28th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 11.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I give notice that tomorrow I intend to move:
That in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report:
Construction of an offshore high security animal quarantine station.
– I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
That the notice of the acquisition of land by the Commonwealth published in Gazette No. 59 on 24 May 1973 under the Lands Acquisition Act 1955- 1966 authorising the acquisition of land by compulsory process for the following public purpose approved by the Governor-General - The planned development and control of the city of Darwin and ils adjacent areas (Executive Minute No. 464) - be void and of no effect.
– 1 direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. I refer to the statement issued by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on Sunday concerning the tutoring of Aborigines in jewellery making. Mr Bryant announced that a Victorian craftsman and silversmith will do the tutoring. I ask the Minister: Were any Western Australian craftsmen approached to see whether they were available and able to carry out this task? If not, why not? If organisations and individuals with qualifications and interests in this field were approached, can the Minister advise which organisations and individuals they were?
– The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has advised me that the provision of a tutor in jewellery making for the Aboriginal community at Jiggalong in Western Australia is part of a national program to train Aborigines throughout Australia in the production of jewellery. The project is aimed at providing Aborigines in depressed communities in remote areas with a means of income. Jiggalong has been chosen simply as the first of a series in the development of this process. The tutor who is to go to Jiggalong was chosen after consultation with the Australian Council for the Arts and naturally metal craftsmen throughout Australia were considered for the position. However, it was found that very few craftsmen were able to take up that position as it was necessary for the person appointed to work initially for a 3 months period, after which time the project will be assessed. If it is found to be successful the person will be required to work full time providing training in similar communities. This proposal came from the Australian Council for the Arts. There was no approach by any other organisation or individual in connection with this project.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral explain why, when the trade practices legislation is prepared and ready for introduction into the Parliament, as be said yesterday, it will not be introduced into the Parliament this session, as stated by the Prime Minister yesterday? Does the Government not accept, as the previous Government accepted, that there is merit in allowing time for the details of important legislation to be considered, particularly when there has been no explanatory statement of the general intent of the Government in this area? What does the Government propose to do about this trade practices legislation? Is the Attorney-General able to make a clear-cut statement as to the Government’s intention?
– Yesterday 1 made some reference to what the Government proposes to do in the legislation and to the general nature of it, when asked to do so by an Opposition senator. Reference was made in the pre-election statements of the present Government as to what was proposed to be done. That has been made fairly clear. The Government will state in the law the conduct which is not permissible and will allow the law to operate as it normally would. It will contain some provision for exemptions by way of authorisations and clearances in proper cases. In essence, the approach which was taken was one of having a modernised version of the Australian Industries Preservation Act which had been held by the High Court of Australia to be valid. So the Government’s intentions have been made quite clear for some time. I have indicated them because honourable senators are interested to know the progress which is being made. Senator Greenwood would be well aware that once legislation is prepared it still has to be considered by various committees. There is a system, which has been announced, of committees of Cabinet and of Cabinet itself considering proposed legislation. As with the Opposition parties, so with our party; these matters are submitted to the party. The normal processes will be gone through. As soon as they are attended to, the Bill will be introduced into the Parliament. I thought the Senate would be interested to know the stage which had been reached, and that is the stage which has been reached. The normal processes will be pursued.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the discrepancies which have been reported about the granting of the margarine quota entitlement to Marrickville Margarine Pty Ltd for the Australian Capital Territory, will the Minister, as a member of a government which has advocated a policy of open government, arrange immediately for the tabling of the minutes of the Australian Agricultural Council meeting this year at which the matter was discussed so that the confusion can be cleared?
– I am not in a position to table those minutes, as I think the honourable senator would be aware. That is a matter for the Australian Agricultural Council to decide. He will recall that last week I gave ito Senator Webster an undertaking that I would obtain from the Minister for the Capital Territory, Mr Enderby, a detailed statement of the arrangements which transpired between Marrickville Margarine Pty Ltd and the Minister. I have requested that information from Mr Enderby. I will supply it to Senator Webster as soon as it is available. If Senator Drake-Brockman would like a copy, I will give him a copy as well.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is it a fact that Nabalco Pty Ltd is 70 per cent owned and controlled by foreign interests from Switzerland? Does it operate what is virtually a company town at Gove in such a way as to be able to control the trade and commerce in the town? Is it correct that the Australian Government has spent $12m in providing this company town with the infrastructure normally provided by mining companies? Will the Minister request the Minister for the Northern Territory and the Minister for Minerals and Energy to investigate the economic and social ramifications of this type of company town, the extent to which Nabalco is able to insist on onerous leases and determine the pattern of social and economic life in the town and whether, in fact, Nabalco has acted oppressively in relation to Australia’s concerns in the town of Gove?
– 4 think it is a matter for concern that there has arisen in Australia the development of what are known as company towns where a company operates in such a way as to be able to control virtually the lives of the people in these towns. This has been raised and some complaints have been received over a period. I know of one very recent complaint that has been raised in regard to Nabalco. I will refer the question to the appropriate Ministers for investigation. It may need investigation by more than the 2 Ministers who have been mentioned because there are very serious implications for the democratic process and the operation not only of trade and commerce but also of other affairs in these places where there is the development of what is fairly known as a company town.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Overseas Trade. Has he seen statements by the Minister for Overseas Trade, Dr Cairns, that the question of Australian trade with Taiwan was raised by the Chinese and that Australian companies will continue to do business with both Taiwan and China? As the Australian Government has now been given permission by the Chinese to trade with Taiwan, will the Government reconsider its attitude towards trade with Taiwan by establishing trade commissioners between our 2 countries in an endeavour to facilitate and encourage increased trade between Australia and Taiwan?
– I did see the Press report to which Senator Young has referred. Bearing in mind that it is only a Press report, I felt it was a very reasonable statement and that it was good to know that the antagonism which one might assume could exist apparently does not exist. On the basis of that report the Chinese Government does not appear to wish to inhibit trade between Australia and Taiwan. I would not say more until Dr Cairns has returned. It will be for him to make a decision on what trade commissions are established in Taiwan.
– I direct a question without notice to the Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Notwithstanding the long range plans for an international conference of nations adjacent to large fishing- areas, can we have an assurance that if North Atlantic Treaty Organisation contingencies result in Iceland obtaining a more favourable formula from its cod war with the United Kingdom, Australia would use such a precedent in its future fishing relations with its competitors in adjacent Australian fishing waters?
– The question by Senator Mulvihill really amounts to a suggestion. I will take note of it.
– My question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health follows upon the answer supplied yesterday to my question on notice No. 265 regarding food taken from international aircraft. I had asked what procedures had been adopted to see that there were no further occurrences of this nature. The answer did not provide a reply to this question. If food was illegally taken from an international aircraft landing in Perth or elsewhere, can the Minister give an assurance that the quarantine control is adequate to prevent the illegal removal of food coming from overseas sources? What difference is there between procedures with regard to food surpluses from overseas and food surpluses from internal sources?
– It is true that yesterday I gave to Senator Prowse an answer to a question that he had placed on notice. The answer was supplied by my colleague the Minister for Health in another place. I am not able to provide answers immediately to the questions now posed. I will refer them to my colleague, Dr Everingham, and ask him to reply to the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Supply. Is it a fact that in 1964-65 a study of aircraft fatigue in international aircraft was conducted by the Aeronautical Research Laboratories of the Department of Supply, and that the report on that study was submitted to the Director-General . of Civil Aviation in April 1965? In view of the continuing introduction of sophisticated highperformance jet aircraft into service with the domestic airlines and Qantas Airways Ltd and the far-reaching consequences that the introduction of such aircraft will have on safety, the environment and unemployment, and in the interests of open government, will the Minister take steps to have this important report released for public examination or at least made available for perusal by members of the Parliament?
– I undertake to investigate the matters to which the honourable senator has referred and to see to what extent the report ought to be made available, if not publicly, at least to members of the Parliament.
– I ask a question of the Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Was the primary purpose of Dr Cairns’s visit to China the promotion of trade? Is it not a fact that much of Dr Cairns’s time was spent in diplomatic talks with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Chi Peng-fei, Prince Sihanouk and the ambassadors to Peking of the Vietcong, North Vietnam and North Korea, and that Dr Cairns said in an Australian Broadcasting Commission broadcast that his visit was primarily political with trade incidental? Is it true that during most of the visit Dr Cairns was completely out of touch with the Australian Embassy in China and the Australian Ambassador to China, Dr Stephen Fitzgerald? Is it also true that Dr
Cairns refused to use the communications facilities offered by the Australian Embassy, preferring those provided by the Chinese Government? Will Dr Cairns report to Parliament in his capacity as Minister for Overseas Trade’ and Minister for Secondary Industry or as our unofficial Minister for Foreign Affairs?
– The answer to the honourable senator’s first question is that the primary purpose of Dr Cairns’s visit to China was trade.
– He denied that on the ABC.
– Let me answer the questions one by one. That was the subject of about the fifth question. The second question asked whether Dr Cairns spent most of his time talking to several people on political questions. No, he did not spend most of his time or an undue amount of his time doing that. The honourable senator mentioned, amongst other names, the name of Norodom Sihanouk. Dr Cairns did not have talks with him. I have not seen the statement that Dr Cairns made during an ABC broadcast. The honourable senator asked whether Dr Cairns was out of touch with the Australian Embassy. Dr Cairns was not out of touch with the Australian Embassy; he was in very close touch with it. Dr Cairns used the communications facilities offered to him by our Embassy in Peking.
– I direct my question to the Special Minister of State. Has his attention been drawn to the plight of political prisoners in Saigon and South Vietnam? In view of the funds being allocated by Australia towards civilian rehabilitation in South Vietnam, will the Minister suggest as a condition applying to the continuation of the allocation of these funds that access be given to and inspection be made of the shocking, inhuman conditions of political prisoners in Saigon who are confined to cages like animals? Will the Minister make inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the imprisonment of young Catholic workers in Saigon?
– Yes, my attention has been drawn many times to the plight of political prisoners in South Vietnam. The situation with regard to political prisoners is - I have stated it here before - that Australia is not a signatory to the Accords which were signed between the various parties to the Vietnam settlement. Therefore, if we were to take action by making statements or trying to suggest anything to the parties, it could well be regarded as outside interference. We have no legal rights in the situation. Part of the ceasefire agreement was that the 2 parties should proceed towards the exchange of prisoners. Some prisoners have been released; the release of others has been delayed by all sorts of arguments. Our information is that there is no doubt that prisoners are still being held. Our attitude to the question of aid to the Indo-China states has been that we will make the most generous aid that is possible available to the whole of the Indo-China states.
Very obviously it is difficult to make aid available to Khmer, although some aid is trickling through to that country while the fighting continues. We stand ready to give postwar aid the moment a post-war situation arises in that country. We have not placed any ideological embargos on either side regarding the question of aid. The 5 YCW boys who were arrested have been the subject of discussion all around the world and here, I take it, by the world wide YCW organisation. In fact, only yesterday a contingent from that organisation met me and discussed these general questions with me. The situation regarding the 5 YCW boys is that four of them have been released and the fifth one is to stand trial on criminal charges.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation ask his colleague to explain why the special fares available for domestic air travel on aircraft from Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett Airlines of Australia by groups of North American tourists will not also be available to Australians? Does the Minister not feel that in this regard Australians are being treated as second class citizens?
– The honourable senator commenced his question by asking me whether I would ask the Minister for Civil Aviation why this is the case. The answer is yes.
– I ask a question of the Special Minister of State in his capacity as the Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign
Affairs. Has the Minister seen reports that a Mr Steven Colig, an Australian citizen of Yarralumla in the Australian Capital Territory, was arrested by Yugoslav authorities about 8 months ago, within 3 weeks of entering Yugoslavia on a holiday? Mr Colig is reported to have been sentenced to 12 years gaol by a military court in Sarajevo. Has the Australian Government made any inquiries into this matter?
– Yes, we have made inquiries into this matter. Mr Colig is one of a group of 9 persons about whom we have been inquiring and in respect of whom questions have been asked in this place. I might add to the general situation. The question asked whether we have made inquiries. Our Ambassador had a 2-hour discussion with Mr Banovic, the Minister for the Interior in Yugoslavia, on 23 May on the subject of Australians detained in Yugoslavia. The points which emerged from that talk were that we have asked for the death certificates of those people who have been executed, and the Federal Executive Council in Yugoslavia has directed that the death certificates be issued urgently. They come not through the Minister for the Interior but through the Minister for Justice. We also have asked that the Sarajevo dossier be transmitted to us and that the basic information be given on the 9 outstanding consular cases.
Additionally, honourable senators know the problem concerning dual citizenship on which we have been working. Of course, dual citizenship does not apply in this case merely between Yugoslavia and Australia; it applies between Yugoslavia and every other country. But in spite of that, and in spite of the convention on which the Yugoslav authorities rest their case, we have been pressing that there ought to be a better working arrangement between us. The Yugoslav Government has agreed to assist with the development of a working arrangement, regardless of the technicalities relating to dual nationality.
– Is the Minister for the Media aware that the implementation of the points system may cause television stations in the smaller centres of Australia to reduce their hours of transmission so that they will not need to earn so many points? Further, does he realise that any reduction of hours of transmission will most probably require a subsequent reduction in staff?
– I have heard it suggested and have seen it written in articles that the implementation of the points system may cause a reduction in transmission hours on the part of commercial television stations operating in remote areas. I assume that this will be a matter which the Australian Broadcasting Control Board will take into consideration in its deliberations with the management of commercial stations that are taking place today, in fact, in Melbourne.I am sure that the Board, which is responsible for determining standards in this regard, will weigh up these matters in arriving at its decision.
– Did the Acting Minister for Labour have a conference yesterday with a section or with all the representatives of the building workers unions from New South Wales? If so, what authority was the Minister exercising? What proposition was discussed and with what result?
– I have had conferences with all sections of the building industry concerned with the stoppage in New South Wales, including the employer groups. Those who were not available were invited to attend. There will be an all-in conference with them later today because we were requested to meet them. I think it might be best for me to say that the discussions have been amicable with all sections, including the employers. I should not say anything more at this stage.
– I ask the Minister for the Media whether it is a fact that Australia’s 30 country commercial television stations will have to pay a much greater proportion of the cost of making Australian television shows under the Government’s new points system. Has consideration been given to the capacity of those stations to meet heavily increased costs? Will the Government ensure that listeners in rural areas are not denied television services because of unduly heavy financial demands made on country television stations?
– It is the policy of the Government that the dual system of national and commercial radio and television shall continue to operate and be available to as many Australian citizens as is possible. I think that already in Australia 98 per cent of the population is served one way or the other with television. I assure the honourable senator that it is not the intention of the Government to deny any person, wherever he might be, the opportunity of viewing. Indeed, it is the policy of the Government to extend viewing arrangements. I have seen a newspaper report that in future country and provincial commercial television stations will need to contribute more to the production of programs than they have done in the past. I think the situation has been to date that an undue cost burden has been placed on the main production commercial networks in the cities. I understand that in some cases programs made at a cost of $25,000 or $30,000 an episode are able to be purchased by some country and provincial commercial stations for as low as $20 or $25. It is the desire of the Government to spread the cost of production in order to get more money involved in production, and therefore ensure that there will be greater Australian content in productions as well as an improvement in their quality. However, so far as I am aware, there is no requirement under the proposed points system for provincial stations to pay more for Australian productions.
– My question, addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, refers to the vexed subject of dual nationality. Will the Minister consider preparing a series of statements in the various languages and, where a naturalised Australian citizen seeks to return to a homeland which does not necessarily recognise Australian naturalisation, arrange for that person to be handed a statement indicating the position in regard to the country he proposes to visit, making it clear to him that his Australian nationality does not necessarily guarantee that he will be allowed to return to this country?
– This matter comes within the responsibility of the Minister for Immigration, whom I represent in this place. I will refer the honourable senator’s suggestion to my colleague for consideration.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Education. When will the report of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission under the chairmanship of Professor Karmel be received by the Minister? Will it be made public? If so, will it be presented to the Parliament prior to the winter recess? In any event, in the interests of open government, will the Minister table all correspondence from any Government Minister to the Committee relating to any directive given to it concerning the conduct of its inquiry and the preparation of its report?
– I will refer the matter to my colleague, the Minister for Education, for a reply.
– My question is directed to the Special Minister of State. At his Press conference this week the Prime Minister restated his opposition to the presence of United States Air Force units in Thailand. Has the Prime Minister protested to North Vietnam at the continued presence of North Vietnamese troops in Cambodia?
– As I understand what the Prime Minister said at the Press conference this week, it was that his attitude towards the retention of an air force in Thailand is well known. He was referring to what he said some time ago. As to the question about whether we have complained about violations of the peace treaty in Vietnam, the answer is no, we have not complained to either side.
– Cambodia, not Vietnam.
– Cambodia; I am sorry, I did not hear that. The situation there is such a delicate one that our advice is that at this stage we should not be protesting to any of the various governments which we frequently are told are committing violations and doing all sorts of things not to bring about peace in Vietnam.
– I direct a question to the Special Minister of State. He may wish to refer to to the Attorney-General, Senator Murphy. It relates to various questions that have been asked in the Senate regarding the civil rights of individuals who were named by Senator Murphy, during the debate on Croatian terrorism, as being terrorists. I direct this question to Senator Willesee as he kindly wrote to me following my question to him about this matter. He said in a letter to me that the matter would be drawn to the attention of Senator Murphy while he was in The Hague. The letter went on to state:
I understand Senator Murphy will furnish a reply to your question on his return to Australia.
As the question was placed on the notice paper on 12 April, I ask Senator Willesee: Can I expect an answer to that question shortly?
– I think this is properly a question for me to answer. I notice that the honourable senator has asked a number of questions on this subject matter. I notice also that in the course of debates on this subject he has expressed himself in terms which show that he has reached certain conclusions about the matter. I notice further that, despite the fact that he has reached conclusions and expressed himself in a manner which shows that he has an invincible bias on certain matters, nevertheless he has put himself forward as a prospective member of the Senate committee that has been established to consider the matter of civil rights. Answers will be given to some of these questions. It may well be a matter for consideration as to whether they are questions which ought properly to be answered in view of the fact that the Senate has now taken the course of establishing a committee to inquire into the subject matter of the honourable senator’s questions. Nevertheless consideration has been given to that aspect of the matter also as it bears on whether the questions which the honourable senator asks ought properly to be answered now that the Senate has taken the course of establishing a committee.
- Mr President, may 1 ask a supplementary question?
– My question which is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate is simply this: Does he or does he not intend to answer the question on notice?
– I have already indicated to the honourable senator - and a moment’s reflection ought to lead him to an understanding of the fact - that it is a serious matter which should be given consideration as to whether, when the Senate has established a select committee to inquire especially into certain matters, the course ought to be taken of answering. However, my disposition while the matter is being given consideration is to answer the questions. I shall do so unless there is some countervailing reason why they should not be answered in view of the establishment of the committee.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he is aware of the following matters. A collection of Spanish coins, being pieces of eight, pieces of four and pieces of two and valued at about $50,000, recovered from the wreck of the Dutch ship the ‘Gilt Dragon’ which foundered on a reef 3 miles off the Western Australian coast in 1656, has been handed over by the Western Australian Government to the man who claims to have found the coins. This was done in settlement of an action in which the Western Australian Museum sought to obtain possession of the coins from this gentleman but had difficulty in establishing a title. Is the Minister aware that the coins probably represent the largest and best preserved collection of closely dated Spanish coins in the world and that they were all minted in Mexico City in the early 1650s? Is the Minister further aware that the Commonwealth Government by agreement with the Dutch Government has obtained ownership of the Dutch wrecks off the Western Australian coast and has agreed to share the materials recovered from these wrecks with that Government? Does the Attorney-General agree that these coins certainly should form part of the national estate which is now being investigated and of which an inventory is being taken? Will the Commonwealth Government take action to obtain possession of these coins and thus preserve them intact for the benefit of all Australian citizens?
– I concur in the objective which has been stated by the honourable senator, that is, that if possible these coins ought to be put in the national estate. They are an important part of Australia’s history. I am not aware of the accuracy of the various matters of fact which have been raised by the honourable senator. Obviously questions of law arise here. We may - who knows - be entering again into the vexed question of whether the Commonwealth Government or the State Government has authority over these matters. This may prove to be a suitable occasion for establishing some of these matters.
– It could be a good test case.
– I hear the honourable senator interjecting that this could be a good test case. It may be a good test case. Rather than express any opinion as to the legal solution of the matter I shall ask that it be investigated by my Department in order to ascertain the legal position and whether Australia can take proceedings not only to establish its rights but also to carry out any agreement which has been entered into with a foreign government.
– My question which refers to the projected arrival on Friday, I think, of the first 6 F111C aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force is directed to the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence. Will the Minister ensure that these aircraft, at an early date, make a comprehensive tour of all States so that the aircraft may be put on display for viewing by the Australian people? Will the Government publish a pamphlet for general distribution containing all relevant unclassified information on the nature and performance of this excellent aircraft of which the RAAF is justifiably proud?
– I will put the honourable senator’s suggestions to the Minister for Defence.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Is it a fact that Messrs Scotton and Deeble based their health insurance recommendations recently made to the Government largely on personal on the spot studies of the governmentfunded Canadian health scheme? Is the Minister aware that the Federal Deputy Minis- ter of Health in Canada, when referring to the Canadian medicare scheme, recently stated:
We have come to the inescapable conclusion that we have the wrong system.
Is he aware also that one of the main reasons for the Minister’s statement was that the scheme is being over-utilised? I ask the Minister whether the Labor Government will avoid proven mistakes made by other governments before introducing radical changes to the present Australian health scheme which obviously is the envy of many overseas countries?
– I am aware of the matters enumerated in the question asked by Senator Jessop. I will have them referred to my colleague the Minister for Health for his consideration or the Minister for Social Security for his consideration. So far as the last portion of the honourable senator’s question is concerned, namely, whether the Government will avoid the proven mistakes made by other governments, let me say that it has been the intention of this Government to get the best possible advice from all sections of the Australian community. As I said in the Senate last night, as soon as Mr Hayden became the Minister for Social Security he appointed a national health insurance planning commission which tendered a report to him in April. That report has been tabled in both Houses of the Parliament. Copies of it have been given to all honourable members of the Parliament. It has received wide circulation and has been put to the public now for its consideration, suggestions and advice. I believe that our plan, when introduced, will have the overwhelming approval of the Australian people.
– I direct a question to the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence or the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. I am not certain into which portfolio the responsibility for this matter falls, but I will ask the question and hope that the appropriate Minister will reply to it. I ask: Will the proposed Australian coastguard which is to be set up for patrol and surveillance duties be modelled on the United States Coastguard? Will one of the functions of this service be to take over national administration of private boating under a co-ordinated and uniform control authority, which would be a very desirable development? In the definition of the ultimate range of services and extent of operations of this service, will consideration be given to seeking the views of well established and experienced boating organisations located around the Australian coastline which would be most willing to help in this way? Will it be possible to arrange for the closest liaison and co-operation between the coastguard and such bodies, even to the extent of having an integration of activities?
– Will you deal with the question, Senator Cavanagh?
– Yes. The recommendation in relation to this matter was brought down by the Minister for Transport whom I represent in this chamber. He will have control of the boats comprising the coastguard service. Of course, the purpose of the coastguard service is to police all the laws relating to activities around our coastline. We are reminded that the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse recommended a stricter surveillance by our customs officers of the intake of drugs into Australia. The coastguard service will also be concerned with the surveillance of our fishing grounds. A problem arises from the fact that some of the States engage in coastguard activities. It is hoped to co-ordinate the activities of both the States and the Commonwealth on a uniform basis to police the laws of the Commonwealth and, with the co-operation of the States, the laws of the States. If there was anything else in the honourable senator’s question which I have missed, I shall refer it to the Minister.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Did the Minister see a recent statement by the President of the New South Wales Graziers Association that although prices in most primary industries were buoyant, the industries were not? Did he note that the Association President said that one or even 2 years of better prices would not compensate for the difficult period that farmers had been through? I ask the Minister whether he agrees with those statements and whether they have been taken into consideration in fixing the terms of the Government’s financial assistance to rural industries.
– I think it is a well known fact that the fortunes of rural industries fluctuate from season to season and from year to year. Therefore, an assessment made at any one time would be relative to another period. It is reasonable to say that the general conditions prevailing in the rural industries at present are buoyant. I have not seen the report to which the honourable senator refers but I do not know that it is greatly relevant. This Government’s policy is to assist rural industries where the Government believes that assistance is warranted. It is not a case of simply making blanket statements and pouring out money in all directions. It is a matter of looking objectively at where the assistance that is provided can have the greatest effect and give the greatest benefit to the nation as a whole.
– My question is directed to the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence, particularly in respect of his administration of the use of VIP aircraft. Is it not a fact that it has been decided by the Government that VIP aircraft are not suitable for long overseas journeys by Cabinet Ministers? Is it a fact that the Minister for Defence is to leave Australia shortly for Europe and places in between and round about? Is it a fact that the Minister for Defence will be travelling in a BAC-III aircraft? Does this indicate that the Minister for Defence, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, is rated as less than the VIP with the Mercedes-Benz? Will the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence at some time before the Senate rises indicate who will be the passengers in the aircraft taking the Deputy Prime Minister overseas later in June?
– I do not know of any instruction which stipulates that VIP aircraft should not be used on overseas journeys and I do not think there were any prohibitions on such use of these aircraft by the previous Government. It is true that Mr Barnard proposes to use a BAC-III aircraft on his visit for discussions on the Five Power Agreement and other matters of security. As far as I know, at present the complement on the aircraft will be the Secretary of the Department of Defence, Sir Arthur Tange, other important defence advisers and his own staff who specialise in matters in which the Minister for
Defence will be engaging. One of the reasons for the use of the BAC-III aircraft is that there will be a self-contained group travelling in relation to these important matters and - all honourable senators will agree on this - it would be far more desirable that this aircraft be used. Nevertheless I will direct the honourable senator’s question for further examination. I would think also that the use of this aircraft would result in some savings compared with the use of ordinary domestic flights which, honourable senators could understand, would not be suitable on this occasion in view of the talks involved. If I can get any further information in relation to the honourable senator’s question I will do so.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Science: What progress has been made in creating and appointing members to the council of science and when is it likely that the council will be in operation?
– I will refer the question to the Minister for Science.
– I ask the Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Is it a fact that he granted a long interview to Mr Eddison Zvogbo, an African who was referred to in the Senate last week and who has arrived in Australia stating himself to be a freedom fighter and claiming to be honoured to be described as a terrorist? Is the Government prepared to assure the people of this country that it is opposed to terrorism and terrorist activities not only in Australia but throughout the world? Will the Minister state whether any, and if so, what, assurances have been given by him on behalf of the Australian Government to Mr Zvogbo either personally or in his capacity as the representative of the African National Council?
– Yes, I can say quite categorically that the Australian Government is opposed to terrorist activities anywhere. As a result of a question which Senator Greenwood asked me last night I asked Mr Zvogbo whether he had been in gaol, how many dmes he had been in gaol and all about the matter. Last night when I said that there was no proof of this man being a terrorist, or words to that effect, Senator Greenwood interjected and said that this man had been in gaol. Mr Zvogbo informed me that he was first arrested and charged with carrying an illegal document. The illegal document was a statement which he had made before the Committee of Seventeen, which is now the Committee of Twenty-four, of the United Nations. It was a copy of his testimony. He was acquitted by the court. The second time that he was arrested was, I think, for a seditious utterance. ‘Seditious’ may be the wrong word, but I think that that was the charge. It was at a political rally when he said, in effect, as he told me, that violence breeds violence. He was charged with making a seditious utterance, if that was the charge. He was convicted. He appealed through all the appellate courts but lost the case and served 12 months in gaol. The day that he was released from gaol, on his information, he was banned to a section of Rhodesia. He was later gaoled for 7 years, without charge and, therefore, without trial.
– By illegal courts.
– 1 am just telling the Senate what he informed me. The discussions which I had with Mr Zvogbo roamed over the obvious, including his attitude towards the Smith regime. I have been asked what assurances I gave him. He drew my attention to what he considered was the failure of the Australian Government to carry out the United Nations sanctions. He specifically mentioned the selling of goods that were made in Rhodesia, Qantas Airways Ltd carrying passengers to Rhodesia and the operation of the Rhodesian Information Centre in New South Wales. I told him that Mr Whitlam had already given very definite instructions regarding Qantas. I told him that the case for the deregistration of the name of the Centre, and therefore the closing of it, was still before the court in New South Wales.
There was one other matter. I apologise to Senator Keeffe for this. He asked me a question about this matter some time ago. Somehow my organisation has gone astray. I have not given him an answer yet. I apologise to him for that. Mr Zvogbo drew my attention to the fact that there had been advertisements in an Australian paper which sought to recruit staff for Rhodesia. Mr Zvogbo claimed that this was a breach of our undertaking in the United Nations. I undertook to look at these matters. They are the only subjects we discussed. They are the only assurances I gave him.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence, relates to an answer which he gave to Senator Marriott. Does the BAC111 cost $650 an hour to operate? Does this cost include only flying costs, rations and laundry? Does it exclude crew costs? Would not the figure be higher if the aircraft were operating overseas, away from its Australian base? Would a trip such as the one referred to by Senator Marriott require a back-up aircraft?
– I can only undertake to check what the honourable senator believes to be the operational cost of the BAC111 and his suggestion that it may need a back-up involving some additional cost. The honourable senator will recall that in answer to Senator Marriott I pointed out the advantages of the use of such an aircraft for the very important mission by the Minister for Defence during which he would need to have with him the top advisers on defence and a number of his own staff who specialise in these things. They will be the complement. The use of the aircraft will certainly provide a facility throughout the whole of the tour for discussions between those people who would obviously provide for the Minister the most expert advice and be a basis for exchanges with the important people he has to meet. That is the main purpose of it. On Senator DrakeBrockman’s question as to actual figures relating to costs, I will get the answer for him.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Science. Having regard to the heavy incidence of fog at Canberra Airport these days can the Minister advise whether any work on fog dispersal is being carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation or any other Commonwealth body? Is the partly successful FIDO used during the war years capable of adaptation, or is it too expensive for civilian use?
– I will refer the honourable senator’s question to the Minister for Science. It is certainly something that concerns all of us here. Obviously if an answer can be found to the problem, it ought to be found, and if any research can be pursued I have no doubt that this would be one of the matters that would come within the general intendment of the Organisation. If it is not within that, it ought to be undertaken by someone else.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport whether he is able to confirm that arising out of arrangements between the Premier of Tasmania and the Minister for Transport last Thursday the ship to which the Federal Government agreed to provide assistance for King Island services was the Malooka. Has the Minister any information on the suitability of that ship?
– In answer to a question by Senator Rae yesterday which suggested the ship was some 28 years old and costly to run, I agreed to get a reply from the Minister for Transport. I conveyed the question to the Minister’s office and I am now awaiting a reply. When the reply is received I will make sure that it includes the name of the ship, and I shall supply copies of the reply to both Senator Rae and Senator Wright.
– My question to the Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs is supplementary to the reference to Steven Colig, an Australian citizen gaoled for 12 years in Yugoslavia, and to the earlier answer of the Minister - which, I understood - I may be wrong - suggested that Colig, on his information, was one of the 9 persons arrested in the so-called Bosnian incident.
– The Minister may correct me. Is the Minister aware that it is stated that Colig went to Yugoslavia on a visit accompanied by his wife and 14-y earsold son and that the wife and son are at present in Yugoslavia? Has the Australian Government attempted to contact Mrs Colig to establish whether justice has been done to her husband and whether her own welfare and safety are in any jeopardy?
– There is one little point that Senator Carrick missed. Colig was one of the group of 9 persons about whom we are making inquiries quite apart from the Bosnian incident. Yes, we are aware of the circumstances of Mr Colig. Yes, we have been in touch because the Embassy staff was making inquiries about Mr Colig previously. They were able eventually to recover Mrs Colig’S passport which had been impounded, and they returned it to her. So they are obviously in touch with Mrs Colig.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. It refers again to the Croatian matter and to the question which I placed on the notice paper on 12 April. May I say to the Minister that I certainly have not made up my mind on any matter -
– Order! Senator, ask your question.
– … but it does appear to me, as he has not answered my question of 12 April, that he has made up his mind that he will not answer it -
– Order! Senator, ask your question. I have called you to ask a question.
– My question to the Minister is: Is there great difficulty for him in answering the question which I placed on the notice paper on 12 April? Is the question not a simple one? It reads in part:
Which, of those persons named by the AttorneyGeneral in his statement to the Senate on Croatian terrorism in Australia, have had no charge laid, or conviction recorded, against them.
Does the supplying of an answer to that question cause the Minister great difficulty? I ask simply: Will the Minister inform the Senate why he is unable to answer that question?
– A number of questions concerning this matter have been asked by honourable senators. It seems to me that there ought to be a little consistency in the approach made by the Opposition. The honourable senator talks about difficulties. I have indicated one matter. 1 have said that, unless I find any countervailing problem in the establishment of the Committee, I propose to answer the questions. Constantly the Opposition has spoken about the civil rights of persons and said: ‘Do not start talking about people, their backgrounds and whether they have been convicted’. Yet the honourable senator asks, for a start, whether people have been convicted.
– No, I did not.
– Yes, he did. Another honourable senator, the former AttorneyGeneral, wanted me to produce and table in this Senate the information upon which warrants were issued for searches of the premises of dozens of people. A moment’s reflection by the Senate will show that very serious considerations are raised as to whether that ought to be done. It is all very well to talk about the civil rights of people. I do not know whether the persons in question have authorised the tabling of this kind of information. There are serious questions which need to be considered. As I have indicated, I will do my best to answer these questions, but I will not fail to consider the important matters which are raised. I suggest that the honourable senator start to give some consideration to the various matters about which he prates when he asks questions and then demands to know why they are not answered in a hurry.
– Mr President, may I ask a supplementary question?
– This course is in accordance with the rulings that you have given, Mr President.
– You have started a practice never before followed in the Senate.
– Order! Senator Greenwood, you are not right. The AttorneyGeneral is addressing me. He will be heard in silence.
– Mr President, a ruling was given by you and I propose-
– I raise a point of order. I submit that the Attorney-General has no right to address you, Mr President, without leave of the Senate.
– All right. It was in the context of an interruption.
– Then, I ask for leave.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Mr President, you gave a ruling and consistently that ruling has been acted upon. The practice has been to ask, an hour after question time commenced, that further questions be placed on the notice paper. This is not the last day of the sitting of the Senate. The subject matter of the last question has been canvassed many times and I have no doubt that it will continue to be canvassed. I suggest that for today further questions be placed on the notice paper.
– Mr President, I ask for leave to make a statement on the same subject matter.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– It seems remarkable that on the second day back of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) we run into this sort of crunch situation. As I understand it, it is about 10 minutes to the suspension of the sitting for lunch. We did not seem to have this trouble during the last couple of weeks. Today I thought that question time was running out and that you, Mr President, would shortly just call on questions on notice. This has happened basically every day during the last couple of weeks. Question time has rarely gone for more than an hour. I am not resisting what Senator Murphy is doing, but it seems more than coincidental that the moment a question gets a little bit pointed and a little bit embarrassing he should ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper. It is rather remarkable that this has not occurred in the last fortnight. But, as I say, I am not resisting what Senator Murphy is doing.
– I have explained to honourable senators previously the basis of my ruling that, at a time considered appropriate, the Leader of the Government in the Senate may ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper. Senator Murphy asked that further questions be placed on the notice paper. I was anticipating that at the end of an hour of question time I would call on questions for which answers have been provided. The incident is closed. I do not intend to back off from my previous ruling until such time as the Senate Standing Orders Committee meets and considers the question. I abide by the practice and the rulings that have been given in the past by my predecessors.
- Mr President, I ask for leave to make a statement.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– In fairness to all concerned in the Senate, I believe that any questions relating to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation should now hot be asked in the Senate because there is a Senate committee looking into the whole matter. Mr President, I suggest that you should not accept any questions concerning ASIO because if you did you would be overriding what the Senate committee is going to do.
– Senator Negus, I have been aware of a growing tendency to ask questions in anticipation of matters that go before either select or standing committees appointed by the Senate. I made a note on my pad this morning to discuss this matter with the Clerk of the Senate to see whether the practice is in accordance with the practice and the Standing Orders of the Senate. Senator Negus, I shall give you a written reply within the next 24 hours.
– For the information of honourable senators I present a report of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission compiled by Professor Peter Karmel. I also lay on the table a statement delivered by the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley) this day in another place concerning the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission. I move:
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Senator Rae) adjourned.
– For information of honourable senators I present the interim report of the Committee on Administrative Discretions. This interim report sets out the views of the Committee on the establishment of an ombudsman type review process and the discretions to which it should apply. I seek leave to make a short statement on this matter.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The interim report sets out the views of the Committee on the establishment of an ombudsman type review process and the discretions to which it should apply. This is an interim report of the Committee which was appointed by the previous Government to make an examination of existing administrative discretions under Commonwealth statutes and regulations and to advise as to those in respect of which it appeared that a review on the merits should be provided. The Committee will present its final report at a later stage. It has already been announced that the Government has decided to introduce legislation to establish an ombudsman. In working out the details of the legislation to give effect to that decision, I have been greatly assisted by the recommendations contained in the interim report which I am now tabling. The proposed legislation will be introduced at an early date.
I also present for the information of honourable senators the report of a second Committee set up by the previous Government following the report of the Commonwealth Administrative Review Committee. The other Committee to which I refer comprised the Solicitor-General, Mr R. J. Ellicott, Q.C., Mr F. J. Mahony, Deputy Secretary, AttorneyGeneral’s Department, and Mr L. J. McAuley, Assistant Deputy Crown Solicitor, Sydney. The Committee was asked to prepare a paper reviewing the prerogative writ of procedures available in the courts. Unfortunately that report is not yet available in a printed form, but I have made arrangements for a copy of it to be immediately available in the Parliamentary Library. The recommendations made In the second report will be taken into account in defining the jurisdiction of the proposed Superior Court in respect of the judicial review of administrative actions. Mr President, I present the following papers:
Interim report of the Committee on Administrative Discretions.
Report of the Committee established to review prerogative writ procedures.
– I suggest that Senator Murphy move that the Senate take note of the statement and of the papers.
– I move:
That the Senate take note of the papers and the statement.
– 1 propose to speak to the motion. I state 2 things at the outset. As I discussed with the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Withers), I was tempted to refuse Senator Murphy leave to make this statement. But prudence, common sense and possibly sound judgment made me not take that course. I had that course in contemplation because the affairs of the Senate must be run on a basis of comity and I suggest that it is not running the affairs of the Senate on a basis of comity if, when the Deputy Leader of the Opposition rises to ask a question, the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) immediately requests that further questions be put on the notice paper. I raise that point only to suggest that conduct of that character promotes friction. As my Leader, Senator Withers, said earlier, we can conduct the affairs of the Senate on a basis that does not involve friction. I feel that the whole atmosphere of the Senate would be better if they were so conducted. That is one thing that 1 felt we ought to say on the basis that, having said it, conduct hereafter might be a little different from what it has been in the recent past.
The statement that has been made by Senator Murphy and the papers that he has tabled are, I think, highly significant and potentially very important documents. In the first place they represent the culmination or the near culmination, because it is only an interim report of the Bland Committee, of approximately 5 years of intensive study which I think will rank in the world as the most intensive study of the area of review of administration discretions. It was the Gorton Government, under the guidance of Mr N. H. Bowen, the then Attorney-General, that established the Kerr Committee of Review of Administration Decisions in 1968. The gentlemen who comprised that Committee undertook a comprehensive work which resulted in the presentation of a report in the middle of 1971. lt did not recommend the appointment of an ombudsman, although it is fair to say, I imagine, that the type of review it contemplated was ombudsman-like because it contemplated that there would be an administrative review tribunal, an administrative counsel and also a general counsel for grievances who would have the initiation of the immense task of reviewing administrative discretions. It was a novel concept. It represented the study of a committee which had applied itself on a basis that it would apply to Australia what Australian conditions appeared to it to warrant. As I say, the report will stand in the literature of the world in regard to the examination of how decisions of administrators can be reviewed in the interests of the citizen.
At the time that report was received, the government of the day, the McMahon Government, took 2 steps. The first step was to examine the ambit of operation of any such scheme if it were established. The second step was to inaugurate an inquiry into ways and means by which the traditional methods of obtaining judicial review of administrative decisions could be clarified, systematised and generally made more easily accessible to people who wanted to rely on that type of remedy. The first exercise that was engaged in was necessary because the legitimacy of what had been recommended by the Kerr Committee depended upon whether there was a sufficient ambit of administrative discretions to warrant the setting up of what admittedly was a vast superstructure and, on the face of it, a very complex apparatus.
Accordingly, the Bland Committee was established with a view to examining the area of administrative discretions under Commonwealth law. As this interim report indicates, there are tens of thousands of administrative discretions which would have to be examined. I notice that the Bland Committee has surveyed only approximately two-thirds of Commonwealth Government departments as they existed prior to the change of government last year with a view to determining, in respect of the legislation under which those departments operated, the discretions which may have to be considered. As a result of that Committee’s work it recommended the appointment of an ombudsman. It makes other recommendations and other qualifications but they are part of the substance of the report. I mention in pass ing that one department which has been omitted from the Committee’s current investigation, but nevertheless a department to which in due course the Committee will come, is the Department of the Treasury. I wonder whether the administrative discretions which are vested in such vast number and in such a wide amplitude in the Commissioner of Taxation are discretions which can appropriately be dealt with by the ombudsman type of procedure which the Kerr Committee recommends.
– Hear, hear!
– I hear interest expressed by Senator Wright whose long time concern in this area is well known to all honourable senators. Whether you can have an ombudsman or any type of appeal structure substituting the ombudsman or the appeal court’s discretion for the Commissioner’s discretion as the most satisfactory means, or whether a cutting down of the ambit of discretions in favour of greater criteria and particularity in the legislation, is I think a very serious matter and one which ought to be given more attention than it has been given over a long period. But I mention this in passing because it appears to me that notwithstanding what the Bland Committee says in its interim report it may be that the area of the Treasury is one in which the conclusions already arrived at may have to be qualified as the investigation of the Treasury area develops.
I think the quality of the membership of the Bland Committee speaks for itself. There are Sir Henry Bland, Professor Whitmore and Mr Bailey of the Prime Minister’s Department. This Committee combines a fairly vast experience of the Commonwealth Public Service with a very active legal academic who was a member of the Kerr Committee and who, of course, is seized of the importance of the recommendations which the Kerr Committee made. I note from the report that when the Government changed at the end of last year the chairman of the Committee reported to the new Attorney-General the extent to which the work had been completed. At that time the Committee’s function was changed. It was told that the Government wanted an ombudsman and that the Committee was to prepare its report on the basis that it was Government policy that there should be an ombudsman. Of course the Committee has geared the presentation of its interim report, at the request of the AttorneyGeneral, to a case for an ombudsman. I can only regret that the Government, notwithstanding the flush of its election victory and knowing what its platform and policy stated, should have directed the work of the Committee in that way because 1 feel that we undoubtedly would have gained more from the natural evolution of this Committee’s work along the lines of the original terms of reference which had been sent to it if it had been able to come forward with what it felt was the most appropriate remedy in the circumstances as it found them. But that was not to be.
The report which is now presented recommends an ombudsman but, as I say, this is a conclusion to which the Committee has, in effect, been directed by the Attorney-General of the day. But this is not to say that this is not a well reasoned, cogently argued and tremendously useful report which has been brought down. I think that the other report to which reference has been made is also of tremendous significance. For many years our law has been bedevilled by the fact that if you wanted to question the decisions which were made by officials, then unless you had some advantageous statute to assist you, you had to rely upon the writs by which the King’s orders were challenged many centuries ago. The prerogative writs, as they are called, of prohibition, of certiorari, of mandamus and the lesser used ones are vehicles which are the traps of lawyers and fruitful occasion for much discourse not really related to the substance of a matter raised before a court by judges who have to determine whether the appropriate writ has been used in a particular case. There is a real need for that system to be investigated with a view to having it changed. As I said, that was one of the recommendations of the previous Government in 1971. As a result this Committee was established and now it has reported in terms of what it recommends by way of changing the prerogative writs.
I am happy to speak in this way because 2 aspects of the work of the previous Government to which I think sufficient recognition was never given have been brought to fruition in the lifetime of another government. Apart from the one qualification which I made with regard to the way In which the concept of an ombudsman was introduced into the work of the report, I am sure that there will be a desire, which will find a general bipartisan support, for this type of review to be developed and encouraged. We wish the AttorneyGeneral well and all speed in his efforts in getting the legislation which he says is to follow this report into the Senate and on to the statute book. I think it is proper that there should be this recognition of the quality of work, its extent over a number of years, and the value it could mean in the future to those who are concerned to ensure that the citizens’ rights are encouraged, promoted and protected against an enveloping bureaucracy.
– I simply wish to acknowledge an interest in this subject and to ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I move:
That the adjourned debate be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.
In moving this motion, I want to deal with what has been said upon the matter by Senator Greenwood. I acknowledge the good wishes that the honourable senator has expressed. It does not happen very often, so it should be acknowledged. Senator Greenwood made some remarks about an earlier matter, and as it affects the time of the Senate, as does the present motion, I say to the Senate that the practice was instituted some weeks ago by a decision of the Government Ministers in this chamber that, as a regular practice, an hour after question time was commenced the procedure which was indicated by the President would be followed.
– I rise on a point of order.
– I submit that the last-
– And as a regular matter after an hour I ask that questions be put-
– A point of order has been called and the Leader of the Government in the Senate goes on in his bulldozing way defying you, Mr President, and interrupting me. I ask whether the debate being engaged in by the Attorney-General is in order on the motion: That the adjourned debate be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting’?
– I think the AttorneyGeneral could well close the debate simply by letting me put the question: ‘That the adjourned debate be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting*.
– Yes, I will.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I present the report of Estimates Committee B relating to the particulars of proposed additional expenditure for 1972-73, together with the Hansard report of the proceedings of the Committee.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– 1 present the report of Estimates Committee C on the particulars of proposed additional expenditure for the year ended 30 June 1973, together with the minutes of the proceedings. I also table the Hansard report of the evidence taken.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– I present the report of Estimates Committee D relating to the particulars of proposed additional expenditure for the year 1972-73, together with the Hansard record of the Committee’s proceedings.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– I present the report of Estimates Committee F relating to particulars of proposed additional expenditure for the year 1972-73, together with the Hansard record of the Committee’s proceedings.
Ordered that the report be printed.
Sitting suspended from 1.1 to 2.15 p.m.
/ ESTIMATES COMMITTEE E
– I present the report of Estimates Committee E relating to the, particulars of the proposed additional expenditure for 1972-73, together with the Hansard report of the proceedings of the Committee.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– by leave - This morning an honourable senator opposite asked me a question about the proposed coastguard service. There was some doubt then as to who was the responsible Minister and it was decided among the Ministers in this chamber that it was the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones), although 2 Ministers were referred to. Remembering a submission to and a decision by Cabinet on this matter I answered the question from my memory. I knew the details well because certain instructions had been given to me as acting Minister for Primary Industry when the matter came before Cabinet. I answered the question but this has caused some concern because it seems to be felt that the Minister for Transport is trying to take responsibility for the proposed coastguard service away from the Department of Customs and Excise. However, the question of the coastguard service is the responsibility of the Minister for Customs and Excise.
– by leave - This matter is under consideration by the Government. All sorts of interests are involved. An interdepartmental committee also is considering it and if some further assistance can be given to the Senate at the appropriate time it will be given.
– I move:
The intention is that that order of the day No. 32 be put virtually without debate; in fact, the Government hopes that it would be put without debate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I refer to message No. 39 from the House of Representatives which reads:
The House of Representatives transmits to the Senate the following Resolution which was agreed to by the House of Representatives this day, and requests that the Senate concur and take action accordingly:
That a Joint Committee be appointed to inquire into and report on -
That the Senate concurs in the proposals contained in the message.
I understand that there have been discussions between both Houses and the Parties in relation to the matter and it is intended that the question be put, if the Senate concurs in that course., without further debate. There will not be the necessity for a division. In the case of the motion being defeated a Committee would be established by the House of Representatives and it may be that that Committee could then sit, when it was desired, with a similar Committee of this House.
– I understand that an arrangement has been made between the Ministers concerned and the leader of my Party in another place. There is to be now only a House of Representatives Committee and, therefore, if the question is put it will be defeated on the voices.
– I rise more in sorrow than in anger. I am aware that the Leader of the Government in the Senate. (Senator Murphy) desires that there be no undue discussion, but I speak on a brief on behalf of Senator Keeffe and myself. There has been a clamour about the Senate being sold short. I can remember Senator Marriott on occasion arguing that there was a virtual takeover of this place by the other House. It is against that background that I take the Senate back to a time over 2 years ago before the famous House of Representatives Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation was launched. On the memorable day when that matter was dealt with in the House of Representatives, Senator Poyser, Senator O’Byrne, Senator Keeffe, Senator Wright - no less - Senator Wood, Senator Lawrie and I all clamoured that the Senate had a role to play on that subject. Despite that united front in the cause of conservation we suddenly found that the 2 Houses went their divergent ways. Some of us gave evidence before the House of Representatives Committee. I expressed the view to a member of that Committee, the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) in the other place, and others, that in future we would tackle these causes together. 1 know what has happened in this instance, and I pay tribute to Senator Murphy on the way in which the Senate committees have expanded. But with deference to Senator Withers and his colleagues, they should be appreciative of the fact that we have a Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment with my colleague, Senator Keeffe, as Chairman. lt is true that that Committee has an assignment on Aboriginal affairs and that Senator Keeffe and I sounded the tocsins in respect of the Black Mountain project, but the plea I make now is that this is one of those subjects on which, as the Senate committees complete their charters, we will not surrender our sovereign rights if we join forces with the House of Representatives. I propose even going right over the head of Senator Withers and approaching honourable senators opposite on this matter. For some of the Senate committees that have almost completed their charter of operations this may be the 11th hour. I strongly argue that no matter what Party one represents here, conservationists in the Senate have a place on this committee on environment and conservation.
What I am angered about is that some of us, Senator Keeffe and myself included, have canvassed the idea, in terms of one of Senator Webster’s utterances, that the proposed joint select committee on the Northern Territory would deal with such matters as the future of the north end national park in respect of which we will have an all in brawl, which I welcome. That question relates to whether the mining interests will go into that part. I do not know and nobody here knows whether that will be a matter for the joint select committee on the Northern Territory or the committee foreshadowed by Dr Cass. The dilemma that some of the Government supporters are in is due to the fact that we have coasted along in anticipation of being members of the committee which would be an appendage to Dr Cass’s committee. I speak with very strong feelings and I hope that if the Opposition resists my appeal it will never again say that we on the Government side are selling the Senate short to our comrades in the other place. I conclude my remarks because Senator Keeffe has just come in and he will more than buttress my plea.
– in reply - I hope that the committee established by the House of Representatives and the committee established by the Senate will be able to meet together. That may need an appropriate amendment to the respective charters of the committees. Where there are matters of great interest, it would be much more sensible for all concerned, certainly for the nation, if the committees were to meet as one to deal with these subject matters. They may have other matters which do not need to be dealt with together, but they may be able to meet together on some matters. I would suggest that that is a sensible course in the event of the Senate not agreeing to this motion.
Question resolved in the negative.
Consideration resumed from 24 May (vide page 1938).
Clauses 19 to 38 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Division 4 of Part HI of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967-1973 does not apply-
– I move:
Leave out the clause.
The Committee will recall that when it last sat I was in the process of moving a series of amendments. I had nearly completed that process, but there still remained 2 further amendments. The amendment which I have just moved is the first of those amendments. Clause 39 provides that the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act should not apply in relation to any pipeline which the Authority may wish to construct across submerged lands - that is, across the continental shelf. As the Senate will recall, that Act is part of the monumental off-shore petroleum mirror legislation which was introduced as a result of the Agreement between the Commonwealth and the States for the exploitation of Australia’s off-shore petroleum resources. It came into force throughout Australia, by that Agreement, in 1967.
By that Act the Commonwealth has agreed with the States that it will not move to amend the Act in any way without prior consultation with the States. As I understand it, there is no agreement with the States that the offshore* petroleum mirror legislation should be amended in this way. Clause 39 appears to be a unilateral act by the Commonwealth Government which, to the extent of its provision, would be a breach of the off-shore petroleum legislation because it would enable the Pipeline Authority to construct pipelines on submerged lands off the shores of Australia, regardless of any necessity to comply with the off-shore Agreement between the Commonwealth and the States, as embodied in the Act. The Act provides that a licence to build pipelines has to be obtained from a Designated Authority under that Act. It is the opinion of the Liberal Party Opposition that the Commonwealth Government has a paramount obligation to observe to the letter the provisions of that off-shore mirror legislation and that it should not seek to act in the unilateral fashion in which it has acted by the insertion of clause 39. For those reasons I have moved that clause 39 should be omitted from the Bill so that the off-shore legislation which implements the Agreement can remain intact.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt) whether there have been discussions between the Commonwealth and the States about clause 39 of the Bill. If there were discussions, what was the outcome of those discussions? Can the Minister answer those questions for me?
– I am not aware of any discussions which have taken place. I have not been advised of them. This is not to say that they did not take place. I am not aware of any discussions having taken place between the Commonwealth and the States in respect of clause 39.
– The answer of the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt) causes me grave concern. The matter is not a light one. It deals with legislation which has been passed previously not by the Federal Parliament only but by the Federal Parliament and each State parliament. It is mirror legislation, as Senator Durack has said. It has been a wonderful example of co-operative federalism between the States and the Commonwealth. By co-operation the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act came into force. The Bill contains provisions which relate to licences for the construction, maintenance, etc., of pipelines in submerged areas. The Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act contains a preamble of an agreement, which states very clearly - I shall read it in a minute - the moral obligations of each of the parliaments, including the Federal Parliament which naturally means the Government. The Agreement is emphasised in the preamble to the Act. On page 2 of the Act it is set out. In reference to the Agreement, it states:
And whereas the governments of the Commonwealth and of the States have accordingly agreed to submit to their respective parliaments legislation relating both to the continental shelf and to the seabed and subsoil beneath territorial waters and have also agreed to co-operate in the administration of that legislation.
I emphasise the words ‘have also agreed to co-operate in the administration of that legislation’. The Agreement imposes a moral obligation. It was reached between the Commonwealth and the States. After lengthy deliberations Part II, clause 6, on page 3 of that Agreement spells out very clearly the obligation. Clause 6 states:
– (1.) Except in accordance with an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the State Governments, a Government will not submit to its Parliament a Bill for an Act that would either -
Here we have such an important aspect as this and the Minister directly responsible, the Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor), not the Minister in this place (Senator Wriedt) - I say that in fairness to him - should have spelled it out. If there has been no discussion with the States or, alternatively, if there has been discussion with the States and agreement has not been reached with the States, we have a situation whereby the Commonwealth Government is at present riding roughshod over the States and abrogating an Agreement that has been reached between the States and the Commonwealth on this very important and complex piece of legislation for which a Senate select committee was established and which sat for some 3? years. More importantly than this is the fact that it took about 5 or 6 years of negotiation and discussion before final agreement was reached for both the Agreement itself and the principal Act. It took all those years of discussion, co-operation and compromise between the States and the Commonwealth and yet we find the Commonwealth Government is today treating this matter so lightly. This causes me grave concern. Clause 39 of the Pipeline Authority Bill says:
Division 4 of Part in of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967-73 dors not apply -
This is completely the reverse of what is contained in the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act. I have said that if there has been no discussion or that if there has been discussion and no agreement reached, then it is unfortunate that the Government of the day in the federal sphere sees fit to ride roughshod over agreements that have been reached between the parliaments of this country.
– It is obvious that every honourable senator in this place who considers himself to be a representative of a State must vote against clause 39 being included in the Bill and, in that case, must support the amendment. Senator Young spent a great deal of time on the original legislation and on the investigation of the legislation by the Senate. Surely we have a situation in which the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act was based, as was said, on mirror legislation, a genuine agreement having been reached between the various State governments, be they Labor or of an anti-socialist flavour. Every State government agreed with that legislation and there was, to some people at least, perhaps not to Senator Milliner or to Senator McLaren beside him who also laughs, some obligation on State representatives to see that their State governments would at least be consulted.
- (Senator Brown) - Senator Webster, will you address your remarks through the Chair, please?
– I will, Mr Temporary Chairman. One would think that honourable senators who believed that a genuine and a moral arrangement was made between the State governments and the Federal Government would feel that the clause which, as has been said by the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt), the Federal Government now wishes to introduce without consultation and which will completely abrogate the obligation of the Commonwealth to do anything in relation to the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act where it applies to the construction, maintenance and operation of pipelines which will run in the various adjacent areas, should be rejected. An adjacent area, as we know by the definition in the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act, is that area which is submerged beyond the coastline of this country. There are many problems about this. We have had a Bill before us in which the Commonwealth apparently believes that upon 7 days notice to a State it can, of right, take over land and decide to do with it what it wishes, that is, without any obligation to consult the State government concerned, even a Labor State government. The present Commonwealth Labor Government feels that it can ride roughshod over the Labor governments of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. One would think that sufficient objection would be coming from the Premiers of those States that, on a matter as important as the Pipeline Authority, the Federal Government would restrain its demands and at least consult them on how agreement may be reached on the design or the track of a pipeline or perhaps for the taking over of land for headquarters and pumping stations which will eventually be needed on the land adjacent to the submerged land. It appears to me to be absolutely ridiculous to find in this Bill a proposition that Division 4 of Part III of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act does not apply to the construction, maintenance or operation of a pipeline in an adjacent area. Every honourable senator has a moral obligation to vote for this amendment.
– Clause 39 with which we are dealing is not intended to ride roughshod over the States or anybody else. My understanding when listening to the second reading debate on this Bill was that there was unanimous acceptance by everybody in this chamber of what the Government intended to do by the establishment of this Pipeline Authority. I do not recall any honourable senator from the Government side, from the Opposition side or from the minority parties opposing the principle of what the Government is doing. If we accept that fact it follows that the Authority ought to be allowed reasonable grounds on which to pursue the objectives which are laid down under this legislation, and that is precisely the reason for the inclusion of this clause. The time may well come, and almost certainly will come, when it will be necessary for the Authority to exercise its rights in constructing pipelines over off-shore areas, for example, in Bass Strait or off the north-west coast. If we were to wait until this whole matter had been determined, obviously the action being taken by the Government in the establishment of the Authority would have had to be delayed as a consequence. It is my understanding that nobody in this chamber wanted to see the legislation delayed or the construction of the pipeline and the national grid delayed.
What the Government is attempting to do is to bring about the creation of this Authority which will have tremendous benefits to the Australian people as the years go by. Certainly there may be occasions when initiatives have to be taken. It could well be that in respect of clause 39 it would be necessary for the Authority to do this. They are the sorts of alternatives that always confront any government or any statutory authority when it becomes necessary to implement a program which has been approved by the Parliament. That is the reason the clause should remain in the Bill. I can assure the Senate that it is not there with the intention of riding roughshod over any of the States. Obviously the State governments, no matter what their political colour, oan accept the importance and the benefit to the community as a whole of what the Federal Government is attempting to do.
For that reason I believe that the Committee would be in error if it were to support the Opposition’s amendment and to delete the clause from the Bill.
– Before this matter is finalised I would like to comment on the last few words of the speech just made by the Minister. I make my position clear. I certainly do not support the proposal that is put forward by the Government for the establishment of this national Pipeline Authority. I do not think he can read such support into any comments that I have made. That is only his hope in relation to this socialist proposal, introduced by the Labor Government, which seeks to interfere with a decision that had been taken by private enterprise to proceed with this project which is of enormous import to the Commonwealth.
In fact, the Commonwealth Government is now seeking to spend an unspecified amount. An Estimates committee meeting was told that $14m was being sought to purchase pipe. Apparently, a contract to buy $48m worth of pipe was entered into by a private enterprise organisation without any legislation being passed by this Parliament in that respect. If that contract is to be taken over by the Government from private enterprise in order that the Pipeline Authority may be established in a proper fashion, an additional sum of $150m will need to be made available to the Pipeline Authority. All the money apparently is to come out of the public purse. The private individual will be called on to support this action. This project was being handled quite well by private enterprise. The grandiose idea of pipelines extending all over Australia is quite ridiculous and will involve this country in an unwarranted expenditure of probably $6,000m in the next 100 years. I would bate the Minister to continue in the belief that he has not found anybody who objects to the provisions of this Bill. I am prepared to go along with this Bill only because a Labor government is in power and this legislation is a little less obnoxious than most of its other legislation.
– I rise to answer some of the comments of the Minister. I cannot accept the proposition that the Federal Government should take upon itself the right to abrogate an agreement and to try to delete one of the main sections of a very important Act which has been agreed to by the various State Parliaments and the Commonwealth Parliament. I do not think any government should take it upon itself to declare that it has a right to do that.
I turn to the practicalities of the situation. The Minister said that the Pipeline Authority may have to construct a pipeline in Bass Strait. I pose this question to him: How were the other pipelines that are already in existence in Bass Strait built? They were built under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act under licence from the Designated Authority which has control of the size, quality and so on of pipelines. The honourable senator has talked about time factors and said that the Authority may have to work at great speed. Surely the planning would be such that the Authority would have a reasonable amount of time, as has been the position in the case of the oil exploration companies which have reached production and have been able to construct pipelines and to obtain licences from the Designated Authority.
I do not consider that there is any validity at all in the Minister’s counter-argument on this matter. I stand by what I said earlier. I think this clause is a complete abrogation of the earlier agreement. The Government is riding roughshod over the States on a very important piece of legislation which is unique in the history of this country. I cannot support this clause. I support the amendment moved by Senator Durack, which seeks the deletion of clause 39.
– 1 rise with some hesitation because I feel handicapped by the fact that the Senate has not considered the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill 1973, which brings into consideration what has been called the mirror legislation that has operated under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act pursuant to a quasiagreement between the Commonwealth and the States. I say that because this is not the time to discuss any further that Act or the Bill to amend it. As I understand that Act, Division 4 of Part III requires a pipeline licence to be issued by a Designated Authority before a pipeline can be built in an adjacent area as defined by that Act. To interfere with that system at this stage pre-supposes a decision on the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill. That Bill is designed, with regard to minerals as opposed to petroleum, to introduce an entirely different system for the off-shore area.
Some reconciliation must be achieved between the arguments on either side and the provisions of clause 4 of the Pipeline Authority Bill. That clause, which has been passed, provides:
The operation of this Act extends to the outer limits of the Australian continental shelf and the continental shelf of the Ashmore and Cartier Islands, and applies to all persons, including foreigners.
I have referred to that clause before, but I think it is quite proper that I should bring it to the attention of honourable senators while this matter is under consideration. What really brought me to my feet were the words that fell from my colleague, ‘Senator Webster. He said that nobody could alter the scheme for petroleum exploration and exploitation in the adjacent areas with any moral principle, having regard to the agreement upon which that legislation was based.
I speak from memory - but a very indelible memory - when I state that that agreement is not an agreement in any intelligible sense whatever. It specifically provides that, whereas it takes the form of an agreement, it does not bind any of the parties to its terms. It is a very special quasi-agreement which, as I said 6 years ago, mirrors the kind of treaty one would have expected among the Aborigines - I say this with great respect to my colleague, Senator Bonner, who will know that I am not reflecting in any way upon the Aborigines - of 150 years ago. An agreement, which purports to be an agreement but is variable and terminable unilaterally by any party without obligation on the part of that party, is not properly called an agreement in my book. Therefore, anybody who takes leave to vary it unilaterally acts pursuant to the agreement and not under the moral reproach that Senator Webster would impute to one who did so. I intervened only to show that clause 39 has some very close relationship with clause 4. The difficulty of making a decision on clause 39 is very much enhanced by the fact that the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill has not yet been dealt with and decided.
– The Democratic Labor Party has considered this amendment. We do not place upon it the same importance as has been placed upon it by some honourable senators who have participated in this discussion. We feel that the establishment of a Pipeline Authority of this character, which will take over the development of pipelines throughout Australia - excluding those that have been established already - will make it most unlikely that there will be any other pipeline authorities or that any other pipelines will be built in the future, except in conjunction with this Authority. Therefore, we do not read into this clause the significance which has been read into it by other honourable senators. The DLP believes that the clause should stand in the Bill.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 40 to 44 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
– I move:
This is the last of the amendments circulated by me. It concerns the annual report which the Authority is obliged to make to Parliament pursuant to this clause. The clause simply provides for a report in broad terms on the operations of the Authority during the previous year. We believe that the particulars that we have set out in our amendment ought to be specified and so clearly impose on the Authority an obligation to give Parliament particulars of the Authority’s contracts. We have done this because of the provision in the Bill which states that the Authority may buy and sell petroleum as well as act as a common carrier of petroleum. Also, in regard to the obligation on the Authority to act as a common carrier, Parliament ought to have these particulars in order to ensure that the Authority is observing its obligations to act as a common carrier.
We already have included this obligation in the Bill in order to ensure that everyone receives equal treatment regarding petroleum carried through the Authority’s pipelines. In order that the Parliament can actually keep a proper watchful eye on the activities of the
Authority, we believe that this information should be made available each year to the Parliament in the Authority’s annual report. It is probable that much of this detail would be included in the report, but in order to make absolutely sure that Parliament keeps a proper oversight of the activities of the Authority, we are proposing this amendment.
– I take up the very last words that Senator Durack used. He referred to making absolutely sure of keeping a proper oversight of the activities of the Authority. That is a good principle, but I think that the Auditor-General will make absolutely sure to keep an oversight of the activities of the Authority. It would seem to me to be unreasonable and unnecessary to add this amended clause to the clause relating to the common carrier which, of course, we opposed. This is not required of other statutory common carriers, such as Trans-Australia Airlines, and I do not think that it is required of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission. Therefore, it is only reasonable that we ought to be uniform in that respect. I do not believe that there is any advantage in improving this mandatory requirement upon the Authority. For that reason the Government has no option but to oppose the amendment.
on this amendment. We had not seen any great virtues in the amendment. I think that in setting up an Authority of this magnitude there has to be some acceptance of the fact that the Authority will operate in a proper manner. Then there te the requirement that all financial documents be furnished to the Minister for presentation to the Parliament. We do not see any added safeguards in providing that written contracts should form part of the report. In all probability, most contracts of any magnitude would be included in the report. Small contracts that are entered into for various things might not be included in the report. We do not think that the sheer clerical work that would be required in making all these minor matters relating to the form of contracts available to the Parliament is justified, and we will not support the amendment.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 46 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wriedt) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 22 May (vide page 1788), on motion by Senator Wriedt:
That the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.
Upon which Senator Withers had moved by way of amendment:
Leave out the words ‘the next day of sitting’, insert ‘the first day of sitting of the Senate after 1 August 1973, as the Senate, while accepting that the question of sovereignty should be determined, (a) deplores the method adopted by the Government of proceeding without consultation with the States especially in relation to the code which is contained in Part III of the Bill, and (b) is of the opinion that consultation with the States for a co-operative regime for controlling the exploitation of the resources and generous royalty distribution to the States should commence forthwith’.
– I seek the indulgence of the Senate for a few moments to support the amendment moved by Senator Withers, that the resumption of the second reading debate on the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill 1973 be made an order of the day for the first day of sitting of the Senate after 1 August 1973. The reason for the proposed adjournment of the second reading debate was indicated clearly by Senator Withers when he spoke on the matter on 22 May. His amendment led to a debate which was not resolved, and of course we are debating the question again this afternoon.
The reason why Senator Withers and the other members of the Liberal Party in the Senate are suggesting that the debate on this Bill should be adjourned is that the Bill itself seeks to determine, by the decision of this Parliament alone, the question of the seaward limits or boundaries of the several States of Australia; that is, to determine it on a base line which more or less follows the low water mark. The limit of each State then would be the low water mark around the shores of Australia. The area outside that limit would come within the sole sovereignty of the Com monwealth Government. This is a matter of tremendous importance for this Parliament, for every State Parliament and State Government and for all Australians. We live under a federal Constitution and with a federal system of government. The Senate being the House which was created under that Constitution primarily to have regard to the interests of the States in this federation, I believe that it is our obligation to ensure that the State governments and State parliaments are given every opportunity to have consultations with the Commonwealth Government before a Bill of such magnitude as this is passed by the Senate.
The suggestion has been made previously in this debate that there is some great urgency about this matter and that by delaying it for another 3 months or even 6 months the Senate would be taking a course which would be against the national interest.
SenatorO’Byrne - Failing to pass legislation.
– This has nothing to do with the question of failing to pass, or issues of that kind. The suggested course relates to ensuring that this Senate preserves the rights of State Governments to be properly consulted and to have an opportunity of taking courses which they consider proper about a matter of such enormous importance. I was dealing with the argument that by delaying the Bill for a period the Senate would be acting against the national interest. I point out that under our Constitution there has been a doubt about this matter for 73 years. There is nothing particularly new about the problem. Proposals in line with this Bill have been under consideration for 3 years or more and it seems to me that a delay of another 3 months or 4 months could make little difference.
There are some misconceptions about the claim of Commonwealth sovereignty over the seabed which I think are relevant to the suggestion that delay would be against the national interest. The object of this Bill is to assert Commonwealth sovereignty over the areas beyond low water mark, that is, over the territorial seas and over the submerged lands, or the continental shelf as those areas are more popularly known. That is a rather ambiguous type of claim anyway. There is fear in the minds of some people that the Commonwealth has no authority in these areas. Clearly the Commonwealth does have sovereignty in these areas under its constitutional powers relating to foreign affairs and defence. There is no suggestion that the Commonwealth does not have sovereignty in these broad senses. What is in issue is the boundaries of the States. What are the seaward boundaries of the States? It really is not a question of whether the Commonwealth has any sovereignty in this area, and therefore there is no danger to our foreign relations or to our defence.
Obviously the Commonwealth is the only authority which can negotiate with foreign powers in relation to these areas. Only a few days ago we passed a Bill ratifying an agreement which the Commonwealth Government had made with the Indonesian Government. Clearly the Commonwealth is the only authority to deal with matters at the international level and nobody suggests otherwise. I have never heard a State claim any authority in this area so there is no doubt about that vitally important issue. There is no doubt that the Commonwealth has sovereignty in this area in relation to defence just as it has sovereignty in relation to the defence of the Australian mainland and all the islands comprising Australia. It also has powers in relation to defence over the area of the territorial seas and the seabed. People who claim that the Bill must be dealt with because of its urgent national importance completely overlook the powers that the Commonwealth Government clearly has in regard to this area and which never should have been put in doubt by anyone when discussing this problem. That is not the issue.
The issue that this Bill raises is the seaward limits of the States. It concerns the boundaries of the States, just as much as if it related to the landward boundaries of States, such as, for example, if the proposal was made that the River Murray would no longer be the boundary between Victoria and New South Wales but that some other line should be adopted. These are matters of enormous importance and interest to the State Governments and the State Parliaments. It is an incredible proposition that this Parliament should be asked to pass legislation so vitally affecting the limits of State boundaries without consultations being fully pursued with the State Governments and without a real effort being made to reach agreement with them. The former Liberal-Country Party Government was in the process of doing just that. It had established discussions with the State Gov’ernments about these matters and talks were proceeding. The discussions had not reached the stage of a Premiers Conference to consider the matter but there had been conferences at ministerial and departmental levels^ Undoubtedly that was the policy of the Liberal-Country Party Government. That also is the policy of the Liberal Party and the Country Party in Opposition as was made perfectly clear by the amendment moved to the motion for the second reading in the House of Representatives. lt is the policy of the Liberal Party that the consultations and negotiations with the State Governments should continue and that every attempt should be made to bring them to fruition and to reach a clear understanding with the States on the seaward limits of the boundaries. The consultations had been commenced and were proceeding. I believe they should be continued before this Bill is voted on in this chamber. I believe that these matters are ones which put our Federal system to the test. They are ones that give us a clear opportunity to implement principles of cooperative federalism which we have been developing in this nation in recent years. Earlier today we have been talking about one of the outstanding examples of co-operative federalism, the off-shore petroleum agreements. These agreements clearly are possible to achieve. They have been achieved and, in my opinion, there is no reason why they should not be achieved again in relation to this very vexed problem of what are the seaward boundaries of the States.
I believe that this is a matter that should be decided in Australia by the various governments concerned. Apparently, representatives of the States are going to London in an endeavour to get some opinion on the matter from the Privy Council. As independent bodies under the Constitution they are entitled to take that step if they see fit to do so. That is another reason why the matter should be adjourned until we see the outcome of those proceedings. I hasten to say that I am sorry that the States have decided to take this action. I would have preferred to have seen them seeking to pursue the question on the basis of co-operation and consultation with the Federal Government in Australia. However, one cannot be critical of the States’ action in making this move because they are faced with this unilateral and arrogant assertion of power by the Federal Government without regard to them or discussions with them.
All I can do, for my part, is appeal to both the Federal Government and the State Governments to get together seriously within the time that we propose to allow them by the amendment moved by Senator Withers. We are giving them this time. I appeal to both the Commonwealth Government and the State governments to get together in Australia and endeavour to reach a compromise here. It may well be that one of the solutions that would be arrived at would be to set up some arbitrator, arbitral body or mixed commission - call it what you will - consisting of Federal and State officials or independent arbitrators. Such a body could be asked to consider this matter within Australia. For my part, I would much rather see the matter resolved in this way than by reference to the Privy Council in London or by litigation in Australia. I am equally opposed to both those methods. But the States are being driven to that course by the unilateral action that is now being taken and being pressed by the Commonwealth Government in regard to the matter. I hope that the Senate will agree to this amendment, which would enable these precipitate steps to be abandoned and enable all the parties to get together and try to approach this problem in a true spirit of cooperative federalism.
– As some days have elapsed since the debate on this Bill - the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill - was adjourned, it may be appropriate to remind the Senate of just what is the purpose of the Bill, as stated by the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt) during his second reading speech. He said that the purpose is: . . to remove any doubt about the exclusive right of the Commonwealth to sovereign control over the resources of the seabed off the coast of Australia and its Territories, from the low water mark to the outer limits of the continental shelf. The Bill, in addition, provides the legislative framework to govern the exploration and exploitation of the mineral resources, other than petroleum, of these submerged lands.
After listening to Senator Durack this afternoon, I wonder whether he along with the other people who are attempting to defer this legislation, has completely forgotten the history of this matter. He spoke, in the familiar cliches of the States’ righters, of co-operative federalism and putting the federal system to the test. He referred to the unilateral and arrogant exercise of power by the Commonwealth Governfment. He even had the temerity to suggest that what the Government was doing was being done without any prior discussion with the States.
Let me remind the Senate of a little of the history of this legislation. It will be recalled that a very similar Bill was introduced into the House of Representatives approximately 3 years ago by the then Prime Minister, Mr Gorton. This is not some novel, arrogant exercise of untrammelled centralism by the new Government. It is a sensible attempt to have clarified a field of constitutional power around which some mists have gathered over the years. As Mr Gorton said in the debate on this Bill in the other place, nobody suggests that merely by passing this Bill all of this doubt will be dissipated, but at least it will open the matter up for challenge in the place that even Senator Durack suggests is the appropriate tribunal to decide these matters, namely, the High Court of Australia.
Let us examine the reasons that are now advanced, firstly by the mover of the amendment for deferment and then repeated by the various other Opposition speakers, as to why we should not be precipitate in bringing to a conclusion this proposed legislation which we have had 3 years to consider. One would have thought that all the issues concerned in this matter had been abundantly canvassed and considered by members and senators from both sides of the respective chambers and that everybody - constitutional authorities, academics, State Premiers and the public at large - had had ample opportunity to say what he thinks for and against this measure. One would have thought that, of all the measures that have been introduced into the Parliament since this Government came to office, this one, least of all, required the allowance of further time for consideration. Yet this is the only reason that is given for suggesting that we should not proceed and dispose of the legislation in this session but should leave it until the session commencing in August.
Senator Withers’ amendment for deferment is based, on the proposition that the Opposition deplores the method adopted by the Government of proceeding without consultation with the States and is of the opinion that consultation with the States for a co-operative regime for controlling the exploitation of the resources and generous royalty distribution to the States should commence forthwith. What is suggested is that if we go on talking to the States it might be possible to reach some agreement. I refer honourable senators to the comments that were made by Mr Gorton in the other place. Who should know better than he whether there is any possibility of reaching agreement with the States? It was his responsibility, when he was urging the carriage of a very similar Bill 3 years ago, to attempt to reach some agreement with the States. He made these comments in the debate on this Bill in the other place on 17 May 1973, as reported in Hansard:
There have been innumerable conferences on this matter between representatives of the national Government and the State governments. They have been going on and on over a period of years. Despite what has been said in this chamber, I submit that no progress was made on the central question - the question of who In fact has sovereignty over Australia’s seas - at any of those conferences.
I interpolate that Senator Durack’s suggestion that there is no dispute on this matter is given the lie by Mr Gorton. He does not suggest that this is accepted by all parties.
– I never suggested that there were not many disputes.
– How are we to resolve the question? The honourable senator suggested that he had no doubt about it. But the. fact that he has no doubt about it does not resolve the question. Presumably, he now admits that there is plenty to be settled ultimately, I suppose, by decision of the highest court in the land. But how do we get around to this? First of all, there has to be something to challenge. Mr Gorton went on to say:
From communiques issued to us, it appeared that the meetings reached no agreement except an agreement not to try to solve the central matter at all and not to try to put the question of sovereignty beyond doubt by the only method open to this Parliament - passing legislation making an assertion and allowing the body set up under the Constitution to determine the matter.
So, if we can judge on past evidence, there seems little point now in saying that action should be further delayed while there are more conferences, when in fact all the conferences so far held on this central matter have been abortive.
This proposition does not come from any member of this Government. It is a proposition which comes from the member of the Opposition who, I submit, is most familiar with this proposed legislation, who is best informed about the discussions which have occurred between Commonwealth and State authorities and who says in effect that time for talking is passed. He says: ‘Let us get this on to the statute book and let all challenges to its constitutionality then proceed. Let us have this matter disposed of once and for all’. But as if to underline the futility of further discussions - as Senator Durack has admitted - the Premiers are now packing their bags and preparing to go and ask the Privy Council to give them some sort of a declaratory judgment in the matter. Does this sound like the attitude of reasonable people who want to have further talks with us about the matter? Does this not indicate beyond peradventure that these people with whom we are told we should continue to talk have made up their minds, that we are at arms length with them and that the only way to determine the matter in the interests of the people of Australia is to have this Bill passed. If anybody wants to challenge it let it be challenged in the High Court and not go traipsing off to another country and demeaning the sovereignty of Australians by asking a court in another country to give some sort of a ruling on the matter.
Having examined the hollowness of the Opposition’s claim that its real reason for delaying this Bill is to enable conversations to proceed where conversations have failed in the past, I think it is pertinent now to try to get at the true reasons. It has been suggested in one of the newspapers - I am not suggesting that it necessarily is true but we must cast around for some sort of an explanation for what is otherwise inexplicable - that the preselection of some honourable senators may have a bearing on this matter. After all, honourable senators have to deal with their State machines. It is clear that the Premiers in the various States, for their own narrow, small purposes want to prevent the Commonwealth from legislating in this field. It is clear that all sorts of pressure has come from the local machines. It is suggested, and I think with some force, that various honourable senators opposite who are as yet unsure of being reendorsed to enable them to come back here would like to let a few months elapse until their pre-selection has been secured before having to declare themselves on legislation which is disapproved of on their home ground. But further than that I suggest that the timing of this opposition and this suggestion for the deferment is most instructive in relation to the history of the conflict between honourable senators and their leaders in the House of Representatives as to whether this legislation will be agreed to or opposed.
I suggest that what has played a big role in making up the minds of Senator Withers, the mover of this motion, and those who are supporting it is a euphoric misreading of the results of the Victorian election. After all, that incident occurred between the consideration of this Bill in another place and its consideration in this place. In the other place, after various meetings of the Opposition Parties it was decided to put up merely a token criticism of this Bill and to let it through that chamber unamended. Then the Victorian election occurred. As I said, we had this euphoric misreading of the results. It was not understood by honourable senators opposite that the electors who had approved of Mr Hamer were approving of somebody who, in his person and in his policies, is as chalk is to cheese when compared with themselves. Mr Hamer is a man who has learnt some of the lessons of today. He has had the good sense to steal a great number of the policies of the Australian Labor Party. I suggest that his success in the Victorian poll was largely an endorsement of the policies of the Australian Labor Party. Of all the so-called Liberal leaders in this country who include Mr Snedden and the egregious Senator Withers who, I see, is again not favouring us by his presence in this debate-
– He might be outside talking to Senator Murphy.
– It is his amendment. One would expect him to be here to defend it. Of all the Liberal leaders, or socalled leaders, in this country Mr Hamer is the only one who has had the good sense to read the signs of the times and adopt a policy which is some sort of an approximation of Labor’s policy.
– What is his policy on this issue?
– We look in vain to anything we have heard from honourable senators opposite, including Senator Little-
– The honourable senator will hear from me in a moment.
– I will get to Senator Little as I always do. As I say, we look in vain to any of the other Liberal leaders for any recognition that they are living in the 1970s, that the policies of the 1 9th century are out of date and that if they are to have any chance of a comeback they have to try to look a little like Mr Hamer and not like Mr Snedden or Senator Withers. I suggest that in the light of the Victorian election results honourable senators on the Opposition side were carried away and felt that they could draw some comfort from the results and, in fact, that they should try to goad us on this side into a double dissolution. Of course we readily accept that challenge. We are not in any way put out by the Victorian election result. As I say, a very careful analysis of the Victorian result gives a lot of comfort to those who espouse modern policies and no comfort to the antediluvians, the brontosauri, who are clearly in the majority on the Opposition side of this chamber. It is also interesting to see the little example of unity between the Opposition leaders in the other place and in the Senate in relation to this Bill. We all know that Mr Snedden had no idea of opposing or deferring this Bill. But Senator Withers and those whom he persuaded to support him had other ideas. We know how fond honourable senators are of picking on the most trivial alleged sign of difference between, say, Mr Whitlam and Senator Murphy, but has there been any more-
– Would the honourable senator call that trivial?
- Senator, has there been any more spectacular-
– Where is the Leader of the Government in the Senate now?
– If the honourable senator will tell me when he has finished I will give him the answer.
– The honourable senator would not be able to understand.
-Has the honourable senator finished? Has there been any difference between Mr Whitlam and Senator Murphy in the life of this Parliament as great as the difference between Mr Snedden and Senator Withers on this matter? In fact, Senator Withers humiliated his leader by getting the tables turned on him and persuading his Party that this Bill should be opposed or at least deferred. It is also interesting to see this line coming from the constant critics of outside interference in parliamentary affairs. We are familiar with the squeals which emerge from the Opposition at any time when the Australian Labor Party shows any sort of an attentive ear - as it sometimes does - to the representations of union officials. That is always considered to be some sort of a derogation from the democratic process, something particularly shameful and reprehensible and showing that we are not really running the country. But what produced this change of heart in the Liberal Party? It had agreed to the Bill passing through the House of Representatives and then decided to change its course. I have given one of the reasons, namely, that it got carried away and misread the results of the Victorian election. But it also bowed to the pressure of the State Premiers and the State machines which, of course, came at a particularly sensitive time, as I have mentioned, when the Liberal Party senators are a little nervous about their reendorsement. How is this for an example of outside influence? Why cannot they be consistent and abhor that kind of outside influence also? But, of course, we know that ouside influence is reprehensible in us but praiseworthy in them.
I would like to remind honourable senators opposite of the statement that was made by their Leader. Or is he their Leader? Perhaps he is one of their leaders or half a leader; perhaps he is leading them from the rear. I refer to Mr Snedden, the man who was humiliated by Senator Withers. What did he say in explanation of this volte-face? His words were quoted in one newspaper. I assume this will be denied because it is so unfavourable. He was quoted as saying that the Party has developed its view - that is, this new view - having regard to its position in the Senate. That is quaint prose, quaint principles. There is nothing said about the merits of the Bill. He says, in effect: ‘We have decided what our new attitude will be to this Bill after having had an attitude towards it.’ The first attitude was developed in the councils of the Party. But the Party suddenly developed a new attitude, having regard to its position in the Senate. We have been told repeatedly by honourable senators on the Opposition side that they make up their minds about their attitude towards legislation coming before the Senate on its merits and that they have principles which they apply. The principle which they tell us they apply to this is - what was that picturesque phrase of Senator Durack’s - a devotion to co-operative federalism and similar high-sounding phrases.
But Mr Snedden has given the show away. He says that the Liberal Party has developed its attitude towards this Bill having regard to its position in the Senate. In other words, because it has the numbers here, because some of its members are infantile enough to read into the adventitious result of an election in one State a notion that Mr Snedden, as he put it himself, will soon be Prime Minister, they think that they should twist our tail and provoke us if they can.
– Do something about it instead of talking.
– We are going through the motions. We cannot do it immediately. The honourable senator will see what we will do. I will tell him what we will do. We will interpret - that is, Mr Whitlam will - a refusal to pass this Bill as a failure to pass legislation, thus giving us a clear mandate to approach the Governor-General for a double dissolution. I would ask the honourable gentleman opposite who got carried away with the result of the Victorian election to ponder this one: When it does come to a double dissolution and when it comes to a conflict on the hustings, do honourable senators opposite know who the combatants will be? The combatants will be Mr Whitlam and Mr Snedden.
– He will do us.
– Do any honourable senators opposite who have repudiated his leadership of their Party by the move they are taking on this Bill confidently look forward to the result of a contest such as this?
– It depends how much cash you get in from some of the unions.
– If Senator Webster who will not be with us much longer anyway, can draw any comfort from that interjection, I suggest to him that he give some serious thought to the contestants in the next election which will not be very far off. I refer to Mr Whitlam and Mr Snedden. If honourable senators opposite want to back their man against ours they are even rasher gamblers than those who gave Mr McMahon, the late lamented Leader, a chance against Mr Whitlam. We believed they had struck rock bottom with Mr McMahon.
– Your bloke did not finish far in front.
– He was far enough in front for us to be put in office. As I said, having believed that they had struck rock bottom in Mr McMahon, we now have had a revelation that they can go even further down the road of mediocrity, nonentity and political bankruptcy. So we look forward to the contest which they are inviting us to have in the light of the attitude of the Opposition towards this Bill. As I have said, the notion that the real reason for the Opposition delaying this Bill is in order that there should be further consultations with the States, which have refused to discuss the matter further with us, is absolute nonsense. Their real reason is that they think they can gain some political capital out of delaying this Bill. Some of them think also that they can save their hides and make it a little easier for them to come back here. But they should remember what I have said and what is the contest that they are provoking.
There is no evidence, I submit, that Mr Snedden or his Party understand what hit them last December. Despite lots of talk about examining their policies and the structure of their Party, there is no evidence that they have the will, imagination or the intellect to form policies which will be something like the policies which Mr Hamer was smart enough to adopt. As I say, there is no indication that such currents are flowing through the Party here in Canberra. The members of that Party have learnt nothing. At least that would appear to be so judging from their performance in this chamber. I suggest that they should think very seriously before embarking upon the perilous course that they are taking in delaying legislation in the way in which they are delaying this legislation. They should remember when they are playing their squalid little political games that they are playing with a subject of great importance to the future of this country.
– As was stated by Senator Byrne, the Australian Democratic Labor Party is supporting the amendment which has been moved by Senator Withers. I found the speech of Senator James
McClelland most entertaining and almost laughable in places. I thought we were encouraged with a little constructive comment when he avoided all mention of the merits of the Bill which he charged everyone else with avoiding. He referred to the excellent Leader of the Liberal Party in the State which I happen to represent in the Senate, namely, Mr Hamer. Of course, those remarks may not please Mr Holding who I understand is supposed to be the Leader of the Party which Senator James McClelland represents. Mr Holding must have failed ignominiously in putting forward his policies and Mr Hamer was able to present his own policies better than somebody else presented them. It seems to me to be a remarkable admission that the Labor Party had the wrong man presenting its policies in Victoria.
As a representative of that State in the Senate, I must admit, having listened to the policies of the Party, that I can see very little in Mr Hamer’s policies that have not been put forward by his Party on previous occasions. Indeed, if some of those ideas were filched even from the Democratic Labor Party, I think that is a right that everyone in politics has. The policies of the Democratic Labor Party have always been available to everybody. We notice that even the idea of having an ombudsman, which we put up 18 years ago during our first election campaign, ultimately has been adopted by the Labor Party. We were only about 15 years ahead of the Labor Party in advocating the abandonment of the white Australia policy and things of this nature. But we do not mind the Labor Party adopting those policies. We consider our function in politics is to put forward good ideas and, if we cannot get the numbers to put through legislation embodying those ideas ourselves, we are very pleased to see them embodied in legislation put through by others.
Senator James McClelland made threats about a double dissolution. I doubt whether a more responsible member of his Party would make such threats, but he made them and he drew attention to the line-up of candidates in the election that would result.
– That is what Mr Dunstan said in South Australia.
– I was just about to mention that. I thank the honourable senator. If the statement made by Senator James
McClelland is right Mr Whitlam would be a definite contender, and maybe Mr Gorton, who is haunting his shadows now, and perhaps some other members of the Liberal Party in another place who were unable to carry this proposition in that House when they were in Government. On the other side I suppose it is suggested that there would be Mr Snedden. The Democratic Labor Party has always known where it stood on this issue. It is on that side also. Then, certainly lurking in the background, are the Premiers of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Senator James McClelland has tremendous respect for the Victorian Premier’s power to attract voters because in Victoria recently he attracted a lot more votes than Senator James McClelland’s Party could attract, although Senator James McClelland has said that the Premier’s policies were really Labor’s policies.
Those Premiers are lined up behind Mr Snedden, whose Party stated where it stood on this issue, both before and after the election, but then we have coming in to add weight to the team the Premier of Western Australia, Mr Tonkin, the Premier of South Australia, Mr Dunstan, and the Premier of Tasmania, Mr Reece. Of course, Mr Whitlam can console himself because he will have standing firmly behind him to put a logical case. Senator James McClelland who no doubt, in opposition to the 3 Premiers from the 3 Labor States, will carry the day - according to his estimation of his own powers. Whether that will be convincing to the electors I would not know. The fact is that the sovereign States of Australia agreed to form a Commonwealth. The Commonwealth owes its origin and life to the agreement that was formed between the States and it operates under a Constitution which is fairly explicit. The spirit contained in the Constitution may not be so explicit, but if that spirit is denied or not recognised by any of the States of Australia or by the Commonwealth it is a breach of faith in the people who negotiated to form the Commonwealth in the beginning.
There is nothing written in the Constitution or contained in the spirit behind it which suggests that the Commonwealth should ever be in a position to inflict its will arrogantly upon the sovereign States. It is amazing that this action was never attempted or thought of until a commercial proposition was found for an area over which there has not been what taa Commonwealth alone considers to be clear jurisdiction. It is unclear only because the States have ceded certain rights to the Commonwealth and have granted the Commonwealth certain controls over those offshore areas. It is argued now that, because they ceded powers that they conjointly and separately recognised should necessarily be held by the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth is in a position of power to extract from the States further concessions because commercial possibility are. involved.
Of course, prior to Federation there could have been no doubt as to who controlled the offshore submerged lands of the States of Australia. There could have been no question whatever. There were only the States then. And there can be no doubt, as Senator Durack said, that certain areas have been ceded by the. States to the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, willingly and after conferences between them, because the States recognised the necessity of taking this action themselves. But the Commonwealth now says that it will create a situation where the States will be forced to go to the High Court to establish the rights which the States at the moment clearly believe they already have. There is no doubt in the minds of any of the State Premiers about where the responsibilities and powers lie at the moment. It is only the Commonwealth which says that there, is a case that should be argued before the High Court and that because certain powers have already been ceded to the Commonwealth it should have still more powers. This sounds almost like a desperate bid. It is not justified by the origins of the Commonwealth and the fields of power that were ceded to it.
We hear the argument that Mr Whitlam made a specific statement in an election campaign and, because he won the Federal election by half a length - it was not quite a photo finish, but it was getting pretty close to it - he has a complete mandate. The Premier of every one of the States has been elected with a clear mandate and he might have an entirely different policy. The Premiers too can claim that they have a mandate from the same people.
– We have a mandate.
– That is right. It is said here that some honourable senators might be changing their point of view or establishing a point of view because they have to go back to the Party machine in their States to gain endorsement by their political parties to enable them to stand as candidates for reelection to the Parliament. That is supposed to be a terrible thing for them to have to do. I do not know. What would Senator James McClelland want them to do? From whom should they get a mandate?
– From him.
– It would appear so. It appears that he believes that if Mr Gorton and Mr Whitlam, who are politically on different sides of the fence, have reached a particular conclusion, honourable senators, although elected to represent the rights of the States, should seek endorsement from those 2 honourable gentlemen rather than from the people who represent their political machinery in the States and who later will submit them to the will of the electors. That is, of course, so much arrogant poppycock from somebody whose estimation of his capacity is so great that he believes that he does not need the endorsement of the people in this democracy. The Democratic Labor Party has no doubt on this issue. We are sent here by a vote of the people in the States we represent. By no means all the people in those States vote for us. Nobody is here on a complete and absolute vote of the people of any State. We are here to represent the political thoughts and ideas of all sections of the political communities in the States, having gained sufficient votes in a poll that is more democratic than that which is conducted for other Parliaments throughout Australia, to act on behalf of people in the various States. On this issue the Premier of every State has interpreted the votes which were given to his party and which enabled him to form a government to mean that the people want that government to retain the powers which have always been considered since Federation to reside with the States and which, without question or doubt, resided in the hands of the States before Federation. In view of that responsibility the Democratic Labor Party most certainly is opposed to this legislation and most certainly is in favour of it being deferred until the beginnings of the Budget session to allow further talks to take place.
That brings me to a final point that I want to make. I propose to be very brief. I cannot understand a philosophy of a political party which accepts that because Mr Gorton conferred with the States, that is the end of it.
He failed to get any consideration for the ideas that he had. Either he was a bad negotiator or his ideas had no merit in the eyes of the States. It is said by the present Government that his ideas had great merit. However, after suggesting that Mr Hamer in Victoria stole all the ideas of the Labor Party, honourable senators opposite are now suggesting that the Government stole this idea from Mr Gorton because he had some difficulties in his own Party in establishing the idea. The Government got into the habit of supporting him on this issue in another place. Having stolen the idea from Mr Gorton the Government now says that he was the perfect negotiator. If he was the perfect negotiator, I cannot understand why honourable senators opposite were trying to get votes for Mr Whitlam. If Mr Whitlam cannot do a better job than Mr Gorton in negotiating, why were they crusading to have Mr Whitlam elected? They should have stuck to Mr Gorton. He was the beginning and the end, the greatest negotiator of all time! He failed to convince any one of the States that he was right on this issue, and it is now said that because he failed no one should have any doubts on the issue at all.
– He should have gone to Vietnam. There was an opportunity there for negotiating.
– If that is a suggestion made about the current Prime Minister, I think he should show a little more success in Australia before we send him off to Vietnam or anywhere else. In Vietnam he would have to negotiate, to some extent at least with the President of the United States of America. I understand that at the moment he is prostrating himself in order to get an invitation and that he has failed to get one. If the measure of his success, by humbling himself to get an official invitation to meet the President of the United States, is any criterion of his ability to succeed in international negotiations, I suggest that we should not send him to Vietnam or anywhere else. I would like to see him stay home and try, where Mr Gorton has failed, to convince the States that his ideas on this Bill are satisfactory to the people of Australia, as represented by the States. Then he can say that he is far superior to Mr Gorton at least in a race to convince the States on this matter.
If he could negotiate that successfully, I would see nothing wrong with the Bill being proceeded with. If he could get one State on his side, there would be at least 10 senators who would have the all clear from their State to support the Bill. Not one State, irrespective of the fact that they are divided equally as far as the political party in power is concerned, is convinced that the power which is referred to in the Bill should be abrogated to the Commonwealth at this point.
– He cannot even get Mr Dunstan to support him.
– -As Senator Wheeldon made quite clear in his contribution to the debate, at a Labor Party conference Mr Dunstan moved an amendment that the States should be included. That conference rejected Mr Dunstan’s proposition and insisted that it be the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth alone. Although Mr Dunstan states that he does everything which the Labor Party commands him to do, he has gone tripping over to London to see whether he can get some support there for the point of view which he obviously holds.
What is the mysterious power which is causing all these State Premiers of different political orientation to be so stubborn? Surely they must have some case. That case is answered by the Government saying: ‘We will take the matter to the High Court, and we will get it decided’. But should it go to the High Court when there is such complete unanimity among the States that this power resides properly in them, has done so since the beginning of Australia as we know it today, has never resided in the Commonwealth in any shape or form and that the Commonwealth has exceeded its powers by endeavouring to legislate in the Commonwealth Parliament for the Commonwealth to have power which the States say that it does not have? I believe that there has never been such an issue in the history of the Commonwealth. The Senate should play the role for which it was created by the States, by agreement with the newly formed Commonwealth. The Senate is one of the integral and absolutely necessary parts of the Commonwealth. It ensures complete justice to all States, big and small alike. The Senate should not be divided along Party lines on this issue but should be 100 per cent in agreement with the States, which senators have an obligation to represent. We will support the amendment which will have the effect of deferring consideration of the Bill.
– I oppose the amendment which seeks to defer consideration of the Bill, for the obvious reason that the matter contained in the Bill has been on the parliamentary agenda, in one way or another, for far too long. It was first mooted in the Parliament on 18 October 1967, which means that it is rising 6 years old, when the then Minister for National Development in the Liberal-Country Party coalition Government, Mr Fairbairn, announced that the Commonwealth Government had reached a compromise with the States and that the Commonwealth Government was preparing a Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Bill. It might be supposed that in subsequent years those who are now taking the view that the Bill, which the Government has introduced into the Senate for endorsement by the Senate, should be stood over until August could have endeavoured to get the legislation before the Parliament on numerous occasions. Therefore one can draw the conclusion that an amendment which seeks to defer debate on the Bill to a later stage is nothing more than a cheap political trick which is designed to overcome certain difficulties which exist among members of the Opposition Parties who are seeking preselection for the forthcoming Senate election. That is hardly the business of this place. It is hardly the. way for the Parliament to concern itself with important legislative considerations. It is a matter which should be regretted by anybody who believes in parliamentary democracy.
I find it difficult to understand the logic of those who seek to shelve this Bill on the fourth occasion that it has been before the Parliament, particularly as so many honourable senators opposite who are opposing the deliberation of the Bill and who are seeking its deferment for further consideration were members of the Senate Select Committee on Off-Shore Petroleum Resources, which presented an interim report in September 1970. It seems to me that there is a great deal of double talk or shilly-shallying going on among many senators who will support the amendment. Apparently they have had second thoughts on the matter. Therefore one must doubt their integrity on the matter. Page 123 of that report states:
The Committee believes that the lack of resolution of the question of where authority lies in the offshore seabed is not in the national interest.
That report was signed by Senator Greenwood as Chairman and was submitted to the Senate on 1 September .1970, which is almost 3 years ago. Page 126 of the report states:
The Committee considers that, notwithstanding the advantages to the national interest which the legislation and its underlying conception has produced, the larger national interest is not served by leaving unresolved and uncertain the extent of State and Commonwealth authority in the territorial seabed and the continental shelf.
Admittedly that legislation was different legislation. It dealt with off-shore petroleum resources. But that paragraph has application to this Bill. Members of the Opposition who, undoubtedly, will be dragooned into supporting the amendment and who took part in various stages of the Select Committee’s determinations include Senator Greenwood, Senator Gair, Senator Laucke, Senator Webster, Senator Young, Senator Cotton and Senator Wright. I named only those who seem to be identified with and in favour of the amendment. Is it seriously suggested that the matter should be deferred again, in the light of the recommendations of the Select Committee and in the light of the determinations of governments for almost the past 6 years? Considerable doubt must be cast on the veracity of those who are seeking to sweep this under the carpet. On 2 occasions it has been the subject of reference to the Parliament by the Governor-General. My recollection is that it was the same GovernorGeneral, acting clearly on the advice of his Ministers. On 3 March 1970 he raised a matter which relates to the delaying tactics which are now adopted by the Opposition. He said:
At present, the various State governments claim sovereign rights in respect of such resources from low water mark to the outer limits of the shelf. The Commonwealth believes that, except for internal waters as they existed at federation, it has sovereign rights in this area.
It is the view of my Government that it would serve Australia’s national and international interests to have the legal position resolved. In order that this may happen, my Government will ask the Parliament to pass legislation to assert and establish what the Commonwealth conceives to be its legal rights.
– What did the Parliament do to the legislation? The Parliament threw it out.
– That statement by the Governor-General was referred to again in the Governor-General’s Speech which was delivered at the opening of this Parliament in 1973. So that was consistency. I am asked:
What did the Government do to the legislation? On 16 April 1970 a statement was made to the Parliament by Mr Swartz the then Minister for National Development. I imagine it followed the express intention of the previous Liberal-Country Party Government when, I think, Mr Gorton was the Prime Minister. Mr Swartz said:
The object of the Bill is to cany out the Government’s decision, concisely stated by His Excellency the Governor-General in his speech at the opening of the present session, to introduce legislation asserting and establishing the exclusive right of the Commonwealth to exercise sovereign control over the resources of the seabed off the Austalian coast, from the low water mark to the outer limits of the continental shelf . . . The Commonwealth believes … the States have no such rights … it would serve Australia’s national and international interests to have the legal position resolved as soon as practicable.
– Then the Parliament threw it out.
– The Parliament did not throw it out. Honourable senators will recall the political crisis that convulsed the previous Liberal-Country Party Government and that the then Prime Minister at the end of a very short but snappy Press-inspired campaign was removed from office and his successor appointed. That is history. Even this year Mr Sinclair, who was a Minister in the previous Government, said: ‘The Bill before the House has had a long gestation’. It is. clear that Opposition senators will add: ‘It should have been longer’. Honourable senators know that the Government’s expressed will could and should have been carried out in the life of a previous Parliament by a previous Government. When the Bill was first introduced in 1967 and subsequently in 1970 every member in the House of Representatives who spoke in the debate - I am absolving the Senate from any participation in this - agreed that it was urgent and in the national interest that this legislation or similar legislation introduced by the Government at that time be passed through both Houses of Parliament. Then of course the doubletracking, the delay and the procrastination as a result of the reaction from the States, occurred. Of course, the States are clearly expressing their will through members of this Senate. Does anybody seriously suggest that the States, having had 6 years of clear-cut warning of the views of the Parliament, or of what one would construe to be the majority view of the Parliament in 1967 and 1970 and to this time in the House of Representatives, will change their point of view? They have expressed the view that they do not intend to surrender their rights and that they intend to utilise to the full their legal rights to challenges this legislation before the Privy Council or in any other jurisdiction to establish what they consider to be their sovereign rights. They have already expressed that determination. Honourable senators have reference to that and to the fact that the Premiers of all the States have a common interest. Let them take that course of action. It is available to them. Let them use the legal avenues that are available. But let us not have the time of the Parliament wasted. Let us resolve this matter and then the Premiers may take the decisions of this Parliament to the appropriate court to have the matter finally resolved.
We must recognise that Australia has one of the longest coastlines in the world and probably one of the richest continental shelves. What is involved here is a desire on the part of the States to retain what probably is potentially, if not an accepted fact, a rich source of minerals, a source of great wealth. This will provide an opportunity for the States to solve the pressing financial dilemma in which they find themselves. This applied particularly in the post-war years. But we suggest that by resolving this matter they should let the Commonwealth receive the right to control these important resources and gain financially from the proper exploitation of them. Surely it is not argued that the Commonwealth will not adopt a reasonable attitude about the wealth that will flow into the Commonwealth’s coffers as far as a better deal for the States is concerned.
I think that honourable senators would appreciate that there are many of us in the Parliament from all States who believe that the States have had a raw deal in the matter of financial arrangements with the Commonwealth. Undoubtedly when the Commonwealth gains access to the tremendous wealth that exists on the continental shelf we will be placing Commonwealth finances on a very strong and worthwhile basis and we will see a flow-on of that wealth to the States. So the States have no reason to be concerned about lost revenue which clearly is a matter on which they are basing the Commonwealth’s intention. This is the principal reason why the
Commonwealth finds itself in conflict with the States. States believe that the wealth which is within the resources along the continental shelf should be theirs with which to balance their budgets and to carry out their public works responsibilities. We cannot concede that. But no one can suggest that those of us in the Government who have some regard for the problems facing the States would say that when the Commonwealth gains access to the resources of the continental shelf the States will not receive due consideration and have access to the funds which will be derived from the exploitation of those resources.
I do not think that any honourable senator has suggested - I have not heard it - that the off-shore problems do not require national determination. By shelving this legislation we would do what has been done for the last 6 years - we would be putting it aside; we would not be resolving it. The States would still be in the uncertain position in which they have been. The Commonwealth is still asserting its authority, no matter which political party is in government, and the matter remains in the area of uncertainty. The object of the Bill is to provide legislative jurisdiction clearly and concisely to assert national sovereign rights over the resources in the continental shelf. The Government’s policy has been clearly expressed. Nobody has any doubts as to where the Labor Government stands on this, and nobody has any doubt where the Liberal Party stood on this until the pressures came from the various States. It is a matter of regret that the States have been able to exercise such influence as would prevent the Commonwealth resolving this matter. In fact, the States are having 2 bites at this cherry. They are saying: ‘We will exercise what influence we can on the Party affiliations within the Senate by bringing pressure to bear on those who want to be renominated in order to contest the next election for their Party’. This influence is being exerted by the State machines of the various political parties, the Australian Democratic Labor Party excepted. The States then say: ‘In addition, we will challenge the legislation in the highest court of the land’. Why do not Opposition senators take the broader view and let this matter be resolved? There is no room for bargaining and no room for discussion because they have expressed themselves so many times as being opposed to any compromise or further negotiation. The matter has been discussed not only at the Party levels but also in 1971 by the Standing Committee of AttorneysGeneral. It has been discussed many times, as I have indicated, in the House of Representatives. So one can only draw the conclusion that the Opposition has some other motivation for attempting to delay consideration of this Bill. Perhaps it fears the legal position. Perhaps it fears that should the Parliament pass the legislation the States may well find themselves in an impossible legal position.
The States are using the provisions of an outdated Constitution which clearly was written in such a way as not to take into consideration the great changes that have occurred in our national life. The States are using this outdated Constitution as an obstruction to the logical processes of Commonwealth jurisdiction. I cannot see how any court could and for the States. The Founding Fathers determined this when, at the turn of the century, they gave external and national power to the Commonwealth. That is when the States lost this fight. The States lost the fight in 1901 when they did not have written into the Constitution a clear definition of who was to be in charge of the waters beyond low water mark.
Whilst we can understand the reluctance of the States to accept the inevitability of change and to recognise the new conditions and new wealth that could not even have been dreamt about 70-odd years ago, we nevertheless have to accept the principle that the States have determined their attitude and that there is no room for negotiation with them. All that the States are doing now is using the back of the axe, as it were, to try to achieve their objectives. There is sufficient evidence in the report of the Senate Select Committee on Off-shore Petroleum Resources on this matter. We are indebted to the members of the Senate Select Committee for their determination in inquiring into off-shore petroleum resources, as they have established pretty broad principles on off-shore ownership. Sir Percy Spender when Chief Justice of the International Court of Justice said: lt is quite clear historically, if one examines the description of the territory placed under governorship, the territory of the original colony of New South Wales except as to certain islands of the Pacific did nol extend beyond the low water mark.
I think that in order to establish sovereignty in these matters I should draw the attention of honourable senators to what Captain Cook said. A particularly relevant portion, which is taken out of the log of the ‘Endeavour’, states:
Having satisfied myself of the great Probability of a Passage thro’ which I intend going with the Ship and therefore may land no more upon this Eastern Coast of ‘New Holland’ and on the Western side I can make no new discovery the honour of which belongs to the Dutch Navigators but the Eastern Coast from the Latitude of 38° South down to this place I am confident was never seen or visited by any European before us and Notwithstand I had in the Name of His Majesty taken possession of several places upon this coast I now once more hoisted English Coulers and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took possession of the whole Eastern Coast from the above Latitude down to this place by the name of New South Wales, together with all the Bays, Harbours Rivers and Islands situate upon the said coast . . .
There was no suggestion in Captain Cook’s day and there was certainly no suggestion in 1901 that the claim of the States had validity. I think the legal position is fairly clear. If this debate is adjourned, the Senate will be attempting to sit as a High Court and to determine the question of sovereignty over the continental shelf.
I think the Opposition senators can be charged with obstructing the course of political justice, or back-tracking on their clearly expressed views over a number of years and of succumbing to the pressures of State governments which, on so many questions, do not see the national interest in perspective. Of course, it is in these circumstances that we have to look at the proposal by Opposition senators to delay the consideration of this Bill as they have attempted to do over the last several weeks. They have used every opportunity to hamstring the Government. They have used every opportunity to amend legislation. They have used every opportunity to take the business of the Government in this place out of the hands of the Government. They have made every endeavour to delay the passage of legislation for which we have a clear mandate. There can be no question about the Government’s intentions. There can be no question about the Labor Party’s policies. There can be no question about the contents of the electoral program that Mr Whitlam placed before the Australian people. There can be no question about Labor’s proposals as outlined in the Governor-General’s Speech, or about where the Government stands. Yet we find this procrastination, delay and tactical considerations being adopted by Opposition senators.
When this legislation was about to be brought before the Senate a week or so ago there was no suggestion that there was to be a delay in considering the matter. Agreements had been reached in the other place. Then counter-action took place. Somebody started to scurry around the back corridors of power in Canberra in order to compose the differences within the Opposition parties. We were then confronted with an amendment seeking to adjourn consideration of the Bill. That action seems to me to be taking the affairs of this place out of the hands of the Government and placing them in the party backroom manoeuvre area. That is a tactic which I am sure the Australian people will see through, which I am sure the Australian people will not appreciate and which I am sure in the long run will act against the national interest.
– I wish to speak briefly to the amendment, which seeks to postpone consideration of this Bill until the Budget session in August. It seems that part of the Bill is being debated now. Some of the remarks made by Senator James McClelland have prompted me to enter the debate. Unfortunately, he is not in the chamber now. He had some peculiar ideas about the postponement of consideration of this Bill. He said that such action could affect various party endorsements. I do not know what he meant by that. He gave an unusual interpretation of the result of the Victorian election. But he did not consider the fact that the Premier of Victoria now has such a definite mandate from the people that he is to join other Premiers in London to assert State rights in this matter.
None of the State Premiers wants to be ridden over roughshod. by the Government in this matter. I believe that Senator James McClelland was very much out of touch with the Australian people in all the things he said. I do not know how that has come about. He may have become lost in the canyons of Sydney. He obviously has not been to Hobart recently to hear the statements of the Labor Premier of that State. He obviously has not been to Adelaide to hear the views of the Labor Premier of that State. He obviously has not been to Perth to hear the views of the Labor Premier of that State.
All the State Premiers are opposed to this legislation. They want to be consulted. They do not want to see arbitrary, unilateral action taken to deprive them of a lot of their powers. I do not think the Federal Government would be game to seek approval of its proposal by putting to the Australian people by way of referendum the provisions contained in this Bill. I believe that a referendum on this issue would be defeated overwhelmingly. All 6 State Premiers are opposed to the legislation. What happened when the legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives? Incidentally, the legislation has never been introduced into the Senate before. The suggestion that it might have been debated in the Senate before is not true.
– Who said that?
– I think certain remarks could be interpreted that way. If a referendum were held on this matter it would be defeated overwhelmingly. State rights are involved in this matter. The States have some rights in our federation. We operate under a federal system, not a centralist one. All that the States ask is to be consulted on this matter. The States agreed on the levies and controls introduced with respect to off-shore oil. No doubt some measure of agreement on this matter could be reached if the conference was carried further. One of the reasons why the Bill was not proceeded with previously was that all the States - not just one of them - objected at that time. This is a States House. In the final analysis, we represent the States. We are elected by the States as a whole. I, as a Queensland senator, definitely could not go along with this Bill in its present form without the agreement of my State. A lot of things come into this question. Only the matter of mineral rights has been mentioned. But there are fishing rights and other matters like that.
In my State conditions are considerably different because after many years of negotiation the maritime boundaries of Queensland were set out in a letters patent issued by the Imperial Government to the Governor of Queensland as recently as 1925. It defines the maritime boundaries of Queensland as being the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. All islands and waters inside that line are part of the State of Queensland. There is no question about that. I believe that to try to carve up different boundaries or some sort of different control would result in chaos. About 95 per cent of the Barrier Reef is under water at high tide. In those circumstances, under this legislation the control of 95 per cent of the
Barrier Reef would pass to the Commonwealth. I do not think that any Queenslander would willingly submit to losing control of the Barrier Reef.
– I think some of the Labor ones would.
– I do not think that any thinking Queenslander would. I thank Senator Webster for that interjection. I, as a Queensland senator, could not support any proposal that gave away control of the Barrier Reef, without the agreement of the Queensland Government. There are other matters to consider. There is the matter of the historic waters around the Australian coast. They belong first, last and absolutely to the States. I shall refer to some of them. Would this Bill cover the whole of Moreton Bay from the low water mark outwards? It is very doubtful whether it would. Would it cover Port Phillip Bay in the State of Victoria or the South Australian gulfs which are State waters by international agreement. The States did not just unilaterally take over these waters; they obtained them by international agreement which is recognised by all the maritime nations.
I suggest that debate on this Bill should be postponed. The State Premiers are in London consulting with the Imperial authorities on State rights. They do not want to be completely overridden and completely controlled by a centralist system in Canberra. No thinking Australian wants that to happen. For that reason I support the proposal to postpone consideration of this Bill until August when no doubt I will have a lot more to say on it.
– The Senate is debating the question as to whether the Bill introduced under the name of the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill 1973 should be debated at this juncture or whether the debate should be postponed until August. I have heard various arguments advanced suggesting that that proposition does not involve a discussion of the Bill. That seems to me to be a very vacuous submission. I think that we want to know what is the substance of the Bill before we can form a judgment as to whether the enactment of the Bill should be postponed.
I commence by reflecting that the whole of this issue depends upon the authority that belongs to government in Australia with regard to the continental shelf which, as we know, is an area of submerged land of about one million square miles; an area equal to about one-third of the total land mass of dry Australia. We are concerned to know which governments have authority to exploit that submerged area of the. continental shelf. That continental shelf is the product, from the point of view of practical politics, of treaties entered into by the Federal Government, the Commonwealth Government, the Australian Government, the national Government. Therefore, the continental shelf is the product of an exercise by the Australian national Government of its constitutional powers in respect of external affairs, and it seems to me to be impossible to deny that this Parliament has power to legislate for what may be found - whether petroleum or minerals - within that continental shelf.
But opportunity should be given to those who contend to the contrary to state their view. I think that it is rather an unreasonable process to begin the debate in London. I think that we ought firstly to consider our own Constitution to see where it is relevant to debate that issue. But not only is the place that has been chosen for the discussion unfortunate; the issue has been presented in a most misleading fashion. I have not heard anybody who supports national authority in respect of the continental shelf contend that that is an exclusive authority. I believe that it would be readily conceded that, according to constitutional doctrine for the last 40 years, every State has had power to make laws of an extra-territorial operation in regard to anything that affects the peace, order and good government of a State, in most cases out as far as the continental shelf. The only thing is that the States’ authority in that respect would always be subject to the overriding authority of the Commonwealth, if the 2 governments make laws within the authority of their own constitutional powers.
I believe that from the point of view of the exploitation of minerals and petroleum, there can be very little question as to the Australian Parliament having constitutional power to exploit the continental shelf. But the matter has had a rather distorted history due to the fact that the Press will not study the subject in depth, but rather, attempts to get lineage and headlines out of purveying superficial political differences and nonsensical little issues. If the Press would only look at the thing in perspective it would see that this Bill does not threaten the fundamental constitutional powers of the States. I believe that the exaggerated statements to that effect that I have seen coming from State authorities simply distort the understanding of those State parliamentarians who advance that as a serious proposition.
This wealth - oil or other mineral - is expected on assessments to be of great dimensions, but to me it is a hopeless misconception to say that this Bill and the resolution of the contest will undermine the fundamental authority of the States. I speak here in a States House for one of the small States, in no way representing the Government of that State but representing the people of that State. Right at the outset I want to show that I am not simply a theorist but all the time have had practical realities in the back of my judgment about this matter. When, in 1967, a complex cumbersome system of off-shore oil legislation was brought into this House I strongly opposed it in debate, but being of that opinion alone and having the deciding voice on whether that Bill would go through I thought it proper, having regard to the limitations of one’s personal judgment and the great practical arrangements that had been made by oil companies and State governments for immediate exploitation under that system, to let that Bill go through subject to the examination of a select committee of the Senate. That examination has taken place, and I will take up that matter again in a minute or two.
The practical realities of this matter are evidenced by experience with regard to oil royalties of which the people in my State have been deprived while the people of Victoria, on the other side of Bass Strait, have been enriched. In the 3 years of royalty collection the Commonwealth, on behalf of all 6 States, has received a total of $15m in royalty and Victoria, by the arrogation of its contiguous area and the concession to it of the right of 60 per cent of royalties on all oil drawn in that area, has received not less than $27m in addition to its proportion of enjoyment of the Commonwealth revenue. These are the things that destroy the argument that for the States to proceed by designated areas of contiguous zones they are proceeding in the interests of their people. Tasmania has not received a pennyworth of oil revenue except insofar as it has received the benefits that came from the Commonwealth’s share, namely $15m. Victoria has received her share of that $15m plus an exclusive right to $27m. I have detailed figures of the exact amounts year by year which I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
– The Senate Select Committee on Off-shore Petroleum Resources proceeded at great pains over a period of some 2 years and produced a most voluminous report. It paid attention to every provision of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967. For my present purposes it is necessary for me to refer to only a few of its findings. One is:
The Committee believes that the lack of resolution of the question of where authority lies in the offshore sea-bed is not in the national interest:
It believes that the features of the constitutional conception underlying the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) legislation to which it has taken objection arise directly because the issue of contitutional authority has not been resolved. There is a lack of ministerial responsibility or accountability in certain areas because the source of power for which the responsibility exists is not known.
I want to make my quotation as brief as possible. At page 201 of its report the Committee stated:
It is not in the national interest ultimately for questions of constitutional authority where uncertainty exists to be put aside - in fact to the exclusion of the High Court which in the constitutional framework is charged wilh their determination and, in effect, as the Committee has indicated, to the exclusion of effective Parliamentary decision.
So that Committee, a most able Committee representative of all sections of the Senate, found that that type of legislation denies true ministerial responsibility and excludes from the Constitution the proper resolution of constitutional powers by the High Court of Australia. I, for myself, go on to reflect that that sort of legislation was underpinned by what has been called an Agreement - I call it a quasi agreement. If one looks at the. final paragraph of what is printed under the misleading title of ‘Agreement’, one finds that it states:
The Governments acknowledge that this Agreement is not intended to create legal relationships justifiable in a Court of Law . . .
Just above those words it was stated:
This Agreement shall not be capable of being varied or revoked or of being determined by any Government except by agreement between all of the Governments for the time being parties thereto.
The last preceding sub-clause shall not prejudice the right of any Government to determine this Agreement in relation to a Government that is in default thereunder.
The Agreement went on, in addition to sharing the royalties, so that the adjacent State would get them all to purport to authorise the adjacent State to require all oil to come ashore to it, to be consumed in it and to be available only to its citizens. That was the Agreement in a Commonwealth where free trade among the 6 States was a cardinal principle of federation back as far as 1900. Therefore a few reflections upon what the Senate Select Committee expounded to us on oil and a few reflections upon the fundamentals, still leaves me confirmed in the view that what is undesirable in the field of off-shore minerals is the complex framework that was adopted for off-shore oil.
That brings us face to face with the Bill which has been brought before us. In that situation, where the competing authority of State and Federal Parliament in the realm of the continental shelf is unresolved, the present Bill goes much further than the Gorton Government’s Bill of 1970. The Gorton Government’s Bill of 1970 finds its replica in the first 4 pages of this Bill. But then Part III of this Bill, extending to the following 58 pages, incorporates a mining code. Just one quotation from the Bill will indicate the anxiety that one would have in considering its immediate adoption. I quote clause 19(1), which appears on page 7 of the Bill:
Subject to this Fart and the regulations-
Mr Deputy President, you can imagine how an honourable senator pricks up his ears on hearing that - the provisions of the laws, whether written or unwritten, for the time being in force in the Australian Capital Territory, and of any instrument having effect under any of those laws, and of any award, order or determination of an industrial authority for the time being in force in that Territory, apply, as provided by this section, in the off-shore zone and so apply as if that zone were part of that Territory.
What a piece of fiction to present to us. I have heard it stated that the attitude of my Leader, Senator Withers, is promoted by political considerations arising out of the Victorian election and political considerations involving the endorsement of some of my colleagues for election to the Senate. I dismiss those statements and all the shabby language in which they were expressed and for which I have the utmost contempt.
I will deal with the matter on a basis of substantial political reason. When a Bill of this importance and contention is introduced is it to be expected that I, who opposed a similar Bill in ‘1967 except on the basis that a Senate select committee be appointed to investigate the matter after its enactment, will consider this Bill, which contains approximately 58 pages of new mining codification of laws for the off-shore zone for minerals other than oil, without having the opportunity for a Senate select committee to consider it for 2 months? Never again will I vote for legislation of this sort when a committee investigates the subject matter of the Bill after it is passed. I expected that the Senate Select Committee on Off-Shore Petroleum Resources would present a report at least within 12 months. Had it done so, we in the previous Government would have had time to deal with all these matters.
The idea of accepting this Seas and Submerged Lands Bill of some 62 pages without committee consideration is just unreasonable. If it consisted only of the declaration of sovereignty over the continental shelf in Part I so as to give a basis on which to approach the High Court for a declaration by judgment as to whether that authority was constitutionally valid, I would say that that would be a proper thing to do. But that now is unnecessary because the Senate has just passed the Pipeline Authority Bill, which contains provisions whereby this Parliament is claiming and asserting authority over the continental shelf. Clause 4 of the Pipeline Authority Bill states:
The operation of this Act extends to the outer limits of the Australian continental shelf . . .
Clause 39 states that the Pipeline Authority may lay pipelines and organise, its network on the continental shelf without let or hindrance from any provisions of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967. Those are 2 reasons why it is fatuous in the extreme to ask the Senate, with the legislation it has before it, to deal with this Bill in committee within the next 10 days or a fortnight. The period appropriate for a consideration of this legislation is until next August. We will see whether the Government organises the Senate so as to ensure that this Bill is subjected to committee consideration during that time.
If I wanted any further reason to persuade me to follow the course that is recommended by Senator Withers it is, again, a natural deference, which too often is denied to me but which I still claim, for consideration of my colleagues’ point of view. In 1967, when I had the casting vote on the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Bill, I renounced it in favour of the legislation promoted by the then Government which had considered the Bill much more fully than I could. Again, in this instance, I am not uninfluenced by the fact that my colleagues think that this is the occasion to defer the Bill. But I reject the reasons that my colleagues have advanced, namely, to enable representatives of the States to get in touch with representatives of the Government in Canberra to negotiate, I assume, a replica of the framework of the 1967 Bill.
I think that the course the States have taken is completely fantastic and futile. Their representatives are flying off to London to get the Queen-in-Council, either in a political sense or in a judicial sense, to determine this matter. In 1900 we formed the Constitution of Australia which the British Parliament then passed. When it tried to alter the Constitution of Australia as the Australian people had expressed it by referendum, the British Parliament, even 73 years ago, met with the most stubborn opposition. Complete sovereignty with regard to Australian affairs was then conceded to Australia under its Constitution. If there is need to resolve any difference between the States and the Commonwealth as to the delimitation of any power which one claims and the other denies, the High Court, in its independence, integrity and world status on the experience of the last 73 years, was established for that very purpose. People say that litigation can lead to months of delay. Let me quote a simple instance. An excise Act was passed by the Tasmanian Parliament in about December, it was argued before the
High Court in about April; and I will be surprised if the final decision is not given by July. The High Court is infinitely more practical in the dispatch of decisions resolving disputed issues than is either House of this Parliament.
If an expeditious, final and reliable determination of the issue is wanted, it should be obtained under the Constitution of Australia. Firstly, there should be an expressed will of the Parliament - not the Government or the Australian Labor Party - as has been the case in respect of the Pipeline Authority Bill. That expressed will of the Parliament may be obtained in August in the case of the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill. Then, having the expressed will of the Parliament, let the States argue their contention before the constitutional tribunal, the High Court. Do not let us have this idea of going to the QueeninCouncil to determine Australian affairs. I submit that the State governments are doing less than justice to their cause. If they could have been persuaded to engage in consultation of a purposeful nature over the last 2 years, I have no doubt that the matter would have been resolved now. Mr Gorton is quite right in saying that all attempts to engage in conference since his Bill was introduced - Mr McMahon took over and tried by conference to do what Mr Gorton would have preferred to do by legislation - have been accompanied by no promise whatever of finality. Therefore on behalf of the people of Tasmania I will be claiming that system of government which is designed to give them the best share of royalties for oil and minerals. On the theoretical and parliamentary basis I will be arguing for the system which gives a government - not a group of 7 governments requiring unanimity of agreement - control over the minerals in the continental shelf. But I would not for a minute be prepared to assent to the last 58 pages of the Bill without a critical examination, especially when I begin my examination by putting a torchlight to show where it leads me. I begin by reading in clause 19, in the first and second paragraphs, that the mineral code which the Labor Government offers for the new off-shore zone is:
Mr Deputy President, you know how we regard it as offensive to have Acts which we have carefully forged out in Parliament overidden by regulations which are made by a
Minister at his desk and published in the Gazette’. But this clause continues: the provisions of the law, whether written or unwritten, for the time being in force in the Australian Capital Territory, apply … in the offshore zone and so apply as if that zone were part of that Territory.
As we know those laws are ordinances made hy 2 Ministers at their desks. Ordinances do not come through Parliament for debate. We have such things as margarine coming into Canberra on certain terms about which Parliament does not fully know yet because these terms are not pursuant to any Act of Parliament. AH these laws of the Australian Capital Territory, whether written or unwritten, are in one bagful or in one haystack transferred to the off-shore zone. I cannot think of language which expresses my contempt for that conception of property of legislating for a new Australian province of a million square miles - equal to one-third of the Australian land mass - done by some scribe simply saying: ‘Let us consider it as part of the Australian Capital Territory’. And that Ordinances, made by Ministers at their desks when Parliament is not in session, without review until we come back here in the August session, should go into law now is a most confused and unworthy conception of what this Parliament should do in providing proper legislation for the continental shelf in relation to minerals. For those reasons I firmly support my leader’s amendment that consideration of the Bill be adjourned until August.
– ‘Under Government business alone, without looking at the other parts of the notice paper, 43 items are listed for debate before this Senate rises for the winter recess. We have had a substantial debate on the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill. It has been referred to on previous occasions. We are finding ourselves confused. People are debating the actual motion as well as the amendment. The amendment is the matter of consequence which has to be disposed of. Like many of my colleagues I could and I wish to take a considerable time on this matter. I find myself substantially in agreement with my colleague Senator Wright. I was a member of the Senate Select Committee on Off-Shore Petroleum Resources which the honourable senator was instrumental in setting up. He will be the first to agree that its terms of reference were substantial. I am sure that he will concede that the work of the Committee was authoritative, reliable and exhaustive and that the report is a tribute to the work of the Committee.
I did not have the good fortune to remain with the Committee for the finalisation of its report. I find myself in full agreement with its conclusions and recommendations. What Senator Wright has said is correct. This is a matter of very great consequence, extending as it does into a wide area. The legislation has been very vexatious since it was first brought in and expanded into the mineral area. The second reading speech contemplates that there will be future problems. It states:
If there are parties . . who would dispute our right to take the course I now propose let them challenge this legislation in the courts.
In the final paragraph it states:
We will not hesitate, therefore, to submit amending legislation for consideration by Parliament if we are satisfied that changes or improvements need to be made.
We have from the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Withers) a proposal that there is considerable wisdom in trying to settle this matter in the family of the States and the Commonwealth without having a public brawl by trying to shove the Bill through immediately. The Premiers have their rights. We might not agree with them but they do have their rights. As has been said by an honourable senator, it is unusual, surely, to find all Premiers - Labor and Liberal - joining to take an attitude which they believe is consistent with their responsibility. What is wrong with that? What is wrong with letting them do that at least until 1 August? Many observations have been made. I thought that Senator James McClelland’s torrent of irrationality and threat was the least impressive thing I have heard in a long time. In relation to my point of view, as I have said I have great sympathy with and ‘generally am in favour of the. Committee’s report, recommendations and conclusions. But I am in favour of our behaving like an adult group of people by letting our State colleagues settle this matter if they can in the way they have chosen. We have given them some time to do that. This is the way in which a Commonwealth ought to behave with its State colleagues. Whether we like it or not this country has to be run in a style of co-operative federalism. It is no part of the proposition of government that we should seek to threaten and squabble with each other. The Australian people are sick and tired of that sort of thing. Let us give the
States time to resolve this matterif they can. Let us then treat this amendment as the proper proposal that it is.
That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Withers’ amendment) be left out.
The Senate divided. (The President- Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That the words proposed to be inserted (Senator Withers’ amendment) be inserted.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 22 May (vide page 1789), on motion by Senator Wriedt:
That the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.
Upon which Senator Withers had moved by way of amendment:
Leave out the words ‘the next day of sitting’, insert the first day of sitting of the Senate after 1 August 1973, as the Senate, while accepting that the question of sovereignty should be determined, (a) deplores the method adopted by the Government of proceeding without consultation with the States, especially in relation to the code which is contained in Part III of the Bill, and (b) is of the opinion that consultation with the States for a co-operative regime for controlling the exploitation of the resources and generous royalty distribution to the States should commence forthwith’.
– The question is that the words proposed to be left out - Senator Withers’ amendment - be left out.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– The question now is that the words proposed to be inserted - Senator Withers’ amendment - be inserted.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 17 May (vide page 1729), on motion by Senator Cavanagh:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– We are now considering a Bill to amend the National Urban and Regional Development Authority Act 1972. In effect it will replace the measure passed last year by the Liberal and Country Party Government which established a statutory authority known as the National Urban and Regional Development Authority. This Authority was empowered to investigate, plan and advise the Government on the needs of cities and on a proper and purposeful approach to the matter of decentralisation and regional development. It comprised a commissioner and a deputy commissioner and had an advisory committee of 11 members. The. amending Bill we are now considering changes the name and the composition of the Authority. The change of name is achieved by clause 3 of the Bill which seeks to substitute the words ‘Cities Commission’ for the words ‘National Urban and Regional Development Authority’. In the recomposition of the Authority there will be a full-time chairman of commissioners and 4 part-time commissioners comprising the secretary of the Department of Urban and Regional Development and 3 other persons.
The Liberal Opposition will not oppose the general provisions, but it deplores the fact that the Government has seen fit to narrow the description of the Authority as it concerns the original national connotation of the Authority and its proposed activities. The Government is carrying on from the initiatives of the former Administration. The National Urban and Regional Development Authority was a creature of the Liberal and Country Party Government. For the first time in our history the national Parliament had legislative provision for direct involvement in the development of cities, both old established and new cities, and in the planning of regional development extending beyond the territories immediately within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. The new responsibilities undertaken were an acknowledgement of the awareness of the real problems of a mounting population concentration in our major cities, problems which had a real bearing on the quality of life of the Australian people, problems of pollution of the air and waterways, congestion of roads and highways and lack of open space, of ever increasing difficulties and costs involved in maintaining essential services in cities of high population densities. In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the need for careful planning of centres of population and for real consideration to be given to the protection of our environment.
A few years ago when Senator Henty proposed in this place that Senate, committees of inquiry should be set up to inquire into and report upon the problems of the pollution of air and water I thought that the proposals at that stage were somewhat premature. At that time the general feeling was that although the older countries had major problems arising from density of population and heavy industrialisation, we with our concept of wide open spaces did not have the problems that existed elsewhere. But how wrong this proved to be when inquiries into our environment were really made. As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution I was astounded to find that the concentration of carbon monoxide in the city of Sydney at certain peak hours of traffic and in certain streets which had high buildings forming a canyon, as it were, was as high as 80 parts per million. This is a very high reading indeed and is approaching a dangerous level. Of course this occurred only on certain occasions and under certain atmospheric conditions in streets which had a very high traffic density.
The Bill is further evidence of the realisation that action must be taken to improve the environmental conditions in certain areas, to relieve undue pressure of population densities and to plan, on a national basis, regional development. In respect of the provisions of the Bill, I regret greatly that the Government has decided to change the name of the National Urban and Regional Development Authority to the Cities Commission. It immediately gives a connotation of a metropolis interest as distinct from the interest of the country as a whole. The title ‘National Urban and Regional’ embraces the whole and ensures no misinterpretation in the public mind. It indicates a national concept as distinct from a localised major capital city interest. The changes in the composition of the Authority are administrative. 1 hope that they will achieve the objectives set out in the second reading speech o£ the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) and, overall, will meet the expectations envisaged in the original Act.
I believe that regional growth centres must have a sound economic base because, pretty well without exception, all instances of successful decentralisation or regional development have as a background a history of natural resources, locational advantages in respect of transport or some other element of economic assistance or incentive. The natural resources vary widely. In the south-east of my State of South Australia regional development is based largely on the pine forests in the Mount Gambier area. The timber mills provide an industry which is based on the pine plantations. Other industry derives from that original provision of a resource on which to work. In the River Murray areas the canning of fruit is an industry in itself, but with it are the ancillary industries of carton manufacture, container manufacture and so on. So there is an ability to have regional development which is based on a firm and sound economic base. Whyalla in South Australia has a background of supply of raw material for the manufacture of steel. In all these instances there has been purposeful and good regional development for decentralisation. I stress that each instance of success has had a real background of real assistance because there was a natural resource present in that area.
I feel that there is a major danger in endeavouring to have a population build-up in a regional development proposal if there is not the sort of background which will give viability to the area arising from work availability to the people who will live in the given area. Co-operation by industry will always be a vital factor in all regional development. Commercial considerations are of paramount importance. Policies which will give industry sufficient incentive to locate in any proposed growth area must be adopted. Decentralisation of industry in the past has suffered the disability of increased expenditures in areas such as freights, telephone services, equipment maintenance and external consulting requirements. These have been some of the disincentives. The incentives must be not only equalising in themselves but must add something beyond an equality to be achieved.
I note that the May edition, bulletin No. 241, of the Australian Industries Development Association contains an excellent article on regional development and industry abroad. It is stated that Canada has problems very similar to ours. Many of our conditions as background to regional development run on parallel lines. I think that we have a lot to learn from Canada and from its attitude towards assisting industry to provide a sound and viable background to regional development. For instance, Canada has a 3-tiered cash grant scheme as the base for industrial incentive. It has a primary development incentive for the establishment, expansion or modernisation of buildings, machinery and other equipment used in existing manufacturing operations, subject to a minimum capital outlay of $30,000 and applicant willingness to provide 20 per cent equity. The size of the grant given is limited to 20 per cent of the approved capital addition, subject to a $6m maximum. The secondary incentives are described very fully in this excellent article. The publication refers to what is being done and what has been done in Great Britain and France.
Without exception, these countries which have seen the need for regional development have been prepared to ensure a background which has an ability and a capacity to make the clock tick so far as the successful establishment of growth centres is concerned. I believe that in the past we, as a nation, have been prone to give not much more than lip service to matters as important as decentralisation. I hope that the new awareness of the need for a better environment in which to live and for an avoidance of overconcentrations of population will continue. I hope that the Bill will be the means of achieving great betterment for the people of Australia generally. I commend the Bill which had its initiatives in the previous Administration. The Liberal Party Opposition will not oppose the general provisions of the Bill.
– I am not opposing the Bill, but I wish to point out some of the possible disadvantages to areas which might be considering this concept of regional development. I suggest that before representatives of interested areas agree to a proposal for development they should look closely at the proposition put up by the Cities Commission to be appointed under the Bill by the Federal Government. Firstly, the Bill provides only for an advisory body. The Bill which was introduced by the previous Government was the same in principle to that extent. It provided for a body to advise the Minister. This Bill carries on that principle although one of the main differences from the previous Bill, I think, is the change of name from the National Urban and Regional Development Authority to the Cities Commission. We may be assured that any areas which come under the direction of the Cities Commission or the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) or a partnership between the Commonwealth and the States will require a commission to run those areas. While nothing as yet has been written into the concept for the Albury-Wodonga area I believe that there must be some authority to control it.
I do not think that any government could afford to pour large sums of money into such a concept and not appoint an authority to direct and run that concept. In the case of Canberra the National Capita] Development Commission has an overriding authority. It is not an elected body; it is an appointed body. The Snowy Mountains Authority had overriding powers during its operations and it too was not an elected body. There are bodies of a similar nature overseas. One that comes to mind is the Tennessee Valley Authority which apparently had overriding powers to construct works and to do all things necessary to carry out the concept of a regional development authority or a Cities Commission, as is the title of this Bill.
I suggest that before any area decides that it wants to be brought under the concept of this Bill or of the Cities Commission or the idea of a developmental area or a city which is to be built mainly by Commonwealth Government funds, it should consider what it must surrender to achieve this aim. No government could afford to put large sums of money into a developmental city or a concept of this nature unless it has a pretty good control and authority over the circumstances surrounding the development of the area. There would have to be an authority, I believe, that would override the local authority. I do not think that a local authority could carry on such a concept unless there was a partnership between it and whatever developmental authority is provided to carry out the plans of the Government in such a case. I do not know how much the authority would override a State government’s powers but I think that everybody would concede that for a big investment of this nature to develop an area wherever it might be in Australia - AlburyWodonga is the only one mentioned so far - there must be a very powerful authority which can take the steps necessary to achieve the development, to decide which industries will go where, which will be financed and what usage will be made of the lands surrounding the district. If a district wants such an arrangement and is agreeable to surrender its own authority, then I think that probably it will turn out to be a good thing. But the district must remember that changes will be made. It cannot have absolute freedom of choice in the development.
I refer to the first consideration involved in this concept. Mr Uren, the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, told a deputation from a Queensland organisation which I introduced to him and which wanted to come under this scheme that the first consideration before any Commonwealth money could be applied to such a development, was that the land to be developed had to revert to leasehold. Apparently there were a couple of reasons for that. One was that it was easier to control leasehold land than freehold land, another that it was easier to exercise price control on that type of land.
– And easier for socialism to run, too.
– Probably. The Minister also said that it was a precondition, a prerequisite, that the State Government concerned had to take action to convert the land from freehold to leasehold. If areas want that arrangement, if they know what they are doing and if they accept it with their eyes open, then that is all right. However, I want to warn them to look at all of these aspects before they contract for something of this nature. I know I will be told that the Act nowhere provides that land must revert to leasehold. I would like to quote what the Minister for Urban and Regional Development said in the House of Representatives on 15 May 1973 as reported at page 2085 of Hansard. The Minister said:
We are concerned with the Albury-Wodonga area and it has been agreed by the Premiers of Victoria and New South Wales and the Prime Minister that the leasehold tenure system will be used for the development of that area except under exceptional circumstances.
Referring to the land, the Minister went on to say:
It will be acquired through the States because they have the power to acquire it.
I think he was implying that the Commonwealth was bound under the Constitution to pay ruling rates for the land whereas under State laws, or in some States at any rate, since States have sovereign powers they can resume land for certain purposes without having to pay the full amount for it. I do not say that this will happen but it could conceivably come into it. The Minister went on:
It will be acquired at the price ruling at 3 October 1972-
This is for the Albury-Wodonga set-up - taking into account the trend of inflation during this period. I might explain to the Committee that at that time land in certain parts of this area was estimated to cost $125 an acre. Some speculators are now moving in and acquiring the land at $500 an acre. The Government will be spending taxpayers’ money and therefore must apply sensible laws to protect that money. This area will be developed in the interests of the whole nation and it is on that basis that the Government stands firmly by this legislation.
– Does that mean it will acquire the whole of the area in the Albury Wodonga development?
– I must say that I am not clear on that. However, I shall quote what the Minister said earlier during this speech. At page 2084 of Hansard, he said:
Therefore this Government decided to create growth areas and chose in the first place to go to Albury-Wodonga. On 25 January the Premiers . . . and the Prime Minister … determined that an area with a radius of some 55 kilometres, or 35 miles in the old measurement, would have land prices stabilised as at 3 October 1972, and within that area a study would be made. This is an area of about 33,000 square miles.
I take that figure as being right. The Minister went on:
By June this year that area will be reduced to 11,000 square miles and by June of next year we will be able to determine the exact area that we need. Within that area we will develop a system of leasehold land tenure, the basis on which land was developed in Canberra prior to 1 January 1971.
– The Commonwealth Government could do that only by the States first acquiring the freehold and then the Commonwealth Government leasing it back.
– I presume that the States would do that. That is the area with which the Commonwealth proposes to deal. I heard Mr Uren say what I have just mentioned when he met a deputation that I introduced to him from a Queensland area. I have quoted from part of his speech, as reported in the House of Representatives Hansard, when this Bill was discussed in the other place. Any representatives who decide that they want their area to be a centre for regional development or to come within the provisions of the Cities Commission Bill will need to understand fully that land, somehow or other, must revert to leasehold title before any Commonwealth money at all will be forthcoming.
I have mentioned that, from my reading of the provisions of this Bill, a commission would need to be established to administer any new development. Such a commission would need to decide priorities in development. Such development cannot be. haphazard; it must be planned if anything at all is to be achieved. For that reason, the use of land must be rigidly controlled. A person may own a piece of land on which he wishes to build a small factory. The commission may rule that that land is to be used to provide a recreational area. To achieve the purposes of this legislation, the commission, or whatever the controlling body may be called, must have overriding authority to be able to decide how it is to develop an area; it must be able to plan in the way in which Canberra has been planned. That is the position.
If people wish to see an area developed under this legislation, I suggest that they should know fully what they are letting themselves in for and what may be required by way of money to initiate such development. I do not believe that a great deal of money, will be poured into such development by any authority without some form of repayment being required. I also believe that the Commonwealth authority will take over the role of any local authorities in an area to be developed, although the Bill contains no mention of such a provision, 1 believe that when new schemes of this type are introduced in any parts of Australia new legislation will need to be introduced to establish additional authorities to carry out development in those areas. I do not know what power the Commonwealth body will have over local government authorities or State government departments. Agreement must be reached between the Commonwealth and the States on this aspect. We realise that fact. But probably a Bill will need to be introduced in respect of each new development area to establish separate authorities to perform the task of development and administration. 1 mention now the manner in which this Bill is drawn and the use of the word ‘cities’ in its title. In the course of the Committee proceedings, I propose to move an amendment seeking to change the title of the Bill to the ‘Cities and Regional Development Commission Bill 1973’. My purpose is to reintroduce the concept of regions and not restrict this legislation to cities. I do not believe that we can establish a cities commission to carry out developments in various areas. Undeveloped areas will exist between development regions. Various outer city suburbs and the city areas themselves are coming together. I instance the example of Brisbane and Ipswich where development has made practically a continuous city of those 2 cities. Brisbane and the area of the Gold Coast down to Tweed Heads are developing into one ribbon of towns. The same situation is to be found in the northern areas where Nambour, Maroochydore and Noosa, together with the villages and towns from Brisbane to that area, provide almost a continuous city development. For that reason, the concept of regional areas must be retained. The legislation must not apply to cities alone. A city must be the basis of any development proposed under this legislation.
I do not think that this Bill makes suitable provision for the balanced development of Australia. It seems to me that the first proposal is a future, long range plan for a ribbon of cities from Newcastle, through Sydney and Wollongong, on to Canberra and then extending to Albury-Wodonga and finishing at Melbourne. The development of such an area would add to the imbalance of the distribution of Australia’s population. The population would build up in those areas. Except for population attracted by mining and a few other industries in various outlying areas of Australia, most regional towns and districts in Australia are losing population.
I believe that some other areas of Australia will develop without any help from the Commonwealth. The proposed assistance will accelerate development in certain areas. But I draw attention to the development of Darwin which is progressing at such a rate that the need exists to acquire additional land to meet requirements there. Notice was given in the Senate today of the intention to move tomorrow for a debate on the acquisition of land in the Darwin area. Considerable interest has been aroused in Darwin in the acquisition of freehold land to meet the development needs of that city. I believe that action to acquire freehold land in Darwin to meet the development concept of that city is only jumping the gun.
Some mining areas in Australia are developing rapidly. Populations in some centres are increasing. Mount Isa is an example of a city whose population is increasing quickly. This is the case also with respect to certain mining towns in Western Australia. New towns in Queensland are developing from the new coal export agreements. New towns connected with the export of iron ore are developing in Western Australia. But I do not think that this growth can be described as city development or even regional development. As a result of the concept of this legislation, areas with big populations will be assisted to attract larger populations and, apparently, areas with smaller populations will stagnate, with the exception of the mining areas that I mentioned.
In his policy speech, the present Prime Minister, (Mr Whitlam), mentioned one other area which he thought would be a regional development centre, namely, Townsville. I ask honourable senators to bear in mind that the. word ‘regional’ was used with respect to that centre. The area around Townsville has to be developed as a region. The Burdekin is less than 50 miles from Townsville. Charters Towers is 80 miles from Townsville. The whole region was to be developed. This is another reason why ‘regional’ should appear in the title of this legislation. Since the House of Representatives election, circumstances have changed with respect to Townsville and the Government seems to have gone cold on its plans to develop that region. It seems to have forgotten about Townsville. I do not know the reason, but I could probably guess.
I wish to mention a couple of other areas. I mentioned earlier the deputation which I took to meet Mr Uren. It was concerned with the regional area between Rockhampton and Gladstone, including possibly Mount Morgan and Biloela. Those 4 centres roughly form a circle in which each is little more than 50 miles from the centrepoint. I have mentioned a few towns which come within the concept of this legislation. There are a number of such areas in different parts of Australia. A few are to be found in the central part of New South Wales. Other areas worthy of mention are to be found in Victoria, South Australia and some areas of Western Australia. We think that they could be developed under this scheme.
I emphasise that people in these areas must know what they are letting themselves in for. They must have, some idea of the possible cost of development of this type and of the loss of freedom of choice they would suffer. They would lose freehold land title and other rights. Another matter which is not mentioned specifically in the Bill but which is stated most definitely in the policy speech of the Labor Party is communications, especially telephonic communications. My Party has always advocated a standard rate for trunk line calls. We. have tried to achieve that progressively. But in regard to this concept, the Prime Minister stated - and I do not think that this is in the Bill - that areas chosen-
– It is a long way off the Bill. too.
– Nevertheless, it was a promise of this Government. This Government quite often has told us that these were its promises and that it had a mandate from the people to honour these promises.
– But surely not in a debate on this Bill.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Senator Lawrie, I was just a’bout to direct your attention to the substance of the debate which is set out in the second reading speech on this Bill. I think you may concede that the interjection by the Minister was appropriate. He probably took my running, as the saying is, because I was going to ask you to come back to the matter before the Chair. I am sure you would agree that the question of rural rates for telephonic communications is wide of the mark in this debate.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, I bow to your ruling on this matter, but this subject was to be an important part of my speech. On other occasions we have been told that the Government had a mandate from the people to do this and that and it proposed to do these things. In this instance the matter concerns telephonic communications. But if you, Mr Acting Deputy President, rule that I cannot refer to that matter, I will have to raise it in some other way later. Whether you, Mr Acting Deputy President, rule or not that this question does not come within the ambit of this debate, communications are connected with this matter. In order to develop an area the Commission must have power to build roads. I believe that the Commission could conceivably build railway sidings. The power of the Commission under this Bill is not limited; it is as wide as the horizons. For that reason I think that the Commission could deal with all forms of communication.
There is nothing to stop the Commission from building roads, railway sidings or whatever the Commission may recommend to the Minister should be built in order to develop a particular area. The Commission could conceivably extend electricity supplies to a new factory. I believe that the powers of the Commission will be almost unlimited. They will be pretty much like the powers of the National Capital Development Commission. I think that I would be in order in referring to a lot more points regarding communications, but as you, Mr Acting Deputy President, have ruled that I am not allowed to do so. I will not cover those points now. The Minister in his speech referred to ribbon development in the capital cities, particularly in Sydney. I do not know how the Cities Commission will develop these areas in what is already a developed city. The Minister said:
There are at least 2 growth corridors in Sydney. One is what is called the western corridor, which is from Blacktown to Penrith. If the development of that area is not planned rationally it will sprawl irrationally. No matter how much one tries to slow down its growth, it will continue to grow. It has been estimated that its population will grow from something like 200,000 at present to over I million by the turn of the century.
Apparently this area is to be only one western suburb, or a group of western suburbs of the city of Sydney. He continued:
We are also trying to control the development of what is called the Menai-Holsworthy-Campbelltown corridor. I that corridor there are about 50,000 people at present, but by the turn of the century there could be nearly 1 million people.
How much centralisation of population will we get if this sort of thing is allowed to continue?
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was speaking in the debate on the Cities Commission Bill, but 1 now ask for leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– by leave - The statement I am about to make was made in the other House this day by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Honourable L. H. Barnard. Copies of this statement already have been distributed to hon’ ourable senators and they will understand that when I speak in the first person I am referring to the Minister for Defence.
The purpose of this Statement is to provide the Parliament with a broad view of the decisions that this Government has taken and the measures it has initiated to give effect to the Government’s defence policies.
Adequate provision for the security of this country is a fundamental objective of this Government. This security will be achieved by pursuit of a sound foreign policy supported by a strong economy and wellorganised defence forces which are structured for expansion and able to contribute to the maintenance of a favourable international environment. As is well known, our policy provides for:
The maintenance of a strong and valid defence capability to ensure Australia’s territorial security, security of its overseas trade, and its peaceful development as an independent nation.
Enhancement of this capability by continued participation in mutual defence arrangements with other nations in South East Asia and the Pacific and Indian Ocean areas consistent with the requirements of the United Nations Charter and the objectives of existing treaties.
Assertion of the right of consultation in the issues of war and peace and of a right not to be committed to any course of action without consultation and agreement.
The conviction that war can and must be prevented and that Australia has a part to play in its prevention.
Pursuit of these objectives requires a clear definition of the future role that Australia is to play in our strategic environment and of the requisite size and structure of the armed forces. This also involves consideration of the capabilities, skills and conditions of service of the officers and men who, on a volunteer basis, will operate the highly sophisticated defence systems that modern technology makes available and demands. Since becoming Minister for Defence, I have taken a number of important decisions relating to the Government’s defence objectives and have initiated some major investigations within the Defence group of departments.
In accordance with Labor’s electoral undertaking, within 10 days of assuming office the Government ordered the withdrawal of the remaining Australian forces in Vietnam, bringing to an end the Australian commitment in Vietnam and the Australian Army’s 10i year involvement in that war. The Labor Party had consistently opposed the commitment of troops to Vietnam. While we pay tribute to the professional skill and high distinction with which Australian forces participated in this campaign, Labor has consistently believed that the attempts to force a military solution to this kind of war were wrong. Commitment of troops, including conscripts, to an immoral war against Australian interests was a monstrous offence against the people of Australia as well as the unfortunate people of Vietnam. The last of the Australian troops returned from Vietnam before Christmas with the exception of a small number of men remaining as guards and escorts for the Australian Embassy staff in Saigon. Following the return home of these forces, the Government also decided that defence aid to South Vietnam would cease. Plans to undertake group training of Cambodian armed services personnel were also abandoned.
Again in accordance with our electoral promise, liability for call-up under the National Service Act was ended within a few days of the Government taking office. All national servicemen who did not wish to finish their term of service were released as quickly as practicable, with full knowledge of their entitlements for service. Additional entitlements in the form of war service loan benefits, and the right to elect for repatriation benefit for disabilities caused by war, were offered to national servicemen who wanted to complete their term of service. Soldiers who were serving with Citizen Military Forces as an alternative to full-time national service were also discharged at their own request. Persons imprisoned for breaches under the National Service Act were released and those undergoing periods of detention after lengthy absences without leave were discharged.
I am also now in the position to inform the House that the Government intends during this session of the Parliament to introduce legislation to abolish the obligation to render national service. In doing so, care will be taken to ensure that benefits flowing to persons continuing to serve voluntarily will be preserved. This Act imposed an intolerable burden on a small section of the community, distorted the structure of our armed services, and enabled the previous government to avoid its responsibility to provide justice to the men who are in the forces in terms of conditions of service. As the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) said in his electoral speech:
When a law divides the community and alienates some of its best citizens as the National Service Act does, the onus of proof for its retention lies entirely with those who support it.
The Government also made an early announcement of the withdrawal of the Australian ground combat forces in Singapore, having regard to the electoral undertaking that such forces would not be replaced when they completed their current tour of duty. On the other hand, we have emphasised our commitments to the security of our region. We will support the Five Power Arrangement. The most effective way in which this can be done is by provision of assistance in training, logistics, technical assistance and through joint exercises - not by stationing combat troops overseas in the absence of treaty obligations and threat of external aggression.
Consistently with our fundamental policy that members of the defence forces must serve under financial terms and conditions that are no less attractive than those available to the general community, and that the Services must be manned on an all-volunteer basis, the Government has taken a number of major decisions. Let me highlight the more important of these:
We have adopted the Joint Select Committee recommendations - with minor modifications - for the introduction of a new defence forces retirement benefits scheme.
We have accepted the final report of the Committee of Inquiry into Services’ Pay, thereby introducing substantial reforms to earlier pay policies and practices and providing a range of improved salary rates and conditions.
We have introduced a bounty of $1,000 for volunteers prepared to re-engage for a further period of service.
We have increased from $9,000 to $12,000 the defence services homes loan and have extended eligibility to members who serve for a minimum of 3 years.
We have extended the range of resettlement benefits available to serving members.
We have provided that repatriation benefits will be available to members for disabilities due to their service, which does not have to include war service, where those benefits are more favourable than Commonwealth employees’ compensation.
New machinery is being developed to determine pay and conditions of service that are both soundly based and compatible with the position of serving personnel in contemporary society.
We have decided to appoint a defence forces ombudsman to deal with individual grievances of servicemen and servicewomen.
A number of these decisions have already become law. Others are being dealt with in this current autumn session. They are all designed to give practical effect to our policy to develop modern volunteer forces. The Government is committed to an all-volunteer, professional force with the motivation, capacities and skills to employ the most modern defence systems. A serviceman is a citizen as well as a member of the defence force, and whilst he must undertake certain commitments and obligations not ordinarily accepted by others in the community, his standing as a citizen must not be entirely subordinated to his membership of the forces. The decisions and measures already referred to demonstrate in a practical way our dedication to this policy. Its success in the few months in which we have been in office is plain for all to see and is a complete vindication of the views expressed over a period of years by the Labor Party. The result of these policies has been to demonstrate that an all-volunteer Army can be raised during peacetime if the Government is so determined. Between December and April, Army volunteer strengths have grown by 1,121. This compares with a total increase of 1,219 during the whole of 1971-72. Recruiting has improved and at the same time relatively fewer soldiers have left the Army. I should add that all the indications are that the target I set of 31,000 - that is, a growth of 1,674 during the current financial year - Army volunteers to be reached by the end of June will be achieved.
It will be recalled that last December I announced approval, as an interim measure only, of retention of the existing Army structure of 9 battalions. I also announced that I had requested a detailed study to be undertaken of the size and shape of the Regular Army required. This study has now been completed. At my request, it has also been considered by the Defence Force Development Committee - which comprises the Secretary, Department of Defence, the Chairman Chiefs of Staff and the 3 Service Chiefs of Staff - in the context of the defence program. I undertook this step because surprisingly such a comprehensive review of the desirable Army strength and organisation had not been undertaken by the previous Government. The cost of manpower is a heavy drain on the limited resources available for defence.
Against this background, I wish to announce the Government’s decision on the future shape and size of the Australian Regular Army. This decision implements the recommendation of the Defence Force Development Committee. The Chief of the General Staff would have preferred a larger army than that which the Committee as a whole recommends. The Committee assures me the force levels decided are sufficient to meet our strategic needs during the period covered by the decision. The previous Government claimed that it was advised that an Army of 40,000 or more was necessary even after Vietnam. It never received such advice from the Defence Force Development Committee which it established to give the Minister advice on such force structure matters. The divisional structure is to be maintained, but is to be reorganised on the basis of 6 battalions each with appropriate combat and logistic support forces. Battalions are to be manned to an effective operational training strength. The 3 task forces are to be located at Townsville, Enoggera and Holsworthy, with Townsville being built up to an operational training force first.
The Australian Support Area is to be placed under a ceiling of 21,500 Service personnel which is consistent with the support required for a field force of this size. Reorganisation of the Regular Army along these lines is being carried out on the basis that total Army strength is to grow at a figure in the vicinity of 1,000 per annum and to reach 34,000 by 1976. Army’s organisation and career structure, however, is to be based on an Army planning strength of 36,000. We believe an Army at these strengths is adequate in the strategic situation as presently foreseen.
Growth to 36,000 will occur if the need is determined by a major review of our ground force capability which is to be carried out in 1976. It is intended that this review will encompass both the Regular Army and the Citizen Military Forces and will, of course, be made in the light of the strategic situation then existing. Reorganisation of the Army along these lines will provide the Army with an adequate basis for expansion should the need ever arise. Should such a need arise it is clear, as I have previously mentioned, that more independence is required in the development of Australia’s defence capabilities. The new Army structure is consistent with this policy and will enable in particular the development of the necessary doctrines, operational concepts and techniques for the defence of Australia. The new Army structure will provide a deployable capability which will adequately enable Australia to meet any international obligations, including a capacity to assist the United Nations if requested. It will be able to conduct meaningful unilateral or multilateral exercises with the armies of other countries within our region.
This Government’s objectives for the size of the Australian Army make an interesting comparison with the record of the previous Government. I have already referred to our success with volunteer recruitment. I also recall for the benefit of honourable members that in 1964, when Australia was faced with a deteriorating strategic situation, including difficult times with the then Indonsian Government, the size of the Australian Army was only 22,600. To remedy this situation, the previous Government introduced a crash program of national service. This performance should be compared with the objective of the present Government to increase the size of the Army, on a volunteer basis, to 34,000 by 1976, with a further growth to 36,000 if required. We are doing this in a strategic situation much less dangerous than in 1964 and when our foreign policy and defence relations with Indonesia have undergone a most favourable transformation.
Finally in respect of the Army, I wish to emphasise the Government’s total approach to determine the ground force capability required. At this stage, I wish to remind the Parliament of the inquiry recently initiated by the Government into the CMF. This inquiry which is being led by Dr Millar will examine in detail the role and scope which citizen forces can and must play in our defence forces. It is long overdue. We are determined that the people who serve in the CMF play a significant and satisfying part in our national security system.
As earlier announced, I have asked the Department of Defence to review the strategic assessments and policies on which the action of earlier governments has been based. This review has been proceeding in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Affairs and will be finalised in the next few weeks. It is the Government’s opinion that circumstances at this time particularly favour this review. With the movement towards a ‘detente’ between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States and China, and the growing multipolarity of political and strategic power in the world, there has been a relaxation of the military confrontation that has so dominated the world’s affairs over the last 2 decades.
The review will look critically at the strategic assumptions of the past. We are less apprehensive concerning the social and political changes that are taking’ place in the environment to our north, and Australia will no longer concern itself with military arrangements for the mobilisation of force to intervene simply because of the prospect of change. This Government favours programs of political conciliation and co-operation rather than military intervention and we believe that the time is ripe for this. We are, however, in a transitional era, and there are still many uncertainties in the longer term. We recognise - and this is made clear in our Party platform - the need for continued defence preparedness for national defence and for defence association with our friends in South East Asia and continued co-operation in the development of their defence capabilities. Our defence relationship with the United States and New Zealand and the ANZUS Treaty remains important to Australia’s security and to the development of our defence forces.
I am carrying through an extensive prograin of consultations with other governments, beginning with those in our immediate neighbourhood. I have in sequence visited Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia and I will shortly be visiting the United Kingdom. While in Papua New Guinea I discussed with the Chief Minister. Mr Somare, and members of his Ministry significant defence matters relating to their country. I emphasised, as I emphasise again today, that it is the Government’s firm view that it is for the Papua New Guinea Government ultimately to decide what security forces should be maintained there after independence, and their roles and capabilities. I agreed in discussion with the Chief Minister that officials from both countries should commence consultations on defence matters as soon as possible. These consultations commenced in March this year. Arising from these, and as announced by the Papua New Guinea Chief Minister on 17 May, the Papua New Guinea Cabinet has agreed on policy guidelines on which planning is to proceed for Papua New Guinea’s defence arrangements after the achievement of independence.
Based on these guidelines, a further round of official discussions involving officers of my Department, the Department of External Territories and Papua New Guinea officials, was successfully completed last week. These discussions will greatly facilitate the further planning and practical measures being undertaken by Papua New Guinea and Australia, working in close consultation, to develop before independence forces which meet the Papua New Guinea Government’s policy guidelines. Meanwhile the process of localisation is continuing steadily and effectively.
In Indonesia I was received by the President and my talks with him and with senior members of his Government mainly concerned the situation in South East Asia and the program of defence co-operation between our 2 countries. I participated in a ceremony at Ishwahudi airfield in East Java where the Australian gift of 16 Sabre aircraft was formally accepted by the Indonesian Air Force. Particular attention was given to the longterm development of an Australian project of assistance towards Indonesia’s maritime surveillance requirements. Future exercises between forces of the 2 countries were discussed. The Indonesians agree that such exercises will be of value to us both. My visit, following that of the Prime Minister, underlined the common interests that join Indonesia and Australia in close and friendly relations. Speaking from my particular responsibilities as Minister for Defence, I am convinced that the program of practical defence co-operation and defence contacts is of considerable benefit to both countries.
In New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia, my discussions covered a number of subjects. In New Zealand these included the French nuclear tests, SEATO and defence cooperation. In Singapore and Malaysia I had talks about proposals for further defence cooperation in such areas as training and joint exercises. In these 3 countries my main concern, however, was to outline the Australian Government’s thinking on the overseas deployment of our forces, and on the Five-Power Arrangements, and to consult about proposals we are formulating for the implementation of Labor policy on these matters. These will also be the principal subject for discussion when I visit the United Kingdom next month. At the conclusion of this round of consultations I shall be reporting to my colleagues in the Government.
The decisions of the Government on future defence programming will be taken in the context of the first Budget to be brought down by this Administration. The program will be a detailed planning framework for the 5 years to 1977-78 and will not involve spending authorisations except for the first year. Actual authorisation and commitment of funds for the financial year 1973-74 will come in the context of the budget discussions and the submission of the estimates to Parliament. Basically, the task is to develop a defence program which protects Australian security and vital interests and ensures that Australia will have the opportunity of meeting whatever national or international responsibilities may fall upon her. I emphasise that we will not be thinking in terms of an isolationist policy. We have an announced policy of concern with the security as well as the welfare of other nations, particularly those in this part of the world. But planning of our defence capabilities can not continue any longer against the concepts of the 1950s. Planning for military involvement abroad has had a quite disproportionate effect on the planning of our defence capabilities.
As part of this new emphasis on national defence, an inquiry has already been commenced concerning the future disposition of bases and facilities within Australia for our defence forces. The study will assess the locations which are most suitable militarily for the defence of Australia, for the protection of its interests, and for the support of its external commitments. The study will also take into account the need to satisfy the dependence of some elements of our Services on complex industrial and technological support, joint training between the Services, and proper access to amenities for Service families, consistently with our approach to modern allvolunteer forces. Environmental and urban concerns will be taken fully into account. This will be the first time such a comprehensive review of our national defence infrastructure has been undertaken.
I might refer here to the 2 fellowships which I have decided my Department will endow in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University, as already announced. I see great value to be obtained in a greater exchange of views with non-government defence scholars and more generally in stimulating wider discussions of
Australian defence problems. One of the fellowships will be specifically in the field of conflict avoidance and resolution, for there is nothing more important to our continuing way of life than how to avoid war and maintain peace. The second fellowship will be in a field of study specified by the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. Both posts will be non-tenure posts to be held for two to five years, and I believe they will lead to valuable research for both academic staff and practical decision makers.
The Government’s policy on reorganisation of the Defence group of Departments is to merge into the Department of Defence the 3 Service departments. We also propose to reassess the place in ‘the defence structure of the procurement and production activities and of the Australian Defence Scientific Service, now in the Department of Supply. Labor has had a rationalisation of the Defence group of departments as its objective for some considerable time. We believe that such an objective recognises the growing inter-dependence of the Navy, Army and Air Force as part of what the Defence Act describes as the defence force. We also believe that a single Department of Defence would be the most effective and certain methods of concerting responsible policy decisions at the level of Cabinet or Defence Minister into active performance by the 3 Services, as well as promising greater efficiency in the use of resources. As I have previously stated, however, the 3 Services, Navy, Army and Air Force will retain their seperate identity.
It is appropriate for me, while referring in the Parliament to the question of defence reorganisation to advise the Senate that I now intend to table with the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden), for the information of members, the 2 reports of the Advisory Committee of officials led by Sir Leslie Morshead which were completed in 1957. This is in accordance with our wellknown intention that as many reports as possible will be made publicly available. It was never clear to me while in Opposition why these reports were, not made available to the public in the 16 years since they were produced. It is not clear to me now. The relevance of these reports to the reorganisation of the Defence group of departments now proceeding is a matter of assessment, but there is no reason why they should not be released forthwith to the Parliament. In accordance with the Government’s policy, I assumed charge in December last of the entire Defence group of departments with my colleague, the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Bishop) assigned by the Prime Minister to be the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence in respect of the defence forces.
Reorganisation of the Defence group of Departments is to take place in stages. The first stage has already been implemented in which the Department of Defence acting on behalf of its Minister is to have greater authority in its direction of the execution of defence policy and approved defence objectives by each of the 3 Service boards and by the defence production, procurement and scientific areas of the Department of Supply. This is already giving the Department of Defence more effective means of control of spending in individual departments and in the direction of the total defence, program towards national objectives and policies. Development of the second stage of reorganisation required, first, the issue with Government authority of clear objectives which are beyond dispute and, secondly, painstaking inquiry among those experienced in the administration of defence activities and the running of the Army, Navy and Air Force into the most effective way of establishing lines of authority on a more centralised basis. The policy objectives were laid down by the Government on 19 December last. The Secretary of the Department of Defence, assisted by the Secretary of the Department of the Army, is now engaged on the second task.
There is a wide range of activities which needs careful examination and assessment before the organisation proposals can be formulated. A study group is preparing a report. It is anticipated that the report will be considered before the end of the year and the Government’s decisions will be announced to the Parliament. In the meantime, the Secretaries of the Service and Supply Departments continue to exercise their statutory functions, but under guidance of the Secretary of the Department of Defence who is now the principal adviser on policy resources and organisation to the Minister for Defence, Navy, Army, Air and Supply. The Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee who is directly responsible to the Minister for Defence, is not only the principal military adviser to the Minister for Defence, but I have directed that he is to be consulted by the military members of the Service boards on major matters relating to organisation, training, and operational deployments in each Service so that he may exercise greater influence in the development of the Services towards integrated national defence objectives.
That concludes my review of achievements and initiatives to date in furtherance of the Government’s new defence policy. Some important matters on which I have directed in-depth examination such as the proposed light destroyer project for the Royal Australian Navy and the future of the Australian aircraft industry are still under study. They will be the subject of announcements as the Government takes its decisions.
In summary, the 4 main lines of advance in defence by the new Labor Government are these: greater authority in the direction of the execution of defence policy and approved defence objectives; a marked improvement in the conditions of service to give the servicemen and women of this country the status they deserve in a modern community; a program of defence co-operation with our neighbours in South-East Asia and the Pacific which emphasises training, technical assistance, joint exercises and continuing consultation; a commitment to promoting participation by Australian industry in production for defence needs.
These stand as the 4 objectives of the Government’s defence policy: the achievement of improvements in policy co-ordination, in conditions of service, regional co-operation and in defence industry capability. I have, I believe, demonstrated considerable advance in a short period of time. We shall go on in the same way. We see our defence forces as designed to ensure our security and independence; and, further, as an important element in the furtherance of a foreign policy based on a true perception of Australia’s national interests in a rapidly changing international environment. I move:
That the Senate take note of the Statement. - Debate (on motion by Senator Laucke) adjourned.
– I present the report of Estimates Committee A relating to the particulars of proposed additional expenditure for the year 1972-73, together with the Hansard record of the Committee’s proceedings.
Ordered that the report be printed.
Debate resumed (vide page 2087.)
– When the sitting was suspended at 6 o’clock I was dealing with extracts from the Minister’s second reading speech related to certain areas in the western suburbs of Sydney which he said were growth corridors. He made several other statements and mentioned what the population in that area is expected to be. I have made it quite clear that I am not opposed to this Bill. My reason for speaking in this debate is to put the various angles for and against it. I think I could sum up by saying that some of the bad points of the concept of the Bill are: That the land is to be made available on a leasehold basis; land prices are to be frozen, which does not occur in other parts of Australia; there is to be a certain amount of loss of freedom to do as one likes with one’s land; there is to be a certain amount of regimentation by some control body; and probably the people who live in the area will have no say in the election of that body, and probably there will be no authority at a local level.
On the other hand, the good points of this concept are: That large amounts of Federal and State funds will be provided to speed up the development of the area chosen; and that telephone calls to the capital city of the State from which the call is made will be charged at local call rates. The Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) has promised that that will be so. It is a tremendous concession, I believe, to places such as Townsville, which was mentioned and which is 800 miles from the capital city. Telephone charges are one of the factors which mitigate against the decentralisation of our industries. I believe that the Government will be hard put to deny this concession of charges at local call rates to other areas of Australia.
One might speculate as to what will happen when a growth centre reaches the point of socalled self-generation and it is believed that it can go on under its own impetus. Will normal powers and local control be returned to the local authorities? We could speculate also on what might happen should an area selected for growth fail for some reason. I hope that the new concept of development is successful and that it will spread some of the population away from the bigger cities. I hope that full consideration will be given to all these factors before it is agreed to enter upon the development of a new area and that when it is decided to enter into a new area that area will prosper. I do not oppose the Bill, but at the Committee stage I will move an amendment.
– The amendment proposed by Senator Lawrie is not acceptable to the Government.
– I will be moving it at the Committee stage.
– But the proposition to which Senator Lawrie referred when speaking about a proposed amendment during the course of his speech reveals that there is some confusion in the minds of Opposition senators as to the Government’s intentions. Clearly the Government seeks to amend the National Urban and Regional Development Bill 1972, a Bill which it might be remembered was presented to the Parliament in the dying stages of the McMahon administration. I want to point out to honourable senators the consistency of the Labor Party in regard to this matter, because on that occasion we sought to have the Bill withdrawn and redrafted because we said that it was creating only an investigatory and advisory body which would have no authority. Of course, with this Bill we are endeavouring to implement the original legislation and to establish the forms by which the Department of Urban and Regional Development will operate and to define clearly the areas in which the new Cities Commission will operate.
On the occasion when the National Urban and Regional Development Bill was before us we said that the purpose of our amendment was to cope with the problems of urban and regional development. A great deal was made in the House of Representatives when it was dealing with the Cities Commission Bill, which we are currently debating, of the suggestion that changes should be made to take regional development into account and consideration. I believe we have had evidence of confusion both in the House of Representatives and in the debate that has taken place so far in the Senate. The purpose of the Bill is to establish a Cities Commission. If honourable senators will take the time to read the second reading speech they will find that the Government’s proposals do not limit the Government’s interest in this area just to cities in the sense of those existing major metropolises. In fact, the Government will be dealing with the problems of city development in the urban areas as well as those problems which arise in the establishment of new cities in the regional areas or, if you like, in the rural areas. The Government showed its bona fides during the debate in the House of Representatives. When the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton), on behalf of the Opposition, moved certain amendments the Government considered them and accepted them, although it did reject a number of the amendments moved by the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) which in many ways sought to compound the confusion which seems to exist in the minds of so many honourable senators opposite and their colleagues in the House of Representatives.
There will be several roles for the Cities Commission. The Cities Commissioners will conduct studies of regional areas for a variety of reasons. It must be conceded that we will not solve the problems of growth in our major capital cities without rearranging resources and creating growth centres in rural areas. I suggest to honourable senators that they examine the policies that have been pursued by some State governments in the area of decentralisation. There has been a dissipation of resources by State governments. They have rejected the concept of growth centres and in a great number of centres, have endeavoured to establish industry or some government activity, largely of a State nature. Their objective has been to arrest the decline that is evident in so many country centres in every State of the Commonwealth. The New South Wales Liberal-Country Party Government in recent years has spent about $3 Om to arrest the decline of rural centres by encouraging industry to those centres, but because its energies and resources have been dissipated it has not succeeded in arresting that decline. Consequently the concept of an establishment of growth centres has developed and been accepted.
These studies, which will be the responsibility of the Cities Commission, will be aimed at assessing the potential growth of a region and its ability to plan for a rapid population growth. Many of the centres will have to be looked at from the point of view of the amount of public investment which can be attracted to them and how we will get private development of these new centres. The Cities Commission will also play a leading role in the establishment of new cities and will assist in the early stages of their development. Clearly this will have to be done in cooperation with the State governments. Of course, the National Urban and Regional Development Authority is, and has been since its inception, playing a vital part in establishing in co-operation with the States new concepts of new city development. The first project is in the Albury-Wodonga area. Honourable senators are aware that there are great problems in the organisation of such a development and in determining a strategy in respect of land use, the acquisition of land without the influence of speculation, the enticement of government activity into the area and the reallocation of resources, so that the AlburyWodonga experiment will be a success. This requires co-operation with the local authority. It requires planning in concert with the citizens of that region. It requires co-operation with the New South Wales Government and the Victorian Government. This is a big concept.
It appears to me that those who have been suggesting amendments or new attitudes towards this Bill believe that because the Government has talked about cities it is not interested in the problems of city development in rural areas. The new Commission to a large degree will act as a professional consultant to the Department of Urban and Regional Development in respect of physical planning and in this way will pay a very important part as a further arm of the existing National Urban and Regional Development Authority. The Government does not seek to supplant or over-emphasise the role of city development, but an authority will be delegated especially to examine the growth centres and to give some consideration to the problems of life in the existing cities. The Commission will also be available for consultation and to provide advice and information to State governments. I think the coordinating role of this Commission will be obvious to all. It will also provide to semi and local government authorities ready access to material and experience. The question of water supply in the Albury-Wodonga area is a matter of considerable consequence. Clearly a great deal of study needs to be given to the planning of a future water supply for that region, knowing as we do the effect that it will have upon other towns and regions which are not necessarily immediately close to the Albury-Wodonga region.
I am sure that if members of the Opposition, both in the other place and in the Senate, had read the Bill and understood what the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) was talking about a great deal of time would have been saved. One has only to read the speeches of those who spoke against the Bill or attempted to, to be aware of the degree of confusion that exists. We said when the National Urban and Regional Development Authority Bill was introduced last year that it lacked teeth. This has been borne out by the fact that the Government has had to bring in a new Bill, a further legislative arm, to transform the purely advisory role of the existing body into a more active role. It has been interesting to hear the comments made so far in the debate, but I draw to the attention of honourable senators the fact that for 22i years the Liberal and Country Parties said no in response to all requests for assistance for an active policy of decentralisation. They said no to the request of local government for financial assistance and permitted the great deterioration which we know has taken place in most of the major capital cities in the Commonwealth.
One wonders whether in the Senate we are going through a stage of amendmentitis because every piece of legislation that the Government brings forward in order to carry out its mandate seems to be subjected to amendments. Some of these already have seriously emasculated many of the Bills that have passed through the other House or have tended to weaken the efficiency of the legislation and of the authorities which we are seeking to set up in various areas of the Government’s administration. We should look at every Bill that comes before this House and, without detracting from the ability of the Senate to amend Bills, we must ask why so much emphasis is placed upon an interpretation of the objectives that the Government has set for itself in the Bill. This Bill seeks to change the composition of the Authority so that instead of there being one commissioner there will be a full-time chairman of commissioners as well as 4 part-time commissioners.
When Mr Gorton suggested that there should be some addition to the number of part-time commissioners, the Government listened to what he proposed and, in the interest of support for the general concepts of the Bill, decided to accept his amendments.
There are good reasons for changing the composition of the old Authority. Firstly, there will be responsibility under the Act giving the Commission greater protection and greater independence from external pressures. When we consider that we are proposing to allocate tremendous resources to the growth centres which have been selected, I am sure honourable senators will appreciate that the Commission needs to have a great deal of independence because of the pressures which will be exerted not only nationally but by State and local government bodies. Secondly, the Cities Commission will be a bridge between the Commonwealth and the States. It is our intention, as the Minister for Urban and Regional Development has said in so many of his speeches, that co-operation will be the keynote of all our activities. We will be encouraging the participation of the States in the work of the Commission. I think that already there is evidence that the Victorian and New South Wales governments have found ways to work with the Commonwealth on such a project. I refer to the first growth centre in the Albury-Wodonga region. Thirdly, the new structure of the Cities Commission will provide an opportunity for a study of a wider range of interests.
Unfortunately the Opposition has indicated, by its response to the Bill, that it does not understand the nature, of the Commission. The Commission is purely and simply an arm of the Department of Urban and Regional Development which was set up last year. It is not the Department, it is not replacing the Department. The Department, which seems to be the rock on which we have faltered here, is the principal authority and the framework by which the Government will carry out a much needed change in the pattern of development and settlement in Australia. One finds the opposition to these proposals somewhat difficult to understand. So one comes to the conclusion that it is opposition only for opposition’s sake. It has been suggested that the Minister for Urban and Regional Development has been rather slow in his endeavours in this area. As one who has had some association with him in the preparation of his
Department, I am more than ever convinced that the previous Government understood little of the problems of urban development of new growth centres and of major cities in outer regions. It is to the credit of the Minister that he has been able, in the first session of this Parliament, to present to the Parliament 2 Bills which will carry into effect the exciting role which the Government has for the Department to play in improving the quality of life of Australians. ‘Quality of life’ is no longer a cliche, it is an objective which this Government has accepted. It is a challenge which the Government has accepted. It should be recognised as a challenge to the Parliament.
We will seek to make federalism work. We will seek to co-operate with the States and the authorities in the various growth centres and give them the goodwill and understanding which, I am sure, will be available. I am sure that at the end of a short period the Cities Commission will be an important part of the framework of the future growth centres and will be improving life in the major cities. There is no doubt that when we discuss other questions associated with urban and regional development we will be saying a lot more about the plight of people who live on the outskirts of our major cities. There is a great deal to be done. One hardly ever picks up a newpaper without seeing evidence of the problems of those who are poverty-stricken in so many of the outer suburbs of our existing cities. So the Government, in addition to developing its interest in the growth centres, will be placing, through the Cities Commission, further emphasis on how it will become involved in the reconstruction and improvement of the quality of life in our urban areas. We have no need to apologise for presenting the Bill to the Parliament. We hope that the Opposition will look at it objectively, that it will not seek to amend it in such a way as to render it ineffective and that the Opposition will give the Government a chance to begin its wonderful objectives of restructuring life in the cities, of re-allocating resources and generally of improving the quality of life in both city and urban areas.
– The Australian Democratic Labor Party will support the Bill. It has been said that the amendment which will be moved in the Committee stage is unnecessary. To some extent one could almost suggest that the Bill is unnecessary. It sets up the Cities Commission and changes the principal Act, which was the National Urban and Regional Development Act, but it does nothing more than set up the Commission in place of the National Urban and Regional Development Authority and sets out who the commissioners will be, their period of appointment, remunerations, allowances, etc. It says nothing of the authority or the duties of the commissioners. They will inherit from the old Act all the things that they have to do. I suppose that the Parliament should be more concerned with what they have to do in the interests of the nation than with who they are, what they are paid or anything else. The new Government has seen fit to make this alteration, and we agree with it because we have always supported anything that will aid decentralisation in Australia. We are in favour of the new Government wanting to do it in a slightly different way, with the Commission instead of the Authority, wanting to appoint some new people, wanting to expand the Commission in some way and wanting to have a definite view on the development around the Albury area. The Government rightly has consulted the States concerned about it. We encourage the Government to do these things.
We will support the amendment which will be moved in the Committee stage. I say that now to save me having to speak later. It deals only with the name of the Commission. We think that the name ‘Cities and Regional Development Commission’ is an even more appropriate name than the name which the Government has suggested in its amendment to the Act. It will take into account all the regional areas. The duties of the Commission, whether it is called the Cities Commission, as the Government desires it to be called, or the Cities and Regional Development Commission, will still be set out. If I were a member of the Government I would not be too sensitive about suggestions being offered by way of amendments to improve Bills. AH the brains do not reside on one side of the Parliament, whether it is the Government side or the Opposition side. There were many amendments to Bills introduced by the previous Government. Many were accepted in the spirit in which they were offered. I am certain that the mild amendment which suggests a change in the name of the Bill so that it will be more in line with the purpose for which it is designed, is offered to the Government in the best of good faith in an attempt to help it to succeed in governing this country in the interests of the people, which I have no doubt is its ambition.
We agree with the amendment because it seems to us to describe more accurately what we want to see done by a government in this area. We would not like to see a government run away with the idea that its only concern should be making a bigger city out of places such as Albury and not taking into account what that development may do to towns which perhaps are small and which are situated already within a distance of 30, 40 or 50 miles of the city which is proposed to be developed. We want the Cities Commission to act as a regional body and to look at the whole area rather than just where the spotlight is showing, for publicity purposes, that we may be able to do it in this way rather than by the attempts which have been made in the past. Australia does not have a fortunate history of decentralisation. There could be many reasons for this, some of them perhaps beyond the powers of individuals, local councils, State governments or even Federal governments.
I have always been very interested in this problem and I remember, when accumulating information of an industrial character on a project for which I was sent some 20 years ago to most countries of the world, looking at decentralisation particularly in the United States of America where I spent 3 months. In the history of the world the United States probably enjoyed the most rapid development prior to the discovery and establishment of our own country. I found in the United States things vitally different from the circumstances under which we were trying to attain a type of decentralisation which, to some extent, the United States already had attained. I know that the United States has its monsters such as New York, Los Angeles and other cities, but spread throughout the country are the types of centres that we would like to see in Australia. The United States, however, was discovered and developed at a slightly earlier period in time than was Australia - not all that much earlier but under completely different circumstances. Our great development has taken place in about the last 25 to 30 years since we began a very vigorous immigration policy and so increased rapidly the population of this country. Earlier immigration to this country took place, in an era of larger families which coincided with the tail end of the United States development. But the numbers of larger families tapered off and the population figure became static. That was an era, too, when to travel 25 to 30 miles was a hardship. When travelling a distance of 25 miles by horse and cart one had a day’s travel in front of one, and if one wanted to travel 100 miles one had to plan weeks ahead and provide, a week for the journey. Our development and population increase has been so rapid particularly in the postwar years that today one can travel 100 miles in a motor car in a couple of hours.
So the tendency to flock to the bigger cities is much more marked in this country, if only for the ease of transport alone, than in other parts of the world. For instance, many people in Cornwall, England, have never been to London, the great metropolis renowned throughout the world which attracts every tourist from Australia. Yet some people in Cornwall have never visited London despite the. short distance involved compared with distances in Australia. We accept that people fly a distance of 500 miles from Melbourne to Sydney for a business luncheon appointment and return to Melbourne that night. One will not find this ready acceptance of rapid transport in other parts of the world with the exception of the United States.
Other factors come into this problem. I remember doing some research into the banking structure of the United States and noticing how specifically the banking structure that had developed there had accidentally assisted enormously the process of decentralisation. In the early days of their banking system when they were at last trying to get an honest greenback after they had had more than 100 financial collapses - and this is not generally understood except by those who have read the economic and monetary history of the USA - the American legislators passed special banking legislation which prevented banks operating outside the areas in which they were formed except those which had already developed intrastate throughout America. There were comparatively few.
I think the Bank of America is one bank which has branches in different States. They developed a banking structure which permitted the local people in a town, say, taking one out of the hat, of the size of Kyneton in Victoria, to establish their own bank. That bank would be responsible in its own area. The banks had passed the stage at which they were issuing their own currency, a procedure which created so much confusion in the early days of the United States. The effect of a bank being formed by the local successful people in a city as small as Kyneton in Victoria is, was that those people were vitally concerned to lend anybody in their area money for the development of any industrial project. They would stake other people who had ideas or initiatives or were prepared to work to start a small industry. So industries grew in very small areas.
But our country developed under a different banking structure and at a different time. If somebody has the initiative to form an industry and wants finance, as anybody who starts a small industry always does in the initial stages - business men will appreciate that - he must go to a bank which has ramifications throughout the Commonwealth and which already has provided huge overdrafts to great concerns which are producing, say, shoes in the big cities. The bank looks at the project, not as to whether it would be successful in the local area but as to whether it would be successful in the general competition of the nation’s economy. Loans are not so easy for people to obtain in those circumstances, and certainly were not in this country in its developing stage to the same extent as they were in the United States. The net result of this United States system, with its financial and banking structure geared the way it was, was an enormous help to the decentralisation of industry in that country. Depite the fact that there are giant corporations in the United States, I recall that 20 years ago as a visitor to that country - visitors were usually shown over the giant enterprises - I was astounded to learn that about 80 per cent of the total production of the United States was produced by plants which employed fewer than 20 people. When one saw, say, the General Motors plant and others one gained the impression that it was through such plants that the United States produced all of its goods. This was not true. Decentralisation was achieved by this one aspect of the banking structure.
I am merely citing this to show that in Australia we have had special difficulties which have not been faced by other nations because our type of development was peculiar to our country in the day and age in which we carried it out, and particularly because of the type of country that we had. The fast modern transport which was introduced into this country - a small and almost backward nation by comparison to some - emphasises that we were pioneers in the establishment of airlines within our own country. Indeed Qantas, one of the first international airlines to be established anywhere in the world, was establised here in Australia, a country which could not be considered to be an industrial giant by any stretch of the imagination. What I am saying is meant only to show that in this problem of decentralisation Australia has special problems and greater needs because of the paucity of our population and the geographical land mass which we have to control and develop, much of which, as we surely recognise, is even today still largely undeveloped to the extent it could be and probably never will be developed until the pressures of population force us to develop it.
The population, as we all appreciate, will not develop naturally because of the circumstances of family life which have changed so much from what they were in the first stage of our development and since the major period of the massive development of the United States when that country had an immigration rate similar to the one we might be running now. The people who migrated to the United States from Europe usually had families, the minimum number of which ranged from say 4 to 6 and the maximum from perhaps 10 to 12. Those circumstances do not pertain today, and we cannot see that they are ever likely to recur in our type of society because of the knowledge that we have today. It is of no use our saying that we should reverse that trend. I do not believe that there is any real way in which that trend can be reversed. We must depend even more heavily on immigration. If we rely more heavily on immigration, we will want the proposed Cities Commission to assist in the necessary development.
I hope that the proposed amendment to change the title of the Bill to ‘Cities and Regional Development Commission Bill’ will be accepted by the Government. I think it should be because that title more accurately describes the duties which were set out in the original legislation and which are not being changed at all in this amending legislation. I have been through this Bill and I cannot find anything in the amendments proposed to the original legislation that suggests any particular duties that are different from those prescribed in the original legislation with respect to the Commission that is to be appointed. The duties are imported from the original legislation. I believe that the breadth of the idea of regional development should be incorporated in this legislation. If we set out through this legislation to develop more cities of the Melbourne or Sydney type and have no concern for the effect that such cities may have on surrounding areas and their environment, we may only compound the problems that we face already rather than achieve what I believe the Government is honestly setting out to achieve by the introduction of this measure.
I believe that the Government is to be congratulated for taking up the legislation which was passed last year by this Parliament when introduced by the previous Government. The new Government is trying to give that legislation some new life. It certainly will be giving the proposed Commission the opportunity for more activity, if it carries out the assurances, the promises and the agreements that are being forged with the States now. We want to encourage the Government in its endeavours. We will support its Bill. But we urge that the Government retain in this legislation the principles contained in the original Act, particularly those flowing from the use of the word regional’ which indicates that the Commission will be interested in a broad area of development and not merely in creating new cities which in themselves may cause particular problems in regional areas. We support the legislation.
– The Senate is debating the Cities Commission Bill which calls to our attention matters relating to population growth centres, community growth centres and subjects of that nature. It is essentially a Bill that is related to people, economics, national development and national economies. It is also very much a Bill with strong social overtones and strong social connections. It has a continuing and recurring influence on and relationship with community development, community centres and the total well-being of people in centres, towns and cities right across the nation. Therefore the Bill is very closely allied to what we call ‘quality of life’ and sometimes ‘style of life’.
The former Government, the LiberalCountry Party Government introduced into the Parliament towards the end of last year a measure which was known as the National Urban and Regional Development Bill. The Cities Commission Bill, which is now before the Senate, makes what I can only describe as minor changes to the legislation. Principally, of course, the Bill changes the title of the Act to the Cities Commission Act. The question which must arise in one’s mind is whether, in the second reading speech delivered by the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh), arguments were developed with reference to this Bill to warrant the introduction of a measure of this kind. The present Government has seen fit to seek to change the name of the National Urban and Regional Development Authority which was proposed in the former Act to ‘Cities Commission*. The Government felt it important that the name of the Authority should be identified separately from the name of the department which has sponsored this measure.
There seem to me to be several roles for the Cities Commission in the policy which has been outlined by the Minister. One of those roles is studies of regional areas. Another is the establishment of new cities and assistance in the early stages of development of various areas. It is reported that the new Commission will act as a professional consultant to the Department of Urban and Regional Development in physical planning exercises. The Minister has claimed that the Commission will be available to consult with and to provide advice and information to a wide range of authorities. These include State governments, semi-local governments and local governments as well as regional organisations.
When we look at a measure of this nature the whole area of decentralisation comes very much into focus. I think honourable senators will recall that this has been a principal ingredient in the contributions that have been made in this debate tonight. Decentralisation is a very easy subject to talk about. For those honourable senators who have a concern for community life and the development of the country, decentralisation is an easy subject for which to develop enthusiasm; it is easy to stress its importance and its relevance. I sub mit that it is not quite so easy to determine how decentralisation policies can be carried out with any degree of effectiveness.
In these days of urban development, when there is a tendency for people to live in urban communities, there seems to be a desire for such inclusions in our urban societies as high rise projects and community projects. It is very difficult to convince people that they ought to live somewhere else or in some place other than where they are at present. It is also difficult to persuade industry to move to a new centre or another centre. Many factors have to be taken into account when we look at some of the references made in the Minister’s second reading speech. In a large country such as Australia the factors to which I have just referred have a special nature. Australia is a large country and decentralisation has always been difficult. Australia has not a history of great decentralisation. The particular issues largely relate to Australia’s size and accessibility or lack of accessibility in places that are distant from the eastern or southern seaboards of this continent.
If plans are made for new cities, new areas or new regions, the decentralisation must be complete. In short, the establishment of a new region, a new city, a new town or a new area today must be complete. It must provide total services for all of its citizens. Into this factor come not only the matter of the designing and planning of streets, areas, styles of houses or things of that nature but also the new attitude to urban living, to decentralisation and to new community living that has developed in the Australian community over the last quarter of a century. This is due mainly to the influence of the migrant community, which has played such an important role in our style and quality of life. Indeed, the size of our migrant community has increased considerably in that time. All these changes have resulted in an Australian style that is different from that which existed a quarter of a century ago. I have no doubt that in these days of rapid change a new style, the portents of which we are unable to see or determine at this stage, will develop within the next quarter of a century.
If honourable senators agree, as I think they do, that decentralisation is good for the Australian community - indeed, it spreads the resources of this nation right across the nation and therefore makes them available to more people - we must raise in our minds, particularly as members of the Senate, members of Parliament and citizens of the country, the question of where any decentralisation should take place. Australia is the most urbanised country on earth. Most of our people live in urban centres. Most of our urbanisation is on the eastern seaboard. Indeed, it seems to have been concentrated on the eastern seaboard even more so in recent weeks with the plan for the new city in the Albury-Wodonga area. If Australia is to grow, and if new regional centres and cities are to be established along with new centres for industry, some consideration must be given by this new Commission to assisting in research into the possibility of establishing growth centres in places other than along the eastern seaboard.
I recall - I remind the Senate of this - the State development that was undertaken over a good number of years by Sir Thomas Playford and his Government in South Australia. Whyalla was established and exists today with singular success. That has had a particular effect on places such as Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Port Lincoln in South Australia. The city of Elizabeth, established to the north of Adelaide, has given very clear evidence that decentralisation can be undertaken in circumstances that are not always easy, if there is appropriate planning and if the totality of a citizen’s life is taken into account.
Now we are to get in South Australia a new city of Monarto. Naturally, one is interested in a new plan of this kind in one’s own State, particularly where decentralisation factors are involved. I hope that the new city of Monarto is successful. I hope that it does not become an artificial city. Placed as it is, it will need a great deal of assistance in the development of its services. But placed as it is, on the main Adelaide to Melbourne road and on the main Adelaide to Melbourne railway and being adjacent to the River Murray, I hope that it provides for the people who go to live there not only pleasant and comfortable accommodation but also community satisfaction in the citizen’s life.
Any growth centre must have a relation to its hinterland. A port is related to its seaboard and to the area which supplies goods, such as minerals, for export. A regional centre has to be established where there is a hinterland from which food can be obtained and in which service facilities can be devel oped fairly easily and without too much additional expense. Consideration also must be given to the matter of recreation and of leisure, and here I refer to ovals, water facilities, clubs and things of this kind.
There is the overriding and very important adjunct to all of this, and that is the question of authority. It is not sufficient merely to say that a centre will be established. Thought must be given to the provision of a local authority, whether it be in the form of a municipality or some other local government instrumentality. But if the Cities Commission is to be concerned for the development of the life of its citizens, it also must be concerned for the style of life of its citizens. Today we have an affluent society, and care .must be taken to ensure that the people who are part of that affluent society can get what they want from that society. Also, they must have the opportunity to use their talents, their possessions and their affluence to contribute towards the improvement of their style of life.
In Australia we have a very mobile society. People are able to move round Australia to a far greater degree than people are able to move round other countries. Provision must be made not only for that mobility but also for the effect that this mobility has on regional centres. I have no need to remind the Senate of the role of education and community facilities in regional centres and decentralised areas. But it is not sufficient merely to talk about facilities of this kind. We also must remember that people are made up of corporate parts which means that they have hearts, minds and souls and that they have a relationship with their fellows. They also must be concerned not only about their style of life but also to ensure that their quality of life is good and that it contributes towards a continuance of a good style of life. Therefore, the Cities Commission must look at the various facilities which not only may be provided but also may be sought and indeed in respect of which pressure may be brought to bear.
I am noticing with a considerable degree of interest the influence of the development of such facilities as casinos in our Australian community. They have long been features of certain communities in the United States of America and on the continent of Europe. It may well be that in a community of our size in Australia the development of casinos providing for extended gambling facilities of a kind different from other gambling facilities may not be the best and most desirable ingredient in the community. Communities themselves will have to make up their own minds and make a decision as to whether casinos are desirable or whether they contribute to the stability and the continuing stability of a community. I only mention that in my comments on this Bill tonight to indicate that as an authority or a commission - whatever it might be called - endeavours to undertake wide and searching studies for the development of communities it has to look very closely at situations like this one; not necessarily isolated. It has to take this very much into account if it is designing communities and decentralised centres that are for the total good of the Australian community and of the Australian nation.
So there is a wide range of things to consider in a matter like this. As I said at the outset of my remarks, this is a measure which not only deals with economics or with the erection of houses or with the design of streets, but also takes into account the total social welfare of any given community. I suppose that one of the most influential factors in the development of new communities is the matter of communications. Honourable senators will be very well aware of the study which is being undertaken by one of the Senate committees into all aspects of radio and television. Put before that committee in recent times has been a report on the influential factor of what is known as cable television. I do not want to develop the detail of that subject at this stage, but as new communities develop, as new high rise buildings are constructed, as there is urbanisation of our society, and as the technical development of communications, including television, takes place we must consider the cable television system which will feed into a house or an apartment a great number of cables which will provide a wide diversity of programs, opportunities and facilities, whether they be education or business or commercial facilities.
All of this will have a tendency, on the one hand, to provide a greater interest for a great number of people but, on the other hand, it will tend to isolate certain other types of people from the rest of society. All of this, compounded in a variety of ways, will tend to create communities which may on occasions have to be protected from themselves. Therefore, the development of a regional centre or a decentralised city - call it what you will - is a matter which will call for the widest range of skills and the greatest degree of intense study and attention from the Commission which is being established under the aegis of this Bill.
But it is to the inhuman environment of the cities around which this Bill develops and to which attention is now being given. I think that we are moving into an era when cities or urban centres will become homes for the majority of our people. The type of city which people will move into must cause us concern, as it is causing increasing concern in other countries. The Governor-General of Australia, Sir Paul Hasluck, speaking at a meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science drew attention to the questions of air and water pollution, industrial waste, inadequate and sub-standard housing, strained transport facilities, and things of this nature. As honourable senators are well aware, these points have been raised in debates on other subjects. But one of the matters to which His Excellency referred was the matter of environmental research. I hope that the new Commission will undertake environmental research, and I hope that it will draw upon the results of research which is being undertaken by a large number of commissions and committees related to other departments. This material should be available for the widest possible use by the Government.
Recently in a Senate Estimates Committee hearing I drew attention to my concern about the number of commissions and committees which were investigating the River Murray water. I said I was concerned that not enough results or information were coming from these commissions and committees. I hope that when the Government establishes the Cities Commission information on the findings of the Commission will be provided constantly to the community and to the Parliament because all of us are concerned for the total well being of any new city. The new city of Albury-Wodonga, to which reference has been made, opens up a new concept for those of us who are interested in this matter of water quality and interstate relations. As I said in the Senate Estimates Committee hearing, I take this opportunity to ask for assurances from the Government that any new decentralised development which has access, for example, to the River Murray water supplies, upon which South Australia is becoming increasingly dependent, will be made aware of this dependency and also of the rapid rate of change that is taking place in the use and distribution of water and facilities connected with the River Murray.
Many other problems relating to social matters are involved in a measure of this kind. However, I support the Bill. We look forward to the contribution which the Commission will make as it takes upon itself the heavy responsibility of guiding Commonwealth and State governments, and also its involvement with local government and regional authorities, I am sure that it will become involved also with voluntary community associations and that it will carry on a program which will be for our total benefit. I support also the amendment that has been foreshadowed because I believe that the reference to regional development should be strongly spelled out in the Bill and in the directions to the Commission. We will watch for progress in this important area.
– I enter this debate because of a few remarks made by Senator Davidson. I did not intend to speak about the Cities Commission Bill because I thought that the Secretary of the Australian Labor Party Caucus Committee on Urban and Regional Affairs, Senator Gietzelt, put our case admirably. I sneak now because I detected a difference of opinion between what Senator Davidson said about supporting the concept of the new town of Monarto in South Australia, which is in close proximity to the town where I live, and the comments made by the Leader of the Opposition in the South Australian Parliament, Dr Eastick. I would like to put on record the statement made by Dr Eastick when speaking at Murray Bridge in support of the Liberal Country League candidate prior to the South Australian election, f have a copy of a cutting from the ‘Murray Valley Standard’ of 8 March. The great headlines on the top of one article are ‘ “Economic sink” warning on new town’. These were the comments of the Leader of the Opposition in South Australia.
– What has this to do with the Bill?
– I am replying to what was said by Senator Davidson and it has a lot to do with the Bill. The establishment of Monarto is an example of decentralisation as it is practised and always has been practised by the Australian Labor Party. The South Australian Government was the first to freeze land prices some 12 or 18 months ago so that speculators could not come in and make a profit out of selling land which will be used to set up the new town of Monarto. We are hoping that we will get very close cooperation from the Commonwealth Government - I am almost certain that we will get it - once this Bm is passed. We will be able then to work together in establishing this town at a very early date. I have distributed to my colleagues here in the Labor Party an extensive brochure, printed by the South Australian Government, which sets out the whole concept of this town. It proves to them the amount of work which we in South Australia have done through a Labor government.
I want to get back to the point 1 first raised, and that is the difference of opinion between Senator Davidson and Dr Eastick, the Leader of the Opposition in South Australia. I was very pleased to hear the remarks of Senator Davidson tonight because I know now that at least his voice will be raised to support us in the upper echelon of the LiberalCountry League in establishing this new town. On the other hand, Dr Eastick endeavoured, perhaps for propaganda purposes during the South Australian election campaign, to discredit the Labor Party by throwing a lot of cold water on the concept of Monarto. He said that it would be an ‘economic sink’. Dr Eastick was reported to have said also:
Why commit ourselves to building houses before the end of 1973 when we are not certain the new town will be a goer?’
This newspaper article went on to state:
People could not be certain that the money put into the area was going to be adequate, both from the Commonwealth and State sources, and would still allow other areas in the State to be maintained.
I say here and now that the money which will be put into this project by the State Government will be adequate, as will be the support that we will get from the Federal Government. This newspaper article went on to quote Dr Eastick as having said:
However, we cannot accept a situation which is a potential economic sink’, he said, ‘a sink where the economy of the whole State for many, years is in jeopardy if we have to keep putting Federal and State money into it because it is not a viable proposition’.
I am one senator, along with Senator Davidson from South Australia, who says that this is a viable proposition and that it will be of great benefit to South Australia. I join with
Senator Davidson in another statement he made. He said that at an Estimates Committee meeting he raised the question of salinity in the River Murray. I also had something to say at that Estimates Committee meeting about that subject, and I have raised at our Party Caucus meetings the problem we have in South Australia in getting good quality water. An ex-Premier of South Australia who, I believe, sold us out in regard to the Chowilla dam project in favour of Dartmouth dam, made great play about the extra quantity of water we would get but did not tell us anything about the quality of the water, and that is something about which we are very concerned. I am pleased that Senator Davidson has also expressed those sentiments about the quality of the water.
– What quality of water will you get out of Albury-Wodonga?
– Both Senator Webster and I were at the opening of the Dartmouth dam. He would have heard the remarks of Mr Freudenstein, the Minister for Conservation in the New South Wales Government, about the benefits which would flow from the construction of Dartmouth dam. He said that one of the great benefits would be that all the salt would be sent downstream to South Australia. 1 was very concerned about that matter and I have raised that also with my own Party. I have been assured by Mr Tom Uren, Minister for Urban and Regional Development, that a committee has been set up and that while we have a Federal Labor Government there will be a safeguard in connection with salinity being washed downstream to South Australia. I do not want to take up the time of the Parliament. I could say a lot about this because some very adverse remarks were made in the other place by a certain gentleman about how we would suffer as a result of the Albury-Wodonga complex. However I think that those remarks were made only for political purposes. I give full support to this Bill and look forward to the benefits which will flow not only to us in South Australia but also to all areas in Australia which are so sadly in need of good decentralisation policies.
– in reply- The first thing I wish to do on behalf of the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) and the Government is to thank the Opposition for not opposing this Bill. I thank it for the speedy progress of the second reading debate, thus bringing us to the Committee stage. Every speaker seemed to repeat his support for decentralisation of some sort. Although there has been no opposition to the Bill there has been some analysis of it. Many seemed to disagree with it and some tried to reflect this Government’s achievement back onto the previous Government because they claimed last October the previous Government set up the National Urban and Regional Development Authority and that this Government was only extending it.
– The Government is not even doing that.
- Senator Wright is making the same mistake as his colleagues made. He is considering the Bill in isolation. I come down on the side of Senator Little. If the Bill is considered in isolation one would wonder about its purpose and whether it is worth while, but it is an important element of the new vision of the Australian Labor Party on decentralisation. This is not a Bill designed to decentralise towns. This is not a Bill designed to set up cities and corporations. The distinction between the policies of this Government and those of the previous Government is that the previous Government set up an authority, a commission, to advise the then Prime Minister, but this Government has set up a Department to develop towns. That is the distinction. The distinction is not contained in this Bill. It is a distinction of policy. The Australian Labor Party went to the electors with a policy on decentralisation, a subject that has been talked about since the postwar years. Every honourable senator who spoke tonight favoured decentralisation but until this Government was elected Australia had never had a policy on decentralisation. The present Government’s desire for decentralisation is seen not in the Bill before the Senate tonight but in the establishment of the Department of Urban and Regional Development for that very purpose. When honourable senators realise that the Department does the decentralisation, they will see the importance of this Bill in fitting in with the global policy of the Australian Labor Party. If honourable senators consider this Bill in isolation, it has no substance. If they consider it as part of the whole, the very name of the authority becomes important.
The proposed authority will have no further powers than those given to the previous Authority. The previous Authority consisted of a chairman and a deputy chairman. This enlarged authority will consist of a commissioner, the Secretary to the Department of Urban and Regional Development and 3 other commissioners. But the important point is that one of the commissioners must be the Secretary to the Department of Urban and Regional Development, which has the job of establishing towns. There we have the unity between the investigation committee and the Department that has that job. This is a department which we have never had before; on no occasion did we have anyone responsible for developing towns in Australia. Under the previous Act the Authority consisted of the chairman and the deputy chairman who reported to the Prime Minister but had no authority to develop towns. Now the commissioner and his deputy will report to tho Department. We have deleted the definition of Minister, which referred to the Prime Minister, and made ministerial arrangements that the Minister controlling the Department is the Minister to whom they report. All that is stated in regard to this authority, as in the case of the previous Authority is that:
The Authority shall investigate, and from time to time report to the Minister on, matters relating to urban and regional development.
Here we have the point about which Senator Lawrie and, I presume, the Country Party are concerned. It is that we do not emphasise the regional section of urban and regional development when we have a Cities Commission. But the Department that is to develop towns is impregnated with the very thing that Senator Lawrie desires. It is stated:
The Authority shall investigate, and from to time report to the Minister on, matters relating to urban and regional development -
The only thing that Senator Lawrie is concerned about is the power of the Commission for the purpose of satisfying his grievance. It is said: ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. The power to report is the question that is of concern to Senator Lawrie. The Commission will report on urban and regional development for the purpose of assisting the Commonwealth Government in its consideration of the granting of financial assistance by the Parliament to a State in connection with urban and regional development, including the terms and conditions on which that assistance might be granted by the Parliament.
As was mentioned during the debate, the Commonwealth has not the power to set up cities wherever it likes. It has to get the power from the States. Before any decentralisation can take place, before a city can be developed anywhere, there has to be a State authorisation. We have established a department - not the Commission - for the purpose of achieving co-operation with the States in the development of regional areas. This need not be of necessity a town. It could be an area such as Canberra, which includes the development of Queanbeyan, Yass and other towns around the centre. We have never had a department to achieve this. We had a committee to advise the Government. The Act further states:
The Act also states:
The Authority shall comply with any directions given to it by the Minister with respect to the matters to be investigated by the Authority.
There we see that the authority has the same power as previously for the purpose of investigation and recommendation to the Commonwealth Minister as to proposals on which he should seek agreement with the States for the purpose of establishing cities. In our short time in office - I think mainly because it was an election promise - we have made a commitment to develop the Albury-Wodonga area. This has been possible, and it will be successful, only because there is complete agreement between the Commonwealth and the States of Victoria and New South Wales.
asked a question on the acquiring of the land and the use of leasehold tenure. This is the Commonwealth Labor Government’s policy, lt is essential that, before the Commonwealth becomes a partner in any development area, there be acquisition of it so that there will be no spiralling prices, as has occurred every time an area has been named for development. In the case of Albury-Wodonga, the price of land was $125 an acre, and it is now $500 an acre. But when the Acts of the State Parliaments of New South Wales and Victoria come into operation the price of the land it is hoped to acquire finally will be pegged at the prices prevailing in October 1972.
– How do you draw that into line with what is happening in the Australian Capital Territory where you have full control and where a building site this very day brought over $4,500,000? Are you not talking rubbish?
– The Government of which the honourable senator was a supporter had full control for 23 years and it permitted this spiral to go on. We have never had a Cities Commission or a Department of Urban and Regional Development. We had to change the government to correct the position that has been occurring in Canberra. That is the reason why the people of Australia changed the government. We have not reached the stage of acquiring land in Canberra. We have acquired 32 square miles of land in Darwin for housing development to ensure that land prices do not spiral. The Leader of the Australian Country Party (Senator Drake-Brockman) has given notice of a notice of motion which he will move tomorrow to rescind that acquisition so that we cannot acquire the land and so that the speculators can go in and make a profit out of it. Immediately we seek to do this in Canberra - some move will have to be made to control prices here - I hope that we will receive more support than we have received in our endeavour to save the home hungry population of Darwin from paying high prices. While the Country Party, with the support of the remainder of the united Opposition in the Senate, can disallow the acquisition of land, honourable senators can see the impossibility of the Commonwealth operating an the development of cities.
The Country Party is not in power in any State but Queensland. So, except in Queensland, it is not in a position to permit the development of cities. The Commonwealth has agreement with New South Wales and Victoria for the development of the AlburyWodonga area. We have agreement with the New South Wales Liberal-Country Party Government for the development of the Orange-Bathurst area. That Government will implement legislation to control land prices. We have an agreement with the South Australian Government for the pegging of land prices. That Government has introduced legislation in regard to the new Monarto area that is to be developed. We have agreement with the West Australian Government for the pegging of land prices in the area which it seeks assistance in developing and which is within 7 miles of Perth. The only State that will not agree with the Commonwealth is Queensland, which is under the control of a Country Party Government. The Country Party is in opposition to any proposal of decentralisation. When we propose to create larger areas in the country there is opposition because it is said that there is a possibility of increasing the number of Labor voters tad the few members which the Australian Country Party can return to the Houses of Parliament today lose their seats. We understand that position but I ask honourable senators not te tell me that we will receive any assistance from the Country Party in relation to decentralisation.
– The honourable senator avoided the question about the Australian Capital Territory and price control. Did he intend to avoid the question or can be not answer? The Government cannot control prices in the Australian Capital Territory, can it?
– We can control prices under the system we have chosen to control prices. If the honourable senator would only listen he would understand that what we can do in the Australian Capital Territory we have started to do in Darwin. We cannot move any further until we know what support the honourable senator’s organisation will get in its efforts to stop us controlling land prices in the Australian Capital Territory. That is what we are fighting. But I come back to the Bill.
The Government fought an election over, and promised the development of, AlburyWodonga. In South Australia the Government has already decided on the development of Monarto. The Bathurst-Orange area and some other areas were mentioned in the second reading speech. The Government of New South Wales has put in its application for a study of the development of these areas. We find that the Commonwealth is co-operating. It is determined to build cities. We must get people out of cluttered-up towns if we are to implement the Labor vision of developing the quality of life in Australia. But where we are to go from those areas is something which is unknown to the Minister sitting in Canberra. So we have our commissions. We have developed them for this purpose. We have enriched the membership of the commissions.
If we are going to have an Urban and Regional Development Department it is essential that we have a committee advising on urban and regional development but we must separate this name from those who are doing the investigation. One body is advising and the other is putting that advice into operation. That is the proposal in this scheme. When the land is acquired it is handed over to a development corporation which is a composite body of the States and the Commonwealth for the purpose of developing an area, deciding who owns the land and letting it out. I think that we should wait for the amendment. It will be better to discuss it during the Committee stage. I leave the Bill to honourable senators with the. knowledge that the measure has their support.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I think I stated during my speech at the second reading stage ‘the main reason why I felt that the title of the Bill should be altered. Without further ado I move:
Leave out sub-clause (1), insert the following subclause:
This Act may be cited as the Cities and Regional Development Commission Act 1973.’.
Despite what the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) has just said I believe it is essential that the whole concept of regions as well as cities should be contained in the Bill. I think the subject has been pretty well covered during the course of the debate on the second reading. I leave the matter at that.
– The amendment proposed by Senator Lawrie does not affect the operative measures of this Bill but it does put the objectives in clearer and better perspective. The proposed title ‘Cities and Regional Development Commission’ indicates to everybody the width and breadth of the Commission’s objectives and ite future activities. This is more so than the rather hemmed-in title of ‘Cities Commission’. The Liberal Party section of the Opposition supports this amendment.
– Before the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) speaks I want to intervene in the debate. I listened to the vigorous speech in reply which was made by Senator Cavanagh. I thought that he went quite outside the bounds of such a speech. In effect, I shall make my intervention during this Committee stage to put in proper balance some of the absurdities that fell from the Minister. We are told that the Cities Commission Bill must be seen in perspective, in relation to a department, and therefore, the Minister says, the name should be the Cities Commission, as proposed in the Bill. The Bill means that the Minister has added to the number of persons on the authority or the commission. He has made a whole series of alterations under clause 11 simply to change the name of the advisory committee. But as my leader for this debate, Senator Laucke, has pointed out the very functions of the commission or authority set up under this Bill remain precisely as they were. The important thing is to note the truth or falsity of the name.
Senator Cavanagh is re christening the Commission. It is Tweedledum or Tweedledee whether we call it an authority or a commission. It has been said that the authority shall investigate and from time to time report to the Minister on matters relating to urban or regional development. The scope of the functions of the authority does not extend only to cities. It extends to regional development. Of course this is only for the purpose of assisting the Commonwealth Government in matters affecting the grant of finance to a State in connection with urban or regional development. The wit of the Labor Party which authorised this Bill extends to calling that authority not the name given to it by the Liberal-Country Party Government, that is the National Urban and Regional Development Authority; the genius of the Labor Party is exhausted by changing the name of that old authority although its functions are unaltered and it still has the combined function of investigating matters relating to both urban and regional development. The wit of the Labor Party comes forward and unlooses the genius of a suggestion that we will call it the Cities Commission and abandon the name National Urban and Regional Development Authority. Then we can strut through the country under a false pretence that we created a Cities Commission whereas, of course, it is actually the National Urban and
Regional Development Authority which was created by the previous Government and upon which the Labor Government would wish to fasten a false name and call it the Cities Commission.
– I thank Senator Lawrie and Senator Laucke for their brief remarks while speaking to the amendment that has been moved. It is rarely that I thank Senator Wright, but I think that the Senate is deeply indebted to him because he continually puts in proper perspective the absurdities that flow from my lips from time to time, and he has stated that he had occasion to do so again tonight.I do not know where we would be without Senator Wright.
-(Senator Brown) - Order! Mr Minister, I would ask you to direct your remarks to the subject matter before the Committee.
– I am replying to the remarks that were made. I would just say that the fact that Senator Wright did not understand properly what I said perhaps reflects my inability to state the position plainly. At no time has the Government claimed credit for creating what we propose to call the Cities Commission. In reply to the second reading debate I said that we acknowledge that it will have the same functions as the National Urban and Regional Development Authority which was set up previously. What we do claim credit for is the creation of a Department of Urban and Regional Development. But in order to establish decentralised cities it is essential to amend the National Urban and Regional Development Authority Act in the way that this Bill proposes. If the Opposition votes for the amendment moved by Senator Lawrie we will have an operational body, a Department of Urban and Regional Development, and a Cities and Regional Development Commission. In doing so the Opposition causes confusion. It is trying to obscure what the Labor Government has done in establishing the Cities Commission and it tries to obliterate the great benefit that flows from what the Labor Party had done in setting up the Department to carry out this development. The amendment to the Act is essential in order to bring the Department and the Commission into co-ordination. Previously the Commission had to report to the Prime Minister, who was too busy to take any notice, and did not have any charter to enable it to approach the States. The Bill provides for an enlarged Commission and appoints the Secretary of the Department to the Commission which is compelled to do certain things under the present Labor Administration.
– A couple of boilermakers?
– Whether or not they are boilermakers, he now has the job of carrying out urban and regional development. He has to do that. He is appointed to the Commission - the previous Government did not appoint such a person to the Authorityfor the sole purpose of seeing that his Department is planning and developing cities. The establishment of the Department is the achievement of the Labor Government. The present position is too confusing and the purpose of the Bill is to separate the functions of the Department and the Cities Commission, although they will have the same powers to advise the Minister on urban and regional development. The body will be called the Cities Commission and will be separated from one of Labor’s achievements. If the Liberal Party supporters want credit for establishing it, they can have it. It is the only advance they made in 23 years in this respect. But I hope they will allow the Department which the Labor Government has created to be distinct from the Commission so that it will be able to do something that should have been done in Australia 20 years ago. I ask the Senate to reject the amendment.
That the sub-clause proposed to be left out (Senator Lawrie’s amendment) be left out.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator E. W. Prowse)
Majority .. ..4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– The question now is: That the sub-clause proposed to be inserted, be inserted’.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– As a result of that amendment being carried there are several consequential amendments to be moved. I am informed that the amendment to clause 1 must be moved separately. After I have done that I propose to seek the permission of the Committee to move the others as one amendment. 1 move:
In clause 1, sub-clause (9), omit ‘Cities Commission Act 1972-1973’, substitute ‘Cities and Regional Development Commission Act 1972-1973’.
– In view of the decision resulting from the last vote, which indicated the lack of wisdom of the majority of the Committee-
– You are not reflecting on a decision of the Committee, are you?
– The Minister is not in order if he is reflecting on a vote of the Committee.
– I withdraw the remark. The Government is prepared to take all the other amendments as consequential amendments and to have one question put in respect of them all. We will not divide on them.
Amendment agreed to.
– There are 9 additional amendments which relate to clauses 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 13 and 14 which read in whole or in part:
The title to the Principal Act is amended by omitting the words ‘National Urban and Regional Development Authority’ and substituting the words ‘Cities Commission’.
Section 3 of the Principal Act is amended by omitting the words -
Part B - The National Urban and Regional Development Authority (section 5-14).’ and substituting the words -
Part II - Cities Commission (section 5-14).’.
Commission’ means the Cities Commission established by this Act;
The heading to Part II of the Principal Act is repealed and the following heading substituted:
Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Principal Act are repealed and the following sections substituted. 5.(1) The body corporate established by the section for which this section was substituted by section 7 of the Cities Commission Act 1973-
Section 14 of the Principal Act is amended -
by omitting sub-section (1) and substituting the following sub-section:
Advisory Committee to advise the Commission in connection with its duties and powers under this Act.’; and
While the Cities Commission is constituted as provided by sub-section 6 (4) of the Principal Act as amended by this Act, the regulations in force under the Principal Act immediately before the commencement of this Act have effect, except to the extent to which they are inconsistent with the Principal Act as amended by this Act and subject to any regulations made under the Principal Act as amended by this Act, as if -
In clause 3, omit ‘Cities Commission’, substitute Cities and Regional Development Commission’.
In clause 4, omit ‘Part II - The Cities Commission (sections 5-14)’, substitute ‘Part II - The Cities and Regional Development Commission (section 5-14)’.
In clause 5, omit ‘Commission’ means the Cities Commission established by this Act;’, substitute ‘Commision’ means the cities and Regional Development Commission established by this Act;’.
In clause 6, omit ‘Part II - The Cities Commission’, substitute ‘Part - -The Cities and Regional Development Commission’.
In clause 7, omit ‘Cities Commission Act 1973 - ‘, substitute ‘Cities and Regional Development Commission Act 1973-‘.
In clause 7, omit ‘Cities Commission’, substitute Cities and Regional Development Commission’.
In clause 11, omit ‘Cities Commission Advisory Committee’, substitute ‘Cities and Regional Development Commission Advisory Committee’.
In clause 13, omit ‘Cities Commission Advisory Committee’, substitute ‘Cities and Regional Development Commission Advisory Committee’.
In clause 14, omit ‘Cities Commission’ substitute Cities and Regional Development Commission’.
Amendments agreed to.
– The question is that the Bill, as amended, be agreed to.
– I seek some information from the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) arising out of some remarks that fell from Senator Lawrie. The honourable senator in his speech before the suspension of the sitting this evening was expounding the genius of the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren). As an example of what we might expect under this Bill, he quoted from a speech of Mr Uren in regard to this development at Albury-Wodonga. In the course of that statement Mr Uren said that prices had been stabilised in an area with a radius of about 35 miles and that in that area a study would be made. This area is about 53,000 square miles and by June it will be reduced to 11,000 square miles. Mr Uren then went on to say, and I am omitting sections of his speech:
Within that area we will develop a system of leasehold.
He then went on to say that it would involve State action to acquire the land. First I ask the Minister for Works whether what we have been informed in the debate is verified by him, namely, as the Minister involved in this development says, that in all developments under this scheme the tenure by which land within the development area is to be held will be leasehold and that it will involve acquisition by the State of any existent freehold and conversion of it into leasehold. I understood that to be stated by Mr Uren as a general proposition and that it was a condition precedent to the development of any area under this scheme. I ask the Minister whether that is so?
– This is not connected with any clause of the Bill and so possibly is out of order. It is only out of consideration for Senator Wright and because of my great friendship for him that I will tell him what I know of the position. The Commonwealth believes in lease tenure and will implement it wherever it can. Outside the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory the Commonwealth cannot buy or acquire land for the purpose of housing or even to erect a Commonwealth building. The State has to do that. The State purchases the land - the Act of Parliament requires the State to purchase the land - and the Commonwealth by agreement finances it with Commonwealth money. Although the Commonwealth favours leasehold, the conditions insisted upon by the development corporation in respect of those renting or purchasing will be in accordance with the agreements that are entered into between the States and the Commonwealth and those agreements could vary from State to State. The Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) has led me to believe that land at Albury-Wodonga will be leasehold and that he has that agreement with the New South Wales and Victorian governments. Therefore, wherever the leasehold system can be implemented with Commonwealth finance, it will be adopted.
– Having got that explanation, I wish only to observe that it is a very important condition that will be set on these developments. If a condition that freehold be converted to leasehold is insisted upon it is a very important condition and, I should think, an obstacle to these developments. The next question I want to ask the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) is whether he says to this Committee that it is by conversion of freehold to leasehold that we reduce the price of land. The Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) when speaking on this Bill said, as recorded in Hansard, that in Canberra under the National Capital Development Commission the price of land sold at unrestricted auction, which was the dearest land, was reduced from $4,599 a block in 1962 to $3,000 a block in 1970, a reduction of one-third. That is contrary to the impression which the Minister for Works gave in reply to the debate when he seemed to emphasise - in fact, he affirmed it - that under our administration the price of land rose unreasonably. Yet Mr Uren said that a block of land in Canberra under the restricted auction system was reduced from a price of $4,500 in 1962 to a price of $3,000 in 1970. Under the Government’s Prices Justification Bill, which was debated yesterday, the Prices Justification Tribunal’s jurisdiction will extend only to goods and services but not to land. The Bill carefully omitted that commodity on which some realistic control might be exercised. I ask the Minister whether the Government will depend upon the conversion to leasehold as the sole means of reducing the price of land.
-! wish to speak briefly on this matter. The development of the land in the AlburyWodonga area may be by leasehold. On 2 occasions the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) has mentioned that apparently an agreement exists between the Premier of New South Wales, the Premier of Victoria and the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) or the appropriate Federal Minister. Under the agreement the land will be resumed and will be held for all future time on leasehold. Would the Minister be agreeable to supplying either the exchange of letters or the wording which would confirm that that is the situation, or will he supply it to me privately?
– The correspondence between the States and the Commonwealth will not be supplied.
– You cannot get away with that.
– You said that it had been circulated as a public document already.
– That is so. I will give no authorisation to supply it. The agreement is there. Senator Wright’s question is again not related to any clause of the Bill. He has tried to pick up the weaknesses that were exposed in my reply to the second reading debate.
– He did not try to pick them up. He picked them up.
– 1 am talking about the points which were omitted by those who oppose the legislation. The Government hopes that it will stop the spiralling increase in the price of land by acquiring the land and pegging the price to that applicable at the time of acquisition. In relation to the development of the Albury-Wodonga area there is an agreement that the price which will be paid for the land will be the price prevailing in October 1972. lt does not matter whether the price has jumped 300 per cent since then because of the notification of development. That will not be paid for the land. Whether an estate is subject to leasehold or sale, the control over the price of the land will be the process of acquiring it, and the necessary State legislation will have to be introduced to stabilise the price of land in the area to be developed before Commonwealth finance is available.
– I have only one comment to make upon the reflection, which the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) made during his so-called reply to the second reading debate, that we were in error in requiring the National Urban and Regional Development Authority to report to the Prime Minister. The Minister for Works said that it was a great step in the enlightened government by the Labor Party now to require the report of the Cities Commission to go to the Minister for Urban and Regional Development. 1 ask the Minister for Works to observe that the report to the Minister for Urban and Regional Development is on matters relating to urban and regional development, for the purpose of assisting the Commonwealth Government in its consideration of the granting of financial assistance by this Parliament to the State in connection with urban or regional development, including the terms and conditions of the granting of that assistance. I point out that the purpose of the report is to consider an application by a State for the granting of financial assistance. Does not the Minister for Works agree that the most appropriate person to receive the report is the person in the Government who receives all applications for financial assistance from the States, namely the Prime Minister?
– I agree that the Prime Minister was the appropriate Minister under the previous limited! administration of this Act. I tried to point out to Senator Wright that we now have the Department of Urban and Regional Development which has a responsibility to develop. Obviously it is now not reporting to the Minister responsible for the financing of a project but to the Minister responsible for developing a project who will justify the financing of it and who will permit the Department to enter into agreement with the States. The altered power is not in the Bill, as I stated, but in the fact that the Department has been established by this Government.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cavanagh) read a third time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Murphy) read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of this Bill is to amend section 88 of the Public Service Act 1922-1973 and the Second and Third Schedules to the Act. Section 88 empowers the Governor-General, where an Act, regulation, etc., confers powers and duties on the holder of an office, to direct an officer to exercise or perform those powers or duties during the vacancy in the office or when the office-holder is absent or unavailable to perform the duties. Where the occupant of a Public Service office is absent or unavailable, or the office is vacant, the chief officer of a department may direct another officer under Public Service Regulation 116 to perform, on a temporary basis, the duties of the office. However, where these duties comprise the exercise of statutory powers and functions under other Acts, etc., these cannot be performed and exercised unless there is also a direction by the Governor-General under section 88. The amendment to section 88 will enable an officer who is performing the duties of an office in a department pursuant to a direction under regulation 116 to exercise and perform also the statutory powers and duties which attach to the office without the necessity for action by the Governor-General under the section. This will simplify the procedures.
The lists of departments and permanent heads in the Second and Third Schedules to the Public Service Act are to be amended to bring them up to date by the inclusion of the changes that have been made since the Schedules were last amended in 1967. While the Public Service Act provides that the Schedules are deemed to be amended by a notification in the ‘Gazette’ of the creation, abolition or variation in the name of a department or of an office of permanent head, it is considered desirable that the Schedules themselves be amended from time to time to incorporate changes made over a period. The opportunity is also being taken to make a number of formal amendments to the Act in accordance with current drafting practices. I commend this Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Withers) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Murphy) read a first time.
– 1 move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This short Bill is complementary to that part of the Acts Interpretation Bill that is concerned with the change of the name of the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette to Australian Government Gazette. It applies the present provision of the Acts Interpretation Act, that the mere production of a paper purporting to be the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette shall in all courts be evidence that the paper is the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette and was published on the day on which it bears date, also to the Gazette when published under its new name ‘The Australian Government Gazette’. I should add that this is a minor but rather urgent amendment to the Evidence Act. It is intended at some later stage to move some extensive amendments to the substantive provisions of the Act. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Withers) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Murphy) read a first time.
– I move:
The introduction of this Bill has become necessary because of legislation enacted by the Tasmanian Parliament which has the effect of changing the title of magistrates in that State from ‘stipendiary magistrate’ to ‘magistrate’, and because of the decision of the Australian Government to change the name of the Gazette. Opportunity is taken in the Bill to clarify also some other expressions used in federal legislation. The part of the Bill dealing with references to magistrates in federal legislation will ensure that Tasmanian magistrates may continue to exercise federal jurisdiction and to perform other functions conferred on State magistrates under federal law.
The Tasmanian Attorney-General, by arrangement with Senator Greenwood, then Attorney-General, in November 1972, agreed to defer bringing the legislation into operation pending the enactment of necessary changes in federal law.
A number of federal Acts confer jurisdiction or functions on persons who hold office as chief, stipendiary, police, resident or special magistrate in a State. The Bill provides that, where in an Act reference is made to a stipendiary magistrate, the reference is to be read as including a reference to any magistrate in respect of whose office an annual salary is payable. The latter words will exclude justices of the peace who in some States may act as magistrates. This provision will apply not only to the Tasmanian situation but to any future changes in a State in the designation of stipendiary magistrates.
The Bill also contains a provision, the purpose of which is to avoid the necessity, in future Acts, of referring to magistrates by the lengthy description to which I have referred. The Bill also contains provisions to give effect to the Government’s intention to use, wherever possible, the term ‘Australia’ to signify the Australian nation. This involves adopting the name ‘Australian Government Gazette’ in place of the ‘Commonwealth of Australia Gazette’, the use of the imprint ‘Government Printer of Australia’ instead of ‘Commonwealth Government Printer’ on official documents, and the use of the term ‘Australia’ instead of ‘Commonwealth’ in legislation. The Bill will also ensure that references in legislation to ‘Australia’ or to “The Commonwealth’, used in a geographical sense, do not include the external Territories. Existing legislation has consistently been drafted on the basis that the external Territories are not part of the Commonwealth of Australia, but some judicial pronouncements in the High Court have thrown doubt on the correctness of that assumption. The provisions to give effect to these changes are contained in clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Withers) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Bishop) read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of this Bill is to repeal section 54b of the Public Service Act consequent on the Maternity Leave (Australian Government Employees) Bill. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Withers) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Bishop) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
The purpose of this Bill is to extend the maternity leave entitlement presently available to Australian Government employees. The proposed legislation will entitle female officers and employees to at least 12 weeks maternity leave on full pay. This Will apply irrespective of whether they were pregnant when first employed by the Government. The Bill provides that maternity leave shall commence at least 6 weeks before the expected date of confinement and shall continue for at least 6 weeks after the actual date of confinement. If the mother wishes, leave may be granted up to a total of 52 weeks. A minimum of 12 weeks is available on full pay. For the balance of her leave the mother will be on leave without pay, although if she wishes, she may use accrued sick leave, recreation leave and furlough credits. It also provides that each permanent officer proceeding on leave of absence for maternity purposes must be re-employed if she wishes at the end of her period of leave in her former position or in a position at a level as near as possible to the position held by her at the commencement of her maternity leave.
Temporary employees returning from maternity leave will resume their former employment. If the work is no longer available they will be given preference for employment over any other person seeking temporary employment. The Bill also makes provision for an officer or employee who is the father or a person accepting responsibility for the care and maintenance of the child to take up to 1 week’s leave, with pay, around the time of the birth of a child where he requires the leave to take care of the mother of a child or of a child. These benefits will apply retrospectively from 1 January 1973.
The Bill extends considerably the existing maternity benefits available to Government employees. Existing benefits are provided for by section 54b of the Public Service Act in the case of the Commonwealth Public Service, section 33 of the Commonwealth Teaching Service Act in the case of the Commonwealth Teaching Service and in the terms and conditions of employment of staff of other Australian Government instrumentalities. The Bill provides directly for maternity leave benefits to officers and employees of the Commonwealth Public Service and the Commonwealth Teaching Service. The associated Public Service Bill (No. 3) repeals section 54b of the Public Service Act and the Commonwealth Teaching Service Bill (No. 2), which has already been introduced into the House of Representatives, repeals section 33 of the Commonwealth Teaching Service Act. The Bill also provides for the extension of maternity leave benefits to other Australian Government employees by regulation. The regulations will be made following consultation with appropriate bodies and consistent with the Bill the initial regulations will apply the benefits retrospectively from 1 January 1973.
Section 54b of the Public Service Act presently provides for an absence from duty of up to 26 weeks, with a compulsory absence of 6 weeks before the expected date of confinement and 6 weeks after the date of birth. Section 54b applies only to permanent officers. There are at present no maternity leave provisions for temporary employees employed under the Public Service Act. Leave under section 54b is without pay, although an officer does have the option of utilising heir accrued sick leave, recreation leave and furlough credits to cover part or all of this period of leave. Where there are existing provisions applicable to other Government employees, those provisions are similar. The Bill under consideration increases the period of permitted leave, provides for full pay during at least the period of compulsory leave, and extends maternity benefits to temporary employees. It is not possible to estimate the exact number of women who will benefit from the proposed legislation. However, it is expected that around 3,200 women will be affected each year. The cost is expected to be approximately $2. 5m in relation to women employed under the Public Service Act and $800,000 in relation to other female Government employees.
This Bill should have the approval of the Senate. It takes account of representations on the matter put forward by the Council of Commonwealth Public Service Organisations, and will be applauded by those women in Government employment wishing to reconcile domestic responsibilities with a career in the Commonwealth Service or other Government instrumentalities. The Bill implements the undertaking in the Prime Minister’s policy speech that:
For our own employees we will apply the International Labour Organisation Protection Conventions going back to 1919 which guarantee full pay and benefits for 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after confinement.
It is clear that the present Government was elected to office with a commitment to introduce legislation incorporating the principles included in this Bill. The adoption of the Bill will ensure full compliance with the principles set down in Convention No. 103 of the International Labour Organisation - Maternity Protection, 1952, in respect of Commonwealth Government employment. The ILO Convention is concerned that the existence of maternity benefits should not result in discrimination against women in employment. It therefore provides that the individual employer shall not bc individually liable for the cost of such benefits due to women employed by him. The International Labour Office has advised that it is consistent with these requirements for the Government itself to assume responsibility for the cost of these benefits in respect of its own employees. But flow-on to private employers would not be appropriate. As the Minister for Labour assured the House of Representatives, if this matter came before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission the Government would be prepared to intervene and officially oppose any flow-on to private employers.
The Government recognises that it has a role and responsibility, as Australia’s largest employer, in promoting the status of women. The Government, therefore, is introducing the new benefits and leave entitlements in respect of its own officers and employees, to enable each person concerned to fulfil the role of mother and if she wishes, to continue her career after the birth of her child. The effect of this Bill will be to maintain the income of the employees concerned during the period when they are on leave prior to and following confinement. The Bill will also help women endeavouring to pursue their careers on the same terms as men. The provision in this Bill for up to 1 week’s leave for the father or other responsible person should help that person to meet the increased domestic responsibilities that arise at the time of the birth of a child. It is in recognition of this fact that the provision has been included. I conclude by reminding the Senate that this Bill not only provides improved conditions of employment for Australian Government employees but also facilitates the retention of women in the work force. Many of these women are experienced and expensively trained. This will be of benefit to the Australian people as a whole. I commend this Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Withers) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cavanagh) read a first time.
– 1 move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
I ask for leave to incorporate the second reading speech in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The speech read as follows) -
This Bill in essence seeks to enlarge the scope of activities of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation by removing a number of restrictions and restraints imposed on the Corporation at the time of its formation. When the original Bill was debated, the Labor senators, while in Opposition, strongly opposed those provisions which would limit the capacity of the Corporation to operate as a viable organisation in the long term over the full range of engineering activities. A number of amendments were moved by the then Opposition senators which with one exception were not accepted by the former Government. Whilst we strongly endorsed the setting up of the Corporation we opposed the restricted role it was given. We now intend to widen that role to conform with the view of the Government as to the important engineering role the Corporation is to exercise in the future development of Australia.
In general the only work in Australia that the Corporation can at present undertake is that related to the development of water resources to the generation and transmission of electricity, and to underground works. Even in these fields further restrictions are imposed by the present Act in that, except for work for the Commonwealth and State authorities, the Corporation must operate through a private consulting engineer; it is also unable to engage in any construction work in Australia. The proposed amendments remove these restraints.
As the honourable senators are aware, the purpose of establishing the Corporation was to retain for the benefit of Australia the skills and know-how accumulated during a quarter century’s work in large-scale civil engineering on the Snowy Mountain Scheme. The application of the Snowy’s engineering, technical and administrative expertise should therefore not be limited but given the freedom to assist in all areas where its specialised knowledge and experience is required. For some time now organisations and industries in fields, other than those defined in the original Act, have expressed concern that these skills are unavailable to them. One major avenue of engineering endeavour in which it is barred by its present Act is the mining industry with particular reference to advice on open cut mining, railways, bridges, etc., and of course we are not unmindful of the role the Corporation could play in the engineering works associated with the development of the national pipeline system. The major amendments to the Act are therefore designed to permit the Corporation to engage in a wider range of engineering work in Australia and overseas.
On a number of occasions the Corporation has acted in joint ventures with private consultants either as leaders or participants. Doubt as to the legality of such association is removed by the proposed amendment which allows the Corporation to act independently or in association with others. At present all works undertaken by the Corporation, however minor, must receive the. prior approval of the Minister. This again, we believe, to be unnecessarily restrictive. One of the proposed amendments to the Act, while retaining the Minister’s control over the Corporation will give him the power to allow certain works as prescribed by the Minister to be undertaken without specific submissions for approval.
The principal Act is also to be amended to give effect to a change in the composition of the consultative committee which advises the Minister on the undertaking of works by the Corporation. Representatives of the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Overseas Trade are specifically nominated for membership in respect of overseas work. The participation of these 2 important departments in any deliberations on the work to be performed overseas by the Corporation will ensure that overseas undertakings will comply with Government policy. Opportunity has also been taken to replace the clause concerning the borrowing powers of the Corporation by a new clause conforming with the latest Government policies in this area and identical with the standard provisions in other similar Acts such as the Overseas Telecommunications Act 1971. The final amendment clarifies the fact that the Corporation must not only seek the approval of the Minister before it can acquire or dispose of property with a value in excess of $100,000, but also seek the approval of the. Minister to enter into an agreement for the provision of services to the Corporation if their value is in excess of $100,000.
I should like to reiterate to honourable senators that this Bill does no more than put into practice long standing and publicly stated policies of the Government with regard to the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation. All of the major changes were previously suggested by the present Government at the time of debate on the original Bill in 1970. Senate Hansard would indicate wider support amongst senators in 1970 than the actual vote indicated. The action of the Senate was understandable because at that time to vote for the amendments presented by the Opposition may have delayed the passage of the Bill which formed the Corporation. However, with the Corporation a going concern, the opportunity is now present to ensure that it can act in areas in which it always should have been free to operate. With the removal of restrictions on the scope of the work it can undertake the Corporation will be able to take on work which could facilitate the absorption of more personnel from the Snowy Mountains Authority as construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme draws near to finality. As many displacements of personnel from the
Authority will occur this year unemployment must eventuate in an area where job opportunities are few. This gives a degree of urgency to the passing of the Bill.
In conclusion, may I say that the private consulting engineering sector in Australia need have nothing to fear from the enlarged scope of the Corporation. In the past, the Corporation as a matter of policy has often worked in association with private consultants through joint ventures and other similar arrangements. These consultants have thereby been given the opportunity to participate in overseas and other work in which they might otherwise found their entrance unattainable. Indeed, it can be said that many of these assignments would have been won by foreign consultants had not the Corporation participated in this matter. The Government sees a continuation and a widening of these opportunities for the private consulting sector with the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation on a broader basis. In accordance with the requirements of the Act the Corporation must return a profit on undertakings and during its 3 years of existence it has succeeded in this respect. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cotton) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Motion (by Senator Bishop) proposed:
That the Bill be now read a first time.
– As this is a money Bill, I wish to make a request of the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Bishop) at this first reading stage. I ask in regard to all the Appropriation Bills that have been or will be introduced this session that a summary be provided showing how departmental expenditure is altered by the entirety of the appropriation Bills. I think that there are 6 Bills in all relating to appropriations. I seek this summary because it is quite impossible, when 6 Bills proposing supplementary appropriations come on for debate, to have any intelligible understanding of the degree to which the general appropriations have been increased. I rise to make the request that, before the second reading debate commences on the appropriation Bills, the Senate be provided with that simple summary.
– in reply - This legislation will be handled by the Special Minister of State (Senator Willesee). I will pass the request made by Senator Wright on to Senator Willesee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
I ask for leave to incorporate the second reading speech in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The speech read as follows) -
The purpose of this Bill is to obtain parliamentary authority for expenditure in the current financial year for which provision was not made in the Appropriation Acts (Nos. 1 and 3) 1972-73. The total appropriations sought in this Bill amount to $129,427,000. The schedule to this Bill is the same as that contained in the document ‘Particulars of Proposed Additional Expenditure for the Service of the Year Ending 30 June 1973’ which was referred on 12 April for examination by the Senate Estimates Committees. Although additional appropriations are being sought, actual expenditure will not exceed the amounts included in Appropriation Acts (Nos. 1 and 3) 1972-73 by $129,427,000. For a variety of reasons, it is expected that savings of about $98.2m will be available in existing appropriations to offset the additional appropriations contained in Appropriation Act (No. 3) 1972- 73 and those now proposed.
Honourable senators will be aware that as a matter of law, moneys appropriated by Parliament for specific purposes may only be used for those purposes and expected savings under certain appropriations cannot be utilised as an offset in the sense that the total new appropriations sought can be reduced to a net figure in this Bill. Thus I am seeking parliamentary authority for additional expenditure in the divisions, sub-divisions and items set out in the schedule to the Bill. To the extent that an item of any annual appropriation is unexpended the appropriation lapses at 30 June in accordance with section 36 of the Audit Act 1901-1969.
For the information of honourable senators a separate document has been provided listing the estimated savings in existing annual appropriations. I emphasise that these are estimated savings - it is not intended to present an accurate prediction of the final expenditure under those appropriations, nor is it intended to imply that there will be no savings under other appropriations. The information is provided by way of background to senators’ consideration of the additional amounts now being sought. As the various items included in this Bill have been examined by the Estimates Committee I propose to refer only to some of the major provisions.
The additional requirement for departmental salaries is $15.4m and provides for increases in salaries arising from arbitration determinations, reclassification of offices and additional staff positions created since the original Estimates were approved. In accordance with established practice no provision was made in the Budget for salary or wage increases. The amount needed to meet salary increases resulting from arbitration determinations that have become effective this financial year is approximately $14.2m. Further appropriations totalling $ 15.7m are required for departmental administrative expenses including $2m for overseas representation; $3.1m for the Department of Services and Property including $1.7m for rents; $1.7m for the Commonwealth Taxation Office including $800,000 for services rendered by the Australian Post Office and by the State governments; and $3. 6m for the Department of Works including $2m for fees of private architects and other consultants. The balance is made up of a considerable number of appropriations each of which is less than $500,000.
Additional appropriations amounting to $4 1.4m required for departmental other services include $700,000 for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs; $8. 6m for the Department of Education of which $5m has been provided for Commonwealth scholarship schemes to cover increases in university fees and the extension of the Aboriginal Secondary Grants Scheme to all children of Aboriginal descent attending secondary schools and classes from the beginning of 1973; $2.5m for education services in the Australian Capital Territory and $700,000 for educational ser vices in the Northern Territory; $3m for the Department of External Territories to cover special assistance to facilitate the transfer of functions to the Papua New Guinea Administration, emergency assistance to alleviate food shortages in the Papua New Guinea highlands and salary increases for overseas officers of the Papua New Guinea Public Service; $5. 9m for Colombo Plan and other aid; $2.8m for broadcasting and television services; $1.2m for the final payment of compensation to sulphuric acid and pyrites producers following the termination of bounty payments; $ 11.7m for war service pensions, allowances and other benefits to cover increased rates effective from December 1972; $l.lm for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation for expenditures under the Science and Industry Research Act; $500,000 for grants to eligible organisations under the Aged Persons Hostels Act; $900,000 for the Commonwealth Taxation Office to cover remission of taxes and fines in special circumstances; and $l.lm for expenditure under the National Urban and Regional Development Authority Act. The balance is made up of a number of appropriations each of which is less than $500,000.
Further appropriations totalling $57m are sought for the Defence Services. Of this amount $33. 5m is required for service pay increases following implementation of the Woodward Committee’s recommendations and the Government’s decision on re-engagement bonus payments. Increased civilian salary and wage awards require an additional $5. 9m. A further $6. 9m is required to meet increases in general administrative and operational expenses; $3.1m for increases in the cost of refit, overhaul and repair of ships, aircraft plant and equipment; and $2. 4m for accelerated deliveries of Air Force maintenance and servicing equipment and other items. An amount of $2. 6m is required for maintenance of production capacity in Government factories and production development. Estimated savings in other Defence appropriations amount to some $51. 8m and are due mainly to slippages, cancellation and rephasing of a variety of equipment projects. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cotton) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Bishop) read a first time.
I ask for leave to incorporate the second reading speech in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The speech read as follows) -
The purpose of this Bill is to obtain parliamentary authority for additional expenditure in 1972-73 amounting to $54,400,000 on various items relating to capital works and services, payments to or for the States and certain other services. Although additional appropriations are being sought, actual expenditure will not exceed the amounts included in Appropriation Acts (Nos. 2 and 4), 1972- 73 by $54.4m. It is expected that savings of about $43.4m will be available in other appropriations to offset the additional appropriations in Appropriation Act (No. 4) 1972-73 and those now proposed although as I explained in relation to the Appropriation Bill (No. 5), it is not possible to utilise such savings to offset additional expenditure under other appropriations. The schedule to this Bill is the same as that contained in the document ‘Particulars of Certain Proposed Additional Expenditure in Respect of the Year Ending 30 June 1973’ which was referred on 12 April for examination by the Senate Estimates Committees. When introducing Appropriation Bill (No. 5) 1972-73I informed the Senate that savings expected in amounts appropriated by Appropriation Acts (Nos. 1 and 3)1972-73 had been listed in an information paper for the benefit of Senators. The information Paper likewise contains details of savings expected in amounts appropriated by Appropriation Acts (Nos. 2 and 4) 1972-73.
Of the $39.9m now sought for capital works and services the major requirements are $6m for loans under the Defence Services Homes Act to meet the increased loan limit and to reduce delays in meeting applications; $ 10.7m for buildings, works, plant and equipment at overseas posts including $7m for purchase of a new chancery site in Paris and $1.6m for the purchase of land for a housing compound at Osaka; $14m for the purchase of pipe and associated equipment for the Moomba-Sydney gas pipeline; $0.6m for the acquisition of sites and buildings for various Commonwealth departments; $6m for the National Capital Development Commission primarily to meet additional commitments on current contracts arising from movements in wages and prices and additional housing on account of the resumption of the Melbourne to Canberra transfer program; and $0.7m for the Department of Works for Construction projects.
Additional Appropriations of $4.4m are sought for payments to or for the States, including a grant of $1.5m to the Queensland Government towards the construction of the Ross River Dam and $2m for the States to make loans to co-operative fruit canneries to enable accelerated payments to growers. Further appropriations of $ 10.2m are sought for departmental other services including $8m for assistance for children in isolated areas and $1.4m for tuition fees and living and travelling allowances under the Commonwealth Pre-School Teacher Scholarships Scheme. I commend the Bill to honourable Senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cotton) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Bishop) read a first time.
– I move:
I ask for leave to incorporate the second reading speech in Hansard.
The purpose of this Bill is to appropriate moneys to carry on the necessary normal annual services of the Government during the first 5 months of the financial year 1973-74,
The total amount sought in this Bill is $1,556,348,000 comprising:
These amounts do not, of course, include the requirements for expenditure under special appropriations for which standing parliamentary authority is available under the relevant legislation.
The amounts included for salaries and payments in the nature of salary represent estimates of the payments which will be made at existing rates of pay and employment levels over the 11 pay days falling within the supply period. The amounts included for administrative expenses and other services are limited to commitments which departments will be required to meet in the supply period. A provision of $ 15m has been included for the payment of defence forces retirement benefits under the proposed revised procedures in legislation to be introduced during the current session of Parliament. An amount of $30m is sought to enable the Treasurer (Mr Crean) to make advances which will be recovered within the financial year and to make moneys available to meet expenditure on ordinary annual services of the Government, particulars of which will afterwards be submitted to Parliament.
This Bill also contains a special appropriation of an unspecified amount, subject to certain limitations, to cover such salary and wage increases as become payable after the Bill was prepared for which specific provision will not, of. course, have been made. This is an alternative to substantially increasing the Advance to the Treasurer which in recent years has been called upon to provide substantial amounts to meet salary and wage increases. It is hoped that this special appropriation will become a permanent feature of future Supply Bills. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cotton) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Bishop) read a first time.
– I move
That the Bill be now read a second time.
I ask for leave to incorporate the second reading speech in Hansard.
The purpose of this Bill is to appropriate $404,973,000 for certain expenditures to carry on the necessary services of the Government for the first 5 months of 1973-74. The total amount sought comprises:
The amounts sought for capital works and services are in general to meet continuing commitments. However, provision has been made for an appropriation of $54m for the purchase of pipe and associated equipment for the Moomba-Sydney gas pipeline. An amount of $17,500,000 has also been included for possible expenditure under the National Urban and Regional Development Authority Act 1972.
In addition the amount sought for payments to or for the States includes $21m to give effect to the Government’s recent decision to provide emergency post-revaluation adjustment assistance to producers of export apples and pears and canning fruits. Three million dollars has been included for initial expenditure on the school dental scheme. Other amounts included for payments to or for the States are based on existing arrangements for approved payments from annual appropriations. Generally, they do not exceed five-twelfths of tha 1972-73 appropriations but where the arrange* ment is for quarterly or half-yearly payments provision has been made accordingly. Further payments to or for the States will be made from special appropriations and the Loan Fund.
An amount of $30m is sought to enable the Treasurer to make advances which will be recovered within the financial year, and to make moneys available to meet expenditure on services of the Government, particulars of which will afterwards be submitted to Parliament. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cotton) adjourned.
Consideration resumed from 12 April (vide page 1087).
Clause 1 (Short Title and Citation).
– I move:
That Clause 1 be postponed as an instruction to the Government: that the further consideration of the Bill be deferred until after the general inquiry into National Rehabilitation and Compensation by the Committee under the chairmanship of Mr Justice Woodhouse has reported - and further that the inquiry should take into account - social service benefits for invalidity; social service benefits for widowhood; repatriation benefits; road traffic compensation; workers’ compensation; and the need to cover self-employed persons and housewives.
It is my somewhat melancholy task to move that amendment to clause1. Shortly I will explain the total effect of what is proposed by the amendment. Is is my melancholy task to move this motion because it appears to us that this legislation was hasty and, to an extent, illconceived. The intention behind the motion is that the Bill be deferred so that, when it is proceeded with by the Parliament, the Parliament will be able to take into account the recommendations made by a very important committee which has been set up and which has started its work. I refer to the committee of inquiry into national rehabilitation and compensation. That committee’s terms of reference are certainly sufficiently wide for it to be involved in an investigation which will take it into areas partly covered by the Bill and partly covered by a lot of similar reasons for wishing to compensate people but which are in no way related to this Bill. If one looks at this matter from the point of view of the social context in which this type of legislation appears, it is quite obvious that to divorce this part from therest may lead to undesirable and even undesired results.
The background to this motion is that when we were previously debating this Bill we expressed the Opposition’s concern - Senator
Wright, in particular, elaborated on some of the aspects of the concern - about the provisions of this Bill. Therefore, on the motion of the Opposition, the matter was referred to the appropriate Senate Standing Committee - the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. That Committee did a good job of speedily inquiring into the matter referred to it and presented a report to the Senate. I believe the report shows the advantages which can be gained from the existence of Standing Committees and from the ability of the Senate now to refer matters such as this to a Committee for investigation and report back to the Senate speedily, explaining some of the matters which have been raised during the course of the Senate’s consideration of a Bill. Shortly I will summarise the Committee’s report. But before doing so, I should like to explain something else.
The Opposition moves this motion after the matter has been considered by both the Parliamentary Liberal Party and by the Parliamentary Executive of the Liberal Party, and it is with the full co-operation of the other members of the Liberal Party that this motion has been moved. The Liberal Party, in its consideration of the matter, has agreed that, in the light of the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs and the disclosure of the exact details of the quantum of some of the benefits conferred by this legislation, the Bill requires further examination because the provisions in it are enormously out of step with all other forms of compensation for death or injury which exist in Australia at the present time. Therefore, whilst the Opposition is concerned to ensure that a certain section of the community is not disadvantaged, it certainly does not wish to see a very large section of the community disadvantaged. It is concerned to ensure fair treatment for all sections of the community. The considerations of any overall scheme as a result of the Woodhouse inquiry would be jeopardised by the premature introduction of the levels of compensation which are proposed by this Bill; levels which it is considered at this stage are unlikely to be able to be achieved for other sections of the community in any national scheme.
Therefore, the Opposition in reaching the decision to move this motion recognises that its action will cause some persons to stand out of benefits which the Government proposes that those people should receive and which those people expect to receive. But it would be the Opposition’s hope that these people will not be disadvantaged and that the Government may have some proposal to ameliorate any particular aspects pending consideration of the final Woodhouse report.
I return now to elaborate in some detail on the particulars of the Standing Committee’s report. What we find is that the level of compensation to be provided is taken so vastly out of proportion to that which already exists in Australia that we are concerned, and I use the example which the Committee used. The Committee referred to the fact that the compensation payable on an employee’s death is a single lump sum paid for the benefit of dependants. The amounts paid under the present law are set out in the. Committee’s report. At the present time the dependants of a Commonwealth employee receive $14,500. The lowest :ump sum, which is $12,208, is paid in Western Australia, and the highest lump sum, which is $15,000, is paid in South Australia. The lump sums paid in the other States are somewhere in between those 2 amounts. It is easily seen that there is a comparability around Australia in relation to the extent to which a lump sum can be paid in the event of death to the dependants of an employee who is killed in the course of his employment, which death gives rise to a claim under the workers compensation legislation.
As is pointed out in the Committee’s report, under the proposed legislation we could have the situation, for example, where the death of a public servant, a Commonwealth employee, who is in receipt, in round figures, of $30,000 of income a year, and who leaves a child, could result in the payment in all - for instance, if it were over a period of 20 years - of a sum of $316,500. That is just over $300,000 more than would be paid under State schemes at the present time. That would seem to us to be possibly so out of touch with reality and with what the community can provide, with justice to all sections pf the community, that the matter requires reconsideration. I use that only as one example because I wish to emphasise that the Opposition is concerned to ensure that there is equity to all sections of (fee community, not in any way to ensure that eoe section of the community is disadvantaged. And we make that quite clear. It is with bo intention to disadvantage a Commonweal!*. Public Servant, but rather to ensure that he is treated in a way which is comparable to the way in which the remainder of the community is treated.
– Order! It being 11 p.m., in accordance with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I put the question:
That the Temporary Chairman do now leave the Chair and report to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The Temporary Chairman having reported accordingly.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.1 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:
Did the Prime Minister, prior to Christmas, instruct officials that social service payments to Aboriginals in outback areas should no longer be distributed partly in rations and the remainder in cash, but entirely in cash; if so, what effect has this decision had on the health of Aboriginals, particularly children, in the outback areas.
Senator CAVANAGH- The answer prepared in consultation with the Department of Social Security is:
No. For some years now the Department of Social Security has been paying social service benefits to Aboriginals in outback areas direct to the recipients by cheque made payable to the beneficiary. There was, therefore, no requirement for such an instruction. The major effect of this mode of payment has been to enable Aboriginal recipients of social service benefits to exercise the same control over their use as other Australian citizens. It is not possible to assess what, if any, specific effect direct payment of these benefits has had on the physical health of Aboriginals or their children.
asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:
Senator MURPHY- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:
Did the Minister send a telegram to the Australian Government in July 1970 which called for Australian arms for Cambodia and did he state that North Vietnam was committing aggression?
Senator CAVANAGH- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The question does not relate to public affairs with which I am officially connected.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
When did the Commonwealth Government, through the then Treasurer, the late Sir Arthur Fadden, introduce subsidies for:
Senator WILLESEE - The Treasurer has provided the following answers to the honourable senator’s question:
This general statement should be qualified as follows:
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
When does the Government propose to take remedial action, promised prior to the last election, relating to the mentally and physically handicapped persons in Australia whose serious plight was illustrated by the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare, which made 85 recommendations for assisting such people.
Senator DOUGLAS McCLELLAND- The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Some recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee are already being implemented. For instance, the establishment of work assessment centres for handicapped school leavers, planning the geographical location of new sheltered workshops and assisting sheltered workshops to obtain Government contracts are already in the process of being implemented by the Department of Social Security. Some recommendations coming within my responsibility are in the planning stage with a view to implementation and it should not be long before details on these can be made known.
A number of recommendations of the Senate Committee relate to matters that are to be considered by the proposed National Commission on Social Welfare. These will be implemented after the Commission has decided on the priorities that should be given to meeting social welfare needs and the location of those needs.
Similarly, other recommendations which come within my responsibility will be implemented following investigations by the Interim Committee on Hospitals and Health Services. The Committee is seeking to develop a system of hospital and health services which will benefit all Australians but, at the same time, accommodate the needs of particular groups such as physically and mentally handicapped persons. Finally, some recommendations are concerned with matters that are the responsibility of State Governments. These recommendations will be brought to the notice of the relevant State authorities.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Was the Minister for Overseas Trade, Dr Cairns, indicating Labor Government policy in his reported statement to the effect that China as a world power had justification for having a nuclear deterrent weapons system but that France was only pursuing Gaullist ambitions in seeking to do so.
Senator WILLESEE- The Minister for Foreign Affairs has furnished the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
I have not seen the statement reported to have been made by the Minister of Overseas Trade, and therefore will not comment on it. It is of course a fact that both China and France have nuclear weapons systems. The Australian Government has made clear its policy of consistent opposition to nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, by both France and China.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Senator MURPHY- I am informed that the answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
– On 1 May 1973 Senator Devitt asked me a question without notice concerning currency revaluation compensation. The Treasurer has supplied the following answer:
Submissions from rural export industries seeking assistance in respect of the December 1972 revaluation will be considered by the Government on the basis of the criteria announced by the Minister for Primary Industry on 6 February 1973.
The conditions under which the Government will provide financial assistance to exporters of manufactured goods affected by the December 1972 revaluation were announced by the Minister for Overseas Trade and Secondary Industry on 10 April 1973. A further announcement will be made in due course concerning the lodgment of applications for assistance.
As to whether an application for assistance has been received from the company A. Wander Ltd, I draw the attention of the honourable senator to the reply, given by the Minister for Overseas Trade and Secondary Industry to a question without notice on 2 May (page 1554 of Hansard). I understand that, subsequently, the Minister received a letter on this matter from the General Manager of Wander (Australia) Pty Ltd.
– On 9 May 1973, Senator Cotton asked me a question without notice concerning interest rate on Commonwealth loan. The Treasurer has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The terms and conditions for Commonwealth loans are decided by the Loan Council on which the Australian Government and each of the State Governments is represented. In deciding on the terms for any particular loan, the ‘Loan Council normally seeks to offer the lowest practicable rates of interest at which a reasonable loan result can be expected, but it recognises that to achieve such a result the rates and other conditions offered must also be realistic and competitive with those offered by private sector borrowers.
Interest rates on government securities offered in the Mav loan art above those offered in the February loan but below those offered in some other Commonwealth, loans in recent years. The rates offered in the May loan are in line with yields prevailing in the market for government securities.
In the period between the February loan and the May loan there was a substantial outflow of funds from Australia which reinforced the normal seasonal run-down in liquidity. The demand for funds by the private sector was stimulated by the rising level of activity in the economy and private sector interest rates rose significantly. Consequential market pressures also lifted yields on government securities.
As the Prime Minister said in his opening statement at the Premiers’ Conference held on 10 May last:
Similarly, in approaching the difficult decisions involved in setting terms for the May loan recently announced - decisions in which of course you in your capacities as members of the Loan Council have so responsibly participated - we have had to set aside what we would have liked to do in favour of what it was clearly necessary to do. We have, in short, met the yields which, since the February loan, had emerged in the market. To have attempted to maintain a lower yield structure would have meant continuing large-scale purchases of bonds by the Reserve Bank with consequent expansionary effects upon the liquidity of the private sector. In present and prospective circumstances we were not prepared to countenance such an outcome.’
As to the effect which this rise in Government bond rates will have in due course on the matters referred to by the honourable senator, I can best refer him to a further comment by the Prime Minister in that same statement:
It is I think agreed on all sides that, whatever other steps may be necessary to check inflation, all are likely to prove futile unless fiscal and monetary policies in the broad are sensibly and responsibly geared to the productive capacity of the economy. Such policies are not, in themselves, enough: but we believe - and we are supported by all competent opinion both within Australia and overseas - that they are the essential basis, the sine qua non, for an effective anti-inflationary strategy.’
– On 8 March 1973, Senator Primmer asked the following question, without notice:
I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Science. What progress has been made towards the development of the proposed institute of Marine Science at Townsville in Queensland?
The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The Minister for Science has advised that the immediate issue requiring to be resolved concerns the siting of the Institute. Relevant information is given in recent answers to questions in the House of Representatives (Hansard: 27 March 1973, pages 679 and 683; 29 March, page 847) and in the Minister’s Second Reading Speech, to the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill 1973 (Hansard: 11 April, pages 1314-1315).
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 30 May 1973, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1973/19730530_senate_28_s56/>.