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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1384

Mrs SULLIVAN(1.43) —My purpose in putting my name down to speak today was not to rise and speak in relation to the Queensland situation. However, we have had several speakers on that already during this grievance debate and I just make two notes. I wait in vain, with all the words that are pouring from the Government side, with Government members quoting the Queensland Industrial Commission, for some indication that they are aware that it was the disregarding by the power strikers of a direction by the Industrial Commission that started this whole mess in the first place. Secondly, during the speech of the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Lindsay) I waited in vain while he quoted from certain priests who have views printed in the Catholic Leader, for an indication of how he saw those views fitting into the views of His Holiness the Pope on the subject of essential services.

However, that is not the subject on which I have risen to speak today. I have risen to inform the House that the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden), has misled Parliament on a matter which has been raised in this place on a number of occasions. On 11 October 1984 the Foreign Minister gave the following answer to a question on notice from the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) relating to the removal of the crown from the Australian passport:

The Royal Crown has been removed from the cover of the Australian passport in the light of expert heraldic advice that the Australian coat of arms displayed on the cover should not be depicted below (i.e. in a position inferior to) any other heraldic symbol, and in the absence of proof that formal permission was originally given for the use of the Crown on the Australian passport. The decision was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in accordance with sub-section 7 (2) of the Passports Act 1938 . . .

On 10 October 1984 I had addressed a question to the then Attorney-General, in his capacity as the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Senate, on the same subject. On that occasion, Senator Gareth Evans, in his usual rude fashion, said that he did not know the answer to the question, but he said:

I will find out from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who has much more recent experience than I of that situation, and give the honourable senator advice accordingly.

The next day, Senator Evans conveyed that advice from the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Senate. This is what Senator Evans said:

On the recommendation of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking conducted by Mr Justice Stewart a passports committee was formed in 1983 to supervise matters relating to the security of Australian passports and visas. As part of its initial examination of the then current passport the Committee noted a number of deficiencies in respect of non-observance of the usages and requirements of protocol and the rules of heraldry. One of the deficiencies was the superimposition of the Royal Crown of St Edward above the coat of arms of Australia on the cover of the passport. This was an incorrect depiction of these two heraldic symbols. In addition, there was no record that royal approval had ever been obtained for the use of the Royal Crown of St Edward on Australian passports.

So that is the advice the Minister for Foreign Affairs gave to the then Attorney-General to pass on to Parliament, and it appears in the Senate Hansard.

So, in summary, the three reasons the Foreign Minister and Government have been given for the removal of the crown from the passport were: firstly, royal approval was not given for the use of the Crown of St Edward; secondly, that the protocol of heraldry meant that the Royal Arms, that is, St Edward's Crown, should be removed from the cover of the passport; and thirdly, that the Passports Committee had noted these deficiencies. I would like to say that, whilst it does not appear in the Hansard, the Minister for Foreign Affairs had said in letters on this subject to members of parliament that the Passports Committee actually recommended the removal of the crown from the passport.

All of these three reasons are statements of untruth. I have received information this week, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which shows that they are quite untrue. The first and, probably, the critical point on which the Foreign Minister has been hanging his hat on the subject of this action in relation to the removal of the crown was that royal approval had never been sought or obtained. Mr Deputy Speaker, I inform the House that on 6 July 1959 the then Acting Prime Minister wrote to the then Acting Minister for Immigration as follows:

My Dear Minister,

I refer to the proposal by the Minister for Immigration to introduce a new type of Australian Passport which would include the Crown on the cover. I have now received word from His Excellency the Governor-General that Her Majesty the Queen has been pleased to approve the use of the Crown on the cover of the Australian Passport in accordance with the draft cover submitted by the Minister.

The second point is that relating to heraldic requirements. In all the matters relating to heraldic requirements and protocol, there is a book called the Style Manual. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has actually referred to that manual in letters to members of parliament on the subject of the protocol requirements on heraldry as it relates to the crown on the passport. I shall quote from the Style Manual the relevant extracts. In relation to the use of the Royal Arms, it says this:

The Arms should appear only at the head of the page or other printing, should not be used in an undignified way and should not appear subsidiary to other devices in the same work.

On the subject of the Commonwealth Arms, that is, the coat of arms, it says this:

The normal practice is to place the Commonwealth Arms at the head of any printed matter with no wording above it. It may be placed in other positions provided that the juxtaposition of the Arms with other printed matter does not detract from its dignity.

In other words, the Style Manual, on which the Government and the Foreign Minister rest their case-on the basis of removal of the crown because the Commonwealth arms also appears on the cover of the passport-says that the Commonwealth arms does not have to appear at the head; it may have other things above it, provided that the juxtaposition of the Arms with other printed matter does not detract from its dignity. The Style Manual makes the point that it is the Royal Arms that cannot have anything above it on the cover of the passport.

Along the line, the Government and the Foreign Minister have been applying the requirements of the Royal Arms to the Commonwealth arms, and saying that the requirements for the royal arms are those that apply for the coat of arms-and they do not. Far from detracting from the dignity of the Commonwealth Arms, I believe that there are many people who would think that its dignity was enhanced by having the Royal Arms above it on the passport.

In fact, on the subject of protocol, the Government is in gross breach of protocol. I quote from a memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Immigration to the Minister for Immigration on 6 March 1959 on the subject of the Government's intention to request Her Majesty the Queen for permission to use the Royal Arms on the passport. He makes this point:

One point for serious consideration, is that once the Queen gives permission to use a reproduction of the Crown for this purpose, we would be committed to its use and could hardly refrain from using it if we wished to after seeing the proof copy of the passport.

So, in fact, we are committed to using the royal crown on the passport, and the Government, because of the Minister's decision, is in flagrant breach of protocol in its decision to take the crown off the passport.

The third point is, of course, the matter of the Passports Committee. This information has come to me because of a request under the Freedom of Information Act for access to all records and minutes of the Passports Committee and a list of the files searched on behalf of the Committee relevant to the decision to remove the Crown of St Edward from the cover of the Australian passport. Time will not permit me to quote at any length from these, but I have here the only copy of minutes, supplied by the Department of Foreign Affairs, of the Passports Committee, minutes of 18 December 1982 which, in their reference to the cover of the passport, make no reference whatsoever to the Royal Arms. In fact, documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Passports Committee never considered the question of the crown on the passport cover, let alone making a recommendation to the Minister. I seek leave, Mr Deputy Speaker, to table those minutes of the Passports Committee.

Leave granted.

Mrs SULLIVAN —The records that I have also show that, whilst the Passports Committee paid no attention to the subject of whether or not the crown ought to be on the passport, there were two public servants who were very active on this subject and who paid very close attention to it. They are one Mr C. N. D. D'Arcy, who comes from the National Royal Symbols Section of the Honours Secretariat of the Department of Administrative Services, and one Mr K. S. Grey, Director of the Passport Policy Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs. I seek leave, Mr Deputy Speaker, to have incorporated in Hansard an extract from a minute dated 25 November 1981 from one Mr Reay to a Mr McCarthy and Mr Grey, in which the views of Mr D'Arcy are confirmed and on which Mr Grey has annotated certain notes in relation to Mr D'Arcy's views.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Blanchard) —I remind the honourable member that it is customary for only tables to be incorporated in Hansard.

Mrs SULLIVAN —Time will not permit me to read these sections into Hansard. They were only extracts that are relevant. They are not tables. They are, in fact, about three paragraphs out of a very long document that I was going to refer to. I will say in summary just this, then. Mr D'Arcy and Mr Grey were very actively of the view, firstly, that the crown did not have 'any present relevance' on the passport and, secondly, that it is 'wrong these days', and that the use of the crown ought to be investigated-and I quote from this minute-'with a view to its deletion'. That is the view of Mr D'Arcy and Mr Grey.

The conclusion, then, is that the Foreign Minister and Senator Gareth Evans representing him in the Senate have misled Parliament. Secondly, I remind the Parliament of the memorandum of Mr Heyes, that having obtained royal approval to use the crown on the passport, the Government is obliged to reinstate it on to the Australian passport forthwith.