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Thursday, 11 October 1956


Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) .- We have just been listening to the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), a man who represents a metropolitan seat and who, obviously, would have an outlook quite different from that of the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie), who represents a vast electorate embracing a great deal of open primary producing country. We could not expect the honorable member for Melbourne to have the same ideas about Canberra as those of the honorable member for Moore.


Mr Whitlam - Moore's Utopia!


Mr TURNBULL - A significant feature of the debate to-night is the fact that both the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. R. Fraser) and the honorable member for Melbourne spoke along the same lines, using almost identical words. The honorable member for Melbourne could not have been aware of what the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory had said because he was not in the chamber when the latter was speaking, and it would seem, therefore, that honorable members opposite speak to a pattern. The honorable member for Melbourne said exactly the same thing as had been said only a short time previously by the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory.


Mr Daly - There is no crime in that.


Mr TURNBULL - No, but it does seem to indicate that honorable members opposite speak to a certain pattern. I have always held the view that personal attacks should not be made in this National Parliament; and if any person ever hears me making such attacks here, I ask that he tell me about it and I shall then apologize most humbly for having done so.

It is now 25 minutes to 11. The debate closes at 10.45, and it has been noticeable that honorable members opposite have been hard put to it to keep it going. The honorable member for Melbourne is a man who can generally speak at great length. He said to-night that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.


Mr Crean - A little learning, not knowledge.


Mr TURNBULL - That is the quotation, but I thought he said " knowledge ". As he was able to speak for only three minutes, it would seem that he had very little knowledge of the subject under discussion. There may be something in what both the honorable member for Moore and the honorable member for Melbourne have said, but I do not think that people who live in Canberra are any different from residents in any other part of Australia. The important point to remember is that the main industry of the people of Canberra is public administration, whereas in most other places, such as Melbourne and Sydney, both public administration and great industries are carried on. In any case, it is a little late at this stage to suggest that it is wrong to have the Australian capital at Canberra.

There was a time when the late Mr. W. M. Hughes and other people visited Albury with a view to deciding whether that city should be made the national capital. I understand that Albury was one of the cities considered to be suitable, but on the day of the visit by the late Mr. W. M. Hughes and his colleagues, it was hot and there was a north wind blowing, bringing dust with it. For those reasons, I believe, it was decided that Albury was not a suitable site for the national capital. Had it been one of those bright sunny days that are a feature of Albury's climate, that city would have been chosen as the federal capital. In my opinion, that would have been of great advantage because the Australian capital city would then have been on the main railway line instead of being isolated as Canberra is. Further, the cost of transporting members of Parliament backwards and forwards between the capital city and their electorates would have been much less. Again, with ali the amenities that have been provided in Canberra with the vast amount of money that has been spent here, we would have had in Albury a great city with the dual advantage of having the industry of public administration carried on side by side with other great industries.

But talking of these things will not do any good now, because we cannot scrap the present federal national capital, especially as so much money has been, spent on it. 1 support what the honorable member for Moore has said, and ask what would happen to Canberra if the administration of the Commonwealth were withdrawn from it to-morrow and it was no longer the national capital. It would revert to the bush from which it was wrested. The only thing that keeps Canberra going now is the money that is spent by the Commonwealth Government and the public administration that is necessary for the conduct of the Commonwealth Parliament.


Mr J R FRASER - What keeps the honorable member going?


Mr TURNBULL - I intend to keep going until 10.45 so that honorable members opposite will not have any more opportunities to attempt to drag out a subject about which they know very little.

Some reference has been made to the difference between the amount allocated for the Australian Capital Territory and the amount of money voted for the Northern Territory. I was amazed at the difference in the amount proposed to be provided for one item.


Mr J R FRASER - Is that rabbit and dingo destruction?


Mr TURNBULL - Yes. The honorable member will probably remember that I reminded him about it a little while ago, and I thank him for reminding me now. The vote proposed for rabbit and dingo extermination in the Australian Capital Territory for the year 1956-57 is £17,500, whilst the amount proposed for the same purpose in the Northern Territory is £13,500. That is £4,000 less for the Northern Territory than for the Australian Capital Territory. Of course, the amount for the Australian Capital Territory includes provision for the destruction of rabbits, but, with the results of myxomatosis, I doubt whether a rabbit could be found in this area.


Mr J R FRASER - Oh!


Mr TURNBULL - One or two may be poking about, but it would be difficult to find them. I ask the Minister to say whether, for the expenditure of £17,500, any dingoes are being caught in this area. I should think that in no circumstances would dingoes be found in this part of the country.

So that the Chairman will not call me to order, 1 intimate now that I refer to Part 4 of the Estimates, " Payments to or for the States ". In particular I refer to the annual votes under the control of the Department of Health, " Division 288 - Tuberculosis Act 1948 - Re-imbursement of Capital Expenditure by State Governments ". For the year 1956-57, the amount is estimated to be £1,825,000. I do not think the Commonwealth is getting full credit for the large amount of money it is spending in fighting this dread disease. About two and a half years ago I was present at the opening of an institute. The State Minister who was performing the opening ceremony said, " We have provided this money to fight this dread disease ". He took all the praise. It is only right that the people of Australia should know that every year the Commonwealth is providing large sums of money to fight tuberculosis. That is shown by the Estimates, and great credit is due to the Government. It has spent more money in fighting this dread disease and has been more successful in extermi- nating it than any other government in Australia, and we must give credit where credit is due.

The honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) made a remark, I hope in passing, that the only subject I knew anything about was the dried vine fruits industry. I thank him for regarding me as an expert, though I am not. His comment shows that he has no knowledge of any matter that does not concern his metropolitan electorate. A large part of the area that I represent is used for fat-lamb raising, sheep, dairying, and the growing of wheat and other products of the soil. It is only at Sunraysia and two or three other places along the Murray Valley that dried vine fruits are grown, but production is so bountiful that in that small area over 70 per cent, of the dried fruits crop of the whole of Australia is grown.

The Estimates of Revenue under the heading " Self-balancing Items " show that under the Dried Vine Fruits Support Price Agreement, the moneys expected to be received from the United Kingdom for the year 1956-57 amount to £150,000. The self-balancing item is to be found under the heading " Disbursement of Moneys Received from the United Kingdom Government". The amount is. the same - £150,000. I know that at this stage the Minister cannot explain how this money will be disbursed, but I wish to put on record that I ask him to supply that information. The dried fruits growers will be anxious to hear what is being done with this money. The British Ministry of Food gave the price support to the dried fruit exports at the time when the change from governmenttogovernment buying to the trader-to-trader basis was taking place. . A short statement by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. McMahon) would be much appreciated by the dried fruits industry.

I hope that Canberra will continue to flourish. I know that its industry is public administration, but if it can do that well, then it is serving a purpose.

Proposed votes agreed to.

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That the following resolution be reported to the House: -

That, including the sum already voted for such services, there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not exceeding £453,804,000 for the services of the year 1956-57, viz.: -

 

 

Resolution reported and adopted.







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