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Thursday, 24 August 1972
Page: 409

Senator KEEFFE (Queensland) - I want to pursue a number of points in the debate on the Budget this afternoon. In particular I want to refer to various errors by which I believe that this Government, publicly and otherwise, has come close to the borderline of public corruption. I hope that when I have to criticise Ministers or the affairs of their Departments in the contribution that I shall make it will not be taken as a personal insult. I do believe that this Government has been riddled with inefficient Ministers for several years. Nevertheless should any Minister take that to heart he has time to resign his portfolio between today and election day, which will probably be Christmas Eve - the same day of the year as that on which the last cyclone struck north Queensland. When the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) presented his Budget in another place a few days ago, his opening remarks included these words:

Our proposals are geared to achieve social and economical goals of significance to all Australians and particularly families. The briefest portrayal of the Budget is as follows: Taxes down; pensions up; and growth decisively strengthened.

Since then financial commentators, the Leader of the Australian Labor Party (Mr Whitlam), and those of my colleagues on this side of the chamber who spoke before me have all, I think, contributed in no small way to proving that those words were in fact a hollow echo of the confidence of Government members. On page 5 of his Budget Speech the Treasurer refers to $2.5m being made available over 5 years to South Australia for completion of the sealing of the Eyre Highway. He continues:

We will develop in consultation with the States a suitable programme for further improvement of the national highway system.

He has found the fantastic sum of $250,000 this year for investigations and planning to develop such a programme. Why was not some of this work done 20 years ago? After all, the Government has been in power for 2 decades and it is only when it faces the crisis of a declining vote in a national election that it has suddenly been able to find money for a number of things. Had this kind of programme been initiated in Queensland 10 years ago it is possible that a very large number of people who died on the roads would be alive today. Despite the introduction of seat belts as a compulsory safety measure, the death toll so far this year already exceeds that for the same period last year. With due respect, I submit that a contributing factor is the poor condition of roads in my State. However, I do not imagine that this condition varies very much in other States.

The Treasurer's next reference is to defence. Following the loss of 500 Australian lives and the maiming of 2,000 other Australians in the Vietnam involvement, the Government sets out in this Budget a long ranging defence plan. But when we look at this plan in depth, we see that it does not mean a thing except that from 1963 to 1972 the Government has had on order 24 Fill aircraft - long referred to as the plane that will never fly. It is said that this year or next year this plane will be brought to Australia. I suppose that if one wants to look at technical advances one could say that the plane is probably already obsolete, but that does not seem to worry the Australian Government.

For a long period of time the Australian Government has been niggled by the Opposition into doing something positive about defence plans. I submit that should the national disaster of the return of the present Government occur, these defence plans will be just pushed under the table again. The Government will do nothing positive between now and the election date to implement the plans. Regardless of how much Government supporters may waffle on and talk about the plans they will not be carried out. As I said a moment ago, if one looks at the whole of the defence planning in depth one sees that there is nothing to it.

The Government has decided to make available an additional sum of money for tourist attractions. I suppose tourism is or could become one of the major industries of this country. I understand that when the Estimates come before this chamber there will be a discussion about the failure of plans already instituted. So I do not propose to mention that matter at this point of time. In north Queensland we have asked for the installation of an instrument landing system merely to make flying safer in the Townsville area and the far north. We were told originally that somewhere along the line this system would be installed, that we would be the next cab off the rank. We are now told officially by the Minister that the timing of the installation of this system is now indefinite.

We have asked for the construction of runways that will be in keeping with requirements for an international airport. We are told that this will cost $15m. But when one asks for a breakdown as to how that $15m will be expended one is told that this is not available. I think this is a pretty poor sort of a hoax to put over people who want to do something about developing tourism in a particular area. We have a department and we have a Minister for bits and pieces who in fact takes tourism under his wing in his multitude of portfolios. The Minister has no proper department operating in the tourism field, nor does he have a proper department operating in the environment field. In fact there are many things that the Government has talked about particularly over the last 5 years that it has never implemented or planned for. I do not think the Government ever intended bringing these things into operation.

On page 10 of the Budget Speech reference is made to expenditure on Aboriginal advancement. In my view, and in the view of everybody else who has examined this matter in detail, it is a hoax. The Government has made very little increase in the allocation for Aborigines in the current financial year. In fact, it is extremely doubtful that the Government has convinced its own supporters. Let us see what people, other than Government supporters, say is required to be done.

Earlier this year the Centre for Research into Aboriginal Affairs held an Aboriginal health services seminar at the Monash University. Some of the most distinguished medical people in Australia were present at this seminar. I will not read all of the recommendations made, but I will read some of them. The first recommendation in regard to principles was:

In any programme of health care the integrity of the Aboriginal people is crucial, therefore every attempt must be made to foster a sense of solidarity, and dignity so that Aboriginal identity can be preserved and promoted.

A further recommendation stated:

That health programmes be planned in consultation with the Aboriginal communities they are designed to serve, over the entire cultural, linguistic and economic range of such communities throughout Australia, and carried out through the people themselves and their community leaders.

A third recommendation stated this:

The current disastrous health situation is a byproduct of the complexity and diversity of an Aboriginal society under the pressure of European society. It is a total community problem and not primarily one of individual health. A strategy to meet this problem requires a comprehensive approach including a drastic improvement in education, housing and economic opportunity as well as health services.

Among the recommendations in the programme for action was a recommendation referring to the setting up of a national advisory body, which would include Aboriginal Government and non-Government members, to advise various organisations and governments. The following recommendation also came out of the seminar:

That community-based health education and preventive medicine, in close harmony with the provision of medical treatment, be the keystone of such health programmes. There should be a programme of orientation to and education about Aboriginal life and culture, including language courses where possible, presented essentially by Aborigines, for all personnel involved with Aborigines through health services.

Other comments have also been made. I draw honourable senators' attention to the Development News Digest' which sets out in detail many of the problems confronting Aborigines today and the manner in which some of the problems can be overcome. These matters are not mentioned in the Budget Speech. Other statements have been made, but because my time is limited I can make only a brief reference to them. But later in the session I shall certainly be talking in detail about a whole range of questions concerning Aborigines.

Honourable senators will recall the great national shame when the Aboriginal 'embassy' was moved from the lawns in front of Parliament House. They will recall that the 'embassy' was set up on 26th January 1972, and if there had been an objection to it something ought to have been done about it then. There was no need to introduce a special ordinance if the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) had wanted to shift the 'embassy'. I am not blaming the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) specifically for this; I am blaming the Prime Minister and those who were urging him,

I do not think the Minister for the Interior has ever taken a decision on his own since he has occupied his portfolio. But he was pushed into taking this action and he certainly put on the type of face that the Prime Minister required. I will not quote the whole document, but the representatives of the 'embassy' had this to say:

The People of Australia and People throughout the world have been shocked and amazed at the double dealing and fascist manner in which the government has to date dealt with the Black Tent Embassy, established on the lawns of Parliament House, on Australia Day, 26th January 1972.

They were shocked at the way in which the Minister for Interior gazetted amendments to an ordinance which allowed his political police force to move in and use violence to remove the Black Embassy 40 minutes after being gazetted on 20th July 1972.

This was at a time when parliamentarians were scattered throughout this nation, when the Parliament was not sitting. The document continues:

The People were so concerned that many co-operated to send buses to Canberra full of Black People to re-establish the Black Embassy on Sunday, 23 rd July 1972. The organised violence of the political police force used on that day against the People who re-established the Black Embassy was unbelievable and had the effect of uniting the People to see the Black Embassy re-established at whatever cost.

I do not blame all the police who were associated with it, but unfortunately a large number of the police enjoyed putting in the boot. I think that the disgrace goes even deeper. This sort of action rebounds on the Parliament of this country, and on the white people of this nation. There has been issued recently a pamphlet which also deals with injustices to black people. There are only 4 or 5 pages in this document entitled 'What Hope Justice?' To avoid reading it, I ask for leave to incorporate it in Hansard.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document reads as follows) -

If you are black and a woman and in your early teens you have probably been raped at least once.

If you are black and a woman and in your early twenties then, you have probably been raped two or three times.

Take the example of an 11 year old black girl living in the River Todd with her 20-month old baby; while children are picked up off the streets in Alice Springs, by white louts with carnal knowledge, if not rape on their minds, where are the police? The supposed upholders of law arid order are too busy searching out blacks, to book for the much more 'serious' crime of drunkenness. By the time such a child is 20 is it not better to be a prostitute than be raped again - at least she might get a bottle of beer for her agony - she certainly will not get justice.


Marlene Cummins, after being raped, made a desperate appeal to the system for protection. She was 'protected' by the police with her own arrest under 2 charges.

Marlene, a young black girl, lived her early childhood on the reserves in far west Queensland near Connamulla and Winton. At about the age of 12 her family moved to Brisbane and became fringe-dwellers at Acacia Ridge, just outside Brisbane. Soon after this her parents separated and she finally settled in Brisbane's inner suburbs with her father, a strict disciplinarian, who had remarried. Repeated beatings drove her to run away from home at the age of 15.

The day Marlene left home with another schoolfriend, she had her first sexual experience PACK RAPE.

Having accepted a lift with 3 young white men, the 2 children were driven into the bush, followed by another 2 carloads of white youths.

The girls were separated and repeatedly raped despite hysterical protests and screams.

A shocked and terrified Marlene managed to get home at 3 a.m. and was beaten by her father for running away; she was too terrified to tell her father what had happened. At this time Marlene sought assistance from Juvenile Aid (a service to protect children from parental brutality).

At 16 Marlene left home again, and, travelling the only way an unemployed, uneducated 16-year- old black girl can, she hitch-hiked, surviving as best she could.

Having travelled north through Townsville and Mount Isa, south to Alice Springs and Port Augusta then east to Sydney, by some miracle Marlene escaped sexual assault, although on one occasion she was forced to leap from a moving car. Eventually she returned to Brisbane where she was rejected by her family.

Taken to a party by her cousin, she drank too much and fell asleep. Marlene awoke to find herself alone in. the house with a slightly retarded Aboriginal man. He barricaded the door with a wardrobe and threatened to stab her with a tin opener if she did not submit. Later when one of the rapists' white friends returned to the house Mar:ene tried to escape. She was caught, and at knife point raped again. Her screams for help were ignored by the second man.

Shortly after this second horrifying experience, Marlene became involved in the new black militant movement, and with her association with such persons as Sammy Watson Junior and Dennis Walker, her face became known to the police. This year, during National Aboriginal Week Marlene, now 17 years old, was raped for the third time. Having missed a meeting with friends and unable to catch a cab, she started to hitch-hike home. A white businessman picked her up in a light coloured Valiant, drove her to a secluded place, and despite her protests, she was raped at knife point, under such threats as 'If you don't let me r-- you I will shove this in you'. Marlene fought and screamed. Crying and hysterical she was eventually taken to hospital by 2 young friends, where rape was confirmed and a sedative administered.

The hospital reported her rape, and 2 CID detectives took her to the police station to be interviewed. While trying to explain her experience, her interviewer commented, 'You've been f- before'. Still half hysterical Marlene responded, 'I've been f- raped. What are you going to do about it?' Immediately the detective snapped shut his report book and charged her with indecent language. Arrested on this charge, Marlene was transferred to the watchhouse where she was stripped and searched by a police-woman. Still endeavouring to tell what had happened to her that night, the police-woman's only comment was, 'Bully for you'.

Later at the charge desk the distraught Marlene was surrounded by sniggering police and became the target of obviously racist insults, such as: Black Slut', 'Black Gin', 'Black S- '.

By now Marlene was completely hysterical:. Whereupon a 'helpful' policeman tried to calm her down by throwing her heavy sheepskin, coax over her head, wrapping the sleeves so tightly around her, that she thought she would suffocate. Eventually struggling free, Marlene, not surprisingly, hit out at the nearest policeman. Although she failed to connect, she was knocked to the ground and then she was charged with assault

Marlene wars then locked in a cell for 2 hours until her hysterical but justified abuse of the police trailed off from sheer exhaustion. The final indignity came when she was fingerprinted before eventual release on bail.

Her final appeal at the Bail Desk against her treatment and the racist abuse such as being called a Black Slut was met with the comment, Well, arn't you?'


And following their threats, Marlene Cummins has fled the jurisdiction of the Queensland Police. She is too terrified to return voluntarily for her trial on 4th August because of police threats. If she does not return there will be a warrant issued for her arrest. In either case her return to Queensland will expose her to further police brutality and violence.


They will find it impossible to explain charges against a young girl referred to them by a hospital as a rape victim. Marlene is by no means the only black girl in such a position. Most black girls in Australia can tell similar stories.

To analyse this situation you must first recognise the social and economic deprivation of Aboriginal women. The lack of education and employment opportunities, combined with White Australia's racist attitudes, leave hundreds of Aboriginal girls in the familiar position of hitch-hiking penniless, seeking employment or social security.

Marlene and other girls in a similar position are not protected by the law.


1.   Why could the policemen continually use indecent and abusive language while it was Marlene who was charged?

2.   Why could a policeman strike her to the ground and another attempt to shut her up by smothering her while it was she who was charged with assault?

3.   Why was Marlene stripped and searched?

4.   Why was she fingerprinted?

5.   Why was she locked in the cells?

6.   Why was no further medical attention sought for her hysteria?

7.   Why was she treated as a criminal when in reality she was the victim?

8.   Why was she subject to RACIST abuse?


Obviously the system cannot and will not help girls in this position. WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

JOIN WOMEN'S ACTION and the BLACK LIBERATION FRONT propose the following actions to protect Marlene and others in similar positions:

1.   Public awareness of the problem by a massive campaign to publicise Marlene's case arid any others which come to our attention.

2.   Political awareness by lobbying Members of both Houses to ask questions on this issue in Parliament and to involve all political and social organisations and influence public figures to stop this humiliation and 'legal' abuse.

3.   Grass Roots Level (a) Self-Defence: Women must learn to organise together for their own protection. We suggest - (a) Never go out alone; (b) carry a defensive weapon such as pepper which cannot be used against you. Do not carry a knife or anything which can be used against you; (c)

SISTERHOOD IS POWERFUL- Eight women can wipe out one RACIST RAPIST.

4.   If you need any further information or are willing to tell us of any similar experiences you know of please contact:




(b)   Organised Protection: In Marlene's case. Dennis Walker, Minister of Defence of the Black Panther Party, has already announced a $200 reward to anyone who can avenge Marlene against the white businessman who raped her and the arresting officer who abused his power by treating Marlene the victim as Marlene the criminal. Other Black communities should organise themselves in a similar way so that girls may be protected by them as obviously the police do not.

Marlene will be Australia's Angela Davis, she is a victim of legal racism. It is important that we collect as much information on such racist abuse as possible if this racist society is to be smashed.

Senator KEEFFE - I thank the Senate. The final stupidity that occurred in Parliament House during the parliamentary recess was the taking over of a section of Parliament House for the SEATO Conference. It is to the credit of the Senate and of those in charge here that the Senate area of Parliament House was not taken over. Mr Gordon Bryant, my colleague in another place, issued a Press statement on 27th June 1972. It was headed: 'SEATO and Parliament - the Banana Republicans' Last Stand?' I will not seek to incorporate this document but I will read out 4 relevant paragraphs. Mr Bryant stated:

The overwhelming presence of SEATO officials and delegates around and in Parliament House is the final humiliation of an institution which the Australian Government has reduced to a cypher.

The extraordinary number of guards and police armed and with personal radio communication is security run mad and a waste of money.

When the Speaker, Sir William Aston, informed the House of the arrangements, the impression gained by members was of an act of hospitality carried out unobtrusively. The reality is nothing like that impression.

I personally regard the whole operation as it is now mounted as offensive and humiliating.

Mr Bryantcontinues for a further page and a half to condemn the actions of this Government.

Responsible statements have been made by responsible people to the effect that on the previous occasion when SEATO met in Parliament House even members of the staff were followed by armed guards. When one young lady went to the toilet, a guard was mounted outside the door of that toilet. This is a pretty disgraceful state of affairs. But under this Government, we have become used to many of these things.

Let me deal further with some of the other sections of the Budget speech. Plenty of opportunities to carry out a further post mortem on what the Government proposes to do with respect to Aborigines will be available before this session terminates. Honourable senators on the other side of the chamber might cease their gossiping; they will have an opportunity to make their speeches later this day.

Senator Webster - We thought that there were so few listening to you that we were considering directing attention to the state of the Senate.

Senator KEEFFE - That comment applies to people on the other side of the Senate. They live in fear. They do not want to be in here arguing the point because they know-

Senator Webster - I think that you can say that of your own colleagues. There are only 3 of them here.

Senator KEEFFE - The point is that-

Senator Webster - You will have to think of something good.

Senator KEEFFE - Last session when the honourable senator spoke, we had to direct attention to the state of the Senate to make sure that there was another Government senator in the chamber to listen to him.

Senator Webster - That is not right.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Order!

Senator KEEFFE - To whom do I talk, Mr Acting Deputy President - you or him?


Senator KEEFFE - Right, as long as it is not the Country Party. Reference is made in the Budget Speech to assistance with fares. The Treasurer stated: . unemployed persons should not be inhibited in seeking employment by the cost of fares, and- the Commonwealth Government: . . will be asking the States for their cooperation in developing a viable scheme. The estimated cost in 1972-73 is $200,000.

On the surface, it appears that the Commonwealth will make available $200,000. It does appear that the Commonwealth is planning to meet a situation in which 100,000 or more people will be unemployed for a long time. But unless the States come into this agreement, no-one will be assisted. Even though the sum involved is not great, this again is a hoax.

In dealing with external aid the Treasurer said:

In relative terms, Australia's aid performance in respect of both volume and type of aid ranks us among the world leaders.

I submit with some contempt that that statement is a hoax. Australia ranks near the lowest rung in the world in respect of external aid if we deduct from the amount that we provide the contribution that we make to Papua New Guinea. If we deduct that amount we would contribute less than almost any other so-called developed country.

Senator Webster - What about taking away the rest of the contribution and then making the calculation?

Senator KEEFFE - With the distorted acountant's mind that you have, I suppose that is the way in which you declare your profits each year when you approach your taxation return. I propose to read this as I see it and as your so-called expert, the Treasurer, has set it out.

Senator Marriott - Would you anticipate that we would not give aid to Papua New Guinea?

Senator KEEFFE - .Who is that talking? It is the Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Health, Senator Marriott. You will need medical treatment if you keep making interjections like that. I come back to the point I was making. Obviously there is a crying attempt on the Government side in an endeavour to divert attention from the fact that our external aid is nowhere near the amount that this Government says it is. There was a time last year or late in the year before when the Treasurer said that Australia's external aid contributions had exceeded one per cent of its gross national product. But when the breakdown was made the figure was shown to be very little in excess of one half of one per cent. It is of no use saying that this year we will provide a total of $220m to be spent on official economic aid to developing countries because in the next line of the Budget Speech we are informed that $145m of that sum is to go to Papua New Guinea.

Senator Webster - Why does the honourable senator not take that amount into account?

Senator KEEFFE - Look, we are taking it into consideration but surely to goodness we ought to give more than that to Papua New Guinea.

Senator Webster - That is not the point.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Order!

Senator KEEFFE - Let me answer him. There is no reason why we should innate our official figures by including our contribution to Papua New Guinea.

Senator Webster - Why should we not include that figure?

Senator KEEFFE - Because if we take away the amount of $145m the sum made available by this country as external aid becomes a most insignificant one. Let us be realistic about this and not live in a fairy tale world. This morning, I asked a question about the aid we had given to the Philippines.

Senator Jessop - It is $2m this year.

Senator KEEFFE - 1 beg your pardon?

Senator Jessop - It will amount to $2m.

Senator KEEFFE - Will it?

Senator Jessop - Yes.

Senator KEEFFE - Goodness gracious me! Is it $100m out of your own pocket?

Senator Jessop - I said $2m.

Senator KEEFFE - How much of that is your own money, because it is not coming from the Commonwealth Government; that is for sure. What we have done is to make a cash grant of $20,000. That is all that we have done to date. I doubt whether the cheque for that amount has been sent yet. We have said that we will send some flour and some wheat. This may amount in value to $300,000 or $400,000.

Senator Jessop - Senator, flour worth $176,000 is on the ocean at the present time.

Senator KEEFFE - -What ocean? The ocean of imagination!

Senator Jessop - It is going to the Philippines.

Senator KEEFFE - I asked a responsible Minister here this morning and he could not tell me. Here is one of the Government's insignificant backbenchers claiming to have the information. Where does he get it from?

Senator Jessop - From the House of Representatives Hansard.

Senator KEEFFE - Obviously it comes from a fairy story that you were reading last night. I do not believe what you say. Sometimes I have grave doubts about what Ministers say. But at least they are in a situation where they ought to have access to knowledge. I prefer to wait until I am supplied with the information by the relevant Minister, which will probably be 2 months after the question has been put on notice and after the aid has been sent-

Senator Drake-Brockman - I rise to take a point of order. I have listened to the honourable senator for some time. I think he should moderate his language. I refer to the way in which he has been casting aspersions on Ministers and backbenchers here by saying that they are insignificant.


Yes, Senator Keeffe, I think you should moderate your language.

Senator KEEFFE - I will moderate my language, but I have not really started yet. There are a few other things that I have to say. If we are ashamed of the $20,000 that we have made available to the Philippines, if this is such a touchy point, and if we are worried about the weevilly flour that we may or may not have on a boat, I would ask with due respect that the responsible Minister be in a position to bring that information to the Senate next week.

I turn to the subject of housing. The Treasurer makes much of the additional sums which will be made available by way of loans and by way of grants in this important field. It is deplorable that, when someone wishes to purchase a home in this country, he must put himself in hock for up to half a century in order eventually in his extreme old age to have a home that he is able to call his own.

Senator Webster - That is one thing that the socialists would not wish them to have.

Senator KEEFFE - You sound like a canary in a cage, trying to get out. If someone will give the honourable senator some seed, we might be better off. It is a well known fact that when the home savings grants were first made available unscrupulous builders immediately added all or part of it to their building costs so that in fact the person buying a home found that he was not saving money. The unavailability of building sites is one of the scandals of this century. A reasonable building site in the Sydney area now costs what a very good quality home cost 5 years ago, and there is not a stick of wood, brick, a piece of mortar or anything on the land. They have to start from there. People have to put themselves in debt to get the piece of ground first and then start building on it.

I think that one of the State Ministers made a very pertinent statement the other day when he said that there was no need for the Government to intervene to make areas of land available. Before concluding the statement he said that no land was available anyway. This is the sort of approach that the Commonwealth has adopted also. We asked for land for building sites on Thursday Island. It took years of battling to get 60 acres. Many months ago we were told that that area would be made available but we do not know even yet where the land is. The housing situation in that area is deplorable but nothing is being done by the Department of the Interior. The transfer of the land from the Department of Defence to the Department of the Interior has taken place but nothing has been done about making it available to the people. People living there wrote to me 3 or 4 days ago and asked: 'Where is our land?' This is the Commonwealth's problem all the way through. The Minister for Housing (Mr Kevin Cairns) wrote to me many months ago and said that the Act would be amended to take in those Torres Strait Islanders who have served in certain areas. We are still waiting for the Act to be amended. Come election day it still will not be amended if the current rate of progress is maintained.

I refer now to the health field. Yesterday I asked what I thought was a reasonable question and the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health said: 'Put it on notice'. The question, No. 2365, was as follows:

Is it a fact that the Australian General Practitioners' Society has distributed a notice, in the following terms, for display in doctors' surgeries: Pensioner patients are advised to obtain, or to retain, membership of medical benefit funds as the Commonwealth Government does not enable doctors to provide satisfactory care to pensioner patients through its fourth-rate Pensioner Medical Service'.

Does the Acting Minister agree with the principles set out in the notice; if not, what action is being taken by the Government to remedy the situation.

That is a perfectly reasonable approach to a terribly serious situation. Many pensioners travelling on holidays or visiting sick relatives carry their pensioner medical cards with them but when they wish to see a doctor in the particular town concerned they cannot get free medical treatment. The doctor says that his list is closed and that he does not have to treat them. One cannot blame the doctors always. The fault lies in the slap happy manner in which this Government has approached one of the major problems of this time.

I might as well expand on the field of health now because it is a very important area. On my side of the chamber we have spokesmen who have been able to put up arguments that could not be knocked over by Government spokesmen. The arguments relate to the preventive side as well as the curative side of the health field. Honourable senators will remember that a long time ago, in this chamber in particular, questions were asked and debates took place about the advisability of banning the advertising of cigarettes on television, of putting warning labels on packets of cigarettes and of conducting a campaign to prove that smoking was dangerous. I am a smoking addict, as are many honourable senators in this chamber. It is just as powerful a drug as pot or anything else. It is a drug of addiction, as is alcohol. Whether we use tobacco in small or large amounts, in the long run it must have a bad effect on our health. All sorts of excuses are made for using it - I used to make them myself but I gave up doing so - excuses such as 'I smoke because I find it calms my nerves' or 'it helps me relax', or something else.

Senator Jessop - It does not help you much.

Senator KEEFFE - Smoking does not do any of those things. The honourable senator who just interjected probably goes in for something a little stronger. I regret that the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) is not here and I'm sorry that he is ill. He said: 'Well, I have a cigarette.' I do not think that that is any justification for not carrying out a programme to try at least to prevent young people taking up smoking. One can suspect only that the major tobacco companies have applied pressure against this Government in order to break down the campaign against advertising of cigarettes. I can see no other reason. Even when the original decision was taken it was not a strong one but it was somewhat stronger than the one finally adopted. The original decision was eventually broken down and then we had this long wait for it to be implemented. In the meantime probably another 10,000 kids have started smoking. Probably some of them would have been prevented from doing so had they had the opportunity to read some of the anti-smoking campaign material.

I now want to refer to another field. You will recall, Mr Acting Deputy President, that I said earlier that we have no real office of the environment. It has not been properly established or properly staffed and does not operate properly. There have been meetings of Ministers of the environment. At this time South Australia probably is the only State in which there is a full-time portfolio. The various Ministers concerned meet from time to time but the Commonwealth Government representative does not know what he is doing, and cannot make a decision either.

He is like another Minister I referred to a little while ago. Recently the Stockholm Conference was held. Our delegation was led by our Commonwealth Minister. On the first vote on nuclear pollution, Australia did not know where to go. Ultimately the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony), had to intervene - why it should be him I do not know - and say: 'Vote against it on the next round'. Then there was the Parliamentary Conference at Vienna. No directives or guidelines were issued to the Australian delegates to that Conference. At least the Office of the Environment ought to have been able to arrange streamlined entry for the Australian delegation at that Conference but that was not so. We knew nothing about it so we found our own way and made our own decisions. I must say that the decisions taken about nuclear pollution at that Conference were much better than anything decided at the Stockholm Conference.

The question of pollution in Australia is one of the gravest things that faces our people. The Australian Broadcasting Commission has come under a lot of criticism but a few weeks ago this matter was dealt with in a '4 Corners' programme. I do not know whether it has led yet to the sacking of the commentator. Usually the person who produces or does the main commentary on any controversial programme on '4 Corners' is transferred by political direction, or is sacked.

Senator Marriott - There must have been a lot of transfers lately.

Senator KEEFFE - It would be good if Senator Marriott would use a foghorn because he is a bit difficult to understand. That programme ought to have made all Australians feel ashamed of themselves. People in the Department of Supply and those associated with General MotorsHolden's Pty Ltd and the Imperial Chemical Industries organisation particularly ought to hang their heads in shame. I say that because the Government gave permission for the dumping of dangerous chemicals and other harmful products into the seas around this country. We have just had the big panic over the amount of mercury now being found in sharks - I am not talking about political sharks because their skin would be impervious to mercury - in areas in which Victorian flake is caught. How much more of this pollution is going on? A warning has just been given that Lake Burley Griffin will be so polluted in a few months time that it will be dangerous to eat fish from it. When it has come to nuclear pollution the Government has trodden quietly - softly, softly. No matter how much fall-out there could have -been over Australia the Government has not been prepared to offend France.

In 1970, I asked the then Minister for Health for certain figures in relation to nuclear fall-out. On 7th December 1970 he replied in the following terms:

You sought additional information in relation to your questions on notice Nos 584 and 586 about nuclear fall-out which I had answered earlier that day. Two main points were raised by you concerning the work of the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee which reports to rae. The first point concerned the time being taken to publish the results obtained from the monitoring programmes; and the second point concerned difficulty for the layman in easily understanding the reports when published.

Since then, I have discussed this matter with my Department and I am satisfied that there are very good reasons why the data should not be published on a day to day basis or even for each test in a series. Although the daily measurements can immediately confirm that the level of radioactivity in fall-out is far below what is considered to be of significance as a health hazard - and this is the case for the whole of Australia - it is only after all the data from a series of tests have been collected and analysed that it is possible to draw firm and meaningful conclusions. I can assure you that there is no unreasonable withholding of the information from publication.

Of course the Government is still going on in the same vein. That answer was given to me over 18 months ago. On 8th August 1972 a statement was issued by the Department of Supply on nuclear fall-out monitoring. I shall quote it in part. It reads:

These data now include measurements of fallout from the second explosion in the series.

Mr Garlandsaid that fresh fission products from the present series became evident at a very low level in fall-out over Australia about 15th July: As expected, the monitoring programme has not yet recorded fall-out from the third explosion in the series, believed to have occurred on 28th July 1972.

Current monitoring of fall-out from the recent French tests has so far shown no evidence of iodine 131 in the major milk supplies.

The statement then went on to point out some of the details of the monitoring. I contend that the fall-out from the French tests was of some significance. It is all very well for the Minister for Supply (Mr Garland), who does not have scientific training anyway, to say it is not harmful. There are enough scientists in this country alone who say that nuclear fall-out of any sort can have harmful results in the long term. I think the Government is merely hiding from the real issue and that it is not prepared to face up to reality and say: Tt may be harmful. Let us take some sort of positive action'. A Minister said in the Parliament the other day that the Australian Labor Party would let one country explode bombs but not another. That is not true. The Labor Party has said on many occasions that all types of nuclear fall-out are dangerous. In my book underground testing probably will be just as dangerous as atmospheric testing in the long term.

The same situation applies to the poisonous waste from nuclear plants. It has never been adequately denied that poisonous waste from the proposed Jervis Bay plant if it had been established would have been buried somewhere in the remote vastness of either north Queensland or the Northern Territory. Whilst there were feeble denials that that would happen when this matter was publicly raised, I have not yet received a satisfactory answer from any Minister in this House that the waste was not going to be 'buried in this way. We ought to proceed carefully in this direction also until we are sure that there is no long term danger from the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Let us examine a few other things that are very important. The Government has been singularly silent on all the great events of the day. I am not going to talk about ping-pong teams or football teams visiting Australia or anything else. Over a long period of time my colleague, Senator Mulvihill, has asked probing questions in this House about people being trained in this country for rebellious purposes in other countries. Every Minister who has replied to his questions has attempted to laugh him out of court. But now, because it has come to light that naturalised Australians have been killed in other countries in acts of rebellion, the Government is trying to brush off the matter. The Government is trying to say: 'It probably happened but it is not really as bad as you think it is'. It is a bit like the Vietnam show. Every time there was a major killing of young Australian soldiers in Vietnam the Government brushed off the incident by saying that it was a big battle and referred to the glory of it all and so on. There are still 150 Australians in Vietnam. They ought not to be there.

The Government's actions are a bit like those of the last of the bananalander governments in Queensland. The Premier of Queensland says: "The crown of thorns starfish cannot do any harm', and he is backed up by a handful of money-hungry tourist operators. But the genuine tourist operators know what damage the crown of thorns starfish could do. It will do as much damage in the long term to the eighth wonder of the world as drilling for oil. Another of my colleagues in this chamber, Senator Georges, and his team of scientists recently set up a monitoring system in the area. The results of it have proved all of the things that we are worried about. But we never hear concern being expressed about this sort of thing at a Commonwealth Government level. The Commonwealth Government owns the Great Barrier Reef just as much as anybody else, but it shows somewhat less interest than the Queensland Government, if that is at all possible.

Nothing has been said by the Commonwealth Government about the assault that has taken place on democracy in Queensland during the last few 'weeks. Not one member of the Commonwealth Parliament from Queensland who is a supporter of the Government has said anything about the smashing up of the Brisbane City Council because a Labor supporter could not be defeated through the ballot box. The Commonwealth Government has to take some responsibility in this respect because it supplies funds to the Queensland Government for the development of Brisbane. What has happened must be what suits the Commonwealth Government. As the Liberal Party member for one of the metropolitan seats of Brisbane said the other day, a massive newspaper poll has just disclosed that the great majority of the people of Brisbane do not want their council interfered with either in terms of boundaries or in relation to the manner in which the Lord Mayor, Alderman Clem Jones, was elected or the number of aldermen, and the aldermen have been joined by their Liberal Party counterparts in the Brisbane City Council itself.

When a newspaper poll was taken which showed that the people supported his actions, the Premier of Queensland commended the Press and said: 'lt is delightful. It is jolly good. It shows what is democracy'. But what was his attitude to the introduction of daylight saving? As from 1st October there will be 4 different time systems in this country. There will be Western Australian time; there will be central Australian time, which will be adjusted according to the introduction of daylight saving: there will be eastern standard time, which will be adjusted according to the introduction of daylight saving; and there will be Queensland hill-billy time. None of Queensland's clocks will coincide with the clock anywhere else in Australia. I believe that there is an argument against the introduction of daylight saving, but if people want it I think they are entitled to have it. I do not suppose that the Commonwealth cares 2 hoots anyway. But it ought to care. The Commonwealth ought to have some concern for the wishes of the people, even if those wishes do not accord with those of the bananaland dictatorship. After all a lot of us have to live in Queensland. We want to live there because we like the place. But there are a few people running the State Government whom we do not like. Because of the Commonwealth Government's timidity. I cannot see it taking any action. Daylight saving should be introduced in those areas where the mass of the population is in favour of its introduction. A system on a taxation zone basis could be introduced to suit the farmers. There are a dozen ways in which such a system could work without interf ering with the rights of the people.

Let us examine a couple of the problems that we are having at a ministerial level. I regret that we have had great problems in this House during the last couple of days. I think it is a crying shame when Ministers come in and instead of answering questions sensibly take in giving an answer up to 5 times the amount of time needed to ask the question. They try to get over political propaganda. We know that the Government has its back to the wall. We know that in any set of circumstances which could possibly confront the Government between now and election day it is unlikely to improve its position. Of course it has been said that the Government is going to reap great benefits from the Budget. But the people have had time to analyse it. There was no need to have a snap election before they wake up. They have been able to wake up in a couple of weeks. They can see that the advantages which the Government says are in the Budget are in fact not there at all. If the Government takes my advice it will go as long as it can before calling an election in the hope that something will turn up. But on current indications it is not going to do that.

What I am going to say now does not apply to all Ministers, but it applies to 2 of them in particular. Shortly I will be saying something about another Minister; it will be not uncomplimentary to him personally but I hope he takes note of it. Let us look at the situation of the Minister now in charge of the House, the Minister for Works (Senator Wright). When he is asked a question on anything to do with the requirements of trade unions he gets very upset indeed. He starts attacking the Australian Labor Party, trade unions, Bob Hawke and everybody in sight who may be a worker.

Senator Jessop - He does it very well too.

Senator KEEFFE - He does it very effectively, that is right. He is able to blind you with his emotions anyway. Then, of course, you have the Attorney-General-

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Order! Senator Keeffe, you should address the Chair.

Senator KEEFFE - I pay respect to you every time, Mr Acting Deputy President. Then, of course, we have the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood). One could not call him dynamic except when he gets up to answer a question. In getting up and down he is like a bomb. But this does not apply to the quality or to the body of his reply. He, like the Minister for Works, uses question time as a political electioneering stunt. He is able to get draft dodgers as they run across that side of the chamber. He is able to get militant strikers on this side of the chamber. We receive this sort of reply all the time. I hope that he will take this in the spirit in which I say it, but it is doubtful whether he is not the most incompetent Attorney-General since another famous person who served in that position some years ago and who, when he was drafting a certain piece of legislation, was kicked upstairs for his trouble. It is the responsibility of the Attorney-General to maintain law and order. But it will not be maintained if he continues to act in the manner in which this Attorney-General has been acting. The way he carries on by demanding gaol for this person and penalties for that person is, I think, shameful.

Of course in the meantime there is more crime in this country - but not crime of trade union instigation. Nobody is doing anything about this at all. It is not of demonstration instigation. There are problems in the police forces in various places. If the police were paid a decent wage there would be less inclination for a minority of police to accept bribes and become corrupt. There would be less inclination for them to be forced into this sort of thing. But neither the Commonwealth nor any of the States pay adequate wages to their police, nor do they staff their forces properly. It is all very well for the AttorneyGeneral to conduct his daily war dance when he is replying to questions and get himself into a tizzy in his effort to evade a proper reply.

But there are other developments. The Minister for Air (Senator DrakeBrockman) does not come under a very great deal of criticism because he does not do anything for which to be criticised. In fact, he does not do a great deal - period. It is his bad luck that he happens to be landed with the Fill aircraft. Mr Acting Deputy President, you will note that when honourable senators on the Opposition side criticise the purchase of the Fill aircraft they do not direct their criticisms at the Minister for Air. In fact, we feel very sorry that he has this problem in his lap. I suppose we could start with the Prime Minister because this is where most of the rot has set in. Whenever the Prime Minister touches anything it turns to dust. It blows up in his face. I know that my colleagues will not mind my telling the Senate that on one occasion at a social function in Sydney he made a public speech and he even forgot the date on which Parliament was to open. Perhaps my colleagues might elaborate on that a little later. The Prime Minister went to the Asian area.

Senator Young - Does the honourable senator need leave to get some more buckets to pour?

Senator KEEFFE - If Senator Young is a little scared of the truth there is no harm in his crawling under his desk. He is upset because he is afraid of the truth. Of course, if he cannot stand up to the truth it would be a good idea if he got out of Parliament altogether. As far as the Prime Minister is concerned, when we rose at the end of the last sessional period everybody on the Government side said: 'Nothing is going to go wrong. We are right. We have 2 months when Parliament is not sitting. The Prime Minister cannot get into trouble.' But 3 different statements came out of his Asian tour. And guess what happened when he could not go to New Guinea? The people of New Guinea said: Hurray, he is not going to cause trouble up here. He has to say at home.' The Prime Minister had to stay at home because he had oily hands. Probably that is not the correct way to phrase it. He was mixed up in an oil dispute. It is of no use his saying, as he has attempted to do on a number of occasions, that he was not involved with the oil companies. It was perfectly obvious that the oil strike was perpetuated at the instigation of the Prime Minister and other Government members. That is where the situation stayed until it looked like blowing up and being an oily mess. Then I think the Prime Minister thought that it was time to get out. But do not blame the workers for these things as the Government so often wants to do.

I hate people who get mixed up - no, I do not like using strong words such as hate' so instead I will say that I intensely dislike people who are public representatives becoming mixed up in mining companies and things of a similar nature. I want to go a little further than that. Today there is a move inside the Australian Country Party from the Butler league or the League of Rights and it has even sucked in our independent senator from Western Australia.

Senator Mulvihill - Who is that?

Senator KEEFFE - The man who complains, Senator Negus. He has been wandering into Queensland. Last year - 1971 - when the election campaign was being held the Butler group would write letters. Some of the group did not have time to write out the letters which had been drafted for them so they enclosed a pamphlet which went with the letter. The pamphlet was based on the philosophy of the League of Rights. It is of no use the Deputy Prime Minister crying crocodile tears. He and people associated with him encouraged this infiltration of the Country Party. They have encouraged this breakdown of government in Australia. In Queensland it is even respectable for the Premier and his wife to go to dinner parties with these repesentatives. Do not let us have crocodile tears. This is what a Lorna Schneider said:

The enclosed pamphlet has 5 statements on the back. Would you read them please and let me know before the Senate election if you agree or if not why.

So many letters of that ilk were received that some day I am going to record in Hansard the names of everyone concerned with them. We do not have time to do it today. It will be very helpful when members of the Country Party want to see who their friends are. But today I have a different type of letter which states:

What is your personal opinion of death duties? In Queensland we have heard quite a lot of Senator Negus's activities in this field, and I wonder when he does present this Bill will he have your support and help, I am also concerned about sanctions, directed against young developing nations e.g. Rhodesia. Are they quite fair? Is there any need for Australia to observe, in your opinion, these sanctions as it would appear other members of the UN do trade with them?

Yours faithfully, Anna Kuhl (Mrs)

Normally I would courteously acknowledge the letter and say that 1 had referred it to my Party headquarters. But then a Pat Simpson wrote back and asked:

Re your letter 11.7.72. I would like your personal views. Do you agree with the abolishment of Death Duty Taxes?

If Senator Negus wants to associate with the Country Party League of Rights, it is his right to do so. However, I say with respect that it will not do much good for his case for the abolition of death duties. The blackmailing tactics adopted by some of the people with whom he associates in their letters to other members of the Parliament will badly char his case before it starts. Finally-

Senator Webster - You do not really mean that, do you?

Senator KEEFFE - I did not know that the honourable senator was a member of the League of Rights. Is he?

Senator Webster - You did not really mean 'finally', did you?

Senator KEEFFE - Is he or is he not a member? On 17th May 1972 I raised the matter of Nickelfields of Australia NL, which is a mining company with which an honourable senator of this chamber is associated. In my closing statement I said: l am sorry that Senator Wood has seen fit to leave the chamber. If that is the way he feels about it he ought to make a public statement about what happened to Nickelfields of Australia NL and one or two other companies, or alternatively be a decent politician and resign from this place.

I am sorry that the honourable senator is not in the chamber at the moment; no doubt he is listening in his office. I should like to refer also to other companies. In pursuance of what I have said previously I should like to say that it is a crying shame that small people have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in these small mining companies. Nickelfields was no exception. People were talked into purchasing shares in other small companies. While Senator Wood is about it, if he cares to make a statement publicly I would like him to say what his interest is in Laverton NL, shares in which I think today are worth about 7.5c at the seller's rate. I should like to know whether any honourable senator on the Government side of the chamber has an interest in Shaw River Alluvials NL, another not very lusty mining company, the shares in which are now selling at the highest price they have reached for a long time - about 18c.

If people want to be in public life they should not get their noses, their fingers or their toes jammed in companies which, in the long term, could be construed as being dangerous financially. Another company to which I refer is Yassmine Mineral Explorations Pty Ltd. Only a week or two ago another member of the Liberal Party - a State member in this case - was sued by Wherry Investments Pty Ltd for ยง15,000. Unfortunately for this Parliament Senator Wood received honourable mention in that court case as being someone who is respected. I have forgotten the exact terms of that mention. We should not have politicians mixed up in this sort of thing. However can we get the trust of the people if we are going to indulge in floats of mining companies which are phoney from the start? I suggest that Nickelfields was phoney when it started. I asked for that company to be brought before the Senate Select Committee on Securities and Exchange, but Government Ministers said they would not do so. Why? Were they afraid of disclosing shareholdings? Were they afraid of the people who were promoting the company? Were they afraid of some other shady thing that might happen? I regret that one has to speak in terms of this kind but they are things that have to be said publicly. I hope that this Government has only a few weeks left in which to keep its dirty fingers in these matters.

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