31st Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Condor Laucke) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– On behalf of Senator Gietzelt, I present the following petition from 1 8 citizens of Australia:
To Honourable the President and Members or the Senate and the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth: That it is necessary for the Commonwealth Government to renew for a further term of at least 3 years the States Grants (Dwellings for Pensioners) Act 1974-77, renewed for one year expiring on the 30 June 1978.
The demand for dwellings has not slackened as the waiting list (all States) of 12,060 single and 4,120 couples as at the 30 June 1977, showeth.
Your petitioners respectfully draw the attention of the Commonwealth Government to the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Aged Persons’ Housing 1975 under the Chairmanship of the Rev. K. Seaman (now Governor of South Australia) which recommended additional funds to State housing authorities to meet the demand for low-rental accommodation in the proportion of $4 for $ 1 with the proviso that the States do not reduce their existing expenditure and
That the Act include married pensioners eligible for supplementary assistance and migrants as specified by the Seaman Report and that particular consideration be paid to the special needs and requirements of the prospective tenants in the location and design of such dwellings.
Furthermore, your petitioners desire to draw the Government’s attention to the hardship of many pensioner home owners caused by the high cost of maintenance.
The Social Security Annual Report 1976-77 shows that 24.6 per cent, or 283,000 home owning pensioners, have a weekly income in excess of the pension of less than $6 per week.
Your petitioners strongly urge the Commonwealth Government to establish a fund whereby loans can be made to means tested pensioners for the purpose of effecting necessary maintenance to their homes. Such a loan to be at minimal interest rates sufficient to cover administrative costs and to be repaid by the estate upon the death of a single pensioner before probate or upon the death of the surviving spouse in the case of married pensioners or where two pensioners jointly own the dwelling.
Administration to be carried out by local government bodies.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Administrative Services. On 7 and 8 February the Chairman of the Australian Government Stores and Tender Board, which I understand comes under the Minister’s jurisdiction, received representations from IBM Australia Ltd and Facom Australia Ltd which the Prime Minister described as conflicting. Were those representations made in writing or otherwise? What was the substance of the recommendations? Were any objections raised to the Government’s tendering procedures? In what way were those representations conflicting?
-The Australian Government Stores and Tender Board does come within my administrative area. The honourable senator asks whether those representations were made orally or in writing. I will have to check on that, but I understand that they were made both ways; there were telephonic conversations initially- I could be wrong on this- followed by a letter, and as a result further letters were sent out by the Chairman of the Australian Government Stores and Tender Board. As the honourable senator will understand, I was not directly involved. The matter has been handled by the purchasing area. I will have to check whether there were telephonic conversations as well as written communications.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government and refer to the suggestion that members of parliament and top public servants should lose their pensions for the duration of any government jobs they might accept after retirement. Does the Government believe that people would accept appointment on such terms or does it recognise that adoption of the suggestion might well mean that the particular skills and talents of these people would be permanently lost to the Government? Would the rule apply to appointments to statutory authorities, State public services and semi-government instrumentalities? Perhaps it is proposed that the rule should apply to appointments to private enterprise to force the people concerned never to work again. Would there not be loopholes whereby independent companies could employ these experts and, at an increased fee of course, provide their services to the Government by way of some independent sub-contract? In short, does the Government not recognise that the suggestion is a nonsense?
-I do not know that the suggestion is necessarily a nonsense. The honourable senator would know that prior to 1973, I think, there was a provision in the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Act that if any person who retired from this Parliament and was a beneficiary under that Act accepted another office of profit under the Crown his pension either went into suspension or was halved during that period. That provision was removed in 1973. 1 should also mention that, if my memory serves me correctly, there had been a previous ruling that similar provisions applied to beneficiaries under the Commonwealth Public Service Superannuation Act and, to some extent, Service pensioners. The provisions were gradually eroded and eventually abolished by this Parliament.
As the honourable senator would also know, nothing really happened from the abolition of the rule in 1973 until the recent appointment of Sir John Kerr, when for reasons best known to the individuals concerned it seemed to be one of the major elements that a person receiving a pension for services rendered, to which he had become entitled by law, had also been offered another salary. Suddenly it became almost endemic in the community that such a thing was immoral, improper. There was no suggestion that it was illegal, of course, because the pension was payable as a result of amendments and the terms of the Governor-General Act, which was introduced by the previous Government.
All I can say to the honourable senator is that, as he would know, the Prime Minister has said that the Government intends to look at the whole problem. The honourable senator would realise that the matter is fraught with difficulties. I imagine that it would be alleged that it is terribly wrong, for some reason, for a man to be in receipt of a Governor-General’s pension as Ambassador to UNESCO, I put the query: Is it also wrong in the same sense to receive a salary as a senator as well as the age pension if one is past the age of 69 years? Is that a proper corollary? I do not know. It is not for me to pass judgment. There are a number of distinguished exservicemen in this Parliament who, as a result of their service in the forces, properly have qualified under the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits scheme. Do we say that if they come into the Parliament that pension ought to be put into suspension?
- Senator Ryan says yes. She may well be right. Should a public servant who comes into the Parliament, having properly qualified and contributed to the Commonwealth Superannuation Act for a number of years, have his pension put into suspension? That matter also ought to be looked at. Some would say yes, some would say no. There are a large number of people in this category. What happens when a public servant retires at 65, having contributed to the superannuation fund for 30, 40 or more years, and the Government wishes to employ him in some special area for a limited period? Should that person be asked to put his pension into suspension? One should not talk only about servants of the Commonwealth. There are also servants of the States and there are certainly people who may be entitled to academic pensions. This matter goes right across the board. What is the test to be? Is it to be that as long as taxpayers’ funds are involved we ought to look at it and if taxpayers’ funds are not involved we ought not look at it? I do not think that this is a matter of easy resolution, but the honourable senator can be assured, as the Prime Minister has already said, that the Government intends to take a thorough look at this very difficult problem.
-I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Having regard to Australia’s de facto recognition of Indonesian control over East Timor, what is the current assessment by the Department of Foreign Affairs of the area of territory in East Timor which is under the direct control of Indonesian forces? What is the area which is under the direct control of Timorese forces?
-I understand-I think I am correct- that the assessment is that Indonesia is basically in control of the whole territory.
– Oh, no!
-There is disputation about that. I shall seek the information because the honourable senator asks two questions which need a defined answer. He asks not only what territory are the forces in control of but also what territory are they not in control of. As I say, I shall seek that information. Calling on memory- I am pretty certain I am correct- the assessment is that, in fact, Indonesia is in control of that country.
-I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate: Does not the Hancock report on superannuation reveal that the special superannuation provisions have enabled commercial executives to receive, almost tax free, retiring allowances amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars? Is it within the knowledge of the Leader of the Government in the Senate that State parliamentarians entering this Parliament have received retiring allowances of hundreds of thousands of dollars? Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate have prepared a statement showing those huge amounts which are derived from State parliamentary superannuation provisions so that we can see the degree of propriety or exploitation of such matters? In relation to the GovernorGeneral’s situation, is it not specifically provided in the legislation covering the GovernorGeneral’s pension allowance that his retiring pension shall be reduced by any retiring allowance or pension which he derives out of State or Commonwealth funds otherwise than as Governor-General? If so, is that not a perfectly proper principle to apply to retiring members of this Parliament? Why should they be entitled to a job with the Commonwealth Government when they are superannuated on retiring allowances after being defeated at an election or going out of the Parliament when their services are no longer required by the people? I am retiring on 30 June.
– I now have the message that I cannot offer the honourable senator a job after 1 July. At one stage I had some ideas that maybe one or two honourable senators opposite would be looking for a research officer and I was going to offer the services of the honourable senator. I would have willingly given him a reference. It is terribly easy to get emotive over lump sums for commuting pensions. One sees the large, stark figure and says: ‘It is wicked. He has $200,000’, or some such figure. There is evidence- I do not say it is absolute- which suggests that, in fact, it is cheaper when people commute their pensions than when they take them by annual instalments.
– It depends on how long they live.
-It varies between individuals, as Senator Grimes would know; but I have been informed- I put it no higher than that- that in the general run it is cheaper to pay people out in a lump sum if they desire to commute. Honourable senators may dispute that, but I am told that it is so. I am also informed that in the case of some State funds, for every dollar one gives up one receives a lump sum of 10 times that amount: Whatever one gives up in annual benefits is multiplied by ten. I do not know how one works that out actuarially. I suppose that if a person lives for 20 years it is cheaper to pay him out at 10 times the dollar than to pay him that dollar 20 times over, but that is a realm of mathematics with which I am not familiar. I repeat that it is terribly easy to put a very emotive connotation on the problems of commuting annual instalments into lump sums. There are some very respectable actuaries in the community who will say that, in fact, it is a lesser burden on the fund to do that than to pay the annual instalments.
In respect of the second matter which the honourable senator raised I have no knowledge, and I doubt whether my own department or the Government administration has knowledge of sums received by former members of State parliaments. I have no doubt that the Parliamentary Library could assemble the Press reports on this matter, but I doubt whether there is what might be called information within government departments on that subject. However, I will seek it both from my own department and, I imagine, from the Minister for Finance.
Lastly, the honourable senator referred to the pension provision in the Governor-General Act. Yes, there is a lot to be said for that principle, but could I just put it to the honourable senator that whilst the Governor-General may have been singled out, the question arises: Does one just single out members of parliament as the next class, or is there an argument that this principle ought to be applied to all people within the community and not just to Governors-General and members of parliament?
- Senator Ryan says yes, it ought to be applied to all people in the community.
– Of course it should.
-So does Senator Wright. I think there is a very good argument for that. I can assure honourable senators that this is one of the matters to which the Government will be looking in the course of its inquiry into the matter over the next few weeks.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health whether she is aware that recently it was announced in Queensland that Panadol could also be sold in shops and supermarkets, which would indicate that the use of stronger analgesics is increasing, as is their availability? In view of this, has the Government any intention of acting upon the request of the National Health and Medical Research Council that the sale of many minor analgesic preparations be restricted?
– I am aware that the Government is concerned about the matters that have been mentioned by Senator McAuliffe. I am unaware of any action that is planned in the immediate future, but I will refer his question to the Minister for Health to seek his comment on the request by the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the abuse and increasing use of analgesics in Australia.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether he is aware of a recent feasibility study on the potential for a beet sugar industry in Tasmania which reported that by 1982 Tasmania could sustain a profitable industry, producing for local, interstate and overseas markets, without damaging the existing cane sugar industry. In view of the important benefits to Tasmania which could accrue from such a venture, I ask the Minister whether any meetings have been held between the Federal and State governments and representatives of the cane sugar industry to discuss the establishment of a major industry such as this in Tasmania.
-The answer to the first part of the honourable senator’s question is yes. I understand that there were discussions between the Tasmanian Premier and the Minister for Primary Industry before the feasibility study was completed and that there have been no discussions between Ministers since its completion. I understand also that at the suggestion of the Minister for Primary Industry there have been discussions between officers of the Tasmanian Government and Commonwealth officers and between the Tasmanian officers and the Queensland Sugar Board. So far as I am aware, the subject has not been discussed between the Tasmanian officers and the sugar industry organisations.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Social Security. Last week it was said in this chamber and not denied by the
Minister that if a field officer from her department calls three times on a recipient of unemployment benefit and the recipient is not at home on any occasion, he will lose the unemployment benefit. Last week I had a most distressed recipient in my office who, on being found at home twice by a field officer, was told that he should be out looking for a job. As a considerable amount of real stress is being caused amongst unemployed people in the community, what advice are we to give constituents who ask us for advice in this area?
– The activity of field officers, in conjunction with other work of the Department to determine eligibility for benefits, has been discussed in recent weeks both inside and outside this place. Home visits are part of the way in which the Department determines eligibility for pensions and benefits. The practice has been established and followed for many years in the Department’s work. The procedure is that if a person is not at home when the field officer calls a card is left to show that a call has been made and that another call will be made at a later date. In an endeavour to establish identity and eligibility the field officer follows certain procedures, but it should be said that the field officer himself is not a person who cancels a pension or a benefit. He provides information to the Department which is used in conjunction with other information that is available. It should be understood that if three attempts are made to contact a person and messages are left asking that person to contact the Department and this is not done, some doubt could exist as to whether that person’s identity is as it is shown in the Department’s records. This is one method by which we can establish whether a person is abusing the Social Services Act.
Another duty of the field officer is to advise people of their entitlements and to see that the correct benefit or pension is paid to someone who is eligible for it. All that has been written in the past few weeks about field officers’ visits distorts an administrative procedure which was enlarged when the honourable senator’s party was in office. At that time the number of field officers was doubled and the then Minister required a certain constancy of visits by field officers to pensioners and beneficiaries. We have been unable to sustain that level of activity in field officer work. I say to people in the community who have been reading with some concern the statements that have been made with regard to field officers that they have every opportunity to determine from the Department their eligibility for benefits and that they should have not fear if they are eligible for a payment under the Social Services Act.
– Has the Minister for Education seen an article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald which claims that government school teachers have lost their voice on the Schools Commission? Can the Minister inform the Senate what steps he is taking to give teachers a voice on the Schools Commission?
– I have seen the article in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald. Any delay in filling the vacancy on the Schools Commission is not of the choosing of the Federal Government, nor is there any variation in the procedures for filling vacancies adopted by either the present Government or the Whitlam Labor Government. The article thoroughly misrepresents what has happened and what is the intention of the Schools Commission Act as has been interpreted both by the previous Labor Government and this Government. I think it is necessary to place the facts on record. The fact is that Mr Costello was due to retire early this year. As a result, as the then Minister for Education I wrote on 7 October last year, some four months ahead, to the Australian Teachers Federation requesting that it submit a panel of names from which the Government would choose. This was an approach used by previous governments as well and indicates that the Schools Commission is not a nominated body but a body which functions as an integrated one with primary loyalty to the Commission itself.
The General Secretary of the Australian Teachers Federation wrote to me on 4 November submitting one name only- that is, in complete opposition to the request that a panel of names should be submitted. I wrote to the General Secretary of the Federation on 17 November and said that due to the approching elections I was not in a position to take any further action with regard to appointments, that a writ had been issued and therefore I could not function further in that respect but if the Government was re-elected it would reassert its request for a panel of names.
The General Secretary of the Federation wrote to me on 20 December confirming the nomination of one person. I wrote to the General Secretary on 9 January of this year. I pointed out that under the enabling Act the vacancy was not a nominated one, that the matter was for the determination of the government of the day, that I confirmed my request for a panel of three or four names and that this practice, which had received wide acceptance in other organisations, was designed to enable the Government to achieve an overall balance in bodies where special skills and State factors were involved.
The General Secretary of the Federation then sought a meeting with me. I had that meeting on 1 5 February. I pointed out in detail the meaning of the Act, the precedents of the past and the desirability of a panel. I have to report that yesterday I received a panel of names. I repeat that the article, to the extent that it suggests that delays were caused by the Government or that there are any particular procedures new in terms of myself as Minister, is totally wrong. To the extent that there are delays, the delays result from the Federation’s decision to take the courses that it took.
– My question, which I address to the Minister for Social Security, is prompted by an article in this morning’s edition of the Canberra Times which stated that most Commonwealth employees can expect a Christmas present of up to $2,000 by next December. The article referred to surplus contributions in the superannuation fund. In the belief that many people would appreciate extra spending money towards the end of the year will the Minister have inquiries made to see whether a Christmas bonus can be paid to Australian pensioners this year?
– I did not see the reference to public servants and their expectation of a Christmas present. With regard to making any additional payments to pensioners, I remind the Senate that at present we pay pensions and benefits to some two million people in Australia. If we were to consider giving them an extra $ 1 or $10, that would need to be multiplied by two million to see the extent of the expenditure that would be involved. If the honourable senator is drawing any comparison between contributions to a superannuation fund and payments made under the Social Services Act I find little correlation between those two factors. I draw attention to the fact that two million people receive pensions and benefits. Any extra payment to them would certainly amount to a considerable sum of money, even if it were to wish them a happy Christmas.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Administrative Services. Is it correct that preliminary population figures for February 1 978 show that Western Australia has more than the 10.5 quotas needed for the granting of an eleventh seat in the House of Representatives? If these figures are correct when is the necessary redistribution likely to be carried out?
– I have seen some speculation about this matter. I have even seen a suggestion that the Government should act immediately. I think that suggestion was made by the Secretary of the Western Australian branch of the Australian Labor Party. All I can say to him is that he ought to look at the Act and the High Court judgments concerning this matter and not rush into the Press and expose his ignorance. The Chief Australian Electoral Officer will make his next determination in late January or early February 1979. Honourable senators will recall the High Court judgment which says that the determination should be made midway through the life of a parliament. The Chief Australian Electoral Officer bases his determination not on projections but on the latest available statistics from the Australian Statistician. That ought to be borne in mind. It would be a jolly good thing if speculation ceased to run wild.
– What figures would they be?
-They would most likely be the Statistician’s population figures for 30 September or 31 December of this year. As the honourable senator would remember, the High Court said that a census was not really needed and that the Chief Australian Electoral Officer could rely on the quarterly figures supplied by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. If he makes his determination in January or February I do not know what will be the latest figures available. They will be provided by the Australian Statistician. I have no doubt that when requested the Statistician will provide the latest figures available. It is for him to determine what are the latest figures available and not for me to guess what they might be.
-I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. It relates to the activities of our Ambassador to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation but it does not concern the particular matters which have been capturing the attention of the Senate over recent days. It refers to reports which have apparently been given to the International Press Institute congress which has taken place in Canberra, to the effect that UNESCO has been adopting decisions which impose a form of censorship on the movement of information through the Press in various countries, and that certain guidelines should be laid down as to what is desirable news and what is undesirable news. I appreciate that the Minister would not have the information at his fingertips but would he be prepared to make inquiries from the Minister for Foreign Affairs as to what is the current position regarding these very serious decisions which have allegedly been taken by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation? What attitude did the Australian delegation adopt when these matters were being discussed? What is our attitude now? What do we propose to do about them in the future?
-I well understand the honourable senator’s concern. I shall obtain the information for him as early as I can.
-My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I refer to an article in today’s Age, attributed to Tim Colebatch, querying the relevance of the reports of the Australian Bureau of Statistics on strike days lost for the year ended 31 December 1977 which, on first reading, showed a vast improvement in the number of working days lost compared with previous years but which excluded working days lost as a result of the Victorian power strike. Had the Bureau’s definition of strike days lost included those days lost due to the stand downs caused by the Victorian power dispute, would the total statistics reflect the second highest number of days lost since 1967? Might users of such information be justified in treating with scepticism the methods of the Bureau and consequently devalue the Bureau ‘s otherwise useful work? Will the Minister look into the matter and determine whether there are similar definitional problems in other areas of the Bureau’s operations which render data irrelevant?
– I am sorry that I did not see that article this morning; it appears to be one of some importance. I shall certainly look it up. Therefore, I cannot respond at first hand. To the extent that Senator Messner poses important questions relating to the definition and background of statistics and therefore their relevance. I shall invite my colleague the Treasurer to look at the matter and see whether we can devise a better basis from which to draw inferences. This matter is not related directly to the Treasurer but is largely within another discipline. The situation regarding strike figures is surely that new techniques which cause disruption rather than days lost are also disguised in these figures. So a considerable amount of explanation needs to be issued whenever such data are put forward. I shall ask the Treasurer to see whether he can provide a response to the specific question raised by the honourable senator.
-I direct a question to the Minister for Administrative Services and refer to a question I asked earlier today. I ask again: Is it correct that on 8 February Facom Australia Ltd responded to the Chairman of the Stores and Tender Board by accepting the Government’s timetable for the submission of supplementary data and agreed that the extended timetable was in the public interest? Secondly, is it a fact that on that day the Government called off the extended timetable and decided to call fresh tenders? Thirdly, in view of Facom ‘s submission, is it not a fact that the Prime Minister’s assertion that the shortened tendering process was called off because Facom was being disadvantaged is not correct? If the Government is convinced of the accuracy of the information which has been given to the Parliament, will the submissions which were made by both Facom and IBM Australia Ltd on 7 and 8 February be tabled in the Parliament so that there can be no argument as to the accuracy of the information the Prime Minister gave to the Parliament?
-I shall ask the Prime Minister whether he is prepared to table those letters. It might well be that neither IBM Australia Ltd nor Facom Australia Ltd wants them tabled. It might well be that those letters show that the information which the honourable senator is obtaining is not correct. Of course, there is nothing to prevent IBM and Facom from releasing those letters if they so desire. I take it that so far they have not done so. Should they believe, as the honourable senator is alleging, that the Prime Minister’s statement of recent days was incorrect, I should imagine that by this time they would have made their letters public.
-Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Health been drawn to claims that nuclear medicines produced at Lucas Heights are in some way inferior to imported products? Is the Minister able to comment on the accuracy or significance of this claim and on steps proposed by the Government to resolve the issue?
– The Minister for Health is aware of the Press report which appeared in the Sydney Sun-Herald of 26 February. He has an understanding that a letter from the Australian Atomic Energy Commission refuting this report was published in the same paper on 5 March. The Australian Atomic Energy Commission has suppled radio pharmaceuticals and radio isotopes for use by nuclear physicians for many years. The products are subject to stringent quality control by the Australian Radiation Laboratory of the Department of Health. I understand that there is a production problem with one technetium radio pharmaceutical which has not been providing adequate bone scanning images. This difficulty has been recognised and a working party consisting of specialists from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the Prince of Wales Hospital and officers of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission has been set up to study the problem. The production and supply of other atomic energy produced radio pharmaceuticals is unaffected by this one difficulty.
-I ask the Minister for Social Security: Does the Government intend to disband the Social Security Appeals Tribunals shortly? If so, what will be substituted?
– I have no intention and have taken no decision to disband the Social Security Appeals Tribunals. In fact, I am considering appointments to these Tribunals. I think that some consideration needs to be given to representations that have been made by some legal associations and others in the community that the present structure of the Social Security Appeals Tribunals does not give a satisfactory right of appeal to claimants under the Social Services Act. The decision taken recently by the Government that an ultimate right of appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal would be given to social security beneficiaries when the Director-General does not accept the appeals decision is one way of strengthening the work that can be done in the appeals process. I am always prepared to discuss any ways of ensuring that the right of appeal of people under the Social Services Act is certainly no less than the right of appeal that people have under any other Commonwealth Act. In answer to the specific question, I have taken no decision to disband the
Social Security Appeals Tribunals and, until such time as open discussion is had on any improved method of providing a right of appeal, I will be making appointments to the Tribunals. I am hopeful that the Tribunals will provide an adequate source of appeal to the people who claim benefits under the Act that I administer.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to the visit to this place today of a parliamentary delegation from Papua New Guinea and to Australia’s gift of a national library to Papua New Guinea on its attainment of independence. Can the Minister give any further details relating to the gift of the library, the proposed site of which I had the opportunity of seeing during the course of my Commonwealth Parliamentary Association duties? Has any progress been made in relation to its construction? I hope that this matter is receiving attention as this very important resource centre in Port Moresby could strengthen the already important links between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
-At the time of Papua New Guinea’s independence in 1975 the then Australian Government announced that Australia’s independence gift to that country would be a national library building and associated books, files and equipment at a cost of up to $A2m. Construction work on the building at a site near Port Moresby is progressing well and the building is expected to be completed by May of this year. The National Library of Australia is procuring a collection of books, files and equipment for the building. I understand further that the authorities in Papua New Guinea are giving consideration to having an official opening of the library either late in June or early in July of this year.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I preface it by reminding him that on Wednesday of last week, in answering a question from me relating to the serious plight of wine grape growers in the Riverland region of South Australia, he told me that any approach for assistance from the South Australian Government would be given close scrutiny by the Commonwealth Government. In view of the fact that the South Australian Minister for Agriculture, Mr
Chatterton, M.L.C., has been making both verbal and written requests for assistance since January, I ask the Minister whether a close scrutiny of these approaches has yet been carried out. If so, what assistance will be forthcoming? Further, will the Government take immediate steps to restrict the growing imports of wine and spirits, which are being dumped on the Australian market to the serious detriment of Australian grape growers?
– I am unable to say whether the representations, both verbal and written, from the South Australian Minister have been considered by the Minister for Primary Industry. I will take up that point. The honourable senator asks whether consideration can be given to prohibiting imports. My understanding is that the prohibition of imports would not greatly affect the ability to take up the surplus grape crop in Australia. I understand that the total Australian wine grape crush in 1977 was approximately 471,000 tonnes and that wine makers claim that the tonnage utilised was about 15 per cent in excess of the real needs, due to the declining consumption trend for red wine in particular and, to a lesser extent, brandy. My understanding is that if there were to be a complete prohibition it would affect only about one-third of the present excess of wine grapes. However, I will refer the points raised by the honourable senator to the Minister for Primary Industry today and attempt to obtain a response from him.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs aware that the waiting period imposed by the Aboriginal Housing Loans Commission has been extended from three years to five years? Can the Minister inform the Senate why the waiting period has been extended, considering that adequate housing in the Aboriginal community is of such great importance to the Aboriginal people?
– I am unaware of the specific waiting period; but I am able to say that, in addition to the $5m that was provided for the Aboriginal Loans Commission in 1977-78, $24m was provided for housing through Aboriginal housing associations and State housing authorities. The latter outlay primarily serves the needs of Aboriginals who because of their financial circumstances are restricted to renting accommodation. The Government accords a high priority to housing; but, having regard to priorities for the allocation of available funds, it also has been necessary to place a high emphasis on employment, health, education and other services. As a result, the allocation to the Aboriginal Loans Commission was reduced this year. When preparing the 1978-79 Budget the Government will review the situation and, because of the long waiting period that exists the Commission will not accept any requests for priority listing made after 28 February this year. The existing list is not being cancelled and all applicants on the list at 28 February will be invited to apply for a housing loan as funds become available. As I have said, I am unaware whether the waiting period is five years. I will refer that matter to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and seek information on it.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Has the Australian Government cut out the grant to the Canberra Childbirth Education Association of $500? Is the Minister aware that the Association has had to raise its fees for this valuable service following the removal of the grant and that as a consequence some women will be deprived of this service?
– I am not aware of the matters stated by Senator Ryan. I will refer the question to the Minister for Health and obtain an answer for her.
-Has the Minister for Science seen a report that the introduction of a foreign virus to control destructive European carp could cause the extinction of rare native fish species? The editor of Aquariums Australia said that the fish myxomatosis could prove a greater threat and cause more damage than the mudsucking carp. Has the Minister’s Department done any research on this virus and can the Minister comment on the veracity of the report?
Honourable senators interjecting-
– Some honourable senators apparently need to be drugged while some answers are being given. I am aware of Press reports about some type of virus that may be introduced. The honourable senator may recall that this matter was raised in the Senate and responded to by me several times during the last session. Neither my Department nor the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has done any research at all on this topic. I understand- I referred to this matter previously- that the Victorian State Fisheries
Authority is examining the possibility of introducing a virus which is pathogenic to European carp. The introduction of any organism is subject to quarantine requirements, which are the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Health. Those requirements necessarily include exhaustive testing to ensure that the organism does not affect species other than the target species for which it is introduced. The Victorian authority is well aware of the importance of such testing and I understand that it has already made plans for the basic testing to begin. The question raised by the honourable senator is an important one. It is my understanding that there is no current application for the importation of the material referred to and so the matter is not under consideration by the Department of Health.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry: In view of the reply of the Minister for Primary Industry to a question asked yesterday in the other place, can the Minister say whether the six companies named by me on Tuesday evening are among the 10 companies being investigated by the Commonwealth Police for breaches of the Exports (Meat) Regulations? Will the Minister provide me with the information about which he spoke on the adjournment last night? I must ask him why he is prepared to provide- and I use his words- only some of the information?
– I will attempt to obtain from the Minister for Primary Industry the answer to the question about the six companies named by Senator Primmer. At the moment I do not recall Senator Primmer’s naming those companies.
– Have a look at Hansard and you will see the names.
-If they are in Hansard, I will seek the information from the Minister for Primary Industry. The honourable senator asked whether there was any particular reason why I said that I would attempt to provide some of the answers to the questions that he raised on Tuesday. There was a peculiar proposition in Senator Primmer’s allegations, of course. It came through to simple people such as I that Senator Primmer did not have any supporting evidence whatsoever for the allegations he made. I think that was the general thrust of the point made during the adjournment debate last evening. The honourable senator made certain allegations ranging over a wide area. In my comment I said that he had cast his net very wide. He had indeed. He had made allegations against individuals, against companies, against a great variety of people, and indeed he provided only part of the information to support his allegations. I say to the honourable senator that perhaps the answer that the Minister can provide is very much dependent on the honourable senator’s making proper allegations, documented in a way that can be verified.
– I wish to ask a supplementary question. During the adjournment debate last night the Minister for Science said:
I have had an interim response from the Minister whom I represent in this chamber. If Senator Primmer is interested, I will make some of that information available to him at an appropriate time in the Senate.
I now ask Senator Webster whether he is prepared to provide that information?
– I can assure the honourable senator that it will be my selection or that of the Minister whom I represent that determines what information that I had available last evening will be given to him.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and relates to the question asked yesterday by Senator Young concerning the extraordinary situation in South Australia where in the past two years some 1 ,200 overseas doctors have registered to practise although they do not live in this country.
– He said 2,000 yesterday.
-It is 1,200. From the end of this year 177 doctors will graduate annually from medical schools in South Australia and it is estimated that by 1983 there will be 1,000 too many doctors in the State. Because that will mean that our own medical graduates will be denied work, will the Government take action to prevent foreign doctors from coming to Australia to practise medicine until such time as the oversupply of medicos is corrected?
– As I indicated yesterday in answer to a question from Senator Young, it is necessary to distinguish between the registration of doctors from overseas and migration to Australia. The registration of doctors is a matter within the control of State governments. The requirements and procedures for registration are determined by State legislation. It is for the States to decide whether they will continue to register doctors who are not residents of Australia. The list of approved occupations for migration has been reviewed and as of today the listing for medical practitioners and specialists will be as follows: minor shortage, country areas of Victoria and Western Australia; balance, Queensland and the Northern Territory; firm job offer only, New South Wales and Tasmania and metropolitan areas of Western Australia and Victoria. This means that as far as South Australia is concerned medical practitioners will be approved for migration only if they have a firm offer of a job in that State. They must also be eligible for immediate registration in South Australia.
That is the position as far as the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is concerned. Of course, the other problem with regard to over supply through graduates and other doctors is a matter for registration and detail within the control of State governments. What I said yesterday is also applicable and that is that whilst we may look at total figures and say that there is an over supply, there are areas in Australia which have no access to a medical practitioner. It can hardly be said that the over supply situation applies to them. However, I shall draw the attention of the Minister to Senator Jessop ‘s question and relate the figures which he has provided to see whether the Minister has any further response which he wishes to make.
– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister: Who is Major Peter Castleton? Is he the representative in Alice Springs for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and /or the American Central Intelligence Agency? Is the Minister aware that Major Castleton is monitoring Australian citizens in Alice Springs who express even a slight interest in military bases in that area? Is the Minister also aware that Major Castleton is endeavouring to obtain photographs of Australian citizens for dossier purposes? Will the Minister inform the Parliament whether the Army is taking over Special Branch and /or ASIO activities in the Northern Territory? Is this an extension of the authority given to troops at the time of the recent international gathering at the Hotel Hilton and at Bowral? If this is not the case, will the Minister take appropriate steps to have the surveillance of Australian citizens by Army personnel brought to an end?
– The answer to all questions is no.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry:
What stage has the bluetongue testing program reached? Have cattle been tested in all States? When is it expected that the results will be known? Can the program be pursued with a view to removing from quarantine first those States or areas least likely to be affected?
– I understand that a survey is being conducted throughout Australia to identify the present geographical spread of bluetongue infection and that it is well advanced. Cattle from all States have been tested. The standard test being used at present is the serum neutralisation test. Over 15,000 tests have so far been conducted. The test results have been made available progressively to chief veterinary officers of the States and Territories. The results have been used as the basis for developing current control policies. In essence, these policies aim to restrict infection to the northern part of the country which is at present the only region where the virus is known to be naturally transmitted.
Now that the present distribution of the virus has been adequately mapped in broad terms, emphasis is shifting to the development of methods for minimising difficulties in the movement of animals while still maintaining adequate protection for the sheep industry which is the particular concern of the honourable senator and of many producers in Australia. Restrictions have, as far as possible, been progressively eased and the only areas seriously affected by movement restrictions are the gazetted control areas in the extreme north of Australia. It is hoped that by intensifying surveillance of these areas it will be possible to ease further the difficulties faced by cattle producers there. However, it is unlikely that producers in those areas will ever have the freedom of cattle movement that they had before the discovery of the bluetongue virus.
-I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs: Does the Government possess a list of petroleum product freight differentials for about 8,000 distribution centres throughout Australia? If so, will he make the list available to the Senate as soon as possible?
– I have not before me the figures that Senator Wriedt requests, but I will refer the matter to the Minister whom I represent in this chamber and endeavour to obtain the figures for the honourable senator.
– My question to the Attorney-General relates to references that I made in my remarks on the Address-in-Reply to the Governor-General’s Speech concerning disclosures in the case before Mr Justice Smithers about immature people being recruited as Australian Security Intelligence Organisation officers. I ask the Attorney-General: In view of the information that Mr Justice Smithers obtained, are we to infer that senators are not regarded as adequate security risks, and cannot have that information, or may the committee that he well knows I have eulogised in my remarks have access to the transcript of that case? Can he give us an assurance that henceforth we are not going to recruit immature people who appear to be the poor man’s James Bond?
– I must apologise to Senator Mulvihill for not having read his speech in relation to this matter. Perhaps I ought to do so before answering his question. As is public knowledge, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has recently been recruiting agents, but as to the particulars of the case to which the honourable senator refers I have no knowledge. I may add that in all probability it would not be a case in which I would be able to give any information to the Senate, because no government answers questions concerning individual cases of this nature. However, I will consider the matter that he has raised.
– My question to the Minister for Administrative Services refers to an answer that last week was given to Senator Martin relating to Commonwealth drivers’ uniforms. Is it a fact that short-sleeved shirts are in store at Karrakatta but are not being issued because the crest has been embroidered onto the shirt pocket? I understand that the drivers are concerned about ready identification while they are travelling to and from their place of work. Is it true that the shirts are now to be returned to the eastern States to have the crests removed and that the old practice of attaching the crest by way of a badge will be continued? Is it not possible to have this operation carried out in Perth so as to expedite the issue of the shirts while the hot weather in Western Australia still continues?
– I try to keep an eye on the department I administer, but I cannot look after the drivers’ shirts as part of that activity. However, the honourable senator’s request is reasonable. I will see what information I can get and forward it to her.
-Western AustraliaAttorneyGeneral) I seek leave to make an explanation and correction of something I said in the course of debate yesterday.
– In the course of the debate yesterday on the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Bill I made reference to some earlier legislation of the Parliament concerning terrorist activities, particularly in relation to aircraft. The words in Hansard are as follows:
In fact, in my memory as Minister representing the Attorney-General, Liberal-National Country Party governments have introduced legislation to give effect to international conventions dealing with the hi-jacking of aircraft and the protection of internationally protected persons. The legislation dealing with such matters includes: The Crimes (Aircraft) Act, the Crimes (Hi-jacking of Aircraft) Act, the Crimes (Protection of Aircraft) Act and the Crimes ( Internationally Protected Persons) Act. That legislation has been enacted by Liberal-National Country Party governments.
I regret that my memory was somewhat faulty and played a trick, as it does when I rely on it alone without looking up particulars. In fact the legislation that I recalled introducing in the Senate effected amendments to the Crimes (Aircraft) Act. I also introduced the Crimes (Internationally Protected Persons) Act which gave effect to an international convention. The Crimes (Hijacking of Aircraft) Act had been passed by the Parliament in 1972. It certainly was an enactment of a previous Liberal-National Country Party government. The Crimes (Protection of Aircraft) Act was introduced in 1973 by the Labor Government.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the report on the working and administration of the Department of Transport during the year ended 30 June 1977, including those matters on which the Minister for Transport is required to report pursuant to section 29 of the Air Navigation Act 1 920.
-(New South WalesMinister for Education)- Pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Third Schedule of the Airlines Agreement Act 1952 I present the annual financial report relating to the operation of air services by Ansett Transport Industries for the year ended 2 July 1977.
Motion (by Senator Withers) agreed to:
That, unless otherwise ordered, at 12.30 p.m. this day the sitting of the Senate be suspended until 8 p.m. to enable committees to meet.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Ordered that the Bill may be taken through all its stages without delay.
Bill (on motion by Senator Durack) read a first time.
– I move:
I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.
The speech read as follows-
The purpose of the Bill now before the Senate is to give effect to the Government’s decision to provide assistance to the manufacture in Australia of polyester-cotton yarn. Following advice from the Industries Assistance Commission in its report No. 138 of 19 July 1977 on certain spun yarns and wool textiles and other goods, it has been decided to accord assistance by way of a bounty scheme providing for payment to Australian manufacturers of a bounty of $1.15 per kilogram on yarn consisting of a mixture of polyester and cotton fibres, in which the polyester fibres are not less than 50 per cent by weight, being single-fold combed yarn not coarser than 20 tex with at least one ply of 10 tex or coarser.
The bounty, which is payable from 1 October 1977 is seen by the Government as according short-term assistance to local manufacturers to enable them to compete on reasonable terms with imports of combed fine count polyestercotton yarn. The question of long-term assistance is currently under review by the Industries Assistance Commission and it is anticipated that the Commission’s report in this regard will be received towards the end of this year. Because of the short-term nature of the proposal, provision has been made for the scheme to operate on an annual basis, ceasing on 30 September 1 980, and for the amount available for payment of bounty not to exceed $600,000 annually.
Clause 22 of the Bill continues the Government’s policy of expanding, wherever possible, the jurisdiction of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in relation to administrative decisions which affect rights or entitlements of persons under Commonwealth legislation.
I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Wriedt) adjourned.
Consideration resumed from 7 March on motion by Senator Durack:
That the Bill be now read a second time. Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
– I draw the attention of honourable senators to the presence in the gallery of a delegation from the national Parliament of Papua New Guinea, led by Mr Angmai Bilas. The delegation is visiting Australia at the invitation of the Parliament. This is the first official exchange between the two Parliaments. I am sure that honourable senators will join with me in expressing a very sincere welcome to our distinguished visitors. We warmly welcome you, gentlemen.
Sitting suspended from 11.42 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The following Bills were returned from the House of Representatives without amendment:
Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Amendment Bill 1978.
Northern Territory Supreme Court Amendment Bill 1 978.
– I move:
Increased public awareness of drug-running breaches, and breaches of fisheries, quarantine, immigration and other Australian laws has heightened the need for an examination of offshore law enforcement methods. There is growing community apprehension that Australia’s off-shore law enforcement arrangements are cost-ineffective, politically undersirable, administratively questionable and a drain on the scarce defence resources of Australia.
No one can be satisfied with the current situation and no one is. I have a fistfull of recent quotations from many people of various backgrounds in Australia to witness to that effect. For example, in an article headed, ‘Quick action demand on illegal fishing’ in the Australian of Thursday, 19 January of this year, Mr Hodges, the Queensland Minister for Fisheries, said he would ask the Federal Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) to take strong and speedy action against the illegal fishing vessels. This was after a call for action had been made by the Fisheries Council of the Queensland Commercial Fisheries Organisation. Again, the Western Australian Maritime Services Association was quoted in an article at about the same time in the Canberra Times as follows:
The views of the Western Australian Marine Services Association are worth considering. It has supported vigorously a claim by Commonwealth police that the North West coast is wide open to drug running. It has been seeking action for years.
In a submission to the Federal Government in 1976, it stressed the need for adequate surveillance by a fleet of small craft.
It even offered to build a prototype vessel free of charge to show the Commonwealth the right way.
We have had no response from the Commonwealth’, the association’s president, Mr Michael Kailis said.
We have had statements by the Northern Territory Executive, as quoted in the Australian of 2 February 1978, asking the Federal Government to help set up surveillance operations along the north coast. The report reads:
The Executive has initiated moves for a joint Northern Territory-Queensland-Western Australian approach to impress on Canberra the seriousness of drug smuggling and illegal immigration in the north.
It went on:
The majority leader in the Executive, Mr Everingham, said in Darwin yesterday the director-general of the ChiefSecretary’s Department, Mr Martin Finger, was arranging a joint delegation to the Federal Government.
The concern is widespread. It is spread over all political parties, and in a Press statement of 28 January 1978 Mr Bill Hayden, the Leader of the Opposition, said:
The Government’s belated proposals to combat drug running are little more than a hollow public relations exercise. They finally acknowledge a problem they were made aware of at least 18 months ago but offer little of real substance to tackle it.
Theirs is a panic reaction to the latest in a string of embarrassments suffered in recent months due to almost nonexistent surveillance of Australia’s northern coastline.
Maritime surface and air patrol measures are grossly inadequate, as was pointed out in a Parliamentary Committee report tabled in September 1976.
I think the reference is to the Hodges report. Indeed, the Minister for Defence (Mr Killen) last week, in answer to a question in the House of Representatives, expressed himself as being totally dissatisfied with the current situation. What is the current situation? Mr President, here I must acknowledge the assistance of a quite large number of people in putting forward this motion to the Senate and obtaining arguments in support of the need for a select committee.
Principal amongst those who have assisted are the Parliamentary Library, the Defence, Science and Technology group and the Law and Government group, whose work on this particular matter has in my view been outstanding. Honourable senators will today or yesterday have received from the Parliamentary Library Legislative Research Service Current Issues, Brief No. 1, 1978. The current position is described in that document. It is too long to have incorporated in Hansard, but I would ask that, to add sense to my contribution this evening, certain parts of it be in fact incorporated. The parts I seek to have incorporated are paragraphs 2 to 8, which deal with the current situation and which cover two pages of the Legislative Research Service ‘s paper. I seek leave to incorporate those paragraphs in Hansard.
The document read as follows-
Awareness of the problem of coastal surveillance and sovereignty enforcement appears to have been stimulated by public statements directing attention to foreign fishing vessels operating close to the Australian coastline. Amongst these were Indonesian subsistence fishermen operating off the North West Coast and Taiwanese commercial fishermen gathering clams on the Great Barrier Reef. Although few sightings appear to have been made in the early years of the decade, during 1973 285 sightings of fishing boats in Australian territorial waters were reported, and this increased to 43 1 in 1 974. Concern was expressed over the competition with local fisheries and the Cheynes Beach whaling operations; the endangering of local species such as the Trochus and the Giant Clam; and the possibility of drug smuggling. On the North West Coast the greatest worry was the introduction of exotic diseases following Indonesian landings on the coast and adajcent islands. It was estimated in 197S that an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the cattle industry of the Kimberly and Northern Australia could cost $3,500m in lost exports.
Coastal surveillance gradually became a political issue as local citizens protested against their perceived lack of protection and absence of control of ‘unfair’ competition. The Premiers of Western Australia and Queensland several times criticised the Federal Government for what was claimed to be an inability to oversee and defend Australia’s territorial waters. During 1974 the Federal Government considered alternative responses to the problem. An interdepartmental committee studied ways in which coastal surveillance could be improved along with the related matters of organization, equipment and costs. Following its report, a second IDC was established under the Chairmanship of the Department of Transport to report on the provisions by the Marine Operations Centre of the most effective co-ordination of coastal surveillance. In October, a special committee to examine the problem of fisheries and customs surveillance on the West Coast was established.
One of the proposals considered at this time was the establishment of some form of Coast Guard service, possibly under the control of the Department of Customs. It was not adopted, the Government deciding to make better use of the existing personnel and equipment of the Australian Defence Forces to perform surveillance and sovereignty enforcement. The RAAF had been involved in surveillance since 1968 when the 12 nautical mile exclusive fishing zone was declared. To increase this involvement, the flying hours of the RAAF directly alloted to maritime surveillance were increased from approximately 160 hours to more than 800 hours per annum and the extent of patrol boat operations from Darwin and Cairns was increased slightly. The RAAF’s surveillance missions were flown by transport aircraft as well as its specialised long-range maritime patrol (LRMP) aircraft and aircraft in transit, diverted, where practical, to perform enroute surveillance. During 1975 the Department of Defence conducted trials using light aircraft such as the RAAF’s ‘Winjeel’ trainer and the Army’s Kiowa ‘ helicopter for specific coastal surveillance tasks.
The first major exercise reflecting the increased importance of coastal surveillance and sovereignty enforcement was Operation Trochus 75. This involved 3 Grunman S2E Tracker’ aircraft of the RAN operating on detachment at Broome in co-operation with the 4 patrol boats of the RAN ‘s Third Australian Patrol Boat Squadron in Darwin. The object of the operation was to monitor and control the activties of Indonesian fishermen off the North West Coast and restrict their activities to the waters agreed by Australian and Indonesian Authorities in November 1974. During Trochus 75 the Trackers flew 174 fisheries surveillance patrols and investigated more than 2200 contacts (although this often involved the same fishing boat). They also flew 13 search and rescue sorties. The operation was repeated again in 1976. In 1977 the aircraft were not available due to the destruction of most of them in the fire at the Naval Air Station, Nowra in December, 1976.
In October, 1977 the Minister for Defence announced the beginning of a program of aerial surveillance of the coast between Broome and Darwin to be carried out for an initial 6 months period. This program had been initiated by request from the Inter-departmental Committee on Australian Coastal Surveillance, which is responsible to the Minister for Transport. Before this, surveillance for the RAN patrol boats at Darwin had been provided by civilian aircraft chartered by the Department of Health. Initially, aerial surveillance was undertaken by a RAAF Dakota aircraft which has since been replaced by 3 RAN Trackers. It is these aircraft which lately have been on aerial patrol from Darwin to locate and track refugee boats approaching the coastline.
The main equipments currently used for the coastal surveillance and sovereignty enforcement tasks are Tracker aircraft and ‘Attack’ class patrol boats of the RAN. They work under organizational arrangements which might be broadly described as a ‘user service’ to other Commonwealth and State Departments. Primarily a carrier based ASW aircraft, the Tracker has a maximum speed of about 400 km. p.h., a cruising speed of between 240 and 272 km. p.h. and a maximum range of 1,600 km., depending on payload. Endurance is up to 10 hrs. The RAN has 16 S2Gs and 3 of earlier S2E variant. The first batch of S2G Trackers to be refurbished in Australia should soon commence operational service and eventually 10 of these aircraft will be deployed, the other 6 being stored as ‘attrition spares’. The RAN has 12 patrol boats, 4 of which are based at Darwin and 3 at Cairns. Displacing 149 tonnes they are 32.8 m in length and have a maximum speed of approximately 21 knots. The Government has announced plans for the replacement of these craft. Both the Trackers and patrol boats are supplemented by other forces where they are available, whilst the RAAF’s LRMP aircraft regularly fly long-range surveillance missions.
The overall organization of surveillance and sovereignty enforcement involves a number of Departments. The interdepartmental Coastal Surveillance Standing Committee, under the control of the Minister for Transport, has responsibility for the organization of non-military coastal surveillance. The Maritime Operations Centre of the Department of Transport directs all day-to-day activities concerned with shipping around the coasts of Australia, including search and rescue operations. The Fisheries Division of the Department of Primary Industry, the Department of Health, the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, the Commonwealth Police and State Government authorities are amongst those involved in the administration of regulations covering areas such as fisheries protection, quarantine, customs regulation and combating drug running. The Defence Forces operate their equipment in the surveillance and sovereignty enforcement role on behalf of these bodies and are not responsible for any legal or administrative actions which may follow their activities.
– In my remarks tonight I do not want to reflect in any way upon the work of the various departments engaged in this field, the inter-departmental committee or the Marine Operations Centre, which operates from Canberra. The duties of the Marine Operations Centre are stated in the report of the Department of Transport entitled ‘Australian Transport’, which is available to all honourable senators. However, one does get the very clear impression that Australia’s coastal surveillance in respect of off-shore law enforcement is bogged down in a gigantic bureaucratic tangle and that something in the nature of a public inquiry, insofar as that is able to be undertaken, by a select committee of the Senate would be able to examine the current situation and propose solutions. One important matter for such a select committee to examine is the adequacy or otherwise of the existing statutory provisions relating to responsibilities which would be assumed by a coastguard authority or similar organisation, irrespective of whether it is part of the defence forces. I leave that question aside for the moment. That is a situation about which there is a difference of opinion and on which I believe the Opposition takes a stance. It is a situation that I hope to discuss later in this speech.
At present a large number of Ministers have a finger in the pie and there is a deal of difference between what is actually set out in legislation and what happens in practice. There is room for a major overhaul and, perhaps, consolidation of the existing statutory provisions. For example, in this area we have the Navigation Act, which is administered by the Minister for Transport, and the Customs Act, which is administered by the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs. In fact, naval ships carry Customs officers on occasions; they act as taxis for them, as they do under the fisheries provisions. The Customs Act is also wide enough in its scope to enable naval personnel to be authorised to perform Customs functions. Another piece of legislation in the area is the Quarantine Act, which is administered by the Minister for Health. It authorises quarantine officers to exercise a wide range of powers. In practice, Customs officers are appointed as temporary quarantine officers.
The Fisheries Act, which is administered by the Minister for Primary Industry falls within this area. Members of the defence forces are officers under the definition of ‘officer’ in the Fisheries Act. The Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Act, which is administered by the Minister for Primary Industry, the Minister for Administrative Services, the Minister for the Capital Territory and the Minister for the Northern Territory, is yet another piece of legislation in this area. Under that Act the officers can exercise power but in practice this is done by the Navy. Its operations are confined to foreign vessels between 3 and 12 nautical miles offshore. The Migration Act, which is administered by the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, is also applicable. Insofar as off-shore law enforcement is concerned, there is again a difference between what is provided in the Act and what occurs in practice. Other Acts are also applicable. I will not go through the whole list; I will just give examples. The Pollution of the Sea by Oil Act, which is administered by the Minister for Transport and the Historic Shipwrecks Act, which is administered by the Minister for Administrative Services, are just two of the others on the list. One certainly gets the impression that there is a gigantic bureaucratic tangle which should be unravelled in a public fashion as far as possible and that this should be done without inter-departmental bickering or pressure from lobby groups within the individual departments which have the upper hand. In other words, an independent assessment of the current situation is required to isolate the problem and recommend solutions.
There is increasing evidence of breaches of Australia’s laws off-shore. Since the early 1970s questions have been asked with increasing frequency about the adequacy or otherwise of Australia’s attempts to safeguard her maritime borders. This has been due to a number of factors, amongst which have been an increase in the visible external pressures, such as fishing, a sharper focusing on Australia’s continental boundaries due to a change in defence concepts and the likely assumption of new responsibilities arising from changed laws governing the international usage of the oceans. I refer specifically to the EEZ- the exclusive economic zone. It is impossible to say with any finality that Australia’s reaction to this new situation has been inadequate. Similarly, it is impossible to say whether known plans are sure to fail to meet the requirements for assessing Australia’s sovereignty around her continental boundaries. However, there is a considerable weight of evidence indicating that the task is not being discharged adequately and that the nation is about to encounter severe difficulties in performing future tasks.
As I have mentioned, many statements are being made by interested groups, public groups and political figures in the areas where the pressures of the new developments are most obviously being felt. Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia are examples. Those statements indicate that there are very severe deficiencies indeed. This problem is not isolated to Queensland, Western Australia or the Northern Territory. The incident of the drug haul off Jervis Bay involving rafts with radio beacons is sufficient to show that crimes of this nature are being committed right throughout Australia. It will be interesting to see the report of the Royal Commission into Drugs on this aspect. Conversely, there are official statements which indicate that the criteria for assessing success must be placed in the correct perspective and that in this light the existing coastal surveillance measures are adequate. The significant exception is seen in the attitude adopted by the Minister for Defence, Mr Killen.
The problem of adjudicating upon those conflicting views, that is, on the one hand that there are severe deficiencies and on the other hand that surveillance is adequate given certain criteria, lies in the basis upon which the judgments are made. Answers to parliamentary questions indicate that few foreign fishermen have made unauthorised landings in Australia and that a small proportion of the foreign fishing vessels working the Australian coast are doing so illegally. I have noted answers which have been given in this and the other chamber relating to those aspects. However, such statistics are valid only if the sample of cases they represent is sufficiently large to accurately indicate what is occurring.
It would appear from the weight of available evidence that the collection of data concerned with coastal surveillance around Australia is not adequate to allow the formation of an accurate picture of the activities along Australia’s coastline and the waters adjacent to it. For instance, the surveillance flight by a Royal Australian Air Force P3C Orion takes four days to complete and it is not conducted continuously. On Four Corners on 18 February 1978 it was estimated that this left smugglers with an 80 per cent probability of success. In the absence of adequate data this statement should be treated with scepticism but it cannot be gainsaid. Other surveillance activities off the Australian coast include the work of three S2 Tracker aircraft operating from Darwin and the use of other RAAF aircraft in transit, amounting to 2,700 aircraft flying hours during 1976-77. To place this figure in an admittedly crude perspective, this can be calculated to equal one aircraft in the air for one-third of the year at one spot along Australia’s 19,000 kilometre coastline. Similarly, although an Orion can cover some 1 1.8 per cent of the 200 nautical mile Australian EEZ in a single sortie, this can be done only at high altitude. Whilst this is sufficient to detect targets of defence interests, that is, strategic surveillance, such as destroyers, such a mission would not locate targets of interest to civil law enforcement agencies, such as trawlers, as the aircraft’s radar would be unable to detect vessels displacing less than 2,000 tonnes. This type of operation must be performed at a low level, typically 600 metres. In contrast to the P3C ‘s ability to sweep 770,000 square kilometres in a single sortie in strategic surveillance, the S2 Tracker aircraft flying civilian surveillance at 600 metres altitude will cover 62,000 square kilometres in its typical 6-hour sortie. That represents 0.95 per cent of the Australian EEZ.
I have raised in the questions to be considered by the proposed select committee the cost effectiveness of the current situation. Having established that the data on which to base a judgment of the success or otherwise of Australia ‘s coastal surveillance is lacking, it nonetheless remains to the critic to establish criteria for determining its success. This is most easily done if coastal surveillance is seen as a civil task performed to civil peacetime criteria. It is only in this framework that criteria of cost effectiveness can be used as a non-subjective tool for evaluating an appropriate government policy. Basically this approach allows for the value of the resources being protected to be weighed against the cost of providing such protection. Thus, an increase in surveillance effort can be justified if its cost, even though large, is a small proportion of the value of the resources being safeguarded. Alternatively, the effort may be decreased in areas where the cost is disproportionately larger than the benefits accruing. This method is not without its shortcomings but it does at least provide a basis for evaluation which is not applicable if coastal surveillance remains a military task.
In these circumstances adequacy of response to the apparent task is the only available criteria. When that task is inadequately defined, a high probability of preventing a failure in the given operational environment is the only basis of analysis. When the environment is such as to make this proposition absurd the problem can be written off as being too difficult. That is why we hear defence spokesmen seriously cite the need to operate an obviously ridiculous number of aircraft as a justification for not performing what is seen as an undefined task. If the task is seen in civil cost effectiveness terms the answer is usually different and quite often plausible.
Two Australian companies have based their approach to the coastal surveillance problem on the cost effectiveness concept. Studies by Hawker de Havilland Australia Pty Ltd of the systems approach to coastal surveillance used the analogy of insurance. The company claims that an annual expenditure of between $30m and $50m is justified to protect an agricultural and off-shore industry which it assesses as having an annual output of between $30 billion and $50 billion. I refer to what was stated in the paper prepared by Derek Woolner, a legislative research specialist of the Defence Science and Technology Group of the Parliamentary Library. This is the paper which I earlier incorporated in Hansard. It states:
On the North West Coast the greatest worry was the introduction of exotic diseases following Indonesian landings on the coast and adjacent islands. It was estimated in 1975 that an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the cattle industry of the Kimberley and Northern Australia could cost $3, 500m in lost exports.
Another Australian company, the Government Aircraft Factories, in its studies of the requirements for aerial observation of the EEZ, concluded that in most countries adequate surveillance would be achieved by a daily coverage of each zone of the EEZ. The object is not to achieve 100 per cent detection of all possible targets but to detect and apprehend enough violators to deter a large proportion of such activities. Thus, as with the prevention of violence at all levels- from international conduct to the maintenance of law and order- the problem becomes one of developing an organisation efficient enough to deter would-be violators.
In passing, it should be said that the costeffectiveness approach in the Australian situation has its shortcomings. This is basically because there is no accurate data to indicate the value of Australia’s resources in several important areas. So far as fishing is concerned, Dr K. Radway Allen, the former chief of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s Division of Fisheries and Oceanography, said:
It is inescapable that to obtain the knowledge needed for the sound management of an extended fishing zone will require a substantial commitment of people, ships, time and money. . . . It is evident that the numbers of fisheries scientists in Australia at present available to work in offshore fisheries is entirely inadequate to undertake the studies which will be required for effective management of an extended fisheries zone.
If deterrence of potential violators is one of the objectives of coastal surveillance, the current system can be said to have shortcomings in that it has enabled a public impression of incompetence to arise. Statements of individuals with a wide background of positions and interests indicate the extent of that criticism. Because this criticism appears to be widespread it creates an impression which encourages would-be violators to expect success. This can be the case even though reports may not be necessarily representative.
One person who should be in a position to know is Inspector Mike Gilroy of the Northern Territory Police. He should be able to give an accurate assessment of the success of coastal surveillance operations. He was reported in the Canberra Times of 22 January 1978 as stating that large quantities of marihuana were brought into Groote Eylandt by prawning boats. He was reported as saying:
We laid traps for them but it needed a big operation to clean them up. We were hampered by lack of men and equipment. The boats would come in at all hours of the night and anchor off-shore . . . there were a lot of boats around . . . we couldn’t search all of them. We knew though that the prawners were notorious for bringing the stuff in.
In the last five years only one boat has been detected bringing marihuana into Darwin.
I refer also to the proceedings of the Federal Royal Commission Into Drugs which commenced its hearings in Darwin, One may not necssarily accept what Inspector Gilroy had to say, but submissions have been made to this inquiry which support the viewpoint that regular drug running is rampant in the north. The hearings were reported on the radio program P.M. One witness was reported as saying that radar in Darwin, which covers about 150 miles in all directions, did not work after 8 o’clock at night. The witness said that although the equipment kept operating no one was there to watch it unless it was known specifically that a plane was coming in. That is just one illustration of the absurd manner in which surveillance is carried out, or to be more precise, not carried out in our northern regions. It is almost as if we were to put up a sign saying ‘Drug trafficking planes will be apprehended if they arrive in office hours but are free to enter Australia illegally and will not be apprehended after office hours, at long weekends or on public holidays’. The same program on P.M. reported that ‘Planes are coming in just about every day’. We already have the recent example of the drug-carrying plane that was apprehended almost by accident. That incident was followed later by another incident in which the plane was not caught. As I recall it- I may be wrong- it was alleged that the plane had aboard drugs worth $2m.
– But we gave it petrol to be able to go home again.
– Did we? Then there was the incident concerning a boat load of refugees that entered Darwin last year. The first anyone knew about them was when they entered the harbour and made inquiries of the local inhabitants. Apparently they had been undetected in their long journey to Australia.
asked a worthwhile question yesterday in which he pointed out that the police had no aircraft in the Territory and just one launch which was not suited to open sea duties and which rarely left Darwin harbour. These examples relate only to northern Australia. However, as we know, there are also problems concerning surveillance of the seas off Queensland, Western Australia and my own
State of Tasmania. As I mentioned before, the incident at Jervis Bay indicates that there are problems right around Australia.
Similar evidence of shortcomings in Australia’s coastal surveillance capacity has come with the influx of refugee boats to the north-west coast of Australia in recent months. I do not for a moment criticise the refugees. I believe we should adopt a humane attitude to them. The fact that refugees can come in undetected shows up the problems of surveillance of Australia ‘s coast. An article in the A Australian of 7 January 1978 stated that at least 20 of the 29 refugee boats which had landed to that time were sighted when within only 20 kilometres of the Australian coast. At least three boats arrived without being detected at all. One of these boats, the Thanh Hai put ashore on Grose Island only 50 kilometres south-west of Darwin before it was detected by one individual on shore. Here is the rub. Another boat was known to be in the area and was the subject of a three-day search by Tracker aircraft and the Royal Australian Navy patrol boat A ware. However, this boat was located and brought to Darwin after a two-day tow by a local fishing vessel without the Navy being able to locate it. It may be unfair to cite specific instances such as these out of context. However, such occurrences are the subject of media reports and as such contribute heavily towards the impressions which are created about the effectiveness of Australia’s coastal surveillance. As such, they are the source of major deficiencies in the performance of coastal surveillance simply because they detract from any deterrent value that might otherwise be created. It may have been only the reaction to media coverage which prompted Defence Minister Killen to reply, in answer to a question about whether he considered 15 patrol boats enough for present purposes, in the following terms:
I find it massively tempting, with respect to the last part of the honourable gentleman’s question, to say emphatically, No, I am not satisfied ‘.
However, his statements of late may be interpreted as themselves giving further emphasis to the appearance of deficiencies. In a Four Corners program of 1 8 February 1 978 he said:
Now I can give an assurance that in terms of clear defence surveillance that the country is being adequately looked after but in terms of civil surveillance well you are looking at an entirely different problem.
If this statement implies a priority to be given to military surveillance even when it is apparent that civil surveillance is inadequate, this can only detract further from the deterrent effect of such civil surveillance. Further, if it implies that civil surveillance is not the responsibility of the Australian defence forces this represents a new de facto policy position of the Government which must further detract from the effectiveness of deterrents since it leaves no prime agency with the responsibility for performing civil surveillance tasks. I think it is necessary to elaborate on what Mr Killen had to say. An article by Peter Costigan in the Melbourne Herald on 28 February stated:
But Denis James Killen is also the Minister for Defence and it is defence personnel and equipment that have been involved so far in the surveillance of the existing 12-mile zone and our vast shoreline.
And, although he does not want to pre-empt the Government’s decision, he is not happy at the idea of military forces searching for illegal refugees, pirate fishermen, drug runners and animal smugglers.
I take the view that this is not a defence responsibility’, he says. ‘I am not seeking to abdicate the responsibility but the approach to the problem has got to be an informed one.
The general surveillance problem seems to me to be hopelessly confused.
People regard fishing, illegal immigration, drug running and introduction of unwanted disease as representing a defence function.
That is not a defence function, it is a police function ‘.
Mr Killen edges towards favouring a civilian coastguard service to monitor the 200-mile economic zone, but he has not made up his mind on whether such a coastguard should ultimately be under the aegis- in an emergency- of the nation’s defence command.
That is a worthwhile article to look at. I am not pre-empting any decision that the Senate committee may come down with as to whether the organisation should be under the aegis of the defence forces. But to those who suggest that it should be under the aegis of the defence forces I put two propositions. Firstly, as I said in my opening remarks, I believe that would be politically undesirable. Secondly, it would be a drain on the resources of the defence forces of this country. Is it any wonder that the Minister for Defence wants to get shot of the essentially civilian role of off-shore law enforcement and have it taken out of his budget? Already in the United Kingdom, although the coastal surveillance is operated by the Navy it is operated on a user-pay basis. That does not occur in this country.
Part of the proposition put forward in my notice of motion relates to the funding of such an organisation. I also believe in the user-pay principle in coastal surveillance. If we are to have a coastal surveillance organisation similar to the United States Coastguard, whether or not it is under the aegis of the armed forces, its funding should come from sources other than the defence appropriation. For example, the Australian Government could set licence fees for fisheries within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone which, together with fees paid by off-shore drillers and the like, would pay handsomely for the annual cost of the coastguard. Frank Cranston of the Canberra Times quoted an expert as suggesting that the potential of fisheries in the EEZ is approximately $5,000m per annum. One per cent or 2 per cent of that amount would go a long way towards meeting the cost of a coastguard. Suppose we established certain licence fees which would cover the cost of operations. Not only would they cover the cost of operations and thus avoid a drain on the Defence budget but also those vesels which are licensed to enter the EEZ themselves would have a vested interest in detecting illegal fishing in the EEZ.
The second reason I put to those who believe that coastal surveillance ought to be under the aegis of the defence forces is this: My attitude- I am sure that the bulk of Australians who are interested in civil liberties and other important aspects would have the same attitude- is that the defence forces should not go to the aid of the civil power except in absolute emergencies. They should not do so as a matter of course. In Australia the defence forces go to the aid of the civil power.
– After the Hilton Hotel bombing, for example.
– That is a question of whether the administrative procedures were properly carried out. But certainly the defence forces should not go to the aid of the civil power as a matter of course. There are valid reasons for this. We do not want to be a military state. A number of breaches of laws off-shore are perpetuated by Australian citizens. Others are perpetuated by nationals of other countries. We saw what happened in the cod war. A grave diplomatic problem arose because of the involvement of the defence forces in that situation.
– In Iceland, do you mean? That is not so, is it?
– I refer the honourable senator to an article in Russi of June 1977 which stated that the involvement of the defence forces created problems. The article entitled Policing Offshore: Civil Power or Armed Forces’ by Elizabeth Young goes into the political and diplomatic problems associated with using armed forces as a matter of course to go to the aid of the civil power or to perform what are essentially civilian tasks of a constabulary nature. I shall quote one brief statement. It reads:
On land, we cannot imagine the armed forces habitually providing the police- the civil power- with the bulk of their personnel, facilities and hardware. For the time being, this is what we are doing at sea. Yet there are, in the first place, strong constitutional objections: military government of any kind is anathema to us, and we are all deeply aware of the tragic failure that the use of the Army in the policing role in Northern Ireland represents.
Let us consider the possible situation with cooperation between nations. If our off-shore law enforcement function were performed by a civil organisation that organisation would be more likely to gain co-operation from similar organisations in neighbouring countries than would our armed forces if they were involved. But I come back to the essential principle which ought to be given consideration by Opposition senators, namely, that as a general principle the armed forces should not go to the aid of the civil power other than in specified urgent circumstances.
My proposition seeks also to establish a committee to inquire into and report on how such a force could contribute to Australia’s defence and defence related industries. I have a great deal of material to show that the hardware required by such a coastguard could be obtained within Australia and could be of inestimable value to Australian defence and defence related industries. I shall not go into this subject tonight; I hope that sufficient has been said to influence honourable senators and the Government to believe that there is a need for an inquiry of the type I have mentioned. I have also pointed out that such an inquiry should examine how such a force should be organised, equipped and financed. This involves a number of questions. Who is to train the personnel in the civil organisation? I believe that the Australian Maritime College which has been established in Launceston would surely be the place which in the future would be most appropriate to train the personnel for such a coastguard.
A number of questions are involved- too many to detail to the Parliament at this time. But I shall ask a couple of them. An Australian coastguard should be set up now, equipped with Australianmade patrol boats and medium range aircraft to perform the essential civil task of protecting Australian fishing and marine mineral resources and enforcing Australian customs, immigration, transport and health laws in Territorial waters and within the proposed extended economic zone? Could that Australian coastguard be modelled on the highly efficient and professional United States coastguard? Without delaying the Senate, I should like to have incorporated in Hansard two short pages comprising an extract from a United States Senate committee hearing of 1977, which details the functions of the United States coastguard.
The document read as follows-
FUNCTIONS OF UNITED STATES COASTGUARD
(Extract from Senate Committee Hearings 1977)
The Coast Guard employs multipurpose vessels, aircraft, and shore units, strategically located along the coasts and inland waterways of the United States and in selected areas overseas to carry out its duties. Operating expenses funds are used to defray the expense of rebuilding through the use of replacements, alterations, and restorations when they involve less than 75 per cent of the original facility. They are also used to defray expenses of improvements through modification, addition, or expansion where the estimated cost of a project is $75 thousand or less.
. Search and rescue. Most Coast Guard operating facilities have the capacity for promoting safety on or over the high seas and on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The Coast Guard performs acts necessary to rescue and aid persons and save property placed in jeopardy due to marine and aircraft accidents, floods, and ice conditions.
Aids to navigation. A network of manned and unmanned aids to navigation is maintained along our coasts and on our inland waterways to insure the safe passage of the mariner. Loran stations are operated in the United States and abroad to serve the needs of the armed services and marine and air commerce. Administrative control is exercised over the construction, maintenance, and operation of bridges across the navigable waters of the United States to insure that the safe passage of navigation is not unreasonably interfered with.
Marine safety. The Coast Guard insures compliance with Federal statutes and regulations pertaining to the merchant marine industry by reviewing plans and specifications for the construction or alteration of merchant vessels; by periodic inspections; by licensing; and by setting standards, procedures, and practices under which merchant marine personnel are licensed and regulated. The Coast Guard minimises the risk of fatalities, injuries, and property damage associated with the operation of recreational boats through a boat safety standards program, boater information, education and compliance programs, support of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and increasing financial and technical support of the individual state boating safety programs.
Marine environmental protection. Under various laws, international agreements, and conventions, the Coast Guard is charged with the prevention of damage to the marine environment and the enhancement of environmental quality. Also, under statutory requirements the Coast Guard must safeguard and secure US ports and waterways against harm, and thereby improve their economic utilisation and assure their availability in time of national emergency.
Ocean operations. Maritime law enforcement is accomplished by cutters and aircraft conducting patrols to enforce international agreements and Federal laws on the high seas and waters over which the US exercises jurisdiction. Ice operations (polar and domestic) are performed by specially constructed icebreakers or ice/strengthened cutters which operate in support of Coast Guard programs, the requirements of other agencies, and in the facilitation of commerce. Marine science activities, which include the International Ice Patrol, are carried out on a co-operative basis with other Government agencies.
Military readiness. The Coast Guard operates as a service in the Navy in time of war or national emergency at the direction of the President. During peacetime, an effective state of military preparedness is maintained through individual and unit training, by joint naval training exercises, or by Coast Guard single and multi-ship operations.
– We have to ask ourselves: Is the current method of maritime sovereignty enforcement inefficient, wasteful and a drain on Australia’s defence capability? Are the Navy patrols and aerial surveillance equipment, with specialised defence sophistication, being wastefully under-utilised in the essential civil task involved in the fisheries patrols in Australian law enforcement off-shore? Are the Orion aircraft far too sophisticated for the search patterns and small surface detection involved? Also, are the Navy patrol craft wastefully operated by crews expensively trained for modern warships? These are the sorts of questions involved. Those of us from Tasmania will remember, as proof of what I said previously about the inability or the inappropriateness of the Orions for this task, what happened when the Blythe Star sank. The Orions were sent there to look for survivors and they could not find them. They ended up on the east coast of Tasmania.
A large number of other questions could be posed and, indeed, must be posed to such an inquiry. These questions need urgent answers. What is the existing form of surveillance of our coastal area and who undertakes it? Should a separate coastguard service be established? Would a coastguard be part of the defence forces or would it be separate? What functions would be covered by a coastguard? If aircraft are to play a relevant role, what types of aircraft would be suitable? Is there a possibility of offsetting the cost of a coastguard against licence fees paid by those people who exploit our marine resources?
If Australia does declare a 200-mile exclusive economic zone- we have heard that the Australian Government intends to declare such a zone, although according to the Canberra Times this morning the declaration has just been deferred- what arrangements will be necessary to cover the Torres Strait area where our zones might overlap with the zones of Papua New Guinea? Because of the increasing importance of the Antarctic area, what immediate and potential role would a coastguard play in protecting our claims in that area? What type of marine vessels would be appropriate? Because of the diversity of the functions which might be brought under the responsibility of a coastguard, what form of training would be required for its employees? I believe that the Australian Maritime College would be the appropriate place for that training to take place.
What is the capacity of Australian industry to produce all or most of whatever resources might be required by an Australian coastguard; for example, vessels, radar, electronics and the like? Why is it that the United States and Canadian coastguards have assumed a particular organisational role? Is this because of particular historical local factors, or is their experiment relevant to Australia? What plans are being discussed for the proposed Norwegian coastguard? Is there a possibility of linking in a coastguard system with information being conveyed from orbiting satellites; for example, for use in the detection of oil spillage? Where should coastguard resources be concentrated? Which parts of the coastline require more intensive surveillance than others? These are the sorts of questions which remain unanswered today.
I believe that it would be a disgrace if the Government were to allow the continued existence of a vacuum in policy in this area. As I indicated before, I understand the problem. It is bogged down in a gigantic bureaucratic tangle. The way to untangle the problem is to have an independent inquiry, which this Senate is well able to set up. How often have honourable senators gone into an inquiry and had a fixed idea about the facts and the solutions but have come out with different ideas altogether? Certainly, with one inquiry undertaken by a committee on which I served I came out with somewhat different ideas from the ones with which I went in. I believe that it would be wholly inappropriate if the Government were to gag this debate and it would ensure a continuance of the confusion which exists at present. I commend the proposition that the Senate establish a select committee to inquire into and report on the matters relating to off-shore law enforcement that are contained in my motion.
-Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion.
-On behalf of the Opposition I move the following amendment:
Leave out all words after ‘That’ and insert ‘in the opinion of the Senate the Government should:
immediately order the establishment of a maritime command of the defence forces to undertake surveillance of the Australian coast and its territorial seas;
establish the command in northern Australia to involve an integrated force for surveillance, interception et cetera on land, air and sea;
establish procedures to ensure co-operation between the command and civil authorities.
Most of the arguments put by Senator Harradine cannot be refuted by anyone in this place. We obviously have here a very real problem- one which is increasing and which will continue to increase. As Senator Harradine has pointed out, this problem no longer is confined to our northern shores. In Tasmania Japanese squid boats have been detected quite by accident within the 12-mile limit and have been picked up quite by accident by naval vessels basically performing other tasks. The problem will become very much worse if and when, as we assume will happen, Australian extends its limits to 200 miles, thus increasing by a vast amount the area that we have to survey in order to protect this country. Not only will we have to protect the resources in that area; we will have to perform the health and quarantine functions, prevent the illegal importation of drugs and other goods and prevent immigration offences. We also will have the very real problem of defence involved in looking after thus area.
The Opposition accepts that the problem is an urgent one and that it needs to be grappled with very quickly. As Senator Harradine has pointed out, there is an enormous bureaucratic tangle which has been created by the legislative tangle that we have, with a multiplicity of Acts and authorities which deal with the problem in this country. They are pieces of legislation and functions which need to be consolidated if they are to be carried out efficiently. We need positive Government action and we need steps taken to stop the bureaucratic bickering which is taking place now in private, in public and in the Press between various departments and various divisions of the defence forces. We need a positive Government statement of policy so that people, departments and divisions of our defence forces know what our policy is and so that they can move ahead and plan for the future. As Senator Harradine has said, this involves air, sea and land functions.
We are faced with a very great difficulty at the moment. There is an appearance of great incompetence on that part of our naval and air forces in trying to cope with the problems of the north. I repeat that it is an appearance. The individual officers, the individual members of the forces, are not incompetent, but they have neither the equipment nor the appropriate structure to deal with the problem with which they are charged with dealing. We accept this and we accept that this will continue to be the case in the future. If we have an urgent problem and a difficulty which will continue to worsen, I suggest that one way not to solve that problem is to have a long and tedious Senate select committee- or any other committee- trying to deal with it.
We believe that this is an appropriate function for the defence forces of this country. We accept some of the difficulties put up by Senator Harradine. In general it may be politically undesirable for the defence forces of the country to take part in what is essentially a civil function; but, in fact, the surveillance of our 200-mile limit will be both a civil function and a military function. I put it to Senator Harradine and other honourable senators that it is very easy to create difficulties where none exist and it is very easy to exaggerate the difficulties. Senator Harradine mentioned the cod war and the difficulties that were created around the shores of Iceland because Icelandic gun boats, both civil and military, were involved in shooting at British trawlers.
I put it to the Senate that equal diplomatic difficulties and equal international incidents will be created by gun boats shooting at the trawlers or ships of other forces regardless of whether those gun boats are controlled by a civil authority or by a military authority. I believe that it is to set up a straw man to say that if we have a civil authority conducting this function we will be able to deal more easily with surrounding countries. Our surrounding countries also have their shores and their fishing areas guarded by military forces- not by coastguard forces, in general. There is always a danger, when a division of the defence forces such as the Navy or the Air Force is given a surveillance function, that too much of the present defence budget will be hived off into this area and that will limit the funding of other functions of those defence forces. It is the function of the Government and members of the Parliament to prevent that happening. It is not an insuperable problem. It is just as likely that even if we hived off that funding and separated it from the defence budget there would be a tendency for government to reduce the defence budget by that amount. The prevention of that is a function of the Parliament and the vigilance of parliamentarians in this country.
The Opposition believes that this is an urgent problem and that it is a problem that should be dealt with. We believe that the present situation has created the feeling or appearance of incompetence in our armed forces and that that situation is quite unsatisfactory. We believe that this situation is corrected most quickly and efficiently by setting up a maritime command to deal with the surveillance of all the areas of our country and that this can be done economically and with great cost effectiveness- cost effectiveness which can be judged partly by members of this House and the other House. I now seek leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
-Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment.
Motion (by Senator Withers) proposed:
That the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.
– I think the Senate ought to realise what the current situation is. If the motion moved by the Leader of the Government Senate (Senator Withers)that the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting- is carried it will mean that this matter will be simply buried and will not be resurrected until after all the other orders of the day have been dealt with. I may be mistaken about that, but that is what I understand to be the situation. If the Senate carries this motion, this matter follows the orders of the day, of which there are 27, and becomes No. 28.I am not willing to accede to that.
I believe that the problem of off-shore coastal surveillance that confronts this country is too grave to be allowed to continue in the current vein. Everyone, including the Minister for Defence (Mr Killen), believes the surveillance to be totally inadequate. I believe, as I mentioned in supporting the proposition, that there is sufficient concern about this matter throughout Australia to warrant a full and open inquiry. I want the Senate to know what is being proposed by the Government, although I hope not acquiesced in by the Opposition. The Government is proposing that this matter should be buried and that we should continue to stumble on in the manner in which we have been. To conclude, I should like to test the situation by moving an amendment to the motion that the debate be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting, as follows:
At end of motion, add, ‘and that it take precedence over items of General Business below Notice of Motion No. 5 on the Notice Paper’.
-Is the amendment seconded?
– I should say to Senator Harradine that, the Senate having given leave to Senator Grimes to continue his remarks, if I had not moved that the debate be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting the matter virtually would disappear from the notice paper. Senator Harradine would than have to bring a motion by notice of motion. He would have to take his turn on Thursday nights for weeks hence to have the matter restored to the Notice Paper. In effect, the Senate agreed to Senator Grimes having leave to continue his remarks. He is in continuation, and I thought that I was doing the right thing by putting it on the Notice Paper. I am very bighearted.
– We noticed.
-Senator Ryan does not believe me. Whatever priority the matter gets is for the Senate to decide on a particular Thursday. At the placing of business on any Thursday when Orders of the Day are dealt with, that is a matter for the Senate to decide. As the honourable senator knows, the notices of motion are placed on the Notice Paper in their order. If he can get 33 votes on one Thursday I have no doubt that he will get some priority.
– The question is that the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move the motion standing in the name of Senator Wriedt:
That the Senate affirms the principle that State and Commonwealth security forces be responsible to their respective governments.
There are two points in that motion that I should mention at the outset. The first turns on the word responsible’ and the second on the word respective’; that is, that the forces in question should be responsible to their respective governments. For reasons that I will attempt to elucidate, the Opposition regards both those matters as important and seeks that the Senate should make an affirmation of a very firm principle which has been a little obscured in this country over the last few years. Certainly it has been obscured in other countries. The principle has become confused, the waters have been muddied, and there is no clarity about the acceptance of the principle that we seek to establish as a prerequisite of a democratic society.
There have been a number of incidents in our own country relating to the matter of the control of security services. First of all, there was the incident in 1974 involving the former AttorneyGeneral, then Senator Lionel Murphy, and the so-called ASIO raid. Whatever political capital people on either side of the spectrum might seek to make out of that incident, it was an incident that turned specifically on the question of the control by government of security forces. That incident in itself led to the establishment of the
Hope Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security, the report of the Commission, and the discussion that has taken place since the report was published. In recent months we have had what has come to be known as the Salisbury incident in South Australia, an incident that is still the subject of judicial investigation, an incident that revealed a number of disturbing aspects about the relationship between security forces and governments in this country.
It is quite possible that the whole question of the relationship between government and security services might not have aroused much interest or concern in a country such as ours 10 or 15 years ago. By and large, it was assumed that security services were responsible to government, that they were responsible to their respective governments, and that they operated generally in the interests of the governments of the States to which they belonged. The suggestion that security services might exceed their legitimate function or their charter was usually greeted with a degree of derision. One suspects that it was only because of the peculiar processes of United States democracy that there began to be very serious concern in most democratic communities about these issues. It was only as a result of developments in the United States in 1975 that the suspicions of many people, who 10 or 15 years ago might have been regarded as being a bit paranoid about the whole question, were very largely confirmed. Might I illustrate what I mean about the suspicions of people by referring to the United States agency journal Almanac 1975 dealing with national security in the United States. It refers to the United States Government probe of intelligence agency activities, and the summary of the revelations, as the article is called, is in these terms:
Investigations of U.S. intelligence operations produced dozens of revelations about controversial activities. Highlights follow.
Opened more than 200,000 pieces of mail and intercepted and photographed more than 2.7 million envelopes over a 20-year period.
Directly plotted the assassination of two government heads- Fidel Castro of Cuba and Patrice Lumumba of the Congo- and undertook covert activity against two othersRafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic and Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam- who were later assassinated (although no direct links to their deaths could be established).
Conducted ‘extensive and continuous’ actions in Chile aimed at influencing national elections and overthrowing the government of President Salvador Allende.
A special CIA group called CHAOS collected information on U.S. dissident groups, compiled files on 7,200 American citizens and developed a computerized index with the names of more than 300,000 persons and organizations.
The article goes on to deal with the indexing of names, wire tapping, conducting illegal drug testing programs, and so on. In regard to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, another organisation concerned with internal security within the United States as distinct from the Central Intelligence Agency, which by its own charter is precluded from the sort of internal actions in which it took part and which were summarised in the passage I read, the article states:
Conducted 238 break-ins against ‘domestic subversive targets ‘between 1942 and 1968.
Conducted an undercover effort to discredit civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr that involved blackmail, bugging and intimidation.
Undertook many activities to disrupt and harass the activities of political protest groups.
Attempted to undermine the personal life of one black leader by sending an anonymous letter to his wife falsely accusing him of infidelity.
Tried to exacerbate tensions between two militant black groups in Chicago . . .
As I say, those sorts of activities have been revealed by the peculiar processes of United States democracy which we all sometimes criticise but which I believe on occasions we have reason to envy. That sort of activity can happen here. Many people believe that it may happen here. For example, if we discuss with the man in the street the Hilton bombing incident I think the most widespread version of what took place points the finger of suspicion, perhaps totally incorrectly, at members of Australia’s security organisations. That is just a man-in- the-street hypothesis.
-That is so. That view is widespread.
-Senator Withers says nonsense ‘.
-What? The New South Wales Police put a bomb in a rubbish bin to blow up their own people?
– No. I was speaking about Australia’s security intelligence services, not the New South Wales Police.
– What? The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation did it?
-I am not saying that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation did it. I am saying that people who use words such as rubbish’ about that sort of thing are not fairly facing up to the issues. I am saying that people in
Australia are saying that sort of thing. The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Withers) might regard them as peculiar people. Of course such people were also regarded as peculiar people in the United States. The United States Congress has revealed that they were not peculiar people at all. This goes to the nub of the whole debate. If the Government and the Senate get to a position where they are prepared to face up to those issues as possibilities then we will be able to grapple with the matter in a mature way. I put these issues no higher than possibilities. Let us look at the sons of suggestions in newspapers about the likely suspects, according to police sources, for the Hilton bomb outrage. As I pointed out by implication in a question yesterday, they include Arabs, Indians, swarthy men and women opposed to abortion laws. Those are the headlines. Newspapers have suggested at one time or another that each group was suspect. All I am saying is that amongst newspaper readers there is another group of suspects about whom there is widespread speculation. I am not suggesting that Mr Justice Woodward and responsible officers of ASIO would have anything to do with an incident like that. There are people in organisations such as ASIO whom Mr Justice Hope has described as immature. I believe they would be capable of indulging in that son of activity. One such person was before the courts last year. He was properly described as immature. He was said to have far exceeded his functions. That sort of thing can happen, and we must be very alert. We cannot afford to by cynical because it is a possibility.
The speculation about that incident is very much based on views and similar speculation in other countries and revelations that those speculations were entirely justified. The point I seek to get at in this motion is not whether that sort of allegation is right or wrong but whether there is any real teeth in these words in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech:
My Government will carry out a continuing program of law reform, particularly with a view to protecting civil liberties and enhancing individual rights. Constant vigilance is required to ensure that the rights of individual citizens are not eroded or ignored.
That is the sort of problem with which we have to deal in this country, just as people have had to deal with it in other countries. The Government has said that it will adopt the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security. The Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser), in correspondence with the Premiers dated 25 January, particularly the Premier of South Australia, set out that the Commonwealth would co-operate with State police forces in relation to the activities of special branches of the States and ASIO. He suggests in that letter, based on a recommendation of the Hope Commission, that it was proper, given appropriate intergovernment arrangements between the governments, for ASIO to co-operate with the police forces of the States in relation to matters within its charter. The Prime Minister goes on to say that he will be seeking co-operation in relation to those matters. Of course, that is a step in the right direction. We are concerned whether it goes far enough.
In this country there is still great confusion about the role of ASIO, its relationships with the State special branches and the proper functions of each organisation. It is important that something be done to clarify this confusion because some 1 5 security organisations are operating in a clandestine way in this country. It is important that the terrible confusion which exists about the role of these organisations should be sorted out. I shall illustrate that confusion by quoting from an article in today’s Australian which deals with the inquiry into the Salisbury sacking in South Australia. Mr Salisbury, who had a distinguished record as a policeman, is reported as saying that the Special Branch in South Australia kept files on a number of people including the Premier and Governor. In relation to the Premier, he stated that the fact that Mr Dunstan had at one stage sought to join the Liberal Party showed a certain volatility and was a further reason for having a file on him. That seems to be the statement of a confused man, to say the least. The article continued:
He said files on governors were probably kept simply because they were at one time governors . . . a file on Sir Mark Oliphant had probably been kept because he had marched in anti-Vietnam war demonstrations . . Files on members of the Council for Civil Liberties were justified because many of them had questionable attitudes on the Western way of life and the police.
I inform Mr Salisbury that if he is ever in the job again and if anybody is in a similar job–
- Mr Deputy President, I raise a point of order. I question the propriety of discussing this matter when it is the subject of a royal commission in South Australia.
- Mr Deputy President, I wish to speak to that point of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I am not upholding the point of order so we do not want an argument.
- Mr Deputy President, do I take it that a debate can ensue on the subject matter of a royal commission?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I am following the argument of the honourable senator to see how far he goes.
-The point I am making is that Mr Salisbury expressed the view that files on members of the Council for Civil Liberties were justified because many of them had questionable attitudes to the Western way of life and to the police. I inform the Senate, with all due modesty, that I have too. I have very questionable attitudes about the Western way of life, so-called, and about the police. I think that is my right.
– Why do you not go east?
-I have a legitimate right. If Senator Jessop had questionable attitudes about the Western way of fife he would probably be a much more effective senator than he is. If the Senate is composed of 64 characters who do not have questionable attitudes to the police forces of this country it would be an apalling thing. I think most of them have. No doubt a number of Government senators have had brushes with the breathalyser squad or something of that kind and have questionable attitudes about the police force. I have questionable attitudes about the police force in its understanding of the concepts of civil liberties which I would hope this chamber would espouse. The point about that sort of thing is that the former Commissioner of Police in South Australia, who I say was undoubtedly a very distinguished police officer, is clearly out of his depth in understanding the nature of a pluralist society. He just does not understand it and Senator Jessop is, unhappily for us, clearly in the same basket. He does not understand that in a pluralist society the expression of views critical of police forces, the expression of views about the purposes and nature of Western society, which might be questionable, is part of a vital democratic process- and we happen to live in a vitally democratic country, about which some of us sometimes have doubt. It is quite important that a person who has no understanding of the nature of a pluralist society should not be in a position where he makes judgments about the citizens of that society on the basis that he personally regards their views as questionable.
It is because of that kind of role confusion in the mind of a senior police officer that people are justifiably concerned about the kind of situation which is the subject of this motion. If one contrasts the confusion in the mind of a person such as Mr Salisbury and the confusion in the mind of a person such as Senator Jessop, about the points which I have been making -
– There is no confusion in my mind- except that I am confused about what you are saying. You are not very lucid.
-The honourable senator’s confusion is perfectly obvious. If one contrasts that with the absolute clarity of mind of a man like Lord Denning-
– I thought you were going to say: ‘like Senator Withers’.
– I regret my lack of alacrity in being charitable to Senator Withers, but I am referring to a document which, with typical Anglo-Saxon modesty is simply described as ‘Lord Denning ‘s Report’, and which relates to the rules dealing with the administration of security services in Great Britain. It stemmed from the allegations surrounding the Profumo Affair, an unfortunate incident in which a Conservative politician was involved and of which a man such as Senator Jessop should take note because it can happen to even the best conservative politician, and then may be the subject of a report. In dealing with his recommendations, the general principles of which relate to the terms of this resolution, Lord Denning summarised the salient points as follows:
If I might say so, that is regarded as a great statement of principle by a very distinguished British judge. The important points therein are simply these -
– Has Mr Dunstan seen it?
-Yes, and I will deal with that in a moment, senator. I am sure he has seen it and read it very carefully.
– He does not understand it.
– He clearly understands it better than did the honourable senator earlier when he was making silly interjections. It was clear that the honourable senator did not understand anything about the principles involved. The important point is that the function of the security service is to defend the realm from dangers which threaten it as a whole. But here, as I indicated earlier, you have these silly incidents in South Australia, where the Governor appears in security records because he has been in an antiVietnam march. That, of course, did not affect in any way the security of the realm. What it affected was the security of the Liberal Government in Australia, which I assure honourable senators is still a totally different thing in a democratic society: The two are not synonymous. Senator Withers nods his head. I wish I could get his head nods in Hansard, because it may be the shape of things to come; but he finds that difficult to believe. The sort of situation which has been revealed in South Australia, where the Special Branch keeps this sort of information in conjunction with ASIO, a body responsible to this Government in Canberra, is quite extraordinary and a total departure from the sort of principles about which Lord Denning was talking. He then went on to state his fourth principle:
He goes on to deal with that further. The point about Lord Denning ‘s comments is that they are very clear as to the sort of principles involved, in contrast to the profound confusion which exists in this country, and unhappily in the minds of certain highly-paid legislators in particular. It is in order to try to get over that confusion and achieve common acceptance on both sides of the chamber of a principle which we regard as important that this motion has been moved.
Lord Denning ‘s comment is reported again elsewhere in a similar situation, again dealing with the defence of the realm. Following that report the matter was debated at some length in the House of Lords in a very dignified and distinguished debate such as that body, the upper chamber in Britain, is capable of elevating itself to. We could well examine that debate closely because it is concerned with fundamental principles which are well expressed.
In the comments which I quoted, Lord Denning had nothing in particular to say on the question of privacy and freedom of opinion because he was not, in laying down principles, concerned with those issues. In dealing with the factual matters of his inquiry relating to Profumo and so on, he was concerned with those matters.
In dealing with that aspect, Lord Chalfont had this to say in the course of the debate:
It is . . . perfectly permissible for anyone in a democracy to dissent from the policies of the Government -
If the principle were to be followed here we would have to say: ‘except the Governor of South Australia’. The report of the debate reads further:
Lord Chalfont added a little later:
But this betrays a serious confusion between the concepts of force and violence, and for the purpose of the present argument I rely upon a simple, but, I think serviceable and, indeed, incontrovertible proposition; namely, that violence is the illegal or immoral use of force.
He went on to say that in circumstances of violence it can be assumed that the security of the state, as distinct from the security of the government of the day, the establishment in South Australia or whatever it may be, is threatened and that is an appropriate matter for the activities of security services. I think that we ought to rely upon that principle in considering the proposition before the Senate. I refer the Senate to the report of Mr Acting Justice White relating to Special Branch security records in South Australia. On page 45 of this report, in contrast to the sorts of principles I have been attempting to enunciate, His Honour asked the question: Who clearly are not security risks? He referred firstly to reformers of the Constitution. He said:
Persons who advocate fundamental changes to the present Australian Constitution are not security risks, because they do not use or advocate violence and because they have no past history of violence when seeking to attain their ends.
He went on to deal further with the topic of the violence criterion, if I can call it that. Lord Chalfont talked about it as the criterion by which one assesses risks against the state in security terms. The next classification Mr Acting Justice
White put of people who are clearly not security risks is socialists. If I might modestly say so I fall into the first basket, which was about reformers of the Constitution. I also fall into the second basket. He said that socialists are not security risks so long as they do not advocate force or violence or do not have a history of violence. He said the same about people who advocate worker participation in industry. He said that they are clearly not security risks. Ministers of religion are clearly not security risks because, again, they have not as a practice advocated violence or force.
– You are not in that basket.
-The Leader of the Government in the Senate tests me too much. I have to reveal that only at the beginning of every new Parliament. The next basket is the Council of Civil Liberties. Mr Acting Justice White went on to deal with that category. Of course, it was dealt with in sharp contrast to the attitude that Mr Salisbury expressed when he said that it was appropriate, in his view, for a security service to keep files on members of civil liberties associations in South Australia. I have mentioned those matters to reveal, as I see it, the very sharp contrast between the principles that we ought to be working towards and that the Senate should espouse, in order that it may have a clear view of the responsibility of security services, the responsibility of government and the responsibility of the security services to their respective governments and what seem to be the realities in this country in a number of incidents which, as I said earlier, seem to muddy the waters. There seem to be two clearly desirable principles. Firstly, there should be clear government control and responsibility. Secondly, there should be no confusion between the function of the collection of security information or data dealing with espionage or matters of that kind which involve the possible violent overthrow of the state and the executive function of ordinary police forces, which perform the function of being an executive arm of the state, that is to say, they carry out functions which are executive functions pursuant to legislation of the parliaments. Those quite clear principles should be established.
I am not the only one who is concerned about this matter. The Opposition in this chamber is not the only body which is concerned about this matter. I believe that the same concern for the same sort of principles was expressed very clearly when this was a matter of important public discussion in January of this year. I illustrate that concern by referring to some newspaper comments at the time. I refer firstly to the Canberra Times of 1 9 January. It said:
The case of South Australia and the observations made by Mr Justice Hope about State Special Branches make it clear that a drastic overhaul of the systems will be needed to protect civil liberties, to place police intelligence activities firmly under the guidance and control of elected political authorities, and to give people who have been the subjects of security reports access to these reports and the means to appeal against them.
It is quite true that in the Governor-General’s Speech reference was made to a security appeals tribunal. Of course, if one analyses the rather flamboyant passage dealing with that one finds that all it really says is that if a person happens to be a public servant in Australia and he is denied a job as a result of a security report or something of that kind he will have a right of appeal in relation to that matter. It does nothing for all the pinkoes, weirdoes, homosexuals, abortion law reformers, Governors, Premiers and people who were caught by Mr Salisbury’s net in the arrangements which existed in South Australia or, one presumes, in the arrangements which exist in other States between special branches in conjunction with ASIO. I think it is a very important distinction that it applies only to public servants. The Canberra Times went on to say:
I interpolate that the criminal law duties of the police are conducted pursuant to statute and it is quite wrong, as the Canberra Times has pointed out, to confuse the functions which the police exercise quite properly in those ways in relation to criminal law with a totally different investigatory function relating to security. The Canberra Times went on to say:
Above all, the evaluation and communication of information that could be prejudicial to individuals who have committed no crime should not be left to the discretion of police officers whatever their competence and integrity in their given field.
That is another way of establishing the point which I sought to make. On 19 January, the Melbourne Age criticised greatly the current situation. This is summarised in its reference to divided loyalties and diffused responsibilities between security services. It said:
National security is a Federal responsibility and, insofar as ASIO requires an executive arm, this should be provided by the Commonwealth Police under strict guidelines and safeguards.
That is to say it should not be provided by State police. It continued:
The role of the Special Branch should be confined to surveillance of individuals and organisations likely to breach State laws.
This is another point which relates to the confusion of functions between the State and Federal governments. Several passages similar to those I have quoted appeared in various newspapers published at that time. They quite clearly express concern at the confusion between various functions of various governments and the relationship with the security services responsible to each of those governments.
I have referred to the sorts of principles which have been enunciated in Britain and I have referred to the inquiries which have been conducted by the Congress in the United States in relation to this sort of confusion. As a result of the inquiries conducted in the United States, President Carter has sought to establish a much more responsible overview of the activities of intelligence services. There are really two essential points in that. He has now what is called an Intelligence Oversight Board which is basically a committee of three members responsible to the President to review intelligence activities overall. In addition he has established in the United States what is called the Congressional Intelligence Committee. That Committee is made up of members of Congress and has the following functions:
To keep the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Senate Committee fully and currently informed concerning intelligence activities including any significant anticipated activities which are the responsibility of or are engaged in by such department or agency. This requirement does not constitute a condition precedent to the implementation of such intelligence activities. . . .
That information is taken from a document entitled ‘Administration of Jimmy Carter 1978’ which was obtained from the United States Information Service. So in the United States there is the development of a system which seems much more responsive to Congress and the executive arm of government than the confused system that we have here. The important point in this motion is that the reality of civil liberties and efficient functioning of government must seek at all times to live up to the rhetoric about it. We have had plenty of rhetoric about it and it is important that the reality reflect the apparent concern in that rhetoric.
I do not want to deal at length with the recommendations of the Hope report because of the time factor, but let me say simply that there are some very unsatisfactory elements of the Hope report. Like all those reports which are a bit lengthy- I recall the Fox report as a classic example which was, if I might use Frank Muir’s description, a mine of completely useless informationthe Hope report has the same characteristic, that is to say, it is a lengthy report which seems to the lay reader like myself to have certain conflicts and confusions in it. For example, following the publication of the Hope report a number of clear factors emerged. One related to the efficiency of an organisation such as the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. A summary of the findings of Mr Justice Hope in relation to that Organisation was that it could not keep even a filing system but was keeping files on all sorts of people, as has been revealed in South Australia, without being able to operate a filing system in even the most elementary way. That, as I understand it, is a source of concern which happily the Government is moving to rectify. However, looking back on the activities of ASIO over a number of years, that is an alarming finding.
Arising also from the Hope report, the Government has moved to set up a ministerial committee dealing with intelligence collection and a permanent heads committee, and there is provision based on the recommendation in the Hope report for ministerial control. However, compared with the suggestions in the Denning report and the United States Congress report, the Hope report strikes me as being extremely vague on this issue. I illustrate that remark by quoting two passages from the Hope report. In paragraph 352 of the Fourth Report, Volume 1, His Honour had this to say:
It seems to me that, in general terms, the Director-General must be subject to proper directions by the Minister, and that the Minister should be responsible, ‘in a general way’, to Parliament for the organisation and its activities.
He goes on to say in paragraph 353:
The matters in respect of which the Director-General should not be subject to ministerial direction are:
Whether any particular intelligence or matter is or might be relevant to security for the purpose of the Act . . .
What is really being said in the Hope report is that the Minister has no specific control and ASIO has no specific responsibility relating to a matter which is or might be relevant to security. Such a matter is determined by the subjective opinion, presumably, of an officer of ASIO. That is an extraordinarily vague and unsatisfactory provision compared with the quite clear statements which Lord Denning was prepared to enunciate in England and which President Carter’s committee seems to have been prepared to enunciate in the United States.
We as a Senate should be concerned about this matter. We should be concerned, as the former head of Scotland Yard, Sir Robert Mark, who is in Australia at the moment pointed out the other day in a newspaper interview, that in all these matters we should be diligent and concerned, as Sir Robert put it, to protect our liberties. It is with that in mind that the Opposition moves this motion in the Senate. We do it also because we seek affirmation of a principle about security forces. We seek some of the clarity in Australia which enlightened the mind of Lord Denning and we should look, as we often do in matters of ritual, tradition and parliamentary procedure, to the tradition of civil liberties in the United Kingdom and to the words of that great judge for the sort of criteria which we should have in this country. We also have cause to be concerned about the revelations in this country in the last couple of months which are totally consistent with the revelations in countries such as the United States of America over a number of years.
We cannot assume, as some honourable senators on the other sides of the chamber clearly would like to assume, that we are different in some ways, that those things cannot happen here, that it would be impossible for an immature ASIO officer to put a bomb in a garbage tin outside the Hilton Hotel. We cannot assume that this could not happen in a country like ours. I certainly do not assert that that did happen, but it is irresponsible for anybody to assert with any force that it did not. I make that comment in the context of all the revelations in America and here. The Senate should be diligent and unanimous in approving the principle in the motion which the Opposition has moved, that is, that this Senate affirms that State and Commonwealth security forces should be responsible to their respective governments. We have seen confusion in this country because there is no clear demarcation of the functions of each government and no clear demarcation of the functions of each security force to the total detriment of the civil liberties of Australian citizens. This has led to the investigation of matters which are not properly security matters and do not relate to the possible violent overthrow of the state but relate to the questioning activity of individuals to civil liberties in Australia. If we do not establish that principle and be clear about it, it will be a bad day for this chamber and for the governments and parliaments of this country as a whole. For that reason I commend the motion to all honourable senators.
– I am drawn into the debate because of the reference that was made to the inquiry into the dismissal of the South Australian Commissioner of Police. When this incident occurred in South Australia it reminded me of the Murphy raid on the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation which I believe did a tremendous amount to damage the national security of this country. I thought that was a disgraceful way for any Minister or any Federal Attorney-General to behave. I think anyone on this side of the chamber would have to agree with that.
Of course every honourable senator should be concerned about national and State security. It is part of our responsibility. But I suggest that the autonomy of a police force in the security area is essential to ensure that proper and appropriate measures are taken to preserve not only national and State security but also the safety of members of parliament and other people who hold responsible positions in this country. I suggest that the action taken in this matter by the South Australian Government was nothing short of irresponsible.
Our friend Senator Button mentioned Acting Justice White who was given a clear set of terms of reference as to how he should go into this question. But I charge him with completely ignoring the terms of reference in one respect. He was asked to make a random selection of files from the Special Branch of the South Australian Police Force. But what did he do? He called for files on all the heads of departments, all the members of the judiciary, all the magistrates and all the members of parliament in South Australia. That, in my view, is certainly not a random selection of files; it is a specific selection of files. I have no doubt -
– I wish to raise a point of order. As the matter to which Senator Jessop is now referring is the subject of a royal commission in South Australia, I suggest that it is sub judice. If the honourable senator has any evidence to give he ought to give it before the royal commission instead of making statements in this Parliament.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Maunsell)- There is no point of order.
– I can understand Senator McLaren ‘s concern. Apart from the fact that the acting judge did not adhere to the terms of reference, other aspects of the whole matter concern me. I find that Mr Dunstan ‘s attitude to an attack on the Special Branch seems to be quite incompatible with his establishment of a media monitoring unit of the State Government, the purpose of which, of course, is to monitor for the purpose of State Government records any individual who may be making any political comment on the media. I believe that this is an attack on the civil rights of individuals in South Australia.
– Optometrist, heal thyself.
– Some people have referred to me as the ‘underwriter’. I recall that I addressed a demonstration gathering in South Australia at which I defended the private insurance industry against the attacks of the then Federal Government which wished to nationalise the industry and bring it under the heel of government.
– Your name would be on file, too.
– I should imagine that as a result of my address, I would have been put on file because there could be people in the community who have a very strong desire to nationalise banks and the insurance industry, who would perhaps want to do some harm to me.
I know that members of the Australian Labor Party have been threatened. I understand from Press reports Dr Jim Cairns received a death threat when he was at Port Augusta on one occasion. Certainly a file should have been kept on Dr Cairns in order to prevent any threat to his personal safety being carried out. I regard that as being an essential role of special branches. Of course, in the national area this is a role that ASIO should perform. I believe that the proposal to bring police forces directly under government responsibility presents the danger of creating a police state. It also creates the possibility of bringing police forces under specific government direction. I abhor such a suggestion.
– You ought to come to Queensland.
– Other States may have to look after their own affairs. I am talking about South Australia and national and State security. As Mr Salisbury, the ex-Commissioner of the South Australian Police Force, was appointed by the Governor of South Australia I believe it is fair to suggest that decisions relating to such appointments or dismissals should lay on the table of both Houses of the South Australian Parliament for 15 days. The Parliament would then be given an opportunity to debate the issue and explore the matters associated with it for the benefit of the public. I would even go further and suggest that either House of the South Australian Parliament ought to have the authority to reject such appointment or dismissal.
– I am trying to be a little constructive about this matter. I do not think I heard anything constructive from Senator Button.
– You did not listen.
-I listened all right. I thought that he made an incredible speech. I am certainly in favour of security and the protection of individual rights. Senator Button mentioned Profumo. There could be people in this country who may associate with people who, albeit later in the piece, turn out to be foreign agents. It is necessary to record these matters and to keep them in mind when we are dealing with national and State security.
– I did not intend to take part in this debate. However, in view of the remarks made by Senator Jessop, I cannot let the matter pass without saying a few words. The Senate is debating the following motion moved by Senator Button on behalf of Senator Wriedt:
That the Senate affirms the principle that State and Commonwealth security forces be responsible to their respective governments.
Senator Jessop took the opportunity in this debate to level certain accusations against the State Labor Government of South Australia. In fact, if his accusations have any credibility he should make them in the rightful place, namely to the royal commission on this matter in South Australia. He should ask for leave to appear before Justice Mitchell. Of course, if he is not prepared to do that the argument that he has used in this place tonight falls to the ground and has no substance at all.
Senator Jessop has used this place to make his accusations. Of course, I took a point of order on him relating to the sub judice rule not knowing that a similar point of order had previously been taken on Senator Button. I still believe that the matter is sub judice. I repeat that if anyone has any accusations to make about what has happened in South Australia the rightful place to make them is the royal commission. He should produce the evidence that he says he has and make it stick.
Senator Jessop said that Mr Salisbury was appointed by the Governor of South Australia. Of course, we all recall that Mr Dunstan, following a trip to the United Kingdom, announced that Mr Salisbury had been appointed as the South Australian Police Commissioner, and that those who were loudest in their condemnation of that appointment were members of the Liberal Party in South Australia. Now because of certain happenings we find that the Liberal Party, together with members of the Jaguar club in South Australia, are putting Mr Salisbury up on a pedestal. They change their minds as the politics of the State change. It was not so long ago that we heard one of the Ministers of this Government accusing people who came to this country from England of bringing with them the British disease. He was referring to trade union members. We did not hear him say that Mr Salisbury was part of the British disease.
– Would you condemn the former Police Commissioner?
– I am not condemning the former Police Commissioner. I do not want to enter into that debate. I still claim that the matter is sub judice. When a person gives misleading evidence or does not give sufficient evidence to a Premier or the Prime Minister of Australia he is entitled to lose his position because he has misled the Parliament. If a person, after being asked by a Premier or a Minister to give certain information, knowingly does not give the full amount of evidence in his possession governments have to take the action which was taken by the South Australian Government.
I reiterate that if Senator Jessop and other honourable senators on his side of the chamber have evidence to support the claim that the action was wrongfully taken and if his one time colleague Mr Millhouse has any evidence- Senator Jessop would want to disown Mr Millhouse because of happenings since the Salisbury affair- the rightful place to give it is in front of the royal commission. I challenge Senator Jessop to find the courage to make an application to go before the royal commission and give sworn evidence in support of what he said here tonight.
– To facilitate proceedings, I seek leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– On behalf of Senator Grimes I move:
I seek leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I move:
I bring this matter before the Senate this evening because I am anxious that the very distinguished and sincere work of the royal commissioners on the inquiry into human relationships should receive proper attention in the national Parliament. Honourable senators will recall that the report of the royal commission which has been awaited for a long time by many people throughout Australia first came into public view when the Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Fraser, chose to bring it into the election campaign in November last year in a misleading, distorted and irresponsible way. Honourable senators will remember that he was condemned by all sections of the Press, by the commissioners themselves and by many people who had made submissions to the royal commission, for his absolutely cynical use of the report during the election campaign. However, after the widespread criticism of the Prime Minister he tabled the report in the House of Representatives a few days ago. It was then brushed aside and there was not proper debate on it. Following a question asked by my colleague in another place, Mr Lionel Bowen, the Prime Minister stated the Government’s intention with respect to the report. On 1 March 1978 he said:
A considerable part of the report of the Royal Commission on Human Relationships refers to matters that would need to be implemented by the States if they were to be put into practical effect throughout the great bulk of Australia. I have already written to Premiers asking them for their views on the report and have indicated that we would want to be significantly influenced by the views of the States in relation to our examination of the report. The report has been published. I would expect considerable community debate on it. I have no doubt that at an appropriate time it would be proper and necessary for a significant debate on the report to be held in this Parliament. The Government would want to be in a position of being able to assess the totality of community views and other views which would be put to it before coming to a firm decision on specific aspects of the report.
From the reply of the Prime Minister I am not confident that the Parliament and the community will have adequate opportunity to give proper consideration to the numerous recommendations of the report. The Prime Minister says that he has written to the Premiers seeking their views, but I wonder what that means when the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Withers, felt free to express their hostile and negative views without even having read the report during the election campaign. I also question the sincerity of the Prime Minister following his–
– Order! You must not impute insincerity to an honourable member.
– I withdraw that remark. I shall rephrase my reservations about the Prime Minister’s undertaking in respect of the report. I wonder what he meant when he said that he seeks public participation with respect to the report. I fear that the public participation he seeks will be similar to the public participation he sought on important and controversial matters such as the Criminal Investigation Bill, the Freedom of Information Bill and the Human Rights Commission Bill. We had the experience of seeing a commitment to public debate but no action. We had what might be fairly described as grandstanding rather than public participation.
Because many people throughout the community believe that the Royal Commission has done valuable work which should be considered seriously I raise this matter tonight. I specifically draw attention to a part of the report which I consider to be thorough, sensitive, accurate and constructive in its recommendations. I refer, as I did in the motion I moved, to that part of the report which gives specific suggestions on ways of restructuring the laws referring to rape with a view to reforming the existing legislation. All honourable senators will be aware that the crime of rape and associated crimes of sexual violence against women pose a serious and grave problem in our community today. I think honourable senators will agree that current laws regarding sexual offences against women are totally inadequate. They are inadequate in deterring the commission of such crimes and enabling successful prosecution of such crimes. They are seriously defective in that they substitute for conviction and punishment of the criminal a form of trial and conviction of the victim.
I do not think there will be any disagreement about the unsatisfactory aspects of the laws relating to rape as they are practised throughout the States and Territories of Australia today. As the Prime Minister suggested, laws relating to rape are, in the main, State matters. Reform of these laws will primarily be the function of State legislators except, of course, in the Australian Capital Territory, which I represent, which is still governed by laws either made or approved by the Federal Parliament. However, I do not think that the structure of the State legislatures with regard to rape laws should deter us from giving consideration to the recommendations of the Royal Commission in this regard. I believe that in such a grave and unsatisfactory matter affecting the entire community it is up to the Federal Parliament to consider recommendations which, after all, were drawn up as a result of a motion moved in the Federal Parliament by Mr Fraser when he was Leader of the Opposition.
I believe also- and we hope it to be the casethat the law relating to rape in the Australian Capital Territory is to be reformed and that such reform is to be initiated by the present Government. That is another reason why it is appropriate to consider these matters here. As honourable senators will be aware, the Government has not yet devolved law-making responsibilities and rights on the local Legislative Assembly. Even if a draft Bill to reform this area of the law were debated in the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, it would have to be confirmed in this place, and, of course, would need the approval of the Cabinet before any reform could proceed. So for that reason also I raise this matter in this chamber.
I should like to give a very brief summary of the current state of the law which relates to sexual offences against women. With the exception of the law in South Australia, all rape laws in Australia define rape as:
The need to prove the lack of consent puts the onus on the alleged victim to prove her innocence; it does not require the defendant to prove his intent. Given the recent Morgan decision of the House of Lords in Britain- decisions of the House of Lords do not compulsorily bind Australian courts but have been ignored only twice in Australian courts- we must agree, that the current state of the law with regard to this basic concept of consent is totally inadequate and leads to continual unfair decisions. The situation following the Morgan case is that even if a woman can prove that she did not consent to the act, the crime of rape is not necessarily proved. Considerable publicity surrounded the Morgan case and honourable senators might remember that in that case the facts were that a husband invited three men to rape his wife and told them that she liked to pretend that she was not consenting. The three men were charged with rape and the husband with aiding and abetting rape. The four were convicted and they appealed. The three people who were not the victim ‘s husband appealed on the grounds that they believed that Mrs Morgan was consenting. They claimed that they believed this because her husband had said that it was so. I repeat that there was no question that the woman had indicated consent; her husband had said that she was consenting and, despite her words and actions to the contrary, the convicted men claimed that they had grounds for believing that she was consenting. They did not win their appeal but the House of Lords upheld the argument. In upholding the argument I think it demonstrated the overwhelming need for a fundamental change in the law.
I shall now quote from the report of Royal Commission on Human Relationships, which commented on the Morgan case. Page 266 of volume 5 of the report states:
The decision in . . . Morgan’s Case excited interest and discussion amongst lawyers and non-lawyers alike. This case raised the issue of whether an accused is entitled to an acquittal if he believed the victim was consenting, notwithstanding that his belief was unreasonable, or whether he had to show reasonable grounds in order to rely on a defence of mistaken belief. The House of Lords, by a three-two majority, held that a mistaken belief in the consent of the victim would constitute a defence even if there was no reasonable basis for it.
I think that that comment on the Morgan case really goes to the crux of the unsatisfactory nature of the current law and the fundamental aspect of the law which must be changed- not just modified, but absolutely changed- if this law is to be as other laws in our community are, namely, for the protection of potential victims or for the satisfactory prosecution of guilty persons. I know of no other case in which unreasonable belief about a certain matter is a defence. I think that acceptance by the House of Lords that any belief, reasonable or unreasonable, is a defence brings into focus the whole question of consent and the area where the law must be changed.
Associated with the Morgan case was the issue of drunkenness. Again, a very disturbing comment about the drunkness was made in the House of Lords debate. On page 269 of volume 5 of the Royal Commission report the following comments appear in respect of the Morgan case:
One of the real problems associated with this case is that it appeared to give a completely new dimension to a possible defence based on drunkenness. Previously it had been established in a number of leading cases that in a crime such as rape, which does not have a specific intention included in its definition, self-induced drunkenness can only provide a defence if it renders the person temporarily insane in a legal sense. It is rare indeed that a person becomes intoxicated to this extent. Nevertheless, the decision in Cogan’s Case appears, at first sight, to provide a back door way of allowing drunkenness as a defence in rape, in situations where the accused, through intoxication, is unable to appreciate that the victim is not consenting. This extension of the defence of drunkenness would be significant in rape, as many offenders are affected by alcohol at the time of the offence.
Again, because the British law still constitutes the basis of decisions which are made in Australian courts, I draw the attention of the Senate to that comment with respect to drunkenness as a defence, which has been so clearly commented on the report of the Royal Commission. Indeed, subsequent to the House of Lords making its decision in the Morgan case, there was a case in which drunkenness was successfully used as a defence. That was Cogan’s case. In that case a husband invited a person named Cogan to have intercourse with his wife, Mrs Leak, who did not consent and made her lack of consent clear to Cogan. Cogan was charged with rape and convicted. He appealed to the English Court of Appeal after the Morgan decision was handed down. He won his appeal on the grounds that he had honestly believed in Mrs Leak’s consent, even though he had no reasonable grounds for doing so. His drunkenness formed a part of the evidence he put forward in order to win his appeal.
I think it should be clear to honourable senators that these United Kingdom cases demonstrate the total inadequacy of the existing rape law in Australia, because in all States rape law is based on English common law. The Cogan case introduces the possibility of the defence of drunkenness in rape cases. This, of course, would weaken the position of a victim in the rape cases which come to trial in Australia. It is possible that following the decision in this case we will see in Australia a rash of acquittals on the grounds that the defendants were too drunk to notice what their victims were saying or doing. That, I suggest, is a very serious consequence and one which must be averted by a proper and fundamental reform of the law.
The second matter which I think requires fundamental change is that of corroborative evidence. Currently rape law requires corroborative evidence. The problem is that rapists typically do not commit the assault so as to be seen by witnesses. Evidence of assault should be useful in proving rape, but often the rape charge is dropped and an assault charge is substituted. I think that any honourable senators who are familiar with the workings of the law in this respect will be familiar with the activity known as ‘plea bargaining’, where because of the extreme difficulty of establishing the crime of rape, even though it did take place, victims are often persuaded to reduce the charge to that of assault. This is partly because of the requirement for corroborative evidence and the difficulty in presenting evidence of rape.
One of the very distressing consequences of this requirement is that many women believe that they must have been beaten half to death if they are to get the court to believe that they have been subjected to assault. This is one probable outcome, yet at the same time lawyers, policemen and other persons in authority often advise women not to resist sexual assault once it begins so that they will not be as severely beaten and will not be subjected to even increased violence. The situation for women who find themselves victims of an attack of this kind is totally contradictory.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I crave the indulgence of the Senate for a couple of moments in respect of a matter about which I spoke to you, Mr President, a few minutes ago; that is, the agenda which has been sent around today for the meeting of the Joint House Committee on Thursday next, 16 March, at 9.15 a.m. The first item on the business paper is listed as the appointment of senators and members. I would like you, Mr President, to look at this and to inform the Senate of the situation as to the appointment of senators. My party has not taken any action to appoint any new senators in the belief that the new Senate will do that when nine new senators take their places in this chamber in the Budget session. I understand, on a quick reckoning, that nine senators will vacate the chamber and nine new senators will come in. If, as I am led to believe by this notice, senators are to be appointed to the Joint House Committee, on Thursday, that Committee will function for at least the next three years with no opportunity- unless there are resignations- for any of the nine new senators to be elected to it. If that is to be the case, I think out party should be advised of that so that it can take the necessary steps to nominate personnel at the party meeting next week, before the Joint House Committee meets.
- Senator McLaren, the personnel of the House Committee has been announced in the Senate. It is the same as it has been up to now. It will be for the new Senate to determine the personnel in the next Senate period. I will read to you the record in the Journals of the Senate of 22 February, when various Committees had their personnel appointed. It states:
MENT: The leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Withers), by leave, moved- That a House Committee be appointed, to consist of the President and Senators Coleman, Lewis, McLaren, Melzer, Sheil and Young.
Question- put and passed.
Standing Order 35 provides:
A House Committee, to consist of the President and six Senators, shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament, with power to act during Recess, and to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
Therefore, after 30 June, in the new Parliament, it will be for the Senate to determine who shall comprise that Committee.
– Excuse my interjection, but it will be a new Senate, not a new Parliament, will it not?
– That is so, but the appointments of those office holders made hitherto are to be retained. They are the office holders until the commencement of the new Senate, although I do not know whether there will be any changes in personnel during that time. As I mentioned to you, it is for the Senate to decide who the personnel shall be. The Senate has accepted the appointment of the personnel who held office up to the last election. At this stage they have been reappointed under this resolution of the Senate. Does that satisfy you?
– I cannot debate the matter across the chamber, Mr President; I will have to discuss it with you later.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.34 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 March 1978, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1978/19780309_senate_31_s76/>.