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Tuesday, 10 October 1972
Page: 2324

Mr GILES (ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - You accused the Government of corrupt - I use that word lightly and it may not have been the word - or wrong actions in giving aid.

Dr Klugman - You have a look-

Mir GILES- You have a look at the Hansard record tomorrow morning, if you do not correct it.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - Order! The honourable member for Angas will address the Chair.

Mr GILES - I apologise, Mr Deputy Chairman. If the honourable member for Prospect looks at the Hansard record in the morning he will see what he said. I am sure that you, Mr Deputy Chairman, and I will be able to see what he said, but that is the impression I gained. He accused the Government of some form of corrupt action because it dared to give aid to countries because such aid might suit its political purposes. Honourable members opposite have no regard for the free rights of people in those nations and want to dictate political courses by interference and by asserting their point of view on those countries. This seeps through in every utterance by a certain section of the Opposition which rises on debates of this nature. This type of political bias runs through the debates but I will have none of it. I believe that this Government and Australia should give aid where it is needed and I hope that our record will always be along these lines.

In the brief time remaining to me let us examine the record in terms of fact and not of opinion. During the last decade aid from the Australian Government has trebled. It was $64m in 1961-62 and it was $200m in 1971-72. There is another $20m in the estimates for this year, making $220m. It was given; it was not in loans, not in moneys needing repayment and not in moneys needing an interest commitment. Since the framing of the estimates which we are now discussing another $4.6m has been granted, as announced in statements today.

Australia is in the top 3 donor countries, no matter whether this is decided on a percentage of gross national product or whether it is decided on a percentage of gross expenditure. One per cent of gross national product was the aim of all free countries in the 1960s. This was not reached. For Australia the direct government aid to which I have referred, plus financial transfers, private investment and voluntary aid to the developing sector, has represented a total of 1.27 per cent of gross national product - not one per cent as the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) suggested Australia should give; but 127 per cent. So, as far as I am concerned, Australia clearly leads the world in this field without even taking into account the fact that the aid is given free, as a gift, and is free from both capital repayment and interest commitment.

There is room to say that this is not a fair method of making a comparison on a country to country basis. But all we can do in Australia is do as other countries have done in the past, namely, use private flow investment, voluntary aid and financial transfers on top of direct government aid as a method of compiling the figures. When we do that, our figure is 1.27 per cent of GNP. I repeat that these are not opinions; these are facts. If we consider aid, whether it be in these forms or in others the first thing we have to realise, if we study the problem properly, is that mere aid from government sectors is not the complete answer for developing nations. It may well be that the gain is much greater from a certain amount of capital inflow whether from a private sector or from any other. Certainly, the third factor of trade is of vital consequence to these countries. How often have we read in the newspapers recently that India has steel. The steel making facilities have been given by foreign aid, but India cannot find markets for the steel it is now producing. So the third factor of trade is equally important.

This leads me to the last point I wish to make tonight. I feel very strongly in relation to this matter because I remember making my maiden speech on it many years ago when I entered this House. Australia is the only nation, as far as I know - certainly it was up to a year ago - which bent its tariff laws to allow manufactured goods from slowly developing nations to enter it. This policy may not be as effective as it should be. But there would be those, such as the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison), who would remember the battle Australia had with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to make sure that we got this measure through. It was fought hard by other nations. Today this trade is helped by the fact that Australia is the only nation which allows tariff remission on certain manufactured goods from, speaking from memory, about 57 nations which are classified as developing nations. That is the record of this Government, and the day any government of Australia in the future has such a proud record within such a very short period will be the day. I will be very pleased ifI can ever hear of this record being equalled in the short term.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

Dr KLUGMAN(Prospect)- Under standing order 66, from which I quote,I should like to explain myself 'in regard to some material part of my speech which has been misquoted or misunderstood'. The honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) who has just resumed his seat, referred to my alleged attack on the Government for aiding corrupt overseas governments. I point out, because he obviously misunderstood what I said, that on the contraryI did not criticise the governments to whom we were giving aid. I went out of my way to say that we should have given a particular type of aid in the case of Cambodia. I was referring - I do not think I used the word corrupt' but I am quite happy to use it as the honourable member suggested it - to the fact that our Government was corrupt in the sense of buying cast-offs from political and personal friends, for example, Jetair Australia Ltd.

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