27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuilin) took the chair at 2.55 p.m., and read prayers.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled.
Because of the excessive amount of wear and tear to our footwear caused by our occupation, we, the undersigned bread carters, being members of the Bread Carters Industrial Federation of Aus: tralia, petition and request the Commonwealth. Government of Australia through its Treasurer, to grant a taxation rebate for the amount of Ten Dollars per year to all breadcarters in the Commonwealth of Australia.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I give notice that on the next day of sitting 1 shall move:
That there be referred to the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare the following matter: The introduction of a national superannuation scheme and the methods of financing and operating such scheme.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs aware that the West German Government has taken steps to expel from that country certain Yugoslavs suspected of being members of the Ustashi, a Croat terrorist movement responsible for bombing incidents in that country? Is he also aware that the Yugoslav Government is concerned that such people expelled from West Germany may seek a haven in Australia? Will he give a firm assurance that, in conjunction with the Minister for Immigration, steps will be taken to improve screening methods in West Germany to ensure that such people do not enter Australia and add to the previous bombing incidents against foreign consulates for which in the main no perpetrators have been apprehended?
– I am aware that an extradition treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and Yugoslavia was signed in November 1970 and that West German courts have sentenced Yugoslav citizens for terrorist acts committed in West Germany. At present I am seeking information as to whether suspected Yugoslav terrorists have been expelled to third countries. We have been informed by the Yugoslav authorities of their concern lest members of terrorist organisations of Yugoslav origin and inimical to the interests of the Yugoslav Government should be permitted to immigrate to Australia from other countries, including West Germany. That is the point of the question. Of course I cannot answer for the Minister for Immigration within whose province the third part of the question falls. However, I am given to understand that the screening process which is fully operative in Germany seeks to avoid the entry of people with extreme political views, and this should cover members of known terrorist organisations.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for National Development in the Senate. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to recent disturbing reports of heavy pollution of the River Murray before its waters reach South Australia, leading to the river’s description as a major sewer’? I refer to pollutants other than those of saline origin. Is the Minister aware that the River Murray is the vital source of water supply to South Australia for domestic, stock watering, irrigation and industrial purposes? To what extent does the Ministry of National Development, in conjunction with the interested States of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, supervise and control the discharge of obnoxious effluents into the River Murray to ensure water of acceptable quality to South Australia as the end receiver?
– Yes, I have seen references to this problem and I do understand it. In fact, I was in Mildura looking at the airport, I think, on the day that this matter was first mentioned, and the concern of the local people was shared by me. Because of my association with that State and also with that part of Australia I do understand the great importance of this matter to South Australia. I made some inquiries about this earlier and I am given to understand that responsibility for control of waters, including their quality, entering the River Murray and of diversions from it rests with the individual States. It is also suggested that the River Murray as such, particularly in its lower reaches, should not be regarded as a source of municipal water supply without being treated before use.
-^4 desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the.’ Minister for Primary Industry. What plans has the Government for overall action on a national basis to solve Australia’s rural crisis rather than the present indiscriminate and unsatisfactory hole plugging of individual industries? Will :the Government give further considera’tion to. the call df many farmers’ organisations for a commission of experts to survey, the whole field of Australian rural industry and prepare plans, to solve the problems of the 1 9.70s?
Government has’ at all times: kept under constant review what is happening iti primary industry, lt has done this in many ways. It has done it, first of ‘all, by having the door of the Minister ‘for Primary Industry open to the leaders of. primary, industries to see him whenever they feel they want to discuss problems with him. The Minister for Primary Industry has met State Ministers of Agriculture and their departmental officers oyer the years. We have ‘Cabinet discussions with sectors of the rural industry in regard to economic problems. Also the Department of Primary Industry itself is constantly in touch with rural industries and their problems. From time to time the Government may assist in or commission special investigations. A good example of this was when the Government, made the Bureau of’ Agricultural Economics available to the Australian Wool Board Advisory Committee which was set up to consider the economic probelems facing the wool industry. The Bureau of Agricultural Economics undertook a special review of reconstruction and farm adjustment for the Government. This was followed by the Minister for Primary Industry and the Treasurer discussing with State Ministers the setting up of a national reconstruction board.
The honourable senator asks why w.e do not set up some body to look at the whole situation. Let me take his mind back to 1948-49,. when a similar situation and feeling existed among rural people. They asked for a board on the lines of the present Tariff Board to be set up. The Government came forward with a suggestion for a primary industries investigation board whose, job would have been to investigate the whole rural scene. But the individual sectors of primary industry said: *N.o, we do not want that. We are quite capable of looking after our own industries’. The wheat industry pointed to the costs index committee and said that that committee was quite: capable of looking after the problems of . that industry. I believe, that the Government has the problems of primary industry under close scrutiny and that it is up to the individual sections of industry to come and consult with the Government on their problems.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. In view of the fact that this week there is to be a number of dismissals of skilled metal trades workers from, the Adelaide Ship Construction company due to lack of contracts and in view of the Minister’s advice to me by telegram of today’s date that this company was the only tenderer to the Australian Shipbuilding Board for the construction of a certain ship and an order for that ship should soon be placed with the company, will the Minister make representations to the Board for an immediate placement of this order and thus prevent the dismissal of skilled tradesmen?
– I understand the urgency and importance of this matter to South Australia. So, this is what I. will do: A member pf my staff will be listening to this question and answer and, by direction, I will ask him to try to contact the Department of Shipping and. Transport now to see what we can find out for the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I refer to the question I raised with him yesterday about the serious situation of pear growers in the Goulburn Valley area of Victoria. Has his attention been further alerted to the very serious position that faces many growers of pears in the Goulburn Valley area of Victoria? Did he note a radio report today that a grower who faced probable financial ruin was sufficiently mentally distressed when his delivery of pears to the processor was refused that he resorted to threat with a gun? As on previous occasions and in instances of disaster, the Prime Minister has initiated the sending of a telegram which offered financial assistance to various areas of distress in the States, will the Minister give urgent consideration to my plea that he advise the Prime Minister to do likewise in this instance of industry distress?
– 1 did answer a question asked by the honourable senator yesterday in regard to pear growing in the Goulburn Valley. Although 1 did not hear the radio announcement to which he refers, it has been drawn to my attention today. As 1 pointed out yesterday, the production of pears last year was the greatest the industry has known, so much so that the carryover of canned pears at the end of 1970 was in the vicinity of li million to 2 million cartons. The Minister for Primary industry visited the area recently, had discussions with the growers and informed them that, if a case seeking assistance from the Commonwealth was made out by the State Government, within whose responsibility this falls, the Commonwealth would give it very careful consideration. In view of: what the honourable senator has said to me about approaching the Prime Minister, I shall take, his request forward.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate seen statements to the. effect that the price of petrol is again to rise? In view of the Prime Minister’s appeal to industry and to all sections of the community to maintain stability and to keep prices down, will the Minister ask the . Government to intercede with the oil companies with a view to preventing a further increase? As the Minister knows, the prices of oil and petrol were increased four or five months ago before the Parliament went into recess.
– Petrol is one of those very Fare commodities the price of which is determined by a prices commissioner in South Australia. It is rather unusual for the price of a commodity which is used throughout Australia to be fixed by a commissioner appointed by the South Australian Government, but by this procedure a guide line is provided for the price of petrol in this country. The matter that the honourable senator has raised comes within the administration of the Minister for National Development and I will have the question directed to him this afternoon. I do not think there is any need for intercession by Senator Cotton; who represents the Minister for National Development.
– 1 direct my question lo the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy. Is it a fact that only one distributor of marine charts under class B is permitted in each of (he designated centres to sel.1 the charts to the general public? If it is a fact, will the Minister consider allowing other suitable agents to apply to the Department for the right to sell marine charts?
– I understand that there is only one agent in each seaport centre to handle (he sale of marine charts. However, I think that the best way to obtain the information which the honourable senator- is seeking is for him to place the question on notice.
– In addressing my question to the Minister for Air I refer to the purchase of DC3 aircraft from Jetair. Is it a fact that the Royal Australian Air Force had 7 DC3 aircraft available for disposal at Laverton? Can he explain why only 3 of them were made available for external aid and 4 were allowed to remain rotting away at the base? How does this fit in with the Government’s austerity campaign, especially since these planes needed only $5,000 to be spent on them to make them airworthy whereas the Department -of Foreign Affairs is reported to have paid Jetair 540,000 for each of the aircraft obtained from that company?
– It is true that certain DC3 aircraft are surplus..
– Are rotting;
– 1 did not say that. I said they are surplus. They are at Laverton awaiting disposal. Their disposal is not simply a matter of flying them away. Certain procedures1 are laid down for the disposal of aircraft which are surplus to the requirements of, the Boya! Australian Air Force. Their disposal is arranged through the Department pf Supply and the aircraft must be taken to ,a certain location where they ate put up ton sale. They cannot fly to that point so in some cases they have to be dismantled and transported to it. These are certain procedures by which L through the Aif Board, can dispose df Air Board property. I observe those procedures, fi no offers are made to purchase- the aircraft th§y remain’ where they are.
-!: ask the Minister for Works: When the Department of Works has control of the supply of goods for a construction contract,, or when it specifies the type of quality, of goods or services to be used on a particular project, does the Department take into account the availability of materials and services -in the immediate area of the project? As a desire for economy would naturally influence that aim, will the Minister undertake, to direct his departmental officers in the appropriate sections of his Department that at all times, and subject to economic consider.ations, when carrying out work in rural towns or rural areas goods and services available in the: immediate1 area are to be used?
– I can assure the honourable senator that the Department of Works does have regard to the availability of materials and services in an area where work is expected to be executed. Its objective at all times is to utilise local materials where economically possible. Qf course, it is necessary to have regard to the function or requirements of the particular project and the suitability and availability of the materials; but so long as they are available on time, in quantity, of the specified quality and at a satisfactory cost, the Department’s objective will always be to utilise those local materials. I remind the honourable senator that as most of the Department’s work is done by contract he can depend on the business acumen of the’ contractors, to seek materials that are economic pally to their advantage in the performance of the contracts; Mostly these will be local materials.
I am conscious of one case in which local materials were not used. It has been brought under reference in recent months by two of my colleagues. Explanations have been given as to the necessity of matching new materials with old materials. As to other aspects, that arise in particular cases, there will be some odd exceptions to the principle.
– Can the Minister for Air advise the Senate of the charges on the airline operator who recently lifted merino rams from a Royal Austraiian Air Force Base? How do those charges compare with the charges made for the use of civil airport? in Australia?
– This matter does not fall within the administra-tion of my Department, but I shall seek some information; and give it to the honourable senator.
– My question, which I address to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, relates to question Np. 858 on the notice paper. I want to know now whether I can obtain an ur;gent reply to that question. I will refresh the Minister’s memory by reading the question. It asks:
– I understand the honourable senator to be referring to a question that was placed on the notice paper yesterday, I have noted the point he has raised. I will take the matter up with my colleague the Minister for Social Services and obtain a reply as soon as I can.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation. In. view of the new hard line taken by appeal and assessment tribunals of the Repatriation Department, the chairmen of which are legal officers capable of conducting searching crossexamination on repatriation requirements, will the Minister take steps to amend the Repatriation Act to permit an appellant against an entitlement or assessment decision of the Department to be represented by a legal officer?
– A review is going on within the Repatriation Department at present. I shall draw to the Minister’s attention the question asked by the honourable senator and. will get a reply for him.
– I ask (he Minister fbr Air a question which follows on the question which was just asked by Senator Georges, I understood the Minister to say in reply that the Royal Australian Air Force DC3 aircraft could not be given to foreign governments because the aircraft would not fly and could not be brought under the control of the Department of Supply. I ask: How much would it cost to make these RAAF DC3 aircraft serviceable? If it is necessary for work to be done through the Department of Supply, could not officers of that Department be driven to the RAAF aerodrome to inspect the aircraft to see whether they were suitable for donation to foreign governments? I think that the Minister, in his answers to these questions* is building up another VIP incident.
– It is quite likely that the honourable senator is trying to do that.
– The Minister is not coming clean.
– The situation is that the Royal Australian Air Force had some aircraft which were surplus to requirements. These planes had not been in service for many years. In addi tion, later this year we will have 3 more aircraft of the same type surplus to requirements. For the Air Force to be able to dispose of these aircraft the Department of Supply must be informed that they are available for disposal. From then on action to dispose of them is taken by the Department of Supply.
– Was the Department notified?
– Will ‘the Department be notified?
– Is this a crossexamination?
– Let us have a debate on it. We are not getting anywhere this way*
– I am not answering interjections.. 1 am telling the honourable senator what has happened. That operation has been undertaken and the aircraft are there for disposal. That is as far as it affects the Air Force.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing (he Minister for Health, ls it a fact that many pensioners previously eligible to hold a pensioner medical card have had this entitlement withdrawn as a result of the tapered means test which was introduced in the 1969 Budget? Is it also a fact that these withdrawals took place about 12 months after the Budget announcement and that this action was contrary to the statement of the then Treasurer, Mr McMahon. that fringe benefits would not be available to persons who became pensioners for the first time as a result of the introduction of the tapered means test?
– The honourable senator has asked a very important question, lt is so important that I think it should be placed on the notice paper so that 1 may get a: detailed reply from the Minister concerned.
– My question to the Minister for Air follows upon the answer that the Minister gave to Senator Turnbull. How long ago did the DC3 aircraft become surplus to Royal Australian Air Force requirements? When was the
Department of Supply notified that they were available for disposal?
– Between December 1957 and June 1970 about 20 RAAF Dakotas became surplus to Air Force requirements. I do not Have the other information at hand.
– My question, to the Minister representing the Minister forShipping and Transport relates to the long delay over several years in resolving the type and route of the proposed Adelaide, to Port Pirie standard gauge railway connection and the associated railway works which are recognised as part of a comprehensive rail standardisation plan ls the Minister aware that the proposal put up. by the South Australian Railways Commissioner and now made public could, enable more extensive rail conversion work tq be performed in South Australia arid would offer special facilities to traffic and industry in Adelaide, and that this could be done more cheaply than is proposed under the Maunsell report? I also ask the Minister: Has there been a speedy examination of the proposal? If that examination is at present being conducted, will he .endeavour to have the costing and policy decisions speeded up so that the necessary works might be started during l,971;?
-I would’ presume, not knowing a. great deal about this, that: any South Australian Railways Commissioner who generated in his own department a proposal for doing a j6b in his State cheaper arid more efficiently than a previously expressed view would communicate that information, certainly to the Commonwealth. I cannot say :more than that. I do riot know the details of this but I shall certainly make inquiries arid try tq find out and I will do what I can to speed up the matter mentioned by the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to you, Mr President. I preface it by reminding you that yesterday I received answers to some question which had been on the Notice Paper for approximately 8 months. Again I ask: Have any arrangements been agreed to for the inclusion in the answer of the date on which the question was asked and the date on which the reply was-submitted to the Senate?
– Obviously that question is a matter for the Leader of the Government in the Senate to answer, not for me.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI do not want to be held ‘categorically to this, Mr President! but I seem tq remember that ‘in the light pf other circumstances I said that I’ could see no valid reason why this could not be done. If that is what I said, I certainly meant it. If it is not being done I shall ,see; why it is not.
– I ask the Minister for Supply: In view of the fact that the Department was advised by the. Department qf Air of. a surplus of DC3 aircraft, why were not arrangements made for possession to be obtained of these aircraft and for their disposal as foreign aid rather than, the purchase of such aircraft from a private company
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI verily believe that there is a crossed line here somewhere. I understood that the question directed to the Minister for Air was in the generality. I am quite certain the terms of his reply did not refer to the particular aircraft, which presumably the Department of Foreign Affairs acquired for distribution as foreign aid. It would, I imagine, be very difficult for him to know, and I arn sure he would not be in a position to know, that the honourable senator was talking about a particular aircraft. There is a general rule relating to the disposal of aircraft or of any defence equipment by the Services. The Departs ment concerned makes a decision at some point of time that certain equipment, be it aircraft, a building or anything you like, is surplus or redundant Or is up for disposal. The Department then goes through the procedure of notifying the Department of Supply that it is for disposal. It then becomes the responsibility of the Department of Supply to dispose of it.
– Did you say they did or did not?
– I am saying that I am quite certain that the questions earlier this afternoon purported to be directed at a particular number of aircraft and I do not think the reply by the Minister for Air necessarily related to those aircraft.
– Why not?
– For the very good reason that the Minister said in bis final answer that there were about 20 of them.
– They were Dakotas. We are talking about DC3s.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI think the two terms are synonymous. I rather gathered that the reply the Minister gave related to a general situation. Senator Cavanagh asked his question and I am stating the procedures that apply.
– But what happened? Were you notified?
This is question time; this is not an interrogation room. The honourable senator should ask his question again. 1 am saying that there is a normal procedure to be followed when a Service department declares something surplus. It notifies the Department of Supply and then certain procedures are gone through. When questions were asked of me yesterday by Senator Keeffe and Senator Georges about these aircraft I promised that I would seek to obtain some information in relation to them. I have been waiting all this afternoon for a similar question to be asked so that I can give the information I have obtained.
– 1 wish to direct a question to the Minister for Air. I want to be clear on a particular point. Am 1 to understand that the Department of Air was not asked by the Department of Foreign Affairs or the Department of Supply to tender for tha supply of these aircraft? If so, how did three of these aircraft come to be supplied to (he Department of Foreign Affairs? If three of these aircraft were actually supplied what would be the difficulty in supplying the remaining four? The Minister has said that no request was made. I want an explanation as to how these aircraft came to be supplied.
– Mr President, 1 think I had better intercede again because this is quite obviously an elementary matter. The fact is the Department of Foreign Affairs wanted to buy some aircraft for foreign aid purposes. Every aircraft is not the same. Because three out of a parcel of a dozen are bought, it does not mean that one has to buy the balance. When I go to buy a shirt I do not have to buy every shirt that is on the rack. I was asked questions yesterday by Senator Keeffe and Senator Georges about the sale of aircraft by Jetair Australia Ltd to the Government and. because the honourable senators were getting excited, I promised to obtain some information for them. I shall repeat what I said yesterday.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs issued a Press statement in which he indicated that the Department of Foreign Affairs had elected to buy 11 aircraft, six of which were to be purchased from a com.pany named Jetair Australia Ltd. 1 made it perfectly clear yesterday that the Department of Supply would come into the matter only after a decision had been taken as it was the department which was responsible for completing the transaction. As I said yesterday and I repeat today, if and when the transaction is completed I will give the details of it to the Senate.
– When will it be completed?
It will not be very long. That is the answer to the first part of Senator Keeffe’s question. The second part of it, as I recall, was in relation to whether the 6 aircraft which were being purchased from Jetair were in fact aircraft which had been disposed of by the Government to Jetair. I said that I did not know but I would seek to find out. I have sought to find out and I have been able to glean the following information so far: No aircraft which were originally owned by the Royal Australian Air Force were sold by the Commonwealth Government to Jetair. 1 was fairly certain that this was right. But Senator Keeffe’s question went beyond that in that he said it could well be that these aircraft were involved in some transaction before then.
– That they had been sold to a third person.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONYes. I sought to obtain this information. Just at the commencement of question time I was given by my Department some additional information which I think is reasonably accurate. Two of the six aircraft subsequently acquired by Jetair were sold by my Department to Stanair (US). They were from the RAAF. The sale to Stanair was made hi June 1968.
– Were they DC3s?
– I am talking about DC3 aircraft. These aircraft were sold in June 1968 to Stanair. They were military type and were unfitted. These aircraft were sold after tenders had been called from all over the world. The price of two of these aircraft was $8,396 each. These aircraft were sold to Stanair and acquired by Jetair from Stanair. The third was owned originally by the Bureau of Mineral Resources, lt was disposed of for $13,000 to Airlines of New South Wales which, in turn, presumably sold it to Jetair. The fourth, a 21 -seater, was acquired by Jetair from Trans-Australia Airlines-. 1 do not have any information about that acquisition. 1 know only that it was sold by TAA. Then there were 2 freighters. One was acquired from TAA. I do not know anything about that acquisition.
– Did Jetair purchase that freighter from TAA?
– Yes. The other was sold by the Department of Supply to Stanair (US) at a RAAF disposal in June 1968. lt was a military, unfitted aircraft and was sold for $8,396. The only other note I have on these sales is that the Government does not know what Jetair paid for the aircraft it acquired in the subsequent transactions. All aircraft originally owned by the RAAF were sold as bare military aircraft and brought a total of approximately $38,000 in open public tenders. It is estimated that the cost of converting them to passenger con figuration, and of obtaining a certification of airworthiness for civil operations would cost upwards of $50,000 per aircraft. I have taken a little time to provide this information. That is the maximum of my knowledge and the Senate now has it.
– I wish to supplement the answer given. The Department of Air did not receive the request mentioned by the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Supply. Did the Department of Air notify the Department of Supply that it had surplus DC3 aircraft available for disposal?
– Whenever the Department of Air makes an executive decision that it has aircraft available for disposal, in due course it notifies the Department of Supply.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Treasurer. Will the Government bear in mind that any austerity programme by Commonwealth and State governments should be planned and controlled carefully so that the private business sector and the private investor, are not panicked into excessive similar programmes and so lay the foundation for depression and unemployment, as happened in 1930? With the share market in a bad way and with the rural community’s purchasing power gravely diminished, is there not need for great care lest austerity get out of hand and lead to a lack of confidence, unemployment and depression?
– I do not think anyone would challenge the theme of the honourable senator’s question, but in whatever measures the Government takes there have to be steadiness, sensibility and proper, not distorted, judgments. That is the art of - the science - government responsibility in relation to the economy. I am quite convinced that the Government will have regard, does have regard and always has bad regard to the points made by Senator McManus.
– I direct a further question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It arises out of the reply that he gave about the Jetair Australia Ltd-Stanair (U.S.) transactions. Can the Minister inform the Parliament whether 2 longstanding customs policies have now been broken? Apparently Stanair purchased the aircraft from the Department of Supply. 1 understood that all aircraft purchased in this manner were supposed to leave Australia. Can the Minister tell us whether these aircraft ever left Australia? 1 again ask this question of the Minister: Has the 2-airline policy been breached in that Jetair Australia Ltd was able to secure passenger carrying planes of this size when the IPEC organisation and other companies have been refused permission to purchase such planes?
– 1 cannot answer the second part of the honourable senator’s question but the Minister for Civil Aviation gave an answer yesterday which indicated, as I recall, that some conditional permit was given to Jetair Australia Ltd to fly under certain circumstances. That is the second part of the question. The honourable senator would need to direct that part of the question to the Minister for Civil Aviation.
– 1 shall ask in a moment.
I think the honourable senator asked that question yesterday and that was the answer given. As to the first part of the question, the terms and condition of sale in relation to disposal are that the planes to be disposed of have to be exported. It is true that there have been some legal difficulties in relation to the application of that condition. My memory is not good in relation to this incident but there were certainly some difficulties in fulfilling the contractual arrangements surrounding the disposal of some Viscount aircraft. I shall obtain the facts as to what happened to these aircraft now under discussion. The notes I have on this matter do not reveal whether or not they actually went out of the country and came in again. I shall obtain that information and make it available to the honourable senator.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Health noted a statement by Dr Lane, Director of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, that given additional funds, an antivenene for the venom of the funnel web spider could be found. I ask the Minister whether in view of the increasing funnel web spider attacks this summer Dr Lane’s request has been heeded.
– 1 have seen the Press statement to which the honourable senator refers. I cannot give a complete answer to the points he has raised but 1 shall take the matter up with the Minister for Health. 1 have some information concerning the funnel web spider which shows the problems which laboratories face in obtaining an antivenene to combat the spider’s bite. Although the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories have produced a redback spider antivenene, to date they have been unable to produce an antivenene to the venom of the funnel web spider. This is because none of the toxic components of the venom is antigenic and the usual process of immunisation to produce antibodies in the sera of laboratory animals is ineffective.
Since 1957 Commonwealth Serum Laboratories have been trying to identify the chemical constituents of the venom and combine one of these with a protein to produce an antigen. In this way antibodies could be produced in animals and antivenene produced. One of the main difficulties in the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories’ experimental work has been the supply of venom. Each spider produces only a very small amount of venom and it would be necessary to milk over 1,000 spiders a week to obtain reasonable supplies. This covers one of the very real points of difficulty which confront us.
– I direct the attention of the Minister for Civil Aviation to an answer given by the Leader of the Government in the Senate to Senator Keeffe, namely, that one aircraft acquired by Jetair Australia Ltd was acquired from Trans-Australia Airlines and that one freighter was acquired from TAA. I ask the Minister whether he is aware of the amount that was paid to TAA by Jetair Australia Limited and, if not, will he ascertain the price and inform the Senate?
– 1 will be as helpful as I can to the Senate to the extent to which the Department of Civil Aviation is involved in this matter. Senator Turnbull asked a question regarding the operational position and I think he obtained a factual answer. Senator Keeffe asked whether I could find out from the Department of Civil Aviation where the aircraft were purchased. I have asked the Department to obtain that information for me, if it can, by searching through the records - the log books and things of that kind. Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson has already given some information which shows where the aircraft came from that Jetair finally assembled and sold. Senator McClelland says it now appears that TAA sold two of them and Airlines of New South Wales sold one of them to Jetair. I will endeavour to find out the selling price from both of these companies, if I can.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question. While the Government is searching for material on the matter of the sale of aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force to various people, will the Minister try to find out whether Mr Alexander Barton, whose activities seem to extend into the Meld of Stanair and Jetair Australia Ltd, is the same person who has raised tens of millions of dollars from the public for dubious projects, one being an opal as big as the Ritz? Can the Minister say whether Stanair (US) is a bona fide overseas company and whether there is any connection between Stanair and Jetair? 1 could also add hot air to these companies.
– 1 do not really think I have a responsibility to look into the bona fides of a person. I question the wisdom of casting reflections by implication upon any person while the proceedings of the Senate are being broadcast. lt seems a bit like a drumhead trial. However, that is Senator O’Byrne’s responsibility. I am certainly not going to react to it. I have now been handed a little more information and, being in a helpful mood, I think I might as well supply it to honourable senators, lt relates to the disposal of the aircraft and their numbers. I am told that 10 surplus DC3 aircraft remain at Laverton air base, 5 of which have been sold lo (he Department of Foreign Affairs. That is consistent with what we have been told already. They are destined for Cambodia under our aid programme. A further 5 DC3 aircraft have been declared to the Department of Supply from the Royal Australia Air Force. In other words, it has now put its imprimatur on them for disposal.
– What date?
I have so many helpers it is almost impossible to answer the question. I can give only the information I have.- If everybody keeps interjecting I will never get finished. As I have said, a further 5 DC3 aircraft have been declared to my Department by the RAAF. In other words, they are for disposal.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI do not know. If I knew I would tell you. Tenders have been called for three of these aircraft but the conclusion of sales awaits the assurance of the Department of Civil Aviation that the sales meet the particular requirements. Tenders have yet to be called for the remaining 2 aircraft.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI gave the information on the basis of a statement of the Prime Minister, which covered all the departments, including the Postmaster-General’s Department. The question now asked by Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood relates to a particular item under the head of the Postmaster-General’s Department. I am not informed about that. I would have thought the way to seek the answer would be through the PostmasterGeneral.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The Danish ship ‘Nella Dan’, under charter to the Antarctic Division of the Department of Supply, left Mawson in the Antarctic with helicopters on board early this morning to rescue an Australian injured on a glacier on Heard Island in the sub-Antarctic. The injured man is Mr I. E. B. Holmes, 25, of Cardigan Street, Carlton, Victoria, a cadet engineer with the Melbourne Harbour Trust Commissioners, who is on loan to the Department of Supply. Mr Holmes is a member of a party of 5 Australians participating in a French Antarctic research expedition on Heard Island, half way between Australia and South Africa and 900 miles north of the Antarctic continent. With Dr G. M. Budd of Sydney and Mr I. C. Dillon of Middle Cove, New South Wales, he was carrying out a biological and glaciological survey around Heard Island.
The 3 men were a mile up the Gotley Glacier at 1,000 feet elevation on Saturday when Mr Holmes broke a leg. Gotley Glacier extends down the south-south-western side of the 8,000-feet Mawson Peak on Heard Island. Dr Budd, a medical officer, put Mr Holmes’s leg in a splint and left him with sedatives and adequate clothing, food and fuel. He and Mr Dillon then walked 40 miles in 2 days across the hazardous terrain back to the base camp at Atlas Cove on the north-west side of the island to report the accident. Because of the rugged terrain it was decided that Mr Holmes could not be carried back to the camp.
The ‘Nella Dan’ look on 2 helicopters at Mawson and is expected to reach Heard Island, 1,000 miles away, on Saturday, 20th February. An attempt will be made to lift the injured man off the glacier by helicopter. On board the ‘Nella Dan’ are a doctor and a radio operator who both have mountaineering experience. The ‘Nella Dan’ was on her way to Mawson to pick up Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition expeditioners for return to Melbourne, when she was asked yesterday to assist, inquiries by the Department of Supply among other Antarctic Treaty signatory nations have shown that no other ship carrying a helicopter is nearer to Heard Island than the ‘Nella Dan’. I am sure we all hope and pray that this expedition will be successful.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to the gift of aircraft to various nations. Did those nations make special requests for aircraft? If so, what are the dates of those requests and which department had the necessary expertise to evaluate the conditions of the aircraft? If not, who suggested that the gifts should be aircraft?
– I think this question is on all fours with the one asked by the honourable senator yesterday. I promised to obtain information on the circumstances of the gifts and where the requests originated. When the Department of Foreign Affairs supplies me with the relevant information, I will make it available to the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Is it a fact that as part of the austerity campaign lawns surrounding Parliament House are now being cut only once a week instead of twice? Is it also a fact that these lawns are now being cut by 4 men with hand motor mowers instead of a mobile mower drawn by a tractor? Is it also a fact that the cut grass is being heaped manually for disposal later? If so, can the Minister tell me what savings have been made?
I do not know whether the question is intended to be in a flippant vein or is intended to be a serious one. All I know is that because of the phenomenal rains we have had in Sydney one has to cut the lawn more often. However, I suggest that this is a normal matter within the department or authority concerned. I certainly will not direct the question to the Prime Minister’s Department because it has no relationship at all to the austerity aspect. If the honourable senator wants certain information because of a change in procedure, I will attempt to obtain an answer for him.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing- the Minister for Customs and Excise, who I think is the appropriate Minister. Does the Minister realise that recent publicity on possible tariff revision and reform, including divisions of opinion at Cabinet level, has left secondary industry in a condition of extreme doubt and uncertainty, thus making future planning and development most difficult? Will the Government, with the Tariff Board, expedite the making of a clear statement of decisions proposed, so that secondary industry may know where to go?
– I think that this would apply equally to the Minister for Trade and Industry and to the Minister for Customs and Excise. I would say that the Minister for Customs and Excise would be aware of the factors that the honourable senator has mentioned, and I would say also that the Government would be aware of the fact that people are speculating. However. I think one should comment that a lot of the speculation Bows very properly from people with certain of their own interests to serve. This matter is under examination and review and I am sure that it will be cleared up before very much longer. -v,DC3 AIRCRAFT
– My question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate follows questions already asked relating to the fact that the terms of sale of DC3 aircraft and Royal Australian Air Force Viscount aircraft have been broken on more than one occasion, ls it a fact that in 1969 the terms of sale relating to 2 RAAF Viscounts, that is, that the aircraft were to be exported, were broken? I remind the Minister that the aircraft were being sold at the very low figure of 3153,000. If the Department knew that the terms of sale had been broken what legal remedies did the Government take to prevent their breach? Is it a fact that despite the fact that the terms of sale had been broken the Department of Civil Aviation decided to permit the use of those aircraft on certain domestic routes?
– I do not know about the last part of the question but I do recall that there were certain circumstances associated with the breaking of the requirement for the export of the aircraft, for want of a better term. This then became a matter not so much for my Department as for the legal officers of the Crown who had before them the question of penalties, sanctions and so on.
– Would you find out what happened?
– Yes, I will ascertain the facts. My memory sometimes is pretty accurate in these things and I rather fancy that the Viscount aircraft eventually did leave this country. However, as I have said, T will ascertain the facts. Because of the difficulties associated with the alleged breach of contract the matter moved away from my Department and into the hands of the legal officers of the Attorney-General’s Department, and certain proposals have been made in relation to closing the hole so that this kind of thing cannot happen again. I think the suggestion was made that a prospective purchaser should have to ente into a contract to take delivery outside of Australia. That is a legal question and pethaps I should await a legal reply.
– I should like to add something. Senator Bishop probably will be delighted to learn that his assumption that the Department of Civil Aviation had allowed the aircraft to which he referred to fly in Australia in the field of civil aviation is incorrect. Those aircraft have been exported from Australia in accordance with the terms of the original tender schedule. I repeat that at no time did they fly in Australia in the private or commercial category.
– Is the Minister for Civil Aviation prepared to make a full statement to the Parliament on the conditions under which Jetair Australia Ltd carried passengers and freight in Australia and, in particular, why the company apparently has been granted special privileges not available to companies which have been established on similar lines? Will the Minister advise whether the apparent preferential treatment of Jetair Australia Ltd by the Government is a first step for the Government to abandon its long stated support for the 2-airline policy?
– Once again we have a number of unwarranted assumptions which cannot be deduced from any of the facts of this matter. I gave to Senator Turnbull yesterday a carefully and accurately prepared statement on the operating conditions of Jetair. Senator Keeffe might care to read that statement at his convenience. I will take note of his question. If he requires any further information to clear his mind on this matter I shall get it for him.
– I ask the Minister for Supply whether he will ascertain the date when his Department was advised by the Department of Air that the 5 additional DC3 aircraft were available for disposal, and advise the Senate accordingly.
– Is the honourable senator referring to the 5 or the 6 aircraft?
– The 5 aircraft.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThey are the other 5. I will seek that information.
– I direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the apparent irregularities in the acquisition of aircraft from a private company by a government department for the purpose of making a gift to Cambodia, will the Minister have a search made of the books of the companies Jetair Australia Ltd or Stanair (US) to ascertain whether any member of the Government is connected with those companies?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI do not understand the honourable senator’s reference to an irregularity. I do not know that there really was any irregularity. There was certainly no irregularity in respect of my Department. I do not see that the Government has a responsibility to probe shareholdings or persona) holdings in private companies. The Department of Supply disposes of aircraft by tender. Whilst some people may think that the tender system sometimes proves to be unsatisfactory, in the long run, in view of the types of questions that are sometimes asked here, I say thank God that we do it that way.
-I address a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as representative of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. My question relates to the answer he gave to a question a few moments ago. I ask: Were tenders called by the Department of Foreign Affairs for the supply of these aircraft? If so, why was a tender or an offer by a Melbourne firm overlooked, although it was considerably lower than the price paid?
– The question is directed to me as representative in the Senate of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. My understanding is that the arrangement entered into between Jetair Australia Ltd and the Department of Foreign Affairs was by private treaty. It comes to my Department to be formalised, in the event. I will seek some further information from the Department of Foreign Affairs, but I really think it is available in Mr McMahon’s Press release issued several days ago.
(Question No. 657)
asked the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice:
– The AttorneyGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Campbell Beaumont Trading Co. Pty Ltd (in liquidation)
Ametco Australia Pty Ltd
The defendants in the other writ are-
Campbell Beaumont Trading Co. Pty Ltd (in liquidation)
Universal Agencies Pty Ltd
The actions are awaiting hearing by the High Court.
(Question No. 692)
asked the Minister representingthe Minister for Health, upon notice:
– The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question: (1)Yes.
(Question No. 796)
asked the Minister for Education and Science:
What progress has been made by the Metric Conversion Board towards the introduction of metric weights and measures in Australia?
– The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The following action has been taken by the Metric Conversion Board since July 1970 when it was established to plan, guide and facilitate Australia’s conversion to the metric system:
Ten committees, which between them will cover all the sectors involved in the change, have been appointed to advise the Board on metric conversion. Each Advisory Committee comprises about 10 leading members of the community concerned with the various important aspects of the change in that sector and is chaired by a member of the Board and has on it at least 3 other Board members. Most of the committees are now fully operative. Each Advisory Committee will, in its turn, be assisted by a number of Advisory Subcommittees charged with tendering advice on particular aspects of conversion.
The immediate tasks of these committees are to formulate proposals forthe manner and timing of conversion within the sectors with which they are concerned. Already a draft programme for the building and construction industry has been developed and is being critically examined. It is expected others will follow shortly.
An overall picture of the metric position in other countries has been obtained through visits made by the Chairman and Executive Member of the Board to South Africa, Kenya, United Kingdom, France, Canada, United States of America, Japan and New Zealand.
Attention has been given to the units proposed for use under metric conversion and lists have been prepared and will shortly be issued for those units recommended for common use and those whose use is still under review.
A symbol has been adopted to signify metric conversion in Australia. The Board hopes that the symbol will be used widely, for instance on official and unofficial publications, technical specifications, and metrically marked packaged goods.
The endeavours ofthe Standards Association of Australia to extend its facilities for the preparation of the new technical specifications which will be the prerequisite for many phases of metric conversion have been supported.
A committee comprising senior personnel from the news media, a representative of the Australian News and Information Bureau and four members of the Board has been set up to advise the Board in regard to dissemination of information regarding metric conversion. This committee’s major task has been the preparation of a brochure on the functions and composition of the Board and its committees, preliminary proposals for conversion and recommended usage in respect of units. This brochure is intended to provide key information to those desiring an early guidance regarding conversion.It will be made available to honourable senators before it is distributed generally.
A nucleus of tehnical and administrative personnel has been established to provide the high calibre assistance needed to service and assist the. Board and its committees and provide advice on conversion to those throughout the community in need of it. It is not proving simple to obtain suitable staff in adequate numbers.
Premises have been leased in Sydney and Mel bourne for the main secretariat and a branch office respectively and will be ready for full occupation shortly. Branch offices will be established in other States as the need arises.
(Question No. 759)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice: (.1) Did the Queensland Cabinet on the submission of the Premier, Mr Bjelke-Petersen, grant permission to graziers to slaughter droughtaffected sheep for dog food. (2)Has permission been granted to use kangaroo slaughtering facilities for this purpose which are not subject to stringent health supervision.
– The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
In relation to (2) and (3), the Department of Health. Queensland, has advised that:
(Question No. 791)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:
– The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The rules of organisations vary considerably in regard to the payment of benefits for eye examinations and for the purchase of spectacles. Where organisations require examinations to be performed by, and spectacles to be prescribed by. a legally qualified medical practitioner, the rules only occasionally refer to an ophthalmologist. The references are usually to: legally qualified medical practitioner’; ‘qualified eye doctor’; ‘eye specialist’; ‘specialist’: or qualified oculist’.
Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society in New South Wales, Sydney.
Protestant Alliance Friendly Society of Australasia, Grand Council of New South Wales, Sydney.
Grand United Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society of New South Wales, Sydney.
The Phoenix Welfare Association Limited. Newcastle.
Independent Order of Oddfellows, Grand Lodge of New South Wales, Sydney.
Hunter Medical Benefit Fund Limited, Cessnock.
Newcastle Industrial Benefits Limited. Newcastle.
Commonwealth Bank Health Society, Sydney.
The Australian Chilling and Freezing Company Limited, Medical Benefits Scheme, Aberdeen.
New South Wales Teachers’ Federation Health Society, Sydney.
The Commercial Banking Company Health Society, Sydney.
Reserve Bank Health Society.
which pay a benefit for eye examinations when carried out by a medical practitioner only; and
Australian Holy Catholic Guild of St Mary and St Joseph, Sydney.
Medical Benefits Fund of Australia Limited, Sydney.
Mechanics’ Medical Assurance Scheme, Newcastle.
Hibernian-Australasian Catholic Benefit Society of New South Wales, Sydney.
M.M. Hospital and Medical Club, Port Kembla.
The Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia, Sydney.
United Ancient Order of Druids Friendly Society, Grand Lodge of New South Wales.
Organisations which pay a benefit for spectacles when prescribed by either an optometrist or a medical practitioner, but do not pay a benefit for eye examination.
Organisations which do not pay a benefit for either eye examinations or spectacles.
– Yesterday at question time Senator McClelland asked me a question about land acquisition at Bankstown Airport.I could give him some information and I undertook to get the balance of the information for him. I shall now give it so that he can have it in Hansard. It is as follows:
The Department of Civil Aviation is interested in buying about 96 acres of land adjoining Bankstown Airport and presently owned by the Riverwood Golf Club. It will be used for future airport building area development - hangars, workshops, etc. The Club offered the land to DCA for sale some 18 months ago. The Department is still discussing the proposal with the Club and the New South Wales State Planning Authority.
There is no intention to develop Bankstown as an airline airport. The extra land is considered necessary for future expansion of existing general aviation activities.
– I have received the following letter from Senator Greenwood:
In accordance with Standing Order 64 I intend to move on Wednesday, the seventeenth day of February 1971:
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Thursday the eighteenth day of February at 10.55 a.m.
The need to affirm the policy of the Australian Government of not imposing upon the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea selfgovernment or independence contrary to the freely-expressed wishes of the people through their Parliamentary representatives.
Is the motion supported? (More than the number of senators required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places).
– I move:
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Thursday the eighteenth day of February at10.55 a.m.
I do so for the purpose of debating a matter of urgency, namely:
The need to affirm the policy of the Australian Government of not imposing upon the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea selfgovernment or independence contrary to the freely-expressed wishes of the people through their Parliamentary representatives.
Mr President, the need for such an affirmation arises from the regrettable events which took place in January 1970 and January 1971. In those months the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, Mr Whitlam, visited the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. In the course of his visit he was given wide Press coverage of his many statements. Those Press statements unfortunately destroyed what had previously been the bipartisan policy which generally had been exhibited by Australia to the people of Papua and New Guinea. They not only reduced the voice with which the Australian people could speak in the discharge of a trusteeship obligation but created within the Territory of Papua and New Guinea friction, suspicion and the seeds of distrust of Australia. I think it important that we recognise that what Mr Whitlam did in Papua and New Guinea was a disservice not only to the people of the Territory but to the Australian nation. I think that on examination the views he put forward will be found to be totally inconsistent with the precepts which his own Party has espoused over the years and totally inconsistent with what is the proper course that Australia should be following.
We believe in this country not in democracy as an end but as a means to a higher and more desirable objective and we are endeavouring to give, in a very short space of time, to the people in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea a recognition of the advantages of this democratic method. The whole point of what Mr Whitlam has been saying in the Territory is a negation of the developing democracy in that country and for that reason, if not for many others, his remarks are to be deplored.
We do not know why he made these trips. If they were fact finding trips it is surprising that on the very first occasion in 1970 when he visited the Territory after a lapse of some5 or 6 years he should state before he had gone outside of Port Moresby that the policy of the Australian Labor Party was self government for the Territory in 1972 and independence by 1976. The assertion of such a policy is totally inconsistent with the assumed motive of visiting New Guinea because he was desirous of finding out the facts.
– Mr Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I rely on standing orders 413 and 418 as the basis for my point of order. The Senate shouldnot be used as the vehicle for the making of personal reflections upon and the suggestion of improper motives against a member of the other House of this Parliament. I do not have any objection to a discussion of the proposition which is before the Chair, but I do not think that personal reflections should be made upon the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives.
The proposition which is before the Chair is a simple one. It involves the affirmation of a policy and discussion of that policy. While facts may be stated, I do not think that it is necessary to speak about the motives of any member of the other place. It would save a great deal of time and it would conform more to the practices and dignity of the Senate if honourable senators were to abstain entirely from making these suggestions. They do not help, and I do not think that they are necessary in order to permit this debate to be conducted. Mr Deputy President,I ask you to direct Senator Greenwood not to make any personal reflections against a member of the other place.
– Addressing myself to the point of order, I wishto make a number of comments. Senator Murphy has come into this chamber and, in the form of a point of order, has presumed to lecture us. He is the greatest offender in making imputations against others when he wants to make a case. The Senate is debating a matter of urgency, namely, the need to affirm a policy in relation to New Guinea. Important members- even insignificant members - of this Parliament who come into controversy when they are in conflict with the policy that we wish to affirm are relevant subjects to which to advert. Senator Murphy referred to the Standing Orders. Standing order 413 provides that no senator shall allude to any debate or proceedings of the same session unless such allusion is relevant to the matter under discussion. No reference has been made to any debate. Standing order 416 states that no senator shall allude to any debate of the current session unless it is relevant. Standing order 418 simply states that no senator shall use offensive words against either House of the Parliament.
– Or any member.
– Read on.
– Yes. I am making only a brief reference because you, Mr Deputy President, have the Standing Orders before you.It is a matter of great regret that an argument as serious as the one we are listening to from Senator Greenwood - inevitably involving adverse reference to the Leader of the Opposition and his interference with the Government’s policy in regard to New Guinea - should be interrupted by a completely insupportable point of order of this character.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - Senator Greenwood, I would strongly urge you to keep within the terms of standing order 418 and not to contravene it.
– I have no wish to offend against the Standing Orders. I regret that Senator Murphy has found in what I was saying some suggestion of impropriety on the part of the Leader of the Opposition in the other place. I assure the Senate that my intention was merely to attack him on legitimate political grounds. Senator Murphy may have thought that I was going further, but. I assure him that that was not my intention.
I have been stressing the fact that there is need for an affirmation of this policy. I believe that there is need for a clear recognition of the fact that Australia respects the developing democracy of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and will respect the wishes of the local people. I believe that there is a need for us in Australia to show that we will neither abandon the people of the Territory nor ignore the decisions of the democratic organ which we have helped them to establish. I believe also that it is implicit in the language of this statement of urgency that there is a need to assist the Australian Labor Party to clarify - if it Gan and if it wishes - whether it will acknowledge the role of the House of Assembly or impose its own inverted colonialism upon the people of the territory.
Where lies the authority in the Australian Labor Party and where lies the authority of Mr Whitlam to speak for it? I have here the platform of the Australian Labor Party as published in 1969 - from recollection it was August 1969. In December 1969 and January 1970 the Leader of the Opposition went to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and, oh arrival in Port Moresby, asserted a policy
– The Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives.
– Yes, Mr Whittorn. On arrival in Port Moresby he asserted a policy which is completely inconsistent with all that is contained in the platform of the Australian Labor Party. An examination of the section of its platform relating to New Guinea - a platform which was drawn up at a conference held in August 1969 - will show that there is no suggestion of immediate self government and a 1976 target of independence for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. What one will find in the platform is an indication that there will be a gradual abolition of the power of the Australian Government to veto the decisions of the House of Assembly and, set out in some detail, a tremendous number of provisions which an Australian Labor Party government would seek to enforce throughout the Territory. That approach, of course, is totally inconsistent with the idea of self government in early 1972. On that score there is some reason for the Australian Labor Party to indicate whether it proposes to abide by its own platform, whether it proposes to abide by the statement which Mr Whitlam has made or whether it is prepared to acknowledge that the House of Assembly in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea desires that the target dates for self government and independence should be set with its concurrence, which is a viewpoint which has been emphatically denied by Mr Whitlam on various occasions in the 2 years that he has visited the Territory.
I think that it is important to recognise the nature of the obligation which Australia has in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It is an obligation which has to be discharged in the light of what is in the best interests of the Australian people. It is also an obligation which has to be discharged in the light of what is in the best interests of the people of the Territory. The people of Australia and, until recently, members of both - all political parties - major political parties have believed that that obligation is best discharged with its twin facets by developing the social, political and economic abilities of the people of the Territory so that we can ultimately - when they have self government and independence - maintain friendly relations on the basis that one country has discharged honourably the trusteeship obligation which it had. For the proper discharge of this obligation there must be a belief and a trust within the Territory that Australia is pursuing policies designed to bring to the forefront the inherent abilities which these people have.
Likewise there should be on the part of Australia a recognition that these people have under proper training and through appropriate standards the ability to maintain themselves and to govern themselves in a way which will reflect credit upon not only themselves but also upon the way in which the trust authority has discharged its mandate.
We should never forget that we hold Papua and New Guinea, as we now administer Papua with New Guinea, under an article of the United Nations Charter which states on what conditions trusteeship bodies may be established. Under Article 76 of the United Nations Charter - not by a decision of the Assembly or of the Council - we have an obligation to promote the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants of the trust territories, and their progressive development towards self-government or independence as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of each territory and its people and - I stress these words - the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned, and as may be provided by the terms of each trusteeship agreement. Under the Article we have clearly to recognise the need to have regard to the freely expressed wishes of the people of the Territory.
For many years the Australian Government has maintained that it will work towards the self government and the independence of the people of the Territory in partnership with the House of Assembly, which was established in 1964. The Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) and his predecessor, the present GovernorGeneral, Sir Paul Hasluck, as Ministers have discharged an obligation which I think has redounded to their credit and which should be recognised by the Australian people. Under the policies laid down by them and officers of the Department tremendous advances have been made. 1 think the success, which is to be seen everywhere one goes in the Territory, is a tremendous tribute to the work of dedicated public servants in Australia and in the Territory. If Australians observed the progress that has been made in the Territory, they could hold only that view. When delivering a speech to the Institute of Political Science in January 1968, the Minister said:
Let me re-state in formal terms another basic policy: that on the status of Papua and New Guinea and its future relationship with Australia. There ure 4 points:
The choice of their future form of government is one for the people of the Territory;
Changes which the majority of the people do not want will not be imposed on the Territory;
It is the prerogative of the Territory people to terminate the present Territory statu* and take independent status if they wish to do so. Should the people wish to remain in association with Australia after self determination this will require the agreement of the Australian Government of the day;
So far as decisions by Australia are required as to the nature of possible future forms of association that would be acceptable to Australia, such decisions cannot be made now, but should be made at the appropriate time by the Government of the day in the light of the circumstances then existing.
– What about a specific time table?
– A specific time table is a matter for the people of the Territory to determine, in conjunction with the Australian Government. That has been a basic feature of this Government’s policy for many years.
– What is the time table
– The time table is one for the people of the Territory to initiate. That is consistent with the wishes of the House of Assembly and with the viewpoints stated by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the Minister for External Territories in recent years.
I refer to a statement made by the Prime Minister in July 1970 when he visited the Territory and announced a further passage of responsibily to the Administrator’s Executive Council. He said:
We don’t want lo remain in the Territory oau 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 time table 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.
In each session the House of Assembly has appointed a Select Committee on Constitutional Development. That demonstrates the interest which these people are taking in the steps which they should pursue towards their ultimate self determination. The Select Committee on Constitutional Development has been in operation since June 1969. The presentation of its report to the House of Assembly is imminent. That Committee has been to Australia. Twice it has been throughout the Territory seeking views that can be weighed in its deliberations as to the recommendations to be made to the House of Assembly. The Territory is a developing democracy. I think it would be a tragedy if we in Australia did not allow these people to work out in their own way the form which their self determination should take. It would be inverted colonialism for us to say that they shall have, whether they like it or not, a certain type of self government imposed upon them. The Leader of the Opposition did not speak of complete self-government or of complete independence. He said, without prior consultation with anybody, that there could not be any self government or independence in relation to matters of external affairs or defence. Obviously statements such as that indicate the imposition of an authority rather than the evolution of a democratic process by the people concerned.
I draw the Senate’s attention to the fact that on 3 occasions the House of Assembly has indicated specifically to the United Nations and to the Australian Government that questions of self-government and independence are for the members of the House of Assembly. That was first stated in the To Liman resolution of 1964. It was reiterated in March 1969 when the House of Assembly resolved:
That we the elected representatives of the people of Papua and New Guinea desire to convey to the Parliament of the Commonwealth 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 Ne.v Guinea, and the 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 Adminis tering Authority, and thai undue pressure from without can lead only to that disruption, chaos and bloodshed which the people have observed with great alarm in certain newly independent countries.
In September 1970 the same expression of opinion was made. The House of Assembly has received an interim report from its Select Committee on Constitutional Development. The House passed a resolution in these terms:
This House directs the Select Committee On Constitutional Development to tour the entire Territory again seeking the true consensus of opinion of people of the Territory on vital issues, especially that of self government, before it tables any further reports of constitutional development in this House, and further that this tour should be undertaken early in 1971, and further (hat any future transfers of power or constitutional changes, whether requiring amendments to the Papua and New Guinea Act or not, will be unacceptable to the House unless such changes have been agreed to by a majority of members of this House.
I think resolutions of that character reflect a very healthy attitude that we in Australia would do well to recognise. That has been the bi-partisan policy which characterised the Australian approach to this Territory until the unfortunate remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition on his recent visit to the Territory. I have said that the view he expressed was held before he had embarked on any fact finding tour of the Territory. He constantly urged not only at that first interview but at subsequent interviews and in subsequent statements that the Territory of Papua and New Guinea have self-government in 1972 irrespective of the wishes of the local people. Interspersed with such comments were statements that persons who disagreed with him were foolish or stooges of the Administration. He thereby reflected upon the persons about whom he was speaking and sowed distrust in what should be an area of confidence as to the intentions and motives of the members of the Administration. On his last trip to the Territory Mr Whitlam had a conference with members of the Select Committee on Constitutional Development. A report which appeared in the Melbourne ‘Age’ on 14th January states:
Rabaul. - The Federal Opposition Leader (Mr Whitlam) told Papua-New Guinea’s select committee on constitutional development last night that a Labor Government would not necessarily accept its findings.
I take no exception to that statement. I think it is fair and prudent that Mr
Whitlam should say that. But he went on to state:
Nor was it prepared to wait for support from the majority of the people before giving the Territory self-government.
After the meeting the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Paulus Arek, is reported to have commented on that statement as follows:
Mr Arek said the committee was very worried it was to be forced into reaching conclusions not as the result of the wishes of the people but through decisions of the Government of the day in Australia . . .
We have been taught by Australia we must run this country in a democratic way’, he said, ‘lt must be nin according to the wishes of the majority. I do not want to be forced into a situation not accepted by the majority,’ said Mr Arek.
This is an indication of the fear Mr Arek has should there be a government run by the Australian Labor Party, of which Mr Whitiam is the head. Mr Arek has the assurance in many statements which have been made by the Minister for External Territories and by the Prime Minister that our policy is one of continued partnership and acceptance of the wishes of the House of Assembly. That is the way the situation will continue under the present government of this country. Mr Whitlam has shown a complete contempt for the House of Assembly. In showing that contempt he has exhibited an arrogance which amounts to a denial of democracy.
– The United Nations said the same thing as Mr Whitlam said. They were saying that in 1968.
– The honourable senator who has interjected would be wise to read the various reports of the United Nations trusteeship commissions and the reports of the General Assembly and to have regard to the fact that the Assembly resolutions vary from year to year. If honourable senators read the report of the Trusteeship Commission of 1969 they will find that it was one of general commendation of the activities which the Australian Government had been pursuing in the Territory. If they take the viewpoint of the General Assembly of last year they will have an expression by the General Assembly that Australia should fix target dates; but the view of both the Australian Government and of the House of Assembly is that those target dates should not now be fixed.
If one asks which is the more consistent with the United Nations Charter then obviously the United Nations Charter says that self determination must be made in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the people. The further point may be made that Mr Whitlam in his comments in the Territory and about the Territory has ignored the vast area of selfgovernment which already exists. In the middle of 1970 a wider responsibility Wai conferred upon the elected members of the House of Assembly who comprise the Administrator’s Executive Council. They have the final decision in a range of areas from taxation to local government and education - vast steps which have been made towards self-government. All of this has been done in co-operation, in confidence and on a basis of trust between the House of Assembly, the Administrator’s Executive Council and the Australian Government. This is sought to be set out nought by a politician who seeks to bring Australian divisiveness in politics into the New Guinea scene where it will not exist and where it need not exist. I believe that we in this Senate owe it not only to the people of Australia but also to the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to affirm positively that we respect their developing democracy and that we will not impose upon them self-government or independence contrary to their wishes, it is up to the Australian Labor Party to indicate clearly and emphatically whether it believes in democracy in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea or whether, contrary to democracy, it will impose the wishes of its own authoritarian party. I hope this motion is supported.
Suspension of Standing Orders
Motion (by Senator Wright) agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be ««pended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition speaking for 30 minutes.
– I thank the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) for his interposition. A fiery speech has been made by Senator Greenwood suggesting that the Senate should adjourn to a somewhat different time tomorrow morning in order to discuss the question of the future of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. The honourable senator puts the motion on the basis of a subject matter of urgency the terms of which seem to be, on the face of them, unexceptionable if one were not aware of the real circumstances. The terms are:
The need to affirm the policy of the Australian Government of not imposing upon the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea selfgovernment or independence contrary to the freely-expressed wishes of the people through their Parliamentary representatives.
The honourable senator’s case has been that it is necessary to discuss this matter. We do not mind the discussion taking place although we do not support the motives of the honourable senator in raising the matter, because the reality is that he has 2 bases. One basis is the democracy owed to the people of Papua and New Guinea and apparently the second is that the Australian Labor Party is not observing its policy. Both bases are fallacious. I shall deal with the second one first. The policy of the Australian Labor Party in regard to Papua and New Guinea appears under the heading ‘Papua New Guinea’ in the ‘Platform, Constitution and Rules’ of the Australian Labor Party. It states:
Australia’s administration of Papua and New Guinea must be to work to bring about independence and an economically viable nationhood as early as possible.
The political, educational, social and economic development of Papua and New Guinea involves a heavy burden upon Australia, and financial and technical assistance should be sought from the United Nations and its agencies.
The programme is then set out by the Australian Labor Party. The honourable senator failed to refer to the other extremely important parts of the policy. One of these appears under the heading of ‘Foreign Affairs’. Along with other things it states:
Australia should give firm and unwavering support to the United Nations and its Agencies, and to the United Nations Charter, and every effort should be made to make the United Nations an effective instrument for justice, peace, political, social and economic advancement.
Further under that heading it states:
Labor urges effective steps towards creating viable independent nations in what are at present colonial territories.
The position of Australia’s relationship to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea may be broadly regarded as one of trusteeship. We know the history of the acquisition of the 2 territories but, for practical purposes, they are both now regarded as territories which Australia holds in trustee ship. We are trustees for the United Nations. We have certain obligations to the United Nations in respect of those territories. Like any other trustee, we ought to be carrying out the terms of our trusteeship and obeying the directions which are given to us by the principal to whom we have the obligation. I suppose there can be no greater principal in the world than the assembled nations of the world. Those assembled nations have given certain directions to Australia. Over the years they have made various pronouncements about the necessity for freeing the colonial peoples and not allowing any excuses - whether it be the backwardness of the people, their lack of education or lack of performance - for colonial peoples not proceeding rapidly to self-government and independence.
– They have also pronounced criticisms of this Government.
– They have, yes. This country has been criticised not only by various organs of the United Nations and by the Trusteeship Council but also by numbers of its members. Outside those formal agencies it is known that Australia has come in for criticism. It is also known - it is a regrettable fact of life - that Australia is handicapped in its presentation of views on other international affairs because of its fear that if it opens its mouth on any subject at all the other nations will hammer into Australia because it is one of the colonial powers.
– Give ussome instances.
– I can give you instances. Having beento an assembly of these nations, I am well aware that the reason for the reticence of Australia when it should be criticising other nations is because of the desireto avoid any question of Papua and New Guinea being raised in the organs of the United Nations or other world bodies.
– I want you to give instances - chapter and verse.
– If the honourable senator wants a good example I will give him one. The United Nations held a conference on human rights, which is a very important subject.
– Which countries were involved?
– I think about 100 countries were involved.
– On human rights?
– Yes. They met at Teheran. I was there, and I think that of all the countries in the world - I may be corrected but I think I am right - Australia did not put forward one motion on human rights, nor did it join as a co-sponsor of any amendment on the question of human rights. Honourable senators know how other countries join in by the dozen to cosponsor motions. If honourable senator.applied their minds purely to policy they might say that it is a disgrace that, in the year that was set aside to consider the whole topic of human rights, Australia, Which once had a proud position in the advancement of democracy and its contributions to human rights, was not cosponsor to one motion. The secret ballot system, for example, is referred to all over the world as the Australian ballot. Australia had a proud history in the emancipation of women and in all sorts of matters, but no longer has it a proud history. In international affairs a shadow hangs over Australia. Everyone who is aware of these matters knows the truth of what I am saying. This Government is afraid of becoming involved in any disputation because it will inevitably be met with the answer: ‘Look what you are doing in Papua and New Guinea and to the Aboriginals. You had better keep quiet.’
Leaving aside that diversion created by the honourable senator from Western Australia, I would like to refer to the directions which were given to this country by the United Nations on 14th December 1970 at its one thousand nine hundred and twenty-eighth plenary meeting. A decision was made on this very matter, and the General Assembly said:
Recalling the provisions oF the Charter of the United Nations and the General Assembly resolutions . . . containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples;
Recalling its previous resolutions concerning. Papua and the trust Territory of New Guinea, in particular resolution 2590 (XXIV) of 16th December 1969;
Having considered the report of the Trusteeship Council covering the period from 20 June 1969 to 19 June 1970 and the relevant chapter of the report of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples;
Having heard the statement of the representative of the administering Power-
That is Australia:
Having heard the statements of the petitioners;
Taking into account the observations of the special committee and the Trusteeship Council regarding developments in Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea,
Mindful of the responsibility of the United Nations to render all help to the people of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea in their efforts freely to decide their own future-
Mr Deputy President, may I say that here is the clear answer of the United Nations, which says:
Mindful of the responsibilities of the United Nations to render all help to the people of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea in their efforts freely to decide their own future-
This is what the United Nations in its wisdom considers is necessary in order that the people may be assisted to decide their own future - not the nonsense that was spoken a little earlier. The United Nations said: 1 Reaffirms the inalienable right of the people of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea to self-determination and independence in accordance with General Assembly resolution 154 (XV) and the trusteeship agreement of 13th December 1946; 2 Reaffirms further its previous resolutions regarding Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea; 3 Takes note of the arrangements made by the Trusteeship Council in accordance with paragraph 5 of Resolution 2590 (XXIV) and in consultation with the special Committee on the Situation with regard to the implementation of the Declaration of the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and People, concerning the composition of its forthcoming periodic visiting mission to the Trust Territory of New Guinea in 1971. 4 Invites the administering Power to co-operate fully with the visiting mission and to provide it with all the necessary facilities and assistance in the performance of its tasks.
I would ask the honourable senator to listen carefully to the next provision, which reads: 5 Calls upon the administering Power-
That is Australia: to prescribe, in consultation with the freely elected representatives of the people, a specific timetable for the free exercise by the people of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea of their right to selfdetermination and independence and to report to the Trusteeship Council and to the Special Committee on the action taken in that regard.
That is what the United Nations said is necessary to help these people freely decide their own future. It has not only asked, it has not only advised, it has not only requested, but it has reached the position where it has called upon Australia to prescribe-
– In consultation.
– Of course. The United Nations has called upon Australia to prescribe, in consultation with the freely elected representatives of the people, a specific timetable. The whole burden of what was put by the honourable senator in his speech was this: ‘We will do nothing except leave it to the people there. They are ignorant people. They are not properly educated. They are much too far behind to have independence. They are a dependent people nol. fit for self-government and not fit for independence. We will leave it to them to make a prescription. We will leave it to them to take the initiative. We will leave it to these poor people who are not fit for self-government, not fit for independence and not fit to look after themselves.’
The United Nations has called upon Australia to consult with these people and to prescribe a timetable. As trustees, our obligation to them is to do that. But that is the very thing that this Government will not do. There can be no escaping from it by saying: ‘We will sit on our backsides and wait until these people, somehow or other, pull themselves up by their boot.stramps, because they axe not fit to look after themselves’. That is the view of members of the Government parties here. These people are supposed to be able to carry out this task on their own, although the United Nations has said that it is Australia’s task to make a prescription in consultation with them and it is not for them to do it by themselves. That is the key to the whole matter. The Government wants to sit back and ignore what the United Nations has said. It is neglecting to prescribe a specific timetable. It is neglecting its obligation to the United Nations.
Who are the members of the United Nations? Who are the people who would go out of their way to make this decision? What small group of nations would set out to give this kind of direction to Australia? They must surely be the enemies of Australia or people who are just trying to create trouble - this is what the Government thinks - not people who understand what is happening in New Guinea. The Government thinks that these people do not understand the problems of colonial people; that they are remote people who would not really know what it is all about. Members of the Australian Government, in their paternalism, think that this matter ought to be left to the people there. They say: ‘It will be a long time yet. Do not let us take any immediate steps.’ I seem to remember somebody on the Government benches mentioning a period of 1,000 years in relation to the people of New Guinea.
Let me continue with this important and, I believe, most recent pronouncement by the United Nations General Assembly. It further requested the administering power to intensify and accelerate the education and technical and administrative training of the indigenous peoples of the Territories and the localisation of the Public Service, and requested the Trusteeship Council and the Special Committee to continue to examine this question and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its Twenty-sixth Session. What was the voting on this question? The nations in favour included Algeria, Argentina, Australia. Barbaras. Belgium - the Belgians are familiar with the problems of colonies - Brazil, Bulgaria-
– That is a good one.
– Another good one.
– Burundi, Byelorussia, Cambodia-
– Mr Acting Deputy President. I rise to order. My point of order is that when I made one single interjection while Senator Greenwood was speaking you very smartly called me to order; but 1 have noticed that there have been repeated interjections from the Government side while Senator Murphy has been speaking and you have not seen fit to call any of the interjectors to order.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - There is no substance in the point of order.
– At least I have registered my protest.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I call Senator Murphy.
– The nations in favour also included Canada, the Central African Republic and nations near Australia such as Ceylon. Singapore-
– What about Scandinavian countries?
– Yes, a number of Scandinavian countries, as well as India, Indonesia and the Philippines - all countries near Australia which presumably would be familiar with the problems, to which Australia would be looking for some sympathy in its future activities and which the Government tries to impress.
– Were there any dissentients?
– What was the position? Were there any dissentients?
– That is what I asked.
– No, there were not. There were no nations against the proposition. There were 98 nations in favour of it and none against it. So this view was expressed without dissent by 98 nations.
– What year was this?
– The nations that abstained were Australia, France, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. Senator Sim asks: ‘What year was this?’ I am not surprised to find that he asks that question. I will tell him what year it was. It was 1970. The date was 14th December 1970. In the resolution there are some pretty specific directions to Australia as to what to do. I will tell honourable senators opposite what the position of my Party is on this matter, if they want to know it. We stand for supporting the United Nations.
– Right or wrong?
– Yes, right or wrong, because the United Nations stands in the position of being the hope of the world. If a decision is made there, it is like the decision of a judicial body. It may be right or it may be wrong; but when a body in a position such as that makes a decision its will ought to be observed. The sooner this Government realises that it ought to observe the will of the United Nations, the better we will get on.
Australia has adhered to the Charter of the United Nations which contains declarations against colonialism. We have also bound ourselves to observe the decisions of the United Nations. Here is a decision of the United Nations. It would not matter if there were dissent; but in fact this resolution was carried without dissent, lt is our clear obligation to observe it. If the Government does not observe it, what does it intend to do? Does it intend to go out and talk to the people of Australia about how important it is to have law and order? Here is an international law. Australia has bound itself to observe decisions of this body. Our country has accepted trusteeship obligations to the United Nations in respect of the Territory, and it is our obligation to observe them. The position is as simple as that. That is what it boils down to.
The Labor Party is proud of what has been done by Mr Whitlam and the other members of this Party who have gone to New Guinea and endeavoured to awaken the people of New Guinea to what they need to do in order to effectuate the wishes of the United Nations and to have self respect for themselves. It is the right of every man on earth and every society to have freedom. Senator Greenwood says that we should not impose self government or independence upon people. We are long past the day when the world will tolerate any kind of slavery, subjection or dependence. This country is not entitled to impose or to continue any kind of subjection or dependence on other people. I do not believe that any group of people can request us to remain in the position of masters or imperialists. We have rights. The United Nations has seen and has stated clearly what should be done. We should act in accordance with its wishes promptly and fully and without any reservation. Therefore I believe that the proposition with which we should be dealing is not one in the terms put by Senator Greenwood but one in the terms which I propose to outline. Since there seems to be some doubt whether one can amend the terms of a subject matter of urgency I ask for leave to move:
Leave out all words after ‘need*, insert ‘to affirm the policy of self government and independence for the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in accordance with” the decisions of the United Nations’.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Senator Murphy, the statement of the matter of urgency to which you have just proposed an amendment is not part of the motion before the Chair. The motion before the Chair is:
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Thursday, 18th February at 10.55 a.m.
You are seeking leave to amend the statement of the reasons for that motion. Is leave granted?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Leave is not granted.
– Then I ask for leave to add to the motion which you have just read. Sir, the following words: in order to discuss the need to affirm the policy of self-government and independence for the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in accordance with the decisions of the United Nations.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT -Is leave granted?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Leave is not granted.
– In that caseI move:
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
– The Australian Democratic Labor Party will support the motion that has been moved by Senator Greenwood. Frankly, we do not see how anyone could oppose a motion which merely asserts that self government or independence should not be imposed upon the people of the Territory contrary to the freely expressed wishes of the people through their parliamentary representatives. There has been some discussion on the question whether the people of New Guinea are ready for independence. There has been a suggestion that anybody who hints that they are not is not playing the game. I think independence is inevitable and I think it will come soon. However, I also want to make it clear that I do not believe that independence will come because New Guinea is united or ready for indepencene. I do not believe it will come because the Government of this country believes in its heart that New Guinea is ready for independence.
In New Guinea today there is a large number of completely unsophisticated people who would not know the meaning of independence if you were to mention it to them. There is a more sophisticated section which has some understanding of what is involved. The latter group is vocal, but not over-vocal in expressing its opinions. At the moment the people of that section are inclined to go for independence Got so much because in their hearts many of them believe that they are entirely ready for it, but because they think that it must come and that outside world opinion will force it on them. Therefore they think that they must accept it.
I believe that independence for New Guinea is inevitable and within a very short period. Of course, it is easy to impose independence upon a country. It will be a very different thing when that country has to be govern mentally and economically viable. I have no hesitation in saying that I do not think that New Guinea is yet ready to become governmentally or economically viable, but I accept the situation that the people of New Guinea will be given their independence regardless of whether they are ready for it. Independence will be imposed upon New Guinea, not because of the attitude of the people there and not because of the attitude of the Australian Government. It will be imposed upon New Guinea because of international pressures, particularly from the United Nations.
– That is a nineteenth century attitude.
– Some people were accused of having a nineteenth century attitude when they said that parts of Africa were not ready for independence. But what is happening in Africa today? I invite honourable senators to study the type of government in power there.
– Mistakes have been made there.
– Mistakes are being made. They were made in Africa by people who were infinitely surer that Africa was ready for independence than are the people who talk about independence for New Guinea. New Guinea today does not have the requirements for a united country. There are about a thou- sand tribes and about 700 languages. There is no conception of nationality.
– They may not want to be united.
– As Senator O’Byrne points out, a number of them do not want to be united. Already the people of Bougainville are wanting to break away. I would like the people who talk so glibly of independence for New Guinea to show me that when independence comes New Guinea will not break out into another Congo. I would like them lo prove to me that the violent antagonism between the highlanders and the people in the large towns on the coast will not burst forth into extreme violence. 1 would like them to prove to me that New Guinea will not follow the course of events in Africa and end up under the dictatorship of an army trained soldier from the Pacific Islands Regiment, or under the dictatorship of a number of others who have been trained in that field.
In the circumstances, and conceding as I said before that because of pressures from outside which we were not game to resist independence will come, I want now to refer to statements made by Mr Whitlam to show that in my view they have been injudicious and reckless and have not contributed to the welfare of the people of New Guinea. I do not know why he made those statements. I assume he made them because of his problems with the left wing of his Party and the feeling that New Guinea was one field in which he might be militant enough to conciliate the left wing without regard to the consequences. He has assured the people of New Guinea of independence by a definite date. That is a remarkable promise.
He did not say to them: ‘In the event of a Labor government taking office we will do so and so.’ He made the people of New Guinea a definite promise that they would be independent by a certain date. He went even further and informed them that there would be no problems about money with independence because Australia would pick up the bill. I contest the right of any Australian leader to give a blank cheque io people who, he says, will be independent of this country within 2 or 3 years. I believe that the Australian taxpayers would regard such a promise with a good deal of reservation. Is it wise to say to the people of a country approaching independence that an outside body will pick up the bill?
– Holland is still doing that with Indonesia.
– Surely Senator Mulvihill is not suggesting that Holland today is paying all the expenses of Indonesia.
– It is a Creditor nation.
– Many nations are providing loans and other forms of credit for Indonesia. I would like to know how many nations today which have granted independence to countries formerly under their control have informed them, as Mr Whitlam has informed New Guinea, that once those countries become independent their bills will be paid for them. Look at the situation in New Guinea today. No doubt Australia’s attitude has conduced to that kind of promise. Last week I spoke to a man with some knowledge of the affairs of New Guinea. He pointed out to me that under the kind of self-government which New Guinea has at present Australia is providing about $300m a year in aid and works. 1 have not checked that figure, but whatever it is, his claim was that a considerable sum was being provided. My informant told me that the Australian Government has relinquished any right Co say how that money shall be spent. The determination of that money which Australia provides is now, in bis view, in the hands of the self-governing people of New Guinea. How many senators would be prepared to say that as costs rise and more money is wanted we will underwrite such a system, and that we will provide the money without any say as to how it will be spent? That is the kind of promise that has been made to the people of New Guinea. I think it is entirely unrealistic.
When the people of New Guinea become independent we will continue to give them aid. I think we will always do that, but to say to them that there will be a blank cheque available for their expenses once they become independent is not the kind of promise that ought to be made by an Australian leader. It can give rise only to hopes and expectations which the people of Australia may fulfil in the future but which many of them would be unlikely to want to fulfil. I believe, therefore, that in talking to the people of New Guinea we should explain to them particularly the economic facts of life. We should inform them that if theirs is to be an independent country it will be necessary for it to a big degree to be economically viable. We should point out to them that this will involve many problems. Independence is not a matter of breaking out a flag on a mast and then declaring a party; independence is something that involves very serious problems. When independence is given to a country, one of the first things required by that country is an administrative class or group. Where are the administrators in New Guinea today? There are some who, 1 am pleased to see, have been given positions of considerable importance, but there does not exist in New Guinea today anything like the number of trained administrators that would be necessary to enable independence to function.
One of the things which obviously would be required if a country such as New Guinea were to function would be a proper system of education. But what is the situation at present? I spoke to some members of the highlands group of parliamentarians when they were in Australia and they informed me that in their view there had been a most unfair allocation of Australian assistance to Papua and New Guinea. They pointed out that because the urban proletariat, if they could be so called, in the urban cities near the coast were more vocal than others, in those areas of New Guinea there were secondary schools, technical schools and even a university. Yet up in the highlands, apparently because the people were not so vocal, they did not have primary schools even. Everybody is in favour of independence for Papua and New Guinea, but let us not fail to recognise the immense difficulties of running an independent country in a place where the problems of economic viability are very considerable, where there is not an administrative class and where education has not attained a standard at which the great bulk of the people can understand even what independence means, let alone function under it.
– Education shot’ Id be speeded up.
– I am nol in favour of speeding up education in the case of people such as those in Papua and New Guinea. To some degree in some areas these people are still stone age people. It may seem all right to some people to speed up education for people of that kind and to plunge them into a twentieth century civilisation overnight, but experience has shown that when that happens it is not altogether to the advantage of the people concerned. I want these people to be given every assistance and I want them to be educated, but I do not think that we can turn them into functioning democrats overnight.
The attitude of my Party is that whether or not we think the people of Papua and New Guinea are ready for independence, they are going to get it. We must face the facts and be realistic; they will gain independence in the very near future. What is the best way to deal with the situation? My Party accepts that independence will come, but my Party says that any attempt to have a centralised government controlling the whole of the area is bound to fail. lt can result only in bitterness and hate between different groups, it will cause tribal fragmentation and, in some cases, civil war. The attitude of my Party is that we must introduce a federal system of autonomous States that would provide for cases such as Bougainville that want independence. Let us introduce a decentralised scheme of independence of autonomous States. Those States could have a central council for the discussion of common problems. We do nol believe that an independent New Guinea could function effec- lively under any system other than one where there was a federal system with decentralised control. Bearing in mind that we accept that independence is coming in the near future, our view is that a system of the kind I have mentioned will have to be introduced.
– I support the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy) and strenuously oppose terms of the matter of urgency put forward by Senator Greenwood on behalf of the Government. Whoever persuaded Senator Greenwood to raise this matter, even if it was the Government itself which decided to take such action, was very ill-advised. Perhaps the honourable senator has appointed himself Leader of the Government in the Senate. The very phraseology of his proposal is a condemnation of the Government. Let us examine for a moment the words it contains, lt states:
The need to affirm the policy of the Australian Government of not imposing upon the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea self government or independence contrary to the freely expressed wishes of the people through their parliamentary representatives.
It is significant that when we endeavour to participate in the debate Senator Greenwood, who raised this matter on behalf of the Liberal Party, lost all interest in the subject and left the chamber. I trust that he will read some of our remarks in Hansard tomorrow.
Senator Murphy endeavoured to move for the deletion of the words in the proposal and to insert the following words:
The need to affirm the policy of self government and independence for the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in accordance with the decisions of the United Nations.
He sought leave to move this amendment and, when leave was refused, he asked that those words be added to the motion. When this was refused he endeavoured to move for a suspension ot Standing Orders to achieve this objective. When this happened we saw a great panic in the benches on the Government side of the chamber because honourable senators, opposite feared to debate this part of the subject. They were frightened of the monster that they had created by the introduction of this matter into this chamber.
Let us consider some of the remarks made by Senator Greenwood. I am being very charitable when I say that he initiated this debate for two reasons, the first of which was the protection of the white controlled monopolies in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Somebody must be spokesman on their behalf because they fear independence coming to that country. They fear that their businesses and factories might be nationalised when the people take over and administer the country on their own behalf. On many occasions in this chamber Senator Greenwood has hern the Government spokesman and the apologist for the Australian policy of colonialism. Australia is the last major country in the world that indulges in colonialism to the extent that we do in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Somebody must apologise for the Government’s behaviour and Senator Greenwood has always been a very vocal expert in this field. He claimed that the House of Assembly on numerous occasions had said that it did not want independence yet.
Let us consider the make up of the House of Assembly. Right from the inception of the first Parliament in the Territory in 1964 there have been appointed members in the Parliament. The appointed members are in the position where they can dominate the thinking of many of the elected representatives. There is a fair grouping of white people who want to retain the present system; they do not want to see any change for the benefit of people outside, f am delighted to see that Senator Greenwood has come back into the chamber. The people to whom 1 have referred do not want to see any change in the system; they want to be able to dominate others. With few exceptions the Pangu Party is about the only organised political group in the House of Assembly. The planters., the business people and members of the Liberal Party are afraid of some sort of democratic government being instituted. So that the kiaps and others can control and dominate the thinking of other elected members in the House of Assembly, they, in conjunction with the appointed members, are able to get through the sort of resolution that their counterparts in this country need and want. 1 suggest that Senator Greenwood’s argument is completely fallacious when he tries to advance this crocodile tears story of how the House of Assembly has carried these numerous resolutions.
– Do you not accept those resolutions?
– 1 accept that the honourable senator’s knowledge of New Guinea has been gained from his observations on the very comfortable routine of the cocktail circuit. As 1 have said before, there are people in industry who are using Senator Greenwood to preserve their own monopolies. That is the only reason why he has raised this matter in the Senate today. The missions comprise the other big group of people who play a dominant role in Papua and New Guinea. It is true that the missions have done tremendous work iti many fields. It is equally true that those who have come under the influence of the missions have been taught about God to matriculation standard. But the education that they need to operate in any sort of society is not up to primary standard. This is one of the unfortunate factors that we have to face. It is there and it has to be faced.
Senator Greenwood prides himself as being an expert on interpreting Australian Labor Part)’ policy. I suggest that he would be much better occupied interpreting some of the statements made by his Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the spokesmen on behalf of the Liberal Party before he starts mutilating Labor Party policy. Senator Greenwood hurried through Article 76 of the Charter of the United Nations. I would like to take him through that Article and little slower, step by step. As a matter of fact, he missed the first paragraph altogether. It states:
The basic objectives of the trusteeship system, in accordance with the Purposes of the United
Nations laid down in Article 1 of the present Charter, shall be:
to further international peace and security;
to promote the political, economic, social, and educational advancement of the inhabitants of the trust territories, and their progressive development towards self-government or independence as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of each territory and ite peoples and the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned, and as may be provided by the terms of each trusteeship agreement;
Australia has failed to carry out the first sub-section of Article 76. We have failed in the field of education. There are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, of youngsters who have not yet received an opportunity to have a primary education, let alone a secondary education in Papua and New Guinea. We know from reading reports and listening to people who have knowledge of life in that country that the health programme has not been implemented either.
There was an attempt early in the 1960s to set up a trade union organisation in Papua and New Guinea. But who blew the stomach out of trade unions there? It was the planters and the employers with the aid of the pro-Government kiaps. It has been said on several occasions in recent weeks that if you are a member of a trade union in Papua and New Guinea you will be replaced in your job or you will not be employed. This again is part of the society to which Senator Greenwood subscribes. The Public Service Association has fought a continuing running battle with the Government to get basic justice, both for indigenous officers - and for expatriates. It did not know where it was going until recent times but now it has a programme and we hope that the Government will do something about fortifying its belief in the job it is trying to do. Members of the Public Service Association were not able to implement a programme because the Commonwealth Government and the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) would not let them. They have been hounded all along the line. This is typical of the way that those favourable to the Australian Government have disrupted trade unionism at any level. In other words. 1 think that honourable senators on the Government side would like to see the Territory remain the Angola of Australia. People of this side of the chamber do not want that to happen.
There are tens of thousands of people in Papua and New Guinea who are prepared to obtain independence and if the Government is going to stick to its current attitudes in perpetuity sooner or later blood will be spilt there. The Government will force these people to seize their independence by the use of guns and bullets if necessary.
The Australian Labor Party attitude of setting down a programme for independence is the right one, the humane one and the Christian one. If the Government wants to keep the people of the Territory under subjection because of its racist attitude it will pay for it in the long run. But it will excuse the shooting of these people by saying they are trying to create a civil war.
– Do you believe that the Labor Party should decide?
- Senator Webster would bc better off talking about cows because he does not know too much about this subject. I was rather amazed to hear the attitude of the representatives of the Democratic Labor Party. We know that on many occasions they have expressed in their policy attitudes very similar to those of the Nazi party where there must be a clear division between black and white.
This afternoon in this chamber, Mr Acting Deputy President, we heard Senator McManus elaborate on this division of society on a colour ground. We saw the representatives of the DLP rush across the chamber to support the Government in order to prevent the Australian Labor Party from moving an amendment. I would like to touch on a couple of the remarks that Senator McManus made during his contribution to this debate. He claimed that if Australia gave money to the Territory the House of Assembly there should not be able to decide how it would be spent. That, virtually, is what he said. One of his friends - I think he has 2 - told me the other day-
– I rise to a point of order. I never said anything of the sort but I am used to “the continual misrepresentation on the part of Senator O’Keeffe who could not tell the truth on a bet.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order! The honourable senator shall not reflect on another senator.
– Thank you. It is interesting to note that Senator McManus cannot get even my name correct so we cannot take much notice of the other things he said. However he did say - this will be borne out tomorrow in print in Hansard - that we had to say how the money would be spent. Yet he said that gradually we can give them independence. If the Government is not going to give the House of Assembly and the Territory the right to decide how money shall, be spent, whether it is raised internally by taxes or whether it comes from this country as part of our quota of foreign aid, how is it going to take these people along this slow, tortuous and gradual path towards independence that the honourable senator was so delighted to tell us was the right thing to do? Right throughout his speech there were very serious overtones of paternalism and racialism. In other words, he says that these people are black: let us keep them down there for another 200 years and then maybe we will allow them a little more independence. Perhaps we might allow them to spend the money in the petty cash tin because they will have developed some sort of spirit of responsibility by that time.
– What about human rights for the ALP in Victoria?
– There is no need to refer to the Victorian ALP. It is well known that when deciding upon leaders in your Party the names are drawn out of a. hat and you squabble about it afterwards. I suggest, you stay right away from that subject. You are under the complete subjugation of the Liberal Party. You can do nothing else but run backwards and forwards. Even when you have to vote on great social problems such as we have spoken about here today, you are under the nail of the Liberal Party.
I suggest that the correct way to handle this situation “is the manner stated today by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy). We ought to have the right, in accordance with the requirements of the United Nations, to lay down a timetable so that these people know where they are going and so that they can plan for their own independence. To achieve this in the right way we must step up the education programme. Far from cutting down the contributions or telling them how the money should be used, as was suggested by my friend over here on the left who comes: from the right section, we ought to be increasing contributions in the 3 fields I have referred to, health, education and the overall administration. By doing this we would be making a worthwhile contribution towards the immediate independence of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I suggest, in all sincerity, that for Government supporters to move a motion of the nature moved here this afternoon in this chamber is a negation of all things that are democratic, lt is a negation of the freedom to Which these people are entitled. It is a negation of human values because the things that they need in their society are exactly the same as we heed in our society. ‘
Sitting suspended from 5.44 to 8 p.m.
Senator Sir MAGNUS CORMACK (Victoria) (8.0) - Prior to the suspension of the sitting the Senate was debating a matter of urgency which had been raised by my colleague from Victoria, Senator Greenwood. I shall repeat the terms of the matter of urgency to re-impress them upon the minds of Opposition and Government senators, lt was phrased in the following terms.:
The need to affirm the policy of the Australian Government of not imposing upon the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea self government or independence contrary to the freely expressed wishes of the people through their parliamentary representatives.
In my opinion Senator Greenwood made out a fairly trenchant case. 1 listened to every word he had to say. Senator Greenwood pointed out that, as a result of a visit early this year to the Territory of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), who was accompanied by an entourage of his party supporters in the other place, the Leader of the Opposition reaffirmed that the people of Papua and New Guinea were to have independence finally and irretrievably by 1976 whether they liked it or not!
Senator Greenwood was followed in the debate by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy), who was generously granted, by the Senate on the motion of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) an extension of time to 30 minutes to speak, which is more .than the 15 minutes normally allotted. The Leader of the Opposition ran out of gas before the 30 minutes and expired. The. reason for this was that he had no reply at all to what Senator Greenwood had said.. The Leader of the Opposition proceeded to rationalise the attitude of the Australian Labor Party to Papua and New Guinea by saying that the platform of the Australian Labor Party provides - I am quoting from memory - for an unreserved allegiance by it to the United Nations.
I have no unreserved allegiance to the United Nations, but if I had an allegiance to the United Nations I would owe it to the Charter of the United Nations. I think it is proper that I should quote the Article which relates to Papua and New Guinea and other Trust Territories. Article 1 of Chapter 1 states that the purposes of the United Nations are to maintain international peace and security and, to that end, to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace and so on. The terms of the Charter continue a Iona those lines to
Article 76. which I think it is proper I should read. Article 76 states:
The basic objectives of the trusteeship system, in accordance with the purposes. of the United Nations laid down in Article 1 - -
To which I have just referred- of the present Charter, shall be:
The next one is the one which relates to the Territory of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea -
I ask honourable senators to note the word promote’ - the political, economic, social, and educational advancement of the inhabitants of the trust territories, and their progressive-
And I emphasise the word ‘progressive’ - development towards self government or independence as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of eachterritory and its peoples and–
I emphasise these words- the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned, and as may be provided by the. terms of each trusteeship agreement;
The Commonwealth of Australia has been obedient to Articles1 and 76b of the United Nations Charter in pursuing its policies, yet theAustralian Labor Party has stated this afternoon through the mouthpiece of its Leader in this chamber, that nolens volens - whether the people of Papua or New Guinea likeit or not - independence is going to beforced on them by at least 1976.Ibelieve thatindependence will come to Papua and New Guinea. I also believe that we are being unjustly pressured by what is in my opinion an illegal committee which has appointed itself tothe General Assembly.I refer to the organisation known as the Committee of Twenty-Four. Most respectable nations, including Australia, have resigned from this body. I understand that two of its representatives are attached to the Trusteeship Council’s mission which is in the areaat the present moment.
I havetalked to representatives of the Committee of Twenty-Four.I know that they arc determined to force Australia to make the people of Papuaand New Guinea independent. A clash has resulted betweent he2 major political parties in this House and in the otherplace as on whether the Australian people and their. government owe a responsibility to the indigenous people of Papua and New Guinea or whether they are to be obedient to an irrational attitude which has been taken by the Committee of Twenty-Four in the United Nations.
During the debate this afternoon I heard an interjection about the breakdown of government in African countries. I heard from the Opposition side of the chamber a mild voice say: ‘Oh, yes. Well, there may have been mistakes’. I am highly resentful of the expression ‘there may have been mistakes’. It was said by one of those curious characters who go round mouthing slogans about universal brotherhood, who make contemptuous noises about colonialists, imperialists, capitalists and this, that andthe other; but when things go bad, when massacres occur, when governments are destroyed and when vile government is forced upon people by brutality, the ideologue of that sort says:’Well, perhaps we were a bit hasty’.
The attitude of every honourable senator on this side of the chamber is that Australia must mark what has happened in other parts of the world, particularly in Africa,and ensure that it does not happen in New Guinea. There may be arguments about whether it should have a Westminsterstyle government. I make the prophesy that if we give them independence with a Westminster form of government there will be within 5 years apresidential system of government. I believe that it will, be aoneparty state, as is the position in nearly every state in Africa, where the trappings of democracy may be maintained but stark autarchy is the method by which the governments operate and the people cower under the heel of single party governments which arc reinforced by secret police and often a brutal military command.
– Like Pakistan and Indonesia?
Senator Sir MAGNUS CORMACKThere are some elements of justice in Indonesia but none in Zanzibar andSouthern Sudan and thereis very little in Ruanda, there is apparently very little in Uganda at the present moment and there is not much in Somaliland.I could go through the melancholy catalogue of deco lonised African nations-
– It is just like-
– I was expecting Senator Mulvihill to interject. There is . no resentment in the Australian Labor Party to the establishment of a one-party government because the Socialist system is based upon one-party governments. If a one-party government is forced on the mass of the people in Papua and New Guinea against their will it will accord with the normal Socialist theory.
– lt will be a bit different from the position here at present. There has not been a one-party government here since Labor was in power.
– I anticipate with some sort of horror that the day will come when there will be - at some time or other there is bound to be - a government in Australia which is based upon the principles of the Australian Labor Party and there is a one-party system in an independent Papua and New Guinea with the so-called elite - those who can read and write and therefore are the elitists because they have better brains - are in power and Australia and other countries will begin to crush the people of Papua and New Guinea, who will start to put down rebellions and use the Pacific Islands Regiment as the force majeure with which to maintain the sanction and power of the single party state. If that happens perhaps some people will remember some of the words that were spoken in the Senate today.
The Australian Labor Party will not send a battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment there to try to restore order. This afternoon it was quite clearly signalled here that the process that will be used will be to instruct the Australian Ambassador to the United Nations to raise the matter in the General Assembly. The matter will then be dealt with by the Security Council. From New York a peacekeeping expedition will be mounted. Countries in South East Asia will be invited to provide the troops. Australia will be invited to provide the aircraft. Into Papua and New Guinea will flow the kind of United Nations organisation that was stationed in the Congo when one battalion, provided by a South East Asian nation, had to be sent home at the end of 6 months because the battalion had 1,000 mcn and there were 1.000 summaries nf evidence against them for rape and for robbery with violence. That kind of thing will happen.
Indonesia will object. It will say that it will not allow .foreign troops into the area because this is a sphere of influence of Indonesia. We will be in trouble with the powerful neighbour to the north - Indonesia. It will probably take .unilateral action to send troops across the border. That action will be upheld .. by the United Nations. When a similar situation happened in relation to West. Irian, the United Nations paid no attention to the wishes of the people of West Irian. It was handed over willy nilly to Indonesia. For the last 2 years Indonesia has sent the best of its paratroop command into West Irian rounding up natives and shooting them down right, left and centre. It is to. avoid these kinds of happenings that, the Commonwealth Government is pursuing a policy which is in obedience to the Chaner of the General Assembly. That Charter cannot be changed by the committee -of 24 or by any other self-appointed committee in the United Nations. Australia is. pursuing the policy, in accordance with Article 76, that independence will be given to the people of the trust territories concerned when they freely express a wish to be independent.
I repeat that there is- no attempt to enforce an Australian overlordship on the people of Papua and New Guinea. In obedience to the charter of the United Nations the Commonwealth Government is determined to pursue the path that it is pursuing at present and is determined that the 2i million to 2$ million people in Papua and New Guinea will -not become a quivering mass under the control of men who will seize power- and -they will seize power as men have seized power in Africa - and who will use the sanctions of armed police, security services and perhaps the soldiery to impose their will on the people.
I redirect the attention of the Senate to the remarks made earlier by Senator McManus when he took up the point that Mr Whitlam made when he was in New Guinea. Mr Whitlam said that he would see that the Australian contribution to aid abroad was raised to 1 per cent of the gross national product. He said that the people of Papua and New Guinea need have no fear as massive subventions would be continued from Australia to the people of Papua and New Guinea. Senator McManus correctly pointed out that the most ludicrous of all situations that could be contrived by. rational governments would be to band hundreds of millions of dollars to a single party government to spend in any way it liked. The money would come from the Australian taxpayer via the Australian Treasury. A similar situation to that which occurred, for example, in Ghana would occur in Papua and New Guinea. When Ghana was granted independence it received from Crown agents £800m accruing to it from the sale of its cocoa crops during the war. In 5 to 7 years the country was bankrupt This could happen in Papua and New Guinea if we force its people into assuming the roles, responsibilities and trappings of a modern State before they are ready. Therefore, I support the motion moved by Senator Greenwood. I hope it is endorsed overwhelmingly by the Senate when the vote is taken tonight.
– Senator Sir Magnus Cormack’s speech was a remarkable one because it was so backward. The honourable senator is living back in the days of feudalism, in the days of one-party government by those who had the opportunity - not the wealth, but the opportunity - to receive an education. The speech seemed to me to be quite a strange one, coming as it did from an honourable senator who is a member of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. He dipped into feudalism in an attempt to justify the motion. I shall treat the remainder of his comments, dealing with the Australian Labor Party, with the contempt that they deserve. The honourable senator quoted from Article 76 of the United Nations Charter which provides that independence should be given to a trust territory only when it freely expresses a desire, of its own will, for independence. What opportunity have the people of Papua and New Guinea had to express their will as to whether they would take independence today, in 5 years time, in 10 years time or at any other time? What steps has this Government taken to determine the will of the people? lt has not taken one step to determine the will of the people. The only way that the will of the people can be determined is for the Government to hold a referendum, if the Government wants to ascertain the will of the people it should conduct a referendum.
– They have to ‘ be taught how to vote first.
– They voted for a socalled government of which honourable senators opposite are proud. Honourable senators opposite have put up to the world that the people of Papua and New Guinea have self government. Are honourable senators opposite now saying that the people there are not capable of voting?
– Many of them are not.
– Then this is another gerrymander to which honourable senator’s opposite subscribe. A similar situation arose with Austraiian Aboriginals. The bosses on the stations and on the missions voted on behalf of the Aboriginals. This is the type of government that honourable senators opposite want and this is the type of government that they want ‘in Papua and New Guinea, lt is the type of government that the Democratic Labor Party wants. It wants a federation of States. Where will the surveyors draw the lines? Are the tribal boundaries to be the boundaries of the various States? There are about 1,000 different tribes in Papua and New Guinea. Will there be 1,000 different States? What kind of government do honourable senators opposite want to impose upon the people?
I return to the motion. Standing order 64 can be used if an honourable senator wants to bring before the Senate something that, in his opinion, -should be dealt with by the Senate urgently. The only urgency I can see in the present situation arises from the fact that in 1970 and 1971 Mr Whitlam was so successful in Papua and New Guinea that it is necessary for the Government to affirm its policy. That is the only urgency. Mr Whitlam said that, if he were the Prime Minister, he would grant self government in 1972 and independence in 1976. What urgency could there be for this motion other than that the Government is unsure of itself or that the Government is afraid that Mr Whitlam has been too successful in Papua and New Guinea? That is the only urgency that would warrant the matter being brought before the Senate at this time.
Senator Greenwood spoke about Australia’s obligations in this Trust Territory. I invite honourable senators to listen carefully to what I am about to say. I may not have the honourable senator’s exact words and I shall apologise later if I have wrong sense of what he said. Me said: . . the obligation to be discharged in the light of what is in the best interests of Australia’. This immediately brings into focus the interests of the Australians and other people in the trust Territory. The second proposition put forward by Senator Greenwood was whether the obligation was to be discharged in the light of what was in the best interests of the people of Papua and New Guinea. So the interests of the people of Papua and New Guinea come second to the interests of Australia. We of the Australian Labor Party believe that the interests of the people of Papua and New Guinea should come first, not second. One may wonder why these things have to be recounted.
What has the Australian Government done in Papua and New Guinea? Senator McManus said that on the fringes of the cities one could have a high school and a university. If one travels to Western Australia, one will find only one university - in Perth. There is nothing in the north west for the people except a couple of junior high schools. When I was in. Papua and New Guinea schools were situated in the highlands. I do not know what has happened to them now. I do know that not many students were going to the schools, but at least the schools were there. This is the knowledge which Senator McManus has of the Territory about which he proposes to speak.
– I was quoting a member of the House of Assembly who told me. He would know.
– The honourable senator would quote anything that would make a case to suit himself. He should go and find out the truth a,nd not quote what other people say. What was the position with Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd? What were the conditions’ which the Minister tried to impose upon the people of Boungainville Island about Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd taking over the copper deposit on that island? The indigenous people of Papua and New Guinea were able to negotiate a much better agreement with the company than was the Administration representing this Government which tried to enforce its agreement upon the people with tear gas and weapons. We are supposed to be looking after the people of Papua and New Guinea. We have given away everything that they had. We have given away the massive copper deposits on Bougainville Island and obtained a 20 per cent interest for the indigenous people. We lent the money to the Administration to take up the shareholding. But the indigenous people were able to do better than the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) was able to do.
What is the position with the off-shore oil in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea? It is governed by the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act. lt is interesting to know that this legislation does not stand up. The Senate will know.. about that in a short time. But the important thing about it is that section I I of the Act applies to the laws of Papua and New Guinea and into the waters adjacent to the Territory. What laws are there for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea Which are capable of being extended into this area? But we have given the exploiters of this country permit areas, each over” 10,000 square miles, for this purpose. There- is a massive gas supply in the Gulf of Papua. It is waiting there for the Phillips oil ‘ company to exploit it. What are the .indigenous people of Papua and New Guinea going to get out of it? What are they getting out of the i million acres of land in. the Hagen Valley which the Government gave to W. R. Carpenter and Co. Ltd on .which to grow lea. What are they getting out of it? W. R. Carpenter and Co. Ltd is getting all the profits.
Has anything been done to see that the indigenous people have a rightful share in the mineral deposits on the Fly River? What about the land ownership problem which is causing all the trouble on the Gazelle Peninsula among the Mataungan people? What is the Government doing to settle that dispute among -the people. Who holds all the timber reservations in the territory? They are not held by the indigenous people, but by outsiders, the bloody pirates as they are called. They own half the assets of Papua and New Guinea; that is Burns Philp & Co. Ltd. No-one can gainsay that. In any case, the timber concessions are capable of being given to the indigenous people by a special Act of Parliament. Under the present legislation loans were supposed to be made io the indigenous people to enable them to set up on the spot sawmills to handle the timber. Under the Act about 4 loans have been made. Anyway, the amount to be lent under the Act was a miserable £5,000. How could a mill be set up with a capital of £5,000- $10,000? Supporters of the Government should have a look at this sort of thing again and see Why the Government is trying to conserve the Territory in its present position. Honourable senators opposite say that they want to give the indigenous people self-determination when they want it of their own free will; but they will not give them an opportunity to express their own free will. Honourable senators opposite object to the Australian Labor Party setting times. They will nol come to the party and say. ‘1972 is too early for self-government. We think it might be 1975. 1976 is too early for independence. Perhaps we could grant it in 1 980.’ No, honourable senators opposite just sit back and say it will be when., the people there want to have selfdetermination. But honourable senators opposite do. not take one step to give the people an opportunity to say whether they want selfdetermination.
The Government flew 2 delegates to the United Nations in 1968 to tell the United Nations that the people of Papua and’ New Guinea were quite satisfied with the efforts which the Australian Government was putting into the development of Papua and New Guinea, lt sent 2 people to convince the United Nations that its own policy was the correct policy. A lot has been said about Mr Whitlam being the big bad boy in the Territory; New Guinea is probably the best sugar cane growing area in the’ world. Deliberately the Government has an Australian Country Party member as Minister for External Territories. He is the Minister for External Territories for one’ purpose, and that is to prevent the people of Papua and New Guinea from growing sugar cane. The day that Papua and’ New Guinea starts . to grow sugar cane the Queensland sugar industry will collapse.
That is the very reason why Mr Barnes, a Country Party member, is the Minister for External Territories, and not any other reason. In 1964 when I was in Papua and New Guinea I was told by the people that if the Australian Government would not let them grow sugar at that time, on the day that they obtained their independence they would start to put every acre they possibly could under sugar. That is one of the reasons they are not being granted their self-government and their independence - because of the vested interests of the bushwhackers in the corner. It is time this Government stood on its own feet, accepted its responsibility and told these people: ‘Get yourselves ready. You are going to have self-government in a certain time and you are going to have independence in another time. We will not forget to help you but we are not going to continue to help you if you are not prepared to help yourselves.’ I oppose the motion.
– Honourable senators have now heard 3 incredible speeches. Senator- Cant’s speech was irrelevant to the motion. It was a good Socialist speech full of envy and hate of all those who have succeeded and who have been prepared to risk their capital in development. I do not wish to refer to Senator Cant’s speech because . it was irrelevant. However he did ask this question not once but twice: ‘What opportunity is there to find the will of the people?’. Then he suggested that we have given no opportunity to the people to express their will. This attitude’ is - typical of the 3 speeches we have heard. It shows a complete and utter lack of knowledge- of the situation in New Guinea. The people have the machinery to express their will. First of all, they can do so through the House, of Assembly, the members of which are elected by the free vote of the people and which represents the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. They have a .second opportunity of expressing their’ will through the Select Committee on Constitutional Development, which has been for many months visiting .every village and hamlet throughout the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to ascertain’ the wishes and will of the people. At the moment- it intends to present a report . in- March, I- believe. So there are these ?. ways in which the people can express their will. I will come back to this topic in a moment.
I think Senator Wright out of his kindness did the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) a disservice in moving that his time be extended to half an hour, because quite obviously he had the greatest difficulty in speaking for that time. His effort was pitiful, to put it in the most kindly way. He not only misquoted the United Nations but he also was forced by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack to admit that one of the resolutions provided for consultation with the people to ascertain their freely expressed will. This is exactly the policy of the Australian Government. If the freely expressed will of the people is not for self-government in 1972. what will the Labor Party do? Will it ignore the freely expressed will of the people? I believe it would. In fact, Mr Whitlam has already indicated that he has no regard for the freely expressed will of the people. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack read out the charter of the United Nations. Article 76 clearly states:
The policy of the Australian Government is in Complete agreement with the Charter of the United Nations. It says thai self-government will- be granted to the Territory of Papua, and New Guinea immediately the people express a will for selfgovernment.
Senator Murphy went on to say that Australia was inhibited at international conferences because of fear of criticism of our policies in regard to the Territory. I asked Senator Murphy to give some instances of this and., after stumbling and bumbling for a few moments, he plucked one out of his hat and that was the conference on human rights. But, of course, he gave no evidence that Australia did not support resolutions moved because of its fear of being criticised over its policy on Papua and New Guinea, lt mav well he that Australia did not support these resolutions because it recognised the hypocrisy of them. I would like to know how many of the 100 nations attending the conference respect human rights. How many of the African countries respect human rights? Presumably the views expressed by Senator Murphy tonight are Labor Party policy, that Australia will no* have a will of its own but will bow down and accept the policies of the United Nations. I repudiate that. I am not prepared to accept the policies of the United Nations in relation to these matters. I believe that the freely stated policy of the Australian Government is that self-government will be granted to the Territory when the people there freely express their desire to have selfgovernment.
By opposing this resolution tonight the Labor Party clearly states that it does not believe in democracy, does not believe in the freely expressed will of the people. Indeed, Senator Keeffe started off by saying that the policies must be right, humane and Christian and that this resolution was a negation of all things that are democratic. T. must say that this view is very perverse. It may be a negation of all the things that are democratic to listen fo the freely expressed will of the people, in the view of the Labor Party. From what we have been reading about the Labor Party this is probably so. f would like Senator Keeffe to explain in simple terms, if he can, how the policy of the Australian Government of listening to the freely expressed will of the people is a negation of all things that are democratic.
– Could I ask for leave to make a statement now?
-I would be most interested to bear you make a statement. Now we come to allegations of colonialism which were freely bandied around tonight by Senator Murphy and others. But, of course, the new colonialist is Mr Whitlam. He is acting like the old white colonialist. He does not believe that the people should have a freely expressed will. Indeed during his last visit to the Territory one of the indigenous leaders referred to him as’ This Tourist’. Mr Whitlam is recorded as having said that a Labor government would not necessarily accept the findings of the Select Committee on Constitutional Development. This is in line, of course, with Senator Keeffe’s views. In other words, a Labor government is not necessarily prepared to accept a report which contains the freely expressed wish of the people of the Territory. But in a moment of great openheartedness Mr Whitlam said that it would pay attention to its findings but would not necessarily give a blank cheque undertaking.
– It is just like the ALP in Victoria and Queensland.
– That is a good comparison. But the point I want to make is that Mr Whitlam accused the Australian Government of not allowing the people of Papua and New Guinea through the House of Assembly to freely decide their own policies. We were accused of some type of veto over them. We were accused of being colonialists. Yet here we have Mr Whitlam saying that he is not necessarily prepared to accept the expressed wish of the people. What hypocrisy this is.
Mr Paulus Arek, who is Chairman of the Select Committee on Constitutional Development, apparently has some fears, and very rightly so. I believe he is one of the best known of the indigenous leaders. He said that he told Mr Whitlam that the Australian Labor Party should respect the wishes of the people on the question of self-government. This new colonialist and his colonialist supporters on the other side of the chamber are not prepared to accept the freely expressed wish of the people. They chatter about democracy. They do not even understand what democracy means. As Senator Sir Magnus Cormack pointed out, a Socialist does not believe in democracy. He believes in a one party state. That is a fact. In fact, at the 1921 conference of the Australian Labor Party that was clearly stated.
I am not quite sure whether members of the Australian Labor Party know where they are going. Mr Whitlam expressed the view that the Territory was ready for self government. But he was accompanied on the tour by that great genius, Mr Cameron, who had a lot to say on industrial matters. Apparently Mr Cameron is not so sure that the Territory is ready for self government because, according to the Melbourne ‘Age’ of 15th January this year, he said that a Labor government would not hand over the area of industrial relations to the House of Assembly at Port Moresby when it granted self government in 1972 but would first make sure that proper wage standards were established. So he is not prepared to hand over all power at the time of self government.
– He has tasted it recently and he likes it.
– My colleague may well be right. Mr Whitlam had something to say about this matter. He was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald’ of 13th January 1 97 1 as saying:
We believe New Guineans should decide what wages should be paid in New Guinea and what wages should be paid on plantation!!.
It is quite obvious that the Labor Party’s Spokesmen on these affairs do not agree. One believes that the Territory should have self government immediately, and the other believes that it should not. One believes that the Labor Party should decide on wages, and the other believes that New Guineans should decide on wages. So I suggest that the embarrassment of members of the Labor Party tonight is well founded because they simply do not know where they are going.
– What about Mr Morrison?
-I have not time to quote Mr Morrison’s statements, some of which also were contradiction of Mr Whilam’s. After Mr Whitlam had expressed satisfaction with a certain meeting, Mr Morrison had some doubt that the people knew where they were going. So there is some contradiction between the statements of the various members of the party that toured New Guinea.
I want to come back to the United Nations because the whole of the case, such as it was. put by Senator Murphy was based on the United Nations. He quoted parts of resolutions that were passed, on so on. In the debate that took place in April last year I quoted a resolution of the United Nations which had just been passed and which I believe bears repeating because it relates to the matter of the expressed will of the people, which is the Australian Government’s policy. I have put forward the argument, as have other speakers from this side of the chamber, that the policy of the Australian Government is completely in line with that of the United Nations. Clause 3 of the resolution that was passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations stated:
The General Assembly . . . calls upon the administering power to take all necessary steps to ‘ transfer full powers in the executive’ and legislative branches of government to elected representatives of the people, in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples.
I emphasise those last few words. Tonight members of the Labor ‘ Party are going to vote against- a motion that affirms that policy; they are going to oppose a motion passed by the United Nations, -a body whose decisions Senator Murphy said we must accept: right or wrong. But I note that Senator Murphy and the other members of the Labor Party are rather selective in this respect, because they have never accepted the decisions of the United Nations wilh regard. “‘to the admission of Red China. .’
I have a report of a statement that was made’ very recently ‘by Mr Adnam Raouf. an Iraqi member of the- mission now touring the Territory. I do not imagine that -an’ Iraqi citizen has any great love for’ colonialism. :. ‘
– He is on the Com- .mittee of Twenty-four”. .
– Yes. sand he is- a member of the visiting mission; Only the other day in the Territory he -assured Papuans that the United Nations- had - no intention of pushing them into something against their will. So, again the Labor Party’s policy is in direct conflict with that of the United Nations because the Labor Party wishes to push Papuans and New Guineans into something, whether they want it or not, in 1972. In all the humbug–
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired..
– Senator Sim sounded like a cracked record, with his continuous repetition of the phrase ‘the freely expressed will of the people’. He used it so often that I was starting to wonder whether he knew, exactly what he was talking about in. regard to the people of Papua and New Guinea. The motion before the Chair at the moment, which was moved by Senator . Greenwood, is an attempt to make political capital out of the visit of Mr Whitlam, the Leader of the Opposition in another place, to New Guinea. The motion has fizzed back in Senator Greenwood’s face and the faces of other honourable senators on the Government side. It is obvious that the last 2 speakers from that side have been on the defensive
Senator Sir Magnus Cormack spoke with the true voice of a classical colonialist. Instead of stating the Government’s policy, he tried to spread confusion and fear about the meaning’ and consequences of self government. He painted a fantasy, perhaps, for consumption by people in Australia who do not know Very much and have never been told very much about our administration and trusteeship of Papua and New Guinea, and also in the hope that indigenous people in Papua and New Guinea might -be listening to the broadcast of this debate. He was trying to create in their minds fears and anxieties that could be nourished in order’ to make them Oppose their right to self determination, self government and independence.
– You agree with us.
– As a matter offact, there is very little difference between’ our’ attitude towards New Guinea and that’ stated in the matter of urgency now before the Chair. It refers to: “
The “need’ to affirm the policy of the Australian’ Government of not imposing upon the people of ‘ the Territory of Papua and New Guinea- self government or: independence … .,
There is no intention to impose self government and independence on the people of Papua and New Guinea, but there is a challenge by people throughout the world to people in Australia to grant the people of Papua and New Guinea self government and independence. It is just a matter of when and how. The resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 14th December 1970 states:
The General Assembly . . . calls upon the administering Power to prescribe, in consultation with freely elected representatives of the people, a specific timetable for the free exercise by the people of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea of their right to self determination and independence . . .
A report has to be made at the meeting to be held at the end of this year. I suggest that this Government, if it has any respect at all for its image in world affairs, is duty bound to carry out the wish of the United Nations by prescribing a specific timetable for the free exercise by the people of Papua and New Guinea of their right to selfdetermination.
The United Nations General Assembly voted 98 to nil, with 5 abstentions, in favour of that call to the Government of Australia to prescribe a timetable. One does not have to use much imagination to know who were among the 5 abstainers. Australia was one, just following the form of the people who are in government here. The way we have treated our own native people - our Aboriginals - is no credit to the people of Australia. Now we are getting into the position that our reputation throughout the world is being challenged on the basis of our treatment of the people of Papua and New Guinea.
– Did you quote the United Nations charter?
– No, I quoted the resolution. The Australian Government should not continue to tarnish our international reputation by having us branded as one of the last colonial powers on earth. Every other country in our region has fought for or has been granted independence over the past 25 or 30 years. Our nearest neighbour, Indonesia, was able to cast off the yolk of the colonialist Dutch but unfortunately we notice that the Dutch are now trying to creep back on the economic level. Recently I read of American motor car manufacturers returning to the area to exploit it, just as the oil companies are returning under the guise of making a new approach to development of the area.
Nevertheless, the people of Indonesia did throw off the yolk of colonialism. Britain - this is what we intend to do to Papua and New Guinea - granted independence to the Indians, the Pakistanis and the Kashmiris. Britain granted independence to the people of Malaya but had to support them to ensure that the form of government she wanted to establish there was in fact established. Britain had to provide troops to maintain the status quo. Independence was granted to Burma but, to our everlasting shame, we are helping to deprive the people of Vietnam of their independence. We are obliged to justify our actions in the world forum. We have been called upon to set a timetable for the self-government and independence of Papua and New Guinea. We have been laggard in the creation of educational opportunities in the Territory and in the political education of its people. We have adopted the role of exploiters there, the people themselves participating in the wealth of their country only as second class citizens. The wages that are paid f them are a disgrace. Possibly they are aa low as those of any country in South East Asia. In this day and’ age we are paying plantation workers wages ranging from $3 to $5 a week yet they have to pay the same prices for the necessaries of life as do these who are receiving 10, 20 or even 30 times their wage.
We believe that full self-government could be given to and would be accepted by the people of Papua and New Guinea in 1972. In the interim we have to give them true democratic government, all members of the Legislature being elected by the people for the people. We are playing the charade of having selected members in the Legislature of the Territory who in turn are answerable to ‘ and are dominated by Canberra. Everyone will admit that Canberra is holding the strings on Papua and New Guinea and does not want to release them. The Government has been loath to make any public statement about a timetable for independence for Papua and New Guinea.
Would the Government accept a vote of the New Guinea House of Assembly if the officially nominated members were excluded and the locally elected members were permitted to decide for themselves? If such a vote were taken now it is likely that the House would vote along the lines of the target dates which- have been set down by Labor, namely, self-government in 1972 and independence, in 1976? -. There is nothing wrong with the prescription of that timetable. The only criticism that Senator Greenwood was able to level” at the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition in another -place- was in that regard. But Labor has- been honest enough to. set a target. If it is not possible to achieve selfgovernment by 1972 and independence by 1976, that does not matter.. Self-govern- ‘ ment could be achieved in 1973, 1974 or 1975 and independence in 1976, 1977. 1978 or even 1980. But at least we are working towards a target. We are prepared to formulate a plan .fo bring about this desirable situation in the Territory but the Government has given the people of Aus. . tralia no information, about its policy in relation to Papua and New Gunea, and it certainly is keeping the indigenous people in the dark.
The Government is part and parcel of the exploitation of the indigenes by Australian expatriates. The native people ‘have been exploited by the white people for 100 years. The Germans looked upon the Territory purely as a colony and the people have inherited from the Germans, and from those who followed, the - abomination of their language. This in itself will be to the everlasting shame of those who have administered the Territory over the years. We heard Senator Sir Magnus Cormack say tonight that there are many in Papua and New Guinea who are engendering hatred of the white people and of those who would like to grant independence to the Territory simply to maintain the status quo. Their argument always is that the Territory is not ready for self-government, but that is an attitude typical of colonial powers and it smacks very much of racial superiority.
We live in a region populated by .1,000 million Asians; most of whom have been under privileged for centuries. Every day that we stand astride Papua and New Guinea as a colonial power adds to the bank of ill will that is building up against us. To see this one has only to look at the way in which our nearest neighbours among whom are Japan, Indonesia, India and various others with whom we have to live and to whom we are geographically adjacent, > have voted in the United Nations. I believe that the report of the United Nations Mission will again stress the world view that Australia is acting as a colonial power in Papua and New Guinea. Our reputation will again be blackened by an adverse report which will emphasise the fact that we have not yet specified a timetable for independence. The numerous coloured nations in the United Nations will note again our support for so many reactionary things like supplying arms to South Africa and participating in the war in Vietnam, and we will be labelled as a racist nation. We should be proving to the world that that is not true -yet. by our actions, we are giving substance to the belief that it is true. We should be relieving the- pressures that are building up because, if we do not act soon, there could be disintegration under those pressures with tribal groups breaking away.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - Order! The honourable, senator’s time has expired.
– The Senate has been debating for the last 2 or 3 hours a motion which has been drawn up most thoughtfully by my colleague Senator Greenwood for the purpose of giving honourable senators an opportunity to affirm the Australian Government’s policy for Papua and New Guinea. Senator Greenwood’s motion contains these words: - of not imposing upon the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea self government or independence contrary to the freely expressed wishes of the people through their parliamentary representatives.
I have emphasised those words because the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy) sought to amend them. Instead of affirming that we will not impose self government and independence upon the people of the Territory contrary to their freely expressed wishes through their parliamentary representatives, Senator Murphy sought to introduce an amendment. It is now on the record as the expression of his opinion that independence and self government should be accorded to the peoples of Papua and New
Guinea upon a decision of the United Nations and at a time decided by that body.
The Australian Labor Party has fallen into a fundamental trap of self-persuasion. In this instance it has lent itself to denigrating this country’s achievements over the last 50 years. (Quorum formed) When the attention of the House was drawn to the numbers who had remained in the chamber for this debate, 7 members of the ALP were present. It was their Party Whip who drew attention to the fact. I was trying to examine a question of some importance without heat and without roar but Senator Poke has intervened and sought to enforce his intervention by a continuous roaring. I was saying that the Labor Party had sought to emphasise its denigration of this country’s remarkable achievements over the last half century in bringing the Territory to the stage of development that it has reached.
Senator Greenwood has moved his motion because of the untimely and most unwise intervention of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in Papua and New Guinea, not only in the last parliamentary recess but also in the previous year. Senator Cant has reminded us tonight that the Leader of the Opposition asserted that, if he were to become Leader of the Government of this country, Australia would ensure that there was self government in the Territory in 1972 and independence for the Territory in 1976. These are the issues that we ought to be debating in the most careful terms because, for good or ill, people in the Territory in increasing numbers are taking careful note of the opinions expressed in this Parliament. They do so because they still attribute some responsibility to those opinions.
I believe that the statements of the Leader of the Opposition on Papua and New Guinea, supported today in this chamber, are an arrogant interference which shows contempt for the capacity and ability of the people of the Territory in their own time to develop to a situation where they will decide when they will take self government and independence, lt is greatly lo be regretted that Mr. Whitlam’s intervention cannot be divorced from the feeling that he sought a diversion from his troubles with the Victorian Labor Party
Executive and his futile intervention in the New South Wales Branch of his Party. It seems that be sought to get an audience who would provide more plaudits for him than he receives at the average Labor Executive or community meeting.
It is greatly to be deplored that the Leader of the alternative government should go to the Territory to debate his divisive policies and that he should not endeavour, for Australia’s prestige and the advancement of the Territory, to follow the tradition in which mcn in public life in this country give expression to viewpoints in respect of the Territory with as much bipartisanship as possible. It was made quite clear by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), when he visited the Territory in July last year, that the very plain policy of the Australian Government is to fall in with any requests that come from the Territory to give its people self-government or independence when those people freely express their wish to have either stage of development; neither before that time, at the insistence of a militant minority, nor later, in accordance with the accusation that there is interest in Australia’s deferring those opportunities for the people of the Territory. That is our policy. In the light of Mr Whitlam’s intervention Senator Greenwood wishes that we clear the matter and affirm that policy. Tonight the Opposition has said that it will vote against affirmation of that policy. I therefore propose to ask the Senate to allow sufficient time in this debate for a vote to be t;i ken. 1 want to examine our position as trustee of the Territory. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack has most emphatically drawn the Senate’s attention to the terms of our trusteeship. They exist in Article 76 of the Charter of the United Nations, and are:
In respect of Australia’s appointment to the trusteeship by the United Nations Senator Murphy fell into a very deep hole of misunderstanding and said that we are therefore trustees of the United Nations. We were appointed by the United Nations but we are trustees of the people of the Territory, for their advancement in a cultural and educational manner and their progressive development towards selfgovernment and independence. We are bound to exercise that trust in accordance with the agreement of the trusteeship. Under that agreement the Government is designated as the sole authority which will exercise the administration of the Territory. The agreement says that Australia shall apply such of its laws to the Tet.ri. tory as it thinks appropriate and, specifically, Article 8 of the agreement says that Australia will, in accordance with established policy, promote, as may be appropriate to the circumstances of the Territory, the educational arid- cultural advancement of the inhabitants; assure to the. inhabitants of the Territory, as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of the Territory and its people, a progressively increasing share in the ‘ administration and other services of the Territory; and guarantee to the inhabitants of the Territory, subject only to the requirements of public order, freedom of speech, of the Press, of assembly and of. petition^ freedom of conscience, freedom- of worship and- freedom of religious teaching. That is the trust that we accepted.
How have we exercised that trust? The steps by which’ Australia has given to the people of the Territory over the years advancing opportunities for self expression in the administration of their affairs and legislation for their government is clearly to be seen from ‘ the first step that was taken some 12 or 14 years ago to establish representative government.’ The next step was to enlarge the area of representation. The House of Assembly now consists of 84 elected representatives and 10 nominated representatives.- Last July the Prime Minister made a significant’ statement in which he- said that legislative authority having been exercised with such credit to the local Assembly, we had come to the conclusionthat the responsibilities and authority of the local Administrator’s Executive Council should bc extended and that it should be responsible only to the indigenous elected members of that - Assembly, that it should take sole responsibility for educational matters, public health, tourism, cooperatives, -business advisory services, workers compensation, industrial training, posts and telegraphs and other matters, reserving to Australia responsibility in matters of external security, enforcement of law and order, the judiciary, defence and matters of that sort, I do not wish to repeat the complete statement of the position.
It has been said that we have done nothing to prosper the economic position of the Territory. The Senate was reminded by the impressive speech by Senator McManus of the prerequisites that most thinking people would require before independence was taken. He said that the responsibilities of economic viability were foremost. Yet Senator Cant asks what we have done, and Senator Keeffe says that we have arrogated economic interests to ourselves. In this connection I shall refer to two instances only. The vote for Papua and New Guinea in the Australian Budget last year was a total of SI 26.1m.
– That was a direct vote. .
– Yes, a direct vote of % 1 26.1m. At Bougainville, which I refer to as a specific example, a project has been developed by a company which has found mineral wealth, erected a structure and begun mining in the area. At Bougainville that company will employ 4,000 indigenes during the construction stage, and during the production stage in 1972-73 will employ 2,500 indigenes, increasing to possibly 4,000 indigenes by 1981. Tn Bougainville we have a situation where the Administration -will receive revenue from taxation, royalties and dividends in excess of $400m in 10 years and where the company taxation which will be payable will be not 471 .per cent as in Australia but 60 per cent of whatever net profit is left to the company. In Bougainville, that company has specifically undertaken a training programme for indigenous employees, the programme to cost $500,000 every year. Yet we hear the catch cry of old colonialism,imputing that we are not advancing the constitutional structure and the economic well-being of this area to the great advan.tage of the local inhabitants.
Every effort that we have put forward has been towards giving local representatives ‘ in New Guinea and their Parliament the opportunity to make their own decisions in this respect. They have not been thoughtless in the matter. In fact we have all met personally and socially delegations to this Parliament, when they have been free to express their appreciation or disapproval, as they wished, of the efforts that were being offered by Australia to enable them to make a judgment on these matters. Never once have I heard from any member of those delegations anything but appreciation of the increasing experience that is enabling them to make their own judgments. Indeed, the chairman of the Select Committee on Constitutional Development made a report to the Parliament of New Guinea a few months ago to the effect that in the opinion of the Committee the majority of the peoples of Papua and New Guinea did not wish them to accept independence. The Parliament at Port Moresby carried a unanimous resolution that the Committee should again tour the whole Territory to ascertain beyond doubt, if possible, what the viewpoint was. At that time the House of Assembly affirmed that independence and self government would be taken by the Territory only upon a resolution of representatives in that Parliament. But then, to trump all that and to run counter to that resolution of the House of Assembly, Senator Murphy said - -
– I rise to order. I was under the impression that as I am listed to speak in this debate the Minister’s time must have expired. Is it a deliberate intention on his part to deny me the right to speak.
– There is no point of order.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Order!
– Am I to be denied the right to speak in the debate tonight? I was under the impression that time for this debate would expire at 9.25 p.m. I am listed to speak in the debate. The Minister has spoken for more than 18 minutes and it seems to me that it is his deliberate intention to deny me the right to speak in this debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT Order! Senator Wright is the first Minister to speak in this debate and, as such, is entitled to speak for 30 minutes. As the honourable senator has indicated, he has spoken for 18 minutes only and so his time has not expired. There is no substance in the point of order.
– Let it be remembered that the Leader of the Opposition was not entitled under the Standing Orders to speak for 30 minutes, but I proposed and the Senate accepted a motion that he be given that much time, and he used it. But now we have from behind the Leader of the Opposition an individual who comes in like a poodle and raises a point of order. Senator Murphy relies upon a resolution from the United Nations of 14th December 1970 which he has misconstrued. He says that that- body called upon Australia to prescribe a specific timetable. lt did not. It said that Australia should prescribe, in consultation with the freely elected representatives of the people, a specific timetable. The freely elected representatives of the people have insisted that they are not yet ready to prescribe a specific timetable. They are engaged in a select committee at the present time and are going to make another investigation throughout the Territory early this year. They expect great things to come by the end of the year. But the Australian Government, keeping constantly in consultation with those people, will make the decision that they request as to independence and self government according to the freely expressed wishes of the people.
So, Mr Acting Deputy President, the issue is whether or not this Senate is of the opinion that the policy of’ the Australian Government is correct in not imposing upon the people of the Territory self government or independence contary to the freely expressed wishes of the people, and the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Murphy has invited us to give the Senate the opportunity of voting on the matter. I see that there are about” 7 minutes of my time to be exhausted and I can take up that time by speaking if I wish. However I now offer that to the Senate for a vote to be taken if honourable senators will agree with this motion that I put. which is:
That the question now be put.
– Well, I object. I raise a point of order. The point of order is that the Minister has spoken-
– I take a point of order.
– ! have - the point of order.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson); - Order! . .
Minister has moved that .the question be now put.
– -T’ have the .point of order. I question the right of the Minister who has spoken for 20 minutes’ - -
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! This matter was dealt with earlier. The reason for the Minister having 30 minutes at his disposal Was explained and he has moved that, the question be now put. Please resume your seat.
– I insist that the point of order I now raise is different from the one I raised previously. The Minister spoke for 20-odd minutes. Having put his case he then moved the gag in such a fashion as- to deny me the opportunity of speaking for 3 minutes. I say that if I had 3 minutes in which to speak I could demolish his- arguments.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Georges, you will resume your seat.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Original question put:
That the motion (Senator Greenwood’s) be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir .Alister
Majority . . . . 6
– That is so. So far as
I know there is only one motion before the Senate and that is:
That the Senate at -its. rising adjourn until Thursday the eighteenth day of February at J0.55 a.m.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– Pursuant to section 41 of the Comonwealth Railways Act 1917-1968, I present the annual report on the operations of the Commonwealth Railways’ for the year ended 30th June 1970. The financial statements of Commonwealth Railways operations for the year ended 30th June 1970 Were tabled on 23rd September 1970.
– Pursuant to the provisions of the Coal Industry Act 1946- 1966, 1 present the twenty-third annual report of the Joint Coal Board for the year ended 30th June 1970 together with the Auditor-General’s report on the accounts of the Board.
– Pursuant to section 19 of the Fishing Industry Research Act 1969, I present the first annual report on the operation of the Act during the year ended 30th. June 1970.
– Pursuant to section 8 of the Fishing Industry Act 1956. I present the fourteenth annual report on the operation of the Act during the year ended 30th June 1970.
– Pursuant to section 12 of the Marginal Dairy Farms Agreement Act 1970, I present a copy of an agreement made between the Commonwealth and the State of Tasmania in relation to the marginal dairy farms reconstruction scheme.
– Pursuant to sections 5 ‘ and 9 of the States Grants (Teachers Colleges) Act 1967, I present a statement setting out the payments that have been authorised by the Minister for Education and Science under this Act during the financial year 1969-70 and specifying the projects in relation to which the payments have been so authorised.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
– 1 move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Following representations from the Council of the Australian National University it has been decided to amend the Australian National. University Act to increase the size of the Council from 38 members to 41, by making the following changes: (a) adding the President of the Australian National University Students Association as an ex officio member; and (b) increasing the representation of the nonprofessorial academic staff of the Institute of Advanced Studies and that of the School of General Studies from 1 member each to 2 members each. The University Council also recommended a further undergraduate representative, but the Government believes that, having regard to the nature and composition of the Council and its methods of operation, the measures it proposes will provide adequate representation for undergraduates.
The qualifying conditions of Council membership are being varied by removing the requirements that the undergraduates’ representative be a graduate of a university and that the research students’ representative be a graduate of a university of at least 2 years standing. The Standing Committee of the Council is to be increased from 9 members to 12, with the ProChancellor as an ex officio member, and as Chairman in place of the Vice-Chancellor and the quorum will be increased from 5 members to 7. The office of Secretary of the University is to be listed in section 18a of the Act, along with those of ViceChancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, as one to which the Council itself should appoint or elect incumbents.
Finally the Bill provides that Bachelor graduates of the University should become members of Convocation on Graduation. At present Bachelors are excluded until they are of 3 years standing. The Government has also approved that changes be made to the ‘ Act to give the University more precise powers to control traffic. University controls for this purpose, however, have to be co-ordinated with the provisions of the Australian Capital Territory Motor Traffic Ordinance and it will be necessary to make the amendments to the Act relating to this matter in a separate Bill, to be introduced at some later stage. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
– I move:
This Bill will amend the provisions of the Bills of Exchange Act relating to cheques and bank drafts. The main purpose of the Bill is to do away with the necessity for indorsements on order cheques and bank drafts that are paid into the account of the payee. It will benefit the public and relieve bankers of much of the unproductive work at present involved in examining indorsements. The Bill will effect other incidental improvements in the law relating to cheques. Before proceeding to deal with the substance of the Bill, I should explain that the Bill will be an interim measure pending the introduction of a comprehensive Cheques Bill to codify the civil law relating to cheques of which the Governor-General made mention in opening the last Parliament. There were no incompatibility between the interim measure and the comprehensive measure as the provisions proposed in the Bill are among those the Government has in mind to include in the comprehensive Cheques Bill I have mentioned.
I should tell honourable senators that difficulties have been encountered in the preparation of the comprehensive Bill and it was not possible to introduce it in the last Parliament. Indeed, its preparation is still not complete. The essential difficulty lies in translating into the second half of the 20th century a code that was devised in the second half of the 1 9th century - for our Bills of Exchange Act 1909-1958 is still essentially the British Act of 1882 - and, furthermore, a code that is primarily concerned with the elaborate ritual of the !.9th century merchant doing business with bills of exchange rather than with the modern business use of cheques. Today the cheque is used as a means of payment in vast numbers of everyday transactions of a non-commercial character as well, of course, as in ordinary commercial activities. Such a comprehensive review has not yet been attempted in any of the countries of the. British Commonwealth; their legislation is still based on the British Act of 1882.
The Government has had the benefit of the report of the committee that it appointed to review the Bills of Exchange Act. Honourable senators will recall that that committee was chaired by Mr Justice Manning of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and that its report was presented to Parliament on 12th October 1965. The committee recommended that a new Act be passed dealing comprehensively with cheques. The comprehensive Cheques Bill I have mentioned will be broadly along the lines recommended by the committee.
It is clear, however, that some of the recommendations made by the Manning Committee will require modification to take account of fundamental changes that are now taking place in banking procedures, particularly in the use of computers. Discussions were carried on throughout last year with bankers about the extent to which a modern code should take into account changes that have occurred or that are in prospect. Also, studies have been made of the various electronic processes that the banks have introduced or intend to introduce. By way of illustration, I mention that at least one of the trading banks is now redesigning its operations to provide for the storage of cheques at a central electronic processing centre. The old reality - basic to the present Act - of physical presentment of a cheque at the branch on which it is drawn will be gone.
I am informed that the stage has been reached when further instruction can be given to the First Parliamentary Counsel upon most of the questions that have caused difficulty. But it is clear that it will be some little time before a comprehensive Bill can be introduced. . It is therefore, in my view, desirable to give effect now in a short Bill to a reform recommended by the Manning Committee - doing away with the unnecessary indorsement of cheques.This is a reform that has been widely sought with Che community and I consider it to be the most important of the reforms recommended by the Committee. T believe that its implementation will be of real benefit to members of the public, to the commercial community and to bankers. The Bill will give effect to a policy broadly similar to that of the United Kingdom Cheques Act 1957 but modified to take into account views expressed by the Manning Committee.
I turn now to consider the main purpose of the Bill which is, as 1 have said, to do away with unnecessary indorsement of cheques. It may assist honourable senators if I give some figures that bear upon this matter. It has been estimated that over 800 million cheques are issued annually in Australia and that about one Quarter, or approximately 200 million, are order cheques. Cheques drawn on the Reserve Bank are invariably payable to order; these include cheques for social service payments, repatriation payments and income tax refunds. The Department of Social Services alone, I understand, issues some 2 million cheques each fortnight. In addition, cheques drawn by State governments and by companies are usually payable to order. At present, all these cheques have to be indorsed by the payees and examined by bankers. 1 understand that over 2 million order cheques are dishonoured annually for lack of indorsement or for irregular indorsement. I also understand that at least three-quarters of all cheques drawn are deposited to the credit of the payee, so in the great majority of cases where cheques are returned, for indorsement no question of title to the cheque is involved. The dishonour of a cheque in these cases does rios safeguard the drawer or true owner. It is a great inconvenience to the- private individual and to commercial firms and also involves the” banker in much unproductive work.
In the United Kingdom a solution to the problem of unnecessary indorsement of cheques was attempted in the Cheques Act 1957. It is a different. solution to that proposed in this Bill and. I think that I should explain why a different, solution is proposed in this Bill. The .United Kingdom Cheques Act has had. a curious history. Its starting point is the 1,956 report of the Mocatta Committee on cheque indorsement: this Report recommended legislation substantially on the lines now proposed. Before action was taken by the United Kingdom Government to introduce a Dill a private member’s Bill, was introduced which, wilh minor changes, was subsequently adopted by the Government. That Bill, which is now the Cheques Act 1957, did not follow the Mocatta draft and proceeded on quite different lines. The relevant sections, sections..! ‘ and -4, may be construed as doing away with the necessity for indorsement of all cheques whether they are-cheques paid into the account of the payee or negotiated cheques, - that is, ‘ cheques that have been negotiated by the payee in favour of a third party. Support is provided for that construction by - the decision of the House of Lords in the case of Westminster Bank v. Zang (1966) 2 Weekly Law Reports, page 110.
It is by no means clear that this result was intended by those who supported the Bill. Indeed during the debate in the House of Lords it was said, in answer to criticism by Lord Chorley of the departures from the Mocatta Committee’s recommendations, that the advice received by the bankers was that negotiated cheques would still need to be indorsed. Alternatively, it was said that bankers would in practice insist on indorsement of negotiated cheques and order cheques paid over the counter to ensure that they and their customers were protected. It is significant that on 23rd September 1957, before the Act came into force, the Committee of London Clearing Bankers issued a memorandum to the public which stated that indorsement would continue to be necessary in the case of negotiated cheques and order cheques paid over the counter. The result in the United Kingdom is, therefore, that the law does not appear to require the indorsement of any cheques but, as a res u 1 1 of the memorandum I have mentioned, bankers require indorsement of negotiated cheques and order cheques paid over the counter. The position is the same in New Zealand, where a Cheques Act along the lines of the United Kingdom Act has been enacted and a banking practice similar to that in the United Kingdom has been adopted:
The Manning Committee, having considered all these matters and having heard submissions from all interested parties, concluded- that the original recommendation of the Mocatta Committee should be followed, that is, that the necessity for indorsement should be done away with only - in the case of cheques paid into the account of the payee. The Government has accepted this recommendation. The matter that was decisive in its decision was that the examination by banks of the regularity of indorsements of negotiated cheques is a valuable protection to drawers and the true owners of cheques. I have ‘ dealt at some length with the reasons why this Bill provides a different solution from that which the United Kingdom Act provides, lt will, however, provide the same practical benefits as a matter of law as are provided in the United Kingdom by a combination of law and banking practice.
In summary, the effect of the indorse^ ment provisions of the Bill will be as follows: A customer of a banker will not need to indorse an order cheque paid into his account if he is the payee: only those cheques that have been negotiated, to third parlies will require indorsement. A banker paying a cheque drawn on him by a customer will only have to examine a cheque for indorsement where he pays it over the counter. A banker with whom cheques are deposited by a customer will now only have to examine the face of each cheque to ascertain whether it is -to be paid into the account of the payee and, if so, he will no? have to turn over the cheque to look at the back and compare the indorsement wilh the names of the payee. The principal provisions that give effect to the proposed alteration of the law concerning indorsement are new sections 88b and 88n con.tained in clause 5 of the Bill. The former deals with the responsibility of a banker paying a cheque drawn on him by a customer, commonly called a paying banker, and the latter deals with a banker who receives payment for a customer, commonly called a collecting banker. These provisions will also extend to bank drafts, which include what are commonly called bank cheques. f shall now deal with the provisions of proposed new section 88B. Section 65 of the present Act protects a banker who pays a cheque bearing a forged indorsement or an indorsement made without authority if he acts in good faith and in the ordinary course of business Section 86 protects a banker against a common law claim for conversion in respect of a crossed cheque where he pays the cheque to another banker in good faith and without negligence. Failure to examine order cheques for indorsement would be contrary to the ordinary course of business under section 65 and would constitute evidence of negligence under section 86. Accordingly, to obtain the protection of sections 65 and 86 a paying banker must examine order cheques for indorsement. If the proposed alteration of the law concerning indorsements is made, a paying banker may not know whether a cheque has been paid into a payee’s account with the collecting banker or into some other account. Proposed new section 88B will, therefore, relieve a paying banker of the responsibility for ensuring the regularity of indorsement of all order cheques paid to a collecting banker and leave that responsibility to be discharged by the collecting banker. alone. A paying banker will, however, continue to be responsible for ensuring the regularity of an indorsement on an order cheque that he pays over the counter.
The purpose of new section &8d is, firstly, to do away with the necessity for a collecting banker to examine for indorsement order’ cheques that are paid into the account of the payee, and, secondly, to extend to uncrossed cheques the protection afforded by section 88 to a collecting banker in the case of crossed cheques. At present, under section 88 of the Act, a collecting banker who receives payment of a crossed cheque in good faith and without negligence is protected against the common law liability for conversion to which he is subject if his customer had no title or a defective title to the cheque. A banker, like anyone else who deals with property inconsistently with the rights of the true owner, is liable to the true owner in an action for conversion. To bring himself within the protection of the section, a collecting banker must examine an order cheque to verify the indorsement: to receive payment of a cheque bearing an irregular indorsement would be evidence of negligence on his part. Under the proposed provision, a collecting- banker must continue to examine negotiated order cheques lo bring himself within the protection of the provision.
Much of the benefit of doing away with the necessity for indorsement on order cheques paid into a payee’s account would be lost if collecting bankers were to insist on indorsement where there were minor discrepancies between the name of the payee appearing on the cheque and the name of the customer’s account. The proposed section 88n provides, therefore, that where the name of the payee on the cheque is so similar to the name of the customer that it would be reasonable for the collecting banker to assume that the customer is the person intended by the drawer to be the payee, .the banker need not concern himself with the absence of or irregularity in indorsement - lt is important that the proposed change in the law relating to indorsements should’ be introduced without affecting the position of persons under other provisions of the Act -or under the common law. The Bill contains two proposed provisions directed: to that end: proposed new section 88c, which is intended to preserve the value of paid order cheques as evidence of receipt- of the amount of the cheque, and proposed new section 88e, which is intended to preserve the rights that a collecting banker now has as a holder for value under section 32 in respect of. indorsed order cheques. So far as evidence of receipt is concerned,- the drawer of an indorsed order cheque, under the existing law, can use it after payment by his banker as evidence, although - it is not conclusive evidence, of receipt by the payee of the amount of the cheque. In fact, a paid indorsed order cheque- is as good evidence of the payment of money as the simple receipt of the kind sometimes printed on the back of cheques.
If the proposed change in the law concerning indorsements - is effected, there is no reason why a paid - unindorsed order cheque would have any less value as evidence Of payment than a paid indorsed order cheque now has. Proposed new section 88c ensures that this will be so by providing that an order cheque that appears to have been paid by the banker on whom it is drawn is evidence of the receipt by the payee of the sum payable by the cheque. This provision will, I believe, be useful for auditors and others required to satisfy themselves that the payee has in fact received the amount of the cheque. This provision will extend to a bank draft. The purpose of new section 88e is to ensure that a collecting banker who at the present time has the rights of a holder for value, in respect of an indorsed cheque will not be prejudiced by the proposed change in the law to do away with the necessity for indorsement on cheques payable to order that are paid into the payee’s account.
The reason why a collecting banker now requires an indorsement on a cheque payable to order is to establish himself as a holder for value, thus enabling him to sue on the cheque in his own right. In orderthat a collecting banker will continue to have the rights of a holder for value in respect of cheques that will not in future be indorsed because they will be collected for the payee, new section 88e provides that the banker will have the rights of a holder that he would have had if the payee had indorsed it in blank. I believe that the proposed provisions that I have just described will provide a significant -measure of reform of the law relating to cheques and I commend the Bill to honourable senators,
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) read a first time.
(9.57) - I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The intention of this Bill, Mr President, is. to update those portions of the Broadcasting and Television Act affecting financial operations of the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. It also aims to make changes to the existing provisions regarding the ownership and control of broadcasting and television stations. In addition, it extends broadcast listeners’ and television viewers’ licence concessions to several new small groups of pensioners and introduces measures to permit the service, by post, of summonses in relation to licensing offences under the Broadcasting and Television Act. The financial provisions, as drafted, represent a standard approach to statutory authority financial legislation. I will not therefore be dealing with these provisions in detail. The existing provisions in the Act are known to be inadequate, and both the Treasury and the Auditor-General’s Office were consulted as to the desirable provisions in relation both to the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the
Australian Broadcasting Control Board. This Bill has, accordingly, been drafted to update the banking provisions, provide for proper keeping of accounts and records; and to amplify the audit provision in accordance with more modern legislation. Changes affecting the administration of the Australian Broadcasting Commission are introduced in the Bill. Because of the present section 40 of the Act, which provides that the Commission may delegate its powers, except that of delegation itself, only to a Commissioner or the General Manager, administrative difficulties have arisen. The Commission operates throughout the Commonwealth, and delegations; limited to a few persons in Sydney place obvious obstacles in the way of efficient administration. The Bill amends section 40 so that the Commission’s powers may be delegated to any person in the employ of the Commission. This, however, does not affect the power to appoint permanent officers of the Commission, which still remains limited to a Commissioner or the General Manager.
The Bill also proposes, through amendments to sections 61 and 62, to raise the limits involved in the purchase and disposal of property, or entry into any agreement or lease, involving expenditure by the Broadcasting Commission, without ministerial approval. At present the limit is $40,000 and the Act directs that no agreement or lease involving expenditure may be entered into for a, period exceeding 5 years. Values have changed and the Bill proposes that these changes be recognised by raising the limits to $100,000 and 10 years respectively. The existing section 71, providing that the Commission may not pay compensation to a member of the Commission or its officers or employees, in excess of $500 without ministerial approval, is repealed. The purpose of the existing provision, which has no counterpart in other legislation, is not known and, in any case, the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation legislation provides adequate cover.
Honourable senators will be aware that the Act now places important restrictions on the number of television and broadcasting stations that may be controlled by any one person or company. A close connection, it will be agreed in this context, exists between company employee benefit funds and the companies with which such funds are associated. There is an increasing tendency for pension funds associated with companies already having extensive interests in broadcasting and television stations to invest in companies having interests in such stations. If permitted to continue unchecked, this could have a material influence on the control of television and broadcasting stations. This is considered to be contrary to the intentions of the ownership and control provisions of the Act and, in consequence, 2 new sections, 90aa and 91ab, are introduced in this Bill. If passed, their effect will be that interests in broadcasting and television licences acquired by funds maintained for the purpose of providing pensions and retiring allowances or other personal benefits for the employees of a company shall be deemed for the purposes of the ownership and control provisions to be beneficially held by the company concerned. These new provisions, honourable senators will note, will apply from 12th December 1969, the date on which the Postmaster-General announced the Government’s intention to bring down this legislation.
Mr President, this Bill also groups, m section 128, all pensions payable under the Repatriation Act and other Acts making provisions of a similar kind for the purpose of concessional broadcast listener’s and television viewer’s licences. In addition, it extends these concessions to several new pensioner groups. The new entitlement covers persons receiving a service pension under the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) legislation, and persons receiving service pensions and pensions in respect of total and permanent incapacity under the Native Members of the Forces legislation. Persons receiving pensions in respect of total and permanent incapacity under the Interim Forces Benefits legislation and the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act will also become eligible for the concessions. These concessions have been extended in the interests of giving equitable treatment to all persons in receipt of similar pensions.
Finally, the Bill proposes the insertion of a new section 132a to permit the service, by means of registered post, of summonses for offences in relation to unlicensed broadcast and television receivers.
This will provide an additional means for the service of these summonses in most of the States. It will not do away with the availability of personal service in appropriate cases. Although it has been the practice to date to have summonses for offences relating to unlicensed broadcast and television receivers served on defendants by members of the State police forces, there have been indications for .some time that, in some States at least, this arrangement was not satisfactory. Some State Ministers in charge of police have taken the view that the service of. summonses is not a proper police function and that it diverts trained men from more responsible activities. They have therefore directed that police are not to be used for the service of certain summonses for offences under thei’r own State laws. More recently, with increasing demands on the police, it has been made clear to the Commonwealth that some of the States are no longer prepared to see members of the police used to serve summonses’ for the more common Commonwealth statutory- offences. The Chief Secretary for Victoria has already informed the Commonwealth that the Victoria Police will no longer undertake the service of summonses - issued under the Broadcasting and Television Act. It has, therefore, become . necessary to arrange immediately for some - other means - of effecting service of summonses in respect of the common minor < offences under the Broadcasting and Television Act in relation to. unlicensed broadcast and television receivers.
Until quite recently, the Jaws in force in all Stales and - Territories –required that there should be ‘ personal . service of all summonses for offences and this generally involved the delivery of a summons to the defendant himself or leaving a copy at the last known or usual place of abode or business of-, the defendant, with some other person who was -apparently, an inmate -of; or employed at, that place and apparently at least 1 6 years of age. The laws in force in most - States were - amended - between 1962 and 1970 to enable .summonses for relatively minor offences ‘ to be served by post and the new procedures seem- to have worked satisfactorily in- the States. . It is desirable that, a ..similar procedure be authorised by Commonwealth law for the service of. summonses-, .in -relation .to offences concerning unlicensed broadcast and television receivers. The new provisions have been drawn to ensure, firstly, that there will be a high degree of probability that the defendant will in fact receive the summons that is posted to him and, secondly, that if a defendant does not receive a summons posted to him, there will be a simple procedure by which he or the prosecutor may proceed to have set aside any conviction that was recorded. This would apply in circumstances where the defendant was not in fact served with a summons or was not served soon enough to give him reasonable opportunity to answer the charge.
In providing for service by registered post, a more secure means of delivery will be provided than is required by corresponding laws of the States. Moreover, the provisions of the new clause enabling convictions to be set aside are more favourable to defendants than the provisions of corresponding State legislation. I am satisfied, Mr President, that the registered post will provide a satisfactory vehicle for the service of summonses under the Broadcasting and Television Act. 1 am also of the opinion that there will be adequate safeguards fo ensure that no person will be unjustly treated. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator McClelland) adjourned. ‘
– 1 have received letters from , Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson appointing senator to the following Senate Committees: Senator Buttfield has been appointed tq the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator M. F. Scott and Senator Wood has been appointed to that Committee to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator D. B. Scott. Senator Hannan has been appointed to the Joint Committee on the -Australian Capital Territory to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of SenatorWithers. Senator Prowse is to fill the vacancy on. Estimates Committees A and D. -caused by the resignation of Senator - D. B. Scott. . -
Motion (by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) proposed:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I rise tonight to direct some remarks to the Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) who is represented in this chamber by the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin). My remarks concern the rather inflexible attitude adopted by the Minister in relation to what is broadly termed ‘deserted seamen’. On-4th January 1 was approached by spokesmen for the Lebanese community in Sydney on behalf of 2 Lebanese seamen named Jacob Kabra and Elia Konzamee, who had been members of the crew of a Greek tanker. It was pointed out to me that these men had deserted their ship about 8 or 9 days previously. They were given sanctuary by the Lebanese community of Sydney who then came to me for advice.
In substance the story appeared to be that these men had signed on to the Greek tanker ‘Valiant Colocotronis’ which is controlled by Greek Petrol Tankers Ltd. Their complaint was that, although it was then the year 1970, proper maritime conditions were virtually non-existent on the tanker. I think Senator Cavanagh, with his trade union background, would appreciate that it is well known that the present Greek Government is concerned with the virtual extermination of trade unionism, particularly the Greek Seamen’s Union. The resultant vacuum would create unjust working conditions without limit.
These 2 Lebanese boys pointed out to me that they were forced to work virtually 16 hours in every 24 instead of on 8-hour watches. In addition, there was insufficient food and in the sleeping quarters there was very little air conditioning. Despite those things and rows with the captain, they felt that they had to put up with things until they reached their home port. I have here a document which is called ‘Oil and Australia 1970- the Figures Behind the Facts’ and which has a diagram showing the various routes followed by oil tankers. It was quite obvious that after the long trip lo Australia they were not prepared to go through a virtual industrial Gethsemane by putting up with this situation.
I have said that this occurred on 4th January. I was faced with a personal dilemma, just like every other senator I suppose. We ali have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. So I said to these boys: ‘I cannot guarantee a lot. I would remind you that, mindful of the composition of the Greek Government, in a sense you are virtually seeking political sanctuary5, tt was on that basis that I wrote to Mr Lynch on 4th January. As I do not want to delay the Senate unduly,, with the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard a copy of my letter to Mr Lynch. 4th January. 1971.
Hon. P. R. Lynch. M.P., Minister for Immigration, House of Representatives. CANBERRA. A.C.T. 2600
My dear Minister,
I have been approached by Mr. Frank Hakim of 456 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills. N.S.W. 2010, a prominent member of the Lebanese community in Sydney, who seeks sanctuary in Australia for two former crewmen of the Oi! Tanker Valiant Colocotronis. owned by Greek Petrol Tankers Ltd.
The persons concerned being Jacob Kabra. Born 5/6/1945 at Mana. Passport 478, obtained 1967.. Elia Kouzamee. Born t/4/1942 at Mana. Passport 9, obtained 1967.
In discussions with the two former seamen I was appalled at the story of gross industrial exploitation on this ship with members being paid for 8 hours work when working 16 hours per day, besides inferior food and insufficient ventilation in the bowels of the vessel to enable reasonable sleeping to be enjoyed after long shifts.
As a possible by-product of the present Military junta in Greece, trade unionism was non-existent with resultant industrial exploitation.
You are aware that I have maintained a very strong campaign against all ofl companies for their general laxity towards major responsibilities for introducing anti-pollution methods.
It is equally true that in one of the richest industries in the world there is no excuse for reasonable working conditions for those working on oil tankers but generally Greek tankers rate with vessels under the Liberian and Panamanian flags as having a 19 century concept for working conditions for seamen.
The boys pointed out to me that they were owed wages by the master and that none of the lower deck ever sign on for a further voyage.
Their dilemma is further compounded by the fact that there was no guarantee that the return voyage would within a reasonable time get them anywhere near their home land.
Under the circumstances I make a very strong plea backed by the Lebanese community that the two boys be given permanent domicile in Australia.
Mr. Hakim has pledged his community have been able to provide them with permanent employment.
Might I state that without endeavouring to be dogmatic or to question the role of the Immigration Department, 1 do have ample material to raise with your colleague, the Minister for Shipping, certain aspects of foreign ships engaged in the lucrative oil tanker traffic creating situations which encourage desertion. This aspect of course is a matter that I can ventilate in the Senate in Mid-February but I raise it with you to point out that I believe that such a shipping company must and should be exposed and that at least a charitable attitude by yourself could cushion this current Captain Bligh altitude followed by the Greek Master of the Valiant Colocotronis.
I have given the N.S.W. Director of Immigration a copy of this communication so that he will be aware of the current situ hi ion as regards the seamen concerned.
Yours in anticipation of n favourable decision.
Senator for New South Wales
I immediately phoned, the Department of Immigration and said that I had these 2 boys with me and that the members of the Lebanese community did not want to be breaking the law. The upshot was that I wrote the letter to the Minister on 4th January, which was very specific on the matters I. am mentioning now, and 1 told the boys that I was going away on a parliamentary delegation to Europe and that we would leave the matter to the Minister.
When I returned to Australia on Sunday, there was a letter from the Minister dated 22nd January, which was a rather stereotyped reply. He said that the essential feature in these cases was that the illegal entry of seamen had to be discouraged in every way possible. In the interim, to ascertain whether or not these boys were exaggerating the situation, I discussed the conditions of Greek tanker crews with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions which, as honourable senators know, is the major world trade union body. I saw its officials in Brussels. They agreed that the conditions of Greek tanker crews are very bad and that this is a very difficult matter.
Senator Georges, in his own direct fashion, has already explained what is happening under the present Greek Government. It is a twofold problem. With the extermination of trade unionism, the Government has introduced some form of incentive payments. But these Lebanese boys and any other non-Greeks do not share in the incentive payments.. The Government is adding insult to injury by using speed up methods and decreeing that non-Greeks do not even share in the incentive payments. I do not suppose that that is any satisfaction to the Greek nationals in the crews, either. This general feeling of intimidation and the application of ruthless Captain Blighism in 1971 are causing a high rate of desertions from Greek ships, whether by Greek nationals or non-Greeks.
Let me show how this situation is gelling out of hand. I emphasise that these are facts that our Minister for Immigration should have realised, instead of treating this as just a simple desertion case and nothing else.. In the 19th October 1970 issue of ‘Newsweek’ there was a very illuminating article headed ‘The Lush Era of the Tanker Tycoons’. One Greek shipping magnate is the husband of the widow of the late President Kennedy. Another one is a chap who has had some problem as to how he disposed of his wife. These are the sorts of men who have the destiny of thousands of seamen in their hands. The Newsweek’ article agrees that their methods are ruthless and that they will do anything to bypass all the regular canons of trade unionism and the provision of reasonable conditions. That is one point I want to make.
Secondly, there is the viewpoint of the ICFTU on these wholesale desertions. I want to make a point about the rather rigid attitude of our Minister for Immigration. I want to make a comparison between his attitude to the plea from the Lebanese community for sanctuary for these 2 boys and what happened when the Czech Consul-General rightly sought sanctuary from some manifestations of Stalinism in his country. He was given sanctuary. I did not object to that. In fact, 1 commended the Government on that action. But the point I have made repeatedly for years is that the Government will give san.cuary to the victim of the excesses of the left, but I have never yet seen the Minister give sanctuary io somebody who has some problem with the Greek, Portuguese or Spanish government. 1 took the opportunity to discuss cases of this nature with officials of the British
Home Office. They gave me chapter and verse of cases in which the Home Secretary, who has functions equivalent to our Minister for Immigration, exercises clemency. As a matter of fact, I can quote from the London ‘Times’ a case within the last fortnight of a Spanish student who was identified with the Basque freedom movement. He told the Home Office that he was frightened to go home because of his utterances in London. He was frightened of what the Franco police might do to him. He was given an extra couple of years in Britain in which to carry on his studies. 1 do not know of any case in Australia in which our Minister has exercised clemency towards people who have been the victims of right wing excesses.
– We would send him back to be shot.
– That is the dilemma. I have- referred to the letter that 1 received from the Minister when 1 returned to Australia on Sunday. I do npt know where these Lebanese boys are at the moment. They may have been repatriated.
I do not believe that all the power should reside’ in ‘the ‘Minister. In regard to the situation in Britain’, I have with me a copy of the Report of the Committee on Immigra- ti on. Appeals. For at least 4 years I have argued that these cases should be sieved by a’ tribunal. I do ‘not say for one minute that in every case we senators ventilate we arc right. ‘But in situations such as this ohe. or in cases with political overtones,’ if we had had a tribunal .it would have been able to vet the case and say whether these boys were victims of a ‘tyrannical ship’s master and whether they should be allowed to stay. Somebody might say ‘They are riff raff from the ships’, and adopt a nineteenth century attitude, f suppose that the best answer on the stock of sailors who have been allowed to remain in Australia is a contemporary of mine, the Honourable. Edna Roper, who is a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. Her name is Edna Sirius Roper. ‘Sinus’ is- the name of the ship from which her father deserted in Adelaide.
These are the sorts of situations about which I am talking. No doubt Mr Lynch has not bothered to look closely at the situation, if he -has not time to look at these matters in- person, he should create an immigration appeals tribunal such as I suggest. I can anticipate the attitude of Senator Wright on this matter. I can look at him across the chamber and say that as against the Spanish boy who was given sanctuary there was the German student leader who was sent out of Britain. 1 am not suggesting a whitewashing of everybody. I believe that our Minister should adopt a procedure along the lines I have suggested. What is worrying me is that if I have another of these cases in the future I may have to do a Bernadette Devlin and encourage someone to break the law. I do not want to do that. If Senator Byrne were here, he would verify that 2 days before we left Europe he said to me: ‘You have a pensive look on your face’. I said to him: Yes.. I am wondering about those Lebanese boys who came to me and whether I have put them in bondage to the Greek maritime authorities’. The next time somebody comes to me - whether he is a Spanish seaman, a Greek seaman or a Portuguese seaman - should I as a parliamentarian say to him: ‘Give yourself, up’ to the law’, knowing in my heart that he will be virtually thrown to the wolves?
I should like it to be conveyed to Mr Lynch, the Minister for Immigration, that in my view sitting in Canberra and looking at this thing at long range is not good enough. I commend to him the conduct of a former Canadian Minister for Immigration. The father of a German migrant was dying in Hamburg and a document had to bc signed so that the migrant could fly back home. The Minister, after having driven 150 miles out of Montreal on a hunting expedition, heard the story on the radio and returned to Ottawa to sign the document.
Probably our Minister has had his achievements too but in this situation T believe that he is not close enough. I discussed this matter in London with the former Home Secretary, Jim Callaghan, and with Maurice Foley, the former Minister for Commonwealth Affairs in the Wilson Cabinet- who is known to members of this Government. They said to me: ‘The greatest fault in any Minister is to be inaccessible’. I have expressed a similar view to Mr Lynch about certain Spanish migrants. In view of his ancestry the Minister should be a little kinder to people who want to buck injustice. I want him to know that.
T should like a Minister who would telephone or in some other way convey to the Greek Government that we are sick of being imposed upon. Tonight Senator Greenwood and others talked about whether we were worthy of Australian nationalism and whether we should keep apologising. 1 should like to believe that Australia was something like Britain in relation to the number of people to whom we give sanctuary. We would be a lot better off if we gave sanctuary to people who have suffered from excesses to the right. 1 agree that we have given it to those who have suffered at the hands of the left - I do not quarrel with that - but let us be honest with ourselves and say: ‘Yes, we equate Portugal and Spain with some countries which are to the far left’. But we are not doing that at the present time. When the next case of a deserting seaman comes to me 1 can assure the Senate that unless there is a change of heart on the part of the Minister I will not lift a finger to ensure that the laws are obeyed when people will be prosecuted because of it. 1 have hammered this theme for the past 3 years. From my last experience of the situation in Britain I believe that it is not infra dig for the Minister to set up a tribunal such as exists there. If Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin who represents the Minister for Immigration can give me chapter and verse covering seamen and others who have been given sanctuary in Australia, I will say that the Minister is adopting a balanced attitude. I have had numerous stereotyped letters from him such as the one that I have received on this occasion. The more I travel the world the more I realise that we are losing the battle to adopt an equitable attitude in the matter of freedom.
I will be seeing members of the Lebanese community this weekend. They have a proud record in Sydney by virtue of their identification with charitable organisations. I know that with other national groups in Sydney people disappear. There are always people who cannot be traced. The Department does not find every deserting seaman or every tourist who goes into smoke. They are not caught in the net. Let us be honest. Many of them make good citizens despite their different aims and objectives. I certainly would not be party to having a lot of police engaged trying to find them, but the point I want to emphasise is that when people want to do the right thing the Minister comes up with the same inflexible answer. He gave me a similar answer in a previous case in which he probably was right, but this case is different, ff he would only emulate the practice of the British Minister and set up an immigration appeal tribunal there would not be the miscarriages of justice that have occurred in the past. When I speak to the Lebanese people this weekend I will tell them that 1 will be happy to help the next fellow who is the victim of the autocratic military junta in Greece circumvent the law.
– [ rise to express my concern and the concern of a great number of people on the north coast of New South Wales at the manner in which an announcement has been made regarding the proposed merger of 2 large television stations on the north coast of New South Wales, and of the further projected concentration of this very powerful medium inthe hands of a privileged few. I urge the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to give very serious consideration to the implications of the application that has been made to them concerning the merger of television station RTN8 Lismore and NRN11 Coffs Harbour before they give their imprimatur to it.
Out of the blue on 15th January a news item appeared in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ and also in the Lismore “Northern Star’ to the effect that in the first television industry merger in New South Wales RichmondTweed Television Ltd and Northern Rivers Television Ltd would join forces. The 2 companies announced ‘ that they planned to form a holding company which would make offers for the whole’ of the issued capital of each of the 2 licenced companies. The report went on to say that the 2 companies were awaiting, the. ‘approval of the Postmaster-General and of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and that they would give details o’f the proposal in due course. Why could not they have made their complete proposals available in the first instance for the benefit and edification of the public? I would have thought that in the interests of the towns and the areas that they serve under licences issued by- the Commonwealth it would have been in the public interest for full and frank .details of the proposal to be disclosed.
The statement went on to say that the proposed merger may have implications for the future operations of the operator on the east coast, namely, Channel ECN8 in Taree which went into receivership last August, and that if the new RichmondTweedNorthern Rivers group should be successful ,in gaining ECN8 as a translator station it naturally would enhance the operations of those, stations which would operate under the holding company. To say the least, a kite was being flown to learn public reaction to this proposal. I can assure the Senate, the Minister and ‘ the Control Board that a great number of people are concerned that the whole of the television coverage of the north coast of New South Wales from Taree to the Queensland border will be virtually in the hands of 1 operator if approval is given for this merger. As has been put, this proposal could well be a breach of the Broadcasting and Television Act which, in relation to the limitation of interest in commercial television stations, provides that a person contravenes the Act if and so long as he has a prescribed interest in each of three or more licences. Other matters are elaborated. We see very powerful associations forming into 1 organisation thus tightening the hands of monopoly on this very important medium. The Minister and the Control Board should look very closely at this state of affairs.
Naturally operating costs will be reduced. In the 21 st January edition of a magazine called ‘Broadcasting and Television’ it Was stated that rationalisation of operating costs and increased revenue potential would ensure a greater return to shareholders. The article also stated that the proposal was subject to the approval of the Postmaster-General and the Control Board but, according to a statement on page 1 of the magazine, it appears that the proposal is to be regarded by prospective advertisers as a fait accompli. An article appearing in the edition of 31st January of the same magazine refers to ‘joint ad. rates for television stations’. Under the banner line of ‘Coffs Harbour’ the article states:
Following the merger of RTN and NRN (relaying to ECN) the 3 markets will be sold on a single rate curd from Marsh 1st, with schedules and invoices handled by NRN.
The article then sets out details of the representatives for the group. 1 suggest that it is an insult to the people living in the north coast region, and could well be a breach of section 92 of the Broadcasting and Television Act. The Press statement to Which I have referred- mentions a greater return to shareholders, and states that the rationalisation of operating costs and increased revenue potential will ensure a greater return to shareholders than is possible under the existing structures. But the return last financial year did not appear- to be too bad at all. The Press statement of 15th January said that Richmond Tweed. TV Ltd returned an earning rate on . issued capital of 20.5 per cent after a 2.8 per cent increase in net profit from $70,139 to $72,098 in the year ended 30th J une. last.
– And it will be a lot better under the new arrangement?
– It will be a lot better not only for that company, but also for the others, as the statement makes dear. It went on:
Northern Rivers after accumulating debts for 6 years of $165,380 up to June 30th, 1967-68, went into the blue in the last 2 years returning a net profit of $58,828 (or 13.4 per cent on issued capital) in the 1.969-70 year.
I repeat that the percentage profits do not appear to be too bad, but it is said that the proposed merger will ensure a greater return to shareholders than is possible under the existing structures. The chairman of Richmond Tweed TV Ltd, the Hon J. C. Mcintosh, has said that full details of the proposal will be made available in due course. In a statement which appeared in the Lismore ‘Northern Star’ on 15th January he is reported to have said:
At. this stage, however, it can be assumed that RTN8 and NRN11 will be linked on relay, the major portion of the programme being originated at NRN11
Before approval is given by the PostmasterGeneral or the Australian Broadcasting Control Board the chairman of the company is able to announce that at this stage it can be assumed that RTN-8 and NRN-11 will be linked on relay, the major portion of the programme being originated at NRN-11.
– ls the statutory law only a joke today?
– The legislation to which I am referring appears to be a complete and utter joke. The big business operators are dictating to this Government the terms and conditions under which they will operate commercial television licences. Only about a week ago the Lismore City Council held a meeting to discuss the matter, lt was said at that meeting that the loss of RTN-8 was one of the biggest setbacks that Lismore had experienced. For the great northern city of Lismore in the State I have the honour to represent in this Parliament it was the greatest setback of the last 10 years. Mr Mcintosh, the Chairman of RTN-8, has said that full production and television facilities will be maintained at RTN-8 Lismore
– Come on! Wrap it up!
– The honourable senator says: ‘Wrap it up!’
– Well, your own members are not present.
– lt is an important matter and I intend to place it on the record in the interests of–
– We will call a quorum.
– You go ahead and call a quorum. But I intend to talk on this matter which is vital to the people of this area. (Quorum formed) Mr Acting Deputy President, 1 was referring to a statement that the Chairman of RTN-8, Mr Mcintosh, had made. He said that full production and technical facilities will be maintained at RTN-8 Lismore. But one of the unions concerned - namely, the Professional Radio Employees Institute - has written to me indicating that it has received information that RTN-8 will cease ali operations from its studios at Goonellabah on 1st March 1971 and, after that date, will take programmes on relay from NRN-11. Prior to the merger, a total Of 24 people were employed in the production, technical, traffic, administrative and sales sections of RTN-8. At least 1 1 of these employees, whose ages range from 16 to 21 years, have received dismissal notices, it is known that some of the remaining senior staff have been offered positions at NRN- 11, but the general feeling of uncertainty is caused by the knowledge that all members of the staff cannot be absorbed. As I have mentioned already, the union points out to me that ECN-8 Taree has closed down its operations and its studio and now is taking its programmes on relay from NRN-11.
The Labor movement believes iti as wide a diversity of ownership in this vital industry as is possible. This deal to me is quite frightening and causes me concern. As I have indicated - and 1 emphasise again if this deal is agreed to, one television station will cover the complete north coast of New South Wales from Taree to the Queensland border.
– Can the Federal Government stop it?
– Of course, because there are-
– It is a breach of the Act.
– 1 feel that it is a breach of the Act. 1 might refer to a section of the Act about which there is some doubt. But if ECN-8 Taree is regarded as a third television station - it being operated by translator - certainly in my opinion this deal would be a breach of section 92 of the Broadcasting and Television Act. Station RTN-8 serves about 40,000 homes in the Lismore district and station .’NRN- 1 1 at Coffs Harbour serves about 35,000 homes. I suppose the Taree station would serve about 30,000 homes. One can see from that what a vast control over the minds of many people stations controlled by one operator would have.
If we look at the appendixes to the last annual report of the Broadcasting Control Board we can see the interlocking association of the various shareholdings interested in the stations. We can see from those documents the vast interlocking association between many sections of the muss media of Australia which are grappling for more power and for greater profits, lt is true that the one station for this area would become probably the third largest provincial station in the Commonwealth and it might well be true that this would attract greater revenue from national advertisers. But that would serve only the interests of the shareholders of the company. Having regard to the unemployment that would be created and the inadequacy of news coverage in the main towns in that area, the best interests of the public would not be served. If this type of thing is allowed to develop the Broadcasting Control Board will, I suggest, become a mere paper tiger, powerless to do anything in the interests of television viewers. Rather than have a consolidation of stations, there should be a breaking up of their control. Licensees of commercial television stations must be made aware that licences that are given to them are for the primary purpose of catering for the commercial needs of the peoplein the areas involved and that the profit motive is secondary.
– Would it not be for the human needs of. the people rather than their commercial needs?
– That is exactly what I said.
– No, you said it was for their commercial heeds.
– I should have said for their human needs - for the purpose of informing! enlightening and entertaining. I ask the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin), who represents the Postmaster-General -in this chamber, to bring to his attention and to the notice of. the; Broadcasting Control Board the remarks ‘ that 1 have made in reference lo what I and a great number of people on the -north .coast of New SouthWales regard as a very important matter, and to ask him . to ensure .that very close and serious consideration is given by him and the Board to the proposed merger, before it is agreed to.
(.10.43) - in reply - Tonight both honourable senators who have spoken in the debate on the adjournment motion have referred ‘ to matters concerning Ministers whom I represent in this place. I should like to explain to Senator Mulvihill that- 1 could not answer him before Senator McClelland spoke because had I done so I would have closed the debate. So my failure to answer Senator Mulvihill was not a neglect to do sp.. T have noted very carefully the .points raised by the honourable senator concerning the 2 persons, Kabra and Kouzamee. Tn fairness I .think I. should have recorded exactly what the
Minister said in his letter to the honourable senator because it puts on record a little more detail than is contained in the reference made by the honourable senator. Those 2 persons entered Australia illegally by deserting their vessel at Botany Bay in December 1970. The Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) very correctly said in his written reply to Senator Mulvihill: - The essential feature in these cases is that illegal entry by deserting seamen is very frequent and must therefore bc discouraged in every way possible. The most effective means of doing this is to ensure that such illegal entrains are removed from the country unless exceptional circumstances exist.
I have carefully considered the cases of Messrs Khadra and Zouzami in the light of your representations but I have decided that, in the absence of any special circumstances, their deportations are to proceed. You will appreciate that the shipboard conditions under which seamen serve is nol a matter which can enter into my consideration of their cases, lt is presumed that seamen make themselves aware of these conditions prior to entering into employment contracts with shipping companies.
So the whole point on which this case was considered by the Minister was that they had illegally entered Australia by deserting from a vessel on the date which was named. Senator Mulvihill, in bringing this matter before the Senate, expressed his concern for people who -desert for a. variety of reasons, and he asked that the Minister consider the establishment of an immigration appeals tribunal. In doing this he made a comment which I feel I must contradict, because he spoke as. though the Minister was inaccessible and as though the departmental officers . were inaccessible. I do not feel that this is so; I feel that this is a wrong assessment by the honourable senator. I have noted the points he. raised,’ including the point concerning .an appeals ‘ tribunal, and T can assure him that I shall place these matters, in relation to which he has. expressed his concern for people in special circumstances, before the Minister for Immigration.
The next matter to which I wish to reply is the matter- raised by Senator Mcclelland. On this occasion I reply on behalf of the Postmaster-General. (Sir Alan Hulme). Senator McClelland put before the Senate tonight a. number of points concerning the. merging of 2 television stations. I say very, briefly to the honourable senator that I shall most certainly put his views, as expressed in the Senate tonight, before the Postmaster-General. But I think I should make 2 points concerning this matter. The matter would, of course, be subject to the Ministers approval notwithstanding the published particulars which Senator McClelland has given us in the Senate tonight. I ask Senator Cavanagh, who is trying to interject, to let me continue because this matter is going to the Minister. I am not making a decision on it, but I am giving the points of fact. The whole substance of this matter will no doubt come before the Postmaster-General, and I will ensure that he will also have before him the points that Senator McClelland has raised.
-I inform honourable senators that the Leader of the Opposition has handed in an amended notice of motion as follows:
That there be referred in the Standing Committee on Social Environment the following matters for inquiry and report as soon as possible after the appointment of members of the Committee -
forecasts of housing demand in Australia;
the capacity of the building industry to meet future demands for housing;
the extent to which private capital can be expected to finance future demands for housing;
the role of Commonwealth finance in housing;
allocation of Commonwealth finance between housing for private owners, rental housing, housing renovation and urban renewal projects;
the extent to which the allocation of Commonwealth finance for housing to the States should be made conditional upon compliance with standards of town planning and the provision of urban services; and
– by leave - May I say for the assistance of honourable senators that, although this matter would go on the notice paper for tomorrow, it is not intended to move on the matter tomorrow.
– Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition might help me. How can he give notice of motion concerning something that has not happened? We do not have the Committee mentioned in the notice of motion.
– I will move the appropriate motion on another day. In answer to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton), I take the view that what I have done is in order.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 February 1971, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1971/19710217_senate_27_s47/>.