1st Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair .at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. BATCHELOR presented a petition from certain electors of South Australia, praying- the House to prohibit the imports tion, sale, and manufacture of intoxicating liquors in British New Guinea.
Mr. DEAKIN presented a similar petition from certain electors of Ballarat.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE presented a similar petition from certain electors of Hume.
Mr. KINGSTON presented a similar petition from certain residents of South Australia. ‘
Mr. CROUCH presented a similar petition from certain electors of Corio.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK presented a similar petition from certain electors of New South Wales.
Mr. POYNTON presented a similar petition from certain electors of South Australia.
Mr. CAMERON presented a similar petition from certain electors of Hobart and Glenorchy.
Mr. KNOX presented a similar petition from certain electors of Kooyong.
Sir LANGDON BONYTHON presented nine similar petitions from certain electors of South Australia.
Mr. KENNEDY presented a similar petition from certain electors of Moira.
Mr. CONROY presented a similar petition from certain electors of Werriwa.
Mr. CHANTER presented a petition from certain residents of Deniliquin, praying the House to pass into law the Bonuses for Manufactures Bill.
Mr. L. E. GROOM presented a petition from the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce, praying the House to amend the Immigration Restriction Act in such a manner as to remove the prohibition upon the employment of coloured labour on mail steamers.
– Is the Prime Minister yet in a position to make a statement to the House in reference to the appointment of. a Minister to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of the Minister for Trade and Customs 1 Ten days have elapsed since that resignation was announced.
– No appointment has yet been made, butwhen it is made it will be first announced in this House.
– Has the Minister representing the Postmaster-General any information to give the House in regard to the construction of a new post-office at Kadina?
– The numerous petitions praying for the construction of that post-office which have been presented to the House have not yet found their way to the officers of the Department, but an inquiry is being made into the subject, and when it is finished I shall be able to furnish the honorable member with the information which he requires.
– I wish to know from the Minister for Home Affairs if anything has yet been done with regard to the appointment of an electoral officer for South Australia? I should also like to know what is being done towards the preparation of the rolls for the coming elections?
– With the concurrence of the State Government, the successor to the late sheriff will be appointed electoral officer. With regard to the preparation of the rolls, all the lists, I believe, have been tabulated and arranged, and the printing done in South Australia will be continued.
– The rolls will be printed in South Australia?
– Yes. They are being printed there now.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE laid upon the table the followingpaper : -
Public Service Act. - Regulation relating to Boards of Inquiry No. 267 (a).
– I desire to ask the Minister for Home Affairs a question without notice. Has Mr. Oliver’s supplementary report upon the Federal Capital sites yet been received by him? If not, has any communication been made to the Government of . New South Wales on the subject? What action has been taken to secure a copy of that report ?
– I have not received any information respecting Mr. Oliver’s report.
– In reference to some remarks made by the AttorneyGeneral at the Australian Natives’ Association’s celebration at Ballarat yesterday, I should like to know from the Prime Minister if it is to be understood that the Government have, up to the present, formulated no definite policy as to what is to be done in regard to the Federal capital after the site has been selected by Parliament ? And are we to interpret the statement of the AttorneyGeneral to mean that the Cabinet will, at some future time, formulate a definite policy which they will submit to the electors for approval?
– A statement of the intentions of the Government in regard to the Federal capital site will be made when the . attention of the House is directed to the subject.
– When does the Minister for Home Affairs propose to submit the proposed South Australian electoral divisions for discussion by this House?
– I cannot speak with absolute certainty, because the report and maps of the New South Wales Commissioner hacve not yet been received, though I believe that they will be posted to-day, and that I shall receive them to-morrow. We hope that everything will be ready this week.
– Is it true, as stated in one of the Melbourne newspapers, that the Government have decided that the Home Secretary, in submitting the proposed divisions for New South Wales and Victoria to the House, will move that they be rejected ?
– I have not seen the statement referred to ; but full information will be given to honorable members when the matter comes up for discussion.
– I wish to know from the Minister for Home Affairs if supplementary rolls will be compiled, so that electors in Tasmania who have been disfranchised by their neglect to have their names placed on the existing rolls will be able to enrol in time for the forthcoming elections?
– The law provides that, as soon as the electoral divisions have been approved, revision courts shall be held. These courts will be held before the elections take place.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Whether, seeing that the classification of officers of his Department in Western Australia is not yet completed, the Postmaster-General will direct that no increases be given this year, except on the recommendation, after inquiry, by the Public Service Inspector of the State ?
– The Public Service Commissioner has furnished the following reply: -
No officer is entitled to an increase of salary as a matter of right ; each case is dependent upon satisfactory evidence being furnished to the Public Service Commissioner as to efficiency and conduct. The Public Service Inspector will be asked to report upon all recommendations made.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable and learned member’s questions are as follow : -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 31st July, vide page 2979) :
Clause 25 agreed to.
Clause 26 -
There shall be a Legislative Council for the Territory.
The Legislative Council shall consist of. the Lieutenant-Governor and of the members of the Executive Council, together with such other persons, not more than three in number, as the Governor-General appoints under the Great Seal of the Commonwealth, or as the LieutenantGovernor, in pursuance of instructions from the Governor-General, appoints under the Public Seal of the Territory.
Every person so appointed may be removed at any time by the Governor-General, and shall vacate his seat at the end of six years from the date of his appointment, but may be reappointed.
– Under this clause the Legislative Council of Papua is to consist of certain Government officials, and not more than three other persons, who, I take it, will represent the unofficial interests of the Territory. No provision, however, is made for increased representation in proportion to the increase of population, though, if settlement increases in the Territory, the white population there will, no doubt, require a greater “ say “ in the administration under which they live. Unless some provision is made for an increase in the number of non-official representatives, friction such as arose in Australia in the early days will occur in the Territory. I move -
That the words “ not more than three in number “ be omitted.
It is my intention to propose a new subclause, to provide for the appointment of additional representatives up to the number of twenty, in proportion to the increase of population.
– There is some force in what the honorable member has said. While the clause as it stands may meet all the present requirements of the case, occasion may arise for a slight extension when the population has increased, but not to such an extent, perhaps, as to justify us in adopting a system of direct representation. I do not anticipate that it will be necessary to provide for more than three appointments at first ; but as I think the amendment might obviate difficulty in the future, I am prepared to accept it.
– It seems to me that some provision might be made for the direct representation of the white residents in the Territory upon the Legislative Council. The system now proposed is. inconsistent with the spirit of our political institutions, because it provides for a system of Government entirely by officials. So long as the Commonwealth contributes £20,000 per annum towards the expenses of the administration, it is perhaps only right that we should exercise a considerable influence over the Government of the Territory. But, under the provisions of the Bill, the Government will be entirely under the control of officials.
– All the appointments must be made by the GovernorGeneral, under the advice of the Government of the Commonwealth.
– Yes. Bnt the Executive Council of the Territory will be composed (entirely of officials, and these will, no doubt, exercise great influence in connexion with any appointments that may be made. The expenditure in connexion with the administration of affairs in British New Guinea has been entirely under the control of officials, and I find that although the annual expenditure has amounted to between £38,000 and £39,000, only about £2,000 has been spent on public works, nearly all the rest having been absorbed by the payment of salaries. Some effort should be made to give the 500 or 600 white residents in the Territory a voice in the management of the affairs of the Possession. They contribute almost half of the revenue, and surely they are entitled to some consideration. They consist principally of three classes - traders, miners, and missionaries - and they are all doing good work in opening up the country. The Prime Minister has explained that there are considerable difficulties in the way of conducting an election, but surely the votes of the residents could be recorded if the postal facilities were brought into requisition.
Amendment agreed to.
– I should be very glad if it were practicable to adopt the suggestion of the honorablemember. As soon as it becomes possible I shall strongly support the adoption of a system of direct representation, and if I happen to be in office, I shall take steps to bring it about.
– Why not provide for it now?
– For the reasons which I have already stated. There are only about 500 or 600 white people scattered over an area of 97,500 square miles, and to reach these is a matter of extremedifficulty, becauseatpresentthere are no postal services between the various places, and there are, in many cases, no roads by which communication by land can be carried on. The ordinary method of travelling from one settlement to another is by water, and the Government of the Territory and the Chief Justice have to proceed by steamer. There is not one settlement comprising 100 white people in the Territory, and it can scarcely be said that there is local community of interest in . any one direction. In addition to that, the legislation for the present will necessarily be small, and the proposal in the Bill is hedged round with the provision that if nominations are found unsuitable in the interests of the Territory they may be revoked. Taking the whole of the circumstances into consideration, the difficulty of providing for any representation which would be anything more than a name or which would not, in its consideration for some, inflict injustice upon others, seems almost insuperable. I hope the honorable member will accept my assurance that as soon as there happens to be any considerable access of population, I shall have inquiries made with a view to ascertaining what means of communication exist or can be established, so that the present difficulties in the way of representation may be the sooner overcome. The means at the disposal of the community at present are not such as to permit of that communication which is essential to any system of representation. I do not know how a roll could be collected in New Guinea. If it were practicable, I should be only too glad to take the necessary steps in that direction. The whole settlement is so much in embryo that I would ask the honorable member to hold his hand until something can be done to provide for representation that is likely to prove useful. I shall cordially support any such movement as soon as it becomes practicable.
Mr. BROWN (Canobolas). - I am in sympathy with the honorable member for Kalgoorlie in his desire to establish a proper system of representation, but I agree with the Prime Minister that at present, and possibly for some considerable time, it will scarcely be practicable to bring into existence any workable system of popular representation. With the scattered and isolated settlements, many of which are made up of miners who are moving about from place to place in their search for gold, it will be impossible to providefor any really effective system of voting or representation. I think that for the present the proposal which I have indicated will serve the purpose. I move -
That the following sub-clause be inserted after sub-clause (2) : - “(2a) The non-official members shall be three in numberuntil the resident white British population totals One thousand, and one additional representative shall be added for each additional One thousand of such population. Provided that the total number of such non official councillors shall not exceed twenty. “
I believe that long before the maximum number is reached the conditions of the Possession will be such as to enable the nominee system to be superseded by an elective system, such as has been suggested.
– I think that until we can provide for a representative body in New Guinea - and I shall be glad when that time arrives - there will be some difficulty in securing the attendance of an eligible Council of twenty members. If the honorable member will substitute “ twelve” for “ twenty “ I shall accept his amendment. By the time there are 3,000 or 4,000 people in New Guinea we may be able to give them representation under an elective system.
– I accept the Prime Minister’s suggestion.
Amendment amended accordingly, and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 27 to 36 agreed to.
Clause 37 -
An ordinance reserved for the GovernorGeneral’s pleasure shallnot have any force unless and until, within one year from the day on which it was presented to the Lieutenant-Governor for the Governor-General’s assent, the LieutenantGovernor publishes within the Territory a notification that it has received the Governor-General’s assent.
Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).This is the clause in which an amendment was suggested by the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn ; but it seems to me that, having regard to the amendment of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie which was carried last week, it will not now be necessary. Perhaps, however, it will be as well to adopt the amendment which has been suggested by the honorable and learned member in the next clause.
– I had accepted both the amendments of which the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, had given notice, before the amendment in clause. 19, having reference to the non-alienation of the lands of the Territory, was agreed to by the Committee. In view, however, of what has since occurred, it appears to me that the first amendment is now unnecessary, because it is not requisite to reserve for the assent of the Governor-General an ordinance relating to the alienation of land when there is no constitutional power to effect such alienation. The second amendment seems to be equally unnecessary. A lease, however long it may be, cannot constitute an alienation, because of the ultimate reversion of the land to the Crown. I suggest that the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Batchelor, should insert after paragraph 1 of the next clause the words, “ Any ordinance dealing with the disposal or leasing of Crown lands.”
Clause agreed to.
The Lieutenant-Governor shall not assent to any Ordinance of any of the following classes, unless the Ordinance contains a clause suspending its operations until the signification of the Governor-General’s pleasure thereon : -
Any Ordinance for divorce.
Any Ordinance whereby any grant of land or money, or any donation or gratuity, is made to himself.
Any Ordinance which appears inconsistent with the treaty obligations of the United Kingdom or of the Commonwealth.
Any Ordinance interfering with the discipline or control of the naval or military forces of the King.
Any Ordinance of an extraordinary nature or importance, whereby the King’s prerogative, or the rights or property of subjects of the King not residing in the Territory, or the trade and shipping of any part of the British Dominions, may be prejudiced.
Any Ordinance authorizing the purchase of land by private persons, except from the Lieutenaut-Governor, or from purchasers from him or from the Administrator of the Possession of British New Guinea.
Any Ordinance providing for the deportation of natives from the Territory, or from one part of the Territory to another.
Any Ordinance providing for the supply of arms, ammunition, intoxicants, or opium to natives. (9 Any Ordinance containing provisions from which the assent of the Sovereign or the Governor-General has once been withheld, or which the Sovereign or the Governor-General has disallowed.
Amendment (by Mr. Batchelor) proposed -
That the following new paragraph be inserted : - “(1a.) Any ordinance dealing with the disposal or leasing of Crown lands.”
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).Before that amendment is put I apprehend that paragraph (2) will require to be amended.
– That refers to land which is granted for personal benefit.
– But it assumes that a personal grant can be made.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Higgins) agreed to-
That after the first word “ any,” paragraph (2), the words “lease or” be inserted.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I would direct the Prime Minister’s attention to paragraph (6) of this clause, which reads - “Any ordinance authorizing the purchase of land by private persons “ …. I think that those words might with advantage be omitted.
– I do not think it is advisable to withdraw that safeguard, because I feel sure that the Committee will support the policy that there shall be no sales of land direct from the natives to private persons. It is sales such as those which have caused a great deal of the bickering that has occurred in connexion with titles in the New Hebrides. I prefer’ that the Bill should be passed in a form which will absolutely prevent the possibility of any trafficking in lands with the natives, who are liable to be imposed upon, and who should be dealt with only through the medium of the Government.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).Of course, we must reserve for the assent of the Governor-General ordinances which deal with the purchase of private lands from the natives. Still the effect of the clause in its present form is that the Lieutenant-Governor must reserve any ordinance which authorizes the purchase of lands by private persons. Its operation is not limited to purchases from private persons, but may extend to purchases from the Crown.
– The words used are “ except from the Lieutenant-Governor, or from purchasers.”
– In order to thoroughly protect the natives, theclauseought to read - “ Any ordinance authorizing the purchase of private lands from the natives,” &c.
– In its present form it covers more than purchases from the natives, and I think it is safer.
– But it is open to the construction that there’ is still a power to purchase, and I desire to make it perfectly clear that there is no such power.
– Why not make the clause read “Any ordinance authorizing the purchase of land by private persons, or any acquisition of land except from the LieutenantGovernor.”
– Would not such a provision vest the power in the LieutenantGovernor 1
– No ; because there is an express prohibition against it.
– I have no desire to interfere with the drafting of the paragraph, but I ask the Prime Minister to consent to its recommittal, if he should discover that it does not effect his purpose. I think that subparagraphs (7) and (8) require to be amended. We ought to reserve for the assent of the Governor-General any ordinance relating to native labour, or providing for the deportation of natives from the Territory. At pre- sent any ordinance which provides for the deportation of natives from the Territory, or from one part of it to another, is reserved for the Governor-General’s pleasure. I think, however, that our authority extends to seeing that no ordinance which affects native labour shall be approved by the local authorities.
– Upon the honorable and learned member’s suggestion I prepared a paragraph dealing with that matter. It reads - “Any ordinance providing for the introduction or immigration of the aboriginal natives of Australia, Asia, Africa, or any island of the Pacific,” following the terms employed in the Electoral Act.
– I desire that any ordinance relating to the labour of the natives of New Guinea shall be reserved for the assent of the Governor-General. In view of the white Australia policy which we have adopted, great danger is involved in any attempted interference with native labour there. Provision ought to be made in the Bill that every ordinance which relates to the matter, or to the deportation of natives from the Territory, shall be reserved for the assent of the Governor-General.
– The honorable and learned member means to allow them to work, I suppose f
– I should allow them to work if they desired to do so, but I object to imposing conditions which will compelthem to work by virtue of the economic position.
– In this paragraph the word “ deportation “ does not seem to be the right one to employ, because it implies that the natives may be removed from the Territory, or from one part of it to another against their will. I believe that under the present law the natives cannot be removed except under prescribed regulations.
– Except under some voluntary agreement the provisions of which they understand.
– The word “ deportation” implies that they may be removed against their will.
– Would the honorable member deprive them of the power to go from one part of the Territory to another ?
– I understand that, under the existing law, they cannot be removed save under prescribed regulations.
– If any danger threatens there is complete power to prohibit their removal by ordinance, but this ordinance does not seem to provide for that.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I move -
That after the word “ordinance,” paragraph(7), the words “relating to native labour or” be inserted
The important object which I desire to attain is that the Lieutenant-Governor shall reserve for the assent of the GovernorGeneral in Council any ordinance which relates to native labour.
Amendment agreed to.
– I consider that the amendment proposed by the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Batchelor, is a very sweeping one, and one to which the attention of the Prime Minister might be drawn with- advantage. For instance, it provides that any ordinance dealing with the leasing or disposal of Crown lands’ shall be reserved for the assent of the Governor-General. There is- no doubt that to a very large extent the future development of the Territory will depend upon mining, and I take it that his amendment would be applicable to any mining lease
That would be a very sweeping provision. I think that the Prime Minister might make the clause less drastic in its effect.
– it simply reserves the regulation for the approval of the GovernorGeneral.
– It practically takes the whole administration of the mining laws out of the hands of the Executive Council.
– I do not understand that it will have that effect. It is merely a question of obtaining the GovernorGeneral’s assent to the law under which mining leases may be taken up.
– But under the provisions of this clause an application for a mining lease might be refused by the GovernorGeneral.
– No, the law under which the application might be made has only to be reserved.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I have just had an opportunity of consulting the Prime Minister, and I find that he has no objection to the substitution of the words “relating to” for the words “providing for,” in sub-clause (8). I move -
That the words “ providing for,” paragraph (8), be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “relating to.”
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Winter Cooke) agreed to -
That after the word “ammunition,” paragraph (8), the word “explosives “ be inserted.
– I promised a few days ago to draft a sub-clause dealing with immigration. I have done so, and I think that the amendment which I now propose to move will sufficiently cover the case. I move -
That the following newparagraph be inserted: - “8A. Any ordinance relating to the introduction or immigration of aboriginal natives of Australia, Asia, Africa, or any island of the Pacific. “
Mr. L. E. GROOM (Darling Downs).I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether the Immigration Restriction Act extends to the Territory ?
– I have not considered the question, but I am inclined to think that it does not. The Territory is under the exclusive legislative power of the Commonwealth, and we could legislate in that direction, but the alternative course which I have suggested is, to my mind, the simpler one. The new sub-clause which I I have just proposed would enable us to have supervision over any ordinance providing for the introduction of the persons indicated.
– If the law does not apply, they could be introduced without an ordinance relating to the subject.
– I am not quite sure, but perhaps they could. So far as that is concerned, it will not be difficult to make a suggestion which I think would be carried out. But some such provision as this, if made at the present stage, should be quite sufficient.
Amendment agreed to.
– In reply to the honorable member for Herbert, I should like to state that I had no desire that we should interfere in any degree with the administration of the laws relating to the leasing or disposal of land. The point is that this clause deals only with the reservation of Papuan legislation for the assent of the GovernorGeneral. It does not relate to an act of administration on the part of the local authorities, but solely to their legislative powers. An ordinance passed by the local Legislature cannot become operative until it has received the Governor-General’s assent.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 39 agreed to.
Clause 40 -
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).In accordance with a view which I expressed during the debate on the second reading of this Bill, I suggest that a litigant should be given the option of going to the Supreme Court of Queensland. That Court, at present, entertains all appeals from the Courts of British New Guinea; it is convenient to the Possession, and it has hitherto done the work very well. I fail to see why, without in the least interfering with the rights of parties to a suit to appeal direct to the High Court, an opportunity should not be given to them to go to the Supreme Court of Queensland, whieh sits more frequently, and is more readily available than the High Court will be. It is doubtful when the High Court of three Judges will be able to deal with petty appeals of this kind, and I consider that, as a mere matter of machinery, the option I have named should be given to a litigant. If my proposal be adopted, the final words of sub-clause- (1 ) will have to be altered so far as regards the Supreme Court of Queensland. We could hardly apply the words -
The judgment of the High Court in all such cases shall be final and conclusive, to that Court.
– Why*? Because there would still be an appeal from the Queensland Supreme Court to the High Court?
– Yes, or to the Privy Council. I could understand an objection of that kind being raised, but the cases brought before the Court would be very small. I presume that the Prime Minister would like to leave the position as it stands with regard to appeals from the Supreme Court of Queensland ? I am not asking for anything that is new. There are five or six Judges of the Supreme Court of Queensland, as compared with three for the whole Commonwealth.
– Could they hear cases at Townsville ?
– Yes ; or at Charters Towers, Maryborough, or any other place at which they might choose to sit. The proposal I have made would be far more convenient than the course indicated in the clause, for the High Court might be sitting at Kalgoorlie when a litigant desired to appeal to it from the Territorial Court. I see no constitutional objection to my proposal, and if it were adopted it would be very easy to remodel the clause by providing that the High Court, or the Supreme Court of Queensland, shall have jurisdiction, and then that - -
The judgment of the High Court ni all such cases shall be final and conclusive.
– Would that be the final Court ?
– My own view, both in regard to this Bill and others that we have passed, is that it is unconstitutional to make the court final and conclusive, unless the Constitution itself does so. At the same time, I do not ask the Ministry to go back on the position which they have taken up. I understand that th9 honorable member for Wannon has some suggestion to make before I move the amendment which I have indicated.
– It> seems to me that’ this clause provides that the regulations of the High Court are to be subject to an ordinance of the Possession. It would be strange, indeed, if the High Court were placed in that position. Of course, the words in question may refer to a particular procedure in regard to appeals, but it seems to me that the position is a curious one.
– I think that the provision is satisfactory. The Possession is- one that is given some degree of selfgovernment, which has its judicial tribunals, and in which the administration of justice, considering all the conditions, has been carried on fairly satisfactorily. It seems to me that the local judicial authorities, who, no doubt, would be consulted by the LieutenantGovernor on such a subject, would have a far better knowledge, under the conditions of the Territory, as to what should be the regulations relating to appeals than we or even the High Court, sitting here, could have. While it is advisable to allow appeals to be taken to the High Court, it is only right that those on the spot, who know the circumstances of the country, should be able by ordinance to lay down the conditions. We have to remember, as 1 have so often impressed on the Committee, that . the Government, who is responsible to this House, has a sufficient control over any ordinances that may be made. I think it would be better to leave the clause as it stands. As the Attorney-General reminds me, it refers only to appeal cases, and the jurisdiction is very limited in range and area. As to the suggestion made by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, that as this provision applies also to criminal matters, a person might wish to carry his appeal to the High Court, I rather agree with him that it would be better not to make any law which would prevent a matter which involved a high and important principle of the Constitution from going ultimately to the High Court. I would, therefore, accept an amendment providing that the High Court, or, at the option of the appellant, the Supreme Court of Queensland, should have jurisdiction. Does the honorable and learned member think that that would be the proper phrase to employ ?
– I do not think the word “ option “ is necessary.
– Of course, we could not place the jurisdiction at the option of a litigant.
Amendment (by Mr. Higgins) agreed to -
That after the word “Court,” line 1, the words “ or the Supreme Court of Queensland” be inserted.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).- If we are to be consistent there ought to be inserted a new sub-clause providing that the judgment of the High Court in all such cases shall be conclusive.
– That would be so where cases were taken to the High Court.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 41 to 46 agreed to.
Postponed clause 6 -
Subject to this Act the laws in force in the Possession of British New Guinea at the commencement of this Act shall continue in the Territory until other provision is made.
– I drew attention to this clause at an earlier stage. I understand that the Prime Ministerhas considered a suggestion which I then made, and is prepared to agree to it. I move -
That the following words be added: - “Provided that every ordinance of the said Possession, or Act or Statute of the State of Queensland adopted as an ordinance, and relating to any of the matters enumerated in section 38 of this Act, shall be forthwith submitted to the GovernorGeneral, who may disallow the same within one month from such submission, and such disallowance on being made known by the LieutenantGovernor by proclamation or by notification in theGazetle of the Territory shall annul the law from the day when the disallowance is so made known.”
The effect of this amendment simply is to cause to be submitted to the GovernorGeneral, for his consideration, any existing laws on the matters referred to in clause 38, under which new laws have to be submitted to him for his approval. I do not know that there are many laws of the class mentioned in that clause, but there are a great many laws of various kinds now in operation in New Guinea. I see, for example, thai the Queensland Act relating to the driving of cattle through populous towns is in force in British New Guinea. The Queensland Act to facilitate the winding up of companies is also in operation there. That will be useful in winding up the land purchase companies, if for no other purpose. There is also in operation there the Queensland Act relating to pawnbrokers, as well as an Act legalizing art unions. I do not know whether the head hunters could, under that Act, have a raffle for a skull in good condition !
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed clause 20 -
– I desire to make an Amendment in sub-clause (2) in order to set some limits to the number of the Executive Council, and also to secure that that body shall consist of officials as distinguished from the Legislative Council, to which other persons may be appointed. I think that the number proposed will be sufficient, at least for some time to come. It will be better not to allow for an undue number in a body of this kind. I move -
That after the word “Council,” line 1, the words “ shall be officers of the Territory and shall not exceed six in number.. They “ be inserted.
The sub-clause will then read -
The members of the Executive Council shall be officers of the Territory and shall not exceed six in number. They shall be appointed by the Governor-General.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 38A. No intoxicants’ or opium shall be allowed to be imported into or manufactured or sold or otherwise disposed of in the Territory except for medicinal purposes to be dispensed on the order of a medical practitioner, and any ordinance passed before the commencement of this Act providing for such introduction or sale is hereby repealed.”
I wish to mention that the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Batchelor, who is very much interested in the question dealt with by the proposed new clause, had intended to move something of the kind ; but I gave notice of my proposal so that the matter might not be overlooked. I know that it will be urged that already stringent regulations have been issued in connexion with the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors to the natives of New Guinea ; but it is a notorious fact that there are fourteen licences within the Territory, though there are only 500 white inhabitants. . Although it is stated that the regulations are very stringent, it is, nevertheless, also’ notorious that traders have been fined to the extent of £50 for supplying natives with drink.
– That is pretty severe.
– The very fact that it is necessary to fine to such an extent shows the necessity for an absolute prohibition.
– If the honorable member were fined £50 for selling a nigger a hat, would he not think it pretty strong?
– I do not see the analogy between what I am urging and what the honorable member suggests. I am also sorry that my honorable friend regards the mutter in such a light-hearted fashion. I look upon it as a question of great importance. The very fact that such fines as I have mentioned have been imposed shows that the present regulations are ineffective.
– Does not it show that the Act is very well administered?
– Not necessarily.
– If the honorable member had no instances of that kind to appeal to, would he not argue that the fact that there had been no prosecutions was proof that the regulations had been ineffective?
– It might as well be said that because licensed victuallers are often fined in Victoria it shows that there is no drunkenness in this State. But it shows nothing of the kind. Such a statement would not indicate any knowledge of the existing condition of affairs. I am informed by a missionary that it is the unanimous wish of the missionaries in British New Guinea that the sale of intoxicating drink to the natives should be entirely prohibited.
– I may have something different to say.
– The niggers make the stuff they drink themselves.
– They do not make the stuff that is sold to them. If it were true that they made the intoxicating liquor which they drink I am sure the authorities would have quite enough to do without the regulation of the sale of imported liquor. This matter is a very interesting one to the people of the Commonwealth, as is evidenced by the petitions which have been presented to the House, not only from Victoria, but from other States also. I am quite confident that had time permitted, a great many more petitions, much more largely signed, would have been presented. This is not a new question. As far back as April, 1887, in the Conference Room of the House of Commons, a very large and representative Conference considered this important question. Amongst those present on that occasion were Archdeacon Farrar, Mr. Samuel Smith, M.P., Colonel Sir Charles Warren, and several native missionaries. The missionaries unamimously condemned the sale of drink to natives. One member of the Conference, the Honorable Mr. Johnson, who had laboured for many years amongst natives, used these words -
The negroes had risen in many cases above the evils of the slave trade, but they had shown that they had no power whatever to withstand the evil of this drink traffic. All along the coast, life was short, and mission work had very little chance of prospering among the tribes in the face of this drink traffic. They had therefore felt it necessary to appeal to those in England who were interested in this question to assist them. The native Christians had appealed to their own local Governments, but had received no encouragement from them. They had appealed to the Colonialoffice, asking them to suppress this evil. No principle of free-trade could justify the distribution of poison to one’s people, and especially to one’s own people with whom one carried on commercial transactions. The liquor traffic in those colonies was Africa’s ruin ; and the death of the negro race before that trade was only a matter of a few years. The Government said that revenue considerations prevented them from taking measures to suppress the trade. He hardly sympathized with the Government in endeavouring to raise revenue out of the life of its own people. He (Mr. Johnson) believed that this rum trade was the very death of commerce itself.
ArchdeaconFarrar, in recording a conversation with Mr. Ruskin, says -
Is no artist great enough, or deeply moved enough, to preach such a sermon against the worst, because more plausible, more seductive, more creeping, and more destroying, shamef ulness of the drink traffic, which inevitably involves not only the demoralization, but even the sure, if slow, extinction of native races ?
– That is said in regard to the drink traffic generally.
– The words apply more especially to the sale of liquor to the natives of any country. I am convinced that we should be doing good service to the natives of New Guinea, and injury to no one, by passing this amendment. I am aware that it is urged that the sale of drink is necessary for the white population. I have never been to New Guinea ; but Senator Staniforth Smith has visited the place, and he is very emphatic in urging that something should be done in the direction I have indicated. I have another authority here in the person of Sir William McGregor, LieutenantGovernor of New Guinea, who, in his report of the 23rd August, 1899, to the Victorian Government, says -
In my experience people that are total abstainers in the colony enjoy better health, and have a lower mortality, than those that are not total abstainers. There is a widespread popular belief that some stimulant is required in the tropics, especially by people that have in a cooler climate been accustomed to it. This will not stand the test of experience. It is a matter that any one not a total abstainer can prove for himself in a month….. The missionaries that as a class are total abstainers are the healthier, and stand exposure better than others. The man that is a total abstainer bears very much better the onset of fever than the man that is not ; and he is also less liable to other diseases. These stimulants arevaluable in conditions of debility when they are ad ministered in small quantities. They should be eschewed by healthy persons that wish to remain healthy in the climate of British New Guinea.
– The natives are allowed drink only medicinally.
– That is all which is supposed to be allowed in North Queensland, but the Prime Minister ought to be aware of the notorious fact that in that part of Australia, and also on Thursday Island, the natives are served with drink, notwithstanding the prohibition laws. What is the history of the aborigines in Victoria and everywhere else ? The law makes it penal to serve them with liquor, but it is notorious that the native races become extinct through the drinking habits introduced by the white population. Who will lose by prohibition in New Guinea? Traffickers in land are to be curbed, and I do not see why restraint should not be placed on traffickers in drink. Drink is not required in New Guinea for reasons of health, or for the preservation of commercial stability ; and we have a great and important duty in this respect to discharge in that Territory. The “honorable member for Maranoa has pointed out that the native races have their own vices, which are bad enough; and I am assured that a native Papuan, under the influence of drink, is neither more nor. less than a madman - that he is more dangerous then than at any other time. I am extremely sorry that the Prime Minister appears to assume an attitude of opposition.
– I hope there is nothing in my attitude to indicate opposition.
– The interjections of the Prime Minister would lead one to suppose that he is opposed to my amendment, though I hope I have placed a wrong construction on his attitude. I hope the Government will see their way clear to accept my proposal, or, at any rate, some modification of it. If we cannot altogether prohibit the sale of drink, the Government ought to take full responsibility for dealing with the traffic.
– Hear, hear !
– What would the honorable member for Melbourne Ports do with the present licences ?
– Cancel every one of them.
– And what would the honorable member do with the liquor.
– Throw it into the sea - it would be be better for the people in every respect if that step were taken tomorrow. At any rate, I am sure it would be much better for the natives if all the liquor were destroyed.
– Would the honorable member compensate the holders of licences ?
– If the traffic has assumed such dimensions that we have to consider the question of compensation, the position is more serious than I had thought, and the sooner the sale of drink is stopped the better for every one in New Guinea. I hardly think, however, that the vested interests of fourteen licensees in a population of 500 white people can be of very great monetary value.
– It is time the whites drank a little less if the licenses are of such value as to demand compensation.
– There is no doubt that the black people are served with drink, much to their detriment.
– Has the honorable member any proof of that ?
– I have no proof beyond what I am assured, and what I have read - and, of course, the fact that traders have already been fined for serving blacks with drink.
– To what sort of licences does the honorable member refer? To hotel licences?
– To licences for dispensing liquor ; and where liquor is sold there is danger to the natives.-
– Does the honorable member know in what quantities the licences allow the dispensation of liquor 1
– No, I do not.
– Then I shall tell the honorable member presently.
– If liquor is dispensed it must go somewhere ; and if it goes to the 500 white people they would be better without it. I do not wish to introduce the question of -total abstinence per se, but merely as it affects the natives of New Guinea ; and I hope the Committee will deal with the liquor traffic in the same way as they have dealt with the land traffic. Land, liquor, and labour appear to furnish the three problems which will have to be solved in connexion with the natives of New Guinea. We have already dealt with the land question in a way which, to my judgment, is the right one ; and we shall take a right step if we deal similarly with the liquor traffic. At any rate, if the Government allow liquor to be dispensed, it ought to be absolutely on their responsibility. I hope, however, that my amendment will be accepted. I again ask - who is to lose by the adoption of such an amendment ? Will the traders in drink or the white residents ultimately lose ?
– Will not the revenue lose 1
– I do not think so; but if the revenue is to lose, that furnishes one of the strongest arguments I could possibly have in favour of my amendment, considering the great quantity of liquor which must be consumed.
– Then the honorable member does not want revenue 1
– Not from that source.
– Can the honorable member assure another £25,000 per annum ?
– I might assure the Prime Minister of another £10,000 per annum. If the Prime Minister is going to place revenue before men and women, 1 cannot possibly agree with him.
– Will the honorable member guarantee a sufficient majority to assure me another £10,000 per annum 1
– I think so.
– Revenue from drink means future expenditure.
– And a very heavy responsibility. We have no right to get revenue from the vices of the natives.
– Certainly not.
– Can the Prime Minister point to a single instance in which the drink traffic has had any beneficial effect on the progress of native races ? I am sure .the Prime Minister cannot do so. The testimony of missionaries, and of experience everywhere, is against the dispensing of liquor to aborigines. If there is one ‘disgrace we have to answer for more than another it is the way in which white people have treated the blacks in relation to the drink traffic ; and I appeal to honorable members to absolutely prohibit the sale of intoxicating drink in this part of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is quite mistaken if he thinks I desire to wantonly encourage the sale of liquor in New Guinea or anywhere else. It would scarcely be a fair basis for discussion - though I do not think that the honorable member has attempted to make it the basis - to take the view that those who do not see eye to eye with the honorable member desire to aggregate the evils of the drink traffic.
– I do not say that.
– But the honorable member has come down on me like a hawk once or twice because of interjections which, if disorderly, certainly had very peaceable intentions. I do not desire to engage in warfare with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports in regard to the drink traffic, but merely to advance some reasons why I believe his proposal to be disproportionate to the matter now before the Committee. The circumstances do not warrant the absolute prohibition of the importation and sale of liquor to the white people in New Guinea.
– When would the circumstances warrant prohibition ?
– I say that the circumstances do not warrant any such view at present. As to the proper time, I should wait until circumstances do afford a warrant, unless the honorable member says that prohibition should be carried out under unwarrantable conditions. There can be only the one course or the other. ‘
– When would the Prime Minister think that circumstances would warrant prohibition t
– When I found that the law in regard to the supply of liquor to the natives was being evaded and broken, and when the testimony on this score was other than what I conceive it to be at the present time. It is not a fact that the missionaries are all agreed that there is a traffic in liquor with the natives, or that the drink evil is spreading amongst the latter. Only a day or two ago, if not to-day, Mr. King, the representative of the London Missionary Society, of the operations of which in New Guinea honorable members are aware, was in my office, and his testimony is that the present law and ordinances are working well, and that he has no complaint to make.
– Would Mr. King support prohibition?
– I do not know whether he would or not.
– I can tell the Prime Minister that Mr. King would support prohibition.
– I am not making Mr. King a judge of the actions of either the honorable member or myself, but simply stating a matter of fact. We are entitled to advance our own opinions, notwithstanding anything that may be said by Mr. King. As I say, I am only stating a matter of fact in support of my view that there has not been a case made out for the alteration of the law in New Guinea.
– What is. Mr. King’s view?
– I have no information beyond what Mr. King stated. Whatever his view of the law may be, is not material, but his statement of a matter of fact is interesting in an argument of this nature. Some reference has been made to the number of petitions which have been presented on this question. No doubt there have been a great number of petitions, but there also have been a great number in regard to the erection of a post-office at Kadina. Then there was a petition presented to this House, not long ago, signed by 30,000 people - a petition which, no doubt, 100,000 people could have been got to sign ; but it is another question whether the views presented by the petitioners were either sound or tolerant.
– Does the Prime Minister not think that the Kadina post-office should be erected ?
– When I know more about the matter I shall be able to give a reply. The fact that these petitions come from a similar source should be given due weight, but no more than due weight. Whatever Territory, State, or place may be placed under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, we shall probably have petitions of the character from precisely the same quarter ; and they are interesting as evidence of the strength of viewsof thepetitionersand of their bona fides, but they do not carry us much further.I do not believe that there is any proof whatever of an improper sale of liquor to the natives of New Guinea, or of any insufficiency of thelaw. If there is any insufficiency, it can be met, not by the Government undertaking the sale of each bottle of liquor, but by reducing, if necessary, the number of licensed houses, and preventing any undue increase of the traffic.
– By creating a monopoly.
– That would not be a monopoly any more than is the restricted trade created by a local option poll.
– But the effect would be a monopoly.
– If that is the opinion of the honorable and learned member, it is not mine ; and on that point we are at issue. If the honorable member for Melbourne Ports thinks that the revenue derived from the sale of liquor in New Guinea is an argument in favour of his amendment, I shall supply him with that argument. In New Guinea the revenue from liquor at the high duties prevailing is. £3,200 per annum - that is; from liquor supplied, not to the blacks, but to the whites.
– The 500 whites must be a pretty good drinking crowd.
– Of the £3,200, the sum of £2,800 is derived from spirits, which, I suppose, furnish the chief ground of complaint on the part of honorable members who support the amendment. The duty on whisky is over 100 per cent. ; on brandy, about 66 per cent.; on gin, about 200 per cent.; on rum more than 200 per cent.; and on schnapps, 150 per cent. The value of the whisky imported into New Guinea is £1,381, and the duty £1,624.
– Will the Prime Minister tell us what is the duty per gallon ?
– That information oan be found in the ordinances ; at any rate, whatever the duty may be, it amounts to the percentages which I have already given. The value of the brandy consumed in New Guinea is £726, and the duty £500; the value of the gin consumed is £92, and the duty £198; of rum, the value is £179, and the duty £396 ; and of schnapps, the value is £67, and the duty £99. Duties on beer and wine amount to something under £400, but in relation to them I need not enter tediously into detail. The fact is that seven-eighths of the revenue from intoxicating liquor is collected on spirits, and the whole ‘ of the revenue collected in this way amounts to £3,263. I give the figures up to the 30th June of last year, because those for the year ending on the 30th J une last have not yet come to hand.
– Has the right honorable gentleman considered the question of nationalizing the drink traffic in New G uinea ?
– I have considered it, and it may or may not be a desirable policy to adopt. I have not so fully considered , the question as to be able to give a definite expression of opinion upon it at present, although I have read something upon the subject. New Guinea may possibly be a fit place in which to make an experiment of that character. I will not pledge myself to it, but in connexion with New Guinea it suggests very interesting considerations. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports may consider that the fact that there is a considerable revenue from spirits is evidence of their general consumption, and is therefore a powerful argument in favour of his contention ; but, strongly as I am in favour of preventing and prohibiting the sale of liquor to the natives, I do not think that we are warranted in preventing white men who go to New Guinea from obtaining under proper restrictions the liquor they desire. Of course, if’ I saw that this traffic was being extended to the natives, independently of anything that might be contained in this Bill, I should devote my best attention and energy to so coping with the traffic as to prevent the natives being injured by it.
– Surely the right honorable gentleman may learn from experience.
– I can learn by experience and by inquiry ; but I shall not learn anything from such statements as have been made by the honorable member, because they are too vague ; they are not to the point, and they afford no proof. Any one coming here to legislate as is now proposed should be able to show some state of facts to justify his proposition. My honorable friend says that he can bring before, us nothing but what he has beard, to which I oppose something that I have heard, and neither of us is on very strong ground. There should be some affirmative basis for legislation of the kind proposed, and it rests with, my honorable friend to furnish it. I do not think he has furnished it. Whether we consider that the revenue derived from the importation of liquor is too much or too little, the matter is one which can be dealt with in various ways by duties, by prohibition, by reduction of the licensed houses, or by an alteration of the licensing law. But it would not be a condition of affairs favorable to its development that New Guinea should be a place in which a man would not only be unable to get a foot of land, but in which he would also be unable to obtain any liquor. I do not believe we can have any very great prospect of advancing New Guinea by means of a population of teetotalers. Not that I have any objection to teetotalers, but I think that among the classes of men who usually develop territories, we shall seldom find men who are teetotalers.
– Does the right honorable gentleman call a man who cannot get a drink a teetotaler ?
– He may have to be a teetotaler whether he wills it or not, but if we take away his liquor, we shall secure a manufactured teetotaler, about whom we cannot brag very much. I have to deal with the conditions of New Guinea as I find them, and I find no state of facts which justifies the fears I have heard honorable members express. The law of 1888 may have been in force in New Guinea when Dr. MacGregor, now Sir William MacGregor, was Administrator of. the Possession, and I think it was ; but the law of 1901, which is now in force, was nonexistent at that time. Under the liquor ordinance of 1901 all the licences sire granted for a year only, but may be renewed at the option of the licensing authorities. The ordinary licence granted empowers the licensee to sell on the premises for consumption off the premises, and not to sell liquor for consumption on the premises except to bond fide residents on the licensed premises, in a quantity not less than can be contained in the kind of bottle generally known as a quart bottle. There is an exemption in the case of liquor sold to a person residing on the licensed premises, and of liquor which is bond fide given by the licensee to a person on the licensed premises. The only other kind of licence issued is a ship licence, and whilst under the ordinary licence no less quantity than a bottle is to be dealt with, and’ that must not be drunk on the licensed premises, in a case of a ship licence, the authority given is to this effect : It empowers the licensee to sell on a licensed ship, while within colonial waters, liquor on which, all customs dues that can be claimed have been paid, but only in quantities of not les3 than 2 gallons of one kind of liquor. It will be obvious to honorable members that a native of New Guinea in the present condition of the Possession would require, as natives go, to be possessed of considerable wealth to buy even one bottle of liquor at a licensed house, and he would have no chance of paying for and obtaining from a ship a dozen bottles of liquor on which duty had been paid. The provision for safeguarding the natives is to be found in the ordinance of 1888, and I do not think any legislation has’ since been passed which detracts from the severity of that ordinance.
– How long has it been in force 1
– It has been in force for fifteen years. It applies to firearms, ammunition, and explosives, as well as to liquor and opium, and under it no person, save with the exceptions afterwards contained in the ordinance, ‘ may supply a native by sale or gift, or in any other way either directly or indirectly, with any firearm, ammunition, explosive, intoxicating liquor, or opium. A person offending against the provision is liable to a fine of not less than £20, and not exceeding £200, and to imprison ment - not “or” - for any term not less than one month, and not exceeding two years. That is a pretty severe provision, and probably much more severe than my honorable friends expected when they heard the- £50 fine referred to just now. Then, under ordinance, natives are forbidden to have firearms, explosives, or intoxicants in their possession.
If they have they may be brought before any judicial officer, who may summarily direct the articles to be confiscated and destroyed, or otherwise disposed of, according to his discretion. There are certain cases in which the Administrator may supply arms to natives, but the conditions provide that this may be done only in cases in which safety is assured. It must be clear that the native is in urgent need of firearms and’ ammunition for selfdefence, and any firearm or ammunition given to him may be retained until withdrawn by the order of the Administrator. Then there is this provision with regard to intoxicating liquor : that, notwithstanding these provisions, any person may give a native in urgent cause or necessity, but without recompense or remuneration, any intoxicating liquor, when it is given solely and purely for medicinal purposes, and it rests with the person giving such liquor toprove to the satisfaction of the court the existence of the urgent necessity. Failing such proof “ in a clear and conclusive manner,” to quote the words of the ordinance, the person is liable to the penalty provided in the section to which I have already referred.
– In other words, one is allowed to “shout” for a native.
– No. In this case liquor is to be given solely and purely for medicinal purposes, and it rests with the person giving it to prove the urgent necessity clearly and conclusively. If he does not do so he is liable to be fined any amount from£20 up to£200, and also to be imprisoned for a term up to two years, and not less than one month.- I submit that there is in these provisions a sufficient supervision of this matter on the part of the Government of New Guinea, which, no doubt, will be brought into closer and more direct control in the future by reason of the substitution of the Commonwealth for the Colonial-office. I respect very much the views of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports upon this subject. . I am entirely with him in thinking that we ought not to do anything which will carry ruin and destruction amongst these natives, and that in all respects we should provide for their welfare and protect them. But I do not think that there is anything to show that the legislation to which I have referred has proved ineffective, or that there is anything which shows that, for the purpose of protecting the black population, it is incumbent upon us so to legislate that the white population shall not have any liquor at all. It is in the interests of the black population that my honorable friend has submitted his proposal, and from the very best motives I am sure. But he appears to think that he cannot carry his proposal into effect without prohibiting not only the black natives, but also the white people from obtaining drink. My view is that the traffic is well safeguarded at present, and that if necessary it can be even more carefully safeguarded than the ordinances I have read provide for. If this is so, it is not necessary to go to the extreme length of the prohibition which the honorable member proposes in his amendment. I must assume that the honorable member desires to legislate only for the safety and the moral and physical welfare of the black population. I contend that that is done now, or, if not, that it can be done with very little alteration of the existing ordinances. If the honorable member does not desire - and he does not plainly say that it is his desire - to enforce the prohibition of the sale of any liquor whatever to the white inhabitants of New Guinea, he should submit some proposal which will safeguard the interests of the natives without at the same time taking away any reasonable liberty of this kind from the white people.
-! should be very glad to be able to support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, but I think there is a great deal of reason in the arguments adduced by the Prime Minister. There does seem to me to be a certain amount of harshness in” imposing the rigidity ©f prohibition upon the white population of New Guinea - a population that we are endeavouring, under this Bill, to increase and provide for, and whose industries it is our desire to stimulate. Certainly, if intoxicants are desirable or permissible anywhere, they would appear to be permissible in such strenuous circumstances as may be supposed to surround white settlers in such -countries as New Guinea. No doubt it is very easy to abstain from intoxicating liquors under circumstances which call for no undue exertion or effort, but whether it is as. easy or as wise to abstain under circumstances such as meet the settler in countries like New Guinea, where he is subjected to climatic changes to which he is unaccustomed, and which are hurtful to the constitution, I leave it to others who are better able than myself to do so to determine. There can be no difference of opinion as to the wisdom of keeping intoxicants from the native population of the Territory ; but there is a very wide gulf between the effect of intoxicants upon black races and their effect upon ourselves, whose ancestors have been hard drinkers for, perhaps, the last 2,000 years. It is a physiological fact that one could kill a whole tribe of black people with the quantity of whisky that might be poured into some white men almost without appreciable effect. In my opinion, we should cast upon the Government of New Guinea the responsibility for the sale of liquor, and control of the traffic there. If by control it is understood that the Government of the Territory will have the right to license persons to sell intoxicants and opium, I agree that that does not go far enough. The importation and sale should be left wholly to the State, and managed by its agents. This should insure purity in the liquor sold, and should prevent abuse; because no incentives to drink would be offered other than those created by the liquor itself. Therefore, if the honorable member for Melbourne Ports will withdraw his amendment, I shall move the addition of the following proviso -
Notwithstanding anything contained in any ordinance, there shall be no sale or dealing in intoxicating liquor or opium in the Territory except by the agents of the Lieutenant-Governor, and the receipts therefrom shall go into the Treasury of the Territory.
Under such a provision the whole responsibility would be cast upon the Government, who, having the welfare of the Territory at heart, would, I think, see that the traffic was regulated in a manner conducive to the best interests of the settlers there. If the amendment before the Committee is agreed to, I think it will be impossible to prevent the illicit importation and sale of liquor. The coast line of New Guinea is a very extensive one ; therefore it will be impossible to prevent either the smuggling of intoxicants, or the sale of liquor either imported or locally distilled. In the prohibition States of America, where there are much greater opportunities for actively watching and controlling the importation and sale of intoxicants, they are almost openly sold. Liquor, as ‘ is well known, can always be obtained there if prescribed by duly qualified medical men, and there are days when, so to speak, every one is ill. People get prescriptions, and’ go to the chemist’s for as much whisky as they want. If that can happen in America, I do not think it would be possible to prevent still greater abuses in New Guinea. In Queensland, the publicans are prohibited from serving liquor to coloured people; but it is notorious that such people can always get drink when they want it. Similarly, although the Victorian law prohibits the sale of intoxicating liquors on Sunday, no one is so foolish as to think that it is observed in Melbourne, for instance.
– More liquor is drunk in the constituency of Melbourne Ports than in any other in Australia.
– It is notorious that a great deal of liquor is sold in that electorate. In the same way the New South Wales liquor laws are not observed, and I remember the incredulity of the New South Wales Parliament at the statement of a member, not that he had been to 33 public houses on one Sunday morning and ‘had obtained a drink at each, but that he had succeeded in walking home afterwards. If these laws cannot be enforced in Melbourne and in Sydney, the total prohibition of liquor cannot be enforced in New Guinea.
– Is there a medical practitioner there ?
– If not, and it were necessary to import one in order to obtain the proper prescription, the people there would soon arrange for the importation. It would be a very good thing if all persons, like the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and myself, were abstainers ; but in the meantime we must allow them to drink a little occasionally. As people drink so much on Sundays, when public houses are supposed to be shut, T do not know what they would do if the sale of liquor were prohibited altogether. I hope that the honorable member will withdraw his amendment, to allow me to move that which I have suggested. The members of the Committee have hitherto set their faces against proceeding to extremes in any matter, and I shall be surprised if they do otherwise on this occasion. Those who have given careful consideration to the liquor question in England, and in other parts of the world, have come to the conclusion that the most hopeful solution of the difficulty is in making the traffic a State or a municipal concern. We have now an opportunity of putting that suggestion into practice, and to exercise that wise discretion which differentiates the fanatic from the statesman. It is bordering on fanaticism to compel the white population of New Guinea to abstain entirely from intoxicating liquors, in order to prevent the possibility of the abuse of intoxicants by the black population of the Territory. I hope that my amendment will be accepted. If the honorable member will not withdraw his amendment, I intend to move mine if his should be defeated.
Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).I hope that the. honorable member for Melbourne Ports will push his amendment to a division. I shall vote first for that amendment, but, if is not carried, I shall, as a second choice, support that suggested by the honorable member for West Sydney. Our chief concern should be the native population of New Guinea. We are not so much concerned about the , development of that Territory by white people, because the number of whites there now is very .few, nor should we desire to augment its i-e venue by ‘ allowing the importation and sale of liquor there. The Prime Minister has used as an argument against the amendment the fact that about £3; 000 of the revenue of New Guinea is obtained from the importation and sale of intoxicants ; but I think that the people of Australia would be willing to make up that amount themselves rather than permit the drink traffic and the consequent deterioration of the native population to continue. The honorable and learned member for West Sydney pointed out that it would be very easy to evade a general prohibition ; but he must admit that that argument applies with just as much force to the prohibition of the sale of liquor to the natives. If the sale of liquor to the white residents is permitted, it will be very difficult to prevent its sale to the natives. The honorable and learned member also pointed out that, although Sunday trading was prohibited in Melbourne, the sale of liquor was carried on quite openly ; and it is also well known that, despite the law to the contrary, aboriginals are supplied with liquor in some parts of Australia. There is much more police supervision in Australia than can possibly be provided for in the Territory, and therefore it will be almost impossible to prevent the sale of liquor to the natives. The Prime Minister stated that he would be in favour of reducing the number of licences. It seems extraordinary that fourteen licences should be required to supply the requirements of 500 white people.
– There are only six hotel licences, the rest being gallon licences.
– From my point of view, gallon licences are quite as objectionable as hotel licences. I believe that a great deal of harm results from the facilities offered in Australia for the sale of liquor by storekeepers. I have had considerable experience as a member of a Licensing Bench, and I have come to the conclusion that storekeepers’ licences are more harmful than are those granted to hotelkeepers. In view of the fact that natives, such as those with whom we have to deal, are specially susceptible to the evil influences of liquor, and that it will be almost impossible to prevent them from securing drink if we permit its importation into the Possession, I think we should absolutely prohibit its sale there. Under ordinary circumstances I am not a supporter of prohibition, but I think that we should do everything within our power to protect the interests of the natives. Experience has shown that wherever white men come into contact with natives and supply them with liquor, the latter inevitably go down.
– That result is not entirely due to. the liquor.
– Judging from what I have read with regard to the experience gained in the South Sea Islands, in almost every case in which liquor has been supplied to the natives their numbers have been greatly reduced, and all kinds of vice and crime have abounded. Under these circumstances, I intend to support the amendment of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports.
– I also shall support the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. The history of all attempts made to civilize inferior races shows that liquor has been one of the principal causes of their degradation. We are taking upon ourselves a grave responsibility in regard to this Territory, and it will be well worth our while to endeavour to avoid the mistakes made in connexion with other attempts to colonize new countries, and to civilize inferior races. I believe that prohibition will offer us the only means of safety. It has been urged that we should inflict a great hardship upon the white residents of the Territory if we absolutely deprived them of the means of obtaining liquor, but is it right to for one moment weigh the convenience of a handful of white people against the welfare of half-a-million of God’s creatures? The Prime Minister said that he would interfere when circumstances warranted, but that would probably be too late. That would be equivalent to asking a man to sign the pledge when he had delirium,tremens, or vaccinating a man with the small-pox. We have an opportunity of establishing a new order of things in the Territory, and we should be lacking in our duty if we failed to take advantage of it. I do not see that the sale of liquor in wholesale quantities is attended with any less evil results than those consequent upon the retail traffic. Some time ago, when a contract was let in the Waranga Basin, in Victoria, the removal of an hotel was necessitated, and the licence was cancelled ; but the brewer who had been interested in the hotel immediately set up a tent, and sold beer in quantities of not less than two gallons, the result being that the condition of affairs in that locality was even worse than when the public-house licence was in force. The attempt to make the people of Mildura a community of abstainers has absolutely failed. I am told that there are more broken and empty bottles to be found there than in any other place in Victoria with ten times the population. That result has been brought about because the sale of liquor in the settlement was not absolutely prohibited. No hotel licences are issued, but clubs are carried on at which all those who desire it may obtain liquor. If we fail to prohibit the introduction of liquor into New Guinea, and the ruin of the natives results, the responsibility will lie at our door.
– A number of honorable members have expressed sympathy with the amendment of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, but find themselves unable to support it. The Prime Minister has stated that he is averse to applying prohibition to the white residents.
– Unless there is sufficient evidence to show that the native population will suffer.
– I do not think we need go so far as that. If we are to understand that the white residents have hitherto been supporting fourteen licensed sellers of intoxicating liquors, and that they have consumed all the liquor that has been imported into the Territory, it is about time that we interfered, in their interests, apart from any consideration for the natives. We know that the natives on many of the South Sea Islands have been killed off in great numbers owing to the evils which have resulted from the sale of liquor, and we should do everything in our power to prevent a similar state of affairs being brought about in the Territory. The application of the principle of nonalienation of land will prevent agrarian troubles with the natives in the future, and the prohibition of the sale of drink will also tend to the maintenance of peace and good order among the Papuans and to friendly relations between them and the white residents. All the evidence we have before us tends to show that the most rigid ordinances can be evaded, and I do not believe that State control of the liquor traffic would have that restrictive effect at which we should all aim. Let us do everything we can to preserve the native race. Those who advocate prohibition may be looked upon as fanatics, but in this instance, at any rate, I hold that their fanaticism has taken the right form.
– How would it be possible to prove that a man had not imported or sold liquor for medicinal purposes ?
– I leave that for honorable and learned members to consider. My whole concern is with the principle, and not with the means of applying it. The Prime Minister declares that the adoption of the amendment of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports will result ina serious loss of revenue. I would point out to him that if he continues to allow so much liquor to be absorbed in New Guinea the whole of that revenue will be required to provide for additional police protection, and for the erection of gaols.
– I trust that the Committee will reject this amendment. To my mind to attempt to regulate the liquor traffic in a new country in the way that is proposed is impracticable and absurd. We are all aware that in new lands the conditions which obtain are entirely different from those which prevail in settled communities. For example, it is very probable that large mining settlements will be established in New Guinea, the tropical climate of which is very prone to engender fevers of various descriptions. That being so, the use of intoxicants becomes absolutely necessary. Everybody is familiar with the value of whisky or brandy in illnesses of that kind.
– In cases of malaria ?
– Yes, in connexion with malarial fevers. To my thinking it is a piece of presumption for any honorable member, living under the conditions which obtain in Melbourne, to propose an amendment regulating the practice which shall prevail in a new country that is being opened up under the very greatest difficulties. Let us suppose that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, or some other person of his extreme type, had succeeded in incorporating in the Western Australian law a similar provision to that which he has submitted for our consideration, at the time the Coolgardie gold-fields were being opened up. Had any such attempt been made, I venture to say that a riot would have occurred. There, men found it absolutely essential for the preservation of their health to use intoxicating liquors. They will find their use equally necessary in New Guinea, and they will obtain liquor, irrespective of any restrictions that we may impose. I repeat that the amendment is absolutely impracticable. Communication between the various parts of New Guinea is carried on chiefly by vessels, and how can the Government have officers stationed at every landing place to prohibit the sale of liquor by the crews.
– How can we prevent it from being brought in from German New Guinea?
– As the, honorable member for Melbourne pertinently asks, how can we prevent it from being imported from German New Guinea ? The same argument is equally applicable to the coast line.
– Then these ordinances are of no value ?
– They are serviceable only in so far as effect can be given to them. Where under an ordinance the Government can catch a man, and fine him £50 for an infraction of’ the law, it is serviceable enough. But what penalty can we inflict upon an individual who would evade a prohibitory law that we cannot inflict under an ordinary ordinance? We hear a great deal about the disappearance of the native races whenever they come into contact with civilization, but I would ask if drink is the only contributing factor to their disappearance?
– Drink and vice are the chief factors.
– What does the honorable member propose in regard to the suppression of vice ? There are many people in the world who are prepared to
Compound for sins they are inclined to
By damning those they have no mind to.
There are a good many people in the world of the character I have indicated, but I would not for a moment include in that category the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. If, however, he desires to be logical he ought to submit an amendment, the effect of which would be to prohibit the introduction of disease to the Territory.
– What about the honorable member himself?
– I am not an expert in these matters. I have no great plan of social reform such as that which the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is continually putting before the people. I come here as a practical politician, who is prepared to do a little at a time, and who does not desire to change the whole face of nature in one act.
– The honorable member wants to do something to prevent a piebald race from being created in New Guinea.
– But I desire to go slowly. We have no right to legislate for New Guinea in the spirit evincedby persons who belong to a Temperance Hall. In the Territory utterly different conditions prevail from those which obtain in a settled country, and, in my judgment, the adoption of the amendment would constitute a very hazardous experiment. But, even if it were adopted, it could never be effectively carried out. Then it is suggested that the State should control the liquor traffic. Being doubtful whether the science of collective action is sufficiently advanced to make State control successful,I do not yet altogether favour that system. Western Australia is the first State in the Commonwealth to make the experiment of State control, and within the past few months that Government has established and is now conducting a public-house. That establishment being within my electorate, I paid it a visit a few months ago. The building had then only just been completed, but the information which has since reached me as to its practical working does not confirm the prophecies that were made of its success.
– Does not the honorable member believe in State control ?
– Not altogether. A proposal was made that the manager of the hotel in question should be paid a commission upon the liquor sold. The proposal, however, was not adopted, because it seemed inadvisable that he should be offered any inducement to encourage people to drink. Although the institution is still on its trial, there are reasons which may bring about its failure. For example, most public-houses offer attractions to men altogether apart from drink, whereas State institutions provide no such attractions. However, I am rather anticipating the debate upon the amendment of the honorable member for West Sydney, and, therefore, I shall not add anything upon that aspect of the matter. I urge the Committee to carefully consider the effect of the proposal of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports before agreeing to its adoption, and to ask themselves whether it is not an idle provision to incorporate in a Bill which we hope to be of some service to the white population as well as to the natives of New Guinea?
Mr. McCAY (Corinella).- The speech of the honorable memberfor Coolgardie seemed to me to partake largely of the old advice to opposing counsel - when they have no case, to abuse the plaintiff’s attorney.
– I did not abuse anybody. I leave that to the honorable and learned member.
– The honorable member for Coolgardie has never heard me abuse anybody either in this House or out of it. Half of his speech was devoted to explaining that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports was an impracticable sort of person, who desired to change the face of nature at one fell swoop, and who was as extremist in all his views. All these accusations may be well founded, but they do not affect the propriety of the amendment under consideration. It is perfectly true that that proposal does not seek to impose any penalty for infractions of the prohibition contemplated. Surely that is a mere matter of draughtsmanship, which does not in the least degree affect the principle under discussion. I must confess that I also come under the ban of the honorable member for Coolgardie, because I intend to support the amendment - despite his warnings to the contrary - in the interests of the natives of New G uinea. The Prime Minister has declared that the adoption of the amendment would involve the sacrifice of the revenue which has hitherto been derived from the importation of intoxicating liquor, and which last year amounted to over£3,000, despite the fact that there are only 500 white residents in the Territory. Assuming - as we are bound to do - that at the present time the natives cannot be supplied with intoxicants, that amount of revenue represents an average consumption of liquor to the extent of £6 10s. per head of its white population. In New Guinea the duty upon spirits is identical with that which is charged in the Commonwealth, namely, 14s. per gallon. The Treasurer estimates that within the Commonwealth for the current year the revenue from Customs and excise upon all classes of stimulants will be £2,800,000, or 15s. per head of our population. Therefore, if we allow that half our population is of the age at which it consumes only milk and water, the quantity of intoxicating liquor absorbed in the Commonwealth will represent 30s. per head of our adult population, as against £6 10s. per head of the white population of New Guinea. That is a sufficient commentary upon the alleged drinking habits of the white residents of the Territory. They consume four times as much liquor as do the adult population of Australia. The Prime Minister also said that we should wait till the necessity arose before enacting legislation of the nature that is proposed. That is what has always happened where white people have come into contact with coloured races. They have waited until it was too late to attempt to regulate the liquor traffic. There is no example in the history of colonization in which liquor has not played a large part in the destruction and degradation of the coloured races with whom white people have come in contact. There is no instance upon record where liquor has been introduced in which the natives have not suffered. How can we ignore the unvaried teaching of history that wherever a bottle of liquor and a native are in the same district, the liquor sooner or later gets inside the native despite the influence of all restraining laws. We shall be worse than criminal if we refrain from voting for an amendment-
– Who is abusing now?
– I am not abusing anybody.
– The honorable and learned member said that we should be worse than criminals.
– I did not. I said that we should be worse than “criminal,” which is a well known phrase, and one which does not imply any breach of the criminal law. But, if the tender susceptibilities of the honorable member are offended by it, I will content myself with saying that I should be worse than criminal if I refrained from voting for the amendment. Honorable members have also urged that that amendment is impracticable, because the liquor could still be imported by the white population and supplied to the natives. It is quite certain that by allowing the importation of liquor into New Guinea we cannot prevent the natives from drinking any more than we can by legislating to keep it out Such an argument is destructive of itself.
– In the one case the liquor would be openly sold at certain places, and in the other it would not.
– Openly sold to the natives?
– No, to the whites.
– I am speaking of the natives. Our business is to consider the native population of New Guinea more than its small white population.
– Does the honorable and learned member think that it is possible to prevent the importationof liquor into the Territory ?
– I think that the adoption of the amendment would act as a very great deterrent. I am not going to refrain from applying a remedy merely because it will not be complete in its operation. Half a loaf is better than no bread. If the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is defeated, I shall support the proposal of the honorable member for West Sydney. In my judgment, the argument that we cannot prevent liquor from being imported from German New Guinea counts for very little. In that case we could not prevent its introduction then, because it would be necessary, practically, to catch the man in the act of selling the liquor to a native in order to be able to punish him. In the other case, we should have much greater opportunities of preventing the use of strong drink bynatives.
I feel very strongly the duty which is cast upon me in regard to this matter, and I do not propose to shirk it. If I have hurt the feelings of the honorable member for Coolgardie, I regret it exceedingly.
– I think it would be very unfortunate if we allowed the liquor traffic to obtain in British New Guinea, practically without control, as is the case under the licensing systems in most of the States. We are assured by those conversant with the characteristics of the population, that the natives, where they come in contact with- the whites, are frequently liable to indulge in alcoholic liquors, and that the habit has rather a bad effect upon them. We know that in nearly every instance in which so-called civilization has come in contact with coloured races those races have suffered from the introduction of. the rum bottle. I feel, therefore, that we have a right to take some special step to protect these people against themselves, and from the evils which would result from unrestricted traffic in strong drink. At the same time, I do not know that the best course to pursue would be to adopt the policy of total prohibition. It seems to me that it is almost certain that, if the white people on the island were unable to obtain a local supply of. intoxicating liquor for their own use, some of their number would be encouraged to smuggle it. Queensland’s nominal boundary line includes certain islands contiguous to NewGuinea, on which the licensing laws of that State prevail, and I believe that it would be possible for a great many natives of the Possession, living in the immediate vicinity, to obtain supplies from these islands without experiencing much difficulty. It would, therefore, be better to make an effort at State regulation on the lines proposed by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney. Even in the larger affairs of Australia, it would be well to have State control of the liquor traffic, and we have now a very good opportunity of trying the experiment. In dealing with British New Guinea we are free from many of the difficulties which confront the making of the experiment in relation to Australia or similar places, and I think that something requires to be done in this direction. I understand that, although the white population totals only 500, there are some fourteen different establishments licensed to sell liquor in British New Guinea. It is evident, therefore, that either the whites are phenomenal consumers of alcoholic drink, or that a considerable proportion of the natives obtain liquor.
– The list of fourteen includes stores which might not sell a gallon a week.
– There are other places. The facts which are available make it palpable that the natives must be indulging in strong drink. The total customs revenue of the Possession is about £13,000 per annum. The natives do not wear much -that is subject to duty. They do not consume many articles of food which are liable to customs duty ; they smoke a trade tobacco on which a large tax is not imposed, and we know that 500 white men, consisting for the most part of the working classes, .could not contribute £13,000 a year in this way. The inference, therefore, is that the natives largely consume intoxicating liquor, and in that way make up a proportion of the revenue of the Possession. In view of these facts I think it is necessary that some step should be taken to minimize the probable evil effects of the habit. That can best be done by limiting the sale of liquor by State regulation. Although we have to-day in New South Wales a law prohibiting publicans from supplying intoxicating liquors to aboriginals^ many of the blacks succeed in obtaining it, and, in some cases, they secure it direct from the hotel-keepers. For that reason I do not think it would be sufficient to allow ordinary licensed premises to exist in British New Guinea. Even if the licences were issued subject to a prohibition against the sale of spirits to natives, that prohibition would be broken. But if we had a State officer in charge of the sale of intoxicating drinks, the result would be different. Such an officer would have nothing to gain by supplying intoxicating liquors to natives, and it seems to me that it would be preferable to have State control as against the present system. Actual prohibition would, I think, lead to a large amount of smuggling, and it would be better to have the traffic subject to State regulation. I fear that prohibition would not be absolutely effective so far as the native races are concerned, and I arn not specially anxious that the white population should be compelled to exist wholly without intoxicating liquors. T believe that -in some countries, such as New Guinea, the consumption of a moderate quantity of alcoholic liquor is good for a white man, and unless our object can be served in no other way, I see no reason why, for the sake of the natives, the white men of the Possession should be compelled to do altogether without spirits. I would prefer to see the amendment indicated by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney put first, because I wish to vote first of all for the State regulation of the traffic. If that proposal were defeated, I should then vote for the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. I have a preference for the system of State regulation of the traffic, and, therefore, I intend to vote for the amendment foreshadowed by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney.
– I am afraid that on this occasion I must vote with the enthusiast - the honorable member for Melbourne Ports - and against the practical politicians. I have come to that conclusion after listening to the speeches delivered by two practical politicians, who we discover are unable to agree. One of them considers that the State regulation of the traffic, as applied to the natives of New Guinea, would be an excellent system to adopt. The other tells us that in his opinion it would be of no avail; that in Western Australia - the only case in which he has a personal knowledge of the working of the system - it has not proved to be the success which its advocates anticipated.
– He did not tell us what he called a failure.
– Suffice it that the honorable member described the experiment in that way. I have no reason to believe that he was endeavouring to impose on my credulity. I accept his assurance that the experiment in Western Australia has, so far, been a failure. The honorable member urged that rum, whisky, and brandy were necessary in connexion with the opening up of a country such as British New Guinea.
– It is useful to the men who are opening it up.
– That argument does not appeal to me, inasmuch as I do not wish to see the country opened up. I do not wish to see parties of prospectors scouring the Possession, pegging out claims for themselves, and making an effort to settle the country. My desire is that we should keep our population here for a time.
When we have prospected Australia to a greater extent ; when we have peopled the remote parts of the Commonwealth and turned our abundance of fertile soil to good use, it will be quite soon enough to prospect British New Guinea - to take the lands from the natives, and to give the pioneers some kind of stimulant whilst they are working in a malarial climate. For my part I shall always support the use of hot milk and water, as reported to have been recommended by the Prime Minister, in. preference to any kind of stimulant. I should support its use for all ordinary purposes, even in a climate such as that of British New Guinea, as against stimulants. Toomuch milk and water may be a bad thing,, but taken in moderation it is an excellent draught, and can always be commended. I wish to see the natives left undisturbed for many a year to come. The more weleave them to their own enterprises - totheir own forms of industry - and develop and police the country for them, and them alone, the more we shall seek the line of least resistance as well as the point of greatest safety. The adoption of that course will fulfil our mission for the next 50 years tocome with regard to that new country. We have the melancholy experience that, whenever our people have endeavoured to civilize savage races and hav& taken the rum bottle with them, they have generally done them much harm. If we set up an establishment in British New Guinea to sell intoxicating liquor under State control, who would see that itwas sold to the native population by only Government officials ?
– The officials would have noinducement to press the sale of liquor.
– No; but the honorable member for Bland has told us of the many ways by which the natives of New Guinea may surreptitiously securestrong drink. He has pointed out that there are islands in contiguity to the mainland of Queensland from which, they may obtain it quite apart from State enterprise.. Therefore, if prohibition would not be effective, the system of State regulation of thetraffic would be equally ineffective. For these reasons I think it would be advisable for us to make an effort to adopt the moresevere form of regulation.
– There will be a great inducement for white men to smuggle strong; drink into British New Guinea if they cannot otherwise obtain it locally.
– I do not think that we need trouble much about the white men.
– But the black men will not import the liquor.
– They will consume it when some one introduces it into the island. I think it would be better for us to adopt the more severe form of prohibition. I do not suggest that prohibition would be absolutely efficacious. The honorable member for Bland said that he objected to that system because it was impossible to absolutely prohibit the sale of ^strong drink. I do not suppose that the application of such a system to British New Guinea would have that effect. So far as I know, its adoption has never met with that result, but wherever prohibition obtains, the consumption of alcoholic drinks is very much less than it is in those places where the system does not prevail. We are endeavouring to deal with natives whom it is sought to bring under the control of missionary enterprise, and I think the least we can do at this time in the history of our race is to see that the missionaries go out to those natives minus the rum bottle, and with civilizing influences in substitution for it. That, I think, is the obvious course foi’ us to take. If we do so, and the natives subsequently obtain intoxicating liquor, the responsibility will not rest with us. We shall have discharged our conscience in that we shall have done everything within our means to keep the liquor beyond their reach. I fear that the melancholy fact is that we shall not be able to keep it out altogether. When we have done our very best, some of it will get in. But that does not discharge us from the obligation to do our best to keep intoxicating drink from the natives, believing that the best thing we can do for them is to keep- them out of touch with it. For these reasons, I support the clause proposed by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports.
– I have listened with deep interest to the discussion which has taken place upon this very important subject. I do not think that a British House of Parliament ever appears to greater advantage than when it is displaying, as we are doing now, a most keen anxiety for the moral and spiritual welfare of those black races whom we so readily assimilate when our interests require us to do so. From all that “we have heard, one would think that it would have been infinitely better to allow the natives of New Guinea to remain as they were, without any colonization under ohe British flag. If my honorable friend, the member for Melbourne Ports, or the honorable member for Echuca, or the honorable and learned member for Corinella, had any intention of going to reside in New Guinea it would be a very great inducement to us to pass the clause as submitted. But the last thing they propose to do is to go and face the hardships of colonizing life in New Guinea. It is so easy for men to legislate for the prohibition of things which disagree with themselves, or which are too strong for their own consumption. What would be the result of the clause ? It would simply make the medical profession a sort of vehicle for the sale and consumption of intoxicating drinks. What has happened all through America when similar attempts have been made ? My honorable friend, the member for Melbourne Ports, may look gravely at the ceiling just now, but I am sure that if he has read the history of the attempts which have been made he will find that they have all failed in their object. There is no doubt about that. They have all a philanthropical and benevolent basis, but even in the history of attempts amongst white people to prevent the consumption of intoxicating drinks, the result has been that the enactment has been so openly defied and broken as to loosen altogether the basis upon which rests the sanctity of the law. There will have to be a different sort of men from those whom we know of at the present day if prohibitive laws of this description are not to be broken. This is one of those laws that does not commend itself to the views of any one who has any sense of individual right or of personal liberty.
– The same thing is said of Customs law.
– We have been under severe treatment recently, but my right honorable friend, the late Minister for Trade and Customs, never handed over his duty to duly qualified medical practitioners as my honorable friend, the member for Melbourne Ports, proposes to do. These intoxicating liquors ought to be kept as far as possible from the natives of New Guinea ; we are all agreed about that. Those natives have no votes. They have no sort of influence over us as to what they are or are not to get. It is easy to apply this prohibition to them, and they are an interesting field for such an experiment. But, so far as they are concerned, I believe that the amendment of my honorable and learned friend, the member for West Sydney, is infinitely better, and will do more to. promote the good object which my honorable friend the member for Melbourne Ports, has in view. The more the liquor trade is under the supervision and control of the Government the better, and the less the trade is an object of gain in New Guinea the better.
– My proposal would cease to make it an object of gain ; the importation of liquor would not pay.
– There would be an additional object of gain, because there would be also the temptation to the members of the medical profession to earn a fee by prescribing alcohol.. There are some medical men, as we all know, who have very wide ideas as to when alcohol should be prescribed as a medicine. He would be a latitudinarian of the profession who would go to New Guinea under any circumstances, probably ; and consequently this method of making the medical profession the custodian of the morals of the Papuans might end disastrously. With the element of gain eliminated, we shall have made effectual efforts to prevent the evils which we are all anxious to suppress. I understand that there is at present a law in force which prohibits the sale of drink to natives. The amendment proposed by the honorable member for West Sydney will tend in the same direction, and will, I think, be far more effectual than the clause of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. It will insure, so far as we can insure in such a case, that all intoxicating liquor that goes there shall go through a Government channel and under Government control. It is simply impossible altogether to prevent the introduction of liquor, lt is an impossibility arising from the circumstances under which that place has been colonized. But, while I thoroughly agree with the objects in view, I have always had a very strong idea that these attempts at total prohibition simply whiten the sepulchre, and cause far more irregularity and far more vice and crime than are caused under a system which is open to the light of day. I shall vote for the amendment.
– I sholl support the proposal of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. My only regret is that it does not go far enough. In my opinion no discretion ought to be allowed to the medical profession or even to the legal profession. As the honorable member for Parramatta has said, our duty is not so much with regard to the small white population of British New Guinea as with regard to the aboriginal inhabitants. Speaking as an Australian, I desire, if .possible, to see a total absence from the Territory which has come under Commonwealth control of the horrors which followed the advent of the white man, accompanied by intoxicating liquors, into Australia. In my opinion the only way in which this can be done is by absolute prohibition. The idea of allowing a certificate or prescription of a medical man to enable people to obtain liquor will, I consider, lead to nothing but a wholesale evasion of the law. It is proposed that Government stores shall be the sole purveyors of liquor. To hope, in the face of either of these means of obtaining drink, that we shall keep from the natives this destroying agent is, I think, absolutely absurd. I cannot imagine the condition of mind of those who are prepared to say that either of these two methods will be effectual to preserve the New Guinea race from what is undoubtedly their greatest menace. Some honorable members seem to think that this is an argument for abandoning the Territory’. I regard our retention of the Territory as absolutely necessary to Australia. I do not refer to the mineral wealth which it undoubtedly contains, nor do I mean on account of the production which might result from the employment of the labour which would be available there. I mean on account of its proximity to Australia, and also on account of the fact that the part of the island which is not under our control is governed by two foreign powers which might at any time become enemies of the Empire. It is a great pity that we ever allowed any part of the island of New Guinea to go out of British control. We must maintain that portion of it which is already part of the Empire. But I should prefer that the foot of white man had never been placed within British New Guinea than that the black inhabitants should be completely annihilated by the introduction of what has proved in the past to be a most potent factor in the obliteration of native races. I have spoken previously on this subject, and therefore do not intend to occupy the time of the Committee at great length. I am sure that the honorable member for Coolgardie will not regard me as a bigot, although he may consider that I have strong views on this question. But it is my fixed idea that we cannot more effectually save the people of New Guinea from what I am afraid will inevitably occur - that is obliteration - than by keeping out altogether this most potent factor in the destruction of black races.
– If the liquor trade were under Government control would not that get over the difficulty ?
– If intoxicating drink is found in considerable quantities in the hands of private persons, its presence may be capable of explanation, so long as its introduction is allowed under Government or any other control; but if we have total prohibition there can be no question about the illegality of any person holding any quantity of it. We have, in addition, the further fact that those people who are inhabiting other portions of the Island may not be so careful about these matters as we are. Intoxicating drinks may be introduced over the frontier, and, in the absence of any prohibition on our part, this could not be legally objected to. But so long as we prevent the importation of intoxicating liquor altogether - and, personally, I do not believe that we can prevent its introduction, though we are entitled to go to the very greatest length to prevent it - we shall have done our best.
– If we cannot prevent it, why not regulate it?
– That is the argument used in relation to every description of vice. It has been used especially in regard to one particular evil, as to which it has been proved that regulation is not of the enormous value that has been thought by some who have only casually inquired into the subject. There is no such thing as the regulation of vice. The only policy we can pursue in regard to vice is to try to obliterate it. To attempt to regulate it will only be paltering and tinkering with the question. I hope to see the proposed new clause carried. I should be very sorry indeed if, in the portion of the island which is under our control, there should be any further opportunities than we can prevent given to those who desire to supply intoxicating drinks to the aboriginals, whom we are determined shall not be the slaves, either of any man or of any vice, so long as the flag of which we are so proud, waves over that Territory. We can do that only by keeping drink out of the country.
– Can we keep drink out ?
– We must use every power that the people of the Commonwealth have placed within our grasp to prevent any chance of the natives of New Guinea following in the wake of those unfortunates who have almost completely disappeared from the face of the mainland.
– I think the honorable member for Laanecoorie gives his whole case away when he says that he does not think it possible to prevent liquor being taken into such a place as New Guinea. I quite agree with the honorable member as to that impossibility, considering the long Dutch and German frontiers.
– But if the honorable member cannot get free trade, he likes to get as. near to free-trade as he possibly can.
– It must be remembered, however, that the more difficulty there is in importing liquor, the higher the price and the more lucrative the business.
– Does that apply to the opium trade in Australia?
– At any rate, it applies to the sly-grog trade in Australia. Any one who has had experience, or has readthe history, of the prohibition movement in Canada and the United States must know how absolutely impossible it is to carry out the policy.
– But we are now dealing with a native race.
– I shall deal with that point presently. It has been proved that there is more drink consumed in prohibition States in Canada and America than in any of the other States.
– Who proves that ?
– Writers on the subject; and I have had some personal experience. Some 30 years ago I was in Canada, and in the prohibition States it was the practice for young fellows to lay in a stock of liquor on a Saturday night and hold a carouse until the Monday morning. I have seen liquor laid in by the bottle in trains in prohibition States. In other oases it was simply a matter of having a bottle of spirits sent to your bedroom or going to a chemist’s shop for a supply ; in short, it was not drinking by the glass, but drinking by the bottle.
– I suppose that is the reason the liquor-traffic people so strenuously oppose prohibition.
– I intend to support the amendment of the honorable and learned member for West Sydney. For many years I have been very much in favour of what is known as the Gothenburg system, which has worked exceedingly well in Norway and Sweden. Under that system, as I understand it, the liquor traffic is conducted by the municipalities, and the profits spent in the making of roads. It has been said that the Norwegian people drank themselves into good roads ; but it is admitted that the consumption of drink is considerably less under the Gothenburg system than under the old plan of free-trade. I do not know the exact method now followed out in Norway and Sweden, but I believe it is more a State than a municipal matter, and, so far as my reading goes, much good has resulted. As to New Guinea, I should feel disposed to support any plan which would give the regulation of the liquor traffic into the hands of the Government, in preference to the present system of free-trade.
– The honorable member is becoming quite a socialist.
– For the most part of my life I have been a socialist in regard to things of this kind ; and, in my opinion, the method suggested by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney would meet the difficulty very well. We all know that when anything is too rigorously withheld there arises an intense craving to obtain it.
– Does the honorable member mean that the natives will crave for something of the very existence of which they are ignorant?
– I do not know that under a system of State control the natives would ever be induced to indulge freely in liquor. With proper regulations as to the hours of opening and closing the saloons, the State officials having regular salaries would have no inducement to push the traffic amongst the natives. If we follow the teachings of history and experience, we find that prohibition has never met with success.
– Has it ever before been attempted with a black race?
– We are dealing with whites as well as with blacks.
– The teaching of experience in regard to the Gothenberg system is, that the officials do not press the sale of liquor, having no inducements to do so ; and all the ridiculous systems attempted in America, such as” perpendicular “ drinking, have failed, wherever tried.
– We might try “ no drinking between meals.”
– Even that fails; because a a biscuit or a sandwich can always be placed on the counter. I shall certainly vote for the amendment of the honorable and learned member for West Sydney.
– I suppose the aborigines of New Guinea are very similar to those of Australia, and that not much time would be needed to give them a liking for strong drink. The Australian aboriginal took to drink as if it were mother’s milk, and the old pioneer settlers, when labour was scarce, found that the best means of securing it was to give the blackfellow a supply of liquor. In those old pioneering days, the labour of the natives was paid for by supplies of strong drink at stated intervals, and the arrival of the drays with stores from centres of civilization every six months, or it might be twelve months, meant no more work from the black men for a time. All the station proprietor required was that the blackfellow should take his drink with him some considerable distance into the scrub, so that the white people should not see what took place, and very often the result was a great burial amongst the natives. The drink had the most demoralizing effect on the natives. The Australian black, in his native condition, has many admirable traits, and despite what has been said about his low position in the scale of humanity, he presents great possibilities of development. As soon, however, as he is brought into contact with drink, and acquires a taste for it - a taste which develops with marvellous rapidity - he degenerates, and becomes the lowest of the low. The taste for drink is an overpowering passion with the black, both male and female ; and the result has been their almost complete extinction in the more settled districts. In my own part of Australia, some 35 years ago, I have seen 300 blacks muster for their annual corroborees, whereas to-day one may travel hundreds of miles and find only two or three remnants of what were once powerful tribes. Similar results will follow in New Guinea if the drink traffic be permitted ; and returns show that the traffic is already an influence. There are about fourteen different places licensed to supply the apparent requirements of about 500 white people. We can readily understand that, with the present primitive means of communication, it is fairly costly to import liquor into New Guinea ; and if the licensed victuallers were limited to the white population for their custom there would not be nearly so many engaged in the business. The reasonable inference is that a taste for strong drink is fairly prevalent amongst the natives. I have no doubt that drink is used by white people in New Guinea as a means to secure the services of the natives - services that would not be rendered for any other payment. If our control of New Guinea is to be even in a small degree a blessing, and not a curse to the natives, we must keep strong drink away from them, and the only safe course is rigid prohibition. But we have to consider that there is a growing white population in New Guinea ; and I very much question whether, so far as they are concerned, we can make prohibition complete. There would be no difficulty in dealing only with the natives ; but it is a very different matter when we have to consider a mixed population. The probabilities are that with a rigid system of prohibition - unless there be behind a power to effectively administer the law in a community so scattered - there will be a great deal of illicit traffic which will extend from the white population to the native population. There will be all the injurious effects of strong drink under a nominal system of prohibition ; and that is a phase of the question which, I think, will give rise to much difficulty. The only way in which we can minimize the evil in relation to the white population is by a system of State control. I have gradually been brought to the conclusion that the true direction of reform in connexion with the terrible drink curse, so far as the white population is concerned, is, not to endeavour to bring about immediately a system of prohibition, which will in every probability be inoperative, but to take away from the traffic the incentive of private profit, and place the whole business under the control of tha State. What I feel strongly is, that at the outset we should do our best to take every means to prevent the demoralization and degradation of the natives of New Guinea, and I might ultimately go to the length proposed by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports of endeavouring to inaugurate and carry out an effective system of prohibition. But I believe that, in dealing with a mixed population, the next best thing is to adopt the system of State regulation.
– I regret that I cannot support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. In my opinion, it goes beyond the range of our parliamentary duties. We are at present taking over this Territory with a mixed population. I have no doubt that the honorable member, and those who agree with him, desire that the number of white people there should be increased, but he now asks us to introduce a measure of prohibition against both blacks and whites. We should not, at the present time in Australia, be able to successfully introduce such a measure, and the honorable member has failed to give us any reason why any difference in this respect should be made between the white population in New Guinea and that in Australia. Both will be under the control, to a certain extent, of the Federal Parliament, and no laws should’ be made applicable to one which are not also applicable to the other. I have also a still stronger objection to the proposal, and that is the difficulty of carrying out such a measure as the honorable member proposes. It is true that we can prevent the introduction of good liquor, but we cannot prevent the introduction of bad liquor. The conversion of any of the starches into spirit is a very easy matter. The distillation of spirit is so simple that a man having a worm and still may do all the distillation he requires in a little back room. There are in New Guinea great scrubs in which a man may carry on all the distillation he pleases 100 yards away from any track. The honorable member must see that his amendment will not effect the object he desires. Under the amendment proposed by the honorable and learned member for
West Sydney, white people will be able to obtain what they desire, and what from hereditary influence or custom may have become in some cases a necessity, and we shall be able more effectively to prevent the natives from securing liquor. In the interests of temperance itself, I hope the honorable member for Melbourne Portswill not press his amendment to a division. The result will be what it has been in America, where absolute prohibition has been introduced. It has never been carried into effect. The honorable member may be surprised to learn that the wholesale deterioration of the police in New York was due absolutely to the prohibition of liquor.
– There never was prohibition in the State of New York.
– There was not absolute prohibition, but the regulations affecting the sale of liquor were so severe that they amounted to a prohibition upon sound, honest, upright men going into the trade. As a consequence, the trade drifted into the hands of an entirely different class of men, who, because they could not carry on an honest trade, sought to carry on a dishonest one, and in order to do so they had to s born the police. The result was the total destruction, in a moral sense, of the whole police community, and consequent injury to the people of New York in a thousand other directions, without any benefit whatever from the point of view of the advocates of temperance. I refer to this as a very marked instance of the effect of practical prohibition. I could refer to the experience in other States as offering equally glaring examples of its effect. A regulation which we can to a certain extent control is infinitely better than a prohibition which many will condemn from its initiation, and which they will not observe. In the interests of all concerned, I shall vote against the amendment moved by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, and I shall support that moved by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney.
Question - That the proposed new clause be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 7
In division :
– I am afraid that some honorable members scarcely understand what the question is. I have heard two honorable members who are voting in favour of this amendment state that they intended to vote for the amendment proposed by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney, which means State control of the liquor traffic.
– The honorable member will have an opportunity of knowing what the question is directly.
– It will be too late after the other side has won.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Mr. MAHON (Coolgardie).- I move-
That the following new clause be inserted : - 44a. (1) A sum equal to ten per centum of the territorial revenue arising out of the sale or lease of Crown lands shall in each year be appropriated for the maintenance and welfare of infirm or destitute aboriginal natives (including half castes) of the Territory.
The sum so obtained shall be vested in three trustees appointed by the GovernorGeneral in Council who shall hold office during His Excellency’s pleasure and furnish a report of their proceedings annually for presentation to Parliament.
If in any year the whole of the sum so obtained shall not be expended the unexpended balance thereof shall be retained by the said trustees and expended for the purpose aforesaid in any subsequent year.
I think that very few words are necessary to recommend those provisions to the acceptance of the Committee. When I first gave notice of the proposed new clause, honorable members had not come to the decision that no land in New Guinea should be sold, and, therefore, I provided that five per cent. of the proceeds of sales should be applied to the purposes named ; but in view of the fact that, in future, land in the Territory is to be subject only to lease, I now propose that the amount to be set aside shall be ten per cent. The proceeds from the sale and lease of Crown lands in New Guinea amounted to £64.5 18s.1d. for the year 1898-9 ; to £371 4s. for the year 1899- 1900; and to £637 18s. 7d. for the year 1 900-1 ; so that the actual sura appropriated would be very small indeed. Possibly in time the amount available under this clause will be much greater than it is now. But the smallness or magnitude of the appropriation is not of so much consequence. What really is important” is that we should recognise our duty to the aboriginal races. We have taken their lands from them, and the obligation is clear and unescapable of making provision out of the revenue from such lands for those members of the race who, through our action or otherwise, are in destitution. It is hardly necessary to adduce proof that occasionally there is great distress among the natives of New Guinea, because more than once in the annual reports which have been presented to the House the resident magistrates have referred to the scarcity of food and the consequent hardship suffered by the natives there. For instance, at page . 39 of the report for the year 1900-1, a resident magistrate says -
During the early part of this year, and well on towards the end of it, the natives were very short of food, partly owing to the dry weather in the beginning of the year.
Then, in the annual report for the year 1899-1900, a resident magistrate writes -
The food supply all over the district has been very scanty for the greater part of the last twelve months, and, until April, 1900, no yams or native food was obtainable. The D’Entrecasteaux group seems to have suffered most from this scarcity ; in fact, in some parts of these islands the natives were mere skeletons.
A fair case can be made out for this appropriation from these reports. We are practically taking away their land from the native population, and as we have been so careful about their moral well-being, in refusing to allow them to have intoxicating liquor, we ought to take steps to provide for their material welfare. My proposal is a very moderate one indeed. It is by no means an innovation, because in the State of Western Australia similar provision was made in the Constitution Act.
– But it has since been removed.
– Yes ; but it was removed only on the distinct understanding given by the Legislature of Western Australia to the Imperial Parliament that a certain sum would be appropriated each year for the benefit of the aboriginal inhabitants of the State.
– No sum was named.
– The amount was to be not less than £5,000 per annum.
– That appropriation was provided for in a local Act.
– Yes ; and money is appropriated each year for the benefit of the aboriginals of the State. I think that the principle is a very proper one. It is to the interest of Australia to show the world that we are prepared to deal gently, equitably, and even generously, with these disappearing races. I do not wish to detain the Committee ; but I hope that there will be no difficulty in the way of the Prime Minister accepting the clause.
– I have no objection to the end aimed at by this clause, though it may be necessary, either here or during the consideration of the measure elsewhere, in order to better carry its intentions into effect, to make some modification of its terms. I think it a wise provision to make. The amount appropriated will be very small. The total land revenue of New Guinea during the last financial year was less than £640, so that under this provision the sum appropriated would have been less than £64. It remains to be seen, however, whether the land revenue will be maintained, and whether the alterations which we have made in the conditions of land tenure will open the door to settlement or operate in a contrary direction. I shall not, however, say anything upon that matter now. I am content to accept the proposed new clause.
Mr. REID (East Sydney).- One of the benefits to be derived from this proposal, quite apart from the aid and relief afforded by it, will be that it will no doubt lead to a series of annual reports which will throw a great deal of light upon the condition of the natives of New Guinea, and will probably strengthen the hands of the Governmentin doing all that they can in making the influence of the Commonwealth in that part of the world beneficial.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Schedule and preamble agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments ; report adopted.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill was introduced in the other Chamber, and has there been the subject of amendments upon which I shall speak at this stage. I am not proposing the second reading now with a view to asking honorable members to give further attention to the measure to-night ; I do so to enable them to understand in what way it has been dealt with elsewhere, and so that they may be in a position to form an opinion upon its essential provisions. This can be in no sense a party measure, and during its consideration I must depend upon the friendly co-operation of honorable members on both sides of the Chamber for its improvement - I do not mean improvement by the insertion of fanciful provisions, but by amendments directed towards rendering it effective for the carrying out of the purposes in view. I shall indicate the direction in which the measure has been amended elsewhere without making any unnecessary reference to the debates of the other Chamber. As the Bill was originally introduced, men and unmarried women could apply for naturalization if they had been resident in the Commonwealth for five years, had been naturalized in the United Kingdom or in a State, or had been naturalized during infancy by the naturalization of parents. With regard to married women, it was provided that an alien woman who married a British subject became thereby a British subject herself, and remained so until after the death of her husband, or her divorce from him, she married an alien ; while a naturalized woman who married an alien lost her British nationality. It was not deemed necessary to provide for the case of naturalborn women who married aliens. The provisions of the measure, so far as they applied to married women, followed to some extent the rule laid down in the English Naturalization Act of 1870 - that a married woman’s nationality is to be assumed to be that of her husband. As I shall show, that principle has sinee been departed from. As to infants, the Bill originally provided that an infant whose father and mother had become naturalized, and who had at any time resided in Australia with its parents, should be naturalized during infancy, but on attaining the age of 21 years, must apply in the ordinary way to be naturalized as an adult. Now, as to the alterations which have been made by the Senate. In the first place, all persons who have been naturalized under the State laws are now to be deemed naturalized throughout the Commonwealth. The Bill originally provided that persons naturalized under the State laws must apply in the ordinary form, if they wished an extension of their citizenship to the whole Commonwealth to be granted. The original provision was framed because it was thought that some discretion should beused in making certain classes of naturalized persons citizens of the Commonwealth, though, of course, as regards the great bulk of naturalized citizens of States there was no objection. However, in view of the large number of white persons who had been naturalized in some of the States, and in view of the cogent argument that in a Bill of this kind all existing circumstances should be met, so that a Commonwealth citizenship could be at once established under its provisions, it seems reasonable to provide that all persons who at the passing of the measure have become naturalized in a State shall be deemed to have become naturalized throughout the Commonwealth. Of course, we are dealing only with naturalization within the Commonwealth, because that is all we can do. As to men and unmarried women, the provisions as to whom I recounted just now, the Bill, as amended, provides that all aboriginal natives of Asia, Africa, or the Pacific Islands, except New
Zealand, shall be precluded from making application for naturalization. I am now speaking, of course, of future naturalization. As to the term of residence, the original proposal for five years has been reduced to two years. Upon this point I have considerable doubt. It is true that under our Franchise Act we have provided, eo nomine, against this class of persons having the franchise.
– Would that category include British subjects in India 1
– No ; it applies only to aliens. It may be argued that in, defining our own citizenship within the Commonwealth we should not incur the same risk of introducing, complications into our relations with the Empire, and into the relations of the Empire with foreign nations, as if we were dealing with immigrants. Upon that subject, however, I must admit that I have some unsolved doubts. I can quite see that the urgency of avoiding any direct provision which might introduce complications is not quite so great in. a Bill of this kind as it would be in an Immigration Act, dealing with our external affairs* but, at the same time, I have grave doubts as to whether it would be wise to allow this provision to remain in the Bill, and whether it would hot be better to deal with such matters by way of the discretion of the Governor-General in Council, which can be exercised so rigidly and with such scrutiny as to operate very largely to the same ‘end.
– Does the amendment made by the Senate exclude British subjects in India 1
– No, nothing can exclude a natural-born British subject. If we found that the Bill attempted to do so, we should soon put that right.
– How is the term “aboriginal “ defined 1
– I presume it means the aboriginal race of a country, as we know it. I am afraid that for any f further information I shall have to refer my honorable friend to the dictionary.
– Hunter in his “ Empire of India “ shows that the aboriginal natives of India number only 30,000,000 or 40,000,000 out of a total population of 280,000,000.
– Then a question may arise as to the interpretation of the intentions of the other Chamber. I believe, however, that the intention was that all natives of an alien country should be excluded.
– Have the Government decided upon the course they will adopt %
– I am inclined to think that the House should be invited to disagree with the amendment. It may not be so serious as if it were in a Bill of another character, but I think that, in order to avoid trouble or complication, it will be advisable to . put the matter in another shape. Married women, as to whose status in the original Bill I gave some information just now, are by the amendment of the Senate placed upon the same footing as men and unmarried women. Under the Bill as it stands a married woman can apply for naturalization quite independently of her husband. As a result, the only difference in fact between women and men under the Bill appears to be this : that there are two ways in which a woman may be naturalized - first by application, and secondly by marrying a British subject.
– What would be the position the other way 1
– Under the Bill as originally introduced an alien woman who married a British subject would become a British subject, and remain so until after the death of her husband, or her divorce from him. If she afterwards remarried with an alien she would cease to be a British subject. That is to say her nationality would follow that of her husband. The Bill followed the ordinary rule of law.
– If she did not remarry what would be the position ?
– She would be of the British nationality which her first marriage conferred upon her. Then the naturalized woman who married an alien lost her nationality, and that again was in accordance with either the English Act or with the report of the British Naturaliza* tion Committee.
– Would she resume her British nationality when her alien husband died 1
– Not in that case. It was not deemed necessary to provide for women who were natural-born British subjects, and who married aliens. The provision as to married women follows the English law, under which a married woman’s nationality is deemed to be that of her hus- band.
– If a British woman marries an alien she loses her nationality ?
– That would appear to have been so under the British law of 1870. There are two ways in which an alien woman may be naturalized, one method being by application - a right which she has in common with men - and the other being by marriage with a British subject. It would appear that the amendment made in this respect has put aside the principle of law laid down in the English Naturalization Act of 1870, that a British woman who marries an alien becomes an alien, because the Bill now provides that if a woman who is a British subject marries an alien, she shall retain her nationality. Therefore, a marriage with an alien will make no difference in the status of a woman who is a British subject.
– Then we may understand that, speaking generally, women are treated in exactly the same way as men ?
– Yes, practically so. I think that in this matter we may adopt the Senate’s amendment, because the trend of modern legislation is such as to give colour to the claim that as women have been placed upon an equality in regard to the franchise, and have been qualified to hold property, they are entitled to an independent status to a certain extent.
– Would that apply to. women who marry aliens in other parts of the world ?
– I think we can speak of the operation of the Bill only within our own jurisdiction, but my honorable friend will find by reference to the Bill how far that extends. Although the provision in the Bill may be in terms unqualified, the question as to how it should be read is another matter. With regard to children, I have already pointed out that, as originally introduced, the Bill provided that an infant whose father or mother had become naturalized British subjects should, during infancy, become naturalized subjects also, but that that qualification should cease upon their attaining the age of 21, when they would have the right to apply for naturalization in the ordinary way. The Bill has been altered - I do not know whether it can be said to enlarge the right of the infant or not - to obviate the necessity for any application, because it provides that an infant becoming naturalized by the status of either parent cannot lose that naturalization except upon application to be denaturalized. The other alterations made in the Bill are of a minor character.
– I do not think there is any provision in the Bill for denaturalization.
– Not in the Bill as it now stands, but in clause 10, as originally produced, it was provided that the children of naturalized British subjects. . should retain their naturalization only during infancy, and that on reaching the age of 21 they should cease to be naturalized and should be required to make a de novo application.
– Then it is not proposed to provide any special facilities for denaturalization ?
– No, I do. not think so.
– If it is intended that women should be placed upon an equal footing with men in every respect, why should not the marriage of a British-born woman with an alien have the effect of naturalizing the husband in the same way that the marriage of an alien woman with a British subject has the effect of naturalizing the wife?
– That is rather a conundrum.
– The question is raised by the Bill.
– I think it would be rather difficult to carry the equality to that extent. The Senate have abolished the fee of £1 which it was intended to charge applicants for naturalization. I do not propose to object to that, because I think the money is neither here nor there. Then again, the Bill originally provided that applicants for naturalization should furnish a certificate signed by a justice of the peace stating that the applicant was known to him, and was, to the best of his knowledge, a person of good repute. Under the Bill as it stands it is provided that an applicant shall obtain such a certificate signed by a justice of the peace, or by three electors. I have some doubt as to whether that is not too great an extension of the original provision, because we know that there are a very few places in which an intending applicant cannot, without much trouble, find a justice of the peace, and I think it is desirable to have the certificate of a responsible person. The extended proposal appears to me to offer too easy a way of disposing of any difficulty regarding the character and repute of a person applying for so great a privilege as admission to the citizenship of the Commonwealth. I have now explained the main provisions of the Bill as originally introduced, and in its present form. I have no need to add anything beyond saying that while the provisions with regard to the franchise, particularly in Australia, have made the bare grant of naturalization in itself not so important as it used to be, there is in regard to citizenship of this Commonwealth so much of importance, and so much that calls for the exercise of care, that I hope I shall have the co-operation of honorable members in so moulding the measure that it shall prove generally acceptable. As I have said, I do not propose to ask honorable members to continue the debate to-night, but I hope that they will consider the amendments which have been . made elsewhere in the light of the Bill as originally introduced - copies of which can be obtained - and that they will co-operate with me in evolving provisions which will conduce to the best interests of the Commonwealth.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Reid) adjourned.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 23rd July, vide page 2563) :
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 -
In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears - ‘ Active Service “ - Means service in or with a force which is engaged in operations against the enemy and includes any military or naval service in time of war. “Army Act” - Means the Imperial Act called The Army Act and any Acts amending or in substitution for it, including the Articles of War made under the authority of such Acts, and for the time being in force. “ Naval Discipline Act “ - Means the Imperial Act called the Naval Discipline Act, and any Acts amending or in substitution for it, including the Articles of War made under the authority of such Acts, and for the time being in force. “Time of War “ - Means any time during which a state of war actually exists, and includes the time between the issue of a proclamation of the existence of war or of danger thereof and the issue of a proclamation declaring that the war or danger thereof, declared in the prior proclamation, no longer exists. “ War “ - Means any invasion or threatened invasion of, or attack or threatened attack on, the Commonwealth or any Territory under the control of the Commonwealth by an enemy or armed force, and includes war or the danger of war the existence of which is proclaimed by the GovernorGeneral.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I desire to direct the attention of the Committee to a few definitions under this clause, which imparts to the Bill its whole colour and efficiency, and . which, therefore, requires to be watched more closely than does any other provision in it. It declares that “ active service” means “ service in or with a force, which is engaged in operations against the enemy, and includes any military or naval service in’ time of war.” To my mind, all the words after the word “ enemy” could with advantage be eliminated. The phrase “active service” appears in several clauses, and amongst others I may instance clauses 43 and 44. Honorable members will see that under the provisions of clause 43, the Governor-General may in time of war call out the citizen forces for active service. Now, the term “ citizen forces” includes the members of rifle clubs, militia, and volunteers, also men who have served their time, and who, under ordinary circumstances, would no longer be liable to be called upon. Thus, if these two clauses are read together, it will be seen that the Governor-General in time of war may call out the members of the rifle clubs for any military or naval service. I feel certain that the Minister has no intention to make it incumbent upon rifle club men to proceed to Afghanistan or America-
– It may not be the Minister’s intention to do so, but this particular definition isso wide as to lead people to the conclusion that that is his intention. I wish to make it perfectly clear that neither the General Officer Commanding, nor anybody else, has power to compel a man to leave Australia and proceed to the uttermost parts of the earth in time of war. It will be observed that in this clause the phrase “ time of war “ is defined in the most liberal fashion to mean “any time during which a state of war actually exists.” Where ? To my mind, the answer is “ anywhere.”
-Does not clause 45 distinctly limit the whole operation of these matters?
– I have no desire to enter into any technical argument upon this question. At the same time, I think that in dealing with our citizen forces we ought not to employ any language which is not apt. What is the use of enacting a definition which is far too wide, and which may lead to misunderstandings ?
– The Rill in its present form provides that the permanent forces shall be liable to serve anywhere.
– I frankly avow that, in my judgment, we ought not to compel any man to engage in active service outside the Commonwealth. The Minister for Defence seems to have obtained his definition of “active service” from the English Army Act, which is utterly inappropriate to our particular conditions. I therefore move -
That the words “and includes any military or naval service in time of war,” lines 5 and 6, be omitted.
I am afraid that the definition extends further than the preliminary words would appear to indicate. I would ask the Committee to look at clause 46, where the words “ active service” are also employed, although in that case they are not so important. Then, in clause 51, it is provided that the permanent military forces, and also all persons permanently employed in the active military forces, shall at all times, and all members of the citizen military forces shall while on “active service,” be subject to the Army Act. I am anxious to see that this definition is not too wide. Clause 52 provides that the naval forces while on “active service” shall be subject to the Naval Discipline Act. Clause 53 ‘ deals with the case of a man who is killed “ on active service,” but there the provision, so far as it goes, . is for the benefit of the individual. In clause 58 we find that cadets are not to be liable for “active service,” while clause 74 provides that -
Any member of the citizen forces who, when liable to be employed on active service, absents himself without leave from his corps for a longer period than seven days, shall be deemed a deserter, and may be punished accordingly.
That is a very stiff provision. It means that even if a man is so ill as to be unable to go on active service-
– We will allow an amendment, so as to make it clear that if a man is ill and unfit for service he shall not be punished for absenting himself from his corps.
– I would suggest that the Minister should explain what is meant by the words “ and includes any military or naval service,” in addition to what appears in the earlier part of the definition.
– I must confess that I do not share the apprehensions of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne with regard to this definition. After all, it will have force only so far as the words “active service” are found in the various clauses of the Bill, and the various clauses relating to “ active service “ must, it seems to me, be controlled by this definition. Sub-clause (2) of clause 45 limits territorially the area within which the citizen forces may be employed. The words at the end of the definition are absolutely necessary for the most obvious and ordinary purposes of discipline. If they were not there, a member of the forces who in time of war was with a section not actually engaged in operations against the enemy might allege that he was not on active service. If the forces were called out in Melbourne and in Sydney to resist an invasion, and the enemy landed in Sydney, and was expected daily in Mel- . bourne, the men remaining in Melbourne, or travelling by rail to reinforce the defenders in Sydney, might otherwise say that they were not on active service.
– The honorable and learned member would leave the matter open to argument. I wish to have it clear.
– “A force which is enengaged in operations against the enemy “ is a phrase which I understand when it occurs in military text-books, even if I do not understand its use in an Act of Parliament. It has a distinct meaning. It is one thing to be going to engage in operations against an enemy, and quite another thing to be actually engaged.
– A man moving with a force to an engagement would, of course, be in operation against the enemy.
– If the honorable and learned member were engaged in moving only towards the theatre of war, he would not regard himself as being engaged in operations ; he would consider that he was travelling to a place where he would be so engaged. Even assuming that once men entered a train at Melbourne to reinforce the forces in Sydney they would be “ engaged in operations against the enemy” - which is open to argument - the omission of these .words would mean that troops would not be so engaged although they were called out for active service. To limit the definition to being actually engaged in active service against the operations of the enemy might be to lead to endless trouble and difficulty. These words are absolutely necessary in order to make it clear that once a man is serving in time of war he is on “active service,” whether he is fighting or on the point of fighting, or marching to an engagement. I venture to say that the definition is intended specifically to cover a case in which it might otherwise be alleged that a man was not engaged in operations against the enemy.
-I, like the honorable and learned member for Corinella, differ from the opinions expressed by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne. Knowing that he hates the sight of anything relating to the army or navy, I can well understand that he desires a Defence Bill in which the words “ naval “ and “ military” do not appear. I think the definition is very explicit, and could not be put in any other form. How would the honorable and learned member deal with a body of irregulars which was being mustered in various parts of Australia when the Commonwealth was on her defence ? How would he bring those forces within the scope of the Bill ? He would say that they were not engaged in military operations until they actually joined the active forces. As a matter of fact, as soon as a body of irregular horse was raised in South Africa its name appeared on the active service list.
– I should say that there they were engaged in operations against the enemy. There are. words in the definition which cover the honorable member’s purpose ; why should we have more than is necessary ?
– Would the honorable and learned member say that while the men were being enrolled at the depot they were engaged in operations- against the enemy?
– That would be an impossibility. There must be a front at which the operations are being carried on : hut while men are being trained and horsed they are kept in the depot. They practically do not constitute a force until they reach the line of operations. I do not think that any mistake could be made in regard to these words, which, I believe, are very necessary.
– I merely wish to draw the attention of the Minister for Defence to the fact that in several paragraphs in the interpretation clause reference is made to the Army Act and to the Naval Discipline Act, but that we have not been supplied with copies of those measures. It is of the utmost importance that we should know to what we are pledging our Defence Forces. In. the present circumstances we might unwittingly bind them to something of which we did not approve, and, therefore, I think it is right that we should be supplied with copies of the Acts I have named.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I think the definition of “ Army Act “ requires a great deal of attention. I move -
That the words “including the articles of war made under the authority of such Acts,” lines 9-11, be omitted.
In my opinion, we should omit’ those words until we know what are the articles of war.
– I am willing that they should be omitted.
Amendment agreed, to.
Amendment (by Mr. Higgins) agreed to-
That the words “including the articles of war made under the authority of such Acts,” lines 15-17, be omitted.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).We come now to the definitions of the terms “ Time of War “ and “ War.” We find that “ War “ means -
Any invasion or threatened invasion of, or attack ov threatened attack on, the Commonwealth or any territory under the control of the Commonwealth by an enemy or armed force, and includes war or the danger of war the existence of which is proclaimed by the Governor-General.
– I am willing to omit the last few words.
– The clause also provides that - “Time of war” - Means any time during which a state of war actually exists, and includes the time between the issue of a proclamation of the existence of wai- or of danger thereof and the issue of a proclamation declaring that the war or danger thereof, declared in the prior proclamation, no longer exists.
I wish to know whether it is the intention that when one of the minor wars, with which the Empire is continually troubled, but which do not affect us in the least, takes place - when there is an attack on “Venezuela, or an incursion in Thibet, for example - there is to be power to declare a “ time of of war?”
– Will not the omission of the last few words in the definition of “War” exclude such an interpretation?
– I do- not think so, although I agree that the exclusion of those words will be a distinct gain. But “ time of war” means any time during which a state of war actually exists. It includes “ the time between the issue of a proclamation of the existence of war.” So that it comes to this - that “ time of war “ is not only when there is actual war existing, or threatened invasion, or threatened war, but when the Governor-General chooses in a proclamation to say that the danger exists, and has not issued a proclamation saying that it no longer exists. It gives a tremendous power to the Governor-General that I cannot find given in Canada, or. in Great Britain, or in the United States.
– The Government can declare war in Great Britain.
– What I mean is that in the Canadian Militia Act there is no such extraordinary power given to the GovernorGeneral, or any other similar authority. I am quite content that if there is invasion, or threatened invasion, or threatened attack upon Australia, the forces shall be liable to be called out.
– Why not say in the Bill what war means ?
– We have that in the very next paragraph. The Minister for Defence says that he will accept an amendment with regard to the definition of war. But I am speaking of the time of war. The honorable member will find that that time of war is the pivot upon which a number of powers depend. Under clauses 43, 49, 55, and 56 extraordinary powers are given to the Governor-General in time of war ; but we want to find out when these extraordinary powers are to come into play. We are not going to give to the Governor-General absolute power in these things. According to this definition, if the Governor-General, having proclaimed war upon the ground that there was merely a danger of war, failed to revoke that proclamation; and to say that there was no danger of war any longer, the citizen forces would be liable to be kept out in the field ; would be liable to the Naval Discipline Act and the Army Act ; could be treated as deserters ; could be tried under the extraordinary powers of a court martial, and so forth. In fact, civil law would be suspended in regard to them, merely because the GovernorGeneral had failed to issue a proclamation that the danger of war was actually over. The ordinary practice is for Ministers to take the risk in these cases. So far as I know there is no instance in which it is left to the absolute discretion of the Ministry - of the Governor-General in Council, or any similar authority - to say whether there is war or danger of war or not. I referred the other day to the case of De Marais in Cape Colony, which occurred about two years ago. In that case a man was arrested in the east of Cape Colony, where there were no incursions of Boers. He was brought to a place where soldiers were and tried by martial lav-, and kept in prison for a long time before trial. He said that in the east of Cape Colony the ordinary courts were open, and that he could apply for habeas corpus and get out of gaol because no charge was laid against him. But he was imprisoned without a trial by martial law.
– Is that the man who brought an action in England ?
– He brought his action in Cape Colony, and afterwards appealed to the Privy Council. In that case the military authorities were called upon to prove that, though there was no war in the east of Cape Colony, there was danger of war ; and because they proved that there was danger of war,’ they were exonerated. The man who brought the action had no remedy - rightly so from the point of view of law. But suppose that some man had made himself obnoxious to the Military Commandant. That Military Commandant sees that the Governor-General’s proclamation has not been revoked. He is able to use his power to have the man who was obnoxious to him arrested, and to keep him locked up without trial for weeks, months, and perhaps years. I have looked at the Canadian Act, under which no such power is given for the Governor-General to fix finally as to how long there is to be a time of war ordanger of war. I have looked at the English Volunteer Act, and I find that there is. no such power there. If there is any place in the world where there would be such a power as this, it would be in England. I want to know what precedent the Minister has for leaving it to the activity of the Governor-General to say whether or not a state of war actually exists or whether there is danger of it. Of course, the earlier words stand - that time of war means “ any time during which a state of war actually exists.” The honorable and learned member for Corinella has said that he would trust the definition of the word “ war,” as modified below, as answering the purpose sufficiently. That is quite enough’ to show that we ought not to leave the Ministry power for purposes of their own to call upon men to serve.
– The honorable and learned member might as well say that he would not leave it to the English Government to do so either.
– They cannot do so in England.
– They have power to declare war.
– But my speech has been fruitless if the Minister has not caught the point that in the Volunteer Act in England there is no such power for Ministers to issue their proclamation as a final test of whether there is danger of war, nor as to martial law.
– The volunteers in England are not different from any other troops.
– Under the Volunteer Act there is no power for the Government to issue their proclamation and to say whether there is danger or not.
– I think there is.
– What other test is there?
– If a Ministry exercises powers it must be called upon to prove its facts. So far as I am concerned, I decline to accede to the position that a Ministry may choose to keep the people in arms for months and months, long after the actual danger of invasion has ceased.
– Would they do so?
– It all depends. If the Minister for Defence goes into opposition and forms another Ministry, very likely he would do it. I admit that the present Government would not do it.
Mr. McCAY (Corinella). - I propose to assume that the words at the end of the definition of “war” have been omitted as agreed to by the Minister for Defence. If those words remained in the Bill I think there would be a good deal in the abstract - only in the abstract: - in the objections raised by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne. But if those words are omitted and we proceed to read the definition of “time of war” as it stands, what it says is - “ Time of war “ means any time during which a state of invasion, or threatened invasion, or attack, or threatened attack on, the Commonwealth exists, and includes the time between the issue of a proclamation of the existence of war or threatened invasion or attack, or threatened attack, and the issue of a proclamation declaring that the invasion, or threatened invasion, or attack, or threatened attack, no longer exists.
– The proclamation is the law itself.
– I want to point out what the definition says. It says, first, the time during which the invasion or attack exists - and that includes threatened invasion or threatened attack - and also the time that succeeds a proclamation by the GovernorGeneral that the invasion or threatened invasion exists. That is to say, the GovernorGeneral may proclaim that an invasion exists. I do not think that the honorable and learned member will quarrel with that. The Governor-General would hardly proclaim that it existed if it did not exist. But the honorable and learned member may say that the Governor-General may proclaim that a threatened invasion exists, and the forces may be called upon to serve. That is a power which I want to give to the GovernorGeneral, subject to the control of Parliament. Our forces are scattered over many thousands of miles, and it is essential that the military forces which the Commonwealth has at its disposal should be mobilized before the enemy reaches our shores, and should be ready to move wherever required.
– No one denies that ; it is obvious.
– But the honorable and learned member forgot it when he was addressing himself to this question.
– Not in the least.
– He told us about an unoffending citizen who might be imprisoned for years under the extraordinary powers exercised by a local Commandant. Unless the power existed for the Governor-General to call out the forces in thisway, the
Government might be met by members of the forces - who are sworn to serve in time of war - saying, “ Though the Government may think there is a threatened invasion, as a matter of fact there is no invasion, and I am not going out until I am satisfied that invasion, or threatened invasion, exists.” If we cannot trust the Governor-General - the Crown’s representative - acting on the advice of Ministers, to call out the forces for active service when there is a necessity for them, I cannot conceive of any circumstances under which we can trust the Executive at all. Such a time as is contemplated under this definition is, it seems to me, a time when we . must trust the Executive. If there is no Executive to act, there is nothing. Parliament cannot control the operations of an array, though it may bring to book the people who have control of them. But when war is threatened we must have some one to act.
– Why is there not this power in Canada ?
– I do not know why they have not such a power in Canada, because -I was not there when the Act was passed. I am not prepared to answer for their sins of omission or of commission. It seems to me that in the case of Australia this is a wise and proper provision. It cannot be said that I am led to this conclusion by any ultra jingoistic sentiments, because I have expressed myself over and over again about the limitation of the service of the Australian forces to Australian defence, except as volunteers. I have always held that we can get plenty of volunteers for service of any kind. This is a proclamation which the Executive issues as the agent of Parliament and’ the people; and unless it has to pass unquestioned it will give rise to doubts, difficulties, and “bush” lawyers. I admit that a power is given to the Executive, but it is a wise and verv necessary power, and we must risk having a foolish Executive on occasions. In Australia we ought to be able to mobilize troops at the scattered spots around the continent in good time. If England were engaged in a big war with one or more of the great powers, we should not know - because the enemy would not tell us - of any threatened attack on the Commonwealth ; yet the chances would be that if the enemy found us unprepared they would* to use an every-day phrase, be glad to. “ catch us on the hop.” In the absence of any sign, it would be easily open for people to say there was no threatened or apprehended invasion - that there was a mere apprehension of danger-
– That is all we want according to the definition of war - a threatened invasion will do.
– With all respect, I do not think that “threatened invasion “ means as much as “apprehended invasion”; one means an overt act, and the other means a feeling that invasion may come.
– In the definition of which I have given notice I speak of actual or apprehended invasion.
– There has not been a fight on English soil since the battle of Sedgemoor, more than 200 years ago. When Britain declares war the regular army is moved to the scene of operations, though they are not regarded as being in the field when embarked. The troops which sailed from Southampton to South Africa were not regarded as being in operation against the enemy whilst they were sailing to South Africa. The Crown declares war, and the troops sail for the theatre of war, and there they are on active service, and subject to anything that may happen in time of war. In the peculiar geographical circumstances of England, men go from England to the war, whereas war will come to us ; and that makes it all the more necessary for us to fix a time, without waiting for the enemy to come to us. It is impossible to argue that this definition of war covers anything except actual or threatened invasion or attack, and the Executive are the only people who can possibly be left to say when an actual or threatened attack has assumed dimensions so portentous as to justify the calling out of the forces. And to fix a time is better- for the men. Here is a time before which the men are free, and after which they come within the operation of the Act so far as active service is concerned, and, therefore, I trust the Government will adhere to this proper definition.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I agree with every word of the honorable and learned member for Corinella so far as regards the need of the Ministry acting and taking the responsibility. I did not know that honorable members would need to be reminded that Ministers must accept and take responsibility, and be careful to see that they do not unnecessarily call out the people. If the Committee is against me, I cannot help it ; but I want to make sure that too great power is not gi ven to any Ministry - not merely this, but future Ministries - to interfere with the people’s liberty. In England there is not this particular power.
– Yes, there is.
– In Canada there is not this particular power. Will the Minister for Defence show in what section of the English Volunteer Act this power is given?
– I say that in England the Government have the right to declare war.
– That is not the point. Is there any similar provision in the Canadian Act?
– I do not know about the Canadian Act.
– In England this power is not required. The English Volunteer Act has worked well for more than 40 years, having been passed in 1863, and in that Act the only power to call out even the volunteers, let alone making a levy en masse, is in the case of actual or apprehended invasion.
– Apprehended invasion - the Bill provides no more. I prefer “ apprehended,” and will move the insertion of the word.
– I should have no objection to power being given to call out the forces under such circumstances ; but the great danger is that the Ministry may decline to issue a proclamation stating that the apprehension of war is at an end.
– -The law is the same in England.
– The Minister has not been able to refer me to the section of the English Act wherein that law is set forth. The Minister cannot show me that the proclamation of a Ministry, or a GovernorGeneral, or the King, is a supreme test of whether or not there is war or danger of war.
– In England the volunteers cannot be released without the consent ofthe Lieutenant of the county given in writing.
– I am afraid I have not been able, and that I shall not be able, to convey, as I should like, the position to the Minister. At all events, I have sent for the Canadian Act, and for the British Act, and any one who wishes may there see on what
I am relying. The English Act is 26 and 27 Vict., Chapter 67, section 17; and the Canadian Act is 46 Vict., Chapter 11, section 100.
– What is there provided?
– That there must be war or danger of war - actual or apprehended invasion.
– There must be some one to say when invasion is apprehended, and I take it that it is “ apprehended “ by the Executive.
– I cannot go further, as I have not the Acts here, but any one who wishes may refer to them, and see that this Bill gives to the Executive a power that has never hitherto been given in any civilized country.
– The whole point raised by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne turns on giving power to the Executive to proclaim that there is actual or apprehended dangerof invasion. Some one will have to decide the question ; some one will have to say that we are actually at war, or that there is war apprehended, war meaning invasion. Nothing happens under this Bill unless the Governor, under clauses 43 and 44, issues a proclamation which is communicated to Parliament, if it is sitting, calling out the forces. It seems to me that the discretion must be left with the Ministry of the day ; and that is the rule in every country. In England, a formal announcement of war is made by proclamation issued by His Majesty, and posted in the City of London. We in Australia cannot declare war, not being a Sovereign State ; but war declared in England makes us at war. The question has been asked what we should do if war were declared against some petty State. If it were a State which had no naval force - such, for instance, as the Orange Free State and Transvaal - I do not suppose that any proclamation would be issued in Australia. At any rate, if there was a proclamation that war existed, the troops would certainly not be called out, in view of the fact that the enemy’s country had no naval force to send here to interfere with us.
Mr.Ewing. - If Britain were at war, we should be at war.
– But it would not be necessary to call out the troops if there was no naval force to come against us.
– Then we would notbe at war within the meaning of the Act.
– The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne has referred to the Volunteer Act in Great Britain. Under that Act, in case of actual or apprehended invasion of any part of the United Kingdom, the King may direct the Lieutenants of counties to call out the volunteer forces in the respective counties.
– That is the section to which I referred.
– By section 19 of the English Act, the volunteers, after they have finished their service, may be released by an order in writing, signed by the Lieutenant of the county to which the corps belongs, and before they are released each corps must be returned to its county. That is the same procedure as is set forth in the Bill - we have copied the procedure of the United Kingdom. The honorable and learner] member for Northern Melbourne suggests that the citizen forces might be kept on active service for an indefinite period. But so they may be in England.
– The Minister has just read the English section, which shows that the proclamation is not sufficient - that there must be actual or apprehended danger, as well as a proclamation.
– Danger apprehended by the person who ssues the proclamation.
– Quite so.
– Lieutenants of counties may be directed to call out the volunteers, and I do not see any difference between that Act and the Bill. We are far away, and war with some great power might be declared in England, and we might be without information as to whether war had actually been declared or not. It might be necessary for us to make some provision, it might even be necessary for us to call out the forces without knowing whether war had been actually declared.
– No one denies that.
– The cables might be cut, and we might be for a long time without communication with the old country. In such circumstances, it would be very foolish indeed for us to sit still and do nothing if we were under the apprehension that the Nation was actually at war with some great power.
– That would be apprehension enough ; I have no objection to that.
– I propose to ask the Committee to agree to the use of the word “apprehended” which, in my opinion, is better than the word “threatened.” I do not know why the honorable and learned member should desire to take away from the Executive Government of this country powers which are exercised certainly in all sovereign States, if not in States that are not sovereign, like the Commonwealth. As the honorable and learned member knows, the Executive Government in England has unlimited power. They may make treaties even in reversal of the policy agreed to by Parliament ; they may release the most atrocious criminals j and may declare war against the whole world. Why the honorable and learned member should desire that the Executive Government in this country should not be intrusted with authority by Parliament to say when they apprehend danger of war, is more than I can understand. Why should they not be given the power to say by proclamation that the time has arrived when we shall call out our troops ?
– That is not the point.
– Under this Bill we provide that the Government shall not call out the troopsuntil they have issued a pro clamation that war absolutely exists, or that there is danger of war. When we have issued such a proclamation we may, under clause 43, call out the troops. It seems to me that that is a reasonable power to give to any Government, and that it is an absolutely necessary power for any Government to have, unless we are willing to sit here in fancied security and do nothing until the enemy is absolutely at our door.
– It is the sending back of the troops that the honorable and learned member is concerned about. He fears that they may be kept out for an undue period.
– The proclamation will say when the troops are to be called out, and when they are no longer required a proclamation will be issued to say that they are no longer required, when they must be returned to their homes.
– The Minister has, I think, gone far beyond the point raised by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne. I have listened veryattentively to the honorable and learned member, and I have carefully read the amendments, of which he has given a sufficiently long notice. I am bound to say that I cannot see any logic in his suggestions. The honorable and learned member seems to be entirely disturbed by a fact that has no bearing on this question. He appears to think that Canada is a prototpye which we are bound to follow on every possible occasion. The honorable and learned member finds some precedent in Canada for -certain action he has taken in this House, but I do not see why we should be guided entirely by Canada in a matter upon which we profess to be able to think for ourselves. The Minister for Defence has shown a complete parallel between the condition of the law in England and the condition of the law sought to be enacted here. If honorable members will consider the amendment of which the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne has given notice, they will find that “ time of war,” as he defines it, would mean any time during which a state of war actually exists. There are a number of clauses in this Bill under which the Executive are given power in time of war to call out certain of the forces, and the effect of the amendment would be that the Executive of this country would not have power to exercise their functions under these clauses in calling out certain of the forces until war actually existed with the Commonwealth. “Who ever heard of such a thing as that ? The General Officer Commanding, who is the permanent head of the War Department, whose representative in Parliament is the Minister for Defence, would have no power under our Defence Act to call out the troops until war was actually at our door. Then the. honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne leads himself into this contradiction that while under his first -amendment “time of war” would require war actually to exist, the word “ war” itself would include existing war or the apprehension of war. If we speak of time of war, and take “ war “ to be as defined by the last interpretation proposed, we should refer to a time during which war actually existed, Or was apprehended. But if we take the expression “ time of war “ as defined in the Other interpretation proposed by the honorable and learned member, we should refer to a time in which war actually existed, and not to a time when it was apprehended. The Minister has completely answered the honorable and learned member’s statement that there is no parallel to this proposal in England. This Bill provides that as soon as war exists, or is apprehended, the permanent head of our Defence Forces, through the Minister, shall have the power of determining that certain troops shall be called out, and the interpretation clause shows clearly that it is contemplated that a proclamation shall be issued, because it is provided that - “ Time of war “ means any time during which a state of war actually exists, and includes the time between the issue of a proclamation of the existence of war or danger thereof and the issue of a proclamation, declaring that the war or danger thereof declared in the prior proclamation nolonger exists.
That is to say, it includes the period between one proclamation and another. The logic of this is that’ the Minister for Defence will have to issue a proclamation declaring that war existed or was threatened, and he would have to issue another proclamation, at a time when the danger had passed, saying that it was at an end. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne seems to be under some misapprehension that the Executive may, as he says, for reasons of- their own, keep back the issue of the second proclamation. Let us look for a moment at the parallel in England. The Minister for Defence shows us that in England the Executive can declare war, and that when the period of danger is over the troops are “ released.” That releasing of the troops is no doubt done by proclamation; but, whether it be done by proclamation or not, it could be kept back just as easily as the issue of the second proclamation here. If the Executive of Great Britain were anxious to keep back the release of troops their action would have exactly the same effect of checking or nullifying any rights that might arise, as the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne apprehends would follow the same action of the Executive here, if they had any object of their own to serve. We have no desire to mix up the Executive with the legislative functions of the country in this House. It would be an absurd proposal to suggest that this House should be consulted as to the time when it is necessary to call out the troops. I should be sorry to see the day when the question whether war is threatened, in the sense in which military men would understand it, would come up for discussion amongst us.’ The effect of the clause therefore is that, if the General
Officer Commanding considers that war is threatened, it is open to the Executive to take action equivalent to a. declaration df war in England, and when the time of danger is over it will be open to them to declare that the time has passed during which the danger threatened, and then all the rights which may have arisen would be at an end, and the Government would be protected against any claims such as those suggested by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne. I hope the Minister for Defence will adhere to these clauses as they stand, because the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne has not suggested any improvement, nor has he shown any fault in the drafting of this part of the measure.
– It must strike honorable members that the honorable and learned member who has directed attention to this clause has taken it for granted that the Executive body in the Parliament of Australia will be composed of idiots or something worse. We may conjure up evils or troubles in connexion with any clause in any Bill or Constitution. As the Minister for Defence has already pointed out, it is in the power of the Prime Minister of this country to choose his Ministers from undesirable people in the street. The right honorable gentleman has pointed out that it is in the power of the Prime Minister or of the Executive, if they see fit, to liberate all criminals, but they do not do these things, because it is understood that government will be carried on in accordance with common sense. If we do not assume common sense in the interpretation of these clauses, or of the Constitution, the whole system of representative government falls to the ground.
– On the honorable member’s reasoning we had better abolish all Acts of Parliament and give Ministers absolute discretion to do everything.
– In reply to the honorable and learned member I may say that there are two considerations, which prevent an Executive from doing anything that is wrong. The first is that they are afraid of losing their position.
– That is very rough on them.
– The only punishment which a Parliament can inflict on an Executive is that of destroying it. Men are not members of a Ministry for the purpose of drawing their salaries, but for the purposeof doing good, and I have no doubt thatthe honorable.and learned member for Northern Melbourne would consider it an extremepenalty to be deprived of the opportunity of doing good. The honorable and learned member is endeavouring to do good in this instance according to his lights. We may, I think, assume first that we will have an Executive which can be punished, and thatthe members of the Executive have a senseof responsibility, and a fear of Parliament. It is right that the Executive should fearto do what Parliament does not desire, or what would be adverse to public opinion, knowing that if it does these things it will be punished for them. What the clausemeans is that the Executive must accept the responsibility of saying when a certain state of things exists, and that responsibility must be accepted, no matter how the clause be worded! That being so, it is remarkable that an honorable member who believes in the supremacy of the people under a system whereby the Executive is controlled by a. majority in Parliament should be frightenedby the possibility of evil being done by an Executive which is virtually under the domination of the people.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).I have now in my possession the English Volunteer Act, 26 and 27 Vic, cap. 65, section 17 of which provides that -
In case of actual or apprehended Invasion ofany Part of the United Kingdom (the Occasion, being first communicated to both Houses of Parliament if Parliament is sitting, or declared in Council and notified by Proclamation if Parliament is not sitting), Her Majesty may direct theLieutenants of Counties throughout G rent Britain, or such of them as Her Majesty may judge necessary, to call out the Volunteer Corps of their respective Counties, or any of them, for actual Military Service.
In England, therefore, there must be first an actual or an apprehended invasion. Then there must be the declaration to Parliament, or proclamation - two safeguards ; while under the clause only one is provided for. I am not in the least affected in my view by the speeches which I have heard upon this point, because I think they have been delivered under a misapprehension. To reduce to an absurdity the argument of the good-natured, humorous, and eloquent member for Richmond, we should abolish Acts and Constitutions, and say that the Ministry of the day shall have full power to do anything they think fit, since they may be trusted not to abuse their power because of their anxiety to keep their seats. If the clause is to remain, the word “ apprehended “ should be substituted for the word “ threatened “ in the two places where it occurs, and the last few words should be omitted.
Mr. McCAY (Corinella). - I should like to point out to the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne that, under the section of the English Volunteer Act which he has quoted, the invasion may be either actual or apprehended - apprehended by the person who makes the proclamation, that is, the King acting on the advice of his Privy Council. The section reads -
In case of actual or apprehended Invasion ….. the Occasion being first communicated to both Houses of Parliament if Parliament is sitting, or declared in Council and notified by Proclamation if Parliament is not sitting.
The King in Council may apprehend an in vasion, and make a proclamation, and if he does so, the volunteers, who may not apprehend an invasion, must turn out. That is what will happen under the clause.
– An apprehended invasion is sufficient to justify a proclamation; it is not necessary that there shall be an actual invasion.
– Yes ; and the invasion must be apprehended by the King in Council not necessarily by those who are ordered to turn out.
Amendments (by Mr. Higgins) agreed to-
That the word “ threatened,” lines 26 and 27, be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word ‘ ‘ apprehended. “
That the words “and includes war or the danger of war, the existence of which is proclaimed by the Governor-General,” lines 30 to 33, be omitted.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 5 to 9 agreed to.
Clause 10 (Continuance of existing officers).
Mr. PAGE (Maranoa). - I should like to know what the Minister intends to do with the inefficient officers in the service?
– I am not aware that there are any inefficient officers, but, if there are, they will be in the same position after the clause has been passed as they are in now.
– How does the Minister deal with inefficient officers?
– I get rid of them.
– I do not want to mention the names of inefficient officers whom I know to be in the service, but the Minister in his own mind is’ aware that there are persons holding the rank of lieutenant-colonel who are not fit to be bombardiers. When the Commonwealth celebrations were being held in Sydney, in January, 1901,I saw some of these officers being propped up on their horses, and one honorable and gallant officer had a private on each side of his horse to keep it quiet. He still holds the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Will such officers continue to keep their rank in the Commonwealth service?
– The clause will not affect their position.
– Does the honorable member refer to the political soldiers?
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 11 and 12 agreed to.
Clause 13 (Provisional appointments).
– There is nothing in this clause to show how an officer is to be treated hereafter if he proves inefficient.
– Under clause 15, officers will hold their appointments during the pleasure of the Governor-General.
– Yes, but on this subject I should like to draw the attention of the Minister to a debate which occured in the English House of Commons on the 9th March last, when Colonel Long moved a resolution -
Declaring that the altered conditions of modern warfare rendered necessary radical changes in the professional training of the officers and men of the army and auxiliary forces, and that the existing system proved inadequate during the late war.
Mr. Brodrick, the Minister for War, in speaking to the resolution, is reported as follows : -
Dealing with the question of the training of officers after they had entered the Army, he pointed out that at present a Laodicean officer who had been in the Army for two years had as much right to promotion as an officer who showed conspicuous zeal. Then officers with social influence had been more fortunate in the past in obtaining pleasant “billets” than officers who were merely competent and able. The time had come to put an end to this state of things. Under the remedial scheme which it had been determined to introduce, annual course of training had been prescribed for each unit, and the three senior officers of a battalion were to classify, when the period of training was over, the other officers according to their general efficiency and their power of training and leading men. It would be in the power of any commanding officer to bring before a brigadier the name of any officer deserving accelerated promotion. Officers of indifferent attainments would not get the same promotion or the same leave as others.
He added -
After two years of inefficiency an officer would be required to send in his papers.
– This clause deals only with first appointments.
– Quite so. The honorable member for Maranoa spoke of inefficient officers already in the service. It is not proposed to interfere with them so far as the past is concerned, but should not provision be made to secure the future efficiency of officers? Although Part XI. gives power to make regulations, I think that this is a matter which should be dealt with in the Bill.
– It is only by regulation that the standard of examination can be fixed.
– I am not referring to the standard of examination ; I am referring to the need for a provision enabling the Minister to get rid of an officer who has passed an examination and then proved inefficient. There is nothing in the Bill to meet a case of that kind.
– Yes, there is. Clause 112 provides that the Governor-General may make regulations “for securing the discipline and good government “ of the forces.
– I should like to have the assurance of the Minister that provision will be made for cases of this kind.
– Provision will be made by regulation for an examination of officers upon their admission into the forces, and for examinations afterwards before they are promoted.
Mr.Skene. - Regulations very often remain a dead letter.
– We are determined to grant commissions only to such officers as are qualified, and that promotion shall be given only in cases where fitness has been shown for commissions in the higher ranks. Clause 14 makes the necessary provision upon that point.
Mr. BRUCE SMITH (Parkes).- The clause provides that no person shall be appointed anofficer in the active forces until he has passed a prescribed examination, which we may very well leave to be dealt with by the regulations. It then proceeds -
But persons who have not passed that examination for any particular rank may be appointed provisionally.
I should like to know under what circumstances the Minister contemplates that the examination will be dispensed with, and also for how long the provisional appointment will be made. Clause 14 does not give us the information we desire upon this point.
– The provisional appointments will be made only for a, limited time, which will be prescribed by regulation.
Mr. PAGE (Maranoa). - The honorable and learned member for Parkes has raised a. very important question. It might be possible for the Minister to flood the service with temporary hands, because there is no limit as to the time for which provisional appointments may be made. Some time should be specified, say twelve months or two years, in the Bill and not in the regulations, which in nine cases out of ten we never see. The Minister has missed the point of the objection raised by the honorable member for Grampians. The honorable member did not refer to the examinations for admission to the service, but to theexaminations for efficiency after officers have been in the service for one or two years. Officers might be passed into the service on the educational test, but they should afterwards be required to pass an efficiency examination. The honorable member for Grampians desired to know whether, in the event of officers proving inefficient, their services would be dispensed’ with.
– The practice in some places is to subject candidates to a. preliminary examination, and to appoint them provisionally. After a certain time they are required to pass the full efficiency examination, and if they fail, they are set on one side. I have no objection to adopt the suggestion of the honorable member for Maranoa, and fix a time limit of, say, twelvemonths or two years.
Mr. EWING (Richmond).- If it is desired to fix a time limit, that could best be done in clause 14. I suggest that the time limit should apply only in peace, because it would be impossible to subject officers to an examination in time of war.
– Full power is given to make promotions in time of war.
– The clause provides that an officer may be appointed provisionally before he has passed the prescribed examination, but the following clause stipulates that in order to retain his position he must pass an examination within a certain time to be prescribed by regulations. If it is desirable to fix a time limit, the amendment should be made in clause 14.
– We propose to do that. .
– I think it would be preferable to leave the matter to be dealt with by regulation, because it may not be an easy matter to fix a hard and fast time limit which would not apply with harshness in certain cases.
Mr. McCAY (Corinella). - It has been the practice in Victoria to attach men to the forces as candidates for commissions, and afterwards to call upon them to pass a preliminaryexamination. Sometimes this has taken place some months after the candidates have been attached, because it has not been convenient, or practicable, to hold the examinations earlier. After candidates had passed the preliminary examination, they were appointed as lieutenants on probation, and our regulations provided that after occupying that position for six months officers must undergo an examination prior to the confirmation of their commissions. Having passed this examination, they were appointed lieutenants. It was always considered fair that officers on probation should have a second chance of qualifying if they failed at the first examination, the consequence being that in some cases a period of two years elapsed before the final examination was passed.
– That is not the English practice.
– It must be remembered that in England there are possibly a score of candidates for every commission, whereas in Australia, and particularly in the country districts, it is sometimes difficult to find men who have the time and money necessary to enable them to act as officers in the Defence Forces. I think that a fairly long time limit should be provided for. It would be preferable, to my mind, to have the term fixed by regulation, but if honorable members think it necessary to specify it in the Bill, I would suggest a period of eighteen months. We shall have to depend upon the regulations to some extent, because the military authorities will have to fix a time for the examinations. So far as promotions to positions beyond the rank of lieutenant are concerned, there are generally more candidates than vacancies. Occasionally it happens that an officer is called upon to take a command beyond his rank, and provisional rank is conferred upon him ; but the regulation will apply more particularly to officers who are first appointed to the forces.
– I think the Minister has missed the point of the honorable member for Grampians. The honorable member did not refer to first appointments, but to officers, who, after having served for some time, had proved that they were inefficient. He pointed out that the Home authorities were moving in the direction of insisting upon efficiency. I think that some means ought to be devised by which an officer who has proved himself efficient should be able to pass an examination having reference to the particular duties which he is to be called upon to discharge, so that the inefficient men might be weeded out of the service. How that object is to be accomplished I cannot say. It is possible that something in that direction may be achieved by regulation, but I fear that in the end the military authorities will have to decide whether a man is efficient or otherwise.
– It is a matter of administration.
– Exactly. We shall have failures in the future as we have had them in the past. At the same time, it is evident that the Home authorities are moving in this direction. I trust that the Minister will take a note of the remarks of the honorable member for Grampians, with a view to drawing the Military Commandant’s attention to this matter.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 14 -
Officers provisionally appointed shall cease to hold office if they fail within the prescribed time to pass the examination for the rank to which they have been so appointed.
Amendment (by Mr. Bruce Smith) proposed -
That, after the word “ time,” line 2, the words “not exceeding eighteen months” be inserted.
– The remarks of the honorable and learned member for Corinella prove that eighteen months would constitute altogether too short a period, and as a result, cases of injustice would probably occur.
– I think that eighteen months ought to be sufficient to cover all cases, provided that there is proper administration.
– But a deserving officer may find himself in such a position that his superior officers who value his services may not be able to assist him. The law should therefore be made as elastic as possible. I quite recognise that our aim should be to secure the ablest officers available to exercise control over men’s lives. Not only does a military officer require to be an able man - he needs to be an individual of special fibre. Upon one occasion Napoleon said that no man could stand ten years of campaigning, and any person who has awaited a verdict - even a political verdict in which he was personally interested - knows what a severe strain is imposed upon him by apprehension and uneasiness. The strain imposed upon an able man who is watching to ascertain whether an attack will succeed, and who knows that every moment he is sacrificing large numbers of his own countrymen is probably the greatest that a civilized human being can be called upon to endure.
– Does the honorable member speak from experience 1
– If some persons spoke only from experience they would never speak. I take it that the object of honorable members is to weed out the duffers from the provisional officers appointed. They hold that if an officer cannot pass an examination within eighteen months he should forfeit his commission.
– Would the honorable member keep a station manager for eighteen months in order to determine whether be was efficient 1
– If I made up my mind that he was not worth keeping, I should not retain him for eighteen minutes. I am merely asking that the law should be made as elastic as possible, and that we should depend upon our military administration. We have an able English officer in control of these matters. He virtually selects every one of his officers. If Major-Genera] Hutton fails in his duty, everything fails.
– The honorable member must not run away with that idea.
– I am thoroughly convinced that in military matters, those in authority have very much to do with the appointment and advancement of their officers. Lord Roberts, Lord Kitchener, and in a smaller way, Major-General Hutton’, form certain ideas of men’s fitness and ability. We presume that they know the good men, and that they will take care that the control of battalions is placed in competent hands. I am convinced that we shall not achieve an)’ good by fixing the period within which provisional officers shall cease to hold office, if they fail to pass the examination for the rank to which they have been appointed at eighteen months.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 15 and 16 agreed to.
Clause 17 -
The seniority of officers in the active forces, in their respective ranks, shall be regulated by the date of their commissions, and, ti hen commissions are of the same date by their previous commissions, or in the ease of first commissions, by the order in which their names appear in the Gazette, or in the Government Gazette of a State or of a colony which has become a State, in which their appointments have been notified.
– As I understand it, this clause is intended to provide that the seniority of officers shall be regulated by their seniority at the time this measure comes into operation. I think that provision constitutes the best possible solution of an undoubted difficulty. Any other method would cause endless trouble. There is one point, however, to which I wish todirect attention. I do not know upon what days the Government Gazettes of the different States are published. In Victoria, the Gazette used to be published upon Fridays, but it is -now published upon Wednesdays. It is just possible, however, that the Gazettes of different States may be issued upon the same day that the first commissions of the officers appointed in their respective States appear in those publications, and under such circumstances it is difficult to understand how their respective seniority will rank. Some means- must be devised for deciding this matter. An officer is generally very keen about his seniority, because in time of war it may mean’ the difference between his getting a command and not getting it.
– Would not the date of the appointment be mentioned in the Gazettes ?
– Sometimes the date is mentioned, but occasionally it is not. For instance, in a Gazette notice the promotion of Lieutenant Brown to Captain might date from a specified day, or from the publication of the Gazette in which it appears.
– I do not see how we can provide for that.
– Let us assume that the Government Gazettes in New South Wales and Victoria are published upon the same date. The appointment of Lieutenant Brown may be gazetted in New South Wales, and that of Lieutenant Smith in Victoria. How are we to determine which is to be the senior officer of the two 1
– I will take a note of the honorable and learned member’s point.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 18 and 19 agreed to.
Clause 20 -
The Governor-General may appoint any person to be an officer, or may promote an officer for distinguished service, or for marked ability and gallantry in active service, without his passing the prescribed examination.
– This is the clause to which I directed the attention of the honorable member for Richmond. There might be a desire to promote officers while on service, but it would, be impossible to stop to examine them whilst they were engaged iu war. They might possibly be so engaged for a considerable time, and finally come back and discover that their term of eighteen months had expired. This clause allows only for permanent promotions for distinguished service or gallantry. What the honorable member for Richmond wishes to provide for is, that men who are promoted while on active service shall retain their rank, irrespective of examinations, whilst so employed.
– Yes ; that is my idea.
– I think that the Minister might take a note of the suggestion and give effect to it. We wish to provide for the case of men who, while on service, are actually promoted to service commands, owing to the exigencies of the forces, irrespective of their ability and gallantry. If the commanding officer were killed the second in command or some one else would have to take control of the corps, and might remain in command for a long time. We do not wish to see him turned out at the end of eighteen months because he has not passed the prescribed examination, when he has been fighting all the time.
– I think that the word “may,” line 2, should be omitted, otherwise it might appear that the first part of the clause was intended to be absolute as distinct from the latter part. By omitting the word “ may “ we shall make it clear that the power of the GovernorGeneral to appoint an officer depends upon the conditions as to distinguished service.
– I agree that the word is unnecessary. I move -
That the word “ may,” line 2, be omitted.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 21 agreed to.
Clause 22 -
The Governor-General may place officers of the Defence Force upon an unattached list, and .may appoint fit and proper persons to be officers on that list, and such officers may be employed for duty with any corps or on the staff ; and if employed for duty shall have seniority as prescribed.
– It seems to me that this clause contemplates the formation of a reserve of officers, comprising personswho may not have passed any examination.
– No mention is made of any examination. This clause relates to the unattached list, but the same idea apparently runs through the succeeding clause, which refers to the reserve of officers. Evidently it is intended that persons may become officers without passing any examination. We have had some rather extraordinary appointments made to the unattached list in New South Wales. Gentlemen who were alleged “to have served in the New Zealand, or some other war, either as full privates or corporals, have been made captains and majors on the unattached list in New South Wales, without being called upon to pass any examination. That, I think is a farce. In my opinion we should insist upon examinations being passed. It is very proper te encourage as many gentlemen as can spare the time, to qualify themselves as officers, so far as book-learning and a knowledge of tactics will allow. I have no objection to raise to that proposition, but I think that appointment should depend on examination.
– We might provide that it should be subject to the prescribed examination.
– It would be better to provide that their appointment should be subject to examination similar to those relating to the active forces.
– I think that is the better proposal, otherwise, in relation to this clause, a special examination might be laid down which was ofa farcical character.
– Perhaps the insertion of the words “ subject to sections 1 3 and 14 of this Act,” after the word “ list,” would meet the difficulty.
– It would be better to insert those words after the word “and,” line 2.
– I move-
That, after the word “and,” line 2, the words “subject to sections 13 and 14 of this Act “ be inserted.
Amendment agreed to.
– I beg to draw attention to the concluding words of the clause - and if employed for duty shall have seniority as prescribed.
Clause 17 determines the seniority of officers in the active forces according to the date of their commissions. Of course, all junior officers might be placed in command over senior officers when necessity required that course to be adopted ; but we have here a provision to give officers on the unattached list special facilities for being placed in command over their seniors. Why, for example, should a major on the unattached list be given seniority over all the majors who might be on the active list, on any particular occasion that hewas attached for duty.
– Might they not often be officers on the unattached list.
– But why should they be placed as senior to men to whom they would be junior according to the date of their commissions ?
– The word “prescribed “ has a special meaning.
– Yes, prescribed by regulation. The regulation with which I am familiar in Victoria allows officers on the unattached list to have such seniority as may be agreed upon.
– I am agreeable to the omission of the words.
Amendment (by Mr. McCay) agreed to -
That the words “and if employed for duty shall have seniority as prescribed “ be omitted.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 23 to 26 agreed to
Clause 27 -
The Defence Force shall consist of the Military and Naval Forces of the Commonwealth, and shall be divided into two branches called the Permanent Forces and the Citizen Forces.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).There are two amendments to this clause. The one of which the honorable and learned member for West Sydney has given notice refers to the creation of a national militia - a kind of training for the whole male population - while the other is a proposal put forward by myself. I wish to test the feeling of the Committee as to whether there ought to be a permanent branch of the forces. I do not deny that we must have instructors, artillerymen, and engineers permanently employed, but the spirit of the clause is that we should have not only specially trained men, such as artillerymen, engineers, and instructors, but some special corps of men in the nature of cavalry employed as permanent. forces. The expression used is that-
The Defence Force shall consist of the Military and Naval forces of the Commonwealth, and shall be divided into two branches called the permanent forces and the citizen forces.
– Should we not have full command of that matter in dealing with the Estimates?
– The position is that this clause affirms a principle to which I object.
– Then there are the ships of war to be considered.
– The proposition in the Naval Defence Bill which we have just passed is that such permanent men as we have, shall simply be employed - perhaps in training - on His Majesty’s ships of war. There are no Australian ships. The idea of the Naval Defence Bill is that eventually perhaps we shall have a naval reserve of our own.
– We have the Cerberus, the Protector, and other vessels.
– But the crew of the Cerberus consists, for the most part, of naval reserve men. They are a kind of naval militia.
– There are some 60 permanently employed men on the Cerberus.
– lara aware of that, but I contend that most of the men on the Cerberus correspond with militia. They have only a certain number of days to put in, and they receive a certain pay. They are not permanently employed. I dare say I shall be misrepresented in regard to this matter. I do not deny that we must have some permanent men for special services like the naval service, the instructional, artillery, and engineering services. But that to which I, in common with a number of people, object is that we should have a permanent army - a system of permanent corps of men. If honorable members look at other clauses in the Bill, they will find that the GovernorGeneral has full power to appoint as many permanent men as he thinks fit.
– Is not this clause a matter of terminology - does it not relate to the names to be given to two classes ?
– In one sense it is a matter of terminology, but it is the most convenient point which L could find to test the principle involved. I think it would be well to have a division on this clause to determine whether we should have permanent corps as well as national militia corps. If, on the other hand, we allow this clause to pass, it will be taken for granted that we are to have a system of permanent corps.
– This relates only to the title. We can discuss by-and-by what should be included under the term.
– The clause provides that the Defence Force shall be divided into two branches called the permanent forces and the citizen forces. I object to that. There ought *to be only one stock - the national militia - and, as it were, special addenda in the form of permanent men.
– Does the honorable arid learned member mean that this clause would affirm the principle of having a permanent field force, apart from artillery 1
– Yes ; permanent corps, which might be infantry, artillery, or anything else.
– Would that not have to be determined on the year’s Estimates ?
– Of course, it would be dependent upon the amount voted upon the Estimates, which are a large check upon the Minister in regard to expenditure in these directions. But still, in framing the Estimates - which are often put before us after the expenditure has been incurred and the men have earned their money - the Minister will probably take his instructions from the Act, and the Act, if passed in this form, will say that there are to be two branches. The Bill says, first of all, that there are to be citizen forces. That is all right. But it says also that there are to be permanent forces. It says, in clause 30, that the Governor-General is to have as many permanent men as he thinks fit. Thereis absolutely.no limit to the number. It is the old story of Parliament being supposed to have control over the Estimates, though it has not.
– Does not the honorable and learned member’s proposal seem to widen the possibilities of the clause rather than to limit them 1
– I do not think so.
– I understand that the honorable and learned member proposes to strike out the limitation.
– No ; I want to strike out the words -
And shall be divided into two branches called the permanent forces and the citizen forces.
– That would leave it open to have four branches.
– No; what I want to have is a test division at the earliest stage, in order to decide whether or not we are to have two branches to our defence system - a system of regular soldiers as well as of volunteers and militia. So far as I am concerned, I should like not to have a regular army in this United Australia.
– Nothing but volunteers ‘f
– We must have regular soldiers to manage the forts.
– We must have special men permanently employed for special services. What I object to is having our Defence Forces divided into two branches, one of which is a permanent branch unlimited in number and unlimited in character, whilst the other is a citizen branch.
– Can not the honorable and learned member obtain what he wants when we come to the definition’?
– I submit that the permanently employed men belonging to those portions of the service, apart from artillery and engineers, ought not to be “ a branch “ of the Defence Force at all. The whole idea of the’ clause involves dividing the Defence Force into two parts, permanent and citizen, both of which stand upon the same level. The true ideal is to have a Defence Force of a voluntary character - I do not say volunteers and militia necessarily, but forces that act as volunteers or militia ; and the only permanent men should be special men employed for the purposes of artillery, engineering, instruction in the navy, gunnery in the navy, and so forth.
– No permanent soldiers ?
– Certainly no permanent men of the line, except instructors.
– There are 1,398 now.
– If the Minister would prefer that we should have a discussion on this subject at a later stage, I am willing to consider what course would be more convenient for him, and to pass over this clause without the Committee saying whether we shall have a permanent force or not.
– Even by the honorable and learned member’s own showing, the instructors would come under the heading of permanent forces.
– But not permanent forces as a branch of the Defence Force.
– It was advised by the General Officer Commanding that the word “regular” be employed, but I would not have that; I put in the word “permanent.”
– I think the honorable and learned gentleman has vastly improved the Bill since last year, and the Committee is grateful to him for it. Clause 28 says that the permanent forces are to consist of- officers who are appointed officers of those forces and of soldiers, petty officers, and sailors.
Then clause 30 says that the GovernorGeneral - may raise, maintain, and organize in the manner prescribed such permanent and citizen forces as he deems necessary for the defence and protection of the Commonwealth and of the several States.
So that it is absolutely a matter of discretion for the Governor-General - that is, for the Minister - to say how many men shall be employed in the permanent forces. He may employ one thousand or ten thousand.
– If he gets the money
– We are arguing again and again in a circle. The same interjection has been made three times in the course of my speech, and the answer is very obvious. We all know that the discussion of the Estimates has become in the hands of Parliament an ineffective method of controlling expenditure.
– It was very effective in cutting down the Defence expenditure by £160,000 on one occasion.
– And it was a most inexpedient way of doing what Parliament wanted.
– It made some of the forces very ineffective.
– The result of that mode of doing what we wanted was that the parts of the service which could least bear retrenchment have borne it.
– What other method could have been adopted ?
– I am not blaming any one for the method adopted. All I say is that those honorable members who have any experience in Parliament will agree with me that the passing of the Estimates has ceased to be an effective weapon with Parliament for the purpose of controlling expenditure. It was the only means we had, but the result was that we cut down without sufficient details being given as to what would bear cutting down. We cut down by a large sum, and left it to the Minister to decide how the cutting down should take place, and the cutting down was in the wrong direction. The next provision with regard to permanent forces is clause 41, which says -
The permanent forces and all persons continuously employed in the active forces on regular pay and duty -
That is, I understand, the instructors principally - shall at all times be liable to be employed on active service, and in the defence and protection of the Commonwealth and of the several States.
Then comes clause 42, which provides that -
The services of the permanent forces and of all persons continuously employed in the active forces on regular pay and dutymay at all times be utilized wherever required, either within or beyond the limits of the Commonwealth.
I have given notice that I intend to move the omission of clause 42. I think that no man ought to be forced against his will to go from Australia, whether he be a permanent man or not. But, of course, I have to take the clauses as they stand in the Bill. I do not see why we should have as a regular branch of the service corps of permanent men. Then clause 51 says that -
The permanent military forces and all persons permanently employed in the active military forces sholl at all times, and all members of the citizen military forces shall while on active service and at all times when on duty or wearing their uniforms be subject to the Army Act.
Then clause 52 deals with the members of the naval forces in the same way. It will be seen that the expression “ the permanent forces “ is used frequently throughout the Bill, and therefore I think that it is just as well when we first deal with the expression to say whether we want it or not. I think the correct form would be, after stating that the forces shall consist of military and naval forces, to say - “ the following classes of men may be enrolled for permanent forces and for several years,” and then give a definition that the term includes, men for the artillery, for engineering, and so on.
– Would the honorable and learned member have that limit in the Bill 1
– I think that we must have a limit of some sort in the Bill as to character or as to number - one thing or the other.
– We may require various numbers for different purposes.
– The numbers can be varied. If a larger number is required the Government can come to Parliament for its consent.
– It might be necessary to amend this Bill to do that.
– That may be so, but Parliament could be intrusted to amend the Act to increase the number of men if there were occasion to do so.
– On the honorable and learned member’s own showing would there be two branches then.
– Not two branches of the Defence Force.
– It comes to the same thing.
– We cannot call it two branches where they are not growing from the same stock. The idea I have in my mind, right or wrong, is to have only one stock - one growth from that stock ; but at the same time to have as it were a certain fruit which grows upon that stock, culminating the Stock. I think we could have the permanent, exceptional men without their forming a distinctive branch of the Defence Force. Of course, the way of doing that would be open to some difference of opinion. I only want at the earliest stage - and I shall try to suit the convenience of the Minister at the table - to ask the Committee whether it wants to have as a part of our Defence Force, special corps of infantry and cavalry which the GovernorGeneral may choose to appoint as permanent, forces.
– If the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne would submit a clause defining what class of men may be employed permanently - I do not care under what name - in the Defence Force of Australia, I should be prepared to support him.
– I should be very glad ; but I think that the Minister, with the draftsman as his adviser, ought to be able to do it better.
– I do not mean that the honorable and learned member should draft the clause, except as a means of expressing his view. I think it is all a matter of the difference between tweed! e-dum and tweedledee, to draw distinctions between permanent forces and men permanently employed. It is the same thing. But the honorable and learned member proposes to limit the permanent forces to soldiers of certain classes.
– He objects to permanent forces.
– He does nothing of the kind ; he objects to permanent infantry, permanent cavalry, permanent field artillery.
– I did not say that I objected to permanent field artillery ; I say that we must have some permanent artillery.
– Permanent field artillery, or garrison artillery ?
– We must have both.
– If the honorable and learned member will limit his objection to admit of certain classes of men belonging to the permanent forces, I shall be prepared to support him. I do not think it is advisable to have permanent forces of certain classes, in view of the fact that it is quite clear that Parliament, and the Commonwealth as a whole, are going to strictly limit the expenditure on defences of all kinds. We must get the most we can for our money, and that can only be done by developing to the utmost the citizen forces, and reducing to a minimum the permanent forces. There is no doubt that we can get a considerable number of citizen soldiers for the same cost as is necessary for one permanent soldier. It seems to me absolutely essential that there should be a certain proportion of permanent men for the naval garrison and harbor forces - garrison artillery to man the various forts, submarine engineers and men of that class - and an instructional staff for the purely land forces. But I do not think that the land forces require any more permanent soldiers than an instructional, and, to a certain extent, an administrative staff. That is a view I have always held, for the reason that in that way we can, on the whole, get the best value for our money.
– What about permanent artillery ?
– In view of the small amount of money available, we could do much better with a militia field artillery. It must be remembered that there is the greatest difference between garrison artillery and field artillery, and I have always insisted on the necessity of having carefully trained men whose whole time shall be devoted to their duties in the former branch.
– There is a permanent field artillery.
– There is a permanent field artillery in New South Wales, but in no other State is there such a land force. I know that the scheme which was propounded in the famous minute of March of last year refers to a permanent field artillery, and certainly foreshadows permanent corps of other land forces to serve as a model and exemplar to the militia forces.
– Is that proposed?
-It is not exactly proposed, but one may read it between the lines in the minute. I shall not discuss the question whether, if we had plenty of money, it would be advisable to have such a force.
– It is a bad thing to have too many permanent men.
– That also is my opinion, but for the present I shall leave that matter out of account. Under the circumstances of the case, we are forced, in justice to the citizen soldiery, to one conclusion, namely, that it is only what may be called specially skilled labourers for the defence of positions in our harbors-
– The honorable and learned member is discussing the composition of the forces, which does not arise under this clause.
– I am sorry that the honorable and learned member for Parkes should, on one of his flying visits to this House-
– The honorable and learned member always becomes personal when crossed.
– I do not think I am specially personal. I am discussing the very matter which the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne discussed for a considerable time. I think that the discussion of the question of what the permanent forces are to be is in order when considering whether or not we are to have a permanent force ; and the latter point is, I think, raised by the clause. If I have said anything which is considered to be offensive to the honorable and learned member for Parkes, I can only express my regret.
– The honorable and learned member for Corinella has not hurt my feelings, andI tell him candidly that I care so little for remarks of the kind that if he will write me a note, expressing his indignation or surprise that I do not oftener attend the House, I shall publish it in my constituency. It is all very well for honorable members who can follow their business in Melbourne day after day and attend Parliament in the evening, to speak of the occasional absence of those who have to travel 600 or 1,000 miles.
– If that is meant for me, I have to leave my business four days in the week.
– It is not meant for the honorable and learned member ; but he ought not, simply because I do not agree with him, to turn round and draw attention to my attendance in this House. I have listened to the honorable and learned member very carefully because I know he has some military knowledge, which I do not profess to possess. I know nothing about soldiering, and I have no soldiering enthusiasm ; but I do know something of Acts of Parliament, and the clause before us simply provides that the DefenceForce, whether military or naval, shall practically be divided into two parts, one called the permanent force and the other called the citizen force. The clause does not say of what either force shall consist ; that is dealt with in subsequent clauses. We always listen to the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne with great care, because he does not rise unless to say something worth hearing. The honorable and learned member seems to object to our having any permanent force - he objects to the word “permanent,” and also to the word “force.” I confess that I cannot understand what the honorable and learned member wants - whether or not he wants to do away altogether with permanent soldiers. According to the honorable and learned member we are to have nothing permanent except the teachers; and I confess I do not understand that position. Surely, apart from the teachers, the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne does not object to the permanent employment of men who have made soldiering their profession.
– I have said the opposite aboutfive times.
-But the honorable and learned member objects to the word “permanent.”
– If the honorable and learned member is willing to have artillery composed of men who make a profession of soldiery, and who shall be always at hand, why should he object to the word “ permanent “ ‘ There cannot be any temporary naval defence - we cannot have men who are in mercantile employment one week and in a naval defence force the other.
– Most of the naval men are not permanent.
– No doubt ; but does the honorable and learned member mean that we are to have no naval or military force that is permanent ?
– Certainly not. If I have not been able to explain myself I. am very sorry ; I cannot explain myself further.
– I may tell the honorable and learned member that there are a number of other honorable members who share my stupidity in the matter.
– It is not stupidity.
– I am afraid it is stupidity, because I cannot see why the honorable and learned member objects to the two terms. I could quite understand his objecting to what is comprehended under subsequent clauses ; but why he should wish to take out the two terms “permanent force” and “citizen force,” unless he is going to substitute other terms, I cannot understand. I do not know what the honorable and learned member proposes to do, and in the absence of definite information I shall vote for the clause.
– Unlike the honorable and learned member who has just spoken, I am a member of the permanent forces of Parliament, and I want my constituents to know that I am attending to my duty. The , honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne seems most concerned about the word “ permanent,” and I think that his great objection is to a standing army.
– What has the honorable member’s experience been?
– My experience in New South Wales is that we must have garrison artillery and engineers. We find that throughout Australia thenumber of the permanent forces has been reduced, and we shall always, by means of the Estimates, have full control, although the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne thinks that that is not so. In the Estimates it is clearly set out that the permanent force, the volunteer force, and the militia each costs so much ; and if the House in the past has been careless in regard to retrenchment, honorable members must not blame Ministers, but themselves. If the Defence expenditure has been reduced by £160,000 a year we can easily see in what branches of the service the reductions have been made ; and, as I have said, we always have full control. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne has expressed the opinion that there must be permanent garrison artillery, engineers, and instructional officers ; and these, all told, number 1,300 in Australia. That may not be a large number, but they are men who must be constantly employed by the Commonwealth. The members of the garrison artillery, although they are called soldiers, are mainly mechanics, and are paid mechanics’ wages ; but it has been discovered that the work of the field artillery may be very well done by volunteers or militia. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne is afraid that the permanent force is growing, and that we may have a standing army over which we shall have no control ; but I have already pointed out the control which the Estimates give us. Under the circumstances, I think that “ permanent force “ is the best term that can be employed.
– I sympathize with the position taken up by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, so far as I understand it. I understand that the honorable and learned member desires to reduce as far as practicable the number of permanent men to be employed in connexion with our DefenceForce. It has always seemed to me to be highly undesirable in a community such as this, or indeed in any community, to withdraw from productive enterprises any greater number of men than is absolutely essential. We require their services primarily in developing the resources of the country. I can therefore quite sympathize with a desire to keep the number of permanent men as low as possible. But I do not quite see how we can lay down in the Defence Bill a maximum number of permanent men to be employed. The number can only be decided from year to year according to circumstances. It is true that wewho in this House voted for a reduction in the Defence Estimates for last year and the previous year were not as successful as we could have wished in the manner in which the reduction was applied, but there was no other course open to us. We could not pretend to that intimate acquaintancewith the peculiarities and conditions generally of the service, which would enable us to say exactly in what manner the reduction should be effected. We were compelled, therefore, to rely upon the Minister and his advisers, to adopt the course in making the required reduction which would least effect the efficiency of the forces. Admitting all that, I do not see how we can decide beforehand what would be an adequate number of permanent men to employ.
– That question does not arise now.
– The number of men required will depend to some extent upon the nature of the defence we decide to adopt. If we go in for a large number of fixed defences, forts, floating batteries, submarine boats, and torpedoes, involving complicated machinery, and a great deal of mechanical knowledge on the part of the men employed, as well as familiarity with the weapons to be used, we shall require a much larger number of permanent men than we should require if we set aside those means of defence, and depended almost entirely upon our field artillery and rifle corps. It seems to me that the number of permanent men required will always be varying ; though I admit that there should be a desire on the part of Parliament to keep the number employed down to the absolute minimum. I understood the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne’ to say just now that the question of the number would not arise under the present clause, and I am not quite clear as to what the honorable and learned member desires to effect. I should like to have demonstrated any difference which can be shown between the phraseology used in the Bill and that suggested by the honorable and learned member. A difference may be patent to a mind accustomed to technical expressions, but I do not see that any great object is to be gained by altering the phraseology in the way proposed.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne).To bring matters to a test, what I proposewould be that the clause should stand in this way -
The Defence Force shall consist of the military and naval forces of the Commonwealth- and thenI would alter the succeeding words, and in their stead use the words - and, except as hereinafter provided, shall be a citizen force.
The effect of that would be to make the citizen force the rule and the permanent force the exception. As the clause at present stands, we have the permanent force as. one branch, and the citizen force as another; standing upon a level, and the GovernorGeneral in Council may appoint any permanent force he thinks fit. If what I propose is adopted, when the Minister has had the advice of the permanent head of the Department, he can speak as to the permanent force required, and we can strictly limit its character. I hope it will be understood that I do not think it essential to limit the number of men unnecessarily. I desire to fix the character of the permanent force, to suggest that the only permanent’ men employed shall be men of a certain class, as, for instance, garrison artillery, naval men, and perhaps field artillery. After consultation with the General Officer Commanding, the Minister will be able to tell us what classes of permanent men he will require to create. I move -
That the words “shall be divided into two. branches, called the Permanent Forces and the Citizen Forces,” be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “except as hereinafter provided shall be a Citizen Force.”
– It -seems to me that the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne’ is splitting straws. I am unable to see the broad distinction which he seeks to make manifest to the Committee. He admits that it is an absolute necessity of the military situation that there must be a permanent force, that we must have permanent artillery, and a permanent instructional force, constantly employed and paid. How can we have these unless we provide for a permanent force? The honorable and learned member seeks if possible to minimize almost to the vanishing point the idea of a permanent force, and to bring into greater prominence the idea of a citizen force. I do not see that the terminology of the Bill as it stands prevents that being done. The actual and effective control of these forces will be ours at the time of passing the Estimates. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne must know that every time differing military dispositions are made in the old country a new Bill is not introduced. For instance, the last military estimates provided for a new force entirely. The Imperial authorities proposed to establish a garrison of 25,000 men in South Africa.’ They are rearranging the whole disposition of their defences at home and abroad, and I have not heard that they have introduced a new Bill to take power to do that. The more -elastic we make the terms of the Bill the more effective will be our control of the forces in the parliamentary arena. It is when the Estimates are being dealt with that we shall really control the force. After all, we cannot do very much in the actual working out of our military schemes in dealing with a Bill of this description. In this Bill, wo take power to do certain things, but it is in the actual disposition of the forces that our active control over them will be found to exist. Therefore, with the greatest possible deference to the honorable and learned member, whose great gift of exposition I always admire, I am bound to say that I do not think his gift has been displayed this evening as lucidly as it ordinarily is. I submit that the. honorable and learned member is chasing a- difficulty which has no substantial existence. We do not surrender pur control of the forces ; we may manipulate them as we like in dealing with the Estimates ; we may make the permanent force as small as we desire, . and may reduce it to one man by the simple exercise of our power when the Estimates are before us. We can in the same way multiply the citizen forces to any extent we wish. I cannot bring myself to see that the matter is of the extreme and pressing importance which the earnestness of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne would seem to indicate.
– The Committee is unanimous in agreeing with the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, that a community depends upon the martial spirit of its people, and not upon military caste ; but it is not possible to eliminate the word “ permanent “ from this Bill.
– I have not proposed to do that.
– I think we might meet the honorable and learned member by providing that the Defence Force shall be divided “ into a citizen force and into a a permanent force.” By adopting this form we shall put first the mainstay of the force, and allow the permanent force to be referred to subsequently. I do not think it is possible for us to do more than that. If the honorable and learned member is prepared to accept an amendment in that form, I shall vote for it
– It seems to me that this .is a flank movement on the part of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, and we must consider it in connexion with some proposals which he makes with reference to later clauses. I ask the honorable and learned member whether what he now proposes might not be met by the limitation of numbers which he proposes in clause 30 ? I am with the suggestion to limit the number of the permanent force. Having officers and experts to train men, we do not require any very large permanent force ; but if there should be only 1,000 men in the permanent force, as the honorable and learned member proposes, wc should still require some term by which to refer to them.
– There are 1,400 now.
– It seems to me that the term, as it is defined in the clause, is a necessary one. It is proposed to strike out clause 28 altogether, and later on to limit the number to 1,000 ; but I think it will be better to leave this clause as it stands, whatever limitation we make later on.
There is also another proposal of great importance to be considered in connexion with the clause, so that, perhaps, it .might be better for us to postpone it.
– There has been so much discussion upon the provisions of the clause, that it is difficult for honorable members to grasp the situation. Although I have listened very attentively to the debate, I have had some trouble in arriving at an opinion as to the real meaning” of the amendment. The honorable member for Dalley has raised another point. He says that he belongs to a force for which no provision at all is. made in the Bill. I intend to support the clause as it stands. When the proposal of the honorable member for West Sydney is brought before us, it will enable us to deal with military matters in a much more satisfactory way than has been possible in the post.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 28 (Permanent Forces).
– I propose to add to this clause a provision to the effect that the permanent forces shall consist only of certain classes of soldiers - garrison, artillery, engineers, and the instructional staff. With our limited means we cannot afford permanent field artillery, cavalry or infantry.
House adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 4 August 1903, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1903/19030804_reps_1_15/>.