7 November 1965
J. W. GALBALLY (Melbourne North Province) - The Bill is an assault on freedom of speech and thought. Its scope is too wide and will impact sportsmen, lay preachers and others.
I. A. SWINBURNE (North-Eastern Province) - Scientology must be suppressed, and although the Bill has a wide scope, this is necessary if Scientology is to be dealt with adequately.
P. V. FELTHAM (Northern Province) - The scope of the Bill is too wide and the composition of the Victorian Psychological Council should be looked at.
G. J. NICOL (Monash Province) - The Bill is a serious infringement of civil and religious liberties, is fatally flawed and should be scrapped forthwith.
The debate (adjourned from November 30) on the motion of the Hon. V. O. Dickie (Minister of Health) for the second reading of this Bill was resumed.
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY (Melbourne North Province). - I thank the Minister for his kindly references to the part played in this matter by Mr. Walton and myself, but I assure the House that I will have no part whatsoever of this Bill. The whale said to Jonah, "If I hadn't opened my big mouth, this would not have occurred," and the House may think that if I had not said so much three years ago, we might not have found ourselves in this pickle to-day.
The Hon. G. L. CHANDLER. - Do you regret it now?
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - I regard this Bill as one of the most extraordinary measures ever to come before any Parliament in the world. It is a direct assault on freedom of speech, thought and ideas, and it puts practically the whole of the adult population under the thumb of the Executive. The Government has adopted a tactic familiar to Goebbels and the infamous leaders of the Nazi world. This measure, if enacted, will prevent parents from telling the little ones at home to abide by the Ten Commandments. It is a blow to the newspaper world, to the writers, to the Age editor each Saturday writing on non-political subjects and offering advice to the community. It affects the sporting world, because every football coach is a practising psychologist.
The Hon. H. A. HEWSON. - Some are better than others.
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - That is right. Every experienced player is a practising psychologist. To be successful, the ruckman must evaluate - to use the very words of the Bill - the umpire. The ruckman must endeavour, to judge for himself, on the umpire's display, how far he can go. The experienced full back may say to a young lad, playing his first game at full forward, "Why don't they kick the ball to you? Aren't you in the side today?" That could lead the lad to becoming frustrated. Is the full back not practising psychology? Of course he is. Part of the duty of the captain is to learn how to umpire the game. Are we to have in our community the spectacle of football coaches applying to the Minister of Health for exemption every year immediately upon appointment?
I know that these things seem farfetched, but I am merely taking the words of the Bill. We have all seen the intelligent, carefully worded and restrained letters from what I might call the intelligentsia in the community, at the university level, pointing out the dangers of this Bill. It is a shame that those men have had to come to Parliament House and beg an audience with the Government and be ignored. Fortunate it is, though, that in this instance the Government's usual rallying cry is not available. So often it is easy for the Government, in dealing for example, with a measure relating to drunken driving to say, "You are just putting up a case for liquor." In this instance, all I am doing is putting up a case for those who would advance the cause of human knowledge.
I do not intend to traverse the arguments that have been presented; they are familiar to every member of the House, or should be. Each time I read this measure, I am appalled at its scope and width. Let me deal with the question of the newspaper writer. Last Saturday's editorial in the Age, headed "Born Happy" states,
"We say of one man that he was born lucky, of another that he was born lazy. But it is unusual to talk of anyone being born happy. Yet that is how C. S. Lewis thought of himself.That is a beautiful piece of psychology. I hope the writer of that article does not have to register as a practising psychologist - in my view of the Bill, he has no option - or to obtain an exemption. The machinery of the Bill is simple A person requiring an exemption applies for it, and presumably the Minister of Health will deal with these matters. From his decision there is no appeal. The applicant has no right of audience before the Minister, who may revoke an exemption as he thinks fit. The Bill states in clause 2-
To accept means taking life as it is, not claiming that it owes us anything or that we deserve something better. It means making the best, the fullest use, of what we already have. When we are wholly occupied we are absorbed, and when we are absorbed we are happy.
Acceptance is not a passive attitude; it is active, vigorous. It involves the exercise of our physical powers, and frequently the stretching of our minds as well. This conjunction of acceptance and actlvity is clearly seen in those who, as we say, are compelled to start from scratch.
Such a man is Ben-Gurion, for years Prime Minister of the new State of Israel. Born into a tradition of suffering and tested wisdom, sharing in the building of a modern nation-State, he reflects on his rewards.
"I'm living in a house and I know I built it. I work in a workshop which was constructed by me. I speak a language which I developed. And I know I shape my life according to my desires by my own ability. I can defend myself. I am not afraid. This is the greatest happiness a man can feel - that he could be a partner with the Lord in creation. This is the real happiness of man - creative life, conquest of nature, and a great purpose."
Happiness comes not from doing what we like doing, but from liking what we have to do.
(7) The Governor in Council may Order published in the Government Gazette declare that this Act or any provision of this Act does not apply to any person or class of persons.Is that not a fine and dandy state of affairs in the State of Victoria to-day, that a person is in the hands of the Minister of Health as to what he shall think and write! What does "psychological practice" or "practice of psychology" embrace? According to the Bill, it means -
(8) Any Order under sub-section (7) may be varied or revoked by the Governor in Council and may be made subject to such terms conditions limitations and restrictions as the Governor in Council thinks fit.
the evaluation of behaviour or cognitive processes or personality or adjustment of individuals or in groups through the interpretation of tests for assessing mental abilities aptitudes interests attitudes emotions motivation or personality characteristics.We all have to evaluate other people. The footballer evaluates his opponent on the football field; the golfer evaluates his opponent on the golf, course.
The Hon. A. K. BRADBURY. - Doesn't the politician have to evaluate his electors?
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - Obviously.
The Hon. A. K. BRADBURY. - Will politicians get an exemption?
The Hon. D. G. ELLIOT. - I hope so.
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - I cite now the Age of Saturday, 27th November. I enjoy the Age of a Saturday morning, and I consider that the leader writer is excellent; I only wish some of us had the same power of speech. The editorial headed "Control Point," states -
Some phrases in common use are hard to define. When a father says to his son: "Take a grip of yourself," or a teacher to a pupil: "Control yourself," they know what they mean. Yet they would be hard put to it if they were challenged to define self-control.The writer goes on to develop that theme. He quotes Burns, and continues -
Few, if any, would accept Plato's psychology, but all of us must grapple with the facts he sought to describe and explain. Human nature is unchanging. The internal dialogue goes on in each of us; we may use different words to describe what goes on, but our appetites, affections and biological urges still require firm control.Is he not evaluating someone's conduct, someone's cognitive processes? Does not the Age have to apply for exemption? I am not suggesting that it would not get it. There is nothing that this Government would not do for a newspaper, and I do not say this in a derogatory way of a great newspaper, but I refer to the spineless attitude of this Government.
There is a growing disquiet among thoughtful people. For there are signs pointing to a decline in self-control. That there has been an increase in self-knowledge is obvious. What is lacking is a corresponding growth of self-reverence and self-control. Many citadels have fallen to the onslaught of hum an inquiry; knowledge grows from more to more; the citadels will go on falling. But the victors themselves will never be free of the inner dialogue.
"He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city."
I know that my words fall on stony soil. I am sorry that my friends of the Country Party will allow this Bill to be passed. Probably, they have received some assurance from the Government that it will not be administered very severely, that there is no real need to worry. Doubtless, the Government has said that it would be an awful let down if it had to pull out the Bill now, after all the fuss about scientology. I can hear a Government spokesman saying, "That terrible fellow, Galbally, you know; we have to put him in his place."
I reject this Bill except as to two clauses dealing with scientology, which ought not to be included in it, because a registration board for psychologists should not deal with scientology. When the Minister of Health introduced this measure, he said that the Government was determined to ban scientology-I am not. I took him to task at the time because I do not believe in banning any ideas. Who are we to do that? I believe that a strong case has been made out for stopping these people from gorging on the community and charging fees. Scientology is from first to last a financial racket; it is a clever, wicked means of exploiting people, particularly the young in the community, and getting money.
The Hon. A. K. BRADBURY. - Not only the young.
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - That is so, but I have a special sympathy for the young.
The Hon. A. K. BRADBURY. - What about those people with troubled minds?
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - I have a great sympathy for them also, but I believe the greatest depredations have been made amongst young students. It is a matter of great concern that so many adults in this community should have been taken in by scientology. One wonders whether or not some investigations should be made to ascertain how many sick people there are in the community, what urban civilization has done, and how it corrodes the mentality of some adults. I make my position clear: I have never advocated that scientologists should be banned. I believe we should not interfere with freedom of' thought and association. History is full of examples of people who have been banned and persecuted. I am not putting up any case for scientologists; their principle is bad. The early Christians were an anathema to the Roman Empire. In my view, the scientologists are a short-term problem, and once they are stopped from charging fees, it will be the end of them. The Government prefers to think otherwise. It has been said that they will appear in some other form, but I think that danger is exaggerated.
I do not criticize Mr. Anderson, who had to wade through this human sewer for a long time. It must be remembered that he was inquiring into scientology, not psychology. It would have been a different matter if psychologists, hypnotists, and psychiatrists had appeared before him, and he had been enabled to examine all the implications of those subjects. How many times have some of us touched upon a problem and have thought we reached a solution, only to be asked if we had considered X, Y and Z? With great respect to Mr. Anderson, there was no evidence before him on this vexed question.
The definition in the Bill is far too wide; it ropes in nearly everybody in the community. It is not to the point for the Minister of Health to say that the Ten Commandments constitute a religion. As the Bill is drafted, it does not apply to anything done by priests or ministers of a recognized religion in accordance with the usual practice of that religion. Many mothers and fathers who teach their children the virtues of good and of the Ten Commandments are not ministers of religion, and they do not come under this provision. Why should these people have to get an exemption from the Minister of Health?
The Hon. A. W. KNIGHT. - What about lay preachers?
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - The further one examines this Bill the more dangerous it becomes. I am indebted to the interjection of Mr. Knight. The lay preacher is not a minister or priest of a recognized religion. Many lay preachers in the community are doing fine work - long may they reign. The famous footballer, who is also a lay preacher, will be all right; he will get an exemption from the Minister of Health.
The Hon. D. G. ELLIOT. - Mr. Dickie gave his word.
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - Mr. Dickie! Mr. "Goebbels."
The Hon. A. K. BRADBURY. - Colin Cowdrey, the English cricketer, is a lay preacher.
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - That is so. Who is the member of the Essendon league football team who is a lay preacher?
The Hon. D. G. ELLIOT. - Ken Fraser; he is a wonderful footballer and philosopher.
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - If that is so, he will have to apply for an exemption on two grounds. He uses psychology on the football field to defeat his opponent. When one is dealing with a numbskull of a Government, the best weapon is ridicule. I hope no honorable member will think that, by ridiculing this Bill, I am not taking it seriously. Honorable members may think I exaggerate when I say that every successful football coach is a practising psychologist within the meaning of this Bill. However, I have before me the October copy of that prestigious American magazine, Sports Illustrated, and on the cover appears the heading, "How I Psych Them" by Boston's Bill Russell. He said -
"The first thing I am not about to do is look up the definition of psychology in the dictionary. Why bother? I mean, dictionaries are nice and all that, but did old Daniel Webster ever have to stand there at the top of the key and define five sweating monsters rushing down at him?"As one gets older apparently to do any good at basketball, one must "psych" one's opponent. The Minister of Agriculture will remember that, when he was getting a little long in the tooth, he had to say something to put the other fellow off.
The Hon. G. L. CHANDLER. - That is Mr. Galbally's trick.
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - The writer then sets out what he called "Russell's Four Laws", which would make him a practising psychologist on the basketball field. The first of these is -
You must make the other fellow do what you want him to do. How? You must start him thinking. If he is thinking instead of doing, he is yours.Russell's second law is,
You have got to have the killer instinct. If you do not have it, forget about basketball and go into social psychology. . . . There are psychological sub-rules in this category.These should be filed with the Psychologists' Registration Board. He went on to show how to deal with a rookie, how to deal with a veteran, how to put one's opponent off, and how to judge the different situations.
Mr. President, no doubt you are familiar with the little tricks of gamesmanship in golf, when you say to your opponent, "You are driving well". He thinks about it, and off the next drive the ball goes into the scrub. Then he is yours. We all know of the footballer who goes on to the field with a bandaged knee; but there is nothing wrong with the knee. His opponent thinks he does not have to worry for the day. In that respect, Laurie Nash, a former South Melbourne footballer, was one of the earliest practising psychologists in Melbourne. Then there was Wal. Lee, of Collingwood, the father of Dick Lee, that magnificent full forward. Wal. Lee was active as a trainer at Collingwood at the age of 80 years - she was Collingwood. When a new player was selected for Collingwood and as he was going out to play, Wal. Lee used to say "Let me have that guernsey when you come in." The player would look at him in amazement, and ask, "Why". The reply was, "Because they will never select you again". That was a marvellous piece of psychology, because the young fellow went out with a feeling of resentment against this old man and he played a wonderful game.
A poker player is a practising psychologist. If poker is not an unlawful game under this Government, I suppose it soon will be. In my view, this Bill would cover every League footballer, apart from the fellow playing his first match, who would not say boo to a goose. Look at all the press articles written by "Captain Blood" and Lou Richards. The circulation of the newspapers regrettably drops to an all-time low when the football season finishes. It would be terrible if we did not have "Captain Blood" and Lou Richards telling us on Friday night who will win the game, on Saturday night how wrong they were, and going through the whole thing again on Sunday morning.
There are two unrelated subject matters in the Bill. Scientology can be dealt with quite simply. The question of the Victorian Psychological Council is a knotty one because we do not want to cover an embarrassingly wide field. Why is it necessary to have psychiatrists and psychologists on a board appointed with the object of suppressing scientologists? Psychiatrists are medical men, who follow a specific branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the mind. They deal with mental disorders. On the other hand, psychologists are persons to whom parents may send their children for the purpose of having their thinking processes evaluated. What have medical men to do with this Council? I share the alarm that has been expressed by the psychologists that on this Council they would be over-run by people who have nothing to do with their field of learning. What has a disease of the mind to do with the evaluation of thinking processes and such like? The Government might as well put a bullock driver on the Council!
I do not propose to deal in detail with the Bill although, in Committee, I shall elaborate on certain provisions. Would the Government lose face by saying that it has heard from Sir Arthur Dean on the matter and, because it shares Sir Arthur's views and the fears that have been expressed, that this measure will interfere with all kinds of research work and to that extent retard human progress and ideas, it will withdraw this Bill and have another look at it? If the Government were prepared to adopt that attitude, this House could pass the clauses in the Bill which dealt with scientology and scrap the rest. I intend to invite honorable members to act in this manner during the Committee stage. If the Government adopts my suggestion, I give an assurance that there will be no criticism of it on the grounds that it has borrowed my Bill; we will forget all about that.
So far as the establishment of the Victorian Psychological Council is concerned, the Government should confer with people of wisdom in the community. I do not know who was the author of this Bill although the Minister of Health claims to be its author. He gave an assurance, after seeking an adjournment of the debate on my Bill for six months, that he would introduce a Bill of this type into the House. Shortly after giving this assurance, the Minister was absent through illness - no one can avoid illness - and Mr. Rylah, the Chief Secretary, stole a march on him, so to speak, and introduced this measure in another place. I am sorry that the Minister of Health has been saddled with this measure. He appeared to be a rising young man in the community who had done well.
I am certain that we had a good deal to do with his appointment to the Ministry - but he will never live this down. Wherever I go, I am challenged by people who state, "This man Dickie must be out of his mind". Some people in the community feel that the Government is trying to destroy Mr. Dickie by saying that this is his measure. It shows the limits to which the Government will go. What is going to happen to the Graham Kennedys in the community when this Bill becomes law?
The Hon. G. J. NICOL. - Would it matter?
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - Yes. What will happen to the live theatres?
The Hon. I. A. SWINBURNE. - They will have a liquor licence to keep them going.
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - That may be a sop to the live theatres. Some people have said, with a certain degree of truth, that this measure could apply to members of Parliament. The use of any method calculated to assist in the areas of work, vice or happiness come within the purview of this Bill. Advice to wharfies by a leader writer in the Sun News-Pictorial - it needs no stress of mind to say what that advice will be, namely, to go back to work - could well come within the definition of "psychological practice". The whole art of speech and persuasion could also come within the ambit of the legislation.
The Hon. G. J. NICOL. - You almost persuade me to support the Bill.
The Hon. J. W. GALBALLY. - That is what I have been hoping to do because, on other occasions, Mr. Nicol has "jumped over" with us, although it has been for only a moment. I hope Mr. Nicol does not become like a Jack-in-the-box and jump over to this side of the Chamber and then back again as soon as someone presses a spring as was the case recently. The whole art of speech and persuasion is a form of psychology. Writers, such as Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, could also be affected by this measure.
This Bill is too silly to contemplate, and the community will quickly rise up in arms against it. I know how the Government will reply to my comments. Its spokesman will say, "We will have a look at this over Christmas and you can be assured that it will come back to parliament. The Minister is authorized on behalf of the party to give that assurance to the House." Of course, the Minister of Health will submit that there will be no difficulty concerning exemptions. As soon as this Bill is passed, the Government Gazette - I shall not say which one - will contain long lists of exempted persons. In replying to my comments, Mr. Dickie will say that I made a provocative speech and did not take the subject seriously. That is the sort of mumbo jumbo that this House will hear to-night.
The fight is not yet over. We may lose it to-night but, by and large, the people will not be misled forever. Fortunately, there is a great body of academics on our side. This is the parting of the ways for the Minister of Health. He can either go forward in this Government or strike a blow for himself and say, "I will have nothing to do with this nonsense."
The Hon. I. A. SWINBURNE (North-Eastern Province). - I preface my remarks by saying that I have been more amazed at Mr. Galbally's speech on this Bill than I have ever been with a speech of his in this House before. This Bill, and the very foundation of it, was the culmination of a speech in this House by Mr. Walton concerning the evils of scientology, which was followed later by an address on the subject from Mr. Galbally. Although Mr. Galbally stressed that, in raising this question of scientology, he was emphasizing aspect of the payment of fees, there is no doubt that an examination of the relevant Hansard reports would reveal that the speeches of both Mr. Dalton and Mr. Galbally were not so much directed towards fees as the degradation of those people with whom scientologists became associated. That was the theme of their complaint to this House.
Mr. Galbally introduced into this Chamber a private member's Bill designed to deal with scientology. The Country Party informed the House that it would support the measure, but then the Government announced that, following the receipt of the report by Mr. K. B. Anderson, Q.C., it would bring down legislation to cope with the problem. The Leader of my Party, Sir Percy Byrnes, gave an undertaking that if the Government brought down a measure to deal with scientology, our party would support the measure provided that it conformed with our policy. That is where we find ourselves tonight.
The Government has honoured its undertaking and this measure has been received from another place. The Bill is based on the report submitted by Mr. Anderson. I have read most of Mr. Anderson's report - unlike the Minister I cannot claim to have read it all - and I believe it supports the statements which were made in this Chamber by Mr. Walton and Mr. Galbally in regard to the degradation of people who became associated with this sect of people known as scientologists. Some people in my province are associated with this organization. The person whom the scientologists seek is in ill health. Of course, eventually that person is degraded and pays for it in the process.
Honorable members may recall that three or four years ago, I suffered a nervous complaint. When I had partly recovered, one of my constituents on whose behalf I had acted in respect of a certain matter concerning his locality, called to see me. My wife let him come in with some trepidation because I had just got out of bed and was not supposed to have visitors. She told him that he could stay for only a few minutes. This person did not waste any time dealing with the matter about which I thought he wanted to see me, but produced voluminous books on scientology. Apparently he thought I was in the right frame of mind to absorb them. However, the seed fell on barren soil. He went his way and I went mine, and he has not worried me since then. That is the type of psychology or method by which these scientology people work.
Following the attack on scientology made by our colleagues in the Labor Party, the seriousness of the matter was proved by the report of the Board of Inquiry which investigated the problem in this State. The Government has accepted the report of the Board and its recommendations. I point out that all interested sections of the community had an opportunity to submit evidence to the Board of Inquiry. Appendix III of the report shows that fourteen or fifteen of the most prominent psychologists in this State and the Commonwealth submitted evidence at the inquiry. The inquiry followed lines which indicated that the Board was seeking means of overcoming the problem. I presume the witnesses took full advantage of their opportunity to give evidence, and that they were cross-examined efficiently along certain lines that Mr. Anderson was considering on the fundamental question of how to overcome the problem.
The main recommendations of the Board of Inquiry were that a registration body should be set up to register psychologists and that unregistered persons should be banned; that the practice of hypnotism by unqualified persons should be controlled; that the use of various instruments for measuring emotional reactions should be controlled; that a ban should be placed on the practice of scientology as defined for fee or reward; and that all records of scientology by those who practice it in this State should be collected. The first five recommendations are fully covered by the Bill. I do not know whether the sixth recommendation can be implemented. No doubt by the time the Bill is passed and an officer of the Attorney-General's Department visits the scientology office in Spring Street he will find only bare walls.
The Hon. W. R. GARRETT. - Mother Hubbard's cupboard will be bare?
The Hon. I. A. SWINBURNE. - I imagine it will be. With Photostating, and so on, these days, the records would not mean very much anyway Clause 3 of the Bill provides for the constitution of the Victorian Psychological Council of eight members to register persons whom it considers meet the qualifications laid down in the legislation. There seems to be some criticism of the fact that medical men will be members of the Council. I am not so concerned that the Council may consist of what might be termed a "mixed grill", because, if all avenues in which scientologists have operated are to be covered, a wide sphere of control will be necessary. After reading the report, I presume the problem which faced Mr. Anderson on the question of control was that the ambit of the practice of scientology was so wide that it may be able to reestablish its roots and grow again if every avenue was not covered
The Country Party does not intend to raise any objections as to membership of the council. Of course. the Government will have a responsibility. All the Council will do will be to register those who come within its ambit and who are not exempted. The Governor in Council will have to decide which persons or classes of persons are suitable to be released. The Government will have to provide by proclamation in the Government Gazette who is to be exempted from control. This brings to mind the position of those persons whom Mr. Galbally mentioned - the football coach, the full-back, the full-forward, the person who plays cricket, baseball or basketball. All of those persons could come within the scope of the exemptions if this is thought necessary by the Government.
I am not informed on the question of what psychological effect a fullback has on a full-forward, and so on. When I played football, I realized that there was a certain amount of brute force and stupidity involved in play and that the thing to do was to get the ball; otherwise one would probably be bowled over. I found little psychology attached to football. Of course, the coach of a team endeavours to teach, but this aspect concerns school teachers and any person at all who carries out any form of teaching. I do not think the Bill is as wide as that. However, I am concerned as to how the exemptions will actually be applied. In his second-reading speech, the Minister indicated that it will be the responsibility of the Governor in Council to grant exemptions, but the honorable gentleman did not indicate how a person would go about getting an exemption, what process would be followed in respect of applications, and how wide exemptions would be. My party has received representations from various bodies of persons, who feel that they might come within the ambit of this legislation. They include persons who may be employed as personnel management consultants in industry. I do not know whether the Government will make a blanket order to exclude them, or whether they will be dealt with individually. I should like the Minister to explain the position in this regard when the Bill is in Committee.
There is also the Australian Hypnotists' Association, of which we are informed five members practise in Melbourne or Victoria. I do not know whether they will be exempted individually or collectively because of their qualifications. The British Psychological Society has several members practising in this community. I do not know whether they will be exempted individually or collectively because of their experience and practice over a period of years, or whether their annual earnings will be a deciding factor. I hope the Minister will enlighten honorable members on this aspect at the Committee stage. Of course, exemption or release from control will not be the responsibility of the new Council. This will be entirely the responsibility of the Governor in Council - that is, of course, the Minister and the Government of the day. If a person fails to obtain registration, he will have a right to appeal to the Supreme Court within six months of the proclamation of the new Act.
Honorable members realize that a problem exists and that the Board of Inquiry has proved that the matters brought to our attention some time ago by Mr. Walton are both factual and serious - probably more serious than many of us thought at the time. I pay full credit to Mr. Walton for first opening up the subject. Those of us who heard his address on that occasion gave considerable thought to his remarks. I believe this is one of the worst problems that the State has encountered for many years. In fact, it is a problem which affects the whole Commonwealth, and indeed the world. However, the jurisdiction of this Parliament extends only to this State. There must be some method by which this threat can be controlled. It is aimed at young people and those who might be termed sick in mind. I know that some people think the Bill goes too far, but this remains to be seen, and the question of release from control will be a difficult one. If this ill is to be cured, it must be fully cured. Mr. Galbally suggested that scientologists should not be banned, but I am in favour of a ban being placed on them. I have read the report of the evidence that was given at the inquiry, and I am satisfied that there is no place for that type of psychology in this country to-day, or at any time.
The Bill includes the provisions which were contained in Mr. Galbally's Bill and which are designed to deal with the practice of scientology, and it also makes provision in regard to hypnotism and other practices. Hypnotism is to be carried out only under the supervision of a legally qualified medical practitioner. The final provision in the Bill relates to the rules which the Victorian Psychological Council may make. Persons interested in this measure have stated that these rules go beyond the normal rules which are provided for under the Medical Act, and similar legislation. I agreed to handle this Bill for our party when Sir Percy Byrnes was unable to be present to-day, and I have not had an opportunity to examine the rules provided for in other legislation. However, I am given to understand that the scope of the provision in this Bill relating to rules is very wide. I believe we should attempt to obtain uniformity in relation to the rules which may be made by councils and other bodies set up under various statutes. There may be good reason why the power provided for in this Bill is so wide, and I should like the Minister to furnish an explanation in Committee.
Our party intends to support the Bill although we do not like all of the control provisions that it contains. I do not think it is as wide as Mr. Galbally claims, but the responsibility lies entirely with the Government. We believe the practices that were originally mentioned in this House by Mr. Walton and Mr. Galbally in relation to the ravages of scientology are such that no measure would control them unless its application was wide. Although our party does not like all of the ramifications of the Bill, we believe it should have fairly wide application. With the reservations mentioned and in the hope that the Minister will be able satisfactorily to explain the points raised, our party will support the second reading of this Bill.
The Hon. P. V. FELTHAM (Northern Province). - The House is not very happy with this Bill, and possibly the least happy member of the House is the Minister of Health. I hope the honorable gentleman can find it in his heart to forgive Mr. Anderson for having suggested this type of measure to deal with scientologists, because the whole measure originated from an inquiry into scientology. Out of that inquiry has emerged a Bill that is very largely concerned with the setting up of a council for the registration of psychologists, which seems to be an entirely different subject. Psychologists in this community are quite a respectable body of people who carry out a worth-while task. I understand that the Victorian Branch of the British Psychological Society has a membership of about 250, and that psychologists are being turned out by the university at the rate of about twenty a year, so I suppose that in a few years' time the membership of the society will have doubled.
The great problem that has arisen with the Bill, as Mr. Galbally properly pointed out, is that it is endeavouring to do two things. It is trying to deal with scientology, and, at the same time, it is attempting to register psychologists, which is something that psychologists have been seeking for a period of time. They have been anxious to have a council and a system of registration in the same way as medical practitioners and dentists are registered. A Bill which attempts to carry out these two purposes raises problems for the Minister, and I am certain that he is far from happy about it. The main problem in the Bill is the definition of "psychological practice", and no one is quite happy with that. It would be a good definition to deal only with the banning of scientologists, but it is a bad definition in relation to the registering of psychologists. I am informed, and I believe, that the definition will cover quite a body of people. Nobody mentioned footballers to me, but I believe it will cover social workers, marriage guidance counsellors, sociologists, business administration advisers management counsellors, industrial training officers, probation officers, Gallup poll workers, personnel officers in industry, and even the members of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am reliably assured that the work of all of those classes of people would fall within the definition of "Psychological practice".
The other problem raised by the Bill is the constitution of the Victorian Psychological Council, which, on the face of it, will be a permanent Council concerned with the registering of psychologists and the setting of the standards for registration, and even for examination and testing of psychologists. Whatever the Minister may say to the effect that this sort of provision appears in the Medical Act, this Council will be a permanent body in charge of psychologists. How can we reconcile the problem? I do not believe we can reconcile it too well at all. Mr. Anderson probably did not realize, when he made his suggestion for solving the problem of scientologists, what he was letting the Minister in for. The Minister has to be responsible for drafting this Bill to carry out the recommendations, and he is faced with great difficulty in attempting to fit the measure to the recommendation of the Board of Inquiry.
I have a suggestion, weak and feeble though it may be, that the Minister might consider as one method of overcoming the difficulty. The first thing to be achieved is the carrying out of the Board's recommendation and to get rid of scientologists. If that is the first requirement it seems to me that the Council set up under this Bill is a fit sort of council. It is to be composed of psychiatrists and medical men as well as psychologists. A psychiatrist is concerned with the curing of a sick mind. A psychologist normally deals with the functioning of a healthy mind, but a very small part of the practice of a psychologist may be concerned with what is called clinical psychology, which approaches the work of a psychiatrist. Therefore, this council is all right for getting rid of scientologists, but it is not a suitable body to be the permanent controlling body for psychologists.
I have two suggestions to make. The first is that the Council should be an interim council only. There are plenty of precedents for taking this action. A few years ago, Parliament passed the Monash University Bill, and more recently the La Trobe University Bill. Under each of those measures, an interim council was set up to manage the affairs of those universities in the initial stages. There were few academics on those interim councils; they were mainly composed of businessmen, and a few members of Parliament. As Monash University grew and became established, the full council took over because there then existed a Professorial Board and faculties so that true educationists could be appointed to the council as the governing body of the university. I do not think it would be a difficult problem for the draftsman to make provision that the council shall be an interim council which can get on with the job of putting scientologists out of existence. A proper council to deal with the registration of psychologists generally in Victoria could be set up at a later stage and become a permanent body.
The Hon. V. O. DICKIE. - Do you suggest that the interim council shall have all the responsibilities given to the proposed council in this Bill?
The Hon. P. V. FELTHAM. - Yes. The Minister should let the whole world know that this is not a permanent council to govern psychologists; that it is a body set up to exercise all the powers contained in the Bill but only until scientology and similar practices are stamped out.
The Hon. G. W. THOM. - It would not do anything about the registration of these other bodies?
The Hon. P. V. FELTHAM. - It should proceed with the utmost caution, and in due course it could be taken over by a proper psychological council.
The Hon. G. J. NICOL. - What do you mean by "in due course"?
The Hon. P. V. FELTHAM. - I should say in twelve months' time. If a council were set up, if it could not examine the question of stamping out scientology in twelve months, it would be a poor lookout. At the end of that period, it should be able to hand over to a permanent council, which need not be set up at this stage, although the creation of such a council may be contemplated.
The Hon. W. M. CAMPBELL. - How about the people who require exemptions? Your proposal would mean that these people could not operate for twelve months.
The Hon. P. V. FELTHAM. - Mr. Campbell has given me an excellent argument why the Bill should be thrown out. The problem that we have in our laps is the problem of this Council proposed under the Bill refusing to register people. Are we going to retain this Council permanently, or are we to get rid of it as soon as we comfortably can and establish a more reasonable council to deal with the registration of psychologists? The Bill is an unhappy one and does not provide a very happy solution. The Minister should at least point out that the proposed organization for the registering of psychologists will not be permanent.
The Hon. V.O. DICKIE. - I think I might have indicated that in my second-reading speech, in reference to the independent chairman.
The Hon. P. V. FELTHAM. - In a court of law, counsel cannot challenge the legislation by saying that the Minister of Health, who is a very fine gentleman, made certain statements. The procedure to be followed should be outlined in the Bill. There is still time for that to be done. All the academics and other people in the community who are uneasy about this Bill should know, not merely that the Minister gave an undertaking in the House, but that the Bill recognizes that what is at present provided is not the perfect arrangement or even a desirable arrangement for a body to register psychologists.
Nobody is happy with the definitions in this Bill. I do not suggest that the definition of "psychological practices" should be amended to read that until Parliament otherwise deter mines, the term shall mean what is provided in the Bill, because that would not mean anything. A Bill to provide for a new definition can be introduced without that being laid down in the Act. But, as promptly as possible, the Minister should recast the definition. He should take more advice from people engaged in psychological practices on whether the definition can be improved so that there is not a mass of either general or specific exemptions. In common with all other honorable members, I suppose, I have received enough correspondence to know that the provisions for exemptions create a headache. Improvements should be made before the Bill is passed, but we are in the last few days of the session and we want to do something about scientology. It is a most unfortunate position. The Minister would have the support of the House if he agreed to make these changes.
The Hon. SAMUEL MERRIFIELD. - Somebody is always trying to help the Government.
The Hon. P. V. FELTHAM. - That is right; we on this side of the House wear ourselves out in trying to help the Government. The Minister will receive the support of the House if he agrees to progress being reported on clause 1 and examines the question of inserting in the Bill a provision declaring that the Council is to be an interim body, that the permanent council will be different, and obtains advice to help him to improve the definition of psychological practices.
The Hon. G. J. NICOL (Monash Province). - It is possibly just as well that Mr. Galbally is not in the House at this moment because I might shock him tremendously by agreeing with almost everything he said about this Bill. This is undoubtedly one of the most significant measures which have been brought before this House. It is an all-embracing measure, and I very much doubt whether anyone in this Chamber even yet fully appreciates all of its implications. It is a measure which started out to authorize an execution but which will, in fact, cause a massacre. This is one of the most repressive Bills that I have had the misfortune to come across in some twenty years of active association with politics. The Bill not only interferes with but actually suppresses many of the cherished freedoms of the people. I believe that it is a complete negation of many of those freedoms guaranteed under the Atlantic Charter. I refer to the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech. This Bill leads to an almost complete negation of those freedoms.
All honorable members are familiar with the history of the Bill, and I do not intend to traverse that. Nor do I intend to traverse a great deal of the ground which has been effectively covered by Mr. Galbally and Mr. Feltham. One of the reasons for the introduction of this Bill is the report made by a Board of Inquiry. Let me say initially that I do not accept the report of the Board, and I shall give reasons for my attitude. The Board, in its report, draws attention to the fact that the prime personality in the scientological field is L. Ron Hubbard. It reminds us that in the early stages of his career he wrote scientific fiction. My view is that the Board has produced a work of quite unscientific fiction. Many matters set out in the report as being factual can, at the very best, be only assumptions or opinions. I shall not point to all of them; they are myriad. I leave it to honorable members to find them for themselves.
Mr. Galbally quite rightly pointed out that the Board materially exceeded its terms of reference. Possibly that was done in a spirit of crusading zeal, and enthusiasm was permitted to outrun sound judgment. But I regret the production of a report, the language of which, to me, is completely intemperate and intolerant. It is not the type of report which one would normally expect to be produced by a responsible Board of Inquiry. The report would have carried a great deal more weight if it had been more temperate in its language and if the Board had consisted of more than one individual. I would expect a much more balanced view from a Board of Inquiry consisting of two or three members.
The Hon. R. W. MAY. - The liquor Royal Commission consisted of one person.
The Hon. G. J. NICOL. - At this stage, I am dealing with inquiry into scientology. There are sufficient intolerent people associated with this subject without bringing in those concerned with another. Following the raising of the issue of scientology in this House by Mr. Walton and Mr. Galbally, who pressed most vigorously for an inquiry, one was undertaken. It took something like two years to conduct and complete the inquiry, and this Bill was not produced for approximately two months after the submission of the report. But this House is being asked to consider, debate, and decide on this Bill within seven days. There is a great deal of public unrest about this Bill. I doubt whether more than two honorable members of this House are not greatly disturbed by this Bill and its implications. I urge the Government to defer the passage of all provisions of the Bill other than those specifically dealing with scientology. It is not really possible for or reasonable to expect members of this House, or any other House, in the time given them after the introduction of this Bill, to comprehend in any degree the evidence which was taken by the Board of Inquiry or even the full implications of the report submitted by it.
It seems that, in the approach to this Bill, whoever was responsible for its preparation has gone back to what is, to most of us, a very well known document, Australian Military Regulations and Orders. One of the important classes of those regulations and orders relied upon for maintaining discipline in the Army was what we all knew as a "dragnet" clause. It provided an offence of conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline. That is the approach that this Bill takes. It is a complete dragnet. It has been stated - in fact, it has been put in writing - that this Bill was prepared in consultation with a number of people. Those referred to include Professor Oeser, Professor of Psychology at the University of Melbourne, Dr. Sinclair, President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr. Martin, Secretary of the Australian Association of Psychologists, Mr. Hall of the Psychology Branch of the Education Department, Dr. E. C. Dax, Chairman of the Mental Health Authority, Colonel M. Owens, President of the Victorian Group of the British Psychological Society, and Mr. Mills also of the British Psychological Society. I find it strange that amongst the severest critics of this Bill are gentlemen with whom the drafting of the measure was discussed. Whether in considering the original draft of the Bill these people did not fully realize its implications or whether their advice and suggestions were completely ignored is more than I can say. But it strikes me as odd that many of those people are now amongst the severest critics of the Bill. This, again, is another reason for appealing to the Government to give more time to a consideration of exactly what this Bill means and exactly what it is to achieve.
Amongst other things, I believe the Bill is more far reaching in its delegation of the powers of Parliament to the Executive than probably any other piece of legislation that has been considered by this House or any other House of Parliament for very many years. In effect, it will set up outside of Parliament a separate and distinct Council to deal with the very broad subject of psychology in all its forms and phases, which will have absolutely no responsibility whatever to this Parliament. The only responsibility that I can see this Council will have will be to the Minister. Under the Bill, the Council is required to submit a financial statement to the Minister once a year, but there is not a word about that financial statement been presented to the Parliament or to the Auditor-General. It is strange that there is no provision in the Bill for this Council to report to Parliament on any matter at all. It is to be completely and absolutely independent of Parliament.
The Hon. A. K. BRADBURY. - Did not your party appoint a committee to investigate this Bill?
The Hon. G. J. NICOL. - At the moment, I am addressing the House. The Bill has already been considered in some detail by other honorable members. The definition of "psychological practice" has probably been adequately dealt with by Mr. Galbally and Mr. Feltham. As I have stated, this is a complete and absolute dragnet provision and so far as I can see, it ropes in just about everybody. I have not yet been able to get anybody to tell me of a person who is not included under this provision. It is of no use telling me that it is not intended to rope in all the types of people to which reference has been made. It does drag them in, and this has been one of my objections to the Bill from the start. I consider that the approach of the Government has been completely back to front. It has said, in effect, "We will throw out a dragnet and then through little holes somebody perhaps will allow a few, a number, or a great number to escape." But what guarantee is there in the Bill that anybody will be allowed to escape? Have we, as a Parliament, any guarantee of that whatever? I am not making an attack on the Minister of Health. Like Mr. Feltham, I feel sorry for him in having to handle this measure. What guarantee have we that Ministers of the future will be as liberal as the present Minister has indicated he will be in regard to letting out of the net certain types of people? It should be remembered that not only can the Minister, through the Governor in Council,
Last updated 31 January 1997
by Chris Owen (email@example.com)