1st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., andread prayers.
– I think that it is a desirable proceeding, and one in accord with the desire of this House, that an address of condolence should be presented to the King, and I therefore move -
That the following address to His Majesty the King bo agreed to by this House : - “ To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty.
We, the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, have received with heartfelt sorrow the news of the death of your august sister, Her ImperialMajesty the Empress Dowager ofGermany and PrincessRoyal of England.
We are confident that we give expression to the deep sympathy which your subjects throughout this Commonwealthfeel for your Majesty in the great loss which has befallen you, and we assure you that our words accord with the loyal affection for your Majesty which animates the people of Australia.”
I understand that a similar address will be proposed elsewhere. “When this motion has been agreed to, I shall move a consequential motion, to provide for the transmission of the address to His Majesty.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolved (on motion by
That the foregoing address be presented by
Mr. JOSEPH COOK presented a petition from the Wesleyan Methodist ministers, of the city and suburbs of Sydney, praying that the clauses of the Post and Telegraph Bill which provide against gambling may be retained.
Mr. CLARKE presented a petition from the members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales praying the House to reject clause 54 of the Post and Telegraph Bill.
– From the members of the Assembly.
Mr. WILKINSON presented a similar petition from 11,223 citizens of Brisbane.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister, in reference to a statement made by him at Ballarat on Monday night last, if he will inform the House what steps, if any, have been taken in regard to the vesting of the administration of New Guinea in the Commonwealth. If any steps have been taken, what are the reasons for the course adopted, and have the Imperial authorities been communicated with on the matter ?
– I cannot say that any definite steps have yet been taken, but the matter has been the subject of communication with the Government of Queensland, and of consideration amongst Ministers. The position is this - if honorable members . ‘ think it interesting to hear a few of the facts bearing on the question : Under an agreement, the result of the Imperial Conference of 1887, the administration of British New Guinea was intrusted to the Government of Queensland, with the condition that, in matters beyond ordinary matters of administration, the States of Victoria and New South Wales, which also were contributories towards the cost, should be consulted. An administration fund of £15,000 a year was established, to which the three States contributed in equal parts. There was a further contribution towards the up-keep of a steam-ship, and, I think, of a couple of steam launches, which was maintained for a time by the Imperial Government ; but when it ceased, the £15,000 a year contributed by New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria was increased to something over £20,000 a year- say £22,000 a year. In 1898 the original agreement expired, but there had been collected in New Guinea, from its ordinary revenue, a fund called “ The Accumulated Revenue Fund,” which, when the contributions from the States ceased, was applied towards the cost of the administration of the Government there. Unfortunately, however, in the absence of contributions from the States, that fund became more than exhausted, and provision was made, either at the beginning or in the middle of this year, by the three States which had formerly contributed towards the cost of administration, for finding a sum of £7,000 for the purpose. Another sum of £3,000 has yet to be . provided, and must be provided in some way or other by the 30th September. I had the opportunity of a short and friendly, but not a formal conversation, with the Administrator of New Guinea, Mr. Le Hunt, when I was last in Sydney, and from the facts I gathered then, and the papers which have been transmitted to me, I am of opinion that there will be considerable difficulty with regard to the administration of British New Guinea, unless the Commonwealth shortly takes the matter in hand. The total sum which the Commonwealth will have to find for the administration of New Guinea will not be larger than the amount formerly contributed by the three States Ihave named, and it is my intention, when communicating with the Imperial Government, to suggest that part of the amount should be found by them - at least during the bookkeeping period of five years, which is the period of difficulty with regard to the Commonwealth finance. That is as far as the matter has gone. Ministers are at one with me in the attitude which we have taken on the subject, and I, am now on the point of opening up communications with the Imperial Government, the Government of Queensland, and the Governments of the two other States which in. the past have contributed, so that we may arrive at some reasonable proposal in regard to the administration of New Guinea. I am not, however, disposed to act in this matter - even if it were right to do so, and it is not - without the authorization of Parliament, and any proposition which the Government have to make on the subject will be duly laid before both Houses of this Parliament. The financial burden does not seem to be likely to be a large one. In the first instance £15,000, and afterwards £20,000 a year, was found by New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria, and if that amount were found by the whole Commonwealth, the expenditure per head would be less than the expenditure per head on the population of the three States named. The main question of policy for this Parliament to decide will be, whether it is right to cause to be handed over to us, if- possible, the administration of British territory in New Guinea. I would add one more word about a group of islands which are a continuation of the Pacific chain from New Guinea - the Solomon Islands. I have nothing like as much information with regard to them as I have with regard to New Guinea ; but it seems to us that if preliminaries can be reasonably arranged, and the burden of the Commonwealth not unduly increased, it might be a desirable thing that we should acquire . the control of the Solomon Islands so far as they are in British hands, either as an adjunct to New Guinea and part of the same territory, or as another territory ‘ of the Commonwealth. That, however, is a matter to be decided by circumstances. Honorable members will see without my addressing any argument to them, that the matter presents very grave grounds for consideration in relation to the many questions which press upon the Commonwealth with regard to, not only the Pacific Islands, but also’ the conditions of its own industry, and that it is eminently a matter which cannot be settled by’ the administration- alone, but must await their proper consultation of this Parliament.
– I trust that the Government will not ask the Imperial Government to make any contribution.
– Will the Prime Minister lay upon the table of the House a statement giving names of all persons who have received travelling allowances from the Federal Government since the 1st January last, and the amounts they have each received 1
– Yes ; with the greatest readiness.
– After the experience we have had during the last few Fridays of the small amount of business which it is possible to do in the short space of time available, does the Prime Minister see the necessity of commencing earlier on that day 1
– It is my intention to bring this matter before the Cabinet at its first meeting during next week, with the desire to make some substituted provision, as far as I am concerned, in order that work may be facilitated under less distressing conditions than are now pressing upon honorable members.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether he can furnish honorable members with any particulars relative to the Inter-State Commeice Act in the United States. I have tried to get- copies of that Act, and I have been unable to do so, but I think the Government may have copies which they might either reprint and circulate, or circulate without reprinting, among honorable members.
– I thought that already copies of certain documents which, whilst they . do not contain the whole of the provisions of any one of the Acts from which clauses have been taken in the framing of the Inter-State Commission Bill, afford all the information which I think honorable members would desire had been distributed. I gave instructions to have a sufficient number of these struck off so that one copy might be given to each honorable member. I will see that these are circulated as soon as possible.
Mr. BARTON laid on the table a letter from the Premier of South Australia concerning the construction of a railway through South Australia to the Western Australian border.
Ordered to be printed.
– In asking the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral,upon notice -
Whether any decisionhas been arrived at with reference to the extension of telegraphic communication to Tareoola, the new gold-field in South Australia, as asked for by a recent deputation.
I may say, in explanation, that recent returns from Tarcoola are very encouraging, and that there is every reason to believe that the field will be apermanent one.
– The answer to the question is as follows : -
No decision has yet been arrived at. The matter is still under inquiry, and the report of the Deputy “Postmaster-General of South Australia is awaited.
asked the Prime Minister,
Australia should be “ Sovereign Lord of British Realms Oversea.”
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Prime Minister,upon notice -
Whether it is practicable, without breach of any postal and telegraph contract, to provide an alternative system of wireless telegraphic communication with . Tasmania on Marconi’s system, whereby the cost of telegrams to the press and people of Tasmania would be considerably reduced, and greater security attained for the transmission of messages in the event of war.
– The answer to the right honorable gentleman’s question is as follows : -
A legal opinion would be required as to whether such a system could be provided without breach of any existing contract. So far as is known, the Marconi system has not been applied to commercial telegraphing over such a distance as that between the Australian boast and Tasmania. Experiments have shown that over long distances the speed is slow, and absolute secrecy cannot be secured. Inquiry will be made as to the practicability of establishing such a system.
Ordered (on motion by
That there be laid before this House a return showing -
The prime cost, in detail, of the several cruisers and gun-boats which comprise the Australian Auxiliary Squadron.
The cost of equipment in each case.
The annual cost of maintenance in each case, inclusive of salaries and wages.
The amount of subsidy paid by the various
States up to date.
– In pursuance of the motion which has just been passed, I now have to lay on the table some of. the information asked for. I have found that whilst certain information is available, it will be more difficult and occupy more time to furnish the rest, and therefore I think it desirable to lay on the table at once the portion which I have and move that it be printed.
Ordered to be printed.
– I move-
That this Bill be now read a second time.
It gives me pleasure to make a departure from the track that we have been in, so far, of considering Bills mainly connected with machinery, and to place before this House a measure of definite and high policy such as this. Honorable members will know that the principles upon which this Bill stands have been approved in several places, notably in Natal, in New South Wales, in West Australia, and I think in Tasmania. A Bill of a very similar character to this has been introduced in South Australia, but hasnot yet become law, and similar legislation has been attempted in Victoria, but has not yet been consummated by -the passage of an Act. Now, I need make no apology for calling this one of the most important matters with regard to the future of Australia that can engage the attention of this House, nor can I emphasize too strongly the necessity that those who desire legislation in this direction should endeavour to put aside their minor differences, in order to secure the acceptance and passage of a law which will be in the main effective for its purposes. Honorable members are familiar with the questions and discussions which have alternately assisted and obstructed the passage of measures of this kind, and they know, of course, as well as I do, the action which conferences have, taken on this subject up to the present time. There have been intercolonial conferences of Premiers, and these matters have been also considered in conferences in the mother country, at which the States have been represented. Legislation on the Chinese question has taken place in most of the States, and legislation on this broader question has in some of them not yet arrived, but yet I believe that an immense majority of the people of Australia, not only taking the Commonwealth as one, but in each State separately, are in favour of dealing with this question in such a way that a uniform law may reap its natural and legitimate advantage of prevailing universally throughout the Commonwealth, so that leakages, which can now take, place in one quarter notwithstanding strong legislation in another, may no longer bepermitted to take place. To indicate what has taken place in the various States, I will give a few particulars ; but I will preface these by stating what has been done in Natal. At the present moment I am going to confine myself to the main features of the Bill which are contained in clause 4 which, in reference to prohibited immigrants really concentrates the main purposes of the Bill in the first sub-clause. The first part of the clause provides : -
The immigration into the Common wealth of the persons describedin any of the following paragraphs of this section (hereinafter called “ prohibited immigrants “ is prohibited, namely : -
Any person who when asked to do so by an officer fails to write out and sign in the presence of the officer, a passage of 50 words in length in the English language dictated by the officer ;
There are further provisions dealing with persons likely to become a charge upon the public or charitable institutions, idiots and insane persons, persons suffering from diseases of a certain character, persons who have been convicted of crimes involving a certain punishment, and prostitutes or persons living on the prostitution of others. As Isaid before - not, however, to the extent of wishing to sacrifice any of the other provisions - I think the main provision of this Bill as concentrated in the first sub-clause of clause 4, is the one about which any battlewe may have amongst us - if there should be any - is likely to be waged. Now, legislation of this kind, as far as the British colonies are concerned, began, as honorable members are well aware, in Natal, and if honorable members will compare the provisions of the Natal Act, as I read them, with the provisions in the first sub-clause of clause 4, they will see the extent of the difference between that Act and the Bill now before them. The provision in the Natal Act, corresponding to that in subclause (a) of clause 4, reads as follows : -
Any person who, when asked to do so by an officer appointed under this Act, shall fail to himself write out and sign in the characters of any language of Europe an application to the Colonial Secretary in the form set outinthe schedule.
An Honorable Member. - Any language in Europe?
-Yes. But I may mention that if the Act in Natal intended to say “ some “ language in Europe, it has not said so, and it therefore leaves an immigrant open to be tackled in any language in Europe.
– The Minister knows that was not intended.
– It may, or it may not, have been intended. 1 cannot say what is intended, because neither I nor the honorable member was in Natal when the Act was passed.
– No man could go to Natal if he were liable to be called upon to submit to a test in any language that the immigration officer might choose.
– What I say is that this Act goes further than what the honorable member for Parkes assumes to be its purpose, and if it does go further than that there can be no doubt that such a stringent provision has been very easily administered.
– But the Minister knows that if an officer could call upon any proposing immigrant to write 50 words in any language in Europe that officer might select, there is no man in this Parliament who could pass such a test, and, therefore, it cannot have that interpretation.
– I quite agree with’ the honorable member.
-I say it cannot have that intention.
– Whether that is the intention of the law or not, I say that it is quite within the competency of the colony of Natal. I have no desire to labour this point, and if honorable members will allow me to go on without interruption, they will see that I wish to deal with this matter in a perfectly reasonable spirit. I only desire to point out the legislative scope of the provision in the Natal Act, not for the purpose of making any comparison in favour of the present Bill, but with a view to enlighten honorable members as to what has been the course of legislation elsewhere.
– Is it necessary for the immigrant to spell properly 1
– It is a pack of fiction from beginning to end.
An HonorableMember. - Itis hypocrisy.
– I do not know whether it is necessary for him to spell properly. I can quite understand the mental attitude of certain honorable members towards a great question of this kind, when one of them interjects that it is a pack of hypocrisy and of fiction.
– I said “fiction.”
– It may be a pack of fiction in the honorable and learned member’s estimation, but, as this is justifiable legislation in the eyes of the Government and of the bulk of honorable members of the House, we propose to proceed with it. I have stated the provisions of the law in Natal, which define a prohibited immigrant as -
Any person who, when asked to do so by an officer under this Act, shall fail to himself write out and sign in the characters of any language of Europe an application to the Colonial Secretary in the form set out in the schedule.
I take that . to mean “ any language of Europe” which may be selected by the officer. If the applicant fails to pass the test which is there prescribed he is a prohibited immigrant. In New South Wales the law is that -
Any person who, when asked, shall fail to write in his own handwriting in some European language and sign an application to the Colonial
Secretary in the form as given in the Natal Act, or in a formof similar purport, proclaimed from time to time by the Governor, in substitution therefor shall be prohibited.
In the Bill introduced into South Australia in 1898 - and I merely wish to refer to the form in which that Bill was proposed, because honorable members will recollect that it was not carried - the provision was that -
Any person who, on being asked by an officer, fails to write out, in the presence of such officer, in characters of the English language a, passage of fifty words taken by the officer from a South Australian Statute or an English author -
I do not know what reason prompted that discrimination -
And append his name in his own language, shall be a prohibited immigrant.
The Victorian Act of 1899 contained a provision similar to the New South Wales law, except that the Commissioner of Customs was substituted for the Governor.
– Perhaps the right honorable gentleman will have a copy of the provisions taken from other Acts printed and circulated ?
– I will, but I am not going to ask the House to proceed with the discussion on the second reading of the Bill immediately. I will see that honorable members get the fullest information before the debate proceeds.
– Will the right honorable gentleman have them printed in the form of parallel clauses?
– I shallhave them printed in theway that is best calculated to afford information to the House. I will not pledge myself to parallels. In Western Australia in 1897, an Act was passed which set out that a prohibited immigrant should include -
Any person who, when asked to do so, fails to write out, in the characters of any language of Europe, a passage ‘in English of fifty words in length, taken by the officer from a British author, and append his name in his own language.
Honorable members will see, therefore, that in some statutes, the words “ any language of Europe “ are used, whilst in others, the words employed are “ some language of Europe.” I am quite willing to follow my honorable friends opposite in agreeing that, in both cases, “ some language of Europe “ was understood. In the Bill, which did not pass in South Australia, the English language was the term used, whilst in the Western Australian Act, the words, “ a passage in English of 50 words in length,” were used. The Tasmanian Act describes a prohibited immigrant as -
Any person who, on being asked, shall fail to write in the presence of the officer (a collector of Customs) in some European language and sign an application to the Colonial Secretary in the form as given in the Natal Act, or in a form of similar purport proclaimed from time to time by the Governor in substitution therefor.
The New South Wales Act of1899 describes a prohibited immigrant as “ a person other than of British birth or parentage, who when asked,&c., shall fail to write out in any European language “ - of which a form is given in the schedule, although it may be changed as is provided for a certain number of words. The Act also provides that “Any person dissatisfied with the decision of the officer may appeal to the nearest stipendiary magistrate, whose decision is final.” Where this Bill differs from some of the. others - I think from all - is that the person who is to be examined by the officer must have the passage dictated to him by that officer. This provision is inserted inorder that there may be no mistake on the part of the officer as to the passage tendered to the person for his writing out.
The officer will have to read it to the applicant, and then we shall know conclusively - by the evidence of such officer if need be - that these are the identical words which he has, himself put by word of mouth to the person seeking admission.
– Does the right honorable gentleman propose to prescribe by regulation the character of the words ?
– I do not propose to do that, because I can see that tie placing of words in a regulation or in a schedule is apt to lead to their being learned by persons who have no other knowledge of the language.
– The right honorable gentleman does not quite understand. I did not mean to suggest that he should putdown the words which are to be asked. I referred to the character of the literature - say 50 words from the leading article, of a daily newspaper.
– No ; I do not propose to do that. The administration in this respect of the Bill will be within the discretion of the Minister. He will have it within his discretion to change the passage to be submitted in such a way as to prevent the possibility of any collusion or of any attempt to learn off a passage when the applicant knows no more of English than is contained in that passage. The chief difference between this Bill and the provisions of the Acts to which I have referred is that the English language is indispensable, and the words must be dictated by the officer. I have had no hesitation in regard to making the English language indispensable. I do not see what claim there is on the part of any one seeking admission, who may be undesirable, to choose the language in which his test shall be taken. Subject to any objection which may arise on the ground of international comity, it is firmly established by the well-known case of Musgrove and Chun Teong Toy - if it needed to be established - that there is a right on the part of governments and powers as between each other - and the whole of the British Empire is looked upon by foreign nations as one power - to exclude such persons from their territory as seemto them undesirable.
– What about the French Canadians ?
– If the honorable member will give me a little time he will see that I shall deal conclusively with questions of that kind. That right exists , on the part of civilized powers inter se. We propose, however, not to rest on that mere right, because discrimination in the application of it is likely to lead to trouble. We propose, therefore, to add to the sanction of international law the sanction of what is called municipal law - that is our own internal law to an- extent which will enable us to meet any objection ‘of this kind, and at the same time to satisfy conditions laid down by the Empire in its dealings with other powers. In other words, having seen that there are difficulties in the application of this doctrine from time to time - that its’ application, as a matter of international right has led to objections on the ground of a -violation . of international comity or courtesy - we see no reason why we should, not convert this into an equal law, applying, so far as the power given to us is concerned, equally to all persons, without distinction of race, colour, or origin, in order that in our dealing with the law ourselves, subject to our own responsibilities to each other, we shall not be subject to interference by any power whatever.
– That is the whole point of a Bill of this kind.
– It is the whole point of all Bills of this kind ; honorable members will see that such Bills on the subject as have been passed, crystallizing into law powers of this kind, have not been subject to any objection on the part of the Imperial authorities, nor have they been made the subject of any protest by powers outside. It is because the Bills have been based on the educational test that objections have been avoided. The moment we begin to. define - the moment we begin to say that every one of a certain nationality or colour shall be restricted, while other persons are not, then as between civilized powers, amongst whom must now be counted Japan, we are liable to trouble and objection, which go to postpone the making of outlaws and which lead to difficulty in the application of them. These things should therefore be avoided. I am fain to confess that I see no other way except to give a large discretionary power to the authorities in charge of the administration of such a measure. If we once begin to particularize we have to meet the objections already urged, some of which no doubt have been considered effectual. It places a Bill, produced under such circumstances, necessarily between two fires. It is between the fire of those who wish to make its provisions more drastic and more specific; and the fire of those who consider the provisions a piece of organized hypocrisy, and altogether too severe for a civilized power to adopt. I quite admit that we are placed between these two fires : but we can rely on the common sense of the House to find a way through these fires, so as to produce a measure that will be internationally- effective and practical amongst ourselves.
– Sir Henry Parkes had no difficulty in the matter.
– It is not for me to consider what difficulty
– Sir Henry Parkes acted in defiance of the Imperial authorities. ‘
– It was not in defiance of the Imperial authorities, because I am credibly
informed that the Royal assent to that Bill was asked for by telegraph and given.
There was never any intention on the part of
– On the advice of the Attorney-General of Queensland.
– No matter on whose advice, the Bill was reserved and went to England.
– He did not do that in connexion with the syndicate railway Bill.
– I do not want to excite any Inter-State friction by discussing the actions of thoseconcerned in the Government of the various States. I only want now to show what has been said and laid down on the subject by the Imperial authorities in order to show that we, in this Bill, purpose to achieve our end in a practical way.
An Honorable Member. - The case is of no value.
– Whether it be of value or not we have put this Bill into a shape which makes similar objections impossible. Section 5 of the Queensland Act provides that -
No aboriginal native of Asia, Africa, or of the Pacific Islands shall be employed by any company to which any advance has been,, or may hereafter be made, under provisions of the Sugar Works Guarantee Acts1893to 1900, in or about any sugar mill or permanent tramway owned or worked by the company - and there is a proviso which does not touch the present question. Mr. Chamberlain wrote a despatch to the Governor of Queensland,.and a copy of that despatch was sent to the Governor-General of the Commonwealth. I want honorable members to understand that I am not entering into a controversy whether the position taken up here is rightly or wrongly taken up. I only draw attention to the fact that the questions raised by the Secretary of State need not, and I think cannot, be raised in regard to the Bill I am introducing. In this despatch
Mr. Chamberlainsays -
It (the Sugar Works Guarantee Bill) embodied a disqualification based on place of origin, i.e., practically a distinction of race and colour. Any attempt to impose disqualifications on the basis of such distinctions, besides being offensive to a friendly power, is contrary to the general conceptions of equality which have been the guiding principle of British rule throughout the Empire. Disqualification by educational tests Such as are embodied in the immigration laws of various colonies, is not a measure to which the Government of Japan or any other Government can take exception in behalf of its subjects ; and if the particular tests are not regarded as sufficiently stringent, there is no reason why more stringent and effective ones of a similar character should not be adopted. But disqualification for certain employments on the sole ground of place of origin is a measure to which any Government concerned may reasonably object, and in the present Bill the aboriginal natives of two continents and of the Pacific Islands are disqualified solely on that ground.
I quote that merely to show that there are difficulties which have arisen on other occasions, and which might arise in this Bill in another form, but which are avoided by the Bill as it stands.
– Will the Prime Minister have the despatch printed ?
– I have not the least objection.
– It is quite contrary to the statement on the subject made by the Attorney-General of Queensland. .
– I might mention that some time ago I gave the substance of this despatch to the press representatives in Melbourne.
– It is different from the statement made by
– It seems to me to bear a remarkable similarity to it ; our memories are different. The passage I have quoted will show honorable members that a certain stand-point may be taken with reference to legislation of this kind if precautions are not observed,- and yet it will show how easy, it is to avoid difficulties of the kind by adopting the care which Mr. Chamberlain himself appears to have indicated as proper in his despatch. That is the course we have adopted, although not claiming any originality in the provisions of this Bill. We have had plenty of other Bills to guide us. We do not pretend to say that we have evolved something extraordinary or something particularly novel. I wish to lay it before honorable members, however, that there is a direction which has. proved futile ; that there is another which has proved successful, and that it is the successful direction which we are pursuing, not claiming any merit for it, but simply adopting it because it is the only road to similar success for ourselves.
– Has the Prime Minister any information as to the success of the restriction Acts in Natal and New South Wales 1
– I am obliged to the honorable member for the interjection, for it enables me
to quote from an interesting conversation which I had with Mr. Moor, who represented Natal at the celebrations in
connexion with the inauguration of the Commonwealth.
– Does the Minister assume that this legislation will stop it ?
– I believe that it will, u as it has stopped it elsewhere. If we find that it does not, then we shall come to the Legislature for further power. Honorable members need not have any doubt in this connexion. If a measure of this kind proves ineffective in preventing the influx of that class and race of persons who ought to be kept without the limits of a white- Australia or a civilized Commonwealth, then we are not going to rest upon failure, but march forward to success. Honorable members, in whatever part of the House they sit, may take it as being one certainty that, if we remain in office and find a measure of this kind effective, we shall bring down legislation which will make it thoroughly effective. We shall do so, not only for the reason* generally urged, because while there may be sympathy with the labour aspect of the question, I have yet to say there are grounds even more conclusive than those of labour for the prevention of this kind of immigration.
– We all admit that.
– I am sure that honorable members do.
– There is the character of our own race.
– Not only that ; there are many other reasons, which, if 1 had time, I could
quote strong authority to indicate. I will make a quotation or two on the point.
Professor Pearson, who was one of the most intellectual statesmen who ever lived in
this country, says in his
The fear, of Chinese immigration which the Australian democracy cherishes, and which Englishmen at home find it hard to understand -
Naturally, because they have never had the troubles we have had - is, in fact, the instinct of self-preservation, quickened by experience. We know that coloured and white labour cannot exist side by side ; we are well aware that China can swamp us with ti single year’s surplus of population; and we know that if national existence is sacrificed to the working of a few mines and sugar plantations, it is not the Englishman in Australia alone, but the whole civilized world that will be the losers. Transform the northern half of our continent into a Natal, with thirteen out of fourteen belonging to an inferior race, and the southern half will speedily approximate to the condition of the Cape Colony, where the whites are indeed a masterful minority) but still only as one in four. We are guarding the last part of the world in which the higher races can live and increase freely for the higher civilization.
Perhaps, while I have the book in my hand, I may pass on to something further on the same point. These are the fears which Professor Pearson expresses. They are not justified by the facts of to-day, but they may be justified by the tendency of the facts of to-day. If we see the facts of to-day exhibiting a tendency which, unless checked, are likely to result in what Professor Pearson foresees and foretells, then it is not in the distant future, but to-day, that action should be taken. Professor Pearson writes, on page 83 : -
The day will come,, and perhaps is not far distant, when the European observer will look round to see the globe girdled with a continuous zone of the block and yellow races, no longer too weak for aggression or under tutelage, but independent, or practically so in government, monopolizing the trade of their own regions, and circumscribing the industry of the Europeans; when Chinamen and the natives of Hindostan, the States of Central and South America, by that time predominantly Indian, and it may be African nations of the Congo and the Zambesi, under a dominant cast of foreign rulers, are represented by fleets in the European seas, invited to international conferences, and welcomed as allies in quarrels of the civilized world. The citizens of these countries will then be taken up into the social relations of the white races, will throng the English turf or the salons of Paris, and will be admitted to inter-marriage. It is idle to say that if all this should come to pass our pride of place will not be humiliated. We were struggling among ourselves for supremacy in a world which we thought of as destined to belong to the Aryan races and to the Christian faith ; to the letters and arts and charm of social manners which we have inherited from the best times of the past. We shall wake to find ourselves elbowed and hustled, and perhaps even thrust aside by peoples whom we looked down upon as servile, and thought of as bound always to minister to our needs. The solitary consolation will be that the changes have been inevitable.
Is that not something to guard against ? I do not pretend to say that there is any immediate danger of that kind, but unless we are careful dangers of that kind are inevitable as time goes on. I do not want to exaggerate them in any way. I do not want to pretend that unless we pass this Bill today we shall have these people coming in in such volume as to overflow and throng our marts, our fields, and all places of our industry. But it is enough that if we do not take action and take it speedily, both the commercial and industrial difficulties of this kind of labour will be growing tendencies which we shall one day repent our not having checked. These are not new opinions of mine ; I have expressed them over and over again, and hold them as strongly, and I think even more strongly, with reference to the prevention of certain Asiatic influxes, as I did when a youth. There is one more thing to be said on this part of the question. It is not a desirable thing in our legislation to make discriminations which will complicate the foreign relations of the Empire. It would be of untold evil and harm to us - and likely to lead to troubles even rivalling those which the future may bring forth to us from these causes - if we were to take such action as would not practically make our legislation much more effective, and yet at the same time would diminish the ease with which the Empire could assist us in these matters, and be with us in others. I take it that is’ not the desire of this House or of this Parliament. Whatever views of the future may be entertained in any quarter, there is the practical realization of to-day that the Empire to which we belong is one that is worth belonging, to. It is one which has held within it most that we are proud of, and one which when compared with other Powers certainly does not lose in the comparison as to its humanity and justice. It is, therefore, better to belong to it, unless somebody can give me reasons which we have never heard yet for being, independent. While that relation is maintained - and long, may it last I say- while it remains, let us take the full advantage of the help and assistance which the Empire may give us in matters like this. On the lines it has laid down, it can be a sturdy and trusty Mend; Let us follow those lines, knowing that in our belief the following .of them will be effective, and knowing that the Empire i% ready toassist us even further if we find that any evils, whether ethnical or national, of war olof industry, threaten us in the future. It is for us to deal with the question to-day as wefind it, and we shall make a mistake by saying that we will deal only with facts, when tendencies as strong as facts have to be checked in the same way. There are tendencies here which, to my mind, are sufficiently dangerous for us to take action. We are not doing very much more than the States have done. Our legislation will, in a, large measure, only replace that in force in three or four of the States. It does not carry tilings very much further, but it tends to prevent what I described a little while ago as leakages - the difficulties which arise when we have legislation of this kind operating in three or four of the States, but the States after all exposed to transferences of population- of this kind arising from the fact that they do not protect themselves in each of the States in the same way.
– Before the right honorable gentleman sits down, will he explain the reasons for his preference of sub-clause (a) of clause 4 to the provisions of the New South Wales Act?
– J intended to say something upon that point,- and perhaps it will be convenient to do so now. The form in New South Wales makes a. “ prohibited immigrant” of any person who, when asked, shall fail to- write in his own handwriting, in some Europeanlanguage, and sign an application to the Colonial Secretary, in the form given in the Act, or in a form of similar purport, proclaimed from time to time by the
Governor in Council in substitution. The three main differences in this clause are these. In the’ clause we propose the dictation of the words is made essential, and I have already given a reason for that. The next difference is that the word “ English “ is substituted for the word “ European “ in ‘the New South Wales Act. The reason for that is that if a man wants to come into an English-speaking country to pursue his avocation there, the language which the people of that country are concerned in his knowing, is the language which will enable them to- do business with- him. They do not want him to know Austrian,. Chinese, or Italian. Of what use would that be to them 1 They want him to know something of the language they can understand, and in which he may make himself understood by them. What reason is there why we should substitute any ‘ language of Europe for the language which we ourselves practice and speak ? We do not want to say that every man must know our language. That is a matter for him, and lie can learn any language he likes from his birth or from any other time ; but if he is going to do business with people who speak English, and wants to come into their country - the terms upon which he enters being left to them as the. sole judges - why should they not as the sole judges impose the condition that coming into their country he shall know a language which will enable them to understand him and him to under- stand them ?
– Does the right honorable gentleman mean to exclude Scandinavians, Germans, and French 1
– I quite saw the purpose of my honorable friend, when he put his first question. I quite saw what was passing in the honorable member’s mind, and what he wanted information upon. I do propose to say that we do not want a man who can speak only Austrian, . Italian, or any other language that is not the English language. But I do say this also, that we shall not work an Act of this kind without national complications, unless we are able to lay something down which in the outset distinguishes nothing between race and colour ; but as to language there is not the same complication at all. We are entitled to impose a test of that kind. The English language is our language, and the man who wants us to impose a test of any other language should show some reason for his preference. Ours is the right language to use. I know that the re may be difficul ties, and that there have been difficulties in the past, when people who have been asked to write down sentences in some language or other have shown that they can easily surmount that obstacle, with all the quick-wittedness of some of the Eastern races. I believe that this provision with respect to the English language will help to overcome that difficult)1, and that is another reason for the clause in its present form. I do not propose - and no doubt the honorable member had this in recollection when putting his question - that the test should be subject to proclamation from time to time by the Governor-General in Council, because I do not propose to give any opportunity’ for anybody to find out the words which are to be used, by having them notified by proclamation. I think it is far more effective and useful that the proper officer, to prevent any collusion or trickery, may be able to change from day to day and from time to time the passage in English so long as it is a fair passage in that language.
– Has the honorable and learned gentleman considered what the effect would be likely to be if the Eu’ropean nations were to reciprocate with legislation of the same kind ? Not one Australian in a thousand could visit Europe.
– Yes, I ‘have considered that, and the difference is one which 1 am sure my honorable and learned friend perfectly well understands. It is not for us to say that we do not aim this Bill in every direction. On the face of it, as my honorable and learned friend knows, the Bill is not aimed at any specified nations. He also knows that Governments must be credited with common sense, or it is no use committing to them the administration of such measures at all. This amount of common sense and discretion must be credited to the present Government and its successors : that they will discriminate between those cases in which desirable civilized immigrants are seeking admission, and cases in which those seek admission whose presence is baneful to us in the present, and may be much more so in the future. That is the reason why I have asked for the power to be given to the Government in these broad terms. I ask the House to give the powers to the Government in the belief that they will be administered in that spirit of just broad international humanity which characterizes the people of the various civilized powers - powers which it cannot be doubted for a moment contain within them safeguards of administration which will enable the Governments to meet a common evil. That is what is intended, and that is what the Bill contains. That is why I ask for larger powers than perhaps my honorable and learned friend is willing to give. If my honorable and learned friend can convince this House that we are asking for powers which it is undesirable for Parliament to give, I wish him joy of his task. Now let us go a little further. I have told honorable members why we think it necessary to take large powers - namely, because large powers are necessary to deal with the cases we have to meet, and also because it is necessary to give a large discretion to the Government in the belief that they will not act harshly in those cases which are not within the evil we wish to meet. That is the common-sense view of the matter, and in that acceptation I throw myself on the common sense of the House. With reference to the other provisions of the Bill, some of them exist in other measures of the same kind, but others do not. In New South Wales the Legislative Council cut out some of these provisions from the existing Act, the application of which is confined to such matters as come within paragraph (a). But I take it that it is a fair thing that the remaining powers should be given, nor can I see what hardship is involved in the granting of them, always presupposing that common-sense is exercised, and always presupposing also that the difficulties which may beset men of business on rare occasions are not to be allowed to overcome the national policy of excluding not only those who are undesirable by wa3>- of race, but also those who are undesirable by way of condition and conduct, or by reason of the danger to the public health which they carry with them. Such are the remaining paragraphs ; and as to those I ask for similar powers to be given by the House and under similar conditions. That is, that of course the existence of the Ministry depends upon the administration of an Act of this kind. If the Government falsify the trust committed to them, of course they will be in the hands of the House. But if, on the other hand, it is animated by common interest, being a Ministry, although I do not claim any particular advantage from the fact, belonging to the soil, it is inconceivable that in a matter of this kind they are likely to frustrate or belie national interests in the exercise of the discretion vested in them. But unless the Bill is so safeguarded as to give that discretion, the particular complications which are likely to frustrate legislation of the kind are likely, to be effectuated in facts. I am not going to delay honorable members with any long description of the remaining clauses. It is provided that persons possessed of certificates of exemption, which wherever they are granted will be given for such reasons as I have laid down, will be excepted from the prohibitory provisions of clause 4. It is recognised that it would be unwise in some extreme cases to prevent the admission of certain persons. If, for instance, as we are told over and over again, a prince in his own country desired to visit our shores he would be exempted. We have seen such princes visiting Australia in the past.
Mr. Wilks. Ranjitsinhji
– Yes, we have even seen princes coming here as cricketers, as my honorable friend reminds me. There are some things which it would be high-handed and arbitrary to do. This is not a distinction between rich and poor ; but a distinction belonging to humanity and civilization, and that alone should be intrusted to the Government in administering such a measure. Members of the King’s land or sea forces are exempt, as are also the master and crew of any public vessel of any Government. The master and crew of any other vessel landing during the stay of the vessel at any port in the Commonwealth are also exempted ; but this exemption is subject to a most stringent provision, partly taken from a proposal which was in the Victorian Bill some time ago - perhaps not quite so stringent - to the effect that a master of a vessel may be required by the officer under the measure, before being permitted to clear out from or leave the port, to muster his crew in the presence of the officer. Then if it is found that any person who according to the vessel’s articles was one of the crew when she arrived at the port, and who but for that would be a prohibited immigrant, is not present, the person in question is not to be excepted by the measure, but is to be considered a prohibited immigrant. Otherwise he would have been present at the muster.
– It is a large order to make the captain liable.
– It is, I admit, a very large order, but self-preservation is the highest law ; and I have no doubt whatever that, in accordance with that principle, this is a desirable provision, for the Commonwealth to enforce. Then ‘it is provided that any person duly accredited to the Government of the Commonwealth by the Imperial 05 any other Government is to be excepted ; and there are provisions excepting a wife accompanying her husband, and excepting children apparently under the age of eighteen years. These are exceptions which will go far to satisfy honorable members that it is not intended to create any undue hardship under the Bill. It is also provided that a certificate of exemption may be granted to a person who can satisfy an officer that he has formerly been domiciled in the Commonwealth.
– That provision may be abused.
– If a person satisfies the authorities that the Commonwealth has been his home, it is presumptive evidence that he is of a ‘class tolerated in the Commonwealth. Certificates of exemption are to be in force for a specified period only, and there are provisions against the evasion of the measure. There are also provisions for the temporary landing under a bond of persons who wish to satisfy the officers of the Commonwealth that they are entitled to land, but this is to be done under the condition of the forfeiture of the deposit in case of the person not making that proof, and being then obliged to leave. A prohibited immigrant who contravenesor evades the provisions of the measure isguilty of an offence for which he will be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for not more than six months, and todeportation. I admit that there are difficulties in regard to the matter of deportation, but I think that they are difficulties which the House is inclined to face. In my opinion deportation, where a person has merely entered our territory, and has been guilty of an evasion of the provisions of this measure, can be carried out without any particular liability either of litigation at the suit of the person deported, or of complications arising out of international la%v. Then masters, owners, and charterers”! of vessels are liable to a penalty of £100 for each prohibited immigrant who is brought into the Commonwealth by them. 1 know that objection will be taken to the clause, andI admit that it is a very stringent provision, but it will be for the House to consider whether the due administration of the law does not demand such a provision. A question for the consideration of the House will be whether the administration of the measure can be properly conducted if the masters, owners, and charterers of vessels carrying prohibited immigrants are exempted from any proceedings against them if such prohibited immigrants are allowed to land, seeing that the persons coming within that definition are persons whose class will subject them to the suspicion that they are prohibited immigrants. It will be said that the kind of persons who are likely to be a charge upon the people of the Commonwealth - persons who are idiots or lunatics, who have loathsome or infectious diseases, or are prostitutes, or persons living upon prostitution, will be very difficult to detect ; but on shore it does not seem very difficult to detect them ; and if it is not very difficult to detect them on shore, it ought to be possible to detect them at sea.
– It will be almost impossible.
– My honorable friend is always very fair in
If a bond with two sufficient sureties to the satisfaction of the Minister or the collector be given by the master, owners, or charterers of the vessel for the payment of any penalty which maybe adjudged under this Act to be paid for the offence or default.
If default is made in payment of any such penalty, the officer may seize the vessel - and the ordinary proceedings are thereupon to be taken for forfeiting and condemning her ; but if the bond is met, the vessel is to suffer no further detention. Apart from minutiæ, I have now explained the principal provisions of the Bill, and I have done so at some length, because I thought that it was due to the House to be explicit and frank in its discussion, and to put, to the best of my ability, all the considerations affecting the minds of the Ministiy in regard to it. It has been found desirable to make a distinction between this and the companion measure dealing with the importation of South Sea Island labourers, which is shortly to be introduced. Honorable members have known from the beginning that I proposed to bring in two Bills on the subject of immigration restriction, and there is already on the notice paper a motion dealing with the other Bill to which I refer. The reason why the whole matter has not been dealt . with in the one measure has been explained over and over again by me in this House. The questions dealt with by the two measures stand on quite different footings. It is scarcely in order for me to go into the question with which the other Bill will deal,’ but I may point out to honorable members that in discussing that measure we must take into consideration the conditions under which the employment of South Sea Island labourers within the Commonwealth has grown up,, and the conditions under which it may best be abolished. That it must be abolished I think I shall be able to show when I bring forward the other Bill. I am acting now in accordance with a promise which I made to the country before Parliament assembled, and which I have since made to this House, that I would deal with the whole subject in two separate measures, to both of which I hope to obtain the assent of Parliament.
Debate (on motion by Sir William; McMillan) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to.
That the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of reconsidering clauses 5, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 19, 20, 26, 29 37, 46, and schedule 3.
In Committee :
Clause 5 (Definitions).
– Asthis is purely a machinery Bill, providing for what is to be done in the event of excise duties being imposed on beer, I propose to amend the definition of “ beer,” now contained in the clause, and to make it read as follows - “ Beer “ means any liquor upon which, under the name of beer, any excise duty imposed by the Parliament is payable.
Definition amended accordingly.
– Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to the definition of quarts or - pints, to which I understand certain objections were raised by the trade 1
– We must keep the definition here, otherwise quarts or pints could not be removed from a brewery. The question as to what shall be the dutiable contents will arise under another clause.
– The definition of a quart or pint is distinctly raised by this paragraph.
Quarts or pints means quart or pint bottles, and includes bottles reputed to contain quarts or pints.
I am told that it has been the custom to consider six reputed quarts or twelve reputed pints to contain a gallon; but now it is proposed to revolutionize the custom by making four large bottles or eight small bottles pay duty as a gallon, although they do not as a matter of measurement contain that quantity. If the definition is accepted the brewers will have to pay duty on these bottles as if they did in reality contain the full quantity when it is only desired, I think, that they should pay duty on the actual measurement. I think the best way would be to adopt the definition in the Victorian Act, that a gallon shall mean an Imperial gallon.
– I assure the honorable and learned member that the point he refers to does not arise here. This is only a definition of quarts and pints. It says that quarts and pints shall include also reputed quarts and pints. In clause 40 we provide for the mode in which beer may be removed from the brewery, it says “ in vessels or in quarts or pints.” If we had not this definition in clause 5, it could only be removed in true quarts and pints, and not in reputed quarts or pints, which I am sure the honorable and learned member would not desire. The difficulty which he wishes to discuss arises under clause 26, in which it is provided that, subject to the provisions of the Tariff, the duty on the bottles shall be computed according to their reputed contents, but it does not arise at the present moment.
– I accept the explanation.
Clause as amended agreed to.
Clause 9 (Saving existing licences).
– I find that in some cases there is not the ordinary system of licensing, but rather a system of registration of the brewer, and so, while I have provided for the protection of existing licences until their expiry, some provision is wanted to meet those cases. I move -
That the clause be amended by the addition of the following words : - “ And every person at the commencement of this Act not having a licence, but lawfully carrying on the business of a brewer, shall be allowed one month to obtain a licence. “
Amendment agreed to.
Clause as amended agreed to.
Clause 10 (Persons incapable of holding licences).
– At the instance of the honorable member for Coolgardie, I consented to the insertion of a provision that brewers, so long as they do not sell less than one gallon, should not be prohibited from selling greater quantities At the moment I had not the various Acts in front of me, but honorable members know that it is highly undesirable that the brewer should combine in the one person the almost rival positions of brewer and retailer - there is, of course, a good deal of not unnatural jealousy in matters of this sort. I have altered the clause to meet the Western Australian case, but I do not think that that should be allowed to govern the situation. Brewers should not be allowed to sell so small a quantity as one gallon, because not only would they be brought more into competition with the retailers, but, no doubt, from the revenue point of view, it would be a mischievous thing if dribs and drabs were to be dealt out from the breweries. In New South Wales the minimum is two gallons, and in Victoria and Queensland the same, whilst in South Australia and Tasmania it is five gallons, and in Western Australia one gallon. I think that on fair consideration of existing conditions - with which it is not desirable to unnecessarily interfere, although we must have uniformity - the proper place to draw the line will be at two gallons, and I propose to alter the clause accordingly. I move -
That the words “not less than one gallon,” be struck out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “less than two gallons.”
Amendment agreed to.
Clause as amended agreed to.
Clause 11 (Licence-fee).
– I think the Minister will find that the licence-fee of £25 fixed by this clause will work very harshly against some of the smaller brewers in Western Australia. The fee is a heavy one to start with, and will be specially felt by the brewers employing in some cases only three to four men in Western Australia where no fee is payable at the present time. In the north in the Coolgardie country the breweries are 60 miles apart in some cases,” and it will be impossible to have an officer to watch each one of them. The brewers can only be harassed by the imposition of such a heavy fee, as their output cannot be regulated, nor csm they be watched in the way that the Minister proposes. Some arrangement might be made by which the smaller breweries should have to pay a smaller licence-fee than the larger breweries, because it seems ridiculous that a brewery employing only two to five hands should be taxed to the same extent as the large breweries in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney, employing, in some instances, thousands of men. The Minister might devise some means by which graduated fees might be imposed, because these small breweries have many disabilities to contend with, in the way of heavy carriage rates, which place them under a considerable handicap, notwithstanding the high prices they get for their beer.
– This licence-fee is not intended as a tax, but rather in order to secure some contribution towards the expense connected with keeping an eye on the breweries, and after what the honorable member for Coolgardie has said, it seems to me there is very little doubt that the Western Australian brewery, however small, will require as much looking after as a large one. In introducing federal legislation we must deal uniformly with the various States, and I find that while no fees have been charged in Western Australia or South Australia, in New South Wales the licence-fee for a city brewery is £30, and for a country brewery £20, and in Victoria and Queensland a £25 licencefee is charged. We have, therefore, provided for what has been generally imposed, and the difference between the case of the large and small brewer is met by the excise duty on the output. I think that wherever a brewery may be situated, whether it be in Western Australia or Queensland, the proprietor ought not to object to pay 10s. a week for the privileges .he enjoys.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 14 (How security given).
– This clause is a departure from our Victorian Act, inasmuch as it provides for a cash deposit. It is in the option of the collector to demand a cash deposit, instead of the bond as provided for in the Victorian Act, and in the case of a large brewery the deposit would amount to as much as £6,000. The hardship inflicted on the smaller breweries would be relatively as great, and I would like to see provision made for the acceptance of an approved’ bond.
– There is no intentionthat the collector, if offered a reasonablebond, should insist upon a cash deposit, assuch a thing would be monstrous. This clause was taken from the Customs Act, which provides for a bond to be approved by the collector; but it was pointed out that in some cases this would be rather inconvenient, and that the option might be given to merchants to give cash security.
– They might wish to makecash deposits.
– Yes. The clause isintended to meet all parties, and I am sure that it will not be exercised in an arbitrary way.
– The explanation will be quite satisfactory solong as it is understood that the present, custom will be adhered to except in special cases. That will also apply to clause 15.
– Hear, hear.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 19 (Transfer or cancellation).
– It is considered by those interested that it is going altogether too far to provide that licences may be cancelled by the collector, and T hope that the Minister will see his way to make some limitation.
– I recognise that it would not be altogether justifiable to place such power in the hands of the collector, and the provision we have made with reference to warehouse licences under the Customs Act more property applies to such a case as this. I therefore propose tq provide that the licences shall be cancelled only by the Minister by Gazette notice. The matter will then come under the consideration of the responsible Minister, who will act in a formal way.
Clause amended accordingly and agreed to.
Clause 20 (Duty of brewers).
– Under this clause it is provided that no brewer shall sell spirits in any place within 50 yards of his brewery. I understand many brewers sell wines and spirits, and that, as a matter of convenience, thei r wine and spirit stores are situated within the same block as their brewery premises. It has been pointed out to me that this provision, which is supposed to be directed against distillation on the brewery premises, is absolutely useless, because the brewery is so open to the public and to the employes that it would be impossible to have any illicit distillationgoing on there. This provision is in the New South Wales Act, but it has been practically a dead letter, and I would suggest that it should be excised from the Bill, because, while it would involve many brewers in great expense, it can be of no practical use.
Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - I intended to urge the same point in connexion with paragraph (b) of clause 20. Perhaps it does not apply so much in Victoria, but in other States such a provision will prove a very great hardship to those who are already carrying on businesses by selling in a brewery. Considering that the penalty for a breach of this clause is £100, I think the Minister should so amend it as to meet the difficulty to which reference has been made.
– As a general ruleaccording to the statements of officers who are experienced in the working of Customs Acts - it is undesirable to allow spirits to be sold in a brewery or in close proximity to it. No doubt there are some cases in which the practice has been permitted. The Government are prepared to insert a provision to meet the difficulty which has been suggested, by inserting after the word “or,” in paragraph (b), the words “ except by permission of the collector.”
Clause amended accordingly, and agreed to.
Clause 26 (Computation of duty).
Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - In connexion with this clause a point has been raised by the honorable member for Bendigo, which he has asked me to deal with. Under clause 5, a question was raised as to the definition of quarts and pints, and the Minister gave an explanation which was satisfactory. But the latter portion of this clause provides that the actual contents shall be taken to be the dutiable contents, unless a contrary intention clearly appears in the Act imposing the excise. I think that it would be better to deal with this question of quarts and pints, and of reputed quarts and pints in this Bill.. It would be satisfactory if the Minister gave us an assurance that when we come to deal with the Excise Bill, he will provide for the anomaly that would be created if we allowed quarts and pints, and reputed quarts and pints to be considered the same thing. The brewer at the present time pays 12s. 6d. on a hogshead of beer, whereas under the provisions of this clause he would have to pay something like 17s. 6d. per hogshead. The matter is too serious to allow of this clause being passed without some . assurance from the Minister that it will be dealt with when the Excise Bill is under consideration.
– This clause merely provides that in the absence of a provision to the contrary in the Excise Bill, honest measure - I use the word in its nicest sense - shall be insisted upon, and that the reputed quart or pint shall be in reality a quart or pint so far as duty is concerned. I prefer to deal in this Bill with the general question that bottles which are represented as holding a certain quantity, shall be considered to hold that quantity for the purposes of duty, unless some different provision is made on the subject. We know that there is practice, which is recognized to some extent, that six quarts, twelve pints, and 24 half-pints go to the gallon, instead of four quarts, eight pints, and twelve half-pints. Honorable members will notice that this provision will only apply if the Act imposing the Tariff does not make a different provision. No doubt there will be some provision made on the subject, but I cannot say whether it will be of the character desired by the honorable member for Melbourne. I think, however, that we ought to lay down the rule which I have indicated.
– So far from supporting the honorable member for Melbourne, I feel inclined to move for the omission of the words “ unless a contrary intention clearly appears in the Act imposing the excise.” We have already in the Customs Regulation Bill-
– That can be altered by the Tariff Bill.
– It cannot be altered by the Tariff. Clause 129 of the Customs Bill provides that -
Whenever goods are sold or prepared for sale as or are reputed to be of a size or quantity greater than their actual size or quantity, duties should be charged according to such first mentioned size or quantity.
That is very distinct.
Mr.Kingston. - This exception really is not necessary.
– The two provisions ought to be made uniform. Why should a man in importing liquor have to pay not on the actual but on the reputed contents, whilst the local brewer is allowed to do otherwise ? In Victoria the excise and the import duties are the same. The State Parliament has adopted the same scale for both, which is a correct principle to follow. Here, however, weare acting differently. Having passed a provision that imported goods shall pay according to their reputed contents, we have no right to allow the local brewer to evade the payment of revenue by paying on the actual contents. I presume that we are adopting these provisions on the assumption that they will be put into force. If it is all a farce, if we intend that this provision shall be altered by subsequent acts, we should leave it out of the Bill altogether. The clause in its present form gives greater opportunities to the colonial manufacturer than to the importer.
– I am torn by conflicting emotions. The honorable member for Melbourne suggests that the clause should be altered in one. way, while the honorable member for North Sydney desires to have it amended in a precisely different direction. In all the circumstances, I think the committee will come to the conclusion that it would not be a bad thing to let it alone. It will be absolutely necessary to deal with the matter under the Tariff.
Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - I should like the Minister to acknowledge that’ he does not desire to charge duty on more than the contents of these vessels. If he does that I shall be satisfied, but it is too serious a clause for us to pass without having some statement of that kind. I quite agree with the honorable member for North Sydney that there should be no difference between beer bottled here and imported bottled beer. I should like to see the Minister, in a moment of weakness, yield a little more. He has done some good in adding the last lines to the clause, and as this matter affects a large industry, I hope he will give us some idea of what he intends to do.
– It is not at all encouraging. In soothing the fears of the brewers I have excited the apprehension of the importers, and really I do not care to move further. As far as the request for an indication of the Government’s intentions is concerned, I would assure the honorable member for Melbourne that we will deal with this matter either one way or the other, and that it will come up for consideration in connexion with the Tariff.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- Does the Minister for Customs mean by this provision that he is going to charge the same amount upon a reputed quart as he would upon the actual quart 1 These bottles are manufactured here and exist in large quantities in the States. We are bound to recognise that this standard of measurement does exist at the present time, and to alter it in the way proposed here might be to render all these bottles absolutely useless, and leave them on the hands of the people. A difference in regard to the duty may have that result. The Minister of Customs ought to let us know whether it is the intention of the Government to act upon the clause. If it is, then there is every reason for going to a division on it.
– The Minister has not fixed his Tariff yet.
– If my contention is correct it might mean that a brewer would have to pay exactly the same on a dozen bottles of the ordinary size as he would be called on to pay upon eight of the actual quart bottles, and the bottles’ now in existence would become so much dead stock. No man starting afresh would buy any but the newer class of bottles.
– What would be the result 1
– The honorable member would have to pay a little more for his beer. Under these circumstances I think it is well that the committee should divide on this question. I do not think that we ought to allow the clause to go through without some protest.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 29 (How stamps to be affixed).
Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - I have to raise two points in connexion with this clause. Paragraph (b) provides as to beer in loose bottles, or in bottles in baskets, that the duty stamps shall be affixed on the face of the cart-note. That means that in cases like the Cascade Brewery, in Tasmania, whose store is 2½ miles away from the brewery itself, duty will have to be paid at the brewery, although really all the work is done at the store. I recognise that there are somedifficulties in connexion with the matter, but I would ask the Minister to consider whether nothing can be done to meet cases of the kind. Paragraph (c) makes provision for placing the duty stamp on the outside of the case where bottled beer is packed in cases. These cases are often old, and the stamp might very easily be rubbed off. I think it would be well to provide in this case, as in paragraph (b) that the stamp shall be affixed to the face of the cart-note.
– I would point out that there are few instances of the description first referred to by the honorable member for Melbourne. We cannot possibly lay down a general rule. The mode of collecting the duty is on removal of the beer from the brewery. That is the only safe way of doing it. If we are going to allow the beer to be carted 2½ miles before we collect the duty, we shall, perhaps, be asked to allow it to be carted 50 miles, and we shall never be able to draw a line. I do not hesitate to say that, if any attempt is made to meet cases of this description, the result will be disastrous so far as expense is concerned, and it will lead to loss of revenue. As to the matter of fixing stamps to cases, as provided in paragraph (c), the responsible officers tell me that it is much better to have the stamps on the case when beer has to be sent any considerable distance. It is safer from the point of view of revenue ; and it also enables any officer to see, by a glance at the ‘ cart-note, that the duty has been paid. No further investigation is required.
– Could not the difficulty be met by providing for the stamps being affixed to the bottles? If they were placed on the bottles people would be able to see that the duty had been paid.
– It is easier to put the stamps on the cases.
Clause 37 -
Whenever beer upon which theduty has been paid becomes unfit for human use as a beverage before more than one-twentieth of its quantity has been withdrawn from the vessel in which it is contained, a refund of the duty shall be made in the manner prescribed, if it is returned in the original vessel to the brewery within 30 days after removal, or if it is destroyed by permission of the collector.
– This clause provides that beer may be returned when it becomes unfit for human use before more than one-twentieth of it has been drawn, and that a refund of the duty shall be made if it is returned to the brewery- within 30 days after removal. I understand that this is rather a grievance, especially in a- State like New South Wales, where beer travels very long distances by rail and by river, and sometimes takes 30 days to reach its destination. In such cases the brewer would be unable to obtain a refund of the duty. Then, again, I understand there is a feeling that some injustice is inflicted in making a hard-and-fast rule as to the withdrawal of one-twentieth of the contents of a vessel containing beer. Very often it is not until one. comes to the latter half of a cask that it is found to be unsound. I do not know whether the Minister would agree to any modification.
– I do not mind agreeing to some modification.
– I only ask for that. We must recollect that the Minister is a little new to this subject. I know that he does not indulge in beer, and probably does not know anything about the. excise on it. Doubtless, however, he has been capable of reading his brief sufficiently for the purpose. Evidently this, like many other proposals which have emanated from the Government, is founded upon Victorian conditions.
– No; there are no such conditions in Victoria.
– I would point out that there are States which have a little more territory than Victoria, and are not able to send everything by rail to all parts within their boundaries.
– The honorable member alludes to South Australia?
– Yes ; there is a line extending from Adelaide towards Port Darwin, but it certainly takes more than 30 days to send beer up to the latter place. It would be better to extend the time limit, and to increase the percentage limit by 5 per cent.
– The honorable member for Wentworth was wrong in stating that this clause was evidently founded upon Victorian legislation. So far as I have been able to ascertain there is no legislation in existence that provides for anything less than the refund of the duty on the whole of the beer that is returned, provided the officer is satisfied as to the genuineness of the claim. I should like very much to see the Bill kept in line with existing legislation on this matter. Instead of stipulating that onetwentieth shall be the minimum quantity taken out, we should provide for a refund of duty on any beer sent back. I also think that the30 days’ limit is too short. This means that the brewer in many cases will have to pay duty on valueless beer.. In New South Wales and South Australia beer has to be sent very long distances by rail and river, and very often it takes two or three months to reach its destination. I think the time limit should be extended, and that the provision in regard to the percentage should at least be modified. In my opinion it ought to be taken out altogether.
– It has been represented to me by brewers that they take returns of beer from customers, and allow for them on the accounts. * Under this clause brewers will be compelled to pay duty on liquid that is not used for human consumption, and which has not been paid for by their customers.
– Suppose a line of stock were imported and duty was paid on it, should there be a refund if the purchaser found the stock to be unsatisfactory ?
– If the honorable member sells stock to a man and it is found to be unsatisfactory, it is not the custom for the seller to take the stock back. But in this case, if a brewer sells beer to a customer and some of it goes bad, he credits the customer with the bad beer which, he takes backfrom him. In the one case the seller does not take the goods back, and in the other case he does. I do not profess to know much about brewing and the sale of beer, but the case having been represented to me, I felt it to be my duty to bring it under the Minister’s notice. This Bill proposes a departure from the existing practice, at any rate so far as concerns the legislation of Victoria. If the beer is actually returned and credit is given for it to the buyer, surely that beer is not fairly liable toduty.
– I think the proportion one - twentieth mentioned in this clause is rather too small, and that the time allowed for the return of the beer is . too short. Curiously enough I remember appearing in a case at the end of last year, in which the charge against a carter was that he had tapped certain barrels of beer. When the beer was delivered at its destination in the country, it was found to be something less than 100 gallons short of the proper quantity. The explanation was that the beer had to be delivered a long way back in the country, and it took something like 30 days to get there. That was the excuse of the carter for consuming 100 gallons of beer. If the Minister is going to make any allowance as to quantity, I think it should be a tenth.
– The Minister might give way on this point. The object is to get duty on beer which is used, not on beer that is not consumed. The provision ‘ as to one-twentieth of the beer having been censumed should be altered, and the time for the return should be extended ; because there are certain parts of Australia where the distances are great and from whence it is impossible to send back the beer within 30 days.
– I am willing to meet the committee to the extent of making the one-twentieth an eighth and the 30 days 60 days. Although this provision is not founded on any existing legislation, it is justified by the defects of existing legislation. It is wonderful how lenient we are in regard to brewers. First their hogsheads of beer only pay duty on 50 gallons, and we also make an allowance on half-hogsheads and kilderkins. We extend a greater tenderness to them’ under existing legislation than to any other manufacturers or importers. Suppose a manufacturer pays customs duty on an article which he imports, and afterwards finds that his customers do not like it ; he is not able to get a refund. If a man pays duty on spirits and does not find them to his taste he cannot get a refund. The importer in ninety-nine cases out of one hundred, although he may have a’ house in London from which he exports, is not responsible for the quality ; but the brewer is the manufacturer and can make good beer if he likes, and can take care of it. What has been the result of existing provisions in this respect ? We have had in the shape of returns some of the most shocking agglomerations of ullages, of which it is impossible to conceive. A clause of this kind is needed for the protection of the revenue, and if I had acted on the suggestions which have been made to me I should have gone even further. If beer legitimately goes bad and more than a reasonable quantity has not been taken out of the cask, a reasonable return will be made if it is sent back ; but if the ullages of 50 casks are collected and put into one, and a refund is claimed on that, it is not fair. The matter is not one on which the Government feel warmly, but we think an alteration is necessary, and what we propose is not unreasonable.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- It might be well to put in a few words to the effect, “ provided that sufficient reason is given for the return of the beer.” It appears that 60 days would be too long in the case of brewers in the city, so that some reason ought to be given when beer is returned after so long a period as 60 days.
Amendment (by Mr. Kingston) proposed -
That the words “ one-twentieth” be omitted, with the view of inserting “ one-eighth.”
– I think the Minister has set a very bad precedent in this case, unless he is going to apply it to other commodities. Why should the manufacturer of beer be in a better position than is the manufacturer of other tilings 1 If I sell a line of goods and the purchaser returns them to me as not being of use for human consumption, I have no right to go to the Customs-office and ask for a return of the duty paid. By this provision the Minister is encouraging the brewing of bad beer.
– The honorable member for South Australia,
Where the commissioner is satisfied that the beerhas been wasted or spoiled, and is unfit for consumption, and has been lost to the brewer, the commissioner my, if he think fit, within 30 days after the return of the beer - make an allowance. So that this provision is not a relaxation.
-But it is compulsory on the Minister to allow a refund.
– If the beer has been spoiled the refund has to be allowed. It ought not to be a question of option when the facts are established. If a brewer is entitled to a refund in one case, the same rule should apply in another.
Mr. CONROY (Wer riwa).- The clause says that the refund of the duty shall be made in the manner prescribed, if it is returned in the original vessel.
It appears to me that under this provision the department might have to make a refund of duty on everything supposed to be in the cask when it was sent away. Suppose a cask goes out containing 50 gallons. Duty is supposed to be paid on 50 gallons. It comes back, containing 44 gallons - 6 gallons short. It appears to me that a refund would have to be given on the 6 gallons that had been taken from the cask.
Amendment (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to-
That the word “thirty” be omitted with the view of inserting the word “sixty.”
Amendment (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to-
That the following words be added to the clause : -“ The refund may be made by the issue of stamps.”
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 46 -
Officers…… may examine and take copies of, or extracts from, all books….. kept by the brewer in relation to the brewery or the making or sale of beer.
– While it is recognised by those who are interested in the brewing industry that the Customs officials should be allowed to examine the books of the business to see that it is properly conducted and the full amount of duty is paid, they complain that the clause as it stands would enable a Customs officer to learn the business of brewing. To meet that complaint I move -
That the words “brewery or the making or sale “ be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “purchase of material and delivery and returns. “
– I accept the amendment. It harmonizes this legislation with the Victorian Act.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Schedule 3 (Brewer’s diary)
Sir MALCOLM MCEACHARN (Melbourne). - Considerable objection has been raised to the third schedule as it now stands, because it entails upon brewers a monthly stocktaking, which they consider a too onerous and difficult duty for them to discharge. If the Minister was satisfied with the returns given at present - returns of the quantity of material received into the brewery and the quantity used - I think it would meet the case.
– I am sorry that I cannot accept an amendment in this schedule. What we want to know is the quantity of material - sugar, malt, hops, and other things used every month, and the value of the stamps used. The brewer is required to keep an account of all material received into the brewery every month, but without a return of the stock in hand the Customs officer would have too complicated a task in ascertaining what quantity of material was used in any one month. Once a brewer has ascertained what material he has in hand, if he keeps an account of all material received into the brewery, and of all material sold and used, he will not have much difficulty in striking a balance each month, and that is all the schedule requires. The same condition has to be complied with in Queensland.
Schedule agreed to.
Sir MALCOLM MCEACHARN (Melbourne). - Before the Chairman leaves the Chair, I should like to say that those interested in this measure are much indebted to the Minister for having agreed to the recommittal of the Bill for the reconsideration of so many clauses, considering that it went through committee as it did last week.
Bill reported with further amendments.
Royal assent reported.
Debate resumed (from August I, vide page 3441) on motion by Sir John Forrest -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– Although I realize that the House is probably tired of this debate, and that anything I may say is likely to have been already said, the question is of such vast importance that
I should like to say a few words upon it. In my opinion the control of the defences of the States by a central authority is one of the greatest justifications for federation. The divided authority and administration of the past was becoming almost a public nuisance. That can well be illustrated by a reference to what occurred in a neighbouring State about a year ago, when certain disturbances broke out in China. The Ministry of New South Wales on that occasion came down to the Legislative Assembly of that State, of which I was then a member, and asked their approval of the despatch of some 200 men, known as the Naval Brigade, to China. Although I and others protested against the men being sent, as involving a useless and foolish expenditure, inasmuch as all the military powers of Europe, together with America and Japan, were interesting themselves in restoring order in China, we were met by the answer - “All you say may be very true, but that jealous little State of Victoria, which is always trying to euchre New South Wales,” and to pose before the world as the leader of the Australian States, has arranged to send a- small number of men to China, and we must follow suit.” As a result the people of New South Wales were committed to an extravagant and useless expenditure. While it appears to me that there is no provision in the Bill now before us which would allow of the despatch of an expedition of that character without the approval of this Parliament, I trust that the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, whose capable speech on the subject I have read, will take care, when, in committee, he devotes himself to the improvement of the Bill, that it is made plain that no Ministry shall have power to arrange for any expenditure of the Kind without first receiving the sanction of Parliament. It would be no answer to say that Parliament is not in session, because I can conceive of no crisis so sudden or so urgent that it would be necessary to take action before Parliament could meet - it could be summoned _in a very short time indeed. We had another illustration a few years ago when the late Mr. Dalley - a very eloquent and accomplished gentleman, but in whom, as a politician, I lost any confidence I ever had - set the example of sending to the Soudan a still more useless expedition of New South Welshmen than the China one. In my opinion it was one of the most wild-cat and silly expeditions possible, and yet it was sent behind the back of Parliament. Parliament was never asked to sanction its despatch, and it is useless for a Ministry to come down afterwards and ask to be whitewashed. I merely instance these cases to emphasize this great point - that there should be no case of emergency which would justify a Ministry in sending an Australian force out of the country without first having obtained the sanction of the National Parliament. I trust that the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, who is very capable in these matters, will take up this question, and if he does I shall be very happy to support him. The Bill has been spoken of as a skeleton Bill. I hardly know what is meant by the term, except honorable members imagine that it should contain full and definite particulars as to the number of foot and horse, and how the forces are to be raised. I do not think that is necessary in a Bill. It is enough for Parliament to indicate its temper to the Government, and give them a free hand in raising the forces which are considered necessary after getting expert military advice. Our power will come in after the Estimates are submitted, because I trust that the House will never approve of any lavish expenditure on military matters. All the Government require to know is the temper of Parliament to guide them when forming the forces and considering the expenditure. I perfectly agree with much that has been said in this debate. It was not my good fortune to hear most of the speeches, as I was absent from the State, but I gather that much was said on the necessity of establishing a factory for the making of arms and ammunition. I am sure the House entirely agrees that we should not constantly depend on getting arms from Europe. In New South Wales the other day they were very deficient of arms, and when an order was suddenly sent to Europe, arms could not be supplied. There is a similar deficiency, no doubt, in all the States. What we ought to have is; not only an ample supply of arms, but the means of producing arms and ammunition within the territory. In regard to this ques tion a very important phase of -railway construction comes in. “For example, it is highly necessary that we should have a railway system connecting the various capitals of the States beyond the reach of an enemy, to meet the contingency of a successful effort to break or destroy a portion of line. From Melbourne to Sydney the railway is almost perfectly safe from interference by a foreign force, but it is not so with the northern extension from Sydney. For the first 90 miles from Sydney to Newcastle the railway runs along the coast, and it would not be very difficult for a portion to be destroyed. I would direct the attention of the Government to the necessity of making a continuous system through the interior, and beyond all chance of being interfered with by an enemy. They should open negotiations with the Government of New South Wales with the object of having a branch extended from Werris Creek, on the northern line, to the western line, so as to make a continuous extension from Brisbane to Melbourne. This defence question will largely justify a railway extension to Western Australia. If the Government can show, as I hope they will be able to show, that it can be made without any great annual loss, the- military aspects of the question will go far to justify its construction. I should scarcely have troubled to speak at all at this late stage of the debate if it had not been for the honorable and learned member for Bendigo referring to the necessity of establishing an Australian navy, and the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne speaking of our naval defence as not only the first- line of defence, but as the second line and the third line, indicating that he regarded naval defence as the one essential thing, and a military force as almost unnecessary. I believe many other honorable members have spoken much on the naval aspects of the case. I am entirely opposed to the establishment of an Australian navy. I heard the honorable and learned member for Bendigo contrast Austrafia with England, and say that a navy should be our first line of defence. But the position of Australia is entirely different from that of Great Britain. Australia is an island it is true, but it is a continent as well, and to imagine that we can establish a navy to defend 8,000 miles of coast line is to imagine a thing which is far beyond our financial capacity. England is in a very different position from Australia, for she has not only a world-wide commerce and various possessions throughout the world to defend but her own existence depends on free intercourse to and from her shores. If the
British fleet met with a serious reverse - and I suppose that is not beyond the bounds of possibility - and her ports became blockaded, Great Britain would be brought in a very few weeks to her knees to sue for peace, for the simple reason that she could not support her own people. But the ports of Australia might be blockaded for years, and we should suffer no serious inconvenience because we are capable of. feeding and clothing our own people. Once we start to create an Australian navy we must go on and keep pace with every modern improvement. A ship built to-day will be practically useless ten years hence. Once we begin this sort of thing let us do it with our eyes open, and know that it is to be done at an enormous expenditure. The English fleet looks very well on paper, but after all said and done its true strength depends on its more modern vessels, and the mad race for naval supremacy is going on now more ferociously than ever. In England, I believe, 1901 is a year of extreme activity. The British Parliament has voted over £16,000,000 for the construction of ships and armaments alone, quite apart from other naval expenditure. She is adding fifteen battle-ships and twenty-two armoured cruisers to her fleet. Other countries are doing exactly the same thing, although not to that extent, because it is not necessary. Prance is adding six battle-ships and five armoured cruisers to her fleet. Germany is adding nine battle-ships, and Russia nine battle-ships and nine cruisers. Even Japan, during the first six months of this year, has added two battle-ships and three cruisers to her fleet. And so it goes on year after year. Once Australia started this game I guarantee that it would cost more than the taxpayers could stand. Honorable members should take seriously into consideration the fact that this Bill, in clause 37, gives the Government power to build ships without asking Parliament for authority. If we are to establish a navy, then it should not be a toy one. It must be one up to date, else it would be useless. If we were to start with six battleships it would cost eight millions or nine millions, and practically every year we should be adding a million to the expenditure on our fleet. The position of Tasmania presents the only difficulty in the matter. Australia could not be successfully invaded, nor do I think that any hostile power could successfully blockade our ports. Our risk is- very slight if we except the position of Tasmania, which might be made a depot for a foe. But I think we would always be able, without the necessity of having expensive battleships, to send sufficient men to Tasmania to eject any force. Our tine policy is to abandon all idea of having a naval force. I hope’ that honorable members will realize what a naval force would mean. We might have a dozen warships and yet one substantial battleship could riddle the whole lot with a few shots. We must have ships up to date, and if we once started we must go on year after year meeting every modern improvement to keep our navy up to a proper standard, and that would ‘involve an expenditure which this Federation could not undertake. We are part of the British Empire, and if old England became involved in some great crisis and found herself confronted with perhaps two or three first-class European powers, it is perfectly true that she could not spare great battleships out here. Some authorities have gone so far as to say that she would even abandon any idea of keeping a great fleet in the Mediterranean, and would concentrate her whole strength in the Channel to defend her shores, once she had met with any slight reverse. But still there would always be a class of vessels which would be useless for modern warfare, and yet would be quite good enough to face an)’ ships which any foe would be likely to send here, or vessels that would at all events be useful as quick cruisers for conveying troops to Tasmania for the defence of that State. We should fortify our capitals, and, what is of equal importance, our coal depots ; and we should entirely - I use the word “ entirely “ advisedly - rely upon the land forces for the defence of Australia. Furthermore, these land forces should be established as nearly as possible on a purely voluntary basis. I am in entire accord with the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne in his denunciation of what is called militarism, and I should deplore it if this military spirit were to be greatly fostered in Australia. We have been going through a period of excitement in Australia, and we shall pass through1 the inevitable reaction, and, perhaps, the danger is that the reaction may go too far. I consider it will be necessary to have a body of thoroughly trained military men to work our forts and for the purposes of instructing the other branches of our defence forces ; but I hope this House will always put its foot down against any undue fostering of pure militarism. We should strive to encourage rifle clubs in every possible way ; but T think it is absurd to provide that any forces or corps now in existence shall remain in existence under the Bill. Surely we must change our conditions in the light of modern experience. I do not profess to know much about these matters, but I know enough to quite realize that such a picturesque force as the lancers may be useless- I say “may be” - in modern warfare. Why, therefore, should it be provided that any such force now in existence shall be retained 1 We must reform our defence forces in the light of the best experience we can get, and as mounted rifles seem to be much more effective than lancers, I trust that that particular arm of the service1 will be encouraged throughout Australia. While I am opposed to the construction of a purely Australian Navy, I trust that the Ministry will ask this National Parliament to rise to something like a true conception of its responsibility as representing a portion of the Empire.
– I hope the honorable member does not think that I suggested a purely Australian Navy ?
– I did not impute that opinion to the honorable and learned member, but the idea is that we should have an Australian Navy subject to the control of the Ministry.
– No one has suggested that we should have a purely Australian Navy.
– The idea is abroad that we should construct a navy, and if we are to construct it, we should certainly control it. However, what I wish to say is that, whilst I am opposed to the construction of a purely Australian Navy, at Australian expense and to be under Australian control, I trust the Government will ask the Parliament to rise to a proper conception of its responsibility and vote an adequate sum towards the support of the British Navy. With all our talk about patriotism, we are now giving an insignificant vote of £126,000 per annum as a contribution from United Australia to the British Navy. I almost wonder that the British Government accepted it. Whilst the people of Great Britain have for years past contributed not less than 1 2s. per head towards the- support of the navy - -and it will cost something like 15s. per head this year for the same purpose - we, the people of Australia, are paying towards the support of the navy of the Empire, of our loyalty to which we so greatly boast, a paltry £126,000, which works out at something like 8d. or 9d. per head. Surely this is not worthy of a great Commonwealth like this, which boasts so freely of its loyalty. Loyalty and patriotism have not much respect from me when they are exhibited only in time of excitement and hysteria. I want this Parliament, in a time of peace, when there is no hysteria, to rise to a sense of its responsibility, and vote a far greater sum than the miserable amount we are now paying towards the Imperial Navy. I do not desire to go into the details of the Bill, but I wish to refer to the danger pointed out by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne of giving the Ministry of the day too much power under the emergency clauses of the Bill. I am entirely opposed to any idea of enforced service. We have required no enforced service in England, and neither are we likely to require it in Australia. When it comes to a question of forcing our citizens to fight our glory will have departed, indeed. I shall be in favour of excising from the Bill anything that bears the slightest resemblance to a provision for conscription. I am glad to see the Minister for Home Affairs in his place, because I wish to refer to a matter . upon which he has expressed himself. I remember hearing or reading of some Member of Parliament in New South Wales having asked the Minister for Home Affairs, while he was Premier of that State, if he was going to allow New South Wales to be made a recruiting ground for enlisting Imperial soldiers, and my right honorable friend said “No,” and that he would take care nothing of the kind was done. I noticed that a question was asked of the Prime Minister here the other night in reference to the same matter, and that the Prime Minister, without giving a definite answer, said he would have something to say about the matter later on. I do not understand quite what was meant by these questions and answers ; but, if they mean that the Imperial Government are desirous of enlisting men in Australia for service in the British Army or Navy, and that our Government will attempt to prevent them from exercising that liberty, then I, for one, will be entirely at variance with the Government. The Prime Minister said he would have something to. say later on, and I hope that he will express himself to the effect that this National Government will not prevent, or attempt to prevent, the enlisting of citizens in Australia for service in the British Army or Navy, if such citizens think fit to enlist. I cannot understand what is meant by such an objection. If we are part of the Empire, and profess to be proud of our connexion with it, why should we wish to prevent some of our free-born citizens from enlisting . in the British army or navy 1 Great Britain has given up to us this magnificent territory, perfectly free from any conditions whatever ; she has laid upon us no Imperial obligations, but has trusted to our patriotism. I think, therefore, that it will be a sorry day when our Government dare to say that they will prevent by lawI doubt if they have the power - any of our citizens, who may wish to do so, from joining the Imperial forces in maintaining the honour of the Empire, of which we are a part, in any quarter of the globe.
– I do not speak as an expert with regard to the provisions of this Bill, and, in fact, I do not look with a kindly eye on the expert in matters of this kind. - He is generally too much concerned with matters of detail, and is prepared to throw matters of general principle on one side. I recognise with other honorable members that it isnecessary to have some system of national defence for the Commonwealth ; but beyond discussing general principles, I am not in a position to say what form such a system should take. I hope, however, that the time will never come when Australia will have a standing army, or when the civil rights of the Commonwealth will be practically overawed by a military despotism, for that is what generally happens when a people finds a huge standing army in its midst. We were told the other night that all democracies were shortlived, and that if we proceeded to analyze the cause of . their downfall, it was to be found in the effects of militarism. But in all cases there was something behind this spirit of militarism, and that was the greater power of wealth and capital. Wherever great empires have gone down, we find that the heart of the people and the vitals of the people were eaten out by the growth of capitalism and wealth, and it is unfortunate that wherever a huge standing army exists the power of wealth is exercised so as to secure the command of the army in order that it may be used to overawe the. rest of the people. Some honorable members may say that in order to prevent the growth of militarism it is wise to have some form of conscription which will make a soldier ofevery male inhabitant between the ages of 18 and 60. It might be thought that with such a system it would be much more difficult for the wealthy , classes of the country to place themselves in a position of control. I do not, however, agree with that view, and I hope that no such system will ever be introduced here. I hope that the day will never come when we shall have conscription in full force in the same way as in some of the Continental countries, but that our defence forces will be organized upon a purely volunteer system. I think there is a sufficient amount of patriotism amongst Australians to induce them to voluntarily come to the defence of their country in time of need.
– There is no need to force us to fight.
– I do not think that there is any such need. . 1 certainly deplore the statements which have been made by many honorable members who have attempted to advertise us to the world as an aggressive people - a people desirous of sending out armies all over the civilized earth to fight. I hope that the time will never come when such a course of action will be permitted. I trust also that the day will never dawn when Australia shall become a recruiting ground for the Britisharmy.
– Why not?
– Because I take it that we require every male member of our population to assist in building up this country and in making its future prosperous.
– There are a good many unemployed.
– I recognise that. It is one of the inevitable results of our present economic conditions. I hope that the time is not far distant when we shall no longer have large armies of unemployed. But I would rather have men unemployed for a short time, with the off chance of their being able to obtain work, than sanction their being sent away to fight in foreign countries.
– We have to develop a new country here.
– Exactly ; and it requires all the energies of our citizens to develop our magnificent natural resources. There is no justification for sending men abroad to assist in looting other’ people’s country. Too much has been said from time to time upon the question of sending Australian troops abroad. I agree that it is necessary for the defence of this country that we should take early steps to build arsenals and ammunition factories, and to provide ourselves with our own armament and ammunition. As was pointed out by the last speaker, should a crisis arise Australia could not depend upon getting her necessary armaments and ammunition from England. In Queensland, when the war in South Africa was at its highest, it was a very difficult matter indeed for the Government to obtain rifles, ammunition, and armaments generally. In’ point of fact, it was almost an impossibility to get them. The Government could not even supply the rifle clubs with rifles. That was the unfortunate position which Queensland occupied, and it only serves to emphasize the danger to which we are likely to be exposed in the event of any international crisis occurring in which England may be involved, if we are not able to rely upon ourselves. We should cultivate the quality of self-reliance. I hope that in any scheme which we may adopt the necessary steps will be taken to establish our own arsenals and ammunition factories. We were told by the honorable member for West Sydney that we had contributed during the last decade, in connexion with the maintenance of the Australian auxiliary squadron, something like £1,250,000 sterling, whilst- the actual cost of the vessels, exclusive of the flagship RoyalArthur was between £700,000 or £800,000. The total cost of the vessels was about £900,000. A moment’s reflection can induce only one conclusion, namely, that the vessels comprised in the Australian squadron are practically obsolete.
– They were of the new type at the time.
– If it is necessary to take up this first line of defence it is far better for us to make a start immediately. Let us bo honest to the people who sent us here and tell them openly that it is necessary, for the efficient defence of the Commonwealth, ‘ to incur an enormous expenditure for the creation of a navy. It is idle to assert that we must depend upon the navy as our first line of defence if we are not prepared to bear the burden involved in the formation of an efficient navy. I am not altogether of opinion that the navy is really our first line of defence at the present time. We can defend our shores without a navy; but if we are going - as has been hinted by the Prime Minister this afternoon - to take charge of a number of islands in the South Pacific and also ofBritish New Guinea, the result must ultimately be that- - whether we like it or not - we shall have to go in for the creation of a navy. Whatever the cost may be, I would rather that we owned two or three vessels than that we paid any subsidy to the British Government for the use of vessels over which we have no control. As has been pointed out, if a crisis occurred in Great Britain it is very questionable whether England could render us any assistance at all. The only assistance which we could render to the Empire would be that we could defend ourselves. When I hear honorable members talking glibly about rendering assistance to the Empire generally, and of the supremacy of the British navy, I am led to speculate whether they have ever really considered the question at all. 1 I would further point out that practically every ten years these war vessels become obsolete. Hence, if we intend to go in for this firstline of defence, it is obvious that the Commonwealth must incur an enormous expenditure. Only the other day we read a cable in the newspapers which stated that, owing to the improvements made in their submarine boats, the French nation claimed to be the strongest naval power in the world. We all know that for some years past France has been devoting considerable attention to the construction of submarine boats. Only about a week ago we saw that the successful experiment had been attempted of running one of these submarine vessels 140 miles under water.
– They are building over 100 now.
– I understand that the French people are building a very large number. It is quite reasonable to suppose that these vessels will be successful, and- if they are, it behoves us to consider what, is the value of the British navy. The British navy in such circumstances would become practically valueless. -The result must be that attention will have to be directed to devising some means for counteracting the power of these submarine boats. We do not know what the results of this invention may he.
– They are building submarine boats in the British navy.
– I understand that they are. But, from what I can gather, those built by the French people are absolutely the best known to science up to the present time. The secret of their construction remains with the French Government.
– We have submarine boats also.
– Yes ; but the submarine boats at present in the British navy are a mere nothing compared with those invented by the French nation. From time to time it has been urged that Australia requires this naval defence, and also a large standing army. 1 think too much has been made of what Australia requires in the way of defence. It has been repeatedly stated that Australia is likely to be invaded. A few years ago the cry was that the Chinese were going to invade our shores. Now that nation has been thrust aside, and it is urged with much persistency that there is a danger of Japan swooping down upon us either for loot or to divide up the country. From the tone of some of the speeches which have been made, one might be pardoned for thinking that we were almost on the verge of an invasion. I believe that Australia’s isolation is her strongest means of defence. We have been repeatedly told by very eminent men that the 21 miles of sea between England and the Continent is worth 1,000,000 of men to her. If there be any truth in that statement, then Australia is in a very much more secure, position. In any case, Australia’s position is very secure at’ the present time. If we improved our various fortifications, I think that our power of resistance could be made such that no army in existence could successfully invade our territory, lt has been said that the Continental powers have a dozen schemes by which they could invade Great Britain, but the difficulty is in getting the men there and in keeping them supplied. That is exactly the position which Australia occupies at the present time. It is quite true that a hostile nation might be able to land troops at Port Darwin, but what would be the use of them when landed? The whole of their supplies would have to be conveyed to them, so that I do not share :some of the fears which other honorable members entertain. Again, there is no
European power which is likely to attempt an invasion of Australia, for the simple reason that they could .not afford it. Quite apart from the financial aspect of the question, no nation could afford to send the’ men. The whole of Europe is so armed at the present time that no nation could allow 50,000 or 60,000 of her trained men to be deported to Australia. Present conditions, therefore, are such as to make Australia very safe from invasion. We are told that Japan is the nation which is likely to come down upon us and to loot our large cities, or to invade Australia. But it appears to me that Japan has her hands fairly full at the present time with Russia. Moreover, her financial position is such that I do not think she could attempt such a task. I repeat that our isolation, together with the volunteer forces throughout Australia) is sufficient to enable us to defend ourselves. I disagree with those who urge that we should take our share in the defence of the Empire. I ask them if they really know what the defence of the Empire means. The Empire has now probably a hundred troubles upon hand that may result in war at any moment. After all, our risk of invasion and of trouble either from a European power or even from Eastern nations practically results from our connexion with the Empire. This matter has not been touched upon at all. We know that the task which Great Britain has set herself means an enormous amount of taxation, and sooner or later she must break down under its weight. She cannot stand it. If she is working on the theory that she is going to remain equal to two of the greatest naval powers - remembering that Germany as well as France and Russia and other European powers are making every effort to secure enormous navies - then she has set herself a task that is going to press very heavily on the masses of the people.
– What about an income tax ?
– Even with an income tax she must ultimately break down. There is no power, in my estimation, that can continually go on arming itself, as Great Britain is doing, without sooner or later causing her people to groan under the burden of taxation.
– Great Britain can stand it better than any other power.
– That does not alter the case. Any other power that is trying to do the same thing must likewise groan under the weight of taxation. Are we, as a democratic community, prepared to contribute large sums to the defence of the Empire without having any legislative representation 1 Is any honorable member prepared to vote large sums for that purpose without representation for the Commonwealth ? The very basis upon which, not only the Commonwealth, but England itself is carried on, is that wherever there is taxation there shall be representation? Here it is proposed to contribute to the defence of the Empire by land as well as by sea. If England is going to continue her policy of keeping up an enormous navy, and we are going to pay in proportion to our numbers, then we must be prepared to take an equal share in the weight and burden of it. I, for one, am opposed to it. I do not think it would be wise for us to try in any shape or form to levy heavy taxation simply for the sake of keeping up an enormous navy, or to enable us to contribute generally to the defence of the Empire. We know that in all cases of Empire those parts which are’ farthest from the centre are generally in the most danger-. The centre of an Empire is the point at which capital accumulates. It is never found in the very extremes, and I for one will always raise my voice against any attempt to tax the people of the Commonwealth in order that we may assist in the defence of the Empire. What, after all, is England doing at the present time ? She is merely sending armies abroad in order to open up markets from which we get very little benefit. The opening up of these markets is generally to assist a class of individuals, which certainly is not conducive to the best welfare of the Empire as a whole. In such circumstances I will always be opposed to any attempt to increase our contribution towards the cost of the navy, which is supposed to assist in the defence of Austrafia. I shall be opposed not merely to any increase in that contribution but also to its continuance. If we recognise as a Parliament that it is necessary to have this first line of defence we should be honest enough to the people of Australia to come down and say so, and to be prepared to pay for it. If we are not prepared to pay for it, then we ought not to talk of it..
– Is the honorable member prepared to allow all the vessels of the auxiliary squadron to go away from our shores ?
– Certainly, I would be prepared to allow them to go away. If it is necessary to have any warships at all, I would say let us pay for them ourselves and control them. In Australia the great mass of the . people are even worse off than they are in Great Britain. We find out here that wealth only contributes from 17 to 20 per cent, of the taxation, which means that the great mass of the wealth producers of this country bear the -biggest burden. Whether it is in the maintenance of a standing army or otherwise, it is the great mass of the wealth producers who have* to pay the piper. It is all very well, therefore, for some of our honorable friends to tell us that it is necessary for us to contribute to the defence of the Empire. They know very well when they say so that it is not going to interfere with the particuar class which they represent. If it is ever proposed, I hope that those honorable members will be sincere enough to come forward with a proposition for a big income tax or a direct land tax to meet the extra cost. So far as the Bill itself is concerned, it has had a most extraordinary career. Up to the present time not one honorable member has spoken in favour of it, and in such circumstances I would like to suggest to the Government that it would be a very wise thing to withdraw the measure, and to endeavour to model it upon the general sentiments expressed by the House.
– Has the honorable member heard any one say that he will vote against the Bill 1
– I understand the honorable member. In every Parliament there are always a number of members who are prepared to speak against a Bill, but have a “ but “ to their objections, and in the i end they vote for the measure. I certainly think that this Bill does not meet the desires of the House, and I predict that when it comes out of committee, its own mother will not know it, if it has a mother. There are many features of the Bill with which I do not agree. There are certain clauses which practically mean a conscription, although they do not say so in so many words. I am opposed to all forms of conscription. The Bill also enables the Minister at any time to send troops away from Australia to fight in the defence of the Empire. I think that the clauses relating to that matter ought to be eliminiated. I do not consider that we should send a solitary man away from Australia. All that Australia can reasonably be expected to do is to defend herself. Even from the stand-point of Empire, I think that if Australia does that, she does all that can be asked of her. We have an enormous territory to develop, and if our desire is to develop that territory, then we should keep every man here who is willing and able to work. We know that when we send troops away we send the pick of the men. They are men who are useful for pioneering work. They are able-bodied, healthy, strong, young men, who are fitted to endure hardship of every description. We want that class of men here to develop our magnificent resources. If we are going in for an expensive system of militarism such as some of our honorable friends would have us believe we ought ‘ to adopt, then the resources of this country are going to suffer to a very large extent. If we are going to make Australia a nation, we want these young men. Hardly a day passes without some talk of making Australia a great nation, but people who talk in this fashion always forget that we can never build up a nation while we are -a dependency. What is the .use of talking of building up a nation while we are dependent. Before you can do so you must be independent.
– The honorable member would not cut the painter ?
– I believe that John Bright, who was no pro-Boer-
– He was a little Englander.
– We are told that he was a little Englander. I suppose the honorable and learned member for Bendigo is a large Englander1 How long has he been so ? After all, what does it matter ? What does this lust for empire mean ? It merely means the robbing of some one else’s country. I have a very interesting extract here, which I think ought to be read. I do not consider that any one could class John Bright as a man who had any disloyal sentiments, or as a man who was not a patriot. What did he say concerning the colonies ? Speaking at a banquet given to Mr. Chamberlain at Birmingham on the 2Sth March, 1888, he said -
Now, I should like to ask the Federation people whether the colonies of this country - Canada and the many colonies, the great colonies, the cluster in the South Pacific, the Australian colonies - whether they think that these colonies will be willing to bind themselves to the stupid foreign policy of the Governments of this country ? Will they be willing to undertake the responsibility of entering into war, the seat of which is 10,000 miles away, and in which they cannot have the slightest influence or interest, and when the)’ may not have been in the least consulted as to the cause of the quarrel for which this country was rushing into war ? In my opinion, the colonies will never stand a policy of that kind. If I was a Canadian, or Victorian, or New South Wales man, or Queenslander, or New Zealander, I would take good care, as far as I was concerned, that my voice should never go in favour of any connexion whatever with those complications in the foreign policy of the Government of the mother country. It would be much better for humanity, and for them, and for us, that those colonies should be under governments of their own, and independent, and should not meddle with quarrels in which the)’ were not concerned. Let them endeavour to maintain their own honour, and not take part in the miserable quarrels, contests, and wars which for a long time past have disfigured the history of the kingdom in which we live.
– Was he not speaking as a Quaker 1
An Honorable Member. - John Bright believed in “ peace at any price.”
– Even “peace at any price” is better than being butchers and creating an army of professional butchers. Personally, I am opposed to all forms of war. War in all its aspects is barbarous and brutal, and I cannot understand any Christian or civilized man believing in it, whether for the purposes of loot or acquisition of territory. We should be more humane in these times! Whether the country making war is in the right or not the crime is just the same, as it means taking the lives of others, and it is cruel, brutal, and savage to do that, no matter on what side a country may be. Unfortunately, there are times when we are compelled to take one side or the other ; but I hope that the time will never come when Australia will willingly take part in war. I hope Australia will have no other desire than to live at peace with the world, so that she may be in a position to build up ‘the industries that should be created within our shores in order to make a happy and prosperous people.
– I do not intend to detain the House long upon the Defence Bill, but there are a
few points in connexion with it to which I wish to draw attention. In the first place,
coming from the State of which the Minister of Defence is the representative, I should
like to say that I believe the feeling of the people there regarding the subject of
defence is very much akin to the .feeling .prevailing elsewhere throughout the
Commonwealth. The people of Western Australia, like the people of the rest of
Australia, are not in any sense extremists. There may be a few individual cases of
people who are open to be called jingoists, and. there may be some coming under the
designation of Little Englanders; but the great mass of the people view the whole
question in a thoroughly sensible way, and while they are all opposed to war, and
regard it as a very horrible thing which they would like to see abolished, they
recognise that they have to look at it from a matter of fact point of view, and that
while all the nations of the world are armed, it is necessary for the people of this
country to defend themselves against any possible foe by which the Commonwealth may be
assailed. The views of a majority of the people of Australia are crystallized in the
motto “ Defence not defiance.” They merely want to ‘ be able to hold what
they have got, without extending their possessions, and without indulging in any
jingoism or extreme views of that nature. They -equally well recognise that that
preparedness for war which is so necessary, is the very best guarantee for peace. One
of the lessons which has been taught - or which ought to have been taught - by the
recent war in South Africa is that in one respect at any rate the scope of warfare has
been changed, and that the men who are now valued in the field are not those who
merely fight with their rifles or other weapons of war, but with their brains. That
was the real secret of the success of the Australians in South Africa. Each man fought
as a unit, but each exercised common sense ; and yet, at the same time, they all
fought as an organized body. The Boer war has shown us that, in order to be successful
in warfare, armies should be treated as composed of intelligent individuals, rather
than as soldiers in the past have been regarded. Another lesson of the war is that it
was not the professional soldiers who distinguished themselves most, but rather the
untrained men who went from these States ; and that is the class of men on whom we
shall have to rely if ever Australia is in need of soldiers to defend her shores. The
position . of the Commonwealth is such as will necessitate a larger defence force .
than is necessary for most other countries. We comprise an area extending over
3,000,000 square miles, and our population amounts to about 3,700,000. That is a very
small’ population for such a huge area. We should never’ forget that we hold
that area not merely for ourselves, but as . a heritage for the civilized people of
the future. Another matter we ought to consider in connexion with this subject is the
position of Japan as regards* Australia. It is well-known that Japan for many years
has been very ambitious to establish colonies for her surplus population. Not so very
many years ago, the United States only just forestalled Japan in the annexation of the
Sandwich Islands, and it is an open secret that Japan is very desirous of emulating
Great Britain by establishing in Asia a nation somewhat akin to Great Britain in
Europe. Japan wants colonies, and is very eager to extend her possessions. If at any
time Great Britain were involve’d in a foreign war, and Japan happened to be
engaged in the same conflict on the opposite side, I do not think there is the least
doubt but that the first direction in which Japan would look with a view to attacking
the Empire, would be towards Australia. She would probably endeavour to secure some of
the huge uninhabited areas of the north, or the west, with a view to developing the
energies of her surplus population. ‘ For this reason the question of Commonwealth
defence is of almost primary importance. The honorable member for East Sydney, in his
speech on this Bill, referred to the military system of Switzerland. I was much
impressed by what he said. His description of the citizen soldiers of Switzerland
fascin,ated me, and led me to believe that perhaps some such system might be
applicable to the Commonwealth. I was, however, somewhat disillusionized when I looked
up a book on the subject in the library The
On arrival yesterday, the Right
Forrest, Federal Minister for Defence, was met at Fremantle by one guard of honour, and at Perth Station by another. Every man present received five shillings payment for his services, and the paltry compliment has therefore cost the Finance department £ 50 and upwards. The calculation of cost was made on the assumption that both guards of honour were composed, as the Perth guard was, of a 100 men. I do not know whether the statement is ‘true, but I have seen no contradiction of it, and I mention it so that the Minister may have an opportunity of dealing with it. A number of honorable members talk about economy, but vote the other way, and I commend the statement to their consideration. I should like the facts of the case to be known, and I think that we should have full information regarding the cost of these guards of honour.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).Although I am somewhat unready to take part in this debate, as I was under the impression that the Government would proceed with the consideration of the Post and Telegraph Bill to-night, 1 should like to say one or two words upon the measure, because I consider it one of the most important that will occupy our attention. We have to defend ourselves whether we like it or not. It is an obligation of our citizenship which none of us can shirk, and I take it none of us wishes to shirk ; at any rate, I for one do not. I recognise that we must respond to the obligations of a twofold citizenship - we being citizens of Australia, and as such, citizens of the Empire at large. That being so, the obligation is laid upon us to pay regard not only to the defence of our own country, but also to the larger question of defending the Empire of which we are proud to be a part. At the same time I do not think that we should do well to parade our military strength before the world to any greater extent than we are obliged to do, and I could not help but feel that the Minister for Defence made rather a show of himself when he stated with so much unction that we had 970,000 men capable of bearing arms, and between 20 and 60 years of age. I believe that he included in that number all the men in Australia who are between 20 and 60 years of age, not leaving out of account the halt, the lame, the blind, and the many who a.re disqualified in other ways from the performance of active military duties. I do not think that we shall do any good -by this silly parade of our fighting strength to the world, when we know in our hearts that we cannot put so many men into the field, and that even if we could we have not the means to equip them. It contributes neither to our own welfare nor to the strength of the Empire, nor can it affect the minds of those in other parts of the world who may, perhaps, look upon us with envious eyes, to make a false statement of our strength, because they know as well as we do what our military strength really is, and what the efficiency of our defences would be in time of war. At the same time I feel that the obligation is laid upon us not only to do our duty to our continent, and to defend our race, our homes, and our commerce, but to have some respect for the exigencies of the’ Empire at large. I should like to say a few words on a matter which was referred to by the leader of the labour party. I take it that this statement is typical of many others emanating from men who believe that our defence should be confined to our continent - that we should on no account go beyond the confines of the continent in defence of the Empire, no matter what the urgency may be. I do not subscribe to that doctrine. I believe it would be better to meet the foe away from our shores than to wait for him to come here and get a footing on our coasts.
– What ! after the teachings of the Boer war t
– After the teachings of the Boer war I do not think it would be a good tiling for us to sit idly by in case of a combined attack on the Empire and to let an enemy land on our shores, and then drive him off. That is not my way of defending ourselves. I can conceive, and any honorable member need not stretch his imagination very much to conceive, of a combination of European powers against England, provoked by the very jealousy arising from her success, owing to the possession of these successful outlying colonies and dependencies. I should imagine if such an attack were ever made it would be our obligation and our duty, as we have seen it to be in South Africa, to defend our . Empire even though it should be away from these shores. In going to South Africa to fight there, we were just as much defending our hearths and homes in Australia as if the enemy had been fighting on this continent. I believe that if any serious menace were to come to South Africa, which I regard, and many other honorable members and authorities regard, as the key of our Empire, it would result very injuriously to our safety and our commerce here. I am not one of those who believe we should stay here until the enemy gets a footing on our shores, but wherever “ the need is seen for our defence force to demonstrate themselves, that is the point to which we should betake ourselves in defence of the integrity of the Empire as a whole. I do not want it to be inferred from this - as it might very, well be - that I am in favour of the raising of a standing army in Australia, with intent to deport it on the slightest possible provocation. I do not know what the future may involve for us in this regard, but I think that in the near future, and so far as we may see immediately ahead, there is no need to put the whole defence of this continent on any other than an absolutely voluntary footing. Whatever is done in defence of the Empire away from our shores should be done, as has been done in South Africa, spontaneously, and from the feeling of loyalty inherent in the people, which, after all, is our best and surest safeguard. I do not believe either - and this has been made clear by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie - that we can follow slavishly the Swiss model. We cannot make all our people soldiers. It seems to be inconsistent with the very genius of our race to put this compulsion on citizens, to make soldiers of them whether they choose to be so or not. Our traditions, our prejudices, our preferences, our national leanings have more to do with the determination of this great question so far as Englishmen are concerned, and so far as Australians are concerned, than anything else. Perhaps our insular position has led us to have a horror of these conscription clauses. Whether it is our insular position, or something arising from our inherent love of independence and liberty - whatever may be the predisposing cause - we are not with those who take readily to this idea of compulsory service, compulsory mobilization, but we adhere to the principle of voluntarism. I hope we shall not depart from the voluntary principle in building up the defence force of Australia. There is no . parallel between ourselves and other countries which have adopted conscription. For instance, there is no parallel between this country and Switzerland. The Swiss are a small community hedged in by warlike powers. Here we are a part - a distant part, it is true - of a mighty but seat.tered Empire. What may be an ideal condition of affairs so far as the defence of Switzerland is concerned, is not necessarily ideal in its relation to ourselves on this continent. I believe we have a right to share the responsibilities of the Empire as well as its privileges. But I am against the latent conscription in the Bill, and in committee I hope to be with those who seek to eliminate that very idea. It has been said to us that what is embodied in the Bill exists, as a latent power in the Constitution, and in our form of social organization. That is very true ; but there is an essential difference between a latent power which may be a power ready to be called forth from a sense of our moral obligation, and a latent power ready to be called forth by reason of a legal obligation which we have imposed on ourselves. I believe there is a latent power to defend the country inherent in all States who set themselves up as organized communities. But I want to see this done from a sense of moral obligation and loyalty rather than as the result of the exercise of a power which we choose to put into the hands of the Executive, to work their own sweet will with regard to the fighting that has to be done in defence of the Empire. In other words, this is the difference ; whereas now this latent power can only be called forth by the Governor-General, with the advice of his Executive Council, and with the consent of Parliament, if we pass .the Bill on its present lines we shall give that latent power into the hands of the Executive Council, to be disposed of as they may deem fit, without resort to Parliament in the last extremity. I want the right to send these forces away from our shores to be subject to the control of Parliament, and, if possible, to be in its absolute direction.
– No offer to be made to send troops away without consulting Parham ment.
– If there is an offer made to send troops away without consulting Parliament, we want the Executive to feel that they can only do that kind of thing when the will of the people has manifested itself unmistakably. I do not want the Executive to be able to commit the Commonwealth- behind the back ,of the people in connexion with any secret negotiations as to the defence of the Empire at any point. I want Parliament to have the right to control our military operations, no matter where they may be undertaken. Therefore, I may be . found in committee with those who seek to eliminate the emergency clauses, and to define the term “ emergency “ in a very different way. The reason why I am so anxious that Parliament should not give over this power to the Executive is because war is not like any other undertaking. A blunder in the shape of a declaration of war, and in the commitment of ourselves to warlike obligations, cannot be remedied like any ordinary legislative blunder we may commit. A blunder of that kind can never be recalled, and may result in very serious consequences to the Empire. Isolated as we are, and away from the warlike obligations of the world at large, we have time to consult Parliament, and the Government should only take these extreme and stringent steps after parliamentary sanction has been deliberately obtained. Before the Executive can be given these plenary powers in regard’ to the defence force of the Empire, I believe Ave shall have to go further, and give the Executive a voice in the determination of peace’ or war, as it affects the Empire as a whole. The time will not be yet, I know. Imperial federation is a matter which may grow - wecannot make it by any machinery; but I believe the time will come when these States will have to be consulted at the seat of Empire, and we shall require to have some say in the determination of all those larger matters of policy which affect the destiny of the Empire. Before we allow the Executive the same plenary powers as exist on the Continent of Europe, particularly as exist in London, there must be consultation with our Executive on the part of the Home authorities before entering into or embarking on a condition of affairs which may land us in very serious consequences. What has led to the conscription on the Continent ? It has very often been a fighting emperor, or it has been the contiguity of warlike nations. In other words, geography and national character have had a very large influence in determining these methods of conscription in older countries than ours. Our position seems to naturally exempt us from the obligations arising out of the idea of conscription. For instance, we have no warlike nations in contiguity to us. -We are isolated, girt by the great broad sea which rolls between , us and the warlike nations of Europe, and I hope we shall not set up to be a fighting people, to seek to enlarge our territory across the seas. I hope we shall develop peaceful ideals - commercial ideals if you like, social ideals - that we may make social experiments, as I believe we are doing in a way and to an extent which they dare not even dream of in some of the older countries where their conditions are very much more complicated. In a word, our methods are to be those of peace, not those of war for the sake pf dominion, and for the sake of conquering other nations. We have no motive urging us to the methods of conscription. We have no motive which should lead us to adopt this method of compulsory mobilization, which. finds so much favour on the Continent, and which is always without exception resorted to. Before our eyes we have standing out as a beacon light the great Continent of America. In this respect I am prepared to go to America to see what we ought to do in the immediate future. We have been told by various thinkers, writers, and authorities that we can never hope to be a great nation unless we become a warlike people. The contrary of that is seen to be the case on the great Continent of America. They have shown to the world unmistakably that they may be great without necessarily being warlike. In looking to the requirements of the moment, we should look to the Continent of America as a beacon light to guide us in what .we are to do immediately ahead. There, as we know, they have built up the finest commerce perhaps in the world ; they certainly have developed their resources in a way which soon bids fair to become without parallel. They have built up a great nation in every respect, and they have -done it with just sufficient soldiers to police their shores and territory. Our danger of invasion is a very remote one. We are awa)’ from Europe, and the balance of power is so even amongst the nations that no one of them could afford to send a marauding army here to despoil us. Therefore we may feel ourselves to be absolutely secure from attack by a European power at present. With regard to the East, I have no such fear as some others entertain that we are likely to be attacked by Japan. I think that great nation has its hands full in grappling with the powers that are contiguous to it ; and that it will continue to have its hands too full, diplomatically and in every other way, in maintaining its position amongst the great nations, to permit of its casting longing glances towards Australia. Moreover, I am vain enough to believe that if the Japanese should contemplate a descent in armed force upon Australia we could make it very uncomfortable for them, even though we have not their overwhelming numbers. At any rate, I have no fear of these invasions, and to my mind there is nothing to urge us to follow the military methods of Europe or to adopt any system of general mobilization. t At the same time we ought not to forget that we are a commercial people. We are sending away from these shores £140,000,000 worth of commerce every year. Of every £7 worth of our produce we send £5 worth to foreign, markets, and therefore an obligation is laid upon us to see that our commerce is properly policed. That leads me to the idea that we should always be in favour of keeping a navy upon our coast, of at least the same strength as the one we have to-day. I would not, on any consideration, advocate the sending away of that, navy from our shores, but I believe we get that navy at a very cheap rate, and that we should always keep it, as far as possible, for the protection of our commerce. Yet, strange to say, the question of naval defence is one that is left entirely out of the Bill, except for a plenary clause which practically gives the executive power to do what they like in this matter hereafter. We may take it that the Bill does not contemplate the immediate establishment of a naval force of any description, and I donot go with those honorable members who think that we ought not to have any navy at all, unless we can set up one of our own. It seems ridiculous to argue that because we cannot run ships of our own, we should not have any at all. I believe that the ships provided for us by the Home Government are furnished at a ridiculously cheap rate, and that we ought to be grateful for them. Reference has been made in the course of the debate to the fact that we have already contributed £700,000 towards the maintenance of the Australian auxilliary squadron, but supposing that we have spent such a sum, we have had in return for it the guarantee that the protection of the navy of the Empire would be at our disposal. We have had this assurance for a sum of money that would have been barely sufficient to buy a very second rate battle-ship - a sum representing only half the cost of a first class battle-ship ; and I think we should look at the matter in a common-sense way. Our commerce is protected fully and completely now, as we have all the .strength of the British navy at our command in the time of emergency, and the amount we pay is a very small contribution indeed. I am not quite clear that we ought not to take some immediate steps to form the nucleus of a naval defence force. I speak with bated, breath on these matters, because there are honorable members who know so much more about them from practical experience than I do, but it seems to me that we might very well try to form the nucleus of a defence force. I am not quite sure that I would not sooner see some step taken in the direction of forming a naval, rather than a military college, because I think that we should endeavour to train men accustomed to the use of ships, for warlike purposes if necessary. We should defend our forts and protect our coaling stations, of course, but what is the position of our naval brigade at present? We all know that our naval brigade is more properly a land force dressed up in naval uniform than anything else. We have no ships for them to practise with, and they can get no training on the water, and we might make a commencement in this matter by endeavouring to bring about a better attitude on the part of the Home Government on the question of the naval training of our men here. For instance, why should not our men be allowed to go on board some of the warships in our harbors in order that they might be put through the minutiae of naval drill. I do not see why England should not send out some of her warships that are not quite up to sailing away to give the enemy battle, in order to afford our men the opportunity of having instilled into their minds the rudiments of training in naval warfare. All these matters might be arranged at very little cost indeed, and we might make a beginning in the training of our men in « the arts of naval warfare in a manner that is not possible at present.
– The Commonwealth has ships of its own ; there are two in Queensland and one in South Australia.
– The honorable member has only to name the ships in order to show at once that he is joking. The Bill before us seems to contemplate the continuance of military caste, and the continuance also of unbusiness-like methods as applied to military matters. What we want to do, perhaps, more than anything else is to exercise a better and more acute business-like control over defence matters. I believe that we could get more efficiency than we have hitherto attained without exceeding our present expenditure. Sir Robert Giffen the other day wrote an article in one of the magazines on the question of a business war office, and I think we have need to betake ourselves to the learning of a similar lesson here. I remember sitting on a military commission in Sydney recently, and the one thing that was borne in upon our minds more than anything else was that in the defence affairs of our own State - and I dare say it is much the same in other States - there seemed -to be an utter lack of the application of those business principles that we follow in all our other affairs in life ; and if we could organize our Defence department on more business-like lines, we could not fail to achieve a higher degree of efficiency, even though we incurred no more expense. I believe that our militia should not be abolished, but that on the contrary they should be encouraged, and should exist side by side with the volunteers. The difference between the two forces at present seems to be largely a matter of temperament. There are many men who would not join the partiallypaid forces, but who would gladly become members of a volunteer corps, and, on the other hand, there are men who would prefer to be paid for their services. It seems to me that the two forces can very well go on, side by side, in friendly rivalry, or harmony, or whatever it may be termed, under our present conditions, at any rate. In this way, we should, as individuals, discharge our moral -and legal obligations in regard to the defence of the Empire - I mean by the payment of our partially-paid men. If we have no conscription, our liability and responsibility as individuals are as great as if we had, and surely the men who give up their time and attention and leisure hours to the cultivation of the arts of defence, are entitled to some return if they care to take it. Therefore, I would not abolish the partially -paid forces, but would rather encourage them side by side with the volunteer forces. The Bill appears to me to provide for an administration that would be too much ‘ centralized. For instance, I find that a sergeant cannot be appointed without reference to the district commandant. Surely the commander of a company ought to have the power to single out a man and appoint him as a sergeant, and, consistently with a unified control of the whole army, we should do well to .allow the responsibility for details of administration to rest upon the subordinate officers as far as possible. I think clause 15 of the Bill might be altered in a way that would be very beneficial to the service as a whole. It is provided at present that a man may enter the service in an official capacity, that is to say he may become an officer, without undergoing any examination beforehand. It is at this initial point that so many men, who turn out to be other than good officers, are at fault, because they do not possess the qualifications they ought to have before entering upon the discharge of their duties. I think that before a man takes control of a company or a regiment, or occupies any official position whatever, he should be proved and tested by examination. I hope to see an effort made in committee to break down some of the frivolous and foolish distinctions that are maintained under our present system. For instance, at present a permanent colonel has forage allowed for two horses, while a volunteer colonel has forage for only one. I suppose the horse of the volunteer colonel eats quite as much fodder as a horse belonging to a permanent colonel, and I fail to understand why there should be any difference in the allowances. Then I find that a permanent colonel receives twice as much pay per day as a volunteer colonel does. I think that when a volunteer colonel is out with his company or his regiment, and is engaged in his military duties, he ought to receive just as much pay per day as a permanent colonel, for the time he is on duty. Why the permanent colonel should get twice as much I do not know.
– Because heis twice as good a man.
– I do not admit that; because I believe that some of our volunteer colonels are just as good as many of the permanent colonels.- If any one of them is only half as good a man, it seems to me that we cannot do better than give him half-pay, as we are doing at present. It is a distinction which ought to be abolished. We should pay them both alike when they are performing the same kind of duty. Social influence exercises an ill effect upon our forces at the present time. We were told at the military inquiry which we conducted in New South Wales, by a man high in the command of our forces, that the reason why many of the officers were selected for the command of the men who went to South Africa was because they belonged to good families. Youngsters of twenty years of age, who lacked all previous training, were sent away as officers, whilst old, seasoned, trained men, who were anxious to go, were set aside. The only reason which could be assigned for this indefensible action when it was inquired into, was that some of the youngsters belonged to good families ?
– Who told the honorable member that 1
– An officer high in command in New South Wales.
– That was not proved at the inquiry.
– It was proved that young officers who possessed no previous training were sent in command to South Africa.
– That was not the reason given.
– It was the reason given, and the honorable gentleman will find it in the report of the committee.
– That was not proved.
– There was an utter absence of any qualifications against their names. In other cases men were set aside who there was reason to believe had every qualification, and had passed very severe military tests.
– Nearly every young officer who was sent away behaved well.
– I believe that ; nevertheless, the statement which I have mentioned was deliberately made before the committee. In my judgment no man ought to gain a military command simply because he has social relations in the State services. The only test should be that of merit. Whether a man comes from the ranks or is of high birth matters not. So long as he has the qualifications to lead, he is the man who ought to conduct operations in warfare. That is the class of man upon whom we must rely if we are to have an efficient force. This Bill, oughtto make it clear that a man may begin at the bottom rung of the ladder and by sheer force of merit climb steadily and persistently upward till he has attained the highest command within the gift of the Commonwealth. I have very little more to say at present. Matters of detail will properly come up for consideration in committee. But it occurs to me that we cannot do better than take lessons from those who have already seen’ actual warfare. Only the other day Colonel Kelly came back to tell us that one lesson which the war had taught him was the absolute necessity of being equipped with modern arms. Secondclass weapons, he says, are of no use at all. Not only should we have good weapons, but we should be able to use them. To shoot straight is the first prerequisite for a good defence of our country. If we lay ourselves out to cultivate the art of good shooting, we shall by consequence lay ourselves out for the steady and persistent encouragement of our. rifle clubs. We shall do for them immensely more than we have ever tried to accomplish in the history of these States. If we encourage our men to the fullest possible extent to become good shots, we shall be laying broad and deep the ‘first’ foundation for a good sound national defence. I believe we should begin early in this matter. I believe that we should begin with the cadets, and train them up to the use of the rifle in such a way as to make them proficient marksmen by the time they have reached manhood. Without the necessity for conscription and simply by relying upon- the encouragement given to to the voluntary spirit which is within us all - the spirit to defend our hearths and homes - we can build up a defence which will make us impregnable to all outside powers, and give us a defence which shall be adequate to all immediate purposes. In addition to cultivating accurate marksmanship, we should absolutely lay it down in this measure that all positions in our defence force shall be open to whoever cares to aspire to them. When we have done that, and brought to bear a business-like aptitude in the administration of our defence office, we shall have done all that our immediate requirements seem to demand. The ideal to be kept in view can be stated in a very few words. While steadily pursuing our ideal of peace, we should at the same time be prepared to defend our Empire, if needed.
– After listening for the past couple of months to some of the great military speeches which have been delivered, I feel to-night that I am a military man. The fact of the matter is that I thinkI am upon horseback. Indeed, it has seemed to me as I have sat here from day to day listening to these splendid military orations, that we were almost in an eternal struggle for our own national existence. Yes : I can hear the shots from the Japanese guns. .
– When did this occur ?
– No more put-up interjections.
– Really, it seems to me that we can hear to-day the sounds of military preparations.
– The honorable member has been reading the Argus again.
– The Argus ! As that is politically a negligible quantity its barking has no more effectupon me than has the bite of the Australian flea upon the tail of the American eagle. However, it seems tome that we can almost hear the music of the boisterous drums ; yes, the silver voices of heroic bugles calling our military men from the hills, the mountains, the dales, and the valleys. Yes, I can see vast multitudes gathered together listening to the impassioned orations of heroic orators calling upon the people to defend their country against the invasion of rabbits and bandicoots. Really I must confess that for 30 years I heard the same cry in the United States, “ We are going to have an invasion.” When I lived in Mexico, I heard the same cry that I hear now in Australia, “ Somebody is going to invade us. We cannot tell which nation it is, but surely some nation is coming.” Ever since I have been in Australia, a period of thirteen years - with the exception of the little time that I spent in Tasmania - I have heard the same cry of “ an invasion,” but the only invasions that I ever read of are invasions of rabbits. To-night, therefore, just for a few moments, I want to dwell upon the reason of this thing. I take it that this is a democratic government - I take it that it is resting on justice, that it is regulated by law, and that there are a reasonable lot of people to manage the affairs of this country. That is the way it looks to me ; but, perhaps, I am mistaken. Let us look at the Bill which is before us. It is absolutely full of the wildness and sublimity of romance - military romance. But it is just a little too strenuous to quite satisfy the ideals of the romantic military people. These are not the days of Napoleon nor of Hannibal, neither are they the days of Alexander. The nations cannot sneak an army into a country now. Before that army starts they send a wire. Before ever they start somebody sends a wire - some newspaper manto tell us that they are coming.
– The press interviews them, of course.
– Yes certainly. Before they are on the ship another wire will come - “ The Japanese army have started.” All we want is a national police force. I remember that one time when I was in England an Englishman said to me, “ Supposing that Lord Wolseley . landed in New York to-morrow with 200,000 red coats, what would [the President of the United States do”? I replied, “He would simply wire .to the .police of New York to arrest them as vagrants.” That is what we should do here. If the Japanese landed here we should send out for a few constables, and arrest them for vagrancy. If they landed at Carpentaria they would i eat themselves out of house and home before they got half way to Port Augusta. I do hope that the Australian people are reasonable. I understand that reasoning with men who have renounced their reason is like administering medicine to dead cats. But I know honorable members are intelligent, and that is why I talk to them. Would I be in this House if I had not confidence that I should meet a lot of reasonable men here ? Long before an army sailed from Japan or China should we not have the news of their intended departure? Did not honorable members know the very morning upon -which the American army sailed for Cuba 1 Did they not know it upon 13th April, 1897 ? Did we not know at Kalgoorlie, and did not I have to give an announcement that the Americans had won? I did not get a wire. There was no trouble about that at all. I knew that the Americans would win, because we belonged to the Anglo-Celtic people. What is your British babe - he wants to fight from the very start. We are a fighting people. Then why talk about not being able to fight the Japanese ? They have to bring coal and provisions upon their ships. Look at the- trouble which Admiral Dewey had to get munitions, supplies, and coal with which to go to Manila. If the British had not allowed him to get his supplies of coal in Hong Kong before he was ordered to clear out under a sort of understood veiled threat business, where would the Americans have been at Manilla ? The Japanese have no place where they could put this army j no station where they could get their supplies from,” yet they are going to come down here and 4,000,000 Australians are going to get down supinely on their knees and say “Oh King Jap ! take us ! “ Is that to be the position ? No. I believe I could fight them myself singlehanded. I say that 5,000 Australians such as we sent to South Africa - not machines, massed together like the poor Tommy Atkinses, but intelligent individuals - any where in this great Commonwealth could defend it against 200,000 Japanese, 200,000 Chinamen, or 200,000 of any other nation of the world barring our own. Let us look at the matter from another stand-point. Suppose the foe lands at any of these places, they have to live. Where are they going to get then- supplies from ? How are they to live ? Are they to live on rabbits till they can get into civilized parts ? It is preposterous to talk of an invasion of Australia. There is another little point bearing on this matter, and that is in regard to training. I have done with the question of invasion, because I do not think there is any nation in the world which could invade us. Three or four hundred of us went to South America to take the Mosquito Kingdom, but we found that they were too strong for us, and we did not attack them. We recognise that every nation that trades’ with another has an interest in that nation. The Americans are getting a big trade in Australia, and even if Great Britain were not able to face the music when an enemy threatened, the United States would step in and say - “ No ! We have a little trade out there, -and you cannot interfere.” Did I not talk to the United States admiral in the Town-hall here, and did he not say - “ These are a great people, and I regret that we do not get more trade out here.” That was his first thought. I say right here that there is no fear of any invasion, and I do hope that we shall not go in for a military oligarchy. Every great democracy that has been crushed has been crushed by military despotism - by the “man on horseback.” I admit that war wastes the accumulation of the people. A few men grow into great opulence and wealth and great importance, but it casts a great gloom over the vast multitude of the people. They recognise that they have to pay the taxes. We do not want a military despotism, or the “man on horseback,” in Australia, and that is why I suggested the other day that the only uniform which the men ought to wear was a button on the shoulder. If we do away with the feathers, if we do away with spurs - and I have often seen the spurs worn by these military men tear the dresses of the ladies, with whom they dance - we take all the military glory out of these chaps. If they want to earn their living _ by butchering, instead of developing industries for the advanceof the people, let them go at it ; but I am going to oppose any system that has an idea of establishing in this country any sort of a military organization which is going to interfere with the people. What does it mean? In the United States they have regiments of millionaires’ sons, and barracks, and guns. They have two or three hundred thousand men there under” the volunteer system. That is a most dangerous system to a democracy. . Why is it so ? Birds of a feather flock together, and when there is trouble you will see them crossing the stream together. Abraham Lincoln said - “ Don’t swap horses while you are crossing the stream ! “ But we do not consider that we have any streams here to cross. I believe in a drill system. I believe in teaching the young men a little discipline, so as to make men of them. I wish we had every larrikin in Melbourne in a barracks for a couple of months, anyhow, once a year. The country boys will join, and will learn something about military discipline, but the vast multitudes in the cities will not do so. We could have our drill-masters going out into every town and teaching the young men on twelve or fifteen afternoons a year, and it should be compulsory for the men to close up their places of business and to go out and drill on the squares on those particular afternoons. Those who have travelled the United States since the Spanish war find that it is a great drill camp. Prom the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the tepid waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the snow-capped regions of the Arctic north, it is one great camp. In fact they are even drilling the women there. That is all we need in this country. We simply want to train men so that they can march and countermarch, arid then teach them to have confidence and self-reliance. Once we have done that, there can be no danger of invasion. If we set up a great military establishment, it will mean spending thousands of pounds of the people’s money, or of loan money. I am going to oppose loans. Let us tax ourselves to meet the future, and not go on mortgaging posterity, because it is not we who pay ; we only pay the interest, and we hand down the payment of the principal. If we build up this great military system what will be the result ? In two or three years it will be obsolete. We have this new submarine ‘cigar-shaped ship which slips under the ocean for twelve or fifteen hours and blows up our big warships, and we may have an army in balloons dropping lyddite on our cities before long. Let us put all this aside and establish a national police force. If we have drill masters we can send them into the country to drill the men to fire the enemy out. Then we should have a national gauge of railways. If we had a war- at Cooktown, by the time that the Queensland army would be defeated the New South Wales army would get to the line, but the Victorian and South Australian armies would be playing hookey and quoits at Albury, waiting for trains. Such would be possible under the present system. And yet we hear of all this military glory. I want Australia to rest on industry and love, and on intelligent application to progress - not on military despotism, and not on cunning or violence - so that we shall all work together to advance this country to be the great country that every one is talking about.
Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).The honorable member who has just sat down has thrown quite a new light on some of the subjects relating to defence, and I think ‘there is a good deal in many of his remarks. I am not going to deal with them now. I do not want to touch on the details of the Bill or on the very many interesting points in connexion with military matters that have been raised during the debate. This has been a most interesting debate. I have listened to the greater part of it patiently, and have enjoyed the tone of the speeches. I certainly think it would be difficult to have speeches couched in a more democratic strain ‘ than we have heard or which On the whole could be in better taste. They were filled generally with ideas of lofty patriotism, and a determination to go in for such defences as will best enable Australia to work out her own career. The debate has been of an exceptionally democratic nature. We have had speeches in which it has been laid down that we ought to have a citizen soldiery. Old-world military ideas are to be completely discarded ; everything is to be up to date. We are -star ting a new nation and a new defence force with it. We are not trammelled by old conditions, and we have the advantage of a recent war - fought with modern weapons and modern armaments for the first time - for our guidance. The question that has been occurring to me right through is, “ How are we going to get all these democratic notions of ours within the four comers of the Bill”? That is the difficulty. I see nothing of these democratic proposals in the Bill. It has been described as a skeleton measure. It is not more than two or three years since a measure almost exactly similar was introduced in the South Australia Legislature by the right honorable the Minister for Trade and Customs, Sergeant Kingston. That Bill was introduced before the Boer war, before the advantages of a citizen soldiery had been proved, and before federation at all, so that the similarity between the two measures has not failed to impress me.
– I thought this Bill was drawn up half-a-century ago ?
– But that was not half-a-century ago. It was only two or three years ago.
– Well, by men with minds that belong to half-a-century ago.
Mr.BATCHELOR.- What I wish to point out is, that although the speech delivered by the Minister for Defence himself in introducing the Bill was democratic, if we pass the Bill in its present form we shall pass it on lines precisely the same as those we should have adopted before these latest democratic ideas took possession of us.
– The Government must withdraw the Bill.
Mr.BATCHELOR. - If the Government withdraw the Bill I am afraid that when they set
to work to try and find out what kind of measure will be acceptable to the majority of
the honorable members they will have a difficult task. I am not suggesting to them that
they should withdraw it. What I want to say is that really the whole thing depends on
administration. As a skeleton it might do very well with some alterations,ashave been
suggested bythehonorable member for Northern Melbourne and others, whose amendments I
shall certainly feel impelled to support. The whole Bill depends upon administration,
and I have been wondering whether we can trust the present Government to administer the
Bill in the spirit in which this House has certainly shown, by the speeches delivered,
that it desires that the military affairs of the country should be conducted. At the
head of the administration we have theRight Honorable
– He will read them.
Mr.BATCHELOR. - The honorable member for Eden-Monaro would not like to place the penalty upon his bitterest enemy of reading all the speeches made in Parliament. It will, however, be the duty of the Minister to read the speeches on this subject.
– I have taken down every argument for the Minister to read.
Mr.BATCHELOR. - The arguments of the honorable member who has just resumed his seat, for instance, would require the services of a very expert shorthand artist to convey them properly. I hope the Minister for Defence will carefully read the speeches made upon this Bill, because the House and the country are absolutely t determined upon having the military affairs of. the Commonwealth conducted on more democratic lines than have hitherto been followed. I am sorry to hear to-night that the Minister, when he is travelling about, has a guard of honour at every place he visits. That looks as if the simplicity we desire to see introduced into our military affairs is not likely to be carried out.
– Does the Minister wear his Court dress 1
Mr.BATCHELOR.- I recollect seeing the right honorable gentleman at the celebrations connected with the opening of the Commonwealth Parliament, and certainly he was the most gorgeous in all that dazzling throng. But I can to some extent trust the Minister for Defence - because he is full of practical . common sense - to discard this kind of thing when he starts out to administer the department. One thing the Government have done which makes it look to me as if they really did not mean what they have said about having a citizen soldiery,, wherein every man from the lowest rank will have a clear opportunity of rising up to the position of a general. If we had local administration by men who understood the conditions prevailing in Australia, and who had been trained in the work of governing a citizen soldiery, there would be a probability of what we have been promised in that respect, and in the direction-, of a reduction of the expenditure connected! with the high positions, being realized. But, as a matter of fact, we find that the Government have sent to England for an Imperial officer, trained under Imperial conditions, and knowing nothing of the conditions prevailing in Australia. I hope I am mistaken,but I am assuming, from what I have seen in the newspapers, that we are to have an Imperial officer, possibly with South African experience, but who at any rate has been brought up under a system which has utterly failed, and which has to be entirely reorganized in order that it may meet the needs of the times. We have seen, with some regret, in connexion with the British Military department, the spectacle of a squabble between the late Commander-in-Chief of the army and the political heads of the War Office in Parliament, as to who is responsible for all the mistakes which have occurred lately. But although that organization has failed, we are going to it for a man whom we expect to come here and rule our citizen soldiery under conditions of which he can, necessarily have had no experience whatever. Can we expect such an officer to discard elaborate uniforms and do away with all the flummery, frippery, and froppery that so much hinder real efficiency in military matters ? Seeing that the Government propose to go outside the States of Australia altogether, and to import some officer who cannot be conversant with what we desire to. see brought about, it is idle for us to make democratic speeches on military matters embodying ideas which cannot be very well embodied in the Bill.
– -I very much regret that we have to discuss a Bill like this at all. Certainly, in the opening session of this Parliament, there was quite enough work for us to do in regard to other matters without having this Bill brought in. I take this opportunity of expressing my exception to it, because it is perfectly clear that the time that will be occupied in the discussion of this measure will leave us so much less opportunity for the discussion of other Bills if they are to be brought before Parliament before Christmas. But the Bill having been introduced, it is incumbentupon us to consider it. In the first place I have no hesitation in saying that the Bill has been drawn by officers belonging to the old school of aggression instead of to the school of defence. It is only with the school of defence that, I believe, Australia wishes to deal. Certainhonorablemembers have expressed the idea that we ought to take our part in the defence of the Empire. I altogether protest against that opinion. We have nothing whatever to do with the defence of the Empire while we have no voice in regard to the wars that the Empire takes upon itself. It might be a different thing if we had such a voice. At the present time all that we can be expected to do is to provide for the defence of our local forts and to guard against invasion. Beyond that we are not called upon to do anything, nor should we advance beyond it. It is quite possible that the High Commissioner for Australia, when he is established in London, may at some time be required to notify to a nation with which England happens to be at war, that Australia will not engage in the contest, but will hold itself as a neutral body. Holding that view as strongly as I do, it seems to me to be clear that all we have to do is to provide for the defence of our shores. If the. last war in which Great Britain has engaged has taught us anything at all, it is . that no nation can well be invaded. Invasion to-day is an extremely different thing to what it was a few years ago. It must be remembered also, that although we are a continent in size, we are still an island, and that all troops coming here for the purposes of invasion would have to be transported in ships. If honorable members really consider what war is under present conditions, they will realize that if twenty transports were to come andtry and land soldiers on our shores they could not land a single man, and that 50 or 60 riflemen on the shore could hold that force at bay.’ If England had not had possession of the ports in South Africa, she would not, even with her powerful navy, have been able to land a single man. We have seen 30,000 soldiers barred by a single river like the Tugela. Surely we should learn lessons from facts like that; and if the military men will not learn the lessons themselves, and are so’ wrapped up in their own ideas of war that modern instances have no weight with them, we must set them aside.
– We want . a business man at the head of our defence force.
– As the honorable member for Tasmania,
– They need a little powder and shot, too.
– That is true; and T would give the Government power to get the very best arms and ammunition that can be bought. I would also allow the creation of two kinds of corps that cannot be established in a day. The first is an engineering corps, which is much needed in time of war. From personal knowledge of engineering officers” who have served in the Transvaal, I can say that in war, as in everything else, common sense rules the day, and those officers who possessed common sense were far move useful than any one else. The second corps that needs to be established is an artillery force. Men need to be trained in the use of artillery, and you cannot have artillerymen springing up at a moment’s notice ; although the Boer war has shown us, even in this respect, that men can rapidly learn to use artillery so as to become equal to the most experienced artillerymen in the world. It has been proved that bush gunners have been far more useful in war than men trained at Shoeburyness, Aldershot, or anywhere else. I only say th.it in this spirit - that the man who is fighting for his home, and who is used to the country for which he is fighting, is capable of rendering a very good account of himself in conflicts with the enemy. Bad as the war has been in South Africa, I am convinced that no nation except Great Britain could have undertaken it at all, because no nation except Great Britain could have transported the troops to the scene of battle; and I am sure that the troops of other nations would have gone down in the same way as our men did in the early battles. What we have to fight against is the introduction of what I may call the trained military system. I was myself at one time a volunteer, and having some knowledge of the use of the rifle I on one occasion happened to proclaim rather too loudly the opinion that, given 1,000 bush irregular troops, I would beat 10,000 of the best trained men who ever went into the field. So much exception was taken to that statement by my brother officers that I felt I could not work with men who held the idea that troops should be massed together in a body where they could be shot down by a few riflemen. That is one of the reasons why I withdrew from the corps. The old idea of officers, full of their ideas of drill, Was to keep their men massed together. How would it be possible to mass men together if any invasion took place 1 The first order given is to get as far apart as possible to avoid rifle firing. Experience has taught us that we ought to give up unnecessary drill. I agree with the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Batchelor, that the Bill appears to have been drawn up in 1896 or 1897 - perhaps by Sergeant Kingston - and embodies the ideas which were then current. I suppose one of the worst things that can happen to a man is to be trained to military pursuits. The stories which we hear from South Africa of the officers trained in the English military schools almost exceed belief, and the honorable member for Parramatta stated that even in New South Wales positions have been given to certain men on account of their family influence. An officer who has returned from South Africa told me that he would prevent any man who could even remember that he had a grandfather from holding a commission, and it behoves us to do all we can to put an end to the nonsense and tommy-rot which has grown up in connexion with the military forces of the Empire. This officer told me, among other illustrations which he gave of the peculiarities of English officers, that he heard a man who was in command of a considerable body of troops, and is still in active service, complain in affected tones, “I came out here without enough toothpicks, and I cannot get any here that I like.” What folly it is to train men like that.
– They are merely dancingmasters.
– I understand that one of the English officers themselves said to an Australian officer, “ Do not go away with the idea that all English officers are fools.” “No,” said the Australian officer, “my father came from England, and he was not a fool ; but I should like to know where some of these officers come from.” The reply was, “I do not know, but it seems to me that every influential family in England has opened the door of its private idiot asylum and got its members positions in the army.” We want to do away with that sort of tiling. All that is necessary here is some system for the calling of men together in the case of emergency. This could be done in a week or a fortnight. I do not object to the formation of militia regiments,
I so that men who could not join unless they received a certain amount of pay may become members of our defence force ; but I hope that our defence will be conducted mainly by volunteer regiments. ‘ If people will not fight for their country, in a spirit of patriotism, in time of invasion, they should be wiped off the face of the earth, and another race should take their place. But to resist invasion, no such thing as drill is wanted. War is coming back to a state of things in which the mind must triumph. One hundred men with brains, and skilled in the use of the rifle, will be equivalent to 10,000 men who have been trained by rote, and whose power of initiation has been drilled out of them. In the framing of provisions for the retirement of officers at certain ages, those who are responsible for the Bill seem to have lost sight of the fact that some of our volunteer regiments largely owe their existence to the popularity of the man at the head of them. I could name at least two instances of the kind in New South Wales, where the public spirit of the colonel and the interest he takes in everything appertaining to the advancement of his regiment are responsible for its strength and efficiency, and there must be many other such cases.
– Which are the two cases that the honorable and learned member knows of ?
– I will mention the New South Wales Lancers for one, but I am not anxious to give names, because there may be other instances of the kind with which I am not familiar. If the Government aid -the rifle clubs, they will do almost all that is necessary for our defence. I do not think that there should be any permanent men, except such as are necessary for manning particular forts. To show the absurdity of official recommendations, I would point to the fact that it has been proposed that the Commonwealth should fortify Thursday Island. That might be very well if we had a fleet, but as we have no fleet, and are intent only upon fighting in our own defence, the proposal seems an absurd one. Then it has been suggested that the enemy might land at Port Darwin or other places of the kind, but it is forgotten that if they did so, it. would cost them ten times as much to prosecute the war as it would cost us to repel them. If they held such a place for a short time then, they would find themselves in such bad straits, that they would soon wish to get away. I think that if we see that ports, such as Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Newcastle could not be entered by boats straight away - and the formation of a corps of submarine miners ; and a few torpedo boats would be sufficient- for the purpose - we should do all that is required.
– What about Twofold Bay?
– I only wish that an enemy of 50,000 men would land, there, because once they disembarked they would never be able to get away. They would never be able to find their way even to Monaro, which is reminiscent of many recollections to the honorable member.
– The honorable member knows nothing of the sharp-shooters there.
– The honorable member for Eden Monaro, in mentioning Twofold Bay, has shown why even Monaro should not be chosen as the federal capital j because if we have to fortify that port it would add enormously to the expense of the federal government. I am sure that any man who really understands what war is will see how impossible it is for any nation to bring a body of men there. Once the men landed they could never get away, and they could not force an entrance into Sydney. They would be unable, once they disembarked, to get away, because a very few sharp-shooters could clear them all out. We have seen already how small an impression artillery can make against riflemen, especially when protected by pits, and we know that ships of war could not carry sufficient stores. I am sorry that nobody has moved an amendment that the Bill be read a second time this day six months. When I consider the spirit in which it is drawn, how much its authors have dwelt on the past, and how unable they have been to take the lessons of the Boer war ; how, in fact, they have declined to profit by the experience which all other nations have gained, even if we have not - I should have been only too glad if some one had moved that its second reading be postponed until this day six months, and I would have voted accordingly.
– I disagree with the contention that this is not a very important Bill. It is one of the very important Bills that we as a Federal Parliament have to deal with. It is of that importance that it is worthy of the discussion which has taken place and of the consideration which will be given to it. I. am with the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Batchelor, in the expression of regret that we cannot incorporate the ideal type of militarism in a measure of this kind which we would like. But by means of discussion and by amendments where we can see our way to introduce them, we may be able to bring about the constitution of a federal form of defence on those lines which we think will accord with our democracy and with the principles of a good, efficient, and effective defence. We were led to suppose that the Bill was the outcome of the united wisdom of the leading commanders in Australia or the military authorities. But we have been informed to-night that it is practically a reprint of a Bill which was introduced by a former Premier of South Australia, Mr. Kingston, who now fills an important position in this Parliament. I find that this contention is largely borne out by a document which came into my hands to-day. It is entitled “ A Further Report of the Federal Military Committee,” and in the 4th section they say -
As the principles embodied in the Bill drafted by the committee have been repeatedly altered, and as their recommendations on the alterations previously submitted to them, which were forwarded to tl Minister on the 15th instant have not been adopted in the draft submitted to them on the 20th instant, they consider it unnecessary to repeat their former objections, which in their opinion still hold good. They therefore respectfully request that if the Bill is brought before the Cabinet or Parliament in the form in which it was sent to them it should be made plain that it is not recommended by them, and does not meet with their approval.
This is a report which was submitted by the military experts, who were asked to advise the Government- upon the Bill. From what little experience I have had of militarism, I do not think a Bill which would recommend itself to military experts such as we have had in the States up to the present time, is likely to be acceptable either to myself or to others who take a more democratic stand on this matter. I quite agree with those, speakers who have contended that the militarism with which we have been acquainted - largely a repetition of that which obtains in the old country and in the old world, - is a militarism which does not harmonize with our ideas of freedom and democracy, is a militarism which would be inimical to that freedom and that democracy which we are so desirous of building up in this new nation. At the same time, we cannot get away from the fact that we must have some form of defence, that we must make provision against dangers which may assail us from without, because I hold that it is only from without that dangers are possible. That being so, the next consideration we have is to devise that form of national defence which will harmonize with our free institutions - with our democratic ideals - and, at the same time,, secure for us that protection which is necessary, and which we are striving to obtain. The question arises - what form should that kind of defence take ? The Bill proposes, first of all, that the form of defence shall rest in an active service which shall be constituted, a certain reserve force withdrawn from it, the formation of rifle clubs and the formation of cadets, presumably amongst our schools and so forthOur defence forces are to consist firstly of’ permanent men, who are to give us continuous service, who are to devote themselves wholly and solely to military matters, and whosesalaries and keep are to be a charge upon the Commonwealth. It is also proposed toestablish a militia whose services will not be- continuous, and whose payment will bein accordance with certain prescribed rules. Then there is to be a purely volunteer force, whose services will not be continuous, and to whom no payment will be made except in times of warfare. Power is also given to the authorities to establish rifle clubs and to form cadet corps. The principle is also - introduced that all the male inhabitants of’ the Commonwealth who have been here fora period of six months, who are British subjects, and between the ages of 18 and 60, shall be subject to be called upon toperform military service. First of all the- - unmarried men between the ages of IS and 30 are to be called upon, then those-, between the ages of 30 and 45, then the married men and widowers without children between the ages of. 18– and 45, and finally the men between the ages of 45 and 60.. The provision that these men may be called upon to take up arms in time of need seems to me to introduce that obnoxious Continental system of conscription, and in so far as it goes in that particular direction, I shall oppose it. I am opposed to any form of conscription, no matter in what shape it maypresent itself. I believe that, in a countrywhich is well governed, the patriotism; of the people will be sufficient to call forth voluntary service in its defence sufficient to meet its requirements. If a country is so badly governed that the people believe that they will be better off under a foreign yoke, conscription is not going to save it ; and if the people are so degenerate that they require compulsion in the form of conscription to take the place of patriotism, then they are in a condition in which conscription will not save them. -I believe that this is a retrograde movement on the part of those who framed the Bill, and that it is- proposing to impose upon the free people and institutions of this Commonwealth the methods and measures of the old world that ought to have been swept into- oblivion long ago. “We should look upon out military defence as something in the shape of an insurance against possible loss, and deal with it accordingly. We should see that the premiums we are to pay for that protection are not of such a character that the benefits to he derived will practically cease to be benefits at all. We should see that for a minimum amount of premium we get a maximum amount of efficiency and protection. If we set up this ideal we shall have as small a permanent force as possible, and shall depend for our protection mainly upon citizen soldiery in the most efficient and best equipped form. We should make our insurance against the risks of invasion as cheap as possible for the whole community. At the commencement of our Federal Government we are hampered in many ways, and particularly in the direction of raising money to defray the cost of the Federal Government. We have to face that wretched provision, the 87th section of the Constitution Act, known as the Braddon blot, which requires us to raise so much money for purely State purposes, in addition to that required for federal expenditure, and the larger our expenditure for defence purposes, the heavier will be the burdens of taxation on the people, and the greater will he the general dissatisfaction with respect to our federal form of government. We want to avoid anything of that kind, and, therefore, our expenditure in the direction of defence and other matters must, for the next ten years, be kept down to a minimum. With regard to the direction which our defence movement should take, some honorable members say that our defence operations should be confined to Australia, and that we should only concern ourselves with land defences, making no provision for operations beyond our own. shores. I disagree entirely with that “contention. We ‘ ace a part and parcel of the British Empire, and our. location is such that if we wish to have an effective defence we must be prepared to strike a blow outside of our own borders, and not wait until the enemy has obtained a footing on our shores. I would go a step further and say that the commercial interests and the freedom and the true progress of the people of this Commonwealth are so bound up with the parent stock that we must look at this matter from the stand-point of the Empire as well as from the Standpoint of our own Commonwealth. There is a good deal in the contention that we should, have a voice in the making of war. W>e may wish to have some say in the matter ; but wars are not made by us or by the British Empire for the mere sake of war. Wars are forced upon us, and the main question we have to consider is, are these wai-s vital to the Empire as a whole or not ? If wars are vital to the Empire as a whole, then I say that we, the peoples of the Commonwealth, must take a hand in them for our own protection and for our own liberty, and we must be prepared to consider the position from that stand-point as well as the standpoint of mere local defence. Another reason why we should look at the matter from the naval as well as from the land defence stand-point is that we have an enormous commerce. We are looking to the outside of our own territorial bounds for the consumption of our surplus goods. In comparison with our population, I suppose that we carry on as large a commerce as does any nation. If we are to maintain that commerce, and if.it is essential to our progress and welfare, it is necessary that we should do something to protect it. AVe are not going to protect it by creating an armed soldiery within our shores, find by confining their operations to “our territory. In this connexion I may mention that in a work on The Federal Defence of Australasia, by Craig, which is published in the old land, the figures relating to our commerce are brought up to 1895. I find there that the British commerce in that yeal- totalled in value some.thing like £970,000,000. Of this amount, the self-governing States of this- Commonwealth practically contributed about £143,000,000 per annum, or one-seventh of the total commerce of the Empire. As against that sura, the cost of the British navy which protects and maintains this commerce amounts to something like £20,000,000 per annum, of which these States contribute about £268,000. In other words, the States, while having about one-seventh of the total commerce of the Empire, only contribute about 1-7 5th of the cost of protecting and maintaining that commerce. The mother country contributes the remaining 74-75ths, or about £19,700,000. This is an aspect of the question which, in estimating the form of defence into which we should launch, we should be very short-sighted, indeed, if we overlooked. The same work goes on to deal with the exports of the States. It shows to what extent those exports are carried on with the motherland with the different colonies, and with foreign countries. It is summed up on page 39, where the writer says -
The Australian colonies are a proud part of the Imperial Empire, second only in trade and wealth to India. The past and present progress of Australia is nothing to what it will be in the future. The imports and exports between the United Kingdom and her colonies are greater than that with foreign countries. They totalize £50, 000,000 for imports, and £(.i0,000,000 for exports. The imports from home ports showed 32 per cent., 5i per cent. of intercolonial imports, and 14 per cent, from other countries. The proportion exported to England amounted to 42 per cent., to other colonies 44 per cent.., and 16 per cent, to other countries.
These figures briefly indicate the extent to which we are doing business with the mother country, the extent of our oversea business, and of our business with foreign powers. Those who say that the operations of our defence forces should be confined to the limits of the Commonwealth seem to lose sight of the important fact of the wealth of our nation. They do not seem to realize that we should look beyond out own coastline if we are to protect our wealth and our people to the full extent that is necessary. If we are going to do justice all round, the burdell which has hitherto fallen upon the mother country must be borne by her children so long as they are prepared to share with her in the advantages derived from this source of creating wealth. The only way in which I can .see that this can be done is by maintaining within our own waters, if not costly war vessels - to which objections have been raised on the ground that they are no sooner constructed than they become obsolete - at least some torpedo-boats, that will enable us to do our fair share in defending the wealth that we are sending from and bringing to our shores, and which goes to create our national prosperity. It is my firm opinion that we are working on safe natural lines when we work in harmony with the mother country, as far as it is possible for us so to do. Our land defenceand the equipment of our soldiery is a matter which more particularly affects ourselves, and in which, under the central control of the Federal Government, we ought to attain a higher degree of efficiency at a, less cost than we have been able to attain hitherto. The old world idea of militarism) considers that the best form of defence - the best system of militarism - is that which drafts the flower of the country from the avocations of production, from practical citizenship into large standing armies, where men are really converted into parts of a huge military machine. The standing armies become a drain upon the resources of the country in every possible form, without returning anything by way of compensation, except as a sort of insurance, as a kind of guarantee against outside aggression, if that should ever threaten them. That is the kind of defence which our military authorities “seem inclined to impose upon us. I do not know what the experience of the other States has been, but our experience iri New South Wales is that the efforts of our high military advisershave been wholly in the direction of creating the nucleus of a standing army in our midst - of getting together a number of men whose special qualification and purpose in life should be militarism. Anything in the nature of a citizen soldiery has been regarded by these military experts as inefficient, and has been discouraged as much as possible. Those military experts and this prevalent idea of defence have recently received a rude “shock in South Africa. I trust that the result of the experience gained there will be to show that these old-world ideas are about worn out, and that after all a citizen soldier is not such bad material for fighting purposes, as we were led to suppose prior to that event. If the price of the defence of the Commonwealth of Australia is to be the creation of a large standing army, consisting of a large number of men whose whole idea and purpose in life is merely militarism, who contribute nothing to the development of the resources of the country, and who are a burden on the taxpayer, then I say, “ No kind of militarism like that for me.” I believe that it will be necessary to have a -certain number of men devoting themselves to military purposes so as to secure efficiency for the rank and file of the citizen soldiery, but our permanent forces should be limited to that, and that only. We should never look to a permanent force as the main source of our defence. I am not, however, altogether in love with the proposal that a citizen soldiery should be composed purely of volunteers. I did believe that the man who was prepared to volunteer his services was, perhaps, the best man to have, but I am forced to admit from experience that has been obtained in America, and from the general trend of events there, that tha pure volunteer is not altogether the great friend of democracy that we were led at one time to suppose. It is found in America, under the conditions which obtain there now, that the great rank and file of the toilers are unable to devote themselves to a purely volunteer movement. They are prevented largely not only by lack of time, but by their inability to bear the expenditure that is absolutely necessary in connexion with it. The purely volunteer movement has therefore got into the hands of wealthy nien, and is being used by those wealthy men as a means for enforcing upon the people their demands in respect of the settlement of labour disputes. It has been found in America that these wealthy volunteer soldiers are as much the enemy of the democracy of the country as the paid soldier was. I can clearly forsee that the same conditions may be brought about here. The ideal form of citizen soldiery which I favour is that which will give an amount of State assistance sufficient to cover the actual cost of those who take part in it. They do not want to be paid for their time, but the expenditure which they have’ to incur should be covered, so that every citizen of the Commonwealth may have an opportunity of enrolling himself in the defence of his country and of securing that efficiency in military knowledge which the various means adopted to that end provide. In our country districts it very often happens that a man has to ride 15 or 20 miles to a centre in order to receive drill instruction. That means that his presence in that centre costs him two or three shillings. Such an expenditure would not be a matter of much concern to him if it only occurred once or twice,. but when it becomes a regular and necessary thing, in order to obtain efficiency, it excludes a number of deserving men from the movement, and leaves this militarism in the hands of those who have a little more wealth at their disposal. I want to see all men placed upon an equal footing with regard to the opportunities offered to secure efficiency in this form of defence. The ideal lines on which to start a system of the character that I should like to see established, and which, I think, would accord with our democracy and free institutions, are first of all to lay the groundwork in our public schools. Let our free s’chools and colleges be the drilling grounds wherein the first principles are imparted. Necessary military knowledge would be imparted in that way, and the boys would be better scholars for it. Drill instruction should form part of the publicschool curriculum throughout the Commonwealth. The proposal to establish cadet corps should also be carried out, and a certain amount of physical training and knowledge of military movements obtained in that way. Then, again, the establishment of rifle clubs in every town and country centre should be encouraged. One of the essentials of efficiency on the battle-field - an essential greater than that of the mere knowledge of military tactics - is the ability to shoot and to shoot straight. . It is only by the establishment of these clubs that such ability can be secured, lt can be obtained in this way at very little cost to the State, and without the necessity for establishing anything in the nature of a standing army. The establishment of cadet corps, the creation of rifle clubs in town and country centres, the formation of militia or citizen soldiery regiments, with just sufficient payment to cover their out-of-pocket expenses, so as to place the poor man on an equal footing with the rich man, and the formation of a small permanent force to control and give greater efficiency to the citizen soldiery - these, in my opinion, constitute the ideal form of land defence. A point which has been touched upon is that of military dress. I agree with those honorable members who say that the plainer our military uniforms, the less expensive they are, the more they will be in harmony with our ideas of a citizen soldiery. The more expensive they are, the worse it is for that particular form of soldiery. As it is the man and not the dress that fights, I fail to see any great need for a large expenditure in that direction, or for insisting that expensive uniforms shall form part of a man’s equipment. Another matter I should like to see taken in hand is the establishment of a State factory for the manufacture of small arms and ammunition. There is no use having the human fighting material unless we have something for it to fight with. We must have weapons and ammunition, but so far, whilst we have good fighting material in the Commonwealth, we are lamentably deficient in this respect. The only way we can remedy that deficiency is by establishing a factory of this description, and I prefer to see that factory under direct Governmental or State control rather than in the hands of private enterprise. I cannot say that I am altogether in love with the Bill. It does not meet my ideals, and I hardly see how it is going to be amended in order to meet them. But an army is not made on paper, and the mere passing of this Bill” will not create an army. This is only a means by which the powers that be are enabled to bring the army together, and what we should see to is not only that our Bills are framed, but also that the departments are administered, on democratic lines. That will be the work that will concern this Parliament later on, when the formation of a Military department is completed. When that takes place I shall endeavour to see that the military system is in harmony with the democratic ideals of the people of the Commonwealth, and” with free institutions. At the same time I am not going to lose sight of the fact that we owe a duty to ourselves and to the Empire to which we belong, and that in fulfilling, that duty we should do justice by the old country and by ourselves. I am not going to be led into limiting the military provisions to a mere land defence. I trust that the Government will realize that, in order to protect our commerce and te maintain our position, we need to look” a little further afield. England has maintained her proud position not so much through her land forces as through her navy. Therein lies her strength, and therein will lie our strength. As far as patriotism is concerned, whilst I am a native Australian, and hold that the highest patriotism to which I or any one else can claim is to see to the defence and the promotion of the interests of the
Commonwealth which we are now building up, I do not limit my patriotism nor my ideas of nationhood to the shores of Australasia. I look to the great Empire to which we belong, and am prepared to work hand in hand and in harmony with that Empire to build up the future progress and welfare of the Commonwealth.
– If the House is not too tired of this very long debate, I should like to add a few words. I am averse to war, but I quite recognise that we must expect invasion at some time, unless we are prepared fully to repel it at any time. “ The price of liberty is eternal vigilance “ ; and it is our first and highest duty to fight in the defence of our liberties. The ideal system of defence appears to be, first a small permanent paid force ; then a large militia; next a still larger body of cadets ; and finally a huge army of volunteers. As has been pointed out by other speakers, the strength of a chain is measured by the strength of its weakest link, and the link that is going to fail us is the volunteers. It will be recollected that the honorable member for Wannon pointed out how necessary it was to keep up the spirit of the volunteers by arousing enthusiasm, but in almost the next sentence he pointed out that this was found almost impossible in actual practice. How is this to be accounted for 1 Simply because it is contrary to human nature. Men will, in times of danger which they visibly see, make large sacrifices - any sacrifices- in defence of their liberty ; but when there is no danger apparent, they will not consent to make those small daily sacrifices which arc required to learn drill, the movements of troops, how to shoot, and the discipline of a soldier. It will be found in practice almost impossible to get a body of volunteers large enough to defend our shores. For this reason I very greatly sympathize with the views of the honorable member for West Sydney, who delivered a brilliant speech upon this Bill. I should like to see something akin to what he suggested taken in hand. His idea was compulsory, short service, which should be undertaken by every able-bodied man in the Commonwealth. I sympathize with that view, which I believe is the only true solution of the military problem now before us.:, Englishmen have a holy horror of compulsion, and I need hardly say that Australians have a still greater hatred of that ominous word. But we are all subject to compulsion all om1 lives, from the cradle to the grave. When a child is born we ‘are compelled by law to register him. Within a few months we are obliged by law to have Mm vaccinated, although we may conscientiously object to doing so. I may tell the House, by-the-way, that when I lived in Victoria, because I objected to vaccination, I was subjected to considerable persecution at the hands of the authorities, and had to shift my house several times to get rid of this obligation. But still, the law remains. Then we are obliged by law to send the boy to school. All the time we are obliged to maintain him, and be responsible for him until he attains to years of maturity. -No man pays rent and taxes because he enjoys it, but because he has to do it. lt will be admitted that no man pays customs duties from choice, but from necessity. I rather think that there are thousands of people, even in this twentieth-century enlightened Australian Commonwealth, who would never pay their debts at all but that the dread of something after purchase makes men rather pay the bills tilley owe than brave the terrors of the District Court. The whole system of human government is based upon the power to compel a citizen to bear his fair share of the nation’s burdens. Why then should we be afraid of compulsion in regard to matters of defence ? . The Minister for Defence stated that we could call out 974,000 men for the defence of the Commonwealth, and he left it to be inferred what a terrible thing it would be for any European power if they attacked us. I think however that it would be fairer to say that we have 74,000 men who are able to bear arms and have arms to bear, and 900,000 men and boys ready to cheer them on. What practical good would these 900,000 men be in actual warfare if they had no arms ? We might as well have 900,000 wallabies to defend us. The position would be very different if we had only half as many men as the Minister mentioned capable of bearing arms, and trained by. perhaps a three weeks’ drilling in the year. Then the larger the city the greater the force that it would have to defend it. We might have 50,000 men able to bear arms in the defence of Melbourne, the same number to defend Sydney, and a similar proportion in the great centres of population. With such arrangements for our defence we could sleep secure against invasion. It may be urged that it would take an enormous amount of money to arm so many nien, but if it were tobe a question of our national existence, Australia would very soon raise the necessary money, and if she could not do so, the people to whom she owes her huge debts would advance it to her. I have nothing to say against that gorgeous person known as the English officer, but I think that Australia will be wise to have as little as possible to do with imported officers. I have not had much acquaintance with those magnificent heroes, but I have never met one of them who had any sympathy with Australians. I do not think many of them really understand the art of war, and I am certain that they do not understand ‘ Australia ; and foi- these reasons I think we should have as little to do with them as possible. It may be said that I am a layman and do not understand these matters. But I understand what I read in history, and I ask - who saved the Empire of India to England ? It was Clive ; and two years before he gained one of the greatest victories ever ‘achieved under the English flag he was a miserable clerk hi the East India Company’s service. Where did he learn his knowledge of warfare? Cromwell thrashed the English, the Irish, and the Scotch - one after the other- where did he get his military training ? Then look at America. She certainly had a small military college, but it was in the tremendous conflict in which she was engaged that her officers were made competent to lead her to glory and to victory. I do not think we shall have any difficulty in raising a force sufficient to repel any enemy that is likely to come against us, if we imbue our population with, not a jingoistic spirit, but a determination to fight in their own defence. I do not think we require a navy unless it maybe to maintain communication with our gallant little partner, Tasmania. If we can get enough short-service men - we might call them compulsory volunteers - that will be the solution of the whole question. No doubt honorable members are inclined to smile at the term, but we talk about compulsory conciliation, and why not compulsory volunteers? Modern warfare has shewn how great an advantage a defender always has. I do not believe that all the powers of Europe could conquer Australia, if we had 500,000 men who knew how to use arms. I would not like to compare European and Australian troops.
But it is just as well for us to speak straight out what we mean, and not to hold back anything. I would not say for a moment that if we took a good number of the crack regiments of England - the Inniskillingers, the Scots Greys, and the Guards - and put them into a splendid open square, and place an equal number of Australians against thosee mangnificent welltrained soldiers, the Australians would beat them ; but if you put them into rugged country, if you put them into conditions such as they would have to face in actual warfare, the Australians would knock the head off them. I do not believe there is any man in the House who has another opinion on that subject. With regard to calling out Australians to fight in another country, I decidedly oppose any such movement. If I had the power 1 would sell New Guinea and Solomon Islands to whomsoever liked to bid for them, and I would bc content with the four corners of Australia. We shall have quite enough to do to fight for ourselves without thinking of extending a magnificent Empire. I think that accords with the idea of Australians. Australians generally believe that we ought to be content with Australia. I do not think that the great United States of America have made anything by their attempt at Empire. I du not think they will ever make anything; on the contrary, in less than 50 years they will be very sorry that they ever went out of their own boundaries. Australia is big enough for me. I do not wish to take up the time of the House at this late hour; but T think that something ought to be done in the direction of organizing a force of volunteers. The lost speaker spoke as if it might be possible to raise a sufficient body of unpaid volunteers to defend the Commonwealth. If that is at all possible, it is decidedly the best movement of all, because it would not press too heavily on our finances. I think that with the assistance of our able Treasurer we could easily find money for the rifles and the ammunition ; but’ the trouble would be in finding the millions of money required to pay the men, owing to there being such a large number. I om afraid it is rather Utopian to expect that the men would all work for nothing, so that we should attach some expenditure under that head. But I believe that the patriotism of Australians is so great, and the value of Australian commerce is so colossal, that, even if it came to the worst, we could raise by a tax sufficient -money to inaugurate such a system as this.
– C. Groom. - I should like to move die adjournment of the debate if the Prime Minister will consent.
.- - I think we may consent to the adjournment of the debate at this hour, although it is a few minutes earlier than usual. After my honorable friend has finished his speech to-morrow, I hope that honorable members will not take it ill of me or think that I am wearying them if I odd a few remarks to an already long debate.
Debate (on motion by Mr.” A. C. Groom) adjourned.
Order- op Business.
Motion (by’ Mr. Barton) proposed -
That the House do now ad journ.
– I would ask the Prime. Minister to state the order of business for to-morrow, lt would be very convenient if honorable members had some idea as to the sequence of business, so that they might come prepared. .
– I would ask the Prime Minister to state when it is the intention of the Government to move the second reading of the Pacific Islanders Bill?
, in reply. - I expressed the intention of the Government on this subject on a recent occasion. I told honorable members that the second reading of the Immigration Restriction Bill and the Pacific Islanders Bill would both be moved before the Tariff was- brought on. I am happy to say that the further expected report of which I spoke in making that announcement is likely to be received by the end of the week, and there will be received about the some time, I hope, further information for which I am telegraphing, and which will be circulated. Before the Tariff is laid on the table, and’ therefore before the Customs Regulation Bill has been through the Senate, the second reading of the Pacific Islanders Bill will be moved. I cannot say any more than that at present, because honorable members will recognise-the difficulties which beset the Government iii the arrangement of its business whenthe notice-paper is so heavy as it is, but they may rely on this, that before the Tariff is considered, the second reading of the Pacific Islanders Bill will have been moved. With regard to the order of business to-morrow, we shall take first, as directed under a standing order, Supply. Under standing order 241 to-morrow is what is called in this State grievance day ; Iam in the fond hope that honorable members will have no grievances to ventilate, and that we shall then geton to other business. Then there will be the consideration of the committee’s further report on the Excise on Beer Bill ; next, the continuation of the debate on the second reading of the . Defence Bill, and aftewards the continuation of the debate on the second reading of the Post and Telegraph Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.22 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 August 1901, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1901/19010807_reps_1_3/>.