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Thursday, 1 June 1972
Page: 2462

Senator MILLINER (Queensland) - I will not detain the Senate long because this Bill has been canvassed quite extensively. As a Queenslander I am proud that the Australian Institute of Marine Science laboratory is to be built in Townsville; but as an Australian I am even more proud that legislation of this nature is being introduced into the national Parliament. lt is a fine tribute to Australia that we are doing something of this nature to assist not only ourselves but also marine scientists throughout the world. That is my contribution on that aspect of the legislation.

There are one or two points in the second reading speech of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), who represents the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser), which require some examination. In the first place the Interim Council reported in July 1971 and made some fairly substantial recommendations. In particular, it recommended that early consideration be given to the appointment of a Director. I read now from the second reading speech of the Minister, as recorded on page 1903 of Hansard of 23rd May 1972. The Minister said:

I turn now to the duties and responsibilities of the Director of the Institute. In order to develop the Institute into a first class research institution, the first important task of the Council will be to seek, on a world-wide basis, applications for the position of Director and to select an individual of high scientific stature.

The Minister will recall that I discussed this point quite extensively in Estimates Committee C and asked whether we could not rind in Australia someone who would be able to do this job. I come back now to the report of the Interim Council which said in July 1971 that as an early requirement, we .should seek the services of someone to fill the position of Director. I take the point up with the Minister and say that had the Interim Council's recommendation been acted upon al that time it would have given us some start on the whole project. It may have given us the opportunity to select the best Australian available for this position and to send him overseas to study some of the requirements of the position of Director. In that direction the Government has failed to lake sufficient notice of the Interim Council's report.

I note that this project will cost $8m over 5 years. That is not a particularly substantial amount of money. I inject into the discussion the amount that has been spend on the Vietnam war - $465m - so that we may realise what a costly exercise the war in Vietnam has been. Had we not been engaged in that turmoil we most certainly would have been able to build substantially more research laboratories than we are building at the present time.

Senator Georges - -$435m.

Senator MILLINER - The amount was $465m. 1 close on the note on which I commenced: I am proud that this Bill has been introduced into the national Parliament. I hope that the venture will be successful and to the advantage of all mankind.

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