3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the electoral district of North Sydney.
Mr. HUME COOK presented a petition from Mr. John Robertson, M.A., of Ascot Vale, praying the House to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into his plans for altering the law of legal tender.
– In view of the communications which have been received from the Premiers of New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania, and from the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, urging delay in connexion with the Quarantine Bill until the authorities of the States have had timeto consider its provisions, does the ActingPrime Minister intend to proceed with themeasure without giving the opportunity for consideration which is asked for?
– I have replied to the communications which have been made to me on the subject that the consideration of the Quarantine Bill cannot befurther postponed. The measure was presented on the 10th July, so that the authorities of the States have surely had time inwhich to make any representations in connexion with it that they may think necessary.
– The following paragraph, referring to the Shepparton Post Office, appeared in the Melbourne Age on. Saturday last -
Much indignation is aroused at the growing tendency of the Postal Department to employboy labour in the local office. Out of nine employes there are six boys. Some of them have only been a few days or weeks in the service, and they are called upon to do such responsible work as sorting mails and delivering letters. The time of two adult employes is. mostly taken up with counter and telegraphic- work, whilst the postmaster himself has to attend to the sub-treasury and land office in addition to his other duties.
Is the Postmaster-General aware that this state of affairs exists at Shepparton? Will he call fora report as to the extent to which the same practice exists in other offices ?
– Yes. I shall ask for a report, upon not only the Shepparton office, but also in regard to the employment of boy labour generally. It was the policy of my predecessor, as it is my policy, that boys shall be employed only where their labour can be legitimately used. We are doing our bestto enforce that policy, for the advantage of the Commonwealth service, as well as in the interests of the boys themselves.
– The following passage appears on page 584 of the Westminster Review for May last - “ You may try to stifle it, but when Labour is throttling you, you will have to look to Colonial preference for help.” Thus Sir William Lyne to a Tribune interviewer ! A bad slip on his part. Sir William is a Conservative, a promonopoly and anti-Labour man, and he knows right well that if the Labour men of Australia had not been only too successfully side-tracked by the raising of the protectionist issue they would long ere this have throttled monopoly and privilege.
Did the Acting Prime Minister use the words attributed to him?
– The honorable member should know me well enough to be aware that the report is absolutetly untrue.
-Will the Minister of Trade and Customs lay on the table, or otherwise make available to honorable members, the proposals in regard to the grading of butter submitted by the Conference of experts?
– I shall be glad to furnish the House, at the earliest opportunity, with all the information available regarding the work of the Conference.
– Will the Acting
Prime Minister take steps to contradict the immigration advertisements which have been published in the United Kingdom, and to which reference has been made on previous occasions? Will he also contradict the statement which has been again made by the
Premier of New South Wales, that 2,000 miners are’ needed in that State ? I know myself that fifty miners could not find employment there, if they were available.
– If the honorable member will submit copies of the advertisements to which he refers, I shall be glad to take the matter into consideration. I cannot promise to deal with all the advertisements which have been published until I know exactly what they contain.
asked the Acting Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
-The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
It may be added that the experiment, made for the first time under novel conditions, though fairly satisfactory so far as it went, will be utilized in the preparation of another scheme, by which the Government would repay directly the actual amount of duty collected in each case. This will receive the consideration of the Prime Minister at an early date.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This measure has been introduced because of a difficulty which has arisen under the Act of 1905, section 20 of which provides that -
The Lieutenant-Governor may make and execute under the public seal of the Territory, in the name and on behalf of the King, grants and dispositions of any land within the Territory which may be lawfully, granted or disposed of in the name of the King, but so that
No freehold estate in any such land shall be granted or disposed of.
In 1896, Mr. H. A. Wickham leased a group of islets known as the Conflict Group.
– Was he not connected with Sir Somers Vine’s syndicate?
– I cannot say.
– Does he represent a syndicate ?
– I do not think so; this Is a special contract with Mr Wickham. It is a small group of islands known as the Conflict Group. It included a lagoon and was leased in 1896 by the executive of New Guinea toMr. Wickham for a period of 25 years, for the purpose of growing cocoanuts and sponges. The lease contained a clause which reads as follows -
The lessee shall, have the right at any time during the subsistence of this lease to purchase all or one or more of the islands hereby leased : at. the price of 5s. an acre.
It was a lease with the right of purchase. On the 6th August, 1906, Mr. Carpenter, who was attorney for Mr. Wickham, applied to purchase the land in accordance with the condition of the lease. The matter was considered in the Executive Council on the 9th August, and as it was manifest that under the covenant he had the right of purchase, the Government felt morally bound to grant the application, and an order was made that the applicant be informed that he could purchase the land in accordance with the conditions of the lease and for a grant to issue.
– Can the Minister say whether all that was done after the introduction of the Papua Bill?
– The option was. exercised after the introduction of the Papua Bill, which was assented to on the 16th November, 1905, but not proclaimed until September, 1906.
– The clause in this Bill is only following put clauses which were passed in previous Bills.
– Possibly ; but the right which the lessee had under the lease was one which came into existence during 1896.
– But the provision we are now asked to affect is only carrying out clauses which were passed in previous Bills.
– It was considered in the House the year before-.
– We passed a similar provision two years before.
– Possibly. On the 30th August the Chief Government Surveyor forwarded the deed of grant to the Resident Magistrate, and therein the area of these islets - they are very small - was fixed at 6,000 acres-
– What does the Minister call “very small?”
– The whole area was estimated by the Government at 6,000 acres. That estimate was. disputed. However, by a letter of the 14th September, 1906, Mr. Carpenter suggested the area as at (3,000 acres. The deed issued for 6,000 acres. The area being disputed, the authorities were quite prepared to arrange on the basis that the area was 3,000 acres.
– The lessee was so satisfied with his bargain.
– The information I have is that Mr. Campbell, resident magistrate of the eastern division in which the Conflict Group lies, has given his opinion that the area does not exceed 1,800 acres.
– Has no survey been made ?
– No. That is the only information we have been able to get as to the area. The Executive are satisfied with the estimate of 3,000 acres, and. Mr. Carpenter suggested he was prepared to accept that area. It is not so much the area as the issuing of the grant which is in question.
– On what area did Mr. Wickham pay rent under his lease?
– I cannot state the exact area.
– That is rather important.
– It does not affect the principle at issue.
– Was it more than an acre?
– I am not in a position to give the area on which Mr. Wickham paid rent. After the application had been made and the grant issued for the excess area, the Papua Act came into force, in September, 1906, and the Executive of New Guinea were of the opinion that it prohibited them from granting the deed. The matter was referred to the Commonwealth Government, and the advice they received was that in consequence of the grant of this title being prohibited by law, they could not comply with the contractual arrangement which bad been made with Mr. Wickham before the date of the passing of the Papua Act. Accordingly we introduce this amending Bill providing that-
Nothing in the Papua Act 1905 shall be deemed to prevent grants or dispositions of freehold estates in land within the Territory being made in pursuance of rights of purchase acquired under the law of British New Guinea before the commencement of that Act.
– Is it not better to let Mr. Wickham claim damages rather than make him a solitary freeholder?
– No; inasmuch as this was a contractual right which was granted before the passing of thePapua Act, and he had fulfilled all the conditions of his contract, and a deed had been issued for an area which admittedly is far in excess of that to which he was entitled, it is only fair and just to put him in the same position as if the deed had been properly issued.
– The deed is of no value.
– No, the desire now is to do justice to Mr. Wickham.
– I wish that the Government had been actuated by these finely-drawn theories of justice when Captain Strahanbrought his action.
– The Bill is not limited to Mr. Wickham, but I have an official assurance that this is the only case affected; and inasmuch as the object is simply to do justice to a man who entered into a contract prior to the passing of the Papua Act, . I ask the House to pass the measure.
– This is one of these matters in which the Government must be prepared to take the responsibility. It must be apparent that at the time of the introduction of the Papua Bill in 1905, Mr. Wickham was content to sleep upon such rights as he possessed, and did not deem It incumbent upon him to make application tohave his leasehold converted into a freehold until some time after that legislation had been introduced into this Chamber. Of course, no exception can be taken to a man. asserting himself in this way, and seeking to obtain his rights in a constitutional manner, and there can be no doubt, I think that the Commonwealth is under an obligation to Mr. Wickham either to convert his title into a freehold or to purchase his leasehold from him. Or, it may be, that the adoption of a middle course - the payment of reasonable compensation for refusing to convert his leasehold into a freehold, and declining to purchase his leasehold - would meet the broad demands of justice. But I wish to point out the inconvenience under which the House laboursby reason of honorable members not having been permitted to become familiar with the details of this case until now. I certainly think it a very proper thing to ask the Attorney-General to consent to adjourn the debate for a little while so that we may investigate the circumstances surrounding it. It is a case which is to stand by itself, and it occurs to me that sincewe have prohibited land-owning in New Guinea in future, it would be very unwise indeed to set up this man as the one land-owner in that Territory. Personally, I should be prepared to pay him reasonable compensation in preference to constituting him the only landowner in the Territory we are set to administer.
– Would he be the only land-owner ?
– I learn from the honorable member for Robertson that there are a number of land-owners in the Territory. I should like to know if that is the case.
– There are no similar tenants who have leases, but there are freeholders. There are no leaseholders who have the right of purchase.
– This is the only case, I understand, in which a leaseholder has been given the right of purchase.
– It is the only casein which a leaseholder had the right of purchase outstanding at the time of the passing of the Act. :
- Mr. Wickham’s is the only case, I suppose, in which a man who could have purchased the freehold preferred to accept a lease? For ten years he preferred to exercise his right of leasing, and only when the Act was passed did he step in and assert his right to convert his leasehold into a freehold.
– That is no uncommon thing.
– The fact remains that he did not exercise his right during ten years.
– Not until the Act was passed which prohibited the granting of freeholds in Papua.
– Presumably Mr. Wickham did not exercise his right during ten years because he preferred his leasehold to a freehold. I say that this ought not to be a singular case under the Act. Either we ought to pay him some reasonable compensation and purchase back what has been granted to him already - his right to convert his holding - or it should be open to others to obtain similar conversions. This House either wisely or unwisely has determined that in future there shall be no grants in fee simple of the l and in Papua. At the present time we are holding the lands there as trustees for the natives. That, I take it, is the meaning of the legislation we have passed, but it seems that in this case an exception is to be made, because of a right of conversion granted when Mr. Wickham took up this land ten years ago. It is to be regretted that the information which the Attorney-General has supplied to us today was not forthcoming when the Act was being passed. I presume that he has given us all the facts of the case.
– Although the Act was assented to in 1905, it was not proclaimed until a later period, until September,
– I understand that Mr. Wickham’s application to convert his leasehold into a freehold was made before the Act came into force?
– The Act was assented to on a certain date, but did not come into operation until a proclamation had been issued.
– I take it that the proposed conversion cannot be effected until this Bill be passed? Or is the measure merely a validating one?
– No: Mr. Wickham is absolutely prohibited from receiving a grant in fee simple until this Bill be passed.
– In the absence of fuller information only two courses are open to us - either to consent to the Bill being passed, and allow the Government to assume the whole responsibility for it or to secure a postponement of its consideration until fuller details are supplied, and honorable members have had an opportunity to consider them. I suggest that the Bill might verywell be allowed to stand over until to-morrow or the next day, so that honorable members may have an opportunity to consider it in the light of the information which the AttorneyGeneral has given us.
– What further information does the honorable member desire ?
– I want to be afforded an opportunity to look into the statements which the Attorney-General has made.
– I have a copy of the lease issued to Mr. Wickham.
– In a case of this kind the Attorney-General might well have circulated’ copies of that lease with copies of the Bill. That course is frequently adopted by Ministers.
– I am quite willing to give the honorable member any information that he desires, and to agree to an adjournment of the debate.
– At present I am not able to grasp the exact position except in a general way, and nobody can grasp it unless he has an opportunity to think over the information which has been supplied by the Attorney-General. I therefore suggest that the further consideration of the Bill might very well be postponed until to-morrow.
– I amquite willing that that course should be adopted.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral a copy of the lease?
– Then I would suggest that some honorable member should move the adjournment of the debate.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Henry Willis) adjourned.
In Committee : (Consideration resumed from 16th July, vide page 559).
Clause 2 -
This Act shall commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation.
– -I should like to hear from the Minister a statement of his intentions in regard to this Bill. As the honorable gentleman is well aware, every State in the Union has already expressed most decided objections to some of the features of the measure. Whilst I do not pretend to say that the objections of the States authorities should be allowed ultimately to prevail in connexion with the . legislation of this House, it does seem to me that where there is such a unanimous request for further consideration as there has been in connexion with this Bill, the least we might expect from the Minister is a statement of his intentions concerning it. I presume the honorable gentleman has not thrown the Bill on the table in a “ take it or leave it “ attitude, but desires the assistance of the Committee to mould it into a measure that will be generally acceptable. I therefore invite the honorable gentleman at this stage to say how far he intends to proceed with this Bill, having regard to its scope, nature, and ultimate object. For instance, does he intend that the Commonwealth Government should assume all the powers provided for by the Bill as it stands in regard to the control of quarantinable diseases, of the transfer of animals from State to State, and particularly in regard to the control of quarantine affecting plants ? These are powers which have not heretofore been incorporated in a general Quarantine Act applicable to the’ whole of the States, and I therefore invite the Minister to explain his intention as to the scope of the measure and how far he proposes to meet the grave and serious difficulties which have already been raised in almost every State. If the Minister would make some such explanation it would help the Committee very much in the consideration of the Bill.
– I ask the Committee to pass clauses 2 and 3, and when we get to clause 4 it is my intention tosay a few words - for one reason because I received a telegram to-day from the Premier of South Australia to the effect that honorable members representing that State would give expression to the views of the Government of South Australia in this matter.
– I understand that the Premier of New South Wales has communicated directly with the Minister.
– That isso. I have no knowledge in detail of the views of other Premiers, with the exception of an intimation of concurrence by one of the States. I ask the Committee to pass clauses 2 and 3, and if it should subsequently become necessary to alter the method proposed in dealing with the quarantine of plants clause 3 can be recommitted for the purpose.
.- It has struck me that much of the difficulty likely to arise can be avoided by an amendment of clause 2. The States have protested - and I think the feeling of honorable members is in accordance with that protest - that we should confine the operation of the Bill to oversea quarantine.
– I remind the honorable member that the Committee is now dealing with clause 2, and if there is to be a general discussion it can be more conveniently taken on clause 4.
– I am not ask. ing for a general discussion. I propose to suggest an addition to clause 2.
– I ask the honorable member not to do so, for the simple reason that it will not help the Bill.
– Why not? The Minister does not know what I am going to say.
– I think I do.
– I shall bow, not to the wish of the Minister, but to the feeling of honorable members around me, and refrain from saying what I had to say, at this stage.
Mr. W. H. IRVINE (Flinders) [3:35). - Clause 2 provides that the Act shall commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation. I understand that the Government do not intend to bring this measure into operation until a proclamation has been made taking over the Quarantine Departments of the various States?
– Certainly. I should like to add that at present I have it in mind not to bring the measure into operation too soon, in order that time might be given to decide what should be done as between the Commonwealth and the States authorities before the proclamation is issued.
.- I wish to ask the Minister whether, before taking over the Quarantine Departments of the States, he will have a conference with the States authorities as to the working of quarantine through the States officials.
– We are all waiting for a general discussion on clause 4, in which that could be dealt with.
– I am not dealing with clause. 4, which deals with the scope of ihe Bill, and raises the question whether it is to be limited to importations and to quarantine as between State and State. I am dealing with a matter of administration, and I should like to impress upon the Minister the necessity of having what I believe :has not yet been held, namely, a Conference of representatives of the States to discuss how the administration of the law can be best carried on through States officials on behalf of the Commonwealth Government.
– We have already had such a Conference.
– This Bill,’ I understand, <has not been submitted to a conference of officers from the various States.
– They were representatives of the States. I specially asked that they should be.
– I am aware that during the term of office of the honorable member for South Sydney, a Conference of States officials was held in connexion with a Quarantine Bill, but what I should like to have is a conference as to the extent to which the States officials can administer the measure.
– The Conference that was held dealt with that.
– I am glad to hear it. We may be able to take advantage of the report of that Conference. In politics many things happen within three years, and a desire was recently expressed to me by a. Minister of the Crown in South Australia that such a Conference should now be held, as I am informed was held three years ago. I ask the Minister, before he makes the necessary proclamation taking over the States Departments to consult the States authorities, as to the extent to which they -can assist in matters of administration.
.- I can bear out the remarks of the honorable member for Angas-. I am aware, as the leader of the Labour Party has said, that a Conference of quarantine officials was held in 1904 at his request and direction, but if *the honorable gentleman will refer to the report of that Conference, he will see that ;amongst other things,’ they were asked to reply to the question -
What restrictions should be placed on importation of animals .and animal products ? and they found that so serious a matter and so different from what they had ‘ ex pected they would be required to deal with, that they replied in this way -
The Conference considers that uniformity of quarantine restrictions on animals and plants throughout the Commonwealth is desirable ;. but that the necessary measures differ so widely from those required for restraining the importation of diseases in human beings as to make it inexpedient to consider them,. and this is the point. - unless it be in consultation with representatives specially conversant with those subjects, convoked in conference for that purpose.
I take it that the Conference to -which the leader of the Labour Party has referred was composed of medical men.
– It was composed of representatives of each of the States. It was merely accidental that those representatives were medical men.
– Judging by the number of letters after the names of the members of the Conference they would ‘appear to be very eminent medical men. I know enough of the men who composed that Conference to say that they were concerned chiefly with the quarantine for diseases affecting human beings.
– I remind the honorable member that clause 2 is before the Committee.
– I am merely upholding the contention of the honorable member for Angas, who also spoke on clause 2.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 -
In this Act, Quarantine has relation to measures for the exclusion, detention, segregation, isolation, protection, and disinfection of vessels, persons, good’s, animals, or plants, and having as their object the prevention of the introduction or spread of diseases or pests affecting man, animals, or plants.
– I do not feel disposed at the present stage- to make any promise as to the extent to which the Government will be prepared to recede from the position it has taken- -up in regard to the scope of this Bill, or as to the amendments to which it will agree. I desire, however, to say that there is no likelihood of our retiring from the position we have taken up in regard to the Federal quarantine of human- beings from oversea and between States. The only objection that seems to be entertained on the part of some of the States relates to the quarantining of plants, with the object of preventing the spread of fruit pests.
– I do not think that there is any complaint on the part of the
States as to the Commonwealth having control of the quarantining of plants from oversea.
– I do not think there is, but there is some objection by the States Governments to Federal control as between the States. I do not intend at this stage to give any pledge. I should like this question to be discussed before I make any promise as to the extent’ to which we shall be prepared to recede from the position we have taken up, and I think that such a discussion might fairly take place on this clause. We intend to adhere to our proposal that the Bill shall apply to Inter-State quarantine so far as human beings are concerned, and probably in relation to animals passing between the States. The only serious objection raised so far seems to relate really to the Commonwealth having control of quarantine measures to prevent the spread of fruit pests. I notice that on Saturday last a meeting was held at Glenorchy, near Hobart, at which it wa§ urged that we should not have that power. This Bill, which, is a very comprehensive one, also gives the Federal Government power to quarantine certain areas within a State. I recognise that it is difficult to deal with some of these matters, and wish it to be understood that we are not so wedded to the provisions of the Bill as not to be prepared to listen to any well-founded reason for altering any of its minor details. In reply to the honorable member for Flinders, who referred to the date on which this measure was likely to be brought into operation, I may say that at present I am inclined to think that it should not be brought into operation until the beginning of next year. I do not believe that we could make all the necessary arrangements before January next. As to the point raised by the honorable member for Angas, I may say at once that we shall do everything in our power to work harmoniously with the States in the administration of this measure. It is not our intention to try to run counter to the States. One of the first duties of the Minister administering it will be to confer with the States Governments as to the best means of utilizing the machinery which they have at present in operation. The question as to how far we should work in harmony with the States was also raised when the Commerce Bill was under consideration.
– The same question will be raised every time that we take over a Department from them.
– Quite so; and! I am prepared to deal with that point. It fell to my lot to administer the Commerce Act .as soon as it came into operation, and I took such action that the States are now practically administering its provisions relating to internal matters. We have a governing power which we may exercise if necessary, but so far as I an* aware, no interference with the States hasyet occurred. We have no desire to interfere unduly with the States administration” in- relation to any matter of internal quarantine unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. In certain extreme cases it might be necessary (for the Commonwealth tostep in, and therefore we need to have power just as we have under the Commerce Act to do so. Many suggestions have come from New South Wales, and I should! like to read a report by the Secretary tothe Attorney-General, who drafted thisBill, as to its scope.
– Why -did not the honorable gentleman have it printed and! distributed ?
– I did not think it was necessary. This report is really an answer to the report made by Dr. Ashburton! Thompson, Chairman of the Board? of Health, New South Wales.
– Is Dr. AshburtonThompson an authority on quarantine?
– He is the Health Officer of the New South WalesGovernment.
– That may be one of the reasons why he is not an authority.
– At any rate, he has made various suggestions to Mr. Carruthers with reference to amendments in this Bill ; and the memorandum from Mr. Garran contains information which, I think,, honorable members will desire to have, lt is as follows -
Memorandum upon Report by Department ofPublic Health, New South Wales. .
That the Bill empowers the Commonwealth’ Government to take over the management of epidemic diseases in States apart from importation by particular ships.
The Bill does not empower the Government to take over the management of epidemic diseases - though it does empower the Government to take steps for the isolation of diseases within the Commonwealth which are likely u» spread and become a national danger. State’ powers of treatment and suppression of disease are not interfered with.
The power of the Commonwealth is derived not only from section 69 of the Constitution, but also from section 51, sub-section 9 - and, incidentally, from other provisions (section, 51, sub-section 1). I cannot see any basis for the view that the Commonwealth power is confined, to known importation by particular ships, and. cannot see how a doubt could possibly arise as to the Commonwealth power to deal with a case of, say, small-pox, because the particular ship by which the patient arrived, or which was the source of infection, is not known.
The term “ Quarantine “ has long been used in England, in Australia, and elsewhere, as applying, not only to maritime quarantine in relation to human diseases, but also as to land quarantine and quarantine of animals. See Imperial Diseases of Animals Act 1894, section 26, schedule 3, &c. ; New South Wales Stock Act1901, part IV., sections 146, 151, &c. ; United States Act of April 29, 1878, chapter 66.
– Does the Minister intend to circulate the paper from, which he is reading ?
– I do not think that it will be necessary to circulate it as a separate paper. It will be published in Hansard.
– We wish to see particularly the list of Acts to which the memorandum refers.
– The document proceeds -
Dr. Thompson’s proposal to confine the Act to maritime quarantine appears inconsistent with the proposal that clause 11 should stand “in order that the Government may take control of land traffic at the frontiers of States if necessary.”
As to Dr. Thompson’s observation that there can be no State quarantine station - there is nothing to prevent a State maintaining stations for the local isolation of epidemic diseases.
As to land quarantine of animals and plants, Dr. Thompson advises a separate Act or Acts drawn with skilled reference to the technical knowledge involved. In this Bill, these provisions are dealt with in a separate part of the Act, except so far as they can conveniently be dealt with in the general provisions. “ Proclaimed place.” ‘ Dr. Thompson says : - “Say what the proclamation effects.” The Bill does this; clauses 32, 34, 35.
Order to perform quarantine, clause 35. - The new sub-clause proposed by Dr. Thompson would unduly limit the power to order a vessel into quarantine.
Objection 2 -
That the Bill deals with widely different subjects - maritime quarantine, isolation within the States, restraint of animal and plant diseases by sea and on shore - under the one term “ quarantine.”
With respect to all these differing matters, the common feature of quarantine applies - the necessity for isolation, segregation, and the prevention of the spread of disease. . That is the common subject of the whole Bill ; and its various sub-divisions, in its application to men, animals, and plants, and to land and sea, are dealt with in the Bill in different and appropriate ways.
Objection 3 -
That the Bill proposes to leave administration in the hands of the Minister, assisted by the Customs staff, and does not propose to appoint any medical adviser.
This is a misapprehension. The Bill says nothing about the Customs staff, and the power to appoint quarantine officers covers all necessary appointment of the different medical and other experts required for the various purposes of the Bill. The administration is, of course, in the hands of the Minister ; but in its administration all the technical assistance that is required will, of course, be obtained.
Other Objections of Detail -
Clause 67 - Importation of Disease, Germs,&c. -
Dr. Thompson misunderstands the clause, which does not penalize all importation, but only importation “ in contravention of this Act or any proclamation under this Act.” See clause 13, which empowers the GovernorGeneral in Council to prohibit the introduction of disease germs, &c, and to make such prohibition either general or with limitations, and either absolute or subject to specified conditions and restrictions. All that Dr. Thompson asks for is containedin the Bill.
The power to vaccinate is limited by subclause 2 to cases where it is thought necessary for the protection of persons subject to quarantine, or performing quarantine, or for the prevention of the spread of disease.
Leprosy is rightly included as a quarantinable disease. Although a leprous person cannot, after serving a period of quarantine, be admitted to the Commonwealth, it is necessary to be able to deal with him and his belongings, and with the vessel in which he arrives, under quarantine provisions, until it can be. ascertained that he is actually suffering from the disease and the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Act can be put in force.
R. Garran, Secretary,
That is the reply furnished to me by the professional officer at the head of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, to criticisms made against the Bill which he drafted. It answers, I think, all the criticisms which have been made against the Bill, especially those which would confine it to oversea quarantine. As to the clauses dealing with diseased fruit and plants, I shall be prepared, when we come to them, if I hear reasonable arguments, to take a course that will not be in antagonism to the wish of honorable members. But as to Inter-State quarantine, affecting persons afflicted with small-pox, leprosy, and similar diseases, it is the intention of the Government to adhere to the Bill.
– Why does not the Minister say now what he intends to do with : the clauses relating to insect pests?
– I wish the honorable member to know that a great many representations have been made to me, some of them very strong, not to leave out the clauses relating to pests. I shall require to hear good reasons before I consent to deviate from the Bill as it stands. As I have -said, I am quite prepared, when I hear good arguments, to .deal fairly with that matter. But I am not prepared to make a statement now. It might not be wise to do so. To omit the clauses in question might not be in accordance with the desire of the majority of honorable members, or of persons outside who are principally interested. I have read the document prepared by Mr. Garran mainly for the purpose of answering a number of objections to the effect that the Constitution gives us no power to deal with quarantine as the Bill purports to deal with it. The Crown Law officers say most decidedly that the Commonwealth has such power. But it is not desired to exercise a power for which there is no necessity. Take, for instance, the case relating to fruit pests. We have great difficulty in administration at the present time.
– Uniformity is necessary.
– The honorable member is quite right. I shall not mention, any State, but one or two States have practically prohibited the importation of certain fruits from other States ; indeed, one State has imposed such inspection charges as to practically prohibit importation. I am glad to say, however, that that State, on representations that have been made, has reduced this impost. But the fact that there was such an imposition shows the danger there may be in future of interference with Inter-State free-trade, if a State should take steps of the kind to protect its fruit. Only this morning I had a communication from’ one State in regard to inspection dues, and that communication wound up with the statement that really the matter was not one of much consequence, seeing that the State would soon supply enough fruit for itself, and would not require fruit from the eastern States. That is neither Federation nor the spirit of Federation.
– That matter should be dealt with separately from a Quarantine Bill.
– Why bring in two Bills to deal with quarantine matters?
– There is no way of dealing with the matter, except in this Bill. The States could do the same thing without making any inspection charges.
– I only mention this case to show the danger there is that some of the States may go further than they have gone already - that they may go ‘ further ‘than to impose a restriction upon the introduction of disease. There may be some reason underlying the action of the State, so far as fruit is concerned, though at any time animals might be involved.
– And general produce.
– Quite so, and such action would seriously interfere with Inter- State free-trade, to which we attachsuch importance. Under the circumstances we ought to pass a law which, though it may not be put into force, will have the effect of preventing any undue interference with Inter-State free-trade. Unless honorable members have any questions to ask, I do not think there is anything further I need say at present. I look forward to gathering some information from the general discussion upon this .clause.
– I am pleased to hear the Minister say that he is anxious to obtain a little more information as to the feeling of honorable members.- I would be the last to limit the Federal power, where that power exists by a fair construction of the Constitution, and where it should, at a particular time, be applied. We are only too anxious to listen to what the States have to say on a matter of this sort, but it is not for us to bow to every mandate by a particular State, as to how we should discharge our Federal obligations and duties. We must listen to the States, and to men who are experts, and who have had control of the legislation and administration in this connexion hitherto. Having heard their suggestions, we should act according to our best lights, but not so as to curtail the power of making laws that has been handed to us under the Constitution - that is, we should not refrain from exercising, when necessary, the powers vested in us. The Minister has stated that some of the representatives of South Australia would express the views of the Government of that State. I really do not know that any views have been pressed on us by the Government of South Australia. I was anxious to obtain some information j and
I spoke to one of the South Australian Ministers in regard to this Bill. He allowed me to have a report presented to him by one of the chief officers of the Quarantine Department of that State; and in that report the officer expresses anxiety as to some provisions of the Bill. I think the officer is mistaken in some of his expressions of opinion, but he did make a reasonable suggestion - that the administration, as far as possible, should be carried on with the existing staffs of the States, which consist of men of long-standing experience, and thoroughly conversant with the enforcement of the local laws relating to the quarantine of fruit, and so forth, when diseases may be introduced from another State or from abroad. Certain objections are taken to clauses in the Bill, which, I think, are not altogether well founded. Some of those objections, of course, require consideration, but they had better be dealt with when the clauses are before us in Committee. I notice in the report sent to the South Australian Minister a statement that there is no attempt to interfere with internal quarantine - that the Bill does not appear to deal with the working of internal quarantine. I’ do not think that that is the idea of the Commonwealth Government.
– It has been so stated by the Minister.
– I understand from- the Ministerial explanation on the second reading, and from what the Acting Prime Minister has read to-day, that the idea of the Government is that quarantine is practically co-extensive with maritime quarantine, and quarantine as regards the possible introduction of disease from State into State, and with the health laws of the States ; that seems to be the view the Government are acting upon. The Acting Prime Minister now says that if his views are changed or modified in any way he may, perhaps, limit the scope of the Bill to maritime quarantine. I should say that the true scope of the Bill is maritime quarantine, and quarantine between State and State.
– That is what I said. I said that the only point about which there was some doubt , was as to dealing with pests and plants between State and State.
– Of course, that is a subordinate matter; so long as there is no desire to interfere with the operation. of local laws in regard to pests and plants, until our laws and administration are equally effective, all is right.
– Does the Minister include animals?
– I have a paper on< that point, which I shall read presently.
– My view is that we ought to limit the operation of the clause - that we ought to extend our Federal power for the present only to the introduction of disease into the Commonwealth, and itsspread from State to State. Personally, I do not care whether our power is coextensive with all animal life - with fruit as well as with human beings.
– Why not fruit?
– I believe fruit ought tobe included. It is stated by some authorities - for instance, one of the leading authorities in America, Tiedmann. in a work on The State and Federal Control - that, when -Congress does legislate on quarantine, it is practically exclusive legislation - that the two authorities cannot run together, because they overlap so much. If that- be so, it would be inexpedient to limit the operation of the Federal law as regards the subjects that the law covers. It is. geographically that I should seek to apply the initial limitation.
– And that is .doubtful.
– I think that even then there would be a very wide Federal power. Let us take the case, for instance, of a ship arriving at some port in Australia, which had been proclaimed under the BillThere -might be disease on board, and quarantine might have been ineffective or broken, and in such case I think it would be within the Federal power to follow persons who had left the ship, although they might have gone 300 miles inland,, and quarantine them locally. In my opinion, the Federal power would not be obliged to bring those persons back, to the port in order to quarantine them. That would be an extraordinary limitationof the implied power deducible from the one expressly granted, in view of some dictain the judgments in the case of the Commissioners of Taxation v. Baxter, especially in the able judgment of Mr. JusticeIsaacs, referring to Keeley v. Carson. In Australia, as well as in America., there is- the doctrine of implied power, though,, perhaps, the necessity for its extension is not so great here. Assuming-, that quarantine be broken, or ineffective, there is the implied power to foi lowpersons who have arrived by a tainted? ship’, and to impound them the best way we can, although they may have travelled 300 miles from the port of importation. If that be so, I think that, even. if we limited- the scope of the Bill to quarantine in. relation to vessels arriving from oversea, and in relation to the introduction of disease from State to State> we should still have very extensive powers for preventing the introduction and spread of disease. Quarantine has relation only to the introd’uction or spread of disease, and scarcely to the cure- of disease, which is a matter for the health laws of the States. It may be said that if you cure a- disease it cannot spread ; but still that seems to me to be a peculiar interpretation of the power given to the Federation in the Constitution, considering that the States deal directly with the cure of disease in connexion with their hospitals.. I would, therefore, limit the scope of this provision to preventing introduction to the Commonwealth from oversea, or the spread from- State to State, of diseases.
– The spread of diseases from State to State by sea?
– I do not say by sea. Of course, disease could only be brought from outside the Commonwealth by sea. I use the word “ introduction “ to express introduction into the Commonwealth. We can get what is required by an amendment of the clause. When hurriedly reading *he Bill on its introduction, I made a note at the side of clause 4 to amend it by adding after the word “ introduction “ the words “ into the Commonwealth.” It -would- then read -
The prevention of the introduction into the Commonwealth. . . .
I would then add after the word “ spread” the words “ from one State to another.” With those amendments, the clause would deal with the prevention of the. introduction into the Commonwealth, o~ the spread from State to State, of the diseases mentioned. That is. a very extensive power. It does not cut down any greater power that we have, or lessen the expediency of exercising that greater power when- occasion requires it.
– Would it deprive the States of their present powers in that direction ?
– No. That is the point. I do not think it deprives the States, for instance, of their power in relation to pests extending from State to State, except so far as the provisions of this Bill may clash with- the local provisions. We shall find as we go along that there are very extensive provisions dealing with pests in fruit going from State to State. If State provisions clash with those, clearly the State provisions go, but I do- not think that we can deny to a State the right to- have an administrative Department to enforce, so far as it can, its local laws, which are not opposed to the Federal laws, or even to co-operate with the Federal power in carrying out the Federal laws. There can be ho clashing between the two- administrations, because that of the Federation would, always be supreme. We might make a law which was practically the same as a. State law, or an improvement on it, and it might be that the States would wish to apply that law. They axe perfectly entitled to do’ so. They cannot create machinery to clash with the . Federal machinery, nor can (hey, if they have the machinery,, apply any law which is against the terms of any Federal Act. But, so far as they do not act contrary to a Federal Act, there is nothing to prevent them insuring greater caution by co-operating with the Federation in the administration of the Federal law. So far as our law does not contradict or clash with the State law, the State law remains, and can be administered either by the Federal Government, or - I say it, of course, with some diffidence - by the State.
– How can we tell that there will be conflict until we know the terms of the Federal regulations?
– The honorable member is quite right.. We cannot tell what will happen’ so long as very wide powers of regulation are given.
– This House can object to the regulations.
– We have power to disallow regulations when they are placed on the table, of the House. I am only speaking generally of. what the policy ought to be. There seems to be an opinion in some of the States - I have shown what that of the South Australian Department is - that there is no attempt, at present in this Bill to go beyond “quarantine,” according to what I believe was its real signification at the time the Constitution Bill was passed1. This morning [ read a little into the meaning- of the word “ quarantine “ to see if we could get any further light than was thrown on the question by the excellent speeches of the honorable and learned member for Flinders and others who spoke on the second reading. I find that there was no idea in the Convention that any attempt would be made by the Federation, under the power given in paragraph ix. of section 51 of the Constitution, to assume the right to deal with the curative machinery of the States - the health laws of the States - which, to some extent, also deal with segregation and isolation.
– Yet, when Mr. O’Connor moved to narrow the definition, his motion was rejected.
– I was going to refer to that point, to show what the idea of Mr. - now Mr. Justice - O’Connor was. On page 1072 of the Debates of the Australasian Federal Convention, held in Sydney, it is recorded that he moved to vary the term “quarantine” by substituting these words -
Public health in relation to infection or contagion from outside the Commonwealth.
He was beaten on that motion, but the idea of the Convention can be gathered from a few extracts from one or two speeches. Of course, I know that those speeches do not interpret the Constitution. As a matter of fact, the Courts will not allow the reading of Hansard to tell them what is meant by Parliament in matters in dispute.
– The Chief Justice recently held that it could be done.
– He held in a recent case that it could not. I am very much surprised by what the honorable and learned member for Bendigo says, because in the case of Tasmania v. Victoria the Court held that Hansard could not be quoted. The same principle was laid down in previous decisions. It was held that Hansard could not be accepted as a means of getting at the history of enactments. The Chief Justice said that quotations could be made from any number of documents, such as the records of the amendments made in Parliament, or the various stages of Bills, to show what was meant, but that recourse must not be had to Hansard. The reason is, of course, that one cannot take the speech of any member in order to show what was finally determined, although one can quote as evidence the various stages - such as the Conventions at Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney in the case of the Constitution Act - through which a Bill passed, and the various forms in which the clauses were originally drafted before they arrived at their final stage. That could be discovered, not from Hansard, but from the records of the Convention. I think that is what the Courts have decided, and have never departed from. On that occasion, Mr. O’Connor said, as reported on page 1071 -
The word “ quarantine “ in its original meaning no doubt applied only to the quarantine of ships - the quarantine of forty days required under the old laws for the purification of a ship from disease. But I think the meaning of quarantine has gradually extended much beyond that, and the word is now applied to an enclosure to prevent diseases that have been contracted on board ship from spreading to the land. It means general powers of isolation in all cases.
He does not seem to think that it should go to the extent of superseding the local health laws, or that it could do so under any fair interpretation.
– If it means segregation and isolation within specified areas, it can be carried right into the middle of a State.
– What I think was in
Mr. O’Connor’s mind, and ought to be in ours, is that quarantine is simply a means of doing something to promote health, and that that particular means of promoting health by preventing the spread of disease has been handed over to us to deal with. That is only one of the means of preserving public health. Quarantine is nothing more than a method of preventing the introduction and spread of disease, and that method of doing so, which consists of isolation, has been placed within the powers of the Federal Parliament.
– In respect of the spread of diseases inter-state, as well as their introduction from oversea.
– No doubt, so far as we respect the provision of section 92 of the Constitution, that trade, commerce, and intercourse between the States are to be absolutely free. That does not make the position here any different from the position in America, because the end we have reached by a specific provision in the Constitution was attained in America by legislation by Congress. As a matter of fact, I believe that in America quarantine, so fares the Federal Government is concerned, islimited to helping the States in the application of their quarantine laws on imports’ from abroad and passing from State to State. If the amendment I suggest iscarried, it will place us exactly in the position arrived at in America.
– They hold that they have reserve powers also in America.
– To help the States in what way - in a subsidiary sense?
– The position is explained very clearly by Mr. Patterson in his book entitled Federal Restraints on State Action. In America they have passed a series of Acts dating back to the commencement of the Federation, which do not enact that the State shall not do this or that, or empower the Federal Government to do this or that as against the Governments of the States; but simply help the Quarantine Departments of the States to give effect to State laws. The Federal control is over trade and commerce between the States and with foreign parts. Congress could, if it liked, enact laws which would clash with the laws of the States in regard to quarantine; but I doubt if it could pass quarantine laws. It would be an extraordinary interpretation of its powers in regard to trade and commerce to say that it could pass a quarantine law. But the Federal authority can do, under its powers in regard to trade and commerce, what is equivalent to enforcing quarantine. Similar action is taken in the United Kingdom under Customs legislation and Admiralty jurisdiction.
– Does not America deal with quarantine under the trade and commerce powers of the Federation?
– Yes; but I do not think that a code of quarantine laws has ever been introduced into Congress. What has been done by the Federal authority there is to aid the authorities of the States in enforcing quarantine, and to restrain them if, under the guise of quarantine legislation, they attempt to interfere with freedom of trade and commerce between the States.
– Still, the authorities say distinctly that when Congress desires to exercise its powers to the full it can do so.
– In America they took their cue from a series of splendid decisions such as that of Chief Justice Marshall iri. the case of Mcculloch v. Maryland. He cut down the assumed powers of the States by declaring the implied scope of the powers of the Federation. But there is a view taken of the constitutional scope of the Federal power which is not acquiesced in by all lawyers, and we must not be too ready to pick out precedents from constitutional primers, and apply them to our institutions.
– We have a specific power to legislate in respect to quarantine.
– Yes. I am replying to the suggestion of the Attorney-General that the American Federation has greater powers than it has exercised. No one knows to what length it can go. The Supreme Court of America, however, has permitted the legislation of the Federation to go far beyond the bounds to which it would have been confined bv some leading- writers on constitutional subjects. On this point, I would refer the Committee to a work which has recently been published. It was written by a Mr. Prentice, and deals with the usurpation of State power under the trade and commerce laws relating to trusts. On some of these laws is founded the decision under which Mr. Rockefeller’s trust has been sentenced to pay ^6,000,000. The basic principle upon which decisions of that kind, so far as they do not clearly relate to ‘trade and commerce, have been founded has been assailed in America by writers of eminence. It therefore does not follow that we should apply to their full extent all the American decisions relating to the trade and commerce provisions of the American Constitution. We have express power to make laws in regard to quarantine. In America, the trade and commerce powers have been used, not to legislate in respect to quarantine^ - I speak on the point subject- to correction - but to prevent the States from interfering with freedom of trade under the guise of quarantine legislation. Congress has also passed Acts, dating from 1789 up to the present time, which declare that the officers of Customs, and others located at the boundaries of the States, and at ports of importation, shall aid the States in enforcing their local laws. That statement is not made by Mr. Patterson, but there is nothing in his work which conflicts with what I “Rave said about the legislation of America. At page 118, Mr. Patterson says -
In making these provisions, the opinion is unequivocally manifested that Congress may control the State laws, so far as it may be necessary to control them for the regulation of commerce.
We control the quarantine laws of the States where they would abrogate to any extent the provisions of the Constitution in regard to the Federal power relating to trade and commerce.
– Does America do this by specific enactment, or by the operation of the Inter-State Commission ?
– By specific enactment. The Commission of 1886 exists under the authority of an Act of Parliament.
– We should possess greater powers than are possessed by the United States Congress, because the power to make laws relating to quarantine is specifically given to us by the Constitution.
– Undoubtedly we have power to make laws relating to quarantine. What I say is that we must rely upon that power, and not upon this extraordinary amplitude of power which the AttorneyGeneral says we must regard as flowing from the trade and commerce provision in our Constitution. If we draw our ideas of the scope of our trade and commerce power from American precedents, these precedents seem to be misapplied. I do not think they go the length of determining that there is in Congress the power to make laws affecting quarantine, although incidentally it may provide for something equivalent to quarantine. In Marshall’s decision in the case of Gibbons v. Ogden, the Chief Justice enumerates “quarantine laws” and “health laws of every description.” I have not found any reference to the two as conjoined and synonymous.
– There is a big distinction between’ them.
– The authorities assume that the distinction exists; the Bill assumes that it does not.
– I do not think so.
– Chief Justice Marshall does not differentiate’ between quarantine laws and health laws, but he distinguishes them as referring to two different sets of ideas. A conflict arose in Canada. There it was thought that the Dominion Government had power to legislate in respect to health matters because of its power to legislate in respect to quarantine. A judgment was given on the point, the dissenting Judge saying that the Dominion Parliament should have the power to establish a central Board of Health to check or coordinate the local Boards. The Canadian interpretation, so far as it is applicable to our conditions, is that the two powers are not coextensive.
– To what case does the honorable member refer?
– To a case mentioned in Quick and Garran, and decided by the Supreme Court of Quebec. It does not seem to have been shaken on appeal. Chief Justice Marshall says -
The Acts of Congress passed in 1796 and 1799, empowering and directing the officers of the general Government to conform to and assist in the execution of the quarantine and health laws of a State, proceed, it ‘is said, upon the idea that these laws are constitutional. It is, undoubtedly, true, that they do proceed upon that idea ; and the constitutionality of such laws has never, so far as we are informed, been denied.
– The State laws?
– No, the Federal laws. He is referring to the Acts of Congress passed in aid of, not in abrogation of, the laws of the States. He continues -
But they do not imply an acknowledgment that a State may rightfully regulate commerce with foreign nations, or among the States; for they do not imply that such laws are an exercise of that power, or enacted with a view to it. On the contrary, they are treated as quarantine and health laws, are so denominated in the Acts of Congress, and are considered as flowing from the acknowledged power of a State to provide for the health of its citizens.
Congress is not empowered by the trade and commerce provisions of the American Constitution to deal with quarantine; at any rate it has no right to exercise such a .power on the assumption that it is given by the Constitution. That is the policy in America, and I ask that the limitation in our case should be practically the same as in that country, remembering that it has been declared that if we exercise any powers of quarantine we shall practically make them exclusive. Under section 69 of the Constitution we have to take over the whole of the Departments,, and therefore to some extent we must interfere with administration.
– That would not necessarily deprive the States of the right to deal with pests within their boundaries.
– No, and that is why I qualified my remark with the words “.to some extent.”
– The honorable member does not say that we should take over the whole of the machinery.
– I do not think we are bound to take over the whole of the Departments at once-.
– The power of dealing with the pests just now in Australia seems to consist largely in shutting the ports.
– I think it is a wise provision. Take the case of South Australia the other day. Some fruit from New South
Wales was landed at one of our ports. There was a remonstrance from New South Wales, but South Australia tested the fruit and after some time it developed the germs of disease.
– That ought to be Federal work.
– No doubt it should be, and under my amendment it would be. 1 think that there is a general feeling in the Committee that we should experiment in our administration of quarantine, and keep in mind the signification of the word at the time of the passing of the Constitution.
– Does the honorable and learned member mean that it should be confined to persons only ?
– No. I would go to the full scope of the enumeration in the Bill. I do not speak in any sense as one who knows much about that part of the subject.
– The honorable and learned member would chance it.
– Yes, I am a Federalist, and I suppose that any prejudice I have would be in the direction of supporting the Federal power. Mr. Isaacs, in opposing the amendment of Mr. O’Connor, and thus helping to defeat it, had no idea that the quarantine extended to the health laws of the States, because he said -
The State can pass its own law, and alter it as it pleases ; but I think it is well to do as was done in the Canadian Act in that respect - to give a power which the Commonwealth might, in case of emergency, employ for the sake of the general health - power to make a law. respecting quarantine, as it is ‘generally understood, so as to preserve all the ports of the Commonwealth, not only from infection from abroad, but also from the danger of any infection which might have reached one port of the Commonwealth spreading to the rest of the Commonwealth.
We could make a law preventing the spread of a disease from ‘one State to other States, and do anything reasonably necessary for the purpose, even though we might require to go a long way from the border to put our machinery in operation. I do not think that the Federal power is limited to the ports. If the object is to prevent the spread of disease from State to State, surely the Commonwealth can go right into the heart of a State, if necessary, and take proper precautions. Therefore, if we put in this limitation of the words, we shall still have a very wide Federal power.
– I do not quite see how we are to limit this power as an auxiliary power to the States. It must be supreme if it runs side by side with aState law.
– It is supreme. Any Acts we pass which are inconsistent with State Acts are supreme ; the latter go to that extent.
– But if we override a State Act that is not helping them.
– We may override the State law, but that will depend upon the wisdom of the Legislature.
– Does the honorable and learned member propose to move an amendment in clause 4 in the direction he men tioned at the beginning of his speech ?
– In order to test the feel ing of the Committee, I propose to move the insertion “of the words “ into the Commonwealth “ after the word “introduction,” and the insertion of the words “ from one State to another “ after the word “spread.” If the Minister thinks it advisable to add to the words “ into the Commonwealth “ the words “ from parts beyond the seas “ I shall not object, but I do not think that the addition is necessary. I now move -
That after the word “ introduction,” line 6, the words “into the Commonwealth” be inserted.
– That will not give an Inter-State power.
– Any words which honorable members may think better I shall be only too happy to substitute for those I have mentioned.
– Will that alteration limit the clause to any material extent?
– I do not think it will limit the clause much. Undoubtedly it will limit the possible scope “of the Bill. If a power exists to interfere with local laws, we negative its exercise.
– It might be argued that certain powers were consequential upon the words used in the clause.
– If there are any other words which will accomplish the object better I shall be prepared to adopt them.
– Is not that which the honorable and learned member proposes implied in the common sense of the clause ?
– The introduction of a pest means its introduction into the Commonwealth.
– Or from one State to another.
– The proposed alteration is not a limitation. It only says what it has. relation to.
– It does not say how far it can go, either.
– I do not wish to say that. I do think that with the introduction of those words there will be no declaration of power or legislation in relation to the health laws of the States.
– What we have to guard against is that we do not prevent the States from dealing with pests internally.
– If we insert this limitation it will make it perfectly clear that we do not wish to do anything in that direction.
– Does the honorable and learned member mean his proposal to be restrictive of paragraphs g, h, and i of clause 13 ?
– When we come to deal with those provisions we shall require to cut them down somewhat. To the extent that their wording is inconsistent with the wording of this clause - if it be amended - it will- be necessary to vary them. I wish to point out that in England the power of . quarantine is regarded as being identical with my proposal in this clause, [f we look at the various Acts from 1825 onwards, we find that they always relate to disease which is imported from abroad, or to the spread of disease from port to port. The Acts speak of vessels. At first, the term “quarantine” was limited to the importation of disease by vessels from abroad. Subsequently the law was unended by extending its application to vessels upon rivers-
– But originally the word applied only to human diseases.
– It applied to animals as well.
– The honorable and learned member’s amendment would exclude from quarantine jurisdiction a vessel trading between Thursday Island and Brisbane.
– That would be a matter in which the State health laws would operate.
– Such a boat might later on enter into Inter-State transit.
– Does the AttorneyGeneral say that the power of quarantine confers upon the Federal authority the power to deal with portion of a State territory ?
– So far as it affects shipping it seems to be necessary.
– I think that the AttorneyGeneral is mistaken. Surely the power of quarantine does not apply to a ship which may travel only 20 miles along the coast of a particular State. I cannot see the necessity for declaring that the operation ‘of this Bill shall extend to the prevention of the spread of disease from one port of Queensland to another port of that State. The local laws of the State can deal with matters of that sort.
– Take the tick pest as an illustration. Under this clause the Commonwealth has power to go into Queensland, and to say, “ You shall make such and such regulations with regard to that pest. You shall do so, because if you do not the pest will come over your borders..”
– The Commonwealth would have that power I admit. The extent of our implied powers is at present a matter of doubt, but I believe that whatever is necessary to give effect to our expressed powers is implied in the Constitution. If it were necessary to go 100 miles into a State to adopt precautions to prevent the Inter-State spread of disease, the Commonwealth has power to go there.
– It would be difficult to “distinguish between the spread of a disease from another State and its spread from one port of that State to another.
– My proposal, is not inconsistent with any amendment which may be moved ‘to that effect.
– It seems that’ it must inevitably lead to. the supersession of State administration.
– I think not. That might be necessary in some cases, but it would not involve the supersession of State administration in others, because it would simply involve the carrying out of a Federal law. It would involve a supersession of State administration if the Federal authority were to enter a State and say, “ You have a place here for the isolation of disease. We direct you to do a certain thing.” But that is not what is contemplated in the carrying out of a Federal law. The Federal authority could not enter a State to destroy the machinery provided by State law.
– Might it not say to . a State, “Your machinery is ineffective. This plague is travelling towards your border as fast as it can, and unless you alter the existing state of affairs we must do so”?
– The Federal authority could not direct a State to alter the machinery .provided by its local health laws. A State might say, “ This machinery is intended to apply purely to local matters.”The Commonwealth could not say, “You must use your State machinery for a dual purpose, namely, for achieving the objects sought to be attained by the State law, and for giving effect to the Federal law.!’
– To give effect to the Federal law the State machinery would require to be set aside.
– It might be duplicated, but it would not be set aside.
– We have to be care- ful not to take any action which may be held by the States to be ultra vires.
– Whether we . make our laws ultra vires or not depends upon the good sense and judgment which we bring to bear upon the framing of our laws.
– It is principally a question of agreement in administering the law.
– No matter what we may do, there will be friction at the beginning, and some necessity for amending the law subsequently. But we ought not to bow too much to the excessive timidity of the States or to their too great jealousy of the Federation.
– Will the honorable member tell us how far the Federal authority would be able to follow disease which has spread in a State - if that disease were imported from another country?
– I should not like to hazard an opinion. But, so far as it were necessary to follow it in order to give effect to any Federal law, we could follow it. For instance, if a man had broken quarantine, the Federal authority could follow him for six months if necessary, because he would be an offender against the law of the Commonwealth. I do not wish to trespass any further upon the attention of the Committee. As far as I can gather, English legislation upon this’ subject is based upon the interpretation given to the word “ quarantine “ by Mr. O’Connor and Mr. Isaacs at the Federal Convention. That was what was assumed to be given by the delegation of the power of quarantine. If the power be greater than that, I suggest that we ought to limit its present exercise to the extent I have outlined.
.- This Bill, as it has been explained by the Attorney-General, deals with three matters - first, with oversea quarantine; secondly, with Inter-State quarantine so far as it concerns diseases of human beings, animals, and plants ; and thirdly, with the internal health laws of the States, which to a great extent are administered by the municipalities. So far as the introduction from 1 oversea of diseases in human beings, plants, or animals is concerned, the interests of the various States are identical, and consequently the matter is essentially a Commonwealth one. The Minister, in introducing the Bill, said that he would be firm ku that matter, and I think honorable members generally will be with him in that. But we open up a very different question when we come to deal with the introduction of diseases from one State to another, because the interests of the States may differ. For instance, they have the fruit fly in Queensland, and whilst Queensland people wish to send their bananas to the other States, Victoria, and particularly Tasmania, being very largely interested in their apple crops, are naturally anxious to keep out the fruit fly.
– The fruit fly is already in Victoria.
– That is still a little doubtful. If we have the fly already iri Victoria, we hope to be able to stamp it out; but if we continue to import fruit infested with the fly, we shall run great risks of being unable to do so. The point I wish to make is that in this matter the interests of the States are not the same. It is certainly to the interest of the Tasmanian people to keep the fruit fly out of Tasmania. I believe that they would prefer to do without bananas to risking their apple crop. If the law were administered by the Federal authority, it might, in this connexion, be administered in the interests of Queensland rather than of Tasmania.
– Why not refer to Victoria, which is on the mainland?
– As the honorable member pointed out, it is believed that the fruit fly has obtained some bold in Victoria at present, and if my reference were solely to Victoria, the issue which I wish to raise would not so well be defined. I will give another instance. I wished to bring a sheep from Queensland to Victoria for stud purposes, and I found that I could not do so unless the sheep was quarantined for four months. From the point of view of a
Queensland sheep-breeder, I was disposed to consider that a harsh law, but, on consideration, I was bound to admit the reasonableness of the restriction from the point of view of Victorian people interested in the dairying industry, since that industry might be seriously endangered by the introduction of stock invested with the tick pest. Ira these matters, one is influenced by one’s environment. When on board ship, upon which there may have been an outbreak of disease, I have objected to the quarantine restrictions imposed on the ship entering an Australian port. But when I have been on shore I have felt that those restrictions should be enforced. That is practically the position of the different States in this matter.
– The honorable member thinks that the quarantine would be more effective under the States laws?
– I am sure it would.
– That means protection by shutting the ports.
– I think that the spread of disease from State to State would be less likely under the operation of States laws than under the operation of the Commonwealth laws.
– Does the honorable member think that the present States embargoes are inconsistent with Inter-State free-trade ?
– If the States abused their powers, and if, for instance, Victoria imposed unreasonable restrictions upon the introduction of Queensland fruit, it would be time for the Federal Government to step in.
– Have not complaints of the kind already been made between State and State ? They have been made between Queensland and New South Wales.
– They have been made by interested parties.
– Such complaints were made, and were afterwards settled by Dr. Ham and Dr. Ashburton Thompson meeting in consultation.
– Does the honorable member think that the Federal authorities would have prevented the introduction into Victoria of the sheep to which he refers?
-I think they would not. But that might have imperilled the dairying industry of Victoria by leading to the introduction of the tick to the injury of Victorian cattle. I think that we should go slowly in this matter. We should, first of all, assume the un doubted duty of the Commonwealth to protect Australia from the importation of diseases oversea. The interests of the States are all identical in that connexion. When we have seen how that duty hasbeen performed, we might be inspired; with confidence to invest the Commonwealth with further powers, if it became clear that by harsh and unreasonable quarantine administration the States were restricting freedom of trade. I think that all the States, and Victoria in particular, are agreed that the freedom of Inter-State trade should not be jeopardized in any way.
– That is as regards exports, and not imports.
– I suppose that is so, to some extent; of course, each will play its own hand, but we have to play the Commonwealth game, and when a certain course is shown to be in the interests of the Commonwealth, I am in favour of that course being taken; each will look after its own interests. The honorable and learned mem. ber for Angas has suggested amendments; which would make the clause read as follows - and having as their object the prevention of the introduction into the Commonwealth or spread from one State to another of diseases or pests affecting man, animals, or plants.
If after the word “ another,” the words “ by sea “ were inserted, the amendment would be in entire accord with my views.
– The honorable member would make a distinction between sending a sheep from Queensland to Victoria by sea, and sending the animal overland ?
– I should. If the sheep were to be sent overland I think the State authorities should deal with the matter, and if by sea the Commonwealth authorities should deal with it. That, I think, would be the only practicable course to adopt. We cannot have the two authorities overlapping, because that would lead to conflict and confusion. At the proper time I shall move to amend the amendment by the introduction of the words ‘ ‘ by sea “ as I have suggested. That would narrow the question down, and make the issue well-defined. I was glad to hear the Minister state that he was himself a little doubtful as to whether Federal powers of quarantine should extend beyond oversea importations, and operate between State and State. Until we find that the conflict of interests between the States jeopardizes the free interchange of commodities between them the Commonwealth authorities should confine their attention to oversea quarantine. Until the Com.monwealth Government has won its spurs in the administration of oversea quarantine the administration of internal quarantine should be left in the hands of the States.
– I think that the Committee might at once accept the first amendment moved by the honorable and learned member for Angas, because it really would not make any difference in the clause.
– The honorable member is going to speak upon it.
– I am not, and I wish ito prevent other honorable members from making speeches on a matter on which “we are all agreed. The second amendment suggested is one which will cause some discussion ; but the insertion of the first would really make no difference in the effect of the clause.
– To some extent the two hang together.
– I favour the first amendment, and would prefer to see it carried, for I think that we should deal first with oversea quarantine.
– The understanding -was that we should discuss the general question on this clause. The amendment would extend, rather than limit, the clause.
– But since it has been stated we should first of all deal with it. The honorable member for Fawkner, how<ever, addressed himself almost solely to the second of the proposed amendments. I think we should save time by agreeing to the first amendment, and then proceeding to discuss the second as to the desirableness of which there seems to be some difference of opinion.
.- It was understood that we should be enabled to discuss the whole question on clause 4, and you, Mr. Chairman, asked -the honorable member for Angas, whilst he was discussing this clause, to submit his amendment. It would be very unjust to limit the discussion simply because the honorable member for Angas has chosen at this stage to submit the first of his proposed amendments. It must be apparent that we are approaching much more closely “to unanimity on this question than appeared likely during the second-reading debate. I think this is largely owing to the statement of the Acting Prime Minister, who has clearly intimated, first of all, that he has an open mind in regard to its proposals -
– With respect to some of its provisions.
– I hope that the honorable member will not cut down the credit for broad-mindedness that I was about to give him. He has indicated that he is open to conviction in regard to any difficult point arising under the Bill. He has said, further, that he is willing to confer with the different States, and that he would welcome any suggestions, comments, or criticisms with regard to the provisions of the measure which might come from the different States.
– The honorable member is wrong in attributing that statement to me.
– My own opinion is that there will not be need for much discussion of the main question ; it appears to me that the Committee has already approached very closely to unanimity upon it. I am not quite sure that my mind is satisfied as to the meaning of the word “ quarantine,” as used in the Constitution. The honorable member for Angas has treated the Committee to a very learned disquisition upon, this question, and I think that we are all very grateful to him for it. He has given us a number of authorities gathered from American works of a legal and quasi-legal character, showing how far the Federal power is entitled to go in interfering with State power; but he has very freely admitted that our position under the Constitution is much, more definite than is that of the United States of America. The extent of our powers in this regard must depend to a great extent ultimately upon the interpretation which the High Court puts upon the word “ quarantine.” After discussing the question at great length, the honorable member for Angas had to admit - and he did so frankly - that he was prepared to chance whether we had the power, under the authority of the word “quarantine” in the Constitution, to go as far as this Bill proposes. Among the authorities quoted by him as throwing light upon the meaning of that word, the honorable member quoted an opinion expressed in the Federal Convention by Mr. - now Mr. Justice - O’Connor. If I understood him correctly, Me. O’Connor expressed considerable doubt whether the use of the word “quarantine” in the.
Constitution would cover all the ground now sought to be covered by this measure.
– That is correct.
- Mr. O’Connor, as a member of the Convention, sought to make the power of the Commonwealth in this respect much more comprehensive by proposing the insertion of words in the Constitution which would have included something more than the purely technical definition thatone would put upon the word “ quarantine.” This is a matter which the Committee - and also the House in dealing with the third reading of the Bill - will have to seriously consider. . Some honorable members scarcely recognise the danger of exceeding our powers. In the first place, if because of the use of the word “ quarantine “ in the Constitution we. passed a measure which enabled us officially - I shall not say legally - to quarantine importations, which ultimately in the opinion of the High Court did not come within the meaning of that word, much litigation might ensue. It cannot be doubted that if imported plants or animals of great value were detained under such a measure as this, and possibly thereby lost to their owners, with the result that litigation took place to test the power of the Federal Government to interfere with such importations, a case might be carried to the High Court with a view of determining whether the. law was ultra vires. In this way the Bill might lead to much expenditure on the part, not only of the Commonwealth Government, but of individual citizens.
– Has the honorablemember considered the question of our power to deal with such matters under the commerce provisions of the Constitution ?
– Since the Bill was last before us I have given this question a good deal of consideration, and am inclined to think that we should be within our powers in dealing with importations of stock. I doubt at present, however, whether we should be within our powers in dealing with the importation of plant life, on the ground that that plant life was diseased. In the House some days ago I quoted the definitions of the word “ quarantine “ given by dictionaries, which were not, as the Attorney-General said, “ school “ dictionaries. That was a little bit of advocacy which the Attorney-General rather unfairly used in order to belittle the definitions I had put before the House. He, and every lawyer knows, that when a discussion arises in a Court as to thedefinition of a word the Court invariably turns, among other guides, to the best known dictionaries to ascertain what is the popular interpretation of a term. The whole of the definitions I gave excluded, so far as I could see, the suggestion that the quarantining of plant life comes within the meaning of the word. It is true that a later one dealt with animal life, apart from human beings.
– A plant is only a meansof carrying a disease. A disease is not necessarily communicated by a plant.
– The definitions given in the best known dictionaries do not suggest that the word “ quarantine “ would! apply to the quarantining of plant life. I am not speaking of the practice of the States. The Attorney-General seemed to think it an answer to the honorable member for Flinders to say that because the States have been in the habit of taking steps toprevent the spread of disease in connexionwith the importation of plants, although those steps did not come under the useof the word “quarantine” in their Act, that, therefore, in a haphazard, happygolucky way we were entitled to do the same. Such a suggestion might be all very well if the honorable gentleman were addressing a jury, but we have to remember that we areframing legislation, which will ultimately come before the High Court. We do not wish to expose the Commonwealth or its citizens, who are engaged in various occupations, to the possibility of expensive litigation.
– We weaken our position by every transgression of the kind.
– I quite agree with the honorable member. The limited interpretation of the word “ quarantine “ is borne out by the best known dictionaries; but the honorable member for Flinders took another means of testing this question - a means in accordance with a deliverance by the Chief Justice of the High Court when recently dealing with the question of ultra vires. He looked at the legislation of the different States in order to see how they had treated the word “quarantine” in their various laws dealing with these matters. He did not deal with the Acts of the whole of the States, but I think he showed sufficient authority tosatisfy honorable members that it is very doubtful - whether we take the interpretation given by dictionaries, or the legislation of the different States, or both combined - whether the word “ quarantine,” appearing in the Constitution is sufficiently comprehensive in its connotation to apply to the importation of plants. Well, as I said then, and say now, there are a great many honorable members who would be prepared to “ chance it,” as I may say. They would be inclined to say, “ We will take the power and leave it to the High Court to determine the matter.” That may be a bold course, but it may be an unwise one. I am inclined to think that it would be better if we limited ourselves to human beings and animals. But, at the same time, I willingly admit that I see the very great clanger suggested by the examples given in the press, and mentioned again by the Acting Prime Minister to-day, of leaving these matters in the hands of the States. We see, from time to time, great jealousy being manifested by States towards the produce of other States. I brought under the notice of this House some time ago a case - and it bears upon this argument - in which the Western Australian people were complaining that not only could they not get Western Australian timbers used in other States, but that in some of the States the Governments were actually refusing to allow Western Auslian timbers to be enumerated in their schedules of possible timbers to be used.
– In Government contracts.
– Yes; in connexion with Government works.
– Why was that?
– It was on account of State jealousy.
– We cannot alter that.
– We are making a choice in reference to dealing with this matter in a comprehensive way. It maybe dealt with under Federal or under State authority. A notable case was pointed out by the honorable member for Fawkner just now, where a sheep on being imported from Queensland into Victoria was stopped by the State authority. The honorable member himself believes that it would not have been stopped if the authority dealing with quarantine had been the Federal authority. The reason is, that one can suppose that an officer exercising Federal authority would be actuated by a broader spirit than would a State officer. In South Australia only lately the power to stop imports on the ground of quarantine has led to an interference with InterState free-trade in fruit. Suppose we regard this example that the honorable mem ber for Fawkner has placed before us as one of a State authority stopping the importation of stock because the Stock Tax has gone ; suppose that there is a tendency on the part of a State to utilize this means of stopping imports in substitution for the Stock Tax. Suppose that feelings of jealousy amongst the States lead to an abuse of the Quarantine Acts of the States.
– That is rather strained, I think.
– It may be, perhaps. I am not committed one way or the other. I see great objection to our going beyond our powers under the definition of “ quarantine “ to which I have referred. On the other hand, I see a tremendous danger to the good- will which ought to prevail between the different States, and a tremendous danger to the principle of Inter-State free-trade, in allowing the States, time after time, to utilize their Acts for the purpose of preventing what we wish to see - a complete and unrestricted flow of commerce and people, of plant life, and animal life, between all the States, so that there shall be no effect from those artificial boundaries which we have endeavoured to get rid of under Federation.
– Of course that freedom would be limited only by the fear of the spread of disease.
– Yes. I am arguing as to the advantage of having a Federal authority rather than a State authority to decide these matters, because a State authority is much more likely . -,to abuse its power than the Federal authority would be. This is a measure that carriesus into a non-party atmosphere. It is one which we can all approach with a desire to make it perfect, forgetting all old sores and party differences. We want to make it a good measure, but at the same time I think we all wish to see that the States, which already have extensive administrative machinery for the purpose of dealing with matters of quarantine–
– Domestic machinery.
– They already have extensive domestic machinery, and our desire is that, if possible, no friction shall be created by the action which we are taking, and which it is our duty to take. The honorable member for Angas seemed to think - and I consider that he treated that feature rather too freely - that there was no fear of our coming into conflict with the rights of the States within their own States’ boundaries. The difficulty which I feel is this : Under section 109 of the Constitution it is provided that when once the Commonwealth has legislated upon a subject within its authority all the laws in force in the States which are inconsistent with the Federal law shall cease to have effect. If we do not legislate with very great care, the result may be that some State law, which we imagined that we were leaving in operation, as not inconsistent with the Federal law, may be found to be no longer in operation, and the result may be to give rise to much litigation. On some future occasion, when a State is taking action within its own boundaries, and under its local law, the objection might be taken that there was no such law in existence - that as the State law was in conflict with the Federal law it was void, and that, consequently, the State had no power to set it in motion. Let me give this as an illustration: Under the law of New South Wales- although it is not called a quarantine law - there was a practice of entering, forcibly where it was necessary, into possession of a vineyard, destroying the whole of the trees, and burning them in order to get rid of the phylloxera; practically quarantining the’ ground for a considerable time, until the disease had been completely eradicated.
– That law has not operated for seven or eight years.
– No; but it might be brought into operation at any time. The only reason why it did not operate was that the owners of vineyards made such large claims that the Government refused to continue to quarantine. But it may well happen that under such a law as that, the Government of a State, under the impression that its law for stopping the spread of phylloxera was in operation, might enter forcibly upon a vineyard, and, when it had destroyed the vines, the owner of the property might turn round and say, “ You had no power to do this, because, although you have a State law in existence under which you might do it, the Commonwealth law is inconsistent with it. Your State law, therefore, is non-effective, and you hare acted ultra vires in taking this step.” We have to be very careful in framing our Federal legislation that we do not, so to speak, stultify the States laws on account of apparent inconsistency, so far as we wish to allow them to continue to exist as laws.
– Will the legal gentleman appointed for the purpose by the State of New South Wales not conserve the interests, of the State?
– The ^300 a year officer !.
– I do not see much difference between that ^300 a year and the ^400 a year paid to honorable members.
– We are not supposed to» be legal experts, but the ^300 a year officer, appointed by the States, is supposed! to be an expert.
– I do not know that even if we employed a member of the legal profession we should get out of thedifficulty. We can quite imagine that the owner of a vineyard, which had been taken, charge of by the State Government in what he considered a high-handed manner, there not being, in his opinion, phylloxera to the extent contended, might bring an action,, and that the State Government might be told: that their law had been rendered ineffective by the Federal law.
– I was referring to the constitutional expert whom the States are appointing at a salary of ^300 a year to watch their interests.
– I did not Quite understand ; the honorable member wasso serious that I did not know he washomorous. There is another difficulty which I feel. We are approaching, asI have said, some unanimity in this matter ; and supposing we felt in the mood’ to what I call “chance it” - that is, toassume that the word “ quarantine “ covers human beings, animals, and plants- - there could be no difference of opinion, as to the necessity of our exercising supervision to the extent of putting an embargoon the introduction of disease from oversea. Nor can there be any question, I think,, as to the wisdom of the Commonwealthtaking power to deal with all InterStatequestions. It is hardly arguable that it ought to rest with the Commonwealth alone to say whether one State shall prevent animal life, plant life, or human’ life from crossing the border of that State. I do not say that there ought not to be some inspection ; but the embargo should be by the Commonwealth and not by the State.. The only problem left is as to how far we should make this Bill operate so as to affect existing legislation in the States with regard to the supervision and prevention of disease within the States. The amendment proposed by the honorable and learned* member for Angas would make the clause lead “ or spread from one State to another,” and that suggests, to my mind, the difficulty that a State - New South Wales, for example, in the case of phylloxera - might say, “ Here is a diseased vineyard, and, unless that vineyard is destroyed, the -disease may spread down to Victoria.” It might be urged that in preventing the disease spreading towards Victoria, the State was preventing the spread of the disease from one State to another, because the nearer it got to Victoria the greater danger there would be of its spreading into that State.
– Could a fly be prevented from going over a fence?
– Phylloxera may, at some stage, take the form of a fly. Whenever I have seen it under the .microscope, the roots have been full of it ; and I understand that it travels underground. Let us suppose a vineyard on the northern side of the Murray, or, -if ^honorable members choose, in some part of :a State where there is no division by water from another State. In the case of any steps taken by the State it might be said that they were taken to prevent the disease spreading from one State to another, and the Commonwealth might retort, .” But it is our exclusive function to prevent the disease spreading to an adjoining State.” The Commonwealth law might be so framed as to really impinge on the powers of the States to stop the disease from travelling in the direction of another “State; and we shall have to be rather nice in making amendments to see that we are not destroying the power of a State to deal with disease even within its own borders. The Committee are, I think, unanimous that we should pay sufficient respect to the States not to wipe out, or. to attempt or wish to wipe out, of existence all the existing local machinery for dealing with pests within their boundaries. In taking to ourselves, as we must take, the right to determine whether or not there shall be the introduction of any stock or plants from another State, we must be very careful that we so word our law that it does not interfere with the right of the individual State to deal with these matters within its own borders just as fully as we would deal with them. The honorable member for Angas made one or two quotations from American works, in which it is said that the Federal laws in the United States are exclusive. There is the difference that here, I take it, we do not desire the Federal law in this case to be exclusive, but to be so carefully framed as to give the Commonwealth power over oversea importations, and over Inter-State importations, while not taking from the States the power to deal with matters within their own borders, seeing that that power may be conducive to the work which the Federal Government have in hand.
– Would the honorable member not give the Commonwealth power to quarantine a particular disease in a State, and leave it to the State to regulate the matter ?
– I think that is highly desirable, so long as the disease is not spreading into another State. But the difficulty I see is in taking a power which may be inconsistent with some power exercised by the States. I,f anything, we ought to err on the side of taking Federal power, because the illustrations we have had - which are only a few of those which could be given - show that the natural insular feeling in the States disqualifies the authorities of the States from dealing with these matters in as unprejudiced a way as they would be dealt with by Federal officials.
– Does the honorable member intend to deal with the question of the power of quarantine over vessels voyaging along the coast, although not necessarily Inter- State?
– I pointed out the other day that, in my opinion, one of the greatest advantages of this Federal quarantine power is that it will obviate thenecessity of a ship being detained at every port after it has once been cleared at a port of the Commonwealth.
– I am speaking of an InterState boat.
– I should not draw the distinction which was drawn by the honorable member for Fawkner, who urged that the Commonwealth Government should control Inter-State trade when it is by sea, but that the States should control that trade when it is by land. That, I think, is a distinction without a difference, . and such a division of power would cause a certain amount of rivalry as to which route should be adopted. All InterState action ought to be Federal, but we should also aim at saving trouble to the owners of, and passengers by, ships by making one quarantine sufficient for the whole of the Commonwealth.
.- The Committee is indebted to the thoughtful utterances which have been delivered by the honorable members for Angas and Parkes. I have from the beginning regarded this Bill with favour, and intend to give it favorable consideration and support. At the same time I am prepared to consider any reasonable modifications which may be proposed, tending to make it more workable, and to secure harmony and co-operation with the States Governments. We are entitled to consider this Bill from a national stand-point, but at the same time there is no necessity for us to take any action which may be regarded as antagonistic to the States. I should like to ‘ invite the attention of honorable members to a passage in the judgment by Chief Justice Marshall in the case of Gibbons v. Ogden. Referring to the quarantine and health laws of the States, and the extent to which Congress had power of controlling them, he said -
As it was apparent that some of the provisions made for this purpose, and in virtue of this power, might interfere with, and be affected by, the laws of the United States, made for the regulation of commerce, Congress, in that spirit of harmony and conciliation which ought always to characterize the conduct of Governments standing in the relation which that of the Union and those of the States bear to each other, has directed its officers to aid in the execution of these laws ; and has, in some measure, adapted its own legislation to this object by making provisions in aid of those States.
The United States, from the very beginning of their Federal Constitution, had to face the problem of where the control over commerce ends and the control over quarantine begins. So far back as 1799, upon the outbreak of yellow fever in New York, great alarm being felt as to the operation of quarantine and health laws, Congress passed an Act practically instructing the Federal officers to give effect to the whole of the quarantine and health laws of the States. That was what Chief Justice Marshall referred to when he said -
In that spirit of harmony and conciliation, which ought always to characterize the conduct of Governments standing in the relation which that of the Union and those of the States bear to each other.
We might also regard this question from the same stand-point.
– Was that Federal act justified by the Courts?
– It was pronounced quite constitutional by the Courts. The Chief Justice said that its constitutionality had never been successfully challenged. That goes a long way %o show the very great extent of Federal’ control over quarantine, because in theUnited States Constitution, Congress is not given, express control in that regard, and the adoption of the quarantine laws of the States by Congress could only be justified on the ground that it came within the purview or scope of control over trade and commerce (between the States and with other countries. In the Australian Constitution, we have a double-barrelled grant of power - first, the control over trade and commerce, and, secondly, the control over quarantine. In addition to that, we can point to, and rely upon, a third section in the Constitution, which nrovides that this Parliament shall exercise all power necessary or incidental to the execution of the foregoing grants. There is a very wide grant of power to this Parliament in our Constitution, and honorable members certainly ought not to be afraid to exercise that power if they think that that exercise is justifiable “on national grounds. I would first invite honorable members to consider what are the subjectmatters that might reasonably come within a Bill like this, founded upon the trade and commerce power, and also on the quarantine power. There can be no doubt whatever that the quarantine power should cover control of or supervision over every form of moveable life; such as animals and human beings. I will deal with plants on another ground. What does quarantine mean? It is of no use to draw an interpretation of the meaning of quarantine from the basic derivation of the word - the forty days’ origin. That does not give us any indication whatever of its meaning. It merely, as the honorable member for Angas pointed out last week, defined the limit of time within which a vessel could be detained. Nor does it in itself narrow the origin or source from which the persons or ‘things which are to be controlled emanate. It does not say that those persons or things must come from over the sea. The basic idea of quarantine must mean, as indicated in some of the leading dictionaries-
– We must take the modern definition, in a modern dictionary, as indicating the treatment of the subject’ in the latest observed manner.
– Quite so; and therefore not only may reliance be placed on the old definition! based upon the over- sea origin, but, as was pointed out in some of the American judgments dealing with grants of power to the Federation, we must also deal with the possible developments and changes that may crop up in the course of time, enlarging the basic idea of the power and giving it a new phase. Who would have thought, when the United States Constitution was passed giving control over trade and commerce, that it would include all the instrumentalities of trade and commerce, not only things, but persons, and not only every vehicle then known for the transmission of trade and commerce, but every possible vehicle that might thereafter be discovered, such as railways, telegraphs, and other agencies then unknown? . All kinds of instrumentalities, unknown then, have been held by the interpreters of the American Constitution to come within that grant of power, and the leading idea of interpretation is, “ What are the possibilities of development within the original grant ? “ Therefore, when I hear honorable members dwell with anxiety upon the oversea aspect of quarantine, I think that they hardly give sufficient weight and importance to the magnitude and possible scope of this grant of power over quarantine. It was never limited by the Constitution or its framers. so far as I understood, to the oversea origin of persons and things. If they meant to so limit it they should have used the words that the honorable and learned member for Angas now asks the Committee to insert.
– Norwas it so confined in the Canadian Act.
– Modern dictionaries do notlimit it to “oversea.”
– If we are to quote dictionaries, here is a leading standard dictionary. I agree with the AttorneyGeneral that to rely on dictionaries is a very meagre way in which to interpret the Constitution. I would go further, and quote all the leading current literature of the time, if necessary. Certainly, the expression of a Legislature ought to have more authority than that contained in any dictionary, and the expressions of all the Legislatures of this country should be given weight to. I understood the honorable and learned member for Parkes to quote the legislation of the States in order to show that quarantine is there confined to the stoppage of oversea importations.
– With a view to showing that in them other provisions designed for the guarding of the public health are contained separately, not being grouped under the heading of quarantine.
– The Attorney. General quoted the Queensland Act.
– And the New South Wales Act.
– The New South Wales Act was passed in 1902.
– The Queensland Act was passed in 1896.
– In not confining quarantine to the stoppage of persons or things coming from oversea, the Legislatures of the States have gone to the rootmeaning of the word, which is well defined by Webster in his great International Dictionary, which I consider one of the greatest dictionaries ever published. His definition is this -
Quarantine is now applied also to any forced stoppage of travel or communication on account of malignant contagious disease on land as well as on sea.
– Mr. Justice O’Connor, when a member of the Convention, gave the best definition of quarantine, when he said that it means general powers of isolation in all cases.
– That goes further than a limitation of it to the stoppage of oversea communication.
– In the Convention, Mr. Justice O’Connor proposed to limit the meaning of the term, but was defeated.
– I can quote judicial authority to sustain the view which I am now putting, though judicial opinions on the subject are somewhat scarce. The power of the Dominion’s Legislature with respect to quarantine is conferred in the Canadian Constitution by these words -
Quarantine and the establishment and maintenance of marine hospitals.
There is, of course, power to legislate in respect to trade and commerce. In the case of Ringfret v. Pope, 12 Quebec Law Reports, page 303, the question was raised whether the provinces could institute local health boards, and Mr. Justice Cross then made the following statement : -
Although the provincial legislature might make and enforce police regulations directly, or by giving that power to be executed by the municipalities so . as to promote health within their several jurisdictions, or deal with the subject in a sense that was purely local, the Dominion legislature could deal with it in a general sense, and take appropriate measures to prevent or mitigate an epidemic, endemic, or contagious disease, with which the Dominion, or any part of it, was threatened.
– Mr. Justice Cross delivered the minority judgment in that case.
– He dissented only in regard to Boards of Health. We have a much larger grant of power in our Constitution than some people think, and we should not be afraid to exercise it if we believe it advantageous to do so.
– The honorable member should not say “ afraid.”
– I use the word “ afraid,” because we were warned that we should not go too far, lest our legislation might be regarded by the High Court as ultra vires.
– I said that we should exercise care.
– We must take the responsibility for our actions when our attention has been drawn to these matters, and I am not afraid to do so in this case. In regard to the distribution of powers between the Commonwealth and the States, we should be prepared to render to the States what belongs to them, and to the Commonwealth what belongs to it. The Federal Parliament has unlimited power to legislate in respect to the importation of things, animals, and plants of every description, and could, by its legislation under the combined powers respecting quarantine and trade and commerce, require the inspection at the port of landing of every form of import.
– Does the honorable member think that that could be done under our power to legislate in respect to quarantine ?
– I admit that it may sometimes be difficult to distinguish between what is done under our power to legislate in respect to quarantine and what is done under our power to legislate in respect to commerce. In some of the American cases the Judges have decided that quarantine regulations may inherently be regulations affecting trade and commerce. For instance, if in the exercise of our power to legislate in respect to quarantine a vessel is detained, and her passengers are kept at a quarantine station, that is an interference with trade and commerce. I should not like to draw a distinct line of demarcation. But as the AttornevGenera! has said, We have not to brand or label our Acts, saying. “ Take notice that this is in the exercise of our power to legislate in respect to quarantine ; this is in the exercise of our power to legislate in respect to trade and com- merce.” It is sufficient that our laws, if they are appealed against to the High Court, can be justified as coming within some section of the Constitution. The BilL is called a Quarantine Bill ; and if its provisions can be justified, vindicated, or explained by reference to any section of the Constitution, that is enough. In further consideration of these combined powers, and of whether they include what may be called1 internal quarantine, I should like honorable members to regard the case of a passenger, or a number of passengers, landing at the port of Melbourne. The Federal officers would have the right to inspect them to ascertain if they were suffering from any disease, and to examine goods, which include every form of animal and plant life. If any of these passengers were quarantined, and escaped from quarantine to Bendigo, Bathurst, Cunnamulla, or elsewhere within the Commonwealth, will it be said that the Federal authorities could not pursue them, arrest them, and return them to quarantine?”’
– No . one doubts that.
– That has been contended, because it has been said that the Commonwealth can only exercise the quarantine power at the ports and with reference to oversea vessels. So far as places or territory are concerned, there is no limit to the exercise of that power. It may be exercised over, in, and through, every inch of territory in the Commonwealth; it is not necessarily confined to the ports. Would honorable members like to draw a time-limit within which the quarantine power of the Commonwealth is to be exercised? Can it be said that passengers ought not to be followed except within about a week or a month from their arrival within the Commonwealth? Is it not possible for persons who arrive in the Commonwealth from foreign parts to bring unconsciously germs of disease in or upon them, orin connexion with their personal effects, . and that an outbreak of a most horrible disease, such as plague, may occur in the centre of New South Wales, or Victoria, or Queensland within six months of their arrival? Can it be reasonably said that the Federal authority should not be able immediately to interfere and place in quarantine residents, the area in which they live, and the territory with which they have been brought into contact ? If a Federal authority could not do that, its quarantine power would be absolutely impotent.
We could not call upon the States to interfere, and quarantine an area of that kind.
Colonel Foxton. - Why not?
– They might refuse to comply with the request. Therefore, this power, if it is to be effective, must be without limit as to area, and certainly without limit in point of time or duration. It must be unlimited with respect to all those quarantinable diseases enumerated in the Bill or authorized by Parliament to be dealt with. At the same time clause11 wisely gives authority to the Governor-General to enter into an arrangement with the Governments of the States, with respect to the use of quarantine stations and other matters, in order to secure general co-operation. Although the Federal power to interfere may be reserved in the Bill, the Federal Government will not necessarily be bound to interfere if it can make an arrangement with the State authorities. There is power given in clause11 to make such an arrangement; and if the State authorities will undertake the duty of quarantining a given area, and fighting a disease therein, then I am sure that the Federal authority will not want to interfere. What is wanted is a supreme authority standing out with all its reserved powers, ready and prepared tointerfere by means of scientific agents and servants, and with a potency of financial resources to battle with disease in any case in which the local authorities have not interfered, or will not interfere. I might describe the Bill in its mainpr ovisions from the Federal stand-point as a measure creating a great quarantine authority, or Department, bearing the same relations towards a State ‘as its Health Department bears towards the various local governing bodies. I should like to see the Bill so framed that whilst it is the embodiment and the realization of the most perfect scheme of quarantine control and supervision that can be devised, it should secure the hearty good-will and co-operation of the State Departments and Governments. In other words, to use the language of Chief Justice Marshall, let us try to devise a scheme which will be worked with harmony and conciliation, and if we find that the States are anxious to take a hand in every matter of detail, so to speak, or wish to have reserved to them a particular class of work, I shall be quite prepared to make an effort in that direction ; but I do earnestly ask honorable members to assist in devising a strong, harmonious, workable scheme. I am prepared to give very great weight to the representations of any State Government or State Department or authority. But with regard to the memorandum which has been presented to-day, I understand, from the Premier of New South Wales, and which conveys the views of Dr. Thompson, the President of its Board of Health, I should like to quote one clause which he suggests, because it shows that, after all, he does not differ in any very material detail from the scheme before the Committee. He refers to clause 4, with which I thoroughly agree. It is a general definition of what constitutes quarantine without reference to land or sea or place of origin. I thoroughly agree with that.
– Does the honorable member agree with the amendments ?
– No; I do not think that they are necessary at the present stage, as I shall explain later on. That is an abstract definition, and I think it is unimpeachable from that standpoint. What does Dr. Thompson suggest as a substitute ? He suggests the following substitute -
In this Act quarantine has relation to exclusion from the Commonwealth and to prevention of the spread from any part of the Commonwealth to any other part of the Commonwealth of communicable diseases or pests affecting man, animals, or plants by sea.
– That includes InterState.
– Yes ; but Dr. Thompson refers to the prevention of the spread of disease. First, the definition covers the introduction and spread of a disease from any part. It does not limit the quarantine to Inter-State.
– No; but it includes that.
– Certainly, it would include Inter-State quarantine. “From any part of the Commonwealth” is a wider definition than “ from State to State.” The great medical authority of New South Wales practically agrees to the definition, because he says that it should extend to the exclusion from the Commonwealth of disease, and to the prevention of the spread of disease from any part of the Commonwealth. As I understand this definition it is intended first to exclude disease, and secondly, to prevent its spreading, and that is the basic idea of a quarantine scheme. What, then, can be said for Dr. Thompson’s suggestion? The Government could quote that passage in support of their Bill. I do not think it is necessary to insert’ the words “ into the Commonwealth” at the present stage, because the definition is wide enough to include the introduction of disease. It is also wide enough to include Inter-State quarantine, and it is not necessary to put in the word “ Inter-State.” If honorable members wish to limit the application of the definition, it ought to be done in clause 13, which gives the grant of power to the Administration. It enumerates in what cases and under what conditions the definition of quarantine or any portion of the definition is to be brought into operation. If my honorable friends wish to restrict the definition, that is the proper clause in which to do so. I do not think it is advisable to introduce any qualification of the definition.
– I do not see any objection to the words.
– They are surplusage. If they are put there without anything else, they might be limited to the introductioni of disease.
– I understand that the words are sought to be put in with the object of limiting it.
– -It is of no use to put in the words. They would be words of limitation. They would be restricted to the case of the introduction of disease across the sea, the very thing against which we wish to guard.
– Or to the spread of diasease.
– I object to a limitation to the introduction of disease. Because a disease might be introduced in one year, remain dormant for years, and then break out.
– And perhaps spread.
– There might be a difficulty in proving whether it had spread or not. Why should not the Federal authority be able to intervene at any time when a disease of a dangerous character breaks out, and put it down without any reference to its original introduction? No doubt, most of these terrible diseases, such as plague and small-pox, have been introduced, but in some cases they may be endemic. They may originate through local conditions, and it may be hard to prove their original introduction. If, however, the words “ into the Commonwealth “ are inserted, then the Government will have to prove hereafter that the diseases originated oversea, and their authority might be paralyzed. If we wish to limit it let us do it in a straight-out manner under clause 13. With reference to dealing with the importation of persons, animals, plants, and things at their port of entry, I say frankly that 1 wish to give practically unlimited power to the Federal authority. I desire to give complete and unlimited power to the Federal authority over persons and animals, wherever they may be found within the Commonwealth, suffering from disease. I do not wish, unnecessarily, to restrict the operation of the Federal. quarantine law to persons or animals from oversea, but to enable the Federal authority to quarantine and localize the disease, either in human beings or in animals, that is, assuming that the disease is of such a malignant and contagious character as to justify the intervention of that authority. In other words, I wish to provide for Intra-State quarantine as well as Inter-State quarantine, in fact, quarantine in every shape and form, irrespective of the origin of disease, over persons and animals. With reference to things, the same necessity for the Federal authority pursuing goods to every hole and corner of the Commonwealth, wherever they may be found, does not necessarily arise. The control oyer goods, after they have run the gauntlet of the Federal quarantine, might very well be allowed to come under the jurisdiction of the States. I see no occasion for the Federal authority pursuing goods beyond their port of entry. A similar remark is applicable to plant life. I am of opinion that the Federal authority should exercise the strictest supervision over the importation of plants, but after those plants have been introduced, and have been certificated as clean, they may be fairly allowed to pass from the control of the Federal authority into that of the State authority. There is not the same danger or liability to the spread of disease in connexion with plant life that exists in connexion with human beings or animals. In that spirit of conciliation and harmony to which ChiefJustice Marshall referred, I think we might with justice say to the States, “ Well, upon this question we are prepared, after goods and plants which have been imported have been certificated by the Federal authorities, to hand them over to you to be dealt with.”
– Suppose that a passenger by a Peninsular and Oriental steamer landed at Melbourne with certain plants in his possession, and travelled overland to
Sydney, would the State authorities on the Border have power to prevent the introduction of those plants?
– That question brings me to the inspection laws of the States which are reserved to them by the Constitution. They are what is known as “ police laws,” arid I do not think that we can deprive the States of them. If these inspection laws are abused, if they are exercised for the purpose of obstructing honest and bond fide trade, the High Court can interfere by means of an injunction, or this Parliament can annul them. I do not wish to attack the inspectional laws of the State, which are confined to things capable of barter and sale.
– A man might desire to take a dog from Melbourne to Sydney, and the authorities on t’he Border might say to him, “ You shall not introduce that dog into the State.”
– We cannot take away the inspectional powers of the States.
– Could a State refuse to admit goods if they were diseased ?
– The honorable member does not think that the action of the South Australian Government in imposing a prohibition upon the importation of fruit from the various States was beyond its power?
– I have very grave doubts as to the constitutionality of - that order. I believe that it was issued by a Minister, and I am not quite sure that it was authorized by law. It may be that it was not authorized by a State law.
– Suppose that it were so authorized. The State could not discriminate between a cargo of bananas and a cargo of plants.
– If it could be shown that a cargo of bananas reached South Australia in. a perfectly clean and Ileal thy condition, I do not think that the State Government, in the exercise of its inspectional powers,, could refuse to admit it upon the ground that it had come from a territory which was supposed to be diseased. That decision has been given by the Supreme Court in the United States of America.
– Would an action for damages arise if the State authorities refused to admit a cargo of clean fruit?
– It raises a very nice point.
– Yes ; but the States cannot interfere with freedom of trade, which is affirmed by the Constitution. They can only refuse to admit goods upon the ground that they are diseased. The term “ trade and commerce “ refers to clean goods, and if goods be clean they cannot he refused admission. If clean and diseased goods are mixed together, then they may be suspected of being unclean, and may reasonably be rejected. That is why I am prepared to make this concession in reference to goods and plants.
– It shows that the powers of the States to prevent goods passing into their boundaries is a very difficult one to administer.
– It is. But it would be a veritable calamity if any State, by the capricious exercise of the power of inspection, destroyed the system of InterState free-trade. There is another argument why there is no necessity to extend the Federal power over plants, when once they have been pronounced clean. I believe that in most of the States - certainly in Victoria and Tasmania, and, according to Mr. Carruthers, also in - Queensland - there are very effective laws for the prevention of vegetation diseases. Those laws are growing in efficiency and scientific accuracy, and I think that the States may be fairly left to develop and improve them. Certainly this Parliament cannot deal with that matter. Then, again, laws which demand uniformity throughout the Commonwealth should be Federalized. But where the territorial conditions of the Commonwealth differ, justifying a differentiation of local conditions, we may fairly allow the State authorities to deal with these matters. It is well known that the laws relating to vegetation diseases vary with the parallels of latitude. Different kinds of plant life require different scientific treatment - different preventive measures, and different methods of fighting them. Therefore, plant life may be fairly left to the guardianship of, and regulation by, the States Governments. We should be undertaking an unnecessary burden in interfering with it. The question which presents itself to my mind is, “ What is the great mischief to be remedied under this Bill?” In my opinion we are principally concerned in the protection of human and animal life. I could occupy time in referring to the terrible ravages of disease in stock both in Queensland and in Victoria - ravages arising from imperfect State supervision, and evidencing the necessity for Federal supervision. I will just state one or two of the facts. In the early nineties, there was a terrible outbreak of disease in stock in Queensland.
Colonel Foxton. - What were the diseases?
– Enormous losses of stock - to the value, I think, of £600,000 - resulted from an outbreak of such diseases as tick fever and pleuropneumonia. My authority for the statement is a State inspector of Victoria. That loss was due to the inadequacy or imperfection of the State laws dealing with quarantine. At that time we had not federated, and the local authorities might have neglected to grapple with those diseases.
Colonel Foxton. - They did not do so.
– They allowed them to extend for some years.
Colonel Foxton. - The honorable and learned member is entirely mistaken.
– The Government and people of Queensland did not properly and effectively fight those diseases. I have the authority of officers whom I need not mention for the statement.
Colonel Foxton. - The honorable and learned member should mention his authority for such a slander upon a State.
– I challenge any one to dispute the fact that stock to the value of£6oo,ooo were lost in the early nineties in Queensland. That State, it must be remembered, is now a member of a Commonwealth partnership, and her people ought not to be allowed to permit the propagation and spread within her borders of diseases which might endanger the whole of the stock of Australia.
– Queensland does more than all the other States put together to prevent the propagation and spread of diseases in stock.
– The Federal authority should have the right to interfere in the case of great epidemics of stock diseases. In the early years of Victoria there was an outbreak of pleuropneumonia.
– The outbreak of pleuro-pneumonia in Queensland occurred in 1863 and 1864.
– Pleuro-pneumonia broke out in Victoria in1860, and live stock to the value of £10,000,000 were lost as the result. That is even worse; than the record of Queensland, and Ihave no wish to blame one State more than another.
– The honorable and learned member did so.
– Queensland is bad, and the others are just as bad.
– I say that no. State Government should be permitted tostand idly by and neglect to take precautions for the suppression and eradication of diseases. If the States Governments will not take action, the Federal, authorities should do so.
– The States Governments are not standing idly by at the present time. They are doing very good work.
– I believe that they are doing better than they did before, but I desire that there should be a reservepower in the Federal Government to intervene if necessary. I do not know thatall these great powers would be brought into operation to deal with a small outbreak of a localized disease; but where a disease threatens to become universal the Federal authorities should have power to intervene untrammelled by Statespolicy and unfettered by States laws. Some years ago there was an outbreak of pleuro-pneumonia in the United States, and the Federal Government did not stand idly by. They intervened through the National Department of Agriculture, and by the exercise of administrative powers their officers brought about the quarantin- ing, isolation and localization of the diseased cattle wherever found and irrespective of State boundaries. I quote this; action of the United States Government asa positive and irrefutable demonstration of the power of a Federal Government to intervene in the control of all these diseases; of animals, whether Intra-State or fromoversea. The United States Government spent £370,000 in fighting pleuropneumonia. I am informed on good authority that the result of that Federal action wasto root out that disease completely, and it is to be hoped for ever from the United States.
Colonel Foxton. - But they still have tick fever in the United States.
– That might be. I hope that science and legislation will yet prove successful in grappling with tick fever. I believe that the Federal authority, having command of great scientific and financial resources, would probably be able to battle with these terrible diseases more successfully than could the States authorities.
– How much did Queensland spend in fighting the tick?
– I am referring to the various States by way of illustration, and am not inclined to blame one more than another in this connexion. In 1903 a terrible outbreak of swine fever occurred in three of the Australian States. The disease was afterwards proved to have existed in New South Wales for a long time before it was discovered. It was diagnosed in Victoria and in Queensland, and was traced to New South Wales long before any information was received from that State as to its existence there. That statement is to be found on record in Victorian official reports. These facts show that, in times past, the various States Governments have been deficient, inefficient, and imperfect in their -quarantine administration, and in dealing with some of these diseases which assail stock. Our experience in the past of the ravages of these diseases, some of which anay be said to have originated within the States, and not to be due to oversea importations, is sufficient to show that a quarantine law should not be restricted to diseases of oversea origin. To confine the operation of such a law in that way will be to cripple our powers and render the Federal arm ineftective. What is wanted in all these cases is uniformity of treatment and action for the purpose of securing immediately the effective localization and isolation which form the basic idea of quarantine. It does not necessarily involve any interference with the work of States health authorities in grappling with diseases in their various ramifications. The basic idea of quarantine is localization, impounding, if honorable members please, or building a wall or- cordon around the locality affected. The States outside that cordon can light diseases of the kind in their own way, resort to their own measures, medical treatment, and sanitary laws unimpaired and uninterfered with. There should, therefore, be no feeling of sensitiveness about States rights, privileges, or dignity being involved. I think that some of the protests which have been received from the States authorities have been founded on a slight misconception as to the intention and application of this safeguard.
– Do I understand the honorable and learned member to say that he considers the States power of inspection would prevent the Commonwealth from supervising the importation of goods across the borders of a State?
– Perhaps the honorable and learned member thinks that the States power of inspection would neutralize the Federal power to compel one State to receive goods from another?
– I do not think that States powers of inspection can in any way abrogate the principle of Inter-State free-trade established by the Constitution. Any attempt to abuse the power would be very soon nipped in the bud, either by the Federal Legislature or the High. Court.
– The honorable member does not propose that we should deal with the Inter-State movements of plant life after it has entered the Com.monwealth ?
– If it has entered the Commonwealth and has been certified to be clean, I see no great necessity for the Federal authority to interfere with or pursue it. That work may be left to States supervision. I believe that the States laws in this respect are being gradually and greatly improved, in the light of the latest scientific information available. Every revelation of science is being utilized by the Legislatures, and on the whole, I think that the States Parliaments and the Governments of the States may be left to deal with plant life.
– Why not have a reserve power to deal with diseases in ‘ plant life, as well as in connexion with other importations?
– We have no reserve power to legislate generally respecting such diseases. We have merely the power to impound, lock up, or build a wall round them, and I fail to see how we could interfere generally outside that wall. The quarantine power is limited by the power to build in, wall up, and isolate, as the definitions I have given indicate. I intend to move an amendment, of which I have given notice, and I think that the proper time to propose to limit or qualify this application of the quarantine power will arrive when we come to clause 13. The amendment of which I have given notice is based substantially on the lines of my address-. It proposes that the Commonwealth shall have unlimited powers over persons ‘and animals - that it shall have complete powers of supervision, inspection, and quarantining at the ports in respect of goods and plants, and that after goods and plants have received the certificate of the Federal authority they shall be handed over to State control. If that course be adopted, we shall have a practical scheme which will still leave much good work to be done by the States - work which can be carried out by them quite as efficiently as by the Federal Government.
.- After listening to the debate, and especially to the speech just delivered by the honorable member for Bendigo, one can have no doubt as to the power of the Commonwealth Parliament to deal with quarantine in the widest possible way. I. personally never entertained any doubt on the point. The fact that the power to deal with quarantine was granted under the Constitution to the Commonwealth, to my mind at least, implied that we possess all the powers which the States had previously had in that respect. That being so, it never occurred to me that there could be any room for doubt as to our right to follow diseases, if we desired to do so, from one State to another - to follow them to their sources and nip them there - to prevent them from spreading and becoming a national danger. Very little doubt should how remain in the minds of honorable members as to the powers we possess in this regard. A question arises, however, as to the extent to which we are justified in exercising such a power. I think it is above all things essential that the central authority - the authority which represents Australia as a whole - should at least take to itself sufficient power to enable it if necessary to take action in any of the States in order to safeguard the remainder of the Commonwealth from an outbreak or the spread of disease. That seems essential from the stand-point of Australia. One phase of this question which requires to be emphasized is the danger to Inter-State free-trade, arising from the interpretation placed upon quarantine laws by several of the States. Under the guise of quarantine laws we have a practical prohibition of the importation of certain commodities into a particular State - a. thinly-veiled attempt on the part of one State to protect its producers from the competition of those of other States.
– To what State does the honorable member refer?
– To Western Australia for one. There a prohibitive inspection charge was placed, on fruit imported from other parts of the Commonwealth. Such a system is distinctly anti-Federal, and should be ruthlessly broken down by the central authority.
– The people who eat the fruit pay the charge.
– That is an excellent reply by a presumably intelligent member of the Federal Parliament to the suggestion that the practice in question is antiFederal, and in restraint of trade and commerce !
– It is not anti-Federal.
– The regulation under which the charge is made was simply intended to shut out the codlin moth.
– That was thepretence for imposing a charge which practically prohibited the importation of apples from other States.
– The honorable member has no official information on the subject.
– I happen to know what was done.
– When was the regulation applied?
– The right honorable member was not responsible for it, so that he need not be annoyed.
– The charge was removed.
– It was, because it was found by Western Australia that trouble was likely to arise.
– What happened to the fruit?
– I do not think that it found a profitable market.
– The honorable member wishes to exploit the country more than he has done.
– I have done as much for Australia as the honorable member has.
– The inspectional charges on apples imported into Western Australia were reduced, because I sent over an officer to see that the moneys so collected were paid under section 112 into the Consolidated Revenue.
– Western Australia is not peculiar in this respect. In New South Wales recently we have had complaints about the action taken by Victoria under her inspection laws with respect to the importation of fruit from that State. From Queensland, again, we have complaints that, under the guise of preventing the introduction of tick and red-water disease.
New South Wales has practically prohibited the importation of Queensland cattle.
– And “plague-infected” produce, and so on.
– Plague in the fodder.
– That is so. A great many of these complaints have a reasonable basis. It is only to be expected that while the State authorities have these powers they will be led by parochial considerations to endeavour to use them for their own special benefit. The whole object of handing over these powers to the central body was to prevent such occurrences. The Convention in 1897 had a premonition of what was likely to occur in this connexion, and it inserted in the Constitution a clause - now known as section 112 - with the specific object of meetting such case. In the first place, section 112 provides -
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. . . .
Before proceeding to read the remainder of the section I wish with all humility to dissent from the contention of the honorable member for Bendigo, that the power topass inspection laws is preserved to the States by the Constitution. I think that is a mistake.
– The honorable member said that the law as to policing was left as before.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– Before the adjournment, I was saying that I ventured to dissent from the statement of the honorable member for Bendigo, as I understood it, that under the Constitution the power to pass inspection laws has been preserved to the States. As I take it, according to section 112, whilst the power of a State to levy charges for inspection laws is mentioned as possible of continuance, it is so limited as to indicate that the Convention was fully seized of the possibility of the States Using the cloak of inspection to secure protection for their own productions as against the productions of other States, and so subverting the principle of InterState free-trade. The section says, inter alia -
The net produce of all charges - that is, charges for the execution of the inspection laws of States - so levied shall be for the use of the Commonwealth ;
That is, the net amount after paying the expenses of inspection - and any such inspection laws may be annulled by the Parliament of the Commonwealth.
That is so severe a limitation, that it seems to me to be rather at variance with the statement of the honorable member for Bendigo.
– I said that the power exists, but an abuse of the power can be neutralized by the Commonwealth Parliament annulling such laws.
– Then I misunderstood the honorable member to that extent.
– An abuse of power is always a matter of opinion.
– The honorable member will see that under the Constitution the authority to ‘ correct the abuse lies with the Commonwealth Parliament, just as the authority proposed to be set up for the execution of some of the powers under this Bill is in the exercise of the Commonwealth Parliament. In each instance the power rests with us to take action. Section 112 was an indication that the Convention had some fore-knowledge of what might happen under these so-called inspection laws. But while that section gives us certain powers, it does not seem to me to go sufficiently far, unless we are prepared to take advantage. of the power conferred by sub-section ix., of section 51, relative to quarantine, as this Bill does. Take vines, for instance. On the pretence that the importation of vines might lead to the spread of phylloxera, a State could prohibit not only the importation . of vines but their product. In New Zealand for years the importation of Australian grapes, as well as vines, has been prohibited. Expert opinion, so far as my recollection goes, is to the effect that the importation of grapes would not give rise to any danger from phylloxera. But notwithstanding that, New Zealand, on that pretence, has kept up her prohibition of Australian vines and grapes. And so a State, unless we read this quarantine power pertaining to the Federal authority as applying to plants, might be able effectively to protect its own market from incursions from other States. Not only plants, but also animals - the importation of some particular stock - might be altogether prohibited on the ground that the State feared the introduction of swine fever in pigs, glanders in horses, or tick in cattle, and a variety of other diseases. Consequently there seems to be great’ need for the Commonwealth Parliament to legislate in such a fashion as will give the Government adequate power to deal with all abuses. We have to consider how far we ought to go. Some honorable members have expressed the opinion that our attempt to control quarantine should be confined to oversea vessels and importations generally. Certain States Premiers and Governments have taken up that attitude also, and have made a very strong protest against our assuming further powers, but it is a very curious thing that those States are at the same time complaining about the action of other States towards themselves. I noticed the other day that while Mr. Carruthers -was making protests against the powers -sought to be taken by the Commonwealth in the Quarantine Bill, his own. AttorneyGeneral was threatening Victoria with all kinds of penalties because of her action in regard to New South Wales fruit.
– There is to be a deputation to the Minister to-morrow morning on that same subject.
– It is a very curious circumstance that whilst Mr. Carruthers is insisting upon the limitation of Commonwealth authority in regard to quarantine, his own Attorney-General is issuing all kinds of threats against Victoria, indicating that if her laws are not relaxed retaliatory action will be entered upon by New South Wales. That is a condition of things that we should not contemplate without making -an effort to get rid. of it in some way, and it indicates that the Commonwealth Government is taking the right course in proposing to assume sufficient power to deal with all these cases. I wish to point out, too, that the States have had ample notice of the direction in which Commonwealth quarantine legislation would probably run. In 1904, as has been mentioned already, while I was Prime Minister, I convened a Conference of State experts - or rather I asked the various States Governments to appoint experts to represent them at a Conference - -to consider this question of quarantine. As a result of that invitation, the Conference assembled, and in their recommendations they suggested that the Commonwealth should assume the broadest possible power. “Thev went even further than I am prepared to go under present conditions, but ample indication was then given to the various States Governments that the consensus of -expert opinion - the opinion of their own officers especially - was that the performance of quarantine work should rest with the Federal Government. For instance, I find in the report of the experts that the Conference recommended that the Federal Government should deal with -
The report also says -
No provisions have been inserted concerning general quarantine of animals and plants; the reason is fully stated under special subject (g) at page 12.
The part of the report referred to was mentioned by the honorable member for Hunter, apparently as a reason why the Bill should be radically altered in the direction of limitation, but to my mind it bears a different application The statement of the experts is made in reply to the question -
What restrictions should be placed on importation of animals and animal products?
The following is the answer -
The Conference considers that uniformity of quarantine restrictions on animals and plants throughout the Commonwealth is desirable, but that the necessary measures differ so widely from those required for restraining the importation of diseases in human beings as to make it inexpedient to consider th.em, unless it be in consultation with representatives specially conversant with those subjects convoked in Conference for the purpose.
That is a very strong recommendation. It simply means that a number of gentlemen, who primarily were medical men, hardly cared to enter upon the discussion of the detailed regulations necessary for the quarantining of animals and plants, simply because they were not veterinary surgeons or experts in plant diseases.
– They thought it necessary that experts in those subjects should deal with them.
– They did not think it desirable to draft the details of regulations or clauses of a Bill on those subjects, which, however, they considered should be subject to Commonwealth control.
– That was undoubtedly the intention. /
– They were not experts in those directions, and therefore did not know how the details should run, but on the general principle of having Commonwealth control of animals and plants, so far as quarantine is concerned, they were agreed. The States, therefore, from the report of this Conference, should have been fully alive to the general direction which Commonwealth legislation was likely to take. A Bill had been drafted, and it was submitted to these experts, with several leading questions, and their replies were drawn up in Conference, circulated generally, and made available to the various States Governments. That was three years ago.
Colonel Foxton. - Was that the Conference the report of which has been submitted to us?
– Yes. The Conference was called three years ago at the instance of the Minister of Trade and Customs for the day, and, between then and now, the States Governments should have obtained a very clear idea of the general direction of Commonwealth legislation, based on the recommendations of their own experts. Therefore, I do not think there is any room for complaint that we have treated the States unfairly, or that they .have not had time to make proper representations. While I think that we should have adequate power, first, to deal with importations from abroad, and, secondly, to deal with the transference, or possible transference, of disease, whether relating to human beings, stock, or plants, from one State to another, that power must carry with it inferentially - and it should be stated as explicitly as possible - the power to go into a State, on any special occasion, in order to prevent a known disease being spread to other States. I do not see how it is possible to carry on general quarantine from an Inter-State aspect, unless we have the power to follow up disease, although it may be within’ the borders of a particular State. At the same time, I do not altogether approve of the idea which seemed to govern the Conference of 1904. That Conference went further in some directions than I should be prepared to go, contemplating, as it did, a huge .Federal Department, evidently designed to absorb all the States Departments. The members of the Conference may not have intended to go that far, but that is the inference to be drawn from their report. According to their suggestions, there would have to be a Director-General of Quarantine, and a huge staff of officers ; and, as I have said, I cannot see my way to go so far as that. We should proceed cautiously, and take over whatever powers are necessary, including reserve powers, and, wherever possible, make use, as sug gested by other honorable members, of the States machinery already existing. Solong as we have the ultimate power - the right to say that the States Departments are not doing all thev should do, and that we will supplement their officers by officers of our own, who will carry out the Federalwill and intention - “then, I think, our position will be sufficiently strong.. , I suggest that the Government might’ indicate, in some fashion in the Bill, that: it is hot the intention to use what hasbeen termed “reserve powers” on all and every occasion. I do not know whether that could be easily expressed ; but the honorable member for Brisbane hascirculated an amendment with that end in, view. I confess, however, that I do not care for the phraseology in which that amendment is couched. It appears to meto necessitate an implication as to the goods faith of a State Government, before action can be taken, and I do not think that isdesirable. We do not wish to have to tell the people of a State that they are lax in. their duty, or anything of that kind ; so» long as a sufficiently serious occasion arises,, the Governor-General, it seems to me, ought: to authorize action ; and, as to the seriousness of the occasion, I should say that theMinistry - with the Governor-General, of” course - would be the best authority.
Colonel Foxton. - Undoubtedly.
– I agree in principlewith what the honorable member for Brisbane has suggested; but I differ from him as to the language in which his amendment is couched ; I think it might be improved to some extent, in view of the fact that it may seem to necessitate a reflectionon a State Government before Federal’ action can be taken. I do not agree withthe honorable member for Angas that itwould be wise to impose the limitation he suggests. The words he proposes to add could only have a limiting effect, and I am very doubtful whether they would not go further than, perhaps, he intends, as indicated in the speech of the honorable and” learned member for Bendigo. But leavingthat contention, there is the other objection that if the Federal authority be confined to the right to interfere in regard to the spread of disease from one State to another, it is doubtful whether we could thenfollow, within the borders of a State, a patient suffering, for instance, from smallpox or plague, who might originally have come from abroad.
– Or who had escaped from quarantine in Melbourne, for inst fines-
– Or who, on the other hand, had, before the disease had fully developed, got on board a boat trading on the coast of one State only.
– An infected passenger might come on a China boat, and get on board a Newcastle boat at Sydney
– In such .a case, the question would be whether the Federal authority was entitled to go aboard the Newcastle boat and take possession of the passenger, and put him into quarantine. It is very doubtful whether that could be done.
– So long as the origin of the disease was abroad; the passenger could be quarantined. If the Federal authority could not quarantine the patient the State could.
– But that would be continuing the dual machinery, which we do n.->t think is desirable. If “what the honorable member says is true, it would be a. reason for leaving the question of quarantine alone. I prefer to have the Bill comprehensive. There is not merely the case of a patient who may have brought disease from abroad. What about contacts, whom it may be desirable to isolate, though they may be within the borders of their own State? Unless a contact went from Sydney to Melbourne, or from Albury to Wodonga, we could not follow him according to the amendment, but would have to rely on State action to insure quarantine.
– I think contacts could be followed, no matter where, if they had come from abroad.
– But I am speaking of contacts who have not come from abroad.
– Every contact could be followed - not only those from abroad.
– Surely we could take the power.
– I say we could; but, in my view, the amendment would prevent our having the power. The amendment limits the clause in such a fashion as would compel us to move the State Departments in order to secure proper quarantine, even in respect of cases which might owe their origin to outside influence. ‘
– I am certain the Commonwealth could follow contacts.
– In any case, it seems to me that it would be much wiser, on the whole, to pass the clause as it is. It would be better to take full power to deal with disease, either from abroad or of an InterState character, in reference to human beings, animals, or plants, and then to make some reservation, such as has been indicated by the honorable member for Brisbane, so that it might be clearly shown that no action that would carry the Commonwealth authority right into the heart of a State would be taken, except in serious emergency, and after due consideration.
– The first part of the clause, I think, covers contacts.
– As the clause reads at present it does, but I am doubtful whether, with the limiting words suggested by the honorable member for Angas, it will enable us to follow contacts if ‘they have not been outside the borders of their own States. Inferentially, it is quite possible that there would still be power to follow contacts. I do not pretend that there would not be, even if those words were included. But the position is much clearer without them.
– In any event the words of limitation would come better later on than in this clause.. I mean words defining generally what the scope of quarantine is to be irrespective of administration.
– I agree with the spirit of the amendment foreshadowed by the honorable member for Brisbane. That is a better form of limitation than could be provided by any proposal such as the honorable member for Angas makes. When we talk about the power that is sought to be taken by the Bill we must “ remember that a good deal of it remains to be defined in its application bv regulations, which will be subject to disallowance by either House of the Federal Parliament. Under the Act dealing with regulations, if either House objects by resolution within a certain time to the regulations as laid upon the table, those regulations cease to have effect. Consequently, this House does not part with its power even after passing the Bill. It will still have authority over the regulations, and can refuse to allow each set of regulations presented to it until some which are in consonance with its desires are put before it.
– If we are going to take power to deal with Inter-State quarantine in the matter of pests and infectious diseases generally, we must have a power that can be put into operation instantly. We cannot wait for regulations while they are being discussed in Parliament.
– I quite agree with the honorable member, but I do not mean that regulations would have to be framed for each set of circumstances as they arose. What I mean is that we shall still have power over the regulations which would govern action by the Department when the Act was in operation. The regulations would be permanent, but before they could become law they must not be disapproved by either House.
– Then the honorable member suggests that we should take full powers and leave their exercise to the Administration.
– Partly that. I am willing to agree to the general principle of’ the limitation which has been suggested by the honorable member for Brisbane. But beyond that, I do not think it would be wise for us to limit ourselves. We ought to have a reserve power in the hands’ of the central authority to enable it to take any action which, from an Australian stand-point, may seem necessary in order to safeguard ourselves from disease whether of human beings, plants, or stock. In the whole range of communicable disease, we ought to have power to intervene if the case is serious enough to warrant it. It would be very unwise indeed to be content with any power short of that. I trust, therefore, that the clause will not be amended as suggested. I would prefer that any limiting action should come in as a separate proposal later on.
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [8.10].- The discussion which has taken place so far has been directed more, as was suggested by the honorable member for Laanecoorie, to the second amendment of the honorable member for Angas than to the one immediately under discussion. I was inclined to think there would be very little exception taken to this amendment until the honorable member for South Sydney spoke. The primary object to be aimed at in a Quarantine Bill of this sort, as was the case with the Quarantine Bills presented to the old Federal Council, is that oversea quarantine, more especially in regard to diseases affecting human beings, should be dealt with as a whole and not by each separate State as is the case at present. That is to say, that on a vessel arriving at Thursday Island or Port Darwin, for example, the whole of the quarantine action for Australia should be taken at that port, and the whole territory of the Common wealth safeguarded from that point of contact. That is the first object to be gained. We have to consider whether in dealing with the general question of quarantine it is desirable to go very much further than to afford that protection. We have, I suppose, in every State at present, certainly in most of the States, very complete Health Acts, and Acts authorizing our agricultural Departments to deal with diseases of animals and plants. They are administered, so far as I know, with a considerable amount of zeal and discretion from the capitals of the various States. If we intend to go much further than the primary object of this Bill, we shall be necessarily duplicating to a very large extent the extensive and expensive machinery which is already in existence, and directed by the States Governments, and which they must continue to maintain. Those Governments have for the most part entered a protest against the inclusion in the Bill of provisions dealing with animals and plants, and, in fact, with anything more than oversea quarantine. I should like to read to the Committee the protest which has been entered in a communication to the Commonwealth Government by Mr. Kidston, the Premier of Queensland. He has sent me a copy of it in order that the attitude of his Government towards the Bill may be thoroughly understood. He says, addressing the Commonwealth Government -
My chief objection to Quarantine Bill is that it is not restricted to maritime quarantine. Am not sure that Constitution permits Federal interference with shipping confined to Queensland waters -
Mr. Kidston only uses the term “ Queensland waters “ by way of illustration. He means intra-state as distinguished from Iriter-State vessels - but to avoid necessity for both Commonwealth and State action at our ports am prepared to let Commonwealth deal exclusively with thematter. Am of opinion, however, that internal quarantine is, and should remain, a ‘ State matter. Commonwealth, no doubt, has an interest in preventing spread of animal and vegetable diseases from one portion of one State to another -
– Does he mean from one portion of one State to another State?
Colonel FOXTON.- No; he means to another portion of that State. It must be understood that this is a telegram, and is consequently abbreviated. Of course, it is obvious that the Commonwealth is interested in that matter - but not so strong an interest as State has, nor has it, or is it likely to have, such effective machinery for preventing spread. Trust, therefore, you will make Bill apply only to maritime quarantine.
That was the representation made to the Commonwealth Government by the Premier of Queensland.
– I received the telegram only this morning.
Colonel FOXTON. - That telegram may be taken to express the attitude of the States generally in regard to the Bill. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo alleged that State action has been ineffective in preventing the spread of diseases, and, as an illustration of the laches which it is desired, to. prevent, he spoke of what has occurred in Queensland in regard to the tick fever. He said that Queensland has lost £600,000 worth of stock from tick fever, and that the authorities were distinctly negligent in not taking more effective measures to prevent the spread of the disease. He did not give the names of the officials from -whom he obtained his information. I should like to know who they are, and what knowledge they possess of the conditions of Queensland in the early nineties, and of the adequacy or otherwise of the measures since taken to cope with the pest. His illustration was an unhappy one. As a. matter of fact, the State has probably lost much more than £600,000 worth of stock since tick fever first made its appearance there; but the mere statement of that fact doss .not in any way indicate that its. authorities have been negligent in regard to : the matter-
– It was not known, at first, how to treat the disease, or how serious it was.
Colonel FOXTON.- Quite so. I believe that it came into the gulf country of Queensland from, the Northern Territory, being first discovered at or in the neighbourhood of Port Darwin. Directly it was known to stock-owners that it was a serious disease, steps were taken to check its ravages, and to prevent it from spreading, and no. Government that has since been in power in Queensland has for a moment relaxed its endeavours to stamp out the disease, and to stop its progress south.’
– The attempts which have “been made to prevent the disease coming south have ruine’d many stock-owners.
Colonel FOXTON.- Stock-owners have t>een ruined, and others almost ruined, by the drastic measures taken to prevent the pest from spreading south. The result of these measures is that the progress of the disease southwards has been so much checked ‘that it is only now that the northern districts of New South Wales are threatened with an invasion of ticks. Had it not been for the strenuous and heroic efforts of the Governments in power in Queensland during the last ten or fifteen
Nears”, the cattle tick would have spread much further south than it has to-day.
– It would have reached Melbourne by now.
Colonel FOXTON. - One statement made by Mr. Kidston in his telegram appears to me to be unanswerable. It is certainly more the immediate concern of a State in which disease affecting human beings, animals, or plants has broken out, to protect its own immediately adjoining districts than it is to the interest of the Commonwealth at large to do so. A State Government has the advantage of a thorough knowledge of local conditions, and the assistance of efficient staffs, provided by a Health Department, and an Agricultural Department, to aid it in stamping out a pest.
– It is not the intention of the Bill’ to do away with such staffs, or to interfere with them.
Colonel FOXTON. - The honorable and learned member for Bendigo said that Queensland and Victoria are the States in which swine fever was first discovered.
– I said that swine fever is believed to have existed in New South Wales long before it was discovered, and that Queensland and Victoria assisted in its discovery, showing that the New South Wales Department had not enforced proper quarantine regulations.
Colonel FOXTON. - I understood the honorable and learned member to say that Queensland and Victoria discovered swine fever, but that its origin had -been traced to New South Wales, and he instanced the failure of the New South Wales officials to diagnose the disease as a reason for Federal action. But, unless the Commonwealth is going to duplicate the existing staffs’, we shall be in no better p*osition, after the Bill is passed, to discover and diagnose diseases than we occupy now.
– The honorable and learned member for Bendigo intended to convey the idea that’ the Federal Government would be less likely than a State Government to allow things to remain quiescent.
Colonel FOXTON. - No doubt, if the New South Wales officials had discovered and diagnosed this disease, they would have taken prompt action to stamp it out, just as now they are trying to get rid of the fruit fly, but Federal officials would have no better opportunities of discovering its presence than the State officials had. My point is that the Governments of the States have the machinery for discovering, checking, and destroying diseases, and that if disease is discovered in a State like New South Wales, for example, the State authorities are more concerned in protecting the districts immediately surrounding the infected ‘ area than aTe those of a State like Western Australia., for example, to which it would be unlikely to spread. It seems to me that there can be no doubt that, even if the Bill were limited in its operation, as the honorable member for Angas suggests, it would empower the Commonwealth to follow and arrest any person who escaped from a quarantine station or a quarantined vessel- But if such a man were discovered, say, 300 miles from the port at which he had been quarantined, the simplest, most economical, and best way to deal with him would be to say to the State authorities, “ There is in your territory a man who is suffering from smallpox or other contagious disease. Bring into operation the machinery of your Health Department to prevent him and those who have been in contact with him from communicating that disease to others. Do not bring him back through the populous districts to the port, but quarantine him where he is under your Health Act, and treat him just as if an epidemic had arisen at that point.” That, I think, is the wiser course to pursue, and that is the point of view from which 1 regard the Bill. With me it is not altogether a question of whether the Commonwealth has the authority to take all the powers which are contained in the Bill. That may be a very interesting question from a constitutional’ stand-point, and as the honorable member for Parkes pointed out, it may be a very important one in regard to the litigation which would ensue if the ‘ Commonwealth usurped any State powers, and for. that reason we should be careful not to assume more powers than it is clear we legally possess. But the real question is, how can matters of this sort be most effectively dealt with? I think that oversea quarantine can be dealt with more effectively by the Commonwealth than by the States, but I do not think that the time ever will arrive when the Commonwealth will be able to deal with what the honorable member for Bendigo has described as Intra-State diseases and! pests, as distinguished from InterState diseases and pests, one half so well as will the States, who are more directly interested than the more distant portions of the Commonwealth which, are represented here, and who work largely through their local government bodies. The honorable member for Bendigo admitted that a State is better qualified to deaf with plants and goods than is the Commonwealth, hence the amendment of which he has given notice in clause 13. But I think that having admitted so much hemust be taken to have also admitted that a State, through its Health and Agricultural Departments, is better able to deal with* pests affecting animals and also human beings within its own borders than is the Commo: 1 wealth.
– What would the honorable member do if a State would not take action?
Colonel FOXTON.- I do not think that there is the slightest fear of that caseever arising. I am sure it must be theexperience of every honorable member that on the outbreak of any infections diseasethe tendency is rather to issue panic regulations, and to take more precautions than are necessary. That feeling is very strongly entertained in Queensland, whose productions have probably been subjected to a larger number of prohibitions than havethose of any other State. Our impression,, therefore, is that the tendency of other States is rather to take unnecessary precautions than to neglect to take any.
– If that is the rase, thesooner the power to do so is taken away from them the better.
Colonel FOXTON.- No. That was ar* argument made use of by the honorablemember for South Sydney. I speak asthe representative of Queenslanders, whose productions have been subjected to prohibition by other States. Probably all Queenslanders feel that in this respect a little injustice has been done to them by neighbouring States. But, as was very pertinently asked by an honorable member,. “ Are persons who are prejudiced in that way most likely to take a strictly impartial view of the action of other States?”” I think not. Complaints have been made,, of course, by some other States that neighbouring States have also taken more precautions than were necessary. For instance, Western Australia is said to have taken far more precautions than were necessary to protect her own fruit industry. But possibly the States which have complained, and their producers, are not the best judges as to whether Western Australia was justified in doing all she did. I intend to vote for the amendments of the honorable member for Angas. Perhaps it may be convenient here for me to mention the amendments of which I have given notice, and which are in the direction of limiting the operation of paragraphs g, h, and i, of clause 13, if they should be adopted, to such cases as may arise in which individual States may not have taken proper precautions to prevent the spread of disease within their own area, or, having taken those precautions, have made regulations which are too drastic,’ and, therefore, opposed to’ the best interests of the Commonwealth at large, and the other States. To my amendments the honorable member for South Sydney has raised an objection, which at first blush seems to have force, and that is that they would be likely to cause friction between the States Governments and the Commonwealth Government when the latter proposed to employ the power which it would possess under the Bill if those paragraphs were enacted. I do not think that the objection really has any weight. The mere fact that the Commonwealth did possess that power would in itself be sufficient to cause the States to deal with these matters with zeal, and to take very great care that they should not be called upon by the Commonwealth to do anything more. It would also, I think, operate in the direction of influencing the States not to go too far in their regulations. But the mere fact that the Commonwealth held in reserve its own law as a coercive power would not create one bit more friction than would be occasioned if it were continually stepping in and doing the work, which is essentially States work, and for doing which tin”. States are thoroughly well equipped. Probably the Bill with these amendments would work out in this way : If it were found that any State was not doing its duty, the Commonwealth Government would communicate with the Government of that State, and a conference of experts would be immediately appointed by the two authorities, at which suggestions would be mA de as to what improvements the State should intro- duce in regard to the particular matter under consideration. The Commonwealth would then occupy its proper place as a mere coercive power in relation to neglectful States. I shall, perhaps, have more to say upon that aspect of the matter at a later period. In the meantime, I welcome the amendments of the honorable member for Angas, because they are ah in the direction of effecting improvements in the measure. This Parliament ought not to take unto itself more powers than are absolutely necessary to enable it adequately to fulfil those functions of quarantine which cannot be better discharged by the various States.
.- This afternoon, when I suggested that the amendment should be dealt with first, I was not aware that an arrangement had been arrived at that a general discussion should take place, otherwise the observations which I desire to offer would have been made then. With regard to the particular clause under discussion, I think that the reason why so much, opposition has been shown to it is because the draftsman has been too specific. Had the Minister simply been prepared to ask this Parliament for power to exercise quarantine - without so carefully specifying the manner and the extent to which it was to be exercised - there would not have been nearly so much outcry by the States. I hold in my hand the definition of the word “ quarantine,” which is given by Stormonth in the Dictionary of Scientific Terms; and honorable members will see at once how widely that definition differs, not only from those which have been quoted from various dictionaries, but also from the popular acceptation of the meaning of the word.
– What we shall principally have to deal with in determining any matters which may come before a Court will be legal definitions.
– I am very anxious that we shall define the word in this Bill, and in order that we may arrive at a definition which will be acceptable alike to honorable members and to the States themselves we need to take into consideration the two extreme definitions which I am about to read to the Committee. The definition of the term given by Stormonth is as follows : -
The time during which a ship arriving from an infected port, home or foreign, must refrain from communicating with the shore except under medical control and at a fixed place, originally extending over forty days, but now much more restricted.
– That is the etymological meaning of the word.
– It is the definition which, undoubtedly, fitted the word when it was introduced. But we have outgrown that definition, and we now more frequently employ the word in a more active way. The other definition, which I desire to quote, is that which was given by Mr. O’Connor in the Federal Convention. He has been quoted because he and Mr. Isaacs were the only two delegates at the Convention who spoke upon the question of quarantine when it was under consideration.
– Their speeches were quoted this afternoon by the honorable and learned member for Angas.
– I understand that he did not quote the definition given by Mr. O’Connor, who, in speaking of quarantine, said -
It means general powers of isolation in all cases.
That definition is wide enough, I think, to admit of the exercise not only of the powers asked for in this Bill, but of a great many mote. In these circumstances, the Committee should endeavour to arrive at a definition which they think will fit the conditions of the case, and confer upon the Federal authority all the powers that we desire it to possess. I do think it would have been well if the Government had seen fit to ask for a general power of quarantine, and to leave to the future the exercise of those special powers which they a/e so anxious to see incorporated in the Bill. The honorable member for Bendigo spoke of the power of the Federal authority in America, and cited instances in which - iri the absence of express power - it had exercised its authority. I say that in such cases the Federal authority in Australia would exercise its power even in the absence of specific authority from Parliament or the people. As the honorable member pointed out, there were times in America when it was absolutely necessary that immediate action should be taken, and failing action on the part of the States, it necessarily devolved upon Congress to take the necessary steps to protect the welfare of the people. A similar course, I am sure, would be followed by the Commonwealth Parliament. If it were necessary in the national interest, say during the present week, before this Bill is passed, to take some step which might be regarded as an infringement of the powers of the States, public opinion would so strongly support the Federal authority that the latter would immediately do what was required. In the circumstances, I think that the honorable member for Bendigo, who has presented the best case for the retention of ‘ the Bill in its piresent shape, need not have used an illustration which was undoubtedly somewhat beside the mark. In my opinion a general power qf quarantine is better than the limited power proposed here - a power which is regarded by some of the States as inimical to their rights and privileges:. Although I agree with them to a certain extent, yet, paradoxical as it may seem, I would like to see the power conferred by the Bill exercised to the full extent. No provision is made in the measure for the destruction of animals or plants. I am aware that clauses 48 and 57 provide for the destruction of infected animals and plants. But surely that is a power which is outside quarantine, and if that be so, it should not find a place in this Bill. If it is properly included in the Bill it should be incorporated in clause 4.
– It is included in the commerce powers conferred by the Constitution.
– But why include in this Bill a power which should be incorporated in the Commerce Act? Of course, I am aware that animals and plants, being regarded as property, can be dealt with under the Commerce Act. But clause 4 of this Bill does, not provide for their destruction. I think all will admit that the segregation and the isolation of diseased animals and plants is not sufficient in itself. It is better to get rid of them absolutely, and it is only by taking unto ourselves powers such as .those which are conferred by clauses 48 and 57 that we shall be able to accomplish that. I do not agree with the honorable member for Bendigo in his desire to eliminate from the Bill the provision whereby goods can be followed to any place within the Commonwealth. In our anxiety to protect the health and welfare of the community we must be prepared to take action which will most promptly give effect to our purpose. The honorable member for Bendigo gave as his reason for wishing to eliminate that provision the fact that diseases might be carried by persons from place to place, whilst goods might be said to be more or less stationary. I point out that goods coming from an infected port might pass through what the honorable member referred to as the first line of defence, and get into one or more of the States. The place to which they were brought might prove to be a most suitable breeding ground for the development of the germs with which they were infected.
– That has happened already. Outbreaks of plague have been traced to goods brought from abroad that were passed at the first port of call and were taken elsewhere.
– The incubation stage of many diseases varies in duration from days tomonths. Many diseases are known to exist in a quiescent state for a considerable period. It is, therefore, quite possible to imagine goods manufactured by infected persons, or goods infected by contamination, being imported and taken to some place in the interior, and months afterwards being the cause of an outbreak of disease. It is a constant study with members of the medical profession to trace the sources of infection in the case of disease. When the source of infection is discovered, it would be well that the Federal authority, if it is to take up this matter at all, should have the power to follow through every part of the Commonwealth, not only those goods which are known to be infected, but also goods which might be described as contacts, which, harmless enough in themselves, might, from their contact with in-‘ fected goods, be the means of carrying the infection throughout the country. I hope that before we come to clause 13 the honorable and learned member for Bendigo will have seen fit to modify his views in this particular regard. The honorable member is, in common with every member of the Committee, anxious to make this Bill as perfect as possible, but he would do grave injustice to his own efforts in this direction by eliminating goods from the operation of the Commonwealth law. Another point which has been brought under my notice by an expert is that there is no provision in clause 4 for dealing with an outbreak. If the amendments moved by the honorable member for Angas are carried, the clause will refer to the introduction into the Commonwealth, or spread from one State to another, of any disease, but no provision will have been made to deal with an outbreak, an endemic or sporadic outbreak, from within. In the circumstances, it would be well to include the word “ outbreak “ in the proposed amendment. This shows the danger which arises from attempting to be too specific. If we are to have all these terms, such as”exclusive detention, segregation, isolation, protection, and disinfection,” anotherterm that must be included is “ aggregation,” because we shall have to put infected people together and infected animals together., If the clause were left as it stands at present, it might be necessary to establish a separate quarantine ground for every infected person or animal. I urge the Minister to consider the advisability of redrafting clause 4, and eliminating; all these specific limitations, because, after all, they are limitations, and have undoubtedly been the chief cause of the opposition to the measure. If the Minister can see his way to redraft clause 4 so as tomake it a general clause taking over quarantine, and leave, as we might leave, tothe future the exercise of all the powers that can be conferred under such a QuarantineAct, he will be on safe ground, and wilt do away with the irritation which undoubtedly exists between the States and’ the Commonwealth ‘in connexion with this matter. I agree with those who say that at the present time there is a great deal of irritation existing between the different Statesauthorities in connexion with various quarantine regulations, but all that is proposed to be done under this Bill is to substitute for Inter-State irritation friction between? the Federal and State authorities. I ask honorable members to approach the consideration of the matter in the spirit of Judge Marshall, as quoted by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, and endeavour to give to the Commonwealth a Quarantine Act which will be sufficient for our needs, and at the same time will not be the cause either of alarm or irritation to. the several States concerned.
. -Under the Constitution we havepower to take over the control of quarantine, and I am in favour of going to the fullest extent of our power in this. Bill. If that course be adopted all theobjections raised by honorable memberswho have addressed themselves to this subject will be met. What is required is uniform administration of the quarantine law. If that is secured, the irritation referred to bythe honorable member for Laanecoorie will cease to exist. It is toomuch to expect that we shall satisfy the States Governments by taking over these services, because they are opposed to having any of this work done for them. They desire to do it for themselves, and thev are irritated now because in proposing to exercise the powers given us under the Constitution we are not satisfied to confine our operations to quarantine in respect of disease brought from abroad, and permit the States authorities to administer quarantine laws within their boundaries as they, have heretofore done. This difficulty arises every time we propose to take over a service from the States, and it will continue to arise. In this connexion history is merely repeating itself. In the United States similar objections were raised to everything the Federal authority attempted to do which had formerly been done by States authorities. Our experience will be the same. The explanation of the constitutional side of the question given by the honorable -and learned member for Angas was in keeping with the excellent and learned addresses which the honorable and learned member delivers from time to time upon the constitutional interpretation of Commonwealth powers, I am inclined to think that we do not always give the honorable and learned member the justice which is his due, but we realize his great ability and profit by all the advice he gives. Do I understand that he desires, by his amendment, to extend the scope of the measure? I should like Kim to say clearly whether it is his intention that we should exercise the fullest powers. The honorable and learned member said that he was a Federalist, and are we to -understand that his amendment is intended to curtail the powers of the Federal authority in connexion with quarantine?
– To limit them to quarantine between State and State, and maritime quarantine.
– So that the Federal authority should not operate within a State?
– The honorable and learned member, with his acute mind, would impose upon a layman, as he imposed upon me, because on reading his amendment, it seems to me that he proposes to insert the very words which, though left out, are implied’. The clause begins -
In this Act, quarantine has 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 -
Introduction where? Into the Commonwealth. The ordinary person in the street would understand that that is what is meant, and that is really what the honorable member for Angas has proposed - or spread ….
Where? Within; the States. The man in the street would think that it meant in the States.
– What I say is, “ From State to State.”
– It means within the States - from one State to another. -We know, of course, that a Federal Act, to be a Federal Act at all, must operate outside the limits of any one State.
– Not according to this Bill.
– We cannot pass a Federal law which will operate exclusively in one State.
– The object of the honorable member for Angas is to prevent its application 10 a State matter.
– Then the honorable member for Angas is not a Federalist. He is very honest, because he says he desires, as the honorable member for Flinders interprets his. intention, that we should not be able to go into a State and administer the affairs of that State. He has caught the. contagion. We find that the Premiers of all the States of the Union have approached their representatives in this Parliament, with the request, “ Take no more powers from us than- you can possibly help.” Our Federalist, the honorable member for Angas, has fallen away, and so I shall not be with him. I shall give this Parliament the fullest powers I can, and then we shall be able to do our work efficiently. Only a few days ago, in passing along the coast, I found that the Customs authorities in Queensland were strictly administering the law - a very stringent one - regarding the bringing into the Commonwealth of plants and birds, but when I reached Sydney, I was told that the authorities there were not nearly so exacting, and I was allowed to bring those things ashore without any difficulty being put in my way at all.
– I do not think the words 1 propose to insert will make any difference except that thev will save the necessity for going to the High Court for a decision. The limitation is there already.
– Then the honorable member desires to save expense in litigation. He evidently wishes rather to curtail than enlarge our powers. The instance I gave goes to show that we need uniform administration. If we take all the powers that we are entitled to, we may exercise them to the fullest extent practicable, but it may not be advantageous or desirable that we should do much of the detail work that is now done in the States by the Health authorities and the Departments of Agriculture. As they are able to do a great deal of detail work which is beneficial within the States, there is no reason for us to clash with them in their efforts. Rather they will be a decided helpto the Commonwealth authorities in exercising -the powers given by, and in fully’ carrying out the provisions of, this measure. I shall support the Government in making the Bill as stringent, and its application within the Commonwealth as wide, as possible.
.- I hope that this Bill will be passed into law without any unnecessary delay. I do not know any power within the scope of the Commonwealth that has not been already exercised which ought to be more speedily exercised than this. The present quarantine .laws of Australia are inadequate, unsatisfactory, and vexatious to commerce, to individuals, and to the community generally. Those who have control of these Departments in the various States are some of them very good, some of them not so good, and some, from the stand-point of efficiency, beneath contempt. There does not appear to be in this Bill any indication as to what methods it is proposed to adopt. I did not have the advantage of hearing the Minister explain the measure, nor have I had the opportunity’ that I should desire of looking through it carefully. I am, therefore, not at all sure whether there is any definite and radical departure from existing methods set forth in it so far as quarantine regulations are concerned, or whether it is proposed merely to take power to do such things as may appear advisable from time to time. The Royal Commission on the Navigation Bill, when taking evidence, had the opportunity of hearing from Dr. Ramsay Smith, of Adelaide, some opinions . which, coming from such a source, are well worthy of consideration. According to that authority the present system of quarantine generally is antiquated and ineffective. That it is antiquated is proved by the doctor’s own words. On page 435 of Parliamentary Papers; Royal Commissions, Session 1906, Vol. III., there appears a copy of a letter sent by him to the Right Hon. Charles Cameron Kingston, K.C., P.C., Minister of Trade and Customs, and dated 8th February, 1901. In it Dr. Ramsay Smith says -
Quarantine is the survival of a system whose aim was to prevent disease from reaching a country and spreading there, and whose method of attaining this .was the isolation of the infected, and those exposed to infection, for a prolonged period. For several hundred years this was the only effective means of dealing with a problem the factors of which were very little understood. The circumstances of countries have changed so much since the beginning of last century, and our knowledge of the origin and spread of disease lias grown so much more accurate and comprehensive that the old method has necessarily given place to more modern, more enlightened, more effective, and, commercially, less grievous methods.
That is true so far as Europe is concerned. Dr. Ramsay Smith goes on -
By the term “ Quarantine,” one generally understands the strict isolation of all persons, whether sick, suspected, or healthy, on board a ship in which a case of infectious disease has occurred. The two extremes as regards methods of dealing with a disease-stricken ship may be illustrated by what is done, say, inLondon, where commerce is all-important, and what obtains in some pastoral or agricultural colony where commerce by sea is of very little account. In the first instance, the sick are removed from the ship to a hospital, and isolated’ there. The other passengers and crew, after inspection and disinfection, are allowed to land, and to go about their business, subject only to such supervision and inspection as the local authorities may impose.
That is what is done in the largest port in the world. They do not quarantine ships. They only detain the actual sick. They disinfect contacts, the ship, and the ship’s furniture and impedimenta, and take the names and addresses of the contacts.
In the other case, the ship is not allowed to> land even crew or passengers. The company may be curtly told to take their ship away, that the public health of the colony is of more importance than any ship’s welfare, and that the country, having the power to prevent landing or communication, is determined to exercise it.
That applies to our States. According to Dr. Ramsay Smith, the method adopted here is quite unnecessary. . I can, from my own experience, thoroughly indorse that.. He goes on to say in the same letter -
As regards the lines of legislation, the statements above made will indicate that personally I should like to see a thorough system of inspection followed by isolation of the sick, alt carried out under the supervision of Federalofficers, instead of a prolonged, expensive, and possible ineffective quarantine, whether imposed by the Federal or a State Government. In this I would defer largely to the experience gained in the recent sporadic outbreaks of plague, and the lessons learned from them.
He goes on to say, on the following page -
In addition to what I have said about the sanitary dues, I can give what, in my opinion, were the most important recommendations - (1) That vessels not trading beyond the Commonwealth should be exempt from quarantine restrictions, unless, of course, they, had disease on board, or touched at, or had dealings with, a . proclaimed place. It is so also with New Zealand and Fiji vessels. (2) That oversea vessels, after the first port of call, should be treated as Inter-State vessels. These should be free from all inspection, unless they developed disease in the meantime. (3) Taking a power to put a medical officer on board an affected ship, to accompany her on her voyage, and take proper sanitary precautions.
It appears to me that that is all that is necessary, and anything beyond is most undesirable. Ours is a country whose commerce is growing every year by leaps and bounds; and there is no doubt at all that the present system of quarantine gravely handicaps commerce. It is not necessary to maintain it another day. I wish to call the. attention of the Minister to a few cases, two of which have fallen within my own experience lately. The steamer Argus, with a cargo of horses and some passengers, came from Calcutta in September, 1906. She had on board a quantity of chaff. When she was entering Port Phillip this chaff was thrown overboard. Melbourne being a place full of chaff of various kinds, it was not considered necessary to bring it here. She got out of this port without any undue embargo being placed upon her, or without penalties being imposed. Full of hope she came to Sydney, where, however, she was not allowed to land her cargo, but was detained in the middle of the stream. Her cargo had to be removed in lighters, at an extra cost of £150. The consignees and the shippers naturally complained about this treatment, and Dr. Ashburton Thompson, the officer who has charge of quarantine in New. South Wales, who has had charge of it for a considerable time, said, in reply to the very indignant protests of those interested, that what they stated was quite true, and that the real reason for the treatment of the vessel was that she had had chaff on board which came from . an infected port, Calcutta, and that there was a possibility of the chaff containing rats. Here was a ship which, after dumping her chaff into Port Phillip, [So] was detained in Sydney for some days while the whole of the cargo was lightered - which, as every one knows, means double handling, lessened facilities for discharging, and, of course, the cost is very much increased, to say nothing at all of demurrage. I quote from Dr. Ashburton Thompson’s statement. He said -
Our experience is, so far as we can see, that fodder itself does not become infected. But we do greatly fear the introduction of plague- infected rats. They are perfectly free to pass from the bundles of fodder on deck to any part of the vessel.
This is perspicuity that one would not expect to emanate from the mind of any official - that a rat would be likely to pass from chaff to any portion of the ship ! But, so far as I can judge - and from various causes I have, perhaps, had better opportunities than most men of seeing how ships are moored in the port of Sydney - not only a rat, but a cow, could get ashore on the mooring ropes that are supposed to be protected by rat-guards. I have seen ratguards in the form of a disc, intended to prevent a rat from getting ashore along a rope, so placed as to present a convenient opening, and to be really a kind of invitation to any rat to go ashore. Not only is that so, but when a ship is tied up with four or five hawsers, two or three of them will have ratguards whilst the others will have none. Now, I would ask any sensible man - I had almost said any sensible rat ! - why a rat should select a hawser with a rat-guard upon it, when there are two or three hawsers without any guards at all? But, because some rats might have got to parts of this vessel, Dr. Ashburton Thompson made those concerned in the cargo pay £150 for lightering. If a- rat might have got from a bale of chaff to some other portion of the ship, what was to prevent a rat from getting from the ship into a lighter? Absolutely nothing. I remember that during the plague time, when the present Treasurer was in charge of New South Wales, I took him on one occasion around the harbor.
– Was the Treasurer, or the honorable member, in charge of New South Wales?
– I, at any rate, was in charge of one severely stricken part of New South Wales. I venture to say that the Minister saw more rats then than he is likely to see again during the whole course of his life. I also undertake to say that any rat that wants to get ashore in New
South Wales has absolutely no difficulty in doing so.
– What is to prevent a rat from using the gangway, anyhow?
– The honorable member is perfectly right, because the quartermaster is only on duty to stop unauthorized persons from coming aboard or going ashore. The next case that I desire to mention is that- of the steamer Aorangi. I was on board that vessel a few weeks ago. When we arrived in the Brisbane River, the steamer stopped opposite the meat works at about half-past five in the afternoon. A man came aboard, who was, I am credibly informed, the medical officer. We were mustered on deck, and he had a look at us. I say most emphatically that it was absolutely impossible ‘ for that man to say whether we were suffering from any disease, mental or physical. He asked none but the most casual questions - he did not ask one question of any passenger - so far as I could see, merely checking the number of persons with the names on a list. The passengers went ashore at Brisbane, and, though some went overland, the majority returned to the ship, and proceeded to Sydney. Any of the passengers, had they chosen, could have gone by railway into New South Wales, and .nothing would have happened. We arrived at the port of Sydney about 5.17 in the evening. It was quite’ light, and the whistle was blown to attract the attention of the medical officer. The sun had gone down, but both Sir Josiah Symon and myself were able to read a newspaper on deck. The time was checked by Sir Josiah Symon, Mr. McWhae, a stockbroker of Melbourne, and myself ; but, although it was thus early and light, the medical officer absolutely declined to come to the ship. It must be remembered that the vessel had already been cleared at an Inter-State port, and had occupied only some twenty-eight or thirty hours on the run ; and yet it was stuck up there, with a portion of the mails, a valuable cargo, and 200 or 300 persons. At 7 o’clock next morning, when it was not nearly so light as.it had been on the previous evening at half-past 5, the medical officer - an enormous man, over six feet high, with his coat collar turned up - came on board, and without even attempting to look at us - the man in Brisbane did, at any rate, look at us - waved his hand, or did something, and the vessel went up the harbor, and we were landed. I had been round the world, and this was the first port at which we had ever been detained in such a way - the first port at which such an absolutely asinine proceeding had been resorted to - and I felt heartily ashamed that such men should be in control of the Health Department in Sydney. To show that such a. proceeding is one that is not usual, I may say that the steamer Cycle, a fortnight or three weeks before, arrived in Sydney harbor after dark at 7.30 p.m., and the doctor came on board at 9.30 or thereabouts, when it was pitch dark, passed the ship, and the passengers were landed at midnight. That men of this kind should be in charge of a great Department at one of the greatest ports in the Southern Hemisphere is a ridiculous, even a dangerous, state of affairs. We absolutely cannot afford to allow men of this type to have charge. Nothing is more reasonable than Dr. Ramsay Smith’s suggestion, that, when a boat ‘has been cleared at a Commonwealth port, it should’ be treated as an Inter-State vessel, and permitted to enter any port, unless, during the run, there has been sickness. I am sure that I can be amply borne out when I say that the inspection is a farce in nine cases- out of fen. Commerce is now a very delicate and tender plant, and the diversion of trade from one port to another, or from one country to another, depends on very trivial causes. If a vessel is detained at a certain port, the owners will very soon change their line of trade, because detention for a day, or even a fewhours, may make all the difference between a paying trip and a non-paying trip. And to detain a vessel which has been cleared at Melbourne or Sydney simply because one man on board may have scarlatina or measles is similarly absurd. Contrast the treatment of the Aorangi with that meted out to a White Star boat, when a man on board contracted small-pox. The disease broke out at Teneriffe, on the voyagefrom London to Australia, and the sick man was placed in a boat slung at the davits, there being no provision for proper isolation. When the vessel arrived at Cape Town the patient was landed j and at Adelaide the authorities permitted the period of quarantine to date from the landing of the man at Cape Town - an eminently rational proceeding. If that ship had gone to the port of Sydney there would have been detention, entailing a loss to the White Star Company of, perhaps, thousands of pounds. No one doubted for a moment that it was perfectly safe to give the vessel clearance. Is the period of incubation at all considered in the present ridiculous rule-of-thumb method? Nobody knows better than the Minister of the steps which were taken on the outbreak of the bubonic plague in Sydney. Hundreds of patients, with their temperature at over 100 degrees, were towed down the harbor in open punts.
– A ridiculous thing !
– Outside the offices of the Board of Health in Sydney I have seen dozens of stretchers and thousands of people waiting to be inoculated. There was a panic, and all contacts were taken down the harbor, although it is now admitted that such action was entirely unnecessary. The whole proceeding of quarantine is as antiquated as was that action. Of course, we can keep small-pox and bubonic plague out if we have no intercourse with other countries, just as a man, as Dr. Ramsay Smith points out, can avoid breaking his leg by always remaining in bed. But the rational man will take risks, as must a country that desires anything like prosperity. What the great port of London can afford to do, surely we can afford to do. Speaking on behalf of the great port of Sydney, I plead for an up-to-date Quarantine Act, based on common-sense and scientific principles - an Act that will be effective in keeping out, or will tend to keep out, infectious diseases, and that will, at the same time, have regard to the fact that we are a great commercial nation, and hope ere long to be a still greater one.
– I agree with those who take the view that the Government are right in attempting to take as large powers as possible in connexion with the administration of a Federal quarantine law, provided that those powers are limited by a due consideration of the rights of the States, and that no effort is made to override or needlessly infringe upon those rights. It is wise that there should be certain reserved powers retained by the Commonwealth ‘to deal with quarantine over the whole of Australia, whether introduced from without, or originating within the Commonwealth, and, in certain contingencies, they should be empowered to act in the case of disease within the States themselves, and certainly to prevent the spread of disease from one State to another. Amendments have been circulated which, in my opinion, will guard against any abuse of the powers which this Bill may confer; and the desired limitation should be included in the Bill itself, rather than be left entirely to the discretion of the Minister or of the officers of the Department under his control. One of the reasons why it is advisable to allow the Commonwealth to have these large powers, and to exercise them in cases of emergency, within the States themselves, i’s that some of the States are said to be using their quarantine laws for the purpose of surreptitiously undermining, one of the basic principles of the Constitution. The operations of the quarantine law in some of the States are such as to actually amount to a violation of the Inter-State free-trade provisions of the Constitution. It is right and just that the Commonwealth should be clothed with the necessary powers under a measure of this kind to step in and prevent those violations taking place, or, where they have taken place, to prevent their continuance. The Minister in charge of the Bill acted wisely in consenting to delay the further consideration of this matter for a period sufficiently long to enable the States Governments to express their views. It is wise at all times for the Government to allow full opportunity for the wishes of the States to be expressed, and to give those wishes the serious consideration which is their due, coming as they do, from the Governments of separate sovereign States. Where it can be done without sacrificing the interests of the Commonwealth as a whole, it is wise for the Commonwealth to try to fall in with suggestions made by the various States. By that means we can go a very long way towards obviating the friction and irritation which any attempt to act contrary to the wishes .of States must necessarily entail. I do not think it is the wish of this Government, or likely to be that of any Commonwealth Government, to act contrary to the desires of the Governments of the States, unless it may be absolutely necessary to do so in the interests of the Commonwealth as a whole. If we can give courteous consideration to the opinions expressed by the States Governments, and try to work as harmoniously as possible with them in all matters in- which the rights of the States, and those of the Commonwealth, may by any possibility come into conflict, we shall have a better chance of preserving that harmony which
I suppose most, if not all of us, desire. With regard to the suggested amendments, I think that those foreshadowed by the honorable member for Brisbane, with .some emendations in their wording, will be well worthy of consideration. They would meet the wishes of those who desire to see the Commonwealth exercise its Federal powers,’ and yet preserve the rights of the States to a greater extent than would the amendments suggested by the honorable member for Bendigo. The honorable member for Angas has ‘moved an amendment of clause 4 to secure something like the same object by making certain limitations in its operation. The honorable member for South Sydney seemed to think it would have been wise to leave out those limitations. That amendment relates more particularly to the latter part. The clause, as amended, will read -
In this Act Quarantine has 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 into the- Commonwealth, or spread from one State to another, of diseases or pests affecting man, animals, or plants.
I do not know that we should not be attempting to curb to too great an extent the powers of the Commonwealth by the use of the words “the spread of disease from one State to another.” A disease existing among human beings or animals or plants in one part of a State might be gradually spreading to other parts of that State, and approaching the Border, so as to be likely to extend to another State. In such a case, so long as the powers of the States themselves were exerted to prevent such diseases spreading from one centre within a State to another in the same State, there would be no need for Commonwealth interference. But the Commonwealth should have the reserve power provided for in the amendment circulated by the honorable member for Brisbane, to step in and take action should there be neglect, indifference or refusal on the part of the authorities within a State to take the steps necessary to prevent the spread of the disease from one centre to another in the same State. It seems that under the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Angas, the Commonwealth might possibly be prevented from doing this. I do not know that it would, but the honorable member for South Svdney seemed to take that view. I rather incline to the opinion that notwithstanding the pro- posed limitation, the first portion of the clause would preserve that right. Therefore, although I have a doubt upon the matter, I prefer to err on the side of noninterference with States, rights and powers, so I am prepared to support the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Angas, because if it is found subsequently that the clause, as proposed to be amended, is so restrictive as to prevent the Commonwealth exercising its power in the direction I have indicated, it will be easy for us, if necessary, to subsequently amend it. It would be wise to insert this limitation, . because it would have the effect of allaying opposition on the part of the different States. It would certainly tend to allay the fear which seems to be prevalent at present that it is the desire of the Commonwealth Government to over-ride the rights of the States.
– Some of the States seem to think that we are not acting within the limits of the Constitution in proposing to take over those Inter-State powers.
– Then if we adopt the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Angas, we shall probably meet the wishes of those States. The honorable member for Brisbane contended that not only should the Commonwealth authorities have the right to follow and detain persons infected with disease, but that thev should have power to deal similarly with contacts. I quite concur in that view. Such a power is absolutely necessary in the interests of the whole community. He also suggested that, the contacts having been located, the authorities of the States should be asked to take action to secure their isolation.
Colonel Foxton. - Under the provisions of their own Health Acts, in the same way as if the disease had originated in their territory
– Whether it would be wise for the Commonwealth authorities to exercise a coercive power is open to question, but they might try to secure the harmonious working of the Commonwealth and States Acts.
Colonel Foxton. - By merely saying to the States, “ If you do not do it we shall.”
– The Commonwealth authorities might well direct the attention of the authorities of a State to the fact that a contact was to be found at a certain place, and might request that the machinery of its Health Department be put into operation to secure his isolation.
– The fact that the Commonwealth had. a reserve power would cause the States to exercise their powers.
– If the States realized that the Commonwealth had a reserve power which it would exercise only whenreasonable measures had failed, their authorities would be more vigilant, if only for the protection of their own rights.
Colonel Foxton. - The authorities of a State in which a disease exists are more interested than those of any other State, or of the Commonwealth at large, in stamping it out.
– Just so. The honorable and learned member for West Sydney has referred to the perfunctory nature of the medical inspection which takes place when ships arrive at the port of Sydney, but. coming from the Northern Territory recently, I noticed that the inspection there and at Queensland ports of vessels arriving from China and- Japan! is open to the same criticism. A doctor comes on board, and the purser having read out the names of the passengers, mustered in the social hall, they file past him, while in some cases he does not do so much as lift his eyes to look at them. It “is only when there is known to be sickness on board that any real inspection is made. In the case of Europeans, there is this to be said, as a partial justification for the existing practice, . that passenger steamers all carry doctors, who come into daily contact with the passengers, and know the state of their health, and are, as a matter of honour, as well as of specific rule, supposed to acquaint the port medical officers with the existence of cases of sickness calling for his particular observation. I shall support the amendment, although I think with the Attorney-General that it might better be made in one of the subclauses of clause 13. Still, if we pass this clause as it stands, we may not have an opportunity to amend clause 13, and therefore I think it is well to make the amendment now. If we can make another amendment later on, fortifying this, so much the better.
– I do not know which I admire most, the speeches I have heard, or your good nature, Mr. Chairman, in allowing such discursive arguments on this clause. I listened with considerable interest to the remarks of the honorable and learned member for West Sydney, who seems to have a grievance of some kind against the medical administration of the New South Wales Quarantine Act. There is one grain of wheat in the mass of chaff which he threw before us. He pointed out that at the present time, although a vessel has undergone quarantine, or been granted pratique at a port in one State, her passengers must submit to examination, and perhaps further detention, at every succeeding port at which, she may touch. Under a Federal administration of quarantine that would not be so. If a vessel were granted pratique at the first pc’.;t of entry, she would have no further trouble, and the owners, passengers, and crew would be put to no further inconvenience, so far as quarantine is concerned. I was sorry to hear what one might almost call a tirade ‘ from the honorable member for West Sydney,, because, apparently he was, to some extent, airing a personal grievance. But I can assure him that although he, in his ignorance, may consider that the examinations are somewhat trivial, still, as the honorable member for Lang has pointed out, very often they are not so superficial as they appear to the ordinary onlooker. Every ship which carries a certain number of passengers is obliged to have its doctor, and when he is able to present to the visiting medical officer a clean bill of health, the latter naturally relies on his honour, and, what is more, perhaps to a certain extent on stringent regulations which compel the medical officers -of ships to give truthful reports. I have respect for the medical profession, but I know that in some cases it may be a temptation to a young man who is the servant of a large and powerful company to perhaps shield his ship and avoid, if possible, the expenses of quarantine. . Therefore, I think that ira a Federal Act- we should make a stringent provision against, and provide for a heavy penalty in the event of, any trickery in relation to the bill of health. Let me point out the enormous difficulty that exists in relation to examining persons. It was hardly fair for the honorable member for West Sydney to generalize, as he did, and to pooh-pooh the whole affair from his point of view. In administering a law of this description, nobody can act in a perfect manner, and consequently it is very difficult indeed to make a thoroughly satisfactory examination. On one occasion, I happened to be surgeon to a boat coming down the coast of China. At one port of call we took on board no less than 500 Chinese coolie passengers, who were being carried thence to Singapore. At that time small-pox was very prevalent. At every port at which we called there had been cases of small-pox ; but hitherto we had had none on our ship, and I was carefully warned to guard against the disease. These 500 Chinese passengers were all mustered on deck, and made to pass through a couple of alleyways. Chinamen are very subject to skin diseases, and it is very difficult to decide at a glance exactly what a Chinaman may be suffering from, as so many of them are disfigured as the result of skin diseases. However, I picked out about twenty men, and I found on further investigation that they had no sign of small-pox about them. Then the chief mate came to me and said that ‘he had sixty women and children down the hold. That was contrary to instruction and a very unwise thing on his part to sanction. It entailed an examination of the persons in the hold. They were all found to be perfectly well ; but just as we turned to come on deck again, I heard a cry from a small child near a bulk-head in the dark. There we found a girl of about six years of age who had been concealed under a rug. On inspection, she was found to be covered from head to foot with small-pox sores, in fact, the disease had reached the stage at which it was most likely to spread the infection. It was ascertained that she had been taken out of a small-pox hospital that day, and brought on board with her father, mother, two - brothers, and a sister. Of course, these persons were all sent ashore, the ship was thoroughly disinfected, and, as a result, although the men were battened down under hatches for nearly a fortnight in a very rough sea, no case of small-pox occurred on the ship. I have mentioned that incident to show the difficulty of examining passengers- thoroughly, and as a protest against- the’ speech of the honorable member for West Sydney. I listened with the greatest interest to the speeches of various members of the legal profession. Clever and brilliant as they were, they had a tendency to confuse the mind of the ordinary layman. There is very little occasion for us to go into the legal aspect of the question. Under the Constitution we have ample power to make a quarantine law just as drastic as the Acting Prime Minister would desire. We have here an instance of the disadvantages arising from such measures .being drafted by men who do not understand thoroughly the matter which they have in hand. This Bill evidently has been drafted, and is being pushed on, by men who do not understand the necessities of the case. They are laymen, and, therefore, have not the necessary medical knowledge to show them that the administration of such a “law as is proposed would be practically impossible. I think,, to use a vulgar expression, that we have really bitten off a good deal more than we can chew. We have a perfect right, no> doubt, to interfere with the domestic arrangements of the States. But when we come to put the measure into” operation, we shall find that it is a very difficult matter indeed to do so. Furthermore, I doubt whether it is wise that we should pass this grandmotherly legislation. We have seen, quite enough of such legislation in the States Parliaments, and I hope that we shall see very little of it here. Even if we have the right we ought not to interfere with the States in the manner proposed, and if we do we shall probably, without knowing it, . come into conflict with some of the Acts by which the States are governed. For example, in New South Wales, when we come to> deal with diseases in- plants and pests affecting plants, we find that there are various; State Acts dealing with the subject. With regard to plants, which term includes fruit, the provisions of this Bill are in many instances similar to those contained in the Vine and Vegetation Diseases Act 1901 and the Fruit Pests Act 1906. The Bill will practically have a similar effect in regard to the Stock Act 1901, part IV. ;. the Imported Stock Act, part V. ; the Exportation of Cattle Act j the Stock Diseases (Tick) Act ; the Noxious Microbes Act ; and the Pastures Protection Act, part IV. It is very questionable whether, even under the Constitution, we have any right tq interfere in such a way as will militate against the administration of those Acts by the States. In my opinion, we should deal only with maritime and Inter-State quarantine. We should deal with diseases of animals arid plants in relation to importations from overseas, and endeavour to prevent the spread of those diseases from one State to another by land. At the same time, I think we shall be going too far if we interfere at all with quarantine within the individual States. That I am supported in this view by others is shown by the report of trie Quarantine Conference in 1904. When it was called together the Watson Government was in power, and the instructions to ‘the delegates .from the different States was to confer together and to draw up certain recommendations which would be l guide in the framing of a Quarantine Jill.Those gentlemen, when they came to c onsider the subject, saw exactly where the difficulty lay, and they asked for instruc- t ions from the Government as to whether hey would be right in dealing with certain natters. In the course of their discussion i t was thought necessary to seek an answer to the following questions -
Whether in clause 2, sub-section b, of the eference, the term “ dissemination of disease “ i ncludes dissemination of disease within the State first affected by such disease, or whether i t refers solely to the dissemination of disease From one State to another ; further, whether it i s maritime quarantine, exclusively, that the Conference is to advise upon.
The Comptroller-General of Customs replied as follows -
In reply to your letter of the 23rd instant, I am directed by the Minister for Trade and Cus- toms to inform you as follows : -
The Quarantine Conference is desired to ad- vise upon the following points, viz. : -
Maritime quarantine on the seaboard in re- gard to -
In regard to1, the suggestions will cover the best method of following up and dealing with (a), (b), (c), and (d), when such have escaped detection at the coast and’ obtained entrance into Australia.
As to 3, it is not considered that this comes within the scope of Commonwealth action, but it is considered that it would probably be of great service to the State Governments if the Conference would make some general recommendations on the subject, which might be suggested to the several Governments for their consideration, with a view to the adoption of a general system to prevent the spread of any disease which might break out locally in any State.
That was the attitude which was taken up by that Conference. The Commonwealth Government proposes to go very much further than that. At a later stage the question of what restriction should be imposed upon the importation of animals or vegetable products was debated. Upon this branch of the subject the report states -
The Conference considers that uniformity of quarantine restrictions on animals and plants throughout the Commonwealth is desirable, but that the necessary measures differ so widely from those required for restraining the importation of diseases in human beings as to make it inexpedient to consider them. unless it be in consultation with representatives specially conversant withthose subjects convoked in conference for the purpose.
Consequently, I say that before the Government proceeded with this Bill - in ad- dition to having secured advice from delegates from the different States who were medical men, and who regarded the question from a medical stand-point - they should have called to their aid veterinary surgeons, who could have advised them as to the quarantine of animals, and, further, they should have invited assistance from persons who were qualified’ to advise them as to the quarantining of plants. At the present stage we have not sufficient information before us to enable us to satisfactorily legislate in these particular respects. Further, if we begin to interfere with the internal arrangements of the States we shall necessarily weaken their responsibilities, which, in itself, will be a bad thing. By so acting we shall interfere with the medical officers who have been appointed by the States, and we shall be called upon to pay out of the general funds of the Commonwealth for what may happen in particular States, whereas I hold that expenditure of that description should be borne by the State in which the outbreak occurs. I do not propose to say anything further upon this matter, but I think that the amendment of the honorable member for Angas should be supported, because we shall be acting unwisely if we interfere with the internal arrangements of the States. How are we going to interfere with the various Boards of Health, which have been accustomed to deal in a satisfactory manner with the sanitation of the States? I prophesy that if we go as far as is proposed in the Bill we shall become involved in a very much larger expenditure than the Minister anticipates. We shall have to establish so many quarantine stations at the various ports of entry - stations which are entirely up-to-date, and which will provide sufficient accommodation for as many passengers as may arrive by two or three ships - that we shall be compelled to incur a very huge expenditure.
.- I consider that in legislating for the Commonwealth control of quarantine we should take a broad view of the subject, and not attempt to deal with trivial matters in connexion with health affairs within the borders of individual States. We have already heard the opinions expressed by the legal and medical members of the Committee, who, no doubt, have a very wide grasp of the question. I consider that we should exercise powers of quarantine only in regardto shipping, animals, and any goods or things which might introduce a pest or disease into Australia. The States are now very anxious to keep clear of all diseases and pests, and in this connexion considerable comment has been passed upon the regulations which are operative in Western Australia. But 1 can assure the members of the Committee that those regulations are required to prevent the pests and diseases which exist in the eastern States from obtaining a hold in the West. There is no doubt that the quarantine arrangements of the eastern States have not been all that could have been desired. I have travelled considerably around Australia, and I have frequently noticed [he s i i 1 v practices adopted bv the quarantine authorities. Upon many occasions I have actually seen them fumigating the outside portions of tin boxes - ‘ passengers’ luggage - whilst clothes within those boxes which had been worn, were not fumigated. Honorable members must not forget that .in Western Australia we have had to fight to keep clear of the pests and diseases prevalent in the eastern States. In the West, sparrows are regarded as a pest - although they have not yet been introduced there - and starlings, rabbits, and foxes are similarly regarded. Some honorable members have suggested that the States responsible for the introduction of these pests should bear the cost of keeping them down. If that plan be adopted, I hope that the eastern States will assist to keep down the rabbits in Western Australia, because they are gradually encroaching upon its territory. Coming to plant life, there are such pests as furze, briars, thistles of. all kinds, and stinkwort, which have not yet reached- the western State. To my mind, it is questionable whether honorable members sufficiently realize their responsibility under this measure. If the Commonwealth assumes power to keep down pests throughout Australia, will it not have to bear the cost of maintaining rabbitproof fences to keep that pest within bounds? Will it not be the duty of the whole of Australia to prevent it from spreading? At the present time rabbits exist throughout a comparatively small portion of Australia, and would it not be a big undertaking to declare that the Commonwealth should be bound to prevent them from spreading to Western Australia, Queensland, and elsewhere? Yet it is not clear to me that the Federation would not have to do that. It would be a very big * thing indeed if it had to maintain rabbit- proof fencing throughout the Commonwealth. Some scathing criticism has beer* indulged in so far as Western Australia is concerned, but in my opinion that State has acted very consistently. It has expended some hundreds of thousands of pounds in erecting rabbit-proof fencing; there.
– But the rabbits are on> the western side of the fence.
– They came from the eastern States, which are welcome to take them back if they choose to do so. Western Australia does not want them. There is quite an army of men employed in. maintaining the rabbit-proof fences erected there. In discussing quarantine matters, surely we cannot have a better example of what they mean than Western Australia hasafforded in erecting a double fence in its endeavour to keep out rabbits from the eastern States. We cannot take over the paying portion of a Department without taking over the non-paying portion.
– Rabbits are not mentioned in the Bill.
– A number of pests ought to be included in it which are not mentioned.. There is no doubt that if the measure be passed in its present form, the Commonwealth will be charged with the responsibility of maintaining the fences to which I have referred. The honorable member for South Sydney mentioned the regulations in force in Western Australia in connexion with the importation of apples. I know of circumstances connected with the importation of apples to that State which justify the enforcement of more stringent regulations than those to which the honorable gentleman referred. The attempt has been made to import apples to Western Australia that could not be sent to England. I have seen many cases of apples introduced there, every one of which was infected with the codlin moth.
– Where did they come from ?
– They came from the east, but I could not say from which State. The inspector on opening some of the cases turned to me, and said, “ What do you think of that?’”’ I said. “It is pretty bad”; and he replied, “Yes, it is, but you must nol: think that the orchards are as bad as this fruit would lead you to suppose. These apples have been picked oUt for exportation to Western Australia, because they could not be sent anywhere else.” If people who send good fruit to Western Australia have, in consequence of that , kind of thing, been put to undue expense, it must be remembered that stringent regulations are necessary to deal with those who send infected fruit to a country in which no fruit pests exist. There are very large apple orchards in Western Australia at the present time, and some growers expect a crop of from 10,000 to rz, 000 cases this year. Why should they not have protection from the pssrs that exist in the east? The question is a very serious one for Western Australia, where, at the present time, as I have said, there are neither sparrows, starlings, foxes, rabbits, briars, thistles, furze, stinkwort, nor any of those pests. These are luxuries which we have yet to get from the east.
– What about the Western Australian poison plant?
– That is kept for home consumption. It is not brought to the east. Honorable members- must see that if the Commonwealth is to take over the control of quarantine some consideration must be had for a State that is now free from the pests that exist in the east. The introduction of certain things is prohibited under this Bill, but it should also provide that plants or animals showing signs of infectious disease should be destroyed without compensation.
– That is provided for.
– ft is quite right that it should be. I hope Ministers will consider the responsibility they assume when they propose that the Bill shall apply to all pests now existing in the eastern States, but which have not yet been introduced into Western Australia. It is all very well to say that under the Constitution these laws must be made to apply to all States alike, but of what use is a law prohibiting the introduction of. starlings into Victoria if it will not also prohibit the introduction of Victorian starlings into Western Australia?
– Or the introduction of the Western Australian poison plant into South Australia?
– The poison plant does not fly. I wish it would kill the eastern rabbits; if it did, we should grow it as a hedge instead of erecting rabbit-proof fences. I hope the Committee will seriously consider the question of dealing with pests that at present exist in the -east, and try [Si] to prevent their introduction into Western A ustrs 1 1 el
– I think that Ministers should indicate the attitude they propose to take in respect to the amendment?.
– We oppose it.
– If the amendment is carried, it will shatter the main principle of the Bill.
– We could not accept it on. any account.
– I cannot agree with the logic of the honorable and learned member for Bendigo when he says that my amendment would shatter the main principle of the Bill. I quite understand the honorable and learned member’s position. He desires to give the fullest possible comprehension to the Bill. That is quite a logical position to take up. He excepts one or two things from the category of matters to be brought within the sphere of quarantine. As regards the actual legal scope of the measure, my amendment does not affect it. I seek to put a limit to administration, but my amendment would not shatter the main principle of the ‘Bill.
.- We have had some excellent dissertations on the question of how the quarantine law is to be applied. The question of whether the amendment moved by the honorable and learned member for Angas should be accepted is open to a good deal of discussion. Taking the general meaning of quarantine, lawyers must, of course, argue the point and decide whether our powers under the Constitution are sufficient to give us control over quarantine throughout the Commonwealth as broadly defined in this Bill. The meaning given to the word in this measure involves the assumption of extensive powers, which I think were never previously applied under the term “ quarantine “ in any legislation in any part of the world. I have this afternoon been reading Sir Sherston Baker’s work on Laws of Quarantine , and in it there is no mention whatever of anything but quarantine relating to diseases amongst human beings, and generally to diseases introduced from oversea. Under this Bill the Government are assuming power to deal with quarantine oversea, and betweem the States, and the extended power to follow up the administration of the quarantine law within the boundaries of any State. As one who has had something to do with infectious diseases in various parts of the world, I think that it is desirable if we can to give to the word “quarantine” the most extended meaning. The Commonwealth Parliament should take as much power as possible for the preservation of the health of the people, and of animals, and if necessary to prevent the introduction of diseases amongst plants. The responsibility of deciding whether we have that power must rest upon the Government introducing the Bill. They have followed the practice pursued in a previous Parliament of assuming as much power as possible for the Federal authority, and it seems to me that, again following the practice of a previous Parliament, they are leaving the matter to be decided by the High Court: We . might, as before, say that we are being asked to “ trust the Court,” because the High Court will be called upon to act as the final arbiter on the question. In my opinion it is desirable, in the interests of the people, that we should assume the fullest possible powers. Having regard to the machinery at present at our command, I doubt whether the administration of the Bill, as suggested bv the Minister who introduced it, would be effective. Apparently we have made no provision for the appointment of properly qualified medical men to deal with infectious or contagious diseases, nor is any provision made in the Bill for the inspection of animals by a properly qualified veterinary surgeon. It is absolutely impossible for a Customs officer who is not an expert in the diseases of animals to be able to examine live stock introduced into the Commonwealth or sought to be removed from State to State, with the object of ascertaining whether they are suffering, or likely to suffer, from an infectious disease, which, although ill-defined, might subse1 quently develop to a dangerous extent. The same remark will apply to the inspection of plants to prevent the spread of pests. What experts have we who could deal properly with the inspection of plants ? All these matters have to be taken into consideration. We must make provision co deal with all matters likely to be affected by the exercise of the full powers we propose to take. The provisions relating lo the preservation of the health of human beings will clash with the powers of the Public Health Departments of the various States, and the powers we propose to take to inspect animals and plants will clash at once with the work of’ the Stock Deparc- ments, which are generally administered by the Agricultural Departments of the States. What arrangements do the Ministry propose to make? The Bill is to be brought into operation after the issue of a proclamation providing for the transfer of the Quarantine Departments from the States to che Commonwealth. I question very much whether the use of the word “quarantine” in the Constitution - even accepting the interpretation of the word generally recognised bv medical and legal authorities - will enable us to take over from the States all these various branches of quarantine without coming into conflict with the States authorities.
– The High Court will have to decide the interpretation to be given to the vord.
– The High Court will be the final arbiter. Later on I shall submit one or two amendments which I believe will improve the Bill, in so far as it provides for safeguarding the public health and preventing the spread of disease among our live stock. We have no provision in the Bill for quarantining animals and keeping them under observation for any length of time.
– The regulations will provide for that.
– But in a later clause dealing with the matter it will be found that there is no provision in thac direction.
– The quarantining of animals is mentioned.
– But there is no provision for keeping them under observation.
– A quarantine may be proclaimed anywhere.
– That is so. Under clause 53 it is provided that “ a quarantine officer ‘ ‘ not a veterinary surgeon - shall make a careful inspection of all imported animals before they are delivered to the importer.
Therefore, on the production of the certificate of a veterinary surgeon at the port of shipment - a port perhaps, on the other side of the globe - a quarantine officer may allow imported animals to be delivered immediately to the importer. In the Commonwealth, and elsewhere, animals have, been introduced, and have subsequently been affected by serious diseases that remained undeveloped for two or three weeks after their importation. In these circumstances, therefore, it is very necessary that we should insert in one of the later clauses of the Bill a provision insisting upon imported animals being kept under observation for a certain period. Tasmania has stringent regulations relating to the introduction of animals which were framed with the object of preventing the introduction of pleuro-pneumonia. Owing to the detention of stock, which takes place under these regulations, it is difficult to send cattle from the mainland to the island State. We cannot blame the people of Tasmania for the precautions they are taking in this respect. Serious losses take place from time to time, and particularly when these diseases of stock are first introduced. It therefore behoves us to be very careful to make adequate provision for giving effect to this measure. If we are not very careful, we shall upset all existing arrangements.
– And, so far as Tasmania is concerned, that would be a very good thing.
– If the honorable member had a large dairy herd, or a flock of sheep, he would be strongly in favour of stringent regulations to prevent the introduction of disease. The other day he expressed himself as being keenly in favour of a bounty on mohair. I do not know what his anticipations are in regard to the keeping of Angora goats, but I would remind him that if proper precautions were not taken, diseases affecting such animals might be introduced.
– I know that the people of Tasmania are opposed to the quarantine regulations relating to stock.
– It seems to me that other representatives of Tasmania are not so keenly in favour of the Commonwealth exercising full power in this regard as the honorable member is.
– They all are so far as that question is concerned.
– If the honorable member were dealing largely in live stock, he would recognise the importance of preventing the introduction of diseases affecting animals. The spread of such diseases has led to serious losses being incurred within a very short time, and in many instances to the ruin of men connected with the pastoral industry. I do not wish to restrict the powers of the Commonwealth. By alt means let us make our powers as wide as possible, but, at the same time, .let us recognise that we are proposing to take in hand a very big work. In doing so, we should be careful to provide that properly qualified men shall be appointed to deal with every phase of that work.
– Some honorable members seem to take a very parochial view of this Bill. To my mind, there can be nothing more objectionable than divided control ; and if we are going to have the States administering one part of the quarantine regulations and the Commonwealth another part, there will be continual friction. The honorable member for Corangamite says that no provision is made in the Bill to deal with animals that may be .quarantined, but if he will look at clause 11, he will find that arrangements could be made by the Federal Government with the States Governments.
– We are doing a great deal of work by arrangement.
– Undoubtedly. We make arrangements with the States with regard to erecting public buildings, and so on. A similar arrangement will be made in regard to quarantine, so long as it is the best and cheapest method of carrying out the regulations. Animals are quarantined by the States at the present time, and there will be no difficulty in getting them to do this work for the Federal Government. The Bill is one of the most elastic measures I have ever read. Why the honorable member for Angas should wish to move an amendment in the face of clause 14, I cannot understand; because, under that clause, the Governor-General may - exempt for such time and subject to such conditions as he thinks fit, from all or any of the provisions of this Act, any ship of war, any vessel trading between Australia and New Zealand or Fiji, any -particular vessel, or any persons, animals, plants, or goods. What can be more elastic than that?
– - It is strongly objected to in South Australia.
– Some people in South Australia feel that certain powers are going to be taken from the State Government. We must always expect such objections to be made. I have been pointing out to some of our South Australian friends that administration in respect to such a matter as this would be better done by the Federal Government than by the States Governments.
Colonel Foxton. - With less local knowledge.
– I take it that the honorable member, who is experienced in administration, knows that officers appointed to administer an Act in any particular State would be appointed because of their knowledge of - local conditions. The Federal Government would naturally act on that principle in appointing officers to carry out its business under this measure. They would probably allow the States to do the work which they are doing at the present time under Federal “supervision. We have nothing to fear in face of the clause to which I have alluded. Nothing could be more elastic; and if any hardship should occur in relation to any ship, or if any State were made to suffer, I am sure that it would only need to be pointed out, when Parliament would take good care to bring pressure to bear upon the Government in order that the GovernorGeneral might exempt that ship or State, in accordance with clause 14.
– The effect would be to take away power from the States altogether.
– The effect would be that the Federal Government would be responsible for carrying out quarantine, but the States would actually do the work, as they do to-day. Otherwise, there would be no necessity for clause n.
– I think that clause 14 means~ that the Governor-General may exempt any particular ship from quarantine, and that then a State could not touch it.
– I hope that will be the case. I do not see what the danger is. T deprecate honorable members constantly talking about the Federal Government usurping States rights. It is not possible for anything of the kind to occur.
Colonel Foxton. - Will the Federal Government do the work better than the States are doing it?
– I think they will. . Federation was established for the very reason that it was considered that the Fede- ral Government could do certain things better than the States Governments. This is one of them. The argument of the honorable member would apply equally to Customs, Defence, and Post and Telegraphs. In fact, his argument is an indictment of the Federal system of Government.
Colonel Foxton. - Here it is proposed to deal with matters entirely within a State, but the Post Office applies all over the Commonwealth.
– Quarantine affects the whole Commonwealth. There is the greatest danger to the Commonwealth at’ present because one State will not take effective steps to deal with plague or any other contagious disease that may break out. The honorable member for Corio suggests to me that if quarantine does not affect the whole Commonwealth, disease may be spread all over the” Commonwealth. At present, no matter how strongly Queensland may feel in regard to plague, while there is divided control South Australia or New South Wales cannot be compelled to do anything which they do not care to do. But if we have Federal control, regulations to prevent the spread of disease will apply in every State. I believe in taking all the powers which the Constitution enables us to assume.
– I suggest that progress should now be reported.
– I had hoped to have this amendment ‘ disposed of to-night, but I understand that several honorable members desire to speak. I hope, however, that we shall not have a repetition of the debate tomorrow.
– This is not a party Bill.
– I know that, and I wish, to meet honorable members. I do not desire the discussion on this Bill to be protracted, but, in the circumstances, I am willing to now move that progress be reported. I hope that after this long and instructive debate, we shall come to a conclusion to-morrow.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the House do no* adjourn.
.- I ask the Acting Prime Minister not to mention any specific date, but to give us some sort of general indication as to when we are likely to have the Tariff proposals brought down. Honorable members in the Opposition corner, honorable members on the Government side, tihe Prime Minister, the Acting Prime Minister, the AttorneyGeneral, the Postmaster-General, and others, including the Government Whip, were all returned pledged to deal with the Tariff at the earliest possible moment. This Parliament has been in existence since December last, and we have not heard one word as to when the Tariff is to be introduced. I was elected pledged to deal with the revision of the Tariff at the earliest possible moment.
– As a protectionist?
– Yes ; and as good a protectionist as the Attorney-General ever was, only, perhaps, I do not make such a noise about the fact. It is the duty of the Government to give some indication to the House and the country as to whether they are in earnest over this question, and I ask the Acting Prime Minister-
– As a sort of “candid friend” ?
– There is no question of any “ candid friend.” The honorable member for Yarra should not carp or criticise, because he was one of the strongest in his desire for the Tariff to be dealt with, not on the lines of reasonable or effective protection4 but on the lines of actual prohibition - particularly in regard to hats. The honorable member for Yarra laughs, but it is no laughing matter. If our indus- tries are suffering and require relief at once, I should like to hear from the Acting Prime Minister that there is some intention on the part of the Government to, at least, deal with this question eventually.
.- The Acting Prime Minister might also tell us when we may reasonably expect to proceed with the consideration of the question of the Federal Capital Site. It is very generally recognised that the “ languishing” industries so much spoken of, exist very largely in the imagination, and that there are other matters of more pressing importance requiring consideration. So, perhaps, the Minister will also tell us if we may expect, within a reasonable time, to have before us proposals in regard to taking over the lights, buoys, and beacons on the coast?
– I am sure that the honorable member for Corangamite never expected me to tell him when the Tariff proposals would be placed before the House?
– I expected the Acting Prime Minister would give us some idea as to what the Government are going to do in the matter..
– I would be neglecting my trust if I gave the slightest hint to the honorable member, or any one else, as to when the Tariff proposals will be submitted.
– Are the Government dealing with the question at all?
– I can only tell the honorable member that the Government are dealing with the- question as earnestly as any Government could.
– And as slowly.
– Not quite so slowly, I think, as some members of the Tariff Commission. The last report I got yesterday.
– Why not tell honorable members that that was the index?
– I have not had time to see yet what it is. ‘ I assure honorable members there will be no undue delay, but I could not in any shape or form indicate when I .intend to introduce the Tariff.
– Within a year ? Colonel Foxton. - Or two?
– The question of the Federal Capital will be dealt with in due course.
– Might we have some notice as to when to be in attendance tq hear the Budget speech?
– If I gave such notice to the honorable member, and the public became aware of it, I might as well say when the Tariff is to be introduced.
– Is it a fact that the Budget and the Tariff will be submitted, together ?
– I am not going to say when or under what circumstances the Tariff will be introduced. In regard to the lighthouses, action has already been taken. Information has been obtained from the States, and certain places have been laid out for survey for lighthouses, and there is a Bill almost ready to deal with the question.
– Not only the lighthouses to be constructed by the Commonwealth, but the whole question of lighthouses ?
– The Bill deals generally with lighthouses. When I returned from England, a number of proposals in regard ‘ to lights were submitted to mc, and if we were to erect all those recommended the Federal Treasurer would have little else to do. However, some of the most important lights have been decided on, and the Department of Home Affairs has- given instructions to have surveys made in connexion with those urgently, required.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House ‘ adjourned at 10.45 P-ra-
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 August 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19070806_reps_3_37/>.