28th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) by leave- I inform the Senate of the absence of the following Ministers: The Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry, Dr J. F. Cairns, who is attending the ministerial meeting of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in Japan and who is expected to return to Australia on 30 September; the Special Minister of State, Senator Willesee who is leading the Australian delegation to the South Pacific Conference at Guam and who is expected to return to Australia on 15 September; the Minister for Northern Development, Dr Patterson, who is attending the International Sugar Agreement Conference in Geneva and who is expected to return to Australia in October; and the Minister for Services and Property, Mr Daly, who is leading the Australian delegation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting in London and who is expected to return to Australia on 23 September.
For the respective periods of these absences, the following arrangements will apply: The PostmasterGeneral, Mr Lionel Bowen, is acting as Minister, for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry; the Minister for Tourism and Recreation, Mr Stewart, is Acting Special Minister of State; I shall represent the Acting Minister in this chamber and I shall also represent those ministers who are normally represented by Senator Willesee; the Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory, Mr Enderby, is Acting Minister for Northern Development; the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, Mr Uren, is Acting Minister for Services and Property.
– Before I call on questions I would like to announce to honourable senators that my previous rule will be maintained, namely that I will alternate each day when giving the call to honourable senators during question time. Today I propose to start at the far end of the chamber which no doubt will please honourable senators sitting there.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate and I refer to the decision of the Prices Justification Tribunal to allow petrol companies to pass on the 5c per gallon excise imposed by the Government in the last Budget and to the decision of the Minister for the Capital Territory to freeze petrol prices in the Australian Capital Territory and not to allow the excise to be passed on. How do the Leader of the Government in the Senate and his Government reconcile these 2 actions? A tribunal established by his Government has said that the price increase may be passed on, yet a Minister administering a very small section of the nation has not allowed the increase to be passed on in a particular area. Does this mean that the Government has no faith in a decision arrived at by the Prices Justification Tribunal?
-The answer is that the Tribunal is acting within its sphere; the Minister, Mr Enderby, would act within his sphere. As I understand it, the decisions in the Australian Capital Territory are actually made by the Prices Controller in the Territory, not the Minister. The answer remains that there are bodies which operate in their restrictive spheres and it is not unusual for different minds to arrive at different conclusions.
-My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. I refer to the announcement of last July of the 25 per cent across the board tariff cuts and to the Prime Minister’s more recent statement that that decision embodied a Government aim of lower prices for Australian families. Is the Minister in a position to demonstrate any one area of lower prices arising from these tariff cuts?
– It is reasonable to assume, firstly, that cuts such as the tariff cuts will take some time to have effect. The previous Government informed us constantly that its economic measures would take some time to have effect- and we kept on waiting and the public kept on waiting but there was never any perceptible effect. But may I say that the benefits of these substantial cuts will flow to the people. We are living in a period of inflation all over the world, and the answer may clearly be that the operation of the cuts is such that the prices, whatever they are, will be lower than they otherwise would have been. If they are not, if that does not happen, that means somebody must be taking the benefit of the cuts in duty which ought to be passed to the public. There are methods by which the Government either now or by appropriate legislation can insist that the benefit of such economic measures be passed to the public, and it will be the Government’s intention to see that that is done.
-My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Housing. Is it a fact that the Prime Minister said in his policy speech last year that Labor would provide housing finance not only for all returned servicemen but for all servicemen who henceforth earned an honourable discharge? Was it intended that this provision be extended also to ex-servicewomen? If not, what housing finance is available for exservicewomen?
– Ex-servicewomen qualify in the same way as ex-servicemen for housing loans. The amount of money allocated for ex-service housing has been doubled under this Government from what it was the previous year.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Media. Does the Minister recall that during his recent visit to Tasmania certain proposals were put to him by the executive of the North- West Municipal League for extending the range and improving reception of the services of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in that region? Can the Minister advise whether he has been able to take steps to meet the wishes of this body and, if so, in what way?
-As the honourable senator is aware, I was in Tasmania during the week before last and I had the honour of meeting representatives of the North- West Municipal League. They raised with me their desire to have an Australian Broadcasting Commission radio station established in the northwest of Tasmania but I pointed out to them that the difficulty is the lack of frequencies available within the existing spectrum. However, I have discussed the matter with the General Manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission and Mr Duckmanton has advised me that the Commission now intends to appoint a journalist of the Commission to the north-west area and that he will be stationed at Burnie. The Commission is looking for suitable premises and as soon as that accommodation is found the journalist will be appointed. I am advising the honourable senator and the honourable member for Braddon accordingly by letter today.
– My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Following the weekend revaluation of the Australian dollar, I ask the Leader whether he can say what consideration will be given by the Government to compensating those export industries which are adversely affected by the revaluation. Is it not a fact that the canned fruit industry still affected by the previous revaluation will again be hard hit? Will the Government be prepared to compensate the canned fruit industry.
– When announcing the revaluation the Prime Minister said that consideration would be given to the position of those who are affected, and that is all I can say. That is a statement made on behalf of the Government, and such consideration will be given.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Minerals and Energy. Is there any truth in the reported statement that the Australian Government is going ahead with the establishment in Australia of a joint Australian-French uranium enrichment plant? If so, can the Minister say where the plant will be situated and when he expects the plant to be in operation?
-The only knowledge I have of this matter is that it was the subject of some discussion, I think, long before the change of government last December. I can not say what the current position is. I will have the question put on the notice paper and get a reply from the Minister concerned.
-The Minister for Primary Industry recently indicated that consultations have begun between his Department and State officials on the best ways and means of assisting the restructuring of the dairying industry. Can the Minister assure the Senate that full consideration will be given to submissions received from the dairying industry itself in addition to suggestions from State governments?
-I did indicate earlier that the Government will welcome submissions not only from the States but also from the industry in regard to the restructuring which will take place. In fact, we will be guided by the suggestions that we receive both from the States and the industry. It is the intention of the Government to ensure that when the restructuring process is completed the industry itself will be self-sufficient and not need the support which it has had over the years.
– I preface my question which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs by saying that the Minister will be well aware of the severe losses inflicted upon thousands of investors, large and small, as a result of the failure of the Alexander Barton group of companies. What action can the Minister take to assist the New South Wales Government to locate Mr Barton? What action, if any, can he take to ensure that Mr Barton returns to Australia to assist in the investigations?
-Although this question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, I reply to it having some personal knowledge of this matter because about three and a half years ago as Leader of the Opposition in this chamber I made a speech proposing the establishment of a securities and exchange commission. At that time I made specific reference to the position of certain of the companies with which the gentleman mentioned was associated. If I am not mistaken I mentioned him personally as one of the reasons for the establishment of a securities and exchange commission. So what has happened can hardly be thought to have come as a surprise to the New South Wales Government. I will look into the question of what can be done to assist the New South Wales Government. Certainly the Federal Government will lend every assistance if the proper proceedings are instituted by the New South Wales Government and a request is made for assistance to the Federal Government.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Conservation be drawn to an article written by Owen McKenna and published in last week’s Melbourne ‘Truth’ in which it is claimed that the $64m Dartmouth Dam project has become a ‘circus of bungling and money wastage’? As the Australian Government is a financially interested partner in the construction of the Dartmouth Dam, will the Minister conduct an immediate investigation into the serious allegations made by Owen McKenna in his article?
-Yes, I have seen the article and I have discussed it with the Minister for the Environment and Conservation. The Victorian building construction authority is the construction authority for the 4 governments involved in the River Murray Commission. The Department of the Environment and Conservation has every confidence that the constructing authority is a capable department. It would appear from the article in ‘Truth’ that all the questions asked have been competently handled. There is no hesitancy on the part of the Department in saying that it has every confidence in the construction authority and that it places no reliance on the article which was published.
– I direct my question to the Attorney-General. I refer to the decision made last week at the Constitutional Convention whereby, I gather, the Australian Government proposes to hold a referendum aimed at amending the Australian Constitution to enable powers to be referred by this Parliament to State Parliaments. Power of reference the other way is, of course, possible under the existing instrument. Has the Australian Government considered what powers of this Parliament should be referred to State Parliaments, and if so, which powers does it have in mind?
– There was some mention by the Prime Minister at the Constitutional Convention of retail sales tax. No doubt this would be one of the matters which possibly could be subject to such a reference because the view taken seems to be that this would be covered by that provision of the Constitution- I think it is section 90- which makes such matters exclusively the province of the Australian Parliament. Another one would be the exclusive power over Commonwealth places. The honourable senator will recall that after Worthing’s case this Parliament passed legislation to provide that by reference of this Parliament State law would apply in Commonwealth places. I refer to the adjacent State law. It was thought that this might be an area in which, rather than depending upon the legislation of this Parliament, it might be appropriate for the States to legislate directly in regard to Commonwealth places, subject, of course, to the overriding provisions of section 109. There are two, and in general it might be said that it was those powers which are now within the exclusive province of the Australian
Parliament which were in mind at the time of that proposal.
-Has the AttorneyGeneral had the opportunity to read the article which appeared in the ‘National Times’ on the Petrov defection? Is he aware that in that article there are serious implications of secret government and that these implications have been partly confirmed by Sir Charles Spry and a former secretary to a former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies? Is he prepared to take steps to inquire into the matter? Is he at least prepared to interview Mr Petrov and get his view of the events which occurred at that time? Finally, I remind the Attorney-General that my interest in this matter is not new. I asked a question about it on the first day of this Parliament.
– I will inquire into the matter and give an answer to the honourable senator.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Overseas Trade. Was the Minister for Overseas Trade, Dr Cairns, advised prior to his departure for Japan of the impending decision to revalue the Australian dollar? If not, was not the Minister placed in a most humiliating and embarrassing position when he and his advisers went to Japan to negotiate on a basis which was very much altered as soon as he arrived in Japan? What will be the effect of the revaluation decision on contracts for Australian exports to Japan, particularly in minerals?
– I have no knowledge of what was conveyed to Dr Cairns prior to his departure for overseas. I think that the proper thing for me to do is to ask the honourable senator to place the question on the notice paper and allow Dr Cairns to answer it himself.
-Is the Minister for the Media aware that there are many thousands of people in the western suburbs of Sydney who, because of financial circumstances, are very much deprived of cultural entertainment? Why has not the Australian Broadcasting Commission taken its concerts into these regions?
– I agree that the arts should be fostered in places where people will have easy access to them. This applies particularly in the outer urban areas where a great number of working class people live. Over a couple of months I have had discussions on this matter with the General Manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and I can tell the honourable senator that the ABC Sydney Showband will be conducting light music concerts at Blacktown on 1 7 October, Hurstville on 7 November and Bankstown on 21 November. I understand also that the Commission is endeavouring to have similar concerts staged in the outer urban areas of Melbourne.
– Can the Minister representing the Prime Minister inform the Senate as to the qualifications of the Acting Director of the Theatre Board of the Australian Council for the Arts? Further, can he inform the Senate as to how and by whom he was appointed? Is it also a fact that the Acting Director of the Theatre Board was a former business employee of the Chairman of the Theatre Board?
– I am unable to answer the question. I will endeavour to get an answer to the question even today if that is possible.
– I direct a question to either the Minister representing the Minister for Tourism and Recreation or to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. In view of the fact that the airlines have recently been allowed a 10 per cent fare increase, and that the economy would suggest that fares will continue to increase over the coming years, and as Tasmania is so dependent upon air travel, will the Minister attempt to find some way of ensuring that tourists to and from Tasmania will be given a preferential rate of air travel, subsidised in some way, in lieu of spending money in other States for the development of freeways for interstate transport?
– You beat the gun.
-That is better than being behind it.
– I thought that we would take them on the ‘Straitsman’. I have no knowledge of any increase of 10 per cent in air fares as of now. The position is that, no matter whether they be tourists or other air travellers, it is thought that those who use air services should pay for the services provided. At the present time it is costing the Commonwealth a lot of money to provide facilities for air travel which is subsidised to a greater extent than any other form of travel. It is proposed that within 5 years the airline companies or those using the services provided by airline companies will pay to the Commonwealth at least 80 per cent of the cost of the facilities provided for travel by air. I know of no proposal that has resulted in air fares being increased. I think there are some proposals that air fares should be increased by 10 per cent. When any action taken by the Government causes hardship any submission will receive favourable consideration with a view to paying compensation.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I refer to the foreshadowed action of the Government to increase interest rates, allegedly to reduce inflation. I ask the Minister: How can an increase in interest rates which must raise the price of every commodity and service, including housing disastrously, possibly be claimed to be antiinflationary? Simply, how can price rises cause price falls? Is it the Government’s anti-inflationary policy to price the ordinary person out of the market and make it impossible to buy the ordinary items that were available in the past?
– I will answer that question in the same way as the former Leader of the Government in the Senate used to answer me when I asked it. Although this may appear on the surface to have exactly the kind of effect which the honourable senator suggests, it is part of the mechanism for controlling the monetary flow and the state of the economy. This is one of the weapons which classically have been used to deal with inflation not only here but also in other countries.
– In answer to a question in the last week of sitting the Minister for Primary Industry indicated that he would give urgent consideration to submissions from sections of the fruit growing industry which could be adversely affected by the removal of the sales tax exemption for carbonated fruit juices containing more than 5 per cent of fruit juice. In view of the desperate situation of the citrus industry- fruit will soon be falling from trees- will the Minister indicate whether there is any likelihood of urgent financial assistance being forthcoming to prevent this fruit from simply rotting on the ground?
-It is true that there is a very great degree of urgency, particularly as far as the lemon industry is concerned. Last week I received a submission from the New South
Wales Lemon Marketing Board indicating to me the urgency of the problem. I have asked my Department to expedite negotiations with the industry, particularly in relation to lemons. I realise, as the honourable senator has said, that there could be growers in considerable difficulties unless some action is taken fairly quickly. With oranges the position is not so urgent. Nevertheless we are giving attention to that fruit also. I hope that by the middle of next week I will be able to make a statement of the Government’s specific intentions, particularly in relation to lemons.
– Will the Minister for Primary Industry inform the Senate whether the 10,000-ton silo to be constructed for the State Wheat Board at Gladstone in Queensland will be gas-tight so that weavils and other pests in the grain can be eradicated by means of a gaseous fumigant or inert gas? If this silo is to be gas-tight will the specifications apply to all future wheat silos to be constructed in Australia?
– I am unable to answer those fairly technical questions raised by the honourable senator. I shall certainly find out and let her know.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. By way of preface I point out that the fishing industry throughout Australia is under the impression that the recent meeting of the Australian Fisheries Council discussed the question of financial assistance for the industry. In view of the world-wide demand for protein and the high cost of equipment to the fishing industry can the Minister give any indication as to whether special financial assistance might be forthcoming for the industry?
– I cannot give any specific indication. This matter is certainly under consideration by the Government. I met the Australian Fishing Industry Council only a fortnight ago and discussed this problem with it. Also, it was a matter for discussion by the Australian Fisheries Council in Rabaul last week. There is a problem because the normal lending institutions are reluctant to allow fishermen to use their boats as security. This places them at a disadvantage in comparison with people in other industries. The Government recognises this. We are currently looking at ways and means whereby we can formulate a plan which will help the industry. I take this opportunity to say that the Government recognises the protein problem. It is fundamental to the world food situation. We will be doing all that we can within reason to assist the fishing industry to develop in this country.
– Can the Minister for Primary Industry inform the Senate whether Marrickville Holdings Ltd or its associated companies, ETA Foods Pty Ltd and Arnotts Ltd imported potatoes from New Zealand during 1971-72 and 1972-73? If so, how many tons did they import? What was the price per pound paid? Was any subsidy paid to any of these companies? If any contracts have been entered into for the current year what are they and what is the current price?
-I cannot supply the answer in respect of imports for the years mentioned. I can say only that in respect of the current position Marrickville Holdings Ltd was one of the companies permitted to import potatoes for processing in this country due, of course, to the shortage of potatoes for processing. I think that the actual amount the Company was permitted to import was 300 or 400 tons. I do not know the price. I shall try to obtain the information for the honourable senator.
– I will place the question on the notice paper.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. As galloping inflation is having a serious affect on the cost of production of export orientated rural industries which have to compete on the world markets and as the Government’s revaluation of the Australian dollar which was aimed at curbing inflation will affect the export industries most, will he ensure that adequate compensation is made available to export rural industries affected? Will he also see that when interest rates are increased this further burden will not be placed on these industries- particularly on industries in which producers are being rehabilitated under rural reconstruction schemes?
-It is true that the revaluation decision will have an impact on the earnings of exporters in both primary and secondary industries. The Government has stated that the same principles will apply as were announced in December of last year: We shall assist those industries which are disadvantaged to the point where they find themselves in difficulties. As to the generality of the question, my impression from reading the various comments which have been made by primary industry leaders since the decision further to revalue is that primary industries in the main will not really be affected greatly by this decision. The prices for primary products around the world are so buoyant that primary industries will take in their stride the amount involved in revaluation. Nevertheless, we accept the fact that there will be some difficulties for certain industries. We stand ready, as we did on the occasion of the last revaluation, to assist those industries to adjust.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Would it be practical- I know that there are some difficulties in this- to give a brief resume of the more important matters to be raised by the Australian Government at the present Tokyo conference of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade which I understand will last until 30 September. Has he briefed his colleague the Minister for Overseas Trade and Secondary Industry fully on all items that will come before GATT affecting the primary producer? Will he confirm his assurance given to me some time ago that the question of the United States duty of 25.5c per lb on greasy wool will be debated strenuously by his colleague, Dr Cairns, at the Tokyo conference?
-The initial GATT negotiations will commence in Tokyo tomorrow and continue in the United States of America next month. There have, of course, been discussions between my Department and the Minister for Overseas Trade, who is the Minister directly responsible in this area, concerning the matters which will be considered. In the initial stages there will not be any discussion on individual commodities. That will come later. I am under the impression, as I think I indicated last session in response to a similar question asked of me by Senator Hannan, that the subject of wool will be discussed in the United States. I have no doubt that Dr Cairns will do his utmost during the negotiations to ensure that Australian exporters derive maximum advantage out of them.
-I direct a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact, as stated publicly by the honourable member for Braddon, that the procedure adopted for the phasing out of the dairying industry subsidy was contrary to the Australian Labor Party’s rules inasmuch as the decision which was taken was not discussed at and decided upon by a full meeting of the Party in Canberra? Is it correct to say that because this course of action was not taken when the decision regarding the subsidy was made the decision, as has been claimed by the honourable member concerned, is not binding upon members of the Australian Labor Party?
– I have no intention of answering a question of that nature. I am here to answer questions about matters which are of public concern. The manner by which the Government, within its own mechanism, determines policies is a matter for the Government.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. It follows a question asked a little earlier by Senator Young concerning the effect on the canned fruit industry of the latest revaluation. Does the Government accept that this industry, which depends heavily upon export markets, will be adversely affected by the revaluation? If so, will the Government act promptly to provide compensation for this and previous currency realignments and not allow the matter to drag on interminably, as has applied up to the present time, which has placed the industry in an untenable position?
– Although I am indebted to the honourable senator for his remarks, there is nothing I can usefully add to what I said earlier. The Prime Minister has stated that consideration will be given to these matters. I cannot really add any more to that. I am sure that the Government is conscious of the position of the canned fruit industry and that in any decisions it makes it will be taking that position and all relevant circumstances into account.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. I preface my question by saying that in its magazine the Royal Autombile Club of Western Australia has reproduced a photograph of a 45 mph or miles per hour road sign and the 75 kph or kilometres per hour road sign which is being prepared to replace it. People are used to reading signs which suggest that they should negotiate bends at, say, 45 mph. If those signs are to be replaced with 75 kpm signs there will be a lot more accidents on the roads.
– Order! I would suggest that you should let the Minister answer your question, Senator Negus.
– I ask the Minister whether he will look at the situation very carefully to ensure that 45 mph is left on signs which have 75 kph on them so that people can use one or the other until all speedometers are changed.
-I think that the matter is a very grave one. I can see the possibilities of motorists accepting the ‘75’ as a permissible speed limit of 75 miles per hour. This difficulty will inevitably come about with the changeover to the new method of measuring distances. It is apparent that the Western Australian Government has adopted the metric system. At this stage the matter is purely a State one, but as the Federal Minister has responsibility over all questions of road safety I will ask him to look at the matter and see whether we can get some alterations.
-My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Conservation. When the Australian Labor Party Government established the Department of the Environment and Conservation did it give the people of Australia an assurance that each of the major capital works would be preceded by an environmental impact study? If so, will the Minister lay on the table of the Senate a study by the Department of the Environment and Conservation relating to the development of the Galston airport?
– It is a fact that all major projects today must have an environmental impact study and a statement before the work proceeds. Nothing will be done without that study. I believe that this week a statement will be made by the Minister for Civil Aviation on the airport. It will show the consideration which has been given to the siting of the airport. We are now awaiting that statement. In the other House this morning an attempt was made by the Opposition to suspend Standing Orders to permit the Minister to make a statement on the airport. The Government’s reply was that it was an attempt to waste time and that the statement would be made during the week. I tell the honourable senator that the reply to his question will possibly be in the statement.
- Mr President, may I ask a supplementary question on that point?
– Does the honourable senator think that his question has not been answered satisfactorily?
– Yes, I would believe that.
– I will allow the honourable senator to ask a supplementary question.
-Does the Minister for Works convey to the Senate that this Government will make decisions which will then be followed by an environmental impact study?
-On no account did I try to convey that impression. Before any progress is made on the particular airport there will be an environmental impact study.
– Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that the Tasmanian Government has taken action to set up a microfilm service to record and store records and films of government departments and that it is confident that many benefits such as the saving of storage space will accrue? Is the Attorney-General aware that many companies desire to be permitted to microfilm the records and documents that they are required to hold for a number of years, particularly for Taxation Office requirements? Is any action being taken in his Department to introduce any legislation to ensure that microfilm copies of company records will be accepted as legal evidence of the information contained in the original documents?
– Whether microfilm evidence will be accepted by the courts depends upon the law of the State or Territory in question. For example, New South Wales has provision in the Evidence Reproduction Act, I think it is, for documents which are certified by the Commissioner of Corporate Affairs as being the proper copies of company records to be admissible in evidence. I thank the honourable senator for the information about Tasmania. It certainly seems sensible that the advantages of modern technology should not be denied to a citizen engaged in litigation or for various public purposes. It is quite commonsense that records should be kept in this way. It results in greater efficiency for the companies and for the public. I will see to it, if it is not already being carried over into legislation which has been framed, that similar provision is made in the Federal law.
– Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that a student has been excluded from the Menzies College at Macquarie University since June this year on the grounds of his homosexuality? Does the Minister know that this residential college is subsidised by public funds to the extent of 87.5 per cent and that the rules of the College insist that there shall be no discrimination against students? Is the Minister aware that the theologian in charge of the College will only permit the student to return to the University provided he subjugates his sex desires and undergoes psychiatric treatment. In view of the Australian Government’s announced intention to take over the full financial responsibility of all tertiary education, will the Minister take steps to see that all institutions receiving Federal funds accept the fundamental principle that no students will be discriminated against as a result of their race, creed, politics or sexuality?
– Are you handling sexuality, Senator Murphy?
– I think that aspect would probably come more within the scope of the Minister for the Environment and Conservation.
– Perhaps it would be Recreation.
-Or the Minister for Tourism and Recreation. The substance of the question, as I understood it, is that if Commonwealth moneys- that is, public moneys- are provided through the appropriations of the Australian Parliament for any institution then such institution should not practise discrimination on extraneous grounds. There is reference to race and religion which I think are generally acceptable as being extraneous grounds for almost all purposes, and there may be some controversy about the other ground mentioned by the honourable senator. But certainly I would think the view would be taken- and it is almost certainly a matter of law- that such extraneous considerations should not be permitted in dealing with persons. I shall have the matter inquired into further for the honourable senator. Perhaps I should remind the Senate that the Government is engaged in, and I am having prepared, legislation which will be directed towards the implementation of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, which deal in large measure with some of the matters mentioned by the honourable senator.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. I preface it by pointing out that advertisements have appeared in newspapers for staff as a result of upgrading the Office of Aboriginal Affairs to a department. Could the Minister advise me why the senior positions were not advertised? Could he advise whether these senior positions have been filled and if they have been filled by whom and on whose authority have they been filled? Finally, could he advise me what rights other public servants have in this situation?
– I do not know what positions have been advertised. I do not think it is normal practice to advertise certain senior positions or positions which require a particular quality of individual to fill them. However, I shall take the matter up with the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and see whether I can get the information requested by the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education. Is it a fact that the Prime Minister wrote an as yet undisclosed letter to the Karmel Committee or its Chairman? Did that letter, if it exists, give directions in relation to some aspects of the Committee’s recommendations? In the interest of open government will the Minister arrange for the tabling in the Senate of all letters, formal or informal, written by the Prime Minister or any other Minister to Professor Karmel as Chairman of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission? Will the Minister disclose all information which the Committee received from the Government and which enabled the Committee to take into account, as it stated, Government policy in the preparation of its report?
-As the Minister representing the Minister for Education in this chamber, naturally it is impossible for me to know whether the Prime Minister or any other Minister or member wrote to Professor Karmel. I would suggest to the honourable senator that he place the question on the notice paper.
– I address my question to the Minister for Primary Industry. I ask him whether he will detail to the Senate any steps that have been taken by him or his colleague to ensure that the access of Australian apples into the Japanese market is receiving consideration. With what urgency is he dealing with the matter?
– The same as your Government applied.
-Yes, Mr President, I think the question is answered by the interjection of Senator Poke: We are doing exactly the same as our predecessors did to ensure that if we can possibly penetrate the Japanese market we will do so. I am not aware of any lessening of that effort since this Government has been in office.
– I address my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is it possible for any member of the present Government who last year strongly and repeatedly advocated low interest rates genuinely to associate himself with current action to increase sharply such rates? If the Leader of the Government and the Minister for Immigrationboth now members of Cabinet- last year publicly urged lower interest rates, does the Government’s present action, in their opinion, amount to a contravention of policy that helped to win them electoral support? Is the Minister awaiting with trepidation the fixing of the interest rate on long term bonds, the yardstick for all rates? Will he state what he believes the interest rate on overdraft accounts is likely to be, bearing in mind the imminent increase in the bond rate?
– It ought to be evident from what the honourable senator has referred to that the members of the Government, judged from their pronouncements last year while in Opposition and in the years before, and judged from the policy of the Australian Labor Party, believe in low interest housing for the ordinary people of this community. This is an aim which we want to achieve. The Government has chosen to take certain measures in order to deal clearly with an inflationary situation which is certainly reflected world wide but which has to be handled in Australia. The Government inherited a situation of inflation from the previous Government, and steps to correct it, based on advice received, have been taken by this Government. Some of those steps are no doubt unpalatable. The honourable senator is quite right when he says that the evident desire of the members of the present Government is for low interest rates. If at this stage of affairs temporary economic measures are taken which have some effect other than what the Government wants to arrive at, that is a result of the economic situation which it has faced and which was faced many times by the previous Government. But as to the overall proposition, of course the Government stands for aiming at the lowest possible interest rates for housing and it would not be taking any steps which would have any other result unless it thought it was absolutely necessary in the management of the economy to do so.
– Is the Minister for Repatriation aware that, due to earlier revaluations of the Australian dollar, many British ex-servicemen who are now living in Australia and who are in receipt of British war pensions had their pensions drastically reduced? Is the Minister further aware that last Sunday’s revaluation will reduce such pensions further? Can the Minister say how many British ex-servicemen in receipt of British w?’ pensions are presently resident in Australia? Is the Government giving consideration to any scheme whereby these pensions can be restored to their previous value?
– Yes. I am aware of the position that has been stated by Senator Kane. But after all the Australian Government acts only as an agent for the United Kingdom Government in this matter. Obviously the responsibility falls mainly on the British Government. Suggestions have been made over the years both to this Government and previous governments that some consideration might be given to the Australian Government assisting these pensioners in some way. This matter was considered in the context of the present Budget, but it was impossible to do anything about the matter at the time because of our heavy commitment. The honourable senator will know that we increased expenditure on pensions by approximately $22 m. All I can say to the honourable senator is that while the matter has been considered, there is no possibility of the Australian Government undertaking any adjustment as a result of the revaluation. As regards the number of pensioners involved, I will get the information and send it to the honourable senator.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Housing seen statements made by spokesmen for various building societies claiming that a 1 per cent rise in interest rates will increase monthly repayments on a housing loan for an average wage earner by between $ 1 4 and $ 1 8? Does the Minister support a policy which robs Australian families, entirely unnecessarily, of such a substantial amount? How does the Minister explain that a monthly rise in housing repayments of such a magnitude is deflationary except to those tens of thousands of young couples who will now be unable to buy a home for themselves?
– I have not seen the statements to which the honourable senator has referred. But after years of studying these matters I do know the effect that a 1 per cent increase in interest rates has on the monthly repayments of those purchasing a home. Before giving consideration to increasing interest rates the Government took cognisance of the difficulties of providing homes in Australia. Faced with the position of some 93,000 applicants for housing commission homes the Government made available to the States double the amount previously made available and at the interest rate of 4 per cent. Never before was money made available so cheaply to house the most deserving cases. To cater for those seeking to purchase homes provision has been made to make more money available to the extent that we have reached the stage where the money made available cannot be utilised because of shortages of building materials and labour. If the present policy of the Government can have the effect of stopping the building of multi-storey office buildings in capital cities for which tenants cannot be found and diverting that money into housing, and if it can have the effect of stopping land speculation which increases the cost of land, it will do more for home ownership than did the Government supported by the honourable senator who is concerned about a 1 per cent increase in interest rates. The Government is aware of this matter and is doing everything possible. 1 think it is doing more than was ever done previously to increase home construction in Australia.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs indicate the progress made in each State in the transfer, as sought by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Bryant, of responsibility for policy planning and co-ordination from the State Aboriginal affairs departments to the Commonwealth? What State, if any, has transferred its reponsibilities to the Commonwealth?
– I think the question should be put on the notice paper in order to get a definite answer. The transfer of powers is a question to be agreed upon between the Commonwealth and the State government concerned.
I was under the impression that as from 1 July this year the powers of the South Australian Government over Aborigines were transferred to the federal sphere but I cannot be definite about that. If the honourable senator puts his question on the notice paper I shall get the details for him.
-Mr President, I ask that further questions be placed on notice.
-by leave- Mr President, I wish to make a short statement on a matter which concerns you. Could I gently criticise the manner in which you call senators at question time? While I appreciate that it may be reasonable to call all senators who are asking questions for the first time, is it not unreasonable to call a senator who has not previously risen and not call a senator who has been getting to his feet constantly seeking to ask a question? Is it not further unreasonable to call a senator who was not even in the chamber in preference to calling a senator who had been rising constantly to his feet?
– Who was the senator who was not in the chamber?
– It was a senator on this side of the chamber. He came into the chamber after I had risen to my feet on at least half a dozen occasions. There are reasons why one should allow latitude to the President in calling senators to ask questions, but it is unfair to pass by, in particular, Government senators especially as they may be rising constantly to their feet to ask Ministers questions which need to be answered. There is developing here an imbalance where Opposition senators are asking far more questions than Government senators are permitted to ask.
-I am aware that senators get very testy on this subject of questions. The matter arose a fortnight ago. I will deal with the matter raised by Senator Georges in his last sentence. He talks about an imbalance. I have taken out statistical evidence for the first period of this spring session of the Senate. There is a good balance between questions asked by Government senators sitting on my right and Opposition senators sitting on my left. That is the first thing. The second thing that I wish to say is that I mentioned earlier that I called senators alternatively, giving the Opposition leaders first go at asking questions, which I think is proper. During today 6 senators, including you, Senator Georges, have been given the opportunity to ask second questions.
I have made an investigation into what I might call the semantic ecology in another place and I have discovered that, althouth there is double the number of members to senators, in the first period of this session 90 questions without notice were asked in the House of Representatives and 193 questions without notice were asked in the Senate. So I think that Senators are adequately treated. In regard to the question as to whether because you, Senator Georges, were rising constantly you should have been given preference over senators who had not asked questions -
– No, they had not risen at that point.
- Senator Georges, you asked 2 questions today, and I was not going to call you for a third time until I had provided other senators with an opportunity to ask the same number of questions as you had asked.
– That is not it.
-I have no favourites in the Senate when it comes to calling senators at question time. I propose to continue the practice which has been successfully carried out and which has resulted in a daily average of 37 questions being asked in this chamber as against 8 or 9 questions in the other place- I think that I should remind you, Senator Georges, that there was an Italian general who spent some time in Egypt and whose appetite grew with that on which it fed.
– Can I respond to that?
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Bill 1973.
Film and Television School Bill 1973.
Australian National University Bill 1 973.
– A message has been received from the House of Representatives intimating that it has agreed to modifications made by the Senate to the resolution passed by the House of Representatives.
– I table the Tariff Board Report on Motion Picture Films and Television Programs dated 30 June 1973. 1 ask for leave to make a short statement relating thereto.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection leave is granted.
-Mr President, it was on 20 March 1972 that the then Minister for Trade and Industry forwarded to the Tariff Board a reference which requested it to inquire into and recommend on the assistance needed for the production in Australia of motion picture films and television programs. At that time the Board already held a reference dated 28 September 1971 from the same Minister on the film processing industry, and on 1 June 1 972 the then Minister for Customs and Excise forwarded to the Board a reference relating to value for duty of certain film of an advertising character. Public hearings relating to these 3 references were held concurrently. However, in view of the present Government’s desire to take early action on the production of films and television programs, the Tariff Board has restricted this report to the first mentioned reference. It has, however, kept in mind the matters raised relating to the second and third references and these will be the subject of future reports.
The Government has now given preliminary consideration to the report. It is not at this stage committed to the adoption of its recommendations and will be continuing with its examination of it, including the constitutional issues which it raises. The release of the report will enable members of Parliament and others to examine it and, as appropriate, to make known their views. This is a primary purpose of the release. I add, Mr President, that it is not the practice to release Tariff Board reports except at the time of the announcement of the Government’s decision concerning them. It will be clear to honourable senators why this is so. An exception is possible in this case in view of the special nature of the references and of the report. It should not be assumed therefore that this is a precedent for action on Tariff Board reports in future.
As Minister for the Media, with a department which has been established since the references to the Tariff Board were made by the previous Government, I have been invited by the Cabinet to make detailed recommendations to the
Government for the future development of the Australian film and television industries, taking into account the report of the Tariff Board. I have been asked to bring my recommendations to the Cabinet in the near future.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present a Tariff Board Report on Metallised Planar Forms of Vinyl Chloride- ByLaw, dated 18 June 1973.
– Pursuant to section 18 of the National Debt Sinking Fund Act 1966-67 I present the 50th annual report on the operations of the National Debt Commission for the year ending 30 June 1973.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the annual report on the Territory of Norfolk Island for the year ended 30 June 1972.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the annual report on the Territory of Christmas Island for the year ended 30 June 1972, and the annual report on the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands for the year ended 30 June 1972.
– I present the following paper: ‘Taxation Statistics 1971-72’, dated 1 September 1973, supplement to the 51st report of the Commissioner of Taxation.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the report of the Committee on Banking in Papua New Guinea, dated November 1972. I present also a copy of the statement issued on 10 April this year entitled Banking Arrangements in Papua New Guinea’.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the first report of the Interim Committee of the Social Welfare Commission covering the period 3 April to 30 June 1 973.I present also Discussion Paper No. 1, prepared by the Interim Committee, entitled ‘Australian Assistance Plan’.
– Pursuant to section 122 of the Repatriation Act 1920-1973 I present the report of the Repatriation Commission for the year ended 30 June 1973.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the International Coffee Agreement 1968, as extended. The Australian Government proposes to notify the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations of its acceptance of the extended Agreement.
– Pursuant to section 28 of the Dried Fruits Export Control Act 1924-1966, I present the forty-ninth Annual Report of the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board for the year ended 30 June 1973.
-Pursuant to section 8 of the Poultry Industry Assistance Act 1965-1966, I present the eighth annual report on the operation of the Act for the year ended 30 June 1 973.
-I present the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare on the petitions relating to social services.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– I ask for leave to make a short statement in relation to the report.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The report sets out the terms of the petition and states that the Committee referred the petition to the Department of Social Security for comment. After examining the Department’s subsequent report, the Committee believes that the matters raised in the petition are currently under examination by various committees and commissions of inquiry. These committees and commissions are listed in the report and the terms of reference of the bodies are attached as an appendix.
-I bring up the fifth report of the Publications Committee.
Report- by leave- adopted.
Motion (by Senator Murphy)- by leaveagreed to:
That Senator James McClelland be granted leave of absence for5 weeks on account of parliamentary business overseas.
Motion (by Senator Withers) proposed:
That the Address-in-Reply to the speech of His Excellency the Governor-General agreed to by the Senate on Thursday, 30 August 1973 be presented to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral by the President and such other honourable senators as may desire to accompany him.
– I wish to say something before the question is put on this motion. The Government does not agree to this motion for the obvious reason that the Address does not represent the Government’s wishes. It has been amended and that is the reason why the motion has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Withers). I understand that this was done once a long time ago and I suppose it is reasonable he take the course of moving the motion. I simply indicate that the Government will oppose the motion on the voices to indicate that it does not approve of it. But probably in the circumstances it is reasonable that we do not divide the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– In the context of this resolution which has just been passed by the Senate, I will ascertain when His Excellency the Governor-General will be pleased to receive the Address-in-Reply as amended. When the time is fixed I will advise honourable senators. I would be grateful if as many honourable senators who feel so inclined will accompany me to Government House.
– I move:
Much is being done already in certain aspects of rehabilitation services but there is no total unifying inquiry into all aspects. I think that it is important to say that modern rehabilitation methods lead to the restoration of the functioning of the individual to his or her highest potential. They involve medical, vocational, social and educational measures and should aim at returning the disabled person to a full and rewarding life in the work force and home environment. To be successful, rehabilitation treatment should begin at or soon after the onset of illness or disability and be carried through all phases without gaps, delays or interference.
At least 4 Senate committee reports deal in part or in considerable detail with certain aspects of rehabilitation. The report of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse deals with the difficulties of rehabilitating drug dependent persons and the inadequacy of facilities and competent professionally trained people to handle them. The report of the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs mentioned the matter but refrained from positive recommendation other than to state that further investigation should be made owing to that Committee ‘s paucity of evidence on the subject. The report of the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare on physically and mentally handicapped children tackled the subject of rehabilitation in considerable detail for this section of the population. The repatriation inquiry recently concluded, but not yet reported upon to the Senate, took a considerable amount of evidence especially concerning the need to place more emphasis on rehabilitation of returned exservicemen to augment the present compensation orientated scheme.
This present scheme emphasises compensation. Therefore it tends to leave the individual with his disability and thus remain short of his highest potential for a full and rewarding life. With so much work done by Senate committees on various aspects of rehabilitation, I am recommending that the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare bring out a comprehensive report combining matters already touched upon as well as some not yet examined in detail. Some of these matters include the adequacy of rehabilitation units attached to or separated from community hospitals, the sufficiency or otherwise of professional personnel, training facilities existing or required in the various medical and paramedical fields, a team approach to rehabilitation assessment and treatment, compensationwhen it should be ascertained and on what medical and financial criteria- and the need for co-ordination between the many State and Federal departments that have a hand in rehabilitation and the many more voluntary and professional organisations working in this field to try to overcome overlapping, gaps and deficiencies. With evidence of those and no doubt other aspects of rehabilitation it will be of invaluable assistance to all concerned to have a complete report about and recommendations on all aspects of rehabilitation in this increasingly important field of modern treatment.
-Briefly, I wish to indicate that the Government concurs in this proposal being referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare. I agree with what Senator Dame Nancy Buttfield has said. A mass of work already has been done by various committees on this matter during their investigations. It does seem as though there is a need to co-ordinate and -
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse)- Senator Brown, will you indicate whether you are seconding the motion.
– Yes, I am. As I was saying, there is a need to co-ordinate and draw together the mass of material that is available and also to fill in what appeared to one committee on which I had the pleasure to sit to be the gaps which are in existence and which mean that people who would otherwise have access to a comprehensive form of rehabilitation are being denied that opportunity. I must say in passing that I hope that the Committee will be able to deal with this matter in an expeditious manner and to report to the Senate on it as quickly as possible for the benefit of the Senate and those who are interested in the subject of rehabilitation generally.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) proposed:
That, unless otherwise ordered, the days and times of meeting of the Senate for the remainder of the present period of sittings be as follows:
– I desire to move an amendment to the motion. I move:
If my amendment were carried it would mean that the Senate would not meet on a Tuesday until 2. 1 5 p.m. Might I say, as I think I indicated on an earlier occasion when there was a brief discussion about this matter in this chamber, that the Opposition is prepared to co-operate with the Government on the sitting of reasonably extended hours. I might also say that the Opposition would be quite prepared to meet at 2 o’clock if and when the Government thinks that has become necessary. On the general run of Government Business nights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays the Opposition would be prepared to sit on for another 10 or 15 minutes in order to complete the debate on a Bill and would not insist upon the debate being cut off at that time. We realise that the Government has a very heavy legislative program in being. Providing the Bills come to us fast enough we will attempt to deal with them fast enough. On those to which we are not opposed we will tend, as a general rule, not to spend more than three to five minutes. Those to which we are opposed we will debate vigorously and, if necessary, attempt to defeat. We realise that the Government has an enormous program in front of it.
– Then why cut out Tuesday morning sittings?
-We have our Party meetings on Tuesday mornings.
– I assume that the amendment will be carried. It may be necessary at some time in the future to return to the use of Tuesday mornings or to extend sitting times in other respects. However, it is best that some finality be reached on the matter now.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
Consideration resumed from 1 1 April (vide page 1042).
– I propose to move an amendment to clause 5, which reads:
Section 4 of the Principal Act is amended-
by omitting sub-section (3) and substituting the following sub-sections:- “(3) Where-
a person has been convicted in his absence of an offence against the law of, or of a part of, a country other than Australia; and
the conviction is not a final conviction, then, for the purposes of this Act, the person shall be deemed not to have been convicted of that offence but shall be deemed to be accused of that offence. “(3a) For the purposes of this Act, an offence against the law of a country other than Australia may be regarded as being an offence of a political character notwithstanding that there are not competing political parties in that country. “; and,
by adding at the end thereof the following subsections: “(7) For the purpose of this Act, the territorial sea of, and the airspace over, a country other than Australia shall, unless the contrary intention appears, be deemed to be within the jurisdiction of that country.
This amendment, and the amendments numbered 2 and 8 on the sheet which has been circulated, are necessary to give effect to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation, which is contained in the schedule to the Crimes (Protection of Aircraft) Act 1973 passed earlier this year.
– As I understand the situation the amendments which Senator Murphy proposes to move are the amendments which have been circulated and which will have the effect of amending clause 5 in 2 respects and Schedule 1 . 1 would appreciate confirmation from him that my understanding of the amendments is correct, that is, that as a result of the passing earlier this year of the Crimes (Protection of Aircraft) Act 1973 it is desired to make the offences which were established by that Act also extraditable offences within the relevant provisions of the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill 1973.
– That is right.
– If that is the intention, this appears to be a straightforward and sensible amendment to which the Opposition offers no objection.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move:
This amendment and amendment No. 8 in the list are directed to the same purpose.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I refer now to clause 8, which reads in part:
Section 1 1 of the Principal Act is amended-
by omitting from sub-section (3) the words “that country has entered into an agreement with, or given an undertaking to, the Commonwealth” and substituting the words “by an agreement in force between Australia and that country, or that country has given an undertaking”; and
– I am not sure that this amendment is one which has been circulated. I am not requiring that it be circulated if we could have a moment to understand what it says.
– This amendment is an endeavour to meet an objection, if I might call it that, which was made by Senator Greenwood. It relates to political opinions. The intention was to change the test from a subjective one of the AttorneyGeneral’s believing to an objective one of there is’. I understand that Senator Greenwood had in mind that we might go further and say that there should be a change from ‘substantial grounds for believing’ and adopting the test ‘no reason for believing’. The advice which I have been given is that that suggestion ought not to be agreed to for the reason that it would fail to give effect to the provisions in the new treaties which provide for refusal only where there are substantial grounds for believing. The amendment is an endeavour to meet an objection which was taken by Senator Greenwood and which we think has merit- that is, that there should not be a subjective test but an objective one. That is the purpose of the amendment.
– The regrettable feature of these discussions is that as Senator Murphy was speaking I was handed a list of the amendments which he proposes. It is different from the list which was circulated earlier and upon which I was relying. Therefore, this amendment was seen by me for the first time while Senator Murphy was speaking. There are four other amendments of which I have now become aware for the first time. I can respond shortly and say that the points which Senator Murphy adduced in favour of the amendment are points which I had raised quite substantially and in respect of which I believe there is need for some change. I am unable to say whether the change is effective to meet the points of objection which I had made and to which, as I recall, Senator McManus devoted himself quite extensively during the second reading debate on the Bill. In the circumstances 1 am reluctant either to concur or to object to the amendment. I suggest that in the circumstances Senator Murphy might consider seeking that progress be reported until a later hour this day.
– I do not know why Senator
Greenwood’s list of amendments differs from mine. There must be some confusion. I understood that the list which I have had been circulated. An endeavour was made to meet the objections raised by the honourable senators. We must remember that the Bill has been before the chamber several times. I know that on the last occasion copies of these amendments were available and, I understand, were circulated. For some reason, a copy has not come to Senator Greenwood’s attention. I think the reasonable course would be for the Committee to report progress. We might be able to deal with the Bill later in the day. We might be able to deal with this Bill and the Extradition (Foreign States) Bill, because they are pretty straight forward. I will see whether I can get Senator Greenwood an up to date copy of the list of amendments.
Consideration of House of Representatives Message.
Leave out the clause, insert the following clause: “19. The Second and Third Schedules to the Principal Act are repealed and the following Schedules substituted:
OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
I, A. B., renouncing all other allegiance, swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil my duties as an Australian citizen.
AFFIRMATION OF ALLEGIANCE
I, A. B., renouncing all other allegiance, solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil my duties as an Australian citizen.
OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
I, A. B., renouncing all other allegiance, swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law.
AFFIRMATION OF ALLEGIANCE
I, A. B., renouncing all other allegiance, solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law. “.
House of Representatives amendment.
Leave out the clause, insert the following clause: “19. The Second and Third Schedules to the Principal Act are repealed and the following Schedules substituted:
OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
I, A. B., swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil my duties as an Australian citizen.
AFFIRMATION OF ALLEGIANCE
I, A. B., solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil my duties as an Australian citizen.
OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
I, A. B., swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law.
AFFIRMATION OF ALLEGIANCE
I, A. B., solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law. “.
Section 7 of the Principal Act is amended by omitting subsection (2) and substituting the following sub-section: “(2) The countries to which this section applies are the following countries and any other country declared by the regulationsto be a country to which this section applies:
People’s Republic of Bangladesh
In clause 5, before the words- “People ‘s Republic of Bangladesh”, insert the words- “Commonwealth of the Bahamas”.
– I move:
– When this measure was before the Senate in June we looked at several legislative matters. The matter which is still with us and which has been referred to by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) refers to the forms of words used in the oath or affirmation of allegiance. The Senate in its wisdom agreed on that occasion to the amendment which I put forward and agreed to change the words in the Government’s Bill. The Committee will be familiar I think with the forms of words whereby the Government’s measure holds that the oath should refer to the Constitution of Australia and not to the Sovereign and that the renunciation of all other allegiance should be deleted. This was defeated by the Senate, which adopted words which included ‘renouncing all other allegiance’ and the reference to bearing true allegiance to ‘Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia’. The burden of the Attorney’s motion which is now before the Committee is to ask us to agree to words which the House of Representatives has sent to the Senate. These words take on a different form again. The form of words contained in the oath of allegiance which have come to us from the House of Representatives states:
I, A. B. swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil my duties as an Australian citizen.
This means that the Government has not accepted the amendments put forward by the Senate and has sent a message proposing further changes.
Basically the major elements in the Government’s new wording remove the name of the Sovereign and the title ‘Her Majesty’. The wording also removes the renunciation of all other allegiance. I indicate to the Committee that the Opposition is insisting upon its original amendments and is putting them for consideration and decision. I commend the original words which I put forward in June. We have stood at citizenship ceremonies and been aware of the emotional circumstances related to the words of renunciation. But no less emotional is the important moment when the new citizen is declared to be an Australian citizen. At this moment he is declared to belong to this country and to be an Australian citizen. The declaration brings to a culmination a period of years of consideration and indeed marks a high point of personal circumstance. The new citizen brings his national culture with him. But he accepts also all the advantages that Australia has to offer and pledges himself to share in the responsibilities. He reaches a point which may be described as a point of emotion and we all very greatly appreciate this.
The point to be established in the resumption of the debate on this matter is that with the inclusion of the words of renunciation the oath becomes a sharp, clear-cut, decisive experience.
It is not a process in which there are any grey areas at all. It is not indecisive; it is absolutely positive; it is taken with precision. It is not taken lightly but is taken after very great consideration. A major argument in favour of the retention of this clause is that it is an expressed statement to the international community. When we deal with the oath of allegiance to Australia we are also dealing in the international sphere. Renunciation is an expressed statement which is decisive, complete and conclusive. It points out in conjunction with section 1 7 of the Australian Citizenship Act that Australia does not favour dual citizenship. The Opposition recognises the problems associated with dual citizenship. However, I have not read anything that the Government has said about this matter. The Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby) in speaking to the Committee in another place said nothing at all that would be helpful about it.
The inclusion of these words within the oath of allegiance opens up the whole unanswered area of what determines a person’s citizenship. Is it the land of his birth, in which he may spend a great number of years or in which his children may have been born, or is it one to which he may swear allegiance? If he swears allegiance to Australia it must be made clear that this sworn allegiance is legal, formal, constitutional and complete. Also it must be made clear that the swearing of allegiance refers to these matters only and does not refer, as some honourable senators have endeavoured to point out from time to time, to cultural and environmental circumstances. The Opposition takes the view that the retention of renunciation supports this and gives to the oath of allegiance a sense of occasion. Also it draws to the attention of Australian citizens who happen to be present on such an occasion that this declaration is something of the greatest importance. Citizenship is not only a matter for new citizens or migrants; it is a matter for Australians also and the declaration made in their presence should remind them that they should never take citizenship for granted. The words in the Minister’s speech in another place seemed to me to give it that inference. The renunciation segment of the ceremony reminds Australian citizens that citizenship is costly and must be taken very seriously.
Another argument in favour of retention also relates to section 1 7 of the Australian Citizenship Act. The inclusion of the renunciation says to all Australian citizens that once voluntarily accepting a new citizenship they have lost their Australian citizenship. Thereby this provision puts any prospective Australian citizen quite firmly on notice that despite the position that may obtain in his former homeland Australia expects that all of its citizens will owe allegiance to one head of State and one nation. The present Australian position shows the seriousness with which Australia considers and expects any citizen to treat Australian citizenship. Citizenship in an age of great mobility and expanding travel opportunities, with greater movements of population, calls for a very clearly denned point of view as far as this country is concerned. The fact that we have provision for renunciation means that we have a basis for our responsibility for each individual person. The nation which is responsible for each person in the international sense should never be in doubt. Any dispute as to such responsibilities between nations would produce an intolerable situation for an individual. So it is in the opinion of the Opposition quite clear that these words of renunciation should be retained.
I think it is also appropriate to point out that Australia ‘s position as a migrant receiving country needs to be taken into account. It is not sensible to compare Australia with other migrant receiving countries. In the last 25 years we have built enormous national strength from our immigration policies. Our citizens have come from scores of countries and they comprise in numerical terms a large proportion of our population. Therefore the retention of the renunciation clause takes on a special significance. The United States of America, for example, which more than any other country on earth has prospered from large scale migration over a long period of years, which has been consistently held up as an example of a country which has developed from migration and which has benefited from large numbers of citizens who have come into its citizen strength from a wide variety of countries, makes it perfectly clear what it expects its citizens to do when they embrace United States citizenship. The United States sets out that:
A person who has petitioned Tor naturalisation in the United States of America shall in order to be and before being admitted to citizenship, take in open court an oath.
That oath states:
So I urge the Senate, when it comes to vote, to vote in favour of the retention of the renunciation.
I say finally a few words about the deletion from the message of the name and title of the sovereign. The words which the Minister has put down refer only to the Queen of Australia. When we debated this in June we drew very strongly to the attention of the Senate the need for the retention within the oath of allegiance of a complete reference to our head of state. In deleting the words ‘the Constitution of Australia’ we presented the argument to the Senate that people declaring allegiance to this country declared it to a head of state, and in our system in Australia a person is the head of state, and that person is Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia. The interesting and surprising thing is that the Government wishes to delete those extra words when we have before the Parliament today a Bill which will declare the style and titles of Her Majesty the Queen as far as Australia is concerned. The Government will recall that our amendment followed exactly the words which the Government then proposed and which it is still proposing to put before the Senate, that Her Majesty’s style and titles should be in a set form. Therefore if we expect people to swear allegiance to our country, we expect them to swear allegiance to our head of state- and our head of state is, as the Royal Style and Titles Bill states and as we stated in our amendment, ‘Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia. Her Heirs and Successors according to law ‘.
I commend these arguments to the Senate and as I do so I want, as others have done- and I do so with gre:.. sincerity and readiness- to pay a high tribute to our migrant population which has contributed so much to the growth and development of Australia. These are words which we repeat often and which may even be described as cliches, but all of us in this Senate and all citizens of Australia have known the benefits of the immigration program. They have also known the benefit of responsible citizenship which has been assumed by a great number of migrants. If citizenship has any value at all it must be taken not lightly but responsibly, and the words that we put forward today provide for that responsibility to be continued.
– I am rather disappointed at the response from Senator Davidson because I recall that when this measure was before the Senate on a previous occasion the honourable senator at some stage of his speech spoke of the term Queen of Australia ‘. The main gist of the OPPOsition’s argument seems to be that the requirement to adhere to the Australian Constitution is, in the eyes of the Opposition, inadequate. When one considers the substitutions that have emanated from the House of Representatives, one sees that the term ‘Her
Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia ‘ recurs and so has met any fears which the Opposition appeared to express about the concept of the monarchy being submerged. On that point there seems to have been some muddled thinking. Not long ago- in fact, it has happened repeatedly- a meeting of Commonwealth countries was held in Singapore and was attended by the British Prime Minister, Mr Edward Heath, and other leaders of varying ideological or racial content. I cannot see any inferiority complex developing by using the term ‘Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia’.
An illustration of this problem occurred a few days ago. I read in the Sydney Press, and I am sure a similar report would have been published in interstate newspapers, that when the Australian Bradford Cooper won a silver medal at the world swimming championships in Belgrade comment was made that the British national anthem ‘God Save the Queen’ was played, not an Australian anthem. Some might ask: ‘What is the Australian anthem?’ Without canvassing it, I think that on other occasions ‘Advance Australia Fair’ would have been played. The point is that a changed atmosphere was reflected in the comment that an Australian anthem was not played. But this does not mean that whoever wrote the story thought or that the consensus among the swimming squad was that we were in any way cutting the bonds with the monarch by emphasising a preference for the term ‘Australian ‘.
Senator Davidson has pleaded for the retention of some terminology relating to Elizabeth the Second. It is present because Her Majesty is recognised as Queen of Australia. But I fail to see how, beyond that, the other terms must be applied. I appreciate that Senator Davidson did not say this, but there is an implication about the watering down or diluting of British traditions. Without going into details about the work of a parliamentary committee of which I am a member, I point out that Mr Darby, a New South Wales Government MLA, has written a book on the back page of which he makes out a case, which he is fully entitled to do, about subversion in the community at large, and he goes on to say that many people have not had the benefit of British tradition. Nobody would question the concept of the British Parliament as the mother of Parliaments, but blandly to suggest that a person who did not come from a British country and who is now a component of this country must be called on to put up double indemnity for fear that he will not obey our laws is wrong. This is not only my interpretation. A man of the Ukranian community who gave evidence before a committee of this Parliament was highly indignant that people were suspicious of him because his name was not British in content. He felt that he was under added pressure to establish his loyalty.
I come to the point that many people have reservations about the renunciation of their previous citizenship. It can be said, I think, that Dutch migrants to this country have been fairly conservative in their political habits. I do not denigrate them for that. I know people in the Dutch community who suffered not merely nostalgia but the much deeper feeling that to obtain Australian citizenship they had to deplore, more or less in a general sense, that at one time they had owed allegiance to the Dutch royal family and to the then Queen Wilhelmina and all that sort of thing. About 1900 the British Empire, as we knew it, had convulsions over the Boer War, and Kruger, the then President of the Boers, said: ‘You take the best of the past and you build on it’. We do not have to go back so far- only to the previous debate- to recall that Senator Davidson’s clarion call then was that the terminology used referred to the Australian Constitution and he virtually interpreted it to mean that we had submerged any reference to the Royal Family. I think the Minister for Immigration, Mr Grassby, has been very conciliatory. He has seized virtually the title which Sentor Davidson used- Queen of Australia. All that has been said over the last 60 or 70 years about our relationships and the old idea of imperial conferences and terms such as ‘Dominions’ have gone- and certainly they had to go.
Without retracing too much the history between the world wars, a man of Scottish origin in the person of Mackenzie King in Canada was the first to become impatient because there was too much genuflecting, for want of a better term, to the Crown. He contended that in fact the Commonwealth countries were equal partners. Of course, since the war we have become equal partners. I concede that whether there was a Conservative government, a Labour government or a socialist government in Britain they accepted the fact that there had to be a thawing out period. The more I read the Schedule to the Bill the more I am convinced that that is all we are doing here.
So often we talk about what the young voters are thinking. I would certainly say that it would be very hard to assess the political background of our Olympic squad. At various times I have spoken to a number of the people who have attended the Olympic Games, and without any hesitation at all they have argued that on ceremonial occasions there is not enough emphasis on an Australian identity. We say and we accept that we are partners with Britain. I have had brief discussions with members of the Royal family and I have had no occasion to feel that because someone hammers a particular Australian view it might have the effect of cutting across Britain ‘s economic ideas in relation to Australia. Members of the Crown accept the situation. Anyone who has read the writings of Prince Phillip knows that he realises that evolutionary changes take place. After all, if one tried to keep a damper on people’s changing political attitudes eventually one would have an upheaval. I am not suggesting for one minute that that will happen here, but I think more than 20 per cent of the people here would find it offensive if we did not retain the reference to Britain and British institutions. They see it as the be-all and end-all of our concept of civil liberties.
Of course, we could make reference to the Magna Carta. We could talk about the relations between Britain and the dominions and the struggles which emerged to create the different attitudes. But surely to goodness in this year of 1973 we have a reasonable attachment to Britain. Nobody will deny that much of the pomp and circumstance and the concept of the infallibility, shall we say, of the Crown is no longer there. The Crown is a symbol, and it is recognised as such in this Bill. But it is nonsense to put forward the idea that this measure will weaken the British Commonwealth.
The Opposition had a victory in amending this Bill when it was first before the Senate. I do not doubt that because it has the numbers in this chamber there will be occasions when the Opposition will amend some other piece of legislation. I am sure that if it is of an economic nature we will be told that the Opposition has virtually stormed the Bastille to achieve its ends. But I do not think honourable senators opposite found that anyone really got worked up about this legislation, except perhaps people who belong to the Commonwealth Society and groups of that nature. I know that Senator Davidson has had friendships with personnel of the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council. While two or three people on the Council had some misgivings about this matter, no one felt that he had to get off the Council because the Government was taking these steps.
On occasions 1 speak to members of the Young Liberal movement in my State. The views of many of them are similar to mine. They believe that what has been put forward here is a pretty reasonable compromise. It retains a reference to the Queen, and I think quite rightly. The Crown having a symbolic relationship with the Australian Parliament is more in keeping with many of the other obsolete terms about the dominions beyond the seas. After all, it is just not on to refer to some of those terms in this enlightened age. I know that Senator Byrne, Senator Little and other members of the Democratic Labor Party probably were impressed to a degree when Senator Davidson referred to the Queen of Australia. I do not think they would go beyond that and I am very confident that the compromise made by the Minister in using the term ‘Queen of Australia’ met the objections of Senator Little and his colleagues. We have used the terminology put forward by Senator Davidson, but to me anything beyond that in this year of 1973 savours of a sort of fawning. This is not the case in Canada. Senator Davidson made reference to the United States but I do not think that is germane in this situation because after all the United States is a republic. Many migrants have difficulty in seeing this relationship with the Queen of England.
I conclude by illustrating this point. We talk about the real Australians. My colleague from South Australia, Senator McLaren, who is very well versed in matters concerning northern Australia, will appreciate this point. About 6 or 8 months ago Senator Keeffe and I met some members of the Kormilda Softball team. Senator Davidson will know of that occasion. We found that their political IQ was very high. One of the boys wanted to know why we had to get royal assent to every piece of legislation passed in the Parliament. I explained it to him by saying that the Queen is recognised as the Queen of Australia. He said: ‘Well, what about England and Scotland and Ireland?’ I said: ‘I am talking about a relationship with Australia’. I think even Senator Davidson might be convinced that if future citizens from Kormilda College accept the idea- Senator Bonner might cross the floor on this with me- that the Queen of Australia is an ideal title which Mr Grassby has embodied in this legislation, it should be an irresistible proposition. I leave it to the Senate and I am confident that we will entice a few honourable senators to change their minds.
-I listened with considerable interest to Senator Davidson and Senator Mulvihill. I think Senator Mulvihills speech was accompanied by a justifiable but somewhat sentimental approach to this whole question. We are discussing an extraordinarily important matter. It is not merely a matter of whether it is desirable that we should predicate in a particular way and mark out the definition of the Queen in relation to the nation of Australia; it is more than that. This question could be important because one could visualise a situation where, if matters are not done in constitutional form, perhaps at some time when some person is charged as was Sir Roger Casement, in order to establish his position he would go back to the treason laws applying in the reign of King Edward II. What we do here today may very well have a very wide and very important implication in the application of the law- and perhaps of the criminal law- in a particular case at some time in the future.
It is not sufficient that we rest our attitude merely on a sentimental attachment or on the predication of Australian nationalism, however justifiable and defensible the taking of that attitude may be. Therefore I cast grave doubts on the constitutionality of the legislation which is now presented to this chamber. Those doubts are accompanied by a reference to the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act- that is the Act of the British Parliament to which the Australian Constitution is annexed as a schedule or a part- which constitutes the Commonwealth of Australia, to the intervening Statute of Westminster, to the Colonial Laws Validity Act, and to the Acts Interpretation Act. If on this occasion I consult copious notes I trust that the Senate will pardon me because we are speaking most specifically and I desire to be specific in this matter. 1 am sure the Senate will not mind if I make an unusual reference to more particular points which I have found here.
– I bet your notes are not as copious as mine.
– No. This is a technical exercise and, candidly, [ feel some sympathy for the Minister for the Media who is handling this Bill because of the context in which I am going to present my propositions in this debate in which he has been kind enough to intervene. What has happened in relation to this measure is that the Bill came from the House of Representatives with the oath of allegiance expressed in a certain form. It used the words ‘Queen Elizabeth II of Australia’. The point was legitimately taken in this chamber that that could not be a viable form because there was no Queen Elizabeth I of Australia. Therefore the words ‘Queen of Australia’ were inserted to give the proposition a reality in terms of the relationship of Australia with Queen Elizabeth II and, of course, Queen Elizabeth I. That amendment went back to the House of Representatives and has been rejected in that place. The House of Representatives has now presented a further amendment in which the other oath is forsaken in favour of one in which you swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen of Australia. My technical proposition is whether that form of oath of allegiance is constitutionally acceptable. It is in those terms that I present this argument.
By the Royal Style and Titles Act 1953 the style and title of the Queen in relation to Australia is:
Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Australia and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
In other words there is the personalisation of the monarchy, not the office of the monarch but the personalisation of the monarch herself or himself as the case may be. The Royal Style and Titles Bill 1973 which is now before this chamber will, when enacted, amend Her Majesty’s style and title in relation to Australia to:
Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.
In other words again in that Bill there would be projected the personalisation of Her Majesty. The use of the phrase ‘Queen of Australia’, the term included in the amendment from the House of Representatives to the Bill before this chamber now, therefore is consistent with the style which we adopted with the enactment of the Royal Style and Titles Bill, but here there is no personalisation in regard to the monarchy.
It should be noted that the preamble of The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, to which the actual Constitution is an annexure, states:
Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almightly God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and under the Constitution hereby established . . .
Now, 2 propositions are thereby presented. It is a Commonwealth established under the crown of the United Kingdom and it is subject to the Constitution thereby enacted. Those are 2 very important propositions on which we must keep our minds concentrated. The preamble to the Act contains a series of propositions and I want to refer to 2 of them. One is the dependence of the Federal Commonwealth under the Crown and the second is the Government of the Federal Commonwealth under the Constitution. Legislative expression in the body of the Act is given to the latter but not to the earlier of those 2 affirmations.
Prior to the Constitution of Australia Act the Colonial Laws Validity Act of 1 865 applied to the then Australian colonies. The Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865, at Federation, applied to both the Federal Commonwealth and also to the Australian States. Section 2 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act provides that any colonial law repugnant to the provisions of any Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom extending to a colony to which such law may relate shall, to the extent of such repugnancy but not otherwise be absolutely void and inoperative. Since the Statute of Westminster in 1931 was adopted by the Commonwealth of Australia the Colonial Laws Validity Act has had no application to the Commonwealth but still has application to the States. On the other hand the Statute of Westminster has not enlarged the powers of the Commonwealth to the detriment of the powers of the States. Constitutional conventions have taken place since the enactment of the Statute of Westminster and they are referred to in the preamble to the Statute of Westminster, lt states:
The Crown is the symbol of the true association of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown it would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all the members of the Commonwealth in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Title shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliament of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The constitutional convention was therefore recognised by the Statute of Westminster that all members of the British Commonwealth should agree to any of the changes made in respect of the Royal Style and Titles. However there was an intervening conference in 1 952 of Prime Ministers of the British Commonwealth and it was resolved that:
In the present stage of development of the British Commonwealth relationship, it would be in accord with the established constitutional position that each member country should use for its own purposes a form of the Royal Style and Titles which suits its own particular circumstances and retains a substantial element ‘which is common to all ‘.
It was further agreed that: the procedure of prior consultation between the Governments of the British Commonwealth should be followed in future if occasion arose to propose a change in the form of the Royal Style and Titles used in any country of the British Commonwealth.
That was only an agreement among Prime Ministers. Whether that was in any sense mandatory was a matter of debate and of difference of opinion. In fact it has been departed from. To my knowledge it has been departed from in this instance where I do not think there has been any consultation between Australia and other countries of the Commonwealth. However I am making no point of that because, as I said, that was a convention of Prime Ministers which may well have abandoned any prior agreement that there should be prior consultation.
I turn now to the covering clauses of the Australian Constitution because my proposition is this: That the oath of allegiance must be an oath personalised to the British Sovereign, to the sovereign of the United Kingdom personalised by name, and that merely to make the oath of allegiance to the office of the Queen of Australia is something which this Parliament is not constitutionally competent to do. Covering clause 1 of the Constitution states:
This Act may be cited as the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act.
Covering clause 2 of that Act states that the Act is expressed to extend to the Queen’s successors and it reads as follows:
The provisions of this Act referring to the Queen shall extend to Her Majesty’s heirs and successors in the Sovereignty of the United Kingdom.
Those are the important words. In other words the Queenship of Australia that accrued to Her Majesty is a Queenship that accrues in the right of her sovereignty of the United Kingdom. Covering clause 2 of the Australian Constitution Act indicates, as do the other clauses, that this is all subject to the law of the Commonwealth of which that is now part and everything therefore must operate within the metes and bounds of that law. Covering clause 3 of the Constitution empowers the Queen, with the advice of the Privy Council, to declare by proclamation
Under covering clause 6 of the Constitution, the Statutory definition, it is mandatory that
The Commomnwealth’ shall mean the Commonwealth of Australia as established under this Act.
In other words we are coming to the position where everything must be read in terms of the Act and subject to that Act, because what is recited in that Act, what is enacted in that Act, is the governing body of law in relation to the matter now before the Senate for decision. Section 15a of the Acts Interpretation Act, which is a Commonwealth Act, states:
Every Act shall be read and construed subject to the Constitution, and so as not to exceed the legislative power of the Commonwealth, to the intent that where any enactment thereof would, but for this section, have been construed as being in excess of that power, it shall nevertheless be a valid enactment to the extent to which it is not in excess of that power.
Section 17 of the Acts Interpretation Act dennes constitutional terms including, inter alia, ‘the Commonwealth’ and ‘Australia’. Section 17 of the Acts Interpretation Act has been amended by the Acts Interpretation Act of 1973. By section 4 of the amending Act section 17 was amended, inter alia, by omitting those 2 phrases to which I referred and substituting in place of the definitions of ‘the Commonwealth’ and ‘Australia’ the following:
Australia’ or ‘the Commonwealth’ means the Commonwealth of Australia and, when used in a geographical sense, does not include an external Territory.
In other words the propositions put forward so far to the Senate are that the Queen is the Queen of Australia in right and title of her Queenship of the United Kingdom; that any law that we enact here must be in terms of the law enacted in the Australian Constitution Act and the Australian Constitution. When we look into this we see that in attempting to create this new status of Queen of Australia to which allegiance must be sworn we are establishing a status which is not competent within the creating and enabling legislation.
This matter is not altogether novel. It came up before and the then Prime Minister, Mr Menzies, had a certain approach to the whole question of the territorial reference. The Royal Style and Titles Bill 1973 and the Australian Citizenship Bill 1973 both propose to omit inter alia from the Queen’s Titles reference to the United Kingdom. In 1953 when the Royal Style and Titles Act was amended by the then Menzies Government that Government thought it proper to put the question beyond doubt and to proceed as if the convention established by the Statute of Westminster still operated- that is the convention relating to consultation with other members of the Commonwealth. Mr Menzies made it plain that he thought there should have been that prior consultation. He said that he had no sympathy with the approach that the territorial reference in the royal title ought to be solely to the particular country represented, that is, in the case of Australia that Her Majesty should be described as ‘Queen of Australia’. Mr Menzies took the view that such a territorial reference cut across the concept of a unity which he held to be essential. He strongly advocated that the better approach was to begin in the territorial reference by referring to the United Kingdom and then to refer to Australia in the case of Australia.
Mr Menzies gave his reasons, as he always did, quite explicitly and with a breadth of scholarship and historical interest which was so particular to him. He said that juristically speaking it would be fantastic to eliminate a reference to the United Kingdom because the plain truth is that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second sits on the throne not because of some law of Australia but because of the law of the United Kingdom. He said that in the literal, legal sense the Queen is the Queen of Australia because she is Queen of the United Kingdom.
– Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– I intervene briefly to allow Senator Byrne to continue.
– I am very much indebted to Senator Davidson and to the solicitude of other honourable senators who may wish to participate in this debate. Mr Menzies added that in strict terms of law Her Majesty is our Queen because under the Act of Succession of the United Kingdom, as modified by the Abdication Act of 1 936, she is Queen of the United Kingdom. He also said that the Commonwealth of Australia does not have an Act of Succession of its own. That is a very important consideration because we are really attempting here to pass what is in effect a succession Act. We are swearing allegiance to the Queen of Australia and to her successors and heirs according to law. That is creating a succession which is really not competent within the confines of the Australian juridical system.
– But your argument does not need that extra step to assist it.
– That is true. The implications of section 8 of the Statute of Westminster, read together with the preamble of the Act- that is the Constitution Act- and the covering clause 2 of that Act, raise the constitutional question whether it is possible for Australia in these circumstances to evolve an Act of succession. That is why I say that this is very much more than a mere sentimental question or a desire by anybody in this chamber or in Australia to project an Australian image and the concept of Australian nationhood.
– Would you support it with a different legal approach, Senator?
– I will continue this, if I may, Senator. Thank you all the same. The matter is not only a question of constitutional law; it is also a question of great historical significance. The Commonwealth Parliament is derived from Westminster. Even if the Act of Succession had not to be taken into consideration, Mr Menzies expressed himself in these terms: to deny the first mention to the country that is the cradle of our sovereignty, the cradle of our system of parliamentary government and the cradle of our legal system would be to deny our own history. A country that denies its own history is in a bad way.
That is not an argument that goes to legal logic; that is an argument again from sentiment. I do not necessarily propound that, although the sentiments are valid and quite defensible; you can understand their being expressed.
Dr Evatt was also heard on this matter, as one would have expected, he being a contemporary in the scene. Dr Evatt when speaking on the Royal Style and Titles Bill 1953 reminded the House of Representatives that in the preamble to the Statute of Westminster 193 1 there was a declaration that alterations of the law touching the succession to the throne or the royal style and title required the assent of the United Kingdom Parliament and the parliaments of all dominions. He stated:
The Prime Minister was quite correct in pointing out that, so far as Australia is concerned, in both constitutional practice and constitutional law in the strict sense, the succession is determined by the Succession to the Throne of the United Kingdom.
There you have the concurrence of 2 substantial legal opinions from 2 distinguished lawyersfrom Sir Robert Menzies and also from the Right Honourable Dr Evatt. In other words, they project the firm opinion that the entitlement of Her Majesty the Queen to the Queenship of Australia arises and stems from Her Queenship of the United Kingdom. Of course, the purport of this Bill is to dismiss that situation and merely to swear allegiance to the Queen of Australia. Dr Evatt also emphasised that the more important point was that the Statute of Westminster contained a declaration that any alteration of the royal style and titles should be assented to ‘not by the Governments of Commonwealth countries, and that is why parliamentary assent to this measure is required ‘. Dr Evatt was of the opinion that there should have been consultation with other Commonwealth countries. I do not propound that proposition at this stage. Perhaps it might be a proposition somewhat passe in view of the changing character of the British Commonwealth. I do not make a point of that at all.
Dr Evatt also held that when the prerogative instrument was issued it should be issued on the advice of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia. Dr Evatt urged that the position of the royal title which was common to all Commonwealth countries except India, that is,
Elizabeth the Second, Head of the Commonwealth ‘, should be changed so that the Commonwealth referred to in the royal title should be called ‘British Commonwealth’. He relied on the fact that in the Statute of Westminster the Commonwealth was described as the ‘British Commonwealth of Nations’. The important part of that last reference is that Dr Evatt contemplated the inclusion of the words ‘Elizabeth the Second’- a personalisation again of the monachy which he and Mr Menzies obviously considered as indispensible because, as I have said, the Queenship of Australia arises from the personal Queenship of the Queen as Queen of the United Kingdom. Inevitably, Dr Evatt believed that for a number of reasons the title ‘ British Commonwealth’ should be used in such oaths and affirmations.
At that stage we have a substantial body of distinguished legal opinion which would raise a great challenge, if it were here today, to the terms in which this legislation is framed. I think that the Senate should have regard to this. I think it is a matter that should be fundamentally considered by honourable senators because, as I have said, its long ranging implications could be extraordinarily serious; in a certain situation, what could be considered the loyalty or the allegiance of the adherence of any citizen, in terms of the oath of allegiance that he then swore, might come under strong legal scrutiny and perhaps strong legal criticism. I visualise that such circumstances could arise.
I have one or two further propositions to put. The use of the phrase ‘Her heirs and successors according to law’ is appropriate in an oath or affirmation by which the person swears or affirms allegiance to a monarch and her successors. It is also used in the oaths and affirmations of allegiance in the Second and Third Schedules to the former Citizenship Act. I remind honourable senators that the oath which members of this Parliament take is different from the oath which we are inviting other citizens to take. I really think that that is an undesirable situation. The affirmation in the Schedule to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia states:
I, A. B. do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Her heirs and successors according to law.
A footnote in the Schedule requires the name of the King or Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for the time being to be substituted for Queen Victoria. Then there is an oath in the same terms. In other words, the oath that we take in this Parliament is an oath of personal allegiance to the Queen, and obviously it is in strict constitutional terms because, as I say, that is an oath to the Queen of Australia in the only terms in which constitutionally it may be taken or an affirmation may be made. Therefore, I think that lightly to dismiss this matter as of some sentimental attraction without examining the constitutional implications of it is extraordinarily dangerous. The use of the phrase ‘Her heirs and successors according to law’ is appropriate in an oath or affirmation where we are dealing with succession, and where we are dealing with succession, of course, as I have said, Australia has no succession Act in that sense. There is no Act of Succession here; we rely on the British Act of Succession. It is not competent for this Parliament to create a succession in the terms in which it must be adopted and proclaimed to make it constitutionally and legally viable in this Commonwealth. Section 16 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901-1973 provides that references in any Act to the Sovereign reigning at the time of the passing of the Act shall, unless this contrary intention appears, be construed as references to the Sovereign for the time being. That covers the situation of allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria and then her heirs and successors down to Queen Elizabeth II.
Clause 2 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, to which I have already refer-, red, reads:
The provisions to this Act referring to the Queen shall extend to Her Majesty’s heirs and successors in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.
Here again we get that firm proclamation of the only basis on which the sovereignty of the Queen in Australia can legally and constitutionally rest. It is in the right and title of her queenship, her sovereignty, of the United Kingdom. I know of this new insistence on the concept of Australian nationalism, which is so important and acceptable; nevertheless we cannot afford to disregard particularly the constitutional implications while we may be prepared- for the reasons which have been suggested- to lay aside the historical background. Therefore when the Senate insists, as Senator Davidson proposes, on the amendment as originally proposed and rejected by the House of Representatives, I submit, on the authorities which I have quoted and on the recitation of the history of the constitutional position, that the amendment reflects the constitutional position in the personalisation of the Queen in her right and title as sovereign of the United Kingdom. The amendment originally proposed by the Senate included the words ‘Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia’. It therefore meets the proposition which we project, that is, the queenship of Australia. It meets the constitutional demand that we accept, that is, that Queen Elizabeth is Queen of Australia in her right and title as Queen of the United Kingdom.
For these reasons I think it is tremendously important that this amendment be accepted. I suggest that the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland), who is the Minister at the table, in view of these rather technical propositions which have been propounded may feel that the matter requires further consideration. He may elect to take it back and have it further examined. For the reasons I and Senator Davidson have enunciated I think that the Senate must insist on the amendment as originally projected as fulfilling the constitutional and sentimental requirements of this nation. I think it is most important that honourable senators should give their minds to this amendment as a most serious proposition with implications which are, perhaps, beyond our concept to imagine at the moment and which in particular cases could have very grave and serious repercussions. I therefore indicate that the Australian Democratic Labor Party continues to insist on the amendment as originally proposed in this place. We reject the amendment which has come from the House of Representatives.
– That is contrary to Senator Little’s views.
– I am now expounding the views of the Democratic Labor Party on the constitutional and legal position. This is the thing with which the Democratic Labor Party is concerned. The sentimental aspect is one on which we would agree with Senator Mulvihill. But it is the seriousness of the constitutional defects to which we draw attention. In relation to the renunciation of sovereignty, we support and adopt the arguments which have been propounded by Senator Davidson. For those reasons we reject the amendments which have come to this place from the House of Representatives.
– I rise to oppose the motion which has been moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) and to support the view of the Opposition which Senator Davidson has expressed. I am sure that the chamber is indebted to Senator Byrne for his erudite and considered approach. I am sure that .his scholarship on this matter can be even further elaborated in due course when we consider the Royal Style and Titles Bill. I do not wish to go further into the matters which he has raised except to indicate quite simply that the reasons, given by Senator Davidson and supported by Senator Byrne for the maintenance of the original position to which the Senate adhered, are well made out. I shall deal with the desirability of retaining the provision with regard to the renunciation of allegiances.
I believe that when a person becomes an Australian citizen he should become an Australian citizen primarily and to the exclusion of any other allegiance. I believe that this is the concept which we have evolved as part of our common law inheritance. Whilst that common law background may not be the background of persons who have come to Australia in recent years, nevertheless it is one of the bases upon which our citizenship is founded. I welcome persons who come to Australia and I am hopeful that they will become Australian citizens but I believe that acceptance of Australian citizenship carries with it some fundamental obligations. One of those obligations is the traditional concept of allegiance to Australia and to no other country. When I speak of allegiance I refer to the formal and constitutional -
– Does the honourable senator object to allegiance to the Queen of Australia? That seems to be the point on which we are in dispute.
– I think that Senator Mulvihill is distracting me from the main theme which I am endeavouring to establish. Attractive as the digression would be I feel happier to mount my own argument. As I see it the allegiance which a prospective citizen of Australia accepts is the allegiance which is formal and constitutional and which, as a matter of law, he owes to the society of which he is conscientiously and deliberately becoming a citizen. Therefore I believe it is appropriate that the act should be an act of affirmation and should equally be an act of renunciation. I was interested to hear what Senator Davidson said about the practice in the United States of America where, quite clearly, there is a positive acceptance of American citizenship and a complete renunciation of all other allegiances. This is the pattern which America has evolved over the years because there were many difficulties in a much more stable age than we have today when persons migrated to the United States and, in a variety of ways, found themselves subject to restraints and obligations which their homeland had imposed upon them. But America has stood resolute in its insistence that there should be both the affirmative and the positive side of the act of citizenship. I believe that we in Australia should maintain the same basis.
We in this country have good reason to appreciate the problems which dual nationality involves. Of course dual nationality is something which an act of renunciation on the part of a person taking out Australian citizenship will not in any way overcome. If Italy, Greece or Yugoslavia- to mention 3 countries in relation to which dual nationality problems have arisenasserts a claim or seeks to exact an obligation from one of the native born citizens of those countries then the fact that those persons have become Australian citizens and have formally renounced the citizenship of their country of birth will not persuade those countries to take any other attitude. I say that in terms of what the law is at present. I hope that we can move towards a situation where there will be an end to dual nationality and a general acceptance of one nationality and procedures whereby if there is doubt as to a person ‘s nationality there will be a means under international law to determine the actual nationality of that person. Over the centuries there have been 2 broad schools of thought with regard to this concept of dual nationality. One is the doctrine of dominant or effective nationality. That doctrine is established by examining the habitual residence of a person whose nationality is in question and examining his conduct and activities with a view to determining the country with which he has the closest connection so that you can determine what is his effective, dominant or master nationality. On that basis it is to the country of his dominant nationality that he owes obligations and it is the country of his dominant nationality which may assert its role in international affairs to protect that person if he needs state protection. This is a feasible means whereby a person’s nationality can be determined and it obviates the problems which dual nationality creates.
The other school of thought is essentially the non-responsibility of nations for dual nationals. Under this other stream of thought, a person could be a national of 2 countries. Each country accepts that where the other country seeks to impose upon a citizen an obligation or to exact from him some tribute, the other country to which he has some national allegiance will not assert its rights against that other State. Of course, it represents a washing of the hands by each of the countries in regard to the claims of the other. It is a problem which is at the very root of the problems of dual nationality which, unfortunately, an increasing number of Australian citizens have been experiencing in recent times. It is generally not known that Australia is a party to an international convention on dual nationality. The international convention of 1930 on certain questions relating to the conflict of nationality laws is a convention to which Australia adhered in 1937. It is not a convention which has won any significant acceptance. I think that apart from Australia there are some 1 5 other countries that are members of that convention.
The convention accepts the second of those 2 schools of thought to which I have referred. Of course, under that convention if we have a problem with Greece or with Yugoslavia about one of the natives of those countries who has migrated to Australia, those countries will assert that Australia has no claim to make on behalf of a person who is claimed by them to be one of their nationals. I think that for too long Australia has somewhat tamely submitted to that proposition. I think that we have done this because whilst we are a member of that convention, as I recall the position, Yugoslavia certainly is not and Greece may not be a member of that international convention. In those circumstances I feel that we are giving less to our citizens than they are entitled to expect from the country to which they have given their allegiance and of which they have become citizens.
I believe that the case for Australia’s withdrawing from the 1930 convention is a strong one to which consideration ought to be given by the Government. We should revert to the general proposition that is contained in the general rules of international law. After all, article 4 of this convention states in broad terms that a State may not afford diplomatic protection to one of its nationals against a State whose nationality such a person also possesses. Put in that bold form, it means that there is a significant number of Australian citizens in respect of whom the Australian Government is binding itself to say nothing, to do nothing and to assert nothing when they are in trouble. I do not believe that it is to the credit of this country that we have allowed that situation to develop for so long. I think that Australian citizenship requires something more from the Government of Australia than an attitude which I believe is as weak as that. Therefore, I state that in my judgment we would be wise to reconsider completely our membership of the 1930 convention.
Although I do not often do this, I refer the Senate to what appears in a law journal in regard to the alternative position which would exist if Australia were to pull out of this convention. It is a thought expressed by a commentator in the
American Journal of International Law’, volume 53, page 143. He states: lie principle of non-responsibility of states for claims of dual nationals was originally introduced in international law under the sound assumption that a dual national could not enjoy the protection of two countries, his original and his adopted country. If an individual was injured by the action of his original country, he generally was able to seek redress as a citizen of that country. Such a doctrine was justified in the 19th and in the beginning of the 20th century, when social conditions in most of the civilised countries were stabilised, and denial of justice was an exception rather than the rule. The situation is quite different today. Communist governments do not even pretend to give protection to claimants who seek compensation for injuries inflicted to their persons or property by deliberate actions of persecution, socialisation, confiscation, et cetera. To a minor degree, this situation is similar in countries with formerly were dominated by colonial Powers. Under these circumstances, the return to the theory of dominant nationality appears quite justified.
That is a view to which I subscribe. How does this all come together in the context of the retention of the provisions of renunciation in our oath of allegiance? I believe that what we should endeavour to sustain is the concept of the one nationality. By the individual’s act he should accept the nationality of one country and positively abdure any allegiance to any other country. It is a fundamental first step to the acceptance of an Australian nationality.
– Does not the honourable senator want to become British?
Sentor GREENWOOD- It is interesting to hear what Senator O’Byrne says. While I do not accept that the interjection is directed to me in terms of this argument, historically it does establish a point. Over the years, there was this tendency in Australia to regard oneself as ari Australian citizen and a British subject. That is not the view which I think the vast majority of Australians would accept today. We evolved through a pattern of being simply British subjects to a stage where we were British subjects and Australian citizens. I would have thought that today we are proud to be Australian citizens and that the British connection is part of our history, of our sentiment and of our culture for a large number of people in this country. But it is not the sentiment and culture for many others. This is the Australia of today. I believe, notwithstanding that there are some migrant Australians who may object to the fact that they have to renounce an allegiance, that we should insist and continue to insist that migrants accept Australian citizenship and renounce all other citizenships, and that that be the test and measure of becoming an Australian citizen. By all means, let people maintain their cultural links, historical ties and family associations. Nothing in Australia prevents those associations being maintained. But in terms of formal constitutional relationships and the obligations which the law imposes, I think we should insist, as far as we are able, upon Australian citizenship. Let us get rid of the concepts of dual nationality. For those reasons, although the reasoning may be tenuous, I believe that we should retain the provision renouncing previous allegiance as part of our oath of allegiance which people take as one step towards establishing what I believe is wholly desirable, namely, the traditional concept of a permanent, effective, master nationality.
– Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– Firstly, I wish to point out that it was Senator Murphy who moved this proposition on behalf of the Government. I understand that in doing so he moved that the 2 parts of the proposition be taken together. I would suggest, because of the nature of the debate that has gone on so far, that for the purposes of clarity we should, with the permission of the Committee, take a separate vote on the first part of the proposition rather than on both pans of the proposition at the one time.
– There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– I have listened to the debate with considerable interest because I have the responsibility of being the representative in this chamber of the Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby). I wish to comment firstly on the subject of dual nationality, which was a matter to which Senator Greenwood referred. I remind the honourable senator that the problem of dual nationality is at present the subject of examination by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, which is, of course, a committee of this Parliament. I might also add that it is the subject of associated initiatives by the Minister for Immigration.
– Dual nationality is also the subject of a reference to the Croatian Committee, is it not? I think that is one of its terms of reference.
-The subject of dual nationality could well be one of the terms of references of the Senate Select Committee on the Civil Rights of Migrant Australians. I know that it has been referred to the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence for its consideration. As I was saying, this matter is also the subject of associated initiatives by the Minister for Immigration, who, I would like to place on record, is on behalf of the Government sparing no effort in ensuring as a first step that migrants who acquire Australian citizenship and who are still regarded by their former homeland as being its citizens are able, where the law of that country so provides, to divest themselves of that citizenship if they so wish. I repeat that this matter is the subject of scrutiny by one of the joint committees of the Parliament, that it is probably also the subject of scrutiny, as Senator Byrne has said, by a standing committee of the Senate, and that it is also, of course, the subject of very close scrutiny by the Minister for Immigration.
I turn to the point raised bv Senator Byrne, which, he will be the first to admit, is a matter of constitutionality. I am not a lawyer. I am certainly not a constitutional lawyer. But I would point out to the honourable senator that in the course of its preparation the Bill was the subject of the attention of the Senior Parliamentary Counsel. I should have thought that he, among others, would have given consideration to the validity or otherwise of the Bill insofar as the constitutional position is concerned. Secondly, the Royal Style and Titles Bill 1973 has been passed by the House of Representatives and has been introduced in the Senate. I understand that the motion for the second reading of the Bill probably will be the next matter to be debated in the Senate. Under the Royal Style and Titles Act 1953 the oath of allegiance referred to ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Australia and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith’. Honourable senators will be aware that earlier this year the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) went to England and that during conversation there with Her Majesty about the Royal style and titles she agreed to the amended style that is the subject of a debate that is to ensue subsequently.
– But the projected form in the Royal Style and Titles Bill 1973 is ‘Elizabeth the Second ‘-it mentions the Queen personally; not the Queen of Australia- ‘by the Grace of God Queen of Australia ‘.
– It says Queen of Australia ‘.
– Yes, but it also includes Elizabeth the Second ‘.
Senator DOUGLAS McCLELLANDSenator Byrne is a lawyer; I am not. I am looking at the practicalities of the situation.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
-Prior to the suspension of the sitting I had dealt with the point made by Senator Greenwood about dual citizenship, and I was dealing with the point made by Senator Byrne about the constitutional doubt on the validity of the proposed oath of allegiance. I had pointed out that the Bill had been drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel and that, as far as I know, he did not question or call into question the constitutional doubt about the validity of the Bill.
– The Parliamentary Counsel acts upon instructions from the department.
-That may be so, but I make that point in passing. I do not think the honourable senator would doubt for one moment that the Parliamentary Counsel is a man of eminent legal standing. I was also dealing with the Royal Style and Titles Bill, and I had mentioned that when the Prime Minister was in England earlier this year he discussed that matter, among others, with Her Majesty. As a result, that Bill has been presented and dealt with by the House of Representatives and is on the notice paper for discussion here. In the 1953 Royal Style and Titles Act the oath was:
Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Australia and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
In the 1973 Bill the words-are:
Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.
– That is not quite the point.
– It still refers to Queen of Australia.
– I am not querying the inclusion of those words. I am querying the omission of the reference to the Queen in person, Elizabeth the Second.
– I know that that is your point, but I am arguing that she is referred to in this legislation as Queen of Australia and she is referred to as Queen of Australia in the 1973 Royal Style and Titles Bill.
– In that Bill she is referred to as Elizabeth the Second.
-She is still the Queen of Australia. Surely the honourable senator does not deny that Elizabeth the Second is the Queen of Australia. If he denies it, let him say so.
– It does not say so in the Bill.
-As I have said, I am not a constitutional lawyer. Frankly, I doubt very much whether the honourable senator who made the proposition is one either. I am trying to speak as a practical person, knowing that the ordinary man or woman in the community would say that Queen Elizabeth the Second is the Queen of Australia.
I wish to indicate why the Government does not accept the amendment which was made by the Senate when the legislation was before it last June and which relates to the oath of allegiance. The amendment retains the words ‘renouncing all other allegiance’. In my second reading speech on behalf of the Minister for Immigration I said:
That renunciation has been a cause of great emotional misgivings amongst people who want to become Australians. It has served no legal purpose at all because loss or retention of former citizenship depends entirely on the law of the person’s former homeland. A Greek citizen remains a Greek under Greek law, and an American ceases to be an American under American law, upon their becoming Australians, quite irrespective of whether they say at our citizenship ceremonies that they renounce Greek or American citizenship. And so I put it to honourable senators that it is both the humane and the sane course to drop these distressing and ineffectual words about renunciation.
During the debate on the Citizenship Bill I indicated, on behalf of the Government and the Minister for Immigration, that the Government was not opposed to promising a review of the oath of allegiance contained in the Citizenship Bill after the new royal style and titles had been introduced. The Bill was debated here on 5 June. Subsequently, in a public statement made on 7 June, my colleague the Minister for Immigration confirmed this point. True to its promise, the Government has decided to review the oath of allegiance. The amendment moved by the Government in the House of Representatives is consonant with the royal style and titles provided for in the proposed amendment to the Royal Style and Titles Act.
– You used the word ‘consonant ‘. What do you mean by that?
– It is consonant with it in that it means the same thing.
– It does not.
-You are entitled to your point of view. We on this side are entitled to ours.
– Give us a good reason why you delete the Sovereign’s name.
-For the simple reason that the Sovereign is the Queen of Australia, whoever is the Queen at the time. Senator Byrne quoted the Constitution and the oath of allegiance which members of Parliament are supposed to take. They still refer to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Importantly, so far as this Government is concerned, the change will end the confusion in terminology in the oath of allegiance which has been permitted to continue since the Citizenship Act of 1 948 and will identify formally prospective citizens from other Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries with Australia. The omission of ‘renouncing all other allegiance’ is maintained because, as I have said already, it has no legal purpose and it could be equally distressing to citizens of the United Kingdom as well as to citizens of other countries, all of whom will be required to take the oath or affirmation of allegiance.
The Government, in considering this amendment to the oath of allegiance, was mindful of public reaction to its first proposal which would require prospective Australian citizens to swear to uphold the Australian Constitution. It is interesting to note that results of a gallup poll conducted on 1 9 and 20 May this year -
– Only 900 persons responded.
-The number was 9,042, not 900 as Senator Davidson has stated. The results from 9,042 people who responded were as follows: Overall 68 per cent were in favour of the change that the Government has proposed, 22 per cent were opposed, and 10 per cent were undecided. The highest percentages in favour were recorded in New South Wales and Queensland. Seventy per cent of city dwellers and 65 per cent of country dwellers were in favour of the change. In the 10 to 19 and 20 to 29 age groups, 83 percent and 76 per cent respectively favoured the change. Seventy per cent of Australian born and 70 per cent of post-war non-British migrants were in favour.
– Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
– I intervene in the debate merely to allow the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland) to continue any remarks he may wish to make.
-I am grateful to the Senate. The majority of postwar British migrants, as I have said, also favoured the change.
– Who did this exercise?
– It was an organisation called the Roy Morgan Research Centre, which I think is commonly referred to as the gallup poll organisation. But while the Government believes that it has support among the community for the form of the oath of allegiance to the Australian Constitution put forward in the Citizenship Bill, we have accepted the intent of the Senate amendment that was moved by Senator Davidson, I think, in June last in the spirit of compromise. But the Government cannot agree to any further compromise so far as its attitude to this new proposal now coming from the House of Representatives is concerned. With the proposed change in the royal style and titles giving specific recognition to the Queen of Australia the Government has in its amendment to the form of the oath of allegiance for grant of citizenship continued in an explicit manner to identify formally such change.
With the passage of the Australian Citizenship Bill through the Parliament the substantive provision, namely clause 2(3) of the Australian Citizenship Bill of 1973 which includes the proposed new oath of allegiance, would come into operation on a date to be fixed by proclamation which will be after the Queen has proclaimed her royal style and titles. I should also like to give to the Committee some additional information that has been made available to me by my colleague the Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby) as to why the Government believes it essential to omit the words ‘renouncing all other allegiance’. The main reason for this is that the report of a survey on migrants carried out by the Department of Immigration in the first half of 1971 included the following statement: it was found to be difficult to explicitly renounce allegiance to one’s country of birth which still held great emotional significance.
I am sure that all honourable senators as Australians can well understand the emotional significance of a matter such as that. It was specifically reported in the survey that a major reason why people who were eligible were not applying for citizenship was:
Specific objection to the aspects or procedure of the ceremony such as the requirement that applicants for Australian citizenship should explicitly renounce all loyalty to their country and swear allegiance to the English monarch.
– To the Australian monarch, in your terms.
– I am just saying that this was the survey that was conducted at that time. In January 1973 a committee on citizenship of the Immigration Advisory
Council unanimously recommended to the Minister for Immigration that the oath of affirmation should no longer require the applicants to renounce their former allegiance. A recent study of the citizenship legislation of 19 Commonwealth countries that was made by the Department of Immigration on behalf of the Minister revealed that 1 7 of those Commonwealth countries require an oath of allegiance but of that number only four require renunciation of other allegiance. The 4 countries are Australia, Western Samoa, Ghana and Malaysia. Significantly the United Kingdom and Canada are among the great majority that do not require an act of renunciation.
The recommendations for the deletion of the renunciation element have been steadfast and of long standing. As long ago as 1963- a decade ago- the then committee on naturalisation of the Immigration Advisory Council recommended the same action as the citizenship committee recommended in January 1973:
If the act of former allegiance has no legal justification and serves no significant purpose it should be abolished.
In a recent report to my colleague the Minister for Immigration the Department of Immigration gave the following considered opinion:
The effectiveness of the renunciation of former allegiance is very much open to question; in the first place a number of countries (e.g. Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the USSR) do not recognise loss of nationality by mere renunciation; specific permission to relinquish the original nationality is required, and the ‘renunciation’ under Australian procedures, is in their view, of no effect whatsoever. In the second place, loss of original nationality results automatically from naturalisation in the case of persons who were originally nationals of countries such as the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Austria, Norway and Sweden. In these cases, the ‘renunciation’ is at least superfluous.
For all of those reasons the Government believes that it has compromised to a considerable extent and has gone halfway as it were in meeting the expression of opinion of the Senate that was put forward in June last. We believe that this is a matter of tremendous importance. Therefore, as Senator Murphy proposed this afternoon, we suggest that the Senate sitting as a Committee of the Whole should not insist on the amendment disagreed to by the House of Representatives but should agree to the amendment made to clause 19 by the House of Representatives.
– We are indebted to the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland) for the reason which he has put forward. But on 2 counts I am dismayed to find that in trying to present a case for the inclusion of the words ‘Queen of Australia’ and not using the name and titles of the Sovereign the Minister has been completely unconvincing. Indeed, he has not answered the queries which I and my colleagues have put forward. He has certainly not answered the interjections which we have put forward. The Minister was at great pains to point out that the new Royal Style and Titles Bill includes the title ‘Her Majesty’, her name and other things pertaining to her style and titles and that this description has been agreed to by Her Majesty. Further, he was at pains to point out that this is in keeping with modern international development as far as relationships between nations are concerned. But he cannot convince anyone with his reasons why the Government wants to leave out of this measure the name of the Queen as well as other references pertaining to her. He has not told us why the Government is just satisfied with calling her the Queen of Australia. This is a most disappointing response and I invite the Senate to contemplate the fact that the Minister has not adequately answered the questions which have been put forward.
I went to some pains to point out on the subject of renunciation the fact that citizenship within our community was a matter of some considerable seriousness and therefore it required a definite stand to be taken. The Minister surely would recognise that in the community today 700,000 people or more- a considerable part of the migrant community- have felt fit to become Australian citizens and have not been concerned about the fact that they had to renounce all other allegiance. They have come willingly and been prepared to say what their stand is by becoming Australian citizens and by identifying themselves with us. These figures are taken from the consolidated statistics of the Department of Immigration. I press the point that there is much to be said for the retention of the renunciation phrase. I press the point also that the Government has not said why it is prepared to leave the Queen’s name and other references in the Royal Style and Titles Bill but for some curious and unexplained reason delete them from the oath of allegiance which we require citizens to take. I ask the Senate to sustain the moves put forward by the Opposition.
– I am conscious of the difficulties that face the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland) in such a technical field in which he is representing the Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby) and attempting to command an adequate assessment of the difficulties of this position. I am indebted to the Minister for his contribution to the debate. When this Bill originally came before this chamber the title by which the Queen was described for the purpose of allegiance was Queen Elizabeth the Second of Australia’. That was obviously wrong, because there was never a Queen Elizabeth the First of Australia. That is why the amendment was put in to read: ‘Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia’. The words ‘Queen of were included, for otherwise it would have been a complete misnomer and misstatement. It was in that form that the Bill left the Senate. When the Bill originally came in the personalisation of the Queen was contained in the oath of affirmation as ‘Queen Elizabeth the Second’. Now that it has come back, that title has been deleted, and the oath is now to be taken to Queen of Australia ‘.
I think the Minister for the Media is under a misapprehension for neither Senator Davidson nor I, and certainly no other senator on this side of the House, seeks to eliminate the words Queen of Australia’. We welcome the inclusion of those words. What we query is the technical situation as to whether there is not some constitutional invalidity in the non-reference to the queen as ‘Queen Elizabeth the Second’. The point I attempted to make in my submission was this: The Queen is Queen of Australia only insofar as she is Queen of the United Kingdom. She derives the title ‘Queen Elizabeth the Second ‘ from her monarchy in the United Kingdom. As I have said, I do not expect that my opinion on this will necessarily be accepted, but I have quoted, and I requote, the learned Dr Evatt, who said:
The Prime Minister was quite correct in pointing out that so far as Australia is concerned in both constitutional practice and constitutional law in the strict sense the succession is determined by the succession to the throne of the United Kingdom.
In other words, the learned doctor was there predicating that it is as Queen of the United Kingdom that the Queen becomes Queen of Australia. It is not necessary to insert the words of the United Kingdom’ because in describing her as Queen Elizabeth the Second, ipso facto, she is Queen of the United Kingdom and Queen Elizabeth the Second of the United Kingdom. That is the proposition. I feel that the Minister is under misapprehension insofar as he thinks that anybody on this side of the chamber is opposed to the words ‘Queen of Australia’. Our point is that the personalisation of the sovereign is Queen Elizabeth the Second’ and then ‘Queen of Australians the form in which the oath should be stated. We stress that. I think it is an important situation and for that reason I persist in my objection to the amendment as it has proceeded from the House of Representatives, and I persist in my adherence to the amendment as it was presented when the Bill was originally before this chamber, which involves 2 things: Firstly, the personalisation of the Queen, Elizabeth the Second and, secondly, the description of the further title ‘ Queen of Australia ‘.
- Senator, I know that you are vitally interested in this subject. However, would not lawyers in the House of Representatives, which brought down this Bill, be aware of the same difficulties which you are expressing? Why would they have allowed it to pass?
-That could be right.
– I am only looking for information.
-There are most distinguished lawyers in the other place, but, significantly, when the Bill came from that place it was obviously, in spite of the distinguished lawyers there, in incorrect form, because, as I said, it included the form ‘Queen Elizabeth the Second of Australia’, which is a non-thing. There was never a Queen Elizabeth the First of Australia; therefore there could be no Queen Elizabeth the Second of Australia. I presume that was a correct proposition by us, but that escaped the notice of all the distinguished lawyers in the House of Representatives, if our proposition is correct.
– The thoughts of the lawyers in the Senate are entitled to consideration in case the distinguished lawyers elsewhere perchance miss something.
– I am grateful to the honourable senator for coming in to bat at the other end of the wicket and I am grateful for his contribution. The proposition which we originally proposed and which we now restate and to which we adhere, that the form should be ‘Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia’, to my mind resolves the constitutional doubt and predicates the affirmation of Queen Elizabeth the Second as Queen of Australia and therefore satisfies the growing national concern for an Australian national image and stature. Therefore I think there is every justification for adherence to our original proposition and for opposition to the amendment as it has proceeded from the House of Representatives. As we intend to persist with our amendment I would urge the Minister to think of further adjourning this matter and having it reconsidered in the light of the propositions that have been presented from this side of the chamber; but in any case I, and obviously Senator Davidson and those who support him in this proposition, will vote against the amendment as it has been presented by the Minister.
– The Government persists with its attitude. When this Bill first came to the Senate the oath of allegiance proposed by the Government was:
I A. B. swear by Almighty God that I will faithfully uphold the Constitution of Australia, observe the laws of Australia and fulfill my duties as an Australian citizen.
That proposal was not acceptable to the Senate and on the motion of Senator Davidson, supported at the time by, I think, Senator Little, speaking on behalf of the Democratic Labor Party, the Senate amended that proposed oath of allegiance to uphold the Constitution of Australia to read:
I, A. B. renouncing all other allegiances, swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil my duties as an Australian citizen.
– I was incorrect in saying that it came like that from the House of Representatives. You are right.
-That is right.
– It was our proposal from this side.
– I was coming to the point that it was not the Government’s proposal in the first instance; it was the proposal of the Opposition supported by the Democratic Labor Party. We in turn, in a spirit of compromise, have taken out of the text of the Bill the proposal regarding the Constitution and have now said that the proposed oath of allegiance under the proposal now coming from the House of Representatives should be:
I, A. B., swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil my duties as an Australian citizen.
Senator Byrne, speaking as a lawyer, says there may be some doubt about the constitutionality of that proposal. The Government believes that there is no doubt about the constitutional validity of the situation and therefore we press the amendment. Senator Davidson made a point about some 700,000 people having come from far distant lands and deciding to become Australian citizens and who have renounced their allegiance to their original homelands. In contradistinction to his argument, the fact is that there are some one million or more non-citizens already resident in this country and others will be encouraged to settle here. Many of these one million people have not become naturalised Australian citizens because, whatever be the reason- emotional or for some other reasonthey have not been able to say publicly that they renounce the citizenship of their original homeland. On the survey that has been taken by the Department of Immigration, to which I referred earlier, it is obvious that a large number of those people are affected by that clause. We believe that by the removal of that renunciation principle, which was a unanimous recommendation of the citizenship committee to the Minister in January of this year, we are acting on the unanimous advice of that committee and on the advice of the Department in accordance with the wishes of the Australian people and in accordance with the wishes of many people who would become naturalised Australian citizens but for the fact that they have to renounce the citizenship of their original homeland. The Government presses the amendment.
– I do not wish to prolong the debate but I do wish to impress one point on the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland). The Minister says that in a spirit of compromise the Government propounded an alternative proposition. This is not an area for compromise. This is not a question in relation to which we can say that we will go this far or that far. It is a question of constitutional law and the constitutional situation. It is not a question of compromise. It is either probably right or probably wrong.
– You say that in relation to titles but not in relation to renunciation?
– I am speaking only on titles and not on renunciation; that is quite true. Therefore we should not concede this as being a matter of compromise any more than I believe that the Government was entitled to concede something as a matter of compromise. I know that some might say that this is a theoretical question. Its implications are never likely to be grave but I can think of cases in which it might arise. Earlier I suggested the case of Sir Roger Casement who was charged with treason. The charge was brought under a very old treason law dating back to the reign of Edward II, I think it was. I referred also to the case of William Joyce who was charged with treason during or after the last war. That case rested on a question of whether he was a naturalised British subject. One could conceive a situation in which some person may be charged with treason in some circumstance which involves a question of whether he is formally an Australian citizen and has taken the oath of allegiance. A constitutional point could be raised that the form of allegiance was constitutionally unavailable. That may provide a defence or, on the other hand, it may provide the basis of a prosecution that would not be justified. That is the type of situation I have in mind. Therefore this question cannot be easily dismissed as a matter of personal or party compromise.
– Why do you not agree to it and then contest it later?
– That is the type of compromise I am talking about. That is not the point. At least I am taking my stand on this. For the reasons I have indicated I will persist with it. I apologise to the Minister for attributing to him what should have been attributed to Senator Davidson and me. This matter is so important that if there is some doubt about it the Minister might well consider having it looked at again and perhaps reported upon by the advisory lawyers to the Minister. But if it is not re-examined, as I say, I propose to persist in my objection to the amendment and to support the proposition originally propounded by Senator Davidson in this chamber.
– The Government persists with pressing the request of the House of Representatives. The simple fact is, as I mentioned to Senator Byrne earlier, that the Parliamentary Counsel drafted the legislation. There is a legislative committee of Cabinet of which the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) is a member. The advice available to the Government is that the matter is not in question, and therefore I must -
- Dr Evatt thought it was in doubt and Sir Robert Menzies thought it was in doubt.
Because the honourable senator is a lawyer and expresses his personal opinion that there may be a doubt, to use his words, does not necessarily mean that the Government’s legislative program should be delayed. We believe this matter to be important. We believe the legislation is constitutional. If that is the only reason Senator Byrne is objecting to the legislation I suggest that he support it. If the lawyers who advise the Government then consider it doubtful the Government could further amend the legislation. At this stage I have not received such advice.
– I rise only to object to the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland) describing the doubt on the part of Senator Byrne as a personal doubt against the Government’s legislative program. The Minister tried to magnify this by saying that the legislation comes from the Parliamentary Counsel and goes through the legislative committee of which the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) is a member. That argument is old hat, riddled with error, that has to be revised in this chamber. We vote on a question of principle, not on personal issues.
– I support what Senator Wright has said and state that it is not a matter of doubt at all. 1 think Senator Davidson put the position so clearly when he first spoke on this issue earlier today. What has happened is this: The Senate, recognising what was contained in a Bill which the Government itself had introduced about the royal style and titles of the sovereign, inserted in the oath of allegiance to be subscribed to by prospective Australian citizens the following words:
I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law.
That is the substance of the amendment which the Senate moved. To that the House of Representatives, at the behest of the Government, has sought to inscribe the words:
I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law.
The simple point is whether the oath of allegiance should be to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, her heirs and successors or whether it should be to bear true allegiance to the Queen of Australia, her heirs and successors. When the Government in its Royal Style and Titles Bill, which will be accepted by the Senate, refers to Her Majesty Elizabeth II, by the grace of God Queen of Australia, why cannot we require our citizens to swear allegiance to Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia? It is as simple as that. I must say with all deference to my colleague the Minister that his arguments in support of the Government’s proposition, strenuous as they have been, do not answer that situation.
– I am not a person whom one would think would be interested in the royal style but I am concerned when lawyers get together to give a determination on such things because when they have finished expressing their opinions the clearest thing has become confused. Of course, this is what we have seen in this debate. I am prompted to rise because of what has just happened. Senator Byrne, I think in all sincerity, said that there is some doubt in his mind as to whether this is constitutional.
– In Dr Evatt ‘s mind and Sir Robert Menzies ‘ mind.
– The honourable senator quotes authorities. Whether his interpretation of those authorities is right I do not know because I have not read what they have said on the subject. But the honourable senator is not relying on his own opinion.
-Not exclusively. He is quoting other authorities for the purpose of backing up his opinion. Therefore he suggested an adjournment for the purpose of getting further legal counsel on this question. I take it that if we did get an opinion from superior counsel that this course was constitutionally possible the opposition of Senator Byrne would disappear.
– That does not follow, Senator. We have no legal opinion on this question at all.
-Senator Byrne certainly has misled me. I was somewhat receptive to his plea. The question is whether we have legal constitutional power to do this. The question does not arise of what will happen if we get another Joyce or Casement in Australia who can escape the rigour of the law by virtue of the fact that he had no opportunity to swear allegiance to the proper royal person and therefore the oath taken was meaningless. I thought that if we could resolve that point, the only point that Senator Byrne was relying on, we were promised his support. I hope the honourable senator accepts that there may be superior counsel in Australia. Apparently if we get advice from superior counsel stating that there is a legal right- it would be hard to find legal opinion of the quality of Dr Evatt ‘s- we will get Senator Byrne’s support. Now we find that if we do get over that difficulty it does not necessarily follow that we will get his support. He would seek another avenue to oppose the Labor Party’s proposed amendment to the royal titles or to the oath of allegiance.
– Together with that legal opinion you would get the reasons for it. We have heard no reasons from the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland) or from the Government to substantiate that what is proposed is constitutional.
-That is not fair; you did get opinions from him. Next we heard from Senator Wright who is somewhat irate about what the Minister for the Media said in reply to Senator Byrne. This is the answer to Senator
Little’s interjection. The Minister for the Media said that the legal counsel who drew this up are fully informed on law and did not reject the proposal and did not advise the responsible Minister against taking this course. That suggests that legal consideration was given to this matter. Despite what the Minister for the Media said, Senator Wright said that in this House we deal with principles. Therefore it is not a question of law that the other legal counsel- Senator Wright- relies on; he relies on a question of principle. Yet Senator Byrne relies on the question of law. Then a third counsel rose and said: ‘No, the question is whether there is a Queen of Australia and whether we recognise the Queen of Australia ‘. If the honourable senator concerned studied the whole Act he would find that it does not matter whether there is a Queen of Australia. We are dealing with the oath of allegiance which requires a person to bear true allegiance to the Queen of Australia, and her heirs and successors according to law, and to faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil his duties as an Australian citizen. A person is required to take this sacred oath on the Bible to faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil his duties as an Australian citizen. Does not that wording pull everyone into the dragnet, the Joyces and the Casements who are in breach of the law if they have sworn to observe the laws of Australia? Do they not have a responsibility to observe such laws? If they do not observe them they must face the consequences of prosecution.
The Opposition argument is not valid; the Opposition simply is not accepting what is put forward. As I said, I am not much concerned about whether I owe allegiance to Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of the Realm and Queen of Australia, or whether I owe allegiance only to the Queen of Australia. It is not of great importance to me. The point is that the Opposition is opposed to the legislation. I understand that this wording was chosen as a result of the visit of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and his wife to Buckingham Palace. This question was discussed with the Queen and the suggested change of title for royalty in Australia was agreed to between the Prime Minister of Australia and the Queen. We see acceptance of this understanding in regard to many other alterations to the laws of Australia in the past. There is no opposition from royalty.
– But why do you make it different in the oath of allegiance? You have changed the title but you have left out the sovereign’s name.
– We are changing the wording to what will be the future wording of the royal title in future Australian legislation. Senator Davidson raised the question of the renunciation of allegiance. The Minister for the Media has shown that that argument has no value. Only 4 countries stick to that idea today. This is not the concern of Senator Byrne on the legal issue. If we get over the wording, is Senator Byrne prepared to come along on the question of renunciation? Why is there a necessity to renounce allegiance to a parent country, a country of origin? I direct Senator Byrne to what I thought was a good address in this place by Senator McManus on the question of the committee, the kangaroo court that we set up to inquire into the rights of migrants in Australia. Whether you like it or not you do not get a renunciation of allegiance to become an Australian.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the Minister for Works in order in referring to a committee of the Senate, set up by this Parliament, as a kangaroo court? I ask that those words be withdrawn.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Senator Wilkinson)- To be perfectly honest I was reading the Bill at that time and I did not hear him fully. I did hear the words ‘kangaroo court’ but I did not know that he was referring to this Senate committee.
– Now that he has been reminded, I think that the Minister, has sufficient respect for the Senate to withdraw the imputation against the Committee of the Senate without pressure from you.
– I have every respect for the Senate and I would say nothing against the interests of the Senate. I do not think that particular reference was to the Senate; it was in connection with the action of certain members of the Opposition. If the words ‘kangaroo court’ are offensive, or not derogatory enough to describe their action on that occasion, I am prepared to substitute a more derogatory term if anyone can tell me one?
- Mr Chairman, I object to the Minister’s statement. He referred to a Senate Committee as a ‘kangaroo court’. I believe that what Senator Marriott said was a fair invitation to the Minister to reflect upon his words. This Committee is hearing evidence from people whose action is controversial. The most he can do is to maintain the impartiality of that Committee. My submission is that it is offensive under standing order 418, if under no other standing order, and I would submit that what the Minister has said by way of supposed explanation has been to suggest that if he can find more derogatory words he will use them. My submission is that he must withdraw those words.
– Speaking to the point of order, Senator Cavanagh ‘s original imputation was against the Committee. Then he explicitly said: ‘I do not wish to reflect upon this Senate ‘. But he said: ‘I am referring to particular members of that Committee’. That is alleging that particular members of the Senate serving on that Committee- I do not know to whom he refers- are identified with a tribunal that operates as a court which is not impartial and which does not proceed judiciously. That is a very grave reflection on unnamed members of the Senateunnamed by him- who are serving on that Committee. I think that is an offensive reference which Senator Cavanagh should be invited- and I invite him- to withdraw.
– Order! As I heard the last remark that Senator Cavanagh made, he was not referring to the Committee. He referred to the members of the Opposition in their endeavours to set up a committee. I think that that was the way in which he was referring to it.
– No, that is not correct.
– I feel that that is right. As regards the original statement to which Senator Marriott took exception, I have said that I did not hear the actual words. I heard mention of a kangaroo court. I now ask Senator Cavanagh: Did you, when you were speaking, refer to a Senate committee as a kangaroo court or to the way in which a committee was set up as being a kangaroo court? This is all that I felt. If it is as Senator Marriott said, and he is supported by Senator Greenwood, then I would ask you, Senator Cavanagh, to withdraw. If it was not- if you only mentioned that you thought the expression ‘a kangaroo court’ could be applied to the way in which a committee had been set up by the Opposition- I would not ask you to withdraw. I ask you honestly: What were you doing?
– Whatever may have been said in debate, I think I did say that I was seeking something more derogatory to apply to members of the Opposition who voted for the setting up of that committee. In view of the time, if there is anything that anyone, including the third member on the Liberal Party ticket in Victoria for the forthcoming Senate elections, takes exception to, as it is not a serious matter I am prepared to withdraw it. As I was saying, Senator
McManus in his speech said that there is allegiance to the country of birth. We still maintainand the Citizenship Convention agreed with this- an interest and try to develop an interest in the cultures and traditions of the country of origin. Therefore, this is something to be continued in Australia; it is something that we accept.
Migrants have the emotional feeling in the renunciation that they are giving away everything of benefit that they derived from their place of origin and they are not prepared to do that. If there is to be any compromise- and I know that Senator Davidson will not compromise- I was wondering what Senator Byrne’s attitude would be if we accept his legal position and do not insist on the title question. What is his attitude to the question of renunciation? I press him on this point: Does he think that all of our Irish forefathers who march in the St Patrick’s Day Procession do not have an interest in their land of origin and in the conflict which is going on between Britain and Ireland at the present time? Does one want to disown or to divorce these people from the interest in and the patriotism that they have for their country of origin?
We have fought in 2 wars with many of these people. Who still owe allegiance to or have an emotional regard for the country of their birth. These people served with us and they have a loyalty to Australia under these conditions. I say definitely that there is a case for our not insisting on renunciation. We still have not heard from Senator Byrne of the Australian Democratic Labor Party on what his Party’s attitude would be to this question and why his Party cannot accept our proposal.
– Order! The Minister’s time has expired. I propose to put the question. It has been agreed that the 2 parts of the Minister’s motion should be taken separately. I propose then to put the question, which is the first part of the motion: That the Committee does not insist on the amendment disagreed to by the House of Representatives and agrees to the amendment made by the House of Representatives in place thereof.
That the motion (Senator Murphy’s) be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman- Senator Prowse)
Question so resolved in the negative.
-I am advised by the Clerk that the practice of the Senate is that when a question has been decided in this way the result is as you have indicated. So your motion is not necessary. In view of the automatic result of the vote the Committee insists on its original amendment standing.
-I understand that when the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) moved the proposal on behalf of the Government this afternoon he moved both portions of it. The vote which was taken this evening related to the first portion of the proposal. We now come to the second portion of the proposal, that is, that the Committee agrees to the amendment made by the House of Representatives to clause 5 of the Bill. On behalf of the Government I suggest that this is a mere machinery matter whereby in clause 5 before the words ‘People’s Republic of Bangladesh’ we seek to insert the words ‘Commonwealth of the Bahamas’. Territories dependent on the United Kingdom include the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. On 10 July 1973 this country achieved independence and became known as the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. As a consequence its inclusion in the list of Commonwealth countries to , which section 7 of the principal Act applies has had to be considered. The amendment merely seeks to update this list. I therefore support the proposal which was moved on behalf of the Government by Senator Murphy.
– On behalf of the Opposition I accept what the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland) has said and quite warmly support the inclusion of the Commonwealth of Bahamas in the Bill.
-The question is:
That the Committee agrees to the amendment made to clause 5 of the Bill by the House of Representatives.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– The question now is:
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported; report adopted.
Debate resumed from 28 August (vide page 222 ), on motion by Senator Murphy:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Opposition supports this measure. The purpose of the Royal Style and Titles Bill is to give effect to the change made, as we have been told, with the concurrence of Her Majesty to the Queen’s royal style and title in Australia. It is a Bill in which the changes made are slight, yet they are quite significant in their impact. The existing style and titles which were legislated from in 1953 and read as follows:
Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Australia and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
It is proposed that there should now be the following style and titles:
Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.
As I have said, the Opposition supports this measure. But in the course of expressing that support I feel that it is appropriate to draw attention to some considerations which I think are highly pertinent both as to the constitutional implications of what has been done and also to the method by which this change has been achieved. I draw the attention of the Senate to the fact that in 1953 the Royal Style and Tides Act was passed by the Parliament. In that Act there was a preamble which set out the purposes for which the legislation was enacted. I draw the attention of the Senate to that preamble. For example, it is stated.
Whereas it was recited in the preamble to the Statute of Westminster, 1931 that it would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Royal Style and Tides should, after the enactment of that Act, ‘require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom’:
And whereas the Style and Titles appertaining to the Crown at the time of the enactment of the Statute of Westminster, 193 1 had been declared by His then Majesty King George V. in a Proclamation in pursuance of the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act, 1927 of the United Kingdom, and were, in consequence of the establishment of the Republic of India, subsequently altered with the assent as well of the Parliaments of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom:
I leave out the next part of the preamble because it is not particularly relevant to the point I make. It proceeds:
And whereas it was concluded by the Prime Ministers and other representatives that, in the present stage of development of the British Commonwealth relationship, it would be in accord with the established constitutional position that each member country should use for its own purposes a form of the Royal Style and Titles which suits its own particular circumstances but retains a substantial element which is common to all:
And whereas it was further agreed by the Prime Ministers and other representatives that the various forms of the Royal Style and Titles should, in addition to the appropriate territorial designation, have as their common element the description of the Sovereign as ‘Queen of Her other Realms and Territories and Head of the Commonwealth’:
Most significantly, we have the final recital in the preamble which reads:
And whereas it was further agreed by the Prime Ministers and other representatives that the procedure of prior consultation between all Governments of the British Commonwealth should be followed in future if occasion arose to propose a change in the form of the Royal Style and Titles used in any country of the British Commonwealth:
Be it therefore enacted by the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty, the Senate, and the House of Representatives -
And the preamble continues. The point I make is that that most significant change which occurred in 1953, eloquently and carefully explained by the then Prime Minister and fully supported by the then Leader of the Opposition, Dr Evatt, has not be followed through in the subsequent amendment which is made in 1 973. It is quite apparent from the preamble to which I have referred that any further change, any alteration in the law touching the royal style and titles, would require the assent of the parliaments of the dominions and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
It was equally agreed that there would be a consultation between all governments of the British Commonwealth if occasion arose to propose a change in the form of the royal style and titles. There has been no consultation between the Government of Australia- between the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) of Australia- and the other governments and the other prime ministers of the Commonwealth. What Australia has done has been done unilaterally. If the consequence is one to which the Opposition raises no objection and, indeed, is one to which the Opposition gives its support, it does not justify the arrogant disregard of the commitment of his predecessors in which the Prime Minister has engaged. The Prime Minister cavalierly told the Parliament that he had taken steps to acquaint the governments of all countries which are members of the Commonwealth of our intentions to change the Queen’s style and titles for Australia. That was an expression which was used in his speech in the Parliament on 24 May this year. But the consultation which had previously been agreed to by the Commonwealth prime ministers has gone by the board and apparently in its place is favoured an acquaintance of intention.
This has occurred not because there was some difficulty in meeting with the heads of the Commonwealth countries, because there was no such difficulty. This happened notwithstanding that there was to be a Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference which was known to the Prime Minister of this country to be occurring in Ottawa in the middle of this year. That Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference was obviously the place at which the consultation that had been agreed upon in 1953 and with which the then Leader of the Opposition, Dr Evatt, had fully concurred could have taken place. Whatever might have been the formality of the consultation that then occurred- I think it would have been a formality- the forms could have been agreed to. But that, of course, is not the style in which the Australian Government carries out its international relations these days. Everything that the Prime Minister of Australia does must be done in his own way, in his own style and in a headline making manner without regard to prior commitments and without regard, apparently, to the impact upon other countries of solemn arrangements entered into by his predecessors. If there is one aspect of Australian Government today that is causing concern right around Australia it is this independent attitude of a government which cares nothing at all for the concern of other peoples, other countries or of the proprieties of what is done. Whether it be in matters of domestic concern or whether it be in matters of international relationship, the overall impact on Australia is one which lessens our standing in the eyes of other nations of the world.
No mention was made by Mr Whitlam of the preamble to the 1953 Act. No mention was made of the fact that there was a solemn commitment there expressed of consultation for any changes in the royal style and titles. No explanation was proffered to the Parliament or to the people of Australia as to why something which has been solemnly expressed in the legislation of this country was being ignored on this occasion. I feel that these matters ought to be raised because they are part of the style of government to which this country is being subjected. I say in support of the general approach that the Opposition is following that there is no objection to the substantive purpose of this Bill. It represents an advance and a stage in our evolution in which I think Australians generally would concur. Certainly, it is a proposal with which the members of the Opposition agree. If it is argued that the words ‘Defender of the Faith’ should be retained in the title of the Monarch -
– Why not?
-Senator Murphy says ‘why not?’. This is the Attorney-General who is sponsoring in the Parliament a proposal that the words should be deleted. He challeges me to say why I agree with him. I think that is absolutely typical of the way in which he and his colleagues in Government regard the affairs of this nation. I know what the Prime Minister has said. I know what Senator Murphy has said. I would respectfully, because of the language they then used, agree with the proposition which they put forward. The words ‘Defender of the Faith’ are words which were ascribed to one of Her Majesty’s ancestors in respect of certain conduct in which he engaged some 400 years ago.
But times have changed. The circumstances are different. The historical relevance of the use of the words ‘Defender of the Faith’ has no particular relevance to Australia. It is entirely consonant, as I see it, with the aspirations of Australia today that we should recognise that the words ‘Defender of the Faith’ have no particular affinity with Australia. If we wanted to retain them their retention would be justified on the basis of conservatism and tradition. I think we are realistic enough to recognise that a style and title which states the Queen’s position as it is, for what it is, is the most effective and sensible way of describing the monarch’s role. Mr Whitlam said that the words have little significance in Australia in the light of prevailing attitudes and the absence of an established church. I do not know whether Senator Murphy would have some disagreement with Mr Whitlam as to the reasons why they should be removed, but, for my part, I do not respond to his interjection that in some way I ought to fit into his preconceived ideas of a person who would want to retain them in the royal style and titles.
The only other alteration which is to be made is that the words ‘of the United Kingdom ‘ are to be removed. Her Majesty is to be described hereafter as ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth’. The words ‘of the United Kingdom ‘ are to be left out. I know that constitutionally some point may be raised that because the Australian Constitution defines the monarch as ‘the Queen of the United Kingdom, Her heirs and successors according to law’ we ought to retain in our royal style and titles provision the reference to Queen Elizabeth the Second of the United Kingdom. I am fairly sure that if Sir Robert Menzies were still a member of the Parliament he would strongly urge that retention. I have read what he said during the course of a debate on the Royal Style and Titles Bill 1953. He certainly argued that that type of description was a necessary con.commitant to the description of Her Majesty as the Queen of Australia.
For my part, I do not believe thatt jurisdically it is an essential part of Her Majesty’s description in regard to the way in which she is to be styled in Australia. The constitutional position cannot be changed. The constitutional position is quite clear. It is that the person who occupies the dignity of the Queen of Australia is Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, according to the law of the United Kingdom and the Act of Succession of 1 707. I wish to quote what Sir Robert Menzies said in 1953. 1 refer to page 55 of Hansard of 18 February 1953. He said: the territorial reference in the royal title ought to be solely a reference to the particular territory represented, that is, that Her Majesty should be described in the case of Australia, for instance, ‘the Queen of Australia and of her other realms and territories’, and in the case of Canada as ‘the Queen of Canada and of her other realms and territories’; and so on. I want to be plain on this matter. I have no sympathy with that approach to this matter. It is essential that we should retain this unity. Therefore, I strongly advocated- and as honourable members will see it turned out at any rate in the case of four of the countries concerned- that we ought in the territorial reference begin by referring to the United Kingdom and then to refer in our own way to Australia, in the case of Australia, and so on. Honourable members may be disposed to say to me, Why do that? After ali, the phrase “and all her other realms and territories” is a comprehensive expression. Why refer to the United Kingdom first?’ I should like to answer that, because I confess I have the strongest possible views on it. In the first place I think that, jurisstically speaking, it would be fantastic to eliminate a reference to the United Kingdom, because the plain truth is that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second sits on the throne not because of some law of Australia but because of the law of the United Kingdom. She sits there by virtue of two acts of parliament. The first is the Act of Settlement of 1701; the second is the Abdication Act, which signalized the departure of Edward VIII from the throne and the installation of His late Majesty King George VI in 1936. Therefore, in the literal, legal sense the Queen is Queen of Canada and of South Africa and of New Zealand, and so on, because she is Queen of the United Kingdom. We have no act of succession. We have never assumed to make an Act of Succession. I hope we never shall.
Sir Robert concluded:
Therefore, as I say, in strict terms of law Her Majesty is our Queen because under the Act of Succession of the United Kingdom, as modified by the Abdication Act of 1936, she is the Queen of the United Kingdom.
That is, of course, a position which is reflected in the provisions of our Constitution. In section 2 of the Constitution Act the following words appear:
The provisions of this Act referring to the Queen shall extend to Her Majesty’s heirs and successors in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.
Upon examination of paragraph 1 of the Commonwealth Constitution one finds, for example, that the legislative power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a Parliament which shall consist of the Queen, a Senate and a House of Representatives. It is clear that the Queen, in the terms of the Constitution Act and our Constitution, is the Queen according to the law of the United Kingdom. That is the reason why I say irrespective of how, under the royal style and titles, we may describe Her Majesty, she is Queen of Australia by virtue of the fact that she is Queen of the United Kingdom. But there is no obligation in Australia to refer to Her Majesty as the Queen of the United Kingdom. So long as we describe her in terms which indicate the person whom we are designating, and we do that by the use of the words ‘Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second ‘ we may describe her, as was done in 1953, by the use of the words ‘Queen of Australia’. As I have said, I have no objection whatever to what has been proposed in this legislation. I feel that it is consonant with those expressions which Australia of today expects in the appellation of Her Majesty in this country. What I have said is the view of the Opposition. Her Majesty, of course, as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, is the person to whom we as Australians owe allegiance. I am pleased that in a recent debate in this place the Senate has affirmed that the oath of allegiance should be an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia.
The purpose of a Royal Style and Titles Bill is to ensure that the way in which the monarch is referred to is consonant with the constitutional position, the legal position and the aspirations of the nation. This is what I believe the Bill does. Although I have taken some little time to refer to what was said in 1953 and in some measure to put a point of view contrary to the points of view which were then expressed, I believe that what we are doing here is properly describing Her Majesty. The juristic position which was accepted in 1953 is, I believe, quite adequately maintained by the reference to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second because she is Queen Elizabeth the Second of the United Kingdomthere can be no mistake about that- and that adequately conveys the connection with the United Kingdom. The Opposition supports the Bill.
– in reply- It was interesting to listen to the distinguished Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Greenwood) go to some pains to tell us that the Queen of the United Kingdom and the person who is part of the Parliament of Australia really owes her position in no way to us; she is properly there by virtue of the decisions of the United Kingdom; she is the Queen of the United Kingdom and she is there irrespective of anything that we might do, say, want or wish; this is because of the carryover of the feudal system in Great Britain; although this is so, there is nothing that we can do about it; whether it is foisted upon us or tolerated by us we can properly describe her as the Queen of Australia, although we have nothing to do with her appointment, her being there or her moving; and we in no way have any effect on her being there. This interesting dissertation illustrated clearly that in no way does Australia conform to the common standard for people everywhere. That standard was set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which it was stated that the authority of government ought to come from the will of the people and that those persons who were to govern should be selected by the people.
The Opposition seems to have been at great pains to say that in no way is the authority of the Queen, who is a constituent part of the Parliament of the country, to govern derived from the people of Australia but is derived only from the people of the United Kingdom. The Opposition revels in this; it is wonderful; it is most important that we should bear allegiance to a person who in no way derives any authority from the people of Australia.
– Is it not a question of what the Constitution says?
-You may say that. Whether we like it or not, in effect you are saying that what Senator Greenwood said is right but that he is right because or the Australian Constitution which is an Act of the British Parliament. Senator Greenwood said- Senator Byrne agreed with him- that the authority of this important person, the Queen, derives absolutely entirely from the people of the United Kingdom; in no way does her authority to govern derive from the will of the people in Australia. Senator Greenwood said that that is marvellous. Senators behind him say that it is marvellous. As I understood Senator Byrne, he said: ‘Let us not talk about that, but let us say that it is because the British people enshrined their will in an Act of Parliament which binds us and that we should ignore the proposition, which is put so clearly by the official Opposition, that the authority to govern comes from the will of the people of the United Kingdom and in no way from the will of the people of Australia ‘.
- Dr Evatt apparently has held that view.
-I would not doubt that the proposition that the authority of the Queen comes entirely from the people of the United Kingdom and in no way from the people of Australia would probably be accepted generally. Whether that is a desirable state of affairs is another view.
– That is a viewpoint which you are putting. Senator Greenwood did not say that.
-Of course he did not. He accepted with approbation -
– And clarification.
-He applauded the existing state of affairs and said that the authority of the Queen to rule Australia came entirely from the will of the people of the United Kingdom and in no way from the will of the people of Australia. I am not disputing that Dr Evatt supported the view that that was the legal position. What is important is that the clarification which was given by Senator Greenwood and Senator Byrne be understood by the people of Australia. They said that in no way does the authority of the Queen to govern Australia derive from the will of the people of Australia, notwithstanding the Declaration of Human Rights to the contrary.
However, we are faced with a simple proposition. There is to be a change in the titles. I think that somebody on the other side suggested tonight that the Queen ought not to be called Queen Elizabeth II because she is really Queen Elizabeth I. I do not suppose that anybody in Australia would be very much troubled about that when faced with the problems of inflation, increased interest rates and the rising price of meat. I do not suppose the families in Sydney would be very much concerned whether she was Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Elizabeth II or Queen Elizabeth III. There may be other matters more important to the people of Australia. I hope that in my lifetime there will be an adaption of our system of government to fit in more nearly with the needs of the people. For a long time we have suffered the carryover of a feudal system through the industrial and mercantile system. Many of the problems of Great Britain may be attributed to hanging on to forms of government which are outmoded. The move into the European economy, although disputed by some sides, is supported by others. Institutions which will be able to meet the challenge which face us and which will meet the needs of the people ought to be based on the realities of 1 973 instead of on the outmoded notions of a feudal system of centuries ago.
I know that to some these questions are antiquarian and that to others they are of very great importance. Questions have been raised^ no doubt very seriously, as to whether’ Defender of the Faith’ should be included in the titles. There were references to what was the true faith and whether ‘Empress of India’ should be deleted from the titles. I know that some Australian States still hand out titles or decorations. Persons are made officers of the Order of the British Empire or of the Order of the Empress of India, or are appointed Knights of the Garter and receive all sorts of other titles which, to some, seem extremely important. No doubt they cherish these. In the 1970s we are heading towards the year 2000, we are putting satellites into space, we are going to Mars and so forth. If we are to be looking importantly at whether persons should be given Orders of the British Empire- which no longer exists- Orders of the Empress of India and Knights of the Garter, we should bear in mind that our system was founded on a feudal system which was no doubt important in its time and served that little island over a number of centuries. But we are now in the twentieth century and a great continent at the other end of the earth is considering its constitutional system and how we will face the challenges of our time. It now falls to the Senate in 1973 to deal with the present descendant of the feudal system in the United Kingdom which is at the other end of the earth. I suppose it is important whether we will drop the words ‘Defender of the Faith’ and whether we shall use the term ‘Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ‘ rather than the term ‘Queen of Australia’. Let me say that I am indebted to members of the Opposition for their extraordinary delving into the antiquities of this matter. Let us hope that their talents and aspirations for a continuance of this system and this approach to the affairs of society shall leave them exactly where they are.
- Mr President, has Senator Murphy closed the debate?
– I was not here. Can I make a few comments by leave?
– The debate is closed.
– May I ask for leave to make a few comments.
– No, the Standing Orders do now allow that.
– I will seek to make my comments during the third reading stage.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
- Mr Chairman, I ask for your guidance. During the Committee stage can I make a few comments on what was said when the Senate debated the second reading of the Bill.
– The honourable senator must relate his remarks to clauses of the Bill. This is something that the honourable senator has always protested about.
-It would be necessary for the honourable senator to speak to clauses of the Bill.
Senator BYRNE (Queensland). (9.44)-I wish to speak to the Schedule to the Bill and relate my remarks to the actual style and titles of Her Majesty. I do so only for one purpose. Clause 2, the covering clause of the Constitution Act reads:
The provisions of this Act referring to the Queen shall extend to Her Majesty’s heirs and successors in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.
That is the covering clause in the Constitution Act which embodies the Australian Constitution. In other words, all of our laws must be subject to the Constitution Act and the Constitution. It is all right for Senator Murphy lightly to brush aside compliance with the strict legal requirements that should be followed in order to change the royal style and titles or the Citizenship Act which we discussed earlier. It is all right to propound the proposition that the sovereignty of the Queen rises from the will of the people here. But I would expect the Attorney above all to comply with the legal requisition. If it is his intention that the power and authority should stem solely from this there are ways in which it can be done legally and constitutionally and in that regard the Constitution, if the honourable senator feels so disposed, should be amended. But until that is done -
– I did not say that the authority derives from the will of the people.
– Exclusively from the will of the people. But until that is done we have to comply with the law and the constitution as it stands. The proposition we have suggested here is that the Consitution and the law- the Acts Interpretation Act, Statute of Westminster and so onrequire that the Queen shall be referred to by her personal title as Queen Elizabeth the Second because it is due to the sovereignty of the United Kingdom that she sustains her title as Queen of Australia. We have no objection to the insertion of the words ‘Queen of Australia ‘. But I think we should be perturbed that the Attorney-General has been prepared so lightly to brush aside compliance with the legal requisitions, supporting this only with the proposition that surely the authority for this title springs from the will of the Australian people.
– I did not suggest that at all. You misunderstand me grossly.
-There is no legal basis for it. The legal basis rests otherwise. It is very dangerous when the law can be lightly brushed aside in pursuance of some sort of a general idealistic statement which has no legal foundation.
I only rise to protest at that. The suggestion that Senator Greenwood and I are in some anachronistic way and some archeological fashion devoting our minds, attentions and talents to the sustenance and maintenance of some ancient system of feudalism is, of course, quite inappropriate and quite inaccurate. All we require is that the law shall be obeyed and the one person we would have expected to observe the law rigorously and scrupulously would be the Attorney-General. Yet the Attorney-General in our submission has brushed aside the requirements of the law in pursuance of this general philosophic proposition that all power rises from the will of the Australian people. That may be so in the philosophic sense. In the legal and constitutional sense- in the Constitution as we are required to observe it- that does not happen, and that is the proposition we have propounded.
– I rise to support Senator Byrne. I think it is very important that in this examination of the Royal Style and Titles Bill we should recognise that the description by which Her Majesty is described is derived from the law and must be in accordance with the law. This expression which we sometimes hear ‘the will of the people’, is a political expression and has little or no relevance in our legal system. It may be that the will of the people is the absolute basis upon which any society is established and that if courts were ever called upon to examine that question they would also agree that the will of the people is the basis for society.
– But the will of the people is expressed in the law, is it not?
– I agree with Senator Byrne. If we are to have some concept of the will of the people in a democracy which is in some way expressed outside the law we will have incipient anarchy. The law is the basis upon which rights and liberties are protected, and whatever far reaches the law may move into that law is still a protection to all. I only rise because I share the concern that Senator Byrne has expressed that we ought to recognise that what is being done under this Bill, as I am sure the AttorneyGeneral himself will acknowledge, is consistent with the earlier legislation which it amends and with the Constitution which it gives expression to.
– I am indebted to Senator Greenwood for his concluding remarks because it seems that Senator Byrne has misunderstood the drift of my remarks. Senator Byrne complained because he thought that I was suggesting that the position of the Queen depended upon the will of the Australian people. I did not suggest that.
– It is completely the reverse.
-What I suggested was quite the reverse.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Murphy) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 23 August (vide page 169), on motion by Senator Douglas McClelland:
That the bill be now read a second time.
-This Bill proposes the enactment of certain measures which are consequential upon legislation introduced by the former Government and is supported by the Opposition. Although the Minister in charge of the Bill, the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland) is not here, I should like to discuss some aspects of the Bill. I see that the Minister has just arrived, being in the same situation as I was of hurrying into the chamber to take up the matter. I was anxious that the Minister should be here because I want to raise several points about the Bill although I emphasise that, the Bill, being consequential upon plans originally put forward by the former Government, we certainly do not oppose its enactment, and I believe that it can bc dealt with fairly speedily.
The basic position is this: The Commonwealth Teaching Service is consequential upon the Commonwealth taking over in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory the provision of a teaching service as opposed to the secondment of teachers from New South Wales for the Australian Capital Territoty and from South Australia for the Northern Territory. The basic provisions of this legislation relate to easing the transfer of teachers who have been seconded from New South Wales and South Australia to the Commonwealth Teaching Service. It provides that special superannuation arrangements shall prevail to ensure they do not lose anything and do not have to pay any extra amount in order to transfer. We wholeheartedly support that arrangement. However, I think a couple of points should be mentioned and I would like some explanation, if we can have it, concerning other benefits which are provided in this legislation and stated in the Minister’s second reading speech in the following words:
Earlier this year the Government decided that the holder of a Commonwealth Teaching Service scholarship should be given an annual book and equipment allowance of $80. The existing provisions of section 45 of the Act do not cover a benefit of this kind, and it is necessary therefore to add to the legislation to encompass this benefit. Similarly there is nothing in the existing section 45 of the Act which covers the accommodation costs incurred by the holders of Commonwealth Teaching Service scholarships who undertake practice teaching in places remote from their training institution.
What is pointed out in the second reading speech and what is, I think, well known is that the Commonwealth Teaching Service does envisage that there shall be teachers in training in various parts particularly in the Northern Territory and that it is desirable that they should be assisted with accommodation expenses and travelling expenses. However, I draw attention to the annual report for 1972 of the Commonwealth Teaching Service, which, at page 3, states:
It is intended that holders of the awards should be given the opportunity of practice teaching in areas of possible future appointment and, for this purpose, the holders of the awards who were in the final year of their course in 1972 were given up to two weeks of practice teaching in the Northern Territory. To meet the expenses involved, the Commonwealth accepted responsibility for the payment of accommodation charges at Commonwealth hostels and also met travelling expenses from the place where the student was undertaking his course to the place in the Northern Territory where practice teaching was to be undertaken.
I simply go back to the second reading speech which said that nothing in the existing section 45 of the Act permitted that sort of practice to be engaged in, and I would like to know, because I think it is of importance to the Senate to know, how it is that the report can say that this was done while the second reading speech says that it is necessary to amend the legislation to enable it to be done. It does seem that the report is defective to that extent or, alternatively, perhaps, it is a matter which could be specifically dealt with in the 1973 report if it has been discovered subsequent to the preparations of the 1 972 report. It is perhaps not a matter of great moment, but I think it should be dealt with.
Other provisions in the amending legislation, with which we agree in principle, do raise questions. One is a reference to in service teacher training which brings up the spectre of the Karmel Committee recommendations. What I would like to take the opportunity to ask during this debate is this: How does the Minister see the opportunity for the implementation of the recommendations of the Karmel Committee for in service teacher training during the years 1974 and 1975 so far as the Commonwealth Teaching Service is concerned? Perhaps it will give the Minister an idea of what I mean if I say that in Hobart, I am told, it would require 300 extra teachers over and above the most optimistic assessment of the number available next year to implement the Karmel Committee’s recommendations for in service teacher training. In New South Wales service teacher training is on the basis that it is envisaged that teachers will be drawn out of actual teaching and that their places will need to be taken on temporary basis by others.
The suggestions, although laudable, appear impracticable. It is one of the areas of recommended expenditure approved by the Government in the broad statement of the acceptance of the Karmel Committee’s recommendations which does appear to be beyond the expectations of reality. It does appear at the moment that however laudable- and I do not wish to be taken as attacking the principle- one must inquire as to the practicality of the suggestions. I simply ask so far as the Commonwealth Teaching Service is concerned: What are the numbers of teachers who would be involved by the implementation of the Karmel Committee’s recommendations and how will that affect the service which is already complaining about the lack of availability of replacement teachers for those who must be absent owing to illness or some other unforeseen circumstance? One problem in the Australian Capital Territory at the moment as I understand it is that Commonwealth teachers are finding that replacements are not available and that teaching is being adversely affected as a result of the lack of availability of replacement teachers and that this is a basic matter of complaint and concern amongst teachers, parents and pupils in the Austraiian Capital Territory. If one is suddenly to superimpose upon this the recommendations in relation to the withdrawal of teachers for in-service teacher training one will probably reach a chaotic situation. I therefore take this opportunity while this Bill is before the Senate to raise the question by way of what I suggest is reasonable inquiry. I do not debate the other questions which are raised in this Bill, other than again to support the idea that this is a necessary addition to the legislation which we introduced whilst in government. It is a necessary and reasonable addition and one which was in the pipeline when the Government changed. It is like a number of other education matters which we originated and for which we are responsible. We support it.
-In reply- I appreciate that the Opposition has indicated that it does not intend opposing the legislation which is now before the chamber and which concerns the Commonwealth Teaching Service in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. As Senator Rae, who led on behalf of the Opposition, said, the objects of the Bill are to make special provision for New South Wales and South Australian teachers who in 1973 are stationed in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory respectively and who elect to join the Commonwealth Teaching Service for the commencement of the 1974 school year. The Bill is designed also to enable provision to be made for the payment of an annual book and equipment allowance to the holders of Commonwealth Teaching Service scholarships, to enable provision to be made for the payment of accommodation expenses in relation to practice teaching undertaken by the holders of Commonwealth Teaching Service scholarships, and to widen the function of the Commonwealth Teaching Service Commissioner so that he may make available for the performance of duties with education authorities persons who will not be required for teaching duties in schools but who will be members of the Commonwealth Teaching Service. Senator Rae has raised at the second reading stage 2 questions that perhaps I could deal with at this stage in replying to the second reading debate rather than deal with them at the Committee stage.
– I took it that you would accept that basis of dealing with them.
-On the information that is available to me I will certainly attempt at this stage to provide the honourable senator with some answers to his queries.
– I do not want to hold up this Bill at all but I would like the opportunity to have some answers to these matters. If you cannot give them now I would be quite happy to have some statement that you will give the answers later.
– I appreciate that. Senator Rae referred to the second reading speech that I made in the Senate on behalf of the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley) wherein I said that earlier this year the Government had decided that the holder of a Commonwealth teaching scholarship should be given an annual book and equipment allowance of $80 but that because the existing provisions of section 45 of the Act do not cover a benefit of this kind it was necessary to add to the legislation to encompass this benefit. In raising his first point the honourable senator referred, I think, to a passage on page 3 of the 1972 report of the Commonwealth Teaching Service. He wondered how holders of Commonwealth Teaching awards, particularly those in the Northern Territory, were able in that year, as reported in the annual report, to be able to obtain assistance by way of accommodation expenses and matters of that nature. I am given to understand, as Senator Rae will understand, that the arrangement made at that time by the previous Government was made by way of ministerial approval as a result of agreement being obtained from the then Treasurer. But because there is no legislative provision in the existing Act the Government felt that such a provision should be written into this Act in order to provide for parliamentary authority for this sort of allowance or expense.
– I think my main point was that this sort of thing should be referred to in the report if there is a defect, whoever the government may be.
– I agree with what the honourable senator has said, but under this proposal now being written into the legislation of this Parliament it will be a matter which is open to public and parliamentary scrutiny. I agree with the honourable senator that the matter should be dealt with in the annual report of the teaching service, but what he referred to appeared in the 1972 report which was presented under the previous Government and not under the present Government. I am given to understand that the arrangement was made by way of ministerial approval as a result of agreement being obtained from the Treasurer.
The second aspect referred to by the honourable senator concerns the implementation of the Karmel Committee’s recommendations which relate to in-service teacher training during the years 1974 and 1975 in the Commonwealth Teaching Service. Whilst I know that the honourable senator raised the matter in the context of the Commonwealth Teaching Service, he referred by way of illustration to the situation in Hobart, where I think he asserted that an additional 300 teachers over and above those available at present would be required to cope with the Karmel Committee’s recommendations. Senator Rae asked me to provide him with details of the number of teachers in the Commonwealth Teaching Service who will be involved as a result of the implementation of the Karmel Committee’s recommendations. He asked also how the Karmel Committee’s recommendations will affect the teaching service of the Commonwealth. I am advised that it is too early at this stage to estimate just how many teachers will be required to implement in full the in-service recommendations of the Karmel Committee but that the Department of Education is optimistic of recruiting some 600 new teachers for the Australian Capital Territory for the year 1974 alone. That does not take into consideration the requirements for 1975.
– What would that figure be as a percentage of the existing Australian Capital Territory teaching service?
– I am told by the adviser assisting me that it would be roughly 40 per cent. That figure is in relation to the year 1974. It is estimated by the Department that approximately 500 teachers will be required in the Northern Territory. I am told that there are a few vacancies or unfilled teaching positions in the Australian Capital Territory for the third term of 1973. So, in addition to the 600 teachers who will be required for 1974, there are a few unfilled teaching positions to be filled in the final term of 1973. Certainly on the figures that have been provided to me by the Department an additional 600 teachers will have to be recruited and the Department is optimistic of recruiting some 600 additional teachers in the Australian Capital Territory in 1974. It is estimated that in 1974 some additional 500 teachers will be required for the teaching service in the Northern Territory under the Karmel Committee’s recommendations. Additional strains will be imposed on the Commonwealth Teaching Service but I am sure that the honourable senator will agreehe already has expressed this view- that the legislation now before the Senate is necessary in order to bring the Service up to date. I am grateful to the Opposition for not opposing the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 23 August (vide page 168), on motion by Senator Bishop:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
-The Opposition supports this Bill, as it would support any measure that contributed to improved conditions of service and improved welfare for our servicemen, although I seriously doubt, if the Government pursues its defence policy as outlined in the Budget, that there will be many servicemen left in Australia’s forces to benefit from these rehabilitation decisions. As the Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard) has stated, this Bill has 2 purposes- to apply to regular servicemen the rehabilitation and retraining benefits which have applied in the past to national servicemen, and to put into legislative form Labor’s preelection promise to pay a re-engagement bonus of $1,000 after 6 years of service on the basis of a further 3 years of service. It is of great wonder to me that this double-dealing Government, after slashing the Defence vote from its promised 3.5 per cent to 3.2 per cent of the gross national product, to 2.9 per cent, effectively removing the teeth from our defence forces, has the gall to grandstand on this Bill that it is honouring an election promise by providing these benefits. It seems most inconsistent to me that the Government should institute measures aimed at retaining servicemen with one hand while the other hand is sweeping men out of the Services.
The Government has claimed that it was not aware of the Defence requirement until it actually took office. In other words, when it espoused policies in Opposition, it did not know what it was talking about. Unfortunately for this country, in matters relating to defence and a host of other subjects, it still does not know what it is talking about. This Government has effectively demoralised our Services. It has whittled away career opportunities for advancement and promotion, it has withheld vital equipment, it is receiving unprecedented numbers of resignations from all Services, and it has reneged on its obligation to maintain adequate defence forces.
The 2 measures contained in this Bill cannot stem the tide and cause the establishment of an all-volunteer Army, Navy and Air Force. What this Government does not realise is that people who join the Services do not do so for purely monetary purposes. I have said in this chamber before that the most scurrilous of the Government’s broken promises was its cavalier attitude towards defence. On reflection I would now describe this attitude as old and scurrilous. The Labor Party’s thinking on defence has not changed over the past 40 years. In November 1938, after the Munich Pact and as Germany stood poised to launch herself against the world and the Japanese were in the process of subduing China, the leader of the Labor Party, the late Mr Curtin, told this Parliament that so far as Australia was concerned, any increase in defence expediture was ‘an utterly unjustifiable and hysterical piece of panic propaganda’. That was, I repeat, in November 1938.
Mr Barnard, the present Minister for Defence assures this nation that there is no foreseeable threat for 15 years, I only hope for the sake of this nation that Mr Barnard’s crystal ball gazing is much more accurate than was the late Mr Curtin ‘s. In view of his performance to date, one cannot put a great deal of faith in what he says. In this time of rapid change and closing distances between nations, I do not see how we can possibly wait 15 years before taking effective measures for this nation’s defence. Mr Barnard is a lucky man. He inherited a well-trained and well-equipped armed force when he became Minister for Defence. He acknowledged this in his defence statement when he said:
We should all be conscious of the fact that Australia has developed over the past decade a very significant level of defence capabilities.
He apparently feels that his Government can afford to take advantage of this superiority and take it easy for a while. This, in my opinion, is a very dangerous assumption. As I have also pointed out in this chamber before, the defence lead in time is too long and too costly to allow the defence forces of our country to run down. Whilst there may be some argument that the manufacturing of war tools could be instituted reasonably quickly if any future enemy had the cricketing decency to give us a year of so notice of its intention, we would find it very difficult at short notice to find trained men to direct and lead mobilisation. Already there have been reports that 22 scientists have been ‘axed’ from the Weapons Research Establishment at Salisbury in South Australia, along with, I might mention, some 100 technical staff, 177 tradesmen and 57 clerks. And surely the Government must realise, now that chances of promotion have been denied to career officers, that many of the better, more intelligent officers who have the skills and the ability to get good jobs outside the forces will be the first ones to resign. What will happen in an emergency? Will those officers and men, deceived by this Government, come rushing back to the Services? Whilst supporting this Bill for the two advantages it will give remaining servicemen, we in the Opposition, question its ability to attract able young men to the Services and condemn the Government for its overall approach to defence.
-The Australian Country Party supports the Defence (ReEstablishment) Bill. As the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Withers) said, the Bill applies to regular servicemen the rehabilitation and retraining benefits which applied in the past to national servicemen. It also puts into legislative form the previously announced proposals to pay a re-engagement bonus of $1,000 after 6 years service on the basis of a further 3 years service. My Party supports these proposals because they will benefit servicemen and, together with other measures introduced by the previous Government, to some extent compensate servicemen and servicewomen for the hardships and difficulties involved in the sort of life they have had to lead. As the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Bishop) said in his second reading speech, the measure has been designed in pursuit of the Government’s determination to provide an adequate volunteer force. But I, like the Leader of the Opposition have some doubts in this matter because it is my opinion that in the past the Services and in particular the Royal Australian Air Force which I knew so well, have had a reengagement of approximately 73 per cent. Under this legislation the Government will pay these servicemen $1,000 after their period of 6 years service to re-engage for a further period of 3 years but, as I have said, already approximately 73 per cent of servicemen are willing to reengage in the Services.
I believe that we should get these men to reengage because they are trained men. Many of them are specialists in their particular field. But, on the other hand, I believe that we can have reengagement only as high as 80 per cent. Above that there is an effect on the promotion of those in the lower ranks. It is most disheartening for a serviceman to know that those above him will remain in the Services for another 6 years or longer. This means that during that period those in the lower ranks have to stay in their particular category without promotion. I believe that the proposal that has been put before the Senate tonight will not bring about the desired effect. Like the Leader of the Opposition, I believe that a man enters a particular Service because he wants to serve in that Service, not in the armed forces of this country. However, we in the Australian Country Party support the measure. We only hope that it has the effect that the Government believes it will have.
– in reply- I thank the Opposition for its acceptance of the legislation. I have only one or two points to make. Senator Withers who led for the Opposition made some criticism of the Government’s present slowing down of the defence vote. Senator DrakeBrockman suggested that a man joined a Service because he was attracted to that Service and wanted to serve his country. Taking up the last point first, everybody remembers the statement made by a former Minister for the Army, Dr Forbes.
He expressed 2 points of view during his career in that capacity. One was in 1 964 when he said that national service was not justified, that it was uneconomic and that the Government’s advisers were against it. Later he became a great supporter of national service. The Opposition has been known to say that we could not raise a volunteer and professional army.
– You are talking about the Army.
– Yes, I am talking about the Army.
– There are 2 other Services.
– Of course there are, but I think that the same argument applies. The view of everybody in the defence area has been that low pay standards, housing and low superannuation rights have been the factors which have militated against attracting the best quality servicemen to all of the Services, and I do not think that anybody can gainsay that statement. The Opposition, when it was in Government, said: You will never attract enough volunteers to the Services. You have to rely on national conscription’. The Labor Party has proved that it can get volunteers, as Senator Withers and Senator Drake-Brockman know.
– What a joke. Where are your volunteers?
-Senator Webster is talking a lot of eye-wash. We are getting more volunteers for the Services now than were required when we came into Government. The reason people are volunteering for the Services- and this enables us now to be more selective- is that we have increased the pay and improved the conditions of servicemen. If honourable senators look at the total defence vote, which they can do if they read the Budget Papers, they will see that more than 53 per cent of the total defence vote is used for the pay and conditions of servicemen in all of the Services. That is the highest the figure has ever been, and we are the only Government that has done that. Why talk with a double tongue? The shadow Minister for Defence in the other place talked in this strain with a double tongue. On the one hand he criticised the Government for adopting the attitude that we have 1 5 years of possible peace time. That is not our assessment; it is not Mr Barnard’s assessment. It is the assessment of the advisers who generally are the same advisers who gave advice to the previous Government. In referring to this situation the shadow Minister for Defence in the other place said that this additional expense was one of the reasons for the Government’s difficulties at the present time. That is what he is reported to have said on page 28 of the House of Representatives Hansard of 21 August 1973. He is the man whom honourable senators opposite put into office as the shadow Minister for Defence. He said:
If the Government were prepared to accept the recommendations of its defence advisers . . .
We have done this. Our defence advisers are the people who have submitted the document which has been released by the Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard) and which deals with this long range situation in which we can decide what our capacity might be and what our options might be. It is only in the defence situation of Australia that we can really take time off to calculate what we might do. This is what the shadow Minister for Defence said:
If the Government were prepared to accept the recommendations of its defence advisers it would at the very least be accepting every recruit that comes forward. But it is not doing that. It is knocking them back at the rate of 500 a year.
Apparently Senator Webster does not agree with Dr Forbes. Dr Forbes continued:
One of the reasons for this is the additional expense that is involved as the result of the introduction of measures such as the one before us. This is an extremely topsy-turvy situation.
What Dr Forbes talks about and what the Opposition is talking about is that on the one hand we have become extravagant, that we are providing this new deal for servicemen which the Opposition should have provided when it was in office. Of course we have done it, and we have done it with the intention of ensuring that we have the best recruits for the Services from the outside community. I refer to what Senator Withers said about John Curtin. If ever there was a patriot in this country -
– That is what he said.
– Yes, that is what he said. Senator Withers referred to a statement by John Curtin when he was in this Parliament and when there was no known threat to Australia. But he did not mention the great challenge which John
Curtin made to the whole of the world when he was the outstanding Prime Minister of this country. Until tonight I have never heard anybody in this Parliament deny that John Curtin was one of the greatest patriots that this Parliament and this country have produced. Yet Senator Withers comes along and trots up some philosophical statement which one can dig up from any man’s record. The chances are that if we look into some of Senator Wither ‘s philosophical statements we could dig up the same sort of complexities. Why does Senator Withers have to denigrate a man of such capacity- a man who led this country at a time of war? He was a great Australian. Why should Senator Withers bring it up? Let me answer this question about what Mr Barnard is supposed to have said. Mr Barnard is acting on the advice of the advisers.
– What rot!
– Those advisers were there when Senator Drake-Brockman was a Minister; they were there when he was in Government. They are the same advisers. I think that the advisers have appeared before the Senate Committee. The advice which the Government has received has been put in the same straight forward manner to the Senate committee. Senator Drake-Brockman will be able to read shortly, if the report is not already available, the advice which the advisers have given to the Government. There is very clear evidence to indicate that the Government has acted upon its promises to improve the standards of servicemen. We have more than met our obligations.
– Order! It being 10.30 p.m., 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 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 September 1973, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1973/19730911_senate_28_s57/>.