28th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Mon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 10.55 a.m., and read prayers.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Does the Government acknowledge that the recent announcements by the Prime Minister and by the Minister for Defence that a number of troops should remain in Singapore represents a judgment by the new Government that there is merit in their continued presence in that place? If so, will the Leader of the Government in the Senate, on behalf of the Prime Minister, state what merit the Government sees in the troops remaining in Singapore?
– I understand that this subject matter has been raised in the other place in some formal way and the Prime Minister will be dealing fully with it. I think it would be not proper for me to put in this chamber something on his behalf when it is being dealt with elsewhere in a formal manner. I think it would be proper for me to pass on the question so that a formal answer can be obtained for the honourable senator.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence, follows the question asked yesterday by Senator Brown in respect of which the Minister said he would seek some information, ls it the Government’s continuous intention to provide Australia with a balanced and strong defence? ls air power considered an essential part of this defence role? ls it a fact that in order to achieve full effectiveness the Air Force must have an effective strike power? Does the FI 1 1 achieve this?
– The answer to the first part of the question is yes, the Government agrees that Australia has to have effective air power. For example the honourable senator may bc aware that the evaluation teams concerned with the replacement of the Mirage aircraft have been meeting, but since the Labor Government assumed office there has been renewed activity, and instructions have been given to send a mission overseas to consider 4 aircraft designs as the possible replacement. Arrangements have now been made concerning the complement of that mission which has in mind, of course, the essential matter of keeping the Air Force properly equipped. Another example is that since the Labor Government has come to power we have ensured that the question of Australian capacity should be carefully considered. In turn we have instructed that a meeting of the people concerned - the 2 aircraft manufacturers and representatives of the Department of Supply - be held to consider to what extent Australian capacity might be involved in respect of the replacement of the Mirage.
Yesterday Senator Brown asked me questions about the cost of the Fill aircraft. My Department has informed me that the cost approved by the previous Government and announced in December 197.1 for the F111C project was $US344m. My Department states that there is now a good indication that the final project cost will be lower than $US344m but the final amount has not been determined. The Government will be considering the related questions through negotiations. The present Government was very critical of the commitment entered into in 1963 by the previous government. We were critical of the adoption of the programme for this particular aircraft but when the aircraft arrive we will see thai they are properly used in their most effective capacity, and that stores, equipment and replacements will be maintained to see that the Fill aircraft can take their place properly in the Royal Australian Air Force complement.
– In directing my question to the Minister for Works f refer to what I understood to be a statement by him yesterday when compulsory unionism was being discussed. 1 understood him to say that he believed that persons not prepared to join a union could go to the country and work in primary industry. As this proposal to divert non-union labour into primary industry seems to me to be rather extraordinary for a L-i -or representative to put forward I ask whether it has the approval of the Australian Workers Union.
– Senator McManus has engaged in politics rather than direct a question seeking information.
– Did you not ask a few such questions in your day?
– The fact that I did it in my day does not mean that the mistake should be repeated. The answer I gave yesterday was thatI am opposed to employees taking the benefits gained by trade unions when they will not contribute to the trade unions. If they are opposed to joining trade unions I believe that they have complete freedom to refuse to join, but if they do refuse they have no more right to continue to work in an industry that has benefited from the activity of trade unions than a person entering primary production has to ignore a board set upto market his product.If persons are honest in refusing to join a trade union they have complete freedom to enter industries that are not covered by trade unions. I take no objection to their remaining outside trade unions if they seek their employment in industries that do not have the benefit of trade union coverage.
– I ask the Attorney-General: Has he caused any investigations to be made into the oft repeated assertion of the previous AttorneyGeneral that there is no credible evidence of the existence in Australia of any Croatian terrorist organisation? If so, what are the results of such investigations? Will the AttorneyGeneral table in the Senate any reports in his possession touching these investigations?
– The honourable senator asked first whether investigations have been caused to be made by me. The answer is yes. He asked, secondly, about the results of the investigations. The answer is that there is evidence. As to the tabling of the reports that have been made, I will table in the Senate a statement on this matter. It will not necessarily relate to all the reports that have been made to me but I will table a statement in this place informing the Senate of the facts about this matter. I think they will show quite a different picture from that painted by the previous Attorney-General.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. Is the Minister aware that many cars were stranded recently as a result of flash floods on the Stuart Highway between Port Augusta and Alice Springs? Can the Minister inform the Senate of the progress in the scaling of this road in the Northern Territory and when it will be completed to the border? Is the Minister aware that his State colleague has indicated that the sealing of the South Australian section is beyond the capacity of the State Government? I can understand that because the State Government has run up a debt in excess of $15m. Is the Minister also aware that the previous LiberalCountry Party Government made money available to seal the Eyre Highway? Will the Commonwealth Government negotiate with the South Australian Government in order to provide financial assistance to enable it to seal the South Australian section of this national highway?
– I cannot supply now all the information sought and I will refer the question to the Minister. I have heard reports of the stranding of cars on the Stuart Highway because of floods. I have just approved a contract for the extension of work on part of that highway. I am appreciative of the fact that there is some arrangement between the Commonwealth Government and the State of South Australia for the sealing of the Eyre Highway. Whoever deserves credit for that agreement I do not know butI would say that under this Government’s transport policy and its policy on agreements with the States there will be a great acceleration of aid to the Stales for road construction in the immediate future.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. In view of the fact that from next month the cost of the contraceptive pill will be reduced, will the Minister consider reducing the cost of other medicines available under the national health scheme from $1 per itemto 40c or 50c per item so that other people, many of whom arc much more ill than those on the pill, will be able to afford their medicines a little more easily, particularly those who need to take a lot of medicine regularly?
– It is true, as Senator Townley suggested in his question, that the cost of the contraceptive pill will be reduced from next month. As to whether the Government will consider reducing the cost of other prescriptions from $1 to 50c to enable sick people to obtain medicines at a reaconable cost, the Government is well aware of the undue and harsh burden imposed on people as a result of the previous government’s action in this regard. I assure the honourable senator that the Minister for Social Security and the Minister for Health are looking at this matter. I understand it will be one matter that will be considered by the Health and Hospital Services Commission that is being established by the Government.
– I wish to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Is there any truth in the rumour that the Department of Health is about to publish a list of the names of doctors who have allegedly benefited themselves by falsifying medical benefit items? Have these falsifications been investigated and confirmed by departmental committees of inquiry?
– The question was directed to me as Minister representing the Minister for Health, but the area of responsibility comes within the portfolio of the Minister for Social Security. The answer to the honourable senator’s question, in short, is that the Minister for Social Security, who administers this area of responsibility, docs not intend at this stage to release the names of doctors against whom allegations have been made. The honourable senator will be aware, however, that this is a matter of major concern to the Government. I can say that, because of Senator Turnbull’s interest in this matter, the Minister for Social Security only this morning instructed his Department to review the procedures presently followed in the investigation of allegations of abuse of the medical benefits scheme. The Minister for Social Security has asked his Department to inquire into what alternative arrangements can be made.
Recently, by way of example, it was discovered that a doctor in Western Australia had a utilisation rate of the pensioner medical service which was twice that of the national average. It was discovered following inquiries that this doctor had been going to a nursing home every Wednesday morning and charging the pensioner medical service rate for every patient in that home. The Government is concerned to stamp out this sort of practice. As a result of the inquiries in this instance the doctor concerned was reprimanded, although the recommendation of the Medical Services Committee was that his name should not be disclosed. The honourable senator can rest assured that the Government treats very seriously the type of practice I have quoted by way of example, that it intends to stamp out abuses and that, if it is necessary to vary the normal procedures in order to achieve this end, there will be no hesitation on the Government’s part in so doing.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Does he know - if not, will it be possible for him to find out - whether any initiatives are being taken by the major airlines in Australia to re-equip their fleets with some form of small jet aircraft as a replacement for the turbo-prop types which currently serve a considerable number of small airports throughout Australia?
– No, I am not aware of any. I request the honourable senator to put his question on notice.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for the Media, covers also in part his representation in this chamber of the Minister for Health. Is the Minister aware that in a ‘Four Corners’ programme on 17th February the statement was made that the English general practitioner paid his own rent and secretarial assistance out of salary received from the government? Is it a fact that rent is paid directly by the government on the basis of council valuation? In addition, is 70 per cent of ancillary help paid for from the national health scheme? If the answer to the second part of the question is yes, will the Minister endeavour to see that the Australian Broadcasting Commission employs persons who are capable of reporting fact instead of fiction?
– I am not aware that on the ‘Four Corners’ programme on 17th February a statement was made that the English general practitioner paid for his rent and secretarial assistance out of the salary received from the Government. I am not aware whether rent is paid directly by the British Government to the councils on their valuations. I can assure the honourable senator that the standard of journalists employed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission is probably the highest in Australia and is probably equal to the best in the world.I have the highest respect for the standard of the journalists employed by the ABC and for their impartiality in the performance of their responsibility, and I am certain that the standard of the professional journalists employed by the ABC will be maintained by it.
– Has the Minister for the Media seen a report in today’s ‘Australian’ that the current affairs programme PM’ is to be cut to 10 minutes duration to enable repeal episodes of ‘Blue Hills’ to go to air? Can the Minister say whether this report is correct? If it is correct, will he ask the Australian Broadcasting Commission to find alternative ways of reorganising its programmesto enable ‘PM’ to continue providing to the listening public the present full and popular service that it provides?
– The news report which appeared in this morning’s newspaper about the curtailment of the programme ‘PM’ is somewhat premature and is based on some wrong assumptions. The Leader of the House in the House of Representatives has given notice of motion to vary the sitting times of that House. The result of the variations, if they are adopted by the House, will be that the House will sit until 6.15 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. prior to the suspension of the sitting for dinner. Therefore the Australian Broadcasting Commission at this stage is making tentative arrangements to broadcast the extended parliamentary proceedings, in accordance with its statutory obligations under the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Act. If the motion to extend sitting times is carried, the Commission, because it has these statutory obligations, will consider the possibility of transferring the programme ‘PM’ to another of its radio networks.
I am given to understand by the Commission that the arrangements to provide replacement programmes are to apply only on the nights when Parliament is sitting. If the House of Representatives agrees to sit until 6.15 p.m. and if there is a subsequent review by the House of those arrangements, the Commission assures me that there will be a review of the tentative arrangements that it Is now making for the programme ‘PM’. In the interim period the length of the ‘PM’ programme will not be varied on the regional stations because they do not take the parliamentary broadcasts. In any event I am assured that despite the shortening of the programme as a result of the extended parliamentary proceedings broadcast there will be no redundancy of journalists employed on the programme.
– Order! In anticipation that an event might occur during question time this morning, which event could lead an honourable senator to draw my attention, for the second time, to standing order 100 I have prepared a short statement on the important matter of questions, andI think it is opportune that I should read it at this stage. During question time yesterday reference was made to standing order 100, which states: 100. In answering any such Question, a Senator shall not debate the matter to which the same refers.
This is a good rule and it complements the procedure that questions should be brief so that as many as possible may be asked within the time available. To this end I ask honourable senators to keep questions short and framed in such a way that they do not contain quotations. I ask Ministers on their part to confine their replies to giving the information asked for without debating the matter. With such co-operation from both sides I believe question time will be much improved and far more effective.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Conservation. Since the environmental impact statement on the proposal to build on Black Mountain, Canberra, a tower for the Postmaster-General’s Department contains expenditure figures which do not coincide with those given when the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment visited the site with PMG officers, can we have an early breakdown of the figures which appear to indicate a considerable difference in the attitudes adopted by the 2 departments?
– I did not know there was any doubt about the figures. The estimates for the tower building have been made by my Department which is in the process of calling tenders to let the contact. The statement in this morning’s Press is that there will be no halt in the construction of the tower on Black Mountain for environmental reasons. I believe SI 00m has already been spent by the Postmaster General’s Department. It was considered at this stage that it was too late to investigate the matter or halt the project for a further study of the environment.
– St 00m?
– No. Today’s Press report states that $500,000 has already been invested by the Postmaster-General’s Department. An interdepartmental committee has been established to consider the effect of certain buildings on the environment. In future no plans will be drawn up, such as occurred in relation to Black Mountain, without a thorough study being made of the enviromen’., effects of such projects.
– My question is directed to the Special Minister of State. In view of the substantial and favourable trade relations which existed between Australia and Taiwan and of the possibility of further trading opportunities, particularly in iron ore, bauxite and foodstuffs, what action has the Government taken to protect Australian-Taiwanese trade? Has the Government noted that Japan and Taiwan and Canada and Taiwan have established trade missions at a high level? I ask further: What provisions have been made for Australians wishing to visit Taiwan to obtain visas?
– Yes, there is a considerable amount of trade between Taiwan and Australia. As I said last night in answer to Senator McManus, this will go on without let or hindrance by the Australian Government. There ‘ is a difference in the trading arrangements as between Japan and Australia. Of course, historically the situation is vastly different. The honourable senator knows the history of that; I do not have to go into it. Japan occupied Taiwan for many years and many Japanese people were born there. The whole relationship is completely different. The second part of the honourable senator’s question related to people visiting Taiwan.
– Trade between Canada and Taiwan.
– Different arrangements have been made in all of these things.
There is a difference in the wording which the honourable senator asked about yesterday. There is a difference in trading relations between Taiwan and nearly every country that has recognised Taiwan. Our situation is that any businessman is free to go to Taiwan and make arrangements. The previous situation will carry on. We will not interfere with the business community in doing whatever it likes in relation to Taiwan, providing of course it is “done under a lawful contact. There will be no interference with people travelling to or from Taiwan. There is a travel agency in Taiwan called the Chung Hwa Travel Service which will facilitate-
– It is in Hong Kong.
– We have our official representation in Hong Kong where Australians can obtain visas. Senator Little may be right that it is in Hong Kong, but I thought that there was a Chung Hwa trading company in Taiwan. But in Hong Kong also people can go lo our office. The .broad situation is that we will not be interfering wilh people - sportsmen, businessmen or what have you - who wish to come and go. We will not be interfering in any way with trade between businessmen in Taiwan and Australia.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour. I refer to the adjourned national wage case which will be resumed on 13 th March.- 1 ask the Minister: Will the Government support the claim of the Australian Council of Trade Unions for a $65 minimum weekly wage which will have the effect of adding $200m to the national wage bill? Will the Government claim that this increase can be sustained without unwisely increasing inflationary trends? Will the Government support the extension of the minimum wage to all women workers to take effect from this wage claim? What is the Government’s attitude to the view of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission that it must have regard to the economic consequences of Us wage decisions?
– In answer to the last part of the honourable senator’s question, I point out that the Labor Government, of course, is committed as a matter of policy to equal pay for equal work. In respect of the other matters which will be dealt with at the national wage case hearing, the Government will make submissions and, in making those submissions, will have regard to our own policies. It will give support where it may be given to legitimate claims by . the union movement but it will also have regard to the general economic factors. If the honourable senator would like some more information I shall seek it from the Minister for Labour.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. Is it the intention of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department to continue with the installation of small automatic exchanges in the areas away from the large centres of population and so provide a continuous telephone service for all Australian telephone users? Is it the intention of the Postmaster-General’s Department also to continue to provide the first 15 miles of construction free of charge in rural areas?
– As I understand it, it is the intention of the PostmasterGeneral to continue these policies pending the recommendations of the royal commission that has been established by the Government.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security. Is it a fact that new regulations governing admission to private nursing homes were made by the defeated Liberal-Country Party Government? Is the Minister aware that a considerable number of doctors either own or have a financial interest in many of the 382 private nursing homes registered under the National Health Act? Is it not true that under the ethics of the Australia Medical Association doctors are required not to have a financial interest in pharmacies? In view of the controversy initiated by a noisy minority of doctors involved in nursing home businesses, will the Minister make representation to the AMA suggesting that . their ethical approach to pharmacies should be extended to nursing homes?
– It is a fact, commonly understood, that a large number of doctors have a financial interest in nursing homes, of which some 389 have been established in Australia. It is also a fact that under the code of ethics of the Australian Medical Association, doctors are required not to have a financial interest in pharmacies. I understand that my colleague, the Minister for Social Security, recently has been in discussion with representatives of the AMA regarding the future of nursing homes generally. I shall refer the honourable senator’s question to my colleague and ask him to give it consideration.
– Is there any substance in the report that the Minister for the Media is to set up a royal commission into media ownership? If so, what would be the terms of its reference and when are. the details to be announced? Is he aware that by direction of the Senate a Senate standing committee is already inquiring into all aspects of radio and television?I emphasise the words ‘all aspects of radio and television’. What would be the relationship between the eventual 2 reports?
Senator DOUGLAS McCLELLANDPerhaps my answer to this question should relate to that which I gave to Senator Laucke yesterday. What I have said is that if the Government determines that it should proceed with the commercial licensees’ suggestion that one commercial station in each capital city should be abolished, perhaps it would be necessary for a judge to determine which ‘ commercial licences should be revoked and what form of compensation, if any, should be awarded by the Government. Of course, that statement was based on the hypothetical assumption that the Government might proceed with the licensees’ suggestion. I am very much aware of the. fact that a Senate Standing Committee is inquiring into all aspects of radio and television. I welcome the receipt of that Committee’s interim report which was tabled in the Parliament last November. I am anxiously awaiting the full report of the Committee before determining what action my Department should take on it.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as Minister representing the Prime Minister. Did the Prime Minister,’ in his policy speech of 13th November 1972, promise the people:’We will make a. massive attack on land and housing costs’? Can the
Minister’ advise whether the recent land sales in Canberra, which brought by far the highest land prices in the history of the Australian Capital Territory, are an indication of the strong effect of a Labor Government on land costs? How is a worker receiving a reasonable wage ever to have an opportunity to obtain land in Canberra which is situated in a Territory where, at this time, the land is owned, developed and offered for sale under a socialist system which is absolutely under the control and direction of a Labor Minister? ls it fair then for Labor Ministers to criticise private land developers who make land available at much less cost than that offered in Canberra?
– 1 am glad that the concern that was expressed by the Prime Minister during his general election campaign policy speech a few months ago is shared by the honourable senator. Everyone’ would want to see that land costs do not rise to a po’.nt where they are beyond the reach of the average citizen. The honourable senator has expressed some concern at the inability of the new Labor Government to overcome the failures of the previous administration over some 23 years. I agree with him that the situation which has been allowed to develop in which land prices are extraordinarily high is not satisfactory. I have no doubts that the Labor Government will be setting out to overcome this and to implement the statement made by the Prime Minister.
It has not been possible, as the Senate will understand, for the whole of the programme which the Labor Party put to the people, and which was endorsed by them; to be performed within the space of a few months. We are doing as much as we can. When we move quickly we are sometimes accused of haste, and in areas in which we have not been able to achieve a Utopian result I think the. Senate should be prepared to bear with us. Indeed, we look forward to co-operation from the honourable senator in the measures we will take to implement that and other aspects of the policy which has been endorsed by the people.
POLICE PATROLS OF CANBERRA BUILDINGS Senator NEGUS - My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in his capacity as Attorney-General. Does the Attorney-General consider it necessary to con tinue the 24-hours a day 7-days a week patrol of the Prime Minister’s Lodge and its surrounds by members of the Commonwealth Police? Would it not be sufficient to guard the gates only and by so doing reduce the expenditure now involved? Will the Attorney-General look into this matter and similarly that of certain embassies now being extensively guarded, and advise the Senate of his decision?
– The honourable senator has expressed a proper concern. I have already asked for a report on this matter for it disturbs me that because of the possiblity that some person might throw a bomb or endeavour to do damage at either the’ Prime Minister’s Lodge or a number of embassies in Canberra a great deal of public money is being expended. I do not have the precise figure to hand for the cost of protecting foreign embassies but it is about $500,000 a year. A number of police officers are engaged completely in that duty, and they have to mount a 24-hour guard. I would like to see this public money expended in some better way. If that can be done, it will be done. However, the Senate will understand that the attitude taken by some “foreign embassies is that they are entitled to protection and that Australia must protect them. I think that is right. While certain persons in this country are disposed, as experience has shown, to throw explosives into foreign embassies then we have a duty to ensure that the persons inside those embassies are protected. Similarly the Prime Minister and his family and staff are entitled to protection. If there is any way in which this can be done as effectively and more cheaply than at present, it certainly will be done because it is obvious that this expen.<diture. which is already high, will have to increase as more embassies are established in Canberra. I am searching for a solution to enable effective protection at lesser cost.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Minister initiated an inquiry within his Department to ascertain the loss of income to exporting primary industries resulting from the decisions, firstly, to revalue the Australian dollar in December lust and, more recently, not to devalue along with the United States dollar? If the answer is yes, will the Minister make the findings available to this House7
– As I think I said yesterday in a reply to a question on revaluation, and which I think was made clear also by the Prime Minister in his statement in December last, industries which feel they have suffered disadvantages as a result of the Government’s decision to revalue the dollar in December last are at liberty to make submissions to the Government which will give them proper consideration. The interdepartmental committee which was formed for this purpose is the machinery by which we can make an assessment. This applies also in the case of currency changes in respect of the United States dollar. I do not think it is possible for the Government to make any arithmetical assessment of what any industry has lost specifically in respect of these currency changes. The proper course is for all the industries that feel they are affected to make a properly documented submission to the Government.
– Is the Minister for Works aware that the Canberra branch of the Young Liberal Party recently carried a resolution stating that those who’ benefit from unionism should join unions and contribute to the costs of achieving union benefits? Can the Minister explain the difference between this attitude publicly stated and the attitude of several -members of the Opposition who are publicly opposed to all forms of union membership?
– 1 do not think it is unusual for genuine members of the branches of the Liberal Party to be inclined to believe that there should be payment for services rendered, including payments to trade unions by those who benefit. Of course, politicians adopt a different role in that they seek to use this principle for political advantage. I think that there is a distinction between the attitude of the Liberal Party organisation and the attitude of the more progressive younger sections of the Liberal Party. Some members of the organisation are so contaminated by the political atmosphere that they forget principle in order lo use this matter of unionism for attack.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Following the Minister’s temporary decision to allow the export of 30 merino rams, can he say how. many countries at that time had ordered or. indicated their intention to order merino rams? To which countries were the 30 rams allowed for export to be sent?
– The 30 rams in question were destined for China. I cannot say specifically what other orders were in for merino rams but I will obtain the information for the honourable senator.
– I direct to the Minister for the Media a question which refers to his title in some degree. Does the Minister not agree that no matter what barbarities we may have committed against its original Latin derivation the term ‘media’ would normally be understood by simple -men to include the daily newspapers? Can he explain to the Senate why daily newspapers have been excluded from his care and solicitude? Does such exclusion have any particular political significance?
– Frank Packer would not agree.
– I was thinking of a different baron. Is it a fact that 16 former members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery have now been given positions as public relations officers for Ministers in this new dynamic Government? Does this fact explain so much of the euphoric reporting during last year’s Federal election? In fairness to these PR mcn, would the Minister explain to them that the maximum tenure of office is now something less than 3 years?
– It appears to me that Senator Hannan is implying in his question that members of the Australian Journalists . Association are not abiding by the code of ethics to which they subscribe - and proudly subscribe. According to that we’l known person in the communications area, Marshall McLuhan, ‘media’ is taken by him to refer also to all forms of transport. So the term certainly is all embracing. The honourable senator asked why my portfolio does not cover daily newspapers. As I understand it, constitutionally newspapers are registered in the States under the State newspaper Acts. Therefore they are the responsibility of the State legislatures. The. responsibility for newspapers that are registered within the Australian Capital Territory,. the Northern Territory and other Commonwealth territories would come, I assume, within my portfolio.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. I remind the Senate that more than 6 months have elapsed since the owner of the ‘Straitsman’, the ship specially built for the King Island and Tasmania trade, was sent into liquidation because of the heavy cost of crewing and servicing that ship. I remind the Senate also that the Australian Labor Party gave an unqualified undertaking that as soon as the election was over the shipping service to King Island would be reinstated. I ask the. Minister whether he has had any negotiations with the liquidator or the owner of the Straitsman’ for the use of that vessel in the service. Is the undertaking that the Australian National Line would be immediately responsible for the service still valid? What arrangements now pertain to give King Islanders a. proper shipping service?
– The facts about the shipping service to King Island are unknown to me andI suggest that the senator should place his question on the notice paper. Transport services to King Island have been the concern of this Government and previous governments. Some years ago the previous Government set up a committee to inquire into transport to King Island. The committee submitted a report to the previous Government with recommendations about transport services” to King Island. That report has never been made public. Officers of the Department of Works served on the inter-departmental committee. The Department of Works has done a lot of work on the report and I am now seeking the permission of the departments involved to make public the report that was commissioned by the previous Government. It contains a possible solution to the problem of King Island transport services that has never been tested.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. In taking into account the effect of changes in international currency values on Australia’s export income will the Government review the reported attitude of the Federal Treasurer to the discontinuation of exist ing export incentives to Australian exporters? Economic measurements have shown a currentlack of investment in manufacturing facilities. Will the advice of the Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry be sought by the Treasurer when considering the effect of changes to export incentives presently granted to Australian manufacturing companies?
– Any decision such as that referred to by the honourable senator would be a joint Cabinet decision. That answers the latter part of the honourable senator’s question. I suggest to her that she place the other part of her question on the notice paper and” I will get an answer for her.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether the Government has agreed to provide $750,000 to the egg industry? Is the assistance subject to the proviso that the governments of the mainland States agree to legislate to control egg production? Will the Minister inform the Senate of the present position in each State regarding the introduction of such legislation?
– It is true that in the current financial year the previous administration made a payment of$750,000 to meet the industry’s request to allow an extra 1.5c per dozen to egg producers. There has been a tentative agreement between the Commonwealth and the States in respect of production controls. The current position, as I understand it, is the result of. some differences within the Council of Egg Marketing Authorities. Western Australia introduced production controls some 2 years ago and is at variance with the other States. My information is that this matter may be resolved at the March meeting of CEMA.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Were 18 merino rams shipped from Australia to Bombay after the recent election, with the full authority of the Labor Government, to the order of the leading Indian textile combine, the J.K. organisation? I presume that this would have been in the period of the 2-man government but I am not sure. Is the statement of the JK organisation true that the rams were acquired at an Australian auction last year and that the Whitlam Government, when approached for permission to export the animals, agreed to the shipment - and these words are in italics - provided no fuss was made?
– My attention has been drawn to the fact that a shipment of rams did take place. I am not sure of the details other than that some contract had been entered into before the change of government. I shall check on the details and advise the honourable senator accordingly.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate: In view of the reservations expressed by the honourable Peter Shore in the House of Commons about the advantages to Commonwealth citizens contained in revisions to the British immigration laws, can the Prime Minister’s Department provide an early evaluation of the new British laws as they will apply to Australian nationals?
– I think that is a fair request. 1 will pass it on and I anticipate that the information will be provided. I think it would be useful for all members of the Australian community to know just how the changes which have occurred over the years have affected us.
– I have been listening for 2 days to some of the answers given by the Minister . for Primary Industry and 1 wish to ask him a specific question which will require a specific answer, not necessarily today. Will the Minister advise the Senate how much money will be payable to primary industries to compensate them for the effect of the first revaluation in the Australian currency taken by his Government last December? Will he further advise which industries, if any, will receive compensation and how the total sum of the industries and the total sum of money will be allocated throughout the Commonwealth State by State?
– I. have indicated already that it is not a responsibility of this Government to make some arithmetical calculation in order to determine what rural industries have lost as a result of revaluation. The formula was made quite clear by the Prime
Minister, as it was by the Prime Minister in the previous administration in November 1971: Adjustment payments would be made to those industries which found themselves in difficulties as a result of the revaluation decision. The proper course for industries which feel that they are in this position is to make their submissions to the Commonwealth and they will be given proper consideration.
– My question is directed to the Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is there any truth in the allegation that the Prime Minister, during his Indonesian visit, instructed his staff, including diplomatic staff, to brief Australian journalists so as to denigrate the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Adam Malik, to the effect that Malik was unreliable, erratic and out of favour with the Indonesian Government? Did any such briefing take place by any person, whether directly authorised by the Prime Minister or otherwise?
– I think it is highly unlikely that the any Prime Minister would do such a thing. However, if the honourable senator puts his question on the notice paper I will try to find out about this matter for him as he seems to have an inordinate interest in it.
– I direct a further question to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. Will he, in the interest of open government, table such correspondence and papers as have been exchanged between the Australian National Line and the Minister for Transport, and the interests owning the ‘Straitsman’ and the Minister, for the purpose of resuscitating the shipping service to King Island?
– That is a matter for the Minister for Transport to decide. I will refer the honourable senator’s question to him and obtain, a reply on whether he is prepared to table any papers and, if so, what papers.
– My question, which is addressed to the Special Minister of State, concerns a matter which was the subject of some comments last night by Senator McManus in a debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House, but I seek more specific information, ls the report correct that the Commonwealth Government advised a basketball association that it should cancel a proposed tour of Taiwan and visit Peking instead? If so, on what grounds did the Government intervene in the arrangements made between the sporting bodies of 2 countries? What was the basis of the Government’s intervention? Why were members of a Taiwanese judo team refused permission to compete as a team in Australia but allowed to compete only as individuals?
– Senator Gair already has a question on the notice paper concerning a tour by a women’s basketball team. Therefore J do not think I should deal with that part of the honourable senator’s question.
– You cannot find one about a judo team.
– And the honourable senator has one on judo.
– There is none on judo.
– I think the 2 honourable senators should reverse positions. I think Senator McManus would be the better basketball player and Vince would be the better judo exponent.
– I think you are taking evasive action. Why do you not answer the question?
– A ruling has been given on several occasions about the asking of questions concerning matters that are already the subject of questions on the notice paper. I have some information on the judo team’s visit but I do not have any on the basketball team’s visit. I made inquiries about this matter after the adjournment debate last night. I repeat that a ruling has been given about the asking of questions concerning matters that are already the subject of questions on the notice paper. I will obtain information for both honourable senators as soon as possible.
– Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that amendments to the matrimonial causes rules which came into force on 1st February 1973 are so drafted that their provisions are made in ignorance of amendments made by Statutory Rules No. 195 of 1972? Does he recognise the difficulties in practice if amendments which are made to existing rules mistake the actual rules to be amended? Does he not consider it prudent, in order to avoid similar occurrences in the future, that all legislative drafting should be examined by experienced officers in the office of Parliamentary Counsel? Will he give an assurance to the Senate that parliamentary counsel will be asked to approve all ordinances and subordinate legislation before they come into force?
– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who was formerly the AttorneyGeneral, spent yesterday and is now spending today talking about the drafting of matrimonial causes rules, but he has not given us the benefit, first of all, of his suggestions as to which rules are badly drafted. He has also not taken up my suggestion that, in the interests of the community, any views he has as to how anything ought to be drafted in order to advance the purposes 1 stated - that is, simpler, less expensive and more dignified procedures - ought to be put forward. I would welcome any suggestions he makes. His questions and nit-picking about drafting disclose, I think, a concern that at least somebody is taking action to clean up the previous divorce rules which he was content to allow to remain and which had been condemned universally as too complex, as adding significantly to the cost of divorce and as containing indignities which should have been removed long ago. I suggest again to him that if he has specific proposals I would welcome his suggestions. If the former AttorneyGeneral thinks that there are some drafting errors he should put his suggestions in writing, together with his drafts, and send them to me and I will give full attention to what he thinks should be done now. The only regret is that he did not see fit to take proper action when he had the opportunity to do so. Advice will be taken by me of the appropriate authorities in the Attorney-General’s Department and in the Office of Parliamentary Counsel, from the legal profession and from the community generally as to what should be done to improve the divorce rules further. I hope that this Parliament will be able to proceed fairly speedily with amendments of the Matrimonial Causes Act in order that Australia may have a satisfactory set of divorce laws.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Yes. I call Senator Greenwood.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral, in response to his long commentary, whether the Senate is to take it that he was unaware that the matrimonial causes rules, for which in response to questions I asked he assured the Senate yesterday he would take full responsibility, were drafted in ignorance of the statutory rules which were made late last year. Will he also respond to the last part of the question and give an assurance to the Senate that the Office of Parliamentary Counsel will be asked to approve all ordinances and subordinate legislation, as was the previous position, before those ordinances and subordinate legislation come into force?
– The answer to the first part of the question is no, the rules were not drafted in a state of ignorance. The answer to the second part of the question, as to whether the Office of Parliamentary Counsel will be asked to approve them, is no. The reason for that refusal will be expanded in a statement to be made at greater length. The drafting of Bills and delegated legislation has been a serious problem for the Parliament for many years. Even since I became a member of the Senate complaints have been made about the problem. Attempts have been made to deal with it, but they have not been satisfactory. I wish that more had been done in the past. The reason why I am able to say specifically ‘No’ to the honourable senator is that in general the Office of Parliamentary Counsel will not be asked to approve any regulations or ordinances. I say ‘in general’ because on rare occasions it may be asked to approve them. At the request of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and with the concurrence of the Attorney-General’s Department, the responsibility for the drafting of the regulations and ordinances has been transferred administratively out of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to the Attorney-General’s Department. This is in the interests of greater efficiency and at the specific request of the First Parliamentary Counsel. Except on a rare occasion the approval of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel will not be sought for any regulations or ordinances. On occasions there may be a need for this and the Office is always there to give advice.
– My question is addressed to the Attorney-General. I inquire whether his answer to Senator Greenwood, criticising the former Attorney-General for not introducing amendments to the matrimonial causes rules during his term of office as Attorney-General, means that the present Attorney-General no longer adheres to the view so strongly urged by him when in Opposition that legislative amendments should not be introduced while a Senate committee is conducting an inquiry into the relevant matter. I therefore ask: Does the Attorney-General recognise that his action in introducing the recent amendments to the matrimonial causes rules is a breach of that principle if that principle was as 1 believe it to have been stated by Senator Murphy on a number of occasions? I ask this question in view of the inquiry by the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs into the Matrimonial Causes Act and rules.
– As the honourable senator will recall it was I who moved that there be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs the law and administration of divorce, custody and family matters, with particular regard to oppressive costs, delays, indignities and other injustices. That Committee was able to do some work but I think, in the view of its members, not as much as should have been done. However, some very valuable submissions were put to the Committee. If one goes through the submissions which were put before that Committee one will find some very powerful submissions were made. For example, a submission was put that discretion statements should be removed from the procedures. I think it was agreed on all hands that this should be done as these were an abomination in the law. The view was that they should not stay there for one instant longer. This recommendation was contained in an interim report of the Committee, ft seemed to me quite proper that reference to discretion statements should be removed from the rules. That is part of what has been done. Also powerful submissions were made by judges in New South Wales through the Chief Judge in Divorce that there should be a separation of the ancillary proceedings - that is custody) property matters, alimony and- so forth - from the dissolution. As I recall, thissubmission was supported by the council of marriage guidance organisations.
It seemed to me that this step ought to be taken although the Chief Judge said that thu proceedings should be mandatorily separated. This was not possible under the Act. What was done in the rules was to provide an option for separation. I know that some criticism has been expressed in some legal quarters of that step but this matter was regarded as so important toy those judges, by the council and by some others that I thought it proper that the rules should not continue in’ the way they were written. There were a number of other important alterations to the rules. One will find that there is heavy support for thi changes which have been made in the material which was publicly advanced before the Committee. It is noticeable in the questions which have -been put here that complaints are being made about some undisclosed bad drafting, not about the substance of what has been done and the very important changes in the rules. The Parliament of this country left the rules to be determined by the GovernorGeneral on the advice of the Attorney-General. This is how the system works. It is my responsibility to see mat the rules are the best that can be made within the confine* of the Act. It is not for me, discharging that responsibility, to allow a situation to continue when it is evident that the rules should be altered in the. interests of the community. I have taken steps to initiate those important changes. I have seen nothing to convince me that any change ought to be made in the substance of what has been done. I would welcome any proposals which honourable senators may care to put forward. If honourable senators want to debate the merits of this matter or, as was suggested by Senator Bynoe, think that this; should be considered by the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, I would love to have that done, and as speedily as possible.. At the moment I consider that what has* been done has been properly done. I repeat: If any honourable senator, has any constructive proposal to make then let it be made.
TRADE WITH TAIWAN Senator McMANUS - My question which -directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade springs from my concern at what may happen to the very large volume of trade developed between Australia and Taiwan in recent years, which made Taiwan one of our best customers. I have had in correspondence an assurance from the Minister for Trade in the terms that have been announced also by Senator Willesee. The Minister says that the Government’s policy is that trade with all countries prima facie is desirable, and he refers, of course, to Taiwan. He says also that the Government is prepared to see trade between Australia and Taiwan proceed on a normal commercial basis. I ask the Minister whether he can explain the contradiction that when we have an assurance from the Minister for Trade, confirmed by Senator Willesee, that trade will proceed on a normal commercial basis, Dr Cairns then states that the trade commission based in Taipen has been closed. This type of Government facility will no longer be available to Australian businessmen wishing to sell in Taiwan and, most amazing of all, the Government will not engage m any trade promotional activity in relation to Taiwan. I ask: When Canada, which has not recognised Taiwan,’ and when Japan, which it is said will not recognise Taiwan, are maintaining large trade missions in Taiwan for the purpose of competing with Australian primary and secondary industries, why is our Government allowing these countries to take over all this trade which has been developed in previous years under such difficulties but with such success?
– Although the question was addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, I think it falls more into my area. The situation is that we have made the choice to recognise China. This is a choice that governments throughout the world have had to make and most of the governments of the world have done just that. Coming to this question of trade, the situation is made quite clear in Dr Cairns’ letter, if the honourable senator will look at it. The situation as both Dr Cairns and I have put it is that trade can proceed without let or hindrance from the Australian Government.
– Why did we have to withdraw the trade missions?
– I am just coming to that, if you do not mind. The reason that a trade mission has been taken away from Taiwan and the Australian Government will not send Government trade missions there is that it is not a country which we recognise any more. It is a province of China. Therefore what wc are doing is allowing free trade to go on and allowing people to travel to and from Taiwan. That is the business of the people who do this; it is not a matter in which the Government should intervene. The reason that there is a Japanese trade mission in particular in Taiwan is the historical association and the closer relations that Japan has had with Taiwan. That is the business of Japan. Also, it is the business of Canada that it has a trade mission there. We have made a clear decision.
– Why cannot we have one there when Canada and Japan have one there?
– Because the decision of die Australian Government-
– It is a wrong decision. It is a silly, stupid decision.
– Does the honourable senator want me to answer the question or does he want me to debate the matter?
– You were evading it. I was trying to bring you back on the track.
– I was not evading it. 1 am telling the honourable senator what the Australian Government has done. We have recognised the People’s Republic of China and wc have had a formula in regard to Taiwan. We will allow trade there. We will not have officials calling themselves the Australian trade mission or anything else. We have no official bodies in Taiwan. We do not interfere with trade. The honourable senator has made an allegation that trade is flowing to Canada and Japan to our detriment. I have no evidence of that.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether he agrees with the statement made by Senator Willesee on 28th February 1973 as reported at page 57 of the Senate Hansard when he said:
A referendum can only be an instrument for expressing a legitimate opportunity if the voters are properly informed of the various alternatives which are available and on which the referendum is based.
Will the Minister assure the Senate that he will see to it that those sheep owners who are to be given a vote in the merino ram export ban referendum and those other persons, whoever they may be, to whom he is to grant a vote will be properly informed well in advance of the poll date? Will he also assure the Senate that information about both sides of the referendum question will be supplied to voters and will be given to the Senate weD before the referendum date?
– It is my hope that the suggestions Senator Webster has made can, in fact, bc carried out. I think it is only reasonable that reasoned statements and reasoned arguments should be advanced by both sides in regard to this referendum because it is important. Mr President, may I take this opportunity to reply to a previous question, asked by Senator McManus about merino, rams exports?
– I have been advised since the honourable senator asked the question that the rams to which he referred which were exported to India were bought last Sep-; tauber and permission to export them was given on 26th November, before the general.’ election date. I understand that, at the time; the rams were exported from Australia, the’ Prime Minister had no knowledge whatsoever, of the fact that they were being exported.
– I direct a question to, the Minister for Primary Industry. What is the attitude of the Government in respect of the manufacture and distribution of synthetic, meats in Australia? Will the Government ensure that these artificial products are clearly’ described as such in labelling and advertising’ and not allowed to be presented as genuine meat? 1 Senator WRIEDT- I understand that there is one manufacturer of synthetic meats in Australia. There is also a small import trade of about 150 tons from the United States of America. Quite rightly, the previous government was keeping a close eye on this situation. I understand that agreements have been reached with health authorities in respect of labelling so that distinctions can be made properly in accordance with the requirements of the National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations. I think that a more significant point and one which will be of major concern to us in the future is the projections for the increase in the usage of synthetic meats both in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. JJ those projections prove to be correct, this must have a significant impact on our exports of meats to those countries. I think that the action taken by the previous administration was wise and. in the main, the present government will maintain a similar surveillance of the position.
– For the purpose of clarification, I ask a question of the Minister who represents the Minister for Health and the Minister for Social Security. I think that many people are as confused as I am. Where is the demarcation between the 2 portfolios? I asked a question concerning the Department of Health and was told that it was a matter concerning the Minister for Social Security. Could the position be explained? I am not trying to disparage anyone. I would like to have this matter cleared up in order to ascertain where the responsibility of one Department ends and the responsibility of the other one begins. If a question is asked concerning the Department of Health, I presume that it will be answered by the Minister for Health. If not, why not abolish the Health portfolio?
– The Leader of the Government in the Senate is in charge of this matter. He will answer the question.
– The honourable senator’s question really- relates to the ministerial arrangements. The demarcation between the 2 Ministers is established under the order made by the Governor-General which sets out &e ministerial arrangements. That order which was published on 20th December 1972 sets out in respect of each department the principal matters with which it deals and the enactments administered by the respective Minister. For example, in the Department of Health the principal matters dealt with are public health including hospitals, community health and dental services, research, preventive medicine, pharmaceutical benefits, quarantine, health services in the Northern Terri tory, the Australian Capital Territory and Norfolk Island. A considerable number of enactments are referred to, starting with the Acoustic Laboratories Act 1948 and ending with the World Health Organisation Act 1947-1963. Included also, for example, are the State Grants (Nursing Homes) Act 1969 and the State Grants (Milk for School Children) Act 1950.
– May I suggest that the Minister arrange for copies of the administrative arrangements to be placed in every senator’s desk?
– I accept what Senator Byrne has interpolated as I think it would be satisfactory. The principal matters dealt with by the Minister for Social Security are national social security schemes including invalid and age pensions, maternity allowances, widows pensions, child endowment, unemployment and sickness benefits, health benefits, schemes, national superannuation, national compensation, national rehabilitation service, aged persons’ homes, assistance for sheltered workshops and handicapped children. The list of Acts administered by the Minister for Social Security starts with the Aged Persons Homes Act 1954-1972 and ends with the United States Naval Communication Station (Civilian Employees) Act 1971- 1972. Mr President, I think it would be convenient if copies of the ministerial arrangements were obtained for all honourable senators and I will see that they are circulated to honourable senators.
– I have already ensured that this be done, and copies have been distributed to all honourable senators.
– I thank you, Mr President.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. I refer to the Government’s well publicised announcement of general increases in the defence services pay and allowances. Is it not a fact that because certain allowances and increments have been cancelled and the increases made taxable, most defence services officers are now worse off financially than they were before such increases were made? If this is in fact the position, will the Minister take appropriate action to. correct this anomaly?
– The honourable senator has been misled about this matter. The pay arrangements which have now been made, and for which legislation will be soon forthcoming, provide the first occasion upon which pay for the Services has been rationalised and the pay rates between the different services brought into line. These have been related-
– I referred only to Service officers.
– This covers everyone. The fact is that all are bound up with the same issue. For the first time these officers and men have been related to their counterparts in civilian employment,
– I agree about the men.
– You cannot take only one section. The fact is that our pay propositions have been welcomed by the servicemen, by their representative bodies, by the Returned Services League and by everybody else. As happens in all great new ventures in pay arrangements, there are some who will not get the increases which they expected when the review was made. However, I assure the honourable senator that, as I think he well knows the pay provisions have been stated to be a breakthrough in conditions for servicemen. It is one of the foundations of Labor Party policy. We suggested that to attract effective volunteer professional officers we would need new pay arrangements. The committee of inquiry which was set up included very specialised officers of great experience in arbitration. One was Mr Deverall. I know from my own contacts with the Services, including officers, that the arrangements will be welcome. The honourable senator will of course have an opportunity to examine the anomalies he has mentioned when the legislation is introduced.
– I direct my question to the Loader of the Government in the Senate. Does the Australian Labor Government recognise South Vietnam? Has the Australian Labor Government now officially recognised North Vietnam? Does the Australian Labor Government now recognise that there are 2 Vietnams - North and South - as separate countries?
– Mr President, I think this is an appropriate question for Senator Willesee.
– Yes, we recognise South Vietnam. Yes, we recognise North Vietnam. We believe that Vietnam should be one nation. However, one must take into consideration the fact that other governments recognise North Vietnam, Both governments in Vietnam are in effective control of very large parts of the country. We will be supplying aid to both in the very near future. They are going to be beard in this area, and because of that we have decided with other governments of the world to recognise the Democratic Republic of North Vietnam.
– My question is directed, to the Attorney-General. Will he now answer those parts of my question asked yesterday - it was placed on the notice paper - which are both within his own knowledge and require only <a yes or no answer? One part was:
Is the Attorney-General awus that on 22nd February 1913 the then Acting Prime Minister stated that the Commonwealth Government had decided not to seek leave to intervene in the High Court case involving the question of the constitutional validity of the Tasmanian tobacco tax?
The other part was:
Was the Attorney-General consulted prior to the statement being made?
– I regret that I cannot. I wanted to be able to answer this question fully for the honourable senator today but owing simply to the pressure of other things I am not able to do so. If I can do so some time today, I will give him a full answer.
– Can you answer now those parts which are within your own knowledge?
– No, I would like to give a full answer in order to clarify the position and I will endeavour to do so today. . Simply as a result of the pressure of other events I am not able to do so now.
– My question is directed to the Special Minister of State. In view of the Minister’s answer that Taiwan was a province of China, can he inform the Senate whether that view was held by bis Party before the 10th October celebrations at the Embassy of the Republic of China where, at the invitation of His Excellency Ambassador Chen, many Labor members attended and expressed by their presence and enjoyment of the hospitality generously provided, their support for Taiwan? Did the Australian Labor Party members there present join in the toast to the Republic of China, which recognised that Taiwan was a separate entity to the Communist Government of China, or did’ -they refuse to drink?
– 1 do not know what this has to do with the Special Minister of State. What people do-
– Earlier today you said in answer to a question that Taiwan is a province of China.
– Order! I doubt whether the private hospitality of a diplomatic mission which is accredited to Australia should be the subject matter of questions in the Senate. A matter of propriety is involved, 1 think.
– May I point out that the question asks whether the Minister’s Party held that view before the I 10th October celebrations. The rest of it is merely ancillary.
– I will leave the question to the Special Minister of State who is involved wilh problems of protocol.
– The honourable senator is asking me to go back into history, to 1948, and to relate that to what wc did on or before 10th October - the double 10. He did not say which year.
– 10th October 1972.
– Yes, prior to I 10th October 1972 we did consider that there should be recognition of China as one China.
– Yet you still went to the party.
– Yes, we did.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Is the Minister aware that an Aboriginal transport company known as Leena Coachline and Tour Ltd is unable to expand because of lack of funds? Is the Minister also aware that a loan approved some months ago from a fund administered by the Federal Government has not come through, despite telegrammed pleas to the Minister concerned?
– Cabinet has approved of an additional grant for Aboriginal welfare and activities. Further, interdepartmental arrangements have been made to try to improve the conditions of Aborigines. Arrangements have just been made whereby if my Department has work to perform in any location where Aboriginals are producing a commodity thai can be used in construction, the officers of my department must have discussions with the Minister for Aboriginal 1 1 103/73 - -s - 16)
Affairs before they draw up specifications for contracts, with a view to trying to assist this section of our community. I do not know the details concerning this transport company. I shall take up the question with the Minister to see whether there is anything that he can do to preserve this company, if it truly is in the interests of Aboriginal welfare.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Did the Prime Minister, as alleged in the publication ‘Inside Canberra’ of 16th February of this year cause his Press advisers to confer wilh the President of the Parliamentary Press Gallery about the best way to leak a story on the secret Australian intelligence unit operating in Singapore? Did the Prime Minister arrange a restricted Press briefing for such a purpose?
– I do not know the answer to the honourable senator’s question.
– Will you find out?
– If he wants me to address the question to the Prime Minister to ascertain whether the Prime Minister wants to pursue this matter, I will do that. It seems to me that if honourable senators are going to spend a lot of their time asking questions about conversations that Prime Ministers or Ministers have with their staffs or with their acquaintances, and other matters, we are going to get far removed from the seeking of information about public affairs. However, I will refer the matter to the Prime Minister for his attention.
– My question is directed to the Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Earlier Senator McManus asked the Minister a question which had as one of its premises that Canada maintains a trade office in Taiwan. Can the Minister say whether this assertion is true or whether it is just another figment of the fantasy world in which the Australian Democratic Labour Party exists?
– Order, I wish that honourable senators, including Senator Donald Cameron who has just resumed his seat, would look at the rules relating to the asking of questions which appear on the back of the question papers in their desks.
– It appears that there is some confusion about this matter. The information we have in the Department of Foreign Affairs is that there is no official Canadian trade representation in Taiwan. That is the official news we have, and I find that the Department is generally right. It could well be that prominent Canadian private trading companies are operating in Taiwan in the same way as I think there will be Australian companies operating in Taiwan. But there are no official government trading posts in Taiwan.
– Will the Special Minister for State ascertain whether it is a fact that Canada has now displaced Australia as Taiwan’s fourth biggest trading partner? Is the report correct that Canada is supplying Taiwan with a research nuclear reactor?
– 1 ask the
Attorney-General: In view of his previous statement that the Office of Parliamentary Counsel would no longer have any function of drafting ordinances, regulations, rules, proclamations and legislative instruments or other documents which have the force of law, has he a present intention of asking Parliament to amend the Parliamentary Counsel Act which expressly gives to the Parliamentary Counsel those functions which the Attorney-General has taken away from them?
– I discussed that matter with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel. Although it appeared that an amendment might be made to the Act. I took the view that it ought not really be made. This was an administrative arrangement. It might still be that the Parliamentary Counsel on occasions will draft regulations or ordinances of this character. I think it could not be a proper construction of the Parliamentary Counsel Act that nobody else could draft a regulation or ordinance except the Parliamentary Counsel. This would be nonsense. Of course, private members can draft them and other people can draft them. The Act sets out the functions. These are the things that might be done by the Parliamentary Counsel. I took the view that it was not necessary to amend the Act.
Of course, what is proper is that the Parliament be informed of the arrangements which were to be made. I hope the Senate will be satisfied that this is an attempt to deal with a very difficult problem. When I was overseas at the Law Ministers Conference I found that almost all Ministers were having problems in this regard. 1 have taken steps to do what I can to cope with the situation, particularly as we will have a very heavy legislative programme. These proposals seem to commend themselves to those who have the responsibilities. I think that it is not necessary to amend the Act. However, if the honourable senator thinks it is important that it bc done and if he can suggest why it is necessary that it be done, 1 am quite happy to consider it further. But I take the view that it is not necessary to amend the Act.
– I ask the Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Having regard to this Governments dynamic response to public opinion, is he aware that the current gallup poll shows that 2 out of every 3 people favour the recognition of Taiwan?
– No. I did not know that a referendum had found that.
– No, a gallup poll.
– I did not know that a gallup poli had found that.
– I direct a question to the Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is it not a fact that we recognise Bangladesh? Why do we recognise Bangladesh and not Taiwan? Is it not a fact that Bangladesh is a break-away area from Pakistan, just as the people of Taiwan recognise that they are a break-away area from China?
– It is true that the previous Liberal-Country Party Government recognised Bangladesh.
– You still do, do you not?
– Of course we do. I do not know how far back I have to start with Senator Wood in order to put this into order. Yes, Senator Wood’s Government recognised Bangladesh. Yes, we continue to recognise Bangladesh. I will explain once again that the situation regarding China and
Taiwan was that we made a decision, as have most governments in the world. The Government of Taiwan has claimed to be the Government of the whole of China. On the other hand, the Government of the People’s Republic of China has made a similar claim. Taiwan controls about 15 million people and the People’s Republic controls 700 million people. As was the case with many other governments, we decided to recognise What has been a fact now for nearly a quarter of a century. Because of that we do not recognise the Government of Taiwan as being the government controlling the whole of the Chinese people. We have recognised the Government of the People’s Republic of China and have taken note of its view that Taiwan is one of its provinces.
– I direct my question to the Special Minister of State, ls it not a fact mat recognition is given to the Government of Bangladesh because that Government had established the claim that it controlled Bangladesh territory? Has not the Taiwanese Government established the fact that it has been in control of Taiwanese territory since 19497 On that criterion, is it not entitled to recognition bv this country as the Government in control of the territory? ls it not a fact that the People’s Republic of China has had no control or authority over Taiwan since 1949?
– No, it is not.
– Yesterday I said that I would inform the Senate of the date of the introduction of the regulations prohibiting, without the consent of the Minister, the export of skins of various indigenous animals, including kangaroos. The date of the introduction of the regulations was 14th November 1923.
– Pursuant to section 28 of the Australian Film Development Corporation Act 1970, ] present the second annual report of the Australian Film Development Corporation for the year ended 30th June 1972, together with financial statements and the Auditor-General’s Report on those statements.
– Pursuant to section 29 of the Dairy Produce Export Control Act 1924- 1972, 1 present the annual report of the Australian Dairy Produce Board for the year ended 30th June 1972. A preliminary report of the Board was presented to the Senate on 20th September 1972.
– Pursuant to section 16 of the Chicken Meat Research Act 1969, I present the third annual report of the Australian Chicken Meat Research Committee for the year ended 30th June 1972.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) - by leave - agreed to:
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until 3 p.m. on Tuesday next and that unless otherwise ordered the Senate stand adjourned this day at 4.45 p.m.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.1.5 p.m.
– ls General Business, Notice of Motion No. 5, standing in the name of Senator Murphy, formal or not formal?
Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to abolish capital punishment under the laws of the Commonwealth and under certain other laws in relation to which the do we rs of the Parliament extend.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Standing orders suspended.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to abolish the death penalty in laws under the jurisdiction of the Australian Parliament, except Papua
New Guinea laws. It is now almost 5 years since the Senate first passed the Bill for this purpose. The Bill is identical to one which was passed by the Senate last year, but which then remained on the notice paper of the House of Representatives until that House was dissolved. The Australian Labor Party has long had the abolition of the death penalty as a major plank in its platform of social and legal reform, which is supported by the majority of the Australian people and the trend of world-wide opinion. It is therefore fitting that the first Bill which I introduce into this Senate as Attorney-General should be a Bill to which the Senate has previously given its assent and which will give effect to the wishes of a substantial majority of (he Australian people.
It is appropriate that I should remind the Senate of the present position in Australia. At present the only domestic crime in the mainland territories for which the death penally is retained is murder. Federal laws make punishable by death treason, certain crimes committed on board aircraft, the killing of a person protected by the Geneva Convention and certain crimes covered by the defence legislation. The death penalty has been abolished in New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania, lt remains on the statute book of Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia. Attempts have been made to abolish the death penalty in South Australia but the legislation has failed to pass the upper chamber in that State. A Bill to abolish capital punishment was passed by the lower house of the Western Australian Parliament last year and 1 understand it is to be further considered by the upper house in that State this year.
The last occasion on which the sentence of death was carried out in Australia was in Victoria in 1967. Hopefully Ryan, who was hanged then, will be the last man to die on the gallows in Australia. No sentence of death in the Australian Capital Territory has ever been carried out. The death penalty was carried out on 2 occasions in the Northern Territory, once in 1913 and again in 1952, where 2 men convicted of murder were hung. There has been no execution for an offence against federal law. There have been no executions in Norfolk Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands or Christmas Island since those Territories came under Australian administration.
I turn now to the effect of the Bill. Clause 4 of the Bill expressly provides that a person is not liable to the punishment of death for any offence. The effect of clause 5 of the Bill is to substitute a penalty of life imprisonment in any case where, under a federal Act or the law of a Territory other than Papua New Guinea, a person would be liable to the punishment of death. The Bill will apply, as I have already indicated, to all federal law and to the laws of all Territories other than Papua New Guinea. It does not, of course, apply to State laws. It will, however, apply in relation to offences committed in Commonwealth places and which are punishable by death under law of the State in which the Commonwealth place is situated. Except to that extent, the Australian Parliament could not constitutionally effect the abolition of the death penalty under State law.
The Bill now before the House does not apply to Papua New Guinea laws, lt is appropriate that the Papua New Guinea House of Assembly should itself decide whether the death penalty should be abolished in laws over which that House has jurisdiction.
The Legislative Council for the Northern Territory has many times attempted to abolish the death penalty in the Northern Territory. That this should be done was clearly in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the people in the Territory. Under the present Government the Legislative Council has at last achieved the passage of a Bill for that purpose. At the meeting of the Council just concluded a Bill to abolish the death penalty passed the Council for the first time with the support of the official members. That ordinance will of course be overtaken by this Bill when it is passed, but it was fitting that the Council should have at last been able to achieve the reform it had so long sought.
When I introduced the previous Bill in this chamber to abolish the death penalty I discussed at some length the arguments in favour of abolition. They are to be found in the Senate Hansard for 29th April 1971 at page 1176. I do no more at this stage than summarise the arguments that have previously been put in favour of abolition.
There is a world-wide trend against the death penalty. Although the death penalty is commonly considered to be a deterrent, the statistics show that the abolition of the death penalty is not followed by an increase in the murder rate. The argument that the death penalty is a deterrent therefore finds no statistical support. Moreover, many murders are committed in circumstances where the offender does not calculate the consequences of his crime. We rightly place a high value on the sanctity of human life. For the State to lake a life lowers regard for the sanctity of life and reduces its value in the public mind. The death penalty allows no room for the possibility of corrective action where a person has been mistakenly convicted. There are cases both in Australia and elsewhere where it has been found after the conviction of a man for murder that either the act was committed by someone else or that fresh evidence has become available which made the conviction unsafe. I do not overlook the special problems that arise from the murder of law enforcement or prison officers, but I do not myself accept that as a sufficient justification lor retention of the death penalty even in that limited class of case. As I have previously said in this chamber, it seems to me that it should not be beyond our technoligical capacity to construct prisons in which those who are dangerous may be kept without undue risk to the life of those whose job it is to guard them.
I am confident that the Senate will again accept the validity Of these arguments and will ensure that this Bill has a speedy passage. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Greenwood) adjourned.
– Is Government Business, Notice of Motion No. 6, standing in the name of Senator Murphy, formal or not formal?
Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the Australian Capital Territory Evidence (Temporary, Provisions) Act 1971-1972.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Standing orders suspended.
– 1 move:
That the Bill be now read a second time
The purpose of this Bill is to extend for a further 6 months the operation of the Australian Capital Territory Evidence (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972. The Evidence Ordinance 1971 of the Australian Capital Territory was intended to effect a sweeping revision of the law of evidence in the Australian Capital Territory. It was disallowed by the Senate in August 1971, on the ground that it contained important new provisions which should be open to scrutiny and debate in the Parliament. Following the disallowance the then Attorney-General stated that the effect of that disallowance was to leave the Australian Capital Territory without important substantive rules of evidence.
The Evidence (Australian Capital Territory) Bill 1972 was subsequently introduced, in terms substantially similar to those of the Ordinance, but was referred for consideration by the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. The Standing Committee had not completed its consideration of the Evidence Bil] before the election last year. In the meantime, 2 so-called temporary provisions Acts have been passed in order to preserve in force the provisions of the disallowed Ordinance while the new substantive Act was being considered. They were the Australian Capital Territory Evidence (Temporary Provisions) Act 1971 and the Act of 1972 of the same name, which kept the provisions of the Ordinance in force until 31st March 1973. I am now considering introducing legislation to establish a federal code of evidence, which would apply in both the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. It is obvious that legislation for this purpose could not be enacted before 31st March next, and some further extension of the existing temporary arrangement is required. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Greenwood) adjourned.
– Is Government Business, Notice of Motion No. 7, standing in the name of Senator Cavanagh, formal or not formal?
– Formal, I think, subject to leave being given to Senator Wright to make a statement.
– The motion is not formal. I will be seeking leave to make a statement when the motion is proposed.
Reference to Public Works Committee
– The Public Works Committee has already considered the question of the construction of a freeway to be known as the Palmerston arterial road at Darwin in the Northern Territory. I understand that at the time the Public Works Committee considered the proposal it had before it plans showing 5 routes for the freeway and that route No. 3 was publicised by being displayed in the Administration office in Darwin where those who were interested in the construction of a freeway were able to consider the plan. Certain evidence was put before the Public Works Committee which considered that the plan displayed was route No. 1. However it finally accepted route No. 3. Because of the wrong plan being displayed, those who were affected by route No. 3 are in a state of consternation at the present time because its construction will mean the abolition of, 1 believe, some 12 pensioner dwellings. Senator McLaren has raised this matter in this chamber on 2 occasions. He has pointed out that there is considerable opposition to the route accepted by the Public Works Committee. Everyone connected with the Public Works Committee, including my Department, is of the belief that the proposal for the construction of this road should be again referred to the Public Works Committee for the taking of further evidence, including evidence from the residents whose dwellings will be demolished if the present proposal is undertaken.
– The Minister should qualify the statement he just made that all of the members of the Public Works Committee were of the same opinion.
– I will. The proposal was carried on the voting of the Public Works Committee with one dissension. The dissenting voice was that of Mr James, who was then a member of the Public Works Committee. He proposed a separate route for the freeway. I believe that the previous Minister for Works, Senator Wright, wishes to make a statement on this matter. I formally move:
That in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972 the following proposed work, upon which the Public Works Committee has duly reported to Parliament, be again referred to the Committee for further consideration and report, having regard to the strong public reactions to various aspects of this project some of which were not voiced at the lime of the public hearing in Darwin last year:
Proposed construction of the Palmerston arterial road at Darwin. Northern Territory.
– I rise simply to explain that the reason why this is not a formal motion is that it is a motion to re-commit to the Public Works Committee for reconsideration a decision that the Committee has taken. The motion being before the Senate, I rise as the previous Minister for Works to recall. I hope to the satisfaction of all sides of the Senate, the fact that in this chamber just a little over 3 months ago it was said that a delegation which was present in Canberra from Darwin could not gel an audience from a representative of the Government. I responded with some strength to say that 1 was available to interview the delegation at any hour before midnight or after breakfast the next morning. 1 had the satisfaction of receiving Senator McLaren with the delegation. I instituted inquiries in consequence of the representations which satisfied me that the reconsideration of the decision, whatever be the imperfections of the notice given and whatever be the informalities of the advertisement displayed, was desirable on the grounds that substantial evidence had been put forward of alternative points of view. I do not wish to prejudge this matter in any way. I have risen simply to say that 1 welcome the proposal the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) has now put forward that this project be reconsidered by the Public Works Committee, which will give satisfaction to the Senate and, I believe, the members of the community in which it is proposed to construct this project. I am very glad that this motion has come before us.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
- -Mr President, pursuant to my contingent notice of motton, I move:
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move:
I wish to speak briefly in explanation of what I have done, Mr President. The purpose of this motion is to enable Senator Greenwood to bring on Business of the Senate, Notice of Motion No. 2, standing in his name, which states that the Senate disapproves those Determinations made under the Public Service Arbitration Act as are set forth on the front page of the notice paper.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move:
The purpose which the Opposition has in mind in moving this motion is threefold. The first purpose is to reveal to the Senate and to the Australian public that an election promise which was made by the Australian Labor Parly is not being honoured in the fullness of the terms in which it was made. A promised benefit which was to be available to all Commonwealth employees is to be available now only to those Commonwealth employees who are members of an organisation. The second purpose is to object to the policy which is being implemented, lt is discriminatory, it is unfair, it lacks merit and it creates in the Public Service a division which is not in the interests of this country. The third ground of objection is that the Government seek, contrary to all the assertions of the new Government that it believes in openness in government, to bypass the process of Parliament. The matter is already contained in legislation. If the benefit is to be granted it should be done by amending legislation.
I propose to elaborate these points in turn, but I feel that it is important that the Senate should appreciate that the Opposition does not deny the right of the Government to implement its promise that all Commonwealth employees shall be granted 4 weeks annual leave.
The Opposition, when it was in government, had recognised the flow-on potential of a government decision in this area and had doubted the ability of the economy, in times of increasing cost pressures, to sustain an increase of that magnitude. It was an issue in the election campaign. The people voted in the Labor Party. As I see it, they voted in the Labor Party not on a platform which was kept well hidden during the campaign but on the basis of the statement of the present Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam). He said, in words which were quite explicit: ‘All Commonwealth employees will receive 4 weeks annual leave’. By asking the Senate to disapprove the determinations the Opposition is asking the Senate to say that 4 weeks annual leave shall not be granted by means of k Public Service Arbitrator’s determination implemented by Public Service Board circulars.
We are asking the Semite to disapprove determinations and the consequences which flow from them which limit the benefit to members of recognised organisations only. We believe that the Government has an obligation, which we would not seek to defeat, to grant 4 weeks annual leave to all Commonwealth public servants. Its obligation could be discharged very simply by legislation, if the determinations are disapproved. It could be effected very simply by legislation because at the moment the Public Service Act contains an express provision that 3 weeks annual leave is the recreation leave to which all Commonwealth employees are entitled. Subject to what the draftsmen might say as to whether it would be a sufficient and adequate amendment, I would believe that a simple Bill which substituted the word ‘four’ for the word three’ would achieve that purpose. The Opposition believes that if that were done the Government would be acting in accordance with the promise which it made.
It is important that we recognise that the Government has departed from its pre-election promise and is seeking to limit to some a benefit which it promised to all. Let there be no doubt about this matter because, with a measure of equivocation which has become even more highlighted now than it was when the Government was in opposition, the Prime
Minister is obscuring the real issues which are involved in this matter. I have stated the promise in the policy speech of the Australian Labor Party. All people who look at the New Testament’ may find out precisely what was said. It was clear and unequivocal. Notwithstanding that it creates a burden on the economy, the power of the Government to give effect to that promise is unquestioned. No amount of dissembling can avoid the clear and expressed consequence of the words which were used. The Australian Labor Party was not elected on its platform; it was elected on the policy speech which its leader made to the people of Australia. Through the combined effect of the determinations made by the Public Service Arbitrator and a Public Service application of those determinations, the Government is implementing a policy which is inconsistent with its stated election promise. The Prime Minister has made several statements on the issue. I refer firstly to what he said after a Cabinet meeting - I think it was the first Cabinet meeting after the 2- man government ceased - on 20th December 1972, The Prime Minister’s statement was:
The first meeting ot Labor’s Cabinet decided not to oppose the claim for extra leave by Commonwealth public servants. The extra leave provisions will apply only to members of recognised unions and associations involved in work within the Service.
Yesterday the Prime Minister was asked whether he proposed to implement the election promise. As 1 said, he equivocated. He said:
One of the first decisions the Government made . . . was to implement that promise. We arc resolute that it shall be honoured. The principle that we have in mind is that this industrial benefit should go lo those who, through their membership of organisations, have fought for it and secured it.
So it is a limited benefit which is available for some and not for all.
– Hear, hear.
– 1 note Senator Cavanagh’s interjection, lt is somewhat inconsistent with his statement only yesterday that he did not favour compulsory unionism. Compulsory unionism is being forced on the Public Service by coercion because if a person does not join a union he will be entitled to only 3 weeks leave. As I have said, it is unfair and discriminatory and it strikes at the very basis of even handed treatment which should be the guide and criterion upon which the Public Service is maintained, lt always has been the basis on which the Public Service has been maintained. The Labor Party, which preached to the people of Australia that it would avoid division, is creating, by its very early acts, a division in a Service which has standards which I believe any country would seek to maintain.
One must assume that the case for 4 weeks annual leave was made out because it went before the Public Service Arbitrator, the organisations were seeking it, the Government did not oppose it, the Public Service Board - whether by direction I am unable to say - agreed to the proposal and by consent 4 weeks annual leave was granted by the Public Service Arbitrator in the determinations which he made on 12th January. If that claim for 4 weeks annual leave was made out it was made out for all public servants and not just those who were or who might become members of organisations. If 4 weeks annual leave is to be granted to only some employees, lel it be granted on a basis which is understandable and which has some justice to it. For example, if it could be established, which I doubt, that some people work harder than others and are more deserving than others they may be entitled to 4 weeks or 5 weeks annual leave as against those employees who are entitled to the statutory minimum of 3 weeks annual leave. That would be understandable, although I think its implementation would be virtually impossible to attain. There is no merit or justice in simply saying that members of unions shall have 4 weeks annual leave and people who are not members of unions shall have only 3 weeks annual leave. If any Government supporter is prepared to assert that there is justice in that proposition, 1 am sure that not only this Senate bur the people of Australia will be interested to hear what curious collection of words can justify such discriminatory treatment. Wc in this country accept that there should be equality of opportunity and even handed treatment among those who are in employment.
The Australian Labor Party is seeking to grant a benefit to some and to deny a benefit to others. I have said before and I repeat that this is discriminatory and unfair, lt is not even-handed, treatment. One could search through the many documents which explain why we have a Public Service Board, why the Public Service Board was created many years ago and why the institution of a Public Service Board is not only desirable in the administration of the industrial relations of those who are Commonwealth employees but also why the Australian Labor Party has generally supported the concept over the years. I refer lo a document which I think sets out simply, clearly and with purpose the role of the Public Service Board in industrial relations. I shall read some extracts from a speech delivered by the former chairman of the Public Service Board, Sir Frederick Wheeler. The speech was delivered to the First National Convention of the Industrial Relations Society of Australia in, I think, 1970. Sir Frederick, with regard to the Public Service stated: it is the need for consistent and even-handed treatment of staff across all the separate areas of Commonwealth employment which is a major element in “the need for co-ordination … the same need for consistent and even-handed treatment of staff requires a systematic approach, and an approach based on principle. . . .
I quote those extracts to indicate the principle in case there should be some denial of them. At a later stage he stated:
The. nature of the Commonwealth system required the Board-
That is the Public Service Board - to administer pay and conditions matters on the basis of the even-handed application of a consistent set of principles.
He slated further: . . there can be no justification for anything other than even-handed treatment by the Commonwealth, in its role as an employer.
I ask everybody to reflect upon the situation which can develop in the Commonwealth Public Service if there is discriminatory treatment in relation to pay and conditions “Which are applicable to certain persons. If, as the practice is now working out, only some. members of a union are entitled to 4 weeks leave and others are not entitled to 4 weeks leave, how will they react against their political masters who impose this decision upon them? This creates a type of division and, maybe, a lack of loyalty which, fortunately, has never been a serious problem in the Commonwealth Public Service. It creates a situation where others may seek to do in a political direction what-the Labor Party is doing in this area. I can imagine the outcry which would come from members of the Australian Labor Party if a decision were made by a government of a different colour that the only persons who were to have 4 weeks annual leave were those who were prepared to vole for a party other than the Labor Party. This would be condemned as discriminatory and unfair. Of course it would be unfair. But at the present time what we have is a policy which applies only, to members of unions. and not to all members of the Public Service. This pro cedure which has been followed has certain consequences in terms of its application. In the first place, as I said, it applies only to members of unions. To say that a person shall receive 4 weeks leave only if he is a member of a union is to deny to a person an essential freedom. We on this side of the chamber will always assert that it is for an individual to decide whether he shall join an organisation. There have to be over-riding considerations of public utility to break down the rule that a person should have a freedom to decide whether he snail join an organisation. The practical effect of what has been done is that if’ a person does not join he will be denied an extra weeks leave.
– He could not make up his mind as to whether he went to Vietnam.
– 1 find it interesting that a party which has condemned conscription which has been used for the defence of this country and which had wide and generous statutory grounds of exemption should seek to impose conscription in the industrial area where the Government does not allow conscientious objection on a general basis. If that inconsistency is something the honourable senator can explain I shall await with interest what he has to say. What is being done is a form of economic blackmail and coercion. It seeks to bring in obliquely, by a backdoor move, compulsory unionism. If the Labor Party had the courage of what it is now doing it would have been prepared to tell the Australian people during the election campaign it was proposing to introduce this measure. But it lacked that courage because it knew that it would not have the electoral appeal to enable it to secure the’ success for which it was looking.
– Where is the restriction to trade unions in. determination No. 23?
– The restriction in Nos. 23 to 29 is to be found if the honourable senator reads the original determination relating to the general conditions of employment plus the provision - I do not know whether it is in No. 23 but it is in some of the determinations - that it shall apply to members of organisations. I will not be diverted simply because Senator Cavanagh desires to take some technical or legal points. He is well aware that the result of that determination and the Public Service Board’s interpretation of it is that only members of unions on 1st January this year will be entitled to 4 weeks leave. I hear no interjection from Senator Cavanagh to suggest that that position is untrue. If the honourable senator is to get up during this debate and say that ali Commonwealth public servants, irrespective of whether they are members of a union, will be entitled to 4 weeks annual leave, I will welcome that and we will reconsider our position in the light of that statement. But if he is not prepared to do that I say only that the reason why this .public service determination limits this benefit to members of unions has its origin and is basically dependent upon these determinations which the Senate is being asked to disapprove. If the Senate does disapprove these determinations then, as I have asserted repeatedly, legislation can be introduced to give effect to the Government’s promise to grant 4 weeks leave to all Commonwealth public servants and this Opposition will not oppose that proposal. I feel that if it were done that way it would accord with the somewhat rash promise of the Labor Party to abide by openness in government, and it would also ensure that we keep the Labor Party honest and in accordance with its election promise. But I revert to the point from which I was diverted by Senator Brown.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! There is too much conversation.
– I can only regret that the Government senators seem to be arguing among themselves. I am a little surprised that this should be another issue upon which divisions are apparently emanating - in the Labor Party. Why should people be forced to join an organisation which they do not wish to join? We know that at the last election a number of unions committed very substantial funds to support the Australian Labor Party. I am sure that many members of those unions were not members of. supporters of or voters for the Australian Labor Party. Why should a person be compelled against his will to pay union dues which he knows will be applied to support a political party with which he may not be in agreement? It is a decision which he may make if he wishes to do so but he should be given the utmost freedom in which to exercise a choice. He should not be- coerced m the area of working conditions on the basis that he will get favourable conditions if he joins a union but he will get unfavourable conditions if he does not. What would be the attitude of the
Australian Labor Party if an employer were to say that those who do not belong to a union will get 4 weeks leave but those who do belong to a union will get only 3 weeks leave? I can just imagine the noise of protest which would resound throughout Australia about the discrimination and the lack of justice in such a proposal. Yet in the opposite way that is what is being suggested ‘ by the Labor Party today. I have been in this chamber, for some 5 years and I have heard from the Labor Party-
– What about your law society? What do they say?
– What about dilutee lawyers?
– You ask Senator Murphy about dilutee lawyers.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order!
– 1 can only suggest that the truth does hurt. These interjections can have the purpose only of preventing a fair hearing of a point. - of view. We of the Opposition will seek at all times to assert our point of view, and . we know and I think the Government knows also that we will not be silenced. As I said, 1 have been in this chamber for a number of years and 1 have heard members of the Labor Party on many occasions place great reliance upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a pity that Senator Murphy who ha« often espoused the principles of that Declaration is not here at the present time to indicate where he stands on this issue in the light of what is contained in that Declaration. I refer the Senate to article 20 of that Declaration which states that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and, secondly, that no-one may be compelled to belong to an association.
– Nobody is compelling them to join an association.
– I hear from Senator McLaren that no-one is compelling anybody to join an organisation.
– Of course nol; nobody is compelling them.
– He repeats it. I feel that he would be hard pressed if he went into any one of his Labor Party branches and sought to assert the proposition which he is asserting now. If one says that a person will not get an extra week’s leave unless he joins an organisation, the practical effect of that is to compel him to join the organisation. I am sure that if Senator McLaren wants to ask Senator Murphy or Senator Wheeldon for an elementary definition of the word ‘blackmail’ he will be told sufficient to inform him that it is a type of coercion which is being used on this occasion. Of course, people in the Commonwealth Public Service would wish to have 4 weeks annual leave, and I would have thought that every member of the Commonwealth Public Service would believe that he is entitled to 4 weeks annual leave if the Public Service Arbitrator and the Public Service Board have determined that 4 weeks annual leave shall be the rule. If this is to be applied only to a member of an organisation, the practical effect is to compel everybody to join that organisation. If we are to believe statements which have been made in this city, there has been a tremendous increase in membership of the Public Service organisations simply because of that decision. I know and Senator McLaren knows that the real reason behind Mr Clyde Cameron’s change of front after he won government was simply to ensure that as far as possible there would be compulsory unionism, and it is ridiculous for Senator McLaren to suggest that no-one is being compelled to join an organisation.
If one also considers other articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights one finds that certain rights with regard to industrial relations are regarded as the rights of all and not simply the rights of people who are members of an organisation. I commend article 23 and article 24 to anybody who is interested to pursue the text of that Declaration. Furthermore, to compel a person to become a member of an association is to compel him to engage, in practical terms, in activities which are inconsistent with his own freedom of action. If a person does not want to be led by the nose by some union executive on a particular day to engage in stopwork action or in strike action, he should be free to make that decision and to avoid being a member of an organisation, because he knows that the penalties upon him if he breaks a union dictum are so much stronger if he is a member of a union organisation.
The third major point is this: If we are to submit to compulsory unionism in the Public Service, let it be open, let it be done by legislation, and let it be in accord with these great claims of the Labor Party that it will do everything openly, and let us not have it done by this back door method.
-The ABC. officers are not covered by any Act of Parliament in relation to Determination 23.
– We know and Senator Douglas McClelland knows that if the legislation is amended the matter can be rectified by the legislation itself. Let us recognise the pattern of activity which the Public Service Board has long understood is that this matter should be effected by legislation. Indeed. I think that a fair case can be made that it was the intention of Parliament that this should be done by legislation. Let me refer again to what Sir Frederick Wheeler said in the article to which I referred earlier. He said:
In general, the Public Service Act divests and delegates responsibility for industrial matters from the Government. There are, however, some important conditions of employment which have been made the subject of specific and clear-cut statutory provisions, so that consideration of any changes to them is reserved for the Government and Parliament. An example is recreation leave, where any increase in the number of weeks of annual leave would need to be decided by the Government and enacted by legislation and, as it happens, this matter has been the subject of representations by the staff side to the Government. This, of course, is not to deny that the Public Service Arbitrator has legal power to determine changes in annual leave entitlements, subject, of course, to the general power of Parliament to disallow an arbitral determination which is in conflict with legislation it has passed.
Anyone interested can read section 68 of the Public Service Act and there see that 3 weeks annual leave is the entitlement of every Commonwealth public servant. The effect of this determination is to say that 4 weeks annual leave shall be the entitlement of public servants who belong to organisations and only those who belong to organisations. Of course, it is not as clear-cut as that because the way in which the Public Service Board has regarded itself as being legally bound tq interpret the Public Service Arbitrator’s determination, is to limit this 4 weeks annual leave, at least for 1973, to those persons who were members of a union prior to 1st January. So the new dispensation is not available to those who wished to join a union after 1st January. I would like to know from members of the. Labor Party how they can justify a provision whereby people who were members of a union before 1st January can get 4 weeks annual leave but persons who joined after 1st January will not be entitled to 4 weeks annual leave.
– That is not right.
– You check the record and ask your master in the other place. I assure yon that he will tell you that that is what the determination of the Public Service Board has been, notwithstanding that it has brought forth very strong protests from Mr Clyde Cameron. Quite apart from the discrimination amongst persons who are entitled to 4 weeks leave, there are certain reasons why this decision ought not to be accepted. In the first place, as 1 understand it, it is intended to apply to members of the Public Service, whatever positions they may hold, and to include those who arc First Division heads. 1 think a need exists for a common sense application of this provision so that persons will not be imposed upon who. because of their positions, ought not to be compelled to join unions. Statements were made, I think by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and by Mr Clyde Cameron some 2 months ago that provision would be made for those who had a conscientious objection. If such people had a conscientious objection they would not be required to belong to a union and they would be entitled to 4 weeks leave. I say that this was a statement made some 2 months ago-
– Conditional upon their paying their contributions into Consolidated Revenue.
– I am indebted to Senator Gair. There was a requirement that they should pay their money into revenue which, in one way, could be regarded as a fine or exaction, in order to get 4 weeks annual leave. This was said some 2 months ago. But in more recent statements by spokesmen for the Australian Labor Party there is no provision under which this conscientious objection provision could be availed of. There is no indication of who is to grant an exemption. There is no indication of the grounds of conscientious objection which will be available. There is no indication of what a person is to do in order to comply with the Government’s requirements. 1 understand that all inquiries have elicited the answer that this is a provision which is interpreted very narrowly. Virtually, a person has to be a member of the Plymouth Brethren or some such religious organisation which, by its constitution, makes an organisation something to which an adherent cannot belong before he can obtain the conscientious objection benefit. Therefore, it is an unreal exemption and one which would have very limited application. Then again, it is said by Mr Clyde Cameron and the Prime Minister that they will assume - I presume that the Public Service Board is to assume - that a person is a member of an organisation until a union secretary reports to the Public Service Board to the contrary.
– That is right.
– I heard Senator McAuliffe say: “That is right’.
– What is wrong with that?
– This type of pimping, spying on your mate or putting your mate in is contrary to the standards that I believe people want to have observed in this country. It was not very many years ago that it was contrary to the standards of the Australian Labor Party. But apparently, now, any system is adequate if it will achieve the objective that is wanted. I can say only that the ALP standards in this area have dropped enormously, ff it is to have a system under which a person’s entitlement to certain work benefits depends upon what someone says about him - -unexaminable, not capable of appeal and simply resting in the hands of some union secretary - what we will ultimately have is the determination of all working conditions on the basis of whether or not a person gels on the right side of some union secretary.
– The honourable senator is not suggesting that trade unions engage in deception, is he? That is what he has hinted.
– I suggest precisely the opposite. Let us have trade unions coming out in the open. Let us have the Australian Labor Party Government coming out into the open. Let it say that if it wants to impose compulsory unionism it will put the matter to the test in Parliament and to the scrutiny of the Australian people. But do not let it use this back door method in defiance of its own policy and without letting the matter be raised in the Parliament for debate. That is what we are seeing at the present lime.
– Would you support such an amendment to the Act?
– I personally would not support an amendment under the circumstances as I see them at present. At the present time we have a Commonwealth Public Service in which the terms and conditions of employment are fixed by the Public Service Board in accordance with arbitral provisions which enable disputed matters to go before the Public Service Arbitrator. The Public Service Board then implements the Arbitrator’s decision. That is the general system which applies. As I see it, it Should apply on an even-handed basis - equally fairly and with justice right across the board throughout the public service. It has long been the practice that annual leave is fixed by Act of Parliament. It is at present fixed by Act of Parliament. That is the way it should be done, not by means of the arbitral method which the ALP has used to limit the benefit only to those who are members of unions. In conclusion, I repeat that I ask the Senate to disapprove these determinations not because there is any intention on .the Opposition’s part nor, I would believe, on the Senate’s part, to deny to the Commonwealth Public Service - to all Commonwealth public servants - 4 weeks annual leave but to ensure that if it is granted it is granted to all and not to some. That is the explicit basis upon which the Senate is asked to disapprove of these determinations.
– 1 am quite surethat honourable senators will not be surprised at the attitude of Senator Greenwood. He has frequently in the Senate chamber talked on arbitration matters or on union matters and has produced what he called today the testament of the Australian Labor Party’. He criticises the ALP for not having open government which it has declared to support. He comes into the Senate chamber with our document. He oan read from that document our policy on the preference to unionists. He reads from it our policy in regard to 4 weeks annual leave. But honourable senators have never seen him reading anything from the policy book of the Liberal Party of Australia. On frequent occasions be talks about the secrecy of the ALP. It is the only document on which he is well read. The chances are that he has read the Labor Party policy and programme so much and used it so much in the Senate that one day he may be. converted to our point of view. There are some who have grave doubts about that because we have found him to be a most anti-union minded senator.
I am quite sure that Senator Greenwood would be the first to acknowledge the position that he took up in connection with the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill the drafting of which was his responsibility; On that occasion he gave great support to giving the free-booters the right to go to court even though they had not paid union fees. No limitations or qualifications were imposed on the basis of being conscientious objectors. In fact, the honourable senator is advocating the same sort of principle today, namely, that people who do not pay towards a union organisation should receive the benefits or that organisation. Of course, that is only part of the double standards of the Opposition. Let me show what the honourable senator is talking about. What he has been saying in this context is this: ‘Nobody should be forced to join a union. Preference should not be given to unionists and there should be rights, for non-unionists’. He quotes the Declaration of Human Rights but he forgets to quote the International Labour Organisation Conventions. But he and his government, provided for 23 years the vehicle of conscription to unionism in many industries. The honourable senator’s Party, when it formed the government, brought about the inquiry into the national stevedoring industry in 1963. He took part in the debates and said that, only members of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia could work in the industry under that agreement. The honourable senator knows about this. It was his Party’s legislation. Under that agreement a man has the right to work in the industry only if he is a member of the Waterside Workers Union. He has a right to special pay and leave conditions only because he is a waterside worker. The honourable senator understands that and knows of the position. He has never complained about it. The honourable senator, when he was a Minister, and his colleagues of the former government rose in. the Senate chamber to defend ‘ the national agreements. Of course, he also knows that since 1947 a Commonwealth Public Service determination has existed for Commonwealth’ railwaymen which provides that only members of the union shall . receive the leave entitlements under that determination. These things are not new to the honourable senator. He knows also of numerous determinations for the Public Service which provided preference to unionists, which means exactly what it states - that a member of a union is given preference. In some cases preference applies not only for employment but also for regression, leave and pay. When the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) was shadow Minister he asked the then Minister for Labour and National Service the following questions:
Mr Lynch replied:
The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I am advised that, From Information available to my Department as at the 15tb February, 1972, the awards making provision for preference of employment are those contained in the following schedule. The schedule does not include:
awards ‘which, although not making specific prevision within them for preference, nevertheless contain provision for a system of engagement which operates to give preference of employment to union members;
Then follows the titles of some 50 or 60 awards which give preference to unionists. The document makes clear, and the former Ministers know it, that such a system has been in operation both in the Public Service and in private industry for many years. I ask leave to have the document listing the awards incorporated in Hansard.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):
Schedule of Awards Making Provision for Preference
Abattoirs and Slaughteryard Employees (A.C.T.) Determination No. 11 of 1948.
Ambulance Staff (A.C.T.) Award 1972. -
Australian Coastal Shipping Commission (Terminal Supervisors) Award 1970.
Australian Foremen Stevedores (Container Terminals) Award 1969.
Austral-Pacific Fertilizers Ltd (Agricultural Chemical Industry) Award 1968.
Automotive Service Station Attendants (A.C.T.) Award 1968.
A.W.U. - Breeding and Raising of Pigs Award 1969.
A.W.U- Construction and Maintenance Award 1969.
A.W.U. - Construction and Maintenance (Corporations and District Councils of South Australia) Award 1967.
A.W.U- - -Hardboards Industry Award 1971.
A.W.U. - Queensland Oil Refineries Pty Ltd Award 1963.
Bakers (A.C.T.) Award 1964.
Bottle Merchants Award 1970.
Bread Sales Personnel (A.C.T.) Award 1967.
Brickmakers (Commonwealth Employees - A;C.T.)
Determination No. 2 of 1947. Builders Labourers (A.C.T.) Award 1963. Builders Labourers (Construction on Site) Award
Builders Labourers (Construction on Site) Award. 1969.
Butchers Carters (A.C.T.) Determination No. 15 of 1949.
Butchers Shops, etc. (Private Employees - A.C.T.)
Determination No. 10 of 1948. Canberra Mothercraft Society (Nursing Staff)
Award 1964. Chemists (A.C.T.) Award 1968. Clerks (A.C.T.) Award 1966. Clerks (Meat Industry) Award 1969. Clerks (Oil Companies) Award 1968. Clothing Trades Award 1964.
Club ‘ Managers and Club Secretaries (A.C.T.) Award 1971.
Concrete Pipe Makers (Northern Territory) Award 1967.
Concrete Pipe Makers (Alice Springs, N.T.) Award 1969.
Confectioners Award I9S9.
Country Priming Award’ 1959.
Denominational Etc. Schools (A.C.T.) Award 1969.
Dried. Fruits Industry Award 197’1.
Dry Cleaning and Dyeing Industry Award 1966.
Electrical Trades Union, of Australia (Container
Terminals) Award 1970. Engine Drivers and Firemen (A.C.T.) Award 1957. Engine Drivers and Firemen (Breweries) Award
Engineering (Oil Companies) Award 1970.
Federal Meat Industry Interim Award 1965.
Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia C.S.R. Chemicals Ltd Mayfield Factory Award 1970.
Fellmongery Employees (The Angliss Group) 1968.
Fire Brigade Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1965.
Foremen Stevedores Award 1970.
Foremen Stevedores (Northern Territory) Award 1970.
Fruit Growing Industry . Award 1965.
Gas Industry Award 1970.
General Clerks (Northern Territory) Award 1961.
Glass Workers Award 1971.
Gold and Metalliferous Mining (Northern Territory) Award 1968.
Groote Eylandt Mining Company Award 1971.
Gypsum Procurement (Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd) Award 1965.
Hairdressers (A.C.T.) Award 1965.
Hardman Chemicals Pty Ltd (Interim) Chemical Award 1970.
Hobart Tramway and Omnibus Award 1955.
Hop Industry Award 1965.
Hospital Employees Act. (Nursing Staff- A.C.T.) Award 1966.
Hospital Employees (Professional and General Staff - A.C.T.) General Terms of Employment Award 1967.
Hospital Employees (Dental Staff- A.C.T.) Award 1967.
Hospital Employees (General Staff- A.C.T.) Award 1967.
Hospital Employees (Pharmacy Staff - A.C.T.) Award 1967.
Hospital Employees (Medical Officers- A.C.T.)
Award 1967. Hospital Employees (.Radiographers - A.C.T.)
Hospital Employees (Administrative Staff - A.C.T.) Award 1966.
Horse Training Award 1968.
Hotels and Retail Liquor Industry Award 1971.
Hotel Employees (Northern Territory) Award 1967.
Hydrocarbons and Gas (Production and Processing Employees) Award 1971,
Insulation Materials Manufacture (Bradford Insulation (Victoria) Pty Ltd) Award 1964.
Insurance Officers (Clerical Indoor Staffs) Award 1969.
Insurance Officers (Life Superintendents) Award 1969.
Journalists (Copley News Service) Award 1970. Journalists (Commercial Broadcasting) Award 1971. Journalists (Herald Gravure) Award 1951. Journalists (Metropolitan Daily Newspapers) Award 1971.
Journalists (National Press Pty Ltd) Award 1947. Journalists (Newton Publications) Award 1970. Journalists (Northern Territory) Award 1971. Journalists (Press Agencies) Award 1971. Journalists (Provincial Non-Daily Newspapers)
Award 1971. Journalists (Provincial Television) Award 1969. Journalists (Regional Daily Newspapers) Award
Journalists (Television) Award 1971. Laundry Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1966. *Life Assurance Agents Award 1967. “Life Assurance Collectors Agents Award 1970. Liquor Trades (Breweries) 1968. Liquor Industries (Yeast and Vinegar Section)
Award 1971. Liquor Trades Hotels (A.C.T.) Award 1965. Liquor and Allied Industries Aerated Waters (A.C.T.) Award 1957. Liquor and Allied Industries Catering Etc. (A.C.T.)
Liquor and Allied Industries Hotels Hostels Clubs and Boarding Establishments Etc. (A.C.T.) Award 1966.
Liquor Industries (Wine and Spirit Stores) Award 1968.
Liquor Trades (Racecourses, Showgrounds, etc.
Casuals) Award 1968. Meat Processing Award 1968. Metal Trades (A.C.T.) Determination No. 13 of
Milk Treatment and Distribution Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1967.
Miscellaneous Workers (A.C.T.) Award 1968.
Miscellaneous Workers Union Chemicals and Plastics (Building Materials, etc. - St Regis A.C.I. Pty Ltd) Award 1971.
Miscellaneous Workers Union - Selleys Chemical Co. Federal Chemical Award 1970.
Motels Award 1971.
Mount Bundey Iron Ore Mining Award 1970. Municipal Employees (Geelong Waterworks and
Sewerage Trust) Award 1967. Municipal Officers (Brisbane City Council) Award
Municipal Officers (New South Wales) Award 1955.
Municipal Officers (New South Wales Electricity. Undertakings) Award 1964.
Municipal Officers (N.S.W. Electricity Undertakings) Salaried Division Award 1969.
Municipal Officers (N.S.W. Electricity Undertakings) Senior Officers Award 1969.
Municipal Officers (Queensland) Award 1968.
Municipal Officers (Rockhampton City Council) Award 1968.
Musicians Award 1960.
Newspaper Printing Award 1966.
Northern Territory (Oil Companies) Award 1971.
New South Wales Government Omnibus Traffic Employees Award 1963.
Oil Drilling Rig Workers Award 1971.
Oil Refinery Employees (Ampol Refineries Ltd) Award 1970.
Pastoral Industry Award 1965.
Painters (A.C.T.) Determination No. 8 of 1948.
Plasterers (A.C.T.) Determination No. 22 of 1941.
Plaster of Paris (Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd) Award 1969.
Plaster of Paris (Australian Gypsum Ltd) Award 1970.
Plumbers (A.C.T.) Determination No. 36 of 1948. Poultry Farm Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1964. Retail and Wholesale Shop Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1968.
South Australian Tramway and Omnibus Award 1963.
Stonemasons (A.C.T.) Award 1952. Stonemasons (N.S.W.) Award 1950. Storemen and Packers (A.C.T.) Award 1971. Storemen and Packers (Bond and Free Stores) Award 1968.
Storemen and Packers General Stores (Northern
Territory) Award 1969. Storemen and Packers (Oil, etc. Stores) Award
Tanning (Furred Skins) Industry Award 1970. Tanning Industry Award 1968. Tenpin Bowling Industry Award 1961. Tenpin Bowling (Managers) Award 1969. Theatre Managers Award 1971. Theatrical Employees (Film Processing) Award 1971.
Theatre Managers (Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Pty Ltd and Others) Award 1971. Theatrical and Amusement Employees Award 1947.
Theatrical Employees (Drive-In Theatres) Award 1956 and 1962. Theatrical Employees (Motion Picture Production)
Theatrical Employees (Recreation Grounds, etc.) Award 1968.
Theatrical Employees (Sound Engineers) Award 1954.
Theatrical Employees (Stadiums) Award 1950. Timber Workers Award 1970. Tramway Employees (Melbourne) Interim Award 1958.
Transport Workers (Airways) Award 1968. Transport Workers (Oil Companies) Award 1970. Transport Workers (A.C.T.) Determination No. 18 of 1947.
Transport Workers Garbage (A.C.T.) Award 1970. Transport (Interstate Drivers) Award 1963. Transport Workers (Oil Stores) Award 1958.
Transport Workers (Passenger Vehicles) Award 196K.
Uranium and Metalliferous Mining (NT.) Award 1971.
Waterside Workers (Container Terminals) Award 1968.
Watchmen. Caretakers. Cleaners and Lift Drivers (A.C.T.) Award 1967. Wineries Award 1969.
– I shall refer also to another subject that has been canvassed, namely, the policy of the Labor Party. The Labor Government believes that it has a mandate to grant 4 weeks leave.
– Without strings.
– No. It has a mandate to grant 4 weeks leave, and its policy is to give preference to unionists. Later I shall mention some of the things Senator Gair said when the Senate discussed the Conciliation and Arbitration Act as it affected closed shops and the big unions. I hope that before the debate ends Senator Gair will have thought over what 1 am about to say and will have second thoughts about what is proposed by the Opposition. The Opposition is putting today that there ought to be a change of front by this Government. We have pledged to give 4 weeks leave. We were the only Party lo make such a pledge. We have done that for many years. The organised union movement put a case for 4 weeks leave both to the Labor Party when in Opposition and to the previous government. It spent many thousands of dollars in order to tell the previous government and ourselves as the Opposition what it wanted. That money was the unions members’ money. The great national organisations for labour which were involved in this included the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Council of Commonwealth Public Service Organisations and the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations and many other organisations whose members worked in the Commonwealth Public Service and elsewhere. Those who comprised those unions and organisations paid for these submissions. That is why the Prime Minister has said that the benefits of our policies ought to be given to those who paid for them. We believe in preference to unionists, not compulsory unionism. That is our policy. Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard for the information of honourable senators the history of the policy of the Labor Party on compulsory unionism and preference to unionists from 1928 to 1969. 1 point out that for only a very short period, in 1942, was compulsory unionism part of Australian Labor Party policy.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - ls leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):
(!) New paragraph 10 (w) read: ‘That the Platform be amended to provide for compulsory unionism and that the Commonwealth Government be requested to provide for compulsory unionism by regulation.’ It was introduced into the Federal platform but appears to have been omitted from the 1948 platform.
– As I have said, Senator Greenwood is one who would know exactly what has been canvassed in the area of compulsory unionism, because he was involved in many discussions on the latest amendments to the Conciliation and Arbitratioin Act. Honourable senators will recall that in those discussions the principles of the then government were being examined as to whether some action might be taken to prevent compulsory unionism and to stop the principle of closed shops. The then government adopted that policy, and my information is that Senator Greenwood was involved in the discussions during whicih the then government affirmed the principle that free hooters or non-unionists should be allowed to take their cases :o the courts; that there should be no pressure by unions to force people to join the unions; that there should be no pressure in regard lo the closed shop policy, and that neither right wing nor left wing unions should be allowed to encompass large numbers of people. All those things were discussed and the then government came down with that sort of policy. But it re-thought the policy when it received representations from the Democratic Labor Party and from Mr John Maynes, a well known official of the Federated Clerks Union. Although the then government said that it would do all those things - that it would stop the strong unions - my information is that it commissioned a minute from its own Department of Labour and National Service, asking the Department how such legislation would affect right wing unions. Here I should like to repeal what has been represented to me as being the views of one of those very important persons whom I have named - Mr John Maynes. These views are not secret. Mr Maynes made the point which I made earlier, that in the waterfront industry and the stevedoring authority every person who wishes to work in that industry joins the Waterside Workers Federation. Mr Maynes said:
Whilst a small percentage, but sizable number iti people claim an objection to joining a union, a big majority »f these are concerned purely with having lo pay for (he benefit they enjoy instead of remaining as free loaders.
He also said:
In practice, what is really in issue today is not the right to refuse lo join a union but the effective right to join. The major growth areas of employment and union potential is in the white collar field. There is substantial evidence available relating to overseas as well as Australia to demonstrate the determination of employers - particularly those in the multi-national corporation area - to ensure that their white collar employees do not join unions. It is the knowledge of the opportunity, for victimisation of those who join or advocate joining of unions in the white collar sphere which prevents large numbers from being the first to join.
Of course that legislation, as we now know, was aimed not only at the left wing unions but also at the right wing unions. In fact, it occasioned some prominent members of the
DLP to comment on what was taking place. For example, in the ‘News Weekly’ of 22nd
– What paper is that?
– The ‘News Weekly’ of 22nd December, lt is reckoned to be the voice of the DLP.
– Somebody has a great imagination.
– Certain honourable senators are quoted in this newspaper, and they can speak for themselves. Senator Kane is quoted under the heading ‘No Safeguards’ in this way:
Senator Kane criticised the Government’s proposed Arbitration Act amendment proposals on the grounds thai they:
Provided no safeguards against Communist union officials strengthening their position through amalgamation of unions and threatened to weaken the position of Right-wing unions through the proposed ban on compulsory unionism.
Then be went on to say:
The major effect of the Government’s proposed action will be on those unions such as the Federated Clerks and the Shop Assistants Unions, who constitute the Right wing in the ACTU.
This seems a strange way to improve industrial relations by helping the Communists and weakening their opponents’.
I am told that Senator Gair made statements on those lines. Let me refer now to the Shop Assistants Union. Since all these events took place, honourable senators know that the Shop Assistants Union, which in this document is calculated to be a right wing union, has since become widely organised and has established closed shops in many areas of Australia. That is an accomplished fact. The government of the day would have taken action against that union but because it proposed such action, of course, it received the brunt of the attack from the DLP. I hope that the DLP members when thinking about this matter today will have regard to the statements which their group made to the former government when that legislation was initiated.
All of a sudden Senator Greenwood comes before the Senate as an advocate of 4 weeks leave. During the 29 years in which the present Opposition was in Government it refused to grant 4 weeks leave. After all these prominent unionists, who represented a majority of the people in the Commonealth Public Service, had come to him and to us with expensive submissions relating to the standard then prevailing throughout the world and to the International Labour Organisation standards, about which one never hears Senator Greenwood speak, the Government decided: ‘No, we will not give you 4 weeks leave because of the flow-on effect through industry’. Senator Greenwood comes into the Senate today and says: ‘Yes, but if you change your mind about the way you are going to give 4 weeks leave, we will come along and support you’.
What Senator Greenwood actually is doing in this move today is to disallow something which provides for 4 weeks leave. The determinations in question all carry this prescription: ‘The following terms and conditions shall apply to officers employed by the respondents who are members of the claimant organisations’. Also, as Senator Douglas McClelland has pointed out, it is possible for those employed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to settle with their staff association, as they have done, the basis for extra leave without recourse to the Public Service Board. Some other statutory authorities are in the same position. Why should we take away from those employees something which has already been given to them? Senator Greenwood has not made out a case; rather, he has put up objections to levels of improvements, which has been his role in the past. I do not think there is anybody on the other side of the chamber who has been so trenchant and who has taken a greater initiative in attacking the union movement. Senator Greenwood does not recognise the authority of the national union group. He does not want to talk to the ACTU or to other top bodies in the way in which they should be consulted.
Senator Greenwood quoted Sir Frederick Wheeler who was a great authority in the arbitration field. He is now in the Treasury. He was one of the appointees of the Chifley Labor Government. He is a well known authority. But Senator Greenwood has quoted Sir Frederick out of all context. He talks about something with which we all agree, and that is the question of consistency. Of course there has to be consistency in any Public Service. There has to be a base; some sort of reconciliation between the standards of one group and those of another group. After all, the union movement, which is a part of the arbitration machinery in Australia, is essential. As an appointed authority it brings into some control and some representational form the views of all the members over which it has control. It has power to tell those members in a democratic fashion what they should and should not do. The union movement consists of the people who have promoted, fought for and tried to gain the standard of 4 weeks leave. Of course a Labor government would do what we are doing now - giving 4 weeks leave to those who are entitled to it on the basis of preference of trade unionists.
– Mr Whitlam did not say that in his policy speech.
– I have told Senator Gair before - and he should be the first to know - that the Labor policy set out in that document - which Senator Greenwood refers to as the ‘New Testament’ - has to be applied by the Party looking at the document. The Labor Party - the Government - has decided to award 4 weeks leave on the basis of preference to unionists. That is the pattern which keeps the union movement together. I ask Senator Gair, when he speaks and votes on this matter, to consider the objections that he, Senator Kane and Mr John Maynes took to the original proposals of the previous Government when it decided late in 1971 to impose all the strictures on the union movement which would have stopped the right wing unions as well as the left wing unions. It would have stopped what has now been accomplished by the shop assistants in having company unions and by the ironworkers in having closed shops. Although the Government had pledged to do this, after the outcry from the Australian Democratic Labor Party the existing situation was maintained and the Government’s policy was changed. It was changed because Senator Gair, Senator Kane and Mr Maynes criticised it. They wanted a system applied, as did the unions in the automobile industry or in the Public Service.
I suggest that all we are getting now is a duplication of the double standard role which the Opposition adopted when it was in government. Honourable senators opposite aTe saying that they want everybody now to get 4 weeks leave. But when they were in Government they said: ‘We won’t give you 4 weeks leave’. When they were in Government they also said: ‘We don’t believe in compulsory unionism’, but they allowed the waterside workers, and many others, to have compulsory unionism. They allowed their Minister for Shipping and Transport to operate under the terms of the 1947 Commonwealth Railways determination which provided benefits in respect of leave only to employees who were members of a union. Very serious consideration should be given to this matter before any support is given to what is nothing more than a political move. It is not a serious industrial move. It is a political move in the terms which Senator Greenwood is so well versed in putting forward. It is clothing what is a very dextrous political stunt with a lot of refinements. Senator Greenwood knows the things about which I am talking, including the variations in the Cabinet policy and the change in attitude by Mr Lynch and others.
Honourable senators will remember that for 18 months the ex-Prime Minister and Mr Lynch started a course of attacking all of the unions, not just one group of unions, and they finally brought forward very harsh alterations to the Act. But then they refined
I he in because the members of the Democratic Labor Party, with their potential political strength, said: ‘You cannot do that to our friends in the union movement”, and they did not do it. They accepted the established position in industrial society. They accepted industrial unionism as it existed throughout the various sectors pf industry.
Those who have been in industry for years know that you have to accept and work with people. Sometimes you organise on a compulsory basis, sometimes you organise on a freebooting basis and sometimes you organise on the basis of preference. In my earlier years I was engaged in the railways industry, and as far back as 1947 preference was given to unionists. We had preference not only for pay but also for promotion and for leave. If anybody was going to be put off from the job because of redundancy, the first man to go off was the non-unionist. That is well established. Senator McAuliffe knows that from his experience in the railways union. 1 remind the Senate that this is a very serious matter. The Government has made a pledge to the people and to those for whose point of view we have strong regard. The Labor Parly always has been a party which has taken strong notice of the national union bodies. As everybody knows, I have always been a strong advocate of the ACTU’s point of view, having been on the ACTU interstate executive. I know that no government can afford not to take notice of the ACTU. I would expect that while we are in Government we will do more than was done by the Liberal governments in talking with those national bodies in order lo reconcile differences between unions, the Government and employers. Already we have done that. For example, the figures relating to time lost through industrial disputes in South Australia show that the State has one of the finest records in the world, lt has that record because it is working clasely with the central trade union body, the Trades and Labour Council, as it ought to do in order to resolve disputes. 1 put to you, Mr President, that we are discussing a very serious matter. Nobody should seek to prevent union members from getting 4 weeks annual leave. Nobody should seek to alter the established method of arbitration within this country. Employers are organised; the unions are organised. They form the basis of the system. A man who is a member of an organisation pays for the system and for the expenses of Federal officials who come to Canberra to talk to us. Such members get the benefits of any prescriptions announced by the Government. I ask the Senate not to support Senator Greenwood’s disallowance motion.
– The debate has been very interesting indeed, I must admit that until I heard Senator Greenwood, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, suggest that he was in favour of legislation for 4 weeks annual leave I doubted, and I am certain my colleagues doubted, that we would have been on the side of his legislation. Until I had heard the cass put by the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Bishop) and the interjections of his supporters I had believed that the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) virtually was in favour of the idea contained in Senator Greenwood’s proposition; that is that no restriction should be placed on an individual’s receiving the benefits of the promises made by the Prims Minister in his election campaign because of an ancillary matter relating to membership of trade unions. I thought that the current argument was between the Prime Minister and tha Public Service Board as to the application of the determination, rather than about the determination itself. However, I have been forced by the interjections I have heard here today to accept that many supporters of the present Government believe that the Prime Minister’s statement means that he believes that everybody should be considered to be a unionist for the purpose of the decision reflected in the Public Service determination. Interjections today have left no doubt that many members of the Prime Minister’s Party do not agree with him on that issue. Indeed, they have indicated that they are prepared to fight tooth and nail to support the minor qualification to the important consideration of 4 weeks annual leave, the minor qualification being membership of a trade union.
Senator Greenwood has made it perfectly clear that the Government has to do only what has been done before - to introduce legislation to change the word from ‘three’ to four’ in the annual leave provision relating to the Public Service - to obtain the support of the Opposition. There is no doubt about where my colleagues and I stand. We also would agree. We would be prepared to go a step further. If the Government is in any way embarrassed by anything that may take place between it and the Public Service Board or anyone else, we are prepared to state that we will bring down a private member’s Bill. If the determination is disallowed and there is not within 24 hours a measure before the Parliament in this or another place to ensure that the promises of the Prime Minister during the election campaign are carried into effect, we are prepared to take that step.
I believe that in considering the ambit of the determination we must consider all the principles involved. I heard a member of the Government Party suggest by interjection that trade union officials are completely above criticism. I heard the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy), when Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, suggest that legislation should be introduced to protect trade union officials from the normal application of the law in respect of their misdemeanours during industrial disputes. I am not prepared to concede that, and I do not think that many Australians would be prepared to concede it or to accept the idea that because somebody has become a trade union official he has become a very special type of person who can in no way offend and who is absolutely everything that is noble. I remind my fellow unionists of many cases in which trade union officials have shown that they are quite ordinary and normal human beings. I have great sympathy for many of them. I, too, was a trade union official. There have often been cases of trade union officials who were so low as to go through with the funds of a union. It might not have been generally known but it was known to those of us who were in the unions and worked in the unions that as a class trade union officials were amongst- the lowest paid people in the community having regard to the responsibilities they had to accept and the abilities they had to develop. It was not surprising that some of them were forced at times by the pressure of almost dire poverty to go through with the union funds.
– Someone might go through with the DLP funds.
– That is true. People have even gone through with ALP funds.
– Don’t be a clobber.
– There is no argument at all about the absolute truth of the statement I made. It is suggested by interjection that I ought not to be a dobber, but the honourable senator wants every trade union official to be a dobber by going to the Public ServiceBoard and saying: ‘Joe Blow is not a member of a union and therefore is not eligible for 4 weeks annual leave’. He suggests that a trade union official is an exception;!- person in the community who can be entrusted with particular power over the people with whom he associates. Even in his own Party there have been cases of high and prominent officials who have had romantic affairs with the wives of other officials. But he would place these people in the position where they could become pimps on workers who are not members of unions and thus gain some retaliatory advantage for what they considered to bc offences in private behaviour.
Mr President, I am amazed at the reaction to a statement of fact that trade union officials are just normal human beings who are subject to all the limitations, temptations and weaknesses of ordinary people, irrespective of whether they are members of the Democratic Labor Party, the Australian Labor Party or any other organisation. In the philosophy to which I have always subscribed as a Labor man, nobody has ever been sufficiently pure to be entrusted with powers placing him above the law, with powers to deny to his fellow human beings something that is their right because of their employment. Government supporters would create that situation, not merely by deciding for or against 4 weeks annual leave but by the qualification that on a specific date a person had to be a member of a trade union.
I have read through the list of applications for receipt of the benefit to be applied to members of unions. I have noticed that some unions did not apply until after 1st January last. Those unions had therefore not involved themselves in the expenditure of their money in working for this particular benefit, but members of those unions would bc recipients of the benefit. However, a fellow who joined a union on 2nd January would not be a recipient of the benefit, ls that fair and just? Do honourable senators opposite consider that that is justice?
– That is not the Cabinet.
– If that is the decision of the Board, why not reject the Board’s determinations and introduce legislation putting the situation right? That is all that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition suggests that the Government should do. Then we would nol be wasting the time of this Senate or of an one else and we would be able to provide 4 weeks annual leave, backdated to 1st January, for everybody employed in the Public Service in accordance with the promise of the Prime Minister. I am certain that the Prime Minister has a sense of honour and that he wants to see thai promise carried out to the benefit o! every individual and not have it in iiic restricted sense suggested by those who have interjected during this debate in this chamber and who wish it to apply only to members o! the unions.
Determinations in the industrial field have the same legal complexity as many other things. There are 83 determinations affected by these determinations. I would say that nobody knows specifically the effect of this decision in every case dealt with under a particular determination. I well recall one of my experiences as a trade union official. I attempted to interpret a provision in an award relating to the accumulation of sick leave, lt was accepted at that time that every award followed the metal trades award which contained a provision of 2 weeks accumulated sick leave as a maximum. In the boot trade industry we were under the impression for some 12 months that that was our entitlement. We so interpreted the award until somebody came in with a specific case, lt happened to fall to my lot to interpret that case. I began reading the award and 1 thought that it did not sound right because the award stated that there was provision for 2 weeks accumulation and I week current, making a total of 3 weeks. Ultimately the employers were contacted by telephone and it was suggested to them that that was the correct interpretation of the award. They said: “Do not be silly, you follow the metal trades and 2 weeks is the maximum’. It is much more than that now, of course; I am going back quite a few years. So we slept on the matter, thought about it and read the award another half dozen times, lt was not intended that the boot irade award should be different but it was. The award provided for 2 weeks accumulation of sick leave and I week of current leave, making a maximum of 3 weeks, although at the time of making the award it was not intended that that should be so.
I relate that experience to show how easy it is for a determination not to mean what was intended. In the case of this decision we have 83 determinations and already an area of doubt has crept in because the newspapers have reported that an argument is going on between the Public Service Board and the Prime Minister as to precisely what is meant. It has been suggested that we should wait until this argument is resolved. It has been suggested that, we should accept the determinations without knowing really what they mean and while this area of doubt still exists. Il has been suggested that we should let them go through and find out afterwards, ls it not much more simple to accept the proposition that always has been followed in the past?
I compliment the Prime Minister on his attempts to get this done before the Parliament met, to prepare the papers and get the thing operating, and so on. All right, thai is speedy, and if the Prime Minister wanted to take the chance with speedy action he should have remembered that speed, particularly in the legislative field, often results in careless and incomplete legislation. At least he was trying to carry out the promise that he made during the election campaign.
– But how does he manipulate the Arbitrator?
– That is another argument about which I am not concerned al the moment. The point is whether I accept the Public Service Arbitrator’s determinations in this case. That is one thought and the honourable senator can put it forward as a separate entity if he wishes. If I was concerned at the moment about whether public servants should or should not get 4 weeks annual leave, 1 think it would be valid to argue that point; but 1 am not concerned about it now. A particular party made a promise as part of the election campaign and it won the campaign. It may have won many votes as a result of that promise to the people. There may have been arguments either way that could have been put at that time. In the case of these particular determinations, if there is a doubt let us resolve it in the way suggested.
To deviate for a moment, we could argue that having regard to the economic circumstances that may develop from it, the promise may or may not have been wise, but the Prime Minister made the promise and he is trying to carry it out. We do not know whether this principle will flow to other industries and we do not know whether it will aggravate inflation to the extent that the economy cannot stand it. The granting of an extra week’s leave certainly cannot help the Prime Minister to honour his other promise to reduce inflation. If there is a flow on from the Public Service to competitive industry - and well there may be - without a doubt one could argue that there may be much more serious implications for the nation than what is apparent at the moment. However, that is not the question before us. A promise was made during the election campaign and the people voted for the party which made it. The people having voted for it, the Labor Party should grant 4 weeks leave to the Public Service and it should be granted as soon as possible. The Parliament is now meeting and it is possible to extend to all people in the Public Service, by legislation, as has always been the case before, the promise made during the election campaign.
The Government has received here today the unqualified assurance in this chamber of 2 of the parties opposed to it that they would support legislation to grant 4 weeks leave to public servants. I have no doubt that further assurances will be given. The Government needs only the promises of 2 more senators, together with its own numbers, to give 4 weeks annual leave for everybody in the Public Service. It is merely a matter of preparing the simplest of Bills to change the wording in the present Act from three to four. I cannot see public servants being distressed over getting the extra week’s leave by means of an Act of Parliament rather than by a regulation. After all, they got 3 weeks annual leave by an Act of Parliament and that has been the way they obtained their leave provisions on every other occasion.
The alternative is to go on with this very doubtful piece of material that has been brought down by the Public Service Board. Will the determinations mean what the Board interprets them to mean? Will the decision be impeded in its fullest application by union officials snooping on membership and membership rights? Will union officials be completely honest and play no favours and go to the Public Service Board and nominate every person who was not a member of the union on 1st January? There are 83 determinations involved and perhaps the union officials concerned hold varying points of view. Perhaps some will not inform upon their membership and will say that all the members concerned were members as from 1st January even if some joined on 10th January. Will other union officials rush along and inform on everyone or will some members be informed on not because they have not been members of the union but because they have not toed the line on every particular question in accordance with the wishes of the union?
– You know that is not right. Where is your authority?
– May I refer you to some of the many infamous cases?
– Where is that in the determinations that you want to disallow?
– ]f there is no area of doubt I do not know what your Prime Minister is arguing about with the Public Service Board. Or is it that you do not admit that there is an area of doubt? I heard Senator Cavanagh’s argument that he did not favour compulsory unionism but that he favoured preference to unionists. I want to remind the honourable senator of cases that have occurred in this country. Some of them made me ashamed to think that I was a unionist. A unionist should not support the type of things that were done to some people in the name of a union. I refer the honourable senator to the Hursey case. The people concerned were not non-unionists; they were members of a union and they refused to pay a political levy. Surely, if you do not believe in compulsory unionism you do not believe in compulsory union political levies. You as a member of the Labor Party, would not like to have to pay a levy to the Communist Party or to the Liberal Party, would you? You would not like to do that would you? The Hurseys were denied the right, not to take annual leave but to earn a livelihood. That was done to them by union officials in the name of unionism. They suffered violence and everything else because, as good unionists, they had the courage to stand up for their rights.
– Did you read the court decision?
– I am not concerned about court decisions. I am surprised to learn that Senator Cavanagh is such a champion of legality, he who suggests thai he is an independent thinker. 1 condemn the attitude of the government of the day for abandoning the Hurseys in their struggle. They were abandoned by everybody except a few fellowunionists, and I happened to be one of them. I believe that the Hursey case was a blot on trade unionism in this country, lt is something that trade unionism can never be proud of.
– They were badly represented by counsel.
– I have no doubt that they had not heard at that time of Senator Cavanagh’s interest in the law. Perhaps it was because he had not qualified in it at that stage. Although I have a great respect for his interest in and knowledge of the law. I do nol think that he would be able to qualify for the profession even today. No matter what may bc said about the representation of the Hurseys in the court, case, it was the power of the unions and the fear of the government of the clay to stand up to them al that lime which caused the Hurseys to be abandoned. Bearing in mind incidents of this nature. I do not think that the attitude should be adopted that trade unionism is a holy cow. 1 am a member of 2 irade unions and have always been, and stIll am. a strong supporter of trade unionism. I support the principle that anyone who wants benefits should be prepared to pay for them. But how far should that principle be carried?
– This is the crunch.
– That is right. If the Government is game enough to carry the principle to its logical conclusion, it should bring down legislation for pensions and other social service benefits which will be granted only 10 those people who support the Party which brings down the legislation.
– That is illogical.
– What is the difference in principle? If the Government says that a man who works in a particular industry shall receive benefits only under certain conditions; if an organisation representing pensioners, invalids or blind people were to gain a promise from a political party that it would implement a particular proposal if it were elected to office, why, to carry the matter to its logical conclusion, should it not be that only those who have seen fit to join the organisation which carries out the agitation shall be the beneficiaries of any legislation resulting from that agitation? The principle involved cannot mean anything else if it is carried to its logical conclusion. But the Government is nol prepared to do so. Honourable senators opposite believe that trade unionism is a holy cow which cannot commit no wrong.
Trade unions are not superior to religious bodies or anything else. They consist of human beings, all of whom carry the same taint and defect of noi being perfect and of being able to commit enormous and terrible blunders and, indeed, to act with great inhumanity towards mankind. I do not believe that trade union officials are competent to be charged with the responsibility with which the Government wants to charge them of being pimps who will tell the Public Service Board about the eligibility of members, by virtue of union membership, to obtain the benefits which the Government, Senator Greenwood, my colleagues and I now agree should be made available to those members of the Public Service who, in accordance with the promises made by the Prime Minister, are in that employment.
– The Government will not carry out Cough’s promise, but we are trying to make it do so.
– We are trying to illustrate that the promises of the Prime Minister can be met in an unarguable, unquestionable and complete way as swiftly as even speedy Gough would like it to be met. That can be done by a simple amendment being made to the Public Service Act. lt could be passed by this Parliament inside 7 days and made retrospective to the same date of application as that of the rather mystical proposition of the Public Service Arbitrator. Nobody has suggested, even by way of interjection, thai he knows how that proposition will be applied to the whole of the 83 determinations, each of which wi;i have to be read carefully and specifically to fit in this proposition.
– We have no doubt how it is going to operate.
– Honourable senators opposite seem to have access to information that is not available to the Prime Minister. I suggest that honourable senators opposite should make available to the Prime Minister for his edification the information they seem to be prepared to give me by way of interjection but always refrain from giving at the eleventh hour. That is why I continue to be as ill-informed on the subject as apparently is the honourable senator.
It has been said by Senator Bishop that the Government will take notice of what is put by the unions and the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I believe that a government should always be prepared to listen to and take heed of what is said by unions in relation to industrial affairs, but I certainly do not believe that a government should be directed by them. I think that is a different proposition altogether. 1 think a government also should recognise the fact that the members of the Senate were elected by the people of Australia, and it should take note of and heed the advice offered by the representatives of the people. We on this side of the chamber are saying to the Government here and ‘now in unequivocal terms that there is a simpler and more efficient way of doing what it wants to do and that we consider it our obligation, as representatives of the people of Australia, to assist it in carrying out the introduction of thi- proposition which the Government has promised the people of Australia it will introduce. If there is a better way-
– You will get. an opportunity with respect to electoral reform.
– The Prime Minister made some great statements on electoral reform when he was challenged to do so. We have made a careful note of every one of them. We will see whether the promises made by the Prime Minister with regard to electoral reform are adhered to. But there is no argument on the matter we are now debating. The Government promised 4 weeks annual leave and nothing else. The Government did not promise compulsory– l he ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Poyser) - Order! There are far too many interjections.
– 1 thought 1 was getting a lot of help, Mr Acting Deputy President.
– You have needed it, too.
– That may be the case, but I had the egotistical opinion that I was not doing too badly. Whatever assistance I may require, I can do without any assistance from Senator McLaren. I hope he will accept the ruling of the Chair and be silent while I continue to make the remaining remarks I want to make on this matter. I believe that a case has now been put to substantiate my proposition. There is very little else J have to say, except, to offer the suggestion to the Government that as well as listening to the views of the unions and the ACTU it should also listen to the views of the members of this chamber on this subject. J warn the Government that it is unwise to be directed by outside bodies, but that it is wise to listen to the advice that is given to it in this chamber, which is very sensible advice. A degree of confusion has arisen from what has happened in respect to this matter. The Government, should get out of the area of confusion and into the area of certainty where the people know exactly what it is doing, lt should alter the legislation by changing the words ‘3 weeks’ wherever applicable to ‘4 weeks’.
The Government should give everybody in industry the advantage of the promise it has made, lt should put to one side introduction of those things that were not contained in the promises made by the Prime Minister during the last election campaign. If it were to do so, it would receive the support, of the whole of the Senate. I have no doubt that the Government would be able to get its proposition on leave through the other chamber because of the change that has occurred since the election. But, because an area of doubt has arisen in respect to this matter and because an ordinance has to be passed by the Senate, the Government should accept the advice that is being given to it today. That advice is at least, as sound as any advice the Government will gel from the trade unions or the ACTU. It is the advice of people who have been genuinely charged with the responsibility of helping to govern this country and of criticising those things which it is thought the Government is doing wrong. We think that by adding a qualification to a clear promise that was made by the Prime Minister, the Government is exceeding the mandate given to it by the people. We are keeping a check on the Government in its owninterests and in the interests of those people it has promised to help. For that reason alone we extend to it the advice that I have extended to it during the course of my remarks. I indicate that we intend to vote for the motion which expresses disapproval of the determinations. At the tame time I indicate that if the Government does not introduce legislation to amend the Act - the Government has a privilege to introduce legislation - we will introduce a private member’s Bill within 24 hours. It will grant 4 weeks annual leave to public servants, which is the main thing that the Government wants to do in this field.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, I congratulate you on your appointment. I hope that you will have a pleasant period in that position. I open my remarks by saying that I think history is being made in this chamber today, because in my 6 years experience of (be Senate on each occasion on which we have debated the trade union movement’s rote we have been fighting a rearguard action tohold what the unions have. There has been legislation which envisaged the shackling of waterside workers and there has been legislation which inferred that the trade unions could not operate effectively. All the emphasis has been on taking something away. Senator Greenwood commenced his speech today by saying: ‘I do not dispute the principle of the additional week’s leave’. Senator Little implied that the the Democratic Labor Party wanted to help the Government but that it would discriminate against certain legislation. I can assure him, as my ministerial colleague Senator Bishop did and as other honourable senators on this side will, that a lot of legislation will be introduced, and we have no inhibitions about redressing the imbalances and impositions that have been placed on the trade union movement.
The matter is not merely one of an additional week’s leave. For the past 20 years I have had the pleasure of browsing through lists of names of members of various boards and commissions. My remarks on this subject are relevant to the motion because in another place one of the senior Opposition leaders has been asking whether there will be trade union representation on boards and commissions. Of course there will be trade union representation,I digress for a moment. I have been looking at the composition of one or two immigration bodies.I find that the ratio is 5 employer representatives to 2 trade union movement representatives. I can assure honourable senators opposite that in many fields that state of affairs will not continue for much longer. I return to the motion. I think I could do no better than quote an article from a publication called ‘Scope’. I shall quote from an article written by none other than Senator John Kane of the Party on my right.
– He signed it.
– Yes. He was referring to legislation introduced by the previous Government, He was talking about free riders. These words are his, not mine.
– He said that he did not write it.
– This is the article. He said: but also the bludger who wants all the benefits of unionismin terms of award wages, conditions and security but wants to get those benefitsfor nothing.
– Who said that?
– When I finish my speech I will be quite prepared to table the document so that it can be perused. The word bludger’ is used. Obviously one senator opposite agrees with me about the day of the free rider being over. By interjection Senator Cavanagh proved conclusively that nobody’s employment is on the line. The question is one of future benefits. The determinations referred to in the notice of motion cover quite a number of associations. I am surprised that Senator Little was not aware of the number concerned. He and I know that trade unionism is costing a lot more. Senator Douglas McClelland would agree with me on this: The Postal Telecommunication Technicians Association would have only 4 or 5 members in an isolated area, but an organiser would have to go to that areato collate evidence to put before the Public Service Board.
Senator Greenwood used very loose terms among which was that of Public Service loyalty. I wondered whether he meant that a public servant who was active in a Public Service association was a potential quisling. That was the inference that I gathered, but maybe I am too suspicious. I take the matter a little further. He talked about the Public Service Board. Does he imagine that individuals would testifyin relation to past gains or future objectives? There would be chaos if they did. I would not mind - I do not think the trade unions would mind - if some of these John Hampdens who talk about independence and freedom booked themselves off for 3 days, did a little research and testified. They could be co-partners in the gaining of trade union improvements, but they do not do it that way. This is the burning question. Trade unionism is costing much more. Today any union worth its name which is not amalgamated with another union has to acquire a research officer and all the attendant facilities. Trade unionism could be strangled by some people talking about freedom and arguing whether it is a pacesetter for industrial gains. What do they gain? They toss with a doubleheaded penny. If you cannot get what you are seeking by arbitration measures and suggest industrial measures such as stoppages, they do not want to be in that. Some of them are very strange persons. I admire a person who stands up for something and who fights for it from within an organisation. 1 do not know- whether Senator Greenwood has read too much of ‘Animal Farm’ and George Orwell or whether he has had an overdose of Peter Sellers portraying a shop steward, but anybody who has moved in trade union circles knows that any shop steward or higher official who thinks he can talk in terms of ‘my union’ instead of ‘our union’ is in for a rude awakening. I deal now with the Melbourne Trades Hall scene. Mr Acting Deputy President, you would be aware of this scene. The late Jim Cummings was President of the Waterside Workers Federation’s Melbourne Branch. He was a member of the Australian Labor Party. With the split, he went with the Democratic Labor Party. Nobody could question his loyalty as a trade unionist. When the waterside workers put on a stoppage or made a decision he obeyed it and supported it. If he did not, I am sure he argued it at union meetings. There has been a lot of talk about mythical attacks and about people being stood over, beaten and bashed. Is there any union shop steward or official in the building industry at the moment who has not been threatened by outside goon squads? These things exist at any level of society.
I return to the free riders. There has been - continuous agitation among . the- organisations concerned. Let us be realistic about the matter. None of the unions which ‘ are beneficiaries under the determinations could be accused of imposing levies for donations to political parties, as was mentioned in. relation to the WWF. Mark you, I think it is time that we had a good look at the situation. We talk about -political patronage and trade unionism. It may well be that a ceiling on donations to political parties will have to be applied. Various organisations outside the trade union movement apply particular tactics in relation to the obtaining of and feeding in of donations to political parties.- That does not apply to the trade unions mentioned - in. the motion. They do not impose levies for donations to political parties. Employees of these unions are the beneficiaries. They have gained the 4 weeks annual leave. These trade unions are constantly before the Public Service Arbitrator.. Forgetting this particular dispute, in the hard and cold world in which we five one of these maverick members of a Public Service association may have suffered an injury when going to or from work. He would be pleased to get union protection. Many honourable senators know people who have been chronically unfinancial members of trade unions. As a former shop steward, 1 cad assure the Senate that sometimes we have been a little liberal in providing legal assistance to men who technically owed more than one year’s dues. This is one of the. decisions which we have to face.
I deal now with the completely biased’ argument that has been raised by the Opposition. Somebody, I think it was Senator Little, complained and asked why the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) did not apply an instant interpretation and say: ‘Well, if you were not in a union before election day you will not receive anything.’ On the contrary, we have tried to be far more liberal about this by not lowering the boom immediately. It is on this point that we are being criticised. It seems to me that the Opposition was determined to find some point on which to harp: As a matter of fact, by interjection many of us have argued about the membership of professional associations. I hearken back to this film which has been shown on television. .As a matter of fact, Channel 9 used it 3 or 4 times, obviously to try to condition people’s minds. There was not only the one with Peter Sellers but there was another one starring Richard Attenborough which dealt with a dispute of long standing involving somebodybeing sent to Coventry. Well, if we are to talk about sending people to Coventry let us look at the professional associations.
I- know that some cheap jibes have been used by members of the Australian Medical Association against certain Asian ‘ doctors. They were looked on as potential scabs. It was argued that they would be more docile. I interjected when Senator Sim was speaking. As a rural man I do not know why he took up the cudgels on behalf of the legal fraternity. 1 know that there have . been many squeals about the do-it-yourself divorce kit. It looked to rae as if that profession was a little afraid that the layman was invading the legal man’s province. We cannot have it both ways.
I agree with standards. I believe in people belo”8<ng to 3n organisation of their calling. I am not unmindful of trade union faults. We can look at the history o[ the trade union movement, There have been occasions when there has been an eruption in a union and an additional organisation has been formed, I do not agree when the new organisation has obviously been employer aided. We can look at various industries in which several organisations have been formed because of some internal upheaval. I say this very sincerely. If someone joins a union in recent times to obtain an additional week’s leave he has nol done too badly out of it. He is protected for the future. Of course, people can drift in and out of trade unions. They can become unfinancial. But what we are suggesting is not out of focus whatsoever. As a matter of fact, in my experience once a shop is well organised and people are financial 1 can assure honourable senators that if the shop steward ls not on the ball he will not last very long. Conversely, in regard to the trade union itself, the members will agitate for the officials to be on the job. Senator Kane’s thesis can be taken out of focus. He takes the point and his main complaint is that some unions have such a tight, closed shop membership that they more or less keep the membership to a small group.
My experience has been in relation to amalgamations with the transfer of members from one group to another. There can be changed line-ups. I can give honourable senators a particular case now. It concerns the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia. The Senate will notice that I am picking out a union which is more or less under moderate control. I know of certain ballots in that association where the voting for positions was so close that one section of the union has Been transferred. This happened on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. A section has been switched from the south coast branch to the Sydney branch. Those members can probably determine in a closely contested ballot what can happen. I say this because it can well be that some honourable senators may be a bit irate because some senior officers in unions associated with the Commonwealth Public Service may have’ been critical of the previous Government. We believe in trade union independence in this way. Now that the election is over I can say that I am surprised that such an astute political genera] like Senator Carrick did not use this in the last campaign. Some of the leaders of those unions were just as critical of [he present Minister for Labour. They were just as critical of us on other aspects. We welcome this. I suppose that if we were vindictive we could have said that those people were not as unfettered in their support of us as other sections of the trade union movement. That is the answer that I give the Opposition. If honourable senators look at the editorials in their journals it will be seen that they have been fairly discriminating in relation to what they thought was good in our policy and, perhaps on a rare occasion, in relation to what they thought the Opposition might have given to them as some minor safeguard. But we accept the bad with the good.
We do not deny that trade- union costs are increasing. I say without- any inhibitions whatsoever that it can be proved to the people at large in the Public -Service associations that banding themselves together is effective and it obtains benefits. I think that this is a laudable suggestion. The Opposition sometimes scoffs when we refer to the time of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. We can talk about John Archer, a member of the House of Commons, who started as an English farm labourer. Of course, this is not quite the same situation. But we all know that in the world in which we live today it is sometimes hard to marshall public opinion and get people interested. It is hard to get people to stand for trade union office. I think that everyone wants a healthy trade union movement to maintain the democratic fabric of this country. Trade unions have to get results. I say to honourable senators that if this Government, during its early period in office can push something through it will. We feel not for the people who sought votes for the Labor Party but those who prepared all the facts and figures which go to the Public Service Arbitrator. This is the root cause of Ibis matter. The trade union movement can stand up with any other section of the community. We all know that no matter what section of the trade union movement is involved and no matter who the officials are if there is a national crisis we run hot foot to the trade union movement. Then the Opposition would be happy to have it represented on boards and commissions. This is the whole attitude of the movement It does not have to crawl, lt stands on its. feet. It asks like any other section of the community. But to get back to my initial remarks, when I look at boards and commissions and their personnel I believe quite sincerely that other sections of the community have been over-represented. There is no question about it. There is overrepresentation on these other boards and commissions.
As far as we are concerned we have kept faith in this situation. We are not interested in the personnel of the trade unions. Some honourable senators have talked about discrimination. Let us look at the field where there is dual or triple control in a single industry. If we had said: ‘We are for him and not For him’, honourable senators might have some case. But that does not enter into the matter at all. There has. been an honest attempt to upgrade the status of the Public Service associations. We have done this without any strings because we recognise the rights of associations. Mark you, there are more ways of skinning the cat than one. 1 know of. all the little ways. Over the years things have been eroded and played down. It is nothing new. Let us look at the reports of the British Trade Union Council. After the Attlee Government went out there were times when trade union rights were broken down. After all, we are in the age of image bases. If a trade union or any other organisation cannut deliver the goods by agitation and by advocacy in front of a tribunal, of course its membership diminishes. I do not say that every member of the Opposition believes in that but a sizeable minority does. They do not always say so publicly. I am sure that when honourable senators go to these dinners held by the Mining Institute, the’ Chamber of Manufactures and particularly the Metal Trades Employers Association and the cigars come om and everyone has had a nice glass of Scotch, at that, time honourable senators lean over and say: ‘We will give them the stick’; On this occasion they are not going to get the stick. We are not even going to offer it back to the employers. We are going to say that in every way we will apply the doctrine of equality. That is what this is all about.
– I was certainly interested in the last remark made by Senator Mulvihill. He promised that the doctrine to be applied by the Government in these matters was one of equality. If that is the case I expect that he will support this measure despite his apparent opposition. If he applies that principle he certainly will be supporting it. lt is perfectly clear that that is the whole basis of our’ motion on this subject. The determinations and the way in which they are being applied by the Government are creating inequality and division within the Public Service. I make it perfectly clear - in moving this motion I think Senator Greenwood made it perfectly clear - that the object of the motion is to get rid of a highly offensive and discriminatory decision and to point the way in which the election promise of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) of 4 weeks annual leave for all Commonwealth employees should be implemented. Whatever views we might have in regard to the principle of 4 weeks annual leave - I believe that this is something which should be determined by the industrial tribunals of this country, and I am opposed to pace setting which is practised by governments in regard to their own employees - nevertheless, we on this side of the chamber recognise that the Prime Minister made a. clear election promise in this regard and that he and his Government has a clear mandate to introduce the principle of 4 weeks annual leave for Commonwealth employees. There-, fore this motion and this debate are not meant to prevent the implementation of- 4 weeks annual leave but to ensure that the election promise is properly carried out and applied to all Commonwealth employees, as the Prime Minister so clearly promised when he went to the election. But, of course, that is exactly the reverse of what these determinations lay down.
If the question is how this determination is operating and so on, it really can be understood only by the consideration of a number of different steps that have been taken and a number of rather complicated legal provisions. This debate has prompted a number of - interjections ‘ and I hope that in answering interjections I will not have to be concerned with the technical, legal aspects of the matter:
Here one can only look at the totality of what has been done to see the reality of the situation- The steps to which I referred are these: As 1 have said, the Prime Minister promised 4 weeks annual leave for all Commonwealth employees. Within, I think, three or four days of the election the then Minister for Labour apparent or presumptive or whatever one might call him at that stage, Mr Clyde Cameron, made it quite clear that this promise would be carried out only in relation to members of Public Service organisations and unions and would not be applied generally. That statement was made three or four days after the election and after the people had given the Labor Government a clear mandate on a specific and unambiguous promise made by the Prime Minister of 4 weeks annual leave to all Commonwealth employees. Having made that statement, Mr Clyde Cameron continued to maintain that position.
The next step was that the proceedings before, the Public Service Arbitrator were compromised by a consent determination whereby the Public Service Board - no doubt under a political direction from Mr Clyde Cameron and/ or the Prime- Minister - agreed to the determination being made in the terms that have already been quoted from time to time in this debate. That determination states that the benefit of 4 weeks leave is to be given to the members of the organisations which made the application. I do not wish to mention the names of all of the organisations; they are all mentioned here in the motion. The determination was that this entitlement be given to members of these organisations.
The next critical step taken was an announcement that these determinations were not to be applied to public servants other than those who were members of organisations and unions. In the past the practise in the Public Service has been that when an organisation appeared before a Public Service Arbitrator and obtained a determination or an award from him, the benefits of that award were applied even-handedly and equally to all members of the Public Service who are working in similar categories, classifications and so forth. But that is not what has been done here. What has been done here is entirely in accordance with what Mr Clyde Cameron has been saying since 6th .December, namely that these benefits will be given only to persons who are members of
Public Service Unions or organisations. It is obvious from the steps that have been taken and from the public statements that have been made by Mr Clyde Cameron since the election that the- whole purpose of this exercise is to restrict the benefit of 4 weeks annual leave to members- of Public Service unions and organisations. They are the. clear facts of the situation. We want to c car away this confusion in relation to determinations which are being used by the Government for these political purposes. We insist that the Government bring into this Parliament a Bill to amend the Public Service Act so that this matter can be handled in a proper and open manner.
My objections to these determinations and the way in which they are being applied by the Government can be summarised under a number of headings, all of which I believe raise important matters of principle with which the Senate should be very concerned. Firstly, a fundamental objection which I have and which I know my colleagues have is to the attempt to introduce by the back door the principle of compulsory unionism.
– Would you. support it if it were introduced through the front door?
– No, I do hot support it at all, and it is even more offensive when it is being introduced by the back door. The second fundamental objection which I have is that this decision and the way in which.it is being .applied divides the Public Service. As Senator Greenwood said, it is not in accordance with the previous practice of an independent Public Service Board which applies benefits even-handedly across the whole Public Service. This decision divides the Public Service. How often during the last 12 months have we heard the Prime Minister talking about divisions that are being created in our society by Liberal governments? But here we have the most naked and blatant piece of division created by the Prime Minister within days of the election.
My third fundamental objection to this decision - I have. dealt with it already but I wish to summarise it again - is that it is in blatant contradiction of the Prime Minister’s solemn election promise in unambiguous terms - nobody on the Government side of this Senate’ can get away from the clear and unambiguous words the Prime Minister used - that all Commonwealth employees will be given 4 weeks annual leave.
– Do you agree with that? Do you support that?
– I have already said that 1 do. Senator Milliner keeps asking a question. I have said clearly and Senator Greenwood has said clearly that we on this side of the Chamber will not impede the passage of legislation in respect of which a mandate clearly has been given to the Government. We said that over and over again. I ask the honourable senator not to waste my time and his time any longer.
My fourth objection is that this whole exercise has been carried out almost by stealth and certainly by back door methods. It has been done by a form of regulation and has not been done openly and properly in the Parliament as it should have been. Senator Greenwood has pointed out clearly that the Public Service Act provides that a public servant may be given up to 3 weeks annual leave and no more. The law of the land is that there should be 3 weeks annual leave. The wal in which this has been done is by a curious provision in the Public Service Arbitration Act. The reason for it escapes me but there may be some technical reason for it. The fact is that in certain circumstances the Public Service Arbitrator is given the power to make a determination contrary to the law of the land but that determination, is subject to disallowance by either House of Parliament. Of course, that is the way in which this has been done. That may be a satisfactory way to change salary provisions that are made by regulation but it is a totally unsatisfactory and unacceptable way to change the law as contained in the Public Service Act, a law which has been passed by both Houses of Parliament.
In my submission, the law can be changed only by both Houses of Parliament. Here again, we have a clear example of the double standards of the Government and its senior members in relation to this matter. How often have we heard about the Australian Labor Party’s belief in Parliament and bow matters should always be caried out by Parliament? Its members have said that any substantive changes in the law ought to be carried out by Parliament and not by regulation - not even by ordinance. An ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory was disallowed on a motion moved by Senator Murphy some months ago because he said it involved a matter of substantive law which should be changed by Parliament and not by subordinate legislation. Yet not only do we have this major change in the law and the implementation of this major promise of the Prime Minister made during the election campaign carried out by regulation but also we have had many other examples of this kind of thing since 2nd. December. One of the most notable was. that, involving the matrimonial causes rules. This is not a unique case. This is the pattern which obviously is being followed by this Government. It is ignoring Parliament, getting around the law as ‘ far as it can and doing things by regulations, determination or by some other back door method.
The fifth objection I have to these determinations is the confusion which has arisen bythe nature of the determinations, by the way in which they have been carried out and, inparticular, by the way in which they are now being implemented. This confusion ‘ of ‘ the. policy and its implementation has been dealt with very clearly by Senator Little. I touched upon some of the more technical aspects of it a few moments ago. But the most serious’, practical aspect is the first-class, and now public, row that is being carried on between the Minister for Labour, Mr Clyde Cameron, and the Public Service’ Board as to what members of a union or what unions or organisations are to benefit from the decision. The decision applies simply to those who were members of organisations or unions on the day of the determination. Attempts are being made by the Minister to extend it to people who have joined unions since a particular date. Apparently, these attempts are being resisted by the Public Service Board because of the interpretation that it is putting on the determinations.
So there are thoroughly ambiguous determinations and apparently there is confusion as to their legal effect. An interpretation has been placed on them by the Public Service Board. Another interpretation has been made by the Minister or the Prime Minister. Perhaps Senator Bishop has made even a third or fourth interpretation but he is not telling us much about it. There is the Public Service Arbitrator’s view, Mr Clyde Cameron’s view and, as I say, there could be other views.. Certainly, the’ Public Service Board has another view. This whole exercise is one of utter con- fusion in the minds of those who are directly concerned with it. What confusion must there be in the minds of those members of the Public Service who are hoping to benefit in some Way or other from the determinations.
Certainly, complete confusion exists for us and the people of this country in regard to what , on earth is happening. From first to last, this has been a sorry, miserable and disorganised exercise. This Government should start again as soon as possible. We have shown how simply this can be done. Senator Greenwood has shown that in very clear terms. We have all said that if this is done in a proper way and a Bill is introduced, it would have to change only one word in the Puttie Service Act> We. are told that Senator Murphy is importing wonderful staff from the United States of America and. the Sydney Bar. I do not . think it would be beyond the wit of his adviser from the Sydney Bar to draft an amendment to the Public Service Act. It may be beyond his ability to do something a little more complicated but I think even he would be able to draft this Bill in a short space of time. I recommend and thoroughly support the motion that these confusing determinations be disposed of as soon as possible. I am sorry that it cannot be done this afternoon. Apparently it has to wait for another few days. But they must be disposed of and this must be done in a proper manner in accordance with the proper principles of parliamentary government and, certainly,, first and foremost, in accordance with solemn promises made by the Prime Minister of this country when he went to the people and sought and was given their support on this subject. As I have said, I have reservations in my mind as to the’ wisdom of his proposals. But I would not personally oppose legislation in that form if it were properly presented to the Parliament.
– Order! It being 4.45 p.m., in accordance with the order of the Senate earlier this day, the Senate stands adjourned until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 6th March 1973.
Senate adjourned at 4.45 p.m.
The following answers to question upon
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Urban and Regional Development upon notice:
Is Mr Harry Stein, referred to in Press Statement number 41, as ‘Mr Urea’s Press Secretary’ the same Mi Stein who was formerly me Press Gallery correspondent tor ,De Tribune’ newspaper and campaign director for the Communist Party in the 1964 Senate Elections.
Senator CAVANAGH- The Minister for Urban and Regional Development has advised the answer to Senator Gair’s question is yes.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Mr Lashwood has indicated publicly that he has In mind proposing a number of reforms in the ABC which he hopes to have accepted by the Commission. 1 understand that he bas indicated that if he is not successful in having the Commission accept the pro-, posals he has in mind, he intends to Indicate to the’ public what he ls trying to do. He has indicated that he believes this is in line with the Government’s policy on open Government, t see no reason why it should not bc possible for the Commission itself to initiate a public discussion and debate about important issues concerning the ABC. In fact I see Important benefits that can be derived from this open discussion and lt is my opinion that the aura of secrecy which appeared to surround decisions of the Commission under the previous Government was one of the factors which led to, amongst other things, astaff morale problem in the ABC. I am determined that that morale problem should be faced and that the public should be allowed to participate in an informed way in a discussion of the role of the ABC In Australian’- society.
(Question No. 43) Senator KANE asked the Minister for the Media, upon notice:
Does me Minister agree with the reported remarks of the new Australian Broadcasting Commission’s notice were circulated:
Commissioner, Mr H. Lashwood, that he will reveal’ submissions made by him to the Commission but, which were not agreed to by the other Commit-‘ signers.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 March 1973, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1973/19730301_senate_28_s55/>.