26th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation: What action has the Minister taken to ascertain how an overseas airline deposited Eero Johannes Hihnala at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport without a vaccination certificate? Which airline was responsible for this irresponsible action? Does the Minister propose to prosecute the airline concerned? What is to be the future fate of Eero Johannes Hihnala?
– I have read a newspaper report of the matter referred to by the honourable senator and have received information about it from the Minister for Health. The Minister advised that on 12th August 1969 a passenger named Eero Johannes Hihnala arrived at Sydney Airport on a Qantas flight from London via Singapore. This passenger did not have a smallpox vaccination certificate. He was unco-operative, refused vaccination and attempted to escape from the quarantine area at the airport. He was detained by quarantine officers, assisted by customs officers and police. As he would not submit to vaccination against smallpox he was ordered into quarantine. There is no legislative responsibility for an airline company to ensure that a passenger is in possession of the appropriate vaccination certificates although, as routine practice, overseas airlines advise passengers of their responsibilities concerning vaccination requirements. However, the cost of maintaining a patient held in quarantine under these circumstances is borne by the airline. Mr Hihnala is at present detained in quarantine.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation advise whether the Government intends to allow night cargo flights by jet aircraft to and from Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.?
– As the honourable senator well knows, there is a prohibition at present on civil aircraft entering the airport of Sydney between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. I will take up with the Minister for Civil Aviation the question of whether the Government intends to lift the present embargo and 1 will obtain an answer for the honourable senator.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Is the PostmasterGeneral aware that the line depot on Flinders Island has been closed down? Is it the policy of the Postal Department to put all cable on Flinders Island under gas pressure? Does it appear to be false economy for the Postal Department to require employees to travel from Launceston to Flinders Island by aircraft before all cable on Flinders Island has been placed under gas pressure? Is the Minister aware that young married men are being employed on this type of work and that this system penalises those employees as they are absent from home for lengthy periods? Will the Minister give consideration to employing full time linesmen on Flinders Island?
– The honourable senator has raised a number of points concerning a particular area of Flinders Island and effects on people employed or residing there. I shall take up this matter with the PostmasterGeneral and obtain for the honourable senator a considered reply.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy. Is it the Government’s intention to phase out operations at the Garden Island shipyard? If not, is there any other reason for the present heavy list of dismissals at the Island? For example, is it a fact that land developers and speculators have contacted the Government concerning the purchase of this area?
– I have no knowledge of the points raised by the honourable senator in the first part of his question or in the last part of the question. To the best of my knowledge it is not the Government’s intention to phase out operations on Garden Island. However. I shall refer the question to the Minister for the Navy and obtain an answer.
– I address a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the grave warning of inflation given to State leaders at the recent Premiers Conference, can the Minister explain whether the improvement in the economy announced last evening is real or only a pretence in view of the forthcoming election? Will the $5m emergency loan - not a gift, but a loan - which was sought by the New South Wales Government for the building of urgently needed classrooms to accommodate school children in that State and which was refused on the ground that it would be inflationary now bc made available?
– Dealing first with the second part of the question, any question relating to the Department of Education and Science should be directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science from whom, I am quite certain, the honourable senator would receive a considered reply. The first part of the question related to the Budget debate which will commence next week. Since the question has been asked, J think it is proper to say that the assumptions made by the honourable senator are without foundation.
If he looks at the Budget Speech he will see that liquidity and deficit budgeting have been significantly handled in the sense that whereas in the previous year there was a deficit of about S385m, in round figures, this year the deficit has been brought back to about $30m. m this action, in the volume of money that is available, and also through the additional amount the banks have been required to put in the Special Account the Government has deliberately sought to mitigate any risk of inflation. Tt is to the resounding credit of the Government, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer that having done those things, and being about to do other things foreshadowed in the Budget, they have been able still to produce a Budget which will give special comfort to 250,000 more people.
– I address a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Is the Government aware of the excess cost imposed on wheat farmers, small seed producers and other crop producers by the present duties on imported specialist reaping machines? ls there any hope that this unfair impost will be lifted?
– The whole question of farm machinery has been placed before the Tariff Board by my colleague the Minister for Trade and Industry. This was done in October 1967. J understand that the report of the Tariff Board is at present in the Minister’s hands but, as yet, no decision has been made. However, [ should like to advise the honourable senator that in 1968, following representations made to me by various primary producing organisations throughout Australia, I extended the by-law admission of harvesters in excess of 20 feet for a period of a further few months. 1 limited the number that could be admitted. As that number has now been admitted, and as the extended period has expired, there is at present a duty of approximately 20% on 20 foot harvesters. This duty will remain in force until such time as the Tariff Board’s report is acted upon.
– I address a question to the Minister for Repatriation. In view of the 1968 vote of the Senate supporting the establishment of a select committee to investigate all aspects of repatriation, and in view of the pre-Budget requests made to the Government by the Returned Services League for the establishment of a non-parliamentary committee of inquiry into repatriation, what does the Government propose to do about these propositions?
– During the last 3 or 4 years we have had requests in the Senate - some of them coming from the Opposition - for a senate select committee to inquire into repatriation. At long last, however, the ex-servicemen’s organisations have found that this is not what they really want. Last year the Government decided that the Attorney-General’s Department and my Department should have a look at the legal aspects of the Repatriation Act and other matters. The Welfare Committee, which has been in operation for over 12 months now, then had a further look at the question and it felt that an investigation should be held into this aspect. In view of this, the Government decided not to go along with the request for an independent committee of inquiry.
– I address a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. It relates to the censorship of films and the censorship of literature. Are all members of the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board public servants, or do they have other skills and experience which make them competent to judge whether films coming into Australia are suitable for public exhibition? In particular, are they fitted to judge films suitable for exhibition at film festivals? Does the Minister consider film festivals to be of any special value in our community? Do they stimulate a greater awareness and demand for films of special artistic value?
– The Commonwealth Film Censorship Board and the National Literature Board of Review are two different bodies. The honourable senator asks whether all members of the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board are appointed from the Public Service. The majority of the members of this Board are people appointed from private enterprise, some of whom have considerable experience in the film industry. At this stage I would not like to comment on whether film festivals are of cultural advantage to the people of Australia; but if the honourable senator is referring to the film ‘The Inferno of First Love’ which the Adelaide Film Festival Board wished to bring in for exhibition to people taking part in the festival, I should like to inform the honourable senator that this film was viewed by the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board and rejected by it because of an excessive number of sustained sexual incidents. That being so, I am rather surprised that the Adelaide Film Festival Board is objecting to the decision of the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board. The members of the Adelaide Film Festival Board knew the members of the Film Censorship Board and they knew the conditions under which films are allowed in for festivals, before the film was brought into Australia. I might mention that this film was rejected, as I stated earlier, for sustained sexual incidents. The Adelaide Film Festival Board is objecting now because it has been sent out. I say only this to the honourable senator: These people and the film festival boards throughout Australia know the conditions under which we are prepared to allow films into the country. This body approached me in February of 1968 about these conditions. The conditions are that films shall not be allowed in if they are rejected in their entirety because of excess blasphemy, obscenity or indecency. We propose to abide by those criteria.
– Will the Minister representing the Postmaster-General advise the Parliament whether a separate television receiver licence is required if an individual owns more than one television set even though the sets may be located at different addresses?
– I will obtain an answer from the Postmaster-General for the honourable senator.
– I ask the Minister for Customs and Excise: Did the Minister on 2nd July issue a Press release on an attempt to smuggle birds into Australia? I ask him whether the release contained the following paragraph:
The two passengers-
These are the pertinent words: . . who were attempting to smuggle the birds into Australia were arrested together with two Sydney residents who are allegedly members of the smuggling ring. All four were this morning charged under the Customs Act with importing prohibited imports and were remanded on bail to the 16th July.
Is not the statement in relation to the two passengers a conclusion of guilt, an infringement of justice and contempt of the court which had to decide whether the two passengers were attempting to smuggle birds into Australia?
– I did issue a Press release on this subject of smuggling birds into or out of Australia. As to the particular wording of it and as to the other paris of the question that the honourable senator has asked, I would like him to put them on notice and I will get a detailed reply for him.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Has any consideration been given to the amendment of the provision of the Civil Aviation (Common Carriers Liability) Act and the Aircraft Accidents (Commonwealth Liability) Act which provide an unreal limitation of liability to a maximum of $15,000 compensation to the dependants in cases of fatal air accidents involving negligence?
– 1 might say in answer to the honourable senator’s question that the Government has given consideration to this problem and has come to certain conclusions on it. One of the conclusions is that before any changes are made in the Acts it is proposed to approach the States for their co-operation. Therefore, I suggest to the honourable senator that, to enable me to get a detailed reply from the Minister for Civil Aviation, he place his question on notice.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Is the booklet entitled ‘Taxation for Farmers and Graziers’ which was produced by the Treasury in conjunction with the Department of Primary Industry now out of production? Will the Minister consider directing the publication at an early date of a revised booklet which will set out the very great concessions that primary producers will receive from the present Budget? Would it be possible to incorporate in that booklet a section dealing with the additional exemption from estate duty which will apply to deceased persons’ estates involving primary production?
– I will direct the honourable senator’s question to the Treasurer. I am certain that it is most desirable that as many people and as many potential recipients as possible be made aware of the consideration that this Government is continuing to give to primary producers.
– I am sure that the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, to whom I address this question, has not seen a report in the Stop Press of the Sydney ‘Sun’ of Wednesday, 1 6th July, so 1 shall hand the cutting to him. Under the dateline ‘Saigon, Wednesday’, the report carries the heading ‘Reds Attack Atom Centre’ and goes on to slate:
Three 107-millimetre rockets were fired into a populated area near South Vietnam’s atomic centre one mile north-east of Dalat yesterday. One civilian was said to have been killed but the centre was not hit.
First of all, is the report true? Who owns the atomic centre? Does this mean that atomic warheads are stockpiled there? If so, by whom are they stockpiled?
– 1 thank Senator Turnbull for indicating that he will give me the cutting to which he has referred. I will refer the matter to the Minister for Defence to check on the accuracy of the report, in the first place, and the implications of it in the second place.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration any information on the details of the types of films prepared by the Department of Immigration for exhibition to potential or intending migrants? Can she indicate whether due emphasis is given to showing the normal way of life in Australia without undue emphasis on the tourist areas and the tourist type of life? Is the Department preparing any new films on particular subjects of interest to migrants?
– I recall that during the last sessional period Senator Rae showed an interest in this matter and asked a question in relation to which I said I would obtain some further information for him. I am glad that he has raised this matter again today because I now have some additional information. He referred to details of the types of films which were prepared by the Department of Immigration. Short films are being made constantly by the Department working through the Commonwealth Film Unit and private producers, and longer films are made to meet particular requirements. Films made for departmental use are either dubbed or sub-titled in up to eleven languages to ensure effective use in different countries. The recording of foreign language sound tracks and the making of foreign sub-titles are undertaken with the assistance of leading local film organisations experienced in this work.
The honourable senator asked whether the films showed life in Australia. I inform him that in 1966 a series of twelve 20- minute to 25-minute colour films under the title ‘Life in Australia’ were completed. All State capitals and a provincial centre in each State have been covered. The titles in this series are ‘Sydney’, ‘Wagga Wagga’, Melbourne’, ‘Geelong’, ‘Adelaide’, ‘Mount Gambier’, ‘Perth’, ‘Geraldton’, ‘Brisbane’, Cairns’, ‘Hobart’ and ‘Launceston’. These films showed how people lived, worked and spent their leisure time in those centres. In each film a different type of family group was shown, with different employment backgrounds. In (his way, in different locations and settings the information about Australia most sought by overseas people has been given.
A special 59-minute immigration colour film,’ The Way We Live’, which was produced some years ago, has been revised. Work has started on a new film, with the tentative title ‘The Australian Way’, to replace ‘The Way We Live’. This new film will include informative sequences to help migrants through their initial period of settlement in Australia. A new film showing opportunities in Australia for youths to undertake apprenticeships is now completed. Films on Australia from a wide range of sources are selected for overseas screening and use on ships bringing migrants to Australia. In addition, the Department assists many overseas film and television film units to visit Australia to make films. The producers of these films show Australia from different points of view. These films are made by people who are experts in their work. I believe that they are showing the advantages, giving the information and indicating the kinds oflife and work in Australia to which the honourable senator referred in his question.
– Will the Leader of the Government tell the Senate how Jong overdue is the fulfilment of the F111 contract and whether the Government is now prepared to concede that the original specifications will never be met? Will he tell us when the decision on whether the Government will cancel the order is to be expected, and what other aircraft are under consideration as a replacement to meet Australia’s defence needs?
– I think it is true to say that the Minister for Defence has made it clear that the Government is not in a position to indicate a definite attitude to the project, at least until after consideration of the report of the mission which has been in the United States. I suspect that the mission may have arrived back in Australia today. It went to the United States to do certain work in terms of evaluation of problems associated with the aircraft. For that reason, it is quite out of character to expect me to be able to give an answer to the questions asked by the Leader of the Opposition. When a proper evaluation and report to the Government on the results of the overseas mission have been made it will be a more appropriate time to respond to the questions directed to me by the Leader of the Opposition.
– Does the Leader of the Government recall the Prime Minister stating on 4th March last that he had asked the Commonwealth Public Service Board to consider whether it should notify all members of the Commonwealth Public Service that its practice is that even when somebody is under notice of dismissal the Board would believe that it should accept the person’s resignation should it be tendered? Can the Minister say whether the Public Service Board has so notified Commonwealth public servants? If it has not, will he ascertain the reason why such notification has not yet been given?
– I think that question should go on the notice paper. I would like to give a considered reply after reference to what has been said before and to the implications of the question presently posed.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Will the Minister and the Australian Meat Board accept full responsibility for the early restrictions on the export of meat to the United States market? Will they admit that the sharply varying percentages imposed by the Meat Board under the meat export diversification scheme arc the direct cause of the early impositions? Does not this show that the Meat Board is not conversant with all aspects of the beef export industry and thus is liable to grave error?
– I cannot agree for one moment that the Australian Meat Board has not been conversant with the conditions regarding the export of meat to our overseas customers. It was made quite clear early in the year that the amount of meat to be exported to the United States, for instance, was to be within a certain category. Exporters would have the right to send extra meat provided they sent meat elsewhere. This was made quite clear to the exporters to the best of my knowledge. 1 think that any breakdown that has come about has been due to failure to meet this provision. I do not know any more than that. I remain unconvinced that the Australian Meat Board is responsible for the situation outlined by the honourable senator.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. On what date was the report on the central Queensland powerhouse project made available to the Premier of Queensland?
– I ask the honourable senator to place the question on the notice paper. T understand that the report is before the Queensland Premier at the present time but I would not be expected to know the exact date on which he received it.
– Does the Minister representing the Treasurer know that Rydge Publications Pty Limited is offering for sale two books entitled ‘Adventures in Tax Avoidance’ and ‘How to Minimise Death Duties and Gift Duties’; that the first of these books includes sections on such matters as ‘Golden handshakes and how to make them almost free of tax’, ‘Reduce tax liability by splitting your income’, ‘The mini-trust gambit - SI is enough to build a tax avoidance trust’; and that the second book contains items referring to such matters as ‘Incorporating a trust company in Canberra’, ‘The charitable man with no family’, and ‘The professional man and unusual methods of planning’? Do these publications point to serious loopholes in the law relating to income tax, gift duties and death duties which enable people receiving income from some sources to avoid payment of tax in ways which are not open to other citizens such as wage and salary earners?
– I would think that the question as posed reveals more than anything a very imaginative publisher who is trying to sell booklets, lt has, of course, been a fact of life ever since the days of the Bible that there are always people who try within the law to use the advantage of their knowledge to avoid tax. That is no sin. A prudent government is constantly trying to legislate to close loopholes in the taxation law where it finds them. I do not think that the honourable senator in his own heart really imagines that all of the things that he read out are possible. It seems to me that this could be an indication of a publisher trying to sell booklets. It is just a fact of life that whatever law is introduced somebody will try to find technical loopholes in it. The art of the exercise is to re-enact further legislation progressively to close those loopholes.
– 1 address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Concern is being expressed on the north west coast of Tasmania about the lack of provision of aerodrome facilities that would elevate standards to permit the landing of jet aircraft at Wynyard airport. Has the Minister any information relating to the upgrading of the Wynyard airport and the plans, if any, envisaged for upgrading Devonport airport to jet aircraft standards?
– The Minister for Civil Aviation is, with the approval of the Government, expending large sums of money on airports throughout Australia to develop the civil aviation industry. The amount involved is many millions of dollars per year. I do not have exact details of the development of Wynyard and Devonport landing strips to facilitate the landing of jet aircraft, but 1 will obtain those details from the Minister for Civil Aviation and give them to the honourable senator.
– I wish to make a personal explanation and to apologise to Senator Cameron. In answer to a question he asked about harvesting machinery I mentioned that the Tariff Board had completed its public inquiry on the harvesters and that the report was in the hands of the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen). 1 correct that statement by saying that the report has not yet been received by the Minister.
– Does the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs know of the existence of any secret agreement that would commit Australia to the defence of Thailand?
– My understanding of the position is that there are no secret agreements. Australia’s existing commitments to Thailand are covered by the South East Asia Treaty Organisation - which information is public knowledge - but the view is accepted that such arrangements under SEATO may be made both bilaterally and multilateral!)’.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. At the recent Five Power Conference in Canberra did the Prime Minister use the word ‘Malaya’ having the meaning suggested in the publication Malaysian Digest’ of 30th June, that Australia’s commitment in Malaysia is only to the peninsula of Malaya? If so, why does the Army publication refer to Singaporean and Malaysian troops?
– I ask the honourable senator to put the question on the notice paper so that I can refer it to the Minister for the Army and, if necessary, to the Minister for External Affairs.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that at present experts on world wheat prices are meeting in London? Is it true that they have agreed on a completely new system of evaluating world wheat prices? If so, how will this new approach affect the Australian wheat industry’s ability to sell its surplus?
– As the honourable senator would no doubt know, representatives of overseas countries have met in connection with the sale of wheat. As I understand the position, certain countries have made a concerted move to sell wheat at a lower price. Mr McEwen has made two or three statements in connection with this matter. I have nothing further to add to the statements that he has made.
– 1 ask the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation a question. Now that extensions to Mackay and Rockhampton airports have been completed, can the Minister say when DC9 aircraft will commence to use these airports?
– As the honourable senator knows, Ansett Airlines of Australia and Trans- Australia Airlines have a programme designed to use entirely jet aircraft on the major routes throughout Australia. Mackay will be included in these routes. I understand also that recently an additional DC9 was brought into operation by each of these airlines. I do not know the exact date when Mackay will be included in the schedule, but I will obtain an answer from the Minister for Civil Aviation and give it to the honourable senator.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Air inform the Parliament whether the two VIP Viscount 800 aircraft have been declared surplus and offered for sale? If so, have the aircraft been disposed of and what was the price obtained for each?
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is that I have no knowledge of this matter but I shall refer it to the Minister for Air and get an answer for him.
– My question is directed lo the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Firstly, what responsibility does the Government have for ensuring that Australia’s domestic airlines have sufficient aircraft to meet the demands of their business? Secondly, in what way does the Government express its sense of responsibility in relation to this matter?
– This is rather a complicated question. As honourable senators know, the requirements of the industry are expanding. Passenger traffic bookings increase by almost 12% a year. The two main companies engaged in the aircraft industry obtain finance from both Government and private sources to obtain the aircraft necessary to keep up with the demand. I do not think the Minister for Civil Aviation would agree that at present there is an excess of demand over the available aircraft overall in Australia. However, as this is a complicated question I ask the honourable senator to place it on notice and I shall get a reply for him from the Minister.
– I ask the Minister for Supply: What is the current position with respect to overseas orders for the Jindivik remote controlled aircraft and what are the prospects for the present skilled manufacturing work force? Is it a fact that the Jindivik, or an aircraft similar in design to the Jindivik, is now being manufactured in the United Kingdom in competition with our own aircraft?
– The situation is that Australia makes the Jindivik but it imports the engine from the United Kingdom and always lias done so. When we sell a Jindivik to the United Kingdom we sell it less the British engine which is part of the complete aircraft. When we sell a Jindivik to another country we import the British engine and then sell the complete aircraft to the country concerned. As honourable senators know, we have had tremendous success with the Jindivik. I can say that 434 Jindiviks have been sold or are on order and that the aircraft has earned about $20m in export income. Currently the Government Aircraft Factory holds substantial unfilled orders for the aircraft. A figure was given to me a little earlier today. I think there are 73 aircraft on order in our book.
As to the details of manpower involved, I would need to get that information from the Department of Supply. I was prompted to give this reply to Senator Bishop because of a question asked yesterday in another place about the British being in competition with us. I repeat that the British always have provided the engine for the Jindivik. When we sell a Jindivik to Britain we sell it less the engine and when we sell the aircraft to another country we import the engine from Britain and sell the aircraft as a complete package unit.
– I address my question to the Minister for Repatriation. Is it a fact that totally and permanently incapacitated pensioners are permitted one free rail journey or a substantial discount on the cost of road travel? Is it also true that such pensioners who, for health reasons, wish to travel by air can get no discount? If this is so why is such a distinction made, particularly since these pensioners are often too ill to suffer the inconvenience of road or rail transport? Will the Minister look into the situation and bring a more humane attitude to this problem which affects many TPI pensioners, particularly those living great distances from capital cities?
– The position is that provision is made for TPI pensioners needing medical assistance to be transported to the nearest centre of the Repatriation Department. I think I am correct in saying that transport in any other circumstances is a matter for the States concerned. However, I will check the position and if I find that my present understanding is wrong, I will let the honourable senator know.
– The Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, to whom my question is addressed, will no doubt agree that the Friendship aircraft is well named, as there is only a very narrow line of demarcation between passengers to prevent their sitting on one another’s laps. In view of the fact that first class seating on Friendship aircraft is less comfortable than economy class seating on DC9 aircraft or Boeing jet aircraft, will the Minister have an investigation made into the prices that passengers travelling on Friendships are obliged to pay so that they will be charged only the economy class fare for such seating?
– I know that the aircraft known in Australia as the Friendship has played a very significant part in providing air services throughout Australia, lt took the place of DC3 aircraft in Western Australia and other States, providing for the people of Australia an aircraft capable of travelling at about 300 miles an hour as against a speed of about 150 miles an hour by DC3 aircraft. I do not know whether the honourable senator is joking about the air fares charged but. assuming that he is not, 1 will obtain an answer for him.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Supply been drawn to the fact that his Department at an auction sale conducted al Anzac Road, Moorebank, New South Wales, on Tuesday 5th August offered for sale a total of 13,130 new Whitworth spanners? Will the Minister make inquiries into this matter to determine how such an inordinately high number of spanners came to be regarded as surplus stock?
– I will make inquiries as to the source of the spanners disposed of by my Department on behalf of the Government, I imagine that they came from one of the armed Services, but 1 will find out the facts and advise the honourable senator.
– I direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. By way of preface I refer to the extensive dialogue that has ensued between us on the need for the Prime Minister to declare his attitude to a letter from the New South Wales Premier on the concept of a Sydney Harbour national park. I now draw the Minister’s attention to a statement made yesterday by the New South
Wales Minister for Lands that as yet the Prime Minister has not replied. Does the Minister now agree that such a request was made? Will he seek an acceleration in the preparation of a reply to the mother State?
– Like Senator Mulvihill I am always jealous of the interests of the mother State. 1 will need to go back over the correspondence and find the background to the dialogue before I can give consideration to his question. I will reply to him in due course.
– My question, which 1 direct to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, concerns the matter raised earlier by Senator Rae - the limitation of $15,000 upon damages which may be recovered by persons, or their dependants, injured in commercial aircraft in Australia. Will he ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether a full statement can be made dealing with the steps that have been taken in the United States of America to deal with this problem? The United Stales is covered by the same international convention and I understand that action has been taken there to introduce special arrangements covering persons while in the United States, even while on foreign aircraft. Will he ask whether some action can be taken to clear up this great anomaly?
– In view of the honourable senator’s interest 1 shall ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether it is possible for him to make a statement on the problems raised by the honourable .senator in relation to the insurance of passengers on aircraft in America.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question. Is it a fact that cargo shipped in containers to the United Kingdom cannot be landed in that country owing to long standing industrial trouble and must be unloaded and unpacked in Rotterdam and other ports on the Continent? If this is so, can the Minister inform the Senate who bears the extra cost of transport of these goods?
– As I understand the situation the matters mentioned by the honourable senator are accurate. I do not know theanswer to this question, but I shall obtain it for him from, I suggest, the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
(Question No. 971)
Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:
– The AttorneyGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1231)
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:
– The AttorneyGeneral has supplied the following answer:
The question asked by the honourable senator concerns a matter in relation to which proceedings were instituted in the High Court on 9th May 1969 and are still pending. The honourable senator will recall that it is not the practice to answer questions relating to matters the subject of legal proceedings while proceedings are pending.
(Question No. 1213)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1304)
asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 1310)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The Minister for Education and Science has supplied the following answer:
(Question No. 1311)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
In respect of other assisted migrants approved in various European countries, the arrangements for sea transport are carried out by the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, and, in (he case of migrants from Holland, by the Netherlands Government.
Some assisted passage migrants make their own bookings outside the arrangements stated above.
The vessel made twenty-three voyages to this country between 1950 and 1957 and was then sold. The Government has not considered acquiring by purchase or by charter any other ship for the purpose of bringing migrants to Australia.
– I have received from Senator Cohen an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of discussing a matter of urgency, namely:
The Government’s mishandling of the situation in Bougainville arising out of the decision of the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to resume land for lease to Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd and its attempts to enforce that resumption, and the urgent need to appoint a Select Committee of the Senate to inquire into and report upon the causes of the present unrest and the measures necessary to preserve Australia’s standing as trustee for the inhabitants of the Territory.
Is the motion supported? (More than the number of senators required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places)
– I move:
Mr President, the subject of the matter of urgency which this motion calls upon the Senate to debate is as set out by you just a moment or two ago. It concerns the Government’s mishandling of the situation at Bougainville arising out of the decision of the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to resume land for lease to Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd and its attempts to enforce that resumption. It deals with the urgent need to appoint a select committee of this Senate to inquire into and report upon the causes of the present unrest and the measures necessary to preserve Australia’s standing as trustee for the inhabitants of the Territory.
Mr Deputy President, the events which have given rise to this motion are events of which Australians cannot be proud. They concern a series of incidents in the Kieta area at Bougainville, arising out of the use of force by the Administration, through police officers under the control of the Administration there, to take over land which was the subject of a mining lease granted to this company, Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd under the terms of an ordinance that was passed by the House of Assembly at the end of 1967 - on 30th November 1967 - approving an agreement which had been made between the Administration of the Territory and the great mining company, Conzinc Riotinto of Australia and through its related company, Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd.
I wish to say first of all that nothing could be more eloquent in describing what took place than the language used by the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) in a statement which he made in another place yesterday and which was read in this Senate yesterday by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright). This language is used:
On 31st July a lease was issued to Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd under the Territory Mining Ordinance over 175 acres of land at Rorovana. On 1st August, surveyors commenced marking the boundary of this land. In view of reports that there might be violence, 100 police were sent to the area in three groups. A group of approximately twenty women crowded around police guarding a concrete survey peg. The police did not use force and eventually the peg was removed and carried away by the women. Clearing and marking of the area continued on 2nd and 4th August without interference. On 5th August a bulldozer clearing scrub for the survey team was confronted by a group of approximately sixty-five men and women. There were approximately seventy police present. The officer in charge warned the people to disperse on at least two occasions. He then ordered a group of fifteen police carrying shields and batons to move in front of the bulldozer and attempt to push the crowd away with their shields. There was a general melee and at this point the officer in charge decided to attempt to disperse the crowd with tear gas. The tear gas used is non-toxic. It was only partially effective. After further warnings police were ordered to use their batons about the legs of the natives and after a very short lime the crowd dispersed. There were no injuries other than one man who appeared to have grazed his leg falling over a log. No-one was injured by the police. Minimum force was used.
That ends the quotation from the Minister’s statement except that he paid the members of the Papua and New Guinea constabulary a compliment for behaving with restraint and discipline.
What the Minister was describing was an event that was one of a series in which the Territory Administration was taking over - 1 think this is plain from the Minister’s statement - by physical force lands which were owned by the indigenous inhabitants of the area, lands which had been resumed for the purpose of granting a mining lease to the Conzinc Riotinto associate, Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd, and for the purpose of constructing a great complex there which no doubt in the fulness of time will confer very great benefits on the Territory. But the resumption was made against the wishes of the inhabitants. At the time at which this force was used by the police - they had been ordered to do so - the lands in fact had not been sold, no compensation had been paid and no agreement had been reached about compensation with any of those to whom the lands belonged. So what we had was a’ confrontation between the Territory authority and a number of indigenous inhabitants in the area who were not party to any agreement about their own lands.
There is something of a history about this. Exploration for copper by the company began back in about 1964. By 1967 the matter had progressed sufficiently for a substantial agreement to be entered into, not between the indigenous land owners and the company but between the Territory Administration and the company. The agreement set out in some great considerable detail, but nevertheless very vaguely in certain areas, the rights which were to go to the company and the rights which were to go to the Administration. But it was not an agreement to which the landowners themselves were party; it was an agreement which laid the legal foundation for the resumption by the Territory Administration of those lands in order to grant a lease to Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd.
I think it is important to get that into perspective. This is not something which has arisen out of an agreement between the indigenous landholders and either the company or the Government. This is an agreement between the Government and the company, and although I use the word ‘Government’ as referring primarily to the Administration of the Territory there is not the slightest doubt in anyone’s mind that the great copper complex which is to be introduced over the next few years is the result of an agreement between the Australian Government and Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd.
– Who signed it?
– It is signed by the Administrator for and on behalf of the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, and by a director of Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd. Since the Minister for External Territories in another place accepts responsibility for policy in these matters and has vigorously defended his Government’s ineptitude in these matters and has sought to tell us what future policy will be, there is no doubt that the Australian Government must bear policy responsibility, that the Minister for External Territories must add this piece of bungling to a long series of inept actions and pronouncements on his own part in the administration of the Territory, and that if censure is implied or if action is to be taken it is proper that this Parliament should level that censure or take the necessary action.
I have heard some suggestion that if we sought a Senate select committee, as a joint committee was sought in another place in a debate on substantially the same topic yesterday, we were in some way intruding upon the prerogatives of the House of Assembly in the Territory. On behalf of the Opposition, I reject that suggestion because this is peculiarly a matter on which the Australian Parliament needs to be informed. It is a matter of critical importance which, as I see it, has brought a blush of shame to many an Australian cheek. Sitting here as members of one of the two chambers of this Parliament, we have a responsibility to inform ourselves on this subject and to make a report to the Senate which in due course may have some influence upon future policy. I, for one, do not believe that when the House of Assembly approved this agreement back in November 1967, it approved the use of tear gas or controlled baton charges in the carrying out of that agreement. That is the substance of the matter.
One of the parties to the agreement is an industrial colossus with far reaching interests in lead, silver, zinc, iron ore, aluminium, uranium and copper. No doubt it has before it the vista of a great development scheme producing substantial profits - indeed, enormous profits - as the years go by. No doubt the Administration had before it the prospect of a new development in the Territory opening up great prospects for the future. What we complain about is not that the Administration has acted in any way outside the law, but that by the way it has tackled this job and the way it has gone about thrusting this agreement down the throats of the indigenous land owners it has lost our confidence, it has demoralised people in the area and it has raised a big question mark as to how this Government sees its own future role as a trustee for the inhabitants of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
This agreement is in some respects an extraordinary one. Some of its recitals should be framed for all law students to read.
– It has been tabled since 1967 and you have never complained about it until now.
– I do not know whether the honourable senator has ever read it or heard of it. I suppose that I have had a certain amount of experience of looking at pieces of legislation or reading documents that are said to be written in some legal strain.
– Very vast experience.
– I thank Senator Murphy for the compliment. I was not fishing for it. I merely wanted to say that t have not often seen agreements that contain recitals such as this:
There is a whole series of recitals which can be nothing more than part of the propaganda blurb of the Administration, attempting to sell this agreement to the inhabitants of the Territory. It is couched in language of that character. I offer no disrespect to the members of the House of Assembly, but I doubt very much whether this was an easy agreement to read. It runs to many pages. It is written with many exceptions and many qualifications, in the language of lawyers. Whether or not the members of the House of Assembly were fully seised of every aspect of it, it is difficult to think that the indigenous inhabitants themselves, who are now standing firm against the bulldozers, recognised what it was that was happening to them even though it was explained to them in simple language.
The Minister says that prolonged and patient attempts have been made by many officers to explain this to them but virtually the Government’s case on this problem is this: We have tried very hard to talk to these people and explain to them that this is all going to be for their benefit, and we just cannot get it through to them. They do not appear to be interested in selling at any price. It does not seem to be a question of whether the price is good enough or whether they want to have more time to think it over; they are just not interested in selling at any price. Their attitudes are different from ours and their philosophies are different. For them land rights are something sacred, part of their tribal inheritance, part of a different culture which is an ancient culture and not the modern culture that we are trying to introduce into the Territory. Faced with this stubborn intransigence we cannot back down. This agreement has to go on and somebody has to give way, and it is the indigenous land owners themselves who have to give way.
If I am misinterpreting what the Minister and the Government are saying I am sure that the Minister in charge of this debate (Senator Wright) will be astute to correct me. As I understand the Government’s case it is: There cames a point when whatever sympathy one has for these people they cannot be allowed, to stand in the way of progress. ‘These people’ - that is the expression which the Minister uses from a very great height. It is a paternalistic expression. It is a supercilious expression. That is the way he describes those whose rights are being trampled on today - their rights not as a matter of law but as a matter of very ancient custom. Their belief is that those land rights are sacred to them and that they will have to be killed before they will surrender those rights or before they can be taken. The Minister says: ‘We just cannot allow these people to stand in the way of progress. That is why we have moved in.’ That in short is the case that the Government makes. I do not think that it can be expressed any more felicitously from the Government point of view. It says: ‘There is great progress to be made here. There are hundreds of millions of dollars involved. There will be employment, new industry, increased population, schools, health services and so on.’ All of these will in due course come; I would concede that.
– I am stating what the Government is saying. It says that this company will be able to employ a lot of people. There is a suggestion which I think has not been officially admitted by the Government that it is proposed to import a substantial number of Japanese workers to work on this project. I would like to hear what the Minister says about it. I am even prepared to assume that there is no ingredient of that sort in it and that we are simply faced with a large project. The Government’s answer is: ‘If it is necessary to bulldoze you out of this land we will do so, because you are holding up progress’. There is a deafening silence in this chamber because that is in fact what the Government’s policy is. The Government says that it is proud of its policy and that certain undisclosed people are stirring up trouble. There is no more than a vague suggestion in that lengthy statement we heard yesterday that anybody is stirring up trouble. We have to see what people on the spot say. We have to see, apart from that, what the reaction of the Australian people is. The indigenous inhabitants in this area are saying: ‘If the Government wants to take our land it will have to kill us’. The Australian Press has reacted with a singular consensus to the problem that the Government’s action has created. The ‘Australian* says:
The use of tear gas and clubs this week to enforce alien laws on an uncomprehending people was a damning indictment of the Administration in Papua-New Guinea - which is to say of Canberra. Responsibility for the lack of comprehension rests as clearly with the Australian Government as the methods used to overcome it. . . The law appears to have been used ruthlessly on Bougainville as the easy way out of a situation where conciliation and persuasion were rendered useless by rigid paternalism.
The Reverend Arthur Preston of the Wesley Church in Melbourne, a representative of a church which knows a good deal about missionary work in parts north of Australia, had this to say:
The poor image we have created with our discriminatory immigration policy will not be improved by this unhappy incident. The Bougainville enterprise is commendable and the open-cut copper mine to be established would eventually give Papua and New Guinea an export income of $10Om a year. It will create jobs for the indigenous people, but to bring a primitive people into the industrial twentieth century is a most delicate operation which needs to be handled with the utmost care and consideration. Unfortunately this has not been the method adopted. The islanders have been literally bulldozed into it
One could go on reciting the reaction of solid citizens in this country and of the responsible organs of the Australian Press to a situation which they regard as having compromised our reputation abroad and as having damaged the integrity of our stance as a trustee for the indigenous peoples of the Territory.
The motion which I have proposed this afternoon on behalf of the Opposition calls, first of all, for an expression of opinion as to the Government’s mishandling of the situation. As to this, I would have thought there could not be very much room for diversity of opinion, because in order to defend what the Government has done one has to be prepared to defend the use of force and the prospect of further force because the Minister is saying: ‘We cannot give way. It is too important for that.’ There is no suggestion that there should be further negotiation. There is no suggestion that a reasonable alternative site had been examined before this particular site was decided upon. As I understand the situation, although the agreement has been in existence since July 1967 and although the House of Assembly approved the agreement in November 1967 it has only been in recent months that the precise land to be the subject of resumption orders has been exactly identified. I would like to hear from the Minister in reply on what date the particular areas that have been the subject of trouble were identified, as distinct from the general principle that in that area land would be resumed.
We seek not only to have the Senate express its opinion on the Government’s handling of the situation but also the appointment of a select committee of the Senate to inquire into and report upon the causes of the present unrest. So as not to range broadly over the whole area of land policy throughout the Territory the motion and the terms of reference are confined to what has given rise to the present difficulty, although no doubt matters germane to that problem could be examined by the committee, and the measures that are necessary to preserve Australia’s standing as a trustee for the inhabitants of the Territory. What we would like to see happen is that the usual all party select committee of the Senate should go and have a look at the problem, see the various parties involved, examine the possibilities of arbitration or conciliation and further discussion of alternatives, not in a wish to destroy what seems to be a very promising enterprise, although I think the terms have been rather generous to the company. It will not be paying company tax until 1981.
– How much will it be paying?
– It is putting in a lot of money. I appreciate that, senator, but it will be taking a lot of money out. Under the agreement the company will not pay company tax until 1981. That is my understanding of the agreement. I am fortified in my understanding by the remarks of the Acting Assistant Administrator (Economic Affairs), Mr Newman, MHA, who when dealing with these matters in a recent address said that it is envisaged that the company will commence to pay company tax by 1981-82 although prior to that, by 1972-73, some royalties will begin to be paid. I do not have time to examine the whole of the agreement. Obviously a lot of money will be spent by the company, but obviously the rewards will be great. We do not seek to destroy the prospect of a great enterprise being established there with, no doubt, long term benefits to the Territory, but we seek some resolution by the Senate of the problem which will recognise the integrity of the indigenous land owners, which will not ride roughshod over them and which will restore Australia to the former position it held in the United Nations and elsewhere.
Last year a United Nations trusteeship mission visited the area to study this project and it noted some of the strong criticisms and hostility shown by the land owners to the prospect of having their land resumed. We have to do something to restore Australia’s prestige after this woeful exhibition of Government blundering. We ask the Senate, if honourable senators think we are on the right track, to co-operate with us in the setting up of a select committee of the Senate. This would not detract from the authority of the House of Assembly, but I think it would be of great assistance to members of the House of Assembly because I think that agree-lent was extraordinarily vague and very complicated. Obviously it has not got through to those whom it was designed to affect ultimately - the people whose land was taken. I ask the Senate to support the resolution.
– Today in the Australian Senate we are debating a motion by Senator Cohen, moved on behalf of the Australian Labor Party, seeking to wreck the opportunities offered to the indigenes of Bougainville to participate in a great and profitable enterprise. The Territory of Papua and New Guinea has been fortunate enough to be presented with a unique opportunity to develop a huge, low grade copper deposit which has been shown to contain at least 760 million tons of ore. The Administration of the Territory is to be congratulated for being so quick to avail itself of the specialist international mining skill, accompanied by financial strength, which Conzinc Riotinto of Australia could bring to the Territory. That company, after investigations extending over some 2 or 3 years is now at the stage where it has practically made a decision to go on with the investment. But the final decision has not yet been made. It will be made, we anticipate, at an early date. The terms upon which that company has been given rights to utilise this copper deposit are essentially for the unique benefit of the Territory and, far from being generous to the Conzinc company, as Senator Cohen has been on a level to allege-
– On a what?
– On a level to allege. Obviously he has not studied the terms of the agreement or, if he has, he has consciously suppressed most parts of the agreement which show that so far from the agreement being generous to CRA-
– I raise a point of order. I object to constant allegations by the
Minister for Works - and he has done this many times - of bad faith on my part.
– Tomorrow we will have some more.
– We might have that, too. My point of order is that I do not like the allegation; I find it offensive to have it suggested that either I have not read the agreement or have consciously suppressed something. I ask you, Mr Deputy President, to see that the Minister behaves himself in such matters.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - Order! The point of order is not upheld.
-I shall proceed with my argument and deal with that allegation by Senator Cohen that the agreement was remarkably generous to CRA. It was obvious, as he fumbled through his papers, that he was drawing an inference from the statement that the Assistant Administrator made in the House of Assembly on 17th June that it would appear that the company would come into income tax full flood and by 1981-82 be paying income company tax to the order of between $3 Om and $50m. Senator Cohen did not state that the reason why such a huge amount was to be paid was that the company had been induced to accept a special undertaking that instead of paying income tax at the rate of 22i%, which is the rate applicable to all other companies, after 4 years from the commencement of paying income tax it would lift the level, by stages, from 22i% to 50% of its profit. No other company in Australia or in the Territory dreams of paying 50% income tax. In Australia our company tax is 85c in the $2; in the Territory it is 22i%. I take some relish in putting some strength into refuting that allegation of Senator Cohen’s. Well do I understand that Senator Cohen would like to appear before this chamber and over the air as a fair exponent of argument. I have no doubt that he does not relish being shown to have used an argument which is completely unworthy of a parliamentary forum.
The next thing that is necessary to be understood in relation to this matter is the immense benefits that will come from this enterprise to the Territory, which has a population of over 2 million indigenes. I should like to quote from Mr Newman’s speech, parts of which Senator Cohen read. In the House of Assembly in June last the responsible Assistant Administrator said that income from exports, other than copper, of the Territory can be expected to rise to $84m by 1972. If this enterprise is not interrupted or sabotaged for political advantage or for other motives, by that period the company will have been producing copper, the export value of which will be $11lm. By the efforts of this enterprise, if it is allowed to proceed, the export income of the Territory will be doubled. The revenue that the Territory will receive will not begin only in 1982. By 1972 it is expected that the revenue from royalties and from other matters will be $16m per annum. It is expected that by 1981 or 1982, after the enjoyment of an initial tax holiday of 3 years in the case of income tax, income tax at the rate of 50% of the net profit will amount to between $30m and $50m. Employment opportunities - for which one would expect a true Labor Party to have some regard and appreciation - that will accrue to the indigenes will, during the construction period, be available to 4,000 men. Some workers are expected to be recruited from external sources.
– What external sources?
– External sources which are unknown at the present time.
– How do you know if you do not know where the workers are to come from?
- Senator Turnbull interjects and asks: How do I know? The Administrator said in his speech that owing to the shortage of skilled local construction workers and the necessity for speed, it is likely that many of the construction workers will be recruited from outside the Territory. I take this opportunity to reveal how closely Senator Turnbull has studied the subject. Not only will these employment opportunities accrue to the indigenes but the company has specially undertaken a training scheme in order to train indigenes in the skills required for the enterprise. This is expected to cost about $1.9m by 1972 and to be continued thereafter at a rate of $500,000 a year in order to train indigenes for the work offered by the enterprise. Another benefit accompanying this enterprise will be the establishment of the township of Arawa, with a population of 10,000 people, instead of local village communities. In that township there will be several primary schools, and a major regional hospital with 30 intermediate beds and 200 general beds. Mr Deputy President, the Opposition attempts to drown my words yet the only complaint of my opposing leader, Senator Cohen, during his speech was that there was a deathly silence. The Opposition will, not drown me today.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! I ask the Senate to come to order. Senator Cohen was heard in silence. I ask that Senator Wright be heard in silence.
– The schools and the hospitals will be a magnificent benefit and advantage to the indigenes. Then there will be roads and a port. The port will be available for use not merely by the company but to the public as well. There is to be a major power generating station near the port. This might be of particular advantage to Senator Turnbull as it might save him the trouble of reading this speech. That power station will generate 120 megawatts of electric power. The output from it will greatly exceed the total power generated in the rest of the Territory. So that we can get an adequate grasp of the comparison, let me remind the Senate, as did the Minister in the House of Assembly in Port Moresby, that the new Royna No. 2 hydroelectric station generates 30 megawatts and that Rabaul uses about 5 megawatts but the new CRA station will generate 120 megawatts which is more than the whole of the electricity generated in the rest of the Territory.
Senator Cohen was good enough and magnanimous enough, when he accused this Administration and the House of Assembly at Port Moresby of making an agreement which was generous to ORA, to omit, consciously or otherwise, any reference to the fact that the agreement required CRA to issue to the Administration for its people 20% of the issued ordinary capital of the company at par, thus ensuring that directly one-fifth of what is left of the net profit of the company will go to the benefit of the people according to the decisions of the Government of those people. As I said, they will be shares issued at par. If there are great profits for this enterprise then the Territory is assured of getting 50% of them by way of income tax and one-fifth of them by way of dividends when the people of the Territory take up this quota of equity.
Having dwelt upon the benefits that Senator Cohen passed by as being insignificant, the next point I want to make is one which we would not expect the Australian Labor Party to understand because an enterprise of this magnitude and complexity is beyond its comprehension. This company, although it has terrific financial strength, is to devote no less than $300m in capital to establish and bring to production stage this enterprise. It is going to the international finance market to borrow $200m of that sum. It is proposing to raise the remaining Si 00m from its own resources. This is not a cottage building project. It is a project which involves the establishment of the town of Arawa, the establishment of a port, a major power house, roads, a concentrate plant, the preparation of the pit site, a site for dumping waste rock, a dam, a water supply for the town, a quarry and the procurement of mining equipment. This is all being done by a company. As an integral part of the project the Administration will be expected to provide the associated facilities such as airstrips, primary schools, improvement of roads and telecommunication systems. If we are to get that enterprise into production by 1972, the less mischief we have from opposing political propagandists the better. A complex enterprise of this dimension needs to be delayed only in one essential artery to cause the entire enterprise to be materially delayed.
The next point I wish to make is that the primary responsibility for a decision on this matter rests with the House of Assembly of the Territory. The Hansard reports of this chamber and the other place in this Parliament teem with statements made by members of the Opposition, when advocating self government for the Territory, saying that the House of Assembly in Port Moresby was competent and able to make decisions in the interests of its indigenes. Senator Cohen passes the situation by with the imputation that when the members of the House of Assembly at Port Moresby considered this matter in 1967, they failed to understand it at all. Perhaps they understood it even better than he does. I say that the primary responsibility for this enterprise rests with the Territory House of Assembly. It is an impertinence for Senator Cohen to suggest that the Senate should constitute a select committee upon the matter until the House of Assembly in Port Moresby has had an opportunity to express its attitude to the matter.
My next point is that while being aware in establishing an enterprise of this type of the great public benefits to accrue to the Territory, the exercise of any right of intrusion upon native land is always to be undertaken with the greatest caution and moderation. The Territory Administration has observed that position ever since it has had responsibility in the Territory. No community could survive and establish works of a public nature unless in the last resort the government of that territory or community had the right in the public interest to enter upon land or to resume land for an essential public purpose.
It might have been appropriate to a clear statement of this matter if Senator Cohen in opening his speech had not used such expressions or imputations as ‘taking over by physical force’, ‘land resumed for the purpose of granting a lease’, and so on. Such expressions almost suggest that physical force was used without legal basis. Later in his speech he conceded that there was a legal basis for it, but he so grossly misunderstood that legal basis that I take the opportunity to clarify it. The incident that occurred in Port Moresby in the early days of August and that we are now discussing arose out of an attempt to protect surveyors who were going on to the land to mark out the boundaries. Only last session, a few months ago, we passed in the Senate special legislation protecting surveyors who have a duty to go on to land to mark out the boundaries of leases, mining or otherwise. We granted specific authority.
I turn now to the actual exertion by the Administration of that right. I have read the speech that the Minister for External Territories made on the subject last night. I take leave to remind the Senate today with some particularity that as to the township site, we specifically abstained from asking any villagers to move their cottages in the place of our first choice. To avoid interfering with them the Administration decided to locate the town of Arawa at Arawa Plantation; that is, at a fully developed European plantation which is at present the subject of negotiations.
– How much are you paying?
– I cannot give the figure at the moment, but I will provide it.
– What are you paying the natives?
– The amount that is to be paid will be according to the value of the disturbance in every case. It is a value that perhaps the leaders of the honourable senator’s Party would support as a judicially determined value, with the right to resort to the courts. I was saying that as to the arbitrariness of the bulldozing, to avoid interference with the village we went to a plantation of 998 acres fully developed, in European hands, for which a much greater price will have to be paid than for the undeveloped land. As to the land being considered for a port and as to which a survey was being made on 5th August, it has on it no cottage or habitation. It has on it a very undeveloped coconut growth. In respect of that land and disturbance, compensation will be paid to those villagers who have a right to it, on exactly the same basis as compensation is provided for under the relevant ordinances for other people. lt has been said that we left it late to explain this matter to the villagers. In the report of March 1 968 of the United Nations Visiting Mission to the Territory, to which Senator Cohen partially referred, the Mission took occasion to say that both the Administration and the company were engaging in a continuous educational and public relations campaign among the people involved. We have it from the Minister that for over 3 years the Administration has used all possible means to explain to the people of Bougainville the nature and implications of the mining project. The construction of Radio Kieta was expedited in 1967 to facilitate these communications. Since mid-1967 over forty Administration patrols have been made into the area affected by the mining project. Their primary objective has been to explain to the people the nature of the project.
– They did not do it very well.
– If they did not, perhaps they could be excused on the same basis as I could be excused for failing to penetrate the understanding of Senator Turnbull. Perhaps the fault is not entirely with me and the defect is in part his. In addition to over forty patrols, individual officers have spent in the aggregate hundreds of days visiting villages and individual families for the same purpose. The Administrator himself visited Bougainville earlier this year, spoke to the people, and talked over Radio Bougainville. Last month the Assistant Administrator led a special mission to the island and held meetings in the villages most affected. The mission included the indigenous ministerial members of the House of Assembly of the Territory and all three Bougainville members of the House. In addition to the use of radio, news sheets have been distributed. The Assistant District Commissioner of the area visited Rorovana four times in the past 4 months. The people of that area themselves visited the district headquarters at Kieta twelve times in the past 5 months. In addition, frequent discussions have been held with members of the local council. Tn those circumstances we have the grim and somewhat tearful spectacle of members of the Australian Labor Party weeping - because, when the surveyors went to this area, for the first 2 days they were without interference. On the third day when they went along some sixty women were there. After warning them, the officer ordered the constabulary, whom he said behaved with great restraint and discipline, to move, to push aside those people who were in the way of the bulldozer which was marking out for the surveyors. Such was the result that no injury was done to anybody, except that one person appeared to have grazed his shin while getting over a log. The position is that under the influence that has stirred them in their attitude to this matter, the natives have shown a disposition to withhold consent to the land being surveyed. The Administration has held its hand, hoping that better counsels will prevail. In that situation the Australian Labor Party seizes on an irresponsible newspaper campaign throughout the country and, as usual, cannot resist taking it up like a willo’thewisp for the purpose of political propaganda. It will be the greatest tragedy that this Senate can contribute to Territory development if it takes the responsibility of disrupting, damaging or wrecking this enterprise which, if facilitated in the Territory, can bring magnificent benefits to the people of the Territory. I ask the Senate to reject the motion.
– I support the motion proposed by Senator Cohen. First I propose to quote a few lines from the statement made on 12th August 1969 by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), who represents the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) in this chamber, before replying to some of the crazy statements made by the Minister for Works who has just resumed his seat. In the course of his statement the Minister said:
The Government makes no apology for the Agreement.
That was his first dogmatic statement. Then he said:
The investment of $300m demands confidence.
We can understand that in view of the display we have just had from Senator Wright. He continued:
The Government considers the Administration’s actions are fully in accordance with the law.
Those words were quoted also by Senator Wright. A little later in the statement the Minister said:
Since 1964, the Government has made available to the Territory by way of grant in aid sums totalling $400m.
One would almost think that the Government was demanding a repayment of the grants in aid. This arrogant statement continued:
The attitude of a handful of people may attract our sympathy-
The handful of people referred to are those who represent almost 75,000 indigenous people on Bougainville - and we may go to considerable lengths to resolve their problems. But in the last resort we cannot allow them to block this great prospect and thus throw into doubt the policies on which the future of more than 1 million people depend. In the structure of ignorance, superstition and prejudice. . . .
I resent the use of those words by the Minister because, although these people may not subscribe to the Christian religions that have been introduced to the area by the various missionaries, they have their own native and tribal customs to which they subscribe. The words ‘ignorance, superstition and prejudice’ are a slur on the very things in which these people believe. The Minister said:
In the structure of ignorance, superstition and prejudice, persuasion and explanations are not easy, but with other expatriate influences working in the opposite direction - some not without prestige in native eyes - difficulties become great.
That is the sad sob story that has been told by the Minister to justify the action that has been taken.
I was amazed at the attitude of Senator Wright who obviously was carrying the load for the Government in this chamber. When I first came here a few years ago I looked upon him as a liberal. His colleagues have told me - and I have since seen this for myself - that over a period of years, when he thought the bulwarks of liberalism were being assaulted, he would either vote with the Opposition or take his marbles out of the chamber and not cast a vote. But today we have seen from him, in a true archconservative manner, one of the most shocking displays that have been given by any Minister in this Government. I am delighted that he now never crosses the floor to vote with the Opposition.
One can only assume that while the Minister was replying to Senator Cohen he was building up a case to justify the use of batons, tear gas and, if necessary, guns. He certainly did not reply to the technical points that had been raised by my colleague Senator Cohen. One of Senator Cohen’s statements that the Minister attempted to ridicule was that in which he said the agreement between the Administration and Conzinc Riotinto of Australia was remarkably generous. It is generous. It is one of the most generous agreements entered into by any government anywhere in the world so far as those on the receiving end are concerned. He claimed that the investment was worth many millions of dollars. I agree that the investment is worth many millions of dollars, and in a few moments I shall go on to quote the figures, but the return to the indigenous people is peanuts. A few tens of thousands of dollars will be doled out to them by way of compensation over a period of years.
The Minister claimed that the agreement has been sabotaged for political advantage. If this is the charge made against the Australian Labor Party, I can say that we have no intention whatever of sabotaging the agreement. However, we have every intention of seeing that the people who own this area, the people who live where their ancestors have lived for tens of thousands of years, receive that to which they are entitled. Tn other words, the Labor Party intends to ensure that these people are treated humanely and are properly compensated for anything that is taken from them. Batons and gas will not wipe out the 70,000 people of Bougainville in the same way as the Aboriginal race was wiped out in Tasmania, which is Senator Wright’s home State. One can assume from the way he was speaking that if Senator Wright had had the same opportunity he would have used the same methods to dispose of the indigenous people of Tasmania. When he attempted in a round about way to refute some of the statements made by Senator Cohen, according to the Minister Senator Cohen had the temerity to call a point of order. The Minister then resumed his seat, waving his arms about like a dugong out of water; in other words, he acted like a petulant schoolboy.
Bougainville, which is a delightful country, is one of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific area. It is the biggest island of a group and has fairly good soil in some areas, fairly extensive fishing grounds and beautiful lakes. It is an area which, if properly developed, tourists would be delighted to visit. Lake Katherine is one of the most beautiful volcanic lakes in the world. This is an area where live volcanoes still exist. But this country is now to be raped in the cause of so-called progress against the will of the people who live there. Let us consider for a moment the history of CRA and the manner in which it has taken over, virtually on the order of the Government and with the complete cooperation of the Administration. Conzinc Riotinto is only one more company in a long list of organisations that have received preferential treatment from the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Burns Philp and Co. Ltd and W. R. Carpenter and Co. are two organisations which have grown rich in this area because they have been able to employ indigeous labour at slave rates. The presence of copper on Bougainville has been known since 1929. In 1936 an Administration geologist examined the Kieta goldfield. In 1961, Mr J. E. Thompson, who was senior resident geologist for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, suggested that further studies of the copper and gold deposits of Papua and New Guinea ought to be made. The estimate of job viability of the field is something like 2,500 people, and we have been told that the Administration has been offered an option over a 20% holding in the company. This may be so, but we all know the impracticabilities of accepting this offer. We all know that it might be many years before the option is exercised by the sleepy Administration that has taken over the Territory.
Despite what the Minister says, this argument did not begin yesterday, or the day before. It has been going on for quite a period of time. As far back as 1966 Paul Lapun who, in local terms, is known as a Buka boy’, took up the argument. Paul Lapun is one of the most able politicians in the Territory House of Assembly. He is one of only three who represent this particular area. In fact, the politicians in the House of Assembly who speak on behalf of the great number of people in the area in question represent only approximately 3% of the total number of members in the House of Assembly. It is of no use the Minister and other Government members claiming that this proposal has the full support of the House of Assembly. The true position is that the whole of the facts were not known to all the people concerned.
In 1966 Paul Lapun moved an amendment to the Mining Bill to provide that 5% of the Administration’s royalties be paid to the Panguna land owners, and he was able to defeat the Administration on the floor of the House at that time. An appeal had been made previously to the Minister that the returns in the form of money should be split three ways - between the land owners, the Bougainville Development Fund and the Administration - but this was rejected out of hand by the Minister. In the light of these facts it cannot be argued that these people have been struggling for a period of only 2, 3 or 4 years. When moving his amendment in 1 966 Lapun said: ‘We have to take these steps now because this country could be rich in minerals. Today it is my area. Tomorrow it might be your area’. At least he did speak on behalf of the people whom he represented.
On 27th November 1968 the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories (Senator Wright) furnished replies to several questions that had been put on notice by me. The first of these questions was: What is the area of land taken over by the development company?’ To that, the Minister replied:
No mining leases have yet been granted to the company. In accordance with the Bougainville Copper Agreement which was approved by the House of Assembly the company at present has prospecting authorities over 242 square miles; it has recently relinquished rights under two prospecting authorities.
That question which had been on the notice paper for several weeks, was given only an evasive answer by the Minister. The next important question I asked was: ‘What royalty is to be paid to the local people?’ The Minister’s answer was:
If there is mining production land owners will be paid the equivalent of five percent of the royalty. Owners of land included in a mining lease or a lease for a mining purpose will also receive an occupation fee of at least two dollars per acre per year for the duration of the lease.
If any damage is done to land or improvements during the course of prospecting or mining full compensation is paid.
I also asked this very significant question:
How many indigenes have been jailed or otherwise dealt with by the authorities for objecting to the establishment of the project on their tribal lands?
The Minister replied:
Seven people have been sentenced to imprisonment for offences against the criminal code which are believed to have been related to opposition to the copper development project.
Which are believed! How evasive can one get when one has one’s back to the wall.
It is true, as the Minister has said, that a large sum of money will be raised. In fact, the sum of $US154m will be raised in the first syndicate of overseas banks. With the concurrence of honourable senators, I incorporate in Hansard a list of the banks comprising the syndicates.
Bank of America, Finabai SA, World Banking Corp.. Partnership Pacific Ltd, Bank of London and South America, Banque Lambert, Barclays Bank, International Commercial Bank, Kleinwort Benson, Lloyds Bank Europe Ltd, Midland and International, Morgan Grenfell, Banque Rothsch, National Provincial and Rothschild, Samuel
Montagu and Co. Ltd, The standard Bank, Westminister Foreign Bank, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank, Royal Bank of Canada: Toronto-Dominion Bank and Banque Europeene de Tokyo.
Those in the second syndicate’s loan of $US92.4m are:
Ameribas; Societe Financiere Europeenne; Finabai SA; Partnership Pacific Ltd; Algemene Bank; Banque Nationale de Paris; Bank of London and South America; Banque Lambert; International Commercial Bank; Kleinwort Benson; National Provincial and Rothschild; Samuel Montagu and Co. Ltd; Bank of Montreal; Toronto-Dominion Bank and Roywest Banking Corp. Ltd.
The members of the Australian bank consortium are the Commonwealth Trading Bank of Aust; Australian and New Zealand Bank Ltd; Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney Ltd; English, Scottish and Australian Bank Ltd; National Bank of A’asia Ltd and Australian Resources Development Bank Ltd.
I point out to the Senate that the company signed a contract for the sale of 52,500 tons of copper to a German smelting company and for the sale of 15,000 tons yearly to a Spanish company. The significant point is that these deals were entered into by the company after its original deal under which it is to make available something like 800 million tons to the Japanese. In the area there are known reserves of 760 million tons of grade 0.47 copper. This is not a high grade, but it is a payable grade. This ore also contains 0.4 dwt of gold to the ton. There are additional reserves of lower grade ores. In the development of this rich mineral field, the indigenous people are going to have their land raped, they are going to be dispossessed of their villages, and they are going to have their farms taken away from them. In return, they are going to be given a lousy few thousand dollars. The compensation to be paid to the European owner of the Arawa plantation will be something like ten times as great as the compensation to be paid to native plantation owners.
This temporary truce that has been declared fools no-one. I remind the Senate that the Pacific Games are on at Port Moresby at the moment. The time is opportune for a confrontation to take place and there can be no doubt that the representatives of the twelve competing Pacific nations that are congregated in Port Moresby at the moment cannot fail to be impressed by anything that might happen up there. It must also be remembered that
His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent is also in Port Moresby at present. It would be a shocking state of affairs if the representatives of Bougainville decided to present to him a petition seeking freedom for their country from the so-called administration of this Government.
Further, this truce which has obviously been called for political reasons also gives the Administration time to build up arms. We have been told that during the next few days additional police are to be stationed at Bougainville. The number that I have heard is fifty but I understand that it is likely to be something in excess of that. The truce also allows the Government an opportunity to build up supplies of tear gas, and supplies of arms in addition to increasing the number of police personnel stationed there. I suggest in all sincerity therefore, that the only way out of this tangle is to agree to the motion moved by Senator Cohen for the appointment of a Senate select committee to investigate the whole matter.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– I regret in a way that I have the distinction of following Senator Keeffe, because I was preoccupied with Senator Cohen, who initiated this motion for the setting up of a select committee to investigate the position at Bougainville. The reason why Senator Cohen wants the select committee is quite clear to us. It is obvious that he has been carrying out his researches by subscribing to Press clipping services. He came into the chamber armed with clippings from every newspaper that can be found about the place. He then attempted to try and develop an argument from that series of Press clippings. The Minister who represents the Minister for External Territories (Senator Wright) followed Senator Cohen. He correctly pointed out that Senator Cohen had not prepared his brief properly. I share that opinion with the Minister, as I am sure many other honourable senators on this side do. We then listened to Senator Keeffe. If there is one thing Senator Keeffe is distinguished for, it is the ant-like characteristic to which I have referred on other occasions. He runs hither and thither along any path looking at every grain of sand and every twig, then leaves them and goes on. All we got from him by way of argument was a series of unrelated statements that do not support Senator Cohen’s proposal for the appointment of a select committee.
– You did not hear them.
– I heard them all right. Let me say that I have never heard Senator Cohen or Senator Keeffe raising objections and launching out into attacks when, for example, people such as my family have been suddenly dispossessed of their land after having been on it for over 120 years. The Government of that time, which was supported by Senator Keeffe, felt no pangs about suddenly dispossessing people of land which they had held for many years. There were no protests then about dispossessing Australian land owners of their land. But now, because they think that in some curious way there is political capital to be gained from it, Senator Cohen and other honourable senators opposite are putting forward arguments on behalf of people on Bougainville.
I want to make this clear: I had the honour to be the member of a Parliamentary committee which went to Papua and New Guinea in 1965. This committee, wherever it went in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, asked the heads of councils, members of native councils and indigenous members of the House of Assembly what their attitude would be or should be or what opinions they held in relation to the proposed investigation for minerals in Bougainville. Even such a well known radical amongst the native population of Papua and New Guinea as Mr Oala Oala-Rarua, who appeared before the committee was quite clear that minerals in the Territory must be reserved for the people of Papua and New Guinea and that there was no right or justification for the people of Bougainville, who then were making noises about becoming independent, to deprive the rest of the indigenous people of the conglomerate of islands of access to mineral deposits which could enhance the wellbeing of the people of the Territory. This statement was made as early as 1965. It is complained now that not enough attention has been given by the Administration to the problem of land acquisition in order to get access to these mineral deposits that will enhance the wellbeing of all the people of the Territory. We find that this is not so.
In 1967, the agreement was made. It was debated in the House of Assembly. It was carried on the voices with a couple of muted protests, one from Mr Paul Lapun, who has never seen fit to resign his portfolio of Assistant Minister, as is the normal parliamentary practice, when he has opposed the Administration. Not only was this agreement approved by the House of Assembly after these long negotiations, but the matter has come before the United Nations. Senator Cohen said that Australia’s reputation is to be destroyed as soon as the United Nations hears about these events, lt is quite clear that neither Senator Keeffe nor Senator Cohen has paid any attention to the reports that have been made on this subject by the visiting missions of the United Nations to this area.
– They do not want to read them. That would kill their arguments.
– Of course they do not want to read them. The interesting thing about this matter is that if we pick these reports up we will find in them references to this matter. For instance, I wish to quote from the report of the United Nations Visiting Mission on the Trust Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I will take the first reference. I will not take it out of context in any way whatsoever. This report contains the recommendations of this Mission to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, to which Australia is the trustee for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. We are not the trustee to the people of the Territory. We are the trustee on behalf of the United Nations and it is to that body that we make our responses. The Visiting Mission had this to say in relation to land tenure:
Here again, land must be brought into production without waiting for the protracted business of establishing title or purchasing freehold.
That is its comments in relation to land tenure.
– That has nothing to do with it.
– It has a lot to do with it. We are acting as trustee in this area for the United Nations. At page 54 of its report, the Mission makes reference to oil and minerals. I mention that for the benefit of Senator Keeffe who is trying to interject. The Mission states:
At Nangoona, the Mission received the impression that the officials were cautiously optimistic and even if they should decide not to proceed immediately it would become feasible to do so within a few years because of the continuing need for copper.
This was in 1967, not 1969. This report of the Visiting Mission was investigated this year in the United Nations and the report in relation to these paragraphs that relate to the exploitation of mineral resources and the acquisition of land was adopted by the members of the Trusteeship Council in every case, with the exception of the two dissidents which are not named but one of which I imagine would be the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The characteristic in examining the reports of the United Nations when it comes to this Trust Territory is that the defence of the attitude taken by the USSR is exactly the same as the sort of attack that we have heard launched here today. It is made up of quotations from a series of newspapers. I think that the Embassy of the USSR in Canberra must be the largest - J put it up in the highest level - of subscribers to newspapers all over the South Pacific area.
Not only was this matter taken to the House of Assembly of Papua and New Guinea and unanimously adopted. I must make reference now to the fact that Mr A. P. J. Newman, addressing the House of Assembly on the Bougainville copper project, sets out at page 4 of the copy that I have of his statement a series of projects which must be completed. This is something which has not been looked at. In the third paragraph under the heading ‘What is the Bougainville Copper Project’, theseprojects, to which the Minister of Works (Senator Wright) has referred, are set out. They include:
The whole of this operation is dependent now on the ability to obtain land to construct the port. It is no good trying to build the port where it was proposed to build it originally. This course has been suggested by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant). The port has to be built at an area where enough water is available. It is the area behind this proposed port that is in dispute. If this port is not built - it cannot be built unless this land is acquired - the whole project must go to the ground. I refer to the terms of this agreement which Senator Cohen did not feel required any attention. He made no reference whatsoever to page 29 of the Schedule to the agreement under the heading ‘Force Majeure’ in which it was anticipated in section 24 of the Schedule to the Ordinance established in 1967 that there may be requirements where ‘Force Majeure’ may have to prevail and the Administration of the Territory, acting under the authority of the House of Assembly, to which it is responsible, has to acquire this land and it has to acquire this land immediately.
It is highly regrettable, I confess, that people who have been situated on this land for 80 years now have to be moved. But moved they must be. If they are not moved, the whole project must go. If the whole project does not go, it is inevitable that section 24 (b) of the Schedule to the Ordinance, which is No. 70 of 1967 and to which we are committed legally, must just apply. This reads:
So, not only is the Administration of Papua and New Guinea operating under the authority and direction of the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations but also it is the duty of the Administration to acquire land in order that these economic processes can be continued for the development of the Territory. The Administration is compelled also in obedience to the authority that it derives from the House of Assembly to obtain the land in accordance with the agreement as set out in Ordinance No. 70 of 1967, signed by the Administrator, as the authorised officer of the Administration acting under the authority of the House of Assembly.
If the project does not proceed and Conzinc Riotinto of Australia is forced out of the area as it well may be - certainly, it should not be expected to proceed with the application of these masses of resources of capital without some guarantee that it will be allowed to develop the project - a case for compensation for Conzinc Riotinto of Australia will exist. So, it is not simply a question of a brutal landlord, a brutal Administration and a brutal Government trying to dispossess some hundreds of people. Some 250 people have to be moved in terms of just compensation. They are being moved in terms of just compensation.
– Is it just?
– They are entitled to just compensation.
– I agree with the honourable senator.
– Not what you consider to be just compensation, Senator Turnbull. It has nothing to do with this. 1 suggest that you are getting on this bandwagon not in the interests of amity but because it provides a reasonable opportunity for you to enhance your position as leader of a new party. For the reasons I have stated I reject entirely the arguments that have been advanced by Senator Cohen. 1 reject totally the series of inconsequential remarks that have been made by Senator Keeffe. I reject the concept that the Senate should be forced to set up a select committee to investigate matters which have not been researched sufficiently by the Opposition which launched this motion. I reject the motion.
– I am very surprised indeed that Senator Wright, who in this place represents the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes), should risk imminent death by apoplexy by defending something that has never been stated. The matter before this House relates to the mishandling of the situation, not the prevention of Conzinc Riotinto of Australia from working in the Territory. As far as the Australia Party is concerned let me say that we believe in Conzinc Riotinto being in Bougainville.
– You should say ‘I believe’.
– I am glad that you do believe in it.
– You should say T not Ve”.
– I have far more intelligence than to want you to put words into my mouth.
– You are still only one person and you do not always use your intelligence to the best advantage.
– Time will show that 1 am more than one person. We have in our organisation many people and many candidates for election. Let me get back to the problem. The problem lies in the Minister’s words:
The basic difficulty has been that people of this area are living in one world and the problems of development and the requirements of development confront them with another world.
That is the whole problem facing us today. We have been told that the Administrator has gone to the area, his assistant has gone to the area, forty patrols have been sent to the area and so on. But in what language do they speak to the natives? Is it German, Italian or some other language? The natives do not understand them and never once have they accepted the Administration Officials, the reason being that they do not trust the Administration. We in the Australia Party - another plug - want to find out the facts. We even went to the expense of bringing down a man who was suggested to us as being intelligent and who had had some dealings in the matter. We got young Leo Hannett, who was a candidate for the priesthood and who left it to study law at the University of Papua and New Guinea, to come and tell us about this matter. We had an open mind and we still have an open mind. We do not agree with everything he told us but at least he gave us facts. His main statement was that no-one in the area trusts the Administration. Years ago Administration officials went to the people and told them: ‘Never part with your land to any white man. We will protect you.’ Now the Administration tells them: ‘Sell your land because we want it for the good of other people in Papua and New Guinea’. The natives cannot understand that. That is my first point.
– Sell the land to whom?
– To anyone. The natives believe that they cannot trust the Administration. When one learns that the land the natives want is not the land that the company wants suspicions arise. Conzinc Riotinto did not want the land that is being acquired. It suggested other sites but no, the Administration knew best. Because it took native land it had to uphold its honour to show that there was equal justice for black and white and it then acquired McKillop’s property.
– That was shown in black and white before this.
– I said that. The Administration did not want McKillop’s property. It never wanted McKillop’s property but it is taking the land because having acquired the black people’s land they must acquire the white man’s.
– You are a racist.
– No, I am not. You go and ask them. You do not have the facts. I am stating the facts that have been given to us. Ask McKillop, who is in town today, and find out for yourself. The other point that you do not realise is that although Si 05 is being offered for the native land almost $1,000 - I think the exact amount is $980- is being offered for McKillop’s land. The productivity of McKillop’s land is fully utilised whereas that of the native land is not. There is a vast difference between $100 and $980. And this is land which is not wanted by CRA.
– The difference between improved and unimproved land.
– Yes, but it did not improve from $100 to $900. I should like the Minister to answer a few questions. First of all, is not Bougainville part of a Trust Territory? That should be obvious. Secondly, do not indigenous people own everything in a Trust Territory? Thirdly, if the United Nations took this matter out of our hands would it not be detrimental to our prestige? I think that the answer to all those questions is yes. Why do we not get over this problem by leasing the land, not taking it from the natives, for a certain period which may be renewed on option?
– That is precisely what is being done.
– All right, but you have not heard me out. There are no specific years mentioned. If the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) says that the natives shall have self determination within 6 years, then write into the agreement that the lease shall be for 6 years. Let them decide for themselves. I do not agree with the 6-year period but the Prime Minister said that he hoped they would have self determination within 6 years. Well, write into the agreement a period of 6 years with the option of renewal and let them decide for themselves. This will give them back their own land if they have self determination in that period.
– Would the company be prepared to build the town on the land in those circumstances?
– I do not know but the company is on leased land now and when that lease runs out and when self determination does come there is no reason why the natives could not nationalise the whole venture if they so desired just as has been done by one of the States in south Africa. The other point I want to raise relates to royalties. We have been told that 5% of all royalties will be paid to the owners. That sounds good. But the royalties are only l1/4%, so they will receive 5% of
– Of what?
– Wait a minute.
– Well, finish the story.
– You will not let me. Assuming that in the first year the amount is $2m, the natives will receive 5% of11/4% which amounts to $1,250. Is that not right? Senator Young is so quick on everything else. Let him tell me whether I am not right in saying that for the 1,000 people who are displaced the royalties of which so much has been made and so many stories have been built upon will amount to just over $1 per person apart, of course, from what they will receive for coconuts and things like that.
The whole thing has been mishandled. That is all we are saying. We are not saying that it should not be done but we are saying that it should be done for the benefit of the Territory. However, you cannot get through to these people. The Government says that they are primitive and do not understand but it endeavoured to explain the position to them with a few tear gas bombs which it has admitted were not effective although the Government thought they might be effective. The damage has been done. We must help them to understand. That is what it amounts to and that is why I want a select committee.
I would not mind a select committee being set up. I asked the Minister whether four senators and four members from the other place - virtually a joint committee - could not be sent to the Territory to see for themselves. We have only the word of a university student who acted on behalf of these people that he went to the Administration officials -I presume they are in the chamber now - and that after a long conversation between the officials and the Minister the whole attitude changed. Suddenly the Government woke up to the fact that there are people in Australia who disagreed with it. The editorials of every newspaper, except the Liberal Party’s newspaper, said that this was a disgrace.
– Which paper is that?
– The Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’. Apart from that newspaper not one newspaper excused the Government for what it had done, yet members of the Government in this place say that we are wrong for raising this matter.
– Do the newspapers know the facts?
– Do you know the facts any more than they know the facts? Do not be silly. At least they have common sense and that is what we are basing our argument on. You know as little about it as perhaps I do.I think I know a bit more than you do because we got a man here at our own expense to explain this to us. Even the officials had to concede things to him. Now the Minister for External Territories has sent for him in order to have discussions with him. Unfortunately, we have sent him to Brisbane. The Minister suggested that he would meet him here in Canberra tomorrow, but we could not afford to bring him back from Brisbane. We have sent him back to Port Moresby. The Minister can see him there-
– Has the Minister seen him?
– I do not know. The Minister can see him there tomorrow, if he wants to. I want to mention the matter
St imported labour because obviously it is coming up, much as members of the Government parties would like to hide it. We have seen what has happened in Fiji as a result of the importation of Indians. I do not know whether the Government wants Indians or Japanese on Bougainville, but the same problem will arise if such labour is imported.
The Government, by its high-handed actions, has now started a movement for secession. The people have only just thought of it, but now it is becoming a reality in the area. They want to secede to the British Solomons, which they have a complete right to do, because the Government has disregarded them for years. It did not ever do a thing for them. Now it talks about providing roads, hospitals and towns. Why did it not provide those things before?
– Are you advocating it?
– I am not advocating it. Finally, let me give the quotation of the century, or perhaps I should call it the most laughable quotation of all time. We sent our public relations officer and research officer with Leo Hannett to see Sir Maurice Mawby, the head of CRA. Do you know what he said to them? He said: My boys’ - or whatever words he used; I am not sure about those words - ‘we are not in this for profit; we are doing it for the community’.
- Senator Turnbull has said - I agree with him - that this proposal for the development of the copper deposits on Bougainville by Conzinc Riotinto of Australia is a good thing. The differences of opinion that have arisen have arisen because there is disagreement as to whether the Government and those who are making the agreement have gone about it the right way. Anybody who looks at the whole situation will concede that the motives of the Administration in entering upon this matter were good. The Administration realises that, with talk of independence for this area one day, if it is to bc viable under independence it is necessary that industries that will develop the wealth of the area be established. If such industries are unable to be found, the
Australian taxpayers will be called upon for years to come to provide ever increasing sums of money for the development of the area. Therefore, from the point of view of the Australian taxpayers and from the point of view of the prospect of independence within a reasonable number of years, the Administration was quite right in endeavouring to develop a big industry in that area.
The second factor that the Administration apparently had in mind was that it should do something to establish or to spread the principle that the whole area was not an area containing separate and different groups but that it was an area that looked forward one day to some kind of unity among the people. Therefore it was good to establish the principle that if a highly profitable industry should be developed in one area the wealth should not be confined to one section but should be used for the development of the whole area. I regard that as a very desirable attitude, particularly in view of the difficulties that are faced in regard to the future of New Guinea. Ethnic, language and other differences will make it very difficult for New Guinea in the years of independence. We realise that those differences exist, but if we can develop among the people in the whole of the area from Port Moresby right over to Bougainville the feeling that they have a common relationship and that things should be done for their common welfare we will have gone some way in the direction of helping them to make a go of it when independence comes.
Therefore, the Administration negotiated with CRA, which, whether one likes the company or not, is a highly efficient company and one well equipped to do this kind of job. There have been suggestions that the terms were over-favourable to CRA. If this industry were being developed in certain parts of Australia, I do not think there would be much doubt about that. But we have to remember that this industry is being developed in Bougainville where, particularly with the pressures of the United Nations, there is talk of independence for the area within a number of years. I suppose that when CRA was asked to invest millions of dollars in the area it was only natural to take into consideration the fact that if independence came in 10 years it would be quite possible for the people of New Guinea or Bougainville to seize the whole area in the same way as Kenneth Kaunda, the Premier of one of the African countries, has done in respect of copper deposits in bis country within the last few days.
So it is necessary to qualify all the suggestions about the excessive profits that CRA may make by taking into consideration the fact that it was taking a punt on a very uncertain state of affairs. Everybody here admits that there will be independence for the area in the not so distant future. In those circumstances the company has to take the risk of the development that it is making being taken from it.
– Do not companies take similar risks in South America?
– Companies take risks in quite a number of countries. One of the things that all these big companies do in practice in assessing whether they will engage in a project is to put alongside the profits they will make the possible risks. As honourable senators know, in this world in the last 20 years quite a number of developing companies have had very severe shocks as a result of action taken by newly independent countries.
The attitude of the people of Bougainville has been stated by the two men whom they elected to the House of Assembly at Port Moresby and who therefore can be regarded, to a considerable degree, as reflecting their views. In a submission to the Administrator they said:
We are both certain that great benefits can flow from mining operations in the district. We welcome these benefits even though they will involve great disruption to our traditional values and way of life.
Then they said:
But in our view the present arrangements are not fair and just.
What is the nature of their protest? First of all, they make a protest only in regard to a part of the area. It is not a general protest against the actions of CRA. This is what they said:
We agree that work on the mine site, the Loloho plantation area owned by the Bougainville company and the Arawa plantation- which I understand is under European ownership - if the owners agree, be continued.
So there is no suggestion by them that ORA should be stopped completely. What they say is that there should be no action in regard to certain parcels of indigenous owned land until further negotiations have taken place.
They claim that the ordinance under which this land is being taken was pushed through without proper time being given to consider it. They claim that they asked for a 24-hour adjournment to consider it, but their request was refused. In answer to that, the Administration says that they had fully 3 months notice in order to consider the matter. These two parliamentarians who represent the district go on to say that in their view the terms are unjust and that insufficient regard has been paid to the native land laws. They say that they desire reconsideration with expert advice. What they ask is that negotiations take place at which representatives will be present from the Administration, the Bougainville copper company, members of the House of Assembly themselves and expert advisers. They feel that they are not equipped to argue with the expert advisers who would be present on behalf of the Administration and the company.
Sitting suspended from S.4S to 8 p.m.
– When the sitting of the Senate was suspended we were discussing the Conzinc Riotinto project for copper mining on the Pacific island of Bougainville and the objections to the operations of the company in regard to certain pieces of land which have been lodged by a number of natives in the area. 1 had pointed out that while those objections were being put forward there was general agreement among the representatives of the native people that the Conzinc Riotinto project would be an excellent thing for the development of the whole area and ultimately for the people concerned. I had quoted a statement by two members of the House of Assembly who have been elected by the native people to represent them at Port Moresby, in which they said:
We are both certain that great benefits can flow from mining operations in the district. We welcome these benefits even though they will involve great disruption to our traditional values and way of life.
I had also pointed out that while they welcomed the project they offered some objections to the manner in which it had been initiated and to certain features of the agreement under which mining would take place. I had pointed out that they had requested that, although they had no objection to the operations going on in quite a number of areas, in regard to the area in dispute operations should be halted so that negotiations could go on between representatives of the Administration, Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd and members of the House of Assembly who represent the people, together with experts whom they hoped to engage to assist them in their case. 1 hope it will be possible for the Government to enter into further negotiations with these people. I know that the Government has said that it has negotiated with them for a long time. It has taken steps to explain the project over the radio. The Administration states that it has done all that it can do to explain the benefits of the project to the people and it believes, therefore, that the stage has now been reached when the project should go on. But as a section of the people, apparently, has not yet been convinced of the benefits, because it does not understand them or because of the natural feeling which the people have towards the land - as one of them said, they believe they should fasten their own land - I hope that the Government will even at this late stage take steps to negotiate further with these people and to put before them further the advantages which could result.
My Party does not support the suggestion of the Australian Labor Party that a Senate committee or a joint committee of parliamentarians should be sent to Bougainville to examine this matter and make recommendations. I have never been confident of the success of negotiations in public by a delegation of people from outside on very delicate matters on which strong emotions have been raised. I cannot see that to send a delegation of parliamentarians there to hold an inquiry would alleviate the situation any more than it would alleviate the situation in Londonderry if we sent a delegation from both Houses to hold an inquiry there. Our position, therefore, is that we do not think anything could be achieved by a public discussion, with newspaper reporters and all kinds of scaremongers present. We think that this matter could be settled quietly by negotiation with the people concerned and we are anxious that it should be done as quickly as possible because there is always the chance that the big company concerned may decide that as this is rather a dicky operation - as I pointed out, it could lose everything if this country got independence by 1975 and the local people decided to put the company out - if there is a lot more trouble and delay the company may decide to discontinue the operation and to seek compensation for what it has already invested. We have to be certain that there is no more of what has been termed violence. I am not carried away by scare statements. I realise that violence can often be from two sides. I do think that these are days when colonialism is out. The days of gunboat diplomacy, violence and so on are out. The eyes of the world are on this area and my Party insists, or hopes, that there will be no attempt at force to a degree which could be regarded as intimidating these people unnecessarily.
Finally, I have been a little surprised at the nature of some of the ordinances which affect this area. I was amazed to find - I wonder whether I have interpreted this properly - that there is a timber ordinance which provides that a native cannot cut and sell the timber on his own land, that not only the minerals but also the timber on his land belong to the Administration. We are in a period when royalties have become the accepted thing in places like Nauru and Ocean Island. It could well be that there is a case for examining this system of royalties and bringing it up to date. I believe, as I said before, that the period of colonialism has gone and if we want to get the people of Bougainville and other similar areas to work with us we have to negotiate and to eschew the use of force except in cases where it can be justified.
– We are debating a motion which has been moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cohen) that the Senate adjourn for the purpose of debating a matter of urgency. I feel that at this stage I should remind the Senate of the terms of the matter of urgency. They are:
The Government’s mishandling of the situation in Bougainville arising out of the decision of the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to resume land for lease to Bougainville Copper Pty Limited and its attempts to enforce that resumption, and the urgent need to appoint a select committee of the Senate to inquire into and report upon the causes of the present unrest and the measures necessary to preserve Australia’s standing as trustee for the inhabitants of the Territory.
This does not call for the cessation of the present mining activities being undertaken by the subsidiary of Conzinc Riotinto, Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd. lt does state that there has been a mishandling of the situation inside Bougainville and that the mishandling and ils consequences have been such that the Australian Parliament should be fully informed of all of the circumstances surrounding the recent tragic events in this Territory which was given to us by the United Nations to look after not for our own benefit but in trust for the benefit of the people who live in the Territory.
Senator McManus has said that there would be no more point in a committee of the Australian Parliament going to Bougainville than there would be in a committee of the Australian Parliament going to Londonderry. There is, of course, no parallel whatsoever between these two situations. The circumstances in Londonderry might be one of the very few matters on which Senator McManus and I share the same opinion. What is happening there is in no way the responsibility of the Australian Parliament. 1 think it would be a very proper course of events if the Imperial Parliament in Westminster were to send a select committee to Londonderry to inquire into the incidents that are taking place there. If certainly would not be an improper course of events, because Londonderry is the responsibility of the United Kingdom Parliament. What is happening in Bougainville is the direct responsibility of the Australian Parliament. For that reason one should not compare the situation there with the situation in Londonderry. The maintenance of law and order and the wellbeing of the people of Bougainville have been entrusted to the Australian Parliament by the United Nations. For that reason it is most appropriate that the people of Australia and their elected representatives should be fully aware of what is happening inside the Territory.
Our resolution, moved by Senator Cohen, says that an inquiry should be held because of the mishandling of the situation in Bougainville by the Government. Even the most enthusiastic supporter of the Government and even the largest shareholder in Conzinc Riotinto - and he certainly would not be an Australian or somebody who lives in Bougainville - could not come to any conclusion other than that the whole situation in Bougainville has been grossly mishandled by this Government. This afternoon Senator Wright blithely accused the Press of exaggerating these happenings. Apparently Senator Wright does not believe what the Press has to say about Bougainville. In the past, resolutions have come before the Senate condemning the actions ot the Soviet Union or China. On those occasions Senator Wright’s information, I should imagine, would have been acquired almost totally from the Burnie ‘Advocate’ or from the Hobart ‘Mercury’. I cannot remember Senator Wright on those occasions saying thai he would not believe what the Press had to say about China or about Russia because the Press might be biased against those countries. For some strange reason, large sections of the Australian Press - including Australian Consolidated Press Ltd - associated with all the big business in Australia, have severely criticised the Australian Government because of what has taken place in this Trust Territory. But Senator Wright said that he does not believe the Press.
I do not know whether or not Senator Wright had a look at any of the local newspapers - the nearest local newspaper, 1 suppose, to Bougainville would be the ‘PapuaNew Guinea Post Courier’ published in Port Moresby. If he had, he would have found that the news, as it is reported in that paper, would certainly cause someone who in the past had relied for his information merely on what the Hobart ‘Mercury’ told him, as I am sure Senator Wright has done, to have some grave reservations about what the Government has been doing in Bougainville. If one looks at the issues of the ‘Papua-New Guinea Post Courier’ of Port Moresby which were published earlier this month one will see statements by Mr
Leo Hannett, who comes from Bougainville. He has said that the Australian Government is an accomplice of the companies. He has said that his people do not really blame the CRA organisation but they do blame the Administration for the whole matter. The administration was supposed to be the official protector of his people. That is the precise position of the Australian Government; it is supposed to be the official protector of the people of Bougainville.
I believe that the resolution moved by Senator Cohen is unduly kind to the Government when it refers to resumption of land. As my colleague in another place, Mr Beazley, has pointed out, this is not a question of resumption. This is not Crown land. This is not the resumption of land which was vested in the Crown and which somebody else held in fee simple. This land was the property of the people of Bougainville and we were administering it under a trust from the United Nations. It is the taking of land - not the resumption of land - that is happening there. In the issue of the ‘Papua-New Guinea Post Courier’ of Friday, 1st August-
– Is this trial by newspaper?
– I listened to Senator Cormack in silence. In fact, in order to ensure that I listened to him in silence, I went out of the chamber. I hope he will at least preserve the same dignified silence that I did. The ‘Papua-New Guinea Post Courier’ of 1st August, when describing the incidents which have given rise to the resolution before the Senate tonight, said:
About 25 village women wrestled with riot squad police when Conzinc Riotinto began their survey of disputed Rorovana land on Bougainville today.
Police, waving batons, fought with the bare breasted women who tried to drag out survey markers as soon as they were placed in the ground.
After a 30-minutc struggle one concrete peg was uprooted and rolled on to the beach.
The Administration had 100 police, including 17 riot squad police, in the area this morning to protect the CRA workers.
While reconnaissance helicopters whirled overhead the police and the CRA surveyors walked to the land.
Surely all the riot police and the helicopters would not have been present on the occasion when employees of Conzinc Riotinto wanted to make this survey had not the company anticipated that resistance would be offered by the people of Bougainville. Of course the company must have expected that resistance would be offered. What was the resistance against? It was against the acquisition of these people’s land by a foreign company bolstered by a servile colonial government such as this Government. One might have some respect for the Government if it used its gunboats - Senator McManus has spoken about gunboat diplomacy - on behalf of Australian investment, but this is not on behalf of Australian investment; it is on behalf of foreign investors. We are sort of white Ghurkas of the South Pacific.
– We are white mercenaries.
– White mercenaries, as Senator Mulvihill has said, using our armed forces, our helicopters and our police in order to take away the land of these people for Conzinc Riotinto. Honourable senators opposite have referred to Conzinc Riotinto and how interested it is in the people of Bougainville and how concerned it is to bring great benefits to these people. Let us look at the record of the Riotinto company. At present it has mining activities in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States of America, the Caribbean, Rhodesia and South Africa. Let us hear from the advocates of Conzinc Riotinto just how soft hearted it has been to the workers of Rhodesia and of South Africa who are employed in its mines in those countries where trade unions are illegal and where political leaders are in gaol.
– This will be good.
– I know that Senator Little is like all members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party in this place; when the matter to be discussed is something happening in Prague, they have a great deal to say. When it is a matter of the use of brutality against people like this, the four of them engage in backchat. I find it very interesting that the four of them are chorusing in support of the Riotinto company, but when the matter being discussed is the violence being used against the people of Bougainville on behalf of a company which has shown the regard it has for the indigenous people of the countries in which it operates by the way in which it has operated in South Africa and in Rhodesia, we see how eager they are to rally to the company’s support - these great democrats who defend the rights of the people of Czechoslovakia and the rights of the people of South Vietnam against the insidious Vietcong. When the matter is one of Australian troops being employed in Bougainville in order to boost the investments of the Conzinc Riotinto company, which at present is one of the principal mainstays through the South Africa Foundation of the Ian Smith regime in Rhodesia-
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Kennelly) - Order! There are too many interjections. I believe that an honourable senator who is speaking is entitled to respect. I do not mind some interjections, but they should at least be kept to one at a time.
– I raise a point of order. I suggest that the honourable senator who is being addressed by you, Mr Acting Deputy President, should resume his seat while you are so addressing him.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! I ask Senator Wheeldon lo continue.
– Thank you. I regard four DLP senators as being the equivalent of one normal senator, so they can all speak at once so far as I am concerned. The Riotinto company also functions in Spain. Until 1954 it operated mines in Spain but in that year it sold a substantial part of its holding to a Spanish company in which it still holds one-third of the interest. One would be interested to learn just how much the Riotinto company has done on behalf of the Spanish workers it employs. Again, in Spain, trade unions are illegal and the political leaders of the workers are in gaol. This is the same company which, with the support of the oppressive regimes of Spain, of South Africa and of the illegal regime in Rhodesia, has lived on the labour of the people of the countries which it has been exploiting. This is the very same company which we are trying to export to Bougainville despite the wishes of the people of that land: despite the fact that Bougainville is not a colony of Australia and only came into Australia’s possession as a trust Territory to be administered by the Australian Government for the benefit of the people of the Territory. The people of the Territory have shown quite clearly what they think of the Australian administration and what they think of Conzinc Riotinto, the company which the Australians, with their troops, their helicopters, their truncheons and tear gas are establishing in Bougainville. What is this doing for Australia abroad? While young Australians are being sent to Vietnam to be killed lighting for what is claimed to be democracy and for the right of selfdetermination, we are sending Australian forces - these Australian police - to Bougainville, yet the citizens of Bougainville are not allowed to enter Australia.
– 1 rise to a point of order, Mr Acting Deputy President. Are the normal forms of the Senate being obeyed in relation to the time that an honourable senator may occupy the attention of the Senate?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Yes. I have the time noted.
– Thank you. Mr Acting Deputy President. While Australia is identified with the war in Vietnam and is allegedly fighting on behalf of the democratic rights of the South Vietnamese people, it is doing everything it can to destroy the democratic rights of the people of Bougainville. In the past Australia has been on the edge of the world. People have demonstrated in Australia against things happening in other parts of the world. This Government is now placing us in a position where we are moving into (he centre of the world. We are taking the same sort of stand as South Africa, as Rhodesia, as Spain and as Portugal to exploit the native peoples under our control.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired. I call Senator Scott.
– In the interests of the Government parties 1 move that the honourable senator be granted an extension of lime.
Hie ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! The honourable senator will resume his seat. I have called Senator Scott.
The honourable senator knows what will happen if he does not do what 1 ask. J will take action.
– I moved for an extension of time for Senator Wheeldon in the interests of the Government parties.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! I call Senator Scott.
– 1 listened with a considerable amount of interest to Senator Wheeldon from Western Australia. 1 was totally amazed at the rabble rousing type of speech he made. As we have a couple of doctors in this august chamber 1 suggest it might be advisable for the honourable senator to have a blood pressure test. He got very hot and bothered about the problem. 1 want to bring the matter back to the level of a debate.
This afternoon the Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party in the Senate (Senator Cohen) initiated as a matter of urgency a discussion criticising the Government’s handling of a situation in the Bougainville area. The situation arose out of. a decision by the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to resume land for lease to Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd. The honourable senator mentioned that the company was using methods to obtain or acquire land in the area. In fact that is not the case. The Administration is taking necessary action to acquire the land in the area so that it can be leased to the company to set up certain facilities in support of its mining project at Bougainville. The problem arises over two small areas of land that are needed to establish certain facilities. One area is to be used for a port site and the other is for a town site.
Before examining this proposition very closely I would like to bring to the attention of honourable senators the importance of this project. What is it? lt is a project involving the mining of some 760 million tons of ore with a value of some hundreds of millions of dollars. The project began back in 1960 when a geologist from the Administration went to Bougainville and found indications of copper. The Administration encouraged Conzinc Riotinto of Australia to examine the area. By 1966 CRA had spent $4m on prospecting to see whether it was worthwhile establishing a mining industry there. After having spent $4m the company went to the Administratien and said that it would require an additional sum of money, in excess of $6m, to examine the area completely. In fact it took $12m to do this. The company wanted an assurance, and an agreement with the Administration, that if it spent this money it would be granted mining tenements to any area which it required for mining.
The matter was debated in the House of Assembly of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and it was decided that an agreement should be reached. The agreement placed before the Administration was approved also. Certain provisions were made in that agreement. One was to the effect that if the company decided to establish a mining operation it was to allow the Administration an opportunity to participate in the venture.
– When it was proved that a mining project was feasible. This I believe has been proved.
– When will the people get their share?
– They can claim their share within 2 years of the company notifying the Administration thai the project is feasible. I would like to point out that this project is to cost a total of S300m instead of $]00m as originally estimated. The company, under the agreement debated in the House of Assembly in 3 967, is duty bound to give the Administration the opportunity of taking a 20% interest iti the venture at a cost of S20m. Therefore the situation is that if the company thinks the proposition is feasible and starts mining operations, then within 2 years the Administration must find $20m to obtain a one-fifth interest in the venture if it so desires. We are advised that the total cost of the project will be S3()0m. This is a very worthwhile investment for the Administration which represents the indigenes of Papua and New Guinea. That is why I believe that this is a magnificent undertaking for all the people of the Territory.
Another part of the agreement stales that having decided to go on with the project the company will not pay the normal company tax applicable in the Territory of 22+c in $1 as is paid by other companies. After it has received a tax free holiday of 3 years from the beginning of production of the treatment plant-
– A tax free holiday?
– Yes, in which period the Administration will participate in the venture to the extent of one-fifth. After the tax free holiday of 3 years granted in the agreement, in the first following year the company will pay company tax of 22ic in $1; in the second year it will pay 22ic in SI plus 20% of the difference between the normal company tax in the Territory and the rate to be paid by the company; in the third year, 22ic in $1 plus 50%; in the fourth year, 22ic in SI plus 75%; and in the fifth year it will pay 50c in $1 as company tax. This payment will be at a rate in the dollar more than twice that paid by any other company in the Territory, provided of course that company tax remains at its present rate of 22£c in the $1.
I wish to make a further point that when the company gets into production its revenue will exceed $150m a year. It is estimated that it will pay in taxes and other commitments to the Territory Administration in excess of $50m a year. Under the ordinary taxation laws that apply to the establishment of mines in Australia or in the Territory a company can write off the whole of its establishment costs in respect of the mining side of its venture in the year of expenditure, and losses can be carried forward. It is interesting that up to 1971- 72 revenue received by the Administration from the company as income tax on wages paid in establishing the venture, duties, fees and services will total about $17m. In 1972- 73 that revenue will be increasing and by 1974 the annual revenue of the Administration from the company as taxes and other charges will exceed $16m.
I come now to the crucial point of with whom the responsibility lies to acquire the land for the company. Senator Wheeldon said that the company was acquiring the land. I would like to point out to him that the Administration on behalf of the Government, if you like, of Papua and New Guinea is acquiring the land. In the House of Assembly of Papua and New Guinea there are, I think, 84 elected members and 10 appointed members. In June of this year they debated in the House of Assembly a White Paper on the proposition set out in the agreement. Senator Keeffe, who is interjecting, may be interested to hear that they supported the agreement in the White Paper.
– Would the Minister accept their word as final?
– Yes, I would accept the word of the House of Assembly, constituted as it is. The House of Assembly has debated the proposition. Some of its members were rather concerned about it. One of them said: ‘We ought to have all this money that is to be paid as royalties for our own community in Bougainville’. Another member contested that proposition because he wanted his people - I think he represents the people of Manus Island - to get a share. He said that all the money should be split up so that all the people of Papua and New Guinea would benefit. As I understand the position, the royalties that will be paid of 5% of H% of the value of minerals - not a small amount - will go to the people who owned the land on which the mine is established. The balance of the royalties will be spent in the development of the Territory to the advantage of all its people. It behoves the Administration of the Territory and the responsible Government in Australia to see that everything is done that can possibly be done to get the venture under way.
During the course of speeches in this debate today and in interjections by honourable senators opposite I have heard it said that the Administration should leave the land alone and let somebody else mine it in another 10 or 15 years.
– What is the blistering hurry?
– I point out to Senator Georges that the Commonwealth taxpayers are contributing in the present Budget $96m for the development of these areas. The present export income of Papua and New Guinea is only about $58m annually.
– That is wrong.
– I will have it checked, but I believe that it is correct.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
– The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) started his speech by saying that he would bring the debate back to taws. The fact is that we hold a trusteeship of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea granted to us by the United Nations. As trustees, surely one of our responsibilities is to build up the people, looking towards their friendship and prosperity. In respect of Bougainville there is a very technical and delicate situation, lt is an island in our trusteeship which already has talked about seceding to the Solomon Islands. I wish at times that the Government would examine the other fellow’s argument and not just its own. It would be seen that there are pretty good reasons, geographically and ethnically, why Bougainville could well be part of the Solomon Islands. Until very recent times Bougainville was administratively neglected. The Bougainvillians see themselves reaching a situation where they have a government of their own, where they have seceded from Australia and have independence but where they may find themselves in the same position or a worse position than they are in today.
If we examine the history of these people we find that in 1898 Bougainville was handed to Germany by the United Kingdom. Does anybody pretend that they were worrying about the Bougainvillians when that happened? In 1914 Australia took it over from Germany. Can anyone convince the Bougainvillians that we did that for their benefit? When the trusteeship finally came to us we had reached the time at which the Bougainvillians should have been considered for their own good; but could anybody convince the Bougainvillians today that the trusteeship was established for their benefit? I emphasise these things only because in the quarter of an hour available to me I do not want to go into the whole history of the situation. Surely anybody with half an eye could see that this adds up to the need to use a tremendous amount of diplomacy. But what has been used? Police and tear gas.
We find ourselves in the situation today where publicity is given, not merely in the Senate tonight but world-wide, to an area where already Australia faces tremendous criticism, whatever the Minister for
External Territories (Mr Barnes) might say. I remember sitting and watching television in horror one night when a reporter was putting easy questions to Mr Barnes. Finally the reporter said: :But the United Nations has disagreed with some of your actions’, to which Mr Barnes replied: ‘I am running New Guinea; I do not care about the United Nations.’ When we see the insensitiveness of a person who can say this in our present world situation we realise and understand the insensitiveness with which the Government has created the situation in Bougainville. 1 was amused - 1 suppose one can get some humour from the most grim of situations - to hear Senator Wright make great play, with his great oratory, of the words used by Mr Barnes whom he represents in this chamber. He said: ‘We have used minimum force.’ But there were 100 police present. From a photograph it could be seen that those 1.00 police had shields, batons and riot helmets. If ever 1 rate the Commonwealth Government’s confronting me with a maximum force 1 would indeed be afraid, if 100 armed police represents a minimum force. We must, realise the psychological effect on people who are disturbed and suddenly find themselves confronted by 100 armed police. Whatever might have been in their minds, imagine the psychological effect of being confronted with this sort of thing which the Minister terms a minimum force. Some shocking things have been happening and they could be mentioned if we had the time to go into all these things. Mr Barnes seems to justify the use of force. In his statement at page 121 of the House of. Representatives Hansard the Minister said:
Over recent weeks, 1 think, somewhere between ten and fifteen natives have lost their lives in intertribal disputes over land.
It is amazing to me that the Minister should be only thinking this; surely he would have the facts available to him. Yet this is what he said. Surely he does not take this to be a justification for violence. If I were a Minister I would take that as an indication that here was a situation which showed that these people had an affinity and love for their land far and above economic circumstances, so much so that in the words of the Minister he thinks ten or fifteen natives had been killed in inter-tribal disputes over land in the last few weeks.
– In inter-tribal disputes.
– I suggest to the Minister that he was so bad in dealing with this subject that he should now be quiet. These were inter ^tribal disputes, which is the point that I have been making. Does this not indicate that these people have a love and affection for their land, so much so that they are prepared to fight for it? Surely that was a warning to the Government that this was a situation which had to be handled with all the delicacy of its top diplomats. Instead of doing that the Government has gone in with hobnail boots to try to beat these people into accepting some situation. But so far this has never been acknowledged by the Government. Several Ministers have referred merely to the situation in Bougainville. This afternoon Senator Wright said most intemperate things about Senator Cohen. The Government does not give any credence to what has been said by the Opposition on the subject. The Minister for External Territories is reported in Hansard as having said that the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) went to Bougainville and deliberately stirred the people up. Mr Bryant said that, if he were able to go to a place where he was unknown and stir up a revolution he would indeed be a great man - in fact greater than Lenin. Senator Wright referred to a newspaper report, somebody else referred to the television programme ‘Four Corners’, and finally it was decided that it was the Australian Labor Party which was responsible for the situation in Bougainville. I wish they would make up their minds about who was responsible. I suppose there are still some people in the Liberal Party who listen to Mr Barnes who has admitted that deaths have occurred because of these people’s love, affinity and affection for the land for which they are prepared to fight.
I do not know how Senator Wright was on law, but his economics were pretty lousy this afternoon. He said proudly that one family had received $5,600 for a 42- year lease for 49 acres of land, and he tried to use this magic of great figures. By the use of very simple arithmetic it will be found that this works out to SI 33 per year for that total area of land. If we calculate the amount per acre we find that they are taking this land over at Jess than S3 an acre per year. Yet he talks about the great amount of money that is pouring forth. I wish we could get land at this price in Perth; 1 would, for the first time in my life, become an investor. Government supporters have been trying to bamboozle people and impress them with big amounts. In all the newspapers I have seen there have been many disgusting photographs. One showed a woman’s arm being screwed up her back by policemen. One of the things that galled me more than anything else was the picture of a Bougainvillian person, a beautifully built fellow with no shirt on, with an arm full of money. The caption said that he was going away delighted with the money he had received for his land. Even Senator Wright in his law practice would not demand that such people be paid in cash; surely he would expect a cheque. Is anyone trying to suggest that this is the normal system? The Minister talked about these big amounts and referred to $5,600 because it sounds like a lot of money. But when it is applied to 49 acres of land for 42 years it is not very much. I would like to see any of the millionaire Liberals who sit opposite giving any of their land away for less than S3 an acre.
Senator Wright made much of these figures this afternoon and he accused Senator Cohen of being dishonest, but the merest tyro would know that when quoting figures one figure must be matched against another. Senator Wright told us how much Conzinc Riotinto of Australia was going to spend, but not once did he mention the profit that would be made. He spoke about the schools and all the rest of it that would be built, but in the whole of this debate has anybody heard how long the mine will last or whether a refinery is to be built on Bougainville? We have not heard about this because what will happen is that the material will be ripped out of the soil and sent to another country to be refined. We heard not one word from Senator Wright about that. Nor did we hear one word from anybody about the amount of profit the company was going to make. I notice that the Democratic Labor Party, whose members are interjecting, has come to heel on the eve of an election. The moment the Liberal Party snaps its fingers, the DLP jumps. Senator Wright went on to say that in Papua and New Guinea the normal rate of company tax is 22i% but that this great company is going to pay 50%. That is in due time, of course, not immediately.
He then stated that the rate of tax in Australia was, to use his words, 8s 6d in the £. He did not state it in decimal currency. If my figures are correct, that represents 42i%. In other words, eventually this company will pay 7i% more than it normally would pay in Australia.
I come now to the Minister for External Territories, Mr Barnes, who talks in all sorts of places. He said outside this Parliament that he was very proud of the sort of benefits the Government gives companies when they go to Papua and New Guinea. 1 shall mention only half of those to which he referred as leading to the establishment of new industries in New Guinea. No wonder people become interested in going there. Amongst other things, he mentioned no restriction on the transfer of profits or capital to the Territory, low rates of taxation for companies and individuals, special tax concessions for mining, timber and agricultural production, special tax holidays for. pioneer enterprises, complete exemption from Territory income tax for a period of 5 years. He also stated that exemption from Australian tax might also be granted. A company is going to rip millions upon millions upon millions of dollars out of an enterprise, and the Government says: ‘We are going to charge you 7i% more than you would pay in Australia, despite the other 13 or 14 advantages which you enjoy’. I expect more from Senator Wright. When he gives figures, I expect him to give all of them, not merely half of them.
– You are hopelessly misunderstanding what I said.
– I am not hopelessly misunderstanding you at all. If you examine your speech tomorrow in your calmer moments - since you have been a Minister you do not seem to have very many calm moments - you may regret some of the things you have said today. I agree that the cost of mining is high. We have only to look at experience in the north west of Western Australia for proof of that, but the moment the magic of finance is conquered, astronomical benefits are to be had from mining ventures.
Senator Scott was very eulogistic about the venture under consideration. I tried to get him to say whether he would accept the word of the New Guinea Parliament on this matter as final. He would not give me any answer. At the time, Senator Gair interjected: ‘What are they there for?’ If we are to accept the word of the New Guinea Parliament as final on this, are we to accept it on wage rates? Are we to accept it on the question of independence? Are we to accept it on the question of social services? There is no doubt that the Government should be repudiated, even to the point of having the inquiry which we request.
Senator Wright says that the Australian Labor Party does not understand the economic situation, that the problem is too big for us. We do understand the economic situation. In fact, we go further than Senator Wright or the Liberal Party. We understand the world wide implications. We understand the humane situation. We understand the situation of the individual. Senator Wright does not understand the implications and results of this happening.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Kennelly) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– I regret that Senator Turnbull has absented himself from the chamber after the diatribe we heard him deliver this afternoon in his first speech as Leader of this new august party, the Australia Party. 1 had hoped that the new responsibility that Senator Turnbull has assumed would have brought about an increase in his sense of responsibility here. Regrettably, that has not been the case. During the course of my speech I shall make one or two comments on Senator TurnbuII’s remarks. The kindest interpretation I can put upon one of his comments is that he obviously was relying on his imagination for his facts. I refer to his statement that the Prime Minister of Australia (Mr Gorton) had stated that the Territory of Papua and New Guinea would have independence within 6 years. I have looked through the Prime Minister’s statements and nowhere can I find where he said such a thing. Senator TurnbuII’s statement is a complete falsehood. The Prime Minister said that the Australian Government has announced over the years that this is a matter for decision by the people of Papua and New Guinea. The statement which Senator Turnbull alleges was made has in fact never been made. 1 would have hoped that a debate of this type would have been free from the emotional undertones that have crept into those sections of the Press which may be regarded as the yellow Press, and which have engaged in hysterical misrepresentation of the facts. Unfortunately, this has not been so. We heard a speech from Senator Wheeldon a short while ago. I do not know what he was talking about. He mentioned Vietnam, South Africa and Rhodesia. What they have to do with Bougainville, I do not know. I wish to make only one comment to illustrate once again the type of malicious misrepresentation which has been engaged in. Senator Wheeldon referred to the use of troops in Bougainville. I do not know where he obtained his facts, unless it was from the Russian or Chinese Communist Press. There has been no use of troops in Bougainville. It is no wonder Senator Branson moved an extension of time for Senator Wheeldon. I can think of no speech more calculated to harm the case of the Australian Labor Party tonight and bolster the case of the Government than the diatribe delivered by Senator Wheeldon.
– He was exposing monopolistic capitalism.
– Now we have it. We were told by Senator Cohen that the Australian Labor Party is not opposed to Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd, that the Labor Party agrees that CRA should go ahead with this venture. Now we find that the Labor Party is opposed to monopolistic capitalism. It must make up its mind. I am convinced that the Labor Party has not initiated this debate in the interests of the people of Bougainville. It cares little about them. The sole reason for this debate is the Opposition’s hatred for so-called capitalism. The Labor Party is not a bit concerned about the welfare of the people of Bougainville. I thank Senator Mulvihill and Senator Willessee for highlighting that fact.
I come back to the matter before the Senate. This matter should be debated with full acknowledgment that any negotiation over land in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea involves problems, that it must involve an understanding of the feelings of the people concerned.
– Has that understanding been accepted?
– I will come to that in a moment. I do not need any help from Senator Mulvihill. Finally, this matter should be discussed with a full knowledge of the importance of this project to the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. To argue, as has been argued in sections of the Press and by some members of the Labor Party, although they have tried to play it down and deny it, that this is an example of some great industrial giant riding roughshod, with the support of the Australian Government over the interests of the people of Papua and New Guinea, is nothing short of engaging in malicious misrepresentation of the facts.
I have said that we acknowledge the problem of dealing with a primitive and unsophisticated people with regard to land. Senator Cohen used the expression that the land was sacred to them. Well, that is just humbug. The land is not sacred to them. The people of Papua and New Guinea, in common with people indeed all over the world, have a close affinity with their land. This would be recognised and acknowledged. But the whole history of the development of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, as Senator Cormack pointed out, is involved with the problem of land. Senator Cohen called upon the United Nations to support his argument. But the United Nations Mission has recognised clearly this fact in its last report and has stated that the development of this project must not be inhibited by this question of land. This question is recognised by the United Nations.
If we look at the recent history of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, we find that there have been constant negotiations with similar people through the Administration for the purchase or lease of land. The figures show that in 1968-69 negotiations covered some 91,000 acres of land. Most of this was native land. Agricultural land involved totalled some 17,000 acres. These negotiations were successful. In the year 1969-70, it is proposed to purchase 91,000 acres of land, of which 73,000 acres is agricultural land for development. So, we see that this has been a continuing process. It has been handled in the past by the Administration with an understanding of the problems of the people of Papua and New Guinea and of their close affinity with the land.
The land is not sacred because the people, when the position is explained to them, are prepared either to sell or to lease their land. The history of Administration will prove this time and time again. Indeed, we find in Bougainville that the people of Guava, Moronei and Papira who occupied land in this lease originally were antagonistic to the approach. But the problems were handled with patience and understanding. Finally, they have agreed, through negotiations, to come to an agreement with the Administration and the matter has been settled to the satisfaction of all concerned. So, we find again that, with the understanding and the sympathy of the Administration, agreement can be reached with these people. There is nothing sacred about their land. We acknowledge the affinity that they have with it. They have a close association with their land.
Senator Turnbull questioned the method by which the negotiations had taken place. Other speakers on this side have dealt at length with the protracted explanations and negotiations by the Administration with the people over many years. I do not know whether Senator Turnbull was trying to be humorous or whether he was serious, but he asked in what language were these matters discussed; were they discussed in German, Italian or some other language; and did the people understand it? Well, the facts are that officers of the Administration went to Bougainville. Mr Lapun, who is involved in this matter, acted as the interpreter for the officers and translated, for the benefit of the people, the proposals of the Administration. Mr Lapun did this. The Administration has spoken to the people in the language that they understand, it has gone to great lengths to explain to the people what is involved and the great advantages that will accrue from this development. So, this type of argument which has been advanced tonight is not only a stupid argument but also a completely false argument. It shows that those involved in opposing this development either have not taken the trouble to learn the facts or, having learned the facts, are not prepared to accept them. They are using this debate not in the interests of the people but are trying purely to make political capital out of it.
Let us come back to the basic decision. This was made by the House of Assembly of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in August in 1967. The agreement was tabled in this Parliament in 1967. I must express some amazement at those who suddenly find that they do not understand this agreement and who say that this agreement is against the interests of the Territory. They waited 2 years to find this out. This agreement was tabled here some 2 years ago. Let us look at the debate in the House of Assembly. Admittedly it was a complex Bill that was before that House. I noted that members of the Opposition here said that the members of the House of Assembly were not capable of understanding this Bill. Well, I suppose that there are some of us in this Parliament who find some difficulty in understanding all the details of some of the Bills that are introduced in any Parliament in the world. But I note with interest the attitude of the Australian Labor Party to the House of Assembly. Mr Bryant, the honourable member for Wills in another place, who is a very talkative gentleman, has made a number of statements over a period concerning the responsibility of the House of Assembly. The present attitude adopted by the Opposition is an odd one because, on 14th May 1963, Mr Bryant said:
We have faith in the ability of the people to look after themselves, to stand on their own feet and to develop their self-reliance.
In other words, in 1963, Mr Bryant, who is one of the chief opponents of this project, felt that he had confidence in the House of Assembly to look after the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Today we are told that the members of the House of Assembly were not capable of understanding all of the consequences of this legislation. Opposition members cannot have it both ways. Either they accept the fact that the House of Assembly represents the people of Papua and New Guinea or they accept the fact that it does not. it is one or the other.
Mr Beazley, the honourable member for Fremantle in another place, also had something to say on the same day, 14th May 1963. He said in part:
He felt that the Australian Labor Party had greater confidence in this Assembly than the Government had. I could go on and quote more comments by spokesmen for the Labor Party including the talkative Mr Bryant who, time and time again, expanded on this point. Today we are told that the House of Assembly did not understand the Bill. In the short time that I have left, I want to put only one or two points. The first point is this: I ask the Labor Party what would its attitude have been - this is a fair question - if the House of Assembly had rejected this agreement and the Australian Government had overridden the House of Assembly? Well, I would imagine that there would have been a howl of rage.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
- Mr President, this debate seeks to criticise the Government’s mishandling of the situation in Bougainville arising out of the decision of the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to resume land for lease to Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd and its attempt to enforce that resumption. When I heard the speeches of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), Senator Cormack and Senator Sim, I heard each time the voices of the old colonialists coming like a musty old wind, as it were, from the old days of colonial slavery. It was an example of: 4n- i tok, tok i dai’. a free translation of which is: ‘When the master has spoken, that is the end of it’.
This has been the state of affairs in Bougainville since the old blackbirding days when people were grabbed physically and brought to work in the canefields in Australia. This practice was one of the reasons for the formulation of the White Australia policy. These people have a long list of memories including the exploitation that was carried on under the Germans and the British. Now they see their land being taken forcibly from them by the use of tear gas - a symbol of violence - and police with clubs, clubbing them and threatening them. The use of a bulldozer is a symbol of crushing whatever stands in the way. That is the complaint of the people of Bougainville at the present time.
Honourable senators opposite have tried to justify our actions there. However it is not the people of Bougainville but the people of Australia who are involved in this through the Commonwealth Government and through its administration of Papua and New Guinea. This Government has a sorry record in the treatment of Aboriginals in recent times. It has dispossessed the Aboriginals of Gove; it has dispossessed and segregated the Aboriginals of Weipa; it will not give the Gurindji people a little bit of land. Yet we set ourselves up as the ones to say what is right and what is wrong for the people of Bougainville. I believe that we are treating human beings with complete contempt despite the fact that last year was Human Rights Year when the fundamental rights of people were established. As was said earlier today, the Australian people must be hanging their heads in shame in the knowledge that the sorry record of the past week or so in Bougainville has gone throughout the length and breadth of the world as an example of the revival of colonial policy implemented by an old set of colonialists.
In a debate in another place mention was made of the dangerous situation that was being created by people such as those in the ‘Four Corners’ team in the Australian Broadcasting Commission photographing the disapproval of the people of Bougainville. These are unsophisticated people. They have been exploited in turn by the Japanese and by the Germans and they have been traded as chattels by the British in the Solomon Islands. Let me sound a note of warning. Conzinc Riotinto of Australia, a complex international monopolist organisation, has said that it will bring in labourers from Japan. It will probably bring them in from India, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands and from other places just as was done in Nauru. What happened in Nauru? The Nauruans said: ‘We do nol want these people here. We can run our own business’. I believe that the people of Bougainville will say the same thing.
In the very limited time remaining to me let me say that we are looking at the situation through different eyes. We are looking at it through the eyes of the white man. Those clays have gone. We must look at it through the eyes of the indigenous people of Bougainville. The copper deposits are worth hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars and the company will obtain substantial rebates through taxation concessions. I want to give the Senate an opportunity to lake a vote on this issue so 1 move:
That the question be now put
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Question put -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until tomorrow at 9 a.m.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
– by leave - I move:
Because of the mechanics of the Budget debate, and the fact that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in another place and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) in this place traditionally move that the debate on the Budget be adjourned and resume the debate in the following week, arrangements have been made for the Senate to use tomorrow for committee work. It is of interest to know that the Standing Orders Committee will meet tomorrow. The Committee on off-shore Petroleum Resources will meet tomorrow; the Committee on Water Pollution will meet tomorrow; and the Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs will meet tomorrow. They are all Senate select committees. So, there is quite a deal of work to be done. Standing committees also will be meeting. The Public Accounts Committee, the Public Works Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee will be meeting. I suggest that the motion therefore does not need any further explanation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) - I lay on the table the report of the Second Conference of the Presiding Officers and Clerks of the Parliaments of Australia, Papua and New Guinea, New Zealand, Fiji, Nauru and Western Samoa. This Conference took place in Brisbane between 8th and 10th April 1969. Subjects discussed at the Conference covered a wide range and included privilege, the relationship between the Executive and the Parliament, the investigation of petitions and the committee system. As in the previous conference, the meetings provided an excellent opportunity for the Presiding Officers and Clerks of Parliament not only to become better acquainted but to discuss the many procedural problems which arise from day to day in the functioning of Parliament. I commend the report to honourable senators for their reading.
– I present the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works relating to the following proposed work:
Rehabilitation Centre. Glen Waverley, Victoria.
I ask for leave to make a short statement.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The summary of recommendations and conclusions of the Committee is as follows:
– 1 ask for leave to make a statement on the subject of education on behalf of the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser).
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The following is the text of a statement delivered by the Minister for Education and Science in the House of Representatives.
I wish to give the House further information about the new programme of per capita grants for independent schools which was announced in the Budget Speech of the Treasurer (Mr McMahon). I will also speak about the Government’s review of its policy on teacher education and about an expansion of the Commonwealth scholarships programme.
The Government is concerned with the education of all Australian children irrespective of the type of school they attend. We believe that governments should deal equitably with the problems of all school children and that while the state must continue to make its own schools its primary responsibility the independent schools are entitled to support also, provided they meet standards acceptable to the State.
There is no equivocation in our attitude towards the independent schools. We believe it is a democratic right for persons to be allowed to establish independent schools such as we have in Australia. We do not believe in government monopoly. The Government favours a continuation of a dual system of education on both educational and economic grounds. Just as there is value in having separate systems in each State in the sense that it leads to wider opportunities for experimentation and to alternative lines of development, so too, is there value in having an effective system of independent schools running side by side with the government schools. We categorically reject the argument that, because a significant number of citizens choose to seek, a form of education for their children which they prefer to the state system and are prepared to make financial sacrifices, those citizens cannot expect any help from the slate even though they are easing its financial and physical burdens.
It. is our policy to seek to work out ways of assisting independent schools so that, relying on their own efforts and supported by governments, they will be able in the future to provide places for that proportion of the school population which in the past has sought education in independent schools. It is also important that the independent school system be able to develop in the future, not only in quantity but also in quality, more or less in line with the development of government schools. This, too, is a matter of concern to governments.
Not only is it educationally desirable for governments to support independent schools, there are also economic advantages to the general taxpayers, for if all children now enrolled in the independent schools were to transfer to the government schools the enrolments in the government schools would be increased by almost 30%. Then very large additional expenditure by governments would be necessary without any resulting improvement in the standard of education offered to those children now attending the government schools. At least an additional $130m a year would be involved in the running costs of the government schools.
The independent schools have come under increasing financial pressure in recent years as they have endeavoured to meet the rising expectations of their students and their parents. In response to requests from various independent school authorities, the Commonwealth has examined the position of the independent schools with particular reference to their relationship to the government schools systems. The Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria have both asked the Commonwealth to provide additional assistance to independent schools. The independent schools are not going to disappear overnight, but there are ominous signs of an impending contraction. Over the last 3 years, during which enrolments in government primary schools increased by over 100,000 there was a reduction of 1,600 in the numbers enrolled in independent primary schools. If the traditional proportions had prevailed one would have expected nearly one quarter of those 100,000 children to have found places in the independent schools. Costs in the independent schools have been rising and immigration together with increasing retention rates at the secondary level have placed substantial additional burdens on all schools.
The Government recognises that if the drift is not arrested the problems of the government schools will be multiplied and the education of all children will suffer. Certainly the economic burden on governments and on taxpayers will be much heavier than it now is. The problem is of particular significance in areas of expanding population where the absence of Roman Catholic schools has an immediate impact on the government schools which are themselves in a developing stage.
The Commonwealth has decided that it should supplement the contributions from the States by making per capita grants to independent schools throughout Australia. These grants will be directed to the running costs of the independent schools and particularly to assisting them in maintaining ot increasing the number of qualified teachers employed. The Commonwealth per capita grants will be at annual rates of $35 for each primary student and $50 for each secondary student, will include those attending special schools for the handicapped, and will commence from the beginning of the 1970 school year. At those rates the estimated cost in 1970 is $24.5m and in the financial year 1969-70 $16.28m, assuming payment for two terms during the financial year. Details are set out in the following table which, with the concurrence of honourable senators, I incorporate in Hansard.
In arriving at the rates for its per capita grants, the Commonwealth has taken account of the assistance which State governments have indicated will be given to independent schools during 1970 and the Commonwealth has assumed that the States will continue to assist the independent schools at at least those rates. Grants to independent schools at the rates approved by the Commonwealth, together with those to be made available by the States, will represent from 20% to 35% of the running costs per pupil in government schools in 1967-68, except in Queensland where the supplementary grants to the independent schools will take the figure to about 45% of the per pupil cost of operating government secondary schools.
There are significant variations in the educational and financial problems of independent schools, not only from Slate to State but also within a State. The Commonwealth believes that the most reasonable approach is for its assistance to be on a uniform basis, except that the higher costs of secondary education justify a higher rate for that sector. In our view any other approach could lead to a significant interference with the internal working of individual independent schools. Commonwealth payments for the benefit of independent schools in the States will be made through special purpose grants to the State governments and each State government has been asked to co-operate in the administrative arrangements for passing on these grants to the school authorities. Appropriate States grants legislation UDder section 96 of the Constitution will be introduced later in the present session.
The new programme of Commonwealth per capita grants to independent schools throughout Australia will be subject to the broadly expressed condition that they are to be used for purposes, other than capital expenditure, in connection with the education of children in the independent schools to which the grants are made. The precise manner in which the grants will be used, whether it be for meeting increased teachers’ salaries, employing more teachers, or meeting other running cost expenditure, will be a matter for decision by the schools themselves. Each school which applies for assistance will be required to certify to the number of students enrolled and at a subsequent time will be required to produce an audit certificate to the effect that the grants have been applied for the purposes laid down by the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth has been making per capita grants to the independent schools in the Australian Capital Territory and the independent community schools in the Northern Territory in much the same way as the States have done within their boundaries. In the two Territories the present per capita rates will be increased from the beginning of 1970 by the amounts of the Commonwealth per capita grants to be made available to independent schools in the States.
No doubt some will argue that the Commonwealth has acted unilaterally without regard to the problems of the government schools, and that this new programme ought to provide for grants to government schools as well as to independent schools in proportion to their respective shares of total enrolments. Such an argument could be valid only if virtually all the present Commonwealth financial contributions to education in schools were being distributed proportionately for the benefit of all children whether they attend government or independent schools. That is not the case. The argu ment overlooks the fact that large sums of money are now being paid by the Commonwealth for the benefit of children in the government schools. The Commonwealth provides almost half of the recurrent revenues of the States, excluding revenue from business undertakings, and on this basis the Commonwealth has been finding almost half the annual running costs of government schools in the States.
The Government judges now that the financial difficulties of independent schools demonstrate an urgent need which, if not attended to, will seriously aggravate problems in the government schools. I have said on a number of occasions that 1 have been concerned that independent schools or classes in independent schools in some places, especially in the Sydney and Melbourne areas, would close from the beginning of next year if additional help were not provided. I have also indicated in public speeches that 1 believe that the method of support for one system may not necessarily be appropriate for the other.
Let me give the House some figures to illustrate the Commonwealth’s support of education. Over the 6 years from 1963-64 to 1968-69, the States increased their recurrent expenditure on education in schools and state teachers colleges from $300m to approximately $500m and almost half of that increase came from Commonwealth sources. On a per capita basis for each person in the States this total expenditure on schools and state teachers colleges represents an increase from $27.50 to $41.65 per head. Over this same period, the Commonwealth has also provided large sums of money as direct payments for a wide and growing range of educational purposes. In 1963-64 total Commonwealth direct expenditure on education was $68m. By 1968-69 this had risen to Si 92m and is estimated to rise further to $266m this financial year. The Commonwealth share of total expenditure by the Commonwealth and the States on education was 17% in 1963-64 and 30% in 1968-69. It is certain to be even higher this financial year.
The Government’s record indicates clearly that both directly and indirectly it has been assisting the States in meeting the need for better education at all levels.
Recently we agreed to co-operate in an Australia-wide survey which the States are now conducting to determine priority needs in education over the next few years. The States intend to prepare a national programme for their schools and for teacher education. Independent schools have been invited to conduct parallel surveys. On completion of the surveys the Commonwealth Minister for Education and Science and the Australian Education Council, which is composed of the Ministers for Education in all the States, will consider proposals for joint action to promote the further development of education in schools. I turn now to the important question of teacher education.
As part of its comprehensive approach to the development of education policies, the Government has reviewed its policy on teacher education. The need to improve the quality of the teaching force is central to the task of improving the quality of Australian education. Let me remind honourable senators that the Commonwealth is already playing a significant role in the education of teachers. Forty per cent of Government teachers in training, and the majority of those preparing for employment in secondary schools, obtain their academic and professional qualifications in universities. The Commonwealth contributes to the capital and running costs associated with their training in the same way as for other university students. In addition, it is currently engaged in a $24m programme of unmatched capital grants over the 3 years to June 1970 for the provision of some 4,350 additional places and some 1,300 replacement places in teachers colleges conducted by State Education Departments. In 1968 the Commonwealth introduced a $2. 5m programme for expanding the facilities of pre-school teachers colleges throughout Australia.
However, to the present time, the Commonwealth has not been prepared to support teacher education activities in colleges of advanced education in the way that it does for universities and for colleges of advanced education in general. This attitude reflected the Commonwealth’s view that the 1964 recommendations for teacher education in the report of the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia dealt primarily with matters of concern to the States. Insofar as financial assistance from the Commonwealth is concerned, the Commonwealth’s programme of unmatched capital grants involved a larger contribution than the Tertiary Education Committee had contemplated for the initial period. Assistance with capital costs also represented the highest priority for Commonwealth action as seen by State Ministers of Education.
There have been significant developments during the past 3 to 4 years. The colleges of advanced education have been firmly established with financial support from both Commonwealth and State governments and the State governments have adopted new policies on teacher education which go to the heart of the tertiary inquiry committee recommendations, principally by an extension of the period of training for primary teachers to 3 years.
Rising enrolments, increasing retention rates and more attention to science and mathematics in secondary schools, warrant a substantial expansion in the number of places available to educate teachers whether they be intended for employment in government or in independent schools.
The Commonwealth believes that it can assist in meeting the demand for teachers in two ways - firstly, by carrying forward for another 3 years its programme of unmatched capital grants for the provision of places in departmental teachers colleges; secondly, by supporting the education of teachers in both academic and professional studies within colleges of advanced education. All this will be in addition to continuing support for teacher education in universities.
The Government has decided to make unmatched capital grants to a total value of $30m over the 3 years commencing 1st July 1970 for provision of places in Government teachers’ colleges. This represents a 25% increase on the present level of unmatched capital grants and is expected to provide more than 6,000 places over the 3-year period. The grants will be subject to the existing conditions - that is, the choice of location and the nature of the projects will be a matter for each State, subject to general endorsement by the Commonwealth - and up to 10% of the places so provided are to be available for students who are not bonded for subsequent employment in government schools. Those unbonded students will continue to be eligible to apply for Commonwealth advanced education scholarships on their individual merits. The distribution of the sum of $30m among the States will be decided after further consultation with them. This will be put in hand immediately because it is essential that each State be able to proceed with its forward planning of additional projects and with a knowledge of the extent of Commonwealth assistance. Appropriate legislation will be introduced in the Autumn Session of the Parliament in 1970.
After consultation with the States, the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education has recommended projects in three States involving teacher education within colleges of advanced education during the 1970-72 triennium. These projects will be at Bathurst, Wagga, Toowoomba, Rockhampton and Hobart and the Canberra College of Advanced Education will also establish a School of Teacher Education during the 1970-72 triennium. Together, these projects will attract capital expenditure of $8. 5m and recurrent expenditure of $5. 5m during the triennium under the normal sharing arrangements for expenditure on colleges of advanced education in the States. The introduction of teacher education into the colleges of advanced education will provide an estimated additional 1 , 700 places.
The overall effect of these decisions on teacher education will be that during the next 3 years the Commonwealth will make payments for teacher education in State teachers colleges and in colleges of advanced education to a total of $37m compared with $24m in the preceding 3 years. The contributions from the States under the advanced education programme will take this total to $44m during the next 3 years. The programme with which the Commonwealth will be associated will provide approximately 8,000 places for teacher education. This will be in addition to new places which the Commonwealth hopes the
States will make available purely from their own resources.
In the future I would like to see colleges of advanced education taking a greater part in the education of teachers. The colleges will provide an opportunity for the intermingling of students training for the teaching profession with students training for other avenues of employment. It should also encourage more of the better qualified academic staff and students to take up teacher education. If some teachers are educated in colleges of advanced education themselves they will be better able to point out to their students the advantages the colleges offer in tertiary education. The introduction of teacher education into country colleges of advanced education will provide the only means by which some of them can become viable tertiary institutions.
The Government makes annual reviews of the need for variations in the numbers of awards offered to students and of the scales of benefits provided under its various scholarships schemes. Last year the Government increased the number of open entrance university scholarships from 6,000 to 7,500. It also increased the number of advanced education scholarships from 1,000 to 1,500. The increases in the number of scholarships in 1969 were thus directed principally towards meeting the needs of students about to commence a tertiary education. In the course of making the review this year, the Government was impressed by the large number and quality of the applicants for later year and mature age university scholarships tenable in 1969 and later years. It has attempted to meet the stronger demand for these scholarships in two ways.
Firstly, it has decided to double the number of later year university scholarships, bringing the total number to be offered for competition in 1970 to 4,000. This substantial expansion of numbers for a type of scholarship awarded on the basis of demonstrated achievement in a university course emphasises the Government’s concern to assist students whose school results may not have given an accurate indication of their potential for successful university study. It believes too that there is good educational value in scholarships for students who have shown their ability to cope successfully with university education.
Secondly, the pressure of competition in the mature age category of university scholarships is to be eased by a modification of the conditions of the open entrance, later year and mature age categories of scholarships. As from 1970 persons up to 30 years of age will be able to apply for open entrance and later year scholarships whereas at present only those under 25 years may do so. Thus students aged between 25 and 30 will compete in future for one of the considerably expanded number of open entrance or later year scholarships. The mature age category will be reserved for applicants aged 30 years or over, including those intending to pursue their studies part-time.
As part of the Government’s important education policy to promote the development of colleges of advanced education, an additional 1,000 advanced education scholarships will be made available in 1970, taking the total offered to 2,500. This increase will assist in meeting the expanded demand for scholarship assistance which will result from the expansion of advanced education projected for the 1970-72 triennium. The Government will also make some fundamental changes in the method of selecting winners of advanced education scholarships for 1970. Wherever possible there will be special methods of selection appropriate to the type of training offered in each college.
I wish to emphasise at this point the marked difference between the selection methods for the Commonwealth University and advanced education scholarship schemes which will exist when the new arrangements for the latter scheme are introduced. In the case of the University Scholarship Scheme, the concept of an open entrance scholarship, awarded on the basis of results obtained in the examination taken at the end of secondary schooling, is closely related to the general requirements for university matriculation and admission and is considered appropriate for the scheme. However, the range and special needs of advanced education courses are such that an open entrance type of scholarship is not suitable for them and specific selection procedures for individual courses or groups of courses are needed. We will, of course, continue to employ the principle of selection based strictly on merit.
It follows that advanced education scholarships will in the future be for tenure in a specific institution or course and a student selected for a scholarship will be able to apply it only to the institution and course which he has nominated. The new procedures for these scholarships are intended to encourage students to take up those courses for which they are best suited and thus to maximise the usefulness of the scholarship.
The Government has also reviewed the rates of living allowance payable under the Commonwealth University and Advanced Education Scholarships Scheme. A case for increased rates of living allowance has been presented by the National Union of Australian University Students and the Government has had its own enquiries made into the matter. These living allowances are subject to a means test and the current maximum rates are $559 a year for scholars living at home and $904.80 a year for those living away from home. The Government has decided on rates of $620 per year for scholars living at home and $1,000 per year for scholars living away from home from the beginning of 1970.
Taken together, the increase in number of tertiary scholarships and the greater benefits for scholarship holders are estimated to cost $2.77m in the full year 1970 and $1.75m in 1969-70. Total expenditure on the scholarships administered by the Department of Education and Science is estimated at $32m for 1969-70 and $34m for the full year 1970, rising to an estimated $40m when in full operation.
Details of Commonwealth expenditure on education from 1963-64 to 1969-70 are set out in a table which, with the concurrence of the House, I will have incorporated in Hansard.
Honourable senators will note that the total Commonwealth expenditure is likely to be 38% higher in 1969-70 than in 1968-69.
These new decisions on support for independent schools and for teacher training and an expansion of tertiary level scholarships will further deepen the Commonwealths involvement in education. If there are any doubts remaining, this action should serve notice that the widening interest that began when Senator Gorton first became MinisterinCharge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research has grown and been strengthened. The Commonwealth is committed to assist in the provision for all children of the best education that the resources of the nation will allow. Our energies have been and will continue to be directed to that end.
– The statement which the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) has made on behalf of the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) is a substantial one and covers a good deal of ground in the matter of Commonwealth involvement in education. I wish to say on behalf of the Opposition only that while we recognise such substantial efforts as have been made by the Commonwealth we would want at an appropriate time to put our point of view.
– Is the honourable senator intending to make a speech?
– I intend to make some very brief remarks. I certainly do not intend to take a substantial part. I take it that I am in order, Mr President.
– You are not in order. You really need leave.
– I do not want to shut myself out from making a substantial speech on this subject at an appropriate time. I wanted to make some preliminary observations which would be of the briefest nature.
– The honourable senator should ask for leave.
– I ask for leave to make a short statement on behalf of the Opposition.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– At a proper time we would want to argue that our criticism of the Government’s approach in matters of education is that it has been piecemeal, has not considered the whole field and has not approached the problems of education in a national and comprehensive way. I would like to say at this stage, not in order to debate the matter but simply to state it, that the Australian Labor Party has in very recent times formulated a platform on education which covers not only some of the ground that is the subject matter of the statement made by the Minister, but also some other areas which we think it is proper for the Commonwealth to enter. I do not propose to trespass on the leave that has been given to me by entering into a debate or discussion on these matters, but I ask for leave of the Senate to incorporate in Hansard that statement of policy by the Australian Labor Party.
– Leave is not granted.
– Then I think the only sensible thing to do now is to read the statement, which is a rather lengthy one.
– We did not give leave for that purpose.
– Surely the Minister is not going to make a statement of 16 pages on education, occupying about half an hour, fill the national Press with ideas of what the Government is doing in the field of education and then stop me from making a speech of about two minutes on the Labor Party’s attitude to these matters.
– You have been given leave to make a brief statement, so make it brief.
– I again ask for leave to incorporate in Hansard the Australian Labor Party’s platform on education.
– Leave is not granted.
– I take it that I will be in order in continuing my remarks and in reading the statement into the record.
– I rise to a point of order. The honourable senator was given leave when he emphasised that he wished to make a few brief comments upon the
Government’s statement. For him to take under that leave an opportunity to express the Opposition’s policy on education is quite irrelevant to the Government’s policy and not within the leave granted to him. I suggest that ample opportunity will bc given to the honourable senator at any time that he seeks to state the Opposition’s policy on education, but that is not this occasion. I suggest that it is not in accordance with the intention of the Senate in granting him leave to make a few brief comments on the Government’s policy on education, that, having been granted that leave, he should then proceed to read the policy of the Opposition on the same matter.
– I think the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cohen) took advice from you. Mr President, in that he asked leave to make a statement. There was no word in it about being brief. That note has been introduced since then. The permission having been given to Senator Cohen, he has the sanction of the Senate. I regret greatly that Senator Wright, who read a rather lengthy statement, has now risen to a point of order. Leave was readily given to him to make the statement. Therefore I suggest that Senator Cohen is quite in order if he decides within the leave given to him to read a statement should honourable senators opposite persist in their opposition to having the statement incorporated in Hansard without being read. I suggest with great respect that Senator Cohen is doing no more than acting in accordance with the leave that he was granted to make a statement. I did not hear the word ‘brief mentioned by you, Mr President, when you asked the Senate whether leave was granted.
– When Senator Wright read the statement it was my clear intention that the Senate should take note of the paper and then I was proposing, after arranging the business, to move for the adjournment of the Senate. Senator Cohen spoke to me across the table and said, as I understood him, that he intended to move that we take note of the paper and wished to speak for only a couple of minutes before doing so.
– And I said that I would ask for leave to continue my remarks.
– That is so. It was in that spirit - and Senator Wright is quite correct - that leave was given. Now, of course. Senator Cohen seeks to introduce a statement of policy which is a different matter altogether. Had I known of that intention, Senator Wright or another honourable senator on this side of the chamber would have moved that the Senate take note of the paper. 1 would then have moved the normal motion that the debate be adjourned to the next day of sitting. The matter would then have been stood over. That is the normal procedure. It was an act of courtesy by me to extend opportunity to Senator Cohen to speak for a few minutes before asking for leave to continue his remarks at a later lime. With great respect, Mr President, he has moved completely away from that understanding.
– Would not the simple solution be for Senator Cohen to move that the debate be now adjourned?
– Senator Ormonde, I must point out that there is no motion before the chair as to which the adjournment could be moved. At the present time Senator Cohen is speaking only by leave to make, as he said, a few brief remarks on the matter. He said that he would make only a few brief statements. At the moment I cannot see any reason why Senator Cohen cannot continue, but it would be out of keeping with his original request for leave to make a few remarks.
– I do not wish to embarrass you, Sir, nor do I wish to embarrass my leader who is sitting at the table, lt is quite true that the Leader of the House answers on behalf of those who sit behind him, and it is not often that a senator sitting behind the Leader of the House is able to understand the undertakings that are given across the table. It is perfectly in accordance with parliamentary practice that the arrangements for the conduct of business should in the first instance take place in discussion between the Leader of the Opposition - in this case, the acting Leader of the Opposition - and the Leader of the Government in the Senate. But in the final analysis, as we have heard ad nauseam from Senator Murphy who is absent tonight, the business lies in the hands of the Senate. I have a distinct recollection, which has not been contradicted, that when asking for leave Senator Cohen said that he wished to make a brief statement. Then having begun to make a brief statement he proceeded to ask for the indulgence of the Senate to enable him to incorporate in Hansard some unknown and unspecified mass of verbiage which sets out the policy of the Australian Labor Party, which is not a debatable matter in the Senate. Leave was refused. Then the acting Leader of the Opposition, in the absence of Senator Murphy, asked to be permitted to continue his remarks. I suggest that the indulgence of the Senate has been canvassed, that Senator Cohen is out of order and that the will of the Senate should prevail.
– The Standing Orders provide that the leave of the Senate must be granted without a dissentient voice. Senator Wright asked for leave to make his statement and there was no dissentient voice. Senator Cohen applied for leave and leave was granted. I do not think leave can be qualified. When an honourable senator is granted the leave of the Senate to continue with a statement, he should be able to go on as long as is required. I point out that the Senate has to get on with its business and that, if the precedent is to be created that leave can be refused, Ministers will find it much more difficult to carry on the business of the Senate than will we of the Opposition. On the rare occasions when we have asked for the leave of the Senate to make a statement it has nearly always been granted. If we are to establish as a precedent that leave may be qualified we will nol be able to get through the business of the Senate.
– According to Mr Odgers’ book ‘Australian Senate Practice’, at page 126, apparently when leave is sought the purposes for which the leave is sought must be stated. Mr President, with due respect to you, I do not think you required the observance of that condition and I do not think Senator Cohen stated the purpose for which the leave was required. He said that he wanted to make a statement. Whether or not he said he wanted to make a brief statement I do not know, but he did say that he wished to make a statement. The effect of that, unfortunately, was to deny to the Senate at that point the exercise of a judgment on the facts. Therefore the matter proceeded and at a later stage, when it was perhaps too late, Senator Cohen indicated the purpose for which he sought leave and to which he now proposes to direct his remarks. It may be that the procedure was incorrect at the beginning. I believe that the granting of leave is a precious thing not to be lightly sought and perhaps not to be lightly given; otherwise it trespasses unduly on the procedures of the Senate. Therefore, perhaps Senator Cohen will rethink the matter and consider whether, if you had insisted on knowing the purpose for which he wanted the leave of the Senate, in the terms of the Standing Orders, the Senate in its unanimous discretion would have granted him leave. I think that Senator Cohen should now place the Senate in the position in which it might have been initially and in that way pursue the proposition that he now has in mind. I merely present that as a proposition to which Senator Cohen might give consideration.
– If my recollection serves me correctly, Senator Wright finished his statement and Senator Cohen asked for leave to make brief remarks on the statement. I think that is quite clear. The interpretation of ‘brief remarks’ is Senator Cohen’s, not mine. Then the honourable senator sought leave to incorporate an article in Hansard and he was refused leave to do so. I cannot do anything about that. If he now goes on at length and reads the matter that he sought to have incorporated in Hansard I have no power to prevent him from doing so.
– I am both flattered and embarrassed by the quantity and quality of the assistance that is being offered to me in the resolution of the problem that apparently has been thrust upon me. If leave had been granted to me in the same way as it was granted to the Minister, from whom we did not seek any explanation when he sought leave to make his statement, the statement of policy of the Australian Labor Party on education would by now be in Hansard and we all would have gone home. But some honourable senators have thought fit to suggest to me that I should curtail my remarks. I appreciate what has been said by my colleagues, Senator Kennelly and Senator Ormonde, who have said that
I am entirely at large in what I want to say. For myself, I did not assume that. I thought that I would discharge my obligation, not only to those who follow me and my leader in the Senate but also to the Senate itself, by making some very brief observations and incorporating a statement in Hansard. The whole exercise, if that is the right word, would have taken me about 30 seconds. That was exactly what I had proposed to do. lt is perfectly true that I did indicate to the Leader of the Government that I did not expect to be long, but that was because 1 expected that I would be given the same courtesy as the Opposition spokesman on education matters as the Minister received when he sought leave to make a statement on education. I assumed that there would be no difficulty about incorporating in Hansard a statement of policy which could be debated at an appropriate time but which would be there to assist all honourable senators in knowing what the Opposition stood for in education. It is quite plain that the Government proposes to treat its education policy as a propaganda exercise, lt does not want the Opposition policy to be stated, however briefly. I do not want to embarrass the Senate or to be guilty of any breach of any explicit or implied undertaking to the Leader of the Government as to what we agreed that I should do. T had no intention of making a lengthy statement. 1 wanted, in two sentences, to state the Opposition’s broad attitude. Because a lengthy statement was made by the Minister it would need time for consideration. 1 thought that when we came to debate education matters honourable senators on the Government side would find it useful to know in a comprehensive way what was the alternative education policy for Australia. I am disappointed to know that honourable senators do not propose to give me leave to do it. In those circumstances I promise them a very energetic debate at the first opportunity, and I hope that the Leader of the Government will say that the opportunity will be given to me during next week. If he does not intimate that. I propose to read the statement which I have asked leave to incorporate in Hansard.
– I make no promises under duress or a threat like that. It would be completely absurd for me to do so. The fact of the matter is that in my judgment
Senator Cohen has misunderstood, to use a gentle term, the agreement which we made. In view of that I think he should move that the debate be adjourned and should ask for leave to continue his remarks.
– I am never going to be accused, I hope, as long as I am in the Senate, of breaking any undertaking. If there is a misunderstanding about it, I do not propose to take advantage of it. I can only complain of the fact that courtesies are not being extended to the Opposition in these circumstances.
– Read the statement.
– I will not read it. I know that it is the desire of honourable senators who sit behind me that this statement should be incorporated.
– When you come to take the debate, you are as free as the wind to do it.
– We have reached a very difficult stage in the proceedings of the Senate. We are on the eve of a very tough Budget pre-election session. If we are to take it that no leave will ever be given-
– If it is abused-
– It can be that way. but I do not want it that way. I do not like the suggestion that there has been any abuse. I do not even want to accede to the suggestion which those who sit behind me are making that I should read out this matter, but I do expect some indication from the Minister that he will facilitate a debate on these matters next week so that I may have an opportunity to do what I had proposed to do tonight and which would have taken about 30 seconds. I move:
– I shall move for the continuation of the debate at a later date.
– Order! I suggest to Senator Cohen that he should move that the Senate take note of the paper and then ask leave to continue his remarks.
– I move:
I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
SenatorGAIR (Queensland - Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party) - I ask for leave to move a motion relating to the discharge of an item from the business paper.
– Is leave granted?
Opposition senators - No.
– Leave is not granted.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) proposed:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I desire to place before the Senate a most interesting document which I propose to read. The Senate would not allow my Leader the courtesy of leave to incorporate it in Hansard. It may take me a little longer to read it than it would have taken him to have it incorporated. The document reads:
(As approved by the Federal Conference 1 August 1969)
May I seek your guidance, Mr President? Since to read all of this document would take time, would I be in order if I sought leave to have the remainder of this document incorporated in Hansard?
– Very well, I will read it.
– Order! Senator Kennelly is merely canvassing the likelihood of leave being granted to have the document incorporated in Hansard.
– Leave has been refused. I suggest that Senator Kennelly read the document if he wants to.
– At this point Senator Kennelly has not asked for leave. He has canvassed the possibility of leave being granted. I think he has the answer.
– Quite. There is no doubt about the answer. The document continues:
-I do not want to be discourteous butI do not think I will take any notice of thatinterjection. I read on:
The Commonwealth to establish an Australian Pre-School Commission to define and examine regularly the aims of pre-school education and to recommend grants which the Commonwealth should make to the States to ensure that pre-school centres are located, staffed and equipped on the basis of needs and priorities.
– I suggest that we maintain some sense of balance. Let us not get upset amongst ourselves. There is no need for it. [Quorum formed]
In making recommendations for such grants to the States, the Commission shall have regard to
the primary obligation of governments to provide and maintain government school systems of the highest standard open to all children;
the numbers of students enrolled in the various schools;
the need to bring all schools up to acceptable standards;
the need to ensure optimum use of resources in the establishment, maintenance and extension of schools.
The Commonwealth to review secondary and technical scholarships to ensure that every student who has successfully completed all but the last two years of his full course will receive financial assistance to enable and encourage him to proceed with his education. The value of such scholarship to be the same, regardless of the school attended by the student.
The Commonwealth to review and adjust annually all living allowances to students to accord with rises in the cost of living.
- (i) The Commonwealth to assume responsibility for co-ordinating and fully financing tertiary education, including postgraduate study and research, colleges of advanced education and the education of teachers (preferably in autonomous institutions), on condition that the additional funds thus released to the States are spent in other educational areas.
The Commonwealth to establish further tertiary institutions in regional centres in both rural and urban areas.
The Commonwealth to ensure the provision of tertiary education without fees and regularly to review and extend the payment of living allowances.
The Commonwealth to ensure the provision of retraining schemes and allowances.
The Commonwealth to make grants to the States for further education, including extension services.
- (i) The Commonwealth to provide teaching services, educational books, aids, equipment, devices and material in those schools where the numbers of (a) aboriginal and (b) migrant children make special assistance desirable.
Government responsibility for education includes the obligation to provide an effective education for persons with special handicaps, including mental, physical and social handicaps. The Commonwealth to make grants to the States to provide special schools and equipment, courses of training for specialist teachers, travelling allowances and residential accommodation.
The Commonwealth to make grants to the States to establish and assist sheltered workshops and to undertake research, since the education of the handicapped is often meaningless unless they can hope to become at least partially selfsufficient as adults.
ACCOMMODATION AND EQUIPMENT
- (i) The Commonwealth to make grants to the Slates for the construction and maintenance of residential accommodation for tertiary and secondary students where the need is shown.
The Commonwealth to make capital and recurrent grants to the Slates for the establishment and maintenance of adequate library services.
The Commonwealth to assist and share in the production and provision of educational books, aids, equipment, devices and materials.
The Commonwealth to operate and sponsor educational television services.
The Commonwealth to consult with the Slates and the appropriate professional examining bodies to achieve Australia-wide recognition of certificates, diplomas, degrees and similar qualifications.
The Commonwealth to strengthen and enlarge its activities in research, statistics and interstate and international co-operation relating to education.
RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE A.L.P. FEDERAL CONFERENCE 1 AUGUST 1969
A Federal Labor Government will make emergency grants to provide adequate standards of operation within the shortest possible time, including the numbers and qualifications of teachers, the size of classes, standards of school buildings and facilities, and the level of financial assistance to students through scholarships. Notwithstanding any other provision of the policy or platform, any emergency grant made by the Commonwealth for education shall be such as to give government schools a sum that is notless per student than any grant made to non-government schools.
Any forms of benefit existing in a State or Territory as at the time of this Conference may be supported in any State or Territory.
Mr President, I thank you and the Senate for being patient while I read that document. I trust that in the future this Senate will not place any other senator or myself under an obligation to do something that is not needed. I want to assure certain senators, not as a threat but as a statement, that aslong as I am sitting in this chamber and until such time as I cease to be a senator because of an election, it will be no use their asking for leave to have material incorporated in Hansard.
– Under the Standing Orders I ask that the honourable senator table the document from which he has been quoting. (Senator Kennelly thereupon tabled the document)
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.38 p.m
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 13 August 1969, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1969/19690813_senate_26_s42/>.