House of Representatives
28 June 1906

2nd Parliament · 3rd Session



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

NAVAL LONG SERVICE MEDALS..

Mr. W ATK INS. - Is the Minister representing the Minister of Defence now in a position to answer the question which I asked on Tuesday last, about the issuing of long service medals to the members of the Naval Brigade?

Mr. EWING. - I find that the question as to the power of the Department under the Defence Act to issue such medals is st ill awaiting decision by the Crown Law officers, but their answer is expected almost at once, and the honorable member will be informed directly it is obtained.

REPORT OF MILITARY BOARD.

Mr. KELLY. - In this morning’s Argus the Minister of Defence is reported to have said to an interviewer -

Why should the Council of Defence have been called together oftener?…….

They are a council that advise on questions of policy, and only need meet when policy is being discussed. During my administration they have met twice- on the same question. They met to consider Captain Creswell’s report - the one recommending a licet. .Then they mct again to consider the report of Colonel Bridges on the same subject. And the two reports were so diametrically opposite that everybody was in a fog.

I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether there is any reason why Parliament and the press should have been furnished with the favorable report, while the report condemnatory of the proposal to establish a Commonwealth Fleet was suppressed ? Will he lay Colonel Bridges report on the table of the House ?

Mr. EWING. - As I am not prepared to answer the question right off, I ask the honorable member to give notice of it for to-morrow.

page 810

QUESTION

IMMIGRATION RESTRICTION ACT

Mr MAHON:
COOLGARDIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

– Has the Prime Minister observed a report by cablegram that the United States Congress proposes to repeal that portion of the American immigration restriction law under which admission is denied to penniless or incapacitated persons who are fugitives from religious or political persecutions in other countries? I wish also to know whether the Commonwealth Immigration Restriction Act has ever been used to exclude from Australia any person who, owing to religious or political persecution abroad, has sought refuge in this country ?

Mr DEAKIN:
Minister for External Affairs · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– I assume that the statement about the contemplated action of the United States Congress is correct. No such person as the honorable member refers to has been excluded from Australia under our Immigration Restriction Act.

page 810

QUESTION

POSTAL ADMINISTRATION

Mr JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES

– I “wish to know from the Acting Postmaster-General if the Department proposes to take . legal proceedings against those who improperly, and without authority, recently sent through the post a private publication, known as the Dairy Farmer and Agricultural News, bearing on its wrapper the imprint “O.H.M.S.” Is it usual for the officials of the Department to permit private publications enclosed in wrappers bearing that imprint to pass through the post merely because they contain the advertisement of a State Government? If so, will the same privilege be extended to all privatelyowned newspapers in which the advertise ments of States Governments appear, irrespective of the political views advocated by those newspapers? Was the publication in question charged the usual rates of postage? Lastly, is the honorable member prepared to answer the questions on. the subject which I asked yesterday?

Mr EWING:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– The honorable member has brought the matter before this House on two previous occasions. As I have informed’ him already, the Postal Department pays no regard to the political character of publications transmitted through the post. I find that a publication bearing on its wrapper the letters “O.H.M.S.” has been sent through the post, but theCrown Solicitor, who was asked to look into the matter, has informed me that theDepartment has power to stop postal matter bearing wrappers on which are imprinted such misleading letters. Instructions were thereupon given to have all suchcommunications stopped, and those instructions have been communicated to the Deputy Postmaster-General of the State. Asto punishing those who were responsible for posting the publication in question, I am informed that, while the Department wasunder the control of the State Government, similar publications were allowed to passthrough the post bearing, .not only the impression “O.H.M.S.” on the wrappers, but also the frank stamp of the VictorianDepartment of Agriculture. There seems to_ have been an arrangement under theVictorian Government between the Department of Agriculture and the Post Office, that periodicals dealing with cognate subjects should be so treated, which, perhaps, explains why the departmental officersh’ave permitted this publication to pass. Under the circumstances, I do not think it necessary to take further action.

Mr Wilks:

– The publications whichwere the subject of the arrangement to which the honorable member refers were not of a political character.

Mr Mauger:

– Yes; they were.

Mr EWING:

– We need not enter intothat question, because the transmission of the publication referred to has beenstopped.

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

– I think that we need enter into that question. It is themain question.

Mr Frazer:

– Is it not a fact that triepublication about which we have heard somuch was sufficiently stamped?

Mr EWING:

– I understand that it was..

*Tasmanian* [28 June, 1906.] *Mail Service.* 811 {: .page-start } page 811 {:#debate-2} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-2-0} #### TASMANIAN MAIL SERVICE {: #subdebate-2-0-s0 .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA -- Is the Acting Postmaster-General prepared to lay on the table the correspondence relating to the recent alterations in the mail service between Victoria and Tasmania? {: #subdebate-2-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- I shall not object to laying it on the table of the Library, if the honorable member will be satisfied with that. {: .page-start } page 811 {:#debate-3} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-3-0} #### WARRNAMBOOL FIELD ARTILLERY {: #subdebate-3-0-s0 .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr WILSON:
CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA -- Has the Minister representing the Minister of Defence any further information with regard to the dismissal of fourteen men from the Warrnambool Field Artillery ? {: #subdebate-3-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- The Minister has asked for a report on the subject, and, as soon as it comes to hand, I shall inform the honorable member. {: .page-start } page 811 {:#debate-4} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-4-0} #### NEWCASTLE ARTILLERY {: #subdebate-4-0-s0 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS:
NEWCASTLE, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Has the Minister representing the Minister of Defence any further information in regard to the nonpayment of the men who recently formed the guard of honour at Newcastle? {: #subdebate-4-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- I am informed that attendance on that occasion as a guard of honour was voluntary, and', therefore, no payment was made. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -I understand that the men were compelled to attend. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I have no further information on the subject. The arrangements were made under section 34 of the regulations. {: .page-start } page 811 {:#debate-5} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-5-0} #### TRANSFERENCE OF STATE ASTRONOMICAL DEPARTMENTS {: #subdebate-5-0-s0 .speaker-JR7} ##### Sir LANGDON BONYTHON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- Do the Government contemplate taking over the Astronomical Departments of the States? I ask the question because in some of the States the Meteorological and Astronomical Departments are so closely allied as to be almost inseparable. {: #subdebate-5-0-s1 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
Minister for Home Affairs · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · Protectionist -- There is a Bill before the House providing for the transference to the Commonwealth of the Meteorological Departments of the States. Competent authorities are very strongly of opinion that the Departments of Astronomy and Meteorology should be kept distinct, and, therefore, it is contemplated by the Bill to take over only the Meteorological Departments of the States. {: .page-start } page 811 {:#debate-6} ### PAPER **Mr. DEAKIN** laid upon the table the following paper: - >Correspondence relating to the steam-ship service between the Commonwealth and British New Guinea. {: .page-start } page 811 {:#debate-7} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-7-0} #### POSITION OF TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE POLES {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- I have received a letter from the corporation of Port Adelaide in which it is stated that - >The Postmaster-General is not required by Act to make any arrangements with the local authority as to the position of the telegraph and telephone poles before erection, and, after erection, should the local authority find that the position is not suitable, the cost of removal has to be borne by the local authority. This is looked on as an injustice. Will the Acting Postmaster-General see if arrangements cannot be made in future between corporations and the Department before the erection of these poles? {: #subdebate-7-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- I shall be glad to furnish the honorable member with a statement as to the present procedure, and, if he finds anything to object to in it, he can take further action in the matter. {: .page-start } page 811 {:#debate-8} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-8-0} #### ATTENDANCE OF TROOPS AT THE OPENING OF THE VICTORIAN PARLIAMENT {: #subdebate-8-0-s0 .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD:
HERBERT, QUEENSLAND -- I wish to know from the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether Commonwealth troops paraded yesterday at the opening of the Victorian Parliament? If so, did they parade with fixed bayonets, and were they supplied with ball cartridges? If they paraded with fixed bayonets, I should like to know if it is usual for troops to so parade at what is really a peaceful function ? {: #subdebate-8-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- I shall endeavour to answer the honorable member's question later on, when I have obtained the necessary information. {: .page-start } page 811 {:#debate-9} ### COMMERCE ACT REGULATIONS {: #debate-9-s0 .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER:
ILLAWARRA, NEW SOUTH WALES -- I wish to know from the Minister of Trade and Customs when he intends to issue the regulations under the Commerce Act, and if, before doing so, be will consider the protest sent to him yesterday by fifty New South Wales companies against the grading of brands of butter. 812 *Report of* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Military Board.* {: #debate-9-s1 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist -I hope that the regulations will be published in the next *Gazette.* Due consideration has been given to all the recommendations that have been made to me. {: .page-start } page 812 {:#debate-10} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-10-0} #### ENGLISH MAIL CONTRACT {: #subdebate-10-0-s0 .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX:
KOOYONG, VICTORIA -- I wish to know from the Acting Postmaster-General if he can give the House any information in regard to the proposed new English mail contract. If not, when may we expect some definite and authentic statement? {: #subdebate-10-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- There is no information which it would be wise to communicate to the House at present. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- When is it likely that information will be available to honorable members ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Immediately the Government are in a position to give the information, it will be laid before the House. There will be no delay. {: .page-start } page 812 {:#debate-11} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-11-0} #### ABSENCE OF THE FOSTMASTERGENERAL {: #subdebate-11-0-s0 .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES -- When will the PostmasterGeneral be in his place to answer questions relating to the administration of his Department? {: #subdebate-11-0-s1 .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist -- I anticipate that he will be here on Tuesday next, though I do not know that in the answering of questions he could surpass the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who has been acting for him. {: .page-start } page 812 {:#debate-12} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-12-0} #### EMPLOYMENT OF CLERICAL OFFICERS IN THE GENERAL DIVISION {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- Is the Acting PostmasterGeneral yet in possession of information enabling him to replyto the series of questions which I placed on the businesspaper yesterday, dealing with the employment of clerical officers' in the General Division ? {: #subdebate-12-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- The Acting Deputy Postmaster-General, Sydney, has furnished the following information : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Although the work performed by several general division officers in the General Post Office is considered to be of a clerical nature, the positions occupied by such officers are classified in the general division. There is a number of officers in the mail branch classified in the clerical division performing work similar to that on which they have been engaged for many years, and which is now classified in the general division. The transfer of these officers to clerical positions can only be effected gradually, and this is being done as opportunities offer. 1. Yes, until such officer. be transferred to work classified in the general division. 2. No, any clerical officer employed in the mail branch is eligible, and his claims would be duly considered with all other eligible officers for advancement to positions classified in the clerical division. 3. A number of vacancies have occurred in the higher grades since the classification, which, if filled, would have admitted of a similar number of promotions from the fifth to the fourth class. Some of the vacant positions, however, have been abolished, while in other cases it has not, up to the present time, been considerednecessary or expedient to fill them ; the result being that comparatively few officers have been promoted from the fifth to the fourth class since the classification. I may add that provision has been made on the 1906-7 Estimates of Expenditure for the promotion of a number of officers from the fifth to the fourth class. {: .page-start } page 812 {:#debate-13} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-13-0} #### REPORT OF MILITARY BOARD {: #subdebate-13-0-s0 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Following upon the question asked by the honorable and learned member for Corinella yesterday. I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether, in view of the admission of the Minister of Defence that ha may have altered the phraseology of the report of the Military Board, he will lay the report on the table of the Library for the information of honorable members ? {: #subdebate-13-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- I am not aware of any such admission having been made, but I shall have pleasure in discussing the matter with the Minister, and of giving the honorable member and the House all the information possible. {: .page-start } page 812 {:#debate-14} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-14-0} #### INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF MILITARY FORCES {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-JWY} ##### Mr CHANTER:
for Mr. Crouch asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, *upon notice -* >Whether, in the appointment of an InspectorGeneral for the Military Forces, the Minister of Defence will adhere to his announcement that all appointments in the Australian Forces are to be made from Australians? {: #subdebate-14-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- Yes. {: .page-start } page 812 {:#debate-15} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-15-0} #### PUBLIC SERVICE: PENSIONS TO SOUTH AUSTRALIAN OFFICERS {: #subdebate-15-0-s0 .speaker-JR7} ##### Sir LANGDON BONYTHON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · PROT asked the Minister of Home Affairs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it not a fact that the Public Service Commissioner says all officers connected with Federal Departments must be treated on identical lines ? *Qualifications of* [28 June, 1906.] *Military Officers.* 813 {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Do officers in South Australia retire on pensions ? 1. Are not retired officers in some of the other States entitled to pensions? 2. As officers in certain States have preserved to them their rights to pensions, should not officers in South Australia retain their right to remain in the Service as long as would have been the case had they continued in the employment of the State Government? {: #subdebate-15-0-s1 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
Protectionist -The Public Service Commissioner has furnished the following answers : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The policy of the Commissioner is, under similar circumstances, to treat all officers alike within the limits prescribed by the law. 1. No, but under the State law many of them are entitled to compensation on retirement. 2. Yes. 3. It is considered that all officers are now subject to the Commonwealth law as regards the age of retirement, but the question is at present *sub judice,* pending the action of Pilgrim *v.* Commonwealth. {: .page-start } page 813 {:#debate-16} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-16-0} #### QUALIFICATIONS OF MILITARY OFFICERS {: #subdebate-16-0-s0 .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD:
for Mr. Page asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is ColonelRobertson shortly retiring from the command of the Second Infantry Brigade ; and, if so, when? 1. What reason does he give for retiring? 2. Is he retiring because he objects to a proposed new appointment? 3. What position does **Major Parnell** now occupy ? 4. Has he been placed, through the influence of a senior officer, in a position unsuitable to the display of his abilities? 5. What position does Lieut. -Colonel Irving now occupy ? 6. What special qualifications had **Major Pattersonto** justify his being sent to England ? 7. On whose recommendation are these officers sentto England ? 8. Have any of the present Commandants passed the examination for Lieut.-Colonel ? 9. If so, who are they? 10. Did General Hutton leave on record an unfavorable report of the abilities of Colonel Hoad; and what was such report? 11. Will the Minister give the House the assurance that all these officers who have been sent Home for special instructions will, on their return, be given positions where their abilities will be best displayed? {: #subdebate-16-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow: - 1 to 3. Colonel Robertson informs the Minister that he may have to retire, under the age for retirement regulations, within a few months, but when he does retire it will in no way be due to " a proposed new appointment." {: type="1" start="4"} 0. Director of Engineer services. 1. No. He holds the highest position on the administrative stall at Head-Quarters in connexion with the Engineer services of the Forces, for which he was recommended by the Military Board. 2. Administrative and Instructional Staff Officer, New South Wales ; and, at the present time, he is temporarily carrying out the duties of Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief Staff Officer, New South Wales. 3. Ability and good work. 4. The Military Board. 9 and 10. With one exception (when the appointment was made by the late Minister), the present Commandants held the substantive rank of Lieut.-Col., or higher rank, prior to the coming into force of the Commonwealth Defence Act and Regulations, and under the previous Regulations they were not required to pass any examination forthat rank. 5. Before leaving for England, MajorGeneral Hutton, at the request of the Minister, made confidential reports on all the officers of the Permanent Military Forces of the Commonwealth. The Minister considers it inadvisable, in the interests of the service, to make public these confidential reports. Before Colonel Hoad was appointed senior member of the Military Board, tie Minister then in charge of the Department had in his possession the confidential reports made by Major-General Hutton on all the permanent officers. 6. Yes. {: .page-start } page 813 {:#debate-17} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-17-0} #### LEAVE TO MAJOR BRUCHE {: #subdebate-17-0-s0 .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA asked the Minister re presenting the Minister of Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. For what days was **Major J.** H. Bruche, D.A.A.G., Victoria, on leave in 1905? 1. For how many days, giving dates, was he on leave in 1906? 2. Did he spend part of such leave assisting **Major Hawker** at the inquiry at Queenscliff? 3. Did he interview witnesses of inferior rank at Queenscliff; and was he present at their examination by **Major Hawker's** solicitor whilst on such leave? 4. Do the regulations only permit leave extending over three weeks in cases where the officer is on a remote station? 5. Was **Major Bruche** on a remote station or at Melbourne? 6. Was **Major Bruche** granted extra leave from 28th February to 3rd March, 1906 ; and why ? 7. Was it during this time he interviewed Queenscliff soldiers and assisted **Major Hawker?** 8. Was this leave extended in District Orders, or otherwise notified to the Minister? 9. Has the Minister in any way dealt with **Major Bruche?** 10. Did **Major Bruche** receive his promotion from Captain about this time, and on what date ? {: #subdebate-17-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Nil. 1. Sixteen days -9th to the 26th January ; eight days - 2nd to the 10th February ; six days - 26th February to the 3rd March. 2. No. 3. No. He was present during part of the examination of some of the witnesses by **Major Hawker's** solicitor whilst on leave. 4. No. Regulations provide for accumulated leave of six weeks being granted, as set out in paragraph 476 of the regulations, which applied to **Major Bruche.** 5. At Melbourne. 6. Yes, as he was entitled to more than one week's leave, being balance of his accumulated leave. He is still entitled to six days' leave, balance of accumulated leave for two years. 7. No. 8. No ; not necessary for Commandant to notify the granting of this leave. 9. The Minister has expressed his disapproval of **Major Bruche** having been present at the examination of any of the witnesses in **Major Hawker's** case, and informed **Major Bruche** that such conduct must not occur again. 10. Yes. On the recommendation of the Promotion Board of which Major-General Finn is President. Promotion recommended on 16th January, and gazetted on 10th March, 1906. {: .page-start } page 814 {:#debate-18} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-18-0} #### TOLL TELEPHONE SYSTEM {: #subdebate-18-0-s0 .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- In view of the fact that the Postmaster-General is not yet able to resume his place in this Chamber, I ask permission to withdraw my. motion, with a view to giving fresh notice for 19th July. Motion withdrawn. {: .page-start } page 814 {:#debate-19} ### APPOINTMENT OF LIEUTENANTGOVERNOR OF PAPUA {: #debate-19-s0 .speaker-L0Y} ##### Mr WILKINSON:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND -- I understand that some information that may be useful in the discussion of my motion relating to the appointment of an Australian citizen as Lieutenant-Governor of Papua has not yet come to hand, and I desire, therefore, to withdraw my motion for the present with a view to giving notice of it at a future date. Motion withdrawn. {: .page-start } page 814 {:#debate-20} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-20-0} #### GENERAL ELECTION Debate resumed from 21st June *(vide* page 584), on motion bv **Mr. McColl** - >That, in the opinion of this House, the Ministry should so arrange the business for this session that the general elections can be held on a date not later than the 15th day of November next. Upon which **Mr. Mauger** had moved by way of amendment - >That all the words after the word " House " be left out with a view to the insertion of the following words in place thereof : - " The general election should be held as .soon as practicable." {: #subdebate-20-0-s0 .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN:
Minister of External Affairs · Ballarat · Protectionist -- The resumed debate on this motion has come forward some what unexpectedly. I should like to know whether the honorable member for Melbourne Ports desires to proceed' with his amendment ? {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- I think so. Why not? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN: -- Because as matters stand, I should prefer to see both withdrawn. The motion invites honorable members to express an opinion before final information has been received from some of the electoral officers. As honorable members have already been informed by the Minister of Home Affairs, the date mentioned in the motion happens to be one indicated to the electoral officers as that upon which Ministers desired to be able to hold the elections, if arrangements could be completed throughout the Commonwealth. Before the present session, and before any attention was called to this date, the Minister of Home Affairs had been proceeding exactly on the lines of the motion. At present, we are not in possession of the final reports from the most distant electoral officials, and are therefore not able to give a definite assurance that the elections will be held upon this date. When these reports are to hand, their effect will be communicated to Parliament. It is the intention of the Government to inform the House as soon as possible of the earliest date at which the elections can be held. They hope that honorable members, when they are fully advised of it, will do their best to assist us in accelerating the business of the session, and bringing our proceedings to a close. Under these circumstances, I think that the motion might be withdrawn, or, at an rate, postponed for the present. When we are in possession of definite information, honorable members can express a better opinion, although no expression of opinion can. bind the Government with regard to the business which they consider necessary to submit to Parliament. The question as to how that business will be dealt with rests, of course, with honorable members. A certain programme has been laid dow.ru, and it will be our duty to proceed with it. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- It will be impossible to deal with the whole of the Government programme. , {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN: -- Time will show. If the whole of the questions on the Government programme cannot be completely disposed of, they may be dealt with in such a manner as to meet the needs of the present time. Subject to that consideration, I think that all parties agree that as soon as the electoral arrangements permit, and the business which it is our duty to discharge has been dealt with, we should take the first opportunity of consulting the electors. If no one is authorized to act on behalf of the honorable member for Echuca, who is absent from the chamber, I should like the debate to be adjourned. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Knox)** adjourned. SUPPLY *(Formal).* Commerce Act Regulations : Butter Grading : Victorian Butter Commission's Report: Punishment of Offenders: P. & O. S. N. Coy. Defence - Military Promotions : Inspector-General of Commonwealth Forces : Colonel Hoad : Council of Defence : Imperial Defence Committee's Report : Royal Australian Artillery : Field Artillery: Portland and Warrnambool Batteries : Light Horse Corps : Cadets : Rifle Clubs : Rifle Ranges and Ammunition. Postal Administration: Overtime: Postage of Political Publication : Telegraph Poles : Minimum Wage : Postal Assistants : Delays in Transmission of Letters and Telegrams : Postal Note Regulation : Mail Services : Payment to Contractors : Oversea Mail Contract : Telephone Charges and Requirements. Northern Territory. Nationalization of Industries. Commission Appointments. Sale of Opium. Kanaka Deportation. High Court Bench. Appeals to Privy Council. Trade Marks Act Regulations. *Question* - That **Mr. Speaker** do now leave the chair, and that the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply - proposed. {: #subdebate-20-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There are one or two matters which I desire to bring under the notice of the Acting Postmaster-General. A few days ago I asked the Minister some questions concerning what I regarded as a case of sweating in the General Post Office, Sydney, and he promised to make some inquiries. I have heard nothing about the matter since, and I should like to know whether he has yet received any report, and, if so, what action he proposes to take with reference to the minute issued by the central administration requiring some of the employes in the Post Office, Sydney, to work until 9 or to p.m. before they would be permitted to enjoy the great luxury of tea money. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- I gave instructions to the Secretary to the Post and Telegraph Department to make full inquiries, and I have not yet received a reply. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I also wish to refer to the general question of overtime, particularly as it relates to one of the branches of the Sydney Post Office. The Minister, a day or two ago, furnished me with a reply which was not at all satisfactory. It indicated that nothing unusual was taking place, but I take leave to say that something is radically wrong when men are brought back to work four nights a week, and are allowed nothing for overtime, although they are sent into branches of the service other than, those in which they are usually employed, in order to bring up work that has fallen in arrear. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- To what branch does the honorable member refer? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The moneyorder branch. I understand that in one of the sub-branches the work has fallen very greatly into arrear owing to lack of assistance, and that the authorities are actually compelling men in other branches, after having discharged their own duties, to work in the money -order branch until 9 or no o'clock at night, without giving them any consideration except tea money. The authorities argue, very broadly and very sweetly, that the whole Department is one, and that if the work in one branch falls into arrear officers in other branches must give their assistance in bringing it up-to-date. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- Would the honorable member introduce outsiders to do the work ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know. I am not aware whether that is required. I would, however, pay those who have to do the work. What I am complaining of is that officers who 'have brought their own work up-to-date are sent into an entirely different branch to help in wiping off arrears. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- In other words, they are being punished for the industry they have displayed in their own Department. 816 *Supply* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *(Formal).* {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Apparently, and they are being shown no consideration in the shape of overtime. I understand that these men have endeavoured to. have their case laid before the authorities, but have not succeeded. Sccialistic control is all very well until it is put into practice. These men have been quite unable to get past their intermediate officers. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- They have evidently managed to reach the honorable member. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Why not? {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- They are quite entitled to go to the honorable member. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I remember that they used to go to the honorable member at one time, but lately he has been dumb about postal matters. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- Oh, no; I have two or three matters to bring forward. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I unfortunately find that I have to come here with these grievances. No one used to be more industrious than the honorable member with regard to Western Australian postal complaints, and why he should be chirping at me because I am ventilating a grievance I do not know. Perhaps he resents my interference in a matter of justice. Perhaps he thinks he should have a monopoly in that respect. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- I admit that it is something new. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member need admit nothing of the kind, for 'he knows better. I am just as much against sweating and unjust conditions as he is, and I know of no honorable member on this side of the House who is not. Something ought to be done so that these employes of the Government may either be permitted to go home when their own work is finished, or, if they are called upon to do extra work, and have to come back at night to do it, they ought in common honesty to be paid for it. Above all. I ask that these men should be allowed to put their case before the final tribunal ; and that at present it appears to be impossible for them to do. All that I can get from the Minister is what the central officials tell him, that there is nothing unusual in what is being done. If it is not unusual it is very reprehensible, and ought not to be permitted to obtain for one moment longer under any Government. If it is usual the whole matter requires investigation from top to bottom. The honorable member for Illawarra has referred to a question which he addressed to the Minister of Trade and Customs some time ago, with reference to butter grading. The Minister has promised that the regulations will be published to-morrow. But he does not say what the nature of those regulations will be. About a week ago he published in one of the daily newspapers a statement pur porting to give the regulations which were to be gazetted at an early date. He tells us to-day that those regulations are to be gazetted at once, but he does not tell us whether they are the same regulations. If they are, they seem to me to be an impossible set of regulations. I do not see, and thebest authorities from whom I have made inquiries agree with me, how the butter business is to be conducted satisfactorily under them. The honorable member for Cowper knows a great deal more about this matter than I do, and I believe that he will later on address some observations to the House upon it. But it is supremely important that the Minister should do nothing to hinder a successful co-operative enterprise, which is already taking the butter from New South Wales, and placing it satisfactorily and remuneratively on the London market. The Minister should be careful how he interposes regulations which may prevent these people from carrying on their business in the profitable and satisfactory way in which they are now doing it. They are on tenter hooks, so to speak. They do not know what the Minister is contemplating in regard to them. They do know that Ministers have made a series of contradictory statements concerning the whole question of grading. We have been told by the Attorney-General and by the Minister of Trade and Customs that no such thing as the grading of qualities was intended. If that be so, why cannot the Minister say now that qualities are not to be graded, and branded upon the butter boxes. All this attention from the Minister will, I am told, count for verylittle when the butter gets to London, because all that will require to be done there is what I understand is done now in some cases, simply to remove the brands from the boxes, and to sell the butter without them. That seems to be a very simple way of circumventing regulations' of this kind. One wonders at the credulity of people in Government action, which may be, and probably is, in some cases, easily manipulated. We all remember another attempt which the Minister made under the Com- merce Act, to regulate the quality of foodstuffs made in Australia. He has charge of them, it is true, at the time of arrival. But after they have left his hands, any adulterator could take away these foodstuffs, and serve them up to the people who use them in any way he cared to do. And so it mav be with other products, such as butter and cheese. The brands may be removed, and the purchasers may imprint their own brands in their stead. The Minister has no charge over butter when it leaves this country. Before it gets into the hands of the consumers, the brands may be removed from both inside and outside the boxes. What I think the Minister ought to do - and it is all the case requires, it seems to me - is to certify, if he cares to do so, that the butter is of a certain standard, that it is pure, that it is not some other product masquerading under the name of butter, that it is not a deleterious compound. No one wants goods to be exported which are a cheat and a fraud upon the public. What is complained of in connexion with the proposed' grading and branding is that the Government, in the first place, is not competent to do it accurately. Indeed, it is questionable whether the Government can possibly do it accurately at this end, because butter may change its nature and its flavour on the voyage to the market. We seem to be living in a time when the Government is controlling all the industrial operations of the country, and submitting the whole of the industrial occupations of the people to every kind of new regulative experience ; and so it seems that the Government must take a hand in regard to butter, which is not for our own consumption, but is intended for export. Of- course, we are familiar with the argument which is usually put forward in support of this policy, that this kind of thing has been done with advantage in other parts of the world. The instance of New Zealand is quoted. It is said' that the quality of the butter from that country has improved because of the branding and grading. The facts, on investigation, prove that such is not the case ; for, while New Zealand butter is very good, and while it is true that it is branded, vet New Zealand mutton is also better than most mutton that goes Home, and that is not branded, and is not examined, perhaps, except as to its wholesomeness. Nevertheless, New Zealand mutton has just the same prominence as New Zea land butter, for the simple reason that the natural conditions of the country favour the production of the best possible quality ; and it only requires ordinary care and attention to secure that the best product shall be put upon the market. What is asked here is that the system which has worked satisfactorily throughout the State of New South Wales shall at any rate be allowed to continue, and that the Government shall not arbitrarily step in and take the control of this butter industry, as to its quality, out of the hands of those who are best able to manage it. I remember a case some time ago, of which I was reminded to-day, by seeing that two shipments of fruit sent from Victoria turned out to be failures. When I first went to the Agricultural Department of New South Wales, I found that arrangements had been made for shipping oranges to London from Sydney. I found' that the Government undertook to bear the cost of shipping the oranges Home, the growers undertaking to provide the fruit. It was an experimental shipment. What happened was this. Instead of the Government going to some experienced grower, to pick the oranges that were to be carried to London, the Government inspector insisted upon picking them himself. I know of one orchard in particular to which he went. The owner of the orchard was also interested in the shipment of oranges. I think he lost about ^150 over it. He told me that he had selected some oranges which he considered were best fitted to be exported. But the Government inspector chose a totally different orange, and one, as it turned out, that did not carry to London at all. How is it possible for a Government inspector to teach a man who is at this business every day of his life, which product is of the best quality ? Yet that is what we are going to do in connexion with butter by setting up all these regulations. If the Government were necessarily perfect in its capacity to judge these things, one would not say much about it. One would be glad indeed that the Government brand should be used. But that cannot be said. All the experience that we have had goes to show that Government officials are ordinary human individuals, possessed of ordina ry every-day judgment, and not expert beyond others in the business. Certainly they have not had the same length of experience and knowledge as is possessed by those who are actively interested in the industries concerned, and whose livelihood depends upon their success. There cannot be the same minute and intimate knowledge of the qualities of products inherent in any Government Department, however well organized, as is possessed by the great bulk of the people who market these things for themselves, and who depend upon their sale. Therefore, the argument on the part of these producers is that the Government should content itself with conserving the purity of the goods exported, and that the classification may more properly be left to the individuals ,who send the butter Home, and have to take the consequences whether good or bad. That seems to me to be a very fair ground to take. The Government may have the right, broadly and mainly, on grounds of health, to take care of the purity of the products of the country. I do not deny that. But what is objected to is that the Government should so interfere in the ordinary operations of trade as to seem to dictate to people as to the quality of the products they produce, and as to which they have had a life- long experience. To compel a man to put upon boxes of butter a brand which he who has produced the article, and knows most about it, will himself declare not to be a true gauge of its quality at all, is absurd. I think the Minister might very well content himself with talking up the attitude that he did when the Act was going through Parliament. Over and over again the Attorney-General and the Minister of Trade and Customs declared that the Bill was intended not to grade qualities at all, and! yet, according to the forecast of the regulations published the other day - and I assume that it is pretty accurate - that is exactly what the Minister now is arrogating to himself the power to do. It may be that he has the power under the Act, but I urge 'him in the interests of those who are most deeply concerned not to push this matter of interference too far, but to allow them to look after their own product, to grade it and to mark it for what it is and what it is worth; he, on the other hand, taking care that the qualities which they brand subscribe to a given standard of purity. When that is done, the least he might do is to leave the rest to private enterprise, and to those concerned. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- To do what? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I have been, urging that the Government should not exceed the function of setting up a standard as to the purity of the export, and should leave the exporter to look after the quality of the article and the marking of it. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member would recommend that the Government stamp be put upon their marking? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not wish the honorable member to put the Government stamp upon the article at all, except as to its purity if he wishes. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member may be quite sure that the Government are going to do so. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is the whole complaint. It is1 impossible, of course, to get the honorable gentleman toopen his mind to anything which is said from this side. He seems to regard it ashis first Ministerial duty to shut his mind entirely to anything which may be said to him except on his own particular side of the Chamber. He is peculiar in that respect. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- - Oh, no. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable gentleman gets through with his proposal, but I venture to say that very often he gets through with it to the detriment of the people of Australia. Here is another instance of it: When we put a proposition to him to-day, all we can get out of him is, " You may be quite sure that I will not listen to anything of the kind." All I know is that I am speaking now for hundreds of men who have devoted their lifetime to this industry, .and whose livelihood! depends upon it. I think that they are entitled to have their views put before the Minister by those who represent them here. If thisis the only answer that they can get from him, I venture to think that it is treating them with scant courtesy, because what is discourteous to their representatives here can only be regarded as direct discourtesy to them also, a.sl we are only their mouthpieces here. The point which I put now, and which the Minister sweeps aside in a peremptory way, is just the point which he insisted that he would respect when the Bill was going through the Chamber. The Attorney-General said it was not intended to grade qualities. The Minister followed his honorable and learned colleague, and, after specifying the grades as i, 2, 3, and 4, he said, " We are going *Stiffly* [28 June, 1906.] *(Formal).* 819 to do nothing of the kind." But when we ask him to carry out the statement which he made to the House and upon the faith of which he got the Bill put through, he says that we can make up our mind that he is not going to keep his word. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member is misquoting me altogether. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member is misquoting what I interjected just now. I said that we were going to put the Government brand upon these exports. That was all I said. I have already said that the word "grading" is never used in any respect in the regulations. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I know that, but what is the difference? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I propose to carry out what was recommended by the conference in Sydney, and what was recommended by the very gentlemen whom the honorable member is supporting here, and that is to deal with the matter in a certifi- cate {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- As to quality? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Yes ; it will not be branded upon the box. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is an answer, but why could not the honorable gentleman say that before? {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr Kennedy: -- The honorable member has been chasing a shadow again? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is no shadow. The Minister said that I could make up my mind that the Government were going to put their brand upon the box ; but in what way is it to be done ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- We are not going to put 1, 2, and 3 upon the box. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is the whole point I have been putting. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I hope the honorable member is satisfied. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Why does not the Minister be a little frank? We try to treat him frankly and fairly. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- This is the first time I have said it publicly. I was going to Jet the regulations speak for themselves, but as the honorable member was so anxious, I have stated what it is proposed to do. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What made me anxious was the appearance of the regulations in the newspapers. I am glad to hear now that the Minister has modified the regulations as first published. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I am always most reasonable. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Not as a rule ; it takes a lot to get the honorable member to that point of reasonableness. However, I shall be very glad if now we have got him to that point with regard to the export of butter. I desire to refer to the Royal Commissions which are reporting on various matters to the Government, and particularly to a statement in the press this morning concerning the Shipping Commission. I make the reference, first, for the purpose of pointing out the difference in the methods adopted by some of the Royal Commissions. Take, for instance, the Tariff Commission. When we want a little information here about their procedure it cannot be obtained unless the Chairman can be got to come here, and when a special question is addressed to him, he can only speak with authority concerning a matter of pure formality as to their proceedings. When I opened my newspaper this morning, I found that the Chairman of the Shipping Commission had stated that a report has been circulated among its members. He tells us the finding which he thinks will be adopted before the presentation of the report to the GovernorGeneral. He tells us, in fact, that an agreement has been reached by the Socialists composing the Royal Commission. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- Who are they? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member, for instance, is one of them. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- Yes, but who are the others ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Chairman - all the names are given in the newspapers this morning. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- Is the honorable member for Riverina a Socialist? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No; I was going to say that the recognised Socialists of the Chamber, *plus* two other members who always vote with them, and whom the honorable member can put in the classification if he thinks proper- {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- The honorable member ought to have put it right in the beginning. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -I think that is the proper way to put it. There are professed Socialists ; the others who vote Socialism every time. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- And the honorable member is sorry that they have not reported in an anti-socialistic fashion. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No; and that is not my point just now. I am pointing out that evidently these honorable members have agreed to recommend the nationalization of the shipping industry, as far as the carriage of mails is concerned. Anybody could tell from the composition of the Royal Commission how they would report. It was a foregone conclusion,. The chairman declared here that he only wanted the Select Committee appointed in order to try to make out a case for nationalizing the shipping industry. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- Does not the honorable member think that the Labour Party can be honest? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Who is impugning their honesty? {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- The honorable member said that it was a foregone conclusion. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am judging the honorable member for Barrier out of his own mouth. He said that he only wanted a Select Committee appointed in order to f he could make out a case for nationalization., and that unless he could do that he would not trouble about an inquiry. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- But the chairman could not influence the report against the other members. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No; but I raised an objection to the appointment of the Committee at the time, and so did other honorable members. After the declaration of the chairman as to his socialistic purpose we protested against the composition of the Committee. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- I rise to a point of order. I ask you, sir, whether the honorable Member is in order in discussing the report of a Royal Commission which is not yet in the hands of the Government, and which will be discussed here later on, or in referring to the terms of the Royal Commission when in ignorance of its real purport. I submit, sir, that he is not in order in anticipating that discussion. {: #subdebate-20-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- In the Standing Orders there is nothing to prevent discussion up to that point when a motion to adopt the report of the Royal Commission has been placed upon the notice-paper. That would, of course, preclude any reference to the subject-matter of the report, but until that stage is reached there is no reason why it should not be debated in the way in which the honorable member for Parramatta is doing. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member for Coolgardie does not appear to be aware of the fact that this is grievance day. He sits there like a Rip Van Winkle, and does not appear to be aware of what is going on in these modern days. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- But what is the honorable member grieved about now ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am grieved at the waste of public money in the investigation of proposals which cannot be carried out. I hope that that is a fair matter for complaint. We are told by the Prime Minister, the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, and the leader of the Labour Party, that there is no power in the Constitution to nationalize these industries. It is one of the complaints to-day of the leader of the Labour Party that he cannot get the Prime Minister to say whether he will help them to get the power to nationalize one or two of these monopolies. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- Did the Prime Minister ever say that the Commonwealth could not carry its own mails? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- He has said that there is no power in the Constitution to nationalize this industrial enterprise. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- Did he ever say that we could not carry our own mails, and make provision -for doing so? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member had better ask him. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- The leader of the Labour Party has not made the statement which the honorable member is attributing to him. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The leader of the Labour Party did, at Crow's Nest, as I quoted the other night. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I remember he said that the honorable member did not quote it all. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- The honorable member is dependent upon newspaper reports for all his statements. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Yes, and it appears that I cannot now rely upon theWorker. According to the leader of the Labour Party, even the *Worker* cribs its reports from the capitalistic press. I believethat the honorable member is chairman of the board of management of the *Worker,* and' heard the statement of his leader that they do not fret reports of their own, and pay for them as thev should do, but get them from the capitalistic press for " nix."" The honorable member ought to look into that matter. In his speech ,at North Sydney the other night, the honorable member for Bland challenged the Prime Minister to say what he was going to do about the land tax, and, moreover, he referred to the Prime Minister's statement that we had not the constitutional power to nationalize these industries. Here is the quotation I made the other night, and which I suppose I had better give, because it seems to be quite a rule with honorable members belonging to a. certain party now to dispute or deny anything which is quoted. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- But what the honorable member is about to quote is only a newspaper report. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- If there is a conspiracy in the press to misreport them. I cannot help it. But it is a great pity that they do not correct the reports which so misrepresent them upon these vital matters. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- If I were to do that I could do nothing else. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- At any rate, here is the statement, and I do not know yet that it has been repudiated by the leader of the Labour Party. If the honorable gentleman wishes to repudiate this again I have no more to say. Speaking at Crow's Nest, he said - > **Mr. Deakin's** programme at present was in a state of transition, if, indeed, it existed at all. That being so, the Labour Party had a right to be informed as to **Mr. Deakin's** intentions before it entered into any agreement. The. party had had no clear statement on this matter from **Mr. Deakin. Mr. Deakin** had declared that the question of Socialism was one for the States, and that before the Federal Parliament could deal with it there would have to be an alteration in the Constitution. Under those circumstances it was fair to ask **Mr. Deakin** whether he would alter the Constitution in order to make it possible to nationalize one or more existing monopolies. Is that clear enough for the honorable member ? {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- It is not **Mr. Watson's** statement that it could not be done under the Constitution. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is the statement of the honorable member for Bland. It is one that was quoted the other day in the House, and the honorable gentleman did not deny it. I may fairly take it to be his view, in the absence of any denial to the contrary. Would the honorable member for Darling be prepared to repudiate that book, which he wrote a little while ago. containing his ideas and definitions of Socialism ? Now that the official organ of the party has1 repudiated the honorable member's praiseworthy method of communicating through its pages, perhaps he will repudiate his own book next? In the meantime, I must try and interpret the views of these honorable members. I wish to do them no injustice in this matter. All that I am doing, and it seems to be the cause of the whole trouble, is to try to quote what they say. The moment one begins to quote them it appears as though one insulted them. I do not know why they should get up in protest in this way. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- I quoted some of the honorable member's letters some time ago that did not seem to please him. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Not at all. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- I quoted some declarations the honorable gentleman had made. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable gentleman may quote what he pleases about me. So long as there is no misrepresentation, I think that honorable members should be glad rather than otherwise that I am helping them to propagate their views in the same way that they do themselves, When the present Prime Minister was AttorneyGeneral he declared in a reasoned judgment that there was no power in the Constitution to nationalize these industries. "Well," says the Labour Party, "you must have the Constitution altered!" What I complain of is that the Government should set up these socialistic Commissions, knowing beforehand how they are going to report, not from any corrupt motive, but knowing that they are setting out to make a case for Socialism. I say that when you set out to make a case for anything you can go a long way towards finding "the means to do it. I heard a man, say the other night that those who lived on grievances acquired finally the happy knack of manufacturing them. So when you set out to make a case for Socialism you go a long way along the track towards finding the means with which to do it. Accordingly, as was predicted when this Commission began its inquiry, it has reported in favour of nationalizing the mail services to and from Australia. I say again, and I do them no injustice that I know of, when I make the statement, that it was a foregone conclusion as to what the nature and character of their report would be. That was our whole complaint at the time the constitution of the Select Committee was debated here. We objected to its *personnel.* I was at first in favour of the appointment of that Committee, but when I heard from the mouth of the leader of the Labour Party that they were only going to pursue their inquiry in order to make a case for Socialism, the matter assumed a very different aspect. While ordinarily a Royal Commission reports first of all to the Governor-General, it seems that the Chairman of the Shipping Commission reports first to the public newspapers, and we read this morning that the Commission have arrived at a report recommending a scheme for nationalization, and that that report will be signed so soon as word can be received from the only two members of the Commission who do not favour this proposal of nationalization. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- The honorable member seems to know more than do the members of the Commission. I am a member of the Commission, and I do not know that the members referred to are not in favour of the proposal. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am telling the honorable member- {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- I do not know that the two members the honorable member speaks of are not in favour of the proposal. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I did not say so. I say it is reported that the report has been sent on to them for consideration, and as soon as they reported either for or against it, the report would be submitted to the Governor-General. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- The honorable member stated that this report was sent on to the only two members who were opposed to this proposal. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is some misunderstanding. What I said was, that information had been given to the newspapers, and that the statement was there made that it would be signed and forwarded to the Governor-General when word was received from the only two members on the Commission who are not Socialists. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- It is also said that they might furnish a minority report. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- That has never been sent to the newspapers. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It is in the newspapers. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- Honorable members should not rely upon the newspapers. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Does the honorable member for Darling deny the accuracy of the newspaper report to which T refer? However, I am not on that point particularly, except that I think that it is worth mentioning that a grave departure in the methods of these Commissions has been set up in connexion with this matter. What I am concerned about now is to' ask the Government, now that they have set up all these socialistic Commissions, what they propose to do about them? The Prime Minister has instituted a Commission for the purpose of inquiring into the nationalization of the shipping industry. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- No. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Yes. I know what the honorable and learned gentleman is- attempting to quibble about, but it is only a quibble. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- No. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Prime Minister was told by the Chairman of the Commission that he did not want the Select Committee in the first instance unless for the purpose of inquiring into the possibility of a nationalization scheme. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- He said that that was one of the things he intended to inquire into. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- He said that was the main reason, and that he did not want the Committee except for that. The honorable and learned gentleman will find that in *Hansard.* Then there is the Tobacco Commission. It has also recommended a scheme of nationalization. I say that the Prime Minister has a right to explain why he has gone to all this expense and trouble in the setting up of these socialistic Commissions. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Does the honorable member think that his statement about the Tobacco Commission is a fair one? He knows that the members of it completed all their work, except for one sitting and the report, as a Select Committee, and that in accordance with the usual custom, the Select Committee was made a Royal Commission in order that it might complete its work; it cost nothing, and took practically no evidence afterwards. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Even so, there is all the difference in the world between the appointment of a Select Committee of either House of Parliament, and the constitution of a Royal Commission by the Governor-General. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- It was done simply in order that the Select Committee might be able to send in its report. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Here is the Shipping Commission, which now reports in favour of nationalization. They said beforehand that they were going to see if *Supply* [28 June, 1906.] *(Formal).* 823 they could make out a case for it. It is in *Hansard.* If the Government spend public money in this way for the purpose of ventilating socialistic schemes, it is only fair to ask what responsibility they propose to assume with regard to the whole question. If they do not believe that we have any constitutional power to nationalize these industries it is a criminal waste of public money to set these Commissions going. We might as well throw the money away as set up a Commission on a question which the Prime Minister knows, as a result of a reasoned judgment, can,have no effect. I say again that it is a very remarkable thing, and I am glad to be able to make the statement in the presence of the Chairman of the Shipping Commission, that the newspapers should have been given the finding of that Commission before it was sent on to the Governor-General. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Who gave it to them ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know. It is in the newspapers. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I understand that the honorable member said that I gave it to them ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No, I do not think I said that. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- The honorable member for New England stated it. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- Yes, I said it. Where did the newspapers get it from? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What I said was, and what I say now is that it is a very remarkable thing that we should find the report of that Commission in the public newspapers before it has been presented to the Governor-General. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- They must have got it from one of the Commissioners. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- We have all the names, details, and everything concerning the finding published this morning.' It ought to be explained!. I think it is not the rule of Royal Commissions to make their proceedings known in the public press before their report is sent on to the Governor-General, and presented to Parliament. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- I suppose the information was telegraphed from Sydney from one of the honorable member's crowd. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know. It is equally wrong wherever it came from. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- How would our crowd get to know it? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It is equally wrong wherever it comes from, but the honorable member for Yarra might as well make that accusation as any other. He does not know anything about it. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- I know as much about it as does the honorable member for Parramatta. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am quite sure the honorable member could not know that, but it was good enough to make the accusation; it does not matter what it is, so long as it is an accusation. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Still, I understand that the honorable member for Parramatta has been making accusations all along. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I cannot help what the honorable member understands. I stated the facts about the matter, and, with the permission of **Mr. Speaker,** I will state them again for the honorable member. They are, first, that the honorable member declared from his place in the House, when the Select Committee was being appointed, that he wanted it for the purpose of inquiring into the feasibility of nationalizing the industry. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Decidedly. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Is that a fair accusation, or is it an unfair one? {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Not that; but I understand the honorable member has been accusing some one of giving information to the newspapers. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am complaining of that having been done. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- How does the honorable member know that what is in the newspapers is correct? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I ask the honorable member, when he puts that view tome, if he denies its correctness? {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I see, that is the idea. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I presume that he does. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- The honorable membercharged the chairman of the Commissiondistinctly with giving the information to the press. He did so in his speech several' times. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I did? {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- Yes, several times. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not think the honorable member will find that that is so. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- So long as the honorablemember does not accuse us of giving something to the newspapers which' we ought not to give them, it is all right. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I say that it is peculiar to find it in the press this morning with the alleged finding. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- Supplied by the chairman ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- With the names of those who subscribed to it. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Did the honorable member say that the chairman of the Commission gave that information ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know who did it. I should like the honorable member to say. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- The honorable member said that the chairman of the Commission gave it. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I have not the slightest idea whether any such information was given to the press or not. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member saw the report this morning, I presume. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I saw some of it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I fancy that the chairman of a Commission of that kind should make some inquiry, if it were a true report, as to how it had leaked out. However, that was not my main point. I protest against the waste of public money on Royal Commissions, when the Prime Minister has declared we have no power to give effect- to their reports. It is time enough to inquire into, these matters when we know that we have power to carry into effect recommendations which may be made. The Prime Minister may say that he is not a Socialist; but this is the kind of socialistic work he is doing. The Prime Minister is using public funds for the purpose of prosecuting socialistic projects. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- To get information and knowledge. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- To get knowledge with the expressed intention beforehand to use it in a particular direction. The Prime Minister has no right, in view of the judgment he gave as AttorneyGeneral, to. dip his hands into the Treasury for the purpose of a socialistic inquiry of this description. The honorable gentleman may say he is not a Socialist until he is black in the face, but the kind of work he is doing is Socialism. The name does not matter - it is the thing that is important. I have no quarrel with the chairman of this Royal Commission. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- The honorable member has accused the chairman of that Commission of giving some information to the newspapers. If the honorable member says he did not make that accusation, I shall accept his statement. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- All I can say at the moment is that I do not recollect saying it in that way. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I accept the honorable member's word, {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- If I did say so, I withdraw it at once. I am alleging nothing wrong ; but I do say it is peculiar that the report of the Commission, with all these details, should have been published before its presentation to the Governor-General. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- In what newspaper does the report appear? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- In either the Melbourne *Argus* or the Melbourne *Age* of this morning, It is stated in the newspaper that the Commission have arrived at a decision to recommend the nationalization of the shipping industry, so far as the carriage of mails is concerned, and that the cost of this nationalization will be about £3,000,000. The newspaper goes on to give the names of those members of the Commission who have signed the report, and of others who are going to sign it as soon as word is received from Messrs. Smith and Gibb, to whom a copy of the report has been forwarded at Sydney. The newspaper account even say's that the chairman of the Commission telegraphed to those latter gentlemen last night. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I myself gave the infor- 'mation to the newspaper that I had telegraphed to those gentlemen. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Then some of the information came from the chairman of the Commission, and I suppose that the rest was obtained somewhere else. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I gave the information to the press that six members of the Commission had signed the report. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I know that the honorable member is sincere in his desire to nationalize this industry, and no one can have any quarrel with him on that account. The honorable member declares that he would alter the Constitution so as to give the power to carry out this nationalization ; and the inquiry has been conducted with a view to that end. What I complain of is that the Prime Minister, who ostensibly does not believe in that kind of thing, and who, as Attorney-General, declared that we have no power to nationalize the industry, should spend public money in the prosecution of those objects. The following is the statement which appeared in the Melbourne *Argus* of this morning, and it is very circumstantial : - >At a meeting of the Shipping Commission held yesterday, a report embodying the recommendations of the majority was adopted. It is signed by the **chairman (Mr. Thomas),** and Messrs. Spence (N.S.W.), McDonald (Q.), Chanter (N.S.W.), Storrer (T.), and Mahon (W.A.), who were present at yesterday's meeting. {: .speaker-KUF} ##### Mr Spence: -- It has not been signed. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The statement proceeds - >Messrs. Gibb (V.) and Sydney Smith (N.S.W.) have not yet seen the report. They are both in Sydney, and a few days ago copies of the recommendations in skeleton form were sent to them by post. Last night **Mr. Thomas** telegraphed to them, asking if they would sign the report. If they reply that they are willing to sign, the report will be presented to the GovernorGeneral to-day. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I gave that information to the newspaper. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The report, continues - >If not, an opportunity will be given to them to express their dissent, either by rider or in a separate report. > >The report recommends the establishment of a Commonwealth national fleet of eight steamers for the carriage of mails to England. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- No one got that information from me. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- That came by telegram, I think, from Sydney. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Let the honorable member for Coolgardie make another guess or another allegation or two - it is quite easy to say things. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr Mahon: -- My allegations are quite as good as those of the honorable member. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- However, I am only pointing out the difference between the conduct of this Royal Commission and that of the Tariff Commission, the members of which are so close that we have to pursue them very carefully and persistently in order to get any information as to their proceedings. But all this is immaterial. The main question is what the Government are going to do about the report, after spending money in the investigation, in view of the fact that they know beforehand the object in view. Is this money to be purely wasted? I do not know what the cost of these Commissions has been, but I suspect that in the case of the tobacco project and the shipping project, it runs into some thousands of pounds. Before money is wasted in this war. the Government ought to have some clearly-defined intention to do something with the reports when presented ; thev ought to have an idea that the reports will be of use to them in some legislation which they contemplate. That is the only object, so far as I know, of inquiries of the kind. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Let us hope that that will be the result. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It matters but little what the Prime Minister may say on the public platform, as to whether he is Otis not a Socialist, or as to whether or not he favours nationalization ; but his actions in this House matter everything. In supreme control of the resources of the Commonwealth, he lends these to socialistic ends and purposes, and helps those who desire to get constitutional power to nationalize industries. That is what I have ventured to call, on the public platforms of the country, working for Socialism ; and the Prime Minister will be judged, as we all shall be, by his ultimate actions rather than by his words. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- The honorable member is an anti-Socialist now. I have been promising myself, for a long while, to look lip the honorable member's speeches in the New South Wales Parliament; and I am going to do so one of these cold mornings. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is another matter to which I should like to call attention. This Government seems, to be very free in the way they disburse public fund's. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not think so; they are the meanest crowd I ever came across. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The .Minister of Trade and Customs is quite right ; he has had large and spacious notions ever since he entered public life. Years and years ago I heard the honorable gentleman say the same thing to his chief, **Sir George** Dibbs, in New South Wales, and I remember that thev had some very warm words on the question of the expenditure of public money. The present Minister of Trade and Customs kept a Government in power in New South Wales, with a majority of one, for two- years, when he was Secretary for Public Works. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- For three years. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable gentleman then had the disbursement of ^2,000,000 or ^3,000,000 a' year; and he is quite true to his name and his character. I know no man in Australia who is more fond of spending public money than is the present Minister of Trade and Customs. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I spend the money on good objects. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am perfectly certain that the honorable gentleman has an idea that the present Government is mean in the spending of money. The Government do not come up to his level at all; and in this respect he is pretty much the same as one of his late' colleagues in the State Parliament, **Mr. O'sullivan.** {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- A good man. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- A good' man, yes. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- One of the best. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But how easy it is to be good when rolling in money, particularly if the money is not one's own. There is nothing easier than to spend other people's money - to leave somebody else to foot the bill. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That is what the honorable member's party always did in New South Wales. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Oh, no; our party did' not raise £i 7^000,000 in loan money in three or four years. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- They may not have raised £17,000,000, but they raised a great deal, and then blamed the Government of which I was a member for causing them to do so. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- How these New South Wales fellows love one another ! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Who begins this sort of thing? I wanted to prevent the present Minister of Trade and Customs from coming to this Parliament and inoculating the good, innocent people opposite with his New South Wales notions. I know that honorable members opposite all believe in Spartan simplicity in public administration ; and my soul is vexed when I find this old' economic perverter coming over here and putting, his deadly virus into the veins of young innocents. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I did more good with the money I spent than the honorable member ever did with the money he spent as Minister. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable gentleman always had a happy knack of clearing out and leaving some one else to shoulder the responsibility. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- A good' idea, too ! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- At any rate, that is what is said in New South Wales. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Not at all ; that is only said by the honorable member and his friends. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- All this comes of my not being accustomed to interjections. I have been led off the track of my remarks. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Is the honorable member taking all the afternoon to himself ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No; but I desire to make one or two remarks concerning some very important matters. I wish to refer to the .way in which officers of the Public Service are being sent on missions of various kinds at the public expense. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Who are they? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I refer to the officers lately sent to London. If anything could be more idiotic than the way in which the defences of Australia are being administered, I should like to know what it is. If any visitor from an outside country Game here, and saw what goes on in connexion with the Defence Forces, he could come to no other conclusion than, either that we were lunatics, or that we had plenty of money which we wanted to waste. After five or six years of Federal control of the Defence Forces, matters seem to be "getting no better very fast," if I am any judge. I hope to soon see something in the nature of efficient control and administration which will justify us in continuing the Defence Department as one to be relied on in the time of peril. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Raise it to the standard of mv Department. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know much about the Minister's Department; all I know is that it seems to be a prolific source of irritation to the traders of the country. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Why, the honorable member has not asked me a single question regarding the Department this week ! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I never ask questions about that Department. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That is because the Department is so well administered. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not mind the honorable member taking that little unction to his soul. But let me refer to the officers who are constantly being despatched to London. What is the position of affairs in connexion with defence? First, we obtained the services of, I believe, a highly competent man from London in the person of General Hutton. That officer propounded a defence scheme, but when his term expired he was sent Home again. Almost before he could have reached London, we sent a man away with that scheme to have it judged in England by people who are not on the spot, and who may know very little of our local circumstances. After bringing a highly expert man here to formulate a scheme on the spot, we follow in his footsteps to London, in order to have his scheme judged by others thousand's of miles away. I understand that Colonel Bridges has been sent Home to obtain the opinion of authorities there on the defence of Australia. Then we sent Home Captain Cresswell. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Was he sent Home at the invitation of the Home authorities? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- We do not know. He was sent Home, I presume, at the public expense, to discuss the advisability of establishing a fleet for the defence of Australia. These two gentlemen were sent Home, notwithstanding that Captain Collins, the secretary of the Defence Department, was in London at the time on a holiday, and could have laid these schemes before the Imperial authorities, because he is supposed to know something about military matters, and a great deal about business' matters. After Colonel Bridges and Captain Creswell had gone to London, Captain Collins1 came back; but he had hardly set his foot on Australian soil before he was sent again to London, to open a bureau there for the transaction of Australian business. There are; six Australian AgentsGeneral in London transacting Australian business; but the Commonwealth, apparently, cannot trust any of them to do its business, and has therefore sent a seventh man, employing a seventh staff, to open a seventh office for the purpose. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- We ought to send Home the honorable member as AgentGeneral. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am afraid that it is not of much use to speak about these things just now; but it is time that attention was called to them* and our protest put om record. The Minister deals in a light and airy way with objections to the wasting of public money as it is being wasted by the duplication of offices, for the maintenance of which our taxpayers have to pay the piper. We were told that Federation, by providing for one control, would save the expense of Australian representation in London, but, instead of a saving, there has been increased expenditure, because of the duplication which has taken place. The Government should not have sent Captain Collins to London to open another office until arrangements had been made with the States whereby a saving could be effected in their representation. According to the best information which. I possess, it was not necessary to send Home at all, because our work was being done well by the Agents-General of the States. I am afraid that the Commonwealth action in this case is of a piece with its action in other directions. Instead of economizing by concentrating control, we have been increasing expenditure by establishing additional offices. When the Estimates are before us, I shall be anxious to find out what this new Lond'on office is costing the Commonwealth. It may have been established preparatory to the appointment of a High Commissioner, but I think that the Commonwealth should not provide for representation in London until arrangements have been made with the Premiers of the States whereby their expenditure there may be minimized. I was surprised to hear the Acting Postmaster-General say that we need not trouble ourselves as to whether the private publication which has been sent through' the post in a wrapper on which was printed the letters O.H.M.S. was or was not of a political character. In my opinion, everything depends upon that. If it had been an innocent publication, issued for purely departmental purposes, I could understand the arrangement, but it was a specially prepared political pamphlet. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Hy whom was it prepared ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know. The Minister should inquire into that. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Was it connected in any way with the Commonwealth Government? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know. The Minister should try to ascertain who is responsible for it. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Has not the responsibility been traced to the Agricultural Department of Victoria? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not understand that to be so. I gather that certain publications have received the *imprimatur* of the Agricultural Department of Victoria ; but we have not been informed that the Department approved of this pamphlet. Things would be .coming to a pretty pass if an Agricultural Department set itself to disseminate political literature, and to US. the Post Office to advocate certain, political views. That would be worse than what is done in America, where they adopt without disguise the theory of the " spoils to the victors." {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- The publication in question was issued in the interests of McKay's h ci rrvesters {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Minister should sift the matter to the bottom, to ascertain who are concerned. I could understand an innocent publication of an agricultural character being allowed to go through the post bearing on its wrapper the words " On His Majesty's Service." but the Post Office should not be used in that way for the dissemination of political views. In the old country, recently - I think in connexion with the late general elections - the House of Commons censured some one who issued an address under the letters "O.H.M.S," and diligent inquiry should be made to ascertain why a partisan political pamphlet has been allowed to pass through the post here bearing those letters on its wrapper. The matter is a more serious one than the Minister seems to think, and I hope that he will ascertain who has attempted to take advantage of an innocent precedent for personal and political party ends. It is a very different thing from letting an agricultural publication pass through the post under the *imprimatur* of a Department to permit a publication, crammed from cover to cover with electioneering matter in the interests of one of the political parties of the Commonwealth, to do so. I hope that the case will be thoroughly investigated, and that 'the Post Office will never again be prostituted in this way to serve the ends of any one political party {: #subdebate-20-0-s3 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON:
Lang .-! wish to bring under the notice of the Government a complaint which! is being made by a large number of municipal .councils as to the manner in which they are treated by the removal of telegraph poles without consulting their convenience. To explain the position I will read a communication which I received from the Town Clerk of Sydney on the 19th January last. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- The complaint was made first by the City Council of Perth, which asked the concurrence of other councils in a certain course of action. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- That mav be so. I do not know the genesis of the movement. The letter is as follows : - >I have the honour, bv direction of the Sydney Municipal Council, to invite your attention to a hardship under which local authorities in the > >Commonwealth labour by reason of those provisions of the Federal Post and Telegraph Act that relate to the removal of telegraph and telephone poles. The provision referred to (section 85) makes the local authority liable for the cost of alterations to any pole belonging to the Postal Department, where such alterations are necessitated by the action of the former body, and whilst this appears reasonable enough at first sight, when regard is had to the fact that the Department can erect its poles wherever it pleases, without consulting the local authority in any way, and that (as the experience of this Council in connexion wilh its electric lighting scheme has abundantly shown) the positions chosen are often most unsuitable, it is at once obvious that the local authority is placed in a most unfair position in the matter. Were the Postal Department required to consult the local authority in connexion with the fixing of the positions of the telegraph and telephone poles, it is reasonable to suppose that the result would be mutually satisfactory, and if, under such circumstances, it afterwards became necessary to alter any pole by reason of works carried out bv the local 'authority, then the cost of such alteration would be a fair and legitimate charge against the latter body. Again, similar hardship is experienced by reason of the fact that no restriction is placed upon the Department regarding the height of the telegraph and telephone wires, and it would undoubtedly bring about a more equitable and satisfactory state of things for all concerned if the height of the wires was restricted so that they could not be fixed below a certain height or above a certain maximum height in any one span. I am to say that the Council will be glad if you, as one of the representatives of this State in the Federal Parliament, will interest 5'ourself in this matter, and endeavour to secure an amendment of the Post and Telegraph Act in the directions herein indicated. I mav say that it is very probable that such an effort would meet with general support in Parliament, as it is known that the Municipalities of a large number of important cities and towns in the Commonwealth aire acting similarly to this Council in the matter. The concluding paragraph may have some reference to the remark that was made bv the honorable member for Kalgoorlie. I hope that the Government will take this matter into consideration, and will endeavour to meet the wishes of the City Council and of the various municipalities interested. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Surely the honorable member would not ask the Federal Government to become subservient to the municipal councils? {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I do not suggest anything of the kind. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- That is what is suggested in the letter. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- Nothing of the kind. The letter merely asks that a consultation shall be held in order to avoid any *Supply* [28 June, 1906.] *(Formal).* 829 clashing. It is only reasonable that the municipal councils should ask to be consulted with regard to the erection of the poles, so that the ratepayers they represent may not be subjected to unnecessary inconvenience. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- That is what is being done now. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- If that be the case, no ground of complaint could possibly exist. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I received a letter similar to the one read by the honorable member, and interviewed the Deputy PostmasterGeneral in Brisbane, who showed me clearly that the municipal authorities were consulted. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I have no personal knowledge of the subject. I was asked to bring the matter under the notice of the Government, and I trust that some mutually satisfactory arrangement will be arrived at. {: #subdebate-20-0-s4 .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE:
Cowper -- I wish to direct the attention of honorable members to a matter which does not appear to receive the consideration it deserves. The question of the acquirement of the Northern Territory by the Commonwealth should engage our serious attention. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I take it that the honorable member is referring to the matter dealt with in notice of motion No. 1 for Thursday, 5th July. If so, I cannot permit him to discuss it. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- I had intended to refer to the necessity of the Commonwealth taking immedate steps to acquire the Northern Territory. However, I shall reserve my remarks for the present. I am pleased to hear that the Minister of Trade and Customs has seen fit to modify the proposed regulations under the Commerce Act. On the 22nd May regulations were published in the press which it was stated were shortly to be gazetted. I am glad that the Minister has proved amenable to the pressure brought to bear on him by honorable members, and also to the representations of those interested in various industries. I fancy that he would have experienced a great deal of difficulty in carrying out the proposed regulations, which would certainly have caused an utter dislocation of the trade of the Commonwealth. For the first time it would have been necessary for all potatoes to be washed prior to exportation. It was proposed to insist upon potatoes being "sound, clean, and suitable for export." {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- That did not mean that they should be washed. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- As potatoes are usuallycovered with the dirt in which they are grown, they could not be cleaned unless they were washed. We were told by the Attorney-General when the Commerce Bill was under discussion that there was no serious intention on the part of the Government to grade butter, but under the proposed regulations a most complete sys tern of grading was provided for. For instance, it was intended to judge the butter, and to indicate its quality by means of a scale of points. If the butter had to be sent to an exhibition, that proposal would have been quite apropriate, because when points are awarded in accordance with the various merits of the exhibit, the conclusions of the judges have an educational value. The judges at shows award so many points for flavour, so many for manufacture, so many for colour, and so many for packing. These points are marked on theboxes, and' they indicate to all those under whose notice they are brought the respects in which the exhibit excels or is deficient. The information thus conveyed is very useful. Under the Government proposal the points awarded to the butter were not to be indicated by marks on the boxes, 'but merely in the certificates, and therefore no persons beyond those immediately interested in the produce would have been any the wiser. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The Attorney-General said there was to be no Federal grading at all. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- Exactly ; but I am pointing out that grading of the most complete character was provided for in the proposed regulations. It was further provided that all butter shouldbe at the appointed place three days before it was exported. Such a regulation would have seriously interfered with the operations of those interested in the trade. It was further stipulated that the butter should be at a temperature not lower than 40 degrees or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of inspection. Under these conditions, it would have been necessary to carry on the work of inspection at the various factories, and as there are 300 butter factories in New South Wales, an army of two or three hundred inspectors would have been required. It was also proposed that! all butter should be shipped within fourteen days after the Government certificate was granted. I have known butter to lie in Sydney for three weeks until space was available in an outgoing vessel, and if any such regulation as that indicated had been in force, it would have proved obstructive, and probably have involved intending shippers in very heavy loss. It would have taken the produce out of the control of owners. I would point out that the business methods of those who are now engaged in the butter industry axe far in advance of the proposed regulations. Arrangements have recently been made on behalf of the Byron Bay butter factory - the largest in Australia - to have the butter frozen at the works, and to have it transferred without any appreciable reduction of temperature to refrigerating chambers in the coastal steamers, with the object of transshipping it direct to the ocean-going steamers, by which the produce is to be conveyed to the London market. Would the Government be justified in interfering with arrangements of this kind, which are being made for the benefit of the producers? If the butter is to be graded at the factories, all the produce that fails to pass the test as of. first quality will be placed upon the local market instead of being exported. I have, however, heard some export merchants say that they would not care what the Government did in the matter of branding. The moment their produce reached London they would assert their rights as owners, and remove the brands if they were likely to interfere with the sale of the butter. I have heard some honorable members speak of the superiority of New Zealand butter over that manufactured in the Commonwealth. No doubt it is of a higher quality, but that is not owing to the grading. It is due to the provision of the Dairy Supervision Act in force in that Colony, which requires that the milk shall be aerated. That is one of the great secrets in the manufacture of butter. By aerating the milk, you get rid of all the gases which militate against its being, kept in a fresh condition. The Fresh Food and Ice Company of New South Wales insist upon all their milk being aerated or cooled before it is sent to Sydney, and they are thus en.abled to keep it sweet for a very long time. The New Zealand people have an excellent system of dairy supervision, and go right to the root of things when they insist that the milk shall be aerated. The Commonwealth authorities merely propose to deal with the finished article, and any such system of supervision must be defective. The control of the dairying industry should be in the hands of the States authorities, who, by employing experts to visit the various factories, and to set matters right where they are going wrong, could perform much useful work. The Commonwealth authorities are not in a position to undertake any such supervision., I compliment the Minister upon his intention to insist that packages of goods intended for export shall be correctly marked as to the weight of their contents. The extent to which short-weight packages have been exported from Australia has been disgraceful, and no State has offended in this respect to a greater degree than Victoria. For a considerable time, the butter exporters of that State sent out reputed i-lb. tins which contained only 14J ounces of butter, and, owing to their being able to sell their product at a cheaper rate on account of the short weight, they drove all other Australian competitors out of the trade. I am sorry that the Minister proposes to depend so much upon State officials in carrying out the regulations under the Act. I think that we should enforce our legislation by means of our own officers, and not depend entirely upon State officials. I would suggest that any of the States Governments, or any of the shippers, should be allowed to have a registered brand with which tomark their produce if they so desired. Eventually, the Commonwealth brand may be recognised everywhere, and be the favorite one. But we should not harass an industry with the idea of popularizing our brand. This industry has grown up in nearly all the States without Government assistance. In New South Wales the farmers have not received a £5-note from the State to encourage the butter industry. In fact, at their own expense, they have taught the other States. Their industry was an object-lesson for the State of Victoria, which sent its experts over to New South Wales to inquire into the factory system. We all know what splendid results have been obtained, and in what a systematic manner the butter producers of this State turn out an article which would do credit to any country in the world. InNew South Wales, notwithstanding all the obstacles in the way, the butter industry has been built up to such a degree of perfection that at the Earls Court Exhibition,, in London, the butter produced by the Alstonville factory, on the Richmond River, in the electorate of the VicePresident of the Executive Council, beat all the other butter factories in the British Em- pire. I believe that if the Minister had expert inspectors, and if, when they passed remarks upon butter, they gave their reasons - stating whether the cream had been allowed to stand too long, or indicating other faults which they might observe - the inspection would have an educational value. I am quite satisfied, from what the Minister says, that his desire is to improve the quality of the butter. The only way to improve it is to have regulations of such *n* character that the inspection will be educational ; so that the farmers, instead of fighting against a system which they regard as an interference, will look upon it as helping them in their work. We have already been told by Ministers that there is to be no brand on the boxes. I think we can take their word. I gather from "these statements that the Minister has listened to the protests which have been put forward by **Mr. Meares,** the very able manager of the largest co-operative com.pany of its kind in Australia. {: #subdebate-20-0-s5 .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE:
New England -- Most of the questions which have been raised in the course of this debate deserve the best consideration of Ministers. I object, of course, to what has been permitted by the Post and Telegraph Department in reference to the posting of a partisan p'eriodical bearing the letters " O.H.M.S." It was not a Government document, although it may have contained an official advertisement. The publication contained a political attack upon one party in this House. I rather imagine that the Government would not have permitted it to be carried had it contained an attack upon their own party. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- It was stopped immediately I heard of it. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- Of course, it would not have been stopped if the Minister had not been told. But where were the officials who are supposed to. control the Post Office, and what was the head of the Department doing? If evils are to wait to be checked until the Minister is told of them, they may continue for a long time. I trust that nothing of the kind will be allowed to occur in the future. Let us have fair fighting, whatever our opinions may be. With regard to the butter-grading business. I opposed the Act to which reference has been made when it was before Parliament. 'But we then had the assurance of various Ministers that no such thing was intended as has since been indicated. The Vice-President) of the Executive Coun cil, in fact, said that no sane man would propose to do such a thing. Yet the Government, of which he is one of the leading members, appears to have framed regulations that contain the very thing that is objected to. It would be utterly impossible to do what these regulations require. Two or three hundred inspectors, who would have to be stationed in the different butter factories, would be required to accomplish the purpose. The largest butter factory in New South Wales, that at Byron Bay, has made arrangements to ship its own butter right through' to firms in England. This factory has to rely upon the quality of its butter for the success of its operations. I had an interview with the general manager of the company after he had returned from England, where he had been to make arrangements with London brokers to take the whole of the product of the factory, and put it upon the market. There are direct relations between the producers in this1 country and the selling brokers in England. Is it likely that this firm would allow its butter to go Home in a condition that would jeopardize the whole of its trade? To maintain butter in good condition it must be kept frozen from the time it leaves the factory until it reaches the market. This company has made its own arrangements to send its butter right through in a frozen condition. Unless the Government has an expert at the factory to inspect while the butter is being made, it cannot be inspected at all. Certainly it cannot be inspected when it is frozen. Is it supposed that the company will thaw its butter in order that it may be inspected? If not, the inspection will be a sham. How can the Government inspector give a certificate that butter is of the best quality if he has only seen it in a frozen condition ? With regard to grading, it appears to me that what the Minister contemplates is utterly impossible. We have in the Hunter district of New South Wales a factory that makes a class of butter that would not be looked upon as first class by an expert. Yet that butter is sent to markets in Europe, where it brings a higher price than butters which are graded first class. The explanation is that the people who buy this butter prefer the taste of it to other butters which, in the opinion of experts, are of better quality. If these purchasers had first-class butter offered to them, and at the same time had a choice of the butter to which I refer, and which might be marked third class, they would prefer the third-class butter to' the first. Why on earth should we put upon our products a brand which prevents them from being sold under fair market conditions? I can bear out what the honorable member for Cowper has said about the aerating of cream in New Zealand. I have a son who had charge of a creamery in that country, and who has told me that the aerating of the cream was the cause of the superiority in the quality of New Zealand butter. He said that no matter how strong the milk was, and no matter what the cows were fed upon, the aerating of the cream enabled butter of the best quality to be made. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Did the honorable member get; his son that billet? {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I did not get him the billet. He went to New Zealand without any assistance from me or from any one 'else. He got hig billet on his merits, and kept it on his merits. He was prepared to fight his own battle against the world. That is the sort of man we want in this country. I have been in politics for many years, but no one can accuse me of desiring to obtain billets in the Public Service to assist any relations of mine. I desire to call attention now to one or two matters which, unfortunately, arise under the provisions of the Public Service Act. I find that officers in the .clerical division suffer disabilities which officers in the general division do not suffer. There are officers in the clerical division who cannot get a salary of *£uo* a year, as an officer in the general division can get. According to the Public Service Act, an officer in the general division, upon reaching the age of twenty-one years, and serving a certain period, can get a salary of /no at once, without being required to pass an examination. On the other hand, an officer in the clerical division is called upon to pass a certain examination before he can get that salary. I do not recognise the fairness of the provision in the Act. In my opinion, we should treat all men alike. I do not propose to express an opinion as to the salary of £no, or anything of that kind. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- One man has brains, and the other has muscles. ' {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- We should pay the man with the brains just as well as we pay the man with the muscles. Many of these young men to whom I refer are located in the interior parts of the country, where they .cannot get such advantages as can be procured in the city. Their work engages practically all their attention, and in the circumstances it is very hard for them to read up for an examination. We place men under a disability because they happen to be in the .clerical division. I would not differentiate between a man with muscles and a man with brains. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I would. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I think that a man who has brains ought to be paid better than a man who has only muscles. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- As a contractor, the honorable member ought to know that. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I am prepared to pay for brains and muscles, but I would pay all men alike. I would not differentiate between them. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Would not the honorable member grade them? {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I would grade them according to their quality and merits. A man who has muscles must possess some brains, otherwise he would be of very little use. It seems to me absurd that, because a man is engaged in a manual occupation, he should get a salary of £110 as soon as he has reached the age of twenty-one years and has served a certain term, and that, because a man is in the clerical division he should not receive similar .remuneration. I am surprised at a member of the Labour Party taking up the attitude which the honorable member for Maranoa seems to take up. When he talks on a platform he will tell clerical officers that he is quite as much in their favour as he is in favour of men with muscles. He will talk then about how he looked after the mem with brains as well as the men with muscles. Postal assistants cannot get an advance from their grade into a position which' .carries a higher salary unless they can pass an examination in telegraphy. Many of these officers have no experience in telegraphy, as they are not called upon to use the instrument. All their work is practically of a clerical nature. In some, places1 in the country districts, where there are one or two assistants in the post-office, it is impossible for these men to get education in a direction which would fit him for a position in the next grade. I hope that the Acting Postmaster-General will meet the position, either by proposing to alter the Public Service Act, or by putting these men gradually into positions where they could get instruction in telegraphy and qualify themselves to pass the necessary examination to fit them for a *Supply* [28 June, 1906.] *(Formal).* 833 position in a higher grade. We ofter hear about how splendidly the telephone system is managed under the Government, and it is quoted by the Socialistic Party as an illustration of the success of governmental management. In my electorate, there are two gentlemen who are erecting private telephones. They tried to get the Government to put up the lines, but the price asked, not only for construction, but also for maintenance, was simply outrageous. In the circumstances, I advised the gentlemen to erect their own lines, which they are now doing in order to connect themselves with a town in my electorate, and when the work is finished, instead of having, to pay £30or£40a year to the Department, they will have to pay only£4 5s. a year. That simply shows the difference between private enterprise and governmental management. It indicates the utter absurdity of the way in which the Telephone Department is conducted in this respect. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Then the honorable member does not believe in Socialism? {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I do not believe in Socialism of that kind. I believe in Socialism that may benefit the whole of the people. This kind of Socialism is an illustration of what the other kind of Socialism' would do; instead of benefiting the people, it would injure them. I was informed by the officers of the Department that the charge which they make for private telephones is fixed by the aggregate cost of maintaining the lines in all the States. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- They do not know what the cost is. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I do not think that they do. They informed me that the cost is very much greater in Queensland and Western Australia than in New South Wales and Victoria, and that, therefore, they cannot make differential charges. They have to bring down the charges in Western Autralia andQueensland, and put up the charges in Victoria and New South Wales. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- We want that statement confirmed. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I cannot say whether the statement is true or not. But, according to the officers a part of the extra cost in Queensland and Western Australia falls upon New South Wales and Victoria. They charge 25s. a year for the maintenance of a mile of wire, as long as it is used. Although they may put twenty wires on the same posts, still they charge 25s. a year per mile for the maintenance of each line of wire. From this case, honorable members will see how the telephone system is being conducted, and what an injury it is doing to outlying districts. Only the other day, a gentleman who lives about twelve miles from Armidale, in my electorate, told me that it would cost him about *£20* a year to be connected with the telephone system, because he would have to pay 25s. a year per mile for the maintenance of the line. I believe, with the honorable member for Wentworth, that the officers of the Department really do not know what the cost of telephone lines is. I took the number of miles which a maintenance man had to look after in one part of my electorate. I ascertained what he cost the Department per year, and I found that it did not amount to 25s. per mile, or anything like that sum. He can look after half-a-dozen lines in the same time as he can look after one or two. I call the attention of the Acting PostmasterGeneral to this matter. I am afraid that he has not much time in which to take action, because we are informed that the Postmaster-General is on the coast; but he would make a name for himself throughout the interior districts of all the States by taking steps to reduce these charges, and bring telephones within the reach of the men in those districts. I wish to refer now to the carriage of mails in country districts. Very often a number of persons who are living at some distance from a town get a mail run along, and in many cases they are called upon to bear a certain proportion of the cost. That is a charge which should not be made against them. We talk of penny postage to people in all directions. In the city we take the letters to the doors of the people, not once, but two or three times a day ; but in the case of men who have gone out to settle upon the land another system is pursued by the Department. It . is outrageous that where£39 a year has to be paid by the Department for a mail service, a third of the cost should be demanded from the settlers on the route. No matter what the loss on these services may be, I think that it should be borne by the general revenue. I do not believe that a voice would be raised here against the adoption of that course, because it would promote the interests of those persons who are isolated from all that which makes life pleasant, and who only occasionally are able to get a newspaper or letter by the present means. If this great socialistic concern is to be carried on for the benefit of the people, it should be managed for the benefit of the people in the country, as well as in the city. We are told that the object of Socialism! is to improve the position of all the people. Here is an opportunity for the Labour Party to practise Socialism in a right way. They call this a socialistic enterprise, but it is not carrying out Socialism properly. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- What is Socialism? {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I think that Socialism is for a man to get all he can for himself. At any rate, the Labour Partyhave a chance now to express their views, because men like myself have no influence with this Ministry. The moment we take up a proposal the Ministers set up their backs, and are determined that it shall notbe carried out. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Did I not meet the deputy leader of the Opposition this afternoon in regard to the export of butter ? {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I do not know, as I was not here. I hope that, in the interests of men living in the interior districts, the honorable member, for Maranoa will bring this grievance under the notice of his leader in caucus, and that they will insist upon fair treatment being meted out, and upon the loss, if any, being borne by the whole community. There would be only a very small sum for each person in the cities and towns to bear. I want honorable members, at any rate those who are here, to look at this matter on right lines, and try to do what they can to help the people in the country districts. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- How can we, when the honorable member is on the wrong track? {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- I am on the right track, but, instead of seeking to help these persons, the honorable member votes against his own convictions, because of the decision of the caucus. I do not wish to be dragged into anything of that kind. I have no wish to detain the 'House longer, but I should like to say that what we need to develop in this community is a spirit of self-reliance in our people, and that the present Ministry are not attempting to do. To get back to the Commerce Act, I might remind the Government that the Tasmanian people made their own arrangements for the export of apples to England. They did not ask the Commonwealth to step in and assist them. The men who send apples from Tasmania are prepared to take all the risk, and all they ask the Commonwealth Government to do is to leave them alone. The one State that is continually calling for all kinds of Government interference, and is always- complaining of her want of prosperity and loss of trade, is the State in which this Parliament meets. This State is always seeking to use her influence here to get all sorts of restrictions passed in the interests of her people. They have been spoon-fed all their years, and have never shown themselves reliant and strong. Whilst we have a Ministry seeking by every means to destroy the selfreliance of the people we shall have the same state of things continuing in the future, and, instead of growing to be strong, healthy, and powerful, as we should, we shall stand as a spectacle for the nations. I noticed that a firm in Brisbane was prosecuted recently for selling an article, supposed to be a medicine, that would cure all the ills that flesh is heir to. It was discovered that that medicine contained 42 per cent, of alcohol, and it was evidently used as a means of getting behind the licensing law. If the Minister has the power under the Commerce Act, and I think he has, he should stop the importation of such stuff as that. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- So he will, perhaps. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- When the Commerce Bill was before the House I objected to what the Minister desired to do. The honorable gentleman desired only to stop the importation of such an article unless a proper label was on it. I say that anything that is injurious to the health of the people should not be allowed to come in, no matter what label is ora it. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- If it can be stopped under those conditions. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- The idea of the Minister, and of some members of the Labour Party also, was that such articles should be prevented from coming into the Commonwealth unless they were properly labelled; but the honorable gentleman says that if the goods have applied to them a proper description he will allow them to come in, although they may sap the health and strength of the people. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- No, no; that is not right. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr LONSDALE: -- What we desired, and what we voted for, was that importations that would be injurious to the health of the community should be destroyed or sent back to the place from which they came. If the Minister will follow that course, instead of fooling about with impossible butter grading, he might do some good for this community. I hope Ministers will take notice of the remarks which have been made, especially in connexion with mails and telephones, and will endeavour, by giving them better facilities, to make it easier for the people in the country districts to carry on their correspondence with the various large centres with which they may be connected. {: #subdebate-20-0-s6 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE:
Maranoa .- I knew the honorable member for New England only wanted warming up to let us hear what he had to say, and we have since listened to remarks from him on the subject of brain and muscle. He has told us that brain should be treated in the same way as muscle, and that there should be no grading between them. I ask the honorable member whether, as a contractor, he paid as much for muscle as for brain? I venture to say that he did not. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- I paid a man according to his value. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Of course, the honorable member shirks and shuffles about when he is pinned to a definite question. He knows very well that when he employed a tradesman whose work required the application of brains, he had to pay him a tradesman's wages, and that he did not pay a navvy the same wages as he paid to a carpenter, engine-fitter, painter, or' any other tradesman whose work, to ' be properly done, required the application of skill and1 brains. He paid a navvy only for the work he did with his muscle. It is all very well for the honorable member to speak of officers in the Clerical Division getting the minimum of £II 0, the same as officers in the General Division, but he knows perfectly well that under the Act it is strictly laid down that officers of the Clerical Division must pass a clerical examination, whilst officers of the General Division are required to know only the four simple rules of arithmetic, to be able to read, and to write from dictation. The honorable member spoke of men away in the back blocks, and I should like to know to what he refers. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- To men up in the Maranoa district {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Every clerical officer in that district who wishes to get the salary of ;£ito has only to apply to the Public Service Commissioner, and he is given a chance to pass an examination. All that he is required to show by the examination, to qualify him for the higher salary, is that he knows something about the work he is doing. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I beg the honorable member's pardon. I am sure of it, because I have the questions and answers in the case of two examinations that took place during the recess. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- Then the examination has been modified. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I ask the honorable member if he ever saw one of these examination papers? He makes the statement that the paper is so difficult that officers in the bush! are unable to pass it, because they have too much work to do. If is my experience that! the men in the bush offices have more time on their hands than have those in town and city offices. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- They have not the opportunity of getting coached up which men in the cities and towns have. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- If they have once passed the clerical examination which they must' pass to enable them to enter the Service, they should want no coaching. If I had education sufficient to enable me to pass the clerical examination for entry into the Commonwealth Service, I should want no more coaching. The only thing they are asked to do to qualify them for the salary of ^110 is to prove their competence for the work they are doing. The honorable member for Cowper referred to the Commerce Act when the Minister of Trade and Customs was temporarily absent from the chamber. I hope that what he accused the Minister of doing is not' true, because, if it is, the action alleged to be taken will bring the whole of this legislation into ridicule, and will render the operation of the Commerce Act a regular farce. The honorable member charged the Minister with having issued a regulation requiring, potatoes to be washed in order that it might be possible to discriminate between black, pink, and white, skin potatoes. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Surely the honorable member did not say that ? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I have only the statement of the honorable member for Cowper for it, and if that statement be true, I ask the Minister not to attempt to enforce such regulations, because to do so would be simply to make a farce of the whole 836 *Supply* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *(Formal).* concern. The whole of the regulations under the measure will be the subject of contempt and ridicule, and if the honorable member for Cowperhas correctly described them, they would richly deserve to be. On the subject of the answering of questions by Ministers, I should like to point out that the putting of questions is one of the privileges of private members, no matter on which side of the House they may sit. Our position in the House to-day might be occupied by honorable members opposite a tittle later. We have all had a turn so far in the cold shades of opposition. When honorable members put questions on the notice-paper, they do not do so for the fun of the thing. They expect answers to their questions; but, in many cases, all they get is " Yes " or " No." When an honorable member asks a question of a Minister, he should get a reasonable and proper answer. Take my own case to-day. I had some questions on the notice-paper, and I certainly do not consider that they were answered satisfactorily. I asked' - {: type="1" start="9"} 0. Have any of the present Commandants passed the examination for Lieutenant-Colonel ? 1. If so, who are they? The answer I received was this - 9 and 10. With one exception (when the appointment was made by the late Minister) the present Commandants held the substantive rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, or higher rank prior to the coming into force of the Commonwealth Defence Act and Regulations, and under the previous Regulations they were not required to pass any examination for that rank. That is not an answer to the questions I asked. It is an absolute evasion of those questions. I wished to know how many of the present commandants had passed the examination for lieutenant-colonel. It would have been a very simple matter to have said that one, two, three, four, five, or six, had done so, or that none had done so. I got no answer to the question as to who, if any, had passed the examination. I am told that one commandant passed the examination. I want to know who that one commandant is. If the officers occupying these positions have not passed the examination for lieutenant-colonel, they are not fit to occupy them, and have no business to be there. Later on, I asked the question - >Did General Hutton leave on record an unfavourable report of the abilities of Colonel Hoad, and what was such report? I remember seeing in the *Age* and *Argus,* just before Major-General Hutton left, the statement that a report had been issued by him to the Minister on giving up command of the Commonwealth Forces, and yet the answer I got to my question is - {: type="1" start="11"} 0. Before leaving for England, MajorGeneral Hutton, at the request of the Minister, made confidential reports on all the officers of the Permanent Military Forces of the Commonwealth. The Minister considers it inadvisable, in the interests of the Service, to make public these confidential reports. Before Colonel Hoad. was appointed Senior Member of the Military Board, the Minister then in charge of the Department had in his possession the confidential reports made by Major-General Hutton on all the Permanent Officers. This was not a confidential report, because, as I have shown, it was published in the press, where anybody could see it. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- The honorable member does not believe in Major-General Hutton ? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I do not say that. I think that Major-General Hutton is a good soldier, only he does not understand the Australian sentiment. Major-General Hutton, in speaking of Colonel Hoad, said he was " the most incapable officer I have ever had to do with." {: .speaker-KQ4} ##### Mr McColl: -- I think Major-General Hutton wrote a lie when he wrote that. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Major-General Hutton was imported from Home as Commanding Officer, as the very best man we could get, and at a high salary ; and that is the opinion he expressed of Colonel Hoad. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- Why did Major-General Hutton appoint Colonel Hoad? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- The honorable member had better ask Major-General Hutton that question ; I am merely informing honorable members what was said by that officer, and showing that this cannot be regarded as a confidential report. All I ask is that the Government should lay the report on the table, and allow honorable members to draw their own conclusions. If there is anything in that report in favour of Colonel Hoad, or, on the other hand, anything to damn that officer, let it1 be known to honorable members. If what I am saying is not true, let the Government- let the Prime Minister or the Minister of Defence - deny it. So far as Colonel Hoad is concerned, I entertain no personal feeling whatever. If Colonel Hoad is a competent officer, by all means let him have this appoimtment. I am now speaking on behalf of the Commonwealth ; and I say that if the Defence Forces are to be a benevolent asylum, let us so declare at once. There are a lot of incapable officers commanding forces, who ought to be retired ; and we cannot shut our eyes to the fact. I do not wish to name any particular officers,- but any one who knows anything of the Defence Forces, knows that there are men in command in the different States who are practically incompetent. If there is anything to be said in favour of Colonel Hoad's appointment to the InspectorGeneralship, we have a right to know what it is. I have challenged the Government on what I have read in the public press, to place this report upon the table of the House. {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr Kennedy: -- That cannot be done if it is a confidential report. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Then why does the report appear in the press? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- Does the honorable member for Maranoa believe all that appears in the press? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Fortunately for myself, I do not; but what I have read are statements made about an officer who may be appointed to the most responsible position in the Commonwealth Defence Forces. As I said before, I am only speaking in the interests of the community ; I do not care twopence who gets the appointment. So far as my personal feeling is concerned, I should like Colonel Hoad to have the position if he is competent. But I am not going to allow my sentimental feelings to run away with my good conscience, or what I consider to be my good conscience. So far as Colonel Hoad is concerned, I have nothing whatever to say against him. I should like to see an Australian officer appointed if he be competent. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- In what way is Colonel Hoad incapable? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I have seen Colonel Hoad's record, and there is nothing in it in my opinion to prove that he is competent to take charge of the Military Forces. The honorable member for Dalley will bear me out in what I am now going to say. General Kelly-Kenny- {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- Do not be personal. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- What does the honorable member mean ? General Kelly-Kenny's tactics in the Imperial military forces were considered perfection. On one particular occasion, when a great battle took place in New South Wales, one ofl the charges hurled . against the honorable member for Dalley was that he had used his own brains and had taken his commanding officer prisoner - that he had not fought the battle according to General Kelly-Kenny's tac tics. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- That was not a matter of tactics, but of strategy. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- At any rate, the honorable member for Dalley outflanked his commanding officer. The book written by General Kelly-Kenny, of the Imperial Forces, was sent all over the world, and his tactics were regarded as those of the defence forces of all British-speaking communities. What happened? When General Kelly-Kenny was put in the field in South Africa, and told to move the forces, he proved one of the most incompetent generals there. Then, again, General Gatacre, when fighting in the Colesberg Ranges, was looked upon, with his Indian experiences, as one of the best officers in the service; and it is well known what happened to him. General Gatacre did not cause one disaster, but four disasters in succession, and consequently he was superseded. I have been through all the country in which General Gatacre fought in South Africa, and I know it as well as I know Melbourne. These men, who were considered the very cream of the Imperial Service, made mistakes. The only qualification, so far as I can see, that Colonel Hoad possesses), as the result of his whole career, is that he commanded the Australian soldiers who were invalided, and the nondescript Australian brigades in South Africa. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- Colonel Hoad did very good work. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I have no doubt. But I can tell honorable members how it is that some officers claim that they have held commanding positions in South Africa. In the Imperial Service there was a great shortage of officers, owing to so many being shot or invalided, and others had to be found to fill their places. I know of one colonial officer who was given charge of a field battery in South Africa simply because he happened to be the senior officer on the ground, and there was no other artillery officer to take the position. This Australian officer was, under these circumstances, asked to take charge until an officer of higher position wa§ obtained; and yet he now claims that he was in command of a battery of artillery in the South African war. If that be his qualification, I might make exactly the same claim for myself, for at the battle of Ingogo I was the only gunner left standing, thus being in command of the battery, which was worked with the help of the Rifle Brigade. But I did not come back a colonel, and pose as a military authority. What I have stated is the only qualification I can see in the whole of Colonel Hoad's career to justify his being pitch-forked into this position. I say it is a scandal in the Commonwealth, and nothing else. I have received two anonymous letters - one from an officer in Melbourne, and another from an officer in Sydney - the contents of which strike me as1 being very pertinent to this question. Both these officers say that they cannot get on in the service simply because they do not belong to the Australian Natives' Association. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Apparently the idea of Australia for the Australians is being worked. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Where it suits. I can show the inconsistency of the Government in regard to this claim of Australia for the Australians. I make these remarks with all due respect to every Australian, because after twenty-four or twenty-five years in the country - practically a lifetime - and as the father of some Australians, I look upon myself as an Australian. But as an imported man, I cannot forget the country which gave me birth and nurtured me. If my country wanted my services to-morrow I should leave Australia and proffer those services. I cannot, however, allow sentiment to run away with me in connexion with this cry of "Australia for the Australians." If the Government are consistent in their attitude in this connexion, why do they not put an Australian at the head of affairs in New Guinea? Can it be said that out of 4,000,000 of people, there is not a man with brains enough to administer the Government of that Possession ? There are many thousands of men who could do that work ; and yet, for a Possession which costs Australia from £20,000 to £25,000 a year, the Government are importing a man as Administrator. The position of InspectorGeneral will cost thousands of pounds, and we spend nearly £1,000,000 a year on the Defence Forces ; and yet, while the Government find it possible to obtain in Australia an Inspector-General, they go abroad to find an Administrator for New Guinea. The idea is preposterous ! " Australia for the Australians " is certainly a good protectionist policy ; and I should recommend a ring fence around "Australia, which, while keeping Australians in, may keep other people out, and thus enable us to dispense with the Defence Forces. If we are to have defences, let us have them; but we have not them yet. We have spent millions- on the defences, and yet they are in a worse position now than when the Commonwealth took .over the administration. It was the honorable member for Parramatta,. I think, who referred to the appointment of Major-General Hutton at an exorbitantsalary, with travelling expenses to enable him. to go through the country and prepare a proper scheme of defence. What happened after that scheme was prepared? After all the expenditure, the scheme had to be sent home to the old country in charge of Colonel Bridges. I believe Colonel Bridges to be an officer in every sense of the word - a thorough soldier, and the only soldier of high rank we have in the Commonwealth to-day. I know there are a lot of young men coming on - there are two in Queensland, and three or four in Sydney - who will be a credit to the Forces. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Colonel Bridges rose fromthe ranks. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I am satisfied that ColonelBridges is a soldier, and a scientific soldier, in every sense of the word; and if he were given the command, we should get some value for our money. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- Does Colonel Bridgesbelong to the Australian Natives' Association ? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I have not the slightest idea. So far as that association is concerned, I give the information I have merely for what it is worth. The *Herald* wound up its article by presenting another qualification for the officer in command. **Mr. Speaker,** I would sooner see you Commandant than I would Colonel Hoad ; because I am satisfied you would not make a mess of things - that you would leave matters as they are. God knows what will happen when Colonel Hoad gets there ! We know some of the things which have occurred under that officer. Anybody who stuck up for, or was a favorite of MajorGeneral Hutton, has since been passed over, whereas all who stuck up for Colonel' Hoad have - since he got his seat on the Board - and I have watched this very quietly - fallen into good positions. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- The honorable member ought to make a specific charge. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- If the Government will' grant me an inquiry, I shall make more charges and substantiate them. No one knows better about these forces than the honorable member for Laanecoorie. What *Supply* [28 June, 1906.] *(Formal)..* 839 is the good of that honorable member talking as he is talking now, when we recollect that he stood up in his place here and declared that two officers whom he knew - one Captain in particular-had been passed over on account of social influence? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- That had nothing whatever to do with Colonel Hoad. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- But it is peculiar that there should be charges against somebody else of using social influence. I am prepared to substantiate every word I say. Honorable members have only to carry their minds back, to know that Colonel Hoad and Major-General Hutton were at daggers drawn. I am informed - this is only hearsay - that for some time before Major-General Hutton left Australia he and) Colonel Hoad were not on speaking terms. Fancy the Chief of Staff and the General Officer Commanding not on speaking terms ! Who suffers from all this sort of thing? The Forces of the Commonwealth, of course. Is that a desirable state of things? I maintain that it is not. I think that it was Lt.-Colonel Antill and General French who spoke at the dinner to which I have referred, and a great deal of what they said there has since come true. If General French had stood his ground, instead of running away, he could have proved a good many of his statements, and if we only wait long enough, I am certain that every one of them will be proved, with, perhaps, the exception that some waster from South Australia will not be appointed Inspector-General. With regard to my charge against the Government about this confidential report, I speak of what I have read in the press. I desire that Colonel Hoad, like any other man, shall have a square deal. I have no feeling against him, and wish him well. {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr Storrer: -- Then, why does the honorable member make these charges against him? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- In the interests of the Commonwealth. Do we wish to make our Defence Forces a charitable institution for wasters ? {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr Storrer: -- That will not happen while we have a good man at the head of affairs. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- If the honorable member considers Colonel Hoad a good man, let him get up and point out bis good qualities, and, if he disproves my statement, I will withdraw every word that I have said against that officer.. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- The honorable member is not making this a personal matter. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- No. I wish the best man available to be chosen. It does not matter two straws to me who is appointed, so long as we have a competent man at the head of affairs, and, if it can be proved that Colonel Hoad is a competent man, I shall be willing to congratulate him upon getting the position of Inspector-General. {: #subdebate-20-0-s7 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- We can all congratulate the honorable member for Maranoa on the fearless way in which he has expressed his opinions, even though some of us may not agree with him on all points; for he spoke from absolute conviction, and without ulterior motives. I wish to indorse what he said with reference to the way in which the Government have of late avoided giving straightforward answers to pertinent questions. To-day the honorable member asked a series of questions which, if they had been truthfully answered, would have shown how complete is the present disorganization of our Defence Department. The Government did hot hesitate to give evasive answers, in order to conceal this state of affairs. The extraordinary thing about the matter to me is that they actually seem proud of their powers of evasion. Indeed, the more misleading the answers given, the better they are pleased. It may occasionally be contrary to the public interest to answer questions relating to Defence, but, when that is necessary, the Government should accept the responsibility of declining to answer. No consideration of public interest requires a Minister to mislead the House, or to give evasive answers to honest questions. Not only are the Government prepared to ignore their responsibilities in this matter, but we have the admission of the Minister of Defence that they have suppressed information of the utmost importance. Speaking to an interviewer, the Minister said yesterday - to quote the report in to-day's *Argus -* "Why should the Council of Defencehave been called together oftener?" .... "They are a council that advises on questions of policy, and only need meet when policy is being discussed. During my administration they have met twice - on the same question. They met to consider Captain Creswell's report - the one recommending a fleet. Then they met again to consider the report of Colonel Bridges on the same subject. And the two reports were so diametrically opposite that everybody was in a fog. The Government printed the report of Captain Creswell, and laid it before Parliament and the press ; but for many months past they have suppressed the report of Colonel Bridges, their own Chief of Intelligence, who condemned Captain Creswell's proposals. Was that an open way in which to treat Parliament and the country? The Government should not have printed one report without printing the other. Do they regard the question of defence as a party one ; or have they handed over their responsibilities in this matter to the *Age* newspaper? Whatever may be the position, the state of affairs is a sorry one, and, I hope, will soon be corrected. A good deal has been said lately about the failure of the Board system in connexion with the administration of the Defence Department ; but I ask honorable members whether the failure, which is apparent, has been due to the inherent defects of that system, or to the helpless administration of it which we have had during the past year. The first argument in favour of the Board system was that it would allow the proper allotment of responsibility in each branch of the Defence Department, while permitting an absolutely impartial report upon the administration of that Department to be furnished to Parliament by an independent officer. The second good point claimed for it was that it would keep Parliament in closer touch with the affairs of the- Department than would be possible if the system of a General Officer Commanding were retained. Its third good point was that it would insure a continuity of policy. On the other side, it was argued that, in a small service like ours, it would always be difficult to find a sufficient number of expert officers to fill the positions which would be created if the Board system were adopted. Parliament determined to adopt the Board system, and the best officers available here were appointed to the positions of InspectorGeneral and members of the Council and Boards. But we have not given them a free hand, and we have gone to no trouble to train up successors to them. The Council has had no opportunity to properly exercise its functions, and the InspectorGeneral has been hampered by the lack of necessary assistance. We have bought a ship, but have refused to equip it with sails, and now we are asked to raise the wind to direct a gearless vessel. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- What assistance has been refused .to the Inspector-General ? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Ordinary clerical assistance necessary for the proper performance of his duties. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- What clerical assistance has he? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- He has one secretary, who travels with him ; but he states in his report that it is essential that he should have more assistance, unless he is to be turned into an inspector of units of companies, instead of an Inspector-General of the working of the Department. I recommend the report to the honorable member's consideration. In spite of the Board system, we have now no continuity iri our Defence policy, and, indeed, no policy at all. Parliament has less knowledge of the working of the Defence Department than it had before. Who is to blame for this ? Whose fault is it that the Council of Defence has met only twice during the administration of the present Minister? Questions of the most pressing importance have arisen this year which the Council should have considered in all details, and discussed with the utmost care. There was, for instance, the question of the adaptability of the Swiss system to Australian conditions. On the Minister's own showing, the Council has not considered that question at all. Why has the Council not met? 'Is it the fault of die Council, or of the Minister, whose chief anxiety is to get back to his native town every weekend? Whose fault is iti that we have no Defence policy? Is it the fault of the Council, which has had no opportunity to meet, or of the Minister, who does not possess a sufficient sense of responsibility to make him call its members together ? Whose fault is it that the administration has not upheld the regulations of the Department, and that the service is in a state of disorganization and unrest, because of maladministration? Is it the fault of the Board system, or of the Minister? I recommend that question to the serious consideration of honorable members. The blame for all these things undeniably rests with our method of choosing Ministers and allotting portfolios. The weakest man in the Ministry is, under present conditions of Government, considered the best to fling into the Department that most needs strength in its administration. This Government had but few supporters in the Senate - I think four all told. From these they had to choose two as Ministers, and to one they allotted this *Supply* [28 June, 1906.] *(Formal).* 841 most important portfolio. Thus it is that the Defence Department has been reduced to such a hopeless pass. I do not say that the whole fault lies with the present Minister, because the Department was in anything but perfect order when he took office. I contend, however, that in considering a question of national moment such as the defence of Australia, it is necessary to be honest, and to ask " Whose is the fault ?" Does the fault lie with the system of administration or with the persons whom we have chosen to preside over the Department? If we do not like the system of control by Boards, let us honestly confess that we have made a mistake, and frankly retrace our steps. For my own part, I do not think that we have yet given the Board system a fair trial. If there is anything I deprecate in this connexion, it is constant change from one system to another, instead of having a settled system of administration. I think that, now that we have inaugurated the Board system, we ought to give it a chance of proving itself. If, after a fair test, it is shown to be deficient, by all means let us make a change. We should not, however, adopt an inept compromise between control by a General Officer Commanding and control by a Board. We do not want a " Poobah " General Officer Commanding, nor should we permit the Inspector-General of the Forces, as a member of the Board, to report upon his own work. {: .speaker-JUJ} ##### Mr Cameron: -- Is it. proposed to do that ? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- That has been suggested by the newspaper whose wishes are usually law to the present Government. It has been suggested that the new InspectorGeneral should have a position on the Board. In other words, it is suggested that the Inspector-General should be the impartial critic of his own actions. What a hopeless subversion of the underlying principle of the Board system would thereby be involved ! It is the first duty of any Government to put our defencesin sound order. The Minister of Defence seems to think that it is not necessary for the Council of Defence to meet often. Questions of the greatest interest and importance in regard to defence matters have arisen in various States during the past year, and should have been immediately submitted to this great advising Council upon all questions of policy. When the Minister cannot see the necessity for frequent meet ings of the Council of Defence, he shows that he has no appreciation of the duties of his high position. Let us have no more of this nerveless control of the country's most important Department. I do not wish to say any more upon that point. The honorable member for Maranoa dealt at considerable length - and, I believe, as the result of the firmest conviction on his part - with the question of who should, in the interests of the Commonwealth, be appointed to the position of Inspector-General of the Forces. Like the honorable member, I approach this question in no personal spirit. I havemet Colonel Hoad - to whom I may be pardoned for referring, seeing that his name was raised by the honorable member for Maranoa - on two or three occasions, and what I have seen of him I have liked. I think, however, that personal regard should in all cases give way to considerations of public good. I feel that the one great essential is that the Inspector-General should be above all political influences, and absolutely fearless. If there is anything, to my mind, which weighs against Colonel Hoad, it is that he, more than any other officer in the Public Service of Australia, seems to make use of political influence. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I believe that what I am saying is true. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- But the honorable member should be sure before he says it. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I am quite sure in my own mind. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- Would the honorable member give us some instances to support his contention? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Does the honorable. member call upon me to give instances, when he notices that the *Age* is daily acting as the spokesman for Colonel Hoad? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- That is not political influence. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The *Age* absolutely dictates the policy of the Government. Does it not exert political influence? {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr Kennedy: -- I thought it was contended that the Labour Party ran this Government. Mr.KELLY.- I think that the honorable member for Laanecoorie will be the first to admit that the *Age* exercises an enormous influence - an overshadowing influence - in Victorian politics. 842 *Supply* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *(Formal).* {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- I do not call the *Age's* advocacy of Colonel Hoad's claims the exercise of political influence. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Does the honorable member deny the influence of the *Age* in Victorian politics? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- I am not discussing that point. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I know that the honorable member would not for a moment deny it. The *Age* has strongly backed up the candidature of Colonel Hoad. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- That is press influence. Give us some instances in which Colonel Hoad has attempted to use political influence ? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Does the honorable member really want me to give him an instance ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Then, since I have been pressed, I shall give an instance, although I am reluctant to introduce personal matters into this discussion. I met Colonel Hoad for the first time on a railway platform, when I was on my way to Sydney, and he was on his way to Japan. I spoke to him for a few minutes, and liked him. I amnot sure whether it was a letter or a wire that I received from Colonel Hoad, before he left Rockhampton, wishing me farewell. Does the honorable member suggest that it was Colonel Hoad's intense appreciation of my personal qualities that led him to send me that telegram? The honorable member has asked me to explain what I mean, and I mention that as one instance. We do not want, in the position of an impartial administrator of the Defence Department, any one who pays any regard whatever to politicians or political developments. The InspectorGeneral must be an absolutely fearless critic of all that is happening in his great Department. {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr Kennedy: -- That telegram appears to have affected the honorable member very considerably. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Personal considerations never affect me in the discharge of my public duty. There are some persons whom they may affect, and I honestly believe that some persons have been so affected. {: .speaker-KQ4} ##### Mr McColl: -- In future we shall have to be careful when we are civil to the honorable member. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I had no wish to enter upom this question, but the honorable member for Laanecoorie has forced me into my present position. Every one who has a good knowledge of the inner working of the Defence Department must be perfectly aware that what I say is correct. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- What the honorable member has said will db more harm to himself than to Colonel Hoad. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr Knox: -- I think that the honorable member will be sorry that he put such a construction upon a kindly act. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I do not see how it is possible to adopt the construction that honorable members are placing upon it. However, I shall not labour the matter ; we can agree to differ. The honorable' member for Maranoa and myself feel that, when we see a powerful newspaper urging the appointment of certain persons, it is necessary to stand! up in our places in Parliament and say what we know about the matter. I do not care if certain honorable members feel that I have done something which does not reflect credit upon myself. I shall always stand up and do what I consider to be my duty, and, with all respect to honorablemembers, I cannot accept them as the keepers of my conscience in a matter of this kind. I wish to say this about Colonel' Hoad : I believe that he is a very able administrator, but I believe, further, that he is constitutionally averse to accepting responsibility. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- He has always shirked it. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I make this statement with a knowledge of the Department, and without any wish to injure it. I think that Colonel Hoad is an able officer, and I hope that he will rise to a high position in the Commonwealth Service. But, whilst admitting all Colonel Head's good qualities, I contend that the disqualifications to which I have referred absolutely unfit him for the position to which he aspires. In conclusion, I wish to ask the Government if they are yet in possession of the report of the Imperial Defence Committee, or whether they have received any forecast of the report? *I* think that certain recommendations are sure to be made. In my opinion, the Committee are certain to recommend that we should convert a number of our slow-firing hydropneumatic ordnance into quick-firing guns.. The conversion of these weapons will involve a considerable amount of labour, and I wish to know whether the Government are taking any steps to prepare themselves for the changes which they know are sure to become necessary. One of the strongest *Supply* [28 June, 1906.] *(Formal).* 843 recommendations that we have ever had with regard to our Defence Department was that made by Major-General **Sir Edward** Hutton as to the necessity for creating a reserve for the Royal Australian Artillery. I hope that the Government are not losing sight of this question. I bad several discussions with the Minister representing the Minister of Defence at the end of last session, and urged upon him a scheme for creating a reserve for the Royal Australian Artillery, practically without incurring additional expense. I should like to ask him whether he has done anything further in that direction. My suggestion was to utilize the anxiety which so many people in Australia evince to enter the Police Forces of the States for the national benefit. My scheme practically is to make some arrangement between the Commonwealth Government and the States authorities, whereby the one authority will give an undertaking to the States that will satisfy them that the men who are enlisted in the Royal Australian Artillery will be the type of men whom the Police Departments of the States require; and that, on the other hand, the Police Departments of the States will give an undertaking that they will always give priority of opportunity, when vacancies occur, to men who have been three years and upwards in the Royal Australian Artillery. Then my proposal is, that these men, having served in the Royal Australian Artillery, and having entered the Police Force of one of the States, shall continue on the reserve of the Royal Australian Artillery. One week in every year they would pass with the colours. The honorable member for Maranoa will agree with me, I think, that three years of training would be sufficient to turn out a thoroughly efficient gunner. Mr.P age. -Hear,hear. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The men having been made efficient, a week's training every year would be sufficient to keep them efficient. The great point about this scheme is this - that in the Commonwealth, by a curious coincidence, we have our important fixed defences close to our great centres of population where the great bulk of the Police Force is stationed. So that the reserve of the Royal Australian Artillery serving in the Police Force of a State would be absolutely on the spot for service with the colours when their services were required. {: .speaker-JUJ} ##### Mr Cameron: -- Who would guard our cities if the police were taken away for a week? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The honorable member surely does not suppose that we should take away all the police at once. We should take them in batches for training. {: .speaker-JUJ} ##### Mr Cameron: -- A good many of them would be taken away from police duty, at any rate {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- We should relieve some of them, certainly. But my honorable friend does not seem to be able to see the bundle of hay because of the needle. His is the smallest possible objection that could be raised to the scheme. The one great difficulty is to reconcile the Federal and States Departments, and to induce them to work together for the common interest. But I am satisfied, from inquiries which I have made, that the States Police Departments will probably be willing to come into some such arrangement when once they are satisfied that the class of men enlisted in the Royal Australian Artillery will, in future, be the class of men whom they require for the police. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- In case of any civil trouble, could not citizens be enrolled as special constables? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- In England they prefer military men on the reserve for the Police Force {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Of course, they do, and that, I think, would be the case here. The great point to remember is that it is impossible to make an efficient gunner in a day. A gunner is a highly trained man. You can create a special constable in a few days who will be quite good enough to tide over a week or two at a time of emergency. But you cannot create a gunner if an emergency arises. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Does the honorable member think that the Police Force should be reserved for ex-artillerymen? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I do. If we could do that, I think it would be the best thing possible for us. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- I tried to get that done last year, and the honorable member voted against me. I tried to get the regulations altered for that purpose. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The honorable member is prepared to say that last year he was prepared to amend every regulation in the Military Department, but, as a matter of fact, *Hansard* shows that he simply proposed to deal with one or two matters. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- I mentioned that matter especially. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Perhaps the honorable member will get up and explain his scheme. I do not wish to quarrel with him as to the method by which we should get these things done. Personally, I think that the Government of the day is the authority that should do them. I do not think that either the Honorable member or myself wants any kudos for this sort of thing. All that we want is to get our idea realized. This is a good thing. We can create a reserve practically without additional expense if only the Government will set to work to bring it about. I recommend the matter to the Minister's most earnest attention. {: #subdebate-20-0-s8 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
VicePresident of the Executive Council · Richmond · Protectionist -- Before making any reference to the speech of the honorable member who has just resumed his seat, I desire to say that matters in connexion with the Post Office, to which allusion has been made, are being attended to. The deputy leader) oj the Opposition has referred to sweating in the Sydney office. The honorable member for Bourke has made frequent representations to the Government with regard to sweating in the Melbourne office. Perhaps I may remark that it is not necessary to take up the time of this House with departmental matters that any honorable member may wish to bring under the notice of the Government; because I shall be very glad, without parliamentary reference, to attend to any complaint in- which wrong-doing is alleged, or to any claim which has legitimate merit behind it. I should not have risen at all to-night - because I think it is unwise to prejudice any case that is under consideration by discussion in this House - except for the frequent references which have been made during the debate to Colonel Hoad'. The honorable member who has just resumed his seat has found considerable fault with that officer, although he has given no reasonable grounds to the House for so doing. There is one thing which we should always remember, and' that is that we- in this House, meeting each other face to face, are always mmore or less prepared to defend our opinions and actions from attack. But we should always be careful not to strike at a a man who has no possible power of reply. We are all agreed upon that general principle. I am quite certain that the honorable member for Wentworth subscribes to it, and will agree with me "that when he makes statements with regard to Colonel Hoad, or any other officer, it is obligatory on him to prove them. The honorable member has alleged that Colonel Hoad is rather inclined to use political influence, and he tells us that he came to that conclusion for no better reason than that Colonel Hoad, when leaving for Japan, apparently being rather struck with the personal qualities of the honorable member, sent him a telegram bidding him farewell. I should regard an action of that kind as a delicate attention from one gentleman to another, and,- in any case, there ought to be better grounds than that for such an attack as the honorable member Kas made. But, sir, it really comes to this : that whatever the present Government does - whether it appoints Colonel Hoad as Inspector-General, or whether it does not appoint him - whatever appointment is made, some fault will be found with it. There is no Napoleon Bonaparte offering for the post of Inspector-General of the Australian Forces. It is not contended that any man of such marvellous qualifications is available, however much we should like to have such an officer at our command. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- What about the honorable gentleman' himself? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I am not available *I* Whatever appointment is made, to this or any other position - whether it be an Imperial officer or whether it be an officer of Australian birth - fault will be found with the decision of the Government. It is one of the reasons for the existence of the Opposition that it will find fault with the Government. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- But the principal attack has come from the honorable member for Maranoa, who is one of the strongest supporters of the Government. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I did not ' hear the whole of the honorable member's speech, but I am quite sure that it was distinguished by that reasonable style of delivery, and- couched in that mellifluous language, that are usual with him. The Opposition must find fault with the Government. Whatever it does, it must expect that a considerable amount of fault will be found with it. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- That is an encouragement of wrong-doing. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- That may be; but it is not possible for this Government to do wrong. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Will the Minister tell the House whether the statement which I made as to what Major-General Hutton said before leaving Australia is correct or not? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I am quite satisfied that any statement that the honorable member makes while he sits on this side of the House must be correct. With regard to the report to which reference has been made, I have not seen it. . {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Major-General Hutton said what the honorable member has stated. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I presume if what is alleged was said, it is capable of proof. Dealing with the question of Board *versus* individual control, I have often asked myself the question whether the Board system is the right one. There are a considerable number of people in Great Britain and in this country who are strongly in favour of the Board method. There are others who believe in the individual system. Macaulay said somewhere in his *Essays* - I do not remember exactly where - that it was not possible to have a successful army under the control of a municipal council. I have come to the conclusion that if it were possible for Australia to obtain the services of a man capable of doing the work, and possible for Australia to be capable of trusting him to do it, that would be the best solution. But what is our experience with regard to these questions? Major-General Hutton came out to this country possessed of a considerable amount of experience. But how did he leave this country ? {: .speaker-KQ4} ##### Mr McColl: -- With a considerable amount of odium. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- He was brought out to Australia with a great reputation behind him. He was a man of considerable ability, and of tried courage. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr Liddell: -- He was a strong man, and that is why they did not like him. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- While I am well aware that fault can be found with the Board system, I must point out that the other system has not proved to be too satisfactory. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Did we not have the same kind of trouble in New South Wales with Major-General French ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Exactly; and I remember well that the same sort of experience to a less or greater degree has eventuated in New South Wales every time with regard to Imperial officers. They have always proved unsatisfactory in the opinion of some parties. I would also remind the honorable member for Wentworth that, whatever may be said against the Board system, he is responsible for the introduction of it - that is, responsible with his leader, the right honorable member for East Sydney, who was Prime Minister when the Board system was instituted. Honorable members who are not satisfied,' and who desire to go out of the country to find somebody to control our military affairs, should remember that a democracy is the worst form of government in the world for making war. If we had democracies in all countries we might have no more war, because we should forget how to prepare to fight. War cannot be carried on successfully under conditions where everybody insists upon knowing everything - on everything that "occurs being proclaimed to the world, and on your enemy being as well informed as to the movements of your army as you are yourself. I *may* observe that the same kind of trouble as has arisen in this country with regard to Imperial officers has also arisen in CanadaThere, some time ago, the Government had serious differences with a distinguished officer, Lord Dundonald {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- And previous to that they also had a quarrel with Major-General Hutton. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Just so. Only recently in India there has been trouble between Lord Kitchener and the former GovernorGeneral, Lord Curzon. There is constant quarrelling between the military and the civil power. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- The civil power must have control. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Yes, as a final resort. When it becomes a matter of controlling an army in a belligerent democracy the problem is stilL more difficult. I offer these suggestions to show the difficulty that besets this question. I ask those who are so satisfied with the old system to contemplate matters as they ate to-day. The honorable member for Wentworth believes that everything wrong in connexion with our Military Forces has happened since this Government came into office, and since the Board has been in existence. For a considerable number of years we have imported from Great Britain the ablest men we could get for the money, and with what result? After the occupancy of the highest post by these gentlemen for 846 *Supply* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *(Formal).* many decades - and able men many of them were - the result has been disorganization of the worst and most expensive kind. There are in existence about twenty kinds of guns. When this Government took office we found that the total number of modern rifles in the country was, I think, 40,000 or 50,000. There seems to have been little money available for any purpose of that kind while the management was under the control of these admittedly able military men. We had very few citizen soldiers. In a democracy I can understand the difficulty in regard to the finished article. A finished soldier will cost from *£120* to *£150a* year, but in times of peace a democracy will not pay for that class of training. The wiser course would be to increase the number very materially, and have what might be called a large, partially-paid citizen soldiery. Great scorn is heaped upon that idea by a considerable number of military men, but any one who has had the opportunity of reading Wellington's opinion about recently raised levies, and the statements made in later days by General Roberts, must come to the conclusion that a Government is acting wisely in endeavouring to provide a large reserve of fairly or partially-trained men, who are able to use a rifle, to be drawn upon in time of war. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- And to do what the recruits did in America. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -I do not for a moment compare a citizen force with a trained military force, any more than I would compare a trained man with a pugilist. The result brought about by the training of men - atoms all working together under control, and knowing what they are to do, and doing it promptly - must be exactly the same as the result brought about by the training of a raw horse to be eventually a racehorse. "Under the control of able officers from England, we have had but a very small citizen soldiery, a very few junior cadets, and no senior cadets. All these things are essential, but apparently they have not been dealt with as essentials by the able men we have had. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- What is it intended to do with the senior cadets? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- It is intended to train them, and we hope that eventually that will be the best recruiting ground we can have for younger officers. I do not desire to say any more with regard to this matter. I. have said enough to show honorable mem bers that the blame does not lie at the door of the present Government. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- The honorable gentleman has done very well, but he has not shown that. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I have shown that the state of things was worse before we came into office, and that during our time we have done much along the lines of definite progress. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Has the strength of the Forces increased? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I think it has increased, at any rate, it is on the up-grade: now. I do not wish to bring the Government too prominently into the discussion, because I feel that the question of defence ought to cause us to cast aside all obligations of party. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I meant, has the strength of the Forces increased since Federation was inaugurated? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I believe so. It certainly has increased during the past year or so. We are at a crucial period with regard to defence. The Government will be prepared to accept advice from any honorable member opposite, and, if it be proved to be wise, glad to act upon -it. We ask honorable members to approach the question of the defence of Australia in no captious way. Some of the inquiries which have taken place, and the questions which have been asked in the House, might have better been left alone. Let honorable members trust the Minister of Defence, and believe that he is desirous of doing the very best he can; let them not heckle him, but try to advise him ; let them not find fault ungenerously with him, but go to him individually, and point out plainly what they desire. I am quite satisfied that if they make any representations in the interest of the country, he will endeavour to meet their views. We know that there are two things which must be done. Our country must be developed and must be defended. I am not inconsiderate enough to say that the Opposition do not desire to defend the country in exactly the same way as we do. There is as much loyalty among honorable members opposite as there is on the Government side of the Chamber, and I hope that in approaching these problems, and the difficulty of an appointment such as will come under the purview of the Government, they will give us the benefit, not of their captious criticism, but of their reasonable aid. It does *Supply* [28 June, 1906.] *(Formal).* 847 appear to me that Australia, with a population of 4,000,000, ought very soon to be able to breed men fit to control its Forces. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- Oh, no. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- The native born, grant that, after all, we have only one test, and that is the test of merit and ability, and the best man for a position should get it. I would put no embargo upon a man because he was not an Australian, but if I had an Australian who was fit for the work, irrespective of any opposition, and any risk, I would give it to him, and expect to get the aid of all reasonable men in so doing. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Have we grown an Administrator for New Guinea? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I do not desire to enter into a dissertation in regard to problematical matters. I am speaking on general principles. The man who can best represent a district is one interested therein. And the man who will do best for a country is a man identified therewith. Whatever the country has to give should be given to a native-born citizen, if he has fitted himself for it. Given no advantage, but a fair field, if the native-born man is fit for a position, let him have it. I shall say no more now with regard to this question. I ask honorable members for a generous consideration of any action which the Government may take. We do not desire to avoid their criticism, but we ask them above all things to act fairly, reasonably, and honorably to men who are not here to defend themselves. {: #subdebate-20-0-s9 .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL:
Hunter .-I have listened with considerable pleasure to the able speech of the honorable gentleman who represents the Minister of Defence here. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- I think it was marked with political bias once or twice. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- I would not say that it was a speech marked with political bias, but I would say that it was a speech of a specious character. No 'doubt he would like to see the Opposition much more pacific than it is. But for what purpose does an Opposition exist if it is not to watch very carefully the action of those who are in power, and, if necessary, to attain its ends by heckling them ? I am very pleased indeed that the honorable member for Richmond is here, because I am particularly anxious to draw his attention to one or two matters connected with my electorate. It appears that grievance day is looked upon somewhat in the light of a joke; but the grievances which I have to ventilate are of a very serious kind. In the short speech of the honorable member for Richmond we have heard a great deal about the necessity of raising an. army of citizen soldiers, who would be capable of defending Australia in time of war. I was glad to hear the Minister say that, in his opinion, these men should be taught to shoot. Since the Government have been in power what have they been doing to assist in that direction ? Almost ever since I entered the House I have been working with the object of obtaining shooting facilities in my electorate. I am glad to say that, after Herculean efforts on. my part, I have succeeded in getting, one town, and a most important town, too, supplied with the necessary facilities. But I would remind the Minister that in my electorate there is more than one important town - in fact, there are several. I wish to know what has become of a certain sum which I believe was set aside for the purpose of establishing a troop of light horse in the township of Dungog. The men we have to-day prepared to defend our shores are so loyal in character that it is almost impossible to get any information from them. If I ask any of them to give me information, I am met with the reply, " It is contrary to the regulations, and, although we know that very many grievances exist, we regret very much that, owing to the oath we have taken, we are unable to give you any information." Consequently, it was only with the greatest difficulty that I was able to ascertain what I wished to know. I will not say where I obtained my information, but on very good authority I have reason for believing that the officer commanding the forces recommended that a troop of light horse be raised in Dungog, and that a certain sum was set apart for that purpose. What has become of the money, and why has not the troop been raised ? The township, I may say, is situated on the Williams River,' about thirty miles from West Maitland. It is an ideal spot, picturesque in the extreme. It lies within a valley surrounded by hills, and has a thrifty, industrious population. It is surrounded by a number of dairy farms, in which are found the very class of men from whom we must expect to raise our. citizen forces. They have the horses, and, what is more, can ride them. They have the pluck which is necessary to make a good soldier, and also the spirit of sport which is a requisite for making a good fighting man. They were given, to understand that a troop of light house would be raised the"'re, and made every preparation tor enrolling. I know that an officer was sent up to report on the situation, and he found that close to the township there was an excellent stretch of country available for a rifle range, which there would be no difficulty in obtaining, because it was Crown land. *Silting suspended from 6.30 to 7-30 p.m.* {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- Before dinner, I was speaking on the subject of rifle ranges, and was directing the attention of the Minister representing the Minister of Defence to the fact that there is every facility at Dungog, in my electorate, for the establishment of a troop of light horse, and for the formation of a satisfactory rifle range. The land suggested for a range is Crown property, and there would, consequently, be no difficulty in resuming it. There would be no danger from stray bullets, because the land for several miles beyond the place suggested for the butts is practically unoccupied. The area of the land is considerable, and on it a range of 1,000 yards might easily be provided' for. I have already said that the district is one from which very desirable recruits might be obtained. I ask the Minister to lay on the table, or to permit me to see, the report of the Officer Commanding in the district, so that I may be assured that the raising of a troop at Dungog was actually recommended. There is another town situated on the river in my electorate where a troop of light horse has been raised. 1 refer to Raymond Terrace. There are in the troop two very efficient officers, who served with credit in the war in South Africa, and there is commendable military enthusiasm being shown bv ' the residents of the district. I may add that this particular town is of great importance, from a strategic point of view. It is not very far from the port of Newcastle, and, in the event of an attempt bv a hostile force to seize our coal-fields, a body of residents of this district, possessed of some military training, would form a most efficient defensive force. Strange to say, there is no rifle range within any reasonable distance at which the corps raised at Raymond Terrace may practice rifle shooting. They must travel a distance of from 10 to '15 miles to reach the nearest rifle range. {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDonald: -- Men have to go 20, 30, and 50 miles in North Queensland for practice on a rifle range. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- Queensland is a country of magnificent distances; but I am speaking of a district in which, we have closer settlement, and consequently expect better facilities. The land for ai rifle range at this place could 'be secured without cost. A patriotic citizen - and I onlywish there were more of them - **Mr. G.** H. Pepper, has actually offered the necessary land as a free gift to the Government, and they will not accept it. The portion offered is a strip three-quarters of a mile wide, but because the land' which would be situated behind the site suggested for the butts happens to be private property, the Government are unwilling to go to the expense of its resumption. The land which would, require to be resumed comprises 16 acres, and its value, I am told, is something under *j£i* per acre. For want of a penn'orth of tar, which the £16 might be said to represent, the men forming the troop of light horse established at Raymond' Terrace are denied facilities for acquiring the necessary skill in rifle shooting. Again, in West Maitland, the chief town of my electorate, the rifle range has been closed for some time. Letter after letter has been sent to the Department, and the usual reply has been forwarded on the printed forms which' are so irritating to honorable members, to the effect that the communication has been received, and will be considered. Here there is another force of citizen soldiers who are deprived of facilities for the practice necessary to qualify them as rifle shots. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- Why was the range closed ? {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- It was closed, I believe, for the purpose, originally, of making some slight alteration, but, owing to the abominable system of redtape existing in the Department, week after week and month after month has been allowed to pass by without anything being done, when if the proper officer gave the necessary authority the whole matter could be settled in three days. The Minister has stated his belief that men should be taught how to shoot. In fact, the honorable gentleman stakes the welfare of the country on the raising of a force of men who have been taught to shoot. He agrees with Lord Roberts and other experts that what we require is a citizen soldiery, com- prised of men who can shoot well ; yet in my electorate, which is comparatively but a small proportion of the Commonwealth, there are no less than three localities at which the facilities afforded for the practice of rifle shooting are not what they ought to be- I direct the attention of the Minister to the fact, and I hope he will see that these serious grievances are remedied. I pass from the Defence Department to the Postmaster-General's Department. I am sorry that the PostmasterGeneral is still absent. We heard the other day that he had arrived at Fremantle, but how much further he has travelled on his journey I do not know. I ask the Acting Postmaster-General if he will direct the attention of his officers to the need for a telephone at a place called Farleigh. Some three or four times in each week there are verv large sales of stock held at West Maitland, and in connexion with these sales it is necessary that enormous numbers of stock should be trucked from the trucking yards at Farleigh, which is a small railway station situated about three miles from the saleyards at West Maitland. The auctioneers who do business at these trucking yards, and there are a great many of them,' bitterly complain that they are unable to communicate with their headquarters over the telephone wires. The majority of them have private telephones in their offices at West Maitland, and their clerks and workmen, when engaged at Farleigh, are unable, to communicate with them except by telegraph. A communication by telegraph, I am told, has' to be sent not less than thirty miles to Singleton, and thirty miles back, before it reaches the auctioneer's office in West Maitland, which, as I have said, is only three miles from the trucking yards. The Acting Postmaster-General will remember that I have already brought this matter under his notice, and have represented that it is necessary only to run a line for a few yards from the trucking yards to connect with a line Tunning along the railway line in order to establish the communication desired. The Department, however, has declined to provide this facility at Farleigh. I ask the honorable gentleman now if he will bring his gigantic intellect to bear upon this very small matter, and see whether the concession asked for might not be made. There is another matter to which I should like to refer. It might be considered trivial, but it shows the amount of red-tape in the Department which gives rise to such serious delays as1 are complained of. If at any place a telephone silence cabinet is required, instead of giving the work to some local workmen, plans have to be drawn up, reports sent backwards and forwards, and eventually a huge structure arrives in the shape of a plate-glass telephone cabinet. It has repeatedly happened that, when these cabinets have arrived, they could not be taken through the doors of the local offices, and they have had, in consequence, to be returned to Sydney to be altered1, so that they would fit the small offices for which they were intended. I suggest to the Minister that these minor departmental wants might very easily be attended to locally. Passing from purely local matters, I desire to say something on the question of the grading of butter. I do so, not because I know much of the subject, as I am sorry to say that I have not made a study of butter, but because there is in my electorate a very large number of dairying companies and factories, the Hunter district being peculiarly suitable for the production of butter, and for the' conduct of the dairying industry generally. When I learn that the directors of no less than fifty factories in New South Wales, representing three-fourths of the whole of the factories in the State, have sent in a petition against the grading of butter, I feel that it is my duty to raise my voice in this House against the proposal. These factories represent an output of no less than 31,584,000 lbs. of butter per year. When the Commerce Bill was being discussed, we were given to understand that this system of grading would not be enforced. {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- The honorable member for Richmond said so. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- It was most distinctly promised. If any evidence of the fact be necessary, one has only to turn to the pages of *Hansard,* ,to prove conclusively that we were entirely misled in this House by the Minister, when he assured us that no grading would be introduced under the Commerce Bill. {: .speaker-KED} ##### Mr Kennedy: -- Has grading been introduced ? {: .speaker-KIC} ##### Mr Lonsdale: -- The Minister is preparing regulations for its introduction. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- At page 11 80 of *Hansard* for last year, the Minister of Trade and Customs, speaking on the Commerce Bill, said - >We intend to grade in this way. The exporter will halve to mark his goods as what they are - that will grade them. 850 *Supply* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *(Formal).* That was a very reasonable remark to make. There did not seem to be any harm in it. The honorable and learned member for Wannon interjected - >The Minister distinctly stated that the Government meant tograde. and to that, the Minister of Trade and Customs replied - > >I did not. I said that goods would have to be branded. What the honorable gentleman meant by that, I do not know. Further oh, at page 1 1 84, I find that the honorable member for Dalley made thisremark - >The Minister of Trade and Customs who has two colleagues in direct opposition to him on the subject, says that this Bill provides for grading. To that the honorable gentleman replied - >I did not. The honorable member should not misinterpret what I said. Could anything be plainer than that. At page 1 189, it will be found that the honorable gentleman further said - >The exportation of articles which are properly described will not be interfered with unless they are unfit for human consumption. Why is it, then, that the dairying industry is the only industry that it is proposed to interfere with. At page 2412, I find that the honorable gentleman said - >Between now and then I hope to make arrangements with those who are likely to be affected, which will enable the Department to prepare trade descriptions which will not cause friction. Could anything be more reasonable. But what is the result to-day ? This system of grading is going to be forced on us? Further, **Sir William** Lyne said - >Honorable members opposite may call it what they like. They have been trying to make out that the object of this Bill is to apply to goods, such terms as " Grade1," " Grade 2," " Grade 3," " Grade 4," and so on. But they know perfectly well that there is no intention to do anything of the kind at present. My own opinion is that is is entirely unnecessary to grade butter. It has been found that butter may easily deteriorate on its passage to England, and, consequently, no matter what grade may be put upon it, that grade has no relative value in the old country. Any one familiar with the trade knows that buyers at Home place no reliance whatever on the grade, but choose the butter in the light of their experience, by taste and so forth. I should like to draw the attention of honorable members to an extract from the sworn evidence of **Mr. J.** W. Sinclair, late Superintendent of Ex ports for the State of Victoria in London, given before the Royal Commission on the butter industry. **Mr. Sinclair** said - >In London I found that there were divergent opinions in regard to the New Zealand butter system. One New Zealand importer told me that he had sometimes found their second quality was equal to the first, although it was classified as second. You can never tell what the butter is like until it gets to the other side, and it does not matter if it bears the first grade brand, if it is second quality it will fetch the second quality price. Buyers have their own opinion, and they pay no attention to the Government stamp; they look at the article itself. All these large houses have experts for the purchase of butter, the same as for tea. That proves conclusively that buyers place no reliance whatever on the grading,. **Mr. Robert** Crowe, Government Dairy Expert, gave the following evidence before the same Commission : - >You agree with **Mr. Taverner** that this stamp is not regarded as of much value to the butter when it goes Home ? - No ; it simply shows that the butter was inspected. A large trade, which is likely to increase to enormous proportions, is springing up with the South African Colonies. In fact, I think it might almost be said that one of the reasons why the war in South Africa was prosecuted with such vigor, and was assisted to such an extent by Australia, was because it was recognised that South Africa was a field for our commerce. {: .speaker-KZV} ##### Mr Ronald: -- What nonsense ! {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- It is all very well to characterize my remarksas nonsense ; but in these matters one has always to look far beyond ordinary sentiment. I know that the honorable member for Southern Melbourne, from his profession, is naturally inclined to be somewhat sentimental ; but, as I say, wemust look beyond sentiment. When we come to bed-rock, we always find an element of trade associated with any war. The history of England is proof of that statement, so much so, that we have the common saying that trade follows the flag. It is likely that the grading system would seriously interfere with our trade in South Africa; and I have here an extract which deals with an aspect of the question not before touchedupon. It is from a local newspaper, and reads as follows : - >According to regulations as published, butter must not be submitted for grading at a temperature under 40 degrees, and must be shipped within fourteen days after grading. This is a very serious regulation, and, if inforce, will cause enormous losses of business to South > >Africa and other foreign ports, where we are in keen competition with Argentine, New Zealand, America, and European butter-producing countries. Orders are often received for large quantities of butter, to be shipped in pats or bulk, say, four, six, or eight weeks hence, sometimes several thousand cases, which it may require up to six or eight -weeks to complete, and certainly no firm or companies in Victoria could execute" such orders in the time stipulated under the proposed conditions, which actually leave little more than one week for packing, as it requires from four to five days to freeze and ship the butter. We desire to point out that the SouthAfrican trade is done entirely on a different basis to London trade, contracts being often entered into for terms of from six to twelve months, with instructions to pack the butter and place it in cool store, awaiting instructions to ship at periods and in quantities as required. At present butter is packed and placed in cool store until date of shipment, which has no detrimental effect on the butter, and has given -every . satisfaction to the foreign buyers. If the present system is interfered with, it will mean the loss of a very large South African trade, which amounts up to 2,500 tons per annum from Victoria alone. I do not wonder that protests are being received against the grading of butter, because both the Argentine and New Zealand are keen competitors in this trade. There is one other matter on which I should like to touch, namely, the opium traffic. I call the attention of the Minister of Trade and Customs to the fact that in the report which was placed in our hands a couple of days ago, **Dr. Roth,** who is a civil servant of the Queensland Government, states that the aborigines are being supplied to-day with opium, in large quantities, which is having a very bad effect on the consumer. The smoking of opium, or .the drinking of water in which opium ash has been dissolved, is the cause of serious physical, mental, and moral degeneration; and, consequently, it is the duty of the Minister of Trade and Customs to prevent, if possible, the importation of opium in any form whatever - either solid or as ash. I believe that at present permits are actually being issued to Chinamen, who are thus enabled to import opium in as large a quantity as they desire. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- Is that so? The Minister of Trade and 'Customs has just entered the Chamber, and may have something to say on that point. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- I am: glad that the Minister has arrived ; and I am quite sure that he will take my remarks in good part, seeing that they are meant entirely for the benefit of unfortunate blackfellows. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Are those the blackfellows in the back-blocks the honorable member talked about on a previous occasion ? {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- They are blackfellows who happen to live in the back-blocks. **Dr. Roth** distinctly states that permits have been granted to Chinamen to sell and supply opium to the Chinese in Queensland. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- Surely not since the Act was passed? {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- **Dr. Roth** was asked- >Have any of these permits been issued since Federation ? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Since Federation, but not since the passing of the Act of which the honorable member for Corangamite speaks. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- I do not think that permits have been issued since that Act was passed. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The permits have been cancelled. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- **Dr, Roth,** in reply to the question, said : - >In 1898, 165 were issued; in 1899, 8; in 1900, 21; in 1901, 10; in 1902, 6; in 1903, 1 ; and in 1904, 1. I find that the permit issued last year was granted to the partner of a man to whom a licence was issued in 1898. These permits are illegal. I have called them illegal in my annual reports. These permits ought to be cancelled, because they are totally illegal and contrary even to the State law in Queensland. By "the State law permits are issued to chemists, medical men, and drug manufacturers, but it is contrary to the law to issue them to Chinamen. I draw the attention of the Minister of Trade and Customs to this matter, with the object of having these licences annulled. This is not a question of revenue, because the only charge made is one of 2s. 6d'. for twelve forms, which are necessary to enable the licensees to make certain returns. From what I have seen of the present Minister's administra-. tion in the past I am perfectly satisfied that he has only to speak the word to have this traffic immediately stopped. Returning to postal matters, I may say that to-day I have received a letter from certain residents of a district in my electorate called Monkerai. Some months ago a petition was sent to the authorities asking that a receiving office might be established at this particular place, and on the 8th January a reply was received simply refusing the request. A second petition was forwarded, and was granted on the 5th June on certain conditions. The Department, it is stated, are willing to pay £9 per annum towards the cost of carrying the mails, and *X, 1.* as a nominal allowance for the services of a receiving office-keeper, any additional expense to be paid by the residents. In their letter to-day the residents contend that such an arrangement is entirely out of the question. The letter contains the following : - That arrangement is quite impracticable, as our population (principally of the mining class) fluctuates a great deal, and it would be very difficult to collect that amount. I would also bring under your notice that population is in.creasing, and several new quartz claims are being taken up and about being worked, and especially the Loch Lomond Gold Mining Company are erecting a complete crushing plant, with all the latest improvements, and will employ about 50 hands. The receiving of our correspondence is extremely spasmodic, as it all depends if any person has occasion to go down that way, and sometimes, if no one is going, we do not get our letters, perhaps, for two or three days. Under the circumstances, I, on behalf of the inhabitants here, earnestly request you to kindly lay the matter before the hon. Postmaster-General, and have the prayer of the petition granted. I beg the Postmaster-General to give some attention to this last grievance which I have to bring under the notice of the House. {: #subdebate-20-0-s10 .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY:
Melbourne .- I have only a few words to say ; indeed, I should not have spoken to-night had there not been, as I understand, an attack made on Colonel Hoad. As in a previous session I made an attack on this officer, which might almost be termed bitter, it is my duty to say to-night that when I afterwards made inquiries I saw from the evidence placed before me that my statement in regard to his leaving Japan was wrong. I further learned that officers and men who had served under Colonel Hoad spoke of him in the highest terms as an officer. Therefore, I make the statement to-night that, on full inquiry. I find that Colonel Hoad is a good, sterling man, and, as an Australian, I should be glad to see him elevated to the high position suggested. I do not voice the cry of ' ' Australia for the Australians " in any narrow-minded spirit. I would extend the hand of welcome to any European who would hold up his band and say that he was prepared to fight for Australia. At the same time, the system of importing officers from England - officers such as those who showed, in the late lamentable war in South Africa, that they were not up to their work - is the height of absurdity. Our men held their own against the British officers during that miserable and wicked war, and it is time that we stood up for Australians and gave them the highest positions that they have the brains and capacity to fill. I understand that the honorable member for Wentworth actually accused Colonel Hoad of using political influence. When the honorable member for Laanecoorie challenged him. what was the miserable response? He told the House that Colonel Hoad, upon leaving Australia for Japan, had actually sent him -a friendly telegram bidding him " Good bye." If' such an action is to be construed as an attempt to use political influence, we shall have to ask all officers who are departing from us not to leave their P.P.C. cards on our tables, or to send us any telegrams or letters of farewell. I am very glad that the honorable member's statement was challenged, and that it was demonstrated that his charge rested on the flimsiest of grounds. Our Australian Forces have not reached the high standard that we could wish, and we might very well take example from that country which is regarded by the highest experts as the military schoolhouse of Europe, namely, Switzerland. One authority has declared that Switzerland can, within three days, concentrate upon any part of its frontier, 250,000 men, perfectly disciplined, and with an equipment complete in every detail. Such a feat could not be performed by Great Britain, although her soldiers cost her £77 per head, as against £9 per head in Switzerland. Surely we have enough patriotism amongst us to enable us to establish a force of citizen soldiers which would efficiently guard our hearths and homes. I am sure that no honorable member desires that we should be ruled by military bureaucrats. We do not want to have amongst us a number of military snobs or gilded-spurred roosters, as the honorable member for Darwin calls them. On one occasion, an officer had the impertinence to tell me that he could not find in Melbourne or Svdney a tailor who was capable of making his uniforms. He had to import them, and he said, "That blessed Commonwealth Government makes me pay duty on them." He did not know who I was. When he asked me for my opinion, I told him that we did not want clothes props to fight our battles. We wanted men who could shoot straight, and who would not be afraid to die, if necessary ; men whose fighting qualities would not be affected if their collars were not quite as clean as some of their dandy officers might desire. The most difficult uniform to make properly is that worn by the "Victorian Highland Regiment, and there are tailors in Melbourne who can make the uniforms for that corps as well as they can be turned out in the old country. I have paid my meed of praise to Colonel Hoad, of whom I have heard an excellent report. He is creating a good impression throughout Victoria by his- action in devoting his spare evenings to delivering lectures which it is worth any one's while to attend, and if he is chosen for the high position of InspectorGeneral of the Defence Forces, I am sure that he will fill it with credit to himself and honour to the country to which he belongs. I should like to claim the attention of the Prime Minister for a few moments. There is a general feeling in Victoria that those who brought reproach on our Australian character by adopting the infamous practices disclosed in the course of the inquiry conducted by the Butter Commission, are likely to escape punishment. I understand that the State Parliament will not take any action, but I trust that in. the interests of justice, and of our reputation as a community, the guilty persons will receive their desserts. One eminent legal authority has expressed the opinion that certain men ought to be prosecuted, and I have no hesitation in saying that some of them should occupy a place in Pentridge. They should at least be compelled to disgorge the money of which they robbed the dairy farmers of Victoria. Although the Butter Commission no doubt cost a considerable sum of money, it has resulted in a saving of upwards of .£50,000 per annum to the farmers of Victoria. Some of the large ocean shipping companies emerged from that inquiry with disgrace upon them. Among these was the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation 'Company, which **Mr. Ritchie,** when he was President of the Board of Trade under the BalfourSalisbury Administration, threatened to criminally prosecute if they continued to break the law. They allowed the Lascars employed on their steamers only 36 cubic feet of space each in their quarters - hardly double the space that would be represented by a decent-sized coffin. The Board of Trade 'allowance was 120 cubic feet. **Mr. Ritchie** declared on 12th May, 1900 - his words were published in the London *Times* - that it had not been for want of warning or for want of continual objection on the part of the Board of Trade that the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company had not ceased to break the laws of the country. He said that they had been fined repeatedly, and that he would be compelled to prosecute them criminally if they did not mend their ways. The company was punished for not paying regard to the representations of the authorities by being prevented from taking away a certain amount of cargo in their steamers. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- That has all been altered now. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY: -- I am very glad to hear it. Admiral Field, who was no labour man, stated on one occasion that he would not vote against the Government, but that, on the other hand, he would not vote for them, because he believed that by their policy they were trying to destroy the naval supremacy of England. He pointed out that it could not be expected that 75,000 Lascars and foreigners who were employed in the British mercantile marine would fight the battles of England, and that landsmen could not do it because thev had not been trained as sailors. It was shown that the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company was one of the worst offenders in the whole world in regard to doing away with the employment of British seamen on British ships. I hope that under the new arrangement for the carriage of our mails, we shall be able to sweep aside the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. I have followed their history very closely for the past sixteen years, and I say without hesitation that we have not to thank them for the improved facilities that have been afforded for the carriage of our mails. It was the Orient Steam Navigation Company, which employed white seamen on its steamers, that first compelled the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company to shorten the trip between Australia and the old country. Every time we wanted an accelerated mail service, we had' to fight the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation 'Company. Therefore, we owe them nothing, whereas they owe much to us. Thev will not bring to us the bone and sinew of England. Thev do not carry common third class passengers - the class of men who have made Australia. Those who are familiar with the circumstances under which Australia has been peopled and developed know full well that we owe more to those who came out here as third class passengers than to those who were conveyed here in the saloon. We do not want to perpetuate this absurd system of dividing people up into classes. The noblest aspirations of the British race will find expression in this great country, which we want to make a white man's land. I compliment the Government upon having made an arrangement for the carriage of our mails, apart from the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. I trust that we shall be able to put a cross against the name of that company, and that in future our mails will be carried solely in steamers manned by white labour. **Mr. HENRY** WILLIS (Robertson) X8.ii]. - I regret that the PostmasterGeneral has not been present to hear what has been stated by honorable members with regard to the shortcomings of the postal service. The honorable member for Hunter referred to the dilatoriness with which letters were delivered in various parts of his electorate. Similar remarks would apply to all the country towns throughout the Commonwealth. It appears to be the policy of the Government to make the Postal Department pay its way. I do not think that that principle should be applied to the country mail services', particularly to those in the wilds of Australia. If it were rigidly insisted upon residents in the backblocks would receive their letters about four times per annum, and many of them would pick up their correspondence at the deadletter office when they came to the city after a long period of residence in the outlying districts. In the country districts the postal service is about as bad as it could POSSl 1.,i V be. In the cities and suburbs the service not only pays its way, but leaves something to spare, and I believe that the Department as a whole shows a surplus. Yet the Postmaster-General apparently will not grant a service unless it is shown that the revenue derived from it will very closely approach the outlay involved. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Whom does the honorable member blame for that? {: #subdebate-20-0-s11 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Chiefly the officials who advise the Minister. When the honorable member for Denison occupied the position of Postmaster-General he looked into every application himself, and declined to be bound bv the advice of his officers in matters regarding which his judgment could fairly be exercised. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- Why attack the officers? Why does not the honorable member attack the Minister? The officers have nothing to do with the policy of the administration. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I was asked how I account for the state of things of which I complain, and I say that it is due to the incompetence of the officers. The honorable member interjects in a very superior tone; but is it not part of our work to vote the salaries of the public servants, and, where the men at the head of affairs* are not competent, to single them out for removal from office? The Public Service of the Commonwealth is governed by incompetent men, advising incompetent Ministers, who have not the remotest notion how to manage their Departments on their own initiative. If one goes to the Department to interview the Minister, that honorable gentleman at once sends for his officers, and mere youngsters, of ages ranging from sixteen or seventeen upwards, are found advising him on trivial matters, which his own judgment should enable him to determine, without a consultation with under-strappers. ' {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- Is the honorable member referring to the Postal Department? {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Yes,- though perhaps the same remark would apply to other Departments of the Commonwealth service, too. Balmain has been spoken of as a district in which the postal service is as good as it should be, but I know that one can post a letter at Mosman, another suburb of Sydney, on the Saturday, and it will not be delivered at a place only 50 miles from the metropolis by railway before the following Tuesday morning. As a matter of fact, one Sunday a few days ago I sent a messenger from that suburb to the General Post Office, a distance of some miles, to post a letter to the place of which I am speaking, but, although he did so, and paid another penny as additional postage, the letter did not arrive until the following Tuesday. Indeed, I got to the place as soon as the letter did, although it was written to announce my intention of going there. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- The honorable member must have used the motor of the honorable member for Wentworth. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I could have walked in the time it took to convey the letter there. This is not an isolated case. Who should be called to account for the maladministration which makes these delays possible? The matter is too trivial for the Minister to attend to himself; but *Supply* [28 June, 1906.] *(Formal).* 855 should not the officer at the head of the Department in Sydney see that all under him are carrying out their duties satisfactorily and expeditiously, and that business like methods are being pursued. Similar delays occur in the transmission of telegrams, and one may sometimes travel 100 miles and arrive at his destination before a telegram despatched to the same place is received. The Post and Telegraph Department of the Commonwealth is badly managed. As a sample of business incapacity, I will quote the regulation issued on the 14th June last with respect to the payment of overdue postal notes. That regulation is as follows: - A postal note presented for payment after six months from the last day of the month of issue, shall not be paid until reference has been made to the chief money order office of the State of issue, and shall be cashed only at the General Post Office of the State of payment, and on payment of a commission equal to the amount of the original poundage, for each period of six months, or portion thereof, beyond the first six months from the month of issue; the amount of such commission must be affixed in unobliterated and unperforated postage stamps of the State of payment to the face of the note. Postal notes are issued in various denominations for amounts ranging from 6d. to *£1,* and are largely used by persons in the back country, where, being negotiable, they are frequently put into circulation, and treated much in the same way as are bank notes. Yet the Department says that if they are kept in circulation for more than six months a fine shall be imposed when they are presented for payment. What reason is there for imposing this fine? The Commonwealth receives a very high commission on the notes when issued, and it is certainly no disadvantage to the Department, but rather a gain, that they should be kept in circulation, whilst it is also a convenience to those who use them to be able to pass them on freely like other negotiable instruments. I have in my possession several postal notes, which I have held for years in trust, because I wish to hand them over exactly as I received them, and, in all probability, they will remain in my safe for five years to come. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- That is a very rare case. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- It is not a rare thing for postal notes to be in circulation in the back country for a very long period. I have seen New South Wales postal notes in South Australia and always advise persons having them to treat them as negotiable instruments. Personally, I never cash a postal note for a few shillings, because such notes are convenient to keep in one's possession. There is no reason whatever for the fine provided for in the regulation which I have read, and I hope that the Minister in charge of the Department will look into the matter, and see that the public are not deprived of a legitimate convenience. A good deal has been said during this debate about matters of defence. The honorable and learned member for Corio this afternoon asked this very important question - Whether, in the appointment of an InspectorGeneral for the Military Forces, the Minister for Defence will adhere to his announcement that all appointments in the Australian Forces are to be made from Australians? The answer given by the Minister representing the Minister of Defence was "Yes." Now, I am an Australian, and believe that Australians generally have as much intelligence as any other body of people in the world ; but the fact that a man is an Australian does not of itself qualify him to assume control of our Military and Naval Forces. Whoever is appointed Inspector-General should be a professional military man, who has devoted his life to the study of military tactics and strategy. He should be a mathematician, and an engineer, and not only have passed creditably examinations to test his study of text -books, but have proved on the field his competence to take charge of men. Will any one say that a man educated merely in civil subjects, even though he may have acquired a university degree is capable of taking command of the Australian Army because he has followed military pursuits as a side line. The Government seem to regard the Question of defence as a play-thing, notwithstanding that we have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in trying to educate our citizens in the art of warfare, and to provide ammunition in case of attacks. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- How can we do that under free-trade? {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- It might better be asked how can we do it under protection seeing that it is the policy of protectionists to keep out imports. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The free-traders will not allow us to establish steel works here, so that we cannot make our own guns. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Does the Min ister think that we in Australia can make guns equal to those made by Krupp, in Germany, or Armstrong, in England? This country is merely in its infancy yet. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- Did they not make a gun in Kimberley during actual warfare? {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Are not honorable members aware that the man-o'-war now in Sydney Harbor - the *Powerful -* is the ship whose gun was taken and rolled away into the interior? It was that gun which did the work. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- Not at Kimberley. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- No; at Ladysmith. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- The gun to which I refer was made at Kimberley. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- The honorable member speaks as though a gun were improvised in South Africa; but the only gun carriage improvised was for the gun taken from the *Powerful,* which enabled the English to hold their own at Ladysmith. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Long Tom? {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- No. The honorable member does not know his history. Long Tom was a French gun in the possession of the Boers. Evidently the Minister knows nothing about it. The Government seems to take some kudos to itself for announcing that in . future only Australian officers will be appointed to military positions, because they know that they have in the corner a solid band of gentlemen who will applaud them. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- No, thev have not. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I am very glad to find that the honorable member for Maranoa is an exception. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- He was at Majuba, so he knows something about it. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- He was, and I think we all respect him for it. He knows what it is to serve under efficient officers. He has seen his comrades falling about him. He has seen his officers go down. He knows what the smell of powder is. The men who have seen active service are those whom we must depend upon in time of trial. The rumoured appointment of an Australian officer to the position of InspectorGeneral has given rise to much jealousy and, I dare say, vindictiveness, on the part of military men. I do not know whether or not Colonel Hoad is competent for the position. I have read of his going out to Manchuria, where he had special opportunities of judging for himself as to the efficiency of the Japanese transport, and I believe, from reports which I have read, that he acquitted himself well, and did credit to Australia. If he is an Australian, has seen active sendee, and has proved himself to be a strategist, he will be well fitted for the position. As, however, I know nothing about his qualifications, I shall pass no judgment upon him. All that I have heard of Australian officers has been very much to their credit. I know of one officer who went out to South Africa, who was rather affected in his manner of speech, and was regarded as of very little account. But he acquitted himself much better than many other officers who fought during the war. It is very often found that a British officer who may have a good deal of affectation in his manner will prove himself in time of war to be a most efficient soldier. We must remember that Great Britain is a country whose military service affords great experience in little wars abroad. Her officers have many opportunities of seeing service, such as we cannot afford to our officers in Australia. We must go abroad for competent' men who are capable of leading soldiers, and are able, from their experience, to report upon the efficiency of the service at whose head they are placed, and upon which we spend our millions. I have no doubt that our own officers will give a good account of themselves in time of emergency ; but we must first make sure that the man who is placed at the head of our Forces has seen active service. What the Minister has to consider is whether the officer whom he appoints to be Inspector-General has had sufficient experience of service conditions. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Is the honorable member qualifying for the position of the honorable member for Wentworth ? {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- The honorable member for Wentworth is here as a representative of the people, intelligently devoting himself to the study of questions that arise in order that he may pronounce a competent opinion upon them. I do not profess to have had any military experience. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Then why is the honorable member talking about it? {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I am bringing to bear upon this question my common sense, and the results of my reading and observation. The study of the history of one's country and of other countries qualifies one to express opinions on questions of this kind. I have offered no opinion on technical military questions. I should not pre- sume to do so. But I may tell the Minister this - that several years ago when we were granting a sum of money for the protection of Australia, I delivered a speech upon which I was complimented by the then Prime Minister, **Sir Edmund** Barton ; and if the Minister of Trade and Customs is at all interested in reading speeches he will find that what I said on that occasion was proved to be absolutely true in the war which has since taken place between Russia and Japan. Although I speak as an amateur, I am giving the results of my own study- of authorities, and I am at least able to point to the fact that what I said on a former occasion was justified by events. We must not forget that we have had in our midst military men of high training and genius. We have had in command of our soldiers men of experience like MajorGeneral Hutton and Major-General French. It was largely owing to the training which our men received from officers of military genius who came here from time to time that our Forces were able to give .such a good account of themselves in South Africa. While we take credit to ourselves, we must not omit to give credit to Imperial officers. Now let me ask what the Minister of Defence has done, and is going to do, to encourage the cadet system and the rifle club system in Australia? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- He is encouraging them. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Let us see how the Minister is encouraging these movements. I was present in the Melbourne Town Hall a little1 while ago at the demonstration of the Boys' Brigade. They were excellent, intelligent boys, fit for anything. But I was informed that the Department had not sufficient rifles for them. The Minister does not even provide enough rifles to train the boys or the men. How can they learn to shoot and become marksmen unless they have rifles? Officers who have returned from South Africa have told us over and over again that it will pay us to give the members of our rifle clubs as much ammunition as' thev will use. I am of the same opinion. If we give our riflemen a sufficiency of ammunition with which they may practice we shall find, if a time of emergency comes, that they will render us such valuable service as was rendered to the United States bv her citizen army in the civil war. We had a more recent experience of the value of rifle shooting in South Africa. The Boers could shoot well. We found that out to our sorrow. If wa teach our boys to shoot they will be better able to defend their country when they become men. When I was a boy I had not the opportunity that boys have now of learning to shoot. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Perhaps they used to shoot round the corner when the. honorable member was a boy. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I suppose the Minister means that I would run round a corner and then shoot, but I think' that his experience of me does not justify that remark. I do not know when I am beaten, and consequently I am seldom beaten. There is a good deal of the Englishman about me in that respect. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member is going to be beaten next time. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- If the Minister refers to my political campaign, let me tell him that it is about the easiest thing that I have before me just now. When I have once been elected for any constituency I have never been defeated in it afterwards. I have at various times represented constituencies containing most of the principal towns in and around Sydney, in municipal matters, and otherwise. I have retired for various reasons, but I have never been defeated in a municipality where I was an alderman or mayor. To continue the subject upon which I was engaged, let me say that only when the time comes to take up arms against an invading foe will the genius in strategy prove his worth. We have to think of a time when our officers and men will be brought to the test as to whether they are competent or not. It is eas enough to engage a man at a high salary to dance round the country and write reports. But a man who takes that position takes a responsibility. He sees ahead the emergency of taking the field against an enemy which might gain a foothold upon our shores. I remember the time when a fleet came into St. Vincent's Gulf and anchored off Glenelg. It was not until the people of Adelaide woke up in the morning that they knew that a Russian fleet was off the shores of Australia. The ships could have bombarded and taken. Adelaide. It must be borne in mind that there are other ports in Australia where troops might get a landing, and that then we should have to take the field. We must have a General competent to lead an army in the hour of emergency-. It seems to me that we shall' not get an Australian genius who will be inspired for such work as that. He must first have had experience in actual warfare. If through our insular prejudice an amiable Minister should appoint an incompetent officer, who might lead our soldiers into a death-trap, the responsibility would rest upon us as the representatives of the people, to whom the Minister is responsible in this House. If he should put an incompetent man at the head of our Military Forces it would be through our fault that the slaughter would come to our kith and kin in the hour of emergency. I do not hesitate to protest that if the Parliament be a party to the appointment of an Australian simply because he is of our own rearing, regardless of military genius and proved resourcefulness in actual warfare, we shall have acted the part which a traitor would have us act. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member is taking a lot of trouble over his speech. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Since dinner time I have penned a few thoughts', because it seemed to me that the time had come when an honorable member should stand up in the House and speak in the face of the frivolous action of the honorable gentleman, who regards as a mere joke the discussion of the merits of an officer at the head qf a great service, upon which depends not only the safety of the Commonwealth, but also the safety of the Empire itself. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Hear, hear. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Does the honorable member mean to say that, if we in Australia were to allow an enemy to come to our shores and scoop the gold within our banks, we should not have assisted them materially in providing them with the sinews of war in the shape of the tens of millions of sovereigns in our coffers? Does he mean to say that it is not our duty to consider that aspect of the matter? How long would it be possible for a war to go on unless a country had gold and the means of raising it? One of the chief bulwarks of Great Britain is her means of finding the gold for carrying on war. It was because of the shortage of gold, and the impossibility of getting it, that Japan was ready and willing to sacrifice the opportunity of ultimately squeezing millions out of the enemy that she had under her feet. It was because, she would have been unable to continue the war long without making it clear to the world that she was embarrassed pecuniarily that she decided to do what she did. As soon as it had become known to Austria, Germany, and .other countries that were giving moral support to Russia, that Japan was bankrupt, how long would it have been possible for the Japanese Army to remain in the field and to continue to do the work which was before them ? It would have been quite impossible. An army cannot be moved like marbles. "An army moves upon its belly." How can millions of men be supplied with food unless there are millions of gold available to make the necessary purchases ? {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Napoleon did. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- The honorable member is now going back to distant history. The conditions which prevail now are not the same as those which prevailed then. I do not wish to go into a dissertation upon the different conditions and what was done by a Napoleon. We have to consider things as they are under modern conditions of warfare. The time of disaster is not the time for protesting. The time to protest is when the Government are on the eve of not only making a most important appointment, but laying down a precedent 'and putting up their flag by declaring that they are going to make these appointments from Australians exclusively. I have raised my voice against the proposition. I believe that an Australian who is competent is equal to any man, but an incompetent Australian is as dangerous as a man could possibly be. There may be a Stonewall Jackson in our service. If there be so resourceful an officer in the Forces, let him come forward and win distinction worthy of a general, and upon his return to his home we all may salute him as Stonewall Jackson was honoured on his return from Mexico. Hon,orable members who laugh at the name of Stonewall Jackson are evidently not acquainted with the history of that notable officer, or the position from which he was able to raise himself. I have given an instance such as we might have in Australia. Here is a man who did not distinguish himself particularity well while he was at the Military Academy, but nevertheless he was a military genius, and by his own efforts he brought himself to the front. It was not until, as he always said, men were falling around him in all directions, and his chief concern was that he might pass unnoticed by his general in the dangerous positions that were taken up, that he proved himself to be a genius perhaps equal to Napoleon, to whom the Minister referred before dinner. I singled out this officer because the Minister spoke about a Napoleon as an impossibility, but we may have in our midst men capable of acquitting themselves as a Stonewall Jackson if they were seasoned in active warfare. Do we not know that had it not been for the disaster of an accident, even the conditions which prevail in the United States to-day would have been very different. I commend those honorable members who laugh at the name of Stonewall Jackson to read the history of his life. They are not competent to discuss this question on- the floor of the House until they, are well versed in the incidents pertaining to the success of warfare during the period of the civil war in America. {: #subdebate-20-0-s12 .speaker-KZH} ##### Mr ROBINSON:
Wannon .-. After the moving and eloquent speech of the honorable member for Robertson, I feel somewhat at a loss in approaching defence matters. He has dealt with them on a high plane - a plane which might be described' as statesmanlike. I propose to deal with military questions from a much more humble aspect. The matters which I wish to discuss greatly affect the Defence Forces in the western district of Victoria. I welcome this opportunity because it enables us to get our views before the Minister before the Budget is delivered, and will enable us on that occasion to get a definite reply to the representations which we make this evening. On a previous occasion I referred to the treatment which has been meted out to certain old-settled districts in Victoria which have been favoured for many years past with some arm of the Defence Force in their midst. I am glad to see the Vice-President of the Executive Council at the table, because I hope that he will be able to supply me with an answer to the points I am raising when the Budget is being considered. I wish, first to discuss the treatment meted out to the town of Portland, the first place at which settlement on any proper scale took place in this State. It has supplied an arm of the Defence Force of Victoria ever since 1859. In that district there has been a distinct and genuine desire on the part of the inhabitants to do something towards the defence of their country. Almost continuously since 1859 they have supplied an arm of the Defence Force in a most efficient and workmanlike manner. For many years prior to Federation there was a battery of garrison artillery established at Portland, Warrnambool, and Port Fairy respectively..In 1884 these three batteries were constituted as the second brigade of the Victorian Garrison Artillery, with a strength of seventy-five men each, and it attained in those times to a very high degree of efficiency. In 1891 the Commandant desired to reduce the strength of each battery te* forty men. The powers that be, however, did not approve of that proposal, and the establishment was then fixed at the existing strength, namely, Port Fairy, 56 men;. Warrnambool, 68 men; and Portland, 63 men. The two smaller townships of Port Fairy and Portland, which are only about one-fourth of the size of Warrnambool, had each an actual strength almost equal to that of Warrnambool. In 1892, as honorable members are aware, bad times came, and a far-reaching scheme of retrenchment was initiated throughout the State. All recruiting was stopped, and the strength of the establishment in these towns was cut. down to twenty-six men each. Better times came in the usual course, and in 1899, a few years before Federation, the three batteries were merged into one, called the Western District Garrison Artillery, the establishment of the three totalling 144, or averaging forty-eight apiece. I wish to place before the Minister a few facts concerning the three batteries, so that he may see that they were efficient and animated by a high sense of duty to their country, and that they conducted themselves with that skill and .competence which are so necessary. With the whole of the Garrison Artillery and the Militia batteries of Victoria competing, in 1887 the Warrnambool battery won the Clarke trophy. In 1889, it won ,the same trophy. In 1890 the Port Fairy battery won the Dickson trophy. In 1892 the Warrnambool battery finally *won* the Clarke trophy, and it also wonthe Dickson trophy. In 1893 the Portland battery won the Dickson trophy also. No competitions of this nature have been held since 1894. This is a record of which any part of Victoria, or, indeed, of any other State, might well be proud. It showed that the men in the three towns were animated by something more than a desire to earn the money allowed for drill - that there was! a very strong feeling of *esprit de corps* in their ranks, and that they wished to give their country good and efficient' service. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- Was there not some question with regard to the men being better trained in the larger centres? {: .speaker-KZH} ##### Mr ROBINSON: -- I propose to deal with that question presently. In March, 1901, as honorable members are aware, the Commonwealth took over the Military Forces of the States, and then began the troubles of the Western District branches of the Military Service. At that time, there were 144 men in the old Western Garrison Artillery Detachments, and in 1903, what was called a re-organization scheme was adopted for the Military Forces in Victoria. From our point of view, it might more properly have been called a disorganization scheme, because it absolutely disorganized the Defence Force in that part of the country. The Port Fairy and Warrnambool Batteries were termed " No. 8 Victorian Company Australian Garrison Artillery." A little time afterwards they were converted into " No. 4 Australian Battery Field Artillery." That is to say, these two batteries with long and honorable associations as garrison artillery were turned into batteries of field artillery, whilst the Portland detachment, with its fine record and historical associations, and despite the fact that it had supplied an arm of the Defence Force in Victoria since *1&59>* was absolutely disbanded, and every vestige of an arm of the Defence Force at that place was stamped out by the Commonwealth Military Department. I wish, to ask why that town- was singled out' in this way, and such harsh and unfair treatment meted out to the people of the district? I have had an opportunity of perusing the file of papers on the matter, and the reasons alleged for the action taken are two. The first is that the battery was not so efficient at the time the Commonwealth was established- as it had been previously. That is a fact; but why was this so? It was brought about through the excessive retrenchment which took place in Victoria between 1892 and 1900. During that period-, the expenditure on military matters, including the vote for instruction for the various branches of the Defence Force of Victoria, was cut down to the lowest possible amount. One officer was supposed to give military instruction to the detachments at the three towns of Portland, Port Fairy, and Warrnambool. The result was that most of that officer's time was taken up in travelling. Portland is distant forty miles from Port Fairy by road, and the distance by rail is considerably greater. As a con sequence, the officer intrusted with this duty was utterly unable to give the Portland battery the instruction necessary to keep it up to a high, standard. This lack of instruction naturally led to a loss of efficiency, and the neglect of the Department to give the battery proper instruction is now used against the people of Portland as a reason why there should be no arm of the Defence Force established there, and as a justification for the disbandment of the battery that had been established so long. Another reason urged against the establishment of garrison artillery at Portland, Port Fairy, and Warrnambool, is that we do not require at those towns men trained in garrison work, and that it is better that such men should be concentrated at Port Phillip Heads. I wish to enter my emphatic protest against any such idea of centralization. The records of the Department show that when we had decentralization, the men comprising the three country batteries in the towns to which I have referred, had, under proper tuition, reached a very high standard of efficiency, and in competition with batteries from all parts of the State done excellently. My contention is that they constituted an efficient reserve for Port Phillip Heads, ,or any other part of the coast which might be attacked by an enemy. I frankly admit that the most likely point of attack by a foreign fleet is Port Phillip Heads, but men in the garrison artillery batteries could readily be shifted from Warrnambood or Port Fairy to Port Phillip Heads in a few hours. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- What would they go there for? {: .speaker-KZH} ##### Mr ROBINSON: -- I say that if it be assumed that Port Phillip Heads is to be attacked, and it is desirable to have there a reserve of men trained in garrison artillery work, these men of the garrison artillery batteries at Port Fairy, Warrnambool, and Portland could be shifted at a very little cost, and in a short space of time, to the place at which their services might be required in the hour of the country's need. I say, therefore, that the argument urged by the Department that such men should only be kept at Port Phillip Heads, the point at which an attack is most likely to be made, is a mistake. Such a policy must lead to undue centralization, and to the neglect of those ports in the Western District of Victoria, which the Government of the State have constructed at enormous expense, and in which a very large InterState, and to some extent oversea, trade has been developed. The Portland people, after the disbandment of the battery of garrison artillery, requested the Department to establish a battery or halfbattery of field artillery. There was such a strong feeling there in favour of citizen soldiery, and such a genuine desire on the part of the people to_ form some arm of the Defence Force, that they actually asked the Department to do that. That request was refused.- They then made a still further request. As they could get no permission to establish an artillery corps, they asked to be allowed to establish a corps- of rangers, in order that they might be allowed to take some part in the defence of the country. Even this request was disregarded. The Department has turned a deaf ear to all requests from that town, and the position now is that, after a long and honorable connexion with the Defence Force of Victoria, Portland is absolutely debarred from furnishing its quota to the Commonwealth Defence Forces, and every request of the people there for permission to aid in the defence of the country is refused. I think that is most unfair treatment, and should be remedied. I wish to say a word as to the manner in which, the Port Fairy and Warrnambool batteries have been treated. I have no desire to make capital out of the recent incident which has received so much prominence in the newspapers - the alleged dismissal of men at Warrnambool - except to say that I do not think that it is unfair to assume that it was a likely thing to happen, after the way in which the Department chopped and chivied the corps established at that town. Since the Commonwealth .has been established, the branches _ of the Defence Force at Warrnambool and Port Fairy have been supposed to form a battery of field artillery. Honorable members are aware that field artillery are expected to operate with a fairly light gun, which can be carried about at a good rate of speed. The type of gun should be one of considerable power and range, able to carry a good weight of metal, and yet very mobile. Honorable members will therefore be surprised to hear that the detachments at the places to which I refer have been supplied with obsolete forty-pounder guns, to shift which a team of bullocks is required. To expect field artillery to do good work with forty-pounder guns is about as reasonable as to expect mounted rifles to perform well if mounted upon cows instead of horses. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Does the Department supply the bullock team too? {: .speaker-KZH} ##### Mr ROBINSON: -- I believe that the Government allow the corps to hire a bullock team when the occasion arises. They get that concession. It is possible that the supply of obsolete guns to these men has led to a loss of the *esprit de corps* so necessary to keep a battery in a high state of efficiency, and is responsible to some extent for the disaffection existing among the Western District batteries to-day. If the Department wish to keep this corps as a battery of field artillery, they must give the men up-to-date guns, which they will know are of some use, and in which they can take some pride. To supply such men with obsolete guns, which are of no use to anybody, which could be out-ranged in active service, and which it requires a team of bullocks to shift, is to make a farce of the whole of the defence system in that portion of the State. I am of opinion, for the reasons that I have already stated, that it would be much better, in the interests of the whole State, to have a battery of garrison artillery there. That would revive the feeling, which once existed amongst the people of those places, of pride in the records of their towns, which led, in times past, to the establishment of very efficient corps. I shall not devote any further time to the matter at present. 1 mention it now so that I may not take the Minister at a disadvantage when the discussion of the Budget comes on. When we reach the Estimates, I shall refer to the matter again, and I hope that by that time the Minister will be able to furnish me with some satisfactory statement as to the intentions of the Department. I should like to say that I will not be satisfied, nor will the people of Portland be satisfied, until we have some evidence that the Department is prepared to meet the laudable, patriotic wishes of tha people of that place to help in their country's defence. A good deal has been said about Australian officers. It is not my intention to debate that question. All I desire to say is that, if we have Australian officers who are capable men, and who have had a reasonable opportunity to prove their capacity, I hope they will be given a chance to rise to the top of the tree. I did not hear the whole of the speech made by the Minister, but I heard his remarks on this subject, and I think they should be indorsed by every honorable member. If officers born and bred in Australia have had large experience, and have seen war in other parts of the world, they should get a show, and I hope they will. I notice that this matter was referred to in the Governor-General's opening speech, in the following terms : - For over twenty years Australia has enjoyed the assistance of a number of Imperial Officers for the purpose of training those in command of our local Forces, in addition to which many of the latter have been sent to England and India for instruction. Hereafter preference in appointments will be given to Australian officers and non-commissioned officers. The policy of sending men of promise to England, India, and elsewhere for training will be continued ; and arrangements have been made for the periodical exchange of our own officers with those of the Imperial Army, both in England and India, and also with the Canadian Forces. The advice and assistance of officers in the Navy and Army of the mother country possessed of special qualifications for judging our progress will be sought from time to time. If that policy is carried out on proper lines, I am in accord with it. By that, I do not mean to say that I believe in selecting a man because of social influence or some' kind of " pull " that he may have, to be sent to other parts of the world to get the benefit of a trip, which such a man would possibly look upon as a pleasure jaunt. But if we have men who love their work, and take an interest in it, and such men are given an opportunity of seeing war carried on, or of being in close touch with active operations, I hope they will be given a chance of fair promotion, and anything I can do to help them to it will be gladly done. There is one other matter to which I should like to refer, and it is one in which the Vice-President of the Executive Council is interested probably as much as I am. I speak of the manner in which telephone extension in the country districts is choked by the red-tape of the Department. I have no wish to trench upon the matters dealt with by motions on the businesspaper, but I desire to deal with the extraordinary obstacles thrown in the way of any honorable member who wishes to see a telephone line constructed in his electorate between two townships that have hitherto been denied the advantage of such means of communication. The estimates which are presented to us by the Department are perfectly staggering. When the work is undertaken by private individuals, who subscribe the money themselves, an efficient line is constructed in many cases for less than half the official estimate. There is a desire to have a line constructed over a distance of about 14 miLes between Chetwynd and Harrow, and, after the usual departmental inspection, the officer presented an estimate that was absolutely appalling. The line is now being built bv a few individuals, who are finding the money themselves, and, if the work cannot be carried out for one-quarter or one-third of the Government estimate, I shall be prepared to join the Ministerial party, and it would take a great deal to make me do that. One of the reasons for the extraordinarily high cost of construction of these telephone lines is the cost of the labour. I believe that the Federal Government, or any Government, should set an example as employers, and, therefore, I have no abjection to the minimum wage clause, on which the Government insist, and which ought to find: a place in all such contracts. But I find that the men employed, who are paid the reasonable minimum wage of 7 s. per day, all come either from some town in the Western District or from Melbourne, and, in addition to the minimum wage, they are given a living allowance of 6s. or 7s. a day, on the ground that they are absent from their homes. The result of this arrangement is that the labour cost is practically doubled - that men are paid 13s. a day for work which is not worth more than 7s. If the Department allowed shire councils or other local bodies to do the work, and insisted on the minimum wage being paid1 - I am prepared to agree to that - it would be found that menin the country districts, who know as much about putting in posts or straining wires as do the men in the employ of the Department, would, as they ought, be given the work, and would earn a good wage, while the line would be constructed at about half the price, and a great impetus given to telephone extension. The cast-iron regulations of the Department check telephone construction, and render it exceedingly difficult to obtain lines for people who badly need the convenience. I have placed a number of requests before the Department for telephone extension, and in only one case has the Department agreed to construct a line. I admit that that is a good case, being ia line from, the Prime Minister'sconstituency to my own. The line which extends from Ballarat to Hamilton, a distance of no or 112 miles, is about to be constructed by the Department, and it is one on which,' I think, the Government will receive good interest on the expenditure. But other lines which would assist the people in country districts, and bring them more- in touch with civilization, cannot be constructed because of the throttling system of the Department, with its 'accompanying enormous cost. If, as I say, the men in the country districts were employed, earning the departmental minimum wage, but without the totally unnecessary living allowance, lines would be constructed much more quickly, the benefits of telephone communication would be diffused over a greater area, and there would be a great increase in the revenue of the Department generally. The telephone is one of the few benefits which we in this House may hope to see extended amongst our constituents; because our brethren in the States Parliaments have control of most of the matters which more closely affect the comfort and well-being of the people they represent. It seems to me that we should do our best to get the advantages of telephone communication diffused as widely as possible. Another matter which I would like to see the Minister take into consideration is one that, I believe, could be settled in a very short time if he had a friendly chat with the State Premier of Victoria. In many places, the telegraph office is at the railway! station ; but when a condenser telephone has been provided, and people desire to use it, they are told that they cannot do so, because the telephone is in the stationmaster's office. If the PostmasterGeneral and the State Premier, instead of writing letters, were to have a quiet chat for ten minutes, they could easily frame regulations, which would, so to speak, protect the sanctity of railway property, and yet allow private persons who wish to use the telephone, access to the stationmaster's office. The telephone is being installed in a number of towns in my district, and in all the places where the telegraph office is' at the railway station, the instruments are absolutely useless to the public. It is found impossible to ask a question, or even to ring up the doctor, and all the expenditure of the installation is practically thrown away. As I say, a short confab between the PostmasterGeneral and the State Premier, who is also Minister of Railways, would settle the mat ter, because I am sure that two such sensible men could come to an arrangement in a few minutes. If this- were done it would confer great benefit on the people in country districts, and I hope the PostmasterGeneral will give the matter his attention. These are all the grievances I have to submit, and if they are remedied in the way I indicate, the people generally will reap great advantage. {: #subdebate-20-0-s13 .speaker-KDF} ##### Mr R EDWARDS:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · PROT; FT from 1913; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910 .- I have one or two grievances affecting Queensland in reference to the deportation of the kanakas. After the 31st December next no one in Queensland will be allowed to employ a kanaka, and as soon as possible after the 1st January all these coloured residents are supposed to disappear from the State. A short time ago a telegram from Brisbane appeared in the Melbourne *Argus* as follows : - >BRISBANE, Friday..- The time for the return of the Sugar Labour Commission's report has been extended to June 30. Statements have been made in Melbourne to the effect that Queensland is seeking to avoid its obligations with regard to kanaka repatriation. It was alleged that the fund to which the sugar-planters have contributed to meet the expenses of returning the islanders to their homes has been used by the Queensland Government, after merging it into the consolidated revenue. As a matter of fact, the Queensland Government has always clearly admitted the liability cast upon it by its Legislative enactments to return the islanders to their homes. When **Mr. Morgan** was Premier he repeatedly emphasized that fact, but, at the same time, it is pointed out that, owing to the stopping of recruiting, which prevented steamers taking any islanders as passengers back to Queensland, the cost of landing "returns'" had increased from about ^'5 to *£7* per head. As this was entirely due to the action taken by the Commonwealth Parliament, it was contended that if any additional liability was cast upon the State Government it would be fair to ask the Commonwealth to meet the amount. A more serious matter was the fact that at the end of the period allowed for the employment of kanakas in Queensland there would remain in the State several thousands of kanakas. Some time must elapse before they could be carried to their islands, and, as they could not be allowed to starve, considerable expense would be incurred. This, Ministers held, would be a fair charge upon the Commonwealth Government. The present Premier **(Mr. Kidston)** has expressed his intention of calling upon the Commonwealth Government to meet that expense. If nothing else had taken place that telegram would have caused me to take up a little time to-night. But in the early part of the session- on 14th June, the honorable member for Coolgardie, as reported in *Hansard,* asked the Prime Minister the following questions in the House: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been drawn to a statement attributed to **Mr. Kidson,** a Queensland Minister of State, published about ist April, 1906, to the following effect : - That the Queensland Government would not provide food and clothing for the kanakas about to be repatriated; that the Federal Government must do it ; and that the same Government must bear the cost of deporting the kanakas to their native islands ? {: type="1" start="2"} 0. If it be a fact that the kanakas referred to were brought into Queensland by Queensland for the sole benefit of a Queensland industry, does he consider it equitable that other States of the Commonwealth should bear any share in the cost of returning such kanakas to' their islands or oE maintaining them in the meantime ? 1. Is it correct that a fund existed (to which sugar planters contributed) to meet the necessary expenses of returning Pacific Island labourers to their homes on completion of their periods of engagement, and that this fund has been merge! into the State revenue of Queensland and disbursed for purposes foreign to the object for which the money was collected? 2. Does the Government intend to relieve the State of Queensland of any of its obligations to repatriate at its own expense the Pacific Islanders whom that State, for its own special advantage, introduced into Australia; and, if so, to what extent? 3. If, in addition to the sugar subsidy, and other special concessions granted to Queensland, the Government proposes to bear any portion .of the expense of maintaining or of repatriating kanakas, can the Prime Minister say whether the Constitution admits of the consequent expenditure being adjusted so as to exempt from contribution those States which preferred to leave large areas suitable for sugar production unused rather than follow Queensland's example in importing coloured labour to carry on the industry ? The answers given by the Prime Minister to the questions were as follow : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 2-5. The Government are awaiting final replies from the High Commissioner of the Western Pacific and the British Resident in the New Hebrides. As soon as possible after the receipt of these and of the report of the Queensland Royal Commission which is now inquiring into the situation respecting kanakas, the intentions of the Government will be communicated to Parliament. In considering the statement to be then made, regard will be had to the various matters referred to by the honorable member. I am sorry the honorable member for Coolgardie is not present. I very much regret that an honorable member should attempt to in any way disparage a sister State by asking questions or making statements implying that that State is trying to avoid its proper responsibilities. The honorable member displayed anything but kindly feeling towards Queensland on that occasion. It was very indiscreet on his part, and very much out of place to ask the questions on the strength, I suppose, of nothing more than a rumour that Queensland was not going to carry out its obligations in regard to the deportation of the kanakas. As a representative of Queensland, I protest most strongly against questions or statements of that kind in this House. No Queensland Government - whether a Labour Government, or of any other party - would dream of repudiating the obligations of the State. I am quite satisfied that if anything of the nature were proposed, or suggested, the public of Queensland would be up in arms against such dishonesty. The present condition of affairs in Queensland, as we all know, has been brought about bv legislation . in this Parliament. That legislation was carried by the representatives of all the States, including some of those from Queensland, and. that being so, it is the duty of the Commonwealth to undertake the responsibility of maintaining the kanakas until they can be sent from that State. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr Carpenter: -- Is the Queensland Government willing to pay for the kanakas for whose return they are responsible? {: .speaker-KDF} ##### Mr R EDWARDS:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · PROT; FT from 1913; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910 -- When a shipload of recruits arrived in Queensland, planters requiring " boys " engaged them for a period of three years, paying them at rates of wages provided for under an Act of Parliament, and, at the end of the period, were responsible for the cost of their return passages to the islands! whence they came, amounting to about £5 each. The kanakas, however, could be re-engaged with either their first employer or another, in which case the passage money had to be lodged with the Polynesian Inspector, to be used when the "boys" were inclined to go back. Since the stoppage of . recruiting, however, the cost of return passages has increased by nearly 50 per cent., being now, I am told, £7 ; and it is only reasonable that the Commonwealth should be responsible for the difference between the £5 and £7. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr Carpenter: -- Why ? What has caused the passage rate to go up? {: .speaker-KDF} ##### Mr R EDWARDS:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · PROT; FT from 1913; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910 -- The fact that the vessels engaged in the trade cannot get return cargo, and are not permitted to bring back recruits. Queensland has good cause for complaint whenever it is suggested that she is not prepared to undertake her full responsibility in this matter ; but it must be remembered that between 5,000 and 6,000 kanakas will have .completed their engagements on the 31st December next, and will have to be sent back to their islands as soon afterwards as that can be done. It will 'be impossible to send them all back within a month, or withi.ni six months, and possibly even within a year, and how are they to be maintained during that time, for many of them will be without means? I think that the Commonwealth should be responsible for their maintenance, and for the increase in the cost of the passages, charging the expenditure to all the States on a population basis. Queensland, however, has no intention of repudiating any of her just responsibilities. {: #subdebate-20-0-s14 .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS:
Dalley -- I have been listening for about six hours to the recapitulation, by various honorable members, of the grievances of their constituents. This being grievance day, there is an opportunity' for every representative to pour into your willing or unwilling ears, **Mr. Speaker,** the complaints of those whom he represents. You are precluded by the high office which you hold from doing the same thing; but I take it that you have some better mode of obtaining attention to the wants of your constituents, though, if you will .commission me to do so, I shall be very happy to represent their grievances in this Chamber. Although honorable members undertake this task in the most joyous manner, I should be the last to suggest that they avail themselves of the occasion to make electioneering speeches, and, while nominally addressing you, are actual Iv talking to their constituents. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Why should not a man talk to his constituents? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- The members! of the Labour Party need not do so while their machine keeps in working order, and they are nominees of the machine. I wish to express my surprise, however, that they have not availed themselves of this opportunity to ventilate what I think they should consider a very serious grievance. Seven months ago we passed a Trades Marks Act, containing what were known as union label provisions, which the Labour representatives in this Chamber insisted were absolutely necessary in the interests of the workers. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr Carpenter: -- Shocking ! {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- The honorable member was one of those who spoke most loudly in advocacy of the provisions to which I refer ; but, the legislation having been passed, he has no complaint to make on the ground that the regulations necessary for carrying its provisions into force have not yet been drafted. While the employers have their trade marks, the employes, for whom the Labour Party, the Attorney-General, and the Ministry as a whole fought so strenuously, have been left for seven months! in the position which they occupied before the Act was passed. A large amount of public time was occupied in the discussion of the measure, and a great political struggle took p'lace while special standing orders were being carried to enable it to be forced through this House, and yet, although it was represented by the Ministry and the Labour Party to be so urgent, the regulations necessary to carry it into effect have not yet been drafted. It is hinted in this morning's newspapers that a rough draft has been made, but the regulations have not been published. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The Act does not come into operation! until the second day of next month, but the regulations are ready, and will be passed by the Executive tomorrow. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Then, notwithstanding all the talk that we heard about the absolute urgency for the trade union label provisions, the Ministry have permitted eight months to elapse before bringing the Act into force. When the measure was under discussion, some of the ablest minds in the Chamber- {: .speaker-KZV} ##### Mr Ronald: -- Whose were they ? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Mine amongst the number - saw that it was a moot point whether its provisions were constitutional, and stated that objection ; and it is now an open secret that, as soon as the Act is put into operation.'its constitutionality will be tested before the High Court. No man knows better than the Attorney-General that there is every possibility that the High Court will pronounce the union-label provisions of the Trade Marks Act to be unconstitutional. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- What nonsense ! {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I challenge the AttorneyGeneral to deny what I have said. I believe that this fear on the part of the Government is the sole explanation of the delay in drafting the regulations. The action of the Government in regard to the unionlabel provisions' is in marked contrast to the expedition with which they brought into operation the regulations which enable employers to register the trade marks which they propose to attach to their goods. We were informed by the .press this morning that the union-label regulations had only been drafted. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- The honorable member is quite wrong. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I should like an explanation with regard to the matter. The Minister of Trade and Customs admits that the regulations cannot be brought into operation for another month. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I said that they would be brought into operation upon the 2nd Qf next month, which is only a week hence. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- That is in another month. At any rate, the union-label provisions have been allowed to lie dormant for a period of eight months. -I think that this is a matter of distinct reproach to the Government, and also to the Labour Party, who have not brought sufficient pressure to bear upon them to put the law into full operation. I have another grievance with regard to the Judiciary Act. We were told in the Governor-General's speech that there was a probability that this House would be asked within a short period to authorize the appointment of another Justice to the High Court Bench. I should like to know what has arisen to render such an appointment necessary. Austrafia is already burdened, with too many high-salaried officials, and I do not think we should be called upon to appoint another without sufficient warrant. Most of the time of the High Court has been occupied in reversing the decisions arrived at by the Full Courts of the various States. This indicates either that the States Judges have not kept themselves sufficiently in .touch with the law - and have thereby been led into "wrong decisions, or that the , High Court is becoming fashionable because of its reversal of the decisions of the States Courts, and the consequent assumption that the Justices of the High Court far excel the Judges of the States in ability and legal knowledge. I am not prepared to accept the latter alternative, but I( think that litigants resort to the High Court because of the belief that it will almost certainly reverse the decisions given in the States Courts. One of the Justices of the High Court has refused to preside over the Federal Arbi tration Court. It is true that up to the present no case has been presented for decision under the Federal Arbitration Act, but it is understood that within a very short time some cases will have to be dealt with, and' that we shall be asked to sanction the appointment of another Justice to hear them. Whilst I do not oppose the appointment of officials when they are required, I shall certainly object to the appointment of another Justice until I am quite satisfied that the Bench needs to be strengthened. If an additional Justice is appointed to deal with cases arising under the Federal Arbitration Act, his position will, within a very short time, become practically a sinecure. In yesterday's cables intelligence was conveyed to us with regard to certain proceedings in the Privy Council which tends to justify the action taken by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne and twenty-three others, including myself, who desired that power should be given to litigants to appeal to the Privy Council direct from the Supreme Courts of the States, in matters involving the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth. That proposal was resisted by the members of the present Ministry, and was defeated by only one vote. The Attorney-General, the Minister of Home Affairs, and the honorable and learned member for Bendigo pooh-poohed the idea, but the decision of the Privy Council shows that honorable members who supported it were justified in the view they took. {: .speaker-KJI} ##### Mr Isaacs: -- Will the honorable membe kind enough to read anything that I said on the subject? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The honorable member is quite wrong with regard to the AttorneyGeneral: {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- In that case I shall only be too glad to apologise. I should like to know whether it is the intention of the Government to drop one or two items of business which they have included in their programme, in order to enable Parliament to deal with a Bill to amend the Judiciary Act in the direction pf giving litigants the wider powers of appeal that I have indicated. When this debate commenced I was poor in grievances, but, after having listened to honorable members, I have found many causes for complaint, based upon the neglect of Ministers, their weakness in. administration, and their misleading advice upon legal questions. I should like to know, for one thing, whether the Prime Minister has been approached by the leader of the Labour Party upon the subject of the amendment of the Constitution. The members of the Labour Party, in session and out of session, and in this Chamber and outside of it, have declared that certain social problems cannot be solved until some of the monopolies that are being operated amongst us are nationalized. This reform cannot be brought about until the Constitution is amended, and in view of the fact that, according to the statement of the Prime Minister, the general elections will take place in November, I should like to know whether any steps are being taken in the direction indicated. 1 am astonished that the lynx-eyed advocates of the interests of the masses have not risen in their places and impressed upon the Government the necessity of amending the Constitution to enable the State to nationalize these monopolies, which are said to be working such injury to the community. If the Labour Party believe that monopolies should be nationalized, and that in that reform lies the great cure for most of our social and industrial evils, why do they not come forward and endeavour to induce the Prime Minister to set in motion the machinery necessary to effect their purpose. Honorable members ora this side of the House are often charged by members of the Labour Party with being indifferent to the interests of the masses, but w*e may with propriety hurl the charge back upon them, and ask why they have allowed the present occasion to pass without openly calling upon the Government to take the' action which thev regard as necessary. If action be not taken within a week or two nothing can be done this session, and no amendment of the Constitution can be effected for three years or more. It is just as well to hold the curtain aside, and show how far the Labour Party have failed to establish their claim as doughty champions of the masses. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- What does the honorable member wa.nt us to do? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- The honorable member is loud-mouthed in advocacy of the nationalization of monopolies, and I urge that he should ask the Prime Minister to put the necessary machinery in motion so that the question of the amendment of the Constitution can be submitted at the next election. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- I shall have a conference with the Prime Minister. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- That reply is consistent with the general conduct of the Labour Party. They do not bring their influence to bear in such a way that the public can see what they are doing. They exercise their control by means of a secret caucus, and by having conferences with the Prime Minister. This is the place for conferences. Why do not the sturdy representatives of the Labour Party boldly ask the Minister before the whole country what he intends to do with regard to this vital matter ? {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- We are trying to save the time of the country. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- When the honorable member was in opposition, he used to spend hour after hour in attempting to save the time of the country.' Then we had Webster unabridged, but to-day, as a supporter of the Ministry, the honorable member is very much abridged. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- I had an enemy to fight when - 1 was in opposition. {: #subdebate-20-0-s15 .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS:
DALLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I hope that the honorable member will not have an opportunity of saving to-morrow morning that' the honorable member for Dalley was not properly reported in *Hansard.* I have been in this House for five and a-half years, and I will guarantee that I have not made fifty corrections in the proofs of my speeches during the whole of that time.' I think that the members of the *Hansard* staff, instead of being spoken of unkindly, should have full credit given to them as the finest' of speech-makers. I really believe that they are responsible for the most lovely productions, and the most poetic speeches, which are supposed to have issued from the mouth of the honorable member for Gwydir, but which were never uttered by him. Yet the honorable member, above all others, endeavoured to castigate *Hansard* yesterday. How is it that the members of the Labour Party who believe in nationalizing everything, have been so silent in regard to this matter? As during this final session of the present Parliament we have only a few months in which to do our work, I quite agree that, even if the Opposition desired to be fractious, it would not be good policy on their part. I know from experience that fractiousness on the part of an Opposition in the early part of a session means late sittings towards the end of it. I have had sufficient parliamentary experience to teach me that a Ministry in the last session of a Parliament- will make every . endeavour t» place upon the 'statute-book as much legislation as it can,- in order to show to the electors what it has done. . I am quite aware also that if we were to delay measures now - and remember that the Opposition contains members who are fairly well experienced in parliamentary life - we should have to suffer for it later on. We should suffer in health and in comfort through1 all-night sittings, and the only result would be that we should have bad legislation placed upon the statute-book by a frenzied Ministry. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- The honorable member is a past master ! {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I do not know what I am a past master in. The honorable member for Gwydir is a past master in misrepresentation. I am only an apprentice at that business. So- far as concerns laying legitimate grievances before the House, I think I can claim to be at least an accomplished journeyman. Nevertheless, I do not make a business of bringing grievances before Parliament. I am no grievance- monger in any sense. Many honorable members have aired their eloquence to-day with regard to defence matters. I do not wish to say much with regard to them. But I should like to observe that it appears to me tb p 1 the most hard-worked Minister in this House is the most ill-paid member of the Cabinet. I allude to the Honorary Minister, the Vice-President of the Executive Council. It is a- disgrace to the present Government that that honorable gentleman should have to answer nearly all the Questions that are addressed to Ministers, whilst at the same time he draw§ the least pav. Surely here is a case for presentation to the Arbitration Court. It is a sheer matter of sweating an employe of the Government ! {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The honorable member is a Socialist. He wants to divide even lv {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I am certainly socially inclined iti my relations with the- Prime Minister, but I am no Socialist; whilst, as to dividing equally, I never have anything to divide. Unfortunately, the members of the Opposition are nearly all Scotch, and you know from experience, **Mr. Speaker,** that where Scotchmen are concerned there is not much inclination to divide. My answer to the Prime Minister is that I have no opportunity of dividing anything of value on this side of the chamber, whilst for political reasons he will not allow me to divide anything with him. But I notice that at ques tion time nearly every question is answered by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. When a question is addressed to the Government regarding the Post and Telegraph Department, the Honorary Minister answers it. When a question with regard to Defence is asked, the honorable gentleman bobs' up again like a cork. He is a regular Pooh Bah. During question time to-day, for instance, the reporters were kept busy in taking down the words of wisdom that fell from the Vice-President of the Executive Council, whilst the remainder of the members of the Ministry, from the Attorney-General downwards, remained silent. In the course of this debate the same honorable gentleman is the only Minister who has made any response to the criticisms which have been levelled against the Government. He made a very eloquent answer to the honorable member for Wentworth, who is a specialist, or is trying to become a specialist, in matters of naval and military defence. I observe that the honorable member for Darwin - whom we may regard as the honorable member for the Missing Link, or the honorable member for the Origin of Species - laughs at my remark. But it is true. The honorable member for Wentworth made a well-thought-out speech upon the defence policy of the Government. I am satisfied that the members of this House do not desire that questions of defence shall be discussed on party lines. Defence! is a matter quite above 1)art, Neither i-he members of the Larbour Party nor Ministerialists, nor the Oppositionists, desire that a question of such serious import shall be treated as one out of which political capital can be made. The honorable member for Maranoa has from the very inception of this Parliament devoted careful attention to defence, and has on man v. occasions favoured us with his own practical knowledge concerning it. But although one of the warmest supporters of the Ministry, the honorable member has to-night castigated them in the severest terms. The Government have not replied to him. Why is that? The honorable member has attacked the Government for the contemplated' appointment of Colonel Hoad as InspectorGeneral of the Commonwealth Military Forces. It was a deliberate attack by an honorable member who is on this subject well qualified to speak in the interests of the people of Australia. He has quoted from a report by Major-General Hutton, an eminent Imperial officer, who has served with distinction in various parts of the Empire, and has argued that Colonel Hoad does not possess the qualities required for the position which he is to fill. If the facts are as represented by the honorable member for Maranoa, I trust that Colonel Hoad will not be appointed to so high a position ; whereas if it is proved that he is well qualified, and is the best officer we can select, I see no reason why he should not be appointed. Every care and caution ought, however, to be exercised in regard to this matter. My quiver, so far as grievances are concerned, is not by any means empty. Every honorable member, after a parliamentary recess, has his quiver full against any Ministry. But I do not intend to trouble the House and *Hansard* with any further grievances under which my constituents may) be labouring, as I trust that I shall have other opportunities to lay them before the House. I should not have addressed you at all, **Mr. Speaker,** except that I felt it to be necessary to place on record the points which I have already mentioned. In conclusion, mav I be allowed to express my sincere regret that, while these troubles affecting the constituencies of honorable members are being ventilated, you, sir, are precluded by the position you hold from saying anything on behalf of your electorate. I think it would be a good idea, if on such occasions as this, you, **Mr. Speaker,** .could leave the chair and have your place taken by the Chairman of Committees, in order that you might have the same opportunities as other honorable members have. Personally, I hope to see the day when the Speaker of this House will have accorded to him the compliment, which is always accorded to the Speaker of the House of Commons, of not being opposed at elections. I think that the traditions of the Imperial Parliament in that respect ought to prevail in Australia, and that the Speaker should be returned without opposition ; because, while he occupies the Chair, he is handicapped in respect to dealing, with controversial matters. When we have a Speaker possessed of such high attainments as is the gentleman who presides over this (Chamber, there is a special reason for hoping that in the near future, when the elections take place, the same treatment will be meted out to him 'as is invariably meted out to the gentleman who presides over the deliberations of the House of Commons {: #subdebate-20-0-s16 .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr WILSON:
Corangamite .- Owing to the lengthy speech of the honorable member for Dalley, I shall have to curtail the remarks which I intended to make. I wish, first of all, to address a few observations to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. I wish to Call his attention, and that of the House, to the very small payments that are made to some of the" contractors under the Post and Telegraph Department. I know of one case were a man has to attend at a railway station twice a day, and to carry the mails about a mile into a township. For those services he receives a payment of only 7s. 6d. a week. It is absolutely ridiculous that a poor man should be so illpaid for such work. This is only one of many such cases. I think that some arrangement ought to be made by the Post and Telegraph Department whereby persons shall be adequately paid for ' services which they render' to the country. In the Forest country, below Colac, which, as the Acting Postmaster-General knows, is very difficult of access, there is a place known as Wattle Hill, which is situated about thirteen miles beyond Beech Forest. Some years ago these thirteen miles of road were in a terrible state. I have been over the road, and know that often until quite recently a man driving along it had to pass through waterholes every few minutes. In consequence of the terrible state of the roads the mails for Wattle Hill, instead of being taken from Beech Forest, thirteen miles away, were taken round to Camperdown, thence to Timboon by rail, from Timboon to Princetown bv coach, and from Princetown to Wattle Hill by pack horse, a distance of ninety miles in all. The Colac Shire Council has improved the direct road to Wattle Hill, and I therefore ask the Minister to seethat in the new contract provision is made for the mails to be carried by the shorter instead nf the longer distance. The people at Wattle Hill do a lot of business with Beech Forest, but until lately it has taken them a long time - two or three days - to get an answer from Beech Forest, although it is on lv thirteen miles away. I hope that the Minister will also see that payments for sendees rendered to the Department are made more speedily than they have been. During the railway strike, which occurred some years ago, two local telegraph operators were asked to do Sunday duty, and they:' did. Thev were told that thev 870 *Supply[REPRESENTATIVES.] (Formal).* would receive extra payment for their services, but no more was heard of the matter until Tuesday last, when they got an official intimation that they were to receive payment, and they were handed the munificent sum of 3d. after waiting for three years to be paid. I hope that in the future the Minister will see that these payments are made with greater regularity. The honorable and learned member for Wannon has drawn attention to the fact that in the past few years there has been considerable alteration in the garrison artillery at Warrnambool, Port Fairy, and Portland. He has shown the excellent character of the battery at each place. They were permanent coast artillery at one time, and have been transformed into field artillery. It seems to me that the Department or some persons in authority there, are trying to bring in the very pernicious practice of centralizing all the State Defence Forces at Melbourne or Queenscliff. That, to my mind, is very dangerous and most undesirable. I hope that every possible precaution will be taken by the Minister to prevent that sort of thing from being brought about. It seems to me that there is some connexion between this desire to centralize all these things and the recent dismissal of the men from the Warrnambool battery. Fourteen of the men did not attend the camp at Easter. According to the regulations, the Minister has power to inquire as to men not attending camp, and, where dismissals have taken place, to recommend that the men should be reinstated. What I ask is that the Minister shall inquire into these cases, and that when he sees the justice of the claim of many of the men to be reinstated, he will cancel the discharges. The cases are, I think, rather notable. Two brothers who are carrying on a shop were both members of the artillery, one being a sergeant and the other a corporal. They employed no workmen, so that if both had gone to the camp, the shop would have had to be closed. Last year, the corpora! went, this year the sergeant went, and for not going this year the corporal has been dismissed. Surely the Defence Department are not going to ask men with an excellent record of services to close their shop for five or six days? In another case, two members of a battery were working in the same shop. Last year the proprietor allowed one of the men to goto camp, and this year he allowed the other to go, but when the report was brought to the Colonel, the man who was not able to go this year was dismissed. In another case a poor man, who was an excellent sergeant in the battery, kept a little shop. Last year he was able to arrange his affairs so that he could go to the camp, but this year he could not, and, consequently, he was dismissed. One regulation provides that if a man be a petty officer, then, instead of being dismissed for not attending a camp, he shall be returned to the ranks, but these men have been dismissed absolutely. There is a certain amount of degradation attached' to the sudden dismissal of a man. The men feel their position very keenly. There seems to be a somewhat strong feeling existing just now in the matter. I find that thirty members of the Bendigo detachment of the Australian Infantry Regiment have been dismissed for not attending camp. I think that all these cases should be inquired into, so that this pernicious policy of centralization shall not be further pursued by the Government. The honorable member for Wentworth has referred to the case of the crippled driver. Our regulations ought to provide that any men who are injured in the service shall have some recompense made to them, no matter what their rank may be. I hope most sincerely that the Government will take into their serious consideration the case of the injured driver. I also trust that they will be able to give serious consideration to the claims of ColonelPrice, and. to do something for him. I hope that when the Government feel that they are called upon to make some return to men for services rendered they will give equal consideration to the claims of all ranks. {: #subdebate-20-0-s17 .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY:
DARWIN, TASMANIA · ALP -- While I was out of the Chamber to-day, the honorable member for Maranoa made a speech in which he impliedly sought to condemn the appointment of Colonel Hoad. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- How does the honorable member know, if he was not here? {: #subdebate-20-0-s18 .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY:
DARWIN, TASMANIA -- I heard all about it. I am not attempting to reprimand the honorable member. I am only attempting to put the matter from my standpoint. I wish to congratulate the Government upon the contemplated appointment of Colonel Hoad. But I think that we ought to be fair. No man ever loses ground by being absolutely fair, as I believe the honorable member for Maranoa wishes to be. I understand that he has *Supply* [28 June, 1906.] *(Formal).* 871 said that if any one knew anything in favour of Colonel Hoad, who is not able to come here and defend himself, he would be only too pleased to hear it. I know that Colonel Hoad is an able, progressive, and industrious officer. While I am opposed to all armies except the army of industry ; while I look upon this outcry about the defence of Australia as an encouragement to foreign nations to come and attack us ; while it is all nonsense to me, in this age of civilization and progress, to be talking about establishing and maintaining an army of butchers to murder men as savages do, I ask why, if Australia is able to produce, train, and qualify soldiers, should they be exempt because they were born in t his country? If that policy be pursued, then every sagacious father will see that his wife clears out of the country when a child is about to be bom, so that it shall be born in a foreign country, and thus be qualified to be employed in Australia. The Constitution of the United States says that its Presidency can only be held by a. person who was born therein. I lost the chance of being, elected President of the United States because I was born thirty feet outside the territory. Why should we not encourage men born in Australia to become great? It ought to be the very symbol of their power to rise that they were born here in. a democratic country. When the honorable member for Maranoa talks about Colonel Hoad having risen because of the influence of society, he is labouring under a tremendous delusion. Colonel Hoad has no social influence in Victoria. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- When did I say that? {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- My friends tell me that there was sent in a letter, in which it was stated that it was a society appointment, and if 1 am mistaken let my honorable friend put me right. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I never said that. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- I agree that the honorable member did not make the statement, buthe quoted it from the letter. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I never quoted any letter, so that the honorable member is wrong again. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- Then the Labour Christians are wrong, and, if that is so, I at once apologise to the honorable member. If Colonel Gordon or any of the social gentlemen were nominated for the position I should say it was owing to the exercise of society influence, but Colonel Hoad has risen from the ranks. In the early days of Victoria, I believe, he was a civil servant. He battled, studied and trained himself, until now he is qualified to take this position. Let us look at another side of the case. You, sir, know that on general principles I would be shot or hanged to-morrow. You know that, as a rule, men who are not successful always look upon successful men as bounders and adventurers - dangerous men in the community. We ought to be very careful before we condemn men upon the recommendation of rivals. While I am a labour member, I hope that I am just. I always hate to see any of the brethren in the House defeated, although they are opposed to me. I admit that Major-General Hutton had no wonderful use for Colonel Hoad, but that only proves that Colonel Hoad had less use for Major-General Hutton - it is as broad as it is long. Abraham Lincoln picked five generals, all failures, before securing Grant. The latter had much hard work in order to get through his examinations, and he only succeeded at the tail end on the last occasion, when he was given the rank of about a fourteenth lieutenant. He was sent out west on the plains, because he was thought not to be fit to mingle with the officers who had been first in the tests at West Point. At last Grant retired in disgust from the Army, and became a tanner; and it was through Colonel Pomeroy, who had been appointed by Governor Yates, of Illinois, to take a regiment south, that Grant was sent for. In Australia, according to the conditions which appear to be laid down, General Grant would not be allowed into the Army. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- The honorable member must have a brief for Colonel Hoad. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- I have no brief, but I want to be fair. I have had such a fight for my living in Australia that my heart goes out to any man who is being kicked. When General Grant was taking his army to the Mississippi, his subordinate generals asked him why he did not prepare for a retreat, and his reply was that if they were defeated there would be none of them left to retreat. And I believe that is what Colonel Hoad would say to-morrow if he were called upon to fight. . Abraham Lincoln, in the face of every general in the States, stood by General Grant. It will be remembered that 872 *Supply* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *(Formal).* clergymen went to Washington, and asked Lincoln to dismiss Grant because the latter was drunk at the battle of Shiloh. The reply of Lincoln was an inquiry whether the clergymen could obtain for him a few barrels of the whisky that Grant had been taking, and when the clergymen asked the President why he wanted the whisky, he said he desired to present it to the other generals in order to make them fight like Grant. We oughtto be very careful not to condemn Colonel Hoad simply because he has not moved in. society in London or Berlin. When General Rosencrantz, a German general in the American Army, who had had to flee from his own country during the troubles of 1848, was tied up in the South during the civil war, Grant took an army and relieved him. I have no faith in military clock-work generals, with their numerous spurs and feathers. We know how such generals behaved in South Africa; and even the honorable member for Maranoa admitted that when the Boers were bayoneted out of a position, the officers let them back again. We want a man of ability for this position, and if Colonel Hoad does not prove that he possesses that ability, he can be removed. If 1 had my way, I would wipe out all this nonsense about the Army, and devote the £700,000 or the . £800,000 a year to placing men and women on the land. We should then have a large population, and the presence of 20,000,000 people in Australia would be sufficient to scare the nations of the world from attacking us. Why is it that the United States does not need an army? The very fact that the population of the United States is 80,000,000 acts like an electric shock on the nations of the world. What we want in Australia is population, but population we shall never get so long as we waste our money on this nonsensical military business. In an American newspaper the other day a British soldier declared that the British guns are now obsolete. I trust that Ministers, if they have made up their minds to appoint Colonel Hoad, will not withdraw from their position; and they shall then have my support through thick and thin. I know that Colonel Hoad is not a society rooster, and that is enough for me. I have been a fighting man myself amongst the Indians and that is the sort of fighting we shall have in Australia. The history of the world is simply the record of one great battle between righteousness and evil ; and while battle-fields may change, underlying principles never change. Question resolved in the negative. {: .page-start } page 872 {:#debate-21} ### GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S RESIDENCES BILL Motion (by **Mr. Groom)** agreed to - >That leave be given to bring in a Kill for an Act relating to the residences of the GovernorGeneral. Bill presented, and read a first time. {: .page-start } page 872 {:#debate-22} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-22-0} #### Order of Business: Tariff Commission's Reports : Major Hawker Inquiry : Cost of Printing **Mr. (DEAKIN** (Ballarat- Minister of External Affairs) [10.35]. - I move - >That the House do now adjourn. It has been suggested that the amendments of the Preservation of Australian Industries Bill, circulated this evening, are such as to invite examination by honorable members, and that probably business will be assisted if the consideration of that measure be not undertaken before Tuesday. Consequently, it is proposed to-morrow to proceed with the Bill which has just been read a first time. As honorable members are probably aware, the Premier of New South Wales has requested, in order that arrangements may be made for a residence for the Governor of that State, that this question which the Senate desires to have considered by Bill, shall be dealt with in. the course of the next month. In order that this may be done without interrupting the business of this Parliament, it is desirable to have the measure in readiness for the Senate when it re-assembles. Any further time that may be at our disposal to-morrow will be occupied with the business on the notice-paper. {: #subdebate-22-0-s0 .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo .- I desire to avail myself of this opportunity to elicit from the Government some expression of opinion, or some pronouncement, as to their intentions with respect to the progress reports of the Tariff Commission which have already been presented. I should like to know whether it is proposed to give the House an early opportunity to deal with those reports and, if so, at what stage we are likely to be asked to consider them. In looking down the notice-paper, I see no indication up to the present of any *Adjournment.* [28 June, 1906.] *Adjournment.* 873 intention to take action in this direction. Honorable members who hare referred to the reports, will, no doubt, 'have noticed, or will have drawn the inference, that in order to give effect to them, not only will it be necessary to introduce any proposed Tariff alterations - which I need not refer to, because the recommendations have not been presented - but also to introduce amendments of the Commerce Act. the Distillation Act, and the Excise Act. I see no indication on the paper of any notices of motion in regard to these matters. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Why the Commerce Act? {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- In regard to the introduction of inferior liquors and so on. Last session the Tariff Commission received a number of requests for progress reports, and the members of the Commission were severely criticised because they were not able to present such reports. The Commission have made very strenuous efforts to expedite their labour's during the recess. The whole of the members have worked very hard in the preparation of reports, so that the House might have an opportunity at a very early stage of the session to deal with them. Three important reports have been presented, and are now in the possession of the Government, and, as the papers have been circulated, there is no lack of material or opportunity to deal with the question. If there is any desire or intention to redress Tariff grievances this session, I take the opportunity to advise the Government to make an early step in. that direction. It is no use frittering away the session with a number of small general Bills, because if there is to be any redress of Tariff grievances, that redress in my opinion, can only be found in an amendment of the Tariff. It would be very disastrous if the early stages of the session were spent in dealing with a number of minor measures, while one of the chief objects of the session, namely, the redress of Tariff grievances, was delayed until too late to be dealt with during this Parliament. {: #subdebate-22-0-s1 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE:
Maranoa -- When the report in connexion with the Hawker inquiry was presented a request was made by some honorable members that the evidence should be printed, but the Prime Minister could not see his way, in view of the extraordinary expense, to grant the request. It appeared that the expenseof printing, according to the estimate of the Government Printer would be *£135.I* was one who desired to have the evidence printed, but when the Prime Minister informed us as to the estimated cost I was fairly staggered, and did not proceed further. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- There must be an enormous mass of evidence for the printing to cost that amount. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- That is the estimate received from the Government Printing Office. The honorable member for Corio then made inquiries from a union printing office in Melbourne, and there the estimated cost for 1,000 copies was given at *£25.* {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr Liddell: -- That must be under sweating conditions. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- No; that is an estimate from a union printing office. I asked the honorable member for Corio particularly on that point. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- It is very much more like what should be the price. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- It has been supplied by a union printing office [laying union rates of wages. We are being robbed by the Government Printing Office, or there is something radically wrong, if 1,000 copies of this paper can be printed for *£.25,* and the Government Printer demands *£135* for the work. The matter is one . which should be inquired into. If the difference in price be so great in respect of one small item of printing, it would be interesting to know how much we have paid in excess for printing done in the past. {: #subdebate-22-0-s2 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
VicePresident of the Executive Council · Richmond · Protectionist -- I desire to make a statement which should, perhaps, take the form of a personal explanation. The honorable and learned member for Corio to-day asked the following question of the Minister representing the Minister of Defence: - >Whether, in the appointment of an Inspector for the Military Forces, the Minister for Defence will adhere to his announcement that all appointments in the Australian Forces are to be made from Australians. My reply to the question was "Yes." But there is a sort of double question or inference in the question as submitted by the honorable and learned member for Corio, which at the moment of answering I did not perceive. It should have been stated further that paragraph 8 of the Governor-General's opening speech describes the whole attitude of the Government with regard to these matters. It reads as follows : - {: type="1" start="8"} 0. For over twenty years Australia has enjoyed the assistanceof a number of Imperial officers for the purpose of training those in command of our local Forces, in addition la which many of iiic latter have been sent to longland and India for instruction. Hereafter preference in appointments will be *given* to Australian officers and non-commissioned officers. The policy of sending mcn of promise to England, India, and elsewhere for training will be continued ; and arrangements have been made for the periodical exchange of our own officers with those of the Imperial Army, both in England and India, and also with the Canadian Forces. The advice and assistance of officers in the Navy and Army of the mother country possessed of special qualifications for judging our progress will bc sought from time to time. I desire to repeat this so as to make the attitude of the Government perfectly clear with, regard to all appointments. {: #subdebate-22-0-s3 .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN:
Minister of External Affairs · Ballarat · Protectionist -- I shall be obliged to the honorable member for Maranoa if he will supply the Government with the tender of the printer referred to. I agree with him that a discrepancy such as that which he has indicated does merit very careful inquiry. If the honorable member is able to supply the Government with the tender we shall have the matter looked into. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I will supply it with pleasure. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN: -- As to the very important question of the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, let me say that the Government fully appreciate the labours of the Tariff Commission, and the seriousness of the questions which they are raising. The intention is certainly to deal, in this session, and in a practical fashion, with the recommendations of the Commission, both those which have been made, and those which are expected, and which we hope to receive shortly. But I think the House will agree that it is undesirable that scattered over the business of the session there should be occasional digressions into various Tariff matters intermixed with the consideration of the measures of general importance to which the honorable and learned member referred. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- We should deal with as many as possible of the recommendations in one amendment of the Tariff. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN: -- We hope to receive further recommendations some day next week, or at the beginning of the week after, when the draft reports of the Chairman of the Commission have been dealt with. As soon as they are in they will be considered, and when we have a sufficient bulk of recommendations to occupy the attention of the House for some little time consecu tively, the Government, in order that thev may be dealt with and discussed as far as possible together, propose to take them in hand, and to press on their consideration as fast as possible. We think that the convenience of honorable members, both as regards their attendance in the House, and the concentration of their thought upon the recommendations of importance submitted, will be best served by the adoption of this course. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 10.49 P-m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 June 1906, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1906/19060628_reps_2_31/>.