27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 10 a.m., and read prayers.
– I present the following petition from 14 citizens of the Commonwealth:
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
That the Australian Education Council’s report on the needs of government education services has established serious deficiencies in education, the most important areas being a severe shortage of teachers, inadequate accommodation, and, as a result, oversized classes.
That extra Federal finance is urgently required to save the government school system.
That while the need’s of the government schools are being neglected, large amounts of public money is being given, in various and numerous grants, to private schools.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Senate in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to make emergency Federal finance available to the States for State school education, and divert the large sums of public money being spent on private schools, to the government school system for which the government is truly responsible.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I present the following petition from 265 citizens of the Commonwealth:
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in’ Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the Sales Tax on all forms of Contraceptive Devices is. 27i per cent (Sales Tax Exemptions and Classifications Act 1935-1967). And that this is an unfair imposition on the human rights of all people who wish to plan their families.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Sales Tax on all forms of Contraceptive Devices be removed.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– My question which naturally relates to doctors’ fees is directed to the Minister for Health. The Minister told the Senate on 18th May of this year that the fees which had been arrived al after arbitration were in the best interests of the people. I understand that the Government has again declared that the existing fee structure is in the best interests of the people. Will the Minister for Health tell us what the Government intends to do to persuade or induce the medical profession to adhere to what has been declared by the Government to be in the public interst? What courses of action has the Minister for Health instituted in order to see that the public interest is preserved?
The Prime Minister issued a statement last night which I believe states succinctly the background information to what has transpired during the past 3 days. Naturally, as Minister for Health, I have been deeply involved. With your indulgence, Mr President, and with the indulgence of the Senate, it would be best, I think, to repeat what the Prime Minister said because I believe he expressed the current position with an economy of words. The Prime Minister indicated in his statement that yesterday he had had a meeting with the President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Johnson, who was accompanied by Dr Wilson, the Treasurer of the AMA, and Dr Stuckey, the Secretary-General. The Prime Minister said in his statement:
The AMA representatives came to see me at my request. I had asked them to Canberra on receipt of a report from the Minister for Health . . . yesterday-
I gave that report to the Prime Minister on Tuesday - that the Economic Advisory Committee of the AMA was contemplating recommending to the Federal Council that fees for general practitioner consultations and home visits and for some other services might be increased shortly.
The Government was concerned to know more about the AMA’s proposals because the arrangement between the Government and the AMA is that, unless there were extraordinary movements in national economic indices, the next general fee increase would not be made before 1 July 1973. which is the end of the current 2-yearly period for fee reviews.
The last general practitioner fee adjustment made through the AMA’s normal 2-yearly fee review arrangements took place from 1 July 1971.
The recommendation made from that date was for a fee increase of 15 per cent in N.S.W. (with minor variations in other States) on the fees being charged at as 1 July 1969.
A dispute developed earlier this year regarding the appropriate baseline for N.S.W. general practitioner consultation and visit fees. This led the Government to establish, in March of this year, a judicial inquiry on the subject of medical fees for these services in N. S.W.
Mr Justice Mason, who conducted the inquiry
He conducted the inquiry instead of Mr Justice Kerr who went to another place - reported to the Government in May and, as a result, consultation fees and benefits were increased in all States from 1 July 1972.
I think the honourable senator was referring to a comment I made in May, Within the general practitioner perimeter, fees were increased by 20c in the case of surgery visits and by 40c for home visits. The Prime Minister continued:
Besides putting Into effect Mr Justice Mason’s recommendation for N.S.W., this decision of the Government represented an increase of about 6 per cent to general practitioner fees for consultations and home visits for all other States from 1 July 1972.
For some time past the AMA and the Department of Health have been developing a consultative procedure under which adjustments to common fees and benefits could be determined equitably -
The Prime Minister refers there to a number of variations across the whole perimeter of medical matters - and by agreement between the parties at intervals of 2 years. lt was in the course of these consultative procedural discussions between AMA officers and representatives of the Department of Health that it came to the notice of the Government -
Through myself, I interpose - that the AMA was contemplating an increase in fees before the expiration of the 1-year period.
The Prime Minister further said in his statement yesterday:
The Government’s position is clear. It believes that the 2-year_ agreement should run its course before any adjustments are made unless there have been some quite exceptional developments which would justify a departure from the timing of the agreed review.
Those are the words I wish to emphasise in response to Senator Murphy’s question. The Prime Minister continued:
The AMA representatives put it to me that national economic indices had moved upwards at an abnormally high rale since December 1970. I told them that the movements in the indices could not properly justify a departure from what had been agreed.
The last general fee adjustment on 1st July 1971 was based on a movement of 15 per cent in the economic indices used by the Australian Medical Association, namely, average weekly earnings and the consumer price index during the preceeding 2-year period. The AMA’s argument now is that the same indices have moved upward by 15 per cent in a period of 18 months. Apart from the doubt as to whether this is in itself a reason to depart from the 2-year period, it must be kept in mind that in 5 of the 6 States doctors received an increase of 6 per cent on 1st July 1972 as a result of the Mason inquiry and, indeed, in N.S.W. as the honourable senator would know a loading was included with that increase. I think that that is the generality of the matter. 1 understand that the federal body of the AMA is meeting at the weekend. No doubt, I will be informed of what it does. It would be premature for me at this time to make prognostications about it. The Government’s view is quite clear, as indicated by the Prime Minister, in regard to what we believe to be the appropriate position.
– I direct a further question to the Minister for Health relating to the statement which he has made. Can he tell me what were the increases suggested by the Australian Medical Association in this approach which it made?
– No. 1 am not in a position to say that with any accuracy. It is not clear yet what will be their recommendations in totality to their federal body. Therefore, it would be quite wrong for me to cite a figure as to what it will be if they do make a recommendation and if, in fact, their federal body agrees to their recommendation. It is not clear yet. Of course, next week we will be in a much stronger position to respond to this type of question with some definition.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to reports that a small group of militant left wing and Communist unionists have by their actions caused the closure of a$120m alumina refinery expansion project at Gladstone, Queensland and the dismissal of 1,200 men employed on the project? It is reported that there have been 900 unauthorised stoppages on the job in 2 years. As the Federal Government is investing$80m in a super-powerhouse at Gladstone to help expand alumina production, will the Minister make it quite clear to the unions concerned that their action could jeopardise the whole aluminium refinery industry in Australia by forcing the companies to do the work elsewhere and so cause the loss of jobs to many thousands of Australian workers?
– It is a sad reflection of their attitude that a question of this sort is responded to by members of the Opposition with applause. This mammoth industry of great importance, particularly to central Queensland, has been jeopardised by no less than 900 unauthorsed strikes since the commencement of the expansion of the plant 2 years ago. It has reached a stage, as implied in the question of the honourable senator, where the dislocation really represents a serious challenge to the continuation of the industry.
It may be of interest to the Senate to know that the management claims that demands have been made for a cash increase of $179 a week for tradesmen and $176 a week for assistants. The log of claims sought a 35-hour week, 9 hours overtime, 4 weeks annual leave, one week’s severance pay and paid travelling time to and from work. It also sought a $25 a week disability loading allowance, 10 days sick leave a year, pro rata long service leave, 7 minutes walking time each way daily, clothing and shoes, and return air fare from Gladstone to the point of engagement every 3 months. These matters represent a serious challenge to the prosperity of industry and the capacity of industry to maintain employment.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONMr President, with the indulgence of the Senate, I wish to advise that in answer to an earlier question asked by Senator Murphy I omitted to read 3 paragraphs from the Prime Minister’s press statements, one of which I think is relevant. In fairness, I think I should include in the record those 3 paragraphs. In his statement, the Prime Minister said:
The AMA representatives said that the decisions on this matter -
This was the matter that we were discussing. . . would be one for their Federal Council, which is scheduled to meet at the week-end.
I think that I made that point. The Prime Minister continued:
I stated plainly to them that while the Govern ment was willing to continue to participate in consultative procedures, its officers would not be permitted to enter into commitments with the AMA on the basis of claims which could not be fully justified. 1 also indicated that action on the line mentioned would be contrary to the interests of the medical profession and would not be acceptable to the public.
The AMA representatives will be in touch with the Minister for Health after the Federal Council’s week-end meeting and the Government will then consider the situation further.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. My question refers to the extraordinary happening yesterday where a school and school children in the national capital area were made available for the production of a commercial film of a political character. I regard the happening as extraordinary because I am a former school teacher. I ask: As it is specifically admitted that this was a commercial film, will the child labour employed in the production be paid the award rate?
– I would think that the honourable senator would imply that the child labour should be remunerated. For a commentary upon the incidentI refer the honourable senator to the statement made by the Minister for Education and Science.
– I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs a question. I refer to the tabling of various documents related to Jetair Australia Ltd. The Minister is no doubt aware of the list of missing documents which the Leader of the Opposition in another place incorporated in Hansard for that place of 12th October 1972. That list appears at page 2546. Will the Minister now table those documents missing from the files originally tabled? If not, will he explain why the Government is so anxious to preserve those documents from public scrutiny?
– The Government has tabled literally hundreds of documents - several hundred documents - and in the statement I made to the Senate when I tabled those documents I said that certain documents were excluded from public tabling. They were documents containing confidential matters relating to other governments, a detailed list of tenders received by the Department of Supply in connection with the sale of Dakota aircraft in 1968, which tenders were considered to contain commercial information, the Trans-Australia Airlines formula for the valuation of aircraft, which formula was obtained in confidence, and several volumes of papers which were not tabled only because of their bulk. The documents which were excluded have been available for the perusal of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and the Leader of the Democratic Labor Party from 27th September until the present time. They are still available for their perusal. No document other than those is missing from the file. The word ‘missing’ is a sinister word coined deliberately to convey a deceptive impression. The documents excluded number 10 or 11 in all, compared with the 500 or 600 which were, tabled. The 10 or 11 documents are available for the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Democratic Labor Party.
– My question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs refers to the purchase of 6 DC3 aircraft from Jetair Australia Ltd, to which Senator Willesee has just referred. Can the Minister say what steps were taken to estimate their value before the purchase was concluded?
– The price of these aircraft has recently come under discussion. The aircraft were advertised for sale in the public Press. Two officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs with 4 officers of the Department of Supply spent 2 days on the inspection of those aircraft. Four of the 6 airframes from the time they were new had not reached 10,000 flying hours. They were practically new. The average flying hours remaining forall 6 airframes was 9,281, and theinterval between overhauls is 10,000 hours. So they were in remarkably good condition. The average remaining life of the engines was 940 hours, and the interval between overhaul is 1,300 hours.
– Can the Minister state the exact time for overhaul in respect of each, because that seems to be an easy way in which to assess these things?
– The exact time for overhaul can be calculated from the figures that I have given. I will take the first one. The remaining hours were 9.594. That means to say that it had flown 406 hours since the previous overhaul. One had flown even less time than that, but I have given the average time to be fair. The average time since the previous overhaul was 719 hours.
– Rather than calculate it, if the document is not confidential can it be incorporated?
– Yes. I ask for leave to incorporate in Hansard the document to which I have referred.
– Is leave granted?
There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
– The next thing about the value of these aircraft is that experienced officers of the Department of Supply - aeronautical engineers - checked the value by reference to a Trans Australia Airlines formula which I should think would be regarded as of good standing. The next thing is that the Department of Supply was satisfied and said in its recommendation for its purchase that $275,000 may be deemed a reasonable overall price. In addition to that an experienced commentator at the time, before the ink was dry on this transaction, said that from his knowledge and examination of the aircraft the Government appeared to be buying some of the world’s best DC3s to provide aid to Asian countries, and also that it seemed to be getting them at a keen price. Finally the officers were told in discussing the value that these DC3s stood in the books of the vendor company at about $100,000 each. The first price asked was $60,000 each- $360,000. We got them at $275,000, and the auditors of the company, Hungerford, Spooner and Kirkhope, have now verified that they did stand in the books at the figure - I give it precisely - of $579,325.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs a question relating to this Jetair affair. Will the Minister tell us why, when the matter was raised in this chamber some 18 months ago and great concern was expressed not only by senators of the Opposition but also by an independent senator, and requests were made for the papers to be filed, if the Government regarded the accountability to Parliament as still of some importance, the Senate was not plainly informed then and there that there had been a breach of Treasury regulations; that there had been an irregularity in connection with this matter? Why was the Senate not given a full statement of what had occurred?
– I will be pardoned if I disclaim a vivid memory of all questions and answers given on this subject 18 months ago but I have a sufficiently firm recollection of most of them to be able to assert that substantial and full and accurate information was given on these matters at that time. With regard to the ques tion of the regulation, whether or not it was specified as such it is a Treasury regulation, and what was said by Sir Keith Waller to the Auditor-General with regard to it was that Supply Department engineers having been at the original inspection, Foreign Affairs assumed that the contracts division of Supply would be kept informed.
But the transaction proceeded on the basis of a note from a departmental officer to the company on 6th January indicating an intent to offer and the terms actually used were ‘We offer $275,000 for the aircraft’. On the very same date as that letter went to the company - before it was received by the company and before the company accepted it - the same officer sent a letter to the Department of Supply requesting it to conclude the actual details of the purchase, that is to say, formulate, in terms and conditions of contract, the transaction. That was before any offer reached the company and before the company accepted it. That transaction was, unfortunately, interpreted by the Department of Supply to make a valid offer and, when the company replied next day accepting it, constituted a binding contract.
Sir Kenneth Bailey gave his opinion that that was a misinterpretation of the transaction and, on his basis, he said that the Department of Supply took all action to remove any possible non-compliance with the regulation. At the time Sir Kenneth was advising - 6 weeks after the letter I referred to of 6th January - he said that no element of illegality or irregularity remained. This tendentious nonsense about non-compliance with a regulation is simply camouflage and subterfuge. There is not an atom or an iota of substance or sense in the criticism. It is being floated here only for the purposes of keeping afloat a false appearance of propaganda.
– I wish to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. In view of the fact that the major source of power generation in South Australia is the brown coal deposits at Leigh Creek and in view of the fact that these deposits have a limited availability, is South Australia not the logical region in which to establish the first nuclear power station in Australia?
Further, is it not equally as logical to site the envisaged uranium enrichment plant in South Australia, based on such a nuclear power provision? Is it not a fact that the South Australian power grid radiates out from Port Augusta - a location which gives ample access to the necessary huge volume of water required for nuclear power generation? Will these factors be taken into account when the site for a nuclear power generation and uranium enrichment plant is considered by the Government?
– The force of argument and the logic of the honourable senator’s proposition appeal very much to me. I am sure the facts he has mentioned are both relevant and of consequence to a decision of this character. The honourable senator can rest assured that the responsible authorities will take those factors into account.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to the statement which he made to the Senate on 27th September concerning the Jetair Australia Ltd transaction, especially to paragraph 16 of his statement, which contains the following words:
The price $275,000 compares favourably with the value assessed by means of the TAA formula $227,587.
Will the Minister explain how, from the point of view of a purchaser, a figure of $275,000 compares favourably with a figure of $227,000? Will he also explain the nature of the Trans-Australia Airlines formula? Does it take account of such matters as the condition of passenger fitments and spares supplied? Does he agree, as has been stated in answer to a previous question, that the value of spares was $18,000 and that if the amount of $18,000 is added to the amount of $227,000 there is still a difference of $30,000 between that total and the sum of $275,000?
– I may be forgiven for suggesting that the question implies a certain amount of inexperience with valuation. Nobody with sound judgment, proceeding to value an asset, relies entirely upon a formula. A formula is simply a guide. Of course, anybody experienced in valuing an aircraft would have regard to such things as the original age, that is to say, the air frame life since new. One would have expected the air frames of these DC3s to have flown more like 30,000 or 40,000 hours, whereas I have pointed out that on the average they had flown, I think, some 9,000 hours.
The next thing is the condition of the aircraft, and here the state of maintenance is very relevant. The next thing is the degree to which the conversion of them had been carried out and the standard of their improvement. When one remembers that the cost to the Jetair company or its subsidiaries of the 6 DC3s was no less than $579,000 within the previous 18 months, one almost takes a pause to pity criticism in relation to a gap between $228,000 under the TAA. formula, plus $18,000 for spares, and the price of $275,000 which was paid for the aircraft. I am pleased to see that the questioner has now flown out of the Senate in exasperation because of the things that he did not know about valuation.
-I direct a question to the Attorney-General, either in that capacity or as the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, as it deals with political censorship. Is it a fact that the AttorneyGeneral appeared as one of 4 speakers on a commercial television programme debate last Monday night with the Rt Honourable John Gorton, Dr . James Cairns and a Mr Mick Young? Was such programme video taped? Is it a fact that during the discussion Mr Gorton referred to the influence of Mc Carmichael and Mr Halfpenny upon the Australian Labor Party? Is it a fact that this reference brought a passionate defence of these 2 men from Dr Cairns, ending in oleaginous adulation? Is it a fact that Mr Gorton then asked Dr Cairns whether the 2 men were communists and that Dr Cairns said that he did not know and it did not matter? Is it a fact that Mr Gorton’s question and Dr Cairns’s reply were edited out of the tape and not screened on television? Does the Australian Broadcasting Control Board have any authority to prevent this type of political censorship on a commercial channel? Would the Minister not agree that, in view of his own statements on this programme, it is important in the national interest that telecasts should be accurate and that Australians should be made fully aware of communist influence on any political party, especially the Australian Labor Party and some of its members?
– It is a fact that I appeared with the gentlemen named on a telecast last Monday night and that that telecast was videotaped. At the time the telecast was made all the participants were aware that it exceeded the time slot which had been scheduled for the programme and that there had to be quite substantial editing. Substantial segments were takes out en bloc. I should have thought that would have been the anticipation of each of the participants as to the type of editing which was to be engaged in. I am well aware of the particular incident to which Senator Hannan has referred and I think that an accurate, or substantially accurate, account of the actual questions and answers appears in the subsequent day’s Australian’. It is a fact that a question and and answer were edited out, as Senator Hannan has said. I think it is regrettable that the editing out occurred. I think it was regrettable because it was unfair to Mr Gorton that Dr Cairns was able to challenge and accuse him of what might have appeared to be an unfair statement by Mi Gorton, except for the interjection which Mr Gorton made to protect himself. Yet that question and the response by Dr Cairns were edited out of a segment which otherwise was given in full. I can only say that is to be regretted.
I am unable to say whether the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has any power in this matter, but I shall direct the honourable senator’s question and my answer to the Postmaster-General. I think that the really significant feature of what was revealed by that editing out of the comment and the response by Dr Cairns is that Dr Cairns, when faced with the allegation by Mr Gorton that there was a Carmichael-Halfpenny influence on the policies of the Australian Labor Party-
– I rise to order. I listened carefully to the lengthy question and was tempted to take a point of order immediately at the end of it, but the question appeared to turn on to a matter of political censorship and conceivably there might have been some kind of basis for it. The Minister has answered questions which seemed to be directed to that. Mr President, he is now going on to deal with the matter in a way which does not conform with the rulings which you have given as to these discussions of party politics and so forth, which are not matters connected with the responsibilities of the Minister. Insofar as he trespasses into this area I submit that the answer is not responsive to any matter which may properly be asked in question time.
– I listened with great care to the phrasing of the question by Senator Hannan and, in terms of the standing order relating to questions, it was impeccably phrased. My rulings on what I have described as propaganda questions relate to the asking of those questions. The Minister is entitled to answer a question in his own way, in his own right. So far I do not think the Attorney-General has in any way trespassed beyond the question directed to him by Senator Hannan. I do not uphold the point of order.
– I was saying in response to the very last part of Senator Hannan’s question that the significance of this interlude in the telecast last Monday night was the way in which Dr Cairns, as a front bench member of the Australian Labor Party, ran away from the-
– I rise to order. My point of order is based on standing order 100. I refer to your own ruling, Mr President, given on 29th September 1971 when you directed the Minister’s attention to standing order 100, which applies to him as it does to every other honourable senator. The question asked by Senator Hannan of the Attorney-General in my view hinged on the possibility of political censorship by the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I believe that the Minister has answered that part of the question. He is now pursuing the question in the form of a debate on the subject matter of the question.
– I do not think the Attorney-General has reached the debating point yet. Obviously the honourable senator is vigilant.
– The Attorney-General has reflected on a member of another place.
– He has not reflected on a member in another place; he has mentioned a member in another place.
– I rise to speak on the point of order. Is it a fact that the intervention by Senator Murphy and Senator Brown in relation to this question will preclude the question and answer from being rebroadcast on radio this evening?
– Does the honourable senator want a ruling?
– Yes. The PRESIDENT- I shall answer the question later.
– I was saying that the significant feature of the telecast last Monday night - I say this in response to the last part of Senator Hannan’s question - was the way in which Dr J. F. Cairns, as a leading front bench member of the Australian Labor Party, ran away from the accusation that there was influence by Carmichael and Halfpenny, acknowledged communists, on the policies of the Australian Labor Party.
– That is the Minister’s interpretation.
– I reiterate that as soon as I start to refer to the influence of communists on the policy of the Australian Labor Party the usual cacophony comes from the Opposition in this chamber. This has happened before and it will happen again. Of couse, if that is not sufficient we have points of order -
– 1 rise to order. It is not for the Minister when answering a question to direct his remarks at the Opposition or to purport to criticise the manner in which order is maintained in this chamber. That is a provocative action. That is not part of his duty in answering any question in this place. I submit that he should not be permitted to carry on in that provocative manner.
– That is a matter for the discretion of the Minister. I call Senator Cavanagh.
– I desire to ask a question of the Attorney-General -
- Mr President, I was still in the course of my answer.
– I thought you had resumed your seat.
– I sat down when a point of order was taken.
– You may continue.
– I repeat what I was saying because I regard points of order such as those of the character taken by the Leader of the Opposition, together with the noise which one experiences, as part of a political tactic which might have some impact upon the way in which the broadcast of this answer is given in the evening.
– I rise to order. Mr President, if you will permit him, the Minister is entitled to answer the question. He is not entitled to use the answer to reflect upon me or any other member of the Opposition because I have taken some point of order. That is not a basis for standing on his feet. He stood not to continue on a point of order because you dealt with that. He claims he is entitled to continue to answer the question. I submit that he should be restricted to doing that.
– That is within the discretion of the Minister. He has not offended yet.
– I was saying before this interlude occurred that the significant feature of Dr Cairns’ response on Monday night was the way he ran away from the allegation of communist influence on the Australian Labor Party policy.
– I raise a point of order. The Minister is clearly reflecting on a member of another House of this Parliament in response to a question about the activities of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Mr President, I suggest to you most strongly that he is out of order in reflecting on a member of the House of Representatives.
– Order! The words of reflection are ‘ran away from’. I ask the Attorney-General not to use that phrase. He may refer to the events which took places -
– Walk away?
– Walk away or whatever it may be.
– I am sorry. I certainly shall not use the words ‘ran away’ because, while I feel that that is an expression which may adequately describe what was being said, I will rephrase the answer. I think the significant feature of Dr Cairns’ answer to Mr Gorton’s comment on television the other night was the way in which he appeared very carefully and deliberately to avoid meeting the allegation because the situation is that while he defended the name and character of acknowledged active disruptionist communists in this country -
– Oh, you are a cur. Senator GREENWOOD - And had the temerity to suggest that they were -
– I rise to order. Mr President, you may not have heard but Senator Wheeldon has referred to the Minister as a cur. I do not think that is parliamentary language.
– Order! Senator Wheeldon. 1 am sure that you will agree that that was an unparliamentary expression and I would be grateful if you would withdraw H.
– In view of the unprovoked attacks being made on a friend of mine by Senator Greenwood, I was prompted to uSe language which I otherwise would not have used. Out of respect to you, Mr President, and all honourable senators I will withdraw the word.
– Thank you. I call Senator Greenwood.
– I said that he had the temerity, in my judgment, to say that these people were as decent and as honourable as the former Prime Minister of this country whose integrity in regard to this country and its interests is unchallenged. To suggest, as Dr Cairns said, that these communists were as decent and as honourable as the former Prime Minister is, in the light of their record when compared with that of the right honourable gentlemen, an indication of his thinking. Having said that, he then did not seek in any way to reject the imputation.
– Mr President 1 rise to order. It must be fundamental to question time that Ministers are here to be asked questions about their administrative responsibility. How is it compatible with question time that the Attorney-General can appear in a television debate the other night with several other people, and then have one of his own supporters ask him a question in this place and use question time to debate the ins and outs of what he said and what Dr Cairns said? It is like saying: ‘Dr Cairns ran away and Dr Cairns said this and it is notable that he did not say the other thing’. How can that be a proper use of question time? For 10 minutes the Minister has been debating the ins and outs of this matter, when Dr Cairns is not here and no-one else is able to intervene, in response to a question asked by one of the Minister’s supporters. He is turning question time into a rehash of a debate that took place on television between himself and other people. Fundamentally what he is doing is incompatible with the nature of question time. The answer he is giving is an abuse of the procedures laid down to enable persons to ask questions of Ministers about the administration of the Government of this country.
– Speaking to the point of order, Mr President, I reject categorically the accusation that in some way this is a contrived question and answer. I think the reaction of the Opposition to that statement is an indication of its attitude. I said that this is not a contrived question and answer session. I did not have Senator Hannan ask this question in the sense that I prompted or asked him to do so. Senator Hannan asked this question about political censorship in a sensitive area in this country where there is intimidation, which we witness even in this chamber, against anyone who seeks to link the Labor Party with proven communist influences. That can be established. As soon as a person seeks to raise that aspect there are intimidatory demands and noise from the Opposition.
– Order! There is a great deal of inflamation in the Senate this morning and it is not centred solely on the matter now engaging the attention of the House. It was manifest to me when I entered the chamber this morning and commenced question time that we could possibly reach a stage where the Senate would become inflamed. The Senate does itself no justice, nor does it do justice to the Parliament or to the electorate, when tempers become heated and matters tend to get out ot control. I suggest that we have had enough flame and fire in the Senate this morning and that we should get back to normal question time. I would be grateful of all honourable senators would conduct themselves on that basis and aid me to maintain the dignity of this chamber.
– The final point I make is simply that there was an allegation of communist influence over the Australian Labor Party, and Dr Cairns did not reply. That, in effect, was what was pointed out.
– I rise to speak to the point of order which Senator Murphy raised and on which you have not yet ruled, Mr President. The question that was asked by Senator Hannan related basically to the question of political censorship and the editing of a television programme. After Senator Greenwood answered that question, certainly justifying what had been done in relation to the editing, he then went on with a political controversy and discourse in relation to questions that had been asked by Mr Gorton of Dr J. F. Cairns. As both of these individuals obviously are not available for discussion and cannot take part in this second performance of what was then said, I ask you, Mr President, to give a ruling in respect of this matter. We have become familiar in the Senate with this great arrogance of the Attorney-General in relation to these political matters. Last night we were forced to stop here for nearly threequarters of an hour while he expounded his political philosophy in answer to a quite temperate question. I suggest that the fault does not lie with the Opposition. It lies completely with the arrogance of the Minister. I hope that you will give a ruling so that we will not, before the general elections, dissipate into a chamber of growling apes.
- Senator Greenwood, I look for your help to terminate this matter.
- Mr President
– I rise to order. I ask you, Mr President, whether it would be consistent with the Standing Orders if I were to move a motion at this point of time that the Minister be no longer heard.
– I was concluding an answer. As Senator Hannan said when he asked the question, it involves an area of political censorship. If ever there is a chamber of this nation in which we should be concerned to ensure that political censorship is not in any way exercised, it is in the Senate. What I feel ought to be made clear - it is the final point that I make - is that when an allegation is made as it was made in this broadcast the other night and when one very significant aspect of it is completely shut out of the replay and the opportunity is given to indicate in the Senate what happened, that opportunity ought to be availed of. If there were any sense of freedom and justice on the part of honourable senators opposite they would welcome that opportunity being availed of.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. Will he say what frequencies are to be used for frequency modulation broadcasting in Australia, what advantages these frequencies have and whether any other countries use these frequencies for FM broadcasting? Will he also say whether persons presently owning sets capable of receiving FM will be able to use these sets or whether they are readily modifiable? Is he aware that many electronic engineers, myself included, feel that the Australian FM frequency should be the same as in other areas of the world as this would enable the production of both cheaper and more suitable receiving sets of already tested design?
– The honourable senator’s question contains a number of technical matters with which I am not conversant. I am not in a position to give him a comprehensive reply to those questions. I suggest that he put them on the notice paper and we will see whether the Postmaster-General can give him a speedy reply.
– Order! I undertook to reply to Senator Webster in the context of a matter that he raised with me. It is the rebroadcast of a question. 1 deferred giving him an answer until the question was concluded. I have some doubt now as to whether it will be broadcast.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. Was representation made by the Commonwealth Police or by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to the New South Wales Housing Commission to allocate a Commission home to a Tomislav Lesic, knowing that the residence was to be used as the headquarters for the Croatian revolutionary movement? Were Commonwealth police used to investigate the recent brutal bashing of Mrs Lesic at her home? Why were the Commonwealth police, noi the New Sot,th Wales police used to investigate the assault?
– I am unaware of the details to which the honourable senator refers. I can only arrange to have inquiries made. I suggest that the honourable senator put the question on the notice paper.
Mr TOMISLAV LESIC
– My question follows on the previous question asked by Senator Cavanagh. I ask the AttorneyGeneral: Is he aware that Mr Tomislav Lesic, the person referred to by Senator Cavanagh, who is a former president of a Croatian extremist movement, lost both his leg’, in 1962 when a bomb that he was carrying in his suitcase exploded? Is the Attorney-General aware that this same Tomislav Lesic is being evicted from his New South Wales Housing Commission fiat because of the objections of other tenants to his use of the flat as a Croatian extremist cell? Is the Attorney-General aware also that Mr Lesic was in the vicinity of the bomb explosion ki George Street, Sydney, last month? Will the Minister also answer why Commonwealth police and not New South Wales State police were sent to investigate the violent bashing which took place in Lesic’s flat last week?
– As I have said, I am unaware of the alleged bashing which took place in Mr Lesic’s flat last week. That was the matter, as I understand it, which Senator Cavanagh asked me about. I can say only that I will get information about that matter in response to the question asked by Senator Cavanagh. In regard to the other parts of the honourable senators question, I am at a loss to know what sort of information he is really seeking. It is a fact that Mr Lesic was injured in a bomb explosion about 8 years ago-
– Blind Freddie could see it.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Order!
– There is either a desire to have a response or merely a desire to ask a question and to leave it at that. One would suppose that the honourable senator asks the question to make the imputation behind it rather than to hear the answer. Mr Lesic did lose his legs. He was very severely injured in that bomb explosion some 8 or 9 years ago. Why or how he was injured or how the incident came about in which he was injured were matters of concern at the time and I do not think that they have ever been satisfactorily resolved. Mr Lesic, as I understand what I have read of the police reports, has alleged that he was the person who was given a parcel and it exploded in his hands.
Be that as it may, it is also a fact that Mr Lesic was actually in the building in which the bomb exploded in Sydney about 3 or 4 weeks ago. One of the complex and curious features of this whole matter which must be the subject of investigation by the police is that a man who in this chamber has been alleged to be a very strong Croatian nationalist is involved in that bomb explosion and, as I understand it, was injured in that bomb explosion for which his own compatriots are supposed to have been responsible, on one view which is expressed by some members of the Australian Labor Party. This is a matter which is part of the general investigations which must be carried out by the New South Wales Police Force.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General and in some way is supplementary to that asked by Senator Hannan on political censorship. Has the attention of the Attorney-General been drawn to reported statements by the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Mr R. Hawke, concerning an industrial dispute between the Commissioners of the Australian Broadcasting Commission and certain staff members of that organisation, Has the Minister noted the reported statements by Mr Hawke that he could see a strong argument for direct industrial action by staff members and that a future Labor Government would have to deal with the ABC Commissioners and executives m some way? Is it not a fact that the ABC is, by Act of Parliament, an independent body, depending for its independence upon the right and responsibility of the Commissioners to carry out their full executive functions and full control over staff without any outside or political influence or threat?
– I think Senator Carrick’s question highlights the inconsistencies of the Australian Labour Party’s approach insofar as Mr Hawke, as a vicepresident of that Party, is entitled to speak on its behalf. His statement, as reported in the newspaper this morning, clearly means that he will back those people who are challenging the authority of the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the authority of management in their dispute with the Commission and with management. Never let it be forgotten that these people deliberately chose what was to be shown on This Day Tonight’ and sought thereafter to justify the decision which they had made. As I said yesterday, that is an affront to any management, and managerial responsibility is at issue in what the Commission decides. Over the last 22 or 23 years this Government has maintained the principle that the Australian Broadcasting Commission is autonomous and independent. It has not been subject to political control or interference by this Government, and it will not be subject to control by this Government. The whole tenor of the remarks made by so many spokesmen of the Australian Labour party is that they would use the Australian Broadcasting Commission to further ends which the Australian Labour Party has in mind and which it regards as desirable.
– My question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs refers to the purchase of 6 DC3 aircraft by the Federal Government from Jetair Australia Ltd. Is there evi dense that Cambodia had a real and genuine need for the 6 DC3s provided to that country at its request?
– I should remind the Senate that in April 1970 Cambodia was invaded by the Vietcong, with such seriousness that the United States entered Cambodia in aid of that country either that month or the next. Under political pressure it withdrew. In those circumstances, the formulation of an aid programme to Cambodia was the constant concern of the Australian Government. The pressure upon Cambodia was well known to the Australian Government in December 1970. Therefore, it was obviously a matter of utilising certain Royal Australian Air Force aircraft which we had on hand and for which a need existed in Cambodia. On exchange of telegrams in, I think, early January it was made manifest that Cambodia would be delighted to have the aid of those 6 aircraft that were made available by reason of the Jetair Australia Ltd aircraft being sent to Laos and Nepal. That left us with 6 other aircraft that could be sent to Cambodia.
– Further to the question asked by Senator Carrick, I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs this question: If, as be said, the reason for sending the aircraft to Cambodia was the extreme military situation in which Cambodia was placed in early 1970, can he tell us why the aircraft which were sent there were not sent until late 1971? In some cases it was 8 months and 12 months before the aircraft were delivered, many months after the rushing through of the transaction. Why were they sent as passenger aircraft and not as military aircraft which one would have thought would have been needed to meet the military threat of which the Minister spoke?
– There was a considerable time interval between the decision to make the 6 planes available to Cambodia and their delivery. Their delivery to Cambodia - the RAAF planes - did not take place until December 1971. That is a matter of very great regret, especially as the purchase of the Jetair planes relieved us of the task of converting these RAAF planes to civilian configuration, and the degree to which the RAAF planes had to be refurbished was comparatively slight. On that alone we spent on them $25,000 in lieu of a cost of conversion that was confronting us of $315,000. Reference has been made this morning to compliance with regulations, and to illustrate just how time-consuming is exact compliance with regulations, let me give the Senate the timetable that was laid down by the necessity of public tender to refurbish the planes and a subsequent public tender for the ferrying of them across there, that is the timetable in respect of the 6 Jetair planes. Tenders closed 6th May, recommendation made 18th May, Contracts Board decision 26th May, order for the job placed 28th May, work completed 2nd July enabling delivery of the first of these planes on 18th August, those to Laos on 26th September and one to Cambodia on 5th September. I share wilh the honourable senator great regret that the time interval seemed to be undue.
– And hardly related to the reason for the acquisition.
– I have stated the reasons, I hope.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Works. I remind the Minister that he said earlier, in reply to a question today, that the Department of Supply was completely satisfied with the Jetair deal. I want to reiterate that as far as I am concerned the then Minister for Supply was not involved in this at all. I ask the Minister: What is his explanation for the letter forwarded by the then Minister for Supply to the then
Minister for Foreign Affairs in which the Minister for Supply virtually said in understandable Australian language: ‘You have got yourself into this mess, sport, from here on you make the public explanations as to how you got yourself into such a sticky deal.’ I ask the Minister whether he will explain the background of that letter which was tabled with the documents a few days ago?
– 1 correct the honourable senator’s misquotation of what I said this morning. I said this morning that the price of these aircraft, including some spares, of $275,000 was said by the Supply Department officers in their submission to their Minister to be a reasonable overall price; and 1 said that the head of the Department of Supply recommended the purchase at $275,000. That recommendation went before the Minister who was acting as Minister for Supply at the time. He minuted it by approving it on 9th February and requesting - a perfectly natural request - that the actual Minister be informed on his return, as he was. Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson then wrote a letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs referring to the interpretation of contract procedures and saying it was appropriate that any inquiries by the news media and any questions in Parliament with regard to the transaction should be taken as the responsibility - as between the 2 Ministers - of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Anybody who can see in that anything other than complete courtesy and clarity of understanding or who can see in it a division of responsibility has a sinister mind.
– My question, which is a genuine question without notice, is directed to the Minister for Supply. Has the French Government either purchased or offered to purchase 200 Turana drone aircraft worth some $30,000 each? Further, has the French Government also offered to purchase an unspecified number of Project N aircraft, now known as the Nomad, at approximately $250.000m each?
– I know of no such purchase. I ask the honourable senator to put his question on notice.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer him to an answer which he gave to a question asked by Senator Murphy earlier today in which he stated that the acquisition of the fleet of Jetair Australia Ltd made the 5 Royal Australian Air Force DC3s which the Department of Foreign Affairs had acquired earlier in the year available for shipping to Cambodia. I refer him also to an answer given in the other place on 18th February 1971 by the Prime Minister, which contained these words:
As to the purchase of the aircraft, a little over a year ago negotiations were commenced for the purchase and delivery to Cambodia, Laos and Nepal of 11 aircraft- 6 to Cambodia, 3 to Laos and 2 to Nepal.
Will the Minister agree that, in the light of the answer that he gave to Senator Murphy, that statement by the Prime Minister must have been a falsehood?
– Certainly not. I refute the suggestion. I think that to give it that interpretation is to go to the depth of sinister innuendo. I ask the honourable senator to see what the Prime Minister said on this subject in another place yesterday. I ask the honourable senator to note that the Prime Minister said, dealing with the 3 countries as a group, that negotiations for this aid commenced about a year ago. I emphasise the words ‘commenced about a year ago’. The fact is that the first 2 aeroplanes that were purchased for the purpose of this aid were purchased as long ago as 21st November 1969.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I ask: Is it a fact that the Australian Labor Party has recently claimed that the vendor company in the Jetair group valued the aircraft at only $100,000? Is that a statement which is completely untrue?
– It is a fact that over the last week a spokesman in another place for the Australian Labor Party, Mr Charles Jones, developed the idea from an entry in the Brins Australia Ltd group’s balance sheet that the 6 DC3s that we purchased were valued by the vendor com pany at about $100,000. I have already read to the Senate the statement by Mr Barton, in a letter to me yesterday, to the effect that the group’s balance sheet showed aircraft to the value of $99,769, taking into account depreciation, but that this item represented 2 aircraft, namely, a Piper Aztec and a Beagle. He went on to say that the 6 DC3 aircraft were owned by a subsidiary of the group after balancing date and consequently these 6 DC3s did not appear in the consolidated accounts. Then he referred me to the auditors, Messrs Hungerford, Spooner and Kirkhope, whom I invited to give confirmatory information. They said:
The Brins Australia Limited group originally acquired six (6) DC3 aircraft during the period from May 1969 to June 1970 for a total cost (including rectification and alterations) of $579,325. The same aircraft were transferred during June 1970 to an associated company outside of the Brins Australia Limited group for lease back to Jetair Australia Limited. As that associated company did not become a subsidiary of Brins Australia Limited until December 1970 the Brins consolidated balance sheet at 30th June 1970 did not include those aircraft.
The aircraft were sold to the Department of Supply on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs early in 1971 for a consideration of $275,000.
If one is to take the cost figure appearing in the subsidiary company’s balance sheet, which is $579,325, as an indication of value, that should be the figure quoted - not $99,769, which is a figure associated with 2 other aircraft altogether. For clarity, and in response to the spirit of Senator Murphy’s invitation relating to the schedule of figures, I ask for leave to incorporate in Hansard the 2 letters to which I have referred.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) - 18th October 1972
The Hon. R. C. Wright,
Minister for Works,
CANBERRA. A.C.T. 2600.
My Dear Minister:
In reply to your letter of even date, I wish to advise that the item in the consolidated balance sheet of the Brins group as at 30th June 1970 showing aircraft of $99,769 and to which Note 6 referred as follows:
This item represents 2 aircraft namely Piper Aztec VH-WAB and Beagle VH-UNL. Both of these aircraft were owned by a subsidiary of Jetair Australia Ltd and were written down in the books to$ 107,881 during the year and depreciated at $8,112 leaving a written down book value of these 2 aircraft of$99,769.
The company which owned the 6 DC3 aircraft became a subsidiary of the Group after that balancing date and consequently, these 6 DC3 aircraft did not appear in the Consolidated Accounts.
I have today spoken to Mr A. H. Kewin, the partner of Hungerford, Spooner & Kirkhope who was responsible for the audit of the companies and he advised me that his firm would attest to the above details if called upon to do so.
I am happy to co-operate with you indisproving the false allegations made in both Houses of Parliament by the Opposition during the last few days and would be happy to provide any further information that you may require.
18th October 1972
Department of Foreign Affairs,
At the request of Mr Hunter of your Department, and with the permission of Mr Alexander Barton, we set out below certain information relating to the purchase and sale of aircraft by the Brins Australia Ltd group.
The Brins Australia Ltd group originally acquired six (6) DC3 aircraft during the period from May 1969 to June 1970 for a total cost (including rectification and alterations) of $579,325. The same aircraft were transferred during June 1970 to an associated company outside of the Brins Australia Ltd group for lease bark to Jetair Australia Ltd. As that associated company did not become a subsidiary of Brins Australia Ltd until December 1970 the Brins consolidated balance sheet at 30th June 1970 did not include those aircraft.
The aircraft were sold to the Department of Supply on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs early in 1971 for a consideration of $275,000.
The above information was obtained from the books and records of the relevant companies for which we acted as auditors up to 30th June 1971.
HUNGERFORD, SPOONER & KIRKHOPE
– My question, which is directed to the Attorney-General, follows the questions asked by Senator Hannan and Senator Mulvihill about the editing of television programmes and political censorship. Is it not a fact that the Prime Minister has laid down strict guidelines in rela tion to any television appearances he might make which would inhibit and restrict the news media, on the basis of the Minister’s earlier ruling? Is it also a fact that the Prime Minister, publicly and by representations to the news media, has refused to be interviewed by certain interviewers, including Mr Carleton? Does the Minister consider that these prohibitions do not constitute a form of political control?
– I am not aware of any such guidelines which have been laid down by the Prime Minister. If there are such guidelines, they are not of the character imposed by the media which have control over what is telecast or broadcast. The statement made by Senator Bishop that the Prime Minister in some way has said that he refuses to be interviewed by Mr Carleton is one of these perennial allegations which are made continuously, notwithstanding denial by the Prime Minister. This matter was raised this morning in a radio broadcast and reference was made to the denial. Again it conies out today as if the Prime Minister had not denied the allegation. The fact is that one cannot build up a case on nothing, and honourable senators opposite are trying to do that.
– Has the Minister for Health seen a Press report today about research carried out by a Tasmanian research team into the part played by cholesterol in heart disease? Is he aware that, according to this report, the research team believes that another fat which it has isolated - not cholesterol - is responsible for heart disease? Will the Minister endeavour to obtain the results of this study for any honourable senator who is interested in this matter?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI have not seen the Press article, but I heard reference to this matter on the 6 o’clock news on radio this morning when I was getting ready to come to this place. I made a mental note that as soon as I got time I would find out what it is all about; I would ask my Department to give me a briefing on it. I have not done that yet, but I certainly will be doing it before the end of the day, and as soon as I obtain any information it will be made available to the honourable senators and to the Senate.
– I should like the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs to clean up one question which has arisen today. I refer to the Minister’s reply to Senator Murphy in which he said that negotiations with Cambodia as to the aircraft took place in April 1970. If so, I ask the Minister why document 1 on the file, that being a cablegram to our ambassador in Phnom Penh, stated:
We understand that the Cambodians have a need for additional transport. We expect to be able to offer as aid 6 aircraft as follows . . .
The cablegram then asked the Ambassador:
Please ascertain if Cambodians are interested in this possibility.
– Can you give me the date of that?
– The date is 4th January 1971. I invite the Minister to explain also document 18 on the file, which was from the Department of Foreign Affairs to the Australian Embassy and which stated:
We regret we have not been able to elicit any response yet from Cambodians to note mentioned in our file.
That is the file to which I referred. It continued:
We are pressing them for a reply. As soon as we have one we shall advise you.
I ask the Minister also whether he can explain document 44, which again is to the Ambassador and which stated:
The Minister has approved formal offer to Cambodia of 6 DC3 aircraft mentioned in our telegram 6. Please notify Cambodian authorities and let us have advice, which we assume will not take more than 2 or 3 days, of Cambodia’s formal acceptance. From our viewpoint there is some urgency in having your reply because we would have to authorise expenditure on final renovations of aircraft to satisfy airworthiness requirements.
That letter was dated 29th January 1971. Therefore, from the request on 4th January until 29th January the Cambodian Government was pressed to accept the aircraft that we were giving to them because of some communist infiltration into their country.
– Quite quietly I should like these facts to be understood. The cablegram to Phnom Penh was on 4th January, inquiring whether there was a need. There was a reply about the 7th or 8th, and then, on being informed that Cambodia had a need, a submission was made to the Minister for the approval of the appropriation of the aircraft to Cambodia. Then on the 29th - I accept Senator Cavanagh’s date as being accurate - Phnom Penh was advised of the formal offer. It must be understood that on about 23rd or 24th of that month there was a serious blitz on Cambodian aircraft which were then on the airport at Phnom Penh. It was one of those coincidental circumstances that made Cambodia’s need acute, but it was the culmination of a campaign of pressure to which Cambodia was subjected over many months. With a knowledge of this background and the most advantageous purchase that we made of the fleet from Jetair Australia Ltd - we had surplus already in military configuration 5 other aircraft and one DC3 from Jetair - we were able opportunely to offer them to Cambodia and they were gratefully accepted.
Senator DOUGLAS McCLELLANDMy question which is related to political censorship is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. As a result of the former Prime Minister, Mr Gorton, voting against the Government in another place yesterday did the present Prime Minister telephone Sir Frank Packer and request Sir Frank not to allow Mr Gorton to take part in the political discussion panels on the Mike Willesee show? Is the Minister aware that Mr Gorton has now been banned byChannel 9 from further appearing on the programme? If these be the facts, will the Minister agree that this is political censorship and interference in the programme arrangements of a commercial television station by the political head of a government?
– I am quite unaware of any of the matters that have been raised. I would imagine that when the honourable senator asked the question he would have suspected that I would be unaware of them. He has asked this question and he has his publicity. I suggest that he put his question on the notice paper if he wants an answer.
– Order! We have spent an hour and a half on question time. With the agreement of the Senate I shall allow 2 more questions.
– I remind the Minister for Civil Aviation that it is almost a year since I first asked him for information concerning the establishment of a noise abatement committee at Townsville but, to date, the information has not been made available. I now ask whether such informa- tion is classified. If not, when is the Minister likely to make a statement on the setting up of a noise abatement committee at Townsville Airport?
– The honourable senator will remember that I referred to this matter in response to a question from him not so long ago. I indicated that the airport was a joint user airport owned by the Department of Air and that we were having discussions with the Department about the general position. I said that as soon as the discussions were concluded the Committee would be set up, the matter would be explained to him and the information given to him. I am no further advanced than that at the moment.
– My question which refers to the loss of F111 aircraft in the Vietnam area is directed to the Minister for Air. 1 ask the Minister whether he or the Royal Australian Air Force has sought information from the United States of America in connection with the loss of F111 aircraft and its limited withdrawal from operation in South East Asia following the first crash in September. If so, what are the details? In view of Australia’s heavy commitment resulting from the purchase of this aircraft will the Minister institute thorough investigations into these matters and advise the Senate?
– In recent months 2 aircraft have been lost over Vietnam. At this stage no information is available as to what happened to them but I would think that flying can be quite hazardous at any time and operational flying more so. In view of the record of the F111 in operational areas at the present time I do not think there need by any concern for Australia’s 24 F111C. At the present time they are going through a refurbishing programme which is up to date. Those aircraft will be thoroughly tested by the time we take delivery of them next May.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI said: ‘In the interests of everybody’.
– Order! I said that I would allow 2 more questions. However,I call Senator O’Byrne.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether he can inform the Senate what attempts were made by the Jetair group to become the third airline in Australia. Was it Mr Bovill, a director of Jetair Australia Ltd, who made representations for a third airline? Is this the same Mr Bovill who has beenprominentin fund raising for the Liberal Party in New South Wales?
– I think it will be agreed that I always seek to ensure that accurate and positive information is given in response to questions.
– We do not ask political questions.
– No.I understand that and I appreciate the way in which the honourable senator behaves here. These are hypothetical questions. I can remember reading, before I became a Minister and shortly afterwards, a lot of newspaper speculation about what people said that Jetair had hoped to achieve. I cannot go beyond that. I will look up the matterand help the honourable senator as best I can.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. Will the recommendations of the committee of inquiry into the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund be introduced during the life of this Parliament? If not, why not?
– This is the responsibility of the Minister for Defence and I do not think it will do any good to ask the Minister for the Army to reply. I will make some inquiries and see what I can find out.
– I lay on the table of the Senate the text of treaties to which Australia has become a party by signature, some by accession and acceptance and some in relation to which Australia has deposited an instrument of acceptance. It is a long list, Mr President, and I seek leave to incorporate it in Hansard.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
Government of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, signed at Belgrade on 31st May 1972.
Intellectual Property Conventions:
Australia deposited instruments of accession relating to 6 (a), (b), (c) and (d) at Geneva on 10th May 1972.
– 1 seek leave to move that business of the Senate be postponed for consideration of Government business, notice of motion No. 1. I had in mind to move this motion yesterday, but owing to certain factors and the courteous co-operation of Senator Murphy and Senator Gair it was stood over. I seek leave to have Government business, notice of motion No. 1 called on now.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
That, for the remainder of the present period of sittings, unless otherwise ordered, Government business shall take precedence of all other business on the notice paper except Questions and Formal Motions.
As we know, the Parliament is to be dissolved as from 2nd November. Putting away constitutional overtones and such other matters, the date on which the Senate will lift is related to the general election which is to be held on 2nd November. It is absolutely essential, to my mind as Leader of the Government in the Senate, not in any other interests but in the interests of all of us, that somebody should be the manager of the procedures during the remaining sitting days that we will have. Even working on the basis of the Senate rising on 2 November, that leaves only 6 sitting days after today if we use the full period of time available to us. In any event, if the House of Representatives rises before 2nd November it would be in the spirit and heart of everybody, for obvious reasons, to be away as soon afterwards as possible. Honourable senators have responsibilities to their faith, causes and their Parties just as if they were committed personally. So I feel obliged to move this motion; I do not want to move it in the spirit that I am being critical - perhaps with the exception of last night when I thought that we sat a little late - of our approach to Budget matters.
I think that by and large, with the cooperation of the 2 other Party leaders, we have been doing things very rightly. But the Leader of the Government in the Senate has to make the ultimate decisions in regard to having the House rise at a certain time. He has to make a judgment and be the fall guy, if you like, in relation to whether what he is asking the Senate to do is appropriate. He has to have some authority in the matter. That is why I want to have this motion passed so that Government business will take precedence.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONNo, but I would not think that they would be looking to go on right up to 2nd November. I would have the feeling that it will rise before then. I move this motion without any embellishments. My understanding is that including Budget Bills and associated Bills there may be 40 Bills we will have to examine. Some of them are linked; some of them we will be able to deal with almost on the run, as it were, because they are obvious things that have to be done and are more formal than controversial. Nevertheless, we have to go through the processes. I think that I should have control of the situation as the Leader so that I can plan for the benefit of everybody. In fairness to Senator Murphy I should like to mention a matter about which the Acting Leader of the Government, during my absence through illness, had an understanding with Senator Murphy who assisted him to have it brought on for debate. Senator Byrne and Senator Murphy have Bills which they wish to bring to certain stages. Both Leaders have contingency notices of motion on the Notice Paper. I am aware of that fact. I am not unaware of the significance of a contingency motion. I say to the Senate that Government Business should have precedence. We should concentrate on and conclude Government Business. In all good faith - I say this with sincerity - I will make an attempt to fit into the time slots available to the Senate those matters which should come on for discussion. If I cannot do this, both Leaders have their contingency notices of motion which they may move and which will be determined by the will of the Senate. I do think that as Leader of the Government in the Senate I must have regard at the present time to the work that has to be done and that the situation is one in which Government Business should take precedence over other business for the remainder of the sitting.
– We are aware of the problems that we must face. Obviously, there must be some management to get the business through the Senate. In this period of sittings as on other occasions - but especially in this period - we have given, I think, the utmost cooperation to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, and the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator DrakeBrockman, in endeavouring to put through the business of the Senate. On several occasions, Senator Drake-Brockman, as Acting Leader of the Government, asked me whether the Opposition would agree to forgo General Business on a Thursday evening. I agreed. We agreed also to the proposition to interrupt the discussion of reports of Senate committees. This discussion should take place on a Thursday morning. We agreed to these actions in order that the matters which the Government wished to expedite could be expedited.
My feeling is that certain matters ought to be disposed of in the general interest of the Senate. Even if the discussion of these matters is short, we ought to find some way, first, to deal with those reports which were presented within the last year. I refer to the report of the Senate Select Committee on Off-shore Petroleum Resources, the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Industry and Trade on the Availability of Liquefied Petroleum Gas to the Australian Market and the other reports which are Orders of the Day (3) to (7). In deference to ourselves and to those who sat on those Committees, the Senate ought to find some time to discuss those reports. Under General Business I would like to see discussed Notice of Motion No. 5 which is a short matter dealing with the proposal that reports from Senate committees should be the subject of the tabling of a paper by the Government of its observations and intentions with respect to the recommendations of those Committees. I think that that matter could be dealt with fairly shortly. My motion speaks for itself.
The other matter with which the Opposition very much wishes to deal is the Commonwealth Electoral Bill 1972 which is Order of the Day No. 18 on the Notice Paper. I feel strongly on this matter. I do not wish to discuss the ins and outs of it but I consider that there was an understanding that this Bill would be brought to a vote. I made arrangements on that basis and gave way to Government Business on Thursday evenings and on other occasions on that understanding. I feel that there is a moral obligation to allow this Bill to be brought to a vote. I think that the Bill could probably be brought to a vote even this evening within a very short time because I do not believe that much further discussion on the matter remains. I would suggest to the Leader of the Government that if the words ‘and except for the consideration of General Business, Order of the Day No. 18 at 8 p.m. this day’ are added to his motion this would enable that business to be disposed of this evening. I ask whether the Leader of the Government will agree to that proposal.
– I cannot accept that proposal, senator. I would be cheating if I said that I could.
– I move:
At end of motion add - ‘and except for the consideration of General Business, Order of the Day No. 18 at 8 o’clock tonight’.
I ask the Senate to agree to that amendment. Without going into the ins and outs of the matter, there was an understanding that the Bill should be voted on. I think there is a moral obligation on the Government to agree to that Bill being brought to a vote, in the light of what went on between the Government and the Opposition previously in relation to the arrangement of business. I understood the Leader of the Government to say that an opportunity would be given to dispose of other matters apart from Government Business. I understood that to refer to reports of committees and a number of other matters which ought to be raised and dealt with. That may be a reasonable way in which the business of the Senate can be arranged. 1 appreciate that the motion will not take away entirely the rights of senators because it contains the words ‘unless otherwise ordered’, so it is competent for us to move a motion in order to raise particular matters.
-My colleagues and I are fully conscious of the extraordinary circumstances associated with the closure of this session of the Senate. We know full well that there is to be an election on 2nd December and that there will be a dissolution of the House of Representatives on 2nd November, which necessitates an earlier closure of the Senate than normally would be the case. On occasions we have sat until 10th December. I appreciate the position in which the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) is placed. I have always conceded that the Government had the right to arrange the business of the Parliament. While we are anxious to help Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson over his difficulties, there are on the business sheet Bills in the names of private members which we feel are every bit as important as some of the Bills which are listed under Government Business. I ask the Leader of the
Government for an undertaking that if we give precedence to Government Business for next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we might consider sitting on Friday and the following Tuesday and Wednesday to consider the private members Bills which come under General Business. Let us divide the time that we estimate we have available to us and give precedence to Government Business in the first part of that time and deal with General Business in the second part of that time. By that means there would be general satisfaction. I do not know - I am only presuming - but I would imagine that no-one would be greatly inconvenienced if we did not deal with the Crimes (‘Hijacking of Aircraft) Bill.
– People would, genuinely and very much so.
– I accept the Minister’s assurance on that. I do not know the context of the Bill. What is the position with regard to the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill?
– That is tied to the first Bill.
– I am sure that some Bills listed under Government Business are no more important than are some Bills listed under General Business.
– We ought to deal with the matter relating to the law of the sea.
– Yes. A lot of Bills are very important. While we are prepared to help the Minister over his difficulties, I think he should be equally as anxious to help us to deal with legislation in which we are particularly interested. We are prepared to forgo dealing with some Bills, but we are anxious to deal with others. For that reason, in return for our support for his motion, he should indicate that he will give serious and sympathetic consideration to the appeal that I make. He tempts us a bit with these contingency orders that we have on the paper. We might put one of those on him unless he does something. I am not threatening him, just warning him.
– Just remarking.
– Just remarking. In all seriousness I ask the Leader of the House to give sympathetic consideration to our request. We are aware of his difficulty and that because of the special circumstances we shall have less time than normally. But let us co-operate. Senator Murphy has truly said that the Leader of the House has received much co-operation this session from both Senator Murphy and me. I make that appeal and at the same time I say that we are prepared to support it - but let it be for a limited time.
– I would like to say a few words on this amendment because I believe Senator Murphy is justified in having his Electoral Bill brought up since it has already occupied 2 nights of debate. Everyone in the chamber, I think, will assist the Leader of the House (Sir Kenneth Anderson) to expedite the business of this session. Every one of us appreciates the necessity for us to get away and the need for Government legislation and possibly for other legislation, as Senator Gair has said. However, I would ask the Minister to take some appropriate steps against offenders who obstruct the carrying out of business of this House. I would ask the Minister to examine the proceedings at question time today when today’s Hansard is available tomorrow. Question time today occupied a period of time which it should never occupy. This should never happen. If we read the report of question time today in Hansard we shall see, firstly, how much time was taken up asking questions and how much time was taken answering them, and from this it will be found that the time taken to answer questions was the longer. Secondly, I ask the Minister when examining the report of question time today to see how many questions were promoted and answered on the Government side for the purpose of political propaganda only and to see how much time this procedure wasted. The Senate is to adjourn shortly to make way for hearings of the Estimates Committees whose inquiries seem to be taking an exceptionally long time - I do not know what they are achieving. But on the question of the Electoral Bill I have gained the impression that on the 2 whole nights spent on it members talked for no reason other than to talk the question out so that a vote would not be taken on it. This too is a waste of time and whether or not the Government adjourns taking a vote on it until after the election, the vote still has to be taken. I ask the Minister to consider who is offending. The leaders of the parties have brought up questions that should be debated and there are other questions to be debated also. I would not like the session to end in any hasty way which would deprive anyone of the right to bring forward in this chamber any matter that he wishes to raise.
I am concerned that when the Jetair papers were tabled the Minister who tabled them said he would expedite any request for discussion of them. That was the undertaking given and I think that if there is any request for discussion on those papers it must take some precedence. I think that this would possibly be a much quicker method for securing information on the subject than trying to get information through a question time procedure such as we have had today. While I would support any move to expedite the business of the session I think the Government should take some action against its own members who are deliberately delaying this question in the belief that their political propaganda in this place will have some achievements in electoral results.
(12.0) - I cannot support Senator Murphy’s amendment. I appreciate the point that he has made, but I can give him no assurance in this respect. I indicated to Senator Murphy yesterday or this morning that there are still quite a number of honourable senators on the Government side of the chamber who want to say something about the Commonwealth Electoral Bill. Amendments to it are also involved. It does not seem to me at this point of time that the whole of Thursday night should be devoted to debating the Commonwealth Electoral Bill, which is what I fear would happen.
I wish to make a response to Senator Gait’s comment. I have kept in mind that it may be necessary for me to move that the Senate sit on Friday of next week. That is as I see the situation at the moment, although it could alter in the meantime. But I think everybody should face up to the fact that it may be necessary for the Senate to sit on either Friday of next week or Monday of the following week. All of us have set our hearts against the terrible folly of sitting late hours, which is something I just cannot abide. I know that nobody in this chamber agrees with the practice of legislation by exhaustion. I do think that we should keep in mind the point that Senator Gair has raised. I will have to make a judgment on this matter. Before doing so I will confer with Senator Gair and Senator Murphy as to whether it will be necessary to sit on the Friday of next week. I should make it clear that 1 am referring to the Friday of next week and not tomorrow.
– I thought the Minister might have meant the following Friday.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThat would be after 2nd November. If we were to sit on that day even the lawyers would have a problem, would they not? Let us not go into that one. I wish to say in good faith and in all sincerity to Senator Murphy and Senator Gair that, notwithstanding the fact that they have contingency motions on the notice paper and notwithstanding the fact that I have included the expression ‘unless otherwise ordered’ in the motion, I believe that we must try as hard as we possible can in the time available to us to work out a satisfactory programme which will enable the contingency motions which Senator Murphy and Senator Gair have on the notice paper and the other items which the Senate wishes to discuss to be, if not disposed of, at least brought forward for discussion. That depends on the degree of co-operation that I get in terms of the Bills that are to come across from the other place, which I think has to the order 40 Bills on its notice paper. Some of those Bills will be debated concurrently. I do not think I can say any more than that.
– Although Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson has indicated that he is unable to give the assurance which Senator Murphy has sought to obtain by way of an amendment to the motion moved by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, I think it would be. unfortunate if this amendment had to be formally presented. Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson has indicated, in response to Senator Gair’s suggestion, that he will try as far as possible to arrange a discussion of the private members’ business that is considered to be of particular significance, even if it means going to the extent of slightly extending the sitting of the Senate, which would pose problems. I am wondering whether Senator Murphy might consider withdrawing his amendment and waiting to see how the matter develops. Perhaps at a later stage Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson will be able to give an assurance that he will be able to accommodate our wishes. Otherwise we will have to move a further amendment seeking the inclusion of Order of the Day No. 13, which is the Prices Limitation Bill, in Senator Murphy’s proposition.
– I would be prepared to do that.
– I would prefer it if neither proposition had to be added to the motion. I would prefer it if this matter could be allowed to run along as it is. If we were not getting anywhere we could produce contingency motions which would enable us to get our propositions before the Senate. If Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson is able to give the assurance that this is something with which he may be able to go along later, I would prefer it if Senator Murphy”s amendment was not to be a part of the formal motion; but if it is to be a part of the formal motion, I would prefer it if Order of the Day No. 13 also was embraced in the formal motion.
– I am prepared to add that to the amendment.
– If the Senate carries that, I might as well not move my motion at all. However, you are the master of your amendment.
– Are you able to give us an assurance?
– I said what I said in good faith. I cannot say what will happen. Next week the Senate could do anything; it is the master of its own destiny. All I have said is that I, in good faith, will attempt to do what is asked. Indeed, I took up Senator Gair’s proposition that we might sit next Friday. I cannot do more than that. I am only one of 60 senators.
– I ask for leave to alter the amendment to add and ‘General Business order of the day No. 13, Prices Limitation Bill 1972’.
– With great respect, that does not do anything for you because if your Bill was discussed first it might take all night and the DLP Bill would not be discussed.
– My Bill may be disposed of very quickly if the Government sees that the Senate wants to get this matter dealt with.
– I would like to point out to Senator Byrne the very anomalous position in which he places himself and his Party. Senator Murphy’s amendment refers to the Commonwealth Electoral Bill 1972. Presumably, that would be discussed first. It was because I could not see that we could finish that Bill tonight that I said I could not agree to the amendment.
– It could be finished if your people co-operated.
– What you are asking is that people who want to speak do not speak. With great respect, you do not ask that of your own people. In my judgment, the DLP Bill would not be discussed tonight, even if we included it in Senator Murphy’s amendment.
SenatorBYRNE - I had not adverted particularly to the word ‘tonight’ in Senator Murphy’s amendment.
– No. It is only in relation to tonight.
– Yes. I agree with Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson on that. I do not agree with that word. I would ask Senator Murphy to omit the word ‘tonight’ from his amendment and to include reference to order of the day No. 13 under General Business. But I would prefer that such formal amendment was not necessary in either case and that, bearing in mind the assurance which Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson has been kind enough to give, we see how things go and early next week we can do something about it. I would much prefer that that procedure be followed.
– I will do that.
– What does the amendment mean if you omit the word ‘tonight’? In other words, what you are saying in your amendment is that the matter should be discussed at some time before we lift.
– With leave, I would alter the amendment to read: ‘add the words “and except for the consideration of General Business order of the day No. 18 and General Business order of the day No. 13”.
– Please help me. If you amended the motion as you are suggesting, it would mean, as I understand it - and there are a lot of helpers here and it is a little difficult - that if we carried the motion Government Business would not have any precedence after 8 o’clock tonight. I want the Senate to deal with Government business after 8 o’clock tonight so that we can get through as many Bills as possible.
– Will not the Estimates Committees still be meeting then?
– No. As soon as we have disposed of this motion I will move another motion relating to the Estimates Committees. I propose that 2 Estimates Committees should sit this afternoon and that the Senate should resume at the ringing of the bells. If one Estimates Committee concludes its business I will not hold up the Senate while the other Estimates Committee continues to sit. That would be crazy. The Senate will resume at the ringing of the bells and we will have to make some other arrangement for any Estimates Committee that has not completed its business. In view of the time factor, we cannot afford to have the Senate not sitting in plenary session while only one Estimates Committee is sitting. All I want to clear up is the purport of Senator Murphy’s amendment. As I understand his amendment now, what he thinks and what Senator Byrne thinks are 2 different things. I want to clear up that point. If Senator Byrne’s intention is simply that we will go on to Government Business, there is the implied condition that these other matters must be dealt with before we lift. I do not think that is Senator Murphy’s intention.
– I have discussed this with the Clerk of the Senate and his advice to me, which seems clear enough, is that the amendment as amended, dealing with
Senator Byrne’s consideration and order of the day No. 18 in the name of Senator Murphy, is such that if we take out the words ‘at 8 o’clock’ it will not in any way inhibit Government Business taking precedence at 8 p.m.
– That is what I understand the amendment to be now.
– The amendment at present provides for a resumption at 8 p.m.
– That proposal has been amended.
– That goes only half way.
– I think that puts the responsibility on me as Leader to ensure that before the session is concluded those 2 matters are brought on. That is the way that I would interpret it.
– That is the way that I would interpret it also.
Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - by leave - Subject to any ruling by you, Mr President, I understand that what the Government is trying to do first of all is to clean up the Estimates today. If a consideration of the Estimates were not concluded another motion would be necessary to enable this to happen. The Estimates would then continue tonight and if they were not cleaned up then it would be bad luck for my Electoral Bill which I have been trying to bring on. If this amendment were carried my Bill would come on automatically the following Thursday night. I am open to correction on this, but if by some means the Estimates were concluded by, say, 9 p.m. or 9.30 p.m. today, we would promptly come back to a discussion of General Business.
– That is not my understanding.
– And there would be an opportunity to deal with my Bill then. If Government Business has precedence and this has an effect of excluding consideration of these 2 other matters, surely they will come on in the general way. Above all, we do not want there to be any misunderstanding. If there is any doubt about the situation I am prepared to revert to my original motion. We do not want there to be any aggravation at this stage because of some misinterpretation. To avoid this I am prepared to revert to my earlier amendment and allow the Senate to decide one way or the other whether it will accept my proposition. If it is not accepted I propose to move from day to day until the matter is brought on because I think there is a moral obligation for it to be brought to a vote in view of what has passed between the Government and the Opposition.
– I think that is a better way to do it.
– In order to avoid any difficulties that might arise may I simply revert to the earlier amendment which I moved, that is, to add to the words moved by the Leader of the Government (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) the following words: and except for the consideration of General Business, order of the day No. 18, at 8 o’clock tonight.
Senator BYRNE (Queensland)- by leave - Originally I indicated that if Senator Murphy persisted with his amendment in its present terms we would have to add further words to protect our own Bill. I was hoping that would not be necessary, but it could be the position. Senator Murphy says that in order to avoid misunderstandings he will revert to his original proposition, which is the amendment in the terms in which he initially moved it. I said that in that case I would have to move our amendment. I am reluctant to do that. Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson has assured us that he will make every endeavour, subject to precedence being given to Government Business and the possibility of an extension of the sittings of the Senate, to have this matter and Senator Murphy’s matter brought up - in Senator Murphy’s case for a vote and in our matter, very likely, only for the second reading speech in relation to a Bill which has been read a first time, and on which there has been no debate. We do not want to take the Bill to a vote this session. It is only a matter of presenting the second reading speech. At this stage we would be content with that. Then we would be disposed to support the Government’s general motion that Government business take precedence. In the cir cumstances which I have detailed I find myself in opposition to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy). If Senator Murphy wants this formal amendment presented the disposition of the Australian Democratic Labor Party is to support the Government on the general motion resting on the assurance and reassurance given by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) that he will do everything possible to give these Bills the necessary airing and voting before the Senate rises.
– I have given my assurance. I shall do my very best.
That the words proposed to be added (Senator Murphy’s amendment) be added.
The Senate divided. (The President- Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON (New South Wales -Minister for Health) (12.23)- I move:
That the sitting of the Senate be suspended until the ringing of the bells or 8 p.m., whichever occurs first, to permit Estimates Committees B and D to sit.
Estimates Committees B and D can now do their work. Let me say by way of explanation that if one of the Committees rises at 3 o’clock, for instance, the bells will be rung and the Senate will resume its sitting. It would be absurd to hold up the function of the Senate while only one of the Committees was sitting. Tonight we hope to deal with as many as possible of the Government’s Bills that are on the notice paper.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 12.24 to 4.15 p.m.
– Pursuant, to section 53 of the Overseas Telecommunications Act 1946-1971, I present the annual report of the Overseas Telecommunications Commission for the year ended 31st March 1972, together with financial statements and the Auditor-General’s report on those statements.
– Pursuant to section 122 of the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Acts 1971, I present the first annual report of the Commissioner for Employee’s Compensation for the year ended 30th June 1972.
Senator GREENWOOD (VictoriaAttorneyGeneral) For the information of honourable senators I present lists of shel tered workshops approved under the Sheltered Employment (Assistance) Act 1967- 1970 as at 31st August 1972.
– On behalf of Senator Cotton, and pursuant to section 39 of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act 1956-1969, I present the annual report on the operations of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission for the year ended 30th June 1972, together with financial statements and the Auditor-General’s report on those statements.
– Order! Is notice of motion No. 2 formal or not formal?
Motion (by Senator Greenwood) agreed to:
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to establish a monopolies commission and for purposes connected therewith.
Debate resumed from 28 September (vide page 1319), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Bill now before the Senate is designed to amend the Air Navigation (Charges) Act. It proposes to increase charges to be levied on operators of aircraft for services and facilities including the use of aerodromes, airway facilities, meteorological services and search and rescue services. These services are provided and maintained by the Commonwealth. In the past, these charges have increased at the rate of 10 per cent. In this amending Bill the rate of annual increase is reduced to 5 per cent. The Opposition does not oppose this Bill. I feel that I should make a few comments relating to the income of the ‘Department of Civil Aviation in respect of these facilities which are provided at the various airports and through the Department generally.
The total cost of maintaining these facilities in the last financial year was SI 13m. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) pointed out in his second reading speech that revenue received by his Department in respect of the use of these facilities was $33m, $23m coming from air navigation charges and $10m from airport commercial development, rentals and other miscellaneous sources. In addition, the Department of Customs and Excise collected about $19m in aviation fuel taxes. The total revenue is $52m against a total expenditure of $11 3m. Everyone has great admiration for the efficiency of the Department of Civil Aviation, the safety record that has been maintained by that Department and, generally speaking, the high standard of the air terminals in our major cities and for the plans that are afoot for the upgrading of many of the airports which are not now up to the required standard. All of these facilities are accepted by the public. Praise is due to the Department for setting these high standards. But somehow or other the differences between the expenditure and the revenue of this Department seem to be one of the annual problems that confront this Parliament when the estimates come up for consideration and these various new charges are imposed.
The introduction of the heavier aircraft which carry more passengers has resulted in higher charges being imposed on the airlines whose margins of profit have been reduced. Not only is it difficult for Trans-Australia Airlines to meet these continuingly increasing charges without increasing fares but also an extra burden is placd on the shoulders of people who use the airlines for holiday purposes. The problem has 2 extremities. On the one hand, the Department must meet the tremendous expense of providing these facilities. On the other hand there are pressures for operators to seek an increase in fares. Whether the Department will be able to strike some happy medium by which these conflicting requirements may be brought together is something which i am sure all honourable senators would like to hear and know. Civil aviation is one of those areas in which we find tremendous sums of public money must be spent. The need for airline operators to pay their way results in ever-increasing air fares.
I was rather concerned when I read of the proposal to impose these charges on training flights which are part and parcel of the whole of the civil aviation structure. Section 8A of the First Schedule to the Principal Act states:
A charge is not payable in respect of a flight undertaken solely in connection with the training and checking of a person as a member of the flight crew of an aircraft.
The Bill now before the Senate has a provision seeking to do just that. I feel that this imposition perhaps may lead to a reduction in the time spent in training and checking pilots. That could be the result of the extra costs that will be imposed on this aspect of aviation. In previous years, increases in air navigation charges have generally been at the rate of 10 per cent, but this year the increase will be only 5 per cent. It will be applicable as from 1st December this year.
The amendments in clauses 5 and 8 introduce a levy for air crew training flights operated by the airlines. They will not earn very much revenue. The estimated costs of the special jet training aerodrome at Avalon are about $lm. The charges that are to be levied will be a burden on the airlines. We should give very close consideration to the charges to see whether they might have any side affects in relation to the training of pilots. They might not be trained as thoroughly as otherwise would be the case. The other clauses of the Bill are more or less machinery clauses. The Opposition feels that at a time when costs are increasing and international standards are being improved, civil aviation in Australia has to be in the big league. The Opposition feels that the Government is in a dilemma because it has to meet the standards that apply in other parts of the world. Those standards are being lifted continually. Members of the International Civil Aviation Organisation are expected to provide facilities for international flights. We realise the dilemma in which the Department finds itself. Therefore we do not propose to oppose the Bill.
– The Australian Democratic Labor Party will support the Bill because obviously its passage is certain as it has the support of both the Government and the official Opposition.
– Surely you would support it for another reason, not just because its passage was certain.
– I said that we will support the Bill and that ils passage is certain. I think Senator Wilkinson will agree that when the Opposition and the Government combine they have the numbers. Australia has had a commendable practice of trying to keep air navigation charges within reason so that fares can be kept within reason. Everywhere costs are rising. Those who have studied the Bill admit that what is being done is inevitable. In those circumstances I will not delay the passage of the Bill.
– in reply - I thank both Senator O’Byrne and Senator McManus for their support of the Bill. I think the Department of Civil Aviation would be very grateful to Senator O’Byrne for his comments about the efficiency of the Department and its very high safety record. I agree with his sentiments. I think that they are well worth saying and they will be passed on to the Department. They reflect the view which the general public has of the Department and its officers. 1 encountered the same view when I was overseas with departmental officers last year at the International Civil Aviation Organisation meeting. The tremendously high reputation that the Department and its staff have and the regard that Australian people have for civil aviation interests are a compliment to us. I think it is nice for these things to be said from time to time to those who are directly responsible.
Australia has a remarkably high civil aviation growth rate. It is a much higher growth rate than the average growth rate of the economy. The economy of the country grows at about 4.2 per cent to 4.5 per cent per annum, in constant price terms. The number of people using the airlines in Australia is growing by between 12 per cent and 16 per cent per annum. The average is about 14 per cent. The Department has to cope with planning problems and provide suitable facilities, safety measures and communication measures while being faced with a doubling of air passenger traffic every 5 or 6 years. This places a substantial planning and financial burden on the Australian people, through the Department. In the civil aviation sense, Australia is a country of great size. It is a much larger civil aviation country, in ils relative size, than its actual size as a country. In relation to domestic flights it is rated No. 5 in the world. In relation to international flights Qantas Airways Ltd is rated about No. 11 at present. If the figures are added they give us, on a comparatively weighted average basis, ;i rating of No. 6 in the international world of civil aviation. That is why it is sometimes hard to appreciate the financial cost of maintaining that position and the burden which it places upon the Australian community - facts which are appreciated substantially by the Department.
The Department has a general principle that as far as possible the business ought to be a paying one. From time to time the Department will accept problems in relation to downturns and periods of difficulty. In general, it wants the business to be a paying one. From time to time if it is a paying business it will be a safe business and people will be looked after properly. The Department is anxious that as far as possible the users of the service should be paying something for the service. The Department believes that in that way Australia will have an up to date and updated transport system and will not have a system which has no regard to capital costs. The railways system has an outmoded form of cost structure. The Department does not want its transport system to have a similar form of cost structure. The Department’s general principle, which was endorsed by the Parliament and which was adopted a long time ago, will hand on to future generations of Australians an up to date air transport system which will not be outmoded. I believe that is important.
Senator O’Byrne made a point about iising costs. The Department is trying to be an accountable department and to recover each year, as far as possible, a percentage of the costs of running the business. Although its expenditure is increasing and although its recovery of costs is increasing also, its percentage of recovery is the thing at which it looks all the time. In 1967-68 it recovered 38½ per cent of the costs of running the business. In 1971-72 it recovered nearly 50 per cent. So it is on an upward trend, which is encouraging.
Senator O’Byrne referred to the charges for air crew training flights operated by the airlines. The Department, in consultation with the operators and with the Treasury, decided that it was fair that some charge be imposed on people who use the training facilities and that they should bear some part of the cost of operating the Avalon airport, which is a Department of Supply airport. To put the matter in its true perspective, I will state the approximate costs to the operators. It will cost Qantas $85,000 in a given year; it will cost Ansett Transport Industries Ltd approximately $10,000; it will cost Trans-Australia Airlines $10,000; it will cost MacRobertsonMiller Airline Services $2,000; it will cost Airlines of New South Wales $300 and it will cost East-West Airlines Ltd approximately $1,000. The amount involved is not great, but the users are making a contribution to the cost of operating the service and to the cost of providing the facilities. As Avalon is a Department of Supply airport and as it is not normally used in commercial flying operations, the airlines should have no more access to itfree of charge than they have access to Tullamarine, Sydney (Kingsford-Smith), Guildford, Brisbane or Adelaide airports free of charge.
I think Senator McManus was correct when he said that the Department’s concern is to keep fares within reason. It certainly is my concern. I am always watching this matter very carefully. Any request by operators to increase fares comes under very tight scrutiny by the Department. The Department believes that at a certain point of time these things can have disincentive effects. People can afford to pay only a certain amount for transport. The Department has to look at the level of cost of the business and at the level of service provided and make sure that the airlines are not charging people more than they can really afford. Sometimes the situation has to be remedied by the operator not seeking to recover his costs from the public. The Department is very conscious of this matter. At no point of time would it abdicate the cost field in the interests of air safety, efficiency and public service. It always aims at that. The Department says that that is a priority which must always be supported.
I think I have covered the points that I wanted to mention, except for the development about which I would hope to be able to make a statement to the Parliament before it rises. That is trying to work a new basis of what I callattributability of the cost of operating civil aviation and developing a new method of putting down the figures; a new approach which would be more precise and accountable and which would give the Parliament a chance to scrutinise what the costs are in what might be called 4 or 5 broad areas of air operating responsibility. I have some expectation that I may be able to do this before the Senate rises and if I can, I shall be very pleased to develop it further at that time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I wish to raise a matter with the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) concerning charges which will be imposed on international airline operators as a result of this legislation. I understand that the Chairman of the international airlines committee wrote to the Minister on 23rd August requesting that this measure be deferred until the Government made a decision on a report which it had had for the last 15 months. I understand this is the report of a Government working group and that it was tendered to the Government in May 1971. The recommendation of the international airlines committee, I understand, was that introduction of this legislation be deferred until that report had been made public or until April 1973 when, I understand, provision will be made for the international airline operators to increase their tariff charges.
I raise this matter only to seek information from the Minister because, frankly, I am at a loss to know exactly what is involved. I assure the Minister that I am not particularly concerned about the international airline operators. I am more concerned about the level of fare charges to the Australian travelling public who want to go abroad. I ask the Minister to say what the situation will be under this legislation. Is it likely that international air fares will have to be increased for Australians travelling from Australia, or returning home, as a result of this legislation? Is it a fact, and I understand it to be a fact - and again I seek information from the Minister - that landing charges payable in Australia by the international airline operators are much higher than those payable elsewhere - on a comparable basis having regard to other standards throughout the rest of the world? I ask whether there is a working group report, whether that report was tendered to the Government in May 1971 and whether the Government is still considering it. In summary, what will be the effect of this legislation on the international fare structure so far as Australian travellers are concerned?
– Apparently Senator Douglas McClelland did not hear my reference to the working group towards the end of my earlier remarks and I shall reiterate it for him.
– Thank you.
– Of course, th-j Department receives continual pleas from international airline operators to reduce its charges in order to make their lives happy. We do not feel that is what we are expected to do on behalf of the Australian taxpayer, and I know that Senator Douglas McClelland agrees. The Australian taxpayer pays a great deal of money to provide facilities for international airline operators and, after all, Qantas has only about 45 per cent of the international flying traffic in this country and would like more. This is something that we as Australians have to look at for it is the Australian public’s investment that goes into airways facilities and that investment must be recovered for the Australian public as far as is sensibly possible. Our convinced view, after very careful study of these charges, is that there will not be or there should not be any increases at all in fares to Australians who fly on international airlines. The Department has done a great deal of work on this; indeed we have been very careful about i>
It is true that Australia’s landing charges are quite high. It is equally true that we make only one charge whereas many overseas operators make all sorts of incidental charges which they do not disclose. When the figures of others are drycleaned - and I did this last year in Vienna with some of these people - and finally dragged out of them, they show that some of their combined charges are greater than ours. So the problem is by no means as simple as they say it is. I should like to give one or two examples briefly before I deal with the working group report which is a matter ot interest to all of us. The charge for a Boeing 707 landing or taking off in Sydney will be $575 as from 1st December consequent upon approval of these charges. This is equivalent to 93 per cent of the SydneyNew York economy class fare and 85 per cent of the Sydney-London economy class fare one way. The 5 per cent increase is only a small additional cost item. Without confusing honourable senators, I can say that the net fact is what I said earlier, that the item as such, in the departmental view, will not add in any way in consequence to fares. If anybody seeks fare increases on that basis the application will be looked at very closely because my Department does not see the necessity for it.
The working group committee report flowed from the general attitude which Australia has expressed through the Government and the Treasury that as far as possible the cost of providing this huge infrastructure of civil aviation facilities - and it is huge because, as I said earlier, civil aviation puts Australia in the combined passenger loads in and out of Australia and in the internal domestic scene about sixth largest in the world - be recovered. The growth rate is nearly doubling the passenger load factor about every 6 years. It has required a great deal of money to be invested on the ground - and the Australian people have invested that money on the ground facilities, not the airline operators. The taxpayers McClelland, Cotton and all the others have contributed to this cost. Our policy is to try to recover from the users of these facilities some part of those costs. Our recovery figures as a percentage are improving but we still have a fairly substantial disparity between cur total costs for a year and our total recovery of costs for a year.
We got together a group of the airline operators in Australia, some international airline operators, the Treasury and ourselves to examine the best way in which these costs coul1 be distributed. That work has only just been finalised although the airline operators submitted their views some time ago. The airline operators’ views were quite simple: ‘We should pay a great deal less’. However, the Governments and the Departments concerned have tried to strike a lair balance. I believe that fairly soon we shall come up with what I call a new basis of analysis and separation of costs into various areas. Before Senator Douglas McClelland re-entered the Senate chamber 1 had said that I expect to be able to submit this to the Parliament before the recess and that it will allow everybody, including myself and my Department, from now on to examine costs and cost recovery over what I might call 5 broad areas of operation. This will be very useful, I think. 1 believe the measure should go through. It is part of the Budget revenue raising proposals and therefore is an integral part of the Budget. Equally we shall seek to continue on the path of spending the Australian public’s money wisely and being accountable for it; we shall try to refine the area of accountability so that it is capable of examination. In the final analysis the Australian public should be asked to pay only fares that relate to the true level of costs involved and not to some hypothetical proposition that they are being asked to pay for the costs and that therefore their fares should go up - a proposition which on scrutiny, particularly with international people, is found on many occasions not to be true.
– I wish to say a few words on this measure. I appreciate what the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) has just said. 1 think that one of the problems that many of us have to face in regard to increased air navigation charges is the extent to which these charges in conjunction with other increased costs lead to increases in fares. The Minister said that in themselves they do not necessarily lead to increased costs, but that in conjunction with the various other costs that the airlines have to meet they lead to increased fares. I think that is one point which has to be taken into consideration. I welcome the Minister’s statement that he will prepare what he called a ‘basis of analysis’ that separates the various cost elements in the airlines. I think that information would be very valuable to the Parliament.
I rose really to ask the Minister whether it would be possible at some time to provide the Parliament with information as to the various cost elements involved in charges imposed in overseas countries. The Minister said that certain charges are imposed on airline operators in Australia and that in other countries a number of other charges, some of which are hidden charges, have to be met which overall may be greater than the charges the airline operators have to meet here. It is very difficult for us to have any basis on which to examine and determine exactly what these charges are. I am very conscious of the fact that our present charges per mile and our freight charges per ton mile are among the lowest in the world. Recently 1 beard the allegation made at a meeting that Australian airline fares are the highest in the world. I know of an airline which made a comparison over comparable mile routes in Europe, the United States of America and Asia which proved conclusively that Australian charges are far lower on any equivalent basis. If we were to have a breakdown of the various charges which overseas countries impose on airlines it would certainly be helpful to us and would enable us to come to some conclusion as to the basis of the Australian airline charges. I rose really to ask the Minister whether it would be possible to have such information.
– I will try to obtain that information. I do not have it at my disposal. It would require a bit of searching around to obtain it. It would necessitate a couple of our air attaches overseas having to ask a few questions. I will certainly get that information together for the honourable senator, although it will take some time to do so. Such things as passenger service charges and what are called fuel throughput gauge charges and so on would have to be taken into consideration. What Senator Sim said about comparative fares is true. People do make such accusations. An analysis of the situation will reveal that a lot of the fares charged in this country are very reasonable indeed compared to those charged in other countries. That is not true unilaterally, but it is true in certain areas. In some areas a bit of an examination would be necessary. The structure could stand on its own but it would be necessary to look at it later and see whether it was in full balance. That would be a matter for a later determination, particularly when one gets into the more refined area of a cost analysis over, say, 5 areas of the system.
I wish to make only one further comment. It will be of no value to the debate, but I wish to make it as a very interested group is present in this chamber. One of the problems of recovering costs in this country from the users of a huge infrastructure system is the constitutional bar. There are problems involved in getting them from the actual person who buys the ticket because of the constitutional barrier. I repeat that I will obtain the information sought by Senator Sim.
– I was very pleased to hear the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) give an assurance as to the emphasis which is being placed by the Department of Civil Aviation on the subject of passenger fares. The general public is looking to the Department to protect its interests. I think all honourable senators realise how increased airline charges can escalate right throughout the cost structure in the community. I noticed on looking through the estimates for the Department of Civil Aviation that it has to pay a large amount for meteorological services. I was quite surprised to note that the Departments has to pay more for meteorological services than for maintenance and the like. I appreciate the nature of the meteorological information provided. I remember only too well wondering in my youth when working out my triangular velocities how long meteorological information tested. One could work out one’s course and find out before one took off that one was working on a completely brummy set of information because there had been a change in such a short period of time.
– It still happens.
– That is right. I would like to know on what the Bureau of Meteorology bases its charges and whether there is any flow on from the Department of Civil Aviation of the information supplied. I do not know the full extent of the activities of the Bureau of Meteorology, but I do know that it provides services for the news media, shipping and many other avenues. The expense borne by the Department of Civil Aviation for meteorological services seems to be very large. It appears to rank highly in the expenditure involved in the administration of the Department. Could the Minister give me any basic information on how the meteorological costs are worked out and whether the Department gets full value for its money. I know that it gets all the information which is available and that the extent of this information is improving all the time, but why does it cost so much?
– I wish to raise a point with the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) concerning the subject raised by Senator O’Byrne. Over a period of time I asked the Minister’s predecessors about the possibility of the Department of Civil Aviation providing its own meteorological services in the aviation field. I did so because of the complaint by many airline captains about the poor quality of the meteorological services provided. At that time I was interested mainly in the situation in the north west of Western Australia, where considerable delays were being occasioned by poor meteorological reports. I have also had complaints from airline captains who travel throughout the airline network of Australia as to the quality of the reports they have received causing delays and all sorts of problems. In view of the growth of aviation in Australia, has the Department given consideration to the providing of its own meteorological services? What is the Department’s view of the wisdom of doing so? Has the Department made a comparison between what it would cost to provide such a service and the cost of the present service?
– Senator O’Byrne was correct in what he said. I think the body of the Parliament has a general public concern that we have a safe, efficient, convenient, uptodate and well maintained form of aviation in Australia and that the fare structure is kept within reasonable bounds of the Australian public’s ability to pay for a service which it is demanding in ever increasing quantities. That is a view which is shared very substantially by myself and the Department of Civil Aviation. The provision of meteorology services is a fairly expensive operation. These services cost in the order of $6m a year. When one is directing one’s attention to trying to reduce costs in a large department one always looks at these sorts of items. But it has to be borne in mind that it is a most extensive service that the Department of Civil Aviation asks for and gets. It is a very extensive service for a number of reasons. There are something like 700 aerodromes in Australia and its territories that the Department has to look after, service, maintain and be responsible for.
Australia has a huge area for which it is responsible under International Civil Aviation Organisation arrangements. Its area extends well out over the Indian Ocean. I think it goes nearly half way. It goes to the equator in the north, nearly to the South Pole and well out into the Pacific towards Fiji. That is Australia’s area of responsibility to everybody who is involved in air safety and considerations of this nature. Therefore our meteorological services are a matter of great significance to us. The fact that faster aircraft are coming into operation means that more information over a longer range is required and it is required much more quickly. We have to meet the cost of the providing of this information by the Bureau of Meteorology. Honourable senators can rest assured that the Department of Civil Aviation is continually trying to get its costs down. The arrangement is one in which the share of these costs is agreed to by the Department of Civil Aviation and the Department of the Interior, which is responsible for the Bureau of Meteorology, and checked by the Department of the Treasury. The agreement is renewed quite regularly - sometimes every 18 months. It does contain within it some money to keep what I call an international meteorological link at work. I have in mind North Atlantic and
North Pacific surveillance work, international meteorological work, satellite examination and those sorts of things.
asked whether the Department has thought about providing its own aviation meteorological services. That is something which the Department would have examined previously and which it would still be examining. It has looked to the Department so far as if the best way to handle the service has been to share in a joint service, which is what we now do because by combining our resources in a meteorological sense we can get a better result for us all. That is the view which is held. But, with this sort of growth in the business, these matters are always under review. I can speak about this matter only favourably from my own experience in the meteorological world when I was involved in flying. All I can say is that, when I attempted to do any meteorological forecasting on cold fronts and so on, I was notably inaccurate.
– I will be very brief. I appreciate what the Minister said in reply to the point I raised earlier. I have had the pleasure of reading his second reading speech, and I note that in that speech he pointed out that the last increases in air navigation charges occurred in January 1971, that there were no increases last year and that, because of rising costs and the necessity for finance for development, it was necessary to impose what I think he referred to as a gradual increase of 5 per cent in this year’s Budget. Let me say, as Senator O’Byrne said, that the Opposition supports that contention.
I also support and welcome the Minister’s statement that every attempt will be made to keep the fare structure down for the ordinary Australian traveller. But, taking all those matters into account, I understand that the International Airlines Committee asked that the Minister, in assessing the additional charges that might have to be fixed under this type of legislation, take into consideration ‘extraneous matters such as certain economic aspects of the industry at a particular time’. I think the Minister pointed out that under the Air Navigation (Charges) Act it was impossible to take that sort of thing into consideration. On 23rd August last, the Chairman of the International Airlines Committee wrote to the Director-General of Civil Aviation. Again I emphasise that I am not interested in the International Airlines Committee; I am interested in the fare structureapplying to the ordinary Australian traveller. The Chairman of the Committee said:
We assume, however, you would agree that the Department would have regard to this aspect– namely, the aspect of taking extraneous matters, such as the economic state of the industry, into consideration - in assessing the increase of 5 per cent announced by the Treasurer in the 1972-73 Budget on 15th August. That you did not do so indicates the apparent unconcern of the Department with- andI emphasise, this matter -
The inability, of our members to recover the increase by tariff increases- and I take it that ‘tariff increases’ means fare increases - until 1st April 1973 in the same manner as the higher increase on 1st August 1972.
Do I take it from that paragraph in the letter written by the Chairman of the International Airlines Committee to the Director-General of Civil-Aviation that agreement has been reached that as from 1 st April 1973, as a result of these increased charges that are being imposed under the Air Navigation (Charges) Act, there will be an increase in the fare structure, ipso facto, to the Australian travelling public?
– Certainly there has been no agreement by me or, on the information that has been forwarded to me by the Department, by the Director-General of Civil Aviation. I am quite well aware that the international airline lobby exerts great pressure. Equally, I understand what Senator Douglas McClelland has said, and I agree with his attitude. He is concerned about the Australian people, and so am I. There was one year when we did not impose any increase in air navigation charges. After taking all the factors into account, this year we decided to impose a more modest increase and we came up with a 5 per cent increase. I think that that is a fair indication of what wehave tried to do.
As far as I am concerned, there is no implicit understanding anywhere that anyone will get a fare increase. No-one should read into any communication which some character has written to somebody that that is the case. As one goes through these papers, I think that once again one sees the responsible attitude adopted by this Department. The area which last year was in more difficult circumstances than any other was the general aviation area, and we have imposed practically no increased charges in that area for a period. So, we do try to strike a balance in the public interest. If some particular group, which has a particular interest of its own to serve, does not think that that is the case, in the end the Australian Parliament has to decide who will serve the Australian public interest - the international airline operators or the Department of Civil Aviation.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a third time.
– I move:
I am sorry that I did not give the Senate more notice of this motion; but, at the ringing of the bells at a quarter past 4 to call the Senate into session, the Chairman of Estimates Committee B indicated to me that he thought that if that Committee had a little more time it would be able to complete its hearings today. As the officers of the Postmaster-General’s Department are present in Parliament House, I think that the sitting of the Senate should be suspended to enable Estimates Committee B to conclude its hearings. I have spoken to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Willesee) and to the Deputy Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party (Senator McManus), and they are in agreement with this proposal.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 5.2 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from 28 September (vide page 1324), on motion by Senator Wright:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– 1 move the following amendment to the motion that the States Grants (Schools) Bill be read a second time:
At end of motion add: ‘, but the Senate, while not refusing a second reading to the Bill, is of the opinion that it should provide for the establishment of an Australian schools commission to examine and determine the needs of students in government and non-government primary, secondary and technical schools, and recommend grants which the Commonwealth should make to the States to assist in meeting the requirements of all school age children on the basis of needs and priorities and that the application of this policy could not allow the continued acceptance of the provisions of the Bill and that therefore grants should not be made on the basis provided in the Bill in respect of any year after 1973’.
Quite a large number of Bills dealing with school aid have been before the Senate over the past months. At this stage to go into too great detail on the fundamental differences between the policy of the Government and of the Australian Labor Party would possibly be almost indulging in tedious repetition. At this late stage of the sittings of this Parliament 1 doubt whether any very useful purpose would be served by any of us canvassing our respective views on this matter. However, there are some observations which I shall make in support of the amendment which I have just moved on behalf of the Australian Labor Party. The first observation is that the Opposition takes the strongest exception to the manner in which the Government has presented these proposals for continuing school aid for the next 5 years. It is quite improper and in fact an affront to the democratic system that a Government, on the eve of vacating office, should attempt to bind the hand of its successor for its first 4 years m government.
In the past it has not been felt necessary to make provision of this kind, yet on this occasion the Government has entered into commitments. For the moment I will not discuss whether those commitments should have been entered into but these commit ments purport to bind the Commonwealth Government and Parliament for 5 years. This is being done on the eve of a federal election in a manner similar to the agreement which was entered into between this Government and Ansett Airlines of Australia. That agreement will bind a federal Labor government when it is elected at the end of this year to actions which probably it would not have taken had the legislation not been passed at that stage. Having said that I. think it will probably suffice for me to say once again - as has been said repeatedly over past years and during this year of 1972 - that the Australian Labor Party does not believe that aid to schools, whether they be state or private schools, should be granted on the hit and miss basis which is envisaged by the Bill which we now have before us.
– On what basis?
– Hit and miss. That is an old Anglo-Saxon expression which possibly has reached Tasmania by now. We do not believe that schools such as the Geelong Grammar School should receive aid according to precisely the same formula as do the many poverty stricken schools of Australia. Yet this is precisely what is being done by the Bill which we have before us. Not only does this Bill do that in the name of a Government which supports inequality in education but also it tends to bind a future government - a government from a Party which believes in equality of education - to carry out the policies of this Government. What the Government intends to do after it has been defeated is preserve the class interests which it represents as if it were still in office. This is not the only instance when it had done this but this is a glaring instance which is before us at the present time.
We have often said - and I say it again now - that the contending claims of education throughout Australia, the contending claims of the various States, the contending claims within the private sector and State sector are such that they should not be in the hands of the Government which hands out the money holus bolus to all as if all schools, all systems and all States were in precisely the same position. They are not. There are poverty stricken schools in all States - more in some States than in others. There are rich schools in all States and there are poor schools within the State sector and within the private sector. There are some very poor schools within the private sector and some very rich schools within the private sector. In fact, most of the very rich schools are in the private sector, with fewer in the State sector. Yet this Bill indicates that the Government wishes to approach this matter as if all schools were in exactly the same position. They are not.
The only way that the contending needs of the varying systems, States and schools can be met is by an impartial arbitrary body looking at the needs and problems of these respective schools, systems and States, lt is the Australian Labor Party’s policy that there should be an Australian schools commission which will not consist of delegates or representatives of the various institutions and persons interested in education but a commission which will be impartial and which will, as far as possible, tend to represent the public interest before the various branches of the education system. The differing elements within the private and State systems may make representations and the schools commission may investigate the needs of the whole of Australian education and particular schools and systems. We believe that this is a consistent approach which ought to be applied to the whole of our education policy. There should be not only an Australian schools commission but also there should be an Australian pre-schools commission in the same way as the present Government, as a result of the report of the Murray Committee, established the Australian Universities Commission. We believe that if this system can work in relation to the Australian Universities Commission it can also work with pre-school, primary and secondary schools. We believe it is essential that this commission should be established. For that reason I have moved the amendment which is now before the Senate.
We do not believe that the undertakings expressed by this Government in this Bill should be binding on any future government. We do not believe that we should be bound for 5 years and therefore we say that the provisions of this Bill should not continue in respect of any year after 1973. This gives one more year after the election for adjustments to be made within the respective schools and systems and for the Australian schools commission to be established. We believe that from now on the needs of schools should be dealt with by the commission which we propose to establish. For that reason I commend the amendment to the Senate.
– I commend the States Grants (Schools) Bill 1972 and oppose the amendment. I find it extremely difficult to reconcile arguments which I have heard repeatedly over the past year from the Opposition in this chamber that this Government should take heed of the needs survey of the schools in Australia and should set about implementing it. This survey is a 5-year programme and, incidentally, it includes a programme urging that money should be made available by the Commonwealth Government for capital building programmes in relation to schools. Let me say to Senator Wheeldon that month after month in the past year members of the Opposition here and on platforms - even sharing platforms with me in recent days - have advocated the very thing that Senator Wheeldon is now rejecting. They have advocated that the Government should come forward with a 5-year programme, which is inherent in the needs survey. What is now clear is that the Opposition is taking the stand that the idea of forward planning, as put forward in the needs survey, should be rejected. That is inherent in the Opposition amendment. It is an undermining of that programme. Anyone who has looked at this matter knows that the programme foreshadowed in May this year, whereby some $167m of capital funds is to be made available over 5 years to the State school system, was historical and was a major breakthrough.
I refer to the document that until 5 minutes ago the Opposition found merit in; that is the document relating to the needs survey for schools in Australia. It was foreshadowed in that document that in 1970 there would be a need for $l,443m of extra funds over 5 years on the basis that the States would be able to increase their education budgets by 10 per cent. On all platforms that I have shared with members of the Opposition they have said that they fully support that document. In that document is to be found the main advocacy for precisely what this Government is now doing, that is, that capital funds in considerable amounts should be made available over a 5-year period to the States for the building of State shools. The money would not be made available through an Australian schools commission which hides in some centralised bureacracy in Canberra.
Let me make it clear that if the needs survey is the test, what we are doing is precisely what that survey said should be done. Two other amounts should be added to that sum. 1 refer to an amount of $20m which was made available for capital grants for schools in December, making a total of $187m, and this year part of an amount of $250m of capital funds, interest free, which was made available to the States for general works purposes over and above the loan works programme. This in fact is in addition to $21 Sm made available last year and of which a considerable amount, perhaps 25 per cent at least, would bc made available to the States for State schools, of their own choosing. So we have $187m earmarked specially for State schools over a period of 5 years. In parallel, if the $2 J 8m and the $2 1 5m run, we wil have on average something like a further S250m to $300m available for schools as part of that programme. So there is a huge amount, probably of the order of $300m or $400m in this 5-year period, made available for the building of State schools. That will be on top of the State schools programme and on top of the public works programme. It is directly in line with the needs survey and directly in line wilh the document that, until a few moments ago, the Australian Labor Party purported to support and has now rejected.
Having said that, and having said that by granting this amount the Government not only has done of its own initiative an historic thing but has done what all the education authorities in Australia had asked for and which the Australian Labor Party now rejects. The Labor Party stand, tonight as the only one in the regiment in step. Every education authority, joining together in the needs survey for Australia, has asked for this to be done. Time and again there have been, pleas for money to be made available for the rebuilding of schools, particularly in the inner city areas. I commend the suggestion for help in the deprived schools sector, in particular primary schools and the infants departments of primary schools which have been somewhat neglected because the sunlight has been on the secondary schools. Th: Commonwealth Government has taken an historic step forward and the Labor P,arty has rejected the proposition; ls has done more than that; it has done in a veiled way what it did in a naked way in March when it sought, by way of amendment in this chamber, to stop the increase in per capita revenue grants to independent schools. The effect of what the Labor Party has attempted to do in this place is te say: ‘Do not plan any further than a few months ahead. Do not think that you can go ahead with a capital works survey. By this amendment we will allow this to be done only up to 1973 and after that it is cut out’. This is the destruction of the principle of the needs test.
When members of the Labor Party solemnly vote for this amendment tonight they will be doing the reverse of what the people who conducted the needs survey and what ail education authorities in Australia on the State level have banded together to seek. How can an Opposition seeking to gain the treasury bench have the effrontery to come here and say that it is wrong to bring forward a 5-year capital works programme?
– Based on a needs test.
– That is right. How can the Opposition say that it is wrong and that it ought to be only on n 1-year basis? Members of the Opposition must know that the very essence of major works planning is that it be for a long period. They must know that there is a need for a survey of requirements, a need for the initial procurement of land, a need to prepare architects’ plans and consideration of the cost before a building can be erected. The very essence of this matter, the very thing that the Labor Party of other days pleaded for, is long range planning. The very essence of this thing is that there must be long range planning, yet that is what the Labor Party wants to destroy tonight.
I mentioned the needs survey which called for expenditure amounting to $l,443m. Having said that it was based on a 10 per cent increase in education and on the idea that the reimbursement grants would increase by a factor of 10 per cent, I point out that the reimbursement grants have increased by 18 per cent, 19 per cent, 20 per cent. Literally hundred of millions of dollars have gone to the Stales in extra funds to help the financing of the States education systems. The recasting of the Commonwealth tax reimbursement funds and the granting to the States of payroll tax - the States having put up the rate of payroll tax - have meant that the States have greatly increased their financial ability. Standing alongside this amount of $167m is not only the general capital grant but also the other major step in capital and revenue grants which this Government has recently taken, building not for a year ahead but for years ahead. The Government has taken historic action in deciding that all teachers colleges in Australia, including preschool teachers colleges if of the correct standard, shall be funded as colleges of advanced education and therefore shall attract $1 for SI in capital works and SI for $1.85 in capital revenue. That alone over 5 years will add another $150m to $200m inside this so called needs survey. No, indeed.
This is part of the overall programme that the education authorities have set out. Firstly, there is the need for capital funds over a long period which must be provided in a massive way for planning and to do the things that arc important. I refer to the regeneration of the inner city and the regeneration of old buildings.
Is anybody here going to say that the New South Wales State Government shall not have the right to plan ahead to have the Kogarah High School rebuilt? That is a high school which under a Labor government degenerated into one of the poorest, most badly equipped high schools in Australia. Are honourable senators opposite to say in moving this amendment: ‘We will not allow you to plan ahead as a State government. You can plan for one year only’? In moving this amendment honourable senators opposite say, in effect: ‘We reject the idea that State governments shall have sovereignty over primary and secondary education. We reject the right of State governments to decide what they shall do with their capital and revenue grants in the building, renovation, remodelling and siting of schools. We will not allow State governments to do this in future. As the Commonwealth Government, we will have the power of our funds and the power of section 96 of the Constitution to establish in Canberra a body - a bureaucratic institution, a monolithic public service - that will decide the needs of every State and independent school in Australia’. That body will sit in Canberra. If you will pardon my saying so, Mr Acting Deputy President, it will decide whether the lavatory at a school in Bunbury should be repainted.
This is the concept that is being put forward: The States shall have their sovereignty over education revoked. It is inherent in this amendment that this shall be so. It is fair to say that each of the education bodies in Australia, certainly those in my State, such as the Australian Teachers Federation, the parents and citizens associations and all education bodies that have ever approached me as a delegation have emphasised that they support State sovereignty in education. They have asked that the Commonwealth should make money available for the States to carry out their due and proper processes. So the idea of an Australian schools commission is fundamentally opposed to the ideas that have been propounded by the education bodies both in the needs survey and in the philosophy of control. So we are to have a situation that is quite intolerable. By the power which Mr Whitlam foreshadowed in his Fabian lectures in July of this year and the, power of section 96 of the Constitution, a Labor government will take over the central functions now run by the States which include education, hospitals and other services. If Senator O’Byrne who is trying to interject believes that the States should disappear as his platform says they shall, let him stand up and say so. Let me say this: I hope that every Tasmanian elector will read this edition of Hansard. The Tasmanian people should realise that the Labor Party’s intention is the destruction of the Tasmanian State Government system and to run Tasmania from Canberra - let honourable senators opposite deny this - without a Senate to act as a brake. That is what is contained in the honourable senator’s platform. The intention is to have 5 federal representatives in a House consisting of 124 representatives. Tasmania will be drowned out by the big States. Let Senator O’Byrne go to Tasmania and say what he is saying tonight by way of interjection, that he is in favour of the destruction not only of the Reece Government - as many of us would be - but also of the whole Tasmanian Government system. Let him say that he is in favour of the destruction of the Senate although he will draw its pay until it disappears. Let him say that he is prepared for Tasmania’s voice to be swamped and to have only 5 representatives out of 124.
– If I said that they would say that I sounded like Carrick.
– Yes. It is a very historic and a very attractive place in Tasmania as acknowledged in the Tasmanian Parliament when it sought to preserve it. I fully understand the position. The interjection by inference proved that what I have said is right. Having said that, I now come back to the Fabian lectures. Mr Whitlam in his Fabian lectures of July said this: ‘It is not true as some people say that if a Labor government came to power there would not be any rapid or serious changes - that there would be just Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Do not let anyone believe that the Constitution prevents us from nationalising. That is not true’. He went on to say that if section 92 of the Constitution is the charter for free enterprise, section 96 shall be the charter for public enterprise. They were his words. Incidentally, he went on to say a very important thing for every Australian: That nationalisation in the traditional sense of nationalisation in the first term of a Labor government shall be done through the nationalisation of the health benefit systems in this country.
– I rise to order. I ask for your guidance, Mr Deputy President. Will I, as the next speaker, be given the same range of discussion as Senator Carrick? If so, his remarks are quite all right with me, but I would like to know in advance.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- There is no substance in the point of order.
– Let me say to Senator Mulvihill that he has my full blessing every time he talks to generalise completely and range over the whole spectrum of politics, irrespective of the subject. I was talking about socialisation, nationalisation and, specifically, of the amendment before us. As I said, it refers to the establishment of an Australian schools commission, centralised in Canberra, which shall nationalise all schools in Australia. I remind honourable senators that the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Whitlam, has recently gone on record as saying that nobody should feel that a Commonwealth government could not nationalise. When I spell out to honourable senators opposite what he said about nationalisation it hurts. I have established this quite clearly because no honourable senator has denied it. I invite honourable senators opposite to deny that the intention is for the existing sovereignty of the States over primary and secondary education to be destroyed and vested in the Commonwealth through an Australian schools commission. The volume of silence represents acquiescence. I ask again: Is it the intention of the Australian Labor Party to take away the sovereignty of the primary and secondary schools as vested in the States and vest it in one single national institution controlled by the Commonwealth Parliament and by the Australian Labor Party? Opposition senators answer yes. I have asked the question twice. Is the answer yes or no? The answer is clearly yes.
I say this to Opposition senators who are interjecting: If the natives are becoming restless now, let me make it perfectly clear that Senator O’Byrne, step by step as the Opposition Whip, admitted that he and his Party stood for a takeover by Canberra of this function and of ali State government functions. We do not have to go any further because the platform of the Australian Labor Party says that. The amendment itself states that this Australian schools commission shall determine the needs of students in government and nongovernment primary, secondary and technical schools and recommend grants which the Commonwealth should make to the Stales. In another place, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) has said: ‘Do not let anyone think that we shall not look at individual schools’. He said further: ‘An Australian schools commission will look at each one of the 10,000 schools in this country’. Indeed, Mr Barnard has said that a Labor government would centralise education.
This amendment goes against the recommendations of all education authorities in Australia and against the views expressed by education bodies as reflected in the needs survey. It cuts across the idea of a 5-year programme, a 5-year capital grants programme and long range planning. Not only does it cut across those things but also does it cut across the concept of the sovereignty of the States and the belief that there should be decentralisation and diversification in education. Through its amendment, the Labor Party says: ‘We will stop all of those concepts. We will not allow planning. We will allow what this legislation proposes to continue until 1973. We will set up in Canberra one single bureaucratic body that shall decide both streams of education.’ That, in anybody’s language, is the nationalisation of education. If it is not, let members of the Opposition rise to their feet and say so.
Inevitably, this legislation must be considered in parallel with the related Bill dealing with independent schools. Inherent in this proposal is the setting up of a schools commission which will decide the needs of independent schools as well as state schools. We must realise that, if a bureaucratic commission is set up to decide these things, that commission shall decide which school shall have and which school shall have not. In exercising the power to decide that, it will decide which school shall flourish and which school shall die. That the Labor Party is split down the middle is notorious in its support and opposition to State aid. It is notorious that that is so. It would be patently more honest if those who oppose State aid stood up and said so instead of trying to kill it by these devious means.
– The honourable senator has been completely dishonest tonight.
– I have invited members of the Opposition to tell me where I am wrong. The greatest silence wa-. i’->ai of Senator Milliner.
– The honourable sen ^ alway» inviting, but he does not stay for punishment. He runs away.
– I am here. I am on my feet. I now invite the Opposition once again to answer this. Is this amendment and are its policies consistent with its policy to centralise the control of education in the Commonwealth Parliament and to remove from the State Parliaments their sovereignty over primary and secondary education? As I have been accused of running away, I shall listen very attentively on this-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! Senator Carrick, you make the duties and responsibilities of the person occupying the Chair to enforce the Standing Orders somewhat difficult when you invite interjections. All interjections are disorderly.
- Mr Deputy President, without intending to be disrespectful, if that is so and if speaking through you I try to seek a response from the Opposition, and if I do this in a lawful way according to the Standing Orders, and I am rebuked for doing that, all my reading of the history of Parliament and of the tradition of this chamber is as nothing. Sir, I put it to you - and I seek your ruling on this - that 1 have behaved in an impeccable manner and in an entirely parliamentary manner. Through you, I have addressed this chamber. 1 have refrained from making direct response to interjections and I invite you to uphold that claim. If there has been any interjection - if it has occurred - that, with great respect, is your responsibility, Mr Deputy President.
– A point of order!
– My responsibility is to put with all the force that I can the views that I hold.
– I have risen to a point of order.
– If that hurts the Opposition, that is in the very best traditions of Parliament and I invite your ruling
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! A point of order is being taken.
– My point of order is that Senator Carrick is not speaking to the Bill but is reflecting on your chairmanship. I suggest that you instruct him to cease reflecting on your chairmanship and to refer to the subject matter of the Bill,
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! I see no basis for the point of order. I understand the position. I invite Senator Carrick to resume.
– At the risk of repeating what I have said, I would invite you later, Sir, to reflect upon what I have said and to rule whether or not in fact my conduct tonight has been strictly within the rules of good parliamentary practice. I say to you that it is a heavy charge to do so because if this chamber is to become an infants school debating society-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! I suggest that you continue with your speech.
– I have said, and I repeat, that this is an historic piece of legislation. It will do an enormous amount for the construction of schools. As it has been thought that I should be rebuked perhaps those whom I am not to take notice of, but who are seeking now to interject, should be invited into the kind of silence that their interjections merit. If you wish me to address the Chair, Mr Deputy President, may I have some kind of order from members of the Opposition?
Senator Wright - The honourable senator is better when they are interjecting.
– I enjoy it. But if you rebuke, Mr Deputy President, I must respond. This historic legislation will do what the needs survey and the educationists asked to be done. It will do that and more. It will be reinforced by the general capital grants. It will be reinforced by the colleges of advanced education taking over the role of teachers colleges. With the increased reimbursements and the payroll tax, it will do much if not all to implement over 5 years the recommendations of the needs survey. That is the basis of my argument.
Educationists through Australia have asked us to bring down a 5-year plan. We have done so. It is at least of the dimensions that have been sought. The Labor Party has rejected those provisions tonight. So, tonight, the Labor Party stands alone and removed from the educationists of Australia. It stands to cut the programme that we have laid down. It stands rejecting all good sense in respect of long term programming. It stands also to centralise in
Canberra control over individual, state and independent schools. It stands, therefore, to destroy the sovereignty of the States in education. That has not been denied. It stands to destroy the dual system of education. If the 2 reins of the dual system of education are held in the fingers the power to discriminate is grasped. The power to destroy is held.
The Opposition through its Leader says to the people of Australia that its test of which schools shall obtain aid and which will not is this: A school which charges $300 or more in fees shall receive no aid. The matter should be tested in this way. This is the test of the Opposition. It is accepted throughout Australia that the average cost of maintaining a student in a state high school is $600 a year. What the Opposition is saying is this: ‘We will force students in independent schools to be at least and no more than half citizens. We will throttle them back to half citizens. They will not get a penny if the fees exceed $300. Of course, the schools may lower their fees and obtain up to $300’. The policy of the Labor Party is to make every independent school student a 50 per cent student and an inferior student. The policy is to centralise, to standardise, to rationalise and to nationalise. That is spelled out in the amendment.
The assistance provided by the Commonwealth by these capital grants is a magnificent step forward. I believe that the grant will do much, particularly in the inner city areas and particularly for the primary schools and the older schools, ft will do a geat deal towards implementing the needs survey. I believe that those who should decide what schools shall be built - those to whom the founding fathers of Australia gave the power to decide - are the sovereign States. The test of how this money shall be spent will be by the Commonwealth giving it to the States as we do, and allowing the States to make the value judgment of what schools shall get it. By the rejection of that principle and by the statement of Senator Wheeldon, the Opposition is cutting across the whole principle of State sovereignty and is bringing forward a blueprint for the nationalisation of education - a blueprint which the people of Australia, if they understood it, would reject wholesale.
– My colleague Senator Wheeldon put the viewpoint of the Opposition in a very temperate fashion. The essence of his remarks revolved around the basis of need. Whatever the outcome of the election in December - it will not matter which party is in office after then - the Government will have to balance health, education, defence and many other issues. Whether it be a Liberal-Country Party government or a Labor government, it will have to cut the cake in a fair way. The position is as simple as that. Normally I would nol have entered into a debate on education but so many people, including Senator Carrick, have been putting themselves forward as the complete repositories of educational knowledge. It makes one feci that the time to get down to realities is overdue. My assessment of the Labor Party’s policy has been based largely upon the development of the education system in the central western suburbs of Sydney.
I turn to the opening remarks of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) in his second reading speech. In referring to gov.ernment and non-government schools he said:
It is the Commonwealth’s hope that the States will join it in basing assistance with running costs of non-government schools.
He went on to deal with the role of government schools. He cannot have it both ways. If State budgets are limited to handouts from Canberra, it is obvious that any outbursts of generosity by way of aid at the Commonwealth level could result in the States, in view of the ever-increasing demands at the State Budget level, finding themselves unable to go in tandem with the Commonwealth. But whether they do or do not. the Government cannot escape the fact that in 5 years hence, whatever amount it allocates for education, it is doubtful whether the States will be able to match it.
On one occasion during the past 6 weeks I sat with the Prime Minister, the right honourable William McMahon, at the opening of additions to a parochial school - St Ma.Vs. Concord. On another occasion I was with the future Prime Minister, Mr Gough Whitlam, on a visit to the de la Salle college at Ashfield. About 45 per cent of the pupils at the latter school are of migrant stock. Some would be very brilliant; others would have difficulties. I am dealing now with independent schools. The problems at those 2 schools would be compounded far more than would be the problem possibly at Riverview college. When I sat down on the rostrum with the Prime Minister at St Mary’s, Concord, I looked at the people who were providing most of the money. To quote a United States trade unionist, Samuel Gompers, who was a private enterpriser like Senator Carrick, they wanted more. Everybody wants more. That is the objective, but how does one find a formula of equitable distribution?
I have claimed all along that there is no difference between people in the lower income groups who are sending children to independent schools at Ashfield and Burwood, and their fathers and their fathers before them. They are still fitters, boilermakers, gas workers and people like that. Senator Carrick can talk until he is blue in the face, lt is very nice to say: ‘One for us and 2 for you’. Of course people can choose to send their children to Barker college, Riverview college, Geelong college or any of the high tone colleges. We do not object to that. Surely Senator Carrick realises as well as I do that everybody does not get the same break. If somebody has the good fortune to become a young executive at 25, at 35 he is in a good position to send his children to the higher class schools. The position is as simple as that. Therefore the money that is made available must be distributed so that it gives justice to the poorer people who do not get the opportunity that the wealthy people get.
Recently we had given to us a schedule showing the recipients of Commonwealth scholarships and the higher echelon of schools. Senator Carrick and I know that it does not matter whether a person comes from the Kogarah public school, from the Christian Brothers college at Burwood or from the de la Salle college at Ashfield. Senator Carrick knows the situation. We have hammered that these. He talked about an egalitarian society and laced it up with the term ‘private enterprise system’. Those of us who left school from 1936 on did not get much of an opportunity. The honourable senator had the opportunity to go to a university. I am not putting on inverted class consciousness. The term ‘private enterprise’ or the term ‘Canberra bureaucracy’ does not mean a thing to parents whose children attend some of the schools which I have mentioned.
The honourable senator spoke about standing up and being counted and about the Canberra bureaucracy. I throw a challenge to him. For the past 4 weeks he and I have been attending estimate committee meetings. Top public servants from Canberra have testified before the committees. I have looked at them. Whether their eyes were blue or brown, they were still the same Australians as those who came from Sydney, Perth or Adelaide. To me, it was a mean and contemptible thing for him to smear the Commonwealth Public Service. He implied that every public servant is a Marxist in disguise. I think that was petty. I look at the Minister’s advisers. I know that after December we will get from them the same loyalty that the Government is getting now. They are not in a position to defend themselves. The honourable senator spoke as though it is some gigantic plot - Big Brother, Orwell and all this sort of rubbish.
He knows as well as 1 or anybody else knows that there are checks and balances under the federal system. We should not have to let things drift on for 5 or 10 years until maybe 3 months before an election. I could quote a celebrated term used by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prime Minister would get the message, and the Government would start to move. It is a pretty poor price to pay. I have never run from a dispute, whether it be in the trade union movement or in the education field. As Senator Kane would know, I have attended many discussions on education. No matter what the Government has done or what we would do, I do not doubt that the parents and citizens associations, whether they be at the Homebush High School or the de la Salle college at Ashfield, will make demands. They will want more. Whatever form of taxation is used - whether it be the Government’s form or our form - there will be some justification for it.
Where I differ from the honourable senator is that I will be hanged if I will allow schools with massive swimming pool complexes to get the same as do less fortunate schools. To put it in Sydney language, that those on the north side should get the same as those in the middle western suburbs or in the outer districts. If everyone under a private enterprise system - that was the honourable senator’s term - gets an equal opportunity, at a certain stage subsidies should end. The Government applies a means test system in all of its rural ideas. We say that some of it is misplaced. Surely there has to be a line of demarcation. Whether the children attend Kogarah High school or the Christian Brothers high school at Burwood, their parents are in the same lower and middle income groups and they do not get the little fringe benefits. Their parents live by their hands or their brains. Schools such as Shore Grammar, Riverview or even St Josephs get big bequests from wealthy old boys. Such feed backs are a tremendous help to the schools. In fact many of these schools will say: ‘We have this - in fact we have almost reached the millenium’. Both the honourable senator and I know that this is so. To all this talk about education I am very functional in my approach; I say simply that a Labor government or the present Government cannot promise the world; the cake must be cut up, and with all due respect to education we believe, as my Queensland colleague Senator McAuliffe has argued, in the health of the young people. Not enough is done about physical education and no matter what happens after the election in December, more money must be spent to make this a healthier nation. In doing so perhaps some of what educationists want will have to be deferred. Whether it be for physical or for the broad spectrum of education the Labor Party will make no apologies for how the money should be spent.
When the honourable senator raises a stupid argument about toilets I ask whether he honestly means that no government could work unless it consulted with other governments, State and Commonwealth. When this Government expanded its policy to meet the middle echelon education demands, the Government did not give the States, as Senator Carrick knows, a blank cheque for what they wanted. If Senator Carrick is sincere, then every time Sir Robert Askin comes to Canberra and says he wants $Xm, Senator Carrick should say ‘Give it to the bastard”. That is the word the Premier used, it is not my word, although 1 am using it. I apologise for it. But the Premier of New South Wales used that vile word. I do not like using it, but he used it, and he is Senator Carrick’s friend.
I am drawing the analogy of this formula that should be applied to every Premier, whether Labor or Liberal, who comes to Canberra. The Commonwealth must make some approach to them and equate their demands. My colleague Senator Wheeldon in very temperate fashion has pointed this out. Senator Carrick is always talking about class hatred and divisions. Many of us did not get the lovely opportunities he got when he was a teenager. Indeed it is amazing that some of us still believe in democracy. In fact, we believe in a fair crack of the whip which is more than Senator Carrick will ever give us.
– Would you like to compare notes?
– We have never had it. When my father was working his guts out shovelling coal in the Mortlake gas works 1 would like to know how Senator Carrick’s father was getting it. I am sure he was getting it a lot easier than mine was. I make no apology for my militancy, but I know the likes of some Government senators who would love to see me still in the railways and would deny us parliamentary representation. I know you. Senator Carrick, for the fascist you are. Do not run away from it, Senator Carrick, you have asked for it and you are getting it, and I am sick of intolerance. On the bigotry angle, Mr Deputy President, to give you a petty idea of what our Prime Minister-
Senator Carrrick - I rise on a point of order though I am not easily roused. At every stage when I was speaking I at least addressed the Chair and at least I made no personal attacks at all. The whole of Senator Mulvihill’s speech- (Opposition Senator’s interjecting)
– If any Opposition senator can show that I made any personal observation about him, then I will stand on my feet and apologise.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Are you taking a point of order?
– Yes, I am Inviting your attention to the fact that if the points which were directed against me are so applied, then at the end of Senator Mulvihill’s speech I shall seek to make a personal explanation.
– Speaking to the point of order, Mr Deputy President, obviously no standing order has been offended against. Senator Mulvihill is dealing vigorously with a situation which was invited by Senator Carrick. There is no point of order involved. There is a point of personal crying on your shoulder, I agree. But if Senator Carrick likes to speak in this manner he should at least concede Senator Mulvihill the right to reply to him.
– Speaking to the point of order, I distinctly heard a comment about Senator Carrick by Senator Mulvihill which I myself would have risen to protest against. Senator Mulvihill said: T know you for the fascist you are’. That was offensive to me and I think it should be withdrawn.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! I did not hear clearly your objection.
– Senator Mulvihill said of Senator Carrick: ‘I know you for the fascist you are’. That is objectionable and unparliamentary and I raise the point of order that it should be withdrawn.
– I rise on a point of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! I did not hear th: words said to have been used.
– I draw the attention of the Chair to the fact that Senator Little is not in his right place in the chamber and has no right to take a point of order.
– ] rise on the point of order. In a situation similar to this which occurred within the last sessional period, the presiding officer at that time, if my memory serves me correctly, called upon the person to whom the words were alleged to have been directed to comment upon them. I suggest that a similar situation arises now. Senator Carrick has not raised this matter with you, therefore I suggest there is no point of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- If honourable senators would take things a little more quietly and not tend to become excited and also would assist me to do what I believe every senator would wish to be done in this chamber - that is to have the debate conducted in an orderly manner, we shall do better. While I know that at times honourable senators become rather worked up over various points, I appeal to honourable senators to try to use language which is not conducive to provocation; and if Senator Mulvihill will address the Chair, I think we will get along very much better.
– I appreciate the advice because when any game gets a bit hard, one never stands passively by but always gives it back.
– Mr Deputy President, I raised a point of order about the terminology used by Senator Mulvihill and you have not ruled on it.
– You had no right to raise it. You were out of order when you did so.
– I take it that I have every right to say that a term is offensive to me if used about another senator or anybody else. Are we to allow such language to appear in the records of this Parliament, with no challenge and no denial that they were used?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Senator Little, I have informed you that I did not hear the words.
– I have drawn your attention to them. I heard them.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- If Senator Mulvihill did in fact use the words, J would request that he withdraw them. They are unparliamentary, if he in fact used them. I would rely on his judgment to confirm or deny what has been said.
– <l raised a point of order because I was looking for consistency of ruling. I am not questioning your ruling, Mr Deputy President, but I am looking for consistency in a ruling which was given to this Senate on more than one occasion when the person to whom words were alleged to have been directed had an opportunity to get up and indicate to the
Chair that those words had been used and that they were offensive to him. I suggest that a similar situation exists now.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I suggest that you do not attempt to advise the Chair.
– I am not doing so.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I have called on Senator Mulvihill and i trust that he will reply.
– I do not run away from anything I have said. I started to say that when the game gets tough one gives as much as one receives. Senator Carrick implied that every Labor senator is a fellow traveller and Marxist and that does not worry me. But when he implies that everyone who is a radical is a communist, I say that everyone who is a conservative is a fascist. I will withdraw that if in future not particularly you but other Chairmen will prevent Government senators from using such provocation. I did that deliberately as a counter but 1 do not want to make it personal. But that is the way it is. I am not telling lies. I use that counter if anyone smears me. Perhaps Senator Carrick did not mean it. I do not want to say more. However, the Senate knows my methods, that if I am smeared in any way, I will hit back. Having said that, I will say that I am sorry, but I would point out that some of those honourable senators who charged in and took points of order are very fond of making innuendoes in this chamber to provoke members of the Opposition. I do not like dobbing people in, but when people do that I feel I have to hit back. In fact, some of the remarks that Senator Gair used to make about a Victorian senator who has gone from this chamber - Senator Hendrickson - were down in the gutter, but because Senator Gair was Leader of the Democratic Labor Party nobody put him in.
– Say that when Senator Gair is in the chamber.
– I have said it then and the honourable, senator knows it. However, I will return to the subject of the debate. The subject matter of the Opposition’s amendment has been discussed. The whole of my argument in support of it has been based on need. I have referred to the fundamental economic aspect of the matter and said that any government has to divide, the expenditure provided for in its Budget between the 27 different ministries and that it is obvious that the education ministry will not get the lot either now or in the future. The Labor Party would be honest and say that there had to be some distinction between the manner in which sums provided for education, immigration and so on were cut up. 1 have said at various meetings, including some conducted by the Council for the Defence of Government Schools and the independent school organisations, that as a socialist I want to see an equitable society. To say that the term ‘private enterprise’ means heaven on earth and that sort of thing leaves me cold. I conclude by saying that Senator Carrick’s remarks about the bureaucratic morass were a mean and despicable smearing of the Commonwealth public servants who do a good job. 1 leave it at that.
Senator CARRICK (New South Wales) - Mr Deputy President, I seek to make a personal explanation. I claim to have been misrepresented on 2 points. In the first place. Senator Mulvihill repeatedly said that T had said either in this debate or on other occasions that certain people were communists. I have never so branded anybody. That is the truth. ( believe that Senator Mulvihill, who is a person whom I have respected over the years, although 1 do not hold with his politics, wants to be careful about his subject when he fires his barbs. He accused me in his speech of having come from a privileged family, of having a privileged position in life and of having had a privileged education. I have neither pride nor any inverted sense of snobbery in the fact that the circumstances of my education were perhaps even more difficult and primitive than those of the honourable senator. It so happens that when I was in primary and secondary school my father lost his employment and went out to work as a labourer all to his credit. My mother went out to do domestic work, all to her credit; and I obtained a tertiary education by working. Unlike the bulk of the members of the Opposition who were educated in independent schools,
I was educated in a state school and I am proud of it. In fact, 1 am to be a guest at its old boys’ reunion tomorrow night. 1 have risen to make this personal explanation to show the sheer hypocrisy of the class consciousness that the Australian Labor Party seeks to induce.
– The measures that the Senate is now debating have 2 aims. The first is to provide $167m in unmatched capital grants to the States over a 5-year period for general building purposes in government schools and a sum of $48m over the same period for school build projects in private schools. The second is to increase the per capita payments towards the running costs of independent schools to a nominated percentage - 40 per cent - of the assessed cost of educating a child in a government school. Let me say at the outset that the Australian Democratic Labor Party believes that both of these vital steps will advance the educational rights of parents. Accordingly, my Party supports them. Having said that, let me turn to the amendment which has been proposed by the Australian Labor Party.
– What does it say on page 3?
– Wait a minute; I have not got there yet.
– Who typed that for you?
– There seems to be some amusement on the Opposition side about the possibility that I might be reading from some typewritten script, lt so happens that I am not. Perhaps I should not say this, but there is an old saying that if you throw a stone amongst a pack of dogs you can pick the mongrels by the yelps. I was dealing with the amendment proposed by the Australian Labor Party, which seeks the establishment of an Australian schools commission whose function would be to determine the needs of students in government and non-government schools. This amendment is completely unacceptable to the Democratic Labor Party. Therefore my colleagues and I will vote against it.
I believe it is appropriate at this stage of the debate to state clearly the Democratic Labor Party’s attitudes. They can be reducedto 3 basic principles. Firstly, it is the prior right of parents to choose the kind of education they want for their children. Secondly, the State has the right to ensure or to insist that children are educated to a standard that will fit them for good citizenship. Thirdly, all Australian children ought to be equal under the law.
– That would be provided in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
– It is in fact in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For some 100 years all Australian governments were taxing all the people to provide education for all the children, but directing all the moneys so derived to state schools and denying any moneys to private schools. That was a negation of basic human rights. It is to the credit of the Party to which I belong that for the last 16 years it has fought consistently for the right of parents to choose the school and the kind of education they want for their children without discrimination. 1 notice that the members of the Labor Party are very quiet. That is a desirable state. I gather from Senator Wilkinson’s interjection in reply to that remark that he agrees with the Democratic Labor Party.
-I agree with sending children to the schools of the parents’ choice.
– If the honourable senator agrees with the right of parents to choose the kind of education they want for their children, surely he must agree with the Democratic Labor Party when it says that it is wrong in principle and unjust to penalise parents who exercise that right.
– Now I disagree with you.
– Now we have some disagreement. My Party is proud of the role it has played in this area.
– Do many transport workers’ kids go to Riverview?
– I think they might.
– What about taxes paid for roads which people never use? Do you give that subsidy back?
– I am not talking about subsidies. All I am saying is that when public moneys are set aside for education they ought to be spent equally on all children without discrimination. Let us look at the Australian Labor Party’s proposals and attitudes on this matter. What are they? For instance, if a millionaire were to send his child to a state school, the Labor Party would be quite happy to meet the total cost of the child’s education. But, if that wealthy parent chooses to educate his child at a private school, the Labor Party would pay no part of the cost.
– Why not?
– That is what you have said.
– Why should we?
– That is what I say. If that is not discrimination, what is it? The Labor Party has agreed to pay the total cost of the education of a student of a wealthy parent, provided that student goes to a state school. But, if he goes to a private school, the Labor Party will pay no part of the cost. Yet members of the Labor Party have the audacity to say that that is not discrimination.
– Should we pay the total cost of the private school?
– Yes, of course you should. There ought to be equality. If the Labor Party accepts the principle that a parent has the right to choose the kind of education he wishes for his child and if the taxpayers’ money is set aside for educational purposes, surely that money ought to be spent equally on a child in a private school and on a child in a state school.
– You have to accept the same curriculum as the government schools.
– Senator McLaren is talking nonsense. Why does he not be honest? He says that if a parent wants tosend his child to a private school the parent ought to pay for it. Is that his attitude?
– I said that you ought to accept the curriculum of the government school.
– That is not what Senator McLaren said-
– I did say that. Do not misquote me.
– 1 remind Senator McLaren that in 1963 we witnessed a breakthrough in this field. He will recall that in 1963 the Menzies Government made a payment to private schools for science blocks. Subsequently the Commonwealth Government began making per capita payments. In that period it was the DLP, and the DLP alone, which advocated such payments, and now it is the DLP which says - and apparently the Government has agreed - that these per capita payments ought to be based on the cost of educating a child in a government school. The Bill provides for a payment of 40 per cent of that cost. We believe that that is a step in the right direction, but eventually what ought to be achieved is complete equality. The payment ought to be the same as the cost of educating a child in the state system.
If the Labor Party is honest - and I doubt whether it is in this matter - it ought to say on the hustings in the next few weeks that, if a Labor government is returned on 2nd December, that will be the end of per capita payments to private schools. I say here and now that the DLP does not favour one school system any more than it favours one newspaper, one radio station, one television station or one airline. We believe in complete equality in the field of education, and for the reasons I have outlined the DLP supports the Bill - not because it achieves that, but because it is a step in that direction. I repeat, for the sake of emphasis, that we are proud of the role we have played in this matter over the last 15 years, and we are glad to see that now, after 15 years of struggle, at least this Government is moving in the right direction towards achieving equality in education.
Mr Deputy President, I crave the silence of the chamber before I make my speech. I have listened with reverence to honourable senators opposite and I expect them to listen to me without interjecting. I should like to say how proud I am to stand up and support the Bill that is before the Senate. I refer to the States Grants (Schools) Bill which provides an additional amount of $21 5m to be spent by the States and to be divided between govern ment and non-government schools. I totally reject the amendment that has been proposed by the Opposition.
When I look at the amendment .1 wonder whether it represents Australian Labor Party policy according to Mr Beazley, whether it is ALP policy according to Mr Whitlam or whether it is ALP policy according to Senator Murphy. Having looked at the amendment, 1 believe that it is probably ALP policy according to Senator Murphy. I wonder just what Mr Beazley and Mr Whitlam would say about the amendment that is before the Senate tonight. Undoubtedly, the Labor Party has not one policy on education, not 2 policies on education, but 3 policies on education, because those 3 people disagree with the fundamental policy that was served up by the conference that was held recently on an island not far from this continent.
I suggest that the Labor Party is quite confusing in its attitude to education. J was quite appalled tonight when I heard my friend Senator Mulvihill, for whom I have quite a regard, accusing my colleague Senator Carrick of smearing the Public Service. Yet in this Senate chamber this morning I heard members of the Australian Labor Party spend 50 per cent of question time, using the precious time of the Senate, attempting to cast doubts on the credibility of the Government over the matter involving Jetair Australia Ltd. In doing so they were casting doubts on the credibility of the Public Service. 1 believe that it was quite unfair of the Opposition to suggest that Senator Carrick was behaving in an improper manner in the Senate.
It is incredible that members of the Australian Labor Party should suggest hypocritically in this place that we should apply some form of means test to education when they announce in all sincerity that they would apply a means test on social service benefits. I believe that they are right in wanting to abolish the means test and I would support the ALP in its policy of abolishing the means test with regard to social services. But it is quite incredible and incomprehensible that members of that Party should advocate something different with respect to education. I should like to draw to the attention of the Senate the
Incredible attitude to education adopted by the South Australian Labor Government.
– Tell us about the South Australian Liberal and Country League and how confused it is.
– The honourable senator should stop his cackling. I should like to draw attention to the South Australian position at the moment with respect to education. At present in South Australia ail independent primary schools receive a per capita across the board payment of $10 a year and ali independent secondary schools receive a per capita across the board payment of $20 a year. The neediest primary schools have been allocated a special additional grant ranging from $24 in what is known as category A schools to $10 in category D schools. The effect of this is that the biggest per capita grant received by an independent primary school in South Australia ls $34 a year. Let us consider what happens in New South Wales. In that State the State Government provides per capita grants of $50 a year to independent primary schools. The per capita grant to independent primary schools in Victoria is $40 a year and in Queensland it is $45 a year. I remind the Senate that those States are under Liberal and Country Party governments. Western Australia is lagging a little behind the field with per capita grants of $30 a year, and in Tasmania the grant is $24 a year.
– How much was it in South Australia under Mr Hall’s Premiership?
– I can understand that the honourable senator’s feathers could be ruffled on this occasion. The effect of what I have said is that 3 States in which there are Liberal and Country Party governments provide bigger per capita grants to independent primary schools than the maximum grant that is available in South Australia under its needs system. I can understand honourable senators opposite feeling a little embarrassed by a statement of this kind. 1 return to the situation in South Australia. I know that it is very painful for the Opposition to listen to the facts that I am presenting, but I should like to draw attention to the allocations that were made to the States from loan funds in February this year.
New South Wales received an allocation of $10,180,000 from loan funds and it provided from its own resources no less than $2m for the provision of schools and for other educational purposes. How much did Victoria receive of these funds? It received $8,170,000 and it provided $2. 5m for schools. Queensland received $4,040,000 and provided $2,145,000. I come now to the State Labor Government of South Australia. In February South Australia was provided with additional funds from its allocation amounting to $4,390,000, but how much did it provide for schools? The amount was $400,000. I believe that it is significant to compare what happened under the Labor Government in South Australia with what happened under the Liberal and Country Party governments of New South Wales and Victoria. But, of course, in South Australia the State Government’s conscience was pricked and it became very sensitive, as a result of which it provided another $300,000 for maintenance of schools in that State. It is quite incredible that Mr Hudson, who is the Minister of Education in South Australia, should accuse tha Commonwealth Government of disregarding educational needs in Australia when his Government adopts such an irresponsible attitude, although in February the Commonwealth Government provided the State with so much more money in the distribution of loan funds. The State Minister of Education has revealed his disregard on other occasions. In this place it was not so long ago that we discussed the education of outback children. A friend of mine told me that as a member of a deputation he approached the Minister of Education in South Australia with regard to this critical problem.
– Who was the friend? Who told you?
– My friend happened to be a member of the Port Augusta Outback Parents Committee. He went along to the Minister in a very sincere and, 1 may say, humble way to request the South Australian Government to devote more money to the education of outback children in South Australia. Are honourable senators aware of what the Minister said to these people? I have only my friend’s statement to support this, but according to him the Minister said: ‘If we gave you extra money for the education of the outback children you would probably spend it on booze.’ What an attitude for a Minister of a State government to adopt with a deputation. I remind honourable senators that these people-
– I rise to order. Senator Jessop has just made an accusation that the honourable Hugh Hudson, the Minister of Education in South Australia, made a statement to an anonymous friend of Senator Jessop’s that if additional money were granted for the outback schools they would only spend it on booze. I ask Senator Jessop to name the person who told him this so that South Australian senators can verify the accusation or sheet it back home to Senator Jessop. If the honourable senator can prove it I will apologise. This is why I ask that Senator Jessop give the name of his informant to the Senate.
– What rot.
– It is not rot at all.
– I rise to order. I think the important point is that Senator Jessop made a very derogatory remark about a Minister of a State Government. This is contrary to Standing Orders. His innuendo is based on something said by an anonymous friend. I think that if Senator Jessop wants any credence to be paid to his statement which condemns a Minister of a State Parliament who happens to belong to another political party then he should name his friend so that the friend can be approached and asked to verify the statement. As Senator McLaren has said we will come back and apologise if it can be verified. I say that the statement cannot be verified. I say that Senator Jessop has no friend in Port Augusta. That is why he left Port Augusta and why he was not returned for the seat of Grey.
– Speaking to the point of order, I go further and ask that there be a complete withdrawal of the statement made by Senator Jessop unless he is prepared to name the person who told him. It is most cowardly for any member of Parliament to make such charges as have been made here tonight based on the information of an anonymous friend. If Senator Jessop is not prepared to name the friend I want a complete withdrawal of the charge made against the South Australian Minister of Education.
– I wish to speak to the point of order. I submit there is nothing which entitles any honourable senator here to compel any honourable senator speaking to go further than his discretion requires in the course of a debate. It is preposterous to suggest that it is within our competence to compel an honourable senator to name a person to whom he has referred.
– I rise to speak to the point of order. As usual Senator Wright has completely evaded the situation. Senator Cavanagh put this matter quite clearly. It is quite clear that one cannot reflect on a member of another Parliament. This is a very good standing order because it is quite cowardly to do that. Such members cannot defend themselves. I suggest that it is a derogatory thing to say that any person - let alone a Minister of the Crown - would say to members of a deputation about the education of country children that if we give them the money they will spend it on booze. I for one just do not believe that and I do not think anybody else does. We have all received deputations - there has been quite a deluge of them - and we all have sympathy in relation to the education of country children.
– That is what he said.
– He did not say it. I do not believe it.
– I have a point of order.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, I am speaking to a point of order.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wilkinson) - Order! Senator Willesee is speaking to the point of order.
– It is a clear imputation and a clear smear for an honourable senator to say that. I ask honourable senators to think about the statement for one moment: If you give educational grants they are going to spend it on booze. It is beyond the intelligence of any person, even the low intelligence of Senator Jessop, to say that-
– I rise to order.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order!
– The honourable senator should wait until I have finished my point of order and then he can speak.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTI think this is a point of order to your point of order.
– I take exception to the remark passed by the honourable senator who has just resumed his seat.
– I note that the honourable senator takes exception. The situation is that Senator Jessop clearly infringes Standing Orders when he speaks about any other member of Parliament. I ask honourable senators to let us debate this Bill which deals with a serious matter. Senator Jessop has repeated this statement a couple of times in this place. Obviously Mr Hudson did not say that. Senator Jessop knows well that he did not. Quite apart from any implication or twisting of the facts which Senator Jessop might put there is a clear standing order that an honourable senator cannot reflect on any other member of Parliament. That is what Senator Jessop is doing. It is quite clear that he must withdraw the implication.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, I draw your attention to standing order418.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, I draw your attention, as has Senator Cavanagh, to standing order 418 which reads:
No Senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament or any Member of such House, or of any House of a State Parliament, or against any Statute unless for the purpose of moving for its repeal, and all imputations of improper motives and all personal reflections on Members shall be considered highly disorderly.
I am serious in what I am going to say because I personally know Mr Hudson who is the Minister of Education in South Australia. Mr Hudson is well known in South Australia.
– This is not speaking to the point of order.
– Yes, it is. If the honourable senator listens to me he will hear that 1 object to the words used by Senator Jessop. I wish to be heard and I do not want Senator Wright to stand over me. That is the first proposition. I strongly resent the proposition put by Senator Jessop because 1 know Mr Hudson. I know that he is greatly respected. He is not the kind of person who would use the kinds of words which Senator Jessop says he did. They are second hand and are hearsay. I object to that. I suggest that what Senator Jessop is saying is a lie. As a South Australian I object most strongly to what he is saying and I want-
– I claim that 1 have been misrepresented.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - No, you cannot do that.
– I have a point of order. It is not parliamentary for any honourable senator to allege that a statement made by another honourable senator is a lie. It should be withdrawn immediately.
– I withdraw the statement that he is a liar. I suggest that he is telling an untruth and that he is acting on what he has heard from some witness who has not been identified in this Senate. Because of my relationship with Mr Hudson and my knowledge that he is a most responsible Minister I object most strongly to any Senator in this chamber casting aspersions as Senator Jessop has done. Mr Acting Deputy President, I ask you to apply standing order 418 and restrain Senator Jessop from referring to matters which are irrelevant and using hearsay in his speech in this chamber.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! I have been asked to rule on this point of order. I do not consider that any of the argument put by Senator Bishop about his personal relationship with the person mentioned by Senator Jessop comes into consideration in this matter. Standing order 418 specifically states:
No Senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament or any Member of such House, or of any House of a State Parliament. . .
I do not think J need to go any further than that. The standing order also states:
I uphold the point of order. I ask Senator Jessop to withdraw his remarks in relation to the South Australian Minister of Education.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, I respect your point of view.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTIt is not my point of view. I have ruled on a point of order based on the Standing Orders. That is my ruling.
– Very well, I withdraw and defer to your ruling.
– I ask Senator Jessop to name his anonymous friend.
– I can name him.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Jessop, continue your address.
– I can produce proof too, if I have to do so.
– Why does the honourable senator not support the Australian Labor Party occasionally?
– I have supported the Labor Party on occasions. But let me return to the position in South Australia and disregard the diversive strategy of the Opposition which is obviously upset by my remarks. If the $400,000 being made available to non-government primary schools on a needs basis in 1972 is averaged over every school it would be equivalent to an extra $18 a head, making a total of $28 per capita. There are 141 non-government primary schools in South Australia and 138 of them answered the questionnaire that was circulated about the need for special grants. Of that number 22 schools received $24 a head, 57 received $20 a head, 43 received $15 a head and 16 received $10 a head.
– Do you have any division showing country and city schools?
– Is there any division between prestige and poor schools also?
– Senator Cavanagh asks about prestige schools. Members of the Opposition ought to be very careful when talking about prestige. I believe that the Government has adopted a reasonable attitude to the allocation of funds for these schools.
– Would you ask Senator Cavanagh to name some of the prestige schools? It would be interesting to see who went to them.
– That is right. I recall that the Premier of South Australia, for example, went to St Peters College. I point out to Senator Cavanagh that plenty of people on the Opposition side went to independent schools. No doubt in conscience they think that what they are promoting in association with the Australian Labor Party is against their own principles because they have benefited by the Christian upbringing and education afforded to them as a result of their parents’ decision to send them to an independent school. I believe in what Senator Kane said about this matter - that it is the democratic right of every person in Australia to send his child to the school of his choice.
– A certain member from South Australia did that for his son Andrew.
– That is right. However, let us get on with the debate. I can understand that the feathers of members of the Opposition will be ruffled about this matter. When we consider such things as textbook allowances, interest subsidy, transport and scholarship payments to the respective States, we find that Western Australia provides $40.3 per student, New South Wales $22.5 per student, Tasmania $22.4 per student-
– There is a Labor Government inWestern Australia.
– Yes. That is a very good result for Western Australia no doubt due to the inspiration of the previous Government. South Australia is the lowest on the list. It provides $15.8 per student. 1 recognise that the Australian Labor Party is sensitive about our attitude to education because it is clear that it is a most just attitude to both independent and government schools. I support the Bill and commend it to the Senate.
-It was not my intention to speak in this debate but there are one or two things that I want to say in a short space of time. It is fair to say that everyone on this side of the chamber as well as on the other side, judging by the remarks to date, believes that every Australian child has an equal right to education. It is a tremendous pity that personalities relating to political people have entered into this discussion because this is a matter of great national importance to every Australian child, not just the children of individual members of any section of the community. We start with the premise that everyone has a right to education and that everyone has an equal right to educational opportunity. I think that when Senator Wilkinson interjected while Senator Kane was speaking, he admitted that everyone had a democratic right to select the school of his or her choice.
Despite the colossal sums of money that this Government claims are spent from time to time on education in the Australian Capital Territory and in the States through the State governments, the present educational system is riddled with inequality of opportunity. I think that is the crux of the argument that is involved in the proposition put by the Opposition. If equity existed in education today there would be nothing wrong with the Government’s proposals. But because the present system reeks with inequities and inequalities, we believe that action has to be taken, per medium of the administrative arrangements suggested in our amendment, to iron out the inequalities.
A lot has been said about State schools, Catholic schools and greater public schools. I can say, as a father of children who attended State schools - 2 of them have passed through State schools and are now at university and another is attending a State school in New South Wales - that the standard of State school education in New South Wales is much lower today than it was 6. 7 or 8 years ago despite the money that has been poured into the State educational system. As the standard in the State school system has deteriorated, so too has the standard in the secondary Catholic school system in New South Wales, compared with a vast improvement all round in the standard of greater public school education. That is where the inequity exists and that is where the disparity is becoming wider.
Let us consider the teacher situation in State schools in New South Wales. I think it is fair to say that it is recognised - I can speak only about New South Wales - that there is a shortage of well trained teachers. There are not sufficient teachers to cater for the number of children attending the school system to enable classes to be a reasonable size. Six or 7 years ago class sizes in the State school system were of the order of 32 students but now, in a school about which I can speak, it is about 38. By comparison, in greater public schools it is about 24 students per class. Advertisements appear from time to time in the newspapers urging people to send their children to the greater public schools. One of the attractions advertised is that the size of classes in the greater public schools is much smaller than that in the State secondary schools. So in that respect there is a shortage in the number of teachers available to teach the children and therefore there is inequality. There is a tremendous disparity in the number of children in the classes and therefore again there is inequality. If we are to carry out the principle that everyone has an equal right to educational opportunities, surely there has to be involved in the carving up of the education cake - governments can provide only a certain amount for education each financial year having regard to their overall responsibility to the nation - the principle of equity in order to bring about equity in the availability of well trained teachers and in the size of classrooms.
– There is a legal maxim: He who seeks equity must do equity.
Senator DOUGLAS McCLELLANDWe are seeking to bring about equity by our amendment. I would be interested to know whether Senator Byrne suggests that there is not equity in the principle set out in our amendment. Let us look again at the principle of inequality. Of those who enter a State public school system for secondary education and those who enter a Catholic school system for secondary education, 30 per cent complete their secondary education. Of those who enter the greater public school system, 70 per cent complete their education. We have comparable percentages existing in our university system today. Therefore inequality not only exists in the primary sector of education and the secondary school sector of education but also flows right through into the university or tertiary system of education and hence right through the community.
– Have you the statistics in regard to the universities?
– I have not them here but they have been cited time and time again. If the honourable senator looks at the record of debate in another place, he will see them cited time and time again. Let us take the situation to which Senator Kane alluded of the wealthy man who sends his child to a Slate secondary school.
– You pay a lot more then, don’t you?
Senator DOUGLAS McCLELLANDHe pays through the system of taxation. But let us always remember that if he thinks a school is not sufficiently good for his child, and that his child can be improved by going to a greater public school, he has the wherewithal to send his child to that school.
– That is better than spending his surplus wealth on race horses. You should not encourage him to do that.
Senator DOUGLAS McCLELLANDIf Senator Little is suggesting that parents who send their child to a State government school have to do so because they spend their money on race horses, I think, frankly, that that is a pretty poor interjection. Let us take the example referred to by Senator Kane of the child with wealthy parents. If the parent decides to send his child to a state secondary school and he believes that the school is not of a sufficient standard despite the amount of taxation he might be paying for the education of his child and every other child, the fact remains, if he has the wherewithal, that he is financially able to improve the educational standard of his child by sending him to a greater public school.
Even if he chooses not to do that, if he is not satisfied that the education that his child is receiving is sufficient, he can then afford private tuition. A great number of such children are receiving private tuition at the rate of$1 95 a quarter or whatever the charge may be. Such a parent is able to write the expense off by way of a taxation deduction to the extent of, say, $400 a year. If the man is wealthy and paying the maximum rate of taxation,again the community is subventing him by way of taxation deduction at a much greater rate than that for a man in a comparable position who sends his child to a state public school. A man in humble circumstances is unable to afford the additional education for his child.
That brings me to the taxation statistics. I think that last year some $48m was allowable by way of taxation deductions for education. A total of 190,000 taxpayers received back $36m of that $48m. Again, if there is any equity in that situation I fail to see it. The financial structure, so far as it relates to the taxpayer who spends on education, is heavily loaded in favour of the wealthy man. In regard to equity in the educational system, it is heavily loaded in favour of the child of the wealthy parent. This present Bill sets out to continue that standard of inequity. In short, those are the reasons why the Opposition has moved this amendment.
We believe that for the system of education existing in Australia for all children there should be established an Australian schools commission to iron out on a national basis where the principal needs are so that a system of equity can be brought about. That is the purpose of the establishment of the commission. It will examine and determine the needs of every Australian child in government and nongovernment schools whether they be primary, secondary or technical schools. Having ascertained the priority of needs in order to bring about some standard of equity in the educational system, it will then recommend grants which the Commonwealth should make to the States, cutting out all this malarkey about centralisation and unification to assist andto meet the requirements of all school age children on the basis of needs and priorities. This will be done so that the application of the principle of equity about which every honourable senator has spoken, and apparently in connection with which we are all agreed, is brought into effect. If, as has been said, the members of the Government and the Australian Democratic Labor Party believe that every child is entitled to the right to education and that every Australian child has an equal right to educational opportunity, they have no alternative but to support the amendment moved by the Opposition.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise to support the Bill now before, the Senate and to reject the amendment. I am proud that the Government through this legislation is introducing a programme to assist the States financially for education purposes in order to ensure that all Australian children will obtain the best education that is possible. I wish to speak mainly about the independent schools. I support the concept of independent schools. I am proud to see that the Government in its wisdom has seen fit to make money available to our independent schools.
Let us consider the situation in respect of independent schools. If the Commonwealth Government had not seen fit in its wisdom to support independent schools, many of them would have been forced to close. Considering the matter sensibly we recognise that in Australia in excess of 2,000 independent schools cater for more than 600,000 students. What would happen if those independent schools closed down? The parents of those students would have to send their children to state schools. The cost to the taxpayer of educating these additional students would be astronomical. This would affect not only the wealthy man. But the additional taxation required to meet this cost would affect everybody alike, including the working man. I believe in the right of parents to send their children to whatever type of school they choose, br that school an independent one or a government one. 1 believe that that is the right of every Australian parent.
Much was m: de tonight of the fact that wealthy people send their children to independent schools. 1 know of many people who work for a living, who are not wealthy and who wish to give to their children the opportunity to attend an independent school, whether this he for religious or other reasons. These people work very hard and save their money in order to send their children to independent schools. At the same time, they support government schools through the taxation that they pay which is at the same rate as that imposed on other taxpayers. I do not agree with the argument put by the Opposition that it is only the children of wealthy parents who attend independent schools.
I am happy to support this Bill because I believe that the Federal Government has a responsibility te make available financial assistance to the States for education purposes. I am pleased that that is the purpose of this Bill. I know of many independent schools in Queensland which have been supported by the hard work of parents. Mothers, fathers and even children have worked to help te enable those schools to continue. The parents involved are taxpayers in common with their fellow citizens. I believe that the schools which they support are entitled to some financial assistance from the Commonwealth to ensure that their children enjoy the same facilities as those provided in government schools. I believe that independent schools should be supported. Consequently, I have great pleasure in commending this Bill. I reject the amendment.
– Despite the somewhat uninspiring beginning to the debate this evening when Senator Wheeldon opened for the Australian Labor Party and yielded in his brief 7 minutes nothing that really attracted attention, we have had a most vigorous and spirited debate in the course of the evening that rejoices a senator who likes to see a House of Parliament come alive. I say that because the Bill that we are considering is breaking new ground and it is a striking out on a stage of great significance in the development of educational effort on the part of the Federal Government. I say that in 2 respects. In the last decade we have established the principle that independent schools are deserving of some recognition from public funds in recurrent expenditure as an assistance to their continuance. All State governments, as well as the Commonwealth Government, have adopted that principle, including the Labor governments under the force of political expediency. Nevertheless, the Labor governments have drifted into the adoption of that principle of support for recurrent expenditure of independent schools.
This Bill has 2 significant features. The first one is that, although hitherto independent schools have received in respect of capital expenditure assistance only for specific purposes, such as science laboratories, under this Bill provision is made for assistance to independent or nongovernment schools for general capital purposes. That is an important proposition and 1, for one, am very pleased to see that it has been subjected to earnest debate by both sides of the Senate. It is a principle that should not be established without real debate.
Another aspect of this principle - it goes hand in hand with it - is that there is a special recognition by the Commonwealth Government of capital assistance to government schools. In this respect, the comparison that is made is that for nongovernment schools the appropriation for the 5-year period is S48m and for government schools the figure is $167m. My colleague, Senator Carrick, was most cogent when he put forward the argument that the Labor Party would do well further to think out its attitude to this .proposal because what it has done tonight is to deny the propriety of that capital assistance to State government schools.
The second principle in this Bill which is of great importance, because it is the first time that I think it has been established, is in respect to recurrent expenditure for non-government schools. A period programme of assured appropriation has been laid down in the Bill - a 5-year term - whereby 20 per cent of the average government expenditure per pupil is guaranteed as an appropriation from the Commonwealth Government to non-government schools for recurrent expenditure. Of course, it is quite clear that the chief purpose of the Labor Party’s amendment is to deny the continuance of that appropriation beyond 1973. The 2 principles that I see in the Bill represent a significant step in the advancement of the education programme of this Government.
The Labor Party’s amendment provides:
Whilst not refusing the Bill a second reading, the Government should provide for the establishment of an Australian schools commission to examine and determine the needs of students, in both government and non-government schools, primary, secondary and technical and that commission should recommend the grants to be given to the States.
On the basis of the needs and priorities, I can in a general way understand what is being referred to in the expression ‘needs’ but 1 defy anybody to define what is meant by the word ‘priorities’. But let that pass. The proposition is for a general Common wealth controlled commission to decide the supplements that should be made to the needs of students in both classes of schools - government and non-government, primary, secondary and technical. I think the Opposition made a rather cheap debating point when it suggested that Senator Carrick’s references in that respect were a reflection upon the Commonwealth Public Service. He was rejecting the idea of committing the guidance of educational policy in these fields to a centralised single control from Canberra, with all the disadvantages of being remote from the communities, their local needs and the understanding of educational opportunities in various parts of the country. I think it was completely lacking in understanding to suggest that the argument implied any reflection upon the Commonwealth Public Service.
What the Labour Party amendment implies in this respect is that the centralised Commonwealth controlled commission should supersede the real control by State governments and their Departments of Education. That is a situation in education at which we have not arrived yet. Other fields are already ripe for more national government, but I doubt whether education is. The other point about Labor’s amendment which needs to be understood with crystal clarity is that in its last words it is intended rather circuitously to express the fact that whereas the Government wishes to provide an assured period programme of 5 years under the Bill, the Labor Party gives notice that if it is elected to office it will terminate the benefits of this Bill, and it will not permit the grants to go on in any year after 1973. That is starkly clear. That is the issue which should be understood.
I refer briefly to one or two of the individual arguments which were advanced by those who contributed to the debate. I have already supported the viewpoint of Senator Carrick as to the advantages of a period programme of 5 years, with the assurance that it gives to people for planning in this field. I have already rejected the implications that Senator Mulvihill expounded in his argument about Senator Carrick’s alleged reflection upon the Public Service. I noted Senator Kane’s argument. He quite strikingly reinforced the proposition which I have just submitted. namely, that the true purpose of the Labor Party amendment, despite its not very successful camouflage, is to indicate that it will have none of the continuance of these grants for independent schools after 1973 if the country fell to the misfortune of having to submit to a Labor Party Government next year.
Senator Douglas McClelland came in at the tail end of the debate. His contribution reminded me of the lines about the parson taking wider and wider sweeps and then settling down upon a general decay of faith throughout the world. The honourable senator told us that there is class distinction in regard to education. He referred to the pupil-teacher ratio in the schools, without having the goodness to acknowledge that in government primary schools the ratio has reduced from 31.9 in 1959 to 26.4 in 1970. If he wants to make a comparison between the various categories of schools, I take the year 1970. In respect of primary schools the figures are: Government schools 26.4, Catholic schools 34.4 and other non-government schools 18.3. That figure for nongovernment schools has been constant during the decade. The only other statement that Senator Douglas McClelland made that was worth noting was his fallacious argument about taxation. Where there is a graduated system of income taxation of the severity which he, on the hustings, will condemn, he should recognise that despite deductions for education the graduation of the scale already takes an increasing amount of the upper bracket earnings and applies it generally for educational purposes. I think that is all that I need say in reply to the debate, except to repeat that I found great stimulation, not only in the speeches but also in the spirit in which they were expressed.
That the words proposed to be added (Senator Wheeldon’s amendment) be added.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from Committee without amendment.
Motion (by Senator Wright) proposed:
That the Bill be now read a third time.
– I want to say a word or two on education because the Minister in his reply, I think, missed the whole point of what this Bill really is all about. That is the need to face the fact that there is today a crisis in education. It is a crisis which has grown up over 23 years of this Government and now, on the eve of an election, something is being done about it. There is a dichotomy in the attitudes taken by some Liberal senators. Senator Carrick, if I understood him correctly, seemed to be criticising the fact that the Labor Party amendment wishes to bring about some sort of centralisation in education. It is in only fairly recent times that we were able to coax the Commonwealth into the field of education. Until that time a former Prime Minister, Mr Menzies, as he then was, used to say that education was a State matter, which seemed to be much the same thing as Senator Carrick said tonight.
Senator Wright provided the other side of the dichotomy by saying the Commonwealth was taking an interest in this field.
Indeed. I think somebody said the Commonwealth was invading the State field. I know it is difficult at this time when dealing with education to avoid political expediency and because of the dual system of education one must be careful that one does not fall into the controversial pit of sectarianism. I think the whole basis of the approach of the Labor Party to this is found in what Mr Menzies did when he finally forsook the attitude he had taken that the Commonwealth had no right in the field of education because it was a State field. Mr Menzies then arranged an investigation into universities which took only 9 months. One honourable senator - I think it was Senator Carrick - said that if the Labor Party amendment was carried the exercise would run into 5 years. That is quite unnecessary, for there is already a system in existence and we must look at it to see what is needed. When Sir Robert Menzies, or Mr Menzies as he then was, appointed Sir Keith Murray to investigate the university system, a recommendation Was prepared in 9 months and the Commonwealth moved very rapidly into the field of university education - and, I suggest, it made great improvements in it. It seems to the Labor Party that it is very simple to do exactly that at all levels of education, therefore we believe that a Commonwealth commission should look into all aspects to see what is needed.
I do not think I should waste time on Senator Jessop’s contribution to the debate. He criticised performances of Labor Governments. He must realise that education just does not run over 12 months, and there have been changes of government. It is a tremendous pity when this type of argument creeps into a very vital field. It is tremendously vital to a small country such as ours because what we lack in numbers - and having in mind the great areas of the country that we cannot develop - we can make up in education. This can be seen amongst the Swiss and other peoples of Europe who have concentrated on education. In this debate the important point has been missed; that is that we are considering children. Whether they go to private or public schools, we have to consider the children. This point was missed completely bythe Liberal senators and cer tainly by the Minister in his speech in reply. We should consider the child irrespective of his colour, background or parents and ask whether we can educate him to the maximum of his capacity, not only for the good life for him but also for what he can contribute to Australia.
When we look at it as a whole we see that those involved are not merely those children who go to one or two schools. We have heard a lot recently about country children, and they are a group that we must look at. We must consider also Aboriginal children, deaf children, spastic children - there are examples of spastic children who can benefit from university education, if they are given the opportunity to do so - children suffering from dyslexia, and migrant children. Unfortunately this Government has not insisted that migrant children speak English, and some of them who have attended school have been unable to grasp the language because of their natural shyness and so drop back. Therefore this is another field of education to which we must give special attention. We must not be concerned about their colour or the ethnic background or parents; we must not be concerned about their age or about the school they attend. We must concentrate on all of them to ensure that they enjoy a full life and so later can contribute something in return to Australia. It does not matter whether their parents are Catholics or athiests. The child of the athiest may turn out to be a devout religionist while the child of a devout religionist may turn out to be an athiest. These things are lost in the field of education. In this debate we have overlooked this very central point. I suppose it is natural on the eve of an election and with a dual system of education and because of the events that have gone before. But we must concentrate on the field of education.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 1030 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
Have consultations been held recently between the Department of Immigration and the State Health authorities, in an endeavour to determine Australia’s intake of overseas nurses; if so, how was the decision made to institute deportation proceedings against double certificated Sister Paeatonga Talia.
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
No consultations have been heLd recently.
Sister Paeatonga Talia was admitted to Australia in 1967 as a private overseas student to undertake nursing training. After completing her course in September 1971 and a period of further practical experience she was asked to return to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands where her qualifications are needed. This was in accord with normal provisions of the Private Overseas Student Programme whereby students are expected to return home to apply the benefits of their training in their own country upon successfully completing their studies. The programme is not intended to relieve local shortages of qualified personnel. Deportation proceedings were not contemplated.
On 18th August 1972 Sister Talia married a cadet officer - also a Gilbert and Ellice Islanderon an overseas ship which plies between Australia and Asian countries but does not call at the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. Because of the unusual circumstances of a compassionate nature I directed that the young lady be given a 12 months extension of her permit to stay so that during that time she can be with her husband when his ship is in Australian waters.
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
What were the average annual hours flown by captains of regular public air transport services in Australia during the years 1960, 1965 and 1970.
Senator COTTON - The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The required figures are not available from existing records. There is no requirement for the operators to record or supply this particular information. Attempts to calculate even approxi mate figures have not been successful. The following overall figures of Australian air transport operations are tendered for information:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice:
Senator DRAKE-BRQCKMAN - The Minister for Supply has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The allocation of passengers between Commonwealth cars and hire cars was determined having regard to the following:
The sequence in which bookings were received:
The need to deploy Commonwealth cars on work which can be expected to result in further jobs with minimum of empty running between jobs.
(a) Every Commonwealth car and contractor hire car available during the 0800- 0900 time period was working (99 cars were engaged on car pool duties during this period).
There are practical reasons against inserting into hire car contracts a fixed cut-off time for private hire assignments prior to their proceeding to the airport to fulfil their obligations to the Commonwealth. The main reasons are:
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice:
What were the details for each quarter of 1971 showing:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - The Minister for Supply has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Total mileage for the first 2 quarters of 1972 was 144,860. Cumulative records of the respective mileages by Commonwealth and hire cars are not separately maintained. A sample check indicates that the total mileage would be divided approximately as follows -
Commonwealth cars and buses - 68,840
Hire cars- 76,020
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) The so-called bombing attacks in Sydney on 16th September 1972 involved breaches of New South Wales law. There is no evidence so far that any breaches of Commonwealth law are involved. The responsibility for investigating the explosions therefore rests on the New South Wales Police Force, whose function it is to enforce the laws of that State. Immediately the explosions occurred, 2 members of the New South Wales District of the Commonwealth Police Force were detailed to go to the scene of each explosion and assist the New South Wales police intheirinvestigations. Subsequently, at the request of the New South Wales police, an officer of the Central Crime Intelligence Section of the New South Wales District of the Commonwealth Police has been attached to the New South Wales Police Special Branch to ensure adequate liaison between the 2 Forces and to enable information possessed by the Commonwealth Police through the Central Crime Intelligence Bureau that might be relevant to the explosions in Sydney, to be passed quickly on to the New South Wales police. Any further assistance that the New South Wales police might require from the Commonwealth police will be freely given.
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD - The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
asked the Attorney-
General, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 2449)
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 October 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19721019_senate_27_s54/>.