27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The Senate met at 3 p.m.
– I have to announce that the President and the Chairman of Committees are both unavoidably absent.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) proposed:
That Senator Wood do take the chair of the Senate to act as President for this day.
– I second the motion and in doing so express the regret of the Opposition at the fact that both the President and the Chairman of Committees are indisposed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senator WOOD thereupon took the chair.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - It is with regret that I, too, mention the absence of the President and the Chairman of Committees through illness. We hope that they will soon be with us again in renewed good health. At the same time I take the opportunity of thanking honourable senators for the confidence they have reposed in me by appointing me to act as President.
The ACTING PRESIDENT read prayers.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) agreed to:
That so much of standing order No. 30 be suspended as would prevent Senator Wood from taking the chair of the Senate to act as President for each day on which the President and the Chairman of Committees are absent.
– I wish to inform the Senate that the Minister for Health and the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, is still in hospital and is not expected to resume duty until 11th September. During his absence the Minister for Immigration, Dr Forbes, will be Acting Minister for Health. In this chamber I shall represent the Prime Minister. The Minister for Works, Senator Wright, will represent the Minister for Defence. The Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Cotton, will repre- sent the Treasurer. The Attorney-General, Senator Greenwood, will represent the Acting Minister for Health.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services or, alternatively, the Minister representing the Prime Minister - whoever deals with the matter in this chamber. I ask about the belated inquiry into poverty which was announced by the Prime Minister a few days ago. When will the Government give the full terms of reference of this inquiry and details of the membership of the body which will be making the inquiry?
– I think the Prime Minister indicated over the last 2 or 3 days that many of the details relating to the actual terms of reference had been settled upon and that he hoped, to be in a position to make an announcement in the immediate future. I am not in a position to take the matter any further than the Prime Minister has done but I shall indicate to the Minister for Social Services, whom 1 represent, the interest of Senator Murphy and the Senate. I shall give Senator Murphy as soon as possible such information as I am able to obtain.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior whether he is aware that a caravan is parked in front of Parliament House with a sign on it which reads ‘Save Lake Pedder’? Has the Minister for the Interior found another loophole in the ACT Ordinance which will have to be rectified during the next recess of Parliament?
– I have noticed the caravan to which the honourable senator refers. I am interested to see that it is still there. I shall direct the query of the honourable senator to the responsible Minister and see whether I can obtain some information on the subject for the honourable senator.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services. By way of preface I point out that the Department of Social Services issues pensioners with hearing aid units, calaids/ E type, at a rental of $10. Is it a fact that batteries for these units cost pensioners $2.60 for a set of 6 which last 480 hours, whereas 6 batteries for other privately purchased units cost 40c less and last 50 per cent longer? Will the Minister consider issuing units which use the more economically priced batteries or, better still, put batteries used for this purpose on the free list?
– I am unable of my own knowledge to confirm or deny any of the propositions which the honourable senator has stated. I am quite sure that the Minister for Social Services will be most interested to do something about the matter if what the honourable senator alleges is true. I shall convey the substance of the honourable senator’s question to the Minister. I am sure that he will examine the matter closely. I shall endeavour to obtain an answer for the honourable senator as quickly as possible.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport been drawn to a report in this morning’s Press that the Australian National Line is to have a new container ship, 730 feet long, built in Japan? Will the Minister further consider the matter with a view to having this ship built in Australia and so help preserve the Australian shipbuilding industry and the jobs of many Australians?
– This is something about which I have not read. Therefore it will be necessary for me to direct the question to the appropriate Minister. I shall do this.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration whether a request has been received from the British Government for Australia to accept as migrants some of the Asians whom the Government of Uganda is to expel from their homeland? If so, what are the terms of the request?
– I am unable to answer in full the question which the honourable senator has asked. I suggest that he put it on the notice paper and 1 shall endeavour to arrange for the Minister to give an answer quickly.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration: Is it a fact that 5 Australian citizens, McLeod, Van Moorst, Lehane and 2 others recently visited Hanoi? Is it a fact that these 5 people carried Australian passports marked ‘Not valid for North Vietnam’? Does the Minister know that on his return McLeod appeared on a television programme, which I saw, to say that the purpose of their visit was to boost the morale and assist the North Vietnamese in their struggle? In view of the fact that we still have 150 Australian soldiers advising and - not to put too fine a point on it - fighting in South Vietnam, will the Minister investigate the circumstances of this visit to ascertain whether this giving of aid to a country with which our troops are in fact in conflict is in breach of the provisions of the Crimes Act relating to treachery? 1 am not a member of the Rhodesian lobby and I ask the Minister to explain why it is in order to allow this. If he will not analyse that position, can. the Minister explain why it is in order to allow assistance to North Vietnam with which we are virtually at war and not to Rhodesia with which we are not at war? Can the Minister say whether the proposed visit to Hanoi of the Chairman of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party,. Mr George Crawford, is for the same purpose as that of McLeod and his friends? Can the Minister explain why Hanoi’s friends are allowed to keep Australian passports but Rhodesia’s are not?
– A number of subsidiary questions are involved in the substantive question which Senator Hannan has asked and I will endeavour to answer each of them as I took them down while he spoke. It is a fact that 5 citizens recently visited North Vietnam. It is a fact that they had Australian passports and that those passports were marked not valid for North Vietnam, so entry into North Vietnam was effected by arrangement with the North Vietnam Government, Certainly as far as the Austraiian passport was concerned, it did not of its own authority request any passage or ease of movement to be given to that entry into North Vietnam. I understand that since their return some members of that delegation have appeared on radio and television, and it has been reported, to my knowledge, that the purpose of their visit was to boost the morale of the North Vietnamese people and to provide information for people in Australia. One can only make the comment that the type of information which they would seek to supply in Australia would be information designed to encourage those who look for a victory on the part of North Vietnam.
I will investigate the question of whether there has been any breach of the Crimes Act but I think the honourable senator is aware that section 24 of the Crimes Act, which would be the normal section to which he would look, does not operate in respect of the conflict which is occurring between Australian forces and North Vietnamese forces because there has been no proclamation which that section requires for its operation.
On the question whether the position of these 5 persons who visited North Vietnam is to be equated to the position of the 3 Australian citizens who have been denied passports because they are significant persons in the employ of the Rhodesian Government, the simple answer to that point is that Australia has been seeking to act in accordance with its international obligations in the case of persons employed by the Rhodesian Government. It has been a matter of regret, of course, over a long period that the United Nations has not been able to find any resolution whatsoever in regard to the North Vietnam conflict. I think that all Australians would recognise, that the visit of certain persons to North Vietnam in circumstances in which they must have the encouragement of the North Vietnamese Government to be able to enter that country, is certainly to be regarded as denigrating the efforts which Australian forces have made in South Vietnam in support of the Government of South Vietnam against what is unmistakably and unquestionably aggression from North Vietnam. I think that we in Australia have set our faces against aggression throughout our history. It is regrettable that some people, including the State President of the ALP in Victoria, are prepared to lend support to a country which is so blatantly engaged in aggression.
– Three months ago I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration the following brief question:
In the case of the cancellation of the passport of an Australian citizen travelling abroad, has that citizen the right to see the allegations made against him and is he given the opportunity to rebut them; if so, to whom should he apply?
That is a simple question and I would expect it to take perhaps half an hour to compile an answer to it. I am unable to understand why I have not received a reply although it is 3 months since the question was asked and I request the Minister to obtain an answer for me.
– I assume that Senator McManus’s statement was in the form of a question and a request to me as Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. I shall convey his request to the Minister and trust that the honourable senator will be given the information that he seeks as soon as possible.
– Does the Minister representing the Treasurer recall the debate in the Senate when a taxation concession known as the investment allowance was reinstated to assist and encourage manufacturing industry to install new production plant? Does the Minister recall that during the debate the Government gave an indication that it would review provisions of the Act which precluded companies involved in the construction industry from obtaining the benefits inherent in that legislation? Has the Government yet reviewed its earlier decision with a view to accepting the construction and building industries as being manufacturing industries within the terms of the aforementioned legislation?
– I remember the debate. 1 remember the matter being raised and I remember the honourable senator’s part in relation to that matter. I understand that it is subject to review and that a review is taking place. I have no precise information beyond that, but I shall find out for the honourable senator what is the current situation.
– My question is addressed to Senator Cotton in his capacity as Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. What is the Government’s reaction to the assurance given by the People’s Republic of China to the Canadian Government that Canada can count on China as a long term customer for wheat? Is it a fact that Chinese wheat purchases from Canada have been worth about $840m in the past decade? If so, how does this huge trade figure compare with the amount that the Australian Government’s refusal to recognise China has cost the wheat farmers of Australia?
– I shall need to get more information on the actual sums of money as I do not have that information with me. An assurance similar to that mentioned by the honourable senator was given in July last year by China to Canada. They do not represent a significant departure from established practice on the part of China. For the past few years China has negotiated first with Canada and later with other suppliers to which it turned for additional requirements. The assurance given to Canada does not mean a commitment to buy; the operative words are ‘first opportunity’. However, as in the past, Canada can be expected to supply on terms acceptable to the Chinese because it has, I understand, a particularly preferred hard wheat. In the meantime the Australian Wheat Board has maintained its firm and friendly commercial relations with Chinese wheat buyers. A delegation visited China late last year. The world wheat trade at present is quite buoyant. Australia’s carry-over of stocks at the end of the current selling season will be very substantially reduced.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Has the Australian Government participated in any of the diplomatic initiatives which have tried to persuade General
Amin to alter his decision , to expel all Asians at present living in Uganda? Does the Government have any proposals for action to persuade the Ugandan Government to desist from or delay proceeding with its expulsion orders?
– I atn able, to inform the honourable senator that the matter is under the current attention of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Immigration. It is a matter which is developing from period to period, and therefore it is appropriate that I refer the question to the Minister for an answer from him.
– My question to the Minister representing the. Minister for Foreign Affairs relates, to a degree, to the one asked by Senator Willesee. Can the Minister tell the Senate whether a protest has been lodged by any government to the United Nations with regard to the racially discriminatory actions of .the Ugandan Government in expelling both national and non-national Asians from that country?
– This aspect of the matter has been the subject’, pf consideration. But I am not able, to inform the honourable senator as to whether any protest actually has been lodged with the United Nations up to this time.
– Does the AttorneyGeneral recall that during the last sessional period I asked him some questions relating to the recruitment of legal officers to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel? I now ask him whether he has any information which he can give to the Senate on this question, particularly bearing in mind that approximately 3 years ago the Parliament took steps to enhance the Office of Parliamentary Counsel with the idea of attracting officers to that area of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department which appear not to have had the effect which they were intended to have? Can he give any assurance to the Senate that the present apparently unsatisfactory position of recruitment of officers to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel can be corrected in any way or improved to any degree?
– I know that the honourable senator asked me a question on this subject during the last sessional period. 1 do not recall the details of it. But I remember that it was just prior to a further extensive advertising campaign which was to be engaged in. That advertising campaign has resulted in a fairly large number of applications - large in comparison to the response on earlier occasions - for appointment to various offices within the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. Unfortunately, all the applications received were from persons who had had no prior experience of drafting. Those applications are currently being examined with a view to appointing those persons whom it is felt have some future in the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office. Of course, the unfortunate fact is that we have not received any applications from persons who have had experience in drafting either In the States or overseas. It is at that higher’ level that there are particularly pressing problems which have existed over a number of years. The fact that no applications have been received at that level may be attributed to a number of factors. One is that generally there is a shortage of parliamentary draftsmen, not only in Australia, but world wide. Another factor is the difficulty of attracting persons having regard to the emoluments which are offering in the drafting service. I can say in respect of emoluments, only that there is a divided responsibility, part of which rests with the Public Service Board and part of which rests with the Parliament which, of course, has declined recently to improve the salary of Parliamentary Counsel officers above the level which was fixed some years ago. These are all aspects of a wide problem. I can only assure the honourable senator that I am doing what I can to bring the attractions of this office to the attention of as many people as possible. But it is very difficult in the light of the difficulties which I have mentioned to get very far with this matter.
Government take up with the Council, with the ministers for transport in the various States or with the automobile associations the possibility of altering the rule of the road whereby the motorist must give way to the person on the right? Would the Minister agree that when driving a car a driver’s vision is far greater to the left than it is to the right? In the United States of America where a person drives on the left of the car, does he give way to the person on the left which is the reverse of the position in Australia?
– The Commonwealth Minister for Shipping and Transport is involved with his State transport colleagues in the Australian Road Transport Advisory Council. There they meet in a spirit of cooperative federalism and discuss these matters. I know that the matter which the honourable senator has raised is one of concern to quite a number of people who are driving and that it is said that the present rule does not help road safety. T think that I should send this matter to the appropriate Commonwealth Minister to see what he can do about it.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry ask the Minister for Primary Industry to give further consideration to the request of the Upper Murray ExServicemen’s Land Settlement Association in South Australia for a review of valuations of members’ lands, on the specific grounds of the necessity to replace original plantings of citrus and other fruit trees consequent upon incorrect advice on the suitability of certain areas for such plantings? Will further consideration be given to requests from the ex-servicemen for the writing off of accumulated debts to the Government, arising from the ill advised plantings and other personally unavoidable conditions and disabilities?
– On a number of occasions the honourable senator has raised this matter. I well recall the people whom he is representing coming to Canberra to discuss with the Department of Primary Industry a matter in regard to rent paid by war service land settlers. Now he has introduced this question. I know that the Minister for Primary Industry is examining this matter. I certainly will make representations to the Minister. Over the years his door has always been open for representatives of primary producers to approach him. My understanding is that in the very near future the Minister hopes to be in a position to make a statement on this matter.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport aware that various Australian shipbuilders have recently stated publicly that the current Commonwealth Government attitude to shipbuilding subsidies is producing a crisis in Australian shipyards now suffering from lack of orders and is resulting in a dependence upon foreign shipbuilders? Is it a fact that foreign countries, including Canada, the United States of America and Japan, insist upon a substantial portion of their national trade being carried in their ships and that since October 1970 the United States programme puts its target at 17 per cent while the comparable Australian quota is 1.7 per cent? Will the Minister consider to what extent these policies might be revised in order to assist Australian interests?
– I listened with interest to the honourable senator’s question. The substantive part of the question asked me to ask the responsible Minister to take into account the policies and practices of other countries which have a fairly large overseas trade. Yes, I certainly will ask him to do that.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior been drawn to the success achieved by the proprietor of the Canberra abattoir in re-establishing the abattoir to a high standard, notwithstanding the successful attempts by the Government to allow the abattoir to deteriorate to such a state that the highest medical authority in the Australian Capital Territory condemned the hygiene standards at the abattoir as being nil? In view of the success achieved in re-establishing the abattoir to its present satisfactory standard, does the Government now express regret to the Senate because of its failure to appoint Government representatives to the select committe appointed by the Senate to examine all aspects associated with the attempt to close the Canberra abattoir which, if effected, would have been to the detriment of the community in the Australian Capital Territory?
– The honourable senator has asked me, as the representative in this chamber of the Minister for the Interior, whether my attention has been drawn to the facts of life of the Canberra abattoir. It had not been, but the honourable senator has now done so. Beyond that I do not think that there is a question contained in what he said. The honourable senator has merely made some observations on his own part as a member of a committee of inquiry.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health. In the event of the suspected outbreak of foot, and mouth disease in Australia are there facilities here to determine whether it is in fact foot and mouth disease or would suspected samples have to be sent overseas? If the latter is the case, how long would it take for the result of such tests to be determined?
– There are no facilities in Australia for the diagnosis of foot and mouth disease, but arrangements have been made, with the World Reference Laboratory, which is situated in England, for the examination of foot -and mouth disease specimens sent from Australia. That is the arrangement which would operate if there were any suspected cases in this country. The results of the tests on the samples which are sent from’ Australia could be expected within about one week of the samples being sent.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Has a Taxation Board of Review, under section 62ab of the Income Tax Assessment Act, disallowed the 20 per cent allowance on farm machinery which is used to contract on neighbouring farms? In view of the need, due to economic circumstances, for farmers to cut down on capital expenditure, will the Minister give some consideration to introducing amending legislation to have this allowance restored in these circumstances?
– I am not familiar with the intimate details of the decision that the honourable senator referred to of the Taxation Board of Review, but I think that the point he has made that in these circumstances there is a stong case for farmers to join together in owning machinery in a co-operative sense is a good and sensible one. I shall take up the matter with the Treasurer.
– My question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral relates to the recent decision of the Postmaster-General to acquire the Telmar medical radio paging service telephone network. I ask: What will be the cost to the people of Australia of this acquisition? What steps have been taken to ensure that the people who have bought units for it are not inconvenienced? What was the reason for the takeover?
– I am not in a position to give any information on those matters. I think the appropriate course to follow would be for the Minister to have a look at the honourable senator’s question. I suggest that the question be put on notice.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. I ask: Why is $800 per annum more paid to an Asian or African undergraduate student under the Colombo Plan as a living allowance than is paid to an Australian Aboriginal student? Why is $1,355 per annum more paid to an Asian or African postgraduate student under the Colombo Plan as a living allowance than is paid to an Australian Aboriginal student? Why is an establishment allowance of $124 upon arrival to Australia and an annual allowance of $85 paid to an Asian or African student and only $75 at commencement to any single Aboriginal student who finds it necessary to live away from home for study purposes?
– I am sure that Senator Cavanagh would not expect me to go into a comparison of these actual figures at question time. I shall have the figures referred to the Minister for Education and Science and get from him a detailed answer explaining the reason for the various amounts. But lest the result of Senator Cavanagh’s question should be to leave the impression that the Aboriginal community is being neglected in some way, even in regard to scholarships, Senator Cavanagh should be reminded that the amount of benefits granted to the Aboriginal community is to be increased by no less than $21m in the present Budget.
– My question which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, refers to the statement made by the Minister in the Senate on Thursday. Does the Minister agree that the segment of that statement dealing with teacher education shows a substantial Commonwealth involvement in this sphere of education? Can he say when the further consultations referred to will be held with the State authorities to work out the details of this new support? Is the Minister aware that this section of the statement reflects a wide and favourable response by the Government to the major recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, whose report on teacher education was put down earlier this year?
– I am very glad that Senator Davidson, as Chairman of the Senate Committee which inquired into and reported upon this matter, should notice immediately the consideration which the Minister for Education and Science has given to the Senate Committee’s report on this important subject. As a result of the recommendations of the Senate Committee, of which, as I say, Senator Davidson was Chairman, my colleague, the Minister lor Education and Science, made a statement which refers to a substantially increased involvement in the question of teacher education. As to when the consultations referred to in the statement will take place, I am unable to make available any information additional to that contained in the statement. Finally, of course, It should be noted that Commonwealth assistance for teacher training in the present year has been markedly increased. I do not have the exact figure at hand at the moment, but the degree to which teacher training has been advanced over the last period has been remarkable.
Has the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral recently seen statements attributed to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the PostmasterGeneral, that the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s current affairs programme “This Day Tonight’ is showing too much bias? Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to a report in this morning’s Melbourne ‘Age’ which states that that newspaper has not yet received one letter in support of these ministerial assertions? Can the Minister square the recent pronouncements and assertions by these senior Government Ministers with the statement made in Parliament by the Postmaster-General, as recently as 24th February, that in all its programming ‘This Day Tonight’ presented a balance of views on issues of concern to the Australian people?
– I have seen the statements attributed to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Postmaster-General and, knowing what they said, I feel that it is alarming that there should be such a misconstruction of what they said by elements in the media hostile to the gentlemen to whom the honourable senator referred. I think it is unquestioned that ‘This Day Tonight’ does present an unbalanced viewpoint, and one does not have to look very far to find corroborative evidence for that suggestion. Not only is it said, I think, by the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission and by the Postmaster-General that hundreds of complaints are received with regard to ABC current affairs programmes but the newspaper the ‘Australian’, which Opposition senators often suggest to Government senators is the one newspaper upon which one can rely, said in an editorial yesterday that it is patently clear that there is a lack of objectivity and balance in current affairs programmes on the ABC, which would Include ‘This Day Tonight*. The ‘Australian’ then proceeded to give, in its own judgment, as patent a case of bias as one could imagine which had been on This Day Tonight’ last Friday night.
I mention these matters only to say that there is a widespread view, contrary to the suggestion made by Senator Douglas McClelland, that there is bias in these programmes. I think that the point that the Postmaster-General was concerned to make when he initially made his statement was that there was a responsibility on the part of the commissioners, as the independent people whom the Parliament has appointed, to exercise authority and control in their own domain. It is quite apparent from recent statements which have been made by some staff people in the ABC that they regard themselves as a law unto themselves. It was to encourage the Commission to exercise that authority that the Postmaster-General made his statement. He made that statement and, as I understand it, nothing more. I feel in those circumstances that the suggestion made by many people, who want to back the Australian Labor Party, that there is an attempt at political censorship is quite unjustified.
– My question is directed to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate, who is representing the Prime Minister. Will the Minister inform the Parliament whether it is a fact that the National President of the Australian Conservation Foundation refused to make any statement condemning the possible pollution caused by the recent series of French nuclear tests in the Pacific? I also ask whether it is a fact that the Australian Conservation Foundation is heavily subsidised by the Commonwealth Government? Further, will the Minister advise whether the Foundation was requested by the Government to make public statements against the bomb tests in support of those issued belatedly by the Government?
– The honourable senator has not indicated when or where this person refused to say these things. I would like that information.
– It is only in the last few weeks.
– If the honourable senators puts his question on notice, I will find out what this person did say.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Senator
Wood) - Order! I draw the attention of honourable senators to the presence in the President’s Gallery of the Chairman, Mr Boas, and members of the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Assembly of Papua New Guinea. On behalf of honourable senators, I extend to them a warm welcome. 1 hope that they enjoy their Visit to the Senate and to Canberra.
Honourable senators - Hear, hear!
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry read a report in the Canberra Times’ claiming that the general manager of the Australian Wool Commission has stated that there could be dangers if wool prices rise too rapidly; that too sharp a rise could result in a change against wool in the blend of fibres, resulting in a prices reversal? Does the Minister agree that if wool became too dear processors and manufacturers might turn again to synthetics? Finally, what control, if any, has the Australian Wool Commission over maximum prices for wool?
– I think that the source from which the honourable senator obtained his information would be looking back to the years that we all recollect - the early 1950s - when wool prices rose quite considerably at the time of the Korean war. Although a few wool producers received quite good prices in the whole season, the industry as a whole did not. In fact, it suffered as a result of those prices. Perhaps the general manager of the Commission is thinking of that experience. Although I believe that wool prices could still rise, I am quite sure that no-one in the industry at the present time would like to see prices go too high. We feel the effects of increasing costs and I well recall at an arbitration court hearing at which 1 was present the advocate for the shearers saying: ‘Well, wool prices are so high now that we believe that we should get our share of what the industry is reaping’. This too has an effect on the situation. The Commission can impose reserve prices but generally they are minimum reserves, not maximum prices.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport: With the proposed introduction of a 35-hour week for members of the Australian Waterside Federation, will the Minister say what will be the increase in costs on the Australian waterfront and what effect these increased costs will have on shipping freights generally?
– I cannot say what the effect of this will be except that I should imagine it will be to increase costs quite effectively. One can make the observation that Australia is a trading nation of some consequence - the tenth or eleventh largest in the world - and that therefore we are dependent indeed on efficiency and costs on our waterfront. All Australians therefore would have some concern about this problem.
– Has the attention of the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate been drawn to articles which appeared in the daily Press on Saturday 19th August 1972 under the headings Usher to be armed’ and ‘Senators to get the sword’, followed by statements that a sword is to be added to the Senate’s security measures this week? Can the Acting Leader of the Government inform the Senate why it is necessary for the Usher of the Black Rod to bear arms? Further, can the Acting Leader of the Government indicate whether it is his intention to seek the approval of the Senate before allowing the carrying of offensive weapons in this chamber?
– J have not seen the reports which the honourable senator says appeared in the daily Press on Saturday last - I was in Western Australia on Saturday - nor have they been drawn to my attention. This is a matter for the President of the Senate. I shall discuss it with him and should we then have any comment to make we shall make it.
– Does the AttorneyGeneral recall that, in his own words, the purpose of the Criminology Research Bill was to establish facilities on a national level for the conduct of research into crime and for the training of persons engaged in the prevention and control of criminal behaviour? Does he recall that he also said that clearly the provision of facilities for research into crime is an urgent and a pressing need, and that if the results that were desired were to be achieved, firm and vigorous action must be taken now? As the Attorney-General made those statements on 30th March 1971 and soon afterwards this Parliament passed the Criminology Research Bill which was assented to on 6th April 1971, can he tell us why it has not yet been proclaimed?
– The Criminology Research Act will be brought into operation as soon as a Director of the Institute of Criminology has been appointed. I am sure Senator Murphy is aware that the functioning of the scheme to which he refers is dependent upon the appointment of a Director of .the Institute. Each of the 6 States has named its representative on the Criminology Research Council but before those persons can operate the Act must be brought into operation. The whole scheme will pivot upon appointment of a Director. The position of Director of the Institute of Criminology has been advertised in capital city newspapers throughout Australia and the applications that have been received for that position are currently under consideration. The Senate will agree, I think, that the functioning of this Institute requires as the Director a person who is not only seized of the importance of the problem which he is to undertake but must also have the qualities and abilities to function in accordance with the intention of this scheme. It is an important position and every consideration is being given to the applicants who have applied for it.
– I preface my question by referring to the Attorney-General’s answer to a question on a visit to North Vietnam by a group of Australians. I ask the Attorney-General: Were passports granted to the 10 men recently killed in a clash with Yugoslav soldiers and, if so, could it fairly be said that the Australian Government’s failure to prevent this armed incursion against a state with which Australia has diplomatic relations was more detrimental to our international reputation than the use of passports by Australian people who are trying to establish, after years of governmental untruths, the real situation in Vietnam?
– It appears to me that Senator O’Byrne is seeking to justify, as best he can - no matter how implausible the reasoning might be - the visit to North Vietnam of certain persons who support his party, in preference to our party, in order to boost the morale of the North Vietnamese people. I think that is unmistakable. His attempt to link the issue of passports to people who went to North Vietnam with what happened recently in Yugoslavia is also without foundation.
The honourable senator will appreciate that most of the persons who went to North Vietnam were issued with passports in order to travel overseas. Those passports were not valid for North Vietnam. In the case of persons who allegedly were recently killed in Yugoslavia, he will appreciate that a Press statement was made by me within the last fortnight setting out certain facts. Those facts were, from recollection, that 5 - it may have been 6 - of the persons whose names were handed to the Press by the Yugoslav Government were naturalised Australians. The others were not. In no case was any passport issued specifically to enable them to go to Europe to do what they are subsequently alleged to have done. The attempt of the honourable senator to suggest that there is some connivance by the Government in what happened in Yugoslavia, in the way that a connivance could reasonably be attributed to sections of the Australian Labor Party in relation to the persons who went to North Vietnam, fails because of a lack of any basis - and I commend to him that all questions asked this Senate ought to have some basis in fact.
– My question which is addressed to the AttorneyGeneral relates to an answer given earlier to a question asked by Senator Devitt regarding the Government’s failure to recruit additional legal draftsmen to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. In view of this failure, which has extended over a lengthy period and which is obviously having an adverse effect on the preparation of urgent legislation, has the Government considered drawing on the services of experienced barristers to assist, on a temporary basis, in the drafting of urgent legislation which we are constantly told will be presented to Parliament in the near future.
– I suppose it is fair for the Opposition to say that there has been a failure on the part of the Government to recruit officers to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The effort has recently been made but there are not enough persons willing to take the positions. I think this would be the situation whatever the Government. The suggestion which has been made by Senator James McClelland is one upon which the Government has acted in the past. It is not currently being acted upon because when counsel are briefed .to undertake the drafting of legislation it is very difficult to have this work done expeditiously, for counsel, of course, have their ordinary work to perform. Furthermore, so much time is taken up by officers of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel giving instructions from time to time to counsel that more time is wasted than is saved.
This matter has been looked at over the years. I see no reason to depart from the present practice. Of course, the honourable senator will be aware that for the drafting of the general insurance legislation which the Government hopes to introduce this session arrangements were made to have a Victorian State draftsman lent to the Commonwealth. That assistance was very much appreciated. The problem with regard to parliamentary draftsmen is, essentially, that not many people are attracted to the work. One factor in attracting people is the provision of a higher salary. That is an area in which the Senate has been disinclined to act by its vote, I think once in the last 12 months. Certainly in recent times the Senate has refused to lift the salaries of parliamentary counsel. This is a factor to which I think honourable senators could address their minds if they are concerned about this problem in the way in which it has been suggested today they are concerned.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the Minister take note that at meetings and demonstrations throughout Australia the gravest possible concern is being expressed by migrants to this country from behind the Iron Curtain at a revival, instigated by the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, of a system’ of repression, tyranny and deprivation of human rights such as one had hoped would have disappeared to some degree in those countries? Will the Minister make available details of the recent trials of intellectuals, writers and others, particularly in the Baltic countries, in the Ukraine, and especially in Czechoslovakia where it is being freely said today that liberty has been destroyed completely?
– I certainly take note of what Senator McManus has said andean assure him that the position is being closely Watched, especially in relation to the prosecutions that have been taking place recently, after such a long delay, in Czechoslovakia. This situation is entirely foreign to our system of trial and prosecution, and is one which I think anyone would agree makes an assault’ upon the fundamental human rights of people affected by those prosecutions.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Does a section of the Tariff Board report on shipbuilding lay the burden of national defence on a few small yards capable of producing only small ships such as minesweepers, patrol vessels and landing barges? Has the Government accepted this section of the report? If so, is this a clue to the Government’s intention not to encourage the building of large ships? What steps does the Minister propose to take to protect the jobs of thousands of skilled labourers and millions of dollars annually if such a policy is not drastically altered?
– I am unable to help the honourable senator. I cannot have all these papers with me. I do not have a copy of the Tariff Board report. Even if 1 did I would be unable to draw the conclusions from it that he does. He will have to put this question on notice for me to get an answer for him from the responsible Minister.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Supply. Is he aware of the practice in Sydney of private hire cars being hired by the Department of Supply - this is outside the Commonwealth pool - and that such vehicles are not fitted with seat belts? Should not the Commonwealth be setting an example in this matter by insisting that any vehicles which are hired in this way have seat belts fitted?
– I think the Commonwealth has set the example with its own cars. It has been doing this for some time. I am not aware of the practice of which the honourable senator speaks but I shall make inquiries of the Minister for Supply and get some information for him.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior whether voting facilities can be provided for the recording of absentee votes in any polling booth throughout Australia at the next Commonwealth election without the need for amendments to the existing Commonwealth Electoral Act?
– I think this question should properly be forwarded to the Minister for the Interior so that I can ascertain the exact situation for the honourable senator.
- Mr Acting President, are you aware that recent additions to Parliament House have proved already to be pitifully inadequate? Have you ever opened your office window and found sufficient space to attend to a 5-man deputation at the same time? Will you, as Acting President, use your good offices to get a proper inspection of areas occupied by members and staff and investigate what remedial action can be taken to effect some immediate improvement in both cases?
The ACTING PRESIDENT- It would be a big step for an Acting President to take it upon himself to make alterations of the kind suggested by the honourable senator. I shall be pleased to obtain whatever information I can for him.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. In view of the report by Mr Justice Kirby in August 1970 of vacancies for industrial commissioners, were any advertisements to fill the vacancies inserted in any newspaper between 1970 and June 1972 as referred to in an answer given to me last Thursday? Were any applications for the position of industrial commissioner received between August 1970 and June 1972? How many applications for the position of industrial commissioner were received as a result of advertisements placed in Australian newspapers in June 1972?
– I shall have to refer to the files and the officers of the Department to obtain the details sought by the honourable senator.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. The Minister was quoted in the ‘Mercury’ of 31st July 1972 as saying that the independent schools of Australia had 22 per cent of the total enrolments but had received only 10 per cent of Commonwealth money advanced to all schools. Will the Minister please make available the calculations which led him to make this statement? Are indirect grants in the form of Commonwealth taxation deductions to the extent of $70m and indirect grants available to nonState schools listed in the brochure ‘Government Grants - Allowances and Subsidies for Primary and Secondary Schools and their Pupils’ issued by the Commonwealth Department of Education and Science included in these calculations?
– The honourable senator’s question refers to figures that have come from the Minister with regard to aid given to non-government schools in relation to that given to government schools. The question will have to be perused carefully before an accurate answer can be given and time will be necessary for that purpose.
-Will the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service indicate whether the Government will approve of the arrangements for working hours advanced by the Tourist Bureau representatives so that employees in that industry will be asked to work less than the standard 120 hours in a 3-week period?
– I have not seen any statement to that effect. I should like to see the statement in its context. Having had some experience as Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities I am at a loss to see why shorter hours should be worked by people in that industry. Perhaps I could be permitted to express a personal view that those working in that industry might expect to work extraordinary hours having regard to the nature of the industry.
– I direct a question to you, Mr Acting President. Last week a question was addressed to the President in regard to parking for members of the Parliament outside Parliament House. What has been done about this? Honourable senators cannot park in the parking area. I promise that I will park right in front of the Prime Minister’s car next time I cannot find a parking place. Then we may get some action.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- I cannot give an immediate answer to the honourable senator’s question. I will try to obtain the information for him.
– I direct a question to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as Minister for Air. In view of the fact that the Budget papers state that over $3 6m in increased payments is expected to be made on the Fill aircraft and medium lift helicopters, can he say how much of that amount represents higher payments for the Fill air craft and how much will be spent on the helicopters? Does this mean that the price of the Fill has gone up once again without any public statement by the Government?
– The price of the Fill project is still $344m; it has not gone up. I think that I had better look at the remainder of the question to see what is wanted. I will pass this information on to the honourable senator.
– When are we getting them? . .
– Next May.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General.. Why is it that, with the great surplus of eggs and butter in Australia, these commodities are not made available to prison caterers for inclusion in the daily diet of prisoners detained in Commonwealth prisons?
– I am a little nonplussed by the honourable senator’s question. In fact, there are no Commonwealth prisons. There is a prison in Darwin -
– There is one in Alice Springs also.
– Yes, there is a prison in Alice Springs also. They are the responsibility of the Northern Territory Administration. I suggest that the honourable senator might direct, his question to the Minister for the Interior if he wants to rind out the fare in those prisons.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- I lay on the table the report of the Reserve Bank Board on the operations of the Reserve Bank of Australia together with financial statements and reports of the Auditor-General thereon for the year ended 30th June 1972.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- I lay on the table the following paper:
Treasurer’s Statement of Receipts and Expenditure for the year ending 30th June 1972 accompanied by the report of the AuditorGeneral thereon and upon other accounts for the year 1971-72.
– I seek leave to make a statement relating to the presentation of the Treasurer’s Statement of Receipts and Expenditure for 1971-72.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Although it is not the normal practice to comment on the presentation of the Statement of Receipts and Expenditure, I do so on this occasion because I wish to draw the attention of honourable senators to certain changes in the form of the Statement and to explain their significance. These changes have been made on advice of my officers following an in-depth review of the information required to be included in the Statement. The changes, which were discussed by Treasury officers with the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, make for a more logical and informative presentation of the statement required to be prepared by the Treasurer under section 50 of the Audit Act 1901-1969. Honourable senators will, as a result, be better informed because of the material now contained in that statement.
In Table No. 5 - Expenditure Classified Under Heads of Appropriation - the heading for each department has been altered to show clearly the funds appropriated to that department under each annual Appropriation Act and the amount, if any, provided from the Advance to the Treasurer. The total actual expenditure has then been deducted from the total funds provided, the resultant figure being the total amount unexpended and which lapsed at 30th June in accordance with section 36 of the Audit Act 1901-1969. In section III of the Statement - the Trust Fund - several changes have been made.
Table No. 6 lists all heads of Trust Fund and the trust accounts established under section 62a of the Audit Act. It shows the balance of each account at the beginning of the financial year, the total cash transactions and the closing balance. This year the table lists the accounts in the groupings adopted in 1968-69 following a recommendation of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts. Another important change is to show the balance at 30th June 1972 according to whether that balance is held in cash in the Commonwealth Public Account or invested. Previously all investments of the Trust Fund were included in a composite table - Table No. 13 in 1970- 71 - which did not disclose the authority for the investments. This table has been replaced by new tables Nos 7 to 12 inclusive.
Table No. 7 lists only the investments made by the Treasurer pursuant to section 62b of the Audit Act 1901-1969. Table No. 8 brings together the deposits lodged with the Treasurer under the provisions of the Insurance Act 1932-1966, the Life Insurance Act 1945-1965 and the Australian Capital Territory Trustee Companies Ordinance 1947-1968. Tables Nos 9 and 10 set out details of the cash transactions and the investments of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund and the Superannuation Fund respectively, which are made by the statutory boards under the authority of the relevant legislation. Because these boards must themselves report to the Parliament annually the view is now taken that the presentation of this information should be left to them as soon as they are able to present their reports in the Budget session. It can be expected that Tables Nos 9 and 10 will disappear from the Treasurer’s Statement next year.
The receipts and payments of these funds flow through the Commonwealth Public Account because of the integration of accounting arrangements. For this reason, the balances now shown in Tables Nos 6, 9 and 10 report cash or uninvested balances of the funds and do not any longer include the invested balances, which of course, appear as assets in the financial statements of the respective boards. These invested balances do not form part of the Treasurer’s Accounts and this form of presentation is designed to provide a more precise statement of the position.
Tables Nos 11 and 12 similarly show the cash transactions, uninvested balances held in the Trust Fund and details of the investments of the Ministerial Retiring Allowances Fund and the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Fund made under the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Act 1948-1968. These tables will continue to be included in the Treasurer’s Statement as no report is made to Parliament by the controlling trust. Omitted from this year’s statement are the former Tables No. 9 - National Welfare Fund - and No. 12 - War Service Homes Insurance Account. Information in respect of the National Welfare Fund canbe found in the table published on page 25 of the attachments to the Treasurer’s Budget Speech and full details of the War Service Homes Insurance Account are provided in the report of the Directors of War Service Homes. It is unnecessary duplication, therefore, to continue to include this information in the Treasurer’s Statement.
– I move:
That the Senate take note of the statement. I seek leave to make my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– For the Information of honourable senators, I present the annual report of the Territory of Christmas Island for the year ended 30th June 1971.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the annual report of the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands for the year ended 30th June 1971.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the annual report for the Territory of Norfolk Island for the year ended 30th June 1971.
Tabling of Paper (see page 301).
Reports on Items
Senator COTTON (New South Wales-
Minister for Civil Aviation) - I present the following reports by the Tariff Board:
Metal working machine tools and accessories; and Copper oxychloride (Dumping and Subsidies Act).
The latter report does not require any legislativeaction.
– I present the report of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory on proposals for variations to the planned layout of the city of Canberra and its environs, 50th series.
Ordered that the report be printed.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) agreed to:
That notices of motion Nos 2, 3, 4 and 5 be postponed till the next day of sitting.
Motion (by Senator Devitt) agreed to:
That business of the Senate notice of motion No. 1, standing in the name of Senator Devitt, be postponed until 5 sitting days after today.
- Mr Acting President, I seek leave to make a statement concerning the Government’s 5-year . defence programme.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
- Mr Acting President, this statement was made in another place last Wednesday by the Minister for Defence, Mr Fairbairn. I ask leave of the Senate to have it incorporated in Hansard.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The statement of the Minister for Defence read as follows):
I wish to outline for honourable members the Government’s decisions for the first year of the 5-year defence programme 1972-73 to 1976-77. I shall also describe the general form of the Government’s plan for the remaining 4 years of the programme. Before doing so, however, I shall re-state the Government’s conception of the essential nature of Australia’s strategic problem and its objectives for Australian defence. This will help to put the programme in its setting.
We recognise that relations between the major powers will be the predominant influence on Australia’s future strategic environment. We recognise also that those relationships could, in a variety of possible ways, give rise to situations in which Australian interests and even in the longer term Australia itself could come under threat. Precisely because of the obligations we have assumed under the ANZUS Treaty, it is to be assumed Australia must accept the primary responsibility for the defence of its own interests and must be able, if need be, to act alone. By being prepared to act in this manner we ensure support in emergencies going beyond our capabilities.
The Government is progressively denning a long term programme of balanced force development which will ensure that in the changing circumstances of the future Australia will be able to act with the necessary measure of independence - both in peacetime and in war. In so acting Australia must be able to protect its interests beyond, as well as within, its continental boundaries; to support its friends and allies in the protection of mutual interests in the region: and, having these capabilities, to be able to continue to contribute responsibly to the development of a climate of confidence and security in the region and to the deterrence of threats generally.
All this implies an Australian concept of defence, which, though based on continental strength, will not be limited to the employment of capabilities matched to the specialised requirements of continental defence alone. We are developing forces specifically capable of acting in the broad maritime and archipelago surrounds of the continent, if this should be needed, no less than in defence of our beaches and our hinterland. We reject all policies which would, whether by doctrine or by the de facto denial of external facilities or suitable equipment, confine our Services to no more than a continental role.
My statement in this House of 28th March 1972 on Defence and the Australian Defence Review (Parliamentary Paper No. 25 of 1972 presented to Parliament on 28th March 1972) described the strategic outlook for the next 2 decades and the specific factors influencing the development of Australia’s forces. Our defence effort must provide for present needs. But sophisticated equipments take a long time to acquire and bring into service and then they usually have a long life. Therefore we have also to take into account Australia’s likely defence needs in the 1980s in deciding what equipments to order now.
The planning introduced by the Government will allow our future defence needs to be foreseen better and to be taken into account in financial programming. It will help ensure that acquisitions of new equipment are made at the best time. Programming reconciles, as far as possible, all the pertinent criteria such as the rate of obsolesence of existing equipments, the time needed to bring new equipment into service, the development of new technology, the strategic outlook, our industrial situation, the financial situation at the time, and the extent of the long term financial commitments that would be entered into and handed on to future governments and parliaments.
Our defence industries, our research and development capacity and our military and civil infrastructure also contribute significantly to our defence preparedness. Their development needs to be harmonised with the development to our forces.
I shall now turn to the 5-year defence programme for the years 1972-73 to 1976-77. We are, of course, all aware that resources are always limited. There are obviously many pressing claims on Australia’s resources - for example, for national development, for the welfare of our fellow citizens and for education. It is not possible to satisfy all of the bids for defence expenditure. Choices have to be made. To make them, proposals for defence expenditure must be properly analysed and examined critically. The 5-year defence programme was set up to help do this. It has been developed by the Department of Defence, in close collaboration with the Services and the Department of Supply, in order to provide the necessary amalgam of judgment, experience and analysis. It ensures that a defence, rather than an individual Service, view is taken. Senior military and civil advisers of the Defence group have participated fully in its development.
The defence vote for 1972-73 is $l,323m. Actual defence expenditure in 1972-73 will probably constitute some 3.4 per cent of the gross national product as now estimated. The defence planners have projected defence expenditure forward and they propose that it be some $l,530m in 1976-77, in terms of constant - that is August 1972 - prices and wages. Using 1971-72 defence expenditure of $1,2 17m as a base, this represents a total increase of 26 per cent over the 5 years and an average annual increase of some 4.7 per cent. To these figures future increases in prices and wages would have to be added to give the actual charges on future budgets assumed by or planners. Under the programme, defence expenditure is likely to constitute a slightly increasing proportion of the gross national product over the 5 years. I must emphasise that this projection of defence expenditure is for planning purposes only. Funds have been allocated to defence for the year 1972-73 only. It is obvious that the Government cannot commit future parliaments to level of defence expenditure. It is not envisaged, however, that expenditure on all types of defence activities will increase by similar amounts. To illustrate how defence expenditure is distributed in the programme among different defence activities, as distinct from the individual departments as shown in the Estimates, I have had the following statistics prepared:
It must not be forgotten that present assumptions about the future level of defence expenditure may have to be changed in the light of developments. The
Government keeps Australia’s strategic outlook under review. Again, expenditure on defence in any particular year must be consistent with the Government’s fiscal and economic policy. For these reasons, as the years go by, it may be necessary to increase or to decrease the expenditure for defence projected in the programme which I have described.
Expenditure on Capital Items
When the programme for 1972-73 to 1976-77 was being developed, - the Government was conscious that in: recent years more and more of the defence vote was being taken up for pay and other running costs and a smaller proportion of expenditure was available for investment in capital items. These capital items include the new equipments necessary to develop the forces and to update existing capabilities, and the strategic bases and accommodation necessary to support the forces. The: proportion of the defence vote spent on these capital items has fallen from 37 per cent in 1967- 68 to less than 17 per cent in 1971-72. The programme reverses this trend. It is planned that, in 1976-77, about 28 per cent of the defence vote will be spent on capital items. In restructuring the pattern towards spending more on capital items, some restraint will be placed on the growth of the costs of running the Services. This restraint will not. affect in any significant way the present level of Service operational activities or training.
With this restructuring of defence expenditure, we. shall be in a much better position to obtain the new equipments necessary for the development of our forces. By far the largest increase in expenditure planned for the 5 years of the programme is for capital equipments; predominantly ships, aircraft and other weapons systems for the Services. The provision for these in the 1972-73 defence vote is $184m; thi: is some S56m more than was spent in 1971- 72. The programme foresees expenditure on capital equipment increasing each year- to $325m in 1976-77 in terms of 1972 prices. I shall indicate later the new equipment decisions for 1972-73 that the Government has made. I shall also outline the types of new weapon systems that we plan to acquire in the following 4 years. In doing so I shall outline how these will enhance our military capabilities in the 1970s and 1980s.
The maritime components of our forces, both the Royal Australian Navy and units of the Royal Australian Air Force, are required to offset threats to our territory and to our maritime rights and interests.
Australia’s long lines of international communications and their importance to our trade, our long coastline, our limited transcontinental surface transport, and our interests in the continental shelf and its resources all demand a strong maritime capability. Naval and air surveillance of the seas surrounding us will have a high priority. Surveillance is essential in the protection of our interests. We must be able to deploy and project our maritime power beyond the confines of the Australian coastal waters and territorial seas if we are to contribute properly to ANZUS and if we are to make a positive contribution to the stability of our environment.
We need to retain effective destroyer capabilities to enable us to operate on the high seas and far from our bases so that we may cope with the wide range of maritime tasks that could be required. We must be able to deploy destroyers which, if need be, can act in a hostile surface and air environment, without the support of our allies. I shall refer later to the characteristics of the new destroyers the Government has decided to add to the fleet in the early 1980s. Submarines can now operate at very long distances from their base, at high speed and for long periods and they are harder to detect. Not only must we retain our anti-submarine capabilities, but also we must make use of all available advances in technology to improve our capabilities for submarine detection and attack.
We also need to maintain forces that could assist, if required, in the external defence of Papua New Guinea. This could involve the deployment of maritime forces, sometimes at a considerable distance from our shores. The stability of our region will depend to a large extent on the social and economic progress of countries in it and on their growing self confidence and their ability to maintain their own security forces. To this end many of them will require external support - support which Australia can help to provide. To provide it, however, we need to be able to deploy and operate maritime forces should this be necessary in a region where distances are great.
Turning now to the concept of air warfare let me say first that this is not confined to the defence of the Australian continent. Our strategic strike force with its long range capability serves to deter a potential enemy from attack on Australia and its territories. If deterrence fails, air defence will involve all 3 Services. The development of their individual air defence capabilities will be co-ordinated to meet the overall need. Australia does not now need the full air warfare capabilities necessary for a major combat burden. We aim to sustain sufficient capability to deter, to maintain necessary military skills and expertise, and to provide a basis for expansion. We have, however, to consider the need to acquire certain capabilities for which we have looked to our allies in the past. These include strategic reconnaissance in support of our strike forces, aerial refuelling in support of air operations, and the means of detecting low level air attack.
The years immediately ahead provide an excellent opportunity for Australia to consolidate its defence infrastructure and to improve existing Service establishments. Work will continue at Cockburn Sound and at Learmonth, important bases on our Indian Ocean coastline. Firm decisions on the future capital works programme will be taken at the appropriate time in the future. However, the programme envisages improvements to Naval base facilities, including substantial work at the Williamstown Dockyard, where the new destroyers will be built, and at Cockatoo Island Dockyard. There are plans for improvements to Army bases, including those at Townsville and Canungra in Queensland, Holsworthy in New South Wales and Puckapunyal in Victoria. Substantial improvements are envisaged for several important air bases, including those at Townsville and at Amberley, where the
Fill will be based. Service storage facilities, including the Naval Stores at Randwick will be improved. The total capital works programme contemplated in 1972-73 is of the order of $137m, by comparison with a programme of $107m in 1971-72. However, expenditure against the increase in the programme will fall mainly in 1973- 74 and subsequent years.
The opportunity will be taken to improve the Services’ living and working accommodation. A start has been made with this of recent years, but there is still much to complete before the Government can be fully satisfied with the standard of Service accommodation. The programme foresees expenditure on bases, accommodation - including servicemen’s housing and other defence facilities increasing from the $69m provided in the 1972-73 defence vote to more than $90m in 1976-77 in terms of 1972 prices.
The strength of the permanent armed forces has increased from 48,000 to about 80,000 during the last decade. Unless the strategic situation changes in a manner at present unpredictable, the Government considers that forces at this level will, apart from minor variations, be adequate during the next 5 years. The Navy and Air Force will need some additional manpower to operate new equipments; but, on the other hand, manpower will become available for transfer to them as existing equipments are phased out because of obsolescence or for other reasons. The manpower requirements for these 2 Services are being kept under close review. In the 5-year defence programme, the strength of the Army permanent forces is projected at about 40,000. The actual Army strength at any time will, however, fluctuate around this figure because of variations in recruiting and re-engagement rates that occur from time to time.
As the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) stated in this House on 18th August last, this Government’s aim is to ensure that the proportion of volunteers in the Australian Army will be as large as practicable. This is still our aim. But we will not in so doing allow the effective strength of the Army to fall below what the Government, after taking into account professional military advice, has decided as the appropriate level under present circumstances. That level is, as has been stated many times in the past 12 months, around 40,000 men. National service now provides 12,000 men. The Government considers that at this stage an Army of the required strength could not be achieved and maintained without National Service. The Government will continue to keep force levels under review and also the level of national service required in the light of trends in voluntary enlistments and re-engagements.
The Australian Army is unusually well experienced in combat among the allied armies. It has learned many lessons from its tours of duty in Vietnam. It is now acquiring experience in Singapore. It is well equipped and mobile. But we will need to develop greater self reliance in some combat arms, particularly artillery and close air support. We also need to develop greater self reliance and independence in our logistic capabilities and in the specialised manpower, equipment and infrastructure needed for the support of combat operations.
We aim for ground forces - based on a regular component - which are versatile, well-equipped, and highly trained. Any limitation in manpower numbers must be compensated for by technologically advanced equipment. There will be a continuing need for the Army to have an adequate base of well experienced manpower. There must be adequate reserves for rapid expansion in a time of need.
Civilian manpower employed by the Defence group of departments is made up of scientists, engineers, technicians, tradesmen and other occupations in support of the Services, as well as administrative staff. The civilian manpower level is not expected to grow as quickly as in the last few years. There will, however, be some increases in the numbers employed in managementtype activities, in project planning and control, and in other activities in support of the armed forces. The defence vote provides $605m for Service and civilian pay and allowances in 1972-73 and the programme projects this at some $625m in 1976-77, in terms of August 1972 prices. This small increase over the 5 years reflects the restraint on manpower growth. There will, however, be increased expenditure because of wage increases in the future, which are not allowed for in the figures.
Because of the restraints on manpower growth the increase in other running costs will be relatively small. These costs cover stores, equipment repair, maintenance of buildings and works, as well as administrative expenses and miscellaneous items. The 1972-73 defence vote provides $420m for these items. The programme projects some $440m for them in 1976-77, at 1972 prices. It will be necessary for the Department of Defence and the Services and Supply to exercise careful control to live within this limit. Nevertheless, the programme includes plans for new measures to ameliorate the disabilities of Services life, to reward the profession of arms in its modern skills, and to maintain the inducements to a predominantly volunteer force.
Industrial capacity and Defence Research
The programme foresees an average of more than $40m a year, in 1972 prices, being applied to the maintenance and development of defence production capacity both in government factories and in industry. Investigations are being conducted into the aircraft industry to determine the type of capacity that should be maintained to meet future needs and how a greater degree of rationalisation might be achieved. Similar investigations are being undertaken in the munitions industry. A strong defence industry contributes to our self-reliance, and brings new technology to our industry generally. Besides developing our defence industry for wartime, we must use them, where economically practicable, to provide the peacetime equipment needs of the Services. One of the techniques of the 5-year defence programme is to advise industry of impending equipment decisions. Briefings will be arranged for the different sectors of defence industry.
Our defence industry must be able to repair very sophisticated equipments, to modify equipments to incorporate improvements made overseas, to adapt equipments manufactured overseas to meet Australian service conditions, and to manufacture equipments for unique Australian requirements. The Government is fully aware that the stability, and even survival, of some defence industries depends on the pattern of. defence ordering. The programme allows some adjustment to the timing of defence orders so that workloads and employment in certain industries can be made more stable.
A strong defence research and development capability is an important part of the basis for our defence preparedness. It fosters the development of weapons and technology to meet Australia’s strategic, climatic and other specific requirements. Our research in recent years has led to overseas sales of equipment, some of them substantial. Expenditure on research and development will continue as needed to keep abreast of advances in military technology and for the Australian development of some weapons systems ‘ peculiar to our needs. Total expenditure on research and development, including ‘pay, running costs and other items, is planned to continue at about $60m a year in terms of 1972 prices.
Expenditure on defence aid is expected to increase in accordance with our intention to assist our friendly neighbours to improve their own defence capability. Over the 5 years 1972-73 to 1976-77, defence aid to foreign countries averaging about $15m a year is envisaged. Australia’s contributions to the countries in our region, through equipment aid and the training of military personnel, assist our less powerful allies to defend themselves and enable them to make a better contribution to regional stability. We are bound to give assistance of this kind to our neighbours, particularly those to the near north, as a reflection of our own outwardlooking defence policies.
Operation of the Programme
I have already said that our defence planners foresee a defence expenditure of some $l,530m in 1976-77. That is an increase of 26 per cent on defence expenditure in 1971-72. I repeat that the programme is based on present priorities. If it is necessary to change these, because of strategic developments or for budgetary or other reasons, the planned expenditure in the programme will, of course, be changed accordingly. It is axiomatic that the 5-year defence programme system must be sufficiently flexible to cope with the uncertainties of the future, lt is a rolling process. Each year the programme will be reviewed in the light of changing circumstances and an additional year will be added.
I reiterate that the only actual decisions taken by the Government on items in the programme apply to those in its first year- that is, 1972-73. These 1972-73 decisions are, of course, set against the context of the 5 years of the programme, and are consistent with decisions projected for later years. I would also mention that the system has helped us to look ahead to check that the programme would not result in too-heavy demands on the financial resources likely to be available for defence in the second half of the 1970s.
The new major equipment items that the Government has decided to authorise in 1972-73 for construction or acquisition are: The 3 new destroyers for the Navy already referred to in the Budget Speech; modernisation and update of the Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyers; the extended refit of River class destroyers; anti-submarine helicopters for the Navy; the basic flying training aircraft for the Air Force: and, the observation aeroplane - Nomad- for the Army.
The Government has decided to construct 3 Australian-designed destroyers at Williamstown Naval Dockyard. This decision is based on a thorough and compresensive study of the strategic, military, technological, financial and other factors involved. The new destroyers will have an area air defence system, a medium range gun, ship-launched anti-submarine torpedoes, appropriate sensors, an automated command and control system to ensure the effective integration of these weapons and sensors, and they will be able to carry 2 helicopters fitted with armament and surveillance equipment. This weapon fit, the requirement for good endurance and prudent allowances for later developments, dictate a ship size of about 4,000 tons.
It is essential that Australia’s fighting ships have good range, endurance, habitability and maintainability since, in our area of interest, they may be required to operate for long periods at a great distance from established bases. For example, in escorting a military convoy, a destroyer can be expected to steam at least 30 per cent further than the ships it is escorting, and the convoy itself is unlikely to proceed by the most direct route. The distance on one possible convoy leg, from Fiji to Honolulu direct, is about 2,400 miles.
The Navy estimate of the total ship construction costs is $220m, in 1972 prices, for 3 ships. To this must be added the cost of such things as design, dockyard improvements, support and training equipment, the establishment of manufacture and repair facilities in Australia, spares, ammunition and ships’ helicopters. The estimated comprehensive project investment cost, including these additional items, is $355m, in 1972 prices, for 3 ships. Both these costs include full overheads at the Williamstown Dockyard and they include an allowance for contingencies.
We are keeping an adequate destroyer capability in the 1970s. The new destroyers will enter service progressively between 1980 and 1984. Two Daring class destroyers - HMA Ships ‘Vampire’ and ‘Vendetta’are expected to be paid off about 1980 to 1981; the ‘Duchess’ will also be paid off by then. On present planning our other existing destroyers will go out of service progressively in the late 1980s and 1990s. The preliminary design of the new destroyers has been completed. The next step is to call tenders for detailed design and preparation of working drawings. Design will commence in 1973.
It has been suggested that smaller and cheaper ships would meet our needs. The size of the new destroyer is influenced mainly by the decision to lit an area defence missile system and to carry helicopters in the ships. Other factors such as endurance, sea-keeping qualities, versatility and habitability also have an effect. I can assure honourable members that all these matters were put to the most searching study before deciding that Australia needs a ship having a good general purpose capability. Arguments based on lower capital costs for the selections of small ships are shallow and misleading. It can be shown that such ships would not be cost effective.
The costs of manning and maintaining a ship over its 25-year life usually outweigh the costs of acquiring it. The design of the new destroyer will make significant savings in operating costs. The full complement of the new ships will be two-thirds that of the Daring class they are replacing. A substantial shore tail is required to support men at sea and the reduction in the complement for the new destroyers will produce a further saving. This results in a reduction to operating costs of about $25m per ship over the expected life of 25 years for each of the ships.
I have already referred to important strategic factors which must, if we are to have proper regard for the defence of Australia in the longer term, exercise a powerful influence on our planning. Our naval forces need to provide qualitative rather than simply quantitative support in assisting countries in our region. To project our influence significantly beyond our shores our naval forces must be able to operate at substantial range from Australia and with, a full mix of offensive and defensive weapons systems. The new destroyers must have the ability to work efficiently in a hostile air and surface environment. It would not be prudent to design these ships on the assumption that they would always have support in action from powerful ships of an allied navy.
The selection of the new destroyers’ air defence systems is critical. Short range missiles or guns contribute well to a ship’s self defence against air and missile attacks, provided area air defence cover is available from another ship. But when there is no such area air defence cover, ships with only short range air defence systems are vulnerable to attack by even relatively unsophisticated aircraft. The 3 Charles F. Adams class DDGs are the only ships in the Royal Australian Navy that are equipped with an area air defence system, the Tartar missile. It is clear from the studies that the new destroyers also need an area air defence capability to increase the independence of our maritime forces. Modern area air defence missiles can also provide some long range offensive capability against surface vessels.
None of the Royal Australian Navy’s existing destroyers carries helicopters. The new destroyers will carry armed helicopters for reconnaissance and surveillance, and for offensive operations against surface vessels out of the range of the ship. This need is particularly important in coastal and island areas where the effectiveness of a ship’s sensors may be limited by geographical features and the possibilities of engagement by surface-to-surface missiles are greater. The present fleet is, apart from the Daring destroyers, strongly oriented to anti-submarine operations, HMAS Melbourne operates anti-submarine rotary and fixed wing aircraft. The 3 Charles F. Adams class DDGs and the 6 River class destroyer escorts are equipped with the Australian developed Ikara anti-submarine weapon. The long-range maritime patrol aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force, 10 Orions and 12 Neptunes, also contribute substantially to anti-submarine operations. The emphasis for the new destroyers has, therefore, been placed on general purpose capability, including particularly area air defence, reconnaissance and .surveillance.
Missile armed patrol boats and the smaller classes of destroyer escorts were discarded in the selection of these new destroyers, because they cannot provide for their own defence and because of thenlimited flexibility, endurance- and habitability. This does not rule them out as a useful capability if later circumstances justify their addition to the fleet. We would give them a much lower priority than the new destroyer. The new destroyers will be designed to enable later fitting of new weapons systems. These could include surface to surface missiles, and better defences against air attack and sea skimming missiles. That is, these destroyers will have a good growth potential. In the studies, the Government critically examined costs - capital and operating - of other ships. All types of costs were taken into account.
There are overseas developments in warship design which are somewhat similar in concept to the new Australian destroyer.
Careful consideration was given to the possibility of adapting or modifying these designs for constructing the hull and fitting the weapons system in Australia. None of the present or foreseeable overseas designs would provide a ship that is both fully satisfactory and cheaper. I have said that the new destroyer will be built at Williamstown Dockyard. It is important to foster, in peacetime, industries capable of supporting our defence in a period of tension or conflict. For an island nation some selfsufficiency in meeting naval ship requirements is essential. Local design and construction will help to sustain the skills, knowledge and facilities for the repairs of battle damage, for refit and for future modernisation. These would have to be provided at extra cost if we built the new destroyers overseas. Local design and construction also increase the participation of Australian industry generally in providing the vast range of material and equipment that goes into a modern warship. The construction and fitting out of these ships at one dockyard - Williamstown - will keep down the costs of dockyard preparation and will ease the problems of managing this complex and necessarily costly project.
Modernisation and Update of the Charles F. Adams Class Gnided Missile Destroyers The Government has also decided to modernise and update the weapons and command and control systems of the 3 guided missile destroyers - DDGs - HMA Ships Hobart, Perth and Brisbane, at an estimated cost of $33m in 1972 prices. These ships have an extremely good general purpose capability and are the most modern and powerful destroyers in the RAN’s escort fleet. It was announced in 1970 that the DDG’s 5-inch guns would be overhauled and modernised. It is now intended to update their Tartar area air defence missile system, to enable it to use also the advanced Standard missile, and to introduce an automated command and control system. This work will be done progressively in the mid 1970s.
The River class destroyers, HMA Ships Parramatta, Yarra, Stuart, Derwent, Swan and Torrens provide a specialised antisubmarine warfare capability. The Govern ment has decided that the 4 oldest ships, Parramatta, Yarra, Stuart and Derwent will be extensively refitted and modernised, in Australian dockyards, during the mid to late 1970s. This will cost $50m, in 1972 prices, but the precise nature of the refits is still under examination. It is likely that their weapons, sensors, and fire control systems will be updated and modernised; the life of their hulls will be extended; and improvements will be made to the ships’ stability and habitability. They are good ships, but they can be, and should be, improved.
The RAN’s Wessex helicopters will finish their useful lives as anti-submarine warfare aircraft in the middle of the 1970s. This will be well before their carrier, HMAS Melbourne, is paid off in about 1980. The Government has therefore decided to acquire 10 Westland ‘Sea King’ anti-submarine helicopters to avoid a break in the RAN’s maintenance of the ‘state of the art’ of operating anti-submarine helicopters. The total project investment cost is estimated at $43m at 1972 prices. The suppliers of the aircraft, Westlands of the United Kingdom, will place offset orders on the Australian aircraft industry valued at about 30 per cent of the flyaway cost of the helicopters.
The Government has approved the purchase of 37 New Zealand CT4 air trainers, at an estimated total project cost of $3.248m in 1972 prices. This basic trainer will replace the present Winjeel. It will be used for initial training of RAAF pilots before graduation to jet training in Macchi and Dual Mirage aircraft.
The New Zealand manufacturer will be subcontracting work, mainly airframe parts, to the Australian aircraft industry. This is not only for the present RAAF order but also for all subsequent orders for both civil and military versions of the aircraft.
The Government has approved the production of an initial 20 Nomad aircraft - previously known as Project N. The estimated total project cost is $13.01m in 1972 prices. Eleven of these aircraft will be provided to enable Army Aviation to carry out its approved roles. The remaining 9 aircraft will be for sale to other users.
The Nomad aircraft is a fully Australian designed light utility, twin engined, turbo prop aircraft with short take-off and landing. It is designed in a civil and a military version. An objective is to enlarge the market for the aircraft and provide more work for the aircraft industry. The project parallels the light observation helicopter programme in which 116 of the 191 aircraft being produced are for commercial sale.
The 2 projects and the offset programme are evidence of the Government’s recognition of the aircraft industry’s need for a more stable workload than can be provided by defence requirements alone.
There are important reasons why the Government should not announce specific intentions to acquire new equipments beyond the first year of the 5-year defence programme. To decide on these equipments now would make it difficult to adjust to change in our strategic environment. Moreover, premature publication of intentions could deprive us of the opportunity to negotiate for more competitive financial conditions in contracts with suppliers. Most importantly, it would be difficult to take full advantage of improvements in weapons systems technology that will come as the years go by.
I will indicate, however, the kind of equipments that our professional defence advisers have recommended for inclusion in the later years of the 5-year defence programme 1972-73 to 1976-77. There will be public interest in this and it may facilitate public debate.
There are 3 important areas in which decisions will need to be made in the period covered by the programme involving considerations of considerable magnitude. These are: Naval air power; the replacement and modernisation of our long range maritime patrol aircraft; and maintenance in the inventory of an air defence aircraft.
The results of a comprehensive study of all aspects of naval air power, now being undertaken, will have an important bearing on decisions to be taken on naval air power capability. We shall not have to commit ourselves, however, to any particular form of naval air power for several years. This is because the aircraft carrier, HMAS ‘Melbourne’, is expected to remain in service until 1980, or possibly beyond then in a limited anti-submarine role, ‘Melbourne’s’ aircraft and the land-based maritime aircraft will provide the capability during the 1970s.
The programme foresees improvements to our surveillance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The replacement of the Neptune long range maritime patrol aircraft, which will reach their end of life in the mid-1970s, is included in the programme. The programme also foresees the updating and modernisation of the anti-submarine and surveillance capabilities of our aircraft and ships by the introduction of technologically advanced sensor systems, some of which could involve Australian development as well as production.
Improvements are foreseen in our offensive maritime capabilities. These include new air-to-surface weapons and the 2 additional Oberon submarines approved in 1970, which are expected to be in operation in 1975. The development of the naval support facility at Cockburn Sound and the introduction to service of the already-approved fast combat support ship will add to our capability to support and sustain maritime operations. The already approved oceanographic and hydrographic ships will add further support.
The Government will maintain our air defence capability at a level that will provide a basis for expansion and will maintain military skills and familiarity with current technology. An air defence study organised by the Department of Defence will examine the aircraft likely to be available and possibly air defence systems that could provide the capabilities thought to be needed by this country in the circumstances of the later 1970s and 1980s.
Commitment to a new air defence aircraft will not be required for some years, because Australia has a large number of frontline fighters with high capability - the
Mirage - now in service. However, the future of the Phantoms on lease from the USAF is under consideration.
The precise timing of this air defence decision will depend on the results of continuing studies of the fatigue and operational life of the Mirage. Other aspects of any replacement aircraft project are the potentialities of production in Australia and decisions on the type of missile system, the command and control and other systems associated with air defence.
The Government will add to Army’s air defence capability. Because of the relevance of this capability to the longer term and because of other demands of higher priority, this decision is projected for the later years of the programme. The programme includes improved weapons and a strategic reconnaissance capability for the F111C. investigations and evaluations are being made of basic items of Army’s equipment, including armoured fighting vehicles and artillery. The programme includes these items in later years. They will introduce the latest technology to the Army and increase our self reliance. The medium lift helicopters and the 8 heavy landing craft, that have already been approved, will add to our independent tactical mobility when they come into service. The light observation helicopters will also add to Army’s capabilities. Close air support for the Army is also included in the later years of this programme.
HMAS ‘Sydney’ and the C130A- Hercules - transport aircraft will be paid off in the later 1970s. The programme allows for additions to our strategic mobility. In addition, a logistic cargo ship was approved in 1970. Continuing studies of long-term strategic requirements, operational concepts, and changes to technology will have an important bearing on the type of ship selected to fill the long-range, heavy-lift role.
In conclusion I should like to point out that this is the first time the general substance of the 5-year defence programme has been presented. It will be obvious that the Government is producing results - not theory and dogma. We are looking ahead with prudence and care. Our defence pol icy is aligned with our foreign policy and takes cognisance of our friends and allies. We are shaping a defence force that will enable this country to make a distinctively Australian contribution to the security of the region of which we are permanently a part.
– I move:
Debate (on motion by Senator 0’Byrne’ adjourned.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the following papers:
The fifth report of the Australian Universities Commission.
The third report of the Australian Commission on Advanced Education.
The report of the Australian Research Grants Committee for the triennium 1970-72.
I seek leave to make a statement about the 1973-75 triennial programmes for universities, research grants and colleges of advanced education. I also .seek leave to have the statement incorporated in Hansard.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):
The reports of the Australian Universities Commission and the Australian Commission on Advanced Education represent valuable documents for those who wish to obtain a full understanding of the developments that are planned in education in universities and colleges of advanced education during the next 3 years. The reports summarise the developments and progress which have taken place in the period 1970- 72 and make recommendations for financial assistance for universities and colleges of advanced education for the coming triennium 1973-75. A number of summary tables has been prepared setting out the financial details of the programmes recommended by the 2 Commissions and giving comparisons with the grants provided in the 1970-72 triennium. With the concur- rence of the Senate, I shall incorporate these tables in Hansard at the conclusion of my statement. I would also like to take the opportunity of dealing with the Government’s decisions on financial support for the Australian Research Grants Committee’s programme during the 1973-75 triennium,
I am pleased to be able to say that the Government has found it possible to accept all the financial recommendations of the Australian Universities Commission and virtually all of those of the Australian Commission on Advanced Education. The estimated cost of the combined programmes approved for universities and colleges of advanced education for the 1973- 75 triennium is $ 1,467m which represents an increase of 45 per cent over the actual programmes in the 1970-72 triennium. This can be compared with an increase of 41 per cent in the programmes approved for the 1970-72 triennium over those of the 1967-69 triennium. Of the total amount of SI, 467m the Commonwealth Government share will be $665m.
The programme for universities of $1,0 18m represents an increase of 34 per cent on the actual programme of $758m in 1970-72 as compared with an increase of 26 per cent from the 1967-69 to the 1970- 72 triennium. The main reason for the higher rate of increase is that a number of major new developments is proposed for universities in the 1973-75 triennium which had no counterpart in the current triennium. In particular, substantial funds will be provided for the establishment of 2 new universities, Griffith University in Brisbane and Murdoch University in Perth; a fourth veterinary school in Australia will be established as the first professional faculty of Murdoch University; the Wollongong University College will become an autonomous university in 1975 and needs to be developed to enable it to manage its own affairs; and there will be a substantial development of the medical school at the Flinders University of South Australia for which small initial grants were provided in the current triennium.
The programme for colleges of advanced education of $450m represents an increase of 78 per cent compared with an increase of 117 per cent for the previous triennium. The rate of growth in the programme for colleges is substantially greater than that for universities but it must be remembered that the colleges are still going through a stage of rapid growth and re-organisation.
When presenting the reports in respect of universities and colleges 3 years ago, the Minister for Education and Science expressed the belief that the courses offered by the colleges being more directly related to the immediate needs of industry and commerce would appeal to many able students as a meaningful alternative to university education. This is borne out by the events of the last 3 years and honourable senators will note from the reports that there has been a significant shift in emphasis in the distribution of students between tertiary institutions. In 1969, 65.5 per cent of all tertiary students were undertaking university courses, 21,5 per cent courses in colleges of advanced education and 13.0 per cent were in teachers colleges. This year only 58.6 per cent of the total tertiary enrolment is in universities while the proportion in colleges of advanced education has risen to 27.5 per cent. By 1975, it is estimated that the proportions in universities and colleges will have moved further so that the total enrolment will be distributed as to 53.9 per cent in universities, 33 per cent in colleges and 13.1 per cent in teachers colleges.
Thus, of a total expected enrolment of approximately 245,000 in tertiary institutions by 1975, excluding students in universities proceeding to higher degrees, about 132,000 will be undergraduate students at universities, 81,000 students at colleges of advanced education and 32,000 teachers college students. The growth in numbers in colleges of advanced education will be the most significant and will represent an increase of 50.4 per cent on the numbers enrolled this year compared with an increase of 15 per cent in universities. The programmes of financial assistance proposed for universities and colleges of advanced education will provide greater educational opportunities at the tertiary level and by 1975 the proportion of the 17-22 years age group studying at these institutions is expected to rise to 15 per cent compared with 12.5 per cent in 1972. If higher degree enrolments at universities and enrolments at teachers colleges are included these proportions will be 18.4 per cent in 1975 compared with 15.5 per cent in 1972. It is of interest to note that total enrolments for 1975 are expected to exceed the estimate made by the Martin Committee in 1964 by 5 per cent.
In presenting these reports I would like to emphasise that the Australian Universities Commission and the Australian Commission on Advanced Education have prepared their recommendations and reports in close consultation with each other and that each Commission has had detailed consultations with the relevant authorities and institutions in all States. In deciding to support the programmes for the 1973-75 triennium, the Commonwealth Government concluded that they represent both a reasonable expansion of tertiary education facilities and an acceptable demand on our overall resources, bearing in mind our other considerable commitments to education at other levels. The Government also believes that the allocation of resources as between universities and colleges of advanced education is appropriate for the balanced development of the 2 streams of tertiary education. I shall now outline the reports in more detail.
There is presently a total student body in the universities of Australia of 128,000 of whom 83,000 are full-time, 37,000 parttime and 8,000 are external students. It is estimated that by 1975 there will be 148,000 students enrolled in the universities of whom more than 97,000 will be full-time, 41,000 part-time and more than 9,000 will be external students. The rate of increase in the number of undergraduate students at universities over the triennium is expected to be 4.9 per cent per annum compared with a figure of 5.8 per cent per annum over the previous triennium. In spite of the somewhat slower rate of growth, the proportion of the 17-22 years age group which is enrolled as undergraduates in universities will rise steadily from 8.5 per cent in 1972 to 9.3 per cent in 1975.
The Commonwealth will provide its share of a total programme for buildings and equipment of $182m, of which $122. 8m is for university buildings, $6m for teaching hospitals, $7. 8m for student residences, and $45.4m for equipment.
The total provision for academic buildings in 1973-75 is higher than the provision for 1970-72 but the increase is more than accounted for by substantial new developments that had no counterpart in the 1970-72 triennium. I shall discuss these new developments in more detail later. The Commission has deliberately limited its recommendation for buildings so that a greater proportion of its total recommendations will be applied to general recurrent grants and equipment for which it believes the universities are in greater need.
The approved programme for teaching hospital buildings is $6m, compared with $5.1m for the 1970-72 programme but, as the total provision includes $2.2m for the new Flinders Medical Centre, there will be a fall in expenditure on buildings for teaching hospitals associated with existing medical schools, as forecast in the Commission’s third and fourth reports.
Student residences supported by the Commission in the past have been . of 2 kinds namely those owned and operated by the universities themselves, which are known as halls of residence, and those owned and operated by other bodies but affiliated with a university, which are known as affiliated residential colleges. The Commission has become concerned at the ever increasing costs of providing such collegiate type accommodation and has also been persuaded by the many representations that it has received from universities, from college heads, and from students themselves that there has been some diminution in demand for traditional’ collegiate accommodation. Accordingly, the Commission has not supported the establishment of any new collegiate style institution and has recommended the provision of fewer additional places in existing institutions than iti previous triennia. The proposed programme for buildings for halls of residence and affiliated colleges is $5. 7m compared with a provision of $2 1.5m in the 1970-72 triennium.
The Commission has been impressed by the arguments that there is now a significant demand for student accommodation of a less formal kind than that hitherto provided. The Commission refers in its report to this kind of accommodation as non-collegiate accommodation. Such accommodation may take a variety of forms but could be broadly defined as accommodation which does not include a conventional dining hall and other common facilities. The Commission has recommended that financial support be provided for accommodation of this type because it believes there is not only a demand for such accommodation but that it should be able to be provided at a significantly lower cost to governments than traditional accommodation.
The Commission has recommended that support by governments for such accommodation should be limited to $2,500 per student place, to be met in equal shares by Commonwealth and State governments, and that the university to which the accommodation is attached should be responsible for raising the balance of the cost of construction by loans. The Commonwealth has agreed to support this recommendation and will be interested to watch this development. Grants for this purpose will be made available to a number of universities which will own and be responsible for the accommodation. The grants to be provided in the forthcoming triennium for non-collegiate accommodation total approximately $2m of which the Commonwealth’s share is $lm. It is expected that this will provide more than 820 non-collegiate places spread over 6 different universities.
The grants for collegiate type accommodation will provide some 780 additional places in extensions to existing colleges and halls, m addition to the 820 non-collegiate places to which I have just referred. However, because the building programmes for the 1970-72 triennium which are still in progress should yield about 900 collegiate places after 1972, a total of some 2,500 additional student places is expected to become available in the forthcoming triennium.
The provision of adequate equipment to meet the needs of teaching and research in universities has long been a problem and, in its visits to universities last year, the Commission became convinced that there are serious shortcomings, particularly in the older universities which must replace obsolete equipment in order to ensure that teaching and research conform with modern standards. In the past, universities have had to meet their equipment needs by using funds from a number of grants. The Commission has now recommended that there should be a single large equipment grant for each State university to cover all its equipment needs. The new equipment grant would bring together the components for equipment that were previously included in general recurrent grants, building grants, special research grants, grants for computing equipment and the separate grant for large items of equipment costing more than $40,000.
The equipment grant is intended to provide funds for the purchase of equipment needed for new buildings and for expanding student numbers, for the replacement of obsolete and worn out teaching and research equipment, and for major items of equipment, including computers. The Commission has also proposed that the equipment grant could be applied to the purchase of library materials to fill some of the more serious gaps in library collections.
It is hoped that this new provision will place the acquisition of equipment for teaching and research on a sounder basis in the future. In calculating its recommendations for the 1973-75 triennium, in order to allow for the new equipment provision, the Commission has made appropriate reductions in the amounts for buildings, special research and normal recurrent grants which otherwise would have been recommended.
The total recurrent programme for the 1973-75 triennium including the provision for special research grants, is $835.5m of which the Commonwealth’s share will be $370.9m. This compares with an actual recurrent programme of $6 19.4m in 1970- 72. The latter is some $80m greater than the programme originally recommended by the Commission, this difference being accounted for by supplementary grants to meet increases in academic salaries and by the supplementation that was provided last year for increases in non-academic salaries.
From this examination and consideration of the universities’ submissions, the Commission concluded that most universities are suffering from deficiencies in the recurrent funds for ordinary university operations. As I have already mentioned, the
Commission has recommended the allocation of relatively more resources for recurrent purposes and less for buildings during the 1973-75 triennium. In its calculations of recurrent grants the Commission has paid special attention to the size of universities and the distribution of students between faculties. Universities which are small are relatively expensive because their overheads are spread over a smaller number of students; and those which have a high proportion of students in such faculties as agriculture, engineering, medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, are relatively expensive because of the high costs of teaching and research in those fields. As a result of the Commission’s approach for the 1973-75 triennium the distribution of the general recurrent grants between universities will differ somewhat from the pattern that applied in the current triennium.
I should mention that the general recurrent grants that have been approved include an allowance for payments to parttime clinical teachers for clinical teaching sessions for medical students. The Commonwealth has accepted the Commission’s view that clinicians should be paid for their teaching service in the same way as are all other part-time university teachers but understands that the payments will be subject to the clinical teachers being appointed by and responsible to the universities for undertaking specific teaching assignments at specified scheduled hours.
The Commission has also recommended and the Commonwealth agrees, that in order to encourage the development of extra-mural activities in universities, that is, refresher courses for the professions, extension work, adult education and the like, the Commonwealth legislation should provide that the fees for such courses should not be included in the formula which determines the Commonwealth and State contributions towards recurrent grants for universities. This has been the practice in some States. The Commission believes that its extension to all universities will improve the provision that universities make for such activities.
The general recurrent grants for the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne include earmarked grants for general development purposes at those uni versities. In the Commission’s judgment, those 2 universities have reached such a stage of maturity that their student numbers and consequently their recurrent grants are not expanding sufficiently for them to commence any major new activities without some special provision being made. Other universities either will have sufficiently high rates of growth in the recurrent grants recommended for the 1973-75 triennium to enable them to introduce new activities, or have had, in the recent past, opportunities for introducing new developments. The Commission believes that the general development grants for the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne will enable those universities to introduce valuable new activities which, with consequential budgetary adjustments, would then be capable of being supported within the ordinary recurrent grants within .3 to 5 years of their implementation.
The Commonwealth will continue its practice of providing a contribution towards the recurrent costs of training medical students in medical teaching hospitals. The total programme for this purpose for the 1973-75 triennium is $3.8m.
Since 1951 the Commonwealth Government has provided annual unmatched recurrent grants to affiliated colleges and halls of residence to help them meet administrative and tutorial expenses. During recent years, the colleges and halls have faced rapidly increasing costs and there has been no significant change in the rates of recurrent grants. On the recommendation of the Australian Universities Commission, the Commonwealth has decided to increase significantly the rates of these grants. The grants comprise 2 parts - a basic grant and a per capita grant - and the new rates approved by the parts - a basic grant and a per capita grant for full-time undergraduate resident students. The overall effect will be to raise recurrent grants to colleges and halls, on average, by about 40 per cent. The grants will, in total, amount to $4.2m for the 1973-75 triennium. Recurrent grants will not be available towards the cost of operating non-collegiate accommodation.
The Commonwealth is supporting the Commission’s recommendation that special research grants should be continued in the 1973-75 triennium. These grants provide for general research support, particularly to those members of the academic staff who have promising research projects which are as yet unsupported by outside funds or who have responsibilities for the training of research students. In the 1970- 72 triennium special research grants were $8m. After making allowance for increases in the numbers of academic staff and research students and for rises in cost levels, the Commission considered that special research grants for the 1973-75 triennium should amount to $1Om. However, as I have already explained, separate provision is now being made for equipment. Since approximately 40 per cent of special research grants has been spent on equipment, special research grants for the 1973-75 triennium have been set at S6m. I should like to emphasise that, when the grant for equipment is taken into account, this represents an increase in Commonwealth support for research.
I have already mentioned the major new developments for which support will be provided in the forthcoming triennium. Honourable senators may be interested to know the provision that is included in the programme for these purposes.
Griffith University in Brisbane, which will enrol its first students in 1975, will receive grants totalling $9.9m for buildings, equipment and recurrent expenses. The opening of Griffith University, which is the second metropolitan university in Brisbane, will ease the pressure of student numbers on the University of Queensland which currently has a total enrolment of over 17,000 students.
Murdoch University in Perth will also enrol its first students in 1975 and will establish as its first professional faculty a school of veterinary studies which will be the fourth veterinary school in Australia. I welcome particularly the development of the veterinary school which will meet a long felt need for additional facilities for the training of veterinarians and it is pleasing to note that this school will accept a number of students from the other States whose universities do not include provision for veterinary training. The total grants for
Murdoch University in the 1973-75 triennium, including the provision for the veterinary school, will be $13. 4m.
In addition to these 2 new universities, the Wollongong University College which was established in May 1961 and is presently a college of the University of New South Wales, will become an autonomous university in 1975. The grants for the Wollongong University College in the 1973-75 triennium will be provided separately from those for the University of New South Wales and will total $ 15.5m. As a result of these developments, by 1975 there will be 18 autonomous universities in Australia.
The other major development in the 1973-75 triennium will be the development of the school of medicine at the Flinders University of South Australia which is expected to open to first year students in 1974. Initial small grants for the medical school were provided in the 1970-72 triennium and planning is now well advanced. Grants of $7.1m will be provided in the forthcoming triennium for the medical school and will include an amount of $6.1m for buildings, site works and equipment to provide teaching, research and associated library and lecture theatre facilities in the Flinders Medical Centre for an output, initially of about 60, and ultimately of about 100 graduates per annum. This will represent a significant increase in the output of medical graduates in the State of South Australia.
It might be appropriate at this point to remind honourable senators that a committee of the Australian Universities Commission is currently examining the need for new or expanded medical schools in Australia in the light of likely trends in the delivery of health care over the next 20 years and, when its enquiry is complete, there may be recommendations from the Commission in respect of other medical schools.
Before leaving the area of universities, I should make some comments about the Australian National University which is, of course, the only university for which the Commonwealth has sole responsibility. The total financial programme for the Australian National University for the 1973-75 triennium will be $1 22.3m made up of recurrent grants totalling $1 14.1m, building grants of $7.8m and recurrent grants for student residences of $365,000. The figure of $1 14.1m will, as in the case of State universities, include the University’s income from fees but will not include income from rents and other sources. The recurrent grants recommended include provision for equipment and special research purposes for which separate grants have been provided for State universities. Although the Commission has not recommended any funds for additional resindental buildings at the Australian National University in the next triennium, the fourth undergraduate hall of residence for which funds were provided in the current triennium has not yet been built so that, in fact, a new student residence will become available during the triennium.
In the course of its deliberations the Commission gave consideration to the rate of growth of the Institute of Advanced Studies at the Australian National University and to the ultimate size of its research schools. The Commission believes that it is not in the interests of Australia or of Australian universities generally to concentrate the development of research schools in one centre only. The Government agrees with the view expressed by the Commission :hat strong arguments should be required to justify the creation of any new research school in the Institute and that the rate of growth in real expenditure by the Institute can now be expected to slow down appreciably. The Government expects the Australian National University to seek agreement to the establishment of a new research school prior to the University’s committing itself in any way.
The report of the Australian Research Grants Committee which I have tabled is a review of the Committee’s activities in the years 1970-72. As honourable senators know, the purpose of this programme is the stimulation of high level research to be carried out by individuals or research teams. Not only has this programme been successful in supporting research of the highest quality in diverse fields in Australia, it has helped Australia to retain dis tinguished workers and has also attracted to Australia, and often back to Australia, outstanding researchers from overseas.
During the 1970-72 triennium, the Commonwealth Government provided $ 13.5m for this purpose. It recognises, however that high quality projects will require an even greater measure of support in the future. Moreover, the Government appreciates that the stimulus given to research by past support from the research grants scheme will lead to an increase in the number of good projects now coming forward. It has therefore been decided to provide a total of $20m in the 1973-75 triennium, or approximately 48 per cent more than the funds allocated for the current triennium. This amount will be in addition to the special research grants for State universities, to which I have already referred.
The S20m available during the 1973-75 triennium includes $17m for general application over the broad spectrum of responsibility of the Australian Research Grants Committee, which comprehends the humanities and the social sciences as well as the natural sciences. Additionally, $3m will be devoted to new Commonwealth initiatives in fields of special contemporary significance.
The importance of environmental research is now well appreciated and one of the new initiatives for which provision is being made is upper atmosphere research for which an amount of $900?000 will be available. This provision meets the recommendations of an interdepartmental committee, assisted by a special advisory committee of the Academy of Science, which examined the desirability of stimulating research in this area. With the co-operation of other Ministers, the programmes thus generated will make use of the resources of the Department of Supply which include excellent facilities for sounding rocket and baloon experiments.
There is general agreement among scientists, parliamentarians and the community in general, that the time is now opportune to increase the Australian involvement in marine science. The many strong reasons for this are well known to honourable senators. The recent establishment of the
Australian Institute of Marine Science is evidence of the Commonwealth Government’s recognition of the importance of this need. It is the Government’s belief that special additional incentives are also required, especially for research initiated within the universities. To this end, the sum of $900,000 will be available during 1973-75 for projects recommended by the Research Grants Committee.
A further Commonwealth initiative comprises $650,000 for the support of studies of a multi-disciplinary nature and requiring for example co-operative research among ecologists, biologists, physical and social scientists. This provision indicates the Commonwealth’s recognition of the growing need for studying the impact of one branch of science on another, and of science and advanced technology in general on society.
Finally, $550,000 will be provided for the acquisition and operation of a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer of high resolution which will be available for use by research workers throughout Australia. The Commonwealth recognises the importance of the programme of the Australian Research Grants Committee in developing scientific and scholarly research in Australia, and believes that the funds being made available during 1973-75 will encourage a continued expansion of this research.
The Commonwealth has accepted all the recommendations of the Commission applying to individual colleges and will support in 1973-75 a programme of approximately $450m for colleges of advanced education in the States and in the Australian Capital Territory; of this total the Commonwealth will provide almost $200m. During the 1970-72 triennium the total programme exceeded $252m and the Commonwealth contribution to this amounted to over $1 12m.
The programme for buildings and equipment which the Commonwealth will support over the triennium 1973-75 totals $ 168.5m which represents an increase of 65 per cent on the programme for 1970- 72. The programme of recurrent expenditure which the Commonwealth will support amounts to $281. 2m, an increase of 86 per cent on the recurrent programme in 1970- 72 and, of this amount, the Commonwealth share will be $ 108.8m. The growth in the advanced education sector of tertiary education has been substantial over the last 3 years and the increased support the Government is now prepared to provide emphasises its belief in the growing significance of colleges of advanced education.
In every State new buildings have been erected which, while not being over lavish in design, have been aesthetically pleasing and functionally well designed for the educational needs of the students. In Brisbane the Queensland Institute of Technology building is a city landmark, in Rockhampton new buildings to house engineering studies have been erected and in Toowoomba the Darling Downs Institute is growing apace. Here the Resource Materials Centre is the focal point of the campus, providing library facilities, other audio-visual materials and student amenities in close proximity. In Sydney the New South Wales Institute of Technology is rising above Broadway and the full scope of its design is now becoming apparent. In Victoria new buildings and new equipment have been provided, not only in the large metropolitan colleges including the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology but also in the new colleges in the country such as the Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education and in the older country colleges like the Ballarat Institute and the Bendigo Institute. At the Warrnambool Institute student residences are in the course of construction and will be occupied by students in 1973.
In both South Australia and Western Australia, visitors to the respective institutes of technology have been impressed not only with the visible growth of the institutions but also with the extent to which the colleges have gained public acceptance. In both States evidence from the admission centres of the tertiary institutions show an annual increase in the proportion of school leavers nominating the institute of technology as first choice of place of study. In Hobart on the slopes of Mount Nelson the magnificent new building of the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education is now occupied by students engaged upon a wide range of tertiary vocational studies.
Buildings and equipment, however, while representing a substantial investment of capital tell only part of the story of development. The expansion in physical facilities has been accompanied by an expansion in numbers of students. Whereas in 1970, enrolments in colleges of advanced education numbered only 37,625, by 1972 they had risen to approximately 54.000 and, by 1975. they are expected to reach about 8 1 ,000. With their emphasis upon fully tertiary courses oriented towards vocations, the colleges are making a substantial contribution to the education of the professional workforce in Australia.
With regard to staff, too, the colleges have made substantial progress. The acceptance of the Sweeney report has enabled colleges to retain and recruit staff who are able to bring to their teaching task a high level of academic attainment and/or industrial experience. Following the publication of the Report of the Wiltshire Committee which conducted an inquiry into awards of colleges of advanced education, the Australian Council of Awards in Advanced Education was established by joint agreement of Commonwealth and State Ministers for Education. The Council will register courses in colleges of advanced education which are accredited by State authorities.
One of the areas in which the colleges of advanced education have made a significant contribution during the triennium is that of teacher education. At the present time 6 colleges of advanced education provide courses in teacher education. They are the Canberra College of Advanced Education, the Mitchell College at Bathurst, the Riverina College at Wagga Wagga, the Darling Downs Institute at Toowoomba, the Capricornia Institute in Rockhampton and the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education with branches in both Hobart and Launceston. In 1970 fulltime teacher education enrolments in colleges of advanced education numbered 1,068. By 1973 it is estimated that the fulltime enrolment will exceed 2,500 and in addition there will be more than 500 parttime student teachers following courses in these colleges. These figures reveal the substantial contribution which the colleges are making to the provision of fully qualified teachers in Australian schools, both Government and non-Government.
The scale of involvement of the Commonwealth in teacher education will increase in the triennium, as the Minister for Education and Science indicated in his recent statement on the Commonwealth’s programme in education for 1972-73, outlining the Government’s decision to expand its support for teachers colleges. In brief, the Government 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. Also the Commonwealth is offering to share with the States capital and recurrent costs of pre-school teachers colleges under advanced education arrangements. The Minister for Education and Science has asked the Chairman of the Australian Commission on Advanced Education to investigate the application of these proposals and to submit a report no later than March 1973. The Government will then be guided as to the nature of the supplementary programme it will support with regard to teachers colleges from 1st July 1973 for the remainder of the triennium, that is, to 31st December 1975.
I am pleased to note that the colleges of advanced education are providing a valuable service to those students who cannot attend institutions of tertiary education and who must undertake their studies by correspondence. In 1970 almost 1,200 students were undertaking studies externally through colleges of advanced education and by 1972 this number had doubled. While the bulk of these students are undertaking commercial studies, substantial numbers are enrolled in fields such as applied sciences and para-medical studies. The 3 States which are providing external tuition are New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. In New South Wales a new development this year has been the establishment in both Albury and Griffith of study centres where external students of the Riverina College may receive tutorial and other assistance from the staff of the college who make regular visits to the centres. In Western Australia the Institute of Technology is proposing to establish a study centre at Bunbury to cater for the needs of external students in that region and funds for the establishment of the centre have been allocated in the programme recommended by the Commission and accepted by the Government.
Developments in the Colleges
There is only one alteration to the recommendations for individual institutions set out in the Commission’s report. This is the recommendation that recurrent expenditure in Western Australia should be $42m for the period 1973-75. Since the report was prepared, the Western Australian authorities and the Commission have re-assessed some elements of the costs and have agreed that a sum of $40m will be sufficient to accomplish the recurrent programme originally recommended for that State. On the advice of the Commission, the Government has accepted the State’s amendment and is now prepared to support a recurrent programme in Western Australia of $40m.
I will not attempt to deal in detail with the other particular programmes. Those proposals can be examined in full in the report of the Commission. There are, however, some new developments which are of general interest, and I mention some of these.
A number of new colleges will be established in the triennium. In South Australia a new college, the Torrens College of Advanced Education, will be built in the western suburbs of Adelaide. In New South Wales the first stage of the Kingswood College of Advanced Education will be built to the west of Sydney and the teaching and administration block of a new college of para-medical studies will be erected on a site adjacent to the Lidcombe Hospital. In addition, a Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education will be established at Lismore in New South Wales but in the first instance it will use the buildings at present occupied by the Lismore Teachers College.
In New South Wales the construction of the New South Wales Institute of Technology is proceeding and the scale of building there makes heavy demands on the capital funds available in that State. Naturally, while the high rise blocks are under construction the building expenditure is not being matched by a corresponding increase in the number of student places being provided.
The Commission has looked very closely at the situation in New South Wales where the proportion of places in colleges of advanced education is low in relation to the population. The New South Wales authorities have proposed that the assistance of the New South Wales Department of Technical Education be utilised to provide tertiary courses in existing technical colleges. The Commission has recommended the endorsement of this approach as an interim measure which will provide additional tertiary education facilities. The Commission has also recommended that the Commonwealth and New South Wales together provide $8.4m for the triennium for recurrent expenditure under this arrangement, together with a sum of §500,000 for alterations and renovations to buildings and for larger items of equipment. The Commonwealth has accepted the Commission’s recommendations.
During the 1970-72 triennium the Canberra College of Advanced Education has developed rapidly. In 1972 the College enrolled 2,577 students and by 1975 it is expected that the total enrolment will reach 4,600. During the period 1970-72, total expenditure is expected to reach $14.1m of which $7.8m will be spent on capital projects and $6.3m will be expenditure of a recurrent nature. To meet the needs of the College and provide for its rapidly increasing student numbers, the Commonwealth will fund in the 1973-75 triennium a total programme of $26. 5m of which $11. 6m is allocated to capital projects and $ 14.9m for recurrent costs. This amount represents an increase of 88 per cent on the expenditure in 1970-72.
The development of residential facilities for students in colleges of advanced education has followed a somewhat different line from that applying in the universities. In only 2 colleges of advanced education are there affiliated residential colleges in the university sense that is to say, residential colleges which include a conventional dining hall and other common facilities. One of these colleges, McGregor College is affiliated with the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education in Toowoomba, and the other, the Agricola College, is affiliated with the Kalgoorlie School of Mines, a branch of the Western Australian Institute of Technology.
In other colleges of advanced education, student residences have tended in the main to develop along the lines of grouped study/ bedrooms with some shared cooking facility such as a kitchenette servicing perhaps half a dozen students, perhaps some small shared lounge or common room, but no large dining hall or major common facilities. This type of accommodation, which is becoming increasingly popular with students, is referred to in the fifth report of the Australian Universities commission as ‘non-collegiate accommodation’ and, in the university area, will attract no Government recurrent grants. Certain of the colleges of advanced education, however, operate their student residences in a manner that is more akin to a university hall of residence. The Commission on Advanced Education has recommended that where, in its opinion, a college of advanced education student residence is of this kind, recurrent grants should be provided on the same basis as applies in the case of university halls of residence. The affiliated residential colleges will continue to receive recurrent grants on the same basis as applies in the universities. The Government has accepted these recommendations and an amount of $500,000 has been set aside for these purposes.
The Commission believes that there is a need for the further development of residential accommodation facilities for students, particularly in colleges in country areas, and has made 2 recommendations to encourage the building of additional student accommodation at colleges of advanced education. The first recommendation is for special unmatched Commonwealth assistance of $lm to construct additional residential places in country colleges. The Government agrees with the Commission’s view that there is a particular need for additional residential accommodation in association with country colleges. However, it is not prepared to depart from the established basis for financing building works in both the advanced education and university sectors in the States. Accordingly, the Government is prepared to provide the additional $500,000 for this purpose subject to a matching contribution by State governments. Such an arrangement will allow the funds for construction of student residences to be increased from $5.3m to $6.3m during the triennium.
The second recommendation to encourage the provision of additional student accommodation is similar to that of the Australian Universities Commission in respect of non-collegiate accommodation. The Government has accepted the recommendation of the Australian Commission on Advanced Education that Government contributions of $2,500 per student place, to be met in equal shares by the Commonwealth and the State governments, should be provided to assist with the provision of additional student accommodation where the balance of the cost of construction is borrowed by or donated to the college of advanced education concerned. The total grants to be provided in the forthcoming triennium for this purpose are $2m of which the Commonwealth’s share is $lm, and the provision will apply to all colleges of advanced education, whether metropolitan or country.
The proposals submitted by the Australian Commission on Advanced Education included a recommendation that the Commonwealth should make an unmatched grant of $5m to provide bookstocks and equipment for libraries in colleges of advanced education throughout Australia.
Whilst recognising the need for some special assistance for libraries in colleges of advanced education, the Government, as I have already mentioned, is unwilling to see any extension of grants which do not fall within the agreed basis of funding developments in the advanced education sector of tertiary education. In each of the last 2 triennia the Commonwealth has provided an unmatched grant of $500,000 for libraries and it will make a similar contribution in the 1973-75 triennium. In addition, the Commonwealth will provide a further amount of up to Sim if States provide a matching sum to promote library development. The total effect of these measures will be to make available for libraries $2.5m in addition to the amounts included in the budgets of the individual colleges. The distribution between institutions of these additional funds for libraries will be made on the recommendation of the Australian Commission on Advanced Education.
As in each of the previous triennia, the Commonwealth will provide the sum of $250,000 which the Commission has requested for its support of contract research into problems of particular application to advanced education in Australia. The results of the projects undertaken in the past have been extremely valuable to the Commission for its consideration of the future developments of the college system. The colleges themselves have also been able to utilise the results of these investigations.
I turn now to the Commission’s recommendation that the Commonwealth make available a ‘Reserve’ grant of $5m as a matching contribution to be drawn upon in 1974 and 1975 by any State which wishes to add to its capital programme desirable projects for which it is not able to accept a firm commitment at the present time. The Government was not prepared to endorse this recommendation because it believes that in accordance with the triennial principle, it should not accept commitments beyond the actual capital proposals recommended for the triennial programme.
During this session the Government will introduce State grants legislation authorising Commonwealth payments to the States for universities and colleges of advanced education during the 1973-75 triennium. The legislation will, as in the past, specify the maximum Commonwealth contributions that will be available subject to the appropriate contributions being made by the States. I must emphasise that the Government’s decisions on the recommendations of the 2 Commissions do not bind the States. The initiative rests with the States to determine the levels of the grants that they make to their universities and colleges of advanced education and these will be matched by the Commonwealth up to the limits specified in the Commonwealth legislation. The 1972-73 Estimates include relevant amounts for the first 6 months of the triennium 1973-75.
The total expenditure in the 1973-75 triennium under the 3 programmes to which 1 have referred will be $l,487m compared with S 1,024m in the 1970-72 triennium. The Commonwealth share will rise from $478m to $685m.
In the past, the Commonwealth has taken the view that universities and colleges of advanced education should not receive any supplementary grants during a triennium except those which arise from reviews of academic salaries. On the occasion of the last review of academic salaries in 1970, the Commonwealth and the States accepted a recommendation of Mr Justice Eggleston, as he then was, to the effect that in future academic salaries should be increased automatically in accordance with national wage case decisions. Both the Australian Universities Commission and the Australian Commission on Advanced Education have recommended that, commencing from the 1973-75 triennium, supplementary grants should also be provided automatically to meet the cost of increases in non-academic salaries and wages resulting from national wage case decisions but not in respect of any other increases in non-academic salaries and wages. The Commonwealth accepts this recommendation which it believes will be endorsed by the States. Subject to the provision of supplementary grants following reviews of academic salaries and to cover the cost of increases in both academic and non-academic salaries and wages flowing from national wage case decisions, the Government adheres to its principle that the levels of the grants now accepted should be firm for the triennium, unless there should be exceptional increases in costs.
In conclusion may I say that I am sure that, with the financial provision for universities and colleges of advanced education that will flow from the Government’s decisions on the programmes recommended by the 2 Commissions, we will see a significant development of our universities and colleges of advanced education in the 1973-75 triennium.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
This Bill is concerned with a grant to be made under phase 2 of the national water resources development programme. The Government has agreed to provide to the State of Victoria a grant under the programme of up to $2m for specified works in the Millewa region.
The second phase of the national water resources development programme was announced by the Prime Minister in October 1969. Under this programme, the Commonwealth has undertaken to make available to the States $ 100m for rural water conservation and supply works, flood mitigation and water measurement. This new programme follows the original national water programme which provided over$50m in grants to the States.
The Bill provides for a grant of financial assistance to the State of Victoria for the construction of a pipeline water reticulation scheme in the Millewa region of north west Victoria. The scheme is situated in an area west of Mildura and covers some 455,000 acres containing 126 farms. The region is poorly watered and present supplies are pumped from the Murray River and delivered through open channels to farm storages. The system is inefficient and costly to operate, and the State is undertaking a programme involving complete renovation of the pumping stations, and replacement of open channels by pipelines. Details of the scheme are contained in the explanatory memorandum distributed with the Bill.
I turn now to the Bill itself, which generally follows the pattern of Acts granting financial assistance to the States under this programme. The works themselves, in respect of which a Commonwealth grant is payable, are described in the schedule to the Bill, and provision is made in section 5 for the schedule to be varied if this appears desirable in terms of the objectives of the legislation.
Provision for non-repayable grants is made in section 4 of the Bill.
Sections 6 and 7 set out requirements in connection with the implementation of the project, and cover the provision of information requested by the Minister, ministerial approval of the works, and approval by the Minister of contracts in excess of $500,000. Requirements for information in respect of expenditure are set out in section 8, and the usual provisions for the Treasurer to make advance payments, and for repayment of over-payments are made in sections 9 and 10.
The national water resources development programme represents a very important collaborative programme between the State and Commonwealth governments in the development of Australia’s water resources. The present legislation gives effect to a further decision of the Government in connection with the continuation of this important programme.
The present water reticulation system has been in operation for many years and is nearing the end of its useful life. As well as meeting its high operation costs, capital expenditure would have to be incurred in the near future for complete rehabilitation, if the proposed new scheme is not installed. There is also the added advantage that water under pressure will be available to landholders at all times to replace the current intermittent supply to excavated storages.
It is expected that this will provide the opportunity to develop lawns and domestic gardens, amenities which will greatly improve living conditions for the people in the area served. No adverse effects on other aspects of the environment are expected to occur. Water diversions from the Murray River will be reduced from about 8,200 to 2,670 acre feet per annum, because of the reduction of losses achieved with the new scheme. I have much pleasure in commending the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of this Bill is to remove the limitation on the number of offices of Minister of the House of Assembly for Papua New Guinea which can be created by the Minister for External Territories.
Section 24 (1) of the Papua New Guinea Act 1949-1971 provides for such number, being not more than 17, of offices of Minister of the House of Assembly as the Minister for External Territories from time to time determines. Seventeen offices of Minister of the House of Assembly, the maximum number permitted, were created by the Minister for External Territories on 26th April 1972, following nomination for ministerial office of a list of 17 members by the House of Assembly with the concurrence of the Administrator.
A formal request has now been received from the Papua New Guinea Government asking the Australian Government to amend the Papua New Guinea Act 1949- 1971 so as to permit the creation of additional offices of Minister of the House of Assembly. The Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea, Mr Michael Somare, requested the change to permit him to give effect to certain proposals for the enlargement of the Papua New Guinea Ministry.
It should be pointed out that the Bill does not alter the present arrangements whereby additional Ministers cannot be appointed without the House of Assembly taking part in the process through its Ministerial Nominations Committee.
The Australian Government has for many years adopted the attitude that no obstacle should be placed in the way of a smooth and orderly transition to self government in Papua New Guinea. The Government has consistently maintained that the initiative for constitutional develop ment should lie with the House of Assembly to which it looks to represent the wishes of the majority of the people.
The purpose of the Bill is to give effect to this request by the Papua New Guinea Government to remove the limit on the number of Ministers of the House of Assembly which can be created. The Bill is a simple one, but it represents another step forward in Papua New Guinea’s movement to self government and independence, on terms determined by the people of Papua New Guinea themselves. I commend the Bill to honourable Senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Keeffe) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill repeals the New Guinea Timber Agreement Acts of 1952 and 1953. In May 1972 it was announced that the Commonwealth Government had approved the sale of the Commonwealth’s 50 per cent shareholding in Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd to the Investment Corporation of Papua New Guinea. On 29th June 1972 these shares were transferred to the Investment Corporation. A condition of the sale of the Commonwealth’s interest in Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd was that upon transfer of the shares to the Investment Corporation the other major shareholder in Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd - Placer Development Ltd - would arrange an amalgamation of all other wholly owned Placer assets in Papua New Guinea with those of Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd. To this end an amalgamation agreement with Placer Development Ltd has been endorsed by the board of Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers, with the result that the respective shareholdings in the consolidated company, which will still be known as Common- wealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd, will be held 65 per cent by Placer and 35 per cent by the Investment Corporation. This arrangement is a most satisfactory outcome to the sale of the Commonwealth’s assets in Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers. Ltdto the Investment Corporation.
It is the Government’s policy in the long term interests of Papua New Guinea that overseas companies operating in Papua New Guinea should provide opportunities for Papua New Guineans to participate in their ventures at all levels. In line with this policy it is the intention of the Investment Corporation through equity acquisitions such as Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd. to afford the people of Papua New Guinea an opportunity to share in the ownership and control of major enterprises largely financed from outside Papua New Guinea. For this purpose the Investment Corporation is concentrating on building up a diversified portfolio of investments in Papua New Guinea. As a result the people of Papua New Guinea will, possibly in 1973, be given an opportunity to participate directly in these investments through unit trusts or similar arrangements.
Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd can be expected to continue to make a substantial contribution to the economic growth of Papua New Guinea in the field of plywood manufacture, and now also in cattle production and mineral development. This in turn will provide further opportunities for Papua New Guineans to obtain employment and training in these important activities. In this regard it is interesting to note the degree of progress which has been achieved by Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd over the past decade in the training of Papua New Guineans to accept positions within the company which demand considerable skill and ability. Throughout the past 10 years the level of employment of Papua New Guineans in Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd has averaged approximately 500. In 1962 only 26 of these were classified as skilled whereas today this number has increased to just under 200. Positions of skill include tradesmen and apprentices in most of the crafts, complex machine operators in the plymill, plant and equipment operators in the logging operations as well as clerical positions in the administrative functions of the company. At present there are 13 cadets undergoing training for the more advanced levels of management and the company is confident that Papua New Guineans will become more and more involved as opportunities occur. The successful partnership between the Commonwealth and Placer Development Ltd, which originated with the New Guinea Timber Agreement Acts of 1952 and 1953, has now come to an end. and this Bill proposes the repeal of the Acts which approved the 1952 Agreement and brought this partnership about. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Keeffe) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 17 August (vide page 194). on motion by Senator Wright:
That the Bills be now read a second time.
– Mr Acting President, there are 8 Bills at present before the Senate and they are to be dealt with jointly. The substantive Bill is the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill 1972 which follows from the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to which the Government of this country is party. The Australian Labor Party supports the provisions of these Bills. It supports them primarily because they are Bills which flow from an international agreement entered into by Australia and most of the other countries of the world. It is encouraging to think that if only on matters such as this there are some occasions when the nations of the world may get together and arrive at decisions which are binding upon all those countries which are party to the Convention. There are one or two comments I would like to make, however.
The first is that the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which appears as a schedule to the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill, has been open for signature since 24th April 1963. In fact, it has taken in excess of 9 years since the opening of this Convention for signature for the presentation of these Bills to the Parliament. One can say only that this does seem to be an inordinately long time to elapse in which to deal with a matter which is of considerable importance to the consular representatives of this country overseas and to the representatives within Australia of those countries with which we have consular relations. The explanation has been given that the long delay took place because Australia is a federation and there has to be some joint action with the several States. But I must confess that my mind boggles at the thought that 9 years delay could occur in obtaining the concurrence of the States to this proposition. I cannot imagine any matters which the States would have been strenuously resisting. It is most important for us that our consular representatives overseas should be given the protection for which this Convention makes provision. It is likewise important that the consular representatives of other countries in Australia should be given this protection. Recently we have heard quite a deal about law and order. Only recently a Bill was before this Parliament to provide for special protection for certain buildings in this country, including embassies. In view of that legislation it does seem strange that it has taken as long as 9 years for a Bill providing for the ratification of this Convention to come before the Parliament. As has been pointed out elsewhere by the parliamentary Leader of the Australian Labor Party, one wonders to what extent the Australian Government is observing the spirit of the various conventions regarding the rights of consular representatives of other countries, particularly when one looks at some of the assaults which are being made on the consulates of the Yugoslav Republic in this country. One can say only that it does appear that, despite the talk of law and order and despite the Convention - however belatedly it is adopted by this country - very little of the spirit of some of these conventions has been observed by the Government in the most negligent approach which it has adopted to the , protection of Yugoslav consular representatives in this country.
However, having said that, I repeat that the Australian Labor Party supports the provision contained in this and the other Bills. It supports the adoption of such conventions as the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. We are in favour of the passage of the 8 Bills presently before the Senate.
– The Australian Democratic Labor Party also supports these Bills. I think we all agree that with so many new countries if I may use that term, coming into the diplomatic field, it was eminently desirable that action should be taken to place clear!) in perspective this question of consular and diplomatic privileges and immunities. It could be said of most older countries that they did observe certain customs and diplomatic etiquette. It is not sufficient in the new kind of world in which we live, when new countries are entering the diplomatic field, however, that privileges, immunities and so on be based upon custom or a general willingness to observe them. Therefore it is all to the good that the convention which was agreed to in Vienna should be adopted by the various countries of the world and it will also be to our good. There have been one or two disquieting cases concerning certain consular representatives coming into Australia. Without stressing the point, I say that some concern has been expressed at the contents of luggage which some of thse people have been bringing into this country. Fortunately, the diplomats who have come here have in almost every case been men of very high quality; there has been nothing to fear from them. However, there have been one or two disquieting cases of bringing into Australia what I might term contraband. Therefore it is all the more desirable that the question of what may be brought into this country and what may not should be set out very clearly and definitely for the benefit of persons having diplomatic relations with this country.
I appreciate the final point made by Senator Wheeldon that it is undesirable that attacks be made upon diplomatic buildings. All of us, I think, would deplore any form of violence against diplomats who represent other countries in Australia. 1 would point out, however, that the number of attacks upon embassies in Australia have been equal to if not exceeded by attacks on Australian embassies in certain other countries. It has not been a one way traffic and we are not entitled to suggest that Australians are more at fault than certain other people. It is to be deplored that there should be at any time attacks upon the buildings of diplomatic personnel and I am glad that Australia has stated in its adherence to the convention that it intends to rely upon the highest standards in those matters. The Democratic Labor Party fully supports the Bills.
– The Bills are not, as has been made clear by both Senator Wheeldon and Senator McManus. matters of contest so far as the Parties in this chamber are concerned. I wish to make reference to only one relatively small aspect of them. It was a matter of some concern to many members of the community that there appeared to be a growing fear that with the continued use of motor vehicles by the various representatives of other countries, either in the course of their diplomatic or consular activities or in the course of their private activities, if those vehicles were involved in accidents many Australians may possibly be subjected to a situation whereby they would not be entitled to any award of damages such as they could receive in other circumstances. 1 think it is important to point out again, as was pointed out by the Minister in his second reading speech, that the protection of immunity given under these Bills in respect of the 52 consular posts which are headed by a career consular officers and the 106 posts headed by honorary consuls, and in relation to the other activities which come within consular immunity, motor vehicle accidents are specifically excluded.
The convention apparently specifically dealt with this matter and the result is that all members of a consular post are required to comply with local laws governing third party insurance for motor vehicles, vessels or aircraft. No immunity is granted in respect of a civil action by a third party for damages arising from an accident caused by a motor vehicle, a vessel or an aircraft. I draw attention to this because there has been some disquiet in the community about it. I think it needs to be emphasised that so far as consuls and those coming within consular immunity are concerned this is not a matter for concern by the community.
– in reply - 1 rise to acknowledge the consideration that honourable senators have given to these Bills. Senator Wheeldon’s remarks about delay are not very forceful since the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill is one which necessarily does not take priority in a government programme, and secondly that as between the Diplomatic Privileges Bill and the Consular Privileges Bill, the former was given priority. I should like honourable senators to understand quite clearly that this Bill has nothing to do with protection of embassies. Such protection comes from another source. However, I should not like the language which Senator McManus used to usher us into any degree of complacency. I should think that whatever be the position about attacks upon Australian embassies in other countries, we all deplore, as a matter of national pride, any invasion of the privacy of any embassy that we host in this country, or any attack upon the property or person of representatives of any country whom we have invited to Australia. Lastly, I notice that Senator Rae accepts with pleasure the provision whereby consuls occupy no special position under legislation governing motor vehicles, in contrast with the position of diplomats in that respect. I thank the Senate for its consideration.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bills read a second time.
– I was greatly interested in the points raised by Senator Rae. This Bill extends immunity to those at ambassador level and separates the consular officer from the ambassador. I am not opposed to the Bill but the question that concerns me is: How far does this Bill extend those privileges? Certain regulations in force in this country give immunity to those at the level of ambassador or consular officer and to certain other people who are not covered by this Bill. By extending immunity under this Bill, immunity will or may be conferred from time to time on a number of people whom we are not considering during the debate on the Bill. I recall that at one time I placed a notice of motion on the notice paper to disallow a regulation which, under some agreement between Australia, the United States of America and Great Britain, gave immunity to those associated with an atomic energy inquiry. After a series of questions and negotiations with the Minister I obtained the knowledge that the immunity did not apply to those to whom I thought it applied but to persons associated with conferences which might be held in Australia under an international agreement dealing with the peaceful use of atomic energy. I believe that at that time 2 conferences had been held in Australia. They were attended by people who were simply visitors, members of a delegation, and I felt very aggrieved at the immunities which they were given in Australia.
But now we come to the question of immunity at the ambassador level, which is enjoyed by certain of these people. They have immunity in relation to motor transport and so on. This was not visualised when dealing with this matter. I wonder whether the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) could tell us to how many persons this immunity extends? Under what regulations and Acts do we extend the immunities which we give under this Bill? There are possibly other regulations and Acts which extend immunities which are equivalent to the immunities which we extend to embassy officials. If we had some knowledge of this perhaps we would hesitate. While we agree to an international agreement extending these immunities to those persons encompassed in the Bill, we should remember that we could well be extending those immunities to people covered under previous Acts. By extending immunities under this legislation we could be changing the whole system of immunities which we have granted in the past to other persons. I would appreciate it if the Minister could give me some information on this matter.
– Senator Cavanagh reminds me - not in a very clear way, because my mind has not been addressed in the interim to the particular discussion - of the debate which took place with regard to a proposed seminar. Representatives intending to attend that seminar which was held under the auspices of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission and arranged by the United Nations organisation attracted, broadly speaking, the same measure of diplomatic immunity as an ambassador. As to the number of people who would attract that immunity in Australia from time to time, I regret that I am not adequately informed at the moment. I shall ask the Department of Foreign Affairs to give the matter some consideration and let me have the approximate number involved over the last 2 or 3 years for the information of the honourable senator. I remember that the matter was debated with very great interest by the honourable senator at the time. I think we satisfied him that it was appropriate that visitors coming here to attend a seminar relating to atomic energy at the instance of the United Nations organisation should have that diplomatic immunity.
The Bill with which we are dealing today relates to immunity for consuls who I suppose would not be affronted if I described them as gentry of a different order. As indicated by this Bill their privileges and immunities are somewhat different from the full diplomatic immunity which is provided for ambassadors under the Act of 1967.
– I wish to ask the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) 2 questions. Firstly, is there anything in the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill, which is before the Senate, which is not a part of the Vienna Convention on consular relations? Are the privileges and immunities in that convention identical with those which are being granted under this Bill? Secondly, has the Minister in any way, either in his second reading speech or at any other time, laid down the real privileges which are available to persons under this measure? For instance, I imagine that clause 10 of the Bill is uncommon in that it allows an Australian citizen who is an employee of a consular post of an overseas country to be granted exactly the same immunity from jurisdiction in respect of official acts performed in the exercise of his function. My understanding is that that would allow an individual immunity from excise and customs duties and the various benefits which are available to a consul, lt appears to me that there is some discrepancy here. For instance, we can understand that individuals coming into this country should be allowed to purchase vehicles free of sales tax. Perhaps people enjoying that privilege would find some considerable benefit from selling those vehicles after the few years for which they must hold them. 1 accept, as the Minister has indicated, that every other country places consuls in a similar position. So we have this arrangement built up from the Vienna Convention. I ask the Minister to indicate whether there is anything in this Bill which is peculiar to the Austraiian situation and which is not available overseas. In relation to clause 9 of the Bill I wonder whether the Minister could indicate why in sub-clauses (b), (c) and (d) on page 7 of the Bill the words ‘confer on’ are on a separate line, whereas when we come to sub-clause (e) on page 8 the words ‘confer on’ run into the sentence of which they form part and are not set aside to indicate a variety of matters which are conferred.
– Would the honourable senator point up his question to me?
– Clause 9 states: (1.) The regulations may’, and sub-clause (a) reads: ‘confer on a post established . .’. Sub-clause (b) indicates ‘confer on’ and then on new lines there are sub-headings (i), (ii) and (iii). Again in sub-clauses (c) and (d) the words confer on’ are set aside on a single line. But when we turn over to page 8 of the Bill we find that in sub-clause (e) ‘confer on’ is not on a line by itself. I wonder whether there is any particular reason ,./ this? It is a peculiar drafting.
– Perhaps I can conclude my remarks. I do not want to labour this mat ter which I have brought up but, like the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), I made no preparation and I am relying on my not so good memory of the previous debate. It is my recollection that those who entered Australia under the regulation which related to the Australian Atomic Energy Commission conference were provided with immunities. I thought that 2 seminars were held. I do not know whether it was one or two. There were delegates from other countries. Certain officers of the delegation were granted immunity on an ambassadorial level and certain were given consular immunity. There were 2 sets of immunities. This is only one case that comes to my mind. What I am concerned about is whether it was proper for the people on that mission to Australia to have the immunities which the Act conferred upon them. Also, it is still proper for such people coming to Australia to have the immunities that this Act confers because it enlarges the immunities given under regulation by an alteration of the parent Act or of another Act? I think we should look into what section of people has consular immunities and the extent to which those immunities are changed by this Act. While we are in agreement with extending these privileges to consular representatives, I think we should consider whether it is proper now to extend them to those of another mission who are covered by a regulation.
– I shall refer first to Senator Cavanagh’s remarks. I would not think it would be at all conducive to convenience or to practicable legislation to try to provide in this Bill substitute legislation for what other Acts provide by way of regulations under them. I would have thought that we should turn our attention to that legislation specifically and debate the matter in relation to it. This Bill is confined to consuls as such, described as they are in the Bill. The question that the honourable senator raises about diplomats does not come within this Bill but it does raise very interesting aspects. I think that given time we could develop a debate on another system altogether, seeing that diplomatic privileges had their beginning at a time when all crown authorities, whether foreign or domestic, had complete privilege under the law. However we have moved far from that in our domestic jurisdiction. Ideas might be developed so that we could have, say, a very effective system of imposing liability upon the country whose representative incurs the liability with that country being obliged, as our Government is, to answer for any judgment. However I must not be attracted into that field by a remark on another matter.
asked whether there are any provisions in this Bill which express the law in different terms from the provisions of the treaty. If the honourable senator has a copy of my second reading speech on this Bill he will see, in relation to customs duties and sales tax applicable to imported goods, that it is stated that the Bill introduces certain alterations in the system of limitations. The second reading speech goes on:
At present, if, foi 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.
Reference to that passage will remind the honourable senator that the provision in that respect was for the Minister for Customs and Excise to exempt or not to exempt wholly but he did not have the right to exempt in part. This provision in the Bill does give him the right, having regard to the circumstances of the case and if he feels that some adjustment as distinct from total exemption from duty is appropriate, to grant relief of part of the duty, according to his judgment.
Turning to the other matter to which Senator Webster adverted, I wish to inform him that the layout is simply a question of the printer’s arrangement. If the honourable senator turns to clause 9 he will see that sub-clause (l.)(a) confers on one person one provision only but that sub-clause (1.) (b) confers on different persons cumulative provisions which are set out in (i) (ii) and (iii). The same occurs in sub-clause (1.) (c) and (d). The details of what is conferred are set out in paragraphs. When we come to sub-clause (1 .) (e) we see that there is no need to have a separate line after the words ‘confer on’ because there is only one conferring. However the subclause had to be paragraphed because we have to provide for 2 different cases of persons in the private service, ft is simply a printer’s arrangement.
– Referring to clause 10 of the Bill and what the Minister has been putting to the Senate relating to exemption from certain taxes, does that apply to Australian employees of certain consular posts?
– Clause 10 of the Bill states:
Consular employees of a consular post of an overseas country who are Australian citizens or are ordinarily resident in Australia or in a Territory of the Commonwealth not forming part of the Commonwealth are entitled to immunity from jurisdiction in respect of official acts performed in the exercise of their functions.
Consular employees often are employees of the same nationality as the principal consul but often, too, they are Australian employees. The purpose of this clause, as I understand it, is to make clear that Australian employees of foreign consuls are entitled to immunity of jurisdiction in respect, of only official acts performed in the exercise of their functions. They are not entitled to any immunity while going to work or coming from work or in the course of their ordinary private social movements around the country.
– Would that be correct? Surely not on what you are saying. For instance, if an individual is involved in workers compensation, the act of work is going to work and coming from work as well as while he is at work.
– Yes, I know. It may be that the honourable senator has led me into a thicket of technicalities when one considers the vigour with which workers compensation law is pressed in this country. The ambit of coverage under workers compensation has been extended from the scope or course of employment to include travel to and from work even when travel is not incidentally required by the duties of the work, I offer this only as an observation and I know that the perspicacious senator to whom I am addressing myself will not rely upon it without further analysis: Where it is said in the Bill that Australian employees of the consul will be re-entitled to immunity from jurisdiction only in respect of official acts performed in the exercise of their functions, I venture to suggest that if I proceeded from my home in one of the suburbs this morning to report to the consular office for my duty as a telephonist or a clerk, I would not start my official function until I entered the door, at least. That is the suggestion that I put to the honourffiable senator - without absolute confidence, but asking him to examine it.
– Could we be given the facts on that?
– What more facts?
– The Minister is expressing a view but I wonder what the facts are.
– I was trying to illustrate it simply by the case of an Australian telephonist coming from Woden to her job at a consul’s office in Civic Centre. Any act that she commits on the way is not in the course of her official duties.
– I should think she would have immunity.
– I ask the honourable senator to analyse what I have said and to consider whether he disagrees with it. I am merely offering a view; I am not in any mood to assert the view.
– Could the Committee be told which is correct?
– I never place responsibility on those who are so superior as to sit beside me and advise me but in this instance I have had the nod of approval to what I have said as to the official interpretation of the law.
Bills agreed to.
Bills reported without amendment or requests; report adopted.
Bills (on motion by Senator Wright) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 17 August (vide page 184), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This Bill is very short but very important at this stage. The bounty on agricultural tractors which was payable from 1966 until June of this year will cease unless the Agricultural Tractors Bounty Act extends its operation. This is what the Bill proposes to do. The Tariff Board has been conducting an inquiry into the operation of the bounty and the necessity for its continuance and it is expected that the Board’s report will be available for the Government to act upon within a very short time. In order to cover the present position the Bill has been introduced to extend the period of operation of the bounty from 30th June to 31st December this year. If the Board reports before the end of the year and it is decided that the bounty should be abolished or reduced, the present bounty will cease. The Opposition raises no objection to the operation of this measure until the end of this year and, consequently, we do not oppose it. The Bill will be given a speedy passage.
– I wish to express briefly my support for the Government’s intention to maintain the present level of assistance by the payment of a bounty on locally manufactured agricultural tractors for a period of 6 months until the end of this year, unless an earlier date of cessation is specified by proclamation. I believe that the provisions of the Bill are fair and reasonable pending the receipt by the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) of the Tariff Board’s report and a consideration of that report by him and the Government. I understand that the cost of maintaining the present level of assistance for the next 6 months will be about $1.5m. I stress that the purpose of the bounty is not to increase the price of agricultural tractors to primary producers; its purpose is to enable local manufacture to compete with the imported machine. The volume of production in Australia does not enable local industry to achieve the same cost of production as can be achieved by countries which have a large volume of production, but in the bounty mechanism there is an inherent safeguard for the local primary producer in that the price that he pays for a tractor is determined by the price at which a tractor brought into Australia is offered on the Australian market. With this Bill we are ensuring that an important manufacturing industry is able to continue in Australia. The reasons for the Bill being brought in are quite clear to us all and I suggest that it is only fair and reasonable that the Bill be accepted by the Senate. J support the Bill.
– in reply - The Bill, which is straightforward, is not opposed. As has been mentioned, the legislation relating to the bounty on agricultural tractors expired on 30th June 1972. A reference on this matter was sent to the Tariff Board on 14th October 1970 and the report is expected to be signed by October 1972. The present measure is a machinery Bill which is necessary to ensure continuity of the bounty until the Government has received the report and has considered it. This is a procedure which is often adopted. We have had similar cases before in other bounty matters, such as those relating to urea, pyrites and sulphuric acid. With these few remarks I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 17 August (vide page 188), on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Development is at present very much in the minds of people throughout the world, and particularly the people of Australia, as has been evidenced during the last couple of months by the announcement of a large number of study campaigns by Australians who are concerned with the best way of assisting world development. The Asian Development Bank fits very well into the thinking of people who are concerned with the development of the developing countries, their needs and how best they can be achieved so that we do not just make the richer countries richer and the poorer countries relatively poorer. This can happen when countries set up industries in developing countries to their own benefit. The Asian Development Bank has as its main purpose the making available of funds to countries in the Asian area so that they will be able to improve their productivity and gross national product and raise the standard of living of their people without at the same time creating a greater difference between the richer nations and the poorer nations.
The funds of the Asian Development Bank have reached a point where it is felt that more shares can be taken up by the countries which are subscribing to it. This has been made known to the various countries so that they can consider the proposition and see what they can do to assist in this very worthwhile objective. Australia has the opportunity of taking up the shares to which it is entitled. It is proposed in this Bill that we would increase our subscription to the Bank by $US127.5m of which $US102m would be callable capital. The amount of $US25.5m would be issued over a 3 year period. This will give the Bank an opportunity to extend its operations which it has carried out so well in the past. I notice in the second reading speech of the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) a few points to which I wish to draw attention. It is interesting to note that although the Bank was instituted in 1966 it is subscribed to by 37 countries, 23 of which, including Australia, are in the Asian area.
I particularly want to draw attention to the difference between the special operations and ordinary operations of the Bank. Special operations are the sort of assistance which I feel a Bank of this nature should be giving to the countries which are very much in need. Under the special operations category, we find that very long term loans are being made available. The term of the loan varies from 16 to 40 years. The percentage of interest charged on these loans is very realistic. It varies from li per cent to 3 per cent. I feel that this is the sort of accommodation that a developing country really needs. Also, a free period of 4 years to 10 years can be considered in every operation. This represents a very worthwhile effort on the part of the Bank for the benefit of the developing country.
But the ordinary operation of the Bank is not nearly so attractive. Certainly, quite a bit of business is conducted under the ordinary operations. I am sorry that I do not know exactly the difference in the amount that is loaned under ordinary operations and the amount that is loaned under special operations. Possibly the Minister might be able to give me those facts. It would be interesting to have this information to know just where the funds go. Honourable senators will have noticed when I referred to the special operations provisions the long term of the loan, the low interest and the extended free period that apply. These are marked when we look at the ordinary operations under which the rate of interest presently charged on loans is li per cent. The period of repayment extends only from 10 to 25 years. That might be quite attractive by comparison with the other term which was 16 to 40 years. But I understand that in this case the free period extends from 2 to 5 years. This represents quite an important difference and is a matter which I think bears close watching.
These developing countries are very much in need of all the aid that we can give them in a way which enables them to operate properly and improve their capacity to produce without at the same time assisting the aiding countries. We do not require this because we do not want the gap between the countries to extend any more than it is at the present time. We want to reduce the gap. We have in the Asian Development Bank a very worthwhile fund which can be drawn on by the countries in this area. Obviously, they are availing themselves of this fund to a very considerable extent. I think that the amounts that have been paid in by the various countries were shown in the figures that were incorporated in Hansard. The grand total of the present subscription is $US1,005.44m. This shows that the amount is considerable. It represents a worthwhile service to these countries that are interested in applying to the Bank. The Australian Labor Party feels that the extension warrants the taking up of these additional shares by Australia and we support the move. As the Minister pointed out in his second reading speech, each share is valued at SUS10,000. This Bill enables us to take up our share of the additional subscription which is what the Government is proposing to do. I support (he Bill.
– The Australian people and the Australian Government should have and, indeed, do have a deep humanitarian interest in the economic development and the well-being of the people of the countries of Asia. It is on that basis that in 1966 the Asian Development Bank was established and Australia became an active and significant member. When the developing nations face their problems of lifting up their peoples economic and social standards by their shoe strings they are all capital hungry countries. They are incapable of generating their own capital internally. They represent bad risks on the ordinary borrowing markets of the world. They are naturally sensitive to seeking loans with strings attached or to investments from foreign companies. They are sensitive, as every country is, to foreign capital and to overtones of implication. Therefore one of the very great services that can be done to the developing countries of Asia is to provide them with funds on specific interest terms and periods of repayment, which have no other strings to them and which they can use for their purposes so that they can preserve their national integrity and sovereignty. I know of no one instrument that can help more on the economic level in Asia than the Asian Development Bank in that regard.
As Senator Wilkinson said, the Bank now has a membership of 37 countries. That is a pretty healthy membership. Twenty-three of those countries, including Australia, are in the Asian region. The Bank has, in terms of subscribed capital, a number of noteworthy countries, and Australia ranks fourth. It ranks third in our region. Only the United States of America, Japan and India subscribe more funds than Australia does. If one looks at the capacity of the individual countries, in terms of their populations and resources, I think Australia can take some quiet pride in the fact that it stands up and is counted. Until now Australia had a subscription capital of $US85m and was ranked fourth. Japan, with a population of 100 million as compared with our 13 million, subscribed $US200m. India subscribed $US93m. India has many internal problems that must be offset against her massive population. Australia’s subscription compares with the subscriptions of those countries. It is good that Australia should be doing these things. I commend the Bill as a significant, one.
The background of the Bill is that it became clear to the governors of the Bank in 1971 that they would be. in old fashioned terms, running out of money by 1973. If they were to continue with the quite prodigious rate of expansion of 1971 - by far the Bank’s best year - they would need to draw more capital funds and more resources, more backing. So at the annual meeting of the governors of the Bank in 1971 they asked the board to undertake a survey and to make recommendations as to what should bc done. The recommendation was a very substantial one. lt was that they should increase subscriptions by ISO per cent. It should be noted that Australia voted in favour of the recommendation - that is, in favour of the increase in subscription. The Senate should know that member countries are entitled but not obliged to subscribe to the authorised increase. This Bill, which undoubtedly will have the support of all honourable senators, is a Bill to confirm that Australia will stand up and say certain things. We will take up 2,550 paid up shares amounting to $US25.5m over a period of 3 years. We will accept the liability for callable shares of 10,200 amounting to $US102m. We will accept a total subscription liability of 12,750 shares amounting to $US127.5M
This Bill simply says that we authorise the Treasurer to make agreements with the Bank and to pay the Bank in paid up shares, over 3 years, this $US25.5m and to accept the liability for the backing up of the Bank in terms of our other commitments. It also sets out how this money shall be paid because there is an arrangement by which, in the first place, only 20 per cent is to be paid in full and the balance is to remain on call. The method of payment is that 40 per cent is to be in gold or convertible currency and 60 per cent in the member’s currency or in promissory notes. That is the proposition. Will we, as an Australian nation and as a very active and prominent member of the Asian Development Bank, work with the recommendation of the governors to increase their amount of capital by 150 per cent? Will we do it to this formula? By this Bill we have said that we will.
It is true, as Senator Wilkinson said, that there are 2 different kinds of loans. The first is the special loan that attracts very low interest rates - something between U per cent and 3 per cent - with very long borrowing periods of between 16 and 40 years. The second is the ordinary loan that attracts something like 7± per cent interest. These loans are the ingredients of the scheme. But I think it goes deeper than that. If one were to ask where this added contribution stands in Australia’s bona fides to Asia one would say, as the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) said in his second reading speech, that this added contribution is an integral part of our aid programme. We have been pace setters in aid. As the world knows, taking the guideline of one per cent of gross national product, we have proudly exceeded that figure in the years 1970 and 197!. We have accepted a major responsibility n Papua New Guinea. We are continuing lo accept our responsibilities in aid. We do -o on a basic principle. When we give aid. we give it without strings. We ask no backlash of favours for the aid. This point is the important thing if we are to be regarded .is a nation of integrity in Asia. We should not be looking for some cutback on w.>at we are doing - what is well known in Asia as a squeeze. Not only in our ordinary overseas aid, such as the very large increase recently to Indonesia, but also in the Asian Development Bank we have adopted that principle. We have said: Here is money. You can borrow it and you use it in your country. It will give you the power to strengthen your sinews. You will be helping yourself. Because internally you cannot find these resources, because you are not a good credit risk on the world market and because you have your fears and your fretfulness about taking in an overdue amount of foreign capital. K-re is a way we can help’. That aid is only one of the stepping stones. I believe that it will extend. I believe that the amount provided under this Bill, over the next 3 to 5 years, will prove to be not enough. P-it it is a step foward. I commend the lilli to the Senate.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Mr Acting President, I rise to support the Asian Development Bank. (Additional Subscription) Bill. I want to point out, in common with other honourable senators, that the purpose of this Bill is to obtain parliamentary approval for Australia to take up an increase of $US127.5m in its capital subscription to the Bank, of which $25. 5m is to be paid in at this stage and the remainder is to be on call. I wish to express the hope that Australia will take up the balance to which it is entitled as soon as practicable. As has been stated, the Asian Development Bank is an institution created to promote investment in the ECAFE region of public and private capital for development purposes. One of its purposes was to utilise available resources for development, giving priority to those projects which will contribute to the harmonious economic growth of the region of South East Asia as a whole. Of course one of the fundamental opportunities for assistance is in the field of technical assistance. This has been widely used in many of the projects which have had support from the Asian Development Bank.
It has been stated already that in the lending operations of the Bank there are 2 types of loans which may be attributed to those nations which require assistance. Firstly, there are the ‘special operations’ loans, which are financed from special funds within the resources of the Bank. These are for projects which would have a high development priority. They are loans of longer maturity date at lower interest rates. In this area of special finance which is made available we have seen many successful operational projects undertaken which have been an enrichment to the countries concerned in particular and to the whole region in general as part of South East Asia. The ‘ordinary operations’ functions of the Bank are those which are financed from ordinary capital resources. They are those ordinary operations which come within the charter of the Bank as it was envisaged as providing capital resources for development.
It is important to recall that the project evaluation of each application for funds is something which has been given definition and which does take into account economic, technical and financial feasibility when such applications are being considered. It also takes into account the effect on the general economy of the country concerned, the capacity of the borrowing country to service additional debt and the introduction of those new technologies which such loans may contribute. Another important feature, of course, is the fact that many of these projects provide an expansion of employment opportunities in undeveloped nations. This is perhaps a very realistic way to assist in the development of a region through specialised projects which give very great assistance to a particular nation for many of the basic needs of a developing community. 1 believe that it was Senator Carrick who drew attention to the 1971 annual meeting of the Bank’s governors at which they adopted a resolution asking the Bank’s directors to study the resources position of the Bank and, in particular, to study the need to increase the capital stock of the Bank for future activities. The governors’ decision was to approve a 150 per cent increase in authorised capital. This represented an increase of SI, 650m, which brought the authorised capital to a total of $2, 750m. It is important to think that such a decision is taken in the light of the activities of the Bank since its formation approximately 5 years ago. It is equally significant to realise that the loan approvals which have been granted have enabled projects to be financed both from ordinary and special funds for highway construction, agricultural products and processes, fishery fleet development, industrial plants, water and power supply and all that they mean to future technology, the creation of ports and airports, a great deal of irrigation and many of the essential projects which we envisage as being part of a developing economy. The aggregate lending from the Bank to 1971 was $US638.46m. The loan portfolio at the end of 1971 consisted of 57 conventional and 28 concessional loans covering 81 projects in 16 development member countries. Those figures are large ones.
It is important to feel that Australia is a part of this development. It is equally interesting to notice that in a parliamentary sphere we have a unanimity of the members here with regard to the desirability of our participation in a development bank of this type. Indeed it is part of Australia’s attitude to overseas aid, to the development of member countries in our own region and to the acceptance of international responsibility. The fact that Australia has participated in the past and is now desirous of taking up the new allocation which is available to it is something which is a feature of our attitude to our responsibilities in this region and something which I feel should be commended at this time. 1 did want to take this opportunity of giving expression to some of the thoughts of the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank, Mr Watanabe. Writing in a booklet called ‘The World Today’, and speaking of the Asian Development Bank, he said: lt is easier to do almost anything than to develop a country’s economy. In the summer of 1970, after the sa-million-ton sugar harvest, though the largest in Cuba’s history, had failed to reach the programmed level of 10 million tons. Fidel Castro, speaking to the Cuban people, remarked that it was easier to win a war than it was to develop the economy of a country.
I would like to think, in the context of those words, that the Bill which we are discussing tonight is something which takes our responsibility into the development of not just one country in South East Asia but of many countries which are member nations and which can participate in the projects approved by the Asian Development Bank. Another part of the discussion of Mr Watanabe is headed ‘An Asian common market’. Perhaps this takes our thoughts to the future as we talk about economic development in this region of the world. He expressed these thoughts:
Another hope for the economic development of the Third World, and particularly for Asia, is the development of something like an Asian common market. This is, of course, still an articulated hope rather than an anticipated promise. All that Asian countries have in common is their geographical location and their evolution from a shared, if not necessarily common, colonial experience.
He went on to make many comments on that subject. Whether we are discussing future thought about an Asian common market or whether we are simply talking in humanitarian terms of developing the opportunities of many of the neighbour countries participating the Asian Development Bank, it is good to recall that Australia has accepted with great willingness the opportunity for greater participation in the authorised and subscribed capital of the Asian Development Bank.
I support this Bill. I draw attention to the opportunities which have been already given under the projects which have been sponsored through the special purpose and general funds of the Bank. I hope that the Bill will have the support of all honourable senators.
– I want to speak briefly in support of this Bill because, like other honourable senators, in recent weeks I have been involved in this programme called Action For World Development which has been carried on throughout Australia. During the month of July there was a series of study programmes and most of these reached what I would call their concluding processes in the form of various pub’ic meetings which members of Parliament, including members of this Senate, attended to listen to the various groups, to express the point of view of particular political parties and, in some cases, to respond, as it were, as persons who happened to be members of the Government parties. 1 support this Bill for 2 or 3 reasons. Firstly, the Asian Development Bank Bill is a recognition by Australia that it has a responsibility in the South East. Asian region. Secondly, the second reading speech, the statistics contained in the speech and indeed the debate this afternoon and this evening reflect the fact that the bank is part of Australia’s let al involvement in international aid which is, of course, currently a very important area of discussion. Indeed, it has aroused quite some comment and study throughout Australia. Thirdly, the bank, as its name implies, enables Australia to be involved in development programmes.
When the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) outlined the Bill last week he drew attention to the fact that the purpose of it was to obtain parliamentary approval for this Government and this country to take up an increased capital subscription to the bank. As most honourable senators know, Australia is a foundation member of the Asian Development Bank. Membership of the bank now totals some 37 countries, 23 of which, including Australia and Papua New Guinea, are from the Asian region. The Asian Development Bank’s main objectives, as some other people have said, are not only to promote the investment of public and private capital but also to undertake a widespread programme of development.
The Minister for Air drew attention to the fact that Australia’s participation in the bank meant that we had an integral and important part to play not only in the bank but also, through the bank, in the total overall international aid effort. We like to say - and I think with some justification - that our involvement in international aid is a creditable and satisfactory one considering the population of Australia which is not as b:g as that of countries such as Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. We have *een able to involve ourselves in international aid to an extent that reflects some credit upon the Australian people.
The idea of establishing a regional development bank for Asian development emerged from discussions which were first held at the ministerial conference on Asian economic co-operation in December 1963. These discussions, as the Senate will know, were held under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East. At the second ministerial conference in Manila in 1965 it was agreed to establish the bank. I think it is important to place on the record that Australia was a founder member of the bank and is the fourth largest subscriber to the bank’s ordinary capital.
The bank has progressed and developed through the years, and indeed its whole involvement in development in South East Asia has been of considerable benefit to the area. I think it has also thrown back a responsibility on the Government and the people of Australia to the extent that it has brought forth a response which was outlined in the speech made by the Minister for Air and which has also been referred to in this debate. We now not only feel obliged but also are ready and willing to take a further part in meeting the increased subscription which is outlined in the Bill.
Having recognised this fact and also the fact that the Asian Development Bank is part of our aid programme, I think the bank is very closely related to the programme called Action for World Development about which 1 have been speaking. This Action for World Development was held under the auspices of the Australian Council of Churches and the inter-church aid programme. During the month of July it involved many hundreds of people connected with church groups throughout Australia. Having attended many of the summing-up meetings I have been more than interested to try to gather for myself some impression of what the general public and the man in the street are thinking about Australia’s role so far as Action For World Development and our contribution to international aid are concerned.
As always, a considerable proportion of the population thinks the Government should do more in any given set of circumstances. As honourable senators are aware, various figures have been laid down whereby the whole matter of our international aid has been related, by comparison, to the proportion of gross national product that we might give in international aid. I do not know that a percentage of the gross national product is necessarily a good unit for measuring international aid. But I accept the fact that some measuring stick has to be adopted. This figure has been used in comparison with other countries and in this way Australia has shown up particularly well indeed. It seems to me that the findings from this widespread programme of Action For World Development have revolved around not only a desire for a greater increase in government contributions - and part of this is reflected, as honourable senators know, in the Budget Speech which was made last week - but also a suggestion that there should be more personal involvement, that there should be a greater contribution by voluntary agencies to take part in international aid programmes. I have some particular sympathy with this concept. I have long said, both in this place and in other places, that 1 would be appreciative if the Government on occasions - perhaps not all the time - could devise a formula whereby for certain periods of time donations to voluntary agencies for international aid could become allowable deductions for income tax purposes.
I realise, in saying that, that if such a practice were followed it would represent a contribution by the government of the day to international aid. It also has the disadvantage that the government of the day does not know the extent or the diversity or indeed the amount of voluntary giving to international aid. But far too many people in our community are constantly placing the responsibility for international aid on the government of the day and are not prepared to accept any measure of this responsibility themselves. Not everybody sees, as some of us do, a desire and a need for international aid in terms of developmental projects or self-help projects. They are prepared to sit back, as it were, and let the authorities - whether they be governmental authorities or others - engage in this programme of international aid. 1 hope that as a result of our study of this Bill, which increases the subscription to the Asian Development Bank, there will also be a recognition by the community as a whole that Australia is involved in an international aid programme of quite some diversity and extent. This is mainly at government level, but there is also a need for the people throughout the country at their own level, in their own way and for their own organisations, to be concerned about this sort of thing.
The kind of international aid referred to in the Asian Development Bank Bill is of course the provision of international finance for developmental projects and for the establishment and the well-being of the communities. Finance is required for the great projects that go to ensure the wellbeing of society and of the people who live within that society.
In Australia’s aid programme we have examples of special aid to Indonesia, our involvement in the South East Asia Treaty Organisation, the Indus waters scheme, the Foreign Exchange Operations Fund concerning Laos, our special aid to Cambodia, Australian-Asian university aid, our other
Asian programmes, our connections with the South Pacific Aid Programme and the South Pacific Commission as well as a number of multilateral aid programmes including the international development institutions made up of banks, development associations and finance corporations and the wide range of United Nations agencies with which Australia has some connections. This means that the government of the day is involved in many international aid programmes. Australia is privileged to provide this aid because it has the means and ability to do it.
I would hope that the community would never be completely satisfied with what any government was doing but that it would involve itself in such organisations as I have outlined. I am thinking in terms of the World Christian Action segment of the Australian Council of Churches and a movement that is being launched in a number of States right now called ‘Force 10’, which embraces the Australian Council of Churches and the Catholic Development Programme. I think also of the community programme known as Community Aid Abroad by which communities in this country service, care for and give developmental aid to communities in one or other of the receiving countries. So, we have a programme of community to community assistance whereby people are not just leaving this work to authorities or to governments but are becoming personally involved.
After all, if we have any sense of stewardship and responsibility for the area about which we are talking so easily tonight, we must be involved in development programmes of this community to community type. I would hope - indeed, I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) to register my commendation of the programme - that the government of the day will make facilities available, whether through the tax structure or in some other way, so that not only are governments involved in international aid and development but also people are able to assist. We could say to people that the ball was in their court and that this was not only a responsibility of governments but also a strong responsibility on the community itself.
With these few general remarks, I lend my support to the Bill. I hope that, in the money that is distributed and the funds that this legislation will make available, an opportunity will be provided for communities within the area which the Asian Development Bank serves to grow, to progress and to work out successful and happy lives in the same way that Australians have been able to do in our privileged community.
– I, too. wish to join with those who have indicated support for this Bill. The Australian Democratic Labor Party unquestionably supports it. But I wonder whether we are not being carried away a little in a wave of enthusiasm or self praise for what we are doing. I say that having listened to some of the contributions to this debate from honourable senators. I have read with some apprehension that this contribution is described in the second reading speech of the Minister for Air (Senator DrakeBrockman) as being an integral or important part of Australia’s overall aid effort. I do not see this as aid at all. I see this as a commonsense business approach to the problem of helping nations so that their standards and prosperity inevitably are improved.
I consider it a good investment rather than aid, particularly for a country like Australia with its vanishing markets in the old world and with its need to look for means of increasing the standards and prosperity of the area in which we live so that we may trade prosperously in the future. Unless we are prepared as businessmen to enter into these schemes enthusiastically, not with a feeling of self praise for the fact that we are giving aid to somebody else, we are failing to recognise that if there is any aid involved it is aid to ourselves. By adopting the starting point of being businesslike in our approach to the problems of the development of countries that are lagging somewhat behind because of circumstances and the generations that have Icd up to the present one, we gain a different philosophy and point of view of the whole programme as well as this specific proposition to put more capital at the command of the Asian Development Bank.
I believe that Australia’s aid to developing nations has been coloured somewhat with self deception. The Australian Democratic Labor Party has said this for quite a long time. We praise ourselves for contributing 1 per cent of our gross national product to aid projects today but that sum includes the enormous and very creditable aomunt of money that we are spending in Papua New Guinea. This is a direct responsibility which the Australian Democratic Labor Party has always thought should be over and above what we are contributing in aid to the other developing nations in our area. Again, adopting the same businesslike approach to aid, we should look at these contributions as being ultimately in Australia’s interests not only in relation to trade but also in relation to peace. We cannot live at peace in this area of the world if our progress and our standards are so much higher than those of the countries in this region. Indeed, the world is in the situation that the standards and progress of certain nations which had achieved greatness are increasing. Tha haves’ are getting more and the ‘have-nots’ are losing even that little which they appeared to have. If that situation is not corrected world peace will not be long sustained, particularly in the area in which we live.
From another philosophical point of view this is something in which Australia should be involved. We should not run away with so much self praise for doing everything we think possible in the area in which we live, even in our own interests, whilst we are helping other people to emerge from the past and to catch up with the present.
I turn to the subject of banks. In the development of humanity, the banking structure, particularly the international banking structure, as we know it and as we are developing it today, is a quite new and somewhat untested idea. The availability of finance is essential if countries are to be developed on the magnitude on which it is necessary to develop them in the world today. Following the history of the United States of America, which is one of the giants of world finance and banking, we find a history of monetary and banking collapse running into large proportions. But the system itself survives as it must survive. That is the reason for its survival. But this does indicate to us that we are still in the process of a great deal of experimentation.
The monetary and credit structures of the nations of the world today still show thai there is much that we need to learn about this new device of financing, particularly in respect of international finance, before we can say that we have arrived at our destination.
The Asian Development Bank, 1 notice from the Minister’s second reading speech, is making finance available at what 1 consider to be a reasonable and rational rate of interest between governments. What is the capital that is at risk? Even an emerging nation may have an unstable political background, but the general theme is development. The realisation that, whatever the political instability of a nation may be: ultimately that nation must progress is important. It would be unlikely that a regime replacing an earlier government, by whatever means, would go back on the obligations of its nation to the Asian Development Bank. If it did, that nation would receive no more finance for development purposes. From this point of view, it would virtually come to a standstill. It would need to devise other means to develop itself. After all, mankind has been trying to devise the means for this purpose for a long time. Whilst I have pointed out some of the limitations with which we are contending even today, at least we are doing more than has been done satisfactorily in earlier generations. Thus I do not see the capital at great risk, and I am pleased to know, and I express the pleasure of my colleagues of the Democratic Labor Party also, that this bank is finding it possible to lend money at rates of interest which vary from H per cent to 3 per cent for specific purposes that are approved. I wonder how much basic capital is at risk in that area of lending to developing countries in which the Bank is charging the more fashionable modern rates of interest of H per cent to 7i per cent, and just how much productivity of a developing country must be directed to sustaining the cost of finance for specific purposes. I personally consider a rate of 7i per cent to be not interest but usury. There is no justification for charging such high rates for the use of capital to gain necessary development which benefits all of us, the lender as well as the borrower. However, I am not conversant with the actual running or management of the Asian Development Bank; I think we must leave that to the board of international people which has been established and which is managing the Bank’s affairs. Nevertheless for a country struggling to emerge, as many of these nations are, rates of interest can be tremendously important.
A contributor to this Bank, and no doubt a nation borrowing from it, is Korea. I visited Korea recently and I was astounded to learn that the bond rate of interest was over 20 per cent. This causes me to fear for the economic future of that country. I do not mean that financial collapse would necessarily destroy the country, because history shows that countries in spite of financial collapses recreate employment and consumption irrespective of what happens to the economic machinery which they have set up to enable them to do this much better and more prosperously. Nevertheless, one cannot help being concerned when one finds that a debt repaid every 5 years in the form of interest while the capital is still owed. One realises the impractability of a ruling rate of interest of 20 per cent on any type of borrowing, particularly government borrowing when backed by the whole of the facilities and assets of the borrowing country and indeed the future of the country. If a country is not a good risk, it does not have a good future. This may be true in a political sense of some of these nations. But whatever political changes take place, they have need of a system of capitalisation of enterprises which will enable them to develop. It is unlikely that whatever changes take place under whatever circumstances - changes of government may occur - that the loans would ever be renounced by borrowers from this Bank.
I am glad that there are people in this country who have associated themselves with Action for World Development, because I believe that without development all over the world we cannot meet the future. I part company from the many people who believe that the world can prosper from a disappearing population, or even with a static population. Overpopulation may prove to be a very puzzling problem for the future but I warn those who believe that the solution may be depopulation of what they may well do to the financial structures of the world which is trying to develop productivity for a smaller population. In this country population and development are on a razor edge. Only a very, very small swing of the pendulum is required to change us from a developing nation in a population sense to a depopulated nation, because the margin is so fine. Indeed, if the margin were not artificially maintained by immigration, we would have already reached the stage of being a disappearing nation and unable to sustain development at all, because a nation cannot develop if it has a receding population. The history of other nations has many times proved this. Perhaps the uncontrollability of certain diseases have led to depopulation. One can find remnants of great cities in the jungles of Ceylon which were abandoned by civilisations whose ultimate fate nobody knows. Unquestionably part of the disintegration was caused because, for some reason unknown, their populations began to recede; and as the populations recede their prosperity disappeared and they, too, sank into the realm of forgotten things.
When we discuss this question, Mr Acting President, we should take all these factors into consideration. 1 believe that this kind of experimentation in terms of international and world financing must succeed. I am proud that Australia, a small nation in terms of its economy, has invested in this project. Those funds have been invested, not given away; the capital has not disappeared but remains as an asset of Australia. We have invested $80m in this project, whereas Japan, with which one can make a comparison on the basis of economies quite apart from population, has invested $200m. I think that S80m is a very, very worthwhile and sensible contribution by Australia, for in the future we may need much more than Japan the support of those nations we are now helping to develop. We are still a primary producing nation whereas the shift in Japan’s economy is taking her away from her traditional productivity and this may some day make her dependent on nations like Australia for the primary goods that she must have to sustain both her population and her industries.
Australia’s role has been worthwhile. I believe that this is a good Bill to launch what we could almost term a pilot scheme, which is proceeding as planned and is operating successfully. I express some doubts about lending at higher rates of interest but I am encouraged by the fact that in some of its lending the Bank is facing up to the economic fact, which I think is proved by history, that the most successful type of lending and the most successful type of borrowing are those which are conducted upon minimum rates of interest consistent with the protection of the capital at risk. If the capital is not at risk at all, I see no justification for the interest rates which seem to be the popular ones in the economies of the world today. One cannot help but wonder whether difficulties which are faced by prosperous nations of the world arise from their own economies. Here I refer to the United States of America and receding values of its currency. The problem facing the United States of America could very well result from the influence which high rates of interest are having upon this wealthy nation whose economy was tremendously stable when rates of interest were half what they are now, but which today is going through the throes of many economic problems - problems which affect not only the United States but also other nations of the world.
As one trying to keep pace with world events 1 have been amazed by criticisms of unemployment levels in this country in recent weeks. When I recall the 1930s - a period which has memorised for me personally and for my family - and compare it with today, it seems to me that nobody is giving any consideration at all to the very difficult problems which world events have forced upon nations such as ours in the last 2 years. In the 1930s Australia was not responsible for the circumstances of the depression which caused such enormous unemployment in this country. It was a world-wide affair.
During the last 2 years right throughout the world enormous pressures have been placed upon economies and, indeed, upon employment levels by the economic situation of the United States of America, the revaluation of the United States currency and the depreciation of trade upon which Japan had come to depend in its purchasing of raw materials from Australia. Acually, it is amazing that employment levels in Australia have been held at the level at which they have been held. 1 think that any student and anybody who professes some interest in international affairs and economies cannot but be surprised that we have been able to hold unemployment. I give no credit to the Government. I do not think there has been even a deliberate attitude because the Government never mentions that it has tried to do anything practical to maintain employment levels. Somehow or other we have muddled through. The situation has not been too bad when one considers what it could have been and what one would have expected had the problems been posed before they actually arose. I think the predicters of gloom in this country would have been measuring unemployment in terms of 5 per cent or 10 per cent of the total employable community had one said 12 months before the United States currency began to wobble that it would wobble. Yet this did not affect us as dramatically or as drastically as that at all. For this I think we should indeed be grateful. We should persist in expending whatever efforts are available to us to see that we maintain the absolute minimum which I feel has been maintained with some reasonable success through a very difficult international period.
Primary industry prices have fallen dramatically but at the same time we are doing reasonably well. We are expressing this situation in terms of the aid which we are granting in other places and the investment which, in this Bill, we are making in the development of other nations. That is how we look at the matter. We accept this Bill with pleasure because we feel that it increases our investment in the development of the countries which we must see developed in our own interests. We hope that the Government will, in the new mood of prosperity which has emanated from our local circumstances out of the current budget, see its way clear to increase still further our actual aid to other countries. We hope that it will give some consideration to what has been expounded by the Australian Democratic Labor Party for at least 10 years; that is that much of the aid which allegedly we have been granting abroad has been going into the specific responsibility that we have for Papua New Guinea. We have no quarrel with this. We believe that responsibility is ours. We believe that it is in our inter ests to accept that responsibility. But the Democratic Labor Party would like to see the percentage of the gross national product going into international development in our area to be exclusive of the personal responsibility - if one could call it that in referring to a nation - which we in Australia feel towards Papua New Guinea. We support the Bill. We hope that this further investment in the Asian Development Bank will bring to Australia the improved circumstances which 1 believe we have every right to expect by improving the circumstances in the whole Asian region of which, at least geographically, wc form part.
– 1 can remember very well when the Asian Development Bank was established, lt is just a little over 5 years ago. I can recall the debate which took place in the Senate at that time. 1 recall the enthusiasm with which most honourable senators greeted the advent of the bank. It was felt to be a most necessary instrument for development and co-operation in the Asian region. The Australian Government supported it warmly, both in the discussions which led to its formation and in the capital subscription which brought it into being. I can also remember concern being expressed, because the region was so short of capital and because there was perhaps not as much experience in business management and development finance as was the case in older and more developed countries, that there were some problems and hazards in running a bank of this character in a region where people had so much to learn about the wise and sensible use of development finance.
As has been mentioned in this debate, this measure is not opposed by anybody in the Senate. Indeed, no-one would expect this to be the case. But a lot of observations have been made by honourable senators. They have been well worth ,………. to. I think they have reflected the general concern which the Austraiian population has that, as a wealthy country in its own right, Australia will do something positive in its own time to aid the peoples of its own regions, and do so in a sensible and manageable way. I think that 5 years after the bank was founded we should pay tribute to the board and management of the bank under chairman Watanabe for the excellent way the bank has conducted its business and developed its affairs. It has contributed towards the stability and growth of the region which the bank was set up to foster.
Although the Bill is not being opposed, I think 1 should mention one or two points in relation to it for the benefit of honourable senators who have taken an interest and studied the Bill. Senator Wilkinson was concerned about loans from the special operation fund and the ordinary fund. 1 had some figures taken out but to the extent that some more information might be required I shall ask the adviser from the Department of the Treasury to read Senator Wilkinson’s speech to make sure that we have given him what he sought. The figures to 3 1st December 1971 show that loans from the ordinary fund total $US524m and that loans from the special fund, which is a concessional lending area, total $US1 07.2m. I think that is what Senator Wilkinson is looking for.
Senator Davidson referred to the work which is going on in Australia’s approach towards the total aid programme. With him I warmly support, as I have always supported, Australia’s contribution to aid projects throughout the world particularly in our own region when they are administered in what I call a bilateral sense. That is so where the project can be specifically identified and positively measured and where a real contribution can be shown to flow from the Australian people to people of another land. I realise that we make great contributions in multilateral aid and indeed we should. But for a country like Australia, established in the region, bilateral aid has a lot to recommend it because an Australian can positively identify himself with it in the country of receipt. With the multilateral aid programme his aid is part of a. huge aggregation of money and perhaps he never sees the result of his thinking and his work. As Senator Davidson said, this aid tends to be lost in the great collection of people involved. I think that one has to be philosophical about this. My philosophy has always been to be a strong supporter of bilateral aid programmes.
I thought that Senator Little made an appropriate observation when he said that aid is not only being generous but also it has a very strong element of sound, good business sense for the donor country. I think that one ought to acknowledge that this is the case in many instances. We are aiding other people but, in the end, we will be aiding ourselves. It is the old principle of casting bread upon the waters. In this case one hopes that it will return a hundredfold in due course. But this is part of a general aid programme. The development about which we are talking here has a very sound commercial base because, as a group of people living in this region and trading extensively in the region we are very much bound up with the prosperity of the region as a whole. In effect, if the region expands and the total market expands our share of the market expands with it. This is an ordinary, wise way to look at this. In a sense as a country we have to look at this commercially because we are a great trading country. We have a lot of selling and buying to do in proportion to our population. The percentage of the Australian production passing into world trade is very high when compared with that of some other countries. To that extent good business rules and seeking to expand the market in which you live are wise and sensible principles to follow.
Senator Little was a little concerned about rates of interest charged by the Bank. The Bank borrows on private capital markets throughout the world and then relends the money at a rate of interest of Ti per cent. This covers its own costs. I think that Senator Little acknowledged this when he quoted the bond rate of Korea as being 20 per cent. When I was in Korea the going rate of money in the market place, not the bond rate, was 12 per cent per month. The money shortage in underdeveloped regions with fast rates of expansion is characterised by high rates. There is no doubt about this, and one would hope that as years pass, with more sophistication, more resource and more money supply, these rates will come down. The rate that the Bank lends at, therefore, is far less than the rate which would apply normally in a Lot of developing countries. It is far less than they would have to pay if they borrowed from the market themselves, even if they could get access to it. The Bank is able to borrow at these rates because its borrowings are backed by callable capital from what I might call reliable subscribers. This Bill introduces a further expansion of that callable capital.
I shall traverse very briefly the Bill and the second reading speech. This Bill was introduced 5 years after the foundation of the Bank to which we were, and still are, a substantial subscriber. We rank amongst the first 4 capital subscribers to the Bank. At an earlier stage we were looking at this matter in regard to the aid project side of it and I think we have covered the points that need to be made in that respect. The Bank’s lending rates and repayment rates are spread over 10 to 25 years and they include some grace periods.
The projects for the Bank are examined extremely carefully. It is not generally known that Australia has contributed substantially not only on the capital side but has backed the Bank in other ways as well. It has provided some very capable people for the management and the Board of the Bank. It has lent some of its most experienced people to advise on bank lending projects and surveys of general lending areas. Among the notable people who have helped the Bank have been Sir John Crawford, Mr Garland, the late Commonwealth Bank officer, and Mr E. K. Fiske of the Australian National University, an expert on tropica] agriculture. A wide range of people have been involved with the Bank at advisory and consultancy levels. That is not usually mentioned as one of the things that Australia has done.
As has been mentioned, Australia’s subscription is exceeded only by those of the United States of America, Japan and India. The total subscription is shown. I think one could refer again, as I did 5 years ago when the original Bill was first debated, to the fact that one was surprised, indeed astonished, at the low subscription to the Bank’s capital by many of the nonregional countries which had a strong and vested interest in the growth of the economic resources of this under-developed region. A notable one was the United Kingdom. I thought that the sum of $3 Om from the United Kingdom was not very much for a region in which it had such a lot of interest.
The Bank has expanded its operations very rapidly. That is a tribute to the wise way in which it has handled its affairs and, equally, to the tremendous demand that the region has for these kinds of resources. All honourable senators have noticed before, and it is to be noted here again, that a recent entry into the membership of the Bank is the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. The Territory will be important for the Bank and the Bank will be important for the Territory.
I was in Noumea last year leading a delegation from Australia to the Sou.h Pacific Commission meeting. At that time there was a discussion about the need for a Pacific Development Bank. I intrude this point into this discussion only to bring it to the minds of my colleagues who have taken an interest in this matter. It was said by the people at the South Pacific Commission meeting who came from the South Pacific and Pacific territories that the Asian Development Bank was absorbed in the problems of Asian finance more than it was in the problems of Pacific finance and that a case could be developed, as time went on, for either the Asian Development Bank to expand and do more in the Pacific or for a separate Pacific Development Bank to be created. The World Bank representatives who were there and who were involved in the discussion were rather keen on the idea of a Pacific Development Bank. One would want at this stage to have a reservation about whether the market is large enough for an institution of that character. Thinking about it, one gets the impression that perhaps we would have something which was too big for the particular purpose that was to be served. But the other argument can be presented, and was presented, that the smaller development banks have been successful in Latin America and the Caribbean and that the South Pacific is an area that may lend itself to some development of this kind. Be that as it may, it is something that we may see develop as time goes on if there is a real need for it.
What we have before us represents an interesting approach. Countries that are developed economically and have great resource and are trading with the region from outside, and countries of the region with great resource and are trading within the region, have joined together to produce a capital situation to help under-developed parts of the area. To me this is extremely important if we want a properly developed world and some chance for people with lower living standards to be lifted to the living standards of more fortunate people. That will happen only as a result of the wise utilisation of resource, the sound use of finance, good management practices, and with money being applied in the most useful and sensible places. This is one way in which I think the Bank has performed an immense service over and above the collecting of capital for lending at reasonable rates. I think it has scrutinised projects. It has drawn to its side people from all over the world who are experts in a given field. The Bank’s own staff has been very careful to analyse projects.
The Bank’s record is one of very wise and sensible lending to people in the region who have wanted help. That perhaps is a contribution very nearly as great as giving them the money because in many cases people want money for certain projects which are not always viable, wise or sensible and someone has to exercise banking control over this. It is very hard for one country to do this as against another. The emotions of people are involved, as are their national pride and their optimism. Therefore, a banking arrangement such as this which can act as a screen serves us all very well. I think the Senate has been extremely wise to take some time to discuss this matter, and I thank my colleagues for their support of this Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I would like some information from the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton). I am not offering any criticism of the Bill but this matter has been brought to my attention upon reading clause 4 of the Bill which states:
The Treasurer may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, mv.ke an agreement or agreements with the Bank providing for the purchase by Australia of Two thousand five hundred and fifty paid-in shares, and Ten thousand two hundred callable shares, of the capital stock. . . .
The question I am interested in relates not to what was said in the second reading speech but in some general observations made during the debate. It was mentioned that the various contributors to the Asian Development Bank would be asked to increase their contributions by a further 150 per cent. That roughly is about what Australia proposes to do. Perhaps the Minister for Civil Aviation could tell me whether we are taking up all the shares that have been offered to us. Has he any information about whether this is being done by the other signatories? I noticed that one of the conditions under which this amount will be made available to the Bank is that 100,000 of the total of over 150,000 shares are taken up by the various contributing countries. Are we taking up our maximum? Can the Minister advise me whether other contributing countries also are accepting their obligations?
– The position is that we are taking up our full entitlement. As mentioned in the second reading speech, there are 3 countries wl,.ct may not take up their entitlement. That is not known positively at the moment as there is lead time available until some time in February. We do not really waut to name the countries concerned because probably it would be better not to do so and it would not serve any useful purpose to name them. The quota situation is such that so long as 66 per cent of the total is taken up the scheme will be a goer, as <t were. Consequently, that aspect will be well and truly covered.
– I wanted to know about the majority.
Sentaor COTTON- The majority is taken up. We are taking up our full entitlement, but there are 3 countries which may not do so. This is not certain yet. The Australian Government regards the scheme as consummated so far as it is concerned.
– I refer to the specific project which the Minister mentioned in his speech in reply. He referred to a conference in Noumea at which a view was expressed in relation to the establishment of a Pacific development bank. Can the Minister indicate whether this was just an item of discussion or whether it has any relationship with the Bill before us tonight?
– It is not really related to the Bill. As honourable senators indicated an interest in the Asian Development Bank in dealing with a Bill which is completely supported and which has no controversy in it, I talked at some length about various matters. I felt entitled to take the liberty of saying a few things about development banks in general, as well as this bank in particular. The’ matter mentioned by the honourable senator was raised on the agenda for the South Pacific Commission meetings as something that the region should be thinking about. To my knowledge it would have gone no further than that. The matter was under discussion for about 2 hours of a 4-day session. I mentioned this just to put it in the minds of honourable senators that we are looking at other regions in which we have a great interest. 1 refer to the South Pacific and Pacific areas which look to Australia as a big country. These ideas about development banks are really the product of people who have developing countries, who see the success of the Asian Development Bank and think that perhaps this sort of tool should be available in the Pacific area.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 17 August (vide page 194), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill bs now read a second time.
– We on this side of the Senate welcome this Bill to amend the Lighthouses Act. Its purpose is to transfer power over lighthouses in Papua New Guinea to the Government of the Territory. We view it as a further step towards self government and the eventual independence of the Territory of Papua New Guinea and its people. We believe that it is of paramount importance that Australia do everything possible to ensure that on achieving independence Papua New Guinea is a friendly neighbour. This measure is an indication of our determination to make this friendship enduring. It is virtually a machinery measure covering navigation, which is a vital segment of administrative responsibility in relation to the waters of an island mass. I pay tribute to the Commonwealth Department of Shipping and Transport for the very high standards that it has achieved and maintained through ‘he years in the marine navigation installations in Papua New Guinea.
The actual date of the transfer of power has yet to be decided, but the transfer will be made at an appropriate time. The Australian Government has offered to continue its interest in matters relating to marine navigation in the Territory. This should be of great assistance to the Administration of Papua New Guinea as it will enable the training of technicians and facilitate a smooth change-over of responsibility. The Bill will remove all reference to the Territory of Papua New Guinea from the Lighthouses Act but it is my view that the friendly light to guide the mariner will continue to send out its beam as usual, despite the historic administrative changes taking place in this area. We do not oppose the measure.
– It is an interesting facet of parliamentary procedure and debate that brings a Bill relating to a comparatively simple measure before the Senate tonight. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) said in his second reading speech on the Bill that it is a straightforward matter. As Senator O’Byrne said, it provides for a simple transfer of part of the Commonwealth Government’s powers to the Administration of Papua New Guinea. With Senator O’Byrne I applaud the work which the Commonwealth has done within its responsibility. It has carried out its duties in relation to the coastline of Papua New Guinea and in the maritime area in the manner required of it in servicing Papua New Guinea. lt is important for the Senate to say, and for the people of Australia to be aware, that the transfer of a power, even if it appears to be a fairly small one such as we are dealing with now, should never indicate that we are surrendering our personal interest and concern. The Government’s departmental operations and all its facilities must constantly be available to Papua New Guinea for the training of personnel and for making available navigational aids and all the new and developing scientific trends and developments. The Territory which is so adjacent to us and with which we are so involved in such a wide range of areas will thus receive the benefit of Australian administration and of the technical advances that we have within our control. The responsibility for decision making in relation to maritime navigation and lighthouses is now being transferred to Papua New Guinea, but it is true to observe that the Australian authorities will continue to maintain a close and watchful interest. I suppose this is symbolic of the transfer to ultimate independence of the Territory of Papua New Guinea.
I think it would be appropriate to place on record something of the contribution that is now being made in this important international as well as Australian exercise by the Minister for External Territories (Mr Peacock). Not only has he a personal interest but also his personal interest finds expression in the fact that since he assumed duties in February he has been to the Territory no fewer than 16 times. He brings to his office and all phases of work relating to the Territories his own personal enthusiasm. He brings his own optimism and he sees the change as something that needs encouragement rather than control. Papua New Guinea has a special place not only in our Australian context but also in our international relations. The areas of independence will emerge. There must also be an assertion of their own independence and Australia must see to it that there is an encouragement of independence of thought and creative thinking and, of course, an independence of responsibility. Papua New Guinea may look to the Asian area as it emerges into independence but also it will look to Australia. We must see to it that it never looks to us in vain and never feels alone or neglected. Any steps that the Australian administration and the
Australian Government can take to help in political stability surely must be taken with courage and creative responsibility. What appears to be a small measure receives the wholehearted support of the Senate. At the same time, as Senator O’ Byrne said, it is symbolic as a light shining not only in encouragement but also in support and help. I support the Bill.
– I thank the 2 honourable senators for their comments on the matter. I agree with what both of them said about this. I was very impressed with Senator O’Byrne’s reference to the words: Lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom. I think that that was a very nice, noble touch. With those kind thoughts, as well as for everybody else, I shall sit down.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) agreed to:
That General Business, Orders of. the Day. Nos 1 and 3, be discharged.
Debate resumed from 17 August (vide page 184), on motion by Senator Marriott:
That the Senate take note of the report.
Upon which Senator Murphy had moved by way of an amendment:
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 Committee on Health and Welfare, the Standing Committee on Social Environment and the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs respectively, and that those three 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”.
– It is some little while since we were debating this report. It would have been very nice to have been able to conclude the remarks on 17th August but it was not possible. I am speaking now on the basis that this will be the final observation, I trust, upon the matter. I am making these remarks on behalf of the responsible Minister who is the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) in the other place.
There is no necessity for me to convince honourable senators of the danger that drug abuse poses for the Australian community today. One has only to look at many overseas countries to see just how depressing and economically debilitating the problem can become.
I do not believe that any honourable senator will disagree with me when I say that there is as yet no apparent solution to the problem. It is to be hoped that in the final analysis a complete remedy will be found not only in enforcement or in treatment or rehabilitation but also through an improved environment and education in the home.
This Government has continually acknowledged the need for both long term and short term programmes in an effort to solve the problem. It has implemented long term projects in the area of education and research. However, if these, together with the many treatment and rehabilitation programmes introduced by State governments are to succeed every effort must be made in the short term through intensive enforcement effort to check the growth of the problem. When the Senate established a committee to inquire into and report on the problem the terms of reference were realistically wide to ensure that all of the aspects - education, enforcement, treatment, etc. - were fully explored. The energy with which members of the Committee tackled this task and the depth of the examination they gave to the problem can be best gauged by quoting from portion of the introduction to their report:
The inquiry was launched with the first public hearing on 27th January 1970. Since that time 213 witnesses have appeared before the Committee and the transcript of their evidence totalled over 6,400 pages.
I am sure all honourable senators will agree that to do this and at the completion produce such a comprehensive and detailed report in little more than 12 months was indeed an excellent achievement which reflects great credit on the Committee and in particular on the Chairman, my colleague, Senator Marriott. The value and acceptance of the Committee’s report has been highlighted by previous speakers. The fact that it has had the second highest sales of any report presented by a select committee of Parliament reflects this acknowledgement. Accordingly, it would be remiss of me to let this occasion pass without commending Senator Marriott and his Committee for their valuable work not only to this Parliament but also to the people of Australia.
I interpolate only for myself as a member of the Senate to say that I am very proud to belong to such a Senate and proud to be associated with Senator Marriott and his colleagues who did what I believe was a first class job for the people of Australia and for their colleagues in this honourable place. But I think that people have acknowledged that adequately and I think that all the honourable senators concerned with this report would understand what people thought about their efforts. Those senators who have already spoken in this debate have in many instances referred to specific recommendations made by the Committee and approximately 8 months ago my colleagues the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) and the Minister for Customs and Excise circulated an information paper to all members of Parliament detailing action being taken on the report.
Senator Marriott in his speech on 17th August 1972 informed the Senate of the current position so far as the Committee’s recommendations are concerned. For these reasons I do not propose canvassing any particular section of the report but would like to take the opportunity to outline briefly some of the more significant measures that have been taken by the Government in the past 2 years to combat this growing menace.
Major steps have been taken to improve co-operation between enforcement authorities in Australia and overseas. Last year the Commonwealth hosted a conference of enforcement officials from 14 nations in the South East Asian region to discuss ways to improve co-operation and coordination of efforts against illicit traffic within the region. The conference was also attended by observers from the United Nations, Interpol and the United States of America.
The Commonwealth has already provided Sim for drug education. A further $500,000 has been approved for the current financial year. The majority of this money has been given to the States to carry out recommended drug programmes as approved by the Education SubCommittee of the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence. The projects have included educational programmes in schools and a series of youth seminars in all States culminating with a national youth seminar here in Canberra.
In co-operation with the States the Commonwealth has established a computerised system to monitor all drug transactions from the point of importation and/or manufacture to retail distribution. This system is providing authorities with an excellent means of studying the patterns of drug usage in Australia and in addition guards against the diversion of licitly imported or manufactured drugs into the illicit market. It will readily be seen that much of this activity is in clear accord with many of the Committee’s recommendations. Undoubtedly in some instances the recommendations prompted either the commencement or acceleration of certain projects. As I stated in my opening remarks, the problem of drug abuse today poses a serious danger to the Australian community. It is a problem which needs to be attacked at all levels in the community - by this Government, by State governments, by community leaders and even more importantly, within the family environment. The Senate Select Committee in its report and recommendations to this Parliament and the people of Australia has given valuable guidance for possible action in these areas.
As all honourable senators know, Senator Murphy has moved an amendment to Senator Marriott’s motion. The original motion was:
That the Senate take note of the report.
The amendment is:
Add the words - and that the medical, social environmental, and legal aspects of the report and recommendations of the Committee be referred to the Standing Com mittees on Health and Welfare, the Social Environment, and Constitutional and Legal Affairs respectively, and that those 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’.
We would have pleasure in accepting that amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
Report on Freight Rates
Debate resumed from 9 September 1971 (vide page 594), on motion by Senator Young:
That the Senate take note of the report.
– It is one of the ironies of the life we live that the Senate brings on for debate tonight the report on the freight rates on the Australian National Line shipping service to and from Tasmania in respect of an increase that was made in the freights by the Government in August 1970. The Senate Standing Committee on Industry and Trade reported on that matter about 15 months after the event. Now we are beginning to debate that report. Events have overtaken us to the extent that within the last 6 weeks further increases have been imposed upon the freight rates to Tasmania. It is because it is important, I think, that we should understand just what value comes from the Committee’s report in relation to the present incident that I rise to address the Senate for a short time tonight.
I venture to remind the Senate that Tasmania, being an island State, is especially dependent on shipping services for cargo transport. That fact has been borne in mind since the earliest days of federation and particularly in the mind of the Government that constituted the Australian National Shipping Line was the fact that the services due to Tasmania by way of shipping were of special value to that island State. As the Committee reported, it came as a shock to Tasmania when in August 1970 a substantial increase was made in the freights that were to be imposed on shipping services to Tasmania.
In my view, it is no use discussing these things in a vacuum. The result of the wear and tear that is occurring to the Tasmanian trade as a result of increased shipping freights can be seen in 2 instances. The first is in relation to the Tasmanian potato trade from the north-west coast to Sydney, which 20 years ago was responsible for putting 1 10,000 or 120,000 tons of potatoes into Sydney. Today we would be lucky to send 10,000 tons there. The reason, in addition to the high cost of production and the methods by which the mainland growers can grow potatoes better than they could in competition with Tasmanian growers then, is that to ship one ton of potatoes costs $32 or $33 for freight. The second instance is the apple trade of Tasmania, a third of which 20 years ago was marketed in the mainland States. The mainland States are no market for it today because the shipping services do not enable fresh fruit to be transported there at economic cost.
A deputation representative of parties of all political colours from Tasmania and representing sections of all Tasmanian industry waited on my colleagues the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) and the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) as recently as yesterday to make submissions with regard to the modification of the most recent increase in Australian National Line freights. Where are we getting in regard to this matter? It is current coin to cry about the situation. There has not been one word printed which, I believe, gives expression to the real problem underlying and bedevilling this matter. In the annual report of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission for 1971 the Chairman said that it was his unhappy experience to disclose a net loss of $2.5m as the product of the Line’s operation attributable in part to the marine stewards strike and which, incidentally, cost the Commission in excess of $2m’. At page 47 of the Senate Committee’s report reference is made to that strike. The report states:
The marine stewards’ strike in April and May of this year presented us with a graphic example of the consequences of industrial troubles for the Line and particularly for Tasmania, depending as it does so greatly on shipping, which is its economic lifeline. As mentioned earlier, we were told in evidence that the cost to the Line was estimated at approximately $600,000 in net loss of revenue, a major contribution to the Line’s profitability problems in the current financial year.
That strike cost the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission in excess of 52m. In relation to what was the strike held? lt was held in relation to the manning of one ship by stewards. That strike was capable of reducing the Australian National Line to a loss of $2m which it will not recover. That is to say that so-called servants of a government commission, charged with the duty of running essential shipping services between the mainland and Tasmania can, with impunity, go on strike, immobilise a ship unci cause a net loss of $2m to the Line.
– What was the cause of the strike? Who was to blame? The Minister is talking about something he knows nothing about, and, naturally, he blames the stewards.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order!
– 1 have some pity for those who live in a paranoia of past days, Mr Acting Deputy President. What I am pointing out is that the people of Tasmania are entitled to a service and they are entitled to that service at a freight rate that enables them to carry on their means of livelihood. Senator Cavanagh asserts, ignorantly, that the marine stewards should be upheld in disrupting that service and inflicting a cost upon the Australian National Line of S2m. To me this shows how utterly irresponsible are the Labor representatives. What I wish to do first tonight ls to identify the source of the damage to the Australian National Line. I identify it as industrial disruption. The strike to which I have referred was perhaps the most significant but not the only cause of that industrial disruption. If honourable senators care to read the report of the Australian National Line they will see that after having surveyed the experience of interstate voyages and the overseas voyages that the Australian National Line had entered into and run with heavy losses the Chairman of the ANL commented that the real key, of course, is industrial peace. Industrial disruption is the chorus of Senator Cavanagh, but responsible people who have some regard for the welfare of the island State would accept the responsibility of seeing to it that its shipping operations were maintained or that if they were dislocated there would be some recourse to the unionists who inflicted such a loss and caused an increase of freights to an uneconomic level.
– Come back to the question I asked earlier: What was the strike over?
– The Minister does not know.
– That is right, Senator Milliner; subdue the little man. The next thing I noted from the report of the Senate Committee is that the ANL in evidence said that cost increases between May 1968 and December 1969 were estimated to reach a total of $2.7m for all services. Reading on I noted that it said that labour costs alone had risen by about Sim per annum in recent years and that there was a prospect of further significant rises. The point I want to emphasise is that labour costs alone have risen by about $lm per annum in the running of the ANL in recent years. 1 defy anybody to supply shipping services to Tasmania with such a steep increase in labour costs. It startled me to note in relation to the experience not of the ANL but of another little service to an island near Tasmania - King Island - that a new ship built in Cairns and manned by Australian seamen ran for 5 weeks and incurred a loss of $100,000. It has been tied up for 8 weeks because of a union demand that leading able bodied seamen be paid $8,330 per annum for work amounting to 30 weeks of the year. Originally the demand was for 26 weeks’ work. In all the discussion of the Australian National Line’s difficulties emphasis is not given to the cardinal fact that the seamen and the Waterside Workers Federation have forced the costs of running these ships up to a prohibitive level. If one looks at the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority’s report for 1971 one will see that the stage had been reached where the average weekly earnings of waterside workers at permanent ports in June 1971 were $91.85 a week - an increase in that year from $81 a week. As we know, they have now gone up to over $100 a week for an effective working week of some 31 hours. Despite a decline in hours worked the average weekly earnings have increased at this exceptional rate. Labor supporters turn a blind eye to the enormity of the demand. As the honourable senator knows, a tax is imposed for incidental benefits for these gentry of $1 per man hour, which represents $8 per man per day. Only under that vicious impost of labour costs can the people of Tasmania be supplied with shipping services. The other point I want to make is that when the Tasmanian Labor Government has to give some attention to this matter the Minister for Transport goes round the union offices begging: ‘Please exempt Tasmania from your disruption’. Of course he gets a blunt denial. Some of those who try to curry favour with the people for the purpose of supporting their political party make noises which, as they are printed, are calculated to lead others to think that they would have some consideration for Tasmania. I want only to express my complete dismay that an elected Government should seek to supply essential shipping services to its own State with the consent of the union bosses; that it should seek to make arrangements with the union bosses when the people who voted the Government into its responsible office expect it to represent and service them.
The vicious aspects that come out of the report which the Senate is debating tonight are, firstly, the exorbitant and excessive labour costs in the stevedoring and seamen’s industry and, secondly, the governmental situation in which a government should seek to run shipping services with the permission of the union bosses. Those 2 points are put before the Senate as a challenge to the Senate to ascertain whether it is capable of taking the responsibility of government in this “ essential respect. When honourable Senators remember it is on official record that one disturbance alone has cost the government shipping line more than $2m without recourse whatever to the union as a matter of responsibility, it is time that we began to consider whether we have any right to claim to be a government and whether we will take the responsibility for ensuring that shipping services are carried on winthout interruption because the economy of our island State is peculiarly dependent upon those shipping services.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, I apologise for the fact that I was not present in the chamber when this debate was resumed. In the last half an hour the business of the Senate advanced very rapidly and I was just getting my documents at the time when this debate was resumed. I ask for leave to continue my remarks now.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The inquiry conducted by the Senate Standing Committee on Primary and Secondary Industry and Trade into the freight rates on the Australian National Line’s shipping services to and from Tasmania was an extremely interesting exercise for those honourable senators who were members of the Committee. Weapplied. ourselves very keenly to the subject. We thought we would deal with it in a few short weeks, but when we started we found that one thing led to another and eventually it took some months to reach a satisfactory conclusion and to present a report to the Senate.
I think it would be as well for me to summarise for the benefit of the Senate, some of the things that happened because the report was presented last year. We took evidence from some 60 witnesses in Canberra. Melbourne and various ports in Tasmania. We looked at the operations of the ANL as well as of other shipping companies. We held 33 meetings, of which 18 were public hearings. Quite a lot of interest was shown by both individuals and representatives of the Press who came along to see how we were conducting the inquiry. We were specifically asked by the Senate to do a number of things. The Committee was given the following terms of reference:
That there be referredto the Standing Committee on Primary and Secondary Industry and Trade the following matter -
The operation of the Australian National Line’s shipping services to and from Tasmania with regardto:
the factors considered in establishing freight rales;
the appropriateness of the current level of freight rales; and
any amendments necessary or desirable to the governing legislation to enable the operation to be carried out at the lowest possible freight rate.
We went very thoroughly into those matters which we were asked to investigate. I want to refer to page 70 of the report which contains the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee, because I think that they should be brought to the attention of the Senate. In regard to the first aspect, which was ‘(a) the factors considered in in establishing freight rates’, we said:
The questions posed here are broad and complex and are not amenable to a specific answer. The Committee’s consideration of them ranges throughout the report.
It was impossible to put in a very succinct phrase the factors considered in establishing freight rates. The report indicates how we examined this aspect. In regard to the next aspect, which was ‘(b) the appropriateness of the current level of freight rates’, which was the important matter that we were specifically charged to inquire into, we said:
The12½ per cent increase in freight rates in ANL services operative from 1st August 1970 was fully justified by thefinancial position of the Line.
I am giving the brief conclusions and recommendations set out in the report, but the basis for those conclusions and recommendations is to be found throughout the report. In regard to the third aspect, which was ‘(c) any amendments necessary or desirable to the governing legislation to enable the operation to be carried out at the lowest possible freight rate’, we said:
The Committee, in accordance with specific conclusions which it has reached on this aspect, makes the following recommendations:
That at the earliest available opportunity- and no later than the re-negotiation of the Australian Coastal Shipping Agreement - the Australian National Line be empowered to act as a freight forwarder if it so chooses.
Honourable senators will note that the Committee used the words ‘be empowered’. It did not say that the Australian National Line should act as a freight forwarder. Under its present charter the Line is not allowed to act as a freight forwarder, but there are some special circumstances which could make it advisable for the Line to have the power to become a freight forwarder if it so desired. The manager and other representatives of the Line assured us that they would welcome this power. They said that they could operate as a freight forwarder, not that they would necessarily do so but that this would give them a bargaining position. The next recommendation regarding this aspect was:
That subject to the requirement that the ANL meet its statutory obligations to pursue a policy directed towards securing revenue sufficient to meet all its expenditure properly chargeable to revenue, and to permit the payment to the Commonwealth of a reasonable return on this capital, the present tonnage limitation should be revised and the Line should have equal opportunity with private operators to provide any additional tonnage required on the Australian coast.
I do not propose to go through all the conclusions and recommendations that we made, but the conclusions and recommendations to which I have referred are the important ones. We gave them significance by referring to them in the first part of our conclusions and recommendations. We said that they were matters that ought to be considered.
I do not propose to make a long speech, but shortly I want to refer to the reservations that were expressed in the report by 3 members of the Committee. I have always believed that a committee should do everything in its power to achieve a unanimous report. This is a most valuable way of operating. To reach unanimity, if it is possible, is a desirable objective and one which members of committees should go out of their way to achieve.
The first reservation expressed in the Committee’s report comes from Senator Lillico. I regret that, through ill health, he is not here today. I understand that he is progressing satisfactorily. I am not going to say anything against Senator Lillico. I am referring to his reservation only because he was a most faithful member of our Committee. We went to a great many pains and much trouble to discuss with him the points that he brought up. I was under the impression that we had achieved unity with Senator Lillico on those points. Honourable senators will notice that in his reservation he is concerned specifically about the single port authority that he felt that the Committee was suggesting. He almost came to the conclusion that we were recommending one port for Tasmania. That is not so. The Committee did not feel this.
It considered that a very good argument existed for the maintenance of the 4 major ports that operate in Tasmania now. What the Committee suggested was that there should be a single port authority to coordinate the work of the existing major ports. Those ports which retain their own operating authority for carrying out their own work in the area covered by each ports; those ports which retain their own ommended was put forward as a possibility and not as a recommendation that should be carried out. Its purpose was to coordinate operations and to bring about, perhaps in this way, reductions in costs. We felt that this could be done. I thought that we had explained this to Senator Lillico and that we had reached agreement with him on it. I was rather surprised to find that he had put in a reservation on the report with regard to the single port authority proposal.
The other matter that he brought forward concerned the question of subsidies. The Committee made many inquiries from responsible people, including representatives of the Department of the Treasury, to ascertain the value or otherwise of a subsidy and how it could be applied. We were forced to the conclusion that in the case of shipping to Tasmania it was extremely difficult to see any way in which a subsidy could be applied. It would need to go across the board and also to apply to every other means of transporting goods to Tasmania. The situation seemed to be almost an impossible one. So, we did not feel that we could recommend the introduction of a subsidy at this stage. Those were the 2 points contained in the reservation put forward by Senator Lillico.
I turn to Senator Rae who, in his reservation, had quite a deal to say with regard to the report. I felt - this is my own opinion - that unfortunately Senator Rae was not able to take a full part in the work of our Committee because of the demands of another Committee of which he was Chairman. This made it difficult for him to be present at a large number of the meetings of our Committee. He did come in again at the end, but-
– That is not so. I was present for the vast majority of the hearings of evidence. Having heard that accusation made by others I checked, and I found that I was present for the vast majority.
– Perhaps the honourable senator when he speaks will be able to give us the actual number of times when he was present. I am not criticising Senator Rae on that ground. I felt that he was not able to participate actively in the latter portion of our inquiry to the degree that he did when he started out on the Committee. At that time he played a large part in the questioning. In the latter portion of the inquiry he did not take anywhere near the significant part that he had earlier. I felt that a great deal of what he brought forward had been dealt with already in the Committee and we reached a conclusion which was at variance with what he has put forward. This does not prevent the honourable senator from bringing up a reservation report. But, from memory, Senator Rae, because of other commitments, was not able to be present at a number of the private discussions that we held to consider the evidence that had been presented to the Committee.
I feel that, in his reservation, my colleague, Senator Wriedt, has introduced a number of different matters that could have been brought up when the Committee was interviewing witnesses. The exploration of these matters before the Committee would have been of great value to its deliberations. A number of the matters that he introduced in his reservation had not been touched on by the Committee. Their consideration might have been of value.
I am placing on record my feeling that members of committees should endeavour to be at committee meetings on every occasion when they possibly can and that they should produce reservation reports with considerable care, if they have not been able to acquaint themselves fully with what has gone on. That is my reservation in that regard.
Finally, I wish to come back to the matter that was brought up by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) in his address this evening regarding the costs of industrial unrest to the waterfront and to shipping. The members of this Committee were quite concerned to get some of the facts about this matter. I think that each member of the Committee asked questions about it. I wish to read from the Hansard minutes of the Committee hearing on 27th May 1971. Talking of the loss sustained by the Australian National Line, Senator Lillico asked:
It is difficult to assess with any accuracy its effect on actual freight rates?
Mr Morgan, who was then the Assistant General Manager (Commercial) of the Australian National Line replied:
Well, this is a non-recurring item of expense. It will be reflected in the financial results for this particular year. We anticipate that the effect of the more recent industrial problems will mean in round figures a cost to the Tasmanian trades of something like $600,000.
Because he said ‘to the Tasmanian trades’ we then were careful to inquire as to whether he meant to the ANL trade, to the whole trade, including the Union Steam Ship trade or the cost to the trade overall. Senator Wriedt asked a question on that same day, as reported at page 612. He put this question:
Could we clarify this? As I understand it, you have already used 3 terms. You have used ‘cost to the ANL’, ‘cost to Tasmania’ and ‘loss to the ANL’. What do you mean precisely, What are the figures related to? Can you go through them again? There is a figure of $600,000, for instance. What was that?
Mr Morgan in reply said:
The figure of $600,000 was the cost of the recent strike to the Tasmanian services of ANL. I am talking about ANL only.
We were not satisfied with that point. He had told us of the loss of §600,000, but we wanted to ascertain just how it had occurred. We explored further with the witnesses and made the point that a great deal of freight which is left on the wharf when a ship is not running is picked up when the ship resumes operations. Thus this is not a complete loss. We pointed out also that the Line was not paying wages to some staff. We pointed out too that a ship tied up in port is rather like a motor vehicle in a garage; that it is less costly to leave the vehicle in the garage than to run it on the road. Of course, these were not by any stretch of the imagination comparable costs, but we were exploring the principle behind them. It is interesting to report that the Committee having taken them to task about these points, the witnesses were still of the opinion that the actual net loss, taking into account the loss which would be reduced when the ship finally picked up the freight, was $600,000. Senator Bull, who was chairman of the committee at that time, asked Mr Morgan:
Would you give us the main reasons in your view for this estimated loss of $600,000, excluding the strike at the moment.
He was speaking of the stewards strike. Mr Morgan replied:
The paramount reason is continuing increases in costs. I listed in my second submission the national wage case, the increased bunker charges which have gone up by something like 60 per cent from 1st January, and variations to the awards to sea-going personnel which have had quite a significant effect on our ship operating costs.
We were trying to find out the losses the ANL was experiencing over this period which necessitated an increase of freight rate by 121 per cent, and this came out. I have given the information in case Senator Wright did not pick it up in Hansard.
– Would you relate that to page 47 of the Committee’s report?
– Which I quoted.
– The Committee does state as a positive fact:
As mentioned earlier, we were told in evidence that the cost to the Line was estimated at approximately $600,000 in net loss of revenue, a major contribution to the Line’s profitability problems in the current financial year.
Apparently that was the finding of the Committee.
– We looked al all of these points. I had the document open at this page because I wanted to deal not only .with the report but also what we obtained from the witnesses and so incorporated in our report. I have referred to the passage which reads:
As mentioned earlier, we were told in evidence that the cost to the Line was estimated at approximately $600,000 in net loss of revenue . . .
I have not said anything different from that.
– I am sorry. I thought I may have misunderstood you and I wanted to direct your attention to that passage to be sure of it.
– That is exactly what I said.
– lt resulted from industrial stoppages.
– I read the reply to Senator Bull’s question whether it was as a result of industrial trouble or some other trouble. I gave that answer.
– The heading on page 47 of the Committee’s report is ‘Industrial Troubles’. The loss referred to is a loss as a result of industrial troubles. T wanted to hear what you had to say about that, because it seems that there is some conflict between what you have said and what appears in the report.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order!
– The Acting Deputy President has perhaps taken my point better than the honourable senator has. The other point 1 wanted to bring out was the increase of 12.5 per cent which we looked at. We found that other increases had taken place, particularly in the realm of the freight forwarder; this was a major increase in costs to Tasmania. Other increases came from wharfage dues and so on, but this was a major cost. However, it was not a cost which was of considerable interest to the public generally or to the people of Tasmania because it was imposed by a very small percentage every couple of years. M.y recollection is that it was an increase of 1 .5 or 1 .75 per cent every 2 years or so. lt accumulated, however, to a very much higher figure than the 12.5 per cent increase which the ANL was forced to ask as a result of having kept ils costs down constantly from about 1967. Had the ANL increased charges by a very small percentage each year - say one per cent - it would have been in the position in which it finished by increasing the cost by 12.5 per cent. However, the public would not have experienced that long period of low freight rates by which the ANL was losing revenue while freight forwarders were increasing their charges.
In my opinion the ANL came out of the inquiry very well. I think the ANL was doing the best it possibly could for Tasmania; it was investigating every avenue by which it could cut costs. The unfortunate part was that the Committee was not able to see how a competitive service could be made available to Tasmania like that enjoyed by other States in the Commonwealth through road and rail transport which are in opposition to sea transport.
This was a disturbing factor for the Committee and we went to a great deal of trouble to seek a possible solution to it. As a member of that Committee I am very gratified at the enthusiasm that was expressed by all other members of the Committee and by witnesses who came forward and gave us information as freely as they possibly could. We had very few in camera’ sessions, though the ANL presented some financial information in camera. The inquiry generally was open to the public and available to all, and many people were interested in it. I have much pleasure in supporting the motion that the report be accepted.
– In rising to speak briefly to this report I should like to deal with one reference made by Senator Wilkinson. I could not quite understand the burden of his complaint about possible absences of senators from committee meetings. I have been a member of a number of committees, and I have chaired about 7 public inquiries conducted by committees of the Senate. In my opinion it is impossible, because of the busy lives that senators lead, to arrange meetings of committees and so progress with an inquiry if one is to wait until every member can be present. As a result of this experience 1 say: Give me the senator who reads the submissions that are sent in, who reads the daily Hansard and who attends the meetings when the report is being drafted. He is the one from whom I get value. Of course, I should like to see every member of committees present at all meetings. Nevertheless it does not in my opinion detract from the work of a committee if a senator is absent from a meeting or 2 during the course of an inquiry. He has the advantage of transcripts of evidence, the submissions which are circulated, and the daily Hansard of proceedings.
This reference to the Standing Committee on Industry and Trade was made on 3rd September 1970. I think it will go down in history as the first reference ever made to a legislative and general purpose standing committee of the Senate. As with all innovations there were teething troubles. In my view the terms of reference were too broad. What was wanted was a fortnight’s inquiry into specific facts and a finding submitted to the Parliament. But because of the terms of reference, and other factors of which I am not sure, the Committee was not able to present its report to the Parliament until June 1971.
– The Committee took upon itself much wider terms of reference than those given to it.
– That is an added factor for one of the weaknesses in this inquiry. Here we are in August 1972 continuing the debate. I think that there have been at least 2 increases in freight rates by the Australian National Line on the Tasmanian service since the Committee was set up’; I say that we have reached the situation where we have possibly a more unsatisfactory service, at very high cost to the people of Tasmania than we have ever had during my period in Parliament. A deputation of Tasmanians waited on 2 of our Ministers yesterday. According to the Tasmanian Press the deputation was well received. It comprised businessmen and State Government Ministers and officers. They put up a well-documented case which I hope is going to be well and truly considered by the Government. 1 hope that a lot of sympathy and understanding will be given to the problems which exist in Tasmania today because of its dependence on a shipping service which is really a ferry service. Unions and management do not seem to understand that it is a ferry service and, as far as possible should be exempt from industrial trouble.
The Minister for Works (Senator Wright) referred to the huge increase in wages since this Committee started to operate. By way of interjection Senator Rae got into the record the information on page 47 of the report. Under the heading ‘Industrial Troubles’, it is stated that up to that time industrial troubles had cost the line some $600,000 in net loss of revenue. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of dollars have been lost to the line since that time? I would like to see a return showing each stoppage on Australian National Line ships trading to Tasmania in the last 12 months, the actual loss of revenue, the damage done to the reputation of the Line as a shipper of goods and passengers and the very heavy cost in advertising and communicating to people that the ships will not run. They have to tei] people: ‘The ship may run tomorrow’, or ‘it will not run tomorrow, it may run next week’. The amounts of money involved would be terrific. 1 do not think we can go on like this. Tasmania is obtaining a less effective service. Through the Federal Government it is costing the people much more money. At the same time it is costing the shippers and the passengers more money for a service which is becoming more unsatisfactory.
Recently I booked on the ‘Empress of Australia’ to leave Port Melbourne at 7.30 at night. My booking was accepted at 4.30 p.m. I boarded the ship at the given hour of 6 p.m. Blind Freddy could tell that the ship was not going to sail. But the information given to me was that it would be sailing and that dinner would be served at 7.30 - and you line up downstairs and take your turn. Some 400 passengers were on board including parties of children. The airline strike was on at the lime. At 7.20 they started to move the gangway to indicate that the ship was prepared to sail on time. At 7.30 there was no action. At 7.45 it was announced over the public address system that owing to an industrial dispute the ‘Empress of Australia’ would not sail that night but that passengers might stay on board. It was announced that there would be absolutely no service whatsoever and that the ship might or might not sail on the next scheduled date which was Friday. This was a Wednesday night.
There were 2 or 3 members of the Tasmanian Government Tourist Bureau on the Port Melbourne ferry terminal, which does bear comparison with the terminals in Sydney, Devonport or Hobart. I must say that comparatively speaking it is out in the bush. It is miles away from the centre of the city. Most of the 400 passengers had unpacked their gear and, no doubt, some of the little ones would have gone to bed. There were 2 people and 2 public telephones to assist the passengers. If any member of Parliament, the bosses of the unions or of the ANL management had been at that ferry terminal their hearts would have bled for the discomfort of the people concerned. At the moment I am speaking about people only. However, I must say that the Tourist Bureau people were excellent. They got on a telephone because the other telephones were swamped with people making personal calls. The officers of the Tourist Bureau arranged for taxis to take the people into town. I would like to know the amount of economic waste caused by that one failure to depart. Over the years that can be multiplied by 10 or 20. No government and no private enterprise can run a shipping line when this sort of interruption is going to occur to its service.
– What was the cause of the dispute?
– It was an industrial dispute caused by the stewards. I am not against the stewards on this matter because I do not set myself up as a judge. But after the ‘Empress’ was taken off the Sydney-Hobart run a number of sleeperette chairs were put in what were previously verandah lounges and the dining-room service was reduced to cafeteria style. Evidently the powers that be - possibly the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission or some official body with some say in the matter - said that there would not be the dining-room service, that there would be more passengers with fewer stewards. It is my belief, and I implied this by way of question when people tried to sit me down the other day, that at half-past 4 from that afternoon the ANL knew that it would not give in lo the union demands to provide more stewards. I believe it knew - if not it has lost its sense of touch - that the stewards were not going to give in, that they wanted to go on strike and would go on strike. I believe that for the sake of humanity the people concerned - forgetting the economic side - should have announced that the ship would not sail. This is why I suggested by way of question, and I emphasise it here, that there should be some decency, courtesy and commonsense brought to bear on management and unions so that an announcement will be made that the ship next sailing after the one scheduled will be the one which will be stopped because of a strike. I believe that both union and management, for the sake of the people, should co-operate in this respect.
Getting back to other aspects of the Tasmanian ferry service, a lot of people say that to overcome the problems of stewards going on strike there should be a daylight service. I do not believe this to be feasible. We have one of the roughest stretches of water in the world. I do not believe that we can put 400 or 500 people on a ferry service during daylight hours in a ship which does not have cabin accommodation. If there is going to be cabin accommodation there is a need for stewards. Therefore, the ships should travel, as all ferries do, during the hours of night. It is only a 14-hour crossing at the most. I believe that something has to be done to operate a satisfactory passenger service. We have a good airline service but a passenger and cargo service is essential to keep Tasmania viable economically.
The Government has to decide whether it will run the Line completely or whether it will get out completely and provide a subsidy as it did in the old days. I do not believe that the Australian National Line, as at present constituted, will ever successfully own and operate the ships while private enterprise companies and travel agents arrange all the bookings, and the lack of bookings. I believe the Government should go the whole hog. If it is to be Government owned, it should be like TransAustralian Airlines and do its own bookings. Ever since the ‘Empress of Australia’ and the ‘Princess of Tasmania’ began operating I have said that the passenger side of it - the bookings - has been the killer. Anytime one tries to make a booking with the ANL, or with the Union Steam Ship Company or any of the travel agencies one is told that the ships are booked out for years ahead. I would not mind betting that they hardly make a trip with full bookings.
I want to take no further part in this debate other than to suggest that unions and management get together for the sake of the people. I believe that the Government has to give very serious consideration to taking complete charge of the service or getting out of it and letting private enterprise take over and to then pay a subsidy. I believe that in the old days of the Taroona’ it cost £1,000 a day- $2,000 today - to operate the Bass Strait ferry services. Probably we are losing more money a year now because of the way it is being run which is half-hearted and unsatisfactory. The service is doing terriffic harm to Tasmania’s economy in respect of freight and also to what could be a rapidly growing tourist industry. That will continue to happen if we are asked to survive with the poor services that we have now.
– Freight rates on Australian National Line shipping services to and from Tasmania were dealt with some time ago by the Senate Standing Committee on Industry and Trade. 1 suppose that to a degree this matter is now old hat to the Senate but it is not regarded as being old hat by the people in Tasmania. This debate affords an opportunity to us to reiterate some of the shipping problems which have been besetting that State for some time. It is not my intention to speak at length on this subject but I want to comment on some of the remarks made by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright). From listening to him I gained the impression that any outside observer would imagine that the Australian National Line losses were the result of increases in labour costs which he described as exorbitant and excessive. He also said that the losses were due to industrial strikes. He referred to an amount of $2m. One would believe from what the Minister said that these were the reasons the Australian National Line made a loss; that year.
I was pleased that Senator Wilkinson immediately exposed the inaccuracies in what was said by the Minister for Works. In fact I thought Senator Wilkinson made an extremely intelligent contribution to the debate. It was a good thing that he had the material at his fingertips with which to expose the inaccuracies of the Minister’s comments. On the question of wages, for example, he referred to a demand by able seamen for $8,300 a year. He described this as being exorbitant and excessive, and pointed out how such demands raise the cost of ANL’s operations. I thought this particularly amusing coming from a member of the legal profession because at least able seamen have to operate within . the arbitration system. They cannot simply decide for themselves what they will earn; they are told by the court what they will earn or they work under some industrial agreement which determines how much they will earn. This is in stark contrast to other professions in this country of one of which the Minister is a member. The legal profession is a typical example. Senator Rae, another member of the legal fraternity is now interjecting. It would do him good to be quiet while I speak. I will be quiet when he speaks, if he does, and will listen to what he says. It is ludicrous to draw the comparison between an able seaman getting $8,300 a year arid a person doing comparable work ashore getting $4,300 a year. One of the reasons why seamen, ships officers and engineers are paid higher rates than their counterparts ashore is because they will not go to sea unless they get more money. They will not be in it. It is recognised throughout the world that seamen get higher rates of pay than do people living ashore. I do not know what is peculiar about it in Australia. The Minister seems to think that there is something strange about it but I can assure htm that it is accepted practice throughout the world on any ships one cares to nominate.
The thing in the Minister’s remarks to which 1 do take exception was his attack on the Tasmanian Minister for Transport. Mr Batt. To use the Minister’s words, Mr Batt was going around Tasmania begging to the unions.
– Around Australia.
– Around Australia as well. 1 do not know whether the Minister meant around Australia but I understood him to say around Tasmania. That was an inaccurate and unfair thing to say. I would have thought that he would refrain from making such a comment, particularly as Mr Batt is unable to defend himself in this chamber. I will defend him in his absence. If the Minister for Works is doing his job half as well as Mr Batt is doing his in Tasmania, he will be working well for the Commonwealth. Mr Batt is the best Transport Minister that Tasmania has had for many a long day. He is far better than any of his Liberal counterparts whom he succeeded. If ever a. person has risen in stature in Tasmania because of his efforts to grapple with the transport problems in that State, it has been Mr Batt, lt is Mr Batt in conjunction with the unions, who has brought a degree of industrial peace to Tasmania, something which we did not know when the ‘Liberal Party was in power in that State. For the Minister for Works to simply condemn the unions out of hand in the way that he did indicates his bias in this matter.
Not only was there an attack on the unions. I am not defending the unions all along the line because 1 would be the first to agree that there are times when they get out of step. Strikes are called without justification and I do not mind going on record as having said so. But why single out the unions and say that they are responsible for these increases? What did the Minister for Works say, for example, about section 17(4.) of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act? Not a word. Is that not relevant to this debate? Is it not relevant that the Commonwealth should take an interest and invoke that clause whereby it is entitled under the Act to reimburse the ANL where there is a loss in a particular trade and an overall loss? Has that not been the positions? Yet there has been no approach. I presume that the Minister for Works and other Liberal senators have been in a much more advantageous position to affect Government policy than have we of the Opposition. They might have said to the Government: ‘What about doing something under the Act? Why nol reimburse the ANL in an attempt to hold down costs of its services to Tasmania?’ Not one reference has been made to this side of the question. That matter was not even raised by the Minister. I would have assumed that he would have regarded that as a good talking point during this debate.
I was interested in the remarks of the Assistant Minister Assisting the Minister for Health (Senator Marriott) about his opposition to a daylight service to Tasmania. 1 would have thought that there was great merit in this suggestion because there is no doubt that the passenger services are a liability to the ANL. The prime responsibility of the ANL is to carry freight - or it should be. If by some means we could isolate the passenger load from the ANL services - perhaps by Commonwealth involvement in a joint venture with the Tasmanian Government - we might have some hope of resolving the problem. Meanwhile, while the ANL is compelled to carry this load its task remains extremely difficult.
Finally 1 would like to make a comment in defence of the ANL. As Senator Wilkinson said, the ANL came out well in this inquiry. Tasmania would have been far worse off without the ANL. I think that anyone who has any concern and interest in this matter is fully aware of that fact. It is a pity that recently in Tasmania we have seen the actions of a State member of Parliament who has been attempting to get on the bandwagon of publicity by talking about High Court action against the Australian National Line. If he had wanted’ to take action in Tasmania then 1 think he would have done so.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Order! In accordance with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I wish to bring before the Senate tonight a matter that has caused me some concern in recent weeks. It is a matter which has caused considerable concern to thousands of people throughout the Commonwealth of Australia. In Melbourne some months ago a businessman purchased a Ford Cortina motor car and because of the multiple faults, because of the poor pre-delivery service, because of the poor after sales service, in respect of which he said that so frequently had he visited the service station which retailed the article to him that he felt like a full time employee rather than a man with complaints, he decided to take action. Being not a shy type of Australian but one of those blokes who will dig his toes in he felt there was need for more action than he could receive from either the Ford Motor Company of Australia Ltd or from the Retailer. As a result, 2 advertisements appeared in the Melbourne ‘Sun’ and Melbourne ‘Herald’ of 15th and 17th July. They were only small advertisements, measuring perhaps 1 inch by1½ inches, which read:
Purchasers of new Cortinas.
We are compiling a report to be presented in Parliament on new XL and L Cortinas. If you are interested in having any complaints looked into contact . . . Expert Investigation Service.
I saw the advertisement which appeared in the ‘Sun’. It appeared in a rather obscure place on the second last page of the newspaper, mixed up with sporting notes. It is a wonder that anybody saw the advertisement, but so great was the response that the switchboard of Expert Investigation Service was jammed. It was estimated that about 700 telephone calls came in within 3 days and the entire staff of that organisation became occupied in going out and taking statements from people who complained. As a result a second advertisement was inserted in the Melbourne ‘Sun’ of 20th July. It read:
Purchasers of new Cortinas -
Due to the overwhelming response of our ads in the Sun and Herald our switchboard has been jammed with calls, for which we thank you very much. We would ask you please not to ring but to submit your problems in writing.
Since that time complaints have flowed in in the form of letters, accompanied in many cases by copies of work dockets from service stations to substantiate the claims made in the letters. I should mention that the complaints came from people in all walks of life - businessmen, doctors, lawyers, school teachers and what might be termed the common people. I have seen the original complaints. It was patent to me, after reading only 12 or 15, that a pattern of complaints was starling to emerge. They showed what in my opinion is an extremely poor type of pre-delivery service and one would go so far as to say an extremely poor article.
Some of the complaints that are brought immediately to one’s attention by a reading of these statements are that the doors will not close and/ or open and/ or lock; front end vibration; oil consumption high to excessive; water entering car through windscreen surrounds, the boot and under the dash; headlamps not properly focussed; high oil losses from engine and gearbox; master brake cylinder leaking oil; faults in electrical wiring, such as ignition turned on by headlamp switch; faulty paintwork; internal trims fall off; rear vision mirror falls off; spare parts supply extremely poor, causing long delays. In one case a wheel collapsed. There were other cases of brake and clutch failure. There is a marked similarity between these complaints and those which wereoutlined by Ralph Nader in his book ‘Unsafe at any Speed’, which related to the General Motors Corporation Corvair. At page 53 of his book he stated:
Tests of the 1963 models purchased at random by Consumers’ Union had resulted in 32 of 32 cars displaying troubles in the first 5,000 miles of driving. The defects included rain leaks, a window running nut of its channel, door handles that fell off. a broken distributor cap, a speedometer needle that fell back to zero and remained there, a broken seal adjuster, an ignition lock that wouldn’t lock, a door that wouldn’t latch, engines that leaked oil, directional signals that wouldn’t cancel, a grossly inaccurate gas gauge, front wheels out of alignment, and headlights, as the late Mildred Brady of Consumers’ Union put it, ‘that aimed at the ground or at the eyes of approaching motorists or at birds in trees’.
I think that is a pretty fair description of what has been happening to the owners of Ford Cortinas. In order to substantiate what I have said 1 feel I should be prepared to read to the Senate extracts from 2 or 3 of the complaints that have come forward. As I have said already. I have copies only, but 1 have seen the originals.
– ‘How many complaints were there altogether?
– I cannot say because complaints arc still coming in.
– Can you tell the Senate who is Expert Investigation Service?
– It is a private investigation service which has been hired by the man who had the trouble, lt was hired at a great deal of expense to himself.
– ls it an organisation of any repute? Is it an established organisation?
– Like all private investigation firms in Victoria, it must be licensed by the Government and each year it must apply for re-licensing. The first complaint from which I read refers to a vehicle which was purchased on 3rd December 1971. The document does not reveal at what hour of the day it was purchased but mentions that at 11.30 p.m. on that night, at the corner of Swanston and Gratton Streets the following occurred: l went to change from top to third gear in preparation to stopping at the traffic lights on the above corner. There was a loud snap as I pressed my tool on the clutch pedal and the pedal went completely limp, banging loose on its hinge. As 1 was in lop gear, approaching a red light with other vehicles in the area t applied the brakes, stalling the motor, and pulled over to the kerb. . . The following day the car was towed to the service depot and the fault rectified. I was told that the pin connecting the clutch pedal and cable had broken loose.
I shall not bother with the second problem that is mentioned, but problem 3 reads:
On the Wednesday after Christmas 1971 I took the car for its 1,000 mile service. For approximately 2 weeks before this I had noticed the motor becoming noisier. 1 did not worry too much, expecting only minor adjustment (tappets etc.) lo be necessary. 1 was amazed to be told that one lobe on the camshaft had worn out. At this stage the car had done 1,416 miles. It took 3 days to get a replacement camshaft.
In the purchaser’s account of problem 4 he admits that the exact date of the fault escapes him, but it occurred at about 11.30 p.m. one Sunday night in January 1972:
Al me intersection of Hampton and Bay Streets, East Brighton, 1 turned the heater switch to ‘floor’ and the fan switch to ‘high’. There was a loud crackling of electric sparks, followed by billowing clouds of smoke rising from the demist vents at the base of the windscreen. I immediately turned all switches off and pulled over to the kerb. The crackling ceased, but by then the cabin was rilled with smoke. 1 had to open all doors and windows to let the smoke out before I could continue on my nervous way. The Ford service mechanic showed me that the fault was in the radio power input wire, which was hanging loose behind the panel. It was not correctly insulated and had jammed. . . .
As 1. recall it. 1. did not inform the Senate that these letters of complaint have come from all over Victoria. I quote from another letter of a completely different person:
Thai night (Saturday) 1 was driving along Brighton Road, Elwood and crossing Elsternwick Junction when the accelerator linkage came off in the middle of the intersection and nearly caused an accident by having to stop as I had no way of avoiding it. On the Monday I took it back, after taping up the linkage and it coming apart 5 times on the way back to be fixed. . . .
The owner states in that instance it nearly caused him to have another pile-up in Spencer Street. A third letter contains some 24 items of complaint.
– Are all these vehicles made in Geelong?
– I am not quite sure where they are made. In actual fact, I understand that the body of the car is of German design. I am not sure whether it is produced in Australia or in England but I am given to understand that in England the car was referred to as the ‘paper car’. As I have said, this gentleman from a country area of Victoria quotes 24 items. He states that the alternator failed twice in the first 300 miles, the material lining the roof fell down in the rear of the car and the chrome trimming on one door catch was missing. He continues to list faults in doors, carpets, rear vision mirror and boot catches as well as leaks, dust and vibration, plus faults in the glove box, paint. seat belts, beaters, brake warning light, clock, washers and transmission. But the really serious part of his letter is contained in the second last paragraph in which he states:
When I picked it up on 22nd April 1972 I had to drive home through mountains. On the way 1 came to a slight L.H. corner. The car felt unresponsive, it continued across the road, on applying the brakes (in desperation) which are power boosted disks, nothing happened. I escaped death by inches. I hit a telegraph pole, which did extensive damage but stopped me from hurtling to my death over a cliff.
It seems to me that this car was thrust on to the market at a time when the firm’s competitor, General Motors-Holden Pty Ltd. had already beaten it to the hurdle with the Torana model. Perhaps it can be cited as a case of trying to keep up with the Joneses. Tt was whilst I was making some further inquiries to satisfy myself about the authenticity of the material that had been handed to me that I came across people who were prepared to talk about other cars manufactured by the automotive industry in Australia.
I made it my business to have a discussion with the manager of a fairly large panel beating works. I asked him what he knew of the Ford Cortina and named some of the faults that I believed were inherent in it. He said: ‘You are right, but it is not alone in. that’. He said: ‘There is a Cortina here. I will take you over to have a look at it.’ On the way over, he remarked that the body of the Renault was perhaps even worse than that of the Ford Cortina. A workman who was working on the tail end of a Valiant of which the boot portion had been completely removed and which had been stripped down to the floor said that it was no better. We then inspected the Cortina. The manager said that as a result of the impact which it suffered which was not very heavy, judging by the damage done to the body work, the car body had been distorted out of all proportion. He said: ‘I will not be able to make an assessment of the body strength until I put the jacks on it and get some measure of the resistance to those jacks’. I went back some time later and asked him whether he would care to comment. He said: ‘Yes, certainly. Just as I presumed, there was no resistance to the jacks. It went back in. At least it is not like one other car which did not come back with out causing any other structural damage*. He declined to name the other thake of car but he said: ‘AH too often when you put the jacks on the back end to bring the body back into line the front end will pop out in the opposite direction’. He also remarked that this car - the Cortina - had been caught up in a rat race of cars in this range. He said that in order to compete one with the other and to keep up with the Joneses and to comply with the type of jargon that the motor magazines put out in regard to car performance, manufacturers had tended to strip what one might term the ‘guts’ out of the motor body in order to reduce body weight and so enhance motor performance. In fact, in referring to motor car magazines, I think I should also quote what Ralph Nader states in his book Unsafe At Any Speed’. I have always been of the opinion that these motor car magazines are only appendages of the industry, that they need the industry as much as the industry needs them and they are loath to go out of their way to nail the problems that are inherent in cars. Mr Nader said:
Most of the auto-buff magazines are run on a shoestring with a small group of car-infatuated articulate people editing or writing the copy. The general tone is laudatory, but to hold their readers, there are substantial amounts of crisp criticism concerning vehicle deficiencies. However, an unwritten rule is that you never ‘straight-arm’ a vehicle or its manufacturer nor enter the territory, of muckraking. To use such terms as ‘dangerous handling’, or ‘irresponsibility of manufacture’ would hit the industry too close to home. Far better to talk about ‘road adhesion qualities’ or ‘problems of quality control’. These magazines need the automobile company advertising but probably more important, they require the technical assistance of company liaison men for pictorial materials and the loans of cars which they test-drive and write about each month.
In the ‘Australian’ Saturday Review of 12th August 1972, Ian Moffitt had this to say:
It is a spangled world of sexy cars which crumple on impact, complex financing, supercharged advertising, gimmick trade-ins, earnest warranty and after-care assurances. And beneath it, more complaints to consumer protection bodies than from any other sector.
Mr Owen Webster of the ‘Nation Review’ of the week 12th-18th August had some terse comments to make about a GMH Torana which apparently he once owned. He said:
Throughout my ownership, the horn never worked reliably. The door locks were always troublesome and both the original keys snapped in the locks. One day I found the exhaust manifold held in place by one bolt. I was often told the timing chain needed adjustment. Eventually the adjuster fell out. The car was off the road for 10 days awaiting parts worth $3.73. My local dealers telephoned 4 suppliers daily.
It was to no avail. He then outlined the rigmarole that he went through. He stated:
Knowing the ropes a bit (unlike the average hapless family Holden man) I telephoned Mr Kevin Cox, GMH public relations officer at Fishermen’s Bend, and put the screws on. The following day, my dealer received timing chain adjusters from each of their 4 spares suppliers.
At 27,000 miles, on a windy day, 3 of the roof trim stretchers snapped out of position wilh 3 loud bangs. They were never fixed. At 30,000 miles, the clutch went. The rest of the story until the blown piston is one of failure, of cheap shoddy fittings.
– Is your private experience with vehicles in line with what you are telling the Senate?
– I cannot say that it has been, but I bring this matter before the Senate because I believe it is a matter of some concern to many people. It appears to me that the finger can be pointed at manuacturers other than the Ford Co. To be competely fair to that company, let me say that it did, at a rather late stage admittedly, take back from the businessman whom I mentioned the car that the whole row started over. If my memory serves me correctly, the company had it for 2 or 3 weeks and returned it to him. His remarks to me, after having driven it 40 or 50 miles, were that it was a completely different car from the one that he owned originally. Also to the Company’s credit is the fact that it has written to this gentleman and asked him for the names of those people who have complained. I have a copy of the letter. Paragraph 3 states:
As advised in our letter of 27th July, and again during our discussion, we are anxious to have access to the names of all Cortina owners who responded to the advertisement inserted by Mr Lentin, our objective being to attend to any conditions with these vehicles that are of a warrantable nature.
I stress the word ‘warrantable’. I believe that that word should be deleted from that letter. The Ford Motor Co, made a profit of SI 6m last year. If it cannot afford to take back all Cortinas unconditionally and bring them up to standards of safety and durability I think it should be turfed out of the country on its big fat ear.
That remark brings me to the subject of the recall of motor cars in Australia. Ralph Nader, in his evidence before the House of Representatives Select Committee on Road Safety, said:
First of all, it is my understanding that there is no recall or defect notification requirement in effect in this country. This leads me to suggest that the Committee might wish to put a question to the auto companies as to whether similar design vehicles have been recalled in the United States and have not been recalled in Australia. I realise that they make different models, but they also make different models having very similar design components. That would, I think, bring to light what was brought to light in Japan and England; that companies were recalling their cars in the United States and they were not recalling the same cars in Japan or England because there was no requirement of defect notification.
On 7th July this year the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) issued a statement concerning vehicle recall. It referred to a code that had been prepared by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries in consultation with officials of the various governments. Until late this afternoon the code referred to in the statement was for industry information only. Previously the Minister’s secretary said that the document was currently at the printers. Late this afternoon I received a call from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries informing me that the document containing the code was now in its hands. I asked for a copy to be sent to me. As yet I have not received it. The thing that worries me is that the industry virtually will be judge and jury on the code and on the decisions that are made regarding recall of its products. Paragraph 5 of the Minister’s news release of 7th July stated:
Decisions on recall will be taken by manufacturers following information, including that from government authorities and drivers’ motoring organisations.
I am somewhat concerned about that statement. I do not think that if I, as a manufacturer, turn out a faulty product or a product that is unsafe at any speed - whatever the fault may be - I have the right to be judge and jury in any respect or part of the jury to decide how and when that article will be recalled. Having spent all my working life involved in a food industry, know that food is subject to departmental health inspections from the moment it leaves the farm or, in the case of dain farms, prior to leaving the farm. It is under the jurisdiction of governmental authorities until it is in. the hands of the consumers. Municipal inspectors have the right to take samples from cans on the shelves and to prosecute if any fault can be shown by tests.
The motor car, in modern times anyhow, has been responsible for a great deal more death and injury than has the food industry. Yet the Government intends to allow this huge industry to be the arbiter as regards the recall of cars. I give one example of the situation in the food industry. Shark fishermen in Bass Strait were not consulted, let alone had a say. concerning the mercury content in fish. They were told: No more fish. I read in a Melbourne paper tonight that a fish shop proprietor is being prosecuted in relation to this matter. Yet we allow the car industry to get away with almost anything. Is it a case of the industry being so large that noone is prepared to bell the cat? Quite frankly, I think it is time someone did. I see no reason why government inspections should not take place on the production line. It seems a bit strange to me that companies which produce ships or aircraft have to put the relevant models through fairly strenuous tests before the products are allowed into the hands of the consumers. We do not adopt a similar approach with regard to motor cars. If a light aircraft were to crash anywhere in Australia tomorrow the Department of Civil Aviation would cordon off the area immediately and would go to no end of troubleto ascertain the cause of the crash. If 5 people were killed in a motor car crash - I think 5 were killed in one in northern Victoria over the weekend - there would be no such wide inquiry. Police investigation squads or accident appreciation squads, I understand, do some work. I do not know who sees the reports that they make.I am not sure that in all cases the vehicles are left until the police accident appreciation squad arrives. I think tow truck drivers might be first cab off the rank and so destroy a great deal of evidence.
I think the complaints I mentioned earlier of brake and clutch failures indicate that vehicles rather than drivers could be responsible for more accidents than perhaps we currently credit to them. I think this matter is something at which the Road Safety Committee may well have a look. I think it is a matter at which the Minister for Shipping and Transport should have a look. I refer to the government inspection of motor vehicles on the production line and to the testing by an independent authority of motor cars before they are allowed in the hands of the ordinary citizen. As I mentioned earlier, there is a need for a totally independent body to have the say on whether a car should be recalled. I have already mentioned that I understand that this car was described in Great Britain as a ‘paper’ car. I am not particularly concerned whether it is Ford or any other motor vehicle manufacturer who turns out this type of vehicle. I am somewhat convinced, as a result of what 1 said earlier, that Ford is not alone in this field. But it is patently obvious to me that too many Australians are being ‘taken for a ride’ by the car industry. As far as the safety and durability of motor vehicles is concerned, I think that there is a great deal left to be done.
– It falls to my unfortunate lot to respond for the sixth time today to matters concerning the various portfolios that 1 represent in this chamber. In this instance I am responding on behalf of the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon). I will direct the honourable senator’s remarks to the attention of the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11,1 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
(Question No. 2230)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
Does the Minister consider that industrial management is sufficiently sensitive to the human problems associated with technological change and whether sufficient initiative is shown in forestalling industrial relations problems that accompany or follow such changes?
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The human problems associated with technological change have for some years been a matter of concern to the National Labour Advisory Council - the body through which national representatives of employer organisations, trade unions and the Commonwealth Government consult together on employment, industrial relations and related industrial and economic matters.
In February 1969 the Council issued recommended guidelines for adjusting to technological change. The guidelines set out the matters which need careful consideration by employers, trade unions and Government to ensure that the introduction of technological change is not arbitrary or disruptive for individuals or groups. These guidelines have been of assistance to employers in developing procedures and practices for dealing with the impact on workers of technological change.
The guidelines recommend acceptance of responsibility by employers while planning the introduction of technological innovations:
To consult with employees through their union officials about, and give as much notice as possible of the contemplated change;
To provide opportunities for retraining in new skills and techniques for employment in other jobs in the same organisation where this is possible;
To minimise retrenchment by curtailment of recruitment prior to the introduction of technological change and through normal labour wastage;
To provide the Commonwealth Employment Service with ample notice of likely disemployment;
To assist such people affected to find alternative employment.
The Department of Labour and National Service has conducted considerable research into the employment effects of technological change, the industrial relations issues arising from technological change and the practices of management when introducing such changes. The research has shown that practices of a kind recommended in the guidelines are gaining increasing recognition by employers, although there are still employers who are not exercising the initiative referred to in the question.
(Question No. 2235)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
Can the Minister guarantee that when the Government has come to some decision on the marketing of the Australian wool clip, it will inform Sir William Gunn, so that that gentleman can present a competitive and intelligent contribution to the International Wool Textile Organisation Conference which he is attending overseas at the moment.
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
No doubt the honourable senator will now be aware that the Government’s decision on wool marketing proposals submitted by the Australian Wool IndustryConference was publicly announced by the Prime Minister on 20th June 1972.
(Question No. 2241)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
In view of the recent decision to reduce the wine excise by 50 per cent, will the Government now make the report of Professor Grant available to the Parliament, so that all senators and members can be fully informed on the problems facing the industry.
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Since this question was raised by the honourable senator, the report of Professor Grant has been released as a public document and distributed to all Senators and members on 5th June.
(Question No. 2254)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
Is there a requirement imposed upon the Government which necessitates it seeking approval from London before a military decoration can be conferred on an Australian serviceman by a foreign government: if so is this requirement a complete negation of the philosophy underlying the Statute of Westminster.
The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Australia, Britain and New Zealand all use the British system of honours and awards. The conditions of that system require that the Queen’s permission be sought by the Government concerned for the acceptance and wearing of a decoration conferred by a foreign government on a serviceman or a civilian. In Australia’s case the approach is made to the Queen as Queen of Australia. This is normal constitutional procedure and does not conflict with the philosophy of the Statute of Westminster.
– On 17th May Senator Bishop directed a question to me asking whether the report of the Department of Defence recommended a production run of 12 to 20 Project N aircraft. 1 can now advise that on 16th August the Minister for Defence said:
The Government has approved the production of an initial 20 Nomad aircraft - previously known as Project N. The estimated total project cost is SO.Olm in 1972 prices. Eleven of these aircraft will be provided to enable Army Aviation to carry out ils approved roles. The remaining 9 aircraft will bc for sale to other users.
I make available to the honourable senator a statement made by the Minister for Defence and also a statement made by the Prime Minister.
– On 17th August Senator Milliner asked me a question without notice regarding the reporting of details of the use of VIP aicraft in the past 12 months. 1 inform the honourable senator [hat I make available information on the use of VIP aircraft from the period in relation to which information was tabled previously to the present lime. Details have been tabled previously up to 28th February 1971. Therefore the information 1 now table covers
VIP flights by the Royal Australian Air Force for the period from 1st March 1971 to 31st May 1972. Information pertaining to the period from 1st June 1972 to 17th August 1972 is being obtained and I shall make available these details at the earliest opportunity. The document which 1 now table embraces all details of approved applications for VIP travel and has been reconciled against the relevant flight manifests. I table that document.
– On 17th August Senator Drury asked me this question:
Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to reports from representatives of the deciduous fruit industry in South Australia that unless the industry is provided wilh immediate financial assistance similar to assistance already provided in mast 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?
The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senators question:
On 14th July the Minister for Primary Industry announced details of the Commonwealth Government’s offer to the Slates on the introduction of a tree pull compensation scheme for horticultural industries. Under the scheme the Government will provide up to S4.6m lo the States for the operation of the scheme. The scheme will initially apply mainly to canning peaches and pears and to apples and fresh pears. $2.3m will be allocated to canning fruit and S2.3m to fresh pome fruit. This offer has been accepted, in principle, by the Stales and the money will provide compensation for removal of trees to growers who are in financial difficulties because of surpluses. This assistance is in addition to that applicable under the rural reconstruction scheme.
The honourable senator will recall that last year the Commonwealth Government made available to the Slate of South Australia an amount of $ 1.29m lo assist 2 South Australian canneries to overcome problems arising from their long-term debt situation. The Government is aware of the problems stemming from production surplus to the requirements of payable markets, and the consequent effects on canners’ liquidity and intake of fruit, lt is working wilh the State governments and the industry to find acceptable solutions.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 22 August 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720822_senate_27_s53/>.