1st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Has the attention of the Attorney-General been directed to the case of Sextonv. Cheesely, reported in to-day’s Argus? In that case, which was tried at the court of petty sessions, Ch litem, Victoria, on the 20th April last, the police magistrate held that a court of petty sessions is not a court of record, and consequently has no authority under the Federal Service and Execution of Process Act to deal with debt cases in which the defendant resides in an adjoining State. If that decision is sustainable, will the honorable and learned gentleman introduce an amending Bill to remedy the defect in the Act ?
– The report in the Argus escaped my attention ; but I cannot understand how such a decision can have been given. I do not think that an amendment of the Act is necessary, but I will inquire into the matter.
– Referring to the inquiry into the pearl-shelling industry which has been sanctioned, and exemption granted to coloured divers for a period of three months, I wish to ask the Prime Minister if, in the event of it not being completed within three months, he will authorize the granting of further exemptions to the coloured divers, so that those interested in the industry may continue to carry on the work?
– My instructions are that the inquiry shall, if possible, be completed within three months. I have not the slightest reason to anticipate that that period will be exceeded, and therefore I do not think that I shall have to entertain the question which the honorable member puts to me.
– I should like to know from the Minister for Defence whetherhe can now give an answer to a question put tohim by me last Friday as to the position of public servants who will be members of the Coronation contingents. He then promised to let the House know if they would get leave and retain their pay and status during their absence on this duty.
– The rule laid down is this : - If a member of the contingent is a public servant in the employ of either the State or the Commonwealth, and continues to receive his salary, he will not be paid for his military services where his salary is greater than the military pay would be, but if his salary is less than the military pay, it will be made up to the full amount of that pay. In no case isa member of the contingent tobe allowed to draw both military pay and his salary as a State or Commonwealth servant. If a public servant is not allowed to receive his State or Commonwealth salary during his absence, he will be paid as a member of the contingent.
Comments in the “ Argus.”
Sir EDWARD BRADDON presented the report of the Committee of Elections and Qualifications upon the alleged breach of privilege brought under the notice of the House by the honorable member for Bland, and referred to the committee on the 30th April. The report was read by the Clerk, as follows : -
That your committee, having perused the. leading article of the Argus of the 30th April last, commenting on the petition of John Cooke Whitelaw against the return of William Hartnoll as member for Tasmania, beg to report that whilst certain comments in such article are, in their opinion, improper, they are not of sufficient importance to require any action on the part of the House.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs lay upon the table of the House a return showing the contracts in regard to the payment of bonuses which had been entered into by the Victorian Government at the time of the consummation of federation ; and will he allow the payment of bonuses by the Federal Government to remain in abeyance until after the adjournment of the House for the purpose of visiting the capital sites, so that honorable members may have time in which to consider the whole question ?
– I know of no written agreements such as the honorable member evidently refers to. The words in the constitution are - “ Grantor agreement.”
– What is a “ grant or agreement”?
– We are advised that in this case there is a grant which entitles persons to the continuance of the bonus.
– Does “grant” mean a policy existing at the time of federation, or does it mean a contract ?
– I take it that a grant was constituted by the Act and action of the Victorian Government in this connexion.
– Will the right honorable gentleman lay the papers upon the table, so that we may have an opportunity of perusing them, and seeing what should be done ?
– At this moment there is no application pending, and, of course, the approval of the Government is required for the payment of any bonus. I do not mind assuring the honorable member, under the special circumstances in which he finds himself, that we shall not give that approval until he has had an opportunity to bring the matter up.
– Some of the payments have been in abeyance for many months. I know of two brothers who are entitled to the sum of £200, but the payment of the money has been delayed in consequence of the act of the Federal Government.
– A few days since I received a letter from the State authority saying that there is no application pending which has not been attended to. I think I promised, when we were discussing the matter before, that, if the Government decided to pay bonuses which were not earned before the 8th October, we should first give the House an opportunity of considering the question, and I do not mind saying now that we shall not do anything in the way of approving of a bonus until the end of the week when we next meet.
– I should like to be clear whether the grants which the Minister is now considering are grants under section 90 or grants under section 91 of the Constitution.
– Under section 90.
– Then what consent is necessary? Is the grant in question a sum authorized prior to federation which has been exhausted ?
– I explained yesterday in my formal answer that the protecting clause was the last paragraph of section 90.
– What is the reason of the delay in carrying out the promise ?
– There seems to be some little difference of opinion on the subject, and therefore we consider it fair to give honorable members an opportunity of expressing their views in regard to it.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Trade and Customs if it is his intention, in the event of a section of the House being adverse to the carrying out of the definite promise -he made yesterday, to override the law in deference to the views of those who disapprove of the carrying out of the agreement entered into by the State?
Mi-. KINGSTON. - No. Of course we cannot do that, but it very often happens that different people take divergent views with regard to the law.
– What are the views of the Attorney-General.
– As I declared yesterday.
– Is the Minister about to give effect to them ?
– Yes. We propose to give effect to them, and the only power to prevent us would be a section constituting a majority of this House.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Defence, upon notice : -
There is some doubt in my mind as to the legality of the proposed transfer of officers who hold commissions in one State, under the law of that State, to another State, while there is no federal law authorizing such transfers.
– I do not know why the honorable and learned member should be so anxious to raise this question, as he knows very well the great difficulty experienced in the administration of the Defence department by reason of our having no Act under which we can work. The replies to the honorable and learned member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for
Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Whether he can, as requested in a recent petition, see his way to allow the local constable or other officer to certify as to Inter-State certificates at Portarlington, as the local traders have at present to send such certificates to other ports at great inconvenience and expense.
– The answer to the honorable and learned member’s question is as follows : -
The Customs department has no officer stationed at Portarlington ; but if any J ustice of the Peace is willing to act, he will have the necessary authority as to his declaration.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether Australian aborigines are affected by any restrictions with respect to coloured labour ?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
Aboriginal Australians are not affected by the Pacific Islands Labourers Act nor by the Immigration Restriction Act. Perhaps the honorable member will inform me whether his question aims at any other point.
In Committee :
Consideration resumed from 30th April (videpage 12144).
Department of Defence
Division 33. - (Central Staff)
Subdivision 1.- (Salaries), £3,600
Upon which Sir Edward Braddon had moved by way of amendment -
That the vote be reduced by £1.
– I consider that these Estimates are exorbitant, and that the proposal of the Minister for Defence to cut them down by £130,000 will not effect the purpose which the committee have in view. The efficiency of the whole of the defence forces may suffer, while the salaries of the officers - society’s curled darlings - may not be in any way interfered with. I wish, first, to direct attention to the question of allowances. I have gone very carefully into these Estimates, and have found some items that are fairly staggering. On page 45 will be found the following items, in subdivision No. 2 (contingencies) of division No. 47, relating to the headquarters’ staff of the New South Wales military forces : -
According to the papers issued by the Treasurer on 9th October last, it appears that Major-General French’s salary was £1,250, and that he also had allowances as follows : - Lodging allowance, £191; stabling, £27 ; servants, £55 ; fuel and light, £33 ; table allowance, £200 ; furniture allowance, £136 17s. 6d. ; roughly speaking, £643. The salary and allowances thus make a grand total of £1,893.
– That was for last year, not for this year.
– I do not care when it happened; now is the time to expose it.
I shall never give another vote in favour of granting Supply -without knowing what I am voting for. We have passed nine 01- ten Supply Bills, and have voted money away without knowing how it was to be spent.
– That expenditure was incurred before we took over the department, and relates to only three months of the current year.
-This is one of the most scandalous pieces of jobbery that has ever come under my notice.
– Do not talk nonsense. The State of New South Wales gave the salary and allowances to Major-General French, and we have nothing to do with them.
– But the Commonwealth has to pay.
– That is all done with now.
– The officers are paid £34 each as a forage allowance, but I should like to know what difference there is between officers’ horses and those which draw the gun carriages. On page 49 of the Estimates provision is made for forage allowance for 100 field battery horses at £20 per head, altogether £2,000, and I should like to ask the Minister whether it takes more to feed an officer’s horse than a gun horse 1 My experience is altogether the other way. I have fed both officers’ horses and gun horses in the Royal Artillery, and I know that officers’ horses get a smaller allowance of fodder than do gun horses. On page 39 of the Estimates there is another item to which I wish to draw attention, namely, the forage allowances for the horses of the Head-quarters Staff’. Provision is made there for forage allowances for nine officers’ horses at £50 each per annum from the 1st April, 1902. Will the Minister say that this expense was incurred before he took office?
– No. The officers have to find their own horses.
– The Minister does not suppose that the officers have to find fresh horses every year ?
– No ; but they have to find their own horses, and the allowance of 50 is not too much considering that the horses have to be found as well as groomed and fed.
– But a stable allowance is provided for.
– These officers have only the one allowance of £50, which covers everything.
– Then these officers practically receive £30 a year for riding their own horses.
– They have to groom them as well.
– I am prepared to ride a horse and groom him myself for £15 a year, if the Government will give him to me.
– I know what horses are, and I do not think the £50 per annum is too much, under the circumstances.
– I know what horses are as well as the Minister. I have done roughriding in the Royal Artillery School at Woolwich, and at the present time I own 50 or 60 horses in Queensland. I know how to ride horses and how to groom them too. There is another matter to which I desire to direct the attention of the committee. On page 38 of the Estimates I find included in the Head-quarters Military Staff an Assistant Quartermaster-General at £600 a year, and an Assistant Director of Artillery and Stores at £575. I have carefully looked through the Imperial army list, and can discover no office corresponding with the latter. Is the position merely a sinecure? When I was in the Imperial service the General commanding at Woolwich was the director of artillery. Perhaps at a later stage the Minister of Defence will be able to give me some information regarding this particular office. Upon page 82, under the heading of “ Queensland Military Forces,”! note that £350 is provided for the salary of a Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General for Musketry. No similar position exists in any of the other States. I wish to know if that office corresponds with the post of Assistant Director for Artillery and Stores ? Immediately underneath provision is made for an officer in charge of military works. I desire to know what these two roosters do - the Deputy Assistant AdjutantGeneral for Musketry and the officer in charge of military works. The former receives £350 annually and the latter £250. Upon page 87, under the heading of “ contingencies,” are set down “.Lodging allowances, five at £42 and six at £30 ; forage allowance, one staff-officer and three adjutants, £200, and travelling expenses, £300.” This expenditure, I am informed, is incurred in connexion with rifle clubs and the instructional staff. I would point out that some of these clubs are more than 1,000 miles distant from Brisbane. Does the officer to whom this forage allowance is made ride a horse to these remote districts 1 In my hustings addresses I pledged myself to use my best endeavours to secure such a reduction of the Queensland Military Estimates as could be effected without impairing the efficiency of the service. Had it not been for the present Treasurer I am aware that the State which I represent would have been in a much worse financial position than it is at present. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the right honorable gentleman for having reduced the Defence Estimates by £250,000. No one is more pleased than I am that he occupies the distinguished office of Treasurer, iri which capacity he has done the Commonwealth one of the greatest services that any statesman could possibly render it. I should like to know from the Minister what is comprised under the heading of “ table allowances “ to the general officer in New South Wales ]
– -It was an allowance made under agreement when he was employed in England several years ago. At present, however, instead of receiving £1,250, plus all these allowances, the occupant of that office draws only £1,000, without any allowances. It will thus be seen that we have done our duty in the direction of economy.
– I wish to show the corrupt way in which New South Wale3 and Queensland have “faked” the Military Estimates for years past with a view to hoodwinking the public. Let us take thecaseof Major-General French. His salary was £1,250 per annum, but other amounts which he drew included “lodging allowance £191, stabling £27, servants £55, fuel £33, and all other allowances £337,” making a total salary of £1,893. If honorable members turn to Victoria or any other State they cannot fail to note the marked difference which exists in regard to the system of granting allowances. For example, Colonel H. D. McKenzie, of New South Wales, receives a salary of £456. His remuneration includes “ lodging allowance £125, forage £68, stabling £27, servants £55, rations £15, and fuel and light £25,” making a total of £771 ; whilst Colonel Hoad, of Victoria, draws a salary of £600, plus . lodging and forage allowances of £70 and £50 respectively, making in the aggregate only £720. He receives no allowance for fuel, light, or stabling, and nothing for rations. How is it that one officer receives ±’33 for fuel and light, whilst the whole of the Royal Australian Artillery is provided with fuel and light for £940 ^ I understand that these allowances are paid into the private accounts of officers, and, if so, how is the country to know that it is receiving value for their payment ? We are all aware that some officers who receive an allowance for three or four horses ride the same old “ crock “ year after year. I have seen this fact exemplified in Brisbane, where a certain officer, who has been in receipt of an allowance for two or three horses, has been using the same horse for some years.
– He has to certify monthly.
– The Treasurer asked me last night how I should propose to cut down the Estimates. In answer to that, I suggest that the Treasurer should follow the example of Sir Thomas Mcllwraith when Queensland was suffering from financial depression in 189”3-4. Sir Thomas Mcllwraith told the military authorities that the expenditure could not go on as in the past, but must be reduced verv largely. A commission of the officers was called together to consider the matter, but they reported that they could succeed in saving only a few hundred pounds. Sir Thomas Mcllwraith told them that he knew noticing about naval or military matters, but that as he had to provide the money, he would show them how retrenchment could be accomplished. He then took a pen, and, going through the salaries, reduced each by one half.
– I adopted a better plan. I told the military authorities that if they did not reduce the expenditure I would do it myself.
– My advice to the Minister for Defence is to discharge the whole of the present officers and engage a fresh lot, when we should doubtless have a system second to none in the world. Major-General Hutton should be given authority to discharge every man whom he does not regard as fit for his position, and to appoint others at half the salary. I am sorry that we cannot deal with the present Estimates. A great deal has been said about “ discipline “ and “ pipeclay,” and as one who has -served in the Imperial forces, I may give the committee the benefit of my experience. I served with a contingent of the Boers in the Zulu war of ltS’79, and I can assure honorable members that they have a very erroneous impression if they think that the Boers are not trained. In the Orange Free State at that time every Boer, on attaining the age of 16, had to take service in a commando presided over by a field cornet, who kept a register of every youth and man liable to duty. Once every twelve months every man had to do 21 days’ commando work.
Air. Higgins. - But not parade drill.
– It does not matter what the work is called. During those 21 days the men had to attend at a particular place and provide their own rations. Those who had waggons had to fetch them, and the commandoatonce went into laager, where they came under the discipline of the field cornet. The men were placed on sentry duty, and each day from early morning until nearly sundown they were engaged in field work, the youngest men leading the horses.
– That is a proper kind of training, and not merely parade drill.
– But it has been said that the Boers are not disciplined forces.
– I did not say that.
– Honorable members on both sides of the House have expressed that opinion. Though the Boers have no barrackroom or barrack-square discipline, such as is undergone by Tommy Atkins, they have a real system of field work which consists in acting on the initiative. I have fought against the Boers, and have fought with them, and I know their tactics as well as I know the tactics of the British. As soon as Boers were likely to come into action, scouts were sent out, who kept up a system -of communication - during the day by manipulating the smoke of green bushes so as to convey signals, much on the same principle as the Morse telegraph. I am speaking of 1S77-S, and since then, of course, better plans have been devised. Even then, however, they were disciplined and drilled for war - to act on their own initiative, and depend on their own brain and rifle. It is a wrong conception altogether to suppose that the British troops are now fighting against undisciplined and untrained forces.
– Who has said that ?
– Many honorable members have expressed that opinion. The honorable member for Laancoorie said -
All the military experts who have turned their attention to this question have made one initial blunder. They have omitted one factor - I believe the prime factor - iu t’‘e sum when coming to their conclusions. They have taken it for granted that the Australian is of the same nature and of the same capacity as the man who stands in the rank and tie of the British army. We who have, I am thankful to say, a system of education second to none in any part of the world, ‘stand in a very different position. I believe that this education places the Australian in a different category and on a totally different footing from the inhabitant of the United Kingdom in this regard. The success of the Australian in South Africa was not due to drill or to previous military experience.
There never was a. greater calumny than that the British army as a whole is uneducated. Every recruit when he joins is compelled to go to school, and remain there until he obtains a fourth-class certificate : and there were men who continued at school during the whole time I was in the service simply because they could not pass the necessary examination. The honorable member for Laanecoorie qualified his statement later on by saying that he had great admiration and respect for Tommy Atkins ; but the sting of his remark remains. It would be startling if we saw one man in a regiment of 20,000 or 30,000 step out of the ranks, and say to the major - “ Give us a light of your pipe, Bill.” Yet there seems an impression in Australia that such conduct is permissible. I was in Sydney when one of the contingents departed for South Africa, and if English troops had behaved as did these Australian troops they would have been sent back to barracks until they had learned better manners. Without discipline men are nothing but a mob. The only difference between Australian soldiers and British soldiers is that the former have not been brought under the barrack-room and barrack - yard influence, with the result that they act on their own initiative. It has been said that life in Australia is much the same as life in South Africa, and that this renders the Australian soldier superior as a fighting machine. But how many men in the earlier contingents were, from the Australian bush 1 In Queensland bushmen had the utmost difficulty in obtaining enrolment, simply because they had no friends at court. In fact, amongst those who were sent from that State to South Africa were barristers, solicitors, doctors, and others, who had been knocking about Brisbane, Maryborough, Rockhampton, and all the coastal towns.
– And did they shame their country when they went to South Africa t
– I do not say that these men disgraced Australia ; all I contend is that those who say that the Australian soldier is superior to Tommy Atkins is labouring under a delusion. When the English private soldier has a chance to show his mettle he comes out just as creditably as does the Australian soldier : and the mounted infantry are quite as good as any other branch of the mounted service. On the other hand, the average Australian can ride, while theaverage Tommy Atkins cannot. Even in the Australian towns men have a chance, which nien in the towns in the old country never have, of learning to ride. For myself, I was reared in London, and though I saw thousands of horses every day, I was never on the back of one until I joined the service. But I am proud to say that most of my fellow-countrymen in England are educated. They may not have education in the ordinary sense of the word, but the mechanics in the old country, who are the best in the world, are educated in their own lines. Can any one say that thorough mechanics are ignorant men 1 They are possessed of brains which, other things being equal, would enable them to rank with any. The honorable member for Laanecoorie told us that in Australia we have the finest educational system in the world ; and I am proud that that should be so. Had it not been for the education of the people in Australia, such men as compose the part)’ of which I am a member would not be in Parliament to-day. It cannot be said, however, that because the British soldier has not been to college he does not fight as well as men who have had superior advantages. As to parade drill, we all know what a nice sight a military review affords. If military men allow their ideas to run away with them in peace time, it is our duty, as legislators, to impose a check ; and that is what we are here to do. The Treasurer last night expressed the hope that honorable members would not go into details when this general discussion had finished. I feel bound, however, knowing as I do the abuses in the military service in
Queensland, to move that reductions be made in some items which are anomalous. I am sorry to have to” do this, but such is my position that, even if I stand by myself, I must endeavour to achieve some practical economies. One of the pledges which I gave to my constituents when upon the hustings, was that I would do my best to have the Defence vote cut down. It is of no use to say that the money has already been paid, because I am confident that if we make an emphatic protest upon this occasion the Government will take notice of it, and carry out our wishes. On behalf of the electors of Maranoa, I appeal to the Treasurer and to the Minister for Defence to use their influence to cut down these big salaries. We must have some military men, but we can pay too much even for a good thing. I know -that where a £20 horse would do for me, a £50 horse would not suit some officers. I am no hero-worshipper, and when I know of abuses in any department I shall denounce them.
– The talking of generalities is of no service.
– Then, when we come to consider the Estimates in detail, I shall be ready to deal with individual cases. Some of the Queensland officers would be dear if we paid them nothing. My criticism of the defence forces is not based upon personal considerations, because I should not know many of these officers even by sight. Of course, the Minister for Defence has to stick to his department. If he sat upon the military, as other people are inclined to do, they would be as flat as a pancake. Only a few days ago, the Queensland Minister for Railways asked the right honorable gentleman, as a special favour, to reduce the military expenditure in Queensland, and as this committee is willing to sanction a reduction, surely the Minister should have no compunction in seeing that it is carried out. I hope that he will do what Sir Thomas Mcllwraith did in Queensland. If these people will not climb down while they have the opportunity, let him cut the ladder from underneath them, so that they will fall down. I should be satisfied to let MajorGeneral Hutton sack the whole of them, and re-appoint a new lot.
– I did not wish to speak in this debate, and I should not have risen at this late stage had it not been, that I wish to call attention to certain anomalies in the Estimates and in the report of Major-General Hutton. Speaking upon the general question, I have only > to say that the members of the committee who believe that we can deal fairly, reasonably, and drastically with the various items in detail ought to recognise that, until we have passed the Defence Bill, and have indicated the direction in which we desire reform to march, we cannot hope for a proper re-organization of the service. Until Parliament indicates what its policy is in regard to military matters, the Commandant cannot re-organize the defence force upon the lines of that policy. If we attempt a reorganization now by interfering with the detailed items in the Estimates, we shall be making a change which, in a very short time, when we have passed the Defence Bill, will Iia ve to be followed by another change. I agree that there is need for thorough organization, and I believe that we are not getting a sufficient return for the money we spend upon our defence forces. As to the direction in which re-organization should proceed, the question for us to consider seems to be whether we shall have a very limited number of finished troops, or a larger number of troops skilled in the rudiments of military knowledge, and especially in those branches of the art of warfare which take a long time to learn, such as rifle shooting, and ready to become finished soldiers within a very short time when mobilized, and when subjected to the only real finishing process, the operations of war, should that unhappily come about. I hold the opinion that it is better to have the larger number of partiallytrained troops than the smaller number of fully-trained troops. I rose, however, chiefly to draw attention to the extraordinary discrepancies in these Estimates. These discrepancies perpetuate previously existing discrepancies. The Commandant lias made out a table showing the cost of the forces in each of the States in proportion to population, but that is not a complete comparison. What we want to know in order to compare the systems which have been in force in the various States, is the cost of the troops per man.
– Should not the comparison be made upon the efficiency of the training received ?
– I leave that for later consideration. Taking the whole Estimates, without any elimination, the cost of the defence forces of New South Wales has been £27 per man, of Victoria £38 per man, of Queensland £30 per man, of South Australia £16 per man, of Western Australia £13 per man, and of Tasmania £6 per man, while in New Zealand the cost is £23 per man, and in Canada £12 per man.
– But in some of the States the volunteer forces are paid, while in other States they are not.
– I admit that that is not a Fair comparison. There are certain disturbing elements which should be eliminated, and I have prepared a comparison of the cost per man in each State after the contributions to rifle clubs and associations, the cost of the permanent naval forces, where States have gunboats, and the cost of cadet corps have been deducted. Making those deductions, I find that the cost of the military forces of the States is £666,000. The Major-General states the amount as £681,000, so that I have eliminated even more than he has. Dividing that expenditure among the States, I find that the New South Wales forces cost £26 per man, the Victorian forces £2S per man, the Queensland forces£26 perman, the South Australian and Western Australian forces each £13 a man, and the Tasmanian forces £6 per man, while, as I said before, the cost of the New Zealand forces is £23 per man, and of the Canadian forces £.1 2 per man. It has been objected that the military systems in the various States differ. That is so, and the question for us to consider is which of these State systems has given the best result. The cost of the Tasmanian system is the lowest, and that of the Victorian system the highest, and in the three largest States it ranges between £26 and £28 per man. It cannot be said that in Tasmania people have been discouraged from joining the volunteer forces, because, although the population of that State is only 172,000 people, she has a force of 3,000 men, which is gi eater in proportion to population than that of any other State. Either the defence force of Tasmania, which costs only £6 per head, is a useless one, or the defence forces of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland cost an altogether ridiculous amount. All these things have to be taken into consideration, but before any proper system can be devised, this Parliament must indicate by a Defence Act what it desires in connexion with the organization of the military forces. Under these circumstances I am satisfied that it will be best for us to accept the suggested compromise, and to effect reductions which will not entirely shatter the present system before we have another to substitute for it. We can study economy until the Defence Bill is passed, and then insist upon such a system being adopted as will be effective and at the same time economical.
– I am in some doubt as to the effect of the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Tasmania, Sir Edward Braddon, as compared with the Government proposal to reduce the Estimates by £131,000. We all desire to have a thoroughly efficient defence force, and I feel some difficulty in fixing upon any particular sum as being sufficient to meet our requirements in this respect. I should like the Minister for Defence to clearly state what the effect of his proposal will be. If we agree to the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Tasmania it may leave the Minister with more freedom of action than if we accept his own proposal.
– The result would be quite the opposite.
– That is my difficulty. Although these Estimates may seem rather large it would be very difficult for us to fix upon a specific reduction. There are so many things to be considered. I am told that the guns of the Victorian Field Artillery are perfectly useless ; that not a shot has been fired from them since the Easter encampment twelve months ago. A large amount of money will also have to be spent upon rifles and ammunition. I have been trying to obtain ammunition for some of the rifle clubs for a considerable time past. The Minister for Defence says that the ammunition factory in Victoria is turning out a sufficient quantity of ammunition to meet all requirements, but I am informed that it is owing to the comparatively small capacity of the factory that there is a shortage of ammunition in Victoria that does not exist in the other States, which derive their supplies from abroad. The honorable and learned member for Corinella drew a very broad distinction between training and drill, and I now realize the full force of his remarks, which did not at first appeal to me. There is no question that those who aspire to the positions of officers in our defence forces should be trained as thoroughly as possible. 34 u
Young men who are resident in the country are placed at a great disadvantage in comparison with those who reside in the towns. The sons of farmers who are called upon to follow their occupations in the country districts should have facilities for undergoing military instruction and training, and perhaps something might be done in this direction by making an addition to the curriculum of our agricultural colleges. A great deal has been said with respect to naval defence, and some reference has also been made to the paragraph in the report of Major-General Hutton in regard to the railway from Perth to Adelaide. I think that a considerable amount of money will have to be spent to make railways which will be useful for the defence of the country. Nothing would prove more valuable in this connexion than railway lines of uniform gauge running through the coastal districts. We know the great advantage of being able to transport large bodies of men from place to place with rapidity, and railways would enable this to be done far more effectively than would any other means. Some comparisons have been made between our conditions and those existing in Canada, but I do not think that the circumstances of the two countries are at all similar. Canada stands in a very much better position than we do in regard to invasion. It has been said that there is nothing to prevent large bodies of troops from being poured over her borders from the United States, but it must be remembered that if war were to break out between Canada and the United States the whole Empire would be involved, and troops could be sent from England to Canada within a few days. Moreover, the standing army of the United States until a few years ago numbered only 25,000 men and there is no great disparity in numbers between the United States army and the military forces of Canada. I hope that in addition to taking over the Defence’ departments it will be recognised that the Commonwealth should assume all the liabilities of the States in connexion with military matters. I am told that some of the soldiers who have returned from South Africa, and who consider that they have certain claims against the Defence authorities, are unable to obtain any satisfaction. They are sent from the States to the Commonwealth, and from the Commonwealth back to the States.
– We have not taken those claims over.
– I see no reason why we should not.
– It was not our contract.
– I do not see why the men should fall between two stools, or why there should be any repudiation of liability.
– The men have their legal remedy against the State Governments.
– That may be, but it is impossible for individuals to fight the State Governments in the law courts. I should like the cases of these men to be considered by the Defence department, which could if necessary communicate with the State Governments regarding their claims. In any case, the men should not be allowed to suffer. Fiske relates the instance of an American statesman, Robert Morris, who acted as treasurer to Washington. When funds were low he spent the whole of his large private fortune in the interests of the State, and was in his old age allowed to languish in a debtor’s prison. I hope no similar fate will overtake these men who have served their King and country so well in South Africa. Many returned soldiers have spoken to me upon this matter, and have told me that the States Governments say that they have nothing to do with their claims, because the Defence department has been taken over by the Commonwealth ; and the Defence department, in their turn, repudiate liability. I would ask the Minister for Defence to look into this matter. The question whether our troops shall be enlisted so as to permit of their serving abroad is one which will have to be fully considered when the Defence Bill comes before us again. I do not see how we can make effective arrangements for defence unless some understanding is arrived at by which our troops can be sent abroad if necessary. We may have to meet an attack in German or Dutch New Guinea or in New Caledonia, or it might be desirable for us to assist our neighbours in New Zealand. If we enlist our men for service only on our own shores we could not send away the best of our troops. This is a matter to which I have given some attention since the Defence Bill was before us, and upon which I feel very strongly. I do not see how we can lay down the hard-and-fast rule that we shall simply provide for resisting an invasion of our own shores. I feel disposed to accept the offer of the Minister for Defence.
– It was my intention to support the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Tasmania, Sir Edward Braddon, but I think the compromise suggested by the Minister for Defence, is a reasonable one, and I am glad that the honorable member for Tasmania has agreed to accept it. I sincerely hope that, in effecting economies, nothing will be done to impair the efficiency of our defence force. There should be no question upon this point, because we may have an efficient force without making it unduly costly or inflicting a burden upon the community. As a representative of South Australia I feel that we cannot follow upon the extravagant lines of New South Wales. It will be better for us to take example from Canada. What is good enough for Canada is surely good enough for the Commonwealth. I agree with the remark of the honorable member for Gippsland, who said that our first line of defence must be on the sea ; but I realize that we can more conveniently discuss this matter when the Defence ‘Bill Ls under consideration. In Australia we have the best possible material upon which to draw for the formation of a defence force, and there will be no difficulty whatever in creating such a force as will be strong in all essentials, and thoroughly efficient, although possibly not as picturesque on our parade grounds as some people might desire.
Mr. L. E. GROOM (Darling Downs).I wish to direct special attention to the Estimates which refer to the Queensland military forces. I notice that during the year 1899-1900, the expenditure upon the land forces of that State was £77,423, whilst the cost of the marine force was £17,389. In the following year, however, we find that the expenditure proposed upon the land force suddenly increased to £126,873, and upon the marine force to £25,210. In other words, the expenditure jumped from £94,812 to £152,053- an increase of £57,241. I would like the Minister for Defence to carefully look into these Estimates, because the whole of this increase took place just prior to the transfer of the Defence department to the Commonwealth. I am sure that if the right honorable gentleman investigates the matter he will discover many ways in which economies can be effected. Some of the increases are justifiable because they relate to the establishment of rifle clubs and cadet corps, with both of which branches of the service. I am in entire sympathy. I do not wish to discuss the details of the Estimates at this stage, but I desire to emphasize the fact that the people of Queensland are asking for economy. Here is a sum of £57,000 in which it is possible to make some saving - an amount which is practically equivalent to the loss suffered by Queensland through the remission of the duty upon tea. If we can so far economize, as to adopt the Estimates of 1899 and 1900, I, am sure that the people of that State will be” highly gratified. Owing to the deficit in the State finances of Queensland, there must be large retrenchment. We must assist in that retrenchment. But in this connexion I would point out that it is better to reduce the salaries of a few men by a considerable percentage than to maintain their salaries at their present level, and to have a lot of unemployed. I hope that any scheme of retrenchment which is undertaken will be in the nature of a reduction of salaries, and will not result in throwing many individuals out of employment.
-I am exceedingly sorry, and very much surprised, that the military Estimates for the present year disclose such a marked increase in expenditure. The condition of affairs throughout the Commonwealth does not warrant an increased expenditure in any department at the present time, and on behalf of the people of Queensland, I must protest against any additional burden being placed upon them for defence purposes. In Queensland the increases apparent in the Estimates for the Defence department are relatively larger than are those in any other State.
– That increase is the work of the State Government.
– I do not deny that. During , the past twelve months Queensland has been hampered a great deal by Commonwealth legislation, and its revenue has been considerably reduced. I fear that the Immigration Restriction Act will drive the pearl-fishing industry from the Commonwealth into Dutch New Guinea. Such a result would represent a loss of £30,000 annually to Queensland. The sugar industry, too, has sustained a severe check by reason of recent Commonwealth legislation. Then the duty upon tea and kerosene involves the northern State in a loss of something like £50,000 annually. I am prepared to vote for a very substantial reduction in these Estimates. Recently the Minister for Defence, in conversation with the Queensland Minister of Railways, promised a reduction in the expenditure. To’ quote from a newspaper extract -
The latter represented to Mr. Barton and Sir John Forrest the necessity of cutting down expense in connexion with the Queensland naval and military forces, showing that Queensland’s military complement exceeded by about l,000men her proportionate share of Australian troops. The Minister recognised that Mr, Leahy had made out a good case for reducing the number of men in the various branches of the Queensland forces, and the probability is that a considerable reduction may be expected. Mr. Leahy further explained that a great portion of the money spent by Queensland to man and equip the gunboats could be saved.
I hope that the Minister will endeavour to redeem that promise so as to enable Queensland to save £20,000 or £30,000 a year, which amount represents a very great consideration. But I wish particularly to draw attention to the marked difference between the present Estimates of expenditure for the Queensland military forces, and the Estimates for the last few years. In 1897-98 the amount voted was £62,008, and in the following year it was £74,708. These years may be regarded as normal. In 1899-1900 the vote on account of defence aggregated £104,308. This increase is mainly accounted for by the inclusion of expenses incidental to the transition from a state of peace to a state of war. Under present prospects, however, there is nothing to justify a still further increase. The sum placed upon the Estimates for the present year is £166,382 ; and to this is added an amount of £49,306, which appears under the heading of “arrears” for the period ended 30th June, 1901, making a grand total required for the year of £215,728, or £100,000 more than the actual expenditure for last year. The cost of the Defence department has grown very rapidly indeed since its transfer to the Commonwealth. I may mention that the actual expenditure by the Queensland Government from 1st July, 1900, till the 1st March, 1901 - the date upon which this department was taken over by the Commonwealth - totalled, £61,417. For the following four months, the expenditure by the Federal Government amounted to £53,854. So that the sum spent during that period was nearly equal to the amount expended by the State Government in eight months. In the light of these figures, I am inclined to think that the Government must have been guilty of some extravagance, and on behalf of the people of Queensland, I protest against the continuance of extravagant expenditure in connection with the defence forces. I fear, however, that we can accomplish very little good upon the present occasion, because nearly all this money has been spent. We
Can only enter our protest in the hope that next year the Minister for Defence, realizing the temper of the committee, will bring down Estimates upon a considerably reduced scale.
– I recognise that the committee are labouring under a considerable disadvantage in that very many things are necessarily discussed in connexion with these Estimates which might be more fittingly dealt with when the Defence Bill is under consideration. I do not wish to discuss this matter very ex haustively, but I desire to enter my protest against the extravagant manner in which the Defence department is being conducted. X. trust that a similar policy will not be pursued under the management of the present Minister for Defence. If the taxpayers were getting good value for the money expended, I do not suppose there would be very much complaint, but the knowledge that in the past nothing like good value has been given, gives rise to criticism. Reference has been made to the way in which the different States inflated their military appropriations just prior to the handing over of the departments to federal control. New South Wales is one of the States in which that was done, though for some years strong efforts had been made by a number of representatives in the State Parliament to secure greater economy. The Defence Estimates of that State were cut down by a lump sum, but it was deft to the military authorities to decide on the directions in which economies should be made. The result was that the purely ornamental side of the service, and the pay and allowances of the higher officers were maintained, while the real work of defence, such as the drilling of volunteers, the formation of rifle clubs, and the provision of ammunition and equipment, was crippled. What I am afraid of is that the policy which obtained in the States may he continued under the Commonwealth, and it is against such a possibility that I raise my voice in protest. As representatives of the different States we want the best value possible for the expenditure. The Minister has voluntarily undertaken to reduce the defence Estimates by £131,000 next year, and the vote of the committee may indicate that a still larger reduction is necessary. I wish the Minister to understand that the economy demanded is not in the direction of crippling the establishment of rifle clubs or light horse companies, or of reducing the amounts appropriated to ammunition and proper equipment. What is desired is the reduction of extravagant and outrageous allowances, and that gold lace, tinsel and glitter, which are really not necessary to efficiency, shall no longer be continued. Anyone who reads the valuable report of Major-General Hutton must be struck by the fact that the large expenditure in the different colonies for years has resulted in leaving Australian defence in a most unsatisfactory condition, and, further, that in order to secure real practical defence, the sum required is not, roughly, £1,000,000, as proposed in the Estimates, but about half that amount. I should like to direct attention to the following paragraph in Major-General Hutton’s report -
I can conceive of no more severe censure on those who have hitherto had charge of the Defence departments in the various States. Major-General Hutton shows that the administration in regard to the provision of ammunition and general equipment has been disgracefully defective. There is no desire for reductions in directions where good returns are obtained from the expenditure, but only in those directions which practically result in no benefit. I was much pleased with the address delivered by the honorable member for Darling, whose remarks had the true democratic ring. If the Minister for Defence would only give some consideration to the suggestions of that honorable member, and formulate not only a scheme of retrenchment but plans for military defence on the lines indicated, the taxpayers would obtain good value for the money expended. I do not propose to enter exhaustively into the discussion of details at the present time. I would point out to the honorable member for Maranoa that, when he proceeds to deal with the salaries of individual officers, he maybe told that these salaries are secured under the Constitution ; and we, no doubt, here see the reason for the inflation of the military expenditure in the States. There is considerable force, however, in the suggestion of the honorable member for Maranoa that, seeing the wretched state in which the military authorities have left the work intrusted to them, the whole of the old officers should get the “ walking ticket “ and the new Commandant placed ‘ in a position to start afresh. Major-General Hutton should not be required to re-organize the department with the heavy load handed over to us as a heritage from the different States. Under the suggestion to which I have referred the taxpayer would get what he has never had before, a quid pro quo for the money placed at the disposal of the different State Governments foi1 the purposes of defence.
– I understand that there is a very general desire to close the debate, and I shall merely ask the Minister for Defence to answer a question. I understand the right honorable gentleman undertakes to reduce these Estimates by £131,000 next year, and I am anxious that this reduction shall not fall on the rank and file of the service.
– Does the honorable member mean that the men shall have the same pay as at present ?
– The men are getting very little pay, and the question, so far as they are concerned, might be postponed until after the Defence Bill is introduced.
– But the pay of the men is not uniform at present. It will have to be put on a uniform basis throughout the Commonwealth.
– I ask the Minister for Defence to see that the aggregate amount now finding its way to the men shall continue to find its way to them. I have had experience of cutting down military expenditure in New South Wales In that State the Government and Parliament agreed to reduce the vote by £20,000, and to leave to the Commandant the arrangement of the economies to be effected. TheCommandant performed the work in quick: time by simply abolishing the Easter encampment. He saved the whole of the-. £20,000 by this means, but he increased; rather than reduced the perquisites of the~ officers. I hope the retrenchment now suggested will not be carried out in the samewoodenheaded fashion.
– We cannot “ eat our cakeand have it.”
– All I want is tohave the “ cake “ eaten by the men for thepresent, because I believe there is room tosave the amount without interfering with therank and file.
– I desire to draw attention to the extraordinary increases., which have taken place in the States’ Estimates for naval and military expenditure-
– Particularly in Victoria..
– Victoria is no worse in* this respect than any of the other States.. I have taken the trouble to go through theEstimates of the naval and military expenditure of Victoria during the last four years, and I find that in the year 1897-S, theEstimates of expenditure amounted to- £148,34:0, and for the next year to- £152,427. But even with that increase, the authorities could not keep the expenditure within bounds, and exceeded it by £5,500. The Estimates for 1S99-00, amounted to £16S,592, and the expenditureto £173,680. When the Commonwealth, was about to take over the forces, theEstimates were increased to £196,510, and!! the Estimates for 1901-2 amount to- £249,178, or, including the expenditureupon Thursday Island and King George’s^ Sound, to £254,901, an increase of £106,54K In my opinion we could have just as efficient a defence force, if the Minister promised to cut down the expenditure by £200,000. I trust, however, that the cutting down will not be done at the expense of the rank and file, but that those who receive large allowances will be the first to suffer. I believe that the Minister, when. he makes inquiries, will find that retrenchment can be effected, not only in this State, but in every other State of the Commonwealth.
– I should like to know from the Minister for Defence, whether it is the intention of the department, in the re-organization which is to take place, to make provision for the construction of fortifications at Fremantle, which is the most westerly fort in Australia, and in the case of hostilities with foreign powers, would probably be the first point attacked by the enemy.
– I wish to know whether the Minister for Defence can give me the name of one nation which would invade this country if we at once entirely abolished the army and navy of Australia ? Every one is talking of what will happen if we do not keep up a great military establishment ; but, as the history of the East shows us that tropical conditions have the effect of making those who are subject to them, the easy slaves of a military despotism, I am anxious that that shall not occur in Australia. When I was in the Parliament of South Australia, money was always being voted to purchase arms, but our men are not properly armed yet. If we spent £1,000,000 in purchasing the newest rifles, they would ten years hence be as obsolete as wooden guns. It would be better to postpone our preparations for another 20 years, until these inventions are perfected, and we can get the new American rifles which they are bringing out.
– The honorable member talks of nothing but Amenca.
– God pity those who refuse to get intelligence where they can. We do not invent guns here. It is a glorious thing to see how the Christion nations are inventing guns to destroy each other. A man can become great, receive titles, and live in a palace if he can invent a gun which will enable one nation to blow another into Hades more quickly than the existing guns would do. I shall vote for a reduction of the military expenditure by £200,000, and I should be ready to vote for the abolition of the whole system, and to provide fora great volunteer system.
– Why does not the honorable member abolish the United States army ?
– I have nothing to do with that. In America, 25,000 permanent soldiers are enough to defend 80,000,000 people, and they have over 8,000,000 volunteers. At the battle of Lundy’s Lane, the American cow-boy volunteers broke the line of veteran British red-coats. We must have soldiers with intelligence. No country can advance unless its people mingle brains with their work. It is because the American people have done so that that country is now leading the world in inventions and in money making, and before the next 50 years are past will own the world. The block drill system should be wiped out, because it is of no service in Australia. We do not want marionettes. Although we hear cries for reform and economy from all the States, they inflated their army Estimates immediately the Commonwealth was about to take over the defence forces, and handed to us a cursed heritage of debt. That is why we are fighting this battle on the military Estimates to-day.
Mr. PAGE (Maranoa). - Will the Minister for Defence tell the committee what recommendations the Queensland Minister for Railways made to him in regard to retrenchment in the Queensland defence forces 1 Did he specify any particular mode of retrenchment ?
– Ishallanswer the last question first. The Queensland Minister for Railways, in his interview with me, appeared very anxious that the expenditure upon the defence forces of Queensland should be reduced, :and he pointed out that the Queensland naval defences were far in excess of the requirements of the State. He also said that Queensland had more men in its defence forces than it should have in proportion to population, and he -asked for an all-round reduction of expenditure. I have issued instructions to the naval commandant of Queensland to submit to me a scheme by which the naval expenditure of that State may be reduced -from £25,000 a year to something like £10,000 a year. I think that a considerable reduction should be made in the naval expenditure of all the States. So far as I have been able to judge, from my own knowledge, and speaking also from the information which I have received from persons competent to express an opinion upon the subject, I do not think we get full value for the money which we spend on our naval establishments.
I propose to reduce thenaval expenditure very materially by retaining only a sufficient number of permanent officers and instructors to make and keep the militia efficient and to look after the armaments. The honorable member for Fremantle may be certain that, if by any possibility we can find money for the construction of fortifications at Fremantle, the work will be undertaken. It is very regrettable thatsuch an important port - the first port of call of the English mail steamers, and the chief port of Western Australia - is altogether undefended. It is the only port in Australia which is in that lamentable condition, and we must do something to remedy that state of affairs. With regard to the remarks of the honorable member for Parramatta, I shall, so far as I am able, so arrange the reductions as not to decrease the number or efficiency of the forces. I do not think any one would say that we have too many men of the rank and file. Therefore we must endeavour to economize in other directions, though that is not quitesuch an easy matter as some honorable members seem to think. Some of the partially-paid forces and the volunteers cost about £290,000 ; ammunition costs £110,000; the contributions to rifle club associations, excluding ammunition, amount to £19,000; the cost of the cadet corps is £5,000 ; the cost of heavy gun ammunition and warlike stores is £56,000 ; the cost of the naval forces - there is room for a reduction here - £72,000 ; the forts at Thursday Island and King George’s Sound, £17,000 ; and new rifles, £25,000. Of course the £10,000 expenditure which theRoyal reception entailed will not recur. Those amounts come to £610,000. Then there is £168,000 on the Estimates for the permanent force and staff. While I am obliged to honorable members for their criticisms, because we gain information and knowledge by hearing; the opinions of others, I ask them not to flog a willing horse. I have promised to reduce the expenditure by at least £131,000, and the Government are desirous to do all that is possible to place the defence forces upon an economical but efficient basis.
– The suggestion put forward by the Government does not meet the requirements of the representatives of Queensland, who say that the defence votes in their State were increased during the last year of the State control by £53,000. Nor does it meet the ideas of other honorable members, who think that something under £600,000 would be sufficient for the purposes of defence. I cannot accept the position suggested by the Government, andas it appears that the right honorable member for Tasmania has accepted the Government proposal, I wish to test the feeling of the committee in favour of a reduction of the Estimates by £200,000. I, therefore, move -
That the vote, “Chief Administration, £6,500, ‘ be reduced by the sum of £2.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 20
Noes … …. … 25
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question - that the vote “Subdivision No. 1 (Salaries), £3,600,” be reduced by the sum of £1 - put. The committee divided -
Majority … … … 4
In Division :
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Reduced vote £3,599 agreed to.
– Last evening, when speaking of the proposal to establish an ammunition factory within the Commonwealth, I mentioned the presence in Victoria of a competent authority from whom information might be sought. Since then it has occurred to me that there is one in our midst who is still more competent, in the person of the Governor of Victoria, Sir George Sydenham Clarke. He has had exceptional opportunities for acquiring knowledge on this subject, and, in addition to being a distinguished military officer, is regarded as one of the greatest experts in the world. In my opinion, good would result if the Government could obtain an opinion from His Excellency in regard to this very important matter.
Subdivision 2 of Division 33 and Divisions 34 to 129 (total vote £933,612), agreed to.
Arrears (Divisions 162 to 236), £141,575.
– I should like some explanation in regard to this large vote.
– Victoria continued paying accounts for two months, and New South Wales continued doing so for a number of days. All the States went on paying, and then charged the amounts against the previous year. The Constitution, however, compels us to shut down sharp on 30th June, so that these sums could not be paid.
– I think we ought to have some assurance that these items are not in excess of the amounts formerly voted by the State Parliaments. Under ordinary circumstances a number of them would merit very close inquiry. Seeing that they belong to the period ended 30th - June, 1901, they should have been authorized by the State Parliaments.
– New South Wales authorized expenditure for six months only, and left the Commonwealth to provide for the remaining six months.
– On page 22 I notice that under the department for Home Affairs certain sums are provided for repairs and maintenance of buildings, which should properly appear upon the Estimates for defence. For example, in New South Wales there is an expenditure of £12,665, in Victoria of £14,780, in Queensland of £6,370, in South Australia of £1,694, in Western Australiaof £2,367, and in Tasmaniaof £638, in addition to £2,266 in connexion with the defence of Thursday .Island, and King George’s Sound. These figures represent a total of £40, 70S. In my opinion, these amounts would appear more legitimately upon the estimates for the Defence department.
– They relate to buildings, which are an asset.
– There is no doubt that these sums represent expenditure. Are we to borrow money to maintain these buildings t
– No ; it comes out of revenue.
– Then honorable members should be furnished with the necessary material to enable them to form an accurate conception of the true expenditure connected with the Defence department. Here is an amount of £40,708 belonging to that department, which is included in the department for Home Affairs..
– In the papers which 1 circulated with the Budget, I showed the total expenditure for each department. However, I promise that in any future Estimates, which I have the honor to prepare, a footnote will be inserted showing the expenditure in the form to which the honorable member refers.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Mr. SPEAKER reported the receipt of the following message from the Senate -
The Senate returns to the House of Representatives the Public Service Bill, and acquaints the House of Representatives that the Senate does not insist upon that part of Amendment No. 13 to which the Blouse of Representatives still disagrees, and agrees to the further amendments of the House of Representatives in clause 9, and does not insist upon its amendment to the House of Representatives’ amendment in clause 52a.
C. BAKER, President.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
I hope that I shall not occupy too long a time in explaining its provisions. At the outset, perhaps, it is just as well to make an explanation of the circumstances out of which this Bill arises. In accordance with the provisions of the Convention Bill, the salary of the Governor-General has been fixed in the Constitution at £10,000 a year. That salary, as a salary, cannot be .altered during his continuance in office. The proceedings of the Federal Convention show that, in Adelaide, a finance committee was appointed, which made certain estimates of the probable new expenditure, based, no doubt, upon the condition of Australia - its population and state of advancement - at that time, namely, 1897. I find in these Estimates, which were laid upon the table of the Convention by our present Speaker, in his capacity of chairman of that committee, and which were ordered to be printed on the 23rd April, 1397 - just about five years ago - that under the heading of Governor-General various matters were observed as if the .amount mentioned were an Estimate which had not been made up of actual items, but had been set down in globo. It will be found in the published papers upon federation which were circulated when the draft Federal Constitution was under consideration by the Legislature of Victoria in .1897, that the cost of these heads of service, “ Legislature, Governor-General, Executive, Civil Establishments, Treasury, Justice, Mint, Defence, Customs, Navigation, and Quarantine,” was estimated less the revenue expected from them, and that certain results were brought out. Under the heading of the Governor-General, the committee estimated £10,000 for salary and £5,000 for His Excellency’s establishment. That was done during consideration of a draft Bill, in which there was never any thought of specifically naming any sum of money for the establishment of the Governor-General, because that is an expenditure which is no doubt fluctuating, and which there would be great difficulty in assessing at any particular sum. The £5,000 was merely an estimate by the finance committee. I mention this for the purpose, more than any other, of showing that amongst those who framed the Constitution, and who were elected for that purpose by the whole of Australia, it was always expected that beyond the salary of the. Governor-General there would have to be some allowance made for his establishment. Scarcely any one in the convention imagined that the myriad calls which go to make up the expenses of the GovernorGeneral’s establishment were to be comprehended in the salary of £10,000 : it was always in contemplation that that amount would, on this account, have to be exceeded. That appears in black and white as clearly as possible on the estimate of the finance committee of the convention ; and the Bill was adopted and the estimate was discussed on every platform in Australia.
– Nothing of the kind.
– The estimates of the finance committee were discussed, at any rate, on almost every platform in the State to which I belong.
– And in Victoria those estimates were constantly flung at advocates of federation.
– Those who opposed the Constitution Bill were untiring and unsparing in their criticisms of these estimates, which had, therefore, to be discussed and defended, not only by the finance committee who had a hand in their preparation, but by members of the convention, to whom they were presented. The result was that these estimates became known to the people of Australia almost as much as any part of the Bill before they voted.
– Nothing of the sort.
Mi-. BARTON.- It is an absolute fact.
– I say that not 1 per cent, of the people of Western Australia knew that such estimates had been made.
– I am prepared to believe that 5 per cent, of the people may have been ignorant of them, but that amongst tlie other 95 per cent, the Estimates were known.
– The only way of establishing that the statement I have made is “ rubbish” is to show that those who were against federation did not use all their art and ingenuity in investigating, analyzing, and sometimes misrepresenting the probable cost of federation. At any rate in New South Wales it was accepted that this cost would reach £300,000, as had been estimated by the committee, though those who were against the Bill thought that it might reach, not £300,000, but £750,000. There may be places in Australia in which these estimates were not so thoroughly known as they might have been, but I venture to assert that amongst a majority of the population of Australia the estimated cost was a constant factor of consideration, criticism, and dispute. I remember well that the estimate, which was called the Adelaide estimate, was the constant subject of discussion ; and there are gentlemen in this Chamber who opposed federation, and who will do me the justice of admitting that I am stating the truth.
– The cost of federation was a big factor in Victoria.
– I have mentioned the paper which was laid on the table and circulated amongst the convention documents, and it is of no use for honorable members to try to get rid of its significance by interruption. Wherever this Bill was discussed the paper ‘was open for obtainment. It will be apparent, therefore, that the probable cost of federation was a constant subject of criticism, .and that amongst the papers circulated were those estimates, which the opponents of federation thought were altogether too small. Time went om, and the Bill was submitted to a referendum, and finally passed into law by the Imperial Parliament.
– There was no mention of £5,000 in that Bill.
– I took pains at the beginning of my address to say that there was no mention of £5,000 in.tlie Bill, but that the sum did appear in the convention Estimates. The Imperial authorities had the papers of the convention before them, and they knew, therefore, what had been estimated by the delegated authority on that convention. The Governor-General was appointed; and when I look at the expenditure which has necessarily been undertaken by His Excellency, and compare it with the Estimate, I am fain to say that the Finance Committee did undoubtedly under-estimate the probable expenditure in regard to the establishment. Whatever side we are on in this House, not one of us wishes unduly to expose to criticism either the GovernorGeneral or his accounts ; in this I am sure I have the sympathy of all -honorable members.
– The pity of it is that the Bill was introduced.
– Many of the items which are included in the proposed grant have, in past years, been paid by some or all of the States ; and if every penny of the grant as proposed were agreed to, His .Excellency would stOl be out of pocket several thousands of pounds. I do not think, however, that there are amongst us any who contend that for the representation of a Commonwealth such as this the expenditure on Government House, judged by what every citizen can see, has ‘been lavish or extravagant. ‘The position remains that if the £S,000 per annum be granted, I can assure honorable members, who will not ask me to put certain items before them, that His
Excellency will still be a loser by several thousands of pounds yearly.
– His Excellency should not be a loser.
– Whether His Excellency should or should not be a loser is a matter quite open for honorable members to debate. J am placing before the House the facts, and I wish to be absolved, if honorable members will accept my word in the matter, of any idea of dragging His Excellency’s items of expenditure into question. The Treasurer and myself have gone into the accounts very carefully, and my colleague will be able to:add his assurance that if the Bill be carried as introduced His Excellency will still be a heavy loser. The Constitution Bill having been passed and the GovernorGeneral appointed, the question arose as to what sum would be sufficient for His Excellency. I will not deal with any communications which passed as to what might be done by the various States, but it is well known that two States took in hand, through their Governments, the work of providing a proportion of an allowance, apart from the salary, of £10,000 a year. One of these States was New South Wales.
– That Bill went through under a misapprehension.
– I must ask the honorable member to wait until he addresses the House. New South Wales passed an Act under which that State undertook to provide the proportion of £3,700 a year. That was at the close of a session, and not very long, I admit, before the Commonwealth came into operation. The head of the Government which passed the Act was my colleague, the present Minister for Home Affairs. When the question came before the Government of the Commonwealth, who knew that a similar measure had been before the Legislature of Victoria and rejected
– Quite right, too !
– How much better it would be to allow me a little courtesy. When it became known to the Ministers of the Commonwealth that this matter had been dealt with in some of the States, and might perhaps be dealt with in other States, they came to the conclusion that it was wholly undesirable, whatever was done, that the Governor-General should be asked to be beholden to the Parliament of any State for any addition to his emoluments, or for aid in bearing the heavy expenses of his establishment. The Government of the Commonwealth decided that if this matter had to be taken in hand it must not be by the States, but by the Commonwealth. That was before the opening of Parliament, and the Commonwealth Government then came to the decision to submit a measure on the subject, thinking that this Parliament was the proper authority to grant any such aid. In conversation with His Excellency - and I am certainly privileged to say this - he expressed his entire concurrence with that view and he would nothaveaccepted any such grant if it had come from any or all the States. It was obvious that the functions and duties of the Governor-General could not be carried on, if £10,000 a year had to include all the dozens and scores of expenses which had previously been paid by the States, and it became an important question as to what should be done. This Bill is introduced so late in the session, not, I assure honorable members, because of any desire on the part of the Government to hold it back, but merely because matters of much more urgent importance - if I may leave out the personal hardships to the GovernorGeneral - had to be discussed, amongst others, the Tariff. If there be any blame it must fall on me, because in apportioning the time for public business, Parliament would forgive me if I kept this measure a little late, and went on with certain others. That is why the measure is made to take effect from the 1st January, 1901. If -we had introduced it as the first measure of the session, it would have dated back only five months, but as the requirements of public business did not in our judgment render it right to introduce it then, its retrospective action, if it can be called so, now dates back much longer. While I have not committed Parliament in any way, I undertook, on behalf of the Cabinet, on the day on which I had a conversation with the Governor-General upon the subject, to bring in this Bill during the first session of this Parliament. I am now fulfilling that undertaking, though perhaps rather late in the day, and I was bound in honor to do so. The GovernorGeneral, out of the £8,000 for which the Bill provides, will have to pay a salary of £600 a year to his private secretary, a salary of £500 a year to his military secretary, and a salary of £300 a year to his aide-de-camp, or, altogether, £1,400 a year. He will also have to expend, upon his two residences, £1,600 a year for gas and electric lighting.
– Does he bear that expense now ?
– Some of these matters are now held in suspense until the Bill has been dealt with. It is estimated that his expenditure upon fuel will be about £350 a year ; but, since these figures were supplied to me, I have ascertained that the actual sum will be more nearly £400 or £500 a year. In connexion with expenditure attendant upon entertainments, but not being part of the cost of those entertainments - such as the purchase and maintenance of marquees, china, and glass - £400 or £500 a year will have to be spent. About £100 a’ year will have to be spent in the purchase of flags. Honorable members will see from this information how very much larger than anybody anticipated is the actual expense of carrying on this establishment.
– Would new flags be required every year?
– New flags will have to be bought when old flags get shabby. The stationery for entertainments, and private printing for such purposes, will cost something like £750 a year, and as this work is done by the Government Printing-offices in Melbourne and Sydney, honorable members can be sure that no more is charged for it than the actual cost. £50 or £100 a year must also be provided for breakages.
– Are not the expenses which the right honorable gentleman enumerates borne by the State Governors ?
– Most of them have been borne by the State Governments.
– Do not the State Governors pay for their own fuel 1
– In some cases, but not in others. In such cases as I know of, the cost of gas and electric light is borne by the State Governments. In one State or another nearly all these items are paid for out of the State expenditure. I do not say that each of the States pays all these expenses, but some of the items are paid for by the Government in some of the States, and other items in other States. The items which I have mentioned come to £4,250, without allowing anything for the expenditure of the Governor-General upon entertainments and ten thousand other matters. There is a great deal of expenditure which cannot be strictly defined in any estimate of accounts, because it fluctuates and varies, and depends upon the hospitality of the occupant of the office. Even if Parliament passes the Bill, the Governor-General will be largely at a loss. Opinions may vary as to whether he should pass part of the year in Melbourne, and part of the year in Sydney, but opinions do not vary as to it being his duty to pay visits to the various States when he can do so consistently with the discharge of his executive duties. In paying the expenses of such visits, the Governor-General has already been put to considerable expense. When he has visited Adelaide, where he proposes to make, next week, a visit which will extend over seven or ten days, he will have visited every State in the Commonwealth within the first seventeen months of his administration. I think it is desirable that he should be placed in a position to do this without undue expense. My opinion is that, until the erection of a residence in the federal capital, he should also be placed in a position to pass part of his time in each of the two principal cities of the Commonwealth.
– Will he not have to do that even after a residence is provided for him in the federal capital ?
– If he had a house in the federal capital he might, perhaps, meet the wishes of the community as a whole by making that his place of residence, and paying only occasional visits to the State capitals. However, when that happens, the whole matter will have to be considered from a much more federal point of view than we have hitherto taken. In the meantime, I am of opinion that he should pass a considerable portion of his time in the two principal cities of the Commonwealth, and I do not see how it will be possible for him to do that unless the allowance proposed in this Bill is granted to him. If the Bill is not passed, while I should still tell him that I thought it desirable for him to pass part of the year in Sydney, and part in Melbourne, no citizen could complain if he did not do so.
– No one would complain, probably.
– We must look to the future, as well as to the existing condition of affairs. Unless we make an adequate allowance for such expenses, which no salary that is grantable can be expected to cover, we shall have a difficulty in the future in obtaining the appointment to the high position which was created by our act in federating, of a gentleman of the requisite ability and standing to do credit to the Commonwealth. I know that there are those who think that £1.0,000 a year should be sufficient to cover the expenditure of any crowned head, and who, from want of experience, are ignorant of the calls made upon the occupants of high positions such as that of the Governor-General, and of the extent to which they are considered absolutely mean if they do not almost impoverish themselves with gifts and subscriptions. Besides, the necessary delegation of authority to others makes it impossible for them to exercise, in regard to their own affairs, that supervision which a business man would exercise in regard to his.
– Then, too, they are often fleeced when they travel.
– They are no doubt fleeced, as other persons are when they travel, but to a very much greater extent. Putting aside that matter, we have to consider whether in rejecting the Bill we shall not render it less likely that men of the ability and standing of the present GovernorGeneral will follow in his footsteps. With regard to the Governor - General’s expenditure during the Royal visit, I wish to correct a statement which has appeared in the press. It seems to be considered in some quarters that in introducing this Bill I had it in contemplation to reimburse the Governor-General for that expenditure. I understand, if I may mention the matter to the House, that he expended £9,000 or £10,000 on the occasion of the Royal visit, in seeing that the position of Australia was properly and worthily maintained.
– Then repay him the money.
– He has not suggested that a grant should be made to him in respect to that expenditure. I am sure that if the Bill is passed he will not at any time make such a suggestion, but will cheerfully bear the expense himself. I mention the matter so that honorable members may not be induced to believe that in the event of this, as I consider it, moderate allowance being granted, any request for the repayment of that money will be made. Seeing that honorable members desire to have an earlier adjournment than usual, and that we were occupied rather longer than was at one time expected over the Defence
Estimates, I do not wish to prolong discussion, and I, therefore, conclude my remarks by commending this measure to the consideration of honorable members, and expressing the hope that they will consider it in the spirit in which it should be dealt with.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).No one will object to the manner in which the Prime Minister has submitted his case ; but I think it will be generally agreed that the Bill should not have been rushed on at a time when the Prime Minister is about to leave for the old country, and when the House is on the eve of an adjournment extending over three or four weeks. The Prime Minister stated that he was prevented by thepressure of public business from dealing with this question at an earlier period of the session. Honorable members know that we have been called upon to give our consideration to a number of measures which have since been held in abeyance, and that on many occasions we have had some difficulty in finding sufficient business to occupy our time. I need only refer to the InterState Commission Bill, the Defence Bill, and many other measures that were never seriouslY submitted by the Government, or dealt with by the House. Therefore, if, fis was stated by the Prime Minister, an understanding was arrived at .with respect to these allowances, the Government ought to have taken the House into its confidence at the earliest possible moment. They have not acted fairly either to the Governor-General or to the House, and their delay in dealing with the matter is much to he regretted. The Prime Minister pointed out that in the Estimates submitted to the people of the Commonwealth, at the time of thereferendum, it was clearly understood that this large additional allowance was to be asked for. I never understood that the appropriation of such a large amount of money was contemplated, and, in fact, section 3 of the Constitution distinctly provides to the contrary. It is stated that the salary of the Governor-General shall be £10,.000 per annum until the Parliament otherwise provides, and it is further provided that the salary of the Governor-General shall not be altered during his continuance in office. Whatever may be said by the Prime Minister, the clear intention of this measure is to provide for an addition to the salary of the Governor-General in direct contravention of the Constitution. The Prime
Minister has referred to several items of expenditure which the Governor-General should not be called upon to bear. “With regard to the large expense incurred by His Excellency in connexion with the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York, I feel sure that honorable members are prepared to act fairly and liberally. We have no right to ask His Excellency ‘ to pay out of his private purse for the entertainment of our distinguished visitors, but the Government might have introduced this matter to the House in the form of a vote upon the Estimates. Any other items of a similar character might have been provided for as incidental expenses, in accordance with the practice followed in the various States. We do not wish to place the Governor-General of Australia in a worse position, as far as expenses are concerned, than are the State Governors.
– But he has a much larger salary.
– Only the same as the Governor of Victoria had at one time.
– That was in the boom time.
– I disagree with the proposal of the Government, and I intend to divide the House against it. I regret exceedingly that the Government have placed us in the position of having to discuss such an important matter at this late period. So far as I am concerned I should oppose the proposed allowance no matter when it had been brought in by the Government.
– Has the honorable member heard of any one who will support it ?
– No, and I cannot understand the Government introducing this measure in view of their knowledge that not a dozen members will be found to support it. I do not wish to deal in detail with, the expenses of the GovernorGeneral’s establishment. The Prime Minister, has referred to such items as the cost of electric lighting and fuel ; but this Bill has not been brought down for the purpose of meeting these incidental expenses . It has been introduced with the object of increasing the salary of the Governor-General, contrary to the spirit and intention of the Constitution. I hope, therefore, that the Government will see fit to withdraw it. They can rely on the. House dealing fairly with any proposal they may make to recoup any expenditure incurred by the Governor-General during the visit of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York, because no honorable member desires that the Governor-General shall be out of pocket. I shall regard it as my duty to oppose the Bill.
– I think that . the present position demonstrates the wisdom of the principle which has been followed ever since the initiation of responsible Government, and which is embodied in the Federal Constitution ; namely, that the salary of the Governor-General shall not be altered during his continuance in office. That is the spirit as well as the letter of the Constitution, and I would point out to the Prime Minister that all his statements about the report of the finance committee at the federal convention go for nothing, in view of the fact that the convention did not adopt the report of’ the committee. They carefully excluded from the Constitution the mention of anything beyond the £10,000 per annum. We are not bound by the tentative report of the committee of the convention, but by the Constitution, which is the result of the matured judgment of the convention as a whole. I regret as much as any one the necessity the Government have placed upon us of discussing the Governor-General’s salary and allowances. The only time this should be done is after the departure of a Governor-General, or before the appointment of the Governor-General to whom any alteration is intended to apply. The Prime Minister stated that at the time of the federal referendum people outside understood that the Governor-General’s salary was to be £15,000 per annum - £10,000 as salary, and £5,000 as allowances. I deny, first of all, that ‘any great number of people ever heard of the estimate of the convention committee; further, speaking as one who opposed the Bill in New South Wales, I do not remember one opponent of the measure - besides Dr. McLaurin, and one or two others, who were opposed to federation on any terms - who mentioned the question of finance so far as the new expenditure was concerned. There was no objection to pay the Governor-General £10,000 per annum, nor was any opposition shown with regard to the other necessary expenses attached to federation. But grave exception was taken to the provisions of the Braddon clause, which necessitated the raising of a larger amount of revenue than was actually required. Other objections of a. constitutional character were urged by those who opposed the Bill, but this question of the GovernorGeneral’s salary was. never brought up.
– It was too small.
– It was too small a question in relation to the matter at issue, that was, federation itself. But it is not too small a question for our cognizance at the present time. The Prime Minister told us that the Governor-General was now spending at a rate of something like £20,000 per annum. That is to say, that if he were granted the amount now proposed to be voted under the Bill, he would still be out of pocket to the extent of several thousand pounds per annum. If that is so, I think it is about time that the members of this Parliament, as representing the people of Australia, and beyond all, the Prime Minister and the members of the Ministry as the official representatives of Australia, should inform the Governor-General that we do not expect him to cater for a number of sycophants who crawl about Government House. We vote £10,000 to the Governor-General as salary, and he is entitled to keep every penny of that for himself if he chooses.
Mi1. Mahon. - How much do the poor people get out of it ?
– They do not want anything out of it. They do not want to go to the entertainments at Government House. I regard the Governor-General in the same light as any other private gentleman of means. If His Excellency cares to invite his friends to dinner with him, let him have them by all means; but I say most distinctly that the people of Australia - speaking broadly, and not merely of a few persons either in Sydney or Melbourne - do not expect the GovernorGeneral to entertain on their behalf on a scale that involves loss to himself. The sooner Ministers, who are the advisers of His Excellency, recognise that the people will be satisfied with the proper discharge by him of his gubernatorial duties, the better will it be for the social life of Australia, and the general utility of the Governor-General. Whilst the people of New South Wales will always be glad to welcome His Excellency amongst them as the representative of the old land, I am sure that they dd not expect him to make any large financial sacrifice in order to reside in Sydney for any great portion of the year.
If it be true that the occupancy of Government House, Sydney, involves the GovernorGeneral in loss, I say that, under such circumstances, the people of New South Wales do not expect Lord Hopetoun to reside there. The Prime Minister hasalluded to the passage through the New South Wales Parliament of a Bill to contribute an additional £3,600 as that State’s share towards an additional £10,000 which it was proposed to pay to the GovernorGeneral. But if ever’ a Bill was put through the House in secrecy, and with complete ignorance, so far as the bulk of honorable members were concerned, it was the Bill in question. It was introduced at a time when, as every one knows, all-night sittings were the rule and not the exception. I admit that I was asleep, but those who were awake inform me that they understood that the Bill provided for an instalment of the £10,000 salary which was guaranteed to the Governor-General under the Constitution. They were under the impression that, as the Federal Government was not in existence at the time, the various State Parliaments were jointly advancing the £10,000 required.
– I have looked at the New South Wales Hansard, and there is not the slightest warrant for any such statement.
– I repeat that what I have stated was the general impression.
– Sir William Lyne said nothing to create such an impression.
– No; he carefully said nothing about the matter, for fear of waking up those who might oppose the Bill. If the Bill had been de-, bated, and a division taken upon it, it would not have had the faintest show of passing. I can assure honorable members that it was carried in ignorance of its effect so far as a large number of members were concerned. There is another matter to. which I would direct the attention of the Prime Minister. Amongst the Estimates for the department of . External Affairs ta which we have already agreed is a sum of £2,000 for the purposes of the GovernorGeneral. In division 11, sub-division 2, will be found “ Official printing, stationery, travelling, telegrams, and other incidental expenditure for Governor-General, £2,000.” That amount was agreed to, and I am not objecting to it. I contend, however, that that expenditure is quite sufficient. Then, again, the Prime Minister should recollect that some of the expenditure to which he has referred is brought about by entertainments at Government House. In this connexion I might instance the item of £750 for stationery. This expenditure is incurred in giving entertainments for which there is no demand on the part of the people, and which benefit only a few individuals who are already sufficiently favoured by fortune. When the Tariff was under discussion, authorities and precedents in profusion were cited by Ministers, the assumption being that we should be guided by the average of precedents. Canada was cited in this connexion as evidencing the extreme moderation of the Ministry, and as showing that that country went much further than did the proposals of the Minister for Trade and Customs. If in other things we are justified in following the example of Canada, it seems to me that in this case we are amply justified in adopting a similar course. The salary paid to the Governor-General in Canada is practically £10,000 a year. The population there is considerably larger than is the population of Australia, and I believe that its expanse of territory is also larger. In Canada the allowances to the GovernorGeneral total under £2,000.
– They aggregate 30,000 dollars, which is equal to £6,000.
– I have in my hand a list of the allowances to the GovernorGeneral, and they do not exceed £2,000.
– It happens that in a past despatch, the allowance to the GovernorGeneral of Canada is mentioned, and is put down at 30,000 dollars.
– The authority for my statement is to be found in the Canadian Estimates for the financial year ended June, 1901.
– I hope that the honorable member will not persist in that statement, because I am pretty clear that I am right.
– I am equally clear that the Canadian Estimates disclose the true position of affairs there. I do not know whether the inference to be drawn from the Prime Minister’s statement is that he has had suggestions from the Colonial-office in regard to the Governor-General’s salary. If he has not, I do not understand why he should be in receipt of despatches upon the subject. It is a peculiar thing if the Colonial-office has been applied to in regard to this matter.
– It has not.
– I regret very much that this question has been brought forward. I should have been much better pleased if there had been no necessity to discuss .it. If the Governor-General was put to large expense- as I believe he was - in connexion with the reception of the Duke and Duchess of York, I am willing to vote a fair amount to recoup his outlay. I do not think that we should ask him to entertain our guests at his own cost. But I will oppose any proposal to increase the GovernorGeneral’s salary by adopting an extravagant system of allowances. I regard the£10,000 which is provided for in the Constitution as a salary pure and simple, and His Excellency is entitled to retain every penny of it above his ordinary living expenses.
– It is always a delicate and extremely difficult task to have to deal with the remuneration of an important office after it has been filled. Upon the present occasion it is unusually so, seeing that the office in question is filled by a gentleman who has endeared himself to every section of the community. Indeed, I hope that the Government were not relying on the well - known and well - merited popularity of our present Governor - General, when they submitted to us a proposal which I scarcely think they can hope to justify upon any other ground. I admit at once - and I think it will be conceded all round - that our present Governor-General has been subjected to an extraordinary expenditure of a non-recurring character during his first year of office. In the first place, before he had any responsible advisers, he very properly took up his residence in the oldest and most populous of the States. Then he had to incur the expense of removing to Victoria when the Parliament opened in this city. As we all know he must have been involved in a verv large expenditure in upholding the dignity of the Commonwealth upon its inauguration in Sydney. He was also put to further expense in entertaining the Duke and Duchess of York, and receiving them in a manner that was worthy of the Commonwealth. We must remember that that reception and hospitality were tendered by him to our future king and queen. I think we will all agree that the Commonwealth does not expect the Governor-General to pay this extraordinary expenditure out of his own pocket. If the Government had submitted a proposal to reimburse him to that extent, I for one should have been very pleased to support it. But virtually what we are asked to do is to permanently increase the salary attaching to the position, and to make that salary apply to future occupants as well as to the present occupant of the office. Assuming, for instance, that the federal capital site is selected next session - and that is the earliest possible moment at which we can expect the selection to be made - it will take some years to provide the necessary accommodation for the Governor-General, the Parliament, and the officials of the various departments, and by that time the Governor-General’s term of office will in all probability have expired. I should be very pleased, of course, to see the same gentleman re-appointed, but we must regard the matter in the light of the Constitution. In all probability another Governor-General may be in office by that time, and we could not reduce the salary after the appointment had been accepted at the higher rate. Besides, it appears to me that a great deal of the proposed expenditure is altogether unnecessary. When the Federal Constitution was adopted, an honorable compromise was arranged as to the State in which the capital should be fixed. It was agreed that the permanent Federal capita] should be in the senior State, but that the Parliament should meet in Victoria until the Federal capital had been established. It was not considered necessary to provide in the Constitution that the seat of Government must be in Victoria, during the whole of the term in which Parliament met in that State, any more than it was considered necessary to provide that the seat of Government should be always in New South Wales after the capital had been established. If it is considered necessary, while the Parliament sits in Victoria, to keep up a vice-regal residence in Sydney during a portion of the year, is it not equally reasonable to suppose that Victoria may make a similar claim after the seat of Government has been removed permanently to New South Wales ? How can we support one claim without lending some countenance to the other? Would it not be just as reasonable for Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, and Hobart, to make similar claims to the vice-regal presence ? I quite concur with the honorable member for Bland in the view that the GovernorGeneral should not be expected to spend so much on functions. There is a great deal more in this matter than appears on the surface. It may be said that £18,000 a year is not a large sum for the people to provide for the Governor-General ; but when we are fixing salaries we must necessarily compare one with another, and. grade each in proportion to the duties performed. If we fix the principal salary unduly high, scores of other salaries may be affected. I sincerely hope that the Government will reconsider this matter, and not put the House in the very disagreeable position of having to vote on the Bill. The Government would be well advised if they withdrew the Bill and came down with a reasonable proposal to recoup the Governor-General for any extraordinary expenditure he may have incurred during the first year of the Commonwealth.
– I do not see why the terms “regret” and “disagreeable” should be used in connexion with the discussion of this Bill, any more than in connexion with other estimates of expenditure which are placed before us, because in our public capacity we have often to perform duties of a disagreeable character affecting individuals. But this is not a personal criticism of the Governor-General ; and, if any regret is to be expressed, it must be for the position in which we have been placed by the Government. The Prime Minister has used all his powers of persuasiveness and appealed to the broad-minded spirit of the House.
– Do not make this a party question.
– There is no desire to make it a party question. The Prime Minister can discern, without any canvass, that a large majority of honorable members are absolutely opposed to the granting of the sum mentioned in the Bill ; if he . does not know, he has been busy somewhere else, and has been badly advised. I am not dealing with this as a party question, but on broader and loftier grounds. The Prime Minister contended that the people of Australia, in accepting the Constitution, accepted a contract to provide for the establishment of the Governor-General.
– I did not mention the word, “contract,” nor suggest it. I said that most of the people were aware of this estimate.
– The Prime Minister, who was a strong advocate of the Federal Constitution, may have had that impression, but the only test we can apply to the question is the test of experience. The Constitution was the only Bill referred to the people, and it was in regard to that instrument that the votes at the referendum were cast.
– The whole of the financial articles written on the Constitution, and nearly the whole of the meetings in New South Wales, and, I think, in Victoria, dealt, in the way of criticism, with the estimate of the convention.
– With the total sum, never with the details-.
– What the-honorable member for South Sydney says is quite correct. The people of Australia do not expect their representatives to repudiate any agreement, and I should bo glad if the Prime Minister could show me that there was an undertaking to provide £5,000 for the- GovernorGeneral’s establishment.
– I never said there was an undertaking. I said that the convention, in fixing the salary at £10,000, were not unaware of the fact that there would have to be added a sum by way of allowance. That was shown in the report of the finance committee.
– I am dealing with the people whose representatives we are ; and they understood that £10,000 was to be the cost of the Governor-General. The public and the electors were not advised of or acquainted with an estimate made at Adelaide or elsewhere. A sum of £8,000 a year will not weaken Australia, but it is our duty to control expenditure in accordance with what we consider to be the wishes of the people, and I take it that £10,000, as provided in section 3’ of the Constitution, was what the people understood had to be paid to the Governor-General. The GovernorGeneral is paid £10,000 a year, not for the purpose of entertaining, or in order that he may be a social pivot, but in order that a gentleman of distinction and ability may occupy the position. In Canada, the Marquis of Lorne, a son-in-law of the late Queen, performed the duties of Governor-General at a much less salary than is proposed for the GovernorGeneral of the Commonwealth.
– That is not the only item on- the Canadian Estimates for the GovernorGeneral.
– I have the Canadian Auditor-General’s report, which shows- that a sum of over 79,000 dollars a year is voted for the Canadian Governor-General.
– This is not a personal criticism, and respect and veneration are not always represented by the discussion of a person’s good qualities; it is just as disagreeable to discuss a man’s merits as to discuss his demerits. I believe that the intention of the people of Australia is that the Commonwealth shall be administered on an economical basis, and’ all we should do is- to pass a Bill recouping the Governor-General for money which he has paid out of pocket on behalf of the nation in entertaining the Prince and Princess of Wales-. Although only young in public life, I feel that we are on the verge of a constitutional crisis which will require the keenest and most careful consideration. I know what great parliamentarians in the past have said on questions of this kind. One whom I consider to be amongst the foremost constitutionalists of this country - the late Sir “Henry Parkes - was never afraid to subject the high office of Governor, and, if neces-sary, the occupant of that office, to political criticism when that was necessary ; and I refuse to approach this subject with bated breath, or in the spirit of abasement. The Prime Minister stated that the GovernorGeneral will be largely at a loss, even if this Bill be carried; but neither Parliament nor the people desire that. If the GovernorGeneral was obliged to spend a large sum of money in entertaining Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales when they came, here, upon the invitation of the nation, he should be- reimbursed out of the consolidated revenue ; and to my mind the Ministry would have’ shown better taste in providing for the reimbursement under the heading of “ Commonwealth Celebrations Account - further sum.” We have to consider now whether we should hold fast to the sacredness of the Constitution and refuse to pass this Bill, or, by passing it, perform what is called a graceful act. The Prime Minister is a strong constitutionalist, and I am sure that, if he were free to express his opinion, he would advise us to hold sacred the Constitution. Section 3 of the Constitution provides that a certain sum of money shall be paid annually to the Governor-General. The Treasurer, when. Premier of the State ofVictoria, introduced a Bill to sanction the payment to the Governor-General of an annual sum to cover certain of his expenses and in doing so he stated that when federation came about the Constitution would prevent the Federal Parliament from granting to the Governor-General any sum beyond the salary therein fixed. That Bill was rejected ; but if his statement was true then, it is true now, and it would violate the Constitution to pass this Bill. The salary of the Governor-General is fixed by the Constitution at£10,000, so that it is impossible for any economically minded Member of Parliament to move its reduction. When the acceptance or rejection of the Constitution was referred to the people, they, for the first time in the history of the world, voted upon the subject, each armed with a copy of the measure in question. But the great fight on that occasion was not in regard to the financial provisions of the measure, but in regard to its constitutional effects.
– In the most populous State the fight turned upon the financial provisions.
– So far as the financial provisions of the measure were in dispute, the people were divided chiefly upon the question whether the amount set down as the probable new expenditure of the Commonwealth - £300,000 per annum - would or would not be exceeded. I do not wish to put a wrong construction upon what the Prime Minister said, but, in reply to the honorable member for Bland, he spoke of having made the discovery in a recent despatch that the allowances given to the Governor-General of Canada were much higher than the honorable member had stated.
– I did not say in a “ recent despatch.”
– Then I am mistaken. Have there been any despatches between the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Government on this subject ?
– I decline to allow the House to be influenced on a question such as this by any despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
– I am glad to hear the right honorable gentleman say that ; but the interpretation I put upon his statement was that there had been a despatch. While we may respect the present Secretary of State for the Colonies for the action he has taken in regard to the interests of the Empire, we should resent, his interference in regard to matters of self-government. This is not a measure upon which we should make a party attack upon the Government. I am convinced that a large majority of honorable members intend to vote against the Bill, and I regret that the Prime Minister has introduced it. I am willing that the GovernorGeneral should be reimbursed the expenses incurred during the Royal visit, but, to my mind, it would be a direct invasion of the Constitution to give him the allowance provided for in the Bill. I hope, therefore, that the Prime Minister will see the desirability of withdrawing the measure. The people of this country do not desire the Governor-General to exceed his salary by giving large social entertainments, in which very few of them participate, and while we do not desire to criticise his action, I take it that as the House of Commons - the mother of Parliaments - has always exercised the right to discuss the civil list, from the expenditure of the Royal household down to the salary of the humblest messenger, we are justified in doing likewise. It is our bounden duty, whether democrats or conservatives, to carefully watch the public expenditure. Having charge of the public purse, we should not allow one penny to be expended unconstitutionally. I intend to stand by the Constitution in this case, and I shall vote against the measure with less mistrust than I have felt upon any other occasion of the kind.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I cannot help thinking that the fewer words we use about this Bill the better. I am. very sorry that it has been introduced, but I think that it is perfectly clear that there is no chance of carrying a measure which will increase the income of His Excellency by a fixed amount. This is not a shabby or mean country, and when our people want to entertain Royal princes, or to have inaugural ceremonies, they like to do things handsomely, and not to have anyone pay the expenses out of his own pocket. Extraordinary expenditure to a considerable amount must have been incurred by the Governor- General in connexion with the Commonwealth inaugural ceremonies, and the entertainment of the Royal visitors.
An Honorable Member. - But His Excellency knew that before he came out here.
– I do not know that His Excellency was aware that the cost of this would fall upon him, and in any case he could not measure the expense. No one will accuse me of being afraid to say what I think in these matters, but I know that the feeling of a good many Australians is that His Excellency the Governor-General, who managed these ceremonies with so much tact and liberality, should not be greatly out of pocket in consequence. The objection taken by honorable” members is not to a vote being made to His Excellency, but to a fixed increase in the annual payment to His Excellency, which does not come within thi criticism of Parliament year by year. His Excellency has incurred extraordinary expenditure which will not recur, and I venture to suggest that Ave should allow the second reading of the Bill to pass, on the distinct understanding that it should be amended in committee, with a view to granting a definite sum towards the expenses of the Governor-General in connexion with the Royal visit and the inaugural ceremonies of the Commonwealth. If Ministers will agree to that I think the majority of the House will be glad to make a special grant to His Excellency under the very special circumstances. In the ordinary course such a vote should be provided for on the Estimates. But by passing a Bill we shall show that this is a very exceptional case. This will be a reasonable compromise.
– If the House conies to the conclusion indicated by the honorable member the Bill can be amended as may be necessary to meet honorable members’ views.
– I think honorable members might very well agree to the second reading of the Bill on the understanding that it will be amended in committee to provide for a lump sum by way of grant to His Excellency.
– The Prime Minister has told us that he has not in any way committed the House to the proposal contained in the Bill, and for that Ave ought to be thankful, because if he had pledged himself the House would have been bound to assist him in carrying out his undertaking. The right honorable gentleman said that he was bound in honour to bring in the Bill, and I take it that it was only a feeling of honour and duty that induced him to do so. If he had been left to his own choice Ave should probably never have heard of the measure. Those of us who have been members of Ministries know that Governments cannot always do as they like. They are bound by conditions which honorable members generally do not realize, and there are forces working behind them that compel them to go one way when they would rather go another.
– I should not like to take advantage of any such shelter as that.
– Whilst it may be a matter of regret in some respects that this Bill has been brought in, the discussion upon it will serve to let those in high places, and throughout the country generally, know what is the mind of this House in regard to the public expenditure. We have now arrived at a critical period in the history of Australia. We have only to take up the daily papers day by day in order to realize that. From the highest to the lowest Ave have been living too high. Possibly the discovery of gold and other conditions of early settlement may have led to this, but now we have very different conditions to face, and if Ave are wise Ave shall cut down our expenditure in every possible way. The sooner we endeavour to cut down all our expenditure, including all unnecessarily high salaries, the better it will be for us. We shall have to commence before long, and the sooner Ave start the more easy will our task prove. This is no time for increases of expenditure. We are passing through a seven years’ drought, and we know that production has enormously fallen off in all the States. Representing as I do one-third of the territory in the northern part of Victoria, I know that a great many of the settlers there have not been making a living for some time past, but have only been able to hold on to the land through the assistance given to them, by others. In addition to that, we have an enormous number of unemployed, and every penny Ave can save from our ordinary expenditure can be devoted to finding work for these men, and to assisting our producers. The Commonwealth does not expect the GovernorGeneral to incur lavish expenditure in the maintenance of an enormous entourage. The great bulk of the people would, if they were consulted, say-“ Let us go back to the simpler and more inexpensive style of life which prevailed in the earlier days of Canada and the United States.” We are endeavouring to rival Canada and the United States, losing sight of the fact that our conditions are entirely different. In the United States they had a surplus last year of £16,000,0,00, whilst in Canada the surplus amounted to over £1,000,000. Unfortunately, instead of having a surplus we have a deficit in most of the States. We are in no position to increase the salary of the Governor - General to £20,000 per annum. Those who have come personally into contact with His Excellency - and I sat with him for two years on the Executive Council of Victoria - can only regard him with feelings of respect and affection; but we have to deal with this question entirely apart from personal considerations. His Excellency had been in Australia before he was appointed to his present position, and knew exactly what our conditions were. He knew that although he was receiving the same salary as Governor of Victoria, it was not sufficient to cover his expenses, and he should have been able to gauge the probabilities in connexion with his present position. It may be said that he has had to incur unexpected additional expense, but the same may be said of every member of this House. How could we re- fuse to reimburse honorable members if we agreed to the Government proposal 1 I do not intend to vote for any increase of remuneration to honorable members, because we made our bargain, and we ought to stand by it. The Prime Minister has mentioned a number of items which have swollen the expenditure of the GovernorGeneral. I do not knew whether it is proper to regard these its extras or not, but if it is fair to do so they should be provided for in the Estimates, so that we may know exactly for what we are paying. It is necessary to keep the strictest watch upon every item of expenditure. The Prime Minister told us that we must look to the future, and take care that mediocre or indifferent men are not selected for the position of Governor-General. I have no fear, however, on that score, because I am sure that, with the salary fixed at £10,000, weshall always secure a good man. The suggestion made by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne is a very good one, and will enable us to overcome the difficulty in a graceful way, and to act with absolute justice under the circumstances. We ought to make it perfectly clear that we do not desire the GovernorGeneral to spend his money lavishly. When the salary of the State Governor of Victoria was reduced, the Right Honorable Joseph Chamberlain said that the amount was not sufficient, bnt the Victorian Government would not increase it, and I suppose the State Governor is now living in a manner in keeping with the salary he receives. That is all we want. I trust that honorable members will agree to pass the second reading, and amend the Bill in committee.
– I very much regret that this matter should have been brought before the House. The section in the Constitution which providesthat the salary of the Governor-General shall not be altered during his continuance in office is a very good one, and was intended to prevent such invidious questions being raised in Parliament. It has been stated, by the Prime Minister that the proposed grant is not to be by way of additional salary, but the sum of £8,000 certainly goes beyond the range of allowances, and whatever it may be called amounts in effect to additional salary. AVe are told that the Governor-General is at the expense of maintaining two establishments. It may be admitted that we very often expect a great deal more’ from our Governors, and from the Governor-General, than we are prepared to pay’ for, and if we insist upon the Governor-General occupying two establishments, there may be some reason formakinganallowance which willenablehim to do so withoutdrawing on his private purse. But I hold that the Governor-General is merely required to do his duty to the Commonwealth. If he can discharge that duty by occupying one establishment only he is not called upon to occupy, two. If the fact of his limiting his occupancy to one establishment will give offence to any particular State, and that State desires his presence for a certain period during the year, it is only right that it should provide the necessary money for the purpose.
– I certainly should never advise the Governor-General to accept an allowance from a State.
Mi: THOMSON. - The right honorable gentleman may be quite right in taking up that attitude, but certainly he should not have sought to increase the GovernorGeneral’s salary in the manner proposed when it is specifically stated in the ‘Constitution that his salary shall not be altered during his term of office. I can quite understand that the States which are not visited by the ‘Governor-General would strongly object to paying their share of the proposed allowances.
– They arc all visited.
– ‘But the GovernorGeneral has not an establishment in all of the States. Allusion has been made to ‘Canada, but I would point out that the Canadian constitution contains no such restriction as is imposed by the Commonwealth Constitution. In Canada Parliament may grant what it sees fit from year to year, according to the exigencies of the time. In the second place, if we take into consideration the relative population of the two countries we find that a salary of £12,000 in Australia corresponds to £17,000 in Canada. In this connexion surely the power of raising revenue with which to pay must be somewhat in proportion to the population. We cannot argue that 3,700,000 people can afford to pay the Governor-General the same salary as is contributed by a much larger population. For these reasons I say that we are not in a position to .give more than the £10,000 prescribed in the Constitution, together with reasonable allowances. Under the circumstances the proposal of the Government should never have been -submitted. It would have been infinitely better if they had recognised the position before the matter was brought before Parliament rather than that they should have submitted this Bill, and have been compelled to listen to the expression of antagonistic opinion with which it has been universally met. I have no objection to the proposal of the honorable and learned member” for Northern Melbourne, but I think it would be better either to withdraw the Bill and .introduce another measure in its stead, or to place a certain sum upon the Estimates. The expenditure which the Governor-General incurred upon the occasion of the Commonwealth celebrations was an exceptional one, and I should be very reluctant to ask him to provide it out of his own purse. The visit of Royalty was not an honour to the Governor-General, but to Australia ; and having sought for that honour, we ought to be prepared to pay for it. Therefore, I am quite in accord with the proposal of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne that we should provide a sum which will fully cover the expenditure of the Governor-General in connexion with the reception of Royalty and the establishment of the Commonwealth. So long as we stand by the ‘Constitution, and make, not such allowances as will constitute another salary, but reasonable allowances to the Governor-General, I am perfectly satisfied.
– I desire to correct a misapprehension which appears to have arisen in the minds of some honorable members concerning a sum of £2,000 which appears upon the ‘Estimates under the heading of “ Federal Executive Council.” That amount has nothing whatever to do with the expenses of the. Governor-General. It relates to official expenditure in connexion with the Executive Council. It is chiefly incurred in the transmission of such telegrams as must necessarily pass between the GovernorGeneral and the Home authorities. The item is worded .as widely as possible, so .as to cover anything which might be thought to come within its scope. A certain amount of printing is required in connexion with the work of the Executive Council, and a considerable quantity of stationery is also necessary. Travelling expenses are provided so -as to cover anything which might arise in that connexion, and telegrams, of course, constitute a large item. The Governor-General, it must be remembered, transmits a very large number of cablegrams to the.old country.
– Does the £2,000 in question cover the whole of the official expenditure 1
– It covers expenses which the Governor-General is asked to undertake in connexion with the various departments in the way I have mentioned. In regard to Canada, which has been quoted I may mention that I have an extract from the Auditor-General’s report for 1899 and 1900, which shows the expenditure connected with the establishment of the GovernorGeneral of the Dominion. If honorable members look at the Estimates they will find these items. The trouble in regard to most Estimates is that a considerable amount of expenditure is included under different headings. It i« a practice of which I do not approve. In this connexion, we all know that very frequently amounts are “ buried.” I was surprised to ascertain recently that, in Victoria, quite a number of items that I never dreamed of have been paid for .out of various votes in connexion with the Governor’s establishment. In Canada, I find that the Governor-General receives 51,<000 dollars as salary; the salaries of the staff total 10,950 dollars; contingencies represent 16,000 dollars; the allowance for fuel and light is 8,000 dollars; and for electric light and fittings there is provided 1,400 dollars and 476 dollars .respectively, making a total of 88,000 dollars or £17,600. According to the report of the Auditor-General, that is the total amount expended in connection with the Governor-General’s establishment. It is idle for honorable members in discussing this Bill to run away with the idea that the £2,000 provided, under the heading of “ Executive Council,” is given to the Governor-General to cover his own personal expenses. My feeling is that if anything is to be done to reimburse the GovernorGeneral, it is better that we should agree to vote a specific sum rather than that we should be continuallyplacingvarious amounts upon the Estimates. If we commence by making .a certain.allowance foi” travelling, or forprovidingelectric light or gas, or .anything else, we shall never know where the matter will end. The proposal of the Government to grant a specific sum of £8,000 will overcome the possibility of any misunderstanding. It will then be definitely .known what the Governor-General is to receive. If the committee entertain the idea that in .addition to the £10,000’ salary, we should .make provision for an allowance to the GovernorGeneral, it would be better for us to fix some definite sum, and allow the occupant of that distinguished office to know exactly what he is to receive.
– What reason : had he to suppose that he would receive any more ?
– We know that the Governors of all the States have been in the .habit of receiving various allowances. In New South Wales I understand that these allowances are very large. In all the States the Governor, in addition to his fixed salary, has been accustomed to receive quite a number of allowances. I am strongly opposed to that course. To my mind it is much better to provide a definite sum. There are a number of other items as ‘to which it would be questionable whether the Governor-General should pay, or whether the Commonwealth should pay, unless we had some definite arrangement. I do not know that on a gentleman being appointed to such a position, and being told that he would get a salary of £10,000, he would not reasonably assume -that the Commonwealth would follow the practice adopted in the States, and give allowances. We start off at once by giving His Excellency an allowance, because he has house rent free ; whereas if we .gave a salary which had to include everything, we should naturally expect him to provide his own residence. Unless the House is prepared to lay down the distinct rule that we are not to give anything over the salary, it would be far better to place an amount on the Estimates annually. I should prefer, however, to have a definite amount fixed so that we may know exactly what we are giving. I rose more especially to correct a misapprehension with regard to the £2,000, which has nothing to do with the Governor-General, and also to point out that, in addition to the amount voted for salary in Canada, there are large allowances.
– The salary in Australia is higher .than that inCanada, in proportion to population.
– I do not know that that is a fair way of calculating the salary.
– Canada is a. .much cheaper country to live in.
– The question is what we can afford to pay.
– I felt that the House was dealing with some phases of the .question under a misapprehension, and, as I say, I rose to remove a misapprehension as to the £2,000, and to place honorable members in possession of .the full facts in regard to the expenditure in Canada.
– The Prime Minister ought to accept the suggestion of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne and allow the second reading to be passed on the understanding that in committee we provide the sum necessary to recoup the GovernorGeneral for his expenditure during the Commonwealth celebrations. I have an idea that it would be illegal for the Governor-General to collect the sum now proposed, even if we voted it, seeing that the Constitution declares that the salary shall not be changed during his tenure of office. My impression is that the Constitution was so drawn in order that the
Governor-General might be placed beyond the reach of either fear or favour. It is evident that if there is a constitutional power to raise the salary, there is a constitutional power to reduce it, and, as a democrat, I think that £1,000 a year is fair remuneration for the Governor. I know, however, that if I were to move that the salary be reduced to £1,000 the Prime Minister would at once point to the section in the Constitution which declares that the salary shall not be altered during the term of office.
– But this is an “ allowance.”
– Let us call it the Governor-General’s wage ; and I think it will be agreed that £10,000 is a fair living wage. In discussing matters of this kind we have simply to consider the revenue of the Commonwealth. In order to pay the GovernorGeneral the £8,000 per annum proposed, the taxpayers would have to provide £32,000; and a remarkable thing is that while the delegates from Kyabramhave been holding great reform meetings, and the Age and the Argus have been denouncing the expenditure of the Victorian Government - though the proposed reforms would amount to a saving of not more than £10,000 - there has not been a word in the newspapers about this proposed addition to the Governor-General’s allowances. Will any one tell me that this is not class legislation 1 For the last six months a cry has gone up, like that from the wanderers in the wilderness,’ against any suggestion that the salaries of members of this House, should be raised, although we have been “ sweated “ here for the last twelve months. I do not object to the proposed vote because it is for the GovernorGeneral. In ni)’ opinion, wo ought to be proud to have such an intelligent man in the position; but, at the same’ time, I take my stand upon the Constitution. Once we begin to override the Constitution, there is no telling where it will end. Is this Constitution a great power that binds the people of the Commonwealth together, or is it a rope of sand ? We ought to stand by the the Constitution, and, while we do that, we are safe. I shall have to vote against this Bill, if the Prime Minister will not accept the suggestion of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne. There is no doubt that, owing to the thousands of people the Governor-General ‘had to entertain during the Commonwealth celebrations, he is a lot out of pocket, and he ought to be recouped every pound on that score.
– The Treasurer gave us t’he strongest reason why this Bill should be withdrawn or rejected when he told us that the £2,000 on the Estimates covered the whole of the official expenditure of His Excellency. If that be so, the additional money must be for some purpose of the Governor-General outside his official capacity.
– The £2,000 is for stationery and telegrams only.
– I am taking the Treasurer’s words.
– The honorable member is misconstruing what I said.
– I put the question to the Treasurer three or four times whether this £2,000 was for official expenditure.
– The honorable member evidently tried to catch me on the word “ official.”
– That was manifest to everybody.
– Why was it not explained that the £2,000 did not cover expenses which the Governor has to pay in his official capacity ?
– I told the honorable member that the £2,000 is for departmental expenditure which the GovernorGeneral undertakes for lis.
– For whom else would the Governor-General undertake the expenditure? Of course the expenses are departmental, and therefore official. I suppose the extra sum is to help the GovernorGeneral to entertain, and we have had too much entertaining on the part of Governors in the past. Victorian members have had a fair experience in connexion with granting sums of money for the expenses of Governors. It is not so many years ago that in Victoria the Governor’s establishment, together with his salary, cost about £30,000 per annum ; and it is quite likely that if we allow any extravagance, we shall find ourselves in a similar position. The whole House seems to be against the Bill, and I shall say no more, but move -
That the word “now” be omitted with a view to adding to the motion the words “ on the 1st of May, 1004.”
That will give us an opportunity to have a general election, when we can ascertain the desires of the electors on this all-important question.
– I regret exceedingly that the amendment has been proposed. It would have been far better, in view of the spirit and temper of the House, to withdraw the Bill and introduce a measure more in accordance with what seems to be the unanimous opinion of honorable members. I cannot congratulate the Government on the measure which they have placed before us. In my opinion the Bill is ill-timed and ill-considered, and a proper method has not been adopted in its introduction. On questions of this kind, in which there is a certain amount of delicacy, a practice has hitherto been adopted of ascertaining the feelings of honorable members prior to submitting a Bi?l ; and in the present instance there was every justification for adopting that course, and thus preventing a discussion which is not pleasant to many honorable members. The character and reputation of the GovernorGeneral, and the wide respect and esteem which he enjoys, make it distasteful to honorable members to have to adversely discuss a proposal of the kind, and I do not think that the Government thoroughly appreciated the position when they intra,duced the measure. Had they done so, we should have been spared this discussion. At the same time, no matter how unpleasant the position may be, honorable members must act according to their conscience. I have contended on more than one occasion that in the early stages of the Commonwealth we are bound to exercise the most rigid economy, and, further, we ought to respect the four corners of the Constitution. I regret exceedingly that at the beginning of this session it was resolved to allow Ministers to draw-
– The honorable member must not discuss that question.
– I shall not discuss the question, but simply say I regret the decision then arrived at. Another matter which may arise is that of an increase of the allowance to honorable members, but I am against that or any similar proposal which would have the effect of going beyond the four corners of the Constitution. Kb matter what the Prime Minister may say, the general impression amongst the voters was that the Governor-General would be paid £10,000 per annum, and no more. There may have been papers locked away amongst the musty, dusty records of the early days of the convention, but the proposal that was put to the people by those who advocated federation was that£10,000 should be paid to the Governor-Generaland£400 per annum to the Parliamentary representatives. We have no right in either case to depart from the arrangement, which we all understood. I regret that this matter has been brought before the House at Jill. It would have been much better if Ministers had ascertained the opinions of honorable members on the subject before doing anything. I shall have to vote against the second reading of the Bill, but, like other speakers, I am prepared to recognise that, as the Governor-General was put to extraordinary expense at the inauguration of the Commonwealth, and in connexion with the reception of our Royal visitors, in adequately and properly representing the Commonwealth, it would be only just to recoup him that expense. That, however, can be done without any special statutory enactment, by placing the amount upon the Estimates. I am determined to vote against allowances of any kind. I do not see why officers should be allowed fuel, for instance, more than boots or oatmeal. If it is desired to increase the salary of the Governor-General, and we can afford to do so, what we should do is, not to vote an annual sum by way of allowance, but to sanction a straightforward proposal.
Mr. POYNTON (South Australia).I regret that this Bill has been introduced. It is little wonder that there is so much talk outside about the extravagance of the Federal Parliament. The Governor-General knew, when he accepted the position, what salary he would receive, and what obligations would fall upon him. He knew that his office, so far as entertaining was concerned, would not be a sinecure. Yet, within little more than a year of his appointment, we have this proposal to increase his salary - a proposal which, if it were carried into effect, would not be creditable to this Parliament. Many of our public servants have found that the remuneration thev are receiving for the work they do is not adequate for the services which they perform for the Commonwealth, but there has been no attempt to increase their salaries. I shall vote against this Bill, and I shall vote against any proposal to amend it in the way of providing for allowances of any kind. If it is intended to reimburse the Governor-General the amount expended by him during the Duke’s visit, that matter should be dealt with separately. If we pass the measure, we shall not be able to bring thepublic to forget that the first act of the Federal Parliament was practically to amend the Constitution so as to increase the salary of the highest paid official in Australia.
Mr. BARTON (Hunter- Minister for External Affairs). - In reply. I congratulate the House upon the admirable taste with which this debate has been conducted. Whatever the result of the division upon the Bill may be, it shouldbe gratifying to the Governor-General to know that no word has been uttered inconsistent with the respect, and I think affection, which weallbear towards him. I did not think it likely that any other spirit would prevail. As to the main question, the Treasurer has produced the actual figures in regard to the salary and allowances of the Governor-General of Canada, which I had extracted from the Auditor-General’s report, and honorable members are now aware that the difference between the salary and the actual amount paid to that official is practically as large as the amount provided for in this Bill, notwithstanding the fact that Canada, although her population is larger than ours, is, with respect to trade and in every other particular, a poorer country. Although the temper of the House in regard to this matter has given me pain , and regret - and I do not use those words in any unkind sense - I cannot disregard it. My own opinion on the matter was. strong, and, feeling that I entertained it conscientiously, I hoped that it would be shared by honorable members. Under the circumstances I shall not answer some of the remarks which have been made during thedebate; but Ido notthinkthe matter is closed. AlthoughI am afraid that the action of the House in refusing to grant this allowance may have a result which we shall all regret, because I do not think it will tend towards securing the best selection when, in the future, the office of the Governor-General becomes vacant, I must inevitably bow to the will of the majority. It has been suggested, however, by the honorable member for Northern Melbourne - I think the matter was first referred to by the honorable member for Gippsland - that, as this is a Bill “‘relating to the GovernorGeneral’s establishment,” an amendment providing for the reimbursement to the Governor-General of the expenses incurred by him during the visit of the Duke and
Duchess of York will come within the scope of its title.
– What amount would be required to do that ?
Question - That the word “now” proposed to be omitted standpart of the question - put. The House divided.
Majority … … 22
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That the Bill be now read a second time - put. The House divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in. the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1- (Short title).
Question - that clause 1 stand part of the Bill - put. The committee divided.
Question so resol ved in the affirmative.
Clause 2 - .
To assist in defraying the expenses of the Governor-General’s establishment there shall be paid to him out of the consolidated revenue fund, from thefirst day of January, one thousand nine hundred and one, until the occupation of his residence at the seat of Government and for one year thereafter, an allowance of eight thousand pounds a year, and the consolidated revenue fund is hereby appropriated accordingly for that purpose.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).In pursuance of the intimation which I previously gave, I move-
That the words’ ‘ in connexion with the visit to Australia of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York “ be inserted after the word.” establishment,” line 2.
Of course, if this proposal be agreed to, it will be necessary to make other amendments,so as to provide for a special allowance being granted to the Governor-General to reimburse him for theextraordinary expenditure which he has been called upon to bear.
– The honorable member for Kenned)’ has raised a point of order, and solicited my opinion upon the matter. The Prime Minister rose for the purpose of speaking to the point, and therefore he is in order.
– If it were not so, any honorable member would have it in his own hands to argue one side of the case, and to exclude argument upon the other side.
– I never argued the matter.
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon. I submit that the expenditure in connexion with the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York can fairly be described as being in connexion with the Governor-General’s establishment, simply because the Duke and Duchess were the guests of the Governor-General, and were maintained in his establishment during the whole period of their visit to Melbourne and Sydney.
– That was not the intention of the Bill when it was brought down.
– That is quite beside the question. The point raised is whether the amendment is within “ A Bill for an Act relating to the Governor-General’s establishment.” That resolves itself into the question whether the words “ in connexion with the entertainment of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York “ can be fairly described as coming within the description “ the GovernorGeneral’s establishment.” It is quite evident that it was the resources of the GovernorGeneral’s establishment which were drawn on during the whole time of the visit to Melbourne and Sydney. It is also evident that all the expenses to which His Excellency was put were caused in maintaining his establishment for the purpose of entertaining the Royal guests. Without that establishment His Excellency could not have entertained Their Royal Highnesses. I submit that the words of the amendment are fairly within the meaning of the word “ establishment,” but, of course, I do not mean that they should not be safeguarded. I take it that the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne intends, as a consequential amendment, to omit the words “ from the 1st day of January, 1901, until the occupation of his residence at the seat of Government, and for one year thereafter.”
– That is so.
– If that is the honorable and learned member’s intention, he will put himself completely in order.
– I do not pose as an authority on parliamentaryprocedure, but I cannot see on what ground the proposed amendment is in order. A message was obtained from the Governor-General for a certain specified purpose, which is set out in the short title - “ The Governor-General’s Establishment Act 1902.” Clause 2, as originally drawn, was to provide an allowance to the GovernorGeneral, but not for the purpose of any special expenditure such as that now indicated. During the second reading debate we were informed by the Prime Minister that there was a special charge to meet expenses of that character, which were in no wise covered by this Bill, .and a number of similar charges which fell under the Commonwealth have been dealt with in the ordinary way on the Estimates. After a long debate it is now proposed to alter the primary intention of this Bill, and make it apply to some other purpose, which was never intended by the Government when the Governor-General was asked to send down a message, and is only now introduced to avert the defeat of the measure. If this procedure be allowed the door will be opened to grave departure from the rulesof the House, which clearly set forth that a message shall clearly be for a certain specified purpose, and that that purpose shall form the subject of a Bill.
– The GovernorGeneral’s message is as follows : -
In accordance with the requirements of section 56 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia the Governor-General recommends to the House of Representatibes that an appropriation of moneys be made for the purpose of a Bill for an Act relating to the Governor-General’s establishment.
That Bill is now before the committee foi* consideration, and it is in accordance with the message. Clause 2, with which the committee are now dealing, makes provision for expenditure for the Governor-General’s establishment, and as the expenditure in connexion with the entertainment of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York was in connexion with that establishment, I rule that the amendment is in order.
Motion (by Mr. McDonald) put -
That the committee dissent from the Chairman’s ruling.
The committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I wish to make my position clear. I have no objection to reimbursing the Governor-General the amount spent by him in entertaining the Duke and Duchess of York, but I object to the Bill, which was introduced for quite another purpose, being converted into a measure to provide for that reimbursement. If we vote any money to recoup the Governor-General, it should be by agreeing to a sum placed on the Estimates.
– I thoroughly agree with the honorable member for Canobolas. We are doing a straight thing in a crooked manner. I agree that the GovernorGeneral should be recouped for the expense to which he was put upon the occasion of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York, but t he Ministry, by agreeing to this skilful but discreditable manipulation, are doing what t hey never would have countenanced in the state Parliaments, and if the committee agrees to it we shall be setting a bad example to those Parliaments.
– While I am willing to recoup the Governor-General the amount expended in entertaining the Duke and Duchess, I think that we ought to have some particulars of the expenditure. The Government have abandoned their original proposal, and now they bring forward a proposal, of which I think honor- able members generally are in favour, in a totally improper manner. I understood the Prime Minister to say that the amount cannot be placed upon the ordinary Estimates of his department; but what is to prevent it being placed upon the supplementary Estimates?
– I wish to point out that, if the amendment is agreed to, the wording of the clause will conflict with a statement made by the Prime Minister at an earlier stage of the proceedings, when he gave us to understand that the GovernorGeneral did not wish to be reimbursed this expenditure.
– I did not say that. I said that the Governor-General had not referred to the subject at all, and that the conversation which I had with him was about the other matter.
– That goes to bear out what I say. The right honorable gentleman also gave us the impression that the GovernorGeneral had not spent anything like £10,000
– I said that his expenditure was between £9,000 and £10,000.
– That being so, the clause contains a still further contradiction, because it says - “ To assist in defraying the expenses of the Governor-General’s establishment, in connexion with the visit to Australia of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York,” £10,000 shall be paid to him.
– There were other expenses as well.
– But the expenses incurred specifically in connexion with the Royal visit did not exceed £10,000, and yet, as the clause is being amended, it will enact that the sum of £10,000 is”to assist in defraying “ those expenses.
– An amendment in the latter part of the clause having been put from the Chair; we cannot go back.
– Of course, if the right honorable gentleman is going to take a point of order-
– I do- not wish to do that.
-. - If you gave a man a sovereign, would it not assist him to pay a debt of 10s. 1
– If a man owed 10s., I do not think that a gift of £1 could be characterized as a gift “to assist” him in paying the- 10s. In any case I shall vote against the amendment.
– I wish to say a word or two about this j wretched subterfuge of an amendment. The ‘ Ministry, to cover up a retreat, got a supporter to move an amendment which does not refl’ect any credit upon them. I look upon it as a dirty job.
The- CHAIRMAN. - I must ask the honorable member to withdraw those words.
– I shall not withdraw them.
– I again appeal to the honorable member to- withdraw them.
– I shall not withdraw them.
– The honorable member must know that, whatever’ his opinion may be, the utterance of such words is beyond the bounds of parliamentary decorum, and the Chairman is only doing his duty as an officer of the House in calling upon the honorable member to withdraw them. I ask the honorable member to remember the position which he ‘occupies, and to obey the request of the Chair.
– As the honorable member has not withdrawn the words, it is with regret that I name him for disregarding the authority of the Chair.
– Standing Order 59 says -
Whenever any member shall have been named by the Speaker, or by the Chairman of Committees, immediately after the commission of the offence of disregarding the authority of the Chair, or of abusing the rules of the House by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business of the House, or of disorderly conduct, or otherwise disregarding the authority of the Chair, then, if the offence has been committed hy such member in the House, the Speaker shall forthwith put the question, on the motion being made, no amendment, adjournment, or debate- being allowed, “ That such member be suspended from the service of the House “; and, if the offence has been committed in a committee of the whole House, the Chairman shall, on a motion being made, put
I the same question in a similar way, and, if the j motion be carried,, shall forthwith suspend the proceedings of the committee and report the circumstance to the House ; and the Speaker shall thereupon put the same question, without amendment,, adjournment, or debate, as- if the offence had been committed in the House itself. If any member be suspended under this Order, his suspension on the first occasion shall be for the remainder of that day’s sitting.
Notwithstanding that I may have been hurt by the honorable member’s expression. I am extremely reluctant to act in this matter, and as I am sure that he spoke without deliberation and in heat, I am loth to move until I am certain that he does not intend to withdraw.
– Let the Ministry withdraw the Bill.
– I ask the honorable member to withdraw as a duty which we owe to each other, when betrayed into undue heat. The course is one which I should take myself if I were in his position.
– I am very reluctant to do what the standing order compels me to do, and therefore I again ask the honorable member to withdraw.
– In deference to the wish of the committee I withdraw the words, and I trust that the Government will now adjourn the debate, and let us have more time in which to consider this Bill.
– The honorable gentleman having regarded the authority of the Chair, I withdraw the naming.
– I think that the Government are to blame for what has occurred. No one knows better than does the Prime Minister that the Bill was not introduced to meet the purpose it is now being amended to cover. An attempt is being made to cover the practical defeat of the Government and to extricate them from a humiliating, position. The Government knew very well,, and they know now, that they could not have secured six votes in favour of the Bill as it originally stood. If there has been any legitimate expenditure the House should be fully informed of it, and it should be provided for in the ordinary way in the Estimates.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The committee divided.
Majority … … 22
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. BIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I move -
That the words “from the 1st day of January, 1901, until the occupation ofhis residence at the seat of Government, and for one year thereafter,” be omitted.
The effect of this will be to omit the provision that the payment to be made to His Excellency shall be periodical. I propose to insert the word “ extraordinary” in order to show that this allowance will not recur; and to increase the amount of the grant from £8,000 to £10,000.
Mr. WILKS (Daley).- The further we proceed with this matter, the more clearly we see the patchwork methods that are being adopted in carrying on the business of the country. If the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne is not already ashamed of the consequences of his suggestion, he will live to regret the extraordinary proceedings of this evening. I am not opposed to the sum of £10,000 being granted to His Excellency, but I strongly object to this committee being dragged through the mud in order to extricate the Government from an awkward position. One amendment has already been agreed to, and a second amendment is being forced upon us with the view to entirely alter the original purpose of the Bill, regarding which honorable members have expressed their disapproval. The Prime Minister has allowed this Bill to be manipulated for a particular purpose.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Higgins) proposed -
That ohe word “extraordinary” be inserted after the word “an,” line 7.
Mr. BROWN (Canobolas). - I quite agree that this word should be inserted. The present is the first occasion in the history of constitutional government upon which a Bill has been taken out of the hands of the Ministry and so completely altered. It is wise, therefore, to insert the word proposed, seeing that the measure is in every sense an extraordinary one.
Mr.’ MCDONALD (Kennedy).- I think that the new leader of the House in the person of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne is acting wisely in moving to insert the word proposed. Everyone recognises that the position is an extraordinary one. Usually, when the leadership of the House is taken out of the hands of the head of a Government, Ministers resign.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I move -
That the word “eight,” line 7, be struck out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ten.”
– I understand that the information given by the Governor-General is to the effect that £10,000 will not cover the extraordinary expenses which he was put to by virtue of his public duties in connexion with the Royal visit.
– I have no warrant for using the words “between £9,000 and £10,000 “ except the direct statement of His Excellency, which honorable members may well accept.
– I have hitherto refrained from taking any part in the discussions on this Bill, but I should like to say that in my judgment the Government have dealt with this matter precisely in the way in which they ought not to have dealt with it. If ever the Governor-General might say, “Save me from my friends,” it is in connexion with this effort of the Government. If the Governor-General has been put to large and extraordinary expenses in connexion with the Royal visit, that isa fair and legitimate charge to which no honorable member would object. But the question is, why have the Government gone about the business in this roundabout way 1 Why was this expenditure not submitted on the Estimates, and itemized, as is all other expenditure in connexion with the Governor-General’s establishment1! There would then have been no difficulty ; but by the introduction of this Bill a most pernicious precedent has been set. The ordinary expenditure of the GovernorGeneral is voted yearly and is subject to the scrutiny of Parliament, and this special expenditure should have received like treatment. I see no use in continuing this contest over the Bill. I cannot give a vote which would be in any way a repudiation of an honorable obligation, and my only object now is to protest against a wrong way of doing a right thing.
Amendment - That the word “eight” be omitted - agreed to.
Mr. MCDONALD (Kennedy).- As the clause now stands, we are asked to vote the Governor-General an additional £10,000 a year.
– I shall subsequently move that the words “ a year” be omitted.
– I am not allowed to anticipate what the committee may do ; I must deal with the amendment as I see it. The opinion generally expressed by the people during the elections for this Parliament was that the Governor-General should receive £10,000 a year ; but now, according to the amendment, we are going to vote His’ Excellency another £10,000. I ask your ruling, Mr. Chairman, as to whether, under the Constitution, this amendment is in order ?
– This is not a vote for the salary of the Governor-General, but for the establishment of His Excellency, for which the Constitution makes no provision.
Mr. SPENCE (Darling)’.- According to the amendment we are asked to vote £10,000 a year for the establishment of the Governor-General.
– - -That is not asked for.
– I have voted against this Bill all through in order to show my strong disapproval of the manner in which the business has been conducted by the Government. The conduct of the measure has been handed over to a private member, and in
– If the Prime Minister will satisfactorily answer a question which I intend to ask him, I shall say no more on this subject. Honorable members from South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania have recently been complaining bitterly that these States would be ruined by the removal of the tea duties ; but these same gentlemen are now supporting the proposal to vote the Governor-General £10,000. I doubt whether these honorable members would be willing to give £10 a month out of their own allowances in order to recoup His Excellency. The honorable member for Echuca went out of his way to let the Age and the Argus and the little world of Melbourne know that he was opposed to allowances to members. I can say that no one has approached me on the subject of members’ allowances.
– That is outside the subject before the Chair.
– It is said that the GovernorGeneral cannot meet his expenditure with the salary of £10,000. Only a week ago the Premier of Victoria was waited upon by a deputation on which was a man who had a wife and five children and not a shilling in his pocket. But the very people who
– The committee is now considering, not the Governor-General’s salary, but the expediency of voting a certain amount in connexion with his establishment.
– Whether it is called salary or an amount in connexion with his establishment, it goes into the GovernorGeneral’s pocket, and the taxpayers will have to find the money. If the GovernorGeneral had any sense of shame he would not accept it. I would not take it.
– The honorable gentleman has made a disrespectful allusion to the Governor-General, which “the standing orders forbid, and I ask him to withdraw his remark. Standing Order 271 says -
No member shall use the name of His Majesty or of his representative in this Commonwealth irreverently in debate, nor for the purpose of influencing the House in its deliberations.
– What I meant to say was that I would be ashamed if I were the Governor-General. Every one knows the financial position of the States at the present time, and I intend to guard my State from increased taxation. I have been trying to do all I can to prevent taxation being increased, and therefore I shall not vote for additional expenditure. The honorable member for Macquarie seems inclined to blow hot and cold on the subject, and to vote for these amendments.
– I voted against the second reading of the Bill, and I have not given any expression of my opinion in regard to the matter before the committee.
– Tf I have made a mistake, I beg the honorable member’s pardon. The honorable member for Tasmania, Mr. O’Malley, is always talking about doublebreasted eagles with diamond pins in their waistcoats, and long-tailed peacocks with patent leather boots, but immediately he gets an opportunity to pluck what he would call a golden-spurred rooster he gives it a breast-pin worth £10,000. If this amount had been placed upon the Estimates, I should not have raised a word of protest ; but I intend to do my level best to prevent the Bill being amended in the way proposed, even if I have to stop here all night. A few nights ago we were informed that a clerk getting £150 a year was required to advise the Governor-General, and now we find the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, who receives only £400 a year for his parliamentary services, doing” the work of the Prime Minister, and being white-washed for his pro-Boer speeches. However, I think I have protested sufficiently upon thisamendment, though I shall probably have something more to say before this Bill gets through committee.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).In explanation, I desire to say that I voted against the second reading of the Bill, because, although I am of opinion that we should consider any fair claim the GovernorGeneral may have for the re-imbursement of expenses incurred in entertaining the guests of the Commonwealth, we should not vote him any additional salary. If the Government had submitted the proposal now before the House on the Estimates, I should take no objection to it, but I exceedingly regret that they have been allowed to completely alter the scope of the Bill. These alterations would not have been allowed in the Parliament of New South “Wales, and I think that our standing orders have been stretched considerably to permit of them. It is now proposed to make one grant of £10,000 instead of an annual allowance of £8,000, which, assuming that the GovernorGeneral does not take up his residence in the federal capital for seven years, would involve a total appropriation of £56,000. Therefore the amendments which have been made will practically effect a saving of £46,000. I am afraid His Excellency the Governor-General will not thank the Government for the action they have taken in this matter, because they have brought about a discussion which should never have occurred.
Mr. MAHON (Coolgardie). - I rose several times with a. view to calling attention to the Chairman’s ruling that the honorable member for Maranoa was out of order in making what was considered an irreverent remark regarding His Excellency the GovernorGeneral. The word “ irreverent “ is capable of a very wide interpretation, and if reformers in the past had been guided by the spirit which underlies the Chairman’s ruling, there would have been no parliamentary institutions in any British colony to-day.
– If the honorable member had wished to dissent from my ruling, he should have taken action at the time the ruling was given. . His opportunity for doing so has now passed.
– I am sorry that I had no opportunity of moving that the Chairman’s ruling should be dissented from. I wish now to enter my protest and to assure you that, as far as I am concerned, if it be necessary to speak of the Governor-General, I shall refer to him in any terms that may seem to me fitting, whether they are regarded by you as irreverent or otherwise.
– Then I shall call the honorable member to order.
– In that case most emphatically I say that I shall move that your ruling be dissented from. As a protest against the course that is now being adopted in connexion with this Bill, I move -
That the word “ one “ be inserted before the word “ thousand.”
In the Defence Estimates we have already passed votes of £10,305 and £1,868 appears for expenses connected with the Commonwealth celebrations, and another £5,500 >is provided for in the Estimates of the Department of External Affairs, making a total of £17,673. If we grant the £10,000 now suggested, the total cost of the celebrations will be increased to £27,673, which will involve taxation upon the people of Australia of no less than £112,000. As the Prime Minister knows the people will be required to dip their hands in their pockets to find £4 for every £1 spent in this way. A gross waste of money has already taken place, and it is too much to ask us to provide another £10,000. Why did the Governor-General extend hia hospitality to our distinguished visitors if he did not intend to pay for it t If His Excellency had wished the Commonwealth to stand the expense, why did he not say so at the time 1 He got all the glory, and he ought to pay for it. His salary is a very handsome one, and if he chooses to spend it on the society people of Toorak and Pott’s Point, that is his look out. I believe he is a very liberal man, but I have not heard of any large grants being given by him to charities or educational institutions.
– We never had a more liberal man in that respect.
– The best men do not make their charitable actions public.
– That last aspersion is a terrible one.
– There is nothing terrible or irreverent or disrespectful in my remarks, No honorable member wishes to discuss this matter in terms more respectful to the Governor-General than I do, and if my words’ bear a contrary interpretation it is purely accidental. We are privileged here to say what we believe to be true, and I should not be discharging my duty if I did not express my views regarding this vote. .1 again make my protest against this money being appropriated, and I shall sit here all night, if necessary, in order to prevent the Bill being passed.
– I shall support the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, and I think I shall be able to justify my action in a few words. The honorable member for Coolgardie was quite right in saying that we incurred a good deal of expense - some of it perhaps entirely unnecessary - in connexion with the Commonwealth celebrations. We have paid the greater part of that money, and we have met claims which were perhaps made with very little justification, but we are under an obligation to the Governor-General, which I should be very sorry to see this Parliament attempt to repudiate. Lord Hopetoun was pressed by every State to come here and act as our Governor-General, and after his having taken it upon himself to spend money on behalf of the Commonwealth, I am surprised indeed to hear the present outcry. The proposed grant isa very reasonable one, which, I believe, will not recoup the Governor-General for his outlay. Under these circumstances I hope the committee will recognise that there is an obligation upon us to redeem this debt to the Governor-General. If any friend of mine incurred expenditure of a similar kind for me, and I heard- of it incidentally, I wonder whether I should be justified in cavilling at or questioning the amount. It has been pointed out that the GovernorGeneral has been kept out of the money due to him for twelve months. It is the duty of the committee to take the earliest opportunity of handing over what is owing to him. For this reason I heartily support the Government in attempting to get this sum passed at the earliest possible moment.
– I would be no party to repudiating any obligation entered into, but inasmuch as this Parliament was never consulted in the matter of the expenditure of the Governor-General, and never authorized any one to enter into it, there is no obligation on our part to be respected. I am thankful to the Chairman for the ruling he gave upon this matter. We now have it that this is not a matter of salary, but that the money is to be voted to keep up the Governor-General’s establishment. If grants of this kind can be proposed for the purpose of keeping up the GovernorGeneral’s establishment, there is absolutely no limit to it. Before the Commonwealth Bill was accepted it was stated on every platform by those who ‘were advocating the adoption of the Bill, that the GovernorGeneral’s salary was definitely fixed at £10,000, and could not be increased. Butimmediately the Commonwealth Bill was passed there was a demand made in the State Parliaments to increase the salary, and the Parliament of New South Wales did vote their share of the increase, but the Victorian Parliament’ refused. Nothing was more popular in Victoria with the electors than the defeat of that attempt. If we vote this amount it will be taken as a precedent It will be said that the very first Federal Parliament voted an addition of £10,000, and that it may occur again. I am positive that if honorable members were to consult their constituents on the matter, they would find that the . electors are against the proposal. I trust that the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie will be carried. Most of the money , spent during the Commonwealth celebrations was provided either by the Federal or State Parliaments. The entertainments which took place at Government House were for the benefit of a select few from Toorak or Pott’s Point, and only a select few were invited. An honorable member reminds me that every member of this Parliament was invited to Government House. I am aware of that, but if we were invited our wives were not.
– That is not a reason for objecting to this grant.
– I am not opposing it on that ground, but because the principle is bad. I have no doubt that if the honorable and learned member for Corio had had a wife she would have been invited. I trust that some time he will have an opportunity of visiting Government House with the future Mrs. Crouch. I have no doubt that, if the electors had an opportunity of pronouncing upon thesubject, they would give the same decision as was given after the attempt made in the State Parliament to increase the salary of the GovernorGeneral.
Mr. McDONALD (Kennedy).- I intend to support the amendment, because I think we want all the money we can possibly get to conduct the Commonwealth properly. But, apart from that, I could mention one or two cases where there have been men in the service of the Commonwealth who have lost their lives in the performance of their duties. The families of these men have been left almost penniless. We cannot find a threepenny-bit for their benefit ; but when it comes to voting £10,000 for the Governor-General honorable members seem quite willing. It seems to me that there has been outside pressure brought to bear in favour of this Bill.
– Joe Chamberlain !
– Had not the pressure come from the Colonial office I do not believe that the Bill would have been introduced. Indeed, it was practically stated in the early part of the discussion that that is so. I enter my protest against it as strongly as I can.
Mr. BROWN (Canobolas). - I have been opposed to the proposition submitted by the Government, for reasons which I have already stated, but I do not see my way clear to support the amendment before the Chair. If the Governor-General has incurred an extraordinary expenditure of this nature, it is admitted that he is entitled to have it recouped to him. It follows that if he has incurred in some direction an expenditure of some £10,000 he is entitled to receive that amount. If it can be shown that the expenditure incurred was only £1,000, and did not exceed that amount, I shall be prepared to vote for the amendment. The Prime Minister says it amounts to £10,000, and I presume he has verified the information he has given the House, and is satisfied that that is the correct amount. In the opposition I have offered I have desired to make it clear that it is not to the amount of money or the question of whether it should be paid, but to the manner in which it is proposed to appropriate the money. . Though opposed to the main principle of the Bill, unless the honorable member for Coolgardie can show that the expenditure does not exceed £1,000, I am unable to support him in the amendment he has moved..
Mr. WILKS (Dalley).- The reason so calmly stated by the honorable member for Canobolas for his opposition in this matter is the same as my own. It is not the amount but the manner and method proposed for paying it to which I object. I say that the method proposed for meeting this expenditure is practically unprecedented in parliamentary government. I am willing to admit that the Prime Minister has given us all the information he could officially give us, and I am prepared to vote the sum of £10,000 to reimburse the Governor-General for certain specific expenditure, but I am not prepared to vote it in the manner proposed.
Question - That the word “one” proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put.
The committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Cameron) put -
That the word” seven “ be inserted.
The committee divided.
Majority … … 23
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Higgins) agreed to-
That the word “ten” be inserted before the word “thousand.”
– The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne has been obliged to leave, and on his behalf, therefore, I move -
That the words “ a year,” line 8, be omitted. That will make the provision harmonious with the remainder of the clause.
Mr. POYNTON (South Australia).- I desire to enter a final protest against this unseemly measure. I hope that the Government and those who have helped them are pleased with their handiwork. I trust that another Bill like this will never be introduced, and that Parliament will not be compelled to resort to subterfuges such as we have seen to-night in order to carry any measure. The standing orders prevent me from expressing my honest opinion about the whole procedure, and I do not intend to allow myself to come into conflict with them again.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the Chairman do now leave the chair and report the Bill with amendments.
Mr. McDONALD (Kennedy). - There has been a very heated discussion on this measure, and if I have said anything of the right honorable gentleman at the head of the Government that he regards as offensive, I desire to apologize. I know that my manner was not very taking with the right honorable gentleman, but on the eve of his departure for England I wish to assure him that personallyI have no ill-feeling against him.
– I should like to say to the honorable member for Kennedy that I have not the slightest’ vestige of heat left in me in regard to theincident to which he refers, and I do not think that I really felt heated while it continued. I am too old a parliamentarian not to know that sometimes some of us speak a little more strongly than we mean, and although it may be conceit on my part, I like to think that I am prone to make allowances for that tendency on the part of others, inasmuch as I know that I need allowances to be made for myself.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill reported with amendments.
– Inasmuch as I do not desire to ask honorable members to sit to-morrow, if I can avoid doing so, I shall request the House to allow the Bill to pass through its remaining stages to-night. If that is done, I shall move that the House at its rising adjourn until Tuesday fortnight. I move -
That the report be adopted.
– A fortnight’s adjournment will be insufficient.
– I understood from my honorable colleague, who is out of the chamber at present, that a clear adjournment of a fortnight would be sufficient to enable honorable members to inspect the various proposed sites for the federal capital.
– That matter cannot be discussed on this motion.
– Although it may have taken over a fortnight to visit the various sites before, I think that the ground having been traversed once, it will be possible to make better arrangements.
– Let us have a day or two extra.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolved (on motion by Mr. Barton, with concurrence) -
That leave be given to pass the Bill through its remaining stages.
Motion (by Mr. Barton) proposed -
That the Bill be now read a third time.
Mr. WILKS (Dalley).- It is unusual, sir, for an honorable member to address you on the third reading of a Bill. This Bill has been reported with amendments. I am quite aware that you are not cognisant oft what takes place in committee. . I do not intend to refer to those proceedings, but simply to pass this remark - that if you will only glanceat the Bill in your hands it must strike you that many and serious amendments have been made9. The Bill has lost almost every vestige of its original form. It purports to perform a certain purpose - that is to vote a sum to reimburse the Governor-General for moneys out of pocket on the occasion of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York to Australia. The purpose of the appropriation I do not object to ; but 1 certainly object to the manner and the method of the appropriation. I wish as emphatically as possible to place not before honorable members, because they have declared their position by their various votes, but to place before you, sir, and on record, a protest against what I consider to ‘be a most dangerous practice. I can thoroughly understand the anxiety of honorable members to close this sitting. On ordinary occasions I am willing to fall in with their desire to leave after a long sitting. But I do seriously consider that to-night an action has been performed which is not ‘creditable to the Chamber. A Bill which was brought in for a specific purpose has been transformed during the exigencies of debate. It now lies in your hands, sir, so seriously amended, that practically there is only a vestige of its original form left. I admit that the expenditure incidental to the visit of the Duke of Cornwall and York to perform a national function was a national expenditure. I should be quite willing to vote the money, irrespective of the amount, on the mere assurance of the Prime Minister that it had been expended by the Governor-General, but I object to the manner and the method of the appropriation. I hold that we have established to-night a precedent which we shall regret before a very long period. I am not influenced by any consideration for the occupant of the high office of GovernorGeneral. I am merely referring ta the position itself, and the method of obtaining certain sums of money. Although agreeing with the intention of the House to reimburse His Excellency certain expenditure, I shall be compelled to vote against the third reading of the Bill if a division is taken, because I consider it is fraught with great danger, not only to ourselves but to the Constitution. I believe that we have overstepped the provisions of the Constitution. The point has not been referred to you, sir, whether the Bill is in order, or whether we have power to do that which we did. I do not intend to take an objection, because I know that I am in a minority. I cannot say that honorable members have taken this course as an act of expediency; but to my untrained eye it did appear to be an act of expediency. They have lost sight of what I consider to be the highest function of a Parliament - a close adherence to the principles of constitutional government. I am unable to place before you, sir, as clearly or as powerfully as your reading can place before your mental vision that which I desire to submit. I sincerely regret that it has fallen to the lot of one unskilled and untrained in the principles of constitutional law and government to enter this protest. I have taken this step, not for mere sport or for the purpose of obstruction, but as a matter of duty.
– The honorable member is sorry.
– I do not regret any action I took in committee. I have been performing a duty in probably a feeble manner. I have not been able to influence honorable members, but I honestly believe that if the duty I am endeavouring to perform had fallen to the lot of a skilled and trained leader in the matter of Ministerial responsibility and Cabinet experience, he would have made a most powerful appeal to the House.
– Let us catch the last trams.
– Never, mind the last trams ; this question is more important than ten last trams. I think that’ our action to-night will not stand to the credit of the Commonwealth, or as a good example to the State Parliaments.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
In Committee :
Motion (by Mr. Kingston) proposed -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue or moneys be made for the purpose of a Bill for an Act relating to bonuses for the encouragement of manufactures.
– As the result of to-night’s proceedings we find that a message comes down from the Governor-General covering a Bill, and that in committee the Bill can be altered to mean something quite different from what it originally did. It has been ruled that it was possible for this to be done by amendment ; and I should like to know what is the specific character of the Bill proposed to be covered by the message of the Governor-General?
– I cannot answer that question, because the Bill is not before the committee.
– The character of the Bill will be to give effect to some of the principles which were laid down in the Tariff on the subject of bonuses.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported and agreed to.
Resolved (on motion by Mr. Barton) -
That the Minister for Trade and Customs and the Attorney-General be appointed a committee to prepare and bring in a Bill.
Bill presented (by Mr. Kingston) and read a first time.
– I move -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday, 27th May instant.
I mentioned an adjournment for a fortnight before, and the reason why I do not now ask honorable members to limit themselves to a fortnight is because I understand that the visit of inspection which is to take place, will take over a fortnight, and it may not be perhaps wise or right to bring them back at the end of a week. .
– I should like the Prime Minister to extend the adjournment to a month.
– The proposal of the right honorable gentleman is very well for honorable members who reside in Melbourne, but I think that those who come from distant States should be given an opportunity to visit their homes. I shall have to remain in this city till the House re-assembles.
– Come upon the tour of inspection.
– No. I intend to see the eligible capital sites at my own expense when the weather breaks. I have been living in the bush for twenty odd years, and have previously had no chance of enjoying the advantages of city life. Accordingly, I intend to remain here just as long as my constituents will allow me. At the same time I think that the Prime Minister might reasonably grant an adjournment for the additional week which is asked for.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolved (on motion by Mr. Mauger) -
That leave of absence for two months be granted to the honorable member for Melbourne.
Resolved (on motion by Mr. Watson) - ‘
That leave of absence for two months be granted to the honorable member for Wide Bay.
Resolved (on motion by Mr. Sydney Smith) -
That leave of absence for two months be granted to the honorable member for Lang.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
In doing so I wish to take leave of my friends - and I think that I can call all those who surround me by that name. The object of my visit to England is one which renders my absence from this House inevitable. I wish that matters had been so ordered that I could have left with the work of the session finished. However, as that was not to be, I leave without complaint, with every kind feeling towards honorable members, and with an assurance to them that I shall endeavour to conduct the mission upon which I embark in such a way as not to disgrace my native country, and that I shall not enter into any such undue commitment as might take the work of Parliament out of its hands. ‘
– No hobbles.
– I wish to start without hobbles, because it is idle to enter into a conference which implies that one is prepared to hear arguments upon both sides, if one lays down stringent rules, by resolution or otherwise, which mean that one’s mind is already made up in regard to any particular question. I have never consented to being hobbled, but it does not follow that I will do anything to leave Parliament with its hands tied when I return. For a great deal of consideration, and notwithstanding occasional heated words, for much kindness, the recollection of which, I am sure, survives all such trifles, I thank this House, and I wish every member of it God-speed.
– I wish to bring under the notice oE the Government an important matter, to which, I think, some attention should be given during the three weeks’ adjournment. I refer to the quarantine laws operating in the various States, especially in regard to stock. Tins question particularly affects the dairying industry of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. Under present conditions a grave danger exists of stock diseases, and particularly of the tick pest, being introduced into some of the States, owing to the lax way in which the regulations are administered. I hold that there should be federal control over this matter. Some central authority should be established so that the Government may prevent any State’ from administering the regulations under the present law in such a way as to menace the safety of the other States. In view of the great loss which has occurred in Queensland through the presence of tick, it behoves the Government to take energetic steps to prevent the possibility of any State relaxing the regulations. The same remark is applicable to fruit pests. This is a question which the Government ‘should consider at the earliest possible moment. There will be an opportunity for the Government to make full inquiry into the whole of the circumstances with a view of bringing down, on the re-assembling of Parliament, some definite proposal on this important question, which affects the interests and welfare of thousands of dairy farmers and pastoralists throughout the Commonwealth. I speak warmly on the subject, because as president of a Royal commission of inquiry, I had an opportunity of becoming practically acquainted with the disastrous results which follow these diseases. I take the present opportunity on behalf of honorable members of the Opposition to wish the Prime Minister a pleasant vogage and a safe return in the best of health - to serve his country for many years. We have had our little differences during the hard fight on the Tariff, but I am glad to say that all the strong language which may be used in a political sense is left behind in the Chamber, and that we meet as the best of friends outside, our only desire being to further the best interest of the Commonwealth.
– I ask the Government to take care that before we start on our trip to the proposed federal sites on Tuesday, some programme of the peregrinations is issued. A programme ought to have been issued before now.
– I dare say that the delay has been caused by the unfortunate illness of the Minister for Home Affairs, but I shall do my best to see that a programme is issued before honorable members start on Tuesday.
– We all’ regret that the Minister for Home Affairs has been unwell, and trust that he may be restored to health in time to take part in the trip to the proposed federal sites. I believe it is the intention of the Government to run straight from Melbourne to Canobolas, and thence to Bathurst ; but as to the after arrangements we know nothing. It is only fair to the other centres which have to be visited that it should be known as speedily as possible when the visit of honorable members may be expected ; and I trust that to-morrow, or as early as possible, a general scheme will be made available to the public.
– An undertaking was given by the Minister for Defence. that next year the Estimates for his department will be reduced to £700,000, and I should like to know whether in the proposed reduction is included the £56,000, or whatever the amount may be, which appears on the Estimates of the Minister for Home Affairs for works which are strictly for defence purposes ?
– In undertaking that the Estimates for next year shall not exceed £700,000, I did not take into consideration the votes for buildings, because we do not know what expenditure may be required in that direction. I did not in any way refer to votes for buildings on the Estimates for the Public Works department.
– As to the question of quarantine, letme put the case from the Queensland stand-point. For some time post a large number of stockowners have lost very considerably in consequence of the tick. There were, I should say, nearly 2,000,000 cattle fit for market, but the owners were not allowed to send them over the quarantine line. The cattle were perfectly clean, and, had transport been allowed, the price of meat might have been lessened in the southern States to a very large extent, while assistance would havebeen rendered to stock-owners who have suffered in consequeuce of the prevalence of red water or Texas fever. Even the pastoralists in Queensland, who have clean cattle, ‘ realize the danger of allowing the tick to spread over the Commonwealth ; but it is well known that in the Downs country the tick cannot live. Nearly all the mortality that has occurred from tick fever has taken place in the coastal districts round the Gulf and up and down the east coast; but on the Downs and over the western watershed, the cattle were hardly affected at all. I ask the Government to take these matters into consideration, and to see whether means cannot be provided for allowing the owners of fat stock in Queensland to take advantage of the high prices now ruling.
– I should like the Minister for Trade and Customs to say if he has yet come to a decision in regard to the importation of unset precious stones. I would also like the Treasurer, or some other member of the Government, to consider during the recess, the position of the persons transferred from the public service of Victoria to that of the Commonwealth. A report on the subject was laid on the table six months ago, but no effect has yet been given to it.
– In regard to the remarks made by the Prime Minister a few moments ago, I should like to say that the right honorable gentleman has the best wishes of the section of the
House to which I belong for the worthy representation of the Commonwealth which I am sure he will make at the Coronation ceremonies. Those of us who were timorous about the matter were re-assured by his remarks concerning the attitude he thinks proper to assume on that occasion. We all hope that ho will have a successful trip, and will come back invigorated for the work of the Commonwealth.
– In regard to the taking over of the administration of the quarantine laws, the subject is one of considerable importance, and cannot be hastily dealt with at the fag end of the session. We propose, however, to deal with it at the earliest convenient date, because we think that federal legislation should precede the taking over of the State departments. We have collected a wealth of information on the subject, and, as soon as we get time to mature our plans, we shall be delighted to lay our proposals before the House.
– If the matter is deferred too long, there will be serious trouble for the dairy farmers.
– We have had a very long and busy session, and there areanumber of important subjects yet to be dealt with I am disposed to hope that when we conclude our labours we shall have made substantial progress with much useful work. In regard to the question asked by the honorable member for Yarra, I have in my hand a circular, which says -
Precious stones unset include all valuable stones cut or intended for use in jewellery or personal adornment, such as agates, carbuncles, green stones, &c., but articles such as paper weights, &c, made thereof are to be charged as fancy goods.
I think that that is a sound and useful distinction, and one which will be found to work fairly well.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 12.2 a.m. (Friday).
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 May 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1902/19020501_reps_1_9/>.