27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 1 1 a.m. and read prayers.
– Mr President, I desire to inform the Senate that the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) was admitted to the Canberra Community Hospital today with a flu-like condition and that he will be in hospital for a few days. During the absence of Sir Kenneth I will be Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate. I wish to inform the Senate also that the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) is ill. In the absence of these 2 Ministers I suggest that honourable senators who had intended asking questions today relating to their portfolios or any portfolio represented by them in this chamber might place those questions on the notice paper.
– by leave - The Opposition is quite agreeable to the course proposed by the Acting Leader of the Government. May I express on behalf of my colleagues the wish that both Ministers recover speedily.
– My question is addressed to you, Mr President. Are you aware that the area reserved for the parking of members’ and senators cars in front of Parliament House is often unavailable for this purpose? Will you take action to ensure that the reserved area is more adequately sign-posted? I mention briefly that this area frequently is used by tourists who cannot see the signs which need to be much higher. The parking situation was brought home to me very forcibly last night when I had to park half way down to Lake Burley Griffin and someone broke into my vehicle.
– I wish to inform the honourable senator that I had anticipated his question because, in some Presidential testiness yesterday afternoon, I spoke to the Secretary of the Joint House Department, drew his attention to the cars that were parked in front of Parliament House, said that the parking had to be policed and that, if necessary, no members of the public and no member of the parliamentary staffs, in fact no one but honourable members or senators would be allowed to park there. I am now awaiting a report from him. I am glad that the honourable senator has taken the public opportunity of drawing to the Senate’s attention circumstances which he and I both have discovered.
– 1 address a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Has his attention been drawn to reports that Australian tourists are stranded in Malta because airline tickets which were sold to them are alleged to have been stolen? Will the Minister cause investigations to be made into the allegation that stolen airline tickets are being sold in Australia? Can the Minister give the Senate any information about the reported failure of another travel agency in Australia?
– This matter came to my attention just a little time before we came into the chamber this morning. I understand that there is a problem and that some people could be stranded. Investigations into the position are now being made and before replying I should like those investigations to be brought to a situation where our knowledge is completely accurate. I hope to have that information some time today or this evening before we leave. I shall endeavour to pass it on to him when I receive it. Equally, the reports of another travel agency having been involved in financial difficulties are a little cloudy at the present time. I am also awaiting information on that matter.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories, Is it true that at present there is no law in Papua New Guinea making telephone tapping illegal? If so, what regulations govern police phone tapping activities in the Territory and what is the current frequency of police phone tapping?
– I very much regret that I am unable to inform the honourable senator as to the laws of Papua New
Guinea on that subject. I will be prompted by his question to give him that information as early as possible.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is it a fact that Labor spokesmen during the Budget debate one year ago were loud in their prediction that the level of unemployment in Australia would rise by now to at least 200,000? Were not these professional jeremiahs proven 100 per cent wrong in their attempts to create serious recession by destroying business confidence? Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to an attempted repeat performance of these destructive tactics despite the unanimously expressed viewpoint of all accepted commentators that the current Budget measures are effectively designed to stimulate the economy and substantially increase job opportunities?
– I well remember the exaggerated predictions that unemployment numbers would rise to 200,000 in Australia. As the honourable senator has pointed out, even the highest figure of unemployment that we have had to date is only half this figure. In regard to the effect that such statements have on confidence in the business community, I draw attention to several comments by businessmen which are reported in the Press this morning. They speak of the disruption in industrial relations and the chaos in employment that are produced by a determined effort to undermine the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and to make inordinate demands for conditions outside the Commission. These things-
– I rise to order. The Minister is using a question to engage in argument and debate not appropriate to question time. This is not the purpose of question time. The purpose of question time is to ask questions and receive answers. Certainly, an amount of elasticity has been granted. But this answer is going well beyond this. The Minister is making the kind of statement which would be made in a debate. Apart from anything else, it is not fair that in reply to a question asked by a senator on his side of the chamber the Minister should engage in this kind of dialogue and argument in which the Opposition has no opportunity to participate.
– I am glad that I am recruiting allies in relation to this problem of the use of question time. Senator Murphy is my most recent recruit. I hope that the strictures imposed by standing order 99 will be borne in mind by honourable senators both on my left and on my right. I think that the Minister had nearly completed his reply to the question asked by Senator Carrick. Unless he wishes to proceed further, I will pass on to the next question. If he has anything further to say, I ask him to bear in mind standing order 99. I would be grateful if he would do that.
– If I may be so forbearing, I just draw attention to a remark that I made elsewhere yesterday as to the futility of peering into my mind. I was just about to lead into the gravamen of my reply based upon facts. I remind the Senate that that part of the question still unanswered concerns the effect that the current propaganda on the part of Labor spokesmen is having on undermining the confidence that the Budget is designed to build up. I was about to say that, under the cover of this industrial disruption, Mr Hawke, the leader of the trade union movement, has been saying that last year’s Budget was designed to create a position of unemployment. I give the direct lie to that statement. The remark only yesterday by Mr Clyde Cameron predicting that unemployment would rise to a figure of 200,000 is a direct assault upon the effort to build up confidence in the business community. What I am here to affirm is that the Labor spokesmen who are making these drivelling predictions today will be completely answered by the events, as they have been over the last 12 months.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service: Is it fair to assume that the subsidy of $200,000 to provide fares for people looking for jobs and designed to help for a year the 100,000 persons now unemployed will represent a subsidy to each of those persons of $2 a year or 4c a week? If so, is it possible to make a meaningful contribution to the personal tragedy of unemployment by such a trifling handout?
– I would not subscribe to the inference that Senater O’Byrne draws from the use of any figures. So far from being fair, the idea is fantastic.
– Will the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate inform the Senate what progress has been made by the Government in consideration of the report of the Joint Select Committee on the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Legislation?
– The progress that has been made is, I believe, quite good. Each of the Services has had the opportunity of studying the report in depth. Each Service Minister has written to the Minister for Defence giving his views and the views of his Department on this matter. Since writing, the Service Ministers have met the Minister for Defence together with the departmental heads in the defence group for further discussions. At the present time, recommendations on these matters are the subject of consideration by the Government. I would hope that an early decision could be made so that servicemen will know the extent of their future retirement pay scheme. It must be understood, I think, by all honourable senators that the whole question is a most complex one which needs the closest scrutiny, even if that scrutiny is only to ensure that servicemen get the best possible safeguards in their retirement scheme.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. I ask: When is it proposed, as was promised by the Attorney-General in the debate on the last amendment to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, to introduce amendments to that Act to overcome the difficulties now being encountered as a result of a court decision in the case known as Moore versus Doyle?
– The case referred to by the honourable senator has raised very complicated issues. I am not aware of the stage to which its consideration has been advanced since the statement of the AttorneyGeneral that was referred to by the honourable senator, but an early opportunity will be taken by either the AttorneyGeneral or myself to give the honourable senator any further information that is available.
– Is the Minister for Civil Aviation aware that many people in isolated areas of Queensland are suffering hardship because the airlines cater only for first class accommodation whereas in the more populated areas they cater for both first class and economy class accommodation? Will the Minister have this matter investigated with a view to having the anomaly corrected?
– I am aware of that matter and it is being investigated^ It is not a particularly easy matter of solution because of the fairly light traffic demand in a lot of centres, particularly outlying centres, in Queensland.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. By way of preface I point out that it stems from advice given to me by the Minister for Works in a letter on the question of Commonwealth property in Sydney. I ask: Can the Minister give any indication of what responsibility the Commonwealth Government is going to assume for finding accommodation for the people who face eviction as the result of the proposed construction of a $50m office block by the Commonwealth at Woolloomooloo?
– I cannot give information of that nature to the honourable senator at the moment because it is not available to me, but I shall seek that information for the honourable senator and let him have it.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I ask: ls the Minister aware that the shipping service from Victoria to Tasmania provided by the Australian National Line is in a number of areas of performance subject to criticism as to its efficiency? Is it a fact that it is a long established maritime practice that when ship owners contract to take goods from port A to port B they fulfil the contractual obligation by getting the goods transported from port A to port B and that, if a ship owner diverts his ship and it discharges its cargo at port C, the ship owner has to pay to get the goods from the port of discharge, to the destination of the goods. Is the Minister aware that the contractual conditions applied by the ANL allow this traditional obligation to be avoided?
– Is that technical information available to you, Mr Minister?
– No, it is not, Mr President, but I shall be delighted to try and obtain it.
My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. By way of preface I draw his attention to an answer he gave me yesterday to a question I placed on the notice paper relating to the number of times on which the curfew at Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Aerodrome was broken during the year 1971. I ask: Of the 549 occasions on which the curfew was broken in the one year, has the Minister observed that there were a number of incidents in which VIP aircraft carrying very few passengers were involved? Do VIP aircraft wishing to break the curfew have to obtain the permission of the Minister for Civil Aviation or of his departmental officers in the first instance or is that authority vested in the Minister for Air?
– I understand that this matter has been the subject of discussion by the various departments concerned with it, and in order to give the honourable senator a complete answer, I ask him to put his question on the notice paper.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the
Minister’s attention been drawn to reports from representatives of the deciduous hui industry in South Australia that unless the industry is provided with immediate financial assistance similar to assistance already provided in most other primary industries it faces virtual collapse? Will the Minister consider the extent to which Commonwealth financial assistance in these circumstances can be granted to the deciduous fruit industry?
– We are all aware of the situation of which the honourable senator speaks, but how far the representatives of the industry have gone in their discussions with the Minister for Primary Industry I cannot say. However, I will certainly take up the matter with the Minister for Primary Industry in an endeavour to give the honourable senator some information on the present position.
– I direct a question without notice to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science who, I understand, has responsibility also for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Is the Minister able to give to the Senate any details of acquisition by the Commonwealth for the use of the CSIRO of the property at Humpty Doo formerly operated by the United States entrepreneur Mr Art Linkletter. Can he provide to the Senate details of the acquisition and the purpose for which that property is now being used?
– I shall have to refer the question to the CSIRO in order to obtain information as to its activities in this respect.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. I ask the Minister: Did he state in answer to my question yesterday that he considered that the current unemployment benefits were satisfactory? Did the Minister state also in relation to the percentage of unemployment in Australia that it was not a serious position compared with that in other countries? I ask the Minister whether he recalls that the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, on 18th May 1972, as reported in Hansard said:
Even allowing that the figure of 90,000 persons unemployed is intermittent, I believe that in the foreseeable future it will be significantly reduced.
– I regret to say that even before Senator Bishop engaged in his argument with Senator Gair I had difficulty hearing him. However, I understood him to ask whether I said yesterday that I regarded the amount of unemployment benefits as satisfactory. I say they are very generous. As for his argument based on what Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson said about the unemployment situation at a particular time, all I wish to say is that that record was factual at the time and, as the Budget speech has taken into account, there has been a deterioration in the situation to the extent that the latest registration figures show, I think, that the actual figure is 112,000 which is seasonally adjusted to the equivalent of 99,000. That we do not regard as satisfactory. Rather, we regard it with such concern that important Budget measures have been formulated. With a knowledge of its responsibilities to redeem that situation great financial obligations have been taken by this Government for a continuing period ahead. But as I said yesterday, the Australian unemployment position is immeasurably better than the position in the United Kingdom or the United States.
– Does the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs recall his statement yesterday welcoming advice as to any statement made by the Australian Labor Party calling on China to refrain from nuclear testing? Is he aware that the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party on 5th July of this year carried a motion which amongst other things called on all governments to abandon the testing of nuclear weapons? If he is not aware of that motion, will he now concede that the Australian Labor Party does not discriminate in its condemnation of nuclear testing by any nation?
– -I said yesterday that 1 had no information whatever on any Labor spokesman or parliamentarian cri ticising China for its conduct of nuclear tests. The honourable senator would have had an opportunity to show me the context before he quoted one statement from what purports to be a record issuing from the Australian Council of Trade Unions on 5th July. I ask the Senate to mark that date. That signifies to me that that was at the height of the controversy with regard to the French tests. Senator Carrick’s question yesterday pointedly brought out that all the vehement denigration of the French tests - and the Government condemned them - did not contain one word directed specifically to the Chinese tests.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Has the Government refused to make credit available for ship construction as is done by the majority of other maritime nations? Is it a fact that Japanese shipyards offer credit for an 8-year period at 5.5 per cent interest and that similar arrangements can be made in Spain, Sweden, the Philippines, France, Denmark, Italy and Germany? Is he aware that the Evans Deakin Brisbane shipyard had an inquiry from Yugoslav shipowners for the construction of 6 bulk carriers and 2 large tankers but was unable to tender because the owners required 80 per cent credit at 6.75 per cent interest? Will the Minister investigate the position and advise what action he proposes to take to enable Australian shipbuilders to compete against foreign shipyards that have that facility and thus orotect the jobs of thousands of Australians?
– I am not aware of the facts stated by the honourable senator although they are of great interest to me. They rest substantially on the proposition that some facility for long term credit should be made available to ship constructors in this country to finance buyers outside this country. That is fundamentally a Treasury banking matter but I shall direct it to the Minister for Shipping and Transport who can take it from there.
– Is the Minister for Works aware that he misunderstood the question put to him a few minutes ago by
Senator Wriedt? Senator Wriedt was referring not to the Australian Council of Trade Unions but to the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party which includes Mr Whitlam, the Leader of the Party, the Deputy Leader of the Party, Senator Willesee and myself, and a number of other Labor members of this Parliament. The majority are Labor members. Will he take note of this statement by me that my recollection is that on an earlier occasion in this chamber I protested against the Chinese tests? However, that is a matter of recollection. Will he take note of my statement, on behalf of my Party now, that the Australian Labor Party objects to the nuclear tests.
– Order! Senator Murphy, you are out of order. You may ask for leave to make a statement in this context at the end of question time and I will invite the Senate to grant leave.
– The minister said he has not heard any protest from my Party and I am asking him whether he will take note of this statement by me that we are opposed to tests of nuclear weapons by the Chinese, by the French or by any other nation.
– Order! Senator Murphy, you are making a statement. Senator Wright, you may or may not wish to answer the allegations.
– In answer to so much of that which fell from Senator Murphy as would come under the description of a question, I would like to be forgiven for confusing in Senator Wriedt’s question his reference to the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party with the Australian Council of Trade Unions. The President of the ACTU has assumed such prominent representation of the Australian Labor Party of late that I made reference to the organisations as being in effect interchangeable and identical. But I am glad to be corrected. The same comments apply whether it was a statement from the ACTU or from the Federal Executive. The date indicates that the statement was made in the context of the controversy over the French tests, and the significance of the statement quoted by Senator Wriedt is that it does not make any specific reference to the Chinese tests.
I have noted Senator Murphy’s statement. I note with great gratification that the questions of my colleagues yesterday and the question asked by Senator Wriedt today have now prompted Senator Murphy to take the opportunity at this late stage of denigrating the Chinese tests.
– I rise in the role more of a dove than a hawk to address this question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. If I may be permitted a brief explanation; recently the ‘Empress of Australia’ sailed-
– I rise to a point of order. I ask for your ruling, Mr President, as to whether an Assistant Minister is allowed to ask questions.
– Order! The Assistant Minister as a senator is entitled to ask questions. I cannot see him if he wishes to answer questions.
– Unlike the contribution of the honourable senator who took a point of order, my question will be based on fact and have some common sense. Some 20 minutes after the scheduled sailing time of the ‘Empress of Australia’, when some 400 passengers were on board, the passengers were informed that the ship would not sail because of a strike. I have reason to believe that by 4 o’clock that afternoon both the management and the unions knew that there would be a strike.
– I rise to a point of order. Mr President, you said specifically that the Assistant Minister should not answer questions. He is not asking a question; he is giving details in the form of an answer.
– Order! That is so, and it is the lesson that I am trying to bear down on the minds and the skulls of every honourable senator sitting in this place. I know that Senator Marriott realises that I have given him the maximum latitude in this and he will now proceed to ask the question.
– The necessity for my brief explanation will become clear even to Senator Devitt. Will the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport suggest to his colleague, particu- larly in respect of the Bass Strait passenger cargo service of the Australian National Line, that representations be made to both management and unions to the effect that strikes which are bedevilling the service to the economic detriment of Tasmania should be timed to commence at the next scheduled sailing of a ship, and not 20 minutes after some 400 passengers have been taken on board?
– Yes, I certainly will communicate to the Minister for Shipping and Transport the concern very properly expressed by Senator Marriott in the public interest.
– At long last.
– I do not think so. I think Senator Marriott has demonstrated this concern in a fairly long and effective representation of Tasmania in this place. I would be pleased to do what the honourable senator has suggested. At the same time I think that he put the matter very well and fairly and that he did not seek to apportion blame but only to put the matter in the public interest. For that, I thank him.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. It is not a fact that recent proposals put forward by wool brokers throughout Australia to offer wool for sale under what is termed the 3- tier system are an attempt by brokers to head off any move by growers to obtain an acquisition plan for wool? Is the Minister aware that one woolbroking firm, namely Dalgety Australia Ltd, has issued its propaganda on the proposed 3-tier method of selling wool accompanied by a circular letter signed by its managing director, Mr Vines? Does the Minister believe that Mr Vines can capably serve both the Australian Wool Commission and Dalgety in this field? Was it not proposed on the appointment of Mr Vines to the Wool Commission about 2 years ago that his tenure of office would be for 6 months only?
– It is not a case of whether I believe Mr Vines has served the wool industry well. I think it is a fact that he has already served the wool industry very well. I would like to have a look at this question, make inquir ies as to what is factual in what the honourable senator has asked me and then give him a reply at a later date.
– Will the Minister for Air report to the Senate details of the use of VIP aircraft during the past 12 months?
– It has been my practice since I was appointed Minister for Air to approve the use of VIP aircraft along the guidelines that I laid down in September 1970. On 2 occasions since then I have made available to the Parliament details of the use of VIP aircraft. I think that I have made available details of such use up to about the middle of last year. I will have a look at the situation and, if I can, I will make available information on the use of VIP aircraft from that time to the present time.
– Is the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that an informal meeting of Government supporters was held in Parliament House after the delivery of the Budget on Tuesday evening? Is he also aware that one senior Minister pacified his colleagues by pointing out that any inflationary trends caused by the Budget would be corrected in February by the reintroduction of higher rates of taxation? Can he inform the Parliament whether, in the event of a national disaster such as the return of the Government, such action has already been decided by the Government?
– I am not aware of any informal meeting. 1 hear of lots of meetings being held around this place by members from both sides of the chamber so I have no further comment to make.
My question which is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation follows the question I asked him earlier concerning the breaking of the curfew at Sydney (KingsfordSmith) airport by VIP aircraft. If. as the Minister says, at present a wrangle is going on between his Department and the
Department of Air as to who has authority to give approval for VIP aircraft to break the curfew at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) airport, I ask who, in fact, gave approval for VIP aircraft to ignore the curfew in 1971; or is it a fact that no approval was sought from the Department of Civil Aviation for these aircraft?
– First of all it is quite incorrect and, to some extent it is improper as I think the honourable senator would acknowledge, to suggest that a wrangle is going on. I said that discussions were going on. Amicable and sensible discussions are taking place. Equally, I said to him that I was anxious that he should have a completely accurate answer because I know he is one honourable senator who regards question time as a serious search for information and so do I.
– Mr President, are you able to explain why some honourable senators of the official Opposition, particularly Senator Keeffe, when personally inconvenienced take objection to certain visitors to Parliament House temporarily parking vehicles in front of Parliament House? Does this action demonstrate a mental inconsistency by a person or persons who, in other circumstances, demand the right for other Australians to camp on the lawns or steps of Parliament House?
– I rise to order.
– Is the honourable senator seeking to protect me?
– I rise to a point of order about the question. Is it not a reflection upon an honourable senator?
- Senator Webster can put the question on notice but I refuse to answer now because questions may not be directed to the President.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Works in his dual capacity as representing the Minister for Labour and National Service and the Minster for Foreign Affairs. In view of the repeated agitation of maritime unions for Australia to become a signatory to the
Refugee Seamen’s Convention will the Minister indicate when his earlier term ‘on the verge’ will become a reality?
– When Senator Mulvihill uses such flights of fancy as his finishing phrase this usually give me a little time to pause.. But I shall have to consult the records with regard to the Convention to which he refers and examine the stage consideration has reached. Then the words which have to be converted into reality may appear to me.
– I want to add to the ruling which I gave Senator Webster. The Clerk has reminded me that I left out 5 words. I now add the words: ‘except at the President’s discretion’.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I refer to the new arrangements under which persons will be able to fly to the United Kingdom at a fare which is much reduced and to the apparent condition that this will be a non-stop journey except, perhaps in very restricted circumstances. Will the Minister tell me what attention has been paid to the health aspects of imposing such conditions on persons who have to fly in extremely cramped conditions and for a great number of hours under circumstances which are extremely trying even when people have a choice of getting off the aircraft and staying at various points of the journey? Will the Minister tell us whether any investigation has been made into this matter? If not, will there be some investigation into it in view of the fact that it concerns a great number of travellers who, because of the great disparity in fares, will be forced, virtually for reasons of economy, to undertake those journeys even though they prefer to travel in circumstances of more comfort and apparent health?
– The problem of fatigue in long flights exercises the mind of the airline operators and the Department of Civil Aviation. I am very mindful of this aspect. The problem of achieving low cost travel in bulk is very much a problem of filling aircraft and taking them as quickly as possible to their destination, with a minimum of stopovers. This whole matter is being studied. At present a passenger may make a limited number of stopovers for an extra payment, but for some older people I think that what the honourable senator has said has considerable substance. This also is a matter of concern which is being studied. It is very much a matter of the altered time cycle physiologically for people. Equally there is a problem in relation to cost. For how long can people afford stopover accommodation? I should like it to be understood that this is a matter of concern and that it is being studied by the operators and by ourselves.
– In addressing a question to the Acting Leader of the Government as Minister representing the Minister for Supply I refer to the proposal which was advanced some time ago of rationalising the aircraft industry by merging the Government Aircraft Factories with other private manufacturers. Has the position in the industry improved to such an extent that the chances of this notion being carried out are reduced? Does the Government still intend to proceed with the rationalisation?
– This question involves quite a bit of policy. Consequently I should like the honourable senator to put the question on notice so that the Minister can reply to it.
– I address my question to the Acting Leader of the Government who this morning is the Minister representing the Treasurer. Can the Minister obtain statistics which would indicate the number of employees in private industry in Australia whose salaries or wages exceed $15,000 a year and the number of employees in public service in Australia who come into this category? If these statistics are available, will he obtain them for me?
– I shall inquire from the Treasurer and if the figures are available I shall get them for the honourable senator.
– My question is lo the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Has his attention been drawn to an article by Mr Whitlam in the Sydney Morning Herald’ of today’s date on the subject of China and Japan in which Mr Whitlam urges that Australia give gratuitous advice to Japan to abandon the 15 million people of Taiwan? Has the Minister noted Mr Whitlam’s statement that such a course would be in the interests of countries of South East Asia? Is it not a fact that the countries of South East Asia, conscious of the desire of small nations to survive and remain free, have rejected the course of agreeing to recognise China by paying the price of sacrificing the sovereignty of Taiwan?
- Mr Whitlam, having such difficulty in securing acceptance of advice by those with whom he has immediate contact I think inappropriately gives advice to a nation such as Japan on the question of its international Pacific relations. As Senator Carrick has pointed out, error underlies the very basis of that advice. I refer to the suggestion that the countries of South East Asia subscribe to the view that Taiwan should be obliterated. The very idea that a small country, recognised by about 80 countries as an independent nation, should be obliterated gives concern to most of those countries in South East Asia.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, I present the reports relating to the following proposed works.
(11.58)- I move:
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works ‘Committee Act 1969-1972, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Development of Royal Australian Air Force Base, Amberley, Queensland.
The proposed work is a further stage in the development of the RAAF base at Amberley and involves the construction of the following facilities:
The estimated cost of the proposed work is $ 14.2m. I table plans of the proposed work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move:
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Development of Royal Australian Air Force Base, Townsville, Queensland.
The proposed work involves the construction of a number of buildings and services as a further stage in the development of the Royal Australian Air Force base at Townsville and will comprise the following facilities:
The estimated cost of the proposed work is $8m. I table plans of the proposed work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 18th May 1972 (vide page 1805) on motion by Senator Marriott:
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) (12.2 - When the debate on the report of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse was adjourned on 18th May 1972 I was dealing with the Committee’s recommendations and observations on the use and abuse of various drugs. The Committee, while equating tobacco with alcohol as the most widely abused drug in Australia today, went on to state that it did not especially seek evidence on the harmful effects of smoking because it was the subject of exhaustive research elsewhere. But the Committee did place tobacco ‘high on the priority list of substances causing harm to the community’. Evidence was given that about 10,000 Australians die each year from diseases linked with smoking - almost one an hour - and that every fourth Australian is a smoker and averages 7 or 8 packets a week. Yet in the conclusions and recommendations of this report tobacco rates only a few words compared with the use of roughly 70 words about the need for a coastguard service. With our 14,000 miles of coastline, a coastguard service would be a very expensive proposition indeed.
I suppose tobacco is implicitly included in the recommendations for adequate labelling of drug containers and that we should be grateful that the Government has taken the small step of requiring health warning labels on cigarette packets and also for the legislation which dealt in some way with advertising by way of broadcasting. The impression I have, without going further into the matter, is that more could have been said and recommended in specific terms by the Committee. Senator Georges, in his minority report, has suggested that firmer steps should be taken on advertising. All available evidence supports the need for that move. A great deal has happened since the report was made. It was discussed thoroughly in this chamber and I do not think it would be fruitful for me to deal further with it. I propose to move a machinery motion for further oversight of the matters contained in the report and to enable further implementation to be given to the Committee’s recommendations. I seek leave to move an amendment to the motion.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I move:
At end of motion add ‘and that the medical, social environmental, and legal aspects of the report and recommendations of the Committee be referred to the Standing Committees on Health and Welfare, Social Environment and Constitutional and Legal Affairs, respectively, and that these 3 Committees be authorised to undertake the continuing oversight of those aspects and to recommend from time to time what further measures might be taken to implement the recommendations or to overcome the problems revealed in the report’.
The intention of the amendment is that the report of the Committee should not be lost sight of, that it should not gather dust whether physically or in any other way, and that the recommendations in it should come before the other 3 Committees, because the report covers the work of those 3 Standing Committees. The Committees are authorised to undertake the continuing oversight and to make recommendations. They are not directed to . do so; it is not expected they would begin an investigation of any matters unless they saw fit to do so. But they may, and, I hope, would, look at the various recommendations. For example, the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs might say of any Bill which was in any way concerned with the matter, ‘If you are to implement the Committee’s recommendations, the appropriate course is to make various amendments to the legislation before the Senate.’ Or the Committee itself might come in at some stage with a recommendation for some legislative or administrative changes which might give effect to the recommendations. This would be the course also for the other Standing Committees concerned. I regard this as the approach which we should make to most of such reports; that is, once the Senate has gone to the trouble of having a select committee investigate a subject, and matters flow from it - as they do in this report - the natural course ought to be to send those recommendations to the appropriate committees in order that they will remain alive and that recommendations might come out of those committees in order to implement the report.
I have had the opportunity of mentioning my proposal to the Chairman of the Committee and to Senator McManus and to several of my colleagues but I have not had an opportunity to mention it to all members of the Committee. However, I would hope that it will be generally accepted, for it seems to me the proper course. I ask the Senate to adopt it as a proper machinery measure to carry further the work of the Committee, for which we are all indebted.
– The report we are discussing today is now 15 months old. I said by interjection that it is 18 months old but I have since discovered that it is 15 months old. One wonders about the purpose of even debating it. So very little of the contents and recommendations of the report has been implemented that one wonders whether the Government has any intention of implementing anything in it. The report was prepared by 8 senators of whom 5 are on the Liberal-, side - Senators Marriott, Branson, Dame Nancy Buttfield, McManus and Maunsell. Even with a majority of Liberals on the Committee, no weight at all has been given to its report.
I think it is important to differentiate between drugs and medicaments - or perhaps ‘medicines’ is an easier word. When people today talk about drugs they seem to be concentrating on illegal drugs. There should be a strict differentiation from legal drugs. The illegal drugs are in an absolute minority but when people talk about drugs and. drug taking they get confused. It is said : that people are taking too many drugs but many drugs will not hurt you at all. I think we should make it very clear whether we are talking about drugs that are taken illegally or about medicines.
The report mentions, but does not stress enough, that drug taking is an illness. I cannot stress too much that the imposition of legal penalties on people who are drug addicts should cease forthwith. The proposed scheme to supply drug addicts with drugs is a good one and should be carried out. These people need drugs to survive. We hope that eventually they will get over their drug addiction. If they cannot get over it, at least they should not be subject to extra pressure to survive in trying to obtain the drugs. They are turned into criminals and thus criminal activity is created. I ask the Senate to take note of the fact that drug taking is an illness and should not be penalised at all. Treatment is the essence of any drug taking problem.
In Tasmania we were the first to take attempted suicide out of the criminal code, or whatever it is called. In former times people who attempted suicide were prosecuted. Tasmania was the first State to abolish that procedure. After all, people who attempt suicide need help, and so do drug addicts. They need more help than anyone. To penalise them and put them into prisons cannot do the slightest good. It will not help them one iota. It is just so much nonsense. The main thing that worries me now is that penalties have been suggested but nothing has been done. I do not know whose fault it is but surely the Commonwealth and the States should have meetings of Ministers for Health. Meetings of Attorneys-General are held. Between them they should be able to come up with something on this vital question of penalties.
The role of the drug pusher has not been stressed. I believe that any person who sells drugs illegally should be given life imprisonment. That is the first thing we should stress. We are too wishy-washy in imposing penalties on drug pushers. I am not referring to marihuana. I will deal with the latter in my speech. I am referring to the pushing of the more severe drugs, especially heroin, cocaine and LSD. In my opinion pushers of those drugs should be given life imprisonment without any right to parole. Unless drastic action is taken more people will be selling them.
The present penalities are so mild that even a poor old pensioner who is caught taking something from a supermarket receives a greater penalty than a drug pusher. What action has been taken by the Commonwealth Government or the State governments? I am sorry that Senator Marriott is not here. I think he has gone to obtain answers to some of the questions I intended to ask. He may be able to tell us later what actions have been taken in regard to these matters, and especially what action the Commonwealth, combined with the States, has taken in regard to enforcing much heavier penalities on these people who push drugs. I arn glad to see set out in the report that once a first offender has subscribed to a bond that has been imposed upon him, the matter does not appear on his record as an offence. It is abolished from his record. I think that is particularly desirable in relation to marihuana which is such a controversial drug in regard to its ill effects.
Now I will make my remarks in relation to cannabis. I do not advocate that anyone should use cannabis but I think our laws are archaic in regard to it. If we do not imprison people for smoking or drinking we have no right whatever to imprison people for using cannabis. There is very little difference between those 3 items especially between alcohol and cannabis or marihuana. When I am asked to talk on this subject at various schools I point out in my talk that this is not a reason why people should take up a new, potentially dangerous drug. We do not know whether marihuana is dangerous but it could be. It took us at least 200 years to find out that tobacco is a harmful drug. Today we realise that tobacco is strictly a serious and debilitating drug. The same could be the case in relation to marihuana.
When I was in Indianapolis I studied this question of drug taking. The Lilley company in Indianapolis - a drug company - had about 8 Ph.Ds. just testing the effects of marihuana. There was no doubt that it did affect concentration and it did affect one’s balance but no more or less than alcohol. But because alcohol is socially accepted we do nothing about it, but if the young, who are adventurous and want to try everything, smoke marihuana they are put into gaol and are regarded as criminals. Our attitude is wrong. There has been no scientific proof at all that marihuana has any genetic effect. It may well have such an effect but this is one of the dangers of taking on a new drug. However, at the moment there is no proof that there are any genetic effects from marihuana, and there is no evidence at all that it results in permanent brain damage. We cannot prove this at all. I want to make it quite clear that I do not advocate the smoking of marihuana. I cannot see the point of introducing another social disease. Until such time as we are prepared to penalise people for drinking alcohol, we have no right whatever to penalise people for taking marihuana. 1 come now to the matter of excessive drug prescribing. I must take issue with the Committee in regard to this matter. People such as professors of pharmocology, specialists in their own narrow fields, come down from their ivory towers and say that it is the general practitioner who is over prescribing. This is nonsensical. I want to be quite emphatic about this. Do not blame the general practitioner. It is not his fault because he is under pressures from several different sources in this regard. Let me deal, first of all, with the elderly. It would horrify honourable senators - it horrifies me sometimes when I am doing locums - to see the number of tablets that an elderly person has and is taking. But one cannot get him off these tablets. He has gone into hospital and he has seen a specialist. The specialist says to him that he must have A, B, C and D and he leaves hospital with A, B, C and D. If he goes into hospital again with another disease he is given X, Y and Z. It is a strange thing, but the older one becomes the greater one’s faith in God and the greater one’s faith that tablets will keep one alive a little longer. One will do anything to keep oneself alive. Because the elderly person is given 5 tablets on the first occasion and then 3 more for something else, he takes the whole 8 and continues to take the whole 8. We have a system whereby he is able to go to the doctor and just ask for a repeat of his tablets and the doctor, being pretty busy, just writes out the repeat. Perhaps when he comes next time he will see a partner who writes out the other repeat. Nobody knows what tablets he is getting. The system is at fault and not the general practitioner.
I have stressed before - even the members of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee do not seem to have got this into their heads about triple drugs - that whereas when I went into practice and had to do pharmacology we prescribed a bottle of medicine which may have had 3, 4 or 5 active ingredients, today we do not prescribe a bottle of medicine; we prescribe the 3. 4 or 5 active ingredients as separate pills because in that way they are more potent and more defined. So whereas once upon a time we may have prescribed a bottle of medicine for someone, todav we give him 3 different tablets, and this increases the number of tablets that a person consumes. That effect is not the fault of anyone except our demand for greater accuracy in our prescribing. Time and time again I have seen people - especially elderly people - who have been under the care of a specialist coming out of hospital with 5, 6, 7 or 8 tablets. He has faith in these tablets because a specialist has prescribed them. The general practitioner has to repeat the prescription, and so the patient keeps on taking all of these tablets.
When I was abroad - again at the Government’s expense - I read about evidence that had been given before the Committee. I used to wonder whether I should not write and criticise these people for giving such stupid evidence; it was stupid in my opinion, anyhow. We have the absurdities of the Government itself in relation to the pharmaceutical benefits scheme which create these problems. Suddenly the Government decides that certain things must be taken out. The Committee was given evidence that aspirin was harmful. Of course, no-one mentions that the only time aspirin is harmful is when someone takes 80 tablets a day, but if anyone is silly enough to take 80 tablets a day let him go on taking them and finish his own life.
– What was that figure?
– Eighty. One has to take them for a considerable time before one gets nephritic effects. It does not matter if the ordinary person who takes APCs for his aches and pains takes 2 every 4 hours. That is a prescribed dose, and it would not hurt to take such a dose for a week or so. But the way it appears in the Committee’s report, all aspirin is bad.
One of the absurdities in the pharmaceutical benefits scheme is that it is good enough to kill off pensioners because they are permitted to have aspirin, but the general public cannot have it. If you are a pensioner we are allowed to prescribe it for you. The same problem exists in relation to phenacetin. So far as the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee is concerned, it is worse. The Committee substituted paracetamol, the end result of which is exactly the same as that of phenacetin. Phenacetin is a very good pain reliever but now we do not have the benefit of it. It does not affect one unless one takes it in massive doses over a long period. The ordinary person in the street cannot get APCs because the P has changed from phenacetin to paracetamol which is a very weak pain killer.
Then we have the absurd situation in relation to barbiturates. The Government has taken strong, firm action to prevent people from having them. Instead of prescribing 50 as we used to do, we now can prescribe only 25. This simply means that the patient has to visit his doctor twice. However, most of these are the elderly - pensioners who want their sleeping tablets. Does the Government really mean to say that they should be denied their sleeping tablets if they feel that they need to take them? Does it matter whether someone who is 65 years of age takes one, 2 or 3 sleeping tablets each night to make him sleep? Does it really matter at that age? The Government, showing its strong decision, very firmly reduced the number of sleeping tablets to be prescribed to 25. That increased the cost of pharmaceutical and medical bills because the patient had to go to the doctor more often. A pensioner under the pensioner medical service had to visit the doctor every 25 days, or at more frequent intervals if he has to take 2 tablets at night, to get his supply. The final absurdity is that if a patient takes a drug such as nembutal with a strength of 100 milligrams he is allowed only 25 tablets. If the strength is 50 milligrams, he is allowed 100 tablets. A doctor can prescribe 4 times as many tablets - 100 instead of 25 - if the strength is half the 100 milligrams.
That was a bit too much for the Department of Health to work out. It was trying to reduce the number of tablets that could be prescribed but it quadrupled the number that could be prescribed if the dosage was reduced. So you had double the amount available.
I do not want to debate again the dangers associated with handling drugs. I cannot stress that matter too strongly. From time to time in this chamber I have repeated the number of children who die each week because of the lack of action taken by the Department of Health in providing proper containers. Every excuse has been put up to me in the 4 or 5 years that I have been raising the matter of providing containers which are difficult to open. Some people said that the children can open the containers anyway. It did not matter that the containers made it more difficult for the children to open them. Every possible excuse was given why the Department should not use containers which were difficult to open. At one stage the Department said that the containers were too expensive. The child’s life did not matter, compared with the expense. Then it was education: It was the mother’s fault for leaving the containers around. The Department did nothing to help the child. Every possible excuse was given, which showed the Department’s inefficiency, lack of decision and lack of action. This inefficiency has been going on for quite a time. It is still going on. With the Committee’s help, the Department has finally recommended that all tablets should be foil wrapped. Now I suppose the child will eat the foil wrapping as well as the tablet. The foil wrapping is a good idea and is one way of helping. All tablet containers should have on them the antidote as well.
I turn now to the subject of alcohol, which is mentioned quite a deal in the report. It is the most commonly abused drug that we have but it is one that we do not do anything about because we enjoy it. The hypocrisy of the whole report is that because alcohol is socially acceptable we accept it. Because we are frightened of marihuana we do not do anything about legalising it. We know that tobacco is a killer and a great cause of morbidity in the community. If I remember rightly, there was not one recommendation in regard to tobacco. The supine attitude of the Government in regard this matter horrifies me. The Government has no excuse, because it has been m power all these years. It is now 4 years, I think, since the first 2 reports on the harmfulness of smoking came out. Not one thing has been done. It is longer than 4 years. I remember Senator Wade was the Minister for Health then. He used to tell me that education was the answer. ‘Hear, hear’ would cry members of the Liberal Party sitting behind him. What has the Government done about education? It has been shown that education is useless. The Government has not spent one cent on education. This year it intends to do something about education.
– The Government has not spent one cent on education?
– On education in relation to the dangers of tobacco smoking. Until this year it has not spent one cent.
– My word, the honourable senator is behind in his reading.
– We will hear what has been done when the Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Health makes his speech. The drug has been shown to be harmful. Most intelligent societies have recommended that a danger warning be put on each pack of cigarettes. That still has not been done. It is well recognised that the tar content of the cigarettes should be shown on the pack. Because the tobacco companies are the greatest supporters of the Liberal Party, and probably the Labor Party as well - they give to both and at a time when they think there is to be a change of government they give very freely to the Oppositionboth the Government and the Opposition have fought the issue of prohibiting the very things that we have been advocating that the Government should do from a health point of view in regard to tabacco smoking. They have no excuse for their lack of knowledge in regard to this matter. It has been brought home to them time and time again. There have been many reports. The Department of Health and the National Health and Medical Research Council have reported on the matter. Everyone in authority in this country knows that smoking is harmful, a killer and the cause of great morbidity and loss of man hours in income. Not a thing has been done. It would be simple to prohibit all advertising. Even the advertising that the Government allows now has been watered down, at the instigation of the tobacco industry. I cannot understand the supine attitude of the Government to a matter as serious as this.
– It is revenue that is in the Government’s mind.
– It is revenue. I would increase the tax on smoking so that those who want to kill themselves should pay for the hospital attention that they will need because -they smoke. I would put more tax on smoking. There is no reason why there should be any advertising on television or radio. We know the reason why we cannot abolish advertising on television. It is because the owners of the television stations are the greatest supporters of the Government. In fact, one owner appoints our Prime Minister. It is obvious that we have to bow to these companies and not do anything to offend them.
– As a matter of interest, would you tell us the number of newspapers which support the Government?
– At the moment 1 think I could say ‘none’, but that would be too easy. At the moment I do not think even Sir Frank Packer is supporting the Government. I deal now with the subject of treatment. The report was made in May 1971. lt said that $5m should be given immediately for help in regard to drug abuse. How much has been given? Perhaps the Assistant Minister will tell us. How much is being spent on treatment and research in regard to drug abuse? Not one cent.
There are 2 other matters which are not emphasised particularly in the report, although they are mentioned. The first deals with detailers. The Department of Health has a most peculiar attitude to pharmaceutical companies. As in any other business, the companies send around detailers who advertise to the doctors. The doctors are supposed to be pure suckers who, after listening to the detailer, immediately prescribe his drug. There are now 40 to 50 detailers and they visit doctors once every 3 months. So doctors must be turning over their drugs fairly rapidly. I wonder how stupid the companies think the GPs are? A detailer visits a doctor on
Tuesday and says that his brand of aspirin is good. The doctor prescribes it immediately. The detailer forgets that on Thaisday morning another company’s detailer visits the doctor and says that his brand of aspirin is best. So the doctor promptly changes, because the detailer told him. The whole attitude to detailers is completely erroneous and has no effect on the doctor’s prescription of drugs. Because a detailer tells a doctor information in regard to his company’s drug does not make the doctor prescribe any more.
There may be 15 different type of tetracycline. I think there are only 3 or 5 of erythromycin. But about 15 people come in and tell us about tetracycline. It is still the same drug but a different brand. What is the difference whether one comes in or 15 come in? The doctor knows that he has to use a tetracycline and he is going to use it. Perhaps he likes the look of one detailer better than another and so he uses that brand. But it is absurd to say that detailers exert pressure on doctors. I think the report of the Committee went on to suggest that detailers should have minimum qualifications. I think that is a good idea. They should have some knowledge. Actually, it is not important if they do not because it is a doctor’s responsibility and he can usually check quite simply. A new second bible has been issued in the last few years alongside the pharmaceutical benefits book. It is a compendium of medical drugs and it contains nearly all the do’s and don’ts about the matter. The final matter I want to mention relates to the bizarre effect of some of these drugs. This is a risk we have to take. It is no good throwing thalidomide at me and saying: ‘Look at that’. No-one knew anything about it. Nowadays one can say that practically every drug has some effect. But today we do not know the effect many of the drugs have on the unborn child. I am not talking about thalidomide. We tell pregnant women not to take most drugs. But this is something which we have to face. It is no good saying that drug companies rush out to put these drugs on the market to make money. Of course they do. Everyone knows that. But the companies do not know any more than the doctors know in regard to these bizarre effects. If we want to carry this matter to the extreme we could look at penicillin. I forgot how many deaths occur each year in Australia because people are given an injection of penicillin. But we do not stop it. We keep using it. This is a risk one has to take because of the power of penicillin. So it is no good saying that we cannot take every drug which comes on the market because it may or may not have an effect. This is a risk we have to accept.
– Penicillin should not be used as much as it is in the dairying industry because of the after effects on humans.
– That is a different problem.
– I am speaking of the effect of penicillin through the milk.
– Yes- through the cow from the pastures. But there is too much worry. I am not decrying the fact that some of these drugs cause deformity but we have to face up to the fact that if we want potent drugs this is a risk we have to take. Another matter which I shall raise at another time is along the same lines and that is vaccination. Everyone should be vaccinated. In the United States there were 8 deaths from vaccination. Does this mean that we are going to stop vaccinating people? Of course it does not. The same applies to deformities which occur. On the whole I support this report. I think that it is very good. I think that the Committee worked hard on it. My only criticism is that the Committee listened to the ivory tower people rather than the general practitioners. I do not think that enough general practitioners gave evidence. But on the whole the report is good. My only regret is that the Government has not done anything about the recommendations. If it has it has been minuscule. No-one knows what the Government has done. I hope - and I understand - that we will hear from the Assistant Minister Assisting the Minister for Health as to the number of recommendations which have been put into effect.
– I merely wish to speak to the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) and say that of course the Australian Democratic Labor Party will support it. We feel that it is a very sensible proposal and that particular aspects of the report of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse - which inquired into the drug question - should be under reasonably continual review as the occasion arises. We think that this is a valuable suggestion and for that reason we shall vote for the amendment. I say finally that I listened to Senator Turnbull with considerable interest. When he finished I thought of a play by George Bernard Shaw ‘When Doctors Disagree’ because, as Senator Turnbull himself admitted, there may be eminent doctors who disagree with him on certain aspects which he put forward. It is a fascinating matter but it is not for me to discuss at this moment. Once again I merely say that we will support the amendment.
– I congratulate all who had anything to do with the initiation of the inquiry into this subject, the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse and those who have taken part in the debate in this Senate. In my view, the report of the Committee has epitomised the basis of the Committee system. I commend it as being essentially non-partisan. I think that that is good even though, when one holds a partisan idea, one should not be frightened to say so. But I do indeed commend the report and recommend it for reading and study by all as a basic document exposing the problem and putting forward some initial ideas. In itself I think the report traces the idea - and I accept it - that drug taking is an illness and should be treated as such. I share Senator Turnbull’s view on that aspect. The Report underlines that this is a world-wide phenomenon, growing in epidemic proportions. Of course, as man becomes more clever in terms of pharmacology we will have, understandably, more drugs.
The report has insisted that alcohol and tobacco are themselves most serious and that, indeed, we should not blame the young. We set them a bad example in middle age and later. As I think Senator Murphy has underlined, the analgesics need to be looked at with considerable concern. Later I shall turn to that matter in broader principle.
Senator Turnbull has just spoken and I must say with due deference that I dis-
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agree with him. In my argument I would call on his evidence to support my argument against him. It is a good principle in law - I think Senator Murphy will agree with this - that where there is a victim or a potential victim society protects him. In relation to cannabis Senator Turnbull said that there may well be genetic effects. If that is so there may well be potential victims and society should look to protect the potential victims. The honourable senator said that this is a new and potentially dangerous and harmful drug. I use his words. If this is so can we in fact give it a green light, even though I know his caveat? I know he has said that he is not recommending it. I fully understand this. I am not seeking to score any debating point at all. I am merely attempting to underline the matter. The honourable senator said that we do not know whether there is any brain damage. We do know that a number of experiments have been carried out, particularly in England, which suggest that there might be. There might be some presenile atrophy of the brain and the cerebral cortex arising from this. While the honourable senator is here I would like to pose a question. I was astonished - having visited many hospitals and seen people under dialysis for nephritic conditions or kidney conditions and having spoken to many neurologists - to hear Senator Turnbull who is a medical practitioner and therefore whose advice must be listened to, suggesting in regard to salicylates that one would have to take about 80 aspirin tablets a day to do harm. I think this matter needs clarification because we are speaking to the public and community of Australia. It is my understanding that expert pharmacologists and neurologists put that figure many times smaller and start querying the situation at about 8 or 10 aspirin tablets a day as a normal prescription. Indeed, they put the same caveat on phenacetin. I say these things out of context merely to put on challenge the things which Senator Turnbull has said. I think that all of us would want to present to the public no sense of melodrama on this matter.
I share the worry about the drug cannabis. I cannot reconcile myself with the dilemma which we all have. We all agree that we should take the strongest measures against pushers and pedlars. Yet it is suggested that those who buy or acquire the drag should be free from any penalty. That is a dilemma which I should like to examine.
Sitting suspended 12.46 to 2.15 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was seeking to make some rebuttal of a number of points that Senator Turnbull had asserted. I referred first to the safety of a dose of an analgesic such as aspirin and drugs such as phenacetin. I suggested that in my view it was a serious error to say that one could take 80 aspirin tablets in a day without ill effect. I felt that this assertion should be corrected. Also I pointed out that Senator Turnbull, when referring to marihuana - cannabis - by his own statements had made a compelling position for the reverse stance to that which he took. He had taken the stance that one should do nothing by way of penalty to those who ingest cannabis, but at the same time he said that the drug might well have genetic effects. He said that it was a new potentially dangerous and harmful drug but that it was not known whether it would cause brain damage. I want to pose to the Senate one question and one question only on the test of our attitude to such a drug.
We will all remember that it was only some months ago that we had before the Senate an important medical challenge on the drug imipramine. It was a drug :n respect of which Dr McBride, of world fame, felt a warning should be sounded as a possible cause of genetic deformities, at least damaging the foetus in utero. No one in this chamber took any view other than that if the drug were in doubt or on challenge it should not be free to be distributed.
– Hear, hear!
– I acknowledge Senator Cavanagh’s interest and deep involvement in this debate. I had done so before the suspension of the sitting. If it is right that we should take the view that the drug should not be free to be distributed; if it is right that there is a potential victim such as a foetus in utero, whom we should protect, then quite clearly we should do nothing knowingly to cause haron.
– Being able to buy drugs is like being able to have an abortion on request.
– Indeed, I agree. Cannabis stands under challenge. Everybody in the Senate and virtually everybody in public agrees that pedlars and pushers of cannabis should be given the most serious punishment. I find myself in this dilemma, and it was in this dilemma that we adjourned: Whilst 1 want to treat the drug ingesters and the drug addicts as people who are suffering from illness, nevertheless if we punish the pusher and the pedlar and we do not put a penalty on the ingester we are de facto legalising marihuana. No matter what else we may do de jure, we are in effect legalising it. If as a government we are de facto legalising it, we are de facto encouraging it. There is no doubt about that. I respect Senator Turnbull’s right to express the view that he does not want penalties for this, although he is not advocating it, but I reject his contention. In my judgment that is an antipathetic stance. If we say to the public that de facto it is legal we are legalising it de jure and indeed, to all intents and purposes, putting our imprimatur on it. I suggest that this is what the Wolfenden Committee in England found after it had submitted its report. Quite contrary to its viewpoint with regard to homosexuality, it found a backlash because people who in the past had been tottering between heterosexuality and homosexuality when there was a sanction against it and turned towards heterosexuality began to go the other way when there was no sanction and no law.
– What if its use is for treatment of a sickness and not with criminal intent?
– I hope the basis of all that .1 say is directed entirely to that point. Nevertheless I believe that whilst the punishment should not be harsh, there should be a penalty for those who possess or ingest marihuana. When a person is in possession of marihuana ‘there is the possibility also that he is a pusher or a pedlar, even if his operations are limited in size.
I am not here to condemn. On the contrary, I have taken the posture that I believe that drug addiction Is an illness and is not in itself a crime, but I wanted to sound these warnings. I repeat that df imipramine is on challenge because of the potential dangers, which we do not know, so is cannabis. They stand side by side and I challenge anyone to say otherwise.
Senator Turnbull was at pains to talk about a number of things. He ridiculed the Health Department because prescriptions for sleeping tablets had been reduced from 50 a time to 25 a time. The reason for the reduction in the dose is not as he suggests, to get the poor pensioner back to the doctor twice, the inference being that the doctor would make more money from that. On the contrary, the reason is, as has become known worldwide, that there is a need to restrict the volume of sleeping tablets that are sold because of the danger either deliberately or by misadventure of an overdose. As the drug committee must know, the dosage is prescribed to try to save people against their own misadventure.
I think I should not remain on my feet without acknowledging that Australia is magnificently served by 2 committees. The first is the Drug Evaluation Committee which is headed by Sir William Morrow. There stands no greater physician in this country today and no greater man. Sir William Morrow is supported in his tasks by Iris colleagues who serve on the Committee. I would look with respect at their views, as we did in respect of imipramine and the Committee’s very fast reaction to warnings about that drug. We have also the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee which evaluates the drugs in these situations. I say those things primarily in passing as they are not the major points.
I want to make one other reference to cannabis. It is said that we know very little about it, but there are a number of things that we do know and now Senator Turnbull, as a medical practitioner, has said quite clearly that it is known quite positively to reduce concentration and to disturb balance. ‘But’, he said, ‘so does .alcohol’. One does not make a good case out of a bad law. If we knew those 2 things and those 2 things only, would we legalise it? But we know something else. We know profoundly that wherever there is a long term ingestion of marihuana the motiva tion of the individual is lowered considerably. I ^qualify that by .saying that the people who are doing this may well be of low motivation in the first place. Therefore, all sorts of qualifications can be made. But we know a further thing. In these circumstances of drug taking it is possible to produce hallucinations. A person under this influence at the wheel of a car could not be a greater potential murderer. No greater potential for murder exists than putting a motor vehicle into the hands of a person who has ingested, particularly the resin of cannabis. This is the thing that we are asked to treat lightly.
Again, it has been said by Senator Turnbull that the various recommendations in this report have not been adopted or haw been ignored. I imagine that .Senator Marriott will deal wilh that point. He will speak with greater skill and expertise than I. I believe that the reverse is the truth. In fact, we have taken .a lot of action im relation to this. I leave that matter Aside for a moment because I want to put this proposition: Even if we invoke every recommendation contained in this excellent report, in my view it win not be enough. I think that the members of the Committee would agree with this. Senator Turnbull has said that we have not acted fast enough to label cigarette packets and in other fields. I have made my position clear in this chamber. I acknowledge the danger of excessive tobacco smoking. I believe that whatever we do in labelling and providing health warnings - both moves have my blessing - will be the merest palliative because the human being imbibes these things from deeper motives than those we will alter by advertising. Indeed, if this is to .be done the argument must be stretched into the other fields.
– That is the American experience.
– As Senator Gair says, that is the American experience. Equally, such labelling should be applied to all alcohol and sugar. If doctors believe in their cholesterol theory they should come forward and say that those who eat the Australian breakfast of fried eggs and bacon, milk coffee and toast with butter and jam could not, on the cholesterol theory, be running a greater risk. But do they come forward? I stand in the long line of dairy farmers who do not support this theory. I am saying merely that these kinds of things should be taken into account.
But that is not why I rose to speak. Having commended the report, 1 say that the causation of drug ingestion is far deeper than human knowledge of it extends at this moment. I believe that, even though there appears to be merit in Senator Murphy’s suggestion that we should refer this matter to 2 Senate committees and give them a watching brief, this would not scratch the surface of the situation. It appears to me that throughout human history we have been obsessed with the material sciences. Since man’s emergence, he has fought for his material security; he has fought to overcome his bodily epidemic and endemic diseases; and he has concentrated the whole of his attention on the business of material and physical existence without giving any real thought at all to the whole purpose of living.
– That cannot be right. Human history shows the intention to be the other way. In such fields as religion and philosophy the preponderance of human thought has been the other way.
– I am very happy to have Senator Murphy’s side comments on this matter. Nevertheless, the number of philosophers who have shared a barrel or a candle with Senator Murphy in our history has been few. The struggle of history has been for material survival. I take my argument further: To this day in every one of our tertiary institutions there is a predominance of material science and a serious minority - even a withdrawal - of the humanities. Let people who doubt that recite to me the names of the great philosophers and great political scientists we are producing in this country at the present time. I point out to Senator Murphy that this is a serious matter. I know and respect his preoccupation with material science. I believe that he had an earlier educational background in that field. Nevertheless, the history of the world today shows that it is, as the Americans describe it, a post-sputnik world. It is concentrating on how to get bigger and better missiles into the heavens and not upon the business of living. It seems to me that, if man wants to solve these problems of drug ingestion and obsession with drug taking, he has to look to the business of living rather than of earning a living; he has to look to the kind of society in which he wants to live without opting out of it. If I touch nowhere else the soft spot of this subject, I state now that the simple fact of the matter is that the person who takes drugs is withdrawing; he is escaping or opting out. It is a charge on every honourable senator and every Australian to ask: ‘Why is it that we have a society from which people want to run away?’ This is the nub of the reason why we have drug taking.
– Would you say that it was a materialist concept?
– I think that we have been too preoccupied with materialism. I have said that a number of times. I think that man cannot live by bread alone. I do not say that in an over-biblical sense. I think that man has to find out how to motivate positively his spiritual, moral and ethical qualities, his hungers and his dissatisfactions in order to go forward. In other words, if he is to be led out of withdrawal, he has to have positive hungers which are forward hungers.
– As a party, what are you doing to realise that aim?
– I think the honourable senator for that interjection. I appreciate it. I have gone on record before as saying this: The 2 greatest things that can be done in relation to this problem in the wider sense are, firstly, in parallel with the Academy of Science presently existing, to set up an academy of human science and, secondly, to recognise that it is high time we drew together all the discipline of man. I invite the Senate to endorse this view if it agrees with it. We have an Academy of Science.
– I endorse it. I agree completely with you. We should have a corresponding body to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, one dealing with the social sciences.
– Sure. I believe that what we are talking about now - not because I am mouthing it but because it is the nub of the debate - is the core of the reason for Parliament. We ought to be here for people and not for things. Therefore, I say that as a Senate, if honourable senators agree with me, we should work towards the establishment of an academy of human science. I respect the sincerity of the honourable gentlemen opposite who have spoken in this debate. I believe that they have spoken sincerely and with honest motives. I will trade punches at other times.
I am asked what we are doing about it. Honourable senators have heard me ask in the chamber whether we would encourage Sir John Crawford of the Australian National University and the vice-chancellors of all other universities to set up a each university in Australia a faculty of human science drawing together man as the study. The synthesis of man and not the analysis of his left toe nail is the key to this situation. We have been too busy fragmenting man and looking for palliatives for the pimple on his nose to realise that our job in life is to synthesise man. That is the key to this debate.
– The universities have forgotten their role.
– They have forgotten their role. I put to the Senate my proposal for an academy of human science. I put to the Senate and plead with it to go along with me that in every university we should introduce the study of man - that is, whole man - as a primary discipline, and study primary man in his spiritual qualities as well as his material qualities. Having said that, as a third plank, I draw attention to the fact - again, honourable senators have heard me say this here before - that the characteristic of human morbidity and of human sickness in the past 50 years has been the growth of illness which has been psychosomatic in its causation, that is. stress induced. No matter how we might argue on either side of this table about a national health scheme, that national health scheme will fail and we will do harm to man if we merely finance a system which brings more and more people with stress crippling diseases into the waiting rooms of general practitioners. So the next thing that we need to do is to initiate an Australia-wide study into the psychosomatic illnesses. There are the 3 situations.
– Is the honourable senator aware that it is Australian Labor Party policy that there be established a body similar to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation to conduct research into the social sciences?
– I am not, but I am delighted to hear that. Let nobody think that I disagree with the Australian Labor Party on every one of the planks of its policy. I do not. There are many on which I disagree profoundly. On some, I share the view. I am not sure that what I seek is a body of the CSIRO kind, but I go along with the proposal. If I can, I would like to spell out what I think is the real challenge. Although we are looking at man, we are looking at man and his ingestion of drugs to opt out or to escape. Throughout the whole world we see this in every ideological system. So, do not let any of us be talking ideology. This problem is common to the Russians and to the Chinese. Will honourable senators forgive me this remark and not think that I am partisan on this matter, but I wish that something could be done to stop the drug traffic from countries such as China and Burma and similar areas of the world, whence the great flood of narcotics comes at this moment. We ought to put our ideologies aside when we are dealing with this problem because we are dealing with the slaughter of human lives.
The fact is that in every country of the world, whatever ideology may be followed, this attitude of man, finding that society is failing him and seeking to look within himself and seeking to become introverted is characteristic. Why is this? The situation as to why this is so is fascinating. It is far more so today. May I put this situation to the Senate: I think that we ourselves are unwittingly crippling the new generations. I put the proposition - and I think that Senator Murphy half went along with it - that man had had from his emergence until the last generation primary struggles to survive materially and to keep a healthy body. Indeed, funnily enough, it is easier to live in hard times than it is to live in easy times. It is easier to live when one’s goals are clear and when the struggle and the glide paths are there than it is when things are blurred. Man had a reason to stick together as a family man, had a reason to combine his income, and had a reason to study because he wanted a full tummy; a healthy body, a clothed body and. shelter; In the space; of a generation’ or so,, we have found the: techniques, to resolve these things. True, there are enormous inequalities that we must, overcome, but if we never become one ounce more clever in the faculties of science than we are now, we can get, in Sir Arthur Salter’s words, every Hottentot living like a millionaire. We do not need one ounce more material science.
– I do not agree with the honourable senator.
– We will hope for a bit more anyhow, to help us along. If indeed it has been said that the last enemy is death, the second last enemy is human conflict, the fact that man has not learnt to live side by side with man, to recognise the right of the other fellow to be different and yet to give him the freedom to be different. This is the purpose of living.
– If your whole theory destroyed the system that you support, would you still go> along with it?
– I had hoped that the honourable senator would not say that, because. I had made the. very clear point to the Senate that in every system of every society in this world today precisely the same characteristics occur.
– It might destroy them alL
– It might destroy them all. If the honourable senator is saying to me that I am arguing that the system that we have today is not perfect, I would be the first, to say that to him and the first to go along with him.
– Would you destroy the system which gave you material gains because of some higher beliefs?
– Let me make this quite, clear to the honourable senator: I am in no way a Marcusean. I would repect Professor Marcuse’s doctrine that one destroys everything and then decides what to do. If I have a. philosophy in life, it is a most simple one–
– He did not say that.
– Professor Marcuse said that.
– Where did he say that?
– In ‘One Dimensional Man’’ and I will1 welcome the opportunity to lend the book to the honourable senator.
– Order! I think that this debate is becoming a little too discursive. I think that the honourable senator should return to the subject of drugs and the report of this Committee.
– I accept your guidance, Mr President. I believe that I could never in my life have been more wholly on the issue that is before us. I say that, sir, with absolute respect to the Chair. There would be no use in my getting up if I were talking palliatives only. I have been asked my philosophy. My philosophy on this is: Do not throw out the baby with the bath water. Always remember: If one has some dirty water throw it out, but keep the baby; it is pretty healthy; it is pretty good. Yes, there are many things to be modified and to be improved in this society. That is why this Parliament exists.
– Is not this Parliament one of the worst offenders? Have not we institutionalised conflict by having a government and an opposition?
– Yes, indeed. I thank the honourable senator for his interjection. But, in fairness, Senator Murphy will recognise that throughout the whole of my time on my feet today I have been praising the idea of bringing together hi a community of interest on great issues both sides of this Parliament. Nevertheless, if we hold a strong view we should show it and throw it with all the force of our intellect. What have I said? Far too much in a wide sense. What I have said is this: I commend this report. I believe that those who have written it and spoken on it have done a great deal. I believe that the suggestions that Senator Murphy makes are perhaps a natural consequence. But none of these things will be other than palliatives. If we are really deadly serious and we want in this Parliament to do something, we will get to the true study of man. I have made, I think 3 suggestions that are all eminently practicable.
In concluding, why is it that if we want advice on how to construct a dam or how to find some trace elements to put on the desert sands of South Australia we can turn to scientists? This Parliament turns to scientists for advice. But this Parliament has never thought - and indeed, I think, any parliament in the world has never thought - of turning to an academy of man to get some advice about the human sciences. What I am pleading for is that we should try to synthesise by . drawing together knowledge of man and for the first time in history have people from outside querying everything that we do here by saying: ‘Hey, stop it! That will be stress-inducing. That is not in the true nature of man. That is self-defeating. That will cause his withdrawal. If you do this, this will help him to flourish.’ After all our true goal in the end is to create a society that is not an end but purely a means. The end that we serve is man and his dignity and freedom.
– Before calling on the next speaker, I should like to make the following observation: Whilst the quality of Senate debates is often enhanced by the free exchange of views across the chamber and I, as the Presiding Officer, acknowledge that this is sometimes fundamental to the effectiveness of debates, I cannot allow it to become the practice for there to be constant argument amongst honourable senators. Debates must be conducted on the basis of discipline.
– I wish to use this opportunity to make brief comments on the report which is the subject of this discussion. I commend the excellence of the report and those members of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse who served together in its preparation. My first usage of the report was as an impromptu replacement speaker for someone very much more expert than I, on this subject. I found in the week after the release of the report and my attaining it quite quickly that it was a source of very valuable information for speaking to a socially concerned women’s group which at that time had expressed some interest in becoming more informed on the subject. The report was so readable in its presentation and it was so commendable in its recommendations that I found it to be a. very valuable source of material for the purpose for which I used it.
I think, too, that the report is a very sincere object lesson in the way in which honourable senators can work together and develop mutual, respect as colleagues. Indeed, on reading some of the speeches which were made at the time the report was presented, I was interested to see that a former honourable senator commended the support and assistance which had been given to him personally by Senator Cavanagh. To see such comments being expressed gives us a very real understanding of the work we do as honourable senators in using expert opinion in the community from which to draw our evidence and to which we apply ourselves as a group of concerned people who are here to serve not only the Parliament but also the individuals whom we represent. So this report has my commendation.
My comments on the report relate to 2 matters which were the subject of recommendation. Firstly, I want to speak about drug trafficking and the Committee’s recommendation that steps should be taken to strengthen the collaboration between existing Australian and international law enforcement agencies. It was of interest to me that a Bill was introduced last year which sought to increase the penalty for drug trafficking to 10 years’ imprisonment and/ or a $4,000 fine. It is of interest that there are uniform laws throughout the Commonwealth for the enforcement of abuses in the area of drug trafficking. Perhaps as a result of the activities of the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence, in the past 2 years in particular, a great deal more thought has been given to the problem of drug trafficking. Indeed, last year there was a conference in Canberra of 13 South East Asian countries which exchanged and discussed drug intelligence. Such international co-operation is essential if, as one world, we are to defeat this problem.
The fact that drug trafficking is a criminal activity which is harder to detect than most other criminal activities would bc realised quite easily if we were to understand that in this activity there is rarely someone who brings forward a complaint; it is something which has to be detected. I believe that the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) has publicly acknowledged that he realises that only a limited proportion of the drug trafficking is being detected and that therefore enforcement of the penalties I have mentioned has had a somewhat limited effect. So it is that in the area of drug trafficking we would hope for more international co-operation and for an acknowledgment by Australia that we have an international responsibility. Whatever recommendations of the Committee are adopted I believe that the weapon of international co-operation is one which must be used a little more than we may feel it is at the moment.
The other area about which I wish to speak is the area of education. I have mentioned the limits that there are to detection and the deterrents which can be applied. Therefore, if we are to look constructively to the future it is to seek an effective education programme for the community that we must turn. There is a drug education sub-committee of the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence. I realise that it is a permanent standing committee, that it has an education programme in conjunction with the Department of Health and the State bodies and that it has been a source of preparation of literature, films and the sorts of releases that form part of a basic education programme; yet 1 wonder whether the structure of that standing committee enables it to encompass all the recommendations made in this report to the Senate on drugs. The report expresses the hope that there will be established a national education council, representative of the Commonwealth and the States, and that its membership will be drawn from a variety of disciplines, including education, medicine, social health, the legal profession, social workers and youth leaders.
I consider that the broadest base would be required for an education committee which had to give continuing service to a developing problem. If we give recognition to the thought expressed in the Committee’s report that drug dependency is a disease or illness which affects all age groups, we will perhaps realise that any committee which purported to educate would need to have the broadest opportunities to seek and apply its material. As someone who has had some activity in the Young Women’s Christian Association and who knows how that Association and its corresponding organisation, the Young Men’s Christian Association, work in serving the youth of our community, I realise that youth workers, who are close to the people in the relevant age group, have much to contribute in the way of giving information, developing education programmes and in actually taking these programmes to the people who can best use them. Drug dependency, with its effect on all ages, provides different forms of expression. Senator Carrick has already expressed some thoughts on that. I propose to express the thought that drug dependency may be an escape for the youth of our nation ‘because some of the young people live in a psychedelic world that is perhaps somewhat beyond our understanding. They hold in their hands an awareness of our inconsistencies in our handling of the social needs about which they feel so sincerely. They, too, hold in their hands the intelligent handling of our environment in the future. They show the magnificence of their open minds to all of the problems of the world and the future. So I feel that the youth of the nation should be educated not to use the escape of drugs but rather to apply all of those qualities with which they are so endowed for the future benefit of Australia and one world. We think of another age group and realise that drug dependency is a consolation to that species of man called woman, some of whom find intolerable burdens and pressures in social isolation and some of whom do not find personal fulfilment in their present role in our society. For this particular species of man there is a dependence on some drugs, and an education programme for that part of our society would need to be very different from that which would be addressed to youth with all its colour and vibrancy. Thus I would hope that the education council, which I should like to see formed, would have some application to members of that special group of the community who do need a different application of the educational processes to develop their intelligence as to their usage and dependency on drugs. Of course, to man himself it has become used as a support; to man who finds himself in a harshly competitive world which is so critical of the values which he thought were important and the priorities which he has determined and which have now been rejected by so many people in society. Here again lies a new need for education for this group.
So I return to my point about the national education council. I would hope that as we are today considering the excellent report of the Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse, we are considering also the best ways and means of educating the Australian community at all levels in all age groups so that the information which we have and the intelligence which we may seek internationally and nationally can toe promulgated to all these corners of society in order that they may find the best use for some of the things that have been developed for them in this somewhat materialistic society.
The thoughts expressed by both Senator Carrick and Senator Murphy on social science broadly covered much of what is the subject of this report. The debate today has made us very thoughtful of our responsibilities to one another and by using this day when we address ourselves to this problem in our society, I believe that we are serving those whom we represent in this place. I have pleasure in supporting the amendment moved by Senator Murphy, for if we are to give continuing oversight to these aspects and to recommend from time to time what further measures might be taken to implement the recommendation, we are not only keeping before the Parliament the subject which was so freely pursued and on which the recommendations were based, but I would hope that we are also giving indirectly some public awareness of our consideration of this matter, our continuing oversight of it. I would hope that the recommendations which ensue would be valuable and constructive so that we could cover the areas which I have isolated as those on which I wished to speak; that is, drug trafficking and the education of our people. I commend the amendment to the Senate and I give my strongest support to any developments which can be undertaken toy the Senate or by the Parliament as a whole on this subject.
– I thought you would have acknowledged your thanks to the DLP for having had this Committee set up.
– Following the remark of the distinguished Leader of the Democratic Labor Party (Senator Gair), I begin my closing speech in this Parliament on the work of this Committee by reminding every one of us that following consultation between the party leaders, a motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy), seconded by the Leader of the Democratic Labor Party, and agreed to by the Government, to set up a committee of 8 senators came before this House. That Committee was the one effective and constructive action taken by Parliament on 25th November 1969 - the one-day meeting of this Commonealth Parliament. The Committee got to work. I have previously paid a tribute to my fellow members, but as a result of the intercession of Senator Gair, I feel I ought to say that from the moment I was elected Chairman of that Committee, I received the greatest nonparty support and loyalty that any senator could hope for from any 7 other senators from different political parties with different outlooks on life. I believe we were successful. On 6th May 1971, as was our right, we presented a report to this Senate. We were in effect reporting also about Australia to Australians, and, as it happened, to the world. Our report has been both widely received and acclaimed overseas in universities and by leaders of the World Health Organisation, and by many academics and medical experts and other professional people in this country. So whenever the Senate reviews the work of its committees, it can say that the Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse, thanks to the Senate itself, did a job for Australia. The report was presented some 18 months ago, and I have said that as well as reporting to the Senate, we were in effect reporting to Australia about Australians. That means that our report was a report for action by State governments, local government authorities, the Federal Government and by the people themselves. To those various governments it was a report for action by the health authorities, education authorities, social welfare authorities and law enforcement authorities. For the Commonwealth Government, in addition to the Department of Health, the Department of Customs and Excise is deeply concerned with it.
None of as should think that nothing had been done or that nothing had been known about the drug problem either in Australia before this Committee was set up. It was set up because Senator Murphy and his colleagues and Senator Gair and his friend or two realised there was a problem in Australia from drugs; as a result of their reading they were aware what a terrible problem it was in other countries. They wanted to help stem the tide of drugs from flowing across this lucky country. There is no doubt that governments were acting to prevent the misuse and the abuse of drugs, and from the moment our Senate Committee began, its public hearings, the good that was to flow from them began, though perhaps only as a trickle. I sincerely believe that the news media throughout Australia reported those hearings widely and fairly; the media gave a very good and a fair coverage to the activities of the Committee which brought home to the people, far better than we could from this parliamentary building, the problems and the dangers of the drug situation in Australia. The good flowed all the time and has continued to flow throughout Australia; more and more interest is being evoked as more people realise that the misuse of drugs can be so harmful in so many ways to their kith and kin. Since I was privileged to be Chairman of that Committee and since I am now privileged to hold the position of Assistant Minister to the Minister for Health, I am called upon to visit the States and to address various seminars on the subject of drugs and the misuse of drugs in Australia.
I have noticed that the attendances at the seminars are becoming larger. The questions are becoming more learned and more on the ball, and people are more interested to know how they can learn means of helping in their family life, personal life or social life when drug problems are met. Regardless of governments, even regardless of the news media, the impetus given to informing the people of Australia of the problems of drug misuse is increasing and is being effective. I say without hesitation and without knowingly over praising our report that it is a living document that can still be up to date in 10 years time. It can help any person who has a problem or who knows anybody with a problem. It is a document that can help anybody who is man enough or woman enough to wake up to the fact that he or she has a problem. It will give them the encouragement that recovery, if not cure, is possible. It will lead them to know that recovery is something for which they can be grateful.
The report can be read with profit at any time by any unbiased learned member of the medical profession. Any doctor could gain some help and realisation of his responsibilities in the community. Educationists could read our chapter on education and consider curriculums and education systems necessary in the years ahead. All social workers could read the report and add to their learning and understanding of a problem with which they must be dealing each day of their working lives.
Pharmacologists could read the report and gather, if they read it with a desire to learn, that theirs is a very great responsibility to impart to the medical profession and all those people who prescribe drugs a knowledge of the pharmacology of drugs, the effects of mixtures of drugs and the requirement to warn people against mixing medicinal drugs with alcohol. I ‘believe that there are people in most of the professions who could read our report at any time in years to come and learn something of value.
It is often suggested that after committees are set up, they report to the Parliament,, and the reports are pigeonholed. It so happens that the Federal and State governments have taken our report very seriously. In response to our recommendations they have taken decisive, helpful and preparatory actions in their own fields of responsibility. I was hoping that my Minister, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, would make a statement in this debate but he is indisposed at present. I therefore believe it to be fitting and proper that I should inform the Senate from a paper that has been prepared for me of some of the actions taken on the recommendations of our Committee so that the information will be on record in Hansard as we debate the report.
The first recommendation in the report - it is by no means the most important but it is a very important recommendation - concerns the statistics on drug dependent people in Australia today. We found it necessary to discover how many drug dependent people there are in Australia, the main drugs on which they are dependent, and any other information concerning numbers and types that could be made available on a reliable basis. In any field in which we looked we could not find reliable statistics’. This recommendation has been fully considered by Federal and State government departments. They have decided that they want to produce an Australiawide system. The Victorian Government has undertaken to evolve a system and has set up a committee under the direction of Dr Alan Stoller, a learned and widely known and respected man in the field. The committee is undertaking a pilot study and we hope that it will produce a plan for a system of maintaining reliable statistics. We are hopeful that it will tell the nation how improvements can be effected in respect of dependence on drugs.
I can assure honourable senators that there are many problems. People do not report. Doctors do not like dobbing in people. Understandably, doctors do not like to tell their friends that they are dependent on this drug or that drug. They do not like to number them in the statistics of drug dependent people. I am dealing with these recommendations in the order in which they appear in the report. The second recommendation relates to law enforcement in Australia and other countries. It is pleasing to know that a meeting of enforcement agencies of 14 nations in the area particularly applicable to Australia and representatives of the United Nations and Interpol met in Canberra in November last year further to develop the already existing chain of communication on law enforcement as it applies to trafficking in illegal drugs.
I stick by our third recommendation but in my fondest dreams I did not expect it to be put into operation overnight. We recommended that in time a special coastguard service be established to help to stop drug running around Australia’s 12,000 miles of coastline. Just as Australia is the new frontier for tourism, so is this affluent country the new frontier for the drug runner and the drug trafficker. So devious are their methods, so great is their cunning that almost every mile of our coastline will have to be surveyed if we are to apprehend the would-be smugglers. At present the Government feels that all it can do in this respect is to leave the problem as part of the responsibilities of our Navy and Air Force.
The fourth recommendation concerns bromureides which we suggested, because of the danger of misuse, should be available only by prescription. In Queensland, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory bromureides have been sold only on prescription for some time. Victoria now also has limited sales of bromureides to prescription. Similar action has been taken in New South Wales. The matter is still under consideration in both Western Australia and South Australia, but I believe action is contemplated.
Our fifth recommendation was that tablets should be individually foil wrapped. Tricyclic drugs under regulations issued as from 1st August have to be wrapped. Under its own resources the pharmaceutical profession is seeing to it that this is done with a great number of types of tablets which, are available. So we can say that this recommendation has been adopted and is being put into operation gradually and satisfactorily. As another recommendation we did request action on the labelling of drugs so that people who could be in a position to use them would be able to know of the dangers and the side effects. This recommendation is being given serious consideration by relevant committees and people. However, the problem arises as to how much can wisely be put on the label of a small container so that it will be read by the person using it. There is also the difficulty of language. But I can assure the Senate that it is realised that this is a problem and some work is being done in this regard.
Senator Turnbull surprised me by one of his comments. I bow to his superior medical knowledge, but I heard him say - he was questioned on the figure - that to take 80 aspirins a day was quite all right if one wanted to take 80 aspirins a day. This is contrary to any evidence the Committee received on the taking of aspirins or minor analgesics. We received a lot of evidence on this matter and from other reading it is quite obvious that the medical profession throughout the world believes that aspirin is the cause of a tremendous percentage of kidney trouble. This Government has made funds available for research on this problem to be carried out by one of Australia’s greatest experts in this field of medicine, Dr Priscilla Kincaid-Smith.
Our eighth recommendation, which is perhaps one of the most important to be considered right across the spectrum of human endeavour, referred to the living environment:
The priority being placed on growth, development and material wealth should be critically examined so that greater resources may be devoted to improving the living environment of the community.
This is not a health problem and it is not altogether a government problem; it is a social problem and it is a problem that leaders in the social field and educational field should be considering. I believe that we hit the nail on the head - we have not been alone in making this opinion known - when we said that a lot of the problems of drug misuse and drug abuse are the result of our living environment, the age in which we live and the manner in which we live in it. On that aspect of the whole inquiry I wish to say that it became evident to me, and a surprise to me, that in fact there are more potentially drug dependent people than there are drugs of dependency. In other words, the human personality or lack of personality - the human make-up - is more liable to cause an above average, healthy person to become dependent on a drug than is the drug itself. I except heroin and morphine from that aspect. So if we are really to try to beat the drug menace in Australia it is important that we get to people not only through education but also through the environment in which they live. We have to take from them the stresses and strains so that they do not fall to the habit of taking drugs which, because of their own personality and other defects, will lead them to be prone to addiction to them.
The Committee’s recommendation concerning advertising has not been adopted by the Government. I say quite frankly that I regret this. It is my belief - and the Committee seemed to feel the same way - that part of our problem is accentuated because of the over promotion of all drugs - both therapeutic and socially and legally acceptable drugs such as tobacco and alcohol which we found to be the greatest harm doers in Australia today. We suggest that money spent on the advertising of any or all drugs in any way in Australia should not be subject to taxation rebate. My thinking on this was that if this recommendation were adopted by the Government we would more than halve the amount of advertising and we would increase Commonwealth revenue because there would be no taxation rebates. Government revenue would be increased to such an extent that we would have all the money we wanted to spend on treatment centres and treatment facilities. The Government has seen fit not to adopt our recommendation. Having heard no argument whatsoever against the recommendation, I see fit to say here in the Senate that I am disappointed that it has not been implemented. I want to say one other thing in respect of this matter. Since this Committee’s report and that recommendation were made known - I mentioned it in my opening speech on 6th May 1971-
– What is the substance of the recommendation?
– That the granting of tax concessions for all drug advertising should be discontinued. I have spoken on this subject at seminars throughout the country. One such seminar was held at the Wayside Chapel of the Cross. The Reverend Ted Noffs and I challenged the news media of Australia to give publicity to this recommendation of ours and have it debated publicly through the news media. Not a word to Bessie. I myself have not seen any public reference to this aspect of the Committee’s report, and I cannot help but say that I regret it.
Our next recommendation concerned the reporting by the news media of certain aspects of drug misuse and the bizarre effects of drugs. I am glad to say that this evoked the interest of the news media and a conference was called. As a result, a seminar, which was criticised at one time in the Senate was held in this capital city of Canberra, and I had the privilege of speaking to it. Quite frankly, it took 2 days for us to get an understanding on the direction in which we were going and why we wanted to go in that direction. It was a most fruitful seminar. As a result committees have been set up in several of the States - in other States they are being formed - on which the news media and the health authorities, governmental or private, are able to get together and talk about drug education through the media and drug reporting in the media. I am not having 2 bob each way with the media because there are 2 different aspects - advertising and reporting. Advertising is done by those who are looking after the finance, and reporting is done by those who are deciding what the paper will publish and how it will be published. I have high hopes that the newspaper reporting of and education on the drug situation in Australia will continue to improve and that governments will get great co-operation from the media.
The Committee recommended that as much publicity as possible should be given to the whole problem of drug dependency and misuse of drugs so that the people become aware of the problem. This enlightening of the public is done by education, by speeches from people who know about the matter and by the holding of seminars. I have already said that, in my view, this enlightenment is being done. The Committee has no cause to worry that that recommendation has been left unnoticed.
The next recommendation referred to voluntary organisations. The report stated that every encouragement should be -given to the development of voluntary organisation in the community available for counselling those with personal problems and for providing emotional support to those needing it in times of stress or crisis. Those times are the times when persons, young or old, need help. I like to call the places at which persons can get help ports of call. There is the Buoyancy Foundation in Melbourne, the Bomb shelter in Queensland and the Reverend Noff’s show in Kings Cross. There are others throughout Australia. I cannot recall the names at the moment, but in each capital city work is being done by voluntary organisations.
– Life Line.
– That is one of the leaders. I want to see big business, private enterprise and individuals come to the financial help of the organisations. They should not have to rely on government money. If government money is provided there has to be supervision. If there is government supervision the young people will not come to these places. They want to go somewhere where Big Brother will not know about it. They want to go where they can receive help and encouragement and a bed for the night, if possible. There is a home in Sydney, Wistaria House, which is run by a great doctor, Dr Stella Dalton, where men live while they are recovering from the effects of their dependency on drugs. They get back into life and into jobs and when they have recovered fully, or as fully as possible, and have saved some money they can get back into normal life and normal social activities. In my belief, we want this help to come from the people for the people, not from the Government. In my belief, persons with a drug problem will not go to a government instrumentality for help because they feel that they will become names on a list of suspects, that they will be treated as probable criminals and that they will be followed for the rest of their lives or until the authorities can catch up with them. Therefore they do not feel that it is worthwhile reporting. If they could go to a port of call where they could get help, I believe that many young people and old people would be quickly cured of their dependence.
Senator Turnbull, who is a doctor, was critical of the Committee’s comments about over prescribing of drugs by the medical profession. The Committee’s recommendation was based on evidence. I was amazed at the lack of numbers of doctors who gave evidence to the contrary. I still believe that the medical profession has to consider its responsibility. Does a doctor prescribe a drug or does he give a sociological talk to the patient whom he thinks may be a potential drug dependent person?
– Order! The time appointed by Senate resolution made this year for the consideration of Senate reports has now expired.
– Senator Marriott, I am informed, will be only 5 minutes. Then we could finished the whole debate.
– I have to respond to the debate. I have 3 things to say. If the Senate wishes to set aside a standing order to allow this matter to conclude, I shall co-operate. Senator Marriott was Chairman of the Committee. If he wishes to continue, I would want him to continue. How long will he be? Who knows? I would be doing less than justice to the Chairman of the Committee if I did not make some response. I want time to do that.
– Senator Marriott indicated that he would be 5 minutes.
– Order! That must be by leave of the Senate. I am in the hands of the Senate.
– Am I in order in moving a motion? I move:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the debate on. this matter continuing for another 10 minutes.
Would 10 minutes be enough?
– I did make the observation, which I had hoped was heard, that it would be less than just to the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse not to make some brief response, and I wish a little time to do that.
– The motion is that the Standing Orders be suspended to allow the Chairman of the Committee to conclude his speech and have the matter resolved. What amount of time is involved?
– Where are we going on this matter? I take it that Senator Marriott, as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse, would like to complete his remarks. I take it that the Minister in charge would want to say something then.
– There is no Minister in charge. This is Business of the Senate.
– Surely the Minister in this place who .represents the responsible Minister would want to say something.
– That is all right, provided the Senate agrees.
– How long will we be on this matter? It will be a lot longer than 10 minutes. I do not see any reason why the debate cannot be continued on another day.
– I am in the hands of the Senate. Senator Murphy moved the suspension of the Standing Orders to enable the Chairman of the Committee to conclude his remarks. The matter is in the hands of the Senate. It is not in the hands of the Government. It is Business of the Senate.
– in reply- Obviously the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse wants to finish his speech. He said that he would be another 5 minutes. That was why I moved the motion. If the Government feels that it wants to continue the debate today it can do so after the Chairman has concluded. If not, the debate can .be adjourned after Senator Marriott has concluded his speech. I think he should be allowed a few minutes, at least, to conclude his speech. Unless the Government moves a different motion, I will persist with my motion.
– I have had the advice of the Clerk on a procedural matter. I think his advice is entirely correct. If Senator Murphy will agree, the motion should be that so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would enable Senator Marriott to finish his speech.
– I agree. I ask for leave to -withdraw my original motion.
Motion - by leave - withdrawn.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:
That bo much of “the Standing Orders be suspended as would enable Senator Marriott to finish his .speech.
– I have ‘been placed in an embarrassing situation because I thought the debate would end at 3.10 p.m. I shall continue putting on record aspects <of the recommendations and action taken cm the report of the Senate ;Select Committee on
Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse in relation to marihuana. Obviously the Government is going to accept the Committee’s recommendation and it is not going to legalise marihuana. I can say that that has the full approval of all State governments. It is true that the Commonwealth has not taken heed of our recommendation for an immediate grant of $5m to the States - according to their requirements - for treatment centres. But I am informed that a report prepared by the Mental Health Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council is currently under study by Commonwealth and State Departments of Health in preparation of a review by a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers in relation to this matter. At least it can be recorded that the governments are considering this aspect.
I think that enough has been said and is known in relation to education but, for Senator Turnbull’s information, I say that the Commonwealth has produced, under a vote of $500,000, in the last 3 years a lot of very worthwhile pamphlets, television shorts and films which have been made available to and are greatly appreciated by the State governments which are using them according to their sovereign rights as they wish to have them. The Committee’s recommendations in relation to penalties have been referred to. The situation is that all States have agreed on the maximum penalties for drug offenders which is in accordance with the Committee’s recommendations. Of course penalties are up for review. Opinions will always differ as to whether a problem is cut out by increasing the severity of a penalty. As a Committee we were worried that in some States heroin, which is an illegal drug in Australia, could still be retained in chemists’ shops. I am glad to say that the last bastion of heroin in Australia is going to be closed very shortly. I believe it is true to say that when this happens anybody holding stocks of heroin in Australia will be guilty of an offence.
The Government is fully conscious of its responsibilities as ‘brought to its notice by the Committee in regard to international agreements. Of course, we know that it has ratified the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. In relation to drug abuse research money has always been available. From this it is obvious to me that the Government has shown itself willing to provide funds for suitable drug research projects to be carried out in Australia when application is made. The Committee made a recommendation regarding the setting up of a committee to oversee all the educational and sociological aspects of the drug problem in Australia. An education sub-committee to which -I have referred has been working on this matter. There are signs that the States and the Commonwealth want to alter the set-up and perhaps improve it and give the committee more power and bring in a wider coverage of people suitable for it. One can say that this is under way. As a result of the Committee’s report a senior specialist to advise on problems associated with drug dependence took up duty with the Commonwealth Department of Health in December 1971. I know that his services both as a guide and counsellor .on aspects of the problem of drug dependence have had a valuable part to play in the Commonwealth Department of Health and I believe his goodwill has flowed throughout the Commonwealth.
– Does the honourable senator think that some of this information could toe given to Senator Turnbull so that we will not be inflicted with a repetition of his speech all the time?
– I can never be responsible for who will read ‘Hansard and who will not. Like Senator Turnbull, I might be skating on thin ice if I said any more. I thank the Senate for its indulgence. I have put on record a brief outline of the progress being made. Perhaps I have enlarged a little more than I should have and commented on particular aspects of the drug problem which I see as so important. I finish toy saying: Please ‘do not leave the Senate and say that the drug problem is the problem of the youth of Australia. The drug problem is the problem of the adult population of Australia who are responsible for it and who participate in it. A very small proportion of the youth of Australia today is abusing drugs. It is the simple truth, according to the information which I have available, that the youth of today will give the drugs away after the age of 25 years. It is by example more than precept, by being fair in our comments and wide in our understanding that we may play some part in carrying on the work which I think the Senate Committee did a lot to start.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cotton) adjourned.
– I ask leave of the Senate to make an amendment. I preface my remarks by saying that yesterday the Senate was gracious enough to accord me leave to bring in a Bill described as the ‘Prices Limitation Bill 1972’ and to take it to the first reading stage which was passed by resolution of the Senate. Due to an oversight there was an insertion in that Bill which I wish to delete. I ask leave of the Senate to delete from clause 3 of the Bill, which is the definition of ‘industrial agreement’, the words in the last 4 lines of the definition. After the word ‘Commonwealth’ where it occurs in the fourth last line of the definition ‘industrial agreement’ I ask leave to delete the words: ‘But does not include an agreement, arrangement, understanding, award, order or determination the making of which arose out of, or took place in the course of, conciliation or arbitration proceedings before such a court or tribunal’. I ask for the graciousness of the Senate to delete those words so that the Bill in the form in which it was proposed and inadvertently not presented may proceed to further stages and pass through this chamber in the form in which we desire.
– What is it?
– It is a private members Bill to restrict increases in the prices of certain goods and services.
-Before I ask whether leave is granted, I would be grateful if I could receive an indication of their attitude from the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy).
– I agree.
– I have no knowledge of this but I am assured by Senator Byrne that he has arranged the matter with Senator Murphy so 1 have no objection.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time. 1 display a copy of the second reading speech on this Bill to indicate to honourable senators that it is short. As copies of the speech have been circulated, I ask for leave to incorporate the second reading speech in Hansard.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
The document read as follows:
The purpose of the Bill now before the Senate is to extend the operation of the Agricultural Tractors Bounty Act 1966- 1970 for a period of 6 months to 31st December 1972, unless an earlier date of cessation is specified by proclamation. Under the existing Act bounty will cease to be payable after 30th June 1972.
The Tariff Board has completed an inquiry into the industry but its report is not expected to be submitted to the Minister for Trade and Industry before expiration of the bounty. In these circumstances the Government considers that the present level of assistance should be maintained until the Tariff Board report has been received and examined by the Government, Accordingly the agricultural tractors bounty legislation is being extended until 31st December 1972 or to an earlier proclaimed date. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Wilkinson) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman) read a first time.
– I move:
As a second reading speech has already been delivered in another place and appears in the Hansard of the House of Representatives I ask for leave to incorporate my second reading speech in Hansard.
– Is there any objection’. There being no objection, leave is granted.
The document read as follows:
The purpose of this Bill is to obtain Parliamentary approval for Australia to take up an increase in its capital subscription to the Asian Development Bank. Australia is a foundation member of the Asian Development Bank which was established in December 1966. Membership of the Bank now totals 37 countries, 23 of which, including Australia and Papua New Guinea, are from the Asian region. The Banks main objectives are to promote investment in the region of public and private capital for development purposes. The Bank carries out its objectives by the provision of loans and technical assistance to member countries for development projects.
Participation in the Bank is an integral and important part of Australia’s overall aid effort. As honourable senators will know, our aid record is a good one. We have for some years been among the foremost donors when aid is expressed as a percentage of gross national product. As far as the ‘target’ of 1 per cent of GNP for the net flow of resources to developing countries is concerned, we exceeded it in 1970 and have exceeded it again in 1971. The decision to participate in the capital increase of the Bank is an expression of the Government’s intention to maintain the volume and quality of our assistance.
Under its charter, the Bank is empowered to conduct both ‘special operations’ and ‘ordinary operations’. In the case of special operations’ the Bank lends on concessional terms and can finance such loans mainly from resources contributed to special funds by its member countries. The terms of the loans financed from these funds have so far involved interest rates ranging from1½ per cent to 3 per cent per annum with periods of repayment extending from 16 to 40 years including grace periods of from 4 to 10 years. In the case of ‘ordinary operations’ the Bank lends on somewhat harder terms and has to finance such loans either by drawing on paid-in capital subscriptions or by using funds borrowed for this purpose on the capital markets of the world. The Bank’s lending rate is at present 7½ per cent per annum with repayments spread over 10 to 25 years including grace periods ranging from 2 to 5 years.
The authorised capital of the Bank is $ US 1, 1 00m and the subscribed capital, from which the Bank derives the funds for its ‘ordinary operations’, to date amounts to about $USl,005m. Australia’s present subscription of $US85m is exceeded only by those of the United States, Japan and India as is shown in the following statement of subscriptions which I ask leave of the Senate to have incorporated in Hansard.
Only half of the capital already subscribed is required to be paid in, the balance remains on call as security for any borrowings by the Bank in international capital markets. The Bank greatly increased its borrowing activities during 1971 by issuing bonds amounting in aggregate to about $US121.7m in Austria, Belgium, Japan, Switzerland, the United States and in 12 regional member countries. This brought the total since the commencement of borrowing operations by the Bank in 1969 to SUS1 59.8m.
At the 1971 annual meeting of the board of governors of the Bank a resolution was adopted asking the board of directors to undertake a study of the resources position of the Bank and, in particular, of the need to increase the capital stock of the Bank. At that time governors were aware that since its establishment the Bank had expanded its lending operations rapidly. The rate of increase in the Bank’s operations meant that existing available funds, including all possible borrowings, would have been fully committed before the end of 1973. To enable the Bank to continue to play a meaningful role in the economic development of countries in our region, it was necessary therefore for consideration to be given to an expansion in its capital resources.
The directors completed their study in October 1971 and submitted a report to the board of governors on the need for ordinary capital resources to cover the Bank’s operations until the end of 1975. Australia voted in favour of a resolution adopted by the board of governors authorising the Bank to accept from its member countries the increased subscriptions proposed in the directors’ report. Members, including Australia, are entitled, but not obligated, to subscribe to this authorised increase.
The approved proposal provides that the authorised and the subscribed capital stock of the Bank be increased by 150 per cent. In money terms, this involves increases of $US1,650m and SUS 1.508m respectively. Only 20 per cent of the latter amount will, however, be paid in: the balance is to remain at call and be used by the Bank as security for its future borrowing operations. As to the paid-in portion, 40 per cent is payable in gold or convertible currency and 60 per cent in the currency of the member country concerned. This local currency portion can initially be paid in the form of promissory notes, rather than cash, if so desired. The following statement, which I ask the leave of the Senate to have incorporated into Hansard, sets out the increases in subscription authorised for members, split up into paid-in and callable portions. In accordance with the Articles of Agreement of the Bank all these amounts are expressed in terms of the United States dollar of the weight and fineness in effect on 31st January 1966.
In formulating the proposal, directors of the Bank took into account a reasonable estimate of the needs of the regional developing member countries of the Bank and of their capacity to absorb loans financed out of the Bank’s ordinary capital resources up to the end of 1.975.
The decisions on how much of the increases in capital should be paid in and how much of that portion should be payable in gold or convertible currency were based on assessments of the minimum amounts necessary to safeguard the Bank’s overall financial position. Clearly, however, with 80 per cent of the proposed capital increase to remain on call, the Bank will be expected to finance a considerable portion of its lending in future from borrowings on the international capital markets.
Under the terms of the Governors’ resolution, the increase will become effective only when member countries have subscribed a minimum of 100,000 of the total number of 150,807 new snares involved. 1 might point out to honourable senators that each share is valued at $US 10,000 The tentative deadline set is 30th September 1972. although this may be extended up to 28th February 1973. There are 3 members which apparently do not intend to take up the increases to which they are entitled, but most member countries are proceeding to take up the increase.I believe that Australia should do likewise.
As set out in the statement, the proposal involves a total increase of $US 127.5m in Australia’s existing capital subscription. Of this amount, however,$US102m will take the form of callable capital and only $US25.5m will actually be paid in over a period of 3 years commencing in 1972-73. Of this latter amount, $US 10.2m will be payable in convertible currency and $US 15.3m in local currency in the form of promissory notes.I might add in this respect that under the articles of agreement of the Bank, Australia is entitled to restrict - and to date has so restricted - the use of the local currency portion of its capital subscription to the purchase of Australian goods and services.
Since its inception in 1966, the Asian Development Bank has made considerable progress in establishing itself as an effective instrument in promoting economic development in the Asian region. As at 31st December 1971. the bank had approved 87 loans in 16 developing member countries aggregating $US639.4m. Fifty-nine of these loans, totalling $US532.2m were financed from its ordinary capital resources and 28 loans, totalling $US107.2m, from its special funds resources. Included in the latter figures is a loan of $US4.5m which the Bank recently approved for Papua New Guinea. In addition, the Bank has committed a further $US12.1m in technical assistance for various national and regional projects. All this financial and technical assistance has been provided to developing countries of strategic and political importance to Australia.
As honourable senators are aware, Australia has been a strong and active supporter of the Bank in the past. In addition to our large initial capital subscription of $US85m, we agreed to contribute $US10m to the special funds of the Bank in December 1970. I believe it to be in Australia’s interests to continue this policy of support for the Asian Development Bank by taking up, in full, the increase in our capital subscription to which we are entitled. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Willesee) adjourned.
Bills received from the House of Representatives.
Suspension of Standing Orders
Motions (by Senator Wright) agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be sus pended as would prevent the questions with regard to the several stages for the passage through the Senate of the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill 1972 and the 7 associated Bills being put in one motion at each stage and the consideration of all such Bills together in the Committee of the whole.
That so much of Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bills being passed through all stages without delay.
Bills (on motion by Senator Wright) together read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bills be now read a second time.
This second reading speech has been delivered in another place. I am at the will of the Senate as to whether I read the speech or incorporate it in Hansard. I ask for leave to incorporate it.
– Before I put the question I remind honourable senators of what is involved in this. Honourable senators have agreed that there are areas iri which second reading speeches should be incorporated, particularly those that have been delivered in the other House where the Bills originated. 1 now put the question that leave be granted.
– 1 have not a copy of the second reading speech so perhaps the Minister could inform me whether the speech on what could be called the parent Bill provides an explanation of all the Bills.
– It does.
– If the speech is not too long and so will not interfere with travel arrangements 1 suggest that it be read.
– Perhaps we should proceed on the assumption that leave is not granted.
– il am obliged to Senator Willesee. I would prefer to read the speech in order to ensure that honourable senators who choose to be in the chamber will have some understanding of these rather technical measures.
The purpose of the first 7 Bills is to give effect in Australia to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations which provides a comprehensive code of international conduct on consular relations. The last Bill amends the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1967 to bring certain provisions of the Act into line with the provisions applicable to consuls under the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill as well as introducing modifications found necessary in the light of experience since the 1967 Act has been in operation. Before continuing, I should perhaps mention the difference between the functions of a consul and those of a diplomat. While their functions might overlap in some matters, a diplomat primarily represents the sending state in the receiving state. A diplomatic mission, and in particular the head of the mission, is the spokesman for the sending state in communications with the receiving state or in any discussions with the government of that state to which relations between the 2 states may give rise. A consul, on the other hand, does not represent the sending state. He is an official of the sending state resident in the receiving state with the permission of that state. He is charged with the responsibility of performing official functions of the sending statefor example the issue of visas and passports - to protect the interest of the citizens of the sending state.
The history of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations is closely parallel to that of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Consular intercourse and immunities were included in the 1949 agenda of the International Law Commission as one of 14 subjects provisionally designated as ripe for codification. The Commission, a body of 25 eminent jurists established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1947 and representative of the principal legal systems of the world, began work on the subject in 1955 and completed its first draft in 1960. This was transmitted to governments for comments. In the light of these comments the final text of the draft was completed in the following year and 2 years after was considered by a diplomatic conference in Vienna attended by the representatives of 92 states, including Australia. The text adopted by the conference entered into force in 1967 after 22 states had become party to it. There are now 52 states party to the Convention including the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany. The text of the Convention is an amalgamation of the views of expert lawyers and the views of governments and has now gained the active support of a significant number of countries.
Australia signed the Convention in 1964, but legislation is necessary before we are in a position to give effect to and to become a party to it. In this the Government is following the same course as it did in 1967 when the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act was passed, thus allowing Australia to become party to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. If the Bills at present before Parliament are enacted into law and Australia ratifies the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, we shall have a system of privileges and immunities based on internationally accepted standards covering the entire field of diplomatic and consular relations. As indicated by the then Minister for External Affairs in his second reading speech on the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Bill on 9th March 1967, the effect is to set out the standards in the Conventions and the general level of privileges and immunities accorded to foreign representatives in Australia.
I should like to mention briefly here for the information of honourable senators the meaning to be attached to the terms ‘consular privileges’ and ‘consular immunities’. In common parlance these terms are often confused and this has sometimes led to the belief that consuls do not have to respect the local law. This is not the case. The term ‘privileges’ is commonly used to describe the concessions, often of a fiscal nature, which countries traditionally accord to foreign consular posts and their staffs, while the term ‘immunities’ describes the jurisdictional immunities which international law confers on them. The Convention in Article 55 emphasises that it is the duty of all persons enjoying privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. Thus, immunity is not immunity from the law. It is immunity from the jurisdiction of the courts of the receiving state. If such immunity is waived by the sending state in a particular case the court can proceed in the usual way.
The purpose of privileges and immunities - as the preamble to the Convention recites - is not to benefit individuals but to ensure the efficient performance of functions by consular posts on behalf of their respective states. Immunities in particular are protections which experience has long established as necessary to ensure the per,formance of the functions of a consular post without undue interference. In this respect we should also bear in mind that Australia cannot expect that its overseas posts and their staff should receive more generous treatment than that which Australia is prepared to concede to overseas posts and their staffs in Australia. Any curtailment of the internationally recognised privileges and immunities - particularly the latter - on Australia’s part could thus create difficulties for our Australian posts overseas and perhaps jeopardise their security. There is need to maintain a proper balance between these 2 considerations.
There are now some 52 consular posts in Australia headed by career consular officers and 106 headed by honorary consuls. The privileges enjoyed by these posts and their staffs, as well as members of the family of some of them, are presently to be found in the Acts concerned with income tax, sales tax, customs, excise and so on. The Bills now before the House do not alter the levels of privileges accorded under these Acts. This is because the present level of privileges was established in 1967 by legislation supplementary to the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act. For example, a provision - section 23aaa - was inserted in the Income Tax Assessment Act authorising exemptions which were in line with those required by the Consular Convention. The provisions inserted in the sales ta, payroll tax and customs duties legislation also incorporated the standard of privileges required by the Consular Convention. Besides bringing these privileges into line with those of the Consular Convention this action also brought them into a proper relationship with those granted to diplomatic missions and their staffs. Had this not been done at the time, there would have been a disparity in favour of consular personnel brought about by a reduction generally of diplomatic privileges under the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act.
The system of privileges established under the 1967 Act exceeded the level required by the Convention in some respects. For example, although the Diplomatic Convention did not provide for exemption from excise duty, the Acts passed at that time gave excise concessions on the same basis as customs concessions - that is, in cases where purchases were made from bond. Exciseable goods were also exempted from sales tax. The Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill continues these limited excise and sales tax concessions in excess of requirements under the Convention. The present legislative system of imposing quantitative limitations on goods that may be exempted for use under the customs, excise and sales tax provisions as well as time limitations on selling or otherwise disposing of them, is of course continued.
However, in the case of customs duties and sales tax applicable to imported goods, the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill introduces certain alterations in the system of limitations. At present, if, for example, a consular officer purchased a car free of customs duty, he may not sell it within 2 years after the date of entry for home consumption without paying an amount equal to that customs duty, unless the Minister for Customs and Excise otherwise determines. Under the existing legislation the Minister’s power to determine otherwise is limited to determining that, in the particular circumstances of a case, no payment need be made. There is no provision enabling the Minister to determine that if, for instance, a consular officer is transferred from Australia before the expiry of the 2-year period, he should pay a proportion of the duty only. On the one hand a determination that no payment need be made results in a loss to Commonwealth revenue while, on the other hand, if the consular officer has to pay the full amount, it could result in an unfair personal loss to him. In these circumstances the Bill provides, in addition to the Minister’s authority to waive or require payment of the full amount of duty in any particular case, a general scheme whereby, if goods are sold within a denned time after importation, duty and tax are assessed on a pro rata basis - the time and basis for assessment being determined by the Minister for each class of goods. This right of the Minister to require the whole or part of the duty or tax in the event of the sale of the goods concerned in Australia within 2 years after importation is extended to cover the case where the goods are sold in an external territory of the Commonwealth within that period. Thus, apart from this aspect, these Bills do not alter the level or nature of the privileges consular posts and their personnel have been accorded for the past 5 years. In effect what is involved is mainly a change in the form of the legislation dealing with such matters. Instead of being scattered over 6 different Acts such privileges will now all be found in the one Act closely linked to the standards in the Convention. 1 now turn to the question of consular immunities. There is at present no legislation covering consular immunity in Australia. This is governed by the common law and is often uncertain. Both consular officers and consular employees, that is, persons employed in the administration or technical service of a consular post, are accorded in the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill immunity from jurisdiction in respect of acts performed in the exercise of consular functions. The immunity accorded to these people is thus less than that accorded to corresponding ranks in a diplomatic mission. Overseas practice and interpretation of the requirements of the Convention in this regard has been that consular officers do not enjoy immunity from jurisdiction in respect of acts associated with, but not forming part of, their consular acts’; for example,- parking in a no parking’ zone while making an official call, lt, of course, remains to be seen whether our own courts adopt a similar interpretation. In respect of motor vehicle accidents the Convention lays down specific rules. All members of a consular post are required to comply with local laws dealing with third party insurance for vehicles, vessels or aircraft and there is no immunity in respect of civil action by a third party for damages arising from an accident caused by a vehicle, vessel or aircraft. Moreover, there is no immunity from the jurisdiction of the Australian courts in respect of a civil action against a consular officer or consular employee arising out of a contract concluded by him in which he did not expressly or impliedly contract as an agent of the sending State. If the consular officer commits a grave crime - and this has been defined in the Bill as one for which the maximum penalty on first conviction is imprisonment that may extend to 5 years or more - he may be arrested in the same way as any other person in similar circumstances. If criminal proceedings are instituted against him. he must appear before the appropriate court.
The Convention aims to accord to the consulate and its staff that degree of immunity which the international community considers necessary for them to perform their functions free from interference or harassment, while at the same time the rights of citizens and the receiving State are protected to the greatest extent possible commensurate with that need. The balancing of interest can be seen, for example, in the degree of inviolability given the consular premises. The authorities of the receiving State are not permitted to enter that part of the premises used exclusively for the work of the consular post, except with the consent of the head of the post. Moreover, the authorities are under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the consular premises against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the consular post or impairment of its dignity. On the other hand, the consent of the head of the post for entry by the authorities of the host State is assumed in case of fire or other disaster requiring prompt protective action. In such circumstances the interests of the host State are regarded as paramount.
It would be appropriate to mention at this point that the Convention makes special provision regarding members of the consular post who are either Australian citizens or who are permanently resident in Australia. In the case of consular officers in this category the Convention itself specifies the privileges and immunities to which they are entitled. But consular employees and members of the service staff are entitled only to such privileges and immunities as the receiving State determines. The Government considers that such consular employees, only, should be granted immunity from jurisdiction in respect of official acts performed in the exercise of their functions.
What I have said so far relates to what are called ‘career’ consuls and posts headed by such people. There is. however, another category of consuls known as ‘honorary’ consuls in relation to whom separate provision is made in the Convention. In general the facilities, privileges and immunities accorded to honorary consuls are much less than those accorded to a career consul. For example, there is no personal inviolability; that is, an honorary consular officer may be subject to arrest. He does, however, have immunity, similar to that of a career consular officer, in respect of acts performed in the exercise of his consular functions. Unfortunately, the international conference in 1963 which considered the draft Convention found that it could not agree on a definition of ‘honorary’ consul. Broadly, the distinction is that, while a career consul is a subject of the sending State, is specially sent by that State and has to devote the whole of his time to his consular functions, an honorary consul may or may not be a subject of the sending State, is appointed from individuals, usually businessmen, residing in the district of the receiving State for which he is to perform consular functions and. for part of the time, follows his ordinary calling. Present Australian practice is not to appoint honorary consuls in other countries; but we do accept them.- As I have said, there are now in Australia some 106 consular posts headed by honorary consular officers.
There is another matter dealt with by the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill to which 1 should like to draw the attention of honourable senators. For many years a number of overseas countries - mainly Commonwealth countries - has maintained offices with diplomatic status in cities other than Canberra. The Convention on Diplomatic Relations precludes the sending State from establishing such offices without the prior consent of the receiving State and in international practice it is unusual for this consent to be given. In April 1971, following the Government’s decision on the matter, the heads of foreign diplomatic missions and consular posts were notified that the maintenance of diplomatic offices outside Canberra could not be continued and that diplomatic status and designation would in future be accorded only to missions and personnel respectively situated in. or resident in Canberra. They were informed that consular status would then be the most that could be granted to the representation of foreign countries located elsewhere in Australia than Canberra and entitlement to this would depend on the type of functions performed by that representation and accepted by Australia.
In the case of the representation of Commonwealth countries in Australia specific legislation is needed to achieve this objective because there is as yet no system of consular relations between Commonwealth countries. We have what is known as the ‘host country convention*. This is an unwritten understanding according to which each Commonwealth country provides the equivalent of consular facilities for citizens of other Commonwealth countries. The Government now proposes to grant an office of a Commonwealth country not covered by the Diplomatic
Privileges and Immunities Act 1967, but performing tasks substantially corresponding te those of a consulate, the same privileges and immunities as a consulate. The staff of such an office would be treated on a corresponding basis. Clause 9 of the Bill gives effect to this proposal. The British Consular Relations Act 1968 establishes a similar system.
This brings me to the specific provisions of the Bills. As to the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill, clauses 1 and 2 are formal provisions. Clause 3 contains several necessary definitions of terms used in the Convention. Clause 4 provides for the extension of the Act to the Territories of the Commonwealth, Clause 5 is the main operative clause of the Bill and provides for the incorporation into Australian law of specific articles of the Convention. The remaining articles are not regarded as appropriate or necessary for action by legislation and the obligations in them can be met by administrative action, the other provisions of clause 5 are inserted for reasons of clarity of interpretation. Clause 6 qualifies the privileges of duty-free importation of goods in the same way as is done in the present Customs Tariff Act. with the addition of the alteration regarding pro rata payment of duties and taxes, which I discussed earlier, and extension of the legislation to cover the case where goods are sold in an external territory of the Commonwealth. Clause 7 grants exemption from excise duty on goods purchased from bond and clause 8 provides for the exemption of the same goods from sales tax.- These clauses have the same effect as existing provisions in the excise and sales tax legislation except that provision is made for the case of sale in an external territory of the Commonwealth.
Clause 9 deals with the position of posts established by Commonwealth countries in cities other than Canberra. The reasons for this 1 have already mentioned. This clause enables regulations to be made conferring on such posts all or any of the privileges and immunities conferred by the Act on a consular post. Provision is also made to cover ,r the various classes of personnel attached to the post in a similar fashion. Clause 10 establishes the extent of privileges and immunities to be enjoyed in Australia by consular employees who are Aus traiian citizens or ordinarily resident in Australia. This is to be confined to immunity from jurisdiction in respect of official acts performed in the exercise of their functions. Clause 11 enables privileges and immunities accorded under the Bill to be withdrawn from a consular post or from persons connected with the post in Australia if the country to which the post belongs has curtailed the privileges and immunities of the Australian consular post or the staff of that post in that country. The international approval of such reciprocal action is to be found in Article 72 of the Convention. Clause 12 enables the Minister to certify in writing for the purpose of the Act or the regulations, any fact relevant to the question whether a person is or was entitled to privileges and immunities. Certificates of this nature are sought from time to time for use in our courts. I would emphasise that the certificates are certificates as to the facts on which the court can base its decision; and the certificates are evidence only, not conclusive evidence.
The Dip’omatic Privileges and Immunities Bill amends the 1967 Act where this is necessary to maintain conformity with the provisions of the Consular Bill to regulate duty and tax free entry of goods etc. Thus, clause 5 amends section 8 of the principal Act to provide a similar system of pro rata payment of customs duties and sales tax as is proposed for the consular field. Moreover, the right of the Minister to require payment of the whole or part of the duty or tax in the event of the sale of the goods concerned in Australia within 2 years is extended to cover the case where goods arc sold in an external Territory of the Commonwealth within that period. Clauses 6 and 7 provide for a similar extension of the legislation to the Territories in the case of exemption from excise duty and from sales tax in excisable goods.
Clause 8 amends section II of the principal Act to remedy an existing anomaly. Under the existing legislation private servants other than those serving the Head of Mission may be subject to the jurisdiction of the Australian courts in respect of acts performed in the course of their duties if they are foreign nationals or foreign residents but immune if they are Australian citizens or residents. The amendment places ail such servants on the same footing. Section 13 of the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1967 was inserted to enable appropriate immunities in respect of official acts to be accorded to members of non-diplomatic posts in Australia established by the governments of British territories. The immunities considered appropriate were based on the consular standard. In view of this, clause 9 repeals section 13 - such persons now being dealt with under clause 9 of the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill.
The remaining Bills propose amendments to the customs tariff, excise tariff, income tax, sales tax, Territory payroll tax and Australian Capital Territory stamp duty legislation. Each of the Acts to bc amended contains taxation exemptions in relation to consular posts, but once the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill becomes law it will grant the taxation privileges now contained in the separate Acts. Accordingly, the 6 Acts that are the subject of the remaining Bills are to be amended by the omission of provisions that will become redundant on the enactment of the comprehensive consular privileges and immunities legislation. The provisions of the last 4 of the remaining Bills are dealt with in more detail in an explanatory memorandum, which is being circulated for the information of honourable senators. The Government considers that the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations represents a balanced and realistic approach to the subject, particularly in respect of privileges and immunities. It also sees considerable advantage in removing existing uncertainty on consular immunities in Australia and establishing the internationally accepted standards of privileges and immunities set out in the Convention. I commend all 8 Bills to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Willesee) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This very straightforward Bill provides for a further step in Government’s progressive transfer of powers to Papua New Guinea. Since 1949, the Department of Shipping and Transport has exercised the entire responsibility for planning, installation and maintenance of aids to marine navigation in the Territory. The Administration is now able to see its way to accept this responsibility in the near future, and the Administrator’s Executive Council has agreed in principle. The only question remaining is the precise date of transfer, and so this Bill provides for amendment of the Lighthouses Act from a date to be proclaimed. That date will be set according to the wishes of the Administrator’s Executive Council. lt should not be thought that with the transfer of responsibility our interest will cease. We shall continue to provide whatever assistance the Administration may request for as long as desired. It is already agreed, for example, that an executive officer, selected by the Administration, will come to the Department of Shipping and Transport for a period of familiarisation. The skilled crew of the New Guinea-based lighthouse tender. M.V. ‘Noel Buxton”, will remain until such time as the Administration can replace it. Training of lighthouse technicians will be provided as soon as the Administration can engage indigenous tradesmen. Technical servicing of equipment such as the flashing mechanisms of lights will be provided until such time as the Administration has made its own arrangements. Advice on the planning of systems will always be available. Thus the responsibility for decision-making is going over to Papua New Guinea, but assistance in whatever area and in whatever measure the Territory desires will continue. To regularise this transfer, it is necessary to remove reference to the Territories of Papua and of New Guinea from the Commonwealth Lighthouses Act.
I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
– Mr President, I seek leave to make a statement to the Senate on behalf of the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser). The statement was made by the Minister to the House of Representatives after the time at which such statements are usually made. If I am given leave to make the statement, Mr President, I will seek the permission of the Senate to incorporate it in Hansard. It relates to the Commonwealth’s education programme for 1972- 73.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I seek leave to incorporate the statement in Hansard. I indicate that accompanying the statement are notes in summary form for the information of honourable senators, I do not ask for those notes to be incorporated in Hansard. They will be circulated.
– Is leave granted to incorporate the statement in Hansard? There being no objection, leave is granted.
The statement read as follows:
The Treasurer (Mr Snedden) has already mentioned, in the Budget Speech, some significant features of the Government’s education programme for this financial year. I should like to give the House further details of the programme, which covers a wide range of activities and reflects the emphasis which the Government continues to place on the development of educational services. I shall begin by outlining the progress that is being made with existing activities, and I shall then move on to deal with major new developments in the Government’s programmes - in particular developments in Commonwealth scholarship schemes and in Commonwealth financial support for teacher education.
Over the last 5 years Commonwealth direct expenditure on education has more than doubled, from $193m in 1968-69 to an estimated $426m in 1972-73. This year’s estimated expenditure will represent an increase of 20 per cent over last year’s. Details of Commonwealth expenditure on education from 1968-69 to the present year are set out in a table, which, with the concurrence of the House, also will be incorporated in Hansard.
Direct Payments to the States
The details given in this table show substantial increases in expenditure on a number of items, but by far the major increase is in Commonwealth payments to the States for education, which in total have increased from$206m last year to $250m this year - an increase of 21 per cent. These payments to the States are for universities, colleges of advanced education, teachers colleges, technical colleges and schools. In the case of universities and colleges of advanced education, the present financial year will see the commencement of new triennial programmes of expenditure for the calendar years 1973 to 1975. I shall be making a statement to the Senate very soon on the recommendations which the Government has received on these triennial programmes and the decisions which it has made. For the present financial year, grants to the States for their universities, their colleges of advanced education and individual research projects supported by the Australian Research Grants Committee will total $144m, an increase of $15m over last year. Unmatched capital grants direct to the States, for technical training facilities, teachers colleges, pre-school teachers colleges, science laboratories, school libraries and general government school classroom construction, will total $63m in 1972-73 - a substantial increase on last year’s figure of $46.5m.
A development of very great interest that has taken place since Budget time last year in the Commonwealth’s programmes of payments to the States for educational purposes is the announcement by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) of new programmes of capital aid for primary and secondary schools. The first of the new programmes, which was announced in December last year, provided $20m for government schools over the 18-month period to the end of June 1973, and hence a substantial part of these funds - in fact $l3m - is expected to be spent in this financial year. These grants are being paid entirely without matching conditions attached to them and the States are being given the maximum freedom to allocate the additional resources to whatever they see as their priority areas of capital need in primary and secondary schools.
When this $20m has been spent, by the end of the present financial year, the second of the new programmes, which was announced in May this year, will take over. I will be introducing legislation as soon as possible for this $215m programme, which is designed to add very substantially to the funds available for school construction in both government and independent schools. Its purpose is to reduce inequalities in capital facilities, to speed up the rate of construction of new facilities and to enable outmoded facilities to be replaced more readily. The Commonwealth recognises that priorities differ between States, and the new programme will give them flexibility to devote the added resources to these differing priorities in the way they wish. The new funds for government schools will represent a net addition to what would otherwise have been spent on school construction.
The capital grants for both government and independent schools under this second programme are planned to run at a slightly higher level in the latter part of the 5-year period which the programme will cover, in recognition of the fact that the existing programme of special grants for science laboratories will run out in June 1975. It is the Government’s intention that the construction of science laboratories will continue under the new, wider programme of capital grants. On the other hand, it is intended that the special programme for secondary school libraries for both government and independent schools, for which funds have been approved to December 1974, will continue as an addition to the new general programme because of the large outstanding requirement for libraries in both government and independent schools.
Another recent development of considerable interest has been the action taken by the Government to increase the level of assistance given to independent schools towards their running costs. Honourable senators will already be familiar with the details of this, from the statements made by the Prime Minister in December last year and May this year, and will know that the aim of the Government is to give independent schools an assurance that they will receive assistance on a basis that is continuing and that bears a relation to the cost of educating a child in a government school. On this latter point, I might mention that discussions are proceeding with the States concerning the basis on which the 20 per cent rate of Commonwealth assistance will be calculated. We hope to reach agreement with the States for them to increase their contributions to 20 per cent also. The actual Commonwealth payment to be made for each student in 1973 will be announced before schools break up at the end of the year. Legislation for this programme will be introduced shortly.
I would stress that, in considering these programmes of aid for schools they should be seen as part of a total programme of overall State and Commonwealth support for both government and independent schools. This Government’s policy has been to assist in providing all schools, both government and independent, with a basic level of recurrent funds. Where the Commonwealth makes funds available especially for capital purposes in schools, it has had objective tests applied to the demands from individual independent schools; in the new capital programme emphasis will be on the provision of basic facilities. In addition we have sought to strike at particular areas of educational disadvantage such as Aboriginal and migrant children, by making supplementary funds and resources available for the benefit of those children in all schools. If we look at the total picture of government expenditure on both government and independent schools, we find that government payments are weighted very heavily in favour of the government schools. In 1971-72 the total recurrent and capital expenditure by Commonwealth and State governments for all schools and teachers colleges was estimated at over $l,070m - excluding transportation costs; of this amount approximately §1, 000m was for the government sector and only $70m, or 7 per cent, for direct assistance to the independent sector, even though the latter caters for 22 per cent of ali enrolments.
Indirect Assistance to the States
In considering the increase in Commonwealth direct payments to the States for educational purposes, it is important not to overlook the improvements which have also taken place recently in the States’ general financial situation and hence in their capacity to devote more funds of their own to education. Following the Premiers’ Conference and Loan Council discussions in June this year, it is estimated that in 1972-73 the States will receive general revenue grants of $ 1,692m - that is, almost $225m or 15 per cent greater than the comparable figure at this time last year. General revenue grants from the Commonwealth and payroll tax, which the Commonwealth transferred to the States last year, together comprise over 50 per cent of State general revenues; on this basis the Commonwealth can fairly claim to be providing more than half of the total recurrent expenditure by governments on education in Australia. As evidence of the extent to which the development of States’ general resources does help them to spend more on education, we need only look at their budgets in 1971-72 which provided for an increase in educational expenditure of 17 per cent or nearly $200m over the previous year.
As far as capital expenditure is concerned, the Commonwealth has agreed to support a works and housing programme of $982m in 1972-73, that is, 10 per cent above the figure for the previous year. The Commonwealth has recognised the special claims for assistance for those fields of endeavour which do not produce revenue and, as part of the works and housing programme, has provided interest free grants which may be used in such fields, of which education is a notable one, instead of loan funds. These grants are expected to amount to nearly $250m in 1972-73.
Research in Education
It is only to be expected that a report of this nature to Parliament must to some extent become a recitation of financial items. But the pursuit of quality in education involves much more than finance.
Well-directed research can make a valuable contribution to educational progress. The Australian Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education, which the Government established in 1970, has already made a significant contribution in this area through its support for a variety of projects. An amount of $300,000 representing an increase of 21 per cent over last year has been provided for the projects recommended by the Committee in 1972-73. The Committee has told me that the funds which can usefully be allocated are limited by the supply of trained research workers, and the expenditure estimated for 1972-73 reflects the level of productive activities which the Committee believes can be supported at this stage.
One of the ways in which the Commonwealth supports education in Australia is through the grants-in-aid which it gives to educational organisations or enterprises which are of a national character but which operate independently of government and which to a considerable extent finance their own activities, calling upon the Government for a degree of additional assistance. In these cases the amount of grant given by the Commonwealth is often modest but its effect substantial in ensuring the viability or permitting the further development of a worth while organisation or activity. Grants of this kind are given to .the Australian Association for Adult Education, the Current Affairs Bulletin, the Australian Pre-School Association, the Australian Council for Educational Research and the Lady Gowrie Child Centres. These grants are increasing, in total, from $310,000 in 1971-72 to $361,000 in 1972-73.
The Government has taken special steps to help particular groups in the community where it is clear that these groups are faced with special difficulties in their education. For example, the Government is concerned that migrants coming to this country should receive assistance in learning English, to help in their adjustment to their new environment, and increased amounts are being provided in this financial year for this purpose. Nearly $5m is provided for special education for migrant children, in 1972-73, as compared with an expenditure of just over $3m in the last financial year. For the special education of adult migrants within Australia $4.2m is included for 1972-73 compared with $3m in the 1971-72 financial yar
Aboriginal students also face special difficulties. The Commonwealth Government’s broad programme of Aboriginal advancement includes substantial annual grants to the States for educational projects designed for the benefit of Aboriginal students. These projects, proposed by the States themselves, have resulted in additional classrooms, pre-schools, hostels, school buses, homework centres, teaching materials, in-service courses for teachers, conferences and research activities. In 1971- 72 a sum of $1.2m was allocated to the States for these purposes, and this financial year the grants will total 52m. The Commonwealth also finances directly a similar program for Aboriginal students in the Northern Territory.
There are also 2 scholarship schemes for Aboriginal students: the Aboriginal Secondary Grants Scheme for students still at school and the Aboriginal Study Grants Scheme for students who wish to undertake courses after they have left school. In June 1972, 4,266 students held secondary grants and 522 held study grants. The cost for these 2 schemes in the financial year 1971-72 was $3m, and this is expected to increase to $3. 7m in this financial year.
An important aspect of Australia’s international relations in education is the aid provided for the improvement of education systems in less developed countries. The Government has decided to increase expenditure under the scheme of Commonwealth co-operation in education to over $lm in 1972- 73. This increase will provide mainly for further assistance to Commonwealth countries in the South Pacific region. It will provide additional training awards for teachers from the region to undertake training in Australia and will increase the supply of Australian educational personnel to these countries.
Commonwealth contribution to school curriculum development is being extended.
The Government has agreed to provide $125,000 additional to its earlier commitment of $750,000 for the Australian Science Education Project - ASEP - subject to the States agreeing to provide their share of the additional funds required to complete the production of new science teaching materials to cover the first 4 years of secondary education. The Government is also increasing its financial support for the National Committee on Social Science Teaching. The sum of $57,000 will be provided in 1972-73 to assist research and development projects, conferences and other activities of the Committee. The States are also supporting these activities. Up to this point, I have been dealing with the continuation and expansion of existing Commonwealth programmes in education, k is in the field of curriculum development that I come to the first of the new developments which have been announced.
In 1969, the Commonwealth, with the agreement of the Stales, established an Advisory Committee on the Teaching of Asian Languages and Cultures, under the chairmanship of Professor J. J. Auchmuty, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Newcastle. The Committee’s Report was tabled in Federal Parliament in March 19” 1. Arising from the Auchmuty Committee’s Report, the May 1972 meeting of the Australian Education Council agreed to sponsor joint CommonwealthState co-operation in the development of a range of propoals designed to stimulate the teaching of Asian languages and cultures in Australian Schools. These proposals embrace the further development of suitable courses and teaching materials at primary and secondary school levels and of facilities for the study of Asian languages and Asian civilisations at the tertiary level, and improvements affecting the supply of qualified teachers. The details are to be worked out co-operatively by the Commonwealth and State education authorities. The Commonwealth for its part is prepared to allocate a total of $1.5,m over the next 5 years as its contribution to a joint programme in this important area. A sum of $100,000 has been provided in estimates of the Department of Education and Science for this financial year to help initiate this programme, lt is hoped that these initiatives will have the result of bringing a better balance to what is taught in Australian schools, with more emphasis on Asian languages, Asian history and indeed knowledge of Asia generally - knowledge which for obvious reasons has special relevance to our future development.
Education in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory
There have been significant developments in education in Commonwealth mainland Territories. Honourable members will know that since 1913 the New South Wales Education Department has staffed government schools in the Australian Capital Territory. Following discussions initiated by the New South Wales Minister for Education, the Commonwealth Government has decided to assume responsibility for staffiing these schools. In has decided also that schools in the Australian Capital Territory will be administered by a statutory authority. The questions of the nature and functions of this authority and the timing of its establishment are being referred for advice to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. The first members of the Commonwealth Teaching Service will be appointed to Australian Capital Territory schools in 1973 to fill vacant positions at the classroom teacher level. The Commonwealth will take over full responsibility for staffing and running the schools at the beginning of 1974. If the statutory authority is not established by that date my Department will exercise these responsibilities until it is established.
Honourable senators are also aware that this is the second year in which the Commonwealth has been the direct employer of teachers in Northern Territory community schools, South Australia having commenced to withdraw its teachers from the beginning of 1971. In the last session the Parliament passed the legislation establishing the Commonwealth Teaching Service. The Government intends that this Service will be in operation before the end of this year.
There have been interesting new developments in community involvement and co-operation between schools in the Northern Territory. I have decided to establish an advisory committee, with a strong community representation, to help in relating the curriculum of community schools to the needs of the Territory. Also, my Department is introducing links between small schools in the Territory and larger ones, to help the smaller schools and to reduce the effects of isolation on the teachers and children concerned.
Honourable members may be aware that the Department of Education and Science recently commissioned a study by the Australian Council for Educational Research on practices in school and staff organisation. This study has been carried out by Dr Radford, Director of the Council, and Professor Neal, Vice-President of the University of Alberta, and their report has now been completed. The report will be of great value both to the Commissioner of the Commonwealth Teaching Service, when he is appointed, and also to those responsible for establishing and developing the school systems in the Commonwealth mainland territories. The Government welcomes the report’s emphasis on community involvement in the running of schools and the delegation of increasing authority for professional and administrative decisions to school staffs, school principals and school committees on which local communities play a major role. Because of the interest aroused by the investigation by Dr Radford and Professor Neal, I have released the report. Copies have been made available to honourable members.
I come now to a section of the Commonwealth’s education programme where the coming year will see particularly substantial changes. I refer to the Commonwealth Scholarship Schemes. At present, under 5 major scholarship schemes, the Government provides assistance to students undertaking a wide variety of courses at universities, colleges of advanced education, technical colleges and secondary schools. Students may proceed from the final years of secondary education to the completion of postgraduate degrees with Commonwealth scholarship assistance. The number of scholarship holders currently receiving benefits is over 70,000 and expenditure in the last financial year amounted to $46m.
Earlier this year the scholarship schemes underwent a more substantial review than any which has been undertaken since the inception of the various schemes. As a result of that review the Government has decided to implement a wide range of proposals affecting the scholarship schemes. The changes involved will be very significant from the point of view of large numbers of individual students. When the effect of the new measures is fully operative the total annual cost of the schemes is expected to approach $77m, an increase of over 330m on the present figure, and the total number of scholarship holders will increase from the present 70,000 to 123,000.
The Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship Scheme has been reviewed against the principles on which it was originally established. These were that able students who otherwise would not remain at school ought to be encouraged to do so, and that selection for scholarships ought to be based on merit. It has been decided to give greater emphasis in future to the first of these principles. The Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship Scheme, which provides 10.000 scholarships each year, is to be phased out and replaced by a new scheme to be known as the Commonwealth Senior Secondary Scholarship Scheme. The new scheme will provide for the award of 25,000 scholarships each year. As with the existing scheme, these scholarships will be tenable in the final 2 years of secondary schooling. Each scholarship winner will receive a grant of $150 per annum free of means test. In addition a further grant of up to $250 per annum will be payable subject to family income. The assessment of income will be similar to that applied under the tertiary scholarship schemes. The new scheme will thus provide an incentive to able students and at the same time make available special assistance to those students whose families may find difficulty in maintaining them at school for a full secondary education. Identical conditions will apply to all students whether they are attending Government schools or independent schools. All students who sat for the selection examination held in July this year will be considered for awards under the new scheme. Students who at the beginning of 1972 were awarded Commonwealth Secondary scholarships for 1972-73 will be entitled, subject to the conditions of satisfactory progress, to have their awards continued in 1973 under the old conditions. lt is hoped that this new scholarships scheme for secondary students will significantly assist able children from low income families to remain longer at school than they otherwise would. The Government proposes to increase the number of scholarships available under both the Commonwealth university and the Commonwealth advanced education scholarships schemes for 1973. Under the University scheme the number of open entrance scholarships will be increased by 1,000 from 8,500 to 9,500. In addition a further 1,000 later year university scholarships will be made available, bringing the allocation of these awards up to 5,000. As part of these increases more awards will be offered to mature age scholars. In line with its policy of promoting the balanced development of both universities and colleges of advanced education, the Government will make a further substantial increase in the number of Commonwealth advanced education scholarships. For this year, the number was raised from 2,500 to 4.000. An increase of a further 2,000 awards will be made for 1973 making a total of 6,000 new awards. The total number of new awards at the tertiary level each year will now be 21.300. 1 turn now to deal with substantial changes which are to be made in living allowances and the means test for university and advanced education scholarships. The maximum rates of living allowance will be raised from $700 to $800 per annum at the ‘at home’ rates and from SI, 100 to $1,300 per annum at the ‘away from home’ rates. The greater increase in the living away from home rates represents an important extra measure of support for country students. No less important than the increases in the rates of living allowance is a number of changes in the means test. At present the maximum living allowances are paid when the adjusted family income does not exceed $3,100 per annum. The new level for 1973 will be $4,200 per annum which will enable a greater proportion of students to qualify for living allowance than previously.
Other adjustments to the operation of the means test will take effect from the beginning of 1973. These adjustments will enable many students to qualify for greater assistance. In the calculation of the family income a deduction of $450 for each dependent child other than the scholar will be allowed. Previously this deduction has been $300. This deduction will now also be allowed for dependent student children up to age 25. In the past a limit has been placed on the funds scholars could earn; this policy could perhaps be attributed to a paternal view that such a limit would prevent scholars from spending too much time on their employment to the detriment of their studies. The Government now takes the view that scholarship holders should be able to judge for themselves how much time to spend in employment; and therefore a scholar’s own income from employment will be disregarded in determining his entitlement to living allowance. This will remove the restraint previously placed upon students and allow them more independence in managing their own affairs. As a measure of assistance for married students, a scholar’s spouse will be able to earn up to $4,200 per annum before any adjustment will be made to the scholar’s living allowance entitlement. As a further measure of support for married students, the allowances for dependent wives and children will be raised from $7 to $8 per week and from $2.50 to $4.50 per week respectively.
Whilst it is not proposed to increase the number of awards under the Commonwealth postgraduate award scheme, the Government has decided to raise the annual stipend from $2,600 to $2,900 per annum. In addition more liberal dependants’ allowances will be paid to married postgraduate students with children. The new rates will be $650 per annum for a dependent wife and child and a further $234 per annum for the second and each subsequent child. It is also proposed that the grant-in-aid paid to universities on behalf of Commonwealth postgraduate award holders win be raised from $400 to $500 per annum. However, I would like to foreshadow the possibility that this particular arrangement will be reviewed during the forthcoming triennium with the grantinaid being replaced by provisions which would include more specific arrangements for the payment of compulsory fees on behalf of award holders. Such an arrangement would be consistent with the approach adopted under the University and
Advanced Education schemes. For those who wish to have fuller details of the various changes in scholarship schemes, the Department of Education and Science is making available a statement setting out these details.
There are a number of other areas in student assistance I would like to touch upon briefly. The Commonwealth technical scholarship scheme is under close scrutiny. I have had discussions with State Ministers and my Department is following these up with the appropriate State authorities. Investigations into student loans which the Department has already made will continue in consultation with Treasury and banking officials. Loans could well prove to be a useful means of supplementing the assistance provided by way of scholarships. In particular such an approach may provide valuable support for the student who fails to win a scholarship. A proposal which needs looking at in the longer term is that relating to the possible introduction of a national tertiary scholarship scheme. Such a scheme was included in the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, in its recent report on teacher education, lt would have substantial implications for State policies on teacher-training scholarships. There has been some discussion already with State Ministers and the Department of Education and Science will be exploring this matter further.
The Government would like to express its appreciation of the contribution made by the Commonwealth Scholarships Board to the student assistance programme. It would also like to take this opportunity of saying that it values greatly the advice it has received from various interested bodies, especially the Australian Union of Students and the Australian ViceChancellors’ Committee. The new measures which the Government has introduced in its student assistance programme should have far reaching effects and do much to ensure that financial considerations do not prevent a student from reaching a level of education consistent with his abilities. The Government will of course continue to give close attention to ways in which the student assistance programme, within the limits of the funds available, can meet the needs of those suffering from particular hardships;
I mentioned earlier that in the course of this statement I would be referring to a significant development in Commonwealth support for teacher education. I would like to preface this by reminding honourable members that the Commonwealth already makes a substantial direct contribution to the education of teachers, through its contribution to the capital and recurrent costs of universities and colleges of advanced education and its unmatched capital grants direct to teachers colleges and pre-school teachers colleges. Under the latter programmes, a total of $54m is being made available for State teachers colleges over the 6 years to 30th June 1973, and $2.5m has been made available to pre-school teachers colleges.
Commonwealth support for teacher education has significantly helped the States in recent years in their achievements in increasing the numbers of teachers in training and teachers in employment. Government teacher trainees have increased in number from 29,000 in 1968 to 42,000 in 1971; and full-time teachers in government schools from 85,000 to 95,000 oyer the same period. Not only have the numbers of teachers increased, but pupil-teacher ratios have also improved considerably - a fact which is often lost sight of when these matters are being discussed.
There have also been important developments in the organisation of teacher education, starting a few years ago with the move to a basic 3-year training course. Coordinating machinery is being introduced at a State level to improve the standing of teacher education institutions, and all State governments have now indicated their intention to provide teacher education courses in institutions free from direct education department control. Progress towards incorporation of State teachers colleges in colleges of advanced education, or their reconstitution as self-governing tertiary institutions, is well advanced in several States. The substantial capital assistance provided by the Commonwealth over the past 5 years has helped to make possible this progress. There has also been movement towards teacher education in multi-purpose institutions, a development which the Commonwealth favours.
Recently, there has been increasing support from a number of directions for the principle that State teachers colleges should receive Commonwealth funds, both capital and recurrent, under the arrangements for matching grants for colleges of advanced education. The Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, which in February this year reported on the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education, recommended that teachers colleges be granted financial assistance for recurrent and capital expenditure under terms and conditions similar to colleges of advanced education. At a meeting of the Australian Education Council in May 1972, State Ministers of Education requested Commonwealth matching assistance for State teachers colleges and gave support, in principle, to bringing pre-school teachers colleges within the advanced education arrangements. In addition, the Department of Education and Science has received requests for assistance with recurrent expenditure as well as continuing assistance with capital expenditure for pre-school teachers colleges from the Australian Pre- school Association and from the 6 preschool teachers colleges. As a result of this, the Government has taken 2 principal decisions. First it has decided to extend present matching arrangements applying to universities and colleges of advanced education to include State teachers colleges which are being developed as selfgoverning tertiary institutions under the supervision of appropriate co-ordinating bodies in the States. This support will be available from July 1973 as an addition to the programme of Commonwealth support for colleges of advanced education, immediately following expiry of the present unmatched capital grants programme. Secondly, the Commonwealth will offer to share with the States the capital and recurrent costs of pre-school teachers colleges, under advanced education arrangements, from July 1973. At the same time the Government stresses that it sees the existing voluntary bodies as continuing to play an important role in the pre-school area.
While the Government has not been prepared to extend this support to nongovernment teachers colleges, as was recommended by the Standing Committee, I would point out that teachers, whether preparing for work in independent schools or in government schools, will be equally acceptable for places in the self-governing State teachers colleges, just as is the case with teachers training at universities and colleges of advanced education. These students would be eligible for Commonwealth advanced education scholarships. Under these new programmes the teacher education institutions concerned are expected to attract substantial additional Commonwealth support.
Further consultation with State education authorities will be necessary in working out details of the mode of operation of the new support for their teachers colleges. So far as the pre-school colleges are concerned, again there will be consultation between the pre-school authorities, the States and the Commonwealth to lay down guiding principles. In order to implement these programmes from 1st July 1973 the Australian Commission on Advanced Education will discuss specific proposals with State education authorities and present a supplementary programme to the Government by 31st March 1973. This initial programme of Commonwealth support for teachers colleges would cover the 21 year period to December 1975. The Commission will have access to appropriate additional sources of advice in its examination of teacher education proposals.
While it is willing lo support singlepurpose teacher education institutions within the advanced education programme, the Commonwealth, as mentioned before, continues to favour the provision of teacher education in multi-purpose institutions wherever possible, a view which was supported by the Standing Committee. However, it is recognised that a number of existing State teachers colleges are likely to remain as single-purpose institutions for some time because location or some factor makes multi-purpose development difficult or inappropriate. In these circumstances the Government wishes to ensure that selfgoverning teacher education institutions have the means to provide a high standard of teacher education. The proposed Commonwealth support will promote balanced development between the different sectors of teacher education.
The additional resources which the Commonwealth has decided to provide for teacher education should enable greater provision to be made for special areas of need. I propose, to ask the Commission to look in particular at areas such as the training of teachers of the handicapped and special remedial teachers. While substantial progress has been made in many areas of education in recent years, the Government is concerned that further development should occur in meeting the needs of those children who are handicapped or who have special learning difficulties. The training of greater numbers of specialist teachers is the factor which will make the greatest impact in these areas and the Government sees its new programme of assistance to teacher education as providing opportunities for the introduction of additional special courses as well as assisting development of teacher education in general.
The decisions I have outlined on teacher education policy cover some of the major recommendations of the Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts in its report on the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education. I have also referred elsewhere in this statement to an examination of the possibility of developing a national system of tertiary scholarships and of a supplementary system of student loans, as well as to the activities of the Australian Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education - the Partridge Committee - in stimulating research into educational areas to the extent that resources are available.
I know that the Standing Committee’s report has provided a valuable stimulus to thinking about teacher education. The Australian Universities Commission, the Australian Commission on Advanced Education and the Partridge Committee have all examined particular proposals and have taken account of them in their own deliberations. Some of the proposals are, of course, in areas which are primarily the responsibility of the States. I have in mind here the question of length and degree of integration of courses, procedures for registration of professional qualifications and for transferability of superannuation and other entitlements of teachers. Allied to the question of registration is the accreditation of the academic standing of courses and it. is pleasing to note that the Australian Council of Awards in Advanced
Education is in a position to consider, for national registration, courses in teacher education submitted to it by the appropriate accrediting agency in a State or Territory; it is hoped that this development will take place, and that we will have full national accreditation of teacher education awards. Against the background of the recommendations of the Standing Committee and of the decisions taken by the Commonwealth and the States, Commonwealth agencies will co-operate with State bodies in proposals for the further development of teacher education in a range of institutions throughout Australia.
Co-operation and Objectives
As I mentioned earlier, any statement on the Commonwealth’s education programme for a financial year, must, by its very nature, dwell largely on details of Commonwealth expenditure under various headings. But I would not wish to conclude this statement without stressing the co-operative nature of the Commonwealth’s activities in education. The objectives that the Government seeks to attain are not the objectives of the Commonwealth alone and cannot be achieved by the actions of the Commonwealth alone. Most of the programmes I have described are programmes which are carried out in close co-operation with the States and with other education authorities. In the course of the financial year just concluded a particularly significant development occurred when the Commonwealth was accepted into full membership of the Australian
Education Council - ‘the forum in which Ministers for Education from all States - and now the Commonwealth - discuss their problems and their plans for the future. The discussions I have had with State Ministers have been extremely fruitful. They have been able to agree on cooperation in exploring possible developments in a wide range of areas such as class size, school building design, the needs of technical education, the problems of isolated children, teaching of Asian languages and culture, and teacher training. Discussions with the States have already led to positive action in several of these fields.
The Government’s broad objectives in education are: Equality of opportunity; a healthy degree of independence for, and variety in, tertiary education institutions; assistance for deprived groups; freedom of schools from excessively centralised control; development of parental and local community interest in schools; freedom of choice for ‘consumers’ of education; and a continuing improvement in the facilities available to teachers and students at all levels, in the content of courses and in the teaching methods applied in those courses. These objectives are ones which the Government believes can be shared by all who are concerned with the quality of education in Australia. It welcomes discussion of these matters. In recent years there has been a striking increase in the extent to which education policies have become the subject of informed public debate, and this is a process from which only good can come.
Debate resumed from 16 August (vide page 108), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill b? now read a second time.
– I will be very brief indeed in my closing comments, Mr President. Last night I commended the Bill, which is an extension of the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act 1971, as a means of encouraging manufacturing and mining industries in Australia to extend their research. 1 pointed out how little research there was at the start and how much need there is for us in Australia to stimulate our technology so that we can compete in the world on a favourable basis with others. I want to point out that 90 per cent of all industries in Australia have 50 employees or less. I believe it is imperative that whatever we do should be aimed at helping the small industries at least as much as it is aimed at helping the larger ones. I believe that there is some necessity for the programme for the year ahead being implemented urgently. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
– I shall be brief in my comments on this Bill, although under different circumstances I would have spoken at greater length. I think it is desirable to bring this legislation up to date. I have studied the debate that took place in another place on the Bill. It would appear that there was a complete uniformity there when it came to passing this measure. A new factor has been introduced into the circumstances and events surrounding this legislation since it was debated in another place. I refer to the fact that the opinion of the Associated Chamber of Manufactures of Australia and the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures on the legislation has been circulated among members of the Parliament.
I should have thought that one aspect of the second reading speech of . the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) which would have merited particular consideration, as indeed it has, is his statement that a recent examination has shown that there has not been quite the advantage taken of the assistance granted in this direction that had been expected and that it appeared as though there had not been the co-operation forthcoming from the manufacturers that had been hoped for with the original legislation. It would indeed be bad if the new legislation started off in direct conflict with the views of the Chamber of Manufactures, which has apparently asked for certain things to be done.
It appears from the research I have undertaken into this legislation that its provisions will not apply in the manner in which it was first thought they would. My investigations also revealed that if portion of the new legislation were to be implemented on the old basis of determining things, the financing of the scheme could get completely out of hand in favour of the manufacturers. In view of what I have heard Mr Hawke say about the Chamber of Manufactures, I am quite sure that the Australian Labor Party would not be in favour of that.
It would appear that the new legislation stands or falls on its own and that it could not be taken apart and made to contain a part of the old and a part of the new as the design of the new legislation would not fit in with the old legislation. The Australian Democratic Labor Party sees no difficulty in passing this legislation as it stands. If some of the fears of the manufacturers are found to be valid on application of the legislation there will be nothing to prevent it being amended at that point of time to meet the circumstances. The alternative to that would be to postpone the legislation, which would lead to great injustices to those who have been encouraged to set forward on a programme of development and research and have undertaken contractual obligations at quite a deal of expense which could, in the case of the smaller firms, require progressive payments to keep them functioning in this direction. That would not be possible if this legislation were to be set aside for an extended period.
The Democratic Labour Party has never felt that the right thing to do would be to send this legislation to a standing committee of the Senate for its examination as that would, in our experience, involve a lengthier procedure. We feel that this legislation is warranted and that, for the reasons I have outlined, any postponement of the legislation would react more unfavourably against the smaller manufacturers than it would be to advantage of the others. This is a co-operative piece of legislation which is designed to assist anybody who is interested in expanding an Australian industry and wants to promote something. There would be no difficulty at some date in the future in amending the legislation if there were particular difficulties that were frustrating the reasons for which this legislation was passed. For those reasons, we support the Bill as it is.
– in reply - The remarks made by Senator Little were appropriate and very much to the point. I do not think that there is any need for me to advert to them further. It is important to the confidence of industry that there be no undue delay in the passage of this legislation. Any uncertainty caused by a delay in research in industry is a particularly important matter to a country such as Australia which has great resources but which is small in population and which needs to build up substantial quantities of extra managerial and research skills. Some companies are already spending substantially on the assumption that they will be getting Government support under this Bill and planning is already going ahead for a programme into 1973 and onwards in which a great number of people are engaged. A lot of expensive research work is being undertaken. Research programmes, as honourable senators know, are not jobs that can be turned on and off. They are long term jobs. They need to be sustained. Uncertainty is a particularly bad thing.It is therefore necessary to finalise this legislation as soon as possible in order to give the companies concerned confirmation of there being a continuing incentive towards research. The previous incentive expired in June 1 972.
For the reasons I have outlined, the Government does not feel that there is any case to be made for the amendment which has been foreshadowed by Senator Willesee. The delay would be unconscionable. It would set back the research programmes and be harmful to industry. I do not really think that I am going to help anybody by engaging in a great speech on this matter. That is the principal point involved. With that point being made and without going into greater detail on the matter.I now ask that the question be put.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I move -
That the Industrial Research and Development Grants Bill 1972 be referred to the Standing Committee on Industry and Trade for inquiry and report as soon as possible.
We are ail aware that there is no disagreement about the desirability of this Bill.
– That is understood.
– We agree with the new Bill, for it picks up errors of the old. However, as Senator Little pointed out, a new factor has emerged. I do not agree with the Minister for Civil Aviation that an unconscionable delay would be caused by referring the Bill to the Standing Committee. 1 understand that in the Parliaments of Great Britain, Canada and the United States such a Bill would be referred to a committee precisely asI have moved. The Bill is typical of the kind I have always understood a committee would examine. There would be only a brief reference to the Committee, perhaps only a few days, in which the Chamber of Manufactures could make its representations, the departmental objections could be raised, and anybody who has not yet been heard could be heard.I am aware that the majority of honourable senators will take an opposing view, therefore there is no point in my arguing further. I add only that the Opposition takes this course in an attempt to effect a better Bill.
That the motion (Senator Willesee’s) be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Bill - by leave - taken as a whole and reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a third time.
– Before I formally call on the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator DrakeBrockman) 1 wish to address myself briefly to 2 matters. As all honourable senators are aware, Senator Cant, Prowse and Brown have been hospitalised. 1 have made inquiries on behalf of honourable senators about their progress, and I am pleased to report that the wives of 2 of the senators and the third senator himself have informed me that the senators are progressing well and that they hope to return to the Senate soon. The Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate spoke earlier today of the illness of both Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson and Senator Greenwood. I have inquired about the progress of these honourable senators and have offered them the facilities that accrue to honourable senators and which are available to all senators who may be ill in their own places.
The second matter I want to mention is a reply to a question asked earlier today by Senator Keeffe. This concerns the lineup of motor vehicles in front of Parliament House. I have made inquiries about this line-up and I have been informed that it is substantially due to the fact that traditional parking spaces at the Senate end of Parliament House have been eliminated while a new building is being constructed. I trust that when the parking spaces are restored this assembly of illegally parked cars, of which I am aware, will end. While I am no ecological fanatic, I consider that the amenities of this place are being polluted by the presence of motor vehicles. In my opinion no motor vehicles should be parked outside Parliament House. I am reminded by the Clerk that I have not referred to Senator Lillico after whose well-being I have inquired two or three times. I am informed that he is progressing satisfactorily and will return to the Senate soon.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) proposed:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– This morning at question time I answered questions by Senator Wriedt and Senator Murphy concerning the expression by any representative of the Australian Labor Party of its point of view in opposition to nuclear tests by Mainland China. I said that in the absence of any record I had no knowledge of any such statement. Senator Murphy has since drawn my attention to 3 or 4 such instances in the records of this Parliament and I wish to direct them to the attention of honourable senators in fairness to the Opposition and to withdraw any inference that could be drawn from my remarks that the Opposition had not expressed its disapproval of nuclear tests specifically in relation to Mainland China. Members of the Opposition have done so in most explicit terms and it is only fair that I should state so. I regret that in the absence of knowledge of these records I gave expression publicly in the Senate to any other implication.
The first instance is recorded in the Senate Hansard of 27th April 1965 in a question headed ‘Nuclear Tests’. Senator Murphy asked a question upon notice of the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, Senator Gorton, in which Senator Murphy expressly asked:
When, and in what manner, have protests been made by the Commonwealth against nuclear tests or proposed nuclear tests by (a) France, and (b) China?
I need not read the answer as I am simply indicating the extent to which the disapproval of the Opposition has been expressed. The second instance is recorded in the Senate Hansard of 13th May 1966 under the heading ‘Chinese Nuclear Tests’. Senator Murphy asked:
My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. I refer to the explosion a few days ago of a Chinese nuclear device causing a spread of radioactivity outside the territory of China. What is the Government doing to protest against this latest outrage against humanity
Senator Gorton replied:
The Government has made it abundantly clear internationally, in the United Nations, and in its own statements that it adheres to the nuclear disarmament treaty and is opposed to the proliferation of nuclear armaments and to tests carried out by any country.
The third instance is recorded in the Senate Hansard of 18th May 1965 in a question headed ‘Nuclear Test Ban’. In a question asked by Senator Murphy of the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, he asked:
Will the Government go further and make an emphatic protest in the United Nations and elsewhere at this preparation for war. . . .
He had referred to the second Chinese nuclear test which, he said, not only polluted the environment but was also an affront to the possible aspirations of mankind. The last reference to which I am obliged to call attention appears in yesterday’s Hansard of another place. Mr Whitlam said in relation to his visit to Mainland China that he had discussed 3 matters on which there were basic disagreements between the Chinese Government and the Australian Labor Party. The third subject to which he referred concerned nuclear weapons and he mentioned what was said on that subject in Dr Fitzgerald’s book in the Library. I am obliged to Senator Murphy for bringing my attention to those references and for enabling me to state the facts quite fully and, I hope, fairly. Again I express my regret that any inference to the contrary could be drawn from my remarks.
– I think that Senator Wright’s explanation accords with the decent civilities according to which the Senate conducts itself.
– We are indebted to Senator Wright. We accept his statement as it was intended and the regret which was expressed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 4.41 pm
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
(Question No. 1971)
asked the Minster representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice:
Senator COTTON- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
Senator SIR KENNETH ANDERSON - The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following information:
Statistics of exports of acetic acid from Australia are unavailable as they are not separetely recorded. This item is classified in the Australian Export Commodity Classification under the general heading- Monoacids and their derivatives.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
Senator SIR KENNETH ANDERSON - The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
What are the details of kangaroo hides exported to all overseas countries,
during the first quarter of 1972, and
during the four quarters of 1971.
The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following information in reply to parts (a) and (b) of the honourable senator’s Question No. 2104:
As exports from Australia of kangaroo bides are not separately recorded, but are included under Hides and Skins (except Fur Skins) other than Bovine, Equine, Calf, Kip, Goat, Kid, Sheep, Lamb and Reptile the Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following information showing exports under that item for each of the four quarters of 1971 and the quarter ended March 1972.
In addition, he has supplied the following supplementary details of exports of Kangaroo and Wallaby Fur Skins (Undressed), Fur Skins Tanned or Dressed (including Dyed), and Other Leather (Marsupial).
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThe Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The income forms part of the Fund in accordance with Section 15 (2) of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act. Together with contributions this income forms part of the assets of the Fund accumulated to ensure that the benefits promised under the scheme will be available for current members at all times.
The relationship of assets and liabilities is examined actuarially at 5 yearly intervals to establish whether there is a surplus or deficiency. If a surplus is disclosed the question of additional benefits which might become available is reported upon by the Actuary and considered by the Board and the Government. A quinquennial investigation for the period ended 30th June 1969 is now being carried out and the result is expected to be reported later this year.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Senator COTTON- The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Reduction of the degree of mineralisation of the Molonglo River is required quite apart from the Googong project and is a matter currently receiving the attention of Commonwealth and State officers.
The Googong Dam is essential for the provision of an adequate supply of water to the expanding city of Canberra and work on its construction will commence as soon as possible.
The advantages of the Googong proposal are:
If two catchments influenced by such differing weather patterns are utilised then the effect on Canberra’s water supply of drought in either catchment is minimised.
Remedial measures will be the subject of further discussions.
– In answer to a question asked of me yesterday by Senator Townley, 1 said that I would like to take the opportunity of the adjournment to obtain a factual answer in regard to that question concerning Tasmanian shipping insofar as it came within my responsibility as Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science who is responsible for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. My advice to the to the Senate is that CSIRO has not made a scientific assessment of the permanent potential catch of fish from eastern Australian waters. However, a rough first estimate of fish stocks was made in 1967 as a basis for discussing fishery development priorities. This estimate was presented to the Australian Fisheries Development Conference in 1967. If the honourable senator wishes. I shall obtain the record for him.
CSIRO has advocated a fishery based on some of the species in which the proposed Tasmanian fishmeal industry is interested. But no definitive study has been made on the likely impact of the fishmeal industry. With regard to the other part of the question. I am informed that the Victorian Fisheries and Wildlife Department is undertaking a study on the mercury content of sharks but CSIRO are not involved in such studies.
– I have an answer to a question asked by Senator Cavanagh on 30th May 1972 with regard to the appointment of conciliation and arbitration commissioners. I present it in my capacity as Minister representing Minister for Labour and National Service. It is a long answer and 1 rather think that the position which it states has been overtaken by events following the announcement of 2 appointments this morning. However, I present the information in the usual form.
I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service: In view of the statement of the Attorney-General on the difficulties of 611ing vacancies for industrial commissioners as reported by Sir Richard Kirby in 1970, what efforts have been made by the Department of Labour and National Service since August 1970 to fill the vacancies? Were public advertisements placed for applicants? If so, in which media of information were they inserted? Over the period of 2 years have any applications been received for appointment as commissioner which have been unsuccessful? In view of the difficulties in attracting suitable people at the present salary level, as stated during the debate on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, will the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in the immediate future have to operate with either a shortage of commissioners or with unsuitable personnel?
The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
In the honourable senator’s question he refers to the Report of the President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission of August 1970. This Report bears the date 11th December 1970 and was not tabled in the House of Representatives until the 24th February 1971 and in the Senate on the following day.
As mentioned in my supplementary answer to a question asked by the honourable senator on 23rd February (Hansard, 23rd May 1972, pages 1945-6) Mr Commissioner Stanton was appointed on 5th April 1971. I also mentioned that there was a need for further appointments of Commissioners and Presidential Members to the Commission but that the nature and number of these appointments would be affected by the outcome of the consideration by Parliament of the Bill to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
Following the amendments to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act in the last Parliamentary Session advertisements for applications for appointment as Commissioner were placed in newspapers in June 1972 as follows: 10th and 14th June Melbourne - ‘The Age’ and ‘The Sun’
Sydney - ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’
Brisbane - ‘The Courier-Mail’
Adelaide - ‘The Advertiser’
Perth - ‘The West Australian’
Hobart- The Mercury’
Newcastle - ‘Newcastle Morning Herald’
Canberra - ‘The Canberra Times’
National - ‘The Australian’
National - ‘The Australian Financial Review’ 16th June- Melbourne-‘ The Herald’
Brisbane- ‘The Telegraph’
The applications are now receiving my personal attention and I expect that recommendations for further appointments will be made to the GovernorGeneral in the near future.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 August 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720817_senate_27_s53/>.