1st Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the choir at 2 p.m., and read prayers.
– I have to inform the House that this morning I presented to His Excellency the Governor-General the address which was yesterday adopted by this House, and that His Excellency has been pleased to make the following reply : -
I have been profoundly touched by the signal honour you have done mo in handing me the Address from each of your two Houses, authoritatively representing as they do the warm-hearted people of Australia. That you have been kind enough to give such generous expression to your feeling that I have done my duty by my Sovereign, the Empire, and Australia during my term of office as Governor-General will be to me an evergrateful remembrance, and I shall value this Address as one of the highest honours I could possibly receive.
I wish to thank my Ministers and the members of the first Commonwealth Parliament of Australia for their unvarying kindness and courtesy to me and mine ; and Lady Tennyson, who has throughout been closely associated with me in the” performance of my duties, and, may I add, richly merits your encomium, desires me to convey to you her heartfelt gratitude for your kind words and wishes. She and I have spent five truly happy years among you, and the people of Australia will always bo very near our hearts, while you may rest assured that, wherever I am, I shall continue to advocate their interests to the best of my ability.
It is true that I came into office at a time when many great difficulties had to be encountered ; but by your “ common sense,” patience, and perseverance these especial difficulties have been overcome. I shall ever remember with pride that I was His Majesty’s chief representative in Australia when the Constitution of the Commonwealth was being established on a firm basis - that as such I assented to the four great Acts which are the four corner-stones of the Constitution, and helped to place the coping-stone on the edifice by the creation of your strong Federal High Court.
In my journeys through Australia I have- been enabled to see for myself how wonderful the resources - how rich the products of your country are, and how splendidly loyal are the people.
I have full belief that United Australia will take a high and worthy rank among the nations of the world, and add her contribution to the welfare and the glories of the British race, and aid the mother.country to fulfil her great Imperial mission.
22nd October, 1903.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
– I omitted last night to perform, a duty which obviously belongs to as, because I understood that a more fitting opportunity would present itself to-day. . I refer to the expression at the close of the session of our high’ appreciation of the manner in which Mr.’ Speaker and the officers of the .House have discharged their duties. The session now drawing to a close has not been so interminably long or so gravely serious as that which preceded it, but it has been rich in legislative work and marked by achievements upon which we shall be able to look with satisfaction in the future. The officers of the House have at all times been courteous and have rendered necessary assistance to honorable members. Mr. Speaker has been, - in a sense, not only our controller, but the confidant and counsellor of. honorable members in all matters relating to the business of this Chamber. I take it that we are exceptionally fortunate in finding ourselves in this splendid building, surrounded by a staff of diligent and courteous officers, and presided over by a Speaker who has filled his position with dignity, and who will leave an honoured name behind him.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).I join with the Prime Minister in expressing gratitude to Mr. Speaker for the man- ner in which he has presided over our deliberations, and to the officers for the courtesy and’ attention which they have displayed in the discharge of their duties. I think that at the close of this Parliament we have also reason to be satisfied with ourselves. We have had an exceptionally difficult task to perform. We have had to deal with the question of a new Tariff, the much- vexed white Australia question; and many other important matters.
– Not forgetting the Capital site question.
– And also the Capital site question. Notwithstanding the difficult subjects with which we have had to deal, and the strong feeling which has been engendered on many occasions, I feel sure that we shall all be able to leave the House with feelings of mutual respect and personal good- willi
Mr. DEAKIN__ I omitted to mention the Chairman of Committees, whom I had fully intended to include in my reference to Mr. Speaker. I am sure honorable members will agree with me that our hearty thanks are due to the Chairman for the way in which he has discharged his functions.
– The Prime Minister has been kind enough to make complimentary references to my services and to those of the officers of the House. I can assure honorable members that, so far as I am personally concerned, I am much obliged to him for his kindly expressions. I am greatly indebted to every member of the House for the very full and cordial support which has been extended to me in the performance of my duties throughout this Parliament. I trust that whoever may occupy the position which I now hold in the days to come will be similarly honoured. On behalf of the officers of the House, I can assure honorable members that it is their one endeavour to carry out their duties in the interests of this Parliament and of the Commonwealth which we represent.
– The Prime Minister was good enough to make a kindly reference to my ‘services as Chairman of. Committees. I desire to thank him for the generous sentiments which he expressed, and honorable members for the cordial manner in which his remarks were received. I have consistently endeavoured to act impartially, to know no party, and to conduct the proceedings in Committee in accordance with the traditions of the Parliament of the great mother country. I am quite sure that honorable- members entertain the same kindly feelings towards myself that I entertain towards them.
– I desire to make a personal explanation with regard to my remarks during the debate upon the transcontinental railway to Western Australia last evening. The inference to be drawn from the condensed report which appears in the Argus this morning is that in my reference to the attitude assumed by the right honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Kingston, and. the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, I conveyed the idea that it was a very bad thing for Australia that they were’ members of this House. I -wish it to be clearly understood that I had no such idea in my mind. I fully acknowledge the good work which lias been done, both in State and Federal politics, by the right honorable and learned member for South Australia, and I have not the slightest reason to cast any reflection in a general way upon the honorable member for Kalgoorlie.
– In the absence of the Minister for Home Affairs, I desire to ask the Postmaster-General whether he will take the House into his confidence at the -earliest possible date in regard to the electoral rolls of Yackandandah, and whether he considers that a horse’s nosebag is a proper receptacle for the rolls of the free and independent electors of both sexes 1 Would he treat the plans for the transcontinental railway in the same manner 1 I should further like to know whether we will give the House an opportunity to recover and purify these parliamentary rolls at an early date ?
– Yackandandah happens to be in my electorate, and, although I am intensely grateful to the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne for taking an interest in that town, I wish to assure him that it was one of those places to which I specifically referred the other evening when discussing this subject. I submitted the name to the Minister for Home Affairs who took a special note of it. I thoroughly agree that a good deal of confusion has occurred in regard to the rolls, and in that locality, as well as in others, their rectification is undoubtedly necessary. I strongly urge that so important a matter, not merely to candidates, but to the whole of Australia, should receive attention at the hands of the Minister. That is only one instance in which there has been confusion. All around Wodonga, and various other -towns in the same electorate - I do not think it is necessary to give their names - the immediate and earnest attention of the Government is required to the remedy of existing evils.
– In the absence of the Minister for Home Affairs, I can suggest no other remedy at the present moment than to summon the offending horse to the Bar of the House. I presume that it has eaten up the Yackandandah rolls, under the impression that they were chaff.
– In view of the fact that these rolls have probably disappeared owing to the absence of horse-feed in the particular town referred to, will the Government consider the advisability of suspending the fodder duties t
– I desire to ask the Minister for Defence, whether the civilian officials in his Department are to be compelled to join the Defence Forces and wear uniform, and, if so, by whose authority ? In speaking of this matter the other evening, I was in error in stating that the clerks in the Department were to be compelled to join the militia forces. As a matter of fact, no compulsion is being directly applied, but an endeavour is being made to achieve the same result in an indirect way. A General Order states -
It is, however, most essential that all responsible officers in the Ordnance Department should have the status of officers or non-commissioned officers, and employes in the Department cannot look for advancement to positions of responsibility unless they have military status.
I desire to ask the Minister whether he approves of the adoption of the course proposed, and if not, whether he will inform the House what action he intends to take 1
– In reply to the honorable member’s question, I desire to say that no instructions to that effect have been given.
The Usher of the Black Rod was admitted, and announced that His Excellency the Governor-General desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber.
Mr. Speaker, accompanied by honorable members, then proceeded to the Senate chamber, where His Excellency the GovernorGeneral was pleased to deliver a speech (vide page 6436), declaring Parliament prorogued until the 14th November, 1903.
Commonwealth of Australia to wit.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 October 1903, viewed 7 November 2016, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1903/19031022_reps_1_17/>.