2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers,
Mr, BATCH E LOR presented five petitions from certain residents of South Australia, praying that stringent legislation be enacted to prohibit the importation and sale of opium within the Common wealth.
Mr. POYNTON presented four similar petitions, also from certain residents of South Australia.
– I desire to make a personal explanation with regard to a report in this morning’s Age of some occurrences in this Chamber last night. With characteristic partiality, the journal omits practically everything that I said, but prints everything thatmy opponent said. The honorable member for Bland is reported to have said, amongst other things, that-
Ever since Ministers have assumed office, we have had from the Opposition a series of obstructing and stone-walling speeches. . . It is really amusing, when one remembers all the speeches which have lately been delivered, and which have been nothing less than stone-walling. There has been an endeavour to stop business, and to prevent the Government from getting any credit for the work it has brought forward.
I asked if this was in order, and after your ruling, Mr. Speaker, I am reported to have said -
I ask you, Mr. Speaker, do you really rule that an honorable member is in order, in making a charge of deliberately obstructingthe House ? If so, I am glad to hear it.
I did not make any such statement. I did not say that I was glad to hear it. On the contrary, I deeply regretted hearing such a ruling given.
– In this morning’s’ Age, the following paragraph appears : -
Of course, the “ count-out”signified nothing, as it was merely on the question of the adjournment; The Government could have kept a quorum had it desired.
Bid the Government desire to keep a quorum ?
– When a Minister moves the adjournment of the House, it is because the Government desires that the House shall adjourn. No honorable member left this Chamber last night at my request, but honorable memberswere informed, when the adjournment was moved, that those who had trains to catch might leave to do so. I having moved the adjournment, the Government was no longer under the obligation to keep a House.
– Will the Minister for Home Affairs layon the table of the library the correspondence with the States Governments in connexion with the proposed creation of a Commonwealth Statistical Bureau?
– I shall look into the matter, to see to what extent the request can be complied with.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
Inquiries are being made, and the desired information will be furnished as soon as possible.
Motion (by Mr. Mauger) agreed to-
That a return be laid on the table showing -
The receipts during the past twelve months from military canteens throughout the Commonwealth.
The expenditure in connexion with the establishment and maintenance of same.
The profits, if any, on intoxicating liquors, and the way in which such profits have been applied.
Mr. AUSTIN CHAPMAN laid upon the table the following paper: -
Copy of reports by Mr. John Hesketh, electrical engineer, on (1) matters investigated by him during a recent tour in America and Europe; (a) the message rate or toll system of charging for telephone services; (3) further report on the automatic telephone exchange system.
– I move-
That, in the opinion of this House; the importation of opium for other than medical purposes should be prohibited.
I think that this motion needs no. apology, in view of the evil effects which the use of opium has upon its devotees, and the danger which threatens the community from the development of the habit of opiumsmoking among the European population. I have some personal knowledge of these effects, because, in company with Senior-sergeant Jeffs, and Mr. G. E. Ardill, of the Sydney Rescue Society - a gentleman who for many years has been closely identified with a movement for mitigating the evils attendant upon the use of this drug - I have visited the opium dens in the Chinese quarter in Sydney, and have there wit nessed scenes of the most appalling, degrading, and repulsive character, reflecting, n6t only upon the municipal government, but upon the intelligence,ofour race for permitting them, I have also visited similar dens in Melbourne, and have seen the same occurrences there: I have brought with me a photograph of one of the dens in Little Bourke-street, Melbourne, which is self-explanatory, though it does not illustrate the worst phases of this vice, being a picture of one of the more reputable dens. I shall leave it on the table for the inspection of honorable members. I hoped to have been able to produce, this afternoon, a . series of photographs of some of the scenes which are enacted in the opium dens of Sydney; but they have not yet arrived, so that I am unable to do so: The majority of these dens are situated in the lowest quarters of the city. They are to be found chiefly in alley ways, and are ill-ventilafed, so that the stench on entering them is abominable, and has a nauseating effect upon those who are unaccustomed to it. In my own case, a visitation of two rhours to various houses in Sydney frequented by opium smokers resulted in a fit of nausea from which it took me some time to recover. In a small room, perhaps a little more than 10 feet square, the visitor will find a number of low tables or couches, supported upon trestles, and covered with matting. There is a pillow at the head of each couch, and a tray, and each couch accommodates two persons, In a room of the dimensions I have described, it is no uncommon thing to discover six or eight personssmoking opium. The doors and windows are kept closed, and the blinds are drawn, to exclude both light and air. When first the stranger enters such a room, everything is enveloped in a yellowish vapourresembling a London fog ; but. when the eye becomes accustomed to the gloom, the forms of Chinese, negroes, Portuguese, and men of other natiohalities, together with European girls, ranging from tender years to ripe old age, are discerned, recumbent on the couches, smoking opium, and in a condition of stupor. One case in Melbourne struck me as being particularly abhorrent, for on one opium couch, smoking from the one tray, was a shrivelled-up, decrepit-looking old Oriental, resembling nothing so much as a revivified Egyptian mummy, and a young European woman of scarcely twenty, very scantily clothed, who, I was informed, was married to a well-to-do business man, and was a frequent clandestine visitor to these dens. According to all the testimony that can be obtained from medical and police authorities, and from others who have had experience of the effects of this habit, its results upon the system are most injurious, and investigation of the reports of the authorities of China, India, and other countries where the drug is extensively used, shows that it is the universal verdict that opium smoking has a most destructive and demoralizing effect upon those who indulge in it, leading to physical decay and mental imbecility. Fortunately., in Australia the use of opium has not yet attained alarming proportions, but those proportions are sufficiently large to make it necessary for us to carefully guard against the spread of the habit. It would be very much easier to check this traffic now than it would be if we were to allow it to develop to a much more formidable extent. When we remember the number of petitions that have been presented to this House from persons residing in all parts of the Commonwealth, and we know that further petitions are being signed in opposition to the introduction of opium into the Commonwealth, except for medicinal purposes, we must realize that the people of Australia are awakening to the danger of the evil, and are anxious to see legislation of -a repressive character introduced. One of the most satisfactory features of the agitation against the opium traffic is that the Chinese residents of Australia ‘are joining in the crusade. Chinese merchants, who have been in the habit of importing opium and making large sums of money out of the traffic in that article are at the head of the reform movement, and are anxious that the traffic shall be suppressed. Ministers of various denominations are also entering into the anti-opium crusade with whole-souled sympathy and devotion. Moreover, opium smokers themselves will welcome the proposed legislation, because they are such’ slaves to the habit that they cannot resist their cravings whilst it is possible to obtain the drug. It may be urged that prohibition may lead to smuggling, but that consideration should not weigh with us. I understand that the Collector of Customs in Sydney reports that the authorities consider themselves quite capable of preventing the smuggling of opium to any great extent. They say that they make such a thorough search of all vessels coming into port that it is almost impossible for smuggling to be carried on to any great extent. Therefore, it seems to me that it devolves upon us, as an integral part of the Empire, to assist in trying, to get rid of this curse, for the existence of which throughout the world we, as Britishers, are chiefly responsible. It is not to the Chinese themselves that we owe the existence of the opium traffic, but to the British authorities who in earlier years insisted upon the drug being imported into China against the repeated protests of the Chinese authorities, because the Indian Government found that through the cultivation of the poppy in that country and the exportation of opium to China, manufactured from the poppy, they were able not only to secure very large returns in the form of revenue, but also to enable the cultivators to reap very large profits. It has always seemed to me that the history of this subject constitutes one of the greatest blots upon our national escutcheon. One’s reflections cannot be pleasant when one considers how largely, responsible our race is for the degradation of the millions of people who have been perniciously affected by the use of opium. It is only just to the majority of the public of Great Britain to say that until recently they were not aware of the alarming effects of the use of opium, and the extent to which habitual indulgence in opium smoking prevails. By means of the dissemination of literature, however, chiefly through the agency of the Christian Union for the Severance of the Connexion of the British Empire with the Opium Traffic, the British people have been largely made aware of their full responsibility, and have displayed willingness to do what they can to remedy the evils which have arisen chiefly through the mistaken policy of their rulers in the past. In the beginning the British authorities forced this trade upon China, despite the repeated protests of the rulers of that country, and it may be interesting in this connexion to read something that has been said by the Chinese Imperial Commissioner, who issued a proclamation upon the subject some time before the first opium war. The proclamation, which was addressed to the foreign merchants in China, contains the following pertinent question and comment : -
Why do you bring to our land the opium, which in your land is not made use of, by it defrauding men of their property, and causing injury to their lives? I find that with this thing you have seduced and deluded the people of China for two years past; and countless are the unjust hoards you have thus acquired. Such conduct rouses indignation in every human heart, and it is utterly inexcusable in the eye of celestial reason.
In another document, the Commissioner says -
Of all the evils that afflict mankind, the greatest are those he perversely brings upon himself. . . . Reptiles, wild beasts, dogs, and swine do not corrupt the morals of the age so as to cause one anxious thought to the Sovereign. There are, however, men who do.
All the lime the Chinese were protesting against the introduction of the drug into China they took a highly moral stand, and were actuated by a desire to preserve the physique and general character of the Chinese. In addressing a memorial to Queen Victoria on the subject, the Chinese Commissioner wrote as follows: -
In the ways of heaven no partiality exists, and no sanction is allowed to the injuring of others for the advantage of one’s self. . . . Your honorable nation, though beyond the wide ocean, acknowledges the same ways of heaven, the same human nature, and has the like perception of the distinction between life and death, benefit and injury. . . But there is a tribe of depraved and barbarous people, who, having manufactured opium for smoking, bring it hither for sale, and seduce and lead astray the simple folk, to the destruction of their persons and the draining of their resources. Formerly the smokers thereof were few, but of late the practice has spread and daily do its baneful effects more deeply pervade this rich, fruitful, and flour i shins; population. . , Hence those who deal in opium, or who inhale its fumes within this land, are all now to be subjected to severest punishment, and a perpetual interdict is to be placed on the practice so extensively prevailing.
It will be observed from this that, notwithstanding the determination, of the British authorities to insist upon the drug being imported into China, the rulers of that country, realizing the evil effects of opium-smoking, did what they could to discourage the- practice, and imposed penalties upon those who were found indulging in it. The Commissioner proceeds -
We have reflected that this poisonous article is the clandestine manufacture of artful schemers, and depraved people of various tribes under the dominion of your honorable nation. Doubtless you, the Honorable Sovereign of that nation, have not commanded the manufacture and sale of it.
We have heard that in your honorable nation, the people are not permitted to inhale the drug. . It is clearly, from a knowledge of its injurious effects on man, that you have directed severe prohibitions against it. But what is the prohibition of its use in comparison with the prohibition of its sale and manufacture, as a means of thoroughly purifying the .source. Though not making use of one’s self, to venture on the manufacture and sale of it, and with it to seduce the simple folk of this land, is to seek one’s own livelihood by the exposure of others to death. Such acts are bitterly abhorrent to the nature of man, are utterly opposed to the ways of heaven- . . . We would now then conceit with your honorable sovereignty, means to bring to a perpetual end this opium, so hurtful to mankind, we, in this land, forbidding the use of it, and you, in the nations under your dominion, forbidding its manufacture. . . . Will not the result of this be the enjoyment by each of a felicitous condition of peace?
Those are noble words, nobly inspired - written, not by a European, but by a representative of a nation which we have always been taught to regard as barbarous. I venture to say that if we compare the utterances of the Chinese Commissioner with some of the .deliverances which have been made from our own side, the greatest credit must be given to the representative of the Celestial Empire on the score of right and justice, as well as wise and lofty ideals of statesmanship and morality. The action of the British authorities in forcing the opium traffic on the Chinese led to a series of wars - three in all - upon which I do not care to dwell, because that aspect of the question is exceedingly painful for any one of British origin to contemplate. There was absolutely no justification whatever for those wars. An attempt was made to induce the Chinese Government to legalize the introduction of opium. But throughout all the negotiations with China a continuous protest was made by that country against its introduction, and it was only the force of British arms which ultimately compelled its acceptance. Upon the subject of the war, I do not think that it would be out of place for me to read what Mr. Gladstone himself had to say. He denounced it in these terms -
A war more unjust in its origin^ a war more calculated to cover this country with permanent disgrace, I do not know, and I have not read of. The British flag is hoisted to protect an infamous contraband traffic ; and if it was never hoisted, except as it is now hoisted on the coast of China, we should recoil from its sight with horror.
The details of those wars were frightful, as anybody who has read an account of them must know. The Times of 3rd December, 1842, in the first leading article written upon the war, said -
We think it of the highest moment that the Government of Great Britain should wash its hands, once for all, not only of all diplomatic, but of all moral and political responsibility for this (the opium) traffic; that we should cease to be mixed up with it, to foster it,, or to make it a source of Indian revenue. . . . We owe some moral compensation to China for pillaging her towns and slaughtering her citizens in a quarrel which never could have arisen if we had not been guilty of this national crime.
The Spectator of 29th October of the same year said in this relation -
It is impossible to read the account of the military operations in China without shame and disgust. It is not war, but sheer butchery - a battue in a well-stocked preserve of human beings. . . The Chinese are hacked, shot, and drowned without resistance, overcome by their own sense of helplessness and their excited imaginations; and the details of the butchery are such that we should feel sickened to see it exercised on cattle or game. . . Is it a sign of humanity to sanction such wholesale butchery of human beings ? Is it a sign of morality to do all this in order that a poisonous drug may be smuggled into the markets of China?
That is very strong language, coming from reputable and responsible sources, but it expresses the opinions of some of the foremost leaders of public thought in Great Britain at that time. Yet, notwithstanding the strong condemnation of the traffic by Mr. Gladstone himself, and by the leading newspapers which I have quoted, it was still persisted in, and has continued to grow until it has reached its present colossal proportions. Up till 1902 the revenue derived from the traffic between India and China was, I think, something like ,£256,000,000. I have not the exact figures before me, otherwise I should give them; but the amount was a very large one. So great was the trade in opium that in some instances traders actually made a fortune out of a single cargo. One case is cited in which the ship Sir Edward Ryan, armed with sixteen guns, and carrying seventy men, made a net profit of £50,000 in one opium cruise. Seeing that such large profits were made out of this traffic with China, we can well understand that those who engaged in it did all that they possibly could to prevent interference with it. I mention these facts to show that we cannot blame the Chinese for having introduced the drug into our midst. We have to blame ourselves for forcing it upon a nation which was unwilling to accept it - a nation which clearly saw what a demoralizing influence it exercised upon its own citizens. In this connexion, I desire to read the opinion which Lord Ashley expressed in the Imperial Parliament upon the subject. Lord Ashley, afterwards the Earl of Shaftesbury, moved the following resolution in the House of Commons -
That the continuance of the trade in opium, and the monopoly of its growth in the territory of British India, are destructive of all relations of amity between England and China, injurious to the manufacturing interests of the country by the very serious diminution of legitimate commerce, and utterly inconsistent with the honours and duties of a Christian kingdom, and that steps be taken as soon as possible, with due regard to rights of Governments and individuals, to abolish the evil.
– That is a good while ago.
– Yes, it was in 1843. I am speaking now of that early stage. I am pointing out that, notwithstanding these protests, the traffic has been allowed to grow until it has, assumed its present alarming proportions, .which render it very difficult to deal with it effectually. Lord Ashley further stated -
I am fully. convinced that for this country to encourage this nefarious traffic is bad, perhaps worse than encouraging the slave trade. . . . The opium trade destroys the man both body” and soul ; and carries a hideous ruin over millions, which can never be repaired.
His speech was the first great indictment of the trade in Parliament, and it was described by the Times as being far more statesmanlike than were the deliverances of those to whom he was opposed. It has been said that it is impossible to prevent the use of the drug entirely, because even if we prohibited its importation, it is possible to grow poppies in Australia and to manufacture opium within the country.
– It has been done.
– I was not aware of that, but I know that it can be done. In this connexion it should be remembered that when Li Hung Chang took the matter in hand he really advocated the cultivation of the poppy in China itself. When he found that he could not prevent the importation of the drug from India, he conceived the idea that it would be better to encourage the cultivation of the poppy in China for the purpose of cheapening the price of opium.
– It is alleged that in the centre of China, poppy cultivation and opium-making have always been carried on.
– I believe that tha’t statement is true, but only to a limited extent. As a matter of fact, the poppy was cultivated in China about the period of 600 a.d., if my memory serves me accurately. But at that time the use of opium for smoking purposes was not known ; it was merely cultivated for medical preparations. It was not used for smoking purposes until a much later period. About 1730 a.d. it first began to be used for smoking, but only to a very limited extent. The effect of imposing a high tariff upon this drug was to cause it to be regarded as a greater luxury than ever, and to increase the desire of its devotees to obtain it. When once the opium habit has been acquired its victims will sacrifice almost anything to get the jj rug- They will even sell their own brothers, sisters, .and wives in order to obtain it. For this reason, Li Hung Chang thought that by cultivating the poppy for the manufacture of opium for smoking purposes, he would be able to lessen the imports of the drug, and to encourage the use of the locally-grown article by reason of the fact that the Chinese would be able to purchase it cheaper. His idea was’ to discourage the importation of opium until, ultimately, he got rid of it, and then to employ internal means to suppress its use and even the growth of the poppy in China. As far as I am able to gather from a study of the subject, that was his aim in sanctioning the growth of poppies in China itself. I notice that a great agitation has been going on amongst the British people in- opposition to the opium trade, and, on 9th December last, an overflowing meeting was held in Exeter Hall, London, calling upon Christians, under a deep sense of duty, to unite in a determined effort to bring our national connexion with the opium traffic to an end. I have already referred to the selfsacrificing efforts of the Chinese themselves in regard to this matter. In this connexion I wish to mention that a great’ meeting was recently held in the Centennial Hall, Sydney, in which prominent Chinese merchants and other Chinese residents took a leading part. That meeting was most enthusiastic, and was absolutely at one with the conveners. As far as I have been able to discover, whenever attention has been called to the evil effects of the drug, no opposition has been offered to those who desire to get rid of the traffic. Some idea of the extent of the volume of that traffic in China may be gathered from the fact that during the reign of Queen Victoria 284,582 tons of opium were exported from India to that country. These figures represent an average export of more than half -a- ton for every hour of her late Majesty’s reign. These are appalling figures, and represent a terrible state of affairs. Of course, I recognise that the question of revenue is a very serious one to consider in this connexion. But to me that consideration is as nothing compared with the degradation1 and the iniquity of a traffic of this character. I cannot conceive of the possibility of the question of maintaining a revenue from such an unquestionably Harmful source being defended upon any- grounds of morality, expediency, humanity, or necessity. I now wish to say a few words in regard to the report of the Royal Commission which was appointed to investigate the question of the opium trade, and from which I propose to give some brief quotations as to that trade in Burmah, India, the Straits Settlements, and China; I also desire to quote the opinions of Dr. Roth and Sir John Cockburn in connexion with the traffic in Australia. The consensus pf opinion of Burmese merchants is contained in the following sentence of one of the witnesses before the Commission : -
I would say that in Burmah total abolition would be the best thing to be done, as they have done in the case of ganja.
This ganja is made from a” plant which grows wild in Burmah. It was found to be so harmful in its effects that the authorities took prompt and successful measures to suppress its use. That prohibition has proved most effective up to the present time. At page 148 of the report of the Royal Commission, the following statement, in answer to question 7232, will be found:- -
It is desirable to prohibit the sale of opium. People of Burma would hail such a measure with delight.
The Royal Commission summed up their conclusions as to the Burmese trade as follows : -
The Burmans are specially susceptible to injury from opium, and there is among them a popular sentiment against the habit. Special regulations have therefore been introduced, which, short of universal prohibition, seem to us as restrictive as it would be expedient for any Government to enforce.
Having regard to the fact that this Commission was largely a partial one, and favorably disposed to those who were engaged in the opium traffic, it must be admitted that this was a very serious statement. The impartiality of the Commission has of late been impugned, and startling evidence has been brought forward to support the contention of those who have questioned the accuracy of its report. Coming to the position in the Straits Settlements, we find in volume 167 of the Royal Com- mission’s report the following statement by Mr. Riccard, Superintendent of Police -
Opium smokers of the poorer class soon become physically unfit for labour, owing to not having means to support themselves with’ proper food. The majority become slaves to the drug.
In volume 176 we find the following statement by Surgeon-Major O’sullivan -
Generally speaking, opium smoking, in those who persist in its use, leads to moral, physical, and social deterioration-
Mr. Koh Seang Tai, an ex opium farmer, who was interested in the trade, and farmed out the business to others, is reported, in volume 158 of the same report, to have made this statement -
When used to any considerable extent, the consumer becomes worthless - morally, physically, and socially. . . It is felt that the opium traffic is a stain on the fair fame of the British people, and that owing to her power in the matter, it is England’s duly to mankind to efface the stain, 5? it be within the limits of possibility to do so.
Shaik Ensoff is reported, at page 172 of the report, as follows: -
The smokers ruin th’eir health. Almost all the races consider the habit of consuming opium to be condemned and injurious.
I now come to the position in Hong Kong. Mr. Woodhouse, Police Magistrate, is reported in volume 191, to have said -
With regard to Chinese, the effects of any kind, whether moral, physical, or social, from taking opium, are in the direction of deterioration proportionate to the extent to which it is taken. . . . In every instance the adoption of the habit is a wound to the moral instincts of the individual, and lowers his self-esteem to the general weakening of his character-
The Acting, Registrar-General made the following statement, which is also to be found in volume 191 of the Royal Commission’s report: -
The Chinese become weak and an?mic, lazy and shiftless . . . will steal in order to obtain opium, if not able to continue to buy it. The majority are inclined to be sots. The opium smoking divans are a disgrace to the Colony.
Dr. Eitel, the Inspector of Schools, is reported, at page 207, as follows : -
There cannot be, in my experience, frequent indulgence without a corresponding degree of physical, moral, and social injury.
Law Wai Chun stated that its effects were deadly -
In thus stopping the supply of opium, the whole of Asia will be benefited, and England will be carrying out the will of Heaven in protecting its children, and will receive in turn infinite blessings.
Chin-U-Tin also made the following statement, which is to be found at page 188 of the report of the Royal Commission : -
The Chinese are only too glad if the Government would adopt any method to exterminate this evil.
I propose now to quote statistics showing the value of the opium imported into the various States of the Commonwealth. In 1903-4,- the value of the imports of opium into New South Wales was ?16,180; Victoria, ,?9,438 ; Queensland, .?24,831; South Australia, ?6,196; Western Australia, .?4994; and Tasmania, ?553, the total value of the importations for the year being ?62,192. In Coghlan’s *Summary of Customs Imports for 1 903, we find a return showing the various countries from which our supplies of opium came during that year. The return shows that 319 lbs. were imported from the United Kingdom ; 21,147 lbs. from Hong Kong; 514 lbs. from India; 8,120 lbs. from Straits Settlements; 10,516 lbs. from China; i,8ot lbs. from Macao; and 10 lbs. from Dutch New Guinea; making a total of 42,427 lbs. These figures show that the consumption of the drug in Australia at the present time is exceedingly large, especially having regard to the fact that only a very small proportion of it is used for medicinal purposes.
– Under 5 per cent.
– I believe that upwards of 95 per cent, is used for smoking purposes.
– The quantity differs in the different States, but the average quantity used for that purpose is about 95 per cent, of the total importations.
– I believe that, roughly speaking, that average is correct. The House may perhaps be interested to hear briefly a few opinions on the subject by some of those who have been interested in the British Administration in China. Sir Rutherford Alcock, British Ambassador, in his despatch on the subject in 1869, said -
There is no doubt as to the frightful evils attending the smoking of opium, its thoroughly demoralizing effects, and the utter ruin brought upon all who once give way to the vice.
After twenty-five years’ residence in China, he summed up his evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons in the words -
Every opium smoker considers himself a moral criminal.
Sir Thomas Wade, who occupied the positions successively of interpreter, Secretary, of Legation, and Ambassador in China, wrote to his Government -
It is to me vain to think otherwise of the drug than as of a habit many times more pernicious than the gin and whisky drinking which we deplore at home. : . It has insured in every case within my knowledge the steady descent, moral and physical, of the smoker.
The Rev. Dr. Griffith John, of Han Kow, with half-a-century’s experience, declares it-,
An unmitigated curse, a curse physically, a curse morally, a curse socially to the individual and the nation.
Mr. W. S. Caine, a member of the House of Commons, and a leader in temperance work, after visiting India, bore the following testimony -
I have been in East-end gin palaces on Saturday nights ; I have seen men in various stages of delirium tremens ; I have visited many idiot and lunatic asylums; but I have never seen such horrible destruction of God’s image in the face of man as I saw in the “ Government opium dens of Lucknow.”
– Why should the honorable member inflict all these statements on the House, when the Government are going to prohibit th’e importation of opium?
– I hope that they are.
– They have said so, and therefore the honorable member is merely flogging a dead horse.
– I think it desirable to place the House in possession of the opinions entertained on this question bymany former British representatives in China - opinions formed by them after many years’ residence, during which they gained a full knowledge of the evil effects attending the opium habit.
– Are we not already familiar with those opinions?
– Honorable members may or may not be familiar with them, but, for the benefit of those who are not, I propose to read one or two more extracts relating directly to the opium traffic in Australia. Dr. Roth, Protector of Aborigines in Queensland, in the course of his evidence before the Tariff Commission, made the following statement: -
The effects of opium upon the natives was utter demoralization of them body and soul; and they became.so seized with the craving, that they sold themselves, children, women, or anything, to get it.
Sir John Cockburn, when Premier of South Australia, stated that -
From his prefessional experience as a medical man, he knew of large numbers, moving in fashionable circles of society, who were addicted to it in the form of morphia, and the disastrous effects it has upon them.
These are the only quotations that I purpose reading. Had 1 been sure that honorable members were familiar with these matters, as the honorable member for Maranoa has suggested, I should not have dealt with them ; but it is as much for the information of those who may perhaps occasionally read Hansard, and have not had an opportunity to study the question, that I have put this information before the House. I sincerely trust that the Government will not be deterred by any considerations as to revenue from making a serious attempt to grapple with this question, for nothing short of the prohibition of the importation of opium into the Commonwealth will be effective. If we could secure the hearty co-operation of the States in passing legislation dealing with those who sell and use the drug, and also with the houses devoted to the use of opium smokers, much would be done towards the abolition of the evil.
– Why not do away with the opium trade altogether?
– Quite so; that is what I wish to do: but if we can secure the co-operation of the States, so much the better.
– We can prohibit the importation of opium.
– It seems to me that to ask the States to take action in this direction, while we continued to allow the importation of opium into Australia, would be to call upon them to incur a responsibility which they would be unable to discharge. They may pass legislation of that character, but, so long as we allow the drug to be imported into the Commonwealth, its provisions will be evaded, just as the laws relating to the sale of liquor on Sundays are evaded. The question of loss of revenue may be put on one side altogether, because I do not think that it is the desire of this Parliament, or of the people of the Commonwealth, to obtain revenue from legalized vice. I feel sure that if the Government resolutely set themselves to secure the prohibition of the importation of opium, they will deserve, and will receive, the best thanks of the community. I trust, therefore, that legislation will be introduced at the earliest possible moment, and we can rely upon the good sense of the people of the States to back it up by any action which they may think it wise to take in effectually stamping out this soul and body destroying, State-encouraged vice.
– I sympathize with the views of the honorable member for Maranoa in this matter, and am of opinion that the Government will save time if they at once definitely state their policy on this question. In. view of the petitions that have been presented to the House, and of the fact that two-thirds of its members will vote for the prohibition of the importation of opium, the Government might as well at once dedare their policy in regard to the question. I shall not traverse the ground which has been gone over by the ‘ mover of the motion, because the stage has been passed when it was necessary to convince members of Parliament, or the country, of the undesirability of allowing opium to be imported. Honorable members have made up their minds on the subject, and nine out of every ten in the community are in favour of prohibition. Therefore. I hope that the Government will not ask for any postponement.
– I shall only ask for the adjournment of the debate until I have received replies from the States as to their proposed action in the matter.
– I do not think that we should wait a- single instant for either State or individual. Our clear and straightforward duty is to take steps to immediately put an end to this traffic. The States Governments would be brought into line with us by the opinions of the citizens of the States if we showed that we were in earnest by prohibiting the importation of opium.
– I: wrote to the Governments ot the States ten clays ago, and their replies should all be received within a fortnight.
– What was the object of writing?
– Because it would be of no avail for the Commonwealth to prohibit the importation of opium if the States did not prohibit its cultivation.
– And it would be of no avail for the States to prohibit the cultivation of opium if the Commonwealth did not prohibit its importation. Therefore, whatever the States may do, it is clearly our duty to prohibit importation. Those who are opposed to this prohibition would oppose the prohibition of the cultivation of opium. If the Governments of the
States said that they would not prohibit the production of opium, would that relieve us of our duty to prohibit its importation?
– - To merely prohibit importation will only partially remedy the evil.
– Yes; but it is for us to apply to it what remedy we can, and then to leave it to the States Governments to do what is in” their power. However, as I am assured of the sympathy of the Prime Minister, I shall not take up more time beyond seconding the motion., and expressing the hope that, if the replies of the States Governments do not come to hand very soon, this Government will at once take steps to provide for the prohibition of the importation of opium into the Commonwealth.
– I shall not oppose the motion, because prohibition has my entire sympathy, and I agree with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports in the view of the duty of the Commonwealth which he has just expressed. But at the recent Hobart Conference, it was unanimously resolved by the representatives of the States - and the resolution was, to” a certain extent, concurred in by the representatives of the Commonwealth - that joint action should be taken. It was thought that the States should pass Acts restricting to chemists the sale of opium within their borders, and placing the drug in the list of poisons, which, under most, if not all, of the States Acts can be obtained only under medical certificate. The States were also to do what they “ could in putting down opium dens and prohibiting opium-smoking, whilst the Commonwealth was to take steps to prevent the smuggling of opium, which, as honorable members know, can be compressed into small parcels of great value, and easily concealed. The late Minister of Home Affairs received a deputation on the subject, and expressed much the same views as most of us hold in regard to the. end to be sought. He made a number of inquiries as to the extent of opium-smoking throughout the Commonwealth, with the result that he was informed that, though it prevails to an alarming degree, and works untold mischief, so far as statistics show, it is increasing only in the north of Queensland, amongst the aboriginals, and in the northern parts of Western Australia.
– Those statistics are absolutely unreliable, as the honorable and learned gentleman was informed by the deputation which waited upon -him.
– Statements made on the faith of police reports show the extent of opium-smoking by Europeans to have been ridiculously underestimated, but the reports of officers and the figures relating to importation indicate that the only notable increase of its use occurs in the places mentioned. In the animal report of the Chief Protector of Aboriginals, Queensland, for 1904, which has just been placed in my hands by the Minister of Home Affairs, it is stated that “ the degree to which opium is supplied varies greatly in different districts.” The inspector remarks that one district, which he names, has “ an unenviable notoriety.” In the Rockhampton area “ the curst appears to have reached its climax.”
Protector Fitzgerald expresses the opinion that the opium traffic at the different townships lately visited by him is worse than he expected, and that at Duaringa, Blackwater, Emerald, and Clermont it could not be worse. . . . Messrs. Cutten Brothers, of Clump Point, reported that they would probably be unable to get their coffee picked during the season, owing to the blacks with their gins being enticed away by the Chinese with opium. . . . Taking the northern districts of the State alone, as compared with last year’s returns, it is a sad comment on affairs that judging from an increase of approximately 15 pc cent, in the number of prosecutions, the evil is not yet under control, in spite of the vigilance exercised by the police.
The Chief Protector gives a list of 212 townships where permits for the sale of opium are in force - permits which he declares to be illegal, and against the issue of which he has annually protested. The evil is real, and must be coped with; but honorable members must realize that the hearty co-operation of the States is essential. It is. impossible to suppose that when the question is considered by the States Parliaments they will not agree to provide for the total suppression of the traffic.
– But will the Commonwealth Government prohibit the importation of opium whatever the States may do?
– The honorable member for Lang adjured the Government not to be greatly concerned about the loss of revenue that would follow the prohibition of importation. About ,£60,000 is obtained from the duties on opium, only one-fourth of which is retained by the Com.monwealth, though the remaining threefourths - .£35,000 - would be a considerable loss to the States. But when what the traffic costs for its regulation is con sidered, and what the community loses in those who yield to the fatal fascination of the drug, from which recovery is rare, and when vaunted, as in the case of the famous De Quincey, generally doubtful, I do not think that the loss of revenue will be regarded.
– De Quincey drank laudanum.
– Precisely; as another might drink port wine. The Conferencedetermined that the’ States and the Commonwealth should take joint action.
– That is the danger of these Conferences.
– There is no danger in public conferences of representative men. At times by no other means can a way be paved for legislation.
– We have a clear duty to perform, and yet we are holding back because ot the resolution of a Conference.
– I decline to believe that the conscience of. Australia differs from the consciences of the several States which make up the Commonwealth. But the representatives of the States have a right to express their opinions as to the effect of legislation on States revenue, ‘ just as we have a right to consider the effect of legislation on Commonwealth interests.. We shall be paying to the States only that regard called for by the proceedings . of the Hobart Conference if we write and ask them what action they propose to take in order to carry out the resolution to which they unanimously agreed.
– Suppose that they saythat they intend to take no action?
– Then the matter will.’ be brought before this House, and honorable members will !be asked to dischargetheir duty to the Commonwealth . Weshall have definite proposals to make. It seems to me that we shall be paying the smallest courtesy to the States if, after the resolutions passed at the Hobart Conference, we ask them what they are going to do.. It will be necessary for us to consult them in order that common action may betaken by the States and the Commonwealth to suppress, not only the opium traffic, but also the cultivation of the poppy. Weshall want their assistance and shall require to work with them in that matter.
– Can the Minister sayhow the revenues of the States will be affected ?
– The figures for 1902 show that the revenue from opium in New South Wales amounted to -^21,000, Victoria £10,000, Queensland £[27,000, South Australia £6.000. Western Australia £[5,000, and Tasmania less than £[1,000. During the following year New South Wales received £16,000, Victoria £9,000, Queensland £24,000, South Australia £[6,000, Western Australia .£5,000, and Tasmania £500.
– Then there was a. general reduction in the revenue.
– Yes, happily so. As this is a revenue matter, the State’s are entitled to be consulted, and in the second place, we shall require their co-operation in order to make any prohibition) effective, to put a stop to the cultivation of the poppy plant, and to suppress the practice of opium-smoking where it exists. We may possess incidental powers to suppress opiumsmoking through the instrumentality of the Customs Department, but the States have at their hands more ready means in the police of dealing with the evil. I think that if we can join hands with the States and work in harmony with them in carrying out a reform which the moral sense of the community demands, wre shall be able to act effectively.
– If the States are willing to give up their proportion of the revenue derived from opium, will the Commonwealth be prepared to make a similar sacrifice?
– Certainly, without a moment’s hesitation. I had intended to move the adjournment of the debate so that I might have an opportunity to speak again after replies had been received from the various States, but some other Minister will be able to inform the House of the result at a later stage. I have plenty of evidence here to convince members of the necessity of taking action in this matter. I do not pretend that this is the only abuse for which action is demanded. The Premier of New South Wales at the Hobart Conference produced evidence from his medical officer, who stated that opium-smoking was not distinct from the inordinate use of stimulants. That, however, is not the question at issue. The question is whether we are not called upon to prohibit the drug, even though our action may involve a loss of revenue.
– I shall only say a few words upon this sub- ject, because I should like to see it definitely settled at the earliest possible moment, and I believe the House is ready te vote in favour of the motion. My impression is that the Prime Minister need not defer action until he has taken counsel with the States, because I do not think that there would be- the slightest demur on .their part if he, on his own initiative, took the most drastic steps tomorrow.
– The States’ Premierspractically asked that they should be consulted.
– May I remind honorable members, who urge that because the revenue would be affected, some consideration should be given to the wishes of the States in this matter, that the States Governments do not consider us in connexion with movements for the reduction of the drink traffic. I believe that on this very day the New South Wales Parliament is discussing the question of local option, which means, if anything, a movement in the direction of the limitation of the drink traffic, and consequently a serious diminution of the revenue derived from it. I do not suppose that the New South Wales Government have consulted the Prime Minister as to how this movement would affect the revenue, and I think that, apart from the States altogether, this is a matter which we might very well take into ourown hands. There would not be any cavil on the part of any of the States, evenof Queensland, where the revenue would be most seriously affected. This is essentially a moral question. The opium trafficis a beggaring and a degrading one, and’ the sooner we put an end to its existencethe better it will be for Australia. Thereseems to be only one way of dealing wilhthis question. The traffic does not appear to be susceptible of regulation. Every one knows that it is difficult to regulate the vicious appetites of the people, particularly when they take this brutalizing and degrading form, and, therefore, I think We should consult the wishes of the people of Australia as a whole, if at the earliest possible moment we did our best to strike a blow at the traffic. The victims of the opium-smoking habit are practically incapable of earning any money or contributing to the revenue in any way, and if we could restore such persons to their own rightmindedness and make them decent, respectable citizens, we should convert them into> wage-earners and revenue producers. We should not hesitate, therefore, to put a stop to the traffic, which can only become more degrading the longer it is continued.
– I do not think there is any necessity to enlarge upon the evils of the opium habit. We are all of opinion that it is an evil which requires to be put down.. I can hardly understand how any man can stand behind the bar of a public-house and sell liquor with a knowledge of the evil effects of the liquor traffic, and in the same way it is difficult to conceive how the Government can allow the opium traffic to continue for the sake of the revenue derived from it I think the Prime Minister has taken a somewhat pusillanimous and timorous view of the matter, and that he should be prepared to at once take action. The honorable gentleman seems to think that unless the States pass laws to prevent the cultivation of the poppy plant we can do nothing. I see no reason, however, why that step should be taken. The plant may be grown for ornamental purposes in our gardens, and we may feel satisfied that no one will take the trouble to cultivate it for commercial purposes unless they can find a market for their product. We should prohibit not only the importation of the drug into the Commonwealth, but also its manufacture in our midst. If we prohibit its manufacture, no one will have the slightest inducement to cultivate the poppy plant.
– Does the honorable member propose to prohibit: the use of opium in all its forms ?
– No; I would still permit opium to be introduced for medicinal purposes, but the sale of such opium should be under Government supervision. By this means we might prevent the use of the drug for smoking purposes. New New Zealand has- already passed a law which deals very thoroughly with the evil. Their Act prohibits the importation of opium in any form’ suitable for smoking - nothing is said regarding medicinal opium. Provision was made in the first Act for a penalty of£100, but that was found to be insufficient, and it was subsequently increased by an amending Act to £500. Those who import opium, which may be converted into opium for smoking purposes, are required to obtain a permit. This provision is necessary because medicinal opium can be converted into opium fit for smoking.
It is required that every transaction shall be recorded at the Customs House ; the penalty for default being £10. The manufacture of opium in New Zealand is prohibited, and.under the amending Act of 1902 any one found with opium in his possession is liable to be punished. I would suggest to the Prime Minister that he now has an opportunity presented to him to write his name in letters of gold in the annals of his country. If he shows that he is a man of the same type as the Premier of New Zealand he will have the approval of the whole of the people of the Commonwealth, and confer an inestimable benefit on his country.
– It appears to me that the argument upon this question has proceeded 01: altogether wrong lines. We are assuming that all we have to do is to pass an Act of Parliament when, hey, presto, all sin and misery will disappear from the world. Honorable members, in spite of their experience as to the futility of laws for putting down the evil habits of the people, are, nevertheless, ready to pass an Act for the prohibition of the opium traffic in the full belief that the evil will at once disappear. I venture to say that if we legislate on the lines proposed, the evil, so far from disappearing, will become ten times worse than ever. Four years ago, I pointed out that by imposing an excessive duty on opium we should probably encourage smuggling, and promote the illicit use of the drug.
– According to the honorable and learned member, we should not prohibit rdbbery, because thefts willAG on in spite of the law.
– If it were proposedto imprison opium smokers for long terms the case would be different. The idea underlying all this proposed legislation is that ft will put an end to the evil which it is designed to cure. I quite recognise the evils caused by the excessive use of any drug. We are asked by the honorable member for Lang to prohibit the importation of opium for other than medicinal purposes. What I desire to point out is that, although I agree with the object which he has in view, it is impossible to attain it by that means. We could exercise only an apparent limitation, and if we were to judge by the Customs returns, after we had imposed such a restriction, we should be under the impression’ that not a single ounce of “ smoking “ opium was being introduced.
– Would not that be satisfactory ?
– Not if the drug were introduced in another form, and that is exactly what has happened. To-day, opium is being morelargely used than ever, and it is paying a less revenue.
– Does the honorable and learned member defend the practice of obtaining revenue from that source ?
– If, by dispensing with the revenue which we derive from opium, we could put an end to the evil complained of, I say that we ought not to consider that revenue for one moment. But, although we may pass a law declaring, that certain things shall be accomplished, we know very well that the desired result will not be brought about, but that very probably a still greater evil will ensue.
– That is pure conjecture.
– It is not conjecture. Four years ago I pointed out what would happen’ when we imposed a very heavy duty upon opium. I am just as much in sympathy as anybody can be with any steps which would abolish the excessive use of the drug. But, in the first place, I say that we cannot prevent it from being smuggled into the Commonwealth.
– Mr. Lockyer, the New South Wales Collector of Customs, declares that there is very little, if any, smuggling carried on.
– I know a very great deal betterthan that. ProbablyMr. Lockver would tell me that not a gallon of illicit whisky is being distilled in the whole of Australia.
– I do not think that he would say that.
– I am perfectly certain that if the quantity of opium which is being smuggled into Australia at the present time were divulged, honorable members would be surprised.
– It is proposed to ask the States to deal with opium smokers and sellers.
– It appears to me that the Prime Minister was perfectly correct in declaring that the desired restrictions were a matter for State regulation. What authority have we to interfere in a question of this kind? It is true that we can prohibit the importation of opium, but by so doing we shall not accomplish the object at which we aim.
– We could not prevent the cultivation of the poppy and the manufacture of opium in the Commonwealth.
– But the States themselves could do so.
– That is an entirelydif . ferent matter. The honorable member for Parramatta spoke as if it were only necessary for us to pass a Commonwealth statute, in order to accomplish the whole object of the motion. In my opinion, when we had done that, we should not even have commenced to accomplish our object. The honorable member for Hunter, I think, will bear me out when I say that probably the most valuable medicine known is opium, in one form or another. I believe that even the various soothing syrups contain a proportion of that drug. The honorable member for Lang does not propose torestrict its importation as a medicine, and, consequently, it could be used in the form of morphia. I venture to say that there are far more evil results from the excessive use of opium as a medicine than flow from its use in any other form. The report of the British Royal Commission, which went very thoroughly into this matter-
– Not very thoroughly.
– The honorable member cannot have read the evidence, because I base the whole of my deductions upon it.
Mr.Johnson. - A more fine-sided investigation never took place.
– That statement is not correct, and it is a slander upon the men who heard that evidence, and who endeavoured to come to an impartial decision upon it. The honorable member for Lang does not relish the finding of the Commission, because it declared that greater evils resulted from the excessive use of alcohol in European countries than attended the excessive use of opium in Eastern countries.
– Does not the . honorable and learned member know . that the report of the Commission has been absolutely . discredited by recent writers?
– Some persons affirm that the prohibition of the sale of intoxicants in portions of New Zealand has exercisedasalutary influence upon intemperance in that country.If, however, we examine the Customs receipts, we shall find that a larger revenue is being derived from whisky at the present time than was obtained from that source prior to the enactment of the prohibition, laws. When we begin to talk wildly about all that we can accomplish by legislation, I claim that we are deceiving both ourselves and the public. This Parliament alone could not legislate effectually in regard to this matter. The Prime Minister himself has made that admission, and I am bound to say that I agree with him. It is in strict accordance with fact, and, therefore, I cannot differ from him, even for the purposes of opposition. The moment the States commence to deal with the question we may be able to assist them in regulating the opium traffic. If, however, we suddenly prohibit the importation of opium for smoking purposes, we shall, I am sure, have the evil complained of perpetuated in other forms. The honorable member for Hunter, the honorable member for Laanecoorie, the honorable member for Corangamite, and the honorable member for Brisbane will surely confirm my statement that it is possible to take opium in a dozen forms, either as morphia, morphine, or chorodyne. If we legislate in the direction proposed we shall induce the excessive use of the drug in those forms, making it more difficult for us to deal with the evil. >
– Opium cannot be smoked in those forms.
– But its excessive use in any one of those forms is just as harmful to the individual as is its excessive use by smoking. I do not .suppose that one person out of every five, who suffers from the inordinate use of opium, indulges in the smoking of the drug.
– Does the honorable and learned member mean to say that its importation in other forms could not be prohibited, to a certain extent?
– I do. The honorable member must know of many cases in which the excessive use of morphine has been most injurious to the person concerned.
– It should not be dispensed without a doctor’s prescription.
– If we suddenly pro’hibit the importation of opium we shall not prevent its entry into the Commonwealth. Let me give a case to illustrate my point. Some time ago, a good many boxes of preserved ginger - or what was thought to be preserved ginger - were being introduced into Melbourne ; but every one of those jars was so formed that the bulb which ran up the centre was made very large, and in these bulbs a large quantity of opium was secreted. As honorable members are aware, a large quantity of pure opium can be imported in a verysmall space, and the drug was being surreptitiously brought in in that way. The more we seek to prohibit the traffic the greater will be the incentive to smuggling. In this connexion, I would remind honorable members of the action taken by the Parliament when it was suggested that a heavy duty should be imposed on diamonds. As a matter of fact, we refused to pass that duty, not because we held the opinion that they should not be subjected to taxation, but because we were satisfied that the imposition of the duty would lead to smuggling.
– It is proposed not to impose a higher duty on opium but to prohibit its importation.
– That is so, but since we refrained from imposing a duty on precious stones lest the result might be to increase smuggling, “surely it cannot be justly said that the prohibition of opium would lead to the suppression of the traffic in Australia. Some years ago the Queensland Parliament imposed a duty on diamonds, and I was told by the head of a large jewellery establishment in Brisbane that some time later, the Treasurer of that State asked him why no revenue was being obtained from that source. The gentleman in question replied, “ We have given up the direct importation of precious stones; and now buy them locally.” To this the Treasurer replied, “ But the stones must have been imported and should have paid duty.” “ That is a matter into which we do not inquire,” said the head of the jewellery establishment. “ We do not encourage smuggling, but we buy precious stones from those who offer them to us.” Surely if the imposition of a duty on diamonds failed to prevent smuggling in Queensland, an attempt to prohibit the importation of opium into the Commonwealth would be equally unsuccessful. I hold that we ought not to play the part of hypocrites. Those who have not had time to consider the question, should not be led to believe that we can stop this traffic. In all fairness, we ought to say to the people, “ We agree that the evil should be stopped, but are practically satisfied that prohibition would not have that result.”
– Will the honorable and learned member suggest another means of remedying the evil,
– I cannot, but I feel confident that the adoption ofl the proposal made by the (honorable member would not have the desired effect. We should simply lose the revenue now derived from the duty on opium and the evils arising from the traffic would not be mitigated. I should be prepared to sacrifice the revenue derived from the duty on opium, if by prohibiting the trade we could put an end to the evil ; but I am satisfied that prohibition would really intensify the evil. Probably, far greater injury arises from over-eating than from any other evil habit.
– Over-drinking is worse.
– It is certainly much more repulsive so far as appearances go, but we cannot by legislation put an end to these and kindred evils. Under the present system, there is more chance of grappling with the evils arising from opium smoking, than there would be if we prohibited the importation of the drug for smuggling would be successfully carried on, and we should have difficulty in coping with it. It is not because I have no desire to see the evil abolished, but rather because I (hold that the suggested legislation would be fore-doomed to failure, that I oppose the motion.
Debate (on motion by Mr.” Austin Chapman) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 17th August (vide page 1.t.28), on motion by Mr. Higgins -
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty as follows -
May it please Your Majesty :
We, Your Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, the members of the House of Representatives, in Parliament assembled, desire most earnestly in our name and on behalf of the people whom we represent, to express our unswerving loyalty and devotion to Your Majesty’s person and Government.
We have observed with feelings of profound satisfaction the evidence afforded by recent legislation and recent debates in the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom, of a sincere desire now to deal justly with Ireland; and in particular we congratulate the people of the United Kingdom on the remarkable Act directed towards the settlement of the land question, and on the concession to the people of Ireland of a measure of local government for municipal purposes. But the sad history of Ireland since the Act of Union shows that no British Parliament can understand or effectively deal with the economic and social conditions of Ireland.
Enjoying and appreciating as we do the blessings of Home Rule here, we would humbly express the hope that a just measure of Home Rule may be granted to the people of Ireland. They ask for it through their representatives - never has request more clear, consistent, and continuous been made by any nation. As subjects of Your Majesty we are interested in the peace and contentment of all parts of the Empire, and we desire to see this long-standing grievance a’t the very heart of the Empire removed. It is our desire for the solidarity and permanence of the Empire, as a Power making for peace and civilization, that must be our excuse for submitting to Your Majesty this respectful petition-
– When this question’ was under consideration some days ago I occupied the last few minutes of the time set apart for tl.e consideration of private members’ business, and the House granted me leave to continue my remarks to-day. I was then entering upon a reply to the able arguments that had been put forward so calmly and dispassionately by- the mover of the motion and the honorable and learned member for Angas, and urged that the mere fact that the motion was a lengthy one should in itself be sufficient to arouse suspicion. I pointed out that it was really a gilded pill ; that the motion was nicely worded ; and that the speeches of those who had supported it had been characterized by good taste and expressions of goodwill towards the Empire. If all the advocates of Home Rule simply desired the introduction of the system suggested by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne and the honorable and learned member for Angas, there would be very little necessity to debate the question. But the position is different. In the first place, I think, for reasons which I shall presently submit to the House, that the motion should not have been introduced at all ; but, inasmuch as it has been moved and supported, it becomes my duty, as one who is opposed to it, to combat the arguments that have been submitted in favour of its adoption. In the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne and the honorable and learned member for Angas the motion finds two doughty champions. Their astuteness, their legal training, and their ready flow of arguments make them formidable antagonists, but I shall endeavour to show the House why I, and those who think with me, oppose Home Rule for Ireland, as advocated by the present leaders of the movement. If those who are prominently identified with the agitation for Home Rule in the old world were as philosophical as are those who have supported this motion, there would be little to fear from the carrying out of the proposition. I feel satisfied that if the members of the Imperial Government who are opposed to the granting of Home Rule for Ireland were convinced that its advocates all shared the views of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne and the honorable and learned member for Angas, their opposition to the proposal would be considerably modified. When the matter was previously under consideration, I pointed out, in reply to the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, who had quoted the remarks of the younger Pitt, that Pitt’s policv had not been carried out, and he admitted that that was so. We find, in the concluding paragraph of the motion, the statement that-
Enjoying and appreciating as we do the blessings of Home Rule here, we would humbly express the hope that a just measure of Home Rule may be granted to the people of Ireland.
I would point out, however, that we have Home Rule in Australia as a part of the Empire, while the advocates of Home Rule for Ireland, according to their most recent statements, seek “Home Rule with separation.”
– That was not so in the statement of Mr. Redmond.
– If the honorable and learned member will permit me to deal with the subject in my own way, he will see that I am furnished with the most recent utterances of advocates of Home ‘Rule in England to prove that their ideal differs from that of the honor-able and learned members for Northern Melbourne and Angas. With regard to the words “ just measure,” the first question which arises ‘is, “Who is to define a just measure?” Is that system just which is advocated by the honorable and learned member for Angas, who says that Ireland is prepared to receive a subordinate Parliament? What she asks for is a co-ordinate Parliament. She will not be satisfied with an extension of municipal government, because, under- the Acts of 1903, she possesses advanced local government and advanced land legislation. My argument against interference is twofold. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne says that Australia has already interfered in matters in which she is not concerned, and instanced our action in sending troops to the Transvaal, and in protesting against the employment of Chinese on the Rand. But in that interference we were justified, because, in the first case, thousands of our citizens had gone . to theTransvaal, and, in the second place, wehad had experience of the effect of allowing large numbers of Chinamen to come intothe country, which the people of the United Kingdom had not had. The last sentence of the moi-ion reads -
It is our desire for the solidarity and permanence of the Empire, as a power making for peaceand civilization, that must be our excuse for submitting to Your Majesty this respectful petition.
As I have already pointed out, the phraseology there employed is similar to that used by Daniel O’Connell, and, in an interjection, I charged the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne with having, consciously or unconsciously, almost cribbed the exact language employed ii» several of the speeches of that famous man. When, during the honorable and learned member’s speech, I interjected that a large part of the Irish do not wish for HomeRule, he replied that I interjected officially, as leader of the Orange organization inNew South Wales. I am sorry that he referred to that organization, and suggested that I am not a free agent in this matter. To say that I am” not a free agent is as true as to say that he is not, and that he moved the motion at the dictation of the local Hibernian Society, and by directionof Archbishop 0 -‘ . I am as free in thismatter as he is, and take full responsibility for my utterances; but I am sorry that he made that reference to the Orange institution. He further said tb.it in 1800 the Orange lodges opposed the Union ; but there he is wrong in his history, because Daniel O’Connell, speaking at the time, said that it was the Orangemen who caused it to be brought about. The honorable and’ learned member supported his motion by a very weak argument when he said -
I say, too, speaking now to members who have had to face elections in all parts of Australia, that we have a direct interest in removing thiscause of friction from our Australian issues.
Do those who wish for Home Rule think much of an advocate who brings that forward as a reason ?
– Why does the honorable member oppose the motion?
– Because I am absolutely opposed to Home Rule. But I deny that it is a cause of friction in Australia, though, even if it were, the honorable and learned’ member for Northern Melbourne would have placed himself in a most humiliating position in. asking this House to vote for the motion on grounds of personal convenience and interest, to remove a cause of friction from Australian issues. The honorable and learned member said -
All I am asking for is a just measure of Home Rule. The decision as to what is just must be left to those who have the power.
Do the believers in Home Rule ask for a just system? What they ask for is Home Rule, and I warn them to beware of those who would modify the request by asking for a “just” system. It is the Imperial Government which has the power in this matter, and the question should be left to them for decision. The honorable and learned member drew a harrowing picture of the dire distresses of Ireland, and in support of his statements said -
I do not know that I can appeal to any statistical authority higher than Sir Robert Giffen - a man whose motives cannot be impugned, and whose skill is proverbial - a man who is himself a unionist.
The honorable and learned member accepts the authority of -this great statistician in regard to Home Rule, but he refuses to take it in regard1 to the fiscal question. He s?i id -
The union between Great Britain and Ireland is an admitted failure - conceived in blunder, consummated in fraud, and maintained to the discredit and the damage of the people of the Empire.
There, again, is a striking similarity between the words he employs and those of another Irish advocate of Home Rule, Mr. John Devlin, M.P., who, on the 14th July, is reported in the Galway Observer to have said of the Union, “It was born of treachery and corruption.” The honorable and learned gentleman’ appealed to our sympathies by the sad picture which he drew of the depopulation of Ireland, but I ask, Are the only emigrants from the United Kingdom Irishmen? Have not Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Welshmen also left their native country, and gone to other parts of the world? Is not the bulk of the population of the United States English, or of English descent. And is not the bulk of our population of English descent? But we do not find Englishmen, Scotchmen, or Welshmen when abroad posing as exiles from their native land. They do not pretend to stand, with streaming eyes, on the shores of foreign countries, deploring their absence from the country of their birth. Irishmen, like others, go abroad for their own advantage and gain, and they and1 their descendants are glad that they have come to Australia to settle. It is merely to play on sentiment to speak of them as exiles. If all Irishmen felt in that way, why do riot men like the honorable and learned member and the honorable and learned member for Angas, who are able to do so, return to the Emerald Isle? Personally, I should be very sorry if either of them were to leave the Commonwealth. But although the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne expressed so much concern about the depopulation of Ireland, I understand that he is prepared very shortly to vote for the appointment of a High Commissioner, one of whose duties will be to try to induce the people of the United Kingdom to emigrate to Australia.
– I wish them to come here with friendly hearts.
– How is it that Irishmen in America and Australia always profess hatred of England, while Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Welshmen have only kindly feelings for the land which they have left? I do not intend to turn back the dark pages of history; I am dealing only with things as they are to-day. Then, again, although the honorable and learned member deplored and bewailed the decay of Irish manufactures, he, as a protectionist, has always refused to open the doors of Australia to Irish goods. Why does he not prove his sympathy in a practical way, by assisting those of us who would make Australia free to the commerce of the world to open her ports to Irish manufactures? If the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne means to convey anything, he surely desires that the Union shall be dissolved. If he does not so desire, I cannot see how his advocacy of Home Rule can be of any use to those who are in the forefront, of the Irish national movement. Now let us look at the conditions existing in Ireland to-day under the Union with Great Britain. The conditions under British rule are the same in the North as in the South of Ireland. The people in both parts of the island have to obey the same laws.
– I presume the honorable member will acknowledge that the people in the North and South of Ireland are subject to the same Constitution and the same laws.
– I shall prove presently that they are not.
– How is it to be accounted for that Antrim and Down are prosperous, whilst Wexford and Kilkenny are not? Why is it that Belfast is prosperous, and Cork and Galway are in distress ?
– How does the honorable member account for it?
– I do not pretend to account for it. It cannot be claimed that the South is any less fertile, or its resources any less than those of the North. As a matter of fact, in both respects, the South has, if anything, an advantage over the North. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne said that Pitt’s prophecy with regard to the Union had not been fulfilled. I shall now quote from a prediction of Daniel O’Connell to show that he also was wrong. He said -
There lives not a man less desirous of a separation between the two countries-there lives not a man more deeply convinced, that the connexion between men, established upon the basis of one King and separate Parliaments, would be of the utmost value to the peace and happiness of both countries, and to the liberties of the civilized world.
Gladstone also, when advocating Home Rule for Ireland, was ever wont to point to the conditions existing in Sweden and Norway as Constituting an argument in favour of the dual system of Government proposed to be applied to Ireland.
– Sweden and Norway had not Home Rule; they were two independent kingdoms.
- Mr. Gladstone said-
Not discord, not convulsions, not hatred, not aversion, but a constant growing sympathy, and he ventured to predict that the tie between men would never be broken.
Those were his remarks with regard to Norway and Sweden. Daniel O’Connell asked for separate Parliaments under one Government, and did not want separation. Gladstone advocated the adoption of the system under which Norway and Sweden were working.
– He did not advocate the adoption of that system, but made merely a casual reference to it.
– The Union between Sweden .and Norway was formed in 1814, each country being under its own Government, its own Constitution, and its own code of laws. The economic doctrine of
Sweden was protection, and that of Norway was free-trade. The analogy between Sweden and Norway, and Great Britain and Ireland, was almost perfect, and I can quite understand Mr. Gladstone referring to the former countries. But history shows that the Union of Sweden and Norway was productive of ever increasing discord, which, after twenty-five years of agitation, resulted in separation a few months ago. The Norwegians were not animated by any spirit of animosity to King Oscar, but the majority, of the Irish Nationalists certainly express hatred of King Edward VII.
– That is a slander.
– It is not a slander, because I shall show from their own speeches that what I say is perfectly true. Norway and Sweden existed under a dual system of government for ninety years, and a dissolution took place, as I have said, only a few months ago, as the result of the verdict of an overwhelming majority of the electors. The only members of the Storthing who opposed th’e movement were five Socialists. The referendum resulted in something like 400,000 persons voting in favour of the dissolution, whilst those against it numbered only 182. One of my arguments against granting Home Rule to the Irish people is that they are aiming at separation from Great Britain. There is no use in beating about the bush, so far as that is concerned. They wish to establish a separate Parliament, not only with legislative power, but with Executive force. The honorable and learned member for Angas admitted that; but he suggested as a solution of the difficulty that there should be a Federal Council ; that Scotland, Wales, England, and Ireland should each have its Parliament, and that over them all should be a Federal Council. We have -a Federal Parliament here, and our experience has not been altogether a happy one. This, however, is not the system advocated by the Irish Nationalists, but is merely the solution proposed by the honorable ‘and learned member for Angas. The weakness of the dual system of government has also been shown in AustroHungary. The Emperor of Austria is highly respected, and it is said that he exercises a great influence for peace in Europe. He is popular with both Hungarians and Austrians ; but the dual system of government imposes an everlasting strain upon the people, and the union may be broken up at any time. Those who study European politics must bear out what I am now saying. I am now endeavouring to show the evils of dual government. Lord Rosebery, speaking on this subject during the current year, said -
I know it is said the views I have expressed are inconsistent with sympathyfor Ireland. I do not agree with that view. Our view, as statesmen and legislators, is to do the best that we can for Ireland, and if we do not believe, from contemporary experience, that the measures contemplated at one time would now do good to Ireland, we are not to be accused of want of sympathy with her. We know her long sorrows ; we know the crushing injustice to which she was subjected for centuries, but we also feel that we have done something to redress the balance, and that a country which has given them the freest county institutions in the last few years, and which has within the last two years pledged its credit to no less than £1 12,000,000 to redeem the soil of Ireland from any reproach of ownership to which it was liable, is not particularly subject to any reproach of not being sufficiently attentive to the wrongs of Ireland. My view, in a word, is this - I leave here for a moment my character of a city voter - that you may give much to Ireland - and in that respect we have at any rate the example of the recent dealings of the present Government with Ireland - you may do her inestimable good by proceeding on the grounds of administrative reform, but there is one thing to which no serious statesman would ever expose this country, and that is, the curse of dual government at the heart of the Empire. You see by the long protracted ‘crisis in Norway and Sweden - I am not going to say who is right or wrong - you see by the constant crises which seem to have assumed almost a permanent character in Austria-Hungary - that are the results of dualism - vultures gnawing at the very vitals of the Empire, and we may he forgiven if we will not expose our Imperial heritage and Imperial future to any such danger.
That speech was delivered before the result of the referendum in Sweden and Norway was known. I say that, instead of making for the peace of the Empire, the granting of Home Rule to Ireland would make for the pieces of the Empire. If the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne desires to cause disruption and trouble, he is going the right way to bring it about. I have asserted that the advocates of Home Rule desire separation from Great Britain, and I shall produce proofs in support of my statement. I can understand Irishmen who believe in Home Rule asking for separation ; but I cannot understand how proposals such as those which have been presented to this House, could be accepted by the Irish people. Parnell, in his celebrated declaration in 1880 - and no one will deny Parnell’s power with the Irish people - said -
None of us will be satisfied until we have destroyed the last link which keeps Ireland bound to England.
Then Mr. William Redmond, M.P., who was recently in Australia - another authority on the question - when addressing the House of Commons on the Franchise Bill, said -
You need not think that this Bill, if carried, will stay the movement for separation. We will never cease that agitation until we fully attain our object.
On , 31st January,1883,Mr. Redmond said -
We look upon no concession as adequate until we have reached the goal of national independence.
– Parnell referred in the first case to the legislative link.
– It is legislative bunkum, so far as that member is concerned. Mr. John Redmond, who was leader of the Nationalists in 1885, said, “ Perish the Elmpire ! Live Ireland !” Was ita legislative “ perish “that was then referred to? Do these men speak in such subtle phrases that we cannot understand them? Then, again, Mr.Dillen,on 30th January of this year, is reported in the Cork Examiner - I take these extracts from Irish, and not from English papers - as having stated at a meeting held at Thurles -
That grand meeting in the heart of the great county of Tipperary reminded him of twentyfive years ago, and he took it as a sign of the national revival in Tipperary, as in the other counties of Ireland, which would sweep before it all vestiges of English rule in Ireland. They never would have in Ireland a really prosperous and happy land until that rule was swept clean out of it.
– Hear, hear !
– Does the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne say that that is his idea of Home Rule? He is so fond of Home Rule that he cannot even interject an affirmation.
– It is disorderly to interject.
– To the friends of Home Rule let me commend the attitude of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, who, when asked a straight question, replies, “ I cannot interject.” He would not venture to be even a little disorderly on behalf of the cause he espouses. He knows very well that if he affirmed the resolution which I have read, the motion under consideration would not pass this House. The honorable and learned member is such a great friend of the Irish and of the Irish cause that he cannot answer a pertinent question. Quite recently he stated that I had no freedom of action. I ask him’ where his freedom of action comes in, seeing that he cannot interject even a “ Yes,” or a “ No.”
– If the honorable member does not occupy too long I shall get an opportunity of replying to him.
– The honorable and learned member can reply by a “ Yes “ or a “ No.” I wish now to quote a statement made by Mr. Devlin, M.P., upon 25th January last.
– Who is Mr. Devlin?
– If the honorable member is acquainted with the subject of Home Rule, these names ought to be as familiar to him as are his nursery rhymes. He is a lovely specimen of a Home Ruler, seeing that he does not know even the names of the advocates of that cause.
– The names of those advocates are all that the honorable member does know.
– I am familiar with their speeches and their characters. Mr. Devlin in the Kilkenny Journal, said -
He appealed to them as lovers of their country, and as men anxious to lift her from the slough into which she had been reduced by the tyranny and oppression of centuries, to rally their forces together, and there, as in other parts of the country, make British “Government impossible, as the most effective means of ridding the country of the greatest curse that ever plagued a nation.
Thus” we learn that British rule is to-day considered the greatest curse that ever befel a nation. Yet we are told that Home Rule will make for the strength and peace of the Empire. These are the statements of the prominent men in the Home Rule movement. I now propose to deal with the power behind them. I intend to take the United Irish League as it exists in Ireland to-day, and to compare the character of its advocacy with that of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne and the honorable and learned member for Angas. I wish to make it clear that their desires in this connexion are not likely to meet with the wishes of the advocates of Home Rule in Ireland. “ The United Irish League is the official party organization of what is known in the House of Commons as the “ National “ party. It is that party’s fighting organization, and it is composed of the electors of Ireland! who believe in the system of Home Rule, advocated by the men to whom I have already referred. Upon 21st January of the present year the report of the Kinwarra branch of the league appears in the Clare Champion -
The treasurer of the branch announced : - Clonasee and Cartron will not be behind when, the collection is finished, neither will Dungora. The town collectors will stait on next week, and, as they are men of grit, ‘tis to be hoped they, will take no “ soft sawder-“ … A rigid scrutiny will be kept of the payments made, andany one refusing to subscribe will appear in thelist of defaulters to be published.
I quote that to show that the League takesgood care that nobody shall stand outside of its ranks.
– From what newspaper is that statement quoted?
– From the Clare Champion of 21st January last.
– Has the honorable member got the paper?
– I should like to see it.
– The honorable and learned member is doubting my authority. I have quite as much right to doubt the accuracy of his statement when he “quoted Fox - a most miserable authority upon this question. The United Irish ‘ League is either copying the rules of the Labour Party in Australia, or that party is copying its rules. Possibly that fact may account for the great warmth of the sympathy which members of the Labour Party profess with the cause of Home Rule. The United Irish League is a beautiful specimen of a free agency - if a man does not pay up, he is marked down as a defaulter.
– Does the honorable member call that a black-list?
– The honorable member may call it what he likes. Another branch of the League - the Clostoken Branch - upon 29th January, carried the followingresolution : -
That we give this, our final warning, to every member of this branch that they will not be al-“ lowed to retain their cards of membership if they support or associate with non-members.
If they associate with non-members they will not be allowed to retain their cardsof membership ! Under such circumstances will they be prepared to accept the milkandwater resolution submitted by the honorable and learned member for NorthernMelbourne? Upon a former occasion, I
Asked him whether he had brought forward this motion merely for debating society purposes, or with serious intent, and he replied that he had submitted it with serious inlent. He said that he hoped to get it forwarded to the Imperial authorities as the deliberate expression of the opinion of this Parliament. By resolution the members of the United Irish League have declared that they require exactly what their leaders have demanded, namely, a separate Parliament, with legislative power and authority equal to our own. In Australia. we have power to raise an army and navy, if we can find the money. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne and the honorable and learned member for Angas both deny that the Irish people desire power to be given to an Irish Parliament so create a separate army or navy.
– That proposal was- not contained in Mr. Gladstone’s Home Rule Bill.
– No, but the Irish people declare that they will not accept Mr. Gladstone’s Bill. =
– They have never said so.
– I can show that they have said so quite recently. Surely the Imperial authorities know the requirements of the Irish people better than we do. Are we to understand that the position of the Saxon, with his foot upon the throat of the Celt, still obtains? I ask the honorable member for Coolgardie whether he thinks that the British Parliament to-day entertains the same opinion upon, this question as it did twenty years ago?
– I have not been there lately.
– But the honorable member is familiar with what is going on. He took an active part in this movement with Mr. Parnell, and he must know that, the opinion of the Imperial Parliament in regard to it has undergone a change. The cry that the Saxon wishes to get his foot upon the throat of the Celt does not hold good now. I wish to show that those who are foremost in the Home Rule ranks are absolutely in favour of separation from the mother country, and’, as a citizen of Australia, I am opposed to anybody who would bring about the disintegration of the Empire. I will now’ quote from the utterances of the notorious Pat Ford, an earnest, outspoken Irishman. The honorable member for Coolgardie knows his name very well, and he cannot deny that he is an earnest, straight-out Irishman.
– He is more an Americanthan an Irishman.
– The United Irish League look to him for assistance in Irish matters. They regard him as one of their leading lights. The Connaught Leader of 4th February, says of the notorious Pat Ford -
England has displaced our race, not destroyed it ; England robbed us in the old world, and she villifies us in the new. But the day of reckoning will come. And, oh ! when it does come. What deeds worthy of the opportunity will be enacted ! What sweet revenge will be taken ! Greater Ireland - thirty millions of the American people long for that opportunity. The Irish world has raised many funds for Ireland. Some were for those in distress, some were for the Home Rule cause, and other sums were to be used at the discretion of the recipients. Whether they used the money for parliamentary purposes or for dynamite, or for both, we didn’t ask.
Yet I am told by the honorable member for Northern Melbourne that the advocates of Home Rule to-day are animated by friendliness towards the United Kingdom.
– Ford always advocated physical force.
– I will come to the question of physical force presently. I have quoted a few statements upon the political aspect of Home Rule by its advocates - so far as the South of Ireland is concerned. I have shown that their desire unquestionably is to establish a separate Parliament, and to obtain separation from England. If the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne believes that the existing Union is productive of all the misery which he has pictured he should fight for its repeal. If he does so, he will be found in opposition to the right honorable member for Swan. The latter has affirmed that we ought not to take a vote upon this matter because he has some Irish friends. Why should I not take up a similar position? He must hold opinions- either for or against Home Rule. Let him boldly declare upon which side he is. Everybody is aware that I am an opponent of Home Rule. The right honorable member for Swan is equally an opponent of this motion, but fie does not wish to make ill friends over it. I might as well argue that honorable mem- ° bers ought not to vote in favour of freetrade because by so doing they may offend their protectionist’ friends. As a citizen of Australia, I am opposed to this motion. I do not believe that it is in the interests of the people of Ireland that it should be carried ; but, even if it be carried, it will not be /acceptable to those who honestly advocate Home Rule as we know it. Then there is another danger to be apprehended. Everybody knows that upon this question the North of Ireland is opposed to the South of Ireland. Mr. Gladstone admitted that there were 2,000,000 Irish people who ware opposed to Home Rule. This admission was made by Mr. Gladstone in a speech which he delivered in 1886.
– Two millions? What is the total population of Ireland ?
– About 4,750,000.
– That is so. My opposition to the motion is founded on good reasons. The people of the North of Ireland object to Home Rulebeing granted, while those of the South of Ireland are crying out for it. In these circumstances, why should the Parliament of Australia step in to decide the matter?
– The people of the North of Ireland do not object to Home Rule.
– If the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne had desired to inflame sectarian feeling in Australia he could not have done better than submit this proposition to the House. If his desire is to create party strife, then he certainly has taken a right step. If the motion be rejected, as I hope it willbe, those who are in favour of it will immediately form themselves into camps to support the project in view, while, on the other hand, if it be accepted, its opponents will marshal themselves into line to combat the granting of Home Rule. It will thus be seen that this motion cannot be attended with good results to those who believe in the principle, but, on the contrary, is calculated only to foment sectarian differences in Australia. Those who really believe in Home Rule for Ireland cannot support the measure of Home Rule suggested by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, while, so far as those who are opposed to the principle are concerned, this motion is merely an attempt to throw the apple of discord into the arena. If I could put an end to sectarianism I should be ready to go a long way to do so. I know that this statement will not be accepted by many in the House, as well as out of it, but I make it in all sincerity. Had those who favour Home Rule desiried to encourage the party to which I belong, they could not have taken a better step than they have done in this instance. The straight-out supporters of Home Rule, for Ireland will object to the proposal embodied in the motion as a milk- and-water one, while those who are against it will certainly oppose it in the interests of peace. Either the difficulties under which Ireland labours, according to the honorable and learned member for Angas, mustbe very trivial, or the solution which he suggests is a very weak one. We knowthat the Imperial Parliament has, within a comparatively short time, agreed to a measure by which up to£100,000,000 may be advanced to enable tenants to buy their own holdings on easy terms, as well as , £12,000,000 by way of a bonus on the purchase price to induce landlords tosell. In this way, as well as by the passing of the Local Government Act, giving the Irish people free institutions in the shape of County Councils, the Imperial Parliament has done much to remedy the troubles which formerly existed in Ireland. Although the people of the North of Ireland are bitterly opposed to Home Rule, we areurged to step into the arena, and to ask that it be granted. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne said that we had a knowledge of the position of Ireland. Does he really think that that is so?
– If the honorable member had he would vote with us.
– I have compared the statements made by the mover of the motion and the honorable land learned member for Angas with those of prominent supporters of the movement in the old world, and have endeavoured to combat their arguments. I have no desire toseethe present struggle continued. No one: could wish to see one part of the Britishrace pitted against another, but I am satisfied that the proposal made by the honorable andlearned member for Northern Melbourne would not provide a solution of the difficulty. The people of the North, of Ireland say that they are opposed to Home Rule, because they believe it would lead to clerical interference in secular matters.
– The independent Orangemen, according to the London Times, say that to refuse to grant Home Rule is really to play into the hands of the priests.
– I do not know whether the honorable and learned member, when he speaks of “ the independent Orangemen,” wishes to suggest that I am nothingbetter than a base slave. I am just as freeas he is to act in this matter as my conscience dictates. As a matter of fact, anindependent Home Ruler would not talk- as he has done. In support of the contention of the people of the North of Ireland that Home Rule would lead to clerical interference in secular matters, I desire to point out that out of ninety-six meetings which were held under the auspices of the United Irish League, between the 21st of January and the 15th of February last, eighty -three were presided over by priests. At thirty of these meetings priests were speakers in favour of the resolutions submitted, while in fifty-six other cases they were supporters of die proposals. I think it is well for me to say at this stage that, in my opinion, a priest is just as much entitled as is any other elector in the community to exercise his civil rights, but it is somewhat singular that interference in secular matters on the part of one section of the clergy is described as “sectarian interference,” while such interference on the part of those on the other side is said to be only the due exercise of a civil right. I hold that priests and parsons are just as much entitled to exercise their civil rights as are any other class of men ; but the people of the North of Ireland have had so many evidences of interference on the part of the priests of the South of Ireland that they are strongly opposed to the granting of Home Rule. I have taken an extract from a speech made by a clerical gentleman, in order fo demonstrate to the honorable member for Southern Melbourne, who was at ene time an ecclesiastic-
– And is.
– I am glad to hear it. But for the honorable member’s statement I should not have known that he was still an ecclesiastic, so well has he succeeded in disguising that fact. The honorable member holds certain views in regard to this question, and I now wish to put before him a statement made by another ecclesiastic - the Rev. Father Casey - who is reported in the Limerick Leader to have made ‘this statement on 10th of June last -
They would secure Home Rule bv the aid of a fighting party in the House of Commons. He would as quickly advocate a physical force policy, but he saw no prospect of its success.
Surely I am not to understand that this reverend gentleman was not speaking the truth? And can it be said that the statement I have just read gives evidence of a feeling of friendliness towards England?
– It is the refusal of Home Rule for Ireland which makes statements of that sort possible.
– All that has been refused Ireland is Home Rule with separation. The Imperial Government have shown their readiness to give her every freedom except that incidental to separation. If Ireland were granted the measure of Home Rule that Australia and Canada enjoy, she would’ need a navy and an army. We should refuse to give them those powers.
– The Home Rule Bill which was accepted by Parnell had a provision against that.
– That was not the Home Rule Bill accepted by Mr. Redmond and other present-day supporters of the principle.
– They hope to secure a better one.
– And that better one is a Bill granting to Ireland a co-ordinate Parliament.
– The honorable member will find no responsible person advocating a co-ordinate Parliament.
– I have read extracts from statements made by John Dillon, John Devlin, John Redmond, and the United Irish League, which bear out my contention.’ According to the honorable and learned member, the United Irish League is not responsible for the utterances of John Redmond, but he himself must be held responsible for them.
– None of those authorities have supported or asked for a co-ordinate Parliament.
– I have shown that they ask for a separate- Parliament.
– Can the honorable member give a single instance in which a request for a co-ordinate Parliament has been made?
– In the speeches I haw just read such a request will be found.
– Let us hear it.
– I have already read speeches in which a demand was made for separation, and we know that the people of Ireland cannot) have separation without having full legislative and executive power.
– The honorable member ought not to play on terms. If he could cite an instance in which a request for a co-ordinate Parliament was made, I should like to hear it.
– It is somewhat remarkable that a lawyer should say to a layman, “ Do not play upon terms.” ‘
– The honorable member tan give the lawyers some points.
– To say the least, it is remarkable that a skilled lawyer should call upon an unoffending and innocent layman to refrain from playing upon terms. Let me give another illustration of the reason why the people of the North of Ireland fear the introduction of Home Rule. In 1868 Cardinal Moran, whilst private secretary to Cardinal Cullen, re-issued, as a meritorious and valuable work, Peter Lombard’s De Regno Hibernia, in which it is declared that-
The Irish hold themselves bound in allegiance to the Holy See as its subjects, not only in spirituals, but also in temporals.
That is the crux of the position. The people of the North of Ireland to-day believe that the South of Ireland responds to the sovereign powers of the Pontiff in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. I have nothing to do with any inquiry as to what a man’s religion may be. A man’s religious belief is a matter which rests between himself and his Creator, and I hold that any one who seeks to come between a man and his religion is guilty of nothing less than downright impudence. But I should like to say that I am an Orangeman, not because of the religious belief of any section of the community, but because I hold that those of the Roman Catholic faith owe allegiance to the Pontiff in matters temporal as well as spiritual. It is for this, among other reasons, that the people of the North of Ireland are opposed to Home Rule. The people of the north and south would, be able to form a happy, peaceful nation but for” clerical interference. The honorable member for Southern Melbourne had the privilege of being acquainted with a distinguished Orangeman in this country - the Marquis of Linlithgow ; but surely he d’d not find him anxious in any way to destroy the peace of the community? Although he was Governor-General of Australia, the present Marquis of Linlithgow - then .Earl of Hopetoun - did not think that it was dishonorable to belong to the Orange Lodge* and that body to-day has among its members some of the leading men in England and Ireland. They have joined that organization, not because they disagree with the religious beliefs of any particular section of the community, but because they fear that British sovereignty will be destroyed by clerical domination in
Ireland. They fear that, with the granting of Home Rule, the present clerical interference and domination would continue in Ireland.
– The honorable member says that the clerical domination would continue.
– The honorable and learned member knows that it has continued.
– It is as bad now as it would be in the event of Home Rule being granted.
– It is bad enough now.
– That may or may not be, but at the same time it would not be any worse under Home Rule.
– I wish now to refer ta a statement which appeared in a recent issue of the Freeman’s Journal. I have no complaint to, make against that publication. The conductors of it exercise their right as journalists to criticise my public actions in common with those of other public men, and in a recent issue they pointed out that when I made a certain interjection in the course of the ‘speech delivered by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, with reference to what’ happened in the days of the Irish Parliament, I should have been told that that was a Protestant Parliament. If I had made a statement of that character, I should have been accused of the basest and vilest sectarianism. If the excus’e for the conditions which existed during the eighteen years’ life of the Irish Parliament is that it was a Protestant Parliament, are we to take it that honorable members desire to see Ireland with a Roman Catholic Parliament? Does the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne; think that that would make for peaces’ Would it not rather make for civil war? Even the advocates of Home Rule, and Mr. Gladstone himself, have said that the Irish would fight it out, north against south. I admire the splendid command of language which the Irish possess when appealing on grounds of sentiment, and I wish to see the distresses of Ireland removed. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne says that the passing of this bald resolution will remove them, but I do not think that the true advocates of Home Rule will be content with this ‘ lavender-water style of dealing with the question. Even my comparatively cold nature would not accept advocacy of that kinds. Ireland’s cries have little foundation, if the passing of this motion will satisfy them. The honorable and learned member referred to Fox as in favour of Home Rule. I did not think that my memory had served me false, but to make sure, I looked up my history again, and I find that when Pitt proposed to amend the navigation laws to allow Ireland to share in the benefits of the colonial trade, Fox protested that it was an attempt to make Ireland the grand arbitress of all the commercial interests of the Empire, and forced Pitt to recede from his position, and to give a more English colour to the scheme. The troubles of Ireland commenced with the Government which Fox supported.
– Fox was always in opposition.
– Not when the troubles of Ireland started. When Pitt had given way in this matter, Fox turned round, and protested that if Ireland joined the Union, she would resign her legislative independence. That is the way in which this reliable friend of Ireland blew hot and cold on the subject. If any’ nation hasreason to complain of its friends, it is Ireland in this connexion. If I thought that the carrying of the motion would do good, I would support it ; but I think that, on the contrary, it would have the effect of accentuating the difficulty. If the only way of relieving Ireland’s distresses were to give her a Parliament, I would vote for giving her a Parliament with powers equal to our own. I am afraid, however, that if she possessed such powers, there would be a struggle between the north and south, and the history of Norway and Sweden shows how Parliaments in proximity - tend to disintegrate a country. Ireland is only a few hours distant from the seat of the Imperial Parliament. Sydney is further removed from the seat of the Commonwealth Government than is Dublin from London, and it might as well be argued that New South Wales suffers from her connexion with the Commonwealth, as that Ireland suffers from her connexion with the Empire.
– But New South Wales hai? a Parliament of its own.
– And Ireland has advanced municipal institutions. Furthermore, she receives as a special concession representation in the House of Commons altogether out of proportion to her population. On a population basis, she would have seventy-one representatives in the
House, whereas she has 103. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne in the Convention was strongly opposed to the granting of equal representation to the States, because he thought that representation should always be in accordance with population. There was no stronger advocate then of the democratic principle of representation on a population basis. But, although Scotland, Wales, and England have to be satisfied with such a representation, the honorable and learned gentleman thinks that Ireland has ground for complaint when she possesses a representation of thirty-two members more than her population entitles her to. The Irish question has caused a great deal of trouble in Imperial affairs. It was responsible for breaking up the Liberal party and forming the Liberal Union party, and drove from the Liberal ranks some of its greatest men. For years past it has led to the obscuring of other issues. But the more the Imperial Parliament does for Ireland, the more her people demand, and it is useless to shut our eyes to the fact that the Irish will not be satisfied until they get separation. They certainly will not be satisfied with the passing of this milk-and-water motion. In my opinion, the members of the Imperial Government are not fiends incarnate ; they are not men without sympathy ; nor are they unacquainted with the condition of Ireland. They know the condition of Ireland better than we can, and only two years ago the Imperial Parliament voted £112,000,000 for its amelioration, and granted a further extension of municipal government to Ireland. If, however, the Irish are given a Parliament of their own, the disintegration of the Empire will at once commence. I am thoroughly opposed to any such step being taken, and I think that the people of Australia as a whole are of the same mind. But, as the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne has suggested that because I am an Orangeman. I am not a free agent in this matter, I would again remind him that I am as free as he is free from the dictation of Archbishop Carr and the local Hibernian Society, and have as much right to express mv opinions on the subject. The honorable member for Coolgardie is of the religion of the bulk of the Irish people; but I am sure that he will admit that the relations between us have always been of the friendliest. I tell him that if he intends to excite the Orange movement in Australia, the carrying of this motion is likely to have that effect. ‘ My remarks have been made, in my judgment, in support of the best interests of the Empire and of Australia, and I have endeavoured to combat the arguments of the honorable and learned members for Angas and Northern Melbourne. I trust that the House will not shelve the motion, but that there will be a division upon it, when, irrespective of party considerations, it will probably be defeated.
Mr. RONALD (Southern Melbourne).I am very glad that the motion has been placed before this Parliament, and I wish to deal with what is the only argument worthy of consideration which has been submitted in opposition to it.
– Why was this motion taken out of the honorable member’s hands ?
– I will deal with that matter presently. Not one sound argument or good reason has been adduced against the granting of Home Rule -per se. The only argument advanced by the opposition worthy of serious consideration is the “hands off” or “no interference” argument. It has been contended that the Federal Parliament has no right to interfere in a matter which is not of immediate personal concern, and it has been pointed out that the members of the party to which I belong were against interference by Australia in connexion with the troubles in the Transvaal. I, and most of those who will vote for the motion, certainly preached the doctrine of “ non-interference,” or laissez faire, in connexion with events in the Transvaal, because at the time war -was raging there, and I thought that Australia should not be involved in a quarrel with which she was not concerned. But I hold that we may interfere in the interests of peace, so long as we approach the Imperial Government with due courtesy, and through the proper channel. We should not interfere to make_ war and strife. There is no parallel between the two cases. There is a reason for interference in this instance, but there was no (reason for interference in the former instance. With regard to our action in respect to the proposed importation of Chinese into the Transvaal, that was justified on the ground that we in Australia had experienced the evil effects of employing Chinese, which the people of England had not. We desire tq respectfully approach the Imperial Parliament, because we have had experience of Home Rule, and can therefore speak of its blessings, and advocate th’e application of the same principle to
Ireland. The honorable member for Dalley has pointed to the many beneficent Acts that have been passed by the British Parliament in order to remedy Irish grievances, and to the fact that they have not proved effective. I make bold to say that if Ireland; were granted the best laws in the world, and they were not homemade, they would be regarded as nothing more or less than coercive measures. Universal experience points to the fact that laws in order to have any efficacy, or any claim upon the loyalty of the people, must be home-made. Many good features have been introduced, into the land-laws of Ireland, which have in some respects been models of justice as between landlord and tenant; but because such laws were not made by the people themselves they have been regarded as coercive. In order to make people law-abiding, they must have the right to frame their own laws ; otherwise loyalty in the highest and best sense cannot be expected from them.
– Are not the Irish people represented in the British Parliament?
– Yes; but the honorable member must know that they are represented by a miserable minority. Whenever’ any question affecting Ireland is brought forward for discussion, the English majority - as distinct from the British majority - oppose everything that is advocated by the representatives of Ireland, thereby making null and void the Irish representation.
– That is a serious impu.tation on the fairness of the British Parliament.
– It is a matter of history. National prejudices cannot be eradicated. If there were opportunities for State prejudices to have full operation in this Chamber, they would outweigh all national considerations. That is one of the reasons why Irish national sentiment has not found full expression in the British Parliament. The English prejudice is represented by the peer, the parson, and the publican- the three great controlling elements in British politics which regulate the national sentiment of Great Britain.
– We know the great influence which the voting power of London has at general elections, and no greater forces than those of the peer, the parson, and the publican operate in the metropolis at such times. The honorable member for
Dalley said that Orangemen were advocates of the Union in the first instance. That is perfectly true. The Orangemen, with their usual jealousy and suspicion, at the beginning of the last century gravely suspected the reigning Monarch, and, still more;, the Heir-App’arent, of leanings towards Catholicism. They entered into a conspiracy to keep Queen Victoria from, the Throne, and to place upon it the Duke of Cumberland. These men, who now call themselves members of the Loyal Orange Lodge, and who have had the impudence to falsify history, and to call themselves loyal, are loyal only just so far as it may suit their purpose. There was, however, no loyalty about them at the time of which I have spoken, and the statement that disloyalty lurks behind this motion for the presentation of a petition to His Majesty comes with very bad grace from the party which was begotten in disloyalty, and which utters the parrot cry ‘ of “ God save the King “ merely to serve its own purposes. The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne said he hoped that if Home Rule were granted to Ireland we should hear no more of the objectionable sectarian element which was everlastingly cropping up in local politics. The honorable member for Dalley, 00 the other hand, stated that he “objected to a movement that would have that effect. I can quite understand that a certain type of politician would object to the disappearance of the sectarian issue, because* he lives by it, and if that issue were no longer present in Australian politics his trade would be gone. We desire, however, to eradicate this element, whose existence in our politics all decent men must deplore. Some remarks have been made with regard to the depopulation of Ireland, and I shall endeavour to point out the intimate connexion between the want of political liberty and the lack of interest on the part of the Irish people in the country of their birth. I should l(ike, however, to first draw attention to the distinction which exists between legislative union and Imperial union. I hold that the utmost devotion to the cause of Home Rule and legislative separation is quite compatible with the strongest attachment to Imperial union. It has been held by Gladstone, who was an Imperialist of the first order, that in the interests of Imperial union, legislative separation is absolutely indis pensable. Efforts to keep together in a legislative union people who are not fit to be ruled and governed by the same institutions promote dissension and that feeling of dissatisfaction which some men are tempted to call disloyalty. The most effective way of bringing about Imperial separation is by insisting, in certain circumstances, upon legislative union. On the other hand, the best way to make a lasting and true Imperial union is to grant legislative separation. The experience of the world proves that.
– It has been denied that legislative separation only is sought for.
– I contend that the best way in which the unity of the Empire can be promoted is by granting the fullest political liberty to all subjects of the King. We can furnish an example of this- in Australia. It is notorious that at one time the British Parliament desired us to separate from the Crown. They granted the fullest liberty of action in regard to the control of our army and- navy., and legislation generally, and the result was that we have clung all the more closely to the Imperial power. It is notorious that if an attempt be made to hold a people, they are repelled ; whereas if they are granted absolute liberty, they cling the more closely. When once legislative liberty is granted to any people they cling the closer to the central power. That is exactly what took place in Imperial Rome, which was, perhaps, one of the closest and most compact unions that the world has ever seen. It used to be a maxim amongst the Romans that they gave perfect autonomy in local and national affairs to the peoples whom they conquered. In this connexion I would commend to the notice of honorable members Cicero’s letters . to Atticus, as to how the Romans ruled their provinces. They gave to the people whom they conquered full liberty in regard to religion, marriage, and other concerns - liberty, indeed, in every shape and form. The Romans ruled their provinces by allowing the provinces to rule themselves. That is a secret which Imperial Britain has not yet discovered. The best way in which to bring about Imperial union is to grant legislative separation. Any man who chooses to seriously consider this great problem will find that the history of the world demonstrates the truth of my statement. Those who cavil at it are flying in the face of all history. I repeat that the surest way to Imperial union is through legislative separation. It has been stated that the Irish people have never preferred a unanimous request that they should be granted Home Rule. But I would ask, “ Have honorable members ever heard of any movement in any country upon which the people concerned were absolutely unanimous?” To my mind, the Irish Home Rule movement occupies a unique position in history, because it is the one movement which has commanded the support of an overwhelming majority of its people. The Province of Ulster has been trotted out as one which
V opposed to Home Rule. Is the honorable member for Dalley aware of the fact that Ulster has always returned a majority of Home Rulers to the British Parliament ? More than that, this so-called Protestant Ulster contains a majority of Roman Catholics. It is. a minority - a minority which makes up in noise what it lacks in numbers - that is opposed to Home Rule. A vast majority of the people in the North of Ireland are in favour of that movement, together with an overwhelming majority in the South of Ireland Reference is continually being made to the great battle which took place upon ist of July, 1690. The people who endeavour to keep alive the racial and religious animosity upon which they wish to divide the Irish population, always desire to make it appear that that battle was really a victory for Protestantism over Roman Catholicism. It cannot be too often reiterated that as many Roman Catholics as Protestants fought under the banner of William of Orange, and as many Protestants as Roman Catholics fought under the banner of James II. A change of dynasty was involved, and the question of religion had nothing whatever to do with the struggle. Scottish Protestants were the most enthusiastic Jacobites, vet the most Protestant of the Protestants. It was the mongrel breed of Protestants in Ulster who mixed religion and politics. Consequently the man who represents that battle as a triumph for Protestantism over Roman Catholicism is the veriest ass. I wish, under cover of this motion, to correct many of the absurdities which have crept into this Irish racial discord, which should never have been allowed to show its ugly head in Australia. It is a state of things which we all deplore, and which this Parliament should endeavour to suppress. If the passing of the motion will do anything to correct these misunderstandings, and to remove from our political arena the everlasting sectarian question, it will serve a very good purpose indeed. The honorable member for Dalley has attempted toshow that legislative separation would besure to be followed by Imperial separation. In this connexion he instanced the position of Norway and Sweden as analagous tothat of England and Ireland. .1 claim that there is absolutely no parallel between them. The conditions which obtain arediametrically opposite. The geographical’ position of Ireland, England, and Scotland’ is such that the idea of separation betweenIreland and England is absurd. Ireland” is absolutely united to Great Britain, and” the idea of separation would be the mostirrational that a sane man could entertain. Providence has ordained that these nationsshould be one, and it is only the stupidity and the malice of certain sections of the community that keep alive the bogy towhich I have referred. The statement has been made that it would be dangerous to grant legislative separation to Ireland, because it would inevitably lead to the destruction of Imperial” Britain. Mr. Parnell has been quoted as: saying that the Irish people would never be satisfied until the last link which bound’ them to Britain was severed. Oh, that everlasting link ! I have heard of it for the past twenty-five years. The slightest regard for the context of Mr. Parnell’s speech will show that he was referring only to a legislative link. What he desired to convey was that when the last link of political subserviency as between Ireland and Britain was severed, the Irish people would have realized their ideal. That is what we all say. From the beginning to the end of his speech Mr. Parnell was speaking of a legislative union and a legislative separation, with no reference whatever to an Imperial union or an Imperial separation. Noresponsible leader of the Irish party from Dan O’Connell down to the present time has made any ‘statement which ieuan be construed into a declaration in favour of separation. We all know that we cannot, accept the indiscreet utterances of a mem ber of the rank and file as an official pronouncement of the policy of a great party. I challenge.any opponent of Home Rule in this House to point to one statement by a responsible leader of the Irish party which can be interpreted as a declaration in favour of separation from Great Britain. One of the great movements of the- present day is the direction of Imperial Federation. I do not care for the word “Imperial,” but I like the word “Federation.” I believe that in a very short time one question which we shall have to discuss will be that of the desirability or otherwise of entering into an Anglo-Celtic Federation. When that time arrives we shall find that our Home Rule proposal is -a necessary preliminary to that great movement. We desire an Anglo-Celtic Federation - a union with America - which is bound to come.
– /The honorable member wishes to see the two peoples separate in order that they may unite?
– That is a most peculiar position to take up.
– I shall show that it is sl scientific attitude.
– The honorable member wishes Ireland and England, to go to. the National Divorce Court in order to be remarried ?
– That is really the situation. Let me take an illustration from chemistry. In chemistry there are two processes - the process of analysis, and that of synthesis. The chemist always breaks up and separates his chemical constituents in order to bring them together again, and secure a desired effect. And so in politics, two processes - the analytical and the synthetical - are always present. The analytical process is really the Home Rule stage, and the synthetical process is equivalent to the Federal stage. When a people speak of federating they have first of all to ascertain their legislative boundaries. That is the history, not only of the Dominion of Canada, but of the Grecian Federation, as well as of the Federation of Australia. It is indeed the history of every federation in the world. The breaking up process - the analysis - must be followed by the synthetical process. The people of Australia could not have federated until they had secured local autonomy ; and we can never have a true federation of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales until each pa.rt of the United Kingdom has been granted home rule. Once we pass through the analytical stage, we reach the synthetical process,, and if honorable members give the matter serious consideration they will find that every synthesis is preceded by analysis. From a legislative point of view, the analytical stage of Home Rule is sure to come. There can be no combination between the various nationalities of the British Empire until they have first secured! their local Parliaments. England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales/, [having once secured their ‘ local Parliaments, will be in a position to federate in the fullest sense of the word. But they must first of all separate, so to speak, for under -one Parliament there can never be a true union. The man who says that there exists a real union between Ireland and Great Britain at the present time must indeed be al dullard. As a matter of fact, there is no union; and this talk about separating that which is not united is really the height of absurdity. There is, and always has been, a paper union between Great Britain and Ireland ; but there has never been ai union of hearts. The proposal now before the House is really one to tear up the paper union in order to accomplish a union of interests and of hearts which will last for all time.
– Is that not possible under existing conditions?
– Then it will never exist.
– The honorable member surely does not claim to be a prophet. I might quote parallel after parallel in support of my contention, but there is absolutely no parallel or precedent in history for the honorable member’s proposition.. History teaches the great lesson that we have first to separate peoples in order to bring them into conformity-
– The honorable member contends that it is necessary to disrupt a united force in order to bring it into true unity.
– I have said that there must be a breaking-up process before a real union can be reached. The honorable member will find this fact illustrated in every department of politics. There must be an apparent separation - .a breaking-up - before we can have the synthesis, the combination, the genuine union. We have, first of all, to define the various rights of the several nationalities concerned. If a parallel be necessary, let me point to the position of our own States. If there had been no States Governments in existence in Australia when Federation was first proposed, with whom would the advocates of that proposal have had to deal ? . They could not have dealt with the people as a people.
We can deal with a people only through their Parliament, and the Parliaments of the States were the basis of our Union. So it is in the old land. Before we can hope to see a federation of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, each of those parts of the kingdom must have its own Parliament. It will be seen that my contention, that every true political union is preceded by a breaking-up process, is correct. It is only the stupid, shortsighted man who would speak of that breaking-up process as a separation.
– Then we are to break up and destroy the union.
– If the breaking up of an Empire would bring about a federation of all the peoples of the world, I should be prepared, if I could, to break up twenty unions on such grounds. Even the Empire itself might have to be sacrificed in the interest of the world’s peace. If we could see a reasonable prospect of a great AngloCeltic Federation by the dismemberment of the British Empire, dear though the Empire is to us, the sacrifice would be small compared with the gain in the interests of humanity.
– Then the desire of the Home Rule Party is to break up the British Empire?
– No such suggestion has been made. I have said that in the interests of a higher union - the federation of the world - I should be prepared to break up the Empire; but I certainly should not be prepared to see it broken up for any lesser union. The honorable member will recognise that in order to secure a union between Great Britain and the United States of America it would be necessary for the British people to part with their Imperial sentiment, while the Americans would have to part with their Republican sentiment; but if, between the two, we could arrive at a common basis of union, where the best of our Imperial sentiment and the best of the Republican sentiment of the Americans would be conserved, we should secure a higher and better type of federation. We should break up the two in order to make one great nation ; but neither the one nor the other would be sacrificed. I do not think there is any occasion to labour this question. We have stated.- in the terms of the motion, what is our desire, but I should like to reply to the base insinuation that the words in which we express our respect for His Majesty the King are not sincere. I have no doubt that the honorable member for
Dalley, who is associated with a society the members of which have drawn up many loyal addresses, perhaps with their tongues in their cheeks, imagines that we have framed this motion in the same way.
– I do not question the sincerity of the supporters of the motion.
– I am responsible for the terms of the motion to a greater extent than is any other honorable member, and I say, with all earnestness, that there is no one in the British Empire whom I esteem more highly for his liberal opinions, and his broad-minded sympathy with the people of various nationalities in the Empire, than King Edward VII. When the Home Rule movement was being carried on under the aegis of the great Gladstone. His Majesty - who was then Prince of Wales - gave his countenance and patronage to it. That is a well-known fact. He was anxious to do his very best for the Irish people in the interests of the Empire, and on ascending the Throne he availed himself of the very first opportunity to visit IrelandThat visit was not a mere rush across the Irish Channel and back again. It was undertaken by His Majesty with the full determination to show the people of Ire-‘ land that he was in sympathy with them, and understood their aspirations. He has; never insulted the people or flouted their cherished opinions on any political or religious question ; and it will always redound to his credit that he has done his best to bring about that union of hearts for which we are now striving. He has ever shown, himself a true Liberal - a man of broadminded sympathies for everything that is, pure, lowly, and of good report - and was the first of the Hanoverian House tobreak away from the prejudices of mere sectarianism that had characterised that House for very many years. I rejoice to think that the time is coming when every honorable member of this House will have an opportunity fo record his vote on this question. As the time allotted for private members’ business has almost expired, I beg leave to continue my remarks on a. future occasion.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
In Committee of Supply: (Considerationresumed from 30th August, vide page 17 13), on motion by Sir John Forrest -
That the item, “ President, £1,100, be agreed’ to.
– Before commencing my remarks on the Budget, I wish to congratulate the Committee on the presence in the Chamber of the AttorneyGeneral. .
– Where is the leader of the Opposition ?
– Only two sittings have been devoted to the consideration of the important subject of finance, but last night, on the motion of adjournment, the honorable member for Bland took it upon himself to inveigh strongly against what he termed the obstructive and “ stone-walling “ tactics of the Opposition. In my opinion, his remarks were quite uncalled for, because honorable members may discover for themselves.if they look through our records, that the work done by the House since the present Administration came into power has been as great as has been done in any similar period since the inauguration of Federation. The Ministerial’ statement has been discussed, a number of Bills have been brought up to their second-reading stage, and the Public Service classification, which might have been expected to occasion a fortnight’s debate, was disposed of in three days. It is one of the necessities of parliamentary government that every measure brought forward shall be thoroughly discussed, and if Ministerial supporters, for reasons of their own, choose to keep silent, the duty of the Opposition to inform the public mind on the proposals submitted becomes still more pressing, because, as a rule, the people absorb these various questions rather slowly. In contrast with the behaviour of the present Opposition during this session, I would direct attention to the conduct of certain members of the Labour Party last session, when that party was certainly guilty of wilful obstruction and out-and-out “ stonewalling.” The honorable member for Darling then, on one occasion, took four hours and thirty minutes to deliver a speech. He gave a resume of socialistic movements, which was afterwards published, and largely circulated throughout Australia. The honorable member for Gwydir made a speech extending over four hours and thirty-five minutes; the honorable member for Melbourne occupied more than three, and, I believe, nearly four hours. I remember an occasion in the State Parliament when he spoke for six hours, and would be speaking now, had not certain of his fellow-members removed the books on which he was relying. The honorable member for Canobolas spoke for four hours and twenty minutes, and then excused himself for not proceeding further, on the ground that he was rather tired through having travelled down from Sydney on the previous evening.
– What would the honorable member call a fair thing?
– If the honorable member were delivering one of his famous utterances at Port Melbourne, about two hours would be enough. As a rule, two and a half hours would be sufficient for Ministers on subjects of importance, though, on occasion, they might be permitted to exceed that limit. I congratulate the Treasurer on the example which he has set for future Treasurers, by following the tactics of the corner party, and adopting a minimum. He has established a minimum, below which none of his successors should be allowed to sink. One of the things which struck me in his speech was his remarkson the subject of immigration. He says that the Commonwealth should select immigrants, and bring them to Australia on terms to be arranged, and that the States should find holdings for them, and finance them through a land bank. He offered no new or striking suggestion for the’ development of the resources of the Commonwealth, nor did he speak” as though he were enunciating the policy of the Cabinet. I should, however, like to see this and future Governments do all they can to promote immigration and the settling of the people on the land. The right honorable gentleman made a great boast of what he had done in Western Australia bv giving applicants 160 acres on the Canadian plan, without cost. But I would remind him that what intending settlers require is land, and not sand.
– A good many thousands are settled on the sand that the honorable member speaks of.
– There is some good land in Western Australia.
– That is not the land which is being given away. The encouragement of settlement is surrounded with very many and great difficulties. It is difficult to obtain suitable immigrants, and it is equally difficult to make a satisfactory arrangement for bringing them here. The right honorable gentleman spoke of the great evil of centralization which exists in Australia, and it is the cause of another great evil towhich the Governments of the States should pay attention, the limitation and prevention of families, which now take place. In connexion with the opening up of the lands of Australia, the Federal Parliament has a great work to do in providing for the proper use of the waters of the Murray, so that large areas in the interior which are at present undeveloped may become fit for settlement. In this connexion, I should like to quote the following passage from the report of the Inter-State Royal Commission on the River Murray: -
The birth of the Commonwealth has brought onto existence a new authority, vested with powers which within certain limits are supreme. The introduction of this new, and, to some extent, controlling factor, made it more than ever necessary that the States interested in the disposal of 4he waters of the Murray basin, should come to some conclusion as to their respective rights and interests in the river and in works for the utilisation of its waters. Several successive years of drought, too, had made the residents in the Riverina district of New South Wales, keenly anxious for the realization of some of the projects for the irrigation of their lands, already so long under discussion. This anxiety found public expression in. March of this year, when an organization, called the Murray River Main Canal League, invited the Federal Premier, the Premiers of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, and other representative men, to a Conference at Corowa. At the Conference several resolutions were passed, the principal of. which are the following, : -
That the Governments of the Commonwealth and the States concerned be urged to- co-operate in preparing and carrying out a comprehensive scheme for the utilization of the waters of the River Murray, which, while improving the navigability of that river, will also provide for the imperative needs of the residents on both banks in the conservation and distribution of its waters.
That, owing to the urgent necessity for a scheme of water conservation for the Riverina, Northern Victoria, and South Australia, and as an instalment of a comprehensive scheme, the States of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia be asked to empower- the_ Federal Government to provide storage reservoirs on the Upper. Murray and a weir at Bungowannah, as proposed by Mr. McKinney, and indorsed by Colonel Home and Mr. McGregor such head works to be National..
That, contingent upon the above resolution being adopted by the Governments concerned,, this Conference recommends the public bodies interested to approach their respective Governments, and request that the distributing works, for utilizing the Upper Murray storages and Bungowannah weir, be commenced at such time- as will enable them to be completed concurrently with the head works named.
That, in the opinion of this Conference, the circumstances of Australia demand that all natural waters not already appropriated under legal sanction shall be declared public water, and made subject to a suitable system of law applicable to the whole of the Continent, and that the Commonwealth and State Governments be respectfully asked to consider such legislation as will provide for its regulation and disposal, in such manner as shall secure its fullest possible use in the interests of the whole of the people.
On going into this question further, we find that in the basins of the Murray and its tributaries the Murrumbidgee, Darling, and Lachlan there are 255,754 square miles of country, mostly consisting of delta land or alluvial areas, which could be utilized for the purposes of irrigation. At page 15 of the report we find a statement referring to all the matters previously mentioned, such as the overflow of the rivers, and the quantity of water running to waste. It is stated -
All this points to the necessity for storing largely of the winter flow to provide for dry years, and also to the need of accurate and complete records. To this end, the officers intrusted with, the measurements and observations should be expert surveyors and trained to the work.
Then at page 17 we find the following statement : -
So far there has been little development of irrigation in New South Wales ; although, at Havand at Wentworth, irrigation schemes were started some years ago, under the authority of Acts of Parliament. Some of the land at Hay is. not considered suitable for irrigation, the site, as’ a whole, not being so good as that at Mildura. But perhaps the chief reason the settlement has not been quite successful is that those who first took, up the land lacked experience. Regarding this, one witness said : - “ I consider the soil is adapted for irrigation, and I have confidence in the scheme if we only had practical men on the area, men who understood fruit culture and the growing of crops by applying water to the land. . . We have, found that land and’ water in themselves are not sufficient, that there is a proper method of putting water on, and that method has to be learned by experience.
That shows the, enormous; quantity Hoff water that is running to waste every year - water ‘which would be of very considerable value if it were properly applied to the land. On page 18 it is slated -
The estimated storage capacity of the proposed reservoir at Yass is about 18,000,000,000 cubic feet- This quantity of water would irrigate 275,482 acres to a depth of 18 inches, which would be sufficient to grow two crops of sorghum, or four of lucerne.
It is further mentioned -
Two-sevenths of the waste flow of the Murrum– bidg.ee would irrigate 2,203,856 acres of wheat. oats, or barley, to a depth of 4^ inches; which would, judging from my experience, give a return of forty bushels of wheat or sixty bushels of oats to the acre, worth, say, 2s. for the former and is. 4d. for the latter, or a gross return . of ^’8,815,424 in either instance.
At page 22 we find that the irrigable area in the basins of the Murray and its tributaries amounts to no less than 50,042,400 acres. That is an enormous area, and I feel quite sure that we have too long neglected the opportunities presented to us in connexion with this vast tract of country. It should be turned to profitable account, and be made to yield enormous wealth to the Commonwealth. At page 25 reference is made to some of the lessons to be learnt from the experience of other countries in irrigation. It is stated -
In the United States of America, on the other hand, in the arid western regions especially, irrigation has brought profitable- employment, provided abundance of nutritious food, comfort, and luxury for the masses; while it has also found a profitable field for the investment of capital, and for the operations of the merchant and financier. . . . Few areas on the world’s surface support so dense a population as the narrow strip of land lying along the banks of the Nile. On both sides of that river, for hundreds of miles above Cairo, the fringe of fertility is hemmed in by the desert, which in many places extends down to the river itself. For many centuries it has supported a total population of nearly five persons to each acre of cultivation ; a density which, if it could be extended to countries like Australia, where there are millions of acres of irrigable land, would bring about a social revolution of unimaginable magnitude.
I should like now to return to the statement that we have over 50,000,000 acres of land fit for irrigation. In Egypt the irrigable land supports five persons to the acre, and if we could make the irrigable land in the Murray basin support one person per acre we should be able to settle 50,000,000 people in the centre of Australia.
– That is not quite in the centre of Australia.
– No. The centre of Australia is an absolute desert ; a land of “ sin, sand, sorrow, and sore eyes,” through which the right honorable gentleman desired that we should run a railway.
– The honorable member’s knowledge of that country is not verv extensive.
– I have derived my knowledge largely from the reports of the right honorable gentleman, who has conducted more than one surveying expedition through that country, and who was very glad to get out of it alive.
– The country along the track of the proposed railway is not very bad.
– Water is very scarce there, and the country is practically valueless unless mineral discoveries are made. On page 35 of the report previously referred to, we find the following reference to the reports of surveyors with regard to the area of irrigable land in the- Murrumbidgee basin : -
Mr. Coberoft is of opinion that the present water supply is quite inadequate for the requirements of settlement, as the principal watercourses, the Billabong Creek, is generally a chain of water-holes. Mr. Broughton, district surveyor of Hay, states that 9,100,000 acres within his district will be affected by the proposed Murray and Murrumbidgee scheme, the whole of which is suitable for grazing. The best agricultural land issituated south of the line running westerly from Coree to Morago, and comprises an area of 300,000. acres-
Then we have the report of Mr. Kenyon, who says there would be no difficulty in providing at a reasonable cost for the irrigation of 2,000,000 acres in Victoria. That is the limit of the area that he thinks could be irrigated.
– Is that land uselesswithout irrigation?
– Yes, and if we could in any way assist to develop it, we should! confer a great benefit upon the Commonwealth. One of the means by which thisParliament could assist in this great work is by, at the earliest opportunity, arranging; for the construction of large storage reservoirs on the Murray, and for the locking of that river. Of course, we have not a great deal of money to spend in that direction at present, but we could commenceby constructing a few locks and increase the number as time went on. We could’ also make a beginning with the storage of the waters that are now running to waste. At page 54, reference is made to the proposed Cumberoona reservoir on the Upper Murray, as follows :-
That, as the proposed Cumberoona Reservoir,, on the Upper Murray, if constructed of a capacity of 25,367,000,000 cubic feet, will be capable, inconjunction with the natural discharge of the tributaries between the site of the dam and the gauging station at Albury, of so regulating the river as to insure a practically uniform discharge of 180,000 cubic feet per minute below the affluence of the Kiewa ; the volumes so regulated shall belong in equal shares to New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, conditionally upon, these States bearing equal shares of the cost 0t the reservoir-
I think I am perfectly justified in directing attention to this matter, which comes within the purview of the Federal Parliament, and to the opportunities which are presented to us for rendering valuable assistance in the work of developing our territory. It is desirable that the settlement of the land in all the States should be promoted as much as possible. In Victoria, we have large areas of land of very poor quality which, however, are being opened up by the Government through the agency of experimental farms. There must be similar areas in every other State which could be opened up by means of scientific farming, and the Federal Government could afterwards launch a grand scheme of irrigation, or of decentralization, with the idea of inducing people to leave the cities and settle on the soil. In certain parts of Victoria, notably in the Beech Forest and the Heytesbury Forest, we have large numbers of settlers who are doing the finest possible work, and who are really the backbone of the country. These men, who are opening up the land, deserve every consideration. Although we cannot assist these people in many directions, we can render them some aid by providing them with facilities for frequent deliveries of letters, newspapers, and literature, so that they mav educate themselves and their children.
– But we never consider the men in the back-blocks.
– We ought to give these men constant consideration, because thev are the backbone of the community. I should like to draw attention to a paragraph which appeared recently in the Herald, in regard to a letter which has been forwarded by the Victorian Agent-General, Mr. Taverner, to the Premier of this1 State, asking if the Government would set apart 1,000 acres of good land for twenty families who would be sent out by the Tunbridge Wells Colonizing Society. That communication shows that the Agents- General are endeavouring to obtain the best men possible to place upon Australian soil. These are the people whom we wish to establish upon farms of their own, and if the Government render the Agents-General of the States any assistance in that direction they will be performing a great and very useful work. At the present moment, there seems to be no disposition on the part of the States to relinquish this work, and until they enter into some arrangement :with the Commonwealth, I think that it would be very unwise for us to appoint a High Commissioner. When that appointment is made, 1 trust that the person chosen for the office will toe a thoroughly practical man, who can impart reliable information to the people at Home as to the conditions which obtain here. Whether rightly or wrongly, it is a fact that the operation of certain sections in the Immigration Restriction Act is doing great harm to this country in the old world. This Parliament should do all that it can to remove the prejudice which exists in the mother country against Australia. We wish to give every encouragement to people in the old country to immigrate to Australia. For my own part, I should like to see the contract labour section excised from the statute to which I refer. There can be no doubt that in some instances, through the indiscretion of officers, that Act has been administered in such a way that people arriving in Australia have experienced a very bad time. These little indiscretions have increased the feeling of irritation which existed in England against us. I agree with the objects of that legislation, so far as they relate to the prevention of the importation of bodies of men in times of industrial trouble. That contingency, however, is already sufficiently provided for. I should like to see the Government and the members of the Labour Party prepared to welcome some of the poorer classes from the old land who are at present living under most unsatisfactory conditions. During the delivery of his Budget, the Treasurer made one statement, to which I wish to direct attention. He said -
We have often heard that Queensland has lost an immense sum of money owing to the operation of the Commonwealth Tariff. But the people of Queensland have in their pockets the money which is said to have been lost.
That is a strange statement to emanate from the Treasurer of a protectionist Administration.
– Does the honorable member find fault with it?
– I merely call attention to the fact that the right honorable gentleman made that statement, which is a queer one to come from the Treasurer of a protectionist Government.
– I made it; there is no doubt about that.
– Another matter of considerable importance to us is that of the expenditure upon our Naval and Military
Forces. The Treasurer, during the course of his speech, made reference to the Naval Agreement which has been concluded with the Imperial Admiralty; but we have had such excellent speeches upon the question from the honorable member for Wentworth and the honorable and learned member for Corinella, that I do not propose to traverse the ground which they have already covered. I may be permitted to say, however, that the contribution which we make to the Imperial Government under the naval agreement is, in my judgment, wholly inadequate. I have no sympathy with the idea entertained by some ‘honorable members that we should establish an Australian Navy. Such a navy would be absolutely valueless if any great power were to attack us. I hope that the Government will proceed with the works outlined by the honorable and learned member for Corinella, in order that the scheme for the proper equipment of our land forces may be completed. Another important question which was touched upon by the Treasurer was that of the Braddon section of our Constitution. He said -
I do not see that much good can result to the States by extending the duration of the Braddon provision. It may restrict the spending powers of this Parliament, but I cannot imagine that we shall do anything to injure the people of the States. They are our constituents, and to injure them would be to injure ourselves. This Parliament will neither injure nor ignore the people of the States.
The right honorable gentleman seems to have completely changed the opinions which he formerly entertained in this connexion.
– Did I ever say anything different?
– I believe so.
– That is quite enough. The honorable member “ believes so.
– Does the right honorable gentleman deny that he has previously expressed himself in favour of the retention of ,the Braddon section ? Did he not say that it was one of the best provisions con-, tained in the Constitution? It may be that the framers of that charter of government foresaw that some day the right honorable gentleman would fill the position of Treasurer of the Commonwealth, and thought it necessary to restrict his spending powers, and to impose a check upon any tendency which he might have towards extravagance. I am glad to know that all the States are giving attention to the Braddon section, and I hope that as the result of their united action, the operation of that provision will be extended. In this connexion, I should like to draw attention to the opinion expressed upon- page 827 of Quick and Garran’s Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth -
The amount of Federal Expenditure. - The chief influence of the section will undoubtedly be in the direction of ensuring economy of Federal expenditure. The. Federal Parliament will be subject to two opposite forces; the national impulse which will tend towards enlarging the scope of Federal operations, and, therefore, of Federal expenditure ; and the restraining influence of the States, and of their representatives in the Federal Parliament, which will make for limiting Federal expenditure so as to ensure an adequate subsidy to the States. The chief merit of the Braddon clause is that it fixes the maximum ratio of Federal to provincial expenditure, and thus checks, during the early years of Federation, any attempt at an undue encroachment of the Federal power. If the vast revenues of the Commonwealth were entirely at its disposal, subject only to such political pressure as the States could bring to bear, there might be a serious temptation to Federal extravagance, and a serious risk of the diminution of the State revenues.
That is a very important statement, and one which should be laid to heart by evenmember of this Parliament.
– I was one of those who was instrumental in getting the Braddon provision inserted.
– Yet the right honorable gentleman, at the dictation of the Labour Party. is one of the first to run away from it.
– I have never said so.
– I can only refer the Treasurer to his own words. If he does not believe in them, he should withdraw them. I now come to the receipts of the Commonwealth from Customs and Excise. In 1904-5 the actual revenue received from this source was ^8.799^.530; and the amount which it is estimated will be received during the current year is ^8,683,000 - a decrease as compared with the receipts for last year, which in themselves fell below the estimated revenue by ^180,470. This is a very serious matter to each of the States, and it is most important, therefore, that the Braddon section should be retained. The estimated amount of the deficit, compared with the receipts for 1904-5, is ^72,710. It is satisfactory to note that the income from the Post Office has increased, and promises to still further increase during the current year. But when we come to analyze the Customs revenue, we find that the returns obtained from the majority of the items in the Tariff show a serious deficiency so far as most of the States are concerned. In Victoria there has been an increase in the revenue derived from apparel and textiles, oils, paints, &c, drugs and chemicals, wood, wicker work and cane, jewellery, leather, paper and stationery, and vehicles. All the other items, however, show a falling off of revenue. The estimated sugar Customs receipts in Victoria for 1905-6, as compared with the returns for 1902-3, show a decrease of ^216,491, whilst the estimated sugar Excise returns show an increase of £.133,285, or a net deficiency on the two items of ,£83,206. This diminution of revenue must have been due to one of two causes. Either it has been brought about by a slackness in trade, or by an increase in our local manufactures. I think we may set aside the suggestion that this diminution of imports is attributable to slackness of trade, for we know that there was a very satisfactory increase in the manufactures of Victoria in 1904 as compared with the output for the previous year. I have here a statement from the Age, giving the official statistics relating to Victorian factories. It sets forth that - -
The Government statist has Issued summaries of the manufacturing returns of the State for the year 1904- These show that the number of factories was 4,208 - an increase of fifty-seven on the previous year. The hands employed numbered 50,554 males and 25,733 females - increases of 1,120 and 1,938 respectively. The amount paid in wages was ^4,794,365, an increase of ^220,570. The value of machinery, plant, lands, and buildings was ^3,668,185, as against ^2,978,841 in 1903.
The article goes on to point out that -
Proper comparisons with years prior to 1903 cannot be made, on account of the new classification adopted by the statists in that year.
These figures show that there has been a vary satisfactory increase in Victorian manufactures. When we examine the details we find that the number of hands employed in the following industries has increased: - Soap and candle making, cement making, glass bevelling, mantelpiece making, wood carving, turnery, agricultural implement making, engineering^ boilermaking, iron foundries, sheet iron and tin works (including japanning), brass and copper works, smithing, &c, biscuit and confectionery making, coffee, cocoa, spice, &c. works, tobacco and cigar factories, woollen mills, hat and cap factories, boot and shoe manufactories, coach and carriage factories, and chemical, leather ware, and rubber works..
– What is the meaning of the increase in rubber goods?
– I am informed by the honorable member for Oxley that it is due to an increase in the output of mackintoshes. The official statistics also show that there has been a diminution in the number of hands employed in the following trades : - Glass bottle and asbestos works, wire works, and jam, pickle, sauce and vinegar works. I would draw particular attention to the decrease which has taken place in the number of hands employed in jam. factories, because we have been told that the present price of sugar is hampering the industry. This has an important bearing on the question of the sugar bounty, and it doubtless accounts for the diminution in the number of hands engaged in the industry. There has also been a decrease in the number of hands employed in the following lines : - Cabinet making, including billiard table manufacturing, and brush and broom manufactories. I believe, . although I am not quite sure, that the brush and broom making industry has been removed to a large extent from Victoria to Tasmania.
– A portion of it has.
– That will account for the falling off in the number of hands en- gaged in the industry in Victoria. What has been Victoria’s loss has been Tasmania’s gain. The Age also draws attention to another important fact to which honorable members should give consideration.
– Why? Because it appears in the Age?
– Not necessarily j but we should not despise information of this kind simply because it is given by that journal. It is pointed out by the Age that the most striking increase is in connexion with the implement factories, and that the wages paid in that industry in 1904, as compared’ with 1903, show an advance of £51,348. Another notable increase, showing that we are able to turn out goods that compare favorably with those manufactured in other parts of the world is that relating to the number of hands and wages paid in the boot and shoe trade. I come now to the . important question of the sugar bounty. In the course of his Budget statement, the Treasurer informed us that the Government proposed to continue the sugar bounty, and also the excise duty on sugar, for five years.
– Is the honorable member one of the ten-year men?
– I rather doubt the wisdom of continuing the present bounty for a further term of live years. As most honorable members :are aware, the attitude which I take up in regard to ‘the policy of a White Australia is that we should have a white-owned Australia; but I feel that it is only fair to all concerned that, having entered upon a policy of a White Australia, we should give it as fair a trial as possible. I am prepared to follow the Government to this extent : that I would continue the existing sugar bounty for two years, and at the end of that time would allow it to gradually disappear by means of a sliding scale.
– The honorable member desires the bounty to begin to disappear almost at once.
– Two years after the expiration of the period fixed by the Act. That “would allow of the bounty disappearing altogether by means of a sliding scale extending over a further period of three years.
– Would it not be better to continue the bounty as at present for five years, and then to allow it to be gradually abolished by a sliding scale extending over three years?
– This question has a very serious bearing on those engaged in fruitgrowing in the cooler parts of Australia, as well as upon our jam manufacturers. It is proposed by the Government to expend £146,000 during the current year by way of bounty on white-grown sugar, but this does not represent anything like the actual loss which the several States will sustain. In addition to that sum, they must suffer considerable loss in the shape of a decreased revenue from the sugar duties. In this connexion I desire to draw attention to two leading articles, which, in my opinion, should be carefully perused, for they practically represent both sides of the question, and are exceedingly valuable contributions to this question. The first of these was published in the Argus of 22nd instant. It was pointed out in this article that -
So far from the growers having been strengthened in their position so as to live without it, they one and all declare that the continuance of the industry depends upon a renewal of the bonus. They cannot, they assert, produce sugar by white labour with anything less than ^5 per ton protection.
– They are all alike; they are not prepared to give up the bonus.
– The Argus points out that -
The subject is a most important one from several points of view, and more particularly in respect to revenue. The consumption of sugar in Australia is, roughly speaking, 180,000 tons a year, and the position with regard to revenue may be indicated thus : -
It will thus be seen that in the first year of Federation revenue to a large amount was sacrificed in order to protect the industry on the then basis of Australian production ; but since then an additional ,£100,000 a year has been sacrificed in order to stimulate the growing of sugar by white labour, whilst, if this process becomes ultimately successful, and all sugar required by Australia be grown by white labour, we shall only receive a revenue of ^180,000. It may be thought that the consumer gets the benefit of a reduction of price by using the Australian-grown sugar, but that is not the case, for he at present pays the same price for all sugar, whether it be imported, whether it be grown by black labour in Australia, or whether it be grown by white labour in Australia, though the revenue obtains respectively £6, £3, and £1.
The statistics I have quoted show that the quantity of sugar produced by black labour in Australia is not diminishing.
– Why does not the honorable member say, in all fairness, that the quantity produced by white labour has in-, creased ?
– I have no desire to be unfair. The quantity of sugar grown by white labour has undoubtedly increased, but the quantity grown by black labour has also advanced, and -pro rata the increase of black-grown sugar is the larger of the two. To continue my quotation -
The additional protection of £2 per ton to sugar grown by white labour has, up to the present, had no effect in reducing the quantity of sugar grown by ‘black labour - quite the contrary. It has, however, largely stimulated the growth of sugar by white labour in parts of the Continent less suited to sugar production. Thus the production of white-grown sugar in Queensland was in 1902 12,000 tons, in 1903 24,000 tons, and in 1904 31,000 tons.
– It should be 39,000 tons.
– I thank the right honorable gentleman for his correction.
As to New South Wales, Sir George Turner, in his last Budget speech, said : - “ New South Wales has undoubtedly received a very large benefit from the sugar rebate, because before Federation they were growing nearly all their sugar by the aid of white labour; consequently the bonus has been a little godsend to them.”
Quite true. A little godsend to the extent of £114,000 in three years for doing exactly what they were doing before. Alongside the sugar farms in New South Wales and Southern Queensland are dairy farms, carried on with white labour to the great profit of their owners and the community, and receiving not one penny of either bonus or protection from the Commonwealth. Contrasted with the tenderness to sugar-growers is the treatment of the fruit-growers of Victoria and Tasmania. They are heavily burdened in order that the sugar-growers may be coddled. They have to carry on their industry, contribute largely to the revenue, and afterwards make a profit if they can. But the sugar-growers are paid large bounties to keep them in an unprofitable industry, and prevent them taking up a profitable one.
There is a great danger that this attempt to grow sugar under hot-house conditions, by paying bounties for its production, may lead to the substitution for the kanaka - who is a good man for the work, and can be, and has been, properly regulated - of Chinamen and Hindoos, who are much less desirable. A great many farms in Northern Queensland are now being worked by, or are coming into the possession of, Chinamen. A conference of sugar-growers of Northern Queensland, whose discussions I have studied, by no means minimizes this great danger.
– Black sugar-growers or white sugar-growers ?
– I am referring to a conference of white sugar-growers.
– I do not think that they are crying “ stinking fish “ about the bounty.
– No; but many of them say that white men cannot work upon the cane fields, although others are of a contrary opinion.
– Does not the honorable member consider that a man of his race could do any work which a black man could do?
– Certain parts of the globe seem to have been set aside by the Creator for black men.
– Queensland is not one of them.
– From the information which I have gathered, there are parts of Queensland where it is possible for white men to act as supervisors, but where they cannot be asked to go into the cane-fields to do the trashing.
– Then why did not the Almighty place black men there for the purpose ?
– There are black men in abundance in Northern Queensland, in the aboriginal population.
– I mean black men of the race who ha,ve been employed to do this work.
– The honorable member is ridiculous. In the belt between .the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn the aboriginal inhabitants are all black men.
– Were there not black men in Victoria originally ?
– Yes. I did pot say that there were no black men outside that belt; but there were originally only Black men inside it. If we look at this matter from the commercial stand-point-
– It is from the humanitarian, not the commercial, stand-point that we are looking at it.
– I wish to see Australia developed on commercial principles, and to see white men earning a comfortable living. A white man trashing in a cane-field in Northern Queensland would not be earning a comfortable living. I wish now to draw attention to some statements in an article which appears in to-day’s Age. In that journal Mr. Swayne, of Mackay, is reported to have stated at the recent conference of sugar-growers that -
It is quite within the bounds of possibility for Australia to produce annually 1,000,000 tons of sugar, of which 800,000 tons would have to find markets abroad.
This would involve the assistance, of coloured labour to the extent of 35,000, an estimate which the writer of the article regards as so exaggerated as to be unworthy of consideration. The article continues -
It may be taken for granted that the production of sugar from cane is established and has become essentially a genuine Australian industry.
I hope that that is the case, and that Australia will shortly meet, and continue to meet, her own sugar requirements. The industry, however, should be carried out under the conditions which will most benefit Australia, and these are the best economic conditions. It is pointed out that the cutting of the cane involves the greatest amount of trouble, and that north of the Burdekin the supply of labour is wholly insufficient. It is suggested that gangs of white labourers might travel from farm to farm, as shearers travel from station to station, going from north to south as the season advances. . A statement of considerable importance is this - 4,491,407 gallons of molasses was obtained. The distribution of the latter is interesting, and as it indicates that cane-growing has an indirect influence in various directions, it may be well to give some particulars. According to the official reports 66,300 gallons of molasses went in 1904 to the distilleries; 491,500 gallons was sold, chiefly for the production of treacle and golden syrup ; 600,415 gallons was used for stock feeding purposes; 201,600 gallons was burnt as fuel in the furnaces; 29,200 gallons was taken for manuring purposes; 797,653 gallons was held in store, and 2,304,738 gallons was allowed to run to waste.
This statement is well worthy of the consideration of the representatives of country districts. It seems to me that it should be possible, by mixing this waste molasses with foodstuff, to make a cake for the feeding of animals in times of drought, because, as is well known, molasses mixed with fodder makes a very good food for stock when pasture is not available. The Age says very wisely that the fact that so much molasses is going to waste suggests want of enterprise. Most great fortunes in recent years have been made by the utilization of waste products, and here we have a waste product which would not only provide a good food for the poorer classes, but which might, if mixed with other foodstuffs, make a valuable fodder. The suggestion that the expansion ,of the sugar industry is likely to be largely confined to what may’ be called the temperate districts claims special attention. If that occurs, it will be a sad thing for Australia, because the temperate districts have always been devoted to other purposes. The tropical areas of Northern Queensland are. said to comprise ‘the richest land in that State.
– The temperature there does not fall below 35 deg. or 36 deg., and, therefore, the settlers are not troubled with frost.
– The settlers there have the advantage, both in fertility of soil and in climate. I desire to direct the attention of honorable members to another matter which is referred to in the same article. It is one which seriously affects the industries in which sugar is used. It is stated -
What makes sugar dear in Australia is the big profits obtained by the refinery. As a fact the whole of the Australian and New Zealand markets are under the control of a single company. The organization is so strongly entrenched that it not only fixes the price at which it will sell sugar, but also deals with the grower in the same manner, by deciding the price of the cane, juice, or raw sugar. This is an in tolerable state of affairs, and demands the attention of the Federal Parliament. The huge profits disclosed in the published balance-sheets of the. Colonial Sugar Company show where the money goes. If anything is to be done to place the Australian sugar-growing industry on a sounder footing, the first step must be to break down this monopolistic organization.
We have others besides the sugargrowers and the Colonial Sugar Company to consider in connexion with this matter, namely, the consumers, for whom the position becomes very serious, when a monopolistic company is able to keep up the price of sugar in the way that it is now being maintained. The Age recognises that some means should be found for the establishment of refineries, which would compete with the Colonial Sugar Company, and I suggest that a portion of the money, which is now allotted to the payment of bonuses, should be devoted to assisting in the establishment of co-operative refineries. In the early days of the dairying industry in Victoria, the Government assisted very materially towards its development, by means of a bonus, and now the production of butter is one of the greatest industries in that State - in fact, it has been the saviour of Victoria. I do not see why we should not. with the assistance of a bonus, succeed in establishing co-operative refineries, because the principle of co-operation amongst farmers has been successfully adopted in the past, and there is room for its further application to other branches of the agricultural industry. I would earnestly commend the articles, from which I have quoted, to the consideration of honorable members who are interested in the sugar industry. A matter of considerable importance is referred to at page 40 of the Budget papers. I find that the defences of Thursday Island in 1904-5 involved an expenditure of £1 2^049, which was borne by Victoria. New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia; neither Tasmania nor South Australia contributing anything. Then, again, the expenditure upon the defences at King George’s Sound amounted in 1904-5 to £4,842, and it is estimated that in 1905-6, the outlay will be .£5.104. This expenditure is contributed to by New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia, Tasmania again contributing nothing.
– Western Australia contributes one-fourth of the amount payable in regard to the defences at King George’s Sound.
– Yes ; and that State also contributes towards the cost of maintaining the defences at Thursday Island. At page 45 of the Budget papers, various items of new expenditure are dealt with. I find that in the Department of External Affairs and the Attorney-General’s Department, increases have taken place; that in the Home Affairs Department the expenditure has risen from .£34,804 to £42,1.36; that there was an increase in the Department of Trade and Customs, a decrease in the Defence Department, an increase in the Postmaster-General’s Department, and a slight increase in one or two other smaller items. I think we should watch this new expenditure very closely, in order that we may prevent, so far as possible, any further serious diminution of the amount returnable to the States.
– The Treasurer says that he is economical, and that everything is all right.
– I hope that the right honorable gentleman will, at the end of his term of office, which I hope is not far distant, be able to show us that the statements about his extravagant ideas are without foundation. At page 55 of the Budget papers, we find figures which show that there has been a very serious diminution in the amount returnable to the States, and that, according to the Estimates for the current year, there will be a further fallingoff, as compared with last year, of £S5h92°- At page 82 of the’ Budget papers, a table is printed, showing the amounts of deposits and of coin and bullion held by the banks of issue in Australia. In 1904 the deposits amounted to £90,000,000, and in 1905 to £96,000,000. That is a very satisfactory increase, and I think that we may congratulate ourselves on the fact that trade continues to show an improvement. The coin and bullion -held amounted to £21,490,355. That is also very satisfactory. The honorable member for Kooyong reminds me that it is not a good sign when -money is being, locked up in the banks. It is satisfactory to have the money to look up, although perhaps it would be preferable to see it invested in profitable enterprise.
– The amount of coin and bullion is not excessive.
– No; I think it is very satisfactory. Table C, on page 83. shows that the deposits in the savings banks are on the increase, and that the number of depositors is also larger than formerly.
In 1904 there were 1,100,422 depositors,, and that indicates that our workmen are continuing to save their money, and that the number of those who are able to put by some portion of their earnings is increasing.
– Are the legs of the table solid ?
– I think, when we find that the deposits amount to £34,658,430, we may consider that the legs of the table are very solid indeed.
– There is nothing to equal it in the world.
– It is very satisfactory indeed, and we may congratulate ourselves upon the fact. From page 84 of the Budget papers I learn the acreage which was under cultivation in Australia between the years 1900-1 and 1904-5. This information is contained in table G, which shows that last year the total area under cultivation in the Commonwealth was 11,923,667 acres. I have already shown that along the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Darling Rivers, in the centre of Australia, there is another 50,000,000 acres, which is suitable for intense culture, and that in Australia we have room for a population1’ of more than- 60,000,000. Table J sets out the quantity and value of the butter exported from Australia between 1899 and 1904. This is a matter in which Victoria is especially interested. From the official figures, I find that, whereas in 1903, 32,1.24,709 lbs. of butter were exported, in the following year the quantity had increased to 64,807,962 lbs. of a total value of £2,461,450, which is the highest upon record. In this connexion I maintain, that many of the areas which are at present being utilized in New South Walesfor the cultivation of sugar-cane could be profitably used by white labour to increase the output of butter.
– But sugar-cane pays better than does butter.
– Whilst the sugarplanters are. receiving a bonus it does. But in the absence of any -exotic conditions, the butter industry would amply repay those who cared to embark upon it. Uponpage 89 of the Budget papers appears a table relating to preferential trade.
– This is the speech whichthe Treasurer should have delivered.
– The Treasurer laid” certain papers connected with the Budget upon the table, of the House, and I ans endeavouring for the information of honorable members and the country generally to show that certain matters in those papers are of extreme importance tothe people from a financial stand-point. Because the Treasurer failed in this respect-
– I did not fail. If the honorable member will look at page 1220 of Hansard he will find all that information.
– I desire to show the comparative trade which the Commonwealth did with the United Kingdom, with British Possessions, and with foreign countries between 1901 and 1904. From the official statistics I find that in 1903 the proportion of the total trade which we did was with the United Kingdom 46
31, with British possessions 2380, and with foreign countries 28
89. During 1904 the proportion of our total trade with foreign countries had decreased to 2615. Coming to the question of preferential trade, which, I hope, will be developed during the next few years by a Colonial Conference upon the matter-
– Why wait for a few years ?
– Australia is perfectly -willing to enter into a Conference at the present moment.
– Why does not Australia grant a preference to the goods of the mother country immediately, just as Canada has done?
– I should be perfectly prepared to do that. It is extremely important that we should do as much trade as possible with the Empire. At the same time we should approach the consideration of this question in a business-like way.
– Pull down the Tariff wall.
– Thereis no need to pull down any Tariff wall, because it is merely a question of entering into reciprocal arrangements with the old country. I wish now to direct the attention of honorable members to the fact - as will be seen by reference to page 90 of the Budget papers - that whereas in 1903 the imports into Australia from the United States were £6,368,552, in the following year they had diminished to£4,591,945. In 1903 the exports from Australia to the. United States were valued at . £2,625,399, but the next year they had decreased to £2,228,843. I should have thought that the quantity of wool exported from the Commonwealth would have increased the value of our exports to that country rather than have diminished it, but the figures are against my supposition. Our imports from Japan in 1903 were valued at £330,121, and in 1904 they had increased to£421,153. 1903 we exported to Japan £115,992 worth of goods, and in the following year the amount had increased to £581,214. No doubt that increase was largely due to the war which has just terminated. These figures show that if we will only treat the ally of the Empire in a proper manner, we can do a very large reciprocal trade with her. The rise of Japan amongst the great powers of the world has been a phenomenal one, and it behoves us to do all that we can to foster trade with that country. According to table V. of the Budget papers, Australia has only 1,017,652 pigs, whereas Canada possesses 2,353,838. It will thus be seen that we are weak in pigs. This is a matter of very considerable importance, because I hold that there is a great future for the Australian farmer in pig raising and pork packing. I should like honorable members to recollect the letter of an American merchant to his son, in which he stated that one of the best ways in whicha farmer could carry his grain to market was to let it walk there. I wish to impress on our farmers the extreme value of that wonderful rent-paying quadruped, the pig. I, have gone carefully through the Budget papers, and have endeavoured to direct attention to various matters which I regard as important. Unfortunately we have a declining revenue and an increasing expenditure. Whilst we should develop the resources of Australia in every possible way, we should always have a due regard to economy, and though I do not suggest that we should be niggardly in our grants, I would urge upon the Treasurer the necessity of keeping a. strict eye on the finances, if only for the sake of the States in the Union, which have comparatively small populations.
– I do not propose to detain the Committee very long. There are,however, one or two matters connected with the Budget which so vitally affect Tasmania - one of them particularly affecting mv own electorate - that I should be failing in mv duty if I did not deal with them now. The question to which I wish chiefly to direct attention has reference to the sugar bounty. So far as Tasmania is concerned, that is unquestionably the most important item with which the Treasurer dealt in his Budget statement. I have no prejudice against the State of Queensland, or the sugar industry as such, but the position which the people of Tasmania take up is that, whilst the Commonwealth Parliament is seeking to foster one industry, it must be careful that in doing so it does not crush out of existence another of far greater importance to that State, and one which, I venture to say, is equal in importance to the Commonwealth with the sugar industry.
– Does the honorable member know that Queensland has taken £23,000 worth of jam from Tasmania during the last twelve months?
– Let me remind the honorable member of the effect which the sugar bounty and the duties on sugar have had on the jam manufactures of Queensland. To-day there is not one jam manufactory in Queensland, whereas prior to Federationthere were over a dozen. They have been crushed out of existence by the sugar tariff.
– How does the honorable member justify that statement?
– It is supported by the evidence given before the Tariff Commission at Hobart a few days ago. Honorable members will find that, whereas before the imposition of the Commonwealth Tariff Queensland was annually manufacturing 50,000 cases of jam from pulp sent chiefly from Tasmania - a small quantity also being imported from Victoria - she has now no jam manufactories. The reason for this change is that, whereas the jam manufacturers of Queensland, prior to Federation, could obtain sugar at £9 per ton,they would now be required to pay nearly , £20 per ton for it.
– Has not the price of sugar increased all over the world?
– That is so. But the market value of sugar in Australia today is the world’s market value, plus a duty of £6 per ton.
– But Tasmania is now sending more jam to Queensland than she did prior to Federation?
– That is correct.
– And the competition of Tasmanian manufacturers has interfered with the Queensland manufactures to the benefit of the State of which the honorable member is a representative.
– The production of small fruits in Victoria and Tasmania is being seriously handicapped by the duty of £6 per ton which we have imposed on sugar.
– The honorable member should speak of something of which he knows.
– I say distinctly that the Minister of Trade and Customs has not learnt the alphabet of the practical working of the sugar duties. I would refer him to the evidence given before the Tariff Commission at Hobart by Mr. H. Jones, whose firm is the largest manufacturer of jams in Australia. That gentleman distinctly told the Commission that the present duty on sugar was crushing many of the small fruit-growers of Tasmania out of existence. I know that this statement is correct, and I wish that some honorable members who favour the present sugar tariff could be induced to take a trip through the small fruit growing districts of the Huon and the Derwent Valley. Speaking in all seriousness, Isay that it is enough to make one’s heart bleed when one visits these districts and sees cattle turned into the raspberry plantations, black and red currant trees being uprooted, and plum trees being cut down, simply because the price of sugar has so seriously affected the growers.
– Does the honorable member say that since Federation there has been a decrease in the manufacture of jam in Tasmania ?
– I assert that there has been no increase. Before Ministers come down to the House with proposals in regard to the sugar industry, they should endeavour to make themselves familiar with all its ramifications. It is said that Tasmania had a duty of £6 per ton on sugar prior to Federation.
– How can the honorable member say that the present price of sugar has had the effect, so to speak, of chopping down plum trees in Queensland and planting others in Tasmania?
Mr.McWILLIAMS.- I have not said anything of the kind. I venture to assert that in Victoria and Tasmania plumgrowing has practically ceased to be remunerative.
– Prior to Federation Tasmania had a duty of £6 per ton on sugar.
– Quite so; but the point which the Minister has utterly failed to grasp is, that Tasmania allowed a rebate of the full amount of the duty in respect of every ounce of sugar used in jam exported from that State.
– A rebate is now allowed in respect of jam exported to parts beyond the Commonwealth.
– That is not the point. Prior to Federation, Tasmania was manufacturing jam practically for the mainland, and for parts beyond the Commonwealth. The local consumption of jam would not be sufficient to keep one factory going, because the great majority of the people in the fruit-growing districts make their own preserves. Prior to Federation, the whole of the sugar used in the jam which Tasmania exported - and which represented practically the whole of her output - was absolutely duty free. A rebate was allowed on every ounce of sugar used in jam sent from Tasmania to the mainland as well as to parts beyond.
– The honorable member is making a mistake.
– I certainly am not. If the conditions prevailing prior to Federation now applied to the jam manufacturers, their position would be markedly different. I wish honorable members for Queensland to remember that, under the Commonwealth system of granting rebates, the manufacturers of jam in Tasmania are being deterred from using Queensland sugar. If Queensland sugar be used in jam manufactured for export beyond the Commonwealth a rebate of five-sixths of the excise duty of £3 per ton is allowed, whereas, if our manufacturers use the imported sugar, they secure a rebate of five-sixths of the duty of £6 per ton.
– Then why is the honorable member complaining?
– Because I should prefer to see the jam manufacturers of Victoria and Tasmania using Queensland sugar.
– The honorable member has changed his premises.
– I do not think that I have. I wish honorable members to understand that, under existing conditions, the largest jam manufacturer in Tasmania last year used 1,400 tons of sugar, 1.300 tons of which were imported from parts beyond the Commonwealth, the reason for this preference being that a rebate of five-sixths, of the duty of £6 per ton on foreign sugar so used is allowed.
– I would not allow it.
– The right honorable gentleman would give us nothing. We have never had to thank him for anything. The practice of using foreign-grown sugar is forced upon our jam manufacturers by the stupidity of Ministers. They, have to use it in preference to Australiangrown sugar, in order to carrv on successfully. Would the honorable member for Melbourne Ports seriously suggest that the jam manufacturers should use Queensland sugar, on which they would receive a rebate of only £1 per ton, seeing that they would be entitled to a rebate of £2 per ton on the imported sugar?
– Was there not a duty on jam coming into Victoria prior to Federation ?
– Then Tasmania has been benefited by the removal of the duty as the result of Federation.
– Victoria is practically producing all the jam that is required for local consumption. Every statement I make, when speaking on behalf of the small fruit-growers of Tasmania, is distinctly applicable to the small fruitgrowers of Victoria.
– Did not the Queensland duty have the effect of keeping Tasmanian jam out of that State, and of allowing only the pulp to come in?
– That is so.
– And now, instead of the pulp being sent to Queensland, the manufactured article is shipped from Tasmania to that State?
– Exactly. But honorable members forget that the high price of sugar compels the jam manufacturer to give as little as possible for his fruit. He is forced to do this in order to be able to place his product on the market at a certain price. The moment his price goes beyond that level his output is thrown open to competition from other sources, such as treacle, &c.
– Will the honorable membar tell me why the fruit-growers of Queensland are altogether opposed to the rebate ?
Mr.McWILLIAMS.- The fruit grown in Queensland is entirely different from the small fruits of Victoria ‘and Tasmania. In the one case we have a tropical, and in the. other a temperate product. Sugar is wholly the raw material of the jam manufacturers of Tasmania and Victoria, and I wish to briefly state what I think ought to be done in favour of an industry which has just as much right to the consideration of this Parliament as has any other industry in the Commonwealth. I have the authority to state, on behalf of the jam manufacturers of Tasmania, that the duty on jam may be removed to-morrow, so far as they are concerned, for it is not worth a snap of the fingers if they are given sugar free of duty.
– If it were abolished they would soon cry out.
– I am speaking on behalf of the jam manufacturers of Tasmania.
– Did they give evidence before the Tariff Commission to support your assertion?
– They did. There is now a duty of practically £14 a ton on jam ; but, as Tasmania exports most of her product, that duty has never been of the slightest use to her. When Mr. H. Jones was being examined by the Commission the following question was put to him by Senator McGregor: -
If the£14 per ton duty were knocked off jam is there any risk of jam being imported from the old country?
Mr. Jones replied, “Not the slightest.” He went on to say -
The duty is not of the slightest use to us. Give us our raw material free, and you can take the entire duty off jams.
– He sang a very different song not very long ago.
– He did not do anything of the kind. I have been acquainted with Mr. Jones for some time, and have no hesitation in stating that the Minister of Trade and Customs is distinctly wrong if he wishes to suggest that this gentleman was not always prepared to advocate the removal of the duty on jams, provided that the sugar imposts were removed. When Mr. Jones was before the Tariff Commission the following question was put to him by Mr. Clarke: -
If you had duty-free sugar, would you also be prepared to see the duties taken off fresh fruits, fruits in pulp, all kinds of preserves and fruits ; also jams?
That was a pretty wide Question. It covers practically everything. The answer is distinctly, “yes.” -
– You would be quite prepared to stand or fall oh your own? - Yes.
I want honorable members toremember the effect of this sugar dutv. The honorable and learned member for Corinella last night stated that the percentage increase of white-grown sugar was three times as large as tnat of black-grown sugar; but in this instance no more ridiculous comparison could be made than that of the percentage. It is just as if the honorable and learned member had compared the increase of two towns by saying that one had doubled its population, and the other had increased it Dy one-sixth, when the true facts were that one town of 1,000 inhabitants had gained another 1,000, and that another town of 5,000 inhabitants had also gained 1,000. The facts in connexion with the sugar industry are that the production of whitegrown sugar has increased from 12,000 to 52,000 tons, and that of black-grown sugar from 65,000 to 105,000 tons.
– But the honorable member must remember the start which the blackgrown sugar had.
– That does not affect the present result.
– It was alleged that white men could not work in the cane-fields, and the effect of the bounty has been to show that they can.
– I am not one of those who said that white men could not work in the cane-fields of Queensland, though it may surprise some honorable members to learn that the chief opposition to me at the last elections was because I was not disposed to vote to rescind the White Australia provisions of our legislation.
– The honorable member was following the Prime Minister then.
– I do not think he knows whom he has been following.
– I should be very hard pressed if I followed ‘ the Minister of Trade and Customs. I have never taken part in “stone-walling” proceedings in this Chamber, nor have I spoken except on subjects in which I take a serious interest. I claim my right, however,when any matter of public importance, or vitally affecting the interests of those who sent me here, comes up for discussion, to speak on it ; and the Minister will gain nothing, and will not draw me off the track, by endeavouring to introduce personalities’. The Queensland sugar industry has never stood on its own basis, because it has alwavs had the support of the Government. The Queensland Parliament has legislated in regard to.it for the last thirty-five years ; and I hold in my hand a return prepared during the recess, to the order of the House on my motion, just before the prorogation, as to the conditions on which sugar mills were erected in Queensland by the Government of the State, and the extent to which the planters of Queensland have carried out the obligations into which they had entered in regard to those mills.
– The honorable member should read the report of the inquiry made by a Queensland officer into the subject.
– I moved, on the 16th November last -
That a return be laid upon the table of the House showing -
The reply I received was that in respect to eight mills, the total responsibilities of the Government were £415,000, and the total liabilities of the planters to the Government, £583,788.
– They are pulling up now.
– This information was obtainedfrom the Government of Queensland only a short time ago. With what was done by the State of Queensland for the encouragement of the sugar industry I have no concern. It is now proposed to extend the operation of the bounty for another five years, at the end of which time the planters will again come to us for assistance. That is the history of all bonuses. Of course, it is not fair to suddenly deprive an industry of a bonus ; and I would be prepared to agree to a sliding scale reduction, which would eventually extinguish the bonus, as was suggested by me last session, and has been suggested by the honorable member for South Sydney and the honorable and learned member for Corinella during the present session. Let the bonus diminish as the duties on the special Tariff of Western Australia diminish.
– The Convention provided for the reduction of the Western Australian duties.
– Yes, and I regret that Tasmania had not a representative there who would have shown the same forethought in regard to her finances as the right honorable gentleman showed in regard to the finances of Western Australia. If she had, it would have helped her enormously through the first years of Federation.
– It would have suited Tasmania to have had a similar Tariff.
– I have always congratulated Western Australia on the possession of her special Tariff. If Parliament would allow to the manufacturers of jam a full rebate on the sugar used as their raw material-
– Does the honorable member mean a refund of £2 of the Excise?
– I would give manufacturers whose raw material is sugar the same right to a rebate as is given to other manufacturers.
– That is a selfish proposal.
– Is it selfishness for the manufacturers of Victoria to want protection?
– I am surprised to hear the honorable member for Melbourne Ports describe as selfish what is a fundamental principle of protection.
– The fundamental, principle of protection is to protectevery manufacturing industry that can be established in Australia.
– Does any protectionist desire to ruin one industry in order to bolster up another?
– How would the honorable member meet the difficulty to which he is drawing attention if we were producing all the sugar used in Australia? Would not his proposal be equivalent to the giving of a bounty on the export of jam?
– Unless we allow a monopoly to control the business, the market price of the world will rule in Australia in respect to sugar when we produce all that we can consume, supposing that the Queensland sugar -grower is placed in the same position as the wheatgrower or fruit-grower of other States. The figures produced at a conference of sugar-cane growers in Queensland prove conclusively that although sugar has jumped up in price to from £23 to £24 per ton, the cane producer is receiving a very small proportion of the increase. He has not received nearly the same increase that the Sugar Company has appropriated to itself.
– How would the honorable member deal with the position I have stated? Assuming that Australia produced sugar sufficient to meet all requirements, would the honorable member give to the jam manufacturers a rebate equivalent of the present duty?
– So long as the duty is retained at £6 per ton, and the price of imported sugar is increased by that amount, the jam manufacturer has a perfect right to a rebate equivalent to the duty.
– The jam manufacturer already receives that rebate on the jam he exports.
– No, he does not.
– My point is that under present conditions the jam manufacturer is discouraged from using Queensland sugar. There is a duty of£6 per ton upon imported sugar, and an Excise duty of£3 per ton on sugar grown in the Commonwealth. If the jam manufacturersuse Queensland sugar, and export, as do the manufacturers of Tasmania, fully one-half of their output, they receive a rebate to the extent only of five-sixths of the amount of the excise duty of £3. If, on the other hand, the manufacturers -use Fiji or Mauritius sugar, which is subject to al duty of £6 per ton, they receive a rebate amounting to five-sixths of that duty. Therefore, they receive twice as much rebate upon foreign-grown as upon Queensland sugar. The result is that Messrs. Jones and Company, who are the largest jam producers in Tasmania, use almost entirelv foreign sugar - thirteen-fourteenths of the sugar they use is imported from parts beyond the Commonwealth.
– I shall not eat any more of their jam.
– The honorable member must not blame the manufacturer, but the stupid arrangement which compels him for his own protection to do as I have described. I desire that Queensland sugar shall be used, as far as possible, to meet every requirement of the Commonwealth. No one will be more pleased than I will, when I find that the production of Queensland sugar has increased to such an extent that it will meet all our require ments. Under the present- stupid conditions, however, we give the jam manufacturer a bonus equivalent to£1 out of every £2 if he will use imported sugar. In the name of all that is reasonable, is that to the interest of the sugar-growers of Queensland ?
– The trouble is that we have collected a duty upon imported sugar, and thereby obtained money with which to pay the rebate ; but if we do not collect that duty we shall have to find the money for the rebate from some other source.
– Under present conditions we are giving 100 per cent. inducement to the jam manufacturer to use imported sugar in preference to the Queensland product.
– I admit that.
– I would ask honorable members if that is the way to encourage local industry ?
– That is bad protection.
– I say that it is bad business, and opposed to the dictates of common sense.
Mr.Mauger. - Imported sugar is used only in jam intended for export.
– Half the jam produced in Tasmania is manufactured for export to parts beyond Australia. We send our jams to South Africa, to Japan, and the East generally. , It may surprise honorable members to know that the manufacturers of Tasmania have not waited for the Commonwealth to appoint commercial agents, but have made their own arrangements in that regard all through the East. As honorable members may see from the evidence given by Mr. Jones before the Tariff Commission at Hobart, half his total output is sent to parts outside Australia.
-What about the sugar used in the other half?
-It would not be possible for him to make any special distinction between the jam manufactured for the home and for the export trade, and as it is necessary for him to use imported sugar in order to secure the larger amount of rebate in respect to the jams exported, he makes one deal of it, and buys the whole of his sugar in one lump. In dealing with this matter, I would ask the Government to consider whether it would not be possible, alike , in the interests of the jam manufacturers and the sugar-planters, to devise some means by which they can get rid of the present hampering influences. Present conditions are not fair to the Queensland planter, because one of the chief sugar users in the Commonwealth is compelled for his own protection to use imported sugar, whereas he would naturally prefer to buy what he requires here if the conditions were equal. I know that the Government desire to help the Queensland sugar industry, and I suggest that they should, in pursuance of that object, do their best to remove the inducement which is at present held out to’ manufacturers to go beyond Queensland for their raw material.
– How many manufacturers do that?
– I could not say, but I should think that any manufacturer who exported jam beyond the Commonwealth would use imported sugar if only in order to secure the higher rebate.
– What remedy would the honorable member suggest?
– I contend that the manufacturer should receive a rebate equal to the full amount of duty for every ounce of sugar he uses for manufacturing purposes.
– That is practically what is done now, the only distinction made being between the amount of the Excise and the import duty.
– That is precisely what is not being done now. The rebate is allowed in respect to all the exported jam, but none is granted in respect’ to the jam consumed in Australia.
– Why should a rebate be granted if no dutv is charged ?
-The jam manufacturer has to pay an equivalent to the duty, owing to the extent to which the sugar is increased in price by the operation of the duty. The ordinary price of sugar f.o.b. at Melbourne, Hobart, or Sydney is from £12 to £13 per ton.
– Last year the price went up to £20 per ton.
– I know that the present conditions are unusual, but I have figures here to show that in 1899 Queensland sugar was quoted at £13 per ton; in the following year at£13 15s. per ton; In the succeeding year at £13 5s. per ton, and in the next year at £15 per ton. In 1902-3 Queensland sugar was quoted at £15 12s. 6d.,. and foreign sugar at from £11 17s. 6d. to £12 12s. 6d. In 1903-4 the price of Queensland sugar was , £15 12s. 6d., and of foreign sugar £12 12s. 6d. These prices are exclusive of duty and excise.
– Whence does the honorable member obtain those figures?
– They were quoted by Mr. Jones, of Jones and Co., of Hobart, when giving evidence before the Tariff Commission.
– The figures which I have in my office are very different.
– In 1904-5 Queensland sugar was sold at £15 7s. 6d.. and foreign sugar at £12 7s. 6d.y and the prices for 1905-6 are quoted as Queensland sugar £15, and foreign sugar £12 17s. 6d. per ton. The last prices presumably are those at which Mr. Jones has contracted for the supply of sugar for the current year. These figures show that I was well within the mark when I said that the price of foreign sugar f.o.b. at Melbourne, Hobart, or Sydney was between . £12 and £13 per ton in ordinary years. I know that shortages will sometimes occur, and that the price will go up, as happened recently when sugar was quoted at £24 per ton. No matter, however, what may be the price of foreign sugar f.o.b. at our principal ports, the quotation for Queensland sugar will, owing to the monopoly of the Sugar Company, always represent the price of the foreign sugar, plus the full amount of the duty.
– The honorable member’s figures do not bear out his statement, because the difference between the prices for 1905-6 is only £2 17s. 6d. per ton.
– To that must be added the excise of £3 per ton. I donot wish to labour the matter ; but I ask honorable members, whilst they are considering the assistance they are prepared to give to the sugar industry, to remember that there are, scattered throughout Victoria and Tasmania, hundreds of the very class of men whom we want to settle in Australia. These men have gone into the forest, without any capital beyond their own energy and industry, and have established little homes for themselves, and have planted gardens with raspberries, currants, and other small fruits, and we are now placing a heavy burden upon them by reason of the provision we have made for the assistance of the sugar industry. I would also point out that the sugar planter is receiving a very small proportion of the increase which has been brought about in the price of sugar. This is owing to the huge monopoly which now controls the whole trade.
– Does not the honorable member think that it would be a good thing to nationalize the sugar industry?
– If matters are allowed to proceed as at present, I may be induced to assist in nationalizing a good many things. I do not shy at the suggestion of the honorable member so much as might be thought, but I want honorable members to recollect that by offering heavy bonuses and imposing high duties they are encouraging monopolies.
– The sugar monopoly is not a new one in Australia.
– I am aware of that fact. Personally, I am of opinion that there should be no Excise duty chargeable upon Queensland sugar. I have always held the view that it is no fairer to levy an Excise duty upon Queensland sugar than it is to makea similar charge upon Tasmanian apples, Victorian wheat, or New South Wales butter. All these commodities are the natural products of the different States. So long as protection is the accepted policy of this House. I am prepared to give to the Queensland sugargrower a measure of protection proportionate to that which we extend to every other producer in Australia. But I do not wish to perpetuate a system under which assistance is rendered to an industry in one State in such a way as to crush out an equally important industry in another State.
– Under existing conditions, does not the exporter beyond the Commonwealth obtain a rebate of fivesixths of the Customs and Excise duties which are collected?
– Anything in excess of that would practically be in the nature of a bonus?
– The fruit-growers of Tasmania do not desire a bonus. They pay the full amount of duty upon the total consumption of their manufactured article within the Commonwealth.
– Do they want a rebate upon that, too ?
– No, but they do not wish to pay a duty upon their raw material.
– They enjoy a protection of1½d. per lb. upon jam.
– As half of that jam consists of sugar, they pay in, reality only about three-eighths of a penny per lb. in duty.
– I do not quite- follow the honorable member.
– What is the amount of duty that is levied upon a tin of jam?
– it works out at about a halfpenny. I want honorable members to recollect that the fruit-growing industry in Tasmanians not a small one. It is a natural industry - the one above all others which is suited to the conditions that obtain in that particular State. I claim that this House should exhibit the most completesympathy with an industry in which a man. without capital can make a comfortableliving upon a very small block of land. There is no industry, in Australia which isso conducive to closer settlement as is the fruit-growing industry.
– From how many acres, can’ a man obtain a living?
– I think that the. average in Tasmania would be under 10 acres of orchard per family. Scores ofmen are making a good living off. 6 or 7 acres of orchard. These people do not ask for a bonus - they do not ask for assistance. They merely say - “ Do not place a handicap upon our natural industry.” All they desire is that they shall be left aloneOnly to-day I had an. interview with a Tasmanian member of the Fruitgrowers’ Conference- who is at present in Melbourne, and he informed me that the average production this season would be about 7,500 lbs. of raspberries or currants per acre. To convert that fruit into jam would require about three and a half tons of sugar, upon which, a duty of£21 would be collected. Half of that quantity would be exported, and upon that proportion five-sixths of the duty would be refunded ; but upon the other half, which is consumed in Australia, no rebate would be allowed. I am sure that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports will be interested to learn that during last year the number of employes of Messrs. H. Jones and Co., of Hobart, ranged from 140 in midwinter to 750 in midsummer. Even in a city like Melbourne, an, industry whichemployed that number of hands would be regarded as a very considerable one.
– How many factories are there paving less than 30s. a week ?
– The number of hands at present employed by the firm I have mentioned is 170.
– Are those the figures which were given before the Tariff Commission ?
– Yes. I am giving these figures, because I know that the evidence taken by that body will not be available until after this debate has closed. The total wages paidby Messrs. H. Jones and Co. amount to £214 weekly, or an average of 25s. per hand. Label lers - girls upon piecework - average from 20s. to 30s. per week all the year round - the Victorian rate being 14s. per week.
– I have heard quite a different statement from that.
– That may be so. I am aware that a member of the Tasmanian Parliament came over to Victoria and vilified and scandalized the industry to an extent which was discreditable to himself rather than to the State which I have the honour to represent.
– I made personal inquiries into the matter whilst I was staying in Hobart.
– The figures which I am quoting were given before the Tariff Commission, so that the honorable member will have an opportunity of verifying them. I know of no more honest and straightforward man than the gentleman who gave this testimony. It seems to me that Mr. Jones gave his evidence in the most straightforward manner. I repeat that labellers - that is, girls engaged upon piecework - receive an average wage of from 25s. to 30s. per week all the year round, whereas the Victorian rate is only 14s. per week.
– When the honorable member refers to the Victorian rate, he means the minimum rate, not the Victorian average. There is a very great difference between the two.
– I am speaking of the rate that is paid under the determination of the Wages Board.
– That is the minimum rate.
– Who gets more than the minimum?
– I can take the honorable member into a factory in whichevery man employed receives more than the minimum wage.
– How much more?
– About 7s. 6d. per week more.
– Case-makers who are employed upon piece-work average from 35s. to 50s. all the year round. The total wages paid by Messrs. Jones and Co. amount to from £15,000 to £18,000 per annum. Even in a large city like Melbourne or Sydney an industry which paid that sum in wages annually would be regarded as a considerable one, and one which was worthy of every consideration at the hands of honorable members.
– Did the same gentleman reveal the profits which he made from his business ?
-Why should he do so?
– If a manufacturer, at his own risk, establishes an industry, asking for neither bonus nor Tariff, and pays a fair wage to his employes, as Mr. Jones does-
– But 25s. a week is not a fair wage to pay to men.
– I do not think that the wages paid by him are so low as the honorable member suggests.
– The honorable member stated that the average was 25s. per week.
-That is the average paid to all his employes, andthese include a very considerable number of children. The honorable member must know that in the fruit season a large quantity of juvenile labour is employed in cleaning the fruit, and in performing other little odd jobs. It seems to me that, in giving evidence before the Tariff Commission, it is not necessary for a manufacturer to disclose the profits which he makes from his business so long as he makes it clear that he extends reasonable treatment to his employes. I do not propose to detain the Committee by discussing the general matters which were referred to in the Budget ; but I do ask the Treasurer to bear in mind one statement made by the honorable and learned member for Corinella. I wish publicly to thank that gentleman for his action, whilst holding the portfolio of Minister of Defence, in coming to Tasmania at very considerable personal inconvenience, and settling a very serious difficulty there. The Hobart Artillery Corps, it will be remembered, had been treated with very scant consideration indeed by Major-General Hutton. I have never contended that its members did not commit an error of judgment, but I claim that for the late Commandant of the Military Force to sweep out of existence, with one stroke of the pen, a corps whose record had been of the most exemplary character, and some of whose members were due for their longservice medals - men who had served for years without receiving one copper from the State, and who had been compelled to purchase their own ammunition - was a great mistake. The Treasurer is aware that I took a very considerable interest in that trouble, and endeavoured to get it settled. The present Postmaster-General, when Minister of Defence in the previous Deakin Administration, said that if an opportunity offered during the recess he would visit Tasmania in order to discuss the matter. His Government, however, went out of. office before Parliament was prorogued, and he was unable to carry out his proposal. His successor, the honorable and learned member for Corinella, visited Hobart, and, as Minister of Defence, received a deputation from the non-commissioned officers and men. The honorable and learned memberspent nearly two hours in discussing the matter with them, and as the result of the interview a basis of agreement was arrived at, upon which the whole of the men consented to go back as a complete corps. The Minister promised that if that were done arrangements would be made as soon as the House met for the reinstatement of the corps. I believe from the statements made yesterday by the Treasurer and the honorable and learned member for Corinella that a small reduction is being made in the defence vote for Tasmania by postponing the proposed increases until the1st January next. For the last five years we have suffered delay after delay in this way, and this has given rise to all the trouble that has taken place in connexion with the Defence Forces in Tasmania. I appeal to the Government to carry out the promise made by the late Minister of Defence when he visited Hobart’. It is true that he is unable to give effect to the pledge which he gave, but there is such a thing as inherited responsibility, and, in view of these promises, I hope that action will immediately be taken. I actually took to the men a promise in writing from the present Postmaster-General when he was Minister of Defence, and I urge the Government not to upset the arrangements that have been made.
– The arrangements will not be upset. If the promise was made it will be honoured.
– i at once accept the statement made by the honorable gentleman, and by the outgoing mail to-night shall convey what I know will be pleasing, intelligence to the men, who take a great interest in this question.
– Does the honorable member believe in increased military extravagance ?
– I do not. I listened with great pleasure to the speech delivered yesterday by the honorable and: learned member for Corinella - a speech which, in my judgment, is one of the ablest on the subject that I have ever heard. I am one of those who have always held that our defence system is on a wrong basis. The whole of the revenue of Australia isinsufficient to give us an adequate military force on the lines now being followed. I strongly advocate a system under which every child attending our State and privateschools would be compelled to learn the rudiments of drill, and taught also how tohandle a rifle. I would compel every young man to undergo a certain number of military drills, and to go into camp from time totime for that purpose.
– Then the honorable member believes in conscription?
Mr.McWilliams.-I do; butI should treat rich and poor alike. No distinction whatever should be made. It is only in this way that we shall be. able tosecure a defence force capable of defending Australia when the pinch comes. Themere handful of men that we can maintainon the present terms would be insufficient to enable us to hold our own against evena third-rate power, if we lost the protection of the British Navy. I have always thought that in the matter of defence wehave sponged on the mother country. Great Britain pays about , £35.000,000 per annum for the maintenance of her Navy, and towards that expenditure Australia contributes only , £200,000per annum. I would prefer to see portion of the sumwhich we are now expending on militarismdevoted to an increased subsidy to the Imperial Navy -which is, after all, our chief protection- and would spend the balance of the Defence vote on a purely citizen force. We should then be able to devote the rest of the money that we now expend on our defences to the work of developing Australia on truly progressive lines - to thesettlement of the people on the land, rather than to the training of them in military- encampments. I thank the House for the consideration which it has extended to me, and must apologize for having spoken at such length. I can assure honorable members that it has been from no desire to unduly prolong the debate that I have occupied their attention so long, but because I believe that our present fiscal system is striking a serious blow at what must be for many years to come one of the most important industries of the Commonwealth - the fruit-growing industry of Victoria and Tasmania.
– In delivering his Budget statement the Treasurer, instead of giving us a fair outline of the position of the Commonwealth, seems to have simply put before us a set of undigested figures. Various returns had apparently been placed in his hands by head’s of Departments, but the right honorable gentleman did not appear to understand them.
– That is good, coming from the honorable member.
– I have read the right honorable gentleman’s speech, and have endeavoured to understand it, but it is difficult to know what he was really driving at. From his introductory remarks one might have imagined that he was going to give the House something very much better than we usually’ get in the shape of a Budget statement. In alluding to the fact that we do not secure many immigrants, the right honorable gentleman said -
When an immigrant comes to this country he feels that he “ holds his head to other stars,” and that he has left behind him those that shone upon him in his old home - he feels that he has left his native shores, if not for ever, at any rate for a very long time.
In these poetic words he told us of the coming of emigrants from the old country; but when he dropped poetry and came to the prosaic we find that for some reason or other he did not appear to understand the figures that had been placed in his hands, and from first to last was incapable of answering any question put to him. For example, when the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne asked him -
Was the reduction in Customs revenue owing to the sugar bounties? - his answer- was -
I shall deal with that when I come to speak of the Customs and Excise revenue.
Various other questions were put to him, but instead of giving direct and ‘ positive answers, the right honorable gentleman offered nothing but evasive replies. When the honorable member for Wentworth asked the Treasurer -
Can the right honorable gentleman give us any particulars as to what the arms and armamentare ? - his reply was -
The honorable member will find full information, in the Estimates.
Then the honorable and learned member for Werriwa interjected’ -
As I read the figures, the total expenditure on defence comes to over ^1,000,000; is that so? -
The Treasurer’s reply was-
I shall deal with other particulars a little further on-
– He was always going to deal with them “-further on,” but he never got there.
– That is so. His questioners never obtained the information they desired to elicit. The honorable member for Wentworth also interjected -
The right honorable gentleman significantly omits to mention the garrison forces. Is the personnel of those forces to be made up? - but the only answer he could obtain was -
The honorable member had better ask the Minister of Defence about the garrison forces.
When the honorable and learned member for Werriwa interjected later on, -These figures represent £1,250,000 per year,” the Treasurer replied -
The honorable and learned member may count them up in that way if he pleases.
He never attempted to give information to those who sought it. In his hearty, blunt way, he bluffed his interrogators, and refused to supply information that would have cleared up many matters. Coming to questions of policy, we find that from beginning to end the right honorable gentleman did no more than touch the fringe of them. As a matter of fact, the Treasurer should lead the House on matters of policy, but the right honorable gentleman did not attempt to do anything of the kind. It i? true that when dealing with the Defence Estimates, he gave us some indication of the Government policy in this regard, but he did not appear to be sure whether he was on safe ground. He did not seem to be quite satisfied that the tail or the head of the party - whichever it may have been - would agree with him. In speaking of the Defence vote, he said -
At Ihe present lime the people of Australia, who are a self-reliant and progressive people - as I shall be able to show before I sit down - pay only one-fifteenth per head of the amount paid by the people of the mother country fur their naval defence. That being so, the matter only requires to be put before them in a way that is acceptable to them, when I feel sure that it will have the attention that it deserves.
He did not attempt to say, however, that the Government would put the matter before the people.
– What was the next statement that I made?
– I was coming to that. The right honorable gentleman continued -
I am authorized to state that the Government will give the most serious attention to this subject. They are fully alive to the urgency of providing for our harbor defence -
That had nothing to do with the question of the naval subsidy, to which he had just been referring - of placing our forts in an efficient condition, and of doing our very best to protect our coasts.
– Were they not safe proposals ?
– Extremely safe.
– They were noncommittal.
– The right honorable gentleman was determined not to commit the Government to anything. He should have obtained permission to say what he wanted to say. There is no indication that the Government propose to increase the naval subsidy, and, though the Treasurer seems to suggest that we are not paying as large a subsidy as we ought to pay, he does not commit the Government to any action in the matter.
– I call attention to the state of the Committee. Quorum formed.’]
– The Treasurer gave us certain figures relating to the ‘revenue and expenditure of New Guinea, and when the honorable member for Franklin asked how much was spent in maintaining officials, replied that the information was to be found in the Budget papers. The right honorable gentleman continued -
The honorable member will find that information in the Budget papers. This must be a fine Territory to be able to support 375,000 coloured people with the primitive means of production which they adopt. I see no reason Why it should not be a self-supporting and flourishing Possession. The labour of the native population would surely be available if called upon; but capital and enterprise are required for the opening up of the country. It requires to be opened up and made available for the investment of capital by the laying out of roads, by encouraging the occupation of the land, and in many other ways.
– Where would the producers of New Guinea send their produce if it were opened up ?
– To Australia, if this country would take it, or to the world’s markets, about which the honorable member is always speaking.
– Would it not be in opposition to our White Australia policy to allow the produce of the natives of New Guinea to compete with the products of our own people?
– We have taken over the Territory, and have a responsibility in regard to it; and if we leave it idle we shall show ourselves unequal to the task we have taken upon ourselves.
Will any. one say what is the policy of the Government in respect to the products of New Guinea? I would allow them to come into Australia free. We spend £20,000 a year on the Territory, and yet we treat those who go there from Australia as foreigners.
– Why did not the honorable member fix up a policy ?
– I have never had an opportunity. If I ever had the chance I would declare a clear and definite policy, with no humbug about it, so that every one would know what I meant.. The Ministry, no doubt, are acting in accordance with their lights ; but the Treasurer, instead of telling us what their intentions are, says, when asked for any information, “ Refer to the Budget papers,” or he tells us that the Minister of Defence, or someone else, knows all about the subject. From end to end of his speech he gave us no definite information. The Treasurer pointed out that where the State pains through the operation of the Federal Tariff, the people of that State have to pay, and that where the State loses they save; but the immediate effect of the Tariff has been to a large extent to crush out of existence the manufacturers of States like Tasmania and Queensland to the gain of the manufacturers of New South Wales and Victoria, and especially of the latter. The people of the States, however, have not benefited, because the duties have increased prices, and the increase has gone ‘ into the pockets of the manufacturers. The Treasurer has indicated that the Government intend to get rid of the sugar bounties in about another five years, but he has not said when a measure will be brought in to provide for their extension.
He ought to have communicated to the House the method by which he proposed to deal with the sugar bounty ; and whether he proposed to extend it for five years longer, or gradually to allow it to be extinguished.
– It is all on page 1219 of Hansard.
– I am_ against the sugar bounty, and all other bounties. New South Wales has done better out of the sugar bounty than Queensland has done, simply because the money has been a pure gift to the sugar growers of the former State. There were very few coloured people engaged in the New South Wales industry. But, although my State obtained an advantage, if I had my way I would remove the bounty altogether. Our production of sugar will probably equal our consumption at the end of the year. When we reach that stage we shall begin to export. In the ordinary course of things, the effect of that should be to reduce our price to the level of that of the world’s market. But because we have a large sugar monopoly in the Commonwealth, that cannot happen. The price will still be kept at a high level, and we shall still be paying money out of the Treasury to make pur own sugar dear. I do not complain of dumping when people dump on us; but I do complain of dumping if we are to dump on other countries. I can quite understand honorable members opposite smiling at that remark, because they do not understand the question. To put our hands in our pockets and make our sugar £fi a ton dearer, in order to sell it at a cheaper rate outside, is, to my mind, a silly thing to do. That is the sort of dumping that I object to. The dumping that Mr Chamberlain, Mr. Balfour, and other men, who are playing a game in Great Britain, object to is the system whereby America and Germany send steel and other products into Great Britain and sell them at lower prices than they charge to their own people. I do not object to men dumping in that way. If people choose to increase the price of goods to themselves in order to make them cheaper to us, I am prepared to take all they will give me on those terms. But I object to make the price of our sugar dearer, and to handicap our industries for the purpose of making it cheap to outside buyers. Why does the sugar monopoly exist? Because of the duty. Those who protest most about monopolies are the very men who create them. Take off duties, and let the competition of the world have free play, and these monopolies will gradually cease to exist. We have heard something about the increase in the price of sugar during the last year or two. Mr. Chamberlain was instrumental in bringing about that increase. Mr. Chamberlain induced the British Parliament to enter into an arrangement with various sugarproducing countries that the bounties which those countries gave should cease to exist. What was the effect? Formerly England obtained her sugar cheaper than any other country in the world, and that gave her the command of the market in many industries that depend upon sugar. But immediately the bounties ceased to be paid in other countries, the price of England’s sugar went up. Mr. Chamberlain was foolish enough to bring about that state of things. Honorable members jeer at the idea of that policy being the cause of the increase, but, as a matter of fact, it is quite correct. When the sugar bounties were first originated amongst European nations, the effect was to give cheap sugar to England, whilst increasing the price in the countries which gave the bounties. When the price of sugar commenced to go down in England, employment decreased in the sugar refineries; and the Committee, which was appointed to inquire into the matter, reported against any interference with the bounties and against the imposition of any countervailing duty, on the ground that the lower price had been of great benefit to the poor and to consumers of sugar generally. The confectionery, fruit-preserving, and other industries, the main raw material of which is sugar, advanced enormously, but, though employment was increased in this connexion, it, as I say, fell off in the sugar refineries. When the price of the raw material of an industry is increased, great injury is done, and no corresponding benefit is conferred. Sugar was grown in New South Wales with a small duty, and in Queensland practically without duty, because in the case of the latter State,’ the export stage had been reached. Even then the price of sugar to manufacturers was not reduced ; because the Colonial Sugar Refining Company did what it is likely to do in the future, namely, exported the sugar and sold abroad at the world’s price, whilst charging the world’s price, plus the duty within the borders of the State. The Treasurer has made it clear that we are losing the duty, and that all the revenue from sugar is obtained in the way of excise, out of which the bonus has to be paid. To-day 185,000 tons of sugar costs the people of Australia £1,122,000 because of the duty. About £514,000 is received in excise, and about £93,000 from the duty, a total of £600,000 odd. There is a net return of £461,000, on an expenditure of £? .1,1 2 2, 000, .representing a loss of some £700,000 to the people at large. If the duty, the excise, and the bonus were abolished, some revenue would be lost, but the people would be £1,122,000 better off. It seems absurd that, in order to get . £461,000, we should present to the private producer a sum equal to £700,000. We pay a bonus of £3 or £4 per acre on the production of some of the richest lands in the Commonwealth; and I ask why should the wheat-growers, who toil from one end of the year to the other, not be placed in a similar advantageous position? On what moral ground can we give the bonus in one case and not in the other? Of course, I know that the idea is to get rid of coloured labour ; but, let the figures be manipulated as they may, the fact remains that the sugar grown by black labour is increasing as fast as that grown by white labour.
– Nothing of the sort.
– Both classes of sugar have increased in production by about the same number of tons.
– Why not speak of “alien” labour instead of “black” labour?
– At any rate, it is all coloured labour. If it could be shown that the sugar produced by alien labour was decreasing, while that grown by white labour was increasing, there would be some indication that the policv was going to succeed. The honorable member for Maranoa, who has lived in Queensland for years, has said that he and others have been able to work in the climate.
– On the tablelands, where there is a climate different from that of the sugar districts.
– If white men can do the work, why should any bonus be paid for employing them ? When sugar was produced in New South Wales with white labour, I thought it could similarly be produced in Queensland ; but when I ‘ visited the latter State two or three years ago. I was able to see what the conditions really were. I may be told that I know nothing whatever about the business, but I obtained permission to go through some plantations, and took steps to obtain the best information available. I went to the chairman of one of the sugar mills, and asked him to put me in the way of obtaining information with regard to his side of the question. I also called on Senator Givens, a recognised champion of a White Australia, and asked him to offer me similar facilities. Therefore, I acted with absolute fairness. Senator Givens furnished me with a typewritten document, setting forth his side of the case, and I proceeded to make inquiries. After I had completed my investigation I came to the conclusion that it was very difficult for white men to work in . the cane-fields of Northern Queensland. The intense heat in the cane-fields is most distressing to the men working there, more so than when they are engaged out in the open in railway work or upon gold-fields.
– What was the temperature ?
– I do not know. I visited the cane-fields in May, which is not a hot month ; but I obtained my information regarding the heat from those who had experienced it. I do not deny that some men can work in the cane-fields ; but even to the best of men the work must be most exhausting. At the time I was there a contract had been let by the Mulgrave mills to a number of white men to load and unload wood. That would not be very hard work, even in a very hot climate, and yet the white men failed to carry out their contract, and black men had to be engaged to do the work. I went to Northern Queensland with an impression that the work in the canefields could, as in New South Wales, be carried on with white labour; but it was represented to me that the conditions were very different. One planter said to me - “’ Here .we have a vertical sun for six weeks, whereas from Rockhampton southwards you always look to the north for the sun. In these regions the vertical sun beams down into the cane-fields, and makes it very oppressive for those who are working there.” That, of course, is a matter of which I had not known anything previously.
– Or anybody else.
– But it is true.” The nearer one goes to the tropics the longer the period for which he has to stand the heat of a vertical sun. In Ceylon, for instance, the sun shines vertically for. a comparatively long period, and as one approaches the Equator that period is extended. With regard to the vexedques- tion of trashing-
– Trashing is not necessary.
– It has been stated that trashing is necessary, and the contrary assertion has. been made. Strange as it may seem, both statements are true. In some districts trashing is not necessary, whereas in others it is essential. In the Burdekin district the planters say that they do not need to trash, because that operation injures rather than benefits the cane. It was explained to me, however, that the heavy rainfall in the Cairns district renders trashing necessary, because otherwise the moisture is retained by the trash, and. injury is done to the cane. In the Burdekin district, where sugar-growing is carried on by means of irrigation, and the rainfall is comparatively light, trashing is not favoured. I found that the general opinion was that white men could not stand the work in the cane-fields. That opinion was shared by many persons who were in favour of a White Australia, I found that the view was strongly held that the - sugar industry could not be successfully carried on in Northern Queensland by means of white labour. At about the time that the greatest amount of work has to be performed in the cane-fields, the pastoral and other ‘industries are infull swings and white men will not cut or trash cane if they can secure other employment. Therefore, there is no possible chance of obtaining the necessary number of men. Last session a planter came downto me,with a letter of introduction froma son I have in Townsville. He came to get my views as to whether the sugar bounties would be continued. I told him that if I had control of the matter they would not; but that it appeared to me that the Parliament would be willing to continue them. In the course of a conversation, I asked him if he believed that sugar Could be grown with white labour in North Queensland. He said “yes.” I then said, “Have you registered your plantation as one on which sugar ‘is to be grown with white labour?” and he said he had.
– I call attention to the state of the Committee.
– I ask the honorable mem ber towithdraw the call.
– - I withdraw it.
– As I understand the Government are now willing that progress should be reported, I shall be prepared to conclude my speech to-morrow.
That the House do now adjourn.
I asked just now that the call for a quorum should be withdrawn,not because I had any doubt that there was a quorum present, but because, I felt that as we have to meet to-morrow morning at 10.30 a.m., and it is now almost a quarter past 1 1 o’clock, out of consideration for the honorable member for New England, who had indicated to me the probable length of his speech, I should be prepared to agree to adjourn at this hour.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at11.14 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 31 August 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1905/19050831_reps_2_26/>.