26th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers,
– On 14th May I informed the Senate that pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution I had notified the Governor of the State of South Australia of the vacancy in the representation of that State caused by the death of Senator Laught. I have now received through His Excellency the Governor-General, from the Governor of the State of South Australia, a certificate of the appointment of Martin Bruce Cameron as a senator to fill the vacancy. I present the certificate which will be read by the Clerk.
The Clerk then laid on the table the certificate certifying the choice as a senator of Martin Bruce Cameron.
Senator Martin Bruce Cameron made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
– I address a question to the Leader of the Government who represents the Minister for Defence in this chamber. Is the Government discussing with the United States authorities the possibility of withdrawing from the arrangements to purchase the FI 1 1 aircraft?
– In answering this question I would say that I have nothing to add to what was said by the Prime Minister in relation to the Fill in the statement that he made in the other place on 15th May. If it is the Senate’s will 1 shall read that part of the statement which related to the Fill, but I do not think I need to do so. I have nothing to add to what the Prime Minister said.
– What did he say?
– I shall read it. This is the Prime Minister’s statement in part:
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 and 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 F111As which are comparable with our own F111Cs. 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 19S0 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 our 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 and matters still under study by the Defence and Air Departments of Australia and that these will still need clarification and study by the Minister for Defence and the appropriate specialist officers at a later stage.
– Will the Minister for Customs and Excise take steps to have the manufacturers’ bounty of $16 a ton on urea reinstated to include the urea content of stock licks, as was the case until recently when the Department stopped payment of this bounty?
– A week or two ago in a similar question I was asked whether the subsidy on urea of $80 per ton of contained nitrogen was passed on to the people using urea as stock licks. I stated then that the subsidy on urea of $80 per ton of contained nitrogen was passed on to persons using urea as a fertiliser or as a stock lick. The present question as to whether the bounty of $16 a ton can be paid on urea used in stock licks is a subject for consideration by my colleague the Minister for Trade and Industry with whom I shall raise this matter and obtain a reply for the honourable senator.
– I direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer to last Week’s raid by
Commonwealth police on the home and offices of Maxwell Newton, the searching of his records and personal papers, and the confiscation of material by the raiding police. I would like to know whether the Government intends to justify this incredible invasion of a citizen’s privacy by laying charges.
– I suggest that the honourable senator’s question might be directed to the Minister representing the Attorney-General.
– Is the Minister representing the Prime Minister aware that today senators have received a twenty-page submission issued by the Australian Council of Local Government Associations and putting forward a case for financial assistance from the Commonwealth for local government? I ask him whether he is also aware that the submission contains the following quotation from a letter written by the late Premier of Tasmania:
Whilst they (the Premiers) are not prepared to agree to local government representation at future meetings between the Commonwealth and the Slates - the Premiers indicated that they would be willing to attend a special meeting at which representatives of local government would be present to consider local government finance in relation to Federal-State financial relations, if such a meeting were called by the Commonwealth.
Will the Minister indicate the constitutional position regarding Commonwealth Government initiation of such a proposal, or even the allocation of special grants by the Commonwealth for local government funds?
– My attention has been drawn to the document only today - in fact, within the last hour. I have not had a chance to read the full document. But, as I understand the constitutional position, the clear responsibility for local government is with the State governments. J do not want to be thought to be quoting something out of context because I believe that the Australian Council of Local Government Associations makes a case, but as I turn to the first page of this document I see that the very first sentence says:
Local government is a creation of the States and it follows as a corollary that the primary responsibility for ensuring an effective local government lies with the States.
The honourable senator referred to the ‘late Premier of Tasmania’. I am sure that she means the ex-Premier of Tasmania. Whilst he may express a view, as 1 understand the position the responsibility lies clearly with the State governments and it would be completely out of character and completely outside the concept of the three tiers of government for the Commonwealth to intercede, by-passing the States, in order to make certain provisions for local government without the leave of the States, without the concurrence of the States and without representations primarily from the States. That does not touch on the merit of the issue of making finance available. I know - I think we all know - that local government has a very difficult problem in terms of having enough rate revenue to enable it to do all the things it wants to do. But, in the first instance, that is a matter that it should raise with the State governments before making any representations to the Commonwealth.
– Mr President, I raise a point of order. Did the Minister refuse to answer Senator Ormonde’s question or did you rule it out of order? If you ruled it out of order, is it permissible under the Standing Orders to rule such a pertinent question out of order?
– I point out that I redirected the question to the Minister representing the Attorney-General because T was told, while the question was being posed, that he had some suitable comment to make. My thought was that the question would immediately be re-presented to Senator Wright. So, there was no suggestion of the question being ruled out of order or of my walking away from it.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. I refer to last week’s raid by Commonwealth police on the home and offices of Maxwell Newton, the searching of his records and personal papers and the confiscation of material by the raiding police. I would like to know whether the Government intends to justify this incredible invasion of a citizen’s privacy by laying charges.
– Insofar as a question has been asked as to whether the Government intends to lay charges, it would be improper and premature for me to discuss that at this stage.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Supply. Is it not a fact that Mr Dalyell, a Labour member of the House of Commons, supported by Senator Georges, stated that germ warfare experiments were being carried out at Innisfail? Did Mr Dalyell call Mr Fairhall, the Minister for Defence, a liar when he denied this allegation? Has Mr Dalyell, accompanied by Senator Georges - who, I regret, is not present - visited Innisfail? Did Mr Dalyell express satisfaction that germ warfare experiments were not being carried out at Innifail? Who is now the liar?
– The situation, as I understand it, is that Senator Georges asked a number of question relating to the establishment at Innisfail. That establishment is a joint United Kingdom-Australia project dealing with tropical materials and the effect of tropical climatic conditions upon such materials. It is true, as I understand it, that Mr Tam Dalyell, a member of the United Kingdom Parliament, is visiting Australia and sought permission to inspect the establishment. Indeed, I saw a comment that he made on television. Senator Georges visited the establishment yesterday in company with, this member of the United Kingdom Parliament. At this time I can rely only on what I have read in the Press because so far I have not received a reply about the visit. The facts are, as I pointed out to the Senate last week, that I have visited the establishment; the private secretaries of the Leaders of the Opposition have visited the establishment; the member of Parliament for that district has visited the establishment-
– Not my private secretary.
– No, the private secretaries to Mr Whitlam and Mr Barnard. The Press has visited the establishment and in fact the Minister dealing with defence production in the United Kingdom Government sent me a personal letter which I read out in this place. This all adds up to the fact that there is nothing of that nature going on there. As I read the Press reports this morning - and I have to be careful about quoting Press reports - the British parliamentarian has now made a statement that there is no germ testing at Innisfail. As to who is telling lies, I leave that to the good judgment of the Senate.
– I desire to raise a point of order, Mr President. I am sorry if I am late in doing so. I want to know whether it is usual in the Senate to use the term ‘liar’ as did Senator Sim, particularly having regard to the terms used. An honourable senator asked a question in this chamber some time ago about germ experiments, which he believed were taking place. I am asking whether a senator may stand here and use the term ‘liar’ and make the inference that the honourable senator made.
– Speaking to the point of order, I would not like it to be thought that there was any suggestion by me or by Senator Sim that Senator Georges was a liar.
– All that I am recording is what Mr Dalyell is reported to have said on television and as reported in the Press; that the Minister for Defence was a liar when he denied the allegations. My question was asked in that context.
– I think the entire question is based on a newspaper statement. The word liar flows from that. I do not see how you could avoid using it in the question, quite apart from the desirability of doing so.
– Speaking to the point of order, there is an important point involved as to whether the Minister was a liar. The honourable senator asked a question. He asked: ‘Who was the liar?’ That is the point. If the Minister was not the liar then obviously the questioner must have been the liar. That is what Senator Kennelly takes objection to.
– I address my question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. Whilst I acknowledge that the Commonwealth Government is keenly interested in the decentralisation of industry and the Australian population, is the Government fully aware of the disadvantage suffered by country industries due to the much heavier charges for trunk telephone calls which are imposed on them? ls the Minister aware that this factor reacts against industries being encouraged to go to country areas? Will the Minister attempt to influence the Government to introduce a set rate for trunk telephone calls throughout Australia?
– This is a question which requires a very detailed reply from my colleague, the PostmasterGeneral. I will endeavour to obtain what information I can lor the honourable senator.
– ls the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry aware whether his colleague has received a petition from a substantial number of dried fruit growers seeking the establishment of a single statutory authority to acquire and market dried fruits overseas and in Australia? Was such a request refused by the Australian Agricultural Council? As no poll of growers has been taken will the Minister conduct a poll to ascertain the views of growers on this matter?
– Perhaps the best way in which I can answer the honourable senators question is to refer him to a Press statement that was made by the Minister for Primary Industry following a meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council in Hobart. This is the text of the statement:
A request from a section of growers in the dried vine fruits industry for support in the setting up of a single statutory marketing authority for dried vine fruits was considered by the Australian Agricultural Council in Hobart today.
The Chairman, Mr Anthony, said the Council had noted that the recognised industry authority, the Australian Dried Fruits Association, did not support the proposal following its rejection by district councils and State conferences of the organisation. He said that in the circumstances the Council could not see its way clear to support the request for a poli of growers on the scheme nor for a royal commission as some growers had suggested. However a poll of growers was desirable to ascertain the industry’s views on any proposals for continuation of a dried fruit stabilisation scheme.
– I preface my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate by saying that 1 shall obey your order, Mr President, that questions without notice shall contain no ironical expression, ls the Leader of the Government aware that Mr Tam Dalyell, a member, f. understand, for Ayrshire in Scotland, was found guilty of a breach of privilege by the House of Commons Privileges Committee for divulging matters before the Committee of Defence? Is the .Minister aware also that Mr Tam Dalyell was admonished by Mr Speaker and that the admonition was upheld by the entire House of Commons with the exception of some 23 or 40 voles?
– I rise to a point of order, Mr President. This is nol a matter within the responsibility of the Minister. Apart from that and irrespective of whether it is correct, it reflects upon a member of another House of Parliament in respect of his official capacity. It also constitutes an undue interference with the affairs of other persons. The question previously asked about Mr Dalyell1 dealt with something that he had done in his capacity outside Parliament and something that he had said here in Australia. One would think that that was a proper question to ask. The question now before you, whether the information be right or wrong, clearly is intended to be offensive and reflect upon that person in his capacity .as a member of the House of Commons. It is not a matter within the responsibility of the Minister and I ask you to disallow it.
– I would submit that when an overseas parliamentarian visits this country for the purpose of checking on the accuracy of information given by responsible Ministers of the Australian Government to their Parliament and their people, the Austraiian public and members of the Australian Parliament are entitled to be informed as to the credentials of that person in his public capacity. I would submit that if such information is in the possession of the Leader of the Government in this chamber then it is a matter in which we are all interested and that, if he were asked to do so, the Minister would have a duty to communicate to the people’s representatives the credentials of this inquisitor from abroad on the credibility of Australian Government Ministers.
– I suggest that the point of order that Senator Murphy has taken is obviously correct as the subject matter of the question asked does not fall within the ministerial responsibility of the Minister to whom it was directed. The question asked by Senator Sim obviously did fall1 within the ministerial responsibility because it referred to the report of the comment of the British member of parliament on allegations that he himself had made before coming to Australia. Although we did not appreciate some of the terms that were used, I submit that it was proper to direct the Minister’s attention to Mr Dalyell’s reported statement. The honourable senator was asking the Minister whether he had now seen that Mr Dalyell1 had said that he had found no evidence of germ warfare, or that he was satisfied that there was no testing of germs. The question under consideration may or may not relate to Mr Dalyell’s allegations. It has nothing to do with what he said in Australia and it has nothing to do with any matter for which the Minister to whom the question was directed has any responsibility. I submit that the question was entirely out of order. It is an attempt to bring into this Parliament something that Senator Cormack probably read about an occurrence in another . parliament. What has been put to the Minister does not relate to any sphere of the Minister’s responsibilities.
– I rise to speak on this point of order because I think the whole matter revolves around the credibility of the person who came to Australia. The first thing this person did when he got here was to call the Minister for Defence a liar. When the people of Australia come to judge this man’s qualities, they will’ want to know in what context he calls the Minister a liar. The question asked seeks information as to how this man was regarded in England, as to whether he is respected in the United Kingdom Parlia ment, and as to whether he had been charged or questioned for having done certain things within that Parliament. It seeks to give the people of Australia the information necessary to enable them to judge for themselves as to whether this member of the United Kingdom Parliament who came out here to report on matters which are happening in this country is a man to whom some credibility can be attached.
– In view of all that has been said, and in view of the difficulty in arriving at a decision on this matter, I shall let the question go to the Minister if he wishes to answer it.
– With great respect, Mr President, I cast no reflection on the point of order but would point out that the information sought by Senator Cormack in his question is to be found in a document which may be had from the Parliamentary Library. That document is entitled ‘Second Report from the Committee of Privilege together with the proceedings of the Committee and Minutes of Evidence and Appendices’. It contains a transcript of the evidence taken on a question of privilege relating to a complaint concerning an article that appeared in the ‘Observer’ newspaper on 26th May 1968. Following the examination by the Committee of Privileges as to the release of a classified document to the Press by Mr Dalyell, the House of Commons passed a resolution.
– Was that in relation to this matter?
– Yes, as the transcript of evidence reveals. On 24th July 1968 the House of Commons resolved by 244 votes to 52:
That this House doth agree with the Committee of Privileges in their Report, and that Mr Speaker do reprimand Mr Tam Dalyell for his breach of privileges and his gross contempt of the House.
Mr Dalyell stood in his place and was reprimanded by Mr Speaker, and the occurrence was entered in the Journals of the Parliament. This all arose from Mr Dalyell releasing to the Press a document dealing with defence matters which emanated from a special committee of the Parliament. I make the point that this member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom was allowed to inspect the United
Kingdom-Australia joint project at Innisfail because the United Kingdom Government has as much responsibility for it as Australia has. He was a member of Parliament of that country. Therefore he was extended the courtesy of being allowed to inspect the project. Contrary to what he said to the Press in the United Kingdom before hand and contrary to what he said when he arrived in Australia, which suggested that in certain circumstances the Minister for Defence had told lies, he said after he went there and made an inspection he found out that what had been told to him by us was completely true. I understand that he made a Press statement, which appears in this morning’s Press, in which he acknowledged that he was wrong in what he thought about that project.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. Is it a fact that a licence has been granted by the Government for the importation of pre-fabricated steel for use on the third stage of construction of the alumina plant at Gladstone? If such a licence has not been granted, is it likely that one will be granted in the foreseeable future?
– I ask the honourable senator to place his question on notice. I will study it and perhaps I will be able to obtain an answer before we rise.
– Is the Minister representing the Attorney-General aware of the plans of a company known as Pacific Sporting Pools Ltd to conduct Nauru-based football pools in Australian States and Territories? Is the Minister aware that there has been opposition to this proposal in some of the States? In view of the very widespread interest in this matter can the Minister state his colleague’s attitude towards the conducting of such pools in the Commonwealth Territories?
– I wish the honourable senator to know that we are aware of proposals for a Nauru-based football pool. We are aware of the objections expressed in this country to those proposals. All I wish to say is that the Government is watching the position carefully.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. On 14th May I asked him two questions about the Fill. 1 asked, firstly, what amount had been paid by Australia to that date under the Fill contract, agreement, arrangement or whatever it is; secondly, what would be the cost to Australia of cancelling the order or of withdrawing from it? Is the Minister able to tell me when 1 will have an answer?
– I have an answer in part to the question that Senator Cohen asked. Because I had not obtained an answer to the latter part of the question 1 withheld the information in the hope of obtaining full information for him. I can inform the honourable senator that as at 28th February 1969, payments for the twenty-four FI 1 1C aircraft ordered for the Royal Australian Air Force amounted to $1 55.928m. When the sums of Si 9.3m and $9.lm expended on the RAAF base at Amberley are added one gets a total amount of about SI 84.3m. The honourable senator’s question was directed to the position as at 14th May. I do not have that information at the moment. However, I have asked for it to be made available to me.
– The Minister has stated the position as at February?
– The figures I have quoted are as at 28th February 1969.
– What about the cost of cancelling the order?
– I do not have the answer to that question.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister for Housing, lt is apropos the Minister’s statement at the weekend, which indicated that she is aware of the need to provide more suitable homes at reasonable rentals for the elderly - especially those on,low incomes - the handicapped, widows, widowers and deserted wives with dependent children. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to the scheme of the Sou-th Australian Housing Trust to provide pensioners and others on small incomes with housing at charges more in keeping with their ability to pay? Are the cottage flats and rental grants housing schemes in force in South, Australia the type of provision envisaged by the Minister as meeting the needs of those to which she has referred?
– I am certainly aware in general terms of the most excellent work being done by the South Australian Government in the field of housing for those on low incomes and for age pensioners. Indeed, I am aware of the excellent work being done by other State governments also. The honourable senator will appreciate that the Commonwealth Government makes large sums of money available to the States through the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement and assists church and charitable bodies and municipal authorities under the homes for the aged legislation. Of course, the Commonwealth Government now assists a housing programme for Aboriginals. I believe that many of the people to whom the honourable senator referred will be assisted in one of these ways. I assure the honourable senator that I give my greatest consideration to those areas of need.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Can the Minister inform the House whether the dispute on the wharves in Tasmania, which is reported to be preventing 600,000 bushels of fruit from being dispatched to overseas markets, is still continuing? If so, what is the cause of the dispute? Is there any justification for the fears expressed that the time limit on the sale of this fruit overseas may run out?
– It is well known that fruit is a perishable commodity and therefore any delay in its shipment is a matter of concern. The continuation of this dispute may depend upon the expected settlement of the Melbourne dispute today. Therefore I refrain from any further comment today upon the Hobart dispute.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for National Development aware that certain mining prospectors are to apply for authority to enter, for the purpose of prospecting, upon large tracts of valuable alluvial flats adjoining the upper reaches of the Murray and Swampy Plains rivers, where floods frequently occur? Will the Minister, as a matter of urgency, take steps for the Government to have all applications for mining on these alluvial flats adjoining the streams in the Hume catchment area deferred or suspended pending investigations by the proper authorities of the effect that such mining operations could have on the destruction of valuable river flats, causing serious siltation in the Hume Weir and the Murray Valley irrigation system?
– I have been informed that at least one application has been lodged with the New South Wales authorities for permission to prospect for minerals in the upper Murray Valley. Prospecting and mining in this area are matters for consideration by the State. Matters of this nature are not within the constitutional authority of the Department of National Development or of the River Murray Commission, of which my colleague the Minister for National Development is Chairman. However, the River Murray Commission is naturally interested in such developments, and should it have reason to believe that there was any likelihood of deleterious effects on storages or river control within its area of responsibility it would certainly approach the appropriate authorities to seek ways of avoiding such occurrences. I have also been informed that the New South Wales Department of Mines, the Department of Conservation and the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission will in any case impose adequate safeguard conditions on any licences which may be issued by the Mines Department.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. What importance does the classification ‘confidential’ have in the hierarchy of official classification? What is the usual distribution list of confidential documents? Is it not true that some confidential material has a wide distribution list? Were not at least forty copies of the cable published by Mr Maxwell Newton sent to the Department of Trade alone? Why then were Mr Maxwell Newton’s home and office searched, under the extreme sanction of the Crimes Act, for a document that was widely available in most of the departments of the Public Service?
– The honourable senator would seem to imply that because there was a widespread distribution of a certain document in the departments of the Public Service Mr Newton would be entitled to have that document and to communicate it to the public. That is a complete misconception. Whether a departmental document is classified or not, it needs to be widely and clearly known that no member of the Public Service is entitled to band out any such document to a news vendor or to the public. As to Mr Maxwell Newton and his confidential disclosures, he published a report which in his own print was stated to be of a confidential government cable. He went on .to make it interesting to his readers, from whom, of course, he gets subscriptions for his profit. He made it interesting so as to promote his own profit in his news vending undertaking. He said that among the confidential cables received by the Department of External Affairs last week was a very interesting one from the Australian Embassy in Paris which, he said, spoke of the Australian Ambassador’s conversation with the French Foreign Minister, touching upon several subjects, including the subject of Vietnam and the Paris peace talks.
Mr Newton had the temerity later, when trying to disparage the Government’s search warrant, to say that the cable was not very interesting but was a very dull one indeed; yet for profit he had described the cable as being very interesting. Let me say with regard to that cable that the decision as to whether or not it is classified rests not with Mr Newton or any member of the journalists’ fraternity but with the Government. One needs only to pause to think in the interests of the security of the Government and any possible effect upon what I hope everybody will consider to be most deliccate conversations going on in Paris with regard to the peace talks to realise that a cable must not be interpreted in isolation, that it must be interpreted in the context of other communications, not only from that quarter but also from elsewhere. I should think that the delicacy of a communication of that sort would occur to every Australian as unique. When it is realised that Mr Newton had boasted in his newsletter, with a view to boosting sales for his commercial undertaking, that he was going to penetrate bureaucracy, was it not probable that a search of his business premises and perhaps his house next door would disclose that the cable was in his possession illegally? That is a liability from which Mr Newton has no privilege and no other citizen has privilege. But when Mr Newton makes it clear that he is boasting of publicising communications which the Government regards as confidential, all that the Government does is to apply the law.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. In view of the opposition, of the Queensland Government and the Queensland people generally to the establishment of poker machines and gambling casinos in that State, will the Minister investigate a newspaper report that Army personnel are conducting a gambling casino near Toowoomba on Commonwealth property?
– Immediate inquiries were undertaken upon receipt of the news report mentioned by the honourable senator and it was established that gambling activities were being carried out at an Army unit outside Toowoomba. The sole purpose of these activities was to raise money for charity, lt has been ascertained that all proceeds were strictly accounted for and paid to the charity. As soon as this matter came to the notice of Army headquarters a direction was given that these activities were to cease forthwith.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. In applying the law, is not one of the first rules that a person against whom it is intended to bring a prosecution should not be subjected to any prejudicial statement by the Government? Can the Minister explain to the Senate the extraordinarily prejudicial outburst that he just made against Mr Newton and can he fell us whether the only possible explanation of this is that the Government does not intend to lay any charges against Mr Newton?
– lt will be recalled that at the commencement of question time today I was asked by Senator Ormonde whether the Government was proposing to lay charges. My reply was quite precisely to say that to discuss that matter now would be both premature and improper. I am aware that one abstains out of a sense of fairness and justice from making any statement that might be prejudicial to the case of. a person who possibly will be accused of an offence. In view of the fact that a series of questions implying a defence of Mr Newton have been asked, when one recalls that Mr Newton has resorted to the country’s Press and television to denigrate and disparage law enforcement, it may be claimed that my statement today was anything but prejudicial. I would have thought thai it was an impartial, if strong, statement of the rights which the Government has to uphold the law on behalf of the Australian community.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport: Is it a fact that there are variations in traffic signs, road signs and traffic ‘ rules between the Australian States? In view of the great volume of traffic that travels interstate, would not such variations cause problems for motorists? Will the Minister take the necessary steps to get the various Stale authorities to act to standardise all road signs and traffic rules throughout the Commonwealth so that Australian motorists will be familiar with all such aspects, wherever they may be travelling?
– It is true that road traffic rules and road signs vary throughout the Commonwealth. As there is an ever increasing number of people travelling interstate it is absolutely essential that the various organisations concerned with road traffic should get together to bring down a standard system of control. There is in existence a Standards Association of Australia code for road signs. In addition, the Australian Committee on Road Devices is at present drafting a new manual of road signs and signals. I would hope that when the meeting is concluded and the drafting of the manual is finished, the various States will get together with a view to having a unified system of traffic control throughout Australia.
– How does the Leader of the Government in the Senate reconcile three separate answers given to me during this sessional period refuting a statement made by Mr Lewis, the New South Wales Minister for Lands, that an alternative site was offered to the Commonwealth Government for the North Head quarantine station with a further statement made yesterday by Mr Lewis repeating the existence of such an offer? Will the Minister lead a contingent of New South Wales senators to make a field inspection of North Head and the alternative site at Manly?
– Answering the last part of the question first, the answer is no. Happily I have lived a lifetime in the city of Sydney. I have visited the South Head establishments and I have certainly been to North Head, too. When visiting North Head I was more in picnic vein than on business bent, but I am aware of the circumstances there. I suggest to the honourable senator with great respect that if he wishes to evaluate three of my statements they should be evaluated by themselves, not by comparing them with a statement made by Mr Lewis. Obviously, the honourable senator has done this in order to emphasise a difference of view and in order to assert that the statements made by me on behalf of another Minister were inaccurate. In all the circumstances, I believe that the negotiations that are currently being conducted between the Minister for Lands in New South Wales and the Minister for the Interior and the Minister for Defence should be left in their present form so that the Ministers will be able to try to find some formula for resolving the situation. I do not think any good would be served by my interceding in the affairs of a department for which I have no statutory authority.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs satisfied with the proposal for a so-called free choice for self-determination by the people of West Irian? Does he agree that this area is of great importance to the people of Australia as it is the only place where we have a common tend boundary, either on our homeland or Territories, with our neighbours? Is the machinery for the so-called free choice in accordance with the spirit of the undertaking given to the Dutch when they ceded control of the territory?
– I have answered this question in substance in this place before. I brought out the point that the arrangement for a free choice, which was an agreement originally entered into with the Netherlands Government, has had the imprimatur of the United Nations put upon it, and in those circumstances it would be quite improper for a third party government such as the Australian Government - even though we are a next door neighbour, and have a common boundary - to intercede to the extent of saying: ‘We have decided that this is not the way to do it’. This is an agreement which was entered into and which had the imprimatur of the United Nations put upon it. It is true, as the honourable senator indicated in the general tenor of his question, that our relationship with Indonesia and our responsibilities in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are matters of great delicacy at the present time. I believe that the very best thing we can do is rely upon the Minister for External Affairs and his opposite number in Indonesia to find a proper solution to the matters to which reference is currently being made. I would like to leave the matter in that position at this time.
– Is the Minister representing the Attorney-General familiar with the circumstances relating to the resignation from office several years ago of the West German Minister of Defence, Dr Strauss, following action that he took against the editor of the German newspaper ‘Der Spiegel’ on the ground that it had published confidential military information? In view of the fact that a West German Minister was removed from office because of action similar to that taken recently against Maxwell Newton Pty Ltd, will the Minister and the Attorney-General consider visiting West Germany for a seminar on democratic practice?
– The question reveals an immature impertinence in reminding us of an incident in West Germany which has no analogy in any relevant sense in any intelligent mind with anything that was done by the Attorney-General last week with the authority of the Australian Government.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, refers to the Fill aircraft. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to a Press report in this morning’s Advertiser’ of comments made by Mr St. John, M.P., during a radio interview in Adelaide yesterday, suggesting that at the present time the Air Board is considering the cancellation of the Fill contract? Is the Air Board, in fact, at present engaged in any technical review which may result in the early cancellation of the order?
– I have long since reached the point where I completely and absolutely disregard anything said by Mr St. John, M.P. I do not say that with any discourtesy to Senator Bishop. As to the rest of the question, I rely upon the answer I gave earlier to Senator Cohen in which I quoted a statement made about the Fill by the Prime Minister on 15th May last.
– I address my question to the Minister representing the Attorney-General and I again refer to the Newton affair. Is the Minister aware that the Canberra District Committee of the Australian Journalists Association claims to have in its possession a copy of one of the documents seized by the police which does not deal with Commonwealth administration but is purely political? Does the siezure of this kind of material constitute a grave attack on a citizen’s right to comment freely and on the freedom of the Press?
– I would not be able to add any useful comment upon the situation mentioned by Senator Ormonde. He does not claim to have seen the document; I have not seen the document. I have seen a statement by the Australian Journalists Association that one of the documents was of purely political import but until the document is considered in the context of its own terms and those of other documents, any comment by me would be quite idle.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is there any possibility that the Minister for Primary Industry will make a statement, as has been suggested in the Press recently as emanating from the Minister, concerning proposals for the rehabilitation of the Australian dairying industry? Is it likely that a statement on this subject will be made before the Parliament rises for the winter recess?
– If my memory serves me correctly, I think the Minister made a statement concerning this matter within the last 3 weeks. I do not have that statement with me, nor do I have its purport in my mind. I will see whether such a statement is in existence. If it is and if the honourable senator has not seen it, T will provide him with a copy.
– I desire to ask a question of the Leader of the Government. Did a senior member of the Cabinet order the search by the Commonwealth police of the business premises and private residence of one Maxwell Newton or, as another Minister has told us. was this an order by the Government? Was it a decision of Cabinet to apply for the warrant to search? What was it expected that the search would reveal? Was it expected, as we have been told, that it would be found that he had a document illegally and was this the result of the search?
– I have nothing to add to what Senator Wright already has given in relation to the circumstances. 1 suggest that if the honourable senator seeks any further information he should put his question on notice.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the embarrassment to Australia’s defence plans and finances caused by the delays and uncertainties about the Fill aircraft, will the Minister agree to bring on for debate this week a Government item of business, order of the day No. 28, namely his motion that the Senate take note of the papers relating to the FI 1 1 aircraft, so that the Senate may discuss the Government’s handling of the matter?
– Subject to other factors relating to the business paper I will consider the request of the Leader of the Opposition. I expect that in a few minutes we will be discussing matters relating to the amount of work yet to be done by the Senate. So, as I have said, at this point I can merely respond to the honourable senator’s question by saying that 1 will consider his proposal.
– Since question time is not now being broadcast, I propose for the concurrence of the Senate that subsequent questions be placed on the notice paper so that we can proceed to deal with the very substantial business paper before us.
– Order! Does the Senate agree to that?
– I am not putting it as a motion. I am trying to encourage the Senate to get on with the job. (Several senators having asked questions without notice and Ministers requesting that they be placed on the notice paper, the Senate proceeded to deal with questions upon notice and the answers thereto)
(Question No. 110(1)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:
For what purpose does the Department of Health utilise three-quarters of an acre of land al Berrys Bay, New South Wales?
– The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The land is utilised as an operational base for Department of Health launches used in the quarantine service and for fumigation work in connection with shipping in the port of Sydney. Also located on the site is a slipway to enable the launches to be slipped for inspections, scraping cleaning and painting. A wharf is provided for mooring Departmental launches.
(Question No. 1137)
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
Did the Commonwealth Police, after investigation, insist on charges being made against Mr G. C. Hoffmann?
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
No. The decision to charge Mr Hoffmann under Section 55 of the Public Service Act was made by the Chief Officer of the Department after he had considered evidence in the matter.
(Question No. 1139)
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 1140)
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 1106)
asked the Minister representing the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:
– The Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs has furnished the following reply:
(Question No. 1208)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
– The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1212)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1230)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
Is it a fact that certain vacancies for senior radio officers in the Department of External Affairs were advertised in the Press in October 1968? If so:
on what dale were the successful applicants notified in the Commonwealth Gazette?
were any appeals lodged against the successful applicants? and
what were the results ofthe appeals?
– The Minister for External Affairs has furnished the following reply:
The only positions advertised in the press during October1968 by the Department of External Affairs were designated Machine Operator and Machine Operator-in-Training. These positions were notified also in the Commonwealth Gazette No. 90 dated 31st October 1968. The last occasion on which the department advertised for radio trained staff was March-April 1 968 (also Gazette No. 26 of 21st March 1968) for recruitment for the Antarctic Expedition.
(Question No. 1158)
Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
– The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question: 1 and 2. The question of a reciprocal agreement hi not a matter of application but one for negotiation between the two Governments concerned.
Certain discussions have taken place but these discussions have not reached thestage of consideration in detail of an agreement.
(Question No. 1219)
asked the Minister rep resenting the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
SenatorDame ANNABELLE RANKIN - The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1229)
asked the Minister representingthe Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
– The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1220)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The present export crayfish industry has been established on a product of uniformly high quality. To grant permission for the export of fish of lower quality could affect the reputation of the Australian product and, consequently, returns to fishermen. It is, therefore, considered unwise to permit exports of fish of a lower standard which could prejudice the existing valuable industry. Exports of crayfish in the year 1967-68 were valued at $23.6m.
Little is known of the extent of tropical crayfish resources or the ability of the species to withstand intensive fishing.
(Question No. 1234)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The Treasurer has obtained the following information from the Commonwealth Statistician:
(Question No. 1187)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1206)
asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
There is no legislation in force at present for a chicken meat research scheme although legislation providing for a levy on chicken slaughterings funds from which will be used to finance such a scheme was introduced by the Minister for Primary Industry on 15th May 1969. The $360,000 mentioned by the honourable senator is an estimate of the funds which could be made available for research into both the egg and chicken meat industries and is comprised of the following:
Commonwealth) which could be made available for research into the egg industry on the recommendation of the’ Council of Egg Marketing Authorities of Australia with the approval of the Minister for Primary Industry; and
Some time will elapse after the chicken meat legislation comes into force before sufficient funds will become available for the Chicken Meat
Research Committee to devise a programme for research. Consequently it cannot be known at this stage whether the matter of excess water will be included in the programme. It is pointed out that the question of excess moisture in frozen chickens prepared for consumption in Australia is principally one for the respective State Governments.
The Commonwealth’s responsibility is restricted to the Territories and to products prepared for export. It is understood that legislation to control the moisture in frozen chickens has been passed in Victoria and South Australia and is under consideration in New South Wales. Tasmania, via its Health Act, already has the means to control the water content.
(Question No. 1205)
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 1108)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The Prime Minister has provided me with the following answer to the honourable senator’s question: 1, 2 and 3. I have not received nor have 1 any knowledge of a report of the kind referred to by the honourable senator.
– On 14th May 1969, Senator Marriott asked me to prepare a statement for the Senate setting out the dates, places and the kinds of drugs seized by Australian customs officers in the past 4 years. I have had a detailed statement prepared for the information of honourable senators and, with the concurrence of honourable senators, I incorporate the statement in Hansard.
The following tables detail all seizures of narcotic drugs by Customs officers for the years 1965-1968 and from 1 January 1969 to current date. All quatities are expressed grams (g) or millilitres (ml): 28g= 1 oz 450g = 1 lb
Raw opium is the crude extract of the poppy.
Prepared opium is opium prepared for smoking by purification of the crude extracts.
Liquid opium and opium cocktail are mixtures which contain varying proportions of opium.
Opium dross or opium ash are residues from the smoking of opium.
Cannabis and Marihuana are synonyms applied to the material which is the flowering fruiting lops of the female plant, Cannabis Sativa L.
Hashish is the resin extracted from these flowering tops.
Reefers are cigarettes made from cannabis or marihuana.
Morphine is the principal alkaloid contained in opium and is isolated from opium by extraction processes.
Heroin (diacetyl morphine) is a narcotic prepared by the treatment of morphine with acetic anhydride.
– I move:
I do not propose at this point of time to speak at any length to the motion. I take it that if it becomes a matter of debate I shall be able to make some observations by way of. closing the debate, but I hope that will not be necessary. The reason for the motion is obvious.We have already altered the hours of sitting of the Senate for this week. It is really hoped that we shall be able to successfully conclude the business of the Senate this week. In all the circumstances, I suggest that government business should take precedence so that there will be a reasonable certainty of concluding our business this week.
– I oppose the motion. Last Thursday the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) was kind enough to indicate that he would move such a motion, so we arc not taken by surprise. I oppose the motion because a great deal of Opposition business, involving matters of considerable importance, has to be dealt with. Under General Business, for instance, there is the Constitution Alteration (Democratic Election of State Parliaments) Bill which I introduced in November last year. That Bill is at the second reading stage. The Government has not indicated its attitude to it. The second order of the day is a part heard matter relating to Antarctica. The third matter is the Independent Schools (Financial Assistance) Bill 1968. This emanated from the Democratic Labor Party, which has indicated that it is very anxious to have the matter dealt with. I have indicated before and I indicate again that the Opposition agrees that this Bill should be brought on. What our attitude to it will be, when it is heard and a vote is taken, is another matter altogether. We will be interested in what the Government has to say. I am making an open statement to the Democratic Labor Party that we will not pose any difficulties. At all times the Democratic Labor Party has known that, as far as we could, we would facilitate the bringing on of that matter.
There are a number of other Bills and motions - motions in relation to defence, etc. - and all kinds of other matters on the list that are of importance. Some of them are part heard and some of them merely notices of motion. Some of them are of long-term importance; some of them are. of very great importance to the nation even in the immediate future. I make these comments also: This Parliament has witnessed, during this session, a lull in proceedings - it may not have been so evident in the Senate as elsewhere - in the sense that the Government has not been anxious to bringon any kind of business. Certainly some of that lull was taken up here by the initiation of debate on the Hoffmann affair and other matters. Elsewhere the slackness of the Government was much more evident.
Each session we witness the tendency to withhold legislation at times when it could be dealt with, and then a rush to get the legislation through at the end of a period such as this. Inside and outside Parliament it is stated openly that this is not an accident and is not due to difficulties with parliamenttry draftsmen, but rather that the Government wants to push matters through without any real parliamentry debate. Certainly this Government is not alone in this field. The practice has been followed in other parliaments in this country and elsewhere and by various political parties which have been in government. I think it is time this practice came to a stop. The Parliament is starting to break down in dealing with legislation and in such a situation this Parliament, like others elsewhere in the world, will face the same kind of dissent that is being expressed in the universities and other institutions in society. Unless we manage our business so that we are able to deal efficiently with the affairs of the nation there will be increasing disenchantment with the institution of parliament and increasing attempts to have matters dealt with outside parliament.
It is obvious that a lot of the business on the notice paper, much of it emanating from the Government - even General Business because that includes ministerial statements on matters of great importance - cannot be dealt with tonight, this week or even the following week - if the session were extended. It will not be dealt with before the end of this year. This is just not satisfactory. It means that Parliament is not handling its affairs efficiently and the solution of these problems will become irrelevant unless the Parliament finds some way to handle its business. One of the ways is to subdivide, to set up committees and to start to handle business in this manner. If we continue with the present system, without sufficient time to handle our affairs, trying to siphon everything through two chambers, we will’ create a classic bottleneck. It is really a classic in the sense that everything has to go through a chamber where only one person can speak at a time. We will not be able to handle our functions in this way. We must subdivide and have the Senate, as an institution, working in a number of ways simultaneously. Committees can sit and do the hard work, the detailed analysis that is necessary of Bills or other matters, and when the committees have digested them sufficiently those matters could come back to this chamber for ultimate approval. I think this is the way Parliament will have to start to work. .
The motion is only a palliative; it is not the way to deal with the backlog in Government Business. To take 2i hours off General Business is no solution at all. In the interests of the Government as well as ourselves, I think the proposal ought to be studied more deeply. I do not want to criticise the Leader of the Government for moving the motion because similar action is being taken in other parliaments. It is being taken in the various State parliaments. I suppose that if we were in government we would do the same, if we followed these traditional and inefficient ways. I think the change has to come, in the interests of everyone and in the interests of the nation. I ask the Government to reconsider this motion. Some time ago I saw a public statement by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) suggesting an inquiry into the way in which
Parliament was being run and whether or not some improvements could be made. 1 suggest that such an inquiry ought to be pursued and perhaps ought to be pursued on a more general basis. This is not a matter of a party political nature; it is a matter of how the Parliament should best be run in the interests of the nation. 1 oppose the motion because I do not think the extra H hours will solve the problem or add materially to the time available. We could probably add extra time by cutting short debates.
– I might ask that that be done, too.
– We will co-operate wilh the Government in any reasonable way. I have suggested other ways. Speeches on virtually non-controversial matters could be shortened, speeches which have been delivered in another place could be incorporated, and draft speeches could be circulated to honourable senators in sufficient time for them to have an opportunity of reading the speeches. 1 see no real reason why second reading speeches should not be incorporated in Hansard instead of being read in a way that does not contribute greatly to the debate. There may be other ways. If the Government is reasonable, we will be reasonable.
– 1 cannot help feeling that the motive which inspired the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) to oppose the motion may be slightly less lofty than the principle he espoused in the speech we have just heard. The functioning of the Parliament is a common responsibility. It is not merely the responsibility of the Government to gel business through the Parliament, although that is a major part; it is the responsibility of others in this chamber and in the other place to co-operate in a manner consistent with the discharge of their own critical duties to assist in consideration of the legislative programme and other matters that may be raised by the Government or the Opposition. The Australian Democratic Labor Party supports the motion in the circumstances in which we find the Senate today. I have been a member of this chamber for a period of years - with some interruption - and the present sittings and the last sittings have been almost unique in my experience. A great deal of the time of the present sittings has been occupied at the instance of the Opposition in what 1 cannot conceive as an appreciation of its duties as an Opposition at. the level one should expect. I refer particularly to the time occupied in pursuit of the Hoffmann matter. The persistent discovery of things that should be discovered by the Parliament is the duty of those who are members of the Parliament. But those of us who have been associated in a professional capacity with formal interrogatories must have been slightly appalled at the persistence of the interrogation and the type of interrogation - one question being built on the preceding question - that occupied the time of the Senate for days and days. The pursuit of the Hoffmann matter was not confined to question time; it was consistently raised during debates on the motion that the Senate adjourn for the night. It occurred in many ways. Undoubtedly the effect of it has been in some measure to impede the presentation of the programme which would normally come before the chamber. 1 come now to the matters of general business which will be raid aside if this motion is accepted by the Senate. The Leader of the Opposition - perhaps with some particular significance - referred to a Bill on the notice paper standing in the name of Senator Gair, the Independent Schools (Financial Assistance) Bill 1968. One political consequence of the fact that the DLP supports the motion now before the Senate will be the charge that by so doing it allowed further consideration of a Bill put forward by its leader to bc laid aside. I have no doubt that that charge was by no means less than prominent in the mind of the Leader of the Opposition. But we should consider the circumstances in which the subject matter of this Bill has been discussed. The question of aid to private schools was discussed by Senator Gair on the second reading of his Bill, lt was also discussed on amendments that the Democratic Labor Party moved to other legislation on two occasions. On one occasion a vote on the matter was prevented at the instance of the Opposition on a point of order. The point of order was ruled to be not relevant. There was a motion of dissent from the ruling of the Chair. As a result, a vote on the Bill could not be taken on that occasion. On a recent occasion a motion was propounded, this time by the Government. Again the Opposition opposed the motion. The motion was carried despite the Opposition’s attitude. Therefore, when one hears Senator Murphy select for particular mention Senator Gairs Bill one is inclined to be rather cynical in one’s estimation of the validity of the move which inspired the speech he has just made.
When one looks at the business sheet to see what matters come within general business one sees some very important matters. In fact, Senator Murphy said that they are important. The first one is the Constitution Alteration (Democratic Election of State Parliaments) Bill 1968. The next is the ministerial statement on Antarctica.
– I did not refer to Antarctica. I was merely glancing down the list.
– That is right. Quite a number of important matters are listed. But what steps have been taken by the Opposition, pursuant to the contingent notice of motion standing in Senator Murphy’s name on the business sheet, to advance any of those matters for discussion during the last few weeks?
– That is not fair. It was a question of priorities.
– I agree. In fairness I should say that there is a question of priority. These matters have been laid aside for matters considered to be of more importance. One matter to occupy the time of the Senate was the Hoffmann matter.
– It was an important matter.
– I am not denying that it was a matter of some significance and some importance, but it was pursued for a long time and in a most persistent manner. The conclusion Which was ultimately reached obviously did not justify the time occupied by the Senate to the exclusion of other matters which are now presented by the Leader of the Opposition as being of sufficient importance to warrant the opposition which is being expressed to the motion before the Senate. The Hoffmann affair concluded in a motion of no confidence in the Department of Customs and Excise and the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott).
I have been a member of this chamber for many years. Since my return to the chamber there have been two separate motions of no confidence in Ministers. I cannot imagine a motion that is more serious than a motion of no confidence in a minister, particularly when it is directed to the integrity of the Minister. Such a motion was directed against the Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar). It was alleged that he had attempted to importune a judicial tribunal. The second motion was against the Minister for Customs and Excise and his Department. This was not for dereliction of duty but for the concealment of information from the Senate, if I remember precisely. If Ministers are to be attacked they should be attacked only when there is adequate evidence. I was particularly concerned that these attacks were launched by honourable senators who are accustomed to evaluating evidence because I am sure that in both instances the evidence would not have been sufficient in the estimation of the honourable senators concerned to support a prima facie case of a simple offence in other circumstances.
– I rise to order, Mr Deputy President. Surely the honourable senator is not entitled to discuss the merits of a matter which has been decided by the Senate. The motion before the Senate at present concerns the displacing of general business. The honourable senator is now going through all the arguments advanced in the Senate on matters upon which a vote has already been taken. I submit that the honourable senator is completely out of order in raising these matters. The honourable senator can no more discuss the merits of matters upon which the Senate has already decided than I or some other honourable senator can say that the Senate was wrong in its decision. I think the purpose of what the honourable senator is saying is to show that the Senate was right in deciding certain things. But he can no more do that than can other honourable senators say that the Senate was wrong. In going into the merits of these issues the honourable senator is going far beyond the motion and is raising matters which have already been decided by the Senate.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- 1 ask
Senator Byrne to link his remarks to the motion.
– I think I may have trespassed slightly beyond the boundaries of the motion before the Senate. This is particularly so with regard to my reference to the no confidence motions. All I am attempting to put - and I come back to the term used by the Leader of the Opposition - is that the Opposition has determined its own set of priorities and that apparently in its determination of priorities those matters which are now considered to be of great significance should be elevated beyond the other matters in the very heavy legislative programme which is before the Senate at this stage. Let us look at some of these matters. The Citizenship Bill 1969 is a measure of great importance. It is not a Bill that could be easily discussed and disposed of lightly. Yet the Bill may attract that type of attention in the circumstances. But at least we should try to avoid discussing it cursorily. Then we have the Public Works Committee Bill, which in my estimation seriously concerns the powers and functions of this Senate and its relation to the whole Parliament. It particularly is a Bil) that should not bc lightly discussed and dismissed in this place. Then we have the Income Tax (International Agreements) Bill which relates to Australia’s associations with other countries. The Leader of the Opposition feels that the time should be occupied on matters which now assume a new significance which they formerly did not enjoy, at the expense of consideration of the Bills to which I have referred, unless the sitting of the Senate is to be continued for another week.
– The committee on overseas control of Australian resources has already been proposed and half debated but we have not got to a vote on that, so there is not a new significance for that, or for the defence matter.
– Many of these matters attract a new significance in this circumstance which was denied to them before. Regrettable though it is that this type of procedure should be necessary, we support the motion. 1 do agree with Senator Murphy in one respect. Perhaps new procedures could be worked out to avoid this shocking accumulation of work which inevitably presents itself in the dying hours of sessions, but in the absence of some formula now to be applied the Senate will have to determine its own priorities. In the estimation of the Austration Democratic Labor Parly the priority which must be accepted at this stage warrants this action. I say this with regret, particularly as we have a private member’s bill which will be displaced at this stage. Our point of view having been presented to the nation clearly and explicitly on more than one occasion, we are prepared to allow that matter to be laid aside to enable the programme to continue.
– lt is significant that, in relation to Government Business and General Business, the Senate has sal on 26 days, totalling 200 hours in round figures. There have been 5 urgency motions, consideration of which, including time taken on points of order, has occupied 16 hours. There have been 7 General Business nights, totalling 18 hours. Out of 200 hours, therefore. 34 hours have been taken up on matters of urgency and General Business. Approximately one-sixth of the time so far has been occupied on matters which have not been Government business. Because I do not want to waste any of the lime that the successful passage of this motion would assure us, I suggest that we put the mailer to a vote.
Thai the motion (Senator Anderson’s) be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
I have had distributed copies of the second reading speech which, with the concurrence of honourable senators, I incorporate in Hansard.
The purpose of this Bill and of the associated Appropriation Bill (No. 4) is to obtain parliamentary authority for expenditure for which provision was not made in the Appropriation Acts (No. 1 and No. 2) 1968-69. The total appropriations sought in this Bill amount to $76,034,000. The various items included in this Bill can be considered in detail in committee and 1 propose at this stage to refer only to some of the major provisions.
The additional requirement for salaries is $ 11.9m mainly because of the increases in salaries arising from national wage cases and other arbitration determinations, reclassification of offices and additional staff. Further appropriations totalling $ 12.2m are required for departmental administrative expenses which cover a multiplicity of purposes. Additional appropriations amounting to $ 1 6.8m for departmental other services include $4. 6m for embarkation and passage costs of migrants, $1.5m for oil search subsidy,$1. 8m for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, $1.1 m for repatriation benefits and $1.3m for expenditure under the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act. An additional amount of $35.2m is sought in the appropriations of the Service departments to carry out the current defence programme. However, because of shortfalls in expenditure in some appropriations, mainly as a result of rephasing of payments on aircraft and lags in delivery of equipment, it is not expected that the total expenditure on defence services will exceed the original Budget estimate.
The additional appropriations being sought in this Bill are not to be taken as an indication that actual expenditure will exceed the appropriations in Appropriation Act (No. 1) 1968-69 to the extent of the full $76,034,000. The greater part of the additional authority sought is expectedto be offset by savings in expenditure under other appropriations in that Act. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate(on motion by Senator Cant) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
With the concurrence of honourable senatorsI incorporate in Hansard my secondreading speech on this Bill. It reads as follows:
The purpose of this Bill is to obtain parliamentary authority for additional expenditure in 1968-69 amounting to $21,754,000 on various items relating to capital works and services, payments to or for the States and certain other services.
Although additional appropriations of $ 16.1m are sought for capital works and services it is not expected that the total expenditure will exceed the Budget estimate of $5 12.3m because of savings in similar appropriations in the Appropriation Act (No. 2) 1968-69. The major requirements are $2.0m for overseas establishments for the Department of External Affairs,$6.5m for acquisition of sites and buildings,$1.4m for expenditure under the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Power Act, $2.1m for departmental buildings and works and $1.1m for buildings and works in the Northern Territory.
Additional appropriations of $5. 5m are sought for payments to or for the States, including $3. 2m for drought assistance in New South Wales and$1. 3m for drought assistance in Queensland. However, the greater part of this additional expenditure is expected to be offset because of savings in other similar appropriations in the Appropriation Act (No. 2) 1968-69.
The only appropriation item required for other services is an amount of $102,000 for an additional capital grant towards the construction of Calvary Hospital, Canberra.
As I have mentioned before, this Bill provides for additional appropriations of $21,754,000. However, because of estimated savings in expenditure under other appropriations in Appropriation Act (No. 2) 1968-69 it is not expected that the total expenditure will exceed the Budget estimate of $577,162,000. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cant) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Represenatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard my second reading speech on this Bill. It reads as follows:
The purpose of this Bill and the associated Supply Bill (No. 2) is to appropriate moneys to carry on the necessary normal services of the Government during the first 5 months of the financial year 1969-70. The total amount sought in this Bill is $1,020,715,000 comprising:
In general these amounts represent approximately five-twelfths of the 1968-69 appropriation and make no provision for new services. However, the amount of $447,060,000 for Defence Services makes provision for large contractual payments due in the first 5 months of the financial year.
An amount of $20,000,000 is sought to enable the Treasurer to make advances which will be recovered within the financial year, and to make moneys available to meet expenditure on services of the Government, particulars of which will afterwards be submitted to Parliament. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cant) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard my second reading speech on this Bill. It reads as follows:
The purpose of this Bill is to appropriate $221,540,000 for certain expenditures to carry on the necessary services of the Government for the first 5 months of 1969-70.
The total amount sought comprises:
The amount for Capital Works and Services is required in general for the orderly continuation of works programmes.
The amount of S20m is sought to enable the Treasurer to make advances which will be recovered within the financial year, and to make moneys available to meet expenditures, particulars of which will afterwards be submitted to Parliament. 1 commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Poyser) adjourned.
– by leave - If I may raise a point in relation to the sittings of the Senate, 1 understand that the other place is going to meet tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. If that is so, in all the circumstances I think it would be logical for the Senate to meet at 10.30 a.m. tomorrow. We have now gone past the time for the placing of business, but 1 intimate to the Senate that, subject to confirmation, 1 shall be moving a motion later in the day to meet that situation.
– by leave - Just to show how co-operative the Opposition can be, it was I who suggested that we meet tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. I think this proposal should be considered by the Senate because the House of Representatives is to meet at that time. If we are to save time, or at least not spend lengthy hours into the night, we should take advantage of sitting at the time suggested. Although we on the Opposition side of the chamber have not had a chance to consider this among ourselves, I think it probable that we would prefer to sit at that time. It was for this reason that I made the suggestion to the Leader of the Government. I ask all honourable senators to think about it as it seems to be a sensible suggestion. I shall consult my colleagues on the matter.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator McKellar) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
With the concurrence of honourable senators 1 incorporate in Hansard my second reading speech on this Bill. It reads as follows:
The purpose of this Bill is to provide for the establishment and operation of a joint Commonwealth and industry research scheme for the chicken meat industry. Funds will be raised by a levy on meat chicken hatchings and the Government will provide a matching contribution on a dollar for dollar basis to meet expenditure on approved research work: lt is the established policy of the Government to foster schemes of this nature to undertake research into the problems of our rural industries. The chicken meat industry now becomes the seventh primary industry to finance research into its own problems. Such schemes are already operating successfully for the benefit of the wool, meat, wheat, dairy and tobacco industries. The egg industry also has a similar scheme and is in the process of establishing a research programme.
The chicken meat industry is a relatively new industry in Austrafia. It has shown remarkable growth over recent years and is now well established and forms :t significant sector of the whole poultry industry and of the rural economy. In 1967-o’S more than 76 million chickens were slaughtered in Australia for human consumption; these yielded approximately 197 million lb of chicken meat. Production is expected to continue to grow in future years.
The chicken meat industry, through its federal organisation, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation, approached the !.:>vernment and requested that a research scheme for their industry be introduced. The Australian Chicken Meat Federation is representative of all sectors of the industry, including breeders, hatcherymen, growers, processors and feed manufacturers. The Government, has expressed its willingness to participate with the chicken meat industry in a jointly financed research scheme. The
Australian Agricultural Council was also informed of the proposed scheme and endorsed the proposal.
This Bill will establish a chicken meat research trust account and provide for a chicken meat research committee which will make recommendations concerning expenditure from this fund. It also sets out the purposes for which money from the fund may be used. The research committee will be composed of six representatives from the Australian Chicken Meat Federation, two from the Australian Agricultural Council, and one each representing Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, universities and the Department of Primary Industry. It will be noted that the industry representatives on the committee constitute a majority. This was requested by the industry and is consistent with the situation on the research committees that have been set up by legislation for the other livestock industries that I mentioned earlier.
The committee will1, among other duties, have the responsibility for recommending the size of the industry levy. The main function of the committee will be to consider research proposals and formulate recommendations on a comprehensive programme of research expenditure for the chicken meat industry for approval by the Minister for Primary Industry. Purposes for which moneys from the fund may be expended broadly follow the precedent established for other Commonwealth and industry research schemes. Moneys from the trust account are to be used for scientific, economic or technical: research into the chicken meat industry.
The proposed research scheme is a logical extension of the schemes already operating successfully for other rural industries. In an industry that has grown so rapidly, there are many production and marketing problems to be overcome. These extend through disease control, breeding, nutrition, management and marketing. It will complement the scheme recently established for the egg industry. There will, of course, be close liaison between the two schemes to avoid duplication of research effort and to ensure that the best use is made of the available funds.
The industry is fully aware of the potential for further expansion and growth, but it is also aware that there are attendant problems whose solution will be materially assisted by the operation of a carefully planned research programme. I consider that the industry has shown a most responsible attitude in taking the initative to bring forward the proposals that are now incorporated in the legislation before the Senate. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Poyser) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator McKellar) read a first time.
– <I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard my second reading speech on this Bill. It reads as follows:
The purpose of this Bill is to authorise the imposition of a levy on meat chickens. The money so collected will be used to finance the scheme for a programme of meat chicken research which I have outlined in my second reading speech on the Chicken Meat Research Bill 1969.
The legislation provides that the prescribed rate of levy must not exceed onequarter of a cent for each meat chicken hatched. The actual rate of levy to be imposed will be one-tenth of a cent per bird for the first 3 years of the scheme. Thereafter, the actual rate of levy will be prescribed by regulation after recommendation to the Minister for Primary Industry by the Australian Chicken Meat Research Committee.
The Australian Chicken Meat Federation recommended to me and after examination I have accepted that the levy be payable on day-old chickens. As I indicated earlier. the Federation is representative of all sectors of the chicken meat industry, including hatcherymen. Accordingly, it is proposed that the levy will be payable by the proprietor of the hatchery where the chickens are hatched.
The levy is expected to raise some $80,000 annually from the industry and, together with matching funds from the Commonwealth, should provide approximately $160,000 annually to finance research projects of benefit to the chicken meat industry. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by SenatorPoyser) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator McKellar) read a first time.
The purpose of this Bill is to provide the machinery necessary for the collection of the levy imposed by the Meat Chicken Levy Bill 1969. The Bill provides for the Act to become operative on the first day of July 1969. It defines the types of chickens that will be liable for levy payments, for exemptions of certain categories of chickens and makes provision for the necessary administrative procedures. It is the intention that all hatcheries will be registered, and unless circumstances change, there will be no charge for registration of a hatchery. The Department of Primary Industry will publish advertisements informing hatcherymen of the requirement of registration.
While all hatchery proprietors are potentially liable for the meal chicken levy, the actual situation will be that, as a resultof exemptions, only a limited number comprising the proprietors of the larger commercial hatcheries will pay levy. The exemption will apply to all chickens hatched at a hatchery producing less than 20.000 meat chickens in a year. This exemption has been made at the request of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation. On the most recent statistics available it would appear that about half of the hatcheries will in fact contribute the levy. These hatcheries produce more than three-quarters of the meat chickens eventually slaughtered.
The Government has conferred with all sections of the chicken meat industry, including the hatcherymen concerning these proposals. This Bill should be read as one with the Meat Chicken Levy Bill 1969. I have already referred to the research scheme with which both Bills are concerned, in the second reading speech on the Chicken Meat Research Bill 1969. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by SenatorPoyser) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read afirst time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill increases the annual amounts payable to the Chief Justice and other justices of the High Court of Australia. Their present salaries, last dealt with in 1965, are $24,000 a year for the Chief Justice and $21,000 a year for each other justice. It is proposed that these salaries should now become $30,000 a year for the Chief Justice and $27,000 a year for each other justice, and that in addition, the Chief Justice be paid an allowance of $2,000 a year and each other justice an allowance of$1,500 a year.
The salaries of the judges of other Commonwealth Courts are also being altered, but this Bill, in recognition of the special position occupied by the High Court in the
Australian judicial system, deals separately with that Court. The High Court, unlike other courts, is established by the Constitution itself. Not only is the High Court entrusted with the special task of interpreting and safeguarding the Constitution, but it is also the supreme court of appeal in matters of State or Federal law. The High Court is thus clearly the most important court in Australia. Its decisions are internationally recognised, particularly in other countries with federal constitutions. It is beyond question that the High Court bench must be able to attract the most able and most learned lawyers in the country and for this reason alone the members of the High Court must be remunerated at a standard appreciably above that of the courts whose judgments they review.
Whilst the Government does not desire that there should be frequent changes in the judges’ salaries, the considerations mentioned have in the past led to the review of judicial salaries at 4 to 5 yearly intervals. The salaries of the judges of the Supreme Courts of the States have been substantially increased since 1965, particularly in New South Wales. In 1965 the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of that State received an annual salary of$I 8.500 and an annual allowance of $800. Now his ‘ salary is $21,275 and his allowance $1,000. In 1965, other members of the Supreme Court of New South Wales received an annual salary of $17,000 and an annual allowance of $600. The present figures are $19,550 and $750, except for the President of the Court of Appeal who receives an annual salary of $20,125 and an annual allowance of $750. As the allowances are not taxable, it will be seen that the effective judicial incomes of all members of the Supreme Court of New South Wales are now the same or higher than those of the justices of the High Court with the exception of the Chief Justice. Even in the case of the Chief Justice of the High Court, the annual amount receivable by him is now only marginally higher than that receivable by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
In the view of the Government, the position of the High Court requires that parliamentary approval should be sought for fixing the annual amounts payable to the justices of the High Court of Australia at the figures I have already mentioned, and the Bill provides accordingly. The new figures will operate from the date of the assent to this Bill. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
– (Tasmania- Minister for Works) [4.281-1 move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to enable increased annual amounts to be paid to the judges of the Commonwealth Industrial Court, the Federal Court of Bankruptcy, the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory and to the presidential members of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. It will alter the salary of the judges and deputy presidents from $17,000 to $22,000 a year and that of the Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Industrial Court and the President of the Commission from $19,000 to $24,000. In addition, the Chief Judge and President are to receive $1,500 a year as an allowance. The other judges and the deputy presidents are to receive an annual allowance of $1,000. This Bill is complementary to the Judiciary Bill. When the Government reviewed the salaries of the justices of the High Court, it also looked at the salaries of other federal judges, and found the same disparity between the present salaries of those judges and State judges, to which I referred in my second reading speech dealing with the salaries of the justices of the High Court.
It is quite obvious that the present basic judicial salary of $17,000 is no longer in keeping with the standing of the judges of the Commonwealth Industrial Court and the Territory Supreme Courts, which are superior courts having jurisdiction comparable with that of State Supreme Courts. As I have already told honourable senators. the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales now receives a salary of $21,275 and an annual allowance of $1,000, The President of the Court of Appeal receives an annual salary of $20,125 and an allowance of $750. The other puisne judges of the Supreme Court of New South Wales receive a salary of $19,550 and an allowance of $750. In fact, the annual amount receivable at present by the Chairman of the District Court of New South Wales - $17,595, plus an annual allowance of $750 - is appreciably greater than that receivable by the Commonwealth judges I have mentioned, other than Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Industrial Court. The effective annual amounts receivable by other District Court judges in New South Wales are almost exactly the same as the present salaries of those Commonwealth judges. The present amounts receivable by the Chief Justice and puisne judges of the Supreme Court of Victoria are also appreciably higher than the corresponding amounts receivable by the Chief Judge and judges of the Commonwealth Industrial Court.
The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is the national industrial arbitration tribunal, but the present salaries of the presidential members of that body are appreciably lower than those of the President and other members of the Industrial Commission of New South Wales. The President and deputy presidents of the Commonwealth Commission receive the same salaries as the Chief Judge and the judges of the Commonwealth Industrial Court. The President and members of the New South Wales Commission receive the same salaries and allowances as the President of the Court of Appeal and puisne judges of the Supreme Court.
The Bill will remove the disparities 1 have mentioned in relation to both other Commonwealth salaries and State judicial salaries, whilst maintaining a proper relationship between the remuneration of the justices of the High Court and other Commonwealth judges. Following in this regard the Judiciary Bill, the new provisions of the Judges’ Remuneration Bill will become operative when the Bill is assented to. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 22nd May (vide page 1550), on motion by Senator Anderson:
That the resolution of 22nd August 1968 that the new and permanent Parliament House be situated on Capital Hill be rescinded.
– When the Senate adjourned last Thursday we were discussing a recommendation of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House for the site of the new building. I was directing my remarks to a statement matte by Senator Greenwood last Thursday night that it appeared to him that the members of the Committee were determined that if they could not have the lake site, they certainly would not have the Capital Hill site. That statement did not do justice to Senator Greenwood, and it most certainly did not do justice to the members of the Joint Select Committee. I submit that, in typical lawyer fashion, he has taken the report and, rather than read it as a whole, has taken a piece here, a piece there and another piece somewhere else in an endeavour to show that there was no foundation whatever upon which the Committee could base its recommendation, or that there was no weight in the evidence presented to the Committee.
But, as 1 said last Thursday night, I was a member of the Committee. 1 heard Hie witnesses give their evidence and was impressed with the type of evidence that was given. Whilst I was one who, in the early deliberations of the Committee, felt that Capital Hill was the better site of In two proposed, eventually I came to the conclusion that I had to join with the majority of members of the Committee in recommending Camp Hill as the site because of the weight of the evidence that was presented to us.
The minutes of the Committee, as they appear in the report to the Parliament, show that two members of the Committee who have preceded me in this debate were in attendance when the draft report was brought up for consideration. I note that their signatures are not attached to the minority report which was tendered by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) and the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti). The Committee brought in its report with a minority report signed by two dissentients. There were two other members of the Committee, two members of the Senate, who were in attendance when the draft report was brought up for consideration by the Committee and who decided not to accede to the majority recommendation, to which prima facie they were signatories. I will stay with those who form the majority in recommending the Camp Hill site. I will espouse and put forward the views maintained in the majority report.
First of all, let me cite the names and qualifications of most of the witnesses who came before the Committee and upon whose evidence the Committee based its finding. Firstly there was Sir John Overall, the Commissioner of the National Capital Development Commission. I believe that his ability as a town planner is beyond question. Not only has he been responsible to a great extent for the planning of the development of Canberra but his advice has been sought by the New South Wales Government in the planning of the Rocks area of Sydney.
Then there was a Mr Billson, a highly qualified architect who, in his younger days, was an associate of Walter Burley Griffin himself and upon whose evidence I will rely, as I will show later in my remarks. There was a Mr Purkis, who is a Master of Architecture attached to the Faculty of Architecture at the University of New South Wales. There was a Mr Rudduck who is a student of town planning. There was a Mr Godfrey, who is past president of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. There was also that very prominent architect from Sydney, Mr Harry Seidler, who was responsible for the architectural design of, among many other places, Australia Square - that dominant structure in Sydney.
There was Mr Walter Bunning, an architect and town planner who in 1945 was appointed as the Chairman of the Town and Country Planning Advisory Committee which was set up by the Labor Government that then occupied the treasury bench in New South Wales. There was Mr Peter Harrison, a senior research fellow in the Urban Research Unit at the Australian National University. These men - all with outstanding qualifications in architecture and town planning or in either architecture or town planning - came before the Committee voluntarily and gave evidence that the ideal site as between Capital Hill and Camp Hill is Camp Hill. The only dissentient witness from the majority view of those expert witnesses was Professor Crisp, who is a Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University. He favoured the Capital Hill site.
Am I to say, as Senator Greenwood and others have said, that, because of some bias on my part or because I favoured one site over another, the experts who voluntarily came before the Committee were wrong and the whole of their evidence should be torn up because it does not suit my way of thinking? I have one great anxiety about this sort of thing. Great damage can be done to the future work of committees of this Parliament, be they joint committees or senate select committees. I think all honourable senators have a great appreciation of the tremendous value of committees of this Parliament, the enormous work that goes into them and the study that is put into them by the witnesses who come before them and by the senators who are chosen to represent the Senate on them. If the attitude is taken when a committee makes a recommendation to the Senate that it can be brushed aside because of the prejudice or bias of senators who have not heard the evidence, we could well be accused of going against the weight of the evidence tendered to committees. It is in the interests of this Parliament and the work of its committees that we all realise that the deliberations of committees are of vital importance to the future of the committee system. We must see that the decision that the Parliament eventually arrives at is one that is based on the evidence.
I mentioned earlier that I intended to refer to one or two aspects of the evidence tendered to this Joint Select Committee. It asked senators and members for submissions on the site. Of the total number of 184 members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, only twelve saw fit to make written submissions to the Committee. One member, namely the honourable member for Warringah (Mr St. John), gave oral evidence to the Committee, not so much on the question of the site as on the facilities to be made available to members of Parliament. As I said, a number of architects and expert town planners gave evidence to the Committee, in addition to Professor Crisp, of the Australian National University, and each of the expert witnesses made a plug for the Camp Hill site. Of those expert witnesses, I was particularly impressed with two of them. One of them, Mr Billson, in fact worked with Walter Burley Griffin, as a draftsman and as an associate. Mr Billson, during the course of his evidence, pointed out how, in the pre-World War I days, Griffin came up against the bureaucracy of the Department of Works. I will use Mr Billson’s own words. He said:
A situation developed in which there was continuous opposition to the Griffin design - in fact, to anything concerning his ideas.
Mr Billson went on to point out that had the First World War not intervened in the planning of Griffin’s ideas, the winning design would have sited Parliament House on Camp Hill in accordance with the Griffin plan. He added - and again I use his words as stated in the evidence:
Subsequently, against Griffin’s advice, the Department of Works proceeded with the temporary building located right in front of the site designated for the permanent building. This appeared to be a further obstruction to the Griffin plan.
Mr Billson added that but for the existence of the present building the site, undoubtedly, would be where Griffin planned, reserving Capital Hill for an edifice of some truly national purpose.
– Does the honourable senator think highly of the Griffin plan?
– I have a great respect for the ideas, ideals and aspirations of Mr Walter Burley Griffin, partly because of history, partly because of tradition but principally because of the evidence tendered before this Committee by the expert witnesses. I have come to the conclusion that Burley Griffin’s original plan for the siting of Parliament House on Camp Hill was, and still is, the right determination to be made by this Parliament. Mr Billson, in his evidence, spoke about Griffin’s aspirations, his idealism, his despairs and his frustrations but he was quite adamant as an early associate of Griffin’s that Griffin knew what he had in mind to make Canberra a truly great city. He said that the fulcrum of Griffin’s entire plan was the siting of Parliament House on Camp Hill, using
Capital Hill for an edifice of some truly national purpose. This basically is the general overall recommendation of the Joint Select Committee.
– As to Griffin’s idea for Capital Hill, the majority of the Committee members disagreed with that, did they not?
– They disagreed with his recommendation.
– The recommendation for a massive building?
– For a massive or dominant building - I think that was the expression - to be erected on Capital Hill. The Committee felt that the two sites should be combined in one zone, as it were, with the new and permanent parliament house sited on Camp Hill and that Capital1 Hill should be used for an edifice, overlooking the Parliament, to commemorate the growth of the nation and the work of Australians generally. Virtually, this was the recommendation of the Joint Select Committee.
– Did the honourable senator support his idea of having the residences of the Governor-General and the Prime Minister alongside?
– That was not even taken into consideration by the members of the Joint Select Committee because that idea is now a thing of the past. Looking at the situation as it exists at present, with Camp Hill and Capital Hill both being available as prospective sites for a new and permanent parliament house, we viewed the situation from the point as to which site would be in the best interests of Canberra and the nation as a whole, irrespective of where the Governor-General’s residence is and irrespective of where the Prime Minister’s Lodge is. The question facing the Committee was where parliament house should be sited - on Capital Hill or on Camp Hill.
I now want to refer to another of the witnesses who impressed me, Mr Walter Bunning, who, as I said earlier, held the position of chairman of the New South Wales Town and Country Planning Advisory Committee. That was a committee established by the New South Wales Government in 1945 and it played a prominent part in the planning of the County of Cumberland. He not only gave oral evidence, in very graphic form, with the use of slides; he showed the Committee what he regarded as comparable sites in other parts of the world. He certainly impressed me, not only with his knowledge of architecture, but with his expert knowledge of layout. If one reads Mr Walter Running’s evidence one will see that he began with the premise that consideration of both the Camp Hill site and the Capital Hill site involved demolition of the existing Parliament House. He pointed out that if Capital Hill were selected as the site, the present building would form a major impediment to the view from Capital Hill. On an inspection of the sites, which the Committee had the privilege of making, one surely must agree with him that, seen from the rear and from a higher level, such as from either Capital Hill or Camp Hill, this building is in fact a very untidy sort of structure. Mr Walter Bunning, amongst other things, had this to say:
On Camp Hill the parliament house would be able to have a number of lower supporting buildings on the flanks each side in a sweeping enclave leading the eye up to the main edifice, whereas on Capital Hill the contours drop away to make such a possibility impracticable. On Capital Hill the new parliament house will virtually have to stand on its own.
– That is where it ought to be.
– That is the honourable senator’s opinion but the opinion of the architects, the experts and the town planners who came before the committee was that if it were sited on Camp Hill, whilst being the dominant feature of the architecture and planning of Canberra, it would fit in with the general overall pattern of the parliamentary triangle and with the future layout of Canberra, rather than be dominant over the whole scenery and structure.
– Does the honourable senator have in mind the difference in levels between the two sites?
– Well, when one takes into account the level-
– What is the difference?
– From recollection, the difference in height is of the order of 60 feet.
– I thought it was 150 feet.
– I think the Minister is referring to area. He asked me about height. I think the difference in height is of the order of 60 feet, and it was suggested by a number of witnesses that by the time Capital Hil) was shorn down to get a reasonably level building site the difference in height would not be very much.
– Would much have to be cut off Camp Hill?
– I assume that they would have to dig more into Camp Hill rather than down from it to get the building into the background of the Hill. That basically was the idea of the experts and the architects who came before us. I was going on to cite other extracts from Mr Walter Bunning’s evidence. He said:
The additional elevation of Capital Hill over and above Camp Hill … is not of great consequence in terms of view to be gained.
That answers the point raised by Senator Wright by way of interjection. Mr Bunning went on:
Capital Hill is not a commanding elevation and the view from this site tends to be cluttered with untidy roofs. An important fact is that by the time excavation has been carried out to prepare the building site the building may be a good deal lower in level than the present crest of the Hill.
– Is this Camp Hill or Capital Hill?
– This is Capital Hill. Mr Bunning continued:
From Camp Hill the view will open out in a very attractive way with the space between buildings widening as it approaches the lake and the whole area between the lake and Parliament House can be landscaped to make it interesting.
When dealing with historical considerations Mr Bunning had this to say:
The fact that Griffin chose Camp Hill as the site for Parliament House and then orientated the plan towards this site as a focus is a fact of the greatest significance.
Until I heard Mr Billson and Mr Bunning I bad the feeling, as I have admitted, that Capital Hill should be the site. But when I heard Mr Billson and Mr Bunning I became quite firm in my view that we had to listen to the experts and that the recommendation should be Camp Hill.
A lot has been said during the course of this debate on the matter of area. Some have said that the area of the Capital Hill site is almost 130 acres whereas the Camp
Hill site is a mere 30 acres. Let me read to the Senate some extracts from the submission made to the Committee by the National Capital Development Commission. The Commission had this to say.
The Camp Hill area extending to King George Terrace contains about 65 acres. The parliamentary zone reaches to the summit of Capital Hill taking in the commemoration feature on the summit of the hill and bringing the total area available as a parliamentary zone to some 80 acres. Combined with the commemoration gardens already referred to within the ring road, an effective landscaped setting of approximately 150 acres would be created for the Parliament.
In relation to the area of the two sites the Commission said:
Whichever of the two sites is finally decided on, Capital Hill and Camp Hill, taken together, have a shared functional and design purpose. This purpose is to provide for the parliament building, a fine setting for it and for the location of elements of national and commemorative interest. The total area is large, some 150 to 160 acres. In the Commission’s view Capital Hill/Camp Hill can be considered as falling into two zones - firstly, that zone which is related to the buildings, uses, expansion and convenience of the Parliament itself, and secondly, the commemorative zone, described in this report as the commemoration gardens.
The siting studies already presented in this report illustrate the alternative locations for the parliamentary zone and the commemoration gardens, dependent upon which site for parliament house is finally chosen.
The development of commemoration gardens offers also the opportunity for concepts of symbolic value to be developed. With a Capital Hill parliament site, the gardens could be on Camp Hill. If parliament were to go on Camp Hill, then the summit of Capital Hill, the virtual centre of the gardens, could be developed with an architectural shaft or feature which would possess a limited symbolism on a geometric centre.
The National Capital Development Commission took the view, as did the members of the Committee after hearing the evidence, that for purposes of consideration of the site it was desirable to keep the two areas separate. In the ultimate planning, the whole area pf 150 or 160 acres could well be set aside for development.
– Is it quite clear that the majority recommendation is that if Camp Hill is chosen the whole of that circle will be dedicated for commemorative gardens?
– I was about to turn to the Committee’s recommendation on that aspect. This is what the Committee had to say in its report:
– Does that include the whole circle or just the triangle up to Capital Hill?
– It includes the whole circle, including Capital Hill. At paragraph 49 the Committee stated:
Your Committee considers that the suggestion put forward by the Commission-
That is the suggestion to which I have just referred - offers the most appropriate treatment. This involves the construction of a ‘vertical element’ on Capital Hill at the geometric intersection of the radiating avenues. The Committee also considers that this structure should be of a symbolic nature, possibly commemorating the achievements of the people in peace and that the design of the structure should be carried out integrally with the design for the new House so that it would not compete with the Parliament building in significance but rather complement and enhance the building’s appearance.
After seeing the slides shown by Mr Bunning during the course of his evidence to the Committee of other somewhat similar sites elsewhere in the world, I was impressed that this recommendation was in the best interests of the future siting of the new and permanent parliament house, having regard to the future development of Canberra. Frankly, having heard the evidence that was presented to the Committee I was amazed, and am still amazed, that Camp Hill was not included in the original choice, the original choice given to us being between Capital Hill and the lake. I believe that the Camp Hill site should receive the imprimatur of this Senate. At the same time, I am certainly most adamant in joining with the Committee in its recommendation that Capital Hill should be kept free of any building encumbrance and preserved as much as possible in its natural state with Australian shrubs, timbers and other plants growing on it in the form of commemoration gardens, with the Australian flag still flying on Capital Hill as a backdrop to the new Parliament House, which I trust will be established on Camp Hill. This will preserve the identity of Canberra as a city that has been cast out of the mould of the Australian bush as the capital of Australia and as a capital that was planned for development by one who has become very great in Australian history, namely Walter Burley Griffin, whose opinions and advice all of the experts who came before the Committee were unanimous in adopting. 1 join with those who support the recommendation for the Camp Hill site.
– I propose to speak only briefly on the matter now before the chamber. My main purpose in speaking is to explain why I have changed my opinion since the matter was last before the Senate and now favour Camp Hill in preference to Capital Hill as the site for the new and permanent parliament house. When the matter was last before the Parliament, 1 supported Capital Hill in preference to the lakeside site, for several reasons, the main one being that I did not think the lakeside site was a focal point in the Canberra area. I thought it unsuitable for a parliamentary site in a national capital. Now, having had the benefit of the opinion of another Committee which has investigated the matter, and which took into consideration a further site - that of Camp Hill - I submit that we must take note of the Committee’s recommendations. I expect that at some time or another every honourable senator has sat on some committee that has been asked to investigate some question of vital importance and to make recommendations after hearing evidence. I am sure they will agree with me that those who have had the opportunity of hearing witnesses, and of cross-examining them on their views with relation to the various projects which are under consideration are at a distinct advantage over those who have to make a decision merely upon reading a report. I agree entirely with Senator McClelland that we cannot completely ignore the views of those people who have had experience in town planning and development. If we did that we should leave ourselves open to the accusation that we were biased against expert committees.
Unfortunately, many Australians do seem to have that bias.
In this case, the Committee considered not only the site on which the new and permanent parliament house should be built but other matters of equal importance such as the amount of land that will be available for the buildings and the area that will surround our national parliament house. No doubt the members of the Committee gave full consideration to traffic problems and the development of the whole area. I submit therefore that the members of this Committee are in a much better position after having given consideration to all these matters, to form a judgment than are the majority of honourable senators present. They have had the opportunity of hearing the views of witnesses and of making their own assessment of the ability of the experts. They have had the advantage of seeing how those experts have answered the questions put to them and of observing their general sincerity towards this question. I do not think these factors can be ignored.
Again, when we note that the voting was 12 for and 2 against the Camp Hill site we cannot ignore the great majority in favour of Camp Hill. Certainly all members of the Committee were not present to vote, but we can be fairly certain that if all had been there the proportion voting for and against the respective sites would have been similar.
– What was the voting for the lakeside site?
– I do nol think that has anything to do with the matter we are debating today. That is past history.
– I think it does have something to do with it.
– The honourable senator will have his opportunity to speak. I do not think it has anything to do with this question. Just looking at Camp Hill from here, I do not think we get a proper view of the area itself. If the present Parliament House were not in existence I feel sure that if we were able to look from the east down towards the lake and back to Camp Hill we would be convinced that in Camp Hill we have an admirable site upon which to erect the building which is to house our national parliament.
Another matter of equal importance to the selection of the site is the planning of the right type of building for the area. I do not propose to go into that aspect now but I have no doubt that when considering what is the right type of building for the area the persons concerned will bear in mind the fact that although Capital Hill, which is at the back of this site, is higher than Camp Hill at the moment, the new and permanent parliament house, when built, will in fact be higher than Capital Hill. I support the Committee’s recommendation that the new and permanent parliament house be built on Camp Hill.
I know that there has been some opposition to pulling down the present Parliament House and other buildings in the vicinity but I suggest to honourable senators that if they read paragraphs 75, 76 and 77 of the Committee’s report they will appreciate that the life of the present Parliament house is not likely to be very long, that eventually it will have to be pulled down anyway, and that, although it has some sentimental value, it could be an economic proposition to demolish the building when the new and permanent parliament house is constructed. I hope that it will be built on Camp Hill.
– We have before the Senate a motion seeking to rescind a decision previously arrived at by the Senate, after due and proper consideration, that the most suitable site for the new and permanent parliament house would be Capital Hill. As a result of several conferences that took place immediately after that early vote was taken, we had submitted to us a proposition that a joint committee of members from both sides of both Houses of this Parliament should examine the possibility of Camp Hill as an alternative site. When that proposition was submitted to the Senate, it was agreed that it was quite right that a joint committee should investigate the proposal, and the resolution was agreed to without prejudice to the previous decision.
We now have before us the report of that Joint Committee, but I am not satisfied that justice has been done to the proposition even by the committee. I still believe that the impediments to placing the new and permanent parliament house on Camp Hill are so great that this generation of members of parliament would be recreant to its responsibilities if it undertook to recommend that the new and permanent parliament house should be on Camp Hill. Over a period of years, the present Parliament House has become a Mecca for hundreds of thousands of Australians who, for better or worse, look upon it as a symbol of the strength of our democratic parliamentary system. This present Parliament House has something about it which makes it recognisable immediately as the centre of our democratic form of government. Its design has become imprinted very deeply in the minds of many Australians.
My view is that there will be a tremendous uproar from the Australian people when they realise that the proposal to erect the new house on Camp Hill, if ever it comes into effect - and I hope it never does - will mean that this Parliament House will be bulldozed down to make an area of about 30 acres on which to erect the new parliament house when at the moment an area of 130 acres on the top of Capital Hill - the prize site in the Australian Capital Territory - is available for the building of the new and permanent parliament house. I cannot understand where the pressures for the building to be on Camp Hill are coming from because they do not seem to be logical. Lord Holford was able to sell successfully to a previous Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, the proposition that the building should be on the lakeside. I never agreed that the parliament house should be down there. However, Cabinet took certain decisions and foisted on the National Capital Development Commission the proposal - and perhaps the NCDC was pleased to accept it - to build the new and permanent parliament house on the edge of the lake. It was more or less a foregone conclusion that that was where the parliament house was to be until, for some reason or other, the matter was put to Parliament to decide. This is where it should have been decided in the first place and where it will be decided ultimately.
Capital Hill, as an alternative, was put as a better proposition than the lake site mainly because there was insufficient room on the lake site for a new and permanent parliament house which would have to serve the nation as far into the future as is possible to see. It has to be a permanent parliament house, as the term signifies. The new parliament house will have to adapt itself to the growing population and to the growing needs of parliamentary democracy. I do not know where the pressure for the alternate area of Camp Hill has come from. I would go so far as to predict that if Parliament decided that the new and permanent parliament house should be on Camp Hill, the arguments that could be put against that site would be so great that the new parliament house would be built on the lake site. I believe that is exactly where the NCDC wants it to be. This is the thin edge of the wedge. The Commission should not try to pull the wool over our eyes. 1 believe the Joint Select Committee had the wool pulled over its eyes when it selected Camp Frill.
– Does the honourable senator want to put it on Mulvihill?
– We could build it on Mulvihill. We could not have a stronger or sounder foundation on which to build anything. Over the years I have seen how these ideas are developed. I was a member of the Public Works Committee for 13 or 14 years. On one occasion we investigated the parliamentary triangle and the bridges that were to form the link across the lake. During our investigations we found that there had been a change in Burley Griffin’s plan for the lake. Tn the wee small hours of the morning the Secretary of the Department of the Interior had put a proposition to the Minister for signature. It altered the Burley Griffin lake scheme because the lake would have flooded the Royal Canberra golf course. The Minister signed what amounted to an alternative to the Burley Griffin lake scheme. It was to be known as the ribbon of water. We thought that this was rather a strange departure from the original Burley Griffin plan. On further investigation we found that the engineer who came up with the idea of putting a dam at Yarralumla, which would solve the whole problem of the level of the lake from Yarralumla up to its furthest boundary, had been transferred to Darwin and his suggestions had been put in a very inconspicuous pigeonhole. We continued our investigation. Not only did we find that the ribbon of water scheme was well established but also that the alternative golf course at Westbourne Woods was overgrown with trees, and had been practically forgotten. I draw the attention of the Senate to the type of thing that can happen in a bureaucracy where, merely as a symbol, the heads of the bureaucracy put something to parliament knowing they have various and devious ways of influencing the parliament to think along the lines that they want it to think.
– Was the honourable senator a lakeside man before?
– No. I have always been a Capital Hill man.
– A capitalist.
– Capital Hill list at least. I have always said that we in this Parliament should be proud that our predecessors kept this site for us, now that we have to make this decision. A rumour has been circulating around the Senate that if we fail to choose Capital Hill Cardinal Gilroy will come here to take first option because the Catholic Church always gets the best site in any town. We ought to take up our option on it.
– ls not the honourable senator a member of his Church?
– That is bringing the sectarian issue into the argument. I do not want to do that. This is an open vote. 1 do not want to extend the debate, but 1 do think I should say a few words because 1 want to use any persuasive powers that 1 have. 1 have had a number of years experience in this Parliament. I have seen the population of the city grow from about 15,000 to its present total of almost 120,000. 1 have been associated with the Public Works Committee in its investigations of many of the city’s developmental works and 1 have seen the vision splendid unfold during my lifetime. So 1 want to persuade the Parliament that the new and permanent parliament house on Capital Hill will crown the magnificent concept of Burley Griffin. The construction of a complex of buildings here has deprived the city of his first choice for a site but has not altered his concept to the extent that it is irrevocable. My firm view is that modern methods will allow the levelling of the top of Capital Hill, which will enable an area of over 100 acres to be built on.
– The scripture says that every valley shall be filled and every mountain shall be laid down.
– Building the parliament house on Capital Hill1 could be a fulfilment of the scriptures. There is every argument in favour of the decision of the Senate being upheld. It should be upheld because we have decided properly and well. I believe that future generations of Australians will be thankful to the Senate for the better judgment which prevailed at this time when varying influences and pressures were brought to bear and wrong impressions were being given with a subtle intent. I think we should stick to our previous decision, despite the fact that in another place honourable members were persuaded to take a different view. They were misdirected. That is my personal view. I do not cast reflections on the witnesses who gave evidence before the Committee, but arguments were put that it is easier to have a building which backs on to a hill, that the building on Capital Hill will have to be treated so that it will, be looked at from all angles and that the view in some directions would not be appropriate because it is overlooking residential buildings. Those arguments are quite specious when one is dealing with a subject that is as important as the siting of the central feature of the national capital, the parliament house. I do not want the image of Parliament to be reduced for the sake of convenience. The Capital Hill site is available. If we do not take it now we will not have the opportunity of doing so in the future.
– The site was available when Burley Griffin made his recommendation.
– Yes. His concept could have been fulfilled if, for instance, the United Nations had realised its potential over the last 20 years and a world government had come into being. Such a government might have decided to meet in Australia on some occasions. I would have then said that Burley Griffin did a good job in reserving the Capital Hill site for such a wonderful concept. Unfortunately, the realisation of that vision is not as close as it looked 20 years ago. We should now take the opportunity of using the site for our own parliament house. Therefore, I ask the Senate not to rescind its previous resolution. I believe that honourable senators made a very good decision on the last occasion and I ask them to stick by their guns.
– The siting of the new and permanent parliament house is a matter which has been debated at great length on a number of occasions. It is now sought to rescind a previous resolution of the Senate. Because the matter has been debated at great length on previous occasions and because I do not profess to be an expert who is able to give an opinion which may be of any assistance, I intend to be very brief in my remarks. I simply wish to say that I feel that the proper site for the new parliament house is on top of Capital Hill. As the Senate has previously expressed the same view, I have approached the matter by looking to the submission to and the report of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House to see whether there is any reason why my prima facie feeling should be changed and the attitude adopted previously by the Senate overruled.
I found the report of the Committee and the submissions presented to it to be of considerable assistance. I also found the models which have been displayed to be of considerable assistance. I would like to thank those people responsible for the preparation of the submissions and the models for the help they have given me, and I am sure other honourable senators, in forming an opinion. I note that there are no practical or technical reasons why the new and permanent parliament house should not be situated on the top of Capital Hill. Some possible thoughts were expressed, but there was no firm recommendation from any place, or any practical or technical reason submitted why the building should not be placed on Capital Hill. In fact, there do not appear to be any conclusive arguments as to why it should be on either Capital Hill or Camp Hill.
The Camp Hill site will involve an earlier removal of the present Parliament House. It is obvious that East Block and West Block as well as the present Parliament House must be demolished at some time in the future. The evidence given to and the report of the Committee suggest that the siting of the building on Camp Hill will involve an earlier demolition of those buildings. That is a consideration - albeit a light consideration - against the selection of Camp Hill as the site. In that context, I draw the attention of honourable senators to the submission of the National Capital Development Commission, which states:
The provisional Parliament House has stood the test of time and is considered to be structurally sound.
Therefore, there is no immediate urgency for the removal of the present building. But the submission goes on to say: lt is useful to foreshadow, at this stage of the evidence, the Commission conclusion that demolition of the provisional Parliament House can only bc the matter of a decision about time.
That is obvious. But. the important question is at what time, lt appears an inescapable conclusion that the present building will be demolished earlier if the proposal for the siting of the new parliament house on Camp Hill is accepted. In relation to East Block and West Block the NCDC said:
Both buildings are structurally sound but could require re-roofing in 10 years time. lt also commented that neither building is functionally efficient and that both pose difficult security problems, although that would appear to go more to their utilisation than to their being demolished at this stage. A position on top of a hill is certainly more commanding, lt has the outstanding aspects which have been referred to by many honourable senators. I simply adopt the remarks of others in relation to a building upon a hill. An examination of the sites and the angles and a view of the models does nothing to overcome the feeling I have that on top of Capital Hill is the correct site. There is nothing to make mc feel that we should rescind the former resolution.
Senator DAVIDSON (South Australia) 5.32] - The motion before us concerns the rescission of an earlier resolution of the Senate. 1 join with those people who have indicated their support for retention of the Capital Hill site as the site for the new and permanent parliament house. This matter has been debated in the Parliament over the last few months. I think it is significant to say that it has also been debated throughout the length and breadth of the land. It has probably been debated with a greater degree of intensity within the national capital because those who live here are more interested in it and have a stronger concern for the placement of the building and the effect it will have on their lives, the lives of their families and on the departments with which they are involved.
It may be true to say that there is very little one can add at this stage that is new to the debate. It is also possibly true to say that it is doubtful whether anyone who has studied the matter, examined the sites, looked at the models that are on display in the Parliamentary Library and studied the documents which have been placed before honourable senators will change his or her opinion at this stage. Therefore, it all boils down to the fact that whoever speaks in this debate speaks from a background of his own judgment - a judgment which has been made following a study of the reports and displays as well as a personal examination. Two questions seem to stand out among the many I have asked myself. One concerns what I call the symbolic relationship of the new and permanent parliament house to Canberra and the people in Canberra, whether they live here, visit here or are members of the Parliament or associated with it. The other question, and I think it is a very important one, is what I call the practical relationship of the new and permanent parliament house to not only the present features of Canberra but also the distant ones.
The Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House was set up to inquire into the matter. It has presented a report. We are aware of the details of its report. 1 want to say at the outset that I respect the judgment of the members of the Committee. They have worked hard and have thoroughly examined the matter. It is recognised that the Committee, which consists of a cross-section of the Parliament, has taken into account all matters which have been put before it. Tt is also relevant to observe that the Senate has debated this issue before and that as a result of the public interest which has been created all honourable senators have made a study of the matter. 1 undertook such a study in a broad way. When the previous debate took place in the Senate bast year, I was overseas with a delegation of the Commonwealth Parliament attending an Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference. Knowing of the debate that was proceeding in this place and because of my interest as a result of membership of this Parliament. 1 look note of parliament houses in other countries. Some of them were new parliament houses in new countries. Others were older ones. Some were on lesser eminences and some were on hills or prominences. The view that I had concerning the absolute suitability of Capital Hill was more and more confirmed as I looked at houses on the hill in Washington and Ottawa. Particularly do I think of a new house, the Knesset of the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, situated where it can be looked at and approached from ail1 sides and which made an impression wherever one went. 1 want to draw attention to what 1 would call the tone of the report which is before the Senate and to note the reference on page 7 under the heading ‘Reasons for the Committee’s Conclusions’. This section begins:
The Committee entered upon its inquiry with the knowledge that the House of Representatives probably possessed a pre-disposition towards the Capital Hill site and that the Senate assuredly had such an attitude. . . . Added to this general pre-disposition, the Commission reported it was a fine site, that there was no impediment to construction there and that the differences in cost ot a building on either site would be inconsequential.
This means that the Committee has placed before the Parliament in its report an admission that Capital Hill has certain pre-eminent qualities. Having studied later paragraphs in the report ] cannot be persuaded that the matters which have been put forward have produced in my mind a belief that Camp Hill possesses any particular superiority over Capital Hill.
I had the very great privilege on Anzac Day of laying a wreath at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Any person who has had this opportunity will know that there is a rather wonderful moment when, having placed the wreath in a suitable position and standing for only a second in the completely central position of the Australian War Memorial site, one looks down over the lake, over the top of this building and sees the flag flying high on Capital Hill. In just that brief moment I saw a vision of a tall, maybe classical kind of building, white, and dominating the surroundings. In connection with inspections by the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution I have come on certain occasions from the other side of Capital Hill. Here again one sees the nag pole and gets the same vision of a suitable new and permanent parliament house, a noble building to which all thoroughfares lead, where the parliament of the nation in the future can be well established.
– A vision splendid.
– That is the term. I hope that the Australian people will always have in their minds a vision splendid as far as their parliament is concerned. The only other point that I want to make is in relation to the second item that I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks concerning the practical concept for the long and distant future. Mention has been made in this debate over and over again - I repeat it for emphasis and because I like the point myself - that there is room on Capital Hill. If one looks at the models in the Library, this becomes more and more apparent. If one studies the drawings in the booklets which have been provided it is still more apparent. This site gives us room for a big building. It gives us room for the additional establishments for which the next century may call, ft gives us room for the ceremonial occasions which are always an important feature of parliamentary life and it gives room for people to be present on ceremonial occasions. 1 can visualise in addition to the buildings, gardens and such other establishments as are appropriate, which will give the future population of Australia a great deal of satisfaction and a great deal of pleasure.
I was in the Library earlier today with my colleague, Senator Byrne. We looked at the representation of the Capital Hill site and we were bold enough to pick up the small model that was there, to turn it on its end to give the impression of a tall and lofty building. Whatever we have on this site it must be a high building, lt is no good to have a big, low, flat one, however splendid such a building may look in some circumstances. Capital Hill is the only one of these two sites on which one could put a high building. If we put a very high building on Camp Hill it would have a curious relationship to whatever buildings are placed close to it and around its base. They would look completely out of proportion and in my view one would become confused as to their value. In my opinion this completely offsets the reference that is made in the report to the fact that to build on Capital Hill is to isolate it, that the view or aspect from it is too long, and that it is seemingly too distant. What we have to remember is that, in the light of today’s events, with the safe return of the famous and brave astronauts, we are moving into an era of transport, communications and all kinds of technological development of which we have not yet dreamed. We will have facilities and movement iti a building established on a high eminence on a site of 130 acres which will be a magnificent acquisition to the nation. I hope that we take advantage of the new developments and forward movement, because the new building will need to provide for an increase in the size of the parliament. More than that, it will need to provide for an increase in the activities of the parliament and in the servicing of the parliament. Fifty years from now the parliament will be required to do far more things than even a busy parliament does today. It will need to be serviced and its services will need to be housed. It will need to be managed in such a way that the entire institution of parliament can be kept together. Capital Hill provides the room, the centre and all of the practical and symbolic requirements that I have in mind.
Finally, I direct attention to the fact that as Australia grows its parliamentary institution will grow in importance in relation to the whole of the area of the world in which we are placed - South East Asia and the Pacific - and maybe to other areas. I visualise that there will be many meetings here and that many people will come to Australia because we have this particular opportunity for leadership and service to South East Asia, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean area, that perhaps no other nation has. I visualise a great building on Capital Hill. May I express the hope that this hill will at some time in the future be known as Parliament Hill. In this building in this Australian capital international deliberations and conversations will be worked out. Where better than on an eminent site on which a suitable building has been erected and suitably furnished and equipped for a great nation and a great parliament working within a great nation? For these and many other reasons which I shall not take up now, I hope that the Senate will come down enthusiastically on the side of Capital Hill for the new and permanent parliament house.
– I rise to indicate briefly that I do not propose to support the motion for rescission. I appreciate that the recommendation of a properly constituted parliamentary committee cannot be dismissed lightly. Such a recommendation deserves the most serious consideration and evaluation because it is the outcome of an intense inquiry into the evidence of highly competent witnesses, many of them expert in the field of town planning, as in this case, and in the architecture profession generally. However, I cannot become excited about the reasons given in support of the recommendation that Camp Hill be the site for the new and permanent parliament house. In stating the conclusions favouring Camp Hill there seems to me to be a seeking of justification for the recommendation. The first conclusion is stated as follows:
The view of a building on Capital Hill from the avenues leading to it is dominant and isolated.
I should have thought that this would have been a prerequisite for a site for the most important building in any city. In Canberra, which exists because it is the venue for Parliament, surely dominance and, to a degree, isolation-
– What is meant by isolation?
– In this context I presume that it means away from other buildings.
– I imagine that that would be remedial.
– It would be an advantage.
– I think it would be a very great advantage to be in isolation and not be part of a series of other buildings. I concede that in town planning symmetry is of vital importance, but when I look at the studies which are displayed in the Parliamentary Library I feel that the symmetry which would be achieved from a choice of Capital Hill would be better than the symmetry achieved by placing the new parliament house on what appears to be a rather hemmed in site on Camp Hill. The summary of conclusions continues:
The very fact of its isolation, however, could mean that the building would not appear as impressive as a building sited as a culminating edifice in a total civic entity.
I cannot agree with this statement, nor can I see any validity in it. The summary continues:
Although it is not visible in a direct line from the main avenues, Camp Hill provides a site of unexpected visual eminence-
In this submission also there appears to me to be a seeking of justification. Apparently we should be surprised to note that Camp Hill has visual eminence. The report does not say that Camp Hill has a lesser eminence than Capital Hill but makes this rather surprised observation that Camp Hill is an eminent site. The third conclusion states:
The single axis on which Camp Hill is centred provides a less restrictive site and logically offers greater freedom for design and expansion.
Here great emphasis is placed on architectural axis. I thought that the actual building, the new parliament house, was to be the piece de resistance of the whole location and the very purpose of seeking the site which is most compatible with beauty, prominence and symmetry generally. This subject has been debated on a number of occasions and I think it would be rather a waste of time if I were to endeavour to cover the complete field of reasons why 1 favour Capital Hill. The three reasons which in my mind are most important and which lead me to support the Capital Hill site are, first, that Capital Hill would provide a greater area, even though on a number of investigations of the areas which are available as the alternative sites varying assessments of acreages have been stated. Notwithstanding the many assessments of acreages, it seems to me that the plain fact is that with the best endeavour to find the greatest area for the Camp Hill site there is mention of 150 acres. That an area of 150 acres would be achievable seems to me, on the surface, to be very surprising, but it has been said that we could achieve that area and so I accept the statement. The area of the Capita] Hill site has been mentioned as 160 acres. Ten acres is a lot of additional land for a major building setting.
When Walter Burley Griffin designed the city of Canberra and suggested sites for the major buildings he had in mind that Canberra would have a population of 75,000 people. But Canberra already has 120,000 people. Mr Griffin was wrong in his assessment of the total population of Canberra and the requirements of that population. Already Canberra has a population much greater than 75,000 people; the population may grow to exceed 250,000 by the turn of the century, lt seems that here we could fall into the old error of erecting a building or providing land inadequate for a given purpose. I have found that one of the greatest mistakes in life is to make inadequate provision for expansion and ultimate requirements.
– Too little too early?
– Yes. We are called upon to recommend a site as the location of a building which is to stand for centuries. We cannot have in mind merely what will be symmetrical for this generation or for the next generation: we must have in mind a location and design which will cater for a population so much greater than we have now and which will provide facilities for expansion. We must ask ourselves whether sufficient land will be available. I refer again to the comparative studies that are available in the Library and in the report on the alternative sites of Capital Hill and the Camp Hill area for the new and permanent parliament house. Without doubt there is greater scope for extension and for a bigger vision on Capital Hill than there is on Camp Hill.
In area, in prominence, in general symmetry of design and layout, in my layman’s opinion - laymen’s opinions are often endorsed by many of the ordinary citizens of a nation - Capital Hill is the site which ultimately, if not conceded by everybody now, will be proved to be the best choice. We must bear in mind that the centuries ahead will show whether we were right in our choice and whether we were big enough to view the future, our growth and expectations in a way which would cater for such growth and which will provide us, to the best of our ability, wilh the best possible site and the one most befitting the most important building in our nation. I shall oppose the motion of rescission which is now before the Senate.
– 1 wish to indicate that I also am opposed to the rescission of the decision made previously by the Senate and that I favour Capital Hill as the site for the building of the new and permanent parliament house.
I suppose that if one were to apply the philosophy of the Chinese to this argument one would have in mind that the Chinese usually select the sides of a hill as graveyards of their ancestors. I would not like to think that we had in mind the graves of our ancestors when we were erecting a new and permanent parliament house.
– The honourable senator is not mixing symmetry with cemetery, is he?
– No, I not mixing symmetry with cemetery. This discussion arose when the suggestion was promulgated that the new building should be buried down at the side of the lake where there is hardly enough room for anything. The choice now lies between Camp Hill and Capital Hill. These two sites have to be seriously considered, one against the other. I have had a look at each of them, although I have no expert knowledge to apply to such a study, I think a common mistake in considering the Camp Hill site is that a specific type of building is visualised, resembling in contour the temporary structure that we at present occupy. It seems that some people think that this is the only type of building suitable for a parliament house. I do not subscribe to that theory. I have never thought that this building should in any way inhibit the choice of the site for a future parliament house. I do not consider that this building is worth anything today. It was built specifically with a temporary function in mind. It has more or less carried out that function adequately and has long outlived its usefulness. If attempts are made to preserve it it must ultimately cost far more to maintain than it will ever return in its usefulness to future generations.
The proper concept must be that this building goes completely. That was conceded when the lake site was abandoned and the choice moved to a consideration of the merits of Camp Hill and Capital Hill. If it were accepted that a structure of similar contours to this building were to be built, I would agree that Camp Hill would be a more adequate site. However, I feel that at this stage we are entirely free in our choice of a site. We should have no pre-conception of what architects may produce as the best type of building for the new parliament house. We hope that such a building will last for perhaps 500 years or more. There must be sufficient room to develop as our way of life changes, as it will. This nation cannot remain stagnant, any more than any other nation can. If the new parliament house is built on Camp Hill development can then take place over the site of this building, or over the sites of adjoining buildings. The vista to the War Memorial could thus be preserved. Expansion could also take place up the hill. When a building is erected on top of a hill it is much easier to extend it down and around the hillside without obscuring the view of the main structure or anything else.
In the new building we should not perpetuate the mistakes of the past. We cannot say at present what provision is to be made for transport. The motor car may be superseded but it is almost certain that parking space will be needed for some form of personalised transport. One of the prime considerations in establishing a beautiful building is not to give prominence to the ugly strips of bitumen on which are parked ghastly looking motor cars of different colours, according to the personal tastes of the owners. They must be placed completely out of sight from the main building. The obvious solution is the provision of underground car parks over which suitable gardens may be placed. This has been done in many other parts of the world. They are to be seen in the centres of American cities. The car parks are placed underground and lovely garden squares add to the beauty of the site rather than detract from it. With this concept in mind the Capital Hill site begins to appeal almost immediately because on that site there is almost unlimited room for improvement.
Today reference has been made to the acreages available on Camp Hill and Capital Hill. There is no reason in the world why; Camp Hill should not be considered as a subsidiary part of the Capital Hill site. In that way adequate space would be provided for all necessary buildings, even if provision were made underground, to supple-, ment the main parliamentary building on top of the hill. It would be possible to have underground passages connecting the buildings and parking facilities. In view of modern methods, it is only a matter of machinery.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– I understand that the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson) desires to make a statement. Therefore, 1 ask for leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I move:
I indicate that there have been discussions between leaders and we have chosen
I I a.m., being half an hour after the other place will commence sitting. There are some very good reasons for wanting that to be the situation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– 1 recall from reading the report of the Committee on this matter that a great deal of attention was paid to the economics of the retention or destruction of the present temporary structure, which was erected about 40 years ago to serve the Parliament until such time as it could be replaced by the structure we are now discussing. It seemed to be important, from the political standpoint, in the minds of the witnesses and the members of the Committee that the Committee should have presented to it an argument that could be presented to the public on why a building of this character should have to be removed if we were to build the sort of parliament house that this nation requires.
I fail to .see the importance of this question. I believe that it is elementary that a building, which was erected for the purpose for which this one was erected, in the manner in which it was erected and in the materials in which it was built, must inevitably pass away with the effluxion of time. Anything that could be done to the building to try to preserve it would have to be of a temporary character. If we managed to prop the building up for another 20 or 30 years we would be lucky, irrespective of the cost involved in doing so.
– There are more leaks into the building than out of it.
– Some of us know something about the leaks that occur outside the building. Some of them are publisted in newspapers. But this is a very serious matter. Unless we begin to lift our eyes above the horizons of the limitations of the past we will not erect the type of structure that this nation requires us to erect in this age and generation. We are not now talking of another temporary parliament house. If we are talking of a permanent structure, surely we have enough confidence in this nation to expect that it will endure for at least 500 years. Whether we are capable of building a structure to meet the requirements over that period of time can be proved only when we tackle the proposition.
We start off in a position in which many nations envy us. We have the space. We have almost an entirely new city. Plenty of space has been laid aside for any concept one could imagine the parliament would require in the future. As I said before, if we start half way up the hill and then we are forced to expand, to where do we expand? We will then have ancillary buildings stretching out behind the original building and up to the more dominating site. If we look at the map of the area we can answer the question we are often asked. If we happen to be wandering around the business area of Canberra, in Civic Centre, wilh visitors who have never been here before, and they want to know where Parliament House is. we almost need a map to tell them where to find it. If the new building were put on Camp Hill, that situation would not be improved in any way at all. If it were put on Capital Hill, anybody standing anywhere in the Canberra area would be able to point to Parliament House as the dominating building.
In the circumstances that exist at present, I can well imagine somebody giving instructions to people in Civic on how to find Parliament House and those people going away from this city and remarking on the tremendous number of books that seem to be around Parliament House. In fact, they would have been to the National Library and would not have discovered Parliament House at all because it is not where people expect it to be. I believe that people who will come here in the centuries that lie ahead will expect to find Parliament House on the site that has already been determined by the Senate - on the top of Capital Hill. I have read of the difficulties that some people who have architectural knowledge expect to- meet in trying to put an adequate building on such a centralised and high position. But those are only difficulties. They are the sorts of things that we have architects to solve by applying their minds, their reason, their training and their imagination, if need be.
Perhaps it is coincidental that at this stage of our development we are a nation of six States which are represented here in the Senate. We have leading to the Capital Hill site seven avenues - one for the Commonwealth and one for each of the States. I am only hoping that our concept of what we will do there will get away from the idea that existed when the early settlers came to this country. I do not wish to demean them in any way. But it has always struck me that the names given to the States of the Commonwealth of Australia when they were first settled indicate that the people who came to them and so named them did not ever expect this land to be a nation in its own right at all. Those people gave them bits and pieces of names that had some association with another country from whence they had come. What can be done with ‘New South Wales’, South Australia’ and Western Australia’ - unimaginative names which were convenient at the time? Certainly nobody could ever have expected that those States would be the wonderful contributors to a great new nation in the Pacific area that they are today. Perhaps Tasmania, Victoria, and even Queensland were a little more fortunate. At least there is some music to the ear in ‘Tasmania’; a little less in ‘Victoria’, which seems to have been named after a queen; and some in ‘Queensland’, which rolls off the tongue somewhat more easily than does ‘New South Wales’.
Do we intend to build a building that will preserve that sort of approach, or do we intend to build a parliament house that belongs to this day and age? I maintain that on the top of Capital Hill we could have seven buildings with seven fronts, if necessary. Do we have to have a building with a front door, a back door and side doors to enable members to sneak into and out of the building? That has been the practice in respect of the present structure. Why should the building have a side view, a front view and a back view when there are seven avenues leading up to Capital Hill? I am not trying to build the building. I am only suggesting that, within the realm of the imaginations of all of us, surely there is some concept which architects could put down in a plan of a building to which this nation could point in the future as something we have created and something worthy of the city that has been created here. This is a very beautiful city by world standards. It is improving all the time.
When we talk of cost in relation to these matters we beg the problem that we have before us. What is cost in terms of building a structure that is to last for centuries? Nobody knows what state of the economy of this nation will be in the future or where creeping inflation may ultimately lead us. Whatever the cost was today, in a century’s time people might say: ‘Thank goodness the people of 1969 had enough vision and enough imagination to realise that what they built then was a very cheap building compared with the amount it would cost us to build it today’. That is certainly similar to what we say today about most of the major buildings that we have inherited. What would it cost us to build them today? In terms of today’s costs, if the people who built those buildings had worried about the cost they would never have been built. They would have Been said to be impracticable and impossible if considered against the cost of a very modest structure in this day and age.
This is one project, Mr Deputy President, in respect of which costs should play a very small part in the planning. If it can be shown that the economy of this affluent nation cannot bear the cost of the structure that we think is worthy of the site and of the nation and of the centuries that it is to endure, then we should build it in stages. Certainly it should be planned from the beginning as a whole. Do not let us have a structure of little bits and pieces as I .read suggested in one report. Indeed, the words of one senator indicated that he was trying to incorporate this tragic structure that we have today which for years has served as temporary accommodation, and make it a permanent structure. Where is the vision in representation of that character? We do not want that. We should plan the new and permanent parliament house irrespective of cost and of anything else. If the cost is too staggering for the economy of this nation to bear in one generation, let us realise that we are building something that has to last for generation after generation
– Surely costs are a relevant consideration in all such matters.
– No, costs are not a relevant consideration in all such matters. - It depends on what you are building and why you are building. If you, Mr Minister, can show me that the costs of today will be considered according to the same standards by the generations who will inherit and use this building, and who may have to pull it down and build another because we saved costs in our age and our generation, then your approach may be relevant. But we cannot consider it in those terms. The Minister knows, as a student of the economy, that whatever the cost today it could still be considered, in 50 years or 100 years time, to be a cheap building. No doubt this present building was erected originally for what it costs now to maintain it for one year. The Minister knows that as well as I do.
– The value is still in this building, according to current costs.
– There is no value in this building today other than the cost to the nation of pulling it down. That probably would be in excess of the cost of the materials contained in it. This building has outlived its usefulness. What is the value of a motorcar that you have had for 10 years? What is the value of an old motorcar unless it gets to the absolute vintage stage? The Minister and I know that such a vehicle is worthless and that a person using it is risking his life. We must adopt the concept that we are building something that is to be permanent. We should not think in terms of the days of our grandsons and great grandsons. We should think in terms of centuries of history. Whatever it costs us today to build this new structure is not the important consideration involved in the total problem that is before us. What is important is that we produce a structure that will stand for centuries. We want it to stand. What is important is that we produce a structure worthy of the capital of this nation. If we do this then we will succeed. We may be criticised, because of the cost if we lack the courage to face the people and say that we ought to spend this money in this way.
There may be a very real consideration thrown up to us that this nation cannot afford to put sufficient manpower and material into a project such as this. People can talk in monetary terms and mention as many-millions of dollars as they like but all that will go into this building is a certain amount of material, manpower and effort of the age and the generation in which it is built. If this is too much and the Government does not think it can justify the cost to the people, then I say that it should build the new and permanent parliament house in stages as it can afford to build them in each generation. However it should be built to a concept and plan finalised before the project commences; otherwise it will finish with a lot of small bits added to the original concept.
The new and permanent parliament house should not be built to the requirements of this nation in 1969, nor even 1979. nor even of the next century. If we are to build something that will last the period of time we hope it will last, we have to build something that will be adequate for an Australia with a population not of 20 million or 30 million; let us hope that we can justify our occupancy of this great continent and can think in terms of a population of 70 million, 80 million or 100 million people. What would be the cost of whatever building is planned if it were spread over 100 million people, half of whom at least would be taxpayers? If the Senate wants a supporter for my argument then I am sure that the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) who sits in the other place, could see the vision splendid of 50 million taxpayers. He would say that if he had as many people as that paying taxes who would care what it cost to build the new and permanent parliament house. Let us get away from the concept suggested by the interjection of the Minister.
– The honourable senator is misunderstanding my interjection.
– If I am placing the wrong interpretation on it then I ask the Minister to be patient with me. My interpretation was brought about by the fact that he interjected when my mind was heading in a different direction. If the Minister is following the course I am following then I welcome him as a supporter of the idea that we should buil’d a great parliament house for this nation; one which generations will be proud to know that this age conceived. I hope that future generations can be proud that this generation carried out the plan. It may take as long as that for this project to be- accomplished. I hope that it will not be built down on the shores of the lake, the site already abandoned, and not on Camp Hill, which is the suggested alternative site, but on Capital Hill where it can be seen by the people who visit this great capital of what I hope some day will be a great nation.
Let us erect the new and permanent parliament house on Capital Hill where it can be seen. Let us erect a building worthy of a site where nothing can dominate it. There will be no need to have sketchy little buildings all round a structure on Capital Hill. Let us make reservations now not for the site on Capital Hill but for the subsidiary site on Camp Hill so that the Camp Hill area can be kept clear and vacant in order that nothing will interfere with the structure that we propose to be the parliament house of this nation.
– Let me assure you, Mr Deputy President, that it will not take me 27 minutes, as it did the previous speaker, to say that I am in favour of either Capital Hill or Camp Hill.
– Do not pick another site.
– Bear with me for a while. I happened to be out of Australia attending the United Nations when the first debate took place.
– They slipped the matter through when we were not here.
– That is right. Unfortunately for the Senate, Senator Toohey was not able to voice his opinion. I think he was a lake man at that time. I will delay the Senate for only 2 minutes on this matter.
I read the Hansard reports but I could not see anywhere in them, when the lake site and Capital Hill site were being debated, the suggestion that East Block and West Block as well as this building were to be destroyed and demolished. I think that if that suggestion had entered the reckoning of the thinking people in the Senate, the Senate although not necessarily reaching a different decision may have voted differently.
I intend to support the motion for rescission but wili do so for reasons that may be different from those that honourable senators expect. By supporting the rescission motion - and I hope it is carried - I think the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) will proceed to item 2 on the business paper and will move that the Joint Select Committee’s report be adopted - that is that the Camp Hill site be selected. I sincerely hope that the Senate will reject that as well. I will vote against it. Then I think we will have reached the stage that the House of Representatives will have decided on Camp Hill and that the Senate will have decided against it. I hope that by then we will have reached an impasse leading either to a joint meeting of both Houses or, perhaps, the matter going back for decision by the body which I think should have decided it, irrespective of all the words said in this place and the other place, namely, the Government itself. I hope that the Government, whichever party is in power, will make the decision. At the moment the Government is only seeking our opinion on these matters. Honourable senators are interjecting but I believe that this is going to happen. The government of the day is not bound by the report of any select committee and it never has been. The government of the day will make the decision. Certainly the Senate will have certain powers but I do not believe that it is even necessary for a Bill to be introduced to provide for a new parliament house.
– A Bill is necessary to appropriate the money.
- Senator Cavanagh is with me. The government of the day will have to introduce a Bill to appropriate certain moneys, and as the work involved will be a capital work this House then, if it wishes to do so, will be able to use its power and say: ‘No, we will refuse the appropriation of moneys for a parliament house’. Perhaps the Senate will decide to refuse to appropriate money because the government says that the new parliament house will be on the lakeside, on Camp Hill or on Capital Hill. I still believe that it will be the Government which will make the decision. I was much heartened by Senator O’Byrne - I hope he is listening to me-
– Are you supporting the rescission motion?
– No. I was very pleased to hear the honourable senator say - I am putting these words into his mouth although he probably did not use them; it is an expression he often uses - that there was a nigger in the woodpile and we would be left with the situation in which the Government’s decision, or Cabinet’s decision, would prevail and we would finish up with the new parliament house on the lakeside. Did I interpret you correctly?
– I thought that was the way the Government was trying to organise it, and the honourable senator’s remarks gave me some heart. I will vote for the rescission motion first of all and then vote against Camp Hill in the hope that we will achieve what I have always believed should be the location of the new and permanent parliament house - on the lakeside.
– I do not intend to detain the Senate for very long while I make my contribution to this debate. Like Senator Branson, perhaps 1 feel a little aggrieved because unfortunately I was not in the Parliament when the decision for Capital Hill was made.
– It would not have mattered.
– At least I would have had the satisfaction of putting my viewpoint even though it may have been a minority one. Perhaps because of a streak of cussedness in my makeup 1 take the opportunity this evening to indicate to the Senate that it was a matter of very real regret to me that the lakeside site was discarded finally by both Houses of the Parliament. Most of the architects of Australia probably know a little more about these things than we do and, like Senator
Cavanagh, I am one who feels a little diffident about suggesting that members of Parliament” are the best people to make a decision on a matter affecting the general overall concept of the Parliament in the parliamentary triangle. This difference moves me to accept the viewpoint that architects and planners may know a little more about the matter than we do. I was prepared at least to take their advice that the new and permanent parliament house should be built on the lakeside.
– The people who took Utzon’s advice did not finish up very happy.
– We are not discussing the Opera House now; we are discussing the parliament house. I say finally that I share Senator Branson’s regret in not being here when the vote was taken. I share his regret that the Parliament decided against the lakeside site. Now having a choice of two evils - Camp Hill or Capital Hill - I indicate to the Senate that I probably will come down on the side of Capital Hill when the final vote is taken.
– I do not know whether I will arrive at my decision by the means suggested by Senator Branson, that is, to vote for the rescission motion and then vote for something else, or whether I will vote against the rescission motion and allow to stand the existing motion which was carried some time ago. I have not made up my mind on that yet. But I know that I am in favour of the new parliament bouse being built on Capital Hill.
I was prompted to rise by the contentions we have heard throughout the debate, firstly, that the opinions of the experts should be followed, and secondly, that the decision of the Joint Select Committee also should be followed without deviation. We have heard those contentions expressed on several occasions during the debate. Experts, like the rest of us, are fallible. In point of fact some of them - only some - are people of great confusion. That has been pointed out to a degree during the currency of this debate by some of the other speakers. Lord Holford has been quoted very often as the one who suggested building the new parliament house on the lakeside. Thai was years ago. Several years after he made that recommendation he reported on the growth of Canberra, I was amazed that this man who had recommended the lakeside as the site for the new parliament house should make the following report years afterwards:
The emptiness of Parkes Place is an asset which both cities might envy. If the new Houses of Parliament are built on the lakeside, the pendulum will swing the other way; and a generation after that everyone will be looking for space and putting the carparks underground, or on two or more levels, in order to save it.
He was the man who recommended the lakeside and years afterwards reported, in effect, that if the new parliament house were built there the people would be looking for space and would be putting their car parks underground or on higher levels in order to conserve the space.
– That was Lord Holford who recommended the lakeside and then said that we would live to rue it?
– He is the man who made that recommendation. Because of that statement I believe that his previous recommendation stands condemned. I agree entirely with the contention that one of the first essentials in a new parliament house is that there be as much space as possible, and what would influence me in the choice of a site is the space that would be available.
The other contention is that the decision of the Select Committee which inquired thoroughly into this matter should be followed. I do not detract from the work that was done by that Committee. I am one of the first to concede that select committees do a wonderful job in unearthing information which otherwise would not be discovered and in assessing the facts, but when it comes to a decision on the location of a new parliament house then I say that the decision should be made by members of both Houses of Parliament. It should not be delegated to a select committee.
– Or to the Cabinet.
– Or to the Cabinet; I agree. A lot of the trouble in relation to this matter has arisen because years ago when the proposal was first mooted the matter was not put before members of both Houses of Parliament where it properly belonged. I was a member of a parliament where select committees were highly fashionable. I served on a good many of them and I learned that their decisions nearly always were prompted by the political complexion of the people who served on them. In point of fact the situation reached the stage where if you could pick the personnel of a committee you could bring in almost any decision you wished. I call to mind that on one occasion a select committee was set up to decide on a location for an agricultural college. The majority of the members of that committee were from the Bass area. There is no need for me to mention the location that was decided upon. It could well be that if another committee were chosen from both Houses of this Parliament tomorrow, then, depending upon the personnel of that committee, we could be faced with a different decision from the one before us this evening. I say that without being in any way disparaging of the Joint Committee which submitted the recommendation under consideration.
The question before us is the site upon which Parliament House should be built. I repeat that the members of this Parliament should not delegate the responsibility for making the decision to any joint committee. Again, when I say that I am in no way detracting from the work done by the Joint Committee. For the reasons that I enumerated on the last occasion, I favour the Capital Hill site. I believe that the area there is larger and, as the years go by, it will become more and more vital that space be available. Tt is the better location. It is the more dominant location, and, whatever means are used to decide the matter, I propose to come out in favour of the Capital Hill site.
– In dealing with this question, it is as well to bear in mind that two aspects are involved. Many people become confused and believe that only one problem is involved. Here both town planning problems and architectural problems are involved. The choice of a site for the new parliament house really comes within the category of town planning. Many architects in this country speak of themselves as town planners. They are not town planners in the true sense of the term. Therefore, when people are giving evidence or expressing views, it is essential that we keep in mind just how much planning experience they have.
I speak with some knowledge of this question. I have mentioned before that I was the first person to introduce town planning for municipalities in this country. It was through my efforts that the first town planning legislation in Australia, the Mackay and Other Cities Town Planning Act was introduced. That was 37 years ago now. Over the years, since then I have served for a considerable time in the municipal sphere as well as here and the subject of updating town plans and town planning in general has been very close to me. It is a subject in which I have maintained a continuing intense interest. Because of. that interest, I have come to know just how weak some of the people who profess to be town planners are and just how good others are.
Tonight we are discussing the site for the new and permanent parliament house. As Senator Lillico has said, one finds differences of opinion even amongst the experts, just as one does amongst the members of select committees. But there are certain principles which should guide planners in deciding where various buildings should be sited. I remind the Senate that Sir Thomas Holford visited Australia. He is an English town planner. He recommended the lakeside as the most suitable site for parliament house and he made certain other observations with which I do not agree. As honourable senators know, I, as a member of a select committee, submitted an independent report. Sir Thomas Holford paid me the compliment of speaking favourably of one or two of the observations I made in that report which at least indicated to him that I was not an innocent abroad so far as town planning is concerned. Notwithstanding his favourable comments, I do not agree with him that the lakeside site is the most suitable.
In these matters people of different nationalities tend to recommend the adoption of designs that are more suited really to their own countries. For example, in London the Houses of Parliament are on the bank of the Thames. Apparently, therefore, when Sir Thomas Holford came to this country he was trying to develop a similar set of circumstances here. It would seem that English people would seek to imitate what is done in England while people from other countries would seem to favour the adoption of designs similar to those in their home countries. In this case, I agree with those speakers who have suggested that we need to apply our own Australian thinking to the problem.
The basic requirement in my opinion is to remember that Canberra is a parliamentary city and that it always will be a parliamentary city. Parliament will be the dominating feature here for as long as any of us can see into the future. Therefore, it will continue to be a parliamentary city. When people come here the first thing they expect to see is the parliament house. They look for it because parliament house is the symbol of the city. If the new and permanent parliament house were erected on the lakeside site, which is a depressed site, it would not be a conspicuous building. People would not be able to see it from a distance.
– It” would depend on the height of the building.
– It would not be a conspicuous building even if it were high. It certainly would not be as conspicuous as it would be if it were on Capital Hill.
– Why put the National Library down there?
– The Library cannot be seen when one is a certain distance away from the lake. It is essential that the new and permanent parliament house occupy an eminent position in this city.
– Then why not put it on Black Mountain?
– There has to be some relationship between the various buildings in the community. That is good town planning. There must be some sort of affinity. One of the drawbacks of this city is that it is too spacious in certain respects. It lacks that humanness in town planning that cities should have. I remind Senator Toohey that Mr Burley Griffin planned this city back in the horse and buggy days. Let me say to those who think they know all about town planning that I am certain that if Burley Griffin were to design this city today he would change its character in certain respects. As I have said, he planned it back in the old horse and buggy days. The whole system of transportation has changed since then. Today we have to cope with motor traffic and the percentage of car owners in the population is increasing all the time.
I am not the only one who thinks about spaciousness. A city can be overspacious. I remind honourable senators that when the Duke of Edinburgh was out here only a couple of years ago he said something to the effect that Canberra was a city without a soul. There is something in what he said, if a city is planned on too grand a scale, it will1 lack humanness. There must be cohesiveness in town planning. Some interjectors have asked me whether the Duke of Edinburgh is an expert. It would seem that he certainly has a very good appreciation of things. Senator Cavanagh seeks to interject. I have always given him credit for being a thinker. We have heard much about the opinions of experts. We have been told that the Joint Committee had before it the evidence of experts. Probably the best town planning advice in Australia, in my opinion, was not availed of by the Committee.
– It would not have been right to ask the honourable senator to give evidence.
– I was not speaking of myself.
– He missed out.
– I missed out. I am an enthusiastic person who has been associated with town planning, from a municipality point of view, since its inception. I know who is and who is not a town planner. As far as I am concerned, the number one town planner in this country is Dr Karl Langer of Brisbane, formerly of Vienna.
– That is a fine national outlook.
– Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood says I am adopting a fine national outlook. At least I am not one of those people who thinks everything in this country must be English. I believe that we should try to develop a symbol for this country. I believe that brains can come from any country.
– We need experts.
– If Senator Cavanagh Wants experts and if he doubts my word, 1 remind him that a Labor Prime Minister, Mr Ben Chifley, brought to this country Sir Patrick Abercrombie, the great British town planner, in order to advise muni cipal authorities and other people throughout Australia on town planning. I well recall him telling a crowded meeting in Brisbane: You have living amongst you that great town planner and architect, Dr Karl Langer, formerly of Vienna’. The expert acknowledged that Dr Karl Langer is an expert. 1 mentioned this to a member of the Committee who was very keen on this subject and 1 am very sorry to say that although he wrote to Dr Karl Langer he forgot to tell him to come here to give evidence. The siting of the new parliament house is a very serious matter. We want the best brains possible to tell us about these things.
– Did not the Committee advertise?
– Dr Langer was prepared to come here, but he was to be advised. This member of the Committee failed to advise him. When he came here to give evidence before the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory, of which 1 was a member, he brought an independent approach. He walked up Camp Hill and Capital Hill and worked out his whole scheme then. His view then was and still is that Capital Hill would be the ideal site for the parliament house of this country because the hill is eminently suitable for the purpose. It will give an eminence to parliament house that will make it dominant from practically anywhere in Canberra that one looks at it. That is a very important thing.
I have been intensely keen on architecture for a long time. Some people have said: There would not be room to put cars up there’, or: ‘It would be windy up there’. Anybody who knows anything about architecture realises that cars would not have to go to the top. Parking space would be provided at the bottom of the hill. A walkway through a tunnel would be used and people would go up by lift to the parliament house.
– That would be very time-consuming if someone were running to take part in a division.
– I am not talking about people running to take part in a division. People visiting parliament house are not running to take part in a division. An architect could design a building to counter all situations, including any wind nuisance. I think we have to study the two sites in a sensible fashion. The problems would be a challenge to any top architect - one of whom, I hope, would design this building. I was very interested in Senator Davidson’s speech and also in part of Senator Little’s speech. I was rather interested to hear them break away from the concept of a necessary style of building limiting the suitability of a site. They did not say, as some do, that the building must be a long one; they talked about a tall building. I thought they showed a bit of imagination, because the parliament house does not have to be a certain type of building. A first class architect will design a building to suit the situation. A building on an eminence does not have to be a long, flat type of building; it can be a tall building. It can be a building of many storeys. A top architect would design it in accordance with the layout of the land.
We have heard about so much having to be taken off the top of the hill, thus reducing its height. The top does not have to be taken off the hill. The situation can be met by top line thinking in architecture. What is wrong with the top of the hill being fitted into the building? The lower storeys of the building would not have to extend over the whole ground plan. As the height of the building grew, the whole area could be used. This can be done, and anybody who envisages these things and takes an interest in them can see that it can be done.
I am a travelled person and one interested in the tourist industry. The other week I visited a new tourist resort which had been opened only recently. Was the hill taken away there? No. The hill was built up and the buildings and the hill were merged. The same applies to another resort I visited. I do not suggest that the new parliament house be designed exactly like those resort buildings, but the principle is the same. There is no reason why the top of Capital Hill has to be taken off in order to put the building there. A top architect could accept the challenge of Capital Hill successfully; he could design a plan which will probably be something unique and something outstanding. He could overcome the problem by meeting the situation as he would find it on Capital Hill, I see no difficulty in designing a building for that hill.
One of the basic things to consider is where a building of this character should be placed in Canberra. It should be placed where it can be seen from most parts of the city. It should be placed on a site where a suitable building can be built. My experience, and the advice I have had from this learned town planner, show that unquestionably the site which in the long run would give due eminence to parliament house, the national .symbol of this country, would be Capital Hill. Putting the building on Camp Hill and then erecting some symbol on the top of Capital Hill would mean that the building on Capital Hill, instead of being used as a backdrop, as was suggested to me, would diminish the importance of the building on the lower hill, Camp Hill.
I invite honourable senators to visualise the situation. If the parliament house were on Camp Hill and another building were on Capital Hill, naturally the building on Capital Hill would draw the attention from that lower building and so diminish its stature. There is no question about that. I invite honourable senators to visualise the situation in their mind’s eye. I think that Capital Hill affords a magnificent opportunity for the right type of architect to design a building that will be truly breathtaking and something really worthy of the future of this country. I think that the type of building that would be designed would sweep up with the curve of the ‘ hill to its peak. An architect of good standing would carry on that point with a tall building - a parliament house that would be eminent, have a character of its own and be something of which this nation would be truly proud.
– Much has already been said on this subject. Therefore, I shall be very brief. I wish to make some comments on the two sites and to give some reasons why I will be supporting the Capital Hill site when the matter is put to a vote. Like most other honourable senators, I have inspected all the possible sites. I must say that although I voted in favour of the Capital Hill site on the last occasion, when it was agreed in the Senate to refer the Camp Hill site to the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House for consideration I was prepared to keep an open mind on the subject. I maintained that open mind until last week.
Having read the reports and had discussions on the subject, I felt that I should go into the Parliamentary Library for another close look at the planned layout which was prepared by the National Capital Development Commission. I did this because the size of the two sites had been mentioned as a relevant factor on so many occasions that I felt 1 should see what the NCDC envisaged in regard to a building on either site. I was very concerned that a great number of buildings were placed in the foreground of the Camp Hill site. From a long term point of view there is a danger that the new and permanent parliament house will be eventually closed in by other buildings and structures. Looking very closely at the planned layout I noticed that Camp Hill was to be made into a plateau with straight vertical walls. I presume that the layout was constructed in proportion. If that is the case, there will be a wall at each end of the ground base of quite some feet in height. I could visualise that when one was driving alongside the new parliament house one would see a very drab, vertical wall with the parliament house further back, instead of a nice, sloping, broad aspect or panorama leading up to it. I think this would detract considerably from the building. This factor coupled with the danger of the parliament house being built in finally convinced me that the Capital Hill site was the one for the new and permanent parliament house.
Both Capital Hill and Camp Hill offer an excellent view of Lake Burley Griffin and the prominent buildings on either side of the lake, but Capital Hill has the added advantage over Camp Hill in that the parliament will, as I understand, have control of all of the Capital Hill ground and so will be able to control the area and keep the building in a position of prominence over most of the national capital. I think this is very important for a parliament house. Those are the main reasons why I support the Capital Hill site. I shall repeat them briefly for the benefit of honourable senators. Firstly, there is the danger of a parliament house on Camp Hill being built in. Secondly, the building should be in a commanding position. It will be in a commanding position on Capital Hill and there is no danger of anything else being built on
Capital Hill to detract from parliament house. For those reasons, I support the Capital Hill site.
– I feel that I should say a few words on this matter as I was the one who originally proposed the Capital Hill site instead of the lakeside site. I adhere to the view that the new and permanent parliament house should be on Capital Hill. I hope that the Senate takes the same view. There is a division of opinion within the Parliament on the Capital Hill and the Camp Hill sites but that division of opinion is not as great as the original division of opinion on the Capital Hill and lakeside sites. I have considered the material that was put before the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House. Although I was not mechanically part of the majority view of the Committee or the dissenting view, I believe that the opinion of the Senate, which had been arrived at after great consideration, should not be altered in the light of the material put before the Committee.
If that view is shared by the majority of the Senate and the rescission motion moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) is not carried, a problem will arise in that the other place has taken one view and the Senate another. That will require resolution between the Houses. As I understand the position, this is a matter for decision by members of the Parliament. I understand that it has been put to them not in their capacity as members of parties but as individuals. They know the needs of the Parliament and therefore should be able to decide where it should be located.
– As representatives of the people.
– As representatives of the people but not as party representatives. I do not think that it would be in accordance with the way in which this matter is being decided if the view were taken that because one House represented a party interest the matter should be determined on the basis of what that House thought. This matter has been put to us as individuals.
– This is not binding on any future government, is it?
– I agree that our decision is not binding on any future government. But of course, in one sense what any person or future government might decide is not binding on the Parliament. Parliament is the supreme body under our system. We all understood that we were being consulted as individual members of the Parliament. We have approached the matter in that manner. We are making our decision in that way. From the Opposition’s point of view everyone is entirely free to vote as he wishes. I understand that that is the position with all parties in both Houses. This is an instance of an entirely free vote on procedural matters and on the substance of one’s opinion. I should imagine that if the Senate adheres to its previous decision some form of joint sitting of the Houses may have to be considered. If the Senate adheres to its previous decision, I hope that favourable consideration will be given to a joint sitting of the Houses and that a decision will be arrived at without further discussion. I think the matter has been discussed fully. I think the only course open would be to take a vote of the members of the Parliament sitting together. But again it should be an entirely free vote.
– If the two Houses sit together we will get the same result.
– We cannot get the same result. I am suggesting this on the basis that the Senate will now vote differently to the vote taken in the other place. That will mean that there will be two conflicting viewpoints. The only thing that can be done to resolve this conflict is to have a joint sitting of the Houses. I suppose that one could add the numbers in favour of one site in both Houses and compare it with the votes in favour of the other. But it might be better if they were put together and if a single vote were taken on the issue. Having said that as to the possible resolution of a conflict, I would say that I remain of the same opinion and that the previous decision of the Senate should not be rescinded.
– I have listened to the debate with a considerable amount of interest. Discussion on this subject has been going on for a number of years. I was opposed to the building of the new and permanent parlia ment house on the lakeside and was in favour of the Capital Hill site. But the Parliament decided to set up a joint committee to look at this problem of a permanent parliament house that will be available for the Commonwealth for the next 300 or 400 years, and to make recommendations to the Senate and to the House of Representatives as to where it should be located. That committee sat on a number of occasions and its report is most interesting. I have read it through and I find that the vote in favour of Camp Hill was 12 to 2.
That is quite significant because we in the Senate are always advocating the committee system. If we do not examine very closely what a committee recommends and if we are not prepared to accept its recommendation, this defeats the object of the system. This committee, appointed to examine the matter and report to the Senate and the House of Representatives, came down 12 to 2 in favour of the Camp Hill site. The original recommendation by Walter Burley Griffin was for the Camp Hill site. The whole of the city of Canberra was designed by Burley Griffin and the joint committee supported his recommendation in favour of Camp Hill. After looking at all of the pros and cons of the argument I have no alternative but to come down on the side of the committee and I intend to cast my vote for Camp Hill.
– in reply - If ever there were a classic argument, in my modest judgment, for the party system, this is a good example of it. We are to have a free vote. We have had twenty-one speakers on this subject the second time round, which is a staggering comment on our enthusiasm. But let honourable senators not take that too much to heart. Only one thing remains to be done: That is, to take the vote. In case honourable senators make a mistake as to what they are voting for let me remind them that the motion is:
That the resolution of 22nd August 1968 that the new and permanent Parliament House be situated at Capital Hill be rescinded.
If this motion is not carried, I shall not proceed with the second motion. If it is carried I shall proceed to move that the report of the Joint Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House be adopted. I do not propose to canvass all of the arguments. We know them so well. My duty now is to ensure that in voting to the motion honourable senators realise that it is for the rescission of the previous resolution. If it fails, this can be interpreted only as a vote for Capital Hill.
That the motion (Senator Anderson’s) be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . . . 27
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - by leave - As was anticipated, the Senate has come to a conclusion on this matter of the new and permanent parliament house which differs from the view apparently expressed by the House of Representatives. It seems desirable to a number of us that this matter be resolved in some way. I had thought at one stage of moving to amend the motion for rescission proposed by Senator Anderson in order to have a joint sitting of the members of the two Houses to resolve this question. The view which seemed to be expressed was that the rescission proposal should be dealt with first to ascertain firmly where the Senate stood. 1 know that Senator
Byrne also had the same matter in mind but intended to move a slightly different proposal along the lines that there should be a conference of the two Houses. We think that this matter ought to be decided by the Senate. I do not know what is the will of the Senate and whether this ought to be decided tonight. If we were to put these proposals, I suppose that one could be put as a motion and the other put as an amendment to it, but in any event they would require leave
I understand from individuals on the Government side of the chamber that some honourable senators would want time to consider this matter and therefore would not be disposed to give leave. I suppose that is a fair approach to the matter; they are entitled as individuals to consider the question. So that the Senate may consider the implications of the proposals overnight and perhaps make suggestions, I read out what I had in mind so that there will not. be the necessity to give notice and then wait until the next day to determine the matter. Honourable senators will not be taken by surprise if I follow this course and might be disposed to grant leave tomorrow. I inform the Senate that 1 had in mind a motion in these terms:
I shall say no more on this other than that I have put what I propose on record so that it is there for the consideration of everyone who might wish to make suggestions. We will see whether this is the course which commends itself or whether some other course might be more desirable.
Hie DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - 1 think that would be the best course. So far 1 think Senator Murphy has been just canvassing an idea.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- ls leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– by leave - As the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) has said, proposals to try to overcome the anticipated deadlock or differences between the two Houses in relation to this matter occurred to Senator Murphy and myself independently. 1 think the terms of Senator Murphy’s proposal, which has been outlined rather briefly to the Senate, mention a general sitting of both Houses. Senator Branson has asked whether that is competent within the Standing Orders and the Constitution. In those circumstances, I inform the Senate of the text of a motion I had proposed to move by leave if Senator Murphy had not .first, by leave, indicated his own proposal. I would still have in mind to move my motion tomorrow, unless a common motion could be arrived at. The motion I proposed to move states:
Speaker to convene a General Conference and by resolution to express the point of view of the assembled parliamentarians;
The terms of my proposed motion do not contemplate a formal meeting of both Houses, but within the Standing Orders the motion contemplates a conference of members of both Houses in which they would assemble as parliamentarians - or even of individuals assembling as parliamentarians. That has been done in the course of debates in both places. Individuals have been able to express their views apart from party affiliations or decisions. That is the type of motion I have in mind to present to the Senate tomorrow if an opportunity presented itself.
Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Supply) - by leave - .Both the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) and Senator Byrne have given notice of a motion. In the normal course of events notice of a motion would have to be given tomorrow and probably we would deal with the matter on Thursday. It seems to me that before the Senate adjourns for the- parliamentary recess we may be faced with two notices of motion - that is, if Senator Murphy and Senator Byrne do not agree on a mutually acceptable form of words.
– Or we might have no notice of motion.
– That is so. As Leader of the Government in the Senate I certainly would not wish to insist upon notice of motion being given tomorrow. I would agree to the suspension of Standing Orders so that the matter might be dealt with tomorrow, and I would hold the, perhaps, faint hope that we would not have twenty-one speakers in the debate. I would be hopeful that we would be able to get a decision on this matter, in any event. I believe that if we do not deal with the matter tomorrow, it must be dealt with before we adjourn for the recess. Any motion to be moved by the Leader of the Opposition or by the Australian Democratic Labor Party should be brought on for discussion tomorrow in an attempt to get a decision whilst the matter is fresh in our minds. There would be no necessity for long speeches on the issue.
I do not accept the substance of the proposed motions, but I do not propose to argue that matter now. We can argue it only when we have a substantive motion before the Senate. If either motion comes or both of the proposed motions come before the Senate tomorrow, I should like a decision to be obtained tomorrow.
– I will rephrase my point of order; What powers exist in the Senate to ask for, insist on, or in any way seek a joint sitting of both Houses other than under the terms of section 57 of the Constitution? I cannot find in Standing Orders a reference to a joint sitting, other than that which appears on page 56.
– What about a common sitting?
– Senator Byrne has given notice of what he may move. I cannot find a standing order that provides for a conference. If I could be advised of one, I would be grateful.
– Have a look at section 50.
– I am getting a lot. of advice, and I will consider it in a moment. My question is: Can the Senate ask for a joint sitting of both Houses other than under section 57 of the Constitution?
– I respectfully draw the attention of the Senate and Senator Branson to section 50 of the Constitution, which states:
Each House of the Parliament may make rules and orders with respect to -
The order and conduct of its business and proceedings either separately or jointly with the other House.
This practice is sometimes followed in joint select committees. We conduct our business jointly with the other House in those committees. Of course, what we do in select committees we can do in the Committee of the Whole, and what we can do in the Committee of the Whole we can do in our sittings. There seems to be authority to make an order which is a resolution to achieve this result if both Houses so desire.
– In my view the point of order is premature because the motion is not before the Senate. That is the message I was trying to convey. If notice of motion is given tomorrow and if the Senate agrees to proceed with it forthwith, that is the time to put the challenge as to its validity, and not in a hypothetical situation as has arisen at the present time.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I uphold that view. Senator Murphy is canvassing an idea. As Senator Anderson has said, there is no substantive motion before the Senate al present.
Debate resumed from 22 April (vide page 933), on motion by Senator Anderson:
That the Bill be now read a second lime.
Senator WILLESEE (Western Australia) 1.9.26] - Mr Deputy President, 1 suggest that this Bill and the Pay-roll Assessment Bill 1969 be dealt with together at the second reading stage.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Is it the wish of the Senate that the two Bills be taken together? There being no objection, that procedure will be followed.
– This legislation arises out of what might be termed the new two-tier system’ of gold selling which was instituted some time ago. The purpose of these Bills is to amend certain sections of the Income Tax Assessment Act dealing with sales of gold, and the related sections of the Pay-roll Tax Assessment Act. The selling price of gold has been fixed at $35 an ounce for about 40 years. As honourable senators are aware, such sales have not attracted income tax. Now a certain amount of gold is to be sold for industrial use in Australia. In addition, gold may be purchased back from the Reserve Bank for use for industrial purposes. The purpose of this legislation is to provide exemption from tax for income derived from the sale of newly mined gold for industrial use in Australia. This seems to the Australian Labor Party to be a logical development in view of what has happened on the world’s gold markets. The amendment to the Pay-roll Tax Assessment Act is necessary to ensure that pay-roll tax is not paid in respect of gold that is exported or is sold for industrial use in Australia. The amendment is necessary because now a certain section of gold producers is able to buy back from the Reserve Bank gold for use for industrial purposes in Australia. Exemption is to be provided to ensure that pay-roll tax is not attracted in respect of such transactions.
In the broad sense the amendments are fairly simple, but as with all amendments to taxation legislation, a great deal of time could be spent in studying what is involved. The amendments in respect of both income tax and pay-roll tax are simple propositions and the Labor Party has no objection to them. We regard them as logical amendments.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and -passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Consideration resumed from 22 April (vide page 934), on motion by Senator Anderson:
Thai the Bill be now read a second lime.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 22 April (vide page 935), on motion by Senator Anderson:
That the BIN be now read a second time.
– The Australian Labor Party does not oppose this Bill, lt is a rather technical one. It relates to the GovernorGeneral’s warrant, which is required to be obtained before any money voted by the Parliament may be disbursed. The Bill is a short one, but it is of very great historical significance. Having the responsibility of leading for the Opposition on it, I searched the parliamentary record, which shows that the First Parliament met on 9th May 1901, and that in the first session of that Parliament, following the Governor-General’s Speech and the usual Address-in-Reply debate, the first Bill introduced in the Commonwealth Parliament was the Audit Bill. That was on 5th June 1901. It was introduced on the motion of Alfred Deakin, the
Attorney-General of the time, on behalf of the Treasurer, Sir George Turner. He moved:
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for the collection and payment of public moneys, the audit of the public accounts and the protection and recovery of the public property, and for other purposes.
Following its introduction, other Bills including the Defence Bill, the Customs Bill and the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill were introduced. The conciliation and arbitration legislation has been dealt with on numerous occasions since that time. It created quite a furore in this Parliament recently. I mention these matters in order to draw attention to the importance of the Bill now before us.
The Treasurer of that day, who moved the motion for the second reading of the Bill, pointed out that section 97 of the Constitution referred to the matter of audit. It reads:
Until the Parliament otherwise provides, the laws in force in any colony which has become or becomes a State with respect to the receipt of revenue and the expenditure of money on account of the Government of the Colony, and the review and audit of such receipt and expenditure, shall apply to the receipt of revenue and the expenditure of money on account of the Commonwealth in the State in the same manner as if the Commonwealth, or the Government or an officer of the Commonwealth, were mentioned whenever the Colony, or the Government or an officer of the Colony, is mentioned.
He spoke of the need for a uniform system with regard to the receipt and payment of money and the audit of public accounts to be established throughout the Commonwealth, thereby unifying the various methods of dealing with this important matter in the six States. He also referred at the same time to the need to appoint an Auditor-General and to make him responsible to the Parliament.
When the Bill was introduced in the Senate, long discussion took place, section 53 of the Constitution was dealt with and amendments were made to the Bill. Section 53 refers to the powers of the Houses in respect of legislation. I will not read it. I think members of the Parliament are quite aware of what it says. The Senate challenged the salary of £1,000 which was to be paid to the Auditor-General of that time, because the parliamentarians themselves were then in receipt of a salary of £600. The Budget in 1901 amounted to £491,882. As we know, today the Budget is around $6,500m. We realise the great changes that have taken place since 1901.
The present amendments deal with the handling of what is described as the Governor-General’s warrant - his authority or signature. It is one of the established practices of the British system of government that no sum of public money should be expended unless that expenditure has. the sanction of the Parliament. Annually we pass the Budget, which is supposed to authorise the expenditure of every single dollar that is spent by the Commonwealth of Australia from 1st July in one year to’ 30th June in the following year - the period known as the financial year. It is true that several measures are introduced to bridge the gap caused by the fact that the Parliament does not meet on 1st July to determine the expenditure for the ensuing 12 months. The Parliament usually meets in the middle of August. By that time li months of the financial year has elapsed. A Supply Bill provides for the first 3 months in advance. We will discuss the Supply Bill before the Parliament adjourns. Because modern governments cannot always con’ceive at the beginning of each year of what’ is likely to happen at the end of the year,’ provision is made for Additional Estimates in the Appropriation Act (No. 2), which’ is generally introduced in April or May each year. Also in Australia we have what is called the Treasurer’s Advance. It is a block sum of about $20m which is set aside for expenditure for which the Treasurer can’ give authority.
The questions of the Act and the changes’ that have been made have been discussed’ by the Public Accounts Committee over a1 period of years. The forty-third and sixty-: first reports to this Parliament bear testimony to changes which have been; foreshadowed by the Treasury and, authorised by the Auditor-General. Might I just pay tribute to the Auditor-General, Mr Skermer, and his staff throughout the Com,monwealth. I recognise, as I think does’ every parliamentarian, the great responsibility he bears and the great work he’ performs. The changes in this Bill will lead to greater efficiency now that we have this computerisation operating so effectively’ throughout Australia because it is being used for Treasury accounting. All records are, maintained at the item level and the reasons previously valid for warrant control to be based on subdivision totals no longer apply. The present methods also provide information much more quickly and as frequently as is desired, both to the Treasury and the department concerned. Savings from these changes in warrant procedure are expected to be of the order of $100,000 a year. Therefore it is an advance in the whole procedure of the Commonwealth. It will provide figures and material to the Parliament by virtue of new computerised procedures now operating and will save the sum I mentioned earlier. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, the Australian Labor Party supports this Bill.
– I express my thanks to the Opposition for the speedy passage of this legislation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 23 April (vide page 990), on motion by Senator Anderson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Mr Deputy President, this might be called a pot-pourri Bill. I cannot remember a Bill which dragged so many things within its net. The introductory note tells us that the main purpose of the Bill is to give the force of law in Australia to comprehensive double taxation agreements between Australia and Singapore and Australia and Japan which were signed in Canberra on 11th February 1969 and 20th March 1969 respectively; to give the force oflaw to an agreement between Australia and France for the avoidance of double taxation on income derived from international air transport, which was signed in Canberra on 27th March 1969; to specify that interest and royalties derived by residents of Australia from Singapore or Japan, and in respect of which the overseas tax is limited by the agreements to 10% will not, by reason of the payment of Singaporean or Japanese tax, be exempt from Australian tax.
One would have thought that those certainly were items for three separate Bills. After all, Parliament ought to be given a chance to debate such divergent matters as double taxation arrangements with Singapore, double taxation arrangements with Japan and airline charges affecting France and Australia. It is a rather extraordinary sort of pot-pourri. Undoubtedly the Minister, with the advice of his draftsmen, may be able to justify this form of legislation but I suggest that it is a pretty sloppy sort of arrangement to put before the Parliament and to expect us to debate concurrently three matters such as these. However, as best we of the Opposition have been able to sort them out we have come to the conclusion that the arrangements about airport charges and the like are pretty mundane things. I think that matter is completely separate from the other two. The Opposition has no argument about the question of double taxation arrangements between Singapore and Australia.I will explain this a little later. However, we do find room for argument about the arrangements in this Bill in relation to the double taxation arrangement between Japan and Australia.
I think it would be timely if I now move an amendment on behalf of the Opposition. The motion before us is:
That this Bill be now read a second time.
I want to make it clear that we are moving this amendment only in respect of one-third of the tripartite type arrangement that the Government has put before us. We have no objection to the double taxation arrangement made with Singapore.
– I know what the Opposition is saying but I do not think the amendment does what you thinkit does.
– I have had it checked with the Clerk of the Senate. The amendment is to the motion ‘That the Hill be read a second time’. The Minister for Supply (Senator Anderson) may want to raise a point of order but I inform bini that 1 have sought advice on this and so jar as I know the amendment is in order. I hope that the Government does not delay us, particularly in view of the help we have given to it in respect of the last couple of Bil’ls dealt with.
Double taxation agreements are designed to make it easier for people to invest in another country. In the case of Singapore, it is very obvious at this time of its development that it wants to attract outside investment. Because of the peculiar situation of Singapore - possibly we might say the genius of Singapore - which consists of a couple of million people on a very small island, it is becoming a tremendous economic unit and is doing so by encouraging all the capital that it can get. Singapore is prepared to say that it will give some concession to people bringing capital to that country. That is what these arrangements deal with. Singapore is prepared to say: ‘If you bring capital to our country we will get a certain amount of good from it through employment of our people and the development of our resources and in return we are prepared to tax you less than we do our own residents’. They go further than that in some countries like Malaysia and say that they will give generous rights to repatriate the capital whenever the investor wishes provided that it is there for a certain period of time. They say that there will be tax holidays and all the rest of it.
Although there can be some argument advanced that in the final analysis it may not be good to have overseas investment in Singapore, nevertheless the Opposition says that the Government of Singapore is a pretty stable one under Mr Lee Kwan Yew and is fully aware of the position. This is his problem and his responsibility and he wants to sign this type of agreement. Therefore, despite any little doubts that we may have, we are prepared, as an Opposition, to say that the Australian Government is right in agreeing with one of our very near neighbours on a double taxation agreement. I have nothing to say about the agreement with France. As I said earlier, it is a pretty mundane matter.
When we come to the situation in respect of Japan, to which the amendment refers, we are dealing with a very delicate situation because of the rapidly expanding economic society in that country and because of the new found wealth in Australia resulting from the discovery of minerals. The more we examine this situation the more we find that no matter what might happen the balance is going to be against Australia. We have discovered in Australia in the last few years - rather I should say that the Government has exploited in the last few years - a tremendous mineral wealth in the Pre-Cambrian shelf.
One of Australia’s great worries is to find an answer to the question: ‘Who owns Australia?’ Leaders of the Australian Labor Party, Leaders of the Australian Country Party and, in more muted tones, members of the Liberal Party have asked whether, in view of the tremendous mineral wealth in Australia, it is correct to say that as long as someone will buy a commodity we are prepared to export it. It is obvious that because of her tremendous natural wealth Australia now is becoming a magnet for capital from countries throughout the world. If we can believe the reports that are emanating from the Prime Minister’s Department, within the next few days the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) will be making a statement on the examination the Government has made of overseas investment in Australia. The Labor Party has been sounding warnings about this over the years. We have recognised that clearly there can be no great development in Australia without overseas capital, but we have said that we have a right to direct that capital into those areas which will develop Australia to the best advantage and at the speed with which we believe Australia must be developed.
The opposite situation applies to Japan. Japan has. a genius for tremendous and rapid development. From a war torn country in 1945-46 it has become one of the great success stories probably in the whole history of economic development. Japan is doing exactly the opposite to what we are doing. It is the toughest country in the world in which overseas investment can take place. The Japanese are absolutely tough about it. They have all the strictures in the world. In some cases there are complete embargoes, and in other cases if you are able to invest in Japan you invest on Japanese terms. Over the years the Australian Labor Party has been saying that we should try to take just the fly leaf out of the Japanese bible on overseas investment.
The Government is proposing to sign a double taxation agreement with Japan despite the fact that if we wanted to invest in Japan we would find a solid wall against us. There is no better illustration of this than the Japanese motor vehicle industry. The Japanese have stood up to the might of the United States of America which has tried to penetrate the barrier and to build automobiles in Japan. In Australia it is very easy for overseas investment to find acceptance. When the smoke clears and we are able to see the tremendous investment that is pouring into Australia from Japan while none is going from Australia to Japan, surely it will be obvious that the Taxation Branch of Australia, by reason of the proposed agreement, will forgo much more revenue than will the taxation department in Japan.
We hear a lot of talk about balancing trade. I think the Government probably has been misled in this direction. You cannot expect 12 million Australians to purchase the product of 100 million Japanese who are hungry and want to import from all countries, particularly Australia. Japan is not economically viable. She has to import all sorts of things to feed and clothe her people and to further her development. Australia is not in that situation. But even if it were, it is obvious that 100 million people will consume much more than will 12 million people, so it is impossible to say that for every Si worth of goods that we export to Japan we will import from that country $1 worth of goods. Other aspects must be taken into consideration. Japan exports to and imports from America and that balances out over the triangles, quadrangles and so on.
In an area like the Pacific zone it is not easy to make the same comparisons as you might make in Europe which has the European Common Market. In Europe, countries and climatic conditions as well as natural resources are close together and it is easy to imagine big industries being built across borders. In an area where populations, desirabilities and standards of living are the same it is very much easier to get equality of trade than is the case with other countries.
It is an over-simplification to say that it is very desirable to have double taxation agreements. Why do we want double taxa tion agreements? Is it because trade between Australia and Japan is falling? Surely no-one would argue that. If you look at the figures - I do not like quoting figures in Parliament because they confuse everyone, including myself - you will see that trade is increasing every year. We are great trading partners, and that state of affairs will1 be accentuated when Britain ultimately joins the European Common Market. Because of his tremendous personality, President de Gaulle was able to keep Britain out of the European Common Market for many years but now that he has resigned there is no doubt that Britain will be allowed to enter.
No-one would believe or argue that there is any need for an artificial fillip to trade between Australia and Japan, lt will grow and prosper automatically as it has done over the years. In fact it has grown automatically to an amazing extent and there is no reason to believe that our trade will diminish, particularly if we continue to unearth more of the raw commodities which Japan needs so urgently. If we examine the situation in relation to our minerals many factors must be taken into consideration. I do not think any of us, however we may argue politically, is very happy with the situation which has developed. I suppose it is very easy to use the old shibboleths and say that Australia is becoming a quarry for Japan, but it could well’ be that as we develop our mineral resources a bigger percentage of the leases will be held by investors from Japan and from other countries. If there were a need for a double taxation agreement and if there were a need to boost trade between Japan and Australia the situation would be different. Obviously there is no such need. Obviously the signing and ratification of this agreement will be to the detriment of Australia. Then there is the moral1 question. If we are prepared to forgo revenue for Japanese investors in Australia, that impinges on the whole moral question as to whether we should not be prepared to forego revenue for the benefit of the lower income groups in Australia.
I do not want to argue this at length because it has been argued in another place and in the Press and we have looked at it over a lengthy period. I think that the principles should be argued rather than the detail The detail has been argued very efficiently in another place. Because we are approaching the end of this sessional period and because these things already have been said, I leave myself with the motion which claims that Australia has everything to lose and not a great deal to gain by this proposal. I repeat that even if we were to lose something and to increase trade between Australia and Japan that might be sufficient justification, but that justification is not necessary because trade between Australia and Japan is increasing at such a rate that no artificial fillip is necessary.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment and seek leave to make my remarks later.
Senator BYRNE (Queensland) (10.1] - The Australian Democratic Labor Party supports the Bill and opposes the amendment moved on behalf of the Opposition by Senator Willesee. Over the years, I have found to be a strange phenomenon how the Australian Labor Party has found itself consistently opposed to the expansion of trade with Japan. My mind goes back to the first writing of the Japanese Trade Agreement. At that time the Australian Labor Party found very many reasons why the Agreement should not be supported, and voted against it. It actually attempted to move amendments which would have the effect of nullifying the Agreement. We find the same strange manifestation in relation to the Bill now before the Senate.
After all, we in Australia commonly now seem to move in the Asian sphere. Some say we are part of Asia, an appendage to Asia, that we are south east Asians. Some of these terms are exaggerated, but, very definitely, a great deal of our economic future must now rest in this part of the world. I have certain views as to what might be the ultimate emergence of patterns of trade not only intranationally but extranational^ and internationally. I think it is not improbable that ultimately there will be tremendous international trade blocs like the European Common Market and the North American trade bloc. Perhaps there will be a south east Europe trade bloc and a south east Asian bloc of which we will be part. In those circumstances, trading will be from bloc to bloc and the determination of trade within those blocs might well be the way in which living standards can be reconciled and in which there can be a free flow of goods from production to consumption at different levels of cost production, and different levels of wage consumption while yet allowing for a general increase in the standard of living of both producers and consumers.
If that be so, then, our destiny in the trade and economic sense lying in a large measure in this area, we must be in the forefront, trying to stimulate common action in this part of the world. It is most regrettable that the two European proposals in relation to double taxation agreements are accepted and of the two Asian proposals the Singapore one is accepted by the Opposition and the one relating to Japan is rejected.
– The Singapore one related to airline charges.
– I was referring rather to those in existence with the European countries. But they are not embraced in this Bill. I was referring to the agreements with the United States and with Great Britain. It is unfortunate that when agreements are contemplated with two Asian countries one alone is found to be acceptable. I think that holds out very little expectation to Asia as to the extent to which Australia is prepared to participate in the economic, trade and financial destinies of this part of the world. For that reason I think we should be most jealous indeed of our position and should try to secure the maximum goodwill in our relations with those who will be our trading partners.
The question of trade is one that goes to our own balance of payments position. It goes to the question of the free flow of capital, the import and export of capital and to the raising of consumer standards in the under developed countries. There has been a great deal of concern in this place at the Government’s failure to lay down clear new and modern guidelines relating to the foreign investment of capital in this country. I again put forward the plea that, at the earliest opportunity, those guidelines be clearly laid down. The import and export of capital! are only two components of the general economic relationships between countries. A matter such as this is another of such components. After all, if Japan, with that extraordinary economic upsurge to which Senator Willesee has so accurately referred, now finds herself in a position, so soon after the national devastation that was hers only a few short years ago, to be a net exporter of capital, then it is very poor that, on the cold hard calculated basis only of the very maximum of self-interest, she should be deterred from exporting her skills and her finances and that this country should be denied the opportunity to have them.
I know that the extent to which foreign capital might ultimately command the ownership and control of the natural resources of this country has always been a controversial matter. It is for that reason that I should like guidelines particularly laid down. Nevertheless, insofar as the enactments in this agreement relating to taxation might further induce Japan to be interested in this country and to provide those capital resources which we, as a young country, so sorely lack, then I think it is extremely justifiable.
I do feel that if the proposition which is implicit in the proposed amendment were taken to its logical conclusion it would be, at all stages, impossible to have reciprocity in relation to taxation agreements because the proposed amendment contemplates total parity. It suggests that unless there is total parity, or substantial parity, the agreement is not to operate. We all know that there is never total parity between trading nations. Even between our best friends there will bc great imbalances. Therefore we shall have to abandon that proposition for complementary remissions if we are going to lay down the hard mathematical line of the completely balanced trade budget which, of course, would not be practicable.
I do think that the benefits of agreements such as this have to be spelled out in terms other than the cold figures of the balance sheet in the trading relations between the two nations. There are ancillary benefits that come from the development of our resources in trade between Japan and Australia. If she invests in the exploitation of our natural endowments, that goes to improve the economic stature of Australia and, as a consequence, she is thereby able to attract investment capital from other countries and to secure firm trading relations with other countries.
– That is already happening.
– It may be happening, but is there any reason why, first of all, it should not be accelerated, secondly, it should not be increased, and, thirdly, it should be deterred? I am afraid that it will not be accelerated, that it will not be increased but rather that it will be deterred by adopting this attitude. It would be particularly alarming if, by the rejection of one of the first two agreements with Asian nations, that were the impression we created.
The Australian Democratic Labor Party has always had a firm and positive attitude to this question of trading within the Asian regions. We have expressed it in our policies and our platform on which we have gone to the people from time to time. We have spoken in terms of a confederation of trading nations within South East Asia. That is the concept we visualise. It is the concept that is embraced within my proposition that perhaps great trading blocs will emerge, one in this region, of which we will be part. When we first propounded that we were propounding a trade association with a modern western nation, substantially industrialised, highly educated and with a high standard of living. It seemed extraordinary that we should contemplate a trade association with populous undeveloped nations of Asia with their low production costs and low standards of living, but that was our proposition. 1 am grateful to see our proposition now beginning to be realised and we should be concerned if resistance such as is implicit in the proposed amendment would have the effect of in any way impeding further development of that idea.
I am indebted to the honourable member for Melbourne Ports in another place (Mr Crean) who, when speaking to this Bill, cited a statement by Mr Shogoro Ariga, who is Chairman and Managing Director of Mitsui and Co. (Australia) Ltd. The statement is reported on page 1305 of Hansard of 22nd April 1969. It reads:
It will be seen, therefore, that despite the long odds against it which are being quoted in some quarters, we of Mitsui are backing the Pacific Basing Community (a potential market of 600 million people) and Australia’s integration with it, as the success story of world economics in the 1980s - and our record in Australia and elsewhere shows we are not reckless hunters.
That was a statement by the head of one of the great Japanese trading corporations contemplating the very type of economic community which was embodied in our proposals for the confederation of trading nations in south east Asia.
Because we see in this proposed amendment something that will be injurious to developing trade relations between this country and one of the great countries of Asia, because it would impede the further development of what we contemplate as a great economic bloc in this part of the world, and because it would endanger Asia’s attitude towards this country, in the furtherance of Asian relations, we support the Bill and oppose the proposed amendment.
– I oppose the amendment. It seems to me that it must do one of two things. It either negatives the Bill entirely - and 1 will leave to later and better informed opinion whether or not it does this - or it certainly excludes Japan from the general operation of this double taxation agreement and from other agreements. The explanatory memorandum to the Bill states, in brief:
The main purposes of this Bill are: to give the force of law in Australia to comprehensive double taxation agreements between Australian and Singapore and Australia and Japan . . . to give the force of law to an agreement between Australia and France for the avoidance of double taxation of income derived from international air transport . . . to specify that interest and royalties derived by residents of Australia from Singapore or Japan and in respect of which the overseas tax is limited by the agreements to 10% will not, by reason of the payment of Singapore or Japanese tax, be exempt from Australian tax . . .
Page 18 of the memorandum contains an introductory note which states:
The agreement with Japan is broadly along the lines of the agreements negotiated with the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and New Zealand.
That comment, together with some comments in the second reading speech of the Minister for Supply (Senator Anderson), briefly states the general area of discussion.
I am in agreement with Senator Willesee’s statement that we should be concerned with the broad principles rather than with the fine points of detail. In these double tax arrangements we aim to get acceptable terms which smooth the way for investment and trade between ourselves and other countries. The agreement now proposed in this Bill, which the Labor Party proposes to amend, follows very closely the agreement with the United Kingdom, which was approved by Parliament last year. Having regard to that fact I ask: Why should we differentiate between arrangements between ourselves and Japan and arrangements between ourselves and the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada or New Zealand? What does the Labor Party have against the Japanese that it does not have against the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and New Zealand? If it is good enough to have double tax agreements with those countries which are quite useful trading partners with ourselves - once upon a time one of them was our largest partner but now has been replaced by Japan - why do we except. Japan? 1 think it is fair to remind my colleagues again of what Senator O’Byrne reminded us, that is that the Labor Party quite vigorously opposed the signing of the Australia-Japanese Trade Agreement some years ago. What are we dealing with here? We are talking about Australian-Japanese trade and the need for Australian-Japanese arrangements to facilitate investment and the flow of funds between us. We are talking about Japan which now is our largest trading partner, having taken over that position from the United Kingdom. We are talking about a country whose economic growth potential is tremendous. Economists who operate in the international comparative field have said that by the year 2000 Japan’s will be the most powerful economy in the world. This may be correct or it may not, but this was said by an authoritative person. If that is the case, Australia has a large trading partner and an associate in Japan. Australia has a lot to look to in its association with Japan. 1 do not think we should go out of our way to insult our largest customer and potentially one of our greatest economic allies.
– That is only guess work.
– It may be only guess work, but if the honourable senator will permit me I will content myself with that authority’s guess work rather than with his. I do not think he can take the matter quite as lightly as that. Japan will be, if she is not already, a great economic power in our area and in our time. It has been said that we are making bad deals with Japan and that Japan is taking us down in regard to the minerals that she buys from us. I rather wonder whether we are realistic about this. We are not the only country in the world with minerals such as coal and iron ore to sell. There are plenty of others and they are developing very quickly behind us as potential opposition markets. I think Australian negotiators have clone a very good job so far in getting their prices and markets established in Japan ahead of other potential suppliers. It is an illusion to imagine that Australia is the one treasure house of minerals to which the Japanese have access. This is not the case. Overall the world has great mineral wealth - a lot of it undiscovered and a lot of it being discovered now.
– It is not as cheap as ours.
– That is what the honourable senator imagines. The Japanese have been negotiating with the Russians about the immense mineral resources in Siberia. As a source of supply, this area is quite a logical alternative to Australia. The Japanese are negotiating with the South Americans, with whom they have a strong affinity. The South Americans can land iron ore in Japan at lower prices than we can. The Japanese have extensive teams operating in Africa and throughout South East Asia. The idea that Australia has something that the Japanese must have and something that nobody else has in the way of minerals is not a reality. I suggest that there is a lot of self-interest in having a close economic association with Japan, our chief market, which is potentially a country of tremendous wealth, potentially a net capital exporter and a country of great technical skill and ability - and a country which, I think we can fairly say, could help us a great deal. But we will not get that kind of help if we offer gratuitous insults to that country. I put it quite bluntly: Without the Japanese markets that we had in the past and the ones that we will need in the future, this country would not have much of a living standard. Japan has the markets that we must build and develop as an alternative to those we are losing.
I cannot accept the amendment; I cannot agree with it. I think it would be absolute folly and ignorance for an Australian Parliament to offer a public slap in the face to our potentially biggest export market.
CIO. 18] - in repiy - Briefly I point out that acceptance of Senator Willesee’s amendment would mean the defeat of the whole bill. His amendment states:
Leave out all words after ‘that’.
If that amendment were carried, regardless of his views as to the other agreements, the Bill would not proceed: it would not go to the Committee stages but would be defeated.
– That is because of the Government’s sloppy drafting in putting three things in one Bill.
– I will come to that. Even though the Opposition is not opposed to the agreements with Singapore and with France, the passage of this amendment would defeat the whole Bill, including those parts relating to those agreements. I am fortified in that view by a check with the Clerk as to the drafting of the Bill. 1 come now to my second point. It has been suggested that the Bill is a kind of trinity, that it has a number of items in it. Senator Willesee suggested that each could be the subject of a separate Bill and each could stand in its own right. I point out to him that each of these items is to be found in the main Act, the Income Tax (International Agreements) Act, 1953-1968. If we responded to Senator Willesee’s proposals we would have three separate Bills dealing with amendments of the main Act. I acknowledge that on the face of the Bill there may appear to be a divergence in relation to the matters being dealt with. The Bill seeks to amend the Income Tax (International Agreements) Act and contains amendments to various sections of the
Act. I have a note of those amendments in front of me. I think 1 have made the points I wish to make. I do not think that there is any need to proceed any further on that aspect. The two points I have made are, firstly, that the proposed amendment will defeat the purpose of the Bill and, secondly, as the proposals deal with matters which will involve amendments to the Act they are entitled to be incorporated in the one Bill.
The main criticism of the Bill by Senator Willesee, who led for the Opposition, is that it can be shown that the agreement with Japan for the avoidance of double taxation will be to the disadvantage of Australia. It is true that at present there is an adverse monetary balance. 1 think it is of the order of$1m. But that adverse position has to be weighed against our existing trade relations with Japan. I think that Senator Cotton put that point very forcefully. Japan is our best customer. To negative the proposal that there be a double taxation agreement between the two countries would be to isolate Japan from the other countries with which we trade. Japan would be put in a separate category. The main countries with which we have double taxation agreements are indicated in the Bill. Trade with Japan is becoming the very life blood of our trading capacity. If we were not able to trade with Japan we would have a very serious balance of trade problem. This would affect our migration programme and the standard of living of our people. Trade is the very essence of this country’s economy. If we do not trade we will perish. Japan is to all intents and purposes our best customer. So, it is absolutely desirable that we have a double taxation agreement with that country.
I do not think that the value of such an arrangement can be measured in the short term. I agree that there is an adverse monetary position at the present time and that it is of the order of$1m, but our prosperity depends upon the extent of our overseas trade. For this reason we have had to come to an arrangement with Japan for a double taxation agreement. Japan has been seeking such an agreement for many years. Senator Willesee pointed out that as there is a difference in the population of the two countries there will be a difference in monetary terms which will be adverse to Australia. It would be sheer luck if an agreement could be negotiated that did not affect one country adversely. There has to be aloss. Any of the countries mentioned in the Bill could be adversely affected at any period of time. In the final analysis one has to look at the overall picture of the future development of Australia. The principle of double taxation agreement has become accepted throughout the world.I am not going to develop my argument any further at this stage because I think that the Senate should vote on the matter before rising. In conclusion I repeat my belief that it is in the best interests of Australia’s long term trade position to have a double taxation agreement with Japan. For that reason I oppose the amendment moved by the Opposition.
That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Willesee’s amendment) be left out.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
– There being no objection, the Minister may withdraw.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 May 1969, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1969/19690527_senate_26_s41/>.