3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. SPEAKER informed the House that he had received a return to the election issued for the election of a member to serve in the House of Representatives for the electoral division ..of Echuca, the election in which was on the 10th June declared void, indorsed with, a certificate of the election of Albert Clayton Palmer, Esq.
Mr. PALMER made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. On Wednesday last, speaking to the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, I read the following letter, which had been sent to me-
Sir, - I have the honour to inform you that at a meeting of the United Maranoa Farmers’ Association, held in Roma on May nth, I waa instructed to write to you and request that you would be good enough to use your utmost endeavours to bring about the nationalization of the farm machinery and implement industry by the Federal Parliament.
Thanking you in anticipation,
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
The honorable member for Nepean interjected that the resolution therein referred to had been rescinded, and therefore I wired to the secretary asking if that were so. I have since received the following reply : -
Resolution not rescinded. - R. H. Rainford.
– A chance shot that did not get home.
– In reference to the personal explanation of the honorable member for Maranoa, I wish to say that the interjection which I made partook of the form of a question and not of an assertion. I asked whether the resolution in question had been rescinded. I am happy to accept the honorable member’s assurance that it has not been rescinded, but at the same time I wish to express the hope that the members who attended the meeting to which he referred may yet be found to possess sufficient common sense to rescind it.
– Has the Minister of Trade and Customs yet read the report of the Board which inquired into alleged irregularities in the administration of the Patent Office? If so, does he contemplate making any alteration in the management of that important branch of his Department?
– I saw the statement in this morning’s newspapers that the Attorney-General has not yet heard from me about the matter, but in a minute written early last week I gave instructions for the matter to be referred to him for inquiry. Statements concerning the administration of the Patent Office have been published in my absence as well as since I returned-
– Very startling statements.
– Yes; though I do not think that there is anything in them. However, to satisfy the public, I am asking the Attorney-General to institute an inquiry, because the allegations which have been made are such as can be dealt with better by the officers of the legal branch of the service than by any one in my Department. Before I went to England I received from the officer into whose conduct the Board inquired, almost a volume of complaints, and was very much surprised to learn that after my departure it was published in the press. I shall have an inquiry made as early as possible.
– Did not the Public Service Commissioner make an inquiry ?
– Then why hold another ?
– The inquiry now proposed is as to the validity of certain patents which have been issued; it is not intended to hold a second inquiry in regard to the conduct of the officer about whom complaint was made.
– It is said that some patents have been illegally granted.
– Yes ; and, therefore, I have referred the matter to the AttorneyGeneral, so that a legal opinion may be obtained as to their validity.
– It is stated in the Melbourne Age of the 13th instant that the Treasurer has recently put before certain bankers confidential proposals containing his individual views concerning the lines on which a Commonwealth Banking Bill may be drafted. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether these views were expressed in the form of a draft Bill, and, if so, whether that measure contains any proposal for a Commonwealth note issue?
– I am not prepared to make a statement in regard to the proposed Banking Bill, because it is only in the early stages of its preparation, and the Cabinet has not yet had an opportunity to consider it.
– Can the PostmasterGeneral inform the House what rates are charged by private companies in other parts of the world for the transmission of messages by telephone over long distances? Can he also tell us the rates of wages paid by such companies, and the hours worked by their servants, and whether they allow differential rates in favour of newspaper messages ?
– There is a good deal of information on the subject in the Department, and I shall be glad to furnish it to the House, if possible, during the present week.
– Has the attention of the Treasurer been drawn to a leading article which appeared in the Age newspaper on Friday last, wherein it is stated, inter alia, that the debate on the Address-in-Reply involved an expenditure’ of ^10,800, or £1,800 a day? Will he inform the House, first, what is the extra cost per diem when Parliament is in session, and debate is proceeding, over and above the fixed and standing cost; and, secondly, whether the newspaper statement which I have quoted is correct? Did the debate on the AddressinReply involve so large an expenditure?
– As the honorable member was good enough to send to me this morning a copy of the questions which he proposed to ask, I am provided with the following reply -
The last completed figures for any year are those of 1905-6, in which Parliament cost ^132, 226. That, on an average, amounts to ^362 -per diem. In 1906-7 the estimated cost was ^186,391, including estimated cost of elections, ,£50,000. The average fer diem works out for 1906-7 at ,£510. Most of the expenditure goes on, no matter whether Parliament is or is not sitting. The extra cost fer diem when Parliament is in session, over and above the fixed and standing cost, is not more than ^75.
– Is the PostmasterGeneral in a position to inform the House whether the guarantee of ,£25,000 given in connexion with the cancelled mail contract has yet been converted into cash?
– In reply to the honorable member, I desire to say that on Friday last I had a cable in. reference to this matter despatched to London. To that communication I have received an answer stating that the amount of the guarantee has not yet been paid, but that the Commonwealth officials there are insisting upon its immediate payment.*
– I wish to ask the Acting Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to some startling reports which have appeared in the daily newspapers to the effect that a number of the Pacific Islanders who have been deported from Queensland have been murdered upon’ being returned to their homes. Has he received any official information upon the matter, and what steps does he propose, to take to insure the protection of these unfortunate people?
– I have not yet had the matter to which the honorable member refers brought under my notice officially, but I did s6c ci reference to it in the press of to-day. As far as I am aware no official information, confirmatory of the statements made, is yet to hand. If I do not receive such information within the next few hours, I shall certainly institute inquiries. If anything serious has occurred to any of the repatriated kanakas, I have no doubt the proper steps to insure their protection will be taken.
– I desire to ask the Acting Prime Minister whether his attention has been directed to a paragraph in the Age of this morning in reference to the landing at Fremantle of an alleged lunatic. The paragraph states that, in opposition to the wishes of the Customsofficers there, an alleged lunatic has been landed at that port, and that the steamship company has declined to accept response bility for its action. Will the Minister make inquiries with a view to insisting that the company accept its due responsibility?
– I shall have inquiry instituted into the matter at once. I cannot conceive that the steamship company will repudiate their liability,, because there is no doubt that they are liable for their action.
– According to press reports they have repudiated their liability.
– I repeat that I shall have inquiries instituted at once, and if it is found that any breach of the Jaw has been committed, those responsible for it will be prosecuted rigorously.
– I wish to ask the Acting Prime Minister if it be a fact that a native-born Australian, who, during his temporary absence in another country, has developed insanity, can he refused admission to our shores, notwithstanding that he has been domiciled in Australia for many years and has a wife and family resident here?
– The honorable member’s question is such a long and complicated one that I must ask him to give notice of it.
– I wish to ask the Acting Prime Minister whether he will lay upon the table of the House a copy of the agreements entered into between the Colonial Sugar Refining Company and the Spaniards who were recently imported into Queensland, also copies of any other agreements made betwen contract immigrants and that company ?
– I shall be glad to lay the papers for which the honorable member has asked upon the table of the House. I do not know whether or not they are at present in the office of the Department of External Affairs iri Melbourne. Probably they are in the office of that Department in Queensland, but as soon as I can obtain them I shall have no objection to complying with the honorable member’s wish.
– I desire to ask the Acting Prime Minister if he has yet received the last report of the South Australian Commissioners,’ Dr. Johnson and Mr. Giddings, in regard to the experiments conducted by Dr. Danysz, and if so, will he lay it upon the table of the House?
– I think I received the report in question on Friday last, and I shall be very glad to lay it upon the table. The two other reports have already been made available to honorable members, but the important report from Dr. Tidswell, which I am awaiting, is not yet to hand. The moment that it is received it will be made available to honorable members. I have taken all necessary precautions to insure that there shall be no breach of the understanding which was arrived at between the Commonwealth and the States Governments in regard to the control of the Danysz microbes.
– This morning’s newspapers publish what purports to be a copy of the decision which has been arrived at between the three States concerned, regarding the distribution of the Murray River waters. I shall be glad to know if the Acting Prime Minister is in receipt of a copy of that agreement, and if not, whether he will procure one?
– I have not yet received a copy of the agreement arrived at by the States interested in this matter. Of course, it is purely a State question, and it rests entirely with them to determine whether or not they will favour us with a copy of the agreement. If they have no objection, I shall procure one at the earliest possible moment.
– It has been freely asserted that amongst the so-called repatriated Australians from South Africa were a large number of undesirables who are not Australians, and that very little care was exercised in their selection. Indeed, it has been stated that a number of criminals and other undesirables have found their way here under the guise of repatriated Australians. I desire to know if the Acting Prime Minister is in a position to assure us that nothing of the kind has occurred, and whether he can give us information which will satisfy us of the bona fides of these people?
– In reply to the honorable member, I would point out that the persons to whom he refers were shipped to Australia before I was charged with the administration of the Department of External Affairs, and consequently I am not aware how far inquiries in regard to this matter have progressed. I know that there was an officer in South Africa whose duty it was to see that only persons of the proper type were returned to Australia. I shall take an early opportunity of ascertaining whether there be any truth in the allegations which have been made. If the allegations are well founded, certainly the right thing has not been done.
– I desire to ask the Treasurer whether he has yet laid upon the Library table the papers which he promised to put before honorable members, in reference to stamp printing at Adelaide?
– I have not yet done so, but I hope to be able to do so tomorrow.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers -
Defence - Military Forces : War Establishment - -Militia and” Volunteer Units allotted to Field Force j Regiment of Infantry allotted to Garrison Troops. Peace Establishment - Militia and Volunteer Units allotted to Field Force; Company of Garrison Artillery and Regiment of Infantry allotted to Garrison Troops.
Provisional Defence Acts Regulations - Financial and Allowance, Nos. 65, 66, 67, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 68.
Provisional Public Service Act Regulation - No. 104 amended, Statutory Rules 1907, No. 73-
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
asked the Postmaster-Gen eral, upon notice -
Whether he is aware that boys are being employed delivering letters in some towns in Victoria when letter-carriers are away on leave?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
– I can supply the honorable gentleman an instance.
– I shall be very glad to be supplied with particulars of such a case, and will quickly deal with it.
– In moving -
That the Bill be now read a second time,
I desire at the outset to express the hope that honorable members, or, at least, some of them, will be prepared to proceed today with the debate, since the Bill has been in their hands for nearly a week, and, although somewhat comprehensive, is much in the nature of a machinery measure.
– I hope that the Minister will explain its provisions.
– It is not an easy matter to deal with every detail of a Bill which, as I have said, is more of a machinery measure than anything else; but I propose to explain some of its provisions. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to remind honorable members that we have at present six different State laws dealing with quarantine, and every one will admit it is unwise that the existing system should continue any longer than is absolutely necessary. The States laws apply to the quarantining not only of human beings, but of live stock, plants, and so forth, and we now propose to embody in one comprehensive measure a system of quarantine to apply to the Commonwealth as a whole, and tobe administered by the Commonwealth Government. I frankly confess that it has been found somewhat difficult to devise a means of doing this effectively and inexpensively, andI hope that when the Bill becomes law we shall find it possible to work harmoniously with the States. At the present time each State has its own quarantine station and staff of quarantine officers, as well as all the machinery necessary for administering the law. It would be most expensive to discard that machinery and to create new quarantine stations under the Federal Go.vernment.
– What powers of quarantine will be preserved to the States if this Bill be passed?
– I have made inquiry, and am advised that no power will be preserved to them.
– Not as to Inter-State quarantine ?
– No. When interrupted, I was about to deal with that phase of the question. I am advised that we have unlimited power under the Constitution to make laws relating not only to quarantine along the coast-line of the States, but to Inter-State quarantine and to quarantine within a State.
– Are our powers exclusive or only concurrent with those of the States?
– They are only concurrent.
– We have provided that the Governor-General, which means the Executive Council, may enter into an agreement with the Governor of any State to aid in carrying out this law.
– With the consent of the States?
– Certainly. We have power, if the States wish it, to make any arrangement with them that we may think advisable.
– Does not that seem to suggest that the States have concurrent powers with the Commonwealth?
– I trust that honorable members will not ask me to debate the legal aspect of the question at the present moment. As a layman, I can only say that I am advised that we have in this respect the fullest powers. As a matter of fact, 1 raised the question of whether or not we had greater powers in relation to the passing and administration of such a law as this, than we have under paragraph 1. of section 51 of the Constitution to make laws in respect to trade and commerce. It will be remembered that when the Commerce Bill was under consideration the point was raised whether we could follow certain goods into a State, or deal with them as between the States. Under paragraph1., section 51 of the Constitution, we have power to make laws with respect “ to trade and commerce with other countries and among the States,” and under paragraphIX. of that section, the Parliament has power, subject to the Constitution, to make laws with respect to “quarantine.” No conditions are imposed, and it is therefore held that we have power to deal as we may think fit with the whole question of quarantine. It is for that reason that the Bill now before honorable members is so comprehensive. On turning to it, honorable members will see that it gives the Commonwealth power to deal with quarantine of all classes under practically every condition.
– Is the Minister advised that the Commonwealth Government can quarantine one part of a State as against another without the consent of that State ?
– I am so advised. I may say at once that I had some doubts with respect to our powers in this regard, and that in submitting the Bill in its present form, I am acting on legal advice.
– The question was tested in Canada, where it was decided that the power did not exist, but the language of the Commonwealth Constitution is somewhat different from that of the Constitution of the Dominion.
– That is so. The honorable and learned member will probably remember that Senator Symon gave an opinion upon this point. This led me to inquire whether the doubts raised by him as to our powers were entertained by other legal minds, and I have found that they are not to the same extent. Under existing conditions an over-sea vessel can be inspected and quarantined or granted pratique when it reaches Fremantle and subsequently on arriving at Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and other ports, it can be subjected to the same treatment.
– Could pratique be granted under the Bill from Fremantle to Sydney ?
– There is power to stop a vessel at any port at which it may be deemed advisable to stop it, but there is the further power to give a clearance through from Fremantle to Sydney ; either one course or the other may be adopted by the quarantine authorities. No doubt the officers selected to administer the Bill must be the best that can be procured.
– Ishould say that the most expert men should be at the first port of call, such as Fremantle.
– Probably so. At present I have only mentioned the west and the south coasts, but there are the other coasts of Australia to consider. For instance, the first port of call might be Thursday Island, and the same conditions would apply there as apply at Fremantle; that is, a vessel might be intercepted there, or given a clearance right through to Melbourne or Adelaide.
– A ship might be given clearance at Port Darwin, and small-pox afterwards develop on board.
– Quite so; but there is power under the Bill to deal with such a case. If there is any suspicion of infectious disease, a ship may be dealt with to the same extent as is now the case between State and State.
– Does the Bill make any provision for the examination of passengers before they leave a foreign port of call ?
– The GovernorGeneral has power to proclaim any port abroad for such a purpose. It may be desirable for several reasons that a vessel, even if there be infectious or contagious disease on board, shall be permitted to go from Fremantle to Melbourne, or Sydney, with passengers and goods, and be dealt with at the latter port, so as to do away with the necessity for intercepting her at every port. One reason for this is that it might be a convenience to merchants to have such a vessel brought as near to the’ port of discharge as possible, and not detained’ longer than is absolutely necessary at any distant port. The scope of the Bill in regard to Quarantine is set out in clause 4. It will be observed that power is given to the Commonwealth to deal with stock or any animals which may be on board a vessel; and this power will be exercised unless an arrangement otherwise is made with a State. At the present time there are strong quarantine regulations as between States ; and these regulations are in some quarters the ground of bitter complaint. The object of the Bill is to transfer the power to the Commonwealth ; and in this connexion I might instance Tasmania. I am not quite sure what the regulations are in that State as regards stock, but I believe that, although there may be not the slightest danger of any infection from the mainland, the quarantine in Tasmania lasts for some months.
-For four months; the period used to be six months.
– That is a matter which the Commonwealth will have power to deal with under the Bill. Power is also given in regard to plants, fruit trees - insects, phylloxera, and so forth - in order to prevent the introduction of disease from unclean States or from the outside world. It will be seen, therefore, that the scope of the Bill is very large, dealing as it does - as I said at the outset - with the whole question of quarantine. Honorable members, I feel sure, would like some information as to the present cost of the administration of the quarantine laws in the six States, and the estimated cost under the Commonwealth when the Bill becomes law.
– Can the Minister tell us whether, under the Bill, the Commonwealth will have power to step in and override any regulation made by the New South Wales Government to prevent tick-infested cattle from travelling?
-Under the Bill, the Commonwealth has full power to deal with all quarantine matters. For instance, at the present time certain areas in New South Wales are quarantined on account of anthrax, sheep not being allowed to travel from those areas into other parts ; and that, under the Bill, would be a matter for the Commonwealth.
– The Bill abolishes all State boundaries so far as regards quarantine.
– Yes; I cannot explain the Bill more clearly than by saying that it deals with the whole question of quarantine. As I have already said, we shall, in the first place, have to make arrangements with the Governments of the States regarding the lands and buildings set apart as quarantine stations. The Commonwealth can either take overthe lands and buildings and pay for them, or make an arrangement by which they remain the property of the States, and under which the Commonwealth will pay a certain amount for the use of them.
– Rent or purchase?
– It can rent or purchase.
-It seems to me that that is all that is contemplated by Clause 11.
– It is not contemplated that the Commonwealth shall take over and pay for all the State quarantine stations. At the present time the estimated value of the land and buildings of the quarantine stations in New South Wales is £123,600; Victoria, £63,150 ; South Australia, £22,294; Western Australia, £32,825; Tasmania, £12,255; and in Queensland, though my officers have not been able to obtain any very definite information as to that State, £66,000. It will be seen that the capital value of the whole of the lands and buildings amounts to £320,124. The annual cost of administration in New South Wales at the present time is . £5,500; Victoria, £4.113; Queensland, so far as can be gathered, though at present we have not the most reliable detailed information-
– I can only say that Mr. Lockyer informed me that he had been unable to obtain any definite information.
– The Queensland Govern- ment would not give it?
– I could not say that, because I do not know ; but Mr. Lockyer has not been able to get the information. In Queensland the annual cost is estimated at ,£2,780; South Australia, j£i,io8; Western Australia, £2,214; Tasmania, ,£386 - a total of £16,101. The annual revenue in New South Wales is £262 ; in Victoria and, so far as I can gather, in Queensland, there is no revenue ; in South Australia it is £10; in Western Australia, £140; in Tasmania, £51 - a total of £463. As far as can be estimated, the expenditure on quarantine in the States is as follows: - New South Wales, .£5,500; expenditure on buildings, at 3 per cent., £3,708; total, £9,208.
– Is no interest included in the New South Wales estimate of maintenance ?
– The figures which I have given represent, I understand, the interest on the estimated value of the buildings.
– Is the Minister sure that the amount has not already been included in the return as to general expenditure ?
– I have not that detail available, but will ascertain presently. I do not think that the amount has been included twice, however. In Victoria the general expenditure is £4,113; interest on buildings, £1,894; total, £6,007. I” Queensland, as far as can be estimated, the general expenditure is £2,780; interest on buildings, at 3 per cent., £2,000; total, £4,780. In South Australia, the expenditure on the management of quarantine and incidental expenses is £1,108; interest on buildings, £669; total, £1,777. In Western Australia, the general expenditure is £2,214; interest on buildings, £985; total, £3,199-. In Tas_ mania, the general expenditure is £386 ; interest on buildings, &c, £36.8; total, £754. These sums mallee a total expenditure for carrying on quarantine of £16,101; and the interest payment on buildings - on their estimated value, I take it - is £9,624; making the total expenditure £25,725. So that honorable members will see that there is no proposed expenditure in addition to the expenditure which the States at present have to bear. The people will therefore be no worse off in that respect than they are at the present moment. The question will no doubt be asked - what additional officers will be required when the Commonwealth takes over quarantine? There will probably be a secretary of the central staff, at £600 ; a clerk at £200 ; travelling expenses are estimated at £150 ; incidental expenditure at £150 - making a total of £1,100, which is, however, included in the estimate of £26,825.
– Will there be any saving effected by the Commonwealth expenditure ?
– I Can only give the estimate furnished to me-
– It must cost a great deal more than that.
– I do not think so. I think that the chances are that there will be a reduction in the cost of quarantine at some ports. There will probably have to be an extensive scheme in Western Australia, making provision for larger quarantine accommodation than at present, and there will also have to be additional quarantine accommodation at Thursday Island, or whatever port ships first touch at in that neighbourhood. But it is considered that at intermediate places there will not be the necessity to keep up staffs that are now maintained, because there will not be so many persons put in quarantine as there are now, owing to their being intercepted at outside ports.
– Is provision being made for inspection of stock?
– The Customs officers will do all that work - or very nearly all of it - as they do now.
– Can Customs officers inspect stock as well as veterinary surgeons can? They are not generally qualified.
– At the present moment the States have expert inspectors.
– Will they be taken over?
– If we have inspectors, no doubt they will be. It is not intended to appoint officers additional to those whom the States now employ, and if . we do not want all of them we shall not take them all over. We shall appoint no new. officers except the two or three who will be required for the ‘central staff.
– Whom is it intended to appoint at. Fremantle and Sydney ? There must be medical men there.
– I think so, but of course I cannot answer as to what individuals will be appointed.
– No, of course not as to the individuals.
– We must have medical men at those places.
– Are they provided for?
– Yes, in the ^26,000. I have now given the detailed cost and the total cost of the quarantine stations in each State.
– Will it not be necessary to have medical officers of quarantine?
– It all depends. Take a port like Sydney. There is a medical officer permanently stationed at Watson’s Bay, because there are ships coming into port at almost every hour of the day. It will no doubt be necessary to have stationary officers at such places.
– In a number of other places the health officers act as quarantine officers.
– That will be done under the Commonwealth where it is being, done in the States now.
– But the Minister has stated that Customs officers will do this work.
– I do not mean to say that Customs officers will deal with the scientific part of it. That will require to be clone by medical mem. But the Customs officers will be instructed to give every assistance at every place for the purpose of facilitating the work of medical officers, who may or may not be stationed at particular ports.
– It is very important that the inspectors should be properly qualified.
– There is no intention of bringing about anything to the contrary. I have now given the particulars in regard to expenditure. This matter was dealt with at the Premiers’ Conference in 1906, and a resolution was proposed, although I do not think that it was finally dealt with. . It was understood that the Premiers of the States were in favour of the Commonwealth taking over quarantine. I forget where that particular Conference was held.
– It was at Svdney in 1906.
– In addition to that, inquiries were made in all the States before this Bill was drafted, and the principal officers concerned with quarantine were asked for particulars regarding expenditure and so forth. It has been with their assistance that we have got to a stage where we are able to say that a system of Federal quarantine can be worked in a comparatively inexpensive and very effective way.
– Will the Federal officers supersede the local authorities?
– They will unless the local authorities become Commonwealth officers, and receive their instructions from the Commonwealth. For instance, take Tasmania, which I dare say the honorable member has in his mind. I do not propose that we shall bring about any disturbing influence affecting what is done in that State. We shall try tq keep the existing machinery in motion just as it is. at present, though, perhaps, it will be found that under this measure its operation will be a little more effective. No doubt the effect of the measure will be specially noticeable in connexion with the transfer of animals and plants from one. State to another, and the Commonwealth authorities may find it desirable to ameliorate or increase the stringency of the regulations at present existing under the States laws. Honorable members will find that clause 42 deals with the question of the issue of a permit to a vessel to proceed on her voyage in quarantine. She cannot do that from State to State at the present time, and I therefore hope that this provision will prevent inconvenient delays, and will greatly facilitate the movements of shipping. In clauses 50 to 58 honorable members will find all the provisions regarding the quarantine of animals and plants. I am sure it will be of interest to them to look into these provisions closely, because, perhaps -more than from the members of this Parliament I anticipate some criticism of them from the States, as they will be specially concerned in the transfer of animals and plants from one State to another.
– The Bill contains no greater power than the States Governments possess now?
– No; but it is that power transferred to the Commonwealth.
– That is a result of Federation.
– Quite so. But that is why I say there ma,v be some criticism from the States as to the desirability of the Commonwealth taking over these powers which are now possessed entirely by the States Governments. Clause 34 defines quarantine surveillance, and shows what in this connexion is proposed in the new law. As honorable members have had the Bill in their hands for a week, it is not necessary that I should go into the details of every one of its clauses.
– The Minister might indicate where the provisions of this Bill differ from the provisions of the States laws dealing with the same branch of the subject.
– I have the States laws before me, but they are rather lengthy, and it would take some time to do what the honorable member suggests. I can, however, say that I know of no instance in which the proposed law deviates very widely from the provisions existing in the States at the present time. The principal alteration is the federalization of the law.
– It assimilates the States laws.
– Yes; but the States laws differ from each other in some respects, and honorable members will understand that by this Bill it is proposed to apply uniform provisions to all of the States. Part VII. of the Bill embraces miscellaneous provisions. Clause 75 deals with a matter of some importance, and under that clause special power is taken to require persons subject to quarantine to submit to vaccination. In clause 87 power is of course taken to make by-laws. Very stringent by-laws are necessary to deal with some of the matters coming under a quarantine law, and the power taken to make regulations is necessarily wide, in order to render quarantine effective. Under the regulations to be provided the Commonwealth will have power to deal with any thing from oversea which is likely to convey to the Commonwealth diseases, some of which have already been mysteriously conveyed to Australia. For instance, it is supposed that rinderpest was introduced in some way from South Africa to the northern parts of Australia.
– They have it in New Guinea now.
– Full power is taken under the Bill to deal with such matters.
– Will the Minister say whether vaccination is to include inoculation, say for plague?
– I was vaccinated once for small-pox and I was inoculated once for plague. That has been my personal experience, and I think it very likely that the honorable member’s question will be found answered in the definition clause. I have explained that there are not many alterations proposed by the Bill, but they are very important, and I recognise, as I have just said, that the States Parliaments may not be found in entire agreement with the States Premiers who desired that the subject of quarantine should be taken over by the Commonwealth. We may hear more of that in Committee, and may hear something on the subject from the States after those concerned have had an opportunity to peruse the Bill, and the discussion which takes place upon its second reading. The enactment of such a measure should be of very great advantage in facilitating the working of vessels, and adding to the convenience of passengers by preventing them being kept in quarantine any longer than can be avoided. I hope that honorable members will be good enough to proceed at once with the discussion of the Bill, and so avoid unnecessary delay in bringing it into operation.
– Is it intended to supersede all States laws?
– Yes; that is why I referred to our power under the Constitution.
– It is a big contract.
– That may be so, but as we have been given this power under the Constitution, I do not see why we should not exercise it.
– It is one of the purposes for which we federated.
– I believe that the power is one which properly belongs to the Commonwealth, and I believe also that it will be found that the operation of such a measure as this will have considerable effect in convincing the States of the nature of the powers which the Commonwealth has in matters of this kind. I feel sure it will be admitted that in the control of such a matter as quarantine one part of Australia should not be treated differently from another. The honorable member for Bobthby believes that in this measure we are undertaking a big contract, and I hope that on that account the House will rise to the occasion, and will deal with the question in a comprehensive way.
– Will not section 52 of the Constitution have the effect of making this Bill exclusive of the States laws in regard to quarantine?
– As I informed the House, I am advised by legalminds, like the honorable member’s own, that it does not take away any power, nor does it make the exercise of our power concurrent with that of the States, but that the Bill when passed will supersede the power under the States Acts. That, however, is a matter for legal minds, and I shall not attempt to argue it with legal members. The officers I have consulted in regard to the matter are the best I could consult, and doubtless, the debate on the second reading of the Bill will bring the question to a head, and we shall hear whether or not any State is dissatisfied on the point. If that should be found to be the case, the decision of the matter must be left to the High Court.
– The Minister of Trade and Customs, perhaps, does well to eschew the. legal difficulties with which a Bill of this kind bristles. It occurred to me that when we are considering a Bill of this description, the least we might expect is the presence of the Attorney-General in the Chamber. There are legal questions involved in this legislation, and matters which should perhaps be left to the Attorney-General rather than to the Minister in charge of it.
– Perhaps the Minister has personal experience of quarantine.
– Even if the honorable member had that experience, it is possible that he is not seized with all the legal difficulties which crop up -in this effort to assimilate the quarantine laws of the States, and to assume for this Parliament the function which undoubtedly it has of exercising the powers of quarantine over the whole of Australia. There can be no two opinions as to the wisdom of such legislation as this. The Constitution makes it clear that the functions dealt with in this Bill are left to this Parliament, and, in the exercise of this power, we shall take a step forward in connexion with the exercise of Federal powers generally, which I hope will ultimately be for the good of the States concerned. This matter of quarantine affects Australia very nearly. For instance, we have here already diseases which, perhaps, would not have been introduced had there been an efficient quarantine for the whole of Australia. The utmost vigilance must be maintained in the future to prevent the introduction of new diseases. Every disease under the sun, it seems to me, will thrive in some part or other of Australia.
– “ Tariffitis “ is quite dead.
– I do not know the genus. No doubt, we shall get to that disease by-and-by, and perhaps be bitten very badly with it if it makes its appearance in this Chamber. I have often said that a Tariff debate is another name for pandemonium. In the meantime, we are discussing the question of keeping out diseases of a character which may affect, more profoundly than even a Tariff question, the producing interests of Australia. As to the wisdom of our performing this function remitted to us by the Constitution, there can be no two opinions. I should like to point out also that very little is known about the kinds of disease to be found, at any rate> in some of the islands where there is no system of quarantine. Only the other day we were told by Dr. Ramsay Smith, of Adelaide, who has made a special study of this subject, that the dogs in New Caledonia have a disease which is quite unknown in Australia, or indeed in any other part of the world. It is peculiar to that island. It is a matter of the utmost consequence to Australia, with our large flocks and herds, that we should be careful as to the importation of even any new dog disease. Speaking of dogs reminds me that in New South Wales the administration of quarantine is centred in the Mines Department. I believe in some States it is administered by the Health Department, but in New South Wales the administration is in the Mines Department, and I had the privilege and responsibility attaching to it there for twelve months. During that time, a great difficulty cropped up about the question of importing dogs. I remember on one occasion receiving a deputation from some of the dog fanciers there, who were importing new breeds of dogs. They had a great grievance against the Minister for the time being - my humble self - because of the stringency of the quarantine in New South Wales. They pointed, for instance, to the State of Victoria, saying - I believe it was the case then, but I do not know if it is still so - that dogs imported to Victoria might go into private instead of general quarantine - that is to say that they might be quarantined at their homes.
– That is common sense.
– Whether it is common sense or not, it did not suit our pastoralists.
– It is only done in Victoria when the dogs accompany visitors - when they are brought here by prominent actresses and other people.
– I think my honorable friend is wrong there, and that the practice extends much more widely. I believe, for instance, that coursing dogs are allowed to go into private quarantine here, being quarantined at their homes.
– Those are dogs that come from another State in Australia, and not from oversea.
– I am speaking of the quarantine of oversea importations. I remember I was almost on the eve of agreeing to a similar provision in New South Wales, but that our pastoralists and others interested in stock rose almost as one man, and backed, of course, by the Health Department, morally prevented me from acceding to the wishes of those who desired to import dogs in the way suggested. The President of the Health Department informed me that there was a case on record of hydrophobia having developed in a dog seven months after it was imported. That was in a place where hydrophobia was not known before, and he pointed out the danger of lowering our quarantine barrier by ever so slight a degree. All this shows the danger of importing any of these diseases to a place like Australia, which is now happily free from them. Hydrophobia, for instance, has not made its appearance here, but I have no doubt that if ever it did so it would become at once very virulent in a climate like ours. All these considerations make the matter of the quarantining of animals and stock a very serious one for the States. With regard to the duration of quarantine, it is the custom in some States to impose a period of six months, and in others only three or four months. The honorable member for Franklin says that the period in Tasmania is four months. If there is one thing more than another that ought to be uniform in its application it is the quarantine law of the States comprising the Australian group. All this, of course, argues the wisdom of the Commonwealth taking over the matter of quarantine, but when it comes to a question of applying uniform provisions throughout Australia, there arise one or two considerations which seem to create difficulties. It is as to these that I’ should like to ask one or two questions, not merely from the Attorney-General, who I see is now present at the table, but from some of the other legal members of the House. I have already asked the Minister of Trade and Customs one of those questions, as to the scope of the exercise of this power, and as to whether the power so exercised is to be of an exclusive or concurrent character. The Bill takes very large powers indeed. It purposes to quarantine goods, animals, plants, and, in fact, diseases wherever found, and a. power of proclamation is taken to quarantine any possible source of infection even where disease has not already developed. This is a very wise provision, because prevention in some of these cases is very much better than cure. If, by the exercise of a strict and urgent quarantine, we can prevent diseases from gaining a foothold and spreading throughout the length and breadth of Australia, it will be one of the wisest and best things we could do. But then comes the question whether this Bill is to take the place of the powers of the various States with regard to the quarantining of various sources of infection, particularly animals and plants.
– It takes the power, but that , power may not be wholly exercised.
– I am not quite sure that it ought not to be exercised. The sooner uniform Federal treatment can be applied to the question of quarantine and the prevention of the spread of disease the better for all concerned, and the better for the smooth working of the units of this great Commonwealth. What is happening to-day?
– Does the honorable member desire to apply -a uniform Federal quarantine law to diseases which originate in Australia, such as tick?
– Yes; this Bill takes power to deal with diseases which exist in any part of Australia, and to prohibit the passage of fruit or plants or animals from one part of the Commonwealth to another, or from one part of a State to another part of the same State. The power is absolute.
– And it takes power to remove any prohibition which may exist to-day.
– Quite so; and here I should like to ask another question. Supposing the attention of the Federal Government is called to a spot infected with tick, or fruit fly, or codlin moth, or some of the other pestiferous things that are giving us so much trouble, and the responsible Minister decides under the terms of this Bill that that allegedly infected area ought not to be quarantined, will the Attorney-General inform me whether the States would still have power to impose quarantine in that case ? That is the whole question in a nutshell.
– It is a very important one.
– If not, there will be endless trouble with the Federal authorities.
– Why should there be more trouble from the effective exercise of quarantine by one authority than when five or six States are dealing with it as at present. That is the position I should like to put, and the point is suggested to me by action which is being taken by South Australia.
– Australia is rather a big country, and Melbourne is located at one corner of it.
– South Australia is issuing new regulations, which are intended to prohibit the importation of fruit infected with fruit fly.
– In Victoria the Government are practically doing the same.
– The honorable member for Parramatta does not blame the State for doing that?
– Under some circumstances, yes; under others, no. For instance, if the -fruit fly were very bad in one State, I would say, “ Keep out the fruit of that State,” but when we have a disease which is more or less common to all the States the position is different.
– It is not common to South Australia, for it has never been discovered there.
– At any rate, it is common to most of the States.
– So is phylloxera.
– That is ‘so, but I am now only speaking of diseases which are common to the States.
– They are common to the Eastern States.
– If a disease is common to most of the States - and that will do for the purpose of my argument - and each State is doing its best to- keep the pest under control-
– That is the point.
– Never mind;. I am saying that for the purpose of my argument.
– The honorable member is assuming the whole question.
– No. I venture to say that most heroic efforts have been made in New South Wales to stamp out the fruit fly, and, I am glad to say, with every prospect of success. While the kerosene method does not appear to exterminate the Mediterranean fly, it does appear to be able to cope with the Queensland fruit fly.
– Take the phylloxera, which both New South Wales and Victoria have given up fighting.
– We have given up fighting phylloxera by rooting up the vineyard, for the simple reason that we have a much better method of getting rid of it. From its own nurseries, our Government is providing resistant stock at reasonable cost.
– That is the only thing which a State can do once it has the pest est Jib lis tied *
– We dug out the vines until the process almost bankrupted the Treasury. After we had done our digging there seemed to be more phylloxera than there was when we began. So, instead of spending money by way of compensation in that direction, we spend money in propagating resistant stock, and the experiment is succeeding. I venture to say that to-day, in consequence of that action, there is less phylloxera in New South Wales than there would have been had we continued to exterminate it by digging out the roots. Indeed, the digging seemed only to stir the pest into greater activity. Suppose that each of the States has a common pest, and that it is doing its best to keep it under control. Where is the sense in one State, in a fit of righteousness, saying that it will not permit any fruit to enter its territory from other States ? I can well understand a State taking every reasonable precaution to keep out a pest, but I venture to say that even the proposed regulations will not prove an effectual barrier against the fruit fly entering South Australia if it finds that it can live there and thrive.
– The validity of regulations can be challenged now quite as well as they can be if this Bill be passed.
– Yes; but I understand that one of the main functions of Federation was to put an end to conflicting jurisdiction, and to make common the ordinary policing powers of the States in regard io these matters.
– Does the honorable member think that it can be done better by the
Federal Government than by the States Governments ?
– I do, unquestionably.
– Then the honorable member has a great new-born faith in the Federal Government.
– Nothing of the kind ; it is a matter of common sense, I think. Will the honorable member tell me that if there had been Federal Administration of the tick quarantine in Queensland better work could not have been done there ?
Colonel Foxton. - No.
– I think so, and I am referring now more particularly to the initial steps which were taken to cope with that disease. I am inclined to think that if the whole continent had had to do with the administration of the tick quarantine in those earlier days- .
Colonel Foxton. - It would have been through New South Wales by this time.
– I do not think so ; but I am not discussing that question now. I am anxious to ascertain from the Attorney-General where, in this matter of quarantine, the power of the States ends and the power of the Commonwealth begins, whether there is any ending or beginning in either case, or whether we are to take a hand in quarantining the pests, and at the same time the States individually are to keep their laws in force. The other day I went to see Mr. Swinburne, who is promulgating new regulations in regard to these pests. He has, I believe, an honest conviction that he can obliterate them in Victoria. I think he is very sanguine if he believes that he can, but in pursuance of that purpose he declares his intention of prohibiting the introduction of any fruit from New South Wales, unless the orchard where the fruit fly has been found has been strictly quarantined.
– -Why does not New South Wales question the validity of the regulations ?
– I shall tell the honorable and learned member what is more likely to be done, and that is where the mischief comes in. I think that, instead of questioning the legality of the exercise of this power bv Victoria, it is very much more probable that New South Wales will turn round and retaliate in kind. That is the thing which we wish most to avoid.
– The State resorting to such action would injure herself most by doing, so.
– Perhaps so; I do not know. Every one knows that when the spirit of retaliation is abroad very often mischief of a quite unnecessary, kind occurs. But my point is that this Parliament was created specially to obviate that kind of trouble as between the States, and I should like to see a Federal exercise of this power, instead of the irritating InterState exercise of it, such as is taking place at present. Another matter is that each State, notwithstanding that we are supposed to have Inter-State free-trade, has the power to prohibit the importation of either animals or plants if it chooses to do so. In other words, a State has the power to-day to prevent Inter-State free-trade with regard to either plants or animals which are supposed to be- though they may not actually be - subject to any of these diseases. What I should like to elicit from the Attorney-General is, how far that power may still be exercised by a State, because if the States are still to take a hand in this business, it will be more, not less, irritating.
– Quite so. I would not have anything to do with it if the States were going to step in, as they are doing now, when the Bill is enacted.
– Then I understand that the Minister has satisfied himself
– As fax as I can, as I said when I was speaking.
– The Minister slates that in this Bill he is taking authority to supersede the exercise of the quarantine power at present exercised by the State.
– Yes; but there is nothing in the Bill to prevent the States from exercising that power with the concurrence of the Commonwealth.
– That is one of the matters as to which the Constitution, notwithstanding all the efforts to make it clear, does not seem to be very explicit. We shall have difficulty in working the Constitution satisfactorily if we do not follow the example of Canada, and, before legislating on any subject, take steps to find out the extent of our power to legislate.
– At the Convention I tabled a motion to bring that about, but could not get much support for it.
– The more I see of the effects of our legislation, the more it seems a necessity of the situation, if there is to be smoothness of working between the Commonwealth and the States, to take steps to ascertain our powers before proceeding to legislate.’ If we do not do so, we shall soon require a High Court consisting of fifty Justices to hear the appeals which will be made. I was amazed to learn to-day that numerically our Judges, Commonwealth and State, are monstrously out of proportion to our population, compared with the state of affairs which obtains in the United Kingdom. I hope that the Attorney-General will tell us whether it is contemplated that the States shall still be able to exercise their powers of quarantine and inspection in regard to live stock and vegetation ; whether these powers are to continue to exist, notwithstanding the exercise by the Commonwealth of the general power of quarantine proposed to be taken by the Bill. The Constitution instructs the Parliament to take that power, and I think no one will demur to the wisdom of the step. The Government have done right in introducing the Bill, whose operation, I hope, will diminish the friction which is causing so much trouble.
– It will increase it tenfold.
.- I give my hearty support to the Bill. Its introduction has been .promised for several years past, and as long ago as 1904 I addressed this Chamber in advocacy of such a course. In that year a conference of the health authorities of the States was held in Melbourne. Some of the most distinguished medical men in Australia then assembled - men like Dr. Ashburton Thompson, of New South Wales; Dr. Burnett Ham, of Queensland ; Dr. Ramsay Smith, of South Australia; Dr. Elkington, of Tasmania; Dr. Gresswell, of Victoria; and Dr. Lovegrove, of Western’ Australia. They recommended that the Commonwealth Government should proceed with the least possible delay to take over the administration of the quarantine laws, their grounds being fully set out on page 3 of their report of the 10th May, 1904. The Constitution was framed, and Federation entered into, to secure uniformity of regulations and laws on such matters as quarantine, both as regards the outside world and between the States. We shall understand the question a little more clearly if we keep in view the difference between quarantine and general health regulations- A Commonwealth law relating to quarantine will not necessarily interfere with the exercise by the States of their powers of legislation for the preservation of the health of their communities.
– It certainly should not do so.
– It will not impair the power of the Parliaments and Governments of the States to make laws and1 regulations for the protection of the health of their peoples. We must also keep in view the difference between quarantine and the undoubted power of the States to impose, and to apply, inspection laws; to> make inspections at their borders in order lc keep out diseased persons or goods. The power of the States to make laws for the preservation of the public health, and to exercise inspection within their own borders, will not be impaired or interfered with by the exercise by the Commonwealth of the power of Federal quarantine. The question arises, what is quarantine? The word is. referred to in clause 4 as having relation to measures for the - exclusion, detention, segregation, isolation, protection, and disinfection of vessels, persons, goods, animals, or plants, and having as their object the prevention of the introduction or spread of diseases or pests affecting man, animals, or plants.
In general terms, it covers measures for the walling-out of diseases, or the keeping; within specified areas diseased persons, goods, animals or plants which have obtained admission. In my opinion, the definitions of the Bill w.ill not cause us to exceed the power given to us by the Constitution. We have a much greater power than is possessed by the United States Congress, by the reason of our right to make laws relating to quarantine as well as for the control of trade and commerce; but the very great, and indeed extraordinary, control which has been exercised by the Government of the United States in regard to the prevention of the introduction of diseases has never been successfully challenged. We have double-barrelled powers in reference to this matter ; we can control trade and commerce with other countries and between the States, and we are expressly given power to legislate in respect to quarantine. Therefore, we have abundance of authority to legislate for the isolation of disease in a manner which will not in any way impair the efficiency of State action to the same end. Probably the fight in regard to the measure will be upon such provisions as that of paragraph g of clause 13, whereby it is provided that the Governor-General may by proclamation - prohibit the removal of any animals, plants, or goods, or parts of animals or plants, from any State, or part of the Commonwealth in which any quarantinable disease, or disease affecting animals or plants, exists, to any State or part of the Commonwealth in which the disease does not exist.
– And a “ quarantinable disease “ i’s any disease which may be declared.
– It is any disease which may be denned by Statute, or which may be proclaimed by special notification in the Gazette. Of course, quarantine laws must cover all diseases. We could not possibly limit the class of diseases to which they should relate, because any disease may be dangerous, and it may be advisable that the quarantine laws shall extend to every possible form and development of disease, whether it be in animals, human beings or plants - in short, to every form of life. It would not be desirable to limit the character of the disease which should come within the scope of this Bill. The only point to be considered is whether the Federal authority, upon discovering any form of disease either in animal or plant life - say, in the county of Cumberland, New South Wales - should be empowered to issue a proclamation walling-in that county for the purpose of preventing the spread of the disease, or whether, upon the other hand, it should be able to proclaim a quarantine area, say, in Victoria, such as the Braybrook district, where outbreaks of* anthrax frequently occur. In my opinion, this power of quarantine will be very ineffective and impotent unless the Federal authority is empowered to localize di’sease which may be discovered in any part of the Commonwealth. It might be difficult to trace the origin of any outbreak of disease in the Braybrook district or in the county of Cumberland to a foreign source, but, nevertheless, the probability would be that it had been imported, and any disease which, it is suspected, has been imported could, in my opinion, be tracked and “ walled-in “ by the Federal authority. I remember some years ago when small-pox first invaded Victoria. A patient arrived in Melbourne by steamer, and, before the local authorities could quarantine him, escaped to Bendigo, where the disease germinated. Subsequently, a quarantine area was proclaimed within the district of Bendigo. Assuming that that patient had crossed the Murray, why should not the Federal authority be at liberty to pursue him to any part of Australia, to proclaim a quarantine area there, and to prevent him from enjoying his liberty until he was free from disease? That is an illustration of the quarantine authority. I say that it should be universal throughout the Commonwealth. If the Commonwealth authority cannot follow the disease wherever it may be found, it is possessed of a very ineffective power. That is how I understand paragraph g of this clause. The provision is a necessary and incidental part of the power of quarantine, and I cannot see how that power can be effective if the provision be rejected. Paragraph h provides that -
The Governor-General may, by proclamation - declare any part of the Commonwealth or a State in which a quarantinable disease or any disease or pest affecting animals or plants exists to be a quarantine area ;
It is quite possible that in the exercise of the power conferred by this Bill a conflict may arise in course of time between a State and the Federal authority. But, undoubtedly, in such a conflict the State authority and the State law will have to give way to the Federal authority and the Federal law.
– That is to say, the Commonwealth Government could “ lift ‘ ‘ a quarantine which had been imposed by a State?
– I think that it could. If it could not, the quarantine law would be ineffective. The superior law must prevail over the inferior, and, in such circumstances, the State law would have no more potency than would a municipal by-law which was in conflict with a State Statute. But until a conflict between the Federal and the State law actually arose, the latter would be effective. Wherever there is a conflict in reference to quarantine only, the Commonwealth law must prevail, otherwise it is useless to launch upon this scheme of legislation.
– What definition does the honorable and learned member give to “ quarantine “ as opposed to inspection ?
– Inspection implies the right of a State to appoint officers to watch its borders, and to see that no disease from without is introduced within those borders. For that purpose, the State may pass regulations-
– What authority would a State law have if it were overridden by a Commonwealth law?
– The fact of a State law being over-ridden by a Commonwealth law would not interfere with the quarantine. If the Federal authority had established a quarantine, it would take care to keep those persons who were quarantined within the proclaimed area.
– Would the Commonwealth under this Bill have the right to quarantine any one State against another?
– The Bill provides that the Commonwealth may quarantine any particular area, whether it be within one State or two States.
– That is a pretty big order.
– Does not the honorable and learned member think that that is a verylarge power to confer?
– Undoubtedly it is, and it is necessary to confer large powers in the interests of the public health, and in order to secure uniformity in the law and its administration. Another point may arise as to the control of Fede
Tal quarantine over vessels running exclusively between ports of the Commonwealth. But on the same principle, I apprehend, of the right to isolate, segregate, impound, “ wall in,” and “ wall out “ disease, the Federal authority would extend to Inter-State ships and shipping as well as to ships and shipping from beyond the sea. There is no doubt that in course of time the little conflict which may arise between the States and the Commonwealth will be removed, and the whole of the laws of the Commonwealth and of the States will be smoothly administered. The States will refrain from trespassing upon what is undoubtedly the Commonwealth right of quarantine, while, on the other hand, the Commonwealth authorities will abstain from interfering with the local health laws of the States. I welcome this Bill, because it bears upon its face signs of great care and consideration having been devoted to its preparation. It is satisfactory to know that most of the leading medical authorities in the Commonwealth either have been consulted, or have had an opportunity of expressing an opinion in regard to its main provisions. I see no reason why there should be any duplication of staff or of machinery under the conjoint operation of the State, health laws and the Federal quarantine laws. If we keep steadily in view that distinction, there will be no necessity for any such duplication. There will certainly be no duplication of ex penses or of staff. Our main object should be to secure the services of a few of the best medical men in Australia to preside over this Department - a first-class medical director, assisted, it may be, by a competent medical officer, together with the nucleus of a small Department-
– A staff of 500 would be required to carry out the ideas entertained by the honorable and learned member.
– I do not see why that would be necessary under normal circumstances. Probably, in case of an epidemic of disease, we should require almost an army of inspectors to enforce Federal quarantine, but these epidemics within the States do not often occur.
– In every town in Queensland there is a Health Officer at the present time.
– Quite so. Then where would arise the necessity for the appointment of a new army of officers? The services of the present officials could be utilized for the purpose of ascertaining and reporting upon local outbreaks. It would be only when diseased persons or animals were actually quarantined or impounded within a proclaimed area that an increased staff would be necessary. Such cases, however, do not often arise, and it is to be hoped that their occurrence will not be frequent. If we have at our ports such a proper inspection as we should be able to secure under a Federal system, we shall be able to prevent the escape of diseased .persons among the general mass of the population, and probably to prevent the introduction of diseased animals and goods. By an improved system of supervision at ports the outbreaks and epidemics which in the past have been the cause of so much expense, loss and disaster to Australia will be avoided. I particularly welcome those provisions of the Bill which relate to the quarantining of animals and plants, for I believe that this part of our sphere of health administration in times past has been very seriously neglected by some of the States.
– I am puzzled to know the difference between the terms “ inspection “ and “ quarantine “ as relating to insects and plants.
– I think that we shall cause a wholesale spreading of disease if we are not verv careful.
– I fail to see how that is likely to occur if the law be properly administered.
– We have a better administration of the law at present than we are likely to have under a Federal system.
– I am afraid that the honorable member is somewhat concerned about the present conflict of State regulations in reference to the fruit fly.
– That is only a small part of the general question.
– It is a phase of the question that has considerably agitated the representatives of South Australia. I think that under this Bill the Federal authority will have power to proclaim areas within which the fruit fly at present exists, and to prevent the removal of diseased fruit from those areas to clean ones. Would the honorable member object to that being done? It would be unreasonable to object. The great object of our quarantine law will be, as far. as possible, to localise disease.
– And to induce the. people interested with that object in view to work with the Government.
– Unless we can enlist the sympathies of those likely to be affected or injured by a disease, we cannot hope to succeed. I fail to see why the various States Departments of Agriculture should not co-operate in such a scheme as this or in the administration of [States laws and regulations to prevent the spread of the fruit fly. South Australia has a perfect right to pass laws with respect to inspection, and the regulations now being enforced in that State with the object of shutting out the fruit fly are quite justified. The Victorian Minister of Agriculture is merely following on the same lines. Every State has a perfect right to endeavour to protect itself, and to prevent, by the passing of inspection laws, the introduction of disease. Honorable members will now understand what I mean when I speak of inspection laws. The right of inspection means the right of every State to inspect goods, wares, merchandise, and people at its ports or on its frontiers for the purpose of excluding disease.
– But will not this Bill take that power from the States?
– It will not take away from the States the power to pass legitimate inspection laws.
– I should like to tell the honorable member that a very difficult situation has arisen in Western Australia in respect to the State inspection charges.
– Inspection charges might be so differential and discriminating as to amount to an interference with interState trade.
– In one case they almost amount to prohibition.
– In that case they might be set aside as being ultra vires, and not a bond fide exercise of the State’s power of inspection.
– The inspection - charges imposed in Western Australia are absolutely prohibitive.
– And they are very necessary, too.
– That is the difficulty. This Parliament probably has a right under the Constitution to set aside inspection laws which it considers are not the bond fide exercise of the powers of inspection and exclusion.
– I should like to learn why it is necessary for a State to charge three or four times the amount requisite to cover the expenses of inspection.
– The fact that charges were excessive might show that they did not represent the bond fide exercise of the right of inspection. I do not think that inspection charges should exceed what is a fair and reasonable amount. If the charge for inspection is excessive, it is within the power of this Parliament to set aside the inspection law under which it is made. It will thus be seen that we have a check over anything like an abuse of the power of inspection.
– If the work is done thoroughly much expense must be incurred.
– That is so. It may be difficult in some cases to say where inspection ends and discrimination and prohibition begin; but I do not think it would be right to interfere with that principle of self-protection and selfpreservation which the Constitution has rightly reserved to each of the States. I trust that upon reflection it will appear to honorable members that there is a great difference between the right of quarantining and impounding disease and the right of State inspection. The two powers ought to be consistently exercised. If there were any overlapping of the power of inspection, so that it became inconsistent with the power to quarantine, the latter would have to prevail, because the quarantining power is exercised by the superior authority. But the Federal Government should endeavour, as far as possible, ‘to so exercise its power to quarantine as not to interfere with the legitimate, fair, and reasonable exercise of inspectional powers of the States. There should be no attempt to invade the sphere of State legislation and State administration with reference to the general question of public health. I have looked through the Bill, and see in it nothing that could be said to amount to an invasion of States rights. On the contrary, I think it will rather supplement, reinforce, and assist the States in the administration of their public health laws. I hope that no attempt will be made to excite the cry of “ States rights “ - a cry to which we are too much addicted - and I do not think that even Mr. Carruthers will find in this Bill anything to provide work for the legal gentleman whom he intends to appoint to inspect Federal measures. I, therefore, hope that it will secure the favorable consideration and attention of the House, and that it will be passed without any unnecessary delay.
.- It seems to me that the Bill is more comprehensive than some honorable members appear to imagine. I fail to recognise the distinction which the honorable and learned member for Bendigo has “sought to draw between the right of inspection and the right to quarantine. What purpose will be served if a State, on exercising its right of inspection, detects a disease, but has no power to prevent its spread? If the Federal law removed all right of quarantine as between two States, what would be the position of a State if, as the result of the exercise of its powers of inspection, it found disease in stock or plants proposed to be introduced into its territory?
– If the Federal law does not provide for a particular class of inspection, and the State law does, I think the State law will be all right.
– For instance, in connexion with the disease of pleuro, I have for a long time been an advocate of lightening the quarantine regulations in Tasmania against stock from the mainland, in regard to which the period is four months.
– The regulation is ridiculous.
– The Minister may say that the regulation is ridiculous ; but I know’ of cases which, but for the regulation, would have resulted in pleuro being spread broadcast throughout the herds of Tasmania. Although in favour of reducing the existing period of quarantine in Tas mania, I am of opinion that it is very necessary for the protection of stock that there should be some general system of inspection. So far as I can see, no such provision is made under the Bill.
– Does the honorable member desire to leave it in the power of the State of Tasmania to continue the quarantine of four months?
– i do not , but if we remove the protection which Tasmania has at the present time, it will be our bounden duty to give some equivalent protection, so far as the introduction of disease is concerned.
– No doubt that will be done; the Bill simply takes power to do so.
Mir. MCWILLIAMS.- I agree with the Bill in so far as it is necessary to federalize the laws dealing with trade from outside. There should be perfectly uniform quarantine regulations, so far as disease and all parasites are concerned. It is very desirable that there should be uniformity as between the States. As one honorable member has pointed out, the Government of Western Australia, under the shallow pretence of inspection, has imposed a. duty which is almost prohibitive; at any rate, it is stiff protective duty. For instance, the cost of the inspection of fruit from other States is, in Western Australia, more- than double the cost of packing the fruit in the State of origin.
– The cost is heavier than the duty. ‘
– That might verv well be, but it is more difficult to detect disease in a few apples than to pack a case.
– But it is said that the inspection charges amount to more than would a duty.
– And quite tight, too.
– I have no hesitation in saying that the inspection charges in Western Australia, whatever their object may be, have the absolute effect of a- stiff protective duty against the rest of Australia.
– The object is to keep out the codlin moth.
– I believe the codlin moth, has been in Western Australia for some years.
– No, no.
– So far as Tasmania is concerned, it has not been found necessary to prohibit the importation of fruit from any of the States. We Have not gone so far, for instance, as the State of South Australia, and prohibited the importation of bananas, in fear of the fruit fly.
– Bananas axe not prohibited by South Australia.
– In Tasmania, however, we think that some system of inspection is necessary. If the power conferred by the Bill takes from the local authorities their complete control of the quarantine existing in different districts, it will have a fatal effect. In the fruit districts of Tasmania men have staked all they have in the world in the industry, and the restrictions which they have imposed, not against outsiders, but against themselves, are distinctly severe. For instance, if a man takes a case of apples to a packing shed he must, before he takes the case out again, dip it into water which is kept at boiling point .throughout the season ; and tha[ is a restriction which the Fruit Board have themselves imposed. Then, again, if a person does not keep his orchard in proper condition - if it is not sprayed and kept clear of parasites - the local authorities have power to send a man in to do the necessary work, and charge the owner with the cost. Such work, in my opinion, is infinitely better done by the local authorities, who know all about the conditions, than it can possibly be done by a central authority, who know nothing about the conditions.
– That is the case in regard to Western Australia.
– If the inspection in Western Australia is carried out with a view to prevent the introduction of disease, not one word can be said against the policy. If there is one duty which a State owes to itself, it is to prevent the introduction of disease which may spread ruin amongst hundreds and thousands of people. If, in South Australia, it is found absolutely essential, in the interests of the producers, to pass restrictive laws, or even prohibitory laws, with the honest intention to prevent the introduction of terrible diseases, the authorities there have a perfect right to take that step-. ‘ In my opinion, the whole effect of the Bill will be to take from the States and the local authorities that power which at present they exercise so well, and which they have found necessary for the protection of the industry. There is much good in the Bill ; and, of course, I know it will go into Committee, though, I understand, not to-day. After hearing the explanation of the Minister, I wired to some people in Tasmania, who have not recognised the drastic provisions of some clauses in the Bill, so far as concerns the entire superseding of the local authorities.
– I do not think the effect of the Bill in this connexion is fully recognised.
– Honorable members have not realized up’ to the present, I think, the enormous extent to which the Bill proposes to deprive the local authorities of their power of self-protection, and to vest the whole authority in the Commonwealth Government. I hope that every consideration will be given to the clauses of the Bill in Committee. I shall offer no objection to the Bill being taken to that stage; but I should like honorable members to direct their attention particularly to those clauses which seek to deprive the State and the local bodies of what I think is a very necessary power of self -protection. In Committee I shall test the House on my desire to preserve to local bodies their existing right of self -protection.
.- I am quite sure that every honorable member will vote for this measure, because it isa step in the right direction - the .direction of Federation. The Federal Conventionthought fit to enumerate under the particular section of the Constitution, in which the word “quarantine” occurs, the branches of the law which the people of Australia desire to have assimilated; and, providing that, the provisions of the Bill are legally justifiable, there can be- no objection to the assimilation of the quarantine laws throughout the Commonwealth. I take it that the people desired in regard to this subject to obliterate the divisions which exist between the States, and, in future, to administer those branches of the law, including quarantine laws, from one instead of from six administrative centres, seeing that the latter system multiplies the administrative_ machinery, and adds to the expense which is necessitated by maintaining so many heads of Departments. There was the same desire in regard to Defence and many other branches of administration, which, during the discussions on Federation, it was deemed desirable to concentrate, as if we were unified. That, I take it, was the primary object of Federation, and quarantine is only a small branch of the administration which it is deemed advisable to centralize.
Now, we have to take very great care that, in attempting to assimilate our laws on any particular subject, we do not go beyond the powers which have been conferred upon this Parliament by. the Constitution. The word “ quarantine “ is one which has a popular meaning, but it is a word which, I think, has a technical meaning far different from that which is occasionally given to it by the general public. The word “quarantine” is the point upon which the legality of this measure must turn. I think the public may have come to regard quarantine as indicating a very broad subject, dealing with the right of a .State to regulate the movements of human diseases, animal diseases, and plant diseases. But the impression which I: have formed from looking up a number of technical definitions is that the word quarantine possibly does not extend in its technical application to animals, and certainly not to plants. My opinion is, perhaps, of no consequence with regard to the power of the Federal Parliament to make such laws ; but every honorable member will recognise that by-and-by if the question of the power of the Federal Parliament to make laws upon this subject should ever be discussed and questioned, an appeal to the High Court would turn upon the technical definition of the word “quarantine.” I’ can see very vividly counsel on both sides bringing into Court* as is the common practice when a question of this sort arises, definitions from all the well-known dictionaries, and all the well-known scientific works. I have taken the trouble to look up four or five of the. best known dictionary definitions of the word, because the whole question of the power of the Federal Parliament to put this Bill upon the statute-book turns upon the meaning which it is going to apply to that word “ quarantine,” and upon the meaning which the ultimate Court of Appeal will apply to that word. I may say at once that in not one of the definitions which I find in the accepted dictionaries is there any reference whatever to animals or to plants, the reference being confined to human diseases. I find in Ogilvie the oldest definition which seems to have been applied to the word. It defines it as follows -
The period, originally of forty days, now of variable length, during which a ship arriving in port and suspected of being_ infected with a malignant infectious disease is compelled to forbear all intercourse with the shore ; also the place where infected or prohibited vessels are stationed.
That is from a work which is recognised as being one of the most scholarly of its kind in the English language.
– Infectious diseases may be introduced by the instrumentality of animals.
– They may be; and if quarantine is understood as including the possibility of infection to human beings from animals, the question may still arise as to whether the word really covers all that is required.
– Bubonic plague has been, introduced through rats.
– Yes, we have had plague from rats. At present I am merely quoting definitions. In Webster’s dictionary, the old stereotyped definition is given, and it then goes on to say, in a more modern spirit -
Quarantine is now applied also to any forced stoppage of travel or communication on account of malignant contagious disease, on land as well as by sea.
– That is an American dictionary.
– The first dictionary from which I quoted was a recognised English authority, and I have also looked up the definition in Chambers’ and in the Imperial dictionary.
– What I mean is that a wider definition may be given to the word in America.-
– The honorable member may be quite right in that. It is important that the Minister should pay attention to this point, because, as I said before, the question whether this measure is ultra, vires may turn upon the definition which the highest Court to which such questions can be brought puts upon the , word quarantine. The only word upon this subject used in -the well-known section of the Constitution dealing with the matter, is the word “quarantine” itself; and if honorable members will turn to section 109 thev will find that it is there provided that -
When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.
Now, we are placed in this position : .that we in this Parliament can only invalidate States laws so far as they apply to quarantine as it will be interpreted by the High Court. But the Minister has introduced into this Bill a number of clauses and subclauses which seem to assume that this
Parliament has power to deal with quarantine in the popular sense, with all its ramifications, as now exercised by the different States.
– That is so..
– In a number of the States, for instance, there are laws and regulations which enable an inspector forcibly to inspect a vineyard, and, if he finds that that vineyard is infected with phylloxera, he may (practically exclude it from all communication from outside.
– That is, he may quarantine it.
– That is not the kind of quarantine that is meant by the Constitution.
– That is the question which I am raising, because this Bill assumes that it is.
– I agree with the honorable member.
– If honorable members look” at paragraphs g, h and i of clause 13, they will find this: that the Governor-General - that is the Minister - may, by proclamation -
Prohibit the removal of any animals, plants, or goods, or parts of animals or plants, from any State or part of the Commonwealth in which any quarantinable disease or disease affecting animals or plants exists to any State or part of the Commonwealth in which the disease does not exist.
Paragraphs h and i are very much in the same direction. Now, what I wish to point out to the House is that this Bill, rightly or wrongly - I do’ not want to press the argument too much one way or the other, but I want the House to understand where we are - assumes that quarantine, and the giving of jurisdiction over quarantine matters, will authorize the Federal Parliament to deal with matters now entirely and exclusively within the control of the States - that the Commonwealth will be able to take over the whole question of the inspection of vines and other vegetable growths, and to regulate them as the States are now doing. But if the definitions of quarantine that I have been able to refer to are right, I venture the opinion for what it is worth, that it was never intended - when I say it was never intended, I mean that it is not intended as expressed by a technical reading of the Constitution, whatever the members of the Convention may have wished and intended in their own minds - that the Commonwealth Parliament should usurp the functions of the States so far as they deal with matters that the Constitu tion leaves within their own province. The more I dwell upon it, the more satisfied I feel that this question is going to be the crux of this Bill. We may, in a selfsatisfied manner, assume the right and say, “ Well, we shall chance it.” That is spirit I have, very frequently seen exhibited in this chamber when the delicate problem of ultra vires has been raised.
– It is a very dangerous spirit.
– I have seen it exhibited very frequently in this chamber. Honorable members who think that the Commonwealth should ride roughshod over everything would say, “ Well, we shall chance it, and then let the States object if they like.” That is a wrong spirit, and, as the honorable member for Flinders has said, it is a very dangerous spirit. Because, although we may feel satisfied that the High Court will ultimately set us right as to the true meaning of the word “ quarantine,” upon which the whole power under this Bill depends, in the meantime a great deal of friction will have been engendered, since it will be contended that under section 109 of. the Constitution the provisions enacted by this Bill will have the effect of rendering nugatory provisions of a similar character contained in the States laws. I hope the Minister will look more carefully into this question than he appears to have done. I say that because I judge that the Minister has given us an explanation of all the difficulties of which he is informed, and as he has made no reference to this point-
– To the word ‘ quarantine ‘ ‘ ?
– To the question of whether this Parliament has power under the word “ quarantine “ to enact such a measure.
– I referred to that.
– The Minister gave no definition of the word “ quarantine,” and I do not think he showed that he had carefully considered that aspect of the Bill.
– I told honorable members that I had taken the best legal advice I could get with regard to the Bill, and that it confirmed the opinion that we had the necessary power under the word “ quarantine,” and I quoted the word.
– I should like the Minister to give us some more specific information on the point. Without mentioning names, the honorable gentleman might have read to us the opinions he had obtained1 to show how the difficulties to which I have referred are to be got over. Because, as the honorable gentleman must be aware, if this question ever comes up on appeal, the definitions of “quarantine” will be put before the Court to show whether or not this Parliament has been invested under that word in the Constitution with the power to interfere with the States laws in matters exclusively within their province in regard to animals and plants.
– I stated so.’
– I wish to refer for a moment to another aspect of the Bill, and that is the probable cost involved. I understood from the Minister that, so far as he can anticipate, the cost of administering quarantine from -a Federal administrative point will be about the same as it costs the States at the present time. In making an estimate of the probable cost, the honorable gentleman has added, and I think very properly, an amount for interest at 3 per cent, upon the capital value of the assets which the Commonwealth will have to take over from the States. I shall be very much disappointed if, when the Bill comes to be administered, there is not really a saving shown, because one of the advantages of Federation which all its advocates put before the public was that by centralizing administration we should save administrative expenses. If we, by administering six Departments as one, make no saving in administrative expense, I fail to see what benefit will be gained by administration from one centre rather than from, six, in view of the fact that we should probably secure more detailed inspection at each with an administration from six centres than we should by administration from one. I anticipate that the Minister has not sufficiently worked out, as indeed he could not have done, the details, to enable him to say whether the Bill will actually lead to a saving of expense. I desire to say that I think we have a right to anticipate some important advantages from the operation of this measure. Honorable members are aware of the difficulties which have arisen from time to time in Australia in connexion with quarantine. They will recollect that ships and large numbers of the public travelling in them have frequently been detained, in Western Australia, as well as elsewhere, for quarantine purposes, and that after t!he authorities of that particular State had been satisfied they have been again detained. at great inconvenience and expense, when they have reached South Australia, again at Melbourne, and for a fourth time at Sydney. It seems to me that one of the chief advantages of this Bill will be that Australia will be regarded as a whole instead of as six different States, and that when once the quarantine authorities have at Western Australia cleared the ship and discharged her from quarantine, she will bear the imprimatur of the Commonwealth Government as a clean ship, and will then be at liberty to continue her voyage to each of the other States without any further detention or inspection.
– Unless something suspicious occurs in the meantime.
– Of course; there might be some fresh developments which would necessitate further inspection. The advantage to be gained in this way under clause 42 will be appreciated not only by the ship-owner, but by the freightpayer and the travelling public. We know that men of business and in important posts have sometimes been detained at a quarantine station for weeks even though they mav previously have been similarly detained in another State. The question of vaccination has been referred to, and I have not had time to give sufficient study to the details of the Bill to enable me to say how the measure will operate, in view of the fact that whilst in Victoria vaccination is regarded as a matter of such moment that people are prosecuted for not having their children vaccinated before they reach a certain age, in New South Wales compulsory vaccination is not respected as essential ; and if laws ever existed to provide for it they have became a dead-letter.
– I suppose there is no more small-pox in New South Wales than there is in Victoria..
– I do not know.
– Natives of New South Wales are more susceptible to small-pox than are natives of Victoria.
– The honorable member for Laanecoorie is giving us medical opinion for nothing. I do not know whether the honorable member has gone into the matter scientifically; I am speaking not of what ought to be done, but of the existing state of things. As I have said, in Victoria people are fined if their children are not vaccinated before they reach a certain age, whilst in New South Wales the urgency of vaccination is altogether disregarded. I do not know how far this will be affected by the Bill, but probably that will be disclosed in Committee.
– I quoted the clause referring to vaccination when submitting the second reading of the’ Bill.
– One of the effects of securing to the public and to shipowners the great convenience of having one inspection and one detention, and, possibly, no more, unless there should be some fresh development, will probably be to concentrate a much larger proportion of the inspecting power of the Department in Western Australia, where ships will first touch before calling at the ports of the other States.
– There will be much more danger of the introduction of communicable diseases from the north.
– But the honorable member will admit that the number of ships arriving through the Indian Ocean at Western Australia is very much larger than the number arriving from the north.
– Not a great deal.
– Undoubtedly the greater part of the shipping of Australia comes round by the south. And if Fremantle is going to be the first, if not the only port at which a thorough quarantine inspection is to take place, it will involve the concentration of a larger proportion of the officers administering the Act at that port than are there at present. At present the officers in that State are merely acting for their own State, hut if the work is done there for the Commonwealth there will be less need of quarantine staffs in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland, because a discharge and a clean bill of health for a ship, when once it is given in Western Australia, will practically allow her to go to all the States of Australia without further detention. I shall be very glad to help to put the Bill through; but the Minister ought to look very closely into the matter of the powers of the Commonwealth Parliament in this regard, because the result of my looking up definitions of the word “ quarantine “ has been to satisfy me that the popular acceptation of the word is not necessarily the legal one, and that it is quite possible that a large part of this Bill might provoke a good deal of dissatisfaction in the States, and yet ultimately turn out to be ultra vires of the Constitution.
– I agree with those who welcome the advent of this Bill, and I am only sorry that it has not been brought before us earlier. I have always realized that one of the most important works which the Federation was designed to accomplish . was to secure uniformity in the quarantine laws of the various States, which are extremely dissimilar in their operation, and thus to secure that easy access from one State to the other, after proper precautions had been taken, which the honorable member for Parkes has just referred to. There will be no two opinions with regard to the Bill generally. I feel that it is a Bill which can be best dealt with in Committee. There are so many varying interests which will have to be considered that it is impossible, without talcing it clause bv clause, to deal with it on its second reading in anything like a satisfactory fashion. In these circumstances, although I intend to say something on some of the clauses in Committee in the direction of amending them, I do not propose to go into those matters in detail at this stage. A very important principle, however, has been raised in the very beginning of this discussion. That is the question, whether we should adopt the enlarged definition which has undoubtedly been given to the word “ quarantine,” or whether we should limit it to what I, for one, believe was the intention of the Convention, when this matter was included ir» section 51 of the Constitution!. In my opinion the desire of the Convention, and of the people of Australia, was’ that those diseases which are not endemic here - which are not natural to our country. - should be kept out if possible by a proper and effective system of quarantine extending all round our coast ; but the Minister has gone to the extent of dealing with outbreaks within a single State, and not only with people, but with animals, and further on, as has just been pointed put by the honorable member for Parkes, with plants also. Admirable as it undoubtedly is that we should endeavour to segregate and isolate all cases of diseases,- whether they occur in the animal or vegetable kingdom, so long as they are inimical to the interests of the country, and to the health of our people, at the same time I think the Commonwealth will be exceeding the powersgranted to it under the Constitution if it takes up this work in the fashion which the Minister evidently contemplates. I feel strongly that we shall have an ineffective system. We shall be taking away from the States work which they are doing more or less effectively at the present time, and which they have the very strongest reasons for carrying out effectively, because, with regard to animals and plants at any rate, they are, in competition one with another. The States are exporters, and it is well that every State should be able to show a clean bill of health, so to speak, to the whole world, to which it desires to send its products, and no State can have that unless it keeps its territory clean. The State Departments of Agriculture are doing a great deal of valuable work in this connexion. In Queensland especially, where they have the pioneer bacteriological laboratory, in which work has been carried on for very many years past, we have evidence of the desire and intention, of the State to carryout its work effectively, and evidence also of the actual achievement of that intention. If, however, we pass this Bill as it stands it present, we shall be giving notice to the States that all this may be unnecessary, and that one of two things will happen - either they may not continue to do this work, of if they do they may find themselves in conflict with a Commonwealth law. In either circumstance nothing, but disaster would follow. I sincerely hope that before this aspect of the question is dealt with in Committee, some time for reflection and study will be granted to honorable members, so that we may consider it in all its bearings. I feel sure that every honorable member realizes, from the professional training I have had, that I am fully seized of the importance of protecting the health of our people, but we must not be carried away by our desires. Our desires must be limited by our powers. Surely, because we think it is well that a thing should be done, we are not going to give that as a reason why we should trespass upon- the province of the States in doing work, admirable in its way, which would be very much better done by the States separately. It is provided in the subclause which has been quoted over and over again, that the Commonwealth may prevent the passage of infected animals, persons or plants not only from one State to another, but from any part of one State to another part of the same State. This would mean, therefore, to take a familiar instance, that if the State of Queensland drew across the State from Cloncurry a “tick line,” as it has been called, below which no cattle should be allowed to travel from a tickinfested area, the Commonwealth officer might come in and say that the line should be drawn from Winton. There would immediately be a conflict of authority, although the Minister of Trade and Customs says that the State could still go on doing its work.
– I did not say that. I said that if the Commonwealth did not act there was nothing to prevent the State from acting in concurrence with the Commonwealth.
– Exactly. I will imagine, then, that the Commonwealth does not act, through want of information, and that the State does act, fixing the line at Cloncurry. The Commonwealth then does get information, and, acting on it, fixes the line so many miles lower down, say at Winton. In those circumstances, there would be a conflict of authority.
– I am sure there would be.
– The Commonwealth must prevail.
– That means that the States must go under. I do not believe in limiting or belittling the powers of this Parliament, but I hope the day is far distant when there will be any intention or desire on the part of honorable members here to trespass on the powers of the States in this particular direction. I realize that this is a matter which cannot’, and ought not to, be decided by us now. We can deal with it when we come to the particular clause in which it is involved. There seems to be a desire on die part of the Minister and of his Department to establish another huge Department of State.
– It is necessary, if the work is to be done well. The deputy leader of the Opposition spoke of the policing of the whole of the Commonwealth, and the Minister received his remarks with approbation. That means that a perfect army of qualified men will be required, not to stamp out an outbreak, but to prevent a small outbreak from spreading from one spot to another near it.
– The honorable member evidently entirely misunderstood what I wished to convey. I said there would be no increase in the cost and no increase in the number of persons employed.
– Then that means that the whole thing will be ineffective, and that we shall be pretending to do work which we are not prepared to spend the money to carry out effectively.
– The honorable member is misrepresenting me, no doubt unintentionally. What I said was that where we took over the business from the State we should employ the States officers, as employed now, so far as we could.
– Of course, I understand that perfectly, and I do not think that I have said anything bearing a different construction. What I have contended is that, in order to have effective work done, we shall have to increase the number of the officers who ure employed by the States. I can tell the Minister and other honorable members that the health officer system as it exists in Australia is most unsatisfactory ; it is the worst system which can possibly be imagined. For instance, a shire or a borough appoints a health officer at a salary of £10 a year to look after an enormous tract of country. He is elected by the council, the majority of whom are probably patients of his own, and possibly keep pigs within the municipal boundary if they get a chance. That is the sort of thing which we get under our present health officer system. Why should we perpetuate a system like that for the purpose of employing, tine same officers under the Commonwealth?
– But this Bill would not interfere with that at all.
– Apparently the honorable member has not heard the discussion; otherwise he would know that it is intended that the whole work of treating the spread of contagious or infectious disease, no matter where it may arise, shall be . placed in the hands of”the Commonwealth.
– I think that the honorable member is wrong.
– Possibly I may be, and of course we know that doctors differ. I am quite prepared to have this matter thoroughly threshed out, as no doubt it will be, when we reach the clause in Committee. It will then be my duty to speak at greater length, and advance reasons - which I believe will be found cogent - why we at the present juncture should not carry on the work which is being done by the States through experts to the best possible extent, considering the opportunities which they have at their disposal, and above all, why we should not interfere with the Departments of Agriculture which are acting in strong commercial competition one with the other, and which undoubtedly find it to their interest to preserve a clean bill of health for the States, from which products are sent to all parts of the world.
– - I agree with the honorable member for Laanecoorie, that this is really a Bill for consideration in Committee ; and as long as its provisions are adequate to the objects sought to be attained, of course it ought to go through fairly quickly. On looking through the measure I can scarcely see that the provisions - assuming that the power to legislate exists - are not such as ought to be included ; but any merit which is in the legislation will depend upon the administration ; and about that I am somewhat doubtful. We are in a great hurry to take over several Departments from the States. One. would really think that our legislative powers are so extensive that we can keep on legislating at this pace for the next thirty or forty years. But so far as I can see ahead, I should think that within ten or fifteen years we shall have practically exhausted all the powers vested in us by section 51 of the Constitution - unless of course we should make such a mess of our legislation, that the greater part of the time of each subsequent Parliament will be taken up in amending what previous Parliaments have done. So far as one can reasonably conjecture, there does not seem to be any very great haste, before the Ministers have made adequate provision for effective administration, to take over Departments or frame uniform laws. As to the efficacy of the administration a doubt exists. At the present time there is some timidity in South Australia in relation to the fruit pests of other States. Relations are almost strained at times between South Australia and one or two of the other States. If the Minister is assured that he can go to the expense necessitated by a proper Federal administration of quarantine, everything may be right. It is on that point that I am somewhat doubtful. As regards the powers of the Federation, I scarcely think that a doubt exists but the powers are merely concurrent. So far as we do not over-ride any local provisions in regard to the health of the States, there is no doubt that the State provisions -will remain. If, for instance, we have a quarantine law which negatives some provision of a State law, although it is called an ‘inspection law of the State, there is no doubt that the inspection law of the State will go to the wall. The State power as regards inspection does not, of course, extend to persons. That is one of the points which the honorable member for Franklin referred to when he asked what really is the distinction between the inspection law of a State and the quarantine power. As I take it, the quarantine power comprises not only general articles of commerce which may be subject to pests, but extends also to persons and animals. The inspection laws of the States extend to such articles as come within the trade and commerce gower, and therefore do not touch human beings. The powers, therefore, are not co-extensive, although, if a Federal quarantine provision over-rides a provision of the State law in regard to inspection, in my opinion the latter is to that extent bad. It does show the necessity of having an effective administration of whatever laws we do pass. If we are going to take over quarantine and frame a uniform law, we ought not to shrink from authorizing whatever expense may be necessary to make it thoroughly efficacious throughout the Commonwealth. That will require a good deal of expense possibly. I have recently read a report by Dr. Ramsay Smith - who is a specialist in these matters - which was presented to the Federal Government,, and which deals with quarantine in the New Hebrides and some of the other Pacific Islands. He showed that the French Government disseminate in New Caledonia and in part of the New Hebrides a good deal of information as regards health under their jurisdiction of quarantine. There seem to be schools established in some countries for the purpose of studying disease in connexion with quarantine administration. If anything of that sort is done here it will involve a very considerable expense, and, unless it is done, I am afraid that our administration will be faulty.
– Would it not be part of quarantine ?
– It would be auxiliary to the health provisions which are supposed to be within the quarantine power. Assuming that we have the right to pass the Bill under the quarantine power, then it seems to me that anything which will render that power efficacious, such as the establishment of a college of experts or the appointment of a staff of experts,, to studydiseases, will be constitutional.
– The local boards levy rates to meet their own expenditure.
– They are entitled to do so under the Constitution. Section 112 contains an express provision enabling a State to impose a tax even on Inter- State goods for the purpose of carrying out its inspection laws. That does show that, independently of the quarantine power and the trade and commerce power, the Constitution assumes that, very large inspection powers still remain with the States. I am sure that the provision would not have beeninserted in the Constitution unless the inspection laws of the States were fairly extensive. At the same time, it is probable that,, so far as we negative any provisions in the inspection laws by a Federal quarantine law, then the former are neutralized. We, therefore, have to see that the administration of our laws shall be perfect. The honorable and learned member for Bendigohas referred to this matter so extensively that I do not think that, under the circumstances, I should be justified in saying any more. But I do hope that the Minister will be thoroughly prepared, if the Department is to be taken over,, to see that the administration is up-to-date in every respect. That there will be a good deal of trouble I have not the slightest doubt. It may be that the administration may practically quarantine a State. That has been done at present by one State as against another. If there is any relaxation of any of the provisions under which, say, Western Australia quarantines in relation’ to certain fruit pests the fruits coming from other States, or of the regulations which at present are imposed by South Australia, and which, to some extent, affect New South Wales, so much the worse for the State which at present is not affected by those pests. If the limits of quarantine are made coterminous with the boundaries of the States there is sure to be an uproar and talk about Commonwealth interference with States authority. The test of the value of the Bill must be whether the Commonwealth administers the law as well as the States are now doing.
– Is it not intended to make an improvement ?
– By assumption, the making of our quarantine laws uniform will be an improvement. Our policy is to secure uniformity. There have been complaints about the restrictions placed on the importation of our fruits into Germany and South Africa, and, as a diversity of regulations is proving harmful to our commerce with other parts of the world, it may also prove harmful to the commerce between the States. One State complains that the regulations of another State are extreme. We hear, for example, that under the guise of an inspection law, Western Australia is excluding fruit which should be admitted.
– I have just received a telegram informing me that Western Australia has reduced its charges since I made a claim for the money.
– I hope that by the administration of uniform quarantine laws by the Commonwealth, we shall get even a better and more equable system than we have at present.
Mr. BAMFORD (Herbert) [5.42J.- I agree with the honorable member for Franklin in regard to paragraphs g, h and i of clause 13. I think that the Government has gone further than was necessary by introducing those provisions, which cannot be administered without causing friction between the Commonwealth and the States. The honorable member for Laanecoorie has complimented the Bacteriological Department of Queensland upon the good work which it has done and is doing. Unquestionably Queensland has, in that respect, set an example to the other States. Unfortunately, they have not reciprocated, and some of them are dealing with our exports, if .not unfairly, at least ungenerously. I particularly complain of Victoria’s action with respect to Queensland fruit. This State has been adopting tactics in regard to imports from Queensland similar to the Western Australian tactics, of which we have heard from the Minister and others. To all intents and purposes, the importation Ut Queensland1 fruit into Victoria is prohibited, on the assumption that it contains fruit flies or other pests, although these pests are .already to be found in Victorian orchards. I do not deny the right of the State to do this. If it is honestly believed that Victorian orchards are in danger of being injured by the introduction of pests from other States, the authorities of this State are justified in taking every means to exclude those pests ; but I question the bona fides of some of their actions in regard to importations of fruit. ‘ I wish to know from the Minister what he thinks would be done under the Bill if there were an outbreak of plague in Melbourne, Sydney, or elsewhere within the Commonwealth? Plague is a quarantinable disease under the Bill. Would the action of the Commonwealth Government in such an event supersede that of the State authorities, or would the Commonwealth authorities allow the State authorities to take charge? Recently at Charters Towers, two members of a family were unhappily attacked by leprosy, and were isolated by the State authorities. What would the Commonwealth authorities do under the Bill in a similar case ? Whether leprosy is a disease communicable by association, and not only by inoculation, has not yet been proved ; but it is a disease of which communities are greatly in dread, and is certainly quarantinable. Would the Commonwealth Government, in such a case, supersede the local authority, and take charge of the patients, providing for them as well as possible under the circumstances - which is what the local authority did in the case to which I have referred - or would it allow the local authority to act? If the Commonwealth authority superseded the local authority in every case, it would undoubtedly entail an enormous expenditure upon the Commonwealth, and the Government should hesitate before proposing anything of the kind. Although I followed the remarks of the honorable member for Parkes very closely, I could not discover that the eminent authorities whom he quoted say that infectious diseases are communicable to human beings only by other human beings. The germs of such diseases might be brought to Australia by animals, plants, or goods, as well as by human beings. He spoke of Fremantle as a most important port in relation to the keeping out of disease from the Commonwealth ; but the ports of Palmerston and Thursday Island are equally as important, and if it will be necessary to keep a large expert staff at Fremantle to prevent the introduction of disease there, it will be necessary to keep similar staffs at these other ports. I have been informed by professional men that small-pox is sometimes six weeks or longer in incubation. Now, the steamers which touch at the ports I have named come chiefly from the East, where small-pox is very prevalent, and they reach our northern shores after a voyage of only twenty or twenty-one days.
Colonel Foxton. - In a much shorter time.
– Yes; but I wish to allow the largest margin possible. Medical inspection is, therefore, necessary, not only at Palmerston and Thursday Island, to discover cases of small-pox which have broken out during the voyage, but must also be pro,vided for at every other port down the coast, so that cases which had not incubated when the first port of call was reached mav not escape detection. Of course, the Minister will tell us that this inspection is already provided for by Queensland ; but I think that more than is now provided for would be necessary if the Bill became law as it stands. I ask the Minister to take these matters into consideration. I shall vote for the measure, with the exception of the three paragraphs to which I have drawn attention, and which I hope the Minister will see his way to eliminate in Committee. Otherwise, I think that the Bill is a good one, and I arn sorry that it was not brought into operation some four or five years ago. It will certainly relieve the States of some expenditure and involve the Commonwealth in a considerable outlay. But I do not think that that consideration should stand in the way of its adoption. I think that the measure should be applied only to oversea shipping, and that the States Governments should.be left free to deal with inter-State matters.
– I suppose there is not the smallest doubt that the Minister of Trade and Customs has embodied in this Bill all the powers relating to quarantine which are conferred upon this Parliament by the Constitution.
– Does ‘the honorable member wish me to take unto myself more powers ?
– I very much question if the honorable gentleman could do so under the provisions of the Constitution. Before deciding upon the ultimate form of this Bill, I should like to know what is the real meaning of its provisions?
– Did not the Minister explain their meaning?
– I do not think that the Minister or any other member of the House can say off-hand where the possibilities of this measure end. In most matters of quarantine, everybody agrees with a policy of centralization, but when we are called upon to consider quarantine provisions which affect the administration of the various State Departments which deal with stock and plant life, there is room for a considerable difference of opinion. Personally, I am not much enamoured of Federal control so far as it has been exhibited. In many of the trans.ferred Departments, I venture to say that Federal control has not been an improvement upon State control.
– I think that in South Australia, Federal control of the Customs Department has been a very great improvement upon State control. Most of the Customs frauds which have been disclosed there were committed prior to Federation.
– I am sorry to be drawn off the track by these parochial interjections of the Minister.
– The honorable member is making a parochial speech.
– I do not think so. I wish to draw attention to the fact that nearly all of the Customs frauds recently disclosed in Adelaide were committed during the period that the honorable member for Hume has been a Minister of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable member is quite mistaken.
– The statement is true in regard to many thousands of pounds of which the revenue has been defrauded.
– But it is not correct in regard to the ,£60,000.
– I do not intend to discuss the question of whether or not the Customs administration by the Commonwealth authorities has been an improvement upon that of the State. I hope that it has been, but certainly the Federal administration of many Departments has not been an improvement upon their administration by the States.
– I think that in nearly every instance there has been an improvement.
– The Minister of Trade and Customs must know that the administration of the Electoral Department in almost every State was preferable, more effective, and less open to abuses than is its administration by the Commonwealth.
– In some of the States, the abuses were ten times greater before Federation than they are now.
– They were nothing like so great as they are now. The usefulness of this Bill will depend entirely upon the way in which it is administered. I am not too sanguine - seeing that under its operation there is a possibility of an interference with the administration of the inspectorial staffs of the States in connexion with fruit, plant, and stock diseases - that Federal control will be preferable to State control. It must be recollected that the protection of areas which are free from disease, either in connexion with stock or plants, is largely a local matter, as well as a Federal matter. There are certain localities which are perfectly clean, and the local authorities must possess the power to act promptly in order to keep them clean. Promptitude is everything. For example, we can easily imagine that as regards an area far removed from Melbourne - an area, say, in Western Australia or the northern portion of Australia - if the central authority in this city had to be consulted before action could be taken, the advice would, in many instances, arrive too late for effective action. Concurrent power on the part of the States and of the local authorities is essential, as well as general power on the part of the Commonwealth. The suggestion has been made by the honorable member for Parramatta, that the South Australian law relating to the prohibition of fruit, amounts to an infringement of InterState free-trade. I can assure him that the fruit-growers of South Australia have become exceedingly alarmed at the possibility of the fruit fly being admitted into that State. He will, I am sure, admit that, up to the present, South Australian vineyards and orchards have been kept perfectly clear of that disease. A very rigid inspection is going on with a view to ascertaining whether there is any possibility of the fly being present in neglected gardens, but up to date none has been discovered. If it can be kept out until the States of Victoria and New South Wales have got the pest more under control, it will be a big thing for the fruitgrowers of South Australia.
-Can the honorable member explain why prohibition was proposed by South Australia in the depth of winter, when the fruit fly is inactive? The fly goes to sleep during the winter.
– -I understand that there is no such thing as “ the depth of winter” as applied to the whole of Australia. Certainly, that term cannot be applied to the northern parts of this continent. I have no personal knowledge of the habits of the fruit fly.
– But there is no winter time for the eggs.-
– That is true. The honorable member for Parramatta will recognise, however, that the eggs of the fruit fly might now be introduced and remain dormant until summer, when they would be speedily hatched. .
– That is not possible.
– The winter season in Queensland,, and probably in the northern parts of New South Wales, is not so severe as to be destructive of the fruit fly, and if infected fruit were imported from those places into South Australia, we should speedily have the pest spread all over that State. The honorable member for Parramatta knows that, with the exception perhaps of oranges, practically all the fruits which under the State regulations are not allowed to enter South Australia are not grown in that State. That being so, their exclusion can be due to no ulterior object. Oranges for export are produced in such large quantities that if their introduction from other States were permissible tomorrow, no injury would be done to local growers, so far as prices are concerned. Only a week or two ago, we sent to Europe some thousands of cases of oranges. It will thus be recognised by the House that the exclusion to which I have referred is insisted upon only because it is feared in South Australia that some of the diseases prevailing in the Penrith,. Parramatta, and other of the older orchards of New South Wales might be introduced. At present South Australia is free from such pests, and wishes to take every precaution to prevent their introduction. Every one must admit that in that respect the State Government are acting wisely. They may not be able to permanently prevent the introduction of such pests, but they are certainly right in endeavouring to exclude them as long as possible. New South Wales would lose nothing by their introduction, whilst South Australia would suffer very seriously.
– I think that South Australia is perfectly justified in taking reasonable precautions.
– Reverting to the spread of phylloxera, to which I referred a few moments ago, I may say that Victoria and New South Wales have abandoned their efforts to prevent the spread of the disease among the old stock, and that the vignerons are now replanting with resistant stocks. We have at present no phylloxera in South Australia,, where the administration! of the law relating to the disease is vested in a Board. I mention this only to show that it is possible that, under the Federal control, such action may be taken as will prevent those best fitted to deal with the trouble from exercising anything like effective control. The Phylloxera Board of South Australia consists of two Government nominees, and. members elected by the vine-growers. The vine-growers and winemakers contribute to a fund to provide for a rigid and regular inspection of vineyards, and for compensation to be paid the grower who, upon phylloxera-infested vines being discovered in his vineyard, is called upon to up-root it,, in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Any attempt to do away with the restrictions imposed by that Board would probably mean disaster to the industry in South Australia. That State is very substantially interested in the measures taken for the exclusion of the disease, whilst the interest of New South Wales, for instance, might lie in the direction of the unrestricted introduction of soils and vinecuttings contaminated by it. Hence it will be seen that the vignerons of South Australia view with some alarm Commonwealth interference with these matters, most of which can best be dealt with by the local authorities. I do not mean to suggest that power should not be taken by the Commonwealth to deal with attempts made, under the disguise of measures for the exclusion of pests, to secure substantial protection for an industry by means of interference with Inter-State free-trade. The Commonwealth should certainly have power to intervene in such cases ; but T do not think that we ought to go beyond that. I trust that we shall have from the Minister a clear indication of the scope of the Bill, and a statement as to the way in which it will be administered. When the Commerce Bill was under consideration we had many assurances that certain interferences with trade which honorable members on both sides of the House strongly deprecated, would not be permitted under that measure, but we, have found that in some cases more harm than good has been done under it. We do not desire in connexion with this Bill a repetition of some of the troubles that have arisen under that Act.
.- The absurdity of the present system, or rather lack of system, of quarantine, on the Australian coast has long been apparent to those who, like myself, have had occasion frequently to travel on oversea ships from one Australian port to another, and experience has fully demonstrated the necessity for remedying the existing conditions. It is indeed the acme of absurdity that oversea vessels touching at various ports in a country like Australia should be dealt with in a way that is paralleled only by the treatment of vessels voyaging from a port in one European country to that of another. The sooner therefore that this state of affairs is abolished, the better, and so far as the Bill deals with such absurdities, I shall heartily co-operate with the Government in their efforts to secure a much-needed improvement. I am rather afraid, however, that it is proposed to go somewhat too far in respect to quarantine laws and the regulations under them. I may say at the outset that I do not apple.hend any very great increase of expense. I feel sure that in the case of Western Australia, for instance, the supervision exercised at the ports of Fremantle and Albany is so thoroughly efficient that it could not be improved upon even by the Commonwealth authorities. Practically the same staff, working under the same rules, and with the same methods, would overtake the work. I fail to see that there is any necessity for any considerable expense. If Parliament only keeps a careful eye on the Minister who has the administration of the Bill, the existing expenditure need not, I think, be exceeded. Western Australia has been referred to in connexion with this matter. In that State, there is rather a strict system of inspection, particularly of fruit from the Eastern States. In the old days this inspection was non-existent, though, instead, there was the most absolute prohibition.
– Only in regard to some fruits.
– In my opinion it was shameful to> see, as I have frequently seen, fruit, which was brought ashore by incoming passengers from the Eastern States - good, sound, wholesome apples, in no way diseased - taken from those passengers by the Customs officers and thrown into the sea.
– We are afraid of the codlin moth.
– Much of the fruit was absolutely sound. There was no question of disease in this prohibition ; it was simply a straightout, and a very effective, effort at preventing any fruit whatever from entering Western Australia.
– Only three kinds of fruit - apples, quinces and pears.
– The prohibition was entirely for the benefit of the few people who at that time grew fruit in Western Australia.
– The honorable member is libelling his own people and State.
– I am “ libelling “ a class of people who in the old days misgoverned that State ; and if it be a libel, to express the truth–
– It is not the truth - it is a libel.
– I am merely mentioning facts which, time and again, came under my own observation, in order to indicate my position with regard to the Quarantine Bill. While protesting against such action on the part of Western Australia in the old days, I am entirely at one with the authorities of that State at the present time, in their endeavour, by every reasonable means, to (prevent the introduction of diseased fruit. In Western Australia, fortunately, we have not yet experienced many of the diseases which are ravaging the orchards and vineyards of the Eastern States. No one will condemn the Western Australian authorities for using every method within reason to prevent those diseases obtaining a hold on their orchards and vineyards.
– The Commonwealth authorities will take the same reasonable precautions.
– I prefer to see these matters left in the hands of the States authorities.
– I think that some of the States authorities are too extreme in their regulations as against other States.
– Anything in the nature of prohibition under the guise of preventive measures should not be tolerated by the Commonwealth authorities. But, surely, it is within the power of the Commonwealth authorities to see that reasonable methods of introducing sound, wholesome fruit into one State from another are not interfered with, while, at the same time, the States are left to exercise the undoubted right they possess to exclude disease. I see a great future for the fruit-growing industry of Western Australia. I have expressed these views as to the methods of prohibiting diseased fruit, because I believe the regulations will be of inestimable value to the State if they are continued on a reasonable basis, without creating that form of absolute prohibition which undoubtedly prevailed in the older days of Western Australia. My idea would be to give to the Commonwealth authorities the control of all quarantine affecting oversea trade with the various ports of Australia, and also in regard to such diseases as mav extend beyond the boundaries of any particular State.
– The honorable member means diseases which may possibly extend.
– I mean diseases proved to extend beyond any particular State. In the case of the fruit fly, for instance, Victoria might insist on very drastic legislation; and if New South Wales were indifferent in the matter, it would be a severe handicap to Victoria if the law of the latter State were strictly enforced in regard to the vineyards and orchards on one side of the Murray, while the fruit fly was allowed to flourish- on the other side. Such a case would, in my opinion, undoubtedly call for action by the Federal authorities. But isolated diseases found within any particular State, and not extending beyond the boundaries of that State, would, I think, be purely a matter for the exercise of State discretion and State laws. I see some difficulty in the operation of quarantine in connexion, for instance, with plant life. If the inspection of plants is to be undertaken at Fremantle in connexion with a shipment intended for Sydney, I anticipate great trouble. Undoubtedly the packing in which the plants were carried would be interfered with, and by the time they reached Sydney they might be past any further use. Here, again, some discretion would require to be exercised, or otherwise considerable detriment might result to a particular State, owing to delay and consequent irritation. Speaking generally, I urge on the Ministry to consider whether this Bill could rot with advantage be limited to quarantine affecting oversea shipping, and to such diseases as are proved to spread over an area beyond the boundaries of any particular State.
– What does the honorable member mean by that? Take, for instance, the question raised as to pneumonia, which extends from State to State at the present time?
– When it was discovered that an area extending beyond the limits of any particular State was infected with disease, then, I think, there would be presented a sphere of action for the Federal authorities.
– But would the honorable member wait until a disease came into a State?
– Certainly not; as soon as attention was called to the matter, action should be taken.
– Who would decide that? The Commonwealth authorities?
– This is hardly the place for going into details, but I submit the idea for consideration by the Government. Surely some method can be adopted by which the Federal and States Governments could act in conjunction in a matter of that kind, and decide between them whether the particular case brought under their notice would be best dealt with by” the State or the Federal authority. In my opinion, if a case occurred within a State it would best be dealt with by the State; but if it extended beyond any particular State only the Federal Government could effectively deal with it. I have not yet considered a method of arriving at such an agreement between a State and the Federal Government, but I think that a way could be discovered out of the difficulty which, I perceive, from the debate, is present to the minds of many honorable members.
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [6.21].- I think the Bill should commend itself on general principles to every member of the House. There seems to be a general consensus of opinion, with which I concur, that so far as the question of Inter-State or oversea quarantine is concerned, more especially as applicable to diseases which affect the human being, it is most desirable that such a Bill should be passed. References have been made to previous efforts made in this direction. I remember that as a member of the Federal Council in 1899, 1 supported a Bill then introduced by Sir James Dickson, which proposed to establish a system of Federal quarantine for the whole of Australia. Unfortunately, the whole of the States were not represented on the Federal Council, and Tasmania was not inclined to join in ; though an effort was made to induce New Zealand to co-operate. None of the previous efforts was successful, however. Some opposition to the Bill emanating from the Council was raised on the ground that the larger movement of Federation was so imminent, and here we are today some eight years later endeavouring to pass a Federal quarantine measure. In my study of the Bill I went into the question, - as did the honorable member for Parkes - of the powers of this Parliament to deal with quarantine in the manner proposed in the three paragraphs of clause 13 to which so much reference has been made, and to my astonishment I arrived at a conclusion very similar to the honorable member’s. I say with astonishment, because I had imagined that when a Bill was proposed to Parliament, which, in the most unequivocal manner endeavoured to interfere with districts within a State regarding matters of quarantine and inspection of plants and animals and diseases affecting them, it would have been established in the minds of those who introduced the measure that what was proposed was clearly within the scope of the functions of this Parliament. I have looked with some degree of anticipation to a reply from the Treasury Bench to that portion of the speech of the honorable member for Parkes which dealt with that particular point. I agree with the honorable member for Parramatta, that it is most desirable that, in order that Federation shall’ not become more unpopular in the country than it is, extreme care should be taken by the Federal Parliament not to tread upon the corns of any of the States. It is sometimes said that those who hold that opinion, take a parochial view. I deny that altogether. Such a view is taken entirely in the interests of Federation itself. The Constitution prescribes certain spheres within which and only within which the Commonwealth can legislate, and if attempts are made to go beyond the strict letter of the Constitution in that regard, the Commonwealth Parliament will certainly be doing that which will tend to undermine the confidence that the people of the various States have in it, and that it is desirable that they should have. In connexion with the question whether the Bill is not ultra vires in this respect, it appears to me that, in the drafting of it, there is an almost unconscious admission that quarantine does relate strictly to diseases affecting human beings only, because it will be noticed from the interpretation clause in the expression “ quarantinable disease “ means - small-pox, plague, cholera, yellow fever, typhus fever, or leprosy or any disease declared by the Governor-General by proclamation to be a quarantinable disease.
It is a curious fact that there is no disease mentioned under the heading “ quarantinable disease “ which affects plants, and animals other than man. Diseases in connexion with plants are not defined as being “ quarantinable “ diseases. I do not know where this phrase has been taken from. I presume that it has been copied from some authority. If not, it is a curious coincidence that the expression, as defined in clause 5, relates exclusively to diseases affecting the human subject. In the case of animals, and plants, the term “ quarantinable diseases “ is not used, but merely “ disease.” “ Disease “ in relation to animals means glanders, farcy, pleuro-pneumonia - and a great number of other diseases sui generis. Then, also in relation to. plants, “ disease “ - means any disease or pest declared by the GovernorGeneral by proclamation to be a disease affecting plants.
The word “ quarantinable “ is omitted in regard to both those classes of disease.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
Colonel FOXTON. - Before dinner, I was calling attention to the fact that there was a possibility of the provisions in this Bill, intended to deal with diseases of animals and plants, being found to be ultra vires. I mentioned that I agreed with the honorable member for Parramatta that it was extremely desirable that there should be some degree of certainty in matters of this kind, and that this Parliament should therefore be very careful in .regard to the exercise of functions of legislation in connexion with which there was the slightest probability that the Commonwealth would trench upon rights reserved to the States. In this connexion, i should like to make a suggestion. It does seem to me that when, as in this Bill, power is taken to enable the Commonwealth to perform certain functions hitherto exercised by the State, and more especially when, as in this Bill also, there is a possibility of some degree of clashing in the exercise of the various functions which will be by this legislation allotted to the Commonwealth and the States, respectively, it is extremely desirable that the States Governments should be communicated with confidentially, not with any view of seeking their advice as to whether this or that power should be taken by the Commonwealth, but merely to invite comment on their part as to the desirability or otherwise of depriving them of certain functions, or, as it might be, of intrusting them with additional functions.
– In connexion with this Bill, we had the advantage of a Conference of States officials.
Colonel FOXTON.- I am glad to hear that. Where there is a possibility of a clashing of the two authorities under legislation such as this, it is very desirable that something of that kind should be done.
– Recently, also, in connexion with the bankruptcy and companies laws, we had States officials in consultation in Melbourne.
Colonel FOXTON.- I do not know to what extent the States officials advised the inclusion in this measure of paragraphs g, h, and i of clause 13, so far as they relate to animals and plants. It may well be that there is every reason to place reliance on the undertaking of the Commonwealth Government as at present constituted, that there is no intention on the part of the Commonwealth authorities to overstep the functions now exercised by the States authorities in respect to the transfer of animals and plants from one State to another. But it is just possible that there might be a Commonwealth Government in power that would evince a desire to encroach upon functions which, in my opinion, can be very much more satisfactorily, economically, and effectively performed by the States Governments. Each honorable member naturally quotes his own State, with the circumstances of which he is necessarily most familiar. I take the case of Queensland, and point to the State regulations enforced for dealing with the tick pest, which must be known to most honorable members of this House. I can inform honorable members that it has taken the Queensland Government years and years of effort to restrict the pest and to prevent its extension southwards. The complaint has constantly been made that the various proclamations delimiting tick quarantine areas have not been the result of the mature consideration which the importance of the matter demanded. It has been alleged, I believe, with, a great deal of truth, that the long distance from the Seat of Government in Brisbane at which many of these areas are situated has given rise to the complaint. A great deal of dissatisfaction with the administration of the law has been expressed, but how much greater would the dissatisfaction be if the attempt were made to administer similar provisions from the Commonwealth Seat of Government in Melbourne, or at more than double the distance which Brisbane is from the locus in quo. In the circumstances, I sympathize with the expression of opinion by some honorable members that it will be found unsatisfactory to have such matters as are dealt with in this Bill administered by the Federal Government from Melbourne. It might not be found disadvantageous to Victoria, but in Western Australia. and
Queensland, owing to their extreme distance from the Seat of Government, I believe it would be found almost impossible for the Commonwealth Government to administer provisions such as those which are now enforced under States legislation affecting diseases in animals and plants. It will be necessary, I think, for this Parliament to go a great deal further than is proposed in this Bill if it be intended that the Commonwealth Government should take upon itself a tithe of the functions of administration connected with these matters which have to be attended to in such a State as Queensland. There is no adequate machinery for the purpose provided in the Bill. We have in Queensland six or eight elaborate States Acts under, which administration in connexion with these various matters takes place. It seems to me that it is almost preposterous to suppose that under three subsections of a Federal Quarantine Act it will be possible to develop an administration of these various matters which would be in any way commensurate with that which this measure would displace. Although I had some difficulty in following the Minister of Trade and Customs, I understand that that is not what is desired, and that the three paragraphs of clause 13 referred to would be put into operation in such a way as not to completely override the provisions of the various States Acts dealing with these questions. If that be so, would it not be better to eliminate these provisions and substitute for them a provision conferring power upon the Commonwealth Government to compel or coerce the various States Governments to administer States Acts dealing with these matters in an effective way?
– Does not the honorable member think that to take up the position of controlling and directing the States Governments in that way would be likely to create a great deal of friction?
Colonel FOXTON. - I do not believe that it would lead to any more friction than would be created by an attempt to enforce the provisions of clause 13 to which I have referred ; because, if the course I suggest were adopted, a warning would be given in the first instance to the States Governments if they were not taking proper steps to proclaim quarantine areas, and so forth. A State would naturally act upon the warning. If it neglected to do so, it would then be quite right for some power like the Commonwealth to be able to step in and say to that State, “ You are not doing your duty in this matter, either to some of your own districts or to the other States, and if you continue to neglect it it will be for us to step in and1 compel you to do your duty, or take the administration out of your hands.”. Possibly that is what is intended. Possibly the intention is to allow the various State Acts to be administered as they have been in the past, and merely to hold these three paragraphs of clause 13 in terrorem over the States in order to compel them to do what the Commonwealth Government may consider to be their duty towards the other parts of Australia.
– The Bill will enable us to secure uniformity of administration, and a uniform standard in the States. Obviously that will be an advantage.
Colonel FOXTON.- If that is the intention of the Government, and if that is a’l, I am quite with them; but this Bill gives much wider powers. If it is intended to give those powers, the subject should be elaborated to a much greater degree than it is in these three paragraphs, and we should have a guarantee that in intervening the Federal Government would be able to do something really effective. There are machinery clauses for everything else in the Bill. Oversea quarantine and all that sort of thing is elaborately provided foi, but in this case there are merely three bald paragraphs which, whenever they were put into operation, would cause a considerable amount of friction. The Minister of Trade and Customs said they were necessary because some of the States were too stringent in the administration of their various Acts. Mention has been made of certain action taken- by Western Australia in the imposition of examination! fees, which will amount almost to a prohibitive dufy. Possibly that was in the honorable gentleman’s mind when he made that reference. Queensland has probably suffered most at the hands of other States from various restrictions on the transport of its animals and its vegetable productions,, as the result of the pests such as tick and fruit fly that we have there. But I feel that there is very little exception to be taken, speaking broadly, to the action taken at various times by the different: States for the protection of their flocks and herds, orchards, and vegetable gardens, although some of those restrictions may have been a little too stringent. I understand that one State in order to prevent the intro* duction of the fruit fly has actually made almost prohibitive regulations for the . examination of pine-apples for fruit fly. I was assured about a week before I left Brisbane by a fruit expert - one of the best of the many we have in Queensland - that attempts have been made for the last two years to propagate the fly in the pineapple, and that they have been utterly unsuccessful. It appears to be a fruit which is absolutely immune. Yet . in the State to which I refer, through a lack of knowledge, the importation of pine-apples from Queensland is actually almost prohibited by the regulations, the whole object of which is to keep out the fruit fly. Of course, the thing is an absurdity. There are certain fruits which the fly does infect very badly, but I am assured that the pine-apple, is not one of them, and yet these stringent measures are taken against its importation. I do not think we could expect anything much better from the Commonwealth. The whole cause of the’ trouble is .the lack’ of knowledge of the peculiar circumstances attending the industry in the locality affected by such prohibitory regulations. On the whole, I am extremely pleased to see this Bill, because I think it is undoubtedly necessary in relation to oversea quarantine ; but, unless it can be shown that there is an absolute and immediate necessity for interference with State arrangements regarding animal and plant diseases within the States themselves, it would be extremely desirable to end the matter at oversea quarantine and omit the rest of the Bill. This could be very easily done without disfiguring the measure in any way, and what is omitted could be left until such time as it was foundthat there was a real and urgent necessity for its enactment.
.- While I am in sympathy with this Bill with regard to oversea quarantine, and feel that something should be done to make uniform the different quarantine Acts now in force throughout the Commonwealth, what interests me and my constituents much more than the question of oversea quarantine is the quarantining of animals and plants. I cannot for the life of me understand how the Cabinet have come to the conclusion that the Federal Convention, when they put chat provision in the Constitution, meant that we should deal with quarantine inside as well as outside the Commonwealth.’ I cannot read it in that way at all, although by a great stretch of imagination something like this has been done, ever since Federation was accomplished, in connexion- with all the powers of the Commonwealth. On the face of it, the Bill does not appear to be going to cost the Commonwealth any more money, but my idea is that in its present form it will mean a greater expense to the Commonwealth than heretofore. With regard to quarantining inside State boundaries, the State of Queensland, ‘one of whose representatives I have the honour to be, and iti which I have lived “all my colonial life, has been subjected by the other States to some of the most stringent quarantine laws that it is possible to formal-‘ late.
– What about the tick?
– It was our misfortune that we suffered from the tick plague. Those who originally introduced it were the people in the Northern Territory of South Australia, and we are the sufferers from it. Queensland had to bell the cat, and has belled it ever since the tick was introduced ; but I am pleased to say that some of the others have the cat to bell now, and are rot so stringent with their quarantine laws as they were before. They have had a taste of their own physic, and are now a. little more sympathetic towards Queensland. In regard to the tick area, the sympathies of the law-makers in Queensland are with the people of the State, but so far as I can see, the sympathies of the Commonwealth Administration are not with the State at all. If a law is administered from Brisbane, it is an easy matter to get the ear of a Minister or the Cabinet there, so as to have the quarantine enforced with the least possible hardship to those interested, but in the case of anything that comes under the Commonwealth a hard and fast line is drawn. If, for instance, there was an outbreak of anthrax or tick in a particular district in Queensland, the Commonwealth, without giving any notice at all, would step in and declare the district infected and quarantine it. There would be no sympathy whatever from the Federal Parliament, and the consequence would be absolute ruination to the whole of the people in the quarantined area.
Colonel Foxton. - It might be the whole State.
– It might be the whole State. We have had the tick line shifted backwards and forwards in Queensland from time to time. It has been changed further east, then further south, and next put back again as the country became less infected, or not infected at all. As soon as ever it was’ proved to the satisfaction of the Agricultural Department that the ticks had disappeared, then the line was moved further back. What would be the position in regard to Federal control and State control ? In his speech the Minister said that the State could regulate the business as well as the Commonwealth, but the honorable member for Laanecoorie put the position very tersely when he pointed out that if the Commonwealth wanted Cloncurry to be made the boundary, and the State wanted Winton to be made the boundary - Winton is really the southern boundary of the tick line, for the ticks first came from Brighton Downs - the two authorities would clash at once. There is something else to be said in connexion with this quarantine movement. Queensland has a Bacteriological Institute, which is one of the finest in the Commonwealth, if not in the world. About a fortnight ago I read a statement in which it was pointed out that Mr. Pound was going into the question of diseases of stock, particularly those in which Queensland is interested. Are we to hand over the Institute to the Commonwealth ? We know very well what becomes of institutions when that step is taken. I have not much faith in the Commonwealth in that regard. If we .were to lose the control of our Bacteriological Institute, the stock-owners in Queensland are the only persons who would suffer. As the pastoral industry in that State is the backbone of the Commonwealth, surely they deserve some consideration from the Ministry. I’ believe that the control of oversea quarantine should be vested in the Federal Government, but when this Bill goes into Committee, I shall try to make such alterations as will give the States the control of quarantine within their boundaries, because that alone will give satisfaction, not merely to the States themselves, but to the stockowners and all those who are interested in horticulture and viticulture.
.- I agree with’ the honorable and learned member for Parkes, that out first duty in approaching a Bill of this kind is to endeavour to ascertain as well as we can what are the limitations on our legislative powers. I believe that there is no practice more mischievous than that which w.e may fall into of taking our powers for granted, because
I feel sure that it will not only lead us into very serious difficulties with the States, unless we are very careful in that respect, but will inevitably also lead to protracted and vexatious litigation. A suggestion has been thrown out that a way might be devised by which an authoritative opinion could be obtained from the High Court on a doubtful point such as has been discussed tonight. Of course the great difficulty about that is that once we vested in a judicial tribunal legislative functions, we might introduce another mischief to the State.
– I understand that it is done in Canada.
– That may be so. I am not going to pronounce myself as opposed to such a method if it can be introduced without the danger to which I have alluded. But as things are, it becomes the duty of all who have devoted any study to the constitutional aspect of the question, to ‘give the best advice they can to the House, and I feel it my duty to say a few words from that stand-point. I go further than the honorable and learned member for Parkes in the doubt which he expressed as to the general unconstitutionality of this Bill. As he has said, and as other honorable members have ‘said, it all turns upon the meaning of the word “quarantine” not in the Bill - that of course cannot alter in the slightest degree our legislative power - but in the Constitution itself. In common parlance the word “quarantine” has been applied to a host of things. In Victoria it has recently been applied to a matter which I do not think that even the Minister in charge of the Bill would say came within the constitutional meaning of the word “ quarantine,” and that is the quarantining of gaming houses. If we take that extremely wide meaning of the word “ quarantine, we shall see that it cannot be the meaning which was intended by the framers of the ‘ Constitution. In Victoria we have a power - and I feel sure that a similar power exists in the other States - whereby if a case of diphtheria or other infectious disease is discovered, it becomes the duty of the police,, the parent of the sufferer, and other persons to aid in removing the patient to a fever hospital. That is done partly for the sake of the family, but principally for the sake of removing the patient from a locality in which he might be a source of danger to other persons. Can it be contended for a moment that, under the general power of making laws as to quarantine, it was intended that the Federal Parliament was to step in and control such a purely domestic matter as that? Take, again, the case of pests which are mentioned in clause 4 of the Bill, namely, “ pests affecting man, animals, or plants.” There are all sorts of pests, even plants that are pests, which have been regulated hitherto by domestic legislation in the States. Take the case of stinkwort, which has recently become a pest in certain parts of Victoria. Surely it was never intended that under its legislative power as to quarantine this Parliament was to step in and control that which will bring us into direct conflict with the vast range of subjects which were, as I believe, intended to be left to the States to regulate, and which I believe also the States can more efficiently, and probably more cheaply, regulate than it can.
– Can it be done more effectively by the States?
– I admit that in a certain class of cases, where uniform legislation throughout the States is desired, this Parliament can, if ithas the constitutional power, legislate more effectively than could any one or two or more of the States, but that does not carry us beyond the question : Has this Parliament the power to pass such legislation? What is really included in the word “quarantine”? I think I shall be able to show to demonstration,, by adopting the first rule which we ought to adopt in the interpretation of the term in the Constitution, that “ quarantine “ was intended to cover nothing of the kind, and was really not intended to go beyond what is technically known as quarantine, namely, the prohibition of the introduction of disease in human beings from places outside the Commonwealth, The High Court has certainly been engaged in going into some fundamental propositions with regard to the interpretation of the Constitution, and the learned Chief Justice has laid clown a principle with which, if I may say so without disrespect, I cordially agree, and with which every lawyer will agree, namely, that when we are dealing with the construction of a constitutional compact between a number of independent States who came together into a partnership, and said, “ These are our articles of partnership,” and we find a term or expression used in the contract relating to a class of matters which previously to the partnership had been dealt with by the States Legisla tures, then we must first of all look to the language used by those Legislatures as our best guide as to what the articles of the partnership mean. Surely it is obvious that if we are dealing with a matter of Excise or Customs or any of the more or less technical expressions which are enumerated in section 51 of the Constitution, the very first source of light that we should consult is the sense in which the Parliaments of the States had then used them. Common sense teaches us that. I have not had time since the debate commenced to exhaustively investigate the legislation of the States in regard to quarantine, but I have taken the trouble to ascertain what were the provisions of the States Acts immediately preceding Federation. My contention is that, it is reasonable to suppose that, when the framers of the Constitution were considering what powers should be given to the Commonwealth Parliament, they used the word “ quarantine “ in the sense in which the Parliaments of the States were using it. Take the case of New South Wales first. The local Act, No. 25 of 1897 - an Act to consolidate the Laws relating to Quarantine - contains not a word about diseases of animals or plants, though such diseases are dealt with in other Acts. This Act contains thirty-seven sections, of which section 4 enacts that -
The Governor may by proclamation published in the Gazette, appoint places in New South Wales to be stations for the performance of quarantine by all vessels, persons, and things liable to perform quarantine.
Then section 6 provides that -
Whenever any vessel arrives in any port or harbour in New South Wales, and
Penalties are provided for evasion of the Act, and persons liable to quarantine may be seized ; but everything turns upon the existence of an infectious or contagious disease. Part IV. deals with proceedings on the arrival of vessels, such as the hoisting of signals, and Part V. with the performance of quarantine. Then there are miscellaneous provisions in Part VI., for rendering the Act effective. But there is not a word or a sentence in the measure indicating that the word “ quarantine “ is intended by the New South Wales Legislature to mean more than I say the framers of the Constitution meant - the prevention of the introduction from abroad of contagious or infectious diseases in human beings.
– There are Acts covering the other matters dealt with in this Bill.
– Yes; but they are not called Quarantine Acts, v
– The meaning is the same. The place where ‘diseased stock is kept is called a quarantine ground.
Mr. -Glynn. - We can, in the exercise of our power over imports,” pass the provisions to which the honorable and learned member objects. That is the only power for the prevention of the introduction of disease which the United States Government possesses, but it effectively prevents the introduction of disease.
– My concern is whether the power to legislate with respect to quarantine’ includes the power to pass such a Bill as this.
– It does not matter what the Bill is called, so long as we have power from some source to pass it.
– Quite true; but in the exercise of our commerce powers different conditions arise. For instance, we cannot pass legislation directly or indirectly prejudicing one State alone. My contention is that the power to pass laws in respect to quarantine does not extend beyond the.’ power to .prevent the introduction from abroad of diseases dangerous to human beings. As the honorable member for Parramatta has pointed out, we have power to prevent the importation of inferior and dangerous goods, but the exercise of that power is not. quarantine.
– Would the honorable and learned member include contagious diseases in animals communicable to human beings ?
– It is highly desirable that we should have the power, and possibly that we should exercise it under the Bill, to control the importations of diseased animals from abroad. What I am particularly concerned to show is that: we have not the power claimed in this Bill’ to pass all kinds of provisions controlling’ the movements of men or animals and thusinvading the sphere of States legislation. It would be a very dangerous thing if we tried to do that. I shall not refer at length tothe quarantine laws of the oilier States. In. the Victorian Health Act of 1890 provisionssimilar to those in force in New South. Wales are included under the heading of “ quarantine.” Under other headingsthere are provisions, some of which are similar to those in the Bill, to which exceptionis taken ; but there are no such provisionsunder the heading of quarantine. The conclusion at which I have arrived from a comparison of the States Acts is that the word “ quarantine “ is used by all the Parliaments of the States to mean the prevention of the introduction from abroad of contagious or infectious diseases. It is only fair to state that in the WesternAustralian Act the expression “ land quarantine “ is used to include something morethan that, namely, some of those domesticregulations to which I have referred, such as the isolation of persons suffering from disease in any particular portion of the State. But it will be found that whenthe Federation was established the word “quarantine” throughout the legislationof all the States was limited to the technical meaning indicated by the honorable and learned member for Parkes to-day. Of course, it may be a very wise thing for us to endeavour to attain as many of the objects of this Bill as we can. I am quite in sympathy with its general objects, and I think it is highly desirable that we should, as far as possible, secure uniformityand comprehensive uniformity - inthe treatment of various diseases and pests throughout Australia. But if we attempt to gain that uniformity by overstepping thelimits of our constitutional authority, we shall not only create a great deal of friction, but we shall practically defeat the> end. which we have in view. Therefore, I am of opinion that the Government would be acting very wisely if they consented toreconsider the whole position before endeavouring to force this measure througheven its second reading.
– Would not our constitutional power as to commerce apply tosome of these matters?
– If, under our constitutional power as to commerce, it can 1>2 shown that we can include some of these matters, I, for one, should like to be afforded an opportunity of considering the subject more carefully. .
– To some extent we have already exercised the power conferred upon us by that provision in our Constitution in the Customs Act.
– Yes, but the exact limitation of our powers in regard to trade and commerce is a question which is fraught with considerable difficulty. We may or may not have power to include some of these matters. Even our powers under the Customs Act may be limited by conditions which do not permit of our differentiating between the States. But the whole Bill requires to be recast. Another suggestion which I desire to make is that we have begun at the wrong end - that we have put the cart before the horse. The scheme of the Constitution with regard to this particular matter seems to me to be this : Quarantine is really an Executive function. It involves the carrying out of the Executive authority which exists in every community for its self -preservation - for saving itself from the influx of disease which may be dangerous to the community. In its nature and in its execution, quarantine essentially comes under the general heading of Executive acts. Of course, it has to be enforced by legislative authority, but it differs entirely from the range of legislative action the object of which is to lay down rules for the conduct of citizens. To lay down rules for the conduct of citizens is one thing, and legislation which prescribes the mode in which an Executive function shall be carried out is another thing. There are certain functions of an Executive character, which, under the Constitution, have been taken from the States and handed over to the Commonwealth. The transferred Departments are post and telegraphs, telephones, naval and military defence, lighthouses, lightships, beacons and buoys, and quarantine. These Departments were to be transferable to the Commonwealth in accordance with section 69 of the Constitution. But under section 52 it is provided that the Parliament shall have exclusive powers to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth, with respect to matters relating to any Department of. the Public Service, the control of which is, by this Constitution, transferred to the
Executive Government of the Commonwealth. Now what I submit ought to be done in regard to quarantine - the proper business-like way of discharging our duty under the Constitution - is to do what that instrument of government tells us we are to do, if the time be ripe for it. We should, by the necessary Executive act, namely, by proclamation by the GovernorGeneral, take over the several quarantine services of the States.
– How could we carry on those services without a uniform law to guide us?
– If the Minister studied the Constitution a little more closely he would know that until we substitute a Federal law for them, all the States laws remain operative. That is what the Constitution contemplates. Suppose that we had first passed an elaborate Post Office Act dealing with the whole administration of the Postal Department, and had afterwards taken over that Department.
– We need an elaborate Act still.
– That may be so. The Constitution required that the Customs Department should be taken over by the Federation immediately upon its inception. It was transferred to the Commonwealth even before this Parliament met. Now, the plan which the Constitution proposes is one which should be carried out. If the time be ripe for it, let the Government take over the various State Departments dealing with quarantine.
– But all the States laws relating to quarantine vary.
– When we have taken over those Departments, we shall exercise exclusive control over them. The Government will then be in a position to bring forward legislation in respect of them and to make it uniform, just as they did in the case of the Customs Department, the Post Office, and the Defence Department.
– What is the objection to providing the necessary legislation first? .
– If we provide the necessary legislation simply to enable us to act when we have taken over the States Departments there is no objection to be urged except that we are jumping before we come to the stile. But that is not what we are now asked to do. We are asked to create a new Department, to enable the Governor-General in Council to appoint officers and to establish a new system which will duplicate existing machinery.
– But the Bill is not to be brought into operation until after the State quarantine services have been taken over.
– If that be so, I am very glad to .hear it. If the Minister can assure the House that this Bill will not be brought into operation until after the various State quarantine services have been taken over by proclamation, he will at once meet the argument which I have advanced.
– I think the Bill provides for that.
– Oh, no. On the contrary, it provides in clause 9 that -
The Governor-General may appoint quarantine officers and other officers for carrying out this Act.
Prima facie that indicates an intention to create a Department composed of officers who will have duties to discharge concurrently with and, to some extent, superseding those of officers in the existing States services. But if, of course, the measure is not to come into operation until after the States services have been taken over by the Commonwealth, a good deal of my criticism in regard to the premature character of this legislation will have been disposed of.
– I do not think that the Bill states when it shall begin to operate.
– That is so. If it were carried to-night it might be brought into operation by a proclamation issued tomorrow.
– It would be brought into operation by the issue of a proclamation only after all arrangements had been made in regard to the States quarantine systems.
– That is precisely the point respecting which I entertain some fear. If we receive from the Government an assurance that the Bill is not to be brought into operation until they have assumed the responsibility the Constitution puts upon them - the responsibility of taking over the “Quarantine Departments of the States, I shall have nothing further to say. But it is not enough for the Minister to tell us that it is intended that the measure shall come into operation as soon as the Government have made some arrangement with the States. We may be authorizing the Government by arrangement with the Governments of the States to duplicate much of the wo»-k already being done.
– The honorable and learned member is mistaken. It is not intended to duplicate the work of the States.
– It may not be the intention of the Government to duplicate the work of the States-
– The work of the States will not be duplicated under the Bill. I have had to take action already under one or two measures, such, for instance, as the Commerce Act, and there has been no duplication.
– And the Customs Act.
– That is so.
– If the Government permitted the quarantine regulations dealing with the oversea traffic of the States to remain - if the States continued to have their staffs of quarantine officers,- their quarantine grounds, and all the machinery necessary for cany ing out what is strictly known as quarantine - what arrangement could be made by which this measure would be brought into operation without the duplication to which I have referred?
– There will be no duplication.
– We are all concerned in the effort to arrive at the most business-like solution of the difficulty, and I submit my views for the consideration of the Ministry in the hope that they will not unduly press on the Bill.
– If we took over the States Departments by Executive act, we should require to administer them according to a uniform system.
– According to the laws of each State.
– How could we have uniformity under the differing laws of the several States?
– In so far as those Acts “differed, they could not be administered on a uniform system.
– We have had much trouble in connexion with every Department that we have taken over. Finding it verv troublesome to administer the six different laws of the six States of the Union, we have endeavoured, as quickly as possible, to secure the passing of a uniform law.
– It is better to begin by passing a measure that will provide for uniformity of administration.
– Very much better.
– The real reason why other Departments were taken over- before the passing of laws providing for uniformity of administration was that they were revenueproducing.
– Quite so. If the statement now made by the Minister is that the operation of the Bill is to be held over until the States Departments of quarantine have been taken over I may say at once that I think it wise that we should first provide the machinery necessary for their administration. If that be done much difficulty will be removed ; but reading the Bill as it is, one sees that it gives the Government power to create a new Department of quarantine co-existing with those of the States, in many cases possibly coming into conflict with them, and to some extent probably throwing upon the taxpayers an additional burden in respect to its maintenance.
– That is not the intention.
– Then a great deal of difficulty will be removed. As the matter is of such great importance, and presents so many difficulties, it would be much more satisfactory if the Government gave us ample opportunity to go fully into it before pressing the passing of the Bill.
– I do not think that my honorable colleague, the Minister of Trade and Customs, can- take any exception to the criticism which has been directed at the Bill or to the spirit in which it has been offered. Undoubtedly the tone of the debate has evidenced on the part of honorable members an earnest desire to ascertain exactly what are our powers of legislation and what we propose to accomplish by this Bill.
– The constitutionality of practically every Bill put before us has been canvassed.
– It is only natural that at the outset, when we are proceeding to exercise the far-reaching powers which we believe the people have vested in us, our measures should be subjected to a good deal of criticism, and their constitutionality questioned. This Bill has been criticised from two or three points of view. The first question raised is as to what power we have to legislate with respect to this subject, and it is one to which honorable members are fairly entitled to have an answer. As was pointed’ out by the honorable and learned member for Angas, when we propose to legislate on any particular subject, it is not necessary for us to label the power under which we are proceeding. It is unnecessary for us to say, for instance, that we are legislating by virtue of sub-section 1. or subsection IX. of section 51 of the Constitution. But with a view to giving full effect to the power which we desire to exercise in the interests of Australia as a whole we are entitled to rest our claim to legislate upon the combined powers, both expressed and implied, vested in us as a Parliament.
– The rest is merely a matter of procedure.
– The rest is merely a question of procedure, and as to the form in which we shall express our intention. The honorable and learned member for Parkes and the honorable and learned member for Flinders have erred, I think, in the fact that, judging by their arguments, they consider that the only power we exercise, and to which we are confined, in passing this Bill is that contained in sub-section ix. of section 51 of the Constitution which entitles us to make laws with respect to “ quarantine.” Our power in this respect, however, can also be gathered from the sub-section enabling us to pass laws relating to trade and commerce with other countries and amongst the States. We are entitled to rest this Bill ‘upon both those provisions of section 51, and it is quite possible that, in dealing with sailors and also with persons, animals and goods likely to be affected by disease, we may even find that our power to pass laws with respect to navigation enables us to embody certain proposals in this measure.
– Would the honorable and learned member deal with the inspection of vineyards inland, under the powers given us by the Constitution to pass laws relating to trade and commerce?
– I am sure that the honorable and learned member will allow me to state my case in my own way. Let me deal with the first point raised, as to the meaning of the word “ quarantine.” Are we to determine it by turning up a school! dictionary and saying that since Ogilvie defines quarantine as meaning so-and-so, the question is settled. I take a different view. We are asked to legislate under an instrument of government, which was the result of a Convention and which is a compact of the people. The intention of that instrument of government was to create a Parliament, and vest it with enumerated powers. That being so. when we proceed to define those powers, we are not guided by a strict, technical, narrow definition. We have to look at what were the powers possessed by the States, as legislative sovereign bodies, before the passing of the Constitution; we have to ascertain what was the general nature of the legislation they were capable of passing. We are not particularly concerned with the question of what was the name of any Act passed by them. In considering the enumerated powers vested in the Parliament, we have rather to consider what was the essence of the legislative power they formerly possessed, and to ascertain with what subjects they could deal, and how they could deal with them.
– They could deal with all subjects.
– Exactly ; but in regard to quarantine, as with other subjects, we have to look at what was the general power possessed by the States Parliaments.
– What the quarantine was for.
– That is the real object.
– We are really taking over the power by prescribing a means.
– We cannot interpret on mere dictionary definitions. If we did, must we accept the oldest definition of “ quarantine “ ?- “ Quarentine “ is where a man dyeth seized of a manour place, and other lands, whereof the wife ought to be endowed, then the woman may abide in the manour place, and there live of the store and profits thereof the space of forty days, within which time her dower shall be assigned, as it appeareth in Magna Charta, cap. 6. (Termes de la Ley.)
– Then we have power to deal with marriage?
– With marriage and divorce, apparently. What we have to look at is, what was the substance of the power exercised by the States Parliaments prior to Federation?
– The first thing the High Court would look at would be the dictionary definition of the word.
– I think that what the High Court would really look at would be the power exercised by the States, under the head of “ quarantine,” at the establishment of the Commonwealth. It is quite true, as the honorable and learned member for Flinders has pointed out, that if we look at the history of each particular State Statute relating to quarantine, we shall find, first qf all, the States dealing with oversea matters. A series of Statutes in each State have, from time to- time, been passed dealing with this question. .In Queensland the Statute of 1896 is still in operation, while in New South Wales, as a matter of convenience, it was deemed advisable to consolidate the quarantine Statutes as affecting persons and goods from oversea. In addition, the States have exercised the power of quarantine with the object of preventing the spread of disease amongst cattle; but the power and the method is exactly the same as in dealing with persons.
– Is the latter called a power of quarantine?
– As a matter of fact, it was said to take forty days to develop a disease which came from abroad, but we knew what time it took to develop inside the country.
– I should like to quote from the Stock Diseases (Tick) Act of 1902 of New South Wales.
– I thought that the Acts had been consolidated.
– For the purposes of administration, there are different Acts and, I believe, officers.
– But still, the Acts have been consolidated in New South Wales.
Air. GROOM.- This Act stands by itself, and section 6 provides -
Where, in the opinion of an inspector, any stock are infected, he may order the owner or person having control or in charge of such stock to remove them, together with any fodder, fittings, and things used in connexion with such stock, from the place where they are to any other locality, and may, with approval of the Minister, by notification in the Gazette and in two newspapers circulating in the locality where such stock then are, place the stock in quarantine, and declare any land where the stock are or recently have been kept or pastured to be a quarantine area.
– That is not under the head of “quarantine.”
– But it is an exercise of quarantine power. The essence of the power is, if there is a disease, to isolate that disease, or to exclude or isolate persons or objects infected with it. The object of quarantine is to prevent the spread of disease - that is its general purpose.
– Would that apply to the case which I gave?
– The honorable and learned member means the diphtheria case ?
– I shall put it in this way : The intention of the Commonwealth Constitution was to give the Commonwealth powers with respect to quarantine that no individual State possessed. The problem we were faced with was, that in Australia there might be spread from State to State serious diseases, and the intention was to create a power that would be efficient, from the national stand-point, to deal with a great pest or disease which might annihilate an industry or decimate the people of the continent.
– Not only to prevent the disease spreading, but to prevent its introduction.
– No one would desire the Bill to extend to diphtheria and minor diseases of that character; but in the case of plague, small-pox, or any other disease which might extend very rapidly from one State to another, what sort of a nation have we created if we have not power to act? But, as the honorable and learned member for Flinders interjected, it is not what was intended, but what we have power to do. As I said, the power to deal with diseases in animals is treated as part of the quarantine powers of the States.
– Then the Commonwealth Parliament might repeal a State Act which endeavoured to protect a State by keeping out cattle infected with tick?
– It is not what we may do, but what we have power to do. If there is a disease liable to spread from one State to another, and we pass an Act to grapple with it, and that Act is inconsistent with a State Act, the Commonwealth Act prevails. The Stock Diseases (Tick) Act of 1902, of New South Wales, also provides -
The Minister may, by notification in the Cassette and in two newspapers circulating in the locality of the land, declare any land to be a quarantine area.
There is an exercise by the State itself of a substantial power of legislation for the prevention of disease amongst animals within a State, and, I believe, they exercise the power of prohibiting importation.
– That is an internal policing of a State.
– We have created a new entity in the Commonwealth, and we have the same quarantine power to deal with disease that was formely possessed by the States.
– And to control State action?
– And to control State action ; that seems to be the intention. I think the honorable member for Brisbane was responsible for the introduction of the Queensland Statute of 1896.
Colonel Foxton. - Yes.
– In that Act it is provided -
The Governor in Council may make Regulations with respect to any of the following matters, that is to say -
Power is also given to quarantine imported stock.
Colonel Foxton. - Wherever the word “ quarantine “ is used, the Parliament has power to legislate.
– What I say is that when in a separate Act we find the power of legislation exercised to isolate stock and prevent the spread of disease, that is an exercise of the quarantine power possessed by the State. I shall give honorable members another authority. The United States Congress has no express power to deal with quarantine, but, nevertheless, Congress deals with quarantine under the power which enables it to regulate trade and commerce between States and with foreign countries. I shall read a passage to show that in the United States, under the power I have described, “ quarantine “ applies not only to human beings, but to animals.
– Is that quarantine in a State ?
– I am now dealing with the meaning of “quarantine,” and showing that the term applies both to human beings and to animals.
– Is there any mention of “ quarantine “ in the Constitution of the United States?
– The question is as to the meaning of the word. In State and Federal Control of Persons and Property, by Tiedeman, there is the following -
It is, probably, not open to serious question that, whenever Congress undertakes to establish a general system of quarantine for the promotion of the general health of the country, and for the prevention of the introduction into the country of infectious and contagious diseases by diseased persons and animals, and infected goods, coming from foreign countries or other States, the regulations of Congress will supersede altogether the regulation of the State Governments; and the jurisdiction of the States in such matters will be taken away completely.
– What is the authority for that? Is there any judicial determination ?
– He refers later on to several cases, but he is dealing generally with the power existing in the United States.
– There is nothing about plants and insects there.
– I am dealing now with animals. In Prentice and Egan on the Commerce Clause of the Federal Constitution, reference is made on page 338 to quarantine as affecting stock, and the authors refer to a section of the American Act in the Revised Statutes, where the United States Secretary for Agriculture is given power to deal with quarantine of stock. I mention this to show that the idea and principle of quarantine are not confined to persons.
– Is that a general Quarantine Act?
– I am now dealing with stock, not with persons.
– Is that Act administered by a Health Department, or by the Agricultural Department ?
– By the Department of Agriculture. I. am showing that the term quarantine, and the powers wi’th respect to quarantine, both in the States of Australia and in the United States of America are not confined merely to persons.
– It originally meant forty days’ isolation ; now it means any term.
– Quite so.
– Yet in those cases the application is to persons and animals, not to plants.
– The principle is the same in both cases. I may add that in Quick and Garran, page 567, the point is stated distinctly. It is stated that under this power the Commonwealth - may deal with quarantine without reference to the interests of trade and commerce, but as an independent question having regard to the sanitary condition and welfare of the Commonwealth as a whole. It will be able to provide for the isolation, segregation, remedial and preventive treatment of animals and plants and their diseases wherever found within the Commonwealth. It would probably be able, if deemed desirable, to grapple with such problems as the tick plague or a phylloxera pest, in stamping out which the whole of Australia is interested.
– What authority is cited for that ?
– That is the opinion of the authors.
– It is the opinion of the authors themselves. Amongst the authorities quoted they refer on page 568 to a BritishColumbia case in the following terms -
According to the report of Sir John Thompson, Minister of Justice of Canada, dated 28th January, 1889, respecting the Nova Scotia Acts of 188S, authorizing the Governor in ‘Council to regulate “ with a view of preventing the spread of infectious disease, the entry or departure of boats or vessels at the different ports or places in Nova Scotia,” and the report of the same Minister, dated 21st March, 1891, on the Manitoba Act respecting diseases of animals, it would seem that, in the opinion of the Federal authorities of Canada, such legislation is an invasion of the Dominion power over quarantine.
– Does the Minister mind reading the passage immediately before the expression of opinion which he has quoted ?
– Yes; it is as follows -
The Legislature of British Columbia passed an Act enabling the Corporation of Vancouver to make by-laws for regulating, with a view to preventing the spread of infectious disease, the entry and departure of ships at the port of Vancouver, and the landing of passengers and cargoes from ships or from railroad cars. In the case of the Canadian Pacific Navigation Co. v. the City of Vancouver, 2 Brit. Columb., r93, it was held that this was not an infringement of the Dominion power to regulate trade and commerce.
In the Act creating the Dominion of Canada power is given specifically to deal with quarantine just in the same way as that power is given to us.
– Unfortunately, in Canada it was held that the Dominion Government had not power to go over the head of a State.
– But I think it was held that where there was anything in the nature of a disaster threatening the whole of Canada, the Dominion authority had power to act. The effect of the decision, I understand, was that in a particular province the former powers in relation to health were still retained. There is no doubt about that.
– But the Dominion Government had a general power of quarantine.
– It has a general power of quarantine which, apparently, according to the Canadian authorities, extends to animals as well as to human beings.
– And that power is not confined to ports.
– No. In our own Constitution we find the same power in regard to quarantine expressed in the same wide terms; and the giving it these wide terms makes the power an efficient instrument of government for the people of Australia as a whole. Otherwise it would perpetuate the old system of State boundaries. I am sorry to say that diseases and pests are not very provincial in their nature. They over-run the boundaries of States very quickly. The desire is to prevent the spread of diseases. It seems to me to be admitted that, undoubtedly, we have the power to deal with oversea quarantine. That power is not questioned in the slightest degree. Well now, in this Bill that power is exercised to the full. It is realized that it is the greatest hardship possible for vessels to be made subject to six distinct Acts in the Commonwealth of Australia, and our desire was, as far as shipping was concerned, that when a ship once arrived at any port in Australia, for the rest of the time while she was in Australian waters she should be under one law and one authority. That was our intention, and the Bill carries it out fully and completely. I come now to the second point with which the Bill deals. I do not know whether the honorable member for Flinders will dispute the claim that as regards oversea importations into Australia, we have undoubtedly power to deal with stock and plants.
– That is not my point.
– That power has been exercised under the Customs Act.
– It has been exercised. If honorable members turn to Part V. of the Bill they will see that it is built upon the power which we have, and have exercised, in that respect.
Si’r John Quick. - The power of commerce.
– Our power over quarantine or commerce.
– Its combined operation.
– Yes. When this Bill comes into operation all importations of plants and of animals will be subject to the provisions of this measure absolutely. I understand that honorable members opposite raise no objection on that point. They are satisfied that, as regards oversea matters, both respecting plants and animals, we possess that power. Now, as regards Inter-State trade, I am sure that my honorable friends from Queensland, especially those who represent pastoral and agricultural areas, know of the trouble which their State has suffered through the administration of quarantine regulations in the southern States. When the plague broke out in Queensland, on one occasion New South Wales, by its regulations, absolutely prohibited the introduction into Sydney of any agricultural produce from the port of Brisbane. Even although the goods absolutely did not come from anywhere near the city, or even from any affected area, they exercised their power in that respect.
– For how long?
– For some time, until, I think, Dr. Ashburton Thompson had had an interview with Dr. Hara, the Queensland Health Commissioner, and several letters had been written on the subject. It was shown that under the Constitution, where a State possesses a police power like that which was exercised by the New South Wales Government, if it is exercised to the extent of a prohibition of goods, and not merely to the extent of protection, then to the extent to which it exceeds the police power of protection, its exercise is absolutely invalid.
– Does the Minister mean to say that there was in that case an intentional prohibition?
– No, I am dealing only with the difficulty that arose.
– I think the prohibition related only to hides.
– No; to agricultural produce of every description, and for some months not a single bushel of wheat or barley could be imported into New South Wales from Brisbane. I am referring to this merely as an- illustration, to show that in respect of Inter-State powers what is necessary is that we should have throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth a complete and uniform system, so that the people of all the States may know that, so far as the regulation of the spread of disease is concerned, all shall be treated on the same footing.
– It has been suggested here that at the time to which the Minister refers the people of New South Wales lapsed into protection.
– Then they showed the zeal, of the pervert, and not of the convert.
– At that time plague was rampant in Sydney.
– I do not know that it was. As regards Inter-State commerce, we have full powers under the trade and commerce provision of Section 51, to deal with Inter-State matters, and I do not think that honorable members would like to restrict the operation of such a measure as this to oversea quarantine. They will surely admit that the Inter-State difficulty in this connexion is most important and most pressing, and also that it is highly desirable that there should be, in connexion with the administration of these regulations, a feeling that the Inter-State transit of goods is not prohibited as. the result of any particular local feeling, but solely in the interests of Australia as a whole. Our powers in regard to InterState commerce in this connexion cannot be questioned in the slightest degree. I come now to the narrowest point of view, . and that is with respect to our power to legislate and deal with the matter of quarantine in an area within a State. There is no doubt as to the power we possess, except as to whether we can, as a Commonwealth, deal with a disease which breaks out on land, and is for the time confined to a particular State. I do not say that it is so, but it may be that as regards that particular phase of the question we must rely entirely on the word “ quarantine.”
– Suppose the outbreak of the disease can be traced to a port?
– Then it might be an oversea matter, and we might deal with it as I have said. But if, for some unaccountable reason, there was an outbreak of disease within a State, it might be that to deal with that matter we should have to rely on the word “ quarantine.”
– Suppose a disease broke out in the port of Melbourne.
– In that case I believe it might be dealt with as an oversea matter. I submit that the authorities which I have quoted show that we have the power claimed, and the only question is as to whether we should exercise the power we possess in this particular instance. That is all that1 is at issue. My own view is that if we are to prevent the spread of disease within the Commonwealth, it is absolutely essential that we should have the power, and should exercise it in case of need. If, for instance, a disease broke out in Brisbane, why should we not have power to deal with it if that should be necessary to prevent it spreading to the Richmond district, and sweeping the towns which are springing up in the northern parts of New South Wales.
– We must be in a position to do the work thoroughly, or we should not undertake it at all.
– Certainly. It does not follow that because we have this power we shall exercise it in every conceivable case.
– Nor does it follow that because it would be a good thing toexercise the power, we therefore possess it.
– That is so, but I’ have dealt with the question as to our having the power, and I claim that we do possess it. A previous Attorney-General has already advised that we have full power under quarantine to deal with animals and plants, and I may add that the question was considered in the Convention. If honorable members will turn to the debates of the Convention they will find that the members of the Convention believed that the word “ quarantine “ included human beings and animals.
– But it does not include the regulation of traffic between States.
– The honorable member is dealing with another point. The members of the Convention, when they adopted this part of section 51 of the Constitution, believed that the word “quarantine” included animals as well as human beings.
– As a matter of fact, Mr. O’Connor submitted a proposal at the Convention to limit it to imports of animals, and it was rejected.
– Does the Minister say that it was understood to include plants ?
– No ; I did not say that, but I say the power does.
– But the Government are taking power to deal with plants.
– Does the Minister say that the inclusion of plant life was contemplated at the Convention?
– I said that animals as well’ as men were mentioned by themembers of the Convention as included under the word “quarantine.” In proof of that statement, I can refer honorable members to page 1072 of the debates of the second Convention held at Sydney in 1897. I find that Mr. O’Connor said -
The sub-clause as it stands now provides for the quarantine of animals. and Mr. Isaacs said -
I believe it would include the quarantine of animals if . those animals when slaughtered1 would go into consumption as food, and might thereby affect the public health.
– Whose opinion is that ?
– The opinion of the present Mr. Justice Isaacs.
– I thought so. So that the honorable gentleman’s contention about the High Court will not do.
– It is clear then that the point has not been overlooked, and that as a matter of fact it has been very carefully investigated. It is highly desirable in the interests of Australia as a whole that this power shall be possessed and retained by the Commonwealth. If we are to prevent the spread of any of these diseases from one State to another, seeing that the Commonwealth is united in one Continent and divided only by boundary lines between the States, it is absolutely essential that we should possess this power. I believe that the Convention intended to confer the power, and that the words they used were apt to convey it, and I also believe that we should be wanting in a proper appreciation of our power if we did not embody it in the provisions of this Bill. Under this measure we shall not supersede the various health authorities of the States. Honorable members will be aware that many of the powers given to the States health authorities are powers to deal with sanitation, drainage, and such questions, which if properly looked after will no doubt assist to prevent the origination and spread of disease.
– I take it that the Government will limit their functions for themselves by proclamation.
– Absolutely, and by the declarations we shall make. It is not likely that the Commonwealth Government will exercise any power with respect to any of these diseases unless they are of a highly infectious nature, and are such as are likely to extend beyond the confines of any one State.
– They will have the power in reserve.
– It must be kept in reserve for the use of the people as a whole.
– The Government would not quarantine the whole of the people of a State, and compel them to be vaccinated, although that might be possible under the Bill.
– We can discuss that later. The operation of the Bill, and the methods by which it will be administered are matterswith which the Minister of Trade and Customs will have to deal. Honorable members will find the intention of the Government clearly expressed in clause 11 -
The Governor-General may enter into an arrangement with the Governor of any State in respect of all or any of the following matters : -
The use of any State quarantine station or other place as a quarantine station under this Act, and the control and management of any such” quarantine station.
– Does not that relate to taking the services over?
– It refers only to the use of them. It does not mean their acquisition.
– It is similar to the language used in the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act.
– No, it is not. It refers only to the use of the services.
– Does it not mean their use after acquirement?
– It does not mean their acquisition.
– How about the officers?
– Will the honorable member look at the rest of the clause? It is as follows -
– That is quite unexceptionable.
– It is only fair to say that that clause simply means that the local health authorities must do whatever the Federal Government wishthem to do.
– It would simply mean that in the case of a very serious pest, which was likely to spread over the whole of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Government would probably, under the powers it has, make regulations for uniform action throughout, and would cooperate with the State authorities to the full, because they are just as eager to prevent the spread of disease as we are.
– And if there is a difference of opinion the Federal opinion prevails ?
– There must be a prevailing power. That superior power would only be exercised if it was feared that a disease was going to spread into other States.
– The Federal Government would not need to step in unless it did or might so spread.
– The Commonwealth would not need to step in unless it seemed that the disease was going to extend beyond the confines of the State.
– I do not see that. I can conceive of the Federal Government stepping in for the purpose of greater efficiency.
– No doubt if a State was so absolutely callous and careless that it would not provide any health regulations of any description, but I do not think that any State has sunk so low. Still, we cannot tell what might happen if States became financially involved, and had not the means to equip certain Departments properly.
– The AttorneyGeneral will see that, under section 109 of the Constitution, the effect of the Commonwealth dealing with this matter would be to nullify the laws of the States.
– Section 109 of the Constitution only applies when a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth. My belief is that the States would do as they have done in other matters - they would try to work harmoniously with the Commonwealth.
– Except on the question of the Federal Capital.
– I think we shall get harmony on that matter also this session.
– Some of the penalties in the Bill are very severe. “Under clause 67 a man may be fined ,£500 for importing a noxious insect.
– I think, in the honorable and learned member’s case, the justice has power to reduce the penalty, and, I have no doubt, will exercise it.
– It should be made “ /.1fully,’ ‘ not “knowingly.”
– What would happen if, under clause 11, a State authority objected to giving the Commonwealth the use of a quarantine station ?
– It would probably mean that the Commonwealth would have to establish a quarantine station of its own.
– Has the Commonwealth power to resume land for that purpose ?
– Under the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act we can acquire land for the purpose of quarantine stations from a State if necessary.
– If they would not give it to the Government, the Government could and would take it?
– Not necessarily would, but could. Honorable members will see that the intention of the Bill and the proposed administration is conveyed by this particular clause. It says that we must have that as a reserve power for national purposes, but we do not want to interfere with the present police powers exercised by the States. If the States exercised these powers improperly, as far as inspection charges go, the Commonwealth would, 1 think, interfere.
– Who is to decide when the powers are exercised improperly ?
– This Parliament.
– Under what section?
– Under section 112 of the Constitution, this Parliament decides that question as regards inspection charges. That section states -
After uniform duties of Customs have been imposed, a State may levy on imports or exports, or on goods passing into or out of the State, such charges as may be necessary for executing the inspection laws of the State ; but the net produce of all charges so levied shall be for the use of the Commonwealth; and any such inspection laws may be annulled by the Parliament of the Commonwealth.
This Parliament itself would judge whether inspection charges were excessive.
– That is really only carrying out American decisions of that date.
– Yes. Exception was taken to the very high charges made foi the inspection of. fruit in Western Australia, and the honorable member for Parramatta, at the instance, I think, of the Fruitgrowers’ Association brought the matter under my notice. I put it before the Department of Trade and Customs, and they immediately made representations to the State of Western Australia. I am glad to say that the State, realizing its position, has reduced the charges to semeextent. The scale of fees for inspection up to that time was -
The scale substituted since 5th June is -
Under the old scale the charges were nearly as high as the. duties which are imposed under the Federal Tariff.
– That is all right, but I do not like the idea of this Parliament having the power to sweep away any regulations whatever, reasonable or otherwise.
– The power is in the Constitution, which the honorable member would have to repeal. In this instance the State of Western Australia readily acted upon the representations made, and reduced the inspection charges to a much more reasonable rate. The honorable and learned member for Flinders seemed to” imagine that in this Bill we were putting the cart before the horse in dealing with the question in this way. The honorable and learned member must realize that the States under the powers which they undoubtedly possess have established a great many health authorities, and have officers fulfilling different functions. Some of them, I think, are exercising health functions, while at the same time fulfilling other State duties, and it would be highly undesirable for us, before we have defined what our intentions are, to issue a proclamation, and take over the whole of the Departments and officers, whether we wanted them or not.
– How did the Government manage with the Post and Telegraph and Customs Departments?
– They were complete in themselves, and when we took those Departments over there were no, or few, officers left behind with the States.
– Why do the Government want to duplicate the thing?
– We do not want to duplicate. It is with the intention of avoiding duplication that this action has been taken.
– How are the Government going to get greater efficiency, if they do not take over the machinery and the administration of the States?
– Undoubtedly where we can get efficient State officers an arrangement will be made with the States to take them over.
– How are the Government going to achieve greater efficiency in the carrying out of these functions unless they take over the State machinery, and make it a Commonwealth affair?
– Because the State machinery to a great extent will be superseded by the machinery created under this Bill.
– To a great extent, but, according to the honorable and learned member’s views, we shall have the two machines running at the same time.
– As regards oversea matters and Inter-State matters, no. But, as regards local matters, we shall have the powers of municipal councils and local boards of health, concurrent with our powers. There is no desire to supersede those bodies in the slightest degree.
– In Queensland, what powers have they outside the Board of Health? Practically none.
– Each municipality deals with its own area, and does not want any more power.
– And it does deal with them too!
– I thought I heard the honorable member praising, just now, State administration.
– That of the Board of Health, but not that of the municipalities.
– I can assure the honorable member that there is no desire to supersede that which is being done efficiently in a State, but the desire is that the Commonwealth shall possess complete control in the interests of the nation as a whole.
.- After the brilliant speeches which we have heard from the legal members of the House, it seems to me that very little remains to be said. This is a Bill which I think can be better discussed in Committee than at this stage. I regret very much that, although this important measure was mentioned in a speech by the Governor-General no less than three years ago, it has not been brought forward until the present moment I also regret that we have not been allowed a longer period in which to look into its provisions more thoroughly.
– Honorable members have had a week.
– I took the trouble to write to several persons who are interested in any measure of this character, but so far I have not received a reply from more than one of them, because the time has been so short. I sent out the Bill as soon as it was made available, and here it is being rushed through without, what I consider, sufficient preparation. I take exception to the way in which it has been submitted by the Minister. Apparently he knew very little about the subjects with which it deals, because when questions were put to him, his replies to many of them were distinctly evasive. When, for instance, I asked him if it contained any provision for dealing with immigrants from oversea ports, he said “Yes; we can declare any port an infected port.” That has been the practice for many years, but my question related to the system which has been adopted in the United States. When it is understood that there is likely to be a number of immigrants coming to that country, the Government have their own medical officers distributed at various ports, and their duty is to examine the passengers before they come on shore.
– Why did not the honorable member say that that was what he referred to when he asked his question?
– I thought that the Minister was sufficiently astute to grasp my question without an explanation, but another time I shall take means to explain fully to him what I mean. Certain diseases are specified in the Bill. Clause 5 contains a list of the names of quarantinable diseases, namely, small-pox, plague, cholera, yellow fever, typhus fever, leprosy, and so on. But there is one disease which this country is particularly liable to get from overseas. We know that it arises here of itself, but we also know that it is exceedingly liable to be introduced from abroad- The disease I allude to is that which is known to the profession as tubercle. I notice that in the Bill tubercle, as it relates to animals, has been distinctly specified. But the form of tubercle to which I desire to draw the attention of the Minister is that which is medically known as pulmonary phthisis, and -popularly known as consumption. For many years Australia has been simply a dumping-ground for that form of disease. The favorite prescription of doctors in the old country for patients who are suffering from consumption is their removal to Australia, with the view of either ameliorating their condition or effecting a cure. Almost every ship that has arrived, at any rate, every passenger ship, has carried its complement of diseased passengers, who have been turned loose in Australia to distribute the disease.
– Do the State authorities take any notice of that now?
– I do not know what action is taken under the State Quarantine laws. It is highly desirable that some action should be taken under this Bill, and if it is to be taken, now is the time for us to provide the machinery. Furthermore, a source of infection which is frequently overlooked is that which occurs in connexion with the cabins on board ships which are occupied by diseased persons. Some power should be taken, if not in this Bill, perhaps under the Commerce Act, to insure that cabins which have been used by persons suffering from tubercular disease shall be properly disinfected before they are occupied by healthy people.
– That, I think, is recommended by the Navigation Commission.
– I do not know what the Navigation Conference did in the old country, as it is so difficult to get a copy of its report.. There are other diseases which I could mention. One of these is a disease known as trachomay, of which no mention is made in the Bill. An opportunity is now afforded by which, if passengers were properly inspected at .the various ports of entry, those diseases could, for the time being, be excluded. We have the opportunity of excluding diseases known to the profession as specific diseases from New Guinea. I hope that under the Commonwealth administration the medical inspection will not be the farce it is under the State administration. At ports of entry I have repeatedly undergone this examination, and watched the process. I believe that it has only been owing to luck, and! to nothing else, that diseases have not been overlooked. I am sure that there are many honorable members who will agree with me that the examination is made in a very perfunctory and unsatisfactory manner. Not only are the ships delayed until the arrival of the health officer, whose time appears to be of greater value to himself than to anybody else, but when he comes on board he makes an examination of the passengers, which is one of the very loosest kind. How” a passenger is treated depends a good deal upon the way iii which he is dressed. If he appears to be a man with money in his pocket, he is told to walk from one door to another without undergoing any inspection. If he happens to be travelling in the second class he is probably’ told to put out his tongue. But if he is travelling in the steerage he is set aside and examined more thoroughly. Frequently the way in- which the examination is made is such as to make it nothing but a laughing-stock with the passengers who come from oversea. The
Minister does not think that there is likely to be very much increase in the cost of administration.
– I do not think that there will be.
– I believe that if the law is administered properly it will involve a good deal of additional expense. That, however, is not of great moment to us, because quarantine is an important matter. . I believe that the Minister will find when the measure is put into operation that the cost will be much greater than he estimates.
– It will not be, unless more diseases are brought in than are introduced now.
– It is very plain that some kind of action will have to be taken in connexion with the States. So far as I can see, we have no right to interfere with the internal working of the States, and our quaranting operations must be confined to the sea-coast, and the boundaries of States. The Commonwealth must at all times work in conjunction with the Health Departments of the States.
– I quite agree with that.
– This happens in America, and ought to happen here.
– Probably the Health Departments of the States will continue to carry out the work which they are now doing.
– That remains to be seen. I think that the Minister has understated rather than overstated the expenditure likely to be incurred in carrying the measure into effect; but no expense is too great to insure the health of the people of the Commonwealth.
.- The honorable member for Hunter speaks on this subject with more than ordinary force, for the reason that he is a medical man, and has had experience of the working of quarantine laws. He has told us of the perfunctory manner in which the medical examinations of ships’ passengers and crews is often conducted. According to him, all that a well-groomed man has to do is to sit still while the doctor walks past him, while second class passengers and the crew have to file past the doctor, and put out their tongues. The honorable member does not often make alarming statements; but what he said on this subject is distinctly alarming. If the States administer the quaran tine laws loosely, the Commonwealth should take control of quarantine, and provide for the effective inspection and examination of new arrivals. The honorable and learned member for Flinders, and the AttorneyGeneral, have both presented long and intricate arguments, one trying to show that the Commonwealth has not the power to pass this Bill, and the other that it has the power. Each has supported his position with liberal citations of interpretations of the Constitution, and quotations from the debates of the Convention, and their speeches have been very interesting. The honorable and learned member for Flinders doubts the constitutionality of the measure, and suggests that the Minister should hasten slowly with it; indeed, that he should put it aside because it may be unconstitutional. But we who are laymen wish to use the powers given to us by the Constitution to pass a measure which will make our quarantine more effective than it is now. The honorable member for Indi has asked who, in the first instance, is to decide the question of constitutionality, the High Court, or the Parliament ; and he had something to say about the belittling of Parliament. If the view of the honorable and learned member for Flinders is accepted, we cannot proceed to exercise our powers of legislation in regard to this or any other measure whose constitutionality is doubted, until the question has been referred to the High Court. Are we to submit our proposed legislation to the High Court, or are we to pass legislation, and leave it to be declared invalid by the High Court if that tribunal thinks proper? My opinion, as a layman, is that the second position is the correct one. With all respect for the legal learning of the honorable and learned members for Flinders and Parkes, I do not think that we should go to the High Court, and say, “ Please can we pass this legislation?” That would be a most humiliating position for the Parliament to occupy.
– I did not suggest that the High Court should be approached in that manner, although I said that there were great difficulties surrounding the course proposed by the Government.
– The honorable and learned member’s remarks evidenced great care and research, and contained much logical reasoning. He suggested that the Government should hold back the measure. Is it to be held back until the High Court1 has been asked whether we can pass it ?
– No ; merely ‘ to allow honorable members to -consider the subject from all points of view.
– The honorable and learned member spoke of putting the cart before the horse in carrying legislation first and taking over the States Departments afterwards. He certainly got the horse in the right position when he said that the States Departments should be taken over first; but he would not allow it to be harnessed, because he objects to the passing of the necessary machinery legislation. I think that the Government have done right in bringing the measure forward. The objections which have been urged against it were urged against the Customs Bill and the Commerce Bill. The Attorney-General, however, has proved that we have already exercised the Constitutional powers under which this measure has been introduced, and, in the end, the honorable and learned member for Flinders admitted that the intention of the Minister is not a bad one. The advice of the legal fraternity is altogether too subtle for the lay mind. The honorable and learned member at first seemed to find everything as wrong as could be, but finally he seemed to think that everything is as right as possible. You, Mr. Speaker, are a recognised authority on constitutional questions. Although you have not upon you the guinea stamp of the lawyer, you possess common sense and much experience of public life, and you have sided with those who think that the Commonwealth can exercise these powers, I hope that we shall not hear more about the constitutionality of the measure, but will proceed to pass it. The honorable member for Hunter has shown us that the present system is so lax that the most pernicious diseases might be introduced into the Commonwealth notwithstanding the medical inspection which takes place. If the States are lax in the exercise of their quarantine powers, the sooner the Commonwealth takes over the administration of quarantine matters the better. Concerning Inter-State matters, of which the honorable member for Maranoa spoke this afternoon, I would point out that prior to Federation some of the States endeavoured, by means of Stock Acts, to give effect to the object which we are endeavouring to attain by this Bill. When the first outbreak of bubonic plague occurred in New South Wales the present Minister of Trade and Customs took steps to quarantine almost the whole of one portion of the waterside of Sydney.
But he did not take that action until nearly every member of the New South Wales Parliament had signed. a “ round robin “ in favour of that course being adopted. I mention this matter, not for the purpose of injuring the prestige of the Minister in charge of this Bill, but with a view to showing that a process of quarantine was adopted by the State on that occasion. I quite agree with the Attorney-General that the Commonwealth would not be likely to interfere in any Inter- State matter relating to quarantine unless it became of a serious character owing to it being apparent that a disease was likely to spread to the injury of other portions of the Commonwealth. In such a contingency, it would be our bounden duty to take whatever steps might be deemed necessary. I am pleased indeed that at the seventh year of its existence the Commonwealth is about to exercise some of the more important powers with which the Constitution has clothed it. In the past we have exercised powers of a more “showy” or glittering character, but personally I cannot imagine anything more important than a Commonweal th quarantine law. The sooner we exercise the legitimate powers conferred upon us by the Constitution, the sooner will this Parliament be recognised as the supreme Parliament of Australia^
I have listened to some very interesting contributions to this debate, notably to two which dealt almost exclusively with) the legal aspect of our position in regard to quarantine. As a layman, I do not profess to be able to follow the views advanced by the honorable and learned member for Flinders and the honorable and learned member for Parkes. I could, however, follow the reasoning of the honorable member for Dalley, who, after indulging in a splendid eulogy of the Bill, slyly gave it “ a dig under the ribs.” The Minister of Trade and Customs, when introducing the measure, indicated that there was some doubt about the exact meaning of the word “ quarantine “ and of the power of this Parliament to deal with the matter. I have a vivid recollection that in the Melbourne session of the Federal Convention certain matters were discussed in sections. For example, the provisions of the Constitution relating to financial matters were grouped together, others relating to quarantine were similarly grouped. Paragraph 7 of section 51 deals with light-houses, light-ships, beacons and buoys, paragraph 8 with astronomical and meteorological observations, and paragraph 9 with quarantine. I am quite certain that the framers of our Constitution never contemplated that this Parliament should take over all minor matters connected with the States quarantine service. The word “quarantine” has a very wide application. Had it ever been intended that this Parliament should take oyer everything connected with quarantine in the various States, it would have been clearly specified in the Constitution. I do not know very much about the quarantine laws operative in Western Australia, and I dare say that the representatives of that State are equally unfamiliar with Victorian legislation in regard to this matter. It has occurred to me that, when a Bill of this character was to be introduced, it would be wise to distribute, for the information of honorable members, a synopsis of the legislation in force in the various States. It cannot be denied that this Bill is a contentious one. The debate which has already taken place demonstrates that honorable members are in doubt as to our powers in respect of quarantine, and it is certainly undesirable to create any friction with the States. Personally, I do not think that taking over the States services of quarantine in their entirety, and centralizing their administration in Melbourne, would be a wise step. To my mind, mischievous legislation of that sort will not advance the interests of the Commonwealth. Only the other night I heard the Minister of Trade and Customs priding himself upon the provisions of the Navigation Bill which is shortly “to be introduced, and which gives effect to the decisions arrived at by the Conference recently held in London. But I venture to say that if we are not very careful, instead of attracting shipping to our shores, we shall drive it away. A good deal of friction already exists in shipping circles. The three miles’ limit is not quite acceptable to a large number. The Bill immediately under consideration bristles with penalties. Clause 36, which is a very important one, provides -
When a vessel is ordered into quarantine, the master thereof shall forthwith cause the vessel and all persons and goods on board the vessel to be conveyed into such quarantine station as the quarantine officer directs, there to perforin quarantine.
Penalty : Five hundred pounds.
That clause would place in the hands of a “ Jack-in-office “ - whose action, in all probability, would be uncontrolled by reason of the distance of the port from the Seat of Government - the power to put ships coming to this country to incalculable trouble. Altogether, the measure deals with very important principles, which have been clearly laid down by the honorable and learned member for Flinders and the AttorneyGeneral. There is an old axiom, with which we are all familiar, that “ delay is the fundamental principle of the British Constitution.” I venture to say that if we have a little delay in connexion with this Bill, it will be better for all concerned. I entirely agree that this Parliament should exercise the power of quarantine in respect of oversea ships, and also have supervision over the introduction from abroad of animal and plant life that is likely to be detrimental. But the States authorities have a more immediate local knowledge of what is necessary to eradicate the phylloxera and other pests than a Commonwealth Department could hope to possess. Practically every pest in Australia has been introduced. The rabbits, the foxes, the sparrows, and nearly every other pest, were brought in, and I should be sorry to think it might be said at some future time that, by unduly hurrying the passing of legislation of this kind, we had caused the Federal Parliament to be regarded as still another pest.
.- I wish to deal briefly with one or two questions to which this very important Bill gives rise ; but do not propose to make any reference to the constitutional point which has already been ably dealt with by several honorable members, and in respect of which we find, as usual, a difference of legal opinion. I may say at once that I see ahead of us a very expensive lawsuit if the Bill be passed in its present form. The High Court will probably be appealed to, and we shall be subjected to innumerable charges. I wish, however, to deal with the Bill from the stand-point of its expediency or otherwise. Is it expedient at the present time to pass such a measure? From what has been said during the debate it is obvious that it involves three main issues. In the first place, it relates to oversea quarantine,, applying to the quarantining of human beings, animals, and plants. There is also a proposal to deal with the health laws of the various States, and further that the Bill shall apply to the quarantining of animals passing between one State and another, or between different parts of one State. I am entirely in accord with the proposal that the Commonwealth shall deal with oversea quarantine, whether it relates to the quarantining of human beings, animals, or plants. It is in the common interest of every State that we should endeavour to prevent the introduction of diseases or pests. All the States have a common desire to exclude every class of disease- and pest, and therefore I think that the carrying out of such a work is distinctly a Commonwealth function. I do not agree,, however, with the proposition that we should interfere with the work of the States in respect to health inspection. That is too diverse a matter for Commonwealth administration. I also object most strongly to the measures necessary for stamping out the noxious diseases which infect animals in the different States being intrusted to the Commonwealth, and I speak as one who has had some experience. The honorable member for Maranoa has made special reference to the tick pest, and the point I wish to make in this regard is that Federal action should be in the common interests of all the States. It is certainly in the interests of the States that such a pest should be stamped out, but 1 should like to remind honorable members that Queensland does not stand in exactly the position occupied by New South Wales, so far as the presence of tick in cattle is concerned. The tick pest extends fairly well over the whole of Queensland.
– No; the greater part of the Darling Downs is free from the pest. It is only on the coast that it is to be found.
– I disagree with the honorable member. I know that the pest is prevalent at Clermont and Cunnamulla.
– We have had it practically all over Queensland.
– That is so. New South Wales is naturally most anxious to exclude the tick pest from its territory, and representatives of South Australia and Western Australia have already pointed out that their States are deeply concerned in the work of excluding from their midst the various fruit pests prevalent in other States. The measures necessary for this work can be better carried out by the States themselves. From their several centres they can administer the law in this regard far better than, we could hope to administer it from one centre, perhaps thousands of miles away from the point at which the trouble existed. Another consideration is that the States have varying interests. Pas toralists and others in Queensland naturally desire to send their cattle to Sydney, Melbourne, and other markets, and are therefore interested in the passing of their stock over the borders. The people of New South Wales, on the other hand, are vitally interested in the exclusion of tick-infested stock from their territory, so that the interests of the two States are, to some extent, conflicting. If the Federal Government took in hand the work of dealing with the whole question, they might please one State, displease another, and bring about a good deal of friction.
– And’ ruination.
– And probably ruination. The Federal Government might propose to take drastic steps to confine tickinfested cattle to one area, and in the event of their attempting anything of the kind the representatives of the State concerned would probably say to them, “ We shall have to oppose you in regard to this or that measure if you do not relax your regulations.” You know, Mr. Speaker, how these matters are arranged.
– Mr. Speaker is not accustomed to that sort of thing.
– I think we can leave the Minister of Trade and Customs to look after such matters.
– I am left to look after a good many things.
– After all, it is only human nature to proceed as I have indicated, and I suppose the Minister is not immune from such considerations. The representatives of Queensland, in the event of action such as I have indicated being taken, would bring a good deal of pressure to bear upon the Government, with the result that they might become rather conciliatory in their dealings with the people of that State, and be tempted to allow cattle from Queensland to travel all over New South Wales. The tick pest would thus be spread. I see much difficulty and danger in the way of the Commonwealth assuming these responsibilities. The same remark will apply in regard to the measures necessary for the protection of the fruit industry in the several States. It is well known that orchardists in Victoria greatly dread the introduction of the fruit fly, and there is not the slightest doubt that if the matter be left entirely in the hands of the Victorian Government the pest -will be kept out.
– I think that the fruit fly is already here.
– It is to a small extent, but I believe that the efforts which are being made to cope with it will lead to its being stamped out. The remark just made by the Minister seems to indicate on his part a disposition to allow fruit to enter indiscriminately) into Victoria. The Victorians, however, are determined to shut out fruit infested with the fly, and I believe that the Victorian Government would verv reluctantly part with its power to exclude such pests. From this point of view I do not think that we ought to trespass on the powers of the States.
– New South Wales got her rabbit pest as well as her fox pest from Victoria.
– If the Government of New South Wales had been thoroughly alive to the situation, and had taken proper action, they would have excluded those pests.
– They did all they could to shut them out.
– The rabbit pest would also come under the quarantine provisions of this Bill.
– Could it be said that the building of a rabbit-proof fence along the borders of a State was a duty relating to quarantine ?
– Probably it would, and we should have all the rabbit trappers fitted out as Government inspectors, and touring the country. If the Government desire to pass this measure, they must confine it solely to what the people understand by the term, “ oversea shipping.” There is no difference of opinion amongst the States as to the desirability of Federal control of oversea quarantine ; and honorable members will be prepared, on that basis, to pass the second reading, and carry the Bill through Committee as rapidly as the Minister may wish, in order to make way for the Tariff Bill.
– If honorable members will do that, the Bill will not occupy much time.
– I know that the Minister is burning with desire to introduce the Tariff Bill, which I hope will soon be dealt with. As I say, all the States desire a proper oversea quarantine for human beings, animals, and plants, so that fresh pests - and goodness knows we have enough already ! - shall not be introduced into Australia. If the measure be limited to that end, it will have a very rapid passage, and the result will be an enactment in the interests of the whole of the community.
.- At this late hour it is not my intention to do more than offer a short expression of opinion on the Bill. This subject was dealt with by me during my election tour ; and I feel that I must say a few words. The constitutional aspect of the matter has been fairly dealt with this evening; and I am inclined to believe, from the various arguments adduced - although I speak with a certain amount of diffidence in this connexion - that the measure is constitutional. It seems to me that, even on the part of the Government, there is some uncertainty or doubt as to how far the Bill is to go. Honorable members have, so far, not had any very clear exposition as to how far the functions of the Commonwealth and the different States are to be modified or extended. It might be possible to adjust the powers satisfactorily, in much the same way as the powers of the States Parliaments, the Boards of Health, and the municipal councils, which administer the health laws and stock diseases quarantine at the present time, are adjusted. If the measure is to be effective, the Federal Parliament will have to take the responsibility of relieving the States of their functions in regard to quarantine laws and the spread of disease in plants and stock, as well as amongst human beings. That, I believe, would be a proper thing to do, because it is highly desirable that we should have uniformity of administration; and I refer more particularly to the prevention of stock diseases. It is generally agreed that the quarantine in respect to human beings, especially oversea quarantine, should be administered by the Commonwealth; but the question of the inspection of stock, and the prevention of stock diseases, is one in which this House is particularly interested. Australia is the greatest stock-producing country in the world, and, owing to the munificence of our climate and our great grazing possibilities, we keep rapidly adding to our stock, and it becomes necessary that we should have uniformity of laws, regardless of State boundaries. I fail to appreciate the difficulties that have been hinted at respecting the proper administration of a Quarantine Act by the Federal Parliament: In my opinion, there will be no more difficulty in efficiently administering a Quarantine Act than there is at the present time in controlling the Department of Trade and
Customs or the Post and Telegraph Department; and it is just as necessary that there should be uniformity in stock inspecttion, as in connexion with either of the two great Departments I have mentioned. Most of us can only speak from our actual experience in our own State ; and I can say that in many instances the administration of the laws relating to stock has been most unsatisfactory in Victoria. Private individuals have embarked their wealth in providing Victoria with some of the finest cattle and sheep in the world ; and yet, at the present time, there are now stock inspectors who know little or nothing of stock diseases. What is required to put the supervision on a proper basis is thoroughly qualified men, and my opinion is that throughout the Commonwealth there ought to be veterinary surgeons as Government stock inspectors. I have known stock inspectors, who came into a district to report on an epidemic, to have no technical knowledge of, and no power of diagnosing certain’ diseases. The opinions of these inspectors have proved to be fallacious respecting epidemics, and, altogether, I think that the taking over of the administration of the quarantine laws by the Commonwealth will result in uniformity, greater efficiency, and the prevention of the spread of disease. It would then be possible to appoint a class of men thoroughly qualified to investigate outbreaks of disease, and to suggest means for their remedy and prevention. I hope that, when the Bill gets into Committee, we mav make certain modifications in it ; but with the general principle of the measure I cordially agree.
– I know the desire is to pass the second reading of the Bill to-night, but I should like to draw the attention of the Minister of Trade and Customs to the fact that a feeling has been expressed by one or two honorable members that the Bill will result in increasing unnecessarily the governmental machinery, and the imposing of an additional burden on the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. Did I understand the Minister, at an earlier stage of the. debate, to assure honorable members that the object of the Government was not to unnecessarily increase the public expenditure, or the machinery of administration ?
– Unless new matters arise which are not dealt with by the States, I should say the cost of administration will be reduced.
– The Bill must, in a measure, create a new Department ; and if that Department is to be on the same scale as some of the other transferred Departments I am afraid it will mean a largely increased expenditure. Therefore, while anxious to see what I regard as one of the most important functions of the Commonwealth taken over, I am only doing my duty in protesting against any unnecessary increase in the expenditure. I agree with the honorable and learned member for Flinders, who, in his excellent speech this evening, expressed the opinion that all the objects which the Government have in view might have been secured by simply giving official notice by proclamation, and introducing a machinery measure which would have kept us in good favour with the various States. Because I do say that at the present moment we ought to act with caution, so as not to increase that feeling of discontent and dissatisfaction with the administration of Commonwealth affairs which is growing up in the individual States. On these two grounds I ask Ministers to have regard to the representations which have been made, and to give the House an opportunity to consider the details of the measure carefully before we approach it in Committee. We should, I consider, have an interval of at least a fortnight. Personally I wish to consult expert authorities in connexion with this complicated subject, so as to be in a position, if necessary,, to submit amendments. I know that other members are in the same position. In refraining from prolonging the debate, we are justified in asking the Minister in charge of the Bill to give us an undertaking that he will not proceed further with this important and complicated measure, affecting as it does so many great interests, until we have had a full opportunity of considering what readjustments we have to suggest in connexion with it.
.- I think that nearly all honorable members are agreed that this is a measure which is not only one that the Commonwealth has full power to tackle, but one which should be grappled with at the earliest possible moment. But beyond the real reason for this proposal - that is to say, beyond quarantine in its original and usually accepted sense - honorable members seem to differ as to whether or not we ought to proceed with this measure until we have had time for reflection. For instance, the honorable member who has just resumed his seat has entered a protest against the taking over by the Commonwealth of powers beyond those of oversea quarantine. The honorable member who preceded him took up the same position ; and honorable members all round the Chamber seem to be in a certain difficulty as to whether we have or have not the constitutional authority to take over these new powers. Under these circumstances, I feel sure that the Minister will see that it is inadvisable “to force the Bill through. All honorable members are anxious to assist in passing a measure of this kind, which has no party complexion ; but in view of the fair expressions of opinion which have emanated from all sides, and the general desire to assist the Government in the action they are taking, it is only right that the Minister should consent at any rate to a reasonable adjournment after the second reading has been taken. My honorable friend the member for Kooyong suggested that the Government should allow a fortnight to elapse. I do not know whether any particular period is a fair one to ask for, but I hope the Minister will tell us that he is prepared to postpone the consideration of the Bill in Committee for a reasonable time.
– I do not propose t’o proceed with the Bill to-morrow.
– I do not wish to labour the point, but I hope that the Minister will be able to tell us in his reply that he proposes to give the House that opportunity which it has asked for in a reasonable way.
– In reference to the question of postponing the “consideration of the Bill in Committee, I consider that a fortnight, as asked for by the honorable member for Kooyong, would be too long. I presume that the House has assembled to do business. If honorable members apply themselves to this Bill it will take a very short time to compass the whole of the intended powers. I do not propose to proceed with the ‘Bill tq-morrow, although it will be put on the notice paper. The probabilities are that we shall not proceed with it for perhaps a week. I certainly would not agree to adjourn the Committee stage for more than a week, and I cannot make any promise of a definite time. Probably it will be Tuesday next before the Bill comes on again, I recognise that it contains important provisions, and while I do not wish to delay its passage, I have no desire to hurry it unduly. Statements have been made as to our rights in connexion with quarantine. I feel that the question of interpreting the meaning of the word is one which finally will have to be decided by_ the High Court. One lawyer may say that what is proposed in this Bill does not properly come within the category of Commonwealth legislation. Another may say that it does. We are entitled to take the powers which appear to this Parliament to be within the Commonwealth Constitution if we so desire. The argument used by the honorable member for Flinders, would not, in my opinion, have been used if he had been in this Parliament from the beginning. The same question has been raised many times. In almost every case where we have taken over Departments from the States before we passed a law dealing with the matters in question, we have found their administration to be most difficult. It has, therefore, been determined by the Government that except perhaps in extreme cases, we should not assume any of our powers under the Constitution without first passing an Act. There is another Federal power similar to the one which we are now proposing to exercise, namely, that relating to beacons, buoys, and lighthouses. I wanted the Government eighteen months ago to take over those works by proclamation, but after a very full discussion, and in the light of what had taken place previously, the Government decided that it was far better to pass a law and have the whole matter done in order, so that we could adminster the works under the law of the Commonwealth, and avoid the difficulty of administering them in accordance with the six different laws of six disintegrated States.
– I think we all agree with that. The question is : Are the Government going to bring this Bill into operation before they take over the department of quarantine ?
– I’ cannot give a distinct promise to that effect. But I can say what is likely to be the result if the Bill passes as it stands, or if its main principles are accepted. Negotiations will at once be opened with the States Governments as to what shall be done, and what they are prepared to do in connexion with its administration, before we take any action under the Bill. That is the course I adopted in connexion with the Commerce Act. When the same question cropped up in that case, I communicated with the States Governments with most satisfactory results, ultimately, because at the present moment it is the States authorities who are practically administering that Act. Though, of course, we hold the power in case they do not do what is right to step in and interfere, I have been exceedingly cautious never to interfere with the States authorities if I can help it, and so long as they are properly administering the Commonwealth law.
– The Minister put a little pressure upon them in connexion with the Commerce Act.
– The honorable member will excuse me. I put a little pressure upon a few gentlemen who desired to defeat the Act, but not upon the States authorities. As the honorable member is aware, I even made a certain arrangement with the Government of New South Wales, in which State there was perhaps more antagonism shown to the Act than in any of the other States. The States authorities of New South’ Wales are practically administering the Commerce Act now in that State, but we are paying the expense of administration, which, in the case of New South Wales, has been increased, because that State did not previously employ as many inspectors as were employed in Victoria and some of the other States.
– My- experience of the Minister is that he will do anything he has to do.
– I shall try to. I wish to explain to the honorable member for Flinders that the Government have no intention whatever to issue a proclamation taking over the matter of quarantine until they have negotiated with the States, and, if possible, come to an arrangement with them which, in the great majority of cases, will lead to the law being administered by the States authorities rather than by the Commonwealth. There is a good reason for this, inasmuch as we cannot, and do not, propose to interfere with the States Boards pf Health. To create new Boards of Health for the Commonwealth would involve great expense, and might not be as successful in achieving the object we have in view. I anticipate that the quarantine law will practically be administered by the existing States Boards of Health, and all that the Commonwealth Government desire to do is to exercise a controlling power. So long as they can make arrangements with the States Governments, which will not add to the expense, but will, if possible, reduce it, and the States authorities administer the law in its entirety, the Commonwealth Govern ment will interfere very little. That is what is intended in connexion with the practical administration of this measure. As I have said, the interpretation of the word “ quarantine “ must ultimately be a matter for the High Court, and it is therefore hardly worth while discussing it at length at the present stage. I point out further that when we get into Committee on the Bill, honorable members will be able to submit amendments to strike out certain clauses, or to alter the measure in any other way they think necessary. If the further consideration of the Bill is postponed for a week at most, time will be given for communication with the States Governments. They will in the meantime have an opportunity of perusing the- Bill, and when we get into Committee we can deal with any objections which may be raised by the States authorities or by outside persons. In regard to the remarks made by the honorable member for Hunter, I may say that at present the States do not deal with consumption and other diseases in the way he suggests they should be dealt with under this Bill.
– That is no reason why the Commonwealth should not deal with them.
– I admit that, but I wish to make it clear that if we have to deal with many other subjects, and incur the expense of detailed examinations when ships arrive at our ports to prevent the landing of persons suffering from the diseases referred to by the honorable member, the cost involved in the administration of the Bill will be more than is estimated at the present time, and in such circumstances I am not to be held to the statement that it will not amount to more than does the administration! of quarantine under existing conditions.
– It would be worth the cost.
– I am not prepared to discuss the scientific points raised by the honorable member, but I would say that so many persons suffer from consumption that to adopt his suggestion would be to exclude a very great number of people from landing on our shores. I think that a better way in which to deal with that disease is not to exclude persons suffering from it, but to set apart places in each State where they may be kept under strict quarantine. I know that in New South Wales there are places to which consumptives may be sent under a kind of quarantine, though it is not of the compulsory character provided for in this hill. I have been very glad to find that honorable members have been more unanimous than I expected in their, support of the main principles of the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
In Committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s message):
– I move -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of money be made for the purposes of a Hill for an Act to authorize the survey of a route for a railway to connect Kalgoorlie, in the State of Western’ Australia, with Port Augusta, in the Slate of South Australia.
I have no wish to proceed in this matter beyond the formal stage. The Government desire now only to have the motion passed so that the Bill may be read a first time and circulated’ amongst honorable members.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) £10.34]. - I hope the Attorney-General will not persist in going on with this matter tonight. This is really the stage of this Bill at which discussion should take place. It is not a formal stage by any means. In ordinary circumstances, where the appropriation of a large amount of public money is in question, the stage at which the appropriation is asked is that at which the matter is fully and freely discussed.
– It has never been the practice before in this House.
– I take leave to doubt that. My impression is that this is the stage at which this particular measure was fully and freely discussed on a former occasion.
– No, the honorable member will find that it was discussed on the second reading, and this stage was allowed to go as formal.
– It would be much more convenient to discuss the measure at this stage than on the second reading or in Committee on the Bill. It is an unheard of thing to introduce new business at this time of the night, especially on a Tuesday.
– We want to get the Bill circulated.
– I know exactly what the honorable gentleman wants. It is not fair to insist on taking the measure now.
– Let us get the Bounties Bill advanced a stage.
– What the honorable member for Parramatta suggests has never been done before.
– Then we have been neglecting our duty.
– It is simply obstruction.
– This is the stage at which discussion on a proposal of this kind should ta’ke place.
– It has been discussed over and over again.
– I do not think the Government will be any the better for this haste.
– This is only the formal stage.
– I know perfectly well where we are, and what we are doing. This is a proposal involving £25,000 of the public funds. Why do we go into Committee on the GovernorGeneral’s message at all if it is only a formal stage? It is obviously for the purpose of discussing the advisability of such an appropriation. If the Government persist in the course they are now taking, it will not help them in the subsequent stages of the Bill. I know nothing that is more calculated1 to irritate some of my honorable friends on this side who want to discuss the proposal on its merits, and who are honestly and fairly opposed to it, than what is now suggested. I hope we shall proceed in the ordinary way with the discussion of this measure to-morrow night. There is no objection to taking it to-morrow.
– Would not the honorable member rather discuss the proposal on the second reading, when he has the Bill before him?
– There will not be the same freedom of discussion on the second reading as in Committee at this stage.
– It can be discussed on the second reading as well as now.
– An honorable member may speak only once on the second reading. This proposal ought to be threshed out thoroughly, and this is the stage appointed for threshing out the details.
– I rise to support the acting leader of the Opposition in his objection to the step the Government are now taking. I suppose the Government have a right if they choose to go on with any business on the paper, but I believe it was quite unexpected by honorable members, many of whom have gone away, that this very important measure would be brought on to-night.
– I said positively the other night that this matter would be proceeded with.
– At this late hour?
– I did not say anything about the late hour.
– A good many honorable members who support the Government had no idea that this matter was to be brought on.
– That is their lookout, not mine. I told them distinctly what it was proposed to do.
– It is of no use for the acting Prime Minister or the Attorney-General to call this a formal stage of the Bill.
– It is.
– It is nothing of the kind. The sole purpose and object for which this House is entitled to have a message claiming an appropriation placed before it, is to give honorable members this opportunity of discussing fully every matter in connexion! with the proposal.
– It is an opportunity that is very seldom availed of, at any rate.
– It may be very seldom availed of, but it is a privilege which is always there to be availed of. If we allow the opportunity to pass, we shall be compelled to debate the matter on the second reading.
– That is the time when it ought to be debated.
– Most distinctly no. The sole purpose and object of having the message considered by a Committee of the Whole is to give honorable members the only opportunity they can have in Committee, where they can speak as often as they like, to thresh out fully the financial proposal before the House.
Sit William Lyne. - And it is seldom availed of.
– It may be, and the honorable gentleman may repeat that over and over again, but none the less one of the necessary safeguards that members of Parliament have is the right to criticise and review every financial proposal of the Government. The Government will not gain anything by pressing the matter on at this time. I do not feel at all disposed to regard in any hostile spirit the proposal which I believe is going to be made, but we have no material whatever before us to enable us to discuss it. We have not the slightest indication from either of the Ministers at the table of what that proposal, or the amount involved, is to be. We have no explanation before us, and we are asked, with our eyes shut, to swallow an unknown proposition, so far. as this stage is concerned.
– Unknown proposition !
– It is unknown so far as any statement has been made. We all know the almost religious enthusiasm with which the Treasurer has always pressed forward this subject, and we all like him for it, and appreciate his action, but that does not relieve the Government of the necessity of treating the House in the way in which it is entitled to be treated. Since I have been a member of this House I have spent some time in reading up, as well as I have been able, the various reports which have been obtained about this proposal. I am prepared to approach the subject in a fair way, and my inclination is rather in favour of what I understand the proposal to be.
– Has the .honorable member read the Treasurer’s report of his trip to that country ?
– I have not, but when the Government desire to obtain the sanction of the House to a proposal which it is known meets with the disapproval of a considerable number of those who have been members of the House for some time-
– The House wasalmost unanimous last dme.
– Perhaps the honorable gentleman may persuade the House to be absolutely unanimous this time. It is not right to go through what is called a formal proceeding at this very late hour, and the business ought to be brought on at a time when we can approach it with our minds fresh, instead of wearied.
.- I have a suggestion to make to the Minister of Trade and Customs, which I think may result in the saving of much Government time. The Bill, when it is introduced, will probably pass through this House without very much trouble; but in another place it has always been tested. If the Minister requested a colleague to originate this proposal in another place, and merely ask for authority to make a survey, and he afterwards included in the Estimates the cost of making the survey, he could get the matter tested in that place at once, and, if it were passed there, it could be submitted for our approval. Otherwise much time may be lost.
– If we do not get other business placed on the notice-paper, we shall have to go on with the Quarantine Bill to-morrow.
– I understand that the Minister has made a solemn promise not to go on with that Bill to-morrow.
– I did not make a binding promise.
– Are not all of the Minister’s promises binding? I have made a suggestion whereby I think much time can be saved. I would ask the Minister to agree to report progress now and resume the consideration of this motion to-morrow.
– Yes, if honorable members will allow me to bring in the Bounties Bill and fix a date for its second reading. It is ready to be introduced now.
– I proposed, not to offer any factious opposition to this motion, but merely to test the feeling of honorable members. If, however, the Minister should seek to deprive the members of the Opposition of an opportunity to discuss the proposal at one stage, of course I shall have to reconsider my attitude. We have had no Ministerial statement on the subject. We do not know what route is to be followed, or whether the concurrence of the people of South Australia has been obtained. I hope, however, that even, at almost the eleventh hour, the Minister will see reason to report progress.
– I understand the Minister’s anxiety to get some business done, but, so far as I can see, the trouble is that Ministers have no Bills prepared to go on with. I understood the Minister of Trade and
Customs to say just now that he wants to proceed with the Bounties Bill.
– I want to get the Bill read a first time to-night, so that it may be circulated.
– What, then, would be the course of business to-morrow ?
– We propose to resume the consideration of the motion before the Committee. But I want to have other business on the- notice-paper too.
– On that understanding, I shall resume my seat.
In Committee: (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s Message.)
Motion (by Mr. Groom) proposed -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a Bill for an Act to provide for the payment of bounties on the production of certain goods.
.- It does seem to me most unusual that immediately after we have adjourned the consideration of one proposal on account of the lateness of the hour, the Ministry should coolly come forward with a similar motion regarding a proposal which, to my mind, is very much more complicated than the other, and very much less understood by honorable members.
– How much is the amount involved ?
– The amount to be spent on bounties in one year is about ten times as much as is proposed to be spent on the job which is contemplated under the other proposal ?
– There is no amount stated.
– Under the last Bill, I think, £250,000 in one year was the maximum amount which was to be spent in bounties. A bounty system is of the utmost importance for the development of many industries within the Commonwealth, and I am prepared to enthusiastically support the proposed measure so far as certain items are concerned ; but progress having been reported in Committee on the consideration of a preceding Order of the Day almost immediately after it was called on, we should have some explanation of the action of the Ministry in now attempting to deal with another Order of the Day involving much more serious propositions. In mv opinion, the present stage is a purely formal one, to which no honorable member has any right to offer factious opposition, because the principles of the measure concerned can be discussed on the motion for its second reading ; but the Ministry having reported progress on another measure at this stage, it is unreasonable for them to proceed with the Bounties Bill. The leader of the House should tell us why this step has been taken at this late hour.
– I am surprised at the captious remarks of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie. I was desirous of proceeding further with the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill ; but, as it was probable that the motion concerning it would provoke a long debate, lasting until the early hours of the morning, and I did not wish to keep the House late, I allowed an adjournment on the understanding that there would be no opposition to the introduction and the first reading, of the Bounties Bill. If I had persisted in going on with the other Bill, we might have been here all night without getting anything done. Had I thought that anything would be gained in persisting with the other Bill,. I should have gone on, as the honorable member knows. The step I took was in the interests of the Railway Survey Bill. If there is a second reading debate on the motion for .consideration in Committee of the GovernorGeneral’s message, it may shorten the discussion on the second reading. At any rate, it is not because I wish to keep back the Bill that I have taken the course with which the honorable member finds fault.
– It is well known that I take a great deal of interest in the project of a railway to connect the eastern and western/ States of Australia.; but I do not think that fault can justly be found with the Minister’s action in regard to postponing the discussion on it until to-morrow. While it is somewhat unusual to discuss in Committee the motion for the consideration of the Governor-General’s message recommending an appropriation for a Bill, honorable members have a perfect right to discuss it if they choose to do so, and I do not object to the exercise of that right in regard to this Bill.
– Why should not honorable members be consistent and discuss both Bills in Committee?
– Those who represent Western Australia are no doubt a little sensitive on this subject, and feel that this railway proposal should not receive more adverse attention than other measures of the Government. I am sorry that the acting leader of the Opposition has not allowed the present stage to be taken as formal, deferring the discussion of the measure until the second reading ; but while I was at first somewhat irritated at the adjournment of the debate, I feel now that honorable members are strictly within their rights in the action they have taken, and I am most anxious not to appear as being desirous of interfering with those rights.
.- When the leader of the Government intimated a few minutes ago that the discussion on the Railway Survey Bill would be adjourned, the Treasurer was unmistakably disgusted ; but some one has since whispered something into his ear, and now he is an apologist for the action which offended him only a few minutes since. This sudden change of attitude is only in keeping with his political conduct during the past few months. But whatever attitude the Treasurer may take, the Government had no right to allow the Opposition to control the business. From the Opposition point of view, what happened is right enough, and if I were a member of the Opposition I should be extremely pleased. The Opposition has only threatened to make a little trouble, and Ministers have thrown up their hands and said, “ Don’t shoot! “ If the desire of the Minister was simply to let honorable members away early, what justification had he in proceeding to deal with another measure? The Minister of Trade and Customs may arrogate to himself the right to’ specially lecture me as often as he chooses, but that will not deter me from expressing my opinion upon the actions of the Government. I utterly fail to see that there is any more urgency for the passing of this Bill than there was for passing the measure which’ preceded it upon the business paper. If the Government have realized that it is time the “ tired “ contingent from Sydney were allowed to leave for their homes, there is nothing upon that paper the consideration of which cannot be deferred until tomorrow. The Ministry upon numerous occa sions recently have adopted a most spineless attitude. They have demonstrated that they have not the capacity to lead the House. Upon some occasions they look to one quarter of the Chamber for assistance, and upon others they hold out’ the olive branch to another section of honorable members. I repeat that there was absolutely no justification for their abandonment of the position which they had taken up to-night.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported and adopted.
That Mr. Groom and Sir William Lyne do prepare and bring in a Bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Mr. Groom, and read a first time.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I hope that the Acting Prime Minister will indicate the order of business for to-morrow.
– In reply to the deputy-leader of the Opposition, I wish to say that the first business for tomorrow willbe the second reading of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill. It will entirely depend upon the discussion of that measure as to what we shall afterwards proceed with.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.12 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 July 1907, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19070716_reps_3_36/>.