2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3.15 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the followng Bills reported: -
Lands Acquisition Bill.
Customs Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Bill.
Excise Tariff [Agricultural Machinery) Bill.
Excise Tariff (Sugar) Amendment Bill.
Customs Tariff (South African Preference) Bill.
Electoral (Advertisements) Bill.
Excise Tariff (Spirits) Bill.
Pacific Island Labourers Bill.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the
Following papers: -
Regulations under the Commerce Act. Banking returns for the various States of the Commonwealth and New Zealand.
Mr. SPEAKER announced the receipt of a message from His Excellency the GovernorGenera], intimating that he had reserved the Customs Tariff (British Preference) Bill for the signification of His Majesty’s pleasure.
– Is it true, as reported, that the Government have ceased to collect duties under the British preference schedule, and are returning the money already collected?
– Yes. The Customs Tariff (British Preference) Bill having been reserved for the signification of His Majesty’s pleasure, there is no authority under which to continue to collect them.
– As some little time is likely to elapse between the prorogation of this Parliament, and the assembling of the next, I wish to know from the VicePresident of the Executive Council, whether in that interval the Minister of Defence is likely to have an opportunity to peruse the papers relating to what is known as the Crouch Surrender Case, so that they may be laid on the table within a reasonable time after the meeting of Parliament ?
– The Minister of Defence has stated that he wishes to let sleeping dogs He, and I think that they might well be allowed to lie during the interval to which the honorable member refers.
– In view of the fact that the Estimates of the Department of Home Affairs provide “for the salaries of two medical officers, will the Minister in charge of that Department see whether it is not possible to have the honorable member for Lang subjected to medical observation?
– I understand that special consideration is to be extended to an officer who is retiring from the Defence Force on account of ill-health: but does the Prime Minister think that his case is the only one that should receive attention?
– Quite the contrary. My honorable colleague, when referring to the case of Captain Anderson, must have had in mind a list containing the names of a number of officers similarly situated, which has been before him for some time. Captain Anderson’s case is a very hard one, because it was owing to the paralysis from which he suffers, brought about by conditions to which he was subjected while discharging his duties as a soldier, that he was incapable of applying for the gratuity which would otherwise have been granted. It is proposed to deal with this and with other outstanding cases.
– Including that of Colonel Price?
– Yes. Colonel Price has a very strong claim to consideration, because a Military Board awarded him a specific sum for injuries on service. The intention is to deal with the cases of Captain Anderson, Colonel Price, and of any other officer who can substantiate a similar claim in the same convincing way.
– As considerable concern exists regarding the maintenance of British influence in the Pacific, can the Prime Minister inform the House as to the position of affairs in the New Hebrides, and assure us that the subject will receive his close attention during the recess?
– Reference will be made to this important subject in the speech to be delivered by His Majesty’s representative this afternoon. I could wish that it bore another complexion; but it is not due to want of representations from this side that a more favorable report is not given.
– In to-day’s issue of a newspaper published in Melbourne there is a statement to the effect that Queensland has secured for some of her products preferential treatment from the Japanese Government. Has the Prime Minister any information on the subject with which he can favour the House? I should like to know whether the Queensland representative in the East is vested with Commonwealth authority? If so, and he has obtained this preferential treatment for his State at the expense of the other States, will the Prime Minister withdraw his authority to act on behalf of the Commonwealth”?
– The Queensland treaty with Japan dates from the nineties, and was therefore in force before our Union. The concessions made to Japan up to that time then ceased, and have not since been granted. Assuming the newspaper statement to be correct, it can only mean that the Japanese Government extends to Queensland, as an act of grace, concessions for which it has not received any return since the establishment of the Commonwealth. If so, that is a matter not within our control. The Queensland representative in the East, like the representatives of the other States there, is authorized to issue certificates to merchants or bond fide visitors who desire to come to Australia, so that our immigration laws may not be evaded.
– Is it possible for one State to enjoy concessions which are not given to the others?
– It is not possible for one State to grant concessions ; but, if another country likes to grant concessions to any State, the Commonwealth cannot control its gifts.
– But we should not connive at such an arrangement.
– We are not associated with it. I am not yet sure that there is to be such an arrangement.
– Surely we have the right to see that all the States receive equal treatment.
Appointments to the High Court : Rearrangement of Ministerial Offices :
– As I may not have another opportunity, may I Be permitted to offer you, sir, and the officers of the House the customary but very real congratulations of honorable members on all sides of the Chamber upon the close of a session in which the demands upon both have certainly not been less than in previous years. We all recognise that the machinery of legislation would move with much more irksomeness, as well as much more slowly, but for the unfailing attention and consideration which we receive at your hands, and at those of the officers of the House. The Chairman of Committees has taken his place during a period in which, fortunately, political storms have been few; but we have to congratulate him upon his absolute impartialitv of treatment when any differences have arisen. As to you, sir, a Speaker of this House necessarily returns to his constituents under greater disabilities than surround any other honorable member, but if the universal opinion of honorable members with regard to the manner in which you have discharged your duties could be conveyed toyour constituents, there would be no need for fear as to their response. In addition to one or two members who are leaving us for another, which they are pleased to consider a higher, place in the
Commonwealth Parliament, we are losing several gentlemen with whom we can ill afford to part. I would first mention my old friend and colleague, the right honorable member for Balaclava, whose financial abilities, general capacity, and devotion to public duty will not be soon surpassed. He retires with the good feeling of every member of this House, and the fullest public appreciation of the great, work which he has been privileged to accomplish both for the Commonwealth and for Victoria. Then, again, we are to lose a younger member, whose retirement we also deeply regret. He has the misfortune - for which I am not going to hold him responsible - to sit on the wrong side of the House, but I shall be pleased at any’ time to use my best efforts to correctthat initial mistake. He has rendered valuable assistance in connexion with the Library Committee, whilst in the House he has exhibited marked ability, independence of spirit, and at all times absolute fairness to his opponents. In brief, he has given us every reason to feel that we shall suffer a great deprivation when he ceases to appear amongst us. He will take with him the affectionate regard of every honorable member in this Chamber. May I also make a hasty reference to the gentleman who presides over the other branch of the Legislature. His name has been associated with the Conventions prior to Federation, and he has, since the establishment of the Commonwealth, occupied the distinguished position of President of the Senate. His retirement will remove one of the landmarks of our early history. Personally, I have to thank honorable members on all sides for the consideration that they have invariably extended to me whilst I have been acting as leader of the House. At the close of this second session of my leadership I retain in. my memory not a single recollection of offence received from any member of this Chamber.
– That is very generous. Mr. DEAKIN. - One or two sentences more in regard to the members of the Labour Party, who during this session have assisted us, not as direct followers of the Government, but under a resolution to give us their general support. Although individual members of that party have at times been strongly in opposition to us, and the party as a whole has on occasion exercised its undoubted right to question the wisdom of our policy, their undertaking of general support has been amply and generously fulfilled Of the leader of that party, no terms ore too high in which to express my sense of the strictly constitutional manner in which he has refrained at all times from even offering a suggestion that might appear to be intended to interfere with the responsibilities of the Government in any respect. This House, but not the Commonwealth, will lose two other members, who have occupied places of distinction in this Chamber. The highest eulogy their colleagues can pass upon them is conveyed by the appointments which they have offered to them. I venture to believe that their retirement will be a loss to this House and a greater loss still to the party to which they belong. On- the retirement of the Attorney-General, his office will be taken by the present Minister of Home Affairs, and my friend. Mr. Ewing, will take control of the Some Affairs Department. The promotion to the position of Vice-President of the Executive Council will fall to Senator Keating, and my old friend, Mr. Mauger, will join the Government as honorary Minister.
The Usher of the Black Rod being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that His Excellency the GovernorGeneral desired the immediate attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber.
Mr. Speaker, accompanied by honorable members, then proceeded to the Senate chamber, where His Excellency the GovernorGeneral was pleased to deliver a speech (vide page 6486), declaring Parliament prorogued until 31st October, 1906.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 October 1906, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1906/19061012_reps_2_35/>.