House of Representatives
23 November 1904

2nd Parliament · 1st Session



Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 7307

QUESTION

PACIFIC ISLANDS MAIL SERVICES

Mr CULPIN:
BRISBANE. QLD

– I wish to know from the Prime Minister if it is intended that only the subsidized boats trading to1 the New Hebrides shall call at Brisbane, or whether the steamers coming from all the ports of call in the islands shall visit that port. There are several groups of islands, and I wish to know if each of the islands will have a steamer going from Brisbane. I should also be glad to’ be informed if the Prime Minister will consent to tenders being called for these services when the subsidy is arranged ?

Mr REID:
Minister for External Affairs · EAST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · Free Trade

– I have previously stated that it is thought that no advantage will be gained by inviting tenders for these services. The proposition is to make a contract with Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Company on’ lines which have been agreed upon, pending, of course, the obtaining of Parliamentary sanction for (Che expenditure. I have received from Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Company a promise that the steamers connected with two of the lines - the New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, lines - will make Brisbane a port of call, but that, as it is intended to make the New Hebrides service more expeditious than that which at present prevails, and Brisbane lies quite out of the direct track, it will be impossible for the steamers employed in the New Hebrides trade to call at that port. I cannot, at present, say whether all the islands in these groups will be called at. I cannot do that without referring to the papers.

Mr Carpenter:

– Is white labour only to be employed on these steamers’?

Mr Watson:

– Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Company are already receiving an extra subsidy to enable them to employ white labour only.

Mr REID:

– I do not wish to make a positive answer when I am not certain, though I have no doubt that white labour only is to be employed. I will refer to the papers to make sure.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It is stated in the papers that only white labour is to-be employed.

page 7307

QUESTION

ENGLISH MAIL CONTRACTS

Sir JOHN FORREST:
SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

– Following up; the questions which I asked the PostmasterGeneral yesterday in regard to the English mail service, I wish to know if he can inform the House whether the Orient Com:pany’s steamers will call at Largs Bay and Fremantle after the expiration of the present contract on the 31st January next, and whether it is intended to continue a fortnightly service between Australia and1 Europe, according to the existing timetable.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I have no official information as to the intentions of the Orient Company ; but I presume that a large trading company such as that will, in the interests of its business connexions with Australia, see that a proper service is carried out between this country and England.-

page 7307

QUESTION

FEDERAL CAPITAL SITE

Mr FULLER:
ILLAWARRA, NEW SOUTH WALES

– Has thi? attention of the Prime Minister been directed to the statement in ‘this ‘morning’s. Argus of the opinions of the Attorney-General of New South Wales, Sir Julian Salomons, and Mr. C. B. Stephen in regard to the Federal Capital Site? Will he inform the House at an early date whether the legal adviser of the Government agrees with those opinions ?

Mr REID:
Free Trade

– I saw a statement in the newspaper this morning of what I should think was a very condensed version of opinions given by learned gentlemen in New South Wales’. I shall ask the Premier of New South Wales to furnish me with copies of those opinions, and whether I shall refer them to the legal adviser of the Government will depend on my perusal of the full text.

Mr Isaacs:

– Will copies of those opinions be available for general information ?

Mr REID:

– There will be no objection to t’hat.

page 7307

QUESTION

MILITARY HEAD DRESS

Mr POYNTON:
GREY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I understand that recently instructions were given to men to appear at an afternoon parade in what are known as forage caps, an order which created a great deal of comment, because of the severity of our climate in summer. Is there anything in the Defence regulations which compel members of the forces to attend afternoon parades, in forage caps? l( 7308 Adjournment [REPRESENTATIVES.] (Formal).

Mr McCAY:
Minister for Defence · CORINELLA, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– The order of dress for any corps in any part of the Commonwealth depends on orders issued, first, by the District Commandant, and secondly, by the Officer Commanding the corps in pursuance of the district orders. I do not know the circumstances to which the honorable member refers, but in most of the States the rule is to adopt summer headdress about the1st November, and I shall be surprised to learn that that commonsense arrangement has not been followed in South Australia. However, I shall make inquiries on the subject.

page 7308

PAPERS

MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -

Memorandum relating to the erection of a memorial to Queen Victoria.

Statement showing when patentees may expect to get letters patent under the Patents Act.

Regulations under the Defence Act, Statutory Rules 1904, No. 71.

ADJOURNMENT (Formal).

Electoral Act Administration.

Mr SPEAKER:

– I have received an in timation from the honorable member for Darling that he desires to move the adjournment of the House, to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz., “ The action of the Government in its declared intention to continue to suspend the operation of the Electoral Act in respect of holding Revision Courts, thereby completing and perfecting the enrolment of Commonwealth electors.”

Five honorable members having risen in their places,

Question proposed.

Mr SPENCE:
Darling

– Very general surprise was occasioned by the replies given by the Minister of Home Affairs in regard to the intention of the Government as to the holding of Revision Courts and the printing of rolls, and I need no justification for taking this action to emphasize the matter. The Minister himself cannot complain of a discussion of the subject which, under the Standing Orders, cannot be other than of limited duration. We all understood that the Electoral Act would allow a certain degree of elasticity in detailed administration. It provides that the Minister shall direct when rolls are to be printed, and where and at what time Revision Courts will be held. But I venture to say that no Member of Parliament thought that that would be taken to mean that no rolls shall be printed, and no Revision Courts held, which the Minister has told us is his decision.

Mr Lonsdale:

– To save expense, pending the redistribution of electoral divisions.

Mr SPENCE:

– That is beside the question. It would save expense if there were no meetings of Parliament. The Act is a measure of the utmost importance, since it regulates the control of the affairs of the nation by a Parliament elected by the people. It appears to me that some honorable members are prepared to condone any action of the Government in the direction of breaking the law. This is a very serious matter. I submit that the cost that would be involved is a very small consideration when the importance of the matter is fully realized. We cannot carry out the law unless we have rolls printed so that the electors may ascertain whether or not their names are on them. These rolls should be posted throughout the Commonwealth. No provision is made for purifying the rolls, and for dealing with objections except by means of a Revision Court. The Minister is required to fix a time for the holding of Revision Courts, and to appoint clerks of the courts. Those persons, who desire to have the roll amended must send notice to the clerk of the court, who fixes a certain time for the receipt of applications or objections. The Registrar has no power to do anything of his own volition except to strike off the rolls the names of persons who have died, or to restore to the rolls the names of persons whose names have been erroneously omitted, on the presumption that they were dead. Section 62 of the Act provides that in all other matters the Registrar must be moved by someone making application to have the rolls amended. This is the only means by which the rolls collected by the police and other officials can be checked and corrected.What is the use of our collecting rolls, unless means are provided for making them complete and accurate?

Mr Kelly:

– We are waiting for the redistribution of seats.

Mr SPENCE:

– The honorable member has suggested what appears to be one of the reasons for the delay. When the last rolls were collected, and the Revision Courts met, as many as 6,000 names were struck off at one sweep in the metropolitan divisions in New South Wales.

Mr Wilks:

– They were struck off by a sweep.

Mr SPENCE:

– They were struck off by the Revision Court. “Statements have appeared in the press - I should be sorry to associate the Minister of Home Affairs with them, but the honorable member for Wentworth is responsible for showing that there is some such idea in the minds of Government supporters - that there is to be a redistribution of seats. The Minister of Home Affairs has stated that the collections made by the police will afford sufficient data for the redistribution, but the fact that 6,000 names were struck off the rolls for the metropolitan divisions in New South Wales when the last Revision Court was held, coupled with the statements in the press to the effect that the Government hope that the metropolitan electors in Sydney will become entitled to return, another representative, and that the number of representatives of country districts in New South Wales will be correspondingly reduced, would justify us in regarding the action of the Government with suspicion - if we were that way inclined.

Mr Wilks:

– We are endeavouring to do justice to the electors.

Mr SPENCE:

– I feel quite sure that the Minister of Home Affairs would be no party to any little game of that kind.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– What game?

Mr SPENCE:

– I refer to accepting the rolls for the metropolitan divisions in New South Wales without check, with a view to a redistribution of seats upon a basis favorable to the Government. I am not satisfied that the Minister is taking a correct attitude in proposing to accept the police collections as sufficient data for the redistribution of seats. It has yet to be proved to me that the Act, although its provisions are elastic, contemplates that the Minister shall be entitled to decide that no Revision Courts shall be held, and no rolls printed. The intention was merely to allow the Minister a reasonable degree of latitude in fixing the time for the holding of the Revision Courts. What is the use of collecting names, unless Revision Courts are held, and the rolls are printed? Statements were made a short time ago to the effect that if a dissolution took place, no rolls would be ready for the purposes of an election ; and yet we find that the Government, from whom such statements emanated, are deliberately arranging matters so that no rolls shall be ready for some time to come.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– That is not so.

Mr SPENCE:

– That is not a proper position for the Government to take up, and if the Minister of Home Affairs had seriously considered the matter, he must have seen that his action in this matter might be held to bear a very peculiar complexion. Our experience has shown us that the names of hundreds of electors have been left off the roll by the police. Although the Political Electoral League in the principal town in my electorate succeeded in having 200 additional names placed on the roll, persons who had been resident there for twenty years, and who were still there, were left off the list. A number of them had been struck off the roll, although they were living right under the eyes of the police. I know of a case in which a constable, who was collecting the names of electors in one of the suburbs of Sydney, asked a woman if her name was on the roll. She replied, “. No,” explaining that she had only recently come from Victoria. The constable then asked her how long she had been in New South Wales, and she replied “About six months.” He then told her, “ You are not entitled to be on the roll, bcause you have not been resident in the State for twelve months.” The constable did not understand his instructions - if he ever had any. No doubt, many cases of a similar character might be quoted, although, as a rule, officials were appointed who fairly well understood their work: Much dissatisfaction was expressed at the way in which the last rolls were collected ; and the Electoral Act Committee, whose report has been placed in the hands of honorable members, but has not yet been discussed, contains several important recommendations. Among other things the Committee suggest that Revision Courts should be held at regular intervals, and not less than once every twelve months. The Government are acting in direct opposition to that important recommendation by declining to arrange for the holding of Revision Courts, and for the printing of the rolls. Great stress has been laid upon the expense that would be involved. The Committee point out, however, that no great expense need be involved if proper arrangements are made for the printing. They suggest that the type should be kept standing, and, as I understand that this is done already to some extent, the cost of printing need not be excessive. The Committee also pointed out that 7310 Adjournment . [REPRESENTATIVES.] (Formal). if the States franchise and that of the.Common wealth were uniform the cost of collecting the rolls could be further minimized. We already have a uniform franchise in three of the States, and, therefore, the argument against the print- ing of the rolls, based upon the ground of the cost, is still further discounted. When the last general elections took place, we felt that we were bound to make allowance for much of the bungling, owing to the great strain that was imposed upon the Department. If we do not keep our rolls up to date each year, the electoral officials will be subjected to similar extreme pressure when the next election takes place.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Does the honorable member contend that Revision Courts should be held, and the rolls should be reprinted yearly?

Mr SPENCE:

– I contend that the reprinting of the rolls need not cost a very large sum.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– I know the cost.

Mr SPENCE:

– I say that there should be a Revision Court held each year.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Why has not the honorable member objected before?

Mr Reid:

-No Revision Court has been held since the Commonwealth was established.

Mr Tudor:

– Yes, there was one.

Mr Reid:

– That was only a sham.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– At all events, there was no effective Revision Court.

Mr SPENCE:

– If no Revision Court has been held, it is time that it was. Upon the occasion of the last election, supplementary lists were supplied to the returning officers only, and they were, therefore, of comparatively little use to those who were interested in the elections. A great deal of work will have to be done in connexion with the re-adjustment of the polling places. Some of the rolls were made up by officers of the Department, who knew nothing of local conditions, and who were unable to allocate the names of electors to the different polling places in such a way as to meet the general convenience. How can the electors know where they are to vote unless the rolls are made available to them? I have had several applications for rolls, and, upon referring to the Electoral Department, have been informed that the last printed roll is the only one available.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– That is only twelve monthsold .

Mr Tudor:

– The Minister says that there has been no Revision Court held.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Not a real Revision Court.

Sir William Lyne:

– Yes, there has been a real Court.

Mr SPENCE:

– Unless some change is made, we shall find ourselves at the end of the term of this Parliament with only a roll three years old available. The Minister complained on a previous occasion that the electors did not take the trouble to see whether their names were on the roll. I ask whether we shall encourage them to take an interest in the matter if we deny them an opportunity to inspect the rolls. The question of ascertaining whether names are included in or omitted from the rolls is not left entirely to the electors. Each political party has its organizations, which do a great deal of work in this direction. If the electors themselves are inert, we can, through these organiaztions, stimulate them to action, and in that way promote the interests of the Commonwealth, because the greater the extent to which the electors exercise their privilege, the better for the community generally. We should make available to them every facility for becoming enrolled.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– They can become enrolled now.

Mr SPENCE:

– They do not know whether they are on the roll or otherwise.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– They can look at the roll.

Mr SPENCE:

– There is no roll for them to look at.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Yes, there is.

Sir William Lyne:

– There is only the old roll, from which a number of names have been struck off.

Mr SPENCE:

– There is only the last printed roll.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– That is the. only roll there ever is.

Mr SPENCE:

– That is more than a year old, and my contention is that a new roll ought to be compiled and printed. What is the use of our collecting the names of the electors unless we embody them in a printed roll? The Electoral Act Committee pointed out that it was especially necessary to hold. Revision Courts and correct the roll for the divisions of the metropolitan areas, where the electors frequently change their places of residence,

It seems to me that, having regard to the peculiar conditions which exist in Australia, where there is a constant floating population, it is all the more necessary that our electoral rolls should be kept up to date. If a dissolution of Parliament occurred tomorrow - the Government apparently have no desire to precipitate any such result - they should not be in a position to plead -as the Minister for Home Affairs has done -that four or five months would require to elapse before the rolls could be placed in proper order for the conduct of an election.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– I did not say that. I said that after the police canvass was complete - it is not yet complete - about four months would elapse before the rolls were finally printed.

Mr SPENCE:

– The police canvass is of no value whatever unless it goes further than it has hitherto done. If the system which has previously obtained is to be perpetuated the police collection represents only so much waste energy. When the rolls have been collected they require to be checked and revised, even if the greatest possible care has been exercised in the canvass. I have always advised electors that the only way in which they can absolutely insure the inclusion of their names upon the lists is to look after the matter themselves. It is most important that our electoral rolls should be revised every year so that they may be in readiness for any emergency. Failing that, I think that we should have a new roll collected for each Parliament.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– And have Parliaments elected for ten years.

Mr SPENCE:

– Of course the honorable member for Parramatta has no sympathy with the object which I have in view. I wish to know what power the Minister possesses to suspend the operation of the Act, because I certainly understood that Revision Courts were to be held at regular intervals. At any rate, the House is entitled to fuller information upon the matter.

Mr TUDOR:
Yarra

– I think that this motion is the outcome of a question which I asked the Minister of Home Affairs last Thursday. I then inquired whether the intention of the Government was that Revision Courts should be held, and that the electoral lists should be printed as soon as they had been collected by the police. The reply of the Minister was anything but satisfactory. This afternoon he stated that as soon as the police canvass is complete, any person will be able to ascertain whether his or her name is upon the rolls. I maintain that an elector cannot do that, unless the lists are publicly exhibited. The Minister has declared that about 25 per cent, of the persons whose names appear upon the rolls annually remove from one place to another. I claim that, although there may be that percentage of removals, only a very small number, probably less than 5 per cent., move out of the electoral divisions for which they are enrolled, and these persons would not be disfranchised if an election took place to-morrow. The Minister has declared that the Revision Court which was held last year was a sham.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– I did not say that. I said that it was not effective.

Mr TUDOR:

– How can electors ascertain whether or not their names are upon the rolls in the absence of exhibited rolls and the holding’ of Revision Courts? The Minister has stated that it is his intention to rely upon the police collection as an .accurate one upon which to base his scheme for a redistribution of seats.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– I intend to rely upon the police collection when it has been checked by information which is in the possession of the Electoral Office.

Mr TUDOR:

– Probably the Minister will recollect that last year, when the redistribution of seats was proposed upon the rolls collected by the police, nearly the whole of the Victorian representatives declared that those lists were practically valueless, because the police canvass in many electorates had been of a most indifferent character. Are those honorable members, the majority of whom are sitting behind the Government, prepared to say that the police have done better work upon the present occasion ?

Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– But things are different now.

Mr TUDOR:

– Exactly. The honorable members to whom I refer were then sitting in opposition to the present Prime Minister. The present Minister of Defence, the honorable member for Echuca, and others declared most emphatically that the police lists were practically worthless. Indeed, that fact was advanced as a reason why a scheme for the redistribution of seats should not be given effect to. The Minister of Home Affairs affirms that it will be useless to hold Revision Courts after the police canvass has been completed, as a redistribution of seats may then be necessary. But I would point out that last year the rolls were printed after the lists had been collected before any redistribution was proposed, and electors were then grouped around certain polling places. In my own electorate, for example, there are eight districts. None of the rolls contained the name of the electoral division itself. Lists were printed for each district, so that they could easily have been transferred into another division if that had been necessary. “Mr. Dugald Thomson. - The honorable member forgets that there might be considerable “ splitting.”

Mr TUDOR:

– It is quite posible that, in some instances, there would be considerable “ splitting.” At the last election there were 37,000 names upon the electoral roll for the division which I represent. In the absence of a Revision Court, how can the Department determine the number of persons who have removed from one constituency to another, or who have died, or whose names have been added to the rolls since that period? We know that the Minister of Home Affairs was very vigorous in his denunciation of the system which was adopted last year.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Will the honorable member excuse me? My denunciation was limited to the non-redistribution of seats.

Sir William Lyne:

– The Minister went further than that. He also condemned the method of collection.

Mr TUDOR:

-I understood that the objection urged by some honorable members who were then in Opposition, but who are now supporting the Government, had reference to the method of collection. They claimed that the system was not effective, and that under it hundreds of names had been omitted from the rolls.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– I accepted the figures which were supplied.

Mr TUDOR:

– I do not know which particular set of figures the Minister accepted, because a new set was presented to us each day. If the police were wrong upon that occasion, what guarantee is there that they are right to-day ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It is not the police who are wrong.

Mr TUDOR:

– I have every reason to believe that the lists collected by the police were accurate, but every representative of a country constituency in Victoria, in addition to some of the representatives of the towns, declared that they could not rely upon them, as a great many persons had removed from the rural districts to the metropolis.

Mr Watson:

– The New South Wales lists were eighteen months old at the time the new rolls were made up.

Mr TUDOR:

– I think that the collection by the police last year was a great improvement upon any previous compilation in Victoria. I merely wish to show the change of front on’ the part of some honorable members who previously declared that the collection by the police was not accurate.

Sir William Lyne:

– Nor was it. In one instance alone ‘ 900 electors were disfranchised.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That was on account of the honorable member’s “ jerrymandering.”

Sir William Lyne:

– I desire to call your attention, sir, to the expression used by the honorable member. He is continually making personal interjections in regard to myself, and in a most offensive way he has said that I was guilty of “ jerrymandering.”

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I withdraw the expression.

Mr SPEAKER:

– I ask the two honorable members who happen to be sitting upon opposite sides of the gangway not to indulge in conversation aloud. Once or twice already they have made it difficult for the honorable member who is addressing the Chair to proceed.

Mr TUDOR:

– The honorable member for Wentworth has declared that it is necessary to give effect to a scheme for the redistribution of seats to do justice to the metropolitan area of New South Wales, which would thereby gain another representative. But I maintain that a redistribution of seats in Victoria will result in its metropolitan area also gaining an additional representative. The roll in use in December last shows that whereas the eight metropolitan divisions had gained over 13,000 electors since the previous police canvass, the fifteen country constituencies had gained only 5,000. Indeed, if we eliminated such towns as Ballarat, Bendigo, and Geelong f rom the calculation, we should find that the country divisions had gained practically nothing. . I trust that the Minister will see that Revision Courts are held as soon as possible after the police collection has been completed, and that the electoral lists are made available for the general public. I think that the Act provides that Revision Courts shall be held about every three months.

Mr Watson:

– It provides that they shall be held upon whatever date may be fixed by proclamation.

Mr TUDOR:

– When the Electoral Bill was under consideration the general idea was that Revision Courts should be held frequently. Honorable members can easily understand that if the roll- for any district in an electoral division contains from 6,000 to 8,000 names, the necessary alterations in it cannot be made in writing. As the Minister was not satisfied with the work of the Revision Courts held during the term of office of the Deakin Government he should appoint other Courts in order that the names of those electors which were omitted from the rolls might be added. If that course were adopted the people themselves would have an opportunity to judge whether the rolls were correct or incorrect. Honorable members on all sides of the House must agree that as the Act provides that lists shall be available for inspection, it is our duty to see that the very latest and most complete lists are forthcoming. The only lists which I have seen exhibited are those which were collected prior to the holding of the last election. Since then thousands of names have been added to or struck off the rolls.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– The honorable member is referring to the last rolls.

Mr TUDOR:

– That is so. I believe that in certain cases the rolls on which the last general election was held have not been made available to the public. It is impossible for an elector to tell from an examination of a roll printed twelve months ago whether his name still appears on the lists’. If, as the Minister states, there has been 25 per cent, of removals in metropolitan districts, it is imperative that up-to-date lists should be available for inspection so that the electors may have an opportunity to judge for themselves whether their names have been duly enrolled.

Mr WATSON:
Bland

– I think that the honorable member for Parramatta, who seems to be indignant that this waste of time, . as he terms at, should occur, can scarcely appreciate. what is really asked for by the honorable member who has moved the adjournment of the House. It is not sought in ii t any way to block the passing of a Redistribution of Seats Bill. If the returns when completed showed that the inequality alleged to exist still continued, I should give such a measure every possible support, and I believe that every other honorable member of the Opposition would do so.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member made the same statement on a previous occasion, and yet blocked the redistribution.

Mr WATSON:

– I think that there was very good reason for doing so. On that occasion the lists on which the redistribution was to be made were about eighteen months old when they were handed to the Commissioner, and subsequent proceedings showed that they were absolutely inaccurate. The same excuse with regard to the inaccuracy of the lists will be advanced when we are again called upon to deal with a redistribution scheme, unless the proposal made by the honorable member for Darling is adopted. It is simply ridiculous to depend only on the lists as collected by the police. Those relating to New South Wales were completed, I understand, three or four months ago.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– No.

Mr WATSON:

– I was informed while in office that it was expected that the collection of the lists for New South Wales would -be completed before the date of our resignation.

Sir William Lyne:

– It was completed in July.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Nothing of the sort.

Mr WATSON:

– The lists for New South Wales were supposed to have been completed in August last.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– They were not. I have already given answers to questions relating to that matter. The whole of the lists were not sent in until September, and since .then officers have been engaged in checking them.

Mr WATSON:

– I believe that in New South Wales the greater part of the actual collections were made by the police in June. The position taken up by the Minister means that, allowing for the recess indicated by the Government, and for a reasonable time for the passing of the necessary machinery, no redistribution can take place before next June. We shall then labour under the further disadvantage that a vast number of persons may have been left off the rolls’ for each of the electorates, and have had no means of ascertaining whether or not their names appear on them. If printed lists were exhibited at the postoffices, those who found on inspection that their names had been omitted would have an opportunity to have the omissions rectified before next session.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– They can do that as it is.

Mr WATSON:

– How can they do anything of the kind when there is no list available for their perusal?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– The last rolls are available.

Mr WATSON:

– They are twelve months old.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Are we ro print rolls more frequently than once a year ?

Mr WATSON:

– A roll twelve months old would be no guide to the electors. Persons who removed to another district six months ago may be under the impression that the police have collected their names, and may find in the end that they are not on the rolls.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– If an elector has any doubt about the matter, he can apply to have his name enrolled.

Mr WATSON:

– That means that those’ who represent the 25 per cent, of removals from one polling place to another to which reference has been made would have to write to the Department to make sure that they were on the rolls. It seems to me that if the Minister is not going to act on the collection made by the police until it is twelve months old the money spent on this work will have been wasted. Something has been said about the question of expense, but I do not think any very great additional cost would be incurred in having the latest lists printed. I believe that ^1,000 would cover the expense for all the States.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– The honorable member’s estimate is very far out.

Mr WATSON:

– It may be. I am referring, not to the original cost of printing the rolls, but to the cost of making additions. Assuming that the lists collected in some States a few months ago, and those which are still being collected in others, were printed and exhibited, alterations would still have to be -made before the next election to the extent to which removals were found to have occurred.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– On the redistribution.

Mr WATSON:

– If that is the only cost which we have to anticipate, it seems to me that my estimate should not be exceeded.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– There is the cost of printing and of paper. Accurate lists would be required, for the Revision Courts.

Mr WATSON:

– There would be no necessity at the outset to print more lists than were necessary to be exhibited for the information of the general public. Subsequently provision will have to be made for the transposition of names, and the printing of additional copies.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– If I thought that the cost would not exceed £1,000 I should support the proposal.

Mr WATSON:

– I do not think that it would be very much more; but even if the outlay necessary to print these lists amounted to ,£2,000, I think that the electors should be given every opportunity to clearly ascertain whether they have been enrolled. Any small expense should not be weighed in the balance against efficiency.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The effect of a few names being improperly on or off the rolls would not affect the redistribution- scheme.

Mr WATSON:

– That is so. We cannot expect mathematical accuracy in a redistribution of seats, but unfortunately ‘the position which exists is that the Government have led the public to believe that it is impossible to hold a satisfactory election for some considerable time owing to the condition of the . rolls.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– Until the police collection in ‘all the States is complete.

Mr WATSON:

– But, in the first place, the Government say -that they are not going to take any action before next session.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– If there be an election, action will be taken at once.

Mr WATSON:

– It is improbable that there will be an election before the House goes into recess, but if there is, the Government, by saying that no rolls can be printed for another twelve months-

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– We could print the rolls at once, if a general election were about to be held ; but they would not be as accurate as they would be if the police canvass were complete.

Mr Spence:

– The Government would not have the rolls printed before the Revision Courts had sat.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– We could have them printed whether they had or had not been dealt with by the Revision Courts.

*Electoral Act* [23 November, 1904.] *Administration.* 7315 {: #debate-4-s4 .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- Under the Act, the Government can print supplemental lists, which are as good for election purposes as rolls that have been passed by the Revision Courts. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- But until we could reap the full advantage of the police canvass they would not be as accurate as they would otherwise be. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- I quite agree that the police lists should be in. In Sydney the police canvass has been completed for some time. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The lists for New South Wales have only been in the office since the date I have already mentioned. In Victoria there are still two or three lists outstanding. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- It does not say much for the officers concerned that so much time- {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The honorable member's Government did not arrange for the collection of the lists in two States. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- That is because the State authorities refused to take up the work on reasonable terms. Where arrangements were made, the work should have been completed before now. It seems to me that quite apart from the large proportion of electors who will have no means to ascertain whether they are on the rolls or not, and those who may find themselves permanently disfranchised, the impression is going abroad that the Government are quite justified in fending off a general election on account of the present state of the rolls. There is a feeling outside that twelve months must elapse before a general election can take place - that there must be six months for a recess, two months to enable Parliament to deal with a Redistribution of Seats Bill, and three months for revision and printing of the rolls, and soforth. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The Opposition has no reason to consider that matter. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- The present attitude of the Government in refusing to have these lists printed tends to confirm this erroneous impression in the public mind. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Is there any justification for having the lists printed now? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- It has been stated again and again during the honorable member's absence from the Chamber, that as printed lists are not available, the electors have no means to ascertain whether they have been' enrolled. If the Minister persists in following the course which he has indicated, the inevitable result will be that a number of persons will not be enrolled owing to their ignorance of the true position. They will take it for granted thatthe police have collected their names, and will take no steps to determine whether they are on the rolls, until it is too late. The issue of printed lists to all post-offices would give the electors an opportunity to ascertain for themselves whether they have been enrolled. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Is not the hon orable member aware that the rolls would be printed before the holding of a general election, and that there would still be time for those whose names had been omitted to make application for enrolment? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There would have to be a further grouping after the adoption of the redistribution scheme. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- Of course there would have to be some splitting up ; but it seems to me that for the most part, the groups would be transferred *en bloc.* With regard to the interjection made by the Minister that electors would have time to be enrolled before a general election took place, I would say that the word " time," as applied to the electors of country districts, must be a far more expansive term than it is when applied to the electors of the metropolitan districts. The country mails are very intermittent; settlers come to town at very rare intervals, and a matter of a few weeks, which would be quite sufficient to enable electors in Sydney or Melbourne to get on to the rolls, would be altogether inadequate for the country districts. That emphasizes still more the need for having these lists printed for exhibition, so that the electors may know exactly how they stand. I trust that the Minister will not be stiffnecked in this matter, but will give the utmost facilities for enabling all electors to enroll, and to know whether they are enrolled or not. I am sure that the Minister has no desire to prevent electors from enrolling, and I am of opinion that he will act wisely if he directs that the lists shall be printed at the earliest moment possible. {: #debate-4-s5 .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY:
Melbourne -- I am certain that the' head of the Government will not give me credit for any desire to occupy time unduly. This, however, is a matter of great importance to me, and I trust that the Minister is now convinced that the majority of honorable members would like to see the rolls printed. The rolls in use in December last were infamous, and a disgrace (o the Constitution, because the names of hundreds of electors did not appear on them. The Minister has shown me some courtesy, and I wish to remind him that some time ago I brought under his notice certain facts in connexion with the collection of names. After the collection was supposed to have been made, I went along several streets, and found in one case that as many as ninety names had been left off the' list of a small street. I placed the matter before the heads of his Department, who gave it the attention which I had a right to require of them. The directions first given to the police were to go to the houses of those who, according to the old tolls, had not recorded their votes at the last election, to see whether the persons whose names were on the old rolls still resided there. Then I suggested that the police should leave application forms, to provide for the sending in of names. Later on an order came from the Minister that they should visit every house, and collect the name of every elector in that house. Now that the expense of collection has been incurred, surely the Minister will not stop short, and not have the names printed. My committee have sent in over 1,300 names, and they wish to know if those names have been placed on the rolls. In a previous election, many names which were handed in were not placed on the rolls, because **Mr. Croft,** of the Postmaster-General's Department, either intentionally or, to use a very mild phrase, by accident, omitted them. How are those whose names have been sent in to know that they have been enrolled? They can, of course, write to the Chief Electoral Officer, who in his courtesy will reply to their inquiries. But that, although a good way of swelling the revenue of the Post Office, is '"Ot what should be required of an elector. The Minister will be wise to have the rolls printed, so that the electors, the creators of Members of Parliament, may see whether they are enrolled. If the rolls are not printed, and the electors discover too late that hundreds of names have been omitted, they will blame the Minister for not having given them an earlier opportunity to know how they stood. Have we not heard it stated by one **Mr. Derham,** the President of the Chamber of Manufactures, who has had a presentation recently, that the last election was held at the wrong time to return members of his political faith; practically an application that the elections should be held at a time which would suit his party? I know that the Minister would not permit that, though I am aware from bitter experience how active that party is. Perhaps close upon 200,000 names may have to be taken down, but the rolls are the basic rock of our Australian civilization, and as many names as possible should be placed on them. If they are printed, we can judge as to how the work of compilation has been carried out. I wish to pay my meed of praise to the police force of Melbourne and its suburbs for the manner in which the names in my district have been collected. No set of men could have done their work better. The Victorian State rolls are not as good as the Federal rolls will be, if they are printed and revised to prevent omissions occurring. The State Government has the most absurd, expensive, and roundabout way of collecting names. In some of the States, however, where the franchise is similar to that of the Commonwealth, the cost of collecting and printing the rolls might be divided between the State and the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- That arrangement has been made in some cases. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY: -- I made that suggestion some three years ago, and endeavoured to get it carried out when I was a member of the State Legislature. At the present time, a man wishing to get on to the Victorian ratepayers' roll, has to fill in five application forms. He has to apply to the registrar, to the inspector, and to the town clerk, and also has to send in a registered application, and to attend the court once,' and sometimes twice. Is it to be wondered at that, although the State sends out great numbers of these forms year after year, not one in a thousand uses them? The State would save a great deal of money if it used the Federal rolls. A good many honorable members have said that they wish for a general election, but I do not share that wish, because I had two elections and a lawsuit within something like four months. I desire to see a redistribution of the electoral divisions, but that cannot be brought about until we have a perfect roll. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- And the honorable member wishes his supporters to be enrolled, if there is an election. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY: -- Yes, because the threat has been made repeatedly in the Postal Department that they will get level with me, in the same infamous manner as they did at the first election. The present rolls are imperfect, and I ask the Minister, if any words of mine can influence him, to have them printed, so that every citizen df this Australia of ours may see whether his or her name is on them. To require each elector to write to the Electoral Office for information on the subject is absurd. Let us have the rolls printed, and displayed at the post-offices, at the churches, and at the public schools, so that all can see them. In this way we shall obtain perhaps better rolls than exist under the British flag in any other part of the world. At ami rate, the Minister will be able to say that he has done his best to obtain a roll which is perfect, and an example to the rest of the world. {: #debate-4-s6 .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- It is with a good deal of surprise that I learn that the Government do not propose to authorize the printing of the rolls. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- Is the honorable member against the redistribution of the divisions, as fixed upon before we came into office? {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- I shall answer that question presently. A great deal of work has already been done in connexion with the compilation of the rolls. The police in the district which I have the honour to represent, as in other districts, have made a compilation of the names of the electors residing therein, and yet every day almost persons come to me, or to members of my committee, to inquire if they have been enrolled, and in each case I have to apply for information to the Electoral Office, which involves an immense amount of work. If the rolls were printed every elector could see for himself whether he was enrolled. If the rolls are not printed until next year, so many changes will have taken place by then, that they will have to be practically recompiled. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- And if they are printed, they will be out of date. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- But they will have served their purpose, in giving information which is urgently needed. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- If the rolls were printed, the electors would know how they stood, and those whose names had been omitted could apply for enrolment in the proper manner. The Prime Minister has asked me if I am in favour of a redistribution of divisions. I do not believe in the present arrangement, although I consider the redistribution of divisions necessary j but I do not recognise the apposite- ness of the question. It is necessary to make up the rolls before any redistribution takes place, in order .to ascertain how many electors over or under the quota there are in each division. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- That information can be obtained from the countercheck police canvass. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- I think that (honorable members are entitled to know for themselves what the position of affairs is, instead of being bound to accept the word of the Government. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The last distribution was rejected on the word of a Government. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- It proved to be a pretty accurate one, notwithstanding. My first point is that a great deal of work has been done in connexion with the compilation of the rolls, and if it is not completed by the printing of them, much time and money will have been wasted. In the next place, if they are printed, the electors will be able to ascertain at once whether they have, or have not, been, enrolled, and those whose names have been omitted can make immediate application for enrolment. There are active organizations at work in all the electorates, engaged in getting some names enrolled and other names struck off the rolls. The members of my committee, and others, are endeavouring to procure the enrolment of those whom they think will be supporters, while others are endeavouring to get names struck off the rolls. We all wish to see a full and proper enrolment, but we object to the improper striking off of names, and we ask for the printing of the rolls, so that we may have the fullest 'opportunity to ascertain who are. and who are not, enrolled. I feel that we shall be amply compensated for any small cost that may be involved by the great benefit which will be conferred upon the electors. If, as the Minister of Home Affairs has stated, the rolls are already printed, and it is only a matter of supplying copies-- {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I did not say that. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- I must have misunderstood the Minister. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Last year's rolls are printed, but very few copies are available. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr Carpenter: -- Are not the lists recently collected in print? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- No. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- In any case, we should not begrudge any expense that may be involved in the holding of Revision Courts and the printing of new rolls. I do not see why that work should be delayed until a redistribution of seats takes place. I cannot conceive how any redistribution can be made until we have the new rolls prepared. I trust that the Revision Courts will be held without delay, and that the new rolls will be printed immediately. {: #debate-4-s7 .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN:
Canobolas -- The Electoral Act provides for the holding of Revision Courts with a view to bringing the rolls up to date. Unless there was some necessity for that provision, I presume it would not have been made, and I think there is good ground for the complaint of the honorable member for Darting. A Revision Court was held prior to the last general election for the purpose of legalizing the rolls. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- And for that purpose only. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- The work of revision was performed in such a slip-shod manner that we have heard nothing but complaints ever since. The fact that the revision was imperfect upon that occasion seems to mp to strengthen the argument in favour of further revision and t'he printing of the new rolls at as early a date as possible. I do not see how the Government can be in a position to consider the redistribution of seats question until the rolls have been purified. They cannot possibly tell what number of electors are located in the several divisions until the rolls are checked and corrected. A redistribution of seats prior to the last general election was objected to on the ground that the rolls were incomplete. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- No ; one of the main reasons was that the drought had caused a large movement of population towards the coastal settlements. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- It was stated that a large proportion of the population had moved from the drought-stricken districts, but the extent to which a migration had taken place was a matter of conjecture. Some honorable members contended that a great many of those who had been driven away by ohe drought had returned to their original electorates, and that the information then at the disposal of the Government was sufficiently accurate to permit of a redistribution of seats. ;The contrary view was taken by other honorable members, and eventually it was decided that the redistribution of seats should be postponed. We have now passed beyond the drought period, and the conditions that prevailed prior to the last general election no longer obtain. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- The thousands who went away have all flocked back. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- I think that it will be a considerable time before all the people go back. The departmental officers state that they have been collecting certain information with regard to the number of electors residing in the divisions, but the value of their lists cannot be properly estimated until Revision Courts are held andi the rolls are checked. The evidence given before the Electoral Act Committee disclosed a number of irregularities in connexion with the collection of the rolls. There was the noted case of the list prepared for the polling place at Airlie, in the electorate of the Postmaster-General. Some 250 electors were, by some mistake on the part of the Electoral Department, left off the roll altogether. The correct list of names was sent to the Goverinment Printer and set up, but it was superseded by another list, forwarded from the Electoral Department, containing sixty names, which should have been included in other lists, and which had no connexion whatever with the Airlie polling place. We have nothing before us to show that this mistake, has been rectified. Then, in one of the Sydney suburban electorates, objection was taken to between 1,300 and 1,400 names, but, owing to some mistake, the list was not sent to the Revision Court, and the names were left on the roll. We have no means of knowing whether that mistake has been corrected. In the case of the Hunter electorate it was shown that a considerable number of miners, estimated by one witness at 700 or 800, had been left off the rolls, and that the local returning officer was instructed to allow them to vote on their State rights - a proceeding quite contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act. We are entitled to know whether any measures have been taken to complete the roll for that division. It was also shown that in the Riverina electorate the Divisional Returning Officer improperly refused applications for enrolment, and we have no means of ascertaining whether the Riverina roll has been brought up to date. Again, in the Darwin division, in Tasmania, forty electors were improperly enrolled by the returning officer and allowed to vote. Their names had never been submitted to a Revision Court. In view of all these irregularities, the Electoral Act Committee made the following recommendation, which is contained in paragraph 14 of their report : - >The Act makes provision lor the holding of Revision Courts at such times and places as may be fixed by proclamation. No Revision Court has been held since November of last year. Your Committee are of opinion that these Courts should be held at regular intervals, and not less than once a year. It is recommended also that they be held prior to the holding of any election if, in the opinion of the Department, it is considered necessary. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- That is when they are most necessary. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN: -- I admit that. The Committee recommend that Revision Courts should be held at least once a year( and also just prior to an election. If the Revision Courts were held annually in the manner suggested, the work of the final Revision Court, just prior to an election, would be reduced to the smallest limits. All we ask is that effect should be given to the provisions of the Act, and the recommendations of the Committee, and that a Revision Court shall be held as soon as possible. The work of revision could be very much simplified by the holding of Courts at the present time, and the Department could also be placed in a position to more effectively carry out the great work of redistributing the boundaries of electorates upon a population basis. {: #debate-4-s8 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Hume -- I do not intend to occupy many minutes in discussing this question, which I regard as one of very grave importance. But for the very short time at my disposal, I should deal with it more in detail. In the first place, I should like the Minister of Home Affairs to explain why the collection of the rolls is 'not complete, or nearly complete, in the various States? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I must refer the honorable member to previous Ministries for that explanation. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- In New South Wales, the law requires the electoral rolls to be collected every year. The police commence their canvass in June, and the work usually occupies about two months. The same remark is applicable to other States. Consequently, if even two months ago instructions were given to the police in all the States to collect the rolls, the lists should now be complete, and in New South Wales they should have been completed long since. The reason why some difficulty was experienced in New South Wales upon the first occasion that the Federal rolls were collected was that the franchise for the State Parliament differed from the Federal franchise. To vote for the State Legislature an elector required to possess a six months' residential qualification, whereas no such restriction applied to the exercise of the Federal franchise. That fact was responsible for some discrepancies and trouble, which, however, should not be experienced upon the present occasion. I cannot conceive that the rolls have not practically been collected. But assuming that they have not, the work of completing the canvass ought not to occupy very long. If the Government do not take any action at the present time, and if they are allowed to go into recess, what will happen? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The Government intend to take action where necessary towards effecting a redistribution of seats. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- Honorable members will admit that we should not count the cost involved in securing accurate rolls upon which to hold an election, even if it necessitated an expenditure of some thousands of pounds. It is true that a large number of electors annually move from one part of an electorate to another, as well as from one electorate to another. When the police commenced their canvass upon the last occasion, they discovered that a large number of persons were not residing where they previously resided. As a result, an immense number of electors were struck off the rolls, and their names were not inserted for the places to which they had removed. Thousands were disfranchised in that way. I venture to say that 'in connexion with the present canvass, much the same thing has occurred. Hundreds and some thousands of electors will find that they have been disfranchised simply because they have removed from one part of a division to another. Unless the lists are publicly exhibited, they have no opportunity of remedying this state of things. Only to-day I received a notice from Sydney, that objection had been taken to the inclusion of a certain name upon the roll for the very same reason. I am satisfied that unless the lists are printed, and' Revision Courts are held, we cannot obtain accurate rolls. I suggest that the lists should be printed, and publicly exhibited for a certain period, that Revision Courts should subsequently be held, and that during the recess the Government should prepare a redistribution scheme based upon accurate rolls for submission to Parliament early next session. If that be done, and if it should subsequently be found desirable to appeal to the country, all that Parliament would . require to do, would be either to approve or to reject the new divisions proposed, or return them to the distributing officers for redefinition. That work would not occupy more than a month, and an election could then be held. If, on the other hand, Revision Courts are- not held until after Parliament reassembles, effect cannot be given to any scheme for a redistribution of seats till towards the end of next year. The Government have declared that it is their intention to propose a redistribution of seats after the Revision Courts have been held. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No; before. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- Any redistribution scheme which is decided upon before Revision Courts have been held must be of a faulty character. The alterations which will be effected at those Courts will be very numerous, and may affect the boundaries of every constituency. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The collection will be more correct than that made for the old rolls. Otherwise why should we pay £7,000 for it? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The Minister's proposal seems to give colour to the statement of the Sydney *Evening News,* that during the recess the Government will formulate a redistribution scheme without first holding Revision Courts, with a view to abolishing either the electorate represented by the honorable member for Darling or that represented by the honorable member for Barrier. The fair way would be to publicly exhibit the lists, and to allow electors an opportunity of making known their objections and claims. I trust that the Ministry, in view of t?ie opinions which have been expressed to-day, will treat this matter with the seriousness which its importance merits. {: #debate-4-s9 .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
Minister of- Home Affairs · NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I think that this debate ought really 'to have taken place upon the Estimates. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- We were not informed of the Minister's intention until after the Estimates for the Department of Home Affairs had been discussed. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- But the intimation was published in the press prior to that. What I stated in reply to questions in the House - and I had previously made a similar intimation in reply to interrogations by a press representative - was that the collection of the rolls by the police would be made the basis of a scheme for a redistribution of seats, and that I did not contemplate incurring the expense of holding Revision Courts, and of a double printing of the rolls, in view of the apparently certain fact that there would require to be a very considerable redistribution. It seems to me that the difference between those honorable members who have spoken on this question and myself, is that I, as Minister, am responsible to Parliament and the country for limiting expenditure - and especially for preventing what I conceive to be unnecessary and useless expenditure - while they have no such direct responsibility. They speak of the cost that would be incurred in printing the rolls twice, as if it were of no account. I have had an estimate prepared by the Department, and I find that the extra cost of doing what t'he honorable member for Darling desires, would be .£5,500, leaving out of consideration the cost of holding Revision Courts. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- That amount represents the extra cost of printing? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- It represents the additional cost that would be incurred in clerical assistance, preparing, revising, and finally printing and distributing the supplementary rolls. If we include the expense that would be involved in the holding of Revision Courts, the amount would aggregate £9,000. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- That is for all Australia ? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Yes. This question of expenditure must be considered. At the present time the administration of the Act is costing from £13,000 to £15,000 per annum, and when a general election takes place an additional expenditure of £45,000 is involved. Last election that amount was exceeded. If, as has been suggested by the honorable member for Darling and others, we are to hold Revision Courts each year, so as to obtain as accurate lists as it is possible to secure, we shall have to incur an expenditure of from £7,000 to £8,000 per annum. The cost of the police collection would mean an additional £7,000, thus adding ,£14,000 to the present expenditure of £13,000 per annum. I think that the people of Australia would have a right to complain if we added that amount to the already heavy outlay which they have to bear in connexion with State elections. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- Then why collect the rolls at all? ' {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- We are always met by interjections of that character. Some honorable members are ever ready to push any reason which is given to an absurd extreme. There must be a reasonable limit imposed, and the point which we have to consider is, what constitutes a reasonable limit? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- How often are we supposed to collect the rolls? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I am dealing with only one collection and revision. I quite agree with that portion of the motion of the honorable member for Darling which affirms that there should be no suspension of the operation of the Electoral Act. I claim that the longest suspension of the operation of that statute will be caused by delay in giving effect to a scheme for the redistribution of seats. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- There is no desire to delay that. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Let me point out the effect of the present proposal. If a general election occurred during the present session of Parliament, it would require to be conducted upon the old rolls, in conjunction with the supplementary lists, either with or without the holding of Revision Courts. If Revision Courts were held, the election would 'have to be delayed by the time they would take. If there is not to be an election before the close of the present session, it will be the first duty of the Parliament in the next session, unless we intend to do that which this motion deprecates - to continue to suspend the operation of the Electoral Act - to see that there is a redistribution - that is, if the returns show that there is an inequality in the number of electors in certain constituencies. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- With a chance of correcting the figures? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- It will be our first duty to see that there is a redistribution. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- A difference of 2,000 or 3, ceo electors in an electorate was said, last year, to be a matter of no moment. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- But it was a matter of importance. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- It may be insinuated that I am seeking to delay the holding of a general election next session, but I deny that I have any such desire. Honorable members opposite who profess to believe in the principle of equality, of representation, would not be doing their duty if they did not make it their business to join with the Government in passing a redistribution scheme early next session, before another general election took place. Are we to have a third Parliament of the Commonwealth elected on the existing inequality of representation? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- As a preliminary, we must have accurate rolls. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- If the rolls were printed at the present time they would not *be* accurate then. Six months hence they would show a discrepancy of over 160,000. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- There would probably be a greater discrepancy if an election took place in the meantime. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I shall tell the House what can be done. If Parliament makes it its business to see that there is a redistribution early next session in accordance with the law passed by us, the old rolls printed and revised on the basis of the present electorates will be useless. New rolls will have to be printed and revised after the redistribution takes place. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- There would be only a change of names. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I have already pointed out that the cost of printing, &c, without revision, would be £5,500, and with revision, £9,000. I have some figures relating to electorates in New South Wales, which demonstrate the necessity for a redistribution. Returns relating to all the electorates are in my possession; but I do not guarantee their absolute accuracy, for the reason that in some cases they have not been counter-checked - a work to which the electoral office is devoting special attention. The three electorates comprising the greatest number of electors, show a total of 113,000, while the three lowest have less than half that number. I shall not mention the names of these electorates, because I do not wish to make this a party or personal question, nor to give the names till the figure's relating to them are known to be absolutely correct. There are fourteen electorates in New South Wales which show a variation from the quota beyond that allowed by the Act. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- The figures quoted by the honorable gentleman show an enormous disparity. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Of these fourteen electorates which represent more than one-half of the State, seven are below and seven above the margin. The seven : below comprise 133,000 electors, and the seven above, nearly 243,000. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- What is the date of these figures? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The return has been compiled on information received quite recently, and it shows .the disfranchisement, not of a few thousands, but of tens of thousands of electors. Surely in these circumstances, a Redistribution of Seats Bill is the most important measure to which we could direct our attention? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- But surely those in excess of the margin in these electorates have some representation ? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Yes, but they have not as many representatives as they ought to have. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- Has the Minister the figures relating to Victoria? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- They are not yet complete, but when compiled, they will doubtless show a great discrepancy in the measure of representation enjoyed by the people in each electorate. The estimate which I have given of the cost of printing the rolls and holding Revision Courts, relates only to New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. It may not be necessary to have a redistribution in the case of Tasmania, South Australia, or Western Australia, and for that reason I did not think it fair to include them in the computation. Honorable members will see that whether my attitude be right or wrong it is necessary that we should carefully consider what action should be taken in these peculiar circumstances. I quite agree with honorable members as to the desirableness of observing regularity in dealing with the rolls, but in view of the fact that a redistribution is necessary - unless we desire to continue the present disfranchisement of tens of thousands of electors - we have to seriously consider what action should be taken in regard to the printing, and revision of the existing rolls. Let me show the House the difference between holding a general election at the present time, and at some future date. If we had a general election now, we should have to print the old inaccurate rolls, and, if Revision Courts were held, they would have to be reprinted. Of course, supplementary rolls, correcting mistakes as far as possible, would also be prepared. On the other hand, if we had a general election early next session, without a redistribution, the position would be different, as a roll corrected by the police canvass would have been prepared ready for printing. As the representatives of the people, it is our duty to see that the enormous inequality, shown to exist, is removed before another general election is held, and that the House shall be constituted in accordance with the principle of equality qf representation, to which honorable members have professed their adherence. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- And on the basis laid down by the law. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Quite so. I hold that it would be improper to have a general election before a redistribution takes place ; but if it were necessary to hold one in such circumstances early next session, the official rolls would have been corrected in the meantime. They would have been revised in accordance with the police canvass, and with the counter-cheek which the Electoral Office is exercising over that canvass. Fresh applications for enrolment would also appear, and the rolls would be as nearly correct as they could be. {: #debate-4-s10 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The time allotted to the honorable member under the Standing Orders has expired. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I should like to have an opportunity to deal with two or three more points. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Is it the pleasure of the House that the Minister have leave to continue his remarks? Honorable Members. - Hear, hear. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- There are so many points which deserve attention that I should have preferred to deal with this matter at a time when they could be fully considered. The rolls, to which I was referring when interrupted, would practically cover the alterations and additions noted by the Electoral Office. They could be at once printed if we were about to have a general election, and the Revision Courts could be held if necessary. In these circumstances it will be seen that much time would not be lost. Every care would be taken to see that the rolls were correct, and those whose names had -.been omitted would, of course, be afforded an opportunity to be enrolled before the election. If a redistribution took place at the beginning of next session, the rolls would then be immediately printed for the purpose of revision, and, after the Revision Court had dealt with them, they would be reprinted. We should then have the first practically correct rolls under the system of reasonably equal representation provided for by the Act. Another reason why a redistribution should take place is that, since the electorates were first mapped out, a serious alteration has been made in the franchise by the addition of women electors. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- Would it not be an advantage to have the rolls dealt with by the Revision Courts before the Commissioners are called upon to prepare a scheme of redistribution ? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I think that the rolls, after being checked by the police canvass, and counter-checked by the Department, will be as correct - more particularly as to numbers, and numbers only would form the basis of redistribution - as they could be. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- They have never been correct. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Why do we spend ^7.000 in order that a collection may be made by the police, if we do not secure greater correctness by that means than by any other? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- Why not exhibit the printed lists? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The electors do not take any active interest in their enrolment until the approach of an' election. The revision to be effective must be thorough. The last revision simply complied with the Act. It was a revision, not of the roils, but of the lists, by the divisional returning officers, and only one Revision Court was held in each electorate. But in this case there would have to be a thorough revision by Courts appointed throughout the electorates. I would simply point out that the policv which I have outlined is not the result of a Cabinet decision. I alone, as Minister in charge of the Department, have considered the course it is most desirable to follow. All the arguments which honorable members have brought forward will be taken into consideration, as well as any matter that may arise after the completion of the police canvass, and, although I am very anxious to save the people of the Commonwealth a wholly unnecessary expenditure, I can assure the House that no expense will be spared to secure satis" factory rolls. I have given honorable members my present view of the position, and- 1 repeat that it is above all things necessary for Parliament to decide to carry out the spirit of the Electoral Act, to remove the tremendous inequalities which exist, and which are growing greater every day, and to see that we do not continue to disobey a law merely because its observance might affect our own interests. *Debate interrupted under standing order* 119. {: .page-start } page 7323 {:#debate-5} ### SUPPLY (1904-5) *In Committee* (Consideration resumed from 22nd November, *vide* page 7255): Department of External Affairs. Postponed division 13 *(New Guinea),* {: #debate-5-s0 .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr MCDONALD:
Kennedy -- I think that we should have more information regarding British New Guinea than we have had in the past. The consideration of this division was postponed, because the latest report on the administration of the Territory was presented to us only the day before .the Estimates were called on, and even that report is seventeen months old. I hope that the Prime Minister will see that in future the reports presented to us are up-to-date. {: #debate-5-s1 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
Minister of External Affairs · East Sydney · Free Trade -- I wish to have it placed on record, so that I can be reminded of it afterwards, that I think that the request of the honorable member is a perfectly proper one. I shall certainly ask the Governor-General .to transmit a communication to the Administrator, Tequesting him to see that the annual reports on the Territory are in the hands of the Government in time to enable honorable members to peruse .them before the Estimates are submitted for consideration. {: #debate-5-s2 .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr MCDONALD:
Kennedy *Supply.* salary of £1,500 a year, with an allowance of *£200* perannum for a purpose of which we are not informed. There is also an item for travelling expenses amounting to *£380.* The Administrator receives *£2* 2 s. a day when travelling, although most of his time is spent on board the *Merrie England.* As we vote *£8,000* a year for the upkeep of that vessel, it seems to me likely that provision is made for the feeding of all on board. Furthermore, there is an official residence provided. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- It is a fairly good billet. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- It is a very hard billet if a man does his duty. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- I know that the Administrator has a good many difficulties to encounter, though some of them have done very good work. In my opinion, however, we should fix the salary of this officer at *£1,500* or *£2,000* a year, or whatever is the proper amount, and not give allowances, which make it difficult to ascertain what he really receives for the performance of his duties. His secretary is paid *£499a* year, and is given an allowance of *£200,* and so much a day, I presume, when travelling. I should like to know what these allowances are for, and whether they are paid when those drawing them are on board the *Merrie England.* I should like also some information as to the *£300* put down to provide for the inter-island mail service - as to the service performed, and the parties to whom the money is paid. I also wish to know why *£150* is voted for mail transit. I find on reference to the report, that in the year 1902-3 the number of murders committed in British New Guinea was 460 more than in the previous year - an increase of between 30 and 40 per cent. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- Each year a larger area is brought under supervision, and consequently notice is taken of a larger number of offences. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- It is stated in the report, however, that there has not been a solitary conviction for murder; that in every case the verdict has been manslaughter, and that sentences ranging from one to three, and five, and, in one case, fourteen years, have been imposed. We know that the manner in which the aborigines of Australia were treated in the early days is not creditable to this country, and I hope that the natives of New Guinea are not being similarly treated. While I have no desire to see men sentenced to death, because I am not a believer in capital punishment, we must regard this prevalence of crime as almost more serious than if it occurred in our own country, because of its influence upon the natives, with whom murders have not been considered serious offences. My object is to have something done to put an end to the present state of affairs. The report makes reference also to other cases of serious crime. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- Would it not increase the cost of administration to do more than is now done? {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- I, for one, opposed the taking over of the Territory by the Commonwealth ; but Parliament having decided to take it over, we are responsible for its proper administration. Complaints have been made as to the manner in which justice is administered in the Territory. Though my informationis derived from an *ex parte* statement, we should be given some information on the subject. I have been informed that a white man, who was on two occasions tried for murder, is at present free, though he has neither been legally acquitted nor legally convicted. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- That might happen in our own Courts. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- Yes but here a charge would not be kept hanging over a man's head for years ; there would be some finality. In this case, there seems to be no finality. One would think that a person who has been allowed his liberty without being bound to appear before a Court when called upon to do so, should be legally discharged. In another case a white man was charged before two magistrates with having appropriated and improperly used a Government stamp, and he was placed upon his trial, and certain depositions were taken. He was called upon to appear next morning, in order that the hearing of the case might be continued, but neither of the magistrates attended, and the proceedings were apparently abandoned. The depositions taken on the previous day cannot be found, and the man who was the subject of the proceedings is still at large. He is under the impression that he has been subjected to blackmailing, because he could not agree with some of the authorities. If he is guilty he should be tried and convicted. If not guilty, his character should be cleared. I hope that an inquiry will be made into the matter, because I do not think that the treatment meted out to the man in question is of the character to which the white *Supply.* [23 November, 1904.] *Supply.* 7325 residents in New Guinea should be exposed. We are asked to vote certain sums for the purpose of carrying out public works in New Guinea. I am informed that most of the money hitherto appropriated has been expended in the neighbourhood of Port Moresby, the seat of government, which is hundreds of miles away from the principal centres of population, namely, Woodlark Island and Samarai. The gold-diggers at these places are performing the most valuable pioneering work in Papua, and I think that, instead of expending money upon the construction of roads in and around Port Moresby, where there are only a few coffee-planters and rubber collectors, the efforts of the authorities should be directed to opening up tracks which will assist the miners in the work of prospecting. At present the native carriers have to force their way through scrub and jungle as best they can, and this makes the work of transport exceedingly difficult and expensive. I have a letter here which appears to contain a very good suggestion, namely, that we should have a representative of Papua in this Chamber. Even though Ave had ' to pay such a representative *£500* or *£600* per annum, it would be well worth our while to give him a seat in our midst. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- Surely the Possession could not have a better representative than the honorablemember. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- Unfortunately,I can give honorable members only secondhand information, whereas it is desirable that they should receive advice at first hand. It seems that at present the large syndicates or companies, such as Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Company, who own the plantations round about Port Moresby, can obtain nearly everything they require, whereas the gold-diggers who are the real, pioneers of settlement in the Possession receive little or no consideration. I desire to direct attenion to the position of the Commonwealth with regard to the steamer *Merrie England.* It is very doubtful whether we own that vessel. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- It does not matter; she will go to pieces very soon. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- I understand that the steamer was originally a pleasure yacht, and was lent to the Imperial authorities by some prominent gentleman in England for the use of the Administrator of New Guinea. My impression is that the Commonwealth has no real proprietary interest in the vessel. In any case, my objection is that she is totally unfit for the work in which she is engaged, and that the money which is expended upon her upkeep could be devoted with greater advantage to the purchase and maintenance of a more suitable steamer of light draught. The *Merrie England* may have been a very good pleasure yacht, and no doubt she furnishes a very nice floating residence for the Administrator. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- I should not care to live upon the *Merrie England.* If it is preferable to live on board that steamer rather than to stay ashore, Port Moresby cannot be a ' very desirable place of residence. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- Whatever our position may be in regard to the *Merrie England,* we should act wisely if we allowed her to rot and secured a more suitable vessel. I see that it was suggested some time ago that the Government should pur- I chase three sailing boats for use in and I about the various small harbors. I think that we should do better if we procured two or three small oil launches. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- It is highly probable that that would be the better course to pursue. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- Very little information is given in the report of the Administrator with regard to the area of land which has been alienated. I know that considerable tracts have been disposed of, although it is mentioned that no land was sold in 1902-3. We should have some definite information upon this subject. I desire to direct attention to another serious matter. It is well known to those who have been in Papua that we have a most valuable asset in the rubber trees which grow there. These trees are now being destroyedin a manner which reflects anything but credit upon the Administration. In some places the trees, instead of being, tapped in the ordinary way, are toeing cut about in such a manner that there is no hope of their recovering or yielding any further supplies of rubber. The whole of these rubber trees could be preserved by regulation. . The rubber is worth 2s. per lb., and constitutes one of the biggest assets of the Possession. I am aware that a vine from which rubber is also obtained is ruthlessly cut down, but as it grows very rapidly again, the damage thus inflicted is not of much consequence. On the other hand, the rubber tree requires to be twenty-five years old before it possesses any commercial value. Perhaps I may be pardoned for 7326 *Supply.* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Supply,* reading a letter from a former resident of British New Guinea - a gentleman who was held in very high esteem both there and in Queensland - I refer to the late **Mr. J.** P. Cusack, who was Mining Surveyor at Woodlark Island. He says - >We have not a mining man of any experience in the New Guinea Executive, or, for the matter of that, amongst a dozen of so-called wardens scattered over the Possession, hence the mining population, the backbone of New Guinea, is sadly neglected. A raw new chum is pitchforked into the Government service, and his first billet is warden, and sent to administer an Act he has never even read. I do not think there is one warden in the whole Possession who could explain the difference between a tail-race and a winze. If the Federal Government would only send us one commonsense mining man, with a few years gold-fields experience, we would have something to be gratified for. We would be all glad to see some member of the Australian Labour Party pay New Guinea a visit. He could gather much useful information, both to Australia and New Guinea, and he would be heartily welcomed all over the Possession, except perhaps in Port Moresby, where such a horror would upset the tranquillity of some very tired Government officials. Most of us who have lived any length of time in New Guinea could point out dozens of things that could be improved on, but which will hardly be altered under the present system of Government. The writer is speaking on behalf of the Labour Party in New Guinea, from which it will be seen that our ramifications extend very far afield. He continues - >I regret to say that we cannot anticipate the measures that are likely to be brought forward in the Federal House, as we are kept in ignorance of any projected measures until we read in the newspapers weeks and even months afterwards that they were introduced into the House, and set down for final consideration at a date which does not give , us time to communicate our desires to members. As an instance of this, I can refer you to the New Guinea Liquor Prohibition Measures which were discussed in the House of Representatives, and set done for final consideration at a date which had gone by long ere we here knew that the matter was under Federal consideration. It is probable enough, though, that the Executive Councillors in Port Moresby, who constitute a " happy family " in the remotest corner of the Possession, and who are out of touch with the bulk of the white inhabitants of British New Guinea, knew all about the proposed Liquor Prohibition Bill. What our branch desires is that your party will use its efforts to safeguard the interests of white workers here in any legislation that might be brought before the Federal Houses dealing with New Guinea, and if the Labour Party have any doubts as to how any proposed measures would affect the workers here, that it will endeavour to have such measures deferred until such times as it can gather information from British New Guinea. If such is done, our branch will do its utmost to gather all information on any matter and communicate it to you. Certainly we here can do little in return just now towards helping along the Labour Party. Speaking of another matter, which will be of interest to honorable members, he says - >The *Merrie England* is the greatest eye-sore to the diggers in these parts, and the diggers are the men who have done more than anybody else towards exploring and opening up New Guinea. One thing your party might be able to do to help to alleviate the burdens of white workers here is to use its endeavours towards getting us representation in the New Guinea Executive Council. At present the Executive Council is constituted of a highly paid staff of inexperienced persons, mostly the off-shoots of some English aristocratic family, whose main or only claim to their billets is the fact of their having swell relations in the old country. These gentlemen frame most of the laws that we have to obey, and in framing them they do not look a yard beyond the precincts of Port Moresby. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- That is all past. No appointments are now made in New Guinea. We make them here. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- The writer continues - >Most of these laws are well meant and well suited, as far as Port Moresby is concerned, but when they are enforced outside the capital they begin to reveal their flaws, especially when they reach gold-fields or mining camps. If the whole Possession could be subdivided into three or four districts, each district to elect by ballot a member of the Executive to bepaid out of the Government general funds, it would be the means of getting laws and regulations that would suit the majority of whites. Plenty of Australian money is lavished in Port Moresby in erecting snug and costly buildings for useless Government officials, offices that are not required ; hospital for only Government officers and Burns, Philp, and Co.'s clerks. Nobody else lives here. Making roads to coffee estates, and the like, that are owned by Government officers. The only time the Executive makes any attempt to legislate for persons outside the capital is when it brings in an ordinance to pamper the Mission elements or some big trading concern. That letter, I think, conveys a fair impression of the conditions which obtain in British New Guinea. I hold very strongly that something should be done to assist the pioneers of the Possession, and I trust that the state of affairs which has existed in the past will not be allowed to continue. {: #debate-5-s3 .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER:
Gwydir -- It seems to me that this subject is one which merits very grave attention at the hands of the Prime Minister. The administration of British New Guinea constitutes a new element in Australian politics, and is a matter which requires very careful and judicious treatment. It is true that we can pass a law to regulate the administration of the affairs of the Territory, but I can see very serious trouble ahead, particularly in regard to our control of the islands of the Pacific. We are all aware that arrangements have been made by the Government with certain firms to provide a mail service to New Guinea, and that those firms are extending their operations to a sphere which is not altogether under our own domination, or that of Great Britain. I feel sure that in seeking practically to invade territory outside our jurisdiction, we are treading upon dan'gerous ground, and that our action may give rise to serious complications between the Government of Germany and that of Great Britain. Sooner or later we shall have serious trouble with that portion of New Guinea which is under German control. Under these circumstances, it is absolutely necessary that the officers appointed to administer Papua should be able to grasp the full significance of *the* momentous questions which must in time arise between German and British settlers, for they will constitute our sole source of information. A British citizen, no matter how humble he may be, or where he may. be residing, is entitled to British fair play and justice,' and the cases mentioned by the honorable member for Kennedy - if his statement be correct - amount to a public scandal- {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- The 'honorable member should not accept *ex parte* statements as being true. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- I do not. The statements made by the honorable member tend to disclose a rotten system of government, and therefore the Prime Minister, instead of treating the matter lightly, should cause an investigation to be made, and see that justice is done. As we are introducing a new system of government in Papua, we should take care to see that the officers appointed are not mere automatons, but men who will be able to cope with any difficulty that may arise in regard to our trade with other islands in the Pacific. The Germans have practically boycotted the British shipping which has hitherto participated in the trade of the Solomon Islands. They have imposed various fees and duties which make it absolutely impracticable for those vessels to continue in the trade; yet we are endeavouring to force them to allow us to take part in a trade which they claim to be peculiarly their own. Why should we, in the administration of Papua, seek, at the risk of giving rise to international complications, to force our traders on tthe Government of the Marshall Islands? Hitherto our attention has been confined to the New Hebrides, the Ellice Group, and one or two islands of the Banks Group. But we are proposing to encroach on the trade of islands within the sphere of German influence. Realizing that these mail steamers- The" CHAIRMAN.- This vote has nothing to do with the mails. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- If I understand the position, the delivery of the mails in Papua will have to be supervised by officers for whom we must provide. {: #debate-5-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- That matter is provided for in another division. The honorable member may refer incidentally to the mail service to be provided, but he must not discuss it. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- I do not desire to do so. I shall not traverse the remarks made by the honorable member for Kennedy, but when the Appropriation Bill is before us I shall deal with those matters which, according to your decision, **Mr. Chairman,** I cannot 'discuss at the present time. {: #debate-5-s5 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
Minister of External Affairs · East Sydney · Free Trade *Supply.* to afford me a satisfactory reply. When I receive a reply to my inquiries, I shall be only too glad to lay it on the table. It will be impossible to obtain it during the present session, because the mail service is not a frequent one, but unless something extraordinary happens in the meantime, the reply will be one of the papers that I shall lay on the table of the House at the opening of next session. Let me deal now with the question raised as to the *Merrie England.* That vessel was given to the three States administering the Territory by the British Government and she has cost us nothing, except perhaps indirectly in helping to maintain the Administration, as carried on by these States for a number of years. At the time that she was given to the States, some fifteen years ago or more, she was worth about *£18,000.* It is admitted that she is not very valuable now ; but in order to save money, we have been utilizing her services. She is not as well able to do the work allotted to her as a more modern vessel would be; but she is able to perform all the services that she is called upon to render, and her work is not a light one. It would be impossible to carry on the Administration of Papua unless we had a vessel of some kind possessing steam power. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- We shall have to obtain a better vessel. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- I think that the suggestion made' by the honorable member for Kennedy as to oil launches is well worthy of consideration. That, and other proposals which he has made, will be reported upon. I think it is very unsatisfactory that the annual report of the administration of Papua should be forwarded to us at such a late period. There may be some special reason, of which I am not aware; but I propose to secure in future that the report shall bear more largely upon the more important topics upon which the House is entitled to have some information, and that it is furnished promptly. We do not care so much for the details in regard to village life and so forth, as we do for information relating to the larger questions of settlement, the development of industry, and the opening up of communications. The main expense incurred in road making has not been of the undesirable character to which allusion has been made. The money has been expended in opening up the trade routes to the mines, for the benefit of the mining districts. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- They are only tracks. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Perhaps they are; but even the making of tracks is often a very expensive and difficult work. According to Our latest advices, this work is almost completed. I confess that I am not able to give full information in regard to most of the other matters to which reference has been made; but they are all worthy of consideration, and I can assure the Committee that I shall see that the report in future is of a more general character, and that it is furnished promptly for the information of the Parliament. **Mr. McDONALD** (Kennedy).- I would like the Committee to understand that I have never been in New Guinea, and know nothing personally about the matters which I have brought forward. My information has been obtained second-hand ; I do not wish it to be thought that I am making any charges on my own responsibility. Still, I think that the statements which I have quoted should be inquired into. I would suggest also to the Prime Minister that he should obtain information concerning the high land's 'of the Territory. A report was published of an exploration made by, I think, **Sir William** McGregor, whose party reached a plateau, 8,000 or 10.000 feet above the sea-level, which was covered with magnificent grass, and held several beautiful lakes, the country being described as magnificent for pastoral, and even for agricultural purposes. We should have more than passing notice of valuable territory such as that. No doubt, the Government of Queensland have a sufficient number of copies of the report in question to circulate amongst honorable members of this Parliament. Until they read the report to which I refer, honorable members will scarcely be able to realize that there is such country in New Guinea. {: #debate-5-s6 .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr BROWN:
Canobolas -- I wish to emphasize the points which have been made by the honorable member for Kennedy. There is a lamentable lack of information in regard to New Guinea. I do not know whether the British Government or the Queensland Government have reports which might be supplied to us, but, in any case, it is time that we began to supply ourselves with information on the subject. When the Papua Bill was before the last Parliament, the Government of the day were not in a position to inform honorable members as to the extent of the land which has been alienated to private individuals, its location, the prices paid for it, and the conditions under which it is held, though **Sir Edmund** Barton promised ,to-have inquiries made with a view to putting the House in possession of the facts. We also require information, as has been suggested by the honorable member for Kennedy, in regard to the nature of the country. The present administration of the Territory, judging from the reports which have been laid before us, seems rather lax. For instance, there appears to be some doubt as to the number of hotels licensed in different centres. Surely there should be exact information on a matter of that kind. Then there have been complaints about the biased methods which obtain in the Territory, and serious charges have been made about the obstacles which have been put in the way of miners and others who have gone there to develop it. I am not in a position to say what ground there is for these complaints, but similar charges have been made against the administration of other Crown Colonies with very great reason. Means should be taken to ascertain what is the true position of affairs, so that causes of complaint may be removed, and the administration "based on just and equitable lines. Until that is done, there cannot be any degree of satisfaction. I trust that the Prime Minister will obtain all the information available, and that if he sees need for further inquiry he will have it made. Proposed vote agreed to. Resolutions reported. **Mr. REID** (East Sydney - Minister of External Affairs). - I shall be glad if honorable members would allow the adoption of the report to be taken to-day. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- No. Let it wait over until to-morrow. {: #debate-5-s7 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Is it the pleasure of the House that the resolutions shall be considered forthwith ? {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- No. {: .page-start } page 7329 {:#debate-6} ### PAPUA (BRITISH NEW GUINEA) BILL *In Committee* (Consideration resumed from 3rd November, *vide* page 6530) : Proposed new clause 20 a - > 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, or person duly authorized by the Lieutenant-Governor, and any ordinance passed before the commencement of this Act providing for such introduction or sale is hereby repealed. {: #debate-6-s0 .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr STORRER:
Bass -- The other day the Prime Minister told us, when discussing an amendment of, the honorable member for Kennedy to give representation to the people of New Guinea, that this Parliament represents the 460,000 natives of that Territory. If that is so, I think we are bound to vote against the introduction of intoxicating liquors into the Territory. I should be willing to give the people of New Guinea local option in regard to this matter, which would mean that we, representing the 460,000 natives, would vote against the introduction of intoxicating liquors, while on the other side there would be only 500 or 600 whites voting for it. The missionaries and those who live in New Guinea say that there will be a certain amount of smuggling if the introduction of intoxicating liquor is prohibited, but I do not think that as much liquor will be introduced as if it were allowed to be openly imported. We have been told that the Territory has a large coast line. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- About 3,600 miles. {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr STORRER: -- Australia has a very large coast line, but whatever smuggling has been done, has been done at the ports. There has been no landing of liquor on the coast to evade the payment of duties. Neither is it likely that liquor will be landed in New Guinea at places where there are only blacks. If any smuggling is done, it will be near the settlements where the white people reside. It is not only because I am an abstainer that I am opposed to the introduction of liquor into New Guinea. I have heard even those who are engaged in the liquor traffic say that it would be a shame to allow such a thing. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- What do the missionaries say on the subject? {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr STORRER: -- I have been a supporter of the missionaries for perhaps as long as the right honorable member has been, but if I think that I am in the right, I vote accordingly, whatever the judgment of others may be. In the Transvaal, liability to a fine of £100 'and twelve months' imprisonment has not been sufficient to prevent men from selling liquor to the natives, and I think that no prohibitive law in New Guinea could be satisfactorily carried out, because the number of 7330 *Papua (British* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *New Guinea) Bill.* magistrates and policemen there is insufficient for a proper supervision. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- Then, how will smuggling be prevented? {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr STORRER: -- I think that the authorities there will be able to carry out their duties better if the sale of liquor is prohibited, except in . chemists' shops. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- Could not men be allowed to import liquor for their own use? {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr STORRER: -- I do not think that any one would require such large quantities of liquor as to make it necessary for him to import it. I shall support the proposed new clause. {: #debate-6-s1 .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE:
New England -- Although I intend to support the proposed new clause, I do not feel very enthusiastic with regard to it. I have made inquiries into the question of the drink traffic in British New Guinea, and I admit that there will be some difficulty in preventing smuggling. We know full well that the use of intoxicants has resulted in the destruction of many native races, and I think that we should best discharge our duty to the natives of New Guinea by preventing them from obtaining supplies of liquor. I have had conversations with some of the missionaries from Papua, who, although they believe that prohibition would be a good thing, if it were possible to prevent smuggling, do not think that much benefit would arise from the proposed change. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr Mcwilliams: -- We might give it a trial. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- That is my feeling. If we find that prohibition is not a success, we can easily amend the law. In my opinion, even if smuggling did become rampant, less liquor would be introduced into New Guinea under prohibition than if its importation were permitted. I regret to say that some honorable members in quoting the opinions of missionaries have represented them as being in favour of prohibition. They; have quoted certain statements, apart from the important qualifications towhich they were subject, and have conveyed quite a wrong impression. I admit that the missionaries are opposed to the prohibition of the liquor traffic, on the ground that smuggling could not be (prevented. I shall, however, vote for it, because I think it will be a good thing. One of the officials with whom I had an opportunity of conversing told me that it would be impossible, with such an extended coastline, and with such a small staff of officials as they -have in British New Guinea., to prevent the introduction of contraband spirits. This official was a teetotaller, and thought it would be a good thing if the drink traffic could be stopped, but he shared the opinion expressed by the missionaries. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- Is not the honorable member proposing to interfere with the liberty of the white residents in Papua? I thought he was a strong, opponent of any such interference. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I am strongly opposed to any interference with a man's liberty when the exercise of such liberty does not inflict injury upon others. I believe that the drink traffic in New Guinea is operating to the detriment of the natives. If the honorable member and his colleagues in the Labour Party would counsel their supporters to give up drink, they would confer a real benefit upon their fellow men. Drink is the great curse of the working classes. Prohibition is as good for the white man as for the black man. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- Compulsion is good for "the other fellow." {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I am satisfied that liquor is of no use except as medicine. I shall support the proposed new clause, although I recognise that it may not accomplish all that we desire. {: #debate-6-s2 .speaker-KED} ##### Mr KENNEDY:
Moira -- I. look upon this proposal as the outcome of a fad. There are a good many people who like to try experiments upon the "other fellow." If honorable members are so anxious to give prohibition a trial, why do they not apply the principle within the Commonwealth ? {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- They are fighting for local option in Australia, and propose to deny it to the white residents ofPapua. {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr KENNEDY: -- Exactly. The men who go to British New Guinea take their lives in their hands, and I do not think that it is right to deprive them of the opportunity to take a drop of whisky if they think it will do them good. Some honorable members would prevent a man from having whisky, even though it might do him good, on the ground that drink is a curse. It is not the use. but the abuse of liquor that injures the individual, and through him, the community. I shall vote against the proposed new clause, because I believe there will be greater possibilities of abuse under prohibition than if the liquor is introduced into the Possession under proper supervision. In Australia the worst of liquor is sold in the unlicensed houses ; where it is served under proper supervision there is no risk of injury. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- Not always. {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr KENNEDY: -- The honorable member's experience is different from mine, and I have travelled a good deal in more than one State. If the white residents of Papua make up their minds to obtain liquor^ they will probably do so under any conditions ; but under prohibition the drink is likely to be of an inferior character. If we desire to make experiments, let us start at home. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr Lee: -- Will the honorable member help us to adopt the principle of prohibition in the Commonwealth? {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr KENNEDY: -- When a proposal is made in that direction I shall devote my best attention to it. In regard to Papua, I think that we should allow a free hand to those who are in charge of the administration, and who must know what is best for their own people. {: #debate-6-s3 .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr FOWLER:
Perth -- I confess that I can hardly regard this proposal with an ordinary degree of patience. I would willingly suppress the liquor traffic absolutely. I have been out in. the back country enduring privations for years at a time, and I have always been able to get along without touching intoxicants. I hold very strongly that it is better for pioneers to leave liquor alone. Whilst I entertain these ideas, however, I am entirely opposed to the proposal now before us. It seems to me to be highly inconsistent for a section of honorable members of this House, and of the public outside, who are fighting for local option against the vested interests in the liquor trade, to turn . round and refuse to extend the principle of local option to the few white residents in Papua who are not represented in this House. Much of the talk that has been indulged in is unmitigated cant. We are told that prohibition will confer a great benefit upon the blacks in the Possession, but at the same time we hear from the missionaries, who are undoubtedly much interested in the welfare of the natives, that it will be impossible to prevent smuggling. Therefore, a provision such as that now before us would probably fall far short of accomplishing the results desired, if it did not actually prove injurious by encouraging the illicit introduction of inferior liquor into the Possession. Those honorable members who are so anxious to prohibit the introduction of liquor into British New Guinea, and to that extent to interfere with the liberty of the white men there, should consider the effect of prohibition, so far as it has been applied to the liquor traffic in the Commonwealth. In Melbourne, hotel-keepers are prohibited from opening their houses on Sundays, but Ave know that in many cases the best trade of the week is carried on on that day. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- How does the honorable member know that ? {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr FOWLER: -- The information has been given to me by hotel-keepers themselves. Any honorable member has only to walk round the Melbourne suburbs on a Sunday in order to obtain evidence of the briskness of the trade carried on by the hotels on that day. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Not a tithe of what one can see upon Saturday nights. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr FOWLER: -- I know that in Melbourne the prohibition law as applied to Sunday is absolutely a dead-letter. Every member of the temperance party who takes any interest in the question admits that. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- He does not. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr FOWLER: -- I have seen that admission time and again. It is absolutely notorious that in Melbourne and its suburbs the prohibition law as applied to Sunday is a dead-letter. If our teetotal friends cannot enforce the law in this city, I fail to see how they care enforce it in far-distant New Guinea. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Because we cannot absolutely prevent stealing, I suppose that we should make no endeavour to restrict it ? {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr FOWLER: -- We are all agreed that stealing is a crime, but we do not all admit that the drinking of alcoholic liquors is a crime. Where it can be shown that we can improve the conditions of those who are injuriously affected by the liquor trade, I shall be with the most extravagant, teetotaller in his desire to accomplish that object. At the same time, I cannot support a proposal, which will work more harm than good. I cannot enter into the spirit nf this amendment - indeed,! I stand aghast at the hardihood of those who submit it. {: #debate-6-s4 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth -- Like the previous speaker, I fail to see that the adoption of this proposal would be in the best interests of the natives of British New Guinea. The position which the Commonwealth has to face at the present time involves a most serious responsibility. We are called upon to deal with, or indirectly affect, more than a million blacks, who have no means of letting us know their opinions upon this subject. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- There are only 350,000 natives in British New Guinea. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- That number is quite sufficient to poison off, but I was referring to the population of the whole island. This question has interested me so much that in February last I took the liberty of writing to four ministers in [New Guinea, whom I felt sure would be regarded by all parties in this House as the most independent and unprejudiced witnesses who could possibly be obtained. I took this course, not so much because I thought that any further evidence was required, in addition to that which had been placed before the House, but because certain persons had endeavoured to cast aspersions upon that evidence on the score that it was given in answer to certain allegedly unfairly framed questions. I wrote to the Church of England Bishop of New Guinea, to the Roman Catholic Archbishop, the principal of the London Missionary Society, and the head of the Wesleyan Mission. These four authorities of what is best for the black races of the Possession - men who admittedly have the interests' qf these races intimately at heart, apart from any other consideration whatever - are almost unanimous that the proposal to prohibit the importation of intoxicants into the Territory is fraught with the most serious consequences in the very direction which we are seeking to avoid. An Honorable Member. - This new clause is' very carefully framed. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- As evidencing how carelessly this amendment has been drawn, I think that it would even prohibit the use of wine in connexion with the sacrament. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- That is all rot. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member for New England in order in saying that the honorable member for Wentworth is talking rot? {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- I withdraw the expression if it is offensive to anybody. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I do not take the slightest umbrage at the interjection of the honorable member for New England. I know him very' well, and his interjections are of very great assistance to me upon occasions. However, to proceed with the evidence .of the reverend gentlemen above mentioned, in his letter, **Dr. Lawes,** of the London Missionary Society, says - >In reply to your query about the working of liquor laws in British New Guinea, I refer you to a minute passed by a Committee of our Mission in March last, and forwarded to the Commonwealth Government through our agent, the Rev. J. King. In a few words, however, I may reply to your queries. I think the present law is effective, and that it would be a pity to alter it. I do not think that it needs to be made more stringent. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- He has been there for thirty years. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The writer continues - >To forbid all liquor except on certificate of doctor would be impracticable. There are only two doctors in the whole of British New Guinea. Moreover, such a law would undoubtedly lead to wholesale smuggling. The long coast-line could not possibly be effectually guarded, and the proximity of German territory on the one side and of Dutch New Guinea on the other, would be sure to lead to smuggling from both. The Rev. W. E. Bromilow, of the Wesleyan Mission, writes - >Your letter of the 25th February has been forwarded to me here while I am on furlough, hence the delay in reply. I certainly think that smuggling could be carried on very easily from German and Dutch New Guinea if the whites wished to do so. At present there is no desire to smuggle, as the whites get as much liquor as they can afford to buy. The whites could a'so easily manufacture their own liquor in secret stills if they wished. At present the natives have no taste for liquor, and have often refused it when offered. Should they acquire a taste for it, nothing but absolute prohibition would prevent their getting it. If the law could be made as stringent as you suggest, and, in addition, the natives taking it were punished, there might be a probability of preventing the natives acquiring the drink habit. It seems to me that liquor ought not to be sold by private individuals in a place like' New Guinea, so that the Government could prevent abuses. The Roman Catholic Archbishop says - >The use of liquor among the natives is almost unheard of in Mekeo. The .present system seems sufficient. It is impossible to safeguard total prohibition, as gin is very cheap in the Dutch colony, and the whites could manufacture in the bush good rum out of prolific sugar cane. He adds - >In conclusion, the new liquor law seems to be useless here, and good practical measures to encourage settlers, favour acquisition of good lands, and open communication with Australia, deserve better the consideration of the Parliament than drastic remedies against non-existing evils. The most complete reply which I received was from the Church of England Bishop, who, writing from Bartle Bay, says - >The prohibition policy would undoubtedly lead to smuggling. British New Guinea has a coast-' line (on the mainland) of 1,700 miles, and islands representing a littoral of 1,900 miles more, or 3,600 miles in all. Every nook and harbor would be used for sly grog, running, and as German New Guinea commences only six miles beyond the mouth of the River Mamba, liquor could easily be smuggled in from there. The white men will have liquor. The Government force of white officers would be quite inadequate to deal with such a situation,' and you would have a far worse evil than exists at present in a law openly defied. The effect of a widespread system of smuggling connived at perforce by the authorities would be, I fear, to create a desire in the native mind for an article on which the white man evidently sets so much store. The honorable member for Franklin laughs, but the desire to obtain anything upon which the superior race sets special store is a very common trait of all primitive people. That is without doubt a very strong argument against the honorable member for Melbourne Ports' new clause. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- Is any one in British New Guinea in favour of it? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Very few. I believe that one or two, who are in a position enabling them to form opinions which should weigh with us, consider that it is desirable ; but they are in a very small minority of those who are in a position to know best. This letter from the Church of England Bishop of New Guinea is extremely valuable, for it throws much light on the question at issue ; but I do not propose, in view of the time it would take, to read the whole of it. I have read sufficient from these letters to show that those who certainly have the interests of the natives at heart, are very strongly opposed to the proposal now before the Committee, and I shall be pleased to place the letter at the disposal of any honorable member. We are told that those who favour the amendment, do so solely out of regard for the interests of the native races of Papua. I am quite prepared to accept that statement. I know it to be true. But is it not rather curious that a few days ago, when we were discussing a proposal to grant exclusive representation on the Council of British New Guinea to the white residents of that Possession, many of these honorable members, including the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, supported the amendment designed to carry out that project? From information that I have received, which is on the same lines as that which has already been placed before the Parliament, it is very clear to me that in the first place, no such abuse exists ais! that which this prohibition clause is designed to prevent. I further contend that this clause, if carried, could not be enforced. It would lead to smuggling or illicit distillation, and either of these contingencies would be attended with serious consequences to the natives, whose help would be availed of "in the said distillation, or smuggling. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- Who else voted with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports for the exclusive representation of the white residents of Papua? . {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I have not *Hansard* before me, but if the honorable member will turn up the division list I shall be glad to read it. There are one or two points affecting the supply of liquor to the natives, which we so much desire to prevent, to which I wish to call the attention of the Minister. The Government of the Commonwealth cannot alter the present frontier of Queensland, but I hope that they will make representations to the State Government in order that some arrangement may be come to by which it will be altered so as no longer to include the Torres Islands. The Queensland border, as honorable members are aware, is carried close to the coast of New Guinea, and the islands1 which I have named constitute the one spot at which the natives are able to obtain liquor, although they secure it even there only in very rare instances. It is solely because these islands are out of control of the administration of British New Guinea that the natives are able to obtain supplies there. I hope that the Government will do their best to make some arrangements with the State to so alter its boundary as to enable the authorities in British :New Guinea to exercise control over the adjacent islands. If representations be made that the present frontier is not designed in the best interests of the native races of British New Guinea. I am sure that the Government of Queensland, on becoming seized of that fact, would readily make the required alteration. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- I believe that the Government of Queensland has power under an Imperial Act - or some other equivalent power - to take such a step. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- They can surrender part of the territory. 7334 *Papua (British* [REPRESENTATIVES.]New *Guinea) Bill.* {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Yes. Some special action has been taken. Under an Imperial Act, I believe they have power to pass an Order in Council dealing with this question, but that they have not availed themselves of it. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- That is so. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- Who is the honorable member's authority for the statement as to the frontier question ? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The Church of England Bishop of British New Guinea. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- It was said that a native will not touch the liquor, and yet we are now told by the honorable member that when he can obtain it he gets drunk. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- When not protected by the laws already in force in British New Guinea he will takeit. In those parts of British New Guinea where the authorities have absolute control over the traffic, the natives do not obtain liquor; and if the Government succeed in securing an alteration of the Queensland frontier in the direction I have indicated, I think we shall do all that we are called upon to do at present in the interests of the native races of the Territory. As to the white residents, I hold that we should not, simply because they have no representation in this House, seek to impose our arbitrary will upon them-. If the great principle of local option is of so much use as I think it would be in the Commonwealth, it must be a good principle to apply to the white population of this dependency. For these reasons I hold that we should not at present pass' any such extreme measure as that now proposed. {: #debate-6-s5 .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD:
Herbert -- This is a very important question, and I hope that the Committee will not be led by the representations of any of the teetotal fanatics in this Chamber to totally prohibit the liquor traffic in British New Guinea. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- Some of the best men in Australia have advocated the prohibition of the liquor traffic in Papua. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- I had a number of extracts equally as convincing as those read by the honorable member for Wentworth, . but, fortunately for the Committee, I have mislaid them. Every missionary in New Guinea with whom I have had any acquaintance agrees that to totally prohibit the drink traffic there would be to make a very serious mistake, and all the clergymen whose writings I have read agree with that view. Prohibition would doubtless lead to a great deal of illicit distillation, of which we have had but little experience in Australia. The Rev. Joseph King has been particularly outspoken in dealing with this aspect of the question, and so has every one who has resided in the Territory. As has been pointed out by the honorable member for Wentworth, liquor is obtainable at very low prices in German New Guinea. Diggers are working on the Mambare River, a few miles from the border line of German New Guinea, where they can obtain what is called " square face " - or gin - at from 7½d. to1s. per bottle, whereas on the British territory the same liquor is sold at from 14s. to 15s. per bottle. {: .speaker-KHC} ##### Mr Higgins: -- Who makes the profit? {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- The man who brings it across the border. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is an inducement there to smuggle. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- Decidedly, and no prohibition clause which we might pass would disturb either the desire or the power of the men to smuggle it in. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It could not make the position worse. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- I think it would. Apart from any question as to illicit stills, which may be in operation, there is no doubt that later on the trade of smuggling liquor across the border would increase. The experience of theprohibition States of Canada proves most conclusively that smuggling would be carried on. The trade of carrying spirits from the United States to the prohibition States of Canada, in every possible way that can be devised by the smuggler, has become firmly established, and according to an article in the *Nineteenth Century,* which I read recently, the way in which this traffic is carried on has become a perfect scandal. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Surely the honorable member does not think it is a good thing to encourage the liquor traffic? {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- I do not; but the whole of the evidence at our disposal shows that the drink traffic in British New Guinea has been so well controlled that the natives have not become drunkards. It also shows that it is necessary, in the interests of the health of the white residents, that spirits should be available. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Provision is made for the supply of spirits for medicinal purposes. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- We know what has been the result of prohibition in New Zealand. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What has been the result of it there? {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- The honorable member knows as much about it as I do, and it is unnecessary for me to discuss the matter. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Would it not be better to put the temptation out of the way? {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- No, because if we prohibited the drink traffic there would be a greater temptation to illicit distillation and smuggling than there is at the present time. I have a lively recollection of having read somewhere of the effect of prohibition in New Zealand. A man who liked his nip occasionally, and liked it good, visited a prohibition settlement, under the impression that while he remained there he would1 have to be a teetotaller. One of the sons of the house at which he was staying, however, suggested to him shortly after his arrival a stroll to the boat-shed. They went there, and the son, opening a locker, took out a bottle of very good whisky, of which they imbibed some, and then, after a talk, returned to the house. A little later another son said, "You have not yet seen our gymnasium. Come and have a look at it." There he found a twogallon keg, and had another nip. After dinner, on the invitation of his host, he went to the stable for a smoke, and more whisky was produced. " Why," he remarked, at last, " I thought this was a prohibitionist settlement." " So it is," replied his host, " But we manage, to get a drOp occasionally, when we feel that we need it." Even the honorable member for Parramatta, who is a bigoted water drinker, knows perfectly well that under certain circumstances people will have their drink. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- I lived in a prohibition settlement for a few months, and I saw more drink swallowed there than I have seen, taken anywhere else. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Where was that? {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- At Mildura. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- Mildura was for many years a paradise for bottle-ho men. At St. Selena, which, as honorable members know, is an island separated by miles of sea from any other place, an illicit distillery was discovered in the bakehouse of the prison. When men are determined to get drink, they will obtain ft by some means or other. Therefore, it would be better to allow the white settlers liberty to obtain their liquor legitimately, than to compel' them to smuggle it, or to manufacture a spurious article which will poison them, and do great evil to the natives, possibly even provoking massacres. There are honorable members who do not know the joys of drinking, but those who do drink know that good liquor taken in moderation is harmless, though bad liquor, no matter how small the quantity drunk, is harmful. The following letter, written by the Rev. Joseph King, who, I believe is the head of the Congregational Mission in New Guinea, appeared in the Melbourne *Argus* of the 20th July last, and should, I think, carry weight with honorable members on a subject of this kind : - > **Sir, -** For more than forty years I have been a worker, and not an idle one, with those who have been striving to keep intoxicating drinks and other evils from the native races of Polynesia, and nothing has given me so much satisfaction as the exceptionally effective legislation of the British Government in New Guinea. Australians apparently have not known what has been going on during the last thirty years on the other side of Torres Straits. One of the most vigorous, expensive, and successful bits of work in connexion with modern missions has been done there ; but what I desire especially to emphasize is the monumental legislation in the interests of the natives which has given exceptional lustre to a just and humane administration. > >I am glad the Commonwealth has annexed New Guinea, but I feel some jealousy for the Imperial Government, by whom the initial and elemental legislation was done. Nothing can justify precipitate and dangerous haste in altering that legislation. To amend laws which are not themselves understood is surely not good statesmanship. Many of those who will be asked to vote for a new prohibition do not know what the old prohibition is effecting. > >Three successive Cabinets, under **Sir Edmund** Barton, **Mr. Deakin,** and **Mr. Watson** respectively, have been in. agreement in proposing that the Commonwealth should adopt the British ordinances at present in force, and amend nothing until knowledge has been gained by experience. With the wisdom of this all who know New Guinea best agree. The society I represent is spending ^15,000 a year in the interests of the natives, and all our missionaries, by formal resolution, have asked that the .laws which are so effectually prohibiting the sale of intoxicants shall not be hastily amended, and the Methodists and Episcopalian missionaries are with us in this. I am sorry to seem to be antagonistic to those who are impelled by the same motive as myself ; the difference between us is in respect to method only. The promoters of the amendment, with all sincerity, are anxious to improve what they believe to be the present condition of things, but from my knowledge of New Guinea I have the best reasons for knowing that the present condition is not understood, and that it is not likely to be understood until there is sufficient time for observation. > >It is because I want to prevent a false step, a step in the dark, which might lead to disastrous results, that I would urge our representatives and senators to seek further light before they move in the direction suggested. No one would regret the passing of the amendment so much as its advocates if it gave the natives facilities for obtaining drink which they do not now possess. > >In essaying to govern outside possessions, it is very important we should avoid initial mistakes. > >P.S- - Since the above was written a leader in temperance work in Melbourne, who is specially interested in the proposed legislation for New Guinea, expressed to me his great surprise that any prohibition existed there. This case shows how little is known about our new possession, and how important it is that an intelligent public opinion in regard to New Guinea matters should be formed before we begin to amend or make laws. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- What is the present law in regard to the introduction of liquor into New Guinea? {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- I suppose the whites there can have it if they like to pay for it. To my mind, it will be a piece of gross impertinence, and an abuse of power, for this Parliament to prohibit the introduction of liquor into New Guinea. Let us rather give those living in New Guinea the right to deal with the matter themselves. They have no representation here, and we have no right to say what they shall or shall not drink. There is no greater believer in local option than I am. I believe that if a majority in a community wish for prohibition or the diminution of licenses, their wish should be carried into effect. But we have no right to legislate for the white residents of New Guinea in this respect. I have lived for twenty years in the tropical parts of Queensland, where the climate is not so trying as is that of New Guinea, and -I know that under such conditions a stimulant is occasionally necessary. I did not clearly understand the remarks of the honorable member for Wentworth, because of the conversation in the Chamber at the time ; but I took him to say that the natives of New Guinea have facilities for obtaining drink in Queensland. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- No. I 'said that the Queensland border stretches to the Torres Islands. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- There are many miles of sea between Thursday Island and New Guinea. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Yes, but the territory of Queensland takes in some islands which lie very close to the mainland of New Guinea. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Which are quite within sight of it. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- Then I misunderstood the honorable member. I thought that he meant that the natives of New Guinea can obtain drink at ThursdayIsland. An application was made by residents of New Guinea, through their Chamber of Commerce, to the late Minister of External Affairs, to allow the Papuans engaged in the pearl fishery to be paid off on Thursday Island; but he wisely refused to agree to it, so as to prevent the natives from obtaining liquor. To my mind, the interests of the natives have been safe-guarded in every way possible. A short time ago, I met in the train a missionary, who told me that 'he was of opinion that the administration of New Guinea in this respect was very satisfactory. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Was he quite satisfied with the present condition of things? {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- I understood so. I desire that the liquor traffic in the Possession shall be placed under State control. We have a splendid opportunity to introduce a reform which will realize the ideas of many advocates of temperance. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- That has not been their dream ; it has been advocated by others. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- In any case, I think if we place the liquor traffic under State control, we shall be introducing the thin edge of the wedge. It will be impossible for us to establish such a system in the Commonwealth for many years to come, but in the event of an experiment such as I have indicated proving successful, we should pave the way for an extension of the system, and probably, be able to introduce a most important reform. If honorable members are not prepared to accept the amendment which I am about to propose, I trust that they will leave matters as they stand. This amendment is similar to one which the honorable and learned member for West Sydney intended to move last session, had he obtained an opportunity to do so. I move - >That the words " under Government control " be inserted after the word " except," line 3. Perhaps some further amendments of a consequential nature will have to be made jit £i I titer stage {: #debate-6-s6 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am amazed that the honorable member should propose that the drink traffic in New Guinea should be nationalized, after having delivered a speech which was intended to show that there was nothing to complain of in the present condition of affairs. The honorable member quoted authority after authority to show that we should allow matters to stand as they are; and yet he is now proposing to make a drastic change. I should have thought' the honorable member would have been the last to suggest any modification whatever. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- I am proposing an alternative to absolute prohibition. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Why should the honorable member oppose absolute prohibition? He has laboured to show us that even if that principle be applied, the white man will be able to obtain as much liquor as he requires. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- But it would be of an inferior character. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Why should those honorable members who say that people in prohibiting countries may drown themselves in liquor if they so desire be so strongly opposed to prohibition? I do not believe that prohibition fails to prohibit, or at least, to make drink harder to get. I am prepared to admit that even in prohibiting countries people can obtain drink, but in such places much less liquor is consumed than in countries where the traffic is licensed as in the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- That is questionable. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not think it is. All the investigations I have been able to make, and 1 have' taken very great care to elicit information from persons who have had experience of prohibition in the United States, and elsewhere, lead me to the conclusion that prohibition renders it more difficult to obtain liquor. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Does not prohibition impose degrading conditions upon the people? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Undoubtedly, people degrade themselves when they break the law ; but prohibition does not impose the degradation. The fact that some people will not obey the laws constitutes no reason for their abolition. I recognise that in all matters affecting the appetites of men, particularly in connexion with drink, there must always be a margin between our legislative ideals and the actual habits of the people. I believe that, under Government control, there would be as many abuses as exist to-day in connexion with the drink traffic. The missionaries in British New Guinea say that everything is going along all right, and I should like to know how the honorable member expects to improve matters by placing the traffic under Government control. I doubt whether he would accept the opinion of a clergyman upon any other subject than this. . For instance, when some very definite opinions were offered by clergymen upon the kanaka question, the honorable member flouted them. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- I do not think so. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I think that the Rev. Joseph King expressed an opinion in favour of the kanakas being retained on the sugar plantations. {: .speaker-KZV} ##### Mr Ronald: -- The honorable member is wrong. All the clergymen I know are opposed to the kanaka traffic. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Surely the honorable member must be mistaken.. I remember going with him on one occasion to hear a discussion that was conducted in his own church, at which at least half-a-dozen of hia fellow-ministers expressed themselves as in favour of the retention of the kanakas on the sugar plantations in Queensland. {: .speaker-KZV} ##### Mr Ronald: -- The honorable member is quite wrong. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- However, the clergymen who have borne testimony upon this question state that the present conditions in New Guinea are prohibitive so far as the natives are concerned. If the desire of the missionaries is to keep the liquor away from the natives, how could we make it any harder to accomplish that result by providing for absolute prohibition ? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr Conroy: -- The chances are that if we prohibit the white settlers from obtaining liquor we shall encourage illicit distillation. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I can conceive of no greater temptation to illicit distillation or smuggling than is offered under existing conditions, which, according to the statement of the honorable member for Herbert, permit of gin being obtained in German New Guinea at 7d. or 9d. per bottle, as compared with 15s. per bottle in British New Guinea. That difference in price should surely furnish a sufficient motive for smuggling. The illustrations used by the honorable member have been most unfortunate for him. He tells us that the settlers can get as much gin as they like by smuggling it over the border from German New Guinea, and that they can save 14s. 3d. per bottle. Under these conditions, I do not think that any legislation that we may pass would offer additional encouragement to smuggling or illicit distillation. It is absurd, on the' face of it, to say that all kinds of evils will be visited on the blacks if we do not permit the drink traffic to be carried on without restriction. If we make it more difficult for the white man to obtain liquor, how can we render it more easy for the natives to secure it ? Strange to say, however, that is the contradictory, argument that has been used throughout this debate. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- If the white men cannot get liquor legitimately they will secure it in another way. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Still it will be no easier for the black man to obtain it. Every argument which we have heard this evening has previously been advanced against the adoption of prohibition in civilized communities. It is contended, for example, that if we do not allow intoxicating liquor to be imported into British New Guinea, it will be smuggled into the Possession. Then, the honorable member for Perth took occasion to have a tilt at the efficacy of Sunday closing here. In reply, I shall quote only one authority upon the subject. I refer to the late **Mr. Henry** Copeland. As some honorable members are aware, I have had many a battle with him in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales upon the question of Sunday closing. He used to talk most ferociously about settling the matter with battle-axes when the prohibition of Sunday trading was suggested. But when upon his recent visit to Australia, I met him in one of the corridors of this building, his very first salutation was " If I were with you in the Legislative Assembly now, I should support the Sunday closing of hotels. My short residence in London has convinced me that you are right in keeping the hotels closed upon that day." Honorable members who declare that our laws relating to Sunday trading have no effect whatever, must go about with their eyes closed. Will any sane individual tell me that the same amount of drinking takes place in any town in the Commonwealth upon Sunday as occurs upon Saturday night? {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- That is because men take Sunday's cargo on board upon Saturday night. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The very fact that some liquor is consumed on Sunday ought not to prevent us from keeping as. high as possible the barriers which deny the people the unlimited opportunities for drinking upon Sunday which they possess upon other days. I was really surprised to hear a statement of that kind emanate from the honorable member for Perth, who is an advocate of temperance, and one who would, if he could, make the nation sober in every respect. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- I wish to see the temperance men look after the public-houses in Melbourne before bestowing their attention upon New Guinea- {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is a very old argument which has been used in connexion with every humanitarian and progressive proposal. Because we cannot make everything perfect, it is urged that we should do nothing. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- The honorable member desires to practise upon the savages before he applies his doctrine to civilized individuals. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I wish to practise nothing upon the savage that I am not prepared' to apply to myself. We have here a splendid opportunity to get rid of the taunt which is constantly being levelled at our race, namely, that when we send missionaries to foreign countries, we send with them liquor to the injury, and possibly, destruction, of the native population. Here is a chance for us to declare in our statutes, once and for all, that Ave will take every precaution to keep liquor from the natives of British New Guinea, having in view the disastrous results which it has worked elsewhere. {: #debate-6-s7 .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER:
Fremantle -- Whilst I agree with the last speaker, that, the more intoxicating liquor is absent, either from civilized or uncivilized communities, the better it is for them, I think he has lost sight 'of one very important principle. It is, that no matter how desirable prohibition may be, it should be brought into operation only with the consent of those who are chiefly concerned. As men who believe in democratic principles, we cannot dissent from the proposition that we have no right to apply to the white residents of New Guinea laws which we will not apply to the white residents of Australia. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Did not the honorable member himself consent to govern them upon other than democratic lines'? {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- No; I was one of those who voted to give the white residents of New Guinea powers of self-government. I do not know whether the honorable member voted with me upon that occasion. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I think that along with two-thirds of the party to which the honorable member belongs, I voted against the proposal. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- Even if that be so, it does not affect my statement that we have no right to impose prohibition upon the white residents of New Guinea without consulting them. During my election campaign, this question was a burning one *Papua (British* [23 November, 1904.] *New Guinea) Bill.* 7339 with a considerable number of electors. I was asked to pledge myself to prohibit the importation of intoxicants into New Guinea. I replied that whilst I was at one with those who desired to keep intoxicants from the natives, I could not agree to impose a prohibition upon the white residents without consulting them. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Therefore, the honorable member would put intoxicating liquor within the reach of the natives. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- I have taken the trouble to inquire whether the facilities for drinking which are at present enjoyed by the white population of the Possession, constitute any great danger to the natives. Some time ago the Honorable A. Musgrave, who knows as much about the conditions which obtain in British New Guinea as does any man in the world, visited Australia, and I had an opportunity of conversing with him upon this subject. I particularly inquired of him whether the native population of British New Guinea were obtaining intoxicating liquor, and, if so, what effect it was having upon them. In reply, he assured me that the natives, generally speaking, had no taste for intoxicants. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- They will soon acquire one. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- I do not propose to discuss what may happen within the next century. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- Can the honorable member tell us what becomes of the grog which is imported into the Possession? {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- I think that can be explained. In face of the testimony of the gentleman to whom I have referred, and of others whose opinions are set out in the parliamentary paper dealing with this matter, I refuse to believe that the natives of the Territory are obtaining any large quantity of liquor. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The intoxicating liquor imported into the Possession represents *£18* per head of the white population. Where does it all go to? {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- I do not intend to argue what becomes of the large quantity of liquor which is imported into British New Guinea. I simply say that there is no evidence to show that the natives secure it. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- Then the honorable member believes that every white man in British New Guinea drinks about 30 gallons of spirits per year? {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- Nothing of the sort. Whilst I sympathize with the object of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports in seeking to prohibit the importation of intoxicants so far as the natives are concerned, I wish to fulfil the pledge which I gave to my constituents, that I would not sanction the application of prohibition laws to the white residents of the Possession without first consulting them in the matter. My intention is to vote for the clause in its present form, and subsequently to propose the addition of a proviso which will have the effect of giving the Lieutenant-Governor power to take a poll of the white residents of the Territory as to whether or not prohibition shall obtain there. The honorable member for Herbert has moved an amendment which provides that the sale of liquor shall be under Government control. Of the two proposals, I prefer that we should give the white people power to say " Yes " or " No " in regard to prohibition. I am, however, prepared to support the honorable member's proposal, so that if intoxicants are imported into the Possession under any conditions, their sale shall be under Government control. If honorable members will read the testimony which is given by missionaries in New Guinea, they will be surprised at the very decided opinions which some of them have expressed. Whilst they appear to be almost unanimous in their opposition to prohibition, it will be noticed that they advocate the sale of intoxicants under Government control. For instance, the Bishop of the Church of England mission, after six years' residence in the Possession, says - >The present unrestricted sale of alcoholic liquors, bringing large gains to the vendor, or to the licensed victualler, or storekeeper, whom he represents, needs immediate attention. It has led to unchecked orgies, which have disgraced and lowered the white race in the eyes of the native, and while the State of Samarai, in this respect, has greatly improved during the last five years, in moreremote places disgiaceful scenes have occurred more recently. The element of personal profit needs to be eliminated from the sale of such liquor, otherwise competition between rival publicans or storekeepers will prevent the spread of sobriety. The following instance will illustrate my meaning : - > >At a certain gold-fields township, the stores were reduced to one. The storekeeper had no intention of being dragged up at all hours of the night by thirsty customers, and so he said he would fight any man who disturbed him after he turned in. He had to do so once or twice, and being a good pugilist was soon left in peace, and the township was never so quiet as it was in his time. After a year or so, the number of diggers in the district increased in number, and two more stores were opened. The new storekeepers, anxious probably to get trade, relaxed the strictness in the hours of liquor-selling, and the existing store began to surfer, because its customers went to the new stores, not only for liquor, but for all their stores, to sell their gold, to get carriers, and all other business. The storeowner soon made a change in his manager, and the pugilist was sent away. I don't say for a moment that the store-owner liked the drunkenness on his premises, but he was not brave enough to risk the loss of custom. If the whole liquor traffic was in Government hands, this not overbrave store-owner would have been saved from seeming to encourage drunkenness. Here is another testimony to the same effect by **Mr. A.** M. Campbell, resident magistrate, whose position entitles his opinions to be received with respect. He says - >I think that some form of State control of the liquor traffic would be a most desirable thing for this country. The revenue would not suffer, there would not be great temptation to obtain liquor in an illicit manner, and there would be little danger of the natives getting it, either now or in years to come. It would, in my opinion, be the best safeguard against possible abuses. Let me quote one other opinion on this subject, and I shall have done. The Rev. Copland King, who has been twelve years in New Guinea, says - >Government monopoly seems a fair scheme, provided the officer is provided with sufficient power to regulate abuses, and to prevent the supply of liquor to drunken men or drunkards. I do not know that there are not other testimonies of a similar character j but T have quoted sufficient to show that among prominent residents, who are familiar with the islands, there is a strong opinion that the traffic should be under the control of some Governmental authority. I am quite prepared to support the honorable member for Herbert's proposal, that if liquor be admitted, it shall be kept under strict Government supervision. I think we should eliminate at least three-fourths of the evils that are said to exist in connexion with the sale of liquor in British New Guinea, by adopting that course. To return to the power of local option, I think it is somewhat remarkable that the missionaries almost to a man are against what I call coercive prohibition. Scarcely one of them raises his voice in defence of the proposal made by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, to impose prohibition upon the people of British New Guinea against their will. If the honorable member were present, I think he would agree with me that even the so-called extreme prohibitionists in Australia approve only of prohibition by the will of the people. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- This is a sample of what they would do if they could. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- I think not. I do not believe that those of the general public who advocate prohibition would be so inconsistent as to support a proposal for prohibition whether the people concerned be consulted or not. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- The Federal Parliament has no power to deal with local option. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- Except in British New Guinea and in the Federal Territory. I propose now to make one or two quotations bearing on the 'question of prohibition itself. **Mr. C.** W. Abel, of the London Missionary Society, who has been fourteen years in New Guinea, says - >I regard the prohibition of liquor as an absolute impossibility under existing circumstances. Under such a law liquor would be smuggled into, and manufactured in the country. **Mr. Johnson.** There are other missionaries who express an entirely opposite opinion. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- I believe that if I were to quote the opinions of the great majority of the missionaries they would be found to coincide with those of **Mr. Abel.** I am open to correction, but I think that only two of those whose testimony is placed before us favour the prohibition proposed by this amendment. Even in those cases some reservations are made. **Mr. Abel** continues - >Natives, at present protected by law, would be employed in landing and storing illicit liquor, and the evil would be wider spread and largely undetectable. The Rev. W. E. Bromilow, who has been quoted more than once, and who is chairman of the Methodist Mission of British New Guinea, and has had thirteen years' experience in the Territory, says - >Almost all the miners say that it is necessary that they should be able to use alcohol as a stimulant in cases of prostration through fever. > >The natives would be ruined speedily if they took to liquor. At present, they have no liking for it. > >I do not see how the Government magistrates could enforce prohibition against the wishes of the white community. Almost all the whites object to' natives getting liquor. **Mr. H.** M. Dauncey also of the London Missionary Society, who has had fifteen years' experience on the island, says - >I doubt whether any measures could be taken, even with an increased staff, which would guarantee effectual prohibition. The country is too large, the coast-line too long, and the white population too scattered, to be under continual inspection, and without this prohibition could not, I think, be enforced, particularly in a country where the weight of such public opinion as there is would be against it. **Mr. J.** S. Holmes, of the same missionary society, with ten years' experience, says - >The effect of a general prohibition on the mining community would be, as I have hinted above, serious in the extreme ; my knowledge of them as individuals is very limited j .but brave men the world over, no matter what their occupations may be, will dare anything when they believe their rights have been tampered with. In the highest, truest, and best interests of the natives, of the colonists, and the Possession, God forbid that the mining community of the Possession be given any just cause to depart from their lawabiding instincts to obtain surreptitiously that which they are willing to buy openly as men. > >If general prohibition becomes law, smuggling will become the general procedure 10 procure alcoholic liquor, and the native in all probability will be utilized in such forms of smuggling as may be ultimately evolved ; result, absolute degradation of the native. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- That is fairly strong testimony against the liquor traffic. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- I think that the honorable member has appealed for prohibition on behalf of the native population, and that, in supporting the amendment, he is strongly actuated by the consideration of their interests. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Not solely. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- Here we have the testimony that if prohibition were forced on the white population against their wish they would make such use of the natives as would lead to the degradation of the latter. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- That is pure conjecture. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr CARPENTER: -- We have a right to give consideration to the opinions of those who have lived in the Possession from ten to fifteen years. We know that white men in mining communities generally are fairly determined when they are fighting against what they believe to be an injustice. The Eureka Stockade outbreak was clue to a feeling on the part of the miners that they were being unjustly dealt with, and while I do not imagine that the miners of British New Guinea would go to the same lengths, I believe that if they felt that they were being unjustly treated, they might do that which would not be wholly to the advantage of the natives, or the Territory. If the amendment be carried, I shall move for the addition of a proviso that within two years of the passing of the Act the white adult population of Papua shall be consulted by referendum in regard to the liquor question. I shall have to move a proviso to that effect, even if we agree that the traffic shall be under Government control. I fail to see any conflict between Government control and local option. If the people declared that they would have no liquor introduced into the Possession, the proposal of the honorable member for Herbert to have Government control would become null and void ; but I wish to test the opinion of the Committee as to whether we should consult the persons concerned before we impose prohibition upon them - to ascertain whether we are prepared to extend the same consideration to them that we should demand for ourselves, and which we should give to every man in Australia. **Mr. HENRY** WILLIS (Robertson).The liquor problem is a very difficult one to solve; and I wish to say at the outset that I raise no objection whatever to the arguments which have been adduced by those who are favorable to prohibition. If they believe prohibition to be the best thing tor the community, because of the evil which arises from .the excessive use of strong drink, it is their duty, whenever the opportunity offers, to move in the direction of securing the suspension of the traffic. An opportunity to do this now presents itself, and it is for them to take action ; but I have no sympathy whatever with the desire to prohibit the sale of alcohol in the way proposed by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. I have read **Mr. Rowntree's** book, to which incidental reference has been made by the honorable member for Perth, and I find that he and his collaborateur have studied the question of the sale of strong drink, and have quoted from their experience to show that even the prohibition system in operation in America has proved a great failure. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr King O'Malley: -- That is not so. {: #debate-6-s8 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- They have produced the evidence of the highest authorities in the United States and Great Britain in support of their contention that the most successful system which has yet prevailed for the regulation of the traffic is the company, or what is commonly called the Gothenburg system, although ii is not exactly on all fours wilh it. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- Upon which direct State supervision is an improvement. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- That is the system which I should like to see introduced in the Federal Territory, and also in British New Guinea, but this is not the time to move in that direction. I have no objection to honorable members testing the question to-day in the way proposed ; but all those occupying responsible positions in Papua agree that the liquor traffic is prohibited so far as the natives are concerned. That being so, all the statements we have heard to-day about the traffic amongst the natives may be allowed to pass as mere froth. Honorable members have spoken about the consumption of strong drink by the white residents in New Guinea, which they say is equivalent to two bottles a day, and the honorable member for Parramatta has told us that liquor there is worth 1 8s. a bottle. I am inclined to think that the fact is that New Guinea is a depot for the supply of liquor to the other islands of the Pacific. It is certain that the white people there could not consume two bottles a day. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- There is no mention of liquor in the exports. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- 1 am aware that it is not accounted for in the returns; hut it must be exported. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The liquor imported into New Guinea is equivalent to thirty gallons a year for every white settler there ; but there is no record of any being exported. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Nevertheless we have the assurance of those who are in charge of native mission stations that liquor is not used by their converts, and I do not think thi; traders would dare to go amongst thE-other natives for fear of being eaten. I am in favour of the Gothenburg system of liquor control, though I am- opposed to Government management and to prohibition. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- The honorable member voted for prohibition last time. His name is in the division list. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Then I must have voted under some misapprehension, because I have lectured in favour of Rountree's system all about Sydney. While I am inclined to support the regulation of the liquor traffic in New Guinea, I am opposed to prohibition, and shall vote against both the proposed new clause and the amendment. {: #debate-6-s9 .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY:
Darwin -- It is amazing to hear honorable members who have never been in one of the American prohibition .States, declare , that prohibition is a failure. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Was the honorable member ever in a " speak-easy " in the States ? {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- Yes; I have been everywhere. I have seen all sides of life. I have lived in the State of Kansas, where prohibition has proved a success. One has to carry his own liquor when travelling there, if he wishes to get a drink. The honorable member 'for Corangamite says that his father got liquor there. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- No, he was a great teetotaller. He went to see how things were managed. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- If drink is sold there, it is sold in violation of the law, and nearly, all those who violate the law have served terms in the county gaol. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- Hundreds are selling liquor there to-day. {: #debate-6-s10 .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr XING O'MALLEY:
DARWIN, TASMANIA -- No. I am not a prohibitionist ; but I say that the law prohibiting the sale of liquor in some of the States of the American Union is better enforced than any law of any State of the Commonwealth. In Victoria, there is a law against murder; but people do not say that it is a failure, although occasionally there are hangings. In Kansas, however, with a population of nearly 2,000,000, there has not been a murder for fifteen years. For over twenty-five years, no one has been hanged there. All the murderers have cleared out to Colorado. When I lived in prohibitionist States, I was not a teetotaller ; but I know that I had the greatest trouble to obtain drink. Even if one gets a prescription from a doctor, he is limited to three drinks a day, which is not sufficient for any one who is a drinker, as honorable members know. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- There are no drinkers here. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- Thi,s iis a teetotal House; very few honorable members drink. The native population of New Guinea is teetotal, but what chance will they have of protecting themselves against the whites if liquor is introduced there, so that a few white men may make money out of it? This Parliament should not permit itself to be used 'for the destruction of the coloured men of New Guinea. They have a law in the United States prohibiting the sale of liquor to Indians, but occasionally an Indian gets whisky, and the white man who serves it to him, if caught, gets twenty years of Dry Tartugus. In Maine, with the exception of Portland, where all sorts of tricks are tried, prohibition is an absolute success. {: .speaker-KRQ} ##### Mr Skene: -- What do thev do in Portland? {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- There liquor is> kept in private houses, in all manner of places, where the detectives cannot find it ; but those who are caught selling it have to go to gaol. Last time I was there I saw sixty or seventy gentlemen- serving their time for violating the law. A similar provision is in force in Iowa, ' and in several other States, with great success. When the Gentiles went to Utah, and wished to start public-houses in Salt Lake City, Brigham Young was clever enough to say, " If people are going to drink here I will get the benefit of it ' "j and he opened church hotels. I am against anything which will degrade the people of New Guinea. The Commonwealth, not the white residents of New Guinea, pays for the administration of the Territory, and we should have some "say" in this matter. We have no right to transport our vices, evils, and miseries there. I am in favour of State regulation, or of the Gothenburg system- I hope to see the day when the liquor traffic of the Commonwealth will be in the hands of the Government. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Is not a. State drunkard as bad as a private drunkard? {: #debate-6-s11 .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING" O'MALLEY:
DARWIN, TASMANIA -- If there are any State drunkards we shall provide homes for them. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- We provide gaols now. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- Yes, and we let private men make fortunes out of their misfortunes. I hope that honorable members, .before saying -that prohibition in America_ is a failure, will study the question. These statements are made on the authority of hearsay evidence obtained during a week's residence in a place. When I first came to Australia I was told that the States Parliaments were corrupt, but when I wanted my informant to. make an affidavit to that effect before a justice of the peace he excused himself on the ground that he did not wish his name mentioned. The Judges will not take hearsay evidence. They insist upon having facts put before them, and let us do the same in this matter. {: #debate-6-s12 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON:
Lang -- I intend to oppose the amendment. I listened with amazement to the arguments put forward by the honorable member for Herbert. He told us that the present condition of affairs in New Guinea was perfectly satisfactory, and immediately afterwards proposed an amendment which would effect a complete change in the present system of controlling the drink traffic. If the present system is perfectly satisfactory in the honorable member's opinion, on what ground of logic can he defend a change ? He stated, further, that in those countries in which the drink traffic was prohibited, liquor was as easily obtainable as in other places where the traffic was licensed. I cannot believe that for a moment. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- Everything depends on whether there *is* a sufficient force of public opinion behind the law. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I believe that the more the drink traffic is restricted the more difficult it will be to obtain liquor. If honorable members who favour the introduction of intoxicating liquors into New Guinea believe that prohibition will not have the effect of restricting the consumption of liquor, they may with safety vote in favour of the proposed new clause, because if their view is correct it will not cai% any deprivation to the white residents in the Possession. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- The missionaries state that prohibition will be fraught with danger to the natives. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- The honorable member would be more correct if he said "some of the missionaries." {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- The great majority say so. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- In any case, that is only a matter of opinion, and on the face of it the view taken by the missionaries is absolutely absurd. I cannot conceive that any special danger will be incurred by the natives or white men owing to the prohibition of the introduction of intoxicants into Papua. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr Conroy: -- The missionaries state that prohibition will lead to illicit distillation. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- We have illicit distillation going on under our very noses, and yet that fact constitutes no argument in favour of the traffic in liquor. The law prohibits murder, stealing, and other things, and yet we know that all those acts which are regarded as crimes,, are committed in our midst. Is it, therefore, to be argued that because some people commit crimes in spite of the law we should abolish our criminal law ? {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- Does the honorable member regard the cases as parallel ? **Mr. JOHNSON.Certainly** I do. Another parallel is afforded by the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating drinks on Sundays. We know that notwithstanding this prohibition liquor is sold on Sundays, but surely no honorable member would be bold enough to suggest that on that account we should remove all restrictions on the Sunday trade in intoxicants, and have all the hotels opened on Sunday? Yet that argument would have just as much force as1 those which have been used against the adoption of the prohibitive principle in British New Guinea. I fail to see how State control of the liquor traffic would improve present conditions in the Possession. A man who became intoxicated upon drink sold by the Government would be no less degraded than one who got drunk upon the liquor purchased from a publican. It might be argued on the same reasoning that, because some publicans refuse to sell drink to men who are already intoxicated, all publicans should be permitted to exercise a free hand. There is no guarantee that the evils of the drink traffic will be any less if the Government control the sale of intoxicants than if the sale is allowed to remain in private hands, and the facilities for abuse will be just as great in one case as in the other. I look upon drink as an evil, and place it in the same category as the plague and typhoid. If the consumption of intoxicants be beneficial, unrestricted traffic should be permitted ; but if it be the reverse, the sale of liquor should not be sanctioned indiscriminately, but should be rigidly safeguarded. I believe that drink is an unmitigated evil, and that we should not permit its unrestricted introduction into Papua. If men require stimulants, they may obtain them without resorting to the consumption of intoxicants. There are other stimulants quite as effective and much Jess harmful in their effects. The proposed new clause relates not only to drink but also to opium, and the same arguments apply to both commodities. I do not agree with those honorable members who think that we should wait for the drink evil to manifest itself among the natives before we intervene. Prevention is better than cure, and I think we should avail ourselves of the opportunity of founding a new community upon thoroughly sound and wholesome lines. The present incredibly large importation of intoxicants into Papua shows the need for our intervention at this early stage of founding a new British Colony. Let us then endeavour to give it a fair start on lines of sobriety. Now that the opportunity offers, it is our duty to do all we can to prevent the natives from acquiring the drinking habit. I shall vote for the proposed new clause upon humanitarian and moral grounds, and shall oppose the amendment, because I object to the liquor traffic being carried on either by the State or by private individuals. **Mr. RONALD** (Southern Melbourne).I hope that the better judgment of the Committee will prevail, and that the present proposal will be rejected. If it were adopted, it would be a blot upon our statute-book. Experience has shown that where prohibition has been applied, the crime of breaking the law has been added to the sin of drinking - if drinking be a sin. Where prohibition has been tried, the control over the quality of the liquor supplied has been entirely lost. It is not the quantity of the liquor consumed, but its bad quality that proves detrimental to the consumers. The old English idea that abundance was the best teacher of temperance had a sound basis. Where restrictions are imposed upon the people, they are incited to break the law ; and I venture to say that many of the evils which have resulted from the consumption of intoxicants are largely due to the restrictions imposed, upon the drink traffic. The proposal now before us is being put forward ostensibly in the interests of the natives of Papua ; but is really intended to constitute an experiment which is to be tried upon the white resident. I am perfectly sure that the good sense of the majority of the people of Australia will induce them to regard as unjust a proposal to foist upon the white residents of New Guinea a system that we are not prepared to adopt among ourselves. We know that malarial and other fevers are very prevalent in New Guinea, and in view of the fact that stimulants are regarded by the highest medical authorities as affording the surest remedies in such cases, it would be cruel in the extreme to place restrictions1 upon their use. If we desire to make experiments, we should select communities which live under favorable climatic conditions. Livingstone and Moffat, who were, without doubt, temperance men, never proceeded on their travels in the unexplored regions of Africa without taking with them ample supplies of stimulants. I quite agree with the amendment, which provides that the liquor traffic in the Possession shall be under State control. Personally, I have always been an advocate *Papua (British* [23 November, 1904.] *New Guinea) Bill.* 7345 of the Norwegian system, because, whilst it robs no individual of his liberty, it certainly removes from our social life that dangerous element which provides temptation to drink. I maintain that we should limit that temptation as much as possible. But whilst doing that, and whilst restricting the operations of those who are prepared to vend intoxicating liquor at the sacrifice of the lives, morals, and health of the people generally, we should not resort to coercion or compel the community to be sober by Act of Parliament, if that were possible. I claim that when we strip the public-houses of the attractions which they offer in the way of gambling we shall do away with nine-tenths of the temptation to drink. I have always advocated the adoption of the Norwegian system, but I have never championed prohibition, which would compel a man to adopt a mode of life in which perhaps he did not believe, and which he might know from experience would not suit his temperament and constitution. Some honorable members have sneered at the missionaries in New Guinea for the opinions which they have expressed in connexion with the liquor traffic. I contend that those missionaries know what they are talking about. They have found that the use of intoxicants in the Possession is necessary from a medicinal stand-point, and that is the best possible evidence that we can obtain upon the subject. Their testimony shows that it would not be safe for white persons to settle in British New Guinea without having at their command in the shape of alcohol, an antidote for typhoid and malaria generally. {: #debate-6-s13 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Richmond -- I am sure that every honorable member will agree that there is no household in the world which has not one chair vacant on account of the excessive use of alcohol. The sin, misery, and wretchedness which are intimately associated with its use are beyond estimation. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr Conroy: -- Then there is no misery where there is no alcohol ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I do not contend that at all. But every honorable member, if he tracesback his family history for a generation or two, must recognise that much misery and sorrow have been produced by the unwise use of alcohol. The advocates of prohibition have a noble ideal. The question of local option for British New Guinea has been brought prominently before this Committee. I affirm that local option in the case of the Possession is an absolute absurdity. {: #debate-6-s14 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I point out to the honorable member that we are not now dealing with the question of local option, but with an amendment having reference to State control of the liquor traffic. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I am quite aware of that, and I propose only to make an incidental reference to it. When honorable members reflect that there are 350,000 black men in British New Guinea, and only 500 or 600 white residents, they must recognise that, in taking a local option vote we should be handing over the control of the former to the latter. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr Conroy: -- Have the blacks any capacity whatever? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- But the democratic principle, from which local option springs, is that of equality of intelligence and of opportunity. In their case there is no such equality. Consequently, a local option vote in British New Guinea would be an absurdity. The question which' we have to consider is not whether the white residents of the Possession shall obtain liquor, but whether the fact that they can secure it readily will bring it into close proximity and make it a greater danger to the black man. One must admit that the evils which have been wrought by the use of intoxicants amongst the black races of the world have been frequently overestimated. What kills these races off so rapidly is not necessarily the excessive use of alcohol, but what is known as the impact with the white civilization. Our vices have been handed down from sire to son from generation to generation, and men with weaker constitutions than ourselves are unable to carry them. There are only two races in the world which can withstand the impact with our white civilization, namely, the Chinese and the Bantu or negro race. The former has lived so long that he cannot contract typhoid fever ; he has become immune to it. Similarly, the negro is strong and virile, and is easily able to withstand our vices. Every other member of the black races, however, must inevitably disappear before theadvance of the white man. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- Is the Mussulman disappearing ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I should have added " where the climate is suitable for the white man." I admit that in New Guinea the natives will be protected by the climatic conditions which obtain. There is one point in connexion with this debate which has practically been overlooked, although incidental reference has been made to it. It is that, according to the evidence of reliable witnesses on the spot, the Papuan is nol fond of alcohol at present. He prefers to chew betel-nut, which is a harmless thing in itself. It is a singular fact that every nation is addicted to some habit in which it ought not to indulge. In the South Sea Islands, for instance, an intoxicating decoction is made from cocoanuts. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- In North Queensland they make pitcherie. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Exactly. ' Up to the present time, however, ,the natives of British New Guinea have not acquired the white man's habit of drinking alcohol, and honorable members naturally desire to prevent them from so doing. I have no sympathy with those who sneer at the missionaries in the Possession. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Who has done so? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Some, honorable members think that we are doing a glorious work in leaving our homes, and coming to Melbourne to work for temporal affairs. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY:
DARWIN, TASMANIA · ALP -- For a miserable salary {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Will any intelligent man, even if he desires to live in a tent in the Parliamentary gardens, compare the work which we perform with that which is accomplished by the missionary? The latter lives in the most bestial environment in the world. He is surrounded by human beings, none of whom are able to meet him upon terms of equality. He devotes his life to his work, and it ill becomes us to speak lightly of 1-iim, seeing that he is engaged in the noblest calling in the world. The missionaries of British New Guinea have, almost unanimously, appealed to this Parliament to act cautiously in this matter. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Who has reflected upon them? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- The honorable member has had an opportunity of perusing the opinions of these missionaries, and he knows that they are practically unanimous upon this question. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr Lee: -- Why do they not practice what they preach? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- We have not visited Papua, and in arriving at a decision in re gard to the liquor traffic there we must avail ourselves of the best information at our disposal. And what do we find? We find that the missionaries are unanimous in advising us to be cautious in legislating in this direction. The honorable member for Parramatta, in the course of his speech, said that there was danger ahead. I agree with him that, in view of the growing white population, there certainly is danger ahead, and that we should do all that we can to avoid it. I am in sympathy with the end in view ; but direct the attention of the Committee to the fact that it is recognised in the amendment itself that alcohol has a medicinal use. That being so, we ought to take care that the white residents of the Territory shall be able to obtain it for medicinal purposes. It is easy to discuss this question from the point of view of a resident of Melbourne, or of any country town, where the doctor is round the corner, where the chemist is close at hand, and where, as the Prime Minister would probably say, the graveyard is not far away. In such places there is no difficulty in obtaining a doctor's certificate that alcohol is required for medicinal purposes, but the position in British New Guinea is altogether different. I ask honorable members how is it that the British people with all their faults, have been the greatest nation-builders that the world has ever seen. Is it not due to the fact that our men have gone to new lands, like New Guinea, and, taking their lives in their hands, have spied out the natural advantages, have explored and prospected the country, and have been eventually followed by weaker and less able men, who have reaped the fruits of their labour and daring ? The men who are doing pioneering work in British New Guinea are in many cases hundreds of miles away from a medical practitioner, and how are they to obtain alcohol, which may be absolutely necessary for medicinal purposes, if prohibition be insisted upon. I should like the honorable member for Cowper, who is one of the most genuine teetotallers in this House, to answer this question. Supposing he or the honorable member for Dalley were bitten by a snake, what would he do? He would use that which the Almighty has given as an antidote. As an intelligent man he would at once use alcohol medicinally. As the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has pointed out snakes lurk in the long grass *Papua (British* [23 November, 1904.] *New Guinea) Bill.* 7347 of the Territory, and miasma rises from the swamps. The pioneers are surrounded by disease - there is danger at every step they take - and to send them out without medicinal comforts which have been provided by nature, would be to condemn them to certain death. So far as residents of Melbourne or Sydney are concerned, I agree that the question is comparatively immaterial, but it is necessary to amend the amendment itself. If it were so amended as to provide that the pioneers should have an opportunity to carry with them that which they will certainly require before they return, no harm would be done in agreeing to it. My idea is that after the word " except," we should insert the words " in such cases as may be approved by the Administrator and the. Council." In other words, we should provide that if a case could be made out for supplying the prospector, the miner, or explorer with a reasonable quantity of alcohol for medicinal use to take with him on his travels, he should be allowed to have it. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- If that were done, half of the white residents would become explorers. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- The honorable member must be reasonable. If we are prepared to go as far as we honestly can in the direction desiredby those who support this amendment, I am satisfied that we shall find them amenable to reason, with the result that we shall pass a law which will be a credit to us. A Parliament should devote its attention to the passing of laws which recommend themselves as reasonable to the whole community. I hope that honorable members who are most enthusiastic in their support of the amendment will take that aspect of the case into their serious consideration. {: #debate-6-s15 .speaker-K87} ##### Mr CULPIN:
Brisbane -- I wish to briefly put before the Committee the views which I hold on this question. Those who object to the passing of a law providing for prohibition on the plea that it would be evaded, should be reminded that that is toe situation at the present time in Papua, so that, by passing this amendment, we should be in no worse position than we are now. A law, which practically amounts to the prohibition of the liquor traffic in the form of dram drinking, is at present in operation in the Territory. No strong drink can be sold in British New Guinea in smaller quantities than one quart, but we have five hotels and eighteen licensed houses, practically selling it by the dram every day. I am in favour of a strict prohibition law in Papua, and if we cannot secure the passage of such a measure we must support a system of State control of the traffic. I trust, however, that we shall be able to make a good fight for the enforcement of prohibition. There are five hotels and eighteen houses licensed to sell liquor in the Territory at the present time, and the revenue secured in respect of those licences amounts to , £3,500 per annum. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- And yet there is a population of only about 750 whites. {: .speaker-K87} ##### Mr CULPIN: -- The white population consists of only 600 persons. Of this number 550 are men, the remaining fifty consisting of women and children. If we study the comfort of the women and children we shall certainly enforce prohibition in the Territory. As there are only 600 white residents of Papua, the honorable member for Darwin was in error when he said that there were over 1,000 total abstainers there. With such a small community I do not think we need fear any serious trouble; we must remember that it is easy to provide for the wants of so small a community. If we were to decide upon prohibition, and then determined to take a referendum we should find it very difficult to ascertain the wishes of the settlers under the existing conditions. I hold that we should not trouble them with a referendum until we are prepared to give them self-government, and that at present is absolutely out of the question. The honorable member for Fremantle showed that when a referendum was taken in the Territory in regard to a certain question only 144 papers were returned, and this fact proves how difficult it would be to ascertain the wishes of the whole of the white population by means of a referendum in regard to the matter now under consideration. If we wish to do the right thing by the people there we should, as far as we can, enforce prohibition. I shall certainly vote for the amendment, and reserve my right. to do the next best thing if it is not carried. {: #debate-6-s16 .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY:
Werriwa *New Guinea) Bill.* complaints whatever are made by the missionaries in regard to the present law. They say that it works well, and they adjure us to Jet well alone. A good rule to observe is that it is undesirable to disturb a law which is working satisfactorily, lest the amendment we make may lead to a greater evil than that which we wish to cure. I think that it remains entirely with those who support the amendment to show that there is any necessity to alter the law relating to the liquor traffic in British New Guinea. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is an argument against the whole Bill. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- No. The Bill provides generally for the government of the Territory, and that is very different from a mere proposal to deal with the liquor traffic of that Territory. Honorable members have spoken of the deaths which have followed upon the abuse of liquor, but medical evidence shows that probably more die from over-eating than from over-drinking, though the immediate effects of the former vice are not so apparent as those of the latter. The comparison between murder and moderate drinking shows a ridiculous want of balance on the part of those who made it. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- It was evidence of intellectual drunkenness. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- That is how it might be characterized.. Most of the white residents of New Guinea are miners, a class of men less likely than any other to submit to a curtailment of their privileges. If they wish to get liquor, no law that we may pass will prevent them from doing so. Besides, it would ill become us to provide for prohibition in New Guinea when we are not prepared to bring it about in Australia. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- We cannot do so. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Would the honorable member do so, if he had the power? {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- I would apply prohibition wherever I could. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Then the honorable member does not understand the meaning of the word freedom. Every man should be allowed to do what he likes, so long as his actions do not injure his neighbour. I have been mistaken in my judgment of the honorable member. If crime and lawlessness could be put down by the mere passing of Acts of Parliament, who would not be ready to pass them?' The effect of an Act of Parliament, however, is nearly always to create an evil greater than that which it is intended to repress. There is a higher moral standard now recognised in the world, and yet this is the time when temperance advocates would pass prohibitive liquor laws. They forget that similar laws have proved a failure in the past. In 1617, for instance, an Act was passed in Scotland " for the restraint of the vile and detestable vice of drunkenness daily increasing," but those who have any knowledge of history know that, instead of drunkenness being decreased thereby, illicit distillation was encouraged. Then, in England, in 1734, the Act 9 George II., Ch. 23, was passed to arrest the sale of spirituous liquors by prohibitory licences. Readers of Smollett's works will remember the pictures he draws of the drunkenness prevalent in England at the time he wrote. He painted a picture so dark that one views it to-day with horror and disgust. But let me read what he says of the effect of this Act. The populace soon broke through all restraint. Though no licence was obtained, and no duty paid, the liquor continuedto be sold in all corners of the streets; informers were intimidated by the threats of the people; and the justices of the peace, either from indolence or corruption, neglected to put the law in execution. In fact, in course of time, it appeared that the consumption of gin had considerably increased every year since those heavy duties were imposed. The Act was repealed in 1743, after a couple of Commissions had inquired into its operation. It was shown during the debates that - >Retailers were deterred from vending spirituous liquors by the utmost encouragement that could be given to informers. . . . The prospect of raising money by detecting the practices of unlicensed retailers incited many to turn information into a trade ; and the facility with which the crime was to be proved encouraged some to gratify their malice by perjury, and others their avarice; so that the multitude of informations became a public grievance, and the magistrates themselves complained that the law was not to be executed. The perjuries of in- ' formers were now so flagrant and common, that the people thought all informations malicious; or, at least, thinking themselves oppressed by the law, they looked upon every man that promoted its execution as their enemy ; and, therefore, now began to declare war against informers, many of whom were treated with great cruelty, and some they murdered in the streets. Those passages show that the looked-for benefits were not obtained from that legislation, while absolutely unlooked-for evils were created. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- Why does not the honorable and learned member cite New Zealand ? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- A gentleman whom I know well, and who is an advocate of temperance, recently declared to me, after a stay of four months in New Zealand, that he thought that prohibition was a mistake, and that he would not again advocate it. Honorable members, in their desire to check one evil, would probably, not only fail to do that, but would create still greater evils. The reports of missionaries and others show that- very little liquor is now being sold, to the natives of New Guinea. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- A great deal of liquor is imported into the Territory. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Yes ; but the sale to the natives is reduced to a minimum. I dissent f 10m the view that we should Impose on the white residents of the Territory disabilities which we do not impose on our own people. The honorable member who moved the insertion of the clause said, in answer to a question from me, that he would like tq prevent all men from getting drink. But it is absurd to say that because some drink to excess, or eat to excess, or are sensual, ail should be deprived of innocent means of enjoyment. Such reasoning is worthy only of the peculiar type of brain from which it emanates. Considering the smallness of the white population of New Guinea, the best thing we can do is to place the liquor traffic there under Government control. Then whatever liquor is imported will have to pay duty, which will swell the revenue, while any sale to the natives could at once be checked and punished. {: #debate-6-s17 .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr ISAACS:
Indi -- <The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who moved the insertion of the proposed new clause, 1.3 absent in the discharge of his public duties as a member of the Navigation Commission, and the honorable member for Cowper has, at his request', asked me to look into the legal effect of the provision. I have found that a considerable alteration must be made in its drafting if the will of the Committee, assuming it to be in favour, as I am, of the principle involved, is to be tarried out. Then there are one or two alterations which would meet some of the reasonable objections which have been urged to the provision, such as those mentioned by the honorable member for Richmond. The clause, as it stands, imposes no real prohibition against the importation of liquor. By way of a placard it provides that intoxicants or opium shall not be imported into, manufactured, or sold in the Territory, except for medicinal purposes. As the clause now stands, there is nothing to prevent the importation of these articles if the person importing or manufacturing them, says that they are ultimately destined to be used for medicinal purposes. That would evade the prohibition to a large extent. If that were not sufficient to render the provision ineffective, the absence of any provision for a penalty in the shape of the forfeiture of goods, or fine, or punishment of any kind, would1 make .it so. Then there is also the difficulty - the real difficulty - mentioned by the honorable member for Richmond, and others, namely, that miners would have to go up country without a supply of liquor, and in the event of their becoming ill, would be unable to procure it. Therefore, the words, " dispensed on the order," which limit the power to obtain the commodities, except when immediately required, should, I think, be eliminated from the clause. The alteration that I would suggest, and which I understand the honorable member for Cowper is prepared to move, would be in the direction of introducing Government control. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- That is provided for by the clause as it stands. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr ISAACS: -- To some extent only; because spirits might be imported upon the order of a medical practitioner. I would suggest that under no circumstances should liquor be imported into New Guinea, or manufactured there, except under regulations or conditions approved by the Lieutenant-Governor, such regulations to include a provision that these articles should be used - if used at all - for medicinal purposes only, and by permission of persons duly authorized by the Lieutenant-Governor. This would insure Government control of the importation and manufacture of the articles, which, if they were once in the Territory, might be sold, or otherwise disposed of for medicinal purposes only, upon the order of a medical practitioner, or upon that of an official authorized by the LieutenantGovernor. Under that arrangement miners before going up country could obtain an order for the supply of the quantity of liquor which experience might show to be necessary. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- They would be' going up country every Sunday. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr ISAACS: -- Any attempts to abuse the regulations might very easily be defeated. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- What about the men who are already up the country? {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr ISAACS: -- There would be no difficulty in the way of their obtaining supplies. The question of the penalty to be imposed has been considered by the honorable member for Cowper, who suggests that in cases of contravention of the law, provision shall be made for the forfeiture of any goods illegally imported, manufactured, or sold, and that a fine of not less than ^5, or more than *£100,* shall be inflicted upon the offender. That is a matter for discussion; but some penalty should be provided for, because it would be unreasonable to expect the governing authorities, if they were personally opposed to this principle, to pass an ordinance imposing a penalty. Therefore, if the Committee are determined that this principle shall be adopted, they should take care that it is made effective. On the general principle, I think that we have to consider the circumstances under which we are taking over this new Territory. There are only a few hundred white people - about 600, including fifty women and children - and hundreds of thousands of blacks. The circumstances of the Territory are exceptional. We have a strong moral duty to discharge towards the blacks, and we ought not to hesitate to remove from ourselves any moral liability for their deterioration or disappearance. It is quite true, as the honorable member for Richmond has stated, that contact between white and black races usually ends in the disappearance of the black men, and I think that past experience in this regard makes it all the more incumbent upon us to endeavour by all means in our power to prevent such a result being brought about. If the Committee approve of the spirit of the proposed new clause, I think the alterations I have suggested are necessary to make it effective. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- We already have an amendment before the Committee, to the effect that certain words shall be inserted after the word " except," and before we can consider any further alterations of the proposed new clause it will be necessary to dispose of the amendment now before the Chair. It must be either temporarily withdrawn or rejected. I think that the difficulty might be met if the honorable member for Cowper withdrew the clause as it now stands, with a view of substituting another embodying the amendments he desires. The amendment proposed by the honorable member for Herbert would, in the meantime, have to be withdrawn. **Mr. BAMFORD** (Herbert).- I wish it to be clearly understood that I could not agree to the amendments proposed by the honorable ,member for Cowper and the honorable and learned member for Indi, because I hold that if they took precedence of mine I should not be able to effect my object. If, however, the clause as it now stands were withdrawn, and a new clause substituted, I could again place my amendment before the Committee. **Mr. ISAACS** (Indi).- The first amendment to be proposed by the honorable member for Cowper, would follow the words "No intoxicants or opium shall be." Therefore, it would be anterior to the one now before the Committee. If the honorable member for Herbert withdrew his amendment temporarily, the object of the honorable member for Cowper would be served. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I would ask the honorable member for Herbert if he is agreeable to withdraw his amendment. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- I shall object to the withdrawal of the amendment. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- In that case the amendment cannot be withdrawn. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr Lee: -- I desire to know whether I can withdraw the clause altogether, with a view to substituting a clause embracing the amendments which have .been suggested. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member may withdraw the clause with the permission of the Committee, but any honorable member can object. {: #debate-6-s18 .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS:
Dalley -- I shall object, because I. do not wish to see the proposal killed. I am very" pleased that the honorable and learned member for Indi is in accord with the spirit of the proposed clause, and that his sole anxiety is to render it effective. I am sure that we shall all join with the honorable and learned member in that desire. The honorable member for Richmond has declared himself to be in favour of the clause, but he desires that an exception shall be made in favour of explorers. It would almost appear that the honorable and learned member for Indi has desires in a similar direction. I would point out, however, that the clause as it stands provides for all contingencies such as those honorable members have suggested. I have no desire to obtain local option in British New Guinea, because I recognise that it is impracticable. I have been asked why we do not give effect to the principle of local option upon the mainland. In reply, I would point out that this Parliament has no power to legislate upon that subject. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What about the poor miner? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- If the white population of British New Guinea is composed entirely of miners, and the white residents do all the drinking, the miners are about the heaviest tipplers upon this mundane sphere. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- The honorable member has no right to assume that. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I assume it from the official records. I find that last year the 500 white residents of the Possession, including juveniles, consumed 1,600 gallons of whisky, 800 gallons of brandy, 141 gallons of gin, 600 gallons of rum, 300 gallons of bottled beer, 4,200 gallons of draught beer, 1,018 gallons of wine, 64 gallons of sparkling wine, and 290 gallons of other liquor. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- Was it all consumed ? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- If it were not consumed such large quantities of liquor would not continue to be imported year after year. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- That is no argument at all. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- When this question was under consideration upon a former occasion we were assured that the natives assisted in the consumption of the liquor imported. Now, however, we are informed that the quantity imported is not consumed. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- The honorable member has quoted the quantities imported for one year only. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- The importation of liquor into the Possession is increasing year by year, as reference to the statistical returns will show. We have been told that illicit distillation and smuggling are practised in the Possession. But I would point out that the same thing occurs upon the mainland, where we have laws in operation to control the liquor traffic. The honorable member for Herbert has submitted an amendment in favour of State control of that traffic. If he means that for all ordinary purposes the State is to become the purveyor of liquor and opium, irrespective of who consume them, his proposal ought not to receive the support of honorable members. Everybody will admit that the extension to the natives of facilities for obtaining intoxicants must lead to their decimation, and to the early policing of the Possession. We all know what has happened elsewhere. In the South Sea Islands the liquor consumed bv the natives has been provocative of considerable trouble, which has resulted in Imperial warships having to visit them to preserve the peace. What has occurred there will unmistakably happen in British New Guinea. {: .speaker-KVW} ##### Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP -- Drink was not responsible for those outbreaks. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- It was one of the main causes of the troubles to which I have referred, although I admit that there were subsidiary causes. If the miners of British New Guinea consume all the liquor which is imported there, . the old cooper in *Boccaccio* could never have drank so heavily as they do. {: .speaker-KVW} ##### Mr DAVID THOMSON:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP -- The whole of the liquor which is imported is not consumed. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Perhaps it is used for bathing purposes. The honorable member must know that, allowing for a reasonable margin, the liquor which is imported into any country is consumed. To-day we have a humane mission to perform. The honorable and learned member for Indi recognises that. I quite agree with the spirit of the amendment of the honorable member for Cowper, and shall have very much pleasure in supporting it. {: #debate-6-s19 .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY:
Melbourne -- I entertain a very different view from that which has been expressed by some honorable members in regard to the benefits to be derived from the use of alcohol in connexion with certain diseases. I doubt whether any medical man who was about to travel through a malarial country, and who was offered his choice between a case of whisky and a couple of yards of mosquito netting, would choose the whisky. I will go further,, and say that if an individual can undergo hardships such as those which Stanley related to me without the use of alcohol, I am certain that any person who carries mosquito netting to protect his face and strong gloves to protect his hands, can traverse a country which is rotten with malaria and escape disease. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- It is absolutely necessary to use alcohol for medicinal purposes. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY: -- I am in a position to say that, in connexion with thirty cases of typhoid which I have treated, I have never ordered alcohol. If I contracted that disease to-morrow I should pray that my medical attendant would not prescribe stimulants for me. I am not a teetotaller. I believe in the use of everything and the abuse of nothing. But we now have an opportunity to make history which will not be repeated. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- Does not the honorable member believe in red wine and quinine? {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY: -- Yes. But whenever I have prescribed red wine I have always ordered quinine, lest a taste for alcohol might be acquired by the patient. Many medical men order quinine for the same reason. The proposal of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports aims at securing total prohibition, and if it be pressed to a division I shall be found supporting it. The proposal of the honorable member for Herbert affirms that the liquor traffic should be under State control. That is the best possible alternative. In New Guinea we have to control a large native race, and the history of the world shows that wherever Anglo-Saxons have come into contact with aboriginal races the latter have gone to the wall. In New Zealand we know that one of the finest races, artistically and otherwise, has almost been swept away from the Middle Island, and that its numbers have been very materially reduced in Stewart Island. In the West Indies and in America the same results have followed. Wherever the Anglo-Saxon race has gone we find that the natives are disappearing. Where are the aborigines of Australia? The majority of them, in my opinion, have been killed by the liquor traffic. .This House, elected on the highest, the greatest, and the widest franchise on which any assembly has ever been returned, has now an opportunity to endeavour to save the native race of New Guinea from the evils of drink. It may be only an experiment, but it is our duty to endeavour to prohibit the traffic in the Territory. Some honorable member has said, or will say, in the course of the debate, that the white men will be able to run to the members of the medical profession and obtain certificates for the supply to them of alcohol for. medicinal purposes. We can overcome any difficulty in that direction by providing for a medical man, who should be paid by the State, and whose duty it would be to give such a certificate whenever necessary. The figures relating to the quantity of spirits drank in Papua have- been mentioned- {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- They relate, not to the quantity of spirits drank there, but to the quantity imported. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY: -- Surely the honorable member does not suggest that the people there wash themselves in the spirits they import? Where we find that the quantity of liquor imported year after year is about the same, we may rest assured that the greater portion of it is consumed. I find that in the year 1902-3, 2,990 gallons of spirits were consumed or imported, or a total of 8,141 gallons of wines, beers, and spirits. Some years previously a much greater quantity was imported, 10,500 gallons of bottled beer being introduced during the year 1899-1900. In t'he year 1903, there were only 2,700 gallons of bottled beer introduced. At the outside, the population is not more than 600, so that the importation of 8,141 gallons of wines, beer, and spirits, during the year 1902-3 represents an average of 13 gallons per man, woman, and child. These are rather startling figures. The quantity consumed was equal to a quart of spirits, wines, or beer per white man, woman, and child per week. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr Lee: -- The figures for 1903 are only to the 30th September - they do not represent the whole of the returns for the year. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY: -- I thank the honorable member for 'his correction ; it makes my argument all the stronger. Honorable members say that we cannot "stop this traffic. It might also be said that we cannot prevent burglary ; but we can at all events make it very awkward for t'he burglar. Did not Lord Brougham say that even with the mighty power of England behind him he could not put down slavery until it was made a felony ? As soon as that was one it became our proud boast that the moment any slave trod the deck of an English vessel or the land of an English colony he was free. We can stop anything of the kind where- the British flag flies. We have to provide for the government of a Territory where there are about 600 whites and some 300,000 coloured persons. These coloured races are fashioned after our own likeness. They are human beings like ourselves, and it is our sacred duty to see that they are not undermined by the accursed taste for liquor. I do not speak as an abstainer. I use alcohol - it is pleasing to my palate - but if I once took enough to deprive me of my senses, I should never let it pass my lips again. I have had something like 120 cases of alcoholism pass through my hands during the last three years, and those who have had experience of the liquor traffic must know what an evil it is. When theargument is used that the natives of Papua, do not drink, I feel it necessary to replythat they will soon learn, and will1 consequently become degraded. Upon whose shoulders will the blame be placed? Upon the shoulders of the members of this assem- 1 bly. who have an opportunity seldom oc1curring in the life of a country, and rarely ] in the life of a Parliament, to deal effectively with this vital question. Let us do our duty to the welfare of the people, the uplifting of humanity, and the betterment of the country. {: #debate-6-s20 .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE:
Cowper -- I have listened with considerable attention to the debate, and cannot help remarking that the last fewspeeches which have been delivered have been far more temperate than were those which were made at the outset. I am sorry that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is unable to be present, owing to the fact that he is travelling in Tasmania with the Navigation Commission, of which he is a member; but I am much indebted to the honorable and learned member for Indi, who has redrafted the proposed new clause in a way that would make it something more than a dead letter if it were passed. I regret that objection has been raised to a proposal to withdraw the amendment in order to enable another to be moved, which would meet the object at which those who desire this class of legislation aim. The clause, as the honorable and learned member for Indi has redrafted it, would read - >No intoxicants or opium shall be imported into or manufactured in the Territory except by written permission of a person duly authorized by the Lieutenant-Governor, and under regulations and conditions to be prescribed by the Lieutenant-Governor, including a provision that such importation or manufacture shall be for medicinal purposes only; and no intoxicants or opium shall be sold, or otherwise disposed of in the Territory except for medicinal purposes, and on the order of a medical practitioner or person duly authorized by the Lieutenant-Governor. > >The penalty for contravention of this section is forfeiture of any goods illegally imported or manufactured or sold, and a fine of not less than five pounds or more than one hundred pounds. > >Every ordinance passed before the commencement of this Act, providing for or permitting the importation, manufacture, sale, or disposal of intoxicants or opium in New Guinea, is hereby repealed. That is the way in which we should like to amend the proposed new clause. This proposal has not been submitted in any jocular spirit; we intend that the question of the prohibition of the liquor .traffic in British New Guinea shall be a live one so far as the temperance party are concerned. The honorable member for Perth said that although Sunday trading is prohibited in Melbourne, the ' law in that respect is evaded. That is true, not only of Melbourne, but of Sydney. The reason for this is that the law is unworkable, the onus of proof being thrown upon the police instead of upon the publican. If we pass an Act without making proper provision for its enforcement it must become a dead-letter. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Does the honorable member favour the application of the principle of prohibition, without local option, to the whole of Australia? {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- I am a believer in the principle of local option ; I believe in the right of the people to control the liquor traffic. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Why not allow them to do so in this case? {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- For the simple reason that the white population of New Guinea are not allowed self-government. We legislate for them, and it is for us to decide a question of this kind. We do not allow the whites of New Guinea to legislate for the black population; they have gone to a country belonging to a coloured race, and must put up with the conditions that are imposed. I am surprised to read the arguments advanced by some of the missionaries and traders in British New Guinea with reference to this question. They assert that if we insist upon prohibition, settlers will not go there. All that I have to say in reply is that if there is money1 to be made, the people will go there. Why do tens of thousands of persons flock to Canada - one of the most temperate countries in the world? {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- Because they sell good whisky there. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- There are hundreds of villages in Canada where there has never been an hotel, and where the children have never seen a drunken man. In building the Grand Pacific railway line, provision was made for hotels as houses of accommodation ; but, to the credit of Canada be it said, those houses have never been opened. I am sorry that we are considering the application of prohibition to British New Guinea, and not to the whole of Australia. When the time comes for determining the way in which the Federal territory shall be administered, the members of the temperance party will make a good battle for prohibition. The honorable member for Herbert to-night quoted a very excellent authority,, the Rev. Joseph King, who has spent many years in New Guinea, and who i says in one part of his report that the ad- ministration has been beneficial and that the natives do not obtain alcohol. Yet 7354 *Papua (British* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *New Guinea) Bill.* in the next line we are told that the natives would not drink it. If they would not drink it, they do not require it; and that being so, I think we shall be wise in keeping alcohol out of the Territory. If we do so, there will be no danger of the health of the coloured races being undermined by the improper use of strong drink. We find in one part of the report of the Administrator a statement to this effect - >It is of the rarest occurrence for a native to be given liquor in the Possession, save sometimes medicinally, and there is no crying evil calling for redress. The only natives of the Possession who are to any extent addicted to the use of. liquor are those of the Western Division - honorable members will see that some of the natives consume liquor - who have acquired a taste for it when engaged on the Queensland pearling fleet - Queensland has a lot to answer for - but no licensed premises have been allowed to exist at Daru for that reason. Therefore, it has been found necessary to have prohibition at Daru. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The only whites there are two Government officials, who can have as much liquor as they like to take there. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- A great deal has been said by the missionaries about the loss of revenue which would ensue if the importation of liquor into New Guinea were prohibited; but that is our concern, not theirs. It would be a grand thing for Australia, and for New Guinea, too, if we derived no revenue from the vices of our people. I am prepared to take the opinions of men like Stanley, and **Dr. Livingstone,** as to the effect of alcoholic liquor in tropical countries. Both of them have given it as their opinion that the use of drink very soon kills men who are living in hot and unhealthy climates. Those who use intoxicating liquor have always a craving for it, and that craving must be very great in New Guinea, because the expenditure of the white community on liquor is at the rate of £18 per head per annum. The white people there, according to those figures, are the most drunken people on the face of the earth. There is enough drink sold in New Guinea to keep the white residents drunk for three months at a stretch. I am not prepared to give local option to people who must be half their time "on the booze. " This is what the Church of England Bishop says - >Our mission staff are all teetotallers, yet they will take stimulants under a nurse's order. The miners, on the other hand, are most of them heavy drinkers, and their health would undoubtedly suffer if entirely deprived of alcoholic liquors. I am more ready to follow the Bishop in this matter than to accept the opinions of the reverend gentleman who represents Southern. Melbourne. He continues - >The example of the drunkenness is thoroughly bad for the natives. It lowers the white race in their eyes, besides making them doubtful of any moral standard to live by. A man, too, who so grossly exceeds must leave liquor about, and enable his carriers to steal it when he is in too soaked a condition to retain consciousness. What greater castigation could there be than that of the drinking habits of the people ? Then the Rev. Copland King, an Anglican missionary, writes - >The laws of the Possession arrange for bottle licences, and forbid liquor to be drunk on the premises where it is sold. This prohibition is universally disregarded. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- The honorable member has our sympathy, as the Postmaster-General would say. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- The temperance party have had sympathy for years, and now they want votes. The honorable member for Herbert, who is generally careful in his remarks, spoke of persons getting drink in the prohibition districts of New Zealand. I would point out, however, that all that is done in New Zealand is to prohibit the sale of drink in licensed hotels in certain districts. In this way, the shouting custom, which has been the curse of Australia, is got rid of. In the report, great fears are expressed by the missionaries of the possibilty of smuggling occurring. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member must confine bis remarks to the amendment. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- So far as Government control of the industry is concerned, I object to becoming a publican. I do not believe in drink; I am a prohibitionist straight out. The use of alcoholic stimulants is the greatest curse to the community, and cannot be regulated. English communities have for years been trying to regulate it. One Licensing Act has followed another, until a man, to obtain a licence, must be nearly as good as a local preacher, and yet people still get drunk. Gladstone once declared that more men die in England from strong drink than from war, pestilence, and famine. Lord Rosebery also said, " If you do not control the drink traffic, it will control you." When we consider that the drink bill of Great Britain amounts to *Papua (British* [23 November, 1904.] *New Guinea) Bill.7355 £1700,000,000* per annum, we must acknowledge that our kinsmen in the old country are doing all in their power to earn the title of the most drunken people on the face of the earth. I abhor the drink traffic, and I think that we require reform in that direction more urgently than in any other. A great responsibility rests uponus in regard to the natives in British New Guinea, and we should consider their interests as of the first importance. They do not need liquor, and if white men wish to live in a black man's country, they must conform to the conditions which are best suited to the requirements of the native population. We have killed off the aborigines of Australia by allowing them to obtain intoxicants. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- I deny that absolutely, and I know more about the subject than does the honorable member. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- The aborigines of New South Wales are dying off very rapidly owing to the extent to which intoxicants have been consumed by them. I am pleased to say that some of our police magistrates visit very severe punishment on hotelkeepers who supply aboriginals with drink, and I trust we shall do everything we can to minimize the effect of drink upon our native races. Some honorable members seem to think that the most disastrous results will follow the application of the prohibition principle to Papua, but I do not think that any hardships need be inflicted. An explorer going into the wilds could take with him a small supply of liquor in just the same way that he would stock his medicine chest with other poisons. Strong drink is a poison, and I am pleased that the leading members of the medical profession so regard it. I trust that the Committee will adopt the measures best calculated to protect the interests of the natives of Papua. {: #debate-6-s21 .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER:
Gwydir -- I think that after the progress we have made, the Prime Minister might consent to report progress. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- We have made no progress. We shall have to consider the question of dropping the Bill, if this discussion is much further prolonged. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- If threats are to be made- {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- That is not a threat - who would address a threat to the honorable member? We want to close the session. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- I respect the desire of the Prime Minister to close the session, but I think that is a secondary consideration when important legislation is before us. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- We propose to sit on until the usual' hour on Wednesday evenings - 1 1 o'clock. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- I think this debate has been characterized by more intemper- . ance than any discussion to which I have listened in this Chamber. The advocates of temperance in their strong, and, no doubt, honorable, desire to attain their object, have overlooked some most important considerations. It is all very well for them to say that we should take advantage of the opportunity now presented to us to apply the prohibitive principle to Papua. Apparently, they have not reflected upon the possibility of giving effect to that principle under the conditions of settlement in the Possession. If they had done so they must have come to the conclusion that their scheme is foredoomed to failure, and that an experiment which is certain to be attended with disastrous results would probably have the effect of deferring the extension of the principle for many years. . Some honorable members seem to think that Papua is a small island under the sole control of Great Britain. It is nothing of the kind. The Germans control a portion of it, and the Dutch another portion. Adjacent to it are other islands, whose people will undoubtedly come into frequent contact with it in the near future. Consequently, I claim that British New Guinea is not a country which lends itself to the application of the principle of prohibition. Our guides in a matter of this kind should not be persons who have never visited British New Guinea, but those who have spent the best years of their lives there. The missionaries who have been resident there for a. prolonged term are unanimously opposed to prohibition. I have read the parliamentary paper bearing upon this question, and I claim that it substantiates in every particularthe arguments advanced by those who are in favour of Government control of the liquor traffic as opposed to prohibition. I wish to ask whether the author of this amendment has contemplated the large expenditure which would be involved in making prohibition effective in the Territory, or the loss which would be sustained by the Customs revenue as a result of the application of that principle. 7356 *Papua (British* [REPRESENTATIVES ]New *Guinea) Bill.* {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- Blood money. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- It is not blood money. In speaking of the proposal to prohibit the importation of alcohol into British New Guinea, **Mr. A.** J. Craigen, a medical officer, says - >The missions would beaffected considerably, but not more than the rest of the white population. Both brandy and wines are considerably used in the treatment of disease, and 1 consider ample provision will be necessary so as to allow every European a sufficient quantity for that purpose. > >The miners would leave the Possession in large numbers. > >The effect on the natives would not be for the better, as they would soon learn that smuggling is a paying game, and illicit distillation an easy matter. The honorable member for Cowper, who is such an enthusiastic temperance reformer, would drive these men to undertake the illicit distillation of liquor, which would constitute an evil ten times worse than that which he seeks to remedy. Advocates of a policy, the application of which they do not understand, always wish to go to extremes. During the course of this debate a great deal has been said in reference to the consumption of liquor in British New Guinea. It has been declared that about forty-one bottles of beer and fifty bottles of spirits per head of the population are annually consumed in the Possession. Those who make that statement assume that the only residents there are the European races and the Papuans. That, however, is not the case. The population also includes a large number of Polynesians and Malays. These races have previously come into touch with the influences of civilization, and it is they who assist the 600 white residents to consume the liquor which is imported. It is asserted that officers occupying highpositions in New Guinea are amongst the largest consumers of alcohol. It is related that during the past seven years, the drink bill of one of these officials has averaged , £200 annually. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- Where is that related? {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- The statement has been made by those who are in a position to form an *accurate* estimate. Further, it is not uncommon to find Customs officers there who consume two bottles of spirits daily. These facts go to show that the climate of British New Guinea is one which invites the consumption of liquor. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- Just the reverse is the case. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- At any rate, neither doctors nor missionaries advise the total abstention from intoxicants which the honorable member wishes to impose upon the residents of the Possession. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- Why, some of the most healthy men in British New Guinea to-day have never touched alcohol. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- At any rate, pronounced abstainers, after having lived there some years, have found it necessary to consume liquor for the sake of their health. If the Government are anxious to report progress, I shall be quite prepared, as the hour is getting late, to continue my remarks to-morrow. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 7356 {:#debate-7} ### CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION BILL Bill returned from Senate with amendments. House adjourned at11.2 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 November 1904, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19041123_reps_2_23/>.