3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The House met at 2.30 p.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General .
Mr. Speaker took the chair.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
Mr. Speaker read prayers.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that His Excellency the Governor-General desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber.
Mr. Speaker and honorable members attended accordingly, and having returned,
Mr. SINCLAIR made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the electoral district of Moreton.
Mr. TILLEY BROWN made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the electoral district of Indi.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act relating to grants and dispositions of freehold estates in land in the Territory of Papua.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Kennedy v. Palmer.
The Clerk announced the receipt from the Deputy-Registrar of the High Court of Australia, under section 202 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, of a copy of the following order of the Court of Disputed Returns: -
In the High Court of Australia.
Sitting as a Court of Disputed Returns. 1907. No. 1.
In the matter of the Election of a Member of the House of Representatives for the Electoral Division of Echuca, State of Victoria, and
In the Matter of the Petition of Thomas Kennedy.
Thomas Kennedy, Petitioner, against
Monday, the 10th day of June, 1907.
This petition, coming on for trial at Melbourne on the 16th day of April, 1907, and afterwards on the 16th, 17th, and aoth days of May, 1907, and this day, and upon reading the said petition of the above-named Thomas Kennedy, filed herein on the 24th day of January, 1907, and the appearance of the above-named Albert Clayton Palmer, who was returned as a Member of the House of Representatives at the said election, and upon hearing the evidence of the said petitioner, Thomas Kennedy, Thomas Edwards, James Edward’ Cathie, John James O’Dwyer, Francis Patrick Boyle, Matthew Wellington, John Edmund Byass, and Martin Karlberg, taken upon their oral examination, and upon reading the Deputy-Registrar’s certificate as to the result of a recount, dated the13th day of May, 1907, and made in pursuance of the direction given to him by order dated the 16th day of April, 1907, and uponhearing what was alleged by Mr. Hassett, of counsel for the said Thomas Kennedy, and Sir John Quick, of counsel for the said Albert Clayton Palmer, this Court doth declare that the said Respondent was not duly elected at the said election, and the said Court doth further declare that the said election was absolutely void.
By the Court,
[L.S.] J. W. O’HALLORAN,
– The High Court having declared the election held on 12th December last, for the electoral division of Echuca, in the State ofVictoria, to be absolutely void, I issued on the 13th June last, a writ for a new election for the said division. The dates appointed in the writ were as follow: - Date of nomination, 21st June; date of polling, 10th July; return to writ, on or before 10th August, 1907. .
– The. Prime Minister waited on the President and myself yesterday, and desired to accept on behalf of the Parliament of the Commonwealth the gold casket, in which he received the Freedom of the City of London on the occasion of his recent attendance at the Imperial Conference. This splendid gift was accepted, and will be held at the pleasure of honorable members, and, if they are agreeable, my statement regarding it will be recorded in the Votes and Proceedings.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Native labour ordinance, No. i of 1907.
Report of the resolutions, proceedings, and debates, together with appendices of the InterState Conference of Premiers, &c, Melbourne, October, 1906.
Return respecting contract immigrants admitted or refused admission into the Commonwealth, &c, during 1906.
Excise Act 1901 - Regulation - Statutory Rules 1907, No. 22.
Excise Act 1901 and Excise Tariff 1906 - Provisional Regulations, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 27. Regulations, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 52.
Spirits Act - Regulations, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 29.
Copyright Act - Regulations, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 49.
Trade Marks Act - Provisional Regulations, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 50.
Designs Act - Regulations, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 51.
Defence Acts - Provisional Regulations - Naval Cadet Corps - Statutory Rules 1907, No. 19.
Naval Forces - Regulation No. 4 Amended, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 20. Financial and Allowance Regulations - Amendment of Part I., sec. IV., par. 42 - Statutory Rules 1907, No. 35.
Military Cadet Corps - Regulations, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 63.
Military Forces - Regulations Amended, &c. - Nos. 56A and 129, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 8. No. 540, Substituted Regulation, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 13. No. 540, Amendment of B (3), Statutory Rules 1907, No. 33. Nos. 540 and 540a, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 58. No. 180, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 32. No. 128, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 37. Nos. 514, 517, 519, 522, 529> 535. S5S> Statutory Rules 1907, No. 62. Financial and Allowance Regulations Amended, &c. - No. 143, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 2r. Part I., sec. IV., par. 50, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 36. No. 154A, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 45. Regulations added - Military Forces - Nos. 563, 564, 565, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 34.
Notification of the acquisition of land at Darling Island, New South Wales, for Defence purposes.
Public Service Act - Regulations amended, &c. - No. 276A, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 9. No. 182, Provisional Regulation, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 17. No. 182, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 55. No. 43a, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 18. No. 104, Provisional Regulation, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 23. No. 231, Provisional Regulation, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 24. No. 66, Provisional Regulations, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 25. No. 199, Provisional Regulations, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 10. No. 199, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 42. No. 40, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 43. Nos. S8 and SSa, Provisional Regulations, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 44. No. 70, Provisional Regulation, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 53. No. 193, Provisional Regulation, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 54. No. 102, Provisional Regulation, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 61.
Mr. SPEAKER laid upon the table :
General Papers Index, including Presented Papers, Committee Reports, Returns to Order, &c, of both Houses, and certain printed Papers not formally presented, 1901-1907 (1st).
Ordered to be printed.
– I desire to direct the attention of the Minister of Defence to paragraph 8 of the Governor-General’s speech, which contains a reference to provision being made for a further increase in the number of our military cadets. I should like to ask him whether he is aware that in the public schools of South Australia at the present time cadet uniforms are lying rotting for want of caps, and that the boys are leaving the schools. Will he see that these uniforms are utilised, and that the parents of the children who have left the schools have the amounts which have been paid by them for the uniforms refunded ?
– I will attend to the request of the honorable member, and probably in a day or two I shall be able to remedy the state of affairs to which he refers.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether he can inform the House why there has been such a long delay in prosecuting the firm of Messrs. Harris, Scarf & Co.- for alleged extensive Customs frauds?
– I cannot give the honorable member the details as to why there has been delay in instituting legal proceedings. The matter is in the hands of the Crown Law officers, and since I have returned from England I have myself made the same inquiry as the honorable member has put to me. I do not think it will be long before definite action is taken.
– I have to report that I have attended in the Senate chamber, where His Excellency the GovernorGeneral was pleased to deliver his opening speech, of which, for greater accuracy, I have obtained a copy. . (Vide page 5.)
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) agreed to -
That a Committee consisting of Mr. Wise, Mr. Chanter, Mr. Coon, and Mr. Storrer, be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the speech delivered by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral to both Houses of the Parliament. That the Committee do report this day.
The Committee retired, and, having reentered the chamber, presented the proposed Address, which was read by the Clerk, as follows: -
May it please Your Excellency :
We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, beg to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
– I move -
That the Address-in-Reply to His Excellency’s speech, as read by the Clerk, be agreed to by the House.
If the last session of this Parliament were merely a formal one - and the fact that it was a formal one, I suppose accounts for my having the honour to again address the House upon the present occasion - it is evident from His Excellency’s speech that the Government intend that this session shall be one of strenuous work, and I think we shall be best serving our country by getting to that work with as little delay as possible. We have recently heard a good deal in connexion with the public demand for the abolition of certain old-time forms of procedure which are adopted in our parliamentary institutions. I confess that I for one greatly sympathize with that demand. I know that it is difficult to get rid of time-honoured customs-
– Who is demanding their abolition?
– The public generally. One cannot move amongst the people without hearing dissent from the great waste of time which appears to them to take place in following these time-honoured customs. One of the old customs which, to my mind, might well be dispensed with, is the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, and the debate which takes place upon it.
– The honorable member is almost the only one who has spoken upon that motion in the two sessions of this Parliament.
– Perhaps that is why I desire to get rid of it. During all the years thatI have followed politics I have never been able to see that it serves any useful purpose whatever, except possibly that of enabling some honorable members to let off a little “steam.” I am told that there are great objections to the abolition of the Address-in-Reply, and that its disappearance would simply mean that the Ministry of the day could do practically what it pleased. Personally, I have never known a Government able to do what it liked if Parliament did not choose to fall in with its wishes. It appears to me that a considerable amount of time is spent in criticising the actions of the Government without anything tangible resulting from that criticism, and in criticising measures with which it is proposed to deal during the session. When those measures come to be dealt with, all that criticism has to be repeated. It appears to me that that time might very well be saved. Time would be saved, and nothing disastrous would happen if the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply were dispensed with. We know that upon one occasion in this State, what was regarded as an extremely cot servative Government, when they deemed time to be precious, did not hesitate to dispense with it.
– What Government was that?
– TheGovernment of which the honorable member for Flinders was the head. I think that we might very well follow the example which he set upon that occasion.
– And nothing serious happened on that occasion ?
– I am not speaking of what happened afterwards. Since we last met, two great events of importance to the Empire have occurred in the old country. I refer to the holding of the Imperial and the Navigation Conferences. I think that everything which can be said in connexion with the Imperial Conference - until we read the full report of its proceedings - has alreadv been said by the leading men of Great Britain, by the representatives at the Conference, and by the press. It would simply be vain repetition for me to say anvthing further in connexion with the work of that body. But as I am the first member who has had the honour of addressing the House since the Imperial Conference was held, I think I may take the libertv of saying that the members of this Parliament, wherever they may sit, have the very highest appreciation of the services which the Prime Minister rendered as Australia’s representative. We know that before he left our shores it was hinted that this Parliament would require an explicit declaration of the policy which he was going to propound upon that occasion. Indeed, one prominent member went so far as to say that the Prime Minister should certainly not be permitted to attend the Conference with a blank promissory note signed on behalf of Australia. The House, to its own credit, and to the honour of the Prime Minister, thought otherwise, and sent him to that Conference untrammelled and uninstructed, with a blank promissory note, knowing perfectly well that he could be thoroughly trusted to do what was right on behalf of the country which he represented. We know very well how he fulfilled that trust, and when we read the high opinions expressed by his fellow representatives, by the leading men of Great Britain, as well as by the press of the mother country - expressions both of friends and opponents, I do not use the word “ foes,” because he has none - of our Prime Minister’s fearlessness, of his bold yet courteous demeanour; of his frankness, combined with discretion; of his loyalty and unselfishness in returning to Australia without any reward except the consciousness of having done his duty, we wonder whether this is the same man who six months ago was vilified from one end of this State to the other as one who was deceitful, treacherous, false to his friends, and even selfish. Following as it did upon this storm of abuse - a storm almost unprecedented in Victoria - the triumph which- the Prime Minister scored in Great Britain was the more magnificent. I should like to avail myself of this opportunity to congratulate our representatives at the Navigation Conference upon the success which attended their efforts. When the names of three of the proposed representatives - including that of the honorable member for South Sydney - were mentioned, they were described as Socialists, who knew nothing about the matters with which they would have to deal.
– Does the honorable member describe the Minister of Customs as a Socialist ?
– I do not, but a leading Victorian newspaper so described three honorable members whom the Government nominated to attend the Conference.
– Surely the honorable member for North Sydney is not a Socialist ?
– I am referring only to three of the four representatives first proposed. Bearing in mind this criticism, I think that the success of our representatives is all the more gratifying. Perhaps the most pleasing feature of their achievement is not merely that they accomplished so much, but that no one in the old land appears to have thought that their proposals were the dangerous or absurd ones that they were represented in this country to be. This is only another illustration of the truth of the assertion so often made that the conservatism of the Conservative Party in Australia is far more pronounced than is that of the Conservative Party in the old country. Holding the views, to which I have already given expression, with reference to the Address-in-Reply, I need scarcely say that I: do not propose to occupy, much time in discussing the details of His Excellency’s speech, or in criticising, more or less, the measures therein foreshadowed. There are, however, one or two matters to which I shall briefly refer. It is gratifying to learn that the repatriation of the kanakas which, we were told, would be a difficult and dangerous process, has been attended with very great success. It is also satisfactory to know that the Government propose to deal with the two legal difficulties that arose during the recess. I refer more particularly to their intention to more clearly define by legislation the position of the High Court under Section 74 of the Constitution. This step will be taken simply to meet a difficulty that was predicted when that extraordinary section was fixed up. It is to be regretted that it should be necessary, so early in the history of the Commonwealth, to meet it, but since it has arisen it is satisfactory to know that the Government are prepared to deal with it. I am likewise glad to learn that they propose to bring forward a Bill relating to the payment of income tax by. Federal public servants. The introduction of that measure will, at all events, show the public, who have hitherto completely misunderstood the position, that in fighting the income tax claims made by some of the States the Government have been seeking, as they were in duty bound to do, to establish great constitutional principles, and not to create a privileged class in the community. I am glad to learn that the
Ministry propose to ta%e over from the States some of the other Departments which the Constitution empowers them to administer, and that they intend to ask us to legislate with respect .to some of the other powers which the Constitution vests in the Federation. The time has arrived when we should take over all the Departments that the Constitution authorizes the Federation to administer, and fully exercise our legislative powers. By so doing, the Government will bring the people, at every turn, into closer touch with the Federation. They will accustom them to the’ legislation of the Commonwealth Parliament, and give them an opportunity to realize the benefit of securing uniform legislation throughout Australia. The great subject for our consideration this session will undoubtedly be the Tariff. It was upon that question that the last general election turned, and I trust that when this great work is submitted to us we shall approach it in a business-like way. We should endeavour to deal with it as quickly as possible, not merely for our own satisfaction, but for the sake of those engaged in commercial pursuits, who desire to know exactly what the Tariff is to be. I also hope that when we frame the Tariff we will show the people that the policy of Australia is that of effective protection, and that there is no intention to depart from it. If we adopt that course those who desire to invest their money in manufactures will be able to do so with some certainty. At the same time we should let it be clearly understood1 that we are not actuated by a desire to enable a few men - either individuals or corporations - to amass a great deal of wealth or to give an opportunity to that extraordinary class of human beings, that may be called commercial philanthropists, who seem to be eager to establish manufactures and carry them on at a loss for the sake of providing some of their less fortunate fellow human beings with a bare livelihood.
– There is too much starch about that statement.
– According to sworn evidence there are such persons, but I for one very much doubt evidence showing that people are investing their money in manufactures and carrying on at a loss. My object - and I believe it is the object of all protectionists - in supporting the policy of protection has always been to secure the establishment of industries that will afford our people an opportunity for employment, and open up to those who may be attracted to our shores fresh avenues of occupation on such terms that they as white people may be able to live in comfort and decency. The most prosperous community is that which, has a large amount of capital in circulation, and I know of no means of securing a better circulation of money than that afforded by a large well paid wageearning population. It is unfortunate that there should have been omitted from the Constitution a provision enabling this Parliament to frame factory and other industrial legislation since it has the sole right to impose duties of Customs and Excise. I hope that the States Parliaments will yet recognise that it is absolutely necessary that the Parliament which imposes the Customs and Excise taxation should also be able to determine the conditions under which factories established under the Tariff shall be carried on. We can, of course, do a little in that direction, and I sincerely trust that thf; House will do its utmost to insure that employes are benefited by the industries established in the Commonwealth. Many other subjects are dealt with in the speech delivered by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral. Reference is made in it to the taking over of the Northern Territory, to defence questions, and to the desirableness of encouraging immigration, as well as to various other matters ; but, to discuss them now would be only to diminish the probability of our being able to deal effectively with them at a later stage.
– What about the Capital Site? I suppose the honorable member has never heard of it before.
– I desire to remind the House that it is very unusual for so many interruptions to take place when an honorable member early in his career is addressing the Chair. The conversations taking place all over the chamber make it very difficult not only for the honorable member to proceed, but for those who desire to listen to him. I offer the suggestion that these conversations should either cease or take place outside the chamber.
– An announcement made by His Excellency was from one point of view heard with very great regret. I refer to the statement that the Government have been compelled to cancel the mail contract entered into with Sir James Laing and Sons. I do not think that the contractors can justly complain, for they have been shown .every consideration consistent with the maintenance by the Government of a business-like and dignified stand. The Government themselves are deserving of sympathy.
– Croker had them by the nose for six months.
– I quite realize that some honorable members like Australia to get everything from outside, and, no doubt, to them the cancellation of the agreement is a matter for congratulation. I hope, however, that we shall yet be able to secure a satisfactory contract. It is pleasing to know that whilst the negotiations were in progress and difficulties were arising under the new contract, the Government were not unmindful of their responsibilities in this regard, and that they have almost completed arrangements with the Orient Company for the continuance of their present contract for another year.
– On what terms?
– The new agreement simply continues the existing contract.
– I can only hope that in dealing with the various matters submitted to us during the session we shall endeavour, as far as possible, to curtail our remarks. We have before us a very heavy session - one which doubtless in the most favorable circumstances will not close before the end of the year, and my own opinion is that we shall do well not to exercise more than is absolutely necessary our capacity for speech-making. In the interests of the Commonwealth generally, and particularly of those honorable members who reside in distant States, the sessions of the Federal Parliament should not at the outside extend over more than four or five months. I can assure the House that I, for one, shall not be given to the making of long speeches, but will do mv utmost to keep the sessions within reasonable bounds, so that the representatives of the people who live further from the Seat of Government than I do may have an opportunity to return to their homes and their businesses in something like reasonable time.
.- I take it as a compliment to my constituency that the duty of seconding the motion so ably proposed by the honorable member for Gippsland has been allotted to me. I fully recognise that it carries with it a serious responsibility, although I understand that it has long been the custom to select hon orable members new to the House to move an.l second the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply.
– The Government had no choice.
– I am quite aware that if my honorable friend had had his way the Government would not have been able to avail themselves of my services to-day. With the honorable member for Gippsland, I desire to congratulate the Prime Minister and the Minister of Trade and Customs on the manner in which they represented Australia in the old country. On .behalf of the great manufacturing industries and the workers and electors of Batman-
– Do not forget the electors.
– I happen to represent the most democratic constituency in the Commonwealth, a constituency which, at the same time, contains the largest number of factories. On behalf of the workers and electors of Batman I express trie hope that the Prime Minister may be long spared to occupy his present ‘high and honorable position, and with his name I couple that of the Minister of Trade and Customs. The first business we shall be called upon to deal with is that of Tariff reform. This is a most important and serious question and one which affects not only the constituency represented by myself, but also that represented by the honorable member for Yarra. Here I desire to say that I regret the absence of the right honorable and learned member for Adelaide, who was the framer of the first Federal Tariff, and who performed a very difficult task as well as was possible under the circumstances. I am sure we all regret that the state of health of the right honorable member is not such as we could wish; and I may say that on every occasion when I mentioned his name during my election campaign it was received with rounds of “ applause. Honorable members will agree with me that the Tariff does need reforming. What is the position to-day? In boots alone- we import something like ,£373,000 worth each year ; and I venture to say that every pair could have been made within the bounds of the Commonwealth. Further, every hat that is imported could be made here; and on the free list of the Tariff there aTe other articles which could be produced within Australia. If I may be permitted I should like to give one illustration. A few months ago the Collingwood
City Council required a steam roller; which, it was stated, could not be made in Australia. But what is the fact? Today the steam roller is being made in the Commonwealth ; and on the authority of the sworn evidence taken before the Tariff Commission I can say that every piece of machinery now being imported could be manufactured within our own borders. I trust that the Tariff will be revised in such a direction that the manufactured articles we require will be produced by our own workers. I shall be prepared to vote for protection in connexion with Tariff reform ; but the people who receive the protection must be prepared to give their workers a fair share of the benefit. I do not intend to detain honorable members with a long speech, but I should like to refer to the proposed amendment of the Electoral Act. This is a most important matter; and in my opinion the Act should be amended at the earliest possible moment. There is also the question of preferential voting. I am a believer in majority rule, and, therefore, I hail with satisfaction the announcement that there is to be introduced a Bill which I understand will give the majority of the people in a constituency the power to say who their representative shall be. Another measure which, I understand, is to be introduced, is one by the Postmaster-General respecting penny postage. We have very important duties to perform ; and I trust that during the coming session we shall view the various questions put before us, not merely from a party stand-point, but from a national stand-point. I have the honour to represent a State which has always viewed questions from a national stand-point ; and I trust that we may so acquit ourselves that when the time comes for us to face our judges again, they will be able to say, “ Well done, thou good and faithful servants.”
Debate (on motion by Mr. Joseph Cook) adjourned.
– I ask the consent of the House to my submitting a formal rr.otion which will prevent our suffering from the absence of a quorum or any accident of that kind. I move -
That until otherwise ordered, the House shall meet for the despatch of business at half-past 2 o’clock on each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon, and at half-past 10 o’clock on each Friday morning.
A similar resolution has been in force for a number of years, and has, so far, been found to work with general satisfaction.
– I suggest to the Prime Minister that half-past 2 o’clock is a very inconvenient hour to meet on Tuesday, especially in the case of representatives from New South Wales.
– Say 3 o’clock ?
– That would suit honorable members much better. The train arrives so late that we have had scarcely time to be in our places when the House met.
– With the consent of the House, I shall alter the motion to read -
That until otherwise ordered, this House shall meet for the despatch of business at 3 o’clock on each Tuesday afternoon, and at half-past 1 o’clock on each Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, and at halfpast 10 o’clock on each Friday morning.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 3.39 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 July 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19070703_reps_3_36/>.