1st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– As it is evident that when the second reading of the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill was moved the fullest information was not in the possession of honorable members, and as, since then, official and . semi-official documents and interviews with responsible Ministers have been published in the press, I should like to know from the Minister representing the Prime Minister if he will arrange with the Treasurer that, upon going into Committee of Supply to-morrow - which, I believe, it is the intention of the Government to do - a full and succinct statement of the whole case shall be given to honorable members, not merely for the immediate in-, formation of the public, who feel strongly on the question of the Governor-General’s retirement, but also in view of the arrangements which will have to be made with the next person who occupies the position ?
– I am not aware that there was any information which was not given to honorable members in the possession of the Government when the second reading of the Governor-General’s Establishment Bill was moved which would have assisted them in comingtoadecisionuponiy.
– There were the despatches which have since been published.
– In regard to the information which has appeared in the press, the honorable member for Wentworfch appears to have overlooked the fact that it was in the first instance communicated to the Senate, which has been sitting during the adjournment of this House, and found its way into the newspapers in the reports of the proceedings of the Senate. I do not know that the time suggested by the honorable member for Wentworfch for the discussion of this matter is the most convenient. The Treasurer has been engaged upon the investigation of theaccounts of theGovernorGeneral’.s establishment for the last few days, and the Cabinet propose to take the whole matter into consideration at the earliest date, with a view to submitting to honorable members distinct proposals in regard to what shall be deemed official allowances in connexion with the GovernorGeneral’s establishment. There should be no possibility of a misunderstanding in the case of any future Governor-General as to what expenses, if any, in addition to salary, are to be paid by the Commonwealth. I suggest that the putting forward of those proposals will afford a better opportunity than the Supply Bill for the discussion of this matter, as the Government, not yet having considered the figures of the Treasurer, are not at the moment prepared to say what allowances, if any, should be given.
– I wish to know from the Minister representing the Prime Minister if he will obtain copies of all correspondence between the Government of New South Wales and the Colonial-office relating to the residence of the Governor-General, and matters appertaining thereto t
– The Government are not in a position to require copies of such documents, but wo shall ask for them, and, if they can be obtained, I shall be glad to lay them upon the table.
– I wish to give notice to the Minister representing the Prime Minister that I shall bring forward this matter when the House is about to go into Committee of Supply tomorrow. It is a matter of such urgent importance, and public feeling upon it is so strong, that I cannot agree to the delay which he suggests.
Mr. DEAKIN laid upon the table
Despatches in regard to the Governor-General’s establishment, and telegraphic correspondence between the Secretary of State for the Colonies and His Excellency the Governor-General with reference to the recall of His Excellency.
Ordered to be printed.
Mr. DEAKIN laid upon the table
Return to an order of the House, dated 20th March, 1902, showing for each State of the Com monwealth the number of appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
– Has the Minister representing the Prime Minister any objection to laying upon the table of the House all the correspondence which has taken place with the Federal Government in connexion with Messrs. Cobb and Co.’s mail contracts in Queensland ?
– I have no objection.
– Seeing that representations are being made to the Government with a view to the establishment of a Commonwealth Meteorological department, I wish to ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister whether, before taking final action in the matter, he will convene a conference of the heads of the present State departments ?
– The information asked for from the various Premiers of the States will, no doubt, include the recommendations of the heads of the State departments. If, after the receipt of their replies to our request for information, we consider it necessary to have such a conference as the honorable member refers to, it will undoubtedly be held.
– I wish to know from the Attorney-General if the Immigration Restriction Act is being used to exclude white immigrants?
– I do not think the administration of that Act has occasioned the exclusion of a single white immigrant.
– What about the Portuguese who wished to enter New South Wales?
– The so-called Portuguese to whom the honorable and learned member refers, was a Cape Verde Islander, a coloured man who had nothing but his name to indicate that he had Portuguese blood in’ his veins.
Royal assent reported.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Edward with a request for the ennoblement of these gentlemen, thereby strengthening their patriotism and loyalty, and solidifying the bonds of Empire.
– As the honorable member is doubtless aware, titles are conferred in the exercise of the Royal prerogative, and there is no reference in any way to any such prerogative in the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Any recommendations of any kind made by the State Premiers are certain to receive the attention of the G Government of the Commonwealth, and any recommendation of this kind coming from the Premier of Tasmania will receive especial consideration.
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
Whether his attention has been directed to the case of Sexton v. Cheesley decided in the court of pettY sessions at Cheltenham, Victoria, on 30th April, in which a police magistrate]) eld that a court of petty session was not a court of record, and that consequently it had no authority under the Federal Service and Execution of Process Act to deal with civil debt cases in which the defendant resides in an adjoining State ; and whether, if such decision is sustainable, an amending Bill will be introduced to remedy the defect in the Act.
– I am indebted to the honorable and learned member not only for having called attention to this case, but for having been good enough to furnish information with regard to it that I could not have obtained through ordinary official channels. I do not think the decision that has-been given is sustainable, and therefore an amending Act should not be necessary. As a matter of fact, a precisely similar point has been taken in Victoria, in a case heard at Mildura - -Risbey v. McLean. The cause of action was debt, and the summons was indorsed for service out of the State of Victoria and in the State of New South Wales, and was served in Wentworth, New South Wales. An order was made for the balance due, with costs. The Victorian police magistrate, * Mr. Greene, was quite satisfied that our courts of petty sessions were courts of record within the meaning of the Commonwealth Act No. 11. He referred to the Victorian Justices Act of 1890, the 65th section of which requires all courts of petty sessions to keep records of their proceedings. That order has since been complied with. This difference in the determination of new legal questions, especially by courts of this character, is not uncommon, but it is to be hoped that uniformity will speedily prevail, and that the views expressed by Mr. Greene will, be generally adopted by his confreres in all the States.
Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether aboriginal inhabitants of Australia will be classed as black labour in connexion with the sugar industry ?
– According to the terms of the Tariff, white people only can be employed by those who claim rebates - that will consequently preclude the employment of aboriginals.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral,upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
If the debate upon this Bill had very closely followed the consideration of Division VIa. of the Tariff, it would, perhaps, not have been necessary for me to speak at such great length as I now propose to do. Honorable members will recollect that, in connexion with Division VIa. of the Tariff, the general principle of bonuses was to some extent discussed, and various arguments for and againstwere advanced. I do not for a moment suggest that honorable members are in any way pledged to the establishment of bonuses by what happened on the previous occasion ; but a great deal of matter was then presented, on one side or the other, which it is well for us to bear in mind. I propose, therefore, to avoid any possibility of these matters being forgotten bymaking special reference to them now. The Bill which honorable members have before them is intended to complete the scheme of encouragement of local manufactures which was foreshadowed and discussed in connexion with DivisionVIa. ‘ of the Tariff. It deals with a class of manufactures which it is highly desirable to establish within the Commonwealth as early as possible, and which cannot at the present moment form the subject of protective duties, for the reason that the extent to which the manufactured article is required is such, and the present production so small, that the immediate imposition of a duty would have the effect of raising prices and causing inconvenience, which, if possible, should be avoided. Our idea is that until these industries are so established that Parliament shall deem it well to impose protective duties, the necessary encouragement shall be given by way of bonus, to be paid out of the national exchequer. I recognise that bonuses are sometimes more favoured by free-traders than are other methods of encouraging local industries. Although I do not attach any considerable weight to the views of those who differ from us so widely on the fiscal question, I think it is just as well to remind honorable members who believe in free-trade that, in the improbable event of their desiring to support our proposals, they will not be false to their fiscal faith if they are able to conquer any indisposition they may have to vote with the Government on a matter of this sort. We hope they will vote with us, but however that may be, we are strongly of opinion that the claim that we are putting before the House is such as to deserve general support. When
I tell honorable members that the chief idea of our proposals is to encourage the establishment of the iron industry, I think that there will be a general disposition to say that no more important matter could well occupy our attention. As to the iron industry, I think it has been fairly described as the backbone of all manufacturing enterprises. It is an industry upon which so many others depend that it is impossible to find another which stands in a precisely similar position. It is increasing in importance every year, and in view of the present and probable future expansion of manufactures of metals and machinery, and their use in the industrial arts, it is absolutely impossible, to over-estimate the importance of doing what we can in this connexion. In order to give a rough idea of the importance of the industry, I should like to refer to the imports of the raw material into the Commonwealth last year. The returns show that 155,259 tons of pig-iron, scrapiron, arid bar and rod steel were introduced, the total value being £1,117,430. New South Wales imported 32,000 tons, of a value of £241,000; Victoria, 40,000 tons, of a value of £306,000 ; Queensland, 12,000 tons, of a value of £127,000 ; South Australia, 17,000 tons, of a value of £127,000; Tasmania, 6,000 tons, of a value of £33,000 ; and Western Australia, 45,000 tons, of a value of £350,000. These imports of raw material were made up principally of pig-iron. In addition to this, there were importations of manufactures of metal to the value of £6,800,000. In view of these enormous importations, which are rendered necessary by the absence from our midst of the iron industry in any considerable form, honorable members must recognise the necessity of giving the greatest consideration to the question now being submitted to them. In the first place, I would ask - “ Ought we to impose a duty at once ? “ I supply the answer myself, by saying that the policy of the Government is not in that direction. They think rather that the immediate imposition of a duty would have the effect of greatly increasing prices and of hampering industry. It would be better therefore, in the first instance, to encourage the iron industry by the granting of bonuses, until it attains such dimensions that we may hope at least that the supply will be fairly equal to the demand when the fostering bonuses shall have been withdrawn. No doubt there are great possibilities if we have the natural resources ; and on that point I do not think there can be two opinions. . I recollect that during the former debate on this subject, members on all sides of the House, who have special knowledge, testified that in Australia we have in abundance, and of the best quality, all the materials for the manufacture of iron. Under such circumstances I do not think it is very necessary for me to fortify my remarks with quotations from experts. But, on a former ‘ occasion I quoted, and would like to refer again, to a report of the New South Wales Mining department, in which reference is made to the result of inquiries by Mr. Jacquet, who had been specially commissioned by the State Government, under the direction, I believe, of the honorable member for Parramatta., to investigate the subject. Australian attention has time and again been given to this matter, hitherto by individual States, without such success as seems to me likely to be attained if it be dealt with by the Federal Government as a national question, in the interests of all Australia. Mr. Jacquet speaks in no uncertain terms as to the possibility of successfully establishing the iron industry iri Australia. The report is as follows : -
Mr. Jacquet reports that the iron ore deposits are far more extensive than was previously thought to be the case, and estimates the amount of ore in sight at not less than 50,000,000 tons.
– Who is Mr. Jacquet ?
– He is an expert of the highest authority in New South Wales ; at any rate, he was thought sufficiently qualified, as I have no doubt he was, to be selected by the Minister of Mines of that State, the present honorable member for Parramatta, for the special purpose of investigating this question. .1 am inclined to think that if I were to put the question to the honorable member for Maranoa whether Queensland possesses a sufficiency of iron to justify her, with proper encouragement, in embarking on an industry of this description, he would be justified in giving us the assurance that the mineral resources there compare favorably with any in Australia. I believe that there are few, or practically none, of the States which can be said to be not fitted for this industry. We might go to the extent of saying that some States are more fitted than others, but there is not one of which it can be said that iron ore in paying quantities does not exist. We do not need to be reminded of our position in regard to the supply of coal and limestone. What sort of industry is this ? Is it an industry which,, apart from the financial aspect as affecting the amount involved, would give little employment to the many, and the profits of which would go chiefly into the pockets of one or two? Nothing of the sort. There is no industry which can more readily maintain a large number of workers. In the raising and the preparation of all the necessary materials, the iron industry stands pre-eminent in importance and utility as a labour provider. I have felt it my duty to look at some of the arguments which were advanced in connexion with the attempted, and afterwards, successfully established iron industry in Canada. I find that great emphasis was laid on the labour question by the Canadian speakers who first introduced this subject to legislative attention.
– In what way 1
– In the way of showing that this is certainly not an industry in which few ar.e involved or likely to be benefited, but one which affects in a larger degree than any other, the man who earns his daily bread by the sweat of his brow. Sir Leonard Tilley, who was the Canadian Treasurer at the time, spoke in the following forcible words : -
No industry employs so much labour horn the time of the excavation and removal of the ore to the place where it is burned to the time of finishing the product. Coal has to be converted into coke. Smelting, rolling, and everything connected with it is worked from beginning to end. Even if it costs us more for the iron for a short time than otherwise would be the case, it is to aid in building up a great industry.
It will be noticed that Sir Leonard Tilley contemplated that the immediate imposition of duty would result in iron being raised in price for a short time. That undoubtedly would be the case here if we attempted to immediately impose a duty. But we avoid the disadvantages of the Canadian scheme which, when granting a bonus, also imposed a duty. We do not propose a duty in the first instance, but only when Parliament is able to declare that the industry is sufficiently established ; and that no doubt will be to the exclusion of the bonus provision, which will be in operation only for a limited time.
– Then it is admitted that a duty makes an article dearer 1
– I undoubtedly admit that a duty makes an article dearer when the local supply is not equal to the demand and we are bound to import. I know that there are positions advanced by both freetraders and protectionists which are . absolutely indefensible. I may sometimes hear a protectionist contending to the contrary of that which I have just stated, but that only reminds me that his enthusiasm has carried him a little past his judgment, and that he has fallen into one of the many fallacies which are so often associated with people of a very different way of thinking, namely, free-traders. Sir Leonard Tilley proceeded : -
If the duty on pig-iron were materially increased, it being a raw material that forms the basis of a great many manufactures, the result would be that the increase in price would require a change in the duties on the articles manufactured from pig or bar-iron.
Sir Charles Tupper, whose name, I am sure, will be heard with respect, put the same view even more strongly, as follows : -
My honorable friend stated that the iron industry was one that the Government judged to be of great importance, for the reason that the wealth created by the development of this kind of industry is almost wholly devoted to payment for labour. Thus it becomes an industry almost above all others that deserves a fostering care of the Government, if, by public aid, parties could be induced to bring in their capital and develop the enormous resources which providence has given us in the vast deposits of iron-ore that exist in the different parts of the Dominion. I know of no measure, after the most careful investigation of this question, that can bc adopted, no single point to which my honorable friend oan turn his attention as inviting and developing industry, which will give a greater amount of employment in proportion to the industry itself, to the people of th:s country, than the protection proposed to be given to the development of our iron industry. Two dollars a ton costs the country something, but they all contribute to it. It will be taken out of the general Treasury ; but if we can put thousands of men to work in mining our ores, in the development of our coal, and in converting it into coke, and the smelting of this iron, we create a large industry in the country. We give employment to the people, who will eventually get their stuff as cheaply as before. That is the policy of the Government, and this is the outcome of that proposition.
If I were so disposed I might entirely adopt the words of Sir Charles Tupper in this connexion.
– But he is a rank protectionist.
– We approach the question from the same stand-point that it was approached from in Canada. We regard this as an industry which is native to our resources, and which needs encouragement ; and, at the same time, we think that this encouragement will amply repay, directly and indirectly, notably in regard to the profitable employment of labour, all, or ten times more than we are ever likely to be called on to spend. In connexion with this question particular mines must recur to the recollection of honorable members as affording notable illustrations. We hear of the Esk-bank iron mines in the Lithgow district of New South Wales, and of the Blyth River mines. The latter are situated very conveniently for the purpose of water carriage to places where there is a better supply of coal. We hear also of the Iron Knob mines, the worth of which has been testified to by the honorable member for Kooyong. There is no need, however, to specify particular mines, though I do not hesitate to mention certain names which have been brought under our notice. The fact remains that in regard to deposits of iron ore, and of all the necessary material, Australia, we have every reason to believe, stands pre-eminent among the countries of the world.
– Does the Blyth River Company treat its own ore?
– Not yet.
-They are waiting for the bonuses.
– We are told time and again that sufficient encouragement is given to local industries by over-sea freights. I noticed a letter in one of the newspapers - I think it was the Age - quoting an extract from Scribner’s Magazine-
– Does the right honorable gentleman read any other paper 1
– I read the Age when I wish to obtain the facts. When otherwise disposed, I look elsewhere.
– I am very sorry for the right honorable member’s discrimination.
– The honorable mem ber is sorry in that he envies my discrimination. The letter in question made a point to which sufficient force was not given, perhaps, by some of us when dealing with the Tariff at different times.
– A new point ?
– No doubt it has occurred to the honorable member and -he has avoided it ; no doubt it has also been made by other honorable members, but still we have to keep at it in order to make some people see it If, having adopted that course, we cannot induce them to receive it, we have at least the satisfaction of feeling that their failure is not due to any fault of our own, and that in declining to receive the gospel of proper fiscalism they have sinned at least against their opportunities for better knowledge. The letter deals with the question of the protection which is afforded by over-sea freights. Too often the fact is lost sight of that the protection afforded in this way may be over-estimated. We are apt to forget that the manufacturer and the producer here suffer very considerably from the higher rate of local freights. It is possible to have goods sent from England to Western Australia or Adelaide at a lower rate than it would cost to transfer them from Melbourne to any of those places.
– It costs less to bring an engine from London to Melbourne than from Ballarat to Melbourne.
– The point is put very strongly in the quotation to which I desire to call attention. It shows that oversea and other freights are very low in comparison with the cost of transfer either by local railway or by means of coastal carriage. That is a matter of which we ought not to lose sight. The writer puts it thus -
The freight from the New England Paper Mills to the London docks is less than from the Cardiff Mills to the metropolis.
So that, when we talk about the advantages that the local manufacturers have in the matter of freight over those who send their goods here from a foreign country, we must not forget - because the fact does not justify the full force otherwise given to the position put - that the coastal and internal freights may be very much higher than are the ocean freights to which so much attention is desired to be given, and which the free-traders so often urge should prevent us from granting a certain measure of protection. Then the writer goes on further to point out that -
One half the freight charges on an American shipment -
He is referring to shipments from America to England - is made up of terminal charges incurred in the last 12 miles of a 3,000 mile journey.
As regards competition by the foreign manufacturer, the position, particularly of this special industry, is this : However high may be the ocean freight, still in the great majority of instances the local manufacturer labours altogether at a disadvantage owing to the high amount which he has to pay in respect of freight for shorter journeys, either by coastal carriage or rail. Pig iron is often used as ballast, and I venture to think that it can be carried at much cheaper rates from foreign countries to these shores than can any other article of manufacture that one could possibly name. If we look at the history of other countries to guide us as to what is the best to be done, we first turn to the mother country. Honorable members will recollect that the mother country has encouraged her iron industry with no niggard hand. For a period of nearly twenty years, about the commencement of the last century, the average rate of protection which she afforded to her localironmasters was £3 12s. per ton, an amount which was fully as high as, if not in excess of, the value of the article itself to-day.
– Does the Minister mean to say that protection made the iron trade of England ?
– I do not say anything of the kind. I know this, that with the coal and with the iron deposits there the people of England, taking, through their Parliament, what, I ventureto consider, was a very lively interest in the matter, found it necessary to impose duties of the character to which I refer.
– When was this?
– From 1798 to1825 the protective duty on iron in England was £3 12s. per ton. Instead of there being an indisposition to afford this encouragement towards the end of that period the fact is that from 1819 to 1825 the duties varied from £6 4s. per ton upon iron imported in British ships into Great Britain to£7 12s. per ton upon iron imported in foreign ships.
– For how many years has the duty been abolished ?
– For some time.. It was retained until the industry was established.
– When will our industry be established? The Minister’s proposal is to impose a duty after it has been established.
– If the honorable member has the faith in his country that I possess in mine, he will not be doubtful about the results.
– Order ! I have just been looking at the Bill of which the Minister is moving the second reading, and I see nothing whatever in it relating to protective or customs duties. It relates purely to bonuses, and I must ask the Minister to confine his remarks to the question of aid by bonus rather than aid by protective duties or customs duties of any kind.
– I am putting it that it has been found desirable to encourage the ironindustry in various parts of the world ; that some countries have adopted protective duties’ as a means of affording that encouragement; and that others have adopted a protective duty and bonus. I am proposing to show the reasons why, if we are satisfied that the iron industry of Australia ought to be encouraged, we should not adopt the course which has been followed by other countries for the reasons which I have given, but that we should adopt that which the Bill proposes.
– The Minister will be in order in referring to these matters incidentally, or by way of illustration, but not in making them a leading line of his argument, as I understood him to be doing. I am particularly anxious to avoid a repetition of the long debates on the general fiscal question, which have already occupied so much of the time of the House.
– I bow with the greatest pleasure to your ruling, Mr. Speaker, and adopt it with the utmost cheerfulness. What I was desiring to point out was that no industry of this character has been established to any extent except by aid being given to it. I have been pointing out the magnitude of the aid which has been given in England as showing that the people there recognised that very considerable assistance was required. I was only referring to the figures in that connexion for the purpose of indicating the extent to which that aid was granted. I do not propose to dwell further upon the matter in that connexion.
– Does the Minister mean to suggest that there was no iron industry in England until aid was given?
– Of course I do not, and when the honorable member reflects he will see that his question is not justified by what I have said.We know the extent of the protective duties which America has imposed. I shall come now to a case which is more on all fours with our own - the case of our sister federation, Canada. The plan adopted there was to give bounties, and, at the same time, to impose duties. It was as long ago as 1883 that bonuses were first given there. To some extent the duties were pre-existing. They have been continued since, and what do we find is the result? If, in Canada, this has been a success, why should we not have success here 1 Has the system been a success in Canada 1 We cannot look at the figures without coming to the conclusion that it has been undoubtedly a great fiscal success. I shall now quote from the Statistical Year-Book of Canada for 1900. the figures showing the production and the total consumption of both foreign and native ores from 1884, when the bonuses were practically first granted, to 1900. The increase was of a character which must have been most gratifying to all who advocated this particular means of encouraging the industry. The total production from Canadian ore in 1884 was something like 29,000 tons, and from all ore, in 1 900, it rose to about 102,000 tons.
– But what was the increase in the production from Canadian ore ?
– I entered into a full explanation on that subject when I previously had occasion to deal with the matter. The increase was chiefly in production from foreign ore - the production from Canadian ore increased only from 29,000 tons to 34,000 tons. But the foreign ore, from which 67,000 tons of iron were produced, was no more foreign ore than Tasmanian ore could rightly be termed foreign ore if used in the Commonwealth and Tasmania was not part of the Federation.
– But the Government have shut out New Zealand ore, which would be in a similar position, by placing a duty upon it:
– Because we can obtain all the ore we want within the Commonwealth. The foreign ore which produced the 67,000 tons of iron in Canada came chiefly from Bell Island, in Newfoundland, and was taken to Sydney, in Nova Scotia, to be smelted and otherwise dealt with. But would it be fair, simply because Newfoundland is not part of the Dominion of Canada, to sal’ that the encouragement given to Canadian smelting has not produced the result which I have quoted 1 In this connexion I may mention that onethird of the ore which Britain consumes comes from Spain, while a very considerable quantity of the ore which the United States of America use is imported from Cuba. To give honorable members an idea of the extent to which the iron industry has flourished in Canada, let me read the following extract from the Statistical Year-Book of Canada for the year 1900, page 148 : -
The active works i” Canada in 1901 are: - (I) The Nova Scotia Steel Company, blast furnaces at Ferrona, Nova Scotia ; (2) the Hamilton Steel and Iron Company, Hamilton ; (3) the Canada Iron Furnace Company, Midland : (4) the Dominion Iron and Steel Company, furnaces at Sydney ; (5) the Canada Iron Furnace Company, Radnor; (0) Desoronto Iron Company, ,Deseronto (7) The Drummond ville furnaces ; the last three are charcoal furnaces. The aggregate capacity of the seven is 440,000 tons a year. There were two furnaces silent - the Londonderry -Iron Company and the Picton Charcoal Iron Company. The Lake Superior Power Company are building at Sault, Ste. Marie, Ontario, a very extensive plant for the manufacture of pig iron, steel and steel rails, the latter the first established in Canada. The united investment at Sydney, Hamilton, Desoronto, Midland, New Glasgow, Radnor, Drummondville, and Ferrona amounts to 24,500,000 dollars, which will be increased to 35,000,000 dollars by new plant now building. Within five or six years the total investment will aggregate, approximately, 50,000.000 dollars.
At this particular moment, in connexion with the initiation of federation, and the extension of the market thus created, all eyes are turned towards this country, and many persons who have thought the business of the individual States too small to be worth their serious attention, are now considering what they can do with the whole market of Australia. The breaking down of the State barriers will in itself be of considerable advantage to us, but that is’ no reason why we should neglect to give our industries assistance of the kind I am now proposing. We have all along had these natural advantages to which I have referred, but without freedom of intercourse between the States, they have been fruitless of the results we desire. We look at the history of other nations, and we find that they have given these industries encouragement to an extent, degree, and manner far beyond what we propose. Shall we stand still, now that a golden occasion is afforded to us to progress, and when companies are desirous of taking advantage of any opportunities we may offer to come here and establish and extend their industries ? Surely not. On this subject it is the duty of the Government to hear what is to be said by manufacturers, investors, and all who desire to expend money here, and I believe, from what 1 have heard, that not only are there men already amongst us willing to do something in this direction, but that there are elsewhere others associated with them who are also only too ready to act. About a fortnight ago I received a letter from a high authority in America, informing me of the lively attention which ia now being given there to Australian affairs. Do not let us neglect this opportunity. The amount of the bonus as contrasted with the importance of the industry it seeks to assist is but a trifle. I hope and believe that it will have the effect of inducing investment, and extending business, not only to the advantage of those who invest, but to the still greater good of the people of Australia. I have shown that in Canada there was an increase of production during a certain period of nearly 70,000 tons. The share which Canada’s production of iron constituted of her total consumption rose from 36 per cent, in 1SS4 to 60 per cent, at a later date, and from the passages which I have read it is evident that, so far from progress being impeded, or development being stopped by the action taken, the industry once started has gone on in a way which i hope will be paralleled here at the earliest possible date. I do not propose at this stage to deal with the details of the measure, because they can be much more conveniently dealt with in committee, and I hope that we shall soon arrive at the committee stage, and then give our attention to them. I am sanguine that there is a strong resolve on the part of a majority of honorable members that the session shall not close before we have done what we can to establish the iron industry, which is one of the greatest industries possible to Australia. The Bill is a simple measure. It is proposed that it shall come into force on the 1st July next. It deals with production from ores other than iron ore ; but the production of iron is the most important matter. Its provisions are based mainly upon the Canadian provisions, though they, having been enjoyed for a considerable period, and being of a tapering nature, will cease in 1907. We have, however, rejected the provision made by Canada to meet the case of the special ores obtained from Newfoundland, and we confine our proposals to ore mined and won within the Commonwealth. A bonus of 12s. per ton is to be paid upon pig-iron made from Australian ore, a similar bonus upon bar-iron made from Australian pigiron, and a similar bonus for steel made from Australian iron. We also deal with spelter - the zinc of commerce - which is contained in the ore found at the Barrier, but which is difficult to extract because of the great expense of the machinery required.
– An expense which the duties proposed by the Government have increased.
– We propose to give a bonus of £2 per ton upon spelter. Clause 3 provides for bonuses in regard to galvanized iron, wire netting, and certain descriptions of tubes and pipes upon which we have not yet fixed a duty. Clause 4 deals with reapers and binders, in respect to which there is no doubt whatever that the New South Wales farmers have been more got at under free-trade conditions than would have been possible if such machinery had been manufactured within their midst. Honorable members will observe that the time when the bonuses shall ‘ expire in any event is also specified. We do not make these proposals for all time, because we think we ought to get some result within a short period. Therefore, a declaration is contained in the measure that if the bonuses are not won within certain specified periods they shall lapse. The provisions regarding regulations are framed generally on the basis of the Canadian Act. Provision is made for accepting certain declarations as proof of compliance with the regulations. There is a section also which declares that a return shall be supplied to Parliament giving information as to the bonuses won. I think the measure contains every provision that is necessary, and at the same time cannot be regarded as unnecessarily diffuse.
– Does the Minister think he will be able to dispense with bonuses in five years ?
– Under this Bill the bonuses will cease to operate at the end of the period mentioned, unless Parliament decides’ otherwise. If Parliament should desire to extend the period of the payment of bonuses, they will afford the fullest proof of our wisdom in making these proposals.
Debate (on motion by Sir William McMillan) adjourned.
Consideration resumed from 1st May (vide page 12213).
Division 1 - (Senate), £6,880
– Some of these salaries are fixed upon too high a scale, and I intend to move the reduction of the £900 allotted to the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments and also the amount of £750 provided for the Clerk- Assistant.
– I hope the honorable member will recollect that we had a discussion upon these salaries when the first Estimates were presented at the beginning of the session. It was then pointed out that whilst the Clerk of the Parliaments received £900, the officer holding a corresponding position in the State of Victoria was paid £1,200 a year. In New South Wales also the salary of the Clerk of the Assembly is £960. I am sure that no Legislature in Australia has ever done harder work than we have, and this has to be taken into consideration when we are considering officers’ salaries. Under the circumstances I have mentioned, and having regard also to the extremely efficient way in which the duties of the chief officers of Parliament are discharged, I think we are not making any undue demand in asking that they shall be remunerated at least as well as the officers who hold corresponding positions in the States.
– Although, generally speaking, I am in favour of economy, I cannot support the view taken by the honorable member for Kennedy. The positions to which he has referred are such as young men in the service may hope to reach by ability after long service. It happens that the gentleman who occupies the position of Clerk of the Parliaments has been in the public service of South Australia nearly all his life, and the Clerk- Assistant has been in the public service of New South Wales for a very long period. It cannot be said that even £1,000 per annum would be too high a salary for a man who has devoted all his energies and time to this high sphere of duty, and who is now giving the best of his ability and experience to the Commonwealth. Whilst I am disposed to be economical I shall not do anything to destroy the incentive which this Parliament should holdoutto persons entering the public service in the form of certain rewards which they may obtain by merit and good conduct. In view of the fact that these officers received practically the same salaries in the State services, it would be very unjust to them to reduce their remuneration.
Mr. BATCHELOR (South AustralianThere is no doubt that the gentleman who occupies the position of Clerk of the Parliaments in the Senate has grown grey in carrying out work of theclass in which he is now engaged, and that he is a very high authority upon constitutional and parliamentary practice. I think that he is being fairly paid at £900 per annum. But I should like to impress upon the Government that this salary should be regarded as the maximum for the office, and that no proposals for increases should be made in the immediate future.
– When the previous Estimates were being discussed I proposed that the salary of the ClerkAssistant should be reduced to £600. It was then urged by the Prime Ministerthat the gentleman who was occupying the position had been promised a salary of £750, and it was upon this representation that my motion was defeated. That objection to a reduction no longer exists, because no such promise was made to the present Clerk - Assistant ; and if the honorable member for Kennedy proposes a reduction of the salary I shall support him. It is not my intention to support any reduction of salaries in the lower ranks of the service. I should like to know whether the house-keeper and door-keeper, for whom £180 is provided in the subdivision now under discussion, receives the special allowance of £25 provided for the house-keeper under the head of “ Miscellaneous.”
– No one has received it.
Mr. McDONALD (Kennedy).- I must enter my protest against Ministers introducing the personal element into these . discussions. Immediately any one speaks of reducing a salary we are told how worthy the officer is. None of us question the ability of the gentlemen who occupy these offices. We all realize that these officers are problably as good as could possibly be got for . the positions ; and when I suggested a reduction, the person who was receiving the salary never entered my mind. It was only when an honorable member was speaking that it occured to me that Mr. Blackmore occupied the position. It is a very bad practice, not only here, but in all the State Houses, to at once begin to speak about the qualifications of certain officers when reductions of salaries are proposed. Sooner or latter we shall have proposed some addition to this salary of £900 ; and when a man has been in a certain position for nine or ten years it is only reasonable that an advance of £100 or £200 should be given in view of long service. But we are starting out on too lavish a scale ; and it would have been far better from this point of view if the Federal Government had taken up their quarters at the Exhibitionbuilding. Too many officers are employed in conducting the business of this Chamber, other Legislatures, which have just as much business, finding a third less ample. When we see that in some States much lower salaries are paid than are now proposed, it is only reasonable to raise objection. I move -
That the item, “Clerk of the Parliaments, £900 “be reduced by £100.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 7
Noes … … … 37
Majority … … 30
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the item, “ Clerk assistant, £750,” be reduced by £100.
In view of the division which has just been taken, I shall accept a decision on the voices.
– As to the item, “Sessional messengers, £626,” I should like to know how many such messengers there are, and at what rates they are paid. I should also like some information as to “ Allowances to office cleaners, £250.”
– The object of providing for sessional messengers was to allow a smaller permanent staff to be employed. These messengers are engaged for the session only, and their pay is £156. The allowance for office cleaners is confined to people engaged temporarily during the session.
– What is meant by “ travelling expenses, £120 ”?
– These allowances are paid to officers of the Senate who may be obliged to travel on business. I suppose the amount covers tram and train fares.
– How many office cleaners are there ?
– I have not the information with me, but I think there are four.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 2 - (House of Representatives), £9,003
– I have exactly the same objection to the salaries of the Clerk and the Clerk-Assistant in the House of Representatives that I had to the salaries paid to similar officers in the Senate ; but in view of the division taken on my former amendment I shall now content myself with a protest.
Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).I do not desire to propose any alteration in the item “ Serjeant-at-Arms and Clerk of Committees, £550,” because, I dare say, the work done is well worth the money. But it would appear that a part, and possibly a considerable part, of the duties of this officer consists of lifting that ridiculous mace on and off the table. I have been accustomed to a State House, which is much less pretentious than is this, and which does not have a mace or any marching up and down by the SerjeantatArms on the entrance of the Speaker into the Chamber. Yet I think it has done just asgood work in the interests of thepeople as have most other Parliaments. I would ask the Government whether we cannot abolish this senseless proceeding? Whatever the custom may have been in past times, it is utterly useless and meaningless in Australia. I know that the SerjeantatArms has other work to do whilst sitting in the chamber, but he could perform the greater part of that work in an infinitely better way if he were able to attend to it in his own office instead of in the House. He has to remain here perhaps all night dozing at his table, and having no direct interest in the proceedings, simply because at certain stages it is necessary for him to place the mace on or remove it from the table. The practice is ridiculous, and we ought to abolish it.
– Have the Government agreed to abolish the tommyrot business relating to the mace? It is absurd that the time of the SerjeantatArms should be taken up in marching up. and down the chamber as if a circus performance was going on.
– The mace is part of the British Constitution.
– Then it is strange that the South Australian Parliament has been able to get on without it. I thoroughly believe in the Serjeant-at-Arms, but I am opposed to keeping up the relics of savagery connected with the mace. All the bowing and scraping and kow-towing, and twisting and twirling by the Serjeant-at-Arms when placing the mace on the table and removing it is an indication that we have not yet risen above the days of savagery. We should take a vote on this item to determine whether the democrats are willing that this nonsense should be continued.
– I think we are departing from the real question. No one pretends that the bearing of the mace to and from the chamber is the chief duty of the Serjeant-at-Arms. He is here for quite a different purpose, and if such a grievance as this is to be brought forward it should be dealt with on grievance day. To ask whether the Serjeant-at-Arms receives his salary for conveying the mace to and from the chamber is to convey altogether a wrong impression to the public.
– I did not suggest that.
– The bearing of the mace before the Speaker is the observance of a very old custom, and it is not a matter of sufficient importance for us to debate. The honorable member might have pointed out that the mace is really not made of gold, and that, therefore, there would be no advantage in carrying it off. Not only is that the case, but I am informed that it cost the House nothing. I trust that we shall not debate the question further.
– There is one point in connexion with the duties of the Serjeant-at-Arms and other officials of this House which has been overlooked, namely, that in their enforced presence here they have to endure a great deal in listening to our long, tiresome speeches. If their brains are able to stand the strain that in itself should be sufficient to entitle them to their salaries. I agree that the ceremony relating to the mace is a relic of barbarism, and ought to be abolished. The Federal Parliament should be able to uphold its dignity without any such custom. In my opinion the salaries of all the officials are too high. When the matter came before the House in the first instance, I voted consistently with the honorable member for Kennedy in favor of a proposal to fix the salaries at a lower rate. But when to-day he proposed the reduction of ‘ a certain salary, I voted against the amendment for the reason that no change had been made in the personnel of the officers since the salaries had been fixed. I considered that by making a reduction we should break the agreement virtually made with them upon their appointment. Unless they neglect their duty we shall not be justifiedin reducing their salaries. It would be altogether different if a new officer were appointed to any position. In that case I certainly think we ought to consider whether or not the salary relating to the office should be reduced.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 3. - (Parliamentary Reporting Staff), £7,666 ; and Division 4. - (Library), £2,696, agreed to.
Division 5. - (Refreshment-rooms), £1,050.
Mr. McDONALD (Kennedy).- I should like to know the meaning of the line - “ Supply of goods for stock-in-trade, £500.”
– That amount was necessary to enable a supply of goods to be obtained instead of the purchases being made from hand to mouth.
– Do I understand that the Government supply the refreshmentrooms with all kinds of liquors ?
– And then sell them.
– I wish to find out how this money goes. Refreshments that are obtained in the parliamentary refreshmentrooms are paid for. No licence has to be paid in connexion with the establishment, and no duty is levied on the spirits consumed there.
– Yes there is.
– That is not the case. The refreshment-rooms ought to be selfsupporting. The general impression outside is that honorable members obtain their refreshments free of charge here. Every time that we pass a vote like this-
– The item of £500 in relation to stock is an extraordinary one, which will not occur again. The ordinary items will be the wages of the staff and the allowance paid to the comptroller.
– In some of the States Houses the parliamentary refreshmentrooms vote has gone up to £3,000 per annum. It is a scandal that such a thing should take place in any State, and we ought not to tolerate it in connexion with this Parliament. If it is necessary to have parliamentary refreshment-rooms, they should be self-supporting ; if they cannot be made self-supporting, we should not pass any vote towards their maintenance. I shall vote in favour of the item being struck out.
– I certainly think with the honorable member who has just spoken that the parliamentary refreshmentrooms ought to pay their way. Speaking from a fairly extensive experience, I can say that any one can obtain as good a meal in any of the restaurants in Bourke-street as can be obtained in the parliamentary refreshment-rooms for the same money. The parliamentary refreshment-rooms have no rent to pay, and that in itself is a very considerable item. It seems to me that if people can conduct restaurants, pay high wages and rent, and yet make a profit on their businesses, we should be able to do the same here. It may be said that the consumption of refreshments is very limited in the parliamentary rooms, whereas it is practically unlimited in business places outside ; but we have to remember the profits from the bar.
– There is very little business there.
– That is very creditable to the House. I. do not agree with the honorable member for Kennedy that the item should be struck out, but if the rooms cannot be carried on without a loss we should strike out the allowance to the comptroller. If he cannot make the business pay he is of nouse to us. Is it not a fact that the comptroller also receives £550 a year as Usher of the Black Rod and Clerk of Committees? I think that we should reduce the proposed vote, though, of course, it is impossible to abolish it altogether.
– The honorable member for Coolgardie appears to have forgotten that, by our agreement with the Victorian Parliament, its members retain the right to use our refreshment-rooms, billiard-room, library, and other parts of the building, and therefore it is part of our bargain to maintain these rooms. Very few, if any, of the refreshment-rooms connected with the State Parliaments pay, and if it is the case that this Parliament is the most sober body of men ever collected together - and we have the assurance of the honorable member for Bourke that it is - it is not likely that our refreshment-rooms will be made to pay. I trust that the honorable member for Coolgardie will not move a reduction.
– I think that we should know what are the receipts from the refreshment-rooms. Honorable members pay for what they get there, and, although it has been argued that the number of those who can use the rooms is limited, it must be remembered that there is no licence-fee and no rent to pay, and that a great many of the requirements are provided by the Government. I have been given to understand that the Victorian Parliament was able to run the refreshment rooms with very little loss, and, if that be so, there should not be a loss of £1,050 now that the members of the Federal and State Parliament use the rooms.
– I wish to explain, with regard to the proposed allowance to the comptroller, that at one time the Victorian Parliament employed a caterer, and paid him a very large amount, but there was continual dissatisfaction with regard to the quality of thefood provided.
– So there is now.
– I do not think there should be. I have lunch and dinner in the rooms, and I am satisfied with what I get. There is not so much choice as in places where one pays 4s. or 5s. for a dinner, but we are very well served for the prices we pay. We save more than the £50 paid to the gentleman to whom is intrusted the responsibility of managing the rooms. We must have some one in such a position, and the duties which he performs are quite apart from the duties ofhis ordinary office. It is not right, however, that it should go forth to the public that the maintenance of the refreshment-rooms costs £1,050 a year, because that is not correct. So far as £500 of the amount is concerned, the money is well invested. Instead of buying what is required from day to day and from week to week, a certain amount is given to the committee to provide stock, which they purchase at wholesale prices, and, no doubt, the whole amount will be recouped by the receipts. The actual cost of maintenance will not be more than £550.
– What do the receipts amount to ?
– As the financial year does not end until the 30th June, the balance-sheet has not yet been made up. We must have a permanent staff because of the late hours which the House sits. The cost of maintaining these rooms is unduly heavy, because it sometimes happens that when a dinner has been provided for a large number of members the House rises early, and hardly any one has dinner on the premises. I trust that the vote will be agreed to, and next year we shall have actual experience to guide us in dealing with the cost.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- I hope that the vote will be passed as it stands. The actual expense of maintenance is only about £550 per annum. Although the House sits on only four days of the week, the waiters and others engaged in connexion with the refreshment-rooms have to be employed and paid for a full week.
Mr.Mauger. - And they are paid little enough, too.
– I dare say that is so. If we abolished the refreshment-rooms we should have to add. half-an-hour to the dinner adjournment toenable honorable members to go outside to get their meals. The refreshment-rooms are more expensive than ordinary establishments of the kind, because it very often happens that after a meal has been prepared for 50 or 60 members the House rises, and no one comes to eat what has been got ready. The expenditure of the State Parliaments upon their refreshmentrooms is larger than that here proposed. In America, Members of Congress are allowed their meals free of charge. We do not ask for that here, and I do not think it is desirable, but if only to save time it is necessary to have refreshmentrooms upon the premises. We pay for what we get, and I think that the charges are very reasonable, and the quality of. the food very good.
– So far as my experience goes, the refreshment - rooms are very well managed in every respect ; and good meals can be obtained there at reasonable prices. Since we allow only an hour for the dinner adjournment; it is absurdto talk of abolishing the refreshment-rooms. I look upon this vote purely as an advance vote towards the conduct of the business-, and next year I anticipate that a statement will be put before us showing the actual receipts.
Question - That the proposed vote, £1,050, be agreed to - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 39
Noes … … … 3
Majority … … 36
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 6. - ( Water powerfor Parliament House) £300.
– Is this a reasonable charge ?
– Yes. The water is required for working the lifts and for other purposes, and we find that it is cheaper than steam.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 7. - (ElectricLighting) £1,162; and Division 8. - (Parliament - gardens) £532- agreed to.
Division 9. - (Miscellaneous) £1,593
– I desire to know whether the lift attendant is employed temporarily or otherwise ? I see the salary is fixed at £52.
– That is a permanent appointment.
-That seems a very small allowance, in consideration of the fact that the attendant is required to be on duty very often from 9 o’clock in the morning until 1 and 2 o’clock the next morning. I think that he is entitled to some consideration on account of the long hours.
– I will direct the attention of the House committee to the small rate of pay.
Sir EDWARD BRADDON (Tasmania). I think £52 per annum is a very small amount, and I hope the result of representations to the House committee will be an increase in the salary.
– I think the Government should give some explanation of the incidental expenses for which £350 is provided.
– That is- an amount which we had to fix by guesswork. As a matter of fact, only £88 of this amount has been spent. In the framing of the next Estimates we shall have the expenditure for the current year as a guide. A considerable amount of the money voted in the present Estimates will necessarily lapse, because we have made provision in excess of our requirements.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 137. - (Senate), Arrears, £131.
– I move -
That the item “Gratuity to Senator Dobson for services as Acting-Chairman of Committees from 13th to 27th June, 1901, £30,” be omitted.
– I trust that this amount will not be struck out. Honorable members will recollect that it was not until some time after the Senate commenced its sittings that the permanent Chairman of Committees was appointed, at a salary of £500. Senator Dobson acted as Chairman for some considerable time prior to this appointment, and the Senate felt very strongly that he ought to have been remunerated for the work done by him. As we did not pay any salary for that period, and as Senator Dobson acted whenever required, I. think it would be unfair not to grant the amount suggested.
– As this vote will not involve any extra expense, but will simply provide forthe payment to Senator Dobson of theamount that otherwise would have been received by the Chairman, I think we should, agree to it.
– I hope the committee will not agree to the item, becauseSenator Dobson does not believe in allowances, and he should not be paid one himself. If any payment is made, the amount should be deducted from the Chairman’s salary.
– TheChairman. was not appointed, and received no salary for the period during which Senator Dobson acted as Chairman. Senator Dobson will, be receiving the salary that would otherwise have gone to the permanent Chairman.
– Under those circumstances I am satisfied.
Mr. MAHON (Coolgardie). - I am not satisfied, because, during the period when Senator Dobson was acting, as Chairman, the Senate was not sitting in committee more than a few hours. Four or five honorable members in this Chamber have acted as Deputy-Chairman for hours at a time, and. as we do not propose to pay them, we should, not pass this item in favour of Senator Dobson, who may have spent 30 minutes in thechair altogether.
– I’ should like to know whether the standing order under which an allowance of £500 per annum is made to the Chairman of Committees had been passed at the time Senator Dobson was acting as Chairman.
– The payment would not be provided for by the standing orders.
– There is provision in the standing orders for the appointment of a sessional Chairman of Committees presumably as a salaried officer. If that standing order had been passed prior to the time that Senator Dobson was acting as Chairman, he would be entitled to a grant equivalent to the salary attached to the office.
– The salary had been provided for in the original Supply Bill passed . early in June.
– Then Senator Dobson would be legitimately entitled to this amount. If, however, the money were to be paid for some services rendered prior to provision being made for the appointment of a salaried Chairman, I should oppose the vote, because I do not believe in incidental payments being given to honorable members for discharging temporary duties which they should be prepared to perform when called upon.
– The honorable member for Coolgardie is, perhaps, not aware of the
Actual amount of work performed by Senator Dobson. He has acted as Chairman of Committees during the passing of a Supply Bill, during the discussion of the State Laws Recognition Bill, and also during the sittings of the committee upon the Post and Telegraph Bill. Senator Dobson thus did real work, which had it been done by an appointed chairman would have been paid for at the same rate. Not being a candidate for the position, Senator Dobson did the work until a chairman was elected, and the President of the Senate pressed for this amount. Each House owes some consideration to the other in matters of internal administration, and this falls within Affairs of the Senate, * with which we have practically little to do. Had the House of Representatives thought a similar payment necessary, we should have expected the Senate to accept our wish as a sufficient guarantee.
– Has the Senate expressed a wish, in any way, in regard to this item ?
– I raised the question, and the President of the Senate officially expressed the opinion that the amount ought to be paid.
– The chief point I wish to express is that, as between the two Houses, this is more a matter of courtesythan of criticism, and I suggest that it would be a graceful act to allow the Senate to determine this payment for themselves.
– Under the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 138. - (House of Representatives), Arrears, £850, agreed to.
Division 139. - (Miscellaneous), Arrears, £13.
– I should like some explanation of the item of £13, this being an allowance to a member of the House of Representatives, “ at the rate of £400 per annum, from the 9th to the 20th May, 1901, he not having been sworn in until the 21st May, 1901.”
– This is a small sum placed on the Estimates to repair an omission which occurred, not from any fault of the member himself. It is necessary that a member shall sign a particular paper, and when this honorable member presented himself the officer of the House was unable to lay his hands on the document. The honorable member was thus unable to sign the paper until after the Royal celebrations, and, through no fault of his own, he was not really a member for a certain period. The Government regard this as a legitimate and proper payment.
– Is this payment to be taken as a precedent? I have a personal recollection of a case in which an honorable member was elected six months before the Parliament met.
– That occurred to me in 1879 ; I was elected in February, and was not able to take my seat until July.
-Several large amounts have been paid in New South Wales under similar circumstances.
– I was elected to the State Parliament in December, and was not able to sit until July ; but no consideration of the kind was shown to me, though the fact that I did not take my seat was certainly owing to no fault of my own. I trust, however, that no precedent will be established by the payment of this amount.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 140. - (Parliamentary Reporting Staff), Arrears, £38, agreed to.
Division 1 40a. - (Joint House Committee), Arrears, £990.
– We were told that the refreshment-room would require an expenditure of only £1,000, but here we find £697 on the Estimates for table, linen,cutlery,&c.
– This amount is for furnishing, the State Parliament having taken away the whole of their cutlery when the Federal Parliament entered upon the occupancy of this House.
– The Government should have given more information on the subject. It now appears that in addition to the sum of £500 another amount is wanted.
– The £500 is for stock, and the £697 for furnishing.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 13. - (Secretary’s office) £3,200.
– Some explanation is required of the “ allowance for extra duties, £50,” to be paid to the secretary.
– This, in one respect, is a model department, the duties having been so combined as to enable it to be conducted with a staff of four persons, including the messenger and the junior clerk. The staff consists practically of two, namely, the secretary and the chief clerk. Mr. Garran, the secretary, also discharges the duties of Parliamentary Draftsman, and, in consideration of the fact, is allowed £50. The duties of draftsman require very often the personal attendance of Mr. Garran at Parliament House long after the hours which attach to his position as secretary. Mr. Garran is in either the House of Representatives or the Senate whenever his presence is considered necessary in connexion with the amendment of a Bill.
– What about the clerk at £500, who is also described as assistant parliamentary draftsman?
– These two gentlemen ought to be professional officers only, and in course of time there may be a staff to discharge the ordinary clerical duties. At the present time, however, Mr. Garran and the chief clerk discharge the whole of the duties of the office.
– Are these officers available for honorable members who may require assistance in drafting Bills?
– So far as the duties of the department permit, these officers are at the service of honorable members.
-What is the meaning of the item “travelling expenses, £200 “?
– That is in the next subdivision : but I may as well explain now that this money is to pay the expenses of officers who have, on occasion, to be sent to Adelaide or Sydney on business of the department.
– I do not agree with making special allowances for extra services. If a private member of the profession gets instructions to draft a Bill he is supposed to attend so as to be able to explain the provisions ; and if, as incidental to the duties of secretary, there are the duties of Parliamentary Draftsman, surely the salary of the former office ought to cover the work of attending at Parliament House. The Minister for Trade and Customs has his officials here in connexion with Tariff matters, but I do notsuppose that in these instances any special allowance is made. Parliament is very often sitting when the Parliamentary Draftsman, if he were not here, would be in his . office, and surely he ought not to be paid extra for changing his location. I do not say that the allowance is not deserved in this case ; but the payment of allowances introduces a bad principle. Our presentParliamentary Draftsman is, I think, a good man, but we have to judge of these officers in the abstract ; and it is better to have a fixed salary to cover all duties. I would prefer to see a salary of £800 rather than a salary of £750 with an allowance of £50.
– The salary of heads of departments has been fixed at £750, and in future it will be necessary to have a secretary with that salary.
– Then the office of secretary ought to have stood alone in theEstimates, without having attached to itthat of Parliamentary Draftsman.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).The sum of £750 should be the entire salary of this officer. At an early period of the session, I was under the impression that this salary was to be £500.
– What ! For the Chief Parliamentary Draftsman?
– Yes, and I think that is the general provision, and if a division be called for, I shall certainly vote against this, or any similar allowance. I have seen this officer in the House twice.
– I have known Mr. Garran to be here four nights a week for more than eight consecutive weeks.
– I have seen the officer in the corridors on many occasions, but he is not entitled to extra remuneration for attending to the duty of seeing that a Bill is thoroughly explained to the House.
– It may be right on special occasions to grant an allowance for extra duties.
– I admit- that the salaries ought to appear on the Estimates - “ Secretary, £750,” in one line ; and in a second line, “ Parliamentary Draftsman, £50.”
– But by the Supplementary Estimates it is proposed to grant honor.ariums to certain persons who have drafted Bills for presentation to this House, two of these persons receiving each a sum of £105. It’-would appear from this that Mr. Garran is not doing the whole of the work.
– I think the honorable member for Yarra is speaking under a misapprehension.
– I should like also to know whether the State officers who are to receive fees for drafting Bills were in receipt of their State salaries while engaged in this Commonwealth work. I am opposed to allowances as a1 rule/ -and -shall vote for the striking out of this sum of £50.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).”The Attorney-General promised to explain the item of £200, in respect of travelling, which appears among the contingencies.
– I have done so already in answer to the honorable member for Parkes.
– Does- the honorable and learned gentleman think the explanation sufficient 1
– I said that this is the gross amount- to cover expenses of the kind. All the expenditure that has taken place -under the item has been in connexion with one or two visits to Sydney and one to Adelaide. ‘Those visits were necessitated by litigation which was going on in the ‘Commonwealth, or- were for the purpose of enabling consultations to take place with the State -law officers. Speaking from -memory, I do nob think’ that we have expended £100 OUt of the vote.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 14. - (Crown Solicitor and High Court), £3,000.
– This item can be struck out.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).Is that an indication that the AttorneyGeneral does not intend to proceed this session with the Bill for the creation of the High Court 1
– It means that I cannot spend any of the money provided in this division before the 30th June next. I propose to proceed with the Bill for the creation of the High Court as soon as possible.
– Then the AttorneyGeneral expects that this session will extend beyond the -30th June’ next ?
– I do.
Proposed vote negatived.
Division 144. - (Secretary’s office), arrears, £52, agreed to.
Division 145.- (Miscellaneous), arrears, £350.
– The first three items which appear under this division represent sums which -were paid to the Parliamentary Draftsmen of Victoria and New South Wales at the very inception of the Common wealth, on the 1st January, 1901. It was then necessary first . of all to obtain a staff for the Attorney-General’s office, and next to pre1 pare measures to present bo Parliament when it- met on 9th May of that year. The Public Service-Bill has been passed. That measure was drafted by Mr. Carlile, the Victorian State Parliamentary Draftsman, who has had experience in dealing with measures of that- kind, and. who was selected for the work on that account. It involved a labour of -many weeks, and an attendance for months afterwards both upon Ministers and the House. Mr. Owen, for whom a grant of £42 is provided, drafted the Commonwealth Defence Bill in its first’ form, and Mr. Watkins, the New South Wales State Parliamentary Draftsman, drafted the Patents Design and Trades Marks Bill, which is now in the hands of the Commissioner for Customs, but with which we have not been -able to proceed. Thus, all the Bills which have been before Parliament, with the exception of the Public Service and the Defence Bills - of which only one, the Public Service Bill, has been passed, and that after being very largely revised - have been the-work of th two gentlemen of the Attorney-General’s department and myself. The whole of the rest of the legislation - and even the particular measures which I have named - -have been revised by them. The honorable member for Yarra was quite entitled to call attention to the matter ; but if he takes into account all the circumstances under which we commenced work in 1901, the fact that it was impossible for Mr. Garran to devote his time to all the legislative work of the session, that he had to commence by undertaking general work forall departments when there was no second officer available in the department, he will see that it would have been utterly impossible for me to have prepared the measures which were required if in these exceptional cases I had not obtained the services of the State draftsmen. Since then the whole volume of the work submitted to this House’ - and the legal members can measure its quality just as the House generally can determine its quantity - has been carried out by the Attorney-General’s department.
– The Attorney-General rather significantly omitted to make any reference to the honorarium of £75, paid for services rendered by Mr. H. Pollock in connexion with the Public Service Bill and the Inter-State Commission Bill.
– I can explain it.
-I examined the Inter-State Commission Bill, and I venture to say that a more loosely drawn measure has seldom come before this Parliament. It was prepared either with a complete misapprehension of the existing laws in America, or without any sufficient attempt to investigate the commercial facts sought to be dealt with in the Bill. The- marginal notes were most misleading, because they conveyed the idea that the clauses to which they referred had their parallels in the American law. I gave a great deal of attention to this subject, and found that these parallels were most misleading. Any one who read the marginal notes might have formed the idea that the measure was really an attempt to copy the United States law, whereas, it was, as the speech of the Minister for Home Affairs indicated, a complete travesty of the United States law. If the gentleman who drafted the Bill undertook to go into the law and commercial circumstances of the United States before inserting these parallels he is not, in my opinion, entitled to these fees. It misled a great many honorable members into the belief that they were being asked merely to legislate in accordance with the laws of another country, whereas a cursory investigation of the measures of which the Inter-State Commission Bill was supposed to be a parallel, was sufficient to show that there was no similarity between the two.
– I regret that I did not allude to the fourth item in this division. The fact that the honorable member for Yarra had referred to another item was no doubt responsible for the omission. I beg to differ in toto from the honorable and learned member for Parkes. I am sure that when I recall one fact to his mind he will realize how great an injustice he has done in the remarks he has just made.
Mr.Bruce Smith. - I said that if the gentleman in question had drawn the Bill as it came to us, then it was carelessly drawn.
– The fact is that the Bill as it came before the House was accompanied by an elaborate paper which was either attached to or circulated with it.
– A paper . which I asked for.
– It was circulated before the honorable member asked for it. It was prepared under my instructions before the Bill was introduced, and, speaking from memory, it was laid on the table of the House at the same time that the measure was introduced.
– Within a day or two of its introduction.
– The Minister for Home Affairs said in answer to a question asked by me that he was going to lay on the table a paper which would explain the Bill.
– Clauses of a similar nature, either in English or American- legislation, were extracted and put in the form of a digest which was placed in the hands of honorable members, together with the Bill itself. Under these circumstances the references in the marginal notes became correct beyond all criticism. The marginal notes showed where honorable members were to turn in order to find the parallel clauses, and the digest showed, in all important cases, the very words of the provisions of the English or American law, and in other cases gave a short digest of those provisions. Any one who took up the two papers could not fail to obtain the most adequate knowledge of the difference between American and English legislation and our own proposals. There was never any intention that the Inter- State Commission Bill should be a copy of the English or American law on the subject. It was deliberately intended to depart- from both. The fact that references were given to both British and United States laws as to the same sections of our Bill showed that they were of general purport. The Government may have been wrong in its policy, and may have been open to the criticism of the honorable and learned member, but the draftsman carried out our instructions in adopting the new system. The honorable member will see that if it was a mistake, it was the mistake of the Government, and not the fault of the draftsman who acted under our direction. I take all responsibility. Mr. Pollock, as the honorable and learned member knows, has since been promoted to the position of Crown Solicitor in New South Wales.
– And the appointment has been very much criticised.
– During the illness of the Minister for Home Affairs it fell to my lot to take charge of the Public Service Bill. For some nights during its passage through this House I found Mr. Pollock in attendance. Owing to his intimate acquaintance with the New South Wales law, he had been engaged to supplement Mr. Carlile’s knowledge of the Victorian law, and while it has been my lot to meet many experts in connexion with Bills before Parliament, I have never met one more competent than Mr. Pollock. I have never met one better qualified than he is in relation to the public service of New South Wales, or more capable of readily putting his ideas into shape.
– I have not touched on that point.
– I am glad of that. We found that we had been proceeding too much on Victoria lines. He brought us his competent knowledge of the New South Wales law, and was of material assistance to honorable members who desired help in that direction.
Mr. BRUCE SMITH (Parkes).- I should be very chary to use my position as a member of this House in order to criticise in a hostile spirit the ability, conduct, or character of any person outside this House. I have long recognised that people outside Parliament have no opportunity of answering any criticism indulged in here, and that in attacking the conduct of a man outside the House one takes up a position that is not altogether magnanimous. I acknowledge the chivalry of the Attorney-General in speaking on behalf of the draftsman, and answering the statements which I have just made. I have never seen a Bill representing in its marginal notes that it had its parallel in the legislation of another country, which more completely departed from the prototype which it confessed to follow. The Minister for Home Affairs gave us an explanation of the Inter-State Commission Bill. Any one who heard him could not fail to believe that he was himself thoroughly convinced that that extraordinary measure was an exact counterpart of legislation which existed in the United States of America. There was no parallel ‘ whatever. The Minister ought to have known at the time that in the United States there was a law with regard to the control of Inter-State commerce only, where railways ran in connexion with shipping, and that he was seeking to introduce an entirely different law. It is not correct that at the time the Bills were supplied to honorable members an addendum was also furnished.
– It had been prepared by us.
– It may have been prepared, and I may be wrong in supposing that the gentleman who drafted the Bill did not also explain himself in the document which was supposed to be accompanying it. But it should have been appended so that it would have been unnecessary to ask for it. When I looked at the Bill as introduced, I asked the Minister for Home Affairs whether he could give us an explanation of the parallel clauses in the United States Act. He said that he was having a document prepared which would explain the parallels, and that he would lay it on the table. Subsequently I obtained a copy of that document. I remember speaking to an officer of the AttorneyGeneral’s department on the subject long after the Bill was supplied to me, and I gathered from him that the explanatory paper was in course of preparation. In future, it would be an advantage to the House if, when placing in a measure clauses which have their parallels in the laws of countries whose statutes are not always at hand, the marginal notes were strictly accurate. When I examined the United States law on the subject, I found that its provisions were so absolutely foreign to the wording of the Inter-State Commission Bill, that I prepared a document on the subject which, I think, completely explains the provisions of the measure.
I do not wish to cast any reflection upon Mr. Pollock ; but, in my opinion, the measure to which I have referred was carelessly drawn, and, as it was so drastic, and, if I may use the word, pioneering, in its character, the marginal notes were all the more misleading.
– I did not anticipate that this unfair attack would be made upon me. The honorable and learned member for Parkes should have told us how the marginal notes. in the Inter-State Commission Bill were wrong, and why they misled him, instead of making merely general assertions in regard to errors which no one but himself discovered. He complained that I did not lay an explanation upon the table, but I told him that I intended to do so, and, according to his own instructions, a copy was forwarded to him as soon as it was available. The assertion that the provisions of “ the Inter-State Commission Bill do not in any way agree with the provisions of the two measures in force in Great Britain and the measure in force in the United States is not correct. Our Bill is not word for word the same as those other measures, but its main principles are the same.
– No, not anything like them.
– They are close enough to be considered the same. As nlayman I never attempt to draft a Bill ; I leave that work to professional draftsmen ; but the conduct of any officer who deliberately did what the honorable and learned member asserts was done in connexion with the Inter-State Commission Bill would be very reprehensible. It is all very well for the honorable and learned gentleman to say that he does not wish to cast any> reflection upon Mr. Pollock; but if Mr. Pollock didwhat was complained of ‘he should be reprimanded.
– The drafting was very careless. The Minister did not know the United States law when he delivered his second-reading speech.
– The honorable and learned member does not know it now, if he maintains that the principles’ of the Bill are not the same as those of the United States Act. Although I am a layman, I know the United States law upon this subject as well as the honorable and learned member does. I obtained the services of Mr. Pollock, because I knew that he had been intimately connected with the drafting of the New South Wales Public Service Act, and was secretary to the Minister who administered that Act. His services were used by us in drafting the Commonwealth Public Service Bill, and also in drafting the Inter-State Commission Bill ; and no Minister could have a better or more competent draftsman to assist him in such work.
– I do not quite agree with the remarks of the honorable and learned member for Parkes, with regard to the drafting of the InterState Commission Bill. If the marginal notes of that Bill are inaccurate, the same objection may be taken to the marginal notes of all the Bills which the Government have introduced. I think the English practice, which has been uniformly followed in South Australia, has been to use the word “ See “ before the citation of an Act where the principle of that Act has been adopted ;. the word “altered” where the provision to which the marginal note refers has been taken from another Act without retaining the ipsissima verba of that Act ; and where only a reference to the principle^ of another Act is intended, only the title of that Act is given. I find that there are no fewer than nine references in the marginal note of one of the clauses of the Electoral Bill.
Mr. BRUCE SMITH (Parkes). - I agree with the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, that where reference is -made in a marginal note to another Act as though its provisions are parallel with those contained in the clause to which the marginal note belongs, care should be taken to see that they are parallel. The marginal note to clause 23 of the Inter-State Commission Bill contains a reference to the United States Act and to the English Act, without anything to indicate that the provisions of those Acts are quite different from the provisions of the clause. The United States Act provides that where a railway is being managed in’ connexion with a shipping route, and a through rate is being charged, the Inter-State Commission shall have control ; but this Bill puts the whole of the coastal and ocean shipping of Australia, irrespective of railway connexion, under the supervision of the Inter-State Commission. These references must mislead, and in the case of the Inter-State Commission Bill, the Minister himself was misled to the extent of thinking that the measure which he was introducing was founded upon the UnitedStates law, which it was not.
– As the honorarium to Mr. J. L. Watkins for services in connexionwith the drafting of a Patents Designs and Trades Marks Bill was earned nearly twelve months ago, the Bill should be very nearly finished ; but I understand that the Government do not intend to deal with it this session. I desire, however, to point out the great importance of this legislation to the Commonwealth, and the desirability of dealing with it speedily, not merely to secure uniformity throughout the States, but to encourage the inventive genius of our people, which previous legislation has been in the direction of discouraging. There is a very wide difference between themethods whichobtaininAmericaand those which obtain in other English-speaking communities in this respect, and the matter is of so much importance that honorable members require time to make themselves conversant with it. Therefore, I hope the Bill will be laid before Parliament before the session closes, even if the Government do not go on with it this session. This will give the inventive community and the public generally an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the proposals of the Government, and will enable honorable members to deal with them in an intelligent way.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat - AttorneyGeneral). - The measure to which the honorable memberrefers was drafted by Mr. Watkins, but, when it was referred to the Minister for Trade and Customs, he found serious cause to consider whether the British system, upon which it was mainly based, should not be radically modified. He was obliged, however, to lay aside the consideration of the measure because of the introduction of the Tariff, and it will not be possible to introduce it this session, because it may require to be entirely altered. But the importance of the matter has been fully recognised, and we hope in recess to come to a final determination which will enable the Bill to commend itself to honorable members.
– Did the gentlemen to whom honoraria are being voted draw pay from the States while they were performing these services for the Commonwealth ?
– That is a matter for the States.
– On what scale have the allowances been given ?
– The amounts proposed have been submitted as fair under the circumstances.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Department of Home Affairs.
Division 15. - (Administrative staff), £5, 395.
– I desire to explain a slight clerical error in connexion with the salary attached to the office of Chief Accountant, which appears on the Estimates as £500, but to whom the Government intend to pay £550 per annum. There was a vacancy in the office for four or five weeks, and I understood the officer was appointed at the salary of £500, but my honorable colleague tells me the salary was fixed at £550. Therefore the amount will have to be altered, and the total will be a little in excess in consequence. I thought it wise when we were combining the original and the additional Estimates not to make any more alterations than were necessary in the items, because that would involve alterations in the total, which would have to be carried into other places, and this might lead to mistakes and confusion.
– I should like to know whether the salary of £550 provided for the officer who was borrowed -from New South Wales is the same that he was receiving in that State?
– Mr. Cohen, the officer referred to, was receiving quite as much, if not more, than that amount.
– What strikes meis that thesalaries in this department range rather- high. We have a secretary at £750 ; a chief clerk at £600, and, under him, another officer at £550. Has this third officer charge of a different department ?
– He is the chief accountant.
– Then what are the duties of the chief clerk? ’
– He deals with the details of the papers before they go to the secretary, and also manages the whole staff.
– It seems to me that the salaries range a little high, and that they are too close in the grading.
– The salary paid to the accountant is really a very low one.
– Was not an allowance of £1 per day paid to Mr. Cohen for the whole time that he was here ?
– Yes. It was specially arranged when Mr. Cohen came over that he was to receive £1 per day as an allowance. That is the rate provided for by the regulations of the New South Wales Public Service, and as Mr. Cohen left his family in Sydney, and came over here as a temporary officer, he was fairly entitled to that allowance.
– Was that in addition to the salary?
– Then I think that the arrangement was a most scandalous one. I have as much right to ask for an allowance of £1 per day for leaving Queensland as Mr. Cohen had to that allowance for leaving Sydney.
– He was entitled to some allowance if he was acting temporarily,but£l per day was too- much.
– He was paid the £1 per day, although he was under the impression that he was going to be made a permanent officer. When the question of allowances was brought before the House early in the session, an undertaking was given by the Prime Minister that allowances would be discontinued from that date.
– The objection was taken to the allowances made to permanent officers.
– It is only lately that any officers have been made permanent.
– No;. a number of them had been permanently appointed at that time.
– I think the objection applies all round, and unless some other honorable member takes action in the matter, I shall move that the item be reduced by £150.
– If the honorable member for Maranoa knew all the circumstances he would not perhaps use quite as strong language as he has done. I am to some extent the culprit, because when the department was first startedI had to look round and borrow officers as best I could. Mr. Cohen offered his services as accountant, and as he had been a great many years acting as accountant in the Lands department in Sydney at a salary of £500 or £550, I accepted his offer. I could not bring him here temporarily without giving him some allowance, as his. family remained in Sydney. It would be very unfair to bring an officer here temporarily, and expect him to be out of pocket for his expenses whilst he was here. Mr. Cohen did expect a permanent appointment, but as he wanted a high position, which I was not prepared to give him, he returned to New South Wales.
– I think the expenditure in this department must disappoint those who anticipated that under federation we should be able to effect a saving rather than increase the expense of administration. The department, as it at present exists, is not, in my opinion, justified. An amount of £5,395 is provided for the payment of an administrative staff, whichhas some relationship, and I presume is in some senses superior, to the other bodies that are growing up under the same department. The cost of this administrative staff is simply a duplication of State expenditure. We have an Electoral-office, though the necessity for a separate department of the kind must depend largely on how we deal with the Electoral Bill.
– There ought never to have been an Electoral-office.
– That is a question far consideration when the Electoral Bill is before us. This separate department will, if the provisions of the Bill be carried into effect, become large and expensive ; and this is a duplication to a considerable extent of the State Electoral-offices. Then we have the expenditure of the Public Service Commissioner, whose salary, I notice, dates previously to his appointment.
– These Estimates were prepared before the appointment, and there are other similar cases.
– The office of the Public Service Commissioner is, to a certain extent, a duplication of similar offices in the States. I quite agree that there should be a Commonwealth Commissioner, but we ought to be careful not to incur unnecessarily heavy administrative expenditure in addition’ to the cost of his staff. Then there is the. matter of the Interstate Commission.
– These Estimates were prepared last September, and expenditure on an Inter-State Commission will not be necessary.
– Were this to be ail the work of the department, the subdepartments I have mentioned could very easily be attached to existing departments.
– Which existing departments?
– The Electoral-office could be administered by the Post-office officials, who could collect the necessary information more effectively than could the officers of any other department.
– Except the police.
– The assistance of the police might, of course, be obtained; but, as I say, the Post-office officials could, through their far-spreading branches, collect the necessary information much more effectively than the officials of any other department.
– More officers would still be wanted.
– But not to the same extent as if we establish an entirely new department. The work of an Electoraloffice is not continuous ; it is much heavier at certain times than at others.
– The revision of the rolls continues during the year.
– It is proposed that the revision shall be done by district courts. The department of the Public Service Commissioner could be administered by either the Treasurer or the Attorney-General.
– The honorable member is arguing against the necessity for a department of Home Affairs.
– I say that the department has not justified its existence. There may be transferred services later on which will prove a justification for the existence of the department, which at present is only running up expenses by creating subdepartments. Every year the Estimates will grow, until the expenditure amounts to a very large sum in addition to the expenditure by the States. Of course, some of the expenditure has been taken over from the States ; but I am now. speaking of a new department for which, as regards the subdepartments named, there is really no justification. The Public Service Commissioner and his staff have their work, and they simply require a political head for consultation and instruction in the carrying out of the provisions of the Act.
-The Public Service Commissioner, under any Minister, must have the same staff.
– But we are creating another staff, for which, in my opinion, there as things are is no justification. If the Inter-State Commission comes into existence it can be placed under the Attorney-General. The Public Works department necessitates another administrative staff which will also grow. We may employ some professional men in connexion with public buildings ; but, as a rule, the work can be better dealt with by the departments which occupy the buildings - by the Post-office and Customs departments. The work would probably then be more efficiently done at less cost, and certainly there would be no necessity for a separate clerical staff.
– A great many public buildings are in the joint occupation of the Commonwealth and the States.
– Use is being made to some extent,, and properly so, of State officers ; but, in addition, at this early stage of the Home department, £4,066 is to be spent in salaries in connexion with alterations and repairs to public buildings. Then, again, £5,000 is to be paid by the Commonwealth to States officers in Commonwealth employ.
– That is merely an estimate.
– The money will be paid to the States.
– I admit that that £5,000 is not new expenditure ; but there remains the £4,066. We must seek to keep down expenditure on new departments and sub-departments. If we multiply our staffs, it must result in increased expenditure. At present I see no sign of any interchange of officers between departments for temporary purposes, the tendency still being to add more men when there is a rush of work, and to continue to employ them when the rush is over. I am very much afraid this department is going to spend large amounts of money. We should wait until a sub-department is proved necessary before we establish it ; and in the duplication to which I have alluded there is a great danger to the finances of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable member for North Sydney, if he has done anything, has madean all-round and wholesale attack on the department for Home Affairs, which in his opinion ought to be swept away. I am afraid that the suggestion to split up in a dozen different channels the construction and repair of works would necessitate the appointment of a much larger number of officers than that to which the honorable member has taken exception. The honorable member, if he would only consider the matter, must see that his suggestion would prove even more expensive than the present plan.
– There would not be a dozen secretaries.
– I do not know what Minister has a dozen secretaries.
– There is one in every department.
– What nonsense ! The salaries paid are very low compared with the salaries in some of the States. A separate electoral office is absolutely necessary. In New South Wales before the Federal elections, a Commonwealth electoral office had practically to be created in order to prepare the rolls. The electoral officers have first of all to prepare the rolls which are altogether different from those of the States.
– No departure has been made from the State rolls of Queensland.
– Nor from those of South Australia.
– The rolls which are now being prepared for South Australia are different from the State rolls, and the same remark applies to the Commonwealth rolls for Queensland.
– Can I obtain a copy of the new rolls’?
– I do not know whether a copy can be furnished now, but the honorable member can obtain any information from the department. A continuous investigation has been going on for months, and will have to be continued, while still greater alterations will have to be made when we pass the Electoral Bill providing for one general franchise throughout the Commonwealth. That is one of the reasons why there must be an electoral office for the Commonwealth. If we allow the States to carry out the work of collecting the information for, and preparing the rolls, what control will the Commonwealth have?
– I did not propose that.
– The work can only be done by means of a Commonwealth electoral office. I thought that the only objection which might be made would be that the electoral office was too small, consisting as it does of only four officers.
Information will have to be collected in every State, and dealt with at the head office, and the total cost is £950 a year. As a matter of fact all the offices provided for are not yet filled, and there is one officer who is not receiving the £450 a year which appears upon the Estimates, so that the actual expenditure at the present time is less than £950 per annum. The remarks made by the honorable member for North Sydney in regard to the Public Service Commissioner seemed to me to indicate that he considered that our public service should be governed by the State Acts, or, in some other way, through the Governments of the respective States. How is it possible for the service to be conducted without a commissioner ?
– I did not raise any objection to the commissioner. I said it was unnecessary that the public service should be under the control of the department for Home Affairs.
– I do not know whether the honorable member is aware that there are between 12,000 and 15,000 public servants in the employ of the Commonwealth.
– We provide a staff to deal with them.
– The honorable member wishes to destroy the department for Home Affairs. These matters must be discussed with a certain amount of reason. Let me tell the honorable member of the work done by my staff. During last month, I think, there were 8,000 communciations dealt with, 5,500 separate letters and minutes written, and 6,000 accounts, representing over £100,000, received and dealt with, in addition to a great deal of incidental work in relation to returns and other matters. The honorable member will see, therefore, that a good deal of work is being carried on by some half-dozen men in my department. All the offices are not filled up, and will not be filled until required. Only seven appointments in the head office have been made, and I should point out that, with one or two exceptions, the caretakers and messengers in the service are all included in the department for Home Affairs. In my department there are seven members of the administrative staff, two temporary clerks, and three messengers and cleaners.
– There is a messenger provided for in the Estimates relating to the Treasury and also to the Audit-office.
– I am not quite sure, but I believethey have been transferred to my department. I think. I have five temporary messengers and cleaners. There are three officers employed in the electoral branch, and so far as the Government public service is concerned the commissioner is the only officer who has been appointed. At. the head office of the Commonwealth Public Works department there are seven men employed, including Mr. Blackbourn, the superintendent.
– A salary of £80 a year for a messenger is a poor one.
– That relates to the salary of a messenger in my departmentwho was very young, and only recently entered the service. The same remark applies to the caretaker, for whom a wage of £65 a year is provided in these Estimates. There is no extravagance in connexion with the department. I should like to know how the Commonwealth is going to carry on its public works? Works representing an expenditure of £165,000 out of revenue have to be proceeded with at once. We shall also have various undertakings provided for out, of loan moneys. If the committee is going to talk of the States dealing with these matters, we might as well sweep away the whole of this department. , If the State departments are to deal with these works the honorable member for North Sydney will have the privilege of taking my place, or of gettingsome one else- to fill it, because as long as I have charge of the public works of the Commonwealth; and as long as I am responsible for them to this House, I shall see for myself how they are carried out. I have tried to carry out our works as economically as possible, but I cannot make any arrangements with the States in regard to the question of payments. That is why a sum of £5,000 has been placed on the Estimates to repay the States for servicesrendered by them.
– Our trouble is that we cannot get works done even when they are authorized.
– The Commonwealth public works are subordinate to those of the States at the present time. In regard to the question of when any of our works shall be undertaken, I am absolutely in the hands of the State Ministers and their officers.
– Does that remark, apply to the Postal department ?
– Is the Government spending any money on the Post-office in Newcastle ?
– That work was commenced before the establishment of the Commonwealth, and it is being carried on by the New South Wales Minister for Public Works on behalf of my department. I think that the cost is £26,000 or £28,000. In Hobart, another public building is also being erected by the State, which expects us to take it over. I have to make the best kind of arrangement I can with the States at present, and I have no power to expedite public works. When complaints of delay are made, I can only write to the State Minister and urge greater expedition. Other State works engage the attention of the State, departments, and I think honorable members will see that what I am proposing is after all a very limited Public Works department for the Commonwealth. . I desire to have an officer in. eachState. The suggestion has been made by South Australia and Tasmania that one officer should be employed in each of those States, and paid jointly by the State and the Commonwealth Governments. I am prepared to fall in with that arrangement, but I insist that the officer shall be under the control of the Commonwealth. I propose to have an officer in each of the larger States. We have taken over Mr. Blackbourn from the Victorian Government and he, with his staff, deals with Commonwealth work here. Mr. Blackbourn cannot attend to all the work, but he communicates with officers of the Public Works department, and sees that our work is carried out as reasonably as possible. If he considers that any work is not done as well as it might be, he reports to me, and I direct that the matter shall be investigated. I want, such an officer in New South Wales,. Queensland, and probably also in Western Australia.
– What provision has the Minister made ?
– The honorable member will find provision made for a public works superintendent. In connexion with the Public Works department, I shall have a representative officer in the larger States, because most work will be carried on there, and, ifpossible, I shall make some arrangement with the smaller States ; but where an officer does duty in more than one State he must be a Commonwealth officer. The Commonwealth has taken over the control of a very large number of buildings, especially in connexion with the Postal and Defence departments ; and if the States raise any objection to the appointment of Common-: wealth officers to look after the construction, maintenance, and repairs of such buildings, I think it might reasonably be suggested to them that it would be better for them to curtail their own public works expenditure, though, of course, the matter is one for them alone to deal with. It is my experience, and I am sure that this statement will be borne out by honorable members representing country constituencies, . that I have practically no control over the carrying out of Commonwealth public works in places far removed from the State capitals. Although- 1 may authorize them, and the money may be ready, it depends entirely upon the State Minister as to when works will be carried out. I want an officer whose duty it will be to supervise the construction of Commonwealth works, and to report exactly how- they are being carried out ; and if the States do not carry them out as we should like we must invite ten- ders. That is the only alternative if the Commonwealth is not to be at the mercy of the States. Most of the State Ministers have met me as far as they could, but they naturally look after their own works first. I have not been able to come to a deter- mination as to what payment should be made for the supervision of public’ works. I have suggested that a percentage should be given upon the total amount expended, but that has not been agreed to. The suggestion has been made by one or two of the States that an officer’s services should be charged for according to the work done, and that where he is sent 200 or 300 miles into the country, the Commonwealth should pay all .expenses-; but I do not think that that would be a satisfactory arrangement.
– It would cost less than the keeping up of a Commonwealth staff.
– I think that it would be more costly. If the. Commonwealth had to pay the expenses of-, officers who were being, sent from- one end to another of States like New- South Wales and Queensland the amount would be very large.
– Would not the expenses of a Commonwealth officer be as large asthe expenses of a State officer ?
– A Commonwealth officer would visit a number of works on the same trip.
– Could not a State officer do that 1
– Yes, if he were instructed to do so ; but he might at the whim of his superior be sent from Sydney to Bourke merely to inspect one postoffice, and I decline to pay the travelling expenses of. officers unless I know what work, they have been doing. The amount I ask for in order to provide, not a Works- department, but a supervising department, is not very large. I do not want to suddenly create a larger department. If, as time goes on, it. is necessary to enlarge the department, I shall have to come to Parliament for a larger vote. It is necessary that we should have some control over the works’ that are being, carried out for us- by the States, and are being paid for out of. revenue and loan moneys. When defence works come to be undertaken, no doubt the expenditure will, be largely increased, and possibly in. the near future we may have to undertake such, works as the building, of the federal capital and the construction of the western railway.
Sir WILLIAM MCMILLAN (Wentworth). - I appreciate the difficulties of the Government in creating an organization, for their executive purposes ; but there can be no doubt that they should’ accept the- assistance of the States where possible, though the whole matter mustbe dealt with in a tentative fashion at first. I fear– that in the past every Minister has been going, too much upon his own lines, and I hope that, now the Public Service Commissioner has been appointed, he will: be asked; with the corporate advice of the Cabinet, to consider the arrangement of the departments, and what officers are necessary in a department like that now under consideration. The Works department is a spending department which, will have to be carefully watched. No doubt it is necessary that the Commonwealth should carry out many of its public works itself, or should, know exactly how they are being, carried out. One of the officers for- whose salary we are- asked to make provision - the Inspector - General of Works - will occupy a most important post, and I hope that the approval of the House will be obtained to his appointment. He will be practically the Commonwealth architect, and will probably be the man who will call for designs for the building of the federal capital, and will have to superintend the carrying out of that great work. I hope, therefore, that the Executive will be very careful in making this appointment. The person appointed will have an enormous responsibility, and an enormous amount of patronage ; and he must be a very able man, in the prime of life, and one beyond reproach. In my opinion, a mistake has been made in these Estimates in calling too many officers “ secretaries.” Why should not the chief officer under the Public Service Commissioner be termed the “ chief clerk,” instead of the “ secretary “ ; and why should there not be a “ chief clerk “ instead of a “ secretary “ as the principal officer of the Inter-State Commission? When I was in office in New South Wales, I saw that whenever a man was made head of a department, he required his own room, with its costly carpet and furniture, his accountant, his staff, and his messengers, and I warned the public servants that if they went on in that way they would eventually have to face a Black Wednesday ; and a day of reckoning did come there.
– We shall have to face it here if we do not mind.
– No doubt, at the present time, the Federal Ministers have to take the best rooms they can get ; but I hope that when we come to have our own public buildings the system of giving every officer a separate room will be discontinued, and that the banking-chamber style of construction, in which every man in a department is at work in view of his chief, will be largely adopted. I wish to know from the Treasurer if he intends to put into the Appropriation Bill the total amount provided for in these Estimates, notwithstanding the fact that a great many of the votes will lapse on 30th J une, and, if required afterwards, must be revoted?
– Any amount that is not likely to be required, such as the vote for the Inter-State Commission, will be dropped out.
– But surely it will be possible to leave out all other amounts that are not required.
– I could not do that without more experience.
– Another question to be considered is, under which department should certain work be carried out ? That is a matter which should have the attention of the whole Cabinet.
– It is better to have all public works carried out under one control.
– That may be, but I am not at all sure that because the Minister for Home Affairs introduced the Public Service Bill, the Public Service Commissioner should be in his department. I think that he should be in the department of the Treasurer.
– He is generally under the Chief Secretary; he was so in Victoria.
– He was under the Attorney-General in New South Wales.
– One of the principal objects of the Public Service Commissioner should be to studyeconomy as well as efficiency, and it would be much better if he were in close touch with the Treasurer as his administrative head rather than with the Minister for Home Affairs. That, however, is a matter of arrangement. I fully understand the great difficulty of welding and dovetailing everything at first, and we must leave the Executive Government to act with the Public Service Commissioner in creating the service with the full understanding that a time of reckoning will come if, in spite of the warnings of this Chamber, they do not manage economically as well as efficiently. I should like the Minister for Home Affairs to give us his assurance that great care will be taken in the appointment of the high public servant to whom I have referred.
– I have a good deal of sympathy with the remarks made by the honorable member for North Sydney with regard to the tendency of this department to grow beyond the proportions which the amount of work to be done would justify, and I hope the Minister for Home Affairs will remember that in criticising these Estimates we are only anxious that at this stage no unnecessary growth should take place of which we may byandby lose control. Although I sympathize very much with the fear expressed by the honorable member for North Sydney, I can quite enter into the feelings of the Minister when he points out that the amount of work to be done really necessitates the establishment of a staff of moderate magnitude. I agree, however, with the honorable member for Wentworth that a mistake is made in apparently setting up four or five departments under the department for ‘ Home Affairs by calling the head officer of each sub-department a secretary. It is quite clear to me, from my experience as a Minister, that hereafter all sorts of representations might be made to us that, because the Secretary for Public Works in New South Wales or elsewhere receives such and such a salary, therefore the Secretary for Public Works under the Commonwealth should be paid on a similar scale. The Commonwealth Secretary for Public Works however, is only one of five sub-heads under the Minister for Home Affairs, and I agree with the honorable member for Wentworth that it would have been better to speak of these officers as chief clerks instead of as secretaries. As matters stand now there is no distinction between these secretaries and the Secretary for Home Affairs. We have in all five secretaries of sub-departments, who might, by-and-by, claim a status far beyond the merits of their positions as subordinates. The Minister for Home Affairs told us that certain works upon buildings in connexion with the transferred departments were being carried out by the State Governments, and I see some danger unless this matter is carefully dealt with. Every honorable member knows that at the present time the public works of New South Wales are being carried out on most extravagant lines. There arc two elements at work ; first of all the day labour principle and secondly the minimum wage.
– Two very good principles.
– That is a matter of opinion. I think that it is State robbery of the public funds. I say advisedly that no man in any community has the right to ask from the State a larger amount of money for his commodity - no matter whether it is labour or anything else - than it would fetch in the open market. If the people are taxed in order to give men more wages than they could secure in the open market, the Government are either making charitable institutions of the public departments or are taking money from the taxpayers for eleemosynary purposes.
– That is a real good sweater’s speech. 36 r
– Is that a free-trade attitude 1
– Certainly ; because it favours the open market. Is the Commonwealth to carry out its work upon the day labour principle 1 J
– Yes ; if it can.
– The honorablemember is not the Commonwealth yet. Wehave to ask ourselves whether we as a Commonwealth should cany out our public works upon the day labour principle or call for tenders as other people do, and get our work done at the best possible price for the Commonwealth. The Minister told us that certain works were being carried out in New South Wales by the State Minister of Works, who would afterwards charge the Commonwealth with the cost. It is well known that in New South Wales, where work has been carried out on the contract system, and similar work has been performed by day labour, the work carried out by day labour has cost fifty or a hundred per cent, more than that carried out by contract.
– I think the honorable and learned member .must be mistaken.
– No; there was a case in connexion with certain tanks, which was exposed in the Sydney Morning Herald. We shall be putting it into the power of the Ministers of the States to construct ourbuildings on the day labour principle, and then call upon us to pay what they represent to be the actual cost. My own opinion isthat the Parliament of the Commonwealth, taken as a whole - I know there are individual exceptions - will determine that its - public works shall be carried out on the ordinary system, by calling for tenders and getting it done at the smallest possible cost, . in the same way as ordinary private citizens - do.
– The contract system is, dead in New South Wales.
– It is not dead in the Commonwealth. I should like the Minister for Home Affairs to say whether he intends to pay the Minister of Works in New ‘South Wales whatever he chooses to say the work costs, and, secondly, whether he intends to continue the practice of delegating to the Minister of Works of the different States, the duty of constructing the buildings of the Commonwealth. There is no reason whatever why the Commonwealth should not cany out these works for itself. The Minister has established a staff, and I understand that he is ambitious. in a modest way to control this work from his own department. I would direct his attention to a practice which I endeavoured to carry out in New South Wales, of inviting competitive designs, not only from New .South Wales, but from all Australia, for” public buildings involving an expenditure of not less than £1,000. The understanding was that the architect who submitted the plan which commended itself to the Minister of Works should be intrusted with the supervision of the work on commission at the rate of 5 per cent., or that he should receive 2^ per cent, in the event of the department supervising the work. In many cases works had to be carried out at great distances from Sydney, sometimes as far away as Broken Hill, and we adopted the principle I have described, the department sending out its own officer to take over the building when completed. There is no reason why the Public Works department of the Commonwealth should not call for competitive designs for any large public building, or for any considerable additions to existing buildings. The architect who sends in the successful design could then be employed to supervise the work and the Commonwealth Works Department could ultimately send its officer to take ov.er the work from the architect on its completion. That is all that would be required. That would obviate the necessity of asking State Ministers of Works to carry out these works for us. Whether the Commonwealth adopts the principle of the minimum wage and day labour or not, it is a fact that if we delegate our work to the present Minister of Works of New South Wales, -we shall empower him to make political capital at the expense of the Commonwealth. If we authorize the State Minister of Works to carry out on the day labour system, at a cost of £1,500, work which would cost only £1,000 under the contract system, we shall simply be paying £500 to enable the State Minister to carry out* his own theories, and make political capital out of them.
– Does the honorable and learned member mean to say that the Minister of Works in New South Wales would rob us 1
– No. There is a great difference between robbery in the criminal sense, and making political capital out of a larger expenditure than is necessary. That is what the Minister of Works is now doing in New South Wales. He is carrying out enormous works on the day labour and minimum wage principle, :at a cost 50 or 100 .per cent, in excess of the outlay that would be involved if they were carried out by contract.
– My experience is that works can be carried out more cheaply by day labour than by contract.
– I have heard that before, but I have seen the experiment tried. When I was Minister of Works in New South Wales day labour was tried, and the conclusion at which the officers of the department arrived - without knowing that there was any desire that they should bring out their results in a particular way - was that there was no comparison between the two methods.
– They .made their reports to order.
– When a contractor is engaged upon a work he takes good care that. Isis men do a good day’s work, and he pays them the .current wages. If, however, men are left to do just what work they choose, and the officer in charge is under a sort .of compulsion to leave them alone lest he should be reported to the Minister, and the wages are 50 per’ cent, moire than the .men obtain in the open market, it stands to reason that work must involve much .greater expense.
– The Minister who would do that would be a scoundrel.
– I did not say that the Minister was a scoundrel.
– But that was the inference.
– I say that the New South Wales Minister is carrying out works at a cost of from 50 per cent, to 100 per cent, higher than would be incurred under the tender system.
– I challenge the honorable and learned member to prove that statement.
– The Builders’ Association have challenged the Minister of New South Wales over and over again to call for tenders for some public work, and then to have it carried out by day labour.
– The Minister offered to do that, but the Builders’ Association backed down.
– I should like the Minister for Home Affairs to inform me whether he is allowing the Minister in New South Wales to carry out the work according to the principles I have indicated, and whether it has been agreed to pay whatever has been the cost ; or, on the other hand, whether it has been made a condition to have tenders called for in the ordinary business way. The difficulty which has been foreshadowed is only the same difficulty which hasto be met by some of the large financial institutions. The Bank of New South Wales. for instance,has its head-quarters in Sydney, and carries on business in every State. Of necessity this institution has to erect premises in other parts of the Commonwealth. I do not speak from personal knowledge, but, from my business experience, I am satisfied that the course is to have plans and specifications submitted for approval by the board which is analogous to the Minister. When the plans are approved, the work is put into the hands of an architect, say in Victoria, to see the buildings completed ; and no doubt an officer of the bank, either in Victoria or from the senior State, eventually takes over the premises. There is nothing to prevent the Commonwealth adopting a similar course ; and there is no necessity for permanent State inspectors to act as clerks of works in thevarious States. The Minister told us something about a new post-office at Hobart, which the Commonwealth Government are expected to take over. I may have read the Constitution wrongly, but I understood that at a certain date the Commonwealth took over all the public buildings, and that compensation was a matter to be arranged afterwards by a separate Bill. If the Works department of Tasmania are carrying out the work on their account, I should like to know whether the cost is being added to the existing liability of the Commonwealth.
– The post-offices in use were taken over, but this work had just been started, and, prior to its being taken over, it is being completed by the Tasmanian Government. The post-office accommodation of Hobart will not be sufficient until this building is taken over.
– I understood that whatever works were constructed were taken over.
– The Commonwealth Government had no money to carry on with, and allowed the Tasmanian Government to construct this work out of loan moneys, on the understanding that the amount expended would be taken into consideration when fixing the value.
– But surely we are not bound to pay any price which the Tasmanian Government may pay?
– Not the actual cost, but that will be a good basis for negotiation.
– It depends on how the work is being carried out. I think it will be found that when the public works were taken over by Gazette notice, whatever was built became the property of the Commonweal th.
– The Tasmanian Government had only commenced to excavate the foundation.
– And I suppose the building was allowed to go on subject to the Commonwealth being free to reject it afterwards 1
– There is an understanding that the post-office will be taken over.
– I understand the Minister to say that there is a new postoffice at Newcastle which has to be taken over. When I took office in the New South Wales Government I found that my predecessor, who was the representative of Newcastle, had prepared elaborate designs for a post-office to cost £35,000; and it was my pleasing duty to cut the estimate down to £11,000.
– A good deal more than £11,000 has been spent.
– That has been spent since, but £11,000 was ample for the purpose. If the State of New South Wales is spending £28,000 on this work, I should like to know whether that is with the consent of the Postmaster-General. Since that time Newcastle has not increased to an extent to justify such an expenditure. I should like to know how the building is being carried out, and whether there is any undertaking to take it at cost price, irrespective of the methods adopted.
– I am strongly opposed to the continuance of the system of having Commonwealth works carried out by the States departments. The Public Works department of Victoria, for instance, has quite enough to do ; in fact, it is a year or two in arrear, and it is absolutely fatuous to suppose that any assistance can be given to the Commonwealth in this connexion.
– The State Governments do not think it should exist.
– I am in a position to know the feeling of the Government of Victoria.
– The States Governments do not want another department running counter to them.
– There will be no running counter. In Victoria the Public Works department had little to do with the Postal department, as new post-offices have not been erected to any great extent for some years, while telegraph work, such as the laying of lines, is done by the Postal department.
– That kind of work is done now by the experts of the Postal department.
– It is very proper that it should be so. If it were possible, I should like to see each department carrying out its own public works. This is, or soon will be, the largest spending department of the Commonwealth. I recognise that there will shortly be an enormous demand on the department of Public Works, not only in connexion with buildings throughout the Commonwealth, but also in connexion with the capital site; and these works should be expeditiously and economically carried out. It is in this department that we have the greatest danger of extravagant expenditure. I have a fear that the expenditure will increase by leaps and bounds, and if it is not checked at the very commencement, we shall have serious cause to regret our inaction. I beg the Minister to use every endeavour to prevent the department growing to an inordinate size, but also to keep a watchful eye over the expenditure. So long as public works are associated with the department, expenditure must grow, and there is, therefore, the greater need for careful scrutiny. As to the electoral work, I do not think it should be carried out by this department. The Attorney-General, who says that there are only four men in his office, might very well take charge of electoral matters.
– But the staff is bound to increase.
– The head office work of an electoral branch is not very great, and does not require a large staff.
-All the rolls have to be supervised.
– But the supervision is not done by the Minister. In Victoria the supervision is not even done by the UnderSecretary, but by a special officer in the Chief Secretary’s department. My anxiety is to keep the department of Home Affairs as small as possible. I do not want it to deal with too many subjects. In my opinion, it is quite sufficient that it should carry out the public works, in which case the Minister will find his hands full enough.
– If the Minister thinks he can control the department as at present, why take it away from him?
– The honorable member for Robertson is satisfied to allow any Minister or member to take upon his shoulders any responsibility.
– The only question is whether this is the best department to administer electoral affairs.
– Of course my opinion may not be worth much on this question, but I think this work should be undertaken by the Attorney-General’s department. I am not going to decry the ability of, or express any want of confidence in, the Minister for Home Affairs ; but I feel that if one or other, of the honorable members who have been interrupting were placed in his position, I should not place so much reliance on their powers. Notwithstanding the appointment of a Public Service Commissioner, there will be a great deal of work for the Minister in this connexion.
– Will the honorable member explain what public works have to be carried out ?
– A number of new offices are required.
– Not halfadozen.
– I do not know whether the honorable and learned member was present when I referred to the building of the federal capital, which will have to be undertaken by the Public Works department. The Department for Home Affairs offers greater opportunity for expansion than does any of the other departments. We have already laid down rigid lines upon which the Defence department is to be administered, and we need have very little fear in regard to it for some years to come. It is in the Department for Home Affairs that extravagance is likely to occur, and Parliament will blame itself if in the future it is found that insufficient care has been taken in its administration. I wished to give reasons why some of the branches controlled by the department for Home Affairs should be placed under other departments, and why, in view of the immense amount of work to be carried out, and the effect which it will have on the finances of the Commonwealth, we should have a Minister giving his undivided attention to public works. I agree with the honorable and learned member for Parkes as to the extravagant way in which public works are being carried out in New South Wales, but I do not agree with the reasons which he gives for it. I believe that it is the magnificent Hibernian buoyancy of the Minister in charge of the department which is responsible for the extravagance. I do not think that he exercises sufficient care, nor do I believe that all the works which he is carrying out in New South Wales are necessary. I should be sorry to see him placed in charge of the Public Works department of the Commonwealth. I do not agree with the honorable and learned member for Parkes as to the causes of extravagance in New South Wales with day labour. In public works in “Victoria we have not had much experience, but after an extended trial we have found that the contract system, with a minimum wage clause, providing for a wage equal to or slightly better than that paid in the open market, works well ; that under it our works are carried out more economically, and in a better way than was the case before. Those who undertake these works are able to secure the best labour, because they pay the best wages. It has always been my desire to see the minimum-wage principle adopted in all contracts for public works of the Commonwealth, believing, as I do, that the result will be better work, better conditions for the men who carry out that work, and greater satisfaction to the Commonwealth generally.
– I think that the Minister for Home Affairs has taken a wise step in making a beginning in the establishment of a Public Works department. I. fail to see how justice is to be done to the Commonwealth unless we have some representative officer in each of the State capitals to. look after our interests. If that is not done, State public works will always have preference. In the New South Wales Public Works department, for instance, the staff is not sufficient to carry out all the proposed works. Many of our works have been delayed for a long time, and if we had to depend upon the States service to prepare plans for a new building, we might never have the work carried out. We ought to secure the best architects obtainable, for in that way we should save a great deal of money. It has taken a long time to induce the State public works architects to recognise that some ‘regard must be had to the tropical climate of certain parts of Australia ; and in many cases buildings for State schools, police quarters, and other purposes have been erected which are simply ovens. Now, however, our Government, architects are erecting buildings suitable to the climate in which they are placed. Those who have travelled might quote many instances of stupidity shown in connexion with the erection of public buildings in Australia, and yet it would be difficult to locate the blame. I have seen solid concrete provided by nature cut out, in order to make room for wooden blocks for a building. Of course the responsible department did not know that the natural concrete was there, and the work had to be done according to specification. I should like to ask the committee to disabuse their minds of the statements made by the honorable member for Parkes, as to the effect of the day labour system. We have got beyond the time when it would be possible for the committee to go back upon that principle. I deny the honorable and learned member’s statement, that the day labour system has led to increased cost in the erection of public works.
– As a rule it has led to a reduction of 25 per cent.
– Yes. The honorable and learned member for Parkes implies that labour in New South Wales is cut down to 3s. 6d. per day. I defy the honorable and learned member to obtain men to work for such a wage.
– I did not advocate the payment of such a wage.
– The honorable and learned member said that the work could be done for 50 per cent, less under the con tract system.
– I said the total cost of the work under the contract system would be 50 per cent. less.
– I challenge the honorable and learned member to disprove my statement. We have to take the whole result. We have all heard of the McSharry railway abitration ease. The building of the line in question by contract imposed upon the people of the State the payment of an extra amount in freights and fares. The experience of New South Wales has proved that railways can be constructed cheaper and more expeditiously under the day labour system than they can be under the contract system. Where the contract system is resorted to a great deal of time has to be spent in carefully preparing plans and specifications in order to avoid extras, which always provide a way for contractors to get at the Government. I know of one case in which it was said that it would take six months to get ready for the first section of a line in my own State electorate, but when the officers were pushed the work was done in three months. They had been accustomed to the old method of preparing plans in a way that is unnecessary under the day labour system. It is obvious that the contract system is in itself the essence of cheating, inasmuch as it always creates a tendency to slum work. I would remind honorable members from Victoria of what took place in connexion with the Coliban reservoir many years ago.
– The tar brush ?
– Yes; we have never had anything as bad as that in New South Wales. If a work is well done by day labour it will last longer, and even if the initial cost is “greater than it would be under the contract system, it is less in the end. I am sorry that the honorable and learned member for Parkes is so far behind the times in this matter, because he is well advanced in others. He ought to be consistent. He ought to oppose the erection of any post-office, and favour the letting of everything by contract. He should favour the letting out of Government by contract, the letting out of the work of Parliament by contract, and the giving of a bonus for the best work done. The contract system is the lowest in commercial ethics. It is a case of every man for himself. We have got beyond that principle, however, and- we should endeavour to deal fairly with our fellow men. A good deal of stir has been made in New South Wales in connexion with public works, and the honorable member for Laanecoorie has heard a little of the noise which surrounds “The O’sullivan.” It would be a good thing if we had Mr. O’sullivan here, for he has much, practical common sense. In New South- Wales the minimum wage of 7s. per day is paid on public works, and trades union wages are paid to artisans and tradesmen. The buildings which it will be necessary to erect for the Commonwealth will not be very numerous, and I think the position is being exaggerated. My own experience is that it is very difficult to obtain anything from the postal department. In the construction of any of our buildings Ave should employ tradesmen, and we shall not be able to obtain their services at less than the trades union wage, because they are nearly all members of unions. Therefore my honorable and learned friend need not be alarmed. He would take advantage of the starving man, and grind him down as much as his necessities will allow. To be consistent he should try to get the old combination laws put into force, in order to stamp out trades unionism. When we build a post-office we put an. official in charge of it at a decent fixed salary, and why should we not similarly fix the wages of the men who construct the building ? What difference in principle is there between having an office built by contract, and letting out the performance of the work to be done in it by contract? I believe that the late Mr. Eddy stated that the New-South Wales Railway Commissioners saved £10;000by carrying- out the Locksley deviation works by day labour. There may be perhaps half-a-dozen instances in which small works near Sydney were performed unsatisfactorily by the unemployed under the day labour system ; but the men in question were very difficult men to deal with, and the system cannot be judged by small failures of that kind. A big job was carried out in my own electorate under the day labour system, and I then insisted that no men should be taken on, either upon my own recommendation, or upon that of any Member of Parliament, but that the whole undertaking should be left entirely to the man in charge, who had had a long experience in connexion with works of the kind. The result was that the work was done more cheaply than it would have been under contract, and was done well, and. without loafing on the part of the men employed. The success of the day labour system depends upon good management, but in any case the profits of the contractor are saved.
While the honorable a-nd learned member objects to paying men so much per day, he does not object to contractors making their fortunes-, either out of the- taxpayers or by sweating their employes. Where loan works are carried out by contract, the public burden is increased for all time by the profits of the contractor. I do not think that I need labour this question, because I think that the common sense of honorable members is with me. I know that the Minister for Home Affairs will stick to the day labour system, and I believe that his successors will also do so. I think “that he is right in providing, for the proper supervision of works carried out for the Commonwealth. No doubt there will be a saving in getting minor works performed by the State departments ; but all large works should be inspected by Commonwealth officials, and it is wise to establish the department now, so as to get ready for the work which will have to be undertaken in the future.
Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).I wish to know from the Minister whether the Electoral-office; the Public Service Commission, the Interstate Commission, and the Public Works department, will all be independent and responsible only to himself ?
– No. With the exception of the Public Service Commissioner, the. heads of all the departments named will communicate’ with me through my Under-Secretary.
– I think that that arrangement will avoid the friction which often occurs when there are a- number of independent departmental heads.
– But these departmental heads ought not to be called “secretaries.”
– It is a mistake to term all these chief clerks “secretaries,” and I hope that the Minister will make an alterations in that matter. Until the Electoral Act is passed, I see no necessity for an electoral-office. I believe that the chief electoral officer has already been appointed.
– A gentleman who receives a pension- from the New South Wales Government, and1 who is paid by the Commonwealth only half the salary put down for the chief electoral officer, is performing the work temporarily.
– Is it intended that he shall be appointed permanently ?
– I am not sure about that.
– Has he had experience in connexion with this particular kind of work ?
– Yes ; in New South Wales. He has hardly done anything else.
– I do not know that his experience in New South Wales can be regarded as any qualification for administering quite a different electoral law; but, in any case, I do not see the need of an electoral-office- until we have an Electoral Act.
– The whole of the South Australian rolls and the rolls of the other States have been undergoing revision for the past twelve or eighteen months, and a great many alterations have been suggested. Preparations have been made for the issue of new rolls directly the electoral law is passed.
– It is difficult to see what alterations can be effected until the electoral law is passed. The honorable member for Laanecoorie said that the electoraloffice might well be placed under the Attorney-General, but I do not see anynecessity for that alteration, though the Attorney-General is likely to have fewer departments under his control than- the Minister for Home Affairs, who, in future, will probably have to administer, in addition tohis present department, an Old-age Pensions Act and an Industrial Conciliation Act. No doubt, the Minister will have an enormous number of small departments which may grow into large ones ; but it would have been wiser to place some of them under other Ministers. For instance, the InterStateCommission should surely have been placed under the Department of Trade and Customs. It will deal with all the trade relations between the various States, and particularly with the maintenance of freedom of intercourse ; and, as the Minister for Trade and Customs will have little to do after the Tariff has once been passed, the Inter-State Commission might very well have been placed under his Department. I should like to know whether the public works central staff have control of the works required to be executed in connexion with the erection and maintenance of telegraph lines.
– No ; that is done by the Post-office department.
– There should be no real difficulty in making use of the State officers and State departments in carrying out many works. The whole of the works in connexion with the transferred and other departments in South Australia have, for some time past, been carried out by the Superintendent of Public Buildings.
– But would the Superintendent of Public Buildings set aside his own works in order that he might execute ours ?
– I do not know that he would ; but I do not anticipate any difficulty on that score. We should not submit to unnecessary delay in the carrying out of our works, but on the other hand it would not be fair for us to require that federal work should havepreference over State work in all cases. I think that the honorable and learned member for Parkes was speaking rather from prejudice than from experience on the subject of carrying out public works by day labour; otherwise his experience must be very much out of date. I defy the honorable member to show that it is more expensive to carry out public works by day labour than by contract. In South Australia the Superintendent of Public Buildings has discretionary power to carry out work by contract or by day labour as seems to him fit. The experience there is that in some cases work is more economically carried out by day labour than by contract, and that sometimes the contrary is the case. Generally speaking, however, the results are very favorable to the day labour system.
– It is very difficult to estimate accounts in connexion with day labour.
– I know that statement is made by the opponents of the system, but they have never proved anything of the kind.
– In connexion with certain ironwork which was being carried out by day labour, 500 tons of pig iron disappeared and was never accounted for.
– I do not know what the honorable member is referring to, but I would direct attention to the fact that during the last week the South Australian newspapers state that tenders were received by the South Australian Government for the manufacture of 50 or 70 new boilers for locomotives. The locomotive department and one private firm tendered, and the tender of the department was lower than that of the private contractor.
– Did the locomotive department have to pay rent?
– They had charged against their contract a proportion of the salaries paid to the officers and the cost of buildings, and so on. Notwithstanding the fact that the departmental tender was lower than that ‘of the outside contractor, the work has been given to the latter.
– I do not know why. That is what we are anxious to find out.
– Why do all mercantile and financial people, whose principal aim is profit, carry out their work by contract?
– I do not think that is so. It will be found that where people have very important work to do, they take good care to have it done under their own supervision, and not by contract. It stands to reason that where a direct incentive is given to the contractor to carry out the work as cheaply as possible, there is much more likelihood of scamping and slumming than when the work is carried out under the supervision of the officers who have to maintain and repair it. I am quite sure that the honorable and learned member will find that those who have had experience of the two systems in South Australia would not recommend that we should adhere rigidly to one system or the other. The question whether work can be carried out more cheaply by day labour than by contract depends upon a number ofconditions, and a wise administrator takes these into consideration when coming toa decision. If I could be certain of the contractor I should prefer, even from the point of view of the workman, that the work should be done by contract, because a good contractor treats his men better on the whole, and allows them much more personal freedom, than do the Government officers. That is my own personal experience. I hope the Minister for Home Affairs will take care that his department does not grow too large. We know that in some of the States the most extravagant methods are adopted in the erection of public buildings, but there is no reason why the Commonwealth public works should not be carried out by the State officers acting under proper Commonwealth control. It would not* be wise for us to permit the States to cany out works according to their own plans and in their own time, but if they are ready to do our work according to our plans and within a satisfactory time, we should not unnecessarily multiply our own staff.
– A great deal of this discussion may be very valuable as affording a guide to the Minister in the conduct of his department in the future, but we cannot exercise much control over the expenditure because eleven months of the current financial year have already passed. I am more interested in knowing whether we are to pursue the practice hitherto followed of passing monthly Supply Bills or whether the Estimates for the forthcoming year will be laid before us within a reasonable time. We must make some provision for administrative work, but every advantage should be taken of the departments already within the control of the States. I understand that such is the intention of the Minister. It is absolutely necessary, however, that a certain amount of control should be exercised by this House, so that any friction may be smoothed over, and the creation of large additional departments, whether State or Federal, prevented. I shall reserve any further remarks I have to make until the Estimates of the forthcoming year are brought down, which will probably be during the next month. In the Estimates for the Home department there is £40,000, which properly should have appeared in the Defence expenditure. All departmental expenditure should appear under each department, although the control may remain with the Minister for Home Affairs. If we add this £40,000 to the £937,000 already voted for defence, we reach an expenditure of nearly £980,000. We ought to have all these m tters clearly placed before us.
– The Budget papers show the total expenditure for each department, and I have already promised that in the next Estimates the total amount will be thus shown.
– In electoral matters we have created a difficulty by passing a Franchise Bill which extends the suffrage to women in certain of the States. In these States we cannot adopt the State rolls, and in this connexion further expense will have to be incurred during the forthcoming year. I trust that in Western Australia and
South Australia, where women already have the franchise, advantage will be taken of the system in vogue, and the rolls merely altered to suit the electoral boundaries. Even in that work some little care will have to be exercised, and some expense incurred, though I hope that expense will be small. I very nearly, if not quite, agree with the views placed before the committee by the honorable member for North Sydney. From the utterances of several honorable members, the Minister will see the course of conduct the committee wish him to pursue, though that is a course he has already expressed his intention of following as far as possible.
Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney).- The Minister for Home Affairs seems to have misunderstood some of my arguments. For instance, he took it that I proposed the abolition of his department and the happy despatch of himself. I accept the. department as in existence, but I say that, so far as the sub-departments are concerned, it has not justified its existence, seeing that these sub-departments could with advantage be attached to other departments, and administrative expense thereby saved. I admit that other services may yet have to be transferred to the Commonwealth, and these will, no doubt, in the future fully justify the existence of the Home department. What I drew attention to was the creation of separate departments which are not altogether subordinate, secretaries having been appointed to each. Such work as that of the Electoral-office should be strictly subordinate, and, in fact, be carried out by the administrative staff of the department of Home Affairs. These separate secretaries demand higher status, because they are attached to separate departments, and if that sort of thing goes on, we shall create many absolutely separate establishments, with officials expecting to be placed nearly on a level with the head of the administrative staff. It is recognised by the public and the taxpayers that all the work proposed to be done by the Commonwealth in connexion with public works was being done by the States before federation. If the Federal Government is going to create its own public works staff right throughout Australia - though that, I understand, is not proposed by the Minister - we shall find, side by side with the States’ departments, a large and expensive federal establishment. . The Minister truly says that the
States ought to be able to save if this work be taken over by the Commonwealth ; but at present we see no indication of saving, and the States cannot save in proportion to the new expenditure. The States have to retain the frame-work of departments, with the head officials, and the only reductions which can be made are in connexion with officers of the lower grades. I understand that the Minister proposes that there shall be a federal works officer in each State, but that will probably mean in time that there will be demands for draughtsmen, clerks of works, and so on. Bit by bit, even in spite of the efforts of the Minister, unless Parliament checks it very strongly, we shall find a large and costly establishment, the officers of which will try to create work and increase expense. With the sub-departments which the Minister has chosen to take under his control, and the services which may be in the future transferred, it will in the multiplying of things requiring control be a very easy matter for this department to grow beyond his intention. I agree with those who ‘ have said that if an officer is to be appointed to the position of architect-in-chief, he should be a man to whom the Commonweal th can confidently intrust the important and, to a large extent, uncontrolled and distant work which will have to be performed. Such an officer will have to carry out his duties at a distance, and I hope he will be a man of character and ability, who Wil justify the confidence of Parliament.
– I look with a great deal of apprehension on the manner in which this department is being arranged, with five or six sub-departments under the control of high-salaried officers. Almost the whole of the additional expenditure is absorbed by these high salaries, and when the padding is filled in with lowersalaried officers, we can imagine the magnitude to which the department may grow. We find that the services which are proposed to be carried out by this department have hitherto been administered by the States at a cost of about £97,000, whereas at present they cost £144,000.
– How does the honorable member arrive at these figures ?
– The figures with asterisks are supposed to represent the cost of the services at the time of transfer.
– That is the amount which we are proposing to. spend this year on the services.
– -What is the £144,000?
– That is the total cost of the department. We could not ascertain exactly what had been spent on repairs, rent, and maintenance in the different States.
– What has the department to provide for more than the various services 1
– There is a considerable amount of new expenditure, amounting to £47,000.
– I am taking exception to that. I think that it is unnecessarily large, and I am perfectly sure that it will grow. We know from past experience that if a sub-department is created under highlypaid officers - and here we are paying one officer £1,000 a year, another £750 a year, and several £600 and £500 a year - it is bound to grow. We do not require an officer receiving a salary of £1,000 a year to supervise the work of one or two men. I fail to see why several of these services could not be carried out by the central or administrative department. At the present time the cost of the central department is about £5,300 a year. Surely its officers can find time to supervise these subdepartments, which, it appears to me, have been added for the purpose of justify.ing the magnitude of the cost of the central office? I am anxious to assist the Minister in doing what is best for the- Commonwealth, but if we create these sub-departments, under highly-paid officers, before the necessity for .them arises, they will go on increasing year by year. I agree with those honorable members who. have said that some of the branch services now under the department for Home Affairs could be carried on by other departments. The electoral branch could be carried on by the Attorney-General’s department.
– That would not . effect any saving. It would simply mean the transfer of the expenditure to the” Attorney-General’s vote.
– I fail to see why the central office should not administer some of the branches which it is proposed to create as special sub-departments. I strongly urge the Minister to consider the suggestion, and see if he cannot so re-arrange the department that it will /involve the least cost to the Commonwealth. Why, for instance, should we sanction the COSt of administering the department of the Inter-State Commission 1
– That proposed vote will be withdrawn. It was inserted as far back as last September, when it was thought that the Inter-State Commission Bill would be passed.
– I am glad to hear that. I hope that the Minister will see whether further reductions cannot be made in the number of these sub-departments. I trust that great care will be . exercised in making appointments to offices for which high salaries have been provided, and that the necessity for filling them will be demonstrated before the House is asked to sanction any appointment. It is no trivial matter to create these offices, and until the necessity for each service arises I hope that the Government will not ask Parliament to sanction their creation.
– I think that it is being demonstrated every day that the chief object for which the Commonwealth was brought into existence was the creation ‘of a number of departments so that Ministers might provide fab billets for many of their friends.
– There is no justification for that statement.
– It is justified by appointments which have been made already. “We have been told that the electoral officer has been compiling a roll in South Australia.
– I said that he was compiling the Commonwealth roll for South Australia in Melbourne.
– As a matter of fact, new State rolls for South Australia have just been completed, and they were used at the recent general elections. Perhaps the least I say about the electoral officer th better.
– The honorable member can say as much as he likes about him. I will reply to him. Do not let us have any innuendoes.
– I am not afraid to speak. In the opinion of many people the Commonwealth is becoming a huge and expensive machine, which will cripple itself.
– The Minister knows ‘ that it is his desire to create a Commonwealth Public “Works department in every State
– That is not so.
– The Minister is now proposing to form the nucleus of such a department. What have the State officers done that we cannot have confidence in them I An honorable member said just now that the States should retrench the officers of their respective departments. Are we bo create offices in the Commonwealth service, and to tell the States to discharge men who have done good work for them for years ?
– Why should we nob take over those men t
– They are not given a chance to come over to us. Surely the men in the Public Works departments of the States who have conducted their work satisfactorily for years should be good enough for the Commonwealth
– Should not the Commonwealth have men under its own control 1
– The Commonwealth should not seek to duplicate the Public Works departments throughout Australia. If a poll of the people were taken on the question bo-morrow, ib would be decided that no duplication should bake place.
– -Let the States sack some of their staffs.
– That is a humane position to take up. We cannot bake over officers from the State services when others are being appointed. The electoral officer is a case in point.
– His is only a temporary appointment.
– The honorable member will see whether that is so later on.
– He was an officer in the employ of the New South Wales Government. He left the service some time “ago and was re-employed.
– He was pensioned off. Are we to make the Commonwealth service a rendezvous for different pensioned-off officers of the States 1 The appointment of the gentleman now holding the position of chief electoral officer of the Commonwealth prevents the selection of a State officer who knows more about the work.
– But the electoral officer was in the New South Wales Government service.
– Apparently he did not give great satisfaction. If he did, he would still be in the State service. I object to these so-called temporary appointments, when, as a matter of fact, the Minister knows that they are to be permanent. It is apparent that the committee is going to support the formation of a Commonwealth Public Works department. Why I do not know, when there are men in the State departments who would carry out our works. We are proposing to have a highly paid official practically to supervise his own movements in connexion with public works. The same thing is going on in every department. Too many appointments have been made in every one of them. I shall lodge my protest against the proposal to create a Public Works department for the Commonwealth, and divide the committee upon it. I have sufficient confidence in the officers of the States departments to believe that they are able to carry out all the works that we require, and that if we intrust the work to them we shall avoid the duplication of expense.
– Has the honorable member sufficient confidence in a man who is working for another “ boss “ to ask him to do his work ?
– I am not going to say that the States will rob the Commonwealth, nor will the honorable and learned member say so.
– No; but that is not the point.
– I have sufficient confidence in the officers of the State departments who are at present carrying out our public works to lead me to believe that they will discharge their duties as satisfactorily as will any officers appointed by the Minister for Home Affairs, and with very much better supervision.
– The point is that if there is a rush of work the State officials will do the State work first.
– Seeing that the Commonwealth has taken over at least three very large departments, is it likely that the State officials will be overburdened with work - that things will be worse in the future in that respect than they have been in the past ? The creation of this Works department is a piece of gross extravagance, and the time will come when honorable members will regret it. I lodge my protest against it.
– I think that the lines which the debate has followed have been largely due to the speech of the honorable member for North Sydney, and I am pleased that he has since explained his position, because the impression he first made upon me and others was that he aimed at the abolition of the Department for Home Affairs. He directed attention particularly to the sub-departments, which he considered would be better administered by other Ministers. It was suggested, for example, that the Electoral office should be under the control of. the Attorney-General or of the Postmaster-General, but if effect were given to such suggestions there would be nothing for- the Minister for Home Affairs to do.
– There are other departments yet to be taken over which would justify his existence.
– It seems to me that the sub-departments which have been allotted to the Minister for Home Affairs come properly under his control. Not the least of them is the Electoral office, whose work could not be properly performed, either under State control or as part of some other department, without the infliction of great injustice upon the Commonwealth. The department is one whose functions practically give life to the Commonwealth, and it is of such large dimensions that it- could very readily become disorganized, which would tend in the direction of stultifying the federal movement. Objection has been taken to the fact that the heads of subde”partments have been termed “secretaries,” but it does not matter what they are called, so long as the committee keep a watchful eye upon the salaries proposed. This Parliament has provided for a special Commonwealth franchise, and is about to devise special electoral machinery. A number of the States do not recognise adult suffrage, and some of them recognise a property qualification, or impose limitations upon the suffrage, which we have not allowed. Therefore, it seems to me that if the . administration of the electoral office were left in the hands of State officials, our efforts to place the Commonwealth franchise upon a solid democratic basis must fall to the ground.
– I had nothing to say about’, the electoral office. I attacked the proposed Public Works department.
– Well, other honorable gentlemen have suggested that the electoral office should be made part of some other department, but I am thoroughly in sympathy with the proposal of the Government to make it a special department. I shall have something to say later on upon the question who should be at the head of that department. The Inter-State Commission, the Public Service Commissioner’s department, and the Public Works department are all very important departments, which must be kept separate in order to secure efficiency.
– We shall have more officers than private citizens eventually.
– If that happens it will be the fault of the committee. It has been suggested that the Commonwealth Parliament should practically abrograte its functions, and hand over its administrative work to the States, the plea being put forward that that would lessen expense and save the duplication of offices. But it has been well said that no man can serve two masters.
– There is only one master - the people.
Mi-. BROWN. - Unfortunately the public servants do not recognise the people as their master. If we are to maintain efficiency of administration and obtain cheapness, we must not delegate our powers to the States. I believe, from what I have seen, that the State officials are more inclined to recognise the heads of their departments in the States than to recognise the federal authority, with the result that federal work is neglected for State work. No doubt it will be possible to largely use State officials for the carrying on of minor works, but for larger works there must be proper Commonwealth control, and the purpose of the proposed Public Works department is to secure that control.
– It will create a duplication of offices.
– I do not agree with the honorable member, but in any case the expenditure will be. less wasteful than where there is an absence of responsibility, as must happen under State, control. The honorable and learned member for Parkes and others have objected to work being carried out by State departments, upon the score that the methods adopted in New South Wales, at any rate, are such as should not be sanctioned by any well regulated Government. I do not agree with them. In New South Wales, when the contract system was the only system under which public works were carried out, the Government were compelled to fix minimum rates of wage, not only in justice to the workmen employed, but as a protection to themselves. Prior to the adoption of that system, contracts were cut down to such an extent that decent wages could not be paid, with the result that the work done was very inferior, and the wages of the men were ground down to the lowest possible rate. The Government were eventually compelled to adopt a minimum wage provision, which was first introduced by Mr. Young, the Minister for Works in the Reid Government. Later on, the day labour system was adopted, and to the honorable member for Parramatta - who was then PostmasterGeneral in the New South Wales Government - the credit is due of first putting that system into practice in connexion with a large work which was being carried out in his department. All the arguments which have been used by the honorable and learned member for Parkes were then employed with the object of discrediting that system, and the Minister for Home Affairs was among its opponents. A committee was appointed by the New South Wales Legislature to report upon the subject, and their decision was in favour of the departure made by the honorable member for Parramatta. It was the report of that committee which convinced . the Minister for Home Affairs that the system was the right one to adopt. Contractors grind their workmen down as much as possible, in order to increase their profits, and immense fortunes have been made by those who are now loudest in their complaints against the day labour system. In some cases that system does not appear in a favorable ‘light, but these are few and far between, and they cannot be compared with instances which could be quoted against the contract system. One notable case in New South Wales,- which the honorable member for Parkes may remember, was the McSharry case. That was one of the most putrid cases of a number of the same kind, and it practically killed the system of contract in that State by illustrating the methods by which the
Government and the people were bled. The State is compelled to maintain an efficient staff for the supervision of the work done by contract, and this staff can be utilized with the best effect in carrying out works by day labour. The Government are relieved of all risks of heavy law costs, such as have been incurred under the contract system, and they are in a position to ensure efficient work, and the payment of good wages to the workmen. “Despite the charges brought against the Works department of New South Wales by the honorable and learned member for Parkes, the authorities in that -State are prepared to place day labour methods in competition with those of the contract system, and abide by the result. Recently the State Minister of Works invited such a comparison in connexion with the erection of two new wings at the Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. It was proposed that one wing should be erected by day labour, whilst the other was carried out by -contract, so that a comparison might be made between the respective systems, but advocates of the contract system were not prepared to face the result. In another case the Minister of Works in New South Wales called for tenders for a small work, and a contract was let for £1 20. The contractor, however, finding that there was not a sufficient margin of pr ,tit, threw up the work, and the Minister had it earned out by day labour at a cost, not of £120, but of £80. This is only one of many instances that could .be adduced to show that works can be carried out economically with day labour, provided the management is efficient. The day labour system has on the whole given much greater satisfaction than has the contract system in New South Wales. When we come to the consideration of the items under this department, I hope the Minister will, consent to postpone Division 16, which relates to the electoral office. The leader of the labour party desires to make a few remarks with regard to this most important department, and I am sure that the Minister is desirous that every opportunity should be afforded for full discussion.
– I must confess that I am surprised at the heavy cost of the various departments under the control of the Minister for Home Affairs. Several large items require explanation. Under the heading of rent, for instance, we fmd the amount of £21,404 charged to the various departments.. I wish to ask if this amount is merely taken out of one pocket and put into another, or whether it takes the form of repayments to the various States for the use of public offices which have been taken over by the Commonwealth.
– The rent is paid for buildings which were leased by the States, and which are now being used -by the Commonwealth- for public purposes. The de tails are set out in the Budget papers.
– I find that £250 is debited to the department of External Affairs, £250 to the department of Home Affairs, £1,253 to the department of Trade and Customs, and £4,638 to the Defence department. The Defence Estimates provided for an expenditure of £927,000, and we reduced this amount by £127,000. Now we find additional defence items, under the heading of this department, provided for as follows: - Rent, £4,638; repairs and maintenance, £31,749 ; furniture and fittings, £1,998; making a, total of £38,385. I feel perfectly sure that the members of the committee were not aware that this amount should have been added to the £927,000 provided for in the Defence Estimates.
– That was all set out in the papers circulated for the information of honorable members, and these amounts were mentioned and explained at the time.
– It will be very difficult for the general public to understand these accounts, if they have to search through half-a-dozen different papers, and collect items appearing under half-a-dozen different heads, in order to find out the total appropriation for any one department. Now, for the department of External Affairs, a rental is charged of £250. In addition we find that for repairs and maintenance the amount is £4,600, and for furniture and fittings, £1,850.
– If the honorable member looks at the Budget papers he will find all details. The honorable member forgets that the expenditure of the department for External Affairs includes that on the Government Houses.
– Then this is probably an additional vote to that which was asked for a few nights ago. I complain that additional votes are found in places where we are not likely to cheek them very closely ; and if the £38,000 expenditure inthe Defence department has been mentioned at all in the discussions, it has been mentioned very casually. In the Department of Home Affairs, repairs and additions cost £1,100, and furniture and fittings £1,676.
– That is in Sydney.
– In any case it is federal revenue which is being spent. In the Department of Trade and Customs repairs and additions cost £3,402, .and furniture and fittings £1,617 for twelve months.
– Does the honorable member suppose the departments can be kept up without spending money on repairs? Considering the state -some of the buildings were in, it is a wonder the expenditure was not four times as much.
– Surely the States kept their buildings in a state of efficiency ?
– Indeed, they did not.
– In South Australia I know that the Postal and Customs departments were managed efficiently, and in most instances the business was carried on in comfortable buildings ; but furniture and fittings in South Australia, in the Postal department, cost £200, and repairs and maintenance £1,150, whereas in New South Wales furniture and fittings, in the same department, cost £3,500, and repairs and maintenance £9,150.
– Surely the honorable member does not -compare the two States 1
– Proportionately there ought to be very little difference, but we have an expenditure of £1,350 in South Australia as against £12,650 in New South Wales, although in the latter State there is only four times the population and certainly no larger area to serve. In South Australia the postal facilities afforded are proportionately quite as great as in New South Wales ; but it is curious that in all expenditure the latter State seems to top the list.
– The expenditure is charged against New South Wales.
– But that is limited to the bookkeeping period, and the precedent of heavy expenditure will -be followed when that period comes to an end. In Victoria, repairs and maintenance in the Postal department cost £5,000, as against £9,150 in New South Wales. Furnitureand fittings cost £5,637 in New South Wales, as against £1,550 in Victoria.
– Furniture and fittings cost only £3,500 in New South Wales; and repairs , and maintenance cost £3, 150 in Victoria, as against £6,550 in New South Wales. The honorable member, will also observe that repairs and maintenance in the Defence department amount to £1 3,-605 in Victoria, as against £9,482 in New South Wales. The expenditure depends on the exigencies of the service.
– What I wish to point out is that the expenditure in this particular department promises to be enormous.
– It is not so great as under the States Governments.
– I am inclined to believe that it is greater, and that it will be an increasing quantity. We find that the departments of the Commonwealth pay in rent, £21,000 odd ; for repairs and maintenance, £64,900 ; and for furniture and fittings, £15,590. In South Australia we have been crying out for an expenditure ©f £200 or £300 for repairs and additions to post-offices, which were approved before the Commonwealth was established, and all we have got is £1,350, as against £9,000 expended in this way in New South Wales.
– The sum of £.4,000 is provided for additions in South Australia, as against £800 ‘in Victoria.
– Although I cannot see eye to eye with the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Poynton, as to the non-necessity of having officers in federal employment, I think arrangements might, in many instances, be made, so as to avoid having departments in each State. In .regard to those departments which belong to the States, and for which the States have to find the money, the local Governments would be only too pleased to permit their officers to do their level best in arranging and overseeing contracts for the construction of and additions to buildings.
– What Minister would allow expenditure without control ?
– The Minister would have control.
– I have no control at the present time.
– Although the department is nominally under his control, does the Minister say that he should be the arbiter as to the cost of buildings, or how they should be erected 1
– Does the Minister mean to say that, notwithstanding that it costs a great deal more to carry out work for which the States have to pay than it would do if we were to employ the services of officers in the State departments ? I am not speaking of the building of a Commonwealth capital, or of any Commonwealth offices. I am referring to repairs to post and telegraph offices.
– That work is under the Commonwealth.
– It happens to be the work of the Commonwealth because the departments were taken over hurriedly. It would have been very much better if some of the departments had been allowed to remain with the States, during this session at all events. While the States have to pay the expenditure in connexion with these departments, and to receive any balance of receipts, I think that every economy should be exercised, and that, if the State Governments are willing to assist us in the work of supervising contracts, we should accept their assistance. I presume that officers of the State departments advise the Commonwealth Government in regard to what is necessary in the shape of repairs and additions to postal and other public buildings, and that the Minister does not go himself or send over one of his officers to see whether an expenditure of £100 should be made in repairs and additions to public buildings at Quorn or Port Augusta. If he did the travelling expenses would very quickly mount up. As long as the States have to pay the piper they should have something to do with setting the tune. There are one or two items under the heading of “miscellaneous,” which I think the committee will dispose of after a very brief discussion. For instance, there is a proposed vote of £500 to provide for - a memorial to be erected at Corowa to commemorate the formation of the first federal league in the Commonwealth.
– Would the honorable member vote against that ?
– I do not think that the committee would occupy much time in determining to strike out that item, because, if there is any proposed expenditure in the department which would be regarded as extravagant, it is this. It would be just as sensible for the State of Victoria to say that a statue of Mr. George
Meudell should be erected at Kyabram. Another item to which I wish to call attention is the proposed expenditure of £2,000 for expenses in connexion with the valuation of properties taken over from the States. I am not aware that properties have been, taken over in respect of the valuation of which the amount named would be a, reasonable charge.
– The item relates to expenses in connexion with the valuation of the properties of the Post-office and Customs department, and so on, which have been taken over from the States, but which have not been valued up to the present time.
– I presume that the work of valuation is going on ?
– Not for the Commonwealth. The officers will be appointed very shortly.
– The officers have not been appointed, yet we are asked to vote this sum.
– Does not the honorable member know that the item to which he refers was prepared some time ago ?
– Then it will be struck out1?
– Probably. It was prepared with other Estimates nearly twelve months ago.
– Surely, before bringing down their proposals, the Government should have omitted all items in connexion with which no expenditure has taken place during the present financial year.
– We shall omit them when we deal with the Appropriation Bill.
– At the present time, when federation is not popular in all the States, and when our population is suffering from the worst drought we have hod for many years, it is a great mistake to load up the Estimates. I hope that we shall be able to make a very large reduction in them, and a good many in those of the department for Home Affairs particularly.
– I think that the best point of the debate was that made by the honorable member for Maranoa, when he inquired from the Treasurer whether he approved of a certain allowance being made to Mr. Victor Cohen, lt really raised the question of the position occupied by the Treasurer in regard to the Estimates, and I think that the honorable member had a right strongly to desire an answer to his. In query. The Treasurer did not give him one. I know that the Treasurer has the confidence of the people of Australia, and particularly that of the people of Victoria, and when he sits at the table with the Minister for Home Affairs and supports him in regard to these items he is really committing us who know him to be a careful, economical administrator to the belief that they have his approval.
– Of course they must have his approval and that of all the Ministers.
– I am referring to something more than the mere solidarity of the Cabinet, or loyalty to fellow Ministers.
– I am in charge of these Estimates, and I shall have something to say about the matter to which the honorable and learned member refers.
– The Minister for Home Affairs is in charge of the Estimates relating to his own department, but the Treasurer has a larger responsibility in regard to them. Therefore, depending as we do upon the Treasurer to see that strict economy is observed, I submit that unless he informs us thathe does not approve of certain appointments, we can take it that he thinks that all the payments provided for in the Estimates, including the allowance made to Mr. Cohen, are satisfactory. I understand the solidarity of the support which is given by one Minister to another, but in regard to the Estimates, the Treasurer must have the dominant hand. I do not know that such is not the case, but if it is not, the committee should be informed of the fact. The Minister for Home Affairs has a right to say that he requires the appointment of certain officers, but the Treasurer, having the finances of the Commonwealth at his fingers’ ends-
– I rise to order. The Estimates for the Department for Home Affairs are under discussion ; but I have yet to learn that we are required to listen to a debate upon the relations of Ministers.
– Will the honorable and learned member confine himself to the Estimates for the Department for Home Affairs?
– Yes ; but I desire to refer to the financial aspect of the department, and to that extent my references to the responsibility of the Treasurer are strictly relevant. If the Treasurer considers that any of the offices provided for are unnecessary, or that any of the salaries are extravagant, he owes a duty to the Parliament and to the Commonwealth to tell us so. The committee would support him in any such action.
– We are not likely to have that until we have an elective Ministry.
– That will not be adopted for a time. I am glad to see that the Treasurer, by his silence, shows that the Estimateshave his approval. If they have, I fail to see any necessity for discussing the items in detail, we have not sufficient particulars to take the responsibility. My confidence in the Treasurer is sufficient to lead me to support these items if they have his approval.
– I cannot allow the extraordinary speech made by the honorable and learned member for Corio to go without notice. I wish him to know that I am in charge of these Estimates ; that I and no one else administer the department for Home Affairs. I am aware of the great confidence which the honorable and learned member reposes in theTreasurer, and I hope that before I have been in the Ministry much longer he will have a little confidence in me and in my department. These Estimates have been prepared for my department, and if there is anything wrong, I am responsible. In reference to Mr Cohen’s expenses, 1 have only to say that if I had known as much in the first instance as I know now, there would have been no need to obtain his services ; but I held then, and I still hold, that the Commonwealth should not pay to an officer transferred from a Statedepartment a smaller salary than he was receiving from the State. While Mr. Cohen was in Melbourne, his wife andfamily were residing in Sydney, and his actual expenses were probably nearly as large as his salary.
– But the Prime Minister promised that after a certain date no further allowances would be paid.
– The Prime Minister’s promise referred only to permanent officers. This was an exceptional case. I brought Mr. Cohen from Sydney because I knew him to be a good accountant, and in organizing a new department I wanted some one with whom I was personally acquainted.
– The honorable gentleman is asking for a lot of money.
– Yes, -but the amount is less than would have been expended by the States under similar circumstances. I have compared these Estimates with the State expenditure of previous years.
Mi-. Page. - Does the Minister guarantee that the next Estimates will not be increased ?
– That will depend upon the requirements of the Commonwealth. The honorable member for Gippsland stated that, whereas the amount expended by the State departments was something like £97,000, the amount which would be expended by the Commonwealth department under my control was something like £144.000, but, as a matter of fact, there is a difference of only £13,000, including every department under my control.
Mr. PAGE (Maranoa).- The Minister’s explanation in regard to the payment of the allowance to Mr. Cohen justifies the division taken upon the Defence estimates. If a Minister’s word cannot be taken, what are Honorable members to do ?
– Put out the Ministry.
– We might get in their places a worse lot. I should be very sorry to see the honorable and learned member for Parkes in office. The Prime Minister told us that after a certain date no more allowances would be paid, and yet two officers in the Home Secretary’s department continue to receive allowances.
– Who is- the other officer to whom the honorable member refers 1
– The chief electoral officer. According to the papers put before us by the Treasurer, he has been receiving £1 a day-
– The information that the ‘ honorable member has is not correct. The allowance which the officer to whom he refers was receiving was only 10s. a day, and it was stopped immediately the promise of the Prime Minister was given. .
– The Minister tells us. that these Estimates are lower than the State Estimates. That is probably because some of the sub-departments have come into existence only a month or two before- the end of the financial year. ‘ I should like to know, in connexion with the Public Service
Commissioner’s department, if a secretary, a clerk and shorthand writer, and a messenger, are to make up his whole staff.
– Yes, so far as I know.
– I hope that that will be so, but I am afraid that each of these subdepartments will require as large a staff as the administrative staff. The State departments have been growing year by year. The honorable member for Wentworth told us that when he was in office he had to tell the public servants of New South Wales that if things went on as they were going they would have to face a .Black Wednesday, and something of that kind will happen in connexion with the Commonwealth service if a tight rein is not kept upon the public expenditure. Has the Inspector-General of Works been appointed yet ?
– No. I do not think I have appointed any officer in that department.
– Any appointment made in the future must be made through the Public Service Commissioner.
– I am not sure that that applies to the Inspector-General of Works, but the Public Service Commissioner must be consulted.
– The honorable member for North Sydney has raised the complaint that the Minister is making the head of each of these sub-departments a secretary instead of a chief clerk.
– I am quite pre- ‘ pared to call them all chief clerks, if that does not affect their position -under the Public Service Act.
– If they are made chief clerks, we shall know what they are. My experience of secretaries is that they are as unapproachable as Ministers. With regard to the carrying out of Commonwealth public works, I think that we should be masters of the situation. I know that the Queensland Public Works department is not quite what I should like to see it. The honorable member for South Australia,. Mr. Poynton, says that we are creating two Public Works departments ; but if we take into the Commonwealth service officers from the State service; there will be no increase of expenditure, ‘ and I am confident that, all things being equal, officers of the States service will have the preference when appointments are being made. The principle of the minimum wage to which the honorable and learned member for Parkes has taken so much objection has already been recognised in our legislation, because a provision was inserted in the Post and Telegraph Act that all persons employed in carrying out contracts under the Postal department should be paid the minimum wage. The honorable and learned member says that he is in favour of the contract system, but we know that for many years past contractors have been growing fat upon somebody - either the workers or the Government, or perhaps both. The honorable and learned member also said that the wages paid by the Government for day labour were 50 per cent, higher than those paid by contractors.
– What I said was that one method of working cost 50 per cent, more than the other.
– In reply to that statement I would point out that only a week or so ago the Minister for Lands in New South Wales called for tenders for the- construe-‘ tion of baths at Coogee, and the lowest contract price was £800. This was considered to be too much, and it was decided to carry out the work by day labour, the estimated cost being £350; foi” which they are quite satisfied that they will be able to complete the structure. I know what contracting is, and I have made a fine thing out of the Queensland Government under the contract system. They, however, have closed down on all that sort of thing in the northern State, and are building their railways by day labour.
– I suppose the honorable member took it out of the men,
– I took it out of anybody I could. I looked out for a good solid contract, and my object was to make money. If I could put in a bad piece of’ timber, and the inspector would let it go, I took care to utilize it. The minimum wage principle, as now adopted by most of the State Governments, is one of the greatest blessings in Australia. I can quite understand the honorable member ‘for Parkes being opposed to it, because he is the only hard-crusted conservative I have met in Australia. The Minister for Works in New South Wales is opposed to him in his fiscal ideas, and also in his notions of political economy.
– He is also opposed to the honorable member in his fiscal ideas. 36 s 2
– That does not matter to me. What I desire is to bring about good social conditions for the worker, and my present impression is that free-trade will best contribute to that end. Perhaps I may be convinced later on that protection will accomplish my object. I have been a worker, and I have been an employer, and I know the evils of the contracting system from every point of view. I worked at one time for Mr. McSharry, who was once represented by .the honorable and learned member for Parkes.
– The honorable member is quite wrong; I appeared for theGovernment on that occasion.
– That makes it worse still, because the case was a smellful one from beginning to end. Recently the secretary “ of the Victorian Employers’ Federation was travelling through the country, asking why the employers should be called upon to pay their men wages such as would enable them to get married, to go to the theatre, or towear suits of black clothes. It is ideas such as these which find support from the honorable and learned member for Parkes. Why should the worker be sturdy, well-fed, wellclothed, and enjoy himself 1 Why should he take unto himself a wife 1 Do the employers wish to fill the Commonwealth with illegitimate children % It is very easy to be virtuous on £10,000 a year, but when any law is passed for the benefit of the worker, the honorable and learned member for Parkes says that it is against all sound economical principles, and that the workman should go into the open market, and sell his labour in free competition. That is free-trade, according to the ideas of the honorable and learned- member, but not as I understand it.
– Why would the honorable member admit foreign made cheap goods’?
– Because I want to get them as cheaply as I can.
– The cheapest goods do not come from the countries where the lowest wages are paid.
– No; the cheapest goods come from the countries where they pay the highest wages. So far as the Commonwealth Public Works department is concerned, I will stand by the Ministry.
– There is one matter which I should like to mention to the Minister. I see that we are about to vote a certain sum for the office of the Public Service Commissioner. In the State of Western Australia the administration of the public service has, unfortunately, not been satisfactory to most of the employes, and they hope that an independent officer from one of the eastern States will be appointed as inspector under the Public Service Act. They think that such an officer will be in a better position to deal impartially with them, and that he will be more free from local influences than would a local officer. Of course, any qualified gentleman in the Western Australian service should be eligible for appointment as an inspector in one of the other States, but the public servants in that State fear that the influence of the old regime may be perpetuated if an inspector is selected from the local service. The disorganization of the service may be gauged from the fact that one great strike has already happened in the Post and Telegraph department, and many others have been narrowly averted. The strike to which I refer took place in 1895, but the present condition of affairs in the service is very little better than at that time. With regard to the remarks of the honorable and learned member for Parkes as to results of constructing public works on the day labour system; I may mention that in Western Australia the Government have been building railways by day labour, and have been able to carry out the work more economically and speedily than under the contract system.
– The honorable and learned member for Parkes said that a majority of the members of this committee would probably be opposed to the adoption of the day labour system of carrying out public works under the Commonwealth, but I am convinced that very few honorable members, would follow the lead of the honorable and learned member for Parkes if he were to bring forward a resolution embodying the doctrines which he has enunciated to-night. This Parliament has adopted the principle of the minimum wage so far as the Postal department is concerned, and no doubt any other opportunities which may pre ent themselvesforaffirmingthatprinciple will be availed of.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Proposed vote agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I should like to draw the attention of the Attorney-General to the fact that under section 3, sub-section b, of the Immigration Restriction Act, an Australian native, named George McCauly, who was born in Victoria, was in Western Australia, on the 12th May last, sentenced to be imprisoned for one month, and afterwards to be returned to Victoria as soon as possible by the steamer Ma/rloo, on the ground that he was a prohibited immigrant. The following is a report of the proceedings from the Perth Morning Herald of the 13th May-
A one-legged man named George McCauly was charged under section 3 of the Immigration Restriction Act with being a prohibited immigrant.
Inspector McKenna stated that the defendant arrived in Fremantle on the 9th inst.by the s.s. Marloo, and on the following day applied for admission to the Old Men’s Home. He had only one leg, and no money, and was likely to become a permanent charge on the State. He asked the b ench to convict the defendant and have him sent back to Melbourne on the Marloo.
McCauly. - I had £3 10s., but lost it on board the boat.
The defendant was ordered a month’s imprisonment, and to be sent back as soon as possible on the Marloo to Melbourne.
The case was also reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of 1 3th May. I submit that when an Australian native passes from one State to another it is not the intention of the Immigration Restriction Act that he should, even if poor and possessing only one leg, be dealt with in such a way.
– The prosecution must have been under some local Act.
– According to the report the prosecution was under the Immigration Restriction Act. It is provided in section 3 of that Act that a prosecution can take place only through a collector or some officer appointed for the purpose. I do not know whether Inspector McKenna is a collector under the Act, but if he is, some explanation is necessary. If he is not, the prosecution appears to have been illegal, and it is the duty of the Commonwealth to protect its citizens, from whatever State they come. This is certainly a case which demands inquiry. When we are trying in every way possible to remove the barriers between the States, we do not want to pass Acts by which it is possible for. a merely unfortunate man to be treated as a criminal. I ask the Attorney-General to make some inquiry.
– I shall certainly make some inquiry. I presume the Karloo is a vessel trading between Melbourne and Fremantle 1
– In that ease the prosecution could not possibly have taken place under the Commonwealth Imm gration Restriction Act, but must have been under some, local Immigration Act.
– But the prosecution was under a section which entirely agrees with the section of the Commonwealth Act.
– It is quite possible that there may be a similar section in both the Commonwealth Act and a local Act.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.3 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 27 May 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1902/19020527_reps_1_10/>.