House of Representatives
20 September 1907

3rd Parliament · 2nd Session



Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

INSPECTION OF SCHOOL CHILDREN.

Mr. TUDOR.- The Acting Prime Minister has stated that communications were addressed to the P remiers of the States in reference to the medical inspection of school children, but that unfavorable replies were received in some instances. Will he lay on the table of the House a copy of the letter sent to the Premiers of the States, and of the replies received from them ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - Before promising to do that, I must examine the replies, becauseI do not wish to do anything which may be resented by the authorities of any of the States ; but I do not think that there will be any objection to laying the papers on the table.

AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIES PRESERVATION ACT.

Alleged Coal and Shipping Combine.

Mr. KING O’MALLEY. - Has the attention of the Acting Prime Minister been called to an article in this morning’s Age in reference to a great coal combine, there referred to as a powerful monopoly ? There is a statement in the newspaper that-

The latest developments in connexion with the Northern Coal Vend is that New Zealand has been brought within its sphere.

Further on, it is stated that - “ The effect of this extension of the operations of the combine,” said a broker to-day, “ will be to block out of the New Zealand trade in Newcastle coal all new tonnage except that of the Union Steamship Company.”

The writer also says -

It was learned in the course of inquiry to-day that the price of coal at Newcastle is likely to be advanced from 10s. to 11s. per ton before the end of the present year. Any increase in the selling price means a corresponding advance in the market.

Can the provisions of the Australian Industries Preservation Act be used to prevent this gigantic monopoly from materializing?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - I have seen the newspaper article to which the honorable member refers, and, on reading it, it occurredto me that the Commonwealth law could be used to prevent the creation of a monopoly, but, of course, its applicability will depend entirely upon the evidence obtainable, and it is often difficult to obtain the evidence required. In my opinion, the Australian Industries Preservation Act was framed to cope with an arrangement such as this combine in coal, and if it is found that the public are being injured, the Government will take cognizance of the matter, subject, of course, to the opinion of the Attorney-General as to our right to interfere.

Mr. Salmon. -If the Act does not give the necessary powers, will the Minister have it amended ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE.- Yes; if it should be found that the combine is seriously injuring the public interests.

Mr. BAMFORD. - Following up the Question asked by the honorable member for Darwin, I desire to know whether the Acting Prime Minister is prepared to protect the public against the Shipping Combine?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - I cannot reply to that question until all the. facts are before me. The honorable member will 3086 Telephone Administration. [REPRESENTATIVES.] Tariff. recognise that a Minister cannot accept as accurate a statement appearing in the press, - and that everything must depend upon an investigation of the facts. The question is simply whether ornot there is a combine which is injurious to the public.

Mr. McDonald. - There can be no question as to the existence of a Shipping Combine.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - It is not easy to. procure evidence in regard to combines ; but I shall have a consultation with the Attorney-General, and if the law ‘will enable us to at once grasp the nettle, it ought to be, and will be, put in motion.

page 3586

QUESTION

MEDICAL EXAMINATION OF CADETS

Mr HUTCHISON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I wish to know from the Minister of Defence, if all the cadets in the Commonwealth are compelled to undergo a medical examination ?

Mr EWING:
Minister for Defence · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– I do not think so, but I shall be prepared to answer the honorable member’s question definitely on Tuesday next.

page 3586

QUESTION

TELEPHONE ADMINISTRATION

Arrangement of Telephone Directories - Manufacture by Government of Copper Wire and Telephones.

Mr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA

– I wish toknow from the Postmaster-General if steps have been taken to carry out the suggestion which I made some time ago that the names of subscribers in the telephone directories should be arranged in the order of the numbers of their instruments, as well as alphabetically ?

Mr MAUGER:
Postmaster-General · MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– On making inquiries, I found that a large number of directories were in stock, and others in course of compilation, but I shall adopt the honorable member’s suggestion as soon as possible.

Mr LIDDELL:
HUNTER, NEW SOUTH WALES

– I have noticed that the Melbourne telephone directories are indexed on the margin, which is a considerable convenience. Will the honorable gentleman see that the directories used in Sydney and elsewhere are similarly arranged ?

Mr MAUGER:

– That is a matter which is left to the Deputy Postmasters-General but I shall send copies of the Melbourne directory to the other States, and urge that any improvement which it may contain be adopted universally.

Mr Wilks:

– The Sydney telephone hooks and directories, have for some time been marginally indexed.

Mr McDONALD:
KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND

-In view of the large quantity of ‘ copper wire used by the Telephone Department, and the enormous demand for telephones, will the Minister consider the advisability of manufacturing both copper wire and telephones? Enormous supplies of copper are obtainable in Australia at low rates.

Mr MAUGER:

– The matter will receive early consideration. The demand for both copper wire and telephones is extremely great, and some step of an extraordinary nature will have to be taken to cope with it.

Mr BATCHELOR:
BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General whether it is not a fact that the cost of indexing the list of telephone subscribers differs materially in the several States, ranging from 6d. per copy in one case to about½d. per copy, the latter rate being charged by the Government Printing Office. Would it not. be more economical to have this work done by the departmental officers?

Mr MAUGER:

– Possibly it would; 1 shall male inquiries.

page 3586

TARIFF

Clearance of Vessels-Duty on Wire Netting - Minister in Charge - Order of Consideration of Items.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:
ROBERTSON, NEW SOUTH WALES

– I have received a letter from a firm of merchants, in which the following statement occurs -

You will understand that the new Tariff came into operation on the morning of Friday, the9th August, and the Star of Scotland arrived in Sydney Harbor early on the same day. This vessel had called at other Commonwealth ports, and the goods for the merchants were cleared at the old Tariff.

Under the old Tariff’ wire netting was admitted duty free. My correspondent, and the Sydney merchants generally, wish to know whether the Government will allow them to clear wire netting ex this vessel on the terras on which it was cleared in other Commonwealth ports.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– The answer has been given to similar questions that it cannot be allowed.

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

– The Minister means that it will not be allowed.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– The honorable member can word my answer in that way, if he pleases.

Mr PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND

– It is difficult to say whether the Treasurer or the Minister of Trade and Customs has charge of the Tariff, as both have to do with it, and, therefore, I hardly know to whom to address my question ; but I wish to ask whether, in view of the rapid spread of rabbits into clean country in the central districts of Queensland, the Government will permit honorable members to deal with the proposed duty on wire netting as soon as possible, so that pastoralists and others may know exactly what to do in regard to’ the erection of fences.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– In the first place, I wish the honorable member to clearly understand that I am in charge of the Tariff, and, in the next place, that I cannot promise to deal with any item in the Tariff except in its proper order. Whatever may be decided when we get to the Tariff, if I were to publicly announce now that the proposals relating to wire netting, chairs, or other articles were to be taken out of their order, I should have a hornet’s nest about my ears. I intend not to make any promises on the subject until we get to the Tariff.

Mr PAGE:

– Should I be in order, Mr. Speaker, in moving that the duty on wire netting be the first item considered?

Mr SPEAKER:

– The point is one for the Chairman to rule on in Committee of Ways and Means. I imagine that it will be- possible in Committee to follow the usual course of postponing items to allow the early consideration of other items, should that course be thought desirable. *

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

– I should like to know whether a specific motion could not be moved in the House directing the Committee in the matter.

Mr SPEAKER:

– When the House has referred a measure to a Committee in the way in which the Tariff has been referred to the Committee of Ways and Means, I take it that it will refuse to direct the Committee as to the conduct of its business in any matter within the power of the Committee. This is a matter for the Committee itself to determine.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I wish to ask the Acting Prime Minister whether, if ‘ a motion be moved in Committee for the consideration of the duty on wire netting before other items of the Tariff, the Government will oppose it?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– When such a motion is moved I shall say what the Government will do in regard to it.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– In view of the urgent necessity for dealing with certain items of the Tariff, notably the duty on wire netting, forthwith, will the Government at once proceed with the considera-tion of the Tariff?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– We shall proceed with it when we have finished the work which I have announced on three or four occasions we must take first.

Mr GLYNN:
ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– For the facilitation of the disposal of Tariff .items which it is thought desirable to deal with as matters of urgency, would not the most convenient course be for the Government to name certain items to receive precedence, or for honorable members to choose such items by ballot, without debate?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I do not think any list would be agreed to without debate. If the Ministry proposed the postponement of most of the items of the Tariff in order to give prior consideration to some which are near the end, we should have a preliminary discussion on the whole Tariff.

Mr Glynn:

– My desire is to avoid unnecessary talk.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I think that no such arrangement, if proposed, could be come to without the concurrence of honorable members after a debate. When we get to the Tariff we can see what it will be best to do ; but I am strongly opposed to dealing with any item out of its order.

Mr Glynn:

– If a motion were tabled, the honorable member might consider it a motion of no confidence.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– If I made a promise, in regard to wire netting, I should be besieged with requests from persons interested in piece goods, woollens, stearine, and other articles, for the early consideration of the proposals relating to them.

Mr Wilks:

– The duties on the necessaries of life should be those first considered.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– The Tariff will be dealt with in the ordinary way. At the present time I can think of no better method of dealing with it than by considering the items seriatim, though I am willing to reconsider the matter when we have the schedule before us. At the same time, I hold out very little hope of heme: able to pick out items to be dealt with out of their order in advance of other items.

Mr PAGE:

– If the House is prepared to pass, without discussion, a few of the items which demand immediate settlement - and I do not suppose that there are more than nine - will the Acting Prime Minister accede to the 3588 Tariff. [REPRESENTATIVES.] Tariff. request that has been made that they should be given precedence? I do not wish to put the Government in a hole, but I desire to do something for the people of Australia who are anxious that the goods in question shall be taken out of bond.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I do not think that the honorable member’s proposition is likely to be agreed to. Even if it were, I should want to know first of all what items the honorable member had in mind.

Mr Page:

– Let the Government select the nine.

Mr Hutchison:

– I have nineteen.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I do not think that the proposal is a practicable one. I have hitherto carefully refrained from stating definitely that the Government will do what has been suggested, because I do not wish to hamper our operations when we proceed to deal with the Tariff. I certainly do not desire that some traders shall be placed in a, better position than others.

Mr McDonald:

– Why not agree to settle the Tariff within six weeks?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– If honorable members would agree to settle it within six minutes I should offer no objection.

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

– I should like to know’ whether the Acting Prime Minister considers the several Bills which he intends to ask the House to deal with before we proceed with the consideration of the Tariff schedule are of a tithe of the importance - from the point of view of urgency - of the Tariff itself, and whether he will seriously consider the desirableness of postponing their consideration until we have begun, at least, to deal with the Tariff schedule. Doeshe not think it would be advisable later on to rest in our work of dealing with the Tariff, in order to dispose of other matters which may become urgent?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– One at least of the measures I have mentioned - the Judiciary Bill - is in my opinion very urgent. I do not think that any of them should occupy our attention for any length of time. The lawyers are the only honorable members who are likely to discuss the Judiciary Bill, and they cannot talk for ever. There are various reasons why I think that the passing of that measure at the present juncture is extremely desirable, and I wish to see it become law without delay. The other two bills should not take long to deal with. Unless the flood gates’ of eloquence are opened, we should be able to dispose of them in an hour or two.

Mr MATHEWS:
MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA

– Having regard to the fact that the Victorian Wages Board for the bicycle trade has determined that 27s. 6d. per week is an adequate wage for adults engaged in the industry, I wish to know whether the Acting Prime Minister will give priority to the item of “ Bicycles and Bicycle parts “ in the Tariff schedule, so that we may remove the duty and allow the men in the trade to look for more remunerative employment ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I can give no promise ; but I happen to know that, as the result of the Tariff, the Massey-Harris Company are arranging to commence operations next month. I am not going to promise to give precedence to any item in the schedule.

page 3588

SEAT OF GOVERNMENT BILL

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– As the Acting Prime Minister does not intend to ask the House to proceed immediately with the consideration of the’ Tariff, I wish to know whether it is the intention of the Government to expedite the passing of the Seat ofGovernment Bill?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Protectionist

– I shall not promise to ask the House to proceed with the Bill until we get on with the Tariff. I hope that when we make a start with the Tariff schedule we shall give uninterrupted attention to it.

page 3588

QUESTION

GUARANTEES FOR COUNTRY TELEPHONE LINES

Mr POYNTON:
GREY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General a question in regard to the following paragraph, which, under the heading of “ Castlemaine,” appears in this morning’s issue of the Age -

When Mr. Mauger, Postmaster-General, visited Castlemaine some three weeks ago he was approached by the Traders and Employers’ Association with a request that they might have greater facilities in telephonic communication with the outside townships. After making inquiries, Mr. Mauger has notified to Mr. C. C. Salmon, M.P. for the district, that he has approved of communication being established as soon as possible, without guarantee, between Castlemaine and Chewton, Fryerstown, Yapeen, Guildford, Muckleford, Barker’s Creek, and Harcourt. With regard to a telephone between Harcourt and Sutton Grange, he has approved of the construction on alternative terms, certain work to be done by those interested or under the guarantee system.

If this statement be true, does it not indicate a new departmental policy, and will that policy be adhered to by the Minister in dealing with all requests from country districts for a telephonic service ? Hitherto

*Tariff.* [20 September, 1907.] *Papers.* 3589 in such cases a guarantee has been insisted on. {: #subdebate-4-0-s1 .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr MAUGER:
Protectionist -- I did not quite grasp the honorable member's question, but. the facilities afforded in regard to telephonic communication will be, as far as possible, of general application. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr POYNTON: -I am sorry that I Idid not make my question clear to the honorable gentleman. According to the paragraph I have read, the PostmasterGeneral has promised that certain telephonic communications shall be established without a guarantee. I wish to know whether the same principle will be applied to similar work in all country districts. Hitherto a guarantee has always been insisted upon. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr MAUGER: -- A guarantee has not been insisted on save where the officers of the Department report that there is no probability of the line being a payable one. It is sometimes found that a line in respect of which an indemnity has been demanded yields such a revenue that it is not necessary, and whenever facilities can be afforded to rural districts" without requiring a guarantee that course will be adopted. {: #subdebate-4-0-s2 .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON:
LAANECOORIE, VICTORIA -- I wish to ask the PostmasterGeneral whether it is not a fact that the towns named in the paragraph to which the honorable member for Grey has referred have been for many years connected with Castlemaine and that his decision simply means that the public are to foave the use of telephones already in existence. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr MAUGER: -- That is the position. {: .page-start } page 3589 {:#debate-5} ### PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS {: #debate-5-s0 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
Attorney-General · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · Protectionist -- I desire to make a personal explanation. In the course of a speech which, the right honorable member for Swan made in the House a few evenings ago, he referred to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and stated that when it was before the House I gave an inconsistent vote. I desire to say that the records of the House show that my attitude an respect to that measure was throughout consistent. {: #debate-5-s1 .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST:
SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA -- With regard to the explanation made by the AttorneyGeneral {: #debate-5-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I would remind the right honorable member that under the Standing Orders it is not permissible to debate a personal explanation. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- My desire is, sir, to also make a personal explanation. Having carefully examined the records since making the statement in question, I regret to say that I inadvertently misrepresented the honorable gentleman. I am now in a position to say that while he consistently opposed the extension of the Bill to State public servants, he consistently voted for the inclusion of States railway employes and others engaged in industries carried on by the authority of the States. I very much regret that I should have misrepresented the honorable member. {: .page-start } page 3589 {:#debate-6} ### PAPERS MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers - >Trade Marks Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1907, No. 90. > >Audit Acts - Transfers of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial Year 1906-7 (dated 10th September, 1907). {: .page-start } page 3589 {:#debate-7} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-7-0} #### MILITARY BOARD- CONSULTATIVE MEMBERS {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: asked the Minister of Defence, *upon notice -* >Whether he has yet made any arrangements for the consultative members of the Military Board(i.e., Militia Members) to be summoned to at least some of the meetings of that body ? {: #subdebate-7-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows - >Arrangements have been made under which the consultative members of the Military Board who are militia officers shall be summoned at least four times a year. {: .page-start } page 3589 {:#debate-8} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-8-0} #### SUPPLY Additions, New Works, and Buildings *In Committee* (Consideration resumed from 19th September, *vide* page 3555): Department of The Treasury Division 6 (Government Printing Office) *£2,000.* {: #subdebate-8-0-s0 .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS:
Dalley .- I rise, not to canvass this item, but to obtain information in regard to it. Hitherto the bulk of our printing has been done by the Victorian Government Printing Office, and I must say that it has been admirably executed. I desire to know whether the *£2,000* provided upon these Estimates is intended to be expended upon the purchase of machinery which will ultimately be installed in the Commonwealth Printing Office at the Seat of Government. Of course, it is. simply a matter of grace on the part of the Victorian authorities to allow Commonwealth printing to be performed at the 3590 *Supply.* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Supply.* Government Printing Office of this State, although I am aware that in each of the States capitals the Government Printing Office is anxious to obtain a portion of that work. I am thoroughly satisfied with the work performed by the State Printing Office in Victoria, and I recognise that both the present Government Printer and the late Government Printer have rendered the Commonwealth very valuable service. If there be one ground upon which we can urge a complaint, it is that our Commonwealth printing is " got up" too elaborately. I believe that there is room for the exercise of economy in the production of many of our parliamentary papers, so far as the quality of the paper employed is concerned, and the style in which the printing is done. The parliamentary papers of the House of Commons are not to be compared with our Commonwealth parliamentary papers, from the point of view of their general "get up." {: #subdebate-8-0-s1 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- In reply to the remarks of the honorable member for Dalley, I may say that a double-magazine linotype machine has already been approved, and it is necessary that another machine of a similar class shall be purchased. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Are these machines Commonwealth property? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- They will be. The machines will cost about£1,500, without the motors, which must also be provided. The expenditure proposed is for the purchase of these machines. I know that at present great difficulty is being experienced by the Victorian Government Printing Office in coping with the work which it is called upon to do. Upon one or two occasions I have had to get printing executed in Sydney on account of the congestion of work in the Government Printing Office here. I think that additional printing will require to be done on account of the Federal Statistician's Department. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Will that be done in Sydney ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- No. The Government Printing Offices of both New South Wales and Victoria have declined to undertake the printing of the publication which was formerly known as the *Seven Colonies.* I had the work sent to Sydney, but **Mr. Gullick,** the Government Printer, has refused to undertake it. I understand that a reasonable tender for the printing of that publication has been rereceived, I think, from Messrs. Sands and McDougall. The amount upon the Estimates will be expended in the purchase of additional machinery to enable us to cope with the large quantity of printing which has to be done in connexion with Parliament and the Commonwealth Departments generally. It will be Commonwealth property, and when the Parliament removes to the Seat of Government the machinery will be duly installed there. {: #subdebate-8-0-s2 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson -- The remarks of the Acting Prime Minister emphasize the necessity which exists for at once establishing the Federal. Capital where we shall be in a position to erect our own buildings, and house our printing machinery. It seems to me that the constant acquisition; of further accommodation in Melbourne only serves to accentuate the difficulty which we shall experience when we come to remove the Seat of Government from this city. I hope that we shall not continue to waste money by erecting temporary buildings in Melbourne. We must find accommodation for the housing of this machinery. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- It will not require very much room to house two linotype machines. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- As far as I can understand, the Commonwealth is under no expense in that connexion, except for the rent of the building. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I recognise that the Acting Prime Minister has made out a strong case for the purchase of these linotypes. I think that it might possibly be conducive to economy if allour official papers were of a uniform size. With reference to the. printing of postage stamps- {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That work will be done in Victoria. The officer who formerly undertook the printing of postage stamps in Adelaide is now in Melbourne with a view to arranging for the work being performed here. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I am glad that his services are being availed of. He is a most efficient officer. He has demonstrated his ability to produce postage stamps for 30 or 40 per cent. less than they can be produced for in Queensland. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I do not believe in "scabbing" upon anybody, and South Australia is " scabbing" upon the rest of the Commowealth. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- This officer has devoted a lifetime to the printing of postage stamps, and the result is that he can produce them for much less than they can be produced in any of the other States. He has been brought to Melbourne, his Department will be -established here for a dme, and then we shall have to remove it to the Federal Capital. It seems to me that we are frittering away money by acting in this fashion. If we erect temporary accommodation for the machinery which we are' about to purchase, we shall have to demolish it by-and-by, whereas if we erected a building at the Seat of Government, it would be a permanent structure, to which additions could be made from time to time, in accordance with a plan which would provide for the requirements of the Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-8-0-s3 .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr MCWILLIAMS:
Franklin -- The purchase of these two linotype machines will certainly result in a saving to the Commonwealth. I do not think that we need worry much about the housing of the machines, because the accommodation required for them will be so very small. I .think that the arrangement under which our Commonwealth printing is done by the Victorian Government Printing Office is working exceedingly well. There is, however, one matter to which the Government might devote consideration. I suggest that in future all tabular printing which has to be undertaken should be set up in such a way that it can be used, ' if necessary, in our official publications without involving the expense which is caused by what is technically known as " overrunning." I am quite certain that a considerable sum is annually wasted by tabular matter having to be re-set. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr Carr: -- Surely that is a question for the printer. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr MCWILLIAMS: -- At the present time certain instructions are given by the House for the printing of documents. When these documents have been set up it frequently happens, that tables which they contain require to be inserted in publications issued in book form. When that occurs, those tables have to be reset, and thus a considerable sum of money is wasted which, I think, might be avoided. {: #subdebate-8-0-s4 .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR:
Boothby -- I think that I heard the Acting Prime Minister say, in answer to the honorable 0 member for Robertson, that it has been decided to carry on the printing of postage stamps' in Melbourne, under the supervision of the officer who formerly undertook this work for the Government in South Australia. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That is the intention. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR: -- Under the circumstances that is perhaps the wisest decision to. which the Treasurer could come. But I have thought over this matter, and I cannot help thinking that this is a triumph of parochialism over Federalism. The work could be done, and the cry has always been to have it done, in the departmental office in Adelaide. It never has been contended, and it never could be contended, that the work could not be done cheaper there than in any other Government office. Hitherto the work of printing postal stamps has been done in the States Government printing offices, except in South Australia, where it was undertaken by a branch of the Post and Telegraph Department. A proposal was made to have all the stamps for the Commonwealth printed at this one office, as the most economical plan to adopt. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- That has been recommended by every Postmaster-General for the last seven years. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR: -- There is a sum of £1,300 on the Estimates for that purpose, but I suppose now that that money will not be required ; I take it that the agitation has been sufficiently strong to prevent all the work being transferred to the office in Ade- ' laide. One of the latest phases of the matter is that the officer who has control of this work in Adelaide has been recommended for a superior position in the Commonwealth service; and a continuance of my agitation to have the work all done in Adelaide might have the effect of depriving that officer of promotion. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- Has that officer been brought to Melbourne? {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- What work will he do in Melbourne ? {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR: -- I understand from the Minister that the officer will do in Victoria the work it was proposed he should do in South Australia, {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- That is the work he has been doing in South Australia for many years. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR: -- But not for the whole of the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Is it proposed that this officer should superintend the printing of the' whole of the Commonwealth stamps in Melbourne ? {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR: -- I hope so. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Yes, that is the reason for his removal to Melbourne. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR: -- What I complain of is that, having; brought this officer to Melbourne, and placed him under the control of the Treasurer, the Government are going to' continue the old and expensive system of producing the stamps in a State printing office". I do not complain of any action of the present Treasurer ; but merely regret that there is not sufficient Federal spirit to permit of the work being done in the place where it has been proved to be done most cheaply. This happened to be the only Commonwealth work done in Adelaide, and it is a pity that parochialism has triumphed in the matter. {: #subdebate-8-0-s5 .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr FAIRBAIRN:
Fawkner .- I wish to emphasize what has been said from time to time in reference to a Commonwealth stamp. Now that we are federated, such a stamp ought to be provided. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- We cannot have a Commonwealth stamp until the bookkeeping period has expired. {: .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr FAIRBAIRN: -- I am- sorry to hear that there is an obstacle in the way of our having one sooner; but I hope the Acting Prime Minister will keep the matter in mind so that immediately the bookkeeping period expires this much-needed reform may be carried out. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The bookkeeping period has been the trouble up to the present, and I do not know whether it is possible to overcome it. {: #subdebate-8-0-s6 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR:
Yarra . -On several occasions I have referred to the difficulty which is occasioned owing to the fact that the Commonwealth has .not a printing office of its own. The gentleman in charge of the State Government Printing Office in Melbourne may be one of the best in the world; but the fact remains that he is under the control of the State Parliament. The officer who has been brought over from Adelaide and the linotype engineer are the only two officers who are Federal servants. That is not a proper position for the Commonwealth to occupy. Time after time we have voted large sums of money for the purpose of purchasing printing machinery, until to-day, I think, it would be difficult to ascertain how much of the machinery in the printing office belongs to the State and how much to the Commonwealth. There ought to be a return giving full particulars. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- That is a question I desired to have answered. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I notice that extensive additions are being made to the printing office ; and it might be held by some honorable members opposite that this is an indication that Melbourne is likely to be the seat of Government for an indefinite number of years. {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr Hedges: -- Why speak of members on this side of the House? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I admit that there arehonorable members also on this side who have suggested that Victorians desire tohave the Federal Capital in Melbourne for ever. {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr Hedges: -- We are not all Victorians. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- But that suggestion has been made ; and, so far as I know, it is unjust to representatives of Victoria. Had it been known that the seat of Government would remain in Melbourne for six years, and, in all probability, for so.ne " timelonger, steps would have been taken at the outset to establish a printing office of our own so that we might have complete control of the machinery arid officers. {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr Storrer: -- The honorable member would not propose to build a Commonwealth printing office now? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- No, but we might do precisely as we have done in regard to our other departmental offices, and rent a building. {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr Storrer: -- There is no expensivemachinery in those other departmental offices. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- But the Commonwealth, has paid for the machinery in the Government Printing Office. A reference to past Estimates will show that we have paid many thousands of pounds for machinesthat are being used not only for Commonwealth work but also for State work. I' was given to understand some time agothat the Victorian Government do not possess a linotype, but that they use theFederal linotypes for their own work. It has also been stated that the employes book *Works and Buildings* [20 September, 1907.] *Estimates.* 3593 more of their time to the Commonwealth than they do to the State. The Government Printing Office is, to some extent, under divided control ; and so long as the present state of affairs continues we can never ascertain exactly how the business is carried on. The officers are not Commonwealth officers, and probably deem it their duty to be more loyal to the State than to the Commonwealth. I trust that the Treasurer will look into the matter and ascertain exactly how much machinery the Government possess in the State printing office. If Commonwealth machinery is used for State work we ought to be given credit for that in the account which is rendered against the Commonwealth. We hear a great deal about Federal extravagance, but I believe that charge to be untrue; and I hope that we shall not be called upon to pay more than is necessary for any printing work that may be done for us. I understand that there is a sum on the. Estimates for the purchase of two more linotypes ; and if the State uses these machines we ought, as I said before, to receive credit for the work. {: #subdebate-8-0-s7 .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON:
Hindmarsh -- I thoroughly agree with the suggestion that it is time the Commonwealth had a printing office of its own. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- We shall have one at the Federal Capital. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- We should have a Commonwealth Printing Office even before we go to the Federal Capital. We rent offices for the transaction of other Commonwealth work, and we could just as easily rent a printing office. It has been said, though I do not know with what truth, that the Commonwealth pays overtime rates for a great deal of the work which is done, with the result that the expenditure is much larger than it ought to be. As a printer myself, I know something of the cost of printing, and I have been surprised at some of the charges made. I may say, however, that the work itself is entirely satisfactory. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- There ought to be an investigation into the whole matter. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- Undoubtedly, but at present we have no control whatever over the printing office. **Mr. Storrer.** The honorable member is a member of the Printing Committee. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- The Printing Committee has no power in this connexion. We ought to be able to tell to an hour how long the Commonwealth plant is used every week in doing Commonwealth work, how long it is used for State work, and what allowance is made by the State Government for the use of the linotype machines. {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr Storrer: -- Does the Commonwealth pay for the use of the State machines? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- The Commonwealth "pays through the nose" for the use of all the State machines. From the prices I have seen, I should be very glad, indeed, to undertake the work done by the State Government for the Commonwealth, and it is time some change was made. It seems absurd that when we have a separate departmental printing office in Adelaide we should render it idle, and bring the superintending officer over here to be under the control of a State Department in Victoria. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- That was merely because the Secretary to the Treasury said it should be done. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I do not say that ; but I wish to point out the absurdity of the position. Had this work not been done more cheaply and satisfactorily than it could be done elsewhere, I should have asked the Minister to make some change; but it seems absurd to unnecessarily place one of our officers under a dual control. I shall insist on inquiries being made as to the allowance which the State Government makes for the use of Commonwealth plant, andhow far the statement is correct that we pay overtime rates for a great part of our printing. Mr.Poynton. - A Select Committee might ascertain the facts. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I have no doubt that a Select Committee would cause some' wonderful revelations. {: .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr Fairbairn: -- What about the Printing Committee? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- The Printing Committee has no power except to save as much as possible in the printing of papers. I am sorry the Printing Committee has not power, because I am satisfied that if that Committee. or a Select Committee investigated the matter, we should have a recommendation to the effect that it would pay handsomely to establish a Commonwealth printing office. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- Can the Printing Committee do nothing in the matter? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- No. The power of the Committee extends only to the papers submitted. There is, in my opinion, a great deal of unnecessary printing at the present time, at the instance of Departments, or under Act of Parliament. The Printing Committee has been able to effect some savings, and, with complete power, it could doubtless effect more. I trust that the Minister will see that an exhaustive inquiry is made to ascertain the value of the Commonwealth plant, and the manner in which it is used, and that he will obtain a statement showing whether what we pay for our printing is a reasonable or unreasonable amount, and whether it would be cheaper to have our printing done in a building of our own, under Commonwealth supervision. .' {: #subdebate-8-0-s8 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- It seems to me that a Minister has only to submit proposals for the expenditure of *£1* or *-£2* to produce an immense amount of discussion. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- This is a very important matter. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The question comes up every year. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- Then why does not the Government do something in regard to it? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The present arrangement has been thought to be the best that can be made. The honorable member says that it is rumoured that the Commonwealth is. called upon to pay overtime for work which should be done in ordinary business hours - that .the State is trying to get at us. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- I did not say that- {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- That is what the honorable member's remarks amounted to. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- I "object to being represented to have said that. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- Ai any rate, that is the way in which the matter has been put to me. I have therefore instructed the Secretary to the Treasury to appoint a man to go into the printing-office, to see that the Commonwealth is not placed at a disadvantage in any shape or form. He is to be kept there permanently, so long as the present arrangement continues. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- When was that done? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I gave the instruction a week or ten days ago. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- The Minister, by his action, admits the necessity of doing some: thing of this kind, but it has taken years to discover it. . ' {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The Government Printing Office is under the control of the Treasurer, and I have been Trea surer only a few weeks. In the past 1 have controlled other Departments, and, while not allowing others to interfere with my administration, have never interfered with theirs. I was opposed to the original arrangement, but it was made in order to effect economy. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- Under it we obtained the supervision of the Government Printer of Victoria for *£150* a year. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The original arrangement was made by **Sir George** Turner when Treasurer, in his desire to effect economy, and economy has always been aimed at in Commonwealth administration, notwithstanding the charges of extravagance which have been brought against it. I have instructed the Secretary of my Department to cause a thorough investigation to be made to ascertain how the Commonwealth is now being treated in the matter of printing, and whether it would cost more than we now pay to set up a printing-office of our own. It is quite possible that the arrangement under which Commonwealth work is done in the Victorian office is not so satisfactory now that the Commonwealth Departments have largely increased in size as it was when first entered into. I cast no doubt upon the *bona fides* of the State in the matter of printing, .and I hope that inquiry will show that the statement that the Commonwealth has been overcharged for its printing is incorrect. With regard to the South Australian officer whose transfer has been referred to, he has been represented to me as the best man we could get, and arrangements are being made for him to do the work here. I understand that he does not desire to be placed under the Government Printer, and that therefore there is some little difficulty about accommodating him in the Victorian Printing Office. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- His usefulness will be spoiled if he is placed under the Government Printer of Victoria. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I shall do all' I can to leave him free from interference, and if I find that he is as good a man as hehas been represented to be, and does his work well, I shall stick to him, and see that he is properly dealt with. If honorable members will allow the item to pass, I promise them to have an investigation ,made asquickly as possible, and to report the result of it to Parliament, so that honorable members may know exactly what machinery we *Works and Buildings* [20 September, 1907.] *Estimates.* 3595 have, how it is used, and what our printing costs. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- Cannot the Minister tell us now what machinery the Commonwealth has in the Victorian Printing Office? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -No. It will be necessary to have a return prepared to get that information. If it is found that we are paying as much for our printing now as would enable us to have a separate office of our own, without doubt we should make a change. It. is desirable that we should have an office of our own, if in it we could get our printing done for as little as it now costs. {: #subdebate-8-0-s9 .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL:
Hunter .- The text upon which the Acting Prime Minister has hung his remarks is the word " economy," and in this connexion I should like to call attention to an example of the manner in which the Commonwealth machinery and plant in the Victorian Printing Office is being used. A wealthy French gentleman interested in architecture, the Vicomte de Fenelon, has produced plans illustrating the construction of the Ark, the Tabernacle, and the Temple of Jerusalem, and has been kind enough to forward a copy of them to the Federal Parliament. The Library Committee, or the Printing Committee, has caused them to be bound in covers measuring 39 inches by *26½* inches, made of green morocco, the most expensive leather procurable, and highly decorated in gold. In my opinion, the money would have been better spent in procuring works on the history of Australia. {: #subdebate-8-0-s10 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I think that this matter should be referred to when the vote for the Library is under consideration. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- I would point out that the work has been done with the machinery and plant in the Victorian Printing Office,' for which we are now asked to vote money. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I understand that the binding was ordered by the Library Committee, and I think that the matter should therefore be referred to on the general. Estimates. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- Perhaps you are not aware, **Mr. Chairman,** that the binding of the book was done at the Victorian Printing Office, probably with the material and plant for which we are now being asked to vote more money ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I understand that it was paid for. out of the Library vote, and I think, therefore, that it should be discussed when the general Estimates are before us. The vote now under consideration is one for machinery. If I allowed the honorable member for Hunter to discuss the binding of a particular book now, all the other binding sanctioned by the Library Committee might be brought under review. {: #subdebate-8-0-s11 .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS:
Cook .- I am prepared to vote against every item in regard to which it seems to be assumed that Melbourne is to remain for all time the seat of Government. I have the strongest objection to the putting of machinery into the Victorian Government Printing Office, as if we were never to move out of Melbourne. {: .speaker-JWY} ##### Mr Chanter: -- When we move we can take our machinery with us. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS: -- It would be a very costly matter to move it. We have been told that, year after year, the Commonwealth printing plant in the Victorian office is being added to, and although we have asked what machinery the Commonwealth now possesses, we have not been given satisfactory information on the subject. I understand that, in the first instance, Parliament was led to believe that the machinery in the Victorian Printing Office would be sufficient for the printing of Commonwealth papers, but ever since the present arrangement was made, we have been putting in new machinery, until perhaps by now we have enough to fit up an office , of our own. Another matter to which I wish to refer is that on page 40 of the Estimates in chief, provision is made for the payment to the Government Printer of . £150 for services rendered in connexion with the printing of Parliament. I am informed that he is compelled to return that amount to the State Government. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- The statement has been published in the Melbourne press from time to time. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS: -- We should have some information on the subject. If we vote money to the Government Printer of Victoria for the supervision of Commonwealth printing- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I would remind the honorable member that, as he himself has., pointed out, this matter comes under the Estimates in chief. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS: -- I regret that I drew your attention to the fact, **Mr. Chairman.** I did so inadvertently. I am not a parochialist, and do not agree with much of the parochial talk that we have heard in this Chamber. But I object to the Commonwealth going to tremendous expense toestablish itself in Melbourne, and I intend, to vote against items which I think have that tendency . {: #subdebate-8-0-s12 .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS:
Dalley -- I. should not have risen again to discuss this item but for the admission made by the Minister that it is proposed to gather together the printing plant of the Commonwealth, some of which apparently has been lent to the Victorian Government. Several honorable members have spoken about the use of machinery, and it has been said that an expert stamp printer in the printing office at the General Post Office; Adelaide, is to be transferred to this State. I do not wish to discuss the qualifications of that gentleman, but would remind the Committee that in all the States we have men engaged in printing stamps who, unless they are to be transferred to the central office, will be deprived of their livelihood if trie whole of this work is in future to be carried out in Melbourne. We ha,ve a stamp printing staff in New South Wales, where the stamps issued far outnumber those used in any other State. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Then they ought to be more economical in the matter of printing {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I am not an expert, but it would seem that there is a remarkable disparity between the cost of printing in the various States. The honorable member for Hindmarsh, as an expert, emphasized the point that- I, as a. layman, desire to make. The Acting Prime Minister has told us that he wishes to combine economy with efficiency in the working of the Commonwealth Printing Office. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I said that I had already given instructions that an officer to be appointed shall be there to see that we are not unduly charged for overtime. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- That is satisfactory. There is another matter which I desire to bring under the notice of the Treasurer. At the end of each session honorable members are -supplied with bound copies of the Commonwealth Statutes. These are printed and bound at the Victorian Government Printing Office, but, strange to say, the public are unable to purchase them there. {: .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr Fairbairn: -- Who wishes to buy them ? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Every member Df the legal profession must have them, and every well appointed library also has them on its .shelves. At the present time a private firm in Victoria is printing the Commonwealth Statutes, and making a good! thing out of the work. The community ispractically being fleeced. I hold that our Statutes should be issued as cheaply aspossible. They cannot be purchased at any of the Government printing offices im the States. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- They ought to be available at the Commonwealth offices. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Quite so. Some monthsago I brought under the notice of the exTreasurer the fact that they are published' by the Law Institute of Victoria, to whom application for copies have to be addressed. There are in New South -Wales alone no less than 360 subscribers. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- That is good individualism,, is it not ? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I am simply suggesting that we should make reasonable use of theGovernment Printing Office. The good Socialism that I have to suggest is that theGovernment Printing Office should print and bind the Commonwealth Statutes, and sell them to the general public. They have to print and bind them for honorable members, and I think that the adoption of my suggestion would lead to a considerable reduction in the cost to the public. {: #subdebate-8-0-s13 .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr POYNTON:
Grey .- I donot intend to oppose the item immediately under review, nor do I desire to blame the present Treasurer for the way in which the stamp* printing office attached to the General Post Office, Adelaide, has been treated. I have no hesitation, however, in saying, that it has been most scandalously dealt with. Every PostmasterGeneral who has inquired into this question has found that the' cost of printing, stamps, postal notes, and post cards in South Australia is considerably less thanit is in any of the other States. The officer in charge of the work there is a specialist. The question has been threshed out in this House year after year, and although each succeeding Postmaster-General has agreed that a certain sum shall be expended on the plant in South Australia, hisdecision has been overruled, not by his colleagues, but by a departmental officer. From time to time, the several PostmastersGeneral have had to play second fiddle toan officer in the public service. , That is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. The South Australian office has been most scurvily treated, and we know full well that this money will not be spent in that State. The Government are breaking up the printing plant attached to the post-office there, and the expert officer to whom I have referred will be placed in an almost intolerable position since in the Commonwealth office he will mot have absolute control of the work in which he is an expert. I have every reason to believe that we have. paid thousands of pounds more than we ought to have done for our printing. A Commission, consisting of experts, ought to be appointed to inquire into the whole question; something more than a mere examination . or inquiry by a departmental head is necessary to ascertain the facts. Although I consider that South Australia in this respect has been badly treated, I am not going to vote against an item providing for the purchase of plant and machinery - in many cases, the purchase of machinery means not extravagance but economy - but I think that the Treasurer should cause to be prepared an inventory of the printing plant owned by the Commonwealth in order that we may know exactly of what it consists. It is absurd to suggest that the passing of this item should be delayed until the Capital Site question shall have been decided. I was under the impression that it had been settled. It seems to me that we shall never see the Federal Capital until the people of New South Wales are prepared to agree among themselves as to what they want. *Hansard* will show that when a site was finally decided upon every leader in the House' urged honorable members to stand by the decision, but it seems that honorable members are at liberty to go outside and advise the people of New South Wales that they have been " tricked." {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Did Dalgetv. on its merits, beat every other site? That is the test. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr POYNTON: -- I am not going to discuss the- merits of the different sites. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr Liddell: -- I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member in order in discussing on this item the question of the Capital Site? {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- On the point of order, sir, I would remind you that the item relates to printing plant which will have to be removed to the Federal Capital. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I was not closely following the honorable member at. the moment, but if, as I understand, he was making only an incidental reference to the Federal Capital Site question, he was not out of order. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr POYNTON: -- I was remarking that in my opinion it will be a long time before we remove to the permanent Seat of Government, and that consequently it would be absurd to defer the purchase of necessaryprinting machinery till then. Those who are responsible for the delay in the settlement of the Federal Capital Site- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order. The honorable member is not entitled to adopt that line of argument. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr POYNTON: -- I repeat that South Australia has been treated in a shocking way. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I am very fond of South Australia, and we treat that State well. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr POYNTON: -- I regret that Ministers have been mere puppets in the hands of an officer, who has been allowed to have his own wa.v in every instance. {: #subdebate-8-0-s14 .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD:
Herbert .- I do not agree with those who desire to establish a Commonwealth Printing Office in Melbourne. .In my judgment, it would be a! great mistake to do as they suggest. Those who advocate the establishment of our own office here appear to have overlooked the fact that apart from the purchase of linotypes, a great deal of expenditure would have to be incurred in securing other machinery. In looking over the general Estimates I find that there is an item set down as an honorarium to the Government Printer- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order. The honorable member must not refer to the general Estimates. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- This matter has been referred to previously. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I must remind the honorable member that I prevented the honorable member for Cook from pursuing that line of argument. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- At any rate, it is shown elsewhere that the cost of providing fuel, light, and motive power for our printing machinery in Melbourne is only £554- I venture to say that if we established a printing office of our own in this city the expenditure in that connexion would be much greater. Moreover the whole of the arrangements of the Department would V)3 dislocated during its transfer. I hope to live to see the day when this Parliament will remove to a home of its own. So far as the printing of stamps and postcards are concerned; I fail to see why the officer to whom reference has been ma'de, should not be installed in an office of his own- {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- Unless that is done there will be an absolute waste of money. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD: -- I suggest to the Acting Prime Minister that he might take into consideration the advisability of establishing this officer in an office of his own. I shall vote for the item. {: #subdebate-8-0-s15 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- I wish to say that the value of the printing plant which the Commonwealth has in Melbourne at the present time is about £36,000. Proposed vote agreed to. Department of Defence Division 7 (Special Defence Material), £80,000 {: #subdebate-8-0-s16 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas .- I hope that Ministers will speedily come to a definite conclusion as to what is to be their policy of defence. It is really too much to ask the Committee to vote even an instalment of what "must eventually be a very large expenditure, in the adsenee of a defence policy deliberately arrived at. In the first place we require information as to what is to be the proportion of expenditure upon the Military Forces to that upon the Naval Forces. We wish to know whether we are to look to a highly-trained small force or to an imperfectly -trained large force as the basis of our land defence. Personally I confess that I am absolutely *in* a fog over defence matters. As far as a laymen can do so, I have endeavoured to follow the development of a defence policy in the United Kingdom, thinking that 'it might afford me some guidance as to the policy which should be adopted here. But when I find such authorities upon defence matters as **Mr. Arnold** Foster taking one view, and Lord Roberts another, I admit that I am bewildered. The former believes in a small, perfectlyequipped force,0 whereas Lord Roberts advocates the establishment of a force of something like 900,000 men. In this connexion I also recollect that **Mr. Haldane** recently brought forward a scheme which, having passed through the crucible of a good deal of criticism, has now been placed upon the statute-book of the Imperial Parliament. His scheme provides, amongst other things, for the abolition of the militia, which some experts think is an absolutely suicidal policy. When I read these conflicting opinions on the part of experts it makes me hesitate to sanction a large expenditure upon defence. Shortly before **Mr. Haldane's** scheme was approved by Parliament, an attack was made upon it by certain voluntary associations which study defence matters very closely. Lord Roberts himself subscribed to a circular . sent out by one of these associations as a protest against the adoption of **Mr. Haldane's** scheme. What is a layman - a man of peace - who does not care to board a vessel even for the purpose of making a short trip, to say to a proposal to expend a large sum upon defence, seeing that every plan brought forward by the British Government has been " riddled" by experts? When I come to consider our local defences I am in precisely the same "pickle." Towards the end of 1906 'Captain Creswell presented a report to Parliament which seemed to modify, if it did not altogether reverse, the report which he prepared upon naval defence about four years previously. At that, time, if I am noi mistaken, he pinned his faith in the matter of Australian defence to an expenditure upon cruisers. He now suggests that we should commence with torpedo boats, torpedo boat destroyers, and some other class of vessel, the name of which I have forgotten. Captain Creswell very pertinently asked " Why is the Navy neglected?" In looking up a few notes upon this matter which I made at the time, I find that that officer set down the total of our Naval Forces at something less than 1,000. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- If the honorable member is talking of the naval militia, it numbers a little over 1,000. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- Captain Creswell set down the number of the permanent forces at 164, and that of the naval militia at 781. He estimated our land defence forces, at 40,000, I presume upon a war footing. Major-General Hutton is a firm believer in a highly trained body of troops coupled with rifle clubs. He has declared that something like 25,000 troops form the nucleus of our army in time of peace, and that the number could be raised to 40,000 in time of war. Captain Creswell, I repeat, asks why we are spending such large sums upon our land defences whilst the Navy - which is our first line of defence - is altogether neglected. In this connexion he mentions that we have a trade valued at something like £140,000,000 annually to protect. He points out that during the recent war with Russia the loss sustained by Japan on account of the interruption to her sea commerce was about ;r£i 50,000 per day. When we consider the far greater ease with which the world's , trade with us might be intercepted, it becomes apparent that its interception would involve us in a very serious loss. Therefore we are justified in expending a larger sum upon naval defence. When the Prime Minister spoke of this matter in June, 1905, he pointed out that we are within striking distance of sixteen foreign naval stations. Speaking upon the Defence Estimates in 1906, he said - The Government have decided to recommend the establishment of harbor and coastal defence, and to commence by ordering eight coastal destroyers and four first-class torpedo boats. He estimated the cost of these vessels at about .£700,000, which was to be distributed over three years, and which would thus involve the Commonwealth in an annual expenditure of . approximately ^2'50,ooo. That is a very large expenditure, and the burden of my complaint is that we are asked to sanction even instalments of a large defence vote before some systematic plan of defence has been laid down - before it has been decided whether the Navy or the Army is to be our chief line of defence. If the two are to be depended upon we should be told what is to be the proportion of' expenditure upon each. I have already said that- 1 was rather sceptical in looking for guidance to the experts at home, and certainly confusion becomes "worse confounded" when I look for guidance to the experts here. Some two years ago, Colonel McCay, then a member of this. House, who had devoted a great deal of attention to military matters, referred to the estimate by Major-General Hutton, in connexion with the equipment of our forts, some of which are dealt with in the Estimates before us. Major-General *Hutton* estimated that a sum of over £520,000 would be required to put our forts in order ; and of that estimate two instalments have been spent. I forget what balance remains ; but if I am not mistaken, some time afterwards, the Council of Defence increased that estimate to £1,300,000 or £1,400,000 - an absolute staggerer. Then Captain Creswell suggested that there should be torpedo boats and destroyers, though Lieutenant-Colonel Bridges, some twelve months ago, or it may have been last December, rather discounted the report of Captain Creswell, asking where the men would be obtained to man the vessels. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- There would be no difficulty on that score. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- Perhaps not; but at present, I ani dealing with the recommendations of experts. Before relying on the conflicting testimony of experts, or even the contradictory reports of individual experts - because sometimes individuals cannot be consistent for two years together - some thoroughly thought-out plan ought to be presented by the Minister of Defence. For all I can see to the contrary, the items before us are merely instalments for the carrying out of an immature policy; and we ought to remember that if we sanction this expenditure we shall be compelled to approve of further expenditure next year. I acknowledge that this is an exceedingly difficult question ; but I believe the Minister is doing his best, and I hope that, as soon as time permits, he will submit some wellconsidered, consistent scheme of local defence. {: #subdebate-8-0-s17 .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX:
Kooyong ? - I always experience considerable diffidence in dealing with a highly technical subject such as defence. But there are general matters of policy with which honorable members can deal from a common-sense standpoint, and on which they may arrive at something like reasonable conclusions. We have had as many schemes of defence as' there have been Ministers of Defence during the life of the Commonwealth. Each Minister of Defence has proposed or initiated some new development, aided by the inquiries of Commissions, and so forth ; and yet we are still without any definite proposals. Surely the Government ought to be able to give honorable members some final indication of their defence policy. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- We had their policy last year from the Prime Minister. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- That is true; but since then, the Prime Minister has been in communication with the Imperial authorities, and he ought to be in a position to afford us further information before we are asked to sanction this expenditure. I understood from the Acting Prime Minister, last night, that before we entered into the consideration of the detailed expenditure in this Department he would make some general statement as to the policy of the Government. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I intend to make an explanation on the next division. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- But we are asked at the present moment to sanction expenditure 3600 *Supply.* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Supply.* amounting to , £80,000 which is surely necessary to the detailed administration of the Defence Department, and we ought to have some indication given of the general policy of the Government. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The items immediately before us are ordinary votes. When we come to the item of £250,000 for harbor and coastal defences, in the next division, I shall make a statement. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- I suppose we shall have to possess ourselves in patience until then. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- Items of this sort are voted every year. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- I point out that this is not ordinary expenditure, but new expenditure; and the Minister ought not to mislead the Committee by suggesting that the items are for the ordinary maintenance of the Department. This is new expenditure. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- On ordinary items. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- But it is new expenditure. The Minister ought not to mislead the Committee by suggesting that this is ordinary departmental expenditure ; it is nothing of the kind. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- What I mean is that these are items which are imperative, and are voted every year. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- Of course, I admit that if we are to keep abreast of the times there must be a considerable annual expenditure. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It is about time we knew from the Minister whether he has yet formulated a land defence scheme. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- We must recognise that within the next few years, political complications in the Pacific may be such as to demand very serious consideration by the Government and the responsible Minister. For the first time on record a great fleet is coming from the United States into the Pacific. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- And I hope that that fleet will always remain in the Pacific. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- I hope it will ; and that the result may be of advantage to the British-speaking races. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- At any rate, it is no disadvantage to have the United States fleet in the Pacific. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- I do not think it is a disadvantage; but the presence of that fleet in the Pacific is a recognition of the menacing condition of the Asiatic nations. We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that Japan has leaped into the very fore front as a belligerent nation; and that she displays a capacity for defence and offence equal to that of any European power. It would be a menace to Australia if, as an adjustment of the present political situation, the Philippine Islands, which are at present owned by the United States - and generally regarded as a nuisance by that nation - should pass into the possession of Japan. This possibility gives rise to the gravest considerations; and in a great question of national policy such as this, the Federal Government should, in my opinion, act in conjunction with the Imperial Government. If we are as friendly as we always hope to be with the United States, we ought to know whether negotiations of the kind I have indicated are being conducted, and if so, Great Britain, in the interests of Australia, ought to have an opportunity to take possession of the islands to which I refer, rather than that Japan should be allowed to do so. It is idle to shut our eyes to the fact that complications are arising and are doing so very rapidly. Hordes of eastern people are rushing into the United States and to Canada ; the Japanese particularly are rapidly emigrating to the western coast of America. The treaty between Great Britain and Japan just now affords us an element of protection ; but if Japan gets control of the Chinese and Malay races, to whom the sacrifice of life is as nothing, we shall not be able to idly contemplate a combination of alien races so near our Northern Territory. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- Does the honorable member believe that such a combination will take place? {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- I do, though, probably, neither the honorable member nor myself will be spared to see the combination consummated. We are not legislating only for our own time, but building up a nation here which we hope to see defended and perpetuated by our children and our children's children. The situation is one of the gravest importance. It is not for us to simply consider whether a few items on a Budget statement are to be passed. We have adopted, after full consideration, a policy of exclusion. Do honorable members mean to tell me that that policy will not for all timebe an invitation to eastern nations to resent the differentiation involved ? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The Melbourne *Argus* would defend Australia by importing. Asiatics to fill the vacant places. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- I am not concerned with what the Melbourne *Argus* would or would mot do. I am thoroughly in favour of sustaining a White Australia policy as far as we consistently can ; but we must mot dig our heads into the sand, believing that all is safe. At the present time great political changes are taking place; and it is idle to suppose that' China, which is awakening, and Japan, will allow us always to maintain our present position. We must be able to declare that we will uphold our policy, even at the sacrifice of our lives; or we shall be in danger. Our first line of defence is, of course, the Imperial Navy. I hope that the Prime Minister will soon be restored to health, and able to take his place in Parliament. Every one desires to see that consummated with all possible speed. I hope that when the Prime Minister returns to his place in this Chamber he will recant the suggestion that Australia's contribution under the Naval Agreement should cease. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Was it his suggestion, or that of the Admiralty? I am told that the Admiralty is very much in favour of it. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- I agree that a contribution of only £200,000 per annum towards the upkeep of the Imperial Navy is as a drop in a bucket. Our contribution is practically merely a sentimental recognition of our dependence on the Imperial Navy as our first line of defence. It is unquestionably desirable that we should show our loyalty to the British Government in this matter, and it would be idle to speak of Australia as independent of Great Britain in regard to defence. But for the treat between Great Britain and Japan, thousands of Japanese .would pour into Australia as they are pouring into Canada and the United States, and our legislation prohibiting their entry would be in vain. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr Wise: -- We shall be defenceless so long as we are supine in this matter. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- We should be in a perilous position to-morrow if it were not for the protection of the British flag. Russia, notwithstanding her prestige as one of the foremost nations of the world, her large population, and her immense resources, was beaten by Japan, and how could we, with a population of only 4,000,000, defend a territory almost as large as Europe? {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- If it came to a struggle between Japan and Australia, there would be 50,000,000 people against 4,000,000. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- Yes, if we were left to our own resources. I' should be the last to wish to place a wrong interpretation on the actions of the Prime Minister in London. I think that he did magnificent work there, and that no one has the interests of Australia more at heart. But, in mv opinion, he did not realize the effect of his suggestion that our contribution under the Naval Agreement should be discontinued. He appeared not to see how little importance the authorities at home place on the mere amount of the contribution. Their reply to him was, " The contribution is of no material consideration to us, and if Australia feels it to be burdensome, we are willing to dispense with it." In my opinion, Australia was placed in rather a humiliating position by the Prime Minister's suggestion. English statesmen attach ho importance to the contribution as a cash assistance. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The weak point of the honorable member-'s argument is his . contention that the contribution is of no importance to the Admiralty. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- Financially, it is of no importance. The Prime Minister was quite right in pointing out that we provide for local defence in addition to our contribution to the Imperial Navy. The view the Imperial Government took was that, if we did not wish to contribute to the upkeep of the Imperial Navy, it was prepared to recognise our efforts in providing for our defence by establishing a local fleet. The point I am making i,s that the question of defence is of the greatest magnitude and importance, but although it is seven years since the States federated, no definite policy has been announced in regard to it. Surely that is an unsatisfactory commentary upon the ability' of those who control our Defence Department, or an evidence of *the* difficulty of passing sane legislation through this Parliament. We are all wishful that provision shall be made for the defence of the possessions which we have acquired or which our forefathers left to us ; but no definite defence policy has been announced by the Government. In my opinion, we cannot weaken our connexion with Great Britain in regard to defence. I wish to see harbor defences perfected, and a coastal fleet established for the training of our own men, and I regard the Permanent Force only as a nucleus round which the citizen force will gather. It has always been my belief- that we shall not be in a position to defend ourselves until every able-bodied man in the community has been trained to use a rifle, and that this training should commence with our boys at school. We must also use every endeavour to increase the settlement of our country by people of our own race and blood. I hope that we shall soon have a statement of the intentions of the Government in regard to defence, which is of vital importance. {: #subdebate-8-0-s18 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports -- It is pleasing to me, as I think it must be to the majority of honorable members, that, at last, a definite attempt is being made to provide properly for our own defence. The sum of £292,000 is set down in these Estimates for the provision of coastal defences, and the local manufacture of arms and ammunition. {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- We have not yet come to those items. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- A great deal has been said about the suggestion of the Prime Minister that our contribution under the Naval Agreement should be discontinued. We have been told that it would be disloyal to discontinue it. {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- The Prime Minister said in London that the people of Australia wish to discontinue it. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- In paying only £200,000 under the Naval Agreement we are not bearing our full share of the cost of our protection, and, in my opinion, it is no more disloyal to suggest the discontinuance of the contribution, with a view to making provision for our defence in some other way than it is to be willing to continue to pay a much smaller amount than our true share. ' Colonel Foxton. - What does the honorable member think our true share would be? {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- I know that £200,000 is not our proper proportion. The Imperial authorities cannot resent the desire on the part of the people of Australia to provide for their own defence, and will, no doubt, be willing to allow the Imperial warships to remain in our waters while we are making our arrangements. It would be very harmful to Great Britain and' the Empire at large if Australia, which is part of the Empire, were attacked, and perhaps captured, by a foreign foe. We must make a start some time in providing for our own de fence, and £200,000 a year would pay the interest on an expenditure of £5,000,000, which would enable us to do a good dea' by way of a beginning. I do not advocate the borrowing of money by the Com. monwealth, but, as we may be called upon, to expend in connexion with defence amounts larger than could be provided out of current revenue, we might perhaps borrow for the purpose, establishing a sinkingfund for the wiping out of the debt, and! the present naval contribution would provide the necessary interest. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr Liddell: -- What does the honorable member think the people of Australiawould say to that? {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- I feel sure that the people of Australia wish to bear their fair share of the cost of defending the Empire. I hope that, in regard to defence, as in other matters, we shall do all we can to manufacture our own requirements, and that the craze for cheapness will not cause the authorities to purchase abroad materialswhich can be made here, even though thev may cost a little more than if they were imported. {: #subdebate-8-0-s19 .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL:
Hunter .- Inthis subdivision there is an item - >Field Artillery - ammunition, waggons, harness and spare parts, and accessories for field' guns, ^29,000. There is a comma separating the word " ammunition " from the word " waggons," and I should like to know whether the item is intended to cover ammunitionwaggons or ammunition and waggons. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- Both. The ammunition for these large guns is imported. It is not made here. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- Then I understand" that the item includes the cost of ammunition for field guns? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- Yes. £8,000 out of the total amount is to provide ammunition. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- The. item relates to a highly technical arm of the service. Thefield artillery to-day has reached such a pitch of perfection as the result of modern improvements that it becomes necessary tohave highly trained men in charge of .theseguns. Instructors are necessary, but at thepresent time the Department is underofficered. I believe that the gentleman whohas recently been raised to the position of Ordnance- {: #subdebate-8-0-s20 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member must not pursue that line of argument. He may make an incidental reference to the question of instructors, but at *Works and Buildings* [20 September, 1907.] *Estimates.* 3603 a later stage when the general defence Estimates are submitted the question of officers generally will come under review. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- I notice that there is a sum on the Estimates to provide for equipment, but a larger amount is necessary. I am informed that at present the whole of our troops, and especially the light horse divisions, are inadequately equipped. During the South African war it was found absolutely necessary that the accoutrements of the troops should be of a colour that would not be visible to the enemy at any great distance. I understand, however, that many of our troops are still wearing white canvas belts and the old-fashioned white canvas haversacks. They should be provided with accoutrements of a dark colour. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- These Estimates provide for the purchase of haversacks and bandoliers. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- Are they to be of canvas or leather? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- Leather, at present. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- The objection to canvas bandoliers is that in wet weather they shrink to such an extent that it is almost imposible to extract cartridges from them, whilst in hot weather they become so loose that the cartridges often fall out. I think we should also provide our mounted men with regulation saddles. I see no reason why the class of men now joining our forces should be required to provide their own saddles. Those with whom I have come in contact are some of the finest men in the Commonwealth. Our mounted forces are largely recruited from the farming class - from men raised on the land - men of intelligence, who might well be intrusted with the care of regimental saddles. It would be understood, of course, that saddles so supplied should be used only on parade, or at encampments. There is often a difficulty in replacing lost straps of regulation pattern when the men have to provide their own saddles and bridles, and I trust that my suggestion will be adopted by the Department. Another point that I wish to bring under the notice of the Minister is that many of our mounted men are without swords. If they had to take the field tomorrow, they would thus be at a considerable disadvantage. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Swords are not used now. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- That is a question for the experts, just as it is a matter of professional opinion whether or not, on one occasion, a certain gentleman surrendered. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- That is an impertinent reply to a reasonable interjection. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- Troops should also be given opportunities to be exercised in the use of explosives for the demolition of obstructions. Another complaint is that at present there is no means of supplying the troops with maps. At the last military encampment in the neighbourhood of my electorate, the colonel in charge was fortunately connected with the. surveying profession, but he had to go to considerable trouble to compile, from various county maps, a map of the country over which the troops were to be manoeuvred. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- What about medical equipment ? {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- There is an item of £2,000 relating to that, and I understand that in respect of medical equipment, our Forces are up-to-date. We are fortunate in having at the head of our medical corps, Surgeon-Colonel Williams, a gentleman who thoroughly understands his business. I dare say that in the matter of medical equipment, we set an object lesson to the rest of the world. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Except Japan? {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr LIDDELL: -- Inquiries go to show that many of thestatistics issued with regard to the success of the Japanese medical corps were "cooked." It has come to light that there was a great deal of disease, and that there was very little foundation for much that we heard about the medical equipment. of the Japanese troops who took part in the Russo-Japanese war. {: #subdebate-8-0-s21 .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN:
Nepean .- In this subdivision, we have the item - " Cadet Rifles and Spare Parts, £10,000," but no provision is made for cadet ammunition. I do not know whether the . 303 ammunition used by other branches of the service is served out to cadets, but I understand that there is, at all events, a difference in regard to the weight of the cordite used. So far as I have been able to ascertain, the cadet ammunition is supplied entirely by the Colonial Ammunition Company and for a long time many complaints have been made in regard to it. To all such complaints, addressed to the Military Branch of the Department, there has been received the stereotyped reply that the bad results obtained at practice were the fault, not of inferior ammunition, but of faulty shooting. We have to remember that our cadets pay a proportion of the cost of the ammunition used by them, and it should be our endeavour to encourage their efforts to become 3604 *Supply.* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Supply.* marksmen. They devote every Saturday afternoon, when there are so many counter attractions, to an effort to acquire skill in the use of the rifle, so that when they grow up they may be ready to take their place amongst our active soldiery, and we ought to give them every encouragement. As indicated by a question which I put the other day to the Minister of Defence, the Department refused to conduct tests to determine whether or not faulty ammunition is supplied to the cadets; but the grievance became so acute that the National Rifle Associattion of New South Wales decided to do so. They supplied three of their best marksmen with Eley ammunition, and also with some of that served to the cadets, and the result of the test proved conclusively that the cadets were being supplied with ammunition that was absolute rubbish. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- Is the honorable member sure that the cadet ammunition came from the Colonial Ammunition Company? {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: **- Mr. Brown, President** of the Rifle Association, New South Wales, told me that it was the Colonial Ammunition Company's ammunition. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- It has been very difficult to trace it; but that is only by the way. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- I was not present when the test was made, and cannot speak from a personal knowledge of the facts. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Most of the cadet ammunition is made in Belgium. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- A lot of ammunition had been stored, and I think that some of it must have been raked out again ; but I am not sure on the point. *Sitting suspended from1 to 2.15 p.m.* {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- When the sitting was suspended I was emphasizing the necessity for remedying the wrong which has been inflicted upon our Cadet Forces by selling them defective ammunition. There is just one other matter connected with our Cadet Forces to which I wish to direct attention. I should like to know whether it is not possible for us to make some provision by which our boys may be drilled, even if they do not possess a uniform. I can understand that a uniform appeals strongly to the juvenile mind, and that the members of our Cadet Forces are very proud to wear it. But a great many of the pupils in our schools are denied the requisite training simply because they are bound to pay a proportion of the cost of the uniforms with which they must be clothed. Whilst there is a good deal tobe said in favour of having the lads uniformed, our first aim should be to have them trained, so that they may be eventually converted into soldiers. I come now to another matter. In our Volunteer Forces and our militia are a great many public servants, particularly postal officials. In New South Wales these postal officials were refused permission to attend the last encampment unless they supplied and paid a substitute to discharge their' ordinary duties. That is a very undesirable state of affairs. The opportunity to attend the annual encampment should certainly be afforded these officials. I know of one instance in which a letter-carrier offered to deduct the period during which he was attending the camp from his annual leave, but even that offer was declined by the Department. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Since the last encampment was held the Minister has issued a regulation under which all public servants are permitted to attend camps without having the period during which they are absent from their ordinary duties deducted from their annual leave. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- I am very glad tohear that, because it removes a grievance which was rankling a good deal in the breasts of some of our postal officials. I am pleased to notice that provision has been made upon these Estimates for the purchase of heliographs, and I also congratulate the Minister upon the vote which wo agreed to yesterday for the purchase of sites upon which to establish signalling stations at Bellevue Hill and GoreHill. In my opinion, we need to pay more attention . to the question of signalling, and especially to heliograph signalling. It is to be regretted that most of the developments which have taken place in the Defence Department have been due to effort not on the part of the Permanent Forces, but on the part of militiamen. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I cannot allow the honorable member to enter upon a general discussion. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- I only regret that the item is not larger. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- We have provided for the most important matters. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- I would also point out that these Estimates contain no provision for the supply of good ordnance maps. I hope that a sum will be placed upon the Supplementary Estimates to enable these maps to be supplied to our field officers. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Does the honorable member mean to say that the staff officers have not ordnance maps? {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- The ordnance maps in use in New South Wales are very deficient. I thin'k they have been compiled from the parish maps. Certainly the natural features of the country are not well shown upon them. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Does the honorable member mean to say that our officers have, not good maps ? {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- The maps with which they are supplied are very incomplete. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- It appears to me that we are in very much the position occupied by the French prior to the Franco-German war. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- We are *iti,* very much the same position. If Japan were to attack us to-morrow, we should probably find that the Japanese officers were provided with service maps very superior to those of our own officers. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- They certainly know a good deal more about Northern Australia than we do. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- I wish also to emphasize what appears to me to be the excessive cost of the uniforms and equipment of officers. At the present time there is a great dearth of officers, and the fact that it costs a man nearly £50 after he receives his commission to acquire the necessary uniforms is not very encouraging. We ought to do more to make it possible for any man who is capable of commanding his fellows to enter the ranks and -obtain his commission. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr Carr: -- That would be contrary to all precedent. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- The party to which the honorable member belongs has urged that we should create our own precedents, and I think that, in this matter, we might very well adopt that advice. I trust that the Minister will give due attention to the questions which I have brought under the notice of the Committee. {: #subdebate-8-0-s22 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I shall offer no objection to this item, large though it appears to be. But I wish to protest against the way in which we are spending huge sums upon defence in the absence of any definite plan or pur pose so far as a defence policy is concerned. For some years we have been promised a revised defence scheme. In this connexion it is a calamity to Australia that within seven years we have had six or seven different Ministers of Defence. While these constant changes are going on it is impossible to get a continuous policy either evolved or carried into effect. To-day matters are worse than they ever were before, so far as the development of a defence scheme and the efficiency of the Department are concerned. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- They are infinitely better now than they ever were. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am glad to hear the Minister say so. The Committee will be quite re-assured if he will only furnish proof of his statement. But it does not inspire me with confidence when all that we get from the Minister is a *sub rosa* statement across, the table. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- Defence matters are in a better condition to-day than they ever were, from the stand-point of either men, ammunition, or guns. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am sure hon"orable members will be delighted to receive that assurance, but I am perfectly satisfied that they will not be prepared to accept a defence scheme upon the mere statement of the Minister as he sits in his chair. Before we vote hundreds of thousands of pounds for defence purposes, we have a right to know one or two thing's connected with the Defence Department. The Minister has been in his present office, and about it, for some two years- {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- I have been in office for only five months. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It is said that the honorable gentleman had a great deal' to do with managing the Department during the tenure of his predecessor. Therefore, I should like to ask him one or two questions. For instance, I wish to know what is being done with regard to the governance of our military affairs by the Military Board ? Is that Board to continue- {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Is that a matter for consideration in connexion with this item? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I should think so. Supplies are voted upon the recommendation of the Board for the purpose of equipping our Defence Forces. Surely it is pertinent to ask whether this money isto be expended under the control of the 3606 *Supply.* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Supply.* Board, and whether the Board is to continue to frame the Defence Estimates and to attend to defence matters generally? {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- I hope that other honorable members will be permitted to follow the same line of argument. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not intend to argue the matter. I merely ask a question, to which I hope to receive an answer. A little while ago - and the matter has already been referred to by the honorable member for Kooyong - a previous Minister, in the person of Colonel McCay - who, I venture to say, brought as much ability to bear upon the control of that Department as has any Minister who preceded him, or as have any of his successors - had in his mind a definite scheme which he desired to see carried out. He adopted the scheme which had been outlined by Major-General Hutton, who returned to England before it had reached fruition. Colonel McCay, as Minister, adopted that scheme, and in a forecast which he made, I think immediately after he left office, he intimated that £800,000 would be required to carry it out. I should like to ask the Minister whether we are asked to vote this money in fulfilment of that scheme? If that be not so, has another scheme been evolved, or is another scheme in progress, and, if so, what is that scheme? It is becoming a positive scandal that, after seven years of evolution of many schemes for the defence of Australia, we are yet voting money in the dark - that we do not know whether it is to be applied in connexion with any scheme outlined by a responsible Minister. It will, I think, shorten the debate if the Minister will be good enough to answer those questions. {: #subdebate-8-0-s23 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Minister of Defence · Richmond · Protectionist -- In regard to the items before us, which are practically ordinary annual votes, I have not much to add that will assist honorable members. However, in reply to the honorable member for Parramatta, I should like to draw attention to one or two facts. The honorable member spoke highly of the administration of my predecessor in office, Colonel McCay, by whom the Board was created. The proposal for the appointment of a Board was made by the Government of which the right honorable member for East Sydney was leader. I presume that every honorable member feels that in the control of a Department, a Board is dangerous, though, after all. it may be the only possible means of control. If Australia were able to obtain the services of a Bismarck, a Napoleon, or a Kitchener, I would depend upon such men rather than a Board. The difficulty, however, has always been that, even when Imperial officers have been imported, the salary offered them has been such as would net secure the services of a Kitchener or a Roberts. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- Why not? These men were obscure at one time. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Whatever may be said about patriotism, ability, and so forth, we find, in the ordinary business of the world, that if we desire the services of men of high qualifications they must be paid adequate salaries. However patriotic our Hamiltons or Hector Macdonalds may be, we cannot obtain their services unless we pay them higher salaries than Australia has offered up to the present. I think that the House, when it approved of the Board system two or three years ago, determined that it should have a fair trial. The Board is on its trial now; and I do not see why it should not succeed, if it be composed of competent men. Nearly all the work worth doing in the world is one man work; but at the same time, I do not see why a Minister, supported by a Board of four or five able men, even though that plan is not quite in accordance with our ideas, should not succeed. I am quite satisfied that if any ordinary intelligent layman were prepared to devote himself to the service of the country, and were permitted to remain long enough at the head of the Defence Department, he could do very good work with the assistance of a Board. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr Glynn: -- How many times has the Board met? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- The Board meets twice a week. I understand the honorable member for Parramatta to refer to the Military Board? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Yes. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · PROT -- The honorable member for Angas is probably thinking of the general Council. If a layman were placed in the position of Minister of Defence, and allowed to remain in office long enough, he would succeed, I think, in satisfactorily administerig the Department. In the past however, it has always happened that after a few months, or, may be, ayear. or two, a Minister of Defence, just when he has commenced to understand the. position, and to feel its responsibilities, has *W orks and Buildings* [20 September, 1907.] *Estimates.* 3607 been removed from office by a change of Government. It can be well understood that the responsibility of administering a Department of this kind is a very heavy one ; the defence of the country is certainly no small matter. We may have our jokes even when we are engaged' in the work of the country ; it is not worth while to carry one's heart on one's sleeve, and the lugubrious man, who considers every question without one gleam of humour, is not much use in office or anywhere else. There are a number of honorable members here who, no doubt, later on will occupy the position of Minister of Defence. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- How long have we to wait ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I do not know. I know that any member who is called upon to fill the position will, after three or four months' experience, take a view of defence matters very different from the view he now entertains. The sense of responsibility grows and overpowers one. It must be felt by the Minister that, for the time being, the defence of the country is in his hands ; and no one would like to think that hehad occupied the position for any length of time, and had left the defences in no better state than he found them. Frequent changes in administration is but one of the defects of the system of party Government. In regard to the Board, I repeat that I do not see why a Minister, assisted by a number of competent men, should not succeed in the administration. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I take it, then, that the intention is to continue the Board ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Yes, until there issome definite expression to the contrary by the House. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- By resolution or how? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- In any way the House chooses to express its opinion. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Why are not officers sent into the country to do some work, instead of being kept in Melbourne doing clerical duties ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- That does not affect the question of the Board. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Do I understand that the Minister leaves it to the House to say whether or not the Board system shall be retained? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I do not say that at all.I believe that Parliament, the Government, and the people are prepared to give the Board system a trial. Thereare various ways in which the House can ex press its views on the question, but what form may be adopted I donot know. At present the intention of the Government is to loyally aid and, as far as possible, assist the Board. The interjection of the honorable member for Maranoa approaches close to the question of administration. It is true that in the Department men of special training and special knowledge are doing clerical work; and, in referring to this, the honorable member put his finger on a weak and dangerous spot. However, that state "of affairs is being remedied as rapidly as possible. The honorable member for Parramatta asked me, in a general way, whether the defences are in a better condition now than before. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Will the Minister allow me to quote Colonel McCay, whose words, perhaps, will place the matter more clearly before honorable members than I can do. Colonel McCay, when speaking on the 12th September, 1905, made a forecast of the requirements of the Defence Department for the purpose of completing a scheme then in process of evolution. He on that occasion said that an expenditure of £800,000 would be necessary, and that if a loan was not. to be raised Parliament must decide how much should be spent each year. I believe that Colonel McCay recommended that shortdated loans should be raised for the purpose,but I am not sure as to that, and I may be doing him an injustice. At any rate, he sketched a proposal extending over a series of years, and involving in the aggregate an outlay of £800,000 as special expenditure for the purpose of developing the scheme then afoot. I should like to know whether the money we are voting now is in pursuance of that scheme. Is that scheme to be continued, and, if not, why not? {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Is the honorable member not aware that the Prime Minister, six months later, largely revised the scheme by cutting "it down and altering it, and announced to the House what he had done ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- The difference between previous proposals, which areunder review on these present supplies, and the ideal which the Government has in view, is in regard to the purchase of articles which could not readily be obtained in Australia in time of war. The Government's policy is to purchase at the present time articles which cannot be obtained in time of war, 3608 *Supply.* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Supply.* and to allow the purchase of articles which can be obtained at such a time, to stand over, or, at least, to give preference in purchase to the former. For instance, every one agrees that the cavalry ought to have a uniform saddle, but saddles, at least resembling the kind required, could be obtained in time of war, whereas rifles could not; and, therefore, in our purchases rifles take precedence of saddles. There is an item for the provision of field artillery. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Is that the battery of field artillery that was lost and found? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- No; the lost artillery were howitzers. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am not so anxious about these items as I am to know the mind of the Government in reference to the policy of defence. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- There is much urgently required to be done in the Department, and much that must be done; and I agree with the honorable member for Kooyong that we shall have to do infinitely more than in the past. The question has been asked, however, whether the Department isnow in a better position than it was previously. In regard to artillery and rifles, the position is infinitely better, and the same may be said in regard to ammunition. We have heard much of the pre-historic days of Federation ; but I may tell honorable members that at that time in one of the States there were only seventeen rounds of ammunition per rifle. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Which State was that? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I had better not say. As to ammunition for the field artillery, Australia was never better supplied than now; and the same remark applies to the ammunition for the guns at the forts. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- If that is true, we shall sleep soundly to-night ! {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- We have no right to sleep soundly when we think of the defences of Australia. To resume, any ordinary man knows that if there are not suitable sights, we might as well have no guns. Such parts as cannot be obtained In Australia are now under way from the old country. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Are those sights in a satisf actory condition to-day ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- No, they are not. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- It is a most serious thing. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- On becoming aware of their unsatisfactory state, I at once saw the Treasurer, who was Acting Prime Minister at the time, and the Government sent at once for such parts as cannot be made in Australia. In reply to what has been said by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, I wish to make it clear that it is the policy of the Department to procure in Australia everything that can be locally manufactured, and it will take a great deal of proof to cause me to believe that requirements of almost any kind can not be supplied here. Further, with regard to general progress, we have now made provision for over 40,000 cadets, and 40,000 to 50,000 members of rifle clubs, who will be drilled under a scheme which will shortly be brought into operation. A question has been asked about maps. One of the first things I did ' upon coming into office was to inquire whether our maps are satisfactory. I learnt that they were not. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Who is to blame? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- We are not concerned with the past; what we have to do is to put things right in the present, and I hope that Parliament will assist us in doing so. It must be remembered that the responsibilities of the Department are great. A little while ago **Mr. Haldane** commenced a speech in the House of Commons by pointing out that there is no design or system in connexion with the British Army: {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Does the Minister suggest that the whole of the money spent on our defences since Federation has been wasted ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I do not say that. We have rifles, field guns, ammunition, a militia and a volunteer force- {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- I thought we had not enough men? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- We can obtain plenty of men. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr Liddell: -- But there is a shortage of officers. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- One of our troubles is to procure suitable officers. We have first class material for the creation of a defence force, but unless those to whom the command is given are fit to lead, the whole system fails. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Who is responsible for faults in regard to equipment? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- The Chief of Ordnance advises the Minister in regard to equipment. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr Liddell: -- He is an artillery officer. What can he know about equipment? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- He knows all about it. Works and Buildings [20 September, 1907.] Estimates. 3609 {: #subdebate-8-0-s24 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- However, I do not wish to discuss the whole of our military Estimates on these items, which are for ordinary expenditure. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Do I understand that no new scheme is in contemplation ; that the Minister is merely developingon the old lines? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- There will be no alteration so far as concerns the purchase of the materials for which this money is being asked. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But speaking generally ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Things are going on with no alteration of scheme at present. {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- Is there no central idea governing the administration? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Yes. {: #subdebate-8-0-s25 .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr CARR:
Macquarie -- I realize that it is almost impossible for any member of the Committee to have special knowledge of the details of departmental administration; we can judge the work of a Department only by what we see of its general effect. I wish to draw special attention to the need for providing for the defence of the northern part of Australia. At the present time a most insidious invasion of our country is taking place there. The northern part of Australia is within a comparatively short distance of India, which has a population of 300,000,000 ; of China, which has a population of 400,000,000 ; of Java, which has a population of 30,000,000 ; and of Japan, which has a population of over 50,000,000, and. therefore we should devote great attention to its defence needs. At Thursday . Island there is a pearling fleet which might be made the nucleus of an Australian Navy; but, unfortunately, the pearl-shell industry is now chiefly in the hands of Japanese, who have a more intimate knowledge of our northern coasts than any Australian possesses. But commercial interests must give way to national interests, and these demand that this industry should be entirely in the hands of Australians, so that young Australians may acquire the special knowledge of which I speak. Just as the fishing fleets of the northern parts of the United Kingdom have provided sailors for the British Navy, so our pearling fleets might, under proper legislation, be expected to furnish sailors for an Australian Navy. Interferences with commercial enterprise may be necessary, and as a young Australian who has visited that part of the Commonwealth, I wish to warn the Committee of its vulnerability, and to draw attention to the need for making special provision for its defence. {: #subdebate-8-0-s26 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson -- The statement of the Minister of Defence was a very interesting one, but it brought to my mind the quotation, ' ' Chaos has come again." It appears that nothing; has been done by the Defence Department but to spend money. I do not hold him responsible for what has happened in the past, because he has only recently attained! office; but the constant changes in the administration of the Defence Department make continuity of policy impossible. Colonel McCay was an enthusiast in military matters, and when Minister of Defence tried to put into practice very elaborate ideas. I did not believe in his policy, because it would have run the country into enormous expense. But I recognise the ambition- which prompted him, although with him, as with most others, soldiering was only a side line. We had one first-class man at the head of the Department - Major-General Hutton - who told us truly that we could have a proper military system only by going *to* an enormous outlay. Had we adopted his policy we should probably have spent millions on defence by this time. Europe maintains armies numbering hundreds of thousands, and an enormous number of men devote their attention wholly to questions affecting accoutrement and equipment. As a matter of fact, Europe's militarism has brought some of the great powers almost to penury, and if we follow their example our. Defence expenditure will be enormous, although our defences may still be incomplete. So much attention is devoted by keen, scientific men *to* the development of new ideas in regard to arms, and there is such keen competition amongst the military powers of the world, that what is up-to-date to-day will be outofdate next year, and thus expenditure totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds is constantly being rendered useless by the improvement of weapons. No doubt if the present Minister remains in office for any length of time - which I think impossible - he will make many improvements. At one time he was an enthusiast on military matters, and wrote some very able papers on defence; but heseems to have lost some of his enthusiasm. Every defence scheme will be a failure unless the men who are called upon to carry it out are in agreement with it, and are willing to co-operate to make it a success. As to the defective ammunition which it has been alleged has been supplied to cadets, I would point out that makers who would supply defective ammunition to cadets would supply it to adult forces, and it will be a serious matter if our men are provided with worthless cartridges. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will look into the matter. {: #subdebate-8-0-s27 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE:
Maranoa .- When Colonel McCay was Minister of Defence, he gave great attention to matters affecting accoutrements and equipment, and particularly to the harness for horses attached to service waggons and' field guns. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- Chiefly to saddles. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- He got Parliament to vote a very large sum for saddles. The Minister who succeeded him reversed his policy, saying that this equipment was not needed. Six months later I remember the Prime Minister telling us that we had had three defence periods in five years- the G.O.C. period, the D.C. period, and he was not allowed to complete his classification, some one interjecting "the period of muddle." It seems to me that the period of muddle is still continuing. On the admission of the Minister of Defence we have frittered away millions, and still have an imperfect system. Some one should be hanged for what has occurred. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- How is the practical efficiency of any scheme to be tested? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- By placing our troops under service conditions. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- That would mean a war. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- No. In Great Britain, during the autumn manoeuvres, large bodies of troops are put under service conditions for a period of five or six weeks, and we have opportunities for such training in Australia which cannot be obtained elsewhere. Why should we not have similar manoeuvres in the Monaro country? The South Australian and Victorian troops could li-j marched there from Bairnsdale, the Tasmanian troops landed at Twofold Bay, and the New South Wales and Queensland troops brought down from the north. We have no information in regard to the various items in this subdivision, under which we are asked to vote £130,000. We have been voting every year various sums for field artillery, and yet we are asked to-day to agree to an item of £29,000 in respect of - > Field Artillery - ammunition, waggons, harness, and spare parts and accessories for field guns. Why is this expenditure necessary? What has become of the money that we have already voted for similar purposes? Then, again, we find that £8,000 is provided for the purchase of camp equipment. Some two or three years ago, in Queensland, what was described as worn-out defence material was sold by public auction, and a few months later, a lot of camp equipment that had been disposed of in this way had to be re-purchased. Tents which had been sold at from 5s. to 10s. each were re-purchased at prices ranging as high as £3. That discloses an extraordinary state of affairs. Will the Minister also afford the Committee some information in regard to the item of £1,000 for engineers' equipment? I recognise that the item of £10,000 for the purchase of cadet rifles and spare parts is a reasonable one. If we are to encourage the cadet movement, such an expenditure cannot be avoided. But I would draw special attention to the item - 25,000 sword bayonets and scabbards for short M.L.E. rifles, ^18,750. In a recent issue of an English newspaper, I saw a paragraph to the effect that the War Office had not determined on the class of bayonet to be adopted for the British troops. It was stated that some severe tests were being carried out, but that the authorities had not yet decided whether they would adopt .the sword bayonet or the triangular-shaped bayonet. Have the Government decided what class of bayonet is to be adopted for the use of the Defence Forces of the Commonwealth? I refuse to vote £18,750 for this item unless I have a satisfactory explanation in regard to it. There are several other items which need to be explained, and 1 hope that theMinister will place some information before the Committee in regard to them. {: #subdebate-8-0-s28 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Minister of Defence · Richmond · Protectionist -- The deputy leader of the Opposition inquired what scheme of defence the Government had in mind, and - 1 should have added to the interjection that I made at the time that I intended to follow the course which I mapped out when speaking to the motion submitted by the honorable member for West Sydney with regard to adult military training. As to the questions put by the honorable member for Maranoa, ammunition, waggons; harness, spare parts and accessories, to which he has referred, are required for field guns that are either in Australia or are on order. ' Some of them are here, but we have no limbers or waggons for them. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Does the honorable member mean to say that we have no ammunition for such guns? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- We have guns without limbers and waggons, and some without ammunition. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Have not some o'f those guns been in Australia for something like two years? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- That is so. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- And yet the officer responsible, who was at the time Chief of Ordnance, has been promoted. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I wish to give a plain answer to questions put to me. All that I can do is to remedy these defects. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- Who is going to be shot for the condition of affairs mentioned by the honorable gentleman? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- When honorable members ask me a question, I inform them of the facts of the case. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But who is the officer responsible? 1 {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- There have been three Chiefs of Ordnance within a limited period. The present occupant of the office has been but a few days in the position. Colonel Stanley was Chief of Ordnance for a few months, and Colonel Le Mesurier preceded him. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- And both of these officers are now -State Commandants. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- When I was asked whether these guns had not been here for some time, I replied that they had. For instance, the Howitzer battery, to which reference has been made- {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Packed away? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- Yes. What the Committee expect of me is that I should at once deal with such matters. T did so. I am not expected to order, that any one shall be shot. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But the Committee expects to be informed who is responsible. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I am always prepared to give the Committee full information, but I could not do so now without going into details. It is my duty to put these matters right, and as soon as I find any defects in the service; they are dealt with. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Is not .Colonel Le Mesurier, formerly Chief of Ordnance, now State Commandant of Western Aust r£i lis, ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- He is. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- And is not Colonel Stanley, who succeeded him as Chief of Ordnance, now State Commandant of Victoria ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- He is. As to the other questions raised by the honorable member for Maranoa, I can assure him that we shall not purchase any bayonets until the Imperial authorities have come to a decision as to the best type to be used, and1 that the item of " Camp equipment, £8,000, " includes tents which will cost about £4,000; waterproof sheets, £1,300 *y* blankets, £1,600; and picketing gear costing £3°°- {: #subdebate-8-0-s29 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corio .- The Minister of Defence has correctly stated that within the last three or four years three different officers have held office as Chief of Ordnance. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- Within the last twelve months. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- Colonel Le Mesurier held that office for about two and a half years, and Colonel Stanley for less than twelve months. Colonel Parnell is now Chief of Ordnance, but is not responsible for the state of affairs disclosed this afternoon, and I have some doubts as to the extent of the responsibility of Colonel Stanley. It will be remembered that earlier in the debate I asked the Minister what officer was responsible to him and to the House in the matter of equipment, and that he replied " The Chief of Ordnance." We know, therefore, that notwithstanding the Board of Control, there is an officer whom we may hold responsible for these matters. For the last two or three years there have been neither waggons noi- limbers for field guns already in Australia. During that time a howitzer battery has been stowed away in Sydney, and no one knew anything of it until it was recently discovered by the Minister. I wish to know what action the Minister intends to take in regard to those responsible for the scandalous state of affairs which he has disclosed. As a matter of fact the Department has promoted Colonel Le Mesurier to the ' position of State Commandant. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- That was before I assumed office. 3612 *Supply.* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Supply.* {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- Quite so. He was appointed by **Senator Playford.** {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- On the recommendation of the Board? {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- On the recommendation of the Board of which Colonel Le Mesurier was himself a member. The man who is responsible for this extraordinary state of affairs has been promoted and is now receiving a higher salary than he enjoyed as Chief of Ordnance. He was succeeded by Colonel Stanley. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr Knox: -- Who is the responsible officer ? {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- The Minister said, in answer to an interjection that I made, that the Chief of Ordnance was responsible to him. {: #subdebate-8-0-s30 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Richmond, Minister of Defence · Protectionist -- If the honorable member will pardon me, I should like to explain what actually occurred. I was asked who advised the Minister with regard to equipment, and I replied " The Chief of Ordnance." The honorable member for Corio now holds that we should attach to that officer the responsibility for the state of affairs complained of. I have informed the Committee' once or twice that I could not explain at this juncture who was absolutely to blame for the non-supply of limbers and waggons for guns already in Australia unless I went fully into detail. The position is this: The Chief of Ordnance may tell a Minister that he needs £100,000 for the purchase of necessary equipment, and the Minister may say in reply to him, " I dare not ask Parliament to vote so large a sum, and the Treasurer says he cannot find the money. Cut down the amount for which you ask by £50,000." When that is done the officer has to do the best he can with the reduced vote. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Why shuffle in this way? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I am sure that the honorable member is prepared to deal fairly with an officer orany other member of the Forces. I am only stating what is a common practice. If the Chief of Ordnance asked for £100,000 for ammunition and the Minister told him that such, an amount could not be made available, then the responsibility would be removed from that officer.. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- How is it that last year £53,040 was appropriated for field artillery, &c, and only £26,135 was expended ? {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I am not speaking of a shortage of artillery. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- But the honorable member is suggesting that a request was made for £100,000, and that only £50,000 was granted. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I was only citing a supposititious case. There are in the House honorable members who have held office either as Treasurer in a Federal or a State Administration, and I appeal to them to say whether the case I have cited is not a typical one. Is it not a fact that when the Estimates of a Department are submitted to the Cabinet, Ministers very often demand that they shall be reduced? {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- The Estimates are cut down every time. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · PROT -- Quite so. I place no responsibility on any person. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Then we shall place the responsibility on the honorable gentleman. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- If a Minister does not succeed in obtaining what he considers necessary for the purposes of his Department he ought to resign and tell the Parliament why he has taken that action. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING: -- I do not say that. In politics, as in every other walk of life, a man has to adopt that which he thinks is the wisest course. When a Minister asks for £500,000 for his Department and the Cabinet say " We are not prepared to ask Parliament to vote more than £300,000," he may, if he pleases, retire and perhaps make way for a less competent person, or he may do the best possible with the means at his disposal. But I would appeal to honorable members in dealing with this matter to be guided by the ordinary rules which they adopt in every-day life, and to be sure that an officer is to blame before an indictment is laid against him. {: #subdebate-8-0-s31 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
CORIO, VICTORIA · PROT .- I thank the Minister for his interposition, because instead of relieving the officer in question from blame he has rather settled the responsibility more closely upon him. Although the Minister of Defence tried to water down his statement it cannot be denied that when the honorable member for Parramatta was speaking, I inquired, ' Who is responsible for this state of things ?" and that the Minister replied, " The Chief of Ordnance." {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- I should not have made such a definite statement. I ought to have said that the Chief of Ordnance advises theMinister. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- The honorable gentleman admits that although a chief of ordnance may recommend an expenditure of £100,000, perhaps only £50,000 is voted. Are we to suppose that Colonel Le Mesurier, who, as a member of the Military Board, appointed himself Commandant of Western Australia, or Colonel Stanley, who, as a member of the same Board, promoted himself to the office of Commandant of Victoria, ordered field guns for Australia without limbers, wheels, or ammunition? I am very glad that the honorable member for Flinders has raised this question of responsibility. For ;yea:rs I have been vainly attempting to fix responsibility for the chaotic condition of our Defence Department upon the right shoulders. This afternoon a small searchlight has .been thrown ' upon the work of the Department, and the Minister has rendered the country some service by telling us what he has done. I have no doubt that he is endeavouring to do his best, but he is prevented from doing so By the tremendous dead weight of officialism and red tape with which he is surrounded. I admit all that has been said this afternoon of the ability displayed by Colonel McCay as an administrator of that Department. But, knowing as he did - and as every man . connected with the Military Forces knows - the rottenness of the Department, I blame him for lacking sufficient courage to sweep away a number of men whose utter inefficiency and lack of any sense of responsibility prevented good work from being accomplished. Had Colonel McCay done his duty, he would have cleared away a lot of the rubbish at the head of our Defence Forces at the present time. The Minister has had seven or eight months' experience of his office, and ere this he must have found out the inefficiency of these men. He must have discovered that if Australia were threatened with invasion to-morrow our only hope of successful resistance would rest with the junior or citizen officers. The Minister has said from time to time that in the junior officers lies the hope of the Department. Obviously it is his duty *to* get rid of these other officers. But instead of doing so, he promotes them to the positions of State Commandants. Some of these men have receive'd large increases of salary, notwithstanding that they are responsible for the' wretched state of our defence equipment. The Defence Forces need equipment, but I will take the responsibility - so as .to avoid the possibility of good equipment being spoilt by bad officers - of voting against the whole item. That is the only way in which we can bring the Minister up with a round turn. It is idle to provide funds for men who cannot spend them properly - men for whose inefficiency the Minister wishes to accept responsibility. There is not the slightest doubt that he is the most- generous Minister that we have had. He is too generous to be just. I wish that he would be more just to these officers and to the Commonwealth, and that he would act with a full sense of his responsibility. If he does not, I feel that we shall be overwhelmed by a catastrophe which I fear is only too imminent. Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [3.20].- *I* strongly deprecate personal attacks either upon our defence officers or upon public servants generally. It must be recollected that these men are denied the opportunity of replying. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr Carr: -- Ought they not to be criticised ? **Colonel FOXTON.-** The Department should be criticised. The Minister - not any particular officer - is responsible to this House, and I have always understood that it is the duty of a Minister to see that his Department is properly conducted. - If it is not so conducted, he alone is responsible to Parliament. As I have already said, I strongly deprecate personal attacks upon officers, and, as I happen to know something about one of these Items, I shall give the Committee the benefit of my knowledge. I venture to say that if a strict inquiry were made by the Minister, it would be found that the delay in the receipt of certain equipment in respect of our field artillery is due to the fact that the Government - like other Governments throughout the Empire - have been unable to procure from the Woolwich arsenal the equipment which they desire. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- It has been part of their policy to get that equipment made here instead of importing it. **Colonel FOXTON.** - The honorable member is quite right in regard to smallarms and small-arms ammunition, but it will be a generation or two before we can hope to manufacture up-to-date ordnance and the ammunition for it. To do that, we should require an arsenal like the one at Woolwich. To incur the expenditure necessary for us to establish such an arsenal would be a very doubtful experiment, because the local demand for ordnance is so limited that it would not justify an expenditure of perhaps £1,000,000. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- What shall we do in time of trouble? Colonel FOXTON. - We shall have to depend upon the English arsenal. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- As many other countries do. Colonel FOXTON.- Yes. I think that I called attention to this matter last session. Some time ago a question was asked of the Minister for War in the House of Commons as to the progress which was being made in the re-arming df the British Army with the modern eighteen-pounder guns, which are of a very complicated character. He replied that the delay which had occurred was due to the fact that the Colonies and India had been supplied with the mark 1 pattern of these guns, and that, as improvements would probably be introduced a little later it would be to the advantage of the mother country to wait. For precisely a similar reason, it will perhaps be to our advantage to wait a little longer. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- But the guns are here. Colonel FOXTON. - Anybody who knows anything about ordnance knows that when a new type of gun is issued from Woolwich it is known as mark 1. I have never known a case - and I have worked six different types of field guns - in which the mark II. gun was not very much superior to the mark 1 weapon, either on account of some details in its mechanism, or because of the ammunition with which it was supplied'.. A considerable improvement is always made, both in the gun itself and in the ammunition, as the result of experience. I can quite understand that our Ordnance officer - whoever he may have been - may have been perfectly justified in the advice which he gave - that certain indents should be obtained from Woolwich, and that we have already to hand all that is available. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- It is not the guns of which complaint is made, but the absence of carriages and the limbers. Colonel FOXTON. - The carriages are here. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The Minister says that there are no carriages. **Colonel FOXTON.-** I know that in Brisbane we have the carriages and some of the limbers too. They were sent out from Woolwich without the handbook of instructions. The honorable member knows the value of that book, ft contains instruction in detail concerning the various parts of the guns and their, uses. These impounder guns are very complicated, and it was found almost impossible to put then* together in the absence of the handbook, which, up to the time that I left Brisbane, had not arrived. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- Then they can blunder in the old country ? **Colonel FOXTON.** -Exactly. The blundering, if we can call it blundering, may take place upon the other side of the world. I feel certain that the delay which has occurred is due to the fact that the Commonwealth Government have not been able to obtain from the Imperial authorities the whole of the material which they desired. That has been the case in connexion with every gun which has been brought out. It was so in the case of the 12-pounders and of the 15-pounders, and doubtless it is so in the case of the modem 18-pounders, which are more complicated than any of the other weapons. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- The Government had to get out limbers and waggons; they had to give the Australian contractors an opportunity to look into the matter, and then grant them a long period in which to, complete their contracts. Colonel FOXTON. - I was not aware that that was so. I know that we cannot make the guns or the carriages in Australia, but possibly we may be able to make the limbers and the waggons if we have a pattern to guide us. I thought it desirable, in the- interests of the officers who have been attacked, that I should put what are probably the facts of the case before the Committee. {: #subdebate-8-0-s32 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE:
Maranoa -- I *lis-tened* very attentively to the Minister's explanation upon this item, and I cannot but think that there has been gross dereliction of duty on the part of somebody in the Ordnance Department. The field guns were here for eighteen months or two years, and were practically useless owing to want of limbers, unless, of course, it was proposed to' treat them as guns are treated in the Navy, and haul them by means of dragropes. If patterns had been obtained fromWoolwich, they could have been used in the future for this kind of work. It is on record that when some guns were imported into Western Australia, it was found, first *Works and Buildings* [20 September, 1907.] *Estimates.* 3615 of all, that they were accompanied by no hand-book containing instructions how to fit them together, and finally it was ascertained that the sights had been leftbehind. When the sights were sent out as speedily as possible by mail-boat, the ammunition turned out to be suited to a different kind of gun altogether. Such occurrences are scandalous, and those responsible for them ought to suffer. I say nothing against individual officers, because I know nothing about them. It istrue, however, that officers on whose training, both here and abroad, we have spent large sums of money, are doing mere clerical work in the Defence Offices. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr Bowden: -- Or when they return from abroad they resign. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- They often resign as soon as they get to the top of the tree. It is of no use our spending money on the training of officers if those officers are not to be utilized in the service of the country ; and It is certain that with officers doing clerical work, we are not getting that faithful and true service we have a right to expect. The Minister is very good to take all the responsibility on his own shoulders, but of what good is that to the country ? We are sent to manage the country's affairs ; but I am sure that if the business of a public company were managed in the same way the directors would be ignominiously dismissed, and would richly deserve the punishment. I hope the Minister will take to heart what has been said in the course of the debate this afternoon. Since the present Minister has been in office, he has overcome many obstacles, and has tried to do his best, both for the service and for the country. I am sure that if the honorable gentleman Is allowed to retain office long enough, the Defence Forces will be placed in a better position than they have been since the inauguration of Federation. It has been admitted this afternoon that most of the money voted for the defences has been utterly wasted. It is shameful that this confession should have to be made at the end of six years of Federation. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- Is it not the same in Great Britain? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- If the honorable member likes to dissipate his estate in riotous living, that is no reason why I should do the same ; and the reply applies to the Defence Forces. Proposed vote agreed to. Motion (by **Sir William** Lyne) proposed - >That division 8 " New special defence provision,£216,050" be postponed until after the consideration of division 9. {: #subdebate-8-0-s33 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am glad that the Treasurer has determined to postpone the consideration of this division. I urge that it should be postponed beyond Tuesday next, unless in the meantime there is a probability of the Prime Minister returning to the House and unfolding to us the new naval arrangements, which are to be made as a result of his visit to London. I do not desire to go into the question this afternoon, but, before we vote this huge sum, which in itself inaugurates a new scheme of some kind, we. ought to have a very full outline, not only of the efforts which arebeing made here in connexion with naval defences, but of our future relation to the fleet of the mother country. I am surprised to find this huge expenditure included in a list of minor public works of an urgent character. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- The honorable member surely does not want to force the Prime Minister to return to the House too quickly ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am not urging the Prime Minister's quick return, but merely pointing out that there is no hurry for the voting of this money. If the vote were passed to-morrow, not a penny would be spent during the next twelve months under the most' favorable conditions. My simple suggestion is that this vote should await a full declaration of policy on the part of some responsible Minister. {: #subdebate-8-0-s34 .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST:
Swan -- - I suggest that the item of £250,000 for harbor and coastal defences might be postponed, and dealt with when the whole question of the naval defences is before us. We are all anxious that these Estimates should be passed so that the necessary works may be proceeded with at once. Seeing that we have reached the end of September, the financial year is fast passing away. But as to the item I have mentioned, more information is required from the Prime Minister. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The item might be left over until we consider the general Estimates. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- I am afraid there would have to be a separate Bill ; but I do not think there would be any insurmountable difficulty in the matter. Motion agreed to; division 8 postponed. Department of External Affairs. Division 9 *(Commonwealth Offices in London),* £1,000. {: #subdebate-8-0-s35 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- This division has been circulated separately, having been brought down yesterday or the day before. Theonly item in the division is £1,000 towards the construction of a building in the Strand, London, for Commonwealth offices. There is another item in the ordinary Estimates in connexion with a proposed site in the same' thoroughfare for Commonwealth buildings, but that, it will be observed, is for rent only, whereas the present Estimates have to do with works. I desired to submit this proposal to honorable members as early as possible, because the time has nearly expired during which I have the option from the London 'County Council for the purchase of this site in the Strand. I did not care to undertake the responsibility of making any arrangement until I had consulted with honorable members. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- This vote commits us to the site? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- That is the object of the vote. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- And to the building? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- No, it does not commit us- to the building. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- The words used are " Towards the construction of a building." {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- But before the building is decided upon, I shall submit plans to the House, and give some information as to the amount of money that will be required. At present the desire is to secure the site. The -price must be arranged with the County Council, and I had, practically, an offer of the site at 13s. a foot before I left London. However, since then there have been further applications, and a little higher price may now be demanded. I may tell honorable members that **Mr. Bent,** the Premier of Victoria, has purchased one end of this site. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- For how many years is the lease? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- lt is for ninetynine years; the County Council will not sell right out to any one. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- How many feet has **Mr. Bent** obtained? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- He has obtained a 25-feet frontage. I have brought some "plans with me for the information of honorable members. Among these plans is one showing an elevation of which the Premier of Victoria has approved, with an extension for the use of the Commonwealth, When I spoke to him on the subject, he said that he would have no hesitation aboutpurchasing part of the site, and that he was prepared to rent part of a building, erected by the Commonwealth if we took a sufficient area to accommodate Victoria, What is desired is to obtain a frontage toeach street. The site chosen has been commended by all to whom I have spoken in. regard to if. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr Knox: -- The Government could sell its lease at a profit. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I have not the slightest doubt of that. . The Canadian Government, or some large Canadian company, has rented an adjoining site. This; Government is not yet bound, but the period within which a definite answer must be given to -the London County Council hasnearly expired, and I wish for the authority of Parliament to continue the negotiations. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- What shall we have to pay ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What is the total commitment ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I cannot tell the honorable member now, though a calculation has been made. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- How much money must we put down ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I do not know. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- What will the annual ground rent be? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- If we take- 10,000 square feet, at 13s. per square foot, the -approximate annual net cost to the Commonwealth, allowing for receipts from rent,, will range from £1,400 to £1,700 ; at 14s. per square foot, from £1,930 to £2,280; at 15s. per 'square foot, from £2,400 lc« £2,700 {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What frontage isthere ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The frontage available to us is about 200 feet, the land becoming more valuable as one approaches? the street corner. The lowest area that we require is 10,000 square feet. In the first year no rent will have to be paid ; in the second year, one-fourth of the rent fixed upon ; in. the third year, one-half ; in the fourth year,, three- fourths ; and in the fifth and subsequent years, the full amount. Therefore we shall not be paying the full rent while the buildings are being erected. I believe that the London County Council is anxious for us to take this site. *Works and Buildings* [20 September, 1907.] *Estimates.* 3617 {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- Is it a better site than is available at Westminster? {: #subdebate-8-0-s36 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Protectionist -- Much better. I looked at eight sites altogether, two of which were situated in Westminster. The Prime Minister went with me on one occasion, and he is as strongly in favour of this site as I am. The astuteness of the Premier of Victoria is well known, and he did not hesitate a moment about the matter. I think that we should erect a really fine building, which will be. an advertisement to the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- Will a residence be provided there for the High Commissioner ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- Offices will be provided for him and for all the AgentsGeneral, and possibly residences, too, if necessary. The building must be six stories high to comply with the requirements of the London County Council. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr Carr: -- Is there a right of renewal? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The lease will be for ninety-nine years, but I do not know whether there will be a right of renewal. That, and other details, must be settled before anything final is done. {: #subdebate-8-0-s37 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I ask the Acting Prime Minister, in all seriousness,whether he thinks we should commence a discussion of this proposal at 4 o'clock on a Friday afternoon? His statement was altogether incomplete. He spoke of the accommodation which the States desire to obtain. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I did not say that they desire to obtain accommodation. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I understood the honorable gentleman to say that he contemplates the erection of a building to house the Agents-General of the States. How does he know that they wish for such accommodation? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Perhaps they do not; but the building should be erected. We can easily lease any accommodation that may not be applied for by the States. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Before the Committee is asked to come to a decision on this matter, a complete scheme should be put before it, and we should know exactly what are the intentions of the Government. Is it proposed to appoint a High Commissioner? If not, it is unnecessary to erect a building to accommodate a High Commissioner. Are we to have a General Agent ? We are entitled to information on these and other subjects. The honorable gentleman at the present time cannot say what rental we shall have to pay. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I could not satisfy the honorable member if I were an angel from heaven. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member never does anything in a complete way. Why did he not submit a memorandum on the subject, as has been done in regard to matters of much less importance ? I do not wish to appear querulous, but this is certainly not the time to ask us to discuss such a matter. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I have said that the plans will be submitted to the House before they are finally dealt with, and that Parliament will be asked to vote the money necessary for this work. We are asking merely for a tentative authority. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Might I suggest to the Acting Prime Minister that in view of the statement he has made he should postpone until Tuesday the further consideration of this item. In the meantime, he could circulate amongst honorable members a memorandum setting out the scheme. That would enable us on Tuesday to discuss the matter with every desire, on my part, as well as on the part of the majority of honorable members, that it shall be dealt with entirely on its merits, and with a view to making the best possible arrangement. I hope therefore, that the honorable member will not persist in asking the Committee to agree this afternoon to this item. {: #subdebate-8-0-s38 .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST:
Swan -- I would suggest to the Acting Prime Minister that we should have a little more information as to the area which he thinks the Government should acquire, and also as to the amount of the ground rent to be paid. I presume that the honorable member wishesto be authorized to make arrangements for securing the site selected by him, and if we agree to this item now we shall really give the Government power to complete a lease of the land. It is not altogether desirable that- we should take that step until we have further information before us. It cannot be denied that the proposed site is an excellent one for offices or for advertising purposes; but I think that the Acting Prime Minister should indicate to what purpose the Commonwealth buildings, when established, are to be devoted. On more than 3618 *Supply.* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Supply.* one occasion, the opinion has been] expressed in this House that we should undertake the inscription of our stock ourselves, following the example of South Australia. The Governments of Australia at the present time are paying between £30,000 and £40,000 per annum for the inscription and management of the public debts of Australia, which amount to over £240,000,000. If the Commonwealth is to do that work, the office in which it is done would have to be near the Stock Exchange and the banking institutions in London. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- How far is the proposed site from the Bank of. England? {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- About1¼ miles. If we erected Commonwealth offices there, we could not inscribe our stock in them, since the site is too far away from the Stock Exchange and banks for the transaction of such business. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- What site does the right honorable member suggest? {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- I make no suggestion ; but if we take over the debts of the States, and inscribe our own stock, we shall need to have offices as close as possible to the Exchange and the Bank of England. If we are not to undertake that work, then the site undoubtedly is an excellent one for Commonwealth purposes. I do not know that it is as good as would be a site at Chairing Cross, but I am not, going to raise any objection to it on that score. The Acting Prime Minister has recently been in London, and he 'knows what is wanted, and has no doubt also been well advised. I am not sure that the practice of allowing the banks to inscribe our stocks is not, after all, thebest. The Imperial Government find it to their advantage to have their work done by the Bank of England. We might save directly and lose indirectly if we carried out the work for' ourselves. I suggest to the Acting Prime Minister that this item be postponed. I repeat that for advertising and general office purposes, the site chosen by the honorable member is an excellent one. It is close to the Law Courts, and in the heart of the traffic of the Strand and Kingsway, but it would not be a suitable place for an office at which to inscribe our stock. {: #subdebate-8-0-s39 .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX:
Kooyong -- I hope that too much importance will not be attached to the objection raised by the right honorable member for Swan. I am sure that the difficulty in the way of inscribing our stock would not be so great as he predicts. I am heartily in favour of the Acting Prime Minister's scheme, believing that he proposes to take a step in the right direction. Having regard to the changes which have recently taken place in that part of London, I do not think that a better site could have been chosen, and I trust that it will become the centre of the commercial, financial, and general interests not only of the Commonwealth Government, but of the whole of the Australian S tates {: #subdebate-8-0-s40 .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 .- I" rise merely to ask the Acting Prime Minister within what time a decision in regard to this site must be arrived at? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I cannot at the moment mention the exact date, but I know that the option will shortly expire. I have secured two extensions. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I cordially agree with what the honorable member for Kooyong has said. So far as my knowledge serves me, 1 know of no more suitable site for the purposes of Commonwealth offices than has been chosen. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- For what purpose ? {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not altogether agree with the position taken up by the right honorable member. If, before we select a site, we are to decide all the details to which he has referred, if we are to determine the whole policy with regard to the duties of the High Commissioner and the work to be carried out in the Commonwealth offices, we shall lose the opportunity of securing that proposed by the Acting Prime Minister. I am not so strongly impressed with the difficulties of the situation as is the right honorable member for Swan, but I would join with the deputy leader of the Opposition in urging the Acting Prime Minister not to press this item this evening. If we deal with the item early on Tuesday the Government should be satisfied, and probably there will be very little opposition to it . {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not think that there will be much opposition to it when we get a little more information upon it. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But it is a very large order, indeed, to ask the Committee at the last moment upon Friday afternoon to commit the Commonwealth to an expenditure of this kind. An Honorable Member. - Has the honorable member seen the contract? *Adjournment.* [20 September, 1907.] *Petitions.* 3619 {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- So far, we have not seen the exact terms of the contract. The Government of Victoria will, doubtless, take a portion of the site. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- They have purchased their portion. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Have they purchased it absolutely ? {: #subdebate-8-0-s41 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- They have. I understand that **Mr. Bent** has arranged for the corner portion of the site, but I cannot find out the exact price that he has paid for it. I was under the impression that the settlement of this question would not occupy many minutes, but it may be that I am more sanguine than are others, because I have seen the site. I have no hesitation in saying that it is by far the best site offered. However, I do not wish to be under the imputation of having endeavoured to rush the item through at the last moment today. I am aware that the representatives of South Australia and New South Wales desire to return to their homes this afternoon, and I have no wish to prevent them doing so. I hope that if I consent to the postponement of the item it will be agreed to upon Tuesday next without much debate. I can assure honorable members that **Mr. Bent,** who has acquired a portion of the site, can obtain a very substantial profit on his bargain to-morrow. Consideration of this item will be the first business proceeded with on Tuesday next. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 3619 {:#debate-9} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-9-0} #### Order of Business {: #subdebate-9-0-s0 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- In moving - That the House do *now adjourn,* I wish to say that the item which we have just been considering will be the first business proceeded with on Tuesday next. In the interval I shall, if possible, have a consultation with the Prime Minister in reference to. the item of Harbor and Coastal Defences, upon which an expenditure of £250,000 is proposed. I know that the Prime Minister is very anxious that this item shall be proceeded with, and consequently I hope that honorable members will come prepared to discuss the matter, unless some further arrangement be made. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 4.10 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 September 1907, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19070920_reps_3_39/>.