2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers. ‘
Mr. DEAKIN laid upon the table the following papers : -
Correspondence re Federal Capital Site (2nd to 20th October).
The Clerk laid upon the table
Return to an. Order of the House dated 31st August, giving particulars as to receipts, &c, from Military Canteens.
Return to an Order of the House dated 12th October, giving the cost of the Public’ Service Commissioner’s Department.
asked the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable and learned member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
How many officers, non-commissioned officers, and men were there in the permanent, militia, and volunteer forces respectively of the Commonwealth on the 30th June, 1903, 1904, and 1905?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
In Committee (Consideration of Senate’s amendments resumed from 15th December, 1904, vide page 8617, volume XXIV,):
Clauses 22 and 23 (Prohibition against supply of intoxicants or opium to, or possession by, natives).
Senate’s Amendment. - Leave out clauses 22 and 23.
Upon which Mr. McCay had moved -
That the’ amendment be agreed to.
– This Bill was before honorable members on the last day of last session, when the Committee agreed to the Senate’s amendment omitting clause 2r, which had been inserted at the instance of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, but disagreed to the new clause proposed to be inserted in lieu thereof. The honorable and learned member for Corinella then moved that the Senate’s amendment, omitting clauses 22 and 23, be agreed to; but that motion had not been disposed of when progress was reported. I propose now to ask the Committee to agree to the omission of those clauses, and to insert a clause which will take their place, and be a substitute for clause 21 also. Clause 21 imposed an absolute prohibition upon the introduction of intoxicating liquor into New Guinea. Objection was taken to it on two very serious grounds. It was argued that for us here to enforce prohibition upon the white residents there who have been subject to no control of this kind would lead to the destruction of the hitherto effective prohibition which! has been applied to all the native inhabitants. A list of all the cases in which intoxicating drink has been sold to the natives since the year 1897 has been supplied to honorable members, and by reference to it they will see that there have been only ten or twelve such cases.
– Only that number has been discovered.
– Of course. In almost every one of those instances the persons to whom liquor was supplied were not natives of New Guinea, but, where they were, they had acquired a taste for alcohol while engaged i’n pearl shelling or some other vocation outside the Possession.
– Is it wise to re-open this matter ?
– It is very necessary to do so.
– I am giving my reasons for proposing a new clause in substitution of clauses 21, 22, and 23. In addition to the official reports, I have been personally assured by officials from New Guinea that, so far as they know, there is not a case on record in which’ alcohol has been consumed by a native who had never left the Possession, But it is’ anticipated bv officials, missionaries, and other residents of the Territory that if we impose prohibition upon the white residents it will lead to illicit transactions in connexion with spirits, such’ as smuggling and illicit distillation, which would give the natives the opportu nity, and perhaps encouragement, to acquire the liquor habit. Up to the present time all white inhabitants of New Guinea have lent the officials their utmost aid to prevent the natives from obtaining alcohol in any form. Even those who have not exercised much self-control in regard to the consumption of liquor have hitherto made it a point of pride not to permit the natives with whom they are associated to fall into the same plight. The consequence is that the existing law of prohibition, which applies to the natives, has the support, not only of the officials, but of the whole white population. The second objection taken to the imposition of prohibition from without is that the white residents of New Guinea - although they are for the most part Australians, who have formerly been in the full enjoyment of the rights o’f Australian citizenship, have been electors of Australia, and have shared in its local and political government - have no representation here or elsewhere. These people would, in the face of their protest made with one voice against prohibition, be forcibly subjected to a law which a number of them might be induced to take steps to defeat. This would have a most disastrous effect upon the natives. In view of the fact that a handful of whites are settled in the midst of 400,000 natives, and that the Dutch possession is on the one hand and the German possession on the other- - territories in which there, are no prohibitory laws relating to alcohol, but in which large quantities of deleterious liquor are available - it would be practically impossible for our officials to enforce prohibition against the consent of at least a number of the white population. Under these circumstances, strongly as my sympathies ran in the direction of prohibition for all natives, I urged’ upon honorable members who were pressing for the adoption of that principle that what they were seeking would result in a nominal, and not a real, gain for the cause which we all had at heart. The course they were proposing to follow, so far from accomplishing their object, would, according to the very best evidence available, tend rather to increase the risks which it was desired to reduce to a minimum. At the same time, I felt that it was unsatisfactory to be compelled by the circumstances of Papua to argue against the proposal, and since then I have cast about for some means of attaining the desired end - of maintaining our existing prohibition against the supply of intoxicants to the natives, and, in addition to that, providing the means by which we can enlist the assistance of the white population in reducing the consumption of intoxicants by themselves. I now beg to submit an amendment which consists of nine sub-clauses, two new sub-clauses having been added. The proposal is that after the commencement of the Act licences shall not be granted in the Territory in excess of the number now in existence - that is, about twenty. The next provision is that the licences may be reduced in number or abolished by the operation of local option. It is proposed that a poll may be taken either in the whole Territory, or in any or all of its divisions, once in each year for the purpose of obtaining the votes of the adult white population.
– Why should we not give the white residents an opportunity to increase as well as decrease the number of licences ?
– Because I think that would be undesirable. I am endeavouring to introduce into the Bill provisions which will have the effect of restricting the trade, and propose to bring about that result with the assistance and by the authority of the white residents.
– Surely if a new centre of population sprangup an opportunity should be presented for obtaining a new licence.
– In that case one or more of the existing licences could be removed. The proposal is that in any year one-third of the adult whites, either in a division or in the Territory as a whole, may call for a poll. A poll will then be taken under regulations to be framed by the local government, and it will be left to those who vote to decide whether the licences in the division or territory, as the case may be, shall be reduced in number or abolished altogether. That power rests with a simple majority of the white residents.
– That is a big back-down.
– It is certainly not a back-down on my part, because I argued for the adoption of this course from the very outset.
– It is a triumph for the honorable member.
– I have always argued in favour of adopting the local option principle to an extent which would permit not only of the reduction of the licences but of their abolition.
– But did not the Minister stipulate that power to increase the number of licences should also be given?
– No; the question of increasing the number of licences was not. raised last year. If it had been, I should have taken the position that as we find certain conditions now existing in New Guinea, we should accept them, and place in the hands of the white residents the power to either reduce or abolish the licences already in existence.
– Is there to be no poll unless a petition is presented asking that a poll shall be taken?
– A poll will not be taken unless desired by one-third of the population. It will be a simple matter to obtain the consent of that proportion of the white residents in a place like New Guinea, where there are less than 600 white people altogether.
– It will be a somewhat difficult matter, in view of the fact that the population is so scattered.
– I do not think so, because the residents have means of communication, which, although slow, will readily permit of combined action on. the part of 200 of the residents, if they desire that a poll should be taken. The time and manner of taking the poll, and of giving effect to the decision of the residents, will be directed by ordinance. Of course, honorable members will understand that no compensation will be payable in respect of any reduction in the number of licences. Those licences, I may add, differ very materially from the licences to which we are accustomed. The premises have no particular value attached to them ; in fact, almost the whole of the liquor traffic in New Guinea is in the hands of the few storekeepers who conduct the internal trade of that Territory.
– That may not always be the case.
– It may not, and when it is not, it will become the duty of this Parliament to reconsider the position.
– At any rate, they have been notified that it is desired to prevent the growth of the traffic.
– They have had conveyed to them, by the action of this House, a notice which is very significant indeed. They have been told in a very striking way that the prohibition imposed upon the natives will be maintained, and that, as far as possible, the existing traffic, will be curtailed, if not abolished.
Mr.Mc Williams. - How many licences are there in the Territory ?
– About a score. The number ranges between eighteen and twentyone or twenty -two.
-That means that one licence has been issued for every twentytwo white adults-.
– But whilst that statement is true, it has practically no meaning in New Guinea, because those licences have been issued in places which are hundreds of miles apart.
– It means that, in order to make a living, the holders of the licences must be selling a large quantity of liquor to other than the white population.
Mr.DEAKIN. - No. Already the officials are keeping a watch upon the consumption of intoxicants to the extent of tracing them from the port to which they are consigned to the place where they are actually consumed, and I am giving instructions - on the assumption that the Government proposals will prove acceptable to the Committee - that, hereafter, even closer supervision shall be exercised with a view to affording an absolute guarantee that none of the liquor introduced into the Possession shall be consumed by other than white people. At the present time, the testimony of missionaries and others upon the point raised by the honorable member is most creditable. It is to the effect that even those who drink to excess themselves have steadfastly refused to permit the natives to follow their example.
– They must use intoxicants for varnish up there.
– If the honorablemember had been accustomed to the moist sweltering heat of tropical jungles, such as those in which a great many miners in New Guinea are employed, he would have a larger knowledge of the possibilities of the place in regard to the consumption of intoxicants.
– I know what a jamboree is.
– I am told that in the sweltering tropical heat of these jungles, the conditions which prevail differ enormously from those which obtain on the mainland. I thought it would be in consonance with the wishes of honorable members that the substance of clauses 22 and 23, which we now propose to strike out of the Bill, and which were intended to include the provisions already in force in New Guinea ordinances relating to the prohibition of the sale of intoxicants to natives, should be embodied in this measure. I am entirely in sympathy with the provisions contained in those clauses, but found, on looking into the matter more closely yesterday, that if they were retained in their present form, they would not accomplish their object. For that reason, I have had them hurriedly rephrased. The provision which I propose to substitute for clause 22 will read -
No person shall supply to any native by sale, gift, or in any other way, either directly or in. directly, any intoxicating liquor -
Honorable members will see that the prohibition contained there is express and absolute. That provision almost repeats the words employed in clause 22.
– The Prime Minister has omitted all reference to opium.
– I have done so because I propose shortly to ask the House to deal with a measure to prohibit the importation of opium for other than medicinal purposes into the Commonwealth and Papua. It seems more convenient to deal with that question in a separate Bill than to introduce it into a section which is really a liquor law. The amendment proceeds - and here again we adopt the words of the New Guinea ordinance called “ the ordinance to prohibit any fire-arms, ammunition, intoxicating liquor or opium, being supplied to the natives,” which will be found under heading No. 12, page 128, of the Laws and Ordinances of British New Guinea -
Provided that it shall not be an offence under this section for any person, for any urgent cause or necessity (the burden of proof whereof shall rest upon him) to administer intoxicating liquor to a native for purely medical purposes, and without recompense or remuneration.
This qualification has been introduced upon the suggestion of the missionaries who, in outlying parts of the Territory, keep a certain quantity of stimulants upon hand for medicinal use in extreme cases Clause 23, which we propose to eliminate, will reappear in the following amended form : -
It shall not be lawful for any native to have in his possession any intoxicating liquor, and if any intoxicating liquor is found in the possession of any native, it may be seized by any officer in the service of the Government and brought before any officer exercising judicial functions, who shall in a summary manner direct that it be confiscated, and that it be disposed of according to his discretion, and the native shall be liable on conviction in a summary manner to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three months.
– The provision relating to imprisonment is a new one.
– That is so. No case of this kind having yet occurred, it has hitherto been deemed sufficient” punishment to deprive any native so offending of the liquor foundin his possession. But having in view the possibility that the liquor traffic in certain portions of the Territory may be absolutely stopped, and that as a result the temptation to smuggling may be increased, it is desirable to provide not only that any liquor which may be found in the possession of natives shall be forfeited, but that they shall be liable to a term of imprisonment for being associated with the traffic. But I would remind the honorable and learned member - no doubt he is already aware of the fact - that in New Guinea “ imprisonment “ does not mean that a native is confined in the cells of an ordinary prison. It implies that he is placed in a compound, and that his services are utilized in the making of roads, or upon some other public work; so that the penalty imposed is an advantage to the community. Then in sub-clause 9 it is provided -
In this section -
The only cases with which we have yet had to deal in which coloured persons have obtained liquor have been those of Fijian Islanders and Malays. By enlarging the scope of the Bill we are entitled to deal with Malays, kanakas, and any inhabitants from the neighbouring islands, who may take info New Guinea a taste for liquor. We include them in the prohibition, and those who supply them with liquor in the punishment.
– Should we negotiate with the Japanese before passing such a provision ?
– I doubt whether any civilized Government would object to its citizens being restricted in the use of intoxicating liquors. The broad dividing line between the present proposition and that considered last session is that this will place in the hands of the white people of Papua the power to obtain complete prohibition, if they desire it, in an easy and expeditious manner. We first of all remove the implied reflection upon them which would be in volved by any action taken by this Parliament, not only without consulting them, but against their advice. We propose to put in their hands the power of closing and locking the liquor door. To whatever extent they may choose to close and lock that door we shall be assured of the goodwill of the majority, and, probably, of an absence of illwill on the part of the minority, when the white population combines to take the control of the liquor traffic into its own hands. They have made their voices heard in this Chamber as well as they could against beingdealt with by a Legislature in which they are not represented; but now, by their own act, instead of by the act of a Parliament in which they are not represented, they will be able to reduce or abolish licences for the sale of intoxicating liquors in the Territory. This proposal, although it permits of prohibition in an easy and efficientmanner, will mean prohibition by the act of the white residents themselves. It will be prohibition by their own choice and authority. It is, consequently, believed that, in these circumstances, we can claim and expect from them that assistance which they probably would refuse if they considered themselves (aggrieved by the manner in which prohibition had been imposed upon them. In addition to that, the restriction of the sale of intoxicating liquor is capable of being adjusted. It need not mean an absolute and immediate prohibition throughout Papua. It will permit the exclusion of liquor from those parts of Papua in which prohibition is desired, just as it will allow of prohibition, if desired, throughout the whole Territory. There are certain parts of Papua where, practically, the missionaries and a small handful of settlers are the only white inhabitants, and, under this Bill, they will have it in their power to establish prohibition there in the simplest way. In some of the divisions there , are certainly not more than a few score ‘of white residents, and they, needing no licence, will be able at once to declare for prohibition. In doing so they will not impose it upon miners and others who are understood to be strongly antagonistic to it ; but will be able to apply it in any circumstances they think fit to a large part of the Territory, and thus to place intoxicating liquor beyond the reach of tens of thousands of natives. That in itself will be a great gain. If we cannot obtain prohibition for the whole of Papua, it is certainly a great gain to be able to allow the inhabitants of each division to decide for themselves the question whetherthey will reduce or abolish its sale within each division.
– We are thinking, not of the white residents, but of the blacks.
– I hope that is so. The governing consideration with the whole of the officials and missionaries in Papua arises from a desire to study the interests, not of the white men, but of the natives.
– Does the honorable member say the missionaries and officials are not careful to study the interests of the natives ?
– I have no hesitation in declaring that they have been opposed to prohibition, and that I believe that they are studying their own interests rather than those of the blacks.
– That is a charge that, in my opinion, is without warrant. A great number of the missionaries and quite a number of the officials being total abstainers, have no use for alcoholic liquor, but they object to prohibition in Papua because they realize the impossibility of enforcing it. They recognise that if liquor were obtained by illicit means the natives would certainly be concerned in the traffic. The printed reports before the Houseshow that the officials and missionaries, the business men - and, indeed, with two exceptions, the whole white population - declare that an attempt to enforce prohibition upon the natives would be absolutely impossible and disastrous.
– Disastrous to the natives ?
– They hold that it would be most disastrous to the natives either to give them a knowledge of illicit distilling - which in tropical countries is fairly easy - or of illicit trafficking in liquor by running it up the creeks or across the frontier from German or Dutch New Guinea.
– They think that prohibition in such circumstances would lead to smuggling.
– Quite so, and they believe that the natives, from smuggling the liquor, might come to use it. I, therefore, with confidence ask the Committee to accept the Government proposal, as markingnot only the greatest advance in liquor legislation, either in Australia or out of it, with which I am acquainted, but as placing the most ample powers of selfgovernment in respect to the liquor traffic in the hands of the white people of Papua; as enabling us to retain our present effective prohibition of the supply of intoxicants to the natives, and as giving every opportunity to the white inhabitants themselves, either to reduce the number of licences, or to prohibit the trade in the whole Territory, or in any division of it. I offer it to the Committee, not only as the strongest proposal in the direction of temperance that, as far as I am aware, has yet been given effect to in any country, but as affording the maximum of authority in the control of the liquor traffic, that is capable of being granted consistently with that protection of the natives which has hitherto been so satisfactory. That in itself is a matter of great importance. I wish honorable members to realize that while in taking this step they will consult the wishes of the white inhabitants, they will place in their hands the power to restrict the sale of liquor for their own benefit, and for that of the country at large. The’ Bill will enable us to keepthe handful of white people in Papua acting as a unit. Although there may be, to some extent, conflicting interests, I am happy to say that hitherto the’ whole of the white population of Papua has acted as one man in regard to the liquor question, and indeed, in relation to all questions affecting the natives, there has been no attempt at trespass.
– Have they made any effort to protect the natives working for white miners?
– I understand that, so far as can be ascertained, there is no case in which natives working for white miners have been able to indulge in the use of intoxicating liquors. Other questions have arisen, as will always arise, between employer and employe; but I am not dealing with them at the present moment.
– The natives work for 2s. 6d. per week.
– And their food. Might I remind honorable members that the natives working in connexion with the mining industry in Papua are supplied with food that has to be packed on the backs of natives and carried through the forests a distance of 70 miles? It costs 1s. per lb. to carry rice to the fields. I hope that we shall soon be in a position to construct a mule track from the coast to the mines. In the meantime, provisions, and everything else required on the fields, have to be packed on the backs of natives, and hence the cost of maintaining native workmen is a very heavy charge upon those who employ them. What the native obtains for his cash wages, and what he most desires, are tobacco and trinkets. He is supplied with food, and the wages he receives are spent in purchasing tobacco, trinkets, and other articles regarded as luxuries.
– A native ought not to be imprisoned for carrying liquor when he is not aware of the nature of his pack.
– The provision to which the honorable and learned member refers will apply only when prohibition comes into force.
– I have in mind the provisions of the last clause.
– A native is not to have intoxicating liquor in his possession.
– A native carrier might have intoxicating liquor in his possession and not be aware of it.
– In that case he would not have the liquor in his possession in the sense in which this clause is intended to apply. I should be glad to hear the honorable and learned member if he holds a different view.
– I think that a man ought not to be imprisoned unless there is some guilt on his part.
– I quite agree with the honorable and learned member, but it is not intended that “possession” shall be implied by the mere fact of carriage. Without further debating the matter, however, I submit these proposals to the Committee as the most advanced ever made in the control of the sale of intoxicants, and as going to the utmost length possible without great peril to the native inhabitants of Papua.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the following clause be inserted in lieu of clause inserted by the Senate in lieu of clause 21 : - “ 21. - (1) After the commencement of this Act licences shall not be granted in the Territory in excess of the number of licences in existence at the commencement of this Act.
The number of licences in the Territory may be reduced or licences may be abolished in the Territory in accordance with this section.
A poll may be taken in the whole Territory or in any division thereof, once in each year, for the purpose of obtaining the vote of the people on the question whether the number of licences for the sale of intoxicating liquors shall be reduced by any and what number.
Subject to sub-section 3 a poll under this section shall be taken in the Territory or a division thereof when requested by petition to the Lieutenant-Governor, signed by one-third of the people in the Territory or Division.
The adult white people shall for the purposes of this section be deemed to be the people of the Territory or Division as the case requires.
The times and manner of taking a poll and the manner of giving effect to the decision arrived at by the poll taken shall be as directed by Ordinance.
No person shall supply to any native by sale gift or in any other way either directly or indirectly any intoxicating liquor, and any person offending against the provisions of this section shall be liable on conviction in a summary manner to a fine of not less than Twenty pounds and not exceeding Two hundred pounds and to imprisonment for any term not less than one month and not exceeding two years.
Provided that it shall not’ be an offence under this section for any person for any urgent cause or necessity (the burden of proof whereof shall rest upon him) to administer intoxicating liquor to a native for purely medical purposes and without recompense or remuneration.
It shall not belawful for any native to have in his possession any intoxicating liquor, and if any intoxicating liquor is found in the possession of any native it may be seized by any officer in the service of the Government and brought before any officer exercising judicial functions, who shall in a summary manner direct that it be confiscated, and that it be disposed of according to his discretion, and the native shall be liable on conviction in a summary manner to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three months.
In this section -
” licence “ means a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor ;
“intoxicating liquor” means any spirituous or fermented liquor of an intoxicating nature used or intended to be used as a beverage ;
” native “ means any person in the Territory not of European descent.”
Question - That the proposed new clause be now read a second time - proposed.
– I intend to take up precisely the same position as I did last year. Not one argument has been adduced’ by the Prime Minister to show that the Committee should recede from its decision. But before dealing with the prohibition question, I wish to referto the statement that the officials in British New Guinea have done their utmost to protect black labour. At the present time it is in a more disgraceful condition than was the black labour in Queensland in its worst days, as I shall show by a quotation from the annual report. There is indentured out to white men a certain number of men to be employed as black labour. Two years ago the men were paid£1 per month, but that rate was found to be too large, and therefore it was reduced to ios. i propose to show how the natives are now practically robbed of their paltry half-crown per week.
– That is, in addition to their food.
– i shall show the honorable and learned gentleman what the natives are given in addition to their food. In the northern division there were 625 blacks employed at a remuneration of 2s. 66. per week and their provisions, but there was deducted from that pay, for alleged theft of goods and for desertion, the amount of .£373 15s.; so that some of the blacks, presumably, got no wages. That statement is taken from the annual report, to which every honorable member has access. i ask honorable members to consider for one moment the way in which these unfortunate blacks are treated by their white employers, especially by those who are working on the mines. The miners pretend to give the blacks halfacrown a week, but let honorable members listen to the following extract from page 26 of the annual report: -
The deductions from wages of native labourers seems to point to rather an unsatisfactory state of affairs, both as regards the employer ana the employed There were, as will be seen from the above figures, 625 natives of the eastern division employed on the northern goldfields during the yen,r, and the deductions from their wages on account of time lost through desertion” and compensation to employers for goods alleged to have been stolen or destroyed by them reached, as per “ Minutes of Conviction,” received at the Samarai Labour Office, the sum of ^373 15s. 7d. ; while, on the other hand, for similar offences in this - the eastern division - only £16 9s. 6d. was charged up against the 898 natives under agreement.
We are told that the officials are particularly anxious to protect black labour in the island ; but, according to their own figures, the unfortunate men are dealt with on the lines of the American skipper who boasted that he paid no wages, because as soon as his men had earned a certain amount he made it so hot for them that they had to desert. Practically one-tenth of the wages of these 625 men is confiscated by their employers. When we were dealing with the prohibition of opium, i could not help remarking that there was a considerable amount of hypocrisy in connexion with the whole matter. i go as far as any honorable member in the prohibition of the introduction of that article. But it seems that we are following the example of those who -
Compound for sins they are inclined to, By damning those they have no mind to.
We are absolutely prepared to prohibit the introduction of opium because it has a very deleterious effect on the Chinese, and chiefly because it is wanted by only .a very small proportion of the white men. The proposal is carried; the Prime Minister accepts the resolution, and promises to bring in a Bill to prevent the introduction of opium. With that I quite agree. B’Ut when it comes to a question of protecting 350,000 blacks, then, for the mere gratification of a handful of whites, we are not prepared to mete out the same treatment.
– Then the prohibition party are not unanimous on this proposal.
– I am endeavouring to speak for myself. The compromise which has been accepted by some members of what is called the teetotal party in the House amounts to an absolute sham. The position is exactly the same as it was last year. The Prime Minister has said that of the 453 whites in the Possession a great number are teetotallers.
– I spoke of the missionaries and officials.
– For the 453 adult males in the Possession there are twenty licensed houses. In other words, there is a licensed house for every twenty-three white male adults If a considerable number of these men are teetotallers, and no liquor is sold to the blacks, the men who do drink are pretty heavy drinkers. Knowing the conditions, as we do, it is an absolute farce to say that the proprietors of these twenty stores are each making a living out of twenty-three white people, who are supposed to do business with them, and that is without taking into account the certain proportion of teetotallers, of whom the Prime Minister has spoken. The Prime Minister has attempted to show that it is easier to prevent the blacks from getting liquor, by admitting liquor into New Guinea than by imposing prohibition. The honorable gentleman’s position is that if we attempt to prohibit the importation of liquor, we shall make it easier for the blacks to obtain it; that is the whole strength of his argument.
– And it is a very strong point.
– i should like to be shown the strength of the point. If the Prime Minister be right, we are making a terrible mistake in attempting to prohibit the importation of opium to Australia. If the prohibition of liquor will make it easier for the people of New Guinea to get it, the prohibition of the importation of - opium into Australia should make it easier for Australians to obtain that drug. But the whole thing is a farce, and we know it. I” would prefer the Prime Minister to say straight out that, in his opinion, it is not advantageous to New Guinea that there should be prohibition ; because it is farcical to say that if we prohibit the introduction of liquor, we shall make it easier for the blacks to get it. Any trader who does business with the Possession will tell us that there is considerable smuggling of liquor into New Guinea ; and while there is a duty of 14s. or 15s. per gallon on liquor not worth more than is. a gallon, there must always be smuggling. The only way to grapple with the question is to have entire prohibition. If the officials are not prepared to carry out their duty, then let us get other officials who are. We must- never forget that there is a total population of 350,000 blacks, the responsibility for whose future rests, to a great extent, on the Commonwealth Parliament I know that there are honorable members strongly opposed to prohibition, and others, like myself, strongly in favour of it, but who are prepared to accept the verdict of the missionaries, and on their shoulders throw the whole responsibility. “ But we cannot throw our responsibility on the shoulders of others. It does not matter whether the officials or the missionaries are, or are not, against prohibition, if we believe that the same .results will follow the rum bottle into New Guinea that have followed its introduction amongst native races in other places - if we believe that drink will, in a few years, degrade and sweep the natives from the land which was theirs - we ought to keep drink away from the country ; and the only possible way to do that is by prohibition. I know that it is said to be impossible for white men to work in the mines of New Guinea without ‘a certain amount of stimulant. But the white men are not working the mines of New Guinea ; the case of a white ‘ miner working his own mine is practically unknown. It does not matter how strong an advocate of white labour a miner may have been on the mainland, he no sooner obtains his sections in New Guinea, than he applies for black labour. That black labour is obtained for half-a-crown a week, and, as I have shown, the black labourer is, in some cases, deprived of at least some of his wages, in consequence of charges made against him. I am not prepared to trust men who treat the blacks in that way ; because they are the sort of men who will give the blacks liquor if, by so doing, money can be made.
– Why not deport the whites who treat the blacks wrongly?
– I am one who thought we took a leap in the dark when we assumed the management and control of New Guinea ; but, having taken over the control, the full responsibility rests upon us, and we cannot shelter ourselves behind any one. No matter what others may argue, the fact remains that the Commonwealth Parliament has to say whether or not liquor shall be imported. The history of the world shows that wherever liquor is introduced into countries of this kind, the natives obtain possession of it; and we can expect no different result in New Guinea. The same ruin and degradation which have fallen on the American Indians, the blacks of Australia, and the coloured natives of any part of the world, will fall on the black population of New Guinea. I rather shocked some half-dozen of my clerical friends the other -day when I said that if it came to be a question whether there should be missionaries and whisky in New Guinea, or whether both should be kept away, I should vote with both hands for the latter course. I care not what influence the missionaries may have, once the natives taste liquor, we shall have the same evil results which have been witnessed in all parts of the world. I shall take exactly the same course I did last session, and vote for total prohibition. I shall now content myself with voting against the clause, with a view to substituting the prohibition clause agreed to on the last occasion. Another phase of the question shows how utterlyfarcical is the position now presented to us. There are now, as I have said, twenty hotels for 453 whites.
– There are three hotels in Samarai for seventy-five whites.
– That is a seaport?’
– The average for New Guinea is even worse than that pointed out by the honorable member for Kennedy. For a total population of 453 whites there are twenty licensed houses.
– Are they not stores?
– Presumably, they are the ordinary grog stores. Does the honorable member ask us to believe that a store in New Guinea supplies halfadozenwhites, and does not dispose of the remainder of the stock to the blacks ? The whites, who are now deliberately robbing the blacks, are not the men I should trust to run. whisky stores. In the hope that a report may be obtained and some remedy devised, I call the attention of the Prime Minister to the’ fact that the blacks are robbed of their wages, miserable as they are, and that there is not one line in the report to show that any steps have been taken for their protection. Under the circumstances, we require a much more intimate knowledge of the affairs of New Guinea than is already in our possession.
– The punishment that the honorable member would inflict on the miner who robs the natives, is to deprive him of his whisky.
– The punishment which I would inflict upon the miner would be this - he should have no black labour whatever. Then he would either have to work his mine himself or get white men to work it.
– That cannot be done by means of this Bill.
– If this were a case affecting the working of the mines in West Australia the honorable member for Kalgoorlie and others would assume a very different attitude.
– I do not believe that the New Guinea miners are robbers, all the same.
– The honorable member can read the report for himself. Does he think that 2s. 6d. a week is a fair paymentto make for the labour of a man ? Does he think that out of £3,730 paid in wages to these men deductions to the amount of over £370 represent fair treatment? If the boot were on the other foot we should not have this argument. In the whole matter of our legislation affecting New Guinea my object is to keep in view, not so much the interests of the white men as of the 350,000 blacks who are at our mercy. I would rather see every white man taken out of New Guinea to-morrow, and have the country left to the native races as it was before the British took possession, than send to them - as we are proposing to do now by means of this amendment of the Prime Minister - a curse in the form of liquor.
– I believe that honorable members on both sides of the House are particularly desirous, in legislating for the welfare of the residents of New Guinea, that one of the customary concomitantsof civilization, liquor shall not find its way to the natives. I am one of those who hold that view. But I understand that restrictions and regulations now in existence pertaining to the Territory, are sufficient to achieve that object. When this Bill was before the House on the last occasion the position was clearly defined. On the one side were those who believed in the control of the liquor traffic being determined by a local option poll ; and on the other side were those who believed in total prohibition within the Territory. I am one of those who believe in giving the white residents of New Guinea the option of saying whether whisky, beer, and other intoxicants shall be sold in the Territory. That privilege could not be denied to any portion of Australia. But in the opinion of some honorable members, whenwe are legislating for New Guinea - the political influence of the inhabitants of which cannot be felt in this Chamber - a Parliament sitting in the southern portion of the Continent should say that the people of the Territory shall not be allowed to have whisky if they wish for it. I cannot agree with that view. A proposal has been submitted to-day by the leader of the Government, which seems to aim at striking half way between the two positions. The Prime Minister proposes that by a vote of the white inhabitants the licences already existing may be maintained, diminished, or abolished, but that the number may not be extended. He is not prepared to allow the white residents to say whether new licences shall be granted. That position is difficult to understand. The Prime Minister would not allow the people to have the right which a Britisher might expect in British territory - the right to say whether he shall consume what he believes to be good for him. But what is the position of those who, on the last occasion when this matter was discussed, proclaimed themselves to be ardent prohibitionists? Are they prepared toaccept the Prime Minister’s proposal ? Are we to understand that the prohibition party in this House is willing to establish a monopoly in drink in British New Guinea? Are they prepared to say - “ You inhabitants of New Guinea may have drink as long as its sale is in the hands of monopolists “ ? That appears to be their position. They say that as long as there are no more than twenty -three licences, the sel- lers of drink may dispose of as much whisky as they like, but that fresh licences must not be taken out. That is one of the most illogical ‘positions that I can conceive. I can hardly believe that prohibitionists will consent to be placed in so humiliating a position. It amounts to an absolute abandonment of the principle which they previously enunciated. Let me quote a case to show how badly private restriction operates. In Perth, Western Australia, the issue of new licences has been consistently opposed by the Licensing Bench. What has been the result? In the hotels in the city of Perth one cannot obtain the accommodation that one might expect, because people are falling over each other to get into the licensed houses within a limited area. Instead of there being sufficient hotels to meet the requirements of the population, there are certain landlords who are drawing enormous incomes from the hotels already in existence. Does any one suppose that there is less drinking in the city of Perth because there are, say, fifty hotels instead of sixty ? There are larger profits for those who share in the drink monopoly, but there is not less drinking. The illustration shows -what the prohibitionists are prepared to accept if they agree to the proposal of the Government. I believe in absolute, unrestricted local option as to whether there shall or shall not be an increase in the number of licences, or as to whether no liquor shall be sold at all. If the majority of the” white inhabitants who are competent to express an opinion, on this subject choose to vote for absolute prohibition, I am prepared to give effect to their wish. As a first step towards achieving that end, I should like to give effect to a proposal that whatever licensed houses there are in New Guinea should be under State control. I am totally opposed to the shandygaff .proposal submitted by the Prime Minister, but prefer it to prohibition. To carry -out my view, I shall, at a later stage, move that the words “ shall not,” in the second line of the Prime Minister’s amendment, be struck out. with a view to insert the word “may.” Should that be carried, I intend to move that after the word “reduced,” in subclause 2 of the proposed new clause, the words “ or increased “ be inserted, to give the local residents the right to say whether they will increase .the number of licences, in addition to the right to say whether they will reduce or abolish the existing licences. If my prohibitionist friends are disposed to accept a shandygaff proposal, I hope that they will agree to the amendment of that proposal in such a way as to give full local option instead of the restrictive local option provided for.
– No argument has been advanced which will induce me to go back on the vote which’ I gave to prohibit the introduction of intoxicating liquor into New Guinea, and I cannot understand why any advocate of temperance should recede from the position which he took up in regard to the matter last session. To suggest that the giving of local option to the residents of New Guinea is temperance legislation is farcical. We have been told that even the missionaries of the Territory are in favour of the continuation of the liquor traffic there, and, if that be so, what likelihood is there of a poll being taken in which the majority will vote for a reduction in the number of licences? It has been said that the miners of New Guinea must have liquor, but the prohibition clause which was inserted in the Bill last year, and which the honorable member for Franklin intends to try to have reinserted, would not prevent them from getting all the liquor they require for medicinal purposes. If the miners cannot work without a certain quantity of alcoholic liquor, there would be nothing to prevent them from obtaining it, if that clause were passed into law. But if my temperance friends have induced the temperance alliances to believe that the measure, as the Prime Minister proposes to amend it, will be a measure of temperance reform, they have deceived them. It is nothing of the kind; and no honorable member thinks that any improvement in the liquor traffic’ of New Guinea will result from the carrying of the proposal of the Prime Minister. I could understand my temperance friends saying that if they cannot get prohibition they will vote for State control. I myself am ready to do that. We have a splendid example of State control at Renmark, in, South Australia, and a splendid example of local control at Mildura, in Victoria, which show that the community is far better off when the liquor traffic is controlled by the people than when it is left entirely to private enterprise.
– In Mildura they build chimneys of bottles.
– I recently, with other honorable members, visited Mildura, and while I found that a great deal of liquor is consumed there, I saw that its sale and consumption are controlled by the local clubs, and that no person under the age of twenty-one years can obtain it. As a consequence, a population of 4,000 persons needs only one sergeant of police and two ordinary policemen to keep order; and crime, the result of intoxication, is very rare. Under State control, the destination of every gallon of liquor sold would he known. At the present time, trading vessels visit New Guinea, and sail up its creeks and rivers loaded with liquor, returning without the liquor, and loaded with the products of the country. Where has the liquor gone to? I should be very surprised to learn that the natives do not consume a large quantity. It is objected that under (prohibition there will be smuggling, but even that would not be so bad as the present state of things. There is something in the proposal of the honorable and learned member for Kalgoorlie, that, if we vote for local option, we should give the residents of New Guinea the right to say that the number of licences shall be increased, as well as the right to say that they shall be reduced. But it must be remembered that those who go to New Guinea have no desire to stay there longer than they can help, so that the population is continually changing.
– Some of the finest men in the Commonwealth have gone there.
– Only the finest men would go to such a place, and all honour to them for their efforts im opening up the country. I am not in favour of preventing men from obtaining liquor if it is necessary for them. Under the prohibition clause they would be able to obtain a good deal more than in my opinion, is( good for them. But the natives will not be safeguarded unless we enforce prohibition, except in regard to the use of liquor for medicinal purposes. Our temperance friends should explain to the Committee why they have come to see eye to eye with the Prime Minister in this matter. Although I am a very temperate individual, I am not a teetotaller, and if they can show m’e any good reason for agreeing to the proposal of the Prime Minister I may alter my view and vote for having unrestricted traffic in liquor.
– There is not and never has been unrestricted traffic.
– Under the proposal of the Prime Minister, the traffic will be unrestricted. The effect of the clause Which the Prime Minister wishes to insert will be to give a monopoly to twenty-three persons, who can sell as many thousands of bottles of whisky as they like. The clause virtually provides that all the licensed houses now in existence in, New Guinea may continue to sell liquor, and there is no proposal to limit the quantity which they may/ sell per week or per annum.
– They will have a monopoly of the business all the time.
– Yes. I am opposed to such monopolies. I do not agree with those who say that a reduction! in the number of hotels- brings about a reduction in the quantity of liquor sold. If a man wants to get drink, he will get it whether there are three, or thirty, hotels in a street. I shall not vote for the proposal of the honorable member for ‘Kalgoorlie, because I wish to see the new clause of the Prime Minister negatived, though, as I have already stated, if I cannot get prohibition, I shall vote for State control. I pledged myself to my. constituents to vote for prohibition, and I do not see how the action of any Alliance could relieve me or any other honorable member of his obligation in that regard.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).Last session I reversed my vote upon the principle of prohibition, because I desired that some law should be passed to provide for the control of Papua, but I cannot understand how honorable members who then persisted in their demand for prohibition can now abandon their position, and give to the white residents the control of the liquor traffic.
– They are adopting much the same course that the honorable member followed in connexion with the provision for including railway servants within the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– In that connexion I voted deliberately, with the object of turning out of office a Ministry which had noreal power. I admit that this is a most difficult question. I believe that the more spirits can be placed beyond the reach of all classes of people the better it will be for them, but I recognise that it will be very hard to prevent the introduction of liquor into New “Guinea. A very long coastline lias to be guarded, and it seems to me to be almost impossible to prevent smuggling. Liquor is obtainable at very low cost close to the British and German boundary, and nothing would be easier than tosmuggle liquor from one Possession to the other. I have not so much consideration for the white residents as for the natives. Papua is the black man’s country. We may talk about a White Australia, but a white New Guinea is impracticable. , lt is our duty to protect the natives in their own country, and it seems to me that we shall be recreant to our trust if we place the liquor traffic under the sole control of the white residents. I admit that under present conditions it would be unwise to intrust the natives with any. power, and perhaps it would be better for the present to retain the control of the liquor traffic in the hands of the officials. I should strongly prefer total prohibition, subject to permission to sell alcoholic liquors for medicinal purposes. Alcoholic stimulants cannot be regarded as necessary in any country, and certainly not in New Guinea. I cannot follow the arguments of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie. It is a well-established fact that as the facilities few obtaining liquor are increased or decreased drunkenness will be the greater 01; the less respectively. It appears to me that if we increase the facilities for obtaining liquor in New Guinea we shall inflict great injury upon the natives. Surely the twenty-three licences already in existence should be more than sufficient to meet the requirements of the white residents, and any increase must tend to assist white traders in making a profit out of the sale of liquor to the natives. I shall not be a party to any action which will place it within the power of the white residents in New Guinea to debauch the natives. I understand that some men are employing the natives to perform manual labour at 2s. 6d. per week, and those honorable members ‘who are very strong advocates of arbitration legislation, and of high standards of wages, are apparently prepared to place further power in the hands of unscrupulous whites, who, by means of fines and other methods, rob the natives in every way then can.. One might as well be in Russia as in a country ruled by men of that class. We are showing great concern for the well-being of the Chinamen amongst us. We have declared ourselves to be in favour of prohibiting the introduction of opium into the Commonwealth, and yet some honorable members are prepared to permit the wholesale introduction of alcohol into New Guinea, to the inevitable injury of the natives, whom it is our special duty to protect. I shall support the amendment of the honorable member for Franklin.
– I regard this Bill as a very important one, conferring, as it does, a Constitution upon New Guinea. Honorable members will doubtless recollect that, last session, we imposed a prohibition upon the sale of intoxicants in the Possession. That provision was deleted in another place, and when the Bill was returned to us, it contained a clause providing for State control of the liquor traffic. Just prior to the prorogation, that clause was excised in this Chamber by a very small minority, and we re-affirmed our previous decision. Upon that occasion, I took a very active part in securing the imposition of the prohibition to which I have referred, and not long since I notified the Government of my intention - when the Bill was again brought forward - to move for its recommittal, with a view to securing the re-insertion of the provision in question. I was then given to understand by the Prime Minister that if I persisted in ‘that course, the Bill would be dropped. Accordingly, I called a meeting of the temperance party, at which a deputation, consisting of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, the honorable member for Boothby, and myself, was appointed to interview the honorable and learned gentleman upon the subject. We did so, and he informed us that, from information he had received, it was impossible to insure that any provision relating to prohibition would be properly administered.
– Why is it impossible?
– Let the honorable member ask the Prime Minister. The honorable and learned gentleman then submitted to us a clause - in lieu of the provision which had been excised - very nearly “in the form of his present proposal. He declared that he was in favour of prohibiting the sale of intoxicants in New Guinea if effect could be given to any such provision, and he wished to throw upon the missionaries and the white residents of the Territory the task of administering it. We then communicated with the Temperance Alliances of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. Without one exception, those organizations are in favour of the clause which has now been submitted bv the Prime Minister. In this connexion, I have received the following wire from South Australia: -
Alliance ‘officers and committee accept .new clause 21.
– Is that communication sufficient to warrant the honorable member in repudiating his previous pledge?
– In New Zealand a majority of three-fifths is necessary to impose any prohibition upon the sale of intoxicants, and in New South Wales a majority of two-thirds is required. In the clause submitted by the Prime Minister, we set an example to every State of the Union, inasmuch as we allow the people- themselves, by a bare majority, to abolish the liquor traffic. I wish honorable members to understand that I have not retreated in the slightest degree from my position as a prohibitionist. I believe in total abstinence for the individual, and in prohibition for the State. But I am not going to force upon the people a law in opposition to their wishes in the same way that England endeavoured to force upon her American Colonies the principle of taxation without representation. The white residents of New Guinea are not worse than the white population of any other part of the Empire, and I have yet to learn that we cannot accept the word of the missionaries who take their lives in their hands-
– Why did not the honorable member accept their word last year?
– Because I considered that they were wrong. Since then I have seen some of the missionaries, and I have asked them why they are opposed to prohibition. I pointed out that they rendered the position of temperance advocates like myself in this Parliament an exceedingly difficult one. They replied, “ The reason we are opposed to you is that you seek to deny us the right of Britishers. You wish to force prohibition upon us, and we will not have it.”
– Then they are thinking of themselves, and not of the interests pf the blacks.
– They would scarcely take their lives in their hands if they did not entertain the kindliest feelings for the natives of New Guinea. In this connexion I propose to read a short paragraph from the testimony of a man whose name I revere - a gentleman with whom I had the pleasure of speaking not long since. I refer to the Rev. w. E. Bromilow, chairman of the Methodist Mission in New Guinea, who says : -
I do not see how the Government magistrates could enforce prohibition against the wishes of the white, community. Almost all the whites object to the natives getting liquor.
Then the Rev. J. H. Holmes, a missionary of ten years’ experience, says -
The effect of a general prohibition on the mining community would be, as I have hinted above, serious in the extreme ; my knowledge of them as individuals is very limited; but brave men the world over, no matter what their occupations may be, will dare anything when they believe their rights have been tampered with. In the highest, truest, and best interests of the natives, of the colonists, and the Possession, God forbid that the mining community of the Possession be given any just cause to depart from their lawabiding instincts to obtain surreptitiously that which they are willing to buy openly as men.
– The honorable member has changed his opinion.
– I have not. I believe that traffic in drink is a debasing traffic, and the honorable member endeavours to strengthen it upon every possible occasion.
– The honorable member is doing us a great deal more harm upon the present occasion than is the honorable member for Kalgoorlie.
– The honorable member has not read the opinions of Mr. J. B. Finch, the greatest advocate of prohibition that America has produced - a man who travelled through the different States and fought for prohibition, as I should like to fight the question throughout Australia. I wish now to invite the attention of the Committee fo the following expression of opinion by him : -
The alcoholic liquor traffic is an old institution, and the charges urged against it are that its whole results debauch and degrade society. The Prohibitionists say that it is a school of crime, vice, and immorality ; and that a republican form of government, based on intelligence and morality, must destroy the traffic to preserve its own existence. These charges are grave ones, and if sustained no excuse can be offered for allowing the traffic to continue. The question is one of fact. Is the traffic guilty? Do Prohibitionists tell the truth? The jury to determine the’ matter must be the people, because in free America all political power is inherent in the people. The existence of the business must be sanctioned by law, or prohibited by law, and the people are the only law-makers. Bancroft says: “As the sea is made of drops, American society is composed of separate, free, and constantly moving atoms, ever in reciprocal action - advancing, receding, crossing, struggling against each other, and with each other, so that the institutions and laws of the country rise out of the masses of individual thought, which like the waters of the ocean, are rolling on evermore.” Laws are of two kinds - organic, which are adopted by the people by direct vote; and functional, which the people adopt by delegated vote ; -
This is the point to which I desire to call special attention - and the question for Prohibitionists to determine is, whether it i% better to’ have the people act directly or by delegation in settling the existence or non-existence of the liquor traffic. Its destruction means a great social change, and I do not believe it wise or best to attempt it by statutory law. Statutory law is passed by representatives of the people, using the people’s power. The representatives are few in number, subject to influence of popular passion and excitement, to say nothing of other means of influence which it is charged are used. The legislators as a class are partisans, who unite party success with all question’s of public policy; and the laws they pass are subject to modification or repeal at any time by themselves or succeeding legislatures. On the contrary, constitutional law can only be adopted by the whole people, after calm and mature deliberation, the provisions for amendment preventing unwise and hasty action. The law once adopted, it is guaranteed a fair trial, because its repeal is just as difficult as its adoption.
I agree with the view that the law being for the people should be enacted by the people themselves.
– Do the blacks obtain intoxicating liquor?
– They are not allowed to obtain it. It is all very well for honorable members to assert that they do; but they should give some proof of their assertions. I am pleased to learn that the Prime Minister intends to ascertain, if possible, by whom the large quantity of intoxicating liquor which goes to Papua is consumed. If it were discovered that the white population of the Territory were endeavouring to make drunkards of the blacks, I should be prepared to advocate their deportation. A Liquor Bill is now before the Parliament of New South Wales, and the temperance party of that State are endeavouring to secure local option in regard to the questions of the continuance or the reduction of the present number of licensed houses, or of “no licence.”- At present, however, at least 50 per cent, of the people of a district must vote before a reduction can be secured. Under this Bill, it is proposed that the question of the number of persons who record their votes at a local option poll shall not be considered, but that the decision of the majority of those who vote shall prevail. Then again, in New South Wales, at least a two-thirds majority must be obtained in favour of a “ nolicence” proposal. Under this Bill, however, a bare majority will suffice. This is a great advance, and I think that the people of New South Wales would hail with satisfaction its application to that State. The number of persons suffering from the use of intoxicating liquor in Australia is out of all proportion to the number injured by the trade in Papua. I would not accept prohibition from the Legislature of;i State. If we are to have prohibition, ii must come from the people themselves. Its that event, the law would be properly administered. An attempt was made last session to enforce prohibition upon the people of Papua. The white population, however, objected to such action on the part of this Parliament, in which they are not represented, asserting that as Britisher:they had a right to think and act for themselves. But if they are not prepared to accept the Bill as proposed to be amended, and to fight for prohibition, the missionaries must have failed to properly educate them. The Prime Minister proposes to give them a charter of a kind that I should like the Commonwealth to possess. For years the temperance party have been endeavouring to secure the- passing of a measure containing provisions relating to the liquor traffic similar to those of the Bill now before us, and we are now saying, in effect, to the white population of Papua, “Wc give you an opportunity to prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors, and if you avail yourselves of it, the Commonwealth will be well pleased.”
– We have just listened to what is probably one of the most remarkable speeches ever delivered in the House. Having regard to the fact that the honorable member for Cowper owes his election to his attitude upon the temperance question, I am rather surprised that he should have given utterance to such extraordinary statements. Last session he advocated total prohibition with all the eloquence at his command, but we now find him favouring something entirely different. It was only the other day that, as “acting secretary of the Temperance Party “ - I do not know who are its members - he issued a circular inviting, honorable members to attend a meeting to consider the question of prohibition for Papua. I did not attend the meeting, because I am not a member of any temperance organization - I am merely one of those who believe that it would be better for humanity generally if every one abstained from the use of strong drink - but immediately after it had been held the honorable member informed me that the party had decided to stand by the position which they took up last year with regard to this measure. We now find, however, that he is prepared to make a clean back-down, and to “ rat “ upon every principle of which he declared himself in favour the other day. If that is the manner in which politics are going to be conducted, they will be conducted in the most rotten way that can be imagined.
– The honorable member is still going for prohibition.
– I am going for prohibition, by the people.
– Did the honorable member’s recent speech indicate that he was in flavour of prohibition ? Why, he quoted paragraph after paragraph from some report as arguments against prohibition. This is all so much humbug, cant, and hypocrisy on his .part. He told us that he believes in the people having the right to regulate this traffic, when only the other day he gave a vote against the grant of Home Rule to Ireland. He has not come to his present belief as the result of any great research, because last year he ‘did not accept what was stated in the reports of the missionaries, and he was against their view right up to the time this meeting was held in the cellars. I do not know what sort of cellar the meeting was held in, but, judging from the sudden reversal of the honorable member’s position, it must have had a powerful effect. If last year he had not been whipping up the whole of the party at the instance of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who was ill, I could have understood his action. He was the one strong man in favour of prohibition up to within, I might almost say, half-arn-hour ago. But now he is root in favour of local option ; he does not believe in this grand ideal of British justice, which he said, in, very eloquent terms, was practically the means of losing the American Colonies to Great Britain?
– I do not believe in local op-‘ tion without State option.
– Let us hear what the honorable member said on the subject last year -
I om not prepared to give local option to people who must be hall their time “on the booze.”
The honorable member has just told us that these people should have the right to declare, by ‘a simply majority, that they will not have an additional licence.. Although only one short year ago he denounced them as a set of “ boozers, ‘ ‘ who were incapable of giving an intelligent vote, still he is now prepared to accept their votes. I look upon this as a very serious question, if some honorable members do not. They enter the House with a reputation in connexion with certain subjects, but, on the first opportunity they get to act, they abandon their promises to their electors, in order to take another course. It is very hard for any one to understand what has led the honorable member for Cowper to change his position. I shall l0ave him to reconcile his statements to his constituents in December of next year, when: they will be called upon to deal with him. I really do not know what led him to read these long extracts. Last year, in reply to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, he made another very important statement, which it is just as well to recall to his recollection -
– I am a believer in the principle of local option; I believe in the right of the people to control the liquor traffic.
– Why not allow them to do so in this case?
– For the simple reason that the white population of New Guinea are not allowed self-government. We legislate for them, and it is for us to decide a question of this kind. We do not allow the whites of New Guinea to legislate for the black population ; they have gone to a country belonging to a coloured race, and must put up with the conditions that are imposed.
He has now gone back upon that important statement.; in fact, he has eaten his own words, and virtually denounced his speech of last year. I do not know what position is going to be taken up by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who, I understand, is chairman of the temperance party. I presume that he was one of those who authorized the issue of the letter to honorable members who were known to be in favour of prohibition in Papua. To the meeting gathered in the vault, or cellar, I can imagine the honorable member putting this question - “ Are you in favour of prohibition or not ?” I am told that the question was unanimous!)’ decided in the affirmative. What has- become of the honorable member and his party? Apparently they have all backed down from their previous position, and are in favour of the hybrid measure which has -been, brought down by the Government, and which merely says that the white population shall have local option in dealing . with this particular question. Some explanation will be required in the near future why the honorable member for Melbourne Ports last year took a stand in favour of prohibition, and this year is found supporting the present proposal of the Government. There are less than 600 white men in New Guinea, and. so far as we know, coloured people to any number between 300,000 and 500,000. A rough estimate has been made of the number of coloured people in the lower portions of New Guinea, but it must be understood’ that these are not Papuans. South of Port Moresby the Melanese have settled, and driven the Papuans to the higher lands, where the natives are of such a warlike character that very little information can be gleaned concerning their numbers. In supporting prohibition I do not desire in any way to inflict injury on the white people; my only object is to avoid affording any opportunity to the natives to get drink. It is simply idle for missionaries, or any one else, to say that the natives of New Guinea do not obtain drink. I have met some of the pioneers, whose names may, perhaps, be long remembered for their efforts in promoting white settlement in New Guinea, and my information is that in a number of cases the natives are able to procure intoxicating liquors. When we find that the average consumption per head by the white population is seven gallons of spirits, twenty gallons of beer, and three gallons of wine, we can come to no other conclusion than that liquor is supplied also to the coloured people.
– And there is one public-house for every twenty-three white males.
– That is so. There is now presented to us an opportunity, without inflicting any great hardship on the small white population, to prevent, to a large extent, the coloured races obtaining liquor. Honorable members, including the honorable member for Cowper, argue that the importation of drink will not be stopped even by a prohibition law, and that is true. But is there any law in the criminal code which completely prevents crime ? Even the death penalty has not prevented murder ; and to adopt the line of argument pursued by some honorable members would mean that we have no right to pass a law unless we are satisfied that it will completely abolish the evil it is intended to combat. Prohibition, if it did not have the effect of totally preventing traffic in drinkin New Guinea, would to a large extent prevent it becoming an evil.
– Prohibition would prevent the growth of vested interests.
– Thatis quite true. What are the advocates of temperance in Australia, and throughout the world, lighting to-day ? They are fighting vested interests, and no Government has been found with backbone enough to assist them.
– No vested interests in liquor are allowed in Papua, and none will be.
– As a matter of fact, the Prime Minister might say the same of Australia - that there are no real vested interests created by law.
– There are in some States.
– All I know is that, under the Licensing Acts, a person is given a licence for twelve months, at the expiration of which the licence may be taken away. No perpetual right to a licence is given in any State of Australia, so far as I know.
– In Victoria compensation must be paid if a licence is not renewed.
– The licence is given “for only twelve months.
– But compensation is given. Mr. McDONALD.- The Prime Minister is alluding to a law passed in connexion with local option. That law, in my opinion, ought never to have been passed ; and its very existence only proves that vested interests were powerful enough to compel the Government to pass it. In Australia brewers own large numbers of hotels, and in the drink traffic generally vested interests have been allowed to grow up; so powerful are those vested interests that Parliaments seem afraid to touch them. Times out of number we hear members of Governments, and members of Parliament generally, speaking in an apologetic way to those interested in the drink traffic, declaring that there is no desire to take away licences altogether, but merely to limit the number and, when licences are not renewed, to pay compensation. All these facts show the sort of power which we are likely to create if we permit the drink traffic in New Guinea. There is not the slightest doubt that New Guinea will be a great country, peopled, we all hope, by thousands and. some day, millions of the white race. It is a fertile country, containing some of the finest tropical agricultural lands in the world, with higher lands eminently suited for grazing purposes; and it cannot be imagined that in connexion with the drink traffic vested interests would not, as elsewhere, be created. Are vested interests not already growing up under the influence of those now concerned in the liquor traffic? Are those interests not already so powerful that those engaged in the traffic have, in this matter, practically got control of the island ? Under the circumstances, we are absolutely justified in passing a prohibition law, if only with the one object, apart from all others, of preventing the creation of large vested interests in the drink traffic. It appears to me that one of the principal reasons for the introduction of this proposal by the Government at the present time is a desire to save revenue.
– That cannot be so.
– I say unhesitatingly that one of the principal reasons why the Government have proposed this new clause, and why the missionaries in British New Guinea have advocated some other method than prohibition, is that they fear additional taxation.
– They advocated it, because if there were prohibition, it would simply encourage the establishment of slygrog shops.
– When it was proposed to liberate the slaves, it was said that a worse state of things would be brought about.
– What comparison is there ?
– It is argued that if there are fewer opportunities to get drink, more drink will be consumed.
– It is an absurd argument.
– What right have we to coerce the people of British New Guinea ?
– We have no more right to coerce them than they have to coerce the natives of British New ‘Guinea to the number of about 500,000. What right have we to say that only white people should be allowed to express their opinion on this subject? Another consideration is that those who are prepared to give the white people in British New. Guinea an opportunity to vote with respect to the drink traffic are not prepared to give them a vote for the Legislative Council of the Possession. There must surely be some other motive influencing the Government to take this action. The position which I shall take up is this : I shall vote for prohibition ; but if I am defeated as to that, I shall vote for the clause as it stands, which practically amounts to the nationalization of the drink traffic.
– Why encourage the State to be landlord any more than a private individual ?
– Because under existing circumstances, it is the lesser evil. I feel very much grieved that a number of honorable members who were apparently so earnest in respect to the drink traffic, and who have practically built up their political lives upon the advocacv of temperance reform, should now be prepared to go back upon their principles. I refer especially in this instance to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports who, above all others, has taken up the strongest attitude with respect to the drink question. I feel grieved that men who were held in such high esteem should, after all their public speeches, recant everything that they have previously advocated. I can understand the action of one like the honorable member for New England, who, when the Conciliation and Arbitration Act was beforeParliament, stated that he intended to vote for a certain clause for the express purpose of killing the Bill. That is an honest declaration of intention. But when a man who is to all appearances sincere goes back upon every word he has previously uttered, I can only come to the conclusion that there is a good deal of political hypocrisy and humbug about him.
– I realize that the advocates of temperance are in a difficult position in regard to the proposal before us. The original clause for which they voted was subsequently knocked out of the Bill, after it came back from the Senate last session. Now it is proposed to insert another clause which deals with the question in a different manner. F or my own part I see no reason to alter my former opinion.
– Did the honorable member attend the secret meeting ?
– There was no secret meeting. There was a meeting of the advocates of temperance principles to consider this question. That was perfectly legitimate and proper. My difficulty is that if I vote against the proposed clause, I may not secure an opportunity to record a vote for prohibition afterwards. Then it will appear as though I had voted against a temperance principle. I do not wish to be in that position. Therefore I propose to move an amendment, unless another amendment is moved which will meet the case in a better way. Shall I be in order in moving an amendment now ?
– The question before the Chair is the second reading of the clause. Honorable members will have an opportunity to vote on the clause as a whole. After the second reading it will be competent for the honorable member for Lang, or any other honorable member, to move any amendment.
– Do I understand that the honorable member is not entitled to move an amendment now?
– .Whence did we derive this practice of reading a clause a second time in Committee?
– It is the practice of the House of Commons to read every new clause a second time. Every Bill has to be read a second time, and it stands to reason that every new clause should be similarly treated.
– It is a new practice.
Mr. JOHNSON (Lang).- If I am in order, I will move -
That all the words after the word “ Territory,” line 2, down to and including the word “ordinance,” line 25, be left out.
This amendment will give those who are in favour of prohibition an opportunity to vote for it. I promised my constituents to vote for prohibition in this connexion, and did so vote when the Bill was last before us. I do not wish to go back on that vote, though, in the event of my amendment being negatived, I reserve to myself the right to exercise my own judgment in supporting the clause as it stands, or any amendment thereon. With regard to some of the arguments which have been used in favour of the clause, I would point out that the missionaries, or very many of them, at any rate, have shown themselves to be strongly opposed to prohibition. The mining section, we are. also informed, oppose temperance reform, and therefore if we provide for local option, there will be very little chance of prohibition being carried in the Territory.
– That will depend on the division. In some divisions there are hardly any settlers other than missionaries.
– In divisions where the missionaries are in favour of the consumption of liquor, there will be very little chance of carrying a local option vote against it, and therefore the evil which we desire to destroy is more likely to be perpetuated by their aid. I do not desire that. There may be some force in the argu ment that we have no right to impose our will on the people of New Guinea by saying that they shall or shall not use intoxicating liquors. But, on the other hand, it must be remembered that we are now framing a Constitution for the Territory, and it is usual when framing a Constitution to limit and define the powers given under it. We are therefore justified in limiting the powers of the people of New Guinea in regard to the importation of intoxicating liquor, in the interests of the Papuan native population, which numbers between 400,000 and 500,000. We ought not to shunt our responsibility regarding the protection of the native races from the drink curse. No doubt abuses now exist in the Territory, but, should they increase, it will be said, “Why did not the Commonwealth Parliament, when framing a Constitution for the Territory, prohibit the importation and sale of intoxicating liquors there “ ? If we do not avail ourselves of this opportunity to exercise our undoubted’ powers in this matter, I fear that, with the increase of population, we may have repeated there all the objectionable occurrences which are known to result from over-indulgence in stimulants.
– How will the proposed new clause tend to increase drinking?
– It will not limit the consumption of alcoholic liquor, and, with the increase of population, an increase of drinking is likely. I do not say that that will happen, but it is one of the strong probabilities, almost amounting to certainty, to which we must pay regard. The honorable member for Kennedy has pointed out that there is already practically one public- house to every twenty-three white males in the Territory, if we include licensed stores, I presume he means. That seems to me an alarming state of affairs; and if we do not take this opportunity to* prevent the spread .of the drinking evil in New Guinea, all hope of dealing with it successfully will be lost for a long time to come. When the abolition of slavery was being agitated for, it was said that, even if slavery were abolished legally, it would exist illegally ; but we know very well that there is no such thing as slavery in any English Possession or ih America at the present time. Slavery was abolished in the teeth of tremendous opposition, and in spite of the demands of the slave-owners for compensation, and there has been no evasion of the laws which brought about its abolition. I do not say that a certain amount of smuggling and illicit distillation will not go on; but it goes on now, without prohibition, and what would be thought of an argument against the prohibition of crime, based on the reasoning thatthe prohibition of crime would not prevent crime? I wish to point out to the Prime Minister that the proposed new clause contains no provision in regard to opium.
– The importation of opium into New Guinea will be dealt with in the Bill which will be introduced to deal with the importation of opium into the Commonwealth. The Constitution which we are now framing for New Guinea will enable us to make any Act of the Commonwealth applicable to the Territory.
– Possibly the matter may be dealt with effectively in that way, but I should like to see it provided for in this Bill.
– The Constitution when framed will always be subject to amendment by the Commonwealth Parliament.
– In that case I shall not press the matter further.
– As a question was raised in regard to the procedure of reading the proposed new clause a second time, I may say that our own Standing Orders contain no express provision on the subject, and the first standing order provides that in such cases we shall follow the rules, procedure, and practice of the House of Commons. At page 461 of the tenth edition of May’s Parliamentary Practice, it is stated that -
If a new clause be offered, the Chairman desires the member to bring it up, and it is read a first time, under standing order No. 38, without question put. A question is then put for reading the clause a second time, and, if agreed to, the clause may be amended before the question is put for adding it to the Bill.
Mr. McDONALD (Kennedy). - Do I understand that the new clause will be read a. second time in the House?
– No; in Committee.
– I have never known that practice to be followed in any of the Australian Parliaments. In Queensland, new clauses are read a second time in the House.
– In, Victoria, the second reading takes place in Committee.
– I do not think that the practice is frequently followed even in the House of Commons, and I enter my protest against its adoption here.
– I was associated with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports in bringing the question of the application of the principle of prohibition to New Guinea under the notice of the previous Parliament, and to-day, like the honorable member referred to and the honorable member for Cowper, I am backing down from my original position. I am prepared to admit thatit is a back-down on my part. I would point out that our object was to bring about practical prohibitionin New Guinea, and whilst at first it seemed that that object would best be served by including within the four corners of the Constitution; of Papua a prohibitory clause, most of us have now come to the conclusion that we shall best achieve our object by adopting the provisions now brought forward by the Prime Minister. We have in view the same object as formerly, and I think it is much more important that we should look to the practical effect of any proposal presented to us than that we should aim at being absolutely consistent in our advocacy of an abstract principle, after it has been found that strict adherence to the methods originally proposed will not bring about the desired results. Honorable members who have read the reports of the missionaries in New Guinea can come to no other conclusion’ than that our persistence in forcing prohibition upon the white residents there would probably lead to increased consumption of alcoholic stimulants by the natives. When this question was first under discussion we had not the alternative which is now offered to us. There is no need for honorable members who still strongly advocate absolute prohibition to charge us with hypocrisy or unfaithfulness to our principles, because we are just as anxious as ever we were to reduce the consumption of liquor in the Territory. We desire to save the New Guinea natives, who are committed to our care, from the curse of intoxicants. Whatever views may be held with regard to the use of intoxicants by white people, there can be no doubt that the consumption of alcohol by natives, such as those of New Guinea, rapidly brings about their physical and mental deterioration. I appeal to honorable members to abstain from attempting to make political capital out of the change of attitude on the part of some of the original advocates of prohibition. When this measure was firstsubmitted we had not the smallest knowledgewith respect to the man- ner in which the proposal for prohibition would .be viewed by the white residents of Papua.
– We - had the reports of the missionaries before us.
– When the proposal for prohibition was first made we had no knowledge as to how it would be viewed by the white residents. We did not know then that the missionaries, whose first consideration is the well-being of the natives, held the view that under a system of prohibition the natives would h!ave greater opportunities for obtaining liquor than under restrictive laws such as those at present in operation. In the light of the knowledge we now possess on the subject, it would be inadvisable for us to enforce a mere paper prohibition against the advice of those on whose judgment we ought to be able to thoroughly rely.
– The honorable member should have backed down last session, when the reports of the missionaries were before the House.
– The honorable member is quite entitled to hold that opinion, but I take my own time to back down. Having given this matter very careful consideration, I recognise that under the proposal of the Prime Minister, we can afford a just measure of protection to the natives, and consequently I am justified in what the honorable member is pleased to term “backing down.” We have to recollect that any attempt to force prohibition upon an unwilling people in a country where the opportunities for evading the law are of the widest description is fraught with the greatest difficulty. Therefore it behoves us to ascertain if we cannot accomplish our desire by securing the co-operation of the white residents of the Territory. Under the proposal of the Prime Minister, we are seeking, with their cooperation, to achieve the end that we previously attempted to secure in the face of their antagonism. I have no desire to labour this question. I am convinced that it is wiser for -us to work in harmony with the white population of the Possession than to endeavour to coerce them. We all recognise that it is impossible to enforce prohibition there if ‘they are hostile to it, because intoxicants can be introduced from German or Dutch New Guinea with the greatest ease. As the missionaries have repeatedly stated, it would require a standing army of officials to prevent smuggling and illicit’ distillation in the Territory. If there is. one thing more than another which I value in these proposals, it is the provision which enables a poll to be taken in any division. Whilst I quite believe that in some portions of New Guinea the residents will not sanction a prohibition upon the sale of intoxicants, I believe that in others they will. As one who is very anxious that opportunities for supplying liquor to the natives shall be reduced to a minimum, I hope that the Committee will agree to the proposed new clause.
– It must be evident to most honorable members that the interests of New Guinea are suffering by reason of the absence of the legislation which is contained in this Bill quite apart from the particular clause now under consideration. I believe that the Territory would already have enjoyed a constitution of its own but for the prohibition proposal which was brought forward last session. I hope that we have now reached finality in regard to this measure, and that, if the proposal of the Prime Minister be defeated, he will see the wisdom of passing it without any provision concerning the use of intoxicants. I do not see any reason why the control of the liquor traffic should be made part and parcel of what is practically a Constitution for New Guinea. If that matter be of such a contentious character as to require further consideration, I trust that it will be dealt with upon some future occasion. I was one of those who last session favoured the prohibition of the liquor traffic in Papua, being led to adopt that view by consideration for the interests, not of the handful of white settlers in the Territory, but of the 400,000 natives, to whom we owe a special responsibility. We know that the natives are largely free from the drink traffic, and have not acquired that taste for alcohol which, judging by statistics, is more or less possessed by the white residents. But the presence of a white population in Papua, and the introduction of intoxicating liquors, give rise to a real danger in respect of these people. I judge of the extent of that danger by the effect which the traffic has had upon the aborigines of. Australia and the adjacent islands, as well as by its effect upon inferior black races generally. I know of no inferior black race that is immune from its injurious influences. Civilization has carried the drink curse wherever it has gone, and the native races have perished before it. Our obligation ‘to the 300 or 400 white men in Papua does not relieve us of our duty to the black races there. .We have taken over the control of a. Territory possessing an enormous black population, and if the drink traffic should decimate that population to anything like the extent that it has decimated the black races of Australia and the adjacent islands, a most serious responsibility must rest upon us. It is because I view the matter in that light that I propose to vote in the way I shall indicate. If we had merely to consider the handful of white men in Papua - men who have been reared, as we have been, to a proper regard for the responsibilities of citizenship - I should be quite satisfied to give them the right to local option, the right to determine to what extent they might be affected by the presence or absence of the liquor traffic. But the more serious side of the problem is its relation to the black races. Some honorable members, in arguing in favour of the drink traffic being allowed to continue, have told us, first of all, that it is impossible to carry out an effective system of prohibition in the Territory. If that be correct, under what circumstances would prohibition be effective in a civilized community ? The missionaries were the first to go to Papua, and, presumably, exercise some influence over the white people who have followed them. We are told that the views of the missionaries very largely dominate other questions affecting the Territory, and it is unlikely that they would have a strong bias for the liquor traffic. That being so, and having regard also to the fact that the enormous black population has not yet acquired a taste for strong drink, surely we could not have a more suitable set of conditions under which to apply the principle of prohibition. The stand taken by the. missionaries in regard to this question would suggest that prohibition, although excellent on theory, will not work in practice. I for one refuse to believe that that is so. We need only the good sense of the people behind it in order to make it effective. It may be that prohibition would not meet with the approval of a majority of the white residents, but we should at least make the experiment. It will be time enough! to retrace our steps when we find, as the result of a trial, that the system is unworkable. ‘ If we do not attempt to apply the principle to a new country simply because we are told that on theoretical grounds it is impracticable, we can never hope to determine the question for ourselves. A proper regard for the interests of the natives demands that if we believe the principle to be effective we should give it a trial, and that we should retreat from the position which we have taken up only when the impracticability of the system has been demonstrated. Some of our temperance friends have, in effect, urged us to spike our guns. They would also lead us to suppose that this race, although they are dark coloured, and very low in the scale of civilization, are practically immune from the dire effects of the drink, traffic from which similar races have suffered. Although there is a large quantity of liquor consumed in Papua, and only a small white population, thus bringing the total consumption per head up to- an enormous figure, still we are asked to believe that very few, practically no natives, are addicted to drink, and that there is no -reason which should cause us to hesitate to agree to this proposal. I disagree with that entirely. It seems to me that when the natives get a taste for liquor they will sacrifice anything in order to get a supply. Why were the natives in Australia so seriously affected by drink? Because the white people desired to secure their labour, and because it was found that the easiest way of purchasing it -was by the supply of drink. The natives speedily acquired a taste for drink, and were soon prepared to sacrifice anything in order to get a supply. Will not the same thing happen in British New Guinea ? Black labour enters largely into the work of developing this new country, because the white man is unable to carry out his mining and other .ventures without the aid of the natives. His first consideration is to secure black labour on as favorable terms as possible. The uncivilized black man is not very strongly appealed to by the mere display of money, and trade only appeals to him to a limited extent. What chiefly appeals to him is the satisfaction of his appetite for strong drink. This has been the means by which the black races ‘have deteriorated and gradually disappeared before the presence of the white man. A recent number of The Century contains an article ‘from the pen of a native Prince of South Africa, who was educated in America, and is endeavouring to govern his people on those lines which seem to him to promise the best results. His name is Momolu Massaquoi, of Ghen-
Leone. in the British Protectorate of Sierra Leone. Referring to the effect of civilization upon his own State, he writes -
From actual calculation I find that nearly onehalf of the goods imported into my territory is in the form of liquor, and that of the very worst and most injurious kind. The native has an idea that everything the white man uses and exports must necessarily be good, and an essential element in civilization. It is, therefore, common to find a man who is poor, and not able to get sufficient liquor on which to get drunk, rubbing a drop on his head or on his moustache in order that people may smell it, and call him civilized.
The poison is fast doing its deadly work, and in a few years there will be none of us left to resist the oppressors. But our blood will be on their heads, and will cry to Heaven for vengeance.
That is the opinion of a native Prince who can give expression to the practical knowledge which he has acquired amongst his own people. This article was written for the purpose of appealing to the higher Christian sentiment of British communities in regard to the great injury which is< being done by the vanguards of civilization in introducing the drink curse to primitive races. His desire is to bring home this fact to the civilized communities in the older lands, and endeavour to secure their cooperation in the direction of preventing the deterioration of his people. Let us see how he summed up the position -
The very next step in our forward career must be the absolute demolition of the liquor traffic.
Dr. Josiah Strong, who introduced the writer, made this comment in his preface : -
The enlightened nations should unite to end the African rum traffic, as they did to stop the African slave trade.
That appeal is made on behalf of a race more virile and stronger to resist the deteriorating effects of the drink traffic than the Australian and, presumably, the Papuan races. If that appeal be necessary on behalf of a South African race, how much more necessary is it in the case of the race with whom we have to’ deal ? If that appeal be directed to the intelligent Christian sentiment of Europe bv this Prince on behalf of his people - a kind of despairing cry - to stop the destruction which is taking place, how can we legislate for a further extension of the drink traffic in a new country like Papua without accepting very serious responsibilities as regards the results? What do the Government propose to do? They propose to concede to the white population the right of determining the existence of the liquor traffic by a local option vote, although in this very measure, despite the strong efforts of a number of honorable members, they have refused to give the white population the right of electing some members of the Legislative Council and the right of trial by jury. In all the States the people enjoy the most liberal parliamentary franchise and trial by jury. We withhold those privileges from the white population in British New Guinea, but we say to them : “ You shall have what has been denied to the people in the States on the mainland, namely, the right to determine the extent of the liquor traffic within certain bounds.” I do not know that I am altogether in agreement with the Prime Minister, if he carries his proposal, in limiting the sale of liquor to twenty private persons. This clause practically tells the people of New Guinea that they have a number of licensed places which they may continue or reduce, but which they may not extend ; and that seems to create a monopoly in the hands of a few. If New Guinea is to progress, as we hops it may, the present white population may increase in a little while to 2,000, and yet we are asked to permit a vested interest to be created which will limit the traffic to some twenty private persons for all time. IF prohibition be a failure, as some of its opponents, and some of its late friends, prophesy, we shall be in no worse position than at present, because the weakness of the system will have been demonstrated. If. on the other hand, the drink traffic is to continue, I desire to see it under the most effective and efficient control possible. As a result of my observations, particularly during my recent visit to Mildura, I have come the the conclusion thathe liliquor traffic, when conducted under such control as to take away the interest in making money directly out of the sale, is less objectionable than when under private control.
– In Mildura, ^6,000 profit was made in one club in a year.
– That may be so; but the police statistics are in favour of Mildura even . with its clubs, and I am perfectly satisfied that, in this respect, that town will compare most favorably with V other of similar size. If we are to have the liquor traffic in New Guinea, I prefer to see it under State control, so that there may be no inducement to push the trade either amongst the whites or the natives., but merely to so conduct it as to satisfy the desires of those who wish for, and will have, drink. If our responsibility simply concerned the white people, I should have no hesitation in allowing the latter to decide the question for themselves; but there are from 300,000 to 500,000 natives, who are, as yet, not seriously contaminated by the drink curse. In other places, where coloured people have been brought into touch with civilization, we have seen the serious effects of drink, and I feel that there rests upon me, as a legislator, a serious responsibility which I cannot delegate. I, therefore, prefer, if possible, to have a fair test of the operation of prohibition.
– I am strongly in favour of local option, because I regard local government as the best form of government, under which the people get what they desire, and are satisfied. It seems to me that those who favour prohibition might very well vote for the clause, since it provides that the number of licences may be either reduced or abolished. In other words, it means that the people of Papua may have prohibition if they so desire; but it is no part of the duty of this Parliament to dictate liquor laws to the 500 Europeans in British New Guinea. The honorable member for Canobolas, as usual, in a very capital speech, has declared himself in favour of prohibition, and pictured to us the evils caused amongst the dark races by the excessive use of liquor. At the same time, the honorable member might very well support the proposal of the Government, seeing that he believes in the principle that people should govern themselves in local matters. The honorable member raises some objection to the right to increase the number of licences being taken away under this measure ; but if he is in favour of prohibition he could surely support a clause which does not provide for more licences than are now in existence. The honorable member is in favour of State control, but he must feel satisfied that it is impossible for such control to be provided for in this Bill. This House, by a large majority, declared in favour of prohibition ; but another place, by a tolerably large majority, pronounced for State control. I go a long way with honorable members who favour special control, but I prefer a different form from that proposed either in the Senate or in this Chamber. As I said on a previous occasion, I believe in the Gothenburg law, with the profits expended for the recreation of the people under a company system, rather than in offering a premium to local bodies in1 order to in crease the revenue for a municipality, as would be the case under such’ control. Under the Company or Gothenburg system, the profits are used for the good of the people, and the purchase of temperance drinks, rather than of strong drink, is en. couraged.
– What does the honorable member mean by the “ company ‘ ‘ system,.
– In England, philanthropists have established companies, and purchased licensed premises, which are conducted in the public interest, the profits being used for the pleasure and benefit of the people in the localities. That system has been a great success in several parts of England.
– Does the honorable member think that such a system would apply in New Guinea ?
– I do not think the system would apply in New Guinea at the present juncture, and for that reason I make no proposal. I rise, however, to say a word for the system, because the day will come when the question of the liquor traffic in the Federal City will have to be dealt with, and if, as I hope, that day is in my time, I shall move to have the company system established there. There is a wide difference between the Gothenburg system and the system of State control. The one offers an inducement to sell liquor, but the other does not. Undoubtedly there will be profits, which, under the company system, will be spent for the benefit of the people who consume the liquor, so that those young men who are weak enough to be led into hotels, for the pleasure and associations which they obtain there will obtain a better form of recreation, and no inducement will be given for the use of strong liquors. I do not believe that the Gothenburg system could yet be successfully established in British New Guinea. I take it that the people there will accept this local option provision as being Letter than prohibition. Except from that! point of view, I do not think that they would be in favour of it. They wish to be free land untrammelled in the means of obtaining drink. I believe that there is. a considerable amount of illicit distillation in British New Guinea. The amount of smuggled liquor is alsoenormous. I have had conversations with people who are likely to know, and they confirm my suspicions. I have spoken to clergymen who have come from the island, and who state that, although they are not in favour of prohibition, they nevertheless believe that there is a great deal of illicit distillation and of smuggling from the Dutch and German possessions. I have not satisfied myself as to what becomes of the liquor that goes into the Possession. The Prime Minister tells us that it will be more diligently traced in the future than it has been in the past. If there is illicit distillation, smuggling, and illicit trading, in addition to the consumption as to which we have information, the quantity of liquor drunk in British New Guinea must be enormous. The amendment proposes that there shall be a minimum fine of £20 and a maximum fine of £200, and that there shall be a minimum term of imprisonment of one month and a maximum term of two years, upon conviction, for supplying natives with liquor.
– Those provisions are part of the existing law.
– I think the minimum proposals ought to be struck out. There should be some discretion given to the magistrates. We should have some faith in our administrators. I would trust the Court to a greater extent. In some the Court might think it advisable not to impose a heavier penalty than would be sufficient to make an example of the offender. Not to allow a magistrate to impose a smaller fine than £20, or to inflict a lighter sentence than one month’s imprisonment, would be a mistake. These officials are little kings. The place is run by a small cliqueat the present time, and any man who gives offence to the officials is liable to be ruined, and it would be urged that Parliament discouraged light sentences and small fines.
– Reducing the minimum would not decrease the power of the officials.
– No; it would increase it. I object to magistrates not having the power to impose a smaller fine if they think it meets the case.
– Does the honorable member think that the penalty shouldbe a fixed one?
Mr.HENRY WILLIS. - No; but I would enable a magistrate to inflict a fine of£1, if he thought that sufficient.
– It would be altogether too small.
– I am an old magistrate of more than one State, and I say that men who sit on benches should have discretionary powers. I also object to several parts of the proviso. Under it a man who is accused has to prove his innocence. The Prime Minister has introduced an innovation amongst British people in this respect.
– The honorable member will find it in the ordinances already in existence.
– Those ordinances havebeen passed chiefly by officials who, I say again, are little princes. The proviso also says that a man may give liquor to a native for “purely medicinal purposes.” What is to hinder a man fromgiving his black servant drink and alleging that he gave it for medicinal purposes? If an influential man finds favour with the officials, there will be no fine or imprisonment. When the opportunity arrives to test the opinion of the Committee as to the advisability or otherwise of accepting this proviso, I shall take advantage of it. I welcome the proposal to establish local option in the Territory, and I have no complaints to make against those who are now prepared to abandon prohibition in favour of local option.
– The honorable member for Robertson stated that, in his opinion, the penalties proposed to be inflicted where persons are found guiltyof selling drink to natives are too severe, whereupon the Prime Minister interjected that they are at present provided for in the ordinances, and therefore are not too severe.
– They have not been shown to be too severe.
– I agree with the Prime Minister that they are by no means too severe as provided by the ordinances. But we are now engaged in framing a Constitution for New Guinea, and it is far harder to repeal or amend Constitutions than to repeal or amend ordinances. For that reason these penalties must have wider limits in order to give the administration of New Guinea a proper opportunity to increase them if the occasion ever seems to warrant it.
– Although we are framing a Constitution for Papua, the Act will be as open to amendment as any other Act of the Commonwealth Parliament.
– It now takes about three months to get information from New Guinea on any subject, and the best part of a year would elapse before an amending
Bill could be passed to enable’ the administration of the Territory to meet new circumstances which might have arisen. Therefore I suggest to the Prime Minister that one of the things he must do is to give a wider margin, to provide greater lengths to which the penalties can go.
– Is not imprisonment for two years a sufficient penalty?
– I would deport from the Territory for repeated offences. A very great’ responsibility rests on our shoulders in regard to the 350,000 blacks in British New Guinea, and no means that we can take should be considered too stringent to insure the end which we have in view - which is, that they shall not be permitted to obtain intoxicating, liquor. I am surprised, however, to find that the views which were espoused by other honorable members, as well as by me, last session, are now being enthusiastically supported by the high priests of temperance, such as the honorable members for Cowper and Melbourne Ports, who treated us then in the most shameful way for daring to suggest that these proposals were the best in the interests of New Guinea. I should like to know how their sudden conversion to sanity has been accomplished.
– Perhaps they have taken to drink in the meantime.
– I do not know if they have taken to drink ; but if their statements last year really embodied their true feelings, they, must now be regarded as having become the humble slaves of Bung. The honorable member for. Melbourne Ports, however, has not had the courage to tell the Chamber why he has arrived at this chance of view, although he put forward the honorable member for Cowper as a catspaw. On the 29th November last, the honorable member for Fremantle moved an amendment, in support of which hesaid -
The white population of New Guinea ought to be consulted. I desire, therefore, to move an amendment with the object of providing that a poll of the white inhabitants shall be taken in order to ascertain their wishes. I move - “ That after the word ‘ except ‘ the words 1 by consent of the European residents,’ be inserted.” I think that on that amendment we can test the question as to whether local option should be allowed.
The honorable member for Cowper first tried to block the amendment by raising a point of order, and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, when he came to speak on it, said -
As New Guinea is a black man’s and not a white man’s land, it is our first duty to preserve the native population, and I hope the Committee , will reject the amendment in order to secure the object which we have in view, the prohibition of the importation of liquor.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports had before him, at that time, all the evidence which is now before us.
– Every tittle of it. He knew exactly what the position was. However - perhaps because of his unwonted sincerity - he then induced the House to adopt a certain course; but now he has made an ignominious backdown, and lacks the courage to tell us why he has done so.
– What will his constituents say ?
– Yes; and what will the temperance people of Australia say ? The honorable gentleman now mutely accepts the proposal of the Prime Minister, which, by instituting local option in New Guinea, provides that we shall trust the white inhabitants of the Territory in this matter. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports pointed out that the consumption of liquor in New Guinea was exceedingly large, and that no less than .£3,130 was collected annually in the shape of liquor duties. The honorable member for Dalley then interjected - “The white residents must have a very big thirst.” The fact that each inhabitant had, on the average, consumed three gallons of wine, seven gallons of spirits, and twenty gallons of beer per annum, then aroused the indignation of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who whilst resolutely refusing to swallow anything but his own principles, is now willing to allow the white residents of New Guinea to swallow as much liquor as they like. On the occasion referred to, the honorable member admitted that the white residents must be a. thirsty lot. If they were thirsty last year, has any evidence been tendered to show that they are likely to be less thirsty this year?
– Has the honorable member for Melbourne Ports indicated that he intends to support the proposed new clause?
– No ; but if the honorable member had really intended to oppose the Prime Minister’s proposal, we should have heard from him long ago. He is not of a retiring disposition when temperance proposals are afoot, but apparently on this oc- casion realizes that he occupies a rather invidious position, and has consequently induced the ingenuous honorable member for Cowper to shoulder the responsibility which should be assumed by himself. I want to know how the change of attitude on the part of the honorable member has been brought about. At page 6520 of Hansard of last session he is reported to have said-
It is patent that the licensing conditions are being evaded, and that liquor is being retailed to the natives. I contend that we ought to discharge our duty to these people.
Apparently our duty to the natives is not now nearly so pressing as is our duty to our silent selves. The honorable member went on to say -
I do not think that it matters very much whether we develop New Guinea or not.
The arguments which we have heard in support of the proposed half-way house towards prohibition is that, unless we pass such a measure as that now before us, New Guinea cannot be properly developed. On the occasion referred to the honorable member also said -
It is of importance that we should not carry our vices to the natives of that Territory, and ruin them in the same way that we have ruined the Australian aborigines.
Then he went on to say that the interests of the natives could be safeguarded only by prohibiting the sale of intoxicants in the Possession, except for medicinal purposes. That was the honorable member’s position last year, but, apparently, he is now prepared to place the control of the liquor traffic in the hands of the white residents whom he was formerly only too ready to denounce. The honorable member for Boothby told us that it was impossible to carry prohibitory provisions into practical effect, because a whole army of officials would be required to prevent smuggling. I am not sure that that objection is removed by the proposal now before us. It appears to me that we should require not only one army, but three or four armies, to prevent smuggling from one portion of New Guinea to another, as well as the introduction of liquor from parts beyond the Possession. If, for instance, the residents in the eastern corner of New Guinea decided in favour of total prohibition, whereas the people in other divisions of the Territory preferred to allow the traffic to continue, provision would have to be made for preventing the introduction of liquor into the division to which the prohibitory law applied. I should much prefer to allow the liquor traffic to remain under Government control, as was first proposed. I can conceive of innumerable difficulties arising in connexion with the administration of such a provision as that now before us. It is due not only to the constituents of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, but also to the great Temperance Party, of which he claims to be one of the leaders, that he should explain his position. I deeply regret that instead of openly arguing the question in this House honorable members descended to the vaults in order to arrive at their change of mind.
– To which caucus does the honorable member refer?
– I am speaking of a new caucus wilh which I am glad to say the honorable member is not associated. Upon various occasions a great deal of criticism - with much of which I entirely agree - has been levelled against the caucus by, among others, recanting prohibitionists. For that reason, I am sorry that this arrangement was arrived at in the vaults. How has this change of front been brought about? It is impossible to say. I can only assume that the Prime Minister must have laid for these unwary apostles of temperance the snare of his own charming influence in such, a way that, although they entered that murky chamber downstairs as freemen, they emerged from it humble servants, dumb servants of Bung. Otherwise how can their sudden change of front be explained? We all know that the honorable member for Cowper is a very sincere and straightforward advocate of temperance.
– He is a bit “ mixed “ upon the present occasion.
– He may be a bit “mixed,” but certainly the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is as tight as -an oyster. At least the honorable member for Cowper had the courage to assign reasons for his change of opinion. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports owes it not only to this Chamber, but to the temperance party throughout Australia - and I include myself in that category - that he should offer some explanation of the reasons which have induced him to effect such a remarkable change of front. Until he does so, we shall continue to demand such an explanation, so that he might as well forthwith perform with grace what he refuses to do with alacrity.
– The speeches which have been delivered this afternoon disclose an extraordinary change of front on the part of those who have hitherto been regarded as the strongest advocates of temperance, if not of prohibition, in this House. It was stated by the honorable member for Cowper that the proposal of the Prime Minister has been submitted to the Temperance Alliances in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, and that it has met with the approval of those bodies. I should like to be informed of the manner in which it was submitted to them. I think we are entitled to hear from the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who acted as chairman of the selfconstituted temperance party in this Chamber, the precise form in which this question was put before them. The honorable member for Cowper certainly did not give us that information. He merely declared that the matter was submitted to them, and that they had given their adherence to this so-called compromise between the Government and the Labour Party. To me it seems evident that the alternative presented to them - in the event of their refusing to accept the Government proposal - was that they would get nothing at all. Probably they had it submitted to them in a stand-and-deliver fashion. The temperance leaders appear to have been absolutely captured by the Prime Minister. What is the position in which honorable members who voted in favour of prohibition last session find themselves to-day ? We are asked without any reason to reverse the decision at which we then arrived. When the matter was previously under discussion, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports strongly supported the application of prohibition to the Territory. He has now made a complete change of front, and supports the clause submitted as a compromise between the Government and the temperance party in this House. The part of the honorable member’s speech to which I desire to draw attention is to be found at page 6520 of Hansard, vol. 23 : -
It is patent that the licensing conditions are being evaded, and that liquor is being retailed, to the natives. I contend that we ought to discharge our duty to these people. Like the honorable member for Parramatta, I do not think that it matters very much whether we develop New Guinea or not. It is of importance, however, that we should not carry our vices to the natives of that Territory, and ruin them in the same way that we have ruined the Australian aborigines. We should absolutely prohibit the sale of intoxicants in the Possession, except for medicinal purposes.
On the strength of the representations made by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, the honorable member for Cowper, and other prominent leaders of the temperance party, I and many other honorable members voted for prohibition, believing, as I do now, that that was the right course to take in the interests of the coloured population of the Territory. I trust that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, as a leading representative of the temperance party in this House, will explain the reason for his change of front. If he does not discharge his duty as the leader of that party in this House, he will deservedly incur the odium of every member of the temperance organization in Australia. That association is a large body working for the good of the Australian people, and its members are certainly entitled to an explanation of the change of front on the part of their representatives. Up to the present time, not one argument has been put forward in support of the proposed new clause, and if the honorable member for Melbourne Ports recognises the responsibility resting upon him he will let us know why we are asked to depart from the vote in favour of prohibition which we gave last session, and to support the new proposal now made by the Government. It is all very well for these compromises to be arranged in the vaults of the House, as suggested by the honorable member for Dal ley, but the people of Australia are entitled to know the reasons leading up to the compromise.When political compromises are made in such dark places people become suspicious. We are told by the honorable member for Cowper that if the Government proposal be adopted, it will be an example of the true democratic principle of local option. I am, and always have been, thoroughly in favour of local option, but so far as Papua is concerned, the proposal is that the decision of questions relating to the liquor traffic shall’ be left to some 450 white men, who have been characterized by the honorable member for Cowper as the “boozers of New Guinea.” Is the honorable member for Melbourne Ports prepared to uphold in that way the grand democratic principle of local option? If local option is to be left in the hands of the drunkards of Papua, it appears to me that the 300,000 or 400,000 coloured people in the Territory will come to a very sad end. The proposed new clause 21 would, if passed, practically establish a monopoly in connexion with the liquor trade there. Sub-clause 3 provides that -
A poll may be taken in the whole Territory or in any Division thereof, once in each year, for the -purpose of obtaining the vote of the people on the question whether the number of licences for the sale of intoxicating liquors shall be reduced by any and what number.
This will simply give those who are already engaged in the liquor trade in the Territory a big monopoly. In support of that contention, I propose to quote a circular issued by the Federated Licensed Victuallers’ Associations of Australia. It is certainly remarkable that the representatives of the temperance party in this House should be in accord, so far as this question is concerned, with that association. For the information of the honorable members I shall read this passage -
We do not ask you to take our testimony on this point, but we do ask you not to take such a serious step as to pass the prohibition proposals contained in the Papua Bill and the Canteen Bill without the most mature and careful investigation.
Those of us who intend to vote for prohibition will vote in the true interests of the temperance principle in British New Guinea. But those who intend to vote for the new clauses put forward will vote as those who represent the Licensed Victuallers’ Associations of Australasia wish them to do.
– Have we found fault with the honorable and learned member for voting as he did ?
– I do not see how an honorable member who occupies a prominent position in temperance circles could find fault with me for voting for prohibition. If he were true to the principles which he previously advocated he would be found voting, with me on this occasion. I felt rather doubtful about the propriety of attending the meeting of the temperance party in the House when I found that the honorable member was conducting the proceedings. He is known to us as a very clever and astute man in the arrangement of political difficulties - in bridge-building, or whatever else it may be termed - -and it appears to me that he has made use of the honorable member for Cowper, who is new to politics, while he himself has not dared to open his mouth. My sole desire in addressing the Committee is to bring to ‘his feet the leader of the temperance party in this Chamber in order that he may explain the reason why he and others have changed their position. I feel very doubtful, however, whether he can give a reasonable explanation. My temperance friends are losing the chance of a century. Here is a young country in which there is a chance of putting into operation the principle which they have been advocating for years. We have been told that under prohibition the States would flourish, and we should have none of the poverty, distress, and misery which at times we see, more particularly in our big cities. Instead of seizing the opportunity to apply this principle, as they did on a previous occasion, my temperance friends are now prepared to hand over the determination of the question to a small body of 450 men, most of whom are drinkers. It appears to me that they have taken up a very inconsistent position. Believing in the principle of temperance, and that prohibition is the best policy to adopt in the Possession, T await with very great anxiety the explanation which I trust that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports will give for the change of attitude on the part of the leading, temperance advocates in the House.
– On two or three occasions I have recorded my vote in favour of prohibition, and if to-night I saw no prospect of another course succeeding, I should again vote in that direction. If, after a trial of the compromise which has been arrived at, it is found not to be satisfactory, and I have the privilege of sitting here, I shall again vote for prohibition. There has been a great deal of talk as to what reasons have induced honorable members to change their position. I voted as I did previously, because I believed that we were taking an enormous responsibility in connexion with a large population of black people, and a limited number of white residents. But since that occasion there has been placed in my hands a letter which was addressed by a leading missionary in the Possession to a canon of the Church of England here, and in which, in clear and concise terms, he showed that prohibition was likely to be destructive to the very object we all had in view. I have also had the privilege of conversing with a. member of the London Missionary Society, who is now in the strangers’ gallery, and who, speaking with fourteen years’ experience of the island, and a knowledge of these proposals, assures me that he is strongly opposed to any means being left open by which liquor can get into the hands of the blacks. He says the local feeling is that if prohibition were adopted, our object would unquestionably be defeated, and that the proposed compromise deserves a trial. My vote on this occasion is prompted by a desire to keep drink away from the natives. I must confess that I was” very much impressed with the speech which the Prime Minister made last session when he was supporting the Reid Government, and in which he indicated the difficulties which would arise under a policy of prohibition. I have never been an advocate of absolute prohibition. My observations in certain countries have not been such as to lead me to believe that the policy is satisfactory in its results. I am in entire sympathy with the aspirations of the temperance community. I made it my special business to see the leaders of the temperance party in Victoria on this subject. They assured me that they had considered the subject in view of the various representations which had been made to them, and that although they were sorry that they were not able to get the absolute prohibition which they desired, still they were quite prepared to accept this compromise. I believe that I shall be acting in the interests of the natives in the Possession by voting, for it and giving it a trial. ‘ Of course I reserve to myself the right, if it should not prove satisfactory eventually, to vote for complete prohibition, but I hope that the experiment will be found to be successful.
– Much has been said - perhaps too much - upon both sides of the question before us, and in view of the fact that I have already spoken upon this subject on the two occasions on which it was previously before us, I do not propose to occupy much time at this stage. 1 have consistently advocated prohibition, and I cannot see my way to support the proposal of the Prime Minister. Last year we decided by a substantial majority to apply the principle of prohibition to Papua, and I still prefer the provision then made to the new clause now submitted to us. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Cowper are, I believe, conscientious advocates of temperance, even to the extent of prohibition. They were so last year, and I believe they held the same views up to within the last week or two. I cannot understand what has come over them since - what influence has been brought to bear to induce them to change their principles. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, if he does not swallow intoxicating liquors is apparently*) quite ready to swallow his principles. Two or three weeks ago, I attended a caucus meeting which was held in the vaults of the House, with a view to arriving at some conclusion as to the best means of preventing the introduction of liquor into New Guinea. If I remember rightly, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports was the leading light on that occasion. We then decided to adhere to the prohibitory clause inserted in the Bill last session, and I cannot understand why some honorable members who joined in arriving at that determination have been induced to recede from their position. The honorable member for Cowper and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports are allowing to slip from them the greatest opportunity they will ever have to put to the test the great principle of prohibition. In Papua we have a new country, so far as white people are concerned, with a population of a little over 400 Europeans, and some 300,000 or 400,000 coloured people, and it seems to me that we could not select a better opportunity than that now presented to us to test the merits of the system of prohibition. I doubt whether we could apply prohibition to any part of Australia, because vested interests are too strong. Similar interests will grow up in Papua, and ten years hence it will be much more difficult than it is to-day to put a stop to the liquor traffic. I very much regret than the honorable members referred to have gone back on the principles they advocated last vear. This Parliament is looked upon as the guardian of the Papuans, and we ought by every means in our power, to protect them against temptation. It has been said that they have not yet acquired a taste for strong drink. If that be the fact, it is remarkable, but I feel confident that, within five years, or even less, the Papuans will develop a taste for strong drink, and also acquire many of the evil habits to which we are addicted. I appeal to honorable members not to do anything that will have the effect of placing intoxicating liquors within the reach of the natives. A great responsibility rests upon us, and I trust we shall very seriously consider our position. It is stated, that, although the white population of Papua is only 400, there are some twenty-two licensed houses. The number of licences seems to me to be altogether out of proportion to the requirements of the case. The greater the facilities for obtaining drink the greater the evils, to both whites and natives. I cannot support the proposed new clause, and I shall not be able to vote on the question, because I am paired with the honorable member for Brisbane, who is at present absent in Queensland.
– At present we occupy very much the same position as that in which we stood when the Bill was last before us. We are not now so near the end of the session as when we were last called upon to deal with this matter, but the press of work in front of us renders it necessary for us to bear in mind the fact that the whole of our legislative operations in regard to New Guinea will be suspended until we have passed a Constitution for the management of that Territory. I have always been an advocate of prohibition, so far as Papua is concerned, and I am still a supporter of that principle, but when I find that Ministers, many of whom strongly hold the view that it is inadvisable to apply prohibition, are prepared to give us what, after all, is the most advanced form of temperance legislation in operation in the world - because no community hasyet done more than confer upon its citizens the right of prohibition - I must confess that I am willing to meet them at the present time, with the object of enacting a Constitution, and of making some progress towards prohibition. There will be nothing to prevent the matter being discussed at a later date, or the introduction of an amending Bill. But I am pressed, as the Government preceding this one was pressed, by the fact that the end of the session is near. Honorable members may recollect that I happened to be in charge of the Papua Bill for a portion of the time during its career while the Reid-McLean Government was in office, and that I urged the House to agree to it. and to let this particular matter be fought out later on, in order that we might begin the developmental work of legislation which is essentially necessary in order that our Possession in New Guinea may have any fair chance at all. At present nothing but administration can take place - there can be no legislation of any kind - and that is a serious matter in connexion with a Possession of this kind. As for the taunts which are made, more in mirth than in seriousness, that honorable members holding temperance views are surrendering them by accepting the Government proposal, I would only say that if we were in a State Legislature dealing with the liquor traffic,those who supported a proposal couched in similar words to these would not be regarded as going back upon temperance principles, but as being unreasonable individuals, who wanted far more than could reasonably be asked for.
– There is no parallel.
– The honorable member for Parramatta says that there is no parallel. I venture to think that the parallel is absolutely complete and perfect. The Ordinances at present in force in British New Guinea absolutely prohibit the natives from having anything to do with intoxicating liquors. And in this Bill there is a clause, No. 43, which says that -
The Lieutenant-Governor shall not assent to any Ordinance of any of the following classes unless the Ordinance contains a clause suspending its operation until the signification of the GovernorGeneral’s pleasure thereon.
Paragraph 9 reads -
Any Ordinance relating to the supply of arms ammunition explosives intoxicants or opium to natives.
The present Ordinances absolutely prohibit the natives from getting intoxicating liquor and the proposed Constitution absolutely prohibits any Ordinance of that kind from being altered unless the Governor-General in Council assents. It is not conceivable that any Governor- General in Council - that is to say the responsible Minister - would ever agree to assent to a Bill to annul such Ordinances. I think we can safely trust the Executive in that respect. I suppose that the AttorneyGeneral will agree with me now, although I remember that last December he strongly dissented from the view that we should trust the Executive. The result of the existing Ordinances, combined with the restriction containedin clause 43 of the proposed Constitution, will be that unless the consent of the Governor-General in Council is obtained, the natives will not be exposed to the liquor traffic; and therefore this proposal can only affect the white inhabitants of British New Guinea. Just as the white inhabitants of a State would be affected if this were a matter of State legislation, so it affects the white inhabitants of British New Guinea. ThereforeI say that it is nothing but an empty taunt to say that any honorable member who advocates, as some of us do, temperance principles, is abandoning them in any way.
– Does the honorable and learned member think that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports understood that position?
– Yes ; because he was in the House last session when I explained it; and I am sure the explanation was clear enough and his intellect bright enough to understand what took place. But after all, the question is not whether honorable members have sacrificed their temperance principles, but whether we should pass this amendment and this Constitution or not. That is the point before us; and it seems to me that the proposal of the Government has gone further towards meeting the views of honorable members than did the attempt of the Barton Government with respect to this same measure. We must recollect that it was in the year 1902, that this Bill was “first introduced. It was dropped in 1902 or 1903. It unfortunately was not passed in 1904. The honorable member for Kennedy will recollect that it did not get through. He felt strongly about it. Here we are, nearly five years after the institution of the Commonwealth, more than four years after this Parliament first met, more than three years after we have taken possession of British New Guinea, and still we are without n Constitution tinder which legislation for it can be passed in order that it may be developed on the lines which we desire. Therefore I say, that however strongly we may feel on this matter, it is wrong for ‘ us to blind ourselves to other facts which are, if not of as great, still nearly of as great importance. The proposal of the Government, which is a further grant of freedom to the white people to legislate for themselves, is a concession that ought to please honorable members who fought for a greater extension of the franchise on general matters to white inhabitants of British New Guinea. It is a matter which, in the whole of the circumstances, can only affect the white inhabitants. It cannot possibly increase the facilities for the natives to get liquor, or, in other words, it cannot alter the absolute prohibition which at present exists. I venture, therefore, to think that it is a proposal that ought to be accepted by honorable members like myself, who go to the limits of reasonableness in their advocacy of matters of this kind. I hope that the Committee will accept the proposal of the Prime Minister, and that we shall not end another session with the wrong done of not having provided a Constitution for Papua of a reasonably satisfactory kind.
– I have listened carefully to the debate, hoping to hear a reason which would induce me to reverse a vote which I gave on the last occasion when this subject was under discussion. While our leaders upon the matter have completely changed round, much to my regret, they cannot say that I did not follow them right loyally on the previous occasion. 1. feel to-day that I am left high and dry.
– -Dry, I hope.
– I am left high and dry upon what I was about to describe as the teetotal rocks, while they have scuttled away in the direction of increasing the tremendous quantity of grog that continues to pour into Papua. I cannot find a reason strong enough to induce me to make a change. L have tried to see if I could mentally accommodate myself to the new order of things, and assist the Government in putting the Bill through. I recognise to the full the absolute need for a measure of this kind, but the responsibility for the delay which has occurred rests, not upon our shoulders, but upon those of the Prime Minister, who, I understand, has told the temperance part in this House point blank that he will not pass the Bill unless a modification of their original proposal in regard to the introduction and sale of liquor in New Guinea is agreed to.
– Will not, or cannot ?
– Will not. In this respect he adopts a very different attitude from that of his predecessor, who, while not favouring the proposal inserted in the Bill, told honorable members that if they insisted on it he would go on with the measure, and honestly try to administer the Territory on prohibition lines. I think that the Prime Minister should have respected the opinions of honorable members, and should not have put pressure upon the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and other temperance reformers in the Chamber, with a view to getting them to change their votes on the subject. I am unable to follow them in this drastic change of front. The procedure foreshadowed in the proposed new clause in reality provides for no reform, and makes it impossible for there to be reform, because no one knows better than does the Prime Minister that those on whom he proposes to confer local option have already declared against prohibition. That can be made very clear from the statements which he addressed to honorable members on a former occasion. And so my first objection to the proposed new clause is that the Prime Minister knows beforehand that it will have no effect in prohibiting or limiting the importation of intoxicating liquor into New Guinea, and under such circumstances it is neither more nor less than a piece of political hypocrisy to pass it. Let me justify that statement. When the measure was under discussion on the 3rd November of last year, a very pretty dialogue took place between the Prime Minister and the chairman of the temperance party in this Chamber, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, when the former put his case interjectionally in a way which, from our point of view, left nothing to be desired. The following is an extract from the report : -
– We are asked now to legislate for men who have no representation here in regard to a matter upon which, so far as they have expressed their opinions, they are all hostile to this proposal.
– We are not consulting them in regard to any other matter.
– No; but it is inconsistent for those who voted to enfranchise them on matters of minor concern to despotically override their wishes-
– The honorable and learned member was opposed to enfranchising them.
– I think that it would be unprofitable to enfranchise them politically at the present moment.
I presume that the honorable and learned gentleman is still of that opinion. He has brought forward to-day no proposal for their enfranchisement in regard to any other question than the introduction and consumption of liquor. Where is his consistency in doing that? He continued -
If the honorable member proposed to give local option to the white residents of New Guinea, or the right to prohibit the introduction of liquor into the Territory, I would vote with Wm. We should, however, hesitate to legislate for white men absolutely against their will.
Yet in this Bill we legislate for them in respect to every other matter without consulting them at all. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports said -
The expressions of opinion to which the honorable and learned member refers have been put forward by interested persons.
The answer was -
– That is an incorrect statement, which I challenge the honorable member to substantiate. Every missionary and public officer from New Guinea whom I have questioned has told me that the miners to a man are opposed to the prohibition which the honorable member desires.
If the honorable and learned member still believes that, is it not a piece of political hypocrisy for him to propose to submit to these men the question whether there shall or shall not be prohibition in regard to the importation and sale of liquor in New Guinea? The only parallel, for his action would be obtained if we passed a Local Option Bil) for Australia, providing for the submission to the vote of men who ha)Ve already ‘declared themselves to be opposed to prohibition or local option and to no others. Honorable members should understand that if they vote for the proposed new clause, they will make a radical departure from the position which they have hitherto assumed, and provide for a- vote which will certainly defeat the object they have in view. Very serious reasons will have to be given for the change before I shall feel justified in reversing the vote which I gave on a former occasion. But not a single fresh argument has been advanced during the present debate in support of the change. We have been told that certain missionaries hold certain views upon this question. But were not their opinions quoted last year with the same emphasis and the same eloquence? We are told that there is within the precincts of the Chamber a gentleman who has just returned from the mission field. I should like to learn from him the cause of the abnormally large consumption of liquor in New Guinea per head of the white population. That is what I meant by my interjection when the honorable member for Kooyong was speaking. In New Guinea, there is an amount of drinking going on which represents a consumption per capita unequalled anywhere else in the world. It has been suggested that the white, people bathe in liquor in New Guinea; but I have ho hesitation in saying that some of the liquor imported must. go to the natives.
– The honorable member says that without the slightest proof. All testimony is to the contrary.
– Will the Prime Minister tell us where the liquor goes to ? There are moderate men in New Guinea, as elsewhere, who only take liquor medicinally, and I ask the Prime Minister whether he believes that every man, woman, and child in the Territory drinks seven gallons of spirit, twenty gallon’s of beer, and three gallons of wine per annum?
– The consumption of beer represents only a pint every three days, and we are dealing with an adult male population.
– The average consumption of spirits ‘in Australia is two gallons per head.
– Why not quote Western Australia, which to some extent affords a parallel ?
– I do not think that the consumption in Western Australia, so far as spirits is concerned, is greatly above the average.
– Yes, it is,
– The consumption in Western Australia is nearly a gallon and a-half above that of the rest of Australia.
– That may be so as regards beer, but not as regards spirits. In any case, we have seven gallons of spirits per head consumed in New Guinea, as against two gallons per head for Australia, besides the immense consumption of beer, and a very fair consumption of wine.
– In striking the average for Australia, women and children are included.
– If women and children were excluded, the consumption would be ten gallons per head in Australia.
– Then we have the other fact that there is a public house for every twenty inhabitants in New Guinea. Can the honorable member for Coolgardie find a parallel to that in Western Australia?
– Very nearly.’
– There are gold-fields in Western Australia where, I believe, the consumption is quite as large as in New Guinea.
– There will be found no consumption in Western Australia to equal that in New Guinea, except perhaps as to beer; and I venture to say that in the Territory a great deal of the grog finds its way to others than the white population. In spite of the strong Ordinances which are prohibitive at the present time, this consumption goes on; and we have now a chance to divest ourselves of that taunt so constantly hurled at us, namely, that wherever we go with our civilization we take our vices with us, and corrupt, instead of improve, native races. This as an admirable opportunity to say that in our efforts to civilize and Christianize, we shall not take the rum bottle with us.
– How does the honorable member account for the fact that the missionaries are against him in the view he takes ?
– Yes, whether they are total abstainers or not, and a great number of them are total abstainers.
– My own impression is that the missionaries fear innovations, and their possible consequences ; and that fear leads them to oppose this proposal. There may be changes amongst the white population of New Guinea, if we prohibit the importation of liquor, except for medicinal purposes.
– How can we do so? We could not make such a prohibition forty miles from Sydney.
– I have not said we could. I have no such belief as that grog can be kept absolutely from people by any prohibitive law. I believe, however, that the more difficult we make it to get drink, the less drink will be consumed.
– That has not been the case in New Zealand.
– The honorable and learned member for Werriwa develops the theory that the easier we make it for people to get spirits, the less spirits will be drunk. The experience of the world is against any such doctrine. One reason why I object so strongly to local option, in this Territory, is that at the present time the people there have not had powers of selfgovernment conferred upon them. The capability of self-government always precedes a grant by the Legislature of power to control of this or any other matter. The eloquence which was quoted to us by the honorable member for Cowper does not apply in the present instance. The extract he read was a demand by people in America to regulate this traffic for themselves by the powers they already possessed ; but the people of New Guinea have no such powers, and do not regulate or govern their own affairs. Only lately, the white population of New Guinea, through the Prime Minister, presented a petition for further powers of selfgovernment ; and the honorable and learned gentleman, to be logical, should seek to confer on them self-governing powers in relation to other matters before he attempts to hand over to them the control of the consumption of liquor. It is because the people of New Guinea have not powers of selfgovernment that we ought not to confer on them the control of a traffic, concerning which we have so tremendous a responsibility to the natives. As to the possibility of liquor reaching the natives, the Prime Minister “is prepared to surrender the’ whole responsibility to those on the spot. I am not prepared to take any such step. I am not prepared to surrender my responsibility to men who have already told me, as plainly as they possibly can, that they will not vote for prohibition, no matter what chance may be afforded them to do so. The Prime Minister also said that it was. not proposed to apply the principle of prohibition, because the effect of so doing would be to promote illicit distillation. I venture to say that whatever he may do in the way of giving local option to white residents of the Territory will not exercise the slightest influence upon illicit distillation. At the present time, if there were any tendency to illicit distillation, it would be fostered by the prohibitive prices which are charged for intoxicants in the Territory. Does the honorable and learned gentleman know what is the price of spirits there ?
– What is paid for spirits ?
– I forget the exact amount, but I know that it is somewhere about £1 per bottle.
– Drinks at the mines are is. each, and at ordinary places on the coast 6d. each. The same conditions obtain at Kalgoorlie.
– Whilst the honorable and learned gentleman will not trust the white residents of the Possession with the power to prohibit the sale of intoxicants for fear that its exercise may lead to illicit distillation, he proposes to make the very men who, he says, will break the law, the guardians of the natives.
– That is not so, and that is just where the honorable member’s argument fails. . ‘
– I do not think that it fails. The proposal, both for prohibition and for local option, rests upon our inability to keep intoxicating liquors from the natives, except by employing some such means. Why is the Prime Minister supporting local option ? Only because he thinks that it will lead to a better guarding of the natives in this respect. The source of all these proposals is the fear that intoxicants may find their way into the hands of the natives. I am not prepared to throw upon the white residents of the Territory the additional responsibility of guarding the natives against the possibility of this surreptitious consumption of liquor. I believe that under existing conditions the blacks there obtain intoxicants, and I shall continue to do so until I am shown where these enormous quantities of liquor are consumed.
– The consumption represents only one “nip’’ of whisky per day, and one pint of beer in three days.
– The honorable member’s arithmetic is bad.
– Has the honorable member allowed for the consumption of liquor in the Territory by people who visit it in ships ?
– No. My own opinion is that there is a large quantity of grog consumed in New Guinea which is not accounted for at all. The annual consumption per head of the white population amounts to 7 gallons of spirits, 20 gallons of beer, and 3 gallons of wine. Briefly, these are the reasons why I cannot reconcile myself to support any proposal in favour of local option. Before we give the white residents of the Territory local option, we have a right to confer upon them self-governing powers for other purposes. When we have committed ourselves to local option in regard to other matters, we may then talk of committing >to them our tremendous responsibility in regard to the supply of liquor to the natives. Since this matter was last discussed, no change has occurred which will induce me to reverse the vote which’ I then recorded. I venture to say that if we allow this chance to pass we may bid good-bye for many years to any prospect for prohibition in New Guinea. The proposal of the Prime Minister amounts to no change upon his part. He stands to-day exactly where he stood last year. But there has been a complete rightabout face on the part of those honorable members who voted for total prohibition upon that occasion, and who now propose to support the honorable and learned gentleman.
– It has been well said that the greatest intemperance is sometimes exhibited by temperance advocates, and in some of the addresses which have been delivered to-day, we have had an ‘exemplification of the truth of that statement. In the first place, every honorable member who has taken an extreme view by supporting prohibition, has placed himself in opposition to the opinions of men who have spent their lives- in the Territory, in opposition to our own commonsense, and to the experience of every country which has tried it. For nearly four years, owing to the action of an extreme- section of the temperance party - because I am certain that their views do not represent the opinions of a majority of that body - they have absolutely prevented any administration of liquor laws in Papua.
– That is not so. The Ordinance is still in existence.
– Do other honorable members admit that?.
– That is exactly the trap into, which I desired them to fall. I say that the liquor traffic is still controlled by the Ordinances already in existence in New Guinea. Consequently, when honorable members deliver high-falutin speeches regarding the possibility of natives being supplied with intoxicants,- they admit that their hypothesis is incorrect.
– What becomes of the enormous quantity of liquor that is consumed in the Territory?
– I can easily show the honorable member. To an ‘ individual twenty gallons of beer per annum is equivalent to only one pint in three days. In a hot climate like that of New Guinea, how far would a quart of ale- let alone a pint- go ? If a man has to live upon the memory of that pint for three days he does not consume much. I do not object to the use of liquor; what I protest against is its abuse. A great deal of the liquor consumed in Papua must be taken from considerations of health. Malarial fever is prevalent, and even the quantity of quinine which the white residents have become accustomed to as a dose would practically kill man y of us. It appears that the average quantity of spirits consumed per head of the white -population of the’ Territory is seven gallons per- annum. We have to remember, however, that that population consists of men who are hard workers, and, therefore, belong to a class best fitted to stand it. In making comparisons between the consumption of spirits in Papua, and- Victoria, we must take ca,re to multiply the- figures relating to this State by four, because-,, whilst the population of the Territory consists of adult males, there are between three and four women and children to. every, adult male in Victoria. The honorable member for Parramatta in making his comparisons, quite for got that he was.- dealing with, an entirely different set of conditions-. Roughly speaking, the consumption- of seven gallons- of spirits per- head of the population means that a man is allowed to’ take about, three ounces a day. I am confident that more than three ounces of alcohol are- often given in a day to a hospital patient. The difficulty of dealing with, the question arises from the fact that we have to provide, for two absolutely different classes of people. The first, the more numerous, and undoubtedly the class for whom the bulk of honor’ able members desire to legislate, consists of ‘the natives, who are certainly mentally unfitted to be intrusted with the control of intoxicants. If it. were placed in their hands they would, be quickly poisoned off and killed. Ordinances have been passed, to prevent the supply of liquor to the natives, and these are covered by the Bill. Further than that, if the white population, to whom we propose to give a certain measure of selfgovernment, seeks in any way through the Legislative Council to alter the law, the Ordinance which they pass with that object in view’ will not become operative until it has secured the assent of the Governor-General. . That means practically the- approval of this Parliament. The Governor-General does not act without the approval of the Executive Council for the time being ;. and as the Executive Council represents the majority of the Parliament, we may say that, while this Legislature exists, he will not give his assent to an Ordinance to allow liquor to be supplied to the natives, for the Parliament is not likely to approve of anything of the kind.- In these circumstances, it must, be recognized that we are dealing with the question as- fairly and reasonably as could be expected. But we have also to legislate for a white population, consisting of. a sturdy, healthy-minded, vigorous, active body of men; If they were not of such . a class, they ‘would not work under such climatic conditions. The bulk of them are in the prime of life, being from twentyfive to forty-five years of age, and yet it is said- that we ought, in effect, to say to these men, most of whom are Australians, “ You shall not be allowed to obtain, liquor in the Territory.” I. ask any one of common sense how long the men would put up with such a state of affairs. If a- law be not in accordance with the desire of the general body of the people it cannot be ‘enforced. We can -have no better illustration of that than is. afforded by the. position in. regard to thesale of intoxicants at the Cataract Dam, where a large number of menareemployed. The works are within a dozen miles of, the Southern railway line, and forty miles in a direct line from Sydney. The people refused to have licensed premises there. The result was that sly grogshops sprang up, and the men are now obtaining intoxicating liquors far inferior to that which would be available if the system were under proper supervision. Only within the last fortnight, two sly grog-sellers were tried and convicted, and we may take it for granted that as they were discovered there are others still carrying on an illicit trade.
– I should say not.
– Then, the honorable member has an implicit belief in the efficacy of laws which I, for one, do not possess. I suppose that in Melbourne I could find places where I could get grog on which not a farthing had been paidtowards the revenue. I know that I can go into parts of New South Wales, and get liquor which has been illicitly distilled. I remember that in the old surveying days, when the duties were raised, it was not very hard to get liquor which had not contributed to the revenue.
– Could not the authorities also find out these places ?
– Not always. Does the honorable member think that the authorities can always find outwhen the law against betting, card-pl ay ing, and other things is being broken ?
– Yes; but the law is badly administered.
– It would not be possible to live in the country if all the laws were administered with that strictness which some persons desire.
– Where is the analogy between Melbourne and the Cataract Dam ?
– Cataract Dam is only fortymiles from Sydney, and there liquor can be made and sold. At the present time spirits are being illicitly distilled in both Melbourne and Sydney. When you speak to the Customs authorities, they say: “In spite of all our efforts, we believe that the duty is so high that it leads to an amount of illicit distillation, and not only is the revenue defrauded, but the health of the people is injured too.” That is what the extreme temperance advocates have brought about. I shall saynothing of the further evil which is arising, and which will make it impossible for decent men to carry on the liquor trade. It will pass into the hands of an inferior bodyof men, and eventually, as in New York, it will lead to the total corruption of the police force, and the almost total subversal of a sound administration of justice. According to some persons, it is directly traceable to the well-meant efforts of the extreme temperance party. In British New Guinea, one cannot ride a yard except along tracks which are cut for that purpose. It is difficult to get into the greater part of thePossession. A still could be erected at a cost of £50, and once the general sense of the community was opposed to the law, there would be a wholesale evasion of it. That is exactly what would result from prohibition. I yield to no honorable member in a sinceredesire to stop the supply of liquor to the natives. TheBill has gone as far as it is possible to go. I shall agree to no proposal to absolutely prohibit liquor to white persons, because I know that it would be broken. I commend those members of the temperance party who have recognised that they must pay some attention to the statement of the missionaries, that in their opinion total prohibition would be impracticable. What have men who aresacrificing their lives for the benefit of the natives and others, to gain by making a falsestatement? These men, who shut themselves up with their wives in uncivilized countries, and deprive their children of the benefits of education and everything else in order that they may help on a feeble and effete race, ought to be honored by us, because they are exhibiting the noblest spectacle of self-denial that can be displayed. I shall leave it to the missionaries to characterize the suggestion that they have any ulterior motive to serve, because they will apply a termless strong than I should do. We ought to pay great attention to their advice, especially when we know that it is in accordance with common sense, and the experience gained in other places. No one can doubt the earnestness of the honorable member for Cowper in trying to put an end to the drink traffic, but he recognises that prohibition is not the proper policy to adopt in this instance. Do honorable members think that prohibition of drink is a new idea? Let them read James’ Tippling Act, which I quoted here on a previous occasion. Let them also read the Act which was passed in the time of George II., and then peruse Fielding’s description of the trouble which ensued therefrom. It was extreme legislation, which was not in accordance with the wishes of the great bulk of the people; it was absolutely scouted, and ten or eleven years later it was repealed. I should have thought that the recent visit to Mildura would have cured some of the advocates of extreme temperance. I am told that some honorable members found that drink was not absolutely unobtainable in this prohibition settlement. If they had taken all the liquor which was offered, probably not one of them would have got away from the place, so generous were the inhabitants with this form of refreshment, I think that the Prime Minister has gone quite as far as he can go in not allowing fresh licences to be issued. I can only again commend the members of the temperance party for exhibiting temperance, md showing that the best way to attain their object is to be moderate. What is temperance, but moderation? If we create a general and well-founded belief that our laws are not moderate, we shall do harm. I have given, two or three instances of the failure to carry out the law in our own community, where there are so many persons in favour of its application, and of guarding the revenue. And yet with all this extra supervision thrown in, we know that our control over the traffic is not complete. If we fail here, how much more certainly shall we fail in Papua? We should defeat our object if we imposed prohibition, because sly-grog shops would be established, and the consumption of liquor by the natives would increase. It would not be limited to a few individuals, but probably would extend to many hundreds of thousands. The traffic in liquor would become profitable, and even though the operation^ bf the traders might be blocked in two or three of the settled districts, they would be carried on without hindrance in the unsettled portions of the Territory. Moreover, a patrol of policemen would have to be maintained along the boundary of the British and German Possessions. I congratulate the Prime Minister upon having submitted the proposed new clause, because it will permit of our passing a much-needed measure. I am glad that some honorable members have seen the error of their ways, and have now realized that they will more effectually accomplish the object they have at heart by the means now proposed than by those previously suggested.
– Does the honorable and learned member think that the change of view on their part is due to personal conviction ?
– I should hope so. I can see no other reason for it. They have nothing to gain by their change of attitude, so far as the uninformed public outside are concerned. They will have to explain their position, and that is always a troublesome operation. I give them full credit for sincerity, and I trust that we shall all join in doing everything we can to place it beyond the power of the natives to obtain liquor. I believe that the Government proposal is the most practicable that could be devised to that end, and therefore I shall support it.
– Honorable members have had the pleasure of listening to a most interesting discussion - although a rather mixed one, from the temperance point of view. I should like to direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that we are being asked to frame a Constitution for Papua before we have taken possession of that Territory. I cannot understand why we should pass a Constitution until we have decided to annex the Possession, and the Imperial authorities have formally transferred it to our control.
– The powers conferred by the Bill meet that very point.
– We have heard that the Secretary for External Affairs recently paid a visit to New Guinea, but we have not yet had an opportunity of perusing his report. I think it is desirable that we should have before us any information which might throw light upon the subject we are discussing.
– The report has gone to the Government Printer, and copies will be available for distribution in a day or two.
– Perhaps it would have been wiser to allow, this matter to stand over until the most recent information was at our disposal. Some honorable members have changed their attitude with regard to the application of prohibition to Papua, but personally I have been thoroughly consistent in my advocacy of that principle. On one occasion, however, I refrained from pressing my views on the subject. Last session the Reid Government promised ‘ to do their best lo apply the principle of prohibition, but the Senate expunged the prohibitory provision, and we bad presented to us the alternative of accepting the Constitution without prohibition, or rejecting it altogether. The Ministry decided to accept the amended constitution, and promised that if it were adopted in that form they would during this session introduce a Bill dealing specially with the liquor question. I was content to .accept that situation. I am astonished that the honorable member for Cowper and the honorable member ‘for Melbourne Ports should have changed their attitude upon this important subject. We have been told that this remarkable act of volte face is the result of a meeting which was held in the cellars of this House.
– Everything was arranged beforehand by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports.
– That is not correct.
– It is strange that such a change should have come over the honorable member for Cowper and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who may be termed the grand worthy mudbuckets of the temperance order in New South Wales and “Victoria respectively. The honorable member for Cowper has had the courage to stand forth and state the reasons for his change of attitude ; but the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has sat silent. The latter honorable member is very like a well-known agitator, who, at the time of the French’ Revolution, was supposed to be a leader of crowds. After addressing a meeting, he met a friend of his, with whom he engaged in conversation for about two hours, and he then explained that he would have to hurry away in order to catch up to the crowd, of which he was the leader. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports poses outside this House as an ardent temperance advocate, whereas in the Chamber he assumes the position of an advocate of something much less than prohibition. The two honorable members referred to are now in a very tight corner, because, whilst they are asking us to go back upon prohibition, they are giving us nothing in its place. The Prime Minister argued that prohibition was impracticable, because, if it were imposed, it would give rise to illicit distillation and smuggling, and other abuses; but he now asks us to assent to provisions which will empower the people of New Guinea to prohibit the introduction or sale of liquor. The Prime Minister says, in one breath, that it is impracticable to carry out prohibition, and, in the next breath, proposes to confer local option upon the white residents. Supposing that the white residents of Papua availed themselves of the powers proposed to be given, and decided in favour of prohibition, they would not, according to the Prime Minister, be able to give effect to it. That is what the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Cowper, who are ardent advocates of temperance, ask us to accept. Personally, I shall vote for prohibition, as I have always done. We are asked to accept a shadow instead of the substance of a measure to carry out the intentions of those who believe in prohibition. We are asked to provide that a petition of one-third of the inhabitants of a division shall cause a poll to be taken. That looks like a broad-minded proposal, but let us examine it. One-third of the whole of the. white residents would amount to about 170 people. A simple majority of the white residents can insist upon the number of hotels being reduced or upon total prohibition. A simple majority of 500 would be 251. That is to say, 251 persons could accomplish what the temperance advocates desire, but it would require a petition signed by close on 180 before a poll could be taken. In other words, all but 70 of an absolute majority of the people of British New Guinea would have to sign a petition before there could be a poll. I mention this to show how easily the temperance advocates who met in the cellars of this building to discuss the question allowed themselves to be led astray- The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, by surrendering to political expediency, has shattered all confidence in him as an advocate of temperance principles. Personally, although I am a total abstainer,’ I am not officially connected with any temperance organization. But I am astounded that one who is, in a sense, an official representative of the temperance bodies should accept such a proposal as this. It is a remarkable thing that honorable members should have in their hands a document from the licensed victuallers practically advocating a clause which the life long advocates of temperance ask us to accept.
– There is not the least likeness; the licensed victuallers ask Parliament not to pass this clause, but to leave the matter to the local people.
– We are to consider the drinking habits of fewer than 500 people in British New Guinea.
– Fewer than 600 the honorable member should say.
– That includes the men, women, and children.
– There are very few women and children there.
– The males must be accomplished votaries of Bacchus. I find that in one year - 1902-3 - there were consumed 1,600 gallons of whisky, 800 gallons of brandy, 140 gallons of gin, 600 gallons of rum, 300 gallons of bottled beer, 4,200 gallons of draught beer, 1,000 gallons of wine, 64 gallons of sparkling wine, and 290 gallons of other liquors, making a total of about 9,000 gallons. That is a nice little drink bill. I must say that the people of British New Guinea lubricate their tonsils more often than a similar number of residents in any other portion, of the Commonwealth.
– That is not true either.
– I remember that the Prime Minister used to oppose prohibition on the ground that the revenue would suffer. Now he has shifted his ground, and says, “ Take a poll of the men who consume all these gallons of alcoholic liquors.”
– Ought they not to be the best judges?
– I remember that on a previous occasion the honorable member for Cowper referred to the New Guinea people as an army of boozers. This is the army to which the honorable member and others now propose to intrust the question whether there shall or shall not be’ any liquor imported into British New Guinea, or whether its importation shall be checked. Suppose one were to go down to McCracken’s brewery and take a poll of the people employed there as to whether they were in favour of breweries. That would be about as absurd as taking a poll of the white people of New Guinea with respect to the liquor traffic. Why should we not legislate upon this subject? We are forcing on the white residents other legislation. We are forcing on them a Constitution and regulations of a multifarious character. Do the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Cowper really think, as sensible men, that the means here proposed can possibly secure prohibition ? i do not intend to quote at length the remarks made on th’is subject by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports on the 3rd November last, but I shall give the Committee a few of the sparkling gems, brilliant with temperance light, which fell from his lips on that occasion. When the honorable and learned member for Ballarat was speaking, he said -
The experience of the world is that the only prevention is prohibition.
The report proceeds -
– We have not applied prohibition to our own people, and why, then, should we apply it to others who are not represented here, and who oppose it strongly?
That should Have been a knock-down blow to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports; but, being at that time still attached to the principles which he has so long professed, he retorted -
Because this is a black man’s country, of which we have taken charge.
This dialogue followed: -
– It is very easy for us, who live comfortably in this country, to dictate to men who have no representation here, and whose wishes we disregard.
– We shall have prohibition here in time.
– Yes, but with the consent of the people to whom it applies.
– We should have prohibition in New Guinea if we took the views of the majority of the population: It is a black man’s and not a white man’s country.
To-night, however, the honorable member will not defend his change of attitude.
– He has not the courage.
– The honorable member for Cowper openly gave his reasons for his change of attitude, and while we cannot respect those reasons, we must respect him for his conduct in the matter. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, however, remains silent. We stand for prohibition because of the experience in the South Sea Islands and elsewhere, that where the liquor habit obtains hold of a native race, extermination inevitably follows. Therefore we wish to absolutely prohibit the sale of liquor in British New Guinea. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports gave great prominence to this argument when he spoke on the Bill last session. He said -
I should like to direct the attention of the Committee to the fact that this matter was recently discussed in the New Zealand Parliament, which found it necessary, in the King country and Cook Islands, to absolutely prohibit the use of intoxicating drinks except for medicinal purposes. Mr. Seddon, in addressing himself to this question, said - “ I say that the clause, at all events, should have met with the general support of the members of the House. Then, coming to the question with respect to the Cook Islands, I tell you now that unless you pass this clause it will be a bad day’s work that was done for the natives when those Islands were taken over.”
Although the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has for many years led the public of Victoria to believe him to be an earnest advocate of temperance principles, to-day, instead of hiding his face in shame at hearing these extracts read, or rising to defend his action, he takes no notice of the statements made against him. If, instead of posing as a reformer, he were content to be called a politician, his attitude would be comprehensible. If he has taken this step for reasons of expediency, I can understand it; but let it then be pronounced from the house-tops that he is no longer. Samuel Mauger, the temperance reformer, but Samuel Mauger, the up-to-date politician. If those of us who from time to time have followed him and the honorable member for Cowper in regard to these matters had followed them on this occasion, we should have been stranded, and would have got no return for abandoning, our policy. Does the honorable member for Melbourne Ports believe that the 600 residents of New Guinea will vote for prohibition ? He cannot do so, and is therefore recreant to his principles. There are over twenty hotels in the Territory to-day, and the proposal of the Prime Minister,if agreed to, will give them an absolute monopoly of the liquor traffic there. The vested interests of’ to-day, however, are nothing to what the vested interests of the future will be. Every year the position will become accentuated, and the cry will be raised that we must not disturb vested interests. We have now an admirable opportunity, for what it is worth, to put the principle of prohibition into operation in the interests of the black races - an opportunity which the Common-‘ wealth ought not to neglect to give an, objectlesson to the world. We are asked by the licensed victuallers not to pass the prohibition proposal in this Bill; and on this question we find these licensed victuallers and the advocates of social reform walking into this Chamber arm in arm. The two parties, which for years have been estranged, as wide as the poles asunder, are now acting as one. But I refuse to he dictated to by the licensed victuallers; and I refuse also to adopt the compromise suggested by the honorable member’ for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Cowper. In November, last year, when this question was under discussion, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports said -
Having very carefully examined this parliamentary paper -
The honorable member did nothing hastily then, but carefully examined every parlia mentary paper, whereas now we find him not even paying attention to the charges made against him, or offeringany explanation of his change of front. The honorable member, on the occasion to which I have referred, said -
Having very carefully examined this parliamentary paper, I say that the case for prohibition has been very much strengthened. It is patent that the licensing conditions are being evaded, and that liquor is being retailed to the natives.
Twelve months ago the honorable member, in sad tones, to slow music, expressed his conviction that liquor was being retailed to the natives ; and I ask why he does not stand up to-night and tell us whether he has received any further information on the point? Here is a strong pieceof declamation, which I can well imagine the honorable member indulging in on the public platform, when engaged in the blessed crusade of prohibition, though now he has the audacity to take quite a different position -
I contend that we ought to discharge our duty to these people. Like the honorable member for Parramatta, I do not think that it matters very much whether we develop New Guinea or not. It is of importance, however, that we should not carry our vices to the natives of that Territory, and ruin them in the same way that we have ruined the Australian aborigines. We should absolutely prohibit the sale of intoxicants in the Possession, except for medicinal purposes. The honorable member on that occasion tabled a specific motion on this question; and we assisted him in carrying it. Does the honorable member think he can twist us round, and make us take a different view from that which we expressed last November? Does he think that the fact that he has obtained forgiveness from the temperance organizations beforehand is sufficient to induce me, as a member of this House, to take a different action to-night from that which I honestly took on a former occasion? We have enough acrobats in political life to-day, without, the addition to their ranks of such a clumsy performer as the honorable member. I followed the leader of a noble cause when he, on one occasion, asked for prohibition, and I refuse on another occasion to vote for a compromise which I regard as absolutely impossible - as a burlesque and a farce. I do not know whence the suggested compromise came. I am told on good authority - the honorable member for Melbourne Ports may deny the statement if he thinks fit - that those responsible for the conduct of the temperance organizations laid this cunning, careful, well-prepared plan. I am informed that the question has been discussed in those organizations, and. that it has been decided to allow the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Cowper to backslide from their original position - to practically give them absolution beforehand. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, with his extraordinary political acumen, has developed this new system of absolution. The organizations have said to the two honorable members, “ Your explanation of the proposed compromise is splendid, and we so absolve you, that you may do as you like.” I contend that those two honorable members are departing from their own principles - that, although their banner flies for temperance and prohibition, they still feel themselves justified in advocating a compromise of this character. What hope can earnest believers in temperance have if their accredited representatives are found ready to take such a course? Wherever this proposal was brewed or distilled, it fails to secure a true compromise, and absolutely defeats the intention to have prohibition. Like the honorable member for Parramatta, I do not take my present stand in the interests of the white races, but in the interests of the natives. The Prime Minister has told us that if prohibition be forced upon the white residents of New Guinea, it will inevitably lead to illicit distillation and smuggling. But I would point out that the same thing occurs upon the mainland to-day. At the present time there are as many stills in operation in Australia as there ever were. These stills will continue to be worked as long -as the imposition of a heavy duty upon spirits renders i<t profitable for persons to run them. Since this question was last und’er discussion nothing has occurred to warrant any change of front upon our part. I- think that the Territory affords us a splendid, opportunity to try the experiment of prohibition, and I am very sorry indeed that two such champions of temperance as the honorable member for Cowper and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports have yielded to the seductive influence of the Prime Minister in this direction. When the Reid Government were in office the honorable member for Cowper was content to sacrifice the Bill rather than surrender his principles upon this question. But somehow or other the evil in- fluence of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has come across his good intentions, and as a result we have witnessed the great betrayal of the temperance movement, so far as those two honorable members are concerned.
Mr. MCDONALD (Kennedy).- I wish to point out that it is farcical to put from the Chair the question that an amendment be read a second time, seeing that in Committee honorable members are at liberty to speak forty times if they so desire upon any amendment.
– I would point out that the question involved is the second! reading of a new clause.
– But if a dozen new clauses were proposed we should still have a perfect right to speak upon them forty times if we wished to do so. The procedure of reading such clauses a second time is absolutely valueless. At a later stage I intend to move that after the word “ Territory,” in sub-clause 1, the following words be inserted: “ for the sale or manufacture of intoxicating liquor or opium, except for medicinal purposes.”
– That is the proposal which was made last year by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports.
– Not exactly. My amendment will afford every honorable member who desires to vote for prohibition an opportunity to do so. Upon the other hand, it will let us know exactly what position some honorable members occupy. One matter has come to my knowledge which T think should be cleared up, because it relates to a most extraordinary procedure, the effect of which has been practically to usurp the functions of responsible government. As I have already stated, a little while ago a circular was forwarded to honorable members, asking them to attend a certain meeting within the precincts of this House. At that gathering it was decided almost unanimously to support a proposal in favour of prohibition, as applied to British New Guinea. That is the information which was communicated to me by the acting secretary, the honorable member for Cowper. I am given to understand that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports was the chairman of that meeting. Subsequently, I am assured, another meeting was held, at which those present were informed that if they did not accept the Government proposal the Bill would be dropped. I wish to ascertain! upon whose authority that statement was made. Was it upon that of the chairman of the gathering, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports ; and, if so, was it made at the dictation of the Prime Minister? It was upon the strength of that statement that a telegram was forwarded to the various temperance alliances throughout Aus- . tralia, intimating that if they did not accept the Bill in the form suggested it would be laid aside.
– Nothing of the kind.
– I object to the honorable member making that interjection when he dare not rise and explain his action. We know perfectly well that these temperance bodies have been “worked,” and they could only be “worked “ by persons connected with them who are high in authority. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is one of those persons, and the honorable member for Cowper is another. When misleading statements are put before these organizations-
– There was never any misstatement put before them.
– I say that a misstatement was put before them, and a reply was received that they were prepared to accept the Bill in the form proposed by the Prime Minister. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Cowper did not inform the temperance bodies of Australia, that, if they chose to stand to their guns, prohibition would be carried by this House. Had they adopted that course they would not have received the replies which they did receive. It is remarkable that an alliance which boasts of controlling the temperance vote, should have been bought over in this matter, more especially when we remember that at the last general election practically every candidate received a circular from that body inquiring, as far as my memory serves me, whether he was in favour of the abolition of the canteen system, whether he favoured the total prohibition of the liquor traffic in Papua, and also whether he favoured the prohibition of the sale of intoxicants in the Federal Capital. The most extraordinary part of the whole affair is that no argument has been advanced in support of the contention that we ought to back down from the stand previously taken by us. Despite the speech made by the” honorable and learned member for Werriwa, it cannot be said that any satisfactory ex planation has been given regarding the large importation of intoxicants into the Territory. It is idle to say that the natives do not obtain strong drink. I have it on the very best authority that they do. Once we initiate the liquor traffic, the drinking habit must extend to the whole of the coloured races, and a .large amount of smuggling must take glace in connexion with efforts to supply the natives. We have been told by those who oppose the prohibition clause that if it were passed it would lead to an increase in the illicit distillation and smuggling which now takes place there. Does not the admission that spirits are illicitly distilled, and that smuggling is carried on, strengthen our contention that the consumption of intoxicants in the Territory is much larger than the statistics show ? I think that the argument advanced by the honorable member for Dalley, in opposition to the amendment moved by the Prime Minister, was thoroughly convincing. If it would be impossible for us to carry out a prohibition law passed by this Parliament in relation to Papua, how would it be possible for the Government to give effect to the principle in the event of its being decided upon by a majority of the white residents? Would not the difficulty be the same in each case? The consumption of intoxicants in British New Guinea is out of all proportion to that in Australia. We must not lose sight of the fact that of the 573 white persons in the Territory there are, according to thereturns, at lease 120 females. It is reasonable to assume that the vast majority of these women are total abstainers, and that even among the 450 males, there must be a large number of teetotallers. Some of the missionaries, and those under their influence, may take a glass of liquor, but it is reasonable to assume that the number is small. Doubtless the proportion of total abstainers in the Territory is as large as it is in any of the Australian States. That being so, the consumption of spirits, instead of being seven gallons per annum per head of the white population there, is probably nearer fourteen gallons per head of the non-abstainers. The same remark will apply to the consumption of wine and beer. When we take these facts into consideration, we must recognise that it is mere hypocrisy for any honorable member to assert that the natives do not obtain intoxicants. I know dozens of men in Northern Queensland who have been in New Guinea, and I have had many conversations with them. I explained to them last year that the reports supplied to us did not contain the information necessary for the guidance of the House. Minister after Minister in charge of the Department of External Affairs, has told us that he knows practically little or nothing about the Territory. When we were dealing with this question last year, the present leader of the Opposition, who was then Minister of External Affairs, told us that the Government personally knew nothing about the matter. That being so, it is idle for the Ministry to attempt to lead us to believe that they are fully cognisant of all the facts relating to the liquor trade in the Possession. I do not know whether the honorable member for Cowper knows anything about the circular letter sent to honorable members by the Federated Licensed Victuallers’ Associations of Australasia, in which they appeal to. us not to pass the prohibition clause. Is there an alliance between the chairman- :and secretary of the temperance party in this House - the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Cowper - and that association to defeat the original prohibition proposals?
– The ‘licensed victuallers do not ask for local option.
– That is the only point upon which they differ. I should like the honorable member for Cowper to say whether it is true that such an alliance has been made.
– I have not seen the circular.
– Evidently the association were certain of securing the honorable member’s support. I regret very much that a number of honorable members have backed down from the position which they originally took up. We have now an opportunity to deal effectively with a question of vital importance to the people of the Territory. When the motion providing for the ‘Commonwealth talcing over British New Guinea was before the House, it was pointed out that we were being asked to take upon ourselves the serious responsibility of caring for an immense. coloured population, and I think it is now our duty to see that, as far as possible, the drink curse does not reach them. Any one acquainted with the results of the introduction of the drinking habit and other vices among the aborigines of Australia would surely regret the casting of a vote likely to lead to similar results in Papua.
We know that the treatment of the aborigines in Australia has been a blot upon Australian history. I hope that it will not be repeated in the case of British New Guinea, but it appears to me that that result is likely to follow from the retrograde step which is. proposed to be taken.
Mr. BROWN (Canobolas).- In the last Parliament this question was fought out to a finish in this House, and in the first session of this Parliament that decision was reviewed. On those two occasions those of us who battled for prohibition were ably led by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Cowper. On the present occasion the latter has joined the forces of the enemy; the former has not yet taken us into his confidence, and I think that it is due to himself and to others that he should explain his present position. I believe that the principle of prohibition would have been placed upon the statute-book had it received decent support from those to whom the general public look for guidance. I do not know why it is that the missionaries of British New Guinea are found in opposition to legislation to further the good interests which they are promoting therein. We have .had experience of civilizing natives in the South Sea Islands and Australia, and without entering into the religious aspect of the question, I contend that where the advent of” the missionary was accompanied by the introduction of the rum bottle, it would have been far better for the natives if they had never seen a missionary and had had no rum bottle. ‘ Believing that we are at the critical moment of deciding the fate of half-a-million natives over whom we have control in British New Guinea, I feel the sense of a deep obligation resting upon me, so much so that while I am prepared to be reasonably guided by the missionaries, I do not consider that on this occasion I should subordinate ‘my knowledge of what has happened elsewhere to their opinion.
– I think that in this discussion honorable members are losing sight of the importance of this measure as a whole to the Commonwealth’. It has been mentioned by one speaker that it was brought before the House four years ago, and I reminded the Treasurer that a question which he omitted from his Budget was the development of this Possession. It is a disgrace to the Commonwealth that it has practically taken no step in this direction since it accepted the responsibility for the government of the Possession. The fact that the measure has not passed this House is to some extent an excuse for almost any Government not taking action with regard to the development of its resources. It is a matter for regret that a side-issue such as temperance should be allowed to block or delay the passage of the Bill. I am one of those who desire to take the most extreme measure in order to prevent the evils connected with the consumption of alcohol from reaching the native inhabitants. So far, I believe that we are all agreed, and die only point on which we disagree is the means to be taken to achieve that object. Three different proposals have been submitted for our consideration. The first was total prohibition. The second is the present proposal, to the effect that, after having secured that the natives shall not participate in the evil in any form, the white inhabitants shall have the right of full local option. That, I take it, is the ideal of the temperance party throughout Australia, in fact, throughout the world. To-day several honorable members have scouted the idea of local option, on the ground that they already know that the white population of Papua are determined to have the privilege of importing and consuming alcohol. Let me point out that no member of the temperance party ever advocated the application of that principle on the mainland, except in the belief and hope that it would lead to prohibition. Their argument ‘has no logical basis, if they only want local option, when they feel sure that it will lead to the prohibition of the traffic. The white residents are certainly; in as good a position las we are to judge whether alcohol is necessary to sustain life in that climate. They are more fully seized of the facts than we are; and if we are going to give them any measure of self-government at all - and this Bill proposes to confer upon them the first instalment - we should be well satisfied to afford them an opportunity, in the first instance, to regulate the drink traffic. They would thus be initiated into the work of self-government, and for that reason, if - for no other, I should be prepared to accept the Government proposal.
I go as far as any man in my desire to put an end to the evils attached to the drink traffic. I have had perhaps a more extended experience than have many honorable members who belong to the temperance party, and I am prepared to go as far as any one in endeavouring to keep liquor out of the hands of the natives. But I am not willing to incur all the risks and dangers which I know to be incident to prohibition. Under prohibitory laws, illicit distillation and importations would assume far larger proportions than under a system of reasonable restriction. It has been said that illicit traffic will probably exist under the provisions we are now seeking to embody in the Bill. That may be so, but the success of any measure of prohibition must depend on the good-will of the white residents. If the majority desire prohibition, the Commonwealth will be doubly armed in carrying out the law, and any prohibition of the drink traffic without reference to the white residents would lead, as it has led in other countries, to that underground traffic which is so pregnant with evil. Honorable members, of the temperance party have been blamed for turning their backs on their principles. If they have done so, I must plead equally guilty, because I have changed my view’s for the very same reasons that have actuated them. It has been said that politics is a game of compromise, and that if you cannot get exactly what you want, you should accept the next best thing. The honorable members referred to put up a most valiant fight for prohibition, and so fas as this Chamber is concerned, they succeeded. I gave the full strength ‘of my advocacy to what I still believe to be the best solution of the difficulty, namely, the establishment of a complete State monopoly in this dangerous commodity. I still believe, that, if the temperance people could have seen eye to eye with us, they would have been well advised, because no matter what laws may be passed, their efficiency, must depend on the administration. Bv placing the drink traffic under the sole control of the Administration in Papua, we should have been able to impose a. complete check on the consumption of alcohol. If any hint had been afforded by statistics that drink was finding its way into the hands of the natives, the Administration would have been able to take measures to suppress the illicit traffic. As honorable members declined to approve of absolute Government monopoly and control of the traffic, I had to consider what was the next best course to adopt, and I have joined the members of the temperance party in supporting the proposed new clause fox the. same reasons that actuated them.. They could not get what they desired, and they have accepted what they regard as the next best provision. I think it is of great importance to the Commonwealth that we should pass some measure providing for the administration of the affairs of Papua upon practical lines. Under the present Administration we have Ordinances which, to some extent, control the drink traffic in Papua, and I believe that these are as effective as any law that we could pass. Therefore, I am glad that the Government have embodied these Ordinances in the law which it is now proposed to pass. The proposed new clause offers a compromise which should recommend itself to both sides in this dispute, and I protest most warmly against the attacks which have been made upon honorable members for having shifted their ground to meet the difficulty which has arisen. In politics we are constantly called upon to give away one-half of a loaf in order to secure the other half, and I think the advocates of temperance in this Chamber have done well to accept what I believe to be a practical solution of the difficulty.
– It will create a monopoly.
– When honorable members talk of monopoly in this connexion they hardly realize the actual facts of the case. It has been said that in Papua there are twenty-three public houses, but there is no such thing in the sense in which we understand the term. I take it for granted that most of the holders of licences for the sale of liquor are traders or storekeepers who could not make a living out of the sale of intoxicants alone. They make that traffic a part of their avocation, and do .not in any sense run public houses. As to monopoly, we are proposing to give to the white residents the full power of restriction, and having given due notice of our intentions to those who are engaged in the traffic we shall effectually prevent the growth of any vested interests which would, lead to demands for compensation in the event of the licences being revoked. As I have said, the Government proposal offers a legitimate compromise, and as it will assist to secure the passage of the measure which is so much needed for the development of Papua, I trust that it will be adopted. The extent to which the development of that Territory has been retarded is a disgrace, to the Commonwealth. We assumed the responsibility of administering the affairs of Papua, with its large number of native inhabitants, and it is disgraceful that we should allow important matters of administration to remain in abeyance because we cannot agree upon the temperance question. I am making as much of a * volte face* as are the members of the temperance party in this matter, and I stand shoulder to shoulder with them, because I believe that we have hit upon a practical solution of the difficulty. Although we cannot get all we want, we are securing all that has ever been asked for by temperance advocates in our own community, and we have decided that precautions shall be taken against liquor being supplied to the natives. We have done all that humanity demands, or that reasonable regard for the rights and privileges of the white community would suggest. I think that if we get this measure passed, containing the amendment that is now proposed to settle a side issue, we shall commence - and if we have able administrators we shall succeed - in developing the remarkable resources of British New Guinea, and shall thus contribute to the welfare of our Commonwealth.
– In this Parliament we have no power to deal with the liquor question as applying to any State of the Commonwealth ; but we have taken the responsibility of devising means whereby the traffic shall be controlled in the only Possession over which we have authority. The whole of the States may be looking to us for an example, and therefore it behoves us to consider seriously the attitude we take up, and the decision at which we arrive.
– We shall always have control.
– I realize that. It is said that the question now before us is of small moment in comparison with the general provisions of the Bill. But whatever may be the importance of the measure, it must be recollected that in the initiatory stages in the government of countries that are budding into civilization, errors once made probably will, never be effectually remedied. The question has been discussed from three standpoints, namely, whether there shall be Government control of the liquor traffic; whether the white people of British New Guinea shall control it; or whether there shall be total prohibition. I have every admiration’ for the temperance advocates who believe in prohibition. I admire their enthusiasm and applaud their motives. But I cannot understand the temperance advocate who, feeling that it. is impossible to attain a satisfactory reform by any other process than prohibition, simply subsides, after making one fight for it, and adopts a proposal which, in my opinion, is neither prohibition nor local option. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, when outside the House, is unresting in urging the wisdom of adopting temperance, principles. Throughout the debate on the amendment now before us, he has not said a word. Surely it is fair that he should let us know what his opinion is. The honorable member for Cowper also is backing down on his prohibition principles. On a former occasion he alluded to the whites in New Guinea as being some 500 or 600 people, who were principally “boozers,” and he ridiculed the idea of putting the decision of this question in their hands. To-day, however, we have the spectacle of the leading temperance advocates reversing their attitude of a few months ago. I give the honorable member for Cowper full credit for explaining his position. He has shown manliness and courage in expressing his opinion with regard to his conversion. I wish I could say the same for the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who has shown no courage whatever. He sits there like the Sphinx. What are the temperance people outside to say of a man who acts like that? The temperance advocates have apparently resolved on a course of conduct, after holding a caucus meeting. The Labour Party is condemned for its caucuses, but surely it is much worse for a caucus of people outside Parliament altogether io control the opinions and decisions of men in this House. Surely that is far more degrading, if caucuses are degrading, than anything that has occurred in the history of the labour movement. Let me refer to what the honorable member for Cowper said last session. As reported in Hansard, page 7353, he said, with regard to his prohibition amendment -
This proposal has not been submitted in any jocular spirit.
In other words, he declared that it was submitted in earnest - not for the purpose of fooling the people. He intended us to take it as a sincere attempt on the part of the temperance advocates to establish the principle of prohibition within the four corners of an Act of Parliament. He proceeded -
We intend that the question of the liquor traffic in British New Guinea shall be a live one, as far as the temperance party are concerned.
It was to be a real, living issue. What is it now ? The honorable member always spoke as a leader of the temperance party on this question. While last year he would not allow this question to be decided by 500 or 600 “boozers,” he is to-day ready to trust the same people to determine what shall be done in New Guinea in regard to the sale of intoxicating liquors. But will the Prime Minister contend that he proposes to give full local option to the white residents of New Guinea? The proposed new clause provides for the taking of a vote for the reduction or abolition of the existing licences, but not for the taking of a vote for the increasing of licences if necessary. That is a one-sided provision. If the people can be trusted in the one matter they can be trusted in the other. It may happen within the next few years that, by reason of the indomitable pluck of the Australians or Britishers who have gone to the Territory, great fields of wealth will be suddenly discovered, which will attract thousands of persons, not to one spot, but to many spots there, and the existing licences for the sale of intoxicating liquor may be absolutely inadequate to supply the wants of the population. In my opinion, the clause has been framed as it stands to pander to the erstwhile prohibitionists who are supporting it. If no increase of licences i’s allowed great injury will be done to the consumers of drink in New Guinea, because a monopoly will be created. Those who now hold licences will know that they will have no competitors to fear, and there will be nothing to prevent them from adulterating their liquor. There is no police control to protect the consumers of liquor in New Guinea from being victimized, though we Enow how evil are the effects of bad liquor. I hope that the Prime Minister will accept an amendment which will provide for the granting of true local option to the white residents of New Guinea. I should have preferred to see State control of the liquor traffic there provided for. I recently formed one of a. party who travelled to Mildura, where we saw a prohibitionist settlement. In that place no premises can be licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor. IT you speak to the settlers of seventeen years ago - men on whom one may rely - you will be told that prohibition at first turned the. place into a veritable hell, a. perfect orgy going on from week to week and month to month. Drink was brought to the settlement, not in a medicine chest, but by boatloads, so that the place swam in it, and the people were degraded as. no people had. been degraded by the use” of intoxicants before. That. went on for a year or two, and then sly-grog selling establishments sprang up in. every direction. We all know what evils such places, produce. White spirit is made up into all kinds of liquors by sly-grog sellers,, and poured down the throats of the public, to the. detriment of. their mental faculties and. the injury of their physical powers. The slygrog selling system so undermined the morals of the people of Mildura that the. settlement made no progress for many years. To-day, however, the law is evaded, and its wants are supplied by three clubs.
– How can there be prohibition if liquor is suppliedby clubs?
– There is prohibition so far as the sale of liquor in licensed premises: is concerned. The. honorable member has talked about prohibition on. the. platforms of the country, but he has been content to speak by. the book, without going to see what has actually occurred in prohibition centres.. And a similar condition of affairs would arise in New Guinea under prohibition, because there would be no more possibility of enforcing such a law there than at Mildura. There are three clubs -flourishing at the. latter place,and. the discipline enforced is of a character not tobe found under the licensing system of any of the States. The members have a high regard for the character of the clubs, and notices are posted to. the effect that any one found the worse of liquor will be cau- tioned on. the first occasion, fined On. the. second, and render himself liable to expulsion, on the third. I found that in some cases members had for this offence been expelled, and had been unable to obtain reelection for over twelve months. The. discipline is enforced by social and moral suasion, and not by any legal enactment, and, the. results are excellent. Theliquor sold in the Milduraclubs is superior to that sold in. any of the best hotels in the, Australian capitals.
– Will it make people drunk ?
– All alcohol will do that.
– Then it is not. good.
– If that be so, why has the honorable member “gone back” on his principles, and proposed to allow “boozers” to frame the liquor laws for New Guinea? As I have said, the liquor sold at Mildura is good, and does not cause the suffering experienced elsewhere. I might add that one of the clubs of Mildura last year had a revenue of £6,000 ; and there is not the slightest doubt that similar institutions would spring up in New Guinea under prohibition. With the better discipline, there is less drunkenness at Mildura than in any similar community where the same amount of liquor is consumed. There is also less crime than in any similar community ; and I ought to add that the men there have too much respect for women to allow the latter to become members of the clubs. A further recommendation of the Mildura system is that no liquor is allowed to be carried from the clubs into the homes of the people, and that, in a clear and distinct way, achieves the object at which the honorable member for Cowper aims, and at which the honorable member for Melbourne Ports pretends to aim. If there is one curse attached to the liquor traffic, it is the tendency on the part of women to take to drink, and thus to bring degradation into the Home and under the eyes of the children. At Mildura the sale of liquor to women is practically prohibited, and in that respect a step has been taken there far in advance of any reform elsewhere. Seeing that the residents of Mildura can secure very great advantages under the system which has been adopted there, I say that if the liquor traffic were under the control of the State or of the shire council, the profits derived from it could be used for the purpose of further beautifying that modern town. Looking at this matter from a broad standpoint, I maintain that the Prime Minister would have been well advised if he had proposed that the Government should control the liquor traffic in New Guinea, not only in the interests of the white residents, but in the interests of the natives themselves, who are certainly entitled to every protection which we can extend to them. During the course of his speech the honorable member for Robertson made a reference to the Gothenburg system. If’ he is a democrat, he is absolutely illogical in contending that the adoption of that system is preferable to the municipal control of the liquor traffic.
– I am afraid that the honorable member has not read much about the company system.
– Some honorable members read more than they Can digest. ^ T regret very much that the Prime Minister has adopted the course which he has followed upon the present occasion, and I deplore the fact that some honorable members have abandoned the prohibitionist banner under which they fought last session. I am convinced that Government control of the traffic is the only method by which intoxicants can be effectually withheld from the natives of New Guinea. After the amendment of the honorable member for Kennedy has been decided, I shall certainly test the feeling of the Committee upon the question of whether we should not accord the white .residents of the Territory full local option, so that they may be in a position either to limit, extend, or abolish the liquor traffic.
Mr. MCWILLIAMS (Frank.lin).-I ask the Prime Minister to report progress.
– Certainly not. Look at the stage which the session has now reached.
– It cannot be urged that ->any desire has been exhibited to prevent the progress of business. This question is .not in any sense a .party one. There are still several honorable members who desire to speak upon it. Two or three aspects of the matter require to be considered. First of all we have to decide whether or not prohibition shall .be imposed upon the sale of intoxicants in New Guinea. Then the question of whether the traffic shall be under .State control has to be dealt with. I .ask the Prime Minister not to rush a measure of such vast importance through Committee to-night. The ordinary hour of adjournment has now arrived, and there has been no attempt to unduly prolong debate.
– Surely we can .settle the matter to-night.
– I always question the advisability .of attempting to rush an important measure through Committee.
– Why ‘the Bill has been under consideration for four years.
– And the Committee is now asked to deliberately go back upon the position which it has taken up for four years <in ‘succession. We are invited to adopt that course by one honorable member who has not the courage to rise and state the reasons which have induced him to change his opinion. In the absence of any sufficient reason, I fail to see why honorable members should be asked to reverse the votes which they gave on a previous occasion. Will the’ Prime Minister agree to progress being reported?
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister of External Affairs). - I cannot agree to the request that progress be reported. I do not think any of us can affect to forget that we are now approaching the last weeks of the session, that we have yet to pass the Estimates of several Departments, that several measures passed bv another place, irrespective ‘ of Bills we have sent to that House, must be considered by us, and that if the session is to close within anything like reasonable time-
– When does the honorable and ‘learned gentleman anticipate that it will close?
– I should like to see it close within, a month, but am not sanguine that it will. .1 do not know why, if a determined effort were made, we should not be able to prorogue about that time; but it is only by sitting later that we can hope to do so. I admit that we have bad a protracted sitting to-day, and make no complaint against honorable members. It is only on the ground that we have had this measure before us for a long time, and that if it be not disposed of to-night, we shall be kept here much longer than there is any need, that I refuse the request for ‘an adjournment.
Mr. FULLER (Illawarra) The plea put forward by the Prime Minister is one of the weakest ever advanced in like circumstances. How can it be said that the amendment moved bv the Government has been sufficiently debated when, without any reason being advanced, we have been a«ken by the leaders of the temperance party, in combination with the Prime Minister, to reverse the vote which we ga.ve some time back. “The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who primarily represents the temperance party in this House, has given us no reason why Ave should reverse our previous decision.
– It is easier to explain a vote than to explain a speech.
-That is so.- To the credit of the honorable member for Cowper be it said that he has had the courage to express his views, but it is extraordinary that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports should decline to give us his reasons for supporting a proposal made by the Government in relation to a matter affecting the whole of the temperance party. The request that progress be reported is a most reasonable one. The statement made by the Prime Minister that we are nearing the end of the session, and that we ought, therefore, to come to a vote on this question, is ridiculous. We have not wasted the time of the House. It is our duty, as members of the Opposition, to reasonably discuss the Government proposals, and the debate tonight has been carried on largely by members of the Labour Party, as well as by honorable members on this side of the House. I think that, even if it be only to give the honorable member for Melbourne Ports time to reflect, the Government ought’ to agree to the request that progress be reported.
Mr. MCDONALD (Kennedy).- I think it is only reasonable that progress should be reported. It is true that the Bill has been before us for four years, but we did not know until late this afternoon what attitude would be taken up by many honorable members in regard to the Government proposal. Most of those who favour the prohibition clause were under the impression that those who voted for it last year would stand by their original decision”; but we have suddenly discovered that some of them are not going to do so. If the motion cannot be carried, we desire to obtain a direct vote upon the amendment made by another place, feeling that in that event itwould be acceptable to the Committee. I also think that in view of the fact that the Senate decided by a large majority to insert the provision in regard to State control of the liquor traffic, the Ministry will not be able to carry their semi-prohibition clause. There has been no waste of time. The debate has not been unduly prolonged.
– It has been dragged on hour after hour in order to induce the honorable member for Melbourne Ports to speak.
– I have had no such object ; it rests with the honorable member to explain his position l-o his constituents. Thi. Government have been ready to postpone the consideration of measures of far less importance, and it has always been contended that the House should rise earlier on
Tuesdays than on other nights. I do not, however, put that forward as a reason why progress should now be reported. Quite recently I agreed to remain late to assist in keeping a quorum, only to find the Government ready soon after 12 o’clock to consent to an adjournment.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- The proposal for an adjournment is a reasonable one. The Prime Minister must be well aware that this question has not a scintilla of party significance ; he must also recognise that since we last discussed it a complete change has taken place in the situation’. I should not ‘pretend to ask for an adjournment but for the indications we have had that the question is by no means settled. I understand that the honorable member for Kennedy has another amendment to submit, and that the honorable member for Gwydir has indicated that he intends to move an amendment in the direction of affording more complete local government to the whites in the Territory. These are questions which’ must be discussed at great length, and in all the circumstances I think that’ the proposal that progress be reported is a very reasonable one.
Mr. JOHNSON (Lang). - I do not wish to prolong the debate, but desire to supplement the remarks which I made earlier in the evening by stating that I have since then received a circular from the Federated Licensed Victuallers’ Associations of Australasia, which strengthens my determination to vote, if I can, for prohibition. I understand that. the honorable member for Kennedy has given notice of an amendment which will supersede that moved by myself. I take it that, in the event of that amendment being carried, I shall not be able to submit my amendment. In that case subclauses 2 to 6 will have no relevancy, and” if their deletion be not moved, I shall suggest that they be left out. It is due to the Committee, however, that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports should give some reasons for his change of front on this question. I do not desire to cast any imputation upon the motives of any honorable member. I believe that every one is actuated by the best motives. A differ,ence of opinion hag arisen as to what is the right thing to do in a most difficult situation. Speaking on the 3rd November last, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports concluded a speech with the following remarks, which voiced the opinions I held, and which induce me to take the same course now as I took then : -
In urging that we should not grant responsible Government to the white residents of New Guinea, the Prime Minister declared that their business interests might very possibly come into conflict with the interests of the native blacks. I quite agree with him, and I claim that it is apparent from this document that the interests of the storekeepers of New Guinea are regarded as of infinitely .more importance than are those of its black population.
– If the white residents could control New Guinea, the Honorable member would not secure teetotalism there.
– Having very carefully examined this parliamentary paper, I say that the case for prohibition has been very much strengthened. It is patent that the licensing conditions are being evaded, and that liquor is being retailed to the natives. I contend that we ought ‘to discharge our duty to these people. Like the honorable member for Parramatta, I do not think that it matters very much whether we develop New Guinea or not. It is of importance, however, that we should not carry our vices to the natives of that Territory, and ruin them in the same way that we have ruined the Australian aborigines. We should absolutely prohibit the sale of intoxicants in the Possession except for medicinal purposes.
There ds the crux of the whole position, and, in the light of that statement, we ought to know the reason for the honorable member’s change of attitude, seeing that exactly the same conditions are still prevailing.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England). - Since the honorable member for Kennedyasked the question, we have had no clear explanation that the right-about face of some honorable members has resulted from an arrangement with the Prime Minister. There may not have been an actual arrangement come to, but it seems to me that there was some go-between between the honorable and learned gentleman and the representatives of the temperance p)arty. It was stated that an intimation was conveyed to the honorable members who met to discuss this question that, unless they accepted the amendment the Prime Minister proposed to move, he would put the Bill under the table. That statement has been denied by both the Prime Minister and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. But I was informed by those who were present that the reason why they agreed to accept the amendment was because it was conveyed to them by somebody that, unless they did, the Bill would be put under the table. I do not say who are right and who are wrong, but certainly all are not right. I believe that my informants are quite right in what they have stated, and that, by some means or other, the Prime Minister did convey that intimation to the meeting.
– That is not the case.
– I have been so informed by those who were present at the meeting. At any rate, some intimation was conveyed, and thereupon, I am told, telegrams or communications were sent to the heads of the temperance parties in the States, saying that unless the amendment were accepted the Bill would be dropped, and asking whether those who represented the prohibition party in the House should accept it.
– Nothing of the kind.
– The temperance bodies agreed to accept the amendment because they could not obtain anything better. There is something very extraordinary in the whole situation, and I should like to have it explained. I have been accused of having deserted my colours, because I voted against prohibition, but my position is perfectly clear. I have been consistent throughout in advocating full Government control of the drink traffic We have heard a good deal about the white population in Papua, and it has been urged that the 600 white men, women, and children in the Territory should be intrusted with the control of the drink traffic, as against 350,000 natives. Papua is a black man’s country, and if local option is to be conceded to the residents, I think that the natives are entitled to some voice in the matter. There is just as good a chance of prohibition being carried out in one case as in the other. The advocates of democracy are willing^ that the control of the drink traffic should be placed in the hands ofl the white residents,, and appear to ignore the fact that the natives, who greatly outnumber the whites, would have no voice whatever in the matter. The Prime Minister has said that prohibition cannot be carried out, and therefore the provision for local option must be a mere sham. In my opinion, State control would be preferable to any other, and I entirely disapprove of the Government proposals.
Mr. McCAY (Corinella).- I heard with surprise the statement of the honorable member for New England that the Prime Minister and the member for Melbourne Ports had denied that it had been represented that the Bill would not become law if it left this Chamber with a prohibition clause embodied in it.
– All I denied was that that view had been put to the Alliance.
– When I spoke earlier in the evening I explained that I took up the same position that I assumed last September, namely, that rather than lose the Bill which provided for a Constitution for Papua, I was prepared to forego my prohibition views. I expressed the view that I should not be justified in preventing the grant of a Constitution to Papua, merely because no provision was made for prohibition. I was led to understand that the effect of retaining the prohibition clause in the Constitution would be -to induce the Government to abandon the Bill.
– No one has denied that.
– Am I to understand that if the prohibition clause remains in the Bill the Constitution will not become law this session ? I had no doubt about it before, but now that a doubt has been cast upon the statement I want an assurance from the Government. I distinctly sacrificed some of my convictions for the purpose of getting the Papuan Constitution enacted. But if the Government is going to proceed with the Bill, even if this amendment be rejected, I do not see why I should do so.
– The prohibition clause is not in the Bill at the present time.
– Has it been struck out? I understood that we took up the Bill at the stage at which we got it from the Senate, and1 that it is quite competent for this Committee to agree or disagree with the Senate’s amendment.
– That portion has already been agreed to.
– I take* it that it would be possible to find a means -of reinserting the prohibition ‘clause if that were desired. But I am concerned with the question of substance rather than of form. I should like to have an assurance from the Prime Minister.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).The Prime Minister might also say something about a matter which I wish to bring under his notice. In sub-clause 6, it is proposed that the manner of taking a ‘poll and the manner of giving effect to the decision arrived at bv the poll taken shall be as directed by Ordinance. I take it that this proposal of the Prime Minister will not of itself automatically affect local option, even if carried by the vote of the residents of the Possession. I should like to have that point made clear. It seems to me that prohibition will not come into operation as a matter of course, even though carried by the votes of the people. It will all depend upon art Ordinance, which again will all depend upon the will of the Government for the time being. We know that the Prime Minister’s opinion is that it is not possible to bring about such a thing as prohibition, and that it would be a dangerous thing for the residents of the Territory if it were given effect to. With a Prime Minister holding that view in office, the chances, are very small of having prohibition carried into effect.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister of External .Affairs). - In reply to the » point just raised by the honorable -member for Parramatta, I wish to say that the local option provisions of the proposed new clause are in no sense subject to the Ordinances to which he has referred. .All that the Ordinances’ will do is to provide, as is done by the regulations under every Local Option Act with which I am acquainted, the time and manner of taking and giving effect to the poll. If the Government proposal is passed, means will be needed for fixing the date on which, and the place at which, the poll shall be held, and if the vote be for the reduction, and not the abolition, of the licences in a division, -some indication of the method by which, or the persons by whom, the selection shall be made. Nothing more will be needed to give effect to the local option provisions -of the clause than what may be termed mechanical provisions, which will be contained in Ordinances. In -regard ‘to the honorable member’s’ reference to the attitude of the Government in this matter, and the opinion which I have expressed of the consequences of absolute prohibition, no such conclusion should be drawn as that attempted to be drawn by the honorable member for Dalley, and repeated by the honorable member for Parramatta, that prohibition is just as dangerous if local option be granted. There is a great difference between prohibition enforced without the consent, and against the will of, the white residents of New Guinea, which we are assured would provoke lawless resistance, and prohibition with their consent. It is the universal and unbroken ‘testimony of every witness from New Guinea that if prohibition were forced on the white residents of that country it would be evaded, could not be strictly applied, and would be disastrous to the natives.
– And therefore the white residents of New Guinea will never vote for it.
– I do not say so. The prohibition to which the white residents are opposed is prohibition imposed on them from without, by a. body in which they are not represented,, and in. whose decisions they have no voice. They one and all resent such treatment. A small number of. white residents - though what number I cannot say - I have no doubt would be opposed, to the. granting of prohibition under any circum-stances. What number would be in favour of the reduction of licences, and, perhaps even in the mining camps, supporters of absolute prohibition cannot yet be determined. The opposition of the miners to the prohibition proposed in this Parliament is due to the fear that they are to be deprived of what they consider their right to deal with a matter which directly affects them, and does not affect us or those whom, we represent.
Mr. McDonald__ Does not that apply to the- election of the Executive Council ?
– In a much less degree. The Bill gives a Constitution to New. Guinea, under which its institutions will gradually assume a representative character, and there is provision for appointing persons in. the meantime who wall represent and express the views of the non-official class. Now to come to the question raised by the honorable and learned, member for Corinella. Of course, on a matter of this kind one speaks outside the Chamber with much greater freedom, than within it. If it were otherwise, one’s intention and purpose might be misunderstood. I distinctly conveyed to the honorable members for Cowper, Melbourne Ports! and. Boothby, that if the original provision, for absolute prohibition, which has been protested, against bv the whole official, commercial, and nonofficial population of New Guinea, be carried, it will be a matter for the gravest consideration of the Government whether they can proceed with the Bill, and I ventured to say that, in my opinion, they can. not.
– I think those were the honorable- and - learned, gentleman’s: words.
– Does the- same remark apply to State- control ?
– Not to the same extent. The objections to State control are of another character.
– Then the Prime Minister is forcing the honorable members to vote with him against their better judgment.
– No more than honorable members are forced to. vote againsttheir judgment in all the choices which are offered, in Parliament between the course which they most, prefer and that, which they next prefer:. No man in this Chamber has known any measure, to be passed containing, every, provision which, he would wish to see included in it, and no provision which he would like to see excluded. Some have said that if. prohibition is impossible because of the objection taken to its enactment in the form already agreed to by the House, they will take the prohibition which is possible by the vote of the white residents of New Guinea. In reply to the suggestion of the honorable member for Parramatta that the proposed new clause is a mere pretence and not a reality, I would point out that he forgets’ two things : First, that New Guinea embraces at least three classes of persons, the missionaries and those immediately associated with’ them, the commercial class, consisting of the traders, shopkeepers and those immediately associated with them, and the miners- and those immediately associated with them. The persons who have been alluded to as indulging in liquor to excess, and as being opposed’ to prohibition of any kind; are to be found mainly in the mining class ; but that remark does not- by any means apply to all the miners. A certain number of miners, however, are known to be those who consume by far the greatest proportion of intoxicating liquor sent to the country, and to be adverse to prohibition. The whole of the miners, however, constitute only about one-third of the total population of the Territory, because the new clause gives’ the right- to vote to white women as well as; to white men. It is, therefore, hot at all impossible that prohibition may ultimately be- adopted in the whole Territory by the- vote of the- white residents. There is no attempt to do t anything except to give the fairest and f ul- lest play to local option in a territorialsense. _ These proposals allow of either the reduction or abolition of licences in any division. In two out Of the six divisions of’ New Guinea there is’, I1 believe- not a- single’ miner ; and- in three more, speaking from’ a rough computation, the miners are in a distinct minority. In only one division are they in sufficient numbers to justify one in saying that the mining vote is likely to predominate.
– I object to the statement that the miners consume most liquor. I have been associated with miners, and I know that they are as temperate as any other class of the community.
– None of us would consent to the libelling of any class of persons as being prone to the use of intoxicants. Some of those engaged in mining, like some engaged in other callings, are total abstainers, while others are given to the use of intoxicants. But I’ am informed that in New Guinea the greater part of the intoxicating liquor consumed is used by men who are following the occupation of mining.
– -This is not the first time that miners have been libelled in this way.
– I am not libelling miners as a class; I am speaking only of some miners.
– I have known business men who have come from New Guinea who could drink a good deal.
– I dare say. The point I wish to make is that it is not impossible that a vote for prohibition may in the future be given in regard to the whole Territory ; and it is distinctly probable that, in regard to at least four of the divisions, covering the greater part of the Territory, and containing the greater number of natives, where the white population is extremely small, and consists almost entirely of missionaries, or of those under missionary influence, ‘a vote will be given, within twelve months, for the. abolition or reduction of the existing licences.
– If prohibition is considered worse for the natives, why should such a vote be given?
– Prohibition for the whites will be worse for the natives if it is resisted by the whole of the white population. But if the white population demands either reduction or abolition, we shall have that population assisting the officials in carrying out the law. Consequently prohibition, under the circumstances - let me repeat for the third time - is not prohibition imposed from without against the will of the people in the particular locality, and will not drive them into an attitude of hostility to the officials. The two methods of prohibition are entirely distinct; and, therefore, prohibition is possible over more than one-half of Papua within a year or two after the passage of the measure, and over the whole Territory in a comparatively short time. This prohibition can be carried without the risks which have led us to resist to the very last point the introduction of prohibition from without at once over the whole of Papua. In that country in which men and- women differ as much from each other as they do anywhere else - a country which includes in a small population men of every type and tendency, following widely different callings - we should fall very far short of our duty and our knowledge if we ‘ should refuse to be convinced when we find all those different men of contrasted callings, abilities, and temperaments, declaring with single voice that prohibition introduced from without would be disastrous to the nation. If we, who have never seen Papua, were to brush aside this absolutely unanimous testimony of the whole population - missionaries with their religious motives, commercial men with their business motives, and miners of pioneering enterprise - who on this subject, and this subject alone, are absolutely united, we should be sinning against the light we have. It was too late to-day to print the report On New Guinea by the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, but I looked up that part dealing with the testimony relating to the liquor traffic.
– Why was this information not given to us at first?
– The report will be before honorable members before the Estimates are disposed of; but I looked up this point, because I had been asked for some information regarding it. The Secretary for the Department of External Affairs told me that his own experience in New Guinea does not enable him to pass a decided judgment on the question, but that he took pains to meet men of every class and calling, official and non-official, and discuss it with them.
– Does he give the names of those officials ?
– I do not think he does.
– Those who are interested in the sale of liquor cannot be regarded as officials.
– The Secretary for the Department of External Affairs says that in the whole of Papua he did not meet a’ single man in favour of prohibition ; on the contrary, he found every one opposed to- the principle. As to the miners, Mr. Atlee Hunt says that the manner in which they expressed their opinion of the suggestion that the question should be decided without consulting them, was of a vigour to be reported.
– None of these men are in favour of prohibition, and yet it is proposed to submit the question to them ?
– Let me repeat, for the fourth time, that the people of Papua are not in’ favour of prohibition imposed upon them from outside.
– That proves the whole proposal to be a farce.
– That does not follow. I have not been to Papua, but I have personally consulted with missionaries from the Territory, and I know that they are in favour of the severest form of restriction on the liquor traffic that can be carried out with safety. I have spoken with the heads of several of the chief mission stations, and the whole missionary influence, so far as I can judge, “will be cast in the direction of first reducing the licences, and, as far as possible, of abolition in some of the divisions. The consequence is, there is no reason why prohibition should not be obtained at once in those divisions of the Territory, and, as in other divisions, the missionary influence is considerable, there is no reason why it should not in time be carried into effect there also. In addition, there are numbers of the people of New Guinea not in favour of prohibition if imposed from without.
– Does the Prime Minister seriously suggest that men who are anxious for prohibition would vote against it if it were imposed from without?
– The men to whom I am alluding are miners - men of independence and individuality. May I tell the honorable member what I discovered a. short time ago? I asked how it was that, with the unfavorable climatic conditions obtaining in Papua as compared with the conditions on the mainland, miners are found willing to live 100 miles or 150 miles from the coast and from settlement, buried amongst the hills, supervising the natives who wash the gold ? The answer given was that these men are there for the same rea: son’ that we find men scattered over the outlying’ parts of Australia. These are men who are never content to work for a master at any wage, men of indepen dence of character, who want to do their own work in their own way, and live their own lives in their own fashion. Rather than forfeit their personal freedom, they accept a life in the moist malarial climate of New Guinea. My authority is Senator Staniforth Smith, who is well acquainted with New Guinea, where he has had personal experience of a severe character.
– Senator Staniforth Smith gave me permission to say that he regards this proposal as the best that could be made for New Guinea.
– That is encouraging.
– Senator Staniforth Smith was in New Guinea for about a fortnight. -
– That was on the first occasion, but his second tour lasted several months. The honorable senator assured me that he met in New Guinea miners whom he had previously been associated with, and thought most highly of, in Kalgoorlie. The miners are men of independent judgment, who would resent any dictation from outside; but those of them who have temperance inclinations wOuld certainly favour a reduction of licences, if not of prohibition, by their own act. What we are aiming at is to encourage the white population to take liquor control into’ their own hands and reduce or abolish, licences where they think proper. If honorable members have regard to the divisions into which the Territory is allotted, they will see an excellent prospect of having, practical prohibition over a large part, where the white population is small,but where there Is an immense native population, which will be protected by the white residents and officials, all working to one end.
Mr. WILKS (Dalley).- The PrimeMinister has said that prohibition in New Guinea would be impracticable owing toprivate distillation and smuggling. I ventured to point out that it would be impossible to carry out the system of local option now proposed, and the Prime Minister replied _ that a simple majority could carry, prohibition into effect. There are about 500 white, residents, and, therefore, according to the Prime Minister, prohibition could be realized if 251. were in its favour. . The honorable -gentleman now tells us that prohibition is impracticable,, because, there is a difference between embodying such a policy . in the .Constitution and allowing the residents, to decide. for themselves - that in the. former case thev would be hostile. Am I to understand that if 250 voted for and 249 voted against, there would be hostility to carrying the principle into effect? As to other remarks by the Prime Minister, I may point out that humorous or grotesque language is not necessarily a. sure sign of either sincerity or insincerity. Aman may employ humorous language, and be sincere, just as the Prime Minister, who always uses elaborate language, may be insincere. Members of the Labour Party have a strong advocate in Mr. Bernard Shaw, who is noted for the humorous language which he employs, and yet there is no man who is more sincere. On the other hand, the Honorable Austin Chamberlain, who is the saddest political speaker in Great Britain, is the most insincere. To attempt to ascertain the exact attitude of members of the temperance party upon this question would make a graven image humorous.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK(Parramatta).When the Prime Minister rose to address the Committee I felt sure that he would be able to explain away all that he said upon this question twelve months ago.’ He has almost succeeded in doing so in his usually astute style, but I venture to say that he has not yet wriggled off the spike upon which he then impaled himself. Upon that occasion, why did he not tell us all these qualifying things, that under certain circumstances there was a chance that the number’ of licences held in the Territory might be reduced ? His statement then was that the whole of the miners, the whole of the magistrates, and the whole of the missionaries were opposed to any proposal for prohibition, irrespective of whether it came from without or from within.
– The honorable member himself showed by the quotation which he made of my replies to interjections by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports that that was not so.
– No such thing. The Prime Minister has assured us that one of the strongest reasons which can be urged against prohibition is that it would drive the. white residents of the Territory to illicit distillation. Does that indicate any desire on their part to lessen the drink evil’? Does it not show that they are opposed to any diminution of the drink: traffic, irrespective of whether the pressure applied comes from without or within ? Would they be likely to rush into illicit distillation merely because prohibition is imposed upon them from without, or would their action be. prompted by a desire to obtain liquor? These statements by the Prime Minister are altogether too thin. They are made only for the purpose of easing the position of those whom he has induced to support his proposal, and who have been led away by him from the sound position which they occupied twelve months ago. The plain fact is that if his proposal be carried, we must say good-bye to any prospect of securing prohibition in New Guinea. We must bid good-bye to any control of the liquor traffic there, except that for which the Ordinances already provide.
– And we must also say good-bye to the natives.
– I am afraid so. I infinitely prefer State control to the Prime Minister’s proposal. I believe in the Government retaining full responsibility in all matters affecting either the natives or the welfare of the white population of the. Territory.
– Why did not the honorable member support the proposal in favour of State control of the traffic last year?
– Because I thought that I had something better on. I voted for prohibition then as the short, clear path to what I think ought to be our attitude towards the native population of New Guinea. I voted for it because I felt that I had a responsibility in regard to them which I could not. confide to the white residents of the Territory, and because I thought that I ought not directly to surrender this question from my own hands, seeing that we declined to give them selfgoverning powers in regard to any other matter.We give them no powers of selfgovernment, except those of the most rudimentary kind. It seems to me an anomaly that we should deny them the right to govern themselves in all the ordinary relations oflife, whilst at. the same time we should confer upon them the utmost self-governing powers in regard to the sale of liquor. . Why. should we make this enormous concession, when men’s appetites alone are affected, and refuse to make any concession when their lives and property are affected? It is a gross anomaly that we should confer upon them the right of selfgovernment in the matter of what they shall drink, and that we should deny to them a similarright in regard to all the more important matters which affect their lives, their property, and, their standing in the community.’
– I wish, sir, to direct your attention to a question of order. This Bill was restored to the proceedings of the House by resolution on 28th July last, under standing order 2i4A. That resolution reads -
That the proceedings on .the Bill …. which were interrupted by the prorogation of Parliament on Thursday, the 15th day of December, 1904, be resumed at the stage then reached in connexion with the said Bill, and that the further consideration in Committee of the whole House of the amendments made by the Senate in the Bill be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.
As .this is a question which ought really to be raised in the . House, I would suggest that it ite perhaps desirable that I should submit it for Mr. Speaker’s consideration. Standing order 214a reads -
If in any session the proceedings on any Bill shall have been interrupted by the prorogation of Parliament, the House may in the next succeeding session, by resolution, order such proceedings to .’be resumed at the stage to which the Bill had been advanced in the previous session.
The words to which I wish to draw special attention are “at the stage.” I find upon looking at the notice-paper for 15th December of last year the following item: -
Orders of the day, No. 1 - Papua Bill. Consideration in Committee of the Senate’s message No. 25.
The .Senate’s message No. 25 consists of a proposal to omit clause 2t - the prohibition clause. What happened last session was that it was moved that the Senate’s proposal to omit clause 21 be agreed to. That was carried, and a subsequent proposal was made to insert something else. The point I wish to raise is that the word “ stage “ used in the standing order refers, not to the point in the proceedings which have been reached, but to a step in the history of the measure, and that, consequently, when the Committee resumed the consideration of the Bill, the first thing to be dealt with was the Senate’s message. [ contend that the consideration of that message should mot have been resumed as it was, in the middle of the proceedings upon it, and I should like to quote a number of sentences from *May which bear on this question. If, for example, the Bill last session had reached the second-reading stage, and its consideration had been resumed this session at the point which it had then reached, under the proceedings we have taken to-night honorable members who had .spoken last session on the motion for the second reading would have been precluded from speak ing to it this session. On the other hand, if my contention .be correct, it would be necessary in such circumstances to begin afresh with the motion .that the Bill be read a second time, in the same way, if a Bill containing- a hundred clauses were in Committee last session, and we had passed clause 80, under the standing order we should have to begin this session at clause 81 , because we cannot divide a stage into portions. The “stage” at which a Bill is reached does not mean the “ proceedings in the stage “ which it has reached. I may say, in passing, that May does not define the word “ stage,” but seems to take it for granted that it means a whole step in a Bill’s history. In the chapter dealing with the “ Proceedings of Parliament in Passing Public Bills,” Mai, at page .449, sets forth that -
It may be here stated that if, when the order of the day is read at the table, no motion be made for the second reading or other stage of a Bill, or for its postponement, it becomes a dropped order.
This certainly refers to the whole of the second reading of a Bill as being a stage, and points out that a Bill cannot be picked up at any point of the second reading. I f we take.it up in a second session we must begin the second-reading debate over again. At page 450 May sets forth that -
The second reading is the stage at which counsel have been heard, and at page 451 that -
The Lords occasionally, as in the case of Consolidated Fund Bills, when the Bill has been read a second, time, negative the Committee stage. “The Committee stage” there certainly means the whole of the Committee proceedings, and not a portion of them. Our Standing Orders speak of the stage of a Bill, and not of the point in a stage reached. At page 466 again, May states -
By standing order number 38, no clause may be offered on the report stage of a Bill, unless notice thereof has been given.
We read’ continually of “ proceedings.” We have “ stages “ in a Bill and “ proceedings” in a stage. That is the difference between the two. When’ we adopt a standing order which contains the words -
The ‘House may in the next succeeding session by resolution order such proceedings to be resumed at the stage to which the Bill had been advanced in the previous session, it must be clear that we refer to the resumption of proceedings at the first reading, second reading, the Committee, report, or third-reading stage, or to the consideration of amendments made by another place, but not to a point in the proceedings in a stage. I make no apology for bringing this matter forward, except that I regret that it is necessary to do so at this late hour. It is undoubtedly a matter of importance. Had it occurred to me earlier, I should have mentioned it before. As a’ matter of fact, I was not in the Chamber when you, Mr. Chairman, first’ put the question, and it was only when I asked you how the question had been put that I became cognizant of the way-
– I did not know that we had voted against the original clause.
– We did last session. I thought that we had begun what was provided for on the notice-paper of 15th December last - the consideration of the Senate’s message, No. 25 - and it was not until something was said as to the form of the question, less than half-an-hour ago, that I made inquiries from you, Mr. Chairman. The proceedings of the Committee will not be delayed ten minutes by our putting the question in its proper form. The proper question to put is that which arises on the consideration of the Senate’s message, as sent down last session. The standing order is being interpreted to mean that the proceedings shall continue as if no prorogation had taken place. That, in my opinion, is not the proper construction. May nowhere speaks of the stage of a Bill as meaning anything but one of the four or five stages I have mentioned. It does not speak of the proceedings during any stage as being a stage.
– The language of the standing order permits of two constructions. That placed upon it by the honorable and learned member is really based upon the contention that because the standing order provides that proceedings shall be resumed at a stage we should insert certain words which would make it read “at the ‘beginning of a stage.” HSs interpretation of the word “ stage “ does not materially affect the particular issue which he has submitted, because what he wishes to contend is that you must read the word as meaning the beginning- of a stage. He then proceeded to turn up May, and find allusions to the stage which a Bill has reached. There is not the least doubt that other citations could be found in which; the second reading or Committee are always referred to as stages ; but I take it that this does not lead us any further. The real point at issue is whether we are to interpolate the words “at the beginning of a stage,” or whether we are to violate what seems the natural course of taking up the business just at the point where it was dropped. The honorable and learned member says, “ If that be the case, and it was the secondreading stage, honorable members who spoke in the previous session would have no right to speak when the debate was resumed some months afterwards.” I 3o not think that this follows. It seems to me that the common-sense reading of the expression would be “ at the point at which something had been done.” In discussing the second reading nothing has been done, and therefore I do not think that honorable members who spoke in one session would lose their right to speak again when the proceedings were resumed at the same stage in the next session. But if any action has been taken by the House, if a vote has been arrived at, if words have been inserted or omitted, in one session, it seems to me that the clear intention of the standing order is that those particular questions need not be dealt with again. If you contend, as the honorable and learned member does, that they shall be dealt with again, you seek to put a very precise and definite meaning to the word “ stage,” saying that it means a whole which cannot be divided into parts. I submit that no authority can be cited to show that the word “stage” implies a definite whole of that kind which will be indivisible. It seems to me that we have a clear line of demarcation, and a clear sense, when we say that this word is intended to allude “to things done, that whatever has been done shall remain, and that you may start from that point in the next session.
– The word “advanced” in the standing order is always used iti reference to proceedings on a stage of a Bill.
– It is used as the word “stage” is used; but there is nothing to show that it is limited to that acceptation, or that in this particular case what is meant, whereas the natural intendment would be, not to have things done a second time, but to go on from the point in the stage. The honorable and learned member’s contention is that the standing order is very imperfectly expressed. It means that certain things shall not be done again, but it also means that certain things shall be done over again. I do not think he will find his definition of “ stage “ set down with particularity in any authority. I contend that Ohe plain meaning of the standing order is that whatever has been done is regarded as having been done, and that you start at the point in the stage which had been reached.
– I think that the position taken up by the honorable and learned member for Corinella is incontestable. I .take it that the word “ stage “ is used in the standing order in the ordinary political acceptation of the term. For instance, we associate a definite meaning, as well as a limitation, to the word when we say that we shall oppose or support a Bill at every stage.
– That does not mean only at the second reading, but on every clause and sub-clause.
– It means that there are certain well-defined stages of a Bill. I t)ake it that if the standing order had been intended to mean that we could take up any detail of a Bill in Committee, the word “ point “ would have been used. If it had been intended to express this particularity, what could have been more natural than to say that the House may, by resolution, order the proceedings to be resumed at the point to which the Bill had leer advanced. That would have been clear and definite language; but this wording is equally clear and unmistakable. The word “ stage “ is intended to mean the whole of the stage to which a Bill has advanced in either House. I find that on the 28th July it was resolved, on the motion of the Prime Minister -
That under standing order No. 214a, the proceedings on the Bill . . . which were interrupted by the prorogation on Thursday, 15th day of December, 1904, be resumed at the stage then reached in connexion with the said Bill, and that the further consideration in Committee of the whole House of the amendments made by the Senate in the Bill be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.
It would seem as though the framers of the resolution had Anticipated trouble of this kind, and had made an effort to provide for it. But the resolution of the House cannot possibly over-ride the standing order, which I think is so clearly worded as to be beyond the possibility of cavil. In this connexion it means the whole of the Committee stage.
– There is no interpretation to that effect.
– No; except the expressions which we ordinarily use, and which clearly limit the meaning of the word.
Mr. McDonald. All the authorities use the word “ stage. “
– We speak of the first-reading stage, the second-reading stage, the Committee stage, the report stage, and the third-reading stage of a Bill. The word means a distinct period of debate in connexion with a Bill.
– I am prepared to rule on the point. The honorable member for Corinella was good enough 10 communicate with me as soon as he made up his mind to raise the objection, and that has given me an opportunity to look-up the authorities. The question depends solely upon the definition of the word “ stage,” and the limitation to be placed upon that definition. I would point out that in Committee, properly called the Committee stage, we are in a position entirely different from that in which we stand at any other “time, The Committee stage consists of a certain number of definite steps, which are marked by resolutions arrived at with’ respect to clauses or amendments moved from time to time. I leave out of account altogether the dictionary definitions of the word “ stage,” which favour both of the views put forward. I have had some experience with regard to this standing order. I urged its introduction long before it was adopted. When progress is made .and reported, that constitutes a stage, and under these circumstances it would not be necessary for the Committee to retrace its steps and again consider a question which had been settled by it. Honorable members will see that there is a great difference between the Committee and the second-reading stage. In the Committee definite points are arrived at, whereas in connexion with the second reading, the termination of the debate is the only really definite point attained. Then the order of reference strengthens considerably the view I take, because it specially mentions “ further proceedings.” This fact alone, apart from other considerations, would determine my decision. I rule that the matter is quite in order, and that it is not necessary for us to retrace our steps.
– Is there any way in which’ this matter might reach the Speaker?
-I think not.
– I thought it might be brought under the cognizance of the
Speaker when the report stage was reached. I think it is desirable that the Speaker’s opinion should be taken.
– The only course open to the honorable and learned member is to take action under standing order 228, which reads as follows: -
If any objection is taken to a ruling or a decision of the Chairman of Committees, such objection shall be stated at once in writing, and may be forthwith decided by the Committee.
– I am quite aware of that standing order. I was asking whether the matter could reach the Speaker?
– The honorable and learned member might consult the Speaker.
Question - That the proposed new clause be now read a second time - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed new clause read a second time.
Amendment (by Mr. McDonald) put -
That after the word “ Territory,” line 2, the following words be inserted : - “ for the sale or manufacture of intoxicating liquor or opium excepting for medicinal purposes.”
The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Mr. FRAZER (Kalgoorlie). - I move-
That the following words be added to subclause 1 : - “ except to a house to be conducted as a Government undertaking.”
In the event of my amendment being adopted, in all probability the clause will have to beredrafted to make the language express the meaning quite clearly. I stated previously that I was opposed to a part of the policy involved in this clause - that of limiting the right of those in British New Guinea to say whether or not the number of licences shall be reduced, but not allowing for an increase. In the event of a new field being discovered, and a consequent big rush of population, it might be necessary to increase the number of ‘licences. My amendment provides for that being done if a vote is recorded in favour of it ; but any new hotels are to be under the control of, and conducted by the Government.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).- I am opposed to any increase in the number of drinking shops, and shall therefore vote against the amendment. Although I have stated that I am in favour of Government control, my remark applied only to placing all the hotels in the Territory under. Government control.
Mr. BROWN (Canobolas). - I should like the Prime Minister to consider this aspect of the question. Whilst the people of Australia have a most liberal franchise, and enjoy trialby jury, they have not full local option. But, on the other hand, it is proposed to confer on the white population of New Guinea full local option, and to deny to them the right to choose those who are to govern them, and the enjoyment of trial by jury. As the proposed new clause is not an essential part of the Constitution of New Guinea, why not eliminate it, and pass the Bill without it, leaving the ques tion to be dealt with later, when “we have more information? The clause is no improvement on the regulations which are now being carried out under orders in council.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- I ask the attention of the Committee to what I think is a very serious point. The proposed new clause reads -
After the commencement of this Act licences shall not be granted in the Territory in excess of the number of licences in existence at the commencement of this Act.
If licences shall not be granted in excess of the number in existence at the present time, will it not be mandatory to grant licences within that number?
Mr. WILKS (Dalley). - I have been supporting prohibition all night, because, while afree-trader in other respects, I am not a free-trader in the liquor traffic. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has now proposed that there shall be provision for extra hotels, for the reason that other mining fields may be discovered. In my opinion, however, those extra hotels would only afford a further opportunity for the distribution of drink to the natives, and I see no necessity for adding to the licensed premises, which already number one to every twenty-three inhabitants.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. McDonald) proposed -
That the word “third,” line 17, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ fourth.”
Mr. FRAZER (Kalgoorlie). - The action of the Prime Minister in agreeing to the amendment of the honorable member for Kennedy is a remarkable one. To my mind, the more difficult we can make it for a small section of fanatics to insist upon a local option poll, the more peace we shall enjoy in the Territory. Before any portion of the Possession is called upon to incur the expenditure involved in taking such a poll, the least we can demand is that one-third of its residents shall petition in favour of the adoption of that course. Personally, I think that, in this case, the Bill should provide for one-half of the white residents signing such a petition.
Mr. WEBSTER (Gwydir). - I am surprised at the readiness with which the Prime Minister has given way oh this question. I agree with the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that, before a district is called upon to incur the expenditure of taking a local option poll, one-third ofits residents should sign a petition in favour of that course being followed. We all know how easy it is to get petitions signed. I trust that the Prime Minister will not accept the amendment.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- I altogether object to the term “ fanatics “ being applied to persons who interest themselves in the temperance of the community. May I remind the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that these so-called temperance “fanatics” make nothing out of their fanaticism. What they do they do for the love of the cause. They receive no fee or reward in most cases.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- I am sorry that the Prime Minister has agreed that a poll shall be taken at the request of onefourth, instead of one-third of the population. If we go on reducing the number in this way, the whole procedure will become such a jest that half-a-dozen men will draw up a petition for a poll, and celebrate the day by hard drinking. In fact, all the amendments that have been moved by the
Opposition, so far as I am aware, would lead to an increase rather than a reduction in the use of intoxicants.
Mr. WILKS (Dalley).- The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has said that the amendment is a complete innovation. It was originally proposed that a poll should be taken at the request of one-third of the white population. There are, in round numbers, 600 white residents of Papua. One-third of that number is 200, whilst a quarter is 150, and the difference between 150 and 200 is so great that those who ask that the poll shall be taken at the request of one-fourth, instead of one-third, are described by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie as “ fanatics.” The honorable member for Gwydir has also made an attack on them. Let me tell those honorable members, as well as the honorable and learned’ member for Werriwa, that they do not represent a third of the voting strength of their own electorates.
– I agree with what has been said as to the ease with which signatures to petitions can be obtained, and as a local option poll would involve considerable expense and trouble, I propose to move an amendment that will meet the objection that has been raised. I would point out to the Prime Minister that as the word “ shall “ is used, the LieutenantGovernor will be required as soon as a petition is presented, to order a poll to be taken. I propose to move that the following words be inserted : - provided such signatures shall have been affixed in the presence of a Justice of the Peace or other person nominated by the LieutenantGovernor.
If that provision be carried, the presentation of bogus petitions will be avoided. I think that the Prime Minister will recognise the reasonableness of the proposal. I know of cases where an individual has signed a petition for dozens of persons, either because they were not good penmen, or could not write with the particular pen which was being used. What I propose is perfectly reasonable.
– The amendment before the Committee will have to be dealt with before the honorable member can move an amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister of External Affairs). - Before the honorable member for Coolgardie moves his amendment, I desire to mention that a part of the Ordinances, which are really regulations, will prescribe the manner in which the petition may be signed. Of course, justices of the peace do not exist in Papua, and the magistrates are moving about in districts of considerable size. All the regulations with which I am acquainted for the signing of petitions provide for each signature to be taken in the presence of witnesses who are known, and who also sign. I do not apprehend that there will be any great difficulty in the matter, because in all ‘the settlements the number of residents is so small that every person is known, and probably every man’s signature is known. Whatever provision may be necessary in this regard will be. made in the Ordinances. The honorable member is quite right in suggesting that some provision is necessary.
– I presume that under sub-clause 6 the Minister can make the provision ?
– No. It can be prescribed by Ordinance, and I promise that it shall be “done.
– In view of that statement, I shall not move my amendment.
Mr. HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh).- According to the division which has been taken to-night, we are going to have an unrestricted importation of liquor into Papua, and very little protection indeed for the natives. The Prime Minister has expressed the belief that in twelve months, or possibly a little longer period, there will be very little difficulty in getting a local option poll, I doubt whether during the next few years there will be a local option poll which will reduce the number of licences by even one. When the missionaries are against any interference with the liquor traffic, it is time we took some step to secure the next best thing to prohibition. Therefore I move -
That the following new subclause be inserted : - “ 6a. Within two years from the commencement of this Act, the importation and sale of intoxicating liquors shall be made a Government monopoly.
The present system will have a two years’ trial, and itf it is found not to work satisfactorily it can be replaced by a Government monopoly.
– Socialism at half-past i o’clock in the morning 1
– This form of Socialism will be a valuable aid to halfamillion comparatively helpless people in the Possession. The natives are unable to look after themselves, and therefore we must act on their behalf.
– The honorable member would rather be poisoned at a Government hotel than at a private hotel ?
– I would rather risk being poisoned at the former than at the latter. I believe that if it were discovered that inferior liquor was being sold by the Government the people would very quickly see that the evil was remedied. Under the direction of private enterprise the quality of the liquors vended is getting worse and worse every day. In all the States the licensing inspectors are reporting that the liquors sold are detrimental to health, and have never been so bad as they are now. The proposal I make is not a new one. The right honorable member for Swan knows that at Gwalia, in Western Australia, there is a Government hotel which, from all I have heard, is a great success. At Renmark, in South Australia, there is a State hotel which is doing very well. The residents are highly satisfied with the quality of the liquors which are sold. That can be said of very few hotels ; in fact, I doubt whether it can be said of any hotel in the Commonwealth. The hotelkeepers, however, are not to blame because they have to take the liquors which are supplied to them. A perusal of the evidence which has been given before the Tariff Commission ought to satisfy honorable members that very inferior liquors are sold in private hotels. I have heard many honorable members say that in their opinion the liquor traffic should be under State control, and I rely upon getting the votes of mv temperance friends who could not get their way in regard to prohibition.
– I want to move a prior amendment if the honorable member will give way.
– I ask leave, sir, to temporarily withdraw my amendment..
– The amendment has not been put, and therefore it does not require to be withdrawn.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- I propose to add to sub-clause 4 a proviso to the effect that the first poll under the provision shall be taken at a period of not less than three months from the passing of the Bill.
– That would not be possible, because it takes more than six weeks, sometimes two months, for a steamer to reach the Possession.
– I am willing to fix the period at six months if the honorable and learned gentleman likes:
– Does the honorable member mean that a poll shall be taken throughout the Possession, or in a few divisions ?
– My proposal is that a local option poll shall be taken throughout the Possession. I move -
That the following proviso be added to subclause 4 : - “ Provided that the first poll under this section shall be taken at a period not later than nine months from the proclamation of this Act.”
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Hutchison) proposed -
That the following new sub-clause be inserted : - “6a. “Within two years from the proclamation of this Act, the importation and sale of intoxicating liquors shall be made a Government monopoly.”
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister of External Affairs). - Of course honorable members will realize the seriousness of this proposal. First of all, the period suggested is short, and even though that may be extended, nothing can alter the fact that in a” country like New Guinea liquor would have to be sold under conditions very different from those which obtain in any of the States. We have in Papua only forty officers, who are required to move from point to point of a territory largerthan Victoria, and frequently have to leave their stations in charge of natives who could not be trusted to undertake the sale of intoxicants. Therefore, we should have to engage a fresh staff. At present, except perhaps at
Samarai, and one or two other places, the liquor traffic is carried on in connexion with other businesses by storekeepers, who find it a difficult matter to make a living. We should receive no duty upon ‘the liquor sold by us, and I am afraid that the cost of distribution would necessitate our charging pricesequal to those now paid by purchasers and yet leave us losers.
– That would be all the better.
– I do not think that it would. Besides the natives would associate the sale of liquor with the Government in which they place their trust, and the traffic would be elevated in their eyes to a degree that would be highly undesirable.
Mr. WEBSTER (Gwydir). - I am rather surprised to hear the Prime Minister put forward such arguments in regard to the amendment. I do not see any reason why it should be necessary to ask the officers now engaged in the work of administration to undertake the “sale and distribution of liquor. I do not think that any large number of distributing centres would be necessary. One. officer, with the assistance of the police, or a small staff, could control the distribution of intoxicants, and no great expense need be, incurred. The Prime Minister says that we should receive no duty in respect of the liquor sold ; but although we should not collect a direct Customs impost, the purchaser would have to pay an equivalent of duty in the form of increased price, such as is now charged by retailers to cover both the duty and their profit. The cost of distribution could be covered by adopting a scale of prices appropriate to the circumstances. We have something more important to consider than the question whether the traffic will be conducted at a profit. One of the great objects at whichwe should aim is the improvement, of the quality of the liquors consumed. It is in that direction, rather than in the abolition ofthe liquor traffic, that true reform lies.
– The only way to purify it is to keep on adding water.
Mr. WEBSTER.Of course the honorable member for New England has never consumed liquor in his life. The only spirit that moves him is the spirit of antagonism. There is something more than the revenue to be considered. There is the necessity of insuring that the native population shall not be served with liquor. We should be sure of that under Government control, but the Prime Minister cannot make certain of it under the system of local option. It is of no use to shut our eyes to the experience we have had where prohibition has been attempted to be enforced. It cannot be done in places where we have police and all the active organization of the State, backed up by the vigilance of temperance agitators. The Sunday closing law is a dead letter in. New South Wales.
– Indeed it is not.
– I happen to know that it is; and I give the honorable member’s statement a flat denial. I have quenched my thirst whenever I required to do so on Sundays in New South Wales. I say, without fear of contradiction, that throughout that State, the Sunday closing law is a dead letter.
– The honorable member knows nothing about it if he talks like that.
– Well, those who know what takes place on, Sundays in New South Wales will be able to judge between the honorable member and myself. I admit that better liquor is sold to-day in the back-blocks of that State than was the case when the publicans used to ram down their customers with one glass, and take their cheques with the second. It was a kind of “ Strike-me-stiff “ stuff that was sold in those days. In Mildura the quality of the liquor sold is greatly superior to that which is sold in even the best managed hotels in our capital cities. Is not that an argument for putting the traffic under State control ?
– Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Trade and Customs is threatening personal violence against members of the Opposition, and saying that he will give them something between the eyes.
– That is not true.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member is distinctly out of order.
– I rise to order. Honorable members on this (the front Opposition) bench have been accusing me of something - I do not know what it is - and have been referring to my private character in a way that I will not allow. It now appears that it has reference to some statement about hats published in this morning’s newspapers. I ask you to rule that honorable members on this bench should not accuse me of telling lies in reference to some” statement in the press. I did not at first know what they were referring to.
– They are lies all the same.
– I ask you to insist on the honorable member withdrawing that statement.
– Such a remark is disorderly at any time ; and if the honorable member for Parramatta made such a statement as has been reported by the Minister of Trade and Customs, he must withdraw it.
– Of course, I will withdraw it ; but I also ask that the Minister shall be made to withdraw the scandalous language which he has been using over here. He has been threatening the Opposition with personal violence.
– The honorable member’s statement is absolutely incorrect.
– He has been using language that he has no right to use in this House.
– The honorable member has been using language that makes one think that he has been to a publichouse.
– The Minister has made the statement that a member of the Committee had used language which suggested that he had been drinking in a publichouse. Is that in order?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.If the Minister made such a statement, I ask him to withdraw it.
– What I said was that the honorable member for Parramatta had been behaving in a way that would lead one to conclude that’ he had been to a publichouse, and had had too much drink.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The Minister must withdraw that statement.
– I withdraw it.
– The public will readily judge between us on the matter of drinking and public-house frequenting.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.It is distinctly disorderly for honorable members to interrupt while the -honorable member for Gwydir is addressing the Chair’.
– My opinion on the drink question, and as to the better and more effective way of dealing with the liquor traffic, has been recorded in Hansard, and I could do no more if I were to speak for a week, I, therefore, hope that honorable members, having failed to secure the prohibition which they went for in the first place, will now go for what I believe to be the next best thing, and vote for the estab lishment of State control, so that the natives of New Guinea will be protected from the liquor habit, and the health and morals of the white people there will be safeguarded more effectively than is possible under private control.
– I believe that it is a rule of the House that a certain bench is reserved exclusively for Ministers. I submit, therefore, that the Minister of Trade and Customs should sit there, and not in another part of the Chamber, where his presence is not desired.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.A Minister may sit wherehe likes, but he must speak from the Ministerial bench, or at the table.
Mr. G. B. EDWARDS (South Sydney). - The amendment of the honorable member for Hindmarsh embodies a principle which I have supported all through, though I had agreed to give way in regard to it in order to get the compromise which we have now almost succeeded in obtaining. I cannot, however, go back upon my principles so far as to vote against this amendment, but I ask him to amend it by making the term four years instead of two, because of the difficulties to which the Prime Minister has referred, in the way of getting officials to carry it into effect. If the principle of Government control proves acceptable to the Committee, we may look for an increase of the Civil Service of New Guinea, which may enable the business contemplated under the honorable member’s proposal to be compassed within four years.
Mr. WILKS (Dalley).- This is a very important question, and should not be presented to us at 2 o’clock in the morning.
– Let us finish the Bill to-night.
– It is all very well for the honorable member for South Sydney, who has made a cherished baby of this matter for the last twenty-five years, to say that ; but I trust that the Prime Minister will resist the amendment, and, if he finds that there is not a sufficient number present to enable him to do so successfully, will adjourn. It is now proposed that the Commonwealth shall became the proprietor of hotels. That is a serious innovation. If we are to run hotels in New Guinea, why should we not take over the hotels of the States? I consider this as the introduction of the thin edge of the socialistic wedge, and if we are to have Socialism in regard to the liquor traffic, why should we not have it in regard to other matters? Apparently, it is sought to introduce the Gothenburg system into New Guinea, and I should like to hear what some of the leading temperance representatives have to say on the question. I should like to hear from the honorable members for Cowper and Melbourne Ports in regard to it.
– The temperance party all over Australia is opposed to nationalization.
-I do not accept the honorable member as representing the temperance party.
– The honorable member for Gwydir told us what he knew and what he did not know about liquor ;and, while I do not believe in making confessions on a subject like this, for the benefit of the Chairman, I may say that few honorable members know more about it than I do. I am not a member of a temperance society, but I am a total abstainer, though at one time I was ready to look on the wine when it was red, or any other colour. It is, however, absurd to talk of good and bad liquor. There is no difference between good rum and other rum, and I cannot understand temperance leadersadvocating Government control of the liquor traffic. Although I am not connected with a temperance society, I have never gone back on my attitude on this question. I do not, like the honorable member for Gwydir, argue in favour of prohibition and vote against it. In concluding his speech just now, he appealed to the prohibitionists in the Committee to support the amendment. But, while he has constantly spoken in favour of prohibition this evening, he has not cast one vote for prohibition. I am now replying to the honorable member for Gwydir, who made a certain charge. The amendment proposes that the Government shall assume control of the liquor traffic, while the residents of New Guinea may object to the introduction of any liquor. I cannot see that the amendment will make the position any better for the people in the Possession, and, at any rate, an innovation of this kind ought not to be brought about by a haphazard amendment proposed at 2 o’clock in the morning.
Mr. KELLY (Wentworth). - It is singular that honorable members of the Labour Party should be opposing the principle of local option in both Commonwealth and
State. In New South Wales, a Bill, which had been anxiously looked forward to by the friends of temperance, was before the Legislative Assembly of that State last week, and was then stone-walled by the Labour Party. Is there any special significance in the opposition of the honorable member for Gwydir to the principle of local option being applied in New Guinea? The honorable member does not object ‘to local option, but to the method in which it is proposed to carry it out, and I ask whether his opposition, to the method extends to the principle of temperance which it is proposed to incorporate in the Constitution for the Territory?
Mr. MCDONALD (Kennedy).- I intend to support the amendment, simply because I regard it as the next best system to prohibition. I do not believe that the amendment will bring about all we desire ; but, if it be found that drink is finding its way to the natives, we shall be able to hold somebody responsible, and that somebody, under the circumstances, will be the Govern ment.
Mr. MCWILLIAMS (Franklin).- It is my intention to support the amendment. I am distinctly opposed to the Government taking up the sale of liquor, but we have to consider the interests of the 350,000 blacks, whose lives and future will be infinitely safer with the drink traffic under Government control than under the miserable abortion of a compromise which, according to the view of some of the temperance leaders, has been embodied in this clause. The whole principle of prohibition has been given away by those who ought to have stood firm in its favour, and now I shall support a proposal which, under other circumstances, I should not have countenanced. Failing prohibition, I cannot accept the responsibility of allowing the wholesale introduction of liquor into New Guinea as a private speculation.
Mr. BATCHELOR (Boothby).- I do not know whether this Bill is the most appropriate place for a proposal of this kind, but, under the circumstances, it presents the only opportunity for honorable members to express their views. I am in favour of prohibition in New Guinea to the greatest possible extent, but, at the same time, I think that, if the traffic has to be carried on, it ought to be in the hands of the Government. It is desirable to take away all incentive to push the sale of liquor for private profit.
Mr. JOHNSON (Lang).- While I sympathize with the honorable member for Hindmarsh in his effort to secure the best system, failing prohibition, I regard the liquor traffic as bad; and, if I am opposed to the sale of liquor by private persons, I am- equally opposed to the Government undertaking the role of publican. I cannot see what good can be gained, from a temperance point of view, by merely substituting one publican for another. ‘ Another objection is that those who vote for State control will ‘be rightly accused of supporting a form of Socialism, and, as I am opposed to that principle, I am opposed to the present proposal of the honorable member for Hindmarsh.
Mr. LEE (Cowper). - I intend to oppose the amendment moved by the honorable member for Hindmarsh.
– Why is the leader of the honorable member for Cowper dumb to-night ?
– The leader of the temperance party in Victoria has good reasons for not speaking to-night, one of which, I think, is that he does not desire to gratify the curiosity of men, whose only desire is te attack him. I am prepared to stand by what I have done, because I believe I have taken the right course. I object to the Government undertaking the liquor business, representing, as it does, an evil with which I do not desire to be connected if I can possibly avoid it. The clause provides all the machinery for prohibition, if prohibition be desired. I do not believe in trying to make the liquor trade respectable, but rather in abolishing it altogether.
Mr. HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh). - I am astonished to hear objections raised to my amendment by honorable ‘ members, who seem to lose sight of the special circumstances of New Guinea. Last session the whole desire was to protect the coloured natives.
– That is our desire now.
– Nothing of the kind ; no measure of protection is proposed for the natives of New Guinea. . The honorable member who interjects has voted for the unrestricted sale of liquor in New Guinea. Under the proposal for which the honorable member voted, there is nothing to prevent, all the liquor at present in the Commonwealth being exported to New Guinea. I cannot understand the attitude taken up by some of my temperance friends upon this question. Although I have not been a teetotaller all my life, I am just as anxious as is any person in Australia to protect the natives of New Guinea from the racial degeneracy which must inevitably follow the introduction of the liquor traffic there. There is no way of effectually protecting them, other than by prohibition. The Prime Minister has said that the Government could not control that traffic with its present staff of officers. I say that it would pay them to employ additional officers to look after it. But even if it cost ten times as much as it does now to give effect to the principle of State control, so long as we saved the natives of the Possession from, degeneracy, the money would be well expended. How honorable members can object to the State becoming a publican, seeing that we derive the greater portion of our revenue from intoxicants, is beyond my comprehension. They ought to recognise that in New Guinea special circumstances obtain, which do not exist in any other part of the Commonwealth. I intend to accept the suggestion that the period within which the importation of intoxicants shall be made a Government monopoly shall be fixed at four years instead of two.
Amendment amended accordingly.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).- I have always been opposed to State control of the liquor traffic, so far as settled communities are concerned. But in the case of New Guinea, it seems to me that it would be wise if we subjected that traffic to Government supervision. I make these remarks, because I do not wish it to be understood that in voting for the amendment, I am pledging myself to State control of the liquor traffic in settled communities.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Mr. KELLY (Wentworth).- I move-
That after the word “years,” in line 9, subclause 7, the following words be added, “ and in addition to deportation from the Territory.”
The object of this amendment is to provide in the Constitution a wider scope for administrative discretion than used to exist under the Ordinances of the Possession. Ordinances were subject to immediate correction when occasion arose, but some time might elapse before arrangements could be made to so amend the Constitution as to meet new circumstances. My intention in moving the amendment is that, when the Administrator in Papua believes that the offender is a type of man likely to go on committing this offence - an offence which we are all anxious to put down - he shall have the power, in addition to that of inflicting a fine or of ordering imprisonment, to have the man deported. It would be unfortunate if a white man could be gaoled among the natives, because it would inevitably destroy the respect which we hope the natives’ will always have for the white people in the Territory.
Mr. BROWN (Canobolas). - The proposal is one which ought to be seriously considered, for it would place extreme power in the hands of a few officials. It might probably be used to get rid of men whose presence might be undesirable to these officials, although certainly desirable in the interests of the good government of the country. What little information we have with regard to the Territory shows that some of the officials have played such fantastic tricks that I am not prepared to give them so wide a power as this.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat - Minister of External Affairs). - I think that the word section, in subclause 7, should be “subsection,” as the penalties therein provided are clearly intended to apply only to the supply of intoxicating liquors to natives. I, therefore, move -
That after the word “ this,” line 4, si:b-clause 7, the word “sub” be inserted.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Kelly) proposed -
That after the word “ years,” line 9 of subclause 7, the following words be added, “ and in addition to deportation from the Territory.”
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- I quite agree that we ought to have some drastic penalties - and these are drastic enough - to apply to persons who supply natives with liquor; but I do not think that we should have these extreme proposals as affecting the native himself. He does not understand our language.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister of External Affairs). - I am so much in sympathy with the desire to protect the natives that, so far as Sentiment goes, I am in accord with the motive of the honorable member for Wentworth. If any persons were found persistently supplying natives with liquor, I think it would be an excellent thing, if we had power, to deport them. But there is a series of practical difficulties in the way. In the first place it is a very serious step to take. It may mean the absolute ruin of a man’s means of livelihood. In the second place, where is he to be deported to?
Amendment, By leave, withdrawn.
That sub-clause 8 be amended to read as follows : - “ It shall not be lawful for any native to have in his possession any intoxicating liquor in any division in which licences have been abolished, or (except for the sole purpose of carriage the burden of proof whereof for the purpose only of confiscation shall rest upon the owner of the liquor) in any Division in which a licence exists. If this sub-section is contravened the liquor may be seized by any officer exercising judicial functions, who shall, in a summary manner, direct that it be confiscated, and that it be disposed of according to his discretion, and the native shall be liable on conviction in a summary manner to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three months.”
This sub-clause was taken from the Ordinance. When I came to consider it with those that went before I had to meet this situation, that in certain divisions of the Territory it is- quite possible that prohibition may obtain. If the native’ is found in possession of liquor in a division in which licences have been abolished, he ought to be liable to punishment, because clearly he is aiding a breach of the law, whether the liquor be for con- sumption by white men or by natives. It is dangerous for the native to be associated with liquor, and he can only be associated with it for an unlawful purpose in such divisions. If a licence exists in the division, then it is necessary that he should be punishable if liquor be found in his possession except for the sole purpose of carriage. Until better tracks are cut, all conveyance must be undertaken by porterage, and, therefore, all goods are carried by the natives on their backs. As a. porter, a native may quite innocently be carrying liquor without knowing, or if he has that knowledge, without any idea of consuming it. Consequently, we insert a provision to meet that case. Then we come to the question of the penalty, which is introduced here for the first time. It is> introduced because of the probability that in some of these divisions prohibition will be carried. In these circumstances, it has been thought necessary to impose a punishment not exceeding three months. It may be for any shorter period that the magistrate may determine. Three months to a native, as it does not mean gaoling, but working on the roads, is not, after all, too severe a .maximum punishment.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).The more I think of this proposal, the more I am against the punishment of a native in this way for merely having liquor in his possession. Here it is proposed to punish a man who does not understand our language and who will be under a great handicap, especially if a conflict of opinion arises. He may not understand the Ordinances.
Mr. Deakin. - No.
– Let us note the shocking irony of the provision. A white man may have in his possession as many bottles of grog as he pleases, but if a native is found with one bottle of grog he i’s liable to be sent to gaol for three months. What we ought to do is to send to gaol the white man from whom he received the liquor. I hope that the Ministry will take every precaution they can, short of this penalty which they seek to impose. The
Government, I understand, get along now without such a penalty.
– We have not the prohibition power at the present time.
– The honorable and learned gentleman says that there is no drink consumed now by the natives. If it can be kept from the natives now without any penalty, that is an additional reason why we ought not to agree to this provision. I am very strongly- against imposing a penalty upon men who cannot be made to understand our laws, and who, I am afraid, would very often get sent to gaol in order to shield an astute white brother. I strongly suggest to the Government the advisability of omitting the penalty
– There “is a great deal in what the honorable member for Parramatta says, but I do not think it covers all the ground. I look upon the provision as a protection of the natives. If it is not made a punishable offence, the native will be used far more for the carrying of liquor surreptitiously than he would be otherwise. If a penalty is provided, we can rest assured that the native teachers will inform every native that he is not bound to carry liquor. Otherwise astute white persons will use the native for all sorts of purposes, because he will more readily lend his services when no penalty is attached to his act. It would be a monstrous thing if we were to make a criminal of a native simply because he performed an act at the dictation of a white man. Taking all the circumstances into account, I think it would be far better to pass the proposal of the Government.
– I do not think that the natives should be penalized in the manner proposed. They do not understand what is required of them, and if they are induced to carry liquor surely the goods can be traced to the owner, who should be punished by being committed to prison for three months. All white men know that it is illegal to supply liquor to ^natives, and they are ‘the persons who should be punished if they break the law or induce the natives to do so. Some white men might induce natives to commit offences in order that they might the more readily make slaves of them, and I think that the Prime Minister should interest himself in insuring proper treatment of the natives.
– There may be cases in which it would not be convenient for the owner of the liquor to come forward and claim it, even though it might be consigned to a native merely for the purpose of carriage. Therefore a native might be sent to prison because of the neglect, or worse, of some really culpable person, If, for instance, a white man in a no-licence district employed a native to carry liquor in a licence district, and the native were caught, the owner would probably not come forward.
– Yes, that is likely, but I do not think the native would be punished. All that would be done would be to confiscate the liquor.
– Yes, but taking the clause as it stands, the administrators of justice might construe it to mean that unless the owner came forward to claim the liquor there would be an irrebutable presumption against the native. It is understood that in a no-licence district no one is to have liquor in his possession?
– No native.
– Are white men to be allowed to have liquor in their possession?
– I suppose that a white man could purchase liquor in a licence district, and keep it in his own home in a no-licence district.
– But how could he have it conveyed to his house unless he bribed a native to carry it? In no-licence districts the carriage of liquor is absolutely prohibited.
– I thought of that, but I assumed that the white man would either carry the liquor himself, or induce other white men to carry it for him.
– But as all that kind of work is performed by natives, that appears to me to be rather cutting the knot than untying it. Many of the natives will not understand the refinements between licence and no-licence, although they might understand the broad rule that they must have nothing to do with liquor. My point is that an owner would not came forward to acknowledge that he had induced a native to commit an offence.
– We meet that point by introducing after the words “ the burden of proof whereof,” the words “ for the purpose only of confiscation.”
Amendment agreed to.
Proposed new clause, as amended, agreed to.
Senate’s amendment, leaving out clauses 22 and 23, agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) put -
That the report be now adopted.
The House divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– -I should have thought that the Government would have foregone a sitting to-day, after the long hours we have already been sitting. Some of us have to come great distances to attend to our parliamentary duties. I do not understand the action of the Government at all to-night. I have . never seer* anything more unreasonable. I have never seen an exhibition of brutality in any Parliament such as has been exhibited. There has been no undue debate and no “ stonewall.” I repeat that it is sheer brutality to keep honorable members here all this time.
– I ask the honorable member not to make such a remark.
– I am attributing nothing of a personal character to the Government.
– I am sure that the honorable member would not, if he were in my place, allow an honorable member to, charge the House with brutality.
– It is simply brutality on the part of the Government to keep us here to this hour.
– I ask the honorable member not to say that.
– The bulk of the debate has come from the Government side, and why we should have been kept till this hour in the morning I am at a loss to understand’. There is no justification for it, and I warn the Government that these late sittings can only lead to demoralization, and will not facilitate business.
– Is that a threat?
– The honorable member can say what he likes about it, but I protest against entrance upon a course which in States Parliaments has been found to conduce to an undesirable state of things, and which must inevitably have the same result here if persisted in.
– I suggest to the Prime Minister, in view of the fact that the debate has been directed to a very important matter indeed, and that we have been kept here until’ a very late hour, the House might reasonably be asked <o meet a little later than usual this afternoon.
– This comes well from Victorian representatives. Other honorable members desire to have the session finished.
– The House has sat to-night long past the usual hour for adjournment to dispose of a difficult question which has been before us session after session ; but honorable members have other things to do besides sitting in this Chamber. The mere preparation of one’s parliamentary work, apart from private business, takes some time, and in view of that fact I do not think it unreasonable to suggest an adjournment until half-past 3 or 4 o’clock this afternoon. I do not complain of the late sitting, because, I suppose, it was unavoidable, though regrettable.
– I complain very Touch of having to sit up all night after a journey from Sydney.
– I understand the honorable member’s feeling in the matter. 1 And it difficult to conceive how an adjournment to an hour later than our usual time of meeting would appreciably lengthen the session.
– I fail to see what would be gained by such an adjournment.
– If the honorable member has nothing to do to-day until the House meets again, that is very natural.
– No honorable member likes to sit later than can be avoided ; but I take it that we all desired to see this Bill dealt with, and that we are glad that a very important matter has been settled. I sympathize with the honorable member for Parramatta, but I do not think it wise to use threats against the Government because we have sat a little late tonight.
– I used no threats. We want, not sympathy, but concessions.
– I should be very glad if the Prime Minister, when replying, would indicate what work remains to be done, because we shall have to put ourselves out a little by meeting as early as possible and sitting as late as possible, to get through the work of the session.
– I am amused at the request of the honorable and learned member for Corinella for an adjournment to a later hour than usual this afternoon. If I were a Victorian representative, and lived in Melbourne, I should not object to an occasional late sitting. It is very different for those who have to make long journeys from other States to attend the meetings of Parliament. We have a right to expect some fortitude, however, in the deputy-leader of the King’s Opposition, and not so much ill-temper when matters of serious importance are being dealt with. His patriotism should suffice to support him in these trials. To-night we have dealt at one sitting with what at other times it has taken two or three sittings to get through, and though the result is not what I should ha’e liked to see, I agree with the honorable member for South Sydney that politics is a game of compromise. I hope that the Prime Minister will let us know what business we have yet to get through, so that we maybend our energies to concluding the session within a reasonable time. Personally, I am prepared, if the Opposition is going to make things lively - and I know that they are very fecund in ideas and very voluminous in the expression of them - to sit late on two nights of the week, but we should adjourn at a reasonable hour on Tuesday nights.-
– -I am sorry to inflict a speech upon you; Mr. Speaker, at this hour of the morning, but I am> compelled to make one or two observations upon the remarks of the honorable members for Gwydir and Wide Bay. They have indicated that they are prepared to “bullock” through a lot of work in order to put up a good record for the session. We on the Opposition side are prepared to do good work, but we shall insist upon fair discussion, and not endeavour simply to put up a record. The honorable member for Gwydir did ill in throwing oil on the flames, by hinting at obstruction.
– I did not refer to the honorable member. I would not think of doing so.
– I am very glad to hear the explanation. If the Prime Minister had to make long train journeys each week, as representatives of other States have to do, he would be prepared to meet at half-past 7 o’clock to-day, instead of half-past 2.
– Make it half-past 4.
– That would be no concession at all to honorable members from other States. I hope that the Prime Minister will agree to an adjournment until halfpast 7.
– I should not have risen to address the House at this hour in the morning had it not been for the remarks of the honorable member for Gwydir, whom we all recognise as an authority on deportment and good manners, and as a champion in his ability to waste time. I realize that the honorable member is posing before his electors, and endeavouring to show his great love for his country. We recognise that no honorable member is a more consummate “ stone-waller “ than was the honorable member when a member of the Opposition ; never by the present Opposition has there been any such exhibition of “ stone- walling.” All that has been done by the present Opposition has been to indulge in fair criticism, and if charges of the kind which have been made indicate the treatment that is going to be meted out to the Opposition by supporters of the Government, there may be greater trouble in store. Our desire is to have the session ended as soon as possible, and to that end we desire the Prime Minister to inform us as to the intentions of the Government. The Opposition cannot be expected to accept Bills which they regard as injurious to the public interest, or to permit such Bills to be forced through the House.
– We have now been sitting for thirteen hours, and it is advisable not only in the interests of honorable members, hut also in the interests of members of the Government, who have administrative work to perform, that we should not meet quite so early as the usual hour. The tone of the debate during the later hours has shown that it is well to avoid late sittings, which are, doubtless, a little trying on the temper.
– I sympathize with honorable members who, after a long train journey, have been exposed to this late sitting. Indeed, without any such preliminary strain, I feel the late hour as severely as most. I regret that it has been necessary, in order to push on public business, to sit so long as we have done. But, if we are to close the session within a reasonable time, it may be necessary to take special steps of this kind occasionally, though rarely, we hope, and never if possible. Members of another place are .already impatient to consider the Estimates in some detail.
– The Senate is gorged with work at the present time.
– The members of another place have been pressing on the representatives of the Government the desirability of our disposing of the Estimates, so that, while we proceed with the remainder of the business, they may have an opportunity of dealing with them. I do not know that, at this hour, I could without preparation (attempt to address the House in> detail on the measures likely to be submitted before the recess, but few measures besides those already on the noticepaper will merit consideration, or, if they do merit it, can receive consideration.
– Does the Prime Minister propose to pass all the measures on the notice-paper ?
– I shall be happy to do so, if honorable members opposite will assist me.
– Why not have the pluck to do what the;State Premiers have done, and announce the business it is proposed to take? We have heard this statement half-a-dozen times.
– If the honorable member does not wish to hear me, - I have no> desire to speak further.
– The House desires to hear the Prime Minister.
– I shall have no hesitation in making a statement of the course of business, but first desire to see to what limits it may be reasonable to reduce the work to be done. That matter will need more Cabinet consideration than we have been able to give it.
Question resolved iri the affirmative.
House adjourned at 3.30 a.m. (Wednesday).
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 October 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1905/19051024_reps_2_28/>.