3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at11.0 a.m., and read prayers.
– I have received the Treasurer’s statement of receipts and expenditure during the year ended 30th June, 1907, accompanied by the report of the Auditor-General, which I now lay on the table.
Ordered to be printed.
– Honorable members will remember that a short time since, in adopting a report of the Printing Committee, it was directed that a petition which had contained some signatures which were believed to be forgeries, should be forwarded by the Clerk of this House to the Attorney- General for such action as he might think fit to take. A reply has now been received from the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, which I will ask the Clerk to read.
Letter read by the Clerk, as follows -
Melbourne,11th December, 1907.
Referring to your letter of the 16th ultimo (No. 1907/246), forwarding; an extract from the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives relating to certain alleged forged signaturestoa petition from electors of the Hume Division,and your further communication forwarding the petition and correspondence in connexion therewith, I have the honour to inform you that all the papers have been submitted to the Crown Solicitor, who advises that in his opinion a prosecution for forgery would be unsuccessful. i have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Gordon h. Castle,
House of Representatives.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, in view of the fact that on several occasions the question of including in the Military Board some members of the Militia Forces has been under consideration In this House, and questions have been asked about it by myself and other honorable members, whether he will give the House information - which apparently has gone from the Department to the press already - concerning his intentions in this regard?
– I am not responsible for whathas appeared in the press. I spend a good deal of my time in somewhat acrimonious discussions with representatives of the press, because they allege that they do not get enough information concerning the business of my Department. The honorable member for Laanecoorie thinks that in this case they have managed to get too much. With regard to the statement to which reference has been made, I may say that it is accurate. The Prime Minister will make a statement with regard to the matter a little later on.
– Does not the Minister think that honorable members should be informed ?
– Yes. I did not inform any one; but the honorable member must be aware of the extraordinary ingenuity, ability, and intelligence of the represen tatives of the press. I am often astounded by the information I see published. The paragraphs are often “ kites,” but they are sometimes correct, as to the information they convey.
– In reference to some remarks previously made with regard to the higher price charged forkerosene, in consequence of the duties imposed, I think that, in justice to one firm, at any rate, it is right that I should ask the Prime Minister if he has received information to the effect communicated to me by letter?
– Is that from the Colonial Oil Company? If it is, I read it to the House yesterday.
– Then it is unnecessary that I should say any more in connexion with the matter.
– Following up the statements which I made on the motion for the adjournment of the House last night, I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether the Government are prepared to allow time for the discussion of the notice of motion standing at the head of the general business for to-day? This notice appears in my name, and deals with a matter of urgency and of importance to the public welfare. I believe that my proposal so accurately represents the feeling of the House on the question that honorable members would be prepared to allow the motion to pass almost as a formal motion. . The Prime Minister was not present when I referred to the matter last night, and I now ask him’ whether the Government are prepared to give the time necessary to deal with the question?
– Considering that the Government find themselves compelled to set aside several measures which they believe to be of urgent importance, it is plain that they cannot be expected to have general notices of motion called on in preference. If there were time to deal with the motion referred to by the honorable member and with other general motions on the paper, there would be time to deal with those Government Bills. I regard the motion in the name of the honorable member as one of the most important that could very well be submitted in that regard. He seeks the appointment of a Select Committee with full powers to inquire into and report upon the postal telegraphic, and telephonic systems and the working thereof.
That would mean an investigation perhaps only second in magnitude and importance to that of the Tariff Commission.
– It would be far more important.
– I admit that the honorable member has been following up this subject with great persistence. If it were alleged by the Minister in charge of the Post and Telegraph Department that there is no cause for dissatisfaction and that there is no need for reform, I could understand the honorable member pressing his motion. But in view of the fact that my honorable colleague the PostmasterGeneral, who has not long occupied the office, has most publicly admitted that there is need for searching investigation and for action, and that he is making that investigation and taking that action, it is, I think, reasonable that he should be allowed sufficient time to see whether the task he has undertaken is beyond his strength. Personally, I do not think that it is.
– The fact is thathe cannot get enough money to do what is required.
– I am afraid that is entering into a larger question. I can remind the honorable member that yesterday another proposal of a very grave nature was submitted for drastic changes in respect of the Post Office.
– The difficulty would be solved by the body sought to be appointed by my motion.
– If honorable members were agreed amongst themselves as to the course to be taken and the remedies to be devised, the Government would soon be able to put a measure through the House without waiting for a report” from the Select Committee referred to in the honorable member’s motion. I cannot accede to the honorable member’srequest in view of the task in which the PostmasterGeneral is engaged, and in view of the fact that at the present stage of the session it would be impossible to discuss the question as its importance demands.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister, further, whether he will agree to give time for the consideration of my motion, provided that it is allowed to go without discussion?
– I have not the power to ask honorable members whether they would agree to that course, but must say, on the part of the Government, that before any such motion can be assented to, it will be necessary for my colleague to state the case as he sees it in regard to the Department and thereforms which he proposes to carry out.
– I have observed that in a list of. the scholarships secured by scholars of one of the colleges in Melbourne, the statement is made that a Mr. E. A. H. Randall . passed qualifying examination as engineer to Commonwealth Service, and that
I wish to know whether the examination referred to was a separate examination for pupils attending this college, or was an open examination?
– So far as I am informed at the present moment, this was an examination, open to students at the college referred to.
– Only for collegians?
– As I am informed, it records the success of scholars who have passed the official Public Service examination.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether we may hope that we shall be able to conclude the business to-day and get away to our homes ?
– I see no reason to doubt it.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question without notice. Reference has been made in the press to communications passing ‘between the Premier of New South Wales and the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth relative to the settlement of the Federal Capital site. In the communications it appears that the Prime Minister stated that the Government could not deal with the question during this portion of the session, owing to the Tariff and other matters which were before the House. The honorable gentleman appears then to have been asked in a very courteous way whether the Government would make the consideration of the question an early matter when our sittings are resumed ? Now that the olive branch has been held out by the Premier of New South Wales, I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he will reciprocate, and agree that the settlement of the question should be, if not the first, at least amongst the first business taken in hand after the Christmas adjournment.
– But for an unfortunate accident my reply to the last letter; from the Premier of New South Wales would have been in his hands. this morning. It has missed the mail for Sydney, and will not reach him until to-morrow morning. Until he has received it I do not propose to make it public, although I am not only willing, but anxious, that the Premier of New South Wales should lay the whole correspondence before the public. That correspondence has been conducted throughout with the greatest courtesy, and I think we have shown that we appreciate the manner in which the case has been submitted to us. I believe that our reply to the Premier of New South Wales will be satisfactory to that honorable gentleman.
– Some weeks ago thirty or more members indicated their desire to pay a visit of inspection to the Tooma site; and, in view of the fat that before- Parliment arrived at a decision in regard to the Federal Capital, very inadequate (provision was made for the members of both Houses to visit this particular site, I ask the Prime Minister whether he is willing to afford the necessary facilities now ?
– The Government are, of course, practically bound by the Act already on the statute-book, in which a previous Parliament made its choice of a site. At r the same time, we cannot be blind to th’e fact that a number of members in both- Houses maintain that some sites have not been examined as they ought to ha.ve been.
– What is desired is the fulfilment of the compact with New South Wales.
– I notice that, within the last few days, a Minister of the State Government of New South Wales indicated the possibility that Albury might yet be chosen.
– A Minister’s expression of opinion is nothing.
– It is an indication of the feeling of the Slate to which we de sire to pay every regard, consistent with retaining the decision in our own hands. No reply can be given referring to one site only ; but I trust that, by the time the House re-assembles, members will have clearly decided in their own minds whether they feel that they are under any disability in regard to any other sites. When? we understand the feeling of members of both Houses, the Government will consider the most economical and expeditious way of enabling any that really deserve further examination to be visited. That can only be promised, of course, in respect to members who have not already inspected the sites, and also, in the most severely economical manner.
– If it is found to be desirable that honorable members should pay visits of inspection, I should like toknow whether the Prime Minister will arrange that they be paid during the Christmas adjournment, so that we may be able to deal with the whole question as soon* as the House re-assembles
– Visits _of inspectionwill be impossible during the Christmasseason; and except in regard to the site mentioned by the honorable member for Gwydir, no application has been made. We desire to make an end of these visits, and of the whole question; consequently,, if honorable members desire that any further sites be inspected, they should” make known at once the number of members who* wish to take part in the visit.
Provision of Sitting Accommodation
– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General, without notice, whether, in view of the prolonged delays that take pla.ce in certain telephone bureaux before subscribers can use the telephone -I refer particularly to Springwood and” Katoomba - he will cause a few chairs or seats to be provided for the convenience of the public who have to wait for the use of the telephone? It is no uncommonthing to see people standing or leaning against the walls at some of these bureaux for nearly an hour. Sometimes they are ladies with infants in their arms. This sort of thing is very undesirable, and an arrangement such as I suggest would be a great convenience.
– If the honorable member will give me particulars, I will see what can be done.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he is yet able to inform the House as to the business for to-day, and whether it is proposed to take the Manufactures Encouragement Bill?
– I did hope that, after the Excise Procedure Bill, we should have been able to go on with the measure to which the honorable member refers, but inquiries have been made, and several honorable members have indicated that they do not propose to consent to its passage through Committee without addressing themselves to amendments of a serious character, which they think ought to be discussed. In those circumstances,. I am sorry to say that it appears impossible to hope that that measure could be passed, even if we meet again next week. It bids fair to occupy a week of itself, from what we’ can learn of the amendments proposed to be moved.
– What is the business for to-day ?
– The Excise Procedure Bill, and, with the consent of the leader of the Opposition, which I hope he will give, the Senate’s amendments of the Quarantine Bill. I do not want to be unreasonable, but. that is a very necessary measure. When honorable members are taking their departure, I shall be prepared to explain the defence policy.
– In view of certain statements which have appeared in the press, and which indicate a radical change in the naval defence policy of the Government, I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether he is, or contemplates, negotiating with the Imperial authorities with a view to the termination of the present Naval Agreement ?
– Some portion of the statement which I propose to make will deal very fully with that question.
– I wish to ask the Min ister of Trade and Customs a question without notice. In the account published in yesterday’s Herald of an interview regarding the weight of cornsacks, a Mr. Peverill, of Charlton, is reported to have said that the Federal Parliament should not consider the stevedores as compared with the farmers, and that he wanted, if anything, a larger bag than the present. He did not know whether Java sugar bags would be too large. Does the Minister know the weight of wheat in one of those Java sugar bags, and does he think, on the score of humanity, that any man should be asked to carry it?
– The statement as quoted by the honorable member from the Herald was not made at the deputation.
– It was made at their meeting before.
– I do not know anything about the meeting held before. I had a Java bag filled with wheat, and it weighed 337 lbs. I invited several members of the deputation to try to carry’ it, and they informed me that the only one who, if he had been present, would have carried it, to show what could be done, was the honorable member for Indi.
– We have had a deputation this morning to the Premier of Victoria, and there appears to be some misunderstanding regarding the letter which the Minister of Trade and Customs read yesterday to the deputation. I desire to ask the Minister, in view of the conflict of interests, that no action should be taken until this House, after it reassembles, has had an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon it.
Several Honorable Members. - Oh !
– Honorable members may say “Oh,” but it is absolutely necessary to consider both sides. We are not talking of bags weighing 315 lbs.
– The honorable member must not debate the question.
– We want to stick to the 240 lbs. bag. An assurance from the Minister that there will be no alteration until this House has an opportunity of deciding the question, so far as it can do so, will give great satisfaction to the large number of farmers concerned.
– It is difficult to conceive how there could be any misunderstanding about the letter referred to by the honorable member1. I shall have pleasure in laying it upon the fable. It consists of only about half-a-dozen lines sent by Mr. Bent.
– He was invited by the honorable member to do so.
– I invited him to express an opinion, and he states clearly that the Victorian Government intend to introduce legislation that will prevent the use of bags for grain that will hold more than 200 lbs. I have stated repeatedly that we are in entire accord with that view. The deputation urged yesterday) through the honorable member for Bendigo, that we should have uniformity. New Zealand, by a committee representing all interests, has decided that 200 lbs. should be the maximum, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand stated that if he had his way he would make the limit 100 lbs. We do not wish to interfere with those who have bags here, and plenty of notice will be given before an alteration takes effect, but we have come to the conclusion that the time has arrived when we must stop the putting of wheat into bags to the extent that has obtained in the past..
– I should like to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether it is not a fact that the deputation of farmers, which waited on him yesterday, repudiated any desire to use heavy bags, and merely asked that the old standard bag of 240 lbs. should be sanctioned ?
– The deputation, yesterday, did repudiate any desire to use heavy bags, but, at the same time, it was admitted that many farmers were using them ; and it is well known that this is the fact. The deputation asked that the weight should be reduced to 240 lbs., and I freely admit that something must be done in the way of Government intervention, or, otherwise, the heavy bags will continue to be used.
– I understand that the Minister of Trade and Customs rests his decision to reduce the size of corn sacks to 200 lbs., mainly on the letter received from the Victorian Premier, indorsing that view. I should like to ask whether, in view of the fact that the Premier has decided, notwithstanding that letter, that the standard size of sacks, so far as the State is concerned, should be 240 lbs., the Minister will announce to the House that he does not intend to persevere in his intention to further reduce the size.
– So far as I know the Premier of Victoria has not withdrawn his letter; but if he were to withdraw it a dozen times that fact would not alter my opinion.
– In reference to the reply given by the Minister of Trade and Customs, to my question, yesterday, in regard to an alleged disclosure of an official communication to the Customs Department, I should like to know whether he has yet received any reply, and, further, whether it is not the fact that the information trickled out through himself.
– I have not had time to consult the officers of the Department, but I was informed late last night that the information had gone from me direct - that I was asked to furnish copies of circulars, and that I had furnished to Mr. Beale the document referred to.
– Then the Minister is the culprit.
– I do not know whether or not I should be called a culprit ; but I am making the most complete inquiry. I desire to see whether anything improper has’ been done, though, in my opinion, that is not the case. As I say,I was informed late last night that I had forwarded copies of circulars, and amongst them this, to Mr. Beale. I have asked the officers of the Department to make inquiries, and to obtain copies of letters I have written, and so forth.
– But this document was not a circular.
– If any one asked me for a written statement of informationin the custody of the Department, I should be very loth to give it, and if it were of a private and confidential character, it would certainly not be handed over. But, naturally, I should pass on a circular, especially if it appeared to be one which required answering.
– The Treasurer admits that it was not a circular, but a document, handed to him.
– That is what I am inquiring into. As a matter of fact, no one handed me any document of the kind; and I do not know how the document referred to came into my possession, except in the way that we all ordinarily get circulars. I do not wish reflections to be thrown on any one; and if I did send on this document, I shall be prepared to frankly admit the fact, and take the responsibility. I desire to make quite sure ofthe facts ; and, since I have been told that I sent this document on,I do not wish the slightest blame to be attached to any officer of the Department. I do not think any officer of the Department would be guilty of disclosing information of this kind: personally, I should not give any information except in the ordinary way ; and immediately I am placed in possession of the facts, they shall be laid before the House, so that honorable members may judge for themselves.
Dismissal of Employe
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister, without notice, if his attention has been drawn to the caseof Charles Day, who was dismissed from McKay’s foundry, because he refused to sign a document which reduced his wage status under Mr. Justice Higgins’ award from10s. a day, as a blacksmith, to 8s., as an iron-bender, and whether the Prime Minister has seen the document, which reads as follows -
I, the undersigned, being classified as an ironbender in the employment of Mr. H. V. McKay, Sunshine Harvester Works, Sunshine, on time work, in the manufactures referred to in the “Excise Tariff Act 1906,” at the rate of wages of1s.03/4d. per hour,equal to 8s. 6d. per day, from the nth November, 1907, or later date of engagement, I herebycertify that the above classification and rate of Day is correct according to the Excise Tariff standard which I have read.
Will the Prime Minister take steps to prevent any further abuse of power on the part of employers in the direction indicated?
– This is the first that I have heard of that course having been taken. I assume, of course, from what is stated that it is a real case; and shall ask my honorable and learned colleague to investigate it and any similar cases.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether he has read, in the press of to-day, that the new protection proposals are not meeting with general satisfaction amongst his friends, and that quite a number have “gone back” on him. Further, I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether he has noticed that the Melbourne Age of this morning calls him a “dreamer” and a “cynic,” because he has proposed this new protection, and whether, in the face of that feeling on the part of the Age, he proposes to press the matter further ?
– I do not think that I should pursue the honorable member with explanations. Some newspapers are adversely criticising the methods proposed to be adopted in connexion with the new protection, but I am very gratified to find that its object and the general principle underlying it have received a general sanction, even from some” of our opponents. What they object to isnot the end in view, but the insufficiency of the machinery proposed to be adopted. That is a matter which is fairly open to criticism.
– The millennium would be a good thing.
– If the criticism of the new protection is limited to the means to be adopted, we shall welcome it from whatever quarter it may come, and gladly receive suggestions for making it more effective.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he has received any further information from the Premier of South Australia regarding the prospect of the Parliament of that State passing a Bill consenting to the survey authorized in the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Act being carried out?
– Yes. I have received a telegram from the Premier of South Australia stating that he has every hope of passing the measure in question.
Case of the Late Mr. Clarke.
– I desire to ask the Treasurer whether the gratuity which has been promised for some months past to Mrs. Clarke, widow of the late Joseph Clarke, who sacrificed his life on the altar of duty in the General Post Office, Sydney, has yet been paid, and if not, why not?
– The honorable member concluded his question by asking, “ If not, why not?” The reason the gratuity has not been paid is because I have not received the authority of Parliament to pay it. If we had not run so close to the Christmas adjournment, I had intended to submit to the House a Bill that has been drafted, with a schedule attached, which deals not only with the case of the late Mr. Clarke, but. with a large number of cases of a similar character. Seeing that provision has been made for a considerable number of cases, it is necessary for us to proceed in a special way, otherwise we may practically revive the payment of pensions or gratuities which Parliament decided some three years ago should not be continued.
– Does the Treasurer intend to make provision for these cases before the Christmas vacation?
– Does the honorable member think that is possible if we are to adjourn to-night?
– I do not know.
– I do not think that it is. Having heard that a question was likely to be asked upon this subject, I have sent to the Treasury to obtain the Bill to which I have previously alluded. I am sorry that I am not in possession of it at the present time, as I should then be in a position to read out the list of those whose cases I intend to submit to Parliament. Personally, my sympathies are with these people, and I should like to pay the gratuities provided for. especially the one to which the honorable member has referred. But he must recognise the invidious position in which I should place myself if I authorized the payment of that gratuity without at the same time dealing with the other cases. I might very reasonably have been asked why I had selected one case for special treatment.
– Of course every honorable member is aware that this session has been put right out of its orbit, owing to the necessity for dealing with the Tariff. As one of the consequences we have not yet been able to consider the Estimates. Therefore, the question of. payment of gratuities to the widows of unfortunate officers who have died under peculiarly distressing circumstances has not been considered by the House.
– The gratuities are not provided for upon the Estimates.
– But under ordinary circumstances they would have come up for consideration..
– The case of Mrs. Clarke was provided for upon the Estimates, but the item has been removed from them.
– I am aware that it appeared upon the draft Estimates. A few days ago the Treasurer showed me. some half-dozen cases in which he proposed to grant gratuities.. I am particularly interested in one of them. I should be pre pared to heartily support every one of those cases if they appeared upon the Estimates. In view of the peculiar circumstances, which have created the present position, I think that the Treasurer might well take it upon himself to authorize the payment of these gratuities in one or two of the most urgent cases. I ask him if he will consider the advisability of adopting that course, trusting to Parliament to indorse his action.
– As I have previously stated, I have already sent for the Bill to which I have alluded, and at a later stage I shall be happy to let the honorable member see it, or, perhaps, to announce its contents to the House.
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General when he expects to obtain a supply of telephones to take the place of those destroyed by the recent’ fire in Melbourne?
– Tenders were accepted yesterday for a supply of copper wire, and a cable has been despatched for a new supply of telephones to take the place of those destroyed.
asked the Treasurer,. upon notice -
– In reply to the honorable member’s questions, I beg to state -
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a third time.
– I had intended to take advantage of this motion to address some general observations to the House on the subject of the Tariff. But I think I shall be best consulting the wishes of honorable members and assisting in the speedy termination of the. business to be transacted before the adjournment if I forego my opportunity to traverse what otherwise would be a very tempting field. I am most unwilling to provoke a general debate, in view of the fact that honorable members wish to get away to-day. I will therefore content myself with one or two personal observations. My first is to say how glad I am that the whole matter has been put through with so much goodwill, and that so much cordiality remains. I have never seen a more tremendous and fierce encounter resulting in so little bitterness and with soslight a display of acerbity.
– The honorable member has been quite a joker himself recently !
– My honorable friend has been close to me - that is the reason. I make willing mention of the cordial assistance which has been rendered to us in the giving of information - I do not mean always in a public manner - by the Minister in charge of the Tariff. I make that acknowledgment very willingly, and should like to add how glad I am that in all our tussles across the table, we have not forfeited the goodwill of each other. Then I think a word is due to the rare skill and patience of the Chairman of Committees. He does not seem ever to have lost his head - even when we have lost ours. I make that tribute very cordially, and very willingly. Some mention should also be made of the readiness, courtesy and tact and the rare knowledgeof all subjects connected with the Tariff, which have been placed freely at our disposal by the Minister of Trade and Customs, and his officers behind the chair. Assistance has been given by them to honorable members on all sides of the House with the greatest readiness, and to me personally it has been of the greatest possible value. I am quite sure that Dr. Wollaston, from behind the Speaker’s chair, has had as much to do in relation to the framing of this Tariff, as perhaps any of us immediately in front of the chair. The time to speak of our own officers will come a little later. But I am glad that the whole matter has ended up with so little remaining behind which could give us cause for regret and remorse. Perhaps I have been one of the greatest culprits, and if I have erred at any time I hope for the forgiveness of my fellow-members. Passing from personal considerations, let me add that this Tariff is now going up to the Senate with all its imperfections on its head - and they are many.
– They are, indeed !
– They are many ; and whether it is to be ultimately for the good of the industrial progress of this continent remains to be seen. Whether, as Sir Edmund Barton once put it, we are binding the “ shapely daughter of Australian commence” in closer fetters, or whether, on the other hand we are providing for her an ampler opportunity for the display of her quality, remains to be proved, and much will depend upon the point of view. But, for good or ill, the Tariff is going from us; and we can only hope, that plus Tariff or minus Tariff, our industrial expansion will be continued, bringing in its train an increase of the blessings and comforts which inhere , in our civilization.
. -I cordially agree with every word which the deputy leader of the Opposition has said; but there is one point which hehas inadvertently omitted, and which I think we shall all agree ought to be made. We ought to express our obligations to, those three members of this House who spent many months in pursuing investigations in relation to the matter with which we have been dealing. I refer to the members of the Tariff Commission. We have not, of course, been able to accept the whole of the recommendations of either side. That would have been impossible. Anomalies in the Tariff have been discovered here and there, which are pointed out throughout the recommendations, and are apparent to both sides.
– We have created others.
– We have created others, which, perhaps, were worse than those previously in existence. I think we ought not to let the opportunity pass without showing our cordial appreciation of the very great toil and labour undertaken by those gentlemen who, without any remuneration, conducted that prolonged inquiry.
.- A great deal of milk and honey have been expended in regard to the framing of this Tariff ; and, although you, Mr. Speaker, are not supposed to know what takes place in Committee, you would think from what has been said that we have had a very pleasant time during the last five months. Personally, I think it has been a rare old scramble . I admit that I have done my fair share in the scrambling for my electorate, and for New South Wales. I have not got all I wanted, but I got as much as I could. I am only sorry that I could not get any more. I venture to say that the Tariff leaves us in a form less scientific as to its arrangement, its terms, and the disproportionate amount of assistance rendered to certain industries, than the old Tariff was. I hope that the Senate will attempt to remedy those defects. Anomalies exist in the Tariff to-day which constitute a severe travesty on the work of the Commission, for which the country paid such an enormous amount of money, and upon which some of the members of this House and of another place did such laborious work. I can assure you, sir, that this new Tariff is more disfigured by anomalies than was the Tariff of 1902, and that the chief purpose for which the Commission was appointed has not been achieved. I doubt whether for many years to come we shall see a complete Tariff thrown upon the tableof this House, though I do expect to see the Treasurer of the day bring down Tariff. Bills dealing with features which require special treatment. As far as I am concerned, I have tried hard to have removed the duties on the necessaries of life. But my main concern was to be in the scramble, and do the best I could for the people of my electorate, and for New South Wales. It is all very well to disguise matters, and say that scrambling did not exist. It did exist, and it was only in accordance with human nature that it should. It existed in 1902, and it existed again in 1907. I was very pleased to hear the deputy leader of the Opposition compliment the
Treasurer as he did. The honorable gentleman deserved it. He has done remarkably well, from his own particular stand-point. But I also think that the deputy leader of the Opposition himself is well deserving of compliments for the way in which he has stuck to his work. Personally, I was very pleased indeed to see the true character of the Honorable Joseph Cook revealed, and I believe that his urbane and kindly nature has been recognised by men of all parties throughout these prolonged debates.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
– His conduct of the business on behalf of the Opposition has reflected a great deal of credit upon him, and the work that he has done is deserving of our most cordial acknowledgment.
– I. desire to join issue with the honorable member for Dalley with regard to the statements he has made as to the way in which this Tariff has been dealt with.
– Is it worth while to provoke a general debate?
– I desire to say, as one who has had experience in connexion with the construction of the previous Tariff, and a few years before of a Tariff debated by the State Parliament of Victoria, that I hailed with a great deal of pleasure the very much greater freedom from regrettable features shown during our recent discussions compared with our experience in relation to those two previous Tariff debates.
– Hear, hear. We were all busy in the scramble, and so we had to be pleasant.
– The honorable member in speaking of a scramble and the efforts of honorable members to get advantages for their electorates or States is speaking entirely for himself. I accept him, of course, at his own valuation, although previous to his speech I would not have attributed to him such actions as he has ascribed to himself. Throughout the discussion on the Tariff, in Committee, I was struck with the very much better feeling that was exhibited by the representatives of the different States as compared with the discussion which we had in 1901 and 1902. I believe that a very much better feeling prevails throughout Australia to-day than existed at that time. I trust that it is only an earnest of what we may hope to have in the future, and that, as time rolls on, we may be able to see the complete obliteration of the unfortunate differences which have kept us apart in the past, and which, when they disappear, will undoubtedly remove the only obstacle to the progress and welfare of the Commonwealth.
– I think that we can all join in the kindly expressions of the deputy leader of the Opposition with respect to the work performed by the officers of the Trade and Customs Department, as well as the officers of this House. One can easily understand that we have given them a rather bad time, although in some measure we ourselves have participated in that. I, of course, recognise, as did the honorable member for Flinders, the work done by the members of the Tariff Commission. It was very informative, and of much value to myself, and I believe to honorable members general ly. It is possible that many persons outside do not quite appreciate the immense amount of labour involved in that’ work. It was notmerely to say that that I rose, but to refer to the Tariff question generally. It has appealed to me that when a revision of the Tariff is undertaken, apart from the question of broad policy involved, our method of doing the work seems altogether unsatisfactory. I think that the experience which we have just gained might be remembered with a view to taking action of some sort, and so bettering things a little in the future. It is inevitable that in the heat of ‘party strife a chance majority is taken full advantage of by one side or other. But the result of that mixing up of interest and feeling is that we have to-day, as we got on the last occasion, a Tariff which is not harmonious, which is unnecessarily complex as regards rates of duties on somewhat similar articles, and which, in its interpretation, will, so far as I can see, involve a great deal of trouble to the Trade and Customs Department, the general public and merchants. It may be said that any anomalies of that character, or deficiencies of method, can be set right in the Senate. But the members of that body will be governed by just the same weaknesses, if they be weaknesses, or, at any rate, by the same desires as have animated the members of this House. There will be a series of struggles in respect of different items just as there was here, and we are not justified, I think, in expecting from the other Chamber in the direction of simplification or remedying anomalies, any more than we, in the Heat of party struggles, were able to achieve here.
– What we want is a Board of Trade.
– It is worth while to consider whether, after the lines of policy have been decided: in Committee, the Tariff should not be referred to a Committee representing all shades of opinion in the House.
– That was suggested earlier in the day by myself and others.
– It would be very much better to have an independent Board, representative of all the States.
– Perhaps that would be better.
– When the suggestion was made, the House would not listen to it.
– Perhaps the honorable member misunderstands my suggestion.I do not think it possible for such a Committee to achieve anything before the question of policy has been decided, but when the rates of duties on given articles have been decided, my idea is merely that, consistent with those rates, a better and simpler classification might be arrived at than has been the case. That is what I am urging, but very likely the suggestion of the honorable member for Flinders would be the better one, namely, to get an outside body to go through the Tariff during an adjournment of the House.
– What I was suggesting was a permanent Board of Trade who would make themselves familiar at all times with the ramifications of business.
– It is very likely that the body which isthought of, or suggested, in connexion with the scheme’ of new protection will eventually, if not at once, assume that complexion.
– It will have its hands full then.
– They will have enough to do without that.
– That may, or may not, be. I think that a. very considerable improvement might be made even with the resources at our command.
– Can we properly discuss that question now ?
– I do not think that we can take any practical action at the present time, but I believe that it is worth while to consider whether, before the Tariff is finally disposed of - and that will not be for some months, because it has to be dealt with by the Senate, which may suggest to us some amendments - it is not possible to devise some method by which a sort of supervising Committee could go through the items purely from the standpoint of classification, and make recommendations which would be acceptable and meet with practically unanimous approval. Apart from that,I do not know that anything more need be said at this stage. I, for one, am very glad that the Tariff is about to pass out of our hands, at any rate for a time.
– I rise, sir, as a matter of personal explanation, and it is to explain my failure to refer to the labours of the Tariff Commission in the few remarks I made. It was not due to the fact that I had overlooked its work, but to a singular misapprehension on my part. Until this moment I have been under the impression that the Bill had to go through a further stage when an opportunity would be presented to me to make further remarks. I had forgotten that the custom does not obtain in this Parliament of moving “ That this Bill do now pass.” I had it in my mind to speak perhaps in more detail than I did when I spoke just now, so far as the Tariff Commission is concerned. My feeling is that it has done an invaluable work for Australia as much in its negative as in its positive aspect in showing us clearly what our duty is to the industries of Australia in the direction of avoiding extremes, as well as in correcting anomalies and abuses. I regard the negative aspect of that investigation as being perhaps as valuable as its positive one. That, I take it, was the intention when the Commission was first appointed, and that is why its neutral character - I mean so far as fiscal decision was concerned - was established in its personnel. Therein I think a very wise thing was done, and now that the Commission passes into the realms of history and its reports become, may I say, a fiscal classic, as I believe they will, I think that the value of its constitution will become more and more apparent as time rolls on. But I make willing mention, as I have done many times during our deliberations, of therare skill and ability of its Chairman. Even when I have differed from him, I have always been ready to pay to him the compliment which is due to the enormous work which he did on the Commission, and the rare skill with which the inquiry was conducted. I say the same with regard to other members of the Commission. The Commonwealth will be under a lasting debt of gratitude to these gentlemen who, at so much inconvenience and cost to themselves, gave their time, their industry, and ability so freely and cheerfully to the service of their country.
– I think that we may all congratulate ourselves upon the conclusion of our labours on the Tariff , although with a number of the decisions arrived at by the House I am not in agreement. Whilst I do not deny the great work done by the Tariff Commission, which has presented to the House a mass of useful information, it appears to me that a manufacturer had only to appeal to it for an increase of duty to secure immediately a recommendation in support of his request. I have no doubt that the Chairman of the Commission, as a protectionist, felt that He was justified in making such recommendations, but as the result of many of them, the framing of the Tariff, in many cases, has been discussed and fought on the basis, not of free-trade versus protection, but of protection versus prohibition.
– Not at all.
– That, at all events, is my view.
– According to that view, nearly every honorable member would feel it necessary to make a personal explanation.
– Perhaps so; if the honorable member desires to make a personal explanation, I shall not object; but I think that I am justified in expressing my own views. I hope that before we are called upon to deal with the requests of another place, we shall have received from the Ministry an indication - as the result of their action with regard to the Excise duties now collectable - that will satisfy us that the protection of employes in protected industries is going to be largely extended. The Tariff, as passed by us, contains a number of anomalies, but since the House has determined that there shall be no recommittals, we can do nothing at this stage to remove them. I trust that, when the Tariff is returned from another place, we shall find that it has been so rearranged that, whilst our secondary industries will have reasonable consideration, some of the penalties which it now imposes on the great primary industries of Australia will have disappeared.
– In common with my brother members of the Tariff Commission, I feel a sense of relief and thankfulness at the approaching termination of our labours on the Tariff in this House.I desire to acknowledge the kindly references made by the honorable member for Flinders, the honorable member for South Sydney, and the deputy leader of the Opposition to the labours of the Commission. In preparing the way, so to speak, for the consideration of the Tariff in this House, we were merely pioneers, or servants, of the Parliament, collecting the evidence and ascertaining the views of the people of Australia. I speak for my colleagues and myself when I say that, in discharging that duty, we always endeavoured to remember that we were a Commonwealth Commission; charged with the duty of ascertaining the views and interests, not of any particular State, but of all the States of the Union. We endeavoured to do our duty to the best of our ability, from an Australian stand-point, and I rejoice to know that the reports of both sections of the Commission have assisted honorable members to form their conclusions one way or the other, and have also helped to develop and mould public opinion… In its deliberations on the Tariff, the House must necessarily have been in a more advantageous position than was the first Parliament. . On this occasion we were not dependent upon secondary evidence, or. the evidence of letters or interested interviews at Parliament House, but had the advantage of sworn evidence, collected with scrupulous care and impartiality, from all parts of Australia. I. feel some sense of satisfaction in the knowledge that if the views of the section of the Commission with which I was more particularly identified have not been fully and completely indorsed the general tendency of the Tariff has been proximately in that direction. I desire to avail myself of this opportunity to say that although my labours as Chairman of the Commission were particularly severe and trying, since I had to preside over a Commission consisting of an equal number of free-traders and protectionist’s, I rejoice to know that throughout the work I never had any dissension or a single ground of difference with my colleagues. We joined together unanimously in the endeavour to do our duty, from our respective standpoints, to the best of our ability, and I specially thank the deputy leader of the Opposition for his generous recognition of our labours.
– I keenly appreciate the kindly remarks spontaneously made by the deputy leader of the Opposition in regard to myself, and can assure him that, following as they did upon what he described as the strenuous and severe fights that we have had across the table, they have sunk deeply into my heart. It is pleasing to know that, having fought as hard as we could from our respective stand-points, we are able now that the work is over, to say that our friendship is as great, if not greater, than ever. I thank him for his very generous attitude on many occasions during the consideration of the Tariff, and especially towards the latter part of our labours upon it. When the first Federal Tariff was under consideration, it was strenuously contested, some very hard things were said, and there was not much give or take on either side. I must say that I feel grateful to the deputy leader of the Opposition for the fact that, although never receding from the position that he took up with regard to any item, he refrained from carrying on the debate hour after hour - as was often done in connexion with the first Tariff - when the result was a foregone conclusion. I desire also to acknowledge my indebtedness to many honorable members, and particularly to my friend the honorable member for Bourke. That honorable member sat by me at the table during most of the time that the Tariff was under consideration, and so arranged the work as to be of very great assistance to me. When a Minister is keenly watching the progress of the Tariff of which he is in charge, it is impossible for him to attend to every detail, but the honorable member for Bourke displayed a. faculty for arranging the amendments, and looking’ after other branches of my work that was exceedingly helpful to me. I desire also to make a reference to the good work done by Dr. Wollaston and his officers. I have been brought into close touch with Dr. Wollaston for many years, and have learned to regard him as one of the ablest men and finest characters we have in the Public Service. He and the officers as- sociated with him - especially Mr. Ewing - have rendered very valuable services to me and to the House generally. When we commenced the consideration of the Tariff, I felt that it would be well to have in attendance a departmental officer who would have in his mind, and be able to give at a moment’s notice, any information regarding details that I might require. I felt, too, that the right to apply to such a source of information should not be kept to myself, and that honorable members should have the same access to it as I had. Therefore, I asked the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs to be in attendance daily, and as the deputy leader of the Opposition has admitted, his knowledge of the Tariff and of Customs administration proved of great value to honorable members generally. I know that the honorable member for North Sydney often consulted him. By doing so, the honorable gentleman and others were able to understand more readily the effect of the various proposals brought forward for consideration. With regard to the Tariff Commission, I wish to say that its members and Chairman performed a task the magnitude of which may not be fully recognised by those who have not closely studied their reports. It .is very difficult to so frame a Tariff that its arrangement will please every one; but the honorable member for Bendigo entered heart and soul into the work - as no doubt his colleagues did also - and presented reports which were of great assistance. I have been charged with not following the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, but I did so as far as I could, and if the Tariff be analyzed, it will be found that ‘I followed their recommendations in a great number of instances. A Minister must have opinions of his own, and the proposals of the Government are always likely to differ somewhat from the recommendations of a Royal Commission. But, although I did not accept in their entirety the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, I pay my tribute of acknowledgment to the value of the work done bv the honorable member for Bendigo hnd his” fellow Commissioners;,! which was of a great and lasting character.
– The reports of the Tariff Commission ought to be indexed.
– Probably something will be done in that direction when’ opportunity offers. I did not expect that the Tariff would please every one. In my political and public life, I have never attempted to please every one, knowing that the result of such an attempt would be that I should not please any one. In this, as in other matters, I have taken what has seemed to me to be the best course, and by doing so, T think I have pleased more than I should have done had I tried to please every one. It has been said by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that the Tariff struggle has been one, not between protectionists and free-traders, but between prohibitionists and protectionists. Each must have his own opinion on the . point. I hold strongly the view that the rates are not high enough. I did my best to keep up my end of the stick, and, although, like every Minister in charge of an important measure, I had to submit to reverses, I hope that after the first annoyance, I accepted my defeats in the proper spirit.
– Is not the Minister glad that he will not see my face opposite him for the next three months?
– For some time past’, the honorable member and his chief have been very considerate to me, for which L thank them. We know the _ honorable member’s staying powers. If he had wished to be obstructive, he could have delayed business very considerably ; but, instead of obstructing, he assisted the Committee greatly. Much credit is due to the Opposition for the manner’ in which they have enabled us to deal with the Tariff, so that we are now able to take a short rest. With regard to anomalies, honorable members will find that thev are few- - remarkably few compared with those of the - previous Tariff. The Comptroller-General has informed me, in the course of a conversation on the subject, that it will be possible to remove some of them by the exercise of powers conferred by the Customs Act, and that will be done, the . endeavour being made to carry out the clearly expressed wishes of the Committee. It will, however, be necessary for Parliament to deal with other anomalies. The ups and downs’ pf the Tariff considera-‘ tion were very remarkable. Sometimes, for” a day or two, feeling ran very high
– There was a high tide and a low tide.
– Yes. The Tariff shows .that. There was a time of slack water, when we made great progress, while occasionally we seemed, almost unable to make headway. Sitting such long hours, the making of mistakes and the creation of anomalies was unavoidable. But these are fewer than may be thought, and I thank honorable members for the support thev have given me. I am informed by the officials that the last Tariff was not nearly so well arranged from the administrative point of view. The grouping of items in this is much better, and that., of course, will make it more easily understood, and will facilitate its administration, to the great advantage of both the public and the Department. If during a long and trying period, when the continuous strain was bound to affect the temper, though I curbed mine as much as I could, any harsh word was uttered by me which might have hurt the feelings of any honorable member, I trust that those who were offended will think .no more of it, and that we shall be even better friends than we were before. I hope that the adjournment for the Christmas vacation will take place today.
– Surely the Minister more than hones that it will?
– It will do so if honorable members continue to show the forbearance which has been exhibited under very trying circumstances during the last few days. While the Tariff was in Committee I, on many occasions, was greatly assisted by the good offices of the honorable member for South Sydney in trying to bring together the two opposing sections. Reference has been made to the advisability of appointing a Grand Committee. The matter was discussed in the New South Wales Parliament some years ago on. more than one occasion. I agree with the honorable member for South Sydney that something should be done to relieve Committees of the Whole of questions of detail and arrangement. ‘But in New South Wales it was found that members would not forego their rights of criticism because a certain course was recommended by a Grand Committee.
– A member’s constituents would not permit him to do so.
– I think that if we were to propose to appoint a Grand Committee, our experience’ of objections would be similar to those raised in the New South Wales Parliament. I think that if the attempt were made in. this Parliament it would be found that just the same feeling existed, and that honorable members generally would want to have a finger in the pie. I do not think that the remarks which were made by the honorable member for Dalley should be taken seriously, because I do not think they were meant seriously.
– They were meant seriously. I do not believe in hypocrisy of* any kind.
– Nor do I.
– We had a fair scramble, and the honorable gentleman has been in it, and I do not blame him.
– I fought hard enough, but I do not think that I engaged in anything which could be described as a scramble. I like to see matters dealt with in a straightforward and earnest way.
– Can there not be a straightforward scramble ?
– I am afraid that the word, when used to describe proceedings in this House, might be misunderstood if allowed to go to the public without some definition of what is meant. However, I am not complaining this morning. I believe that the Tariff we have just passed is better than the old Tariff, though I wish I could have kept some of the duties higher, because I believe in a protective Tariff, and not in a half-and-half .measure.
– In prohibition.
– The honorable gentleman cannot point to one item in the Tariff in connexion with which prohibition was proposed.
– I can point to many such items.
– If the honorable gentleman will spend a few hours during the recess in looking through the United States of America and Canadian Tariffs, he will find that the Tariff we have passed is very much lower, although the Tariffs of the countries I have referred to are not supposed to impose prohibition. I have to thank honorable members for assisting me to pass ‘the Bil). This is the last we shall see of the Tariff for a time, and when we come back after the Christmas adjournment, I hope we shall not have a very great deal more to do with it. In any case, I trust that the spirit of amity which has characterized the proceedings on the Tariff up to the present time, will be continued until it is finally dealt with.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from 14th November, 1907 (vide page 6058), on motion of Mr. Groom -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– I do not know whether honorable members have recently had their minds directed to the provisions of this Bill. I think it is highly improbable, that they have. I should like to say that, although the measure deals only with giving additional powers to the Court created for carrying out the provisions of the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act, it really involves the consideration of the whole question which lies at the bottom of. the policy of what is known as the new protection. I should be very sorry, at this stage of the session, to invite honorable’ members on this Bill to enter into a general discussion of the principles of the new protection, but I should like the attention of the Prime Minister while I deal with what I conceive ought to be our attitude with regard to this particular measure. The honorable gentleman has, as we all know, outlined the new protection policy, which is to be bt ought in, as I understand, at an early period after the Christmas adjournment. I hoped that the Prime Minister would have seen the- wisdom of permitting the consideration of this very large extension of the powers of the Court which has been created, to stand over until the House had an opportunity to deal with the principles on which, the measure is based. The fact that the President of the Court desires to have these powers for the. purpose ‘ of enabling, .him more efficiently to carry out his duties, while of great importance,, is of small importance compared with the duty which we shall, have to perform in dealing with the acceptance or rejection of the whole principle- of the new protection:. I should have desired that before we discussed even this Bill, we should have had some more definite and explicit statement by the Prime Minister of what the new protection really means. A statement has been circulated- amongst honorable members, in which the honorable gentleman has exhibited his powers as a cloud artist. If I may say so, he possesses in a greater degree than any man in this Parliament, or perhaps in any other Parliament, the power of creating an atmosphere for a new idea,, by involving it in a kind of golden haze of generalities, making it appear extremely attractive. On this subject we have had. nothing solid as yet to which we can direct, our criticism, and I think we ought not to attempt to criticise the proposal until1 it is put before us in some concrete form. We have been told that under the new protection the worker will be assured’ a higher wage, that the employer will be assured the possession of his profits as before, and that notwithstanding; that’ both of these are to have their positions relatively and comparatively improved, we are to have the happy consumer standing by and smiling upon the scene because he is not to be asked to pay a penny piece more for the goods which he requires. I should say that there never was a vision of the millennium to be compared” to this since the prophet Isaiah depicted the time when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and a little child shall lead them. What I want to point out is that the millennium which the Prime Muirister intends to usher in under the name of the new protection is tobe effected not by means of, or accompanied by,, a spiritual regeneration of the race, but by the simple expedient of an Act. of Parliament and a Board of Trade. We shall await with the very greatest interest the steps which are to betaken which will induce this new condition; of humanity, and I am sure that if it canbe brought about, it will be welcomed by honorable members on both sides - certainly by none more than by myself. I propose tosay nothing more about the general merits of the policy, on which we must delay criticism until it is before us in some concrete shape. But there is another aspect of the matter which I think should be brought forward with some- degree of prominence at the present time, and that is the constitutional foundation for the whole of the new kind of industrial legislation this Parliament has’ been passing. Until the High Court has definitely pronounced an opinionone way or the other, I should be very sorry to pronounce on this question a categorical or positive opinion. But I do thinkthat the Government ought to take intovery serious consideration the very grave doubts which have been, expressed, and the ground, for those grave doubts, as to whether this Parliament has any power at all’ “to deal with matters of this kind in this way. We seem to have been proceeding in the Federal Parliament since its inauguration very much upon the advice given by the (Lord Chancellor in the play of lolanthe. When some character in the play seeks his advice, in his various capacities, he gives various advice, and finally says : “ As your family solicitor, I advise you to chance it.” I think that that is the advice upon which legislation has been passed in this Parliament - that if we do not know whether we have the power to do a certain thing, we should chance it. That is not what I conceive to be an attitude likely to advance either the power or dignity of this Parliament. I feel convinced that the attitude adopted towards legislation of trying one thing after another on the ground that we might chance it, entering upon what probably are’ very considerable trespasses upon the domain of the powers of the States without previously having any definite rule given lis by the Court-
– The honorable member should remember that only in one section of one Act has it been held that we have gone beyond our powers, and that that was passed in defiance of the law advisers of the day.
– I quite admit that the leader of the Government deserves every credit in connexion with that particular piece of legislation, since not only did he warn the House that it was not within the power of this Parliament, but he declined to carry on the Government because the provision was carried against him. There is no doubt that he took every step to prevent this Parliament on that occasion going beyond its legitimate powers.
– The point is that that is the only case of the kind.
– I do not think the argument is a very strong one, because I think only one or two of the matters with which Parliament has dealt have yet come before the High Court for its decision, and, therefore, it might be said that out of 100 per cent, of the cases that have come before the High Court it has been determined in 50 per cent, that the legislation of this Parliment is ultra vires.
– No; there was the question of the sealing of ships’ stores, and also the Customs Act as a whole, and the income tax matters.
– The Customs Act was not one of the measures on which there was a decision.
– Yes, it was one. The question of our constitutional powers was raised by that Act.
– I should be very sorry to say anything which might be assumed to anticipate a decision of the High Court on any of the measures which we have already passed. Several of them are coming up for review, and no doubt in due time, and I hope before very long, the High Court will be enabled to give us, not only a decision in these cases, but one which will lay down some guiding principles by which we can rule our conduct in the future. On this measure, however, I think it is not only my right, but my duty, to bring forward reasons for doubting whether we should proceed further with this legislation until the High. Court has given us a decision on the point involved. I should like very shortly to state the grounds for the very grave doubts which have arisen in my mind, and in those of other lawyers I know, with regard to the constitutionality of the whole of this intricate method of regulating industrial matters by means of the imposition of duties of Excise with a remittance of the Excise upon compliance by the people affected with certain rules. As I understand the argument used in favour of this class of legislation, it is that, as we have the power to impose duties of Excise, we consequently have power to impose them subject to any conditions, and may make their imposition subject to the condition that, if men pay a certain rate of wages to their employes, the Excise will not apply, or will be remitted, to them. I would point out first that there is no special or expressed power in the Constitution to impose duties of Excise at all. Our power to impose duties of Excise, as well as of Customs, arises only under the general power contained in paragraph (11.) of section 51 of the Constitution, thus -
– The words “ duties of Customs and Excise” run through the Constitution.
– I shall refer to that. The provision I have quoted is the only legislative power we possess on that subject. Section 90 and some other sections assume that Customs and Excise duties will be imposed, and” of course the whole administration of that matter became transferred to us on the institution of the Commonwealth. Section 90 provides -
On the imposition of uniform duties of Customs, the power of the Parliament to impose duties of Customs and of Excise, and to grant bounties on the production or export of goods, shall become exclusive.
That implies that Parliament has a legislative power which, on a certain event happening, is to become exclusive. But that power comes merely from the general grant of power regarding taxation which I have quoted. This kind of question has been raised in several cases that have gone to the Privy Council from Canada, and in many cases decided in Canada itself. It has arisen also, to some extent, in the United States of America. It is perfectly true that the Court cannot inquire into the motives of Parliament in passing an Act. It has been determined over and over again that if Parliament has the right to cover a particular ground by legislation, no Court may inquire into the motives which actuated Parliament in passing the law. But there is another, principle to which I would earnestly direct the attention of the Attorney-General, and also of the Prime Minister, who is quite as capable as are any of us to review a legal argument. That principle is that, although you cannot look into the motive with which Parliament has passed a particular Act, you have to look - if the legislative authority of Parliament is limited, as it is in this case,, by an enumeration of subjects - not at the form of the Act, but at its real scope, substance, effect, and aim, in order to find whether it falls, or does not fall, within any of those enumerated subjects. I propose to give a few examples to show what has been done in that matter in Canada. I do not propose to go at length into it now, although I have been very interested in the question, and have investigated it very fully. I propose to bring forward these points, not for the purpose of asking this House to express any opinion upon the matter at present, but more for the purpose of directing, as earnestly as I can, the attention of the Government to it before this class of legislation goes any further.
– The honorable member does not suggest that there are no other powers implied in the Constitution besides those specified ?
– We have evenpower implied for the purpose of enabling us to carry out those which are expressed, but there are also implied restrictions.
– So far as I can form an opinion - not from a mere glance now, but from an earlier examination - the Bill before us deals purely with the question, of procedure before the Court. It does not deal with any policy such as that which has been called by the honorable member and others the new protection.. I, therefore, cannot allow a broad discussion on that policy to take place upon the consideration of a Bill which affects procedure only. The honorable member will see that I could not allow on this Bill the discussion of a scheme which has been outlined in a paper laid upon the table, and which has to be brought before the House at a later stage. The only matter which we can discuss now_ is the amending Bill before us. I ask the honorable member not fo discuss anything more, unless he finds that it is absolutely necessary for his argument to do so.
– I was putting it that this Bill, which, in one sense, is called the Excise Procedure Bill, in another sense enlarges very considerably the powers of the Court with regard to the admission of evidence, and other matters. I submit that my argument is quite relevant to that aspect of the Bill. In fact, if the Bill is proceeded with, I intend to propose amendments of the original measure in order to limit to some degree the powers of the Court. I really cannot discuss the matter at all unless I am at liberty to show the foundation of the legislation as a whole.
– If the honorable member finds it necessary for his argument to do so, I shall not interfere. At the same time, I felt bound, to call attention to the fact that this’ was a procedure Bill only, and that, therefore, the debate upon it must be confined within some reasonable limits.
– I shall” not detain the House very long. The line of argument which I was pursuing was that we have here a legislative power limited bv an. enumerated class of subjects, and masters that are . necessarily incidental to the carrying out of that power. The particular question before us is related to the power of taxation. It has been held bv the Privy Council, in. the Canadian case of Russell v. The Queen, 7 Appeal
Cases, where very much the same class of indirect effect was urged, that -
The true nature and character of the legislation in particular under discussion must always be determined, in order to ascertain the class of subject to which it really belongs.
A very good example of this principle is given in the case of The Attorney-General for Quebec v. The Queen Insurance Company, 3 Appeal Cases. That is a very apt illustration, because there was in that case an Act of the Provincial Legislature of Quebec, imposing a tax on certain policies of insurance. It was contended that that was not authorized by the Canadian Constitution. The Legislature of the Province was authorized by the Constitution to make laws in relation to shop, saloon, tavern, auctioneer, and other licences. It purported to make a law, within the particular terms of that authority’, relating to licences, but it was urged that, although that was the particular form in which the law was brought forward, and although it appeared on its face to be within the terms under which the legislative power had been granted, yet in reality and . effect that was not the real scope or aim of the Act, which, consequently, was ultra vires. The Master of the Rolls, Mr. Justice Jessel, than whom there could be no higher authority, said -
The Statute in question purports to be on the face of it in exercise of that power -
Just as the legislation now before uspurports, on the face of it, to be in exercise of the taxing power - the power of imposing duties of Excise - in our Constitution -
It enacts that every assurer, except people carrying on marine insurance, shall be bound to take out a licence, before the 1st day of May in each year, with the revenue officer of the district, and to remain continually under license.
He says finally that, although the Act purported to be a Licence Act, when the real purpose and effect of it were examined, it was found to be, not a Licence Act at all, but a Stamp Act, and that, therefore, although in form the Legislature purported to be exercising one of its powers, it was not really exercising that power in that particular Act, which therefore was void. The Court held that the Legislature had exceeded its powers, although it purported to be exercising them, just as we are here purporting to exercise our taxing power, whilst we are really using this machinery for the enforcement of certain social obligations. My whole argument, according to those decisions, is that you have to look, not at the face or form of the legislation, but at the real object to be attained as appears from the Act itself. The case of Regina v. Wason, 4 Cartwright, p. 478, is another case in point. In the Court below, Chief Justice Armour, of the Canadian Court, referred to the primary object of the Act as being a guiding principle in ascertaining whether the Act fell within the power given by the Constitution or not. Although his judgment was reversed on appeal, the Judges of Appeal did not reverse his decision on that ground, but maintained the same principle as he had advocated. A striking illustration of the application of the principle is given in the case of Tai Sing v. McGuire, which comes very near the present case. The Parliament had made an Act to provide for the better collection of Provincial taxes from Chinese. That was undoubtedly a matter which lay within the powers of the Provincial Parliament. It was expressly provided by the Constitution that they should have power to do what they purported to do in that case.
Colonel Foxton. - That was a Provincial Parliament.
– Yes. But, as the honorable member knows, we have no more right either by implication or by direct trespass to infringe upon the rights of the States than they have to infringe upon ours. We have no paramount authority to break the Constitution, any more than they have, so that any argument that will hold one way holds equally well the other. The Act in question, in that case, was entitled an Act to provide for the better collection of Provincial taxes from Chinese. In its preamble it professed to prevent the evasion of payment by Chinese of taxes - which was also a matter entirely within the power of the Provincial Parliament - and to enact its provisions as a more simple method for the collection of those taxes. The enforcement of Provincial taxation was clearly a matter within the Legislative capacity of the Province. The Court held that, if the form of the Act were the substance of the Act, if its real aim was as shown in the title and preamble, and if the Court had been bound to look only at its form, and not into its real nature, the passing of the measure would have been clearly within the power of the Provincial Parliament but -
The Court held, on examination of the enacting clauses, that its real object was not to collect revenue, but to drive the Chinese from the country,
– Which was a matter purely within the jurisdiction of the national Parliament.
– Precisely- ….. thus interfering at once with the authority reserved to the Dominion Parliament as to the regulation of trade and commerce, the rights of Chinese, and the treaties of the Empire.
The Act was held to be ultra vires. In order to show that the Act dealt with a matter which was within the jurisdiction only of the national Parliament, the Court had to go behind its apparent form. The Legislature said “ This is an Act to enforce provincial taxation,” but the Court replied “No, it purports to be such, and Parliament has said that that is its purpose, but it is our duty as a Court to determine whether1 that is its real purpose and effect. We have to look behind the form which Parliament has chosen to adopt, and inquire into the real scope and effect of the Act. We find,, on so doing, that it is not an Act the real purpose of which is to enforce Provincial taxation, but an Act the real purpose of which is to drive Chinese out of the State.” The Master of the Rolls at the end of the judgment, which I cited before, and which I think is applicable to the present case, said -
The result is this, that it is not in substance a Licence Act at all. It is nothing more nor less than a simple Stamp Act on policies with provisions referring to a licence, because it must be presumed that the framers of the statute thought it was necessary in order to cover the kind of tax in question with legal sanction that it should be made in the shape of a price paid for licence.
Of course, Parliament said that it was passing a Licensing Act, but Mr. Justice Jessel said that, in substance, and in fact, it was not a Licensing Act. As a lawyer, I should be sorry to express a definite opinion at this stage, and say that the House ought to allow itself to be entirely governed by this judgment in a doubtful case of the sort with which we are dealing. But even if the Attorney-General has given his opinion in favour of this Bill - and I say this with all respect to the opinion of the Attorney-General- I do not think that, as a body, we ought to take the risk.
– When the Government were advised in regard to this Bill, there was another Attorney-General.
– I know that the present Attorney-General is not responsible.
– I am not seeking to evade the responsibility, but merely pointing out the fact.
– All I say is that, in my opinion, it would be well on the part of the Government not to press this measure now. It would be wiser on their part to take the opportunity afforded by the approaching adjournment, to go fully into the matter - perhaps more fully than they have yet gone into it - and ascertain whether we are not running very great risks indeed, in inaugurating a widespread, comprehensive scheme, to cover the whole ground of industrial economics, at all events, so far as protection extends. Should this legislation subsequently be found to rest on foundations not constitutionally sound, it must lead to disappointment, heart-burning, and additional friction between employers and employed. I merely throw this suggestion out in order that the Government may seriously consider the matter. Of course, I quite admit that if the Government insist on this Bill, it must pass. There are certain provisions of the Bill itself which are likely to do some injustice; but I am now referring rather to the constitutional aspect. The whole question will have to come up for discussion next year, and I suggest that it would be better to let the matter stand over until then, even if the President of the Arbitration Court is, for the time being, deprived of some of the powers that he thinks necessary. I have now only a few words to say with regard to some of the provisions of the Bill. Clause 3 is as follows -
In the hearing and determination of any application the President shall act according to equity good conscience and the substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms, and shall not be bound by any rules of evidence, but may inform his mind on any matter in such manner as he thinks just.
Then clause 5 provides that counsel or solicitors are not to be heard.
– Except by the consent, and with the leave of the Court.
– What I have to say in regard to these clauses illustrates the position I take up with regard to the whole Bill. If we are creating or empowering a tribunal to fix rates of wages, or conditions of labour, that are to affect people with regard to future acts, then, I say, that it is not only permissible that the Court should be allowed to inform itself by whatever means it likes, or thinks right, as to the matters before it, but it is desirable that it should have that power. Moreover, I am quite prepared to concede that when dealing with future relations it may be the very wisest, most economical and bestcourse to prevent those who come to state the case on either side having the advantage, or disadvantage, as the case .may be, of being represented by counsel or solicitor.
– If there are not lawyers, there will inevitably be experts.
– That is so. I shall not enter into the question whether in dealing with determinations which are to govern the future conduct of the men affected, very much wider powers may .be given to the Court or tribunal, than would be given if it were dealing with rights cr wrongs already committed. ‘But if, in fact and in substance, a large number of persons, who have been carrying on their businesses before this legislation was passed, are arraigned before the Court - whatever the legal form may be - as guilty of past offences, then we have no right to prevent them from being represented by any persons they may choose to represent them. If they are not represented, then they have the right to say that the Court must not inform itself by conjecture, guesswork, or hearsay, of what has taken place. If I am charged with an offence, for which I may be mulct in hundreds, or, it may be, thousands of pounds, the case must be proved against me by legal evidence. That is a principle which ought not to be lost sight of. I have no sympathy at all with Mr. McKay, and other gentlemen’ who have allowed themselves to fall into a very awkward position. I do not know how Mr. McKay conducts his business, and I do not intend to inquire; but I cannot forget that, in this instance, Mr. McKay removed his works from where he was subject to Wages Boards to a place to which the jurisdiction of these Boards does not extend. Although Mr. McKay was legally entitled to take that step, I feel that it does not entitle him to very much sympathetic consideration on our part. Nor do’ I feel much sympathy for other protectionist manufacturers who, to a large extent, asked, not for reasonable protection, but practical prohibition, and who have forsaken all their other political friends, and have sought the all’iance of the Labour Party, for the sole purpose’ of obtaining the duties they desire. I do not feel, as I say, much sympathy with those men’ when they emerge, certainly with higher duties, but with a rope round their necks.
– They did not get much support from certain members of the Labour Party.
– Those manufacturers remind me of the position of the young lady -
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger ;.
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.
– I thought that the Opposition corner party had already succeeded in cutting the claws of the socialistic tiger.
– In the present instance I congratulate the tiger. However, this is not a question of sympathy. We ought, as reasonable men, to put our sympathies and animosities aside; if we- propose to lay down a definite policy in regard to wages or other conditions, we must base it on right and just principles. If we desire to have a tribunal to regulate future conduct and procedure, let us give it wide powers, and enable it to inform itself, without legal technicalities or checks on evidence, of the circumstancesit has to determine. Do away with counsel if that is the more convenient method ;. but if we are to invest the Court with those great additional powers, and,, at the same time, hale before it men who are charged,. no matter what their conduct may be, with the commission of past offences, we have no right to deprive those men of the right, which all ought to have in every British community, to have the charge proved according to the law of evidence, and not by conjecture, guess-work, or hearsay. I do not desire, at this stage, to take up further time in discussing the measure. It would be well, when we. are so near the Christmas vacation, to realize the fact that., even if the powers sought for be granted, they will only create greater difficulty in ‘ the administration of the law already in force, until there has been an opportunity afforded toParliament to place the whole legislation on a sure, logical, and sound foundation.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– I do not intend to detain theHouse by offering any lengthy remarks upon this very important measure which, after all, is purely a procedure Bill, and’ does not raise the constitutional questions which have been discussed by the honorable member for Flinders. At the same time, it is well that he should have given us the brief review which he did of the constitutional aspect of this matter. It will, no doubt, prove very useful later on, but it would, indeed, have been a specially valuable contribution at the time that the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act was under consideration. As I understand it, this is a Bill which is intended to clothe the President of the Arbitration Court with the powers requisite to enable him to fully discharge the very onerous duties which have been intrusted to him, and as such I shall leave the whole responsibility of it with the Government. The measure contains some very drastic provisions - provisions which are of a very far-reaching character, and some of which raise an entirely new position so far as our legal procedure is concerned. It seems to me that the primary object of the measure is to enable the President of the Arbitration Court to obtain full information concerning the cases upon which he is asked to adjudicate, and to protect absolutely the individuals who furnish that information. I understand that the President of the Court has himself impressed upon the Ministry the necessity for clothing him with the full and ample powers which it is proposed to confer upon him under this Bill. I cannot help making a passing reference to the interesting memorandum which has been submitted to us by the Prime Minister on the subject of the new protection. I confess that I was very disappointed with that memorandum in one respect.
– Because there was nothing millennial about it.
Mr.JOSEPH COOK.- There is plenty that is millennial about it, but very little that is practical. I have all along understood, in connexion with that memorandum, that the Prime Minister intended to furnish the House with a list of the industries to which the new protection is to be applied.
– That has been a very general understanding. Honorable members have been under the impression that when the memorandum was submitted it would contain a schedule of the industries to which the new protection is to be made applicable. Do I understand that the Prime . Minister does not contemplate submitting such a schedule, until the Bill dealing with the proposals of the Government is brought forward?
– I have said so several times.
– It is hardly possible to decide what industries ought to be included in. the schedule until the Tariff has been passed.
– So far as that is concerned, the memorandum itself was kept back until the Tariff had passed.
– The honorable member for South Sydney means passed by both Houses.
– Surely that is a quibble. The memorandum was kept back.
– The Labour Party would not let the Tariff pass its final stages until they got their promissory note. The only thing left out of the note is the amount.
– Exactly. The duty on harvesters was left in abeyance for that purpose, the understanding being that in the interim the memorandum relating to the new protection would be submitted. The memorandum has now been submitted; and I find that it contains nothing novel. It really embodies the scheme put forward by the honorable member for South Sydney, and I congratulate him upon having so completely engrafted upon the Prime Minister’s mind the principles of the new protection, as outlined by him when he was the mouth-piece of the Labour Party. The voice is the voice of Deakin, but the hand of Watson is plainly to be seen throughout it. The Bill proposes to confer some very drastic powers upon the President of the Arbitration Court, and one of these is contained in clause 9. Reference has already been made by the honorable member for Flinders to the provision relating to the prohibition imposed upon the appearance of lawyers before the Court. I should like to say that I long ago arrived at the conclusion that, if these industrial Courts are to have any good effect, there must be less law about them, less of legal technicality, and more of substantial justice. Heretofore, the peculiarity of all these Courts has been that, whilst we have enacted that their procedure shall be conducted upon the lines of equity and good conscience, we have at the same time established an intricate legal procedure. I am not quite sure whether, from the very structure of these Courts, it has not be- come a necessity to have a legal presentment of the cases coming before them. However, in this Bill we are asked to declare that only with the complete concurrence of the parties concerned, and with that of the President of the Arbitration Court, shall lawyers take any part in its proceedings. But whilst we shut out the lawyer, I fear that we shall inevitably set up a system of procedure which, on the whole, may prove to be not less costly, and perhaps a little less efficient, than the present system.
– It is very funny to hear the honorable member barracking for the lawyers.
– I hope that the honorable member will not run away with that notion. I am merely pointing out that the honorable member desires to substitute a lay lawyer for a. trained lawyer.
– We want to be allowed to put our own case in our own way.
– The employes will not put their own case in their own way. They will get a man who is without a. legal training to put it for them,, and the possibilities are that they will pay him a good fee for doing so. In the New South Wales Land Court, for example, we know that lay lawyers have been evolved, and that they receive big fees for their services - fees which sometimes run into hundreds of pounds. I am not quite sure that, by this Bill, we shall escape any technicalities and any detailed procedure which now attaches to the getting of legal evidence.
– The legal practitioners did not come out of those scandals any cleaner than did the layman.
– But the legal practitioner is subject to the discipline of the Court.
– I make no comment on those Courts. The point that I desire to make is that we are simply changing the designation of the same instrumentality. I shall await the result of this experiment with much interest. I wish now to call attention to the tremendous powers conferred by clause 9, which provides that a man maynot refuse to answer any question put to him by the President of the Court. In this connexion we must recollect that no appeal will be allowed from the decision of this tribunal.
– I hope not.
– That makes the matter all the more serious. I think I am right in saying that if a witness before an ordinary Court of Justice is compelled to answer a question put by a Judge, he has the right of appeal if his answer would prejudicially affect his case. But, under this Bill, he will have no right of appeal, and yet he will be compelled to answer any question put to him by the President of the Arbitration Court. That is a very grave departure from our ordinary legal procedure. The Bill contains a number of other provisions which will not prove to be of very much use, and in this matter I speak from practical experience. I refer to those provisions- which purport to protect the individual who supplies information to the Court. The measure lays down that if a witness offers the Court information he shall be protected from any punishment, damage, loss, or disadvantage arising from his act. This provision applies equally to employer and employe. It declares that the employer shall not dismiss a workman for supplying such information, and that the workman shall not be permitted to leave his employment.
– That provision is already the law in several of the States, and it is also embodied in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– I venture to say that in practice it will prove so much waste paper. I should like to ask the AttorneyGeneral if he ever knew of an employer discharging an employe for any such reason? I never did. The employer always discharges his workman for some other reason. Obviously, it will be impossible for the Court to arrive at the motives which influence a workman in leaving his employment, or which ‘influence an employer in discharging any of his hands. In other words, this Bill seeks to tie a man to his work.
– It merely ties him to give another excuse for leaving his work.
– The whole of its provisions seem to me to take us back to the old days of the fifteenth century, when, by Act of Parliament, a man was tied down to his work, had his remuneration fixed, and his outlook generally determined. It will be a most interesting experiment, but its results on the industrial life of the community have yet to be seen. I shall offer no objection’ to the measure, but shall leave the Government to take full responsibility for it. I hope that if it accomplishes no good, it will at least work no harm so far as the future industrial relations of the Commonwealth are concerned. .
– Like the honorable member for Parramatta, I recognise that at this stage, the Bill before us can neither receive the attention which it deserves, nor can we anticipate being able to do anything with it, by way of amendment, to reduce - as I should like to reduce - the severity of its provisions. I am afraid that we are embarked on a course of which this, and the other measures of a similar character that we have passed, rare the preliminaries, and which is altogether different from the standard that English Judges and British people, in consequence of the experience of the past, have set up. We are giving such unrestricted powers that, if they were used to their full extent and were not controlled by very high principles on the part of those exercising them, they would bring us back to the old Star Chamber system of British jurisprudence. It was the very excesses resulting from unrestricted powers being given to British Judges, that led the British people to adopt the principle - and a very sound principle I think it is - that every Briton should be deemed to be innocent until proved to be guilty.
– And the other principle that it was desirable to keep judicial functions, as_ far as possible, apart from political matters.
– I quite agree ; that also is an important principle that we are departing from.
– The memorandum, concerning the new protection, combats that objection.
– I am not going to discuss the new protection proposals. In the first place, there is no time for a full debate upon them; and, in the second place, we are merely furnished with a memorandum, and have no definite proposals before us. Until we have them it would be impossible to discuss that matter with any intelligence. I should have liked, as I have said, to move some amendments upon this Bill, because I think it would be unfortunate if we confirmed such legislation without proper safeguards to the parties concerned, whoever those parties may be. If we continue this class of legislation we shall reach a stage when some uniformed officer will be able to go up to a man in the street and say, “You are guilty of an offence;” and on the man’s declaring, “I am not guilty,” the responsibility of proving his innocence will be thrown upon him. It is exceedingly difficult, in some circumstances, for a man to prove that he is not guilty. though there may be circumstances when it may be easy to prove innocence. It would bie a most unfortunate- thing, which might be worthy of an autocracy, but certainly not of a democracy, to extend that class of legislation. We ought to examine and consider very carefully all proposals which contain such drastic conditions. However, I quite recognise that the majority of honorable members are in favour of this Bill. I recognise that, if any amendment were made in it, the Bill would be hung up, inasmuch as the Senate is not sitting. Consequently, knowing that no amendment would be accepted, and that there is a majority in favour of the Bill passing into law, I shall, with these protests, simply allow the Government to pass the measure, throwing the responsibility 011 them, as the honorable member for Parramatta has done. But I would ask the Government, in dealing with certain alleged offences against the Excise Act, not to allow their minds to be biased, either by political influences or bv any partiality.
– Of course the Government are not likely to be so influenced.
– Well, certain actions are being taken that I, personally, think are not quite just. No one will accuse me of having any leaning, political or otherwise, towards the manufacturers of harvesters. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports smiles. I can assure him that while I have never had any personal feeling against any manufacturer, I have had a very strong objection - and have shown it in this Parliament - to absolutely unnecessary assistance, as I considered it, being extended by Parliament to the manufacturers of harvesters. Harvesters, have dominated this House - in fact, this Parliament - for years. On all occasions, I have opposed the entrenching of those manufacturers at the public expense to the degree attempted. There-. ‘ fore, I might feel, if I allowed myself to be influenced by such ideas - some pleasure in the difficulties into which the manufacturers have got. But that consideration would not prevent me from trying, at any rate,, to look at the case fairly and justly ; and I do say that when you ask men to do an impossibility, and then attempt to punish them for not doing that impossibility you are taking a very unfair course. How could these manufacturers possibly arrive at a scale of wages which would be satisfactory to somebody who had not been appointed, and whose decision could not De anticipated? It is absolutely impossible. To my mind, seeing that the delay in enforcing the legislation was due to the Government
– I am not desiring to reflect on the Government for that delay. There are delays that” cannot be overcome.
– It was in the hearing of the application.
– The AttorneyGeneral will remember that a certain time was given before the Act came into operation, and as the Excise duty was to be imposed on the 1st of January if proper wages were not paid, it was the duty of the Government to provide the tribunal that was to fix the proper wages.
– The Judge was appointed from the beginning of the operation of the Act. The delay was largely caused by a desire to meet the convenience of the manufacturers and the employes.
– If the time was not sufficient, a longer time could have been allowed, and the Act need not have been brought into force on the date named. If, on the other hand, the time was sufficient, then there was neglect somewhere in reference to the non-establishment of the tribunal and the fixing of the wages. Fair and reasonable wages were to be paid from the 1st of January, but the Court did not, till nine or ten months afterwards, determine what fair and reasonable rates were. The Judge of the Court has not decided, so far* as I know, that the wages which he fixed were reasonable on the 1 st of January.
– He specifically said he was not in a position to do that.
– I believe that he has not done that; and, consequently, I cannot see what proof there is that the employers were not paying reasonable wages on the 1st of January. That, however, is a legal question with which I am not going to deal. It is rather the broad unfairness of the position to which I wish to call attention; and I do say that when it was absolutely impossible for the manufacturers to know what would be fixed as fair and reasonable wages, and when the Government had not collected the Excise, because fair and reasonable wages were not determined, then it does seem unjust to compel these manufacturers to forfeit large sums of money because they did not comply with decisions that had not been given, and were not given for months afterwards. As I have said, I might take a certain amount of malicious delight, if I allowed myself to do so, in the situation of those who have been worrying this House, absolutely unnecessarily, for many months.
– That would be contrary tu the honorable member’s nature.
– None of us is free from that feeling.
– When, according to all the evidence, they were doing excellently, they were not satisfied. They wanted more and more. They were always before us. If I remembered these things, I might take malicious satisfaction in observing where they have landed themselves. But I do not think that any member of this House has any right to look at such questions from that point of view. The right thing “even if we are opposed to an individual or his actions, is to look to what is just and fair. Personally, I think that the demands that are being made are not just and fair. Therefore, I draw the Minister’s attention now, as this will be our last opportunity, to this subject, in the hope that the Government will give that consideration to it which they ought to give, and that they will consider it with the object of doing, not even what is strictly legal - not of exercising every power they possess: - but of doing what is just to all concerned. I will not detain the House any longer. I would only allude in passing to the memorandum of the Prime Minister in regard to the new protection. It is so easy to draw beautiful placards. It is so difficult to secure the results anticipated from those placards. . I think that the Government will find when a Bill is presented, however good the object of it, enormous difficulties will have to be met and that any legislation that is proposed will not be equal to meeting them.
– I support the second reading of ‘the Bill, and. I hope that it will be passed this year. It is simply a procedure Bill, intended to give effective operation to the Harvester Excise Act of 1906. It has been found that the Act is not quite operative without some machinery provisions which, I think, have been suggested by the President of the Arbitration Court. It is not true that the Bill creates any penal offence, as .a matter of substance, against employers and manufacturers. I do not think that any one can successfully contend that the Federal Parliament or Government has a direct mandatory power to determine rates of. wages or hours of labour. I can find no direct power of that kind within the four corners of the Constitution : I can find no direct coercive power over employers and manufacturers. That has led to the current contention that this legislation is ultra vires, and therefore unconstitutional. It seems singular that that view was not presented when the legislation was submitted to the Parliament, and passed, I believe almost unanimously. There was a general concurrence of view that if it did grant an increased advantage of a substantial character to employers and manufacturers, that grant ought to be .coupled with conditions. The difficulty’ was how to impose these conditions successfully in- the absence of direct coercive power. The Tariff Commission considered’ that matter, and we could find no means or method of exercising a power over employers and manufacturers, except by holding over their heads a threat that unless thev granted good wages and working conditions the two Houses would be asked to withdraw the increased protection. It was thought that that was a roundabout, ineffective method of operating upon employers and manufacturers, and the ingenious idea occurred to the honorable member for Wide Bay that it might be so embodied or found in the taxing power ; in other words, that as Parliament had the power over Excise it might impose an Excise duty upon certain manufacturers, coupled with the condition that those who granted fair and reasonable wages to their workers should be exempt therefrom. There can be no doubt that it has a perfect right to exempt goods or persons from Excise duty. I do not wish to pronounce any final opinion on the constitutional question, because that is quite unnecessary as well as unsafe, but, as at present advised, I see no reason why Parliament should not -grant an exemption from Excise duty, coupled with the condition that the grantees shall do certain things. .
– We can exempt a class of persons.
– If we can exempt a class of persons, I see no reason why we should not exempt a class of goods such as a class of goods produced under fair and reasonable working conditions. That is not creating an offence. It is not imposing a statutory duty on those people. It is not telling them, as employers are told in the Victorian factories that if they do not do a certain thing they will be liable to a penalty, and that if that is not paid they will be sent to gaol. Under our Factories Act employers are liable to be fined or sent to goal if they do not grant good wages. Under the Federal Act, however, the employers are not so liable. No punishment is attached to the withholding of good wages, but an advantage is held out to- them who pay good wages in the shape of an exemption from Excise duty. Suppose it were found that we could not grant an exemption, it would be very easy then to exercise the bounty granting power. Parliament could easily grant a bounty for certain goods, or to the manufacturers of certain goods which are produced under fair and reasonable working conditions, and withhold the bounty in other cases.
– That is not at all certain.
– Parliament has already done that in connexion with the sugar bounty. That is not creating an offence on the part of those sugar-growers who abstain from granting good wages. It is optional. They have, so to speak, an inducement held out to them in the shape of a bounty. In the same way, under the Harvester Excise Act, those employers who grant good wages have an inducement held out to them in the shape of an exemption from Excise duty. It will be seen that there is something to be said on both sides of the question. I am not going to pronounce a final opinion, but it is fairly arguable that Parliament, having imposed an Excise duty coupled with an exemption, must do all it can to effectuate that legislation in the shape of the’ procedure provisions which have been suggested by the Court. It has been stated that if persons are charged with an offence under this Act, they will be called upon to prove themselves innocent. Again, I point out that no offence is created in the Act, even if they abstain from granting good wages, but those employers who seek the advantage of an exemption are invited to apply to the Court and show good reasons for obtaining it.
– Yes, but that is just the same thing in another way.
– I do not think it is. If they claim the advantage of an exemption, they are called upon to show that they are entitled to it.
– We cannot usurp legislative power by a trick.
– It is hardly a trick.
– We are getting indirectly what we cannot get directly.
– Of course, if the Court pronounces this legislation a trick, it will have to be abandoned. Where would be a trick in granting to some manufacturers a bounty, coupled with the condition that they would not get it if they did not grant good wages? Surely there would not be a trick in doing that, and if there is not, 1 cannot see that there was a trick in passing the other legislation.
– The penalty is the imposition of the Excise duty.
– That, I know, is the contention, and I am not going to prejudice the argument one way or- the other. It seems to me that there is a great deal to be said on both sides. I have had enough experience of constitutional questions to arrive at the conclusion that it is not wise; for us to constitute ourselves the judge of such questions, unless, of course, they are” absolutely clear and beyond doubt. I prefer to leave them to the decision of the High Court. No doubt this power of exemption is a very great and important power. I sincerely trust ‘that those who are interested in exercising the power, and those who wish to see this jurisdiction successful in its operation, will allow it’ to be exercised with great caution, judgment, and discrimination. It should not be exercised in a manner which,” would be a burden to industry, which would destroy great enterprises, which would worry or persecute employers and manufacturers, and drive them out of business, because, if that were done, the- workers would lie the first to suffer. What should be done under this legislation is to endeavour to get a tribunal or a method of determining disputes that would do justice between man and man, between manufacturers and workers. I see no reason why the Court, should not have power to recognise and give force and effect to agreements between workers and employers. I do not think that it ought to be called upon’ to go behind voluntary agreements arrived at between workers and employers. And here let me say that, in my opinion, manufacturers of harvesters in this State made a great mistake in not doing what their fellow manufacturers in South Australia did. Shortly after the Harvester Excise Act came into force, the latter called their men together, and the two parties arrived at a common agreement as to the increases of wages and better conditions which were to govern their relations in the future. I believe that a friendly agreement was arrived at between employers and hundreds of workers, and that saved a lot of trouble. Mr. Justice O’Connor adopted the agreement practically ; he placed the imprimatur of authority and legality on it, and in South Australia there is not half the trouble that exists in Victoria., where the manufacturers, after they got an increase of 100 per cent, in the duties, did not move a finger to arrive at an understanding or agreement with their workers. On the contrary, they stood by waiting for something to “turn up, and probably thinking that they would escape altogether. But now that they are suffering, one cannot help feeling sorry for them ; although I submit that they themselves were to blame. I also think that under a judicious administration of this law the Arbitration Court ought to take into consideration all the conditions and circumstances surrounding an industry. It should not pass a uniform standard for Australia, but the wages operative in any part should be regulated or modified according to local conditions and surroundings- the state of industry and the cost of living.
– What would be the size of the tribunal?
– I cannot help that. It is absolutely absurd tq suggest that the same rate of wages should prevail in Melbourne as prevails in, say, Kalgoorlie. Any system of industry would break down and be destroyed if we had a Court insisting upon uniform wage conditions existing throughout Australia. This system of native industry which we are endeavouring to promote by the imposition of high duties would collapse and be absolutely ruined under an unwise administration of the law.
.- I do not intend to say more than a few words, because I recognise that it is desirable that, before the train hour arrives, honorable members should have a chance of dealing with the Bill in Committee. After having carefully looked through its provisions, and compared them with the provisions of the Arbitration Act, I can see no substantial difference between them. There is just a difference in one or two sections, to which I will draw attention ; but there is no substantial difference between the provisions of the two measures. The time, then, seems to have gone by for an attack on this class of legislation, on the ground of its being too drastic, because what this Bill proposes to do is to give the President of the Arbitration Court, in one capacity, and for a similar purpose, powers which he, under the Act of 1904, had exercised in’ another capacity. I use the expression “ for a similar purpose “ because, whether he sits as President of the Arbitration Court, under the Act of 1904, or as the person designated in the Act of 1906, his inquiries are still into the question of the fairness of the remuneration of labour. That settles the other ‘important question of whether the. powers ought to be granted. The President of the Court says that he cannot get on properly with his inquiries without additional powers. I wish to draw attention to just one alteration. It is only the alteration of a word, but that does sometimes make a difference in substance. It occurs in clause 5, in which the question of the representation of parties by counsel or solicitor is dealt with. In the Act of 1904, it is provided that the parties may be represented by counsel or solicitor, either by an agreement between themselves or by the permission of the President. In this Bill, the two things are cumulative. It is necessary to get, not only an agreement between the parties, but also the consent of the President of the Court. I do not think that it makes much difference, but I wish to draw attention to the fact. The provision’s of this Bill are practically identical with the provisions of the Act of 1904. As regards the Excise duty, this is not. the time to discuss either its policy or its constitutionality. I have always followed the wholesome rule that if it is. advisable to do a certain thing, although the power may be doubtful, we ought not to stultify ourselves by refusing to do what is right, simply because the constitutionality of our legislation may be challenged. That rule was- applied when the case under the Act of. 1906 was brought on; because although a few words were then uttered as to the inefficacy of its provisions, there was no elaborate argument ora the question, and perhaps had one occurred it would have been futile, except as an aid to the lawyers outside in finding their authority. As the matter has been mentioned by the honorable member for Flinders, with his usual ability and clearness, I propose to give one or two references to authorities that may perhaps tend to strengthen the light that he has- thrown upon the question. It seems to me that the reason the Act of 1906 has not been tested up to the present is, first of all, that there was, I understand, an attempt, by means of an arrangement between the Government and the manufacturers, to obviate the necessity, if it existed, of going to the High Court for an opinion upon the question. Another reason is that some manufacturers have also thought that even if they succeeded in showing that the Act was bad they would still have to pay tha Excise - that, in other words, they would get rid of the condition regarding wages, but not of the obligation to pay Excise. All I can say is that that is possible. It may be probable, but whether it is or not depends upon the effect of what the High Court says as to the Act being opposed to section 55 of the Constitution. That section provides that laws relating to taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and it may or may not be that this Bill deals with some other matter of policy.
– It might also follow from the decision of the Court that the real ‘ scope of the Act was beyond the Legislature, and the Excise as well as the conditions would therefore go.
– The real point that is troubling the manufacturers is that they might obtain a decision that the Act was bad as an attempt to usurp the powers of the State in dictating rates of wages, but. that it was not bad as an exercise of the power to impose Excise.
– That is possible.
– It is only possible - whether it is probable or not is a matter that we need not now discuss. This is not the time to consider the question of our power generally to lay down conditions in imposing Excise duties, but I should like to give one or two references to authorities. lt (has been decided in America, in the great income tax case of Pollock v. The Farmers’ Union, that a class may be exempted from taxation. That touches the point mentioned by the honorable member for Bendigo- the power to make exemptions in favour of a particular class ; but it does not carry us any further, because the provisions of the American Constitution on which it is based are not identical with those of the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Some of the Judges in that case said, however, that they had never known in the history ©f Tariff legislation in America a case in which the rate of duty was made to depend upon the person or corporation called upon to pay it. That goes to the root of the question now before us. The point was not decided, but it certainly touches the question under consideration. I shall come a little nearer to the problem now before us by a reference to some decisions given in the Federal Power over Carriers and. Corf orations, by Prentice, one pf the chief writers on the commerce laws under the American Constitution. He says, at page 54 -
The. Supreme Court has often held, in passing upon the validity of State lavs, that the Courts will look into the operation and effect of a statute to discern its purpose, and that if laws purporting to be enacted in the exercise of powers belonging to the State have no. real or substantial relation to the objects of those powers, it is the duty of the Court so to adjudge and thereby give effect to the Constitution.
Upon that point he refers to several cases ; I might add another: that of Mcculloch v. Maryland, the celebrated case referred to in connexion with the income tax decisions in which Chief Justice Marshall in similar words states an identical conclusion. To quote from another authority, this writer says that if Congress - may use a power granted for one purpose .for the accomplishment of another and very different purpose, it is easy to show that a Constitution on parchment is worth nothing.
– If we exercised such a power we could usurp every legislative function of the States by imposing some form of taxation - say a poll tax - coupled with an exemption providing the person to whom it was applied would comply with certain conditions.
– Yes. Let me give one additional authority laid down in the Federalist as to what was intended by the framers of the American Constitution. Hamilton says -
The propriety of a law in a constitutional light must always be determined by the nature of the powers upon which it is founded. Suppose by some forced construction of its authority (which, indeed, cannot easily be imagined), the Federal Legislature should attempt to vary the law of descent in any State, would it not be evident that, in making such an attempt, it had exceeded its jurisdiction, and infringed upon that of the State? Suppose again that upon the pretence of an interference with its revenues, it should undertake to abrogate a land tax imposed by the authority of a State, would it not be equally evident that this was an invasion of that concurrent jurisdiction in respect to this species of tax which the Constitution plainly supposes to exist in the State Governments ?
In dealing with this matter in the House, one does not wish to be an advocate of one side or the other ; one’s desire is rather to throw out suggestions ; but it is interesting to glance for a moment at other authorities. One of them, Tiedeman, on State and Federal Control of Persons and Property, has a very elaborate dissertation upon the .unconstitutionality of protection in America. He practically says that it is not open to question that protection is against .the Constitution. If that be so,.’ all. I can. say is that we ought not to rely tpo much upon authority, because -the first Federal Tariff has existed since 1789, and the policy is still pretty active and alive in America. There are other authorities that I might cite, such as the American distil len, cases, in which it is laid down that a distinction cannot be made between the tax which shall be imposed on one distillery, and that which shall be imposed on another. That approaches fairly closely to the ‘Excise (Spirits) Act of 1906. The sooner this question is raised by some outside person the better.
– We have the dual power of taxation of commerce, as far as protection is concerned.
– That is so: but so has the American Congress. One could elaborate the question as regards protection in America. As a matter of fact, one of the grounds of secession was that the southern States ineffectually challenged the right of the northern States to impose protective duties. When the Federal Constitution was framed, they negatived the whole protectionist policy, declaring it to be opposed to the principles of the Constitution. In making these observations I merely wish to show the outside public that there lies before them a nice field to engage lawyers to help us to ascertain before we establish a Board of Trade - before we exercise extraordinary powers opening up vast possibilities of interference which were never dreamt of - the constitutionality of these provisions.
.- I feel that I should be wanting in my duty if I did not express the regret so widely felt that the Government should have decided at this juncture to bring forward a Bill involving such important departures as those for. which provision is made in the measure before us. I am perfectly sure that the Minister in charge of the Bill and his colleagues generally have no desire to interfere unnecessarily with our great functions of trade and commerce; but the uncertainty at present existing unquestionably is having upon them a most detrimental effect. This Bill is an illustration of the unwisdom of hurriedly passing important legislation. Had we recognised, when the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Bill was before us that it required administrative machinery, there would have been no necessity for the introduction of this measure. I enter my protest against this Bill, which embodies so many drastic provisions, being rushed through the House at the present time. Had it been limited to the granting of one or two powers necessary to enable information to be secured ‘ and witnesses to be cited to appear before the Court, there might have been some justification for it. We find in it, however, many objectionable conditions. We find in it, in the first place, the undesirable principle that a person cited to appear before the Court shall prove that he is not guilty of the offence with which he is charged, and he is also called upon to conduct his own case without the assistance of intermediaries to enable him to place his position before the Court in a just and equitable manner. Even such a provision as that might well be left in abeyance until we are asked to deal with the general Bill based upon the new protection proposals of the Government. As the honorable member for Flinders has observed, it might well be said of the memorandum which has been laid upon the table, “ the voice is Deakin’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Watson.” It is probably because of the dual influence behind it “that it does not bear the imprimatur of the Government authority. That, however, may be a purely typographical error. I speak as one entirely in sympathy with the efforts being made to secure reasonable wages and fair conditions of labour for employes in. industries, and particularly those industries which apply to Parliament for the protection of high duties. I ‘was returned, not only to secure the reasonable and effective protection of our industries, but also to see that the interests of the workers are properly safeguarded. In view of the fact that the law vacation is at hand, no harm would be done were this debate postponed until our re-assembling in March, when, we could deal with the subject carefully and fully, instead of being pressed to deal with it in a manner which, I fear, mayhereafter cause .reflection and regret. I am sorry that the measure provides for methods of dealing with witnesses and obtaining information which are, in my judgment, unjust.
– The powers given are the same as are given by the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– In my opinion it is an unfortunate thing that these powers are given by the Bill. I should like to deal with the measure from other points of view, but, under the circumstances, I feel that, whatever small verbal alterations may be made in Committee, I must place on the Government all responsibility for its objectionable features.
– I cannot understand how’ any .one who, like the honorable member for Kooyong, says that he is in entire sympathy with every effort to secure reasonable wages for employes, and to do justice to those who ask for protection from outside competition, can wish for the postponement of this measure until our re-assembling after the Christmas adjournment. The validity of the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act might be an interesting question to discuss, as its effect upon manufacturers who have failed to secure exemption under it might also be ; but at present we have to do merely with a procedure Bill to enable its provisions to be put into force. While the original Act remains on the statute-book, and there is no decision of the High Court that it is unconstitutional, we must regard it as valid, and be prepared to pass whatever procedure provisions may be necessary to secure its ends. The honorable member for Angas says that he has compared the Bill carefully with the Act, and finds iri it no provision contrary to those of the
Act, except that which allows counsel to be employed under a joint arrangement between both parties and the President. It is not the fault of the Minister that the measure has been brought forward so late in the year. Its provisions have been threshed out in the Senate, and it has been awaiting our consideration for weeks, since it was sent here from that body.
– The debate was adjourned at the request of the Opposition.
– Yes. The Government wished to deal with the measure before the Tariff was concluded. Had it been dealt with then there would have been time for its longer discussion.
– We recognise that the circumstances constitute a reason for not blocking the measure now.
– My remark was intended as an answer to the statement of the honorable member for Kooyong that the Government have done wrong in bringing the measure forward so late in the year. He referred to its provisions as drastic, and spoke of persons being compelled by it to prove their innocence. But, as the honorable member for Bendigo pointed out, it must be remembered that no punishment is provided for in the original Act. The Act provides that if a person proves certain things he may obtain exemption from the payment of Excise. No person is penalized for not doing something, but persons are granted a favour - relief from the payment of Excise - if they do something; two very differentpositions from the legal point of view. The object of the Bill is to enable the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration to - act according to equity, good conscience, and the substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms.
He is not to be - bound by any rules of evidence, but may inform his mind on any matter in such manner as he thinks just.
To do thishe must be given drastic and unusual powers. I cordially support the Bill. No attempt having been made to repeal the Act, it is our duty to take all steps for the proper enforcement of its provisions. As to the constitutional position, I agree with the honorable members for Bendigo and Angas that, when we regard legislation as desirable, we should not stultify ourselves by hesitating to pass it because doubts are expressed as to Its constitutionality, unless it is reasonably cer tain that it would be unconstitutional. Where there is no such certainty we should, as the honorable member for Flinders says, “chance it,” or, rather, assert our view as to its probable constitutionality by giving effect to it. If we do not exercise our powers unless we are unanimously of the opinion that their proposed exercise would be constitutional, we shall pass very few measures. Our duty is not to decide constitutional questions ; these must be left for decision to the High Court. No one would suggest that we should pass legislation generally thought to be unconstitutional; but wherever we have a reasonable opinion that we can constitutionally exercise our powers of legislation, we should, if we think it desirable, do so.
.- I suppose that there is no hope of a postponement.
– In my opinion, the introduction of the Bill at this stage is a blot upon the great work of a great session. I understand the desire of the Government to placate their supporters. The measure has been introduced at the eleventh hour to serve those who have helped to keep the Ministry in existence. But as the Courts are about to go into vacation, no useful purpose will be served by passing the Bill before the next meeting of the House. It has been said that it is a Bill to merely legalize errors of omission and commission in respect to the Act No. 16 of 1906, and the honorable member for Bendigo has stated that persons will not be penalized under it. I do not know what he means by that. The Bill bristles with£100 penalties.
– For wrong-doing.
– I am obliged for the interjection. It adds point to my reply that the honorable member for Bendigo does not understand the position. If a man is required to pay a penalty of £100, and he refuses to do so, how can the money be recovered but by process of law which may lead to his imprisonment? No useful purpose will be served by forcing the Bill through the House at the present time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Interpretation).
.- I wish to draw the attention of the Attorney General to the definition of the word “ application,” which is to mean an application under section 2, sub-section d of the Excise Tariff Act of 1906. It seems to me that that includes applications not only to the President of the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, but to Judges of the Supreme Courts of the States, and to State industrial authorities. Clause 15, however, seems to contemplate applications only to the President, who can refer them to a Judge of the Supreme Court of a State, or to a State industrial authority. Am I not correct in thinking that a Supreme Court Judge has independent power to hear an application under the Act of 1906 ?
– Every application must first be made to the Commonwealth Court.
– Paragraph d of section 2 of the Act of 1906, to which I am referred, is as follows -
Provided that this Act shall not apply to goods manufactured by any person in any part of the Commonwealth under conditions as to the remuneration of labour which -
are on an application made for the pur pose to the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration declared to be fair and reasonable by him or by a Judge of the Supreme Court of a State, or any person or persons who compose a State Industrial Authority, to whom he may refer the matter.
Does the Attorney-General mean to contend that the Judge of a Supreme Court of a State has not an independent authority to hear such a matter, whether it is referred to him by the President of the Arbitration Court or not?
– The honorable member will see that the whole thing is governed by the words “on an application made for the purpose to the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration.” All applications of the kind must go through the President, and the regulations have been framed accordingly.
– But a regulation cannot affect the independent power of a Judge of the Supreme Court of a State.
– The application must in the first instance be made to the President of the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. . That is the way in which the section is interpreted, and that governs the whole thing.
– There is nothing in section 2 of the Act of 1906 which would warrant that interpretation, but it would be useless for me now to put views before the honorable gentleman in conflict with that interpretation with which I wish to say I entirely disagree.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
Clause 5. On the hearing of any application, no party shall (except by consent of all the parties and by leave of the President) be represented by counsel or solicitor.
.- This is the only clause in which I notice a departure from the Act of 1904. It requires the consent of both parties, and of the President to the appearance of counsel or solicitor in a case. I direct attention to the proposal, because one party to a case might wish to employ counsel, the President might think thecase one in which counsel should be engaged, and the other party would still be able to prevent the appearance of counsel. I do not know whether this proposal was introduced in the Senate.
– It is an amendment made in the Senate ; the provision was not in the Bill as originally introduced.
– It should not have been made. The word “ and “ in this clause should be “or,” as it is in the Act of 1904.
– Let the honorable member move in that way.
– I am a lawyer, and prefer that a layman should move the amendment. However, I move -
That the word “ and “ be struck out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ or.”
– I ask the honorable member not to press his amendment. The provision was carried in the Senate because of a desire that the legal element should not be introduced into the proceedings of this Court to a greater extent than might be necessary. It was felt that the powers under the Act would probably be exercised in the wholesome way suggested by the honorable member for Bendigo, and carried out at Adelaide, the parties, as far as possible, arranging amongst themselves for an impartial inquiry by the President of the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, and without the aid of counsel. I do not think that the substitution of “or” for “ and “ would really make very much difference.
– On reconsideration, I prefer personally not to move an amendment ; but, if any layman wishes to raise the question, I have no objection.
– I object to the withdrawal of the amendment.
– I have not yet put the amendment to the Committee.
Amendment (by Mr. Crouch) proposed -
That the word “ and “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “or.”
.- I hope the honorable member for Corio will not proceed with this amendment, the effect of which, if carried, would simply be to hang up the Bill, which would have to go back to the Senate for reconsideration. It would be a thousand pities if the whole object of pushing on with the Bill this afternoon were to be defeated, and the procedure of the Court tied up for the next two or three months.
.- Honorable members who believe that the clause as it stands is in the interests of the workers, are greatly mistaken. It strikes a very severe blow at the cause of every man who desires to get justice at the hands of this Court. I appeal to honorable members not to rush through whatever the Senate may have sent down to this House, merely because’ we are so near Christmas. I ask them to agree to an amendment which, but for the fact that he is a lawyer, the honorable member for Angas would like to have moved. I wish to have the clause so amended as to give the President of the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration the power to permit the appearance of counsel in a case if he thinks that the interests of justice and the interests of the parties to the case would thereby be served. The men who are managers of large foundries and factories have not reached the positions they occupy because of any ability to address a Court, or electors, or to examine witnesses as members of this Committee would probably be able to do. I have in mind a blacksmith at whose place in Ballarat I served as an office boy. He was incapable of speaking a dozen words in public. If he went into a Court, he would be struck with stage fright, and be incapable of expressing his views, although he is able to manage 120 employes in an agricultural implement factory. Thai: man, because he is a working man, and has not had a college or university education, is to be penalized to please the Labour Party in the Senate. The honor able member for Angas felt that he was in a difficulty in moving an amendment, because he is a lawyer. I can honestly assure the Committee that I, although a member of the legal profession, am not speaking in its interests, but am pleading only for the rights of men to whom an injustice will be done if they are not allowed an opportunity of having their case properly presented to the Court. About 100 years ago persons accused of certain capital offences, or of treason, were not allowed to be represented by lawyers, and those who have read Macaulay’s history will remember his account of the case of a man who was absolutely stricken down by the terror of his position, and incapable of making a proper defence. It was really judicial murder to allow that man to be tried under those conditions. Honorable members can imagine what a tongue-tied fool an employer or employe, who had no training at public speaking, or knowledge of the forms of a Court of law, would feel if he had to conduct his own case. To repeat a phrase which I used some years ago regarding a similar proposal, “The lawyer is the saviour of the weak.” One honorable member told me that he is against the employment of lawyers in these cases because they can afterwards, by moving for injunctions or prohibitions, take the matter into other Courts, where different procedure obtains.
Mr.J. H. Catts. - I said that lawyers were more concerned with legal points than with facts and evidence.
– The honorable member told me that he was afraid, not so much of the proceedings before the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, as of the subsequent proceedings. Clause 3 already prevents the raising of legal and technical points before the Court. The lawyers are excluded by this clause only from applications before the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, and they will still be able to take part in any subsequent proceedings by means of injunction or prohibition. I believe the real motive behind’ this attempt to exclude lawyers is to avoid the large amount of time which has been occupied in the hearing of industrial cases. A much more effective and just way to shorten the proceedings would be to introduce a provision similar to that in the Electoral Act, by which the costs as between solicitor and client would be limited. There is an old legal maxim that “ ignorance of the law excuseth none,” but this seems to be a case where ignorance of the law will justify a man in pretending to be a lawyer, for any but the trained man will be allowed to appear. I suppose this clause realty aims at helping the trades union secretaries, who have usually worked these cases up in the past, and, apparently, the only persons to be seriously prejudiced will be the manufacturers. It is not fair to interfere with a class of men who have as much right as have the workers to present their case to the Court. I trust that we shall have a division on this question, so that we may ascertain the position which the Government take up. In the Senate, the representative of the Government characterized this as an unfair provision, and voted against it, but it was carried in the teeth of the Government. Yet the Minister in charge in this House, regardless of whether he is acting fairly to the employers or not, is supporting the clause, simply because the Government want to get the Bill through, so as to have a certain record of legislation passed before we adjourn over Christmas. I desire to be fair to both sides, particularly in a Bill of this sort. It would be less dangerous if the President of the Court were allowed to grant leave for parties to be represented by counsel. That is so under the Electoral Act. In the case of the Echuca election petition, one of the parties objected to lawyers being allowed to appear, but the other party immediately swore an affidavit that he would be prejudiced if he was not allowed to be represented by counsel. The Judge decided that time and money would be saved and justice done, by permitting each side to employ one counsel. I submit that what has happened in the Industrial Appeal Court of Victoria before Mr. Justice Hood will happen again. Although lawyers are supposed to be excluded, it is a matter of fact that they sit behind and try to galvanize their clients into saying the right thing. Under the circumstances, it is clear that some of the parties will not be able to properly present their case, no matter how well they may be privately instructed by lawyers. The Attorney-General must know very well that the absence of legal assistance always tends to protract the proceedings and cause delay.
– Not in a simple investigation as to matters of fact.
– If the AttorneyGeneral does not agree with what I have just said, I am surprised and sorry. If I can get one voice with me, I shall divide the Committee on the question, not in the interests of the legal profession, but in the interests of the parties concerned.
– I shall not give my voice for pressing this question to a division, because, as I have already said, the responsibility mustrest with the Government. I entirely concur in what has fallen from the honorable member for Corio ; and, as I have objected to this clause, so I shall object to the clause with which we have to deal later.
.- We have heard much of what may happen under this clause; but I can tell honorable members what has happened under a similar provision in the Arbitration Court of Western Australia. Certain solicitors had in their office a man who, though entitled to practice in Victoria, was not entitled to practice in Western Australia, and therefore he was at liberty, not being technically a lawyer, to appear in the Arbitration Court. I have beer, closely associated with several cases before that Court ; and I have seen more time wasted and expense incurred through lack of knowledge on the part of those who conducted the cases than could have been occasioned if professional assistance had been allowed. Half-finished lawyers appear to conduct cases-; and the result is extra trouble and expense. I have seen leaders of Labour appearing and receiving better pay than lawyers would have expected ; and I feel sure that the Committee will make a mistake if they adopt this clause.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 6 to 14 agreed to.
Clause 15 (Powers of Authority to whom application referred by President).
.- I have looked carefully into the various clauses of this Bill in order that I might be in a position to effectsome improvement in the measure. But whenever any honorable member has attempted to address the Committee, so much impatience has been exhibited that I do not propose to discuss its provisions.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 16 agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (by leave) read a third time.
– I move -
That leave of absence be granted to every member of the House of Representatives from the determination of the last sitting of the House in the year 1907, to the date of its first sitting in the year 1908.
A similar motion has already been carried by the Senate. As a matter of fact. I do not think that there is any real necessity for passing such a motion. I am of opinion that the proposed adjournment does not require it. However, as a doubt has been raised in the case of one or .two honorable members who have leave of absence, and whose. leave will expire during the adjournment, it seems wise to follow the example set by the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the House at its rising adjourn until Wednesday, nth March next, at 3 o’clock p.m.
The original intention was that we. should meet again on 4th March next, but a number of honorable members have assured me that an additional week .would be welcome, and the Treasurer tells me that his Supplies will carry him forward to that time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I wish to submit a motion without notice. It relates to a novel proposal which has been in my mind during the past week or two though I have only received two days ago a letter from Professor David, of Sydney, a wellknown scientific man, who is about to accompany the expedition under Lieutenant Shackleton to the South Pole. The cost of that expedition, to the extent of ^24,900, has been subscribed by Lieutenant Shackleton and his private friends. Bui? owing to losses sustained by others who had tentatively promised to contribute, the . expedition is short by ^5,000 of the amount necessary to enable it to obtain a full supply of stores and . equipment for its stay in the antarctic regions, probably, for three years. Professor David, who is accompanying the expedition, without remuneration - as a number of other scientific men are doing - has written to point out, that although the scientific information to be obtained is of universal value, yet it has a special value to Australia, because of the- greater knowledge of meteorology which it promises, and because, if there are any economic possibilities in these antarctic lands, Australia will probably be the country which will most directly benefit. Under these circumstances, since the expedition has awakened world-wide interest, and will be one of the best equipped ever despatched, on a mission of danger of this kind, I venture to ask honorable members to give the Government authority to advance a sum not exceeding -£5,000 for the purpose of completely equipping it. Lieutenant Shackleton has already left for New Zealand. Professor David and others leave in a week. The sum of .£5,000, although considerable to us, is, after all,, not a large gift from the revenue of Australia: No similar demand is likely to be made for many years. The men who are risking their lives in the expedition have already promised to give a considerable share of the scientific specimens - the flora and fauna - which they may gather, to the museums of Australia. Under the circumstances, I have submitted this proposal to as many honorable members as were within my reach. I consider that by adopting it we shall be taking a course which will be worthy of Australia, will do us .credit abroad, and advance the cause of science - which is the cause of humanity - without making any undue demand upon us. I therefore desire to move -
That this House authorizes the Government to advance a sum not exceeding ,£5,000 for the purpose of supplying the necessary equipment to the antarctic expedition about to proceed to the South Pole.
– Is it the pleasure of the House that the Prime Minister have leave to move the motion without notice?
– I object.
– I merely invite an expression of opinion from the House upon the proposal. The Government will be prepared to accept responsibility for any action they may take. Before acting upon their own motion, however, they felt that, as the House was sitting, it was due to honorable members that they should be consulted. I regret that the Senate cannot also be informed.
– Perhaps I may suggest a means by which the Prime Minister can achieve his object. He is at liberty to move the suspension of the Standing Orders, and if that motion be carried by a statutory majority, he will then be in order in submitting the proposal that he desires to submit.
– The Government will have no hesitation in taking action. I beg to present the following paper -
Antarctic Expedition under Lieutenant Shackleton. - Letter from Professor David, of the Sydney. University, requesting the Commonwealth to give financial assistance to the Expedition, and to move -
That the paper be printed.
– I am glad that a way has been found to permit of the House expressing its opinion upon the proposal outlined by the Prime Minister. I only wish to say one word in regard to it1, and that is a word of cordial approval of his suggestion. I hope that he will carry it out, and that he will not stint the expedition so far as a few pounds are concerned, in the prosecution of this very necessary work. I think that an opportunity now presents itself which should be seized by the Government - an opportunity which may not recur for many years. We owe a duty to ourselves and to posterity to explore the antarctic regions. From a scientific, and indeed from every point of view, it is our obligation to do what we can to make known all that lies hidden in that mysterious land. Believing that the expedition is to be thoroughly equipped intellectually, scientifically, and in every other way, I support the motion most cordially. I sincerely hope that the expedition may prove an abundant and abiding success.
.- This is not a proposal to assist an expedition which is bent upon money making. It is a scientific, exploratory, and dangerous enterprise, and we ought to feel pleased that men who are specially trained are prepared to devote alike their time and their intellect to the investigation of this comparatively unknown portion of our planet. An appeal has been made by a scientific Australian for assistance to enable Lieutenant Shackleton’s expedition to carry out its work thoroughly, when once it has reached the antarctic regions. It is not an appeal to begin a thing, but. one to enable a project which is well under way to be carried out. We are asked to provide less’ than 20 per cent, of the amount necessary to thoroughly equip the expedition. I think that it is the duty of this Parliament to provide the requisite funds, especially as it has been appealed to by Professor David. We could not refuse such an appeal unless we were perfectly callous about such matters. Ours is the only nation in the Southern. Hemisphere to which an appeal can be made for support by such an expedition. I will do my utmost to assist the Government to provide the £5,000 now asked? for.
– It will have my support,, although it is for something that is not in my electorate !
– I am. not in a position to speak on behalf of any party collectively, but I think I may say for those honorable members who sit ir* this corner that they will heartily support the Prime Minister in the suggestion he has made, and do everything they can to. assist in the voting of the money asked for. I need only add that, in my opinion, the proposal is a wise one, and that we alt wish God-speed to the expedition.
.-! must say that I have absolutely no sympathy with the method adopted by the Government in springing this question upon the House at this particular time. I. haveno doubt that if Parliament had been consulted at a proper time, the money would have been granted. But before we are asked to participate in the equipment of such an expedition as is contemplated, proper notice should be given. The fact that the expedition was to start has been before the country, and before the world, for a considerable time. But not one word has been said in this Parliament as to the vote of a grant. When, however, we arriveat the stage of being within a few hoursof an adjournment for some months, ‘ r proposition is suddenly submitted for thegrant of .£5,000, without any opportunity being afforded for its consideration. We had an experience this morning of an entirely different description, when a suggestion was made to pay gratuities to the widows and children of some of the employes who have died in the service of the Commonwealth. But their necessities -did? not seem to call for consideration by the Government, because we were so near to an adjournment.
– The honorable member is quite wrong. The Treasurer is only waiting for an opportunity to bring forward a proposition with reference to those cases, and he will do it as soon as this matter is disposed of.
– The Prime Minister cannot say that I am quite wrong, because he was not in the chamber-
– I was in the chamber.
– The Treasurer gave an answer to the effect that nothing could be done.
– On the contrary, he said that he would bring a Bill forward this afternoon.
– He said that he could not do these things without the sanction of Parliament.
– He is going to ask for the sanction of Parliament, and has his Bill ready.
– How is he going to get it passed when the other place is not sitting? How can authority to do these things be obtained except by Statute? Every one knows that a Bill cannot be passed at this particular period, because the Senate is not sitting. I say that there is a greater necessity to attend to our own affairs, and to give reasonable satisfaction to those who have been placed in straitened circumstances, than to vote £5,000 for the support of an expedition about which no information has been furnished to the House. I frankly admit that the House seems prepared to dispose of £5,000 of Australian money in this fashion. Honorable members seem in quite an enthusiastic vein with regard to the matter. But I suppose that if a request were submitted to them personally, we should not find one who would put 5s. of his own into the affair. Although a public appeal has been made , through the press of Victoria by the Chief Justice of this State, I have not heard of any one rushing down to the Age office or the Herald office, and I have not seen the names of many honorable members in the subscription list.
– The Postmaster-General gave £5 5s.
– £26,000 has Been subscribed.
– It is to be hoped that people will not parade their subscriptions.
– I do not care whether they do or not. But I do not think that we are justified in plunging this country into an expenditure of .£5,000 without any information being furnished to us as to the possible benefit that will accrue even in the event of the expedition being successful. I am not going to say anything harsh, or to suggest that the men engaged in this enterprise are not deserving of public commendation for the efforts they are about to make to accomplish a task that has previously proved to be beyond the power of man. But I. do say that if a proposal of this description was to be submitted, it should have been placed before us some time ago:
– The Government only got the application yesterday.
– The Prime Minister might have received the application from Professor David only yesterday, but I am saying that the facts relating to the expedition were known to the Government, as they were known to honorable members, a considerable time ago. I do not think that it is fair to propose to expend £5,000 of Australian money without Parliament having a proper opportunity for consideration, so as to be able to express a reasonable and creditable opinion.
.- I congratulate the Government upon the action which they are taking in this matter. Whatever benefits may arise to the world in general from the results of the expedition, there can be no doubt whatever that the benefits to Australia will be very many more fold than to the rest of the world. I am glad that we as a Commonwealth have an opportunity of taking a financial interest in the expedition. The amount involved is not large considering the issues at stake, and when we remember that the success of the expedition and possibly the lives of those taking part in it may depend upon the complete equipment of the expedition, we will be glad to sanction this expenditure. The people of this country will hope for the success of the enterprise, and the Prime Minister and* his colleagues may rest assured that Australia will stand behind them in relation to the expenditure of this money.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Mr. SPEAKER reported the receipt of a message from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, recommending an appropriation for the purposes of this Bill. hi Committee (Consideration of Go vernor-General’s message) :
– I beg to move -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a Bill for an Act to provide for compensation to be paid on retirement or on decease of certain officers of the Commonwealth.
I think that the simplest way of introducing this measure is to say that certain amounts have been submitted to me with requests for payment ; but I felt that I was not justified in taking the responsibility of paying them without an intimation of some kind from Parliament. With the exception of one or two, the payments asked for relate to the wages of men who lost their lives in the public service. The names and amounts are as follow -
Those are all the names that I have before me at present, but I have telephoned to Mr. Allen, the Secretary to the Treasury, to inquire whether there are any more. I believe there are two others, though I am not sure of their names.
– On what grounds are the grants supposed to be asked for?
– I am sending for the papers so that I may be able. to state the merits of each case.
– What is the general policy involved? Are these persons entitled to anything under the law as it stands ?
– On what ground is it proposed to depart from the law, and how far is it likely to take us in the future?
– That is a point I want to submit to Parliament. These are all special cases. I should have to take the responsibility of making the payments .if I did not first submit the cases to Parliament.
– There is one special case which has been omitted. The widow and children of the late Sergeant-Major Coffey are very hard up.
– That is not the question.
– He lost his life.
– Most of these cases are much the. same ‘ in character.
– -Why is it proposed to depart from the law? If there is a good reason for making the departure I should like to know what it is ?
– The papers will give the particulars of each case. At the present time I am “ not in a position to say that all the cases are similar. But for special reasons various Ministers have approved of these sums being paid. In some cases - in most cases, I think - the man lost his life in the execution of his duty, leaving his widow or family badly off. I shall give the detailed information to honorable members presently if I can get the papers. I am sorry that they are not here now. There is no law that will cover such cases.
– But the law of justice.
– Exactly. It must be done as an act of grace on the part of this Parliament, and that is why I have hesitated to act. If I had been free to act I should not have hesitated to make the payments, but I felt that it involved a departure from the law. It seems to me that it would be ignoring the decision at which Parliament arrived some time ago, namely,- that no more gratuities or pensions should be paid except in special circumstances, to have made these payments without express authority.
– Is there _ any . special urgency for bringing on this matter this afternoon ?
– I can only tell the honorable member what I have been told by honorable members, and that is that in many of these cases the widow or those who were dependent upon the breadwinner are in dire distress, and that something should be done to relieve them. That is the main reason assigned in all the cases.
– The Minister ought to be able to tell us why in these cases he proposes to go beyond the law. If the persons were killed or injured accidentally while on duty, I take it that there is some provision under which a grant may be made.
– There is no such provision that I am aware of, though I may not be right.
– There is some provision in the Defence Act.
– I do not know of any provision.
– I know that a grant was made to the widow of a man who was killed while on duty in the Post Office.
– I believe that a grant is always made subject to the approval of Parliament.
– There have been several cases already.
– I admit that there have been some cases, but I do not think that there is a law which sanctions the payment, or which would indemnify me if I incurred the responsibility of paying the money.
– If there was a law on the subject the honorable gentleman heed not come here to-day.
– Exactly. I believe that thereis no such law, and that is my reason for submitting the cases today.
– I am acquainted with the particulars of one case, and so are other honorable members. I refer to the case of the late Joseph Clarke, inland mail clerk at the General Post Office in Sydney. He had been in the service for about forty-four years, and was on the eve of retiring on a pension. He would have been away on leave had he not been kept back specially by the Department to deal with the year’s mail tenders.
– Was he killed ?
– He was working night and day over the mail tenders, and he practically dropped dead at his work.
– It does not follow that he did not die from natural causes.
– I suppose that he did die from natural causes.
– Accelerated by overwork.
– I should think that the natural causes in that case were sheer over-work. At any rate it is a very hard case. He was just going out on twelve months’ leave. I understand that the compensation which the Government propose to make to the widow simply covers the twelve months’ leave and three months’ accumulated leave which was clue to him, and which he would have taken in the ordinary course of events. That is the only case in the list that I know of ; and if the others are on the same footing the Committee will only do a simple act of rudimentary justice in voting these small amounts to the widows of the unfortunate men.
– The Treasurer has asked me to explain a case with which I am acquainted, and the explanation will probably furnish an answer to the inquiry of the honorable member for South Sydney. I indorse every word that has been said in regard to Mr. Clarke. He was entitled to leave, but, practically at our request, remained at his post. He died in harness.
– He remained at his post for some months after he was entitled to leave ?
– Yes. The amount proposed to be voted to his widow is based on the leave to which he was entitled. I made the recommendation that compensation should be granted, and after looking into the matter very carefully, was disposed to suggest that a sum of £500 should be paid to his relatives. I believed that such a payment would be justifiable; but we had to fix a principle on which the payment should be made, and we based it on the leave to which he was entitled. I also recall to mind the case of J. Wilson, who was engaged in the Telephone Construction Branch, andwas burnt to death or electrocuted whilst working on a telegraph pole.
– That was a very hard case.
– I believe that the Department, to a certain extent, contributed to his death, although it was not legally responsible. We gave his widow some little assistance by appointing her to the charge of a semi-official post office. She was left with several little children, and I thought I should be justified in recommending that a grant be made to her to enable her to educate them. Owing to the employment of temporary hands who did not thoroughly understand their work, the Department, to my mind, contributed, to a certain extent, to Wilson’s death.
– Is the case provided for in this Bill?
– Yes; a sum of£200 is provided. The cases of Clarke, Wilson, and others, have been very carefully considered, and the payments proposed to be made are based upon a general principle. Many cases of hardship have been brought forward, and it seems to me that, in voting these amounts, we shall lay down the rule that we are entitled to consider deserving cases. I hope that the time is not far distant when we shall make certain provision which will render it unnecessary for the widows and children of Commonwealth officers who have died at their posts to come cap in hand to us.
– We have a life assurance scheme.
– That is so. These are not the only cases that have been brought under our notice ; we have had to weed them out, remembering that regard must be had to the state of our finances. I would ask Parliament to deal generously with the widows and relatives of officers of the service who have either died or have been killed whilst at their posts.
.- In the first Parliament, I raised the point that we should lay down some definite principle as to the granting of compensation to the surviving relatives of employes of the Commonwealth who died at their posts.
– They are not even under a Workmen’s Compensation Act.
– That is so. While, in some of the States the surviving relatives of public servants who die at their posts are entitled to compensation under Workmen’s Compensation Acts, we have practically no power, except with the consent of the States Treasurers to grant compensation in such cases. It seems to me, however, that this is a haphazard scheme.
– It is tough justice.
– The Government have been able to select only a few cases, leaving a large number untouched. The only point in favour of this Bill is that it seems to be a recognition of the fact that we ought to pay some compensation to the relatives of those who are killed whilst on duty. I could cite the case of a postmaster who, although in the service for 35 years, never had a holiday, and who within a month of his retirement on a pension died. No provision is made in this Bill for the payment of compensation to his relatives. It is only natural that difficulties should arise in attempting to deal with questions of this kind in a hurried and haphazard fashion. I understand that it is the policy of the Government to grant the surviving relatives of officers who die whilst in service compensation equal to at least twelve months’ salary.
– Six months’ salary in most cases. They get what they deserve.
– The relatives of an officer who had 35 years’ service would be entitled to compensation equal to 35 months’ pay.
– That is under the Victorian system. I think that the Victorian Government grant compensation equal to one month’s salary for every year of service.
– There is the case of the man Martin who died from plague in Brisbane.
Colonel Foxton. - Plague contracted whilst on the premises of the Department.
– The case I am citing is that of a man who contracted pneumonia owing to the faulty way in which repairs to the postal buildings which he was obliged to occupy were being carried out.
Colonel Foxton. - In the other case the contagion was in the office.
– It matters very little whether the cause of death is plague contracted owing to the insanitary condition of departmental premises or pneumonia due to the clumsy way in which repairs were being made to the Commonwealth building occupied by the officer; in either case the right to compensation would be the same. I hold that we ought not to tinker with a matter of this kind. The only way in which we can deal out even-handed justice is to lay down some general principle and stand by it. The sole result of dealing with individual cases in this haphazard way is that those who havea number of persistent friends, who will take care that the Government are well informed of their situation, are likely to secure compensation whilst those whose cases are equally deserving, but who rely solely upon their rights, absolutely fail. I am not going to oppose the Bill, but I urge this Government, as I have urged other Administrations, to lay down a general principle on which compensation, in cases of this kind shall be granted.
.- I do not- wish to say anything against some of the cases for which provision is made, because, so far as one is able to ascertain the facts, it appears to be quite justifiable to grant the proposed compensation. But let us take first of all the case of Mr. Wilson to which reference has been made. Undoubtedly something is due to the widow of a man who was killed on duty. Owing to some extraordinary circumstances Wilson was practically electrocuted whilst working on a telegraph pole, and his widow is certainly entitled to consideration. The trouble in regard to a number of these cases is that no particulars have been furnished to the House. I have gathered that some _of them relate to officers who have died from natural causes whilst in the service.
– I have all the particulars.
– If it is proposed to give compensation to the widows of officers who while in the service died from natural causes a very wide field will be opened up, and it seems to me that no case of that sort should be dealt with in what are practically the dying hours of the session.
– Provision should have been made on the Estimates for all of them.
– I take it that the Treasurer saw ‘ that some time must necessarily elapse before we should be able to deal with the Estimates and thought1 it was necessary to take immediate action. But the honorable member should not ask the House on the eve qf a long adjournment - when every honorable member is anxious to get away, and there is no possibility of a detailed discussion - to grant compensation to the relatives, not of officers who have been killed whilst on service, but of those who have died from natural causes whilst in the employ of the Commonwealth.
– Cases of hardship might arise in connexion with the death of public servants from overwork,
– That is a proposition which it would be very hard to prove. If it is once admitted that such cases deserve compensation, and claims are afterwards made on behalf of the relatives of others of whom it is alleged that they died through overwork, they will be equally hard to resist. I do not think that cases other than those which have been clearly shown to be accidents, or the results of accidents, ‘should be dealt with as emergency cases.
– I do not think that we can draw any hard-and-fast line like that.
– If we cannot, it is problematic whether we are justified in making any grant at all. I think that we shall be laying up a crop of troubles for ourselves if, by passing a grant on an occasion like this, we admit that the relatives of an officer who has died in the service in the ordinary way should get compensation.
– I think that the honorable member supported Colonel Bayly’s case.
– It was shown in that case to my satisfaction that Colonel Bayly died because of the effect on his health of exposure during the South African war.-
– But he was not killed on service.
– There were medical certificates to the effect that his death as a young man was due to exposure on active service. If any similar case can be made out in this instance, I shall not raise any objection to its being met; but the Treasurer should insist that in every case special circumstances shall be shown before special treatment is accorded. If it can be shown later that the easels are special, we should- be justified in making* similar grants. Wilson’s case is undoubtedly a special one. There may be details which justify similar action in other cases, but, so far, we have not been informed of them.
Mr. WEBSTER (Gwydir) [4.43I- I was surprised at the observations of the honorable member for South Sydney with regard to one of the cases which he considers should not come within the benevolence of the Government - that of a man who died at his work, but under natural conditions. The amount it is proposed to pay to the widow of the late Joseph Clarke is not equivalent to the amount owing to him for overtime, and for the leave to which he was entitled at the time of his death. When he died he had worked 235 hours overtime, for which he had not received payment.
– Some officers seek for overtime because of the shekels attaching to it.
– That was not so in this case. Mr. Clarke’s doctor warned him time after time that he should not continue at his work, and gave him certificates to the effect that it injured him to do so. But Mr. Clarke was induced, in the interests of the Department, to remain at his task until the thread snapped. He practically died at his post. After he had appealed to his superior officer for relief from the duty which was killing him, he fell unconscious on the floor of the office, was carried to the hospital, and died the following day. The doctor attending him stated that it was nothing else than a case of murder. No fine distinction can be drawn between death the result of an accident and a case like that of Mr. Clarke. However, I am glad that the Treasurer proposes to do some amount of justice to the relatives of worthy men who did their best for the service in which they were employed, and I ask him to say whether the money will be paid before Parliament re-assembles?
– If it is voted it will be paid almost immediately.
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [4.47].- I am in complete sympathy with the proposal of the Government, but I should like some information regarding the basis on which the various amounts were assessed, and the relation which they bear to each other.
– In the Postal Department we had to assess each case on its merits very largely.
Colonel FOXTON.- I understand that no rule has been laid down to the effect that the compensation must bear a direct relation to the amount of salary.
– Personally, I thought that Mrs. Clarke ought to receive £500.
Colonel FOXTON.- Having had some experience in matters of this sort, I recognise the difficulty of laying down a hardandfast rule; but I ask, to what extent any rule has been followed, because I notice that of two of the beneficiaries, both widows of Commandants, one is to receive something over£400, and the other something over £100 ?
– Colonel Bayly’s case was reported on by a Board. It having been proved that his death was consequent upon his South African service, the Board assessed the amount which should be paid to his widow. Colonel Ricardo died suddenly, leaving his wife impoverished, and as he was at the time entitled to two months’ leave, it was decided that, instead of allowing the Department to profit thereby, Parliament should be asked to grant the money to his widow.
Colonel FOXTON.- Then the two amounts were calculated on different bases.
Colonel FOXTON. - The case of Colonel Bayly affords the basis for one means of assessment of compensation. He lost his life practically in the service of his country, as the result of disease contracted in that service. The adoption of this measure will undoubtedly, as the honorable member for South Sydney has pointed out, lead to a crop of similar applications for compensation, so long as Parliament shirks the duty, which I think is thrust upon it, of making provision of some sort for those who retire from the service of the Commonwealth, and for the widows and children of those who die in that service.
– It ought to be done.
Colonel FOXTON.- It ought to be done. I think that such a measure might well have been given precedence of a great deal of Commonwealth legislation that I could name.
– A proposal of the kind was brought before the first Parliament and rejected.
Colonel FOXTON.- This Parliament will certainly learn, as other Parliaments have done, that it is absolutely necessary to make some provision of the sort if we are not in every session to have to deal with a crop of applications from the widows of those who have died in the service of the Commonwealth. In Queensland at one time we had a Civil Service Superannuation Act,and as a result of its repeal at the instigation of certain sections of the Civil Service themselves the Parliament was faced at the end of each session with the necessity of dealing with what came to be known as the “ Widow’s Vote.” I have no doubt that the practice is still going on. I wish to say thatthe case of a Mr. Gooding who was employed in the service of the Department of External Affairs is, I think, precisely on all-fours with Colonel Bayly’s case. He was employed as a Government agent on vessels going to the South Seas, and it was proved that as the result of exposure on a voyage he contracted the disease of which he afterwards died. To retain his position it was necessary that he should start on another voyage, and he was proceeding to do so, although, in a very bad state of health. Within a few hours of the time fixed for the sailing of the vessel, as a result of the disease which he had contracted and while, in the performance of his duty, he fell down and expired on the platform of the central railway station in Brisbane. I believe that all that was granted in his case was the balance of a month’s salary.
– There was one case where they “ docked “ half-a-day.
Colonel FOXTON.- This man Gooding as truly died in the execution of his duty as did Colonel Bayly.
– Could the case to which the honorable member refers be provided for without another message from the GovernorGeneral ?
Colonel FOXTON.- I am prepared to admit that even if it could there is no official information before the Committee which would justify its inclusion in the present measure. My object in referring to it is to say that if a general principle is to be. applied the case should be included, and I shall have no hesitation in bringing it under the notice of the Treasurer with a view to provision being made in some similar measure after the Christmas adjournment. I. have nothing more to say, except that I have very great sympathy with the proposal before the Committee and will give it my cordial support.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (North Sydney [4.55]. - I quite agree with those honorable members who have stated that it is very desirable that some system of dealing with these cases should be devised. I do not say that it should be a system of pensions, but a scheme which could be made applicable to different cases of the kind referred to. I know that Ministers must have verygreat difficulty in deciding whether they should recommend compensation or not under existing conditions. There is one of these cases of which I know some thing, and that is the case of the widow of Gunner Price. Her husband served in South Africa, was sent to Thursday Island, and while in the service contracted a disease of which he subsequently died. I believe that a Medical Board inquired into the matter and decided that the man died from a disease contracted owing to the nature of his service and recommended compensation to his widow. The Minister could not see his way to grant compensation. The widow saw me, and I wrote to the Department, who decided to reconsider the decision as to the six months’ leave of absence which Price was granted two or three days before he died to give him an opportunity of recovering his health. Whilst the Department would not grant ordinary compensation they saw their way to grant payment for the salary which would have been earned without service during the six months’ leave. That was promised, and the widow was informed of the decision. The trouble in many of these cases is that the payment of the compensation is delayed. The people who require assistance fall into greater difficulties every day, when, if they could get the money at once’ they would be able to do something with it, perhaps in the purchase of a small business. These cases should not now be left to be dealt with on the delayed Estimates, and to prevent invidious distinctions there should be some strict definition which would govern the cases in which compensation should be granted.
.- It is quite possible that what we are doing to-day may be quoted as a precedent for future action. Whilst I have every sympathy with a, number of the cases submitted by honorable members, Parliament is in my “opinion the worst possible place in which to deal with such matters. There can be no doubt that if the friends of the persons interested in any claim for compensation are persistent enough they will be able to get something for them or. occasions like the present. I should like the Treasurer to say whether it has no* been the practice toget the permission of the States Governments concerned for the payment of compensation in these cases.
– That is only as to whether or not we should charge the compensation to a particular State. We could pay this compensation in any circumstances but it has been the invariable custom to ask the States Governments concerned if they were agreeable to the payments being charged against them, and I personally do not quite approve of that practice.
– It is not pleasant to have to oppose any case of the kind. It appears as if one were harsh should he do so, though he might know more about it than other members of the Committee. There are only two Victorian cases in the whole of this list. One of the officers, Colonel” Ricardo, was killed in the hunting field. He cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be held to have been killed on duty.
Colonel Foxton. - He was entitled to two months’ leave of absence on full pay.
– I remember the case of a Victorian officer, dealt with in the Estimates twelve months or two years ago. He had a paralytic stroke, and was unconscious until lie died. If he had regained consciousness sufficiently to be able to sign his resignation, his widow would have been entitled to £400 or a month’s pay for every year he had been in the sendee. As it was, she was able to get only £130 out of the Department. There should be one uniform system throughout the States. The matter should not be brought up in this way, leaving honorable members to raise objections when thev know that there are valid objections in some cases. It would be very easy for us’ to shirk our duty now, and to throw the responsibility on to the Treasurer for the whole of the payments. Honorable members should be given in detail the reasons why the money is proposed tobe voted. Some of these are apparently hard cases ; but there should be no picking and choosing. We should deal either with all alike or with none at all.
.- If any question calls for sympathetic treatment, this one does. The Treasurer has brought down, at the last moment, a list of gratuities and grants. It is mo>t dangerous to deal with matters of that kind in a hurryscurry fashion at the end of a session. It only bears out the justice of my complaint that the Estimates have not been dealt with. If they had been dealt with at the proper time, these matters would have been considered tinder each Department, and we should have received full explanations as to the validity of the claims. Two of the cases I know are sad and deserving ones ; “ but the whole question really requires special legislation. There is no essential difference between the case of a man who dies a violent death and that of a man who dies on duty through overwork. The difference is only a question of sentiment ; but the honorable member for South Sydney is apparently more concerned about the cases of those who meet with violent deaths. The loss to the family of the officer is no greater in the one case than in the other. I know the case of Mr. Clarke, who was a well-trusted officer of the Postal Department in Sydney. His time was long up to leave the service ; he was entitled to draw a large sum from the superannuation fund ; he did not draw it; his services as an expert officer were retained in the interests of the Commonwealth ; he Avas pressed to remain, and he did so, although he was in a bad state of health, and he died at his work. He was entitled to certain grants of which his widow is now the loser. Representations were made to the then Postmaster-General, who is now the Minister of Trade and Customs, and that honorable gentleman promised to place a sum of £500 upon the Estimates. That amount appeared on his draft Estimated,, but the Treasurer of the day removed it. To-day the same. Treasurer proposes a grant of £319, although the Minister whose responsibility it was to inquire into the case, and who had the assistance of his departmental officers, valued the loss of that officer’s services, and the gratuity due to the widow at £500. I am not cavilling at the amount now offered by the Treasurer, but I should like to know what system he proceeded on in graduating these grants. The mere fact of impoverished circumstances is not a very good argument. I shall not vote for a grant simply because a certain official has left his widow in impoverished circumstances. The late Colonel Ricardo received a salary of £800 a. year and allowances, and we should not expect that his widow would be left badly off. ‘
– Hear, hear ; we ought to compel them to make provision.
– Exactly -, but’ there are hundreds of officers in the Commonwealth service who have just enough to live on, and even if they meet their death in circumstances more severe than those in Colonel Ricardo’s case, the plea of impoverished circumstances “will be of no avail io those they leave behind. While I will vote for this motion to-day, I do so under protest against the question being dealt with in this hasty manner. I con- sider that the Government should frame special legislation to deal with it. I happened to know Colonel Bayly, who bore a reputation as a skilful training officer in New South Wales. I know that his widow will be thankful for the grant in this list. In comparison with other grants, the amount is not over large. But putting aside individual cases, I put it to the Treasurer that hundreds of bread- winners lost their lives in the Boer War, while many of those who returned were less capable of earning their livelihood, and surely those who were dependent on them are entitled to as much attention from the Treasurer as he has given to these specialized cases. In the cases of Mrs. Bayly and Mrs. Clarke, members knew the circumstances, and were able to approach the Minister about them. But what about the hundreds of other cases where those concerned have no political friends? The whole matter should not be one of political friendship or knowledge, but should be dealt with in a special Bill, in preparing which the Government must be very careful that their sympathy does not carry them too far, lest the evils of the American pensions system be repeated here. While I will vote for the motion, I regard its introduction as another evidence that the Estimates should be part of the first work of the session, when all matters of this kind can be canvassed and properly dealt with. I hope that other honorable members will assist in passing proper legislation of a definite character next session.
.-The case of Sergeant-Major Coffey, who is a constituent of the honorable member for Kooyong. has been before the House more than once ; it was inquired into by the honorable member for Swan when Minister of Defence, who’ said that he thought it was a most deserving: case, and yet it has been overlooked in this list. Apparently that has happened through the Treasurer not having a distinct system to go upon. Of course, that is not the Treasurer’s fault, but it is the fault of the House through not giving him a clear direction in the matter. This officer was one of the best sergeantmajors and drill instructors in the Victorian Defence Forces, and because of hissmartness he was selected over other competitors for service in the first contingent for South Africa. He remained in South Africa till 1902, going right through the war. and he returned with injuries from which he died two years and four days later. Had he died five days earlier than he did, his widow would have been entitled to an Imperial pension ; but the Imperial authorities refuse to grant pensions in cases where the men die more than two years afterwards. The result was that this poor woman was left with one son and three other children to battle with the world. During the two years he lived he received his ordinary pay as sergeantmajor; and when he died his widow was given the balance of his month’s pay.
– I do not remember the case.
– The case was inquired into by the State Treasurer, Mr. Bent, who fully recognised the justice of the claim, but, owing to the fact that at the time of the man’s death, in 1903 or 1904, the control of the forces had passed over to the Commonwealth no action was taken by him. Thereupon, thewidow applied to the Commonwealth, when it was pointed out to her that her husband had gone to South Africa with a State contingent ; and so between the two she got nothing. Unfortunately, the son, who was earning a small wage in a tobacconist’s shop, died, and she was left with three girls, only one of whom was earning a living. I have mentioned this matter before in Parliament, and I know that the honorable member for Kooyong has also interested himself in the case. The right honorable member for Swan, when Minister of Defence, made inquiries, and said that, on the first occasion when Parliament dealt with the Defence Act, some provision might be made; and in the meantime he obtained for the woman an allowance of £11s. a week from the Victorian Patriotic Fund. It unfortunately happened that of the Patriotic Fund of £150,000 raised in Victoria, all was sent to England except about £40,000 ; and the money is becoming exhausted. In New South Wales the wiser course was taken of keeping all the Patriotic Fund for the benefit of the soldiers of the State ; but, in both cases, funds are running out, and allowances are being reduced. I should like a promise from the Treasurer that not only in the two cases which have been presented to us in what I may describe as a haphazard manner, but that in any case in which a claim would appear to rest on the conscience of the community, or of this Parliament, favorable consideration will be extended to the persons concerned.
.- I am much indebted to the honorable member for Corio for referring to the case of Sergeant-Major Coffey, to which I myself have drawn the attention of successive Ministers of Defence. It appears to me most extraordinary that the present Minister of Defence has not been approached about the matter; but I suppose the consideration of the Tariff has driven other matters out of our minds. This is one of the hardest cases that could come under our notice. I rose, however, more to call attention to the case of an officer of the Post and Telegraph Department, in order to show how necessary it is that some system should be devised for the payment of these gratuities. The breadwinner of the family, in the exercise of his duty, became utterly incapacitated, and the victim of suffering, to which death would be almost a relief, is a. burden on his family. There ought to be means devised by which unfortunate men so placed shall receive some compensation. I regret that I was quite una.ware that these proposals were to be introduced today.
– It was only at the last moment that I found it would be possible to introduce them.
– Had I known, I certainly should have asked the Treasurer to include the names of Sergeant-Major Coffey and the postal official I have mentioned. I trust that the passage of the measure before us will not preclude representations being made to Ministers in regard to one or two cases which are prominently in my mind at the present time. With that in view, I am prepared to accept the proposals made by the Minister, believing that the fullest investigation has been made.
– If honorable members desire, I shall be glad to give fuller information regarding the cases comprised in this measure.
– I do not think that is necessary.
– I hope honorable members will not blame me for introducing’ this measure at the last moment. We all know how much uncertainty there was as to whether we should be able to terminate the business before Christmas; and I had to take my chance of an opportunity. I think the short debate that has taken placeshows that I was right to make this appeal to honorable members; If the Committee desire, I shall be very glad during the recess to consider any very urgent cases which may be submitted, especially where the poorer classes of people are involved. I feel I would be justified, though, perhaps, in a very limited way, in affording relief without waiting for the formal approval of Parliament. However, I have to be very careful to see that money is not wasted, and I have taken every pains not to recognise any claim which could not thoroughly be justified. I hope honorable members will give me the opportunity to pay, before Christmas, the gratuities which have been sanctioned, because I know that in some, if not all, of the cases help is urgently required.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported and adopted.
That Sir William Lyne and Mr. Chapman do prepare and bring in a Bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
That the second reading be made an Order of the Day for this day, and that the Bill be passed through its remaining stages this day.
Bill read a second time and reported without amendment.
– In moving -
That this Bill be now read a third time.
I desire to say that the honorable member for West Sydney brought under my notice two other cases, one that of an officer named Doughty and the other that of an officer named McDonald. He asked me to mention them and to have an inquiry made into them, and I promised to do so.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
– I beg to lay upon the table the following paper -
Statement of certain expenditure for Works and Buildings not provided for on the Estimates, but urgently required.
I desire to intimate to honorable members that very large claims have been made by the Post and Telegraph Department for expenditure upon what it regards as necessary works. So far I have declined to recognise these claims, and no provision has been made for them upon the Estimates.
But I wish now to make a short statement in reference to this matter, and to announce mv intentions in respect to it. Unless exception is taken to the course which I propose I shall follow it. The Postal Department has made very large demands upon me because of the unexpected expansion of business - an expansion which was unforeseen and was not provided for in the Works and Buildings Estimates. This Department alone has asked for more than £100,000. The Postmaster-General has made urgent appeals to me for additional funds for the following purposes: - Ordinary telephone extensions in New South Wales, £34,000 ; construction of special trunk telephone lines from Sydney to Wollongong, Sydney to Katoomba, and Sydney to Gosford, £6,598; construction of the Sydney-Tenterfield copper telegraph wire, to meet- the wire being erected in Queensland to provide for the Inter-State and international business, £11,960; or a total of £52,558. The Department states that unless this expenditure is incurred it will be impossible to complete essential works in New South Wales. An appeal has also been made for £33,240 to be expended in Victoria in providing cables for underground telephone extensions, conduits for same, new junction lines, copper wire, &c. The telephone extensions required in Queensland are estimated to cost £5,526The Department has also asked for £11,094 for cables for undergrounding the telephone system in South Australia, to make ready for the introduction of the electric tramway system. It represents that this work is extremely urgent, and that unless it is carried out before the electric tramway system in Adelaide is introduced there will be a serious interference with the telephone system. The Department of Home Affairs asks for an amount of £7,679, including £5,000 for an additional story required in connexion with the extension of the General Post Office, Melbourne. I would point out that tenders were accepted for the erection of two stories of this post office, and that they are approaching completion. It is necessary that a roof shall be put on the building. I intend to ask for sufficient money to erect the extra story, so that the roof mav be put on, and any claim for double payment obviated. There is no doubt that many of the works asked for are of a very urgent nature,, and it is desirable that they should be undertaken during the pre sent financial year. Parliament has placed at my disposal the amount of £200,000 under the Treasurer’s advance, of which the expenditure of £85,000 has been already authorized. About £36,000 ot this amount will be removed when the Appropriation Bill has been passed, leaving £49,000 to be included in the Supplementary Estimates, 1907-8. There remains a balance, of £115,000, a part of which could be used for the most urgent works required. I should have preferred to introduce additional Estimates for- new works and buildings before the Christmas vacation, in order that parliamentary authority for the expenditure might have been granted, but as it was imperatively necessary that the Committee of Ways and Means should not be interrupted while the Tariff was under discussion, I shall not have an opportunity of introducing these estimates until later in the session.. I make this statement now in order that Parliament may understand the situation, and so that honorable members may not be surprised if additional estimates for new works and buildings to the amount of about £120,000 are introduced. In the meantime, unless very strong objection is taken, I shall anticipate the approval of Parliament by authorizing such works as appear to me to be of the most urgent character. I -wish further to say that I have not sufficient funds to pay everything within the next three months. But I cam select the most urgent works, and ascertain what expenditure will be required upon them until Parliament re-assembles. I shall thus be in a position to enable them to proceed without crippling the Treasurer’s advance, and without disturbing the ordinary routine of the Treasury. If no objection be urged to the course which I have outlined. I intend to pursue it in order to prevent the stoppage of works which are now in progress.
– We ought to sit all next week to consider the works which have been outlined.
– I take it for granted that I am to do the best that I can in this connexion. I am very anxious to be able to come to this House and sa.y. “ I have not overstepped the amount of the expenditure foreshadowed in my ‘Budget to any large extent.” That is why I express the opinion that if it is overstepped it will be because of the great expansion of the business of the Postal Department, and because of the clamour which has been raised by honorable members and the public for the carrying out of necessary works.
– What does the Treasurer propose in regard to granting extraassistance in the postal service ?
– Will the Treasurer supply whatever temporary assistance may be required ?
– I cannot reply to that question, ‘because I do not know how far I should commit myself.
– The Treasurer knew the amount the other day.
– I have my own opinion about the alleged sweating and the overtime. When a demand for the appointment of 1,000 new hands was made to me before I delivered my Budget Speech, I hesitated before I would sanction the making of so many appointments. In my Budget Speech I said that I would find money for new appointments up to the extent of £400 for permanent and such temporary hands as were absolutely necessary before the matter was dealt with by Parliament, but I would certainly not find the money for all that I was asked to do. I conclude by moving -
That the paper be printed.
.- 1 have listened with care and interest to the statement made by the Treasurer, who, in my opinion, has not absolved himself in any degree from his responsibilities as Treasurer by the statement which he has made. I should like it to be clearly understood that, in my opinion, what he is principally responsible for is the carrying out of the undertakings given in his Budget Speech and the careful administration of the finances of the Commonwealth. Extraordinary statements, such- as we have heard this afternoon, must not be taken as absolving the Minister from the obligation of carrying out the policy laid down when he was expounding his Budget a few months ago.
– Hear, hear; but I think the honorable member will admit that I have been bantered considerably over these matters. I have to ward off attacks.
– The first business ‘ of the Treasurer of the Commonwealth is to protect the public revenue. I have been more than surprised lately to find Cabinet Ministers bantering each other on matters of expenditure. The sooner that ‘kind of thing is brought to an end the better will it be for the cause of good government.
– I do not know what the honorable member is referring to.
– Well, I have heard one Cabinet Minister say that he would do soandso if another Minister would give him the money to do it with. Such a condition of affairs does not bespeak good government. That is all that I have to say on that point. The Treasurer is bound to safeguard the interests of the Commonwealth from a financial point of view. No Treasurer has ever held office who has not had demands made upon him for at least twice the amount of expenditure that he was prepared to authorize. A Treasurer is not to be sympathized with simply because more requests are made to him than he can comply with. But it is only just that, having said so much, I should add that a Department like that of the PostmasterGeneral is an extremely far-reaching Department, and, in many respects, a paying one. Expenditure in connexion with it is not like expenditure on Defence,’ as -to which the money might often as well be thrown into the river. Indeed, it might better be thrown into the river, because then there would be a chance of fishing it out again. . But when we spend money on Defence, we have no guarantee that the experts will not tell us that the money we spent last year would have been better unspent. Much of the money spent in connexion with the Post and Telegraph Department is really revenueproducing, and that fact should be kept in mind by the Treasurer. He, of course, must take the (responsibility of granting these advances where he thinks that the services that will be rendered,, or the income that will follow as a result, will afford a sufficient justification for them to Parliament. I consider that this Parliament has been very generous towards every Treasurer who has taken the responsibility of expending money for the expansion of the services of the Commonwealth. By that I mean, not adding to these actual services by authorizing the appointment of new officers, but providing for public works of a remunerative character Parliament has always looked very leniently on the actions of a Treasurer who has taken the responsibility of expenditure in such directions. My sympathies will be with the Treasurer if he can see his way to assist in easing off the pressure upon the Post and Telegraph Department. I do not mean that he should authorize a number of fresh permanent appointments. The Treasurer must keep a vigilant eye on any proposals of that character, because they would mean permanent expenditure. I am referring more particularly to the authorization of expenditure on what is believed to be remunerative work. Of course, the financial responsibility can rest only upon one person, namely, the Treasurer, though secondarily it falls upon the Government of which he is a member.
– I am here to assist the Government in the conduct of business. Honorable members cannot reasonably complain that they had no notice that this business , was to be brought forward, because I observe that upon to-day’s notice-paper it is stated that a Supply Bill is to be. brought forward. I am perfectly certain, however, that if it had been known that such a large and exceptional amount was to be asked for, some honorable members who have gone away would have remained.
– They all knew of the urgent necessity for this expenditure.
– It was not represented to themthat the demand would be so large. At all events a considerable number of members are not present.
– Honorable members are continually urging us to do this work.
– So far as I am concerned, I have only to say that the responsibility must rest upon the Government. I echo what the last speaker has said, that nothing can limit the power of the House in carefully examining the expenditure of the Government. The informal sanction of these proposals must not be taken as any guarantee that full and liberal criticism of the expenditure incurred will not be forthcoming on a future occasion.
– The honorable member himself has asked for a good many works to be undertaken.
– All the works that I have asked for were just.
– Very necessary.
– They were both necessary and just. I am sure that Ministers will admit that I do not worry them very often.
– There is not a line in this schedule that cannot be properly defended.
– I draw attention to the fact that we are authorizing a very large expenditure in a House in which there is only a bare quorum. We are doing this under a rule which appears to me to be “ more honoured in the breach than the observance. ‘ ‘
.- We are now asked to give to the Treasurer a sanction to expend a sum of £100,000 on works and buildings.
– No; the Treasurer has only made a statement as to what he proposes to do.
– The Treasurer has made a statement seeking the sanction of honorable members to the expenditure of £100,000 in connexion with the items enumerated in the paper laid upon the table. He has not directly asked for the sanction of the House; but he has asked for an expression of opinion to guide his conduct in the matter. This afternoon, we practically agreed to contribute , £5,000 to the cost of the Antarctic Expedition, and to compensate the distressed widows of public officials to the extent of £2,400. What I complain about is that, although the Treasurer can find a way to provide huge sums for those purposes, yet he is blocking reforms which are said by the postal officials to be necessary to put their Department into proper working order, so that the public may obtain value for their money, and public officers receive decent remuneration for their services, instead of being sweated. For some months we have been asking for the paltry sum of£1 2,000 to put things right in the Department, but the Treasurer has practically withheld that money, and so blocked reforms. On two occasions, I have asked him questions relating to the Post and Telegraph Department, and it appears to me that he is acting Postmaster-General as well as Treasurer.
– I am controlling the whole of the expenditure of the Departments that has not been voted, and I will continue to do so, too.
– It is a peculiar thing that, although the responsible officials state that a certain scheme is necessary in order to get rid of the sweating which obtains in the Post and Telegraph Department, and the Postmaster-General has expressed his willingness to carry . out that scheme, yet the Treasurer places his judgment against that of his colleague, and the reports of the postal officials who declare that the scheme is absolutely necessary in the public interests.
– I Have to find the money, and, of course, they cannot act without money.
– Certainly, the honorable gentleman has control of the money, but who is to be responsible for the management of the Post and Telegraph Department, in which sweating is carried on?
– There is too much talk about sweating. I know a good deal of what is going on.
– There will be continual talk about the sweating until some way is found to get rid of it. Scarcely a day goes by without question upon question being asked as to sweating in the General Post Office at Sydney, and delays in the conduct of business. There is a loud complaint by business men that they cannot obtain the services which the Department says it can supply to the public. Day after day we have questions asked here with a view to procuring some satisfaction, and at last we find that it is the Treasurer who has blocked the way. The postal officials have been blamed before the com.try
– The honorable member is not helping them. He is doing them more harm than he would if he were to be quiet.
– I do not think so.
– I think so, and the honorable member will know it, too.
– Once we let the public know who is responsible for blocking the reforms which the Department say are -absolutely necessary, and which the public declare almost daily in the press are required, and that the Treasurer has admitted that it is in his power to provide the necessary funds, we shall have advanced a considerable stage towards getting rid of the evil.
– The honorable member is proceeding in the wrong way.
– I do not think so.
– The Treasurer is like Gibraltar - he cannot be shifted.
-‘ I believe that he could beN shifted much more easily than could Gibraltar. The time is fast coming when we shall have to get some satisfaction in this matter.
– All right; let the honorable member start now.
– I point out to the honorable member that the question before the House is that the. paper laid upon the table by the Treasurer be printed.
– I understand that in placing the paper upon the table, the Treasurer said that if there was no objection offered by the House it was his intention to give authority for the expenditure of this money, and that that course was taken in order to -invite an expression of opinion. If we are not allowed to discuss the question, how can he .possibly get an expression of opinion? However, sir, in face of your ruling, I do not desire to pursue the matter. I recognise that we can do very little now. I have not yet said much about the sweating which is going on, because I want the PostmasterGeneral to have every opportunity to make inquiry, and to rectify matters. After finding out that he desires to put things
Tight, and is backed up by the postal officials–
– I am not going to be ruled by officials in any Department. There is a great deal too much ruling by officials.
– What the postal officials have asked for is backed up by the Postmaster-General, whom the House holds responsible for the administration of this Department. The Treasurer should not stand in the way when the PostmasterGeneral wants the necessary funds to put matters right in his Department. I recognise that at the present time we have not much opportunity of doing anything substantial towards securing necessary reforms, but I intend to be heard on’ this subject when the House re-assembles next year.
– I gather that in laying this paper upon the table the Treasurer is simply trying to feel the pulse of the House. He is a foxy old chap, sir. We have known him for years. He is not thinking of to-day, but looking ahead some months when these items will come under review. I am not so young as the honorable member for Cook, and. therefore I do not propose to commit mvself on this occasion. I am glad to hear the Treasurer say that he intends to button his pockets against the Postmaster-General or any other Minister who wants to catch the public eye by the mere expenditure of large sums of public money. ‘. Of course, it is right to expend large sums when the expenditure is justifiable, but the Treasurer is the custodian of the public purse, and I was glad to hear that he does not intend to allow public officials to have all their own way. That is, I think, a welltimed (statement. I believe that the Post and Telegraph Department will have to be put under the control of a Royal Commission, and managed in the same way as are the railways of a State. It is a gigantic Department, and the Treasurer is quite warranted in resisting the appeal for a large sum until he has received further information. I hope that he, as “ our uncle,” if I may use the term, will be as careful of the funds as was Sir George Turner.
– Sir George Turner was not in it with the present Treasurer.
– I am very pleased to hear from the Postmaster-General that the present Treasurer is a “ Turner in excelsis.” It is certainly not a very popular role to play, but we need care and economy in the control of the public funds. If the Treasurer wants to add to his reputation, the more closely he follows in the footsteps of Sir George Turner the better it will be. If, however, he has exercised more care and economy than did that well-known Treasurer, the . Postmaster-General ought to De very glad that he has a colleague to protect him against himself, because he is a soft-hearted sort of chap.
– That remark is very unbecoming.
– I meant to say, sir, that the honorable gentleman is soft-hearted. I am very pleased indeed that there is a curb put on him, and the Treasurer may expect honorable members to subject his colleague’s demand for money to very severe criticism.
.- I would impress upon the Government the necessity, while spending so much money on city services, to be a little more generous in the matter of telephonic, telegraphic, and mail services for country districts. This Parliament has already unduly showered favours on the larger centres of population. For instance, our expenditure upon the over-sea mail service, which is incurred, chiefly ‘in the interests of the commercial classes, is twice as much as the return, and yet if I apply for the establishment of’ a mail service between two country towns I am qf ten met with the answer, “ It will not pay.” I experience great difficulty in securing the institution of a mail service for a country district even where I am able to show that it would result in only a small loss, whereas every one seems to be prepared to agree cheerfully to an annual loss of between £60,000 and £70^000 on the over-sea mail service. We recently agreed to the construction of a telephone line between Melbourne and Sydney at a cost of something like £40,000, and, although a very considerable loss is sustained upon it, no one complains.
– According to the latest returns it is paying 9 per cent.
– That is only on the cost of construction.
– I have seen no such return, and have no hesitation in asserting that the line will not pay working expenses plus interest on the cost of construction.
– It is also used for telegraphic purposes.
– We have to deduct from its earnings a considerable sum in respect of the loss of telegraphic revenue consequent upon the construction of the line. I would urge upon the Postmaster-General the absolute necessity of giving a little more attention to the requirements of rural districts. As a case in point, I would remind the honorable member that the telegraph line on the west coast of Western Australia is so close to the ocean that breakdowns frequently occur.
– We have taken steps to remedy the trouble.
– On a recent occasion four days elapsed before a break between Hamelin Pool and Roeburne was made good. If a delay of four hours, not to say days, occurred in the delivery of a city mail, or a telephone subscriber in one of our big towns were kept waiting for four minutes by the Exchange,, we should have letters of complaint in the press next morning. But the cutting off of a community of pioneers from the outside world excites no ‘ outcry whatever. Out of the enormous sum which the Treasurer ls finding for the Post and Telegraph Department provision should be made for a more generous country policy, more particularly in those States where the population is constantly expanding into new settlements. I would urge the Government to consider the desirability of departing from the old practice of insisting that all petty services that are sought for shall possess a reasonable prospect of being remunerative. I have always held that the Postal Department ought to be an auxiliary to the development of the country. I admit that from a strictly departmental point of view that is not considered sound policy. The Department is a purely commercial one, but the Government themselves, in connexion with the oversea mail service, have made an important departure in principle., and are sacrificing something like £70,000 per annum. The Minister therefore should not view too critically requests for small- services in outlying parts of the Commonwealth. There are places in my electorate which have only a fortnightly or monthly mail, and although I admit that it would not pay to run a weekly service I think that the Government should at least give some consideration to the wants of the people in such districts. In some parts of Australia men have to travel 200 or 300 miles to reach a telegraph office. I suppose that it is impossible for us to bridge at once such enormous distances, but if the Government can afford to construct a costly telephone line for the special convenience of the merchants of Melbourne and Sydney, they maywell be expected to do something for the pioneers who are opening up the back country and making it possible for our city traders to prosper. I do not wish to labour this question. It is one to which I have often referred in the House; and in view of the fact that the Government contemplate this large expenditure, chiefly in respect of city services, I. thought it desirable to reiterate my views on the subject. Let me. in conclusion, impress on them that it is not a healthy policy to gorge the people in the cities with postal facilities and to starve those in the country.
.- I rise simply to emphasize the point that the mere fact that the Treasurer at this late hour has seen fit to bring down this statement of (proposed expenditure, and that we may admit that some of it is urgently necessary, must not be considered to do away with the right of honorable members to criticise at length at some other time the contemplated outlay. The Treasurer must take the full responsibility for it. I simply wish to make it clearly understood that our action on this occasion must not be interpreted as preventing us from scrutinizing, and. if necessary, criticising at some future time the expenditure for which the Treasurer has provided.
– In reply to the honorable member for Coolgardie I may say that I have recognised for some time that there is very grave reason for complaint regarding, the breakdowns on the telegraph line to which he has referred, and that I have already taken steps to remove what is undoubtedly a grievance. I have also tried to some small extent to make concessions to country districts, and it is certainly my personal desire to help them in every way. My honorable friend has administered the Post and Telegraph Department, and I need hardly remind him that its revenue-earning branches are undoubtedly in the large centres of population.
– They would be no good without the country districts.
– I have not said that they would be. I h’ave merely stated the fact that the money-earning centres of the Department are in the large cities, where telephones must be grounded, metallic circuits provided, and up-to-date switchboards placed in position. These works having been commenced must be carried on to completion. In making such a statement, surely I am not detracting from the claims of country districts for consideration. I am entirely in sympathy with the honorable member for Coolgardie regarding the great drawbacks of life in scattered districts, and if I can do anything by means of a reasonable expenditure to help those districts it will certainly be my desire to effect an improvement.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
SECRET DRUGS, CURES, AND FOODS: Mr. BEALE’S REPORT.
– The House is aware that an important report by a Royal Commission on Secret Drugs, Cures, and Foods was recently laid upon the table, and that certain honorable members questioned the wisdom of circulating it in the form in which it was presented. I therefore invited the assistance of honorable members who are also members of the medical profession, and am much indebted to them - particularly to the honorable member for Laanecoorie - for recommendations as to the portions of the report it would be desirable to distribute. They have ad- vised the omission of three paragraphs, and of a passage in small print, in regard to which they were unanimous, and we thought that we could not do better than adopt their recommendations on what was strictly a medical question. I therefore lay on the table the revised report in substitution for the report previously presented, and move - .
That the paper be printed.
– Was the honorable member for Hunter consulted?
– Yes ; all the medical members of the House.
Question resolved in the affinmative.
Mr. DEAKIN laid upon the table the following paper -
Explanatory memorandum in regard to the New Protection.
Ordered to be printed.
– In pursuance of an undertaking given more than once this session, that the, policy Ot the Government in relation to Defence would’ be sub- ‘mitted to the House before the Christmas adjournment, I take this opportunity to Jay our scheme before honorable members. The fact that there is necessarily a small attendance in this last hour of our session this year imposes no disability, because the remarks I desire to offer will consist largely of quotations and figures, rapidly summarized, and,-, therefore, best studied in print. While it is physically impossible to deal with the whole defence question as it deserves, I shall endeavour to touch, however lightly, upon those many aspects which cannot be omitted without prejudice to a general outline. One of the chief reasons for the union of our States was the need of a common defence ; but, until now, we have been content to take the course of expediency, and although there has been combination and reconstruction, the land and sea forces of the Commonwealth, are still little more than the collective forces of the States. We now propose a new organization for the defence of Australia. Therefore, we are about to initiate a departure, contemplated at the inception of Federation, and intended to lay the foundation of our defence upon a basis as wide as the Commonwealth, without distinction- of States.
This House has just completed its task of dealing fiscally with the industrial conditions of the country as a whole, and it is appropriate that we should proceed to deal nationally with its defence. I am, to a certain extent, in sympathy with the honorable member for Wide Bay, who, by interjection, inferentially deplored expenditure on warlike preparations. It is not because we admire, or desire, offensive warfare that great proposals are now to be submitted for the consideration of Parliament. That we should require to take thought for the morrow in this regard is, to the thoughtful, occasion for inappeasable: regret. The enormous annual expenditure of modern nations, severally jealous of each other’s possessions and privileges, foreseeing the contingency that they may become involved in deadly conflict, though unhappily an evident necessity, presents humanity in a stage of its evolution which cannot be regarded with pride or satisfaction. To-day the civilized world, and the uncivilized, too, consists of armed nations. Its leading nations are arming with more feverish haste than ever before, and, unhappily, the pace set by the foremost is that with which every people, desiring to protect itself from loss and. aggression, must attempt to keep step.” This has been termed cut-throat competition ; and it is accurately so described. But as no one will suspect Great Britain, or still less one of her dependencies, of seeking to quarrel with her neighbours, or of harboring bellicose designs, we shall be believed when we say that our military preparation is strictly for defence, and with no threat of foreign offence. An obligation is cast upon us to protect the territory with which we have been intrusted, and the fortunes of our kindred who share its responsibilities with us ; as our territory is part of the Empire, we are in a measure responsible to all its units across the seas to become to them a source of strength and not of weakness. There was a time, not long since, when it was confidently maintained that Australia was outside the area of the world’s conflicts, and might regard in comparative quietude any hostile movements in other parts of the globe. That comfortable outlook has long since passed away. No one can contend that Australia is outside that arena to-day. On the contrary, every decade brings us into closer and closer touch with the subjects of other peoples planted in our neighbourhood, and with the interests of other peoples more or less antagonistic to our own. Consequently being compelled b>- the very circumstances of our time and situation to recognise the active lust of conquest existing not only in the industrial but in the national sphere, we must now prepare ourselves to resist the deadlier weapons which are employed in the realm of battle. 1 would not wish to suggest that naval and military discipline are., so to speak, a dead loss. On the contrary, we must admit that in many respects they both make for physical well-being and to a certain extent, especially in the Navy, for a moral and intellectual tempering. There is some counterbalancing consideration in that regard. Nor can we fail to recognise that in many cases preparations for strife are dictated bv high and noble motives. But what I do urge is that the best results from military training are to be obtained in a citizen army exactly in the proportion in which it is a citizen army. When men rally round their hearths and homes simply to safeguard them and those they love, they discharge a duty. They serve peace and justice. The obligation upon all of us is that we should at least hand down to our children the heritage that we ourselves received at birth, undiminished and improved as far as has been possible within our compass. Any preparation for war in our case is for a war of resistance; we prepare for war, in point of fact, only to preserve peace. This is the policy of the Commonwealth. Possessively the Commonwealth has very much to defend. Taking the lower standard one finds that the wealth of Australia has been variously estimated at f from £1, 000,000,000 to £1, 200,000, 000. To-day that enormous treasure is placed in the keeping of a handful of population. While we spend annually for the purpose of defence one out of every thousand pounds so reckoned, we certainly can not be accused of anything but the severest business economy of insurance. But obviously it is not upon the lower standard that we are able to measure our risks. If we lost the whole of our financial possessions we should miss them muchless than if we were robbed of liberty, constitutional freedom, civilization, and social status. One hesitates even to consider such prospects, and yet one must recollect that there are grave contingencies to be kept in view, if it be only at the back of our minds.’ None of us can conceive Australians in serfdom, or subject to an alien rule. Although the incredible consequences that would follow from the obliteration of our race and nationality can not be compassed by the imagination,we can never forget that what we have most to defend first and last is our national life and ideals more precious than life of the breathing frame. For our defence to-day we spend on the basis of the Estimates for the current year about 6s. per head of our population. Allowing for the pension system in the United States of America their outlay on defence is nearly thrice as large, that of Germany and of France is more than thrice as large, whilst the expenditure in Great Britain is more than twice as much as the German, and nearly twice as much as the French. We cannot therefore be accused of undue extravagance. What we are spending is not in covetous rivalry but for the sake of security. What we endeavour when spending is to obtain value for our money. What we seek is not the development of what is sometimes termed a military as distinguished from a martial spirit. What we aim at is the maximum of good citizenship, with the spirit of patriotism as the chief motive power of a civic defence force. For always, behind the weapons, behind the organization, behind the gun, there is the man. It is in the character and capacity of its manhood that the real strength and energy of resistance of a people must be found.
– And that is where we come in.
– When we do go in we must come out well. In this country we accept the minimum of professional militarism strictly so-called, and in considering our national policy generally we require a maximum of navalism, if I may coin such a word. After all, the British Empire itself arid all its parts depend for their unity and guarantee of freedom upon the Navy. That is its first line of defence, and we in Australia are distinguished in this particular, because we must rely more upon it than any other part of the Empire. Ours is an island continent, and its best defence will be that which prevents a:i invader from ever setting his foot upon our shores. Now, naval discipline and training differ in character very largely from military training and discipline. The former is much more specialized on shipboard, and even naval militia demand far more training to reach a modern standard of efficiency. Still we have every reason to believe that the national instinct of the sea lives in our section of the race as much as in any other. Certainly every report we obtain, and every evidence we acquire, proves the success of our sailors in the Australian Squadron, and in the examinations and tests with, men of the Royal Navy in the Mother Country. All go to show that they are maintaining the reputation of this country, standing well above the average standard achieved even in the finest navy the world possesses. But when asking you to make a far larger provision for naval development than has ever been attempted here, we require to recollect at the very outset that we. owe to naval power and to the British flag our freedom in and ownership of this territory, the power to retain it, the whole of our political liberties and social standards. The Commonwealth is governed by a policy appropriately termed that of a “ White Australia” because the “white ensign” flies all round our coast. Withdraw that, and peril would be instant. The Mother Country, though still “ Mistress of the Seas,” submits to have some of the fleets of battleships by which her coasts are guarded, occasionally distant from that base. But still those remaining afford her a measure of protection only to be obtained in our case by what would be distinctly termed coastal defence. The squadron in these seas may at any time be removed to the China or Indian Seas. When a parallel- is sought to be drawn between her circumstances and ours, this contrast requires to be taken into account. Needless to say, our immense area means a long coast-line, and, therefore, the protection of Australian shores, quite apart from any attempt to share in operations upon the high seas, implies a great burden of responsibility. We are often taunted with paying no adequate share of the cost of, and with taking no part in naval defence on the high seas by. battle-ships. But, ‘although since 1887 I have been engaged, with others, in considering various methods for the measurement of the responsibilities of the several portions of the Empire in regard to the maintenance of its flag upon the worlds’ oceans. I have never yet, either by one standard or by any combination of standards, been able to arrive at, or find any one else who has arrived at, a plan which is ripe for practical consideration. I propose, therefore, to pass by that part of the subject. It is not because we deny the main tenets of the “ blue water” school. We admit that the sea is one all the world over, and that, therefore, the navy on the high seas must also be one, in direction and command, all the world over. But what we point to is that our problem of naval defence, putting aside the question of our share in the defence of the high seas, is a special problem to be viewed in the light of our special circumstances. This will be a principal element in shaping the local naval proposals which I shall presently disclose. Let me merely say, in passing, that any personal knowledge I have gained, either by readings or observation, encourages me to believe that, whatever signs of decadence may be discovered by critics in the Mother Country or in any of her departments, the Navy stands out as an exception. It is a distinctly up-to-date force, constantly adjusting itself to fresh conditions, whose officers and men prove on every occasion of trial that thev retain, with the dauntless courage of the race, its natural adaptability, not only to the ancient wooden ships of the line, but to the curiously deformed modern structures of enormous interior complexity and deadly power constituting the Navy of to-day. No spectacle in England was, or could be, more impressive either to her own people or to those of us from overseas than that which was lately witnessed at Portsmouth. There in the Channel one saw the “ fleets in being “ gathered together, realizing by aid of the eye what their potency actually is. Dreadful thunders were locked within those iron hulls, fitted and finished within almost as delicately as a watch, containing every modern improvement, the latest developments of telegraph and telephone, every agency that can protect the crew ov destroy a foe, all apparently in perfect condition and under absolute command. The British Navy is a proud and progressive service, not content to rely upon its past laurels, unequalled as they are, but pushing insistently forward,, keeping in its iron grip the priority it has held for centuries. Such considerations as these will explain something I have yet to say in due time with regard to what that Navy may mean to us hereafter. We have also to be reminded that the latest vessels of war - battleships, armoured cruisers, submarines or submersibles - from their greatest to their more diminutive sizes, make to-day far heavier and far more general demands on brain, nerve, and hardihood than were ever made in “ the brave days of old.” The intricacy and variety of their many mechanisms, enormous powers of speed, weight of projectiles and rapidity of firing with the immense range of their weapons of war - require such expert knowledge and training, such readiness of decision and promptitude of action, that they impose a strain upon their crews which would be simply inconceivable to our fighting forefathers who won the splendid sea fights at the beginning of the last century. To-day the Navy - always a service for young men, and consisting, except in positions of the highest command, of men under forty years of age, or very ‘ little above it - is to a still greater degree in the smaller craft with their more delicate pieces of mechanism, passing into the hands of young men. Submarines or torpedo destroyers owing to their fragility and high speed, fulfil their regular functions under circumstances of danger, which, in war, when every pulse of the men and the mechanism is at high tension, would be immensely increased. The pressure upon the nerve, courage, and capacity of each unit and upon every man in the British marine is far higher now than it has ever been, and still tends to increase with every one of the marvellous advances which science is making. To preserve naval efficiency under novel conditions such as these imposes much more arduous obligations than at any period in the world’s history.
Sitting suspended from 6.2 J to 7.45 p.m.
– The question of defence, as seen from Australia, falls naturally into three parts. The first relates to the command of the high seas, the next to the protection of our coasts, and the last, to our power to hold our own territory against invader/s. For the first, we rely on the Imperial Navy, with its battleships and heavy cruisers, the radius of whose operations, and artillery, is 1*ing extended year by year. Our second line of coastal defence has had hitherto & varying history ; and as to the land defences which must repel invasion, I shall speak presently. On ‘ what may be termed the Imperial line of defence on the high seas, as I have pointed out, our share of responsibility must be estimated hereafter. At the very outset of the recent Colonial Conference in London, the Prime Minister of Great Britain met us with the frank avowal that the British Government preferred no claim for .money in relation to naval defence, and went on to add the extremely pregnant statement that the control of naval defence and foreign affairs must always go together. If honorable members appreciate the force of that axiom, they will see that it implies much both now and in the future. It implies that for the present, seeing that we have no voice in foreign affairs, we are not obliged to take any part in Imperial naval defence. It implies, also, with equal clearness, that when we do take a part in naval defence, we shall be entitled to a share in the direction of foreign affairs. But, in regard to the immediate situation, nothing could be more explicit. As we are in every respect outside of ihe domain -of the foreign affairs of the Empire, and without any voice in the making of war or peace, so we remain for the present outside all responsibility for any naval defence on that score. But the question from our point of view cannot end with any such axiom. In order to mark the change which has come over the policy of British Governments in regard, first of all, to our political relations to the defence problem, and next in regard to the measure of defence which falls to our lot, allow me for a moment to refer to a few incidents in our own history. It was at a Conference in 1881 that the Premiers of the Australian Colonies put forward for the first time a definite doctrine of our mutual responsibilities. The whole naval defence, they said, should rest with the Imperial Government^ while the military defence of the land, including the forts for harbor protection; should rest with Australia. That, so far as I remember, was the first definite doctrine laid down as to the division of the task of defence. The Premiers of Australia, on laying down that doctrine, demanded that, as part of the Imperial naval defence, there should be a squadron of Imperial ships set apart for the defence of our coasts. The Admiralty replied, declining to admit that responsibility, unless Australia paid the whole expense of maintaining the Squadron, and even expressed a desire that we should pay the cost of building them. Nothing was done.
Then came, in 1885, Admiral Tryon’s scheme; and in 1887, at the first Colonial Conference held in London, a compromise was arrived at, by which asquadron of Imperial ships was set apart for Australia on condition that we shared the cost. The only change that occurred in 1902, when the third Colonial Conference was held, was that the Admiralty pressed hard for an immensely larger contribution than had been previously paid ; and it was only after a great deal of bargaining that they consented to accept about half their original demand. Our Australian Naval Agreement Act embodies the arrangement then arrived at. At the same time, instead of being restricted, as before, to Australian waters, the new squadron was permitted to operate in the Australasian, Indian, or China seas. The only Australian characteristic of this squadron was that two of the vessels were to be manned by Australians, who were to receive extra pay. In 1903, in consequence of that Conference, the Act to which I have . referred was passed. It sets out, in set terms, that its basis implies a single navy under one authority, and that the squadron, though called Australian, is to be stationed wherever the Admiralty believe it to be most effective for the defence of our trade and interests. At the same time, it is provided that Australia shall be treated as a base for coal and supplies. This Act, as honorable members will recollect, was passed only after protracted discussion. The Admiralty were not satisfied with the contribution made, and a section , of our people were not satisfied with the bargain from our side. Consequently, when, in 1905, Admiral Fanshawe delivered several speeches, and one in particular, in which he pointed out the insufficiency of our contribution, I took occasion in August of that year to write to the British Government a despatch challenging his contentions. I pointed out that there was nothing distinctively Australian in the Naval Squadron maintained in these waters, that our support to it had been given in default of better means of co-operation, and that, being in no sense specifically associated with us, it roused no patriotic feeling. No exception was taken to the existence of a Naval Agreement between the British Government and ourselves; on the contrary, that was postulated. But exception was taken to the fact that our contribution was made in money, and only indirectly in men when they entered the ships of the Squadron. In no other way were they connected with us, or representative of us. My objection was that Australia’s part in this agreement was simply to find a certain contribution in money, and my suggestions were that we ought to substitute some active co-operation for this mere cash payment. In 1906 the Admiralty, by despatch, dissociated themselves altogether from Admiral Fanshawe’ s expressions of dissatisfaction. In October of that year, having in view the then impending Colonial Conference, amongst the resolutions I prepared was. one asking reconsideration of the Naval Agreement. It will be found on reference to page 132 of the reports of that Colonial Conference, that, in the course of the debates, I verbally called attention to the same defects, from my point of view, in that Agreement. I contended that the monetary standard was not the most acceptable for an Australian contribution, and that some other form of co-operation was necessary ; that, in its present form, the Agreement was not so popular as it ought to be, considering the great popularity of the British Navy - that, in short, the Agreement was not satisfactory to any one, and had been accepted only until a better means of united action could be devised. But shortly before the Colonial Conference opened, a. debate occurred in the House of Commons, in which a speech by Mr. Balfour, followed by its indorsement on behalf of the present Government, exhibited an entire change of front on the part of the British Parliament, so far as the political side of this question is concerned. It was then intimated in the clearest terms that so far as the British Parliament was concerned it would make no further demands of any kind upon us in connexion with Imperial Naval Defence. The statement of the Prime Minister, Sir H.CampbellBannerman, that naval defence and foreign affairs must go together was made at the opening ofthe Imperial Conference in April last. That axiom exactly summed up the effect of the debate in the Commons. At our subsequent meetings, Lord Tweedmouth, who represents the Admiralty in the Government, plainly said -
Speaking for Great Britain and the British Government, we are responsible.
Upon page 129 of the report of the proceedings of the Conference it will be found that he uttered these memorable words -
We want you to give us all the assistance that you can, but we do not come to you as beggars; we gladly take all that you can give us, but at the same time, if you are not inclined to give us the help that we hope to have from you, we acknowledge our absolute obligation to defend the King’s Dominions across the seas to the best of our ability.
That was a splendidly magnanimous attitude. It was in accordance with the axiom of the Prime Minister. As the logical outcome of that axiom His Majesty’s Government frankly declared that, having the sole control of the affairs of the Empire, and the sole decision of peace or war, the whole responsibility for the defence of the Empire - irrespective of what we might givewas their care. Upon page 130, Lord Tweedmouth added -
We are quite ready to enter into any arrangement with the Colonies that may seem most suitable to them, and which may seem to bring advantage to the Navy, and advantage to the Colonies themselves.
Upon page 482, by way of interjection, he summed up the Ministerial position very accurately in the statement -
We shall be willing to take in kind what has been paid in the past in hard cash.
That is to say, they are now prepared to accept the proposal that we previously submitted for a contribution by Australia in kind - a contribution from her own men and her own resources, instead of from our purse. Put this broad statement, completely in harmony with the Prime Minister’s declaration, was afterwards qualified by certain conditions imposed by Lord Tweedmouth. The consistency of these with the axiom of the head of the British Government is still to seek. We shall keep on seeking until we find a constitutional means of Imperial co-operation. Upon page 129 he said, on behalf of the Admiralty, that what he invited us to do was - to place confidence in the Board of Admiralty, and in the present Government, for the future safety of the country.
That is to say, we were to place confidence in the British Board of Admiralty and in the present British Government for the future safety of the country. Presumably he meant more by the word “country” than the United Kingdom. He then proceeded to invite us to take some “ leading part “ in making more complete than it is at present the Naval Defence of the Empire. Afterwards he proceeded to the qualifications. He said -
The only reservation that the Admiralty desire to make is (1) that they claim to have the charge of the strategical questions which are necessarily involved in Naval Defence ; (2) to hold the command of the Naval Forces of the country; (3) to arrange the distribution of the ships in the best possible manner to resist attacks, and to defend the Empire at large.
These three very important conditions were followed by the statement that the British Government were responsible for the defence of the Empire, that they wanted us to help them in that defence, but only on the terms mentioned. Again, he said -
I want to claim first your help, and, second, authority to manage this great service without restraint.
Upon page 130 he remarked -
So long as the possession of unity of command and direction of the Fleet is maintained they - meaning the British Government - are ready to consider a modification of the existing arrangements to meet the views of the various Colonies.
Once more he said -
The distribution of the Fleet must be determined by strategical requirements, of which the Admiralty is the judge.
On page 148 he urged -
Then there is a point which has been alluded to more than once by speakers, and that is the question of the distribution of ships. At this moment, no doubt we are under certain obligations with regard to Australia, as to the ships that are to be on that particular station. It, in future, asI hope will be the case, there will be greater concentration of the ships, I want it to be very distinctly understood that I. do not believe that our Dominions beyond the seas would suffer in any way from such an arrangement.
Again, he declared -
We want to consult with you as to the details of this scheme. Of course, if each separate Colony is to be treated on a different footing, we are quite ready to do that, and to make separate arrangements with each separate Colony according to its own wishes.
These quotations give a good idea of what is expected of us. We are asked to take a “ leading part “ in making the naval defence of the Empire more complete. Upon page 130 of the report of the proceedings of the Conference, Lord Tweedmouth defined exactly what he hoped would be our part. He said -
It would be of great assistance if the Colonial Governments would undertake (1) to provide for local service in the Imperial Squadrons, the smaller vessels that are useful for defence against possible raids, or for co-operation with the squadron, and also (2) to equip and maintain docks and fitting establishments which can be used by His Majesty’s ships. It will further be of much assistance if (3) coaling facilities are provided, and arrangements can be made for a supply of coal and naval stores, which otherwise would have to be sent out specially or purchased locally.
The numbers inserted in the quotations, for convenience, are my own. It wilt be noticed that our small vessels are to serve “ in the Imperial Squadron.” Finally, on pages 330 and 1.3:1, he made some remarks which are worthy of special note. He suggested that-
If the provision of the smaller craft which are necessarily incident to the work of a great fleet of modern battleships could be made locally, it would be a very great help to the general work of the Navy. You cannot take the small crafts, such as torpedo boats and submarines, across the ocean, and for warships to arrive in South Africa or in Australia or in New Zealand or in Canada, and fmd ready to their hand well-trained men in vessels of this kind, would be an enormous advantage to them. lt would be an enormous advantage to find ready to their hand men well trained, ready to take a part in the work of the fleet. There is, T think, the further advantage in these small flotillas, that they will be an admirable means of coast defence; and that you will be able by the use of them to avoid practically all danger from any sudden raid which might be made by a cruising squadron.
Here our vessels are to be apparently used by us to resist raids, and not necessarily “in the Imperial Squadron.” I hope that without wearying the House I have now fairly placed before honorable members the essence of the propositions submitted to us in London by Lord Tweedmouth. Curiously enough, the Admiralty had then arrived at exactly the same position as the Australian Premiers did in 1881. The whole defence of the sea and its control is to be a matter for the British Government and the British Navy. The defence of our shores is to be left to Australia except that there may be a small flotilla of Australian vessels capable of being used by the Navy as a part of its squadron. That represents a political transformation. An equal transformation has taken place in the strategical policy of the Admiralty, which affects us most materially. The old doctrine, so far as I understand it, appeared to be that the strength of the Mother Country was to be asserted bv the presence in every important sea of a separate fleet to “ patrol its waters and to maintain British interests against attack, so that wherever difficulty arose there would be a fleet in that particular portion of the globe prepared for duty. But in recent years the. whole view of the Admiralty experts seems to have changed, and although there is still a certain amount of localization of forces the doctrine of concentration has been rapidly developed., and is now being acted upon all round the world. As honorable members are aware, the old fleets of the Empire in Europe and on the American coast - they -have been withdrawn from the latter - have been massed. Second or third rate ships have been discarded to the scrap-heap.- The most powerful vessels of the old squadrons have been brought together, in order, instead of having a separate fleet in every ocean, and on almost every coast, to ha.ve fleets commanding great areas, consisting of the most powerful vessels, expeditious, and heavily armed, which, when concentrated, are enabled to operate at any particular point with greater effect than was ever attempted before. That is a transformation, as I understand it, of the system of naval strategy which has a great deal of importance for us. There was foreshadowed, in 1903, a sphere of operations for the Australian Squadron enlarged by the addition of the India and China seas. We now know that the fleet usually in Australian waters would be centred in time of war in accordance with the policy of concentration. The best ships of our squadron would be united with the best ships of the India and China Squadrons, and they, operating together, would become responsible for any force anywhere in those three seas. When the first Agreement was sought to be made, in 1881, and was afterwards made in. 1887, with the separate Australian Colonies, there was a demand by Australia for the protection qf our local shipping by a special fleet, which, though Imperial, was to be in part paid for by us, and was allotted to our coast. That consideration largely disappeared under the Agreement of 1902, and would now, in accordance with present views, disappear al together What the Admiralty desire here, in accordance with their policy, is to concentrate the three squadrons, in the three Eastern Seas in time of peace. Instead of waiting for those three squadrons to join after a declaration of war, the policy is to unite them and keep them together beforehand. I have here a rough summary of the opinions which I ventured to express in London outside the Conference, adding the wishes of the British Government and of the Admiralty in. regard to their present squadrons, including the Australian Fleet. The situation from their point of view and from ours is described in order to prepare the way for a new Agreement which would satisfy the Admiralty as well as the people of the Commonwealth. I said that according to high authority the present subsidized Australian. Squadron ought not to be continued, its best ships should be removed and united with _ those of the Indian and China Squadrons in one joint Eastern Fleet of powerful vessels. If war broke out this would be done at once now, under the Agreement, so that the concentrated naval force in these seas might be brought to bear upon our foe, wherever he might be found; on our coasts; off Japan ; or off Colombo’. Consequently, the sooner our present squadron can be merged in this joint Eastern Squadron in time of peace, so as to be ready for war, the better from the Admiralty point of view. The £240,000 subsidy paid by Australia and New Zealand does not compensate the Admiralty for its severance in time of peace from the other two squadrons now existing. It would pay the Admiralty to forego the subsidy and get its best ships into a squadron, free from the limitations imposed by the Australasian Agreement of 1903. While that bargain holds the striking force of the Navy in the East is impaired instead of increased. In the interests of the Empire the Agreement ought to be cancelled, according (to the new view, ;as soon as possible. In the interests of Australia, if they can be considered alone, the same course is necessary. The best defence of this country on the high seas surrounding us can be secured by a joint Eastern Squadron of powerful ships operating wherever necessary. Both the Empire and Australia are therefore losing instead of gaining by the present Agreement. If the three existing squadrons were, consolidated so far as their most powerful cruisers were concerned, the rest of the ships now on the Australian station would be left as at present, quite apart from any Agreement. They would patrol the Pacific, conduct surveys, and make their present rounds as they do now. Their base would be in Sydney, where they would use all the accommodation they now possess. Thev would be seen there and elsewhere on our coasts as occasion required. In addition, the new concentrated squadron would visit Australia say once a year in order that its capitals, which are all on. the sea-board, might be kept in touch with the British Navy. This would be the order of things after the Agreement was cancelled, and without any new Agreement being required. Under these circumstances the
Commonwealth would devote itself to the defence of its harbors and coasts. It would spend the sums advised by the Committee of Imperial Defence in protecting our harbors by shore works. It would, in addition, add local floating defences. Many authorities strongly urge submarines at each principal port.; two at least in Sydney and Melbourne, and one at each of the other capitals, together with some swift ocean-going destroyers capable of patrolling our coasts.- Pending the building of the latter perhaps the Admiralty could give us a couple of the best cruisers of the “ P “ class that they are laying aside in the course of their reorganization. We could man these for the time being with Australians now engaged in the squadron, if they were spared to us for a fixed period. In any event, whatever ships and men we obtained would be available in time of war in the event of an attack upon our coasts, in order to act with the concentrated Royal Navy Squadron, or any part of it, in our own waters. These submersibles and destroyers would afford a very real help to the squadron and be of great value, from the point of view of Imperial Defence in these seas. They and the harbor works, &c, would represent a greater naval contribution than “the present subsidy. Putting it briefly, as I understand it, the policy of the Admiralty itself is that they regard the present Australian Naval Agreement as an encumbrance which they desire to cancel, in order that their ships may be free from any local conditions whatever ; and they will only consent to have their ships limited geographically, as they are by the present Agreement, because of our insistence, and because of the contribution which we make towards their upkeep. But for their own part, the Admiralty are, at least, perfectly willing - some of its advisers are anxious - to be entirely freed from the present Agreement. In the next place, they look forward to the Common.wea.lth undertaking the defence of its harbors and coasts by a small flotilla such as I have already alluded to and subject to a very important and vital consideration to which I shall presently allude. The plan of naval construction suggested by our local officers, two years ago, has since been reviewed, in connexion with the necessary disabilities attaching to any isolated little service of our ‘own, with its costliness and lack of stimulus and training facilities. My view in regard to the flotilla was clearly explained when in London. After quoting what Lord Tweed1- mouth had said about the value to the British Squadron of submersibles or submarines and destroyers in these waters, I went on to insist that these submersibles and destroyers, built, manned, and maintained at the sole expense of the Commonwealth, must remain under the control of the Government. Their distribution and movements would be entirely subject to that Government at all times. That is one of the features to which I wish to call the attention of honorable members, because it is supplemented by a novel proposal for directly associating our naval forces with /those of the Mother Country. I ventured to press it then, and, as honorable members will see, am still pressing it upon the acceptance of the Admiralty. While feeling that for every constitutional reason any flotilla created and maintained by the Commonwealth must be under Commonwealth control; I have grown, more and more deeply to realize the risks of our attempting to create a small force solely of our own, in which the men and officers would have no hope for experience or advancement except within its bounds. A small flotilla of that description would remain a thing apart, not directly committed to the high standards of the Imperial Navy. In the Imperial Navy, as honorable members are aware, the men and the officers on every station are changed at short periods. Elaborate provisions are made to prevent them becoming hide-bound, sit-at-ease, indifferent or mechanical. They are transferred from ship to ship. They are put regularly through fresh courses of training. They have to return periodically to learn the latest methods in their particular departments. The consequence is that the Royal Navy is a most progressive weapon, always kept up-to-date, its men constantly in practical training, and always stimulated by competition, by examination, and by every other means which can be applied, in addition to the always powerful incitements offered by frequent prospects of promotion to vacancies in the many Fleets of the Empire. I think that the more honorable members reflect upon it, the more they will see how different must be the condition of a little land-locked navy - if one may so call it - of a small flotilla cut off by itself, its officers arid men removed from the possibilities of promotion or advancement, except by the slow and often unsatisfactory process of seniority, and with few opportunities for them to keep themselves abreast of the rapid advances made in their branches of the service. I contend, with the diffidence which must attach to a layman, though with some confidence, that the force of these criticisms will be made apparent if you take any country with a small flotilla or a few small ships, and compare these with the same class of ships and the same class of men engaged in. larger fleets with larger opportunities, and above all with those of the greatest of maritime powers, the British Navy. I ventured, therefore, to attempt to find a means by which we could get the whole benefit of connexion, with the Admiralty and the Imperial Fleet, sharing its standards, its training and its prizes, and yet maintain the Australian character of our flotilla, and so made the suggestion which I now summarize. Let our officers and men be engaged here, under the . same conditions as those of the Royal Navy, or be obtained after they have served in the Royal Navy. Let them serve on our local vessels for the usual term on this station, whatever it may be, and then pass into other ships of the Royal Navy, to continue their training elsewhere. This would keep them, while here, up to a standard of efficiency equal, at least, to that required everywhere in the Royal Navy. They would remain members of that Navy in every sense, recruited and serving under its laws. Their services in our ships would’ count in the same fashion as upon similar vessels in the Navy. They would be regularly inspected here by the Admiral or his deputies, and be subject to naval discipline and to all the penalties and privileges associated- with ‘such discipline. Australia would pay them, while they were on this station, at Australian rates of pay, though of course they would accept the usual deductions necessary to continue their title to share in the Royal NavyPensions Fund. Preference would be given wherever possible in our vessels to Australian officers and seamen at every opportunity that occurred. Our ships would fly the White Ensign with the Southern Cross, and be altogether Australian in cost and in political control, as to their movements and stations. In everything else, they would be part of the British Navy, the officers and men being simply seconded for fixed terms for service under our general control ; but in every other respect indistinguishable from the men in the Imperial Squadrons here or elsewhere. In time of war, they would almost certainly be placed by the Commonwealth Government of the day directly under the Admiral commanding the Eastern Squadron, since he would be the highest naval authority in this part of the world. I doubted in London, and still continue to doubt, if any conditions would be imposed upon this transfer at such a time, but it must be clearly understood that the decision on these points must rest absolutely in the hands of the responsible Government of Australia when the emergency arises. We want the most effective ships and the most efficient men we can get here, with ample prospects of advancement to the latter when they merit it. We also want a flexible relation, as intimate as possible, between our Government and the Admiralty, which shall encourage the development of our local defence to the fullest extent, and in such a form as to supplement to the best advantage the Imperial Navy in our hemisphere. I took the opportunity, on my own personal responsibility, of pressing that upon the Admiralty and upon the British Government as, at all events, one means by which our flotilla might be kept entirely up to date, its Australian character maintained, and the control of the Commonwealth Government asserted. Under this plan we should procure, by the expenditure of the same amount of money, a far more efficient, active, and progressive service than we could hope to do with a navy in a back water - a service solely our own, and limited by our exchequer. It would then be practi- cally a branch of the British Fleet, though under the Commonwealth, so far as political control was concerned.
– There would be divided control in time of war.
– No ; the whole control would be in the Commonwealth, but if in a time of danger it chose to place its flotilla under the command of the Admiral on this station - and in the event of operations here I should say that, in almost every circumstance, one can imagine, that would probably be the case - it would then pass wholly under his control for the time being.
Colonel Foxton. - But if it did not choose to do so?
– Parliament would retain the whole control.
Colonel Foxton. - We would have this anomaly, that there would be men and officers of the Royal Navy practically unable to serve therein.
– Not so, and why? Because, instead of being taken from the Royal Navy, our squadron would be an addition to the Royal Navy, and would not take anything from that Royal Navy even if not added to it. It would, perhaps, be less effectively employed apart, but, whatever it did, would help the British Squadron and assist to protect this part of the Empire. The Royal Navy could lose nothing by the existence of a special force, created and maintained at our expense, and not at that of the British taxpayer. So far as one can judge, almost under any conceivable conditions, the Government of the Commonwealth would feel that its safety was best served by placing those ships under the control of the highest naval expert in these seas.
Colonel Foxton. - Almost certainly, I should think.
– I should say so; but, after all, a Government’s responsibility is to their people, and the Government must be answerable only to them directly. To part with its control altogether would be to part with the Australian character of this local flotilla, which is one of the elements that we hope to use for the development of the maritime spirit in this part of the world. By its means we can make a real addition to the British Navy. Our Squadron being an addition, although part of, the Royal Navy, could be employed with its ships to our mutual great advantage.
– And Australia would become a recruiting ground for the Imperial Navy.
– As it would to the same extent in no other way.
– It would be an auxiliary squadron.
– It would bean auxiliary squadron in the sense of being trained in exactly the same way as the Royal Navy, and, therefore, capable of acting with it as an auxiliary just as troops who are drilled together can act together. In fact, it would be part of the British Navy. The question between us at present is not principally one affecting our present payment towards the upkeep of the Squadron. As showing the attitude which the Ad- miralty adopted towards the subsidy, Lord Tweedmouth said -
The best way to start the system he was suggesting would be to allocate for local purposes certain portions of the subsidies already given. The particular purposes to which that money should be devoted should be discussed in detail between representatives of the various Colonies and the Admiralty, so that a thoroughly good scheme might be worked out in the end.
The real question is one of control, though that only emerges gradually into view as the negotiations proceed. The problem before us is the association of our small naval strength with the great organization of fleets of the Mother Country so as to. secure the highest efficiency and unity without sacrificing our right to the constitutional control of our own funds,, and of any flotilla built and maintained at our own cost. I have made numerous quotations because honorable members, when they come to read them, will see certain inconsistencies appearing to have beset Lord Tweedmouth’s mind at that time - inevitable contradictions that have since become clear, but which only subsequent events enabled us to discover. Honorable’ members will see that on the part of the Admiralty there are to be no more demands on Australia - no official claims for money. But there are conditions sought to be imposed though these differ in substance from the demands originally made on us. Of course honorable members will not forget that there are two branches of naval defence as it will be undertaken by the Commonwealth. First there is the British Squadron for which we make a contribution in money. It is with that, and with that alone, that the Admiralty are dealing in the correspondence presently to be read. But quite apart from that, there is about to be created by ourselves, at an expenditure of £250,000 a year, a force, towards which the Admiralty will not contribute,” and over which they can claim no control except that which this Parliament may be pleased to give them. I ask honorable members to keep in their minds those two separate sets of proposals, because ‘all the references made by the Admiralty relate only to our present contribution and their Squadron. We pay £200,000 a year to that Squadron, and that contribution is often ridiculed overseas. I venture to say that by no comparative test can it be subjected to ridicule. It will- compare favorably with the £50,000 a. year contributed by Cape Colony, with the £40,000 a year contributed bv New Zealand, with the £35. 000 a year contributed by Natal, and with the £3,000 a year contributed by Newfound land. While the expenditure in Canada amounts to £185,000 a year, it is for the protection of her own fisheries, on docks which her vessels have to use, and on other matters from which direct local commercial benefits arise.
– Does Canada contribute nothing to the British Navy?
– Not directly ; she spends £1:85,000 on services which not only serve Canadian, but also Imperial ends, and are, therefore, counted by her as a contribution towards defence. I am not criticising that course, and .certainly am not objecting to it, but point out that we cannot measure that expenditure of £185,000, from which the Canadians get considerable local present commercial benefits, with our contribution of £200,000, from which we get nothing of that kind.
– They do not conceal the fact that they do not intend to pav a subsidy to the British Navy.
– They do not conceal that fact; but I am not called upon to criticise them.
Colonel Foxton. - Do not the Straits Settlements . contribute anything to the British Navy?
– A small amount is contributed, but that is a Crown Colony, and I am dealing with self-governing Colonies. At the present time, the Admiralty have consented to compound, so to speak, the contribution which has been made by Natal hitherto, and propose to compound that made by Cape Colony, accepting instead of cash a naval militia, drilled on a vessel which is to be provided by them, and also on certain submarines and destroyers, to be built and manned locally, at the expense of the Colony. Under what control they are tobe placed I am not informed. It is in pursuance of our proposal that we should contribute in kind, instead of in cash, for the further term which our Naval Agreement has to run, and that it should be amended to that end, that since returning -from London, having been in communication with the Admiralty, unofficially, since August last, and officially since September last, about the 23rd September I sent the following cablegram - <! In pursuance of mv conversation. Tweedmouth and the Admiralty in London, and Swing’s conversation with Your Excellency, please telegraph to Admiralty inquiring whether following proposals, approved for amendments in Naval Agreement, substituting for present Commonwealth subsidy - that is £200,000 a year - offer one thousand seamen, Australians if possible, to be paid by Commonwealth for service in Navy on this Station, estimated cost of about £100,000 to Commonwealth per annum, remainder of present subsidy to be applied by Commonwealth to submersibles or destroyers, or similar local defences, as suggested London Conference. Two cruisers, “ P “ or superior, manned by 400 of the 1,000 Australians, to be retained Australian coast, peace or war. Loan of two “ P “ cruisers or superior, to be maintained by Commonwealth for training local Naval Militia, at estimated cost to Commonwealth of£60,000 per annum. This proposed amendment is in addition to Commonwealth vote this year - £250,000 for naval, harbor, and coast defence, and , £50,000 for fortification harbors.”
That is a proposal by which, in the opinion of this Government, we could make a contribution not open tothe objections raised to the present Agreement, for it would be a contribution of men instead of money. In letting our contribution take that form, we should be considering our own interests as well as those’ of the Navy. The experience our men would gain upon ships of the Royal Navy would admirably qualify them for manning any ships that might be built and controlled by. the Commonwealth. It would also provide for their receiving the most up-to-date training. Of the 1 ,000 Australian seamen whom we had hoped by this means to have qualifying on our coast 400 would man two cruisers stationed on our coasts. The “ P “ cruisers, I may say, are regarded as going out of date. Still these two cruisers manned by 400 Australians, and the other two manned by our naval militia, would at all events bridge the gulf between the present time and the season not too distant when the Commonwealth will probably have ships on which to place them. This contribution would develop the naval strength of Australia, relieve the Admiralty of the cost of 1,000 seamen, and be one which, I thought, they would be glad to accept, and we might be proud to tender.
– It is men that they mostly need.
– Not in other parts of the world. They have six offering for every one they are able to take. The Royal Navy has the pick of British seamen. We have to remember, however, that ours is a. remote station, and that crews have to be sent at considerable expense over long distances for three years’ service. That being so, the contribution of 1,000 Australians would afford material relief to the Admiralty, and be a substantial support to the Squadron. Our despatch of 16th October, 1907, which summarises the history of the negotiations to date, reads as follows -
Melbourne, 16th October, 1907.
I have the honour to request that Your Excellency will communicate with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, inviting him to refer the Admiralty to my despatch of the 28th August, 1905, of which, for greater convenience, I enclose a copy. [Commonwealth Parliamentary Paper. Senate, No. 98 (1906).]
Naval Agreement of 1903. The telegram which I sent to Admiral Fawkes was as follows : - “ Confidential. - In pursuance of my conversation, Tweedmouth and the Admiralty in London, and Ewing’s conversation with Your Excellency, please telegraph to Admiralty inquiring whether following proposals, approved for amendments in Naval Agreement, substituting for present Commonwealth subsidy offer one thousand seamen, Australians if possible, to be paid by Commonwealth for service in Navy on this Station, estimated cost of about £100,000 to Commonwealth per annum, remainder of present” subsidy to be applied by Commonwealth to submersibles or destroyers, or similar local defences, as suggested London Conference. Two cruisers,’ P ‘ or superior, manned by 400 of the 1,000 Australians, to be retained Australian coast, peace or war. Loan of two’ P ‘ cruisers or superior, to be maintained by Commonwealth for training local Naval Militia, at estimated cost to Commonwealth of £60,000 per annum. This proposed amendment is in addition to Commonwealth vote this year - £250,000 for naval, harbor, and coast defence, and £50,000 for fortification harbors.”
Governor-General, His Excellency, The Right Honorable Lord Northcote, G.C.M.G., G.C.I.E., &c.
That despatch was followed by certain unimportant cablegrams, and ultimately by the following cabled reply to our offer from the Lords of the Admiralty -
Referring to your telegram of 6th December, Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty point out that scheme proposed in your despatch, No. 249, goes beyond general undertaking arrived at during Conference. After full consideration, they regret that they cannot accept these proposals as they stand as basis of new agreement in substitution for Naval Agreement.
They adhere to the position taken up at Conference, that while they did not themselves propose to cancel the existing agreement, they were prepared to co-operate with the Colonial Governments if any alteration was desired by them, but so long as the existing agreement is not cancelled, the Admiralty is precluded from making the necessary strategical disposition of Naval Forces, and, therefore, the first condition of any new arrangement must be the cancellation of the agreement.
After what I have said as to the present policy of concentration that is readily intelligible to honorable members.
– Any new arrangement would have to be by mutual consent.
– Certainly. Then they proceed -
The Admiralty fear that they are not in position now to express opinion on the details of the scheme, which have not been yet put forward in sufficient detail to form basis of a new agreement. Your Premier appeared at Conference to realize that under scheme then sketched by him Admiralty would not be bound to maintain any particular ships permanently in Australian waters, and their Lordships are prepared to advise and assist in carrying out either the scheme submitted by Mr. Deakin at Conference, or any approved modified scheme for local defence, provided that such a scheme does not involve a definitepledge to maintain particular vessels permanently in Australian waters. Before any definite conclusion can be arrived at, it will be necessary to ascertain the views of the Government of New Zealand as to any proposed alterations, and, further, Admiralty desire it to be understood that no increaseof Imperial expenditure beyond that involved in the existing agreement can be entertained -
These are the last words, and the most important in the communication - and regard it as essential complete control in time of war over local forces must be secured to Commander-in-Chief.
That means the Admiral on this station. It is a stipulation for his control, irrespective of the consent of the Commonwealth Government, of all the “ P “ cruisers, or, at all events, of the two manned by 400 men, and possibly of any smaller craft built by uswith the remainder of the present subsidy. While we are invited to take a leading part in naval defence, that leading part is to be confined to times of peace so far as our control is concerned, and is to involve no control in time of war.
– That is impossible.
– I replied in these terms on Monday last -
Cablegram received with thanks for prompt reply. Ministers are unable to gather - (1) Assuming existing agreement cancelled, what amendments Admiralty propose in new agreement in addition to those mentioned in despatch of October 16th, paragraph eleven (11); in which I indicated what articles in the present Agreement would need tobe amended if the Government’s proposal were adopted - or (2) in what respects their proposal goes beyond the general understanding at the Conference ; or (3) beyond any scheme submitted by Deakin at the Conf erence, Ministers wish to learn whether allusion to particular ships maintained permanently Australian waters refers anything more than cruisers manned by Australians; also what increase in Imperial expenditure is involved if their proposals are accepted. Control of vessels built and maintained at Commonwealth expense must rest with its Parliament, which.would place them under Commander-in-Chief whenever that was deemed necessary. Ministers hoped that scheme by which these vessels would be maintained at standards of Royal Navy, both officers and men being trained in and passing through the Navy when not serving on Australian coast, would mean creation efficient Auxiliary force of value to the Empire and precedent for other Dominions. New Zealand has been informed of the proposals, and will be again communicated with on receipt of reply to this.
That is the stage at which the negotiations at present stand. The impression left upon my mind by my visit to London was that the proposals made by us, and roughly summarized in the notes from which i recently read, would be accepted cordially. I wish it to be clearly understood, however, that this does not imply that the Admiralty itself, which is the authority now negotiating with us, speaking as the Admiralty, was committed to any definite view. But, having met leading members of the Admiralty Commission and some of their leading officers, including most of the Intelligence Branch, and having discussed matters with them at great length and in detail, it appeared to me that the demand for control first put forward had been modified, and that we had every reason to expect a glad welcome to our offer. For that reason, amongst others, I proceeded deliberately and with confidence in the preliminary negotiations to which allusion has been made. I by no means despair of my proposition, and trust that the view now expressed by the Admiralty will not be maintained for any length of time. We had the great advantage, before submitting it. of receiving the kind assistance of His Excellency Sir Wilmot Fa wkes. When our proposal is fully weighed and considered, it should commend itself to the Admiralty as a whole, as I. know it did to some of its prominent Lords and their advisers. Hoping to have met the House with a complete agreement, under the circumstances it appeared advisable to take honorable members entirely into our confidence, and I have therefore informed them of the whole of the official communications to date. This is one of the questions which will require to be carefully pondered before our reassembling, when we shall proceed to deal with the Ministerial proposal for a vote of £250,000 towards building, maintaining and manning, a small flotilla of our own. The Admiralty is apparently endeavouring to insist upon exercising its authority in time of war to distribute its vessels where it pleases. I do not deny that it might be a wise thing for our flotilla to be attached to the concentrated British Fleet on these seas, and even to proceed with it to a considerable distance from our coast to cope with the enemy. The modern naval doctrine appears to be Napoleonic - that you should always be in greater force than your enemy at the particular point of attack. I do not dispute that this might be the wisest tactic, and am far from doubtingthe fitness of the Admiral of the station to advise the Government of the Commonwealth in time of war upon the disposal of our vessels.
On the professional side, I offer no opinion. What I contend for is a constitutional, not a naval, principle. Even a desirable thing loses much of its desirableness when an attempt is made to force it on a self-governing community, having the right to choose its own path, and accept the consequences. It will be dangerous for the Admiralty to insist on a supremacy which, if misadventure befelwould place the whole responsibility upon them. The Government of the Commonwealth, representing the’ Australian people, is entitled in. this, as in every other matter, to speak and act for them. I have indicated how in my opinion it would act. Weighing its responsibilities, it must do what it believes test in the interests of the people. From this principle there can be no departure. I now turn to the proposals for expenditure on what I will term, for the sake of distinction, our local naval force. I had occasion in London to object, and wish now, to object, to the sense in which those words are often construed. I maintained at both Conferences, in 1887, when representing only “Victoria, and in 1907, when I had the honour to represent the Commonwealth, that acceptingthe doctrine that the Empire is one - which is the only true foundation for Imperial sentiment - we must recognise that all the means of defending any part of it are Imperial. Ships protecting the Australian coast are as much Imperial as any that are protecting the Mother Country, and the naval force under the Union Jack and Southern Cross that beats off a hostile power in the Australian seas is as much Imperial as . any under the Union Jack alone. Although “local defence” properly defines craft which cannot be sent long distances, and therefore operate always within a certain radius, to the full extent of its efficiency, it is Imperial as well. In speaking of our local defence, I speak of vessels whose sphere is practically limited to Australian waters. Yet these will be engaged in the defence of the Empire just as much as if they fought at the mouth of the Thames. Those who hear mc will remember how Lord Tweedmouth alludes to the value of such a flotilla. It would be, he said, “of great assistance,” of “much help,” of “enormous advantage.” Local defence is Imperial defence at a particular spot, but none the less Imperial on that account. With vessels built for, and presently, I hope, built by Australians, manned by Australians, trained and kept up to the Royal Navy standard, we shall be gratifying Australian aspirations, while making the most leal contribution to the defence of the Empire. In providing that part of our defence which will be absolutely under our own control, it appears to me reasonable to proceed- from the ports and the shores outwards. We should commence by furnishing the naval defence necessary or advisable to supplement om shore defences, and having provided for the harbors, establish a zone round them which would permit free exit and entrance for vessels in times of war. Hereafter we shall also provide other and more powerful vessels for coastal defence. It seems a reasonable thing to begin at our centres. Most of our great cities are on or near the coast. We have a large and valuable commerce, Inter-State as well as oversea, which requires to be taken into consideration. Local naval defence demands vessels and men. After what I said at the outset, honorable members will sufficiently realize that those vessels, even though they may be small, carrying comparatively small crews, will be extremely complicated, and highly specialized, needing highly expert seamen. These will have to be picked as they are picked in the Imperial Navy. Men in their prime, chosen for their capacity, and subjected to thorough training will be required. In 1887, when returning from the first Conference which I had the honour to attend, I expressed the aspiration that 1 might live to see the day when, in place of subsidizing a Squadron, Australia would supply ships built, manned, and commanded by Australians. ‘ That time is now arriving. But the conflict of opinion as to the best means of defence and the particular type of vessel most advantageous under our circumstances is acute in the Mother Country, and echoed here. I am not competent to decide the question, but Lord Tweedmouth, speaking for the Admiralty at the Imperial Conference, strongly recommended submarines. They were, he said, the weapons of the future. They were directly suggested by him to Sir Joseph Ward as suitable for the New Zealand coast, and he expressed the opinion that before long they would supersede destroyers. He asserted that they were the best weapons available. In these circumstances, having regard to his official advisers, it would be unwise for us to reject his counsel. Even in face of the fact that high authority, that men well known to as and to the Empire as experts of very high standing, such as Sir George Sydenham Clarke, who, although a soldier, has made a. study of naval defence, also Admiral Cyprian Bridges, and some of our own naval officers, consider that, though the submarine may prove to be the most effective instrument in the future, its superiority has not been demonstrated as yet. our intention is to adopt this type of defence, if possible. So far as I could judge from the members of the Admiralty, from their officers, and from criticism in London, the main opinion of what might be termed the younger generation is almost entirely in its favour. We cannot shut our eves to the fact that every powerful maritime nation to-day is largely adding to the number of its submarines. None of them have abandoned their experiments or reduced their numbers, though it may be admitted, and is perfectly true, that the submarine, as well, as other vessels, is by no means perfected, and is undergoing frequent alterations. Though authorities differ, the submarine is admitted to be a most potent form of weapon if it were only because of its moral effect upon an attacking squadron. Having had an opportunity at Portsmouth of seeing these curious, porpoise-like vessels, as they approached, gradually submerging until nothing but the periscopes appeared above the surface, these, too, disappearing and leaving no trace of their movements, the spectacle was very convincing. Presently they returned to the surface. Now, seeing the facility with which they could cease to be visible, it became evident how demoralizing it must be to those in charge of. battle-ships or cruisers to know that in their vicinity - where they do not know and cannot discover - there are enemies of insidious approach, capable of doing immense damage. Consequently, after the best consideration we could give to the matter, in face of admitted differences of opinion, it seems to us that for Australian harbor defence, and even for spaces immediately surrounding a harbor’s mouth, in which hostile vessels would require to lie if they endeavoured to bottle up our shipping, the submarine is probably the best weapon. We have referred to submersibles, which honorable members, no doubt, are aware are larger vessels with two motive powers, one using coal or oil when the vessel is on the surface, and the other using electricity, or possibly petrol, when the vessel is below the surface. Though not as favoured as submarines, it is possible that they may prove to be even- better’ suited to some of our ports, but that is a matter for detailed consideration. When I spoke recently of the strain to which seamen in modern vessels are always subjected, it. is to be recollected that this is especially true of submarines and submersibles. The youngest, most gallant, and ablest officers of the Navy are selected for this service; immensely proud they are of their task, and never in the slightest degree afraid of the risks that it involves. But it must be recognised that the maintenance of submarines in an efficient condition means, as I have said, a change every three years or so in order to relieve the strain upon the crews and in order to improve their training. Consequently, if we have a land-locked navy, our submarines would possibly become unsuitable, because we could not rely upon the crews and officers being kept up to the highest state of efficiency, it is pointed out by Lord Tweedmouth that the higher ratings, even of the ordinary British seaman, take six years to gain, and that all officers serve eight years before they reach even the rank of lieutenant. Those employed on submarines in particular require a specially long and severe training. Honorable members will now perceive the purpose of the remarks which I made at the outset. The smallest vessels, and perhaps these more than all others, require crews of great skill and capacity, high scientific training as well as very great courage and resource, and yet it is upon these apparently that Australians in the first instance should rely. The best submarines are those at present known as the iC class. I have seen three classes, A, B, and C. The C class will probably in a short time be surpassed by the D class, now in prospect. The C class is at present the most modern submarine in Great Britain. We shall probably propose to the House, subject to a condition I will mention presently, that three of these should be purchased each year for three years, and that In addition to them two torpedo teat (coastal) destroyers, the most uptodate of their class should be built annually for three years. This would give us at the end of that period nine sub- marines and six torpedo boat (coastal) destroyers - fifteen small vessels in commission after the three years’ programme is completed. Of course,’ these would be outside the Naval Agreement, and remain solely under Commonwealth control, although, as before stated, in my judgment they would be treated in the same way as any built under the new Agreement in time of war. The torpedo boat (coastal) destroyer is fitted with turbine engines, oil fuel, three torpedo tubes, and also carries two twelve-pounders. She would have a speed of twenty-six knots, and a complement of thirty-three men. The C class of submarines, whose details, as I have said, maybe somewhat altered in the D class, would have an approximate speed on the surface of fourteen knots, with a speed when submerged of ten knots ; two periscopes, and two propellers. The method of propulsion would be by electricity or petrol, they would be provided with two torpedo tubes, and would have a crew of sixteen. The first cost of a first-class torpedo boat (coastal) destroyer would be £42,000. Two therefore would cost £84,000, and there would be some expense connected with bringing them to Australia if they were brought from the other side of the world, about which I shall say something presently. A submarine costs £50,000, and £5,000 more to deliver in Australia. The total cost of each here would therefore be £55,000, and three would cost £165,000. The cost for the year for two first-class torpedo boat (coastal) destroyers and three submarines would amount to £249,000, or almost exactly the sum we propose to vote, leaving £1,000 towardsthe expense of bringing the torpedo boat (coastal) destroyers out to Australia. The cost for the upkeep of these little vessels may be far more than honorable members anticipate. The cost of oil, fuel, stores, and repairs of a first-class torpedo boat (coastal) destroyer would be £6,725. The wages for a complement of thirty-three men at naval rates, including a colonial allowance of 3s. a day, but without victualling, would amount to £4,500, leaving the total charge for the upkeep of these vessels nearly £12,000 a year. The cost in ‘ the case of submarines at naval rates of pay and our special allowance would be for each shore base of four men £570. For each submarine, .double crews of sixteen each, £5,650, and’ for each small vessel or tug associated with them, with ten men, £r,i8o, or a total of £7,500. Then repairs, sea stores, petrol, and victualling would take £3,600, making a total of over £11,000 a year. I need not enter into details with respect to clothing, pensions and so on’. The total charge for upkeep, without the charge for the tug, would amount to about £57,000 for five vessels for the first year. The expenditure would rise to £114,000 for the second year, and to £171,000 when the third year’s operations were completed. These figures are, at all events, sufficiently near for present purposes. The complete scheme would give us two submarines for New South Wales, two for Victoria, two for Queensland, one perhaps at Thursday Island, and one each for South Australia, Western Australia’, and Tasmania, and one torpedo boat (coastal) destroyer for the chief harbor of each State. The probable period of usefulness of these vessels is reckoned at fifteen ‘ years, and allowing £50,000 a year, which would be onefifteenth of the total cost, the annual outlay 011 completion of the present proposals would be £221,000, without including interest, say, £250,000 a year. Whether these precise vessels will be chosen will be determined partly by the association we are able to form with the Royal Navy through the Admiralty, and partly on the possibility that local advices may suggest some change. We do not feel that it would be judicious to endeavour even to look forward further than three years, but, following the principle to which I have already alluded, if after . the three years the protective force be considered insufficient, probably it would then be wisest for us to acquire a torpedo destroyer, of -a larger type than is at present current, or, at least, as large as the latest modern type, and capable of ocean-going coastal service. It must, however, always be remembered that in the heavy seas which frequently occur along the Australian coast the largest torpedo boat destroyer that you could find would sometimes be rendered almost powerless for rapid and effective action, and that, as the great security for its own safety, if confronted with a vessel carrying heavy metal, is speed, when that is lost the efficiency of even large coastal destroyers is much to be doubted. But probably by the time we are able to undertake them, there may be further developments, which will remove some of the apprehensions entertained at present. Even as to ocean-going destroyers,, as they are called, there is also a division of opinion. It will be necessary to obtain our first’ submarines and coastal ‘ destroyers from Great Britain, but if the general offers we have already received prove upon examination to be satisfactory, there are prospects that some, if not all, of those needed in the second or third years may be locally built, even if certain special parts are allowed to be imported. The policy of the Government is to build as many as possible here, since the vessels, whether originally imported or not, will require to be repaired and refitted in Australia. Besides the vessels, which would form a harbor and, to a certain ‘extent, a coastal defence in our three years’ proposal, the Government, having’ obtained, in May, 1906, from the Imperial Defence Committee, a report which deals with lights and armaments for the shore forts, have adopted its general principles and are applying them. The new armament recommended is thai of the 6-inch mark VII. breech-loading guns, which, together with mountings and works, will cost £162,000 when complete. New electric lights, engines, and works will cost nearly £23,000. Ammunition - with the requisite reserves and supplies - will cost £107,000. We are devoting ,£50,000 this year, and propose, so far as we have responsibility, to continue that sum each year, until our fixed defences are brought up to the standard. They will probably take between five and six years to complete, by which time we shall efficiently light practically every port in Australia, and have their armaments of such a character as to render most material assistance to our naval defence, in offering a determined resistance to any cruisers we are likely to see in these waters. A large invasion is not expected, but we must be prepared for sudden raids. When we have obtained another model, we have every reason to believe that the carriages for these guns can be made in Australia. Plans and specifications are being obtained, and we shall soon be prepared to call for tenders. The total expenditure proposed for guns, mountings, and works, lights, engines, and ammunition, is £292,000, or say, £300,000. All my figures, honorable members will notice, are in round numbers. I have them given here in detail, but -the alterations are so constant that in estimates for the future they can only be taken as approximations in every case.
– Those are not your own calculations, are they?
– Heaven forbid! A specific acknowledgement ought to be made of the fact that practically the whole of the material I am now using has been prepared by the indefatigable energy and perseverance of my- colleague, the Minister of Defence. It pleases him to affect, in Parliament and elsewhere, to treat his responsibilities lightly ; but, although, in the State and here, I have been in several Minis-, tries, I have, never had a colleague more thoroughly devoted to his work, or who has given more time and ability to the conduct of his Department. At present our Naval Force is inconsiderable in numbers, and relatively inconsiderable in cost. We are fortunate in having several very excellent officers at the head of affairs, who have done us good service, and whose work is not to be forgotten. They will be associated, while they are serviceable, with any scheme which we propose. We have also a number of men of excellent physique, character, and service, and, so far as they can maintain their efficiency, they will be retained. If our offer to the Admiralty of a thousand Australian seamen is not acepted, Ave shall have to find some other means of training those who have the taste or disposition for sea life. Owing chiefly to the exertions of philanthropic gentlemen, there “are in Australia to-day a number of bodies of naval cadets of a promising character. Some of them consist of very young boys, but really the display they make, their efficiency and grasp of their duties, their management of a boat and guns,/ and their drill, are excellent, as I have had an opportunity of knowing from personal observation. We propose to extend that system very largely. We find it an admirable antidote to the temptations of street life to boys of a certain age. It gives them a manlier character, discipline, and loyalty which prove of the greatest value afterwards. In that respect, among many others, we believe that we shall be doing good service, outside the cause of defence, in enabling a’ very much larger number of boys to be trained for sea life, or for any active employment of head and hand. Considerations of time alone compel me to proceed to other branches of our defence. After we have considered harbor and coastal defence, and naval possibilities - I have already made reference to the forts - we come to those who man the forts - the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. Their outlook here differs very largely from that of the naval service, because land service is much less specialized and may be made much more generally disciplinary to our people as a whole, although it demands in most cases a smaller degree of organization, and efficiency. But we cannot afford to speak lightly of our land force, first because of what it has achieved - and its record where it has been tested is admirable - and also because, although not preparing for any expeditionary adventures outside Australia, we must realize that while we remain a mere handful of people, clustered practically in one segment of the continent, any invasion attempted would probably be at a remote part. Our Military Forces would have to be prepared for acting one, two, or more thousands of miles away from the populated centres of the Commonwealth. Consequently that casts an additional burden on us,’ since, until our population grows faster than it has been growing - and I hope we shall grow much faster - we have the responsibility not only of protecing hearths and homes here, but of guarding the great unoccupied parts of this immense continent. As in the Navy we are making a new departure almost without a precedent, and new to all the Dominions of the Empire, so in connexion with our land forces it appears to the Government that the time has arrived for making a new departure of an equally marked kind, and of a type equally unprecedented under the British flag. While I have no desire to find fault with our existing militia force,, which has every appearance of energy, yet there are considerations in respect to it which I think will weigh very seriously with the whole of this community. In the first place, numerically it is absurdly weak. It is. now 14 per cent, short of the officers it ought to have, and 10 per cent, short of the numbers of those required in the ranks. The average training of the rank and file is only years, so frequent are the incomings and the outgoings. In fact, for active service to-morrow, probably we could not count on more than half of the 22,000 odd militia that we have. A force of 1,300 permanent men looks well, but on examination we discover that only about 700 belong to the fighting force. When the Permanent
Force is reduced so much,’ we can understand the deductions required in calculating the effective strength of the ordinary militia. Out of a population of nearly 1,000,000 men of military age, we have only 22,000 regularly drilled, and, as I have said, for only short periods, and for the most part on parades or in drill-rooms.
Colonel Foxton. - But a vast number of those who have passed through the ranks are practically a reserve.
– Unfortunately, however, they are a reserve of only twelve months’ experience, which, as the honorable member knows, rarely amounts to much, and often to very little.
Colonel Foxton. - The average service is over twelve months.
– The average is a year and a half for al], but many go out at the end of twelve months.
Colonel Foxton. - But a great many do not leave until after the expiration of three years.
– And such men, for, perhaps, seven or ten years afterwards may be looked upon as a reserve.
Colonel Foxton. - And a good reserve, too !
– Besides these men there are 40,000 others, of all ages and degrees of physical capacity, who practise more or less with the rifle, but who have no drill, no organization, and no officers. If we distinguish the volunteers from the militia, we find that even a smaller proportion of the former would be effective for immediate service in the field. In point of fact, the volunteers are also short of officers, and are but partly drilled. What then is the position of the Commonwealth? About one schoolboy in seven is receiving some training as a cadet; about one youth in fifty-five, under nineteen years of age, has seen some service in the militia or the volunteers ; and one man in fifty-two is in some way or other connected with. the forces. That is to say, one male in every 112 is receiving some kind of drill and military experience for a short period; and, with our present arm’s, ammunition, and equipment, we should be unable to maintain very few more than the actual number of our militia and volunteers. Yet on this tiny array we expend a sum which this year approaches £800,000. In order, therefore, to have 100,000 men properly equipped, we should require, at the same ratio, to spend probably £1,500,000 more than we do at present. We must greatly enhance our forces, but we cannot afford to pay more than ,^2,000,000 a year to that end; and yet “that is what the present system necessarily implies for that number. Numerically our force is teo weak, and financially it is too expensive. It consists largely of married men, who ought to be in the second and not in the first line. It includes a number of men who, though they can stand ordinary parade, are obviously unfit for campaigning; many of the members of the rifle clubs are grey beards. After our experience it is now plain that no system can meet our necessities except one that appeals to the people as a whole - that calls upon them in the name of citizenship. We are a free people, with political equality and sole authority in a country where all have the opportunity to possess homes of their own. Cur position as free men in a free country casts on all the responsibility of undertaking our own defence. Of course, it is recognised that the withdrawal of men in the prime of life, at a time when they are engaged in vocations, and have families depending on them, would be a very serious matter ; and the proposals of the Government take this into account. We propose a system of universal training, in order to form a National Guard of Defence, in which every young man in the Commonwealth shall be required to serve during his nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first years. This gives us a small fraction of his early manhood, when he is best capable of receiving the benefit and standing the strain of military training. Each young man will be called upon to spend an average of sixteen days per year, not. in drillrooms or on parade-grounds, but in local camps, devoted wholly and solely to continuous practical instruction. By this means it is believed that within three years we shall have in the Commonwealth a body of men sufficiently officered and capable of performing the services which Australia will require from her defenders. Whether they will attain the standard of European nations in regard to the minutiae of deportment or parade, or the precision of their movements, I do not know. But what we do know of our countrymen entitles us to feel well assured that at the end of that period they will suffice in all that is material. In a country of great distances like our own, with whose characteristics they are familiar - and with which we shal’l shortly be thoroughly well informed upon probable points of attack - they will be able to render a good account of themselves’, and probably have an advantage over even the best trained troops of Europe, owing to the local conditions under which any conflicts are likely to be waged.
– The training would not be limited to forty-eight days in three years ?
– That is the minimum of training for infantrymen, but not for officers, artillery, or- cavalry. Even on that basis, the cost will be crushing unless the trappings of war are replaced by a Spartan simplicity of uniform and habit, in harmony with the political principles on which pur Government is’ based and our social life is shaped. We have kept closely in mind throughout, the democratic system of military organization in Switzerland, very lucidly described this year by two of our officers, first in the Australian press by Lieut. -Colonel Reay, and next fully reported upon officially . by Colonel Bridges. More lately it has been investigated by a Select Committee from the Mother Country. The testimony of all is highly favorable to the results attained by a similar system under absolutely different physical conditions and territorial limitations. The proposals of the Government will, it is calculated, give an establishment of at least 83,000, always in training, supplemented each year by about 30,000 men, an equal number passing into the reserve. In the eighth year, this will mean over 200,000 men available, with full provision for arms, ammunition, and equipment for field artillery and cavalry, organized for service within the Commonwealth. The total cost of this is estimated at less than £250,000 more than is at present expended; whereas a Militia Force half as strong would, on our present basis, cost twice as much, if we could obtain the men. I give the estimated cost without reckoning any dues which this Parliament, on consideration., might see fit to levy on those who for one reason or another do not serve their proper period, making exceptions, of course, of those who for physical or other reasons are unfit to be enrolled. The period for which we make financial estimates is three years, as in the case of our naval proposals. I have alluded at present only to the National Guard and ifs national training. Beyond this, however, it is proposed to greatly enlarge the Cadet system by the expenditure of at least an additional £20,000 a year for each of the three years, and to increase the expenditure on the rifle clubs by at least £10,000 each year over the same period. By this means we shall have a very considerable subsidiary force in the cadets and rifle clubs ; I shall presently refer to the latter in another aspect. In June, 1906, there were less than 7.000 cadets in the Commonwealth ; whereas last year we made provision for nearly 28,000; and this year’s Estimates represent a total of about 37..000. It will be seen, therefore, that the advance in this direction, since the present Government came into office, has been very great. We propose to reduce the term of obligatory service in the National Guard for those who have passed through and qualified in the cadet service; that is to say, qualified cadets will be spared those days devoted to the drill and discipline which they have already acquired.
– Cadet drill will count as service ?
– Yes; in 1906, the rifle clubs represented a membership of 37,000, whereas in November last they had grown to 45,000, an increase in seventeen months of nearly 8,000. We have every reason to believe that this increase will continue. National training for young men will occupy on an average only sixteen days, a year for three years. Those, who qualify as senior cadets need only put in twelve days a year. I may be asked “ What of the present militia ? “ The whole of its effective strength will be absorbed, being required to supply officers and non-commissioned officers “ to train the new levies. In this connexion we shall secure an advantage in their higher training by a system to which I shall presently allude. There will be 30.000 men each year entering the present militia regiments by an increase in the number of their companies. The procedure in regard to the National Guard is that in the year in which he reaches eighteen years of age every young man will require ‘to register himself. He will then be subjected to a medical examination, declared fit, unfit, or temporarily unfit, and dealt with accordingly. On joining he will receive his National Guard record - a small parchment book - in which his service, his promotions, and any comments thereon will be registered. This will . be of some value to him in life outside the ranks. Each young man must make himself efficient each year, any year in which he fails to do so will add an additional year to his course. He will have to complete three efficient years before his term will be completed. The uniform will be of the simplest - hat or cap, a badge, a jumper or overall, breeches, leggings .and boots. These will be the property of the wearer, and will all be made in Australia. The proposal is that each of the present militia units shall expand to three National Guard units, and shall receive each year one-third of its strength and part each year with one-third of its strength to the reserve. Many of the men who are not fitted for active service can be enlisted for ambulance and transport work. The artillery and other transport corps will require to devote longer periods to their training, and will receive a reasonable allowance for so doing. The officers will be paid for their services because they remain after their three years have expired. Some allowance must be made to them, since, in addition to the camps which they will have to attend for the purpose of training others, they will have to devote certain periods of the year to receiving higher training themselves. The men will be allowed as far as possible to select the branch of the service they prefer. Drill will be simplified. All training will be given in camps, and on ground permitting of the conditions attaching to actual service in the field. They will be carried out in ‘ the most practical manner possible.
Colonel Foxton. - But the artillery training will have to be continuous.
– Artillery training of a kind will proceed continuously. When the measure dealing with this question is submitted to the House before the close of the session it will show the details for each arm of the service in that regard. Ultimately
Ave may see a time arrive when, reckoning men under forty we shall have 800,000 who are either in, or have passed through, the ranks. We estimate that these men can be obtained, disciplined, drilled, and made effective for £1,200,000 a year as against the present defence expenditure of £800,000. Even- infantryman - threefourths of the total force - will be armed with a rifle and bayonet with scabbard. At present Ave have 83,000 rifles of all kinds. We shall add 20,000 new rifles each year. The cost of these will be £100,000 .a year. ‘ But these are not to be imported. They will be made locally. We have satisfied ourselves, after careful inquiry, that they can be made here cheaper than they can be purchased abroad. Every rifleman will have a bandolier equipment. It will consist of a sling, water-bottle and straps, great coat, blanket, waterproof sheet, mess tin and haversack. All these will be made locally. One arm in which our present forces are decidedly weak is the field artillery. At present we have, sixty guns. The guns associated with the new force will be 2*40 of the latest type. They will be provided at the rate of sixteen a year, and will cost us, with their etceteras, about £50,000 annually. The waggons and limbers are now being successfully manufactured within the Commonwealth. Artillery ranges, are to be secured, on which our gunners will have the advantage of practising with missiles under something approaching service conditions. The British Government have gone to enormous expense to supply these ranges in the United Kingdom. Their acquisition will demand some expenditure, even in this country with its very much larger and cheaper areas; but these ranges are absolutely essential to an efficient field artillery. The gun carriages for the 6.7-in. guns are to be locally made. We attach great importance to the creation of the utmost power of resistance locally, both as to war materials and men. We are at the very beginning of a period of development which I trust will be as thorough and complete as that of Japan. In order to provide against the emergencies of war, it will be necessary to establish an ammunition factory. This means a cordite factory by way of basis. If we can obtain orders for the supply of the Imperial Squadron in Australian waters, it would be of material assistance to us. If we can dispose of an output of- 100 tons per year, we can save 3d. per lb. at present prices upon all the cordite that we use. On the other hand, if we can only sell 50 tons a year, we shall have to pay sd. per lb. more for it. The caps land the fulminate will be made in the same factory as the cordite. The manufacture of cases at a rolling mill is also under consideration. My colleague, the Minister of Defence, has an elaborate proposal to lay before the House in this regard. I am sure that, from the infor- mation which has been supplied to us by Mr. Halve, the very capable Inspector of Explosives in Victoria, who recently visited the Mother Country to put himself in touch with the latest developments of this industry, he will be able to satisfy honorable members that it is desirable to establish a cordite factory. I have great pleasure in laying upon the table of the House the report of the result of his investigations in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, and hope that it will prove interesting reading to honorable members. The Minister will be able to show that the establishment of a cordite factory is economically sound. Failing a supply of ammunition, even with 200,000 men available for service, what could be expected of them ? I have shown how comparatively slight an increase there will be in the expenditure proposed under this great scheme, and I have also shown that a large portion of it will be expended in this country. Then we come to one of the most serious matters in connexion with this scheme. That is, the provision of a sufficient num-ber of well-trained officers. Because the theory of this’ force is that the officers are to train their men. The clerical duties at present performed by officers are to be clone in future by clerks. We want our soldiers for soldiers’ service, not for indoor work. But in order to obtain efficient soldiers a staff of officers must first be efficiently trained ; and as we cannot pretend in this Commonwealth to establish a military college in every State, we propose to establish a school of permament expert instructors. This would consist of three specialists - one whose subjects will be strategy, tactics, and military history; a second, whose subjects will be artillery, field and garrison, and machine guns and theory of musketry ; and a third, whose subjects will be engineering in all its branches and topography. These experts, whom we think we can obtain at an estimated cost of £5,000 a year, will travel from State to State at appropriate times, meeting the officers in every State, lecturing to them, and examining them in the subjects which they have been studying.
– Is it proposed to include dancing?
– We will leave that to the enemy when our troops meet– him ! For this movable college we shall secure the services of three of the best men available. They will be.paid good salaries, and engaged only for such terms as’ will enable us to exchange them from time to time as military science is perfected. We hope to have our officers trained so that they, will be able to impart to those below them the practical knowledge which they have acquired. They will be well instructed in peace, will lead in war, and fill all commands in the Australian Forces. Of course, it must be remembered that in addition to this we have proceeding, and propose to continue, the temporary exchanges of officers with the Mother Country, with India, with Canada, and with South Africa. That system is likely to prove of great value to us. We are taking every advantage of it. Last year my colleague the Minister of Defence sent seven officers and non-commissioned officers abroad for training. This year he is sending eleven. We shall probably increase the number. We have applied to the Government of India for permission to send more officers there to participate in their military exercises, join their camps, and witness the thoroughly organized military machinery in operation under Lord Kitchener. We have now asked for permission to send militia officers as well as permanent men.
– Hear, hear ; that is the right idea !
– Ours is a citizen force. The ruling idea is, while setting a high ideal of military training, to provide equal opportunities for all our citizens who will give their time and ability to the service of the Commonwealth in this direction. We ‘hope to be able to send the best of them each year to actual schools of training, such as are provided in connexion with the military manoeuvres in India and in the Mother Country. In this way our officers will be’ brought into association and, in a sense, into competition with highly-trained officers in other parts of the Empire, whilst at the same time we shall be receiving officers from India, Canada, and the United Kingdom, who will criticise us and give us the benefit of their training. We shall learn- from them, as we hope they will be able to learn something from us.
– That is the way to raise the status of the militia.
– This system of transferring is devised for the purpose of raising the status of the militia. It is upon our citizen soldiery and our citizen officers that we must rely’. We recognise that we ought not on.lv to raise the status of our officer abroad, but that we must raise him in the estimation of those whom he commands, and of those with whom he is allied. We qualify him to achieve this end by putting him in training side by side with the best officers of the British Government in India and elsewhere. We hope in this way to establish a high standard to which our citizens in arms may be encouraged to aspire. The object of these proposals is to give effect to that well-worn aphorism of Bonaparte, that every soldier should feel himself carrying a marshal’s baton in his knapsack. In pursuance of the same end. we propose to take certain steps which will remove the artificial distinctions occasionally created. We shall want for our officers the best men we can find - men with the capacity for command, with a taste’ for military study and exercises, and with ability quite independently of the class in which they are found. We wish these men to have the opportunity of rising to the highest positions we can give them in our National Guard.
– The Government are anticipating my motion.
– If we can. I am well aware that at present when any one points to a desirable standard as an ideal, one is at once accused of becoming millennial. It is better to take a high standard than a low one. Many of the heroes of history who have set the highest possible standard for themselves have expected least from their fellows. When we aim at setting a high national standard in this way we are not insinuating that, by the introduction of this scheme, we are going to transform the nature of the people of Australia. Speaking for myself, I am content to trust the Australian people. I believe that they are not only fitted to serve, but to command, and to rival in the arts of war, so far as these can be practised in times of peace, any of like experience against whom they may be pitted. When we have secured a National Guard without a distinction of class, wealth, or position, we hope that interest in our system of military training and the ambition- for proficiency in its several branches will, to some extent, take the place of those sports on which our young people look and speculate every Saturday without otherwise participating i.n them. In one of his most stirring sketches, Kipling dreams of ‘a time when military training will be regarded as the most fascinating of sports. If we can persuade our people that competition in military exercises is better than locking on at less educational forms of competition, we shall soon see our military and naval duties undertaken cheerfully and carried on under the same conditions’ of popular interest and approbation as apply in the case of sports and games. I know of no spirit which has such an influence on the English race as this spirit of competition. The clippings from the English newspapers which come to me every week contain at present, in most cases, only about an inch of matter relating to important Australian occurrences, as compared with about a foot of cablegrams devoted to the cricket matches of the English team now in this country. That, I imagine, is largely because of the element of competition, when batsmen and bowler are pitted against each other. There is no reason why we should not stimulate a similar interest in forms of military prowess, as is at present felt in regard to outdoor sports.
– Except in regard to the gate money !
– The interest there is that of clubs or players, not of the thousands of spectators who pay, but do not receive. Instructional schools are to be established, at which the interest of our officers will be stimulated as far as possible by the higher forms of teaching. Special attention is to be given to staff rides and local experience, the operations being in the nature of actual service in the field. What we desire to reduce is the slow shooting at fixed targets under conditions which never obtain in actual warfare. In the same way, we want to substitute for parade drill, marching and evolutions in difficult and broken country, so that our troops may know how to use its features, and so as to enable the higher officers to control together artillery, cavalry, and infantry over country known only by maps or reconnaissance. How many of our present officers have been tested in this way ? I know some of the best have been thoroughly disheartened for want of opportunities of the kind which they have long been seeking. We have already taken the fullest advantage of the lectures of Colonel Foster, Professor of Military Science in the University of Sydney. He has done in this direction most admirable work, he is doing it still, and for his assistance we are most grateful. Arrangements are’ being made for specially selected militia officers to take advantage of his course of lectures, and a special course has just been completed to meet the wishes of militia officers who were not able to participate in the previous classes. That shows how the spirit to which we wish to appeal - the spirit of individual interest, individual initiative and pride in the service of the countrymay be spread. One of the many important features of the Conference in London was the scheme which Mr. Haldane, as head of the British Army, laid before us, when he invited us to send our officers to the General Staff, there to be received as comrades, to be shown the whole of the operations of what is often termed the brain of the Army, to be tried by being placed in positions of command, and to have thrown open to them for their benefit everything that was being done. That was a most generous offer. In the same way, we hope to establish a General Staff of our own to which the British Government will send its officers to observe what we are doing, to learn something of operations in vast areas of sparsely settled country which they cannot expect to find in Europe, and also to give us the benefit of their knowledge and advice. It is by keeping in touch with the Army, as well as with the Navy, that we hope to keep up the standard, the spirit, and the efficiency to which the honorable member for Laanecoorie has been alluding. Their officers will inspect and report on us, our officers will inspect and report on the Canadian Force, the South African Force, and the Indian Force. By that means we hope to materially benefit. An Intelligence Corps has just been formed, which will prepare the plans, statistics and general information . required for operations in any part of the Commonwealth. They will utilize militia officers and citizens, such as surveyors and engineers, who will bring to the aid of the Department the experience and knowledge gained in their ordinary vocations. Their work will be topography, preparation of maps, and information with regard to the country generally, transport, and other matters of imperative importance. They will take up the duties that were intended to be performed by the corps of guides which originated through the representations made by Colonel Kenneth Mackay, of New South Wales, and Colonel Miller, of the Commonwealth service. We attach the greatest importance to the work that will be done by this In- telligence Department, but in particular to the work that will be done with the Intelligence Department by the General Staff. We believe that the country will not hesitate to offer strong inducements to secure suitable nien. In regard to central administration, the present Administrative Board is to be augmented by the addition of two or three experienced militia officers, to be appointed for limited periods, the personnel altering possibly by one each year. They will then feel that their knowledge is being utilized, and will be encouraged to extend it. It will create a better feeling between the various branches of the service, and will be valuable to militia officers, who can then learn the difficulties that surround central administration, of which at present they have least appreciation. A medical reserve is being established in which large additions will be made to those who are at present enrolled. In this regard many medical men, medical students, chemists, and citizens willing to be connected with the Ambulance Corps are ready to assist by undergoing the necessary training if an opportunity is given. These and similar opportunities will now be multiplied, to a larger extent, under our new system. When we have established a thoroughly citizen force, it will remain for Parliament to recognise the service rendered. We believe that after the system is fully in operation, both Commonwealth and the States may be fairly asked to give precedence to men who have done service in the ranks - all must do that - who have clone it well, with energy and ability. A National Guard’s Record ought to be a pass-‘ port to advancement if in other respects he is well fitted. It is also proposed that after this system has been established a sufficient time the Rifle Clubs shall be recruited Only from men who have passed through the ranks. In every way preference where preference can be given ought to be granted to those who have shown special zeal for this form of public service. In the same way, whatever permanent force there is will be recruited from our own men.
– Does the honorable gentleman propose to give them preference in the Public Service?
-Yes, other things being equal, especially for general employment.
When every one goes into the ranks the recognition of “merit there becomes fair. Then we propose to aid and encourage the competitive spirit by inducing as many military contests, competitions, and tournaments as possible, subsidizing them to such an extent as to make them attractive to the public as well as to those who take part in them. All these things are possible when once we have created a citizen force in which every settlement and town, every family and class is interested, and from which no one is or can be excluded. Long service undertaken voluntarily will be especially appreciated, and recognitions of some kind will be devised. Provision for these is to be made,and also for some regular training for our reserves, though not included in these figures, because this plan in itself will be large enough for present consideration. After men have done their three years’ training, it will be very desirable not to let them entirely rust, but to keep them in touch, at stated intervals, with the work which is being done, to attend occasionally even if only for a short time at camps with the National Guard. In the same way officers of the reserves will be induced to attend at camps, where they must be of much assistance to those present, and where they themselves will be brought up-to-date.
– At what age will men be exempt from the reserves? Has it been fixed ?
– It is proposed to fix the age at forty years.
– Will it not be necessary to offer some inducement ?
– In some cases, but I doubt if this inducement will need in the future to be of the same character as at present. Every one will take part, and if we succeed in getting what I call the competitive spirit thoroughly aroused the rest will follow. I feel that I have trespassed upon the patience of the House.
Honorable Members. - No; go on.
– I propose to lay upon the table a statement which will show the extra cost, or, in some cases, the reduced cost of each and every item in each of the first three years, as compared with the
Estimates for the present year. Of course these are only estimates though they are founded upon actual data now in our possession -
I intend to ask the House to order the printing of the memoranda I have read containing the despatch and cables to the Admiralty, Mr. Hake’s report, and informa tion relating to submarines. I promised to give the figures showing how the Military and Naval expenditure will work out.
Thistable includes expenditure on cadets, rifle clubs, &c., and capital spent upon fixed defences, factories, and works. It will be seen that for this year the actual appropriation proposed is£1, 300,000, although £125,000 has been deducted from the full cost, because it is not expected to be expended within the year.
– That includes the Naval Subsidy, I suppose?
– The total includes everything. During the present year the total expenditure will be £1,300,000. The first year under the new system of National Training will include a capital expenditure on the rifle factory arid the ammunition factory, but the total expenditure for that year is not expected to much exceed £l, 7 00, 000. That is an increase of about £300,000 on what is provided for this year, or £400,000 on what is proposed to be spent during this year. Next year the total will drop a little below £1,700,000, and in the third year it is expected to fall to £1,600,000, any further capital expenditure not being included.
– Will that expenditure be paid out of ordinary revenue?
– It will. Consequently, as against the present year’s proposed expenditure of £1,400,000, it means in the third year an increase of £200,000, or, allowing for the proportion of the amount on this year’s Estimates that we do not expect to expend, it will mean an increase of £325,000. That being so, this scheme which covers both the naval and the military proposals, of the Government, including the building of fifteen vessels, the cost of their maintenance, an immense increase in the land forces, an increase in the Held artillery, and the expenditure upon fortifications, means, in the third vear, according to the best estimates that we can frame, an increase of only £200.000 on our present annual expenditure. If this scheme can be accomplished for that cost as according to our professional advisers we have reason to believe it will be, I do not think the country, having regard to the transformation to be effected on sea and land, will consider it unduly expensive. Finally, I have not spoken so far of what, after all, we must rely upon as the’ motive power of the new national system - the motive power of every-day working patriotism, a sense of national unity, and of our indebtedness to this community which confers upon its yoting people so many advantages denied elsewhere. It asks them in return, not for sacrifices such as are made by conscripts sent to barrack life, but for brief, wholehearted, healthy training. It bids them to be inspired to do more than work for themselves, and to welcome any opportunity of serving the common good. No one will say that open-air training for our young men for three years can do them anything but good. It is not barrack confinement, but camp life under a discipline, which will make them brighter men. If this duty be accepted, as we hope, with intelligent interest, and, in many cases, with enthusiasm, even though we hope our National Guard may never be employed in actual warfare, it will become not only a great disciplinary power, but a potent factor in fostering that national spirit on which we rely. Those who have worn the uniform, as many of us have, those who” have stood shoulder to shoulder in the ranks answering to the volunteer bugle call knowhow powerfully even such an outward summons appeals. When national training is recognised as part of our national life, and as the discharge of every citizen’s obligation, it will accomplish more. What we must and do trust to are not titles and rewards, but voluntary service freely given, a patriotic discharge of a duty to his country which does honour to the man who renders it, and a greater honour the more efficiently it is accomplished. Without patriotism we can do nothing when we come to actual defence, or even in the necessary training and preparation which go before. From this sentiment I by no means exclude those not required to enlist, because of their sex, who, themselves becoming every year more appreciative of the patriotic purpose of our National Guard, will be moved by its generous character. I am perfectly certain that if the horrible contingency arose our camps in war would never lack for nurses, or for aught that woman’s patient loving kindness can bestow. Behind these forces we want, as well as the will of the men of our country, the heart of our women, realizing their, part in it, and trained in connexion with our ambulance in sufficient numbers. I am sure we can add them to the list, and with their encouragement we shall soon have another enthusiasm imparted to the young men for their three years’ martial training. Ours being a citizen soldiery, should appeal to our people as no other can. We cast aside meretricious display, the glitter of gold lace, or glamour of a separate caste. We replace them by a high response of confidence in the man who is doing his duty when guarding his home as much as when breadwinning for his family or fathering his children. It. is on patriotic feeling we rely; without this it would be idle to propose a citizen soldiery; otherwise we must buy our defence. But a citizen soldieryinspired by patriotism, as the world’s history shows, has with even partially-armed levies again and again proved better than the best armed mercenaries brought against them. Our ideal is a defence of the people for the people and by the people. It is therefore with every confidence that the Government submits to Parliament and the country for their consideration the programme of naval construction and national training that I have imperfectly outlined. I beg to present the following papers : -
Naval Defence of Australia - Correspondence in reference thereto, between the Commonwealth Government and the Admiralty.
Naval Defence - Opinions with regard to Submarines.
Defence - Mr. C. Napier Hake’s investigations in England - Extracts from his Report. and to move -
That the papers be printed.
– I do not presume that it is intended to debate this matter at the present stage, but I think we ought not to enter upon the Christmas vacation without offering the Prime Minister our congratulations on the speech he has just delivered. The subject is a big one, and I do not think I have ever heard the honorable member to greater advantage. With such a subject and with such a speaker I have no doubt that when the time comes for the people of this country to defend themselves they will respond as he desires. I offer the Prime Minister my congratulations upon the manner in which he has set forth the defence policy of the Government.
Motion agreed to.
– In moving -
That the House now do adjourn,
I take the opportunity to thank the honorable member for Wide Bay for his kind references to myself. As we are now separating for much-needed recuperation and rest, I wish to offer you, Mr. Speaker, my congratulations and to ask you to convey to the Chairman and the officers of the ‘ House our sense of the obligation under which they have placed us by the faithful, able, and assiduous discharge of their duties at all hours of the day and night during an exceptionally trying session. We hope that you will convey our thanks to- all engaged in and about the House, and that you will as is usual arrange that their services shall be recognised as far as possible by extending to them the utmost liberty during the Christmas recess. May I also thank honorable members on all sides for the assistance they have given us. No Government could accomplish and carry on business without that assistance, and the present Administration has often been dependent upon it. I have to express on behalf of my colleagues and myself our recognition, not merely of the invaluable assistance rendered to us by honorable members as part of the fulfilment of parliamentary obligations, but of the many acts of courtesy and. kindness extended to us from all sides of the House. There is one personal reference I desire to make before resuming my seat, and that is to my honorable colleague the Treasurer. I am rather gratified that he is not within hearing, and am especially pleased to know’ that the remarkable work he has accomplished has already been recognised by both sides of the House. I have had better opportunities of knowing what his work has been, and what demands have been made upon him than any other honorable member. He has accomplished a Herculean feat - a feat which .practically in connexion with the first Federal Tariff broke down the iron constitution of our old friend the right honorable member for Adelaide, who, most unhappily, is unable to be with us. A task which would have broken clown the constitution of any other man has just been completed by the honorable member for Hume with the most resolute and dogged determination, at a personal sacrifice rarely paralleled in Parliament. Under the” special circumstances of the case, honorable members will recognise that I may say that even of a colleague, because the praise is most richly deserved.
– - A question was asked by the honorable member for Dalley in connexion with a statement read in this Chamber a day or two ago, about which I promised to make inquiries. Having done so, I am in a position to clear the matter up. I received a request from Mr. Beale for a copy of the circulars which had been sent to me concerning pianos, and I instructed a clerk to forward any that I might have. Amongst these circulars was that read by the honorable member for Maranoa or the honorable member for Coolgardie. It was type-written, and marked on it in pencil was “ From Allan and’ Co., 13th September, 1907.”
– It was not the only one sent.
– No. I had requests from scores of industries, asking for circulars, and these were sent, excepting, of course, any marked private and confidential. But of this particular circular I knew nothing until it was read in the House.
– It was by the honorable member’s authority that it was sent.
– Yes. The clerk who sent it could not be held responsible. But the Collector of Customs could not have discovered that it had been sent, because it was one of many, and merely marked with my compliments. But amongst my private letters, I have turned up one from Mr. Beale, dated 29th October, acknowledging the circular, and asking if I saw any reason why he should not reply to it, pointing out to members statements which were contradictory of each other. In answer to that letter, I wrote on the 30th October -
Dear Mr. Beale,
Yours of the 29th October to hand, and contents noted. Rethe particulars forwarded to you, they came in the way of a circular, andI presume have been placed in the hands of other members. Therefore, I think you are quite within your rights in answering same without any further reference to the author of it. Or why not put your case in similar form, and send it to members? I will be glad to have any representations from you, covering the facts as regards this industry.
That I had written that letter had quite slipped my memory, and when it was stated that the Treasurer had supplied private information, I was naturally indignant, and demanded that the document be placed on the table, so that it might be traced. I had forgotten that I had supplied Mr. Beale with this circular until, meeting himlast evening, he said, “ You sent the information to me.”
– Does the honorable member usually supply copies of hisletterfile?
– Nothing of that kind was done. Many persons interested in industries have asked for cir culars, and such as do not appear in the slightest degree confidential have been furnished to them.
– Did the honorable member furnish any other circular to Mr. Beale?
– I instructed the clerk to send along copies of any circulars I might have ; but, so far as I know, I did not see the circular before it was sent.
– Does not . the honorable member think that it was a peculiar thing for Mr. Beale to ask for it?
– No. I find that it is a verbal request. Every time I go to Sydney I am asked for information of this sort by all sorts of persons interested in manufactures.
– That makes it a great deal worse.
– The Minister admits that it was not a circular.
– No. There is no heading to it, and it is type-written like an ordinary circular. It is not signed by Allan, though it is marked as issued by Allan and Co., Melbourne.
– It contained private notes by Mr. Allan, taken for the purpose of giving information to the Treasurer.
– That is Mr. Allan’s statement. The Treasurer says that Mr. Allan handed him this document. Somehow it came on my table as a circular, and I instructed my clerk to forward a copy of it to Mr. Beale.
Colonel Foxton. - It was not marked private and confidential?
– Did Mr. Beale return it?
– The clerk sent a copy marked with my compliments ; the original has never been out of my office. Evidently the clerk looked upon it as a circular. I wanted to clear the Treasurer of any accusation, and to clear Mr. Beale, who, when he saw this circular, evidently thought that it would be the right thing to ask me whether he could refer to it. In replying I pointed out that the information was in the form of a circular, and that I presumed other members had been supplied with it, and I suggested that he should put his reply before members.
– Innocence abroad !
– Has the Minister no desire to clear Mr. Allan from the imputation of the Treasurer that it was a scoundrel who sent that statement ?
– If Mr. Allan handed the statement to the Treasurer, considering it a private one, he has a right to complain.
– Did not the Minister say that he should be criminallyprosecuted ?
– I said that if it was stated that the Treasurer divulged private information he should be prosecuted. That is why I asked that the document be laid on the table. Should I have done that had I thought that there was anything to hide?
– The Minister should apologize to Mr. Allan.
– I do not think so.
– The Minister said that he should be criminally prosecuted.
– That was in answer to an interjection of mine that if what was said was true the Treasurer should prosecute Mr. Allan.
– I said that the Treasurer would disprove it, and that he could disprove it in a court of law. I think that my statement acquits Mr. Allan.
– Mr. Allan does not want any acquittal at the Minister’s hands. The Minister owes him an apology.
– I do not know why. I did not receive anything from Mr. Allan. The document which came into my hands was not marked private, and had reference to something before Parliament. It has been my duty to place the facts of the case before honorable members so that they may form their own opinions- What I was most anxious about was that no charge should be laid at the door of the Department. What was done was done in accordance with my instructions; but I had forgotten about the matter, because any number of these circulars have been sent to me.
– Was the copy sent to Mr. Beale paid for?
– If any member, or manufacturer, or other person asks me for information to which I think he is entitled, it is a pleasure to furnish it. We never think of charging for it.
– Did any one else apply for information in the way that Mr. Beale did?
– Scores of people have been given information. I have had honorable members and representatives of the press at the offices of the
Department, and have handed documents to them to peruse,, so long as they have not been marked “ private,” or were not: confidential in any way. Official files are, of course, dealt with with discretion. But what I wish to do is to clear those to whom some blame appeared to be attached, and to take the blame myself. Whatever the blame may be for what has occurred, it is on my shoulders. I - have already quoted the letter of the 29th October, in which I said -
Re the particulars forwarded to you, they came in the way of a circular, because I had never seen the document, and gave instructions that copies of the circular should be sent - and I presume have been placed in the hands of other members, and therefore 1 think you are quite within your rights in answering same without any reference to the author of it. Or why not put your case in similar form, and send it to members?
Honorable members must know that all kinds of representations are made to me. Only to-day representations were made to me concerning the size of wheat bags, and in the ordinary course I would refer them to business persons in the city and have the statements made carefully inquired into by officers of the Department. However, I have stated the facts, and if any blame attaches to any one in the matter, I unreservedly take it upon myself, and I leave it to any unprejudiced men with a knowledge of the facts to say whether I deserve blame or not.
– If the honorable member has Mr. Beale’s letter, I should like to see it.
– Certainly. I have not Mr. Beale’s letter with me, but I can let the honorable member see it if he desires to do so.
.- Since I asked a question with reference to the casual hands employed in the Government Printing Office, I have learned that some of them have been employed under the State and under the Commonwealth in that Department for fifteen years, and have never known what it is to have a holiday. I hope the Government will make some change in this regard. I believe there are amongst the casual hands six compositors, four readers, and four warehousemen, and when the House has been sitting they have had to work the same hours as the per- manent hands. I should like to say a word with respect to the Prime Minister’s reference to the terrible task, which the Treasurer was called upon to perform. The honorable gentleman sat at the table f or twenty-two hours at one stretch, and day after day, for over seventy days, in carrying the Tariff through. Should another Tariff be submitted in this House, we shall, if we are sensible men, devise some means by which it may be dealt with in sections.
.- I am very sorry that at this time, when honorable members should be ready to part -with feelings of peace and goodwill towards each other, the matter referred to by the Minister of Trade and Customs should have cropped up.
– Was it not very generous of the honorable gentleman to accept the responsibility ?
– Not at all; I do not think that there has ‘ been any generosity exhibited by the honorable gentleman. On the contrary, I think that the greatest blame attaches to him for permitting private information to be given to a rival firm.
– The honorable member is confusing the act with the statement- which has now been made.
– If the Prime Minister had been present during the debate which look place on this matter a few evenings ago-
– I heard part of it.
– He would have known that the Minister, of Trade and Customs protested most vehemently against the action taken by Mr. Allan with regard to the circular throwing the whole of the blame on the man who now from the lips of the honorable gentleman himself is shown to have been perfectly innocent. Honorable members must have felt that ?. great injustice was done Messrs. Allan and Company, and Mr. George Allan in particular. Honorable members generally at the time the matter was discussed fully acquitted the Treasurer of any blame, and the suspicion as to where the blame rested was transferred to the Minister of Trade and Customs and some of his officers. The Minister has gone into the matter now, but at the time to which I refer he said directly, or in answer to a question, that Mr. George Allan .should have been prosecuted criminally for having issued the circular in which he said that some private information which he had given to the Department or to the
Treasurer had leaked out, and had been used for the purpose of supplying information to a trade rival. That sort of thing is to be deprecated, and if the practice were to be continued it would mean that men engaged in business, and particularly in the business of importation, would withhold information which ought to be given to the Department. I think that the Minister of Trade and Customs should by letter or in some other way make reparation in the form of .an apology to Mr. Allan, because “as he was the cause of the bitterness of feeling it is from him reparation should come.
– Have any untruths been told ? Has Mr. Beale been falsely accusing Mr. Allan ?
– I have not said anything about Mr. Beale. I acquit him of all blame. It was Mr.. Allan who was accused of being untruthful for making the statement he did in his circular. He was called a scoundrel in this House, and I saythat reparation should be made to him, because to my personal knowledge of the last thirty years ‘Mr. Allan and his family have had a reputation in Melbourne that is beyond reproach.
– The Treasurer said he was a scoundrel if he said that he divulged the information.
– That is exactly what was said.
– That is only a matter of detail as to the words used.
– Is it?
– The Treasurer said in a moment of heat that the man who issued that circular was a scoundrel, and I say that the matter should be set right by the Minister of Trade and Customs apologizing to Mr. Allan in some way or other, since he has himself admitted that he was to blame. I should like to indorse what the Prime Minister has said with regard to the great work which has been done by the Treasurer. T. fought the Tariff through, as well as the Treasurer, and I can only say that the endurance displayed by the honorable gentleman was phenomenal. He carried all his guns on deck from 11 in the morning to nearly 1.1 o’clock the next morning. He never ceased to be able to use them, either as quick-firers, as pom-poms, or as heavy artillery, at any time of the day or night. The Prime Minister has foreshadowed several different kinds of mi.lenium - the fiscal millenium, the indus- trial millenium, and to-night the military millenium, and I think that when we are dealing with the latter the honorable gentleman might consider the advisability of putting the Treasurer, in view of the great generalship and skill he has shown, in command of the forces. As a great amount of fighting power and staying capacity has been shown on this side of the chamber, it will be advisable to select the other officers from this quarter. The thanks of the House are due to the Chairman of Committees for the manner in which he has performed his work, and to the officers of the House and the attendants for the way they have discharged their duties under very trying circumstances. I hope that you, Mr. Speaker, all honorable members, and all the officers of the House will enjoy a very happy vacation.
– Had I known that the question of printing a certain paper was to be put without further debate, I should have said a few words before it was done. I have been very much interested in the Prime Minister’s speech, which is the most informative that we have had on defence matters in this chamber since the inauguration of the Commonwealth. I know that we have to thank the Minister of Defence for it in no small degree. As one who has been somewhat severe at times upon that honorable gentleman, I thoroughly appreciate the enormous amount of work which he has done, outside this House, and outside the ken of honorable members generally, in the direction of perfecting the system of organization that is so necessary for defence purposes in Australia. I feel some gratification that at least four matters which I have brought before the House at different times have been adopted by the Government. The formation of a medical reserve will have a potent effect in increasing the value of our defence force, and of giving the medical section the status that we all desire that it should have. The indication that the Government are prepared to promote any officer from the militia, volunteer, or permanent forces to any position in the military forces of the Commonwealth which he seems to be specially fitted to fill, will receive the hearty approbation, not only of this Chamber, but of the whole of the forces of the Commonwealth. Further, the desire which the Government have expressed to interchange militia as well as permanent officers with others from different parts of the Empire, will be regarded as a great privilege by a large number of men who are only too anxious to give up their time, and even to spend their own money in perfecting themselves in their profession, and the proposal to include militia officers in the Board will give general satisfaction. I heartily indorse the expressions of good-will towards yourself, Mr. Speaker, and those connected with the services of the House for the magnificent fashion in which they have carried through the work of a very arduous session.
– I desire to congratulate the Prime Minister on his speech It was a great speech on a great occasion by a great man. Of course, I shall be opposed to any military expenditure. I wish also to congratulate the Treasurer on having helped me to enable the members of this Parliament to have the merriest Christmas and the best New Year that they have had for many a day. I trust that, if possible, the Prime Minister will give the officers of the House a month’s extra pay, so that they may enjoy themselves.
– I shall have much pleasure in bringing under the attention of the Treasurer the cases of casuals to which the honorable member for Melbourne has referred, and T. wish every one present a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
– In putting the question, I may be allowed to acknowledge the kindly remarks of the PrimeMinister and other honorable members. I can express my own conviction, without reserve, that the thanks of the House are indeed due to the Chairman of Committees, the officers at the table, and of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff, and the whole staff of the Parliament. I feel that a most arduous part of the session has been gone through, and that not one word of praise uttered concerning those gentlemen has been over-stated. For my own part, I trust that honorable members may enjoy to the uttermost the holiday which they have so well earned.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjournedat 10.22 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 December 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19071213_reps_3_42/>.