or were, Australian citizens, that person should not be debarred from citizenship by reason of mental deficiency. Paragraph (c) of Clause 9 of the Bill, and paragraph (b) of Clause 10 of the Bill provide for this particular exemption. Persons so exempted will, of course, also be exempted from the need to demonstrate a knowledge of English and of the full meaning of citizenship. It follows, too, that these persons would not be able to comprehend the act of taking the oath of allegiance, and Clause 11 of the Bill will exempt them from that requirement.
Also for purposes of the grant of citizenship, it has been decided to exempt persons over 60 years of age and persons suffering from severe disability in hearing, speech or sight from the need to demonstrate an adequate knowledge of English and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. Paragraph (e) of clause 9 of the Bill achieves this in relation to the grant of citizenship by registration, while paragraph (b) of clause 10 of the Bill does the same thing in respect of citizenship by naturalisation.
In clause 10, too, there is another very important amendment to our basic legislation. I refer to paragraph (d) of the clause, which affects the residence requirement for the grant of citizenship by naturalisation to aliens. The normal period of residence required prior to naturalisation is 5 years. At present the Act empowers the Minister to waive or reduce considerably this residence requirement for the spouses of Australian citizens, for minors, for members of the forces, as well as for former Australian citizens and persons who have lived in other Commonwealth countries or served in their forces. Cases are continually arising, however, where non-British migrants are suffering disadvantages in their employment by not being naturalised. For example, a good many people working in the Commonwealth and State Public Services and for local government cannot be given permanent appointments, and in consequence they miss opportunities of advancement. These are usually people who have an excellent command of English, written as well as spoken, and who exhibit all the other indications of having become, integrated into the community.
The Government sees good reason not to delay the grant of citizenship to such persons provided they have the qualities which I have mentioned and they meet the other usual requirements. However, the Government does not feel there are sufficient grounds for a general reduction of the qualifying period of 5 years, which does not impose hardship as a general rule. Indeed, the majority of aliens do not apply for citizenship until they have been here for 8 years or more. The period of 5 years1 is generally in line with the laws of other’ countries and is consonant with the provisions of the Migration Act relating to deportation. Of course, once a person is naturalised he is immune from deportation even if his residence is less than 5 years: The Government has therefore decided that the legislation should be amended to permit the grant of citizenship after 3 years’ residence to persons who satisfy the Minister that they can read and write English pro-‘ ficiently, as well as being able to speak and understand it as is normally required, and are in other respects well qualified for citizenship. Paragraph (d) of clause 10 of the Bill gives effect to this decision insofar as knowledge of English is concerned. I should explain that the Minister’s existing general discretion under section 40 of the principal Act will enable him to insist on applicants being well qualified for citizenship otherwise.
The situation of children born outside Australia of Australian parents has been given consideration in this review of the Nationality and Citizenship Act. At present, children born in wedlock outside Australia may become Australian citizens, through registration of their births at Australian consulates, only if their fathers are Australian citizens. There have been cases where Australian women living abroad and married to men of other nationalities have wished to have their children become Australians by birth. The Government has decided that it should be possible for a child to become an Australian citizen at birth, through registration of the birth at an Australian consulate, upon the application of either parent, if that parent is an Australian citizen and if no court order exists giving custody to the other parent. Clause .7 gives effect to this decision. The existing provision remains whereby a child born out of wedlock in a place outside Australia may become an Australian citizen only if the mother is an Australian ..citizen.
Mr President, I have traversed in some detail the matters in this Bill which 1 believe will have the most: far .reaching effect and which almost certainly : are- of the most general interest. The ‘remaining provisions are nevertheless important: and I propose to deal briefly with each of them. In accordance with the changes ! mentioned earlier concerning Australian’ citizenship status, clauses 1 and 3 of the Bill amend the title of the Act. Our citizenship legislation will now be entitled simply the ‘Citizenship Act’. Clause 2 provides for, certain ‘provisions of the -Act to come into operation on the day of which the Act receives the royal assent, and for the remaining provisions to come into operation on -a date *or dates to be fixed by proclamation,’: It *is necessary to postpone the commencement -of some provisions to enable the States to make consequential changes in their laws, and also to permit the amendment of the regulations in force under the Act; Clause 4 of the Bill re-arranges the’ Parts of the principal Act in accordance with the revised legislation.
This new legislation involves amendment of some of the definitions, contained in the original legislation, and paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of clause 5 pf the Bill make the necessary amendments. ..Paragraph (d) of. clause 5 provides, in conformity with the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, that a child found in Australia shall be deemed an Australian citizen by birth. Paragraph :(e) of this clause removes the definition of ‘full capacity’, a term no longer used in the legislation. Paragraph (f) concerns the island of Nauru. Since 1950, Australian citizenship law has applied to the island of. Nauru in the same way as it applies to New Guinea. As Nauru has now ceased to be a Trust Territory this
Is no longer appropriate, and this subclause of the Bill removes Nauru from the scope of the legislation in future, but at the same time ensures that residence in Nauru in the past will not be overlooked for citizenship purposes.
The present legislation provides for Australian citizenship to be renounced in certain specified cases. Clause 12 of the Bill amends these renunciation provisions in three respects. At present, renunciation may be effected under secion 18(1) of the principal Act by persons who have become citizens of other countries without action on their part - for example by birth there - but the provision is worded so as to restrict this facility to those cases where the citizenship of the other country was acquired after 26th January 1949. Paragraph (a) of clause 12 of the Bill extends this particular renunciation provision to those who involuntarily became citizens of other countries before that date. Secondly, paragraph (b) of clause 12 inserts a new provision in the Act to enable persons to renounce their Australian citizenship in circumstances where they need to do so in order to acquire the citizenship of another country; this provision is necessary because we have found that the laws of some newly independent countries are such that a person, even perhaps born in that country, cannot become a citizen of the country unless he divests himsel’f of any other nationality he may possess. The third change in respect of the renunciation provisions concerns section 1 8 (2.) of the Act which enables Australian citizenship to be renounced by persons who become Australian citizens by reason of inclusion of their names, as minor children, in their parents’ certificates of citizenship. At present, this can be done even when renunciation will result in the individual becoming stateless. This is contrary to the terms of the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and paragraph (d) of clause 12 of the Bill will prevent renunciation of Australian citizenship by these persons unless the person concerned has or will immediately acquire another nationality.
Clauses 14, 15, 16 and 17 of the Bill are amendments to the transitional provisions of the principal Act consequential1 on the elimination of the concept of British subject and the substitution in its place of the concept of a person having the status of a British subject. Clause 14 will amend section 24 of the Act to make it clear that use of the term ‘British subject’ in that part of the Act applies only in relation to a time before the commencement of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948.
Clause 18 of the Bill provides that it shall in future be an offence to make any unauthorised alteration to a certificate of Australian citizenship. A suitable penalty is provided. In clause 19, the maximum imprisonment for the offence of making false representations in connection with the citizenship legislation is increased from 3 to 6 months as being a more appropriate penalty for such an offence. The purpose of clause 21 of the Bill is to implement the Government decision that the term ‘certificate of Australian citizenship’ shoul’d in future be used to replace the present designation ‘cirtificate of registration as an Australian citizen’ and ‘certificate of naturalisation of an Australian citizen’. These are long and clumsy descriptions and. while- we cannot eliminate entirely the expression ‘registration’ and ‘naturalisation’ which are widely used and conveniently distinguish between two different methods of acquiring Australian citizenship, it is desired to simplify the wording of the Act in these matters as far as possible. Finally, clause 22 is necessary to enable regulations to be made in advance of the date fixed for the commencement of the sections of the Act to which they relate. I commend the Bill to all honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Mulvihill) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
– -I move:
This Bill is concerned with the establishment, powers and functions of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works. In 1966, the then Chairman, on behalf of the Public Works Committee, submitted to the Government a substantial list of proposed amendments to the Public Works Committee Act. The Committee sought to have the Public Works Committee Act redrafted to incorporate these suggestions so that in the words of the Chairman the Committee could operate under legislation which fully recognises modern conditions and procedures’. A full review of the provisions of the Act was made. The current Bill emerges from that consideration and its purpose is one of general consolidation and amendment.
Most of the new provisions are machinery items aimed at streamlining the provisions relating to such matters as quorums, voting and taking of evidence. Three new procedures are of particular significance. In the first instance, there has been widening of the provisions made for the appointment of temporary chairmen. Now, the powers of a temporary chairman are not limited to a particular meeting but last for the term of his appointment and the Committee may appoint an ad hoc chairman for a particular meeting.
The second point relates to the power of Parliament to call for a further report by the Committee on a public work. Previously on the receipt from the Committee of a review report the House could decide only that it was either expedient or inexpedient to carry but the proposed work. Provision was made in the Bill, as passed by the House, that the House might resolve not only in terms of expediency but also as an alternative that the work again be referred to the Committee for consideration and report. It is now proposed in amendments which I will submit to the Senate that this power to refer the work back to the Committee should belong to both Houses. In the third place, the Act provided that where the House had resolved that it was not expedient to carry out a work, no proposal for an identical public work could be resubmitted to the House within 1 year, subject to certain exceptions. There seems no reason why the Parliament should not be able to think again on a particular project and this provision has been removed.
There are four matters of some substance to which I would also draw the attention of honourable senators. First, having in mind current construction and works values, the Government has decided that the cost limit below which Commonwealth public works need not be referred to the Committee should be raised from $500,000 to $750,000. All Commonwealth public works estimated to cost beyond that limit must be referred to the Committee. The two previous exceptions remain; namely, where the House resolves that because of the urgent nature of the work it is expedient that the work be carried out without being referred to the Committee; or where .the Governor-General declares that the work is for defence purposes and that reference to the Committee would be contrary to the public interest. The second matter of substance relates to the examination by the Committee of public works outside Australia. The Bill makes it clear that the Committee may examine only those public works which are carried out by or for the Commonwealth, within the Commonwealth or within a territory of the Commonwealth.
In relation to the powers of the Committee to examine the works of statutory authorities, the Government’s view is that it should preserve, the principle that statutory authorities are established with the express purpose of preserving an autonomy of operation and a degree of independence from the legislature and the executive. Accordingly, it has been made clear that where a work of a statutory authority is carried out by the Commonwealth or its agent - and this can be taken to mean the Commonwealth Department of Works - and also where the money to pay for thatwork is appropriated by the Parliament and placed under the control of the Department of Works, then that project is subject to examination by the Public Works Committee. On the other hand, where the money to pay for a work carried out for a statutory authority is drawn from funds vested in the authority itself and not under the control of the Department of Works, that work is not subject to the scrutiny of the Public Works Committee.
The final point of substance is that the Bill’ before us points out with greater clarity and in greater detail the functions of the Committee, particularly in relation to those matters which are the criteria of the Committee’s consideration. Clause 17 of the Bill states that in considering and reporting on a public work the Committee shall have regard to: the slated purpose of the work and its suitability for that purpose: the necessity for. or the advisability of, carrying out the work; the most effective use thai can be made, in the carrying out of the work, of the moneys to be expended on the work; where the work purports to be of a revenueproducing character, the amount of revenue that it may reasonably be expected to produce; and the present and prospective public value of the work.
The Bill as passed by the House of Representatives provided that the right to refer matters to the Committee should belong to the House of Representatives exclusively. It also made provision for the Committee reports to be made to the House only. I shall introduce amendments which will provide that each House may refer matters to the Committee and receive reports from the Committee.
The question of action upon a report has involved careful consideration of the appropriate functions of each House in relation to the administrative decision as to whether or not, after the Committee has reported, a work should be carried out. The Committee is engaged in a process of inquiry into and report to Parliament upon a Government proposal to carry out works. Action upon the report is not legislation. The Parliament, however, has an effective interest in the authorisation of the work. In the Bill as passed by the House of Representatives it was provided that the House of Representatives should resolve that it was expedient or not expedient to carry out the work and clause 18(7) provided that a public work that had been referred to the Committee should not be commenced unless the House of Representatives had passed a resolution that it was expedient to carry out the work. The Senate had no part in such action. 1 shall introduce amendments which I hope the Senate and the Parliament will consider reflects the proper functions of each House. In those amendments it will be provided that a work which has been referred to the Committee shall not be commenced unless the House of Representatives has passed a resolution that it is expedient to carry out the work. That provision will preserve the present powers of the House of Representatives in that in no case can a work that has been referred to the Committee be commenced unless the House has resolved that it is expedient. The amendment will also provide:
Clause 18 (8.) If the Senate, after a report of the Committee on a public work has been presented to the Senate and before the work has been commenced, resolves that it is not expedient to carry out the work, the work shall not bc commenced unless -
the resolution of the House of Representatives tha; it is expedient to carry out the work -
was passed subsequently to the resolution of the Senate; or
is confirmed by a further resolution of the House of Representatives passed subsequently to the resolution of the Senate; or
the resolution of the Senate has been rescinded. (9.) If the Senate has resolved more than once thai it is nol expedient to carry out a public work, the last preceding sub-section applies only in relation to the first such resolution.
The effect of this amendment will be to give to the Senate the power to express an adverse view on the work which must be considered by the House of Representatives even though the House can override it.
Finally let me say that the Bill provides for the repeal of the existing Public Works Committee Act. This step was taken because of the . quite substantial redrafting which has been required to give effect to the provisions I have mentioned. Because repeal is involved, the Bill contains transitional provisions which will enable the members of the Committee at the time of the repeal to continue in office for the balance of their terms. The Bill also provides for the continuation of consideration of matters which were before the Committee prior to the repeal of the Act. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Dittmer) adjourned.
Debate resumed* from 14 May (vide page 1 2S4), on motion by Senator Murphy:
That the Senate take note of the statement.
– When I spoke in this debate last night I outlined the seriousness of our defence problems, taking into account our geographical position, our lack of population, our immense untapped resources and the necessity to have strong friends such as the United States. I mentioned the importance of communications bases because of the information that can be provided from the immense United States space programme. Members of the Opposition seem to have a great fear that if we establish any sort of base - whether it be a communications base or a military base - we will put ourselves in the position of being open to nuclear attack. Consequently, they have adopted a policy under which they say: ‘Let us have no defence at all; we may be able to get away with it’.
– That is not the case at all.
– That is the policy that appears from their statements. They oppose every action which is taken by this Government and which it considers necessary for our defence. They oppose national service training, our involvement in Vietnam, the containment of Communism well away from our shores and policies aimed at assisting our Asian neighbours to resist the thrust of international Communism.
Their policy, as outlined by their Leader in this chamber, in regard to these bases is worth noting. It says, in effect, that the Labor Party is opposed to foreign owned or controlled bases being allowed, except in time of war or in periods of international tension. If one takes into account the statements that have been made in this debate about what the Opposition considers constitutes a threat to this country, one can assume that the Labor Party will not permit a base owned or controlled by the United States in Australia unless we are attacked. This is nothing more nor less than an isolationist policy.
The people of northern Australia, particularly Queensland, are well aware of the threat of invasion, which they experienced not so very long ago. Because of their position, particularly in far northern Queensland, in relation to our Asian neighbours who could become dominated by hostile forces-
– Any hostile forces. They realise that 25 years ago people in Townsville were bombed by an Asian nation. Who is to say that in another 5 years another Asian nation will not be in a position to do exactly the same thing? The people of northern Australia are well aware of the problems that face them from the overpopulated countries to the north. In regard to isolationist policy, we have all heard about the Brisbane Line, which was in existence until-
– Whose attitude was that?
– Never mind about whose attitude it was. What government was in power when the Japanese attack was made and the Japanese came to the shores of Australia? There was one, government in power at the time. Whoever thought of the idea and whether or not it was a joint concept of the government of that time and the previous government, the fact remains that it was a Labor government that happened to be in power at the time. The Brisbane Line was the order of the day as far as Australia’s defence policy was concerned. It was the Americans who were responsible for the Brisbane Line being thrown out the window. The people of north Queensland are well aware of those facts.
Now I come to what appears to be the most important issue in this debate; that is, the secrecy surrounding these bases. The very defence of any country and the protection of its armed forces are dependent on the utmost secrecy and security being maintained at all levels. A great deal of our success in the last war could be attributed to our ability to hold our secrets. What would happen if the Germans had discovered our radar defences prior to the Battle of Britain? The position could have been disastrous. Who would want to know what is going on in these communications bases in Australia, in which we are in partnership with the United States, other than potential enemies? Certainly no-one who has had experience of what security means to the protection of our fighting forces, and indeed to the public as a whole, would want to know.
If this other argument that the Labor Party has put forward - that we are laying ourselves open to nuclear attack - were carried to its logical conclusion, we would not have any defence or development projects at all - no naval bases and no Air Force bases. It is interesting to see what the Labor Government in Britain is doing.
– This is what we want to hear. What would a Socialist government do?
– The people are interested in what a Socialist government would do. I refer to an article which appeared in the Sydney ‘Sun’ of 13th May - 2 days ago - under the heading ‘Britain’s Pine Gap?’. It states:
Two secret radio stations packed with the latest American electronic equipment, and to be mainly operated by Americans, are being built in Britain, says Daily Express Defence Writer, Chapman Pincher.
Senator Sim mentioned a couple of these points last night. I will continue with what I think is most important. The article continues:
But is is obvious that the Americans would not invest so heavily simply in defence research in Britain when they could do it at home.
The Bude station, on a disused army camp, is to have two 97 feet wide steerable aerials - miniatures of the giant at Jodrell Bank–to communicate with United States satellites orbiting in space. It will be manned by civilians and Servicemen working for ‘Government departments including defence services’.
What then is its purpose? I suspect that it is to receive TV pictures, photographs and other information from the spy-in-the-sky satellites orbiting over Russia and China, says Pincher.
If I am right, this is great news for Britain because there has been no certainty that the Americans would continue to share the enormous amount of intelligence they are gleaning every hour from their reconnaissance satellites, which can clearly identify objects as small as an armoured car from a height of ISO miles. And it is hard to believe that the Government would grant facilities to set up another target for Soviet attack in Britain and help to pay for it without some big return.
Britain’s capital contribution will be about Sim, which is dirt cheap for a flow of invaluable Intelli gence we could never acquire independently because the Government is. ending work on big rockets.
– May I suggest that you read the most important part of the article - that relating to ‘the secrecy of the installations?
– If the honourable senator does not mind, this is the most important part. However, for Senator
Webster’s benefit, I will continue:
The Orfordness ‘radio research station’ - known locally as Awful Mess since the bulldozers started - will cost much more.
Its many high aerials’ will give the Americans 30 minutes’ warning , if. missiles are every fired at them from Russia instead of the IS provided by the present system on the Yorkshire moors.
Yesterday, Senator Willesee made a great speech in which he said. that Australia does not want to be subservient to the United States. He said that we want to be equal partners. I wonder what, this means. Does it mean that Australia , should match the United States in manpower commitments for . defence throughout, the Pacific area or those areas that come under the ANZUS treaty? Does it mean .that we should match them in military might and equipment?
– You are trying to sort it out. but you are not making a very good job of it.
-Senator Willesee said that we should he equal partners with the United States. , ,
– Why don’t you read what I said? =
-As 1 understand it, we are partners with the United States. We admit that the Americans have the military might. They certainly have the space equipment which’ enables them to get valuable information.’ From these bases, they can get the sort of intelligence information which we as a small nation cannot be expected to have. Therefore, we are completely dependent on the United States in this regard. I go along with the arrangements made by the Australian Government and I feel that they are certainly in the best interests of this nation.
– All I can say about Senator Maunsell is that, like most of the: Government speakers, he is very trusting. He has not been able to produce one fact in rebuttal of the Opposition’s charge that particulars of these research and communication stations are well known throughout the world by some of the people whom we class as our potential and future enemies. The facts about this arrangement will be revealed to the United Nations under the registration procedures, but this Parliament will be denied access to particulars of the agreement covering the purpose of these establishments, lt is evident that only two or three Ministers know what the establishments are for. In another place on 29th April the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall), who is the main Minister in charge of the matter, speaking for 16 minutes in reply to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) - it was his second contribution to the debate on a matter that is of serious concern to Australia as a nation and to the Australian people - staled that he as Minister and members of his Department were fully informed about the locations - as they ought to be - but be would not reveal to the Parliament which, after all, governs the country - the particulars of the operations of the establishments. He quoted a reference from the United States Department of State that these matters - in their words - were purely defensive in character. We should start there and look at the position from the point of view of whether this Senate, as part of the Parliament of Australia, has a right to be fully informed on these matters.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy) and succeeding Labor speakers made it clear that we do not want to know the secret details of any technical operation or device which Australia itself cannot manufacture or operate. We do not want to know the sort of details that might be secret, but we want to know whether the statements made in general discussions and Press contributions by many well-informed technical writers and political experts are correct. Senator Maunsell talked about the question of secrecy and emphasised that he trusted the Government. He quoted from a newspaper article in which a British reporter spoke of the sort of equipment and instruments that are already in existence at Pine Gap. These facts are well known to anybody who reads the Australian Press. On television in the past month or so we have seen revealed to the Australian people a general outline of the facility at Pine Gap. We have seen on the screen the arrival of a large number of heavy aircraft. As I recall, sometimes twenty or thirty Hercules aircraft have arrived here on the same day with equipment. We have seen this on television and read it in the Press, but the Government has announced that it cannot tell members of Parliament anything about the operations which are highly secret. The information that has been gathered .from the departments and their technical experts by reporters for the daily Press who specialise in scientific and technical matters must be considered and examined. These people have said the exact opposite of what the Government has said.
What is the position? Are we to go along with the requirements of the Government, which says we are bound to secrecy in the operation of these establishments, but assures us that the American State Department has confirmed that these installations are purely defensive in operation? Are we to expect that the arrangements to be entered into concerning the equipment at this facility will be on a similar basis to those made for the installations at . North West Cape, which were debated in this Parliament? Some people have said that there is an analogy between North West Cape and this particular establishment. There is not. As the Parliament knows - indeed, everybody in Australia should know it - there was great discussion and controversy on that subject within the ranks of the political parties, including my own Party. The Australian Labor Parly accepted the safeguards offered in relation to the station at North West Cape. We were fully aware of our commitments in relation to that project. However, we are not fully aware of our commitments in relation to the Pine Gap station; nor are we fully aware of the ramifications of our involvement arising from the construction of the proposed Woomera facility.
This is in sharp contrast to the position of one of our partners under the ANZUS treaty. Honourable senators should read the discussions that took place in the New Zealand Parliament. The New Zealand Government and the United States Government admitted that in some sense the Omega navigation system could be used militarily. The details of this system were made public. The Prime Minister of New Zealand and various Ministers were associated with an examination of the project. Details of that examination were made public by agencies of the New Zealand Government. New Zealand is a partner with Australia and the United States in the ANZUS treaty.I want to quote from a document which was released in Wellington on 11 th April by the New Zealand Department of External Affairs. It contains a quotation from what was said on10th July by the United States Ambassador. The statement refers to a highly technical system which can be used both offensively and defensively. This information became public property and this is what was said:
As you know. Omega is a general purpose navigational system equally useful to all navigation - in ships and aircraft - commercial and private, as well as military - of all nations of the world. Any ship or aircraft can use the Omega system for normal navigation by fixing its own position. However, the Omega system is not a sophisticated system; it is not a primary navigation system for US submarines; and it is not designed for use on nuclear ballistic missile submarines.’
The document goes on to reveal these things for public knowledge although apparently this Government would say that they are highly secret.
– What is comparable between that project and this current project?
– It is one of the highly technical systems which can be used.
– It is for general use.
– No. The honourable senator has heard me read what the US Ambassador said. It is a system which can be used militarily. There have been arguments about what will be done at Woomera and at Pine Gap. It has been suggested in newspapers and publications, which can be bought at any bookstall in Australia, that we in Australia are getting involved in a system of orbital control mechanisms which can be used in an aggressive way as well as a defensive way. Australia is being committed to such a system. I might point out that such a system is not unique. For example, it is well known to the Chinese. It is well known to the people of the Soviet Union and probably is more highly developed there.
The complaint of the Opposition is that this Government is making arrangements with the United States, particulars of which are denied to the Parliament when they will be available to the United Nations. Australia is committed, under the United Nations. Charter, to various procedures. This matter was canvassed last night by Senator Murphy. I think it was contested by a number of Government speakers. I am referring to the regulations which cover the registration and noting of treaties. Section 97(1) of this document relating to the United Nations is headed ‘Registration and Publication of Treaties and International Agreements: Regulations to give effect to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations’. Article 5 under that heading states:
A party or specialised agency, registering a treaty or international agreement under article1 or 4 of these regulations, shall certify that the text is a true and complete copy thereof and includes all reservations made by parties thereto.
The certified copy shall reproduce the text in all the languages in which the treaty or agreement was concluded andshall be accompanied by two additional copies and by astatement setting forth, in respectof each party:
The date on which the treaty or agreement has come into force;
The method whereby it has come into force (for example: by signature, by ratification or acceptance, by accession, et cetera).
There is an obligation upon us, in preserving the aims of the United Nations Charter, to register treaties and bring to the notice of the United Nations the obligations that we enter into. The main charge of the Opposition has been clearly revealed in this debate. People who say that the Labor Party is anti-American are only propagandising. As was suggested in the local Press when the Prime Minister (MrGorton) made a very short statement on 23rd. April relating to this very vital subject, this might merely be a carrot to attract some controversy on the part of members of the Opposition who might there upon challenge the Government in a period prior to an election.It was claimed by the Leader, of the Opposition in another place that the statement by the Prime Minister on this subject was a seven sentence statement.
The policy of the Australian Labor Party has been read. Our policy has been made clear, whatevermay have been said about it - and I am referring to the confusion created by the previous speaker,
Senator Maunsell. Our aims are described in this booklet which anybody may buy. Our policy on these bases is as follows:
Labor is opposed to the existence of foreignowned, controlled or operated bases in Austraiian territory, especially if such bases involve a derogation from Australian sovereignty.
The charge is often made that the Labor Party is influenced by left wing views and so on but let us make it clear that we face this position from the point of view of Australians. No Australian ought to be influenced to give away the rights of his own country simply because he is not efficient in more sophisticated military matters and techniques, arrangements about which might have to be made with our friends. Arrangements should be made to preserve the rights of the Australian citizen. This ought lo be evident. In relation to the North West Cape base, the Australian Labor Party was fully informed and we made our majority views clear. However, in relation to these matters we are not fully informed and neither is the public. This is evident to anybody who reads the Australian Press. I am referring to any newspaper that one cares to read but this is what was said by the ‘Australian’ on 1st May:
While public opinion is kept in ignorance of the balance sheet there must be the danger of a reaction against the alliance as a whole.
The leading article opened with these words:
If the Government has bad any second thoughts about the total secrecy surrounding the new space defence base al Woomera it gave no sign of them during this week’s debate in Parliament.
– How could it have a defence reaction on the alliance as a whole?
– The Minister ought to know, if the Government confuses people through a lack of information then the people must feel insecure. This sort of action must create amongst the Australian people a certain feeling of insecurity and reduce the co-operation with the Americans. This will happen if we do not know things which we ought to know.
– Should the newspapers intrude into the Defence Department?
– This is not the only quotation available. Senator Wright is now a Minister but I doubt whether he is aware of Australia’s full commitments under these arrangements. The Minister can speak for himself but I do not think he is aware of them. Possibly only two Ministers know what the country’s commitment is.
– Even if the Minister were told, he would not comprehend.
– No, I do not say that. Senator Wright’s capability to examine proposals is very well known in this Parliament. I doubt very much whether he is aware of the kind of commitments that have been made. I am greatly surprised that, knowing Senator Wright - I am not pulling his leg because we know that over the years he has made a great contribution to the defence of the Commonwealth Parliament - he has not informed himself of the facts. What I do say is that details of the installations at Pine Gap and Woomera, except for perhaps some new and secret military equipment which may be new in the field and which may not be known to possible future enemies, ought to be revealed to this Parliament and that the broad outlines of the Australian Government’s commitments under the agreement which has been made should be explained by the leaders of the Parliament - the Leader in this place and the Prime Minister - so that we can understand whether there are any new shifts in Australian defence policy.
Everybody in Australia believes in a more efficient defence organisation. As announced in the Press, there has been a good deal of streamlining, with sophisticated improvements, in defence planning by a new and inspired officer who transferred from the Department of Labour and National Service to the Department of Defence and who has established certain new sections of the Department of Defence. We are concerned that many people in the Public Service know more about this matter than we do. I am surprised that many honourable senators, who in the past always applauded the rights of the Parliament to get the maximum amount of information, are not supporting the Opposition’s proposals. That is one of my main complaints.
– The Opposition has not moved a motion asking that certain things be done.
– The honourable senator knows the position. The position is this: An announcement was made by the Prime Minister in a very brief statement on 23rd April in another place.
– The Leader of the Opposition dodged it.
– That is not so. How can the honourable senator say that it was dodged when it was taken up on 29th April by Mr Whitlam? The statement of the Minister for Defence, who is the responsible Minister, adds nothing at all to clear up the kind of concern which has been expressed by the Opposition, a part of the Australian Parliament, and by the national Press. We are no nearer an explanation of the position at Pine Gap or Woomera than we were when I asked my original question almost 2 years ago. At that time somebody who knew something about these technical matters observed that possibly Pine Gap could be a spy in the sky. I asked the then Prime Minister to explain the position. Senator Henty simply said then, as honourable senators have said since, that this was purely a defensive installation with defensive equipment. One Liberal Party senator has fold us about a reference to this establishment which we do not know about officially. We have been told that we will be denied access to two places about which there is quite a lot of public knowledge and about which there is quite a lot of technical information that cannot be overlooked. That is the position. Obviously there is something wrong.
We have to take into consideration also our obligations as a member of the United Nations. Obviously the Government has a lot to answer for. 1 am quite sure that only a few people in the Public Service and only one or two Ministers know exactly what kind of work these two facilities will do and the involvements that can develop from them. We want to know about them. If in future years Australia is to be committed to a new policy which might involve orbital missiles or counteracting orbital missiles - a very highly sophisticated system - we should know. We should know if we are to be involved in the kind of activity that was reported very recently in the edition of ‘Newsweek’ of 21st April 1969. I bought my copy of this magazine, which is on sale in all book shops, when I was returning from Canberra one day. I quote from the Science and Space page of that magazine. Under the heading ‘Sky Spies’, this article appeared:
Among the thousands of photographs processed recently in an unmarked building near Washing ton was one showing a Russian citizen walking along a Moscow street. It is one in a series: The first picture shows a wide-angle shot of all of Moscow; the second, shot through a second telephoto lens, reveals one Moscow street in considerable detail; the third photograph - of the man -is a photo enlargement of the street scene.
All in all, nothing extraordinary - except that the two cameras involved were inside a US satellite orbiting more than 100 miles over Moscow.
– How can we not become involved in those things? This is the world of tomorrow.
– The honourable senator makes an evaluation on his own knowledge but not on knowledge given to this Parliament. The honourable senator should listen to my argument. He is a very trusting man who is prepared to go along with the Government.
– I am a very trusting man, too.
– Yes, but not too trusting about the Government’s dealings with Communist China. When Communist China is mentioned the trust cuts out; there is a full stop. The honourable senator should listen to reason.- When it conies to an arrangement with the United States which might, mean-
– There is a slight difference between the United States and Communist China.
– Of course there is. The honourable senator will not listen. I refer to his trust of this Government. The attitude that the honourable senator takes is not based on reason or on logic. In fact he accepts what is in the daily newspapers, but he will not ask the Government to give a clean sheet on this matter. He accepts what the Government says before he knows exactly what is going on. We do not. We believe that, as Australians, we are responsible to see that this country is run for Australians and is’ ‘preserved for Australians. There is ‘ no reason why we, as Australians, should be ashamed of our ability to defend ourselves. In every world war in which we have been involved, we have proved our ability. Although we used some foreign built equipment and although we were assisted by- .the Americans and others, no-one could say that we did not have the ability to defend ourselves.
– Does the honourable senator want to start again with Wirraways like we did in the Second World War?
– The honourable senator will start way behind if he underestimates Australia’s capability. My argument is that we have to preserve and develop the Australian capability. This has not been done. We rely on overseas countries for many things that we could produce ourselves. That is the story with the aircraft industry. The honourable senator should know that because he has referred to it often enough. I like the Americans. I have been to America. I have many friends there. I have no doubt that most Americans are like most Australians; they want to see their country run by their own people. We want to see our country run by Australians. We are not satisfied with what the Government says. We will not trust the Government. We will not trust some Ministers. Only one or two Ministers know the details of the installations. It may be that tonight, when the Prime Minister makes his statement, he may reveal something that has been hidden from us. We want to know from the Government how we are involved. Are we involved in the kind of thing that an experienced writer in the ‘Australian Financial Review’ said was in fact a military commitment? That is what we want to know. On 2nd August the ‘Financial Review’ writer, Peter Robinson-
– On 2nd August?
– On 2nd August 1968 - this was about the lime that Pine Gap was getting on its feet - Peter Robinson, who is a knowledgeable man about these matters, said:
Available information suggests that Pine Gap is technologically among the most advanced military space facilities in the world - taking strategic weapons systems into outer space for the first time in world history.
US and Australian officials alike will barely go beyond admitting that the project exists - although the stream of prefabricated buildings through Alice Springs in the past year and the more recent flow of highly sophisticated radar, electronic and computer equipment has given some indication of its size.
We were told that, in respect of Pine Gap, Australia’s bill would be about $700,000 and that America would pay for the remainder, which includes the complicated equipment. The total bill probably will be some $200m. Are we to be equal partners? Is there a guarantee similar to the guarantee that was given in relation to North West Cape?
– Have you read the agreement on Pine Gap?
– Yes, I have read it.
– Then why are you asking whether we are to be equal partners?
– I am concerned about what the Government has not disclosed. The Government says that it is a research facility but here is an important man who, with many other people, says that it is more than what the Government pretends it to be.
– Then he could not have read the agreement if he asks whether we are equal partners.
– You can read for yourself what many people in Australia, much more technically equipped than yourself or myself to discuss these matters, say about it. They claim that it is not the kind of station that we have been told it is. We do not want lo know the secrets of the arrangement but we want to be fully informed about it. We do not want to be denied access to a place when the facts relating to it can be made known to other countries.
– What does the Pine Gap agreement say in that respect?
– As I told you before, a basic agreement means nothing in relation to the known evaluation and the purpose of the station.
– What about being denied access?
– Are you, the great champion of the Parliament over the Years supporting now a proposition that members of this Parliament are not responsible enough to assess a military or non-military establishment and to be allowed to visit it?
– lt is a fundamental proposition of parliamentary government that matters of secrecy are not available to all members of Parliament. They are entrusted to special members of the Government.
– You hide behind the notion of secrecy without regard to members of Parliament. You claim that the kind of secrecy you are putting up is justified. We say that it is not justified.
– Talk to Mr Wilson about it.
– I have talked to Mr Wilson. What is the use of talking to Mr Wilson? If be did something good members of the Government would say that it was planned and that they do not believe in Socialist planning. If he did something which suited the Liberal Party the members of that Party would run into the chamber and say: ‘Did you see what Wilson did?’ We are talking about the Australian Government. We arc talking about the Australian Parliament. We are talking about the obligation that the Minister has as a member of the Government.
– You have the same obligation as he has.
– You tell us what the arrangements are, and when you come clean, as Senator Cohen has said-
– I am not telling you anything.
– You would know less than does Senator Wright, and he does not know exactly what the arrangements are. He would noi be able to tell us what will be done at the Woomera establishment.
– Why should he?
– The strange thing about it is that we send all kinds of people there. We arc parliamentarians. Our job is to work on committees to familiarise our.selves with the task of government, to come to the Parliament and to make a contribution on lines set down by our Party and our State. Buildings are to be erected at Woomera in September this year. A host oE workmen will be sent there travelling, as 1 mentioned earlier, in Commonwealth cars and vehicles over this very poor road which has not been paid for by the Commonwealth Government and which is always- under water during the winter. Those people will be ironworkers and boilermakers who will be members of their respective unions and plasterers who will be members of Senator Cavanagh’s union.
They will be going to Woomera to fabricate-
– That has ho bearing on it.
– Well, you are not allowed to go there and- 1 am not allowed to go there. 1 know- plant operators and technicians who have been in the area but members of Parliament’ have to rely on what they can read in ‘ periodicals on the bookshelves of Australia, what they may see in television documentaries with films taken from outside the fence of the establishment showing a huge complicated complex and, in addition, as- Senator Maunsell said, reading the statement of a reporter from Great Britain. We are not allowed to go and sec these establishments and the Parliament cannot be told, about it because Senator Wright says that, it is a secret.
– I asked whether you had read the agreement relating to Pine Gap.
– In the days before he was a Minister Senator Wright would have been on his feet in- the -Senate chamber saying that the Parliament should be told about this matter. He- would have been against the Executive and against the Public Service. The Public Service now knows the information for which we are asking. The Public Service knows all. about it because the Minister for Defence has said that the Public Service knows: but Senator Wright docs not know and I do not know.
– Mention one occasion on which I have asked for the disclosure of defence secrets.
– We are not talking about defence secrets. Let me summarise the point of view of the Labor Party. We claim that in documents, al’most in the daily Press of the world, and in many periodicals you can read reports, which in our opinion probably are technically correct, written by people who know the- technology of these new methods of military activities. The New York Times’ has mentioned the space facility in Australia. Many people in Australia have stated that these installations contain new devices for orbital missiles which the Soviet Union has perfected and in which the Americans are pretty well accomplished. We may be getting involved in a system which is ,not only defensive but also possibly offensive. If it is, it is in direct contradistinction to what the Minister and the Government have told us.
The information which has been made available to the Opposition and, more importantly, to the Parliament is very limited, lt comprises a very short statement by the Prime Minister on 23 rd April and a 16-minute address by the Minister for Defence on 29th April, as well as replies to a number of questions which have not led anyone to feel very satisfied about the matter. Yesterday’s reply by the Minister for Defence to a question in relation to visits to Pine Gap and elsewhere is, it seems to me, slightly more qualified than earlier replies he has given. Perhaps Prime Minister Gorton now has reported following his visit to the United States. Perhaps he will give us some modified information on these matters.
The Parliament knows very little about this whole subject. We are asked to trust the Government. If the Government wants the Labor Party to support projects which are highly technical it should give us the opportunity to debate the matter as it did in relation to North West Cape. Until all these questions are answered the Government cannot hope to have our support. There is no doubt that the questions will be answered finally. There is no doubt that people with the technical ability to assess these things are putting their minds to them now and the conclusions are being revealed in documents. I think that the information will be revealed finally by outside sources. If the Minister knows about these things, if we are committed to secrecy and if the Soviet Union knows the kind of devices operating in Australia and has similar devices which may be equivalent to or even better than ours, the Australian Parliament and the Australian people should be consulted. That is what the Government should do. Until it consults the Australian people it cannot expect ready acceptance by the Opposition of something which it is hiding. It is improper for members of government departments in Australia, who are in fact public servants, to be familiar with matters about which this Parliament has very little information. According to replies we have received from Ministers, the Parliament is not likely to get very much information.
– I move:
At end of motion add: ‘and welcomes this further demonstration of the close and continuing relationship between the United States of America and Australia, acknowledges the mutual obligation of both parties to the arrangement to respect the security requirement and accepts the necessarily limited disclosure as to the nature and purpose of the facility’.
Although the debate has been proceeding for some time, as far as I can see nothing substantial has been added in the way of argument or documentation to the original proposition put forward for disclosure of information regarding the present defence establishment at Pine Gap and the proposed one at Woomera. There has been iteration and reiteration of the rights and entitlements of members of Parliament and there has been iteration and reiteration of the claim that the element of secrecy surrounding these establishments ‘ is improper and obviously indecent. 1 have waited in vain for the presentation of additional arguments to justify the fracture of any element of secrecy. 1 listened patiently to the remarks made by Senator Bishop, but have heard nothing more than protestations about the right of Parliament to be informed on everything that may . be held to be exclusively within the province of the Ministers of the Executive who are responsible for these matters and of certain senior public officials who necessarily have to be involved. The Minister for Works (Senator Wright), by way of interjection, denied that as a proposition of democratic representative government there is a total and general entitlement on the part of the Parliament to be informed about everything of a secret nature. I believe that he stated a proposition that is completely valid in our type of parliamentary democracy. To attempt to analyse this matter and to discuss it in complete isolation is to deny an evaluation of the circumstances which justify the installation of these bases and the element of restraint that surrounds disclosure of information regarding them. We are living in a world in which there are totally different defence dispositions and totally different world . strategic dispositions, with a consequential disposition of the sophisticated modern weapons that go with them. We must accept as a fact of life that we are part of a global system. An evaluation of these installations which is divorced from a realisation and an acceptance of that position is not a correct evaluation; it is one which will allow them to be exposed to cruel gaze, which we cannot possibly afford; it is one which will destroy not only their effectiveness as isolated installations but also their effectiveness in participating in a system of world communications. This would be a disastrous situation.
– How does the honourable senator know?
– I hope to be able to indicate why that would bc the case as I proceed with my speech.
– Yours is not to reason why. “ Senator BYRNE- I think ours is to reason why. What I am ‘ concerned about is the fact that during the course of this debate no attempt has been made by the Opposition to reason at all. There has merely been the iteration and reiteration of cliches and propositions without any supporting rationalisation. It is precisely because this matter has not been reasoned that the Opposition is prepared to accept the position it has propounded in this chamber. We are meeting new threats and these must be answered by new defences. The threats to world security and liberty today are of a completely different character. They range much more widely in their operations’ than previously. All of the threats to the world today are global threats. Therefore, all of the defences must be global defences.
We must accept it as a fact of present day life that there is a tremendous ideological conflict in the world. It is emerging militarily in many parts in the form of threats to liberty, independence, security and world peace. At least two great ideologies are substantially interlocked in world conflict. For those two to emerge in some sort of defence preparation must be accepted as a concomitant fact of the ideological struggle. Let us make no mistake about it, Australia is inevitably involved in this ideological struggle. Australia is involved because of the propositions which are implicit in our thinking, which are part of our national character and which have been defended by our mcn during our short but rather glorious history. If these propositions are to be translated into defence of the community and protection of our national security we must accept those things that go with it.
In this conflict of ideologies, the United States of America is operating in the most significant way. The United States is the most powerful free nation in the world. It has the highest concepts of liberty and national freedom; it has national generosity; and it is prepared to pour out its wealth to protect its people. We stand with the United States and so many other free nations in this world conflict. There is, if not an alliance, at least an aggregation of free nations linked in one way or another ranging from close military alliances to sympathetic associations. There is an aggregation of free nations throughout the world which look the same way and see the same way; who are participating in the defence of freedom in the world in the way best available to them and with the best means at their disposal. In what I might call this consortium of nations there is an association of two things; a contribution among the free nations of two factors. Some nations contribute logistically whilst others contribute geographically. The United States, because it is a continental nation with no overseas possessions with defence bases, contributes logistically to the effort of the free nations towards the defence of world freedom and peace.
Whilst Australia can contribute logistically to some extent, our contribution is substantially a geographical contribution, as is the contribution of Turkey and so many other countries. It is this consortium of logistics and geography that enables the free world to present a defence to those who threaten liberty, freedom and world peace all over the globe. It is in our capacity as a geographical contributor that this matter now comes before the Senate for debate. The marriage of the logistic contribution of the United States and the geographic contribution of Australia makes the execution of these joint projects possible. What members of the Australian Labor Party say is that this nation should not in any sense make any geographical contribution to the consortium of free nations that is trying to preserve world peace.
– I do not think that that is a fair statement.
– I think it is a fair statement. Later on I will point out how there has been a constant attempt to erode this common effort to preserve world peace and security. Our geographical contribution to this consortium devoted to preserving world freedom is not the same as the contribution by Czechoslovakia. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has encroached upon the independent nation of Czechoslovakia and used it as a satellite for expanding its defence perimeters in order to provide a barrage against the Western nations. Russia is no invitee in Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia is not a host nation. Czechoslovakia is a nation that was compelled to receive an invading force.
But that is not the position in Australia. We are a host nation to a friendly ally whom we have invited to come here and we have arranged with that ally to assist mutually in contributing to world security. Therefore, when we come to estimate the significance of these bases we should look upon them as installations which have been arranged between two friendly nations with common interests. So often in this chamber we have seen a continuous onslaught by the Australian Labor Party on the American alliance. This is rather tragic. The Opposition is now asking: What evidence is there that these installations are what they purport to be and that they are not free from doubt or suspicion? We are not dealing with an unfriendly power; we are dealing with a power which is in friendly alliance with us. : Surely a marriage between two friendly nations can only operate in a spirit of mutual trust.
– But not blind trust.
– I do not think that it should operate in a spirit of blind trust and it is not operating in a spirit of blind trust; it is operating in a spirit of responsibility. Those entrusted with the installation of these bases in Australia have made an evaluation of the part that they will play in the overall defence strategy of the Western nations and of their value to Australia. As we are dealing with two friendly nations - the United States of America and Australia - why should we not mutually enjoy respect and trust, one with the other?
Why should we immediately approach this as a matter of grave suspicion? Is there any reason why the United States of America should immediately be put in the position that it 1 is subjected to public interrogation in a matter involving not only Our security but also its security? Let us remember that this is not an installation which will assist merely our security. Probably it is an integral- part of the security system of the United States of America and its installation here is an addition to and projection of its value for that purpose.
– Have you been told that, or have you assessed it yourself?
-Is that not an inevitable conclusion iri logic? It is here, installed al great cost, obviously to play its pail in such a project. That seems to me to be the obvious conclusion to which honourable senators must be persuaded. I do not think any honourable ‘senator, even though he might wish to have a total and complete disclosure as to the details of the installation, believes that .he is at this stage completely without factual information in precise terms. The Senate has been given a very clear concept of the role such an installation will play in global defence. I do not think any honourable senator can justifiably claim that he is operating in complete ignorance and unawareness of what probably is the nature of the installation. But if we are dealing with a friendly ally, for how long can we expect that association to last if it is immediately and at every turn to be attacked with suspicion and doubt - to have suspicion and doubt poured upon it? Yet that has been the constant attack of the Australian Labor Party in relation to the American alliance over the whole sweep of our association with that country. That is one of the really concerning features of the attitude of the ALP to the American alliance.
Let us take some instances: There was firstly the creation of the north western bases. In no sense was the United States accepted as a friendly ally who was prepared to come to Australia, acting in the mutual interests of this and other nations in the Western alliance - of the free nations - in a spirit of co-operation. I repeat that, it is a marriage of logistics and geography. The United States was invited in, only to be met with violent public criticism, suspicion and expressions of lack of trust. Only in that way was it allowed to go ahead with its projects in this country. Immediately it is known that the United States is coming here in any sense at all, whether in trade, defence or foreign involvement, it is immediately subjected to attack. That has occurred time and again. It occurred in relation to the north western bases. It is subject of course to continuing attack in relation to Vietnam.
– You are assuming that the United States is right at all times.
– I am not, but the honourable senator is assuming that the United Slates is wrong all the time. That is precisely what I am saying; that is precisely the point I am making. Any venture of the United States is immediately attacked with suspicion and allegations of an ulterior purpose behind what otherwise would appear to be a clear and valid action.
– America is a dirty word to them.
– Unfortunately that has been the attitude of the Australian Labor Party. My attention has been drawn to a resolution of the Australian Labor Party conference in 1963. lt states:
That before the radio station could be used to give orders for the launching of Polaris missiles from nuclear submarines, the United States Government must discuss with, and have the approval of, the Australian Government.
Of course, that would have made the position totally unworkable. This constant and unremitting attack upon the United States, particularly in its relations with Australia, was one of the features of the attitude of members of the Australian Labor Party before I came to the Senate and has been since my arrival here. Is it any wonder that the United States in a project such as this would have grave doubts as to other than a minimal disclosure of the nature of its installation when that country knows that that information would be disclosed in an atmosphere of obvious and publicly demonstrated hostility? Unfortunately, that would be the atmosphere in which such a disclosure would be made, because of the constantly demonstrated and publicly expressed attitude of the Australian Labor Party in opposition.
The American alliance and our participation in it can be assaulted in many ways.
It can be the subject of frontal assault, politically, as being something undesirable and not wanted - something that is prejudicial to Australia. That is one way. It would not be the most effective way for those people who wanted to destroy it but it would be the way which would attract the most public support. It would be the way that would provoke the most public alarm, but that is not the method that is now being resorted to. Now there is an attempt to erode the efficiency of the American alliance in relation to Australia and a proposition such as has been put up in this debate - the attitude of the Opposition to the north western bases, to Vietnam and to all these matters - is an attempt at erosion of the efficiency of the alliance. Of course, the ultimate effect of that would be that insofar as the contribution-
– We are offering criticism of a mistaken foreign policy. That is our attitude.
– I do not know what aspect of foreign policy Senator O’Byrne represents - which particular segment he supports. Even the honourable senator would recognise that there has been a plethora of voices in the ALP. Contradiction has been answered by contradiction. There has been a resiling from the position once taken and a new position adopted. If there is one thing about which the Australian public are now confused it is the real foreign policy of the Australian Labor Party. Senator Bishop suggested that the Australian people are becoming concerned, because of a deprivation of information, at the alleged secrecy in relation to this and other installations. I do not think that the Australian people are concerned in that way at all. On the contrary, I think the Australian people would be concerned if there were undue disclosure of a matter so precious and obviously vital to the security of this country. What concerns the Australian people is the confusion which has been caused by protestations about foreign policy at the instance of the Opposition. What this country needs and is crying out for is certitude in policy, domestic and foreign.
The policy of the Australian Democratic Labor Party on this question is unmistakable. It is propounded on all occasions with one voice, behind which the Party stands. That is the policy which today is receiving acceptance in the minds of the Australian people. The Australian people are concerned because they are getting confused in matters of foreign policy and now there is a feeling of uncertainty. There has been a feeling that the defence policy of the Government was not being propounded. There was a protestation of one line of policy and then a revulsion from it. The Australian people have been grievously concerned. Today the one thing of comfort to the Australian nation is the security that comes from a firm alliance and mutual cooperation between the United States and’ this country. The one aspect of comfort is that the United States has sufficient confidence in the political health of this country and the attitude of the Australian nation to be prepared to commit part of its precious sophisticated defence requirements and weapons in the geography of Australia as an integral part of its defence system and the defence system of the Western world.
– Such as the Fill aircraft.
– That is no fault of the United States Government. It was seeking a good aircraft and set out to get it as part of its defence system. It may be a mistake by the Government that purchased it prematurely. Undoubtedly that was so, but the motive that inspired the United States Government and the motive that may have inspired the Australian Government to get a plane of world class well in advance of other aircraft may be defensible. The Australian people want an adequate and properly integrated defence system, not in isolation but as part of a world system of defence. This attempt all the time to take ari attitude such as that taken by the Opposition is going to be disastrous finally for Australia. The final disaster will be in the way that this attitude infects the mind of the Australian Labor Party. The Opposition has suggested that if we al’low these types of installation to be put on Australian soil we immediately invite attacks on them and that this will put Australia in jeopardy. I think, in fairness, it could be said that that states succinctly the attitude of the Australian Labor Party as it has been presented in this debate.
Where does that type of thinking finish and what must inevitably be its logical conclusion - that we cannot have nuclear weapons lest we invite nuclear attack; that we must not have modern scientific weapons lest we invite an assault from a modern, sophisticated armed nation; that we should not have weapons because that would involve us in a danger of military involvement with countries which might come into conflict. Ultimately we must finish in the position of national isolationism and the Australian Labor Party’ will finish in the position which traditionally it has never been in, which it never wanted to be in and which it never espoused. It will become not a peace party but a pacifist party. The Australian Labor Party: was never traditionally a pacifist party. It led this country with honour and distinction in war. It mobilised the country for war on two occasions. It led the nation and it ‘was’ always ready to take its role and .play its part for the freedom of the world. It was always a party which set its face against Fascism. But the result of the stand now taken by the Labor Party must involve ‘us in pacificism and national isolationism. ‘
As a conclusion’ I say to those who project this attitude that it is inevitable that we can never pay Danegeld with success. As honourable senators will be aware, that was the payment made by the Britons to the Danes to ward off invasion. It was international blackmail. Throughout history that has never succeeded and it will not succeed now. Undoubtedly Australia can preserve its nationhood, independence, security and way of living only if it’ is prepared to be armed to the best of its ability and with the best weapons available. It must have firm alliances with friendly nations which have the same political ideology and we must be prepared to make, in our own way, our contribution to the defence of the free nations of the world. We of the Democratic Labor Party are not prepared to deny to the Australian nation that opportunity and that possibility on a project such as this.
– The geographical position has been revealed. …
-We’ have revealed the geographical position . in :. Australia, but in this debate the Australian Labor Party has been plumbing the depths of something that is quite ridiculous. It has been suggested that we are not prepared to disclose secrets relating to modern,’ sophisticated weapons or installations, but because the location is known everything should be known. This is symptomatic of the totally fallacious logic which has confused the whole of the Opposition’s thinking in relation to this debate. We have seen an abandonment of logic. At no stage has any rational argument been propounded to defend that proposition. As I present this amendment on behalf of the Democratic Labor Party I attempt to embrace in it the propositions which, rather briefly, I have tried to expound. We stress and underpin the continuing relationship between the United States of America and Australia, that association which is under constant criticism, subject to expressions of suspicion and under constant challenge, but which so far has survived this type of attack. We take, this opportunity to restate the value of that association.
We acknowledge the mutual obligation of the two participants in this treaty to hold the secrets of it as. a sacred trust. We acknowledge that whilst it is an installation which in some way is there for our security, we are the trustees for the United States. We have on our soil one of their most precious, modern, sophisticated defence installations and we have been allowed to be the trustee of it, in a broad sense. It would be a very grave and reprehensible breach of that sacred trust if at any time, in any way, under compulsion from this Parliament ot any part of this Parliament, the Australian Government were forced into a disclosure beyond the requirements laid down by the United States.
– What about the United States senator?
– I would be prepared to say that there will be no disclosure in the United States, no matter what Senator Fulbright might have observed in an offhanded statement. If there is any nation which is highly security conscious, it is the United States. There have been complaints in this place about the tight security in the United States. That would be the last nation prepared to violate its own security. I have little doubt about that.
But so far as Australia is concerned the suggestion has been made - again this is a denial of logic- that the treaty has been presented to the United Nations and, therefore, the facts are known. Senator Bishop said that. But also the honourable senator read the general terms of the treaty and obviously the treaty, as it will be presented to the United States, and the agreement, as it will be presented to the United Nations, will be formal documents expressing an agreement between the United States and Australia relating to the acceptance of this installation, the particulars of which, the nature of which, the details of the operation of which would not properly be spelled out in the agreement. As they have not been spelled out in the agreement, therefore they have not been disclosed. To rely on the filing of that document with the United Nations as a justification for a full disclosure across the board is another example of the fallaciousness of the whole of the argument which has been propounded by the Opposition in this debate. No valid proposition has been put up by the Opposition. There have been sentiment, emotion and distortion, but at no stage has the Opposition advanced any proposition which in any sense would convince me that there is warrant for this disclosure.
– There is distrust.
– We are now challenged and the question of trust is canvassed in relation to our ally, the United States. It would be a sad day if in this place our greatest ally were to be the subject of a suggestion that we could no longer trust it and were prepared to put formally on record that we no longer had trust in it. Of course our trust is not blind and it is not uninformed; our trust will be used with restraint. The information which must come to us will be properly used.
We would be recreant to our trust as members of Parliament, and the Government would be recreant to its responsibility to the Parliament, if we did not insist on disclosure at the appropriate level and to the appropriate extent on installations of this character. But to require full disclosure could only have the effect for all time of denying to Australia, not only in relation to the United States but also in relation to any other friendly ally, a preparedness to associate with us in anything which involves a sharing of a secret of consequence to that nation. For those reasons I propose the amendment on behalf of the Democratic Labor Party. I agree that it may not be perfect, but we do accept as a necessary consequence of the valuable co-operation that we have with the United States and the valuable contribution that we with them can make to the defence of the free world the limitations which, by the nature of the installation, must necessarily accompany the Pine Gap project. For these reasons 1 commend the amendment to honourable senators.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Cormack) - Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment.
– Senator Byrne, on behalf of the Austraiian Democratic Labor Party, has said that he has seen throughout this debate a constant attack by members of the Labor movement on the American alliance and an erosion of this alliance by members of the Opposition. But throughout the whole of this debate there has been not one word pf attack on the Government of the United States or on the people of the United States by the Australian Labor movement. Our attack has been directed to Government supporters who sit opposite. Our criticism is of the policy of this Government which chooses, time after time, and on this occasion also, to sit behind a screen of secrecy and to tell the Australian Parliament and the Australian people as little as possible on any subject on which one might wish to speak. Senator Byrne has spoken about mutual trust between nations. But this Government, in its relations with members of this Parliament, shows no trust at all. Members of the Cabinet and the Ministry will not tell their own back bench members what is going on; they will not tell members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party; and, of course, they refuse to tell members of the Opposition because it might mean that we would subject the Government to the examination and scrutiny to which we are entitled to subject it in the discharge of our responsibilities to a large section of the Australian people.
Surely the Australian Parliament and the Australian people are entitled to know something about the manner of operation and control of the base that we are discussing today. What we say, in short, is that members of the Australian Parliament are entitled to know and to be told equally as much as members of the United States
Congress know and are told. What we say, in short, is that the Australian people are entitled to know and to be told equally as much as the people of the United States know and are told. Our attack is on the Government for those very reasons. The members of the Labor movement are very proud members of a party whose record in the defence of this nation is second to none. We insist on the right of the Parliament and the entitlement of the people to know something about what is going on in the defence of this nation. In a parliamentary democracy, in which the Parliament is supposed to be the supreme authority in the land and in which the Cabinet and Ministers are responsible to the Parliament and subject to parliamentary scrutiny, this matter becomes of vital importance to the Australian Parliament and the Australian community.
Whether members of the Government parties like it or not, a very large section of the Australian community is concerned about the manner in which this Government from time to time hides under the cloak of secrecy of military and commercial transaction and decides to tell the people nothing. It did that, as long as it could in the case of. the VIP aircraft. It did that as long as it could in regard to the purchase of the Fill aircraft. It has done that as long as it has been able to in respect of the price of wheat sold to Communist China. Now it hides under the cloak of secrecy as far as bases that are established on Australian soil are concerned. The stage has been reached where the Government is merely making a mockery of the Parliament. It is no wonder that many Australians are becoming cynical about the supremacy of Parliament and the responsibility of parliamentarians.
All we have been told is that these bases have been established on Australian soil and that no-one in Australia is to have access to them. We have not been told anything, or we have been told very little, about the arrangements that have been entered into for the control or operation of them. We do not know who will guard them. All we have been told is that they are connected with the defence of the free world, to use the expression of the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall). He said: The stations will make a contribution to free world defence’, but then he added: ‘But 1 wish you would not ask me why’. From now on Australian parliamentarians, who are elected by the democratic vote of the Australian people, apparently are not to be trusted by this Government with any information. That applies not only to members of the Opposition but also to Government backbenchers and members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. Rumour has it that only one or two Ministers within the Cabinet- the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the Minister for Defence themselves - know anything al all about the matter.
We members of the Labor movement, we members of the Opposition, would be recreant to the trust that has been reposed in us by a great section of the Australian community if we did not demand that the Government tell us at least the arrangements for the control and operation of the bases or at least as much as members of the United States Congress have been told. Members of the Government parties and members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party have become so obsessed with their constant but phony fear of the downward march of Communism - a bogy that enables them to keep the pot boiling at election time - that they are now victims of their own propaganda.
A couple of Ministers think that the stage has been reached where they and they alone are entitled to know what goes on in this country because they and they alone are the ones who, in their minds, can be trusted. They will not tolerate or allow genuine public debate on this very important subject. According to them, we, the representatives of the Australian people, and the Australian people themselves have to accept the establishment of these bases in deep silence: we must not talk about these bases either now or at any other time. The Australian people are expected to be mere lackeys under this code of secrecy in which a couple of ministers indulge.
If it is good enough for the Government backbenchers to sit there and say: ‘We will accept the mere word of one or two Cabinet Ministers who say: “This is for the defence of the free world, but do not ask us why”.’, it is certainly not good enough for us members of the Opposition. They whip up their propaganda at this stage, shortly prior to the holding of a Federal election, to make it appear that to say anything against them is to be disloyal to this nation or to be subversive in some way. It is the old trick, the old smear, the old worn path of silencing the deep and genuine concern of a large section of the Australian community who love this nation as much as does any member of the Government.
The Government, having imposed absolute silence on the question of the bases and thereby keeping the Australian people totally in the dark, now finds that as a result of some publicity in the United States its closely held secret here is no longer a secret as far as a section of the United States community is concerned. The locked gates of Pine Gap cannot be compared with the unlocked pens of American journalists and the unlocked commentaries of American commentators and American congressmen. Science magazines in the United States have carried stories telling the American people something about what is going on. Now Senator Fulbright of the United States Senate has said that any United States congressman can come to Australia, go to Pine Gap, see for himself what is going on and go back and tell the American people- and, I assume the American Congress - what is going on. But the Australian Government is ensuring that no member of the House of Representatives and no member of the Senate will1 have rights equivalent to those of any American senator. We are to be rigidly excluded. 1 understand that charts and maps have been published in magazines in the United Stales, indicating to the American people in. a general way what is being done at these installations in Australia. Even the Australian’ newspaper recently ran an article on man operated laboratories in space - an operation known as MOL and an entirely new concept in this game of sky spying. Like the stern headmaster speaking to a group of querying school children, the Minister for Defence has demanded silence from all members of the Government, all members of Parliament and the Australian community. Probably only the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence, and no other members of the Government know what is going on at the bases. Because the Government has been caught out publicly with its Fill deal, it certainly does not want to be caught out again. Does the Minister for Defence think that he is the only one interested in the defence of this country? Does he think that we are not interested in the security of our own nation and the future of our own children? According to him, we must be like the three wise monkeys: We must hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil.
The Government, by taking up the attitude that members of Parliament will not be told anything about these bases, so they need not bother to ask about them, has fallen into a surly and moronic silence. Even that old conservative granny of journalism the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, has objected to this attitude of the Government. In one of its recent editorials it said that we must not buy a pig in a poke. The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ warned the Minister that he was treating the Australian people like children. That newspaper is demanding, and continuing to demand, more information on the subject.
There has been a lot of speculation about what is involved at the bases, and what is going on there. But that is all it can be - speculation - because the Australian community have been told nothing. As I said, the Australian people are entitled to be told just as the American people have been told, and members of the Australian Parliament are entitled to know just as members of the American Congress. In a journal called Aerospace Technology’, published on 12th February 1968 - some 15 months ago - in the United States of America, an article relating to Pine Gap under the heading International’ and subheading ‘Investment in Australian Base Grows’ is in these terms:
Pentagon investment in a new space research facility near Alice Springs, in Canberra, Australia, is much larger and more important than has been publicly suggested. The facility, anticipated to cost almost $215m, is expected to be the most sophisticated military space installation outside the US, and may well play an important role in future US anti-FOBS (Fractional Orbital Bombardment System) detection and interception systems.
As long as 15 months ago the American people were told that. Now, when the matter is before the Australian Parliament, the Minister for Defence has told us that the base is connected with the defence of the free world but has implored us, for goodness’ sake, not to ask him any questions about it, as he will not supply the information. I have mentioned the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’. That newspaper has pointed out that the Australian people are disturbed about the problem of nuclear proliferation and the establishment of secret installations in Australia. According to the article, speculation is rife following the attempt by the Labor movement to find out what is going on in Australia. We have reason to believe that within our own nation we have, outside the United States, the biggest anti-missile base in the Western world. Perhaps it would not be so bad if the Government were to indulge in some expenditure on civil defence. At least when the Americans establish similar bases in their own country, they spend money on civil defence to protect their own people against a possible thermo-nuclear attack, but this Government has done nothing at all to build for the Australian people fallout shelters commensurate with the establishment of these bases in Australia. At least the United States, with its great military arsenal, has provided as much shelter as it possibly can for its own population, but here in Australia, where we now have these bases, the position is entirely different. Because of the policy of this Government, we know nothing about the purpose, concept, control or operation of the bases. The Government has said that the matter of civil defence is primarily the responsibility of the States.
All that the Minister for Defence was able to talk about in the recent debate on this subject in another place was our treaty arrangements with the United States and the magnificent flying machines, the Fills. Apparently these two things - our treaties with the United States and our new aircraft, the Fill - are to be our only umbrella protection. It is quite obvious that if Press reports of the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Washington are accurate, he is beginning to show some concern about the wisdom of this purchase himself.
The Minister for Defence talked at some length about ANZUS, but according to the senior lecturer in jurisprudence and international law at Sydney University, Mr Blackshield, ANZUS provides much less than the vapourings we have heard from the Minister for Defence would lead us to believe. Mr Blackshield has said that under the ANZUS arrangement, the United States of America is pledged to come to our defence if we are invaded - that is to say, if foreign troops set foot on Australian soil.
In the event of Australia’s being attacked by anyone, we, the members of the Labor movement, and the people of Australia, would welcome assistance from anyone who is prepared to give it to us. Mr Blackshield’s interpretation of this treaty is that the United States of America is pledged to come to our defence if and when foreign troops set foot on Australian soil. Apparently, according to Mr Blackshield, before the United States of America can come to our assistance, the President of the United States of America, the American Congress, and of course the American people and public opinion, must agree.
One must ask rhetorically which country among the Asian nations will invade us. Surely it will not be the sampan nation of Communist China, a country that is known as Mainland China by this Government when we are discussing the subject of the export of wheat. We are now confronted by racial riots in Malaysia. On these matters, through our own reading and other information, and the information that we can drag out of the Government from time to time, we can make an assessment on the basis of the information reported to us. However, because of the Government’s silence on this matter, we cannot make any assessment whatever on the establishment of these bases. We are not to be told one thing by the Government about them. As Senator Murphy on behalf of the Opposition has already said, we do not seek details of technical information. All we want to know is what these bases are meant to achieve. We want to know about their operation and control, and how they will assist in the defence of Australia and the protection of the Australian people. The Gorton Government has done a grave disservice - and a grave injustice to the Australian people by not taking them into its confidence. By its attitude it is contributing to a lack of respect for the institution of Parliament and the integrity of its members.
Let me ask one other question. Have other countries rejected any bases? Senator Cohen mentioned Pakistan yesterday and said that a base had been dismantled at Peshawar. Senator Bishop mentioned little conservative New Zealand. We have been told that New Zealand objected to the Omega submarine bases. We know that Japan long ago banned the presence of nuclear armed warships in its estuaries. Turkey has protested about the presence of bases on its coast. If these things are not true then let the Australian Government say so. If they are true then let it tell the Australian people why it has taken its present attitude when the countries I mentioned have adopted different attitudes in respect of installations.
There was an editorial in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald’ which referred to the return of the Prime Minister from the United States. The article represents the thinking of an overwhelming section of the Australian community. This is what the editorial said:
It seems clear that the Americans have succeeded in holding him to the ‘secrecy clauses in the Pine Cap and Woomera agreements. It must be said again that this secrecy is wrong in principle and very likely futile in’ practice. It is embarrassing enough to Australia that Senator Fulbright should now be insisting that the US Congressmen have a legal right to inspect the bases; if this is so, no Government could deny such a right to Australian politicians. - But the point is simply that the Australian- people should be told what agreements the Government is negotiating on their behalf and how they affect our security. No one is asking for technical information. -
In a few short words’ that’ editorial succinctly puts the case propounded in this Parliament by the Labor movement. We say that this Government, by its attitude, obviously has shown and is showing that it does not trust the Australian, people and that it does not trust the members of this Parliament. We in turn say: How can the Australian people place any trust or faith in this conservative government?’
– I rise to support the amendment moved by the Australian Democratic’ Labor Party. Very strong words are used in this amendment and they show clearly and concisely the attitude of the Government and the Democratic Labor Party to our associations and relations with the United States of America. The thing about Senator McClelland’s speech which rather i surprised me was that he did not mention whether he was for or against the amendment. One presumes from what he said; that he does not favour it. I think that this shows that the Labor Party does not have a- policy. Putting that another way, perhaps the Labor Party does have a policy but it is not game to disclose it.
This debate has been a most interesting exercise and has revealed many things. It has revealed the great variation in the opinions expressed by members of the Opposition. It has shown that all members of the Opposition basically are speaking with their tongues in their cheeks. Not one of them has come out with a definite policy. All that they have done is to endeavour to criticise an installation in this country, the security associated with it and the alliance between Australia and the United States. To me these are very vital things. It is easy to be destructive and I concede that sometimes it is quite a problem to be constructive, particularly having heard honourable senators opposite speak during this debate.
Perhaps I can explain why the Labor Party has no definite policy. Senator McManus and Senator Byrne referred earlier to the attitude of the Labor Party about the installation at North West Cape. On that occasion the Labor Party came out with a policy which was completely and utterly rejected by the Australian people. One thing that that Party did say at that time was that if Australia had combined in a joint co-operative effort that might have made a difference. The Woomera installation, about which we are speaking, is a joint co-operative effort between Australia and the United States. Thus it meets one of the requirements of the policy of the Labor Party in respect of the North West Cape base. However, on this occasion the Labor Party has not come out with a definite policy.
To take the exercise a little further, last year numerous questions were asked in this place about visits to the Pine Gap installation. The Government was criticised for not allowing anybody to visit it. Members of the Opposition asked many questions about this. But I suddenly discovered that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) did visit Pine Gap last year. The question is: Were members of the Opposition aware of the fact that their leader had visited that installation or is it that they are not prepared to take his word about what is going on there and the necessity for having secrecy and restrictions in that area? do not know the answer to this question. It has to be answered by the Opposition. However, I repeat that questions were asked in this place whereas the Leader of the
Party had been to that installation. One sometimes wonders about these peculiar attitudes.
Members of the Opposition have shown a great divergence of thinking in the course of this debate. We have heard all sorts of comments. For a start, the Opposition was reluctant to enter into this debate. It was virtually forced into it. I think that this was denied today by Senator Bishop. He said that this was not so. But if we refer to the Hansard report of the House of Representatives we find that when this statement was made by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) - it appears at page 1400 - the Minister for Air (Mr Erwin) moved that the House take note of the paper. The parliamentary leader of the Labor Party was not prepared to move such a motion. However, later on the Opposition came to light with an urgency motion. There is an element of tactics involved in this because there is a restriction of time applied to an urgency debate. This meant that the matter could not be drawn out to any great length. However, the Opposition had to face the music. It had to face the issue but it had to use the tactic of debating it only for a short period of time. The Opposition did not want to extend the debate and disclose its policy. The Opposition is not game enough to disclose that policy in this place.
When speaking on behalf of the Opposition in this place last night, Senator Murphy said that he was not criticising the United States Government for its presence in Australia. He said that this was the affair of that Government. He made that statement and I agree with it. He went on to say quite a few other things. He referred to Senator Fulbright of the United States. He said that he would not just encourage but would invite Senator Fulbright to visit these installations in order to prove the point that United States senators could do so. He went on to say that any American senator could go to these installations if he so desired. There has been criticism levelled at the Government for its refusal to allow parliamentarians and other people to visit the installations. I point out that the only United States congressmen allowed to inspect secret military installations in that country are those who are members of the relevant specialised congressional committees. They have to demonstrate a need to know for the work and deliberations of their committee. The Administration makes the final decision as to who will go, how far they will go and how much they will see. Senator Fulbright is Chairman of one committee - the Foreign Affairs Committee. I do not doubt that Senator Fulbright could go in that capacity, but he cannot walk right in. Before he can go to these installations, he will have to make application and he will have to get a clearance from the Administration who will decide how much he can see. I think this demonstrates very clearly how many politicians can go to these installations, who is responsible for deciding who will go and what they will see when they get there.
– Who is responsible for deciding?
– The United States Administration decides about the United States senators in the United States of America. Last night Senator Murphy asked why Australia cannot be like Canada and other countries of the free world. I presume that the country he means in this context is Great Britain, lt has been stated that Canada has something like 400 installations in its country and that it has a tight security screen around the lot. They are kept in complete secrecy and are worked in cooperation with the United States policy of screening. The Administration decides who will go. Those who go are the people actively associated with specialised committees whose area of investigation is involved. Canada’s attitude parallels the attitude of the Australian Government. Now I deal with a very interesting country - the United Kingdom. I refer to an article in last Tuesday’s ‘Sun’ which was written by the ‘Daily Express’ defence writer, Chapman Pincher. He said:
Two secret radio stations packed with the latest American electronic equipment, and to be mainly operated by Americans, are being built in Britain.
The Government, which is sharing the cost of the projects, is so cagey about them that they arc being officially described as ‘radio research stations’.
That government is the British Labour Government. It is being cagey and secretive about the stations. I presume that that Labour Government is of the same political colour as the Australian Labor Party. The Labour Government will not supply infor mation on the type of installation. The Austraiian Government is prepared to supply certain information because it is willing to accept its responsibilities, as any responsible government would be prepared to accept responsibilities with regard to the defence of the nation. It is very easy to sit on the Opposition benches, to. criticise, to comment and to say that. certain things should be done. But it is not the Opposition’s responsibility to ensure that these things are administered and that the defence and security of the country are kept as they should be kept to protect the people who live in that country. The Government has the responsibility and it is up to the Government to maintain that responsibility.
Last night Senator Willesee spoke quite critically and at some length about the attitude of this Government and about the installations. He said that we are making Australia a nuclear target and he went on to say that we are virtually, lackeys for the American Administration.. He spoke about ANZUS and so on. He kept-. coming back to the assertion that Australia is making itself a nuclear target. I -would like to quote from a speech made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in another place (Mr Barnard). I think it is very interesting and very important. Here is proof of the conflicting views held by members of the Opposition. The Opposition- cannot come out with a definite policy. It- is avoiding the issue. Its members are saying a little bit and contradicting each ‘ other. Senator Willesee said that he is opposed to the installations because of the nuclear aspects. The Deputy Leader of the , Opposition in another place said:
If we accept the ANZUS -Treaty - and the Australian Labor Party has always accepted it - it is not possible to dissociate Australia from the risks of nuclear war.
Therefore the Deputy Leader, of the Opposition in another place realised that we, as a nation, have a responsibility, that we are living in a world full of risks and that we have to accept the fact that we are living in this world full of risks, including the risk of nuclear warfare. .Yet last night Senator Willesee disagreed.
I shall refer to what Mr Whitlam had to say about security: This is very significant. There has been a lot of talk about security, but’ let us get the term defined and let us look at what the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) considered should be the level of security. He said:
It is right to co-operate with the United States in using the advantages of our size and site for communications and research in the space age.
He agrees that the facility should be here. Basically Senator Willesee does not because of the atomic target that we are making of ourselves. Senator Murphy also disagreed. The Leader of the Labor Party (Mr Whitlam) does not disagree about the establishing of this facility. Referring to security he said:
But it is utterly wrong to withhold from Parliament and the public the general purposes of this and the whole dozen facilities we are making available.
In other words, he suggests that we throw open the site and make it a tourist area. That is his concept of security. To me this is the key to the whole success of the installations that are being placed in the Woomera area.
I shall deal now with other aspects associated wilh the installation. We have spoken about responsibilities. Within our responsibilities comer the security aspect and the need to co-operate and work with countries and not against them. We appreciate that today not only we, as a nation, must defend ourselves and have the best know how, technical ability and material ability to defend ourselves but we must also accept our responsibilities as a major power in the area in which we live to help defend our neighbours in the area. We must go further with a broad concept of a free world defence because today the world, with improved communications and transport, has become a very small place. We are living in a space age. Today we do not only have to worry about land transport, sea transport or air transport in the lower atmosphere area. Today we are living in a space age. lt is full of technical complications and developments that could have been regarded not so very long ago as impossibilities. This has made the world very small and it has made the world a very technical world.
Mention has been made about what overseas countries are doing about various military or defensive types of equipment. It is necessary for us, as a nation, and collectively with our friends, who are fighting for the defence of the free world, to keep up with the latest possible technological advances. Within this ambit we come back to the responsibilities we have under the ANZUS Treaty. 1 mentioned this when I referred to the statements made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in another place. The ANZUS Treaty has given us responsibilities and commitments, but it has given our neighbours a sense of responsibility. Less developed countries in the area look to countries such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and others not only to help them with the development of the material things of this world but also to accept and share responsibility for defending them as part of the free world and as developing countries.
We. as a nation are very fortunate to have as a friend a country as big, as powerful, as willing and as co-operative as is the United States which will play its part in the defence of the free world for the future as it is doing now. We are fortunate that America is willing to come to this country and to engage in joint ventures with us so that co-operation can prevail and defence be made more effective. Senator McManus pointed out today that we have heard the Labor Party time and time again criticise this alliance with America. That is a very destructive attitude for the Labor Party to adopt, as I said when I began my remarks. One wonders how the Opposition could continue that attitude.
We have heard reference to the nuclear aspect, the secrecy aspect and so on. Last night when Senator Cohen was speaking Senator Greenwood and I interjected three times and asked the same question of Senator Cohen: ‘Are you in favour of the establishment of this base?’ Senator Cohen talked right over it and would not answer so Senator Greenwood’s interjections do not appear in Hansard. I interjected again and asked: ‘Are you opposed to this base?’ Senator Cohen gave some kind of reply so the interjection is recorded in Hansard which shows he heard the question. I wonder why he would not answer all the interjections. It is not hard to say yes and it is not hard to say no. He acknowledged my interjection which indicates that he heard me.
– He is deaf in the left ear.
– He may be, but he would not say yea or nay. I presume that he is not in favour of the establishment of the station. Fs Senator Cohen in favour of ANZUS? Is Senator Cohen in favour of mutual co-operation for the defence of the free world? Is Senator Cohen in favour of Australia playing its part in the defence of the free world? We are a responsible nation. We have responsibilities to meet.
– Of course Senator Cohen is in favour of ANZUS.
– Thank you for clearing up that point, ls Senator Cohen in favour of the proposed establishment at Woomera?
– You tell us what it is all about.
– I want to know whether Senator Cohen is in favour of it. We have accepted our responsibilities as is shown by the installation at North West Cape, by the installation in the centre of Australia and by the proposed installation at Woomera. There are other examples of the way in which Australia is working with the United States. By our actions we are gaining respect and are playing our part in helping the continued freedom and development of the countries of this world. If in the process of playing our part it becomes necessary for us to maintain tight security in conjunction with our co-partners, the American Administration, then it is up to us to play our part not only in the magnitude of events but also in the details of administration, and that comes back to the finer point of joint co-operation between nations. That is where the key to this thing lies.
We are co-operating down to the last detail with our partner, the United States, not in the form of a lackey but in the form of a partner. Senator Willesee last night accused us of playing basically the role of a lackey. I will not accept that. We cannot say for one moment that we are as big as the United States but we can say that we are as willing and as co-operative as the United States, and that the United States recognises that fact by its willingness to come here and work with us as a partner, not as a lackey. The Labor Party’s attitude provides further evidence of its confused thinking. Its attack on the Ameri can alliance with Australia could be very destructive. Fortunately the right kind of people are in government in Australia at the present time so there, is respect for the alliance and hope for the defence of the free world. We will play our part within this area within the terms of the ANZUS Treaty.
– I. have never known such frustration on the part, of honourable senators on the Government side as has been evidenced by those who have taken part in . the debate. The Government fully believed thai when this matter came before the chamber the Australian Labor Party would- .oppose the establishment of the base and would run away from any debate on it. But the debate has not followed the course that the Government wanted it to follow and that has caused a lot of frustration among its supporters. There has been no political propaganda which could be used against the Australian Labor Party in the forthcoming general election. For that reason I believe that the Government parties are peeved.
The Labor Party always has supported the American alliance and at -all times has been opposed to Communism or any regime which, is too far to the left or too far lo the right. Despite what honourable senators on the other side say and believe, the Labor Party believes in democracy and maintains a constant watch to ensure the preservation of democracy. For that reason the Australian Labor Party must oppose the increasing secrecy in which .this Government has shrouded not only Pine Gap but the proposed establishment at Woomera as well. This has caused a great deal of speculation in the journalistic world, and on the part of those in control of universities and those who have taken- an interest not only in technology but also ‘ in electronics and space research.
Numerous articles have’ ‘appeared in magazines and periodicals,’ as was mentioned by Senator Bishop, regarding the part that the proposed establishment would play in the defence of Australia: On page 7 of the Melbourne ‘Age’ of 6th May 1969 is an article by Robert Cooksey which is headed ‘Missiles Point at our Cities’. It states:
During the 1960s Australia has become increasingly important to the United States in aero-space mailers. With this has come involvement in American nuclear weapons systems. This does not mean US bombers with nuclear payloads or missiles with nuclear warheads are based in Australia. Rather, in the missile age, tracking and communications stations are as essential to the US as rockets and warheads or the command post in the White House.
Outside the US, Australia is the largest centre for American aero-space operations. Because of its technical and logistic facilities, its political stability and external security, this country provides the most suitable piece of real estate in such operations in the Southern Hemisphere.
Altogether there are sixteen known significant American installations in Australia, either functioning, under construction or announced. One other at least - an Omega station - is under discussion. Eight of these are the responsibility of NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). NASA is a civilian agency who, like the Atomic Energy Commission, has close links with the US Defence Department. NASA stations are not only involved in exploration of the moon, but also in getting on their orbital paths military reconnaissance satellites.
The article goes on further to explain that aspect. Why cannot the Parliament be told what part this proposed station will play, not only in the future defence of Australia but also in offensive action should that occur? I refer to an article that appeared in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ on 25th April 1969. The article, which was written by Dr Stuart Butler, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Sydney, is entitled ‘Defence Role of Station at Woomera - Detection of Missiles’, reads:
The defence station to be established at Woomera has provoked much speculation throughout Australia.
The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) announced plans in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Is Woomera to be used as a launching site for nuclear warhead inter-continental ballistic missiles?
Will Australia thereby become a primary target for any nuclear missile attack?
The article goes on to say -I admit this - that the answer to these questions is no. But there is doubt in the mind of the writer as to whether the new defence station at Woomera will be used for the purpose which was stated or for some other purpose. If one reads the articles which have been published in the Press and in magazines recently one will find that there is speculation throughout Australia regarding the role that not only the new base at Woomera but also the one at Pine Gap will play in the defence of Australia. Senator Bishop told us this afternoon that a photograph taken from an altitude of 100 miles showed a man walking along a street in Moscow. Of course, we all know that photographs of this nature can be taken from satellites. But I dare say that if the Americans can take these photographs from satellites over Moscow or even parts of China, they can also be taken over Australia.
– What is the significance of that?
– Does the Minister feel that our enemies will not be able to analyse any photographs they may take of certain areas in Australia?
– Photographs that who mighttake?
– The people using satellites for spying purposes.
– Why would the honourable senator want the enemy to be able to analyse them?
– I do not want the enemy to be able to analyse them. What I am saying is that with the type of equipment used in this technological day and age for reconnaissance purposes it is possible that the enemy could analyse photographs taken over Australia. Like other members of the Australian Labor Party, I do not want the enemy to be in possession of any information which could be detrimental to Australia either now or in the future. But this sort of information can be obtained by those wanting it.
– The Minister is making the point that it is the actual function of the base and not its position that the satellite will not be able to determine.
– It may be that with the advent of sophisticated aircraft - and we have heard a lot about sophisticated aircraft such as theF111 - the same result could be obtained as could be obtained with a satellite. Do we have any defence in Australia against this sort of thing?
– It is still only the location that is ascertainable.
– Woomera is 200 miles or a little more from Adelaide.
– That is a good point.
– So, why could the same sort of thing that is happening over China and Russia at present not happen over Woomera? Surely the nations which have progressed so far in space research, ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons will be able to analyse any information they obtain and determine what a specific station or installation is capable of doing. We have heard a lot about the North West Cape installation which I believe has now been named after the late Mr Harold Holt. As one honourable senator from this side of the chamber pointed out last night, this installation is not far from the sea. What would stop enemies of this country spying on that installation if they wanted to?
– How could they find out what the installation consisted of?
– I think they could find it out in the same way as they find out many other things regarding the defences of other countries. The Americans have found out certain things about Russia and they have found out certain things about China. Surely honourable senators opposite do not think that Australia will not be spied on by those countries which have an ulterior motive for doing so? They wilt do everything possible to obtain all the information they can regarding what is going on at present and what will happen in the future. I refer to an article which appeared in the Melbourne ‘Herald’ of 24th April 1969 entitled ‘Woomera base: Are we now a target?’ The article, written by Mr E. H. Cox, stated:
Australia is expected to be brought directly within the ambit of America’s rapidly developing spy from the sky programame’-
Not pie in the sky, spy in the sky. as a result of the agreement to set up a new space base near Woomera.
And the new base is likely to bring Australia under much closer Soviet satellite scrutiny.
Last night’s statement about the base by the Minister for Defence, Mr Fairhall, indicates that there are now a number, of potential targets for nuclear weapons in Australia in the event of a major war.
In his announcement yesterday, the Prime Minister, Mr Gorton, said the new base would be ‘a joint United States-Australia defence space communications facility’.
Mr Fairhall’s disclosure that communication with orbiting satellites will ‘ be an important aim of the station is believed to mean that its main immediate rol«” will be contact with intelligence gathering satellites circling the earth. 15570/»-*-(50i
The base will probably have a double role. One aim is expected to be to work in collaboration with US intelligence satellites which are getting information from regions to which more direct access is not available.
That answers the point raised by Senator Webster thai the geographical situation of these installations will prevent this sort of thing happening. If the US intelligence organisations can obtain this sort of information from other countries, surely the other countries will be able to obtain the same information in the same way from Australia. The article continues:
The other aim, it is expected, will be to detect and try to break the secrets of Russia’s intelligence satellites.
Although the new base will not be directly offensive, it will be among the most advanced and important of the Western defence posts outside the United States. And Russia is likely to bring Australia under closer satellite scrutiny despite Mr Fairhall’s declaration that he can see no reason why the new base should become a military target except in the event of a major atomic war.
Most of the potential targets for nuclear weapons in Australia are probably not military. But the North West Cape station in Western Australia, a vital link in America’s communications net with its Polaris submarines, is an exception.
Its destruction could seriously impair the effectiveness of the Polaris submarine fleet operating in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific. The new base itself also comes automatically into the same category.
Australia’s defence establishments are generally dispersed and do not lend themselves to the cost of nuclear attack, and few if any rate high enough to become first-priority nuclear attack objectives.
That might be so. However, if there were any doubt about the part that the installations are playing in Australia and a conflict started, it would be one reason why the enemy would have to wipe out these bases. In that event, have we any guarantee that’ the United States could come to the aid of Australia? I believe that the Government should give at least some information. I agree with other honourable senators that we do not want any of the technical information that could get into wrong hands for use against the defence of Australia, but certain aspects could be revealed not only to the Australian Parliament but also to the Australian people.
I am not very happy that the elected members of the Australian people do not have some access to or a chance to have a look at these installations. Does this mean that each and every member of the Parliament is a security suspect? I believe a stigma is suffered by members of this Parliament because more information is not given to the elected representatives of the Australian people. For those reasons I believe that the Opposition has in this debate put forward a case that has not been answered by Government supporters. I believe that it cannot be answered. Until the Government gives an indication of the use of the bases we must oppose the strict secrecy that the Government is imposing upon these installations.
– I support the amendment. I think it is only right that at the outset I should declare where I stand in respect of the amendment moved by Senator Byrne. Senator Byrne moved his amendment about li hours ago. Since then two honourable senators opposite have spoken in this debate but as yet there has been no indication from the Opposition of whether it supports or opposes the amendment.
– We will oppose it. You can be sure of that.
– I thank Senator Cavanagh for that advice. I was wondering, because only two of Senator Cavanagh’s colleagues are in the chamber with him, whether the other twenty-four are meeting in secret conclave to attempt to arrive at a decision. One wonders in many respects why the Opposition desired this matter brought on for debate after the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) made the statement on defence installations in Australia on behalf of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) last week.
One wonders whether the Opposition was really concerned about what Senator Murphy described as a ‘growing tendency’ on the part of the Government to hide from Parliament matters which are disclosed to other parliaments. That statement, which Senator Murphy made early in his speech last night, rather puzzled me. If it had come from a person trained other than in law I could have understood it, but one would have imagined that men like Senator Murphy, with his background, and Senator Cohen, who seemed to fall into the same trap, would not have attempted to equate the Australian Parliament with the United States Congress. It is a well known fact to even the dullest of lawyers that the American Constitution came about to some degree because of an error made by a Frenchman who perceived in English history what he considered to be three separate and distinct parts of the constitutional situation, namely, the executive, legislature and judiciary. Had he studied closely the English constitutional situation he would have found that both the judiciary and the executive had deep roots in and were part of the legislature. So that to attempt to equate the rights, powers, duties and obligations of an American congressman with a member of either House of this Parliament is rather ludicrous because in no sense of the word have we similar obligations or attitudes as to how the executive is placed in relation to the legislature.
One can only draw the conclusion that the whole tenor of the debate from the Opposition has been but another facet of the Labor Party’s anti-Americanism. To support that statement, as I intend to do, it is necessary to see how the antiAmericanism of the Labor Party shows up. Senator Murphy quite early in his speech last night said:
Let me say at the beginning that so far as the Australian Labor Party is concerned and so far as I personally am concerned, we are pledged as a Party to adherence to the alliance with the United States and New Zealand which is embodied in the ANZUS treaty.
What is important in this debate is what is implied in the speeches of honourable senators opposite. It is equally as important as what is said outright by them. This is illustrated in some respects by the way in which honourable senators opposite have set out deliberately to twist the meaning of words. We heard a great deal last night of the word ‘retaliation’. It was used by most honourable senators opposite who spoke, and particularly by Senator Murphy when he said last night:
Surely we are entitled to know whether what the Government is doing will involve us in the possibility of nuclear retaliation.
Again one would imagine that a person of Senator Murphy’s training and education would completely understand the meaning of the word ‘retaliation’. As I understand the meaning of the word ‘retaliation’ it does not convey something which we commence. As I understand the dictionary ‘to retaliate’ means ‘to repay in kind’. Is it a wong thing for Australia to be prepared to repay in kind, to give like for like and blow for blow? Surely this is the proper and real meaning of the word ‘retaliation’. The Opposition has used the word ‘retaliation’ in the sense of nuclear offence. It has attempted to turn the whole purpose of this base at Woomera from a defence installation into an offensive installation. Then we come to this much vaunted argument which has gone on for some time about secrecy. This seemed to be causing some honourable senators opposite a great deal of alarm, but the Labor member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) in another place said on 29th April:
I repeat that I want to know two things about this base. Ils secrecy is quite secondary.
He was not concerned at all about secrecy.
– Where did he say this?
– It h reported at page 1447 of Hansard for the House of Representatives for 2”9th April.
– Then the honourable senator is out of order in quoting it
– We all know this, but we have been quoting what has been said ad infinitum during this debate. He said:
Its secrecy is quite secondary. The first is: Is it likely to involve us in war without our being consulted? The whole of Australia is entitled to an answer to that - and that question does not involve secrecy. The second question is: Is it likely to involve us in nuclear retaliation?
Again he uses the word retaliation in a peculiar sense. The question that I would like answered is: Who is doing the retaliating? Is it the allies of Australia who are retaliating or is it the enemies? It can mean two things: Either we should not have the capacity to retaliate if we are attacked or we are going to be retaliated against because we begin the offensive. Either of those statements is quite proper within the Australian context of attempting to arrive at a foreign policy because we should have the capacity to retaliate. But as against that, does the Opposition say that we are about to begin an offensive?
The other matter in which I was interested in last night’s debate was the use by Senator Willesee several times of the word Mackey’. That is a rather contemptuous expression which we all know means a hanger-on, a constant follower or a person who follows blindly. I could not quite understand why he used the word lackey when referring to our relationship to the United States. But then I realised why it was understandable that the Opposition should use the word and could not understand our idea of partnership. Members of the Labor Party are lackeys of the 36 faceless men - or is it 47, or some other number? They have been blind followers, lackeys, servile to outside masters from the day they signed the pledge. Therefore, it is quite understandable that members of the Opposition cannot understand any relationship other than that of a master and lackey.
Those who sit on this side of the chamber can understand a partnership because our relationship with our Party organisation fa based on trust and mutual respect, one for another. This is a feeling that has not been displayed in the Opposition, not only as between the parliamentary wing and the organisation but also even within the parliamentary wing, for almost as long as one can remember. So in this context it is quite easy to understand why members of the Australian Labor Party talk of lackeys and we on this side of the chamber talk of partners. Until members of the Labor Party can get themselves out of this servile attitude to their masters outside they will never be able to enter into an understanding of international mutual trust and respect between nations. Tragically for them they do not even have mutual trust and respect for each other. It is for this reason that the Opposition has no understanding of how Australia and the United States can have a friendly, sensible, trustworthy, working relationship, one with the other. The whole concept is so foreign to the normal daily political life of honourable senators opposite that they just would not have a clue on what we are talking about.
Honourable senators opposite have taken on a kind of psychology of suspicion; they are suspicious of each other and, therefore, they are suspicious internationally. Whatever you are within yourself naturally is reflected in how you conduct all facets of your daily life. If members of the Opposition are so suspicious of each other and so lacking in trust of each other, is it not natural that they would look upon somebody like a Prime Minister who makes a statement of this kind with enormous suspicion and distrust? This is just part and parcel of their daily life. I come now to the $64 question which no-one has yet asked: Is the Opposition in favour of this base being constructed? Is the Opposition in favour of an agreement being entered into? These are the questions to be answered.
A point that intrigues me with regard to the whole operation of the Opposition over the last li days has been its reference to a statement of intention to enter into an agreement. One would have imagined that they would have waited until the agreement was reached before racing off and chasing hares, concerning themselves about whether it should contain secrecy provisions. With all respect to Senator Murphy, if the Opposition is so dearly wedded to the American alliance and so loves the United States of America, if it is so much in favour of the ANZUS treaty, I cannot understand why the honourable senator did not foreshadow an amendment to strike out all words after ‘Australia’ in Senator Byrne’s amendment and be prepared to go along with the words: ‘and welcomes this further demonstration of a close and continuing relationship between the United States and Australia’. But as I understand Senator Cavanagh, the Opposition will not even go as far as that.
There are two elements in Senator Byrne’s amendment which are quite important. One is the close and continuing relationship between the United States and ourselves, and the other is the knowledge of the obligation to respect security requirements. Two Opposition senators have spoken since the amendment was moved and, to the best of my knowledge and belief, neither of them said that the first part of the amendment was acceptable. They have said that die latter part is unacceptable. I think it is a reasonable inference that both parts are unacceptable to them. Senator Cavanagh was kind enough a while ago to say that the Opposition would oppose the amendment - not the latter part of the amendment but the whole of the amendment.
– To a man, the whole amendment.
– The Opposition will oppose the whole amendment?
– Senator Cavanagh - I take it that he speaks for those who sit with him - is opposed to this demonstration of a close and continuing relationship between the United States and Australia.
– Do you really believe that he means that?
– It is a fairly tough thing to say. Senator Murphy went to great pains, at the beginning of his speech yesterday, to claim how closely wedded he and his Party were to this concept of the American alliance. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Senator Cohen, when he spoke last night, said:
It is not a debate where the American alliance is in issue. The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy) made it perfectly clear right at the beginning that the American alliance was an essential part of Australia’s welfare, and that it was regarded in this light by the Australian Labor Party, which he leads in this chamber.
– Senator Cavanagh did not say that. He said that all members of the Labor Party held his view.
– We have within the Labor Party these days the interesting sight of what might be called the non-leadership principle.
– Participatory democracy.
– That is a delightful term. One might term it a case of the blind leading the blind. At one stage somebody said that we had blind faith in America; that we go along just putting our trust in our allies and not caring what happens.
– Do you think some division appears in the Labor Party on this matter?
– Not some division. At a rough guess, I would say that we have heard about ten speeches from the Labor Party in this debate; so I would say that there are about ten divisions. If we can get twenty-seven members of the Opposition to speak, we will probably hear twentyseven facets of this very interesting argument
– Do you know whether Senator Cavanagh intends to speak in this debate?
– He has not yet acquainted me with his intentions. No doubt he will acquaint the Senate with them in due course. I would be very disappointed if Senator Cavanagh did not have the opportunity to say not only that he opposes the latter part of Senator Byrne’s amendment but also that he and his Party, to a man, oppose the first part of it. I would be delighted if the Opposition was allowed to move a direct negative, which would read: and the ‘Senate does not welcome this further demonstration of the close and continuing relationship between the United States of America and Australia .
– It is no demonstration.
– I can understand Senator Cavanagh saying that because, to him, this is an unusual demonstration. I imagine that he is used to other sorts of demonstrations. If I may paraphrase what the Governor-General said the other day, we on this side intend to demonstrate with our heads and not with our bottoms. But perhaps we should pass over that matter.
I will be most interested to hear the speaker who follows me in this debate and to see whether, on behalf of the Opposition, he will confirm what Senator Cavanagh was kind enough to say is the policy of the Opposition in the Senate. That is at variance with what the non-leader of the Labor Party in another place said. But, of course, it runs true to form with what the great possum stirrer said. I suppose it is very good to have still in the Parliament people of his calibre who are prepared to speak honestly and straight about these matters.
Senator Mulvihill - Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes does not always follow your line.
– We are not bound to follow the line. That is what I was trying to explain a while ago. We on this side are not lackeys. We are not servile to the thirty-six faceless men, the forty-seven, or whatever the number is now. Nor are we servile to the twelve witless men. The Labor Party always seems to have men who are witless or faceless. I look forward with great anticipation to hearing the speaker who will follow me in this debate. I trust that he will either confirm or deny the statement made by Senator Cavanagh, namely, that the Opposition, to a man, is opposed to every word of Senator Byrne’s amendment. I have much pleasure in supporting that amendment.
– In order to put Senator Withers out of suspense, I take the opportunity to rise on this occasion and to reaffirm that the Opposition opposes the amendment in its entirety. The Opposition will not be a party to saying that an agreement on a facility demonstrates something when it does not know what the agreement is or what the facility is. All we were told in the very brief statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) on 23rd April was that the Government had entered into some arrangement. That is supposed to be sufficient for us to pledge our loyalty and to demonstrate that we will agree to it because it represents the way we have been thinking all along. We are not sure that, if it demonstrates anything, it does not demonstrate the control of the United States of America over the foreign policy of Australia. The Prime Minister told us that it was nearly an impossibility to pull Australian forces out of Vietnam. Now we see in the speech of President Nixon today that he has decided that within 12 months Australian forces will return from Vietnam. The Australian Government is not deciding the issue; Nixon is deciding it.
Since this debate commenced it has been a mud slinging match by one party against another. The Opposition has raised two questions which should be considered. One is: Why the secrecy in this matter? That does not express whether we agree with or oppose the establishment of a base. The other question is: Does this installation, together with other installations, create any additional dangers to Australia?
– What sort of dangers?
– These are important questions. Does this installation create any dangers of any description for Australia? An affirmative answer to that question does not of necessity mean that we should not be parties to the establishment of the base. It may be required for defence even if dangers would be created. We, as responsible representatives of the people, should be taking measures to protect those who might be endangered. How can we provide some protection if we do not know what dangers might be created?
All that we ask for is an analysis of the two questions so that we may see whether there is any necessity for the secrecy that exists and whether there are any dangers of any description which might be created or intensified by the location and operation of such bases in Australia. We should stick to these two questions. We should not decide without answers to them that this agreement demonstrates the political’ philosophy that we have followed all along, with the ANZUS treaty and everything else; that we recognise the need for the security requirement; and that we accept the necessarily limited disclosure as to the nature and purpose of the facility. What are the nature and purpose of the facility? A responsible senator has moved an amendment in which he says that the nature and purpose of the facility, although he does not know what they are, justify the secrecy and the giving away of his rights as a representative of the people in this chamber by blindly going along with what a Minister has presented to us.
There is a procedure for the handling of treaties and agreements. It was set out in 1961 when it was altered. The Prime Minister of the day, Mr Menzies, as he then was, stated that the signing of treaties was a matter for the Executive and not for the Parliament, but the Parliament would be informed and treaties would be presented to the Parliament and allowed to Me on the table for at least 10 days before signature, to allow time for condemnation or otherwise. He said:
I have been considering whether further measures might be taken to keep the Parliament more fully informed about treaty matters. By way of explanation I mention that obligations under treaties may be assumed in one of three ways. In some cases a treaty may come into effect upon signature, but such cases normally occur only where the treaty is of a routine nature or is of minor or comparatively minor significance. More commonly, at least in the case of treaties involving substantial commitments, ratification is required after signature before binding obligations are assumed.
The question is whether this particular proposal at Woomera created substantial commitments for Australia. Does the Pine Gap proposal? If it does, the agreement should be laid on the table, and there should be a motion for its ratification so as to get Parliament’s approval of the treaty. This would be no breach of secrecy. The Pine Gap agreement was presented to the Senate on 5th April 1966. It was signed on 9th December 1966. The secrecy that has grown out of Pine Gap has arisen since the agreement. The secrecy was not part of the agreement. Article 2 prescribes:
The Australian Government shall at its own expense provide such land in the vicinity of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, as is required for the purposes of the facility. All land so provided will remain vested in the Australian Government, which shall for the duration of this Agreement make the land available for the facility on terms and conditions to be agreed between the two Governments and shall for this purpose accord to the United States Government all necessary rights of access to, and joint use and occupation of, the land.
Therefore we have rights in the land. There is nothing to hamper the Government. There is no need for secrecy or for hiding the whole terms and conditions that were agreed upon with the American Government. The agreement makes provision for the area being occupied and sets out the conditions of occupancy. Article 3 provides:
The facility shall be established, maintained and operated by the co-operating agencies of the two Governments, and information derived from the research programmes conducted at the facility shall be shared by the two Governments. These agencies are the Australian Department of Defence and the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defence.
Therefore we say that we have a joint ownership in the operation and cooperation. Of course, the Government has allowed us to debate this matter today with the thought in mind that we had no activities in relation to the operation of this particular Pine Gap treaty. The information derived from the research programme is to be shared by the two governments. We have no knowledge whether this is a secret type of information that we are told we have not the right to seek it. Article 5 of the Pine Gap agreement provides:
The land provided for the facility under Article 2 shall be considered a secure area. The authorities of the Australian Government shall prescribe appropriate measures to control access to the land and the facility. Security measures within the area shall be arranged between the co-operating agencies.
This security - the Government’s insistence that no-one can go on to this particular area - is the responsibility of the Australian Government. Whether Senator Fulbright or any other American senator could visit Pine Gap is another matter altogether. As has been said, the fact that he holds a particular position in America does not mean that he can be given this right by application to the American Government. The Australian Government is the only one that can say that Senator Fulbright or any other American congressman or senator may go to Pine Gap under the terms of the agreement. Why the secrecy? Everyone knows - possibly the Government did not know this at the time - but everyone knows that the Australian Government dared not refuse an American congressman the right to visit Pine Gap.
– I thought the argument was that the American Senate had a right that was denied to us. If it is denied at the instance of the Australian Government, obviously there would be no preference one way or the other.
– No, I do not say that. I say that the government which should have the right under the agreement would be the Australian Government, which would decide whether Senator Fulbright or anyone else would visit Pine Gap. Is it exercising this right, or has it been handed over to someone else? Would the Australian Government have the courage to refuse this right to an American senator? As will be said in the course of this debate, at one time I was refused the right of entry to Woomera Rocket Range. I was refused under legislation passed by this Parliament - the Approved Defence Projects Act. The Government had so much interest in security that it thought the legislation was necessary. No-one thought that I could go to Woomera or Pine Gap and find any secret plans of their construction up there. I have been since. All I know about what is going on at Pine Gap is what I have read in the paper or what someone has told me about all the complicated machinery. I was refused entry to Woomera at the stage of construction when the approved Defence Projects Act kept away from an approved defence project anyone who may delay completion of the project. As secretary of a union, I had a responsibility to men working on the areas in the worst conditions imaginable in a construction camp. I bad an obligation, and the Minister responsible for the defence of Australia had a responsibility to see that persons who would delay completion of the project were kept out. I went to the area immediately the construction of the project reached the stage al which I could go there, and by that time the complaints were not as great as they had been originally. The point I am making is that legislation covered that facility. Under this agreement the Australian Government will be responsible for security, so why are we not being asked to approve of the necessary security? Obviously under any security legislation there must be someone who can comply with the security requirements. Let us consider how many of us can comply with them. All we know at this stage is that certain Ministers and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) are able to comply with the security arrangements.
Why can we not have a clear statement? Why can we not have legislation to deal with security and not be left in the position of never knowing? I do not know whether anyone has applied to go to Pine Gap and has been refused.
– What does the agreement say in respect of security at Pine Gap?
– Article 5 states:
The hind provided for the facility under Article 2 shall be considered a secure area. The authorities of the Australian Government shall prescribe appropriate measures to control access to the land and the facility. Security measures within the area shall be arranged between the co-operating agencies.
The first question is: What has the Australian Government prescribed about gaining access to the land and to the facility? What are the conditions applying? Surely we have a right to know these things. So far as the Pine Gap installation is concerned, we know that there is a joint defence space research facility there. I do not know what is meant by this. Are not we, as responsible representatives of the people, entitled to know what is going on there? This does not involve military secrecy.
– Has not Mr Whitlam been there?
– Mr Whitlam knows.
– I do not know.
– Does he not tell you?
- His time is taken up with looking after members of the Government parties in the other place. I as an Australian am debarred from access to this area of land. It is the only area in Australia to which I am debarred access. Yet this has not happened as a result of legislation. I do not know why you, Mr Acting Deputy President, or I cannot go into this area. All we know about this proposed facility at Woomera is what was contained in the statement of the Prime Minister on 23rd April. That statement is headed: United States-Australian Defence Space Communications Facility’. One of these stations is a space research facility and the other is a space communications facility. In his statement the Prime Minister said:
I have to inform the House that the Government has accepted proposals which were made by the United States Government for the establishment in Australia of a joint United StatesAustralian defence space communications facility.
First of all, this proposal was made by the United States. We accepted the proposal. The Government had a right to accept. But this happened in contradiction to what Sir Robert Menzies said when he was Prime Minister.
– Do you have your Party behind you?
– This may be humourous to honourable senators opposite but the Opposition is trying to get to the basis of this matter. I am not going to indulge in a slanging match; I am trying to put some sense into this debate in order to find out what we should be doing. This is an important matter. Should the Opposition support an amendment which someone says demonstrates a particular course of action? The fact is that to do so we would be supporting something of which we had no knowledge. I suppose that this is very humourous to Government supporters. This proposition is before the Senate and it is suggested that we should support it. I know that honourable senators on the Government side of the chamber support it but I presume that they know no more about this project than I do. They support the project because they say that it demonstrates co-operation between Australia and the United States. They say that there is a need for security in relation to this type of facility; yet we do not know what sort of facility it is. The question is: Do we support this base? How can we decide whether to support it when we do not know what is going on there?
– What is the sort of information you want?
– I say that at least we should have more information than the Prime Minister gave us.
– What sort of information do you require?
– In the first place the proposal should have been laid on the table of the Senate for our consideration. A similar treaty to that for Pine Gap should be drawn up for our consideration. However, all that was given to us was a statement, four paragraphs, which told us that this important project is to be established at Woomera. Let us go on to the other point: By virtue of the stations at Woomera and the American bases in Australia, are there additional dangers facing Australia?
– I am asking whether there are additional dangers facing Australia. Obviously the honourable senator is convinced that there are not. But would any reasonable person say the same thing? I ask honourable senators not just to dispose of this matter but to consider it. If there is additional danger facing Australia then each honourable senator here, as a responsible member of the Parliament, has a duty to see that we take action at least to minimise any danger that may exist.
– What sort of danger?
– If the honourable senator will let me proceed I think he will get the answers to his questions. Normally he has considerable patience and I cannot understand why he will not extend that courtesy to me on this occasion. I recall very well an occasion about 2 years ago when the President of the Senate invited us to hear an American visitor whose name one can easily remember. It was a famous name - Francis Drake, i think he was the editor of ‘Life’ or one of the other magazines. He had been involved in munitions or ordnance work in America. He had been a government official for many years and obviously was well informed on the development of modern arms and missiles. 1 think most honourable senators went to the Senate Opposition Party room to hear Francis Drake speak and I think everyone was impressed. He gave figures relating to the American stockpile of nuclear weapons. He said each weapon was capable of destroying a city. He said that America had the power to deliver these to Russia at short notice; that America had at least two of these nuclear missiles for every Russian city and therefore could destroy those cities at the press of a button. The alarming thing about this was that Mr Drake said it was generally thought that Russia had as many, or nearly as many, missiles which were just as powerful. However, there are more cities in Russia than in America and therefore it meant that the first nation to fire a missile was capable of putting ils adversary completely out of action. He also said that America had so many Polaris missiles in nuclear submarines throughout the world that it could completely destroy an opponent even if American cities were devastated.
– Does the honourable senator sec something wrong with this?
– No. I am just pointing out that that situation affects this debate. The point is that the only way that orders can be sent from America to the nuclear submarines is by way of the beacon at North West Cape. That is the only way America can communicate with the submarines.
– lt is not.
– That was the argument advanced when we discussed the North West Cape base, ls it not essential for any enemy who comes into conflict with America to prevent the firing of missiles from submarines by immediately bombing the base at North West Cape, the effective trigger thai can give the order to fire the missiles from the submarines?
– Would the honourable senator repeat his question?
– Is it not possible that the bast would be the first target for any enemy?
– There are other similar stations.
– There may be other similar stations. I know that this base operates on a wave length that reaches a particular area. It may be necessary to bomb other stations. Must not this create a danger of Australia being bombed by any enemy el America?
– Do not allies run the risk of danger for mutual considerations?
– I am suggesting reasons why we would be justified in knowing what takes place. We have some responsibility and should know this. The Government should not run away from discussion of this. If there is a possibility of a dangerous situation being created by the existence of the base at North West Cape, does the danger increase because of the facilities at Pine Gap and at Woomera? Should there not be an examination of this possibility? Have we not a responsibility, if there is a danger, to intensify this country’s civil defences for the protection of those who may be in Australia at the time we invite target practice?
– Suppose there is a similar installation in Los Angeles. What is the difference between an attack on it and an attack on this installation, having regard to ANZUS?
– There is no difference, but the point 1 am trying to make is that now we are installing in Australia something - and I do not say that it should not be installed - that could create a danger to some of our citizens. We must analyse the possibility of increased danger, lt is not for that possibility to be dismissed in a ministerial statement; it is the responsibility of members of this Parliament to determine whether these projects increase the danger to the people of Australia. If they do, we have a responsibility to give further protection to the citizens thereby endangered. It may mean a larger vote for civil defence. How can we decide this? We do not know the functions of this project at Woomera. We arc not allowed to see it. How can we do our duty as responsible representatives of the people of this country if the project is clouded in so much secrecy? I suggest that the question is a serious one to which honourable senators should give consideration. What is the secrecy when it will be there for anyone to see?
Senator Bishop and Senator Drury referred to the photograph showing a man walking along a Russian street. That means that if a space vehicle orbits a particular location it can take photographs of every building in that location - be it at Pine Gap, at Woomera or at North West Cape. Obviously there is no need to keep secret the location of the buildings. I think we would all agree that it would be no secret where the buildings will be. That can be discovered by any enemy who desires to do so. One would have to agree that details of secret weapons and of certain experimentation must not get into the hands of anyone who would give such information to our enemies. Why have we not a system which will establish whether a person is a risk, whether he can visit these areas and whether he complies with the security regulations? Why should not some standard be established? I do not think anyone here could go into a research station and know what is going on.
– The system suggested by the honourable senator would need all kinds of appeal tribunals. It would be difficult to initiate such a system as a matter of practice.
– There are no appeal tribunals at Woomera or under the Immigration Act. A person iseither accepted or rejected. The Minister may approve or disapprove. There are no appeal tribunals. There are no standards set for this project. As the Leader of the Opposition said, we do not wish to know the military secrets, but we object to the political secrets, to the complete domination of the country and to Australia surrendering its rights to the operation of some facility in its own country, without justification.
– The agreement does not say that.
– It says that.
– Where does it say that?
– It refuses the elected representatives of the people their rights to go there and see the facility.
Americans will not be refused admission to a base in another country. The American proposition has been the subject of legislation that has been before the American Parliament. We do not get the opportunity to debate that kind of legislation here. I want to take the argument one step further. Let us look at our present lines of defence. No one can say that because we can get some security and some defence from these installations we must have them. I refer honourable senators to the Siegfried Line, the Maginot Line in France and the big guns at Singapore. It was thought that no one could breach those lines of defence. Everywhere that there has been a strong line of defence heavy armament has been concentrated on it to breach it. If we are to save future generations from the calamity that has befallen present and past generations we have to solve the problems and not just build up defence after defence.
I do not think the matter has been well canvassed and I do not think I can add more to it. I hope I gave some information which will answer certain questions at least. I would say this: I do not know the need for security at these bases, but I am definite that there is not the necessity for the tight security that is maintained at present. I think the Government, which has some responsibility, should let us know our security arrangements, how someone can comply with the security arrangements and the conditions under which those security arrangements operate. Mr Whitlam is the Leader of my Party. I acknowledge that fact. I can see no reason why, if he goes there to see what is going on, I, who represent a responsible section of the community in South Australia, should not have equal rights.
– That is contrary to the whole of our constitutional history.
– No, it is not contrary to the whole of our constitutional history. There have never been restrictions on politicians in their own country such as we have on this occasion.
– The Constitution puts the responsibility for high defence secrets on the Ministry. So long as the Ministry has the confidence of the Parliament, it has the confidence of the people.
– Yes, but first the Government must justify that the secrets are high defence secrets. It does not justify that with a short statement that we are building a space research station. The Government has not attempted to justify the facility. As the Leader of the Opposition said, there is no intention to delve into defence secrets or what goes on in those areas.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– When the sitting was suspended I was trying to convey to the Senate that we should get the maximum information possible on the proposed base, consistent with security. 1 submit we are not getting that. There should be some indication of those who are permitted to go to the area and those upon whom there is a prohibition. In addition we should have the opportunity to consider the action necessary to overcome any increased dangers that may exist as a result of the construction of this or other bases of foreign countries on our soil.
My opinion that there could be danger is not an isolated opinion. The ‘Australian’ on Thursday 8th May carried an article by Lennard Bickel which states:
In a paper circulated in Canberra surveying the nuclear danger to Australian cities and the bases, the professor of political science at the Australian National University, Professor A. L. Burns said: Their location (the bases) on our territory together with the Anzus treaty ensures that they and some Australian cities are Soviet nuclear targets. The cities at least would have been much less likely to be attacked in the course of a US-Russian nuclear war even as late as 1969 if we had no Anzus treaty and no important American installations.’
The article goes on to quote the professor in this way:
He said: ‘Later in this century a predatory super nuclear power might issue threats and even launch attacks in an attempt to occupy this continent and its now impressive natural resources’.
Later the article states:
It was possible that limited conflict between the two great powers would bring nuclear attack on Australia without American cities being touched because of US retaliation power.
– Keep on reading it. Read all of it, please.
– If the honourable senator so desires-
– I do. Read the whole of his statement.
– Very well. It goes on:
The American deterrent system promised to reduce the danger from China by locating and destroying beforehand the nuclear rockets actually threatening Australian cities. ‘Until now and for some time to come we do not avoid but incur nuclear danger from China by adherring to Anzus, by housing the deterrent facilities, and otherwise co-operating militarily with the US’, he said.
In his estimate of the short term nuclear dangers he said he had excluded the possibility that Japan might become a thermonuclear power in the 1980s. From now on there would be nuclear danger no matter what foreign policy was followed.
– There is a lot more the honourable senator could read. He should read the full statement.
– lt is not in this newspaper but it is obvious that there always is danger. Obviously there is increased danger, as the professor has said, by reason of the installations and the ANZUS treaty. An issue of the Adelaide News’ of one day last week contained a report from Steve Dunleavy. With dateline New York, Monday’ the report stated:
An influential American magazine today sounded a chilling warning to Prime Minister Gorton’s foreign policy in Asia.
The magazine, the New Republic, said the Australian attitude in the past had been: ‘Latch loyally on to great and powerful friends, then eat, drink and be merry’.
The short article concludes in this way:
US bases in Australia, especially the U2 bases and the vital communications base at North West Cape, would be lush targets for a country that wanted to cut US wings in the Pacific or Indian Oceans, or make a move against the US without incurring the certain retaliation that an attack on the US itself would provoke.
Everyone can see the logic of that. There we have examples of well considered opinion that there could be dangers associated with the bases.
– Are you against the bases?
– How can I say whether I favour the bases or not when I do not know what they are? If they are to grow mushrooms and will not attract nuclear forces, I am not opposed to them. If they will increase the danger and if they take Australia’s foreign policy out of Australia’s hands, I am opposed to them. One cannot say definitely whether one opposes or supports them when one does not know what they are. All we are asking for is information about their operation, the method of control, who controls them, what say we have in their operation and how much they involve us in hostilities with other powers.
– On 23rd April this year the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) made a statement in the House of Representatives in which he said:
I have to inform the House that the Government has accepted proposals which were made by the United States Government for the establishment in Australia of a joint United States-Australian defence space communications facility.
When that statement was made the statement, and what might flow from it, were regarded as of such little consequence and importance that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in the other place did not even perform the perfunctory function of asking the House to consider the statement. He remained silent. That would be a fair indication of the way in which the Opposition treated this statement at the time it was made.
On 29th April, in the following week, when the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) made the identical statement Senator Murphy, doubtless because he better appreciated the requirements of leadership than did his col>league in the other place, asked that the Senate take note of the statement. Possibly he was somewhat daunted by the boldness of that step because it required some precipitation from this side of the chamber before he. was prepared to agree to a debate in the Senate on the statement. 1 think there is much in the statement which is worthy of serious debate. The Senate now has debated the purport of the statement for almost one whole day. The debate has been interesting. I think that the most revealing part of it has been the various attitudes and indeed the curious position which has been adopted by members of the Opposition in regard to it. lt is clear that there are two major aspects of the statement which warrant consideration. There is the positive side, which is a justification and exposition of the
Government’s thinking and- which indicates what is behind the policy which is embodied in our agreement to a proposal emanating from the United States to have a joint defence space communications facility in this country. The other aspect which 1 think is worthy of attention is the curious negative attitude which has been adopted by the Opposition. The Opposition has decided that its attack on the official level1 - that is, the level which is expounded by its leaders - should be that in some way the proposal is shrouded in secrecy and that there has been a lack of information about it and for that reason the people of Australia, let alone the members of Parliament, have not been given what they are entitled to be given. Whilst I fully appreciate that it has been seized upon by members of the Opposition as the type of argument that they can put forward with some enthusiasm, I believe that the real reason why they are adopting this altitude with enthusiasm is that it clouds and cloaks the differences of opinion within the Opposition on whether installations of this nature should or should not be accepted in Australia. - Before embarking in some detail upon what I think is the complete bankruptcy of the Opposition’s views on this matter, 1 wish to assert, because I think it is worth while asserting, the broad approach of the justification of the Government adopting the policy it has adopted. I submit that the matter of whether Australia should have defence space communications facilities raises the sole question of whether Australia should be part of the free world defence against international Communist offensives. I appreciate that the expressions ‘free world’ and ‘Communist offensives’ have been used over many years and that in the minds of some people they lack the validity they may have had 20 years ago or more. But 1 feel that if one examines the position one will accept beyond doubt that in this global conflict there are countries, of which the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China are foremost, which have policies designed at capturing the whole world for their own particular ideology, which is the motivating force of policy within these countries. The countries which resist these ideologies, broadly described as the free world - a fair description, I think - are led by the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
Supporting those two major nations are countries like Australia. It is a matter of nomenclature that we describe them - and I think fairly - as the Communist countries and the free world. There is a real conflict between the competing ideologies; between the policies that the nations which comprise the free world espouse and the policies that the nations which comprise the Communist countries espouse.
There is absolutely no doubt that we in Australia - I think this has been borne out by the way in which supporters of the Government parties have, unitedly and without equivocation, followed a common policy - accept that Australia should be part of this free world defence. We are prepared to co-operate with every other country in the free world to enunciate and carry through policies which are for the benefit of all countries within the free world. But on the other hand the Opposition, as distinct from the Government, has many views. Some members of the Opposition say that there is no such thing as a Communist offensive; that the Communist countries are peace loving countries. With some dexterity in semantics they can overlook such things as the Russian invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia. There are other members of the Opposition who say that there should be no defence alliance with the United States of America. By a curious and twisted way of reasoning they say that the United States of America is a greater danger to mankind than the USSR. Some members of the Opposition fee) that Australia should be a fortress, an island unto itself, and ought not take part in any joint defence activity. Then again there are some members of the Opposition who I suspect are closer to the Government’s position than to the left wing position; who broadly accept the need for installations and bases in Australia which are operated by other countries, particularly the United States. But in justification of their position they say that there is too much secrecy involved in what is being done.
As I said earlier, the Government’s position is quite clear. The Government does not retreat or seek to qualify its position. It is equally prepared to recognise that certain consequences inevitably flow from its decisions. In my own words, I seek justification for what the Government has done and is doing in these ways. I think there are three propositions. Firstly, the Government has indicated that it is prepared to take steps and will take steps to provide a defence situation in Australia that is appropriate to the circumstances that exist from time to time. What was adequate for Australia’s defence in 1943 was transparently inadequate in 1965. As potential threats arise, as technology develops and as strategy changes so must Australia’s appreciation of the situation change. The Government’s preparedness to recognise that these changes take place and its preparedness to take steps accordingly is involved in its willingness to accept a modern and adequate defence posture.
The second proposition is that as part of Australia’s overall defence strategy the Government holds to the view that there is need for strong and capable allies. I willingly concede that, as has been said during this debate, on New Year’s Day in 1942 Mr John Curtin, who was a Labor Prime Minister of this country, was prepared to look to America for assistance and to concede that this was an historic change in Australia’s attitude. But the Australian Labor Party regretably has not chosen to show the strength which Mr Curtin had in 1942. Its policy over the years has not shown the consistency which the Government, on an examination of the facts, can be shown to have demonstrated. Under successive Liberal-Country Party governments Australia has stressed that it relies upon the strength which comes from having allies with greater potential, greater ability and a willingness to assist us if the need should arise. Accordingly, we have entered into various agreements. I instance only the fact that we have entered into the ANZUS Pact of 1951 under which the United States is pledged to support Australia and New Zealand actively if there should be any threat to Australia or New Zealand. I think it is fair to say that in return for that promise from the United States, Australia has promised to join with the United States, so that individually and jointly, we will do those things which are necessary to ensure that our joint defence is sustained and developed.
– That is our obligation.
– As the
Minister for Works reminds me, it is an obligation which Australia entered into with appreciation, and an obligation which we are prepared to honour to the limit of our ability. The third proposition is that the United States is pre-eminently underwriting the security of the free world and Australia is part of the free world. Therefore, along with the United States, we have a common purpose. We also have obligations with the United States in which we must share and participate. Undoubtedly, these will be costly and will involve some sacrifice on our part. I firmly believe that whilst we have peace we can maintain it more strongly by being prepared to act resolutely in peace time than by acting irresolutely and then having to submit to the deluge which may flow afterwards just because we have been irresolute. I believe that is the lesson to be learned from what happened between 1930 and 1939.
I believe that the three propositions I have enunciated are basic to the thinking of the Government and that they are basic to the principles that supporters of the Government accept. They are also basic to the acceptance by Australia of the proposals of the United States for the establishment of communications and research facilities in this country. Of course, in recent years we have agreed to the United States establishing a number of space research organisations in Australia. These do not relate to matters of defence. I think that there are approximately ten in number.
Having regard to Pacific defence requirements, in 1963 we agreed with the United States that there should be a naval base at Exmouth, at the North West Cape. Upon that issue the Government was prepared to go to the electors in 1963, but the Labor Party said: ‘We are not prepared to accept this United States base’. If Senator Milliner is trying to interject in order to make an issue of that, 1 remind him that we all remember that famous occasion when the Labor Parry Executive met at the Hotel Kingston in Canberra and left Mr Calwell and Mr Whitlam waiting outside until the Executive had made up its mind. After the Executive had made up its mind the Australian Labor Party Federal Conference decided that it would accept the base only if there were what the Opposition regarded as ‘joint control’. There was not that joint control and the Labor Parly opposed this project throughout.
– lt was a majority decision o? 19 to 17.
– I appreciate that it was a majority decision, but notwithstanding that majority decision, what the majority wanted was not what was occurring. The Labor Party is on record as having opposed the proposal. In 1966 we agreed to the establishment at Pine Gap of a defence space research institute - a highly secret installation. That issue, on which the Government was prepared to negotiate with the United States and to grant its permission for the project, did nol arouse the sort of controversy which the present proposals have aroused. Now in 1969 we are agreeing that the United States should be allowed to have in Australia a space communications facility. The broad policy of Australia’s allying itself with the United States in joint efforts to promote a common defence system is the policy of political parties representing, al the 1966 general election, mon- than 60% of the voles cast. I suppose that an even greater number is represented because I refuse to believe that within the Labor Party there is not a very significant segment of opinion which agrees with the Government and the Australian Democratic Labor Party on their policy in this matter.
I believe that that policy is in accordance with the wishes of the Australian people. By co-operating with the United States in this way we do two things. Firstly, we aid our own defence; secondly, we aid the joint defence of what I have described as the free world’. How do these proposals work out in practice? What would be the position if we were not prepared to agree to these proposals? In the first place the United States, as part of its deterrent policy in respect of nuclear attack, must be able to provide a real and effective deterrent on a world wide basis. So the North West Cape communications system and the Woomera space communications installation are designed to facilitate communications. The United States must facilitate throughout the world communications with its space satellites which provide intelligence. There is a constant need for continuing research into the intelligence capable of being provided and into the effective deterrent uses to which these satellites may be put. Research is also necessary into the communications facilities which the satellites are able to provide.
If the United States lacked these facilities its arms of operation would be less effective on a worldwide basis, and as a consequence, what is justifiable as a deterrent because it has worldwide operation would cease to be as effective a deterrent as it should be. It would then raise this serious question: If it were not so effective, how justifiable would these facilities be throughout the world? I imagine that our intelligence provides us with information about nations which represent a potential threat to the United States and other countries of the free world and the development of their potential to launch an attack so that the deterrent then available is inadequate. Surely the proper policy is to build up that deterrent so that it will be effective to answer any attack which may be launched. That has been the policy of the United States since 1947. I think its success can be measured by the fact that the attacks which have been prophesied by writers and others over the years have not eventuated. That is because the deterrent has been effective. As one example, I suggest that the effectiveness of the deterrent was never more readily demonstrated than in the crisis over Cuba in 1962.
It is also to be noted that Australia ensures its own defence by virtue of the interest of the United States in its commitment to Australia. If the United States has a communications station, a research centre and a space communications facility in Australia, obviously it will wish to protect those installations. It therefore fortifies the ANZUS treaty. I remember very well that Senator Willesee in March of this year commented on the defence statement made by the Prime Minister in February. He stressed, I think in a valid way, that after all the ANZUS treaty is only a piece of paper; that the President of the United States of the day would have the final decision as to whether he would commit United States forces to Australia’s assistance if the need arose. We believe that what the President of the United States has said, and what has been said by previous Presidents, will be honoured. But Senator Willesee said that this is a doubtful basis upon which to put reliance. Conceding his argument, I think that the strength of the ANZUS treaty is fortified if we have in Australia those installations which the United States would be concerned to protect. Therefore I feel that in terms of justification, what Australia has done in agreeing with the United States about these installations, and in particular the Woomera defence space communications facility, will undoubtedly serve our own interest from a defence point of view. But we are doing what I think is equally as important by contributing in a tangible way to the defence of those countries with whom we are in alliance.
What has been the broad approach of the Labor Party? In foreign affairs and defence matters the Labor Party has been in a somewhat schizophrenic state for a number of years. The Labor Party platform has varied provisions. I refer to the Labor Party platform as published after the Federal Conference on 27th March 1967 in Adelaide. It states:
Labor is opposed to the existence of foreign owned, controlled or operated bases in Australian territory - especially if such bases involve a derogation from Australian sovereignty.
This is a curious expression, in view of what must be the meaning of the word especially’. The only reasonable interpretation of that provision is that Labor is opposed to the existence of United States owned, controlled or operated bases in Australian territory and is even more opposed if such bases involve a derogation from Australian sovereignty. The broad policy is one of opposition to United States bases in Australia. I appreciate that in other parts of the platform the Labor Party claims that the United States alliance is of crucial importance. It states also that ANZUS is essential and must continue. But if one of the readily to be appreciated and obvious consequences of the United States alliance and ANZUS is that requests from America for the installation of bases and other similar facilities in Australia will flow from that alliance and from that treaty, the Labor Party says that it objects to these bases.
There is no reality in the protestations that the alliance is vital and that the treaty is essential because, looking at it logically and observing the behaviour of Labor Party members on the various issues which have arisen over the years, it is apparent that its opposition is directed to anything which will favour the United States. That does not surprise me because in this chamber and in other places over the years we have heard that the United States and United States soldiers have been regarded as aggressors, as murderers and as people who ought not be in North Vietnam. How can the Labor Party members assert and have people believe that they are in favour of the United States alliance when the whole of their outspoken attitude is directed against the United States. When Mr Whitlam challenged the Government on this issue in the House of Representatives on 29th April he said that he agreed that the project was a proper project and that the Australian Government should have agreed to the United States request, that it was proper for it to be a joint project, but then he said, with what I can only suspect is a lawyer’s caution and a lawyer’s deliberation
– ls that a compliment?
– If the honourable senator will let me finish he can make his own judgment. He said, referring to the installation at Woomera, that if it was to be treated simply as r. request for facilities for a space communications centre on Australian soil it would be a proper project. 1 ask the Senate to note his words. He said:
If one treats this simply as a request . . . for facilities for a space communications centre on Australian soil. . . .
The words used by the Prime Minister were defence space communications facility’. Mr Whitlam left out the word ‘defence’. I think that is significant because thereafter he went on for quite some few sentences stressing that pure research and pure investigation were desirable objectives and that the Government was to be complimented on pursuing these objectives. He ignored the defence aspect entirely. Yet it was a defence space communications facility which the Government had said it was proposed to establish and to which it was referring.
I can only suggest that Mr Whitlam is having it both ways. He wants to let it be assumed that he is in favour of what is now being done, but if at some stage in the future he has to retrieve his position in the Labor Party he can say: ‘But I did not use the word “defence” and therefore I was thinking differently’. That is the sort of casuistry into which the Labor Party these days has degenerated. We have to consider also what other people in the Labor Party have said. Of course, Mr Calwell is not concerned about the same issues as Mr Whitlam. Mr Whitlam says: ‘Well, this is a proper thing, treated simply as a space communications facility, but there is an awful lot of secrecy about it’. That, he said, he did not like.
– The honourable senator is out of date. The Prime Minister tonight qualified his statement.
– Just a minute. Mr Calwell said that the base should not exist, that all foreign bases ought to go. When it was suggested that Dr Cairns had said the same thing on a television programme, again Mr Calwell said: ‘Dr Cairns was right’. Accordingly, we have a variety of views expressed on this particular issue. Senator Bishop interjected that the Prime Minister said something tonight, but T suggest that what he said is no different from what the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) and other Government supporters have said in this place. He said that President Nixon had said that the same ground rules would apply to American politicians as applied to Australian politicians with regard to access to Woomera. T do not know what other things Senator Bishop might have had in mind, but I suggest that there is no doubt that basically a similar position still prevails.
When we come to consider what was said in this chamber, all that I can say is that those lawyer politicians who lead the Opposition have taken into a great confidence engagement the members who support them. Let us consider what Senators Murphy and Cohen said, with of course Senator Cavanagh following not far behind. Senator Cavanagh said that the Government refused to state what the general purpose of the establishment would be and - a curious expression, this - what would be the possible consequences of the establishment of this joint facility. This was raised as a serious argument against what the Government is doing, that it has failed to say what are the possible consequences’. The only conclusion that one can reasonably draw is that these people who make the suggestion have not the elementary nous to know what the possible consequences are. Then let us consider what Senator Murphy said last night before he retired for the rest of the night and for today. He said that he was concerned about the political implications. I imagine that the Labor Party has been concerned about political implications for an awfully long while, but why honourable senators opposite should suddenly depart from concern about political implications in their own Party and turn to some nebulous political implications in regard to this installation 1 do not know.
Senator Murphy wants to know what, the control is and whether there is any impairment of Australia’s authority and independence. He wants to know - surely this must be one of the most curious statements of all time - whether Australia will be involved in war without our consent. I should have thought that Australia was involved in war in 1939 without our consent, that most wars take place without the consent of one of the countries. He wanted to know, with the disarming ingenuousness of a person who does not know, whether Australia was likely to be involved in the possibility of nuclear retaliation. I should have thought that if honourable senators opposite were genuine in what they were saying about lack of secrecy and the alleged lack of information they could have found out simply by reading those publications which the Government has made available. But I think it is wider than that. We have read in the Press and we have heard on television criticism of the fact that the Government has been engaged in unnecessary secrecy.
– So it is not only the Labor Party which is criticising the Government is it?
– If I may be permitted to finish, the honourable senator will then be able to see whether my views are justified. All 1 say is that we have heard about a lack of frankness and unnecessary secrecy. I have referred to the Prime Minister’s statement in which he said that the Government had accepted proposals for the establishment of a joint United States-Australian defence space communications facility. That embraces, in this context, a tremendous amount to a person who is intelligent. In the absence of Senators Murphy and Cohen I mention for the benefit of members of the Labor Party that joint’ means that it will be jointly controlled by Australia and the United States; defence’ means that it is in connection with the defence of this country; and ‘space communications’ obviously refers to the means of communicating with satellites and other installations in space and ground installations.
That tells an awful lot. But even if that did not tell sufficient to members of the Opposition, they could turn to that other document to which some of them have referred in this debate, namely, the transcript of the Press interview which was given by the Minister for Defence. Mr Fairhall, on the very day the Prime Minister made his statement. If the Prime Minister makes a short statement to the Parliament and thereafter the relevant Minister says to the Press: ‘This is what it is all about and you can ask me any questions you like’, I do not think there is any lack of frankness on the part of the Government, any desire to conceal or any proper basis on which the Government should be criticised.
If members of the Opposition r.ead what the Minister for Defence said - I propose to quote various extracts - 1 think they will be surprised at the kind of information they have been given. In the first place Mr Fairhall said:
The. facility which we propose to establish at Woomera, jointly with the United Stales, will be - as the Prime Minister has pointed out - a joint operation.
That ought to answer lbc question asked by Senator Murphy as to whether there is any impairment of Australia’s sovereignty. This is obviously a joint operation. Mr Fairhall also said:
The third point relates to the land on which this installation is lo be placed. Mr Fairhall said:
When Senator Murphy, who is an eminent lawyer, decides to ignore a statement such as that and to raise the question whether
Australia is sacrificing any of its independence or authority, I believe that he is doing less than justice to his ability to read if he chooses to read. On the next point Mr Fairhall said:
The total area to be occupied by the project will be about 6-10 acres but, as always with these electronic projects-
That conveys some information to those who want to have it - there will be need to screen it by some square miles of open space for the purpose of keeping the electrical noise level down and preventing interference by cars and things of that kind.
Mr Fairhall went on to say:
The facility will be a ground terminal for defence space communications and, as that term indicates, it will be working with satellites.
Senator Cavanagh says that he is not given any information on what this installation is to do. Senators Murphy and Cohen pleaded with mock tears in their eyes: ‘Cannot we be told what it is all about? It is a disgrace that the Government will not say’. The Government has given broad indications of what the general nature of this facility will be. Should it go any further?
It may be that as a result of American invention and technology the means of space communication - be it with satellites, space stations or some other creation such as has been emerging over the years - is a new idea and something in the way of a new creation which the United States believes has not been reproduced by other countries. Should the United States or Australia be prepared to divulge that fact? Should not we regard that as properly a matter of secrecy because it affects our security? I would be interested to know whether any member of the Opposition is prepared to challenge that proposition. One does not know, of course, whether that is Che position. But it is reasonable to assume that, because it is a matter of security, secrecy would not be insisted upon unless there was good reason for doing so. Let me return to what Mr Fairhall said. He had a lot more to say than what I have quoted already. He said:
Australia will derive considerable benefit from the facility. We’ll gain from our participation as a partner in a scientific project using advanced technology, and <n addition, of course, we’ll have full access to data available in the operation of the station and access to its services.
He stressed that it is a space communications facility and that it will communicate with satellites. He said:
We’ll have access to everything that comes in or out of the station. Equal access, in other words, with the United States.
To indicate that what has been happening is merely the acceptance in the broad of proposals by the United States, Mr Fairhall said’-
We’ve not decided what percentage of the cost will be met by Australia. What will be shared - as between Australia and the United States - will be the physical buildings for the facility and perhaps, as I say, ancillary things; maybe housing and so on, but we will not be sharing with the United States the cost of installing equipment.
He stressed that there would be no offensive capability; that an agreement would be entered into with the United States; and that that agreement would be for a definite term. I have taken the time to read these extracts because 1 believe that, in the light of them, it is absolutely hollow and humbug for members of the Opposition to say that they have not been given the information to which they claim they are entitled. Anyone who reads the statement and who examines what has been said will have a pretty clear idea of the broad purpose of this installation.
I come now to what has been said specifically by some of the spokesmen on the Opposition side. Senator Murphy stressed - he stressed this on no fewer than three occasions as I read the report of what he said yesterday - that we lacked knowledge of the political implications. What does he mean by ‘political implications’? I would have thought that the political implications of any situation were represented in the way in which it affected the political1 party concerned. The political implications for the Labor Party may be something about which he is concerned.
– The honourable senator is referring to party political implications, which is a narrow meaning.
– I know that political’ in its strict meaning is derived from polity, which refers to the state. But what are the broad state implications to which Senator Murphy refers? He did not deign to inform the Senate with any particularity of what he was concerned about. All he was concerned to do was to talk about political implications’ and to ask: ‘Is there any impairment of Australia’s authority? Axe we likely to be involved in the possibility of nuclear retaliation?’ Those are all matters which I can say, as I think any member of the Senate or any member of the public can say, are quite obvious to anybody who takes the trouble to examine the broad aspects of the current world situation and what is being done.
I have spoken for longer than 1 expected to. An amendment has been moved by Senator Byrne. It raises squarely the question whether the Senate approves of the continuing relationship between the United States and Australia and whether this installation is in accordance with what we regard as our proper obligations under that relationship. For my part, like many other people on this side of the chamber, I agree that it is. We have sought, so far unavailingly, some expression of opinion by some responsible person in the Labor Party as to whether members of the Labor Party agree that these installations and these bases should be in Australia. We know that their platform says that they do not approve of bases unless there is some form of joint control. All right. This installation does have joint control.
I suggest that if members of the Labor Party are sincere in saying that they regard the American alliance as of value, on this occasion they will say: ‘We will vote for this amendment’ or, if they do not like Senator Byrne’s language, they could easily move to amend it by omitting some of the words they do not like so as to protect their position. What has been evident to many people for a long time is that the hearts of members of the Labor Parly are not in the American alliance and that they find greater comfort and greater satisfaction in denigrating the United States and thereby imperilling Australia rather than in supporting the one ally on whom we can rely for assistance when we need it.
– Mr Deputy President, I wish to speak on this subject and I ask for leave to make my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– Mr Deputy President. I ask for leave to give a notice of motion for disallowance of an ordinance and to make a short statement in connection with it.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
That the Legal Practitioners Ordinance, 1969, as contained in the Australian Capital Territory Ordinance No. 2 of 1969 and made under the Seat of Government Administration Act 1910- 1965, be disallowed.
The notice is directed to the whole ordinance. The basis on which the Senate will be asked to disallow the ordinance is that contrary to the wishes of the Australian Capital Territory Law Society and the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council and the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr J. R. Fraser), the ordinance imposes on the people of the Australian Capital Territory a legal profession divided into three categories. The ordinance contains provisions relating to fidelity funds, trust accounts and so on, which are valuable. But the provisions as to the legal profession are so interwoven with these that as a matter of convenience and after looking at the ordinance, it did not seem possible to leave them in a really workable frame by seeking to disallow the provision to which objection is taken. For the sake of those who are interested in these matters, I want to point out before the motion comes on that this matter will be put on the basis - and this has already been indicated to the Attorney-General - that if the motion is successful, every action will be taken to facilitate the reintroduction of an ordinance which would contain the provisions to which no objection is taken and that ordinance would be, in substance, as the existing ordinance is, but for the matters dealing with the categories of the legal profession.
– I ask for leave to make a statement on behalf of the Right Honourable J. G. Gorton, Prime Minister of Australia, which was made in the House of Representatives a short time ago.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I make this statement on behalf of the Prime Minister, and when I say T, I obviously refer to the Prime Minister.
The House will recall that I was to have had discussions with the President of the United States, and members of his Administration on 1st and 2nd April. Because of the death of Genera] Eisenhower the discussions which were to have taken place assumed the nature of preliminary discussions and it was agreed that these discussions should be continued on 6th and 7th May. 1 take the opportunity to report to the House on those discussions. They took place with the President, with the Secretary of State, the Honourable William Rogers, and with the Secretary of Defence, the Honourable Melvin Laird. 1 also took the opportunity to meet the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and some members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The purpose of my visit was not to deal with any one specific subject. It was, in one sense, a practical expression of the close, frank., and continuing relationship between two good friends - Australia and the United States of America. It was. too, a visit designed to get to know the new President personally, to understand his thinking, and let him know my thinking. The ties between our countries, the common objectives of peace and progress and human dignity transcend the personal relationship of any two individuals. But I believe these ties are re-inforced, and practical working between two countries is made smoother, if two individuals, one a president and one a prime minister, have discussed common problems, have come to know one another, understand one another, and trust one another. I believe that this understanding was attained, and one result which has some value for us was the arrangement between him and me for direct communication on matters of concern to both our countries during the formative stages of policy and prior to major announcements of policy.
The subjects covered in the various discussions were the situation, and the courses open to us, in Vietnam; the importance attaching to the ANZUS Treaty; the question of the continuing interest of the United States in Asia, post-Vietnam; the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and such matters as defence procurement in Australia and the present plans of the United States Air Force regarding the Fill aircraft. Through all these discussions there was a deep feeling of warmth towards Australia, a feeling of a special relationship, a generous acknowledgement of the part Australia had played and was playing to achieve common objectives. And I felt this to be so not only in the Administration but amongst the senators 1 met on Capital Hill.
It is understandable that my discussions with the President should begin with Vietnam. We both wish ardently for peace in that country - but we both believe that peace can only be secured on any just or lasting basis by guaranteeing to the people of South Vietnam the right to choose the government they wish without the fear of terror or intimidation; the right to live without the ever present threat of murder, kidnapping, or extortion.
The President has today spoken publicly along the lines on which he spoke to me and his speech is clear and unambiguous. We must now await the response of North Vietnam. But this Government agrees completely on the objective of free, internationally supervised elections, at which candidates of all parties could stand, as the objective for which the struggle is waged. This was discussed both during my original visit, and during the visit just concluded.
As a result of our discussions, and of the President’s speech today, there arc three things which 1 firmly believe to be true. Firstly. I do not believe that America will accept any fake peace or disguised surrender, nor will she retreat from the requirement that the South Vietnamese people should themselves choose their own government. Secondly, if in the future and before there is any agreement on the proposals made by the President today it is decided to withdraw some United States troops unilaterally - and I do not say that this will happen - this should be regarded as a sign of strength. It should be so regarded because it would indicate a belief on the part of the United States that the South Vietnamese had so strengthened their own forces, and been provided with equipment for these forces, that they were themselves able to remove from the United States some of the burden which that nation has borne. It would I believe be a tragic mistake on the part of North Vietnam should they interpret any such move as a prelude to a general withdrawal or as indicating any retreat at all by the United States from their determination to persevere until the attainment of the objective of a free choice by the South Vietnamese.
There will be those who will say, should there be such American reduction of force, that Australia too should at once reduce its forces. I believe that that would be a wrong thing to do. For one thing the Americans have greatly increased their forces since our contingent was committed - and for another it would be a shabby thing - the Americans having built up the South Vietnamese forces to take some of the burden borne by half a million Americans - for us to withdraw our own forces and, to that degree, impose a further burden - or at least, to that degree prevent a lessening of the burden, borne by the United States. Thirdly,I believe that President Nixon, as his speech showed, and subject to the requirement for a free choice by the South Vietnamese people, will be flexible, untiring, and persistent in seeking to bring the fighting to an end. In this he will have our full support and our prayers will go with him as he tries to achieve this end.
Perhaps the strongest guarantee of Australia’s future security against physical attack is the ANZUS treaty. It was first concluded under Mr Truman in conditions prevailing after the close of the war with Japan. But recently it has appeared that there was in some quarters a tendency to question whether the provisions of the Treaty still apply with the same force and certainty as at the time of its conclusion. Any grounds for such questioning should surely now be removed. The new President and the new Administration have strongly underlined the importance and the significance which they attach to that Treaty. To quote from the public statement issued by the President:
Australia is a member of ANZUS and SEATO, two alliances which are fundamental to our (American) strategy and position in South East Asia. As between us (America and Australia) ANZUS with its provisions for mutual aid in developing our individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack, and its declaration that ‘no potential aggressor should be under the illusion that any of them (Australia, New Zealand or the United States) stand alone in the Pacific area’ is of great importance to both our countries.
All things considered I think Australia and the United States can both be proud of the contribution we are making, as partners, to the security and progress of the Pacific regionto which we both belong. That partnership and that contribution will continue.
Mr Speaker, those two extracts are a strong, forthright and unambiguous reaffirmation of the application of the treaty - and rather than weary the House with the statement as a whole, with the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate the statement in Hansard:
THE WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
It has been a great pleasure to welcome Prime Minister and Mrs Gorton to Washington. Mrs Gorton is of course returning to the land of her birth, so we always have a special greeting for her. Prime Minister Gorton is no stranger to our shores either, and he has come as the Head of Government of one of our closest friends and allies in the world. We will always be delighted to see them both.
This visit has been most useful for me and, I think, for other officers of this government. It has given us a chance to get acquainted with an outstanding statesman with whom we expect to be working very closely in the future.
Australia is a member of ANZUS and SEATO, two alliances which are fundamental to our strategy and position in Southeast Asia. As between us, ANZUS, with its provisions for mutual aid in developing our individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack, and its declaration that ‘no potential aggressor should be under the illusion that any of them (Australia. New Zealand or the United States) stand alone in the Pacific area’, is of great importance to both our countries. Australian troops are fighting beside ours and those of other free world nations to help South Vietnam preserve its independence. Australian forces are stationed in Malaysia and Singapore as part of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve, and Prime Minister Gorton has recently announced that these forces will remain after the British forces withdraw in1971, to continue making their important contribution to the security of the area. This is a historic and far-seeing decision, and needless to say. it has our full understanding and the decision has our support.
Australia is also making an outstanding contribution to peaceful co-operation and economic development in its part of the world, lt participates whole-heartedly in the Colombo Plan, the Asian Development Bank, and many other regional activities. In percentage of national income devoted to foreign aid, Australia ranks second in the world. Thi; is a record of which any nation can be proud. All things considered, I think Australia and the United States can both be proud of the contribution we are making, as partners, to the security and progress of the Pacific region to which we both belong. That partnership and that contribution will continue.
These two days have provided opportunities for us to discuss a whole range of subjects, including of course Vietnam and regional security generally, but including also a number of topics outside the security field. Australia is geographically closer to some of these problems than we are, and Prime Minister Gorton has been in office a year longer than I have, so I have very much appreciated the opportunity to exchange views with him. I have obtained a number of new insights, but fundamentally, I find the perspective from ‘down under’ is very much the same as it is from Washington.
This visit has been both profitable and enjoyable for us. 1 hope that you can say the same, Mr Prime Minister and that you and your charming wife will come and see us again.
It may be said that this statement affirms nothing new since the ANZUS pact already existed - and in one sense that it true. But I believe that for a President just come to office newly to re-affirm, in such strong terms, the importance of the treaty is of considerable significance to us, and to our future - and that that in turn is of significance to the United States and other free nations in the world.
One further outcome of the talks on ANZUS is that it has been decided to hold a meeting of the ANZUS Council in Canberra in August. The United States will be represented by the Secretary of State, the honourable William P. Rogers. We have also agreed that meetings of officials of the three countries should continue to take place from time to time and for this purpose there will be a meeting in Washington later in the year. But the ANZUS treaty does not merely provide that we shall be assisted if our forces or our country is attacked in the Pacific. It also provides that we shall cooperate in the establishment of installations to help our joint defence. Under Article II of the treaty we have an obligation jointly to maintain and develop our collective capacity to resist armed attack. To say we have this obligation is not to say - as some falsely pretend - that we must accept any and every proposal for any establishment for any purpose.
The Australian Government must and does retain the right of decision on any proposal. Just as it must be, and is, provided with full information concerning any proposed base. But we have signed a treaty much to our advantage, and this imposes obligations on us if we are to live up to its spirit. A responsible Australian Government would therefore need to be convinced that there was good reason for rejecting a proposal, as it could.
There are some who argue that there is good reason to refuse any proposal for a joint defence establishment because such establishments might become the target of attacks in nuclear war and might therefore endanger us. My Government rejects this argument. 1 cannot assert that in nuclear war there would be no possibility at all that such installations might be subject to attack. But I will deny that this is reason to reject such establishments. They contribute to the military effectiveness and protection of that power on whom the safety and independence of Australia might, in the future, depend. They assist the power on whose capacity for military defence and peace of the world may well depend.
In my judgment Australia is subject to less danger, nuclear or otherwise, having these bases and a joint defence treaty than she would be not having these bases and not having a joint defence treaty. Further, as a nation we expect to be given protection in time of danger. And we must therefore expect to give assistance in return. What sort of a pusillanimous, unworthy, nation would it be that said: ‘We rely on you to protect us - but oh no, we won’t incur the slightest risk to help you protect yourselves, and us, and others.’ This government will not say that. If there be those who take a different view, that is their right. But it is equally their duty, if they aspire to alternative government, to state publicly they do take a different view, and would not have these bases, and give their reasons. 1 come now to maintenance of secrecy about the purposes and operation of such bases. This has, I know, caused concern to others as it has to me. It was a matter specifically discussed with the President. In general, one would wish to give as much information as possible. But ‘as much information as possible’ must mean as much information as would not impair the effectiveness of an installation or enable a potential enemy to discover more quickly or certainly its purposes. And if the advice of military leaders and military scientists is that little or no information should be given because it would help a potential enemy then we should accept that advice in peace as we would unhesitatingly accept it in war. This we have done, and will continue to do.
The President, however, agreed with me that if any information is given, or is intended to be given in the United States in such a way that it becomes public, then such information must at the same time be given here. And if selected members of the United States Congress under pledge of secrecy make any visits to installations, so too, provided they take the same pledge of secrecy must comparable members of this Parliament be permitted such visits. To use the President’s own words, in this matter: The same ground rules will apply to both our countries.’ Sir, the restriction of information on defence establishments is nothing new. To a greater or lesser degree it is the practice of all administrations in all countries at all times. For reasons I have stated we will continue the practice. But again if there be those who would depart from this practice, who would insist on disclosure of information before agreeing to a joint defence project, it is their duty to Australia clearly to say so now even though that course might assist a potential enemy.
The question will be asked whether or not provisions of the ANZUS treaty, so clear in relation to Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea, apply as clearly to Australia’s forces stationed in Malaysia and Singapore. It would be misleading of me to say that this was so in all the variety of hypothetical situations which might arise for while the treaty is quite specific as to certain areas it is not specific about those of which I now speak. Yet I think it would be equally wrong to assume that in certain circumstances United States assistance would not be forthcoming either under the ANZUS treaty or in some other way. Indeed any attempt now to codify in advance those situations in which ANZUS might apply and those in which it would not apply could well be restrictive, and being restrictive, do harm.
Answers to questions about our forces in these areas are to be sought not in the ANZUS Treaty alone but in the whole complex of actions and undertakings by Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the countries of the region. These actions and undertakings may be summed up as follows. Australia has decided that it will maintain forces in Malaysia and Singapore after the British withdrawal in 1971, for purposes and under conditions already stated to the House. The President of the United States, publicly and privately has backed, supported, and applauded that decision. What we seek to do is to prevent a threat arising against Malaysia and Singapore or the region. We seek this by showing a willingness to assist militarily in staled circumstances to maintain security - and we see this only as a means to the end of advancing economic development in the area, strengthening the capacity of the countries in the region to defend themselves, and encouraging regional co-operation, peaceful change, and progress. The United States shares these objectives and is contributing to these ends. I am sure she will1 continue to share the objectives and contribute to these ends in Asia generally and in the region of Asia of which I speak.
Indeed President Nixon, during our private talks authorised me to express his own attitude as outlined below. He said that it was the purpose and the determination of the United States to continue to participate in the Pacific and to strengthen the forces of freedom and progress in Asia. He said that he recognised fully the United States continuing role and responsibility in that part of the world. He said that by birth, by experience and by belief he knew that the stakes in Asia went far beyond what happened in Vietnam and that what happened in Asia in the future could well1 effect the future history of the world. He had, he told me, always been Asia-oriented as his history during 14 years in Congress would show. He had been born on the Pacific Coast, had gone to war in the Pacific, and he would continue to be Asiaoriented.
The House may like to know that before being made publicly here this paraphrase was confirmed with the President as an accurate paraphrase of his views. Mr Speaker, 1 think it is not without significance for Australia that such a firm statement should be publicly made by the new President at this time, and following so soon on our own decisions. In the course of our future history there will be many situations which cannot now be clearly foreseen, and as they cannot be clearly foreseen it is idle to speculate about them. But given the approach of the United States as expressed, given the shared objectives, and given the close working arrangements that already exist, I think we can be confident that should a threat develop then there will be the closest consultation and co-operation as to the means of combating that throat.
I shall touch only briefly on the other matters discussed. 1 set out the Australian Government’s reservations as to signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at this stage. Reasons for these reservations have been stated in this House before. Our questionings include anxiety as to whether the Treaty offers an effective safeguard to a threatened country; the number of countries which have stated they will not sign it; the other countries which have not. yet decided; the terms of the inspection clauses, and so on. 1 found the President fully appreciative of our position. He understood why the Australian Government was not signing the Treaty until our questionings were resolved to our satisfaction. I am satisfied that no pressure will bc applied by the United States Administration to induce us to sign.
I also took the opportunity, at the request of the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall), to seek from the Secretary of Defence, the Honourable Melvin Laird, and from the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General McConnell, further information as to intentions of the United States Air Force regarding the Fill aircraft, and general information regarding the aircraft itself. The original intention to purchase some 1,500 aircraft for the United States Air Force am) the United States Navy has, as the House well knows, been very considerably reduced and I understand that the existing order is for 493 aircraft of which 141 are Fill As which are compatible with our own FI DCs. The Chief of Staff was emphatic that the United States Air Force regarded the Fill as an exceptionally good aircraft, and that it would be in service at least until 1980 and probably much longer.
The United States Air Force expects the wing carry through box to be tested to 8,000 hours, or two aircraft lifetimes, by July and intends then to remove current restrictions on the operation of the aircraft. However the original contractual arrangements called for testing for 16,000 hours and I made it clear that we would not wish to take delivery of aircraft ourselves until that period of testing had been satisfactorily completed, lt was again confirmed that the arrangements for the ceiling price for our planes remained in effect.
These general matters were the subject of our discussion, but I understand there are many technical details still under study by the Defence and Air Departments which will still need clarification and study by the Minister for Defence and the appropriate specialist officers. Mr Speaker, most of what I have said has dealt, in one way or another, with matters of defence. This is natural, for our own security in a changing world depends to a very great extent on our relations and arrangements with the United States - and on the credibility of United States power being maintained. 1 believe the President will be resolute to see that this power is maintained. He believes that if it is not, the peace of the world would bc jeopardised. He will pursue an American position of strength and that strength will not be reduced until the world becomes a more secure and peaceful place. But defence is only a means to an end - the end of preserving the national independence of peoples so that they can pursue in freedom, prosperity and the provision of opportunity for the individuals who make up nations. We will do what we can to help in these objectives.
Motion (by Senator Wright) proposed:
That the Senate take note of the statement.
Debate (on motion by Senator 0Byrne adjourned.
- Mr President, I ask for leave to make a statement on behalf of the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) regarding the present position of the Patents Bill 1968.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - ls leave granted?
Suspension of Standing Orders
Motion (by Senator Anderson) agreed to with the concurrence of an absolute majority:
That so much ot the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Wright making a statement.
[9.1SJ - On 27th November last the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) announced that the Government had decided not to press on with the Patents Bill in the then current session, but to reconsider the whole of the proposed system of deferred examination in the light of submissions made by the Institute of Patent Attorneys. Since then he has discussed the matter with representatives of the Institute and of the Australian Manufacturers’ Patents, Industrial Designs, Copyright and Trade Marks Association, lt is my purpose now to inform the Senate that, following these discussions, the Government has decided to make certain amendments lo the Bill, as a result of which the Institute of Patent Attorneys has withdrawn its objections to the Bill, although still expressing some reservations about the system of deferred examination. I have circulated to honourable senators a memorandum showing in detail what those amendments are. lt will be recalled that the main purpose of the Patents Bill is to change the administrative procedures leading to the granting of a patent, so as to lessen the amount of work required in the Patent Office and reduce the backlog of work there, lt was intended that this be done by making two changes in the procedures. In the first place, an application for a patent would not be examined in the Patent Office unless the applicant specifically requested examination. If he wished to do so, he would have to request examination within 5 years from the date on which his complete specification was lodged. If he did not request examination within that time, his application would lapse. That is the system of deferred examination provided in the Bill. In the second place, it is sought to take advantage of the examination of equivalent applications in the United Kingdom and the United
States of America by adopting the results of examination in the Patent Offices in those countries. That is the system that has come to be known as modified examination.
The period of 5 years was chosen as a compromise between conflicting considerations. On the one hand, it is necessary to allow an applicant a reasonable time in which to decide whether to have his application examined. If an applicant were required to decide too early in the life of his application, before the commercial merit of the invention became apparent, whether it would be worthwhile proceeding with his application, he would have to request examination in order to keep his application alive. If this happened in a substantial proportion of cases it would defeat the purpose of introducing deferred examination. The Patent Office would not be able to overcome its present backlog of work and become up to date with examination. On the other hand, to have a large number of unexamined applications pending for a long period in the Patent Office undoubtedly creates difficulties for industry. It was this aspect of the proposal that caused most concern to the Institute of Patent Attorneys.
The Institute’s view was that an applicant ought not to be allowed, irrespective of the work situation in the Patent Office, to let his application Me for 5 years before being required to make up his mind whether he wished to proceed with it. The Institute suggested that an applicant ought to be required to make up his mind when his application was reached in its turn in the normal course of examination of applications in the Patent Office. It appeared to the Government that this suggestion had a good deal of merit. On the one hand, it retained the advantage of the scheme in the Bill that an application would not be examined unless the applicant so requested. In addition, while the Patent Office is several years behind with examination, applicants would have a substantial period in which to decide whether to proceed with their applications. This should allow a sufficient number to drop out so that, with the recruitment of additional examiners, the Patent Office would have a good chance of catching up with its work. On the other hand, as the changes in the procedures to be effected by the Bill and the recruitment of additional Staff have the effect of reducing the time taken by the Patent Office to reach a given application, so third parties would not be left in doubt for so long about the outcome of the application. In any event, it is intended to retain the provision already included in the Bill entitling a third party to have an application brought forward for early examination. lt is proposed, therefore, to introduce amendments to the Bill to confer on the Commissioner of Patents power to require an applicant to elect whether he wishes to have his application examined. It is intended that, except in limited and special circumstances, this power would be exercised when an application is reached in its turn in the ordinary course of examination. Applications are ordinarily examined in the order in which they are lodged in the Patent Office. It is proposed to allow an applicant 6 months from the date of the Commissioners direction to decide whether he wishes to proceed with his application.
If an applicant wishes to take advantage of the scheme of modified examination and, at the time he has to reply to the Commissioner’s direction the equivalent United Kingdom or United States patent is not available, he will be able to request that examination of his application be deferred for a further 9 months* but not beyond the end of the period of 5 years from the date of lodgement of his complete specification. If. before the end of that 9-month period, he obtains a patent in the United Kingdom or the United States in respect of an equivalent application, he will be able to request modified examination. If he does not then have such a patent, he must request full examination or his application will lapse. If the period of 5 years expires before the period of 9 months, the applicant must request either full or modified examination, as the case may be, before the end of the 5-year period.
The proposed amendments would make two other minor changes. The first relates to the proposal in the Bill to introduce a continuation fee. This is to be an annual fee to be paid by an applicant to maintain his application. Under the provisions in the Bill the continuation fees would have been payable in respect of an application only until the applicant requested examination or until lapsing. It is now proposed that the continuation fees be payable until a patent is granted on the application, or the application is refused or lapses, as (he case may be. Where a patent is granted on an application, annual renewal fees for the patent will be payable, as at present.
The second change affects section 162 of the Patents Act. That section requires the Commissioner to give an applicant the opportunity to- be heard before exercising a discretionary power adversely lo the applicant. lt is obviously inappropriate for this to apply in a case where the Commissioner calls on an applicant to decide whether he wishes to have his application examined. To avoid the possibility of argument about the applicability of section 162 to such a case, and to make it clear that the section does not apply in such a case, its application is to be specifically excluded.
The scheme of deferred examination that would be established by the Bil’l as proposed to be amended would retain the main administrative advantages of (he scheme originally proposed. But it meets the objections raised by some that the period of 5 years to be allowed in every case was too long, particularly as the Patent Office became more up to date with its work. The amendments will be formally introduced during the Committee stage of the debate on the Bill.
Debate resumed (vide page 1 323).
– On behalf of the Opposition 1’ propose the following amendment to the amendment moved by Senator Byrne:
Leave out all words after ‘and’ first occurring, insert ‘condemns the Government’s refusal to inform the Parliament and public of the general purposes and possible consequences of joint defence installations and facilities in Australia’.
In the debate which has emerged from the very short ministerial statement which appears on page 1024 of Hansard honourable senators on the Government side have exhibited the attitude that the ANZUS pact is so fragile that any questions relating to it must not be answered. They seem to have adopted the attitude mentioned by Rudyard Kipling: Ours not to reason why. There is a host of examples throughout the world of countries with alliances with the United States which reserve the right to differ from proposals advanced by the United States, and it seems to me that that attitude has not affected any of their defence safeguards.
To illustrate my point let me refer to the case of Greece and Turkey which are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. When the Cyprus problem developed, Turkey held very strong views about the Turkish minority on the island and it never hesitated within NATO to urge that the Turkish minority receive justice. America’s relations with Turkey have never been severed. And if we take into consideration war time performances we find that Turkey did very little compared with Australia. I am not questioning the merits of the war, but we were participants whereas Turkey was not. Obviously, if the United States could adopt a sophisticated attitude with Turkey in regard to any differences then it will do the same with us. The ANZUS Treaty, although complex, is much too sound to be thrown out of the window or repudiated by the United States.
It has been argued that the decision of the President of the United States should not be questioned. I go back to the celebrated occasion when Sir Winston Churchill was in conflict with President Roosevelt on some subject and he pointed to Fala the President’s dog and said: ‘Do you expect Britain to beg like your dog?’ That might have been an extreme example but I do not think that it affected relations between the United States and Britain. 1 do not think that the President would be as sensitive as some honourable senators opposite are inclined to imply. For instance the United States differed with Australia over West Irian. If we can induce the United States to change its policy on some matters I do not see why we should regard the American attitude to joint installation as immutable. I do not agree with the view that a decision made between a Prime Minister of Australia and a President of the United States should never be questioned or changed. The late Senator Robert Kennedy wrote a book on the Cuban missile crisis, entitled ‘13 Days’. Pages 92 and 93 of that book are of particular interest. The author refers to the situation when the President of the United States had distinct reservations about the
Jupiter missiles that were in operation in Turkey. It was quite obvious to the late Senator Kennedy that his brother, the President, was endeavouring to have the Jupiter missiles withdrawn from that country because he felt they were obsolete.
The point I am making is that if at any given time the United States Government feels that any of its satellite operations are outmoded there will be a change in its policy. I do not for one moment question the right of the United States Government to do this, but I feel that the belief of honourable senators opposite that we have to keep in step in every detail is overdone. Honourable senators opposite have said that the Australian Labor Party has an inbuilt attitude on this subject as they termed it. An editorial in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 30th April 1969 entitled ‘Pig in a Poke’ points out that it is manifest nonsense to say that the ANZUS treaty would collapse if Australia rejected any of America’s proposals. I think I am being reasonable in saying that I do not believe that this newspaper would mould its policy at the behest of the ALP. There is ultrasensitivity about this subject. There is a belief that we must not say certain things about the President. If honourable senators on this side of the chamber quote any remarks made by a prominent United States congressman or senator there is a barrage of criticism from honourable senators opposite. Last night the Opposition referred to the views of Senator Fulbright. Honourable senators opposite retaliated by saying that he was not mentally stable in his views. Senator Fulbright happens to loom very large in the political scene in Washington. If honourable senators opposite quote a United States congressman they put him up on the highest pedestal, but when we cite such an authority it is almost implied by honourable senators opposite that the congressman concerned should be in a mental institution. As a matter of fact, some of the interjections that were made last night, and which are recorded in Hansard, were not very complimentary to Senator Fulbright. I am sure he is just as capable as are the parliamentarians in Australia. T object to the double standard that is applied.
It is said that we must be tied up virtually 101% in the ANZUS Treaty. The question of protection from attack has been raised.
There is no doubt that under ANZUS the United States would protect the mainland of Australia from attack, but honourable senators should not run away with the idea that the United States will assist us in meeting the commitments we have entered into regarding the stationing of troops in Singapore and Malaysia. The recent elections in Malaysia showed that there is growing dissent among a minority.I certainly would not attempt to say whether the claims of the minority are just, but I know that a very peculiar situation will arise if Australian troops are used on some pretext to quell any internal disorder in that country. All sorts of incidents could be manufactured. I return to the relationship of the United States with Australia and whether Australia should be in an inferior, grovelling position. After all, in the early post-war years, we provided supplementary assistance of the Marshall Aid type and we met all our obligations under the lend-lease agreement. So we cannot be classed with the dissenters of Panama or Okinawa.
Senator Greenwood went to great lengths to quote from the platform and policy of the Australian Labor Party. The ALP slates very clearly in its policy that there should be consultation between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Australia. The Opposition wants to make sure that there will not be only one finger on the button, but that there will be consultation between the two nations. I revert to Robert Kennedy’s book entitled ‘13 Days’, which deals with the story behind the scene of the Cuban confrontation. Honourable senators should have no illusions about this. Some of the Army brass hats took a far more vigorous and aggressive attitude than did the President and some of his advisers. Fortunately, sanity prevailed. Fortunately the views of the moderates and the flexible people within the Cabinet won the day and, world peace was preserved. The Government has adopted the attitude of putting all its eggs in the one basket. It believes that whatever is decided by the President and his advisers must never be questioned.
If one goes back through post-war history one will find that there have been a number of occasions when one large Western power has balanced another by using a bit of sanity. Take the situation in 1956 when the British Government, aided by France, embarked on the Suez adventure. President Eisenhower told both countries that it was time they got back into line; that the issues were not worth fighting over. Britain retreated. A few years earlier there was a similar situation in reverse. Some of the advisers of an earlier President became a little edgy and wanted to resort to nuclear warfare in Korea. General Douglas Macarthur was apparently overreaching himself but the then Prime Minister of Britain, Mr Attlee, had a steadying influence on the American Administration. The point of my story is that the Prime Minister of Australia has moral right to insist on clear cut agreements to ensure that he will be treated as an equal. That is the theme of Labour’s policy as was shown by Senator Murphy, Senator Willeseeand other speakers. It is no use believing that there will not be some irritations and frictions between the two countries.
In an article written in the ‘West Australian’ on 9th May 1969, Mr Michael Cope dealt with what he termed the Arctic watch. He referred to friction in that region when Michoner, Governor-General of Canada, landed at Cape Dyer and some disparaging remarks about him were made by one or two of the American generals. We are living in a sophisticated age. Although it may be in bad taste to make a derogatory referenceto a GovernorGeneral, it is not grounds for war. The point I am making is that unless there is a much more flexible attitude and a realisation that it is not infra dig to question the United States we will be doing a disservice to Australia. I am fortified in that view by two quotations, one from Peter Hastings and the other from Bruce Grant in the Melbourne ‘Age’ of May 13th. The general idea is that there is a sacred cow attitude asto the meaning of the ANZUS treaty. We are fully aware of the ramifications of it but the Government should not take a Dick Turpin ‘stand and deliver’ attitude. They say: ‘If you question it one bit, the United States will send you tocoventry.’ It is an insult both to the United States President and to the Australian people. Honourable senators opposite know that newspaper editor after editor throughout the Commonwealth has been counted on this issue. Several editorials on the matter have appeared in the Canberra ‘Times’ in addition to the various interstate newspapers from which I have quoted. Those people are no more little Australians or antiAustralians than are members of the Opposition when we put this statement forward.
The amendment proposed by the Australian Democratic Labor Party states that it acknowledges the mutual obligation of both Parties. This is the core of the situation as far as we are concerned. American presidents, due to various factors, may not see things completely correctly. Senator Greenwood tonight went on a tour of the post-war world. He also took us back to the period between 1930 and 1939. At that time governments of his political persuasion were in power in Canberra. There was a slavish following of whatever the British Prime Minister of the day said, lt was never questioned. 1 think Senator McManus would agree with me on that point. There is no question about that. At that time there was a tendency in Australia to get on side, lt was held that Chamberlain was all right. When Churchill took over there was a somersault and it was said that Chamberlain had been a misfit as a British Prime Minister. lt was still regarded as unpatriotic to question decisions of the British Prime Minister. In the war years the relationship formed between John Curtin and his Government and President Roosevelt was outstanding. We are fully aware of the benefits of thai alliance. However, the point at which I disagree with Senator Greenwood’s thesis concerns the period beyond President Truman’s term of office. John Foster Dulles was doing the very same thing as Senator Greenwood did tonight. He regarded everything as black or while and there was no in-between.
I remember well one of the best speeches that the present Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) made as a member of the Senate in a debate on external affairs. By interjection I asked what he meant by the terms Communism’ and ‘the big powers’. He said: I draw a distinction between some of the smaller eastern European Communist governments and the governments of Russia and China wilh their territorial aims’. To take it a little further, Senator Greenwood implied that this is the be-all and end-all of our security. Quite frankly, the thinking in the United States now is reflected in the statement by Walter Lippman on 14th October 1967 when he admitted that whatever the outcome of the war in Vietnam the real test of world peace will come at the stage when China obtains nuclear parity with the other big powers.
This is where the thesis of Senator Greenwood falls flat. The United States has a Republican President, but I am sure that when China gains nuclear parity the United States Administration will be more sophistiated than it is now. Are we to say: ‘We do not want an agreement with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics against China. They are both Communist powers. Let them fight it out? We will need a triple alliance between Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union against China. I know that in DLP circles it is said that everyone is European orientated and nobody is interested in South East Asia. -This is the lesson that has to be learned. We may have to face a Cuban type of situation in South East Asia. At that point of time if there is not some form of loose alliance between Russia, the United States, Great Britain and countries like our own to apply a brake on China, we will have a very serious situation. It is not a question of land warfare in South East Asia, lt will be a question of the use of sophisticated missiles. I imagine that within the next 5 years such weapons will be far more advanced than they are now.
I have deliberately pin-pointed these remarks of Senator Greenwood because ha has put himself up as a sort of super Government defence expert and said: ‘If you do not accept our theory, the alternative is that put forward by the Labor Party which has its head in the sand’. On the contrary, far seeing people are aware that irrespective of what happens in Vietnam, whatever arc the cease fire conditions, world peace will not necessarily follow, ft may be of assistance, as any sane person realises. Some of the more extreme factions of the Chinese Communist Party by that time may have passed over the Great Divide and there may be a rapprochement.
Senator Greenwood referred to the free world. The expression is not repugnant to us but I think that we of the Opposition look a little further behind it. Today in Europe there is a host of middle class nations prepared to place sanctions on Greece. Greece is a complete insult to the free world. It is a member of the North American Treaty Organisation but there is no democracy and free will there. In Greece the military powers are gaoling trade unionists and anyone else who differs with them. They are even putting people with long hair into gaol. I cannot believe that that is a super democratic state. We have argued all along the line that any criticism we have offered of the United States has been offered because we have felt at times that it has been too generous in propping up corrupt societies which are not counters to Marxist regimes. We have repeatedly hammered that theme in the Senate and other places. Countries like Australia want to put money into other countries so that they will remain non-Communist and go along with the United States, but it can happen that the whole society in those countries is crumbling and the people there are hungry. They will not then be a bulwark against Communism or military juntas. We are endeavouring to overcome such situations by our criticism.
Earlier in this debate senators from Western Australia, who have now left the chamber, were jeering at some of my colleagues who suggested that there was no doubt that there would be visits by United States congressmen to the joint defence installations in Australia. We know that it will happen. It is obvious now. It is common knowledge that there will be considerable flexibility and people will be visiting the facilities. Nobody is suggesting that we want to walk out with blueprints or take impressions of particular components or photographs and that sort of thing. We are seeking simply a recognition that in any country the military powers are not supreme. A classic example was given in the last major speech made by former President Eisenhower, a man who was cast in the military mould. He admitted that the vast military complex of the Pentagon in Washington had to be watched to ensure that it did not dominate government thinking. The memoirs of Robert Kennedy about the Cuban confrontation proved that a strong civilian President had to ensure that some trigger-happy members of the Pentagon did not start a worl’d war. Khrushchev had a similar problem with his people. He had to deal with Red Army generals who had delusions of grandeur. They said: What does it matter?’ The same thing could happen in China.
Honourable senators opposite may choose to belittle political discussions but I remind them that moral values have their own particular effect. We have argued the cause of equality and negotiation. In talking about sophisticated military equipment I do not want to rub raw spots. I appreciate that if we were in office and honourable senators opposite were in opposition they would not be observing Marquis of Queensberry rules and saying: ‘We are not’ going to question these aviation orders or what sort of planes we are getting’. They would be in boots and all, and it would be a democratic function. Honourable senators opposite should not say to me: ‘You must not mention the FI I I’. If it is sauce for the goose it is sauce for the gander, and that is fair enough. Honourable senators opposite know in their hearts that when the late Mr Townley went overseas to purchase aircraft his trip was motivated by an impending election. That is why Government supporters said when he came back: ‘It is all over. We are all supermen. We have got these super aircraft.’ lt may have been different if another senior Minister who was a harder trader had made the trip. I do not think Senator Wright would have bought a pig in a poke. He would have looked beyond the surface. Unfortunately, an election advantage was involved and the purchase of the aircraft served its purpose. Now the chickens have come home to roost.
The Opposition believes that it is not a question of whose patriotism is at stake. In considering our relationship with the United States it is obvious that as a major power the United States has a strong role to play. In a circle of friends, where mateship operates, usually it is your mates who tell you when you are dicky on some detail, rather than anybody else. It is better that it should be that way. The Prime Minister has said that he has an admiration for President Nixon. That is fair enough. I think it was the Prime Minister, not the Labor Party, who coined the phrase about the poodle lying on its back and having its belly caressed. That analogy was drawn by the Prime Minister, not by a member of the Labor Party. We have come a long way from the concept of the Statute of Westminster, that we are a colony which has to do as it is told. I am not jingoistic, nor do I think any honourable senator on this side of the chamber or the other side is jingoistic, but we are all aware that we are a middle class power. I remind the Senate that many middle class powers are clean skins which are not indebted to the United States and are therefore entitled to speak up and be heard. It is on that basis that I formally move:
Leave out all words after ‘and’ (first occurring); insert ‘condemns the Government’s refusal to inform the Parliament and public of the general purposes and possible consequences of joint defence installations and facilities in Australia’.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood) - Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment.
Senator LILLICO (Tasmania) [9.511- Senator Mulvihill has said that we are a middle class power, but I question whether we are even that. We are a very small power so far as military, naval and air force matters are concerned. The plain fact of the matter is that we are a nation of twelve million people living in comparative isolation from the rest of the world in a country about the size of the United States of America. It is completely beyond the capability of the twelve million people who reside in this country to defend it. And so, perforce, we have had to call in the potential assistance of the only ally that is capable of affording us that defence. We have entered into an ANZUS pact with the United States. I say at once that that pact is loaded in our favour. In my view the United States of America could manage without that pact more easily than could either Australia or New Zealand.
It is a good thing to see the United States so interested in the defence of this part of the world that it has installed a communications centre at Exmouth Gulf and proposes to proceed with a project at Woomera. Although it has been mentioned in this chamber during the debate, it is well worth repeating that the United States Department of State has said:
It cannot bc used to initiate aggression and it threatens no-one. To the contrary, its function is to support collective self defence. Thus it is purely defensive.
I repeat that it is a good thing to have the United States interested in the defence of this part of the world. Senator Mulvihill has talked about differing views, but that poses in my mind the question whether the Australian Labor Party stops short of differing. To differ is a good thing, it is a healthy thing, and it is something that happens between friends who eventually hammer out their differences and compromise, but the attitude of the Labor Party stops short of merely differing from the attitude of the United States of America. I believe that the Labor Party attitude can be summed up by saying that it was ever the same in matters pertaining to defence.
It seems to me that the attitude evinced this time on this proposition is a hangover from the attitude taken to the Exmouth Gulf communication station. Honourable senators may recall that on that occasion the grievance expressed by the Australian Labor Party was that some of Australia’s sovereignty was being given away. That was the first objection. But then the Opposition wanted dual control of the base, that is, a power of veto on the operation of the base. It will1 be recalled that on that occasion Mr Calwell and Mr Whitlam waited outside a hotel in Canberra until 1 o’clock or 2 o’clock in the morning to learn from the Federal Executive of the ALP which was meeting in that hotel what their attitude to the North West Cape Naval Communication Station was to be. Although honourable senators opposite have said during this debate that they did not oppose the proposition, I can recall quite well that when a Bill was brought into each House of Parliament to give effect to the agreement with the United States of America concerning the Exmouth Gulf radio communications station it was voted against and brought to a division by the Labor Party in both Houses of the Parliament.
– And so it should have been.
– The honourable senator would say that. That is the attitude of a man who does not appreciate the position in which this country finds itself. The honourable senator must be without care as to Australia’s defence; otherwise he certainly would not spurn help or an attitude of friendliness from the only ally which is capable of affording us the defence which may be vital and which in the past has been vital1 to the preservation and continuance of this country. The honourable senator’s attitude is difficult to understand.
On this occasion the grievance about the United States-Australian defence space communications facility is that insufficient information has been forthcoming from the Government concerning the operation of the station. This evening Senator Greenwood read out a statement made by the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) who. in my view, gave as much information as possible, short of prejudicing the whole project. But in addition to that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), in a wonderful statement this evening, dealt fully and effectively with the contention that insufficient information had been forthcoming. He said:
The restriction of information on defence establishments is nothing new. To a greater or lesser degree it is the practice of all administrations in all countries at all times. For reasons I have stated . . we will continue the practice.
Even to a novice in these matters, that is common sense. Is it not a reasonable proposition that if we divulge to the Australian Parliament everything about a project like this, in effect we will be divulging it to the Australian people and to the world. Is it not reasonable to think that there are some things, at least in regard to defence and security, which cannot be made public? I should have thought that anyone would go along with that idea. The Minister for Defence said in another place:
Woomera, of course, is a communication facility. Communications, as anyone will know, can be applied in a number of contexts. Let me emphasise, and if I must, repeat, that it is the nature and purpose of the station at Woomera, as with the direction of research at Pine Gap, which constitute the essential military secret.
He said that the very nature of the station is what constitutes the essential military secret. He continued:
If we are not to disclose an essential military secret and if we are not to destroy the confidential nature of this project it remains quite impossible to disclose the nature and purpose of the station. I do not believe for a moment that the people of this country will not trust the judgment of their Government and the good intentions of the United Slates in permitting a station of this kind to be established on Australian soil as our contribution to, fust of all, our own defence and, secondly, the joint defence of the free world. lt seems to me that, as always in these matters, the Labor Party is scraping the very bottom of the barrel to find something to throw at the proposition. I do not know whether members of the Labor Party think that we do not need these installations. I do not know whether they think that we do not need the concrete and practical proposition which is a demonstration that the United States is interested in this part of the world and apparently is prepared to come to the defence of this part of the world. Why they raise objections to these things is beyond my comprehension.
I go along with the idea which, I think, was expressed by Senator McManus. He said that when Labor was in office its attitude to similar propositions was very different. He went on to say that until members of the Labor Party adopted a more realistic and more practical policy on the defence of this country they could not hope to form a government. That may well be. In fact they are nol only my words and the words of Senator McManus. I was interested in the report that appeared in the Hobart ‘Mercury’ of an article written by Mr Kim Beazley, the honourable member for Fremantle. He said that the reason for the failure of the Australian Labor Party at the Federal level was certainly that defence and foreign policy were Federal issues. He said that the Australian Labor Party had fallen down in elections for the last 20 years because of its attitude on defence and foreign policy. He went on to ask, referring to the advocacy for Australian troops to be withdrawn from Vietnam:
How do you explain respect lor an alliance while withdrawing troops from the side of your allies?
In this connection he could well ask: ‘How do you explain respect for an ally or respect for a country with which we have the most binding treaty alliance when you look askance at, and throw obstacles in the way of, that country placing defence installations in the country it proposes to defend?1 He went on to say that the Communist Party had a tripartite strategy, every point of which involved the Labour Party in a dilemma of extrication. The report of his article reads: The Communist Party’s policy points were: l.To make Marxism-Leninism the thinking of the Labor movement.
The alienation of Catholics is essential in this,’ Mr Beazley wrote.
By the withdrawal of Catholics to the DLP in Victoria, the MarxistLeninist ideology has been enabled to occupy the vacuum.
And so he went on. Whether or not that is correct-
– He should know.
– There we are getting it straight from the horse’s mouth. When one knows that the Labor Party’s attitude towards these bases that the United States proposes to install in this country synchronises wilh the attitude of the Communist Party in Australia, as it does, it just makes one wonder why the Labor Party evolved the attitude in regard to them that it did evolve. I was interested to read an article written by Mr Peter Michelmore in New York and headed: ‘Australia in Peril, if a “War Weary” US gets out of Asia’.
– The Americans are starting to do that, according to President Nixon’s statement today.
– If they do, it will bc a very bad business. If they do not retain their interest in Asia, there is no one else in the world who can do the job. I have always said that up to a point I could understand it if the people of the United Stares were averse to their country being involved in a war on the opposite side of the world; but I could never understand anyone in Australia, which is right in the line of attack-
– -Fron whom?
– If the honourable senator does not know from whom, I will tell him: From the same ideology as that against which the South Vietnamese are being defended. I could never understand anyone in Australia looking askance at assistance coming to Australia from the United States. That is beyond my comprehension absolutely and completely.
– That is warmongering of the first class.
– Of course the honourable senator would say that. Peter Michelmore quotes these words:
Weary with war, disheartened with allies, disillusioned with aid, dismayed at domestic crises, many Americans are heeding the call of the new isolationism.
– Quite right, too. They are people with brains.
– Now we have the ostrich putting his head in the sand with a vengeance. The people who support that view are the people who subscribe to the tommy rot in booklets such as the one I have in my hand. It is published by people who call their organisation ‘The Campaign for Peace in Vietnam’. I think there are some advocates of it among members of this chamber. Let me quote only two sentences from this booklet. The heading on the second page is: ‘What the War in Vietnam is Not’.
– The advocates included Robert Kennedy.
– The honourable senator is like a blabbering jackass. If he will keep quiet for a moment, he will be able to stand up and speak afterwards. The heading on the second page is: ‘What the War in Vietnam is Not’. Then it reads:
I need not say any more. Anyone who really believes that-
– This is the grossest hypocrisy. You are selling the Chinese wheat to feed them up. You call their country ‘mainland China’ when you are selling them wheat and ‘Communist China’ when you want to pick a fight with them. What hypocrisy!
– I would make a speech if I could be heard. The honourable senator has as many brains above his shoulders as a turkey. I was interrupted when giving my quotation:
Weary with war, disheartened with allies, disillusioned wilh aid, dismayed at domestic crises, many Americans are heeding the call of the new isolationism.
Who wrote that? The answer is President Nixon, the man who is now the President of the United States of America. One can understand the reaction of some people in the United States of America. They have tried to help the weak in Asia, they have poured out aid all over the world to restore the economy of nations, they are prepared to come to the aid of this country and to install bases here for our defence. However, they get nothing but criticism and abuse for their pains. Honourable senators will understand the tendency and inclination in the United States of America to fall back on isolationism.
We have heard some ludicrous propositions put up in the course of this debate. One of them was that if this base is established, we shall be inviting nuclear attack. 1 was glad to read the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) that this Government would never subscribe to such a proposition. Taking it a little further, is it not tantamount to saying that a country that puts itself in readiness for defence by installing facilities, and doing all the things that a cautious country would do to ensure its defence, is inviting attack? I cannot subscribe to that proposition. Surely it is a craven, hopeless attitude to say that if Australia enters into an alliance with the only power that is capable of giving us protection and, as we are bound to do under the alliance with that country, allows it to install facilities here for our own defence as well as its own, then we are inviting attack. There can be only one answer to that. I support unhesitatingly the amendment moved by Senator Byrne, which is realistic and true. Senator Georges who has been seeking to interject has not been here for long. I hope that after a few years he will learn a little common sense, but I am not very hopeful. I oppose the amendment moved by the Labor Party but I support the amendment moved by the Democratic Labor Party.
– lt is very difficult at this stage of the debate to introduce new material because most of the points have been canvassed fairly extensively. Not much contribution can be made unless some new material is introduced. There are one or two points I would like to clarify on behalf of the Australian Labor Party, the first of which concerns the statement initially made by the Leader of the Government Senate (Senator Anderson) concerning the defensive nature of the Woomera base. I suggest this is completely irrelevant to the whole discussion. It seems to me to have been an effort at diversion by emphasising this point. I do not believe that any of the potential enemies of this country - if you use that term - could see this base or any other military establishment on our soil as something of a defensive nature, any more than we would see any Communist base established anywhere in the world as being of a defensive nature. Can anyone imagine a nuclear rocket-firing submarine of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics cruising in the Pacific as something of a defensive nature? Of course not. Every one of these bases, no matter by whom they were established, is part of a world-wide integrated system of military alliance, whether it is established by the United States of America or by the Soviet Union. I noticed an interesting paragraph in the ‘New York Times’ of 16th March this year in which Robert B. Semple, discussing the establishment of the American anti-ballistic missile system, said - and I think this is pertinent to the debate:
In the nuclear equation, is there any move that is not provocative, is not a new spark to the actionreaction cycle of the weapons race?
In another edition of the same publication on 2nd March we find this statement evidencing the involvement of all the nations in this insane armaments race:
If many of America’s 1,710 missiles were armed with multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV’s), the Russians could easily become alarmed that America was not only protecting its deterrence ability, but also striving for a first strike capability. This would mean America could fire enough warheads at each Soviet ICBM to have high confidence of destroying most of them on the ground.
In that case the Soviets would have to deploy MIRV’s too. In fact, both nations are test firing multiple warheads.
A few years ago it was primitive atomic bombs. Then it became nuclear weapons. Then it became inter-continental ballistic missiles. Then it became what 1 think were called ‘fractional orbital bombardment systems’. Now we have missiles armed with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles. One wonders where the human race is heading when our technology and brains can bring about this state of affairs.
– That may be right. One point referred to by Senator Greenwood - and perhaps someone else - had relation to action taken by the Labor Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin, during the Second World War, and it appeared to me chat this was raised in an attempt to endorse this Government’s action. The Right Honourable John Curtin on 25th March 1942, when referring to the invitation to General Douglas MacArthur of the United States to take over as Supreme Commander of this area, said:
Australia has and has had from the beginning two major requirements to press in this connection. First that whatever machinery is set up should bc uncomplicated and such as would help and not hinder quick decision, and secondly, that at the final stage of decision, the Commonwealth Government should have a direct voice on equal terms with the other principals concerned. The weight and authority which that voice might command are for ourselves to ensure … 1 affirm that in neither respect will the force of Australia’s representation in War Councils abroad ever find cause for impairment or hesitation. 1 suggest that that last paragraph contains the essential difference between Curtin’s action 25 years ago and the action taken by this Government in respect of this mailer. lt is well known that the Australian Labor Party supports the ANZUS treaty. This is quite, clearly written into our platform. But we do not support any treaty which is negotiated at the expense of the sovereignly of this country. Can anyone imagine the United States becoming involved in a war because of the influence, or at the behest, of another nation? Of course it would not. This is not just because America is the biggest and most powerful nation on earth; it is because the Americans have the right to make their own decision as to when they will1 become involved in a war, and we have exactly the same right. 1 understand that honourable senators on the Government side have indicated this point of view and I would like to see some evidence showing that this is in fact the case. I only hope that it is.
I want to dwell for a few minutes on the broader aspects of the defence of this country. The statement of the Prime Minister, made some days ago, referred to the threat from the spread of Communism in an insecure and unstable Asia. Apparently the whole basis of the Government’s position rests on the alleged Communist military threat to Australia and other countries in this part of the world. Well, I am not a pacifist. If someone were to take a shot at me he would need to shoot straight the first time. We live in a dangerous world.
If somebody carries a gun and you think he is going to fire at you, obviously you must also carry a gun. This is regrettable but it is realistic. I suggest to the Senate, Mr President, that it is quite erroneous to imagine that we are going to stop Communism or contain it, as I think every honourable senator would like us to do, simply with guns. The Communist philosophy is, firstly, a political and economic weapon. Secondly, it is a military weapon. But from the year 1917 those persons who have been vocal in their opposition to Communism, and vocal for the containment of Communism, have put the emphasis the other way round. We have tried to contain Communism by military means and we simply have not succeeded. 1 suppose it is without historical precedence that it has taken only 50 years for one philosophy to take control of a third of the human race. I suggest that if this misinterpretation of the methods by which Communism operates is continued, then in the next 50 years it may well take over another third of the human race. There are many countries in underdeveloped parts of the world which are prime targets. This is not a reason for panic, but it is a reason for keeping proper priorities in front of us. There are hundreds of millions of people in the world who are wide open to all sorts of extreme political philosophies, Communism or otherwise. If we wish to maintain the security and stability which is a prerequisite to peace in the world then we first have to solve this problem.
Vast expenditure on defence is far outweighed, in my view, by the neglect of the other more important problem we are confronted with. I refer to what is going to happen in the 1970s and the 1980s. We all know about the food and population problems and all the rest. These problems will lead to the very conditions which will give rise to political instability throughout a large part of the world. I suggest that we should be doing more in this respect than we have done, rather than think that we are going to stop the Communists by sending troops to Vietnam and so on. In my view the Vietnam war, quite apart from the rights and wrongs of the war, has been one of the greatest things that has happened to Communist China since the Communists came to power there in 1949. The Americans have become involved in a situation which will have repercussions throughout the American political scene, at least for the remainder of this century and well into the 2 1 st century. There may come a time when all of us on both sides of this chamber would be glad of United States involvement in some future situation of this nature; but that involvement may not be forthcoming. The United States may well think twice before it allows itself again to become involved in a war of this nature.
One last point 1 would like to make concerns a remark made by Senator Greenwood at the end of his speech. He said: That one ally on which we can rely is the United States of America’. I hope that Senator Greenwood is completely correct in that statement. But I would refer again to the New York ‘Times’, to the issue of 23 rd March in which there is quite an extensive article relating to discussions between the United States and Spain on American bases in Spain. The author, Benjamin Welles makes this point:
This week when Secretary Rogers. Undersecretary Richardson and the Spanish sit down, as expected, to sign a new extension there may be some ‘fancy’ phraseology but there will be no United States commitment to defend anything in Spain except the American-manned bases. 1 hope that any agreements we enter into with the United States will be more watertight than that which the Spanish apparently will get.
– Mr President, there remain a few brief moments before this debate will cease this evening. Therefore I shall attempt, as quickly as 1 can, a condensation of the Opposition case, lt has crystallised into two points. The first objection in the minds of the Opposition concerns the element of secrecy which surrounds the proposed defence space communications facility at Woomera. Secondly, there is the suggestion that through the establishment of the proposed defence facility we are inviting nuclear attack. Before dealing with these two major points of the Opposition case I would like to say that it is easy to be irresponsible when you are not occupying the Government benches. I have no doubt that were the gentlemen of the Opposition occupying tho Government benches, they would do the same things that we have done, and will do, in respect of this facility.
They would adopt forms of security, such as not advising people far and wide of just what this facility is. They would not support the proposition that such an installation will invite nuclear attack. They would act as a responsible body of men would act.
I am sure that the Opposition has been playing a game of politics in relation to this matter and that its actions are quite divorced from the requirement for a responsible approach to what is the major concern of our nation. That major concern is a continuation of its progress and development in peaceful surroundings. This progress and development are being carried out in conjunction with the Americans. This installation is a joint venture. It is not a case of some horrible overseas power putting a foot on our soil and doing certain things to which we object. This facility is something which we are grateful to have. We are grateful to be able to co-operate with a great and friendly power to ensure that there is a secure future for this nation. This can only come about if such assistance is forthcoming from the United States. If it is not, then we cannot look to the future with any degree of confidence. The ANZUS treaty is of vital importance to Australia. It expresses responsibility as well as an expectation of assistance in time of need. I wish now to refer to article 2 of that treaty.
Shipping Entering Australian Ports from Haiphong - Closure of Chest Clinic at St George Hospital
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.
– Some weeks ago in the adjournment debate 1 complained about the fact that ships from a Communist country were being allowed to carry goods from Communist countries and from Communist China to Haiphong, the major port of North Vietnam, and were then being permitted to continue to Australia and to use Australian ports for the purpose of trading. I suggested that many parents of young soldiers fighting in South Vietnam might be concerned over the sale of wheat to Communist China but would also be concerned to think that ships were being permitted to carry to Haiphong all kinds of materials that could be used against their sons and then were freely using Australian ports. This matter was also referred to in another place by Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes. He stated that when the matter was first raised the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) said that Australia could not stop these ships calling at Australian ports because of the provisions of the International Navigation Treaty. In my remarks on the adjournment debate I pointed out that the country concerned. Poland, had refused to sign this Treaty and that, therefore, there was nothing to stop the Australian Government from taking action if it saw fit. Mr Sinclair said that there was no regular pattern of Polish shipping visiting North Vietnamese ports and then coming on to Australia, but he made an admission when he said that any move towards regular voyages to Australia by ships taking supplies to North Vietnamese ports would have to be given critical Government examination.
I propose, in a helpful spirit, to provide the evidence that there is a regular traffic of this nature and T propose to give the evidence as follows: The ships referred to are Polish ships. The ‘Emilia Plater’ used the port of Brisbane on 31st May 1968. The ‘Florian Ceynowa’ used an Australian port in early 1968 and used the port of Melbourne on 6th February 1969. The ‘Janek Krasicki’ used the port of Brisbane on 18th March 1968 and the port of Melbourne on 8tb December 1968. The ‘Stefan Okrzeja’ used the port of Melbourne on 4th August 1968 and the port of Brisbane on 20th February 1969. The ‘Jan Matejko’ used the port of Fremantle in September 1968. The ‘Marcelli Nowotko’ used the port of Brisbane on 4th November 1968. The Ludwik Solski’ used the port of Brisbane on 23rd December 1968. These ships carried materials to North Vietnam against which country we are carrying on a crusade apparently in the interests of freedom and yet at the same time we are prepared to get all the trade we possibly can from these ships. I want to make these comments: The Joseph Conrad’, the ‘Janek Krasicki’, the
Florian Ceynowa’ and the ‘Emilia Plater’, all of the Polish Ocean Line, sailed to Australia in the early part of 1968. Each of these ships, with the exception of the Joseph Conrad’, had previously called at Haiphong, the port of North Vietnam. The Stefan Okrzeja’ called here in August 1968, having previously called at Haiphong. It was followed by the Jan Matejko’, which arrived in September. In November the ‘Marcelli Nowotko’ arrived in Australia.
By this time the protests were starting to mount. The Polish Commercial Attache was forced to admit that this ship had in fact been to Haiphong. In December the ‘Janek Krasicki’ arrived in Australia, also from Haiphong, lt was followed by the Ludwik Solski’ in December, the ‘Florian Ceynowa’ in February and the ‘Stefan Okrzeja’ in March. In other words, since the beginning of 1968 ten ships of the Polish Ocean Line have arrived in Australia after unloading in Haiphong. In that lime only two other ships of this line arrived here without visiting Haiphong, lt is almost a regular call. They were the ‘General Sikorski’, which arrived in September 1968, and the previously mentioned ‘Joseph Conrad’. The case of the ‘Stefan Okrzeja’ is an interesting one as we have it on good authority that for some years this ship was on a regular route from Russia to North Vietnam, prior to arriving in Australia for the first time in August 1968. The ship then made its second visit to Australia in February 1969, having called at Haiphong during February. After unloading in Haiphong it went to Shanghai to pick up further material, mainly deck cargo believed to be Chinese, and then returned to Haiphong and unloaded it. It then proceeded via Singapore to Brisbane. It seems quite clear that a definite pattern in spite of what the Minister said has been established - a Europe-Haiphong-Australia shipping route which did not exist prior to .1968.
It should be noted further that, of the ships mentioned, the ‘Janek Krasicki’, the Florian Ceynowa’ and the ‘Stefan Okrzeja’ have made two visits to Australia already after unloading in Haiphong. The ‘. Krasicki’ is listed on the Polish Ocean Line schedule to arrive in Australia shortly. This ship has just concluded unloading in
Haiphong and when it arrives in Australia this will be its third visit to Australia from Haiphong. The ‘Marcelli Nowotko’ is also advertised to arrive in Australia soon and my information is that this ship at present is on its way to Haiphong from Europe. To sum up, of the twelve ships of this line which have called at Australian ports since the beginning of 1968, ten have come to Australia after unloading at Haiphong. One of these, the 4 1 n .. ..1, Krasicki’, has made two visits to Australia from Haiphong and is about to make its third. The ‘Florian Ceynowa’ and the ‘Stefan Okrzeja’ have made two visits via Haiphong to Australia. The ‘Marcelli Nowotko’ has made one voyage and is about to make its second. This clearly establishes a definite pattern of Europe-Haiphong-Australia voyages and a pattern as clear as this ought to be the basis for Government action to ban these ships from using Australian ports immediately after proceeding to and unloading at Haiphong.
How can the Government explain to the fathers and mothers of Australian soldiers who are conscripted to fight in South Vietnam that it is engaging in a legitimate crusade while at the same time it says that the ports of Australia shall be freely open to the ships which carry to Haiphong the material which will be used against their sons? I say that it is time that the Government started to look at realities. 1 know that for years we have had it said that it is all right to fight Communism in one place and then subsidise it with cheap wheat in another; it is all right to let these people use our ports and then carry war material to be used against our soldiers. Some people may think it is right. I think it is wrong. Let us do something straight forward on this issue.
– I listened with a great deal of interest to what the honourable senator said. He informed the Senate that, since May 1968, twelve ships left Europe, called at Haiphong in North Vietnam, unloaded cargo there and then came on to Australia. The honourable senator will realise that I do not have at my fingertips the answer to the matters he raised. The Government and I are interested in what the honourable senator said. I assure him that I will refer the matters he raised to the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) so that he be given a detailed reply to the charges he laid tonight.
– I wish to raise a matter concerning the closure by the Commonwealth Government of the chest clinic at the St George Hospital in Sydney. On behalf of the people of the St George district I protest strongly at the withdrawal of such a vital health service in the area which has a population of about a quarter of a million people. The chest clinic at the St George Hospital was opened in 1954 by the then Federal Minister for Health. Since then many patients in the district, and indeed outside the district, suffering with chest disease have been treated at the clinic.
This special unit has fifteen beds which are accommodated in a modern building with excellent facilities for patients. The unit of fifteen beds has had an average daily bed occupancy of 11.8 which compares more than favourably with that of clinics at other hospitals in New South Wales. By way of illustration let me mention one or two others. For instance, the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney has 100 beds in the chest clinic and the average daily bed occupancy is 21.3. The Broken Hill and District Hospital has 18 beds in its chest clinic and an average daily bed occupancy of 5. Manly District Hospital with 15 beds in its chest clinic has an average daily bed occupancy of 6.3, so on those figures one can see that the St George hospital which has 15 beds in its chest clinic and an average daily bed occupancy of 11.8 compares very favourably with clinics which have been established at other hospitals.
My information is that the Commonwealth Department of Health and the New South Wales Department of Health have agreed that as the Randwick Chest Hospital becomes available to accept patients, patients will be directed there from the St George Hospital or, if not to there, to the Princess Juliana Hospital or to the Canterbury District Hospital. The fact is that the clinic at the St George Hospital has now been closed. Arrangements were made to transfer the thirteen patients who were in it at the time. Six were sent to the in-patients department of the Canterbury District Hospital, one went to the Repatriation Department, four were discharged from the hospital, one was admitted to the general ward of the hospital, and unfortunately one died.
The St George Hospital which caters for 250,000 people in the area is a very important teaching hospital attached to the University of New South Wales. I am sure that Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin, who represents the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes), will appreciate that it is necessary to maintain chest clinics at teaching hospitals in order that teaching can be carried out adequately and effectively. To date the full cost of this service, both capital and maintenance, has been provided by the Commonwealth Government. I have been told that the excuse advanced for the closure of the clinic is that there has been an alleged decline in demand. In view of the average daily bed occupancy that I have mentioned, I suggest that the St George district in Sydney is being deprived of an essential service by the closure of the chest clinic which was arranged, or apparently negotiated, between the Commonwealth Department of Health and the New South Wales Department of Health.
Let me say quite frankly that I believe that the people of the area are getting a very raw deal from this Government. Already the Commonwealth Department of Works has despoiled the foreshores of Botany Bay as a result of the extensions carried out at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport, and now the Department is busily engaged trying desperately to reclaim the area. My information is that the PostmasterGeneral’s Department is replacing the old obsolete post office at Brighton with a second-hand prefabricated building from Maroubra. The residents of the area are very badly affected by the noise of aircraft taking off and landing at Kingsford-Smith Airport. Only today I received a letter from the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Swartz) informing me that the possibility of the duplication of runways at the airport cannot be ruled out. If that eventuates the people of the St George district will have to put up with more noise. Now, as I have said, the Commonwealth Department of Health is closing the chest clinic at the St George Hospital.
I do not know how much more the people of the district can take from this Government. The member for Kogarah in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Mr Crabtree, has taken up the matter with the New South Wales Minister for Health. The Kogarah branch of the Australian Labor Party has lodged a protest. The Barton federal electorate council of the Australian Labor Party has lodged a protest. The St George federal electorate council of the Australian Labor Party has lodged a protest. Now I appeal to the Federal Minister for Health to do something about it. It is time the Government woke up to itself. I urge the Minister representing the Minister for Health to take up the matter with her colleague, ask him to review the decision that has been arrived at and at least in one respect - the closure of the chest clinic at the St George Hospital - have some regard for the residents of the Illawarra area of Sydney.
[10.46] - Senator McClelland has referred to the closure of the chest clinic at the St George Hospital. I cannot give him any definite details. I presume there were discussions between the Commonwealth and State health authorities following which it was thought best to close the clinic.I think the honourable senator raised two points that he wants me to put to my colleague, the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes). The first is that the closure of the clinic is a disservice to the area and he wants it reopened for the benefit of the patients in the district. The second point is that he feels that the clinic is important because the St George Hospital is a teaching hospital.
– Having in mind the average daily bed occupancy.
– Yes. The honourable senator seeks a reopening of the clinic because of the service it gave to patients in the area and because of the part that the hospital has played as a teaching hospital. I shall put those points to my colleague, the Minister for Health, and advise the honourable senator of his reply.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.49 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 15 May 1969, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1969/19690515_senate_26_s41/>.