27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The Senate met at 3 p.m.
The Acting Clerk - Honourable senators,
I have to announce that the President, Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, is in Perth attending the Fifth Conference of Presiding Officers and Clerks-at-the-Table and is unable to attend the sitting of the Senate. In accordance with standing order 29, the Chairman of Committees, Senator Prowse, will take the chair as Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) (hereupon took the chair, and read prayers.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) - by leave - agreed to:
That, during the absence of the President, the Chairman of Committees shall on each sitting day take the chair of the Senate as Deputy President, and may, during such absence, perform the duties and exercise the authority of the President in relationto proceedings of the Senate and the proceedings ofstanding and joint statutory committees to which thePresident is appointed.
-I present the following petition from 77 citizens of the Commonwealth:
The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the Postmaster-General’s Department, Central Administration Board’s policy of re-centralising and concentrating certain staffs, under what is termed The Area Management Project, to the great detriment of most of the staffs affected and to the detriment of the economies of the towns and related rural areas, and to the detriment of the overall morale, efficiency and independence of the Australian Post Office is against the public interest and should be made the subject of special investigation by the Senate’s Social Environment Committee and by the Senate’s Finance and Government Operations Standing Committee.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Senate in Parliament asembled will take immediate steps to refer the above matter to the two committees of the Senate referred to, and in the meantime will order that:
Management Project; and
Area Managers or above them in the State Administrations or Central Administration of the Australian Post Office until the two Committees of the Senate have investigated the matters and reported to the Senate and the Government.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to forbid the sale or distribution of the book known as ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Before calling on questions without notice I inform honourable senators that the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) has been called unexpectedly to Sydney on urgent business and will not be present until later in the afternoon.I therefore suggest that honourable senators who were intending to ask questions relating to his portfolio or any of the portfolios that he represents in this chamber might place those question on the notice paper.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. In the light of the increasing number of attacks on public figures around the world, including the latest attempted assassination of Governor Wallace, will the AttorneyGeneral say what steps he has taken to achieve rigid control over firearms in Australia? Will the Attorney-General investigate the possibility of the Commonwealth legislating to the full extent of its power, preferably in co-operation with the States, for strict control over firearms to prevent similar gun attacks in Australia?
– I am sure we all deplore, as Senator Murphy said, the attacks on public figures - not only around the world but also closer to home. We can only hope that what has occurred elsewhere will not happen in Australia. I certainly am interested in what Senator Murphy said with respect to the control of firearms. Generally speaking, we have a very much tighter control over firearms in this country than exists in many other countries. However, it is not a matter directly within my portfolio, and I will consult with the relevant Minister to see what progress has been made in discussions with the States. Senator Murphy will be aware that the control of firearms directly is a matter within the legislative responsibility of the States, that conditions in each State differ, and that this has ied to a different approach being adopted, at least initially, by the various State authorities. However, I am sure we all share the honourable senator’s interest in this matter. I will ensure that my colleague the Minister for Customs and Excise is informed.
– Has the Minister for Air seen newspaper reports that New Zealand is expected to press the proposal that the Australian Government buy a New Zealand built training aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force? Can he confirm the report that this aircraft, known as the T6, is on the RAAF short list? Can be give me any further information on the RAAF plan for its replacement of the Winjeel trainer, particularly as it is related to common defence needs between Australia and New Zealand and especially regarding any Australian made components?
– I have seen the report. It arises out of the fact that earlier in the year I issued an Air Staff requirement for a replacement for the Winjeel aircraft. Quite a number of proposals were received by the Department of Air and a paper evaluation was carried out to reduce the proposals to a short list. At the present time a practical evaluation is being carried out. A team of RAAF officers together with departmental technicians, who are in England at the present time, will be going to Scotland to carry out a practical evaluation of one of the aircraft on the short list. A further team is in New Zealand at present, carrying out a practical evaluation of the aircraft to which the honourable senator has referred. One of the requirements of the Government is that the companies which submit applications should be able to give to the Australian aircraft industry a proportion of the work to be carried out in manufacture. It is up to the companies to say how much work they can give in regard to the particular aircraft which they are putting forward.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether it is a fact that the Government has ordered the speeding up of the Randall Committee report on the wool industry and that the Australian Country Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Anthony, has served notice on the Government that he wants the matter discussed immediately the report is received, even if it means calling a special Cabinet meeting? I further ask the Minister: Why is it that the Country Party Minister for Primary Industry, Mr Sinclair, does not apply the same degree of urgency to Professor Grant’s report into the problems of the wine industry?
– I understand that the story that the Minister for Primary Industry called for a hurrying up of the Randall Committee report is not correct. As the Prime Minister said in his statement on 2nd May it is hoped that the Randall Committee report will be in the hands of the Government in 2 weeks time. That is the position as I know it. In regard to the wine industry, the report is in the hands of the Minister for Primary Industry. At the present time it is being studied before a submission is placed before Cabinet.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether he can recall Dr J. F. Cairns stating in the House of Representatives last year:
I recognise the law as it is and if I think it is wrong and if the issue is strong enough I will break the law.
Has the Attorney-General also seen reports in today’s Press that Dr Cairns is now considering quitting the moratorium movement in Melbourne because of the violence last Friday? I ask the Attorney-General whether there is any statement, or whether he is able to make one, on the obligations of honourable members and honourable senators with respect to participation in violent demonstrations?
– I do recall that particular statement made by Dr Cairns to which the honourable senator has referred. 1 also recall other statements in similar vein made by the same gentleman. 1 have read, as reported in this morning’s newspaper, that Dr J. F. Cairns is considering withdrawing from future demonstrations.
– Is be the same gentleman who said that if the law does not agree with you or you with it, you can break it?
– That is a viewpoint to which the honourable member for Lalor has subscribed on many occasions. I do not know whether any statement sets out the obligations of members of Parliament as distinct from other citizens in relation to participation in violent demonstrations and generally breaking or observing the law. I would have thought that, without question, members of Parliament had a paramount obligation above the obligation of other citizens to show a respect for the law. The view which has been expressed by Dr Cairns rings hollowly when he has a long record of having contributed to the type of lawlessness which has been seen in the streets.
– 1 raise a point of order. Question time is to be used for the purpose of asking and answering questions. Answers must be responsive. They must be within the scope of the Minister’s public responsibilities. We have listened carefully to this answer which was not designed for the normal purpose of question time but rather to raise argument. The Attorney-General has now departed from what he was asked and that was to make a statement as to the responsibility of honourable members or honourable senators. He is now engaging in an attack upon Dr Cairns. I submit that the remainder of the answer should be ruled out of order. The Attorney-General has answered what he was asked and the rest of his answer is out of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I uphold the point of order to the extent that the Standing Orders require that, in reply to a question, a matter may nol be debated. I trust that Ministers will adhere to the Standing Orders in that respect.
- Mr Deputy President, I was indicating, in response to the honourable senator, that the question of whether a statement ought to be made is a matter upon which there can be differing views, and I have expressed the view that a general obligation ought to be accepted by members of Parliament. I think it is quite apparent that that obligation, as I have stated it, has not been accepted by Dr J. F. Cairns and that the role he has played is a role which has-
– I again rise on a point of order, Mr Deputy President, on two grounds. The first is the point of order which I raised previously and which I take again. The second is that the AttorneyGeneral has not observed your ruling, Mr Deputy President. He has not dissented from the ruling but he has not observed it. He is therefore doubly in breach of the. Standing Orders.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - The second ground of the point of order concerns a matter of judgment that the Chair must make and the Chair must hear submissions in order to do so. I repeat that question time should not be used for the. purpose of instigating a debate. I would have to see the question in writing before making any further judgment on it. As the Attorney-General has substantially answered the question asked of him I suggest that the Senate proceed to the next question.
– My question is directed to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as Minister representing the Prime Minister. I ask: Is he aware of the possibility of a serious worsening of the employment situation in Tasmania following the expenditure of special federal grants provided to help the unemployment situation in that State? Has the Government had urgent representations from the Tasmanian Premier, Mr Reece, requesting further immediate financial help towards preventing a worsening of the position? Will the. Government treat such a request with the utmost sympathy and act quickly to prevent a return to the situation which prevailed immediately prior to the allocation of the last unemployment grant?
Reece has only recently come into office. I would have to check with the Prime Minister’s Department as to whether he has made such a submission. Therefore, I ask the honourable senator to put his question on notice.
– I wish to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services. Is the Minister aware that the means test as applied to persons in receipt of the age pension requires such pensioners to include any income which is received as superannuation? Can the Minister say whether the Government has further considered allowing superannuation receipts to be exempted from the means test?
– I am unable to give as full an answer to the honourable senator’s question as obviously he would like. I will undertake to convey the question to the Minister whom I represent in this chamber and ask him to provide an answer as soon as possible.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. Because of the supposed difficulty of assessing damage or threat of damage to a local industry by reason of imports into Australia under the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement, in the event of an industry claiming that it has suffered serious injury - there are several such industries in the State of Tasmania - will the Government consider referring the matter, on application, to the Tariff Board or an arbitrator appointed by that Board for confirmation or otherwise of the alleged damage?
– There are 3 places to which these problems can be taken. One is the Tariff Board itself. Hearings before the Board necessarily take some time. Another is the Special Advisory Authority who is empowered to act quickly in cases of dumping or distress. If my memory serves me correctly - this goes back a little while now - the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement contains special provisions for industries of either country, if they feel disadvantaged or distressed, to make special application for a hearing arranged in consultation with both countries. 1 am sure that, that provision still exists. It was there originally, and it ought to be available now. I will seek to obtain for the honourable senator a precise definition of the fastest method by which some degree of consultation or discussion can be held with a view to finding a remedy.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Having regard to the recently announced flight plan across Australia for the inaugural Concorde venture, are we to conclude that the Minister endorses the statement of British Aircraft Corporation publicity manager, Charles Gardner, that in the Australian desert there is nothing except a few Aborigines and plenty of kangaroos?
– No, the honourable senator is not to so conclude. I saw that statement reported in a newspaper, and the inquiries I have made have indicated that that statement was never made. I think I have already given the honourable senator - I can make it available to him later because it is a long statement - the precise method by which the Concorde flight across Australia in a supersonic stage would be carefully checked and carefully evaluated so that the full impact of it, if there is any, can be ascertained.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry been drawn to the 1971 report of the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council’s Shipping Committee and the recommendations made therein, which are the result of extensive investigations within Australia and overseas, into the possibility of providing an improved and cheaper shipping service for the Australian wool clip? If so, can the Minister indicate what action has been taken, or is being contemplated, in respect to the Committee’s recommendations?
– I had a copy of this report sent to me by the organisation to which the honourable senator has referred, and I read some of the recommendations including those in regard to shipping. In commenting on what action has been taken, 1 should say that perhaps the Committee’s recommendations have been overtaken by a turn of events. I refer to the recent meeting in Brussels where the Chairman of the Australian Wool Board together with shippers, met the Australia to Europe Conference line and obtained a reduction in wool freights to Europe over the next 3 years. The shippers declined offers from the non-Conference lines and favoured the recommendations put forward by the Conference which gave them 3 categories of freight rates. At the present time I. understand that the shippers are looking at these freight rates. They will make a decision after they have considered all the details of the offer made by the Conference.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Did the Postmaster-General state in another place last week that the Government would not be able to have legislation prepared before the next parliamentary session to prevent the re-playing of football programmes on Channel 9 in Melbourne in defiance of the existing law? Does this mean that because the Budget will be presented in August such legislation will not come before the Parliament before September at the earliest, when the football season will have finished? Why does the Government tolerate this deliberate defiance of the law on the part of one of its licensees when it calls upon others in the community to recognise the general principle of law and order? ls the decision not to bring down the legislation in this session a deliberate decision on the pari of the Government to protect those commercial interests which are operating in defiance of the existing law and to stop any friction occurring between the Government and its commercial masters while the football season lasts?
– I reject entirely the somewhat snide innuendoes which characterise the honourable senator’s question. In the first place the Government’s action is not designed to protect certain commercial interests contrary to the public interest; nor is it a deliberate act designed to tolerate deliberate defiance of the law. I am quite sure that the honour able senator does not believe what he suggested when he posed the question in that way. I cannot recall, without having the record in front of me. precisely what the Postmaster-General said last week. My recollection is that he was unsure whether the legislation could be introduced this session or whether it would have to wait until the Budget session, and that his suggestion was that any delay would be due to the exigencies of the legislative programme. All honourable senators are aware of the very many Bills still on the notice paper which have to be debated in the next fortnight. As to whether there is any defiance of the law, the Postmaster-General indicated that there was uncertainty as to whether the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has power to impose the restrictions in this area which it has imposed over a period of time. My colleague Senator Cotton, when Acting Postmaster-General, indicated that it was the Government’s intention* to bring down legislation to clarify the law. I am sure, Mr Deputy President, that the honourable senator who asked the question was aware of those facts. In those circumstances, when the honourable senator suggests that there is some action designed to tolerate deliberate defiance of the law, he is ignoring the knowledge which would bc available to him.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise aware that ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ has been adjudged obscene by a magistrate in Victoria? As obscenity is one of the reasons for which the Commonwealth bounty on the printing of books can be refused, is the Minister yet in a position to answer my question of 26th April as to whether or not the book bounty is to be paid to the printer of ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’? Failing immediate information, can an answer be expected before the Senate rises?
– In answer to the last part of the question, yes. The first part of the question related to the finding of a Victorian court. I know that the Minister for Customs and Excise has been studying the finding. No doubt if he has something further to say on the matter he will instruct me to say it on his behalf.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation, is supplementary to the one asked by Senator Mulvihill. It concerns the projected supersonic flight of the Concorde aircraft across certain parts of the Australian continent as from 15th June. Firstly, will full arrangements be made for thorough scientific monitoring and study of the aircraft throughout its supersonic journey, including effective examination of ecological effects, if any? Secondly, will facilities be made available for bona fide scientists and conservationists to study this matter?
– Yes, I think that what the honourable senator asks for will be done. But I can be a little more precise by quoting some of the comments that were made about this matter in general. Before the flight the Department of Civil Aviation will ask the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Australian Broadcasting Commission to broadcast details of the Concorde’s movements to all the people who are living within any area over which it might fly. They will be asked, as residents or people in that area, to submit to the Department objective reports on the effect of the supersonic flight.
– 11: they are still alive.
– I think that the honourable senator ought to try to be sensible occasionally, if he can. The Department of Civil Aviation also proposes establishing noise monitoring posts along the supersonic leg of the Darwin-Sydney route. The Australian Conservation Foundation has been invited to send uncommitted observers into the area of the supersonic leg to hear the aircraft pass overhead. I add that, if there were people who genuinely wished to observe this matter, the Department would try to help them in any proposals they had to be in the area.
– In view of recent Press reports, will the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, in the interests of the wool growers of Australia, indicate to the Senate whether it will be possible for the Government to afford the
Parliament the opportunity to debate the report of the Randall Committee before the winter recess?
– Firstly, I say to the honourable senator that on 2nd May the Prime Minister made a statement in which he indicated that the report of the Randall Committee would not be available until about a fortnight after that date. No doubt, the Prime Minister and his senior Ministers will want to study the Randall Committee report very closely before they take any action. Therefore, I think that the House will be in recess before that time has arrived. I cannot see any possible way for the House or the Senate to consider the Randall Committee report before the end of this session.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral inform the Senate whether he will consider making a statement on behalf of the Government in regard to the blatant and deliberate promotion of violence in the streets and law-breaking by members of Parliament? If so, will he indicate what matters he will consider including in that statement?
– I am interested in the honourable senator’s suggestion. I shall give some consideration to what he has said. In determining whether a statement should be made, 1 think it is proper to recall that statements, certainly not in the form of ministerial statements, have been made in this place over a long period of time - sometimes late at night - with respect to the desirability of members of Parliament participating in street demonstrations and to the potential dangers which always are liable to occur if great crowds congregate in the streets, acting under a doctrine that they are entitled to do that in defiance of the law. That is a general view to which I know many members of the Australian Labor Party have subscribed for a number of years. 1 regret that we are now seeing the culmination of a general policy which, I feel, in the interests of maintaining the rule of law in the community, is to be deplored. These matters have to be taken into account in considering whether a statement should be made. But I certainly would feel that the very best thing that could be done would be to have from some responsible members of the Australian Labor Party a complete repudiation of those of their fellow members who have participated in these demonstrations, including some of those which took place last Friday night.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Air. In view of the difficulty of acquiring, in closely settled areas, sites for bombing and gunnery ranges for the Royal Australian Air Force, and in view of the fact that the Longreach aerodrome is in the process of being upgraded to take medium jet aircraft, will the Minister include the Longreach area in any investigation of sites on which to establish such ranges?
– For some time now my Department has been carrying out an examination of alternative sites for the bombing ranges presently in use. Although it has examined a number of areas, no final decision has yet been made. 1 assure the honourable senator that I will convey his question to the Department so that it can add Longreach to the list of sites and carry out an examination of that area. Later I hope to be able to provide the honourable senator with some information.
– My question is directed fo the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Bureau of Agricultural Economics conducted a study on the future of the Australian wool industry? If so, has the study been released? If not, why not?
Bureau of Agricultural Economics comes under the Department of Primary Industry. 1 am not fully aware whether the Bureau has made a submission to the committee, under the chairmanship of Sir Richard Randall, which is inquiring into the wool industry. A representative of the Department of Primary Industry is on that committee. The simple answer to the last part of the honourable senator’s question, I think, would be that the Randall report has not been presented to Cabinet yet.
– I direct a question to you, Mr Deputy President. Is it not a fact that sometimes, perhaps in an excess of zeal, speeches purporting to be questions are made by honourable senators opposite? (Opposition senators interjecting) -
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - If the
Senate will come to order we will proceed.
– Shall I repeat the question?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- No.
– Is it not a fact that such speeches do not seek information and are habitually loaded with political propaganda, inaccurate facts and unwarranted innuendo? If you should happen to detect one of those speeches from time to time, Sir, what would be the appropriate course of action?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I am always deeply appreciative of help from either side of the chamber. In this case suffice to say that the honourable senator may leave the matter to my judgment.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether the Sydney Airport Noise Abatement Committee is still functioning. Is the Minister aware that local government bodies in the region have again criticised the volume of aircraft noise still affecting the amenity of the 250,000 people in the vicinity of the airport some of whom are in the flight paths? Can the Minister inform the Senate of the progress that has been made in abating aircraft noise which, in the opinion of the local authorities, has not improved in the 3 years that this problem has been under the consideration of the Noise Abatement Committee?
– The perfect way to overcome the problem for the local municipalities is to close the airport and to have people travel by train. But that is quite unrealistic, as the honourable senator and most people would appreciate. A question of the overall public interest is involved. It is difficult for the people who live around the airport but it ought to be stated again, as it has been stated on many occasions, that the airport was there before most of the people chose to live there. The Noise Abatement Committee does work quite effectively some part of the time but its work is not helped by people who seek to stir up trouble there when it is not necessary. Great care and attention is taken with regard to the problem of aircraft noise at the Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport and will continue to be taken. We watch the matter carefully and give approval for flights to take place only within the normal hours when we believe that we are justified in doing so.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport seen a report in today’s Press that a motorist has claimed that he drove from Perth to Sydney at an average speed of 67 miles an hour? To maintain that average he must have travelled at greater speeds in some sections and must have driven for over 2,000 miles without rest. In view of the attempts of the Government to reduce the toll of the road, will the Minister confer with State Ministers in an endeavour to evolve means of stopping this type of driver from creating such a hazard to other road users and to himself?
– After quickly reading the report 3 aspects were conveyed to me. Firstly, the state of the Eyre Highway must be belter than people have been saying: secondly, the driver’s pregnant wife must be a truly remarkable woman; and thirdly, what the honourable senator said about the driver’s average speed does indicate that there must have been periods of greatly excessive speed. I imagine that the State police authorities will be directing their attention to the report, as the honourable senator has done.
– My question, which 1 direct to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, refers to lack of uniformity in the compilation and reporting of industrial accident statistics, a situation which has been known for some years. I ask: Is it a fact that the Department of Labour and National Service and other departments have reported this situation to the Commonwealth Government and to other governments? What action is now being taken to correct this bad position which impedes any improvement in the compilation of statistics of accidents on the job?
– It is regrettable that there is a disconformity in industrial accident statistics, but this matter has been receiving increasing attention in the last 2 or 3 years. As to precisely the stage that has been reached in the matter, I am not informed at the moment. 1 shall get the information for the honourable senator.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Is the Treasurer aware that taxation benefits by way of deductions from assessable income which are available to persons employed by corporations and which aggregate to a person not only by his own contribution but also by the employer’s contribution to a retirement or superannuation fund are not available on a similar scale to a self-employed person? If this situation is known to the Treasurer, will he seek to extend similar taxation benefits to self-employed persons? Will the Treasurer consider legislating to allow to selfemployed persons deductions for taxation purposes of contributions to registered retirement funds on the basis of an amount at least 50 per cent above that allowed to non-self-employed persons. Does the Minister not acknowledge that such an alteration to the income tax laws should be applied in justice to those people who are self-employed?
– What the honourable senator is involving himself in here is a question to me, as Minister representing the Treasurer, which relates to the Treasurer’s policy and what the Treasurer may have or may not have in contemplation. I would not be in any situation, even if I knew, to say so. At the same time 1 acknowledge that there is merit in what the honourable senator has to say because 1 believe that there is an area here in which there is a case for study. Equally, the honourable senator would be one who would know that there are ways by which this problem can be overcome, that is, by joining various types of funds which cater for this specific problem. Beyond that, I would not wish to go except to acknowledge his question and to say to him that I think properly I should seek an answer from the Treasurer.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Was the Minister correctly reported in the Press as having told the Deputy Prime Minister that he would not be able to contain Country Party senators from voting with the Opposition because of the reluctance of the Prime Minister to lay down guidelines on the wool marketing arrangement for next year’s wool clip? Will the Minister state whether or not Mr Roberts, the Federal Chairman of the Australian Country Party, has supported Mr Anthony in his efforts vo obtain a quick decision from the Government on the Randall Committee report? Further, has Mr McDiarmid, the President of the Graziers Association of New South Wales, stated that there is widespread disappointment at the Government’s failure to make a decision on the marketing of wool?
– For the honourable senator’s information, I made no statement. I understand that Mr Roberts, the Federal President of the Aus tralian Country Party, has made a statement. I have not seen that statement or a copy of it but have seen only what was in the Press. I understand that Mr McDiarmid has made a statement; that statement also I have not seen.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs a question. Further to my inquiries concerning the purchase of aircraft from Jetair Australia Ltd, would the Minister inform me as to the following: To which countries did the Government offer DC3s as gifts, or did certain countries request these planes? What were the countries involved? On what dates were the offers made or requested? What was the specific offer or request in each case? On what dates were the planes delivered?
– It will be recalled that the honourable senator asked a question on this subject on the 9th of this month and I said that I would obtain information on the general subject as early as possible. In reply to the specific questions that he has asked today, as to which countries were involved I say that 6 DC3 aircraft were purchased from the Jetair company because Nepal and Laos had a requirement for civil configuration DC3s, and 5 of these aircraft were delivered to those 2 countries. The Khmer Republic requirement was for military configuration aircraft, and 5 ex-Royal Australian Air Force DC3s plus an ex-Jetair DC3 which was in freighter configuration were delivered. Further details of those matters are in Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson’s statement to the Senate, which appears in Hansard of February 1971. As to the countries involved, aircraft were offered to Nepal, Laos and the Khmer Republic. Discussions took place with Nepal and Laos during 1969 and with the Khmer Republic in late 1970.
– ls this in answer to a question without notice?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order!
– 1 explain to the honourable senator who interjects that Senator Turnbull asked a question on this subject on 9th May and I said that I would obtain the information as early as possible. I am now giving that information, but giving it in specific response to what I heard Senator Turnbull ask today.
Acceptances of Australian offers were received by the respective diplomatic missions as follows: From Nepal on 5th November 1969, from Laos on 19th February 1970 and from the Khmer Republic on 8th January 1971. As to the offers, the specific offer was an inquiry as to whether the countries concerned had a requirement for DC3 aircraft as aid from Australia and, if so, the type of configuration needed. As to delivery, the planes were delivered on the following dates: Nepal, 18th August 1971 (2); Laos, 26th September 1971 (3); and Khmer Republic, 5th September 1971 (1), 31st October 1971 (2), 21st November 1971 (2) and 5th December 1971 (1).
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation seen a statement by Sir Frederick Scherger to the effect that there is likely to be an increase in domestic air fares? Is there a world wide tendency for air fares to be reduced? If there is a tendency for air fares to be reduced throughout the world, what justification is there for increases in Australia? Will the Minister take whatever action is available to him to assure the Australian public that there will be no increase in domestic air fares while this tendency exists?
– The statement that is attributed to Sir Frederick Scherger was in fact quite a long case made to the Senate Standing Committee on Industry and Trade in which be dealt with the Australian National Airlines Commission position, hi that statement Sir Frederick observed that the possibility of fare increases might, flow out of a situation in which dividend rates were much higher in the Ansett company than in his own Airlines Commission. 1 knew about that: J have observed it very carefully indeed throughout the past month or so. There is a tendency around the world for air fares to decrease on some of the long flying legs, as all honourable senators would know. I am not so sure that the same tendency is manifest in short haul domestic operations. Nonetheless we in this country and, in particular, in the Department of Civil Aviation have adopted a policy of very close scrutiny indeed of any application for increases in domestic air fares, whatever reason may be given by the operator. We evaluate such a request most precisely.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Is it a fact that after a rather prolonged and detailed study of the requirement for an alternative domestic jet airport the Minister accepted a recommendation that the airport should be at Longreach? Is it a fact that the Minister replied to that effect to my representation on 24th September 1969? Is it a fact that the Minister has now abandoned Longreach as the project? If so. will he now give favourable consideration to establishing the base at Charleville?
– The honourable senator is asking me to go back into the mists of the past when I was not really responsible for civil aviation. At a later date I can look at the correspondence and at the information given to the honourable senator. The establishment of a jet airport at either Charleville or Longreach was a problem of the airline requirement for an alternative airport situation. Over the last couple of years the matter has been evaluated very carefully. I shall obtain precise information on the current position.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science who administers the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation whether he is aware that a new desalination process known as Sirotherm for purifying water for domestic and industrial use is undergoing final tests in 3 States, namely, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia? If so, is the Minister in a position to supply to the Senate a statement of the results of these trials?
– Information about the process referred to is to hand. As to information about observations and assessment made of the trials, I shall refer the question to the Minister and ask that a report be made available for the information of the Senate.
– I ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General: ls it a fact that a news item concerning the. death of a youth who jumped into a bear pit at South Perth Zoo was telecast by TVW7 Perth on 24th April 1972 and that a still shot was shown of the bears actually savaging the head of the victim? Apart from offending against good taste, could the presentation of this item be justified in view of the attending sorrow which must have been imposed on relatives and friends of this unfortunate young man? Has any action been taken by the PostmasterGeneral to ensure that viewers will not be subject to such telecasts in future?
– I am not aware of the facts to which the honourable senator has referred. From listening to his question 1 think he was referring to an area of responsibility which, under the
Broadcasting and Television Act, is vested in the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. In the circumstances all I can do is convey the honourable senator’s question to the Postmaster-General and indicate the honourable senator’s concern, which I ?m sure is shared by honourable senators, for the attention of the Postmaster-General. Doubtless he will refer the matter to the Broadcasting Control Board. I am sure that he will let the honourable senator have an answer in due course.
– My question is directed to you, Mr Deputy President. In view of the notice of motion given by Senator Hannan to ban ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ in territories under the control of the Commonwealth, will you take steps to see that a copy of this book is made available to honourable senators so that they can make a judgment on it based on objective facts and reading, not a judgment based on prejudice, bigotry, wowserism or similar bias?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- 1 shall give consideration to the request.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I ask: Is the Minister aware of the continued concern in Tasmania over the establishment of an Omega navigation beacon in that State? Does the Minister agree that the persons living in the north of the State in particular are justified in their concern over the establishment of an Omega navigation beacon? Will the Government table a clear and concise statement on its intentions before the Parliament rises for the winter recess?
– I asked about that last week.
– I acknowledge the question of Senator Wriedt. It is indeed true, as Senator Rae has mentioned over my left shoulder, that he has been seeking that information as well. I have quite a lot of information here, but I do not think it would help very much. The principal information I have simply says that an
Australia-United States agreement is in its final draft stage; that in the early stages the specifications called for valley span antennae but that developments now permit the station to be on a flat site with antanae tower supports; that Nattai in New South Wales and the Forth River in Tasmania were inspected as valley sites when the proposal was first made but neither place is now on the short list of sites: that no site has yet been selected; and that the Prime Minister has written to the Premiers about this matter.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- 1 have given consideration to Senator Gietzelt’s request for copies of ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ to be provided to honourable senators. I think honourable senators should remember that they have been provided with electorate allowances on which they can call to meet certain expenses and that they also have available to them the resources of the Parliamentary Library. I suggest that honourable senators should avail themselves of either of those resources.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Air, follows a question asked earlier about the evaluation of an aircraft for the defence Services. Is the aircraft currently being evaluated in New Zealand the former Australian-made Victa Airtourer or Aircruiser, or a modern adaptation of it, the manufacture of which was moved to New Zealand from Australia when the Australian Government, on the advice of the Tariff Board, refused to assist the project in its early efforts to achieve financial viability, despite the most strenuous efforts of the Australian Labor Party to prevent that happening?
– While not agreeing with all of the honourable senator’s question, particularly the last portion of it. I think what he has said is in the main quite true.I believe that a large proportion of the parts of that aircraft are still being made in Australia.
– My question is directed to you, Mr Deputy President. I ask: Is it not a fact that honourable senators on this side of the chamber have been warned from time to time to submit questions only on the proper printed question form? Did you note that a question submitted today by Senator Lillico appeared to be written on the back of a parking ticket and that a question submitted by Senator Lawrie appeared to be written on paper which usually carries the brand name of ‘Sorbent’? Will you instruct supporters of the Government to use the proper paper when submitting questions?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I am unaware of any rule which compels an honourable senator to use the particular form which has been referred to. In fact, I know that a great number of questions without notice are not written down. To my knowledge it has not been the practice of the Senate to require honourable senators to use any special form.
– Can the AttorneyGeneral confirm a story which appeared in the ‘Sunday Review’ that certain aspects of New South Wales poker machine sales which have interstate overtones are subject to investigation by Commonwealth law authorities?
– I am unable to confirm the truth or otherwise of that suggestion. Indeed,I doubt very much that members of the Commonwealth Police Force have concerned themselves with a matter which is essentially within the province of the State law enforcement authorities.
– My question which is supplementary to a question asked earlier this afternoon by Senator Gair, is directed to the Minister representing the
Prime Minister. Is the Minister aware that there has been a reaction from the South Australian Minister for Education, the honourable Mr Hugh Hudson, to the recent announcement by the Prime Minister of the extra grants to schools to the effect that he was disappointed that no extra funds would be made available until July 1973 and that he was equally disappointed that no extra funds would be provided for recurrent purposes? Is the Minister also aware that there was reaction too from the President of the South Australian Institute of Teachers, Mr M. D. Hains, when he said that education needs money now, not in 15 months time, to enable all State authorities to implement progressive plans for educational development?
– As the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, I rise to acknowledge Senator McLaren’s question. I take what Senator McLaren has said as representing in substance public statements made by each of the 2 figures to whom he referred. Those and other public statements have been made, but communications to the Commonwealth Government have not yet been filed and analysed. The statement made by the Prime Minister last week announcing unmatched capital grants over a 5-year period of $167m for government schools and $48m for independent schools has been received, I think, with general approval by State authorities. I have in mind governments other than the South Australian Government to which the honourable senator referred.I believe that the other part of the statement which announced that the subsidies toward independent schools which would bring them up to 40 per cent of the cost in State government schools - half to be paid by the Commonwealth and half by the States - has also been received with general public statements of approval. But it is too early yet to make a responsible report to Parliament on the individual acceptance or otherwise of the announcement.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories aware that one contributing factor to cost of living increases in Port Moresby is a recent increase of 12c a trip in bus charges, and an increase of 10 per cent in the price of bread? Is the Minister aware that the total wage of the urban worker is only $8.50 a week? Can the Minister inform the Parliament of the reasons for galloping inflation in Papua New Guinea, particularly in view of the fact that the Australian Government still has almost complete control over the economy of the Territory?
– I would have to confirm from the Minister for External Territories that there is a situation in the Territory that properly could be described as galloping inflation before subscribing to the honourable senator’s request for an explanation. I am unable to confirm the figures which he says represent the increases in bus fares and the price of bread. Generally the observation is sound that if there is a general claim for an increase in all costs, including wage costs, the combination of those costs inevitably will result in a series of price rises. It is a vain and fatuous exercise for Australian Labor Party senators to protest against the inexorable result, of silly demands for artificial cost increases.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral: In view of the fact that his Department has now called applications for a fourth magistrate for the Australian Capital Territory, can he now inform the Senate when he intends to appoint an extra magistrate for the Northern Territory?
– I have told the honourable senator before that inquiries have been made into this matter. I repeat for his information that I am examining the report of the departmental team which went to the Northern Territory. I am unable to say when any decision will be announced.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. It follows the statement in a previous question asked by Senator McLaren in which he suggested that opposition to The Little Red Schoolbook’ was motivated by bigotry and wowserism.
– I rise to a point of order. I have been misquoted. I made no such statement. I ask the honourable senator to withdraw that statement.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! Senator McManus, a request has been made that you withdraw that statement.
– If Senator McLaren is prepared to state that he did not say that opposition to ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ was motivated by wowserism and bigotry, of course I will withdraw it. But I listened to what he said and my understanding of what he said was very clear. I could draw no other conclusion. If he wants to run away from it now, well, let him.
– I rise to a point of order, Mr Deputy President. Obviously Senator McManus is labouring under a misapprehension. It was not Senator McLaren - I give you my word for that because I was in the chamber-
– Who was it?
– Just a moment. Let me finish. Senator McLaren has given his assurance and it has brought an attack on him from Senator McManus. That is an amazing and, I suggest, a very deplorable attitude. Any honourable senator who casts his mind back knows that Senator McLaren never mentioned ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ this afternoon. I suggest to Senator McManus that it is most unusual for him to take this attitude. He should withdraw the statement, since I have given my word about the matter.
– I withdraw it and I will recast my question. My question relates to a statement which was made by an anonymous senator some minutes ago in which he said that opposition to ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ was motivated by wowserism and bigotry. My question to the Attorney-General is this: Is that not a remarkable statement by a member of the Australian Labor Party when some of the most forthright opposition to ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ has come from the official spokesman on education for the Australian Labor Party?
– I rise to a point of order. Senator McManus is misquoting what was said and is then building an argument on that. The question that was asked of you, Mr Deputy President, was whether a copy of ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ could be supplied to all honourable senators if the Senate had to debate it, so that we would be debating it against a background of information and not WOW.serism, prejudice and those sort of things. That is what was said. I repeat that Senator McManus is misquoting what somebody said and is building an argument on that statement. He should be ruled out of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Referring to the question asked of me earlier about whether 1 would take steps to make the book available, 1 suggested the use of the facilities in the Parliamentary Library. It has been pointed out to me that currently only one copy is available. I will discuss with the Library the question whether more copies can be made available. That clears up that situation. Various objections have been raised to the question being asked by Senator McManus. I have considered the last point of order and at present I cannot rule that Senator McManus is out of order.
– I will continue with my question, which is directed to the Attorney-General. Will he arrange for honourable senators to be supplied with copies of the very forthright statements condemning The Little Red Schoolbook’ which have been made by Mr Beazley, the official spokesman on education for the Australian Labor Party, and also in the last few days by Mr Duthie, who is one of the most respected members of that Party - neither of whom could ever be accused of bigotry or wowserism?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! That comment is not in order.
– There is much in this whole controversy which I find remarkable. I think that what Senator McManus has just said in terms of the question he posed to me is no less remarkable than many of the other things which I have heard. It is one further instance of a curious dichotomy in the views which are expressed by members of the Australian Labor Party not only on this issue of ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ and censorship but on pretty well every issue on which various members of that Party express opinions.
I am not sure that I should accept the responsibility of distributing to members of the Senate generally what members of the Australian Labor Party have said in the other place. But I certainly hope that members of the community will take every opportunity to read the various conflicting statements which have been made by members of that Party. I can only suggest that Senator McManus, who asked the question, might undertake the distribution because I am sure he would find satisfaction in doing so.
My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-Genera!. Should I take it from his earlier reply to my question about replays of football programmes on Sunday mornings that, while the Government delays in introducing legislation to clarify the existing powers of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, the Board is quite powerless to act against any programme shown by commercial licensees in that time period and that therefore commercial licensees are completely free to show any programme at all between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 noon on Sundays?
– The honourable senator is asking me to provide elements of a legal opinion. 1 am sure he is aware of the Standing Orders and that I ought not to do so. I do not think it is fair to say that the Government is delaying in the sense that it is deliberately baking a step which will avoid the introduction of legislation. The Government has indicated its intention to have legislation which will clarify an uncertain legal position. The statement has been made by the Acting Postmaster-General and, I think, by the Postmaster-General that this legislation will be introduced. At the same time, it has been stated that it is to be hoped thai those persons who present programmes between the hours mentioned on Sunday mornings will have regard to the standards which the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has suggested. But I venture to say that until the matter has been clarified it is largely the sense of obligation which these licensees demonstrate which will determine what will be shown during those hours.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. By way of prefaceI refer to a decision of the House of Commons of well over 3 weeks ago that apparently changed the status of Australians going to Britain, assuming that Britain enters the European Common Market. In view of the period of time involved, does he not think that in this jet age we could have a much quicker evaluation of the effect of that decision taken in the House of Commons on Australian nationals entering the United Kingdom?
– I am not fully aware of this situation. I ask the honourable senator to let me have a look at it. I will try to give him an answer tomorrow.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - In calling Senator O’Byrne to ask the next question, I draw attention to the time we have already spent on questions without notice. I hope that we will be able to deal with questions upon notice following this question.
– This may be the question to end all questions. It is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. Is it not the quintessence of hypocrisy that Her Majesty’s Minister of State for Customs and Excise should admit a book into Australia, yet none of his colleagues has the intestinal fortitude to defend him?
– As the honourable senator said, perhaps this is the question to end all questions. It is the kind of question to which we have referred earlier. What is question time all about? It is supposed to be used in a genuine search for information, with properly constructed answers being given. It is not about throwing dead cats around the room. I cannot help the honourable senator any further.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Customs Tariff Bill (No. 2) 1972.
Papua New Guinea Loan (Asian Development Bank) Bill 1972.
– For the information of honourable senators I present a Tariff Board report on Non-Cheddar Cheese (Dumping and Subsidies Act) dated 31st December 1971.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, I present the report relating to the following proposed work:
Naval Support Facility (HMAS Stirling) at Cockburn Sound, Western Australia.
– I move:
The motion relates to the days and hours of meeting for the remainder of the sessional period. I do not think it is necessary for me to spell out the proposals, as honourable senators have details in front of them. The purpose of the motion is to gain further time on any sitting day for consideration of business.
Honourable senators will recall that the practice, which has been followed for many years, has been that towards the end of the sessional period the work load builds up. To give honourable senators the opportunity to discuss thoroughly the various Bills that come before the Senate it is necessary for the Senate to sit extra hours. I realise that no one wants to sit after 10.30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and after 11 p.m. on Wednesdays. So the motion, notice of which was given by the Leader of the Government in the
Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson), allows those times to stand. All that the motion seeks is that the Senate sit an hour earlier on Tuesdays and to sit until 6 p.m., although it has been the practice for the Senate to rise at 5.45 p.m. On that day, therefore, we will get an extra li hours sitting time. The same situation applies on Wednesdays. The motion seeks an earlier commencement time of I hour on Thursdays, together with a quarter of an hour picked up at the dinner break and at the luncheon break. The altered times will give an extra sitting time of ?,) ho-.::a each week.
The motion has been moved because it has been predicted that the Parliament may rise on or about 25th May. Between now and then the Government will be introducing into the Senate Bills for its consideration. T think some of them will need a great deal of consideration and I would like honourable senators to have an opportunity for a detailed and thorough discussion on one or two of those Bills. I feel sure that the Opposition also would like a detailed or lengthy discussion on one or two of them. Honourable senators will also recall that recently we made provision for committee reports to be debated on Thursday mornings. Those debates take up to 2 hours out of the normal business time of the Senate. At present it is intended that those debates shall continue. To overcome the difficulties thai may lie in the period ahead, when we believe that we will be caught up with Bills coming from another place, the Government is asking that the Senate sit the extra 31 hours each sitting week. 1 have moved the motion. I hop? that the Senate will accept it.
– This debate is one on which all honourable senators should be very skilled because we have had a lot of practice on it over the years. Our Party met to discuss this matter this morning, lt is true, as Senator Drake-Brockman has said, that towards the end of a session we frequently make extra efforts and put in extra time. We feel, from looking at the notice paper, that it is not necessary for the motion to be introduced at this stage. Today there are 8 Bills on the notice paper. The debate on 7 of the Bills will be a cognate debate, so they would be dispensed with as one Bill. They would not take very long. I would have thought that, to facilitate matters, it would have been wise if the business had been rearranged so that Order of the Day No. 1 was postponed until after consideration of Nos 2 to 8. If I am any judge, Nos 2 to 8 will be dealt with fairly rapidly. I would think that Order of the Day No. 1 would take much longer to be dealt with because it is a Grant Bill and that kind of Bil] always attracts a lot of speakers. 1 suggest to the Government that it listen to our voice on this matter because we have been tremendously co-operative for quite a long time. Let me digress for one moment to say that 1 agree completely with Senator Drake-Brockman on one matter. 1 think 1 speak for everyone when 1 say that we will do everything possible not to sit late at night because it is just nol an efficient time to be sitting. If the earlier commencement times are introduced, that will interfere with the work of committees. We do not work here only during the prescribed sitting hours. On Tuesdays, for instance, the prescribed commencement time is 3 p.m. All honourable senators know that on Tuesdays there are meetings starting from about 9 a.m. onwards. 1 have a permanent commitment at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays. When I was a member of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee it always sat on a Thursday morning. I think it still does. There is a proliferation of committees. If the motion is carried, this year it will be much more difficult to adhere to those times without impinging on the other duties of honourable senators.
I suggest seriously to the Government that it postpone the motion to another sitting day. I have mentioned that we have been tremendously co-operative, and I think we have. Today answers were given to 20 questions on notice. It is the right of honourable senators to have those answers read. Today the Labor Party had control of that right in respect, of 15 answers but asked for only 2 to be read. Senator Greenwood asked that one of those answers be incorporated in Hansard and on behalf of my Party I agreed. In those circumstances I do not think it can be claimed fairly that we have been in any way difficult in these matters. The amount of time that is being asked for is not great and I make a very gentle suggestion to the Government, completely without offence, that had very long answers not been given by Ministers to some questions at least some time could have been picked up.
All honourable senators agree that the procedure at question time ought to be tightened up. It could be conducted much better, but some people are not cooperating as much as they should. I do not think philosophical discussions should be started in answer to questions.I say completely without offence to the Government that it is the Government that is asking for extra time. It is within the Government’s grasp to make up a lot more time. We are doing everything we can to help and have done so from the early stages of this session. We have agreed to the incorporation in Hansard of second reading speeches. Within our Party this subject is hotly debated. I have allowed second reading speeches to be incorporated but now I am not so sure that my critics in my own Party are not right. We have bent over backwards to assist in getting the business through the Senate.
I suggest to the Government that the new times will not operate today and that about 3 hours will be picked up over the next 2 days.I do not think there will be a tremendous difference tomorrow. I do not think anything done tomorrow will affect the business of the Senate as shown on the notice paper today.I think the business could be more quickly handled if it were done the other way. and that is within the Government’s province. My Party met to discuss this matter today. There was some sympathy for the Government on this hardy annual but it was felt that the Government is a little premature in introducing the motion at this time on this day. My suggestion is that the Government should adjourn the matter until Thursday and then have another look at the situation. At that time we may have a different attitude towards it.
– The Democratic Labor Party has considered this matter. We had determined that we would vote for the proposition as put forward by the Government. We felt that there was a necessity for extra time and we would prefer it to be available at the beginning of the day rather than at ;.he end. However, we have no strong feelings about it. If the Government is prepared to consider Senator Willesee’s plea, we will go along.
Debate (on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 9 May (vide page 1461), on motion by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
-I support the Bill because the money it is to provide is urgently needed by the Queensland Government. Queensland senators know that the Queensland Treasurer in a statement tabled in the Queensland Legislative Assembly on 23 rd September 1971 said that the Consolidated Revenue Fund showed an accumulated deficit of $11,093,259. The special grant to be authorised by this legislation is to bring Queensland’s financial position into line with those of Victoria and New South Wales. Honourable senators will recall that Victoria and New South Wales received a special $2 per capita grant in 1970. At that time it was indicated by the Government that if the smaller States were adversely affected they could apply for compensatory grants to balance their Budgets.
As a result of the rearrangement of State finances because of the effects of the receipts tax and payroll tax the smaller States are disadvantaged in relation to the standard States. Therefore, there is justification for the application by the Queensland Government to the Commonwealth Government for special assistance grants under section 96 of the Constitution. I said earlier that I am supporting this measure because the money is urgently required to allow Queensland to balance its Budget. Nevertheless, I reserve the right to offer some observations about the criticisms that have been levelled at the Queensland Government in practically every paragraph of the report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission in dealing with the submissions of the Queensland Government.
Honourable senators will remember that in 1933 the Commonwealth Government set up the Commonwealth Grants Commission to consider and report on applications that were to be received from the States for special grants under section 96 of the Constitution. From the inception, Western Australia was a claimant State. Tasmania and South Australia have been and are still claimant States but this is the first occasion since the Commonwealth Grants Commission was established in 1933 that the Queensland Government has had to apply for special grants and be regarded as a claimant State. The Queensland Treasurer said in his financial report that the Queensland Government had made application with some reservations because it is aware of the Budget restrictions that are placed on claimant States. Later in my speech I wish to refer to some of the very caustic criticisms of the Queensland Government made by top Commonwealth Treasury officials. Naturally, I have carefully examined the findings of the Commonwealth Grants Commission on the Queensland submission for special grants under section 96 of the Constitution, lt is clear from the report that 2 influences are at work to the detriment of Queensland. As a result a position is achieved which means that because Queensland is not receiving the financial assistance to which it is entitled the development of the State is somewhat retarded. The first influence at work against Queensland is the incompetence of the Queensland Government submission, as referred to by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.
Senator Mulvihill - Do you mean the Bjelke-Petersen Government?
– That is so. This is not the criticism of a political party seeking to gain electoral advantage in the pending State election in Queensland. This criticism of incompetence has been levelled at the Queensland Government by the top public servants of this nation, officials of the Commonwealth Treasury.
– Would you call that an objective assessment?
– It would be an impartial observation and would be based on information supplied to the Commission. That is the first influence at work, the incompetence of the Queensland Government. The second influence is the exploitation by the Federal Government of the situation of incompetence of the
Queensland Government so that it can bargain hard. We all know that in private life it is the giver who lays down the conditions. The Queensland Government is the asker and because of its incompetence and clumsily prepared submission it places the Federal Government in a position to be a hard bargainer. As a consequence the Queensland people are denied their just rights to the financial assistance that they should be receiving.
– Where does the Commonwealth Grants Commission say that?
– The Australian Democratic Labor Party senator from Queensland is asking me what are the grounds of incompetency that have been stated by the Commonwealth Grants Commission. I will give him the information, if he has not taken time to read the report. If the honourable senator will listen to me, I will educate him by telling him what the Queensland case was and the criticisms that have been levelled by top Treasury officials. I do that with no feeling of venom. I do so with pleasure. If I can educate another Queenslander, particularly one as influential as Senator Byrne, on the inefficiencies and incompetencies of the Queensland Government, I will be doing him and the people of Queensland a good turn. The Commonwealth Grants Commission throughout its report severely criticised the Queensland Government. I am claiming that it attacked the credibility and skill of Queensland’s representatives who prepared the case. Senator Byrne has asked where the Commission says that. I direct his attention to page 11, paragraph 22, sub-paragraph (iii) which states:
Uncertainty as to the validity of ‘a great deal of detailed argument and workings in the State submission’.
That, to any person of commonsense, is a condemnation and severe and caustic criticism of the submissions that have been made.
I progress a little further. One of the strongest criticisms levelled at the Queensland Government in the report is in relation to Queensland’s rail freights. What disturbs me about this criticism - it must be of some worry and concern to all Queenslanders - is this: How long have these clumsy applications or submissions been going on?
– For years.
– If that is so, it must be of some concern to the people of Queensland, as our State must be losing millions of dollars annually because of incompetent applications submitted to the Commonwealth Grants Commission. 1 feel that the attempt by the Queensland Government to try to make a case for a special grant of financial assistance using rail freight charges as one ground was weak. The examination of its submission by the Commonwealth Government proved that that case was weak.
As I said earlier, I am a former railwayman and this will stand me in good stead as I develop the case regarding the condemnation by the Federal Treasury of the Queensland Government’s submission on freight contracts. The Federal Treasury challenged the accuracy of Queensland’s comparisons on railway charges, especially its assumption with regard to contract rates. As I have said, I felt that the Queensland Government had erred in endeavouring to make out a case for additional assistance on the basis of freight rates. The history of the Queensland Government railways regarding freight charges is such that the least said about it the better.
Let us examine the record of the Queensland Railway Department. It is true that Queensland has 2i times more route miles than the standard States, Victoria and New South Wales. It can be truly argued that the capacity per ton mile in Queensland is only 50 per cent of the capacity in those standard States. But it can be equally argued, and it is equally true, that surplus revenue from the Queensland railways is $5.8 per capita compared with $1.7 per capita in the standard States of New South Wales and Victoria. Whenever 1 have had the opportunity to do so - whether on the hustings or in any other place where 1 can lend my voice - I have challenged and severely criticised the policy of the Queensland Government in regard to freight concession rates. I believe that these rates are unjust and inequitable in their treatment of the country areas of Queensland. For years, throughout the length and breadth of Queensland, people in the country areas have been raising their voices in full blooded protest against these iniquitous freight concessions that are granted to southern businesses by the Queensland Government.
I turn to a consideration of the revenue and operating costs of the Queensland Railway Department. In its annual report for 1971, the Queensland Railways Department stated that a capital loss of $10m was sustained on passenger traffic throughout the State. Of that $10m, $7m was shown as a loss in the Southern Division of the Railway Department. Why did this loss occur in the Sourthern Division of the State? We see on the other hand that the overall profit in the Central Division and the Northern Division on an annual basis was $17m. So it can be readily seen by all who are interested that the Centra! and Northern Divisions of the Queensland Railway Department are heavily subsidising the Southern Division which has run at a loss every year since that Division has been in operation.
– It is run at a loss because of the business people.
– Thank you, senator. The main reason for the loss can be shown by a simple arithmetical exercise of which I will give an example. The main reason for the loss is the low freights which are charged in the Southern Division in comparison with the high freights charged in the Central and Northern Divisions. I will repeat that statement because it is the punch line to the remarks that I will make supporting my claim that the Queensland Government made a weak submission in trying to base its case on freight charges. The policy of the Queensland coalition Government, the Country Party-Liberal Party Government, is to charge low freight rates in the Southern Division but to charge country people - I want Senator Maunsell and Senator Lawrie to take note of these remarks - who reside in the Central Division and in the Northern Division high freight rates.
The claim has been made by all interested parties of all political persuasions that the present policy of the Queensland Government on freight concessions and freight charges can determine the success or failure of any provincial or country businessman. I support that claim. I would like to see the Country Party express an opinion on it. That is the situation that exists in Queensland today. The low freight rates charged in the Southern Division as against the higher freight charges in the Central and Northern Divisions bring imbalance. The most cruel thing of all is that the policy pursued by the Government determines the success or otherwise of any business in the provincial or country areas of Queensland. If Country Party senators agree with that policy, I say that they are not worth their salt and that they are not truly representing here the people whom they claim to represent. I look forward to hearing the stand which Country Party senators will take on the claims that I am making. It is unfair for the Queensland Government not to give any consideration to regional needs. What it does is to enter into secret, confidential agreements tor freight concession rates for southern business people. These rates place these business people at an advantage to enter into territories which had always been recognised as country marketing areas. This policy permits them to operate in these areas at an advantage to provincial and country manufacturers or businessmen.
When the Labor Party was in office in Queensland, freight concessions were published and advertised, together with the reasons for granting those freight concessions. This practice was discontinued by the Country Party-Liberal Party Government in Queensland in 1959. I happened to be a member of the staff of the Chief Railway Auditor’s Office. I know that the Labor Government entered into business discussions with and allowed concessional rates to certain contractors and manufacturers. That is the logical course of business. But, having done so, that Government made public, for each and every other businessman to see, details of these arrangements in the weekly notices published by the Railway Department and on the advertising boards at every goods yard. Not only did the Labor Government give details of the names of the firms with which it had entered into these contracts; it also supplied the reasons for doing so.
In 1959 - I want the Senate to keep that year in mind as it will prove a very important year in the would be harmonious relations of the Country-Liberal Party coalition
Government in Queensland - as I said earlier, the Country-Liberal Party coalition Government in Queensland discontinued the practice of advertising confidential freight concession rates or freight concession agreements that it had entered into.
– Why did it do so?
– In 1959 2 senior Liberal Ministers of that coalition Government connived at a plan whereby they could railroad their Country Party colleagues of the coalition Government. The only people who have not woken up to it are the Country Party members of the coalition. How did they do it? Those 2 Ministers entered into arrangements with southern businessmen by granting southern businesses confidential, secret concessional freight rates that allowed those southern businessmen and manufacturers to proceed into Country Party areas and to compete with advantage against their provincial business competitors. It has been claimed - and I have never seen any denial of it by any Liberal .member or by any executive officer of the Liberal Party - that in return for those concessions the campaign fighting fund of the Liberal Party received considerable and handsome contributions. It has been claimed in the Press, and it has been said at public meetings, that in return for those concessional freight rates, those business people made healthy contributions to the fighting fund of the Liberal Party in Queensland.
I ask honourable senators to take their minds back to what I said a few minutes ago. Is it merely coincidental that this plan for the special confidential freight concessions was concocted in the same year as that in which the coalition Government in Queensland decided to discontinue the publishing of freight concession rates? It seems to me - and I am trying to be fair minded about this - that all this happened in 1959 when -members of the Liberal Party, in their determination for their Party to become the senior member of the coalition Government in Queensland, were prepared to railroad their Country Party colleagues by entering into this sort of business arrangement whereby low, secret and confidential concessional freight rates could be granted to southern businessmen to the disadvantage of Country Party men.
If Senator Lawrie and Senator Maunsell think thai is legitimate business practice. I will let them keep it; but to members of tbe Australian Labor Party it is something that requires investigation and exposure.
In the last election campaign in Queensland 3 years ago it was only natural that the Country Party Premier of Queensland and his Cabinet Ministers, on their tours of the State, would come in for some criticism in country areas regarding the inequality of freight charges. The opposition from country people to the Queenslaud Government policy on freight concessions whs so strong and continued that the Premier promised then that he would have a searching inquiry made into freight anomalies in Queensland. The Queensland Government appointed a firm of management consultants by the name of Beckingsale Management Services Pty Ltd. Now, 3 years later and on the eve of another election, the Country Party is silent about the results of the inquiry. No-one has heard anything about it, yet the management consultants completed their report and handed it to Cabinet 8 months ago. I cannot find out the reason for the reluctance of the Country Party section of the Queensland coalition Government to take some action to correct the anomalies that exist with regard to freight charges in Queensland. I say sincerely that I would readily welcome advice from the 2 Country Part)’ senators from Queensland if they could give me this information in the course of iiic debate. This policy of secret contracts for freight concessions should be condemned throughout Australia. As 1 said, I appeal to the Country Party senators to stand in their places and to add their protest against this iniquitious strangling of Country Party areas.
To keep the record straight. I will give some comparisons or examples of rate differences. The first is on packaged beer. The freight from Cairns to Winton, a distance of 580 miles, is $61.95 a ton, but from Brisbane to Winton, a distance of 934 miles, it is $33 a ton. That is $28 a ton less freight when packaged beer is carted 354 miles further. The bulk beer freight rate from Brisbane to Townsville is 7c a ton mile and the packaged beer rate is 2c a ton mile. Now let me get on to something more solid than beer - cement, about which we may hear something later.
The freight rate on cement from Brisbane to Normanton is $39.90 a ton, but from Townsville to that centre it is $42 a ton.
– There is no railway to Normanton.
– The honourable senator wants to learn his geography. He does not know the railway stations in Queensland. But I do not want to be too hard on him. The cost of railing furniture from Cairns to Brisbane is $15 a ton. This enables the Brisbane manufacturer to obtain the special furniture timbers from north Queensland at a low rate. By comparison, joinery sent from Cairns to Brisbane is charged at the rate of $70 a ton, and therefore North Queensland people could not possibly compete on the Brisbane market. In case the Country Party senators want some proof and examples of freight anomalies, there they are. These questions remain unanswered in Queensland, and we are asking the Country Party Premier to answer them. When will he make public the findings of the inquiry by the management consultant firm of Beckingsale Management Services Pty Ltd? I challenge him l.o do so before election day, 27th May. When will he do something to correct the iniquitous system of confidential concessional freight rates and low rate charges that are made in the Southern Division of the Queensland railways in comparison with what is charged in the Northern and Central Divisions? So much for railway freight concessions.
The submission by the Queensland Government came under very strong criticism in another section of the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s report. 1 repeat that this is not an attempt to make political capital in the sense of criticism being made by one political party of another; it is criticism that has been published in the Commonwealth Grants Commission report, a Federal Government document. It expresses the view of top public servants and members of the Federal Treasury. The Commission had something to say about Queensland’s submission that it wanted additional cash grants. On page 11 paragraph 24 of the report in relation to royalties it states:
Why did they make a relatively low effort in this field? Last year 6.S million tons of bauxite was mined at Weipa at a cost of $37m. The royalties which came to the Queensland Government from that $37rn worth of bauxite amounted to $412,000 or 1 per cent. The royalty rate is 5c a ton for bauxite produced for local use and 10c a ton for that exported. Yet, just across the Gulf at Gove the Commonwealth Government negotiated rates of 10c to 20c for local use and 30c for export. That is 3 times the pittance accepted by the Country-Liberal Party Government of Queensland. I could go on endlessly. This evening if I had to fill in a filibuster how delighted I would be. One could go on and tell of all the inadequacies of this Government. Now I turn to coal. According to the Minister for Mines and Main Roads. Mr Camm - in Queensland he is a Country Party Minister for Mines - the estimated production of export coal in Queensland in 1970-71 amounted to 7i million tons, valued at $83.4m. What does the Queensland Government receive from royalties? At the present moment it obtains 5c a ton, the price of an ice cream. This agreement is effective until the year 2000. By that time, with inflationary trends, 5c will be worth about 2c. That is an example of the hard bargaining strategy or expertise of the Queensland Government when it deals with overseas business.
– The Country Party thought it was giving them a subsidy.
– I must say, in fairness to the 2 Australian Country Party senators, that they have been quiet. They are apparently absorbing what I am saying and receiving an education. That is to their credit. If they have some common sense I hope that at least before the elections they will ask these pertinent questions of their colleagues in the Queensland Government. I wish to make some other comments. All honourable senators know that in 1969 the Commonwealth Government introduced the States Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act. In October, when I was a relatively new senator, I saw the first relevant annual statement for the year 1969-70 tabled. Being a parochial Queens lander I turned to see the Queensland effort. To my amazement it was nil. I was shocked. Under the States Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act 1969 the Commonwealth provides $25m which does not require a matching grant. It is a gift to the States to be spent in 5 years to erect dwellings for single age pensioners so that they can obtain dwellings at a reasonable rental under decent living conditions.
– It is taxpayers’ money.
– The honourable senator is not annoyed at this? lt is a gift to the States. No strings were attached ro it. The only condition laid down was that the dwelling had to be of the value of $8,500 and the rental about $3 a week. The allocation made to the States had to be spent in a 5 year period. The first annual report was tabled. It showed that in the first year some 665 dwellings had been completed under this Act at a cost of approximately $3.5m. New South Wales had built 229, Victoria 316, South Australia 100, Tasmania 20 and Queensland was considering plans for building some.
– Queensland has a Country Party Premier.
– And it has a Country Party Minister for Works and Housing.
– Do they not care for the elderly citizens in Queensland?
– Apparently not. I raised this matter in the Senate through the generosity of honourable senators. They gave me leave to speak at the time this report was tabled. On that occasion I expressed how shocked I was at the laziness and the lack of interest-
– And the incompetency?
– And the incompetency
– And the indifference?
– And the indifference of the Queensland Government in relation to aged people. Immediately this matter received some highlight in the Press the Queensland Country Party Minister for Works and Housing came to life and said that the Government was going to draw up plans for the building of 18 dwellings. So many were to be built at Mount Isa and so many somewhere else. He said that the matter was well in hand. Yet at the end of the first year the Queensland Government’s effort was nil. I looked forward to an improved performance in the ensuing 12 months. The other day the second annual statement under the States Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act 1969 was tabled. The number of dwellings erected throughout the Commonwealth had increased to 1.433. Almost $9m of the Commonwealth grant of $25m has been spent. But let us have a look at the State breakup. New South Wales has erected 498 dwellings, Victoria 611, South Australia 150, Western Australia 104 and Tasmania 52. But what is the stale of the poll in Queensland? lt is credited by a sympathetic Queensland Federal Minister for Housing with having 18 dwellings under consideration for construction. That is as wide as the Thames. One could say that 180 dwellings were under consideration. But the state of the poli is nil. Actually nothing has been done.
This must have some relationship to Queensland’s treatment by the Federal Treasury. When these people are considering the application for additional and special grants from Queensland they must know that $25m has been allocated to the Stales and that Queensland has only 3 years to go in which to spend $3£m. That is the amount which has been allocated to Queensland but its effort in the first 2 years has been nil. I think that this is an extraordinary stale of affairs. It shows the incompetency, the lack of interest and the incapacity of the State Country-Liberal Party to govern. But when it comes to spending money on themselves they are not behind the door. At the same time as none of this $25m was being spent in Queensland the Premier saw fit to spend $100,000 on a private aircraft for himself. He has a full-time pilot standing by to fly him wherever he wants to go. Charter flights arc good enough for Federal Members of Parliament but not for Country Party members in Queensland. Not only do we find that the Government spent $100,000 on a private aeroplane plus the wages of a full-time pilot standing by, but the Premier’s public relations people say that he has to Improve his political image. He has accepted their advice - at a cost of $60,000 to the people of Queensland. He has bought a teleprompter, which was imported from the United States of America at a cost of $5,000, to help him in his television performances. It has been estimated that a further $50,000 of government funds will be spent before 27th May in an endeavour to improve his image. I would hate to be the public relations man. Some of the criticism about this waste of money and this idle spending must be levelled at the Liberal Party in Queensland.
– What about the salary increases?
– I will leave it to the honourable senator to deal with that subject. I know that the honourable senator has a very strong case to put and I would not want to steal his thunder. As I was saying, some criticism can also be levelled at the Liberal Party in Queensland because of what happened when the Queensland Treasurer was knighted. I have no objection to his receiving that honour from Her Majesty, but what was wrong with his coming to Canberra and participating in a ceremony conducted by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir Paul Hasluck, instead of putting the taxpayers of Queensland to the expense of paying for him to go to Buckingham Palace, especially as this happened at a time when we were all being asked to be austere and when his federal leader was asking us to tighten our belts?
Another subject with which I wish to deal and which brings in much revenue to Queensland is the Totalisator Administration Board of Queensland. I relate the activities of the TAB lo this Bill on the basis that the Queensland Government derives millions of dollars annually from that source. If the story 1 am about to relate is nol repudiated or denied that revenue could be seriously reduced. The turnover of the TAB in Queensland for the first 45 weeks of this financial year reached the staggering total of $86,797,550. which is more than the entire turnover in the previous financial year. I think most people know that the Government gets a healthy rake-off from the totalisator turnover. Apart from the compulsory deduction of 5 per cent or whatever percentage it is, revenue is also derived from unclaimed dividends. This runs into some millions of dollars over a period of years. There is also the fact that dividends are paid to the nearest fraction. Thai revenue remains the property of the Government. It can be seen from a quick arithmetical exercise that the TAB is worth millions of dollars annually to the Queensland Government.
The point I wish to make is that there have been serious murmurings and rumours in Queensland - the dogs have been barking it in Queen Street - of a takeover of the betting business in that State. I am not referring to the totalisator, The dogs are barking that a cartal of bookmakers is endeavouring to take over the betting business in Queensland. That in itself is serious enough. But when that cartel, in an endeavour to support its own aims, uses Mafia-like tactics - I am not referring to guns or bombs but to the other Mafia practices of intimidation, strong arm tactics, standover methods and persuasion by the use of ultimatums - it is time to take heed. As I have said, the dogs are barking this in Queen Street. In every corner of Queensland where there is racing one hears these murmurings. I do not know whether they are true, but I think that where there is smoke there is blue cod.
– Does the honourable senator mean to say that he is suspicious of it?
– Of course I am suspicious of it. I think it is up to the Minister for racing in Queensland-
– Who is the Minister for racing?
– The Treasurer of Queensland, Sir Gordon Chalk. I think it is up to the Minister to take notice of what 1 am saying and have a police inquiry or a judicial inquiry into the allegations I am making. I am saying that it has been said that there was recently established in Queensland a bookmakers’ council; that all of the registered bookmakers throughout the length and breadth of Queensland have been invited to join it; and that one of the conditions of joining is that each bookmaker must deposit as a fidelity fund with the bookmakers’ council a deposit of $1,000. I gather that there would be more than 500 registered bookmakers throughout Queensland. So a ready made fund of $500,000 would be available to the bookmakers’ council for its use. One of the terms of the constitution of the council is that it has the authority to invest this money and give the bookmakers 4 per cent interest on their deposits. Those of us who have had some experience in the field of racing may know that that money could be also used as a ready made ‘mike’ by any bookmaker who might bc temporarily short. Anyway, the council has the right to invest the money and all it has to give in return to the bookmakers who deposit the money is 4 per cent interest on their money. That in itself might not sound coo bad, but why is it necessary for this deposit in view of the fact that bookmakers who now field with any registered racing club, trotting club or greyhound racing club take out a fidelity fund at the club’s request with an insurance company.
I have been told that these bookmakers have now elected an executive and that the executive has been elected for a 5-ycar period, but that no-one can say how or by what means. I have been told also that this executive which has been elected for a 5- year period and which is now asking its fellow bookmakers to contribute $1,000 towards a fidelity fund will handle the $500,000 that will be in this fund. But that is not the point, although it is in itself something which might warrant some criticism. The point is it is an approach which has not been appreciated by the majority of bookmakers in Queensland. Bookmakers registered with associations throughout the State are refusing to join the council. I feel that this matter should be investigated by the Queensland Treasurer because, in its endeavours to persuade bookmakers to join the council the officers are saying that this is being done at the wish of the Treasurer of Queensland or the Minister for racing in that State.
Anybody with a knowledge of racing will know that in the month of June licences for the ensuing 12 months are issued. Many bookmakers are worried as to whether their licences will be renewed. Many of them are married men with families. They do not know whether their livelihood is in jeopardy or whether they can continue as bookmakers because it is being said to them in Mafia style, that if they do not join the Bookmakers Council their licences could be in jeopardy. That in itself is sufficient to warrant a police or judicial inquiry. It is coincidental that the executive officers of the bookmakers’ council are also members of the Mafia-style cartel to which I have been referring. As I have said, the dogs are barking this in Queen Street. It is widely claimed that a Mr Kevin Kent is the Godfather, that a Mr Joe Cerutti is the Don and that another member of the family is Mr Stan Sheldon. They are 3 prominent people in the Queensland bookmakers’ council. It has been said that they are interfering also with the betting fluctuations on the various courses.
I could go on at length in regard to the accusations that are being made about these people. I do not know whether they are right or wrong. I am not for one minute suggesting that they are being acquiesced in by the Minister for racing. The assortment of claims, murmurs, rumours, and barkings are so commonplace in every corner of the State that I am surprised that the Queensland Minister has not heard of them himself. If he has not heard them I hope he will hear them now and will take some action to investigate the accusations, by means of either a police inquiry or a judicial inquiry and also will tell the people who will be making applications for licences in the next month, and the people of Queensland generally, what the situation is. He cannot tell the State Parliament because it has been in recess for 3 months and will not meet again for approximately another 4 months. So if he cannot tell the State Parliament I give him the alternative of putting at ease the decent people who are associated with bookmaking. If the accusations being made about these Mafia type people are false - as I have said, one is the Don, another is the Godfather and another is a member of the family; they are 3 prominent citizens in Brisbane - I think the public of Queensland should be told, and the person to accept this responsibility is the Minister in charge of racing in Queensland. He has a record of being a most knowledgeable person in the field of racing. He had a close association with racing before he entered the Parliament.
I bring this matter before the Senate knowing that it rightly comes within the province of the State. Nevertheless I think it is of such importance that it should be ventilated in some Parliament. I know full well that the proper place in which to ventilate it is the Queensland Parliament but how on earth can one get that Parliament to sit? If it were sitting at the present time this matter would be raised in that Parliament. Some anxiety exists among bookmakers regarding these alleged activities, and in fairness to them and to the people of Queensland a public statement also should be made by the Minister in charge of racing. I heard Senator Gair say earlier by way of interjection: ‘What about the dogs barking at the ‘Gabba?” I have some personal knowledge of that. I will not weary the Senate on that but I will say that back in September last year the member for Beroona presented 9 submissions to the Minister in charge of racing. We are still awaiting an answer giving us the gory details of how the night greyhound racing licence in Queensland was granted.
To summarise we on this side of the chamber support the Bill before the House because the money is needed by Queensland. We have shown that the State has a deficit in its accumulated funds of more than Slim. We reserved the right to make public and to comment upon the criticisms made by the Commonwealth Treasury officials to the effect that Queensland’s submissions were incompetent and that the application was drafted by incompetent people. We have mentioned the challenge to the credibility and skill of the representatives who prepared the case. We have stated at length, I think, the history of the confidential freight concession rates in Queensland. Under a Labor government those rates were made public but in 1959 this practice was discontinued by the Country Party-Liberal Government. We have mentioned the failure of the Country Party Premier of Queensland to table and publish the findings of the management consultant firm of Beckingsale which were brought down 8 months ago so that the electors of Queensland would know what they contained. We have dealt with the criticism of the Commonwealth Treasury officials in relation to royalty rates - they are just the value of an ice-cream. We have dealt with the allegations regarding the Mafia style bookmakers cartel which wants to move in and control betting in Queensland. We have mentioned also that in the interests of the public the Minister responsible for racing should make a statement. In addition we have mentioned that the Country Party Minister for Housing in Queensland has not built homes for single aged pensioners even though Queensland has been granted a gift of $3£m by the Commonwealth Government. It seems that he. cannot 6pend any of it even though the other States are finding it easy to do so.
I would like to know where Country Party senators from Queensland stand in regard to the matter of confidential freight concession rates. Although I have been throughout the length and breadth of the State recently in connection with the State election campaign and have directed questions to members of the Country Party in the various areas I have visited, I have received no reply. I repeat that I am looking forward to receiving an explanation, support or condemnation, from Country Party senators from Queensland in relation to this matter.
– I have listened with great interest to my colleague from Queensland, Senator McAuliffe. J believe that with the help of many of his colleagues he made a very good election speech. What a pity the Senate proceedings are not being broadcast today. In spite of all the barking he mentioned in Queen Street, I agree with only one of his comments, namely, that he supports the Bill.
– 1 rise to a point of order. Unfortunately, I again have to refer you, Mr Deputy President, to standing order 406 which states emphatically that no honourable senator shall read his speech. J draw your attention to the fact that Senator Lawrie again is reading his speech.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - There is absolutely no substance in the point of order.
– I have no prepared speech to read, but I have seen my colleague opposite read his speech on many occasions. As I said before, I agree with only one comment that Senator McAuliffe made, namely, that he supports the 13*11. It is most interesting to note that the Australian Labor Party was in power in Queensland for a very long time but at no time did it, as a mendicant State or a claimant State, make a claim on the Commonwealth Government. The Labor Government preferred to keep Queensland as the most backward State in the Commonwealth. We beard Senator McAuliffe criticise the Premier of Queensland for buying an aircraft so that he could service the State adequately. I presume that in the unlikely event of the Labor Party becoming the Government again in Queensland Mr Houston, as Premier, promptly will sell that aircraft rather than use it.
Senator McAuliffe mentioned the Totalisator Administration Board. The TAB has been established in Queensland and other States and is providing good revenue to help the various forms of racing in the States. What happened in the days before our Parties came to power in Queensland? Racing bodies received no revenue, except a little from the betting tax, and they were unable to subsidise racing. I now want to refer to the royalties on exports of bauxite and coal, a subject which was mentioned by Senator McAuliffe. He did not tell the Senate that it had been known for quite a long time that there were bauxite deposits at Weipa. It was not until our Government came to power-
– Gair would not develop them.
– 1 did not say that. It was not until the Liberal-Country Party Government came to power that bauxite mining began. This was when the lats Ernie Evans was Minister for Mines. Senator McAuliffe did not tell the Senate that this development resulted in the investment of about $200m at Gladstone for processing this mineral. This investment led to very big development in thai part of Queensland. Coal also was mentioned by Senator McAuliffe. The carriage of coal is one of the best paying activities of the Queensland railways. The railways make a big profit out of it. Even if the coal royalty is low, as was suggested, the railways get all the freight revenue. Foreign companies were not allowed to build railways and to reap that part of the profit. Queensland workers get considerable income from mining the coal and new towns have been developed. Moura was there before but it is now a very big town. Blackwater, Morimbah and places like those have been developed as a result of coal exports. Senator McAuliffe referred to railway freights and said that the Centra! and Northern Divisions of the Queensland Railway Department made a profit. He suggested that the Southern Division finished with a very big loss but he did not tell honourable senators that most of that loss is incurred in the city of Brisbane. Would he or any members of his Party advocate increasing suburban fares in Brisbane? I do not think so. The freight rates that he referred to are not much different from those that have been charged for many years or those charged in the time of the previous Labor Governments. Freight rates have not been increased all that much since the LiberalCountry Party Government came to power; nor have they been changed very much.
– Can you give us some examples?
– Senator McAuliffe can get examples out of the ‘Year Book’. Queensland faces disability with its railway system because it has very long lines passing through sparsely populated areas. Possibly it has more such problems than any other State. In those circumstances it is difficult for the Queensland Government to operate its railways and make them pay with the amount of traffic offering over the long distances involved. Queensland is the most decentralised State in Australia. Tt was stated in the Press today that Brisbane’s population has just about reached 700,000 and that about 400,000 people live more than 400 miles from that city. I do not think any other Australian State approaches that degree of decentralisation. This means that it must have long railway lines and long freight hauls, and this situation naturally contributes to the higher level of freight rates. There are some other things I would like to mention in support of Queensland getting this grant and becoming a claimant State. Senator Gair interjected to say that this detracts a little from the sovereignty of the State, but other things come into this question.
– You would have the Queensland Premier on social services benefits.
- Senator Keeffe will have his chance to make a speech in a little while. I want to quote some figures from the ‘Queensland Year Book - 1970’ for the 1968-69 financial year.
– Those figures are 3 years old. Do you not have some that are a little more up to date?
– You can quote thom if you can get them. The value of Queensland’s exports was $677.5m.
– How much of that came from coal?
– I am unable to say. I did not take out that information but it is available in the ‘Queensland Year Book’. Its imports from overseas were only about $288. 5m so the State had quite a big surplus in exports over imports. But looking at that State’s dealings with the other States - these are the tangible items, not the invisible items - it exported goods worth S495m to the other States but purchased from them goods worth $859m. When we add all these figures they show a surplus of exports over imports amounting to about S25m. What I am leading up to-
– I hope the honourable senator is leading up to something. He has told us nothing yet.
– Senator Cavanagh should listen to what I am saying. A lot of firms that operate in Queensland, and make a good profit there, have their headquarters in the southern States. These profits do not appear in the Queensland figures but they do appear in the reports emanating from the head offices of those firms in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia are credited with the profits made in Queensland. They get the credit for income tax purposes and everything else. Queensland does not get credit in that respect for large sums of money. Certainly most of these items are intangibles. Insurance companies and other such organisations have their headquarters in Sydney and Melbourne and thus the other States get the benefit.
– But is that justification for a grant?
– Yes. More and more firms are adopting a centralised type of accounting and are requesting that their accounts be paid to their Sydney and Melbourne offices. Profits made in Queensland are going to the other States and therefore are being credited to those States. There are quite a few other things that I could mention. Much development has taken place, in Queensland despite the extended drought in the western areas and despite the collapse of wool prices. I believe that Queensland is quite justified in claiming this money. I want to refer to some of the things mentioned in this special report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. The reports states:
Dealing with police expenditure, the submission presented comparative information for Queensland and the standard States with regard to area, length of roads requiring traffic control ami supervision, length of coastline (requiring provision for search and rescue), density and distribution of population, lt pointed to the high cost of transfer of police and provision of relief for staff on leave arising from the large ureas and distances in the State.
There are many such examples to be found.
– That is the Queensland case. What did the Commission say about that?
- Senator McAuliffe had his chance to make a speech. He had the opportunity to refer to these things when he spoke and he did not cover them. 1 am doing that now.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– I ask Tor leave to continue my remarks at a later hour.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– For the information of honourable senators I lay on the table of the Senate the Treasury economic paper relating to overseas investment in Australia. I ask for leave to make a .statement in connection with the paper.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– 1 make this statement on behalf of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, who represents the Treasurer in this place.
Over the past 18 months or so Australia has experienced an extraordinarily high rate of capital inflow. This development has attracted considerable interest, and indeed concern, in the community. Tn December of last year the Government requested the Treasury to put in hand a detailed study of the matter. I now inform the Senate that this task has been completed and I table for consideration by the Senate a Treasury economic paper entitled ‘Overseas Investment in Australia’. I make the following statement on behalf of the Treasurer, Mr Snedden, who made it in the other place this afternoon. Where a first person pronoun is used, it refers to him.
As both the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and 1 have previously indicated, this Treasury study should provide an appropriate vehicle for debate of the general question of overseas investment in Australia. Its purpose is to analyse, from the Australian viewpoint, the principal economic issues raised by overseas investment in this country. These issues are essentially concerned with the growth and development of the domestic economy - for example, the allocation of available resources, the distribution of income, the degree of competition and other domestic economic management questions of that kind. Naturally, the inflow of foreign capital also has implications for the balance of payments, but so long as the economy is reasonably well managed these will be less significant. The terms of reference of the paper must be emphasised. It does not attempt to assess the non-economic aspects of overseas investment. Moreover, although it. inevitably ranges over matters having a bearing on general policy in this field, it does not put forward policy proposals.
The paper encompasses many statistics and facts as well as detailed economic argument, and honourable members will wish to give it close consideration and have time to digest it. It would not therefore be appropriate for me now to launch a general debate on the subject. I would however like to outline briefly the main themes which the paper raises.
– Is the White Paper being circulated?
– I understand that it is ready to be circulated to honourable senators. I do not have it with me. As I have been passing through this document I have been thinking: ‘Where is the White Paper?’ I am quite sure that in due course, like the rabbit appearing out of the hat, it will appear. If it does not, I expect to finish up in the Tower of London. I have been informed that copies of the White Paper were put in the boxes of honourable senators this afternoon when it was tabled in the other place. The Treasurer’s statement continues:
First however it is necessary to understand the international financial background against which the recent high level of capital inflow has occurred. The gradual breakdown of the international monetary system throughout the past decade culminated on 15th August last in the formal termination of convertibility of the United Slates dollar. Up to that time we had seen a mounting volume of international liquidity as United States dollars flowed outward to the world as a result of the continuing deficit in the balance of payments of that country. Because of these and other associated developments - notably the growth of the Euro-currency markets - many countries have seen large inflows of capital over recent years. Such inflows have taken many forms: Direct investment in new industry; takeovers of existing enterprises; portfolio investment in equity shares or other existing financial assets; loans to business enterprises or individuals; and last, but by no means least, speculative movements of capital in one or other of these way but with an eye chiefly to the possibility of exchange rate changes.
These developments are important, for 2 reasons. First, they have undoubtedly affected both the attitudes and the expectations which are nowadays brought to an appraisal of the costs and benefits of foreign investment. Secondly, and as part of that, the addition of a major new source of international capital obviously has some implications for any assessment of the scarcity value of such capital. Capital inflow, in whatever form, provides the host country with claims on overseas resources. But these claims can only be made effective if they are actually used in the acquisition of such resources from abroad, currently or in the future. To do so, the current account deficit of the balance of payments must be increased. Pending that, these claims will take the form solely of additions to the country’s international reserves.
As the Treasury paper says, this point is quite basic. If by means of capital inflow a country is to add to the real resources available to it for accelerating its development, it can do so only by incurring a deficit on the current account. Australia has for some time now sustained a sizable level of capital inflow. Equally, it has sustained a current account balance of payments deficit which, taking one year with another, has been roughly similar in size. The inflow of capital to Australia has therefore been reflected in broadly equivalent additions of real resources to the economy. More recently, this has greatly changed. On the one hand, capital inflow has risen considerably. On the other hand, the current account balance of payments deficit, so far from rising in line with that, has actually diminished appreciably, although this has been due partly to cyclical factors. In short, during the past 2 years or so the acceleration in capital inflow has not been matched by any similar rise in drawings on real resources from abroad. Instead, it has been matched by a rapid and continuing build-up in our international reserves.
The recent growth in capital inflow largely reflects an increase in borrowings from abroad. This in turn stems from a conjuncture of circumstances. On the one hand, during the greater part of this period monetary policy within Australia has been out of phase’ in varying degree with monetary conditions abroad. There have been good reasons, of a domestic economic management kind, for that. On the other hand, financial developments in Australia, particularly the establishment and growing activities of the merchant banks, have led to much greater interest in borrowing possibilities abroad. The particular timing of events has meant that these developments have not, over the period in question, represented a significant impediment to policy. Nonetheless, there are potential dilemmas inherent in the situation. Essentially they concern the degree to which a government’s domestic monetary management can be influenced, or even determined, by external factors.
The degree of actual dilemma will vary over time. There will be situations when the effects of capital inflow will be fully consistent with the stance of monetary policy. There will be situations when the internal and external forces at work are finely balanced and when any conflict between the two will therefore be manageable. There will, however, be other situations in which capital movements will run directly counter to the stance of domestic monetary policy and may even necessitate its abandonment, lt is these latter ‘conflict situations’ that raise the dilemma in its sharpest form. This is the first of the major economic questions which capital inflow poses for Australia today. It is, in essence, the problem of reconciling capital inflow with sensible and balanced management of the domestic economy.
A second economic problem can arise from capital inflow for a country whose exchange rate is reckoned, rightly or wrongly, to be undervalued. In such circumstances funds will move into the country, motivated to a greater or less degree by hopes of profiting from exchange rate appreciation. Before long it will be being said that because the country is receiving large quantities of foreign capital and its reserves are consequently rising, it necessarily must follow that its exchange rale is undervalued. That is an over-simple view. True, problems associated with disruptive capital flows will be exacerbated if a country’s exchange rate does not reflect its fundamental external position. But it is equally clear that an appropriate exchange rate will nol remove - though it will reduce - the potential for conflict situations to arise.
The third possible problem arising out of capital inflow is that of foreign ownership and control. In Australia, the proportionate foreign ownership of Australian companies has risen from around 20 per cent in J948-49 to, probably, around 35 per cent in 1970-71. From a purely economic viewpoint, and always assuming that the genera] management of the economy remains, over the years, reasonably sound, such a rise in the ownership ratio need not pose any threat. For one thing, foreignowned companies are subject to the laws of the host country. Unlike the case of Canada, foreign control in Australia has not rested predominantly with a single country. Moreover, the foreign owner’s aspirations for his enterprise may coincide in important ways with the national economic interest. Even so, a high and rising degree of foreign control could conflict with national aspirations.
One suggested solution to the foreign control question is insistence upon an increased, or a certain minimum level of, local equity participation in enterprises undertaken by foreign interests. However, while increased local equity may constrain the growth of overseas ownership, it may have little impact on overseas control. Whatever the other benefits of increased local equity may be, it is also fair to say that, for reasons which are set out in the Treasury Paper, in the process of increasing local equity some of the benefits of overseas investment may be reduced. A particular form of the problem of ownership and control arises in the case of foreign take-overs. This is a complex question and I do not propose at this stage to offer any quick answers to the problems that it poses. One such problem of great importance is whether the take-over will result in the restriction of competition. That, of course, is an aspect common to all take-overs, whether initiated domestically or from abroad.
The problem of overseas ownership and control is one principally related to the field of direct investment - and, in the matter of ownership, equity portfolio investment. This fact leads to certain other conclusions. Action of any general kind to restrain or reduce the growth of foreign ownership and control will carry implications in a number of fields - introduction of technical ‘know-how’, for example - which stem from the nature of direct investment. By the same token, such action is unlikely to have more than a modest bearing in the 2 other problems referred to earlier - domestic economic management and exchange rate speculation, should that exist. Equally, action to reduce the potential for domestic economic management conflict situations to arise might not, depending on its precise nature, have any effects upon foreign ownership and control. The truth is - and these illustrations underline it - that even in a strictly economic calculus, the subject of foreign investment does not readily lend itself to easy generalisations. I recognise, of course, that the subject cannot be confined within an economic calculus, lt is proper that a Treasury Paper on it should be largely so confined. But the question of overseas investment engenders a great body of argument of a non-economic kind. The balance of economic benefits and costs must therefore be weighed against the balance of non-economic benefits and costs. Each can change over time, as can the weighting system between them. In the economic field, for example, consider the contention that a net inflow of capital from aboard will usually enable one’s economy to grow faster, and one’s living standards to increase more rapidly, than they would otherwise. This contention is, I believe, broadly speaking valid. Yet its force clearly diminishes, at the margin, the larger one’s economy and the higher one’s living standards become.
There may be other reasons for changes over time in the weighting to be given to economic and non-economic aspects of this matter. Changing values within a society, by virtue of the changes they may imply for the society’s broad objectives, can also play a part. Increasingly today it is being argued that a society achieving a high rate of economic growth as measured by the gross national product statistics is not necessarily a happier or even a materially richer society than one in which those statistics are rising less fast. Increasingly, emphasis is being laid on the social and other aspects of economic change and growth. To the extent that values change in these ways, so too does the basis for assessment of foreign investment also change in some degree.
Let me now turn to the issues for future consideration. There is no doubt in my own mind that the attitude of Australians towards the unrestricted inflow of foreign capital has, over the years, been undergoing some change. There is nothing surprising, or necessarily objectionable, about that. I have myself indicated on several previous occasions that, however tenable it may have been 10 years ago, what I call the startled fawn approach to foreign capital is no longer appropriate. More and more, too, non-economic considerations of the kind I have mentioned earlier are. coming to the fore, and the balance of the discussion is changing as a consequence. It is one thing to recognise these developments. It is another to prescribe for them. In my remarks today I have sought only to identify the problems at this stage. They are, firstly, the present level of inflow and the potential problem that creates for managing the domestic economy, as well as the financial costs to Australia which are. involved; secondly, the suggestions of exchange rate speculation to which such capital inflows can give rise, and the possible consequences of that; and thirdly, the sheer fact of foreign ownership and control of important aspects of our economy.
I have no intention today of addressing myself to what, if any, actions might be appropriate to deal with these problems, or with some of them. Whether we should seek to do so, and if so in what way, are matters for calm deliberation. Questions of this importance are not to be settled off the cuff. We have identified the policy issues; and over the period ahead my colleagues and I will be addressing ourselves to them. If decisions are to be taken, they should be taken after careful and informed discussion, and in the light of the public debate which I hope this Treasury economic Paper will now assist in generating.
– I move:
That the Senate take note of the paper.
I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 1672).
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I had said that the amount provided in the Bill will be a big help to Queensland. In his second reading speech the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) said:
The main purpose of this Bill is to authorise the payment of a special advance grant of $9m to Queensland in 1971-72.
He also said:
Clause 4, it might be noted, authorises the Treasurer to make payments to Queensland in the first 6 months of 1972-73 up to a maximum of $4. 5m, which is half the grant payable this year. The purpose of this clause is to enable monthly payments to be made in the early months of 1972-73, in accordance with normal practice, against any special grant which might be recommended by the Commission, and approved by Parliament, for payments to Queensland in that year.
My colleague Senator McAuliffe recited a lot of that he called failings in the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s report, but he did not mention any of the things that the Government has done to develop Queensland in recent years. New ports have been established at Weipa and Hay Point. Weipa is a bauxite port; Hay Point is a coal port. In that time new railways have been built to haul coal. According to the latest report, the largest coal trains ever used have been used on the Goonyella to Hay Point line to increase the output of the Mines at Goonyella. A spur line to a new coalfield has just about been completed. This new coalfield will be able to export 9 million tons of coal a year, we are told. New towns have been developed at Moura, Goonyella, Blackwater and Weipa, to mention a few. This has meant a big development in areas where previously there were no towns of any size. Considerable progress has been made in providing services to those towns. No mention has been made in this debate of the tremendous development of bitumen roads in Queensland although it was referred to in the submission to the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Queensland, because of its huge area, needs many miles of bitumen ro ‘ along which not too many towns have been settled, and this takes a lot of money. The Queensland Government has acted to develop the State and although the grant to be authorised by this Bill is small, it will help to continue that development.
No reference has been made to 2 very big water schemes being developed. The scheme at Emerald is now so far advanced that the first water is to be released there next Monday. Construction of a big dam has started at Bundaberg to consolidate irrigation works there and to ensure that sugar cane farms in the area do not suffer from periodic droughts. In this debate no honourable senator has referred to the development of the brigalow area or of the plans to have Queensland served by 2 electricity grids. It will not be long before those 2 grids are interconnected to the far west of Queensland and electricity lines will run from the New South Wales border to Cooktown. That will be a major achievement.
A super power house is under construction at Gladstone and others are planned. All this development in Queensland must be assisted by grants from the Commonwealth. A new arterial road system is being developed for Brisbane. A tremendous amount of money is being spent there to ease traffic problems and to help to speed up the traffic flow. Progress has also been made in education. Tremendous development has taken place in providing new high schools in recent years. Relief has been extended to farmers, graziers and townspeople in the drought areas. This has cost the Queensland Government a considerable amount of money.
I want to refer also to the free hospital system in Queensland, one of the achievements of a Queensland Labor Government for which I give credit to Senator Gair. We have continued the free hospital scheme. I understand that it was one factor that made it very difficult in the past for Queensland to be a claimant State. As I said earlier, I believe that Queensland is entitled to a special grant as in that State substantial profits are earned for companies in the southern States. Although those profits are made in Queensland, they are credited to southern Stale companies. I confidently believe that the present Queensland Government will continue in office for a long while yet for the benefit of that State. T hope that this grant will be the start of considerably more Commonwealth help in the future. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
– I support the Bill but I wish also to draw attention to some of the stupidities that are going on in Australia today. On the day that this measure receives royal assent, all Queensland should dress in black. In effect it is dead because of the stupidities of the Queensland Government that has put itself in the position of leading a mendicant State, a pauper State. Senator Lawrie is about the leave the chamber. He said a few minutes ago that he is proud of the fact that the elected representatives of the Queensland people had come to the Commonwealth Government and said: ‘We are broke. We want some additional money.’ He and his colleagues are prepared to go cap in hand to the Commonwealth Grants Commission as a result of their own maladministration, and he is proud of that. I do not see how, as a Queenslander, he can be proud of that effort. Thousands of other Queenslanders are far from proud of it.
Queensland has had a proud record in times of drought, flood, unemployment and depressions. Never before have we had to become a mendicant State, but it has happened in this period of affluence. Senator Lawrie stressed the importance of Queensland and the development that had taken place under the present Government. Now this allegedly affluent State has become a mendicant State - a pauper State. There is not much to be proud of in that. The Queensland Government is alleged to have done many marvellous things, but now it is broke and must go cap in hand to the Commonwealth for additional funds. I will deal with that aspect subsequently. 1 want now to make a few observations about the Queensland Government. When the present Queensland Government was elected its supporters said: ‘We ate people of business acumen - people who can manage the finances of the State.’ Does their latest effort indicate that they have lived up to their words? Does their performance in leading Queensland to become a pauper State for the first time in its history indicate that they have the ability to manage the State’s financial affairs? Obviously not.
Senator Lawrie cited some important figures in his speech. He said that 9 million tons of coal had recently been extracted in Queensland, from one area. Let us analyse what that coal means to the State. With royalties payable at 5c a ton the State receives $450,000 for 9 million tons of our precious mineral resources. Senator Lawrie can be proud of that effort if he wishes, but 1 am not. Senator Lawrie referred to the new power house at Gladstone but he did not remind the. people and honourable senators that the Queensland Government borrowed $80m from the Commonwealth to build it, and is paying interest on that loan at 64? per cent.
Senator Lawrie also referred to Queensland’s railways. My godfather, one of the worst things that ever happened in negotiations between a State and the Commonwealth was when the Queensland Government negotiated for money to build the rail link between Townsville and Mount Isa. It has cost the people of Queensland approximately $3 8m to date, whereas in every other State such funds have been provided on a $1 for $1 basis. But not in Queensland with its allegedly magnificent government that claims that it can do so much to manage successfully the finances of the State. Queensland received no financial assistance to construct the railway line between Mount lsa and Townsville. Yet, members of the Country Party - and I suspect members of the Liberal Party would do likewise - try to justify the actions of the Country Party-Liberal Party Government in Queensland in coming to the Commonwealth for additional money for budgetary purposes this financial year. I submit that the Queensland Government is a government of dishonesty, and I hope that I will be able to prove that statement subsequently.
Senator Lawrie said some other amazing things in the course of his remarks. He was the principal speaker for the Country Party. He said that he welcomed the fact that Queensland had become a mendicant State. If that is his opinion, let him accept the responsibility of it. Let him go to the people of Queensland and say: ‘We have now become a mendicant State. Notwithstanding the fact that Queensland came through depressions, floods, fires, unemployment, droughts and other afflictions, we are now a mendicant State’. How in the name of goodness can anybody justify pride in Queensland becoming a pauper State when, over the years, it has overcome all its difficulties. Our society in 1972 is supposed to be affluent. Queensland is supposed to have a government that has developed the State to the point that it is rich. Yet, Queensland has become a mendicant State, The honourable senator should bow his head in shame that he should attempt to justify the actions of a government that has brought Queensland to that level. Senator Lawrie and, I suspect, other senators who are members of the Country Party will not tell us what becoming a mendicant State will mean to Queensland. It means that Queensland will not exercise the control over its own affairs that other sovereign States exercise over their affairs. Tasmania has experienced this situation but I think that Tasmania is in a slightly different position from Queensland. If Queensland continues to be a mendicant State it will not control as a sovereign State its affairs in the way that it would like-
– I would vote against the Bill if I were you.
– That is all right.
– He is not talking about the Bill.
– I will talk about the Bill, Senator Marriott. As an Assistant Minister who has nothing to do-
– Get back to the Bill.
– All right. I am speaking about the dishonesty of a government which has gone before the Commonwealth Grants Commission, and honourable senators opposite do not like it. They do not like that dishonesty to be unveiled and to be paraded before the Australian people. I propose to continue to do so. Neither will honourable senators like it when I tell them why the Queensland Government has reduced Queensland to a mendicant State.
We heard Senator Lawrie say today on the subject of freight charges that freight charges imposed by the Queensland Railway Department in the Northern Division and the Central Division were high because the people in the metropolis had cheaper rail transport. Fancy a representative of the Government having the audacity to rise in his place and to say in effect: ‘People in the country areas of Queensland are penalised because we have not the courage to impose proper charges on the people in the metropolis’. That is what the honourable senator said, and he represents country people. He is merely a craven representative of government who would make such a statement.
Senator Lawrie sought to justify the absurdity of the royalties paid on coal to the State on the basis that the royalties provide employment opportunities for Queensland workers. Of course employment opportunities are provided. If the royalties paid were 20c a ton or lc a ton, employment opportunities would still be provided. The point is that the royalties that are paid are so ridiculously low that Queensland suffers as a result. I ask honourable senators to visualise the area represented by 20 tons of coal. As honourable senators picture an area of that size for a moment I ask them to note that the Queensland Government will receive $1 as a royalty payment for that 20 tons of coal. I do not know how much a stockpile of 20 tons of coal is worth, but the Queensland Government will receive a royalty payment of $1 for such a stockpile.
– Chicken feed.
– Of course. In a few years time, the value of 5c will have depreciated to such an extent that it will be worth only 2c; that could be the situation in 4 years or 5 years time. No provision is made in the contract relating to coal that the royalty payment will rise as the value of the dollar is eroded. Surely no one could say that a government which has allowed minerals to be taken out of Australia at such a price has been responsible. We are giving our minerals away. I wish to get on to the honesty or dishonesty - I put honesty’ in quotation marks; ‘dishonesty’ I would prefer to say-
– I rise to take a point of order, Mr Deputy President. Before the honourable senator launches himself into this argument, to which he has referred before, standing order 418 might be referred to. This standing order states:
No Senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament or any member of such House, or of any House of a State Parliament . . .
We would not care to have it said that we were a dishonest Parliament. I do not think that the honourable senator should say that about a State parliament.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! On the point of order, I draw the attention of honourable senators to the fact that standing order 418 states:
No Senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament or any member of such House, or of any House of a State Parliament . . .
I think that to impute dishonesty-
– That is saying that he is not allowed to tell the truth.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Truth requires definition. I would request honourable senators in referring to other houses of parliament to observe the provisions of thai standing order so that its wording is not transgressed.
– I accept your request, Mr Deputy President, and I shall refer instead to the unusual actions of the State Government of Queensland.
Prior to the last State election in Queensland, the Premier said: ‘We have no intention whatsoever of interfering with the liquor laws of Queensland’. Yet, 3 months after he was elected, the Queensland Premier announced that the State liquor laws were to be amended. Church authorities took deep exception to this proposal and they interviewed the Premier. The Premier said: ‘Yes, I did say that I had no intention of interfering with the liquor laws of Queensland, but I said that 3 months ago. My opinion is changed now. I am entitled to change my opinion 3 months after I expressed it’. 1 suggest that that is a most unusual statement for the leader of a government to make.
– That is not unusual.
– 1 say it is unusual. An honourable senator says that it is dishonest. 1 accept what he says, although politically dishonest’ would perhaps be a more appropriate term.
– I raise a point of order. I think we would all be much better served if we tried to behave in the spirit of standing order 418. As I said earlier, I do not want to get involved in this matter any further than 1 am, but I do not think that we would care to have it said of us that we were dishonest, so we should not say that about another parliament, lt is quite wrong and improper.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Order! Senator Milliner, you will confine yourself to the measure before the Chair and not stray to various other authorities and legislatures.
– I now come to a situation* in which there was to be a redistribution of seats in Queensland. Everybody, particularly members of the Liberal Party, said that there would be no increase in the number of politicians in the State Parliament. But what happened? As a result of the unseemly behaviour of both Liberal and Country Party members in the State House, in brawling - in the widest sense - among themselves as to who would retain the Treasury benches in Queensland, it was eventually agreed that there would be an increase of 2 representatives in the State Parliament. This was at a time when they were saying to the workers of Queensland: Tighten your belts, intiation is with us, and consequently you must do what we say, that is, peg wages’. Yet they themselves increased the number of representatives in the State Parliament by two. They went even further and introduced legislation to increase their salaries by 28 per cent. They also increased the superannuation and retiring allowances, notwithstanding
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Order! Senator Milliner, you must keep within the bounds of the Bill and keep to a temperate description and phraseology.
– I believe I am doing that. I believe I am showing that the Queensland Government has mis-spent its money and now it is necessary for it to come to the Commonwealth for money. Surely I am entitled to say those things. If they hurt honourable senators opposite I am sorry, but I cannot help it. We know that that is the situation, and that the back bencher in the State Parliament would have received more than honourable senators sitting here tonight. I accuse honourable senators on the Government side of not having the fortitude to stand up to their Ministry and I accuse members of the Ministry of being very greedy individuals. The Prime Minister wanted a salary increase of about $8,000 a year for himself, and at the same time he was telling his representatives to make certain submissions in the national wage case in opposition to the workers’ application for a wage increase. There are 2 standards, and honourable senators opposite cannot deny that that is correct. Senator Bonner, who is seeking to interject, can have his say later.
Let me come to the financial statement of the Queensland Treasurer, Sir Gordon Chalk. At page 8 of that statement, which he presented to the Queensland Parliament on 23rd September 1971, one finds this incredible comment, which I suggest is another factor which required the State to become a mendicant State. It reads:
Another feature of the Budget is the institution of a scheme to provide worthwhile rehabilitation assistance to our severely depressed wool, industry in the area running roughly from Charleville to Richmond, an area that has been described as the disaster area of central Queensland.
– Hear, hear!
– ‘Hear, hear,’ says Senator Maunsell. Let me read a little further and show up his government in a very bad light:
The Government -
The State Government - has been greatly concerned at the plight of the producers in. this area for quite some time. They have endured not only the depressed market prices which have been experienced by all wool growers in Australia but also the deprivations of drought in 8 out of the last 10 years. The State Government has on several occasions pressed the Commonwealth Government for special assistance for these producers, but without success.
That is the State Government saying that Senator Maunsell’s Government has failed to assist the people in these drought stricken areas. I hope he is proud of that. The statement continues:
In framing the Budget I-
Sir Gordon Chalk set out with a determination that every endeavour should be made to prevent the collapse of industry in this State - whether it be heavy industry or primary - and in this view I have had the full support of all my parliamentary colleagues. The Government has therefore decided that, despite its budgetary stringencies, it will now ‘go it alone’ with a $10m scheme of special assistance in this area.
– A very good Government.
– If the honourable senator is proud of an unusual type of government, that is his responsibility. There we have it in a nutshell. The State Government approached the Commonwealth Government. The Commonwealth Government said; ‘No, you will not get the additional money for the people on whose behalf you are making the representations’. What happened then? The State Government gave it to them in its Budget and then it went back to the Commonwealth, through the back door, to get it.
– It still got it.
– Of course, but that is not the point. The point is that there is a double standard. If the honourable senator cannot see that, I am sorry for him. The situation is that it is a double standard and one cannot avoid accepting it as such. Let us look at the Queensland Government, which boasts about the wonderful performance it puts up. The report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission states:
The Government of Queensland made an application on 30th September 1971 to the Commonwealth Government for a special grant of financial assistance for the year 1971-72 to be provided under section 96 of the Constitution.
Further on it says:
The Queensland Government’s submission expresses the belief that industrial development in the Slate would tend in the long term to raise average incomes nearer to those in the standard States.
Yet, when I say that Queensland is a low wage State, Senator Maunsell and his colleagues come out and try to denounce me. Let us see how inefficient the Queensland Government is. Honourable senators may recall that at the last Premiers Conference the Queensland representatives were elated when they were given the right to levy payroll tax. No sooner had they got back to Queensland than they said this in their submission to the Commonwealth Grants Commission:
The effect of Queensland’s below standard capacity in payroll tax . . .
Yet they say that they will increase their payroll in the long term to raise average incomes nearer to those in the standard States. Surely this would not be a serious submission by a responsible government. Let me refer again to the special report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission of 1972, in which at page 6 it is stated:
That was stated in 1971. On 23rd September 1971 the budget was presented to the State parliament. The Government said that it was budgeting for a deficit of $7m. In the same month it came to the Commonwealth and said that the amount was no longer $7m but $10m. Let us look a little further at what the Commonwealth Grants Commission said. I am still referring to the Queensland Government submission. Page 8 of the report states:
What did the Commonwealth Government say in relation to this? It was fairly critical.
– Why does the honourable senator not incorporate that in Hansard
– That is the silent, acting Minister.
The ACTNG DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Order! Senator Milliner, you will address the chair.
– I shall do that, Mr Acting Deputy President. I just want to say that the honourable senator has nothing to do but interject. The Commonwealth Grants Commission stated: ii invites the interested parties to submit further evidence so that these matters can be more fully investigated before it recommends a completion grant for Queensland for 1971-72.
The Commonwealth Government is critical of many things. Yet it knows what has been going on in Queensland and it has turned a blind eye. I ask honourable senators to look at page 13. It must do Queensland a tremendous amount of good for people to say this:
Again I remind honourable senators that these are the people who claim to have a thorough knowledge of financial responsibility. Yet people ridicule their submissions to the Commonwealth. I close on the note that I believe that this is a sad day indeed for Queensland. If honourable senators read the criticism of the Commonwealth Grants Commission they will see that Queensland was extremely fortunate to receive an allocation of §9m. I submit that the Queensland Government has not been responsible. I. submit also that the Commonwealth Government has not acted as responsibly as it could have in some of the matters raise.d by honourable senators on this side of the chamber.
– I rise to support the Queensland Grant Bill. One could be excused for wondering whether there was an election around the corner somewhere in the next week or two because of the remarks which have come from the other side of the chamber. The 2 honourable senators opposite who have entered the debate so far have opened their remarks by saying that they support the Bill and then have done everything possible to indicate that they were against it. Before entering this field of the election - after all I have to reply to some of the unfair criticism which has been levelled against the Government - I think that I should speak to the Bill and the reason for it. Senator Milliner touched on the reason why this Bill is being debated before this chamber tonight, lt is because of the situation which has occurred in western Queensland which the State Government declared a disaster area because for some 7 years out of 10 - 1 think it might be better to say 10 years out of 13 - there has been a serious drought. Unfortunately very few States know anything about drought other than one of 3 weeks or 3 months. A 10-year drought is something unknown in any other State. It is only natural that there is no provision whereby the Commonwealth can grant assistance to the State to provide for this circumstance.
When Queensland came to the Commonwealth and asked for $10m the Commonwealth said: ‘We are giving you rural reconstruction to look after those people. We are looking after drought affected people in every other State through rural reconstruction. We are making money available for this purpose’. But of course this is not good enough because it is not the actual landholders who are in trouble at the moment in the disaster areas of western Queensland. It is the shires and the people who live in the towns who have been affected so much by this drought. Rural reconstruction does not look alter the problems of those people. I ask honourable senators to look at most of the shires in western Queensland where 90 per cent of the rates come from rural landholders. They are in the position where they cannot pay. The shires are virtually broke because they cannot collect SO per cent of their money. What happened was that the State Government came to the rescue and said, ‘We will make $10m available’. This amount was provided to make long term loans available to the landholders to pay their rates so that the local government bodies could operate and, as a result, the towns could benefit, maintain some employment and remain viable.
– At what interest rates?
– The honourable senator can make his speech later. Of course Senator Milliner said that we have had drought before - that we had a drought in 1902. Of course we had. We had droughts in 1926 right through to 1940. In those days the landholders were not assisted by the government of the day. What happened was that the landholders went broke. The towns went broke. Not one bit of assistance was given. Only onethird of the landholders in the droughts of 1902 and 1926 were able to stay on their properties. Today the Queensland Government has tried and has been successful in maintaining most of the people on their properties and in keeping the towns and shires going. That is the reason for the Bill which we are debating tonight. The Queensland Government said: ‘We will have to obtain the money from the Commonwealth somehow. It does not understand our position. The other States do not understand the drought position in Queensland. We will have to obtain the money in some other way’. Senator Gair would know that we have not come to the Commonwealth Grants Commission before mainly because of the free hospital scheme which we have in Queensland.
Every time Queensland has sought assistance in the federal sphere it has been told: You will have to get rid of your free hospital scheme. You cannot afford that sort of luxury’. But Queensland has wanted to maintain its free hospital scheme. I give credit to Senator Gair and his Government for introducing it and I give credit to the present Government for maintaining it.
The present Government will maintain the free hospital scheme while it is in office. Whether it will be maintained if the present Opposition were to get on to the Treasury benches is another matter. That is one of the reasons why Queensland has had to come forward on this occasion with such an application. Of course there have been complaints about the application made by the Queensland Government, but it is not unusual for people in the southern States to be unaware of the Queensland situation. It has happened in the past and it will happen again. One would think that the Queensland members of the Opposition would applaud the fact that the Queensland Government has been able to get this money to assist the drought stricken area of western Queensland.
I refer to some of the statements which were made earlier by 2 Opposition speakers. The transport system in Queensland is a subject which has received a bit of attention. It is interesting to note that the freight rates in Queensland have been maintained over a very long period. Queensland is a very small State with a vast area of productive land.
– A small State with a vast area?
– I will qualify that by saying Queensland has a small population but a vast area of productive land and vast untapped resources. It is necessary to maintain a railway and road system in Queensland that covers the whole State. In lots of the other States the main railway lines and arterial roads are fairly close to the capital cities and the seaboard and in some States the length of railway lines and of roads is very small in comparison with the situation in Queensland and the number of people who contribute to the upkeep of those systems is 2 or 3 times as great, lt is only natural that the cost of maintaining rail services in Queensland is great. It is to the credit of the present Queensland Government that in the 15 years it has been in office the rail freights to the outlying areas of Queensland have been reduced and not increased, as one would expect in view of the way costs have increased in most other sectors. Wool freights into Brisbane have been reduced by some 20 per cent since 1956. The freight on groceries and other commodities of that nature from Brisbane to
Longreach was as high as $96 a ton, but it has been reduced to $46 a ton.
– How much royalty does Queensland get for its coal?
– I shall be adverting to the subject of minerals in a moment. I am dealing with the transport system at the moment. The honourable senator should give me a chance. He will have an opportunity to speak later in the debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Order! Senator Maunsell is addressing the Chair on this Bill.
– I am not worrying about the interjections from Opposition senators, Mr Acting Deputy President. They will gel their chance to speak later. Opposition senators talk about the amount of money that Queensland has not received from the Commonwealth for certain projects. They do not mention the fact that Queensland has been able to get something like $30m or $40m from the Commonwealth for its beef roads while the other States have not received anything. Queensland has its own particular priorities.
– That was only an election gimmick.
– The present Queensland Government has done a great job for the State. The construction of beef roads and the development of the interior of Queensland has been its No. 1 priority. The other States have had different priorities. Queensland has obtained money from the Commonwealth for the development of irrigation schemes and its brigalow lands. Those are the things that Queensland regards as being of top priority. Opposition senators from the other States would not know what it is all about. They would not know a brigalow when they saw one. Those are some of the fields in which Queensland has obtained assistance from the Commonwealth. The Queensland Government has been able to get sufficient funds from the Commonwealth in those areas where it believes it has priority.
I turn now to the subject of minerals in which Opposition senators are so interested. All one ever hears from them is criticism of the fact that the Queensland Government will receive a royalty of 5c a ton on coal mined in that State. It is obvious that Opposition senators have not read the Goonyella agreement. Under that agreement the mining company concerned is to build a railway line valued at $3 6m and at the end of 12 years that railway line is to be, free of debt, the property of Queensland. In addition it is expected that the profit to be made out of the cartage of this coal to the seaboard will be $1.08 a ton. Certain other States receive 15c a ton in royalty. That is chicken feed. Some of the railway lines in those States are owned by the mining companies.
– What does Queensland charge a ton?
– I will give honourable senators all the facts in a minute. I have them in front of me. Another subject which is never mentioned by Opposition senators is that it is steaming coal which is being sold overseas.
– I beg your pardon.
– I mean coking coal is being sold overseas. Steaming coal is not being exported; it is being stockpiled at no cost to the Queensland Government,
– Queensland will have a hell of a heap of it.
– Yes, and there will be a power house at the top of it when the building of that heap has been finished and the raw products to operate the power house will be provided by ‘he mining company concerned; so honourable senators opposite should not talk about Queensland receiving a royalty of only 5c a ton when some other States receive a royalty of 15c a ton. The people of Queensland will be getting a great deal more out of the Goonyella coal agreement and the other coal deposits in the State.
– Why is the honourable senator bragging?
– Because the honourable senator said that the Queensland Government has been disloyal. Senator Milliner made that allegation because Queensland agreed to a royalty of 5c a ton. No mention was made of these other matters.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Maunsell is addressing the Chair and 1 ask that he be heard in silence.
– The same situation applies to Queensland’s bauxite deposits.
– What does Queensland get for bauxite?
– All that honourable senators opposite are interested in is what Queensland gets in the way of royalties. At Weipa, Queensland has the biggest bauxite deposits in the world. At present Queensland does not have the resources to convert its bauxite deposits into aluminium. That requires vast quantities of power and water. Because of its small population and the limited nature of its development Queensland has not reached the stage where it has the necessary power houses and water schemes to utilise its bauxite deposits to the full. But it is getting that way and it is doing so quickly, thanks to the power houses which are being developed. It is expected that within a few years the largest aluminium smelter in the world will be at Gladstone.
Of course, members of the Opposition have voted against such development proposals whenever they have been put forward in the Parliament. They voted against the Goonyella and Comalco agreements. They voted against the lot. They have not wanted mining companies to come into Queensland. But Queensland will have all of these forms of development in time. It will not be too long before Queensland will notice the millions of dollars that the mining companies will bring in. A new company has commenced operations up near Townsville. Some $200m will be spent there in a few years on nickel mining. There have been knockers of that project, too. People are going around and saying that the mining will pollute the sea, the atmosphere and everything else around the place. They are trying their hardest to stop nickel mining in Townsville. That is the sort of thinking of the present Opposition.
Let us have another look at some of the wild statements which have been made in this debate. Senator Milliner spoke about quite a few subjects. He mentioned the liquor laws in Queensland. Only minor amendments to the liquor laws were demanded by parliamentarians on the occasion to which he referred. They were not great changes, as he well knows; they were very minor amendments to the liquor laws. He referred also to the subject of education. I would say that it ill-behoves any member of the Opposition in Queensland to villify the Government’s record on education. That is one field in which the Queensland Government has been outstanding. It has an outstanding record in relation to the money spent to provide education, particularly to the people in the outback and the remote areas. University education has spread to north Queensland. A university has been established in that area. After the present Government came into power in 1957 high schools were built very smartly in areas that had never seen a high school before. Institutes of technology also were built. Education is one field in which the Queensland Government has done a tremendous job, and if it has to go to the Commonwealth Grants Commission or anywhere else to get the funds to spend in that direction, it is worth white.
– 1/ they did not have so many ministerial trips abroad they might not have needed to go to the Grants Commission.
– That may be so, but I am defending a government which has done a tremendous job in Queensland and I am answering the criticism that has been levelled at the present Government by the so-called Opposition on the other side of this chamber. Senator McAuliffe spent a lot of time telling us about what the dogs were barking up and down the streets of Brisbane. I presume that comment had something to do with bookmakers who wanted to form a union to protect their good name, or something in that direction. He reckoned it was a Mafialike organisation. The only Mafia-like organisation that 1 know of which has shifted to Brisbane recently - this is what the dogs are barking around Brisbane - is the Australian Communist Party which has moved its headquarters from Melbourne. 1 suppose that is what the honourable senator was talking about.
– Stick to the Bill.
– I am sticking to the Bill. I must reply to some of the statements that were made. I presume that the Mafia-type organisation to which the honourable senator referred is the Australian
Communist Party, and the only reason it shifted its headquarters to Brisbane is that it regards Queensland as fertile ground for its activities. The fertile ground to which I refer is the Trades Hall which dominates the Party that is offering itself as the next government of that State.
I commend the Bill to the Senate. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, this Bill is before us because the Queensland Government is determined to assist the wool growing industry in particular, aud generally the grazing industry of western Queensland which involves all the towns and the people associated with it. They have suffered from 10 years of drought and were caught at a time when the price of this commodity was such that they were hit from 2 directions. It is estimated that since the war this area has brought into this nation not less than $2,000m of overseas funds. 1 am referring only to the funds received from wool produced in the area. Every person who lives there, whether he works in the town or whether he is associated in one way or the other with the industry, has contributed to this position. Surely this nation, in the position in which it is today, must help the people who have been able to contribute that kind of revenue to the State despite very severe conditions. It is only natural for any thinking person to agree that the Queensland Government is right in getting what assistance it can, even if that assistance has to come from the Commonwealth Grants Commission. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
– I seek leave to propose a motion concerning Senator Fitzgerald.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Senator Murphy, you are intervening in a debate. Are you seeking leave?
– I seek leave.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Before you continue, 1 think steps should be taken to have the debate adjourned.
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
– I seek leave to propose a motion on behalf of Senator Fitzgerald.
– Why not at 10.30?
– Because I wish to do it now.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:
That Senator Fitzgerald be discharged from attendance on the Joint Committee on Public Accounts.
Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - At the request of Senator Fitzgerald, I hereby remove Senator Fitzgerald as a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare.
– I can understand the difficulty of the Australian Country Party senators in supporting this Bill because their brief is a difficult one. I can understand also the performance which they have put up in support of the situation, the situation being that Queensland, after many years of reasonable government, good government, under the Australian Labor Party, found itself under the control of a Courty Party-Liberal Government which over a period of 15 years has so mismanaged the affairs of the State that it had to make application to the Commonwealth Grants Commission for assistance. In other words, for the first time Queensland has become a mendicant State, a claimant State. As one honourable senator said earlier, in a way it has had to concede to the Commonwealth its sovereignty and the power to operate and to develop the State economically. So members of the Country Party have had a very difficult brief and have found the going hard tonight.
Of course, we support the Bill and the proposal that Queensland should receive the $9m because of the position in which it finds itself. What we strongly object to is that Queensland may have to make similar claims year after year if it continues to be governed by this strange coalition of the Country Party in the ascendancy and the Liberal Party in the minority, a combination which is even worse than the combination of the Liberal Party in the ascendancy and the Country Party in the minority which is the situation in this place. In Queensland we have in effect a backwoods government, a frontier type government; nothing more or less than that. In fact Queensland is now known in the southern States as the Deep North because of the reactionary policies and the reactionary behaviour of the Queensland Premier, and the rather irrational positions which he adopts from time to time on ali sorts of important matters, both State and Federal.
As one travels through Queensland one sees the effect of 15 years rule by the Country-Liberal Party Government. One can see the slow degeneration of provincial and country towns; the slow depopulation of country centres; the slow breakdown of country areas and the falling away of the rural population. This has happened and is happening because the Queensland Government has not used effectively the means available to it to raise the money which is necessary and which is available to make Queensland the richest State in the Commonwealth. lt could still be the richest State in the Commonwealth but it cannot survive mismanagement, and mismanagement is the trouble. This has been explained by Senator McAuliffe and Senator Milliner, and in some ways they have been supported by Country Party senators sitting opposite. There has been mismanagement and it will continue. The flourishing towns of Bundaberg and Marborough
– One of your colleagues said that it would finish in a fortnight. Now you say it is to continue. Who are we to believe?
– He said it will continue if the present government is reelected.
– I did say that and I said it clearly. If Senator Little wants 10 interject intelligently he should listen to what 1 say. He has not been listening; he just makes a snide remark every now and again. Senator Maunsell indicated that Queensland was subject to natural calamities to a far greater extent than the other States. He indicated that because of this Queensland was in a position of need. I would like to point out to Senator Maunsell something which appeared in the appropriation papers. He should take careful note of this. This fact was pointed out by Mr Crean in the other place and I would like Senator Maunsell to answer it. If there was great need for drought relief in Queensland, why did not the Queensland Government take advantage of all the Commonwealth money that was available at that time? It did not do so.
At page 46 of the Treasury Information Paper entitled ‘Statement of Savings Expected in Appropriations’ it is shown that S3. 6m had been set aside in the Budget for drought assistance for Queensland. Now we are told that $2. 2m of that sum is to be saved because the Queensland Government did not take up all the money that was made available by the Commonwealth Government. Yet Senator Maunsell had the audacity to stand up and say that the situation was so bad in Queensland that greater expenditure was needed and therefore Queensland finds itself in a position of financial need. Millions of dollars were available in the form of Commonwealth assistance. The money had been allocated and the Queensland Government did not take it up.
– I raised that matter in this place senator.
– -Certainly; Senator Byrne raised the matter and the point ought to be made again. Mismanagement on the part of the coalition government in Queensland resulted in this money not being taken up. Recently the Commonwealth Government told the Queensland Government that it would make money available on a dollar for dollar basis for reconstruction purposes in cyclone devastated Townsville. Money was available without limit on a dollar for dollar basis. Yet at the present time there are many, many people without homes in Townsville. There are still many homes in Townsville that are covered with tarp aulins. There are still many, many families living in caravans in Townsville. In effect. many people are still victims of the cyclone. The Federal Government made that arrangement on a dollar for dollar basis, without limit, and the Queensland Government did not take advantage of it. For drought relief the Queensland Government would have received 50c for every $1 used for this purpose. In effect, Queensland would have received cheap dollars from the Commonwealth Government. Is this not mismanagement on the part of the Queensland Government and should not this point be driven home?
It is useless to say that the Queensland Government has a case for the allocation of $9m. We of the Opposition say that if the Queensland Government had carefully husbanded its resources this application would not have been necessary. If the application was not necessary and it had not been made the Queensland Government would remain in full control of its economic position. This is no longer the case because the Grants Commission has made some very damning statements about Queensland. If the present Queensland Government is returned to office there will be another application to the Commonwealth Grants Commission and ‘he Commission will lay down certain conditions, lt will say that there are certain incomeraising areas that can be exploited by the Queensland Government and they ought to be exploited. At that point the Queensland free hospital scheme may well come under threat, lt will be said that as Queensland has become a claimant State it no longer can afford a free hospital scheme, that the hospitals should be used as a means of gaining some income. I would say that the Country-Liberal Party Queensland Government - if it survives on 27th May - will succumb to this pressure.
– That is double talk, is it not?
– It is not double talk. The Queensland people will lose their free hospital scheme.
– I will repeat what I said for the benefit of Senator Webster who has suddenly decided to listen. The Grants Commission will point out to the Queensland Government that there are certain revenue-raising areas available to it and that it should take advantage of them. One of those areas is the free hospital scheme. If Queensland continues to be a claimant State the Grants Commission will say that Queensland cannot afford a free hospital scheme.
– That has happened in Tasmania.
– That has happened already in Tasmania, as Senator Poke points out. I am pointing out to Senator Webster that under such pressure and the influence of such arguments it is possible that the Queensland people will lose their free hospital scheme.
– Does the incoming Tasmanian Government propose to abandon the Grants Commission?
– 1 am not in a position to answer that question about the Tasmanian Government. 1 am not certain of what will happen there, but I am certain that for quite some time the free hospital scheme in Queensland has been under threat. I would say that at the first opportunity, under pressure, the Country-Liberal Party coalition Government will impose charges and that will be the beginning of the end for a scheme which has served Queenslanders well for many years.
The Grants Commission also rather savagely criticised the failure of the Queensland Government to extract revenue which is available in the form of royalties. For the sake of the record and for the benefit of Senator Maunsell I propose to read some information which I have related to coal. I will not deal with other matters. According to the Minister for Mines, and Main Roads, Mr Camm, the estimated production of export coal in Queensland in 1970-71 amounted to 7.25 million tons and it was valued at $83. 4m. This was reported in the ‘Telegraph* of 9th March 1971. The total amount of royalties paid for coal in 1970-71 was $362,500, or 0.43 per cent. For every $100 worth of coal exported, Queensland receives a miserable pittance of 43c, or 5c a ton. That figure has been used time and time again.
I point out to the Senate how this affects every other State in the Commonwealth, and in particular New South Wales. In the export of mineral resources the Commonwealth is only as strong as the weakest State. In this situation of the exporting of mineral resources I would say that Queensland is the weakest State. II is the weakest in its bargaining attempts in the arranging and signing of contracts. In being weak in its arrangements with overseas buyers it affects every other supplier of coal in Australia. The fact that we are selling some of the finest coking coal in Australia to Japan at so low a price and at so low a royalty has resulted in the closing down of some mines in New South Wales. This is the end result of poor bargaining on the part of one State government.
The inability of the Queensland Government to serve the interests of the Queensland people and the Australian people in arranging and signing these contracts, or its inability to bargain effectively, has had a direct result on the employment possibilities of miners in New South Wales. Several very profitable operations in New South Wales have had to be closed down. I think it would be reasonable to expect that the Commonwealth Government and the New South Wales Government should bring pressure to bear on the Queensland Government to become a member of the Joint Coal Board. The Queensland Government has refused to become a member of the Joint Coal Board and to become part of a national fuel policy. This is desperately needed, lt is desperately needed in order to protect our bargaining position in the sale of our valuable mineral resources. While we sell coal to Japan cheaply, I ask honourable senators to realise this: Japan has closed down her mines. She has done this for another reason. She has closed them down to conserve her own coal resources. Why should Japan develop and use her own mines when she can buy coal so cheaply from Australia and stockpile it in great quantities? In fact, Japan is stockpiling coal in her inlets and sounds so that she can use it in time of need and cut out the purchasing from Australia.
Nevertheless, some of the finest coking coal is being exported from Queensland with the connivance of the Queensland Government. I say ‘connivance’ because it can be nothing less than this. It is with the connivance of the Queensland Government that some of our finest coal is being given away. It is affecting the position of other mines in Australia and the livelihood of miners in the south. For this reason I think the Federal Government ought to take a keen interest in any future contracts which the Queensland Government undertakes with overseas concerns. It is in the national interest that no State should undersell another State. That is exactly what is happening.
One of the Country Party senators made out a great case in regard to the enormous profit that we are making from coal haulage. But there is very little profit made there. The freight charged to haul a ton of coal from Moura to Gladstone is Si. 58. Perhaps a profit is made in that SI. 58 because of the immense quantity of coal which is being exported. But it is to the disadvantage of every other freight transporter in Queensland. For instance, to transport a ton of groceries from Brisbane to Gladstone costs S56. In fact, it costs almost 2c per lb to transport any commodity from Brisbane to Gladstone. It costs $56 a ton to transport goods 300 miles by rail. If we multiply the $1.58 charged for the transport of a ton of coal between Moura and Gladstone by 3, to allow for the shorter distance, the figure obtained is nowhere near $56 a ton.
This is what happens in this famous State of Queensland that is prepared to charge low freight rates to overseas concerns and high freights to Queenslanders. Not only is the transport charge high on groceries and other commodities that are necessities to the towns to the north of Brisbane, but also the cost of transporting wheat in Queensland is 5 times as much as the amount charged for the transport of coal for foreign companies. The whole position is screwy. It just does not stand up tinder scrutiny. Any reasonable person who looks at the arrangements that the Queensland Government has made will know that that Government has been negligent. If we do not say it, the Commonwealth Grants Commission will say it. In fact, it has already said it. An avenue for income is available here which would be sufficient to obviate the need to make an application to the Commission.
In regard to bauxite we find that the Queensland Government is making arrangements for its sale at a lower rate than that at which it is being sold in the Northern Territory or Western Australia. The position is that one State is underselling the other State to the advantage of the overseas and multi-national corporations and to the disadvantage of Australia. Those corporations will continue to buy from Queensland and they will use Queensland as a weapon in bargaining with the other States. If the price in Queensland is too low the pressure will be on the Northern Territory and Western Australia to lower their charges to the overseas concerns. We have become the greatest suppliers of our raw materials at an extremely low price, and Queensland leads the way. We have become the quarriers, and not the manufacturers or the processors. The sooner we get to that stage, the better. Great play was made about the development of towns and the employment of workers in various places. Let me make this clear: At the gigantic alumina works in Gladstone the only income which flows to the Australian nation at the present time is the income tax charged on the workers’ wages. Do not let me hear anything about the 50 per cent we are receiving in the form of tax on company profits. We do not receive it. The companies do not show a profit. I will not say that they produce their product and sell it to their overseas branches at cost to avoid paying tax in Australia. If they have and if they are-
– That is not correct.
– You tell me the last time Comalco Ltd paid income tax? Will you tell me exactly how much that company paid in company tax and how much the Commonwealth derived from that?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Georges, please address the Chair.
– It will be found that the statement I make is accurate. The only income that flows to the Commonwealth from that area and some of the other mining areas for the benefit of Australia is the income tax that is earned on the workers’ wages.
– Mr Deputy President, do you mind if I interrupt just for a moment?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Yes, I do mind.
– He can interrupt as much as he wishes. We have other examples in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia of cases in which very little flows to Australia from very rich deposits of mineral resources. 1 remind honourable senators that at Mount Morgan all that is left is the homes of the miners and the graves of the miners who died from miners phthisis. Very little else is left at Mount Morgan where millions of dollars worth of minerals were extracted. Very little indeed flowed back to that area. We have not even the brains of the small nations in the Middle East. If honourable senators opposite had watched a recent television programme about Kuwait they would know that the people there have made arrangements for a 50 per cent royalty to flow back to them. But not us, 5c a ton will do us. Without question, we are the worst bargaining nation in the world. We do not have the brains to make certain that we get a good deal.
– The honourable senator is speaking for himself, I take it?
– I am speaking for the Government. At least I have the charity to include myself in the result which flows from the faulty policies of the present Government.
Other means of income could flow to the Queensland Government. Many avenues of income arc available to it of what it takes no advantage. Some of these avenues were pointed out by Senator McAuliffe. Although Senator Maunsell began to ridicule Senator McAuliffe for raising the matter of gambling in Queensland, let me point out-
– Did he do that?
– He did that while you were absent from the chamber. He indicated that you had no right to introduce extraneous matters concerning bookmakers in Queensland. He reflected on the statement that you made about-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Will the honourable senator please address the Chair? He is inviting interjections.
– I am sorry if I am taking advantage of your leniency, Mr Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! I
Jm trying to help the honourable senator because he is inviting irrelevant and other interjections.
– I am sorry that if, by being irrelevant, I have invited irrelevant remarks. I was bringing the matter back to something that was brought into the debate by Senator Maunsell when he ridiculed what I considered to be a fair statement by Senator McAuliffe. I think all honourable senators will agree that in Senator McAuliffe we have gained a new stylist. He has a new method of speaking which is refreshing when we consider that we have had to put up with quite a deal from honourable senators opposite for many years.
– Get on with it.
– I am not stonewalling. It is not my intention to keep on talking tonight. I am coming to the point. In Queensland there has been a considerable turnover in gambling through the organised, shall we term it, respectable and now legal method used by the Government to achieve revenue - the TAB.
– That provides money to the racing clubs.
– Yes. Yet there is a paradox. In spite of the tremendous turnover on the TAB, in Brisbane starting price betting is at the highest level that it has ever been. That means that a huge volume of betting is taking place upon which no tax is paid.
– What has that to do with the Bill?
– This is what it has to do with the Bill: Queensland has placed itself in the position of being a claimant State asking for $9m because it is in a position of financial need. We are pointing out that that situation should not be. We are pointing out that, having claimed once and having received once, it should not claim again. If the Queensland Government managed its affairs properly there would not be any need to ask for $9m. Senator Wood’s town of Mackay, if 1 might point out-
– The city of Mackay, not the town of Mackay.
– The city of Mackay would not be in the condition that it is in now if it had not been for the Country Party-Liberal Government of Queensland. Even Senator Wood would be prepared to admit that at present the town of Mackay is not the flourishing town that it was 10 years ago. The national growth rate is 6 per cent. If that rate were spread over Australia, in 13 years the economy and position of each town would double what it was 13 years previously. I defy Senator Wood to say that Mackay is twice as prosperous as it was 13 years ago. I know that Mackay is a city but I like to call it a town. In Queensland, they are alt towns. ‘Town* is a nice name; ‘city’ is sometimes a pretension. Nevertheless, the city of Mackay is in the same position as are other cities. It is in need; it has a higher level of unemployment than it should have, and its general condition is not as prosperous as it was under a Labor government. Senator Wood cannot deny that. Let me return to the point that 1 was making. There is a source of revenue-
– He means that under the Gair Government it was prosperous.
– Under a Labor government, name it what you will. All I can say - it has been said here previously - is that the Gair Government was bad but that a Country Party-Liberal government is considerably worse. That has been proven in Queensland. The source of revenue which is available to the Queensland Government, as the Treasurer knows, is the turnover tax which could be obtained if there were proper controls over racing. What Senator McAuliffe said earlier, that a clique is endeavouring to control and monopolise gambling in Brisbane and Queensland, is correct. Not only does it have a considerable say in the methods which are used through the legalised gambling, but it has considerable control over and operates at quite a significant level the SP betting upon which no tax is paid. There has been evidence recently - the Government has had evidence and it has taken no action on it - that bookmakers do not put in correct returns so there is a considerable loss of income from this source.
– That is if they are not registered.
– Even the registered ones are not putting in correct returns. Recently in Brisbane there was a court case in which a bookmaker sued a client for not paying a debt. When the case came to court and the client pointed out that he had paid his debt, it was found that the bookmaker had not registered that transaction. Many other transactions are not registered, and tax is not paid on them. As Senator McAuliffe has pointed out, in Queensland there is a great need for an investigation into all the ramifications of betting and gambling to make certain that there is no loss of revenue to the State. We are saying and making it clear that there is mismanagement in Queensland. There is mismanagement by the Country Party-Liberal Government. It is of no use for that Government to cry out about other issues such as law and order, and to bring all kinds of extraneous issues into the election campaign. The Government should keep very closely to the issues and make certain that the people are fully aware of the political issues, not the emotional issues.
The cost of living in Queensland is getting progressively higher. Opportunities for Queensland are becoming less. Let me make a point concerning Gladstone, a town upon which the Queensland Government depends so much. I was there only recently. No-one knows what its future will be. There has been no information, no arrangements, no discussions, and no date set for the building of the smelter at Gladstone. A great smeleter was to be built there.
– Gladstone needs a new Federal member.
– It does not need a new Federal member. This is a State responsibility. Let me make this point: The Federal Government has made money available for the construction of a power station there. It was supposed to be a 4- unit power station to supply the smelter. It has been cut down to 2 units. The latest report is that it will be cut down to one unit. In other words, it will be a ninor power station. Yet there has been no announcement by the Queensland Government. The Queensland Government has a responsibility to make known to the people of Gladstone what will happen there. Noone knows. Dow Chemical (Aus.) Ltd was supposed to set up a caustic soda plant there. The authorities at Gladstone - the Gladstone Harbour Board, the Gladstone Town Council and other authorities - have not heard from Dow Chemical for over a year. What will happen at Gladstone? Will Dow Chemical build its plant there, or has it forgotten about that? Is the smelter to be built at Gladstone? The talk is that it will not be built there because of the overproduction of alumina throughout the world.
Is the power station to be built at Gladstone? We do not know. Where is the progress that the Country Party and Liberal Party Government boasts of in Queensland? We should be given certain information about Gladstone and other places but we are not given it. The only achievement at Gladstone is the sale of our raw material at a very low price. Go north to Weipa and see our tremendous bauxite resources there. We have the facility only to export and a promise that we may build a smelter at Weipa. It is said that there may be some development; we may have this and we may have that. The Country Party and Liberal Party Government has been in office in Queensland for 15 years. The Federal Government in its transactions with Queensland should take account of the chances of the Queensland Government’s continuing in office. We hope that it will not after 27th May.
– That is a pious hope.
– It may be a pious hope but I invite Senator Lawrie to study the electoral boundaries in Queensland. He will discover that it takes about 5,000 or 6,000 people to elect a Country Party representative and about 20,000 people to elect a Labor Party or Liberal Party representative.
– Your arithmetic is bad.
– Quite apart from my arithmetic, does Senator Lawrie want me in a future debate to cite the relevant figures and the methods used to gerrymander the Queensland electorate, where the Country Party’ considers that one vote should not have one value?
– But you have not-
– It is of no use for Senator Bonner to talk on this subject.
– What do you believe in?
– I have said before, and Senator Webster can read il in my earlier speeches, that to achieve an effective and representative system of government that is responsive to the will of the people it is necessary with speedy communications and modern methods of travel to have a voting system of one vote one value, lt is of no use for the Country Party to talk about anything else. It does not believe in one vote one value. It believes that a Country Party vote should have double the value of an urban vote. To my mind that is reprehensible. The Country Party has no right to demand that a vote for its representatives should have twice the value of a vote for urban candidates.
– What do your fellows in country areas feel about that? Some of them do represent country areas?
– I would agree that with modern means of transportation and communication more seats and less responsibility may be desirable, but it seems to me that the principle of one vote one value cannot be departed from.
– For the Senate, too?
– There is the proportional method. I would prefer to support a proportional method of election for all places, rather than the method that the Queensland Government is imposing upon the people.
– Do you want one vote one value in the Senate? That is a plain question.
– I am saying that I would prefer the proportional method which, incidentally, would bring true value to every vote. That may be an ideal situation, but there is a difficulty with the proportional method of representation. (Honourable senators interjecting) -
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order!
– I have been sidetracked, Mr Deputy President, and I would be pleased if you would bring me back to the Bill. In any case, I would say that on 27th May next there is a fair chance of a change in the government in Queensland. I would say that there is need for a change.
– That is wishful thinking.
– It may be wishful thinking, but 1 do not think Queensland deserves the reputation that it has earned under the present State Government, especially under the leadership of the present Premier, Mr Bjelke-Petersen.
– He is a good strong Premier.
– He is strong in his own interests.
– No, he is an honest chap.
– One hears strange definitions of honesty.
– 1 have no doubt about it.
– Nevertheless under the leadership of Mr Bjelke-Petersen Queensland has not advanced. His Government has not served the best interests of the Queensland people. Proof of the neglect of the Queensland Government is to be found in its failure to state a proper case when applying to the Commonwealth each year for assistance.
Further examples can be found in the special report for 1972 of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, lt contains severe and substantial criticisms of the Queensland Government’s actions. Proof of the shallow approach to matters of importance adopted by the Queensland Government can be found in the papers accompanying the supplementary Budget. They contain an appropriation for the royal commission on the Great Barrier Reef. The Federal Government will spend about $ 50,000 on the inquiry into whether oil drilling represents a threat to the future of the Reef. I imagine that that royal commission will cost close on $lm before it completes its investigations and produces its report. How much has the Queensland Government contributed to it to date? Not one penny. Yet the Queensland Government has expended many thousands of dollars in supporting a case for the drilling. Reports on the royal commission indicate that the Queensland Government has expended many dollars on legal expenses and the supply of exports in support of the Queensland Department of Mines proposition that oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef is safe.
My lime has expired and I have no doubt that I have suitably embarrassed honourable senators opposite. There is a reason for it, as senators may understand by now. I reiterate that there really is no necessity for such an application by Queensland, lt is the greatest State in the Commonwealth in its richness and it is the second in size, lt is a decentralised Slate wilh the potential for greatness, and a climate to match. It has sufficient beauty to develop a tourist industry which will serve it well. There is no need for Queensland to become a claimant State. I think my colleagues will support me when 1 say that Queensland has become a claimant State only because its resources have been mismanaged, lt has suffered from poor government. I hope that this is the last time that we will need to support in the Senate an appropriation of $9m in the circumstances in which this sum is to be supplied.
– As a representative in this chamber of the people of Queensland, I am pleased indeed to support the Bill now under discussion because of the tremendous benefits that it will bring to my home Stale. When I first took my seat in the Senate some 12 months ago. 1 was under the impression that I would be supported in this chamber by 9 colleagues from Queensland. But. after listening to the various speakers this afternoon and this evening, I am quite confused by some of the statements that have been made. It seems that some of the speakers from the other side of the chamber are ashamed of Queensland. 1 am sorry that they feel this way about Queensland because I certainly have nothing but pride for my State and for the achievements of the Government of that State over the past 15 years.
– Do you agree with confidential agreements on freight rates?
– Some noises are coming from the other side.
– I want you to answer my question.
– They seem to be trying to confuse the issue. They have confused the issue quite considerably this evening in discussing Queensland. I sincerely hope that the Queensland people will take note of what some members of the Opposition have had to say tonight. I refer particularly to some of the remarks of Senator Georges. He seemed to imply that the people of Queensland should do away with their free hospital system.
– I did not.
– He seemed to imply that. From the ramblings that he was carrying on with, it seemed that he was-
– I take a point of order. I am sorry that for the first time I must take a point of order while Senator Bonner is speaking but surely he should clearly understand what 1 did say. I in no way supported, as he is indicating, the abolition of the free hospital scheme in Queensland. He is inferring that. He is misinterpreting what 1 said and he ought to be corrected.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! For several reasons, I cannot uphold the point of order. In the first place, no grounds exist for the point of order. If the honourable senator claims that he has been misrepresented, he has the right to raise the alleged misrepresentation at the conclusion of the honourable senator’s speech. Secondly, with so much noise coming from certain quarters, it would have been quite impossible for me to hear what Senator Bonner was saying. Other members of the Senate I am sure would have experienced the same difficulty. In their own interests, 1 would request honourable senators to hear Senator Bonner in some degree of silence.
– As I understand it, Senator Georges was condemning the Queensland Government for the free hospital system when the Queensland Government had approached the Commonwealth Grants Commission for this extra financial assistance. He said that because of Queensland’s free hospital system Queensland was broke. That to me indicates that he is not in favour of the free hospital system in Queensland. I hope that the people of Queensland will take note of those remarks, particularly in view of the statement made by the shadow minister for health in the Labor Party in which he talked of introducing a particular type of free hospital scheme which, as I understand it, would cost the people of Queensland between 50c and 70c extra from their pay envelopes for something which they enjoy already and to which Senator Georges seemed to object in some of the statements that he made this evening.
To return to the Bill, the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) informed the Senate that the purpose of this Bill was to authorise the payment to the Queensland Government of $9m in the current financial year. This action follows an application by Queensland to the Commonwealth Grants Commission for assistance under a scheme which, I understand, was first introduced by the Lyons Government in 1933. The fact that this scheme was introduced in 1933 and that it has taken until 1972 for the Queensland Government to see fit to seek a grant for assistance under it speaks volumes for Queensland.
The Commission has recommended the acceptance of Queensland’s proposals and the Commonwealth by this legislation now being considered agrees to this assistance. As a Queenslander - and a proud Queenslander - I am most grateful to the Commonwealth Government for this action. I say quite clearly that in my opinion the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth Government are to be congratulated for this most positive step. Mr Deputy President, I seem to be under quite a barrage of interjections from the Opposition. Apparently the Opposition does not agree with what I have to say. This, to me, is quite alarming considering that the barrage is coming from fellow Queenslanders.
This action by the Queensland Government follows as a direct result of the invitation that was extended by the then Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) to the Premiers of the 4 less populous States during the 1970 Premiers Conference to apply to the Commonwealth Grants Commission if they felt that the necessity existed for this course of action. The Queensland Government - one might well say that it will be the Government for many years to come, perhaps even for decades, despite the rather fine political speeches heard tonight; I might even term them part of the election campaigning that has been carried on tonight by some Opposition senators from Queensland - applied to the Commonwealth Grants Commission for special assistance.
I certainly am in full accord with what it has done at this time. I understand that the Government of South Australia has made a similar decision following the invitation extended at the 1970 Premiers Conference. I believe that, from now on, Tasmania and South Australia will be recipients of special assistance from the Commonwealth Grants Commission. I would not dare to say that the other less populous States should not be entitled to this assistance and should not apply as the Queensland Government has seen fit to do. I congratulate the Queensland Government for its action. If this happens, 3 of the 4 eligible States then will be in receipt of special assistance which will compensate them for such problems as a lower capacity to raise finance and the considerably higher costs of providing government and other essential services.
Probably one could accurately say that the Commonwealth Grants Commission functions to correct what one might term the imbalances between the smaller States and New South Wales and Victoria. One would not need to be an Einstein to realise that, because of their larger populations, those 2 States would have less difficulty in raising revenue from their own resources. The Government of Queensland faces special difficulties in meeting the needs of its citizens. Coming from Queensland and having had the opportunity to move around that State, I can only term it as the most decentralised State in the Commonwealth. Consequently there is a greater demand for government services such as schools, hospitals, roads, harbours and ports, and government buildings. In States such as New South Wales and Victoria, where there is a much greater concentration of population, it stands to reason that the essential services I have mentioned can be provided much more cheaply. There can be fewer hospitals because they can be larger. That applies to many other services that are provided by State governments.
– Are you still reading your speech?
– I did not interrupt when Senator Georges was talking. I have a few notes and I prefer to refer to them. If the honourable senator has any objection to make about that, I suggest that he make it to the Chair rather than to me. One thing I can say is that, even if I am reading from notes, they certainly have not been prepared for me by the Trades and Labour Council or the Trades Hall Council. They are my own notes, which I prepared in my office. Under the federal systemat least, as I understand the federal system under which we are operating - the States have a very important role to play in the development of the nation and the people for whom they are responsible. Over the years the Commonwealth has taken over many of the taxing powers and means of raising revenue that were formerly under the jurisdiction of the States. 1 am not saying whether this was the correct thing to do; that is beside the point tn this debate. The fact is that the States now have fewer means of raising finance then they had before. This trend has been accompanied by greatly increased Federal responsibilities for services of government. However, the smaller States of Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland as a result have suffered much more than the more populous States of Victoria and New South Wales. As I understand it, the purpose of the Grants Commission is to compensate the smaller States for this inadequacy. It is therefore quite proper that my own State, Queensland, should fall into this category.
As I said before, these grants will greatly assist the Queensland Government and the Queensland people. Even Senator Georges, though he is making a lot of noise tonight, will benefit from this measure. But that is not to say that Queensland is, as has been hinted at in this debate by Opposition senators, by any means in a desperate plight financially. From the information that 1 have been able to gain, it is obvious that Queensland is doing very well in comparison with the rest of Australia. There are a number of obvious reasons for this. The Queensland Government, under the very able and competent leadership of the Premier, Mr Bjelke-Petersen, and the Treasurer, Sir Gordon Chalk, is doing very well. Those gentlemen have skilfully managed the State’s finances and its economy has expanded greatly. The State’s economy has been transformed from one that used to be almost entirely reliant upon primary industry to one that is very soundly based, with strong and growing mining and manufacturing industries and commerce. This is something of which all Queenslanders should be proud. Even Opposition senators, if they were able to stop and look rationally and intelligently at the situation, as I have been able to do in the time that I have lived in Queensland, would be proud of its achievements.
The proper use of Queensland’s mining resources has provided new job opportunities for many workers in Queensland. It has opened up new towns such as Blackwater and Moura. This has all been brought about by mining and the manner in which the Country Party-Liberal Party State Government has encouraged it. The mining industry has also been a vital factor in the establishment of new ports and harbours, the building of new roads and railways, and the development of secondary industries, particularly at Townsville and Gladstone where expenditure has run into tens of millions of dollars. This development is no mean task in any man’s language. It has gone on throughout Queensland, particularly at Mount Isa and Cape York, north Queensland, central Queensland, and the area around the Brisbane metropolis. Industries are springing up like mushrooms. When I heard criticism of the Queensland Government by honourable senators opposite this evening. I wondered whether they came from Queensland or from Timbuktoo
– They are hillbillies.
– Probably they are, though in Queensland we do not mind hillbillies. I am quite fond of them myself. This development has gone on throughout the length and breadth of Queensland. In my short space of time as a representative of Queensland I have been able to move around that State and to see this development at first hand. I only wish that other senators who have spoken this evening, particularly those on the Opposition side of the chamber, would also exert themselves and move around Queensland and see what is going on. I wonder whether they live in Queensland or around Canberra. I am not quite sure, but I understand that some of them live around Canberra while trying to represent the State of Queensland.
Any responsible government must provide additional services to meet the needs of workers and their families engaged in development schemes such as those proceeding in Queensland under the present State Government. It is very encouraging to see what is happening in my State. Just as one example, I note that the Queensland Government, since it came to office in 1957, has built 105 entirely new high schools, the majority of which have been built in provincial and country areas. Many of them are the direct result of the mining developments in Queensland. I have not pointed out these things merely because a State election is being held in Queensland this month, although it seems to me to be strange that members of the Opposition said quite a lot in this debate in condemnation of the Queensland Government. I do not intend to make an election speech here. I want to let the facts speak for themselves. I will leave it to the people of Queensland to judge from what I have said in comparison with the speeches of Opposition senators this evening.
I have tried to indicate that the Queensland Government has been very vigorous in its development work and in the provision of services for the people. In 1957 Queensland’s consolidated revenue expenditure was $170m. I ask honourable senators to note that this year that expenditure will total more than $570m. This is a massive increase in any man’s language. These are figures and facts that speak for themselves. The additional funds provided under this Bill will be very welcome in Queensland. They will help the State to continue with the task it is facing in its development projects. I think it would be appropriate for me to pay a tribute at this stage to my friend and colleague from Queensland, Mr Kevin Cairns, the Minister for Housing, who sits in another place. An examination of the newspapers in recent years will show that no-one has been more consistent or more persistent in his advocacy of an application by Queensland to the Commonwealth Grants Commission than the Minister for Housing. I am sure that he has been just as pleased as I have been to see that finally Queensland has agreed to make such an application. I would say that it is indicative of the Minister’s very genuine interest in Queensland that he has been so persistent on this matter. As usual, in the long run, persistency pays off.
Finally, as an honourable senator for Queensland and as a representative of the Liberal Party which forms a coalition in my State Government, I say that it gives me very great pleasure indeed to support the Bill which is before the chamber this evening. Despite the noise and the nonsense which seems to be coming from the other side of the chamber I stand proudly before the Senate as a Queenslander. I am proud of the achievements of my State and of the progress which it has made over the past 15 years. I place emphasis on the past 15 years’ because since the LiberalCountry Party has become the Government in Queensland we have seen great progress. The things which are happening in my State are very exciting. I am proud to be part of it. I am sure that the State will greatly benefit from the grant which has been allocated by the Commonwealth Grants Commission for use for the people of Queensland. I most certainly support the Bill and commend it to the Senate.
– I did not propose to speak to the Queensland Grant Bill because I have a mild attack of laryngitis as Government members will be delighted to hear. However, one can be provoked into speaking because of the rather inane argument which I believe has been put up by members of the Australian Country Party. Senator Sim, who is making an attempt to interject, is alleged to have made awful statements so I ask him: Please do not make another one tonight.
– The honourable senator is the wrong nationality.
– I would not use that against the honourable senator at all. But I ask him: Please do not provoke me. Inane arguments have been put up particularly by members of the Country Party in support of the hillbilly government which we have in Queensland. I say that advisedly, even though it is running again for another term of office. A while ago I heard Senator Bonner say that the State election will be held next month - that will be June. But I remind the Senate that, in fact, it will be held on Saturday week. Just in case the honourable senator has lulled some Country Party supporters into waiting to vote in June, it might be better that they know the correct date. Country Party members in their support of the Bill appear to have gone right away from the subject. At this point I think it appropriate that I should read the clauses of the Bill. The first clause states:
This is the first lime that we have gone down on our political hands and knees and said that we need this money because our State is bankrupt, lt is bankrupt under a Country Party Government. The Bill states:
For obvious reasons the Opposition is not opposing the Bill. Queensland is completely bankrupt after a number of years of Country Party administration. It is significant that over a lengthy period, because of mismanagement of Treasury funds and because of fear of the Commonwealth Government, when Queensland sough i financial assistance by way of special grant it was never forthcoming. The best that we have been able to do, right back to the days of Sir Frank Nicklin and through his successors, is obtain a loan at exorbitant rates of interest from the Commonwealth. 1 am amazed that the Australian Democratic Labor Party has nol put up a stand here because earlier in the night when Senator Lawrie was speaking he cast definite aspersions on a government which was led at the time by Senator Gair. I thought that the DLP would have entered a protest. It is significant, too, that supporters of the Country Party in their efforts to defend the Bill were curiously short in their speeches. The reason they were so short was that they had no argument on which to base a speech in the first place. Senator Lawrie waffled on for some 15 minutes or so but there was no substance in what he said. Senator Maunsell was able to dispose of his speech in about 3£ minutes flat. Of course Senator Bonner has taken 161 minutes reading certain words out of a document which has become known as the ‘Thoughts of Jo’. In other words it happens to be the policy speech which the honourable Johannes Bjelke-Petersen put forward for the campaign this year.
A couple of minutes ago I mentioned that when Queensland needed money we had to come cap in hand to the Commonwealth but that we did not receive the sort of preferential treatment which other States had been able to obtain, including New South Wales which is not a mendicant State. When loan moneys or grants are required for development projects in that State it is able to obtain preferential treatment from the Commonwealth Government. It has been able to do that since 1949. When Queensland needed money to rebuild the Mount Isa railway line to transport minerals from Mount Isa to the coast we were able to obtain about $39m. We were able to obtain this sum providing that we were prepared to pay the highest rate of interest. I have said in this chamber before that there was no proper supervision by the Commonwealth authorities of how the Queensland Government spent that money. After no time at all the Queensland Government was back here again asking for money to repair the botches which it had made on the line when it was first constructed. It did not even have money to carry out repair work. I say that Queensland has become a mendicant State simply because of the Country Party’s mismanagement.
Several of the previous speakers on behalf of the Government have stated that we are a very wealthy State. We are a very wealthy State but we are selling out at bargain basement prices to overseas investors. We have open cut mining in a number of areas. It is all very well to say that as a result of this open cut mining various new towns have been established. It is true that new towns have been established in these areas and some employment has been created. But we are receiving less royalties in Queensland on any type of mineral than any other State simply because the people at the top of Government - the Country Party-dominated Cabinet - are able to dispose of our minerals at bargain prices. Somebody mentioned the development in the bauxite and alumina field. It is true that the bauxite deposit is probably one of the biggest anywhere in the world. But the company which owns it was able to obtain the rights to this field at a minimum of company expense and at a maximum of loss to the Queensland taxpayer. The work on the harbour which needed to be dredged so that the bauxite could be shifted around to Gladstone was done with the aid of a Commonwealth loan. From memory it cost something in the vicinity of $1,200,000. At the time the interest rate on this amount - as it has been on every other loan - was at the maximum possible rate.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were given:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
Has there been any discussion of Australia’s established immigration policy’ or Australia’s restricted immigration policy’, as it is also known, since the inception of the Immigration Advisory Council or its Standing Committees: if so, (a) on what occasions, and by which Committee or Council was the matter so discussed, and (b) what was the general nature of the discussion as minuted.
– The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Discussion of established policy no longerfalls within the Terms of Reference of this Council or its Committees. Since 1970, the Council has been principally concerned with matters of migrant integration.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Nine Network: TEN, GTV, QTQ, NWS
Seven Network: ATN, HSV, BTQ, ADS
O/10 Network: TEN, ATV, TVQ, SAS
Stations in Perth, Hobart, and country areas which have no permanent programme affiliations wilh the metropolitan station programme networks also televised many of the programmes listed.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Although no Commonwealth Department or instrumentality is conducting research into multiple sclerosis, the Commonwealth is, through the National Health and Medical Research Council supporting two major research projects related to multiple sclerosis. These projects are in the fields of virology and immunology, which are the fields of research currently thought most likely to provide an indication of the cause of multiple sclerous. The projects are -
The N.H. & M.R.C. grant for this work has been continuous since 1963 and, for 1972, the support of this unit is $32,965.
This Institute has been receiving a N.H. A M.R.C. grant for many years. An important part of its research is the study of auto-immune disease and the possible role of auto-immunity in the causation of certain diseases including multiple sclerosis.
The total N.H. & M.R.C. support for the Institute for 1972 is $354,000.
As both these research projects are concerned with basic research, it is impossible to isolate the Amount spent by the Commonwealth on research into multiple sclerosis specifically.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice: ls experimental broadcasting in frequency modulation forbidden; if so (a) on what authority, and (W for what reasons.
Senator GREENWOOD- The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
No. Two experimental licences for FM transmissions have been granted in recent years. They were granted on the basis that a genuine programme of technical experimentation was to be undertaken and were subject to the following conditions:
Experimental transmissions will be authorised only in the capital cities, which are the most appropriate areas for experiments of this type of transmission; (it) The experiments are not io include the transmission of advertising matter or to simulate commercial broadcasting in any form:
Announcements over’ the station shall be limited to the call sign, which should be announced at the beginning and end of all transmissions and on the hour and halfhour during periods of test; (tv) Prior notice of the date, time, duration and nature of each transmission is to be supplied to the responsible authorities;
There shall be no publicity of the date, time or nature of transmissions.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: ls the Minister aware that out-patients at private hospitals in Queensland are denied reimbursement of fees by hospital benefits funds when the operating theatres at such hospitals are used; if so, is this a new procedure.
The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Prior to the reconstruction of the hospital benefits tables in Queensland on 1st November 1971, most hospital benefits organisations provided an ancillary benefit for operating theatre fees, but did not observe a common policy in respect of out-patients. Although contributions did not generally have an entitlement to such benefits, they were paid in some cases on an ex gratia basis, at the discretion of the organisation’s management committee.
The Queensland Council of National Health Benefits Organisations considered this matter on 7th March 1972, and recommended that hospital benefits organisations in Queensland introduce an ancillary benefit of $10 to be paid where an outpatient has been charged by an approved hospital for the use of an operating theatre. I understand that Queensland organisations are currently considering this recommendation.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
Have any, savings been made by separating the Western Australian telephone directory into a metroplitan and several country directories; if so (a) what is the amount of the savings, and (b) is it considered that these savings warrant the inconvenience imposed upon subscribers, as evidenced by their many protests.
Senator GREENWOOD- The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
$18,000. This amount is the difference in the expected cost of producing the metropolitan and 5 country telephone directories and an estimate of the expenditure which would have been incurred had the State of Western Australia been covered as a whole by one telephone directory as before. The saving has been achieved notwithstanding the inclusion in each country telephone directory of a fully classified section allowing for each business subscriber to have a free listing under an appropriate classification. Also it was necessary to produce extra copies of the 1971 directories for free issue to subscribers who feel they may have a need for other than their local book. Experience has shown that after the first issue of a restructured directory, many subscribers requesting books for other areas find they have little real need for them. Accordingly, the number of additional copies which needs to be printed for this purpose diminishes significantly with consequent savings in production costs.
The change would not have been made if it were felt that it would have meant loss of convenience for subscribers generally and it was accepted that some subscribers, because of their calling habits, would have a need for books other than their local one. Therefore, provision was made for subscribers who had such a need to obtain free copies of the required books on request.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Berry Currie Advertising (N.S.W.) Pty Ltd
Gordon & Gotch (A/asia) Ltd (Sydney)
George Patterson Pty Ltd (Sydney)
Masius, Wynne-Williams (N.S.W.) Pty Ltd
Hayes Advertising Agency Pty Ltd (Melbourne)
Claude Mooney Advertising Ply Ltd (Melbourne)
John Clemenger Pty Ltd (Melbourne)
Best & Co. Pty Ltd (Melbourne)
Le Grand Advertising Pty Ltd (Brisbane)
Australian Advertising Agency Pty Ltd (Brisbane)
George Patterson-Noble Bartlett Pty Ltd (Brisbane)
Duthie National Advertising Pty Ltd (Brisbane)
Clem Taylor O’Brien Pty Ltd (Adelaide)
George Patterson Pty Ltd (Adelaide)
Foote Cone-Belding Pty Ltd (Adelaide)
Martin, Kinnear, Clemenger Pty Ltd (Adelaide)
Berry Currie Collett Advertising (W.A.) Pty Ltd
Warnock Sandford Williams Pty Ltd (Perth)
Adcraft Service Pty Ltd (Perth)
Jackson Wain (Tas.) Pty Ltd
Agencies are engaged to handle creative work connected with departmental advertising as required. The following agencies were so engaged during the last three years:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:
Has the Interim Council for the National Film and Television School offered assistance this year to suitably qualified persons, contemplating teaching in the field of film or television, who would benefit by overseas experience, study or training; if so, (a) how much has been set aside by the Council for this purpose, (b) how many applications have been received to date for such assistance and how many have been approved, (c) what categories of persons have been assisted to date, and (d) what is the total amount involved in the applications approved.
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Yes. The Interim Council for a National Film and Television Training School has told me that:
A total of $80,000 has been set aside for this purpose since the inception of the scheme in November 1970.
96 applications have been received and 27 grants have been approved.
The persons awarded scholarships have been engaged in Film Production: Television Production; Film and Television Scriptwriting: and Education.
The value of the applications approved so far is$68,743.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD - The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Apart from more recently established country stations which do not possess videotape facilities, no serious continuing deficiencies have become apparent which would indicate that stations will fail to meet the new requirements over the full statistical period.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Has examination of the documents alleged to have come from the Rhodesian Information Centre in Crows Nest satisfied officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs that these documents are genuine, if so, what action is proposed against those persons who have apparently breached certain laws of the Commonwealth?
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Foreign Affairs has furnished the following reply:
There is strong circumstantial evidence that the documents are authentic. However they do not constitute grounds for any action by my Department.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice:
Is the figure determined.
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The
Minister for the Navy has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The allowance is similar in principle to a combination of Living Out Allowance (Naval Financial Regulation 92) which is payable to all personnel who are required to find their own meals and accommodation and Supplementary, Living Out Allowance (NFR 92a) which recognises that personnel may initially incur high costs before finding board and lodging at a reasonable rate.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
When a person is referred to the Department of Social Services for rehabilitation, after contracting with an agency for the provision of an artificial limb, is it a condition of treatment that the limb must be made by the Repatriation
Department; if so. (a) did this happen in the cases of Mrs J. Ohlback and Mr B. Lane, both of whom were referred by the Appliance and Limb Centre (Limco) to the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service in Sydney, (b.) were the costs of the limbs supplied in excess of the quotes received for similar limbs to be supplied by the Appliance and Limb Centre, (c) does the Repatriation Department charge for any necessary adjustment to the limb after manufacture, and (d) are similar adjustments made free of charge by the Appliance and Limb Centre.
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Rehabilitation treatment and training, including the provision of artificial limbs and other aids, is provided by the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service free of charge to invalid and widow pensioners, sickness and unemployment beneficiaries and certain other categories.
Where artificial limbs are required as part of this service, it has been Government policy since 1959 for such limbs to bc supplied by the Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Centres, unless special circumstances exist.
Mrs Ohlback was in receipt of a widows pension and Mr Lane a sickness benefit when they were referred to, and accepted for rehabilitation assistance by, the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service. Their artificial limbs were obtained from the Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Factory in accordance with established procedures.
There is no inter-departmental payment involved in respect of protheses supplied by the Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Centres for rehabilitees who are entitled to a free service. Consequently, the cost of limbs in such cases is not provided to the Department of Social Services.
It is understood that limbs manufactured by Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Centres are carefully inspected before issue and that any adjustments subsequently necessary, except where these arc occasioned by medical changes, fair wear and tear, or wilful or accidental damage, are effected free of charge.
I understand that the Appliance and Limb Centre Pty Ltd makes no extra charge for adjustments which have to be made in the initial fitting period.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foriegn Affairs, upon notice: ls the Minister aware- that the reconstruction programme in Bangladesh is being hampered by lack of cash; if so, is the Minister prepared to increase Australia’s donation to the previously suggested amount of $1 per head of the Australian population?
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Foreign Affairs has furnished the following reply:
I am aware of the many needs, including cash, of the reconstruction programme of Bangladesh. Apart from $3½m in aid (including $550,000 in cash) given to the Bast Pakistani refugees in India, Australia has pledged $6m to the relief and reconstruction of Bangladesh. From this sum Jim has already been allocated in the form of cash. However, cash aid is only valuable for the goods and services it can provide and Australia is also providing assistance in other forms for which there is a priority need. Goods to the value of $643,000 have already been delivered to Bangladesh and it is expected that further shipments worth $2m will be despatched in the next 2 weeks.
The situation in Bangladesh is being kept under constant observation and the amount and form of our future aid to that country will, as with our aid to our other neighbours, continue to be based on a sympathetic understanding of their problems and needs.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
Will the Minister consider reducing the telephone rental for telephones installed in premises occupied by organisations catering for pensioners.
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Provided that it is a charitable institution within the meaning of Regulation 84 of the Post and Telegraph Act, an organisation catering for pensioners is already eligible for a 50 per cent reduction on fees for local calls made from telephones on its premises.
Any new telephone concession for such an organisation would be a matter of policy for consideration at the appropriate time.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Are radiation counts made by the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, and if so are these counts published.
Senator COTTON- The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology cooperates with the Atomic Weapons Test Safety Committee in the monitoring of radio active fallout in Australia. All details of these programmes and results from them are published regularly, the most recent being AWTSC Reports Nos 1, 2 and 3, tabled in Parliament respectively on 6th May 1971, 14th October 1971 and 13th April 1972 respectively.
Details of the part played by, the Bureau of Meteorology are given in those reports.
As part of a world-wide survey to monitor TRITIUM rain water samples are collected on a continuous basis from 7 stations. These are sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna for analysis and are published in its technical reports series 117.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question: (1), (2), (3) and (4) Mr Peter Leopold Clyne was in possession of an Australian passport at the time of his departure from Australia on 18th September 1971. No other information is held either in my Department or that of my, colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
Has the American firm of management consultants, McKinsey & Co. Incorporated, been retained to conduct an inquiry into the Australian Broadcasting Commission; if so: (a) who authorised the employment of these consultants, (b) what aspects of Australian Broadcasting Commission operation are to be investigated, and (c) what is the fee to be paid to McKinsey’s for their services.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
Is the existing command structure justified in the light of statements made by Air Vice-Marshal G. Hartnell at a recent Australian National University Defence Seminar.
– The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The existing command structure of the Australian Armed Forces has developed out of experience to meet Australian requirements. It worked successfully in Vietnam and a joint force Commander has now been appointed for Papua New Guinea. It is not however a fixed or static structure. The Government is conscious that adjustments may be required from time to time and these would be made whenever necessary.
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
Senator COTTON- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
– On 13th April 1972, Senator Douglas McClelland asked the acting Postmaster-General the following question:
Did the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations first challenge in May 1970, programmes standard 35 of the Broadcasting Control Board’s standards, which relates to Sunday morning programmes, and was this referred by the
Board to the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor’s Office for advice some considerable time ago? Will the Minister explain the protracted delay on the part of the Control Board in reaching a determination on the matter nearly 2 years after the challenge was first lodged and only after the commercial station had taken direct action to challenge the law by putting itself in the category of a law breaker? What action does the Government intend taking in this matter?
The Postmaster-General has now furnished me with the following information in reply.
The Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations questioned on 1st July 1970, the power of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to determine as a standard, paragraph 35 of its Programme Standards regarding Sunday morning programmes. The Board sought the advice of the Attorney-General’s Department and as a result of the Department’s advice and a decision by the Government, it was decided that a full examination of the Board’s powers should be undertaken. Pending this examination, which has commenced, the Board has considered requests by stations to televise programmes on Sunday mornings on an ad hoc basis.
The delay in promulgating the Board’s revised standard (paragraph 35) was caused by the examination referred to above.
As the honourable senator is aware, the Acting Postmaster-General announced on 28th April 1972, that the Government proposes to introduce legislation to clarify the Board’s powers in this regard.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 May 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720516_senate_27_s52/>.