House of Representatives
18 March 1908

3rd Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

page 9191




– Has the Government, in accordance with the promise made at the commencement of the debates on the

Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Survey Bill, considered the advisability of sending a geological party with the survey party, or has it requested the Governments of South Australia and Western Australia to do- so? I have been informed that nothing has been done in the matter.


– The sum voted by Parliament was for a survey only ; but the Western Australian Government, when the matter was under discussion, wrote a letter to the Department intimating that it was prepared to send out a prospectingparty to accompany the survey party, and, so far as I know, that will be done. However, I shall consult with the Minister of Home Affairs, and give the honorable member a fuller reply to-morrow.


– Is it not a fact that a full geological examination of the country between Port Augusta and the boundary between South. Australia and Western Australia has been made by the South Australian Government?


– I understand that such a geological surveyhas been made on behalf of the South Australian Government, and I shall consult the Prime Minister as to the possibility of getting information in regard to it, and making it available for the information of honorable members.


– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs when the survey will be commenced?


-I cannot tell the honorable member the exact date, but the work will be proceeded with almost immediately.

page 9191



– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the following cablegram from London, published in to-day’s Argus -


Plantations Laid Waste. raiding in kentucky.

London, 16 March.

A conditions of affairsamounting to terrorism has resulted in the tobacco-growing districts of Kentucky from the tactics adopted by those growers who are hostile to the methods of the tobacco Trust. Such planters as have,acquicsced in the imposition of the tobacco tax have been subjected to nocturnal raids, and? their property has been practically laid waste.

In December last 500 masked nightraiderstook possession of the town of Hopkinsville, burned three tobacco warehouses, and destroyed) 9192 Military Regulations. . [REPRESENTATIVES.] Navigation Bill. property valued at £40,000. They shot one man; and so injured another that he subsequently died from his wounds. After holding the town in- a state of terror for nearly an hour, the raiders disappeared without losing’ a man or disclosing their identity.

It is now reported that in a few months the night-raiders have destroyed ten million pounds worth of the property of those planters who have acquiesced in the imposition of the tax.

Is the honorable and learned gentleman aware that the tax referred to is being levied by the trust without legislative authority? Is he also aware that the destruction of this enormous quantity of tobacco in Kentucky is likely to interfere materially with the tobacco manufacturers now carrying on business in Australia, because of the rise in the price of the leaf which will follow ? Do not these facts afford a strong justification for hurrying on with the Australian Industries Preservation Bill ?

Minister for External Affairs · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– The intelligence referred to points to a condition of affairs very serious from more points of view than one! Without discussing any but that to which he drew particular attention in his last question, the recent message of the President of the United States, and the legislation authorized by Congress - though part of it has been declared unconstitutional - go to show that the condition of thingsin America, owing to the absence of an effective anti-trust law, is becoming absolutely intolerable..


-Is the Prime Minister aware that the Australian tobacco monopoly is a branch of the American trust, which is levying taxes without the sanction of the Kentucky Parliament?


– I am not aware of the existence of the trust nor of the effects of such an abuse of tobacco.

page 9192



Australian Ensign


– What is the reason for, and the scope and effect of, Regulation 35 for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth, under which the heading “Union Jack” is cancelled, and “Australian ensign “ substituted?

Minister for Defence · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– It was gazetted In accordance with a unanimous resolution of the House.


– What is the scope and effect of the regulation ?


– It brings the practice of the Military Forces of the Commonwealth into line with that of our Naval Forces. We have the approval of all the authorities for the change.

page 9192



– I understand that the communications from the Imperial Government in regard to the Navigation Bill are in reference to the desirability of limiting the application of certain provisions to our own registered shipping, or to our own coastal trade. Is he aware that the limits to which the provisions of the Bill maybe applied go beyond the unanimous resolutions of the Navigation Commission appointed by the Government? Before the measure is proceeded with, will the Prime Minister compare the recommendations - in many cases the unanimous recommendations - of the Commission with the Bill when he is considering the objections urged by the Imperial authorities ?


– When the despatch from the Board of Trade reached me, after a hasty glance at its purport it was transmitted to the Customs Department, in order that the Comptroller-General, who was associated with the Navigation Conference, might prepare a memorandum criticising each of the . proposals. That memorandum has not yet been received, and until itsreceipt I have delayed comparing the two. But I will do as the honorable member desires, and any alteration will be very carefully considered.

page 9192




– In the Age of the 18th inst. the following advertisement appears.

Telegraphists (female), immediately, country contract office, £60. Write H. T., St. Kilda Railway P.O.

I desire to ask the Postmaster-General whether he will cause an inquiry to . be made into this matter, because it seems to me that the advertisement sets out one of the meansadopted, for sweating employes of the Department?

Postmaster-General · MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– I will take the earliest opportunity of inquiring into the position.

*Post and* [18 March, 1908.] *Telegraph Department.* 9193 {: .page-start } page 9193 {:#debate-5} ### PAPERS MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers - >Customs Act - Regulation *55(a)* - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 31. > >Census and Statistics Act - Statistics of the Commonwealth - > >Official Bulletins- > >Trade, Shipping, Oversea Migration, and Finance - > >No. 10. - October, 1907. > >No. 11. - November, 1907. > >No.12.- December, 1907. > >Population and Vital Statistics - > >No. 4. - Quarter ended 30th June, 1907. Transport and Communication. - No. 1. - Summary,1901 to1906. > >Production. - No. 1. - Summary,1901 to 1906. {: .page-start } page 9193 {:#debate-6} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-6-0} #### POST AND TELEGRAPH DEPARTMENT Appointment of District Inspector - Queensland Elections : Nondelivery of Registered Letter - Semiofficial Postmasters {: #subdebate-6-0-s0 .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN:
NEPEAN, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the PostmasterGeneral, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether any action has been taken to appoint a sixth district Inspector in the Postal Department of New South Wales? 1. If such action has been taken, what is the present state of the matter? 2. When is it anticipated that the appointment will be made? {: #subdebate-6-0-s1 .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr MAUGER:
Protectionist -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. The Public Service Commissioner has concurred in the creation of the position of a sixth Inspector in New South Wales. 1. Action is awaiting the provision of funds on the additional Estimates. 2. This cannot be stated at present. See answer to No. 2. {: #subdebate-6-0-s2 .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD:
HERBERT, QUEENSLAND asked the PostmasterGeneral, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether he is in a position to make available the papers and correspondence in connexion with an inquiry held at Bowen into the conduct of certain officers of his Department, in relation to the non-delivery of a registered letter, stated to contain the nomination paper of an intending candidate at the recent elections in the State of Queensland? 1. If the papers are not available, is he in a position to say when he will be able to lav them upon the table of the House? {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr MAUGER: -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. They have not yet been received from Queensland. 1. The Postmaster-General hopes to be in a position to lay them on the table before the end of the month. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: asked the PostmasterGeneral, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What arrangements are made in regard to the term of employment of the postmasters in semi-official post offices? 1. Whether it is true that such officers, when the revenue of the offices to which they are appointed increases to a certain amount, are turned adrift without compensation, although they may have served the Department faithfully and given satisfaction to the public? 2. Whether any alteration can be made so as to permit the regulations to press less hardly upon many of this class of postmasters? {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr MAUGER: -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Semi-official postmasters are usually employed for a term of three years, subject to discontinuance at any time during that period ; but three months' notice is usually given of the change, if it becomes necessary to raise the status of the office. 1. Yes. Such course is inevitable, as they are not eligible for permanent employment! under the provisions of the Public Service Act; but they are given preference for further employment in other semi-official offices. Their present unsatisfactory position will receive consideration, and representations be made to the Public Service Commissioner. 2. The matter of their permanent employment in the Public Service is not governed by regulations, but by the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Service Act. {: .page-start } page 9193 {:#debate-7} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-7-0} #### DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE Proposed Legislation - Easter Encampment of 9th Light Horse {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
CORIO, VICTORIA asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >Can he state, for the convenience of members of the Defence Force and others, whether it is proposed to legislate on the lines of the proposed defence scheme this session, or can he fix an approximate date for the introduction of the necessary legislation? {: #subdebate-7-0-s1 .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist -- The Bill is in draft, and will be introduced this year, but whether before or after the recess, if any, cannot yet be stated. {: #subdebate-7-0-s2 .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA asked the Minister of Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether he is awarethat some weeks ago by Military Order duly promulgated and announced inthe Press, and noted in the Military Almanac, Axedale, near Bendigo, was appointed as the place for holding the Easter encampment of the 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment? 1. Under what circumstances, and by whose directions, was the said Order subsequently reversed, and Lake Burrumbeet, near Ballarat, appointed as the place of encampment? 2. Will the Minister direct that in order to prevent disappointment in the Bendigo district the original arrangement be carried out? 9194 *Public Service :* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Age Retirements.* {: #subdebate-7-0-s3 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- The replies with which I have been furnished are as follow : - 1 and 2. No such Military Order was promulgated, and if any such announcement appeared in the press it was unauthorized. The only Military Order bearing on the subject mentioned Burrumbeet as the site for the camp. The Military Calendar is issued by the Commandant at the beginning of the year, and contains provisional information in advance for the convenience of the Forces. The Calendar is no authority, and is liable to alteration at any time. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. In fixing Burrumbeet, the Commandant was actuated by the f ollowingreasons : - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. The Ballarat Half Battalion is the senior Half Battalion. 1. The senior officer of the Regiment **(Major Anderson),** who will command it in Camp, resides at Ballarat. 2. The No. 3 Light Horse Field Ambulance, which is to go into Camp with the Regiment, is also established at Ballarat. It is not considered that it would be in the best interests of the Forces to alter the arrangements now, but the Commandant will be requested to have the next camp at Axedale. {: .page-start } page 9194 {:#debate-8} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-8-0} #### HOSPITALS NEAR STATE BORDERS {: #subdebate-8-0-s0 .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >In view of the unsatisfactory arrangements existing between the States *re* their responsibilities in connexion with border hospitals, will he submit the matter to the Conference of Premiers, about to assemble, with a view to a more equitable adjustment of contributions from one State to the hospital on the border of an adjoining State, where the sick and injured of the former State receive attention and relief? {: #subdebate-8-0-s1 .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : - >Hospitals being institutions in respect to which the Commonwealth Government has neither control nor responsibility, it would probably not assist the honorable member's purpose if representations were made , in this direction through its Ministers. {: .page-start } page 9194 {:#debate-9} ### PUBLIC SERVICE : AGE RETIREMENTS Motion (by **Mr. Bamford)** agreed to - >That a Return be laid upon the table showing > >The number of officers in the Commonwealth Public Service who have compulsorily retired upon reaching the age limit during the five years ending the 31st December, 1907. > >The number of officers (if any) retained in the service who have reached or are past the retiring age, giving the salaries paid to each of the officers retained (if any), and the salaries paid to those retired. > >The number of officers who were, on the 31st December last, over 60 years of age. (The number in each State in each case to begiven.) {: .page-start } page 9194 {:#debate-10} ### AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIES PRESERVATION BILL *In Committee* (Consideration resumed from 17th March, *vide* page . 9136) : Clause 4 - >Part II. of the Principal Act is amended by inserting therein after section fifteen the following sections : - " 15A. In any prosecution for an offenceagainst sections four, five, seven, eight, or nine of this Act the averments of the prosecutor contained' in the information declaration or claim shall be deemed to be proved in the absence of proof to the contrary, but so that - > >the averment in the information of intent shall not be deemed sufficient to prove such intent, and > >in all proceedings for an indictable offence the guilt of the defendant must be established by evidence. . . Amendment (by **Mr. Wynne)** proposed - >That the words " In any," line 1, of the proposed new section 15a, be left out. {: #debate-10-s0 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .-Itis well known that another honorable member wishes to move an amendment which, though not prior to the proposal submitted) by the honorable member for Balaclava, so far as the actual wording of this provision is concerned, will have a prior effect. I think, therefore, that the honorable member for Balaclava might consent to withdraw his amendment until after the proposal which the honorable member for Illawarra desires to submit has been dealt with. {: .speaker-L1R} ##### Mr Wynne: -- I am quite agreeable to do so. {: #debate-10-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I point out that the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Illawarra will come further down in the proposed new section. The object of the amendment of the honorable member for Balaclava is to give other honorable members, in the case of that amendment being either defeated or carried, an opportunity of moving any further amendment. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The object of the amendment desired by the honorable member for Balaclava is to test the whole of the proposed new section. A number of honorable members are quite ready to see that proposed new section adopted, provided there be incorporated the principle which the honorable member for Illawarra desires, whereas if that amendment be not *Australian Industries* [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9195 adopted, they will possibly desire to strike out the whole of the provision. In view of the fact that this is a proposal made to test the Committee on the whole of the proposed new section, I suggest that the best method would be to allow the amendment of the honorable member for Balaclava to be withdrawn, so as to permit the honorable member for Illawarra to submit his proposal. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- That course could not possibly be followed. If the amendment of the honorable member for Illawarra be accepted, all the words down to "claim" will remain, and, under thecircumstances, the desire of those who wish the whole of the proposed new section struck out, would be defeated. If the honorable member for Balaclava has sufficient voting behind him to carry his proposal, there is no chance of the honorable member for Illawarra carrying his amendment. {: #debate-10-s2 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas .- To me it does not appear to matter much which way the matter is tested. I presume that the present amendment is as to the whole of the proposed new section 15A; and that if we do not go the full length of striking the provision out, an opportunity will be afforded to modify it. In regard to the proposed new section itself, I doubt very much whether the powers proposed are really required by the Attorney -General. Doubtless the objection has already been taken that the powers are outside the scope of his office. We can understand somewhat similar powers being vested in him - though even those are extreme - in connexion with the Customs Act, on which, to some extent, the provisions before us are based. Under the Customs Act he is acting as the head of the Department in relation to purely Customs matters, as to which there must be a great deal of scrutiny ; indeed, in my opinion, there is sometimes too much scrutiny. I noticed yesterday that a question was asked in reference to the firm of Harris, Scarfe, and Company ; and if honorable members were aware of the extent of the scrutiny carried out in connexion with that and other firms, they would hesitate, in a matter not related to the Customs, in investing the Comptroller-General with the proposed powers. In the train this morning I read an account of yesterday's debate; and I desire to call attention to the fact that in the Harris, Scarfe case over 100,000 invoices were examined. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Is it advisable to discuss a case which is to a certain extent *sub judice ?* {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I understand the case is *sub judice* in the sense of having been practically settled. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The assessment of penalties has yet to be done by the Court. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I do not propose to go into the merits of the case, but we are now dealing with a proposal to give the Comptroller-General extraordinary powers in matters not relating to his Customs jurisdiction. As I say, there were examined in the case to which I have referred over 100,000 invoices dealing with the period between 1902 and 1907, and covering imports to the value of between *£2,000,000* and£3,000,000. About 23,000 orders were examined, and in the whole only three mistakes, resulting in under payments, were found. There were in all seventeen other cases, in relation to fourteen of which the firm had already paid the money to the agents, though the agents, it was said, had not paid it to the Government. When we find the ComptrollerGeneral, in his capacity as head of the Customs Department, exercising those extraordinary powers of scrutiny, we ought to hesitate before we arm him with further powers, which are, to a certain extent, not germane to his true position. I desire to point out, further, that a great deal of what is sought to be done by this legislation can be done at present. What the Government desire is to practically enable the prosecutor, who is the ComptrollerGeneral, to make preliminary inquiry, which, of course, is not allowed to any private individual, such as he really is so far as the Bill is concerned. If the Comptroller-General suspects that a contract has been entered into within the original Act, and he has good ground for suspicion, what is there to prevent the Government taking action against the parties responsible for entering into the contract? Surely if the Government are afraid to risk an action - if the ground of suspicion is so weak - the Comptroller-General ought not to be allowed to exercise the powers proposed in the Bill. If there are sufficiently strong grounds to suspect a contract, there is nothing, as I say, to prevent the Government taking action in the High Court, and, in order to prove the existence of the contract, administering the most searching interrogatories to the persons charged. Surely the Attorney-General will agree that, if there is anything to justify the application of the proposed powers of espionage under the Bill, there are sufficient grounds on which to issue a summons. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- The honorable member would not apply that argument to the Customs Act? {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I am not dealing with the Customs Act, in regard to which I endeavoured at the outset to draw a distinction. As head of the Customs Department, the Comptroller-General has to make many inquiries, involving an immense amount of detail, that he is not called upon to make under the Bill, because he is, in the latter relation, no more than any other member of the public who might be appointed to do the work. What is there to prevent the Government issuing a writ against suspected persons charging them with a breach of the Act, and then availing .themselves of the very comprehensive powers of inquiry given by the High Court Procedure Act? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- In a civil proceeding we cannot compel persons to incriminate themselves on an affidavit. The only power we possess is that given by section n. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- The Act of 1906 specially provides that a witness at an inquiry cannot refuse to answer on the ground that the matters dealt with may incriminate him, and that he is not to be prosecuted in consequence of any disclosures thereby made. That gets over the difficulty, and, if it does not extend to this clause, we can provide for an amendment. Such a provision exists in the principal Act, and, I think, is also to be. found in proposed section 15B. If there is any doubt as to whether it applies to an interrogatory under this clause we can amend it. The point that I wish to emphasize, however, is that all this can be done by an action under which the scrutiny will be controlled, .as it ought to be,, by a Justice of the High Court. The proposed section 15B provides that in all proceedings for an indictable offence the guilt of the defendant must be established by evidence. One would imagine that that is a wonderful safeguard to the public. . To some extent, however, it . widens the scope of the earlier part of the provision under which a very wide discretion is given to the magistrate who may have to administer the law as to a *prima facie* assumption of guilt. The bulk of the cases under this measure ' will not ' be " indictments. Section 245 of the Customs Act provides that Customs prosecutions may be instituted in the name of the Minister by action, information, or other appropriate proceeding, in the High Court, or the Supreme Court of any State, and that when the prosecution is for a pecuniary penalty not exceeding ,£500, or the excess is abandoned, a Customs prosecution may be instituted in the name of the Collector in any County Court, District Court, or Court of Summary Jurisdiction. The penalty for which this clause provides does not exceed .£500. Even if it did, the excess might be abandoned, and thus the control of the Court, even in cases involving penalties beyond .£500, is left altogether with the Comptroller-General. The result is that the provision, that where there is an indictable offence the guilt of the defendent must be established by evidence, will,- in 99 per cent, pf the cases brought under this clause, be of no protection to the public. What are these Courts of Summary Jurisdiction ? A case involving penalties amounting to ,£500 might be brought before two country magistrates who had only just been appointed to the Commission of the Peace, and they could adjudicate. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The honorable member is aware that all Commonwealth cases instituted in the inferior Courts must be dealt with by a police, stipendiary, or special magistrate. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- Does the honorable member say that the words " summary jurisdiction " mean that these cases should be brought before a stipendiary magistrate ? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The Judiciary Act so provides. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- It may be so ; I may have forgotten that fact. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The honorable member does not suggest that cases under the Australian Industries Preservation Act are really Customs prosecutions under the Customs Act? {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I do. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Where does the honorable member find his authority for that contention ? {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- Does the honorable member say that prosecutions, under this measure, cannot be brought in Courts of Summary Jurisdiction ? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Under the original Act a . case must come before a Justice of the. High Court, but indictable offences would come before a stipendiary, police, or ' special magistrate. These particular cases under the Judiciary Act would have to be tried before such magistrates. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I do not think that the point is material, because the stipendiary magistrates of South Australia, while in many cases men of very great capacity, are not necessarily lawyers. I do not know what is the position in Victoria. In some cases they receive a salary of only £450 per annum, and, however capable for their usual work, they are not the class of judges whom I would invest with the very wide powers given by this measure. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The only power vested in them is the power to convict if an offence is proved. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- This clause provides that the declaration of the prosecutor is evidence of guilt. That is to say, it is evidence of the existence of a contract. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Does not the honorable member recognise that the offences with which he is now dealing are offences under the original Act, and that under that Act they can be tried only by Justices of the High Court? {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I am dealing at present with the clause before us, and as I understand it a person may be charged with the offences named in it before a stipendiary magistrate, provided the penalties do not exceed ^500. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- No, the only offences that, may be brought before a stipendiary magistrate are those for which the proposed sections 15B, 15c, and 15E provide. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I shall allow theAttorneyGeneral to explain that matter to the Committee. I have not had an opportunity of closely examining the Act of j 906, but am trusting to my memory. I believe that a great many of these offences could be dealt with by "a magistrate, and that the class of justice so obtained is not, from his training, of the standing secured from a Justice of the High Court. The point that I wish to take is that what the AttorneyGeneral desires to do under this clause is to obtain proof of a contract, the existence of which is suspected. Without actual proof, he desires to assume the existence in all cases of a contract unless the contrary is proved. The intent must be proved, but that does not carry us very far, because in the bulk of cases intent will be assumed by the Court, and it is left to the defendant to show that there is no intent. Under this clause a mere charge of the existence of a contract will be evidence of its exist- ence unless proof to the contrary is given» If there is such a strong suspicion as to justify the intervention of the ComptrollerGeneral, there should be equally strong grounds to justify the issue of a High Court writ. When a High Court writ is issued, the most elaborate kind of inquiries may be made by way of interrogatories. These interrogatories must be replied to on oath by the parties charged, who must answer "Yes," or "No," as to whether the facts alleged are true. If there is anything in the shape of perjury, the usual criminal prosecution may follow. Under the circumstances, it will be better to rely on the law, than to go to the absurd lengths provided for in the "Bill. **Mr. FAIRBAIRN** (Fawkner) [3.42I.- I think that we should not give the Ministry further powers until the Act has proved a failure._ {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- It has proved a failure. {: #debate-10-s3 .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr FAIRBAIRN:
FAWKNER, VICTORIA -- No; it has not. Some time ago the Victorian Parliament passed the Compulsory Purchases Act. After it was passed, the members of the Labour Party, and a good many others, said that further powers must be given; . but when the Act was tested - I think byMr. Mackey - the powers contained in *it* were found to be ample, and the estateto which it was applied now belongs to> the Government. If the Minister would give this Act a trial, 'he might find that no additional power is needed. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- I mentioned last night that many of these combines have been specially investigated by the Crown Solicitor, and that, in consequence, it has been, found necessary to ask for additional powers. {: .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr FAIRBAIRN: -- Let the Minister go to the Court, and ' demonstrate that the Act does not contain the powers necessary to give effect to it. If the Act is tested, it will be found either that it is effective, or that more powers are needed ; and, per haps, it may be discovered that there are no combines to which it applies. The people are being frightened by the continual asking for new inquisitorial powers. They fear that the next thing will be the introduction of the thumb screw, and boiling oil. The Ministry are pushed on by the Labour Party, and the people are frightened of the caucus, which is now running the country ; because they regard it as a sort of. Star Chamber. Persons will not engage in new enterprises, because 9198. *Australian Industries* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Preservation Bill.* they never know that they will not be dragged into some Court or other ; and nothing is more necessary than confidence in commercial matters. The Bill is being passed despite the avowed hostility of the Opposition, and the statements of the Labour Party that it will be ineffective. This is an extraordinary travesty on parliamentary Government, legislation being enacted by the Government alone, with the help of one or two supporters. As a producer, I desire to put an end to trusts which are inimical to business ; but I think that the Act should be tried, and proved inefficient, before further powers are given. {: #debate-10-s4 .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON:
Laaneccorie .- The honorable member for Fawkner has made a charge against the AttorneyGeneral which should not be made. He inferential ly accuses the Minister of making a mis-statement regarding the cases inquired into by the Department, and asks him to test the Act before demanding additional powers. But the Attorney-General has told us that the officers of the Crown have made inquiries and are satisfied that the Act is not efficient. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- Why has he not tested it? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- During the long period in which the right honorable member held positions of responsibility, he was always prepared to accept the advice of expert officers, unless he had very good reasons for not doing so. No Minister is more loyal to his officers, or more ready to defend them, than he was. I feel satisfied, therefore, that, were he in the position of the Attorney-General, he would be adopting the same attitude. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- An expert opinion on a question of law is not always infallible. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- On questions of law one can always get two opinions. The advice of the law officers of the Crown is dictated, not by hope of fee or reward, but in the honest discharge of their duties to their employer. The honorable member for Fawkner will not accept the statement of the Minister that cases have been inquired into. Does he wish the honorable and learned gentleman to give proof of his *bona fides* by mentioning the names of the persons concerned, their trades or occupations, and the offences alleged to have been committed? The Minister has done well in refusing to be drawn on this subject. Although I asked for further information, I am now convinced thathe acted properly in declining to give it. I accepthis assur ance that cases have been inquired into by the best experts which the Department has at its command. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST:
SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · PROT; WAP from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Minister did not say that they were good cases. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Technical evidence was wanting. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- In the opinion of the Department, there are cases existing, but proof is wanting. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- Is it expected that a man will make out a case against himself? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- It was intended to put the law in motion ; but the advisers of the Crown thought that it was almost impossible to secure a conviction, and the Minister therefore asks for further powers to enable necessary evidence to be obtained. We do not desire that the innocent shall be haled before the Courts to demonstrate the inefficiency of the Act. In view of the clangers ahead of us, it is our bounden duty to give the Crown sufficient power to prosecute those who are doing wrong. If we refuse to do so, we shall be false to our trust to the people. **Colonel FOXTON** (Brisbane) [3.54].- I was unfortunate not to be in the chamber during part of last night's discussion. While recognising that, under certain conditions, it is justifiable to make the averment in an information proof of an offence, and to throw the onus of disproof on the defendant, I hold that this can be done only in certain cases, namely, those in which all the evidence, both for and against, is in the possession of the defendant. Under no other circumstances should the proposed departure from British methods be permitted, it being an axiom of British law that no man shall be considered guilty until proved to be so. We ought not to grant any further powers to the Executive in the matters enumerated in this Bill until it has been demonstrated that it is impossible to give effect to the provisions of the principal Act. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Is the honorable member referring to the powers contained in subsequent new sections? Colonel FOXTON.- I am speaking of the additional powers sought under this Bill. I understand that no test case has yet been brought before the Courts. Consequently, it has not been demonstrated by a prosecution that the provisions of the principal Act are not adequate for the purposes for which they were framed. *Australian Industries* [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9199 {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- Suppose that a test case were taken and that it broke down ? Colonel FOXTON. - It would not be the first test case which had' broken down, and if the accused were innocent of the charge laid against him it ought to break down. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- But even if he were guilty it would break down. Colonel FOXTON. - We have been told that it is the opinion of the Crown Law officers that the principal Act is defective. Why was not this discovery made at the time the measure was passed ? Those who are responsible for advising the Executive upon legal matters - although they considered when the Act was passed that it gave the Government all the powers they required in this connexion - have apparently altered their opinion, notwithstanding that no judicial decision in respect of the provisions of the Statute has yet been obtained. I hold that Parliament should not enact further legislation of this character until it has been demonstrated whether the opinion which the Crown Law officers originally held is correct. That is the point which has to be considered. {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr Fuller: -- We have the same Government in power, and we have the same law officers. Colonel FOXTON.- Exactly. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- How is it that no Act is perfect? Colonel FOXTON.- The Act may be all right for aught that we know to the contrary. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- Would the honorable member grant immunity from punishment to the defendant in the test case? The honorable member talks about British justice, but he knows that it is not usual to try a man twice for the same offence. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Could the honorable mem ber justify the Government in bringing an action against a man when they knew that they had not sufficient evidence to convict him? Colonel FOXTON. - How is it that the requisite evidence was not forthcoming? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Because the matter -was one entirely within the knowledge of certain persons, and they declined to make any statement in respect of the agreements in their possession. **Colonel FOXTON.-** Was not that circumstance known at the time the principal Act was passed? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The difficulties were not realized then. Colonel FOXTON.- Until it has been proved by reference to a judicial tribunal that the principal Act is defective, we ought not to be asked to amend the existing law. {: #debate-10-s5 .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON:
Hindmarsh -- The honorable member for Brisbane has informed the Committee that he is pretty sure that some kind of legislation in regard to trusts is necessary. Colonel Foxton. - I do not think that I said that. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I am sure that is the impression which he conveyed to honorable members. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- He said that under certain circumstances the acceptance of the averment of the prosecutor was the right thing. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- But the honorable member adopts the good old-fashioned argument with which we are always confronted when we desire to do something. He says that we wish to go too far. When the principal Act was under consideration in this Chamber, I expressed the opinion that it would not prove of much value. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member also says that this Bill will not be of any value. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- Exactly. Because I cannot get a measure passed in the form in which I desire to see it, I wish to allow the Government to demonstrate that this Bill will not be a success. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member is not merely allowing them to do that; he is assisting them to do it. In other words, he is assisting them to enact a farce. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- If the deputy leader of the Opposition will help me to secure the enactment of what will not prove to be a farcical measure, I shall propose it to-morrow. When the Government propose a method which they believe" will prove effective in dealing with trusts acting in restraint of trade, they are met with the old argument that they wish to proceed too far. {: .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr Fairbairn: -- The honorable member is going to support them in passing a measure which he declares will prove a failure. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- Exactly. If the honorable member will support me in securing something which will be a success I shall propose it. If he will tell the Government that this Bill will not prove successful, that combines do exist, that their operations are injurious to the general 3200 *Australian Industries* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Preservation Bill.* community, that they ought to be controlled, and if he will suggest a remedy, I shall support him. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Does the honorable member know that the operations of combines are injurious? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- Oh, yes. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Can he prove it ? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- If I had my way should soon prove it. If the operations of a combine are not to the detriment of the community, it need not fear the light of day being let in upon them, because it would be able to prove, not merely that its operations were not injurious to the general public, but that it was a beneficent organization. Why should any commercial combine be placed in a different position from that occupied by an industrial combine? I belong to the biggest industrial combinein the Commonwealth - a combine which numbers nearly 40,000 members - and I am quite willing that it should be dragged before the Comptroller-General to enable that officer to determine whether its operations are injurious to the community. I am a member of the executive of that body, and I believe I can speak, not only for the executive, but for the whole of its members. {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- Does the honorable member think there is' any chance of that happening under these new clauses? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- The leader of the Opposition has told us that unions are combines. If that be so it is for. the Court to determine whether or not their operations are injurious to the general public. If I am willing that the affairs of the organization to which I have referred should come first before the Comptroller- General, and afterwards before the Court- {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr Fuller: -- Would the honorable member agree to the proceedings before the Comptroller-General being conducted *in camera?* {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- Undoubtedly. If the operations of a combine are not injurious to the community, and if the ComptrollerGeneral is under the impression that they are, why should the public be given the result of all the inquiries into its affairs? {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr Fuller: -- The trade unionists of Newcastle nearly upset the industrial business of the Commonwealth, because they wanted that to be done in open Court. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I believe that this Parliament is more capable of saying what trades unions should or should not do than are the unions themselves - especially in time of trouble. We are quite capable of judging what unions ought to do, because we have devoted more study to the questions than have some leaders of those organizations. If the representatives of a combine are asked to come before the Comptroller-General, and nothing questionable in its methods is revealed by the inquiry, it will be at once known that its operations have been investigated and that we have found they are for the benefit of the community. {: .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr Fairbairn: -- Why do we not do that now? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- We cannot. Under this Bill, it is necessary to establish intent on the part of a combine to injure the community, and it is left to the Government to find evidence of such intent. The onus rests upon the Government of proving intent to restrain trade. The honorable and learned member for Angas does not see the necessity for applying the provisions of the Customs Act to combines. He does not think that we have yet reached that stage when the operations of combines are so injurious that we require to apply such a drastic remedy. But I would point out that when the principal Act was passed, it was well known that its provisions were not nearly so drastic as are the provisions of the Sherman Act. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- And it was stated at that time that if its provisions were not found to be effective, steps would be taken to make them effective. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- After seventeen years' experience of a far more drastic Act than our own, the United States- {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The Sherman, Act is not more drastic than is this Bill. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- The provisions of that Act are much more drastic. Even the honorable and learned member for Flinders last night admitted that the provisions of this Bill were modifications' of the provisions of the Sherman Act. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- That fact was pointed out at the time the principal Act was under review. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- Because it was believed that the combines had not reached the same injurious stage that they had in America, and that consequently we required something milder in the way of legislation. But if we find that, after seventeen years, much more drastic legislation than ours is ineffective in the United. States, it is time that we did something more. The honorable member for Angas takes the view that it is not necessary to apply the provisions of the Customs Act to combines; but I am quite satisfied that we shall require much more drastic legislation than that presented by the Bill - that before we can do much good we must go further than the Sherman Act. Exactly the same influences are at -work in Australia as in America, only in a smaller degree, and they will inevitably work out with the same results. There are honorable members who seem to think that there are beneficent combines in operation in the Commonwealth to-day, though I <lo not know one, and would be obliged if the names of some were mentioned. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Members of the Labour Party have supported the Newcastle Coal Vend as a beneficent combine. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I have a doubt as to whether the Coal Vend is a beneficent combine. All that I desire is that the Government shall have power to prove to the whole community that there is really such a thing as a beneficent combine. {: .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr Fairbairn: -- The honorable member is himself a member. of a combine. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I admit that I am *it* member of an industrial combine; but we are ready to submit to the fullest investigation, believing as we do that our operations are beneficent. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The honorable member is now, himself, giving an instance of a beneficent combine. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- Let me tell honorable members that the combine to which I belong was proved to the satisfaction of the Court, after an investigation, to which we cheerfully submitted, to be injurious. "We asked in. what direction we were injurious, and we were tol'd that it was because, according to the rules, a member who did not vote for a Labour candidate was subject to a fine. The Court regarded that as wrong, and the result was that we expunged the rule, because we did not desire to be an injurious combine, and did- desire to comply fully with the decree of the Court. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Then the union is a beneficent combine now? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- Yes, in the eye of the law. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I thought the honorable member said just now that he did not know of a. beneficent combine? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- At the time of which I am speaking, the powers now asked for by the Government were not in existence, or it is just possible they may have found some other rules which ought to be eliminated. I am perfectly willing that the Government should have every opportunity to investigate the affairs of the union, and I go further and say that we should do in the future exactly as we have done in the past, and cheerfully eliminate any rule which the Court might deem injurious. {: .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr Fairbairn: -- Does the honorable member's union always obey the Court? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- Yes. The Australian Workers' Union, popularly known as the Shearers' Union, not only obeys the Judges- {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- That was the union which the honorable member for Wentworth said was going bung. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- The interjection of the honorable member for Yarra gives me an opportunity to point out the difference between an injurious combine and a beneficent combine. The other Shearers Union appealed to the Court, with the result that it was " wiped out." {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member holds - that his combine is beneficent ? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- Yes; and the country should be filled with beneficent combines. Let it be proved that combines are beneficent, and I shall be satisfied. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Is the M.S.U. a beneficent combine ? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- The Judge declared it to be an atrocious combine ; and if it had been a beneficent one, it would have been in existence to-day. I may say that the union to which I belong not only submitted to the decision of the Court, but has never uttered one harsh word of criticism in reference to it. In regard to the award and all connected with the case, every member is 'thoroughly satisfied, and regards the result as fair to both employers and employed. Although I think that this amending Bill will not do all that it is intended to do, I am prepared to" support the Government in order to demonstrate either its success or its failure. {: #debate-10-s6 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I hope that the honorable member for Hindmarsh will forgive us if we take what he says in favour of the measure with a grain of salt. He has told us that he does not believe, in this legislation ; and a man always makes heavy weather when he 9202 *Australian Industries* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Preservation Bill.* pleads a cause in which he does not believe, and in which he has no confidence - a cause which he is supporting only because he believes it will further some ulterior object he has in view. The honorable member set out with a mind very far removed from that which should be brought to bear on a fair consideration of the proposals before us. If the honorable member does not believe in this legislation, he ought to leave its defence to others. Mr.Hutchison. - Not necessarily ; I may be proved to be wrong. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member is himself a proof that it does not necessarily follow. But he also furnishes the shocking example of a man who sets out to defend a cause, and ends up by doing the. exact opposite. The honorable member sought to make a parallel between a trust operating for commercial purposes and the union to which he belongs. Does the honorable member seriously believe there is any parallel ? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- The Opposition instituted the parallel, not I. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member ought to know that there is absolutely no comparison to be made. His union is for certain specified objects, covering only a small portion of those matters which relate to industrial combines. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- Do not forget that the parallel is not mine, but that of the Opposition. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But the honorable member adopted it very readily, and declared that his combine was open for investigation before the world. In this Bill the provision is made that a man shall answer all questions that may be put to him, whether they have reference to the combine or not ; and if the honorable member desires to make the parallel complete, we must suppose that he, as a member of his union, could be called upon to answer questions relating to the disposal of his salary of *£600* a year, in order that it might be inferred, in some remote way, what his precise relation to his union is. Under the Bill a man may be compelled to show his bank book and private account, for the purpose of finding how he stands in relation to an industrial concern. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- The Commissioner of Taxes calls upon us all to make such disclosures. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member will be well advised if he does not open any fresh ground. As to what is a beneficent combine, the Newcastle Coal Vend has been quoted as an example. I am not here to defend every action of that Vend, and I should be sorry to do so ; but I believe that, so far, its operations, on the whole, have been of a beneficent character. It has put a fair price on its article, enabling it to pay the miner a fair wage. What is happening to-day ? It is taking the Premier of New South Wales all his time to prevent the miners from striking; and why? Because, amongst other things, they wish to force the Vend or Combine to raise the selling price to 12s., while the Combine desires to keep it at11s. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- Why does the Combine desire to keep the price at 11s. ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Because there is an agreement. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- They desire that price so that they shall not have to pay a fairwage. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is an agreement between them and the miners that for every shilling increase in the price, the miners shall receive an increase of 4d. in their wages. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- That is the whole secret ! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Does the honorable member say that the Coal Combinedeclined to put an extra 8d. profit into their own pockets, because it would mean an increase of 4d. in wages to the miners? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- Let the honorablemember tell us the reason. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I can only say that the Combine say that the trade wilt not stand a rate of 12s. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- I desireevidence as to whether that is so or not. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The simple fact is that the miners of the whole of New South Wales have been endeavouring, throughout their existence, to force these conditions on the proprietors as the only way of abolishingunfair competition which rendered it impossible to secure a fair price for the coal and a fair wage for the earner. There could not be a more typical case of a beneficent combine than the present Coal Combine in Newcastle, so far as it has gone at present. We have the honorable member for Hindmarsh assailing the Combine on the one hand, whilst on the other he poses as a representative in Parliament of the men who are threatening; *Australian Industries* . [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9203 the dislocation of the industry because this Combine will not put up prices still higher. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- I did not say a word about a combine that was not injurious. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member said there was no beneficent comibine save that to which he belongs. The position reminds one of the definition of " orthodoxy," " Orthodoxy is my doxy, and heterodoxyis yours." The honorable member says that his party is the only beneficent combine, and that it invites the closest scrutiny. It is idle to attempt to establish a parallel between things that bear no resemblance to each other. The Combine to which the honorable member has been alluding has been declared by a Judge, by Parliament, and by public opinion, to be a legitimate beneficent one since something has been done which he and his party violently opposed in this House. That being so, whatever there is of a beneficent character in the Combine of which he speaks has been introduced into it, by the direction of the Judge, despite his determined opposition. I shall offer no objection to this clause if we can incorporate in it the amendment which the honorable member for Illawarra seeks to make. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Why does the honorable member prefer the words ' ' *prima facie* e vidence ' ' ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The amendment makes all the difference between evidence and proof. It is. a simple proposal indicating an immense difference in the conduct of cases, and in the attitude of the Opposition with regard to the action which the Attorney-General seeks to take. We say that if these averments are not answered they should be *prima facie* evidence of the existence of the alleged agreement. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Does the honorable member mean by the use of the words ' ' *prima facie "* that if a defendant did not give an answer the complaint could be sufficient to convict him? Mr.Fuller. - Yes. {: #debate-10-s7 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Unless this is done I shall feel very much inclined to vote ultimately with the honorable member for Balaclava, because I think the Bill will then give all the powers that are required to make the most searching investigation into whatever there may be to uncover with regard to trusts. My position is very plain. I wish equally with other honorable members to find out what the trusts are doing ; I believe that some of them are operating to the detriment of the community. All sorts of allegations are being made, for instance, concerning a Confectionery Trust in Victoria. There were placed in my hands some weeks ago documents similar to those placed in the hands of other honorable members, which seemed to show conclusively that there was, in this State at least, a trust which was injuring the retail confectionery business, and that it was extending to other States. Let us see what the agreement really is - whether it is in detriment of the public interests that it exists, and if that be so let us try to modify or abolish the agreement. We cannot have these harmful trusts running rough-shod over the public interests and the public weal. Whilst I do not think that we ought to regard the individual members of trusts as being criminals until we can prove them to be so, we should avail ourselves of every power that will enable us to make as thorough an investigation of their ramifications as we may possibly do with a view to removing whatever is injuring the common weal and the consuming public. {: #debate-10-s8 .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE:
Gippsland .- These thrusts andcounter thrusts between the Labour Party and the Opposition may be very interesting, but they do not seem to touch the question at issue. The simple question is what the Parliament meant when in 1906 it passed the Australian Industries Preservation Bill? I understand that it intended to put an end to all trusts and combines injurious to the public. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The intention of the Government was to issue a political placard. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- I take it that the intention of Parliament was to put an end to injurious trusts and combines. The measure was passed in order to nip at the very start trusts and combines in Australia which, if allowed to run wild as they have been in the United States of America, would do great harm. We are told now that the means provided in the principal Act are not sufficient to secure conviction. The Government come to us and say, " Give us better machinery in order that we may carry out the principles that we have embodied in the original Act." So far, to that proposal there have been two objections - one by the honorable member for Fawkner and the other by the honorable member for Brisbane, who thinks that the Government should at least test the Act and show in what respect it fails. The most complete evidence of failure is that the prosecutor is unable to go on. Colonel Foxton. - How do we know that? {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- If the honorable member has had any experience in getting up a case he must know that when a lawyer cannot recommend his client to go on with an action- it is about as hopeless as it could possibly be. It is unnecessary to go through the farce of appearing before the Court and being told "You cannot prove anything." Colonel Foxton.- Why did not the Government think of that when the original Bill was before us? {: .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr Fairbairn: -- The Crown Solicitor is paid whether he advises the Government to go on with a case or to discontinue it. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- Is not the honorable member for Brisbane aware that the whole of our legislation is a series of Acts and amending Acts? There would be no occasion for an amending Bill if we could foresee all the difficulties and the troubles likely to arise in proving- offences provided for in a Bill. Here we have a case in which the Crown Solicitor, as the honorable member for Fawkner has said, is paid whether he loses or wins. But we have to remember that upon the Crown Solicitor and his officers rests the responsibility of going before the Court with a case that they cannot sustain. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Does the honorable member think that the House would object to the validity of one of its "own Acts being tested ? {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- No, but when the officer intrusted with the responsibility of testing it says to us, "I am unable to proceed for want of evidence," the House, I think, would declare him guilty of an unpardonable offence if, despite that opinion, he went on with a case under the Act. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- He would be absolutely unfit for his position. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- He would be unfit for his position if he advised a prosecution, knowing that it could not be sustained. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Cannot the AttorneyGeneral act on his own opinion? {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- Yes. I understand that he is doing so in submitting this measure. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- He is taking the responsibility for it. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- If he acted as has been suggested, the House would regard him as a client regards his legal adviser when he takes him into Court with a case that he cannot sustain. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Has the honorable member known a lawyer who refused to take a fighting case into Court? {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- I am prepared to take such a case into Court, but not one- that 1 cannot argue. I am not going to make a fool of myself .by putting before a Court a case in which I have no faith. The Attorney-General believes that the provisions of the principal Act are not sufficient to enable a conviction to be secured, and he asks us to agree to this amending Bill. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Trie simple question is, how much power we ought to give the Attorney-General. I suppose the honorable member will agree that even the Attorney-General is no more to be intrusted with unlimited power than is any one else. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- That is true, but the AttorneyGeneral has to answer to the House, and I am sure we should call him to account if he violently abused the power intrusted to him. The objection raised to this Bill is that the Government, before submitting it, should have tested the law and have had. a breakdown. My answer to that is that they have already tested the Act by inquiring into various matters to which it relates, and that they have found that they cannot hope to secure a conviction under it. We come now to the question of whether or not proposed section J5A should be passed. . The honorable member for Flinders has said that he sees no objection to it because it is necessary to prove intent, and that the intent is the very essence of an offence. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- His statement' was not quite so definite. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- In answer to that contention, the honorable member for Balaclava says that the clause provides a lazy man's way of proving a conviction. I am satisfied on this point to take the opinion of the honorable member for Flinders. As to the principle of compelling a man to prove his innocence, it is rather late in the day to find fault with that method of procedure. An enormous number of statutory offences of the present day throw that onus on the defendant, and it is not, in some cases, a wrong course. The object of the Legislature is to prevent the commission of certain offences by punishing -those convicted of having committed them. In many cases the proofs of guilt or innocence are wholly in the possession of the defendant, and, under those circumstances, I see no objection to calling upon him to prove that he is innocent. In a big Customs prosecution many years ago, it was alleged that there ware two sets of invoices, the first set - that presented to the Customs - being faked, and the second set showing the true facts. The Postmaster-General of the day seized the second set, but had the weakness to hand it on, unopened, to the defendant. The late **Mr. Justice** Molesworth tried the case, and my .recollection is that, when it was argued that the defendant was not called on to prove his innocence, he replied : "That is true; but the production of invoices in his possession would prove his innocence beyond doubt, if he be innocent, and I cannot understand an innocent man failing to produce .the proofs of his innocence when he has it in his power to do so." The invoices not being produced, the jury disagreed, and the prosecution was dropped. It seems to me that any man knowing himself to be innocent, and having documentary proofs of his innocence, would be only too glad to produce them, instead of relying on the chances of an acquittal. In these cases the innocent party desires a verdict of not guilty, not a conclusion to the trial equivalent to the recording of a verdict of not proven. The honorable member for Angas seems to have overlooked the fact that in the cases coming under this measure the defendant would meet' interrogatories with the reply that in answering them he might incriminate himself. That position has aLready arisen. In> the case of the *AttorneyGeneral* v. *Simpson,* the defendant, by his answer, set up his right to protect himself from pains, penalties, and forfeitures, by refusing to make specific answer to the information and interrogatories. It "was held that in order to entitle the plaintiff to the relief claimed, it would be necessary to prove facts by reason of which the defendant would incur a forfeiture of the land under section 128 of the Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1868, and be liable to a prosecution for misdemeanour under sections 127 and 129. He could not be compelled to make a further and better answer. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr Glynn: -- A provision in the Act of 1906 could be extended to these cases. Mx. WISE. - If a defendant is innocent, he Will have no objection to answering interrogatories, while we need have no sympathy with a guilty party. _ I am in favour of giving the prosecution every power necessary to sheet home offences, because the innocent will be able, to -prove their innocence. We wish to punish offences against the community. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- The community may itself do wrong if legal methods of this kind are adopted. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE: -- I do not think so. The honorable member for Bendigo last night spoke of an omission from proposed new section 15B. He pointed out that, under proposed new section 15c, the complaint has to be. made on oath in writing before the Comptroller-General can act, and he suggested that there should be the same preliminary required under proposed new section 15B. But it must not be forgotten that under proposed new section 15B, the. Comptroller-General merely asks certain questions, and requires the production of certain documents for inspection. The answers to those questions and the inspection of the documents may enable a person to swear that an offence has been committed, and consequently a complaint has to be made on oath in writing under proposed new section 15c, before documents can be required to be handed over. I suggest that the honorable member should move to amend proposed new section 15B so as to provide that a complaint must be made in writing ' before the Comptroller-General takes action. The complaint could not in that case be made on oath. In both cases, however, some one should father the complaint. {: #debate-10-s9 .speaker-L1R} ##### Mr WYNNE:
Balaclava .- In order that the honorable member for Illawarra may have an opportunity to move an amendment, I ask leave to withdraw mine. But, before doing so, I wish to call attention to Part II., section 11, of the principal Act, which enacts that - >No person shall, in any proceeding under this section, be excused from answering any question put either *viva voce* or by interrogatory, or from making any discovery of documents, on the ground that the answer or discovery may criminate or tend to criminate him; but .his answer shall not be admissible in evidence against him in any criminal proceeding other than prosecution for perjury. If the later words were omitted, the Government would have all the powers required for a discovery. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- That section applies only to the case in which a private individual brings an action. {: .speaker-L1R} ##### Mr WYNNE: -- A similar provision could be made to apply to trusts. The Government could get power to examine their officers, as was done in the prosecution of Messrs. Robert Reid and Company by the Customs Department. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- In. that case, the papers were seized by a warrant immediately the prosecution was instituted. {: .speaker-L1R} ##### Mr WYNNE: -- Was 'not a great deal of evidence obtained on commission in England ? - {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Both sides gave evidence on commission. {: .speaker-L1R} ##### Mr WYNNE: -- It shows that the Government can, if it likes, obtain information by means of a slighter amendment of the Act than the adoption of the dangerous principle of throwing the onus of proof - on the defendant. If the principle is adopted in this Bill, it may, later on, be adopted in another, until by degrees every accused person will be held guilty until he proves his innocence, which in many cases the innocent could not do. We shall, establish a bad precedent in adopting this principle when we can get at the combines by other means. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. {: #debate-10-s10 .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr CARR:
Macquarie .- I do not think the Government is so rabidly socialistic that it would ask for unnecessary powers for the ascertainment of facts. The Opposition asserts that we wish men to be treated as criminals until they have proved themselves innocent ; but the provision, as I read it, is simply for a preliminary inquiry, not for a criminal procedure. Criminality in these cases lies in intent, and, under the principal Act, intent must be proved by evidence. All that is asked for here is power to ascertain by means of a preliminary inquiry the position of an individual in regard to a supposed trust or combine. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- He is required .to answer all questions put to him. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr CARR: -- With a view to showing his connexion with a trust or combine. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Not at all. The Attorney-General refused last night to so limit the words. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr CARR: -- In all proceedings under indictment, guilt must be established by evidence, and the only indictable offence under the Act is intent {: #debate-10-s11 .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER:
Illawarra .- The honorable member for Macquarie contends that evidence is necessary to prove intent ; but in connexion with the clause now under consideration, as the averment in an information is to be taken as proved in the absence of proof to the contrary, inte"nt would "be presumed if the information averred that, the person charged had done everything for bidden to be done under sections 4, 5, 7^ 8, and 9. I move - >That before the words "proved in the absenceof proof to the contrary " in the proposed newsection 15A the words " *-prima -facie* evidence of the statements contained therein " be inserted. Last night several honorable members* wished to know what was the difference between the clause in its present form and my proposal. The Attorney-General himself" declared that there was very little difference. In defending the clause and opposing thepropOsal which I have just submitted, thehonorable and learned gentleman quoted? the case of *ex -parte Healy,* which wastried before the Full Court of New South Wales, and in which the defendant wasproceeded against under section -144 of theExcise Act of 1901, the words of which areidentical with the words contained in theprovision under consideration. -The AttorneyGeneral also quoted that portion of thejudgment of **Mr. Justice** Owen, which, reads - >The view I take of section 144 is simply this, that it relieves the Crown from the necessity of" proving their case in the first instance by oral evidence, and allows the averment of the prosecution contained in the information, decla-ration, or claim, to be *prima* *facie* proof of thev charge preferred against the accused. " But: when the information has been put in,- and all the evidence produced is before the 'tribunal, then it appears to me that the tribunal has todetermine upon the whole of the evidence before it, whether the Crown has established theguilt of the accused or not. Now the Chairman of the Bench on theoccasion upon which this case was tried? was. **Mr. Justice** Stephen, and I should liketo quote a portion of his judgment bearing on the words used in this provision,, and also upon those which I propose shall", be substituted for them. He said - >The defendant having also called evidence^, the magistrate convicted and fined him, saying at the same time, " I am not satisfied that theaccused knew of the existence of the still upon, his premises." As honorable members are aware, the magistrate, not being satisfied that the defendant's guilt had been established, fell back upon the words of section. 144 of" the Excise Act of 1901, and convicted" him because he had not established hisinnocence. Upon this point **Mr. Justice'** Stephen said - . In other words, the magistrate convicted, although he was not satisfied of the guilt of theaccused. If this Court is to give effect to the respondent's contention, we shall be placing a construction upon the Statute' opposed to every principle of what, is right and just, and to the entire spirit of British law. 1 *Australian Industries* [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9207 We are members of a British community, and we are accustomed to the scales of justice being held evenly. We are not accustomed to the law being administered in the interests only of the rich. As a matter of fact, in the years gone by, British law was most effective in protecting the poorer classes of the community, who would otherwise have suffered severely at the hands of their oppressors. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr Carr: -- In the old Feudal days. {: #debate-10-s12 .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER: -- Are we to depart from the most cherished principles of British jurisprudence? I recognise that the creation of trusts and combines is a comparatively recent development. They have attained such enormous proportions in the United States owing, principally, to the prohibitive Tariff which obtains there. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Are they not the outcome of all high protective Tariffs? {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER: -- Undoubtedly they are largely the outcome of high protection, notwithstanding the contention of the honorable member for Boothby that the high Tariff of America is not the cause of the existence of trusts there. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr Carr: -- That is not the only contributing factor. {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER: -- No. One factor is the keen internal competition which takes place behind a high protective fence. That competition becomes of such a cut-throat character that business men are forced into the Bankruptcy Court. The trust promoter then comes along, and men enter into these trading combinations, to a large extent, for their own safety. **Mr. Justice** Stephen continues - >If the section is ambiguous, we ought to place that construction upon it which is consonant with what is just and right. If the Magistrate had simply convicted without making any statement of his opinion, we could not have upset the conviction, because it might have been that the Magistrate was not satisfied with the defendant's evidence, and if the defendant's evidence was unsatisfactory, I think the Magistrate could have relied on the provisions of the section and given effect to the section. No doubt prosecutions often fail owing to the difficulty of proving the Crown case. Although it has been stated that the Crown Solicitor has in his possession information in regard to the existence of trusts and combines in Australia, the Attorney-General has not attempted to test the efficacy 'of the provisions of the principal Act. When that Act was passed, I held that an opportunity should be afforded of testing whether or not its provisions were effective. No such opportunity has been provided, and' yet we fare asked to confer these further drastic powers upon the Government. The judgment of **Mr. Justice** Stephen proceeds - >No doubt prosecutions often fail owing to the difficulty of proving the Crown case, and section 144 has been passed in order to obviate these difficulties, and to allow the information, or even a mere declaration or claim to beprima *facie* proof of the offence, which, but for the existence of the Statute, would have to be proved by oral evidence. I think, however, that where evidence is given it is still the Magistrate's duty to say whether he is or is not satisfied that the charge has been proved. In the present case, extraordinary as it may appear, the Magistrate was not satisfied with the oral evidence given by the prosecution, yet he harked back to section 144 of the Excise Act, and convicted. It would be a terrible state of things if that were the law. In making that statement, his Honor was referring *to the* very law that we are now asked to incorporate in this Bill. That is the opinion of one of the most experienced. Justices that New South Wales has ever possessed. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr Carr: -- Does the honorable and learned member say that a man can be con- evicted under the first portion of the clause ? {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER: -- He can be found guilty upon the averments contained in the information in the absence of proof to the contrary. **Mr. Justice** Stephen further declared - >It has been contended that the word " proof " in the section must be read as equivalent merely to " evidence," and I think this is so. If my proposal be carried, and the accused does not answer the allegations contained in the averments, the case will go against him. But he will at least be afforded an opportunity in open Court of offering evidence in his defence, and the statements contained in the. information will not be accepted as having been proved. In other words, it will not be assumed that the accused is guilty before he has been found guilty, and the Crown will be required to substantiate the allegations contained in the averments. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr Carr: -- Is the fact that a man is a member of a combine an offence ? {: .speaker-JZF} ##### Mr FULLER: -- Not that I am aware of. {: #debate-10-s13 .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY:
Darwin -- For the last few days we have been listening to arguments for and against the amendment of the original Australian Industries Preservation Act. It was strange to hear the honorable member for Brisbane this afternoon talking as though it was possible for a Government to introduce a perfect measure which should never require amendment, when we remember that some years ago he introduced in Queensland a Land Act which was so far from perfect that the State Parliament has been amending it ever since. When the original Act was before this House the pure Merinoes and Southdowns of the Opposition " bunted up " against it with all their power, and any good there might be in the measure was, as far as they, could insure it, minimized or obliterated. The ' whole series of laws since the commencement of Parliament in the Mother Land has been based on repeal, amendment, and renewal. .We repeal or amend- this year the laws that we made last year, and next year we shall repeal or amend the laws we make this year - the future is only an evolutionary repetition of the past. I quite sympathize with honorable members who do not desire to make repressive laws or do anything to interfere with the liberty of the subject. At the same time, all financial and industrial organizations receive from Parliament their power to operate, and those powers may be revoked, at the will of Parliament. . If the Parliament of the Commonwealth, or any other Parliament, desires to pass restrictive laws against the wolves of those corporations who prey upon their human fellowcreatures, it is at perfect liberty to do so - the power which gives those corporations life can take that life away. If those engaged in combines are not doing wrong ' they can unhesitatingly produce proof. I know that when I am attacked I am prepared to go into Court and fight the matter out, because I know that I am not trying to rob, but that my only desire is to engage in- legitimate and honest dealing. The Parliament of the State of Illinois tried for years, and President Roosevelt also tried, to deal with the Beef Trust of Chicago. The President of the United States of America had one of Napoleon's relatives, **Mr. Charles** Bonaparte, United States Attorney-General, and some of the ablest lawyers of America, engaged with that object ; but the Beef Trust laughed .it them. How did the Beef Trust manage it ? The members used to meet in a cab. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- It must have been a big cab ! {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- Two or three men controlled the trust, just as twenty or thirty men run Australia, while England is governed by about twenty men. After the meeting in the cab, the orders of the Beef Trust used to go forth, and. if five. or six clever business men can meet together and arrange these matters by signs and symbols, how shall we prevent them? The Beef Trust has demoralized the United Statesto such an extent that every dog when he passes a butcher's shop stops and wags his tail, because he recognises a friend inside in the sausage, and he knows that some day he will- be there. The honorable member for Illawarra contends that the Tariff creates trusts in America. But I understand, though I am not quite sure, that there is no duty on kerosene. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- America has a monopoly of the source of supply. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- The Oil Trust is the greatest trust the world ever knew, and it ran the United States Government until Roosevelt became President. Those desperate men, who, as President Roosevelt says, have the genius to create these trusts, cannot be crushed by means of any little Simple-Simon legislation. There must be the power of the nation behind the movement, and, indeed, in my opinion, some of these men will have to be killed before we can succeed. The vast multitude of business men are honest; but I may say that in an election in South Australia I was defeated at Encounter Bay bv money stolen from the Customs; and yet there was no power in South Australia that could reach those men who had been robbing the State Treasury for years, and who have been robbing the Commonwealth. {: #debate-10-s14 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- Were thev a trust? {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- Of course ;. what were they but a trust? They had to be trusted, and trust some one else in order to get the "boodle." Honorable members have suggested that all these matters should be fully investigated in Court on a. charge being laid, but I point out that if the Government took a case into Court, and engaged expensive counsel to conduct an inquiry, extending, perhaps, over days, and were then", it may be, defeated on a technical point, the pure Merinos of the Opposition would be up in arms, also the cross-breeds of the Corner, and even the honorable members in this corner would feel inclined to turn the Ministry out for being such fools. I desire the Government to be- sure before they take action that,, when they go into Court, thev must win,, and to- that end it is cheaper for us to perfect the law here than to engage lawyers; outside - if we have any money to spend, let us spend it here. We ought all to join- hands in assisting the Government to pass *Australian Industries* [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9209 laws which will enable them to meet on fair ground those people outside who are now so ready to rush into Court when any . dispute arises with the Commonwealth authorities. Honorable members have noticed how certain manufacturers, when a decision was given against them to the effect that they did not pay fair wages, and were, therefore, subject to excise duty, took the matter to the High Court in an effort to have the law declared unconstitutional. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Give us the other side of the picture. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- If we placed on the statute-book measures which the Attorney-General and his assistants believed to be as near perfection as possible we should put an end to many legal expenses that are now incurred. I have the most profound respect for the High Court, where every man can get justice according to law. {: .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr McDougall: -- Are law and justice synonymous terms ? {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- No. Some time ago we passed an amending Electoral Bill, under which a candidate for a seat in this Parliament could take proceedings against any one who slandered him. I took proceedings under that Act, which was passed with the assistance of the present Attorney-General, but found that instead of the defendant having to prove that I was guilty, I had to show that I was *innocent* of the charge made against me that seventeen or eighteen years previously I was associating with drinkers. As a matter of fact, I have been a teetotaller ever since I have been in Australia. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member must deal with the question immediately before the Chair. {: .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY: -- I referred to the case only as illustrating the folly of placing on the' statute-book ineffective laws. If a man is compelled to appeal to a Court under an Act that is not so clear that he who runs may read, the chances that he will lose the day. {: #debate-10-s15 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON:
Lang .- The honorable member for Darwin has been appealing to the Committee to pass a perfect law. He will probably recognise the necessity of amending in the first place human nature. The Opposition are certainly endeavouring to do that which the honorable member desires, but, unfortunately, in their efforts to make our legislation as perfect as possible they meet with strenuous opposition from him and others. The honorable member for Balaclava also appealed to the Opposition to help the Government to pass this Bill on the ground that the principal Act had been found defective, and that unless it were amended as the Government propose, we should soon find it necessary to pass a further amending Bill. I venture to assert that unless the Government adopt the suggestion made by the Opposition for amending this clause the necessity for a further amending Bills will speedily arise. It is to avoid such a. contingency that the Opposition are suggesting amendments that will make good what seemed to them to be obvious defects: in the Bill. Unfortunately, the reason why so many amending measures are necessary is that very often when the Opposition have proposed amendments with the object of improving the original Bills, they have met with strenuous opposition, the contention being raised by the Government and their supporters that the proposed alterations are unnecessary, and that the Bill in its original form really embodies the proposed amendments, and is intended to do so. That position has been taken up by the Minister in the present instance. The leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Illawarra have shown that the words in the clause that we desire to amend have already given rise to trouble. We have also had quoted a specific case taken under a similar provision, wherein the presiding magistrate gave a decision which some honorable members think he ought not to have arrived at, but which he felt bound to give, having regard to the wording of the section under which the case was brought. If it is not the intention of the Committee that these words shall be interpreted in the way that the magistrate in the case referred to interpreted a similar provision in a Commonwealth Act, surely it is reasonable to ask the Minister to remove any cause for doubt, and agree to make the intention of the clause clear. That, however, seems to be the last thing which a lawyer in charge of a Bill is prepared to do. {: .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr McDougall: -- What about the lawyers outside? {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- Ambiguities in the law enable them to increase their bank balances by disputes and hair-splitting over phrases. This Bill should be clear not only to those who pass it, but to those who have to administer it. As was pointed out by **Mr. Justice** Stephen, in the case to which I have referred, if the presiding magistrate had not stated why, in his opinion, he was bound to convict the defendant, his decision could not have been upset. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Surely that operates in every case? A Judge who has to decide all questions of fact gives his reasons for arriving at a certain decision, and his judgment, as a rule, is beyond question. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- The Minister is obscuring the real point at issue. In the case in question, the magistrate could have announced his decision without giving reasons for it. He might, without comment, have arrived at the conclusion that he was not satisfied with the guilt of the defendant, and that, in accordance with the practice in British courts of justice, he should give him the benefit of the doubt, but that, having regard to the wording of the section of the Act under which the prosecution had been brought, he had no option but to convict. He could have arrived at that conclusion without expressing the reason for his decision, and had he done so the justices in the superior court, not being aware of what -was in his mind at the time, would have had to uphold his decision. I am as anxious as is any honorable member that trusts should be put down. I do not think that any section of the House has a monopoly of the desire to defend the public interests from injurious attacks by combines and trusts. It is, I am sure, the honest desire of every honorable member to do what is fair and right to put down trusts in order that the public interests may be safeguarded; but in the effort to do so we must try as far as we can to avoid inflicting injustice by legal methods. It is because of such a desire that the Opposition suggests to the Minister a certain course, the adoption of which can do no harm, .but will undoubtedly remove the element of serious injustice' which exists in the proposed section. I was astonished at the speech delivered just now by the honorable member for Hindmarsh. He appears to be willing to support any Government proposal, irrespective of its justice or injustice. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- No ; I say that this proposal is just, but will not go far enough. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- The honorable member, at all events, is willing that one of the best known principles of British justice - a principle that has come to be regarded as "sacred - should be disregarded in order that a conviction may be secured. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- The provision to which the honorable member objects appears in a dozen Acts. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- That, I think, is a gross exaggeration of facts. It is all very well from the honorable member's point of view, as long as it can be set in operation only against those whom he and those associated with him regard as their natural enemies. But if such a provision were put in operation against a union or a combine of an industrial character to which the honorable member might himself belong, I venture to say that his views would undergo a radical change. - At the outset he desired to condemn as injurious all combines and trusts, and challenged the Opposition to point to a beneficent one. When reminded of the existence of trusts like that in connexion with the Newcastle coal mines, which members of the Labour Party, with whom the honorable member is associated, have always claimed to be a beneficent one, he shifted his ground. There may be a difference of opinion as to whether it is beneficial to the public that the price of an article of domestic use should be kept up by means of a combine, but there has been no doubt expressed by the Labour Party as to the beneficent character of the Coal Combine, which keeps up a monopoly price, with the special approval of the Labour Party, to the detriment of the public, who have to purchase coal from them. When this was pointed out to the honorable member, he changed his ground. Instead of condemning as injurious all trusts and combines, as he set out to do, he defended this and another combination, of which he is a member. There is no consistency in such an attitude. I refer to the incident, as showing how wonderfully flexible are the minds of some honorable members when they are called upon to view trusts and combines from an aspect in which they have either a political or personal interest. As soon as they are associated with it, it loses its injurious character and becomes beneficent. I do not defend trusts and combines, though I recognise that, under our complex system of industry and commerce, there is a natural tendency, and in some cases, perhaps, justification, for certain combinations. As long as these combinations exist without injurious effect to the community, not much exception is to be taken to them. The difficulty is to know what combines or trusts are non-injurious. Combinations, whether of labour or capital, made for the purpose of unduly inflating prices, are in effect injurious to the public, which has to pay more for the goods it purchases. It .is difficult to know where to draw the line between one kind of combination and another. There are in operation in Australia, and more particularly in Victoria, combinations which are decidedly injurious to the public, and which in the public interests should be suppressed. I find no fault with legitimate efforts for their suppression, so long as these are founded on recognised principles of British justice. The issue between the Opposition and the Government is not whether injurious trusts should be suppressed, but as to whether certain words in the Bill are or are not subversive of fair and just principles, and we have made a reasonable appeal to the Government to agree to an alteration, which, without weakening the measure, will get rid of some of its more objectionable features. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- And allow culprits to escape. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- It would be better for twenty guilty persons to escape than for one innocent nian to be unjustly condemned. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- In these cases, the innocent man can always prove his innocence. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- The AttorneyGeneral has told us that the real purpose of the provision under discussion is that failure to establish innocence shall be evidence of guilt. If that be so, why not make it clear ? That is all we ask for, and it is going a long way from accepted procedure in our legal methods. If there is no intention to bring about a possible miscarriage of justice, such as in the case which has been referred to, which was due to the application of a precisely similar provision, why not get rid of words which are capable of being misinterpreted, and use words which will clearly express the intention of the Legislature? I would remind the Committee that those who helped the Government to impose high Customs duties are primarily responsible for the conditions which favour the existence of trusts. {: .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr Mcdougall: -- Trusts exist in freetrade countries. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- Some kinds of trusts exist there; but such trusts have not assumed the, dimensions of the trusts of protected countries, and are more limited in their operations. 'Legislation passed mainly with the assistance of the Labour Party is bringing about the conditions under which trusts best thrive, and, therefore, the members of that party are primarily responsible for the existence of trusts here. Having created this evil, they are assisting to pass panic legislation to deal with it. No doubt their object in creating monopolies is to give an opportunity for the nationalization of industries. They are supporting legislation which they say will be ineffective, with the avowed object of subsequently applying the principles of Socialism to the industries of the community. I shall support the amendment, and, if the Government accepts - it, our proceedings will be shortened, and the Bill will come into operation all the sooner. {: #debate-10-s16 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
AttorneyGeneral · Darling Downs · Protectionist -- I cannot accept the amendment. The difficulty in prosecuting at the present time is to obtain evidence which will prevent the case from being nonsuited. There are two ways of doing this. One is to throw the onus of proof on the defendant, and the other to compel him to produce his documents, and base our case on them. But it may happen that the agreement relied on is missing, or for some reason not obtainable, though obviously . in existence, and operating injuriously to the welfare of the community. We say that in that case, as the existence of the agreement is absolutely within the knowledge of the parties to it, who know its terms and conditions, there is no harm in providing that the averment of its existence shall be evidence, unless the contrary is proved. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- As I understand the provision, it means that the averment is proof that there is an agreement, and that the person accused is a party to it. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- It only proves allegations like those ordinarily contained in a statement of claim, that .a person has entered into a combination. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The combination may be perfectly innocent. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Yes. But we shall have to allege that the agreement is unlawful, that a contract has been entered into with intent to restrain trade and commerce. The mere averment of the existence of the contract will be an allegation of the fact that it exists. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The provision only gets over certain formal difficulties. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- lt gets over certain formal difficulties relating to technical proof, without which we should be non-suited. 9212 *Australian Industries* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Preservation Bill* {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- In some cases there is no necessity for a contract. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- That is so; but I am dealing with a case in which it is necessary. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- If the averment is *prima facie* evidence, it will be proof, if not contradicted, as *prima facie* evidence, in the absence of evidence of the contrary, is proof. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- I have, within the last Jew minutes, tried to get a legal definition of *prima facie* evidence; but I can find only one which says that it is probably equivalent to sufficient evidence. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The usual way of expressing what is ordinarily called *prima facie* evidence is to speak of. ' ' proof until die contrary be proved." {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Yes. The wording in the Bill' is the same as that of the Customs Act, under which there have been hundreds of prosecutions without injustice or hardship. Is there any hardship, or anything contrary to British justice, in throwing the onus of proof on the defendant in these cases? The rule of evidence is that where the subject-matter of a party's allegation is peculiarly within the knowledge of the other party, the obligation of 'disproving the affirmative is thrown upon him, although there are certain modifications which reduce the strength of that proposition. Phipson says that - >In many cases, however, the Legislature has now expressly thrown the burden of proving matters of defence which may be supposed to lie peculiarly within the knowledge of the defendant upon the latter, *e.g.,* under the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870, the burden is upon the builder of the ship to prove that he did not know she was employed in contravention of the Act. It is provided in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act that no employer shall dismiss an employe' by reason merely of the fact that he is a member of an organization, and In any proceeding for any contravention of this section it shall lie upon the employer to show that any employee, proved to have been dismissed whilst an officer or member of an organization, or entitled as aforesaid, was dismissed for some reason other than those mentioned in this section. That was admitted to be just, because the cause of dismissal is in the mind of the man who dismisses, and when it is alleged that the employe has been dismissed for improper reasons, what hardship is there in calling upon the employer to declare his reasons ? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- It is easy to say that, but it would be hard to prove it. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- In a recent application made to the Arbitration Court by the employes under this section, **Mr. Justice** Higgins pointed out on the affidavits filed that, notwithstanding this provision of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, they would have to be better prepared. If we wish to prosecute successfully, it will be necessary to prove intent, and to adduce evidence of facts from which the Court will be able to infer intent. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- And the proof of intent includes proof that the restraint of trade is to the detriment of the public? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- There is nothing harsh in this provision, which is an absolutely necessary one, seeing that if we fail to obtain a knowledge of the contents of the agreements entered into by trading combinations, under the other clauses of the Bill we shall be in the position of shifting the burden of proof. Thereare many other authorities which I might cite in this connexion, some of which I mentioned last evening. But I may say that in the criminal law relating to coinage, to certain cases of forgery, and in the Explosive Substances Act, the principle of throwing the onus of proof of certain matters upon the defendant is distinctly recognised, because the matters to which it refers are matters within his knowledge, and it is easy for him to satisfy the Court of his innocence. I therefore ask the Committee to adhere to the clause in its present form. {: #debate-10-s17 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .-I rise for the purpose of eliciting information from the Attorney-General. I am anxious to clothe the Government with the powers for which he has pleaded, but I wish to guard against giving them greater powers. I should, therefore, like to know whether the averments of the prosecutor which, under this clause, are to be accepted as proof of the guilt of the accused in the absence of proof to the contrary, are averments in relation to illegal contracts, or only in relation to existing contracts ? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The averments must have reference to a specific charge laid against the defendant. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Exactly. Take the case of a charge preferred against a combine for doing something in restraint of trade to the detriment of the public. *Australian Industries* [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9213 {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Intent must be alleged in every case. {: #debate-10-s18 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- What I wish to know is whether the averments are held to be proved in all essentials except so far as intent is concerned? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Then I am faced with a difficulty in view of the opinion expressed by the present **Mr. Justice** Isaacs when a member of this House upon the question of the ease of proving intent. I find that on the 19th June, 1906, in answer to an interjection of the honorable member for Gwydir, who said - >Wrongful intention would be pretty hard to prove, the late Attorney-General, who is at present a Justice of the High Court, said - > >I do not think so. The intention must be found from the necessary result of the acts at the time. The American Courts have not hesitated to infer intention from necessary results, and every man is presumed to intend the necessary results of his act. In view of that expression of opinion, I take it that this clause goes very much further than the Attorney-General has just indicated. If intent is such a simple matter to prove, the averments of the prosecutor will be held practically to prove the whole offence. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Does the honorable member wish the word "intent" to be omitted ? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I confess that I do not understand its meaning. If it means what I think it does, it will be almost impossible to prove the guilt of a trust, and consequently it might very well be' eliminated. But if it means what the present **Mr. Justice** Isaacs thinks it means, this clause certainly goes very much further than the Attorney-General invited the Committee to go during the course of his speech. I believe that if we make the averments of the prosecutor *prima facie* evidence of the guilt of the defendant, we shall compel the production of evidence by him just in theway that the Attorney-General suggests the clause in its present form will do. That, I think, is as far as most honorable members who are imbued with a sense of justice wish to go. In conclusion, I should like to know whether the principal Act was framed with the full concurrence of the Crown Law authorities? Did they advise the Government as to its efficacy ? I take it that they were consulted, because I find that on the 14th June, 1906, the Treasurer twice repeated the statement that the Bill would prove effective in operation. I presume that, as a layman, he would not have spoken with such conviction unless he had the concurrence of the Crown Law authorities. I think I am justified in asking the Attorney - General whether that is not so. Mr.Groom. - The Bill was prepared by the Crown Law officers, and the Government are responsible for the measure which they introduced. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I presume that the Crown Law authorities examined the Bill carefully, and were then of opinion that it would prove effective. If that be so, I cannot understand why the Attorney- General has not tested its validity. I think that he should have attempted to put its provisions into operation. Why should he wait upon the mere *ipse dixit* of one officer, who, however able he may be, is not infallible, and who only a few months previously was of the contrary opinion. I desire to give the Minister the power which he seeks, but in its present form the clause goes very much further than that, and therefore I shall support the amendment of the honorable member for Illawarra. Question - that the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted (Mr. Fuller's amendment) - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 16 NOES: 27 Majority....... 11 9214 *Australian Industries* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Preservation Bill.* AYES NOES Questionso resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. 15B. (1.) If the Comptroller-General believes that an offence has been committed against this Part of this Act, he may by writing under his hand require any person whom he believes to be capable of giving any information in relation to the alleged offence to answer questions and to produce documents to him or to some person named by him. (2.) No person shall refuse or fail to answer questions or produce documents when required to do so in pursuance of this section. Penalty : Fifty pounds. (3.) The Comptroller-General or any person to whom any documents are produced in pursuance of this section may take copies of or extracts from those documents. (4.) No person shall be excused from answer ing any questions or producing any documents when required to do so under this section on the ground that the answer to the question or the production of the document might tend to criminate him ; but his answer shall not be admissible in evidence against him in any civil or criminal proceeding other than a proceeding for an offence against this Part of thisAct. {: #debate-10-s19 .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo .I move - >That the following words be inserted before the word " If," in proposed new section 15B, paragraph 1, line 1 : - " Whenever a complaint on oath has been made in writing to the ComptrollerGeneral that any person or any foreign corporation or any trading or financial corporation formed within the Commonwealth has been guilty of any offence against this Part of this Act, the ComptrollerGeneral, if he believes the complaint to be well founded." The words I propose to insert are those with which proposed section 15c commences. I am still of opinion that the Comptroller-General, as representing the Department of Customs, should not be called on to move in an important matter like this on his own initiative, on, perhaps, some secret or hearsay information, but that he should be in a position to require an informant to reduce his complaint into writing, and affirm his belief in its *bona fides* by taking an oath. This would be a protection to an important departmental officer, who could not then be ordered by some political head to institute proceedings on insufficient evidence. If it be said that: the Customs Act gives similar power, I point out that there is a great difference between the exercise of such a power under an Act, as against combines and trusts, and its exercise for the enforcement of revenue. No doubt the Comptroller-General ought to be allowed, on his own initiative, to take action for the protection of the revenue, because that is in the interests of the public but, under the Bill, the action will be for the protection of companies or manufacturers, who complain of unfair competition. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Will it not also be in the interests of consumers and producers ? {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- Probably, in that aspect, it will be for the benefit of the public, and not for the benefit of the revenue or the enforcement of departmental laws. If we desire to enforce the law for the benefit of the public, we ought to have some person willing to take the responsibility of issuing; a plaint by taking an oath. If the amendment be carried, it will naturally follow that the opening words of the proposed section, down to the word "he," will have to be omitted. {: #debate-10-s20 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas .- Before that amendment is put, I desire to call attention to another matter. In proposed section 15A, there are the words, " shall be deemed to be proved in the absence of proof to the contrary," and I think it would be much more palatable if the word " evidence " were substituted for "proof."' The words, as they stand, are a strong presumption ; and they might have a very serious effect in case of appeal. It would1 be almost impossible for an appeal to succeed, because the Court might say that, while there was some evidence to the contrary, there was not what is called absorlute demonstration. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Would not a declaration of general denial of the charge be evidence ? {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- That would be simply a plea of not guilty, and some evidence would have to be given on oath, or, in answers to interrogatories, to rebutt the presumption. No doubt, as it stands, the Bill does not intend the proceedings to be according to the ordinary rules of evidence ; and I am asking that those rules should be observed. Of course, I know that an amendment such as I suggest would weaken the force of the Bill, but I have too great a respect for human liberty to say that on every occasion *Australian Industries* [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9215 when a Minister has failed a limitation should be put on the law. {: #debate-10-s21 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
Attor ney-General · Darling Downs · Protectionist -- The point raised by the amendment of the honorable member for Bendigo was referred to last night, and I have since had it under careful consideration. I am quite prepared to accept the proposed amendment if the honorable member will consent to the omission of the words " on oath." {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What is the sanction supposing a man writes lies? . {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The object of the pro posed section is the obtaining of evidence, and at the early stages, it may be impossible to swear that an offence has been committed. In proposed section 15c there occur the words which the honorable member for Bendigo desires inserted in proposed section 15B. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That oath is only to the best of the complainant's belief. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Probably before proposed section 15c is brought into operation, we shall be in possession of evidence to justify a complaint, whereas proposed section 15B is preliminary in its operation, and gives power to put questions, not necessarily to members of a combine, but, it may be. to retailers and others whom the ComptrollerGeneral believes to be in possession of information. The principle of the proposed amendment is that somebody must father the complaint; and it is proposed that the complaint must be in writing. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But a person may make as many irresponsible statements as he likes in writing. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- In addition there is the obligation thrown on the ComptrollerGeneral to satisfy himself that the complaint is a well-founded one ; and only then can he take proceedings. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- What objection is there to a man making complaint on oath? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Because, although at that stagea man is thoroughly satisfied in his own mind, there may not be sufficient evidence to justify a sworn declaration as to the truth of the complaint.I have made careful inquiries, and I find I can safely meet the honorable member for Bendigo by accepting the proposed amendment with the omission of the words " on oath," which would only prove an impediment to the administration of the Act. If a man makes a complaint to the ComptrollerGeneral the latter must satisfy himself that a combine exists. If my proposal meets the view of the honorable member for Bendigo I shall be glad to modify the clause in the way I have mentioned, or the honorable member may move the elimination of the words "on oath." {: #debate-10-s22 .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo .- Whilst I should be very glad to see the words " on oath " remain in the amendment, I feel that I shall have to accept the AttorneyGeneral's suggestion if he cannot agree to their retention, because a provision as to a complaint in writing would certainly be preferable to the clause as it stands at present. {: #debate-10-s23 .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 . - I am sorry that the honorable and learned member for Bendigo has seen fit to accept the offer made by the Attorney-General, because he has asked for a loaf and the Minister has generously offered him a stone. ' The amendment which the Attorney-General offers will not carry out in any degree what the honorable and learned member for Bendigo seeks to achieve. In the first place it will not give. him the advantage of a complaint on oath, because a statement which may be made in writing is not attended with any sanction whatever. There is nothing whatever to prevent perfectly irresponsible persons from making totally irresponsible statements. A statement made in writing will not carry an inch further than one made verbally. The offer of the AttorneyGeneral not only does not give the honorable and learned member what he wants, but deprives him of something that is already in the clause. The Minister says that we have a safeguard in the provision that the Comptroller-General must satisfy himself. But if the words " complaint in writing ' ' are introduced they will afford a lax Comptroller-General who does not desire to exercise his discretion too rigidly a very excellent excuse for saying, " I have here a complaint in writing, and I am practically bound to act upon it." Their introduction at all events would enable him to say, " I have a complaint in writing and find it difficult to decline the responsibility which that throws upon me to have an inquiry made." A complaint in writing would not bind the complainant. In an ordinary law case it binds the plaintiff, because he has to prove his case or pay costs ; he takes upon himself the responsibility of proving his complaint. But under this provision some one may write a letter complaining that there is a trust or combine in some part of Australia, and on that he 9216 *Australian Industries* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Preservation Bill.* has nothing more to do. The complaint may be false, malicious or fraudulent; it is certainly irresponsible, but the ComptrollerGeneral will say, upon receiving it, " Some one has made a complaint. I had better have some inquiry or I shall get into trouble." {: .speaker-JM2} ##### Mr Archer: -- Political pressure might be brought to bear. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Quite so. I am not going to press for the acceptance of the amendment moved by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo since he has seen fit to give way, but I am very sorry that he has done so. *Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.* {: #debate-10-s24 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
AttorneyGeneral · Darling Downs · Protectionist -- Ihave drafted an amendment which will give effect to the offer that I made to the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, and which he accepted, although he said that he should like the words " on oath " to be retained. I therefore propose to ask the Committee to negative the amendment moved by him. Amendment negatived. Amendment (by **Mr. Groom)** agreed to - >That the words " If the Comptroller-General believes," line 1 of the proposed new section 15b, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " Whenever a complaint is made in writing to the Comptroller-General." Amendment (by **Mr. Groom)** proposed - >That the word " he," line 3, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " the Comptroller-General if he believes that the offence has been committed." {: #debate-10-s25 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 . -I think that the Government should reserve to themselves the right to initiate proceedings, whether there be a complaint or not. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- In any event there must be a complaint in writing. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Government should not tie themselves down to take action only in the event of a complaint being made. There should be on the part of the Government a reservation of the requisite power to act on their own initiative. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Two courses should be open to the Comptroller-General - either to act on a complaint or, if there is sufficient reason, upon his own initiative. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Yes. If the amendment as proposed by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo had been carried it would have taken away from the Government that power of initiative. It should be easier for the Government, with all their capacity for acquiring information concerning the trading relations of the community, and particularly through the Customs ramifications, to ascertain something on their own account regarding the trusts and their action, than it is for any private individual. No one is in a better position than they are to find out something of the harmful character of trusts and combines. **Mr. GROOM** (Darling Downs- AttorneyGeneral [7.52]. - In view of what the honorable member has said, I shall move later on an amendment providing that if the Comptroller-General believes that an offence has been committed against this part of the Act, or where a complaint has been made to the Comptroller-General, and he believes that an offence has been committed, he may take action. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- It seems to me that the clause as it stood originally was better than it now is. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The clause as it stood would have covered both cases. I do not wish it to appear that I have broken faith with the honorable member for Bendigo by refraining from making the promised amendment. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- He would not object when the position was explained to him. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Can we at this . stage, **Mr. Chairman.,** undo what we have done in respect of amending the clause? {: #debate-10-s26 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The amendments that have already been carried can be. dealt with only on recommittal. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The only course open to us is to complete the amendment which I was moving when the honorable member for Parramatta interposed, on the understanding that we recommit the clause with a view of providing that a person may make a complaint in writing, and that the ComptrollerGeneral may also of his own initiative take action. Amendment agreed to. {: #debate-10-s27 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Iwichnowtogive effect to the view I expressed last night that we should remove from this clause as far as possible the purely political element and surround by an additional judicial safeguard the very drastic powers which the AttorneyGeneral purposes to take. I do not see why the Government should not proceed in these cases, as one would proceed in an ordinary civil case, to make interrogations. It does not detract from the powerfulness of the instrument to surround its exercise with judicial precautions and safeguards, such as a Judge would' direct, and perhaps stipu-' late. We should not forget the tremendous nature of the powers given in the latter part of the proposed section. It is . provided that on the statement of any person in writing the Comptroller- General of Customs may require any person at all - not merely some one who may be connected with a trust - to answer any questions put to him, and to impose penalties for declining to answer any one of them. Such powers should not be put into the hands of a mere political and transient authority. We should proceed with the strictest caution and propriety, and I do not think we should allow the exercise of these tremendous powers except by the direction of a Judge. Without arguing the matter further, I move - >That the words " by writing under his hand require" be left out of the proposed new section 15B, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words "by summons on affidavit apply to the Judge of the Supreme Court or of a CountyCourt, in Chambers, such Court being for this purpose invested with Federal jurisdiction, for an order against." If that be carried, I intend to move a further amendment, so that the proposed new section, as amended, will read - >If the Comptroller-General believes that an offence has been committed against this part of this Act, he may, by summons or affidavit, apply to the Judge of the Supreme Court, or of a County Court, in Chambers, such Court being for this purpose invested with Federal jurisdiction, for an order against any person whom he believes to be capable of giving any information in relation to the alleged offence, to answer interrogatories, and to make discovery of documents in relation to such offence, in accordance with the practice of such Court in relation to a civil proceeding. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That means that the Government would have to put a *prima facie* case before a Judge. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It would put the case before a Judge, and ask for power to make interrogatories. There should be nothing to fear in that. The powers df the Crown are not limited in any way. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The chances of success are lessened. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not think so. I do not wish to lessen the chances of success, but I wish to remove this procedure from political influence or interference, and to make it as judicial as possible. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The Comptroller-General of Customs is not a politician. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- He is under the direction of a political Minister, and will be in a stronger' position in these matters, if he acts under the direction and guidance of a Judge. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The honorable member makes the Government give its case' away. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I cannot see that there is anything in these proceedingswhich should not be made known. The object is to make the fullest public inquiry. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Evidence must first be obtained. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Would this, procedure prevent the obtaining of evidence ? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- I think so. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Are complaints, made about the inadequacy of interrogatories in civil cases ? I cannot conceive of anything being more complete and adequate. At any rate, I am not prepared, unless I hear very strong reasons to the contrary, to give to a political officer,, to be used under the direction of a Minister, the tremendous and unusual powers, provided for. When we have exhausted our judicial remedies, it will be time enough to take political powers such as. are asked for. {: #debate-10-s28 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
AttorneyGeneral · Darling Downs · Protectionist -- I cannot accept the amendment, because it would make the measure unworkable. We desire, when a trust isbelieved to exist, to get information concerning it, in order to prosecute it in the interest of the public; but, instead of the Comptroller-General, on a complaint being made to him in writing, which he has reasonable grounds for believing, being able to go privately to those concerned, to collect information, the honorable member proposes that there shall be a strictly legal procedure, an affidavit being filed and a summons taken out. In the affidavit the Crown would have 'to state all the circumstances in its knowledge, which would be filed, so that every one would know the information upon which it was acting, and then it would have to put before the Court what facts . it had gathered, the name of the person who made the complaint, the offence alleged, and other material, to obtain permission to put certain questions. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- All that has to be done in a civil action. Is it not the least that should be done in a criminal prose- cution ? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The preliminary inquiry is not a prosecution. The person interrogated may never be brought into court at ali. His evidence may be required only for the working up of a case. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Bill provides for a Star Chamber procedure. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- We are dealing with offences of a particular nature by combinations and organizations of industry to the detriment of the public. The object of the proposed procedure is to supplement the law to prevent the formation of trusts to the public detriment. But "before there can be any prose- 'cution, it is essential that there should be a preliminary investigation, to furnish grounds upon which to prosecute. If the Crown had to file an affidavit, and issue a summons, the purpose of this investigation would be frustrated. Under section 157 of the Victorian Land Act of 1901 - >Any person who makes an application for a lease or licence of a pastoral allotment grazing area agricultural or grazing allotment or other selection under this Act who wilfully makes any. false statement, or refuses to answer any question relating to such application which may be put to him by the land officer, or wilfully gives *ti* false answer to any such question, shall be liable on conviction to a penalty of not less than Ten pounds nor more than Fifty pounds, or to T>e imprisoned for not less than fourteen days nor more than six months. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is no analogy. In that case there is an application for an indulgence. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- And the only penalty is that if the questions are not answered, the applicant may not succeed. Two parties are .making a bargain, and it is stipulated that all the facts shall be known. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- If the applicant refuses to answer the questions put to him, he is liable to a penalty of not less, than £io, and not more than -£50. Then look at the powers possessed by the Victorian Inspector of Factories. Every inspector for the purposes of the Act has power to enter, inspect, and examine at al! reasonable times by day and night a factory or workroom ; take with him a constable, require the production of the certificate of registration, books, registers, certificates, &c. ; make examination and inquiry, and examine agents and servants ; require the production of pay-sheets, and other things, and finally to exercise such other powers as may be necessary to give effect to the Act. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But the proposal under this Bill is to give the ComptrollerGeneral powers in addition *tv* those to which the Attorney-General has alluded. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The Inspector of Factories has power to require the production of all pay-sheets, books, &c. These are very extensive powers, and necessarily so, ' because it is in the interests of the public that he should be clothed with them, notwithstanding that they appear to constitute an interference with the liberties of the individual. The procedure suggested by the honorable member for Parramatta would be cumbersome and harassing in the extreme,, and would make the clause practically unworkable. Consequently, I cannot accept it. The position is altogether different from that which arises under an ordinary civil action. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- So it should be. The power ought to be surrounded with all the greater safeguards. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- lt should be surrounded with as many safeguards as are necessary, but, at the same time, we should not incorporate in the Bill machinery which will practically make the power worthless. The proposal of the honorable member would do that. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Show me how it. would do it. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- It would mean giving complete publicity to all the preliminary inquiries into the affairs of a combine whose operations were detrimental to the public interest. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The AttorneyGeneral is taking the view that the Department will always be proceeding against guilty men. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Nobody would dream of exercising these powers unless there was reasonable ground for believing that a serious offence against the public had been committed. The Comptroller-General would not undertake a mere fishing inquiry. It is ridiculous to suggest that he would. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I have seen enough political animus exhibited in this Chamber. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The honorable member may speak of what he has seen upon his own side of the House, but I confess that I have not seen much political animus exhibited upon this side of the Chamber. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The AttorneyGeneral has seen his colleagues assailing firms and individuals for all that they were worth. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- 1I.have not seen my colleagues institute a single action in Court in which that course of procedure has not been thoroughly justified. I challenge the deputy leader df the Opposition to cite one instance in which political animus has been exhibited. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That- is not necessary. I say that we want to remove the exercise of this power from the arena of political bias. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- With that abstract proposition we all agree, but when the honorable member seeks to incorporate in the Bill a provision which will make the exercise of the power conferred by this chaise futile, a very different position arises. {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- Upon what Act is this particular clause founded? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- A similar power is conferred by the Customs Act. {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- Does not this provision go further than does the Sherman Act? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The Sherman Act deals only with the question of offence. The powers of investigation are conferred under the Bureau of Corporations Act, which vests in the Commissioner all the powers possessed by the Inter- State Commission. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It vests in him all the. powers possessed by that Commission in 1903, which do not include the powers upon which the Attorney-General relies. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- They include most of them. {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- Can an officer in the United States, act in the way that it is proposed the Comptroller-General shall act under this clause? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- In America the InterState Commission has power to obtain reports from carriers in reference to their agreements, arrangements or contracts. It can further require them to .adopt a uniform system of accounts, and it can prescribe the form of such accounts. Under the Act of 1.906 these reports must be made on oath, and the Commission has access at all times to accounts, records and memoranda. It may employ special agents or examiners, and it has power to examine all records, accounts, &c, kept by carriers. These are very extensive powers. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- But they are all specified, whereas under this Bill *carte blanche* is given. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The Inter-State Commission possesses wide powers of investigation. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- They are all specified. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Only in the way that we specify in this Bill that a man must answer questions. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The Act does not say that the Commission can compel a man to answer any question put to him. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- It has, I understand, power to require a report to be made- {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- But those powers are not vested in a political officer. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Nor is it proposed in this Bill that they shall be vested in a political officer. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Is not the . ComptrollerGeneral a political officer? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- No; he is a permanent officer of the Commonwealth. The honorable member might as well argue that every officer in the Public Service is a political officer. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- The Comptroller- General is the political officer of the Minister of Customs. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- He is appointed by law to discharge the duties cast upon him. {: .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr Mcdougall: -- We do not adopt the system that is followed in America of discharging our officers when a new Government comes into power. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Surely the honorable member for Wentworth does not think that the Comptroller-General takes instructions from Ministers as to how he shall interpret Acts of Parliament? He merely fulfils the duties cast upon him by law. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- That is why we require to define those duties. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- They are clearly defined. By the principal Act we have already decided that injurious combines shall be suppressed. We have found that that Act is defective. The powers sought to be conferred under this Bill are not excessive, and I am sure that they will not be abused. But if the amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta be carried, the measure will not achieve the object which we have in view. {: #debate-10-s29 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- I do not propose to deal with any of the legal intricacies to which the Attorney-General' has directed attention. I merely wish to emphasize the absolute necessity which exists for doing away with that secrecy in connexion with our negotiations with trusts, towhich the Attorney-General seems to attach so much importance. {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr Storrer: -- Does not the honorablemember desire that they should be found out ? 9220 *Australian Industries* [REPRESENTATIVES.]Preservation *Bill.* {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I do not want our negotiations with these combinations to be a closely-guarded secret. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Where is the necessity for it? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Exactly. In the United States huge trusts have attempted to bribe whole Legislatures. {: .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr McDougall: -- They boast of that, and of the fact that they have attempted to bribe the Judiciary. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Why; then, in the light of experience, should we allow negotiations with trusts to be conducted secretly in the office of a servant of the Government, instead of in the open light of day before the Courts, so that Parliament may have some assurance that when prosecutions are initiated they will be carried to a conclusion. Only the other day members of the Labour Party, rightly or wrongly, protested against a Customs case being settled out of Court.' What opportunities are presented under this Bill for settlements being made out of Court? {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It is in the underground workings that the germs of corruption find a lodgment. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Any honorable member who resists the amendment will be saddled with a very serious responsibility. Those who wish to see trusts suppressed will endeavour to insure that inquiries conducted in respect of their operations shall be made public, so that their progress may be watched, and so that the question of whether or not a prosecution shall be initiated may not be determined in a private office, perhaps over a bottle of wine and a few cigars. I hope that the Committee will support the proposal of the honorable member for Parramatta. {: #debate-10-s30 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON:
Lang .- I should like the Attorney-General to say what attitude he proposes to adopt towards this amendment? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- I have already said that I am opposed to it. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I trust that the honorable member will reconsider his decision. I am surprised at honorable members opposing the amendment, especially when it has been shown that under this clause a fruitful soil, in which the microbe of corruption may thrive, will be provided. We do not wish to import American methods into our Australian legal processes. We do many peculiar things in this Chamber ; but the proposal of the Government, if carried, will certainly be one of the most objectionable we have ever dealt with. If an official happens to be amenable to bribery, a splendid opportunity is presented for him to enrich himself in a very short time, though I am happy to say, so far as my knowledge goes, that we have a very honest and trustworthy set of officials. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- A Judge is an official ; why should he be less corrupt than any other official ? {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- But the Judge would deal with the case in open Court, whereas the Comptroller-General or an officer appointed by him, would deal with it in his private office. I cannot understand why there should be a desire for secrecy, though I realize that some members of the Labour Party, after their declarations, may desire to see the legislation fail, and may, therefore, be' willing to support all that makes for failure. But I ask them to look before they leap, and not to assist in passing a measure which may have the effect of bringing about in Australia the worst features of American corruption. {: #debate-10-s31 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- In reply to the Attorney -General, I point out that my amendment does not interfere with or detract one tittle from the tremendous powers proposed in the Bill, but simply declares that they shall not be exercised in secret, except by direction of the Judge. All that is made public' is the affidavit, and the Judge may do as he likes afterwards with regard to the necessary interrogations. These interrogations may be made secret or not, just as the Judge pleases ; and who is better qualified to decide? Thenthe Attorney-General contended that under the amendment it will be necessary to make the complainant's statement public; but I do not see why a man who makes what amounts to a criminal charge should be afraid to have that charge made in open day. But if the complainant does not desire his name to come before the public, it need not be made public, because the Attorney-General is master of his own actions, and may treat the matter in any way he chooses after the information has been conveyed to him. The amendment only compels the Attorney-General to go to the Judge for direction and authority to make the interrogations ; in short, all the amendment does is to place these trusts and their proceedings under the public eye, rather than permit the possibility of their *AustralianIndustries* [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9221 working their sweet will in secret as they have been permitted to do in so many parts of the world. As the honorable member for Flinders has said, it is when such matters are dealt with in secret that evasions and contraventions of the law take place. There is safety in publicity, and the amendment only insures that degree of publicity and those judicial safeguards which are necessary in the institution of criminal proceedings. {: #debate-10-s32 .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS:
Dalley .- I was not present to hear the reasons advanced by the honorable member for Parramatta for this amendment, but I am satisfied that he is as anxious as any one to restrict detrimental trusts and combines. At the same time, I know that he runs the great risk of proving a friend of trusts and combines. The only reason 1 have heard in favour of the amendment is that without it there will be danger of corruption; but I point out that that danger exists to-day in regard to our Customs administration. The Comptroller-General may now bring merchants before him, for the purpose of obtaining information from them, so that there is just as much opportunity for corruption under the Customs Act as under the proposed Bill. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- What about the cases in South Australia? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Do I understand from that interjection that there are cases of corruption now - that the ComptrollerGeneral squares cases in his office? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I do not say that; I say there is fraud in connexion with the Customs. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- The honorable member for Parramatta prefers that a Judge should decide these matters, but I notice, as a layman, that Judges are not possessed of technical information, whereas the ComptrollerGeneral has had years experience of trade and industrial matters. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The present Comptroller-General will not permanently be the official. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- But there will be his successors. My desire is to give the Government full power to effectively deal with detrimental trusts and combines. The honorable member for Parramatta referred to the Confectionery Combine in Victoria, which there is every reason to believe is detrimental, but the Comptroller-General cannot prosecute unless these further powers are given to him. . The original Act has been in existence for two years, but has not yet been put in operation. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Have the Government ever tried to put it in operation? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- The representative of the Government in the Senate has been bombarded with questions on the point, and he has admitted that though there is every reason to believe that that Combine is detrimental, the present legal machinery is not sufficient to effectively deal with it. I agree that there are detrimental combines in the country, and that they are a growing evil. We do not blame those who take advantage of this plase of the capitalistic system, but Parliament will be to blame if the danger is allowed to *go on* and grow. The whole of this legislation" is an innovation; but we pass measures to-day that forty years ago, or even twenty years ago, would not have been possible; and ten years hence there will be legislation that we should be afraid to touch now. The development of Australia must keep step with the practices and artifices of capitalists in all parts of the world; and the only protection the public have is that provided by Parliament. I am prepared to give the Government the full powers for which they ask, and to throw on them the responsibility of exercising them. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- The Government will ask for more powers next year. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Quite so, if it should prove necessary to do so. The right honorable member for Swan took an attitude in regard to legislation of various kinds ten years ago in Western Australia, that he would not be prepared to take to-day, because he knows that theideals and claims of the community have advanced. As to any fear of corruption, we are singularly fortunate in the fact that the Judicial Bench, both Commonwealth and State, is absolutely Tree from suspicion, and I think the same may be said of all our high public officials, against none of whom have I even heard a serious charge suggested, much less proved. Inspectors-General of Police at present exercise powers quite as stringent as those it is proposed to give to the ComptrollerGeneral, but we never hear of any complaint, except perhaps from criminals, that these powers are corruptly exercised, or that the freedom of citizens is interfered with in any way. On the Government lies the responsibility. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- And on us, too. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Exactly, but, as a representative, I am prepared to give the Government the full powers which they desire, in order to deal with the danger which has arisen. {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- Does the honorable member believe that this legislation is necessary ? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I certainly do ; and I desire to make it as effective as possible. We had several days' debate on the general principle on the motion for the second reading, and we have had further long discussion in Committee ; and yet there has not been a division. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- There was a division this afternoon. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Not when I was here. When the honorable member for Balaclava, at the conclusion of a long discussion, withdrew his amendment, I thought I was justified in going home, rather than in wasting my time here. I may say that I should have voted against that amendment if a division had been taken. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Does the honorable member think that trusts can best be dealt with in secret? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- The honorable member is a supporter of a Licensing Act, under which licensed victuallers are dealt with in secret. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- That is not the point. This provision relates to the initiation of proceedings. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- And so does the provision in the Licensing Act to which I refer. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Not at all. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- It is provided by the Licensing Acts of some of the States that the onus of proving that he has not broken the law rests with the person proceeded against. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The onus of proof Tests on him in a public Court. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Exactly. The proof is not to be given in a man's private office. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Under the Licensing Act, a person complained of has to give reasonable information. Honorable members cannot convince me that the ComptrollerGeneral {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- A Comptroller-General under this clause will have power to arrange with trusts whether he shall or shall not prosecute. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- It would be impossible to obtain information unless this power of inquiry existed. It is difficult to obtain information with respect to the operations of trusts unless it be secured from the parties interested. I take it that that is why the Government have not been able to launch prosecutions under the principal Act. The honorable member for Parramatta, like me, believes that there is in Victoria a combine that is detrimental to the retailers and consumers to whom its operations extend. The Government are unable, however, to take action against it under the principal Act, and the AttorneyGeneral now asks for these additional powers. If a trust is not of a harmful character, why should it fear a proposal that its representatives shall appear, if required, before the Comptroller-General? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- They would rather appear before the Comptroller-General than in open Court. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- The honorable member seems to think that if they had to appear before the Comptroller-General they might " square " him. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Certainly not ; but we are legislating for the future, and must avoid any possibility of corruption, more particularly when we 'are dealing with trusts. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I do not know why I should " go nap" on the Attorney-General's Bill. We have evidence that he is not the most skilful draftsman in the world, but I am not going back on him. His Government have admitted that they are unable under the principal Act' to cope with what I believe to be a rampant evil, and I therefore propose to support them, in their efforts to deal with it. {: #debate-10-s33 .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr CARR:
Macquarie -- I am surprised at this sudden change of front on the. part of the Opposition. At the outset, we were told by them that the Government were seeking power to drag honest people before a sort of inquisition, where they would not have a chance of clearing themselves. It was said that the Bill provided that persons charged with an offence under it- should be held to be guilty before their guilt had been established, and, in short, that they should be treated as criminals. We are now told by the Opposition that the Government, and those who support them, propose to place members of a trust or combine in a position where they will be able to corrupt the administrators of the Act, and that it is not safe to permit these honorable men, who would not do anything harmful to the public interest, *to y=.* brought into contact, privately, with those charged with the administration of the law. Such a change of front on the part of the Opposition serves to expose the fallacy of their objections to the Bill, and I rose only to emphasize that point. {: #debate-10-s34 .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN:
Nepean .- Some remarks made by the honorable member for Dalley, were not quite in accord with the object of the amendment now under consideration. That amendment will not in any way lessen the powers given to the Government under the clause as it now stands; it merely proposes that they shall be exercised in the light of day and that there shall not be anything in the shape of Star Chamber proceedings. The Bill relates to trusts, and in dealing with such gigantic combinations as the Government may have to cope with under this provision, the more publicity (we have '.the better. . It is said that opportunity makes the thief, and I do not believe that we should give more opportunities than we can avoid to gigantic trusts to bribe or corrupt officers who have to deal with them. In speaking in this way, I do not desire to cast the slightest reflection upon the Comptroller-General or any of the officers of his Department. We are now legislating for the future, and we can readily see how easy it would be for such a combine, as, for instance, the Standard Oil Trust on learning that a Comptroller:General proposed, as the Bill now provides, to make inquiries in secret, concerning its operations, to put down a bribe that would tempt almost any man. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Under this clause the Comptroller-General, or the Minister, may delegate his powers to any Customs officer. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- That is another matter that needs to be borne in mind, and serves to emphasize the demand for publicity. I do not think that we should give power to conduct these inquiries in secret. We know what is done in America where blackmail is often levied by Government officials, and we wish, as far as possible, to avoid the possibility of any officer squaring a case behind the backs of the people or the Legislature. In that respect alone, we find a very strong argument in favour of conducting these inquiries in public. It is necessary that the proceedings for which the Bill provides should be fair to both parties. There should be a feeling of absolute freedom from political bias - a sense of security such as would be given by a provision that these" preliminary inquiries shall be made under the order of a Judge. If they are conducted at the whim of a Comptroller-General, or a Minister, there will be possibilities of persecutions, instead of prosecutions, taking place. ' By the adoption of the amendment we shall have, at all events, an assurance that all proceedings will be above board, and free from political bias, or influence of any kind. For these two very strong reasons, I propose to vote for the amendment. {: #debate-10-s35 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It occurs to me that the honorable member for Dalley is labouring under a misapprehension. He seems to be under the impression that the Opposition desire to lessen the power of the AttorneyGeneral to make these inquiries. That is not the purport of my proposal. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr Carr: -- That would be the effect of it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I hope that the honorable member will allow me to have an opinion upon even the effect of my proposal. Its effect will be to change every inquiry under this provision from a political into a judicial one. It will not lessen the prosecuting power; it will affect that power only by purifying it and eliminating from it the (political element. May I remind honorable members of some scenes that have occurred in this chamber during the passing of the Tariff. Have they not seen Ministers rise in their places, and exhibit all the animus and bias of bitter political partisans against large firms ? Such a Minister is not a proper person to conduct a judicial inquiry into the *bonafides* of either a trust, or an individual. When men have criminal charges laid against them they should not be submitted to Star Chamber interrogations by. a Minister full of political bias and animus, and susceptible to the party influences of this Chamber. The amendment will not interfere in the slightest degree with the quality of the power proposed to be given ; we merely seek to purify it, and so to strengthen it for the purpose in view. {: #debate-10-s36 .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr ATKINSON:
Wilmot -- I am prepared to admit that there are harmful trusts in Australia, and I agree with those who say that we should endeavour to make our legislation effective. Prevention is better than cure, and we need some fairly drastic provisions to enable the evil to be coped with. At the same time I do not think that there is any necessity to go to the length proposed by the Government. The amendment might fairly be accepted. lt must be clear to Ministers that honorable members generally are .opposed tr> trusts and combines of a harmful character, and if it be proved later on that this amendment does not go far enough, I, for one, shall be prepared to give the Minister further power. The Minister, so far as I have heard him, has not shown that the operation of trusts in Australia justifies the innovation in our judicial system which the Bill proposes. The measures goes far beyond any legislation in the United States." Although the American trusts have gone to great lengths, and President Roosevelt's latest message to Congress contains startling allegations concerning the purchase by these combinations of newspapers, of political officers, and even of State Parliaments, no Act has been passed there so "drastic as the measure before us. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Prevention is better than cure. {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr ATKINSON: -- Quite so; but there is no need to administer a stronger dose than is required. In my opinion, ;the amendment goes sufficiently far. Under the Bill as it stands, the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs may enter the office of any company, overhaul and make extracts from its papers and books, and question any one connected with it, to get evidence to justify a prosecution. Such a power is too great to give to that officer, and its existence would have a very damaging effect upon private enterprise. It is complained now that, although there is plenty of money in Australia, capitalists seem frightened to invest largely in enterprises employing labour, and the Bill, if passed as it stands, would increase the present uneasiness. If, however, the amendment be agreed to, all cases will have to be dealt with in the light of day, and that in itself should have a deterrent effect upon trusts. 1- shall support the amendment because I think that if it is passed, the Government will have sufficient power to bring to justice combines whose operations are harmful to Australian interests. {: #debate-10-s37 .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST:
Swan .The power to legislate in respect of combines and trusts applies under' the Constitution only to such as are trading with odier countries or between the States, and does not apply to those whose operations are confined to any one .State. The fact that the Government, notwithstanding its declaration that these evils are rampant in Australia, has not caused one prosecution to be made under the principal Act, and now asks for further drastic powers, seems to me a confession of weakness. I should like to have more information as to the trusts which it is alleged are carrying on business to the detriment of the public. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Has not the honorable member heard of any affecting his own State ? {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- Not that I am aware of. The two combinations of which I have heed are the Shipping Combination ' and that of the Newcastle miners. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- Has the honorable member not heard anything about a timber combination? ' {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- The Western Australian Timber Combination has been before the Arbitration Court, and has had its books and business overhauled several times;; but I do >not think that this measure will interfere with it. If there are so many combines in existence in Australia carrying on their business to the detriment of the public, surely the ' Gover'nment might have picked out some particularly glaring case to prosecute, before asking for additional powers. Coming' to the proposed section more particularly under discussion, I wish to say that we ought not to give undue encouragement to irresponsible informers. A man who has a good cause of complaint should not be afraid to complain ; but 1 persons should not be encouraged to give information secretly a gainst trade rivals. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- A large number of persons would not dare to come out into the open, because, if they did so, they would be ruined. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Would the honorable member come out against the Shipping Combine? He said that he could not get a ton of coal unless through it. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- If I were in business, I should not be afraid to' make any just complaint. If those who have grievances are afraid to say anything about them, they must hot be surprised if their complaints axe not remedied. Even the Bill requires the complaint on which the ComptrollerGeneral is to act to be put into writing, and I suppose the document will not be absolutely secret. But is there to be no penalty -for making false and defamatorystatements against innocent persons? The complainant should not be afraid to sign his name to the complaint, and io add the declaration that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, it is true. He should not be allowed to divest himself of all responsibility. The great trading institutions of the country, and those connected with them, deserve as much sympathy and support from this House as any other section of the community. The traders do much for the development of the Commonwealth. But in some quarters it seems to be thought that they should be left open to anonymous attack, and subjected to annoyance on mere hearsay or gossip, and have no means of redress. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- If the person complained of is innocent, he will not suffer. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- Business people ought not to be harassed unnecessarily. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The proposed preliminary inquiry may prevent harassing court prosecutions. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- At any ' rate, everything should be done openly, and those concerned should be made responsible. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- How would the honorable member protect informers against the trusts ? {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- It may be that the complaint would "be lodged by a business rival at least as strong as the Trust complained of. I am in sympathy with the desire to protect the public against combines and trusts which are detrimental to the common weal ; but we must not act unjustly .; we must not unnecessarily harass them in the "conduct of their business. Another point which occurs to me is that we have had a good deal of this class of legislation, and it certainly has borne very little fruit. We have not found out any persons committing these offences against the public, and it seems to me, therefore, that the evil has been greatly magnified. Otherwise we should surely have detected some one of the offenders. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- I can assure the right honorable member that we have secured very full reports in the case of several combines. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- At any rate, we are having more than a full dose of this class of legislation. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- The right honorable member himself gave us a full share of it, seeing that he was a member of every Government which proposed it. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- The honorable member is like a parrot. He is always saying the same thing. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- After what he said tonight I will continue to remind the right honorable member of the fact that he has been a member of every Government which proposed this sort of legislation. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- The honorable member must think that he possesses great power if he imagines that he exercises any influence over me. I do not think that we require too much of this class of legislation unless some very good cause exists for it. We have been told that the provisions of the principal Act relating to trusts and combines are more drastic than are those to be found in- any other part of the. world, and yet we have nothing to show for them in the way of prosecutions. I do not know whether a large number of prosecutions will take place immediately this Bill becomes law, but I do say that even if under the Constitution we possess the power to do what the Bill seeks to doj we ought not to exercise it unless there is grave necessity for doing so. We do not need to enact more drastic legislation than has been found necessary in the older and more densely populated countries of the world. I am quite with the Attorney-General in his desire to safeguard the public interests, and I will assist him as far as I can. But so far I have not heard anything but general statements- {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- A great many qf the reports which we have received are neces sarily confidential, and their contents cannot be disclosed. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- As soon as this Bill becomes law I take it that those reports will be made public. I hope that the offending firms will be rigorously prosecuted, and that the Act will not be permitted to remain a dead letter. At the same time, my own opinion is that these stringent provisions are not justified at the present moment. {: #debate-10-s38 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- The motives actuating honorable members in their attitude towards this clause resolve themselves under two headings. Honorable members who do not agree with the amendment of the deputy leader of the Opposition are chiefly anxious that any person who is interested in trade and who wishes to give information to the Government concerning a combine whose operations are detrimental to the public, is adequately protected. I hope that that is a fair way of putting the views of honorable members opposite. Upon the other hand, supporters of the amendment are mainly actuated by a fear that if proceedings against a trust are not openly initiated, opportunity will arise for the same class of corruption that has .disfigured American history. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- Be just to the United States. Was there not a fine of ^5,000,000 imposed upon a trust there? 9226 *Australian Industries* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Preservation Bill.* {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The President of the United States has said much more severe things concerning the corrupting influences of the trusts of that country that I have. We fear that the conduct of preliminary inquiries in secret may present opportunities for corruption which we should do well to avoid. {: .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr McDougall: -- Does not the Stand ard Oil Trust offer the same rebates in Australia as it grants in America? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I will deal with that point presently if the honorable member still wishes me to. So far as the person's who desire to give information against a trust are concerned, let them forward that information to the Minister in the way that he proposes. But if the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs or the Minister who directs his action wishes to get into communication with a trust, let the necessary proceedings originate in a Court of justice, so that the organization, which has so many hundreds of thousands of pounds at its disposal as hush money, may be compelled to have its case publicly tested. The Parliament and people would thus know that proceedings had been initiated, and the likelihood of corruption to stop proceedings would thus be rendered more remote. Surely we ought to be able to fashion the clause on the lines whichI suggest. {: .speaker-JWC} ##### Mr Carr: -- The honorable member presupposes corruption. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I must do so. I am not reflecting upon our officers, who, I think, are above suspicion; but we are not legislating solely for them. {: .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr McDougall: -- We might as well throw up the sponge at once if we assume that everybody is corrupt. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Seeing that American trusts have openly boasted of having corrupted Legislatures, the more openly our investigations into their operations are conducted the better. By securing that result, we shall minimize all chance of these combinations attempting to corrupt our officers. On the other hand, all those persons who wish to give evidence against their powerful competitors, the trusts, will be safeguarded from the vengeance of the latter. {: .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr McDougall: -- In what way? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Because their information will be committed to writing and forwarded to the Comptroller-General. The information upon which he will probably act will not be made public. If it is of sufficient' importance to induce him to take action, he will charge the trust concerned before a Court of law, and compel its representatives to answer all questions put to them. This Parliament and the country will then know that proceedings have been initiated, and that it will be extremely difficult to hush the matter up. {: #debate-10-s39 .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS:
Dalley .- The originator of any prosecution of a trust under the clause in its present form and: under the amendment of the honorablemember for Parramatta, will be the ComptrollerGeneral. I wish to point out to those honorable members who fear that under the clause our officialsmight be corrupted, that that corruption could take place just as easily under the amendment. The clause provides - even in the form in which the honorable member for Parramatta desires to amend it - that upon a. wellfounded complaint the ComptrollerGeneral can take certain action. The honorable member for Nepean has cited the case of the Standard Oil Trust, and asked us to suppose that a similar trust existed in New South Wales. The mere fact that a combine had attained such dimensions would be sufficient evidence of its existence. The retailers would know all about it, as would also the consumers. That being so, after a complaint had been lodged with the Comptroller-General, he could not refuse to act upon *it.* The larger a trust is, the more apparent will it be to the general public, who will then protect themselves by compelling the ComptrollerGeneral to initiate proceedings against it. The right honorable member for Swan objects to the drastic character of legislation of this kind, but he has been a member of most of the Federal Ministries, and, as. such, assisted in initiating the legislation under consideration, so that his lament about injuring traders and so forth is a. little belated. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- My influence was to moderate the measure, and I think I did so. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Then it was moderated so much that the Government have been unable to take proceedings under it. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- What has that to do with the Bill before us? {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I am supporting the present measure because the original Act was so emasculated, with the assistance of the right honorable member, that it has proved inoperative. The right honorable member told us that in Western Australia a Shipping Combine acted in such a way that not *Australian Industries* [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9227 a ton of coal could be purchased there, except through them. Surely that is a detrimental combine, which I am sure the right honorable member would denounce from the platform in his own State. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- In Western Australia we have plenty of coal of our own. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- Then why does the right honorable member object to that Shipping Combine as injurious? The honorable memberfor Moreton brought under the notice of this House a Shipping Combine which prejudicially affected the butter industry of Australia, he on one occasion moving the adjournment of the House on the question ; and the Government, of which the right honorable member for Swan was a member, proposed a mail contract which provided against excessive charges on produce, so that producers might be placed on level terms with the Combine. As to interrogatories, the honorable member for North Sydney will admit that Australian insurance companies and banking companies, who seek to do business in the United States, are subject to more drastic investigation than that for which the Bill provides. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- And still trusts sail on in America ! {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- I desire effective control ; and I do not think that the arguments in favour of transferring the power to authorize interrogations to a Judge are sufficient. Corruption can take place at either stage; and the ravages of the Combine affected will be so well known that public opinion will compel the official charged with that duty to take action. Question - That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed new section 15B (Mr. Joseph Cook's amendment) - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 22 NOES: 16 Majority ... ... 6 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived. {: #debate-10-s40 .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- When I desired to move an amendment last night in the definition of "Answer questions," in clause 2, the Attorney-General stated the proposed section 15B, paragraph 1, to which the definition refers, was intended only to enforce the answering of questions in relation to the alleged offence. {: #debate-10-s41 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
AttorneyGeneral · Darling Downs · Protectionist -- Perhaps the honorable member will allow me to explain. Last night the honorable member asked me whether it was intended that "Answer questions " should have reference only to the alleged offence, and I told him that that was so, promising thatI would reconsider the drafting in order to see whether that intention was fairly carried out. If the honorable member looks at the definition of "Answer questions," in clause 2, he will see that the person must answer all questions " on the subject mentioned." That does not mean on any subject mentioned by the ComptrollerGeneral, but the subject mentioned in the proposed section to which' the interpretation applies. The words " answer questions " in the proposed section 15B, means that a person may be required to answer questions with reference to the subject mentioned, and the subject mentioned is the alleged offence. I have put the matter again before the Draftsman ; and I think it clear that the. meaning is what I have stated. {: #debate-10-s42 .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I am not surprised that we have such difficulty in arriving at the meaning of Acts of Parliament, or that 9228 *AustralianIndustries* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Preservation Bill.* there is so much litigation, when it requires an elaborate explanation by an honorable member learned in law, to show that there is a connexion between the interpretation and the words used in the section under consideration. We ought to try to make our Acts of Parliament so that they may be understood by the ordinary lay reader. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am afraid the honorable member expects the millennium before its time. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- That may be; but I am going to try to assist its approach a little. The Minister has distinctly stated that only questions in regard to alleged offences will have to be answered and documents relating to them produced. Why should we not say so in the clause? I propose to make the point absolutely clear by the insertion of the words "relating thereto" after the word " documents." {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Perhaps it would be better to insert the words at the end of subclause1 of 15B. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- I am quite willing to accept the honorable member's suggestion. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- I believe it would be mere surplusage. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- In the section of the Customs Act to which the Minister has referred it is made clear that it is questions in respect of entries that have to be answered. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The better course for the honorable member to adopt would be to propose the insertion of the words "in relation to the alleged offence " after the word "documents." {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Very well. I move - >That the words " in relation to the alleged offence " be inserted in the proposed new section 15B, at the end of sub-section 1. I desire now to put two or three questions to the Attorney-General. In the first place, how are the answers which must be given and which may be used in evidence against the person giving them to be recorded ? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- They will be taken down in writing, as they are under the Customs Act. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- If so, will the person examined have an opportunity to satisfy himself as to the correctness of the record? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- An opportunity will be given him to make sure that the answers exhibited to him are correct. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The Bill does not provide for that. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- In order to protect himself the person examined would be sure to take action. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Very often persons who appear before an official to be examined are in doubt as to such procedure. In the interests of the ComptrollerGeneral as well as the party examined, there should be some method by which the latter may assure himself of the correctness of the record of his answers. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- That certainly will be the practice. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- The next point that I wish to raise is whether a solicitor can be compelled to divulge the confidences of his client. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- If a solicitor participates in an offence the mere fact that he is acting as a solicitor to one of the parties to that offence will not protect him. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- A solicitor might not be participating in any offence; a person complained of might have made confidential statements to him in connexion with a particular business. Can the Minister quote any Act providing that a solicitor shall divulge the confidences of his client? Perhaps the honorable member for Flinders could deal with this question better than I can. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is nothing under this provision to prevent the confidences of solicitor and client being obtained from the solicitor. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- If a solicitor drew an agreement of which complaint was made, would he not be compelled to say so? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- There might be something more than that. A solicitor might not be concerned in an offence under the Act. Would he have to go to the Comptroller-General and divulge confidences reposed in him about the whole business in order that the ComptrollerGeneral might determine whether in any respect an offence had been committed ? {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is the very first class of material that the ComptrollerGeneral would go for. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Quite so. The question isa serious one, and I desire to know from the Minister whether such confidences would have to be revealed by *Australian Industries* [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9229 the solicitor. Then, again, in the event of absolutely groundless charges being laid against an individual, and the latter being put in consequence to great expense, would he have any remedy ? He certainly would have no remedy against the party giving information, and in some cases it may be desirable that there should not be a remedy against him. There is no recourse against the officer, and I desire to know, therefore, whether there is any remedy against the Government. We know that animosity against particular firms or individuals have manifested themselves in Parliament. Charges are often made recklessly in Parliament, and are found on inquiry to be untrue or exaggerated. A desire is exhibited to make things as uncomfortable as possible for a particular firm or individual, and the only check against acting on groundless charges, involving the parties complained of in considerable expense, is a liability to pay damages. A section of a Parliament having, for some reason or other, an antipathy to a particular firm or individual, in the absence of such a liability, would take care that a complaint was laid against that firm or individual for an offence under the Act. When that complaint was lodged with the Comptroller- General, they would urge the responsible "Minister to institute a prosecution, and if he were not a strong man or belonged to a weak and yielding Administration, such as we have seen too often, he would use his influence, or the influence of the Administration would be used, to initiate a prosecution. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member forgets that, after the initiation of a prosecution, the proceedings would take a long time. The Minister would take care of that. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- If a certain situation demanded it, he might keep them back for a great length of time. It is said that the Comptroller-General will be independent, but as a matter of fact no permanent head of a Department can be. The head of a Department is often instructed by the responsible Minister to take a certain course. We have often heard a Minister say in this House : " I have instructed the head of my Department to take action. In the first instance, he did not think that anything should be done, but I have instructed him to take action, and my direction is being acted upon." That being so, purely political influences might be exerted as we' have seen them brought to bear out of an tagonism to a particular firm or individual. I am not suggesting that this influence would come from any one section of any particular Parliament, but if it were brought to bear, it would lead to a complaint in writing being made, which would be followed by a demand in Parliament for the prosecution of the individual or firms concerned. To that demand a weak Minister or Ministry, in particular circumstances and conditions, would yield. A prosecution might then take place in respect of a case in which it is afterwards proved that no ground for the proceedings existed. In such circumstances, who would be liable? {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The man who had written the letter of complaint would have stepped out of the proceedings at a very early stage. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Yes. In some circumstances it would not be unreasonable to keep him out of the proceedings. Virulent trusts might make it very unpleasant for an individual who complained against them. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But the man who had complained ought not to be brought into the act at all. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- He is not asked to institute the proceedings. The Comptroller-General, backed by the Government, takes the responsibility of the action, and what I wish to know is whether the Government will be liable to pay damages if it is proved that action has been taken by their consent on a groundless charge. I hope that the Minister will answer these questions, which are certainly of importance. {: #debate-10-s43 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
AttorneyGeneral · Darling Downs · Protectionist -- The honorable member for North Sydney asks whether the confidence between a solicitor and his client will be respected. Most certainly it will. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- So far as the honorable gentleman's administration of the Act is concerned. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Any one administering it will respect the general rules of law. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Should it not be provided that this confidence must be respected ? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- I do not think so. The position as stated by Phipson, in his law of evidence, is that - >A client cannot be compelled, and a legal adviser (whether, barrister, solicitor, or the clerk or intermediate agent of either), will not be allowed, without the express consent of his client, to disclose oral or documentary communications made or obtained in professional confidence. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is a rule relating to the ordinary administration of justice, but having no application in connexion with the administration of a measure like this. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- lt has been furthermore stated in the case of the *Queen v.* *Coxton,* 14 *L.R.Q.B.D.,* 153- >All communications between a solicitor and his client are not privileged from disclosure, but only those passing between' them in professional confidence and in the legitimate course of professional employment of the solicitor. Communications made to a solicitor by his client before the commission of a crime for the purpose of being guided or helped in the commission of it, are not privileged from disclosure. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable gentleman is making the crime in order to deprive parties of this privilege. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The object of the provision is to enable information to be obtained from individuals possessing a knowledge of the illegal operations, of trusts; it is not intended to apply, and would not be applied, to a solicitor who had been a confidential adviser of one of the parties. But if a solicitor were suspected of being a participant in the offence, he would be liable to be charged like any one else. In the administration of the measure, the confidential relationship of solicitor and client must always lie respected. The honorable member for North Sydney also asked who will be responsible for the costs of any prosecution initiated as the result of a complaint made to the Comptroller-General pf Customs. Section 14 of the Act provides that - >No criminal proceeding shall be instituted under this Part except by the Attorney-General or some person authorized by him. > >No civil proceeding shall be instituted under this Part without the written consent of the AttorneyGeneral. If a private individual takes advantage of the measure, he becomes an ordinary party to any action. But if the AttorneyGeneral -institutes proceedings, the fact that to obtain evidence the ComptrollerGeneral has been moved on the complaint of: some private person will not affect the question of costs. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Will the Crown be responsible? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The Attorney-General must be responsible for any case which he brings before the Court. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Even when he proceeds on the complaint of an individual ? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Yes. The complaint under this Bill does not initiate the legal proceedings. The Attorney-General if he prosecutes has afterwards to file his pleadings. The. answering of questions provided for is in respect only of the preliminary inquiry, and the question of costs should not arise in connexion with it. At the present time, any private person can write to the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs, and we have had several letters so written, complaining of the alleged existence of combines. Moreover, honorable members of both Houses have publicly drawn attention to the matter, and an inquiry was instituted in one case, because of certain information thus made public, which seemed to justify it. {: #debate-10-s44 .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I have refrained from engaging in this debate because I feel that, no matter what arguments may be brought forward, the result will be the same. The serried ranks behind the Government are not prepared to listen to argument. They show absolute confidence in the Attorney-General's abilities and judgment by supporting him with, their votes without hearing the other side. In the speech which he has just made, he has shown a degree of simplicity such as is very rarely found in a lawyer.. He has stated, with praiseworthy candour, that, although the Bill may permit inquiries into the private and confidential communications between client and solicitor,' those inquiries are not likely to be made. I admit that they are not likely to be made during his* administration. He may not have the wisdom of the serpent, but .1 am prepared to credit him with being as harmless as the dove. Still, we do not know who will succeed him, and we are legislating for the future. He evaded the objection raised by the .honorable member for East Sydney. Citing a passage from a law book, he showed that private and confidential communications between solicitor and client are privileged, and not to be inquired into. This privilege rests, not upon technical and fine .distinctions made by lawyers, but upon an inherent and fundamental principle of justice which has been recognised by British Judges ever .since we have had any legal system. It is held that a man must be protected in seeking advice, because, if his relations with his adviser are not privileged and confidential, he may be deprived of the opportunity to properly de- fend himself against accusations. The Attorney-General has stated, very properly, that this privilege is not to be used as a cloak to cover crime. But he forgot to say that before it can be taken away, it must be shown that a crime has been committed If, when a man is in the dock, charged on a definite indictment, with a jury empanelled to try him, it appears that some communication' between him and his lawyer is one of the links in a chain of conspiracy, fraud, or crime, he is deprived of the privilege to which I have referred. But what does the AttorneyGeneral propose? I can hardly allow myself to speak of this provision of the Bill, because I cannot express fully my feelings in regard to it. It is not brought forward to achieve any useful result, but merely as, a sort of political placard, to show a section of the community how far this particular Government is prepared to go to strike at certain persons, without regard to the ordinary principles of justice. I could point to several instances of the kind in the legislation of Victoria. This is what I might term poster legislation. It is so extreme, that it is not likely to be used, because the common sense and sense of justice of the community will prevent its use. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- Strong diseases require strong medicines'. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not intend to repeat what I said on that subject last night. Probably the measures suited to the case of a man suffering from a raging fever would do. mischief if applied to a youth afflicted with some slight temporary ailment. If the privilege to which I have been referring is worth preserving, it can be preserved only by dealing with it in the Bill. As the measure stands, the Courts, in interpreting it, would have to say, "The Legislature gives unfettered and unlimited power in regard to the making of inquiries, power that is not limited bv the rules governing the admission of evidence in ordinary cases." As I have said, it would probably riot be used, because the common sense of the community would revolt' against such an atrocious thing. But it mav he used by an irresponsible officer, backed by .1 Minister so weak as to yield to immediate political pressure, and its use mav inflict the greatest injustice, breaking- through rules which have always been considered necessary for the protection of individual liberty. {: #debate-10-s45 .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY:
Melbourne .- I intend to support the clause in its present form. If such a provision had been operative some years ago, the swindlers who pocketed the butter bonus granted by the Victorian Parliament would not have been allowed to burn t'heir books and other documents which might have been impounded by the Government for future prosecutions. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- Does the honorable member think that a penalty of .£50 will be sufficient to compel trusts and combines to produce their books? {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY: -- I do not. I am astonished that members upon the other side of the Chamber should oppose this proposal. Their attitude can be explained only by the supposition that it is the function of an Opposition to grumble at whatever action the Government may take. I say, " Let us pass this Bill and give it a fair trial." If its provisions are found to be too harsh, an amending, measure can then be brought forward. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- We fear that honorable members opposite will defeat the very purpose which they have in view. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY: -- I intend by my vote to protect the individual. The PostmasterGeneral must recollect how individuals who supplied information to the Royal Commission which investigated the working of the Factories Act in Victoria had to be sent away from Melbourne lest the highest legal talent available should be employed for' "the purpose of injuring them. He knows that that Commission had to request the press to suppress their names, because, had they been made public, the wealthy firms who comprise the friends of the honorable member for Flinders would have crushed them. On the present occasion, my vole will be cast as the deputy leader of the Opposition would have cast his vote len years ago, when he was more in accord with my views than he is now. At that time* he would have endeavoured to protect the individual as against the combine. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I shall do so upon every occasion. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY: -- I do not impute to any honorable member sympathy with com'-, bines such as we have read of in other parts of the world. But I do- say that those who urge' that combines do not exist in Australia must go about with their eyes shut. 9232 *Australian Industries* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Preservation Bill.* {: #debate-10-s46 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- In reply to the remarks of the honorable member for Melbourne, I wish to say that there is a difference of opinion between honorable members upon one question only. Those who support my amendment hold that a Minister who is full of political bias is unfit to wield an instrument of power such as this Bill will put into his hands. We are further inclined tobelieve that this measure will be an admirable instrument for political purposes. It will be of great service to the party in power. When honorable members in the Labour corner become restive, the Government will institute proceedings against a trust. These will be prolonged indefinitely, and, in the meantime, we shall hear honorable members opposite applauding the courageous action of the Minister in tackling these large combinations, whilst all the time the Minister will mean to do nothing of the sort. Amendment agreed to. {: #debate-10-s47 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- When I last addressed the Committee, I foreshadowed an amendment which I intend to submit, and which there is no occasion for me to argue at length now. Under the clause in its present form, any person supplying the Comptroller-General with information concerning the operations of a trust will be safeguarded from the vengeance of that trust. I wish to insert a proviso which will insure that inquiries made of members of a trust into the affairs of any trust shall be initiated in public I can conceive of no better place in which' those negotiations can begin than a Court of Law. It is absolutely essential that, so far as we possibly can, we shall limit the ordinary opportunities that a trust possesses for bribing officials with whom it may be brought into contact. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- The trusts say they can buy the whole of the members of this Parliament. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I should be very sorry to think that any honorable member can be bought by a trust, or that any of our public officers can be corrupted. But we must recollect that we are legislating for a future state of things, such as obtains in America to-day. Unless our officers and the trusts can come together to initiate proceedings only openly in a Court of Law, neither Parliament nor the people will know that they have been begun. I therefore move - That the following words be inserted in pro posed new section 15B at the end of sub-section 1 as amended : - " Provided that in the case of any person . whom the ComptrollerGeneral believes to be a party to the offence, he shall by summons on affidavit apply to a Judge of the High Court, of to a Judge of the Supreme Court of a State, for an order to compel the said person to answer interrogatories, and to make discovery of documents in relation to such alleged offence according to the practice of such Court in relation to civil proceedings." Question- That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 13 NOES: 20 Majority ... ... 7 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. {: #debate-10-s48 .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr McDOUGALL:
Wannon . -I move - >That the words "Fifty pounds" in proposed new section 15B, sub-section 2, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " One month's imprisonment." I do not think that a penalty of *£50* is sufficient for large corporations, which in America have boasted their power to bribe Legislatures, Judges, administrating officials, and police. Seeing that combines are so powerful there, and that we are desirous of preventing them obtaining the same hold in Australia, I submit this amendment, being convinced that the promoters or agents of wealthy trusts would feel much more humiliated by imprisonment than by a fine. *Australian Industries* [1 8March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9233 {: #debate-10-s49 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- Before the Attorney-General accepts the amendment which has been proposed, I should like to know how far, in his opinion, it will affect the proviso in paragraph b of proposed section 15 a, which provides that in all proceedings for an indictable offence the guilt of the defendant must be established by evidence. How far will the amendment limit the free questioning which it is the object of the clause to permit ? {: #debate-10-s50 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
Attor ney-General · Darling Downs · Protectionist -- Iaskthe honorable member for Wannon not to press his amendment. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It would be much easier to question a person when he is safe in gaol. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The penalty of *£50* will, I think, be sufficiently severe to enable us to cope with the difficulty. It must be remembered that this particular provision is not to be put in operation as against the trust or combine itself, but is for the purpose of obtaining preliminary information before proceedings are taken under proposed section 15c. In a great many cases we are not able to obtain evidence otherwise than by means of questioning individuals who have been more or less under the influence of a combine; and the object is to compel such persons to give information. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- Does the AttorneyGeneral think that a fine of£50 will stand in the way of a wealthy trust? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- No; but it will stand in the way of individuals who are proceeded against under the provision. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- A penalty of£50 is only a sham in the case of a wealthy trust. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The honorable member knows that this penalty "is not a sham. The object is to honestly carry out the purpose of the original Act, and I think that the penalty will prove effective. {: #debate-10-s51 .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr WILSON:
Corangamite .- I am surprised at the attitude of the AttorneyGeneral, because I should have thought he would have welcomed the amendment with open arms. I was much struck by the remark of the honorable member for Flinders, that it would be much more convenient to question the representative of a tsust if he were safe in gaol ; and I think I may make a suggestion as to a method of torture which was suggested during the recent hot weather, and which, I think, would prove effective. It is . a method which I fancy was not known even to the Inquisition, but I think it could be applied to extract information from those who are brought before the ComptrollerGeneral. When the heat was about 110 in the shade I discovered on the beach that throwing hot sand on to the back of a person caused considerable inconvenience and pain, and I suggest that the AttorneyGeneral should consider the matter, with a view of trying this method in cases under the Bill. 'I think that the AttorneyGeneral ought to accept this amendment. **Mr. HUTCHISON** (Hindmarsh) [10.41]. - I am going to ask the honorable member for Wannon to withdraw his amendment. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- If he does, I shall move it. {: #debate-10-s52 .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- When the original Bill was under discussion, I urged that persons found guilty of a combination in restraint of trade, which is a very serious offence, should be liable to imprisonment. The late **Mr. Seddon** subsequently expressed the opinion that it was ridiculous to attempt to deal with trusts or combines by means of fines, and urged that imprisonment should be substituted for pecuniary penalties. He told us that the only other alternative was for the State to step in and take control; that he had found that the Meat Trust in New Zealand was so harmful that he intended to open State meat shops there. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- He started Government coal mines. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- That is so. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- And he established a State insurance office, which is now in the ring. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I said the other day that the great mistake which **Mr. Seddon** made was in allowing private companies to operate in New Zealand after the State had entered the field of insurance there. I ask that the amendment be withdrawn, because I should not like to see a man imprisoned against whom a serious offence had not been proved. The offence of merely refusing to supply to the ComptrollersGeneral certain information which might tend to incriminate the person giving it is not so serious as to warrant imprisonment, but if the principal Act were under review, I should have no hesitation in urging the Committee to adopt the late **Mr. Seddon's** view, and to substitute imprisonment for fines in respect of combinations in restraint of trade. As **Mr. Seddon** once 9234 *Australian Industries* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Preservation Bill.* said, there is no difference between the action of a highwayman who forces an individual to give up his possessions and the operation of a trust, which forces from individuals something that they are unwilling to give. If the honorable member would propose a penalty, not of one month, but of five years in respect of certain offences, I should support him. My desire is that the punishment shall fit the crime, and I would give the justices a little discretion in the matter of ordering imprisonment under this law, just as they have a discretion in that respect under other Commonwealth Acts. {: #debate-10-s53 .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS:
Dalley .- I compliment the honorable member for Wannon on the fact that he has seen fit to move this amendment, and am satisfied that he has a sincere desire to make the measure effective. I voted earlier in the day for a provision, which, in my opinion, would tend to make it effective, but the AttorneyGeneral tells us that this amendment is not necessary, since the penalty relates only to the refusal to give information at a preliminary investigation. We have to remember, however, that a prosecution may depend upon the ability of the ComptrollerGeneral to obtain information at a preliminary inquiry. The honorable member for Corangamite has suggested that the honorable member for Wannon is not sincere. A man who is sincere in any proposition that he makes can be submitted to no more refined torture than that of ridicule. When Pascal ridiculed the schoolmen, and when Voltaire scoffed at superstition, they indulged in the refinement of torture. I agree with those who say that the liability to pay a fine of *£50* will not prevent the members of a combine from refusing to answer questions or give in-, formation. My desire is to make this provision effective, and I hope that the honorable member for Wannon will not withdraw his amendment. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- He does not propose to insert it at the proper point. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- According to the AttorneyGeneral, there is no place for it in the Bill ; he says that it is unnecessary. The proposal to provide for a penalty of *£50* is absurd, seeing that in the Customs Act provision is made for higher penalties in respect of more trivial offences. It is all very well for -honorable members to attempt to throw ridicule on the amendment by suggesting that the penalty should be five years' or ten years' imprisonment. If I opposed measures of this kind, I should vote against their second reading. I should not attempt in Committee to take the virus out of them. I cannot understand the Opposition being opposed to the principle of a Bill and yet voting for its second reading, with the object of moving amendments in Committee that will take- {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What member of the Opposition has opposed the principle of the Bill? The honorable member is stating what is absolutely incorrect. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS: -- The honorable member for Parramatta can speak for himself, but others have made satirical remarks about burning hot sand, and so on. The honorable member for Wannon, speaking as a citizen of the Commonwealth, sees an evil and wants to impose the proper penalty. I support his proposition, Does the AttorneyGeneral intend at a later stage to make' the penalties in the Bill symmetrical ? {: #debate-10-s54 .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr MALONEY:
Melbourne .- This is not the best place for the amendment. Can the Attorney-General state whether an individual who continually refuses to answer a question will suffer only one penalty of£50, or be punishable every time he refuses to answer? {: #debate-10-s55 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
AttorneyGeneral · Darling Downs · Protectionist -- If after request in writing he refuses to answer questions, the penalty will be for one offence. He may, of course, be guilty of other offences. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- What if he refuse to answer three questions? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- If he were called upon in writing to answer questions, and refused,. he would be liable to the penalty. If on the next day he were asked to produce documents and refused, he would be liable to further punishment. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- There might be twenty persons questioned. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- There might be a hundred. Colonel Foxton. - Suppose the person paid the penalty, and again refused to answer ? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- If he pays the penalty he purges the offence for which he is convicted. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- If he paid the£50 the Government could not go any further? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Not with regard to that offence. {: .speaker-JM2} ##### Mr Archer: -- Then he cannot be asked the same question again ? . *Australian Industries* [18 March, 1908.] *Preservation Bill.* 9235 {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- When a question is put to him and he refuses to answer, his offence is complete, and he is liable to a penalty. {: #debate-10-s56 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON:
Lang .-It does not follow that the person questioned will be a member of a trust. He may be any member of the community. The penalty applies also to any question. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Relating to the offence. That has been made clear. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- In any case, the penalty may apply to all sorts and conditions of persons, not necessarily wealthy members of trusts, but possibly poor individuals unassociated with a trust, who may not be able or may decline to answer questions. A man may be asked a question today, and be fined for refusing to answer. He may be asked a question equivalent to the same one to-morrow, and be fined every time he refuses to answer it. I was surprised at the attitude of the honorable member for Hindmarsh towards the amendment of the honorable member for Wannon. He did not object to punishment by fine for refusing to answer a question, but objected to punishment by imprisonment for a month, and yet, in the next breath, he said he would be favorable to imprisonment for five years-for refusing to answer a question. This Bill isnow deficient in only one or two particulars. It contains all the machinery of the Spanish Inquisition at its worst, and includes a Star Chamber procedure. All that is lacking is the torturer, the rack, and thumbscrew, and questions put by the public tormentor, to make it an absolutely complete measure worthy of the middle ages and the Spanish Inquisition. It is a marvel that those things have not been proposed, but I suppose the omission will be. remedied when the Bill comes back to us later. {: #debate-10-s57 .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr McDOUGALL:
Wannon -- In view of. the explanation of the AttorneyGeneral and the honorable member for Hindmarsh, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- I object. {: #debate-10-s58 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- I am rather disappointed in the action of the honorable member for Wannon. I looked forward the whole evening to his moving some amendment in which I understood that he was keenly interested, and which his party were determined to support with their full strength. It is rarely that we can congratulate the Government on successful resistance to pressure from friends in the corner, but I think we may safely compliment them on this occasion. Throughout the Bill we might safely haveimprisonment penalties as alternatives to fines. {: .speaker-KQT} ##### Mr McDougall: -- If they applied to the members of trusts. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The penalties specified are only maximum penalties. Why does not the honorable member for Wannon persist in his amendment? Was it only a placard hung out to be withdrawn at the first breath of Ministerial opposition? I understood that the honorable member was anxious about this business, as are most friends of the measure, and I hope the amendment will not be withdrawn. {: .speaker-L17} ##### Mr Wilks: -- If it is withdrawn, I shall move it again immediately afterwards. {: #debate-10-s59 .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER:
Gwydir .How does the Attorney-General propose to make this provision effective, if the parties who refuse to give the necessary information are not in a position to pay, and do not pay, the fine ? What, then, will be the punishment ? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The penalty will be enforced in accordance with the procedure of the State laws in summary jurisdiction. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- I do not understand why the honorable member for Wannon should withdraw the amendment. I certainly agree with the proposition that he has made. A fine of *£50* is only a pretence at the punishment of men who are trying to evade the responsibility cast upon them by the law. Colonel Foxton. - The trust will fight it every time. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- Exactly. If a person is asked to give information which will incriminate a trust, and if knows that by paying the sum of£50 on his behalf it can escape from the consequences of his evidence, what is easier than for the trust to hide the information which is necessary to the Department in order to carry but the prosecution? I believe in making these penalties effective, and therefore I intend to vote for the amendment, no matter what may happen. Question - That the words " Fifty pounds," proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed new section 15B (Mr. McDougall's amendment) - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 21 NOES: 10 Majority ... . ... 11 9236 *Adjournment.* [SENATE.] *Chinese.* AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 9236 {:#debate-11} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-11-0} #### Procedure Motion (by **Mr. Austin** Chapman) pro posed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-11-0-s0 .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON:
Laanecoorie -- >I desire to put to you, sir, a question - to which, of course, I know you need not reply - in regard to the conduct of the business of the House. I desire to know whether there is anything in our rules or practice expressed or implied which would compel an honorable member to vote for an amendment which he had asked leave to withdraw, and the withdrawal of which had been prevented by the objection of another honorable member? {: #subdebate-11-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I am quite prepared to give a ruling on that question when a case arises, but I do not think that I ought to be asked to give a ruling on a mere supposititious case. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11:8 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 March 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.