27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 10 a.m., and read prayers.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the interior, ls the Minister aware of the unsatisfactory position with respect to lighting, parking and feeder bus services in the Kingston shopping area in the Australian Capital Territory? ls it a fact that some time ago some assurances were made concerning higher density development in Kingston, and if so. what progress has been achieved in this matter?
– I am not aware of the details concerning the suburb of Kingston. I do know that there are some pressures on the facilities the honourable senator mentions. After question time I will see whether the Department of the Interior can let us have some information about the matter and if so I will transmit it to the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. Has the Minister noted the claim by a Press commentator that there is a very large potential meat market in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, a market so large that 25 million lb of meat unloaded at once would make little impression on it? Will the Department of Trade and Industry look at this position with the intention, if the report is correct, of supplying this market if possible?
– As the Senate would know, there is within the Department of Trade and Industry a special section devoted almost entirely to the purpose of promoting trade overseas and we have posts in many parts of the world for that very purpose. I am quite certain that the Department will be looking at the possibility of supplying this market in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Nevertheless, F will refer the question to the Department of Trade and Industry by way of a reminder of the honourable senator’s special interest in it. I am satisfied in my own mind that the Department will be looking at this potential market and doing everything possible to get into it in some way.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. In view of the long, hard campaign waged by various citizens groups of the Australian Capital Territory to have the Black Mountain region defined as parkland reserves will the Minister give a solemn assurance that before the Postmaster-General’s Department, acting under the apparent appeasement policy of the National Capital Development Commission, is permitted to erect a 610 ft television tower on the Black Mountain area, a public hearing will be held at which all parties will have to indicate publicly their motives for this apparent parkland desecration?
– I am sure the honourable senator and all other honorable senators will clearly understand that I cannot give firm assurances on behalf of a Minister in another place. All 1 can do is to communicate to him the concern expressed by the honorable senator on this occasion and on many other occasions about Black Mountain and about the national park in that area and about the intrusions on that national park that many citizens of Canberra believe may take place. These things are always difficult. There is a conflict between progress, development and improved communication facilities which are desired by some people and the wishes of other people who seek to retain, as closely as possible, the pristine state of nature that Canberra was in when they first came here. These are always conflicts. I am sure that the honorable senator’s interest is real and genuine. I am equally sure that the National Capital Development Commission and the Minister are conscious of the aspects to which he has referred as well as the needs of the community.
35-HOUR WORKING WEEK
– Has the attention of the Leader of the Government in the Senate been drawn lo a Press statement that a front bench member of the Labor Party in the other place has repudiated the policy of the Australian Labor Party for a 35-hour week by stating that this policy would not apply to primary industries? Would the Minister agree that if a large section of our people, namely the primary producing industries, cannot afford a 35-hour week, Australia as a whole cannot afford the luxury at the present time?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON- 1 have observed certain comments in the Press concerning the Labor Party’s attitude to the 35-hour week.I have noticed that an Opposition member of the other place, who is a Queenslander representing a country constituency, has expressed his concern and shown reticence about the proposal, notwithstanding the fact that it is part of the Labor Party’s policy and is contained in a document of that Party. All I can say is that I entirely agree with the proposal put by Senator Lawrie that if there is to be a proposition for a working week of so many hours it would apply in the rural area, and the rural area is vital to the whole Australian economy. Australia is a primary producing country which depends upon its exports. (Opposition senators interjecting) -
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI am getting a lot of help from interjections, Mr President. If the honorable senator believes in such a proposal he should go out and advocate it at the election, but that is another story and I do not want to be provocative. One interjection leads to another interjection, and I suppose that is fair. The fact of the matter is that any effect on our rural industries affects the whole of Australia because we export and we depend on our export capacity for the security of our economy. Any proposal which affects our rural industries must have a profound effect on Australia generally.
35-HOUR WORKING WEEK
– My question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate follows on his answer to Senator Lawrie. Is the Minister now saying that the Government intends to review arrangements made in the Australian coal mining industry for a 35-hour week, which is now operating? Is he also saying that in certain circumstances the Government might review its application of the 37-hour week principle for most of its own public servants? Or is the Government admitting that the questions of standard hours and the Australian economy are matters for determination by industrial tribunals or negotiation between particular interests, as has applied in respect of the stevedoring authority?
– I am not saying the words that Senator Bishop is trying to put in my mouth. He is building up a phantom out of what he thinks I said. 1 did not say those things at all. What I did say was that the Australian Labor Party is committed to the principle and it is contained in its platform. Secondly I said that any proposal on hours which has a deleterious effect on the rural industry does injury to the whole economy of Australia.
– My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Having heard what he said in answer to Senator Lawrie I ask him: Would I be right in saying that exactly the same sentiments were expressed when a 48-hour week, a 44-hour week and a 40-hour week were granted successively to the average workers in this country? Seeing that all those presumptions were incorrect, as time has proved them to be, would he say that his presumption this time would be the only correct one?
– I do not agree entirely with what Senator Kennelly said. I recall, for instance, that the 40-hour week was introduced by legislative action in New South Wales, and that action was precipitate because it had not been properly phased in. The economy would not accommodate it. It started an economic situation there. That is an entirely different matter. The fact is - and Senator Kennelly knows this as we all do - that we have not always had a 48-hour week. Down through history the working week has been much longer. As a matter of fact, I did some reckoning last week. I worked out that I worked 75 hours in 5 days last week and so did everyone else here. It was pretty hard going. I gave an answer to a specific question put to me in relation to a proposal for a 35-hour week. The question was related to the rural industry. I gave an answer, and I do not detract from that one little bit.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport: Has the Government any power to consider or to control the anticipated increased costs of containerised shipping? Are the repeated increases a repudiation of assurances given to a Senate select committee that containerisation would contain shipping costs? Could the Austraiian wool exports be shipped at cheaper rates by charter ships? Does the Government support, any proposal for cheaper freights?
– I noted in this morning’s Press a statement by someone called Sir Andrew Crichton, who forecast higher freight rates in due course for container ships. In the brief time available 1 was able to get some information from the Department of Shipping and Transport which I will give to the honourable senator. I cannot give him a great deal more, except to add my concern to his concern that the costs of shipping our products overseas are matters of great importance to all Australians. Any increase in the freight on our products reacts against the Australian community. The only note 1 have which would help at all is that, the Government’s aim is to ensure that Australian exports are provided with adequate, efficient and economical shipping services. It is recognised that in providing these services ship owners are entitled to a reasonable return on their investment.
Against this background it is obvious to us all that there are inflationary pressures which do affect costs in both this community and the overseas community. The Government is keeping a very close watch on any movement, i. am unable to say what the assurances were that were given to the Senate Select Committee on Containerisation, but I am sure that the Government will be keeping them in mind. Equally, it will be keeping in mind anything that it can do to keep freights within bounds.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether he recalls a statement by the Minister for Primary Industry earlier
Questions 1921 this year, following a meeting of the Agricultural Council, in which he referred to new standards of inspection which were required for dripping and edible tallow and which had been agreed to as necessary by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to an article in a Sydney newspaper on Saturday last in which the writer claimed that only wholesome materials were used in the manufacture of edible tallow? Can the Minister advise the Senate whether new inspection standards have brought about the situation claimed by the article? Have the States agreed to adopt the recommendations and the new standards required by the National Health and Medical Research Council?
– I well recall the Minister’s statement earlier in the year. 1 also recall a question to me earlier in the year from Senator Webster on this matter. However, at present 1 cannot add to the information that was given by the Minister at the time. Hut I shall make inquiries and let the honourable senator know the result by letter.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. In view of the great deposits of uranium in Australia and the overseas interest in their development, will the Australian Government consider enriching its uranium or having it fabricated here before selling it overseas in order to get increased export earnings? Has the Government taken this type of action in the metals field, metals being pelletised in Australia before being sold abroad?
– I do not think there is a great deal of similarity between the process of pelletising iron ore and the process of enriching uranium. But the principle the honourable senator has put forward is, I suppose, the same in thai what Australia should seek to do is to take the manufacture of its raw materials to as many stages as is possible in order to enhance the price structure. I cannot say any more than that. I do not know the activities of the Department of National Development in the field of studying uranium enrichment, but 1 can assure the 3 Novemher 1 970 honourable senator that in the broad sense and as a financial proposition in regard to Australia’s raw materials, particularly minerals, this is under examination all the time.
-I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Minister noted the discrepancy between firstly what appears in the Australian Labor Party’s platform, wherein it is stated that the Labor Party seeks a 35-hour week with progressive reductions to 30 hours, and also the power of the Parliament to fix industrial conditions; secondly, statements by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Whitlam, and the new Vice-President of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Hawke, seeking a reduction in working hours; and thirdly, the statements by the Labor Party’s shadow Minister for Primary Industry, Dr Patterson, saying in effect that rural industry could not afford a reduction in hours? Is the Minister able to say anything which would help to resolve this discrepancy in the minds of the Australian people? Has the Minister consulted the Minister for Primary Industry to ascertain whether a statement can be produced showing the adverse effects on rural industry of an overall reduction in working hours?
– As one who has spent a good deal of his time in rural industries, I have been very interested in the announcements made by various people concerning reduction of the working week to 35 hours. A reduction of the working week by one-eighth must inflict on industries an increased labour cost of about 14 per cent. During the past week I have been listening to speeches by members of the Opposition about the dire straits of the primary industries at the present time. I think nothing could be more disastrous for a rural industry than an increase in work costs. I well recall that when wool prices increased in 1951 the Australian Workers Union sought a prosperity loading in the pastoral award. I believe that it is fair that those who are bound by that award should now give something in return to the primary industries for their efforts.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Do I understand from the Minister’s reply to me yesterday that the report on the siting of a second Sydney airport has not yet been forwarded to the Government of New South Wales, notwithstanding the fact that it has been with the Minister since 24th September, some 6 weeks ago? Because the interdepartmental committee that was established by the Government to inquire into the matter first commenced its sittings in January 1969, and because of the urgency of the matter, I ask: How much longer does the Minister intend to sit on the report before there is likely to be some sign of it beginning to hatch?
– As a matter of interest I extracted from Hansard a series of questions on this subject which I believe I have answered promptly, properly and accurately. Questions were asked on 19th August 1970, 21st August, 24th September, 30th September, 13th October, 20th October, 21st October, 26th October and 2nd November. If the honourable senator will study those questions at his leisure, if he gets any, he will find that my replies have been given continuously and have been of the same character. The report is still in the hands of the Department of Civil Aviation and is receiving every attention. It will continue to receive attention. As soon as the study is finished and I get a chance to look at the report after the Senate rises, I will communicate with the State Government. I can say no more, I can say no less. Attempts to make me personally responsible and unpopular I could not care less about.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is the Minister aware that the road toll is increasing at a very rapid rate and is now soaring towards the level of 4,000 deaths per annum? Does the Minister agree that the road toll is now so high in deaths and injuries that it must be regarded as being in the nature of a permanent national disaster? Will the Minister request the Minister for Shipping and Transport to reconsider the extent of the Commonwealth Government’s activity in providing funds and personnel for research by road traffic authorities into driver training and licensing, and to consider assisting or encouraging the introduction and use of helicopter ambulances, at least in the main urban areas, so as to assist in reducing the incidence and severity of road accidents.
– I am concerned, as obviously Senator Rae is, at the increasing number of road deaths. It is quite alarming and most upsetting. The Minister is involved in a consideration of these activities with the Transport Advisory Council of the Commonwealth and the States. I know he is worried about this. I shall direct this question to him and try to get an answer for Senator Rae before we rise.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport a question. Will he inform roe what benefit the wool grower obtains from the Australian National Line engaging in overseas activities and carrying his wool overseas? I point out that as the Australian National Line has joined the conference lines it must charge the same freight rates as the other shipping companies. Why has the Government refused permission to the Australian National Line to increase freight rates from Tasmania to the mainland while it has allowed the Line to become a member of the conference lines and as such to undertake to charge the same freight rates as the other members of the conference?
– That is a question I shall have to ask the honourable senator to put on notice. I will try to get an answer from the Minister for Shipping and Transport before we rise. The question contains many elements that should be answered by the Minister himself.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. If it is the intention of the Minister to produce at the request of Senator Greenwood a statement on the effects of a reduction in hours in rural industries will the Minister in preparing that statement indicate the number of workers who would be affected in the rural industries by a reduction of hours? Will the Minister include in the statement a record of the effect of the contract system being used in rural industries to avoid award provisions relating to hours of work? How many rural industry awards now contain provision for a 40-hour week? When the Minister was operating farms in Western Australia what were the hours of his workers under the farm workers’ award of Western Australia? Is the 40-hour week in industry generally still being phased in by the requirement of workers to work reasonable overtime?
– I made no promise to Senator Greenwood that 1 would make a statement. 1 was answering off the cuff a question that he asked me. In regard to the number of awards, I heard Senator Cant ask the Leader of the Government the other day to provide a list of the awards and I think the Leader replied that he would seek that information, so I am not going to reply to that part of the question. The farm workers’ award is not the only award that a farmer is bound by. He also comes under the pastoralists award.
– No, he does not.
– If the honourable senator wants to argue that, I point out to him that I paid rates for years te shearers who came under the pastoralists award and during the course of shearing no-one worked more than 40-hours a week.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry supplementary to that asked by Senator Cant. Is it not an economic fact that any cost factor affecting any industry in Australia is reflected ultimately throughout the economy, including primary industry, so that any increase in the cost of production in any industry in Australia will have an effect upon primary industry? Therefore would a 35-hour week not have an adverse effect upon primary industry?
– The mere reduction of the 40-hour week to a 35-hour week must have a terrific direct cost effect immediately all over the community.
– Forty-four hours in many cases.
– I am talking about a 40-hour week; it is mostly 40 hours. When this direct cost is passed down to the primary industries, as all costs are passed down, the increase is somewhere in the vicinity of 20 per cent and not 14 per cent, which would be the simple percentage decrease in hours. No industry which has to export its goods to markets 12,000 miles away can stand this sort of an increase.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, ls it not a fact that the mechanisation of rural industries by large companies and the Government’s policy of amalgamation of rural properties call for a reduction of hours for rural workers not to 35 a week but to no hours at all? Is this not supported by the evidence of drift from the rural sector to the cities? Is this situation not caused by the faulty economic rural policy of this Government?
– The drift of rural population from the country to the city is caused by increased costs and falling returns. As announced in the Budget, the Government is trying to do and will do everything that it can to effect farm reconstruction and debt adjustment in an endeavour lo assist these people.
– And that means just plain nothing.
– Well, if that means must plain nothing in Senator Poke’s language, it means a great deal to the people whom this will affect vitally. I think that I have covered most of the points raised in the rest of the question.
– Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate affirm that the Government supports the right of people in this community to dissent? I ask further: With the Senate election to be held on 21st November, can the Leader of the Government convey any information as to the outcome of the serious division in Labor ranks, in Victoria at least, as noted by the very large Labor meeting which expressed- (Opposition senators interjecting) -
– I will repeat that question.
– Yes, I would think the honourable senator would.
– With the Senate election to be held on 21st November, can the Minister convey any information as to the outcome of the serious division in Labor ranks, in Victoria at least, as noted by the very large Labor meeting which expressed its dissent with the actions of the Federal Executive of the ALP in that State? Can the Minister suggest any reason why, as the Senate election is to be held on 21st November, the apparent outcome of the problems of this strife-ridden Parly will be known following a meeting on 22nd November?
First I was asked to express a view in relation to the Government’s attitude on dissent. All I can say is what I have said in this place so many limes before. The right to dissent is an inherent part of our Constitution and an inherent part of our democratic way of life. What the Government says - and 1 am sure what every sensible person says - is that such dissent of necessity and very properly must be within the framework of the laws of the land. Once dissent goes beyond the laws of the land it becomes the law of the jungle: and it is anarchy. There is no doubt about that.
So, the right of assembly, the right to dissent and the right to express a view against the establishments of the land are part of our heritage. But it has never been part of our heritage that somebody could say: ‘I do not like that law; therefore I have the right to break it’. Therefore, dissent has lo be within the framework of the law. The law is framed in such a way. As to the machinations and problems of the Australian Labor Party, well, I do not wish lo reflect upon those beyond saying that people are entitled to draw their own inference from the fact that the day after the forthcoming Senate election has been picked for the decision on a certain matter.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the
Minister for Primary Industry. Are we to understand from his answers to earlier questions concerning working hours in industry that the Minister would be in favour of lengthening the existing hours worked by Australian workers? Does he believe that the present 40-hour week is inadequate? If so, will he made clear during the current Senate campaign in Western Australia, particularly in the metropolitan area, that he favours an extension of existing working hours?
– I am a great unionist at heart. I have demonstrated my belief by joining a union. Workers under awards relating to the pastoral industry and farm workers have obtained certain hours. I would not like to see them increased or decreased. But if Senator Wheeldon wants to go out into the country areas of Western Australia and advocate an increase of something like 20 per cent in costs in order to give the rural workers a 35-hour working week, I would be very happy for him lo do so.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. Who determines whether persons are to be prosecuted for breaches of the Crimes Act and, in particular, the offence of inciting the commission of offences against Commonwealth law? Is it the Attorney-General personally or is it an officer of his Department? What are the relevant considerations in determining whether such prosecutions are to be instituted and, in particular, what were the considerations which influenced the launching of prosecutions against certain students at Swinburne College of Technology as reported in the last week?
– I would have thought that the procedure that a proposal for prosecution goes through would be fairly well understood. The police prepare a brief and if it is a question involving legal considerations it is submitted to the Attorney-General’s staff for professional advice and then to the Attorney-General for decision. Not all cases involve that procedure. Clear cases would be taken by officers on their own responsibility, but the final responsibility for prosecutions is the responsibility of the Attorney-General. I regret that I have no information relating to the group of prosecutions to which the honourable senator has referred. I shall obtain that information for him.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories aware that the Madang Branch of the Pangu Pati has been told that the permission of the District Commissioner must be obtained before a meeting can be conducted? Will the Minister agree that such action is a serious breach of civil liberties? Will he contract to see that the practice ceases forthwith and that no restrictions will be placed on branches of the Pangu Pati, which is a highly responsible and legal organisation
– I have no knowledge of the facts that the honourable senator suggests. The question as to modification of the right of assembly depends so much upon the circumstances local to the incident, and I am not well enough informed of those local circumstances to bc able to give the honorable senator a responsible answer. I shall obtain a comment for the honorable senator from the Minister himself and communicate it to him.
– I direct my question lo the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the fact that Government representatives claim that reduced working hours inevitably mean increased costs, does this mean that the Government intends to increase from 37) hours to 40 hours the working week for all Commonwealth public servants?
The honorable senator’s question has no relevance to the questions asked and the answers that have been given about a shorter working week.
– 1 ask the Leader of the Government: What does the Government propose to do about the current increases being applied in freight rates in relation to Australian exports to the United Kingdom and also about the now threatened increase by Overseas Containers Ltd that freight rates will be increased during the current year to a yet higher level than the rates now applying, which have already been subject to recent increases of between 4 per cent and 10 per cent? Has the Minister rejected an Australian shippers’ conference request to the Government that it intercede in this matter and attempt to get lower freight rates applied? I also ask: What will the Government do about the request by that body that the subject matter should be put to the Trade Practices Commission to see to what extent some control might be exercised, in view of the fact that now the Australian Shipping Commission is part of the AustralianUnited Kingdom conference, to see that Australian producers get a fair go?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThe honourable senator has just asked me 6 questions, according to my tally. I think the proper thing to do, because it is an important matter, is to ask that the question be put on notice for submission in the first instance to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I invite the honourable senator to put his question on notice.
– I desire to ask a question of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, lt follows the question asked of him by Senator Webster who endeavoured to emphasise what was happening in the Australian Labor Party in Victoria. Am 1 correct in saying that there has never been any trouble in the Country Party in Victoria because it has always been known that it is an appendage of the Liberal Party and that its representatives in this chamber are always happy to agree with the policy of the Liberal Party as long as the Liberal Party is prepared to place them in the No. 2 position on the Senate ballot paper?
– All I can say to Senator Kennelly’s question, if it is a question, is that the Government Parties are happy in their coalition.
– 1 desire to ask a question of the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Do not statistics disclose that there was a rapid increase in Australia’s development and an increase in Australia’s prosperity and in manufacturers and farmers’ profits following the introduction of the 40-hour week in Australia? Did not production in terms of man hours worked increase after the introduction of the 40-hour week? What reason has the Minister to conclude that a further reduction in the number of working hours would not have the same beneficial effect as did the introduction of the 40-hour week 23 years ago?
– All the questions concerning this matter which have been asked this morning have been related to primary industry and to the effect which the reduction of about 121 per cent in the number of working hours in the week would have upon the rural economy. Senator Cavanagh now asks a question in which he expounds a theory on economics which, quite frankly, rather rocked mc. He has suggested that the skills which Australia has developed, the great industrial development that has taken place and the great mineral discoveries we have made, which obviously have had an important effect upon the economy in certain fields, have resulted from the previous reduction in the number of working hours in a week. I cannot buy that proposition, and I would be surprised if anybody in the world would buy it.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether it is a fact that the Queensland State Government has failed to place before the Commonwealth Government any properly documented plans for drought relief, water conservation and rural development for almost a year. Docs the Minister agree that this delay in producing such plans and in seeking Commonwealth financial assistance has been brought about because of the wide split in the Country Party in Queensland and the division in the coalition in that State?
– What the honourable senator says in the first part of his question is not a fact. I shall seek details of this matter and let him have them. I. will not answer the remaining part of the question.
– My question is directed to either the Minister for Civil Aviation or the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer to reported studies which have been made by the 2 domestic airlines in relation to their future requirements for aircraft and to the fact that Trans-Australia Airlines has said that it is studying the Tri-Star aircraft, the DC10 aircraft and the European Airbus. I ask the Minister: As he has been requested before to consider to what extent Australian industry might participate through co-production or offset orders in relation to our internal requirements for civil airlines, will he again consider, before approval is given to the airlines to make these purchases overseas, what arrangements might be made to have some amount of the work required in reequipment proposals done in Australia?
– This has been brought up in the Senate on a number of occasions by Senator Bishop. I can well remember him asking a question like this some time ago and my giving him an answer that I would do something about it and talk to the responsible airlines. I have done that. Once the Senate rises and the election is over one will obviously get more time to deal with the administration of the Department of Civil Aviation and I shall be taking it up again.
– My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate as the representative of the Treasurer. Is it not a fact that productivity and productivity alone is the major factor in determining what increases in wage rates and decreases in working hours are possible if real value is to be retained in the worker’s pay packet and a competitive position maintained in our overseas trade?
– There is no doubt in the world that productivity is the basis of all variations in wages and prices. If increases in wages and salaries are required they can be granted in a situation in which productivity is rising. But if there is no increase in productivity then we have no capacity to make such increases. Productivity enables us to produce goods which can be sold on overseas markets, and this is one of the basic needs of our economy. The point that the honourable senator has made is a very good ohe.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Having in mind past experience, is the Government in a position to protect the primary producer against the arbitrary decision by the internationally owned shipping monopolies known as the conference lines to increase freight rates?
– A number of answers have been given on this subject not only today but on previous occasions. The responsible Minister and the officers of the Department of Shipping and Transport have all been trying very hard to protect the interests of the Australian exporter and the Australian community. They will continue to do so. They are not really able to do more but they will certainly do their best.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. I refer to the law and order syndrome of which most of us are aware and to the failure of the Government to enforce law and order effectively. Does the Minister share my misgivings about the inability of the Commonwealth and Victorian police to apprehend the perpetrator of the bombing of the Yugoslav Consulate in Melbourne?
– Undoubtedly one shares the honourable senator’s misgivings that the efforts to apprehend these criminals up to date have not been fruitful, but I have known many police investigations to take longer than this and still bring the culprits to trial.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether the need is so great that we should depart from practice and not take a short recess this afternoon for the period when most of industry will stop. If we continue it will necessitate the attendance of the Clerks and officers of the House during this period of a quarter of an hour’s duration.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONWe will carry on during that time. It may well be that we will be a bit thin in numbers, but I want lo keep going.
– You will have to keep the quorum.
That is all right. If that procedure commenced of course the heat would be on and we could really start to play it hard.
– Why will you not be sensible about it?
I am prepared to keep the Senate here. If the honourable senator wants to go for a short time he may do so. Nobody imagines that honourable senators remain in the Senate from the time we start at 10 a.m. until we finish at 11 p.m. We move in and out and there is no reason why honourable senators should not do that during the afternoon.
35-HOUR WORKING WEEK
Si’ mi lor KENNELLY - I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. If my hearing serves me correctly, and as a rule it does, he stated that the 35-hour week could mean as much as a 20 per cent increase in rural costs. I ask him, in a very kindly way, of course, whether he has read the report of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics which indicates that in respect of the wheat industry such a working week would mean an additional cost of approximately 1.75 per cent, or 2.65c per bushel. I ask him how he reconciles that 20 per cent - a lovely round figure - which he stated without any facts-
– Order! The honourable senator must not debate the question.
– I am not making a speech. I want to ask him a question.
– Well ask him the question.
– I should be grateful if the Minister would inform me of the basis for his statement. If he has no basis, as undoubtedly he has not, will he admit that 20 per cent is a little out of order?
– I should think that it is a matter of simple arithmetic. A reduction of 5 hours, from 40 hours to 35 hours, is one-eighth of the time.
– And one-eighth of 100 does not make you right, does it?
– No, but when we take 5 over 35, which must be the increase in costs, this is one-seventh and that works out at an increase of about 14 per cent. I have never seen an increase granted to any sector of the community that did not lead to added costs by the time it reached the primary industries. My assumption would be that there would not be a direct increase of 14 per cent but. by the time it hit the farmer on the land, it would be 20 per cent.
– I understand that the Leader of the Government has said that the Senate will not adjourn for an important national event.
– Are you advocating that we suspend the sitting?
– I am asking a question. If you want to ask it, I will sit down. Have I the floor, Mr President?
– As long as what you are doing is asking a question.
– I understand that the Leader of the Government has said that the House will not adjourn for 5 or 6 minutes this afternoon. If that be the case - and he, as Leader of the Senate, has the right to compel it to sit - will he make sure that his members form the quorum of the Senate during that time?
I need to repeat what I said some days ago to Senator Kennelly. Senator Kennelly is an old parliamentarian of long standing. He knows, as well as every other parliamentarian knows - or he should know - that in the final analysis the responsibility to keep a House is the responsibility of the Government. This is a fact. Having said that, I would ask for some co-operation this afternoon to keep the House for the very few minutes to which the honourable senator refers.
(Question No. 554)
SenatorDEVITT asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
Do the provisions of Section 18(1) of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act 1956-1962 require the payment to the Commonwealth of a reasonable return on the Capital of the Commission.
Does Section 92 of the Commonwealth Constitution, which takes precedures of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act 1956-1962, require that trade, commerce and intercourse between the Slates shall be absolutely free.
Would any law which operated to the serious disadvantage of any one State, so as to affect adversely trade between that State and any other State, be in conflict with the spirit and intention of Section 92 of the Constitution.If so, would it not follow that section 18(1) of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act is ultravires the Constitution and therefore without any force or validity as an argument to justify freight increase in the case of Tasmania which has no interstate land transport system as an alternative to shipping and where trade, commerce and intercourse between the States, as a consequence of a recent rise in shipping freights is not now absolutely free.
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 422)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
If the document entitled Australian Military Forces PocketbookSouth Vietnam is on issue to the defence forces, and even if it is on a restricted list, will he make a copy available to the Senate for perusal.
– The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Australian Military Forces Pocketbook South Vietnam’ is issued to troops on posting for service in South Vietnam. I am prepared to make a copy of the booklet available to the honourable Senator for his perusal.
(Question No. 423)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
– The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 761)
Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
How many faculty quotas in the various universities throughout Australia are the result of (a) insufficient finance, both recurrent and capital, and (b) the maximum desired intake, as determined by the faculty, having been reached.
– The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Large universities, which must limit their growth for various reasons, including the physical limitations of the campus, apply quotas in order to control their intake. Those small universities which apply quotas to their enrolments do so in order to keep their rate of growth at a level which they consider manageable. It follows that the quotas rise in conformity with the rate of growth. The financial provision made for all universities in the form of government grants for both capital and recurrent expenditure is related to their planned enrolments. In all cases the size of quotas is determined by universities themselves and it is my experience that they act in this matter with great responsibility.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - Are Notices of Motion Nos 2 and 3, Business of the Senate, standing in the name of Senator Cavanagh formal or informal?
Motions (by Senator Cavanagh) agreed to:
That there be referred to the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare the following matter - The petition presented to the Senate on 28th October, 1970 by Senator Cavanagh, relating to crime in Australia.
That there be referredto the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare the following matter - The petition presented to the Senate on 2nd November, 1970 by Senator Cavanagh, relating to crime in Australia.
Motion (by Senator Willesee) agreedto:
That consideration of Notice of Motion No. 1, Business of the Senate, be postponed until tomorrow.
Consideration resumed from 2 November (vide page 1918).
Department of Trade and Industry
Proposed expenditure, $40,030,000 less $2,350,000 for the Australian Tourist Commission.
– I regret that when the Estimates Committee was discussing these estimates I did not have at my disposal the information which 1 commenced to give last night when I was speaking in the Estimates debate and which I will continue to give this morning. I was pleased to have the opportunity to mention this matter last night because it gave an opportunity to the departmental officers to obtain answers to some of the questions that I raised. If this information had been available 1 would have taken up the matter with the Public Accounts Committee because I believe that an explanation is required. In turn, if my information is correct I believe that the Department of Trade and Industry has much to answer. This information came to me by virtue of discussions 1 had with members of the Federated Clerks Union who advised me that this sort of activity had been conducted by the Department. I want to know whether an outside firm, the Drake Overload agency, was brought in to assist the Department of Trade and Industry by providing staff from outside the Department to work overtime from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. If so, could not the competent staff of the Department have done this work? If the overtime appropriation had not been spent then it should have been used on this work. If this firm was brought in because the overtime appropriation had reached the stage at which it was insufficient for the purpose - and I think there may have been some juggling there - then it was quite inappropriate and incorrect for the Department take that course. It had the opportunity to come backto the Treasurer for a supplementary appropriation and it should have done so. How long did this work go on? What was the cost of employing this firm? I did mention the fact that the Federated Clerks Union came into this because some employees were paid $2 an hour and union members objected most strongly to this. They took the matter to the union which took appropriate action with the Public Service Board to have this practice stopped. I also asked the Minister when the Public Service Board stopped the employment of this firm after complaints from the Federated Clerks Union that the employees were underpaid? While it may be argued, of course, that it is not the responsibility of the Department of Trade to find what wages are being paid to employees of an outside firm, I do think there is an obligation on a government organisation to see that correct overtime rates are paid by any person or agency with which it is involved. The answers to those questions will be very useful to me and I know they are looked forward to with some degree of interest by outside bodies such as the union.
(11.7) - I would like to get a more complete answer for Senator Fitzgerald to the cases he has stated. 1 will see that that is done. 1 have a very brief note to which I shall refer in passing. The Department has part time typists with the approval of the Public Service Board. These are married women with school children, and during school holidays these ladies are given leave without pay to care for their children. That is one aspect. Together with normal absenteeism through sick and recreation leave and other staff shortages, the total shortfall of staff is almost half the typing strength in school holidays. As the Department was faced with visits by 3 overseas missions which arrived at very short notice and was also faced with the preparation of the International Grains Arrangement meeting it was essential to obtain typing resources quickly. The senator has gone beyond this reference and I think he is entitled to have a considered reply rather than a reply on the run by mc in the Estimates debate.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of External Affairs
Proposed expenditure 581,276,600.
– My remarks are directed to Division 250-Administralive. As several Estimates Committees were meeting simultaneously I could not raise this matter before the appropriate committee. During the debate on last year’s Estimates I raised with the then Minister the matter of the recruitment of staff for our embassy at Belgrade in Yugoslavia and the planned expansion - although some of it is in the immigration category - of our activities in that country. I was given a breakdown showing the number of people recruited from Australia as distinct from those recruited in Yugoslavia or in England. We now have in this country a group of people whose parent were post-war migrants. Some of them have an obvious aptitude for European languages, and it seems to me that recruitment to the Department of External Affairs staff should show a reasonable intake of children of post-war migrants.
(11.10) - I am unable to supply specific information at this moment. In the circumstances I think I should obtain the information for the honourable senator. I would hope to do this today.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of the Treasury
Proposed expenditure SS3,O6S,000.
– [ have had only a short time in which to look at the estimates for the Department of the Treasury but I would like to refer, under Administration, to a reply to a question which I received yesterday regarding workers compensation and which I do not think is satisfactory. There is a need for further protection to be given to workers who are injured in the future. In this case Judge Levine heard 2 appeals, one against the decision of the Commissioner for Workers’ Compensation revoking some 33 previous determinations in favour of the applicants after the death of this worker and before the case came on for appeal. In the opinion of the court this was contrary to section 6 (3.) of the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act which demanded equity and good conscience to be the guiding factors in the activities of the Commissioner.
The facts of this matter are that the worker had a complaint for 13 years and the medical reports stated that this complaint caused his death. In 33 applications over the 13 years the Commission had issued determinations in favour of the worker either granting medical expenses when the applications were for medical expenses or alternatively granting workers compensation. In this case when the application was made for benefits under the Act after the death of the worker the determination of the Commissioner was that the Commonwealth was not liable to pay compensation for the death of the worker. On appeal it was found that the evidence would be that the determinations which had been made and which accepted liability for the workers’ condition as one of the contributing causes of death had all been revoked and were therefore not available to rely on as an argument by the applicant in this case that the Commissioner had on behalf of the Commonwealth admitted liability for a condition up until ihe death of a worker, lt was then necessary to make application to the court to appeal against the revocation of the earlier determinations. This appeal was upheld by the court, thus permitting the use of those determinations in evidence to establish prima facie the liability of the Commonwealth. Judge Levine made this statement:
I certainly take the view that the Commissioner did not comply with section 6 (3.) of the Act and hold that this court could not, in equity and good conscience, make an order revoking, at this stage, the previous determinations made in favour of the deceased.
This is criticism of the Commissioner by the Judge. Wilh a view to protecting any future applicant in a similar circumstance 1. asked the Minister representing the Treasurer this question upon notice:
The answer was: ‘Yes. lt was a criticism of the Commissioner.
My next question was:
Did- ihe judge:
. express the opinion that, the action of the Commissioner was like a trick of advocacy and done to withdraw what otherwise appeared to be an admission of liability favourable la the worker?
The answer was yes, that the judge did express the opinion that here was the Commissioner, representing the Commonwealth, doing something which in the mind of the judge was like a trick of advocacy to withdraw what otherwise would appear to be an admission of liability favourable to the worker.
My final question was:
What action has been taken by the Treasurer, in view of this judgment, to ensure at all times that the Commissioner shall act in accordance with equity and good conscience and not prejudice claims by dependants of injured or deceased employees.
The reply was:
The delegate in the Office of the Commissioner reached the conclusion that the earlier acceptance of liability for the employee’s condition had resulted from an incorrect interpretation of facts, the material records of which were and still are available. The delegate considered that, had these facts been correctly evaluated at the time, the late Mr Shearer’s original claim would have been disallowed when it was considered in 1956 and no compensation would have been paid. Subsequently, the delegate considered he was required to take all possible steps to prevent the earlier error being compounded, and having concluded that the Commonwealth should not be required to meet further payments, i.e., payments in respect of the employee’s death, he considered himself obliged to exercise the discretion available under section 6 of the Aci and revoke the earlier determinations. I am satisfied that at the time he took the decision, the delegate was convinced that he was acting in good conscience in accordance with the requirements of section 6(3.) of the Act, bearing in mind that in an earlier appeal case, Adams v. the Commonwealth, heard during 1966 in the Country Court in Melbourne, his Honour Judge Rapke had ruled that section 6(3.) was applicable not only to protect the interests of claimants but also the interests of the Commonwealth.
Here we find criticism by the presiding judge of the action of the Commissioner who revoked determinations after the death of the worker when he knew that the matter was coming on for appeal. This action again is upheld by the Treasurer in his reply to my question. It is justified because the Treasurer says that the Commonwealth is protected by the use of equity and good conscience by the Commissioner. Despite the way in which some previous judgments may be interpreted 1 say that equity and good conscience at all times is not strictly in accordance with the law when evidence which may assist the other party is not disclosed, hidden, withdrawn or is not made available.
In 33 previous determinations a prima facie case had been established to demonstrate the guilt of the Commonwealth in this respect. Those determinations were revoked and destroyed. In the opinion of the presiding judge, this was not a proper exercise by the Commissioner. The judge disallowed the revocation in the case before him. What the judge said was not a proper exercise has been justified by the Treasurer. If it had not been the case that an organisation with sufficient finances was available to support the appeal made on behalf of the dependants of the deceased - in this case, 2 appeals were necessary - we can see that many workmen or the families of deceased workmen will be denied their claims to workers compensation unless we can get some assurance from the Treasurer that the action by the Commissioner will not be upheld. The action by the Commissioner has been criticised by a presiding judge. I ask the Treasurer to condemn such action and give some assurance that more protection than has been given in this case will be given to injured workers who have a claim against the Commonwealth.
– I seek information in regard to loan management expenses. 1 will illustrate my problem in this way: Several years ago, on the self same estimates, I questioned whether the judgment of the Commonwealth Bank in giving loan advertisements to some obscure newspapers in Sydney was of any value. 1 did this because I felt that room existed for expansion of such advertising in some of the foreign language newspapers in Sydney. I made a request on behalf of the ‘Yugoslav Australian Journal’ which over the last 10 years has come out consistently on a monthly basis. It has expanded its layout, size and circulation. L was told that a virtual freeze applied to such advertising.
I do not object completely to that. I realise that some control must be exercised but I questioned the wisdom of having advertisements placed in the ‘Century’ newspaper. At the time 1 was told that the Commonwealth Bank felt it was justified. 1 was told later that eventually advertising in the ‘Century’ newspaper probably would taper off. I have not watched that obscure newspaper as closely lately as I used to. But I would like to know whether this is the case. ‘A very reputable person in the Sydney community - I refer to the Mayor of Burwood, Alderman Doug Sutherland, one of the officials of the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board - told me that, when the ‘Century’ newspaper asked the Board for advertising an inquiry to the Bureau responsible for audit circulation revealed that the Bureau could not give any information on the newspaper because the advertising content of the Century’ newspaper was below the minimum circulation that justifies any rating by the Bureau. I conclude on this point by saying simply that I would like some clear cut understanding as lo whether ‘Century’ newspaper is still getting up on its hind legs and begging for handouts from Commonwealth departments or whether rightly it has been relegated to an area outside these loan advertisement handouts.
While I am on my feet, to take a stand opposite to the one that I have just taken, I commended the officers of the Bureau of Census and Statistics for their work over the year and especially for the recent pamphlet that the Bureau has issued. This pamphlet in pocket form gives a quick summary of Australia with broad statistical details. This is a service to democracy. I think that the more people who have these basic factors before them the better. The money expended by the Bureau in this direction is money well spent. The Bureau gives good value in its activities for its expenditure.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Supply) (11.22) - The matter raised by Senator Cavanagh was in response to ti reply which he received yesterday to question number 757 which he had asked in the Semite, which I had asked him to put on notice and to which I furnished a reply yesterday. In his contribution this morning, the honourable senator took the Committee through the answer given and made some observations about it. 1 gather that the purpose in doing that was to get on the record the point of view that he holds in relation to the answers as provided.
– lt was to obtain rectification in regard to the attitude of the Department.
That is the point to which 1 was coming, in getting on to the record his views, the honourable senator has made inherent in his comment the suggestion that the responsible Government department should look at the views expressed. He has suggested that there is an equity in the situation and that he would want some rectification of it. All I can say to the honourable senator at this time is that I will have his views as he has expressed them transposed from Hansard and directed to the relevant department. I am not certain that this is the Department of the Treasury because I would think that the point of view expressed by the Treasurer, would be one for a legal view as to the procedures adopted by commissioners in relation to the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act. It may be that the views as expressed by the Treasurer (Mr Bury) have come from the Attorney-General’s Department. However, I will faithfully see that this is done. That is as far as I can go.
asked a question in relation to loan management expenses. The answer that I have in relation to this item is not pertinent to the point that the honourable senator raised in relation to a particular journal. Properly the matter would need to be looked at. Consequently, 1 will need to take the question on board and get a reply to him on that matter.
– I take advantage of the debate on the estimates of the Department of the Treasury, particularly in relation to the Commonwealth Superannuation Board and the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Board. I will be critical of the Commonwealth Superannuation Board for forcing me, as a member of the Parliament, continually to have to dig for information. It appears to me that there has been an attempt by the Board to hide information which has been genuinely sought about the administration of the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund. Seemingly one has to dig and delve by way of placing questions on the notice paper before one can receive even what one might regard as a halfhearted answer. During the last sessional period [ placed a question on the notice paper. I though it was a simple and succinct question. It was:
I would have thought that the answer to be provided to that question would have been simple. It was on 19th August last that the Minister representing the Treasurer (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson), as reported on page 59 of the Senate Hansard, provided me with a great number of details about loans that had been made to what one might refer to in the broad as local government organisations. For instance, he mentioned the Hunter District Water Board, the Housing Commission of New South Wales, the Bathurst City Council, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works and a great number of other organisations which in the broad might be categorised as local government organisations. But being of the belief that money from the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund was not being loaned to only governmental or semi-governmental organisations, I placed another question on the notice paper on 16th September this year. I asked the following question:
Further to the reply provided to Senator McClelland on 19th August. . . . containing details of Commonwealth Superannuation Fund investments in Commonwealth stock, local government authorities, banks and other institutions, have any companies, organisations or individuals had loans made available to them which have been secured by mortgages of land or property; if so, which companies, organisation or individuals have received loans by way of mortgage of land or property, and at what rate of interest, over tha last 5 years, from the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund? 1 mention that question to indicate that it was basically covered by the first question that I had posed to the Treasurer (Mr Bury) during the last sessional period. Yesterday the Minister representing the Treasurer came up with an answer that in addition to the matter set out in Hansard of 19th August loans were made available to companies, organisations and individuals secured by mortages of land and real property to the extent of $15,8.90,000 in 1965-66, $3,510,000 in 1966-67, §15,355,000 in 1967-68, $8,219,000 in 1968-69 and $20,643,000 in 1969-70. I want to know why the Department could not have provided me with this additional information when I posed during the last sessional period the question to which I received a reply on 19th August. That answer should have covered the additional details that were provided to me only yesterday, because my simple, succinct question posed last sessional period was:
To what companies, organisations or individuals, if -any, has the Commonwealth Superannuation Board loaned money over the last 5 years?
Because I dug for additional information I have been able to ascertain that some S63m that has been loaned by the Board over the last 5 years had been excluded from the answer provided to me on 19th August. So far as this Parliament is concerned, as the custodian of the people is money, it is just not good enough on the part of the Superannuation Board to treat us in this manner. We have a responsibility to a large number of people. We members of the Opposition have a responsibility to a large number of unions, and when unions request us to seek information of this nature, and it is not readily forthcoming, one can understand the reasons for suspicion on the part of unions and union members. I urge the Minister representing the Treasurer to make some inquiries of the Superannuation Board to find out why this additional information was not readily forthcoming in the earlier reply I received on 19th August. The reply I received yesterday went on to state:
The Superannuation Board, which includes a member elected by the contributors, who is a party to all investment decisions, enters into private negotiations when a loan is to be secured by a mortgage of land or real property. Such negotiations are confidential between the Board and its client and reflect the established practice for lending institutions such as the Superannuation Board. Hie .Board does not, therefore, publish details of individual mortgage investments.
That might be fair enough. I suppose one can regard it as a financial arrangement existing between the Board and the Board’s client in much the same way as a transaction between a commercial bank and its client would be arranged. But 1 ask: If the information about the loans made available to the local government organisations can be made public, why can this additional information not be made public? Why is it sauce for the goose but not for the gander?
On behalf of public servants, who are very interested in this matter, 1 suggest that details of these transactions should bc made public. After all, it is Commonwealth public servants’ money, and 1 understand that the policy of the Commonwealth Superannuation Board - the Minister can correct me if I am wrong - is not to advance loans from the Superannuation Fund to public servants who are anxious to secure loans at a reasonable rate of interest for the purchase or the construction of a home or for other purposes connected with their family welfare. Yet we find that over the last 5 years more than S60m has been loaned to private individuals, organisations and companies from the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund, and this information is now to be regarded as confidential. Firstly, as a member of Parliament, T take umbrage at the cavalier manner in which my first simple question was brushed aside, T suggest, in a deliberate attempt to hoodwink me into believing that money from the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund was made available to local government or semi-governmental institutions only and that no loans were being made to private companies, organisations or individuals. I have now received additional information that over the last 5 years about $63m has been advanced to private companies, organisations or individuals, but 1 have been told that the information about these loans, as distinct from loans to local government organisations, are to be regarded as confidential between the Board and the borrowing clients.
I raise these matters and ask the Treasurer to investigate them further in order to ensure that next time we members of Parliament seek information from the Commonwealth Superannuation Board there will be no attempt by the Board - or by any Government department for that matter - to hide behind a smoke screen and give the impression that no loans are being made to private organisations or individuals.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Supply) (1 1 .35) - T do not subscribe to the strong views expressed by Senator McClelland on this matter. It is true that there may have been some margin of error in the interpretation of his original question and his subsequent question. In his original question he asked for information about individuals, and he now protests that this information was not made available to him. It was only in answer to his subsequent question that he was told that advances were made, but he was not given information about the particular individuals to whom these advances were made.
Conceding that point - only marginally and not in the strong language which Senator McClelland used - he then went on to argue against the proposal that information about loans should not be held to be confidential. He draws an analogy and says that because information about loans made to public authorities, including local government authorities, is made available, information about loans to individuals or to companies should also be made available. I suggest to him that he cannot sustain that argument to any degree because it would in fact prejudice the business which may be transacted between the Superannuation Board and these individuals and companies. Individuals and companies have the right to have information regarding their business transactions regarded as confidential. If the information was to be bandied around in documents there would be a tendency for them not to transact any business. These transactions are subject to taxation. They are subject to all the laws of the land.
This policy of not disclosing information about individuals and companies would not be peculiar to the Commonwealth Superannuation Board. It would apply to every financial institution of which I am aware. It is true that information concerning corporate bodies and the like could be tabulated, but information concerning individuals and companies should not be tabulated. If a director of a group of companies went along and transacted business with a finance company or with the Superannuation Board and if the details of that transaction were to be bandied around, obviously the director would have to make a judgment as to whether he wanted to do business with the finance company .or with the Superannuation Board. I find it difficult to accept the argument which Senator McClelland set out to sustain on that score.
The question which Senator McClelland asked was drawn in a particular way which did not attract the answer he wanted. He asked a subsequent question and received an answer which referred to the total number of loans made - which information, incidentally, is to be found in a Treasury document. Senator McClelland now argues that the question should be answered with particularity. It is not the policy of the Superannuation Board to do that. It is a matter of judgment. Senator McClelland expressed the view that the Superannuation Board should disclose this information. My view - and I am sure it is the Government’s view - is that such disclosure would operate against the effective working of the Board in this field.
– I appreciate the answer which the Minister gave me to the question I raised, but I am of the opinion that as the Commissioner is appointed by the Department of the Treasury, he is responsible to the Treasury. My complaint when I spoke previously was that here was a case where the Commissioner had acted outside the legislation. He was found to have acted not in accordance with the legislation. 1 am seeking an assurance that in future he will act in accordance with the legislation. If in the future he acts outside the legislation, the Treasurer should not attempt to justify such action in reply to a question. I hope that those remarks will be conveyed to the Treasurer.
The other question 1 raise refers to the Department’s neglect to take responsibility for and to give consideration to the interests of injured workmen. The Department, which administers the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act, has promised for the last 5 years that a completely new Act will be introduced, and that this new Act will bring compensation payments into line with those that are recognised as the standard for compensation payments to employees.
I believe that either at the end of last year or at the beginning of this year - I am inclined to think that it was at the end of last year - this matter was listed on the notice paper of the House of Representatives. We hurry to pass legislation which protects every other section of the community, but we do nothing about changing the provision of the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act which are far inferior to those operating in all the States, lt is true that last session we passed an amendment to the Aci which was designed to increase the present rates provided in the Act, but we have not for years had a look at. the overall question of workers compensation.
For 5 years we have had promises from the Treasury that something will be done, and the matter has been on the notice paper of the House of Representatives for some considerable time. But this is the last matter to receive consideration. Apparently time does not permit us to do something for these injured workmen who must suffer, f do not know for how long this state of affairs is to continue. Unless someone coinplains about it, it will continue. I think it is essential that we should do something about this legislation which affects a large section of our society. New legislation should be brought down for humanitarian reasons alone. It would appear that the Government, which considers the interests of industry, commerce, the farming sector and shipping, is not prepared to consider the welfare of the worker. I ask that the introduction of a decent Commonwealth Workers Compensation Act should be expedited.
– I am concerned about the matter which
Senator McClelland has raised. 1 am concerned that the Minister could not accept the view that information regarding loans which are made by the Commonwealth Superannuation Board should be made available. The pattern is broken here. As was indicated by Senator Mcclelland, information concerning loans made to public authorities is made available and documented. But for some reason information concerning loans which are made to private groups is not disclosed. 1 cannot accept this at all. There is no assurance from the Minister that this $60m does not flow perhaps to a merchant banker and then flows from the merchant banker into the general speculative area of financing in Australia. This cannot be denied except by producing the actual figures and documenting the loans, the interest paid on the loans and so on. There can be no excuse for the nondisclosure of the details of this very substantial amount of money which belongs to the Public Service. 1 should imagine that this money would be directed only into gilt edged areas. It comes to me as a surprise that such a large sum of money could be loaned under what is virtually a secret arrangement. For the life of me I cannot see why the Government could not disclose details indicating that the money has been made available to various financial institutions. Has the money been passed into a sector which enables the building of. shall I say, luxury units on the Gold Coast and thus have the effect of impeding the Government’s policy to restrict the building industry so that inflation can be controlled? Is it possible that this $60m could flow into other areas of speculation which could affect the stability of the economy? All these questions need to be answered because $60m is a substantial amount of money.
I cannot understand why a company which borrows from the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund would not be prepared to disclose that it has borrowed this money and the terms on which it has borrowed it. Any person who borrows any money from any financial institution these days seems to have those details revealed. An ordinary person who borrows from a hire purchase company will have the details of that financial transaction revealed in various gazettes - and so it ought to be. There ought not to be any flow of money from a fund of this type to another area without it being disclosed to the Parliament. 1 really do think that the Government ought to reconsider this and make certain that the details of that lending are tabulated and documented as all other details have been when the money has been made available to local authorities. I would have thought too that there would not have been any need for the Superannuation Fund to lend to the private sector. There is certainly a demand throughout Australia by semi-governmental authorities for this money and it would serve the country far better for it to be directed in this way - especially since it would be disclosed - than have it secretly passed elsewhere.
There was another question raised by Senator McClelland in which I am particularly interested. How is it that Commonwealth public servants have not been able to have access to this Fund in which there is a surplus? How is it that they have not been able lo borrow from this Fund for home building purposes? If one is insured with any other insurance company and wishes to build a house one can obtain a good substantial loan from that company. The public servant is committed to insure himself with the Fund and cannot insure himself elsewhere because he would overinsure himself and limit his available income for normal expenditure. Yet he cannot draw on the Fund in a time of need when he wants to build a substantial home - or even, shall we term it, a not so substantial home of, say, 16 squares which would cost somewhere around $18,000. He cannot obtain the money elsewhere through the normal government channels because the maximum loan is $8,000. He has to fall back in most cases, when building a house in this range, upon an insurance company.
The public servant is completely committed to the Fund. He has virtually no access to his own money for his own needs. If there is a surplus surely the Fund could come up with some sort of arrangement to provide money to Commonwealth public servants for home building purposes. If the Fund continues to deny this opportunity, especially when there is a surplus, then I say that it is denying justice to the public servants and denying a service which all insurance companies supply to their clients.
There is another matter [ want to raise on behalf of Senator McClelland who was unable, because of the time factor, to include it in his speech. 1 would like the Minister when he answers to take into consideration that it seems most discriminator)’ that the wife of a public servant, should the husband die, receives at the maximum five-eighths of the husband’s superannuation. The main contribution to the payment of superannuation must come out of the household budget because most husbands do not restrict their pocket money to pay superannuation contributions. Should the wife die after the husband has retired the husband is still paid a full superannuation pension. In addition, if both the husband and wife die and there are children under the age of 16 years left the pension is drastically reduced and there is not sufficient to maintain the children or keep them at school until such time as they can receive a reasonable education. This to me is discrimination.
I would like the Minister to tell us why this happens. In these 3 areas alone the Superannuation Fund, those who administer it and the Government which perhaps directs its policy or in some way can influence its policy have been sadly lacking in considering the needs of the public servant. I cannot see any justice in any of these areas: Firstly, the non-disclosure of investments; secondly, the non-availability of loans for home building purposes, and thirdly, the discrimination against dependants. Having regard to these three anomalies I would say that the sooner there is an investigation into the operation and administration of the Superannuation Fund the better.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Supply) (11.51) - I only want to say that the honourable senator has expressed a point of view on matters of policy regarding the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund. They are not matters that I could be expected, nor would I wish, to respond to when dealing with the Estimates. All I can say is that I will relate the expressed point of view to the Treasurer (Mr Bury). That is all I can do. As for the first matter that Senator Georges took up, which was a reiteration of the point of view expressed by Senator McClelland, some details of the totality of these funds are shown in the Auditor-General’s report. As 1 said before, it is not the policy to give information in relation to companies, organisations or individuals in regard to the investment of money by the Fund.
It is a matter of policy. The honourable senator might say that it is wrong but all I can say is that I will convey his point of view to ihe Treasurer. The honourable senator would not expect me to argue it whilst dealing with the Estimates. It is a matter for the Fund lo look at in the light of what the honourable senator has said and I do not want to repeat the answer which I gave to Senator McClelland on that point. I think that acceptance of the view expressed by the honourable senator would mitigate against the success of the Fund. After all. the Fund has money to invest under a certain charter and it does that. Its responsibilities in the matter are quite clear. It has to invest in such a way as to satisfy the requirements of the Government and the Auditor-General and it has to do it at the very best advantage to itself, lt does not have the responsibility of Government fiscal policy, as Senator Georges’ argument tended to suggest. Finally, of course, there is an employees’ representative on the Fund.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure - Advance to the Treasurer, S20.000.000- agreed t.».
Proposed expenditure $2.1,724,000.
Senator BISHOP (South Australia) (H.491-1 move:
That the proposed expenditure be reduced bv SIO. as an instruction to the Government that it should move for the appointment of a joint committee to inquire into and report upon the Australian Defence Forces in relation to:
The Opposition proposes the appointment of a select committee because it considers that what has been done in the past with respect to the general conditions of Service personnel and what is now proposed by the Government are not satisfactory. [ am quite sure that honourable senators will recall that over the years there have been many complaints and much dissatisfaction. During the past 3 or 4 years to my knowledge, when trying to keep pace with increases in pay which should be applied to members of the defence Services, a number of our committees have been faced with the problem that, because of the processes of back-dating, there would have to be retrospective payments. One committee of the Senate was opposed to retrospectivity. This fact alone creates disabilities. The whole process of granting fair rates of pay and appropriate conditions to members of the Services was not adequate.
Late last year, after great protests and a large number of resignations from the Services, the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) decided to set up a committee, but during the first months of operation of that committee it became apparent that it could not handle the situation that was developing in the services. There has been wide dissatisfaction about conditions and pay. We are all familiar with comments that have appeared in the Press, including comments by serving personnel who decided to flaunt the regulations and came out in support of increased pay, increased transfer allowances and better housing. We know, too, that members of the families of servicemen - wives and dependants - have taken the opportunity to express wide dissatisfaction about such matters. Their comments have appeared in the Press over a period of 2 or 3 months and, to some extent, are still appearing. This has been a long-standing problem. In the Budget an allocation of $1, 137m is proposed for the defence services, yet we have nol found a means of giving serving members of the forces a fair go. That is the reason for our motion.
Honourable senators are familiar with the great controversy which is concerning people in the community. Only recently they had the opportunity of seeing a discussion and hearing various points of view in a session of the ‘Four Corners’ programme. Points of view were adequately put by persons who had been serving officers of high rank and who mentioned some of the problems which have contri buted to resignations .mci to the general feeling of dissatisfaction. In recent months we witnessed an instant reaction to Service wages and conditions following the national wage case. Some 200 serving ratings in the Royal Australian Navy walked off 5 ships and almost instantaneously the Minister for Defence approved a wage increase for them of $8 a week. This was a most unusual circumstance in the Australian defence scene. Nothing similar had happened before. The Government, the Department of Defence, and heads of the Services recognised that there were great injustices and accepted actions by serving officers and men that in other days might have been regarded as mutinous. 1 agree that on this occasion the Government sensibly blinked its eye at what was taking place and attempted to correct the situation which had developed over the years.
Currently we have the situation where resignations from the forces have reached alarming proportions. There must be a reason for this position. The situation must be considered against the background of what has been taking place with serving men and officers. Up to now no lasting solution to the problem has been proposed by the Government. Let me refer now to the rate of resignations. Five years ago there were 13 resignations from the Navy, 10 from the Army and 47 from the Royal Australian Air Force. In 1969 the figures were 28 for the Navy, 98 for the Army and 150 for the Royal Australian Air Force. In July and August of this year there were 9 resignations from the Navy, 70 from the Army and 23 from the Air Force. This year the Minister for Air, Senator Drake-Brockman, pointed out that the Royal Australian Air Force had lost the services of 28 pilots, including pilots of such rank as senior flight lieutenant and squadron leader. I am sure that all honourable senators will remember what the Minister said and welcomed it. He made it very clear that in his opinion at that time there should have been increases in salary. He criticised the standards of pay and said that he would do what he could to increase them.
On 19th August the Minister for the Army (Mr Peacock) said that in respect of Army Intelligence one lieutenant-colonel had resigned and 5 majors and 5 captains had either resigned, retired or been transferred, perhaps to the Citizen Military Forces. It has been mentioned that the late Senator Cohen was told by the Government that the cost of an officer graduating from the Royal Military College at Duntroon was $56,000. We know that it costs a lot to train an officer and we know that the present situation is most unsatisfactory. We have read the expert opinions of people like Sir Henry Bland who at one time was Secretary of the Department of Labour and National Service. He is an expert on matters of management, employment and economy. He became Secretary of the Department of Defence and retired because of the effluxion of time. He recently made some observations about the general situation obtaining in the defence Services, to which I will refer presently. These matters should be considered. The committee which the Government proposes will not deal with these general background matters. There is need for an open inquiry, such as is proposed in the Opposition’s motion, so that the real position of the Services and what its members are entitled to in respect of pay and conditions may be considered. Let me refer to Sir Henry Bland’s observations. He said:
Maybe the process of producing the military man has not been sufficiently adjusted to lake account of the sorts of developments 1 have mentioned. . . .
No organisation gives more attention to, or devotes more resources to, or spends more money on, training than the armed forces, and ours are no exception. One of our generals once told me he estimated that one-fifth of his service life had been devoted to training.
The needed review calls for the aid of educationists and others outside the Services. Calling for review are the value of the training, the character of training, training methods and techniques, the posting system that generally treats the instructor function as no different from most other functions in the Services, the resources devoted to training, and so on.
I cannot read all of his opinions but, as honourable senators know, they are founded on a lifetime of experience in these matters. He continued:
The rotation of posting practices of our own Services are, I suspect, at the root of the current concern over conditions of service. The disruption of family life, including children’s schooling, which these practices cause is a prime element, I believe, in the resignation of Service personnel and failure to re-engage.
There has been some recognition of the situation. If honourable senators examine the ‘Defence Report 1970’ they will see that the Minister for Defence has drawn attention to some matters which relate to the dissatisfaction with Service conditions and contribute to the growing number of resignations. He said:
The level of recruitment this year, the rale of engagement and the extent of officer wastage, particularly in the RAAF, are causing some concern. . . .
There are many factors which influence the attractiveness of Service careers. One important aspect is the frequency of postings involving a change’ of location which is of particular concern to the married member with children at school. The impact of Vietnam involving 12 months tours of duty for members serving there and associated sea going service for RAN personnel affects this problem, but a full examination is being made in an endeavour to reduce posting turbulence to a minimum.
He then goes on to refer to the need for suitable housing. So we have a background Of continuing dissatisfaction.
The Government has put forward 2 proposals. One is that the present Committee might be able to cope with the general disabilities of ex-servicemen in relation to the Services and to the community generally. I want to refer briefly to the submissions which were made by the Returned Services League which pointed out the need for a much wider inquiry than that proposed by the Government. We must have an inquiry which will allow people with specialised interests to give evidence. It should be an open inquiry which does not in any way restrict the witnesses who are subject to the standards of the Commonwealth Public Service and to the procedures which are currently and traditionally part of the traditions of the armed Services. There must be a new consideration. The only new consideration which the Opposition considers would be satisfactory is the need to look at the whole question of the Services, including the social environment and the family separation which comes from posting, reposting and reestablishment.
In these days it must be considered as a matter of great importance to what extent the prestige of the soldier in the community ought to be reassessed and somehow improved. This is one of the considerations to which the Committee might refer.
The proposed inquiry is too restricted. As honourable senators know, it will be headed by Mr Justice Kerr, who is a judge of the Supreme Court of the A.C.T. and a member of the Commonwealth Industrial Court. The inquiry will be held in camera. It will not be a continuing review of the kind that is most necessary. It will be restricted. It is presumed that the inquiry will take at least 12 months. It is an inquiry set up for a special purpose when what is needed is an examination of servicemen’s pay and conditions and of all the things that go to make up their role in the Services and in the community for which they should be adequately compensated. We know that they are not so compensated. We know that they are not compensated in respect to their pay. We know that some short term adjustments have been made which have partly satisfied the serviceman, but at the same time resignations have increased. This applies to the ordinary ranks as well as to the officers in the 3 Services. We know too that there are general complaints about the standard of housing and the rates which are paid by servicemen for housing. In many cases serving officers and men have to pay more for a house than public servants do. Often the accommodation is not adequate. New consideration must be given to civil retraining and to the needs of the serving officers and the other ranks when their time is up, so that they can be placed in the community. We must see that because of their service they are not discriminated against relative to people in the community generally.
So we have a position where, because of the general development in the economy, the inducements to work outside the Services are greater than those to work inside. We have it on record in the Senate, as well as everywhere else, that rates for skilled personnel are better outside, conditions are better outside and the person has a greater opportunity of promotion and of getting the sort of things which he needs for his family. Because of the need to conserve time I propose the amendment as a proposition which is most necessary. It will allow an open inquiry. It will do more than what is now being proposed by the Government in respect of these matters.
– I do not want to belabour the point, but I support to the hilt all that Senator Bishop has said. I know from recent experience that there has been considerable dissatisfaction amongst the Jervis Bay naval personnel, as the Minister representing the Minister for Defence would know. In the Estimates Committee my colleague Senator Devitt raised the question of the rigidity of fringe benefits. I instance the eligibility of naval personnel from HMAS Melbourne’ for the Malaysian clasp and certain rights in relation to war service homes. I know that, overall, the serviceman is innately loyal to his obligations, although there have been occasions, as Service Ministers know, when there have been some very definite, visible expressions of discontent. 1 do not want to canvass them unduly. I know from talking to wives of servicemen that there is no doubt that they will not continue to stomach some of these rigid interpretations in the 1970s. These are the things which justify, as Senator Bishop stated, a complete overhaul of the broad position.
I take the opportunity while 1 am on my feet to direct to the attention of the Department of Defence some of the abnormal delays associated with decisions. The present Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) seems to have his own system. ( shall use as an example the rifle range at Byron Bay. The local council and some of the parkland groups raised a question about the future of this rifle range. They said it had been used very rarely. Initially the Minister disputed that. At the behest of Councillor Donohue of the Byron Bay Shire Council I raised the matter again. He contended that there was another rifle range within about 8 miles which could absorb the rifleman’s activity. For the last 5 months I have received, every month, a very polite acknowledgment saying that the matter is being looked at and assuring me that a decision will be made. lt baffles me why, op such a minor matter as the occupancy of a rifle range, the Minister should take so long. In this instance the New South Wales Wildlife Service is interested in one section of the rifle range for bird life wetlands. In another section the Byron Bay Shire Council has an interest for housing development. It all seems to be such a minor matter. I cannot understand why it should take so long for a clear cut decision to be made. In conclusion, I return to my initial remarks relating to what Senator Bishop said appropos to Service conditions. There is no doubt that we have a new breed of persons in the Services today. I repeat that perhaps far too often the decisions that have been made following manifestations of discontent largely come within the category of too little too late.
– 1 also support the remarks of Senator Bishop and the amendment which he has moved. I refer to Division 602 - Recruiting Campaign - subdivision 1, item 02 - Proportion of salaries of staff of Commonwealth Loans Organisation. 1 want to know how the proportion of salaries of staff of the Commonwealth Loans Organisation becomes a commitment of the Department of Defence. I presume that the loans are essential for defence requirements, but why should they be grouped under the heading Recruiting Campaign’, permitting the Department to show the figures as concerned with recruitment? The result seems to me to be false. There must be an explanation for its inclusion in the recruiting campaign item. One would question the success of this campaign when, as we have just heard from Senator Bishop, it would appear that the numbers we are succeeding in getting into the defence forces are being lost just as fast.
Can the Minister give me any information of the intake from the recruiting campaign into the various Services over the 12- monthly period, in view of the fact that we will pay $1,500,000 for advertising the recruiting campaign in 1970-71?
The other question I want to raise concerns Division 609 - Defence Aid for South Vietnam, $3,304,000. Australia did not give defence aid to this country in the last financial year. However, looking at Division 608 - Defence Aid for Malaysia and Singapore, it appears that the defence aid given to these countries has been reduced by a similar amount to that which has been given to Vietnam - from $8,207,000 last financial year to $5,500,000 in the current appropriation. It appears that this amount has been transferred to defence aid that is to be given to South Vietnam. I cannot recall the Parliament having a discussion on what aid we should give to South Vietnam other than the military aid that we are giving at present. We have not been told for how long we will be committed to giving this aid or what the nature of the aid is to be. We have not been told whether the aid will be in the form of a grant of money or in the form of materials. We have not been told what the aid will be used for. 1 thought that the situation in South Vietnam had reached a stage where that country could take over it own defence and that the activities of Australians in that country would be concentrated on the pacification programme and in helping to develop the country. However, under this appropriation we are giving a direct vote for defence. I cannot recall discussion or consideration of whether it would be wise to provide defence aid. Before we make gifts to South Vietnam for defence I think wc should have some assurance that the aid will be used for the purpose for which it is given. I would like to have any information that can be obtained on the nature of the defence aid which is to go to South Vietnam. I would also like to know for how long we are to be commited to this payment and also the authority for the payment.
(12.17) - Perhaps it would be logical to deal first with the last matter that has been raised. Senator Cavanagh has asked about defence aid to South Vietnam which amounts to $3,304,000. Australia has agreed to undertake a comprehensive programme of civil, military and defence support aid to South Vietnam extending over a 3-year period. This is the answer to the first point which the honourable senator raised.
– And this will recur every year?
Yes, because this is the first year. This vole has been created under the control of the Department of Defence to take charges relating to, firstly, the provision of personnel for military advisory training and civil action and similar schemes carried out by the Australian forces in Vietnam: secondly, accommodation and equipment for the Nui Dat training centre; and thirdly, military and supplementary military aid to South Vietnamese forces. The estimate of $3,304,000 provides, firstly, for personnel costs, $1,496,000: secondly, the Nui Dat training centre,$199,000; and thirdly, military and other equipment, $1,609,000.
I think Senator Cavanagh drew a comparison between the estimated expenditure for defence aid for South Vietnam, which is a new line estimate, and the estimated expenditure for defence aid for Malaysia and Singapore. Defence aid which is given to Malaysia and Singapore is at the end of a cycle, whereas aid given to Vietnam is at. the start of a new cycle. In the series of approvals a total of $45,128,000 has been made available to provide a programme of defence aid to Malaysia and Singapore for the period up to 31st December 1970. This expenditure, of course, is the ultimate in that programme. This is the general reason for the difference between the 2 estimates. Senator Cavanagh also referred to the recruiting campaign.I think he made the point that a proportion of salaries paid under this estimate went to the staff of the Commonwealth Loans Organisation. This item provides for the payment of 1 71/2 per cent of the salaries of the staff of the Commonwealth Loans Organisation partly employed in recruiting duties. The increase in planned expenditure is required to meet the cost of salary determinations brought down during the 1969-70 financial year.
The motion which has been moved by Senator Bishop is a vehicle to reduce the Defence Services appropriation by $10. We all understand that in the parliamentary sense this motion expresses a criticism of the Department of Defence in relation to the question of pay and the conditions of service.I believe that we should vote on this question and dispose of it in one way or the other. I would say, however, in response to the case put by Senator Bishop, that a committee of inquiry has been set up which will examine the question of the pay and conditions of Service personnel. This committee will be chaired by Mr Justice Kerr. The committee will also comprise Lieutenant-General Sir John Wilton, who until recently was Chief of the General Staff, Mr S. Landau, who is the Secretary of the Department of the Navy, Mr E. G. Deverall, who is a Commissioner of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, and Mr H. T. Rogers, the personnel manager of Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd who has been included to provide representation from outside of the Services, for obvious reasons. I am informed that the committee is to have its first meeting this week.
Contrary to what Senator Bishop said - he made this comment in passing - I think I should make the point that this is not to be an open inquiry; it is to be a closed inquiry for very good reason.
– I said that.
– I think the honourable senator put it the other way round. However, this inquiry is to be closed for the very good reason that we want Service personnel to be completely uninhibited in expressing the views that they want to express about their pay and allowances. In fact, we want to encourage Service personnel if they feel so moved, to go along and expres their views. The fact that an inquiry on this matter is about to commence is an acknowledgment by the Government that there is a need for examination. Therefore, in the circumstances I believe that a vote to reduce the estimate by $10 is not timely and I would say that the logical thine to do would be to put this matter to a vote. It is true that in (he field of the Defence Forces Retirements Benefits Scheme which relates in some directions to the conditions of Service personnel an all party parliamentary committee of both Houses has been set up. Therefore, the Government is aware of the need for an examination of this matter. Having this in mind, 1 think it is logical that we now vote on the matter.
That the request (Senator Bishop’s) he agreed to
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of Works
Proposed expenditure, $68,668,500.
Civil Defence - Repairs and Maintenance
Proposed expenditure, $11,000.
Civil Defence - Buildings, Works, Fittings and Furniture
Proposed expenditure, $8,000.
– I refer to Division 580 - Administrative. Those concerned with the administration of the Department seem determined that the activities of the Department in South Australia will not advance. This has caused concern to the extent that the Premier of South Australia has felt impelled to write a letter to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). It is possible that the Commonwealth in Adelaide is renting more office accommodation from insurance companies and other firms than it is renting in any other city in Australia. At the same time the Government owns property in Currie Street. Adelaide, Sufficient to build a huge complex which would cater for all Commonwealth departments. It has held this property for many years and at present the property is being used as a car park. It seems to be a profitable enterprise for the lessee. At the same time in appears that the Commonwealth has some kind of desire to pay for the multi-storey buildings of insurance companies.
The activities of the Department in South Australia are declining. In the 3-year period 1965-66 to 1968-69 South Australia’s share of Commonwealth capital works expenditure was 4 per cent of the
Australian total. This could be justified only if there was no profitable activity in which the Commonwealth could engage. However, this is not so. There are profitable activities. I cannot comprehend why there is a determination to depress activity in South Australia to the extent that only 4 per cent of total capital works moneys are expended in that State.
Ours is the only State in which employment in the Department of Works has declined. Over the last 6 years the employment figures have fallen from 1,700 in mid- 1 963 to 1,075 in mid-1969. There is a tendency for the Department to withdraw work from South Australia while at the same time the Commonwealth pays high prices for rental accommodation. I ask the Minister the reason for this and whether he will consider giving South Australia its proper share of Commonwealth works in proportion to population, just as the population of South Australia pays its proportion of Commonwealth revenues.
– In dealing with Division 580 - Administrative -I support what Senator Cavanagh has said in relation to the proportion of Commonwealth works being carried out in South Australia. I particularly want to refer again to the subject I brought up at the Estimates Committee meetings which related to the question of when the Department will be commissioned to build a Commonwealth centre. The Minister will recall that his own support for such a proposition goes back to the time of the Adelaide Festival of Arts when he made the point in a newspaper comment that there obviously was a need for a Commonwealth centre in South Australia and that he was giving some consideration to this and other matters of expenditure in South Australia. Since that time a number of representations have been made and I admit that the Minister has considered them and given replies. Unfortunately, at this stage his replies indicate that there is not on the drawing board as yet a proposition for such a centre. We have found out recently that there are 26 Commonwealth departments in South Australia which are leasing premises. The Commonwealth is paying $2m a year in Adelaide in rental charges or in leasing arrangements. From memory the amount now being paid is almost double what was paid 5 years ago. While 1 accept what the Minister said in his replies in this place and what he and his officers said in the Estimates Committee that the Commonwealth is aware of the advantage in building its own accommodation where to do so is an economic proposition - that is one of the guiding principles - 1 would ask the Minister whether he can bring to finality the considerations which are being given to the building of a suitable Commonwealth centre in South Australia to house some of the 26 departments there and save the Commonwealth a considerable amount of the $2m that is now paid out to private people such as insurance companies.
– 1 am grateful to Senator Cavanagh and Senator Bishop for reminding me of this matter. But of course I need no reminder because I have assured them from time to time when they have questioned me on this subject that the whole of the works programme for South Australia is constantly in my mind. 1 repeat what was said before the Estimates Committee that the policy of the Government is, where it is economic - and usually it is quite obviously economic - to buy its own land and to build the freehold premises rather than go in to premises on a rental basis. With this in view a proposition was before the Government some 12 months ago but it was not acceptable and was referred back to an interdepartmental committee whose report on a Commonwealth centre and other projects in Adelaide and elsewhere in South Australia can be expected to be produced within a month or two.
With regard to the percentage of capital works for South Australia, T remind Senator Cavanagh and Senator Bishop that I produced in the Estimates Committee an accurate summation of the capital works programme for the last 5 or 7 years which, according to my recollection, showed that an increased percentage of the total works programme has accrued to South Australia. T can assure the honourable senators that in addition to the projects announced for South Australia other projects are being programmed. The honourable senators will understand, I hope, that it is not for me as Minister for Works to initiate proposals. Tt is for each department which has a requirement for a government building to put forward a proposal, and if it is of a major nature it goes before the Government. If it is of a minor nature it goes before the Department itself, lt is in that process that a department may bring a public works proposal into the civil works programme.
– I wish to pursue a matter raised by Senator Cavanagh and it relates to the proposed expenditure under Administrative in the Department of Works. Earlier this year I wrote to the Minister concerning the expenditure by the Department of Works in the various States over the past 6 years. 1 understood the Minister to say a few moments ago that the proportion of expenditure in South Australia in relation to the total expenditure by the Department had increased. According to the figures which were supplied to me this is certainly not correct. Just briefly I might mention that in 1963-64 expenditure by the Department of Works was $12.3m. In 1968-69 it was $ 1 0.9m. In that same period the total expenditure by the Department had increased from $135.4m to S246.1m. In other words there was an increase of about 70 per cent in the total expenditure and an actual reduction of 10 per cent in the expenditure for South Australia. There may be an explanation for this and I would appreciate the Minister’s comment on it.
I want to look at the overall picture because he has just made the point that presumably the Department invests money in the various States according to the requirements of the Commonwealth as a whole and quite obviously there is no planning to equalise in some way the distribution of expenditure. 1 think it is true to say that both Tasmania and South Australia at the present time have problems with their economies and both are looking for additional investments in their States. But between the years 1963-64 and 1968-69 we find that there have been spectacular increases in Department of Works expenditure in certain States and they are the main States. For example, the expenditure for New South Wales increased from S27.5m to $56.7m: Victoria from $ 18.9m to $43.4m; Queensland from S9.8m to S22.6m; Western Australia from $4.9m to $13.8m: and for the 2 other States, South Australia and Tasmania, there was a reduction from $12.3m to $10.9m and $J.9m to $1. 8m respectively. These reductions occurred despite a very large increase in the total expenditure of the Department during those years. 1 might point out that I am not taking any particular year and saying that South Australia or Tasmania is not getting its share. I am taking it over a 6-year period which gives a very good indication of the trend. Insofar as Tasmania is concerned this matter is of prime concern. It is interesting to realise that Tasmania has progressively received a lesser percentage of the Department’s total expenditure in that 6-year period. In 1963-64 we received 1.42 per cent of the Department’s expenditure; in 1964-65 it was 1.26 per cent: in 1965-66 it was 1.81 per cent; in 1966-67 it was 0.852 per cent; in 1967-68 it was 0.528 per cent and in 1968-69 it was 0.732 per cent. Tasmania has received a lesser percentage despite the fact that it has 3.1 per cent of the Australian population and it contributes 2.57 per cent of the personal net income tax to the Treasury. This is something on which I have spoken before in this place. The points raised by Senator Cavanagh highlight the situations in which these 2 States find themselves and 1 would think that this applies much more to Tasmania than to South Australia. 1 ask the Minister whether he would care to comment on the obvious weighting of expenditure by his Department in the main States without commensurate expenditure in the 2 smaller States.
The other point I want to make concerns the apprenticeship training scheme of the Department. We know that the Department of Works has a training scheme for apprentices and we all realise the importance of providing proper and adequate training for apprentices in all trades. I understand that at the moment the Department is not training any apprentices in Tasmania despite the fact that it is training apprentices in all other States and even in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. I ask the Minister if it is his intention to extend the training of apprentices to Tasmania?
– My remarks relate to the same Division as was mentioned by Senator
Wriedt. I thank the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) for his reply. There seems to be some discrepancy between the figures which those on this side are quoting and the Minister is quoting. I am wondering whether these figures are taken over different periods. I gave the figures as supplied to me for a 3-year period. The Minister showed the increase in activity in South Australia over a 5-year period, ls the base year in one case different from the base year in the other case? 1 do not know. I accept the Minister’s statement that his Department is an authority- only for clients - that is. other departments - and that it builds in accordance with the decisions of other departments. lt could well be that my remarks today could be referred to later when we consider the estimates of those departments concerned. 1 turn to the second question raised by Senator Wriedt in relation to apprenticeship. I was interested to read the evidence presented to Estimates Committee C on this subject. The Minister, 1 believe, circulated some 4 papers-
– 1 am sorry, but I am having difficulty in hearing the honourable senator.
– No-one has ever had that difficulty before. Although the Minister, 1 believe, circulated papers to the Estimates Committee showing the number of apprentices and in which States they were employed, I have not seen such papers and I do not know the figures for those in apprenticeship employment in South Australia or in any of the other States.
I recognise the explanation by the Minister that the Department was not employing its quota of apprentices under the various awards because its capability to train them is somewhat limited by virtue of the nature of the work that it does. The Department of Works carries out few construction jobs. After preparing plans and calling tenders it lets a contract for construction of a project to a builder. The work force of the Department is engaged mainly on repairs and maintenance. Whether under such conditions it would be advisable to accept apprentices when all round training cannot be given to them is questionable. The result of such training may be to produce someone at the end of an apprenticeship period who cannot compete freely on the labour market in the use of the skills that be is supposed to have been taught.
This brings up the important question of why the Department is letting all of its contracts to builders. Why is it not a building authority? Why is it not building Commonwealth Government buildings? Has the ability of this Department to erect types of buildings as cheaply as contractors been studied? If the Department of Works is to be part of the Commonwealth’s scheme of activities in development, this work must become an essential part of the activities of the Department of Works. This Department is a main Commonwealth Department which has some responsibility to see that the utmost opportunities are provided for the training of men to a skilled degree. Yet, it is unable to play its proper part in the training of skilled building tradesmen because of a lack of opportunities to perform the types of works that it undertakes and contracts to someone else. The work that the Department lets out at present is work that could be used in the training of skilled tradesmen. I would think that a study of the report presented on the housing industry to the New South Wales Parliament recently would show the need in any proper housing programme to have skilled tradesmen to perform the work of building construction.
With our increased growth through migrants and our natural birth rate increase, building activities in the future must expand. But we are not training persons lo meet the requirements of the building industry. The various authorities which have the capability to train are restricted in their opportunities to train. This Department in particular is restricted in its ability to train because it does not carry out construction work itself except on a limited scale, ft does not do any major construction work. This is one fault in the Department that T think, needs rectification.
I can think of nothing better for a progressive Minister to do than to ensure a scheme by which the Commonwealth would develop its own building authority to erect at least some types of buildings. Perhaps at this stage the Commonwealth Department of Works could not or should not provide plant for multi-storey build ings. Nevertheless, many contracts for construction work which could be undertaken by the Department on a day labour basis are let to building contractors. The Department is justified in refusing this work in view of its responsibility to provide facilities for the training of skilled men, only if the cost of such work is exorbitant in comparison with what it would be by private contract. I ask: Has any study been clone on the work that this Department could undertake such as the building of the additions at the Adelaide Airport or any other construction work of a similar type? Why is it impossible for this Department to become a building authority so that it can play its part in the Commonwealth scheme of training skilled tradesmen in the proper ratio to employees as awards permit?
– Before the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) replies, may I ask a question? On the subject of the allocation of funds for the public works programme in South Australia, Estimates Committee C was told that $17m or 5.5 per cent of the total allocation had been appropriated in this respect. I seek clarification from the Minister as to whether this money or this percentage has as a component of its total, any expenditure on defence activities in South Australia such as the Woomera establishment?
– Senator Cavanagh raised the question of apprenticeship and the question of whether the Department of Works should construct its works by day labour or by contract. I can assure the honourable senator that the latter question has received serious consideration by the Department and the answer in favour of economy and efficiency invariably is returned in support of major works being done by contract. I want to tell Senator Cavanagh that the Department of Works maintains a day labour force of approximately 8,000 personnel and has maintained that day labour force at about that figure for quite a few years. That force carries out the work which is appropriated lo it including smaller jobs, jobs that are of a maintenance description or jobs that are in an isolated capacity.
Regarding his suggestion that the Department does not play its role in the apprenticeship scheme, I would invite the honourable senator to peruse the records of the deliberations of Estimates Committee C where the Director-General presented to the Committee the degree to which apprentices are employed. I may say that on the professional side the cadet apprentices are being increased in anticipation of the increase in the work load of the Department.
With regard to what the honourable senator has raised and what Senator Wriedt referred to and Senator Laucke has just referred to, f direct Senator Wriedt in particular to page 17 of the Hansard report of Senate Estimates Committee C where it will be seen that last year’s programme for South Australia was $13.022m and that this year it will be $17. 18m. So my claim that there has been an increase is, 1 submit, justified. Those items which are set forth in the document entitled ‘Civil Works Programme 1970-71* at page 92 include for South Australia such items as the erection of the main exchange, $51m; the erection of a building engineering services centre, $432,000; and the erection of a mechanical aids depot, $454,000, just to instance what at a glance seem to be the 3 principal items. The honourable senator will note that there are in the South Australian programme projections for other buildings which, if they are not past the point of submission to the Public Works Committee, soon will be.
I was asked whether the Woomera range buildings are included in the civil works programme. So far as the Department of Supply is concerned they are included, but I could not give the honourable senator absolute certitude. With regard to Senator Wriedt’s reference to Tasmania, T have examined that question as to the proportion of works done. Including all works done by the Department in the last year it came out at just on 3 per cent, which, I am reminded by the Department, corresponded with the exact percentage that the Tasmanian population bears to that of all Australia. But Senator Wriedt will give us credit and himself pleasure, I have no doubt, by looking at page 19 of the Hansard report of Estimates Committee C where he will see that the Department was judicious enough for my satisfaction to put as the first item on the list of major works for the present programme the new Com monwealth offices for Hobart, with a proposed expenditure of $4.6m.
– When that one is finished the proposition will go back to I per cent again.
– lt cannot be kept up just for the sake of keeping a level.
– 1 refer to Division 508, subdivision 2, item 15, which shows the proposed expenditure for fees of private architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and other consultants as $4,850,000. I have here a break-up of this expenditure between the various States as shown in the AuditorGeneral’s report. On page 317 the report shows that in the last year there was an amount of $726,749 paid to consultants in Victoria and Tasmania. The two States are grouped. I would like to have a breakdown of those figures from the Minister so that we can see how much applies to Victoria and how much applies to Tasmania out of the $726,749 and know also how much of this appropriation is expected to be spent in each of those States rather than collectively in the coming year.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2..15 p.m.
– Earlier I raised a question concerning the Department’s ability to train apprentices, and the Minister replied that the Department was playing its part in the apprenticeship scheme. 1 claimed that it was not and could not play its part in such a scheme by virtue of the nature of its operations. ] suggested that the Department was not engaged in a variety of work which would enable it to train apprentices and that the Minister might consider introducing day labour construction work. The Minister replied that a study which the Department had made on the economy and efficiency of such a scheme indicated that it could not compete with private contractors.
I query very seriously how the Department can claim any credit when it is unable to compete with private enterprise in the construction field. The sole proprietor of a firm in South Australia which presently is undertaking work for the Department of Works was formerly the manager of a pickle factory. How can experience gained from being the manager of a pickle factory qualify someone to establish a building firm which is able to carry out work for the Department of Works? Something is wrong with the Department if it cannot compete with private enterprise in the building field because of lack of economy or efficiency. While I accept that possibly private enterprise can build more economically than perhaps the Government can, there is a tendency for the Government in its operations to appoint men with qualifications other than those related to ability in the craft or ability to organise. If private enterprise can carry out this work more efficiently, it does not speak too well for the Department, and it is time that the Department considered competing with private enterprise in the building field.
This is essential, no matter what the cost, because the Commonwealth has a responsibility to train manpower for the whole of Australia, lt does not matter whether the Commonwealth uses those skills when the manpower has been trained. It is performing a service for the whole of Australia. The Commonwealth Government has a responsibility to train people to meet the Government’s programmes and the requirements of the Australian population. The Minister says that the Department is playing its part in the apprenticeship scheme but this view is not shared by Mr Pearce, of the Department. I do not know who Mr Pearce is. but when he appeared before Estimates Committee C he presented a list of trades and the breakup in the States of tradesmen and apprentices. The Minister passed a copy of the list to Senator Milliner who was asking questions at the time. Senator Milliner then asked:
Whilst I am on this subject. 1 think it was said that the day labour force does not lend itself to the employment of apprentices. Could you add lo that?
Mr Pearce replied:
A good deal of our day labour activity does not lend itself readily to apprentice training because of its widely scattered nature, the small numbers of people generally with whom we have to work within Australia and the comparatively high incidence of unskilled people in our day labour force. In a day labour force of about 8,500 there are in fact only about 3,750 tradesmen. Many of these are operating as individuals in isolated areas where it is not really practicable lo give adequate training to apprentices.
Later on Senator Milliner said: 1 think it would be advisable to provide a further breakdown in any State you care to lake, preferably Queensland, giving reasons why there is such a low proportion of apprentices. I am not particularly happy with the explanation we have been given in view of the fact that, from memory, the carpenters and joiners award provides for one apprentice to every 2 or 3 tradesmen. You have 21 apprentices for 137 tradesmen.
The Minister then said:
I will see that that is the subject of specific consideration and report.
Today the Minister says that the Department is playing its part in the apprenticeship scheme, yet Mr Pearce believes that the Department cannot play its part because of the ratio of apprentices to tradesmen which is laid down by arbitration. The trade union movement opposes any reduction in the ratio which is laid down because of what it terms the exploitation of juvenile labour to the detriment of skilled tradesmen. Therefore, it is an offence to employ a greater number of juveniles than that laid down by arbitration. From the list of tradesmen which was presented to Estimates Committee C, it appears that the department is not training the number of apprentices as laid down by arbitration. The reason for this - and I accept Mr Pearce’s word - concerns the type of work which the Department is doing. If the Department is to play its part as one of the branches of the Commonwealth Government and provide skilled labour, it also has to provide work for the purpose of training apprentices. If the Department is not able to provide the work economically and efficiently in competition with private enterprise, a deep look needs to be made into the activities of the Department to ascertain why it cannot compete wilh private enterprise.
The document which was circulated by the Minister to Estimates Committee C indicated that 1,080 carpenters and joiners and 188 apprentice carpenters and joiners were employed by the Department of Works in Australia and in Papua and New Guinea. Of course, under the ratio which is laid down by arbitration the Department is entitled to employ some 362 apprentices. Here is a Department which is employing half the number of apprentices which arbitration requires it to employ. The list of trades in which the Department employs apprentices indicates that not one apprentice bricklayer or apprentice plasterer is employed by the Department. These 2 trades are essential parts of the building industry. One could say that possibly bricklaying is the most essential part. There is an acute shortage of bricklayers throughout Australia, but the Commonwealth Department of Works is not contributing to the training of one apprentice in this most important trade. How can the Minister say that the Department is playing its part in the training of apprentices when in fact it is not doing so? An examination of the position shows that the Department has been found wanting. It must therefore look further into the reason why it cannot extend its activities for proper training and why. because of. a lack of economy and efficiency, it cannot compete. The Department must find out why and see that it is able to compete.
– I feel I should make some reference to several points in answer to various questions that were asked. Senator O’Byrne mentioned the amount that is estimated to be paid in fees to architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and other consultants and pointed out that this year the amount sought was $4,850,000. Last year the amount spent was $4,395,550 and if honourable senators care to look back into the estimates for previous years ti will be seen that the figure has grown to the present $4.8m from a figure much lower than that. Four or 5 years ago it was of the order of $2m or even less With the increase in our programme it is obviously necessary to get consultant specialists to advise upon big projects and to do design work for medium and small projects. It will be expected that the fee bill for the Department will probably increase. If honourable senators will look at the Hansard record for the Estimates Committees they will see that we have the problem of increasing fees within these various professions and upon that point the Senate will be interested to know that we have, I think, practically reached agreement with the professions.
Reference was made by Senator Wriedt to the question of apprentices in Tasmania and in the Estimates Committee to which I referred Mr Pearce said that we have no apprentices in Tasmania. A subsequent report supplied to the Committee shows that there were in fact 2 apprentices in Tasmania. Now, with regard to Senator Cavanagh’s reference to apprentices in Queensland, he has dispensed with the necessity for me to refer him to page 24 of the Committee Hansard where Mr Pearce, an officer of the Department, explained our position quite fully. Supplementing that, as we promised to do in the passage to which the honourable senator referred, 1 have in recent weeks circulated to members of the Committee the information that the relevant legislation in Queensland, the Building Trades Apprenticeship Regulations, provides for a maximum of I apprentice to every 2 tradesmen. The ratio of 21 apprentices to 137 carpenters and joiners in Queensland means that there is 1 apprentice to 7 carpenters. Where the Department employs apprentices in workshops which offer satisfactory training conditions such as continuing supervision and variety of work an apprentice-tradesman ratio of 1 in 4 is attained. This occurs in the metal and electrical trades. It is also noteworthy that in the Department’s joinery shop in Brisbane the ratio is 1 in 3. However, the Department’s activities in the building industries generally involve small itinerant groups whose work is usually confined to minor maintenance and repair work, often in remote localities. These circumstances limit the facilities available for apprenticeship training in the trades concerned.
Senator Cavanagh will notice that wc were able to point out to the Committee that during the last 12 months our apprentices in a number of States have received education awards including Commonwealth awards, the Outstanding Apprentice of the Year in Victoria, the Outstanding Apprentice in the Refrigeration and Automobile Chamber of Commerce, special prizes in advanced plumbing and Apprentice of the Year in the Northern Territory. So that, coupled with the fact that I have stated as to the prescribing of a maximum number of apprentices and the degree of proficiency that seems to characterise apprentices in the Department of Works, fully justifies, I submit, the statement that I made that we are playing our part. I could go on and recite 3 or 4 pages of the document that was circulated to members of the Committee with regard to Queensland, but I am sure if I indicate to Senator Milliner and Senator Cavanagh, who took the Queensland position up, that I would be willing to see that they get a copy of this document at a later date, that they would not wish me to take up the time of the Committee reading it.
– You have said enough to confirm what I said.
– I thank the honourable senator. Now, with regard to the works in South Australia that were referred to before lunch may I refer the honourable senators from South Australia specifically to the Hansard of Estimates Committee C at page 220 where I would like Senator Wriedt particularly to note the percentages given which. 1 think, justify my claim. The percentage of the programme has grown from 3.7 per cent in 1966-67 to 4.2 per cent in 1967-68, to 4.5 per cent in 1968-69, to 4.8 per cent in 1969-70 and this year the percentage is expected to be 5.5 per cent.
– I am sorry I must continue my questioning on this subject. The Minister thanked me when I interjected and said that he had confirmed what I said, but I was making a criticism of the Department because of its refusal to engage in activities of a type which will permit it to train apprentices. Both Mr Pearce and the Minister, referring to what is happening in Queensland - and I am using Queensland as an illustration because we have received so much information on it - said that the Department is not capable of training the number of apprentices that any award will permit. The Minister said that the ratio of apprentices to tradesmen in Queensland is 1 in 7. Where they can receive satisfactory training the ratio is I in 4 but this shows that there must be a lot of other areas where the Department does not offer satisfactory training so that the ratio drops to 1 in 7. This is my complaint, that the apprentices do not get the variety of work which they should in operations carried out by the Department. The Department does not train the number permitted by the various awards. We see that in the joinery shop in Brisbane the ratio is I in 3 and 1 do not think there can be any criticism of that. In the carpenters award the ratio is 1 to 2 and this award restricts the number of apprentices to stop exploitation of juvenile labour. It is expected that the building companies will employ the maximum number of employees but, because of subcontracting, they are not able to guarantee continuity of work. Someone must fill this gap to meet Australia’s requirements for building construction and there is no better organisation than the Commonwealth Department of Works. But this Department cannot do this because it does not have the variety of works, lt is not engaged in construction works where it can train construction workers who are needed in Australia. It cannot compete in efficiency and economy with private builders. Shame on the Department! Something should be done.
We have been informed that the apprentices the Department trains are outstanding. Such apprentices have the benefit of Commonwealth and special awards. The Department takes credit for training a few outstanding apprentices, but so it should. It has 4 tradesmen training each apprentice, but the Department is not supplying the requirements of Australian industry, lt is no credit to the Department that one of its apprentices can secure a Commonwealth scholarship. The Department is not contributing to the Government’s intention of developing skilled building workers in Australia, and this is the basis of my whole complaint. The Department must enlarge its operations so that it can play a part in the training of skilled building trades workers. The Department says it cannot compete in economy and efficiency wilh private builders. This indicates that there is something wrong with the Department which should be rectified.
– I refer to item 13 of subdivision 2. lt relates to Ihe armoured car payroll service. Do the people who provide this service in New South Wales have to tender for the work every couple of years? What is the background to this item? I refer also to item 16 concerning the Commonwealth’s contribution to the Australian Road Research Board. We have a Department of Shipping and Transport and I wonder how the obligation is imposed on the Department of Works to make this relatively small contribution to the Australian Road Research Board. What are the products of this group’s research? Does it supply the Department of Works with information or does the information filter through the Commonwealth to the various State Ministries? 1 should also like some information on item 18 which relates to the Commonwealth’s contribution to the Australian Fire Protection Association.
– I shall not delay the Committee unduly but I am not satisfied with the answer given by the Minister about apprenticeship training in Tasmania. Senator Cavanagh referred to a table which gives a breakdown of the number of apprentices being trained in the States and the Territories of Australia. Tasmania does not even get a mention. I can only assume that the gamble was taken that this would not be noticed. This is nothing new, of course, in the Government’s attitude generally towards Tasmania. Presumably it took a shot in the dark and said: if we do not include it, no-one will notice it and it will be forgotten’. The Minister defended his Department’s record in respect of apprenticeship training. I ask .the Minister whether he is satisfied with the Department’s efforts in this field in Tasmania. Let us be specific about this. If Tasmania were receiving the share to which it is entitled under the Government’s scheme there would be approximately 18 to 20 lads being trained. According to the table to which Senator Cavanagh referred no apprentices are being trained in Tasmania. According to the report of the Minister’s sub-committee there are 2.
– On what basis do you arrive at your figure of 18 to 20?
– As a percentage of the total number of 675 being trained. If we allow for only 3 per cent of that number for Tasmania its share would be 20. The Minister will not argue over one or two. The 2 main industrial organisations in Tasmania which employ apprentices are the Electrolytic Zinc Company and the Hydro-Electric Commission. Both organisations this year had twice the number of applications for apprenticeships that they could handle. Does the Minister consider that his Department is doing sufficient in Tasmania in this respect?
– In replying first to
Senator Wriedt’s last question I point out that if he looks at the Department’s annual review for the year 1968-69 he will see that the day labour force employed in Tasmania in 1964-65 was 81; in 1965-66 it was 95; in 1966-67 it was 69; in 1967-68 it was 72 and in 1968-69 it was 76. One must envisage the number of trades into which those men would be separated and the type of work on which they would be employed. One will readily see that there is no real opportunity for the employment of apprentices with a miscellaneous day labour group of that small size. It wholly misconceives the basis upon which the Department of Works operates to suggest that it is an apprenticeship training department. lt employs day labour only for maintenance work, for outlying work and for work in areas where it is uneconomic to expect a contractor to extend his undertaking. Therefore, in Tasmania, one would not expect many apprentices to be employed. So few were they at the time the committee was considering this matter that our information was that no apprentices were employed in Tasmania. However, as I told Senator Wriedt, my subsequent information is that at the end of June 1970 there were actually 2 apprentices employed - one was an apprentice carpenter and the other an apprentice painter. I think it would be quite natural that employment in the Electrolytic Zinc Company and the Hydro-Electric Commission, to which Senator Wriedt referred, would have far greater appeal to- apprentices than would the Department of Works day labour force numbering between 60 and 80 in the circumstances 1 have mentioned.
While I am referring to Tasmania, Senator Wriedt also asked me what proportion of the consultant and professional fees were attritubted to Tasmania. He referred to page 317 of the Auditor-General’s Report where it is indicated that the amount spent for Victoria and Tasmania in 1969-70 was $726,749. We have not the actual statistics of the payments for Tasmania, but my best information is that, it is about $10,000 for the year. I regret to add that, in regard to the new major work that is commencing construction there - that is to say, Commonwealth offices - amounting to $4. 6m, economy was achieved by transferring plans that had been developed for a similar building in Brisbane and adapting those plans to the site in Hobart. That led to the employment as the principal architects in respect of that project of the original Brisbane architects, they employing for the purposes of supervision and local preparations their Hobart agents, Mr Shugg’s firm.
Senator Mulvihill referred me to Division 580 subdivision 2 item 13 - Armoured Car Payroll Service. The amount for which we are asking this year is $62,000. This provision is to cover contracts for armoured car and escort services under contracts arranged by the Commonwealth Stores Supply and Tender Board. This is an indication that it is that Board which arranges the general services for armoured car payroll services. Allowance has been made for expenditure on existing services at higher rates than those applying in 1969-70. The higher rates have been approved by the Commonwealth Stores Supply and Tender Board.
Division 580 subdivision 2 item 16 refers to the Commonwealth’s contribution to the Australian Road Research Board. The amount estimated for this year is $114,000. This item is to record the Commonwealth contributions to the Australian Road Research Board. The functions of the Board are to provide a national centre for road research information, the correlation and co-ordination of road research activities and to make available to appropriate authorities information relating to these matters. The current policy of the Commonwealth is to contribute 10 per cent of the annual budget of the Board, the amount for 1970-71 “being $1,140,000. I might say for Senator Mulvihills satisfaction that the Board has been responsible for evolving research that has been of invaluable economy in road construction. Item 18 of subdivision 2 refers to an amount of $5,000 as a contribution to the Australian Fire Protection Association. The Association is a nationwide, non-profit making technical and educational organisation aimed at safeguarding life and property against fire. The Association provides technical advice on fire prevention, and collects and disseminates information on fire risks and occurrences. In view of the Department’s general responsibilities, including building research and the Commonwealth Fire Board, Treasury suggested that the Department assume responsibility for the payment of a grant to the Association on behalf of the Commonwealth.
– My question is quite a short one and I do not think the Minister will have much trouble with it. 1 really intended to ask this question when we were dealing with matters concerning Estimates Committee A, but it comes up again under the estimates for the Department of Works. I refer to Division 582, subdivision 1 item 03 - Department of the Cabinet Office. The amount of the vote for works this year is $300. The Department spends about $250,000 a year and the works cost last year was in the region of S36.000 to $37,000. This year it is only $300. I am wondering why there has been this sudden change. Are they starting to close down the Cabinet Office. Have they got all they want? Why is it only $300? Can the Minister give me an answer?
– Provision is made for the estimates expenditure this year against an unexpended balance of $119 brought forward from last year on furniture and fittings requisitioned in 1969-70. New items for purchase will total $400, resulting in a total programme of $519. The decrease of $36,580 in the estimated expenditure to $300 from the actual expenditure for 1969-70 is a result of the completion of furniture and fitting requirements for new premises last year.
– Will the Minister please give me a reply to the question I asked earlier as to the breakdown of the combined amounts that were spent on the fees for private architects, engineers and quantity surveyors for Victoria and Tasmania? Those amounts are combined. I would like to know how much is attributed to Tasmania and how much to Victoria.
– I ask a general question of the Minister in respect of the whole of the Estimates. I do so because Estimates Committee C examined the Department of Works and made certain recommendations. I think it is appropriate that if recommendations are made they should be brought into the Senate for an opinion thereon to be expressed by the Minister. The Committee made a statement in its report as follows:
That, during the course of taking evidence, the Committee was concerned with the lack of clarity and appropriate information in the Budget papers in the presentation of figures relating to programmes and expenditure for the Department of Works.
The report goes on:
The Civil Works Programme and Particulars of Proposed Expenditure contained in the Appropriation Bills Nos 1 and 2 do not disclose all the construction works under the control of the Department of Works being, or to be undertaken for clients.
Secondly, there is no dissection shown of the appropriation included in the Appropriation Bills No3 1 and 2 or the Civil Works Programme which would enable a ready division of the Estimates lo show the work approved prior to the current financial year, the moneys which have been revoted and the moneys which are approved but will not be expended during the current financial year. The Committee is of opinion that the documents should clearly show the total vote proposed for new construction and the proportion of that amount which is to be expended in ihe ensuing year.
I appreciate that the Minister is aware of the need for the Committee’s concern, because it was expressed to him during the Estimates Committee hearings. I think that the Minister broadly agreed with the concern which was shown by the Committee, but I would be grateful if he would indicate whether it will be possible to meet the Committee’s expressed concern and to have some alterations made in the presentation of the papers next year. I think it is important to the Senate, having regard to the fact that there are 2 Appropriation Bills, each with different functions and each covering different types of expenditure, and it is important that the details should show clearly those figures which will enable those functions, if they ever were to be discharged, to be discharged effectively.
– In answer to Senator O’Byrne, I did state, apparently during his absence temporarily from the chamber, that 1 did not have the exact figures relating to architectural fees which were paid in Tasmania and which constituted one of the items in the figure of $726,749 for 1969-70. However, these fees are of the order of $10,000. In answer to Senator Greenwood, I repeat what I said to the Estimates Committee that I share the disquiet of the Committee with regard to the lack of reconciliation between the presentation of programmes in the civil works field and the 2 Appropriation Bills. It will be one of my pleasures as well as duties to take that matter into consideration with my Department as soon as parliamentary duties permit the time that will be necessary for me to consider the revision of such a long-standing format as these documents. I will then arrange a conference through the Treasurer (Mr Bury) with his officials in the hope that we can get the civil works programme so formulated that we can study the whole programme and not merely part of it. We will then be able to show in the course of that programming how much of any individual job has been completed and what remains.
This information will then be in a form that will readily reconcile with the 2 Appropriation Bills. This will be made available for the information of the Committee. These documents will be accompanied by a brief in the form that is usually supplied to the Minister but not hitherto to members of the Committee. This brief will be prepared in a really informative way so that members will gather from a mere perusal of the documents most of the substance of what they require. However, I could not seek to undertake to do this in the period between the time that the Committee sat and now. 1 would regard this matter as one which will possibly occupy my attention for 1 or 2 days on 2 or 3 occasions in the course of a period of 2 months.
– Without labouring the matter I would like to add a word in support of what was said by Senator Greenwood. Of course, what Senator Greenwood said has been answered by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright). But 1 would like to suggest something that might be considered by the Minister for Works and also by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) who was also involved in the Estimates Committee hearings. Some of the Committees made a preamble to their report and picked out items such as that commented upon by Senator Greenwood. Committee D did this in respect of the Department of Works and suggested that consideration might be given to relating specific items from other departments to that department when they are dealt with but not to take them away from the group that is being considered by the Committee. My suggestion is that the Ministers might consider incorporating in the records oi today’s proceedings the preliminary report of the Committee I do not mean that the whole voluminous report should be incorporated. I suggest that the comments which relate to particular suggestions from the Committee should be incorporated so that there is a record for those who were not able to attend the meetings of the Committee.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure - Australian Tourist Commission, $2,350,000 - agreed to.
Proposed expenditure, $18,966,000.
– I refer to Division 131- Office of Parliamentary Counsel. This was a matter that was canvassed fairly extensively by Estimates Committee C whose report to the Senate on this aspect is as follows:
When the Committee was hearing evidence relating to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, during consideration of the estimates for the Attorney-General’s Department, the matter of delay in preparation of up-to-date sets of bound Consolidated Statutes and Statutory Rules was raised. The latest set of bound Consolidated Statutes is dated 1950 and of Statutory Rules, 19S6. Reference was also made to the late publication of annual volumes of Statutes and Statutory Rules.
The evidence indicated that there was little immediate likelihood of up-to-date bound consolidated volumes of Statutes or Statutory Rules or of any satisfactory alternative being available in the foreseeable future.
The Minister for Works undertook to take the matter up with the Attorney-General and have some decisive explanation by 31st March 1971.
I raise this matter not only to draw attention to what the Committee recommended but to give some emphasis to the feeling which I think was shared by the whole Committee that the present situation is one which requires early decision and remedy. Not only members of Parliament are interested in understanding legislation which comes before the Parliament. Members of the public and those engaged in professional activities who must have access to the statutes also find that the present position is one which greatly impedes effective work.
I sensed from the answers that were given to the Committee during the hearings that it is felt within the Office of Parliamentary Counsel that this position is exaggerated. I do not know what the Minister had in mind when he stated to the Committee, as appears in the report which the Committee has put forward, that he will have some decisive explanation by 31st March 1971. I think this involves a decision being taken as to whether we are to have future consolidations of statutes or a satisfactory alternative. As I see it the position emerges in three ways. Firstly, it is desirable for senators to have bound annual volumes of the statutes as soon as possible after the completion of the year in which the statutes have been passed. As I understand the position we received bound volumes for 1968 only some 3 or 4 months ago. Who knows when we will receive the 1969 volume? One would suppose that the 1970 volume will be received some time late in 1971 or in 1972.
The second aspect which I think is important is that there should be some ready means of identifying the current position with respect to legislation which has been amended over a period on a number of occasions. I instanced during the hearings of the Committee - and I think other honourable senators had other examples - the Air Navigation Charges Act which was quite recently amended in the Parliament. When this legislation was before us, to ascertain what was involved in the amendment I had to refer to the 1957 consolidation of that statute and 9 separate amending pieces of legislation. All of this had to be perused before one could ascertain what the current position was. Even though this might be a highlighting example drawn from recent experience, my belief and experience have been that it is a pattern that occurs all too frequently. As I see it, it is not sufficient to be able to point to a consolidation of 1966 or 1967 if, since that date, there have been 2, 3 or 4 amending pieces of legislation. This all adds up to more work. It means that ascertainment of the law precisely in a statutory form is made more cumbersome and more difficult. I should have thought that there would be a better procedure for the presentation of statutes to enable an up to date consolidated Act to be available. I appreciate that this may mean that the old pattern of having consolidated statutes as of 1936 or 1950 will be superseded by a system which is gaining currency in, I think, Victoria and the United Kingdom whereby regularly consolidated individual statutes are being produced. I arn not sure that this alternative, satisfactory as it has been found in Victoria, ought to apply in the Commonwealth because with the passage of time I think there will be difficulties if there are delays in the work of either the Counsel’s office or the printing office.
What appears alarming to me is that this state of indecision as to which of the two alternatives should be adopted is one which has existed for the last 5 or 6 years and it still has not been resolved. I do not want to suggest by what I am now saying that 1 do not accept in its entirety what the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) has said as to what he is prepared to take to the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes), nor do I suggest that he is not as keen as I am to have the present situation rectified. But it is only by the persistence of comment and the emphasis that can be given to the fact that the present situation is unsatisfactory that the situation will be remedied.
The third point 1 make relates to the statutory rules. I think the state of the statutory rules is even more parlous than that of the statutes. Although the last consolidation of the statutory rules was in 1956 there have been many instances since that time of regulations being amended many times and it is very difficult to pick up what the amendments are. There is not the same attention paid in the Senate to regulations and it is only when particular issues arise that one has to have recourse to them. Within the last 2 or 3 days one leading member of the Opposition relating details of a regulation was informed by the Minister that the regulation had been amended within the last year or two. This is a phenomenon which happens to all of us and one cannot be sure on every occasion that one has all the amending regulations. We in the Senate are dependent upon the very willing officers in the Records and Papers room. These officers must look through the papers and hope they have made a comprehensive study. Human fallibility being what it is, sometimes errors may occur.
All this is designed to urge that the Senate acknowledge that due to the present position with regard to Acts and regulations, the ready information which one should be able to extract from them is not available to honourable senators in the form it should be. If - and I am speaking from some years experience in legal practice - the same position prevails in the legal profession then it represents an area in which more should be done than is being done at the present time. I hope the Minister will be able to make some response and indicate that this a concern which is shared by the Executive Government.
– Perhaps I can clinch the argument I propounded when discussing estimates for the Parliament and the particular matter of the proper payment of salaries and allowances. For the purpose ot the present discussion I refer to Division 131 - Office of Parliamentary Counsel, subdivision 1, Item 03. My mind cannot immediately comprehend the First Parliamentary Counsel, who would normally spend most of his day in an office, having to spend money on entertainment, for instance, for the specific purpose of maintaining his office. I just point out that he gets a salary of §22,750 and a tax free allowance of $1,500.
– I note what Senator Cavanagh has said. No doubt it will be considered in relation to what Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson has said about the parliamentary provision. I am grateful to Senator Greenwood, as I was during the sittings of the Estimates Committee, for bringing this matter to our attention, f content myself with repeating what I am recorded in the Committee’s report to the Senate as doing, that is that C undertake to take the matter up with the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Hughes) and have some decisive explanation given by 31st March next. I feel I can add little to that. I have already communicated with the Attorney-General in detail on the discussions of the Committee. However, other things preclude any real consideration being given to the matter until the end of November when we will seek an opportunity to go into it purposefully in the sense that Senator Greenwood has suggested.
– I refer to Division 137 - Conciliation and Arbitration. Questions were asked in relation to these items of expenditure in the Committee and assurances were given that the details which were sought would be provided. They have been provided. Those details related to the expenses which are involved in the maintenance of the Industrial Court and the expenses of the judges of that court. The details indicate that the members of the judiciary who comprise the Industrial Court have not been occupied for anywhere near the total available time, even on reasonable working standards for the judiciary, in the course of the last 12 months. When looked at closely the figures represent a considerable period of underwork.
I appreciate that the judges of the Industrial Court are occupied from time to time in other activities. The judges from time to time provide assistance in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory Supreme Courts; they attend the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island; they are available to preside over Courts of Marine Inquiry; and, increasingly in recent years, they have been appointed to conduct special inquiries. For example, Mr Justice Nimmo conducted an inquiry into the existing health services; Mr Justice Sweeney conducted an inquiry into salaries paid in colleges of advanced education; Mr Justice Eggleston for many years has been connected with the Company Law Review Committee and, as 1 understand it, has not been occupied at all with Industrial Court activities. All this adds up to suggesting that at the present time there is an over-staffing of the Industrial Court. I appreciate that the judges are appointed for life and that the status and necessities of the role of the judges require that they have a personal staff. What I am endeavouring to ascertain is whether the Government has any programme in mind which will rectify or remedy the situation or whether the situation revealed this year is likely to continue into the indefinite future.
– I am unable to indicate that the Government has any programme in relation to this Court as comprehensive as that suggested by Senator Greenwood. I can do no more than refer his remarks to the Attorney-General for consideration.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of Labour and National Service
Proposed expenditure, $14,088,000.
– We now come to another section of the Estimates. If it suits the convenience of the Committee I suggest we take the following together: Divisions 370 to 374; Division 755- Administration of the National Service Act; Division 75(5 - Post Discharge ReSettlement Training; Division 757 - National Service-Vocational Training and Technical Training; Division 758 - Commonwealth Hostels Ltd - Buildings, Works and Equipment - Exmouth Guest House. There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– I wish to make reference to some aspects of national service relating to Divisions 750, 755 and 760. All I want to refer to is the National Service Act and I particularly wish to raise those aspects which I have mentioned. Whilst it is known that my opposition to the National Service Act is fairly strenuous I think that while it is in operation we have an obligation to ensure that the people who do serve this country are properly provided for when they return to Australia. There is a fairly substantial sum appropriated for the administration of the Act but the appropriation for payments under the Defence (Re-establishment) Act under Division 760 has increased by only a very small amount. The appropriation last year was $568,700 of which only $471,907 was spent but for the current year the appropriation is many thousands of dollars less than for last year. I have had consultations with people in this place about this matter. Many of the youngsters who go overseas come from farming areas. If Senator Sim, who is seeking to interject, wants a confrontation I suggest that he-
– I will look after Senator Sim. The honourable senator should address the Chair.
– I suggest that the amount that is now paid under the Defence (Re-establishment) Act ought to be doubled or perhaps even trebled because no young person can re-establish himself in the rural industry with the small amount of money that he is now entitled to, nor can he re-establish himself after an absence of about 2 years from civil life in any small business undertaking. The payments made to persons who wish to continue or to take up a university course or some other tertiary education are not at all adequate in the circumstances. I ask the Minister: Does the Government have any intention to bring these payments up to 1970 thinking?
The next thing I want to know is why there has been an increase in the administration of the National Service Act from an expenditure last year of $548,653 to an appropriation of $650,000 for 1970-71. Perhaps some explanation could be given as to why the appropriation this year for re-establishment loans and vocational training is about $48,000 less than last year when more youngsters are now coming out of the Army?
– Mr Temporary Chairman
– I point out that Division 760, National Service, Rural Occupations, Re-establishment Loans and Vocational Training, is not under analysis at the moment.
– May I state for the satisfaction of Senator Keeffe that this Division comes under the estimates for the Department of Primary Industry. But on the same theme, if I may I will refer to the university courses under Division 750. Senator Keeffe will notice that under subdivision 1 the vote asked for this year is $606,000 for payments under the Defence (Re-establishment) Act. I refer the honourable senator to page 615 of Hansard, Senate Estimates Committee C, where I made it plain that the actual amount involved in all in the technical and university vocational training of these discharged national servicemen is about $1m and there is another vote to cover the intervening amount.
– How may I raise the matter of the other appropriation in relation to rural re-establishment?
When Senator Drake -Brock man takes charge of his share of the appropriations.
– I raise a matter under Division 370 concerning the Department of Labour and National Service and I am subject to your ruling, Mr Temporary Chairman, on the procedure. My colleague Senator Bishop did raise with the Minister the finalisation of the last International Labour Organisation delegation that went overseas and the fiasco that occurred due to some cut off in expenditure by the United States of America to the ILO conference. 1 have previously indicated that some adjustment was made to 2 Australian trade unionists who had to turn back after they had got half way across the globe. I wonder whether the Minister could indicate at this stage whether there has been any clear cut instruction given to the Australian Council of Trade Unions about future delegations. Are they to be spread out? Are they to be limited or are Other nations, including Australia, to upgrade their grants to the TLO to make up for the vacuum created by the US when it reduced its expenditure considerably in this direction?
– It was a detailed instance that Senator Bishop raised in that Committee 1 think that Senator Mulvihill was present and he will recall ihat Dr Cook gave an answer to the effect that payments were made. 1 have no doubt that having had this experience those persons concerned with future meetings will try to safeguard against similar occurrences as much as is humanly possible. This is a matter which would not be expected to occur frequently. I have no doubt ihat the Department will give every sympathy to ensure that misunderstandings of that sort do not arise i» the future.
– There are 3 matters which I want to raise and they relate to questions which were posed during the Estimates Committee C hearing. The first is the appropriation for Division 370, Administrative, within the Department of Labour and National Service. The Minister may recall a question put to Dr Cook that the arbitration inspectorate in Adelaide, which is centralised, ought to give consideration to providing inspectorate services to such places as Whyalla and Port Augusta. Dr Cook explained that what had been announced was the establishment of an employment office in those places but not inspectorate services. I have indicated that over the years there have been occasions both in respect to disputes and award infringements and also in respect to matters concerning young boys who have been retrenched from employment. Consequently a challenge arose as to whether these young men were properly protected under the terms of the Act and whether an inspector be appointed to these places. The Minister indicated that the matter would be distributed throughout his Department and there would be some consideration given to it and some reply given to me. Up to now I have not had a reply and I therefore place my remarks on record.
I want to refer to an issue which was raised in the Committee and it applies to the Defence Services, Division 755, concerning the appropriation for the administration of the National Service Act. In August the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden) supplied figures of the number of persons who had registered but who were not available for call-up. Those figures showed that in 1969 there were 2,038 and in 1970 the number had increased to 2,416. In view of the fact that a very small number of prosecutions have been made in both cases - 6, 7 or 9 - we tried to get information to confirm our suspicion that there has been some relaxation in the policy of the Government over the prosecution of young people who have not registered for service? I want to make it very clear that I am not advocating any stringent policy on this matter. I certainly would believe that a liberalisation of this sort of thing would be a good move. When this question as to how these numbers had increased was canvassed, the representative from the Department of Labour and National Service said that they would seem to be lost; that is, that they were scattered throughout the country and could not be found. Whether these 2,418 young people had been, in effect, left off the hook, if I may put it that way, or whether there was no positive action by the Department to prosecute them in the light of the current feelings of the Australian community was not fully explained. We were unable at that stage to get any figures. We were told that a further report would be given.
The other question, on the same item, relates to the standards in the tests that these young people undergo.
– To what are you referring now, Senator?
– I am referring to the administration of the National Service Act, under Division 755. I refer to the so-called educational tests which have been adopted by the Department of Labour and National Service in respect of those young people who are conscripted. A system of educational tests is followed which has been criticised by some people who resent the fact that certain young people are being rejected from the Army. I refer to cases which have been mentioned in the past where young people who volunteer for service in the Regular Army have been rejected because of so-called educational tests. Over the years, the numbers rejected have been very high. I might mention that, in trying to find out what the tests were, we were unable to get the particulars of the tests. No evidence is available from the Department as yet as to whether these tests are carried out by a local doctor who may be examining medically or whether there are some specialist facilities.- At the end of the consideration of this matter by the Estimates Committee, Senator Wright indicated that he would see that the matter was put in writing. As reported at page 614 of the Hansard report of Senate Estimates Committee C, the Minister is reported as saying:
I think it will be more clear if it is put forward in a statement in writing showing where the psychology test, the educational test and medical test all come in. They may obviously overlap and then when we give the numbers I think the members of the Committee will have a clearer view …
Unless the answers have gone astray on those subjects - and I certainly have not received any answers - I ask the Minister whether he has any more information?
– I have not had information, particularly on the question of inspectorate services, in the way in which the honourable senator would wish it. With regard to the reconciliation of numbers and the question in respect of medical tests and psychological tests, I inform the honourable senator that the details have not been analysed, but I assure him that be will receive this information in due course.
– On Division 755, I seek some information from the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) as to the activities of the Department of Labour and National Service. I desire to know this: When a decision is taken to send someone to gaol for non-compliance with the National Service test, is the Commonwealth responsible for the upkeep of that individual in gaol? I am concerned about the case of Charles Martin who at the present time is in the Adelaide Gaol - I suppose at some expense to the Government of South Australia. Is any payment made to the Government of South Australia as compensation for the cost of detaining a conscientious objector or a person who refuses to comply with the National Service Act, as Charles Martin does, in Adelaide Gaol? 1 ask the Minister also: What is the test regarding the application of the regulations that were discussed recently here. I refer to those regulations which permit the Minister for Labour and National Service to refer to a court for examination the conscientious beliefs of an individual who himself has not applied for exemption from service on this ground? What test does the Minister apply in determining whether he will or will not refer a particular matter to the court? Honourable senators will remember that, when we were considering this matter earlier, the Minister admitted that the Minister for Labour and National Service did have discretionary power. I would like to know how the Minister uses his discretionary power.
In view of the figures that Senator Bishop just gave regarding the number of those persons who have not complied with the Act and the small number who have been prosecuted, I would like to have some information of the method of selection by the Minister of those to be prosecuted for non-compliance with the National Service Act. If there is to be a discretion in selection, I believe that a better selection could be made than is made today.
Charles Martin, at present in Adelaide Gaol, is a carpenter. Last year, he received a degree in building technology at the Institute of Technology in South Australia. Obviously, he is a carpenter of some class who would qualify with regard to apprenticeship in the Department of Works. He has completed his apprenticeship. He has undertaken an additional course in building technology. He is an outstanding carpenter. Why this individual was selected for prosecution and gaoling instead of others in South Australia who have refused to comply wilh the National Service Act, I do not know. His contribution to society has been much more valuable than the contribution of some of the other persons who have not been prosecuted because he was in regular employment.
There is a great similarity between his case and the case of Christ. They were both carpenters. They both preached peace and advocated peace throughout their respective nations. While I recognise that Charles Martin had no redress from the application of the Act I realise that neither would Christ if he was in Australia at the present time and continued preaching peace as he did. Martin is 24 years of age. With the knowledge that we have of Christ we know that he would have suffered the penalty for non-compliance with the laws of this country at the age of 24 years, some 8 years earlier than he did under the Roman governor. Like Christ, Charles Martin worked for his father as a carpenter in building construction. There is such a similarity that. 1 believe it shows the degeneration of our enforcement of this Act at the present time.
– Did not Christ say: ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and render unto God the things that are God’s’?
– Christ, in his Sermon on the Mount said words to this effect: ‘He that strikes you on the left side of the face, turn the other cheek’. Christ was the greatest peace advocate that history possibly has every known. Did he not say words to this effect: ‘Shame on you for you know that your sword is covered with blood’? We find throughout history that men following in His occupation and in His footsteps have received similar treatment. Charles Martin, following in Christ’s footsteps, receives no more salvation under this Government than Christ would if he were here at the present time. Those people in the world who have advocated peace throughout the centuries if they lived here now, came under the age limit and objected to this National Service Act would be put in gaol in Australia.
The life of Charles Martin resembles the life of Christ, the great saviour whom we honour when prayers are said when the Senate assembles each day. Charles Martin resembles Christ in his whole preachings, in his occupation and in the fact that his employer is his father. The question I ask is; Why is this young man selected out of a number of people in South Australia to serve this penalty in a gaol in South Australia?
– I would not discuss the personal details of these individuals in public even if I had them. But I do not have the information which would adequately do justice to a statement of either case and thereforeI do not propose to discuss them. As to the tests which are applied by the Minister when he chooses to refer a case to a magistrate for decision on whether the person is a conscientious objector or not - that is to say whether he has a conscientious belief that he should not serve in any kind of military service - the Minister has a whole file before him with a summation from his officers from which it may appear that the man has simply adopted the wrong form or that he has inadequately stated his application for exemption on the grounds of conscientious belief, or it may be that by reason of circumstance it appears a reasonable inference to the Minister that there is a prima facie case for consideration by the magistrate.
In all such cases the Minister’s one criterion is to ensure, if there is upon the evidence before him any reasonable case for consideration of whether the party has a conscientious objection, that he should refer it to the magistrate to give that man the opportunity to claim, if he wishes, and to support by evidence, that he holds that conscientious belief. With regard to the question as to who pays the cost of maintenance of prisoners, I point out that any person convicted under Commonwealth law is, by arrangement with the States, received into a State prison under standing arrangements for the payment of maintenance.
Proposed expenditures agreed to.
Department of Education and Science
Proposed expenditure, $129,478,000.
National Service - Vocational Training - University Courses
Proposed expenditure, $612,000.
– I move:
The Opposition is making this request because it believes that in the debate on the estimates of the Department of Education and Science it is essential that certain well established policies of the Australian Labor Party be put before the Senate. These policies are policies which either in whole or in part are held not only by the Australian Labor Party but also by a number of responsible bodies throughout Australia dedicated to the needs and improvement of Australian education. I appreciate that there has been considerable debate in another place on the proposals which are contained in the motion which I have just moved, and for that reason I do not intend to spend as much time in speaking to the motion as I might have were this motion presented to the Senate in circumstances different from those in which we find ourselves today.
I shall deal first with paragraph (a) of the motion. This paragraph deals with perhaps one of the most basic necessities of having a proper understanding of what the purposes of Australian education are, and without having this proper understanding it would seem to be impossible to improve in any way our educational system. If we do not know what we are trying to do, it would seem to me that it will be very difficult for us even to do what we are at present doing with any sort of sense, and certainly impossible to make any substantial improvements. Paragraph (a) requests that the Government should: use its good offices to secure the immediate publication of the Commonwealth-States survey of educational needs and make emergency grants accordingly;
The Opposition appreciates that in any survey of educational needs unilateral action by this Government would not be sufficient; there would need to be cooperation with the States. The Opposition appreciates also that there are State governments with differing viewpoints and that there may well be - in fact it would be surprising if there were not - contradictory views expressed by the States on what the individual States regard as the needs of education within their own provinces. However, there certainly would be a number of basic requirements which without any ideological differences or without any differences of approach could be readily obtainable from all the States with the co-operation of the Commonwealth. It will need to be known to this Government, the Commonwealth Parliament, the State parliaments, the Australian people and in particular those people who are working in education precisely what the position is at the present time with regard to the adequacy of teaching staffs, the training of teaching staffs and the facilities such as buildings and equipment for the education of students at present attending institutions of learning in Australia. This information will have to be published. There will also need to be an examination to determine what will be the needs posed by any projected increase in population, particularly in those age groups who receive education. There also needs to be an examination of what occupations, what skills and what trades are those in which it is necessary to have a higher proportion of persons being ‘trained and educated than at the present time.
Paragraph (a) of the motion asks precisely for the publication of such a survey.
Paragraph (b) follows, quite naturally, from paragraph (a). It calls on the Government to establish committees. We are not in any way being pedantic or dogmatic about how many committees there should be or about which persons or which classes of persons should constitute these committees, although it would obviously have to be understood that at least some of these persons would be experts within various fields of education. We call on the Government to establish committees to examine and make recommendations on the objectives and quality of Australian education and also the inequalities of education opportunities. 1 believe it is essential that the Government should have some guidelines as to what are the objective of our education system.
Amongst industrialised Western countries, and indeed amongst those countries which have reached a sufficient stage of technical advancement to have fairly sophisticated systems of education, there are great divergences of opinion as to what are the goals of education. There are societies in which it is believed that the primary purpose of education is a narrow functional purpose; that the purpose of education is to train people to deal with the necessary machinery; to understand the instructions which they are given as they go around the streets; that certain people should be perhaps only literate and no more in order to be trained in some simple occupation and that other persons should be highly skilled in certain occupations which require technical expertise. Other people in advanced Western countries believe that there are other purposes in education.
For example, if one narrows it down to 2 countries which are different in many respects - the United States of America and South Africa, at least so far as the white population is concerned - there is an insistence in the field of tertiary education at the university level that before one proceeds to special studies, such as the study of law, it is necessary that there should be a study of the humanities in any university course. In many countries the goal of education is to see that all those persons who axe capable of receiving it, whatever occupation they might subsequently follow and however, m the usual terminology, menial their occupation might be - and I for one do not agree that any useful occupation is a menial one - should receive it. It is believed that all citizens, however unskilled might be the occupation which they subsequently follow, should be trained in the humanities in order to obtain an understanding of their civilisation and the culture of their country, and indeed of other cultures.
I do not believe that the Government has given a clear indication - and I think I could say that I do not think sufficiently clear indications have been given by any of the other political parties - as to the basic purpose of education in Australia. Is it merely to enable enough people to build houses or to drive engines or to fly aeroplanes or to practise the law or to extract tonsils or to rill teeth in order to fulfil the material requirements of society, with the remainder of the population needing only sufficient education to be able to understand the Canberra ‘Sunday Post’, provided that they can get through the misprints?
– Would you say that is the same as is in your own Party’s platform? I think that it sets out the objectives very well.
– I am glad that Senator Greenwood shows enthusiasm for the Labor Party’s platform.
– No. I am interested to hear that you are not prepared to adhere to it.
– That 1 am not prepared to adhere to it?
– In what you have just been saying.
– I do not quite follow the point of Senator Greenwood’s interjection, but 1 will not labour it at the moment. Perhaps he was not listening to what was being said. But what I am saying is that I do not believe that in Australia there is a sufficiently wide recognition of the purpose of education - whether it is merely to provide narrow training in certain skills or whether it is to do something which is broader, wider and deeper than that. In the past it has seemed to me from various statements which have been made by some people who at least have held prominent positions in the Government, that the purpose of education in their minds is no more than to train people to read the instructions on the machinery.
If I remember correctly, Sir Robert Menzies said on more Ulan one occasion that as far as he understood, scholarships should be awarded only to people who had particular qualifications and that the only people who should get scholarships were those who had in fact qualified for a sort of a prize. Certainly one thing on which the Australian Labor Party is quite clear is that all persons who are capable of benefiting from tertiary education should receive it. We shaM be able to arrive more easily at sensible conclusions about the purpose of education if the committees, such as those suggested in paragraph 2 of this amendment, are appointed.
Paragraph b (ii) refers to inequalities of educational opportunities. Even if education to the tertiary level is made available to all persons - and it certainly is not in Australia - there still can be serious inequalities in educational opportunities depending upon the circumstances of the parents and the background in which the students have been raised. Recently in Sweden, where there has now been 35 years of Labor government and great advances have been made towards equalities of income and opportunity, the Swedish Minister for Education proposed that there should be a 10 per cent loading in examination marks for the qualification to enter universities given in favour of those young people who come from underprivileged homes.
The argument which has been used in these cases is that such matters as intelligence, which can be measured by any form of testing, are to a very large extent derived from the background in which a person has grown up. Someone who comes from a background of literate parents, where there is an interest in learning and where time, opportunity and encouragement are given to engage in more serious activities, is given a very considerable start and this in fact can be identified by any intelligence quotient test, even though physically there is no means of detecting any superiority of one person over another. That has been found in particular in the United
States of America where for a long time those people who were in favour of the subjugation of the black population argued that IQ tests in a number of schools showed that Negro children had a lower IQ than that of white children.
– Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– I rise to say that I support this amendment in order to allow Senator Wheeldon to continue.
– I thank Senator Georges. I wish to continue only very briefly. I do not wish to detain the Committee on this matter at any great length. I do not think there is any psychologist or reputable educationist in the United States who now would not agree that the difference in the IQs of young white people and young black people is due to the opportunities of young white people, which, in the majority of cases, were superior to those available to young black people and that with the spread of education among the black youth of the United States there has been a steady drawing closer of the IQs of both groups.
Paragraph (c) of the motion refers to the establishment of commissions to investigate and make recommendations on the 3 major branches of education. The first concerns pre-school education - kindergarten and other forms of education which are given to very young children. This is a service which in the whole is grossly inadequate in this country. The second commission is to deal with primary and secondary education. This commission is to deal with the needs of primary and secondary schools in all systems of education throughout Australia. The third is to deal with tertiary education and in that field the Opposition envisages, as is expressed in this motion, the incorporation of all tertiary institutions including colleges of advanced education, teachers’ training colleges and universities into one system. In this latter I believe that we have the support of a very considerable body of people interested in tertiary education.
This support has been indicated by such diverse bodies as the Victorian Government which is proposing that degrees should be awarded to graduates of colleges of advanced education in addition to those which are awarded by universities. Whatever the merits of the proposal it does show an inclination towards the coordination of tertiary institutions such as colleges of advanced education and universities, in particular by the National Union of Australian University Students which recently changed both its name and its constitution to include amongst its members not only students at universities but also students at institutes of technology and colleges of advanced education. In addition to these commissions we advocate that there should be another commission of inquiry to co-ordinate all levels of education. Clearly if there is to be sensible education activity in the field of preschool, primary and secondary schools and the universities and other tertiary institutions there seems to be a need for some overall plan to co-ordinate all 3. They are all, in any event, inter-dependent, and in a society in which it is hoped that the highest education which is available to anyone will be available to every citizen who is capable of taking advantage of such education it is necessary that all these forms of education be co-ordinated. For this reason the commission which is referred to in paragraph (c) (iv) is included in the motion which I have moved. T commend the motion to the Senate.
– We have just listened to Senator Wheeldon who is apparently putting forward the chief points that the Opposition feels should be advanced on the subject of education. Apparently it is the object of the Opposition to take over education in its entirety and control it through the Commonwealth. Our position on the other hand is to recognise that the States have prime responsibility in this matter and to supplement their programme in co-operation with them in the areas of most significant need. With regard to the first proposition the honourable senator put regarding a Commonwealth-wide survey it should be remembered that that survey on the educational needs of the Commonwealth was arranged by the State Ministers for Education. It was not a Commonwealth project although the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) co-operated in it, together with his officers. However, it is a matter for the State
Ministers to decide when the report of the survey should be published and all I can see is that on 1st September they released a 14-page statement as to the result of the survey.
The position that has developed since then is that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has asked each State Premier for his Government’s view on the result of the survey and on the priority that the State governments would wish to accord to the needs of education at primary and secondary levels. It may well be that the State Education Ministers have stated aspirations which are in contrast to financial undertakings and financial programmes. The Minister for Education and Science has sought replies on various aspects of those proposals because he is examining the nation-wide survey in readiness to discuss the decisions that should be made. With regard to the second part of the resolution submitted to us, that we should establish committees of practically world-wide ambit in education and apparently absorbed in generality, it should not be forgotten that the Commonwealth has from time to time acted in consultation with the States to establish committees of inquiry into particular aspects of education much more productive of useful results than a generalised committee such as is proposed here. 1 mention that when we were about to enter upon a grand programme for university education we procured from England the services of Sir Hugh Murray and got together a committee which worked with him. They produced what everybody thought was a magnificent report on university education.
The reports of the Martin Committee and the Wark Committee are well known. Some recent examples that have been of great benefit are the Wiltshire Committee which looked at the question of nomenclature and standards of awards in colleges of advanced education and the recent Auchmuty Committee which has just completed an examination of the teaching of Asian languages and cultures in Australia. The Commonwealth is co-operating with the States in the development of the curiculum for junior secondary science and for social sciences and the individual States have also established committees of inquiry. In 1968, for example, Tasmania appointed a committee to investigate the role of the school in society. Earlier thi; year in Queensland the Radford Committee reported after a review of the system of public examinations for secondary schools. In South Australia a committee under Professor Karmel is presently carrying out a comprehensive inquiry into education in that State involving, 1 think as one aspect, the realm of independent schools. That report will, of course, be looked to by educationists as a useful guide.
The third proposition put forward by the Opposition was that we should have a continuing commission to make recommendations on pre-school, primary, secondary and teritary education and the co-ordination of education at all levels. 1 ask the Senate to consider how wide would be the ambit of a commission such as that for the whole Commonwealth and whether we would derive beneficial results from such a proposal. I suggest that it is unlikely that we would, but in considering that proposal the Senate ought to recognise that education continues to be primarily the responsibility of the States, and die State governments are jealous of their interest in the subject of education. We ought not to advance a proposition of this sort unless it is sought by the State governments with our co-operation, and up to date they have not made any such proposal.
Finally, I wish to make a few general comments that might indicate to the Senate that the policy of the Federal Government is to implement the State development of education and this can be seen, I think, by the magnificent degree of assistance that has been extended in the Federal sphere over the last 10 years. First of all, from 1961 to 1971 the direct Commonwealth expenditure in this field has increased from $54m to $3 12m per annum. Stated in another way it has increased from 1.9 per cent of the Budget 10 years ago to 4.4 per cent of the Budget this year.
Another fact that may be of interest to the Committee is that the total expenditure on education by the State governments has increased from 25 per cent of total State revenue and known expenditure 10 years ago to an estimated 31 per cent this year. The total estimated expenditure on education in Australia - that is, combined Commonwealth and State - as a percentage of the gross national product has increased from 3.5 per cent in 1961-62 to 4.2 per cent in 1969-70. Another fact that may be of interest is that from 1958 to 1968 the pupil-teacher ratio has registered these figures: In government primary schools it felt from 32 to 28; in government secondary schools from 21 to 18 and in nongovernment schools from 34 to 29. To show the effect upon the youth section of the population itself, between 1959 and 1969 the proportion of teenagers from 15 to 18 years of age still at school rose from 25 per cent to 41 per cent. The last figure that I will give indicates that out of every 100,000 young people aged between 20 and 24 years, in 1958 500 obtained bachelor degrees at the university and in the year 1.968 the corresponding figure was 1,200.
– We are still lagging badly behind other countries.
- Senator Murphy will come in during the last remnants of a debate, purport to understand it and add some tag end to it which is simply tendentious and meaningless. Of course there are always things to be achieved in the field of education and health and those other areas of social improvement, but all I am saying is that the Labor Party proposition as I have stated it seems to be one generally of futility and the Government achievement, as I have stated it, over the last 10 years is one of significant improvement. I ask the Committee to reject the motion.
– I support the motion. Education for any country is far too important to be dealt with in the way it has been dealt with by Senator Wright who represents the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) in this chamber. It is too important to be brushed off as a matter for the States. It is too important to be left in the area where the Minister would like to leave it by saying: ‘Oh, well, we have all sorts of demands in health and social services and education. Do not let us worry about it. Let us brush aside the brutal facts about education in Australia.’ As has been demonstrated many times in this chamber by the late Senator Cohen and by educationists throughout Australia, education is at a deplorably low standard in Australia when one compares it to education in other advanced countries. It is true, as the Minister says, that we are spending about 4 per cent of our gross national product on education. The Minister say it has crept up from 4 per cent to 4.4 per cent, but it is about 4 per cent. That is not enough, and it is below other advanced countries. I entered into this debate to ask the Minister whether that was not so but he did not answer. He turned around to say something personal instead of telling the truth and saying: ‘Yes, senator, we are spending less of our gross national product on education than other advanced countries’. The truth is that we are spending less and, of course, we are seeing the results of it, and those results are bad results.
The children of Japan on a per capita basis at every stage get better educational opportunities than the children of Australia. More of them go to secondary school; more complete secondary school; more go to university; more complete university courses; more do post graduate courses and more get technical education. This is one of the reasons why Japan is shooting ahead in all fields. It is not only that their children are getting the education that they deserve as individuals, but this finds a result in the productivity of the country. And Japan is surging ahead in trade, commerce and every field. This is why Japan is bounding ahead: It is spending money on education and we should be doing the same.
It is the responsibility of everyone in the community - it is not to be left to the States, the parents, the churches or anyone else - to see to it that Australian youth get the education they deserve. Anyone who does not realise that is not fit to represent the Minister for Education and Science. More money should be spent on education. There should be a better understanding of what the problems are in education so that we can see to it that money is spent in the best way. Inquiries should be held. We know that there has been a survey, and the people of Australia are entitled to know the results of that survey. Why have they not been published? The answer is simply that if the survey reflected credit on the Government it would publish the results. The fact is that the survey does not reflect any credit on the Government and that is why it does not want the people of Australia to know about it. That is why the results have been suppressed. Have honourable senators ever known the Government to hold back anything for which it could claim some credit and in respect of which it could say: ‘We are doing a good job’? The Government tells us on such occasions. Good luck to it. When the Government suppresses something it is a discredit to the Government. The Government’s performance in education has been discreditable.
Australian educational authorities are demoralised. Teachers throughout the country and State Ministers foi Education are asking for more money. We are all aware of the disgraceful conditions under which children in our community are getting education. There are shortages of classrooms, shortages of teachers and changeovers in teachers. I wonder how the Minister can toss off the statements that he has made, talking about how many graduates we have and all this when he knows that this has to be judged against the background of our population and the background of what is happening in other countries. The Australian Labor Party has asked for an inquiry into education. Over the past years there have been similar proposals by the Labor Party. On 18th March 1969, pursuant to a notice that he had already given, the late Senator Cohen moved:
That a select committee of the Senate be appointed to inquire into and report upon tile needs of pre-school, primary, secondary and technical education throughout Australia and to recommend such legislative and administrative measures by the Commonwealth as wilt enable (Inbest standards of education for all.
Of course the Government voted against the motion and, unfortunately, it was joined by others in the Senate. I said ‘the Government’, but one Government senator voted with the Australian Labor Party to set up that committee which would have been an extremely valuable committee. It would have thrown light on the educational problems in Australia and given an opportunity to those who are concerned about them to put forward submissions. Now we have a motion, again emanating from the Australian Labor Party, which makes good sense. It states, in the first place, that we should have published immediately the results of the Commonweal th-States survey of educational needs and that there should be emergency grants in accordance with that survey. How can anyone reasonably object to the publication of the results of a no doubt expensive survey and a no doubt worthwhile survey, so that we can look at them? If there is something wrong, let those who disagree say so. But why hide it, except for the reason that I have already advanced? Why should emergency grants not be made in accordance with the proposals that have been made? If the Government does not want to act on them it should at least do something in the way of emergency action to deal with what is an emergency - and the situation of education in Australia is an emergency situation.
Senator Wheeldon proposed that the Government establish committees - this motion to reduce the vote would be an instruction to the Government to do that - to examine and make recommendations on the objectives and quality of Australian education. Is that not necessary? They are to examine also inequalities of education opportunities. Who doubts that in this country inequalities of education opportunities exist? Go and look at the schools. I have in my hand something that was issued by the Council for the Defence of Government Schools, which I think has been sent out to members of Parliament and senators. Consider the disgraceful state of some schools. Take the State schools like the Kogarah school and others. Some honourable senators here are familiar with them. All over this country one can see schools that are a disgrace to a civilised society. Then one goes to other schools where the children are receiving the kind of education that they no doubt deserve. Everything is handed to them on a platter. They have not only school rooms and teachers but assembly halls, libraries and science blocks. Money is being poured into these schools by this Government. Some of the richest private schools in the country are having hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into them by this Government.
I shall quote an example. 1 do not know the correctness of it but I think that this is the position. Scots College receives directly and indirectly from the Federal Government about $210 per child per year as do others in the same area. I mention Kambala in Rose Bay, Ascham and Cranbrook. They are only some in New South
Wales. One can go through the other schools in the country and see that the richest schools, the ones that are best off, are getting more. That is an example of inequality of opportunity being exacerbated and aggravated by this Government instead of the inequalities being modified in an endeavour to give children a fair go as far as governments can do. Children differ in their abilities. They differ in their intelligence. But they ought not to have other inequalities forced on them. I refer to the inequalities caused by deprivation because this Government chooses to create and to worsen the financial inequalities between them.
I would suggest that no reasonable person could object to an investigation of those inequalities. Senator Wheeldon also suggests that there be established continuing commissions to investigate and make recommendations on pre-schools, primary and secondary education and tertiary education. We know that there is some investigation of tertiary education. Senator Wheeldon said in regard to that, that the tertiary education commission should coordinate all forms of tertiary education including teachers colleges. The policy of the Australian Labor Party is that the Commonwealth ought to take over the entire financial responsibility for the teachers colleges, and it ought to be taking the entire financial responsibility for tertiary education. Primary, secondary and technical education obviously need a proper investigation. Continuing commissions are needed to act in regard to education at these levels. Does Australia deserve anything less than this? Is the Government going to go on from year to year, from election to election, doling out some kind of electoral bribe that it thinks will satisfy this section or that section of the community? Or is it going to go in and start to open up the problems of education? Let a commission of independent persons examine these problems and come up with the results, and let the Government act on them.
The policy of my party is clear. We think that there should be such commissions. They should investigate the needs of all schools and of all children and they should recommend grants to be made according to those needs to meet the demands of proper education for children throughout Australia and on the basis of certain needs and priorities. Those needs and priorities are very important. They are set out in the platform of the Australian Labor Party, which states: the Commission shall have regard to:
That means Government schools first. The policy continues:
That broadly means not only government schools, but government schools first. I suggest to honourable senators that the proposal put forward by Senator Wheeldon is a wise one and that the Senate in its wisdom ought to adopt that policy so that Australia will face up to its responsibilities in education. These are national responsibilities and they ought to be dealt with by the Parliament of the nation taking this step.
– Senator Murphy, in the course of speaking to this amendment, stated that the Government’s approach to education and its actions with regard to education were wholly discreditable. No-one with any sense of objectivity examining the record of what this Government has done in education over the last 13 years, could say that it is discreditable, and mean it. Ranting in a high octave does not make it so, either. Anyone who examines what this Government has done will see a range of activity of which any government would be proud. But the basic fact - this is something which Senator Murphy was inclined entirely to ignore - is that in Australia at the present time education is primarily a State matter. Each State has its own education department. Each State has an apparatus by which its education department is administered, by which schools are erected and maintained and by which teachers are trained. All the facilities necessary for the provision of education are in the hands of the States. Therefore, if the Commonwealth is to take any role in education which is an economic role and has regard to existing resources and the use of them, the role adopted by the Commonwealth must be a supplementary one.
Yet Senator Murphy’s whole approach was to suggest that the Australian Labor Party should ignore the existing resources in the States and seek to build up a separate edifice to exist alongside each State system. He believes that this is what the Australian people should pay for. He airily says that the Australian Labor Party would take over the entire cost of teacher training and the entire cost of tertiary institutions. What would it cost if the Commonwealth Government had to bear the entire cost of the universities and the colleges of advanced education?
– He did not explain why the Labor Party had two different education policies in the last State election in Victoria.
– I am attracted by what Senator Little says, but I sense in this that there is a temptation to err and to stray from the theme which I am following. The point is that a Labor government - or any Australian Government - would have to find the money If the Commonwealth Government were to accept the responsibilities which Senator Murphy asserts. I ask - and T think it is a point which has to be made constantly - where is the Labor Party to find the money to enable these things to be given that priority which Senator Murphy claims for them? There is not a thing which this Government has done which is not challenged as being inadequate or indicated to the people that it would be better if only the Labor Party had the chance to spend more money on it.
What has the Government clone in this area? Since 1957 the Government has accepted the responsibility for universities on a matching dollar for dollar basis with regard to capita) expenditure and on the basis of $1 for every $1.85 which the State governments spend with regard to recurrent expenditure. The Government also has assisted by way of the provision of science equipment and science facilities. Over the 7 years since this scheme was introduced $81 m has been provided. This assistance, of course, was provided only after the Murray Commission had recommended in 1963 that there was a dearth of science equipment and a dearth of science teaching in Australia and a need for this scarcity to be rectified if Australia’s technology was to be adequate to what was expected in the years ahead. Since 1964 the Government has provided a considerable sum with regard to the provision of technical colleges throughout Australia. The new technical colleges which are being built in the various capital cities are being provided as a result of Commonwealth grants to the States.
The Commonwealth has recognised a need for the provision of secondary school libraries. Again, these facilities have been provided because the Commonwealth granted $27m over the current 3-year period. If one looks at a wider field one finds that teacher training is an area in which the Commonwealth Government has accepted the primary responsibility. In the period from 1968 to 1973 there will be a total of $54m provided by the Commonwealth Government to the States for the purpose of providing teacher training colleges. These are unmatched grants. In addition, the Commonwealth Government has recognised that we have in Australia a dual system of education. For more than 100 years we have had independent schools and a State education system. Because the financial position of independent schools was such that many of them would have to close and, if they closed this would have imposed a burden and a heavy financial expenditure on the State institutions, the Commonwealth Government followed the lead which had been taken by the State governments and has provided aid for independent schools.
– Some do not know what to do with their money, senator, and you know it.
– I appreciate that there may be some problems with some of the so-called more wealthy schools. But no government. Liberal or Labor, in the States has devised an adequate means of distinguishing between independent schools. If there is such a means, I am sure that it will be looked at. But basically at present no discrimination is exercised in the manner in which the grants arc made to independent schools. For my part. I do not believe that any discriminatory basis should be adopted. The point 1 make is that over this current year a sum in excess of $24m has been provided by way of grants to independent schools.
These are records of achievement and 1 have stated them without recourse to documents to list them seriatim and there are instances which I have missed. Nevertheless, this represents a solid contribution by the Commonwealth Government. As the Minister has said, in this current year the Commonwealth Government will provide $3 13m which represents a 25 per cent increase on the amount which the Commonwealth Government provided for education last year. This contribution was made in the context of a Budget in which the Government had to have regard to the other priorities which are constantly pressing upon a government. For instance, the Government had to consider the need to give taxation relief which everyone demanded prior to the Budget. Also, the Government had to have regard to its obligation to maintain a balanced economy.
– The Government is spending $500m a year in Vietnam.
– If the argument that the Opposition uses now comes down to questioning what is happening in Vietnam, which has been the hoary shibboleth it has thrown up in the last 3 or 4 years, it seems to me that it is really devoid of argument on the merits of the educational programme. Senator Murphy wants to know why the Government has not published the survey of educational needs which was produced by the Australian Education Council. As Senator Wright has stated, this document was prepared by the States. The States have published a summary of this report. They have indicated that there is a shortfall of $14m between what they reasonably expect to be spent and what will be available to them. The reaction of the Commonwealth Government to this is that we are concerned to help but we want a realistic appraisement of how the money is to be spent.
Two factors arise in this matter. The first is that earlier this year the Commonwealth Government very substantially increased the amount of general revenue assistance to the States, and therefore the ability of the States to provide moneys for education exceeds that which was the basis upon which this survey was made earlier this year. The second point is that if the Commonwealth Government is to provide assistance to the States for educational purposes, what is required is a survey of what is practicable. It is no good simply to say that there is a shortfall in money unless you have regard to whether or not the ways in which the money is likely to be spent by the States is feasible having regard to the public works programmes of the States and their other commitments. These are matters upon which the Commonwealth Government has been seeking information. Until the Government receives this information it is unable to say what its contribution will be. Of course, until this information is available to the Commonwealth Government the States have decided not to release the programme. I think a lot of people would like to see what is in this survey. I can only suppose that one of the reasons why the States have not produced this survey is that, in the light of what the Commonwealth Government has asked for, there would have to be some changes which they are not at this stage prepared to reveal publicly.
I consider that the attack which has been made by the Australian Labor Party on the Government’s educational programme is but one more electioneering effort which ignores the realities and seeks to make capital by the use of generalities and the loud voice. I trust that whenever an opportunity arises there will be recognition of the very signal achievements which this Government has been able to produce in a wide variety of fields in education, each one of them complementing existing State programmes.
That the request (Senator Wheeldon’s) be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority .. .. -
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I would like some answers to matters appertaining to Division 231 - Metric Conversion Board. I would like the Minister to advise me, if he is able, whether the Board is in operation yet, whether it has offices and is staffed and, if so, the address at which it is operating. I am quite certain there are many people concerned with conversion. They are interested to get information of value and I would be interested to know how far the establishment of the Metric Conversion Board has progressed. I know we appointed it but whether it is working at full pace is not yet known.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is that the Board has had its first meeting. It has an executive member, a small staff and an office. I would regard the office probably as a preliminary office, but it is ready for work.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of External Territories
Proposed expenditure, $104,616,000.
– I move:
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the second schedule by reducing the proposed expenditure under Divisions 270 to 282 for the Department of External Territories, $104,616,000, by $2.
As an indication to the Government:
That the Senate is of the opinion that recent events in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea for which the Government is responsible constitute a danger to the civil liberties and rights of the people of those Territories.
We have been concerned for some time with a trend which has been developing in the administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. For the peoples of that area we have accepted rather reluctantly a responsibility which should have been accepted in full with a view to bringing to these people a society which would set an example to other similar societies throughout the world and to bringing to them a democratic system of government which would give them freedom to express themselves and to live a full life. Unfortunately, there have ben certain developments under this Government in the Territory which cause concern.
I would like to go back to May this year and by way of explanation refer to an article headed ‘Black Justice’ written by Mr James Hall in the ‘Bulletin’ on 26th September 1970. The article said:
In May this year an Administration Department head in Port Moresby sent a letter to the manager of Radio Rabaul instructing him how to use the Administration radio station as part of a programme to destroy a leader of the Mataungan Association, John Kaputin.
Fortunately when the letter was made public the plot against the. Mataungan Association backfired and the Administration lost the round. The article continues:
Nine months before in an unconnected episode the Territory’s Public Solicitor, W. A. (Peter) Lalor, acting on behalf of some Bougainville natives took out a writ against the Administration. This Supreme Court writ challenged the validity of the mining ordinance and hence the whole multi-million-dollar Bougainville copper venture. Lalor lost, but he trod on a lot of toes and caused some discomfort to his Government bosses. Last week, like festering sores, the incidents surfaced again and this time they appeared to be connected.
Again the Administration has more or less been caught out and again it has been by way of an official letter that has been made public - it reveals an apparent attempt-
I give all these incidents in this form as the lead-up to a situation which brought before the Assembly in the Territory the Public Order Bill. I am leading to this point. The article continues: . . lo get at the Mataungan Association by applying pressure to the Public Solicitor. The issue started out as the question of whether or not the Public Solicitor’s Office would give legal aid to the members of all the Tolai native Mataungan Association to fight tax evasion charges and lo take out a Supreme Court writ to challenge the validity of the presently constituted Gazelle Multiracial Government Council on New Britain. lt has now developed into a question of resolving the status of the office of the Papua-New Guinea Public Solicitor- whether it should be completely independent from the public service or not. The controversy started when the Mataungan members approached Lalor and sought legal aid from his office. Lalor determined that they had a case for aid and offered it. Then Law Secretary Lindsay Curtis stepped in and told Lalor that he was wrong. Lalor asked for it in writing and Curtis issued his directions. He later told the House of Assembly that he was merely outlining departmental policy.
In this case it seemed to me a withdrawal of legal assistance for the people of the Territory. The article continues:
Curtis did not order that the aid be completely denied to the Mataungans, only that it be withheld until two conditions had been satisfied.
And this part I find to be outrageous:
Th< first was that the Mataungans would guarantee that ‘on being found liable to pay council tax they would so do.’ The second was more political - that legal aid could not be granted to an association which was acting to advance its cause.
The conditions made it fairly certain that the Mataungans would not get any legal aid from the Government. Lalor decided to fight the directive and appealed to the Public Service Board. There was little doubt in his own mind and in those of most independent observers that he was being put under undue pressure, but whether it was because of the Mataumgan Association or himself or a bit of both was not clear. 1 would like to emphasise what follows:
What was clear though was that a lot of the pressure was coming from Australia. Significantly Curtis’ directive was issued only after consultations with Federal Attorney-General Tom Hughes in Port Moresby recently - equally significantly Hughes had discussed the matter with Prime Minister Gorton before he spoke with Curtis.
Now that the matter is out in the open the Government is coming under a lot of pressure both in Australia and Papua-New Guinea to leave the Public Solicitor’s Office alone, to define its status and to let it act independently of the executive. The advocates of this line argue that in a country like Papua-New Guinea, where the great percentage of the population has neither the means nor the ability to Ure its own legal representation, it is vital that there be sufficient Impartial legal aid on hand.
– Who did you say wrote that?
– It was written by Mr James Hall. In spite of that warning that this area should appear to be free of any direction or oppression by Australian authorities, what came forward next was the very controversial Public Order Bill which attracted the attention of the International Commission of Jurists, which stated that the Bill was distressingly reminiscent of past South African laws in some of its respects. I will not go very deeply into the law because I have already indicated how events since May led to the Public Order Bill and also because other honourable senators on this side will probe this matter even further. But it is interesting to see the way in which this Public Order Bill is framed. This article states: lj) the general introductory note, the Mover of the Bill gives it die appearance of being a mere General revision’ of police powers, to ‘keep pace with developments’ and to ‘keep pace with change in the law’ in other countries. It is also hitched on to a proposal, which came from the members of the House, to control the number of unemployed people coming to towns. No reference is made to the fact that the changes proposed in the law are great and fundamental, that they are not to be found in such severity In any country other than an overtly police state, that they are capable of the greatest possible abuse and of being used as arbitrary repression by means of the police power, and that the fundamental principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is flagrantly abused. lt is implied-
By the mover of the Bill - . . (hat the present police powers are oldfashioned and inadequate, and that other democratic countries have found this to be so. But this is simply not true.
The Bill deals with three principal matters:
– Who wrote that?
– This is an article entitled ‘Law and Order in New Guinea’ and it was printed in a university paper in Melbourne on 4th September 1970. It seems to me that the Public Order Bill was introduced into New Guinea to inhibit in some way rising political unrest and the desire of the people of New Guinea to establish their own system of government without any over-lordship from Australia. In spite of the fact that Australia has spent so much money in the Territory and has done so much, by way of administration and service, including skills in various departments, the people of Papua and New Guinea have a right to develop their own political system and to establish their own political freedom without limitation. 1 do not accept that because so much money has been spent in that area we should impose limitations upon these people.
The Public Order Bill seems to me to have been introduced in New Guinea because it was more easily introduced there than in Australia, although there have been signs that it was the desire not only of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) but also of the Attorney-General to establish law and order as a means of achieving a political end - that is, the maintenance of the power of the present Government. It sought to set up this pattern in the Territory firstly because it is easier to achieve it there. It seems to me that the Government has forgotten that in introducing a Public Order Bill it is necessary to consider the justice involved. For the life of me I cannot see how an Act which enables police to apprehend without real cause - as appears to be so in New Guinea - has any justice in it. It has failed to impress me as an Act with any justice in it when it is possible for Administration officers in New Guinea to expel or exile a man from a town or prevent a man from entering a town. I cannot for the life of me see any justice in this. I cannot see the justice in Administration officers in New Guinea having power to disband political meetings and declare them illegal without reference to the normal procedures of law as they exist on the mainland. I cannot see any justice in this operation. It is for this reason that the Opposition has moved its amendment. To emphasise it, I repeat that it is in these terms:
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the Second Schedule by reducing the vote- Divisions 270-282, Department of External Territories, $104,616,000 - by $2- as an indication to the Government that the Senate is of the opinion that recent events in the Territories of Papua and New Guinea for which the Government is responsible constitute a danger to the civil liberties and rights of the people of those Territories.
Agreement to this amendment will demonstrate that the Committee shares the opinion of the Opposition.
– I wish to support the remarks that have been made by Senator Georges in moving the amendment on behalf of the Opposition. I realise that certain difficulties exist in getting amendments of this type carried. Before I refer to the events of last night perhaps I ought to remain in order by referring to the appropriate Divisions with which I will deal. I am introducing this subject under Division 270 - Administrative, and Division 280 - Papua and New Guinea - Miscellaneous Services. Later I will ask a brief question in relation to item 05 of division 270.
Having complied with the technicalities I thought what happened last night was interesting. We carried an amendment here because the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party stayed out late for dinner and because one of the more studious members of the Liberal Party was studying in the Parliamentary Library. These events are interesting in- view of the fact that we deadlocked a few moments ago during the division on the last amendment.
The restrictions to which Senator Georges has referred are very real. As he mentioned when he moved his amendment and as I re-emphasise now:
Recent events in the Territories of Papua and New Guinea for which the Government is responsible constitute a danger to the civil liberties and rights of the people of those Territories.
If we look at this matter in its true perspective we find that one of the big problems confronting the people in Papua and New Guinea and we as the legislators who make this grant available is the three tier structure which has been established over a lengthy period in order to protect whits people in the Territory. We find first the planters and the business men who own probably 98 per cent of property in the Territory. Then we find the public servants who are the much maligned centre group. Below these groups are the 2 million-odd black people who do not count as individuals at all in spite of the many rosy things that are said of them by Government members from time to time.
Many of these restrictions have been drawn up because they are based on economic ground. In other words, a certain elite in the Territory - all white - wish to maintain a continuous control over those who are non-white. Perhaps we are trying to impose in the Territory a type of society that is not altogether acceptable to the local people. Nevertheless, we intend to impose it anyway. We have the police force and the army elite that we are building up there. There are a whole number of things which would need much more time to discuss than one has during a debate on the Estimates. Some of the restrictions imposed under the laws to which Senator Georges referred could be described almost as dictatorial. For instance, areas can be declared ‘trouble areas”; people can be declared ‘trouble people’, to use the language of the local people.
I asked a question this morning as to whether a branch of the Pangu Pati at Madang which has a very large membership had been told that it could not meet unless it had the consent of the local district commissioner. The Minister could not answer because he did not know. Restrictions on civil liberties of this type need to be checked very early, if this amendment is carried it will be a fair warning to a number of people. An announcement was made yesterday or the day before that another 4 political parties are to be organised in the Territory. To my mind, and I think to the minds of a lot of Territorians, the conservative elements will be banded together in order to keep this division; in other words, to keep independence from Papua and New Guinea, in conformity with the policy of the Government, for as long as it can. One way to do this is to continue to keep the people divided politically.
– Do you object to these political parlies being formed?
– If you want to make one of your conservative speeches make it afterwards. I prefer to talk to the Chairman at the moment. One of the ways in which this Act can be applied, Mr Chairman, would be against members of the Public Service Association who might want to get together to air their .views. If they hold an assembly or meeting without obtaining permission they can be arrested. If the secretary of a branch of the Pangu Pati wants to be outspoken and if he calls a group of people together and they meet outside a council house in one of the villages they can be declared trouble makers and sent back to their villages or transferred to another area; This is my interpretation of this new law and order Act. It is also the interpretation placed on it by many people, including some in the Territory, both the liberal thinking whites and the non-white people. The mere fact that this Committee carried a resolution of this nature would be a reasonable warning. 1 want to quote a poem published in the last issue of the ‘Pangu Pati News’ because I think it is a pretty fair indication of how the local people think. It states:
Ten little citizens marched in a line
Their leader was a trouble man
So then there were nine.
Nine little citizens met at the gate
One refused to move along
So then there were eight.
Eight little citizens sat and prayed lo Heaven
One had no permit
So then there were seven.
Seven little citizens got in a fix
Cos one had a pocket-knife
So then there were six.
Six little citizens for equality did strive
One was booked for enmity
And then there were five.
Five little citizens protested al the law
One incited breaking it
So then there were four.
Four little citizens went on a travel spree
One went somewhere that was declared
So then there were three.
Three little citizens thought of something new
The police thought trouble might occur
So then there were two.
Two little citizens squatted in the sun
One had nowhere else to move,
So there was only one.
One little citizen wrote upon a wall
Public Order is a farce”
So there were none at all.
Ten little citizens, locked up in a cell
There’s no one left protesting
. Public Order’s doing well!
That is the spirit in which this law was carried in the House of Assembly in the Territory. It is the spirit in which it is going to operate and the permanent residents of the Territory, the Papuans and New Guineans, will have a lot to fear from it. The demonstrations which have taken place over a period of some time now at Port Moresby and the demonstrations organised by the Tolais at Rabaul and other places in New Britain are an indication of the dissatisfaction felt by the local people. If something is not done about this matter then the Government will have an awful lot of trouble on its hands in the Territory. I cannot understand the fatheadedness of the Minister in giving his approval to laws of this nature. They are provocative. They are not designed to keep law and order at all. They are designed to incite riots and corruption in the Territory.
While I am speaking I want to ask why the Government has reduced the grant to the Council on New Guinea Affairs from SI 2,000 last year to $7,700 this year.
– Would you quote the division and item numbers?
– It is Division 280, the one I quoted a moment ago, and item 05. The Council on New Guinea Affairs has done a fairly good job. I have been a member of it almost since its inception. It produces a very good magazine. In addition it has organised several seminars which have been of distinct advantage in exposing some of the social disorders that exist in the Territory. Frankly, it does a good job. Why the Government wants to reduce the grant at this stage I do not know. Perhaps there is a legitimate reason for doing so. In the Hansard report of the meetings of the Estimates Committees this point was not mentioned, so I take the liberty of asking this question now. I hope that when the Minister replies he will be able to justify the initiation of restrictive laws in the Territory which needs more freedom and also help, sympathy and tolerance from Australia rather than the sort of thing that we are doing now.
– In answer to Senator Keeffe’s specific question with regard to the grant for the Council on New Guinea Affairs, the explanation is that the grant will be paid for 9 months only in the present year and that for the first quarter of this year the grant was paid out of last year’s appropriation. The estimate of $7,700 provides for the payment at the rate of $12,000 per annum for October 1970 and at the rate of $10,000 per annum for the period November 1970 to June 1971.
Addressing myself to the motion submitted by Senator Georges, the honourable senator sought to put forward a case that the recent events in Papua and New Guinea, for which this Government is responsible, constitute a danger to civil liberties in that Territory. He supported that case by a criticism of the legislation which has been passed by the House of Assembly for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. That legislation was carried by a vote of 54 in favour and 21 against. We bring into question at the very threshold of this discussion the respect that we should accord to other legislative assemblies dealing with their own affairs, particularly this legislative assembly which is approaching a period of responsibility with regard to legislation. I say that because we have had to emphasise that discipline with regard to ourselves in other fields, but I say it in no way to avoid criticism of anything for which this Government is responsible. The Government’s basic attitude with regard to the Territory was stated by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) in Port Moresby on 6th July. I make a brief quotation from his statement. Speaking for the Australian Government he said:
We don’t want to remain in the Territory one week against the wishes of the majority of its people.
We don’t think we ought to get out of the Territory against the wish of the majority of its people.
We don’t want to rule any peoples without their consent.
We don’t think it proper to move out and possibly help a vocal minority rule a majority without that majority’s consent, and one can’t put a timetable on this but one can say these are steps towards the time when this Territory will be selfgoverning and when its people will express their views. And we will take account of those views instead of imposing our views on them as to a date for self-government and independence.
Following this policy, the Government seeks to administer the Territory in accordance with the wishes of the people of the Territory and it looks to the House of Assembly, the Territory legislature, to ensure that this is done. A resolution which is pertinent to the Public Order Bill, to which Senator Georges referred, was passed in the Territory House in August 1969 on the motion of the indigenous member for Finschhafen in the following terms:
That this House is of the opinion that serious consequences detrimental to village life result from large movements of people to towns and that unemployment follows and therefore requests the administration to reintroduce restrictions on movements to towns except where a person is guaranteed employment or visits a town for a limited period for a bona fide reason.
– What date was that?
– That was in August 1969. Then in November 1969 the House endorsed a resolution in these terms: the Administration proposals to support the lawful activities of the Council -
That is, the Gazelle Council - and to offer the opportunity for consultation with all interested groups in the Gazelle Peninsula.
These are but 2 resolutions which indicate the consistent view of the House of Assembly that the laws which the elected members make should be respected. These laws have been openly challenged by a small minority group which has carried its opposition to the advocacy of violence. For example, on 8th September 1970 John Kaputin, who is not a member of the House of Assembly, said:
I believe that within 5 years we will have found out what freedom is. We will do this by looking at ourselves, into ourselves, then we will realise that we must fight for the something we believe in - fight politically, economically or, if necessary, physically . . . Anybody would be a fool to rule out the possibility of violence.
– Of course you invite it with this public order ordinance.
– That is a complete misunderstanding. The obvious thing impressed upon us when Senator Georges was speaking was that he did not refer to the Bill once. He referred to some summarised version with which some propagandist had equipped him. There was much uninformed criticism of the public ordinance in Australia and New Guinea before Senator Georges spoke. This was dealt with by the Secretary of Law in the House of Assembly last September. He referred to the criticism that came from certain members of the committee of jurists who had their seminar in the Territory before the enactment of the legislation. The Secretary for Law said:
Many of those whohave criticised the Bill in emotional and extravagant terms have obviously not read the Bill-
I apply that statement significantly to Senator Georges. or taken the trouble to understand its provisions. That, too, applies to the mover of the motion.
Where the Bill has been read and understood I have found a willingness to discuss itin a reasonable and considered manner. During the past 2 weeks I have had useful discussions on the Bill with 2 groups of lawyers. The first was with the staff and students of the Law Faculty at the University. The second was with a number of Australian and Territory lawyers during the recent Constitutional Seminar in Port Moresby. On both occasions the discussions were full and frank, and from them have come a number of proposals for changes in the Bill. Other groups and individuals have made suggestions for changes and all of these suggestions have received full consideration by the Administration. The suggestions have been discussed by the Administrator’s Executive Council, and as a result of these discussions the Administration proposes to introduce a number of amendments to the Bill.
– Has it?
– Yes. Many amendments were introduced into the Bill. It is acknowledged that there is limitation of opportunity for full discussion in an Estimates debate, but I will take the opportunity to make one or two references to the Bill which I submit will dispel any disquiet that might be felt by the proposer of this motion. Later in his second reading speech, the Secretary for Law spoke of the existing common law powers and the discussions in the Territory which bad led to the circulation of some Administration amendments to the original Bill. He said:
Mr Speaker I suspect thatmany who have complained that the Bill gives greatly increased powers to the police have in fact been unaware how extensive are the powers that the police have at common law. These powers have existed in Australia and in England for hundreds of years. Now, for the first time in this Territory we are setting some of those powers down in written form. Surely it is betterthat they should be written down, so that their existence may be clearly understood by police and public alike. Of. this project of setting down police powers in statutory form, the committee of the International Commission of Jurists had this to say: The Committee, whilst feeling compelled to be critical of certain provisions of the proposedBill accepts none the less the wisdom of attempting to embody in a single Ordinance the legislative provisions relating to the maintenance of public order. It appreciates also the endeavour to clarify and codify the provisions relating to the powers of the police in relation thereto. Further it accepts that new forms and modes of dissent and protest may in some instances require the enactment of novel legislation adapted to the exigencies of present situations’.
The Secretary for Law went on:
Mr Speaker whether the Billin its original form embodied the safeguards sought by the International Commission of Jurists to a matter for lawyers to argue about. But as I have already said, it has seemed better to remove the basis for argument and put the matter beyond doubt. This will be done by the amendments I shall move in Committee. Of course the Public Order Bill is designed to make it possible for the police and the Administration to prevent breaches of law and order. The Bill does, however, do this in a way which is consistent with civil liberties. To take two examples. Ratification by the House of Assembly is required if a declared area is to be continued beyond 3 months. If a permit for a public meeting or public procession is withheld in such a declared area appeal lies to a stipendiary magistrate.
Senator Georges failed to quote section 34 of the Bill which states:
Nothing in this Ordinance makes it unlawful for a person -
to point out in good faith errors or defects - (i) in the government of or the laws in force in the Territory; or (ii) in the administration of justice, with a view to the reform of those errors or defects;
Cb) to encourage in good faith another person to attempt to procure by lawful means the alteration of any matter or thing in the Territory established by law;
to point out in good faith, in order to obtain their removal, any matters which are producing or have a tendency to produce feelings of ill will between different classes or communities of persons in the Territory; or
to do anything in good faith in connection with an industrial dispute.
That ought to put the seal of proper law and order upon that Bill. Reference was made by Senator Georges in his opening remarks to a matter of another character which did not directly relate to the public order Bill. He referred to correspondence which had taken place with the Public Solicitor in relation to prosecutions of members of the Mataungan Association. Some question arose there which firstly may remind us of the arrest of solicitors in Quebec in recent days. Secondly, it reminds us that a solicitor’s function is, according to the facts, to advocate any rational reason or defence before a court of law for the application of the law but not to make himself a party to any revolutionary manoeuvre that might include as part of it defensive proceedings in a court of law.
-(Senator Lawrie) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
- Mr Temporary Chairman-
– Will the honourable senator permit me to conclude my speech?
– Yes, 1 will.
– It is better for those who will read Hansard that I be given permission to conclude this short reference to the matter to which Senator Georges referred. In the course of this correspondence the Public Solicitor revealed that he was required, firstly, as shown in a letter tabled in the House of Representatives, to ensure that if these members were convicted of failing to pay the tax demanded of them they would bona fide respect the court’s order and, secondly, to satisfy himself that they were people who came within the scope of his authority - that is to say, persons in impecunious circumstances who did not have the assistance of other assets. Controversy arose about the independence of the Public Solicitor and immediately the Government announced that legislation would be introduced into the House of Assembly to set up this office as a statutory office under a tertiary ordinance. That will mean that this office will have an independence that is completely clear so that any suspicion that undue limitations are placed upon the amplitude of the Public Solicitor’s authority will disappear.
Perhaps the greatest safeguard of civil liberty of the people of the Territory is free speech and a free Press. These are facts of life in Papua and New Guinea. They are aided by the House of Assembly and by a system of local government councils where grievances are aired freely. Nevertheless, as the Territory evolves towards self government, minorities will have to accept the decisions of the majority. No longer is it appropriate to suggest, as it has been in the past, that the laws of Papua and New Guinea are Australian laws, determined by Australians, and inappropriate for the Territory people. The laws are those of the Territory people, made by the chosen representatives elected by those people. The law must provide the means of enforcement. I ask the Committee to reject the motion. I thank the Committee for giving me the opportunity to complete my speech.
– I am sorry that the debate has degenerated to the level that it has. I thought that when we had stated our case the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) would have looked at the technical side ofthe law and told us why the legislation was being introduced in the Territory. Instead of that the debate has developed into a propaganda war of the white against the black in Papua and New Guinea. 1 propose to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Let me read a couple of sentences from the editorial in the latest issue of the ‘Pangu Pati Nius’. The editorial states:
In this edition we have devoted a lot of space to discussion of the Public Order Law. We believe that this piece of legislation is one of the most regrettable and retrograde steps ever to have been made in the legal history of our country. We believe that members of the House of Assembly who voted for this Law did so out of ignorance of its implications and of the cynical and repressive spirit in which it was drafted; or out of shabby, unenlightened self-interest. The essential evil of the Ordinance is that it allows the Administration to punish those whose activities are in opposition to it and to ignore similar activities of those with whom it is in sympathy.
I seek the permission of honourable senators to incorporate in Hansard that section of the article which is entitled ‘Law Mocks Freedom’, and a short article written by a Mr Willis entitled ‘Pangu Rejects Public Order Bill’.
– Does the honourable senator know who Mr Willis is?
– Mr Willis is, as far as I know, one of those from Australia who support the Pangu Party.
-(Senator Lawrie) - Is leave granted?
– Read it.
– 1 will. First of all I will read the article written by Mr Willis, lt states:
The House of Assembly has passed (September) ft new law called the ‘Public Order Ordinance’.
This new law will give the Administration the power to control or forbid meetings of the people.
Many people have shown their anger about the new law. Many lawyers, teachers, university lecturers and students as well as many other people here in Niugini and in Australia have said that it is wrong.
May I interpose to say that when the seminar was held in New Guinea recently 1 or 1 members of the Liberal Party of Australia who were present also agreed that it is a bad law. Apparently none of them is present in this chamber. The article continues:
The members of the House o( Assembly who belong (o the Pangu Pati voted against the public order law.
Why have so many wise and clever men criticised this law? Why did Pangu vote against it?
Because this law takes away our democratic freedom.
A good government gives us democratic freedom. If people are worried or angry about something they can meet together, discuss their problem and decide what they will do to make a change. The newspapers can report on their meetings and everyone will know about what they have said.
If people are not allowed to meet and voice their troubles, then they have not got a good government. This is why many people are worried about the public order law.
This law gives the administration more power over every man and woman. It gives them more power over the way we talk and think and over the clubs, parties and societies we belong lo.
The Public Order Ordinance can control public meetings and processions in this way:
If the Administration thinks that trouble is being made in a certain part of our country, it can declare this place a ‘troubled area’. Then all the people who live then and all the societies there must get a permit or licence from the Administration before they can have a meeting or a procession.
Ii the Administration thinks that it is alright to meet or hold a procession then they will give them a licence or permit But if they don’t like what the people are trying to do or say, they can refuse to give mem the permit. If they do give them a permit, then the Administration can control the meeting or the procession and stop the people from doing anything they don’t like.
The law gives the police power to control meetings and processions. If people hold them without getting a permit from the Administration, then the police can break them up and arrest the people who are at the meeting or in the procession.
The Administration and the police can name a man who they think is causing the trouble. The Law says that a ‘trouble maker’ is a man who talks and writes about things that will make trouble among the people. If a man is named as a trouble maker, then he must promise in court to stop making trouble.
The law will have many powers over a man who has who has been named as a ‘trouble maker’. He can be sent away from the place where he has been told he is making trouble. He can be sent away to another part of the country and told to stay there.
Here are two stories that show how the Public Order Ordinance could be used:
Suppose some village people gathered outside (he council house while the council was meeting to protest because their village had no school. If their council was in a ‘trouble area’ and these people had not got a permit from the Administration, the police could arrest them and the court could send them to prison or fine them $500 or both. Even if you were just watching the meeting and not part of it, the police could still arrest you.
The sum of $500 is 2 years wages for many New Guineans. The article continues:
These stories show you how this law could be used badly. A law which stops people from freely speaking out is a bad law. It is not democratic but more like what is done by the Communists in Russia.
– What is the date of the publication?
– September-October 1970. The article I have quoted commences on page1 and runs through to page 4. Normally it is a monthly publication but some problems were associated with this issue and it covers both September and October. I will now quote from the editorial, which states:
In this edition we have devoted a lot of space to discussion of the Public Order Law. We believe that this piece of legislation is one of the most regrettable and retrograde steps ever to have been made in the legal history of our country. We believe that members of the House of Assembly who voted for this Law did so out of ignorance of its implications and of the cynical and repressive spirit in which it was drafted; or out of shabby, unenlightened self-interest.
Our Niugini is going through some of its first growing pains in its development as an independent nation. Some of the manifestations may appear shocking or illogical to many people particularly to expatriates who are accustomed to a stable and highly systemised way of life, with the values of developed Western society.
These people should remember that the Niuginian people are emerging as a nation and must find a Niuginian way, a Niuginian system and form of expression. Niuginians are not backward little brown-skinned Australians, but a unique people in a unique country. It is essential for Niuginians to find a political system that suits our country.
Niuginians must have the freedom to express ideas and have access to the ideas of others, even if the ideas are unpalatable to Australians. We hope that our country Niugini will, on its independence, have a government which is just and enlightened. The Australian Administration has introduced and supported a law which makes a mockery of freedom and democracy; which is open to abuse; and has many of the aspects of
Fascism and Communism. Is this the sort of example Australians can be proud to have given to the Niuginian people and future leaders.
If there is genuinely a problem in Niugini which could justify such drastic legislation to control its manifestations, would it not be a more just and enlightened solution to examine and rectify the causes, injustices and discontent that have created the problem. One need not took far to see a number of causes for unrest . . . land tenure, unemployment, racism, unenlightened urban planning, inequality of opportunity and reward . . . these are but a few.
Possibly the greatest problem is a widespread feeling of apathy and inferiority among Niuginians. The Public Order Law is like a restrictive cover over an ugly wound. It hides, rather than heals. A stable and orderly society is essential as is a strong and just police force. But it is not the function of the police to make decisions as to who is and who is not likely to create disorder. The essential evil of the Ordinance is that it allows the Administration to punish those whose activities are in opposition to it and to ignore similar activities of those with whom it is in sympathy.
A number of important statements have been made by prominent people, but I do not propose to quote them all now. The article and the editorial I have quoted highlight what the Government is doing to New Guinea with the introduction of the Public Order Ordinance. When the Minister replied a short time ago to Senator Georges and myself he quoted a statement by the honourable member for Finschhafen.I can assure the Minister that many members of the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly are still dominated by the members of the Administration who are openly favourable to the Australian Government. Some are not openly favourable, but stick with the Government underneath. The people who are doing their jobs as public servants do not take sides, but there are members of a group who do. They make sure that the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) gets what he wants in the Territory, and that the Government does also.
The nominated members exercise undue influence on the House of Assembly. There is a group of local members who are still scared stiff of the kiaps who have dominated their lives since childhood. The kiaps still dominate them today while they are members of the House of Assembly of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. There is another small group comprised of missionaries. They still dominate the people in their areas. For heaven’s sake, honourable senators must realise that by refusing to face up to reality this Government has become decadent and corrupt and will disappear down the drain.
The Minister set out to rubbish John Kaputin. Not all of us might agree with what John Kaputin said, but at least he is the leader of the Tolai people, official or otherwise. When he came to Australia on his lecture tour people in all fields of the Australian society, from academics to trade unionists and students, attended. Most of the shadow Ministers or whatever designation the Government has for them, also are dominated by that section of the administration and by the other individuals I have mentioned.
The seminar at Port Moresby which was mentioned at length by the Minister was given an opportunity to look at this Bill before it became law. I noticed a number of statements made by people who attended the seminar. They were not happy about the drafting of the Bill and suggested major amendments to it. No major amendments were made in spite of what the Minister said.
– That is wrong.
– I did not interrupt while the Minister was speaking, and I suggest that he should not interrupt when I am speaking. When the Bill finally passed through the House not one major alteration had been made to it. Let us get that straight for the record. That is consistent with what has been happening in the Territory for several years. Some years ago when it was felt that there would be trouble the Commissioner of Police organised the first riot squad. We have seen the riot squad in action. We saw it in the Bougainville area in the Solomons when the Government stole from the local people their land on behalf of a major mining organisation with international foundations. The Government took the land from the people, not by law and order but by force of weapons and men. Inadequate compensation was paid, too, if I may say so. The Government spends tens of thousands of dollars to shift policemen in special planes to what it suspects are trouble spots. More police were taken into an operation in Rabaul when the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) went there than would have been taken to a combat zone in South Vietnam. People in the highlands were ordered - under threat, mind you - to go out and put on a friendly demonstration for the Prime Minister. What kind of setup is that? What is the Government perpetuating in that country?
The great mass of public servants there are doing a tremendous job, but if they did not have the Public Service Association to defend them the Government would have them in compounds behind barbed wire because the use of force is the only means it knows of to handle a matter. Because the Government is comprised of white people it feels that it is superior to the black people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I ask that this proposed amendment be carried to show Australia’s disgust with what the Government is doing in the Territory.
– The absurdity of what Senator Keeffe has said is patent. It does not need any elaboration by me. I simply put on record that no-one stole the natives’ land. Any land which was acquired was acquired by direction of the House of Assembly in accordance with the statutory procedures which that House laid down. The highland people were not ordered under threat to put on a show. That statement has been denied often yet the honourable senator repeats it. His statement that no amendments were made to the public order legislation before the House of Assembly is contradicted by a reading of the record. Yet time and again Senator Keeffe stands in this Senate and makes statements which are patently untrue, hoping by the sheer persistence with which he repeats them that they will carry some weight.
I did not rise to deal with that aspect. There is something more significant in the approach that the Australian Labor Party has adopted to this matter than has been revealed so far. I refer to the language in which the proposed amendment is couched and the implications which it conveys. The amendment suggests that the Budget allocation be reduced to show that recent events in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea for which the Government is responsible constitute a danger to civil liberties. The point to which I draw attention is the assumption by the Opposition that the Government is responsible for the
Territory. It is one of the curiosities of present day politics in this country that the people who are patently democrats and who are leading the people of Papua and New Guinea to a decision on selfdetermination are the members and supporters of the Government and that the people who are adopting the role of the patriarchal, patronising, erstwhile colonialists are the members of the Australian Labor Party. That is implicit in the resolution that they have moved. It is contrary to the record. It is contrary to the way in which decisions are made in the Territory. By the belief that this Government in some way can alter what is happening in the Territory, the Opposition is assuming a power which this Government yielded or conceded to the people of the Territory some time ago.
The whole pattern of what has been happening in the area of constitutional development in the Territory this year has been to give to the House of Assembly and to the Administrator’s Executive Council an effective self-government. Tt is not a total self-government, but it is an effective self-government which would have been regarded as a far reaching step if it had been accorded by Great Britain to any of her erstwhile colonies in the 1920s. In the first place there is a House of Assembly from which are appointed ministerial and assistant ministerial members. There is also an Administrator’s ‘ Executive Council which, under the Papua and New Guinea Act, has the power to take executive decisions which previously were taken by the Minister for External Territories. Then there is an Administrator who, under his appointment from the Executive Government of Australia, is obliged to take his directions from the Administrator’s Executive Council. There are some few exceptions in which power is reserved. But the effective development in 1970 has been to give to the House of Assembly and to the ministerial members appointed from that House of Assembly an effective control and an effective decision making in a whole range of activities affecting the lives of the people of the Territory.
That is in accordance with the policy that this Government has been following, and following consistently, over the last 20 years. That policy is to develop the Terri tory and to develop the aspirations ot the people of the Territory to a point where they will determine the future that they want. That policy is in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. We have a trust to develop the Territory and to promote a self-determination to be expressed in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the people of the Territory. That is being done in accordance with the wishes of the House of Assembly reiterated as recently as March 1969. when the House of Assembly resolved:
Thai we the elected representatives of the people of Papua and New Guinea desire to convey to the Parliament of the Commonweatlh of Australia, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation the expressed wish of the people that they, the people, and they alone, be allowed to decide when the time is ripe for self-government in Papua and New Guinea, and Ihe form that such government will take and the people’s further firm conviction that the road to self-government can best be travelled with one guide - and that guide the Administering Authority, and that undue pressure from without can lead only to that disruption, chao? and bloodshed which ihe people have observed with great alarm in certain newly independent countries.
The Government of this country has asserted and constantly reiterated that selfgovernment and independence shall occur as and when the people of the Territory determine. The whole pattern of Government policy has been a progression or an evolutionary process which the Prime Minister has said is a path which must be pursued and along which we cannot reverse our steps. The policy is designed to bring the people of Papua and New Guinea to a stage of self-determination, self-government and eventually independence but the decision is for them.
What have we heard from the Australian Labor Party? The text of this motion and the language of those who support it are wholly in accord with the policy of the Australian Labor Party. Its policy is that the people of the Territory shall not determine this question at all. They shall be given what the Australian Labor Party thinks is best for them. That is the old time attitude about which we have heard so much criticism from time to time but it is the policy which the Australian Labor Party adopts.
What happend in January of this year? Mr Whitlam went to New Guinea and while on the plane he made up his mind that the people of New Guinea shall have independence in 1976 at the very latest and they certainly will have selfgovernment, if he could do it, in 1972. That was a preconceived view and he expressed it when he arrived in Port Moresby and thereafter throughout the Territory. This policy of the Australian Labor Party, enunciated by its leader, is a policy of imposing upon the people of the Territory that which Mr Whitlam believes is good for them, what members of the Australian Labor Party believe is good for them, and not what they themselves want. The motion moved today is entirely in line with the general approach of the Australian Labor Party.
I think that what has been done by the Liberal-Country Party Government for the people of New Guinea over a period of 20 years is nothing short of remarkable. We are proceeding under tremendous difficulties and are endeavouring to bring a people to a stage where they can make their own decisions in as short a time as has ever been given to an administering power in the history of the Trusteeship. In those circumstances what has been achieved is nothing short of magnificent. To hear Senator Georges and Senator Keeffe endeavouring to belittle what has been done, by using, as the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) has said, the equipment of propagandists to make comments on matters which they patently do not understand in my opinion is shameful.
I comment, in conclusion, that when Senator Keeffe says that the Public Order Ordinance does not have the support of people who cannot speak for themselves, he destroys that argument by the language he used and the quotations to which he referred. I was present in the Territory at the time that the Administration was constantly to seek advice, to hear what people had to say, and to indicate that the matter was open for discussion. That was the whole technique by which this measure was introduced. It was a salutory example of the democratic processes. The fact that the House of Assembly, in a free vote, adopted it by such an overwhelming majority indicated that it was what the people of the Territory wanted. We should respect their wishes.
– My comment in reply to Senator Greenwood is that nothing is more calculated to lengthen the period before the Territory can receive self-government than the imposition upon it of the Public Order Ordinance. It will create dissension and tension friction and unrest which will inhibit the ability to give complete selfgovernment to these people as quickly as we of the Australian Labor Party want to give it to them. The Minister for Works (Senator Wright) said that I did not deal with the various aspects of that Ordinance. I did not do so because I appreciated that this is an Estimates debate. I had to precis the matter.
– I thought you had forgotten that this was an Estimates debate.
– But Senator Wright went to great length, perhaps greater than was expected, in reply to my comments. He indicated that I should have taken a little more care and contributed considerably more to the subject. Since he threw down the challenge I have taken it up. I would have thought that this motion in the Estimates debate would indicate the Opposition’s attitude in brief. We would have placed our amendment before the Committee and then continued with the business before us. Now we have been thrown into the situation that some of us must answer some of the statements made. One speaker said that our attitude was shameful and that our remarks were outrageous. It was said that we were merely vocal exponents for the propagandists. But our concern is sincere. The situation in Papua and New Guinea which has been brought about by the Public Order Ordinance concerns us very greatly. The Ordinance places much power in the hands of law enforcement officers. Honourable senators know that in any democratic society the power of law enforcement officers should be limited. Their powers should not be based on expediency to make their work much easier. This brings to my mind a situation in Port Moresby when police officers co-operated with customs officers and used the powers of the Department of Customs to raid houses in Port Moresby in areas to which the Customs Act did not apply in order to gain evidence which would lead to a conviction. This was action on the part of two law enforcement departments in co-operation, misusing the law because it became expedient and easy to do so.
The Public Order Ordinance indicates by its penalties its oppressive nature. I shall refer to some of its provisions in brief rather than go through the whole of the Bill. If an area has been prescribed in relation to public meetings and processions or public meetings are held without a permit, the penalty is not a mere few dollars but is $500 or 1 year’s gaol or both. The Administrator’s nominee can refuse a permit without reason, despite the fact that subsection (5) appears to compel him to issue a permit ‘unless he is satisfied’ etc. For being present at such a meeting or procession the penalty is $250 or 6 months’ imprisonment or both. That is merely for being present. This is why I say that law is oppressive and is meant to be oppressive. It is meant to limit the power of minorities to operate. It is meant to limit the power of minorities which do not agree with government or administrative policy. It is meant to limit their operations to such an extent that if a person happens to be at such a meeting he is liable not to a fine of $5 but to a fine of $250 or imprisonment for 6 months or both.
On the question of knowledge and intent, an accused is presumed to be guilty unless he can prove that he is innocent. And unless a mere bystander can prove that he was there for some lawful purpose, he is presumed to be guilty. So the onus of proof is placed on the individual. I find this law to be reprehensible. The imposition of the Public Order Ordinance is outrageous. We have been told that the Bill was carried by a vote of 54 to 21. I should like to see a break-down of the vote, but in any case I would say that it was an ill-considered decision. Even outside the gazetted areas, any meeting can be banned or dispersed by any police superintendent. There is no control or conditions on this power, although again it is stated that he may act ‘if he is satisfied that it is undesirable in the interest of public order’. I remember that a police inspector at Roma Street, in Brisbane, came to such a decision. The penalty for organising or being present at a gathering after it has been banned is $200, and there are other penalties. In that case also guilty knowledge is presumed under section 9 of the Ordinance.
The possession of weapons - that would include a penknife - at public meetings is presumed to be unlawful unless the accused proves otherwise. Under section 10 the penalty for that offence is S500. Section 11 relates to behaviour at public meetings likely to cause a breach of the peace. The penalty in that case is $500. For any writing or public statement that is likely to lead to a breach of the peace or a breach of the law, or to promote ill will among classes or communities, the penalty prescribed by section 12 is $500. Any police superintendent, if ‘satisfied’ etc. - this would be a lawyer’s paradise, although I doubt whether there would be sufficient lawyers to protect the people if they were indigenes - can close off any road, and failure to follow orders is an offence the penalty for which under section 14 is $200. That was section 14. Section 15 provides that any policeman can stop and search without warrant any car or passenger if he believes on reasonable grounds that weapons exist, or that the car is likely to be used for purposes prejudicial etc. and the weapons may be seized even if they are being lawfully carried.
Section 1.6 provides that any policeman can give anyone any order for the purpose of maintaining order in a public place. Refusal to comply with such an order involves a fine of $200. Section 17 provides that any policeman can take any action reasonably necessary to prevent a breach of peace, if he reasonably believes a breach is likely. Again refusal to comply involves a fine of $200. Section 19 provides that anyone who intimidates another - that is, causes him apprehension of injury to anyone or any property - or obstructs anyone, is guilty of an offence, if it is done with the intent, which is in ail cases presumed until disproved, to prevent a lawful act or to procure a change in the law or a change in Administration policy. The mover . indicated that this is particularly intended to protect members of the House. The penalty in that case is $200.
Another provision relates to security to keep the peace, and repatriation. Any district court can order any person to enter into a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour and not to leave an area prescribed. This area would include his home. I am giving these details because they show how restrictive this Public Order Ordinance happens to be. It indicates that the Opposition is justified in voicing its protest by means of this amendment and is not engaging in a shameful manoeuvre.
– Who is the best judge - you or the House of Assembly?
– I would say the House of Assembly, if it allowed this legislation to go through, was a particularly poor judge. This is the type of legislation which one would expect to go through, and which did go through, in South Africa. This is the type of legislation which one would expect to go through, and which did go through just recently, in Greece. This is the sort of legislation which one would expect in any one of the many police states that exist. We of the Opposition are of the opinion that a territory which comes under the supervision of this country should produce some sort of reasonable enactment to achieve the end which the Administration is supposed to be achieving, which is, I would imagine, law and order and justice. The justice part has been forgotten, as I have indicated previously. Under this legislation the bond can be for any amount. It is not necessary that the defendant should have commited any offence, or that any evidence be brought establishing that it is desirable that he should be so bonded. All that has to be done is for it to be alleged on oath either that he has commited or is likely to commit a breach of the peace, or that he is unemployed in or near a town, and that it is desirable, etc., to remove him. Nothing need be proved; it need be merely alleged. The accused can be arrested and tried, though there is no offence. The magistrate need not be convinced by any evidence but merely satisfied that the accused should be bonded. No reasons or justifications need be stated by the magistrate, and his order is therefore not appealable.
– And the Government justifies it.
– Yes. Those provisions are contained in sections 20 and 21. The mover said that the provisions would operate only if it was shown to the court that the facts alleged were true. But the Ordinance does not in fact so provide. The same kind of bond can be forced at the time of conviction on any person convicted of any offence relating to public order or offence against property. The provisions get worse as one reads on. In respect of criminal trespass it provides that the owner or occupier, including the Administration in cases of Administration land, of any land can require any person to leave, and if he fails to go, or returns, he can be forcibly ejected, and he is guilty of a criminal offence unless he has a reasonable belief in his right to enter. That is section 30. The mover merely says that this follows similar legislation in other places. 1 assume he means Portugal, Rhodesia, South Africa and Greece.
In relation to protection of genuine political activity, the mover says that section 32 is designed to protect any genuine political activity - that is to say, any such activity would not be restrained or made unlawful. But the section does not do that. It makes it lawful only for a person to point out in good faith defects in the Government or laws with a view to change by lawful means. This was referred to by the Minister. Apparently the only genuine political activity which is so protected is activity by indviduals acting separately.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– At the suspension of the sitting I was speaking of some of the restrictive measures imposed by the Public Order Ordinance in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I responded to the challenge of the Minister by referring to the Ordinance as it had been proposed and the oppressive and restrictive measures which it incorporated. I indicated that the huge penalties of $500 for misdemeanours under the Ordinance were of such severity as could lead one to describe the Bill as a particularly savage piece of legislation. The Minister made some statement indicating that the Ordinance had been passed by the House of Assembly by 54 votes to 21. It is interesting to read a report from Angus Smales which was printed on 19th September with the date line: ‘Port Moresby, Today’. The report stated:
Australia’s controversial public order legislation for Papua-New Guinea passed all stages in the Territory’s House of Assembly this morning. About 10 non-aligned private members labelled the Bill ‘police state legislation.’
That is the point the Australian Labor Party is making.
– Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– I rise for the purpose of allowing Senator Georges to continue, f will give him that chance now.
– I will not take up the time of the Committee for much longer. The report continues:
Australian Government representatives left nothing to chance in a strong lobbying campaign. They even sent Government cars to ensure the presence of conservative native members likely to support the Bill.
– Who wrote that?
– This is a report which was printed in the Melbourne Herald’. The publication is dated 19th September 1970 and it is headed ‘NG Crowd Control Bill Gets OK*. The reporter is Angus Smales. It is one of several reports which I have here. I have another one from ‘Nation’ and another one from the ‘Australian’. But 1 will not quote those. 1 think 1 have made my point that it was the endeavour of the Administration to force this Ordinance through. It is for this reason that the Opposition is moving the request. It wants to force the Government to reconsider the Ordinance, lt is of no use the Minister saying that we have no power or that we should exercise no power over the House of Assembly. The Government has power, through the Administrator, to disallow. That is my belief. The Minister can correct me if that is not the case. I would have thought thai because of the sharp criticism which arose from many directions the Government would have exercised its power at least to postpone the Ordinance until November as was one suggestion. A considerable number of amendments were moved to the Bill but on the admission of Mr Curtis they were merely to reinforce the provisions rather than to amend them.
To my mind no consideration has been given to the many complaints which have been levelled at the Administration for bringing down this legislation. It is inconceivable that in a Territory under our control we should have permitted the enactment of restrictive legislation which will have such a great effect upon people who are striving to reach self government” and a full democratic society. It is a backward step. In effect it conflicts with the Government’s attitude in another field, namely, the indigenous or Aboriginal people of Australia. The Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Wentworth) has indicated that the Commonwealth intends to remove all restrictive legislation imposed by the States. The strange thing is that the restrictions which are being imposed in the Territory are similar to the restrictions which have been imposed upon the Aboriginals under State legislation, especially in Queensland. Although the Commonwealth Government is endeavouring to remove the laws which discriminate against Aboriginals. 1 would say that it has been responsible and must accept the blame for imposing upon the people of Papua and New Guinea some of the most restrictive legislation which has ever been imposed upon any people. I ask for full support for the request which has been proposed in all sincerity by the Opposition.
That the request (.Senator Georges’s) be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority . . 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I want to make further inquiries. I refer to the sum of §33m which is the appropriation for the Grant-in-aid to Administration under Division 280 and to the sum of $37,750,000 which is the appropriation for the development grant under the same Division. I refer also to the sum of $29,250,000 which is the appropriation for the allowances and other benefits for overseas officers of the Papua and New Guinea Public Service. I would appreciate a breakup of those figures. While I am on my feet I shall raise some other points. This afternoon and this evening the Public Order Ordinance has been under lengthy discussion. Apparently copies of the Ordinance are unavailable to honourable senators.
– That shows the basis of ignorance on which the honourable senator is discussing these Estimates.
– I am asking the Minister why copies of that Ordinance are not available.
– They are available. That shows all the honourable senator knows.
– If the Minister wants to run the Committee, Mr Chairman, I will resume my seat until you control him.
Order! I will watch the honourable senator’s interests. The Minister will have his opportunity to reply.
– 1 understand that copies of the Ordinance and copies of the Hansard report of the discussions that took place in the Territory House of Assembly are not available. Is either document or are both documents available in Canberra? Now that the whole matter has been opened up I believe that there ought to be a more informed discussion on it.
– Whom have you asked for these documents?
– I had a copy of the Bill many months ago and I made notes About it, I do not have it in Canberra with me. All the information I have given this afternoon and this evening has been taken from a copy of the Bill and from the Hansard report of the debate on it. It is not now available here. I do not propose to answer any more of the honourable senator’s questions because he is quite out of order and I am talking to the Chairman. Another point that ought to be raised is the differential wage rates paid by the mining complex in the Bougainville area. I understand that the mining company is anxious to pay higher wages to the indigenous people it employs, and that this Government has rejected its proposals. Can the Minister tell me whether the Government has taken that decision or whether it was made at a lower level? Is the Minister aware of the decision?
The Minister may have read the scale of wages that was supplied to me in the Senate in reply to a question about 3 months ago, or perhaps a little longer. The wages paid to indigenous people are only a fraction of the wages paid to white people engaged by the mining complex in the Bougainville area. The Minister may not be aware that in some sections of the mining complex racial bias is practised to a fairly high degree. Coloured people are not allowed to move into areas used by white people. Does the Minister know of this practice? Will he take steps to ensure that it is eliminated as soon as possible? I have about 17 more questions which I will raise after the Minister has dealt with those I have already asked.
– The appropriation of $33m in Division 280, itemised as a grant in aid of the Administration, will supplement the Territory revenue to finance recurrent expenditure and minor works. Territory revenue is estimated to be about $73.5m in 1970-71. The procedure will be that the Australian Government and the Administration of Papua and New Guinea will negotiate the total sum of money for recurrent expenses and minor new works. Once this sum of money is voted by this Parliament - a grant in aid of $33m to the Administration of Papua and New Guinea - it will be allocated to various purposes by the Administrator’s Executive Council. As the Territory’s revenue raising capacity increases, the importance of this part of the Commonwealth’s aid will diminish. The objective is to reduce progressively this kind of aid with Commonwealth assistance going mainly to development projects and other specific forms of bid.
That is the reason why the sum of $106m to be devoted to Papua and New Guinea this year has been divided into 3 parts. The first part is the grant in atd of $33m to which 1 have referred. The second part is the development grant of $37. 75m. That is to provide finance for works items such as roads, ports or buildings and some other items such as the Papua and New Guinea Development Bank, the University and the Institute of Technology. The development grant does not necessarily meet the whole cost of any particular work or activity. The grant of $37.75m for 1970-71 is towards the cost of the following works: Capital expenditure on public works such as offices, hospitals, schools, police buildings, post and telegraph buildings, and other buildings totalling $6.9m. Under the heading of engineering it is to be spent on roads and bridges, wharves and beacons, aerodromes, land development projects, surveys and investigations, water and sewerage projects and electrical undertakings totalling $1 1.039m.
When I last visited the Territory and saw the low quality of the water that was going into one of the reservoirs which was being constructed outside Port Moresby, and the high quality of the purified water that was going out of the reservoirs, I thought what a wonderful contribution was being made to the health and well being of the native people simply by the construction of public works of an essential fundamental nature. Of the funds made available, $5. 6m will be used for telecommunication development; $2m for the University and Institute of Technology; $3m for the Development Bank and $250,000 for broadcasting services. The total of funds made available under that head is $28.8m. There are various other avenues of expenditure which bring the total allocation to the sum mentioned.
The honourable senator then inquired about the $29.25m which is being allocated to meet the cost of allowances and other benefits for overseas officers of the Papua and New Guinea Public Service. It has been represented to the Government that the morale of public servants in the Territory would be improved if the allowances and other benefits which represent the difference between the total remuneration of local and overseas officers were paid by the Commonwealth outside the Territory Budget. From now on the Commonwealth will do this. Basic salaries of all officers will continue to be paid from the Territory Budget, but the cost of allowances and other benefits for overseas officers will be met by the Commonwealth out of funds appropriated by this Parliament. These payments, which it is estimated will amount to $29.25m, the sum I have mentioned, are shown separately in the Commonwealth Estimates on that basis.
That brings me to a reference to the most outstanding disclosure that has been made today. We have had a debate upon the sufficiency and adequacy of the Public Order Ordinance, which was passed by the New Guinea House of Assembly in September, to preserve civil liberties in the Territory. When the speeches were being delivered I thought that they were being made with an inadequate understanding of, and on the basis of, insufficient attention being paid to the Ordinance. Senator Keeffe has asked me now where he can get a copy of the Bill. A copy of the original Bill, as presented, and a copy of the Bill, as amended, would have been available to any honourable senator who had sent a request to me or to the Department. Further, the Hansard report of the proceedings in the House of Assembly is available to anyone who has sufficient interest to make a request.
– They are available in the Library.
– I am fortified by the Interjection of my colleague, Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, to the effect that the documents are also available in the Library. For the assistance of Senator Georges and Senator Keeffe, whom I shall regard automatically as being interested, and any other honourable senator who identifies himself as interested, I shall undertake to see that copies of those documents are made available to them this week.
– May I identify myself as one who is interested in obtaining a copy of the Bill about which we have heard so much?
-It is all very well to hear the indignation of the Minister and his attacks upon certain honourable senators, but I point out that their means of reference to matters such as this normally is this House of the Parliament so they go to the Library and ask for the relevant documents. I assure the Minister that I, even as recently as a few moments ago, went to seek a copy of the Bill and a copy of the Hansard report but was unable to get them. The Minister has referred to other honourable senators. 1 am pointing out that even at this stage I was unable to get the documents. Presumably I would be the latest to ask for them, the others no doubt having asked for them some time previously.I am told that they are not available. For some reason or other, the Library is not supplied easily with these documents. Maybe it is the Department of External Territories that sends them to the Library, I do not know. Anyway, whoever sends them does not send them quickly. According to the Minister, Senator Sir Magnus Cormack has said that the documents are available in the Library.
– They always have been.
– The documents referred to came into existence only several months ago. Apparently they are not available. That is what I am told, and I accept it. There may be some misunderstanding; but we are told that they are not available. 1 do not think the Minister’s remarks are called for at all. One would expect that this Parliament ought to be supplied, through its Library and its Legislative Reference Service, with the documents that would enable us to judge whether what the Administration in New Guinea is doing is right. Despite what is said by the Minister, there has been very great agitation about the Bill and very great criticism of it. Irrespective of whether at some stage it was modified as a result of the complaints, certainly there was sufficient concern about it for the Sydney Morning Herald’ to have a headline ‘Police State Danger Seen in New Guinea Order Bill’, a reference to widespread and expert criticism alleging that the proposals were a passport to a police state and a statement that the legislation had aroused heated opposition throughout the Territory.
– Mr Chairman,I rise to order. We have had a debate on the question to which Senator Murphy is referring. I submit that it is not in order at this stage of the Committee proceedings to refer to that debate again.
– Speaking to the point of order, Mr Chairman,I submit that the debate that was had did not dispose of the matter that I am raising. We are considering the estimates in general. The previous debate was on a particular matter, namely, that the estimates be reduced by $2 as an indication to the Government that the Senate is of the opinion that recent events in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea for which the Government is responsible constitute a danger to the civil liberties and rights of the people of those Territories. The fact that the Committee rejected that proposition, which was put forward by Senator Georges, does not preclude me from alluding to the matter of the Papua and New Guinea Public Order Bill, in my respectful submission to you, Mr Chairman.
– We had quite a lengthy debate on the amendment. If the honourable senator could nominate the division to which he is addressing himself and, without referring to the amendment, seek the information he requires from the Minister, I think it would be helpful.
– I am referring to the administrative provisions. I do not propose to address myself to them at great length, but the Minister is trying to stop me from doing that by taking a point of order and saying that I am out of order notwithstanding the fact that following the vote that was taken other senators have referred to the matter and he has referred to it. However, in dealing with the provisions for the administration of the Territory, let me say that considerable concern is felt in Australia that the Administration in the Territory is acting in an arbitrary way. It is unfortunate if an impression is created that it is using its powers and its representation in order to have foisted on the Territory provisions which are objectionable and which ought not to be tolerated in a community in which we are seeking to establish a set of laws and a constitution which will observe at least a minimum of the basic human rights. It is quite a serious matter that legislation introduced in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea as a result of the operations of this Government should be subjected to criticism by such bodies as Jaw associations, ANZAAS and, as I recall it, the International Commission of Jurists, which is a distinguished legal body operating throughout the world and which has an Australian section. I see Senator Greenwood nodding approvingly at the mention of that distinguished body. I think it had some words to say about the nature of this legislation. lt does not become the Government to attack senators who speak in this chamber of their concern about what is being done in Papua and New Guinea by the Administration there in the name of Australia. Mr Chairman, may I express the view that more and more people are becoming concerned about what is being done in Papua and New Guinea. More and more we feel that there is a departure from the proper standards that ought to be observed by an administering authority such as Australia. The sooner there is provision for at least the basic human rights in a Constitution of Papua and New Guinea I would think the better. At least we ought to leave a legacy in that community of those basic human rights enshrined in a Constitution. 1 am nol satisfied with the kind of Constitution that Papua and New Guinea has and which derives from us. It is clear that, even though there are some consultations in the Territory with a necessarily small number of persons in that community, the main responsibility for the type of Constitution they are to have will be on us. 1 would think, and my Party takes this view, that their Constitution ought to embrace those basic human rights. There ought to be a Bill. Our view is that the Constitution of Papua and New Guinea ought to provide for the protection and implementation of fundamental human rights and civil liberties along the lines of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That being so, we do not think that legislation ought to be passed through that body under the pressure of this Australian administration which is thought by many to depart seriously from those rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Senator Sir MAGNUS CORMACK (Victoria) (8.33) - With great reluctance I enter into this debate on the level of procedure. I enter it on that level because there has been currently-
– What about-
– When I talk about currently, I do not want any impudence from you.
– Order! Senator, would you nominate the division to which you are speaking?
– I rise to a point of order. To what division is Senator Sir Magnus Cormack speaking?
– 1 am replying to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) on the matter already before the Committee. It is Division 280 - Papua and New Guinea - Miscellaneous Services, Grant-in-aid to Administration, Development grant, and Allowances and other benefits for overseas officers of the Papua and New Guinea Public Service. For at least 7 or 8 years, the Senate has been constantly involved, through its committees of one sort or another, in its constitutional role in the responsibility it has to the area just north of us which is described as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. At one stage the ordinances of that Territory came before the Regulations and Ordinances Committee of this Senate. I can see the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) nodding his head. The constitutional problem was examined over a great number of years. Consideration involved the responsibility and rights of the Senate in the context of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. After many years the Senate absolved itself from the responsibility of surveying the ordinances and regulations in the context of this area. I have used the word ‘area’ in order to make the distinction which Senator Murphy did not make in referring constantly to the area as New Guinea. A dichotomy is involved in this. Papua is undoubtedly a Territory of the Commonwealth of Australia, but the area known as New Guinea is an area which we hold in trust from the United Nations.
– The Minister does not recognise that.
– I am not arguing about that. It is perfectly clear that the Senate has no juridical responsibility in the context of the area. It is ihe duty of this Committee of the Whole, in response to a policy of the Government of the day, to vote or not to vote money for the maintenance of this area; it is the responsibility of the Committee cither to accept the policy or to reject the policy. I consider that it is totally outside the bounds of the Committee to examine the minutiae of this proposed expenditure. If honourable senators wish to debate the problems of the expenditure of §100,314,500 under Division 280 in the context of this area, they have a responsibility to request that the vote be either amended or rejected. However, 1 consider that it is outside the bounds of responsibility of the Committee to use this device to intrude into this area or the administration of the area. 1 recommend this view to you Mr Chairman. I submit, in the light of the way in which the debate is developing, (hat it is not within the cognisance of the Committee to form opinions. I believe that Division 280 should be passed on the basis of whether the expenditure should be $100,314,500 and that the minutiae of the administration is no concern of this Committee of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia.
– I refer to the two headings to which I referred previously. For the record I mention that they are Division 280 and Division 270. Those divisions cover the subjects that 1 propose to talk about. First I. should mention that some of the accusations which were made by the Minister for Works were undignified and unbecoming. He implied that both Senator Georges and I were speaking from a basis of ignorance. 1 say to the Minister through you Mr Chairman, that for 4 years I have had no right to go to the Department of External Teritories to obtain information unless 1 went first through the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes). What would have been the situation if 1 had wanted to check on some matter today? I understand that as well as being the Minister for External Territories he is also the owner of the race horse Tails. Where would I have found him today? He is probably still com miserating over the fact that his horse ran second last.
– Order! The honourable senator must confine his remarks to the divisions before the Committee.
– Very well. The Minister for Works has accused me of not getting this information from the Department, but I am not able to do so. 1 have been told this on several occasions. On the occasion when we had problems involving an industrial disruption in the Bougainville area, in order to sort out the labour problems involved and to help my colleagues industrially 1 rang the Department of External Territories in Canberra. 1 should say that this was in the days of the former Secretary of the Department; 3 have not had dealings with the new Secretary. At that time Mr Warwick Smith was the Secretary. I was not able to approach any officer of the Department.
This is the only Department from which I have not been able to get information. I can go to any other Department seeking information and I am provided with that information which 1 may use here publicly or in any other way. But (his is not so wilh the Department of External Territories. In the case of the Bougainville incident, by the time the Minister was able to ring me back at my Townsville office the situation had developed to a crisis point. This is what happens with this Department. What an utter fool I would be and how stupid it would be of me to go to the Department today to seek the information which the Minister for Works says is so readily available. We know that he is in Melbourne chasing his race horse around the Cup course. This is how ridiculous the situation is.
Let us go back to a couple of other points to which the Minister referred a moment ago. These are prominent people in the Territory who are opposed to the law about which we have been battling here tonight. Mr P. Johnson of Angoram, member of the UNDP Party - not the Pangu Party - said that the Administration was trying to salvage enough powers ‘tailor made’ for political situations. He did not think that the Public Order Bill should be allowed as a precedent of repressive legislation in the Territory. Tony Voutas. member of the Pangu Party, said that the law was like a big net spread to catch many birds; the Government could let some of the birds go and imprison the birds that it did not like. That is why the Government has created this new legislation, to stifle protests against the Government of Australia. Mr Michael Somare of Sepik, leader of the Pangu Party, said that many of the people responsible for the law are Australians who would not always be living in the country; it would be better for New Guinean people to make a law like this, if it was necessary to suit New Guinea.
Thomas Kevali of Jimi WHD said that he did not really understand the law and did not think members should support it blindly. Money should be spent on curing the causes of trouble rather than on suppressing it. Mr Ebia Olewale from Daru said that the Government should admit it has made the law to win its argument with the Mataungans and other people it did not like; the law prevented political development at the time when it was most needed. I think the Minister will admit that one of the reasons for the law is to suppress the introduction of radical political parties in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I suggest that if Senator Sim, who just interjected, were in New Guinea no recognised political party would accept him as a member. Mr Oscar Tammur of Kokopo. Gazelle Peninsula, Patron of the Mataungan Association, said that he thought the law would prevent national unity. It could stop people in one part of New Guinea going to another part of New Guinea. If people were prevented from moving freely and speaking freely in their own country, how could they learn to work and live together? Mr Percy Chatterton, a white member of the House of Assembly, said that the more powerful the powers of the police, the more powerful the checks on these powers should be. He said the amendments to the law did not go far enough.
The amendments he refers to are the ones that the Minister told us tonight went al! the way as far as democracy was concerned. As far as I and the Papuans and New Guineans are concerned, the only thing that was done was to put in a few commas and fullstops. Minor amendments were made to most of the matters under discussion. Might I say that the points that the Opposition raised earlier in the amendment serve to highlight the great injustice being done to these people. I respectfully request that at some time in the future the Government comes back to earth and does something that is in line with humanity and not otherwise.
– I rise only because of the example of hypocrisy and double standards which we have heard from the Opposition tonight. Earlier this afternoon an amendment was moved by the Opposition. That amendment sought to have the vote of the Department reduced because, as the Opposition said, recent events in the Territories for which the Government is responsible constitute a danger to civil liberties. The whole case which was attempted to be made by the Opposition was based upon the provisions of the Public Order Bill which was passed by the House of Assembly on 19th September. We have said constantly that what the House of Assembly does is the province of the House of Assembly and the people of the Territory. We have no responsibility in that regard. We cannot change what it might do. If we would dare to disallow an ordinance passed by that House of Assembly there would be a tremendous outcry that we were interfering with the right of these people to self-government. That is one example of the double standards of the Opposition. But the height of hypocrisy was reached when Opposition senators stood here and said that they could nol get a copy of the Public Order Bill. They spent approximately an hour to an hour and a half this afternoon attacking the provisions of the Public Order Ordinance and it is revealed that they do not have a copy of it. They complain that they cannot obtain a copy which proves to the absolute hilt, as the Minister said, that all Opposition senators have done is to express the words with which they have been equipped with by propagandists who desire to belittle Australia’s performance in New Guinea. Nothing could more amply demonstrate that situation than the conduct of the Opposition in spending the best part of this afternoon criticising the contents of the Ordinance and then coming forward and saying that they do not have a copy of it. Where can they get a copy? When Senator Keeffe is taxed with this matter what does he say? He simply says that if the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) were here be could have obtained a copy but the Minister has a race horse. 1 think that is a shameful expression to use. The Minister for Works (Senator Wright) who in this chamber represents the Minister for External Territories has been available at any time. He could have been asked. Senator Keeffe is not even interested to ask the Minister. He is not even interested to hear what 1 have to say. ft appears to me that what we have heard from Opposition senators indicates the hollowness and the hypocrisy of what they are prepared to engage in. I think that when Opposition senators gets up and says these things it is encumbent upon us to expose them for what they are.
– I wish to say something in answer to the charges made by the last speaker, Senator Greenwood. He has actually suggested that Senator Keeffe and those honourable senators who raised this matter were listening to propaganda by people who wanted to injure Australia and its administration.
– The honourable senators read it all out this afternoon, page after page.
– That is what Senator Greenwood of Victoria says. He suggests that the people he is referring to are so wicked that they want to indulge in propaganda aimed at injuring Australia in its administration. Who are these people? Some criticism came in the form of a petition signed by delegates to the ANZAAS Congress which was held in New Guinea. Are those delegates supposed to be people who would want to injure Australia and its administration and who would indulge in improper propaganda?
– Who were the ANZAAS people? They were not connected with the ANZUS treaty. It was an ANZAAS group of scientists.
– Of course it was a group of scientists. It was an important group of scientists dedicated to the advancement of science. I see that Senator Greenwood promptly is prepared to withdraw on that. Further criticism came from delegates to the meeting of the Australasian Universities Law Schools Association. Are they people who would indulge in propaganda on this matter with the aim of injuring Australia or are they people who understand what the law is? It is interesting to hear honourable senators on the Government side who believe in law and order screaming out at the top of their voices because I have endeavoured to put the truth to them. Not only those bodies have offered criticism. We have newspapers such as the ‘Age’, the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ and all of these.
– What was the date of the report in the ‘Age’?
– It was in September and August. One report in the Age’ is dated 1.3th August 1970.
– Does the honourable senator know the date on which this Ordinance was passed?
– Yes. I know this Ordinance was passed in September. I also know of the statement that any amendment which was made between the original criticism and the later passage of the Ordinance was a completely minor amendment of no significance whatever. The criticisms which were originally made stand good. That is the answer to the honourable senator. Here is an Ordinance which in the opinion of these distinguished bodies and others is a departure from the proper standards which ought to be applied in measures so that basic human rights will be protected. I see that one report which was referred to earlier said that the Ordinance was reminiscent of the pass laws which had been introduced by the Government of South Africa. It is interesting to see that Government senators such as Senator Greenwood are prepared to stand up in this chamber and justify this legislation. They say that those who oppose this legislation - not only in this chamber but outside - are indulging in propaganda aimed at injuring Australia and its administration. Who is injuring Australia and ils administration? It is those who are responsible for the introduction of such measures. We know what happens in Papua and New Guinea. The Administration pushes these matters through. As has been shown, one of the parties of the New Guineans opposed these measures but the Administration using its numbers and its influence pushed them through. Australia should be ashamed of these measures.
– Australia did not pass those measures.
– The honourable senator interjects and says that Australia is not responsible. Of course Australia is responsible. If Australia does not want those measures passed they do not go through. Our officials are responsible for drafting them. They promote them. It is our officials who see that they are passed. It is our officials whom we send to Papua and New Guinea who give assent to such measures. It is within our power and it is our right and our duty not to allow to pass into the legislation of this young emerging country laws which are contrary to basic human rights. It is unthinkable that our responsible newspapers, responsible citizens, and groups of them, speak of these laws in the same breath as they speak of the pass laws of South Africa. I suppose it is good in a debate like this to see revealed the attitude of Government supporters when they justify this kind of legislation.
For those distinguished bodies of lawyers, scientists and others concerned with matters of human rights to be described as indulging in propaganda aimed at injuring Australia shows the depth to which Government senators are willing to descend in order to protect any kind of action by their Government, however despicable it might be in the eyes of other respectable citizens.
– I have listened to Senator Murphy make a speech in which he referred to allegations that there is shame on Australia for the action of the Government in associating with the Public Order Ordinance of New Guinea. He contended that there was a reflection on Government members for participating in contemptible action. Senator Murphy’s speech has been made this evening after a vote has been taken showing that the majority of honourable senators refuse to accept the imputations made by the Opposition about this Ordinance.
– That was before they heard Senator Greenwood.
– Excuse me, I heard the honourable senator in silence. It should be underlined that Senator Murphy has admitted that he made his speech without the opportunity of perusing the Bill. Those honourable senators who preceded him also had the benefit of that ignorance. On a previous occasion in the Senate when the Estimates were debated I am on record as saying in answer to a question as to whether Senator Keeffe could approach the Department of External Territories for information that the Minister is responsible to Parliament for the Department and its activities and that it would be proper for all requests for information or explanation by members of Parliament to be addressed to the Minister. However in relation to requests for information of a routine or minor character there would be no objection to members of Parliament directing their inquiries to the Department. It is an obvious courtesy for members of Parliament to pay to the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) and myself, as his representative in this chamber, if they wish to obtain information of a substantial character, to refer the request to me. If I am absent from Canberra my office staff will immediately attend to the request and process it through the officers of the Department of External Territories, (t is a contemptible pretext to refer to the absence of the Minister for External Territories from Canberra today as being the reason for not being able to obtain information. Immediately a request was referred to his Department it would get in touch with him or his representative here and obtain the information.
It has been asserted on more than one occasion that no amendments of any consequence to this legislation were accepted. My legal advisers have informed me today that an examination of the legislation indicates that at least 10 substantial amendments were made to the legislation to allay any fears as to any lack of protection of the individual.
– I take it that the Minister also has legal advisers?
– Of course. I want to be quite brief, but I think I should point out that Senator Murphy graced himself by saying that it is unfortunate that powers of such an objectionable character have been foisted upon the people of Papua and New Guinea. He said that the legislation ought to incorporate the fundamental human rights. Having regard to the fact that Senator Murphy may have been absent when I referred to section 34 of the Ordinance during the debate this afternoon I shall, with a degree of tolerance, do so again. It states:
Nothing in this Ordinance makes it unlawful for a person -
to point out in good faith errors or defects (i) in the government of or the laws in force in the Territory; or (ii) in the administration of justice with a view to the reform of those errors or defects;
to encourage in good faith another person to attempt to procure by lawful means the alteration of any matter or thing in the Territory established by law;
to point out in good faith, in order to obtain their removal any matters which are producing or have a tendency to produce feelings of ill will between different classes or communities of persons in the Territory; or
to do anything in good faith in connection with an industrial dispute.
Anybody who went through the Ordinance and examined it section by section would agree that a person who compares this legislation with the authoritarian apartheid legislation of South Africa is simply ignorant. There is not really one legal restriction in this legislation which is not justiciable in the courts and that is the British criterion as to whether the individual is finally protected by an independent judiciary. 1 could go through the question of the obligation to issue permits for public meetings in declared places and point out that the law directs them to be granted unless there are circumstances prejudicial to the public peace and order, and that if a permit is refused an appeal can be made to a magistrate, who may displace the permit with his order. Places where it is necessary to have control of mass organisations can be declared only where there is evidence of the existence of disorder.
Senator Keeffe said (hat this Ordinance discriminates according to colour and race. There is not one syllable in the Ordinance which makes any of its provisions dependent upon an element of colour or race. The people who are to be under an obligation to enter into a recognisance to comply with good order and to keep the Queen’s peace are only those who intrude into areas where they do not belong. If a magistrate is satisfied that their presence in another province is a threat to good order and peace all they are required to do is to go back to their homeland. What the Opposition is in effect saying is that it has no confidence in the magistracy or in the Supreme Court, which are the independent arms of the judiciary emanating from this country as an appropriate place for British justice. The Opposition has attacked the penalty of $500 which is provided under this legislation. But there are white dissenters, fomenters and agitators there who also come under this public order provision as well as the agitator indigenes and the penalties must be appropriate to them also.
We have had a long debate on this subject this afternoon. It has taken about 2 hours. Senator Murphy intervened to regurgitate a debate which has already been dealt with. Accordingly, I move:
– The question is ‘That the motion be agreed to’.
– What is the question that you propose to put?
– That the estimates be approved.
– Mr Temporary Chairman
– I rise on a point of order, Mr Temporary Chairman. I direct your attention to the Standing Orders. Once a question has been put there can be no debate upon it.
– The point of order is sustained.
– I am not querying that. Mr Temporary Chairman, may I ask what is the question?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMANThat the question be now put. Senator Murphy, please be seated.
– I rise on a point of order. Mr Temporary Chairman, so far we have been considering requests-
– Mr Temporary Chairman, Senator Murphy is trying to circumvent your ruling.
– Senator Murphy, please take your seat.
– I rise on a point of order. May I ask what the question is?
– There is no substance in the point of order. The question is ‘That the question be now put’. Please be seated.
– That what question be put? This has not been the procedure-
– The question is that the estimates of this Department be passed.
– I have taken a point of order. Mr Temporary Chairman. I understand that you refuse to allow my point of order to be put.
– Are you seeking elucidation of the terms of the motion?
-I have endeavoured to do that by way of a point of order. If you will bear with me for a moment. Mr Temporary Chairman, may I say that-
– It is one thing for Senator Murphy to raise a point of order, Mr Temporary Chairman, but it is another thing for him to make a speech. He does this all the time. With great respect to you, Sir, I suggest that you insist on giving a clarification of the point of order and not the subject matter.
– My point of order is this: The procedure so far has been to ask whether there are any requests and when the requests have been dealt with the Chair declares-
– That the proposed estimates of the Department be passed.
– The Temporary Chairman has not put the question. He has not declared that the estimates have been passed. I understand this to be in accordance with the Standing Orders. The Minister having moved the gag - that is, that the question be put -I require elucidation as to which question the Minister has proposed be put.
– This is the position: The Minister has moved that the question be put. The question is: Are there any further requests?
– Yes. I have been on my feet three times.
– The question now before the Chair is that the question be put. Those in favour say aye.
Government senators - Aye.
– Those against say no.
Opposition senators - No.
– I think the ayes have it.
– I rise on a point of order. There is a man on his feet. Mr Temporary Chairman, you asked whether there were any further requests. He was on his feet when you started to put the question. What are we coming to?
– Order! This question is not open to debate. I repeat the question. Those in favour say aye.
Government senators - Aye.
– Those against say no.
– The ayes have it. The question now is: Are there any requests?
– I take a point of order. Following the procedure which you, Mr Temporary Chairman, have adopted - you have put some question - there has been a division of opinion. Presumably we should proceed to divide.
– That is right. What is your point of order?
– That is the point of order.I do not know what purpose will be served by the division in view of the nature of the question put to the Committee; that seems to have gone by the board.
– Is a division required on the closure motion?
– May I remind you, Mr Temporary Chairman, that the question which you put was: Are there any further requests? That is what we voted on.
– We shall now vote on that question.
– On what question?
– Are there any further requests? There shall be no more discussion. We shall now proceed to vote on the question. The motion before the Committee is: Are there any further requests? Those in favour say aye.
Government senators - Aye.
Those against say no. 1 think the ayes have it.
– The question having been resolved in the affirmative - that there are more requests - 1 suggest that Senator Georges be allowed to proceed to put the propositions that he wishes to put.
– May I interpose on a point of order? Is not the question this: That the nominated items dealing with the estimates for the Department of External Territories should be agreed to? Are not they the matters under discussion? That is the issue, not that the question be put. The issue is whether we pass certain items. I suggest that that is the question which was to be put.
– Are there any further requests?
– The question was that that question be put
– I take a point of order.
– I have not finished my point of order. Let me finish mine first.
– I suggest that the Leader of the Government is canvassing your ruling, Mr Temporary Chairman.
– I am speaking on a point of order. I have my rights. We are dealing with the estimates for the Department of External Territories. The question is whether we pass them or whether there are any further requests. We are dealing with line estimates. The ulti mate motion is whether the estimates should be passed. The question put was that they be passed. With great respect, that is the question which you, Mr Temporary Chairman, have to put.
– On the point of order-
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMANOrder! The honourable senator will be seated.
– Surely I am allowed to speak.
There has been a misunderstanding. The closure motion was agreed to. The question then was: Are there any requests? This led to the misunderstanding. The question is: Are there any requests? That is the question now to be voted on.
– Then I will move that the question be put. Mr Temporary Chairman, if you accept the advice you are getting, the closure motion will never be able to be put during the debate on the Estimates. That is the situation you have put us into.
– Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson has taken a point of order. I think the Committee should note that Senator Georges was on bis feet, and he should be allowed to resume his speech when this point is decided. I tried to assist the Chair earlier, I thought in a reasonable way. My advice was not accepted. It was easier to let the matter proceed as it was going. If Ministers shout at an Opposition senator and tell him to sit down when he is trying to assist in the matter, and if they speak as they did, they do not get the lucid contributions- that sometimes are made - and sometimes are not made - from this side. At least it would be courtesy for them to listen. I think there will be very little more debate on these estimates. I think that, rather than get tangled further, rather than apply the gag and rather than have a great controvery over procedural matters, it might be better to let the matter proceed. I understand that there is very little more to be said. Perhaps it might be better to let the matter proceed. I suggest that with respect. We will soon get through the rest of the matters.
– That still does not solve the problem that 1 raised.
– There is a procedural issue involved. Unfortunately those who sought to force the matter to a head did not take the proper course. As a matter of common sense, if we proceed I think we can dispose of the estimates fairly quickly. That would be better than spending half of the evening on a procedural issue.
– May I proceed? I think I can solve your problems for you, Mr Temporary Chairman.
To clarify the matter, we shall revert to the motion that the question be put. Are there any requests?
– I rise to a point of order. This matter was put and decided. It having been decided that there were further requests Senator Georges rose to his feet and commenced his argument. I would think that when he finishes his remarks we might be able to dispose of the matter and proceed. I suggest with respect that he cannot be interrupted once he regularly rises to his feet. Whether some honourable senators voted the wrong way is beside the point: Senator Georges is on his feet and entitled to proceed.
– I rise to a point of order. I am concerned, as other honourable senators are, that the position should be correctly understood. I shall set out my understanding of the position because 1 think it will add some clarity and explain what has happened. We were discussing the estimates of the Department of External Territories. A motion was moved that the question be put. I would have thought that the question then before the Chair was whether the Senate would pass the estimates of the Department. Wilh respect, that was the expression used by you, Mr Chairman, and your predecessors, with all the other departmental estimates before the Chair.
As I understood the question which was put and upon which senators voted it was: Are there any requests?’. I understood there to be a very strong affirmative vote from all around the chamber. There were no noes. In terms of the question which was put there was an affirmative that there should be more requests. With respect, that might not have been what senators intended to be the result, but as I see the position, it is only fair that people should abide by the response they gave to the question you asked. 1 hope that if it is desired that the question be put the motion will be moved again when Senator Georges has finished and honourable senators will vote according to their intentions.
– In order to get this debate to a conclusion 1 wish to speak briefly to the appropriation for item 0) of Division 280. I take objection to the side swipe of the Minister in saying that because we were unable to get a copy of the Public Order Ordinance our contribution to the debate was ill informed and misinformed. We applied for a copy of the Ordinance. I. believe that the administration of the Department is at fault by not providing the necessary Hansard reports and copies of the Ordinance to the Library so that we could obtain them when we needed them. I am not criticising the people in the Parliamentary Library. They give us tremendous assistance. The fact is that when I earlier sought copies of the Ordinance and the Hansard report they were not available. This document has now come to me. I do not know how I obtained this copy.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of Civil Aviation
Proposed expenditure, $72,823,000.
– I address my remarks to Division 170 - Administrative and Operational, for which an amount of $43,320,500 is to be appropriated. I wish to refer to the siting of a second airport for Sydney. In my opinion and in the opinion of a great number of people of Sydney, the members of the public who are being vitally affected by the intolerable, distracting and nerve wracking burden of aircraft noise are being hoodwinked and taken for a ride by the Department of Civil Aviation. At question time this morning the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) said that he could not care less whether an attempt was being made to make him unpopular. 1 assure the Minister that I could not care less whether he is popular or unpopular. My persistent questioning on the siting of a second airport for Sydney has been directed only to obtaining knowledge within the possession of the Minister and his Department.I believe that that information should he made public in the public interest.
The curfew imposed at Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airport on all jet night flying operations between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. is now a complete and utter farce. In the light of the way the curfew is being administered it may as well be removed. Last year the curfew was not enforced on about 350 occasions. In July last on about 40 occasions the curfew was not enforced. 1 am told that on about 58 occasions the curfew was not enforced in August or September. To realise the tremendous nervous strain being placed on people who live in areas adjacent to the airport - I refer particularly to young children - one has only to sit in homes in suburbs like Kyeemagh, Bexley, Rockdale, Marrickville, Randwick and other nearby suburbs. The family life of those people is being disrupted practically every few minutes until 11 p.m. When the curfew is not rigidly enforced the disruptions continue virtually every night. In addition, the value of their homes is being seriously eroded. It seems to me that everyone except the members of the public who are being vitally affected is being taken into the confidence of the Department of Civil Aviation and the Government on future plans.
It is true that noise abatement committees have been set up and have been provided with certain forecasts and information on noise abatement and treatment. Although that information is regarded by the Department as confidential it has leaked out in some way to the newspapers which have included it in reports. On 22nd October, last Thursday week, the Minister issued a Press statement to the effect that the reports of the noise exposure forecasts had been misinterpreted. Why the Minister chose to make a Press statement when the Senate was sitting rather than a ministerial statement which, of course, automatically would have been subject to debate in the Parliament, is beyond me. Had a debate taken place on the report rather than on the estimates for the Department I suggest that certain other matters might have come out.
The Minister knows the full details of the noise exposure forecasts; the New South Wales State Planning Authority knows the details of the forecasts; the noise abatement committees which have been set up know some of the details of the forecasts; something leaked out; an article appeared in the Press and the Minister said: ‘The statement has been misinterpreted. WhenI asked the Minister about this matter on 26th October he said:
We are concerned with the future of the Sydney Airport in the interests of the people of Sydney, of the whole of the State of New South Wales and, indeed, of Australia. This is how we behave. As we from time to time have information which will help, we will make it available. My present conclusion is that when the next information comes out I ought to make it available to everybody, not just to one or two sections.
That related to the noise exposure forecasts. Now, apparently the public is not to be told anything about the report of the interdepartmental committee relating to the siting of the second airport for Sydney although that report is in the Minister’s hands. It is on behalf of the public that I am speaking this evening. Let us look at the brief history of the matter. Everyone in and around Sydney regards this matter as of vital importance yet it seems to be passing from department to authority and from authority to committee in rather a carnival carefree manner. The interdepartmental committee which was appointed by the Government consisted of. I think, 7 members, 2 of whom were from New South Wales, 3 from the Australian Capital Territory and 2 from Victoria. The committee was appointed in December 1968, about 21 months ago. Between January 1969, the first time that the committee sat, and the end of last October - everyone will remember that that was the time of the Federal election - the committee had met on only 3 occasions. The Government received a jolt at the general election some 12 months ago and apparently the committee got down to work. The Minister released a Press statement in the following terms on 3rd July this year:
The Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Robert Colton has called for a report ‘as soon as possible’ on studies into the need for a second major airport for Sydney.
Senator Cotton said today that he had spoken earlier this week wilh the chairman of the interdepartmental committee making the study. “I asked the chairman lo produce the committee’s report as soon as possible.” Senator Cotton said.
I anticipate Ihat it ought to bc available within the next two or three months’.
There, I suggest, ihe Minister gave the hurry-up to the committee to submit its report because the public was becoming more concerned and more agitated abou: the problem in view of the fact that the curfew at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport was not being enforced rigidly. As a result of questions asked in this place and in another place, and as a result of newspaper articles on the subject the committee which was established to decide and report upon a second airport for Sydney was asked by the Minister to expedite its report.
When the Parliament resumed for the Budget session I asked the Minister on 2nd September about the report. He then told me that when he received it his first course of action would be to talk to the New South Wales Government about it, as he apparently had promised to do, and when that bad been done a statement about it could be expected. The report was received by the Minister on 24th September. That was the day on which the estimates for the
Department of Civil Aviation were under consideration by Senate Estimates Committee C. The Minister is reported on page 71 of the Hansard record of 24th September for Senate Estimates Committee C as saying, amongst a number of other things:
The interdepartmental committee report has just been finalised and turned up this afternoon and I have not yet read it. I am entitled to say to the committee that I purposely asked not to read it until it was concluded, so that it would not be pan of any speculation which is widespread that might bc going on in the community. . . .
When it was in my hands - and it is only just now - it would then be submitted by me to the Commonwealth Government whose responsibility is to provide and finance airports. Having done thai, I would hope we would consult in detail with the Slate Government - which is greatly involved in what happens here - and through it, that local government would bc consulted on what would be happening in the development sense. That has been my broad approach from the beginning and I have not departed from it.
That was on 24th September 6 weeks ago. Yesterday in the Parliament at question time the Minister told us that the matter had nol yet been referred to ihe Slate Government, that he and his Department were still studying the report and that it was unlikely that the report would be made public. If the Minister will not make the report, public will he at least state the areas which have not been recommended as the site for the proposed second airport? I can assure the Minister Ihat there is great speculation, particularly in the southern suburbs of Sydney, about which area has been chosen. At least in fairness to the hundreds of thousands of people who live on the southern side of the present airport the Minister should be prepared to indicate here and now the areas within that region which are not contemplated as ihe site for the second airport. For instance, rumour has it that Towra Point, which the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) said in April 1969 - some 4 or 5 months before the last Federal election - was out of consideration by the airport siting committee has now come back into the area of possibility. Indeed it is being rumoured in the southern suburbs of Sydney that portion of the Royal National Park is contemplated as the site for the second airport. If those areas have not been recommended by the siting committee as possible sites for a second airport, 1 urge the Minister to say so in this chamber tonight in order to allay the concern of so many citizens of Sydney.
– Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– If Senator McClelland wants to continue speaking in what he sees as the public interest, I am happy to intervene briefly to enable him to do so.
– I will take only another couple of minutes. 1 assure the Minister that this is in the public interest. He knows that there is great feeling about this whole matter not only within the immediate metropolitan area of Sydney but even in the outer environs. He mentioned yesterday that it had never been the attitude of this Government, or of any government as far as he knew, to release interdepartmental committee reports. Let me mention just a few that have been released by the Government. First of all, the Nimmo Committee was an interdepartmental committee that was established to inquire into voluntary health insurance in Australia at a time when the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs was sitting. The evidence taken by the Nimmo Committee was taken in camera and not in public. Yet, prior to the presentation of the report of the Senate Select Committee, the report of the Nommo Committee - the interdepartmental committee - was tendered to this Parliament.
An interdepartmental committee was established by the Department of Defence to inquire into conditions of incarceration in military corrective establishments. Its report was made public inasmuch as it was tabled in the Parliamentary Library and members of this Parliament had access to it. The Loder Committee report on freights, which was prepared at the instigation of the Department of National Development, was tabled in this Parliament and made public. The Vernon Committee was appointed by the Menzies Government to inquire into the economic situation and future planning of Australia. It inquired into that subject at length. Its report likewise was made public and tabled in this Parliament. in the public interest I urge the Minister to take the public, particularly the people of Sydney, into his confidence on this matter. Using the words of a well known song, I say to the Minister:Let the people know’. This is their property. This is their city. Wherever the second airport is, it will be their airport. They want protection from the noise; but, in view of the manner in which this matter has been passed from department to authority and from authority to committee without the public being taken into confidence, it is obvious that they also need protection from Big Brother. I plead with the Minister, in the interests of the public, if he does not intend to say where it is suggested the airport should be, at least to allay the fears of those who might be concerned unnecessarily about the area in which they live and the value of their private property.
– This is a matter to which it is practically impossible to reply in the detail of Senator McClelland’s various comments and requests. I will have to do my very best for him. It would be quite impossible for me to do a number of things that he wants me to do. I would like to make an explanation to him and other honourable senators of some of the factors that are involved in this matter. He says that he is acting in the public interest. I make a similar statement to him. But people’s views of the public interest tend to differ according to the side on which they are sitting.
Senator McClelland is entitled to regard me as genuine. I so regard him. He has made many comments. I made one or two notes as he went along. He said that the night curfew for jet aircraft was a farce, I think be said that it ought to be abandoned.I am sure that he did not mean that.
– No. I said that it might as well be abandoned.
– He said that it might just as well be abandoned. I am sure that in all seriousness he will agree with me that the curfew ought to remain. 1 regard it as being necessary for it to remain. The current policy on the night curfew provides that services by jet aircraft shall not be scheduled between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. at specified major airports, including Sydney, except in special circumstances. These special circumstances refer to special nights authorised by the Minister to meet extraordinary demands of the travelling public on such occasions as Christmas, New Year, Easter and other holiday periods, particularly school holiday periods. Apart from these specal flights, the airport director or his deputy is authorised to permit off-schedule operations, that is, delayed flights, when justified by the circumstances, for example, adverse weather conditions, aircraft maintenance, etc. The curfew does not apply to pistonengined aircraft or turbo-prop aircraft conducting passenger or cargo services.
One construction of the public interest would be that which 1 am sure Senator McClelland would regard as a good one, namely, that there should be no flights at all during curfew hours. Another construction of the public interest is mine, namely, that flights should be allowed in the case of emergencies, difficulties, problems and delayed departures because of mechanical checks. In those cases I have to give approval. I do so. I do so objectively and as carefully as 1 can. As I said either today or yesterday, as Minister for Civil Aviation I did not ever expect to earn popularity, particularly in Sydney, in view of the agitation that goes on and the misunderstanding that occurs. This comment is not intended for Senator McClelland, from whom I have received the greatest courtesy. I believe that there are many attempts to cause trouble which are not justified. The honourable senator has a genuine problem, because he lives in the area. I know where he lives. I have been to the area. I ask him not to take it that I reject all his overtures or simply throw scorn on his remarks. I do not do that. But 1 am involved in a situation in which it is impossible for me to please everybody. I just hope that I will go through the exercise and please somebody.
Senator McClelland has taken a great interest in the general problem of Sydney Airport, as I have. I have drafted a few notes on this matter. I do not think I need to refer to the chronological series of events and questions. I think he has covered them. I imagine that I could speak at great length in establishing what he said, what I said and what somebody else said; but I do not think that does anybody any good. All I can say is that in my office we have studied very carefully all the questions that have been asked of me, the let ters that have been written to me and the replies that have been given both verbally and in writing. As far as we can judge, being quite objective, we have kept to a continuously accurate statement of the case as we see it. Senator McClelland’s concern was expressed particularly in regard to some discussion that we had in Estimates Committee D - not Estimates Committee C, as he mentioned. He came along as an observer and asked a few questions at one stage.
I propose now to make some comments on this general matter. As Senator McClelland mentioned earlier and as I have mentioned at various times, I have answered many questions about the interdepartmental committee report. I interrupt this fairly discursive statement - it is not really a speech - to say that I have noted his reference to interdepartmental committee reports that have been released and, for my own edification, 1 shall be checking up on the circumstances of those releases. I have answered questions on the interdepartmental committee report which has been produced on the future of Sydney airport. If I recollect correctly, I have said on many occasions that the job that the committee was given to do was, firstly, to study the development of the air traffic in Sydney; secondly, to establish whether in due course a second major airport would be required and, if that were the case, the approximate range of time at which it would be required; and thirdly, to establish the range of potential places at which it might be worth considering locating a second major airport. They are the rough terms of reference, from memory, but I think you will find I have been acurate. That is the work that the committee was given.
It is true that it was set up in, I think, December 1968. It met first in January 1969 and it had an accelerated programme of meetings from November last year. Its first draft report was shown to me for the first time about 24th September. I said to the people then: ‘1 do not have time to read it now; I shall read it at the weekend.’ 1 did so and I then said to them: You have a lot of work to do. You have to study this in great detail.’ I think I have made the position quite clear on each and every occasion this matter has been brought up. If I have not made it clear. that has been due to my inability to express myself as clearly as I might like. However I believe 1 have done so and a search of the written record indicates that I have.
Senator McClelland referred to the fact that the report came into my hands for the first time about 24th September. That is true. But he will recall equally that shortly after that the Parliament went into recess and during that recess I travelled something like 8,500 miles looking at 24 aerodromes which have particular problems.
– Have you looked at Gladstone airport?
– No but I shall do that, senator, and I hope you will be there when I arrive because you have raised it with me on several occasions. This gives me a chance to point out that every honourable senator and every Minister is only human and that there are strong limitations on our time and abilities. One seeks to make the most effective use of one’s time. Tn the process of that trip I looked at the airports that I felt 1 could manage effectively on a fairly wide circuit. My next intention, senator, given time, which I hope you will provide me with later on because you are one of the people who have been helping to hold it up. is to go through Queensland and look at Ihe airports in that Stale, particularly those up the coast - having done the western airports - and Gladstone will be included among them. But there is a problem of time.
I say to the honourable senator, with Ihe greatest goodwill in the world, that this is the problem I find myself faced with after returning here in October. Because of the pressure on one’s time, attending to duties in the Senate - very properly so - it is practically impossible for me to devote to the affairs of the Department administratively all the time that I would like to devote. One of those affairs I want to look into is the progress of the study of the interdepartmental committee’s report. In any case, I am not in a position to proceed any further until the Department has completed the very necessary first step of assessing what the committee has reported and the implications of its recommendations. When that study is completed I will he able to take the next steps which include referring it to the Commonwealth Government, together with recommendations, and consulting the New South Wales Government. As I have said previously, that is the step after the study.
The New South Wales Government is the responsible government in the field of local government for the people of New South Wales; the Commonwealth Government is not. lt would be reprehensible, and I think I would find myself getting a great torrent of abuse on my head in this Commonwealth Parliament, if I took into consultation the arms of local government in New South Wales without talking to the New South Wales Government. So I must proceed. 1 believe, in the sense that the New South Wales Government has the prior right. After consultation with us and if. it wishes to do so it is up to the State Government to release it to the arms of local governments. 1 regret that this is the process one has to go through in government hut it is a proper- way to behave and one cannot go any faster.
This subject is a very complex one. lt is nol easy, lt would be very nice indeed to make a decision and to say: ‘As Minister I have the report. That is the end of the argument. The airport is to be here, not there, lt is going to cost so many hundred million dollars. Get on with the job boys. Finish it off tomorow morning.’ Things just do not happen like that. Anybody who has been involved in the processes of government would understand the complications of expenditure and the difficulties. The difficulties are real, not imagined, and are not put up in order to avoid giving information when people ask for it.
Senator McClelland has been asking me for some time, by this process of questioning, quite genuinely, to provide information about this matter. He has been trying to get me and the Department to rush this matter unnecessarily. I cannot do that. Indeed. I will not do it. I shall go as fast as 1 possibly can and so will the Department, according to the time available to us. This is a project of considerable magnitude, great complexity and difficulty. It is not possible for me to give him instantaneous decisions or for the Department at this stage to give them to me, although the Department is getting very close to being able to do so. By the way. I am informed that the Nimmo Committee was not an interdepartmental committee.
– lt certainly says it was on the record here.
– You have your information; I have mine. One of us may be wrong. We will check it up later on. The Vernon Committee was not an interdepartmental committee. Anyway, we will check the references made by Senator McClelland. They are good points and if he is correct this will be of some help to me. An interdepartmental committee consists of people who are presumed to know certain things at a certain stage in a Government structure. All the officers in this committee are Commonwealth officers. It was said that some of them live in various States. Of course they do. However they are all Commonwealth officers belonging to Commonwealth departments such as the Department of the Treasury, Department of the Interior, Department of Works and the Department of Civil Aviation. References have been made to the Department of Defence, to the Department of Air and some to the Department of Health. Therefore quite a large group of people is involved. They meet to deal with a given problem and we seek to get from them the full balance of their viewpoint. That information is now available.
This does not necessarily mean that the report of the committee is perfect or conclusive. It may well be that its report calls for a further study. That is the process that is going on now quite genuinely. This is not an attempt by me to delay this matter unnecessarily or to confuse the issue or to make the lives of people miserable. Far from it. I desire to do the right thing by the airport needs of New South Wales so far as the city of Sydney is concerned. I must bear in mind also as I am sure would those honourable senators who know New South Wales, that that State does present some problems because of the geographical terrain around the Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong complex. The Blue Mountains range lies very close to the west. Difficulties of that order have to be understood. It would be very nice for me to be able to say to Senator McClelland, who, I am sure, is concerned about people who may be involved: ‘Senator McClelland. stop your worrying about the people who are contacting you. The airport will be built at X’; or, alternatively: ‘Cease worrying about certain people because the airport will not be at Y or Z I cannot do this, much as I might like to. I would be recreant to my trust as a Minister if I were to do that, and I would not do it.
What I will do is to see that this job is proceded with as fast as possible once the Senate rises. I will be doing my best to see that this job is dealt with as speedily as is required. Equally I will be wanting to make sure that the greatest possible care is taken so that the decision, when made, is one which has the fullest possible regard to the public interest and the expenditure of public money. When the final decision is made and communicated and the project is organised, if everybody is happy about the decision f will give a garden party for the whole Senate.
– I refer to Division 172, item 06 which deals with development grants for aerodromes. I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) whether it is not yet too late to reconsider the decision of his Department and of the Government, no doubt, to expand the activities of pilot training at Avalon airport. Associated wilh the expansion of this training will be the expenditure of about $6m to extend the tarmacs. The introduction of the 747 and the Concorde at a later date is associated with this extension work. The Avalon airport is only 1 1 miles from the city of Geelong, which has a population of 130,000 people - it is rapidly expanding - about 2 miles from the township of Lara, which already has 3,000 people and which will expand further, and 3 or 4 miles only from the township of Little River. The people of this area ;*.re very much afraid that if operations at Avalon are extended it will not be as a temporary measure but that the position will become permanent, at least for many years to come.
The figures provided by the Minister’s predecessor showed that there were 41,000 aircraft movements at Avalon in 12 months. Honourable senators should understand the procedures at Avalon. The aircraft being flown are mainly Boeing 707 jets in which pilots are training. The aircraft never fly at a height of more than 1,500 feet during touch-down and take-off exercises, which continue all day. The noise in the area is continuous and is far greater than that experienced at Essendon, the Sydney airport, or any other airport in Australia. 1 understand that at the moment Avalon is geared to about 24 movements an hour and that it is proposed to improve facilities to bring the number of movements to 38 an hour, that is, 19 touchdowns and 19 take-offs, with their associated noise.
Our information is that if pilot training continues in that area when the Concordes are introduced the noise level will be far higher than that produced by any aircraft that have ever flown in Australia so far. We know from experience in the city of Geelong that tremendous development will continue in the area, particularly in the vicinity of the airport. We have no objections to the airport being operated as it is at the moment in relation to the Government Aircraft Factory, where the assembly of aircraft such as the Mirage took place and where a very fine job was done by Australian workmen, but we look with grave concern at the development of the airport as a pilot training centre. Other factors associated with this development should be mentioned. I refer to the nearness of a big city, the nearness of a township of 3,000 people at which there is an aged person’s centre conducted by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and to the possibility of human error while pilots are being trained even though nothing has happened yet.
The training of pilots does not involve normal take-offs and normal landings; it is obvious that the pilots must be trained to cope with many types of landing. It is obvious that they conduct these exercises with one motor not operating or perhaps with two engines out. They practise all types of emergency landing which might be required of an ace commercial pilot. It is our view that the development of Avalon for this purpose is not in the best interests of our people. Although we sincerely hope that there is never an accident while these pilots are being trained, we believe that if an accident did occur untold damage could be done to the area and untold lives could be lost because of this airfield’s proximity to residential areas Which, as I mentioned earlier, are develop ing. This development will continue at a much faster rate than we have seen so far, especially when the West Gate project is completed and travel between Geelong and Melbourne becomes much quicker. The main development of industry in the Geelong area has been to the north or north west, towards or very close to the area which is now used as an airport.
We believe that the $6m which it is proposed to spend to extend the runways at Avalon could well go towards the development of a proper training centre in a more remote part of Victoria. I understand that permanent facilities for such a centre could be provided for between $15m and $20m. With a project such as I envisage there would not be the risks that will be associated with the development at Avalon. Can honourable senators understand that 24 times each hour and, subsequently, 38 limes in each hour, there will be a landing and take-off involving aircraft flying over the homes of people at Lara and Little River, and that this noise will be continuous for between 8 and 10 hours a day? These people will be worse off than any people who are at present affected by the noise from a major airport in any capital city of Australia. I hope it is not too late to re-examine the decision to develop Avalon in the manner intended. I know that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works has investigated this matter and has made its recommendations in support of the project, but 1 feel that in the interests of all those who are concerned the proposal should be re-examined. In any event, I do not believe that this is the ideal place for this type of training. Nor do I believe that it is too late to develop a training centre on a permanent basis in a far more remote part of the State.
We are afraid that with the expenditure of the $6m which is proposed for extensions at Avalon a permanent temporary facility will be created. I remind honourable senators that this Parliament House was built as a temporary measure and was opened in 1927. It is now 1970 and it is anybody’s bet as to when the new and permanent parliament house will be built. I feel that if we extend the runways at Avalon we will be in a similar situation in respect of the training of pilots for the larger aircraft which will be developed. The high noise factor associated with these aircraft must be very disturbing to all people who are concerned, but I think it will be far more disturbing when there are 41,000 aircraft movements in 12 months or, as expected, 38 movements in an hour. This will be 19 take-offs and 19 landings each hour with aircraft flying no higher than 1,500 feet.
Anybody who has driven along the Melbourne to Geelong road when one of the 707 aircraft has flown low overhead will know that it is like being hit by an atomic bomb. The noise is tremendous. I have actually seen motorists who have not been aware of an approaching aircraft run partially off the road because of their fright from the scream of the aircraft flying immediately over them. Although I am used to this because 1 have driven along that road for many years, most people get a tremendous fright when this happens. I have seen cars slew off the road as an aircraft has flown very low immediately above them. This is another factor which makes that site most unsuitable.
– I am anxious about the future of the Essendon aerodrome. 1 understand that services which at present operate from Essendon will be transferred to Tullamarine midway through 1971.
– About May 1971 is the expectation.
– What is to happen to the Essendon aerodrome? There is talk in Melbourne of the activities at Moorabbin being transferred to Essendon, and it is natural that the people of Melbourne want to know what is happening. I believe that the majority of people in the vicinity of Essendon would be grateful if they had to contend with the noise factor from Tullamarine only, but if it is the intention to shift all flying activities from Moorabbin to Essendon after May 1971, the people of Victoria are entitled to be told. I often think that they would have much more room at the Essendon airport than at Moorabbin. I would be pleased if the Minister would inform me whether any decision has been made as to what will happen with the Essendon airport after May 1971 when the internal air traffic will be directed to the new airport at Tullamarine.
– In answer to Senator Poyser, the considerations in regard to Avalon were. 1 think, fairly clearly established by the Public Works Committee which has come down extremely firmly about the need for the improvement of facilities and recommending construction as soon as possible. It did so for the reason that it is essential that we have training facilities at Avalon for the aircraft now coming into service, particularly the Boeing 747 aircraft. When Senator Poyser expressed his concern about air safety and the dangers of inadequate training, he very properly expressed a concern that we all hold. One of the things that is really noticeable in Australia when it is compared with other countries is the high level of training undertaken by airlines for all their air crew and all the people involved in flying. They do a tremendous amount of training. Avalon is the training facility. The Public Works Committee has come down very strongly in favour of it being used and being extended, and this being done as soon as possible. While I understand the honourable senator’s concern, I would think it would be quite impossible, in view of that recommendation and all the circumstances, for me in any way to set that to one side. To do so, 1 believe, would endanger the training programme for the 747 and the additional training programme for the 707 and other jets in service. To endanger that programme would be to endanger air safetly to a degree that I would not want to take upon my own shoulders. As I understand the situation, Avalon is in a rural area, except for 600 people that the honourable senator referred to at Little River and approximately 1,300 at Lara and the people at the Grammar School, f am told that industry is expanding in that direction from Geelong and, with the expansion of industry, aircraft movements as such should become less difficult and less obvious.
Noise levels, except for 5 close level special training circuits each week, are not high. This is shown up in the work that has been done on it. The level can be further reduced by the further adjustments to end monitoring of the training circuit, which is now being examined carefully. Even without the civil training, military test flights which are carried out there would cause a noise exposure envelope comparable with the present situation. Tha basic movement creates this envelope, and thereafter an increase in movement rate occurs relatively slowly. In effect, what this technical jargon means is that it is not expected that the noise problem will increase very greatly, although the number of aircraft using the area for training will increase. It would not be at all easy to justify duplicating Avalon in an arid area because there are immense problems of communication and of distance for getting pilots to and from training. There is also a problem that I had not realised until I began to study this matter, that is, that in most of the arid areas you do not get the cross wind effects for landing training that you get at Avalon and places like that.
I think it goes without saying that we have a tremendous growth in civil aviation in this country. I think all honourable senators know this. It has been said on a number of occasions. Within Australia air movements are doubling about every 5 years. So the need for high level training, the need for facilities on the ground to train and the need for air safety are becoming increasingly important to us. The increasing need for them is hard to contemplate unless you are mixed up in the civil aviation . business. Quite apart from the air defence arm of aviation, with domestic aviation doubling about every 5 years we can see the strain on the system, the strain on finance, the strain on ground facilities and the strain on equipment, and the essential need for maintaining high levels of training. I think all honourable senators understand that. I. do not want to labour the point.
On the other hand, I. am conscious of the problem that Senator Poyser raised. I will be visiting the honourable senator’s area and I. hope to have a look at it with him in due course. I cannot promise to do more than that. I certainly cannot promise to undertake to delay the work in any way. lt would not be possible to do so. Nevertheless, I. will look at the area with the honourable senator and if at the time there are any matters which could be attended to I shall co-operate with him in any way I can. I can do no more than that at the present time.
Senator Kennelly mentioned the matter of the future of Essendon when Tulla marine is fully operational. In answer to a question asked by the honourable senator I said: lt seems reasonably certain that Essendon will remain lo serve general aviation after all domestic regular public transport traffic has been transferred to Melbourne airport. The growth of private and commercial activities using smaller aircraft is expected to justify the retention of Essendon for this purpose, and the Melbourne and Essendon runways are in parallel to ensure safe and integrated operations in these 2 airports.
While I can in no way make promises, it would be my feeling that what would happen is that with the huge expansion of general aviation Moorabbin will remain as it is, essentially serving what might be called the light end of general aviation. My own judgment would be that the facilities at Essendon would be well placed to serve what might be called the heavier aircraft in general aviation. Much the same remarks as I made in relation to the other matter apply also to this matter. With aviation doubling about every 5 years naturally it is the responsibility of the Minister to make sure it doubles effectively, that the equipment is there, that the ground facilities are there and the safety and regularity are there. One can do the best work for the Australian people in this regard by making the best use of facilities. Nothing will be achieved by abandoning existing facilities. 1 shall be watching the situation at Essendon, Tullamarine and Moorabbin. If the honourable senator wishes to have a look at any of these things later - perhaps next year - I. would be happy to go along with him.
– I want to raise a few points in connection with Division 170. I take up my remarks from the comment of the Minister that aircraft traffic in Australia is doubling every 5 years and he wants to see that it is doubled effectively. I am very concerned at the number of light aircraft accidents occurring in Australia. Yesterday in answer to a question asked by Senator Bishop, who has consistently expressed concern about this matter, the Minister replied in effect that from a total of approximately 285,000 hours of general aviation activity in 1960, the level rose to over 1 million hours in 1969. The Minister said that as this represents an increase by a factor of 4 and as the number of accidents increased by the factor of 2 he came to the conclusion that the incidence of accidents had been reduced by about half over that 10-year period. In relation to flying hours the number of accidents has been reduced. However, I think an increase would be shown if accidents were related to the number of aircraft. Nevertheless, each year there are more accidents than there were in the previous year. I think Senator Bishop was interested in what the Department is doing about it. I also ask that pertinent question on this occasion. I am concerned with the statistics on the question of accidents which are reported in an article in the ‘Australian* of 29th September. The report is headed: ‘Concern growing over rise in air death toll’, ft states:
But all areas of aviation - not least the Department of Civil Aviation - have been disturbed for a long time about the number of air tragedies.
During 1969-70 there were 304 aircraft accidents, including 30 accidents in which 70 people died.
If there were 304 aircraft accidents during that period it is too important a matter to evade simply by saying that that is half the number of accidents there wen: 10 years ago in relation to the number of flying hours. The report continues:
Eight were killed in an airline crash in New Guinea. The other 62 died in 29 general aviation crashes. Since the beginning of July this year. 19 people have been killed in eight accidents. These figures show a steep increase on 1968-69, when there were 247 accidents, including 14 accidents in which 55 people died.
Private flying has the worst record. In 1969-70 there were 127 private aircraft accidents, including 38 fatalities.
In the previous year there were 21 deaths.
We can see that the increase in the number of accidents has occurred mostly in private aircraft in Australia. The article goes on:
One of the most disturbing features of some fatal private aircraft accidents in the past two years has been the presence of alcohol as a contributing, or, in some cases, as the major cause.
Although crop dusting would appear to be the most dangerous form of flying in Australia, in 1969-70 there were only 54 accidents and four deaths. There were 47 accidents in charter flying with 16 deaths.
This shows the increase in charier flying. I do not know whether the Minister has considered the problem of drunken driving in aircraft as well as in road transport. Is there a problem which needs a stricter control than is needed with road transport? At least some persons do escape fatality in road transport accidents. All flying acci dents, whether they are private, commercial or charter planes are inquired into by the Department of Civil Aviation. These inquiries should be made public for the purpose of ascertaining the cause. They could be made public to a body like Parliament for the purpose of seeing whether there is any common factor which we could try to rectify and make provision for safety. What becomes of the reports after the inquiries when held? Do they point to any common factor? I recall that after the Senate rose last year a report was released of an inquiry into the Port Hedland disaster when a commercial plane went down, T think with the loss of some 37 lives, lt was clear from the Department’s inquiry that the accident was man caused due to the reaming of a hole which occurred during renovations to the plane. This weakened the structure of the spar. The report was released by the Department when Parliament was in recess. No consideration has been given to it. In the inquiry the accident was traced back to some renovations to the plane which were done by one of the commercial airline companies. It had also done some maintenance to this plane and the plane’s wing spar. Nothing has been heard of the report. We do not know whether there has been any further inquiry to see who was at fault. I think 37 lives were lost. What check is made to see that during norma! maintenance of a private plane, a chaner plane or a plane owned by a commercial airline company we do not have a repetition of the same thing which will weaken Ihe life of the plane and which could be dangerous for those using it? I think my figures will show that the number of accidents in Australia today is far in excess of previous numbers. It gives us no satisfaction to compare the flying hours. I wonder whether we could have some information about the inquiries which are held and what the Department is doing to try to reduce the toll in aircraft accidents.
– I think Senator Cavanagh will recall that I have expressed my own interest in this matter on a previous occasion. He will recall one or two things 1 have said about what I believe may be useful ways of approaching this problem. He has made a number of comments tonight, many of which I find most interesting. Some of them are quite new to me. He made the comment that people arc taking increasing quantities of alcohol when they fly. I have not heard of that before. I shall look at all he has had to say on this matter and use it for my own purpose of checking this problem right through. The only figures I have available this evening which may help in any way are those which I quoted in the Senate yesterday. In general aviation in 1960 the total number of hours flown was 284,292 and there were 124 accidents. In 1969 1,092,000 hours were flown and accidents numbered 264. These figures indicate a general improving trend in accidents and show that the record is about twice as good as it was. Nonetheless one is always concerned about accidents. Anything that bears on this problem is something which I shall take up.
The honourable senator made a number of other comments. It will be quite impossible for me this evening to have all the material available at hand and answer him. If I did have all the material I doubt very much whether I would try to answer all the questions. The number of accidents is a serious matter. Australia’s accident rate is a good one which has been improving. Australia’s air safety record is an extremely good one and flying is both safe and efficient. Nonetheless, all of us have a responsibility to be vigilant. I note the honourable senator’s comments and with his permission I shall take up the points he has raised and look into them. I shall address a letter to him about the various questions he has raised. Later if it comes to the point where the honourable senator wants to maintain his interest he may count upon my being prepared to cooperate with him.
– I refer to Division 170 which is the Division referred to by Senator Cavanagh. I am not going to talk at length because of the time. When the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) gave me an answer yesterday he quoted figures and made some reference to a statement which had been reported from Mr Robey. Honourable senators will recall that Mr Robey - the information was given to the Minister some weeks ago - stated that there was an absence of uniform training regulations or manuals. He cited a number of incidents. The Minister promised to study the statement and he apparently did because yesterday he said that Mr Robey had told him that he was misreported or misunderstood. It is evident that the Minister has studied and considered what Mr Robey said. I ask the Minister whether there is any substance in the complaint which was put forward in the document containing the speech of Mr Robey which stated that there was a lack of uniformity in various manuals and that instructions to pilots differed in many cases. Mr Robey also claimed, if I remember correctly, that the Department of Civil Aviation gave instructions different to those in the manuals. Has the Minister been able to assess whether this is the position? As a result of Mr Robey’s complaints, as the honourable senator now understands them, has some action been taken to create uniformity which will provide greater safety?
– 1 do not recall making any comment that the Department of Civil Aviation gave different instructions to other people about manuals.
– No, that was Mr Robey.
– The honourable senator will remember that he was the first person to raise this matter with me. When he did I directed an inquiry to the Department. I said: ‘What is Keith Robey saying about this matter?’ I asked this question because I met Mr Robey at Bankstown, I think the week before, at the opening of an air pageant. He did not speak to me about the problem then. Had he been concerned about it I would have thought he would have had a long talk wilh me. When Senator Bishop asked this question I requested the Department of Civil Aviation to check it out. The Department checked it out and informed me that Mr Robey said that he did not say what he is reported as having said. I replied to the Department: That does not matter. Will you please find out from Mr Robey his views on this matter because when the Senate rises I would like to have a good look at it; it may be helpful’. That is the stage I am at. If I can find out anything which may be helpful to the honourable senator once I get down to Melbourne after the Senate rises I will inform him.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of National Development
Proposed expenditure, $38,457,200.
As an instruction to the Government:
That a select committee of the Senate should be appointed to inquire into and report on the uses of nuclear power in relation to:
the projected power needs of the Commonwealth;
the comparative advantage derived from generating power in this way as against all other sources now being employed;
the effects of the establishment of a nuclear power station upon the environment;
administrative procedures and regulations adopted elsewhere to lessen any undesirable effects of the operation of such a station to ensure the utmost protection of members of the public and the national interest; and
the desirability of establishing a nuclear power station at this time pending the outcome of further technological developments taking place elsewhere.
Australia is stepping into the nuclear era. By ‘nuclear’ I mean the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Some time ago it was thought that Cape Keraudren would be a good place for the use of a nuclear explosion to create a harbour on the extreme northern coast of Western Australia. When that project was abandoned the Australian Atomic Energy Commission and the Government moved quickly into the setting up of a nuclear power station at Jervis Bay in the Australian Capital Territory. Since then a tremendous number of queries have been raised by a very large and powerful body of skilled people outside of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. Honourable senators will note that the motion which I have moved on behalf of the Opposition seeks an inquiry into and a report on the use of nuclear power. The Opposition does not oppose the use of nuclear power. It appreciates that it is probably necessary for Australia in this age to move into the nuclear field. But the Opposition thinks that all Australians should be made aware of the tremendous step which the Government is taking.
It was once said by Dr Edward Teller that in principle nuclear reactors are dangerous. He said that in his opinion nuclear reactors do not belong on the surface of the earth. Those were very strong words from a man who I, would imagine has probably done as much work on nuclear energy as an engineer and knows as much about it as anybody in the world today. Pressure will be applied on the Government from all sorts of areas. The first question which has been raised by the body of opinion to which I have referred which is honestly seeking to set Australia on a proper course is whether a nuclear project should be established at Jervis Bay which is right in the middle of a coal belt. Jervis Bay is right in the middle of an area in which fossilised fuel is available. Power from the Jervis Bay project will merely be fed into the New South Wales grid which is the biggest in Australia. On the other hand South Australia is battling for water and within the next quarter of a century at the most will have to move into some better form of water supply, possibly desalination.
Australia is the driest continent on earth. Therefore we should be looking at whether it would be possible to combine the desalination of water with the generation of electricity. Anybody who has examined the question of the desalination of water will agree that it is a matter of economics. If one is in the middle of a desert one will pay anything for a gallon of desalinated water. However, when one is in an area in which one is not forced into such a situation the question of economics comes into it. Another aspect which has to be taken into consideration is whether Australia is running out of fossilised fuel. I understand that President Nixon has been warned that within possibly the next 100 years no more fossilised fuel will be available in the United States of America. Of course it is pointed out also that a similar thing was said in 1865. At that time a warning was issued that in one generation fossilised fuel could become so expensive as to injure the commercial life of the United States of America. Of course, we know that this has not happened. We know also from the tremendous discoveries of metals in Australia that nobody knows what is below the surface of the earth.
The Opposition seeks in the first place a determination of the projected power needs of the Commonwealth. I have already referred to the fact that Australia is taking a very serious step in moving into the nuclear field, it should bc realised that some of the by-products of the nuclear energy process will not dissipate in less than 1,000 years. In other words, a tremendously dangerous element will have to be contained somewhere in Australia for at least 1,000 years before it will be rendered harmless. Other by-products will not take nearly that long to be harmless. Some will only take 10 years whilst others may take 200 or 500 years. One thousand years is a long time to have to wait until something is rendered harmless. It should be pointed out that more than just a small quantity of such a dangerous by-product is involved. The amount of this by-product which is buried will accumulate over the years. Professor Baxter, who is in charge of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission has said that probably in the next 30 years - before the turn of the century - $5,000m will be spent on the development of nuclear power in Australia, In fairness to him I should make it clear that this amount will be spent not only by the Commonwealth but also by industry in Australia on the development of nuclear power.
Two problems are involved. One is the tremendous seriousness of the step which Australia is about to take, and the dangers involved in the development of nuclear energy. The second is the question of the economics of the use of nuclear energy. If we are going to spend this amount of money over the next 30 years, which is not a long time in the history of a country, should we not be looking at the position very carefully in order to determine whether we are moving into the right type of reactor? The first thing which the Opposition seeks is an inquiry which will determine the projected power needs of the Commonwealth. The next thing it wants to know is the comparative advantage which will be derived from generating power in this way as against the other sources which are now being employed. At present Australia is exporting coal to Japan. This is a very profitable business for those who are involved in it.
Some experts have said that the use of coal for the generation of electricity is a little bit like using aviation fuel in a motor car. It is said that this is a wasteful use of coal and that if there is a possibility of running out of coal in the next 100 years or so we should use it for more refined purposes than we are at present. I have already said that the availability of fossilised fuel in the United States was questioned about 100 years ago. This is another aspect which ought lo be the subject of inquiry. Many scientists in Australia and throughout the world have taken an interest in this subject but it has been a restrained interest in view of developments. The Opposition also seeks an inquiry into the effects of the establishment of a nuclear power station upon the environment. We are on the verge of something which wc do not know a lot about. The question of pollution, the question of a community burying itself in rubbish and the question of poisoning the atmosphere are things which, a few years ago, came within the province only of Jules Verne. In the past we read about such things in comic strips. Now they are very close to becoming a reality. The whole world has suddently realised the clangers that we face. Only recently President Nixon had presented to him a report which warned that within 10 years the cities of New York and Philadelphia would be uninhabitable unless something were done about the pollution problem. The situation is very serious. Probably that report, as much as anything else, has underlined and brought before the peoples of the world the danger of what we can do to ourselves by pollution.
We in Australia are entering a nuclear era. but we know very little about nuclear power. We know enough to know that it can be extremely dangerous. We know, because of the findings of committees of enquiry, that lead insulation and this type of thing, which are to be used, are of extreme importance. A Labor Party committee, of which I am chairman, has been very worried about and has looked at this subject. People from the Australian Atomic Energy Commission have been very good and have helped us by discussing the subject with us. People from the
Parliamentary Library, people with a neutral point of view, have put the economic side of the story to us.
The nuclear station to be built at Jervis Bay could become a strategic target under extreme circumstances - for instance, during a bomb attack. If a bomb hit the station it would have the same effect as exploding a very large atomic bomb. The Government might say that such a possibility is remote, that we may not be attacked because we may not be at war. That may be so. But if we were at war and if a bomb hit it, it would have the same effect as exploding a large atomic bomb. The Government might say that if a bomb did hit the station it might bounce off the insulation. There is no doubt that, with a direct hit of sufficient magnitude, there would be a tremendous explosion in that area. It would be the equivalent of the force of a giant atomic bomb. Australia is moving not only into the era of the use of nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes but also into the era of a very real danger of a hit by a bomb, which would have the effect of an atomic bomb exploding there.
The request lor amendment asks that a committee be appointed to inquire into the uses of nuclear power in relation to: administrative procedures and regulations adopted elsewhere to lessen any undesirable effects of the operation of such a station lo ensure the utmost protection of members of the public and the national interest;
The word ‘elsewhere’ is used because in various countries - Canada, the United States of America and England - studies have been carried out. Many honourable senators who have been overseas have been able to look at the developmental stages of these stations. There is already an exchange of knowledge between the atomic energy commissions of America, Canada and other countries. Those commissions work under government regulations. Because of the tremendous seriousness of the situation, we say that there should be an opportunity at the governmental level and at the civil service level to examine those regulations. The civil service has to administer these commissions. The examination would reveal the experience gained from those parts of the world and we could see how we could adapt that to our situation.
The final matter into which the committee should inquire is: the desirability of establishing a nuclear power station at this time pending the outcome of further technological developments taking place elsewhere.
This is why we ask for the inquiry, lt has been put to us, as it frequently is in a technological field, that there are tremendous advantages in being last into the field. This is obvious. The reply to that is: How do we know when we are last? At what stage should we step into anything in the technological field? We have had arguments from both sides on this. We say that this should be queried. As I understand the situation, there are arguments going on. At the moment the Atomic Energy Commission has before it tenders from several parts of the world for the building of this station, ft has not yet let the tenders. I should say that it probably has, but it hits not told us. The question is whether the station should use natural uranium or enriched uranium. 1 do not want to go into too much technical detail because it has been very difficult, I assure the Committee, to get it down into laymans language. The discussions are al a stage where, as we understand it the Commission has to decide whether to use a fast breeder reactor, which is not yet at the fully developed stage. The Commission has to try to examine whether we should be the last in the technological race or whether it is appropriate to move into this field now. We say that these matters ought to be looked at. Maybe we should wait another few years to see the development of the fast breeder reactor or maybe we should move in at this stage. Because of the recent tremendous discoveries of uranium in Australia, there is a question as to whether that may tend to make us move towards the use of natural uranium. There is a question as to whether the experience of other countries should tend to make us move into the use of enriched uranium. Another question, which I mentioned at the outset is whether in a country such as Australia we should not be developing the economy. I do not hold that against the Government. I believe that we should take a punt. My criticism is that not enough has been done, particularly in the outback areas of Australia. Whether this is the time, whether this is the amount that ought to be spent, and the very important decision as to the type of reactor which will be used are questions that have to be answered. The type of reactor that we choose now will determine how the $5,000,n will be spent in the next 30 years. Water in Australia must always be in the minds of any government. The matter has been of tremendous importance to South Australia. That State will have to face up to the situation. There could be a shortage of water not for growing crops and not for watering cattle but for people in cities and towns. An examination should be made as to whether the 500 megawatt reactor that will be built at Jervis Bay is the correct size, whether smaller ones should be built or whether, in relation to the desalination of water, bigger ones should be integrated into the grid in South Australia and Victoria. With the tremendous developments in mining the question arises as to whether those developments might demand a smaller type reactor which would be of benefit to Australia, f do not want to deal with this subject much longer because of the reams of arguments that can be advanced on both sides. If T did develop the subject further, that could keep us here for much longer than we are prepared to stay. I want to say enough to suggest that an inquiry ought to be held. There is no denying that there is tremendous criticism from people outside the AAEC who are as qualified as people in the AAEC. They are querying what the Government is doing. There is a suggestion that there has been undue haste since the abandonment of the Cape Keraudren project. Some people think that Australia is just trying to get into the act. There is this body in information, some of it critical and some of it in praise of the Government. There is the experience that has been gained overseas so far, but those countries have not yet reached the ultimate. Because of that, we suggest very seriously to the Government that it has nothing to lose and everything to gain by the appointment of a committee. Finally 1 emphasise that the public cannot easily grasp these things. We represent the Australian public. We should be told these things. They should be put in laymans language. The Government should consult us in deciding this very important matter. This will be a very high cost structure. It will be a dangerous thing. Australia is moving into the threshold of the nuclear era.
– I think Senator Willesee is entitled to the courtesy of a reply. Having seen the request for amendment that he proposed to move, I asked officers of the Department of National Development to let me have some material. They have furnished me with some information. I shall be as quick as I can in delivering it, having regard to the lateness of the hour. Firstly, the Government sees no need to have a select committee to inquire into the uses of nuclear power, as proposed by the honourable senator. Accordingly, it will not agree to the propositi. In most parts of Australia power generation is a function exercised by State governments through the various electricity generating authorities. The State generating authorities are continually studying the projected power needs of each State. Their figures are published and are available to Commonwealth departments and to authorities concerned with the fuel and energy resources of the country as a whole. Over the past few weeks information on Australia’s power needs has been given to the Parliament - specifically to Estimates Committee D. Detailed forecasts were given for Australia’s power needs for the next 30 years - to the year 2000. This information included projected figures for installed nuclear power generating capacity.
In looking at the introduction of nuclear power into Australia we must take into account not only the relative economics of nuclear and other forms of energy, but also the impact that this new technology will have on our industrial development. There is also to be considered the contribution that nuclear power can make to a reduction in pollution of the environment, particularly in pollution of the atmosphere by harmful smoke and dust and various gases, sulphur and nitrogen oxides. The Government has taken all these factors into account in deciding in principle to establish Australia’s first nuclear power station.
The decision was taken after consultation with the State governments and their electricity authorities. The Government of New South Wales is ready and willing to co-operate with the Commonwealth in establishing the first nuclear power station on Commonwealth territory at Jervis Bay, and the Electricity Commission of New South Wales is to operate the station. The authorities of the other States have been invited to attach engineers to the project so that everybody will benefit from the new technology. The introduction of nuclear power will bring abou! the creation of new industries, new processes, new technical standards of performance and new chances for employment. They will include the production in Australia of refined uranium for use in nuclear reactor fuel, new metallic alloys, novel welding techniques, advanced types of electronic instruments and control equipment. Bearing in mind the potential of the industry and the skills of Australian engineers, technicians and scientists, the Government believes that these activities will allow us in clue course to develop into export markets that are otherwise closed to us.
The economics of a nuclear power station depend upon many factors, including the capital cost of the nuclear plant itself and the cost of the fuel used to operate the plant. Nuclear plant has a higher capital cost than coal fired units, but nuclear fuel is significantly cheaper than coal. The Government has authorised the calling of tenders for Jervis Bay station. Until it receives the final technical and economic evaluation of these tenders it is not possible to give precise figures of relative costs. However, indications are that the cost differentials of the station will be very close indeed to a coal fired station fuelled on low cost coal available in New South Wales.
Australia is amongst the last 2 or 3 of the industrialised countries to introduce nuclear power. We are almost last in the line, but this can give us some advantages by enabling us to benefit from the experience of other countries. In speaking of further technological developments attention has been focused on the so-called fast breeder reactor. The presently available reactor types are thermal reactors and the tenders received for Jervis Bay station include the principal variants of the thermal reactors. We have received tenders from all the leading countries that manufacture these reactors. The fast breeder reactor is still in the prototype stage and prototypes are still under construction. It will be some years before they can be fully evaluated and tested. As far as one can judge, they have to be of enormous size.
The Atomic Energy Commission is in touch throughout the world with work proceeding on fast breeder reactors and thermal reactors. The information it has is that in the commercial sense the fast breeder reactor is unlikely to be available to us before about 1990. The economic thermal power reactors can be made available practically immediately. One calculation is that fast breader reactors would have (o be of 1,200 megawatts, which is quite huge. So it is felt at this stage that the thermal reactor is the most sensible unit for the Australian scene. I have here a lot of other information about fast breeder reactors operating best with plutonium as nuclear fuel, but in view of the sensible calculation of the Government that breeder reactors may not at this stage be within our capacity I do not propose to elaborate on it at great length. 1 turn to the regulatory size of nuclear energy. This embraces the question of siting of nuclear plants, their safety, standards of design, construction and operation and the training and efficiency of the maintenance and operating staff who would man them. It also involves the control of plants and the manufacture of nuclear fuel elements and other plants for chemical processing which use reactor fuel. Finally I turn to the controlled disposal of radioactive wastes. The Government has been very mindful of these matters and has had studies in hand for a number of years past. By agreement with the States it has been instrumental in establishing the Commonwealth and States Consultative Committee on Nuclear Energy. This Committee includes the chairman of the electricity authorities in the States and other senior State officers. Atomic Energy Commission people and officers of the Department of National Development and other Commonwealth departments. Sub-committees have been set up to deal with various technical questions.
The Commonwealth and States Consultative Committee is a committee of specialists and experts in the field. It is making a detailed study of the regulatory framework necessary to ensure orderly, safe and economic development of the nuclear industry in Australia. These are complex matters involving technical, legal, administrative and financial considerations. The Government looks to this Committee for advice in establishing the regulatory controls and the procedures that will be uniform and standard in concept throughout Australia. The Committee has available to it a vast amount of material from overseas, from people involved in this field. The Atomic Energy Commission has made a point for a number of years of sending officers overseas to study ali these matters and the relevant legislation.
Today we hear quite a lot about preserving the environment in which we live. In this respect 1 mentioned earlier that nuclear power stations could be much more effective in restraining pollution of the atmosphere than some of the coal stations to which we have become accustomed. They are quite attractive to look at in the landscape. They are neat and tidy and, as far as one can tell, their housekeeping is always very good. They do not emit smoke or noxious gases and involve minimum disturbance to the environment. At Jervis Bay in particular special attention is being given to preserving the natural beauty of the area and to the native animal and plant life and marine ecology.
When a decision has been taken on the tenders for Jervis Bay the responsible Minister will make a comprehensive statement and will include in it the steps taken to preserve the environmental advantages of the Jervis Bay area. In the past some concern has been expressed about the release of radioactive material from Jervis Bay station. The safety standards to bc adopted there will be more stringent than those in genera] use overseas. They will be subject to independent review by the National Radiation Advisory Committee.
The position is quite simple in that the station will be so designed, constructed and operated that there will be no release of radioactive material harmful to man, or to plant, animal or marine life. The discharge of warm water from the steam condensers at Jervis Bay should not produce a problem, because, although they discharge warm water into lakes and streams, Jervis Bay is well placed from this point of view. The warm water will pass quite quickly into deep water where it will be dispersed with the sea water. It will therefore present no problem. I have made a fairly simple state ment of the position as the Government sees it in response to the request by Senator Willesee for the establishment of a select committee to inquire into the matter, lt is not felt necessary to accede to that request and I suggest that the matter could well be voted on now.
– I support the motion moved by Senator Willesee. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) will no doubt recall that 1 have raised some questions with regard to safety measures to be adopted in the nuclear power station proposed to be erected at Jervis Bay. in the replies I received it was fairly obvious that the Government thought I was concerned about the safety of personnel and the operating procedure followed at a nuclear power station of the very modern type proposed to be installed. Although it may be only a thermal reactor type, it would be a very advanced thermal reactor. But I was not concerned about that at all. Why I am in agreement with the proposal that a select committee should be set up is because 1 am concerned about what is to happen to the waste produced by a reactor of that type.
I have made inquiries of reliable sources and have been informed that the radioactive element used in the processes applied in a thermal reactor produces a very radioactive product that has to be disposed of in some way. I understand that in respect of the Jervis Bay station it is proposed to deposit this radioactive waste in some of the salt mine areas in Australia where it would have no possibility of contaminating anything. Where there is salt there obviously is no evidence of water contamination because it would have washed the salt away. The present method is a safe method of dealing with it for the time being until we get to the more advanced type of reactor and get away from the thermal type. We will be able to do that in a few years, probably before 1990.
The other matter about which I am concerned is the reply I received with regard to cooling water. Fresh water will be used for cooling purposes. The Minister has said, that it will be taken some distance out to set where it will be dissipated by the movement of currents and tides so that it will not cause any trouble, and that in any case the security measures adopted in the plant will ensure that there will not be any contamination. This is not the opinion of very many responsible people and scientists who are deeply involved in processes of this kind. It is almost impossible to prevent contamination during some processes. It is almost impossible to prevent some contamination from the cooling process. There is always the possibility of contamination when changing the reactive material in the tubes from time to time, no matter how carefully that is done. In overseas countries where this and similar kinds of reactors are in operation and where this method of cooling is adopted, the first thing that is noticed when the cooling water is disposed of in the sea is that the radioactive material has an attraction for one form of marine life, namely, oysters. Apparently oysters have an affinity for radioactive material, and the waste has been found concentrated in them. Because of my concern about this matter, I learned from some of the sources that I contacted that there could be contamination of oysters for a radius of 50 miles from the point where the effluent is discharged into the sea off Jervis Bay. This would mean that some of our best oyster beds would be a possible source of dangerto human beings.
For those reasons 1 feel that this proposal needs further investigation. I know according to the replies that I have received, that the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) believes that there is no danger but that belief is not supported by other responsible people who are experts in the field. Without saying which view is correct, I believe that where there is a doubt there is room for investigation. It is on that basis that I support Senator Willesee’s request.
– I suggested earlier that this question could be disposed of and I think it should be disposed of. As Senator Wilkinson has said, this is a very involved technical subject and there is room for a difference of opinion. I believe that there always has been. I worked amongst scientists for a long part of my life, and if ever there were people who differed in their opinions it would be scientists.
The cooling water will be salt water drawn from Jervis Bay to cool the station’s steam condensers. It will be discharged into the ocean. The cooling water does not pass through or enter the reactor. The discharged cooling water will be monitored continuously to ensure that it does not contain harmful radioactivity. There is nothing more that I can say and I think that the question should be put.
That the request (Senator Willesee’s) be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bull)Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Chairman do now leave the chair and report to the Senate.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I am concerned about the turnover of geologists in the Bureau of Mineral Resources. Earlier in the year I asked a question and was given the following information in regard to the employment of geologists in the Bureau: In 1964-65 there were 5 commencements and . 19 cessations. So. in that year, there was a loss of 14. In 1965- 66 there were 5 commencements and 9 cessations, representing a loss of 4. In 1966- 67, 14 geologists were employed and only 9 were lost. So, there was a gain in that year. In 1967-68 there were 7 commencements and 10 cessations. In 1968-69 there were 13 commencements and 14 cessations. In 1969-70 there were 12 commencements and 10 cessations. In total, there were 56 commencements and 71 cessations. To my mind, that represents a loss rate that needs some explanation. I ask the Minister why this loss rate exists. Is it not a fact that it is affecting the Bureau’s ability to assess the natural resources of the country and to prepare, recommend and lay down policies that will conserve those assets?
In the second part of the answer to my question some salary rates were given. It seems that the top rate for a geologist or geophysicist - that is in class 5 - is from $8,712 to $9,326 a year. To my limited knowledge, geologists with a small mining exploration company or a group of companies can receive up to $14,000 a year. It seems obvious on an initial look that the reason for the loss rate may lie in the salary scale. If that is the scale that is to be maintained, it is not surprising that there is a loss of men of this skill, which is of extremely high value to a rapidly developing country, especially in the mineral sector. I ask the Minister: Is that the reason for the great turnover? How is this affecting the Bureau? What steps are being taken to stop this flow of skilled people from the Bureau?
– Mr Chairman, 1 rise to order. 1 would like to have my mind completely clarified. My assumption would be that at this stage you should be putting the question and declaring that this group of estimates has been passed because no motion for a request is before the Committee. 1 base my assumption on standing order 253 which says quite clearly what you shall do.It states:
The Chairman shall (unless otherwise ordered) call on each clause or item, and ask if any senator has any request to move thereon.
No senator has moved thereon. The Standing Order continues:
If no motion for a request is moved, or moved and negatived, the Chairman shall declare the clause or item passed. 1 suggest that as no request has been moved you should declare the clause or item passed.
– The Chair is not to know when a request may be moved. It is not for me to say when a request is to be moved. It may be moved at any time.
– It appears that there is no substance to the point of order. Senator Georges said something like this: The Bureau of Mineral Resources has had a problem retaining its highly skilled staff. Some of them have been leaving the Department of National Development to work elsewhere. He asks: Why are they leaving? I think it is pretty clear that they leave because they are paid more. This is not unusual. It has been known to happen before. Quite likely it will happen again. Is this something which can profit the Estimates Committee? I do not think it is.
What concerns me - 1 am saying this not unkindly - is this: Everybody is doing his very best to provide the best answers he can in order to save as much time as he can. Senator Georges apparently quoted from a letter which contained answers to the questions he asked anyway. Was that correct, Senator Georges? Were you asking the same questions again relating to the information in the letter or were you asking new questions? I would like to help you but I am not clear on this point.
– The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) is adopting a rather strange attitude. 1 asked those questions. There is no date on this sheet. We do not normal,, have a date on them. 1 asked these question about 19th August this year. I asked:
Having obtained answers to those questions I now ask: What has been done by the Department to prevent this flow of geologists from the Department? It is obvious to me that the suggestion could be made that an approach be made to the Public Service Board for an increase in the salaries of these men so that they will not go elsewhere. If the market value of these men is $14,000 a year it follows that the Public Service Board or the Department ought to be doing something about this matter. If they do not they will continue to lose officers.
I then asked: How does this adversely affect the Department? I want to know whether the Department is affected by the loss, to what extent it is affected and what it is doing about the matter. Those are reasonable requests. I would have thought that answers to them are not included in the answers I already have to my earlier questions. I asked those Questions tonight in order to investigate what was happening. 1 am asking what the Government is doing about this.
– I want to go through the process very carefully. The burden of this is that Senator Georges wrote a letter seeking information.
– I put a question on notice.
– He received an answer which indicated that the Department of National Development was losing trained geologists principally to other avenues of employment. He wants to know what the Department is doing to rectify this position. I will do my best to give him whatever answer 1 can. It may not be possible for me to provide full details this evening because the advisers here may not have enough information in order for me to do so. Equally this matter may concern a policy area. What 1 sought from the honourable senator was elucidation of what it was he wanted to find out. The honourable senator has my assurance that I will give him the information given to me. To the extent that it does not fulfil his requirements 1 will see that he gets the information he requires but this may have to be done by writing a letter.
The advisers to the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) who are present tell me that there is a strong and continuing demand for earth scientists throughout the mine exploration industry. The demand is in excess of supply but there is an increasing output of qualified graduates from Australian universities and experienced graduates are being recruited from overseas. Many new mining exploration companies now being formed look to the Bureau of Mineral Resources and the State mines departments for experienced staff. Naturally they have to offer much higher salaries.
This does not answer the question asked by Senator Georges which was: Is the Department going to approach the Public Service Board to alter the salary structures with a view to either attracting more men or retaining those that it has against the competition offered? I am unable to answer that question; nor can the departmental officer answer it for the moment. We will endeavour to get the information for the honourable senator. I give him that assurance. (Quorum formed.)
While the bells were being rung for the quorum we were able quickly to turn up something but it may not be all that Senator Georges desires to know. The general problem is one which is familiar to the honourable senator, I am sure. There are periods when certain trainings and certain skills are in higher demand than the supply and for that period we have a situation in which people are attracted from one area to another. It is not all that easy for the Commonwealth to be as flexible in its competitive ability and to be able to pay higher rates temporarily than those paid by other people. After all, higher rates do affect the general structural situation of employment throughout the Commonwealth. I suppose one ought to say that a government, per se, is much less flexibly placed to add inducements than somebody in a smaller sector in private industry.
I remember that this matter was dealt with at greater length at the sittings of Estimates Committee D. The discussion did not turn on this particular point but on the general area of whether we were now getting enough geologists in training. This subject was being discussed in the broad. One of the officers said that mostly the turnover is taking place among younger people who tend to go away for extra experience with other companies or to go overseas.
We are now beginning to attract younger people from overseas because of the growth of mining in this country. Older people tend to be a bit more constant in their employment capacity. Over the past 10 years the Bureau has recruited more staff than it has lost in total. This is important. However, it does tend to lose its experienced men and to gain new staff straight from the universities. Though it has recruited well it always has a gap between its establishment and its strength. It is no worse numerically now than in recent years. It is true to say that the Bureau continues to lose experienced staff to smaller companies who have to pay much higher rates in order to attract staff. (Quorum formed.) I close by saying that that concludes the information that we have available to us to answer Senator Georges. The points he has taken have been noted and we will write to him providing the rest of the information.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of the Interior
Proposed expenditure, $103,167,000.
– I relate my remarks to
Division 350 - Administrative. I refer the Minister to questions which 1 have asked in the last few days about Black Mountain in Canberra and his answers to me about what he has called proposals from the Postmaster-General’s Department to establish a television tower on Black Mountain. I should like some specific information. I refer to the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No. 62 of 30th July which contained a proclamation signed by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) declaring Black Mountain Reserve, Block No. 86.1. to bc a public park. If we believe in truth in advertising, we have to chose between a document making that announcement and an article in the ‘Canberra Times’ referring to the establishment of a television tower in that area. In simple language I should like to know which comes first, the chicken or the egg.
Why should the Postmaster-General’s Department even consider invading a park which has just been gazetted to undertake what is really vandalism? Why should this happen in an area which has just been gazetted as a park? The construction of this tower in that area should not be considered. If I may put it another way, when the Minister has issued a proclamation, would it not be keeping faith with the people if the proclamation were rescinded before there was any talk of demands of this type by the Postmaster-General’s Department?
– To which Division is the honourable senator referring?
– I am relating my remarks to Division 350, Administrative, although perhaps my remarks could come under Division 364 which relates to the National Capital Development Commission. I am quite easy about the Division under which I am to make these remarks. (Quorum formed.) To put it into simple language: If a proclamation is issued in the Australian Capital Territory to declare an area as park land, before any other Department has ideas of becoming a Napoleon Bonaparte and moves into the area should not the original proclamation be rescinded? If the answer is in the negative it is clear to me that the proclamation is not worth the paper on which it is printed.
In referring to a second matter I relate my remarks again to Division 350 - Administrative. I refer to a letter signed by the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) on 29th September in which he stated that rehabilitation work is going on on the Finniss River in the Northern Territory. I pay full tribute to officers of the Department of the Interior for their vigilance in being able to inform the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution of the serious pollution of the Finniss River by the Atomic Energy Commission. Anyone who has read the report of that Committee knows of the amazing answer from the Atomic Energy Commission that the Finniss River ran out into nowhere. Everybody knows that in Australia we cannot afford the luxury of a river being polluted.
The point I wish to make about the letter dated 29th September from Mr Swartz is that he stated that on the East Finniss River, and for some miles of the Finniss River both upstream and downstream from its junction with the East Finniss, the photographic record shows clearly that substantial vegetation - grasses, reeds, palms and trees - is growing along the banks and billabongs of the River. Quite frankly, I do not believe the Atomic Energy Commission. Officers of the Commission were very close to perjury when giving evidence before the Committee of which I was a member, and I would not accept anything they said unless it was verified. It is for that reason and because I have a higher regard for the integrity of the Department of the Interior than I have for the Department of National Development that I should like to have some corroboration that there are visible signs of the Finniss River being rehabilitated. I should like to know whether officers of the Department of the Interior are closely watching activities of the Department of National Development because in dealings I have had with that Department I have found that some of its officers are very careless with the truth. This applies not only in the Northern Territory; this has been the situation also when I have wanted information about the Georges River.
The other matter on which I should like information comes under Division 350 - Administrative, and concerns what I understand to be the function of the Department of the Interior as a clearing house for land being returned from Com- monwealth occupancy to the States. I refer to the ‘Daily Telegraph’ of Thursday, 10th September, which reports that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) took umbrage at my remarks when I stated that I felt that the Commonwealth was trying to sell land back to the States at an inflated price. The Prime Minister questioned what I said and stated that it was more or less a moderate price. That was in September. I am happy about the creation of the Sydney Harbour foreshore parkland, but nobody has lifted the lid to reveal what the terms are for the transfer of the land from the Commonwealth to the State. The last information that I have was the admission by Mr Askin that he wanted to look further at the matter before certain details were finalised. What are we to understand from that verbiage about final details?
I would like to know what will have happened between what the Prime Minister said on 10th September and when the final terms are decided. As I understand it, the Department of the Interior acts, in effect, as a land broker between the State and the Commonwealth. Is this transaction still top secret? Is it to be treated like the establishment at Pine Gap? When can we be made aware of the actual figures relating to that land transaction? I suspect that there is still the final obstacle of deciding what is a fair price for the land.
There are two other matters in which I am interested. When officers of the Department of the Interior testified before the House of Representatives Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation, which I refer to as the Fox Committee, it was hinted that a new wildlife ordinance for the Australian Capital Territory was to be proclaimed shortly. I should like to know what progress has been made in that respect.
– Order! To which division is the honourable senator referring?
– I think this would all come under Division 350 - Administrative.
– I rise to order and I should like to speak to the point of order, not in any way to put down my esteemed colleague, Senator Mulvihill, but because you, Mr Chairman, have allowed him to address himself to two matters which he has raised under
Division 350 - Administrative. 1- have long been concerned at a practice which appears to have grown in this Committee of the Senate whereby under a division headed ‘Administrative’ any honourable senator may embark upon an expedition which I believe has no relation in total to the matters which the Commitee may or should discuss.
To illustrate my point, under Division 350 - Administrative we find sub-division i - Salaries and Payments in the nature of Salary - which is broken up into item 01, salaries and allowances; item 02, overtime; and item 03, Secretary - salary, after which the amount is designated. The point 1 wish to make is that the argument adduced by honourable senators must relate to the matters that are under discussion, for example, salaries and allowances, overtime or the salary of the Secretary. I claim that the time has long passed when these discursive debates should take place under the cloak that the first Division of any departmental estimate allows discussion of the whole range of the departmental estimates. I wish you to rule on that.
– On any activities of the Administration.
– lt has nothing to do with activities. That is the honourable senator’s phrase. I am entitled to take a point of order on a question on which I have asked for a ruling from the Chairman without any adventitious aids from Senator Cavanagh. I have stated this clearly and coherently and, I hope, succinctly. The second matter 1 wish to raise relates to Senator Mulvihill who has quoted matters from bis private knowledge of a select committee on which he sits. I have argued this point 2 years ago in this Senate. A matter that comes from the privy council of a select committee is nol subject for debate in the Senate.
– I raise a point of order arising out of the point made by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack. He cannot advance 2 points of order at the same time. It is not as if they were 2 arguments in support of one point of order. They ars 2 completely different points of order. This cannot be done.
– I uphold the point of order.
– May I speak to the point of order raised by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack?
– For convenience, may we deal with the first point of order?
– I have upheld that point of order.
– I am dealing with the first point of order raised by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack. I have been in the Senate for 171 years. In that period it has been the practice for a senator when speaking on the question of administration to range over the whole of the administrative functions of the department under discussion. There may be an argument for dealing only with the matters specified under the heading ‘Administrative’ in the schedule, but I think that is something for the Standing Orders Committee or for the Senate to consider in the future. At this point of time and at this late stage in the debate on the Estimates it would be foolish indeed for a point of order of that character to be sustained when the practice is so deeply ingrained in the procedures of the Senate. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack would be better employed, if he felt there was substance in his argument, in bringing it forward at a time when we are not dealing with the Estimates and let the Standing Orders Committee have a look at it.
– I am advised that it has long been the practice to get information - particularly in. regard to administration - from the Minister in charge of that department. I would ask honourable senators on both sides of the chamber to stick as rigidly as they possibly can to divisions, subdivisions and items. This would help us considerably. I do not think honourable senators should range all over the place.
– I said I would withdraw the second point of order I raised because of the context in which Senator Murphy objected to it. I indicated I would raise it subsequently and, if I may, I raise it post facto. I wish to address myself to the second matter which I raised. I agree with Senator Murphy that I was out of order in bringing it into the context of the matter which I raised initially. But I wish to address myself to the question that when a senator introduces into debate matters that are singularly privy to those who sit on a select committee which has not reported that senator is out of order.
– Senator Sir- Magnus Cormack has stated something which on the face of it sounds correct, but what it has to do with the discussion before the Committee at the moment is another question altogether. He has said that this is some secret matter-
– I did not say ‘secret’.
– He said ‘singularly privy’. In layman’s terms that is something secret to which the senator is party as a member of the Committee and ought not to be spoken about because it is a secret or confidential matter to the Committee which has not been reported to the Senate. On the face of it, it sounds right and proper. But what does that have to do with what is being said by Senator Mulvihill? If evidence is being given before a committee in public, that rule cannot apply.
– How do
I know whether it is in public? It may have been in camera evidence.
– Precisely so. Here is an hypothetical point being put forward by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack. As far as I can see, he may be quite correct, but what is its relevance to what is being put forward here? I suggest therefore that there is no substance in his point of order. As I see it, his point of procedure is correct, but there is no basis for applying it to what Senator Mulvihill is putting forward. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack concedes that he has no facts to relate his point to what Senator Mulvihill is putting forward. I would suggest that you overrule the point of order and that Senator Mulvihill proceed.
– The general situation is that honourable senators must not refer to evidence and documents that have been put before select committees.
– I relate my final request to Division 362 - Australian Capital Territory Services, and the long awaited decision on where the additional dam will be constructed. Will it be constructed in the Australian Capital Territory or outside the Territory? In fairness to all concerned let me say that the passing reference I made to the relative reliability of the Department of the Interior or the Department of National Development arose from documents that were published and not from evidence taken in camera. This was a separate matter altogether. It was a report given by the Department of the Interior. It was circulated and ultimately referred to in our report which became a public document. I will await answers to the other matters I raised.
– I have listened with some interest to the matters raised in the points of order. As I was searching through the papers, I thought I would just say that as far as I can tell most of the questions dealt with by Senator Mulvihill relate to Division 362, subdivision 3, item 01, General lands services. It brought to my mind the general problem of Senator Mulvihill asking all these questions and myself, with advisers, endeavouring to answer them. It is almost impossible for the advisers to write the questions down at the rate at which they are asked. If one is not very careful what will happen is that the answers will be bad or there will be no answers at all.
– We are used to bad answers.
– If Senator Cavanagh will permit me, what I am trying to do is to look at how one might be able to improve the situation. Some comments were made in the Press today about Black Mountain, and I endeavoured to get those to Senator Mulvihill after question time. The existing television transmitters are not in the area gazetted as a public reserve. The tower that is being suggested for consideration by the Postmaster-General’s Department would be, if it is erected, located in the area which is not gazetted. Senator Mulvihill made some comments about progress made in relation to a wildlife ordinance in the Australian Capital Territory. A nature conservation ordinance is being drafted to replace the Animals and Birds Protection Ordinance. It is intended that the new legislation will contain all that is best in modern conservation practice. The Department is reviewing and improving its first draft. It will be discussed early next year with community organisations having any interest in the conservation of flora and fauna. Because this is a complex matter the legislation will probably not be finally drafted until mid-1972.
A decision has not yet been taken on the location of the next water storage which is to serve the city of Canberra. I hope the honourable senator will be content with what I. am about to propose to him. We have 2 constant things. We have the. Hansard record of the questions he asked and the advisers have all the material available to them, but not tonight. We should marry the two things together. I will extract from the Hansard record all the questions the honourable senator has asked and make sure that he receives appropriate answers. This will give him complete satisfaction which I do not think it is possible to give him this evening.
– I want to deal wilh Divisions 350 and 368, Northern Territory services. 1 move:
That ihe House of Representatives be requested lo amend the Second Schedule by reducing the proposed expenditure for the Department of the interior by $2.
As an indication to the Government:
That the Senate is of the opinion that there is a compelling need for the Commonwealth to vest control of existing Aboriginal reserves in the Northern Territory in a public trust or trusts composed of Aborigines on terms that no such land be alienated without the approval of the Federal Parliament.
I move that motion as a matter of urgency because, briefly, a conflict has developed between the Office of Aboriginal Affairs and the Department of the Interior. There is a conflict of policy which needs to be determined. When one considers that the record of the Department of the Interior in connection with Aboriginal affairs in the Northern Territory is about as good as that of Queensland one can see that the record is very low indeed. We have been critical of the State of Queensland in regard to its treatment of Aboriginals. But in the area which we ourselves control our record is not a good one. This conflict of which I speak between the Office of Aboriginal Affairs and the Department of the Interior is one which bodes ill for the welfare of Aboriginals in the area. The Australian Labor Party is asking that the Aboriginal reserves in the Northern Territory be placed under trust so that no such land will be alienated.. 1 will not keep the Committee very long. There are a number of reserves in the Northern Territory. There is Amoonguna of 2 square miles, Arnhem Land of 37,167 square miles, Bagot of 57 acres, Bathurst Island of 800 square miles, Beswick of 1,315 square miles, Daly of 5,200 square miles. Hooker Creek of 845 square miles, Jay Creek of 116 square miles, Melville Island of 2,220 square miles. Warrabri of 170 square miles, and Yuendumu of 850 square miles making a total of 44,800 square miles. This may sound a big area but when compared with the Vestey empire it is a small area indeed. We are suggesting that at this time these areas should be brought under public trust and protected so that they cannot be alienated. Even at this late stage I feel it would be a step in the right direction to protect these reserves. I now find that the figure which I gave for the total area of the reserves is not correct because there are some reserves on the other side of the page. I will not name them but they bring the total area to 94,196 square miles. Incidentally, the permanent Aboriginal population on those reserves is 12,976. We are speaking not only of an area of land but of a considerable number of people.
The Department of the Interior made a statement which, as I said before, indicates the urgency of this matter. In a newspaper article it has been stated:
This statement conflicts directly with the attitude of the Minister in Charge of Aboriginals Affairs (Mr Wentworth). To our knowledge the principle as outlined by the Minister for the Interior has not been discussed, debated or defined by the Government. So tonight we are asking for a vote to make certain that these areas are not alienated and are brought under public trust. Honourable senators may ask why we should do this immediately, lt is not only because of the statement by the Minister for the Interior but also if honourable senators look at these areas they will find that mineral leases have already been granted by the Northern Territory Administration or the Mines Department, whichever body is concerned. We find that in Arnhem Land companies are involved already. This is what we mean by alienation. These areas ought not to be alienated and leases for exploitation ought not to be given to companies. I shall list these companies and throw the motion to the Senate. In Arnhem Land 3 companies are involved. They are Swiss Aluminium Australia Pty Ltd and Gove Alumina Ltd, and Western Nuclear (Australia) Pty Ltd. At Groote Eylandt there is Groote Eylandt Mining Company Pty Ltd. Authority to prospect has been given to various companies. In Arnhem Land there is the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd; United Uranium N.L,; Noronda Australia Ltd; Air Navigators Pty Ltd; G. D. Stevens, C. M. Stevens and P. N. Craven; Nevsam Mining Company; United States Steel International (New York) Inc.; H. Brennan; Queensland Mines Ltd and a number of others. With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate the names of the other companies in Hansard. These are companies which have authority to prospect across other reserves.
Alusuisse Mining Pty Ltd.
Australian Acquitaine Petroleum N.L.
Larab (No. Nine) Pty Ltd.
John Holland (Constructions) Pty Ltd.
Plant Mining Coy. Pty Ltd.
Central Pacific Minerals N.’L. and Magellan
Petroleum (N.T.) Pty Ltd.(joint holders)
Alusuisse Mining Pty Ltd.
Newmont Pty Ltd.
Docker River Social Club
Corella Exploration No. 1 Pty Ltd.
The rates for these royalties and rents are determined by or under Northern Territory Legislation.
Honourable senators can see the extent of the possibility of alienation of these reserves. Surely we can make a decision in Australia which has been made in other places.
– How many shares does the honourable senator have?
– I have none at all. I hold no shares in any mining company. I make that declaration here for the information of Senator Marriott.
– I wonder if the honourable senator can say the same?
– I am not interested in what shares the honourable senator holds. All I am interested in is what attitude I have. We ought to take the steps which have been taken in other countries and set aside these reserves under trusts in which Aboriginals hold control. We ought not permit a practice which has developed within these reserves and grant leases to Aboriginals and so create a sort of petty capitalism within the reserves. In the long run this too will cause the alienation of which we speak. I commend the motion to the Committee.
– I wish to say a few words in support of what Senator Georges has said. I address myself to Division 368, subdivision 3, items 01 to 07. Senator Georges has outlined in fair detail the great scandal of the landless Aboriginals. Question No. 733 which was listed on the Notice Paper some weeks ago was replied to a few days ago. It is in these terms:
In reply the Minister said:
That is perfectly right. On that occasion the Minister said that the Aboriginals in the Northern Territory or anywhere else could have title to land as long as they competed on the open market and bought it in exactly the same way as the more privileged white section of the community. One can imagine the Aboriginals buying up shares in and taking over the holdings of Vesteys. One can imagine them competing on the open market and taking over the Tipperary holdings and so on. It seems to me that the answer should have been framed in . these terms: All Aboriginal lands should be vested in a public trust or trusts composed of Aboriginals or islanders as appropriate. Exclusive corporate land rights should be granted to Aboriginal communities which retain a strong tribal structure or demonstrate a potential for corporate action in regard to land at present reserved for the use of Aboriginals or where traditional occupancy according to tribal custom can be established from anthropological or other evidence. No Aboriginal lands shall be alienated except with the approval both of the trust and of Parliament. Aboriginal land rights shall carry with them full rights to the minerals in those lands. This is the policy of the Australian Labor Party in relation to the land rights of Aboriginals.
Earlier this evening we were involved in a fairly complicated debate on problems associated with the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and I quoted at length some of the statements which have been made by indigenous people of the Territory. 1 wish to quote briefly some of the statements of complaint which have been made by Aboriginals to show how they feel about the taking away of their rights. One is as follows:
During February the Director of Lands in the Northern Territory Legislative Council introduced the Crown Lands Ordinance (No. 21 1967 Bill which will permit Aborigines, or companies and co-operatives having minimum Aboriginal shareholdings, to lease Aboriginal reserve land.
The Bill would set up an Aboriginal Reserves Land Board consisting of 3 Administration officers (who would be non-Aborigines in the foreseeable future). 2 Aborigines selected by the Administrator in Council ‘for their interest in and knowledge of Aboriginal affairs in the Territory’and 2 Aborigines (selected by the Administrator in Council) ‘who reside on or within reasonable proximity’ to the particular land under consideration. No provision is made for elected Aboriginal representatives, nor for local Aboriginal councils to be formed to consider the disposition of their land.
Provision is made for the imposition by the Board of numerous conditions regarding the leases, and for the fixing of rentals by the Admin istrator after 10 years at a minimum of 2 per cent of the estimated income of the improved, stocked, or cultivated land. No provision is made for special financial or technical assistance in developing, stocking or cultivating the land.
After 7 years the Administrator, on the recommendation of the Board, may approve the transfer of a lease to non-Aborigines, (hereby permitting present Aboriginal reserve land to be alienated from the Aboriginal people.
The statement continues along those lines and concludes as follows:
Far from being the very desirable measure which the Federal Government has said, and may well believe it is, the Bill could have disastrous effect in alienating the land which is the future economic hope of the rapidly growing Aboriginal population in the Northern Territory.
This bears out the submission made by Senator Georges. I wish to refer to something which happened in Queensland. 1 do so because, whilst the subject under discussion is confined to the Northern Territory, I want to indicate the views of people who come from various areas in Australia. At a conference which was held many months ago one of the Aboriginals present had certain things to say about the reception he received when he asked the residents of Mapoon mission how they felt about having to leave Mapoon, which is in Queensland. I think his remarks are symbolic of the general thinking of Aboriginals in not only Queensland but also the Northern Territory and Western Australia. He said:
No one answered for about an hour. So 1 said to my people would like you to think- what our missionary said - that the place wasn’t good for us to live al Old Mapoon. But why? With the staff and teachers taking a fortnight holidays on their cars down at Old Mapoon?
But why is it a place for a holiday? Then the people said: ‘We never thought about it, but it’s coming clear to us’.
This is one of the delegates who was at the conference talking to his own people. He went on to say:
We can call the place ‘old’ but it’s still new to us in our minds each day and week and month and year, and Mapoon will always be a beautiful picture. People had given up the harbour wilh its rivers of richness, also the beach with the sea shells that are washed up on the beach and which make Ihe necklaces.
We are only allowed to go down lo Mapoon when the Bamaga Show is on each year. The question is, have we any legal rights to our tribal land and is there any law that you can be forced OUt of the land without a reason?
Taking people by surprise and forcing them on to the Government boat Is against the law - that’s still in the minds of my people.
This is how these people were moved from Old Mapoon. He went on to say:
We feel like we are murderers, or, one would say, pickpockets, the way we all were taken by force on 15th November 1963 - a day to be remembered by the people of Mapoon.
It is a true saying that the 2 missionaries said: We brought light, but missionaries after us will destroy our work.
This is typical of what is happening in the Northern Territory. The mining companies have virtually an open go. In many cases the absentee land-owners have taken away the tribal lands of these people. We have a similar situation at the moment in Western Australia in relation to the Ord River area. Only recently a few Aboriginals returned to their tribal land. It is obvious why a number of companies have combined to develop this area.
Whilst honourable senators on this side of the chamber are extremely disturbed about what is happening, our distress is nothing compared to the great feeling which the Aboriginals have for the lands which they have lost. They should be able to roam these areas and develop them in their own way with the assistance of a co-operative government.I commend the motion to the chamber.
Wednesday, 4 November 1970
– A number of points have been raised and things said by honourable senators opposite. Indeed, I think I can say that accusations of unfair treatment and deprivation have been made. I would like to have the Hansard record of the remarks which have been made carefully examined and properly considered before replying to them. (Quorum formed.) I was about to conclude by saying that I want carefully to prepare an answer to the remarks of both Senator Georges and Senator Keeffe. They are entitled to one. Equally, the Department of the Interior is entitled to an opportunity to prepare one. The Department would be unable to prepare a proper reply at this stage. 1 will obtain an answer for both honourable senators. A motion is before the Chair at present seeking a reduction in the vote. I move:
That the request (Senator Georges) be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure - Civil Defence, $780,000- agreed to.
Department of Customs and Excise
Proposed expenditure, $28,112,000.
– In view of the time, I want to refer very briefly to Division 210, and to the recent impost by the Government of an excise on wine. I am quite sure that honourable senators will remember that in many places there were general protests about the introduction of the excise. There were many complaints from the South Australian wine industry. It was argued that at that stage the wine growers had just reached a position of profitability. As a matter of fact, the Treasurer (Mr Bury) mentioned this fact in his Budget Speech. During the meeting of Estimates Committee D on 20th October 1970 I asked the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) or his advisers what costs were involved in arranging for the imposition of the new duty. I asked:
In recent years there was some re-allocation of excise officers, and some reductions. I tied that up with the question .of the proposed new wine duty. Has the Department already estimated what would be required for the staffing of excise officers or lockers as- I think they are called to Implement the proposed new Budget duty? Secondly, in relation to a proposition which is being examined by the Government of not applying the duty directly, are there any new procedures or regulations which the Department has to arrange to make this possible? Will it mean additional staff and if so what sort of costings are involved?
Later I asked a question about particular costs because an answer was not forthcoming. I received an answer, which has now been incorporated in Hansard, in reply to the request that I made. I will read the letter because it is an important one. I suggest that it shows that what is happening is that the Department of Customs and Excise, because of Government direction, is setting up a permanent organisation to arrange for the collection of these duties. In my opinion, that means that the Department is being dovetailed into a Government position which will make affirmative this impost on an industry which is suffering from a number of disabilities. ‘ The latest disability is that a number of overseas organisations, including United Kingdom organisations, are now buying up the vineyards. It seems to me that this is a new matter which should attract the attention of the Senate. 1 will read the letter because it explains the position that I am trying to put to honourable senators. It is dated 21st October 1970. It is signed by J. E. Walsh, the First Assistant Comptroller-General (Management and Technical Services), and it states:
I refer to the question, concerning salary costs for the collection of the new Excise on wine, from Senator R. Bishop during the examination of the estimates of the Department of Customs and Excise on 20lh October 1970.
The organisation requested of the Public Service Board la cover this function is proposed only as an interim measure pending the development of longer term procedures for collection, lt is envisaged, once the initial collection procedures (for some 500 wine producers) have settled down that this responsibility will be encompassed within the existing organisation, subject to normal growth factors. Thus, die proposed costs are seen to be transitory.
This is the important paragraph:
The Public Service Board has been requested lo provide an organisation comprising 16 positions at a total annual salary cost of $102,459. For the balance of the 1970-71 financial year (7/12 of total annual cost), Ihe cost will be $59,768. It is expected that revenue for the year 1970-71 will amount to $12. 5m and for a full year $ 15.2m. Thus, for the balance of 1970-71 salary costs will represent 0.48 per cent of wine excise collected. On the basis of a full year, the salary costs will represent 0.67 per cent of wine excise collected.
Already the Department has asked the Public Service to accommodate a new organisation which is to cost the Australian Government $102,000, and probably more when the real evaluations are made. South Australia’s wine producers and other people throughout Australia are opposed to the impost. 1 bring to the attention of honourable senators that it is proposed to set up a permanent organisation which indicates that in future years the duty is to continue to be paid by an industry which is not yet properly established.
– The Committee will recall that this new tax on the wine industry was introduced by the Excise Bill. When we debated that Bill, the Labor Party voted against the imposition of the new duty on Australian wine, but other honourable senators voted for it. In particular, Liberal and Country Parly senators voted for the excise, either physically or by being paired. They voted against the wine industry and Ihe interests of South Australia by supporting the imposition of a new duty on wine, lt is a crippling duty to be paid by an industry which has not sought Government assistance. It is one rural industry which has been free of the decline experienced by other rural industries. It should not be burdened in this way.
In view of the contents of the letter read by Senator Bishop and for Ihe reasons which we advanced when opposing this new duty I. wish to say that my Party will carry out what it stated when it opposed the duty. I pledge that the Australian Labor Party when elected to office - which will be at the next Federal election - led by Mr Whitlam will repeal the excise on the wine industry. I say that after consultation with Mr Whitlam and the wine industry of Australia. The Australian wine industry may take it that (he ALP is pledged to the repeal of this excise. Let it be known that the provision which has been made for permanent officers lo operate in this field will be necessary for only a very short time. The wine industry does not deserve this burden and it will be removed at the earliest opportunity.
– Setting aside election pledges I wish to refer to the letter written by Senator Bishop which he quoted a few minutes ago. I suggest that he read it again and that he will find that it is not quite what he said it is. The organisation requested to cover this function is proposed as an interim measure pending development of longer term procedures. This is a sort of quantity basis of assessment. Thus the proposed costs are seen to be transitory. The officers assure me that the positions referred to are on a temporary basis only.
– How do you cover 20 officers temporarily?
– This is not really what 1 wanted to do. I just want to say to Senator Bishop thatI do not think he has drawn he proper conclusion from the second paragraph of the letter. The officers assure me that he has not. Having said that there is nothing more for me to say.
Motion (bySenator Sir Kenneth Anderson) agreed to:
That the question be now put.
– The question is, Are there any requests?’ There being no requests, I declare the proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of Shipping and Transport
Proposed expenditure, $83,900,000
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) agreed to:
That the question be now put.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of Air
Proposed expenditure, $272,998,500
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) agreed to:
That the question be now put.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure, $329,237,400
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) agreed to:
That the question be now put.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of Primary Industry
Proposed expenditure, $77,867,000
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth
That the question be now put.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman- Senator Bull)
Majority . . 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– Order! The question is: Are there any requests?
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority . . 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of the Army
Proposed expenditure, $402,512,000.
Senator Cavanagh - Yes. I-
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) proposed:
That the question be now put.
– Order! The question is-
– You must accept my point of order.
– Order! I cannot accept the point of order.
– You will not accept the point of order?
– That is right.
– There cannot be any debate.
– I question that.I am raising a point of order.
– Order! The question is-
-I rise to order, Mr Chairman. We do not know the point of order that the honourable senator is raising. It may have substance; it may not have substance. Surely the Chair will listen to an honourable senator when he raises a point of order. It may be of no substance at all; but how do I know? Surely he will be listened to.
Senator Sir Kenneth AndersonSpeaking to the point of order, Mr Chair man, I submit that if you allow a point of order to be taken we will have a debate calculated to frustrate the motion.That the question be now put’. It is as clear as that to everybody. I suggest that you must now put the motion.
– Order! Senator Cavanagh, what is your point of order?
– My point of order, Mr Chairman, is that after referring to the estimates now before the Committee you asked ‘Are there any requests?’ and before hearing whether there were any requests you took as a request the motion That the question be now put. I submit that the motion That the question be now put’ is not a request and that some opportunity must be given to hear whether there are any requests to be submitted to the Chair.
– The point of order is not upheld.
That the question be now put.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority . . 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Are there any requests?
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority … . . 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bull) Order! I declare the vote for the Department of the Army passed.
Department of the Navy
Proposed expenditure, $216,888,000.
Senator Cavanagh - Yes.
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) proposed:
That the question be now put.
-I am dealing with a point of order.
– Whatever the rights or wrongs of the earlier matters, on this occasion Senator Cavanagh actually was speaking. I submit that whatevercourtesies might be extended the rule must obtain that once a senator is on his feet and is talking he cannot be interrupted even by somebody moving that the question be now put.
– I rise to speak to the point of order. I think the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) has put a fallacious argument. Two factors are involved. One is that once the question is put, as I mentioned earlier this evening, it must be put by the Chairman. The argument put by Senator Murphy, is totally and absolutely fallacious because, secondly, a senator on his feet has no status unless he has been called either by the President or the Chairman. You did not call Senator Cavanagh.
– Order! I rule that any honourable senator has a right to take a point of order. I cannot be sure which honourable senator was on his feet first. In any event it has been the practice for a Minister to get the call and I rule that the Minister for Supply was in order in moving that the question be now put. The question is, ‘That the question be now put’.
Question put. The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority . . . . 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question put. The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Bull)
Majority . . 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Postponed clauses 1 to 5 agreed to.
Postponed First Schedule agreed to.
Bill reported without requests; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) proposed:
That the Bill be now read a third time.
– I simply want to say that, in accordance with what we indicated earlier, we propose to vote against the third reading of this Appropriation Bill as an indication of our complete and utter rejection of the Budget. It is not necessary to say any more than that.
That the Bill be now read a third time.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) proposed:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I have a request to make during the adjournment debate, because it seems that this is the only opportunity that senators on the Opposition side of this democratic Parliament have to voice their opinions. It would appear that no longer has the Opposition a right to voice its opposition to important legislation that may come before the Parliament. This is very unfortunate. We know that there are pressures from the Fascist elements within the Parliament.
– Order! The honourable senator cannot refer to Fascist elements inside this chamber. The honourable senator will withdraw that remark.
– Yes. I will not refer to the Fascist elements within the Parliament; I will neglect them. I simply say that it is very pathetic that we have a Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) whom we all trusted, honoured and respected, who gave, us an assurance that the Senate would adjourn at 1 1 o’clock-
– Only if there was no filibuster.
– If there was no filibuster. Pressures have been put upon us. We were given an assurance that no restriction would be placed upon any senator when the Estimates were discussed in this Committee of the Whole. The Leader of the Government has embarrassed those who assisted him. These guidelines which were offered to us were prepared by the Clerk of the Senate believing in all good faith that’ they would be adopted. The Leader of the Government has embarrassed his friends who assisted him. There was no question of a filibuster, but it would be understandable if a filibuster did occur in regard to the Estimates. On this occasion where was discussion permitted on the Army, Department of Primary Industry and other departments? A person has to sink principles and undertakings because he is a victim of a small element which wants to get home tomorrow. We understand the dilemma the Leader of the Government was in, but why should the Senate be sacrificed to those pressures upon him. Why could we not adjourn the Senate until such time as those who control the Parliament can be in attendance?
It is reasonable to have suspicion that this may be an attempt to preserve a young Minister facing his first Estimates debate in that capacity, who has the important responsibility of control of the Army estimates and who has to present himself to the public in a fortnight’s time to contest the election in a doubtful situation. It is possible to have a suspicion that it was well to protect him from the wrath of the Auditor-General who reported that the Army had purchased from America amplifiers to the value of $360,000 which were of no use when they arrived in Australia. The Auditor-General reported also that 12 months ago 200 Australian built trucks which were not delivered were paid for by the Department of the Army - but should not have been paid for - in that year in order to expend an appropriation. We have been led along by this Department which is incapable of conducting the affairs of the nation. This is admitted in the Auditor-General’s report. We are not prepared to question it in this Parliament. That is the proposal of the Government. The Government hopes for co-operation. I think we have been co-operative in this Parliament.
At the end of the last sessional period a certain Minister gagged everything. There was a determination then that co-operation would cease. When Parliament resumed I appealed to my Party to give the Government parties nothing because we could not trust their word. We could trust nothing of them. In my Party my opinion was in the minority. If we took a vote today honourable senators would find that I would be in the majority. Whatever may have been the wishes of some honourable senators 1 feel confident that there will be no co-operation between this side of the House and the Government in order to get the business through this session, next session or any other session until the Government changes its attitude and honours promises which it has given to us. It is a scandalous disgrace that we as representatives of the people are denied the opportunity of showing malpractices which exist in Commonwealth departments. It is scandalous to the people of Australia. If if were necessary in order to get the estimates through tonight to gag everything let the Government supporters face the electors and state the reason why they would not permit us as an Opposition to query the maladministration of some departments as we sought to query it.
Here honourable senators have heard of the trouble that reference to a madhatter’s tea party has caused in an organisation. The question was asked: Are there any requests? I thought I had a request but by a vote it was decide thatI had no request. The Government has taken my rights away from me. There is something wrong with the standing order which permits such a position to exist. I acknowledge the right to move that a vote be taken at any time but not a vote to say whether the Senate as a whole is to decide whether there is any request. The position is farcical. The Government has allowed the image of this Senate to become ridiculous in the eyes of the electors, the people of Australia. We thought we were building up prestige but in the eyes of the people we are the madhatter’s tea party. No longer with prestige and pride can we hold ourselves up as a House of responsibility and respect after what we have seen tonight.
– I do not want to reply at any great length to Senator Cavanagh
– Is the honourable senator replying or closing the debate?
-I rose to reply because my honour has been impeached.
– Am I to be denied the opportunity of speaking?
– I ask Senator Keeffe to let me finish. Honourable senators opposite are all trigger happy. I am going to sit down and let them speak in a moment if they want to.
– The honourable senator has no intention-
– I have every intention. If the honourable senator cannot wait for a moment to let me make my explanation I am sorry for him. When Senator Keeffe indicated he wanted to speak I was about to sit down.
– I want to speak on this matter because I support the remarks which have been made by my colleague Senator Cavanagh. I raise strong objection to the manner in which the Government gagged these debates because it was done at considerable expense to the Australian people. All evening we have had senior public servants sitting around in this chamber waiting for the estimates for their departments to come on. For the first time my faith has been destroyed in the Estimates Committee system. Until the Government started gagging the debate this evening I thought my colleagues, Senator Poyser, Senator Keeffe and Senator Cavanagh were wrong in their approach. A number of Estimates Committees sat at the one time and because some of us were attending a particular committee it was not possible for us to get to the other committees. We were under the impression that when the Estimates came before the Senate we would be given the opportunity to raise matters relating to those departments. I had an important matter to raise so far as a number of people are concerned in connection with the Department of the Navy. I notice there is a total expenditure this financial year for that Department of $216,888,000. But, no, the Government determined to rush these estimates through, to gag the Opposition from putting a point of view or clarifying the expenditure involved and prevent us on this side of the chamber from asking questions which of necessity we could not ask in the Estimates Committees because we simply could not get there. The situation will be that when the Estimates Committee debates are taking place certain honourable senators will be unable to attend and when they come back into this Senate they cannot be guaranteed that they are not going to be gagged. As far as I am concerned that is just not good enough. Next year if this situation continues I too will join my colleagues and put a complete boycott on the Estimates Committees.
– 1 join with my colleagues in denouncing the Government for its activities tonight. I have only been in this Senate for 2 years. I believed that when 1 came into the Senate I would see some type of democracy at work. Tonight I have seen democracy at work and it has been prostituted democracy. How could any government stand up to criticism of the fact that the Minister rises to his feet and then the Opposition is denied the right to question any point on an estimate? Tonight I had questions to ask on repatriation matters which affected returned servicemen. I believed that I had justification in raising these issues. I believed that the Government - I would have attempted to prove it - has denied its own promise in relation to a section of ex-servicemen. Because of the despicable action of the Government I have been unable to raise my voice on behalf of these people of whom the Government says what wonderful fellows they are. The Government has also had the support of the Australian Democratic Labor Party in this direction. Several of us know what Senator Gair thinks of returned servicemen - of people who have volunteered their life to go to war. He is on record as saying that they have gone to war merely to avoid their obligations at home. If the opinion of the Government coincides with that of Senator Gair it places itself in exactly the same position as Senator Gair is in. I repeat that I believe we have seen democracy denied tonight.
I have heard Government supporters criticise the conduct of trade unions in relation to their ballots and in the conduct of their affairs. I am proud that 1 have been associated with the trade union movement almost all my working life. But had any trade union attempted to carry out its business in the same shameful manner as the Government has carried out the business of the national Parliament tonight, 1 believe anybody would be entitled to criticise that trade union movement. But no trade union would deny its members the right to express a point of view. I repeat that 1 have been connected with the trade union movement for a large number of years and I am proud of having been connected with it, but if I were a supporter of the Government I would be ashamed of the antics which went on tonight.
– Members of the Opposition have a legitimate complaint. Their complaint arises in this way: When the estimates committees were being put into operation the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) indicated, as I recall it, that they would be sitting in a certain way and when their reports were tabled in the Senate the Committee of the Whole would be given an opportunity to discuss the Estimates without any restrictions being placed upon the debate. The question of the times the Senate sits is one thing and the question of whether the Government wants to get up at 11 o’clock or keep going is another thing. As I recall it, a clear undertaking was given to honourable senators, particularly those honourable senators who were not members of any of the estimates committees that they would be given an opportunity to deal with the Estimates in the Committee of the Whole. 1 do not think that that undertaking has been observed.
I notice that the Leader of the Government is referring to the Senate Hansard in regard to the question of the times of sitting. He showed it to me a little earlier this evening. I have read the debate about whether the Senate should sit after 1 1 o’clock and 1 have noted the reference to a filibuster and the need to sit late hours. The times the Senate sits is one question. Another question altogether is whether the undertaking given about the discussion ot the Estimates in the Committee of the Whole will be fulfilled. There is no reason why the Senate should not sit until the end of this week. In fact, my recollection is that it was bruited about generally that the Senate would sit until at least the end of the week. This was the Government’s programme in the first instance. Apparently some people have . changed their minds because of what has happened in the campaign for the forthcoming Senate election.
There is no reason why the Senate should not sit for another couple of days. If the Government had chosen to force a late night sitting on the Senate on the basis that it contends that it is not tied to the 11 o’clock rule the Opposition could have objected and debated the issue. But there is also the question of the undertaking given that an opportunity would be made available to discuss the Estimates in the Committee of the Whole. It seems to me that this undertaking has not been observed. Therefore, those honourable senators who have complained have had legitimate reason to do so. I would like the Leader of the Government to address himself to this aspect and not to the question of sitting after 11 o’clock or gagging debates. I believe that the Government should have arranged a programme under which every opportunity would have been given to honourable senators to discuss the Estimates in the Committee of the Whole. This could have been done in a number of ways. The Government could have set aside a certain amount of time and said that it expected the Committee of the Whole to dispose of its affairs in that time.
– The Leader of the Opposition asked the Government to give him a timetable.
– Yes, I did ask for a timetable. But what happened tonight? The opportunity was not given to honourable senators to discuss certain sections of the Estimates because the gag was applied. The present situation does not seem to be in accordance with the understanding which was reached when arrangements were made about the estimates committees. The Government knew that a great deal of concern had been expressed by certain honourable senators that they would be deprived of the opportunity of discussing fully the Estimates in the Committee of the Whole.
I think it is extremely regrettable that the present position should have been allowed to develop. If the Leader of the Government were to turn back not to the debate on the sitting hours for this week but to what he said at the time the estimates committees were being discussed 1 think he would find that there is a great deal of substance in what has been put to him and that, at the very least, he ought to realise that he has laid himself open to a charge of breaking an agreement. During the early part of the session the co-operation of the Opposition was requested and given, it is unfortunate that we should experience this difficulty at the end of the session. A similar situation occurred at the end of the last session in relation to the debate on the conciliation and arbitration legislation. It was apparent to the Government that the Opposition wanted to discuss this legislation. Notwithstanding its co-operation on other matters the Opposition was denied the opportunity to debate in detail the legislation which it particularly wanted to debate. In this instance it would have been very evident that some honourable senators were very much concerned about the change in the system of discussing the Estimates. It is extremely regrettable that the present situation should have been allowed to occur. It could have been prevented for the sake of sitting a few extra hours. I believe that it was the duty of the Government to make some arrangements in order to ensure that what has happened did not occur. The Government could have laid down a programme for the discussion of the .Estimates.
Leaving aside any thought of partisanship and recrimination,’ I feel that those honourable senators who were told that they would have an opportunity to discuss the Estimates in the Committee of the Whole have a legitimate complaint. It would have been impossible for any honourable senator to attend al! of the sittings of the estimates committees. Honourable senators have clearly been denied the opportunity to discuss the Estimates. I should have thought that a bit of common sense and reasoning would have avoided the present troubles. The onus was on the Government to make the arrangements which would enable the arrangements to be met. It is regrettable that the Government has failed to do so. I appreciate that it may have been under some pressure. The talk is that the Australian Democratic Labor Party has threatened to walk out of the chamber in the next day or so.
– And the Minister who is coming up for re-election was not prepared to submit himself to crossexamination.
– Another unfortunate feature is that one of the Ministers who is responsible for handling the estimates of certain departments did not deal with them. I refer to the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman). However, that is beside the point. I believe that the real nub of this matter is that the arrangements Which were made have been broken and I do not think that a satisfactory answer has been given for the breaking of these arrangements.
– I rise very briefly because I detect what I regard as an odour of sanctimonious humbug. The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) will reply to the charges which have been made and to which he would desire to respond. I am one of the honourable senators on this side of the chamber who voted in favour of applying the gag. I believe that in all the circumstances it was legitimate to do so. Let us face it, every time the gag is applied there is an outcry from those members of the Opposition who are denied the opportunity to speak. The determination as to whether the gag should be applied is one of the obligations of leadership which Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson has accepted but I do not want to let it be thought that he stands on his own on this issue. It is his judgment. I can see that his judgment was based on the facts which would warrant a determination that there had been not only a filibuster but also a deliberate waste of time.
The Committee debate on the Appropriation Bill has taken approximately 19 hours. In the various Estimates Committee hearings there were approximately 100 hours of sitting time. Three Labor senators in particular declined to take any part in those hearings and stubbornly refused to participate. Then they exercised in this chamber a right which they claimed but which in my judgment they exercised to excess. If the Leader of the Government believes that - I think he would have ample warrant for doing so - I think he is entitled to exercise one of the responsibilities which his position entitles him and obliges him to exercise and which is one of the responsibilities of government. I think that what the Opposition said tonight is part of the old political trick of endeavouring to make a point where one thinks one can make a point. I think it is tremendously unfortunate that the trick has been used against the Leader of the Govern ment. In the light of what happened I think there was ample warrant for the Government to take the stand that it did.
(1.37 a.m.) - in reply - I rise to close the debate. I will not respond to all that was said. Some of it was personal, and I suppose that is understandable in the circumstances and whence it came. What Senator Greenwood said is true. Once one becomes a leader of a party one has to accept responsibility. One responsibility is to attempt to get legislation through. I make it abundantly clear that I have no sense of guilt, contrary to what Senator Murphy tried to pass off. I handed him earlier a copy of Hansard. I was most careful with my words when we were dealing not only with hours but with days of sitting. Senator Murphy said: ‘Let us have a scheme whereby we lay down certain times. Let us have a plan and a programme*. I said: Yes, that is an excellent idea, when we get the work from the other place’. But before the ink was dry on Hansard next morning Senator Murphy moved an urgency motion the debate on which lasted for 3 hours. That rubbished any proposal for a plan. So much for this pious business about working out a timetable. Then the next thing we had - I did not oppose it - was Senator Cavanagh speaking for a lengthy time on a first reading of the Appropriation Bill. So much for this proposal for a plan.
What did 1 say? Hansard records me as saying: if the situation arose that I believed that the procedures of government-
This was not about days or times - were being stalled and obviously delayed by what I chose to term a filibuster, I would apply the gag if I had the numbers and was capable of having it carried.
– Who made that statement?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI made that statement. 1 had the Government parties and the Democratic Labor Party behind me in the proposals that I put. I came to the conclusion much earlier than when I actually applied the gag that the Opposition was adopting delaying tactics in the Committee. That was my judgment. I still hold that judgment. I delayed applying the gag because the Opposition had circulated a series of amendments. I was not inclined to apply the gag until the Opposition had had a chance to move the circulated amendments.
– Where was the delay with regard to the Department of Primary Industry?
– The honourable senator has spoken. If he likes, he may use the forms of the Senate to speak again. If he wants to impugn my character, I will put my character against his any day. It is as simple as that. Words are easy to use. I have lived a long time. I can still look the world in the eye. J have no worries about what the honourable senator might say. He cannot reflect on my character. Having said that, I repeat that I told the Senate that if I came to the conclusion that a definite attempt was being made to stall the system of government - I did not talk about times or days - I would, if I thought it appropriate to get the legislation through, apply the gag if I had the numbers. I had the numbers and I applied the gag. Tomorrow we have to debate some Bills. I propose to guillotine the debates on certain Bills. Where the Opposition has indicated that it has amendments to the Bills, we will try to put some time limit on them so that honourable senators opposite will have an opportunity to deal with those amendments. I am hoping that we can deal with the matters of this session tomorrow.
– When there is no co-operation, the Minister decides.
– Senator Cavanagh is speaking for the Leader of the Opposition and says there is to be no co-operation. If that is to be a fact of life, we will have to deal with it.
- -Senator Cavanagh did not say that there would be no cooperation. He said that you were not cooperating, that you were dictating.
– Honourable senators opposite do not give me any credit for co-operation anyway, so why should I reply? I think the inference is that once I reply to an interjection that makes it valid and that if I do not reply the interjection is justified. That is a process of reasoning which I do not understand. However, it is very early in the morning to be talking like this. I have never suggested that I have not got cooperation from Senator Murphy. I have. We have tried to co-operate. Senator Murphy has a responsibility to those who sit behind him, and I have a responsibility to those who sit behind me. To those who sit on the backbenches I say that to reconcile all those responsibilities is not always an easy task. My conscience is clear. I made it abundantly clear, as recorded in Hansard, how I felt I may be wrong in my judgment, but I believe that there was a definite attempt to delay the passage of the Appropriation Bill. Believing that, I exercised my right as Leader of the Government to get the business of the Government through.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 1.43 a.m. (Wednesday)
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 November 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1970/19701103_senate_27_s46/>.