3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to read to the House the following cablegram from the. Secretary of State for the Colonies : -
My telegram of 2nd March andyour telegram of 2 1 st March. Please inform your Ministers United Stales Government gladly accept invitation for visit of Fleet, and highly appreciate friendly courtesy on the part of Commonwealth.
– I wish to know whether the Government will invite the British Government to send a special representation of its navy, so that there may be a combined naval demonstration, in Australian waters ?
– It would be a pleasant task to invite a representation of the British warships ; but as we are under the impression that the British’ Government is about to direct a fleet to ‘ visit us, we think it better to wait until it. has considered the question.
– Has the honorable gentleman any information as to the probable date, and duration of the visit of the. American fleet?
– Yes; but I have not made it public, because, since the first news was received, we have heard of theaccep-. tance of an invitation to visit Japan, and I am not aware whether that will alter the arrangements. There is every reason, however, to expect that the stay of the fleet will embrace about, ten days in Melbourne, and about the same period in Sydney.
– The following cablegram was received on the 19th or 20th March, by the Governor-General, from the Governor-General of Canada : -
Responsible Ministers request rae to forward invitation to your Prime Minister to come to Quebec, and bc their guest during celebration, at which His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales will be present during week, 22nd July to29th July. lt is sincerely hoped that Prime
Minister will be able to attend personally, but if that impossible be will in any case send representative.
In reply, the following telegram was sent to the Governor-General of Canada, dated Melbourne, 24th March -
Government highly appreciate invitation of the Canadian Ministers, and have therefore invited the Earl of Dudley, Governor-General-elect of the Commonwealth, to represent Australia at the celebration. Prime Minister regrets thai parliamentary session precludes the possibility of the attendance of any Minister with Earl Dudley.
Previously, we had. of course, communicated with the Earl of Dudley, from whom, through the Earl of Elgin, this communication was received on the 22nd March - .
Your telegram of 19th March. Lord Dudley desires me to thank you for your kindness, and to ask you to inform your Ministers that he will esteem it a great honour and privilege to represent Australia at the Quebec celebrations in July.
Temporary and Permanent Hands
– On the 12th March, the honorable member for Gwydir asked two questions with reference to the application of the Sydney Office for additional permanent hands, and the number appointed to the General Post Office, Sydney, and the State of New South Wales: The Deputy. Postmaster-General, Sydney, Has now furnished the following reply -
Since1st July, 1907, 202 additional permanent appointments, have been made to the staff of the General Post Office, Sydney, and 123 at the various country and suburban offices; and since the same date 23 additional appointments have been requisitioned for the General Post Office, Sydney, and 53 for country and suburban offices.
The honorable member also asked, on the same date, the amount that had been expended on temporary hands in the same State. The Deputy Postmaster-General, Sydney, has supplied the following information for the periodfrom1st July, 1907, to 14th March, 1908 -
Employed in the General Post Office,£14,377 6s.10d,
Employed in other offices in New South Wales,£11,36118s4d.
– On the 19th March, the honorable member for Bass, on behalf of the honorable member for Maranoa, asked a series of questions with reference to the hours and work of telegraphists on the afternoon staff at Brisbane. The Acting Deputy Postmaster-General, Brisbane, has now furnished the following information -
– The following telegram from Melbourne appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser of the 19th March -
The Cabinetto-day discussed the claim of a number of Federal servants, who have reached the retiring age of sixty-five, and who are anxious to be retained in the service for a year or so longer. In view of the fact that the men are still able to render good service, to the Commonwealth, it was decided to retain them for another twelve months.
I wish to know from the PostmasterGeneral whether every public servant who has reached the age of sixty-five, but is still capable of doing good work will receive the same treatment?
– That depends largely upon the exigencies of the service and upon the Public Service Commissioner.
– I understand that certain officers in the Post and Telegraph Department, having reached the age at which they are called upon under the Public Service Act to retire, have had their term of service extended, on the ground that they are still able to render good service. Will the Postmaster-General see that the same consideration is extended to others whose request to be allowed to remain in the service after passing the retiring age, has been refused?
– I have no reason to suppose that any difference is made between one officer and another. The matter is one for the Public Service Commissioner.
Mr. DEAKIN laid upon the table the following paper -
Colonial Office - Copy of despatch from the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, dated 19th November, 1907, relating to the organization of the Colonial Office.
– As it is possible that the Capital Site question may be discussed at an early date, will the Prime Minister request the Government of New South Wales to furnish, as soon as possible, information in regard to the Canberra site, similar to that already furnished in connexion with other sites, and have printed a sufficient number of copies for distribution amongst honorable members?
– Information regarding the Canberra site has already been received; but I shall invite the attention of the Government of New South Wales to the suggestion of the honorable member.
– Has the attention of the Postmaster-General been directed to a report published in the Bendigo Advertiser of the 21st March, of a speech delivered at a public banquet, in which Mr. Hay Kirkwood made serious complaints about the large number of cheques and postal notes which have gone astray since November last, after being posted in the Eaglehawk office? Will he cause the complaints to be investigated, and abolish the vexatious fee of 2½d. now demanded as a preliminary to any inquiry re property thought to have been lost in the post ?
– My attention has been drawn to the report referred to, and I have already instructed that a searching inquiry must be made at the earliest moment possible. The fee referred to is similar to that required under international regulations, when an inquiry is asked for regarding a registered article, and the question whether it can, and should, be abolished is receiving attention.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that the name of Captain. Collins frequently appears over news in the Times as that of the representative of the’ Australian Commonwealth ? Does the honorable and learned member think it desirable that an official should be placed before the British public in that capacity?
– Captain Collins is the representative officer of the Commonwealth in London, and I did not find, during my visit to England last year, that there was any misapprehension as to the nature of his authority. On the contrary, it ‘was frequently urged upon myself and the Treasurer that a High Commissioner should be appointed, because, although the present office does the work allotted to it, information cannot be obtained from it on new questions of policy. Newspapers have it in their power to confer distinctions on whom they please.
– As the holiday of the late Acting Administrator of Papua has expired, I wish to know if the Government has considered the advisability of appointing a permanent Administrator?
– The resignation of the late Acting Administrator becomes due at the end of the month, and the appointment of a permanent officer will be necessary before long; but there is now an amount of unrest among certain officials in Papua which must be dealt with before any appointment can be made.
– My information does not reveal that the present Acting Administrator is involved in the friction referred to. Is it not a fact that under his ad- ministration the Territory has advanced considerably in prosperity, and that everything is going smoothly so far as he is concerned ?
– I am not able to give an unqualified affirmative to the last part of. the question. Since the passing of the
Papua Act there has been marked development in every direction, particularly in settlement. The differences to which I alluded affect the Administrator, inasmuch as he has been called upon to deal with some of them. There - has also been forwarded to us a charge against him which, so far as I can judge, has not even prima facie support; but until the whole of the circumstances in relation to these various charges and counter-charges are cleared up, it will be undesirable to make a permanent appointment.
– Will the Prime Minister, in connexion with the appointment of a permanent Administrator, which ought soon to be made, consider the desirableness of separating the judicial from the administrative power?
– Yes. That has latterly appeared unnecessary. I am not prepared to say at the moment whether or not it is called for immediately. It will depend upon -.information that I have yet to obtain from the Territory.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral lay on the table all papers in connexion with the promotion of Mr. E. A. Blakney, who was advanced over the head of thirty officers senior to him?
– I shall ask the Minister of Home Affairs, who has charge of the matter, whether he has any objection.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether the changes made in the Commonwealth Tariff are made known in London through the Commonwealth officer, Captain Collins, or through Reuter?
– So far as I know, they are made known through Reuter. There are particular cases in which interested persons in London visit the Commonwealth officers, and ask for information, and to their inquiries replies have been occasionally sent. Speaking from memory, they have been very rare. In almost every case the message is sent by Reuter.
– Is there any arrangement with Reuter?
– There is an arrangement that if something which, from the point of view of Reuter, is not of sufficient importance to warrant it being sent Home by cable as news, is required to be cabled to London in the interests of the Common- wealth, it shall be paid for by the Government. We do not pay for ordinary telegrams.
– How much is regarded as news ?
-That depends upon Reuter; we are not the judges.
– Will the Prime Minister have any objection to laying on the table of the House the papers in connexion with any arrangement made with Reuter?
– I do not know that there are any ; but do not trustmy memory in regard to all these matters. It has been the custom for years in connexion with the Budget statement, for instance, to transmit to London a fuller report than Reuter thinks necessary. The same course has been taken in regard to the transmission of figures, or other information, which, from our point of view, ought to be sent Home by cable.
– It is a matter for arrangement in each case?
– Yes; unless we are dissatisfied with what Reuter is sending, a case does not arise.
Appointment of Cabinet Committee - Letter Clearances with Motor Cars.
– In view of a report in the press this morning that a Committee of the Cabinet had been appointed to investigate the organization of the Post and Telegraph Department, I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether he does not think that the appointment of a Royal Commission, which could make a more farreaching inquiry, would give greater satisfaction to the public?
– This House will in its own way, and in its own time, deal directly or by other means with the Post and Telegraph Department, as with any other. We realize quite sufficiently some of the principal causes of the difficulties that have arisen, and believe that although their settlement may involve an appeal to this House for Legislative power, we ought to satisfy ourselves in the first instance of the causes of friction, and take, without delay, whatever steps are possible by Executive action. The honorable member who has referred by implication to the searching inquiry which is. usually made by Royal Commissions knows that the appointment of a Commis sion must mean a considerable postpone ment of action. Every alteration thought necessary in the Department would be delayed pending the report of the Commission.
– I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether the Committee of the Cabinet will be allowed to take evidence and hear complaints, and if not, upon what material it will be able to ascertain what recommendations are required in connexion with the reform of the Department ?
– Definite complaints, if forwarded, will be dealt with in due order; but, as I have already indicated, the inquiries made by the Cabinet have brought us face to face with two or three very important directions in which we think it may be possible to take important action.
– In relation to administrative defects ?
– Yes , although, as I have said, it is possible that some of those defects may require an alteration of the law affecting the Public Service in relation to this Department.
– What I meant was that a judicial tribunal was not necessary to deal with administrative questions.
– I have been credibly informed that since the institution of motor cars for the letter clearances in Adelaide, boxes have on several occasions been cleared before the hour specified, while in other cases clearances have not been effected until after the proper hour. I ask the Postmaster-General to make inquiries so that the same punctuality may be observed as heretofore.
– Certainly, I shall inquire.
– Following on the question of the honorable member for Hindmarsh,I desire to ask the PostmasterGeneral whether he will have a record of the irregularities observed under the system of clearing pillar boxes bv motor car with a view to comparison with the results of the system previously carried out.
– T have had full inquiries made, and the whole of the reports I have received are most favorable to the new system.
– Will the Minister of Defence make inquiries as. to the tender recently accepted in Tasmania for the supply of military boots? I understand that the highest, instead of the lowest, was accepted.
– If the honorable member will supply me with the papers, explaining the case from his point of view, I shall be glad to give him all information.
– Adverting to the question just asked by the honorable member for Bass, I should like the Minister of Defence to say whether it is a fact that a little while ago directions were given for a new regulation, reducing by half, the usual expenditure on the supply of boots - in other words, making the troops an allowance at the rate of one boot per man per year ?
Mr.EWING. - In regard to the supply of boots, as in connexion with almost everything else, there was in existence prior to Federation different arrangements in the various States. To obtain uniformity under such circumstances always presents difficulties. The question originated in this way : Each corps receives 30s. per head per annum to cover certain expenditure, including the cost of boots. The service which members of the Militia and Volunteer Forces’ are required to give to the country is, roughly speaking, about three weeks per annum, or sixteen full days, with various other attendances. Obviously, a man would not wear out a pair of boots in that time, and therefore the arrangement made by the Department is that each member of these forces shall be allowed a pair of boots per annum at half price. Taking into consideration the amount of wear to which the boots are subjected, it was not proposed to provide a pair every year ; and it was determinedto arrange that there should be, virtually, a pair supplied every second year, by giving a pair of boots at half price each year.
– That is to say the supply has been cut down by one-half?
-That may be so in the case of New South Wales, but in some parts of Australia no boots at all were supplied. However, I see the point of the honorable member for Parramatta; I think it is much better to give a pair of boots every second year, and I shall suggest that the alteration be made.
– I desire to ask the
Minister of Defence whether any steps are being taken to provide an adequate supply of Morris tubes for use in miniature rifle ranges. I understand that some time ago a number of tubes were imported, andseveral miniature rifle clubs were promised suplies, but, so far as one or two of the clubs are concerned, at any rate, the number promised has not been forthcoming.
– The honorable member is quite correct. Some months ago an order was sent for some 500 Morris tubes, and I know that some have come to hand, though I cannot say whether the whole are yet available. If the honorable member will supply me with the instances he has in his mind, I shall be glad to look into the matter. It must be understood, however, that it is not clear whether Morris tubes will continue to be used, seeing that other suggestions for attaining the same end have been made.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence if it is not a fact that full-size cartridges can be, or are being used, re-filled, and that this does away with the necessity for importing Morris tubes.
– Yes,there are various devices, and these I had in my mind whenreplying to the honorable member for Lang. It is doubtful whether Morris tubes will be used much longer.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence whether it is a fact that a short time ago, when rifles were being issued by the Department, instructions were given that they were, on no account, to be used with ball cartridge.
– A great number of rifles are issued by the Department for drill purposes, as, for instance, in the case of the senior cadets, who are not allowed to use ball cartridge. However, Itake it that what the honorable member desires to know is whether there are sufficient rifles for all legitimate purposes; and I have to inform him that some 20,000 are expected.
– That was not my question.
– I assumed that the honorable member had some reason for asking his question.
– I simply desire to know whether the instructions I have indicated were given?
– Those rifles are for drill purposes. I hope we shall soon be in a position to satisfactorily solve the question of the supply of effective rifles.
– I desire to know whether the long promised modem guns for harbor defences have yet arrived, and, if so, whether they have been distributed, or what is the oosition?
– I take it that the honorable member refers to the 6 -inch Mark VII. modern guns, approved by the Imperial Defence Committee. It is beyond the power of the Government to complete the schemeat once; but it is being carried out now as rapidly as possible. I think that the armament at Fremantle, and also at Hobart, approach completion, and, as the Prime Minister has stated, the scheme, to the extent of£50,000 each year, will be carried on until it is completed, in perhaps three years’ time.
– I desire to ask the Min ister of Defence whether any of the impounder field artillery guns have been distributed to the Militia Artillery, and, if not, what is the reason for delay?
– Some of the guns have been distributed, but I cannot give the honorable member exact details. If the honorable member desires I shall procure him the information..
– I wish to ask the Minister of Defence a question as to the charge of 7s. or 8s. made to the members of Militia or Volunteer Forces for reboring their rifles. Does the Minister not consider such a charge unjust, when the authorities must know that very often old rifles are distributed, and require re-boring almost immediately ?
– Some considerable time ago the honorable member for Wide Bay, and also the honorable member for Newcastle, brought this matter under my notice. I take the view that, as these rifles are the property of the Government, all fair wear and tear. is a departmental responsibility and, therefore, the procedure to which the honorable member refers, . if it has not already ceased, will cease.
-I desire to ask the Treasurer whether he can inform us when he proposes to move the second reading of the Surplus Revenue Bill ? I ask the question in order that we may be prepared to deal with the measure, and not be taken by surprise.
– It is quite impossible to say definitely when the second reading will be moved, but I hope that it may be during next week, probably towards the end.
Furlough : Postmistress, Portarlington - Paintingof Telegraph and Telephone Poles - Lineman : Mount Victoria
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The Public Service Commissioner has furnished the following replies -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Whether the whole or any part of the cost of painting the telegraph and telephone poles in Melbourne and the suburbs is borne by his Department.
– The Acting Deputy Postmaster-General, Melbourne, states that the whole of the cost of painting the telegraph and telephone poles in Melbourne and suburbs is borne by the Postmaster - General’s Department.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The Deputy PostmasterGeneral, Sydney, has furnished the following information -
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affair, upon notice -
In view of the report of the Meteorologist, Mr. Hunt, that forecasting has been rendered unusually difficult during the last few months owing to extraordinary monsoonal influences, are there any data sufficient to guide the Department in expressing an opinion whether such unusual summer conditions suggest any probable effect on on the ensuing agricultural season?
– The Commonwealth Meteorologist has furnished the following reply -
Meteorological science has not yet sufficiently advanced to justify any expression of opinion as to the character of the coming season. The difference in temperature between theEquator and thePoles, combined with the earth’s rotation, gives rise to great dominating atmospheric movements which result in permanent zones or bells of low pressure over the Equatorial and Polar regions, with a ridge of high pressure separating them. High up in the’ atmosphere we have in temperate zones a great aerial stream passing from west to east, and the “Highs” and “Lows” on our daily weather charts are like large whirlpools or eddies in this moving stream. Australia is crossed by the great Southern Anti-cyclonic stream, and its weather is controlled by it. Variations in the stream mean variations in our weather, and, speaking generally, the character of our winter season depends upon its intensity, activity, and position. Should the high pressure barrier lie to the south of its normal position, the Antarctic disturbances are confined to the coastal districts. On the other hand, if it lies further north than usual, the sweep of the Southern “ Lows “ is greater over the Southern States, and the rains are correspondingly heavier, and extend well inland.
Australian meteorological work has so far been that of development, and has been mainly confined to the studv of Australian data. It is now being recognised bymeteorologists that the factors upon which the solution of the weather problem depends can only be ascertained by an exhaustive studv of the atmospheric conditions over the whole globe, and some recent investigations hare shown that ‘ atmospheric see-saws or surges exist betweejn difSerapt parts of the earth’s surface. As all weather changes result from pressure differences, this is a hopeful field of inquiry, for if the existence, period, and direction of these atmospheric pulsations can be determined, the general character of approaching seasons might be anticipated.
asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Whether, in order to distribute Ihe incidence of taxation more equitably, it is the intention of the Government to have an amendment made in section11 of the Excise Act 1901, to allow Excise fees for registration of breweries to be based on the amount of business done and profits earned, in lieu of the present system of charging a uniform rate of£25 on large city and small country breweries alike?
– The suggestion is one which appears deserving of favorable consideration, and I shall have inquiry made as to whether it may be properly included when an amendment of the Beer Excise Act is considered necessary.
asked the Prime
Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows - 1 and 2. Section 12S of the Constitution only applies where there is an amendment of the Constitution. Neither section 128 nor section 123 (which empowers the Commonwealth Parliament with the consent of a State Parliament and the approval of a majority of the electors of the State to alter the “limits of the State) affects the power of a State Parliament under section111 to surrender a part of the State to the Commonwealth.
asked the Prime
Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow - .
Easter Military Training
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The following answers have been received from the Deputy Post-‘ master-General, Sydney -
From that date “ and therefore during the Easter training of 1907 “ leave for military purposes was governed by Statutory Rule 88 then in force.
Motion (by Mr. Bowden) agreed to - That a return be laid upon the table of the House showing -
Suspension of Standing Orders. Reports adopted.
Motion (by Mr. Groom) proposed -
That the Standing Orders be suspended so as to allow the third reading to be moved this day.
– The motion cannot be debated.
In division :
– The AttorneyGeneral desires leave to withdraw his call for a division, but, as the voices were not declared against him, leave cannot be granted.
Question put. The House divided.
Majority … … 10
In cases of urgent necessity, any Standing or Sessional Order or Orders of the House may be suspended for theday’s sitting, on motion, duly made and seconded, without notice : Provided that such motion is carried by an absolute majority of the whole number of the members of the House.
There is not a word there about debate. No motion can be more important than one for the suspension of the Standing Orders, one which, above all others, should be debatable, if for no other reason than to enable the mover to show cause for what he proposes. If it be the rule that such motions may not be debated, the sooner we alter that rule the better. My experience has been that motions for the suspension of Standing Orders may be moved only after notice given, and upon a full statement to the Chamber of the reasons for moving them. In this case the Minister sprung a surprise on the House, asking us, without notice, to sweep aside every safeguard, in order that a measure might be rushed through at all hazards. ‘ We ought not to lightly, and without reason given, surrender the checks provided by the Standing Orders.
In Committee of Supply: (Consideration resumed from 20th March, vide page 9420).
Department of External Affairs
Division11., Subdivision 2 (Administrative), £6, 200
– I find that although . last year only , £3,895. was appropriated for Contingencies, this year we are asked to vote£6,200, and that the vote on every item in the subdivision was exceeded last year. If the expenditure on the Departments may exceed thevotes of Parliament in regard to someitems, it may exceed them in regard to all. Parliament having virtually no hold upon the public expenditure. What explanation is there for what I complain of?
– I mentioned during our last sitting that the work of the Department of External Affairs hasgrown so rapidly that the vote for the last financial year was in many cases inadequate. There has been, not an increase of cost in dealing with the work of the Department, but more to do - more correspondence and sending of telegrams, giving or asking for information. We thereforeask for a larger vote for the current financial year. We cannot allow communications to go unanswered, or forego information.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 12 (Executive Council), £935
– One would have thought, in view of the recent addition to the list of Cabinet Ministers, that a larger vote would be proposed in connexion with the “ official expenses of honorary Ministers.” I have nocomment to make on the appointment to which I . refer, except that it was publicly stated to be a reward for services, and wasperhaps well earned; but one cannot help feeling surprised that the Government Whip was allowed to assist the’ Minister in charge of the Tariff,whilst the Minister of Trade and Customs, who has to dowith its administration, was given no finger in the pie. Last year £114 was expended, -and surely more will be required this year. Another point is as to whether the Minister, appointed should draw the full Parliamentaryallowance of £600 ayear, seeing: that it is provided in the Act that Ministers shall not . share in the increase. Doesthat apply to honorary. Ministers?
– No, it covers the seven Ministers provided for in the Constitution.
– Is that quite- clear ?
– Quite clear.
– If not, therewould be an additional reason for providing a slight increase of this amount.
.- AsI consider that honorary Ministers, have neglected certain duties, I do not feel inclined to support the proposed allowance in respect of their expenses. I do not know whether the Committee are aware that in March, 1907, the honorary Ministers neglected their duty in failing to make a public protest against a speech delivered at Hobart by Admiral Fawkes - then Admiral of the British Naval Squadron on the Australian station - in which he said that those who advocated the claims of an Australian Navy were guilty of disloyalty to the Empire.
– I cannot allow the honorable member to follow that line of argument.
– The matter has to do with the Executive Council.
– Then the honorable member should have raised it when the previous subdivision was under consideration.
– I am disposed to move that the proposed vote of £100 in respect of the expenses of honorary Ministers be reduced, because of a dereliction of duty on their part.
– There was no honorary Minister at the time the speech was made.
-I thought that the present Postmaster-General was then an honorary member of the Cabinet. I have a still later instance of the way in which the rights of the Commonwealth under the Constitution are being neglected. In the Government Gazette of 22nd February last there appears above the signature of the Minister of External Affairs the following announcement -
His Excellency the Governor-General directs the provisional recognition of C. J. Royle, Esq., as Consul-General of Paraguay, at Sydney, pending the receipt of His Majesty’s exequatur.
– I have listened very attentively to the honorable member, and fail to trace the connexion between his observations and the subdivision immediately under consideration. I must ask him not to continue on the same lines.
– To the extent that I am showing that honorary Ministers have neglected their duty, I submit, sir, that I am in order.
– The honorable member would be in order in giving reason’s why the proposedvote should not be granted, but he is doing something more than that.
– This item relates to the expenses of honorary Ministers, and I am endeavouring to show that the Executive Council of which they were members at the time, neglected its duty. As the allowance of Ministers generally is fixed by the Constitution this is the only item in connexion with which I can bring forward the matter. If you say, Mr. Chairman, that I cannot further discuss it, I shall not atttempt to do so. I have said nearly all I wanted to.
– Honorary Ministers do not receive this money.
– The honorable member must not continue the line of argument that he has just been following, but he will be in order in dealing with questions affecting the position of honorary Ministers and their allowances.
– If you, sir, do not consider relevant the line of . argument I have previously adopted, I shall not proceed further.
– If I remember rightly, the matter of payments to honorary Ministers in respect of expenses has already been tested.
– The money is not paid to them ; it is paid for them.
– I take strong objection to the practice. Ministers receive, not only the allowance fixed by the Constitution, but-
– This relates only to honorary Ministers.
– Ministers receive the amount provided for them under the Constitution, and also the greater part of the ordinary allowance granted to honorable members generally.They have certain duties to performin the course of which expenses are incurred, and the Prime Minister will correct me if I am wrong in saying that they do not charge those expenses.
– Ministers of State charge no expenses whatever.
– Now, what do we find? An additional Minister has been appointed, and, in passing, I may say that I have no objection to his appointment. On the contrary, I take this opportunity of publicly congratulating him. The honorary Minister is now called upon to perform some of the duties previously carried out by other Ministers, and, instead of being reimbursed; his expenses by those who prior to his appointment would have been called upon to incur them, he is recouped out of the Consolidated Revenue. This practice ought to be stopped, considering that Commonwealth Ministers, unlike members of most, if not all, of the States Administrations, receive, not only the amount allowed by the Constitution in respect of Ministers of State, but the ordinary Parliamentary allowance to which every private member is entitled. It is true that in the case of Ministers of State that allowance has been restricted to ^400 instead of .£600 per annum ; but, having regard to the facts, when an honorary Minister in discharging duties on their behalf is put to expense he should be reimbursed by them. It is not so much a question of the amount involved, as the principle at stake.
– It is only ^100.
– In addition to j£ 1:2, 000 a year received by Ministers under the Constitution, and an ordinary Parliamentary allowance of ^400 each-
– Which the Barton Government collared.
– The Barton Government, in seeking the assent of the House to their action in taking the ordinary allowance of .£400 per annum in addition to their Ministerial allowance, said that they paid their own expenses.
– I do not think they said so ; but they made it a rule to pay their own expenses.
– I have stated what, at all events, is my recollection of the facts. We now find a new practice springing up, and it may go much further unless attention is called to itSmall beginnings often lead to situations which are very properly animadverted upon by the public, as well as by some members of Parliament. I am not going to move in the matter, because I believe that last year the question was tested in connexion with an item of ^50 for expenses of honorary Ministers.
– There was a similar item in the first Estimates put before the Commonwealth Parliament, and the amount involved was larger.
– But this is an increase on the amount voted last year. A reduction was probably made in consequence of criticism.
– No; it was simply what was expected.
– I objected to the item before, and the opinion? of the Committee was tested. There ismore reason for objecting at the present stage, since honorary Ministers, at all. events, receive the ordinary Parliamentary allowance of £600 per annum. I should* like the Prime Minister to consider whether” such items should not be removed from the Estimates. It would be well to omit them.
.- These expenses are probably incurred by an honorary Minister in travelling in thedischarge of public duties.
– It would be rather unreasonable to expect Ministers who. pay all their own expenses to bear the travelling expenses incurred by an honorary Minister in the discharge of public .duties. The honorable member for North Sydney will recognise that, having been relieved! of portion of their duties by the appointment of an honorary Minister, the remaining members of the Cabinet .must be ableto do their work more efficiently.
– That may or may not be.
– I rose chiefly to’ point out that the honorable member for North Sydney was himself a leading memberof. an Administration which did something far more reprehensible. It placed on the Estimate’s an item of £19 odd inrespect of a dinner tendered to .the captain of an Italian warship which visited Australian waters. I protested against that” item.
– Are the expenses of official dinners not charged by theGovernment now?
– The dinner I refer towas one given by the Ministry, in a semiofficial capacity, to this Italian visitor.
– Did the Ministry of which the honorable member wasa member not charge the expenses of official dinners?
– Absolutely no. Noofficial dinner or dinners were charged for by the Watson Administration.
– Nor any other expenses.
– Perhaps there: was not an. official dinner given by that” Government ; but do the present Government not charge the expenses of such entertainments ?
– I shall tell honorablemembers in a moment.
– I have never known an item of the kind on the Estimates; except in the case of the Government of which the honorable member for North Sydney was a member. That item, I say, was challenged, but, as the Government had a majority of one, it was impossible to successfully move in the matter. If the item before us goes to a division, I shall vote for its elimination, because I do not think it represents a good practice. At the same -time, there is nothing singular in it.
– I hope that this matter will not go any further, because it will look very bad to people outside if the hospitality of the Commonwealth is criticised here. Where is there a country that does not extend hospitality to representatives of other countries and distinguished visitors generally ?
– Would it not be better to spend the money in extending telegraph and telephone facilities to people in the bush?
– The honorable member ought to have remained in the bush, because it seems to me that he does not rise to the importance of our position here. We represent a great country, and it is our duty to extend such hospitality as I have indicated. When we go to other parts of the world, we are received with great distinction and at immense expense. Does any one suppose that when we visited Canada, the United States, or the Old
– I must point out to the honorable member that we are nowdealing with the item of official expenses of honorary Ministers. Such entertainments as the honorable member refers to may be mentioned incidentally, but to discuss details is out of order.
– Then all I shall say on that point, is that, whilewe should not be reckless in our expenditure on such entertainments, we certainly ought not to be parsimonious. In regard to the particular item before us, I think that when honorary Ministers, who receive no salary, travel about the country on official business, it is only fair that their hotel and other expenses should be paid. If honorary Ministers do not travel about the country that fact may work adversely to the interests of the country, just as I think the plan adopted of Ministers’ not charging expenses, may do so. We ought to encourage Ministers to travel. I know that neither in Western Australia nor here have
I ever charged expenses as a Minister ; but we cannot ignore the fact that when Ministers travel they have to dip their hands very deeply into their pockets ; and this might have an influence in preventing some from travelling. A Minister cannot go to Western Australia or the Northern Territory without incurring considerable expense ; and, although I am sure no Minister would care to admit it, if their expenses are not paid, they may not be quite so anxious to travel as they otherwise might be. At any rate, the item before us represents what has been the custom from the beginning, and I hope that custom will continue to be observed. If, however, the item has to be made the subject of adverse criticism everyyear, some other plan will have to be adopted.
– I cordially agree with the last observation of the honorable member for Swan, namely, that it is not worth the time of honorable members, nor the discussion that has followed, to submit a small item of this kind. The honorable member for North Sydney has been a Minister himself, and must realize the inevitable misconceptions which will arise from the statement he has made. I do not propose to argue the question because, like the honorable member for Swan, I consider that it is not worth arguing. It has to be remembered that if an honorary Minister is asked to undertake a public duty, and he knows that he must perform it at the expense of his colleagues, he is not placed in the position he ought to occupy ; and to say that £100 spent in twelve months on all the possible official visits of honorary Ministers throughout the Commonwealth is worth considering, is, it seems to me, to push the matter a great deal too far. The misconceptions to which I refer, and which it should not be necessary to deal with in this Chamber, are as to the necessary expenses which Ministers confront as part of the duties of their office. The honorable member for North Sydney knows as well as I do - because there were honorary Ministers in his Government - that although their strictly official travelling expenses may be charged, all their other expenses, practically, are borne by their colleagues. . As for the reference to the £400 which Ministers take for their expenses, I may say that, although I do not travel much, that amount does not come near the cost Iin- cur in connexion with my official duties.
I am obliged to make that statement, because otherwise the point would be fastened upon outside, and it would be said that, not content with pocketing the member’s salary in addition to the Minister’s salary, we also charged expenses. The member’s salary we do not receive - indeed we make considerable incursions into our Ministerial salaries. From the first, Ministers have paid any necessary expenses incurred by their honorary colleagues in connexion with their duties, except absolute out-of-pocket expenses caused by an honorary Minister having to travel in place of a Minister. The total of this extravagant expenditure is £50 to £120 per annum ! So long as there is no misunderstanding, no complaint can be made. If the Committee desire to deduct these expenses, they can do so ; Ministers will readily find the extra £100 a year.
.- It would be parsimonious to complain of the small amount of this item, because, if the expenses are incurred, there is no reason why they should not be reimbursed. The objection I take to the item is that it recognises the position of honorary Ministers. According to the Constitution, there are to be only seven Ministers, who are to be members of the Executive Council ; and when two honorary Ministers were appointed in 1 90 1, objection was taken to the Government adding to their number before they had found out whether they could do the work themselves. It was pointed out strongly at the time that increasing the number of Ministers diminished to some extent the independence of private members. Though I do not for one moment say there is any serious lack of independence - though belonging to a certain side does, to an extent, emasculate a man’s liberty of action - at the same time, there was something in the stand taken that we should not unnecessarily increase the number of those whose self interest it would be to subordinate their private opinions to those of the Government. This seems to be the first occasion on which statutory recognition has been given to honorary Ministers.
– No ; there has been a similar item on every Estimates.
– I was not quite sure on the point, but I suggest that a better place forthe item would be in a general vote for Ministerial expenses.
– There is no vote for Ministerial expenses ; we pay our own.
– Is there no item for reimbursement beyond the £12,000 a yearto Ministers ?
– I understood there was a vote of £400 or £500 for expenses; but I must have been under a misapprehension. This is a small matter to talk about ; but it is clear that honorary Ministers are given, in black and white, a standing which the Constitution does not contemplate. That is the only objection I see to the item.
– The honorable member for Swan should not, I think, associate this item with the general expenses of State entertainments.
– I think. . I was wrong in that; I did not see the point at first.
– If this item is spent in such entertainments, it ought not to be ; the more straightforward way would be to place the money on the Estimates in . the way that was done by the Government of which the honorable member for North Sydney was a member. In my judgment, the Commonwealth does not expect the Prime Minister, when travelling, to dip his hand too deeply into his own pockets, as appears to be the case now, in order to meet the expenses which are inevitable in the way of entertainments of various kinds. But the Government, for some reason or other, at the commencement of Federation - in some spasm of parsimony or economic virtue - bound themselves not to take expenses which, in all the States, are ordinarily permitted to the Ministers when travellingin the execution of their duty. The Commonwealth Government set up a standard which the States to-day are not following, so far as I can find out.
– Hear, hear.
– I very much doubt the wisdom of the course taken by the Commonwealth Government, because I think that Ministers, like any other State officials, should be paid moderate but certainly adequate travelling expenses when engaged in public duty. That is the businesslike method ; and when it is departed from, we have discussions of this character. I would much prefer to see a reasonable allowance takenby Ministers for expenses than that they should seek, by items of this kind, to eke out a fund which causes such a heavy drain on their private purses and official salaries. The Constitution allocates a certain sum to Ministers in the way of official salaries, and when large sum’s are deducted for the payment of expenses, the remainder is not any longer the salary intended. However, Ministers have called their own tune in the matter ; and it is for them to dance to it. In the meantime, I take it that this item has no relation whatever to State entertainments to distinguished visitors. If it has, the system should be altered at the earliest possible moment. I take it that this item is intended to cover the ordinary expenses of honorary Ministers when travelling. Now, if we must havehonorary Ministers - and that seems to be the rule - we ought to pay their travelling expenses.
– They have to travel to find their supporters.
– Quite so. As a matter of fact, we have nine Ministers sitting at the Cabinet table, but even in that respect we compare very favorably indeed with Canada, where there are thirteen salaried Ministers.
– At £3,000 a. year each.
– No. I think that the Prime Minister there gets £3,000 odd per annum, and the other Ministers £2,000 each. Of course our Ministers receive nothing like that sum. Our funds have been limited by the Constitution itself, and all these little ways and means have been rendered necessary by the pre-. liminary spasm of economic virtue on the part of Ministers in declining to touch public money for their expenses incurred when on public duty. I doubt the wisdom of that policy. It would be far better that all legitimate expenses should be paid for by the State in the most publicway.
– I cannot allow the remarks of the honorable member for Coolgardie and the Prime Minister to pass unnoticed. Concerning the observations of the former, I merely wish to say that he or any other honorable member had a perfect right to take exception to any item which appeared on the Estimates submitted by the Reid-McLean Government, or by any other Government, and I am only exercising my right. I think that the Prime Minister rather misunderstood the attitude which I adopt towards this item. He evidently thinks that the amount involved is not worth discussion. I agree with him. Theamount is so small that it is not worth while conveying to the public a wrong impression, which its presence on the Esti mates most certainly does. I have seen it stated in the press that Ministers draw the full amount permitted by the Constitution, in addition to their parliamentary allowance of £400 per annum and their expenses, and they now lend colour to this by asking for this small sum to reimburse honorary Ministers their travelling expenses, notwithstanding that if there were no honorary Ministers, the amount would have been spent by themselves. The Prime Minister has stated that an honorary Minister would not like to expend money in the’ discharge of his duties if he knew that it would have to be paid by his colleagues. But the salaried Ministers themselves have to spend money in the performance of their public duties, and it is paid out of the pockets of their colleagues. Is it worth while - seeing the small amount that is involved - to make this distinction? In my opinion, the principle is bad. The Prime Minister has stated that he and other Ministers are out of pocket to the extent of much more than their parliamentary allowance of £400. Iquite admit that The same remark is applicable in a lesser degree to private members.’ I would much rather that the amount necessary to reimburse Ministers their expenses should be placed upon the Estimates, and either approved or rejected by Parliament. That would do away with the conflicting systems under which salaried Ministers in the discharge of their public duties pay their own expenses, but, when they delegate their work to honorary Ministers for their own convenience, they seek reimbursement by an amount being placed upon the Estimates.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 13 (Offices of the Commonwealth in London) - £4,400. (*Not including salaries of Officer in Charge and Accountant, which appear on Estimates of Defence Department.)
.- I should like to ask the Prime Minister when it is proposed to terminate the present bad system of debiting the Defence Department with the salary of the chief officer in London ?
– As soon as a High Commissioner is appointed.
-Two bad results ‘are likely to accrue from the present arrangement. In the first place, any personmay reasonably ask what sort of a Department if is thatcan dispense withtheservices of its Secretary for two year’s, and, in the next place, the very pertinent inquiry might be made, “ What sort of officers are they who can be absent from their proper work for several years without causing any apparent discomfort?”
– The honorable member must know that they are doing a good deal of defence work.
– I doubt whether the defence work which they perform is of a very important character. One of the reasons given for the appointment of Captain Collins in London was that he would be able to supervise the purchase of warlike stores. But my information is that he is not qualified to undertake that work. I merely rise for the purpose of asking the Prime Minister whether he cannot terminate the arrangement under which the Defence Department is debited with the cost of an officer in London who is exclusively employed there ?
.- I wish to know whether any additional allowance has been granted to Captain Collins in London? I understand that he has to incur a good deal of expenditure in connexion with his office, and we all know that London is not a cheap place in which to live. Occupying, as he does, a prominent position as the chief officer representing the Commonwealth, I should like to know whether anything has been done in the way of’ granting Captain Collins an additional amount for expenses, apart from the salary - which is a small one for the office which he fills - of £900 which he receives ?
.-As bearing upon the question raised by the honorable member for Swan, I wish to point out that five or six months ago Captain Collins approached the Government with a request that he should be granted an additional £2 2s. per day to cover his expenses, which request was refused..
– I had not heard of that.
– I recollect reading the statement in the newspapers. Captain Collins sought his present position, and - although I am not disposed to cavil with him upon that score - we have no warrant for assuming that he has filled the duties attached to itso well as to justify us in granting him an increase.
– He requires something to cover his expenses.
– But expenses are already allowed him, and several months ago he asked the Government to grant him an additional £22s. a day, which request was refused. Seeing that the Prime Minister had only just left London at that time, I trust that he will give the Com- mittee some information in respect of this matter before considering the question of granting Captain Collins any increase. In view of the action of the Cabinet, I fail to see how Parliament can be asked to grant a larger sum to this officer.
.- It is worthy of attention that the expenditure under the heading of “ Contingencies “ in this division has increasedfrom £1,040 last year to £3,850.
– Rent, telegrams, stationery and travelling, and incidental expenditure are responsible for that.
– The staffin Londonhas not been added to, except by one clerk. I do not know why the rent of the Commonwealth offices in London should have been increased, unless Captain Collins’ importance has demanded more elaborate buildings. I suppose that the item commands the approval of the right honorable member for Swan, who wishes to see this gentleman receive an allowance proportionate to his importance. Personally, I think that the amount involved is a large one to include inone line of the Estimates.
– It is.
– We should have some more information uponit.
– I wouldpoint out that we are now discussing subdivision 1 of this division.
– I was under the impresson that we were dealing with subdivision 2. At any rate, I should like the Prime Minister to say whether the clerks specified under subdivision 1 are appointed by the Public Service Commissioner ?
– In that case they are only temporary hands?
– Then they ought not to be included in these Estimates.
– I desire some information in reference to these officers in London. I see that provisionis made for one clerk who receives £310- per annum, and I wish to know whether he is an Australian?
– I am not sure. I know that he was in the office of the AgentGeneral of Victoria before 1887.
– How can we expect aLondon “ johnny “ to supply information regarding Australia?
– I cannot say whether he went from Australia.
– I think that his position should be filled by an Australian.
– So most positions will be, when we appoint the High Commissioner.
– The paying officer, I note, receives £140 per annum. From where does he come?
– The honorable member is referring to Mr.Skelton.
– What has he to do?
– The Department supervises all the purchases on behalf of the Defence Department, and this particular officer is charged with the checking of those purchases.
– Who is the boss “ rooster “ of the show?
– Captain Collins.
– Does the Prime Minister think that it is fair to the Defence Depart- . ment to have its chief officer located in London, together with Captain Savage, and to have their positions unfilled at this critical period in the defence scheme of. the Government?
– Order ! The. honorable member must not anticipate the discussion of the Defence Estimates.
– It is not my intention to do so. I merely wish to point out that Captains Collins and Savage are still on the active list’, and the country should not be deprived of their services as Defence officers through their employment outside the Commonwealth in another Department than Defence. Either the officers should be appointed permanently to the London office, and their places in the Defence Department, supplied by other appointments, or they should be required to return to their ordinary duties, leaving their present work to be done by others. I hope that the Prime Minister will inform us as to the intentions of the Government in this matter. The appointments should not remain longer merely temporary. With regard to the filling of vacancies in the London office, I suggest to the honorable and learned gentleman that, as a thorough Australian, he should see that no one is appointed who is not an Australian. No other person would be in a better position to give information regarding the Commonwealth.
– Those appointed should be Australians with Australian. sentiment.
– There are not many Australians without Australian sentiment, and those from the Old Land who have settled here are quite satisfied with the place. I look upon Australia as the grandest country under the sun, and I do not think that any Australian would decry it. If there are Australians who would do so, the sooner they go away from it the better.
– It is the desire of the Government, as it appears to be the desire of the Committee, to end the existing provisional arrangement; though the anomaly pointed to by the honorable member forMaranoa is really not so striking as he has made it appear. Four-fifths of the office work done by Captains Collins and Savage is connected with the purchase, inspection, and shipment of warlike and other materials for the Defence Department. Incidentally the former has been asked to discharge other work, including the negotiations in regard to . a. site for Commonwealth buildings in the Strand or elsewhere, or representations to the Colonial Office, Board of Trade, and other Departments.
– Can it be. accurately said that Captain Collins has not duties which occupy more of his time than the work done for the Defence Department?
– From what, he told me in London, I am of opinion that the work done for the Defence Department occupies most of his office time; but he is employed outside the office in obtaining information for other Departments, and in attending meetings and other functions connected with Australian interests. The present arrangements are merely temporary. ‘ A Bill for the appointment of a High Commissioner will be introduced this year, and a determined effort made to pass it, when, I . hope, the Treasurer will be able to lay before Parliament a proposal for the acquirement of a definite site in London for Commonwealth offices. I agree with the honorable member for Maranoa that we should fill those offices with young Australians, who have thoroughly proved their competence.
.- I should like to know, in regard to the proposed vote of £650 for the collection of Australian historical records, who is engaged in the work, what is the nature of the records which are being collected, whether any results have been communicated to the Government, and how long the collection is to continue.
– The work is in the hands of the Principal Librarian of the Sydney Public Library, who visited London some years ago for purposes of historical research, and is recognised as one of the best, if . not the best, living authority on old Australian records. The money is being spent in paying typists, who, under his direction, are engaged in examining and classifying a large mass of material which the New South Wales Government collected during many years, and which, although costing a considerable sum, still remains useless for want of examination and indexing.
– Apparently only £23 was expended last year.
– That was the amount expended in the financial year ending 30th June, 1907 ; but the work has been in full swing during the current financial year, and I think that five or six typists are now in constant employment. We intended to begin on the London records ; but Mr. Bladen, who had some thought of visiting that city, pointed out that there was already in New South Wales a great mass of historical records acquired needing examination and classification. The indexing and preparing of that material for publication will bridge over the period between that covered by the records already published by the New South Wales Government and that covered by the unpublished records in London.
Mr.Crouch. - Do the records which are being dealt with apply to New South Wales only, or to Australia?
– To Australia.
– Will the PrimeMinister be good enough to explain the increase in the expenditure on rent, telegrams-, and stationery. The vote last year was £94°- but this Vear £3,200 is asked for?
– Last year the total expenditure was £1,780, in which the largest items were: furniture and fittings, £216; salaries, £590 ; rent of offices, £246 ; incidental expenses, £198 ; travelling expenses, £164, office requisites, £119; stationery, £87 ; telephones, £50 ; and postage, £66. In the first six months of this year, the expenditure was £1,000, of which £255 went in salaries, and , £120 in rent of offices, while . £150 was paid as an allowance to Captain Collins for the period between 1st January and 31st December, 1907. Of course, he obtains a refund of his ordinary travelling expenses; but, as he has been called upon, in the interests of the Commonwealth, to attend meetings in various parts of England, and is put to expense in other directions, he has been granted this special allowance. The usual allowance to officers absent in England is £6 a week, that being the rate fixed by the States Governments. Captain Collins has been paid only the £150 to which I have referred.
– Is £1 a day allowed to officers while they are travelling on the mail steamers ?
– I think not. They are paid for the time they spend in England.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 14 (Papua), £25,000 .
.- The Papuan Commission based its recommendation that English should be a compulsory subject in all the schools in the Territory upon a statement which appears on page 38 of it’s report, that the Wesleyan Conference then sitting had carried a resolution to the effect that English should in the future be taught in all. its schools. The resolution referred to was that, notof a Wesleyan Conference, but of a Methodist Synod, and was passed with the limitation that English should be taught where pos-‘ sible. English is now taught in the chief mission stations, and, in fact, wherever teachers can be obtained. At Ubina, and other colleges, students are being periodically examined in English as well as in other subjects. But at many outlying stations, native teachers are employed, most of whom come from Samoa and Fiji, where there are very good colleges for natives; but, although those who attend these colleges can read English, and some - especially Tongan students - French and German, too, many of them do not speak it sufficiently well to be able to teach it. In Fiji, the teaching of English is now compulsory, but in Samoa the German language is taught. The Committee will recognise the position. These teachers are sufficiently well educated to be able to teach the Papuans the elements of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and they can acquire that knowledge much better when taught in their own language than they can when the instruction is given in some other tongue. These teachers are primarily missionaries, not educationalists.
– What does the honorable member want?
-My desire is that the regulation that English must be taught in every school shall not be compulsory. Instead of assisting, it is really crippling the work of the teachers.
– Are these State or private schools?
– They are mission schools. The whole of the education of the natives is inthe hands of the missionaries’ societies represented there.
– Do these schools receive State aid ?
– They do not.
– And they are not affected by the proposed vote before us?
– Then the honorable member is out of order.
– We are discussing the Administration of Papua.
– So far as it relates to the item immediately before us.
– Perhaps I can help the honorable member, whose remarks on this subject might be closed as the result of a point of order. Might I remind him that in speaking of the Papuans and the burden placed upon them by the regulation that they shall learn English, he overlooks the fact that the teachers have to begin by teaching them a commerce language. What has happened is that Motu has been taught at some schools because that happened” to be the language spoken near Port Moresby,whilst, in, other cases, Dobu has been taught. The natives having to be taught some general language, it is just as well that they should a? once learn English. There are so many languages or dialects spoken, that a native sometimes finds himself unintelligible to those living a few miles from his home.
– Is there any Government subsidy to these mission schools?
– Then I fail to see why we should dictate to them in this matter.
– They enjoy Government protection in commonwith all other citizens, and grants of land for school purposes are made to the missionaries. They receive assistance in a variety of ways, although no direct monetary aid is given them. Since the Papuans have no common tongue, and require a common language, why should we not at once teach them English, and so unite the country, instead of having the Motu language taught in one district, the Dobu in another, and some other language elsewhere. If an endeavour were made to enforce this regulation without notice and peremptorily, there might be some hardship; but that is not intended. What is proposed is that the natives, wherever they are taught in a language other than their own, shall be instructed in the English language, and so acquire a commerce tongue, and with it, perhaps, a sense of citizenship in Papua.
.- The Prime Minister, in referring to grants of land to religious bodies for religious purposes, has incidentally touched another matter that I desire to bring before the Committee. When Sir William Macgregor held office as Administrator of British New Guinea, he recommended the policy of making grants of land to religious bodies, and told the missionaries to plant their lands with cocoanuts in order that they might in that way secure a certain amount of revenue to carry on their work. The Department has now ruled, I understand, that since these lands were granted for religious purposes, produce raised on them cannot be sold for the purposes of the mission.
– The land would not be worth holding under such a condition.
– We have to remember that the mission teachers give instruction not only in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but in agriculture. The future of Papua depends upon whether or not we are able to teach the natives how to cultivate their holdings. The native problem will not be solved by compulsory labour for the benefit of private individuals, but by devoting their energies to working their own lands. Certain results in the way of produce must follow the teaching of the natives at these schools to plant rubber or cocoanuts, just asvarious crops are raised in connexion with our agricultural colleges. The produce of our agricultural institutions is sold to meet expenses, although I know of no college that has made enough in that direction to pay its way. But the Administration has ruled that if the missionaries plant cocoanuts, or anything else, upon these school lands, they do so at their own risk, and will not be permittted to dispose of the produce.
-Then what are they to do with it?
– The teachers have to be fed, and their pupils to be maintained.
– On the 19th December, 1905, Sir William Macgregor wrote a letter in which he stated very clearly the policy that he adopted -
It was certainly my hope that the missions should be able to raise something from cocoanuts to help to evangelize the natives - to establish and maintain schools - as it was not possible for the Government to make direct contributions to education. Also I looked to the missions to show the natives what could be done by making copra, deeming the teaching of any such industry to the natives a matter of the greatest importance. My idea was that British New Guinea could be made a large copra-producing country. I cannot believe that the Government will really object to your selling the copra grown from your own trees, even if it is prepared to take on itself the onus of supporting your schools.
The Government does not propose to do that -
The Government will be required to interfere when the missions begin to overstock the oil, market of the world.
– Have they stopped the selling of produce grown on these lands?
– Some traders objected, urging that it was unfair that they should have to compete with produce grown on land granted for religious purposes by unpaid labour.
– The white man can be trusted to take care of the white man’s interests; if there is any one to watch the interest of the black man, it is or ought to be the missionary. We can thus understand that the two classes of whites in Papua - the traders and the missionaries - view this matter from absolutely different stand-points. I regret that in their report the Commission sometimes criticised the missionaries adversely. This difference of opinion will always be more or less accentuated. In the administration of that Territory the Government might well follow the lead of Fiji, where a native Commissioner has been appointed to look after the interests of the natives. If necessary, the Commissioner, when appointed, should have a seat upon the Executive Council, in order that native interests may be the better preserved. The late administration, perhaps, went too far in the one direction. The complaint against Mr. Barton appears to have been that hewatched too closely the interests of the natives to the sacrifice of the interests of the white’ settlers. My complaint against the present Administrator is, with all due deference to the honorable member for Coolgardie, that he has erred on the other side, and is seeking rather to promote the interests of the white people in the Territory to the detriment sometimes of the native population. If there is to be any bias, I wish to see it all the time in favour of the black, rather than the white, man in Papua. The country belongs to the natives, and if we are going to take up “ the white man’s burden “ in our own little way in this part of the world, we ought to administer the Territory primarily for the blacks. I do not wish to see happen there what has occurred elsewhere in these seas. I refer to the fact that wherever the white man has come in contact with the blacks, the latter have decreased. Java is the only island that I can at present recall to mind where a different state of affairs prevails. There, under Dutch government, the problem of teaching the natives to adopt European methods without at the same time causing the native population to decrease has been solved to some extent.
– The Javanese are a fairly united people, having nothing like the differences that prevail in New Guinea. They are much more advanced. As a. matter of fact, the population of Papua is diminishing now.
– I am aware of that; it is one of the most serious facts that we have to face.
– If it is due to anything, it is due to the abolition of the active exercises which war involved. In their preparations for killing others they did more good to their health than they did harm to their enemies.
– I think that the solution of the problem is to be found in teaching them to cultivate their land and engage in other arts of peace, which will give them the exercise which they formerly obtained only by head-hunting expeditions and native warfare.
– Would the honorable member protect the blacks to the exclusion of the whites?
– No; I say that we require some one to hold the balance evenly, and that if the balance is swayed on one side, I would rather it swayed towards the blacks.
– Because they are less able to look after themselves? .
– Quite so; the white man can look after himself all the time. I understand that now there is a desire to provide for the compulsory purchase of native lands, and the white men have sent three of their fellows to interview the Pr me Minister on the matter. a
– They sent one - Mr. Little.
– But there is nobody to interview the Prime Minister on behalf of the natives, who are, to a certain extent, at the mercy of the white man and his administration. I desire to emphasize the fact that there are plenty of lands available for the white man besides the native lands; but what the white man always wants to do, if he has the chance, is to pick out the tit-bits of the native lands. In this connexion, the Government are to be commended for their very firm attitude, and I hope the policy they have initiated will be continued. My suggestion is that there, should bc a Native Department, the expense of which, I think, would be more than compensated for by the results, if we may judge from the administration of the Native Department in Fiji.
– The Fijians are also dying out, are they not?
– Yes; there seems to be no help for it. I advocate the training or the natives for agricultural labour on their, own land’s, rather, than the compulsory service suggested by the honorable member for Macquarie on Friday last. The prosperity of the native villages must lie in their keeping their strongest men to work their own lands; but the plan of the honorable member for Macquarie would mean that the most able-bodied would be compulsorily taken away to work for the profit of private individuals. Of course, I should strongly favour any plan by which the strong young bucks, who, after having been employed for a while by the white man, give such trouble in their villages, could be made to work on the native lands for the benefit of their own community. By such means much good could be done; but I do not think we could look for any satisfactory results from removing the natives in batches for compulsory service, as suggested by .the honorable member for Macquarie. In reference to the mission stations and their spheres of influence, -we find the following paragraph on page 40 of the report of the Royal Commis sion -
Your Commissioners are perfectly well aware that these various divisions are not now, nor have they ever been, denned or allotted by any Government Ordinance, and they merely wish to emphasize the fact that while it may be convenient for purposes of organization that each sect should occupy a particular portion of Papua, it must be clearly understood that this is a purely private arrangement among the various Missionary Societies themselves, and is in no way stamped with the aegis of Government authority.
The report goes on to rather ridicule the idea of having separate districts for. separate missions. But I most emphatically approve of the policy which the report of the Royal Commission refers to in such terms. That policy was adopted under the” Government aegis, though not under any Ordinance. The Methodist Missionary Society sent representatives there at the request of Sir William MacGregor, and took in hand the district allotted to them by that Administrator. To that district the Methodist missionaries have confined themselves, and -the present Administration would be well advised if the policy initiated by Sir William MacGregor, of mapping out spheres of missionary influence, were continued. The Papuans are not sufficiently well educated, and will not be for many years to come, to appreciate theological niceties ; and in the interests, not of the missionaries, but of the Papuans, it would be better to continue the distinct spheres of influence. I think the missionaries themselves recognise the advisability of continuing the POliCy. They have in the past helped one another without anything approaching competition or interference; and, therefore, I again express the hope that the Government will continue to follow the example of Sir William MacGregor, who was the greatest Administrator we have yet had in Papua.
.- It is rather unfortunate that Parliament has been unable to give more time to the consideration of the position of this great dependency of Papua.. It deserves our very earnest study and attention. Despite many professions, very little lias been, done apparently to promote the development of the Territory. There is, however, one exception. I believe an officer from Melbourne visited the island, arid brought back a new method of pronouncing the word “ Papua.”
– He presented a report with a long series of practical recommendations.
– The report came afterwards. However, I may say that the old pronunciation is good enough for me, and I intend to adhere to it.
– That is Anglicising the name.
– Possibly Parliament is quite as far responsible for the stagnation in Papua as the Government and the officials. We make a grant of £20,000 or £25,000 a year, and then, oblivious, leave the people at Papua to their own devices. It would be well if some means could be discovered bv which the affairs of this Territory could be inquired into and honorable members made more intimately acquainted with its development. Some time ago the Government appointed a Royal Commission, which presented a very valuable report ; but apparently nothing has been done since.
– Oh, yes, a great deal has been done.
– If so, it has not emerged into publicity.
– If the honorable member looks at the Ordinances which are laid on the table, he will find that a good many of the recommendations of the Royal Commission are being carried out.
– Some of the recommendations ought to be carried out, though others ought not. For example, the Royal Commission recommend that four Government plantations should be established, and that the “ prisons be removed thereto and prison labour utilized thereon.”
– The prisons are verymuch open air, and the prisoners do a certain amount of work always.
– I am not objecting . to that, but only desire to know whether the recommendation has been carried out.
Mr. Deakin. To some extent prison labour has been used in laying out and clearing the new plantations undertaken by Mr. Staniforth Smith.
– Then there is another recommendation, that all unalienated land shall be declared- Crown land.
– That has been carried out.
– The Commission further recommended that the Government be given power to compulsorily purchase from the natives land which is not required by them.
– That has not been carried out.
– Then, again, there isa recommendation that all lands which thenatives are willing to sell shall be at once purchased.
– We are taking all theland that the natives desire to get rid of, in order that we may meet the present demand.
– The honorable member for Nepean just now was insisting on the necessity of protecting the natives ; but he knows, or ought to know, that no land can be taken from the natives except such as they are willing to sell. I presumethere are no transactions between the natives and individual purchasers?
– No; all is done through the Government:
– The land is purchased by the Government and resold to the agriculturists ?
– That is so.
– That, of course, removes any possible doubt as to adequate compensation being paid. The honorablemember for Nepean made some quite unwarranted statements about the present Administrator, whom he assumes to be unfavorably disposed towards the native race. There is no proof whatever of such a statement.
– What I said was that I consider the Administrator’s bias is in. favour of the white rather than of theblack.
– That I take to be an, implied charge against his impartiality. There is no evidence, either in the report of the Royal Commission, nor yet in any official paper laid before us, that the present Administrator has been lax in his. solicitude for the welfare of the aboriginal inhabitants. I think that every possibleleniency should be extended to theaboriginal races. But the honorable member must know that the Papuan is a verysuperior type of aboriginal, and that in most cases he can take care of himself farbetter than can the blacks of Western Australia or other portions of the Commonwealth. As the Prime Minister pointed out recently, it is not necessarily cruelty or ill-treatment which leads to the disappearance of these races. The fact is that” there seems to ‘ be something incompatiblebetween them and civilization. So far as we know there is no remedy for this defect. There is an impression abroad that the last Administrator of Papua, Captain- Barton, was unduly favorable to the natives ; and that, as a result, he somewhat impeded white settlement there. Now, whilst it is advisable that every kindness should be extended to. the aborigines of the Territory, we must not forget that we have there a very great Possession, which ought to be developed for the benefit of the white community and of the people of the Commonwealth, especially as we are now charged by the Imperial Government with full responsibility for its management. Personally, I think that we ought to treat that territory more as a part of Australia than we are doing. Wherever its products can find a market in the Commonwealth we ought to modify our Tariff in respect of them.
– We should then find black labour competing with white labour.
– That is all very well. But the honorable member must know that black labour there can be regulated quite as easily as it can be in the northern portions of Queensland, in Western Australia, or in the Northern Territory.
– Black labour is very cheap.
– It may be cheap individually, and yet dear when measured by the total result.
– Where the Papuan can produce an article of superior quality, like coffee, seeing that the Possession is really a portion of our own territory, we ought tomodify the duty imposed upon it.
– Would the honorable member differentiate between coffee grown in German New Guinea and that grown in British New Guinea?
– When the proper time comes, I shall answer all these questions. I fail to see why we should not consider this portion of our territory as if it were a part of the Commonwealth, which it virtually is. It was rather amusing to hear honorable members talk the other day about the necessity of acquiring territory in the South Seas, seeing that in Papua and in the Northern Territory we have Possessions which it will take almost a century to develop to their proper limits. I wish now to draw the attention of the Prime Minister to some acts of administration in Papua. I notice that the natives there are still being punished for practising sorcery, adultery, &c. I do not know why this should be so. These offences are not regarded as’ crimes under- our own laws. I cannot understand why sorcery should be punished in the way that it is.
– Because most of the murders committed by natives there arise either from their fear of sorcery or from their resentment of it.
– Then the offence of adultery is not a criminal one under our law. Why should we apply to the Papuan a law that we do not apply to ourselves?
– It is a frequent source of quarrel.
– It is a frequent source of quarrel everywhere. Then I think that the Government ought to soon make up their mind regarding the appointment of a permanent Administrator. I do not know whether it will be necessary to keep the chief judicial office and that of Administrator separate, but it seems to me that the chief judicial officer there ought not to have very much to do,
– As a Judge, he might have to decide upon his own acts as Administrator.
– I shall answer that point presently. Seeing that the gentleman who at present occupies the position of Administrator possesses high ability and enjoys the full confidence of the people ; and, further, that he has had considerable experience of the office and of the country, it might be well for the Government to consider whether they can improve upon him. The difficulty pointed but by the honorable member for Nepean might readily be overcome by remitting cases’ of the character to which he has referred to the High Court. I am sure that this Territory cannot continue to be administered from Melbourne . with the best results. It is impossible for any officials here to exercise the requisite amount of supervision over the affairs of that Possession. Whilst I do not approve of the project of a parliamentary visit of inspection to Papua, I certainly think that some steps should be devised by which Parliament and Ministers should have a more intimate knowledge of its affairs than they possess, as is evidenced by developments under the late Administrator. He left the public service’ seething with discontent. Amongst those censured by the Royal Commission was a Mr. Drummond, but in the last report to hand I noticethat he signs himself as “ Chief Government Surveyor. I should like to ask the Prime Minister why that is so.
– He has been Acting Chief Government Surveyor. We advertised for a chief surveyor at the salary at present being paid, . and received no applications.
– I have in my possession a report which is incorporated in a document transmitted by the Administrator, and which is dated 23rd October, 1907. It is signed by R. M. Drummond, “ Chief Government Surveyor.”
– He is merely Acting Chief Government Surveyor.
– In this document’ there is no mention made of the. fact that he is merely acting. The Royal Commission condemned him.
– As to this particular post. But I have already, stated that we advertised for applicants to fill the office and did . not get a single reply from any suitable individual whowas willing to accept the position at the present salary. Consequently, Mr. Drummond has continued to act, although he has never been confirmed in his appointment.
– But the Cabinet had an opportunity of appointing Mr. John Richmond, who is a thoroughly competent and experienced man. I do not wish to enter into the details connected with the matter, but although he lost his position in the service, it seems to me that he was more unfortunate than blameable. It appears that in course of conversation; and in response’ to inquiries, he mentioned that certain words had been inserted upon a document, after it had been before the Executive Council. His statement was corroborated by the Government Secretary, and several other officials, but nevertheless a recommendation was made that he should be dismissed from his office. That pun-‘ ishment was, to my mind, very unjust. Of course, a Board investigated the matter, and various reports were obtained, but it is a curious circumstance that Mr. Richmond’ should have made a statement of that kind without any motive whatever, and that the officials should have acted’ upon the paper to which I have referred in a way that they would not have acted if certain words had appeared upon it at the time. Seeing; that the Government had an opportunity to again avail themselves of M.r. Richmond’s services, and that he had already been sufficiently punished for what, after all, was not much more than a venial fault, it seems to me that theyought have availed themselves of them rather than of the services of a gentleman against whom the Royal Commission pronounced so strongly. In their report, the Commission say -
The present Chief Government Surveyor qualified in New South Wales in 1904. The onlyappointment he had held prior to going to Papua: was that of field assistant to the staff surveyor at Bathurst, New South Wales. He arrived in Papua in January, 1905, having been engaged asa field surveyor.
Yet in 1907 we find him filling the position of Chief Government Surveyor.
– He has never been confirmed in that office.
– Well, he is Acting Chief Government Surveyor. I may mentionthat he was promoted over the head of Mr. Matthews, from Queensland, who had fifteen years’ service to his credit, and’ an unblemished record, and of whose qualifications the Commission speak inthe highest terms. In referring to Mr. Drummond’s record the Commission say - ‘
But, even setting entirely aside the circumstances under which this speedy promotion of the present chief Government surveyor wasmade, your Commissioners believe it to have been in every sense inadvisable, and that he isneither by experience nor administrative abilityqualified for the positions to which he was appointed, and which are as follows : - Chief Government Surveyor, Commissioner for Mines, Registrar of Titles, Member of the Executive- Council, Member of the Legislative Council. He also lacks by nature what experience may later give him, and that is the qualificationso necessary to his position of commanding, without claiming, the respect and confidence of his. subordinates.
On the other hand, Mr. Richmond appearsto be a thoroughly competent man,against whom nothing can be said. The Director of Agriculture, in a report recently presented’ to the Senate, wrote -
Mr. Richmond, I regret to state, has writteninforming me that, owing to failing health, hewill be unable to continue field work after theend of this year.
I hope that when the next report from theTerritory is presented to Parliament, weshall have heard from the Government of” the more rapid development of the settlement there, and that the friction of which the Prime Minister spoke earlier in theevening will have been removed,so that the various Departments in this promisingand interesting country may work harmoniously and smoothly.
– The honorablemember for Coolgardie has called . attention to the fact that in Papua certain offences: which would be ignored here are punishable, or treated more harshly than would be the case in Australia.
– They are not criminal offences.
– The honorable member referred to sorcery. The life of the Papuans is penetrated to a degree almost inconceivable with a belief in sorcery and the practices pertaining to it, a state of things dangerous chiefly to themselves, but threatening the maintenance of order amongst natives usually peaceful and docile. To eradicate it will take a long time. The methods employed are certainly clumsy. But, although the difficulties which arise are serious, and the consequences often sad, the position has its humorous aspect. For instance, an intelligent sorcerer, whom a policeman informed that he would probably be severely dealt with, put his case somewhat in this way : - “ I inherit an established reputation for. sorcery, of which I cannot divest myself. Some one asks me to charm an enemy, in order to bring misfortune on him. If I refuse, he replies, ‘ What ! you will not use your gift for me? Then you must intend to use it against me,’ and he subsequently waits for me with a club. If, on the other hand, to please him I practise, or pretend to practise, sorcery, the policeman runs me in. What am I to do? If I do not enchant, I am clubbed, while, if I do, I am imprisoned.” Problems like this present themselves at every stage in the government of this extraordinary country. Our officials, like the missionaries and others, have to fight chiefly against a web of superstitions which clog progress, and prevent the tribes from uniting or devoting themselves to peaceful ends. For people in a savage condition, and possessing warlike implements, the Papuans are among the most harmless of races. It is usually once every two or three years that one of the small- clans into which the population is divided is seized with a desire for slaughter - usually for the purposes of a banquet. Its men then set out, and, if they can, kill one or two persons belonging to some other clan, the suffering section making reprisals a year or two later. The aggregate deaths which result are comparatively small. Most of the murders are committed in a cowardly fashion, women and young children being killed almost in preference to male adults. The sacrifice of life is due to ideas connected with sorcery or to the desire to feast on human flesh, or to both.
– The Australian aboriginal is, in some cases, satisfied with killing a little boy.
– The killings to which I refer, although in the aggregate comparatively few, keep the men of the disturbed clans casually occupied and alert preparing weapons and exercising their skill in their use, what little cultivation there is being done by the women, who provide all food, except an occasional welcome addition from the spoils of the chase. Where peaceful conditions have been brought about, the men still leave to their wives the work of providing food, and, having no occasion for warlike exercises, remain idle, all day, smoking tobacco, and suffering physically as a consequence of their indolence. This state of affairs, and the practices in connexion with marriage among bush clans - to which it is not necessary to refer in detail - have led to a diminution of the population, which is thus due only indirectly to the presence of white men, because they enforce peace.
– Were the natives decreasing before white men went to Papua?
– I cannot say; the numbers are not being maintained. ‘ The offences to which the honorable member for Coolgardie referred, are dealt with for the sake of instruction, and to strike at a web of superstition which blinds the people to their interests, and keeps them at war with their neighbours.
– Are not natives sent to gaol?
– A gaol in Papua is customarily a place where no one who wanted to escape could be detained long. Prisoners are well fed and looked after, and receive a little teaching, while they are expected to do some road-making, planting; or other work to keep them out of mischief. I am informed that, like the prisoner of Chillon, they regain their freedom with a sigh, or, at any rate, without undue satisfaction. In his criticism of the administration, the honorable member for Coolgardie laid his finger on some weak spots. The Administration has been, and still is, unsatisfactory, though improving. Mr. Richmond was punished, not for making an allegation which he believed to be true, but for gross insubordination, and a line of conduct setting the worst example to other officers. He was not content to await his trial, but dealt with the powers that be in such a fashion, as to make his retention in office impossible. Although an excellent surveyor in the field, he was by no means a good manager of his office, his records being imperfectly kept, and much in arrears, so that a great deal of work has had to be done since, to bring them into good order. 1 am not without sympathy for him, because I think that he believed that the charge which he brought was a true one, and even go so far as. to say that he had reasonable grounds for believing it to be true. But the facts were against him.
– Not facts ; the opinion of the Board.
– The writing and other tests applied were made with care, and though, of course, not conclusive, pointed to a mistake on the part of Mr.’ Richmond, even if an honest one.
Mr.Mahon. - What about Mr. Musgrave’s opinion? He saw the document.
– Although there is not constitutional government in Papua, there are there, as here, two parties.
– Mr. Musgrave can hardly be termed a member of either party.
– He was not in this case subject to the ordinary party influences, but there arevery few cases in which they do not operate. Mr. . Drummond has not been Chief Government Surveyor, and 1 think never will be. The Government is now advertising for a person to fill that position at a higher salary than was formerly offered. Mr. Drummond, like Air. Richmond, may have done good work in the field, but he is decidedly not the person we shall choose. We hope that, when the embers of old strife, have burned away, the administration of Papua may be so readjusted as to get rid of the incubus which has rested upon it. The two parties have been sometimes divided on a question of principle, one favoring the encouragement of white settlement before everything else, and the’ other the protection and care of the natives even at the sacrifice of the interests of incoming white settlers.
– How many white persons are there in Papua?
– Between 8oo and 900, and the number is likely to rapidly increase. If I could lay on the table a statement of the area of land applied for, the area taken up, and the work done, honorable members would see that progress is now very satisfactory, and I hope that in the immediate future it will be accelerated. Plantations are now to be cultivated upon which a considerable amount of money will be expended, and we hope that the employment which they offer will tempt the Papuans to sell their labour for the sake of obtaining adornments and luxuries, which savages, as well as civilized communities, hunger for. If it does, the stamina of the race may be gradually restored, whereas it is being impaired at present wherever peace has been established.
– Are there not 300,000 natives in Papua?
– Yes, 350,000; but 250,000 of them are beyond our reach, or practically free from white influence. Another exploring party will shortly proceed into unknown territory, and we shall gradually be brought into touch with tribes from whom we wish to take nothing, but to whom-, if they can be induced to forego their beliefs and traditions, we have a great deal to give by making their lives safer, healthier, and happier than they are at present.
– The Committee is much indebted to the Prime Minister for his explanation of Papuan affairs, which , was most interesting. We should have liked to have heard something more about the practice of sorcery. He is quite right when he speaks of the belief in sorcery as presenting a problem of peculiar difficulty. I understand that this belief is ingrained in most savage tribes of that singular and interesting country, the sorcerers obtaining distinction amongst their fellows, because it is thought that their enchantments are able to affect not only this but also the future existence. I read only recently of what was apparently an unprovoked murder of a white man.
– A very rar© thing.
– Yes. The murder was committed by a fanatical sorcerer, who was inspired with the belief that it was absolutely essential to his eternal salvation as well as to his tenestrial glorification that he should kill a white man, and obtain some of his blood. The tribe to which the murderer belonged believed that he had power to restore his victim to life.’ They had no cause of complaint against the white man, and the deed was committed because of a desire for personal . notoriety, and the acquisition by the murderer of a great reputation as a sorcerer. Havting killed the. first white man whom he met, the native secured some of his blood, and then set to work to re- store him to life. Unfortunately, however, his art failed him.
– When sorcery takes the form of a club it is effective.
– The natives manage sometimes to merely stun their victims by a blow from a club, though to all appearances the victim is dead, and in such cases the work of restoring consciousness is a comparatively simple matter. In that way very often the reputation of a sorcerer to restore the dead to life is established. Regarding the general development of Papua, notwithstanding the contention put forward by the honorable member for Macquarie, I hold strongly to the belief that we must administer the affairs of the Territory from the point of view of making it a white man’s settlement. That can be done without detriment to the natives: All that is necessary is “to see that reasonable conditions obtain, and to insure the humane treatment of the natives. I do not- believe in any system of forced labour. That may in practice develop into simply another name for slavery. It may be a mild form of slavery, but any labour rendered under compulsion to a superior force is on a par with slavery.
– I do not know.It used to be the law in Canada that a man must make the road in front of his own house. The honorable member would not describe that as slavery?
– That work was done in lieu of the payment of a tax.
– It was.
– Is if proposed totax the natives of Papua? If it is to be simply a case of paying taxes in kind instead of in coin, the proposal assumes a different aspect. But why should these men labour if they are happy without work? By all means encourage the natives to work by offering them an attractive incentive. But we must be careful notto compel unwilling service. If we could live comfortably without work we should resent being forced to labour, and should view this proposal in avery different light. That, however, is merely by the way. If we are to make the Territory of any value, we mustby every legitimate means encourage its development by white settlement, and stimu late trade between Papua and’ Australia We are informed that applicationsfor land, totalling a very largeacreage, are being made by various people, withthe object of establishing plantations. In Papua, . as in the islands of the South ‘ Pacific, some years must elapse between the laying down of a plantation and the time when any return can be obtained from it. Meanwhile, catch crops have to be grown to supply the sinews of war. That being so, where are these people to obtain a market for their produce ? Australia is the only market for their catch crops, but the Commonwealth has put up a Tariff wall against suchimportations. At the very inception of this process of developing the’ land we raise a barrier which makes it practically impossible, except at considerable loss, to carry on the work. I urge, as I have on previous occasions, the desirableness of at least temporarily suspending the Tariff, so far as produce grown by British labour in Papua and the islands of the South Pacific is concerned.
– By white labour?
– I refer to produce grown on land taken up by British settlers.
– That would put a stop to the growth of tropical products in Australia.
– No. The. demand for tropical products is sufficiently large to absorb all that can be produced in Australia, Papua, and the Pacific Islands generally. If the honorable member thinks that the development of tropical agriculture in Papua will injure Australia, then from his point of view we had better not do anything with the Territory.
– Let the people there send their products to countries that will receive the products of black labour. Free-trade prevails in England, and a market can be found for it there.
– The honorable member forgets that Australia is the only market for maize grown in Papua. Maltsters and others will tell him that maize deteriorates by being kept very long in a ship’s hold:
– Does the honorable member wish to bring maize grown in Papua into competition with Australiangrown maize?
– Competition is a misapplied term in such a case. I undertake tosay that not one maize-grower in the Commonwealth would feel the least effect from the importation into Australia’ of maize grown in the Territory. What I suggested was that we should suspend for a fixed time the operation of the Tariff in respect of the products of catch crops grown between the planting of cocoanut or rubber trees and their reaching maturity. When they reach that stage, the planters do not need these subsidiary crops. It is simply a temporary expedient, which means everything from, the point of view of the development of Papua and the Pacific Islands and no disadvantage to the growers of these crops in Australia.
– The honorable member does not think that the importation of anything would have the slightest effect on local production?
– I am not viewing this matter from the stand-point of fiscalism; if I were I would undertake to show the utter fallaciousness of the protectionist doctrine as applied to agricultural products. I am dealing with it from the point of view of expediency, in the interests, not only of Papua., but of Australia. Australia will be advantaged by having the Territory opened up and trade relations established with it. It is also to her advantage strategically that these islands shall be developed as rapidly as possible. In that connexion, I may point out to the honorable member the serious danger which threatens Australia from the neglect to properly develop Papua and the South Sea Islands. Whilst we leave them in their present defenceless position, unoccupied by people of ‘our own race and colour, we expose ourselves to the liability - in the event of trouble between Great. Britain and any of the great naval powers - of these islands passing altogether from our control. The honorable member may laugh at that suggestion, but it is one not only of possibility but of extreme probability.
– I think that it is a straw man.
– It is perhaps more imminent that the honorable member imagines. Miss Grimshaw has written aseries of articles on “ The Truth about Papua,” and I propose to quote from one of the most recent of the series a paragraph which should interest the honorable member. This lady is an observant and vigorous writer, and notes many matters which would escape the honorable member’s attention.
– I suppose that she is a free-trader?
– I do not know, but this article has a rather protective flavour
My desire is that honorable members shall view this matter apart from; a fiscal or provincial stand-point. They should regard it from the view point ‘ of Empire, or, at all events, from the stand-point’ of Australian safety.
– The honorable member is raising the fiscal question.
– I am not: I am bringing this matter forward as a question of national expediency. This is what the writer of the article says - ‘
Another matter which certainly deserves some attention is the fact that Japanese are at present in the habit of running over in cutlers from Thursday Island to the western division of Papua, and occasionally taking ship down to Port Moresby. What do they want? They are not very communicative on that point. But they seem fond of taking photographs, and admiring the scenery generally. If Australia is’ undefended, Papua is still more so. And Papua is a rich untouched country, , full of possibilities. And there is no saying what may happen by-and-by, after America has been dealt with, and the time has come to break pie-crust promises, never meant to last longer than happened to be convenient.’ . . . That is the Yellow Man’s view. It is worth thinking over.
And I think it is worth thinking about. That is one of the possibilities of the future to which I desire to draw attention ; and I should have liked to have read a little more of this article in its bearing on Thursday Island and the Northern Territory, only I am afraid that I should be ruled out of order. It is lamentable that honorable members, without realizing the strategical aspect, should be so imbued with the idea of shutting everything out of Australia, that, .even in the case of the Territory which we have undertaken to administer and develop, they allow their prejudices to blind them to dangers which must arise in the absence of proper precautions. I am doubtful whether the £20,000 we are asked to vote is sufficient.
– There is also the £5,000 provided later.
– On what is it proposed to spend the £5,000?
– Chiefly on road-making.
– And a very proper provision to make.
– It ought to be more.
– lt is proposed to make the- amount annual, and it is enough.
– Has the roadmaking been entered upon?
– But it is of no use voting large sums for development, while we at the same time take steps to prevent development by closing the Australian market to the intermediate crops- of the settlers, while they are waiting for their rubber and cocoanut trees to mature. In my opinion, unless we take steps to admit this produce into Australia, any money we expend will be practically thrown away. I desire to see the country develop, arid every facility given to settlers, consistent with safeguarding the interests of the natives; and whatever the Government propose to do legitimately in that direction, I shall be pleased to indorse.
– I desire to call attention to the fact that the salaries paid to European officials sent to Papua ar.e altogether insufficient. The Royal Commission . drew attention to the fact that several of the clerks were receiving less than £200 a year, and they made a recommendation that no European should be employed at less than that salary. I see, however, that some of the wardens or magistrates, who have charge of the natives and native constabulary, celebrate marriages and register births and deaths, and who preside in the local Courts, are some of them receiving only ,£200 a year. According to a list of officials and their salaries, given by the Royal Commission, I find, picking out examples at random, that a leading magistrate is paid only £350 per annum, while another receives only £225.
– But has the latter not a plantation?
– I do not think so, though there may be opportunities for officers to make money privately.
– There are none.
– There is some rumour of land dealing amongst the officials in Papua.
– I have stopped that.
– If the rumours were true, there would, of course, be opportunities for making money, but the Prime Minister knows more than I do about the matter.
– The honorable member is quite correct; there were rumours, but I happened to anticipate them by sending a pretty stiff circular, forbidding any officer of the Government to take up land.
– But that does not get over the difficulty that those men are still interested in applications for land - they may get a dummy to apply on behalf of a syndicate.
– We have forbidden that.
– Does the honorable member for Coolgardie know what h’; states to be the case?
– I know something about the matter. The Government may forbid this land dealing as sternly as thev like, but they will not prevent it being carried on. However, what I desire to point out is that it does not seem reasonable to send educated qualified men to Papua, at a salary of £200 or £225, to do clerical work which in Australia would command higher remuneration. I believe that one of the reasons why the Government cannot secure a chief surveyor is that sufficient salary is not offered.
– We received three applications, not one of which could be entertained - there was no eligible application.
– At any rate, I believe it has been proved that the natives can be educated up to a certain point, and that some do hold positions under the Government. That being so, I think it is advisable that these poorly paid positions, commanding a salary of £100 or so, should not be open to white people, but should be confined to the natives. No white man should be expected to go to Papua, and live on less than the salary mentioned in the report of the Royal . Commission. Where bright, active, and intelligent natives can be secured, there is no reason1 why the duties of minor, positions should not be performed by them. That is a suggestion which I commend to the consideration of the Administrator.
– There is one man receiving a salary of ^84 a year, and his name appears to indicate that he is a native.
– That is so. I have seen a suggestion of this kind somewhere in the report of the Royal Commission, ana I think it worthy of consideration. Under the circumstances, I think honorable members will agree that it is desirable there should be an all-round increase in the salaries of the minor white officials.
– I do not desire to say more than a few words, and I am led to speak solely because the qualifications of certain officers, who may be open to appointment to the position of Administrator, have been more or less canvassed. I speak on the matter from an entirely impersonal point of view. I have, of course, met one of the gentlemen who might possibly take the appointment; but I am not saying a word either in favour of or against him. I do not know any of the other officers concerned; and all I wish to urge on the Prime Minister is that, in making the appointment, he shall have regard to the evidence disclosed by the Royal Commission. If the honorable gentleman does have regard to that evidence, I am convinced he will endeavour to select, if possible, ‘ some man who is entirely new to the Administration of Papua. There is nothing more clear to a careful student of the report of the Royal Commission than that the officers in the Dependency are more or less divided into two classes. There are those who keenly - I will not use the word “ loyally “ because it might give rise to objection on the part of the people who did not support the late Administration - but there are those who keenly supported Captain Barton’s administration, and there are those who indicted him. There is no question that the officers in Papua are divided into two camps ; and to appoint, as new Administrator, the head of either of these camps, would be to surround the administration with the greatest difficulty. I believe that shortly after Judge Murray was appointed Acting Administrator, there were a number of resignations; and I understand that the Government have had some difficulty in filling the vacancies thus created. My information is to the effect that one of the vacancies thus created has since had to be filled by the appointment of a half-caste, no doubt a very excellent officer.
– Who was the official who resigned that post?
– I do not desire to give names; indeed, the name is not in my immediate possession.
– The honorable member mentioned Judge Murray’s name pretty freely.
– It is easy toremember the name of Judge’ Murray; and I hope that anything I have said will not be taken as in any sense personal animadversion on him. I think I am speaking most moderately about everybody concerned, and treating the subject in its broad aspect.
– The reason I ask is that, several resignations were recemmended by theRoyal Commission.
– I cannot give the honorable member the name at the moment, but I may be able to in a few moments ; and then, if he chooses, he may mention it to the Committee. But the question of the man’s name is of no importance because these resignations have been received. My information is thatthesepersons held themselves to belong to one party in the administration of Papua, and that when the other party assumed control, they chose to resign. No doubt they were wrong in acting as they did, but nevertheless their resignations landed the Administration in considerable difficulty. I would urge upon the Prime Minister the necessity for appointing as Administrator a person who is new to both the opposing sections in Papua.
– A man who is new and ignorant of the country.
– Ignorant of the partisanship that obtains there.
– Under any circumstances we shall have to appoint a person who is comparatively ignorant of the country. Less than two years ago, the honorable member for Coolgardie strongly advocated the appointment of an officer who was familiar with Australian conditions and in sympathy with Australian aspirations.
– The honorable member cannot complain of. that.
– I do not complain” of it.
– Ought we not to appoint a man who has had tropical experience ?
– Personally, I think that we ought to obtain such a man. If we cannot find him in the Commonwealth, we should go outside of it for him. But if we appoint any member of the old Papuan Administration, discontent will be. engendered in the service.
– All the members of the old Administration have gone.
– No. Judge Murray was the head and front of the opposition to Captain Barton.
– That is not so.
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon, but I have read the Commission’s- report most carefully, and that is the opinion I have come to.
– The Government Secretary was the head and front of the opposition.
– But nearly all the rank and file have left.
– Some resignations have been due to opposition between the two sections of the Papuan Administration. Without canvassing the personal qualifications of the officials in New Guinea for- the position of Administrator-
– The honorable member has been doing that for the past five minutes.
– I have been doing nothing of the sort. I am prepared to let the Hansard report speak for me in that connexion. I think it is quite as truthful as is the honorable member. - I do hope that the Prime Minister will take a note of the view which I have put forward. If we appoint to the office of Administrator any person who has been mixed up with partisan troubles in Papua, we shall never get the members of the Administration to pull together.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.43 -p.m.
._I rise because I have noticed in the press a statement by a non-official member of the Council of Papua that the Administration need not be particularly anxious to bear in mind Erskine’s proclamation, because it is utterly impossible for the natives to know anything about it. That may be true in a sense, but I wish to place upon record the fact that- though the natives may not know anything of the original proclamation, those who have come into contact with the Administration or with the missionaries know absolutely that the British Government have guaranteed that their lands will be -held inviolate. Whilst he was in Papua, Sir William MacGregor took particular pains wherever he went to make it perfectly clear that the Administration did not intend to interfere in any way with the native lands. The natives understand that absolutely, and anybody who argues to the contrary must make statements which are without foundation.
.- I should not have made any further remarks upon this item but for the rather . intemperate and unfair attacks made upon Judge Murray by the . honorable member for Wentworth. Whilst repudiating the idea of making any personal comments upon the Acting Administrator of the Territory, the honorable member’s whole speech- was an indirect attack upon the impartiality of that officer. It was a conscious if not a quite direct attempt to discredit the Acting Administrator in the eyes of the Government and the community.
– I do not think that he intended that.
– Whatever his intentions may have been, that is the conclusion which will be drawn by those who read his remarks. In the first place, he said that Judge Murray was the head of one of the parties which was opposed to the lateAdministrator, and he followed up that statement by urging the appointment of a man who would be new to the Territory, and therefore unconnected with either pf the opposing sections in Papua. Inferentially ‘that was an argument that Judge Murray should not permanently beappointed as Administrator.
– The idea of the honorable member for Wentworth was that it would be better to appoint a man who was not connected with either of the contending, factions.
– There are no contending, factions there now. The honorable member for Wentworth cannot be allowed to; obscure the real position. The facts are that whatever trouble arose in the Papuan Civil Service sprang ‘ from the incredible weakness and utter incompetence of the late Administrator. The report of the Royal Commissioners emphasize this fact in almost every page. Judge Murray took no part in the quarrel, except that which his official obligations would not. permit him to escape. To attach any disqualification to him ‘ now because he was forced to intervene in turmoil created by Captain Barton, and to protect officers of high character and long service like Mr. Musgrave, would be rank injustice. The Royal Commission’s report, which from cover to cover unqualifiedly condemns Captain Barton’s methods, contains no hint of wrong-doing on the part of Judge Murray. On the contrary, it explicitly exonerates him from the charge brought’ by Captain Barton, and repeated here by the honorable member for Wentworth. In his evidence before the Commission, the late Administrator said-
I desire -to’ invite the attention of the Commissioners to the great difficulties I have experienced during the last two years in administering the affairs of this territory simply .owing to the rank disloyalty and unscrupulous character of * certain Government officers, including the two officers next to me in seniority.
These officers were Mr. Musgrave and’ Judge Murray. He goes on to say -
Thanks to having kept my health, and thanks yet more to all those loyal, straightforward officers who have supported me unwaveringly, I have been enabled not only to keep things together, but to make considerable progress in advancing the welfare of the territory.
Now I ask the attention of the Committee to the conclusion at which the
Commissioners arrived upon the evidence of the late Administrator. They say -
Your Commissioners at once absolutely and entirely dismiss the Chief Judicial Officer from these grave charges against him, and they are quoted in full as indicating the estimation in which the Administrator holds Mr. Musgrave. It is well to bear that fact in mind (and also the fact that His Excellency brackets Mr. Ballantine under the more favorable heading)-
Mr. Ballantine was the Treasurer of the Territory, a man whose methods were absolutely condemned by the Commission - when examining the Administrator’s treatment of matters arising from time to time between the Government Secretary and Treasurer since the commencement of his administration.
I wish to emphasize that these independent Commissioners absolutely dismissed the charge against Judge Murray that’ he had fomented any trouble whatever between the Administrator and his staff.
– I do not think that the honorable member for Wentworth asserted that he had done so.
– He did, and . he repeated the statement. I affirmed that the trouble had arisen between Mr. Musgrave and the Administrator, and the honorable” member for Wentworth replied that Mr. Justice Murray was the head and front of the opposition to the late Administrator. The report of the Commission teems with condemnation of that official, but does not contain a syllable which casts any reflection upon our chief judicial officer in Papua. In order to show the character of the man who brought about all this trouble, and whose misconduct is now attempted to be saddled upon innocent men, I propose to quote still further from the Commission’s report. That document states -
Very shortly after your Commissioners opened (proceedings at Port Moresby it became apparent that there was a cleavage between officers in the Public Service of so serious a character as to prove destructive of proper inter-Departmental relations and of all-round efficiency. A strong undercurrent of dissatisfaction was found to be running through the service, which, traced back along the channels opened up for inquiry through public records, and other evidence, disclosed its source to be mainly at the head of the administration, where signs were manifested of a lack of administrative ability, want of knowledge of or disregard for such wellestablished service rules as, bysecuring discipline and united working, make for successful government, but, above all, signs of a want of the true sense of justice and fair-play which is essential to the winning of trust and confidence, and without which it were hopeless to look for loyalty, unity, or efficiency. The Administrator is, apparently, so constituted that he cannot deal always impersonally with public matters incidentally vitally affecting the rights, privileges, and pros pects of those under him, and herein lies the cause of much of the “ disaffection “ referred to. I ask the attention of the “Honorable mem ber for Lang to the following paragraph -
That the Administrator has allowed his likes and dislikes to dominate many of his minutes and decisions, scattered through the Public Service records, is a conclusion that has been forced upon your Commissioners, not only by observation of his varying methods of treatment of cases affecting different officers whose relative positions in all other respects, involved in the matters dealt with, were identical ; but also by noting his peculiarly varied and unsystematic manner of treating papers forming portions of important public records.
– I made no comment; I merely tried to interpret what was in the mind of the honorable member for Wentworth.
– I am sorry that the honorable member for Wentworth is absent, as I should have preferred to make my statements in his presence. However, there are one or two other paragraphs which I wish to read. For instance, the Commissioners say -
Looking to the relative positions of the Administrator and his subordinates, and remembering the unfair methods resorted to of making frequent undignified attacks, often so covert as to present difficulties to the shaping of effective replies, it is evident that the Government Secretary has been kept, as it were, with his back to a wall, and has been forced to betake himself to the only means open to him as likely to afford some measure of protection, namely, by seeking refuge in the Public Service records, where he has parried, as best he could - having regard to due official decorum - with his pen, the persistent pricks of that wielded by his superior.
Then, again -
On the other hand, your Commissioners have found the Treasurer, Mr. Ballantine, prime favourite in Class1. He has certainly been guilty of many official and other acts deserving of severe censure at the hands of the Administrator. From those’ that were official, he has escaped scatheless through minutes worded by the Administrator so as, generally, to throw the onus of responsibility, with implied or direct censure, on the Government Secretary. Other acts reflecting on his position in the service have been excused.
That is-, excused by Captain Barton. Mr. Ballantine’ s appointment as Treasurer was almost as disgraceful as the appointment of ‘Mr. Drummond over the head of Mr. Matthews, in which case the only excuse the Administrator had to give for the appointment of a newcomer without experience as a surveyor over the. head of a man who had . had fifteen years of unblemished service in Queensland, was that he was acting in the interests of the Territory. This is -what the Commission found out about Mr. Ballantine -
It is, however, known that before he went to New Guinea he was a member of a pilot boat’s crew under Water Police at Thursday Island, Queensland, and that his conduct was good. He resigned to go to New Guinea, and was next an assistant in a store kept by a Mrs. Mahoney in 18S8-9 at Sudest Island.
The Commission reported that -
Towards his seniors in the service he has shown himself to be impatient and resentful of control, even to insubordination, which, ‘when brought to the notice of the Administrator, as it was in the “ Bunting case,” only brought down censure upon his senior, the Government Secretary, and which drew from that officer an outspoken memorandum, dated the 9th December, 1904. In his attitude towards some of his junior officers he has been overbearing
Judge Murray was on one occasion called upon by the Government Secretary for a legal opinion as to whether a certain boat should be allowed to leave with coloured men. Mr. Murray held that, in the absence of the Administrator, he was called upon to advise the Government Secretary, and he advised that permission for the departure of the boat should be refused. Both the Chief Judicial Officer and the Government Secretary were Mr. Ballantine’s seniors, but they were flouted by him, and the Administrator, on his return, although admitting that their orders should have been obeyed, practically condoned Mr. Ballantine’s offence. The report continues -
Your Commissioners feel obliged to advise that the treatment meted out by the Administrator to the two officers concerned in this special matter was uneven and prejudiced. They cannot express surprise that Mr. Musgrave, under the circumstances, did not avail himself of the invitation extended to him, and demand an inquiry.
I could pick out many other paragraphs of censure on the late Administrator, all as strong, if not stronger, than those which have been read, but it is sufficient to say that the Commissioners, after fullest inquiry, recommended Captain Barton’s retirement forthwith. Their verdict was against him, without any qualification. As to the Government Secretary, some slight disapproval of some of his methods was expressed. But from first to last there has been no unfavorable reference to Judge Murray. Indeed, he has been fully and completely exonerated from the single accusation brought against him. by Captain Barton. The failure of this gentleman is to be’ attributed, not to the disloyalty of others, which he imagined, but to his own incapacity. What more damaging to the repute of a high executive officer than the creation of favorites and the shielding of them in transactions which will not stand the light of day? The report adds -
Personal prejudice towards those he counted as friends or enemies, in the main unwarranted by the action of either, has so clouded the broader question of outside interests that your Commissioners rather wonder he has accomplished what he has in the direction of general development.
The Commissioners had previously stated that Captain Barton divided his staff into two classes, those who, from his point of view, were for him, and those who were against him. This they say is the keynote to his failure as an administrator. I have, I think, sufficiently rebutted the accusation made against the present Administrator, and I hope that the mind of the Government will not be influenced by what any impartial man will pronounce to be a groundless and intemperate attack upon him.
.- The honorable member for . Coolgardie was hardly fair to the honorable member for Wentworth, who, without criticising the present Administrator, or going into the rights or wrongs of the disputes in Papua which occasioned the appointment of the Royal Commission, pointed out, what is evident to any one who reads the report, that there were two parties there, and that Mr. Murray took sides, at any rate to the extent of giving very strong evidence against Captain Barton.
– Does the honorable member suggest that Mr. Murray did not speak the truth?
– No. My point is that the honorable member for Wentworth merely stated that there was a squabble, and that Mr. Murray was one of the leaders in the movement against the late Administrator.
– The Commissioners deny that.
– Captain Barton has Still friends in the Territory, and, as it has been stated to me, “They look ‘upon Mr. Murray as the man who got Barton out.” It is undoubtedly the case that this feeling exists, and it would be disastrous to the success of the future administration of the Territory if Mr. Murray were appointed permanently. I agree with the honorable member for Wentworth in that.
.- I am sorry that the honorable member for
Coolgardie has brought the matter forward as he has, because I feel that the. honorable member for Wentworth was not actuated by the sinister motives attributed to him.
– He refused to give the name of- his informant, when challenged by the honorable member for Coolgardie, although he freely mentioned Mr. Murray’s name.
– I think that to avoid the suspicion of trying to support either side, he was desirous of not mentioning any names, and that Mr. Murray’s name slipped out inadvertently. To my mind, his object was to suggest that, inasmuch as those concerned with the administration of Papua have hitherto been divided into two hostile camps, it would be wise to select as a new Administrator some one not even remotely connected with them.
– Was not that a plain hint that Mr. Murray is unfitted for the position.
– It was certainly an intimation that, in the opinion of the honorable member, Mr. Murray should not be appointed. It was equally an intimation that another gentleman, whose name has also been mentioned, should not be selected.
– His’ name has not been mentioned in this discussion.
– No; I am sorry that the discussion has assumed this phase, and am endeavouring to put before the Committee the construction which I think the honorable member ‘ for Wentworth desired should be placed upon his words. As the honorable member is now present, he will probably explain what he did mean. It appeared to me that his desire was to avoid the very thing that he is charged with, desiring to accomplish.
– I do not propose to- enter into the very’ interesting discussion raised by the honorable member for Coolgardie as to the officer or officers to blame for the unfortunate state of affairs now existing in Papua. We know that an unhappy state of affairs has existed there for some time, and we want to know how long it is to continue. Has the Government been able to get at the root of the trouble, and may we reasonably expect to have harmony introduced in the near future into the administration of Papua. .The first whisper of the trouble reached us from private sources. At the outset, a Mr. Craig,, who had been a resident of Papua for some time, informed us of the great disadvantages under which he had laboured there by reason of the unfair treatment that he received at the hands of governmental officials. As the outcome of his complaints, some inquiry was instituted by the Department, and we were given to understand that the man was suffering from hallucinations, and that the administrationwas satisfactory. . Later on, Captain. Strachan took action against the Federal Government because of some alleged injustice done to him. The Government sheltered themselves - I was going to. say “ improperly “ - behind a legal technicality, holding that as they had not taken over theTerritory from the Home Government, they could not recognise any responsibility inconnexion with it. As the British Government was in the act of handing over the administration of the Territory to the Commonwealth at the time of the acts complained of, it also disclaimed any liability, with the result that Captain Strachan could’ obtain no redress. Still, we were told that the position was fairly satisfactory, and’ that no reliance could be placed on thestatements of these men. Finally, a Commission was appointed, and found a very unhealthy state of affairs prevailing. It , discovered that the administration wasrent by internal dissensions. The report’ of the Commission is strongly condemnatory of some of the officers charged’ with the administration of the Territory, and it was against some of those officers that the individuals who complained to honorable members laid the chief gravamen of their charges. Their complaints were swept aside by’ the Government as unworthy -of consideration, but I do not suppose that the Ministry will treat in the same way the report of an impartial Commission. We now wish to learn what is to be the outcome of the Commission’s investigations. Are we to look forward to some radical changes, which will do away with internal trouble, or is that trouble to continue? The honorable member for Coolgardie hasextracted from the report of the Commission, statements showing the nature of the’ difficulty, and indicating the officials- responsible for it. Are those officers to continue to administer the affairs of the Territory, or do the Government propose toreplace them by others who will so conduct themselves that there will be no recurrence of the scandals of the past? At the present stage, we cannot enter into, thisphase of the question as closely as we could wish ; but it is certainly desirable that further information should be obtained, and that the administration of the Territory should be placed upon something like a workable basis. Unless that be done, we shall have a repetition of the complaints of nial-administration, and the government of the Territory will be unsatisfactory from every stand-point. The development of Papua is a very interesting and important question. Some honorable members are disposed to consider that it would be wise to control Papua as a purely black man’s land, and to discourage, as’ far as possible, white settlement, and any development by means of white settlement. I do not think that is practicable. Papua cannot be developed merely by the efforts of the black man, and if the black races there are to reach a higher standard of civilization, they must have the assistance of the whites. There are in that direction great possibilities1 of development, and unless we make Papua part and parcel of the Commonwealth, as I trust it will be, some other power will come along and do this work for us. Papua cannot continue for any length of time in the position which it has hitherto occupied. At present, a very large part of New Guinea is occupied by the Germans, who are doing a great work’ in developing it as a province of the German Empire. A considerable portion of the island also belongs to the Dutch, under whose Government, I believe, considerable development is likewise taking place. We do not realize the work that is being carried on by those two powers beyond the Territory that we control ; but, unless we are . prepared to keep step with them, I cannot foresee how we shall be able to hold it. We must be prepared to do our share in its development, or allow some other power to take up the work. I have every sympathy with the black man, and freely confess that on this continent we have not treated him with the measure of justice he deserved. But I do not hold that that must necessarily be the outcome of our occupancy of British New Guinea. Whatever may be said with respect to our treatment of coloured races, we can at least console ourselves with the knowledge that it compares very favorably with the treatment extended by other nations to the coloured races under their control. We .cannot hope to hold the Territory unless we develop it, and we can develop it only by encouraging white settlement. Whilst giving reasonable facilities for settlement, we must maintain so ‘ strong a control that the people of our own race there will not sacrifice their humanitarianism to their greed, and do the natives, of Papua the injustice that has been inflicted on the aborigines of the mainland.
– That is the whole case.
– It is a very big problem. I am in sympathy with the Government in every action they take to preserve the rights of the natives, and to see that they are not degraded, enslaved, or imposed upon, whilst we are endeavouring to carry to them some of the benefits of our higher civilization. In this way, we can gradually lift the black races to a higher state of existence than they now occupy, and develop the Territory on lines equitable to whites and blacks alike.
– What does the honorable member think of the proposal for forced labour?
– I am against forced labour of any kind, and am not in sympathy with the proposal made by the Commission that forced labour shall be employed in Papua. Forced labour practically means slavery. I wish to press home to the Government what appeals to me as a very big problem in the administration of Papua. In the’ first place, the administration must be lifted out of the rut into which it has fallen, as disclosed by the report of the Commission, since it isunsatisfactory to the natives, and’ certainly to the white population now endeavouring to do the pioneering work of the Territory. It must end in disaster, financially and otherwise, if it is to continue. How to deal with the native races is a grave problem which requires to be handled .with the greatest of care. While, perhaps, there would seem to be a ready means in the suggestion to keep Papua entirely a black man’s land, and discourage all white settlement and development, I do not think that such a scheme is workable for the reasons I have indicated.
– Nor would it be wise. Mr. THOMAS BROWN. - Nor do I think it would be wise. The better policy would be to encourage white settlement and development, and, at the same time, secure just and fair treatment of the natives, inculcating as far as we can the higher civilization.
– And respect for the white man’s rule.
– Yes. If that rule be just, respect will ‘be readily forthcoming; and, if it is not just, respect is not deserved. It is not always the best men of our nationality who are prepared to engage in pioneering work. It is often undertaken by men who are driven from the centres of civilization because of their actions and mode of life. This is the difficulty which has faced us in connexion with our relationship to the black man all over the continent of Australia. . Men who go out to recruit labour are sometimes not particular as to how they secure it ; we have evidence of that in connexion with the kanaka labour of the Queensland canefields, and also in connexion with the labour in Papua itself. This problem can be solved only by strong and firm administration ; and that should te- the object of the Government. Another matter which requires consideration is the introduction of all kinds of diseases, which find a fertile ground amongst aboriginal peoples. I am. informed bv missionaries and others who have been resident in Papua for some time that this is a strong and serious matter. We were told by the Prime Minister to-night that the population is. a diminishing one, despite the fact that the white population is not a growing or unimportant factor, but that it seems to him that as soon as the white man comes into contact with the black man, the latter practically withers and disappears.- In the annual report which has been presented to this House, there is a paragraph, on page ii, to which I should like to call attention, as showing the kind of people with whom we have to deal -
The natives of Papua are far from being a stupid race. Nor do they altogether fail to appreciate the advantages of peace, and when they have got rid of the lust for blood, which occasionally seizes upon them in their savage state, and have grown more - or less familiar with our ideas of civilization, they become lawabiding, and, not infrequently, industrious people, and there seems to be no reason why the inhabitants of the Main Range should not follow the same course of evolution.
Judging from that paragraph, it would appear that the material upon which we have to work is promising. On page 13 of the same report there is a reference more particularly to the South-Eastern District, where the older settlement is -
The Trobriand Islanders are in many ways the most interesting natives in the Territory, and it is depressing to note that their numbers are decreasing, though it may be that the decrease will be arrested as the efforts of the Government. Medical Officer make themselves felt in stamping out the venereal diseases that are at present so common in these Islands. Apart from venereal diseases, there is no apparent cause why the population should decrease; the Islanders are industrious workers, they have plenty of food, they rarely leave their Island, and raids and inter-tribal wars are long since things of the past.
This shows to u.s one of the greatest causes of the decrease in .the native population. I am informed by missionaries and others that what applies to this particular island applies also in a lesser degree to the mainland ; and there is a duty placed on this Parliament and Government to see that this means of decimating the population is arrested. The object can be attained only by placing white immigration under proper control, and putting the important centres in the charge of competent medical officers. The danger is not confined to these unnamable diseases, but extends to epidemic diseases, such as measles and influenza, which though, perhaps, considered trivial amongst ourselves, are fatal amongst native races. I press on the Government the necessity of dealing with this matter as speedily as possible, with a view to stamping out those diseases.
– Our last returns show a most gratifying advance in the stamping out of the diseases.
– I am pleased to hear that ; and I am sure the people of the Commonwealth will be glad to know that the Government have taken action, and, in this respect, are doing their duty to the native races. Another point is that we should not regard Papua as a foreign country, and treat it as such in connexion with our Tariff. If we desire Papua to develop and become a part of the Commonwealth and the Empire - and the Possession occupies an important position in connexion with defence - we must be prepared to make some concessions, and we ought to begin, not by erecting fiscal barriers, but by bringing Papua within the trading scope of the Commonwealth.
.- I regret to say that I had not an opportunity of listening to the honorable member’ for Coolgardie, but I understand that he has charged me with making an attack on one of the members of the Papua Administration, with a view to making it more difficult for that gentleman to occupy the position of Administrator. I regret very much that the honorable member should have failed to appreciate the burden of the remarks I addressed to the Committee, because they were all to show the inexpediency of appointing as Administrator a member of. either faction, whose partisan- ship has done so much to bring about the present state’ of disorganization. My re-‘ marks were equally applicable to any man in a prominent position on either side in the local Administration as to Judge Murray ; and I think honorable members will bear me out when I say that all I endeavoured to do was to show that if we appointed either Judge Murray or some man equally prominently associated with the other side in the local dispute, we should not have co-operation amongst the officers. We should have to get rid of the whole faction of officers who were opposed to the person appointed.
– Surely one side was right and the other was wrong?
– It does not follow that one side in a dispute is altogether right or altogether wrong. I am speaking broadly when I say I personally think it would be a public misfortune to appoint either Judge Murray or a man who is equally active on the other side as Administrator. The honorable member for Coolgardie, I believe, quoted the report of the Royal Commission to show that the remarks I made about judge Murray being the head and front of the opposition to the late Administrator were ill-founded. I admit freely - what would be the use of doing otherwise? - that the members of the Royal Commission do not think as I think. The Royal Commission held that Judge Murray was not in the forefront of the agitation against Captain Barton ; but I have read the report right through, and I honestlybelieve that Judge Murray was strongly influenced against that Administrator, or he would not have given the evidence reported on page 88. Personally, I believe that he was opposed to the late Administrator. My information is that every friend of the late Administration regards Judge Murray as an enemy. Obviously if we appoint to the positionof Administrator the leader of either section in the partizan fight which is proceedingin New Guinea we shall not get that loyal cooperation amongst our officials which isso essential to its sucessful administration.
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [8.40].- I do not intend to occupy the time ofthe Committee at length. But I cannotallow the opportunity afforded by the re marks of the honorable memberfor Calare to pass without giving them my thorough indorsement so far as they relate to the possibility of preserving native race: afterthey have come into contact withthe white man. I have had some little experience of native races on this Continent, amongst what are commonly known as the Binghi, in Northern Queensland, as distinguished from the aboriginal inhabitants of the islands of Torres Straits. All these islands, save one, I have visited in an official capacity. Upon this subject I can speak with some authority, because it was rny privilege to introduce into the Queensland Parliament a measure which has probably accomplished more for the native races of this Continent than has any other legislative enactment. I also had the privilege of administering that Act for three or four years. Up to a comparatively recent period the treatment which the aborigines received in Northern Queensland was quite as bad as anything that is recorded in Australian history. But that condition has now, and for many years, been remedied, and I am proud to have taken a considerable part in bringing about the altered state of affairs. In this connexion I should like to mention that one of the members of the New Guinea Commission, Mr. Parry-Okeden, was intimately associated with me as Commissioner of Police in Queensland during the re-organization of the Aboriginal Department. I have already said that I visited practically all the islands in Torres Straits. The inhabitants of these islands occupy a position ethnologically which is in perfect accord with their geographical position. That is to say, they are something between the Papuans and the Binghi, or the aboriginal inhabitants of the mainland. Therefore it may be said that they were not quite so advanced originally in their native arts as were the inhabitants of Papua itself. But they possess the advantage of having had, for something like forty years, mission stations established amongst them. The principal station of the London Missionary Society was established at Murray Island, and I am pleased to say that the population of that island has completely survived the period when it might reasonably have been expected to diminish owing to contact with the white man. A Doomsday Book is kept by the local schoolmaster, and a study of it discloses that the aboriginal population now is slightly stronger than it was previously. At Murray Island all the land has been allocated. The natives are land-holders in their own way. The Malays, Filipinos and others have been practically excluded, and the lands remain today in the possession of the original
Murra)’ Island tribe. So far have they advanced in civilization that the late Mr. John Douglas - who was at one time Premier of Queensland, and who up to the period of his death was Government Resident at Thursday Island - gave them a constitution, in which he divided the island into three wards or divisions, each of which returns to an island council, which is not authorized by any law, three members. The hereditary chief of Murray Island is the perpetual chairman of this council, and in order to overcome some slight difficulties, the chief of a smaller adjacent island - Mabuiag Island- was made deputy chairman. The natives levy no taxes, but they pass resolutions at the council - the records of which are kept by the schoolmaster, who is the only white man on the island-7-compelling certain .members of the population to work upon the roads, subject to a fine if they disobey the order. The result is that they have capital roads, and many little difficulties have been smoothed over by the council. Thus the whole administration is practically carried on by the natives themselves, although they are subject to the laws of Queensland. I may add that the people of this and of other neighbouring islands have been able to build concrete churches, and to erect court-houses in which the council holds’ its meetings and in which the chief dispenses justice. The only material supplied by the Queensland Government has been the iron for roofing purposes. The concrete used has been made from coral. I mention these facts with a view to showing that it is possible for black races to be brought ‘to such a state of civilization that they are able t© hold their own against the white man. There is no sense in the view that it is desirable to exclude the white man from New Guinea, and to endeavour to civilize the black man, in a ‘ state of isolation, because sooner or later the two must come into contact. I have already stated that theMurray Islanders are the aboriginal race, without any admixture at all. It may be’ inferred from that statement that its members have not come into contact with the white man. But they have done so to such an extent that they now own pearling vessels, and live in very good houses. In one of the native houses on the islands I have seen a sewing machine, a kerosene lamp, perambulators for the children, and all the conveniences of civilized life. I may further mention that’ upon one occasion an aboriginal who died there left estate worth about £1,500, part of which was invested in the bank at Thursday Island, and the balance in a cottage there.
– What about the other side of the picture?
– Are the children taught the English language ‘at their schools ?
Colonel FOXTON. - Nearly every one of these islands has a school of its own. The natives provide the residence, and the Government provide the teacher. The curriculum is exactly the same as that which obtains in the provisional schools throughout Queensland. The natives are excellently educated. They speak three languages - English, Samoan and their own. They speak Samoan owing to the fact that the preacher is usually a Samoan who is paid by the London Missionary Society. At one island I found that the Samoan teacher had just completed a translation of the four Gospels into the native language, and that it was about to be forwarded to Sydney for the purpose of being printed. These facts show that it is possible to civilize these people in a way to which we are quite unaccustomed in our dealings with our own aboriginal population. The honorable member for Maranoa has asked me to paint the other side of the picture. But in respect to the islands in Torres Straits I do not know that there is another side.
– That is not what the honorable member said when he introduced his Bill into the Legislative Assembly of Queensland.
Colonel FOXTON.- The honorable member is labouring under a misapprehension. That Bill was directed, not so much to protecting the islanders of Torres Straits, as the aborigines on the mainland.. As I have already- stated, up to a certain date our treatment of the Binghis was a disgrace to Australia. That evil has since been remedied, and the treatment of our aborigines’ is now under strict supervision. The islanders in Torres Straits’ practically belong to the same race’ as the Papuans, and what has been accomplished in their case Can certainly be accomplished in the case of the Papuans. I do not propose to enter into any controversy regarding the different factions in New Guinea. I pin my faith to the report of the Royal- Commission, which investigated the administration of that Territory. I happen .to know two members of that. . Commission, namely, Mr. Parry Okeden and. Mr. .Justice Herbert; I am not’ acquainted with its Chairman, but I gather that he stands equally as high as do the other two gentlemen. No better men could be found in Australia for the constitution of a Royal Commission such as that which investigated the administration of Papua than the two I have named. The Committee may rely thoroughly upon their recommendations, because they are absolutely unbiased, are possessed of very large administrative experience, and have been accustomed to deal with native races.
– The report proves that they were unbiased.
Colonel FOXTON. - As to the appointment of an Administrator, it was suggested by interjection this afternoon - I think by .the right honorable member for Swan - that it would be desirable to have a man with some knowledge of tropical agriculture. I do not agree with that view. The Administrator should have, first of all, large experience of official administrative work, and some knowledge of legislation. Though it is not necessary for him to be a. lawyer, yet, as his Council is invested with legislative powers, the possession of a legal training is a desideratum. He should also be a man with an intimate acquaintance with native races. Tropical agriculture, the preservation of health, and similar subjects, although of the greatest importance, should be intrusted to experts under the Administrator, who will have enough to do in general supervision. I do not intend to indicate any particular man as suitable for the position. A suitable man will be most difficult to get. Such men as Sir William MacGregor and Sir George Le Hunte possessed the necessary qualifications in an eminent degree. Whatever views may be held, I trust that no one will be appointed who does not possess in a large degree similar qualifications. “Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 15 (Mail Service to Pacific Islands), £12,000.
Mr. MAHON (Coolgardie1* [8.59].- In dealing with the inland postal services of the Commonwealth, it is the practice to refuse -to undertake unpayable lines. I should therefore like to know from the Minister of External Affairs what amount of revenue is received from the mail service to these islands whose annual cost is £10,500. I doubt if they return £500 in postal revenue. Before expending such large sums in providing communication with remote islands in the Pacific, we should improve our inland mail services, or, at any rate, give our own people consideration equal to that extended to those living in, or having business with, those islands. When I approach the Department for a new or improved mail service, telephone extension, or any similar facility, 1 am asked : Will the work pay expenses? If I cannot show that ;t will, my application is refused, while, if there is a chance of it paying a little later, I am asked to procure a cash guarantee covering so many years, and another guarantee to follow.
– That is the experience of all of us.
– The honorable member’s constituency is much smaller than mine.
– It contains more electors.
– In this case it is a question of area rather than of electors. Even the honorable member will recognise that small communities, fifty miles or more from a telegraph office, are entitled to be brought nearer- to centres of trade.
– In many cases the Department does not carry out its promises.
– I hope that the honorable member will bring the matter up when the Postal Estimates are under consideration. There is an enormous loss on the South Sea Island mail services. The connexion appears to have originated in sentiment, and to be maintained for some equally intangible reason. Of course, it is pleasant for those who journey to these remote atolls to be able to travel on mail steamers.
– Does not the service give an impetus to trade?
– No doubt; but the trade should pay the cost.
– Parliament has put up fiscal barriers to prevent trade with the islands.
– Yes ; and the honorable member for Wimmera is one of those who wish to make them higher. The postal returns from these services cannot be a fraction of the expenditure upon them. Really, the vote should be in the Postal Estimates. I should like the Minister of External Affairs to expound the policy of the Government in this connexion.
– The honorable member, as an ex-Postmaster-General, cannot be as innocent as he seems. He is perfectly aware that the vote appears in the Estimates of the Department of External Affairs, because of the varied nature of the objects for which the expenditure is undertaken. The Postal revenue from these services probably does not amount to £1,000 ; but trade facilities are given which are not entirely directed towards the introduction of dutiable goods, the principal article of import, copra, being duty free.
– What about maize and other products?
– We anticipate the granting by the Committee of a vote which will allow of preference being given to these islands in respect to importations of maize. The outward trade is considerable, having regard to the population of the islands, and its possibilities, especially in the Solomon Group, are very large. What may fairly be termed a huge expenditure is now taking place there, and it will be followed. by a large production. It is true thatthis production is greatly controlled by Messrs. Lever Brothers, who provide ships for their own business; but the communication givenby the mail steamers is largely assisting trade development. These boats, too, keep us in touch with the Marshall, Ellice, and other groups, which is the main reason for the expenditure. Probably £8,000 or £9,000 is voted by Parliament in this connexion, to uphold our Pacific policy.
-Do we not vote a sum less than half the French subsidy?
– Yes. The vote appears in the Estimates of the Department of External Affairs, because it affects the relations of Australia to the Pacific Islands.
– By it we support our claim to influence in these islands.
– Yes; and a possible claim to (proprietorship. The Solomon, Gilbert, and Ellice groups are already under the British flag. Norfolk Island will probably soon be transferred to the Commonwealth, the Governor of New South Wales, by whom its suzerainty is held, being perfectly willing that that should be done.
– What about Lord Howe Island?
– That is part of the electorate of East Sydney.
– The establishment of dual control in the New Hebrides has already led to the formation of companies here, in Great Britain, and in France for the development of the group. Consequently, the earning prospects of our mail lines have considerably improved, and are likely to be still better in the future. We have made communication with the islands swifter, and have provided larger and better boats, and have brought about the employment of white crews on the main routes. At the same time, we are assisting in the development of Papua; the communication with which is still too slow and infrequent. If the present demand for land there is maintained, and the 100,000 acres recently taken up made productive, there will speedily be a large white population in Papua, even without future gold discoveries. This, in itself, largely justifies the expenditure under review. I do not think that the Committee, having regard to the age of the Commonwealth, the present unsettled condition of affairs in the Pacific, and the prospect of increasing our influence and interests there, will shrink from voting this money, putting aside all considerations of postal economy.
– This is one of the best investments we have made.
– I hope that it will prove so. Means for increasing the revenue from these lines have often been a source of consideration, because we have not been forgetful of our obligation to decrease the cost of their maintenance as much as possible. So much I urge in reply to the particular criticism offered to-night. Other aspects I pass by for the moment. But, even apart from the trade prospects which I have outlined, I think that, instead of retracing our steps in the Pacific, a bolder stride should be taken at the first opportunity.
– I agree with every word uttered by the Prime Minister in reply to the honorable member for Coolgardie. I do not know that he would obtain one more mail service or an additional telegraph line in his constituency if the item were entirely obliterated. I am quite sure that the Estimates of the Post and Telegraph Department would not be increased by one cent if this item of £10,000 were saved. The one has no necessary relation to the other. The honorable member has been endeavouring by a side wind to call attention to some postal grievances under which his own electorate; in common, I suppose, with many others’, labours. I could not help thinking, while he was speaking, that he ought to have addressed his remarks. to the Postmaster-General rather than to the Prime Minister. No comparison can be drawn between the honorable member’s electorate and these islands. I venture to say that his electorate by this time is fairly well served both postally, telephonically, and telegraphically. He has held office as Postmaster-General, and no honorable member works more industrially for his electorate than he does. I hope that he will not give further opposition to this item, seeing that it has no necessary relation to any part of Western Australia, and that, if we struck it out, he would not secure any additional facilities for his constituents. I agree that these islands need all the attention we can give them, and that, instead of subtracting one iota from the facilities for intercourse with them, we should, if possible, seek means to multiply our opportunities for influencing them. If I am any judge of the way in which matters are proceeding there, it will soon become imperative for us to do something more than we are doing in the development of these islands and in the provision of every facility for intercourse between them and us. That is particularly so with regard to the products of the. islands. I was glad to hear the Prime Minister forecast a course of action which will give British settlers there some trading advantage, so far as Australia is concerned, over the rest of the islanders in the Pacific, who owe us no allegiance and are subject altogether to foreign influences. If the honorable member for Coolgardie will investigate the matter he will find that other nations, which are interested in these islands, are placing at the disposal of their settlers many more advantages than we give .to ours. That should not be tolerated any longer than we can obviate it. We ought to encourage our people there and give them the same consideration as is extended to the people of other nations already in the islands. The -services given to the French there are above and beyond anything we do for those who owe allegiance to our flag. Having in view the importance of strategical centres in ‘ these islands, the growing foreign influences that are gently closing in around . us, and the possibilities of menace which may at any time arise - I do not say they exist now, but we cannot foresee what points of menace may arise immediately in the vicinity of our coasts - we ought at least to encourage our traders to’ go there. We might further encourage them whilst there and in that way extend our influence by peaceful methods and along developmental lines. By so doing we may ultimately claim that right and influence there which, by our history and all our traditions, we ought certainly to possess. Every one sympathizes with the honorable member and his constituents. Our far-back districts are entitled to all the consideration the Government can give them, but the comparison made by him is not a fair one. A comparison can be made only between the facilities which we are able to offer to our settlers in the Pacific islands and those offered by other nations, which are there in friendly rivalry with our own. I hope that rivalry will always be of a friendly character, and be confined to production and trade and those peaceful arts which develop rather than destroy the prosperity of nations. So long as that is the case, we shall have nothing to fear; but already complaints are reaching us from the islands that we are not doing as much as we might in the development of these peaceful arts and the prosperity and influence which our .settlers might, and possibly will in the future, enjoy. That is the work to which we should address ourselves. If the honorable member compared the facilities which the French settlers in the islands enjoy with those which we are able to give our own by means of these mail services, I venture to say that, so far from taking a penny from the proposed vote, he would be quite ready, as I should be, to increase it, if such a proposition were made by the Government.
.- The effect of the argument of the honorable member who has just resumed his seat is that a man who goes to an island in the South Seas is deserving of better treatment than is the pioneer in the back- country of Australia.
– Not at all. I distinctly said the contrary.
– The natural inference to be drawn from the honorable member’s argument is that the man who goes to the South Sea Islands deserves postal facilities costing the Commonwealth some £10,000 a year, whilst the pioneer who is opening up Australia and is directly benefiting every one in the Commonwealth, is to be treated by the Department as if it were a purely commercial concern.
– Many of the inland mail services do not pay.
– That is so. The honorable member’s interjection reminds me of the contention raised by the Prime Minister that these island services promote trade. Is it not a fact that our inland mail services likewise promote trade between the larger cities of the Commonwealth and the districts which they serve? I rose merely to put this consideration before the Committee. I should be very glad to see these islands enjoying a splendid mail service. I should like to give them as much as we can afford, but by all means let us treat with equal liberality the people who are opening up our own country. Why should we be lavish in our treatment of the settlers in the islands whilst we stint our pioneers ?
– Charity begins at home.
– Yes. The Postal Department is supposed to be conducted as a commercial concern. The main purpose of our mail services is to carry letters, newspapers, and parcels, but incidentally they serve trade. The honorable member for Grey, the honorable member for Maranoa, and other representatives of wide and sparsely populated districts are in the same position as I am. If this rule is to be applied to the islands of the Pacific, let it be extended to the pioneers who are opening up the back country of Australia. Let us at least extend to them the liberal services that we give the people in the South Sea islands.
.- I am in full agreement with the honorable member for Coolgardie as to the desirableness of encouraging, as far as we can, with due regard to the condition of our finances, the giving of the fullest facilities possible in the matter of mail and other services to our settlers in the back blocks. At the same time, I see no relation between . these mail services to the Pacific islands and the position of our settlers in the back blocks of the Commonwealth. The honorable member for Wannon objected that charity begins at home. I might remind Mm that there is no question of charity involved in this expenditure. It is being incurred in the interests of Australia. It is simply a recognition of the fact that the development of these islands by people of British origin and the encouragement of trade with them, will tend very largelyto increase oursecurity. In the course of the next fewyears a great change will come over the Southern Pacific in respect to trade matters.
– Does not the honorable member think that, even from the defence point of view, internal development is of infinitely greater importance?
-I am not insensible of the value and importance of the development of internal trade, but it is of little use to develop our internal trade if we neglect our outposts - if we fail to take the measures for our defence which offer in the development of these islands. Let them pass from the sphere of British influence, and we can well imagine what will be the position of Australia should Great Britain become embroiled with any of the nations in possession of them.
– I think Burns, Philp, and Company would lose most.
– I think we should all lose everything, and that there would be no more Australia for the Australians. Our only means of defence against aggression is the presence of the British Fleet.
– The British Government sent their fleet to Egypt to protect the bond-holders, and they must protect Australia.
– That opens up. another question ; I am only pointing out that it is wise to look to possible developments, as they are likely to affect the internal interests of Australia.
– In the interests of a big shipping company.
– Without knowing; anything about the big shipping firm, I venture to say that, if the matter were investigated, it would be found that Burns, Philp, and Company lose money on this island trade. I fancy they would be better without the subsidy, under which they are compelled to run extra vessels of improved type, which they would not do if they had regard to the trade alone.
– The shipping company must be philanthropists.
– I think that Colonel Burns is largely a philanthropist, so far as the islands are concerned - that he is actuated more by motives of patriotism than commercial considerations in extending their shipping facilities. That may be a sentiment which some honorable members do not appreciate, but I do not envy any one the possession of a mind incapable of such appreciation. I have not the pleasure of knowing Colonel Bums beyond having once been introduced to him by a mutual friend, but from his reputation I believe his motives to be such as 1 have indicated. As a matter of fact, I should’ say there is only trade enough to half fill a boat once a month, so that the trade cannot be a very paying one. at the present time; and when honorable members talk about charity they misapply the term so far as this firm is concerned. The Prime Minister and the Government recognise that there is something of far more importance involved in this subsidy than the mere question of a mail service - something which extends into the future, and which wise statesmanship must keep in view. I feel certain that the Prime Minister realizes the enormous possibilities of abnormal developments in the Pacific in the almost immediate future, and that he recognises the necessity of trying to keep under the British flag as many of the islands as possible. If we once allow our trading facilities to fall below their present standard, it will simply mean that the islands at present under British control, may, in a short time, pass under the domination of some nation, which, in time, may become a hostile power.
– I wish the honorable member would help to develop the trade of Australia !
– I am always trying to do so, but the honorable member, and those who think with him, are always engaged in erecting barriers which restrict the trade of Australia. I am for pulling down the barriers which prevent us from trading with the islands, and also prevent us from having free and unfettered commercial communication with every other part of the world.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 16 (Miscellaneous), £29,250.
– I see here an item of £20,000. for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth, and I have no doubt the Prime Minister intends to give us some information respecting it. There cannot have been much of this money spent, and, asthere are only two or three months of the present financial year to go, I do not see that the whole of this appropriation of £20,000 can be required.
– We have expended no money in this regard except in accordance with the expenditure authorized in connexion with the smaller vote last year of which this is an enlargement. Up to date, the larger expenditure has been through the Immigration Leagues, which we have sup- ported with small sums, the New South Wales League receiving £150, the Victorian League £100, and the Tasmanian League, £50 ; and the leagues show us vouchers for the expenditure of this money in advertising Australia outside Australia. The expenditure does not cover the expense of the work of the leagues in Australia, whatever it may be, but only their activities and expenditure outside Australia.
– Almost wholly in the Mother Country, though, for instance, there has been a little expenditure in India.
– Trying to get coolie labour?
– Trying to attract retired civil servants and railway men, of whom there are several thousands every year whose terms of service have expired, and who are in receipt of pensions. These pensions are sufficient to enable some of them to purchase small holdings or farms, and, in the. case of the higher officers, to live in simple fashion on their incomes, the ‘ Indian Government and the railway companies making liberal allowances. I mention this because a few pounds have been spent in India in endeavouring to attract that class of people to Australia; but practically the whole of the expenditure has been in the Mother Country. As it is part of my duty to study the newspaper clippings every week from the English, Scottish, and Irish press, I am enabled to test scores of instances in which references to Australia have found their way into leading articles, letters, and so forth. I think that this money is very well spent, seeing that we get a very large amount of advertisement for a small sum. In addition, we have spent some £200 on Reuter in the publication of commercial intelligence, and figures showing the development of Australian trade and protection. This information Reuter would not have telegraphed as a mere matter of news, but, in consideration of the expenditure of £200 odd, it has obtained wide circulation in scores of newspapers.
– Could not the Tariff news have been cabled to Captain Collins at less cost ?
– No ; sent in any other way, it would have cost more than we have paid. When Captain Collins receives this news, he has to send it round to the various newspapers, whereas Reuter’s messages go direct, and are not only printed in the leading newspapers, but in a comparatively large number of provincial newspapers.
– I understand that complaint was made as to the inaccuracy of the reports, and as to the absence of authority for the publication of the telegrams, it being felt that Reuter could not speak with the same authority as could an officer representing the Commonwealth.
– Reuter is his own authority for his own telegrams, and, in cases’ where there was some doubt, we sent direct to Captain Collins. The fact that we spent the trifling sum of , £200 shows that this mode of sending the news is cheap. Then there is the expense of purchasing the copies of Australia ToDay, that large annual publication, wonderfully illustrated and. well written, which deals with every State of the Union.
– Is that a protectionist journal ?
– It is a commercial journal.
– It looks to me like a protectionist journal.
– It is protectionist, all right !
– I am very glad to hear it, although not aware of the fact. We have nothing to do with its publication, but I think it is the most striking issue of its kind, not only in relation to Australia, but in relation to any other Dominion. It finds its way into all steam-ships, reading rooms, hotels, and railway waiting-rooms throughout the United Kingdom, and I think it is about as good a form of advertisement as we could get. Then there was the expenditure for the purchase of copies of the Year-Book of Australia, of which we circulate a small number, and there are sundries to the amount of , £384, the total expenditure being £1,200.
– Then the whole of the £20,000 will not be required ?
– During the next few months, we shall possibly spend another £300, making £1,500 in all, and the unexpended balance will go into the Treasury. The Government take the op portunity, whenever it offers, of effectively advertising Australia. I am not now entering on the larger proposals, which I hope to submit shortly ; but merely dealing with the past expenditure. When I have received replies from all the States - I have replies from four, though only twoare complete - I hope to be able to submit, in a statement for the year 1908-9, to honorable members, some methods for advertising the materials which the States will supply to us, and also our own views for advertising the Commonwealth as a whole. Nor shall we stop at advertising. The information will, I hope, induce honorablemembers to grant the whole amount with the intention of our spending it. This year we have been waiting for the discussion of the Estimates,, and, therefore, have dealt only with the expenditure of the smaller vote, and then only for advertising.
– I think that the elaborate explanation of the Prime Minister shows that what we have to complain of - if anything- is not that too much money has been expended, but too little. What I think we should’ hear from the head of the Government is, whether he is prepared at an early date to bring forward a really comprehensivescheme for the advertisement of our resources, and also a practical scheme in connexion with immigration. That is what the whole of the people of the Commonwealth are looking for. I think that £20,000 is an extremely small sum to authorize ‘ the Government to expend this year in advertising bur resources. We all recognise that what the wholecountry is looking for is a really definiteprogramme for encouraging, the right class of people to come here. I know that the Prime Minister is fully alive to that necessity, and I feel thatnot only the House, but the whole community, would be very much encouraged if he were able, at an early date, to make a definite statement: upon this matter.
– I hope to have replies; from all the States Premiers within a fewdays.
– Of course, even £20,000 is not more than a fraction of the sum which large business houses annually expend in advertising their own resources.
– But it is too much to fritter away.
– I do not thinkthat there is any question of frittering it away. When we are opening up what is practically a new department of activity, by endeavouring to make our resources known, we ought not to quibble at mistakes which are made in expenditure.
– Not so long as we get some tangible result from it.
– We cannot expect to get anything more tangible than we have got until the experiment goes very much further than it has gone.
– It has been a matter of policy with the Government for four or five years.
– I think that we ought to reserve our criticism in that connexion until we have some definite programme to criticise. For my part, I was very glad to hear the Prime Minister say that he intends to put definite proposals before the House.I think that all members upon this side of the chamber are agreed that we shall give a cordial reception to definite proposals in that direction. I feel that I should be abusing my privilege’ if I attempted to debate anything like a scheme of immigration under cover of this item.
– I do not think so. This is the proper time to do it.
– This is the only item upon which the honorable member will be able to deal with that matter.
– If it be the desire of the Committee that I should express my views upon this question now, I should like to say that I believe no scheme of immigration will be complete which does not contain proposals, not merely for advertising our resources in Great Britain and in other parts of Europe - especially in Northern Europe - to a far greater degree than we have previously authorized the Government to advertise them, but which does not also go far beyond inviting only those persons to come out here who are capable of obtaining settlement upon the land. I think it will be absolutely necessary for us to do as Canada is doing - not merely to invite individuals’ to come here who are capable of settling themselves upon the land, but to provide facilities to those thousands of honest and industrious persons who desire to obtain work as agricultural labourers throughout Australia. Our distance from the Old Country is so great, and the passage rates are so high, that the class of persons to whom I refer - industrious, honest, sober, working men - have not the means of getting even the beginning of a settlement upon the land. But theydesire to come out here and help us in that great departmentof agricultural labour for which there is such an opening-
– What wages will the honorable member guarantee them?
– The conditions which prevail in Australia will guarantee them much better remuneration than they have any chance of obtaining in the Old Country.
– Some of the best colonists in Queensland landed there without a shilling.
– No doubt a majority of those who have emigrated to Australia arrived with very little money indeed. For that reason, we ought not to confine our assistance to those who are possessed of capital. In order to obtain immigrants with the requisite qualities of youth, strength, honesty and energy, we ought to do more than advertise ourresources. We ought to have some definite comprehensive scheme for assisting them by reducing the passage-money to a very small sum indeed.
– That is one of the very proposals that we have under consideration now.
– I am delighted to hear that. In regard to making lands available for settlement, the Prime Minister has already pointed out that the Commonwealth Government is limited in its action by the provisions of the Constitution.
– But they can do a lot with the co-operation of the States.
– Only 10 per cent. of the oversea immigrants to Canada take up land.
– I believe that the vast majority of the persons who are now building up the great Canadian nation are not capableof taking up land. They go there knowing that they will get better remuneration for their labour than they can obtain in the Old Country.
– Thousands of them cannot get any remuneration at all.
– Because Canada has been rushing the matter a little I am aware that there is a certain amount of congestion in the agricultural labour market. But can it be doubted that the Do minion has gained enormously during the past ten years by the introduction of the class to which I refer ?
– The great factor in the case of Canada is its proximity to Great Britain.
– Precisely. If we are to successfully cope with the handicap under which we labour by reason of our distance from the Old World, we cannot do so by spending a paltry £20,000. We shall require to spend ten times that amount in making it possible, not merely for immigrants who are possessed of £200 or” £300 to settle upon the lands of the Commonwealth, but in inducing those who are honest and earnest in their endeavours to get work, and who now obtain only intermittent employment in England, Ireland, and Scotland, to come out here under the freer conditions which obtain, and to labour for, perhaps, five or ten years in order that they may ultimately have the means to obtain some kind of settlement upon the land. That is the class of persons whom we want to encourage. We ought to approach this subject in no niggardly spirit. If we are going to overcome the great disadvantage under which we labour through being located in this part of the globe, we must not shirk sanctioning a scheme which may involve an expenditure of as much as £200,000 or £300,000. The sum of £20,000 when first placed upon the Estimates seemed to me to be ridiculously trivial for the real purposes which we have in view. But the Prime Minister has pointed out that less than one-tenth of that sum has been expended under existing conditions. With regard to advertising . ourresources, I merely wish to say that, valuable as are the pamphlets which have been published - the honorable member for Parramatta has remarked that one of these was a protectionist pamphlet - but I do not think that we ought to allow considerations of that kind to concern us-
– I was the culprit, not the honorable member for Parramatta.
– As a matter of fact, the annual special issue we pay for and get does not touch the question of free-trade or protection.
– We evidently joke with great difficulty.
– I did not recognise the honorable member’s statement as a joke. . Of course, there is another aspect of this question. We are all anxious to hear the proposals of the Government in regard to the establishment of a Commonwealth Office in London, the appoint ment of a High Commissioner, the powers with which he is to be vested, the discretion which he is to be allowed to exercise, and the funds with which he is to be permitted to deal in making our means of welcoming immigrants here known throughout the length and breadth of the Old Country.
– The Committee have dealt with the item of the Commonwealth Offices in London.
– Only in regard to the question of the site. The appointment of a High Commissioner and the duties which will be cast upon him are very intimately connected with the policy of advertising the Commonwealth, and also with the policy of immigration. For my own part, I do not intend to engage the attention of the Committee by making any further remarks upon this all-important subject, in view of the statement of the Prime Minister, which we all welcome, that an early definite pronouncement will be made concerning the policy of the Government.
– May I intervene for one moment and say that we have now reached this item of £20,000, which excludes any further consideration of the items appearing before it.
– No; the whole division is open to discussion.
– I merely wish to say that, in regard to the Australian Men of Letters Fund, it is desirable that the Committee should pronounce upon the scheme which has been before it for the disposition of the sum proposed to be voted.
.- The item Advertising the resources of the Commonwealth “ has a most attractive appearance. For this purpose it is proposed to appropriate the sum of £20,000. But I find that, although £5,000 was voted for the same purpose last year, only £1,200 was expended. I hold that we shall not accomplish any good by attempting to advertise our resources through the agency of any league in Australia. The granting of £150 to the Victorian Immigration League or to the New South Wales Immigration League will not accomplish any good whatever. Australia To-day, regarded as a pictorial production, may be a credit to those responsible for it, but they were badly supplied with information regarding New South Wales, or careless in its compilation, because they make it appear that the resources of that State are smaller and less important than those of Victoria.
– I understand that it is largely a Victorian production. If so, we cannot complain.
– It is not a Victorian production. Those connected with it have branches in every State, and collect information independently.
– I appreciate the energy of the compilers in regard to Victorian interests ; but I think that New South Wales has been sadly neglected. In any case, I do not think that the work will attract many immigrants to Victoria, or to any other State. When the Budget was under discussion, I interjected that an expenditure of at least £200,000 would be required to properly advertise Australia’s resources, and I am glad that the honorable member for Flinders agrees with me. I am anxious to turn to Australia the tide of emigration which has been flowing towards the United States of America and Canada. I believe that immigrants will get a better return for their labour here than elsewhere. The “ nomination “ policy of the States might well be reverted to. We should first encourage the immigration of artisans, agricultural labourers, and others, and then allow them, when settled, to nominate for assisted passages friends and relatives left behind.
– That is done in Queensland.
– We want our blood replenished by the introduction of new men and women of the character of our early pioneers, who landed here without the proverbial “ bob.” It is those who started in that way, possessed of grit, who have done best. But a link in the chain is the High Commissioner, about the appointment of whom it seems to be regarded as sacrilege to speak. When, earlier in the day, 1 hinted at the need for such an official, the Prime Minister said that there are almost insuperable difficulties in the way. I do not think that he is troubled with an embarrassment of riches so far assuitable candidates are concerned. Australia needs the best man that can be got, and should pay him a good salary. The man who represents us in England will have to possess an influence equal to , that of Lord Strathcona.
– In wealth?
– If thatwere so, the honorable member would be the only person eligible.
– I have not applied.
– Australia would not suffer at the honorable member’s hands. I do not ask for the appointment of a mere social butterfly.
– Is the honorable member alluding to himself?
– No, nor to the Prime Minister. While in England last year, he did more to advertise our resources by the display of his rhetorical gifts than an expenditure of £1,200 on newspaper advertisements could do. I hope that a High Commissioner will be appointed this session.
– The Bill will be brought forward as soon as possible.
– Why not next week? The House practically agreed to the arrangement two or three years ago. I hope, further, that the Prime Minister will take full responsibility for any appointment that is made, informing the House afterwards. I do not think anything is to be gained by the expenditure of small amounts in the encouragement of immigration. Australia Today has probably not attracted a single individual to these shores.
– I know a family which it brought to Queensland.
– At any rate, it will not do much in attracting immigration. We know, however., that the effect of the platform utterances of the late . Sir Henry Parkes and thelate Right Honorable W. B. Dalley was to attract a. steady flow of desirable immigrants from the provinces of England for a number of years. A. good High Commissioner will stimulate a similar flow, . by appointing skilful lecturers, who, while not exaggerating, will be able to interest and inform provincial English audiences. This discussion should make it plain that honorable members desire something practicable to be done. Political considerations should not influence the appointment of the High Commissioner. Lord Strathcona does good work for Canada, not by reason of his wealth and social position., but because of his constant activity. I have been told by a close acquaintance in the Old Country that he is as active as a man of thirty-five could be, and constantly mindful of Canadian requirements. The eloquence of the Prime Minister, and the earnestness of Mr
Justice Barton, were largely responsible for Federation. They induced the people of Australia to believe that, if the States federated, our population would largely increase in the near future; but, unfortunately, it is almost stationary.
– The annual increase is 2 per cent.
– The figures relating to New South Wales are the most satisfactory for years.
– There is the natural increase of births over deaths; but practically our population is stationary. So far as the development of Australia’s resources is concerned,’ we have only touched the gummed edge of the envelope.
– The New South Wales increase is due to organized effort in London.
– It is evidence of the activity of the Agent-General in encouraging emigration, and rebutting slanders.
– He has done splendid work.
– The Prime Minister last year did much to disturb the slandermongers who besmirch Australia. Very often, too, old Australians residing in Great Britain forget their parentage, and belittle this country, instead of trying to advance its interests. I am a strong supporter of an active immigration scheme, and. am prepared to vote a reasonable sum to give effect to it We should not be niggardly in our allowance to the High Commissioner. Australia has amongst its wealthy men no suitable man for the position.
– And we must not be niggardly in respect of the powers and discretion that we vest in the High’ Commissioner.
– Certainly not. We need a man of ability, and we must give him scope to exercise his ability. If we unduly hamper him we might as well have no High Commissioner in London. I hope that the Prime Minister will give us something more than a mere outline of what he intends to do with regard to advertising our resources. A mere attempt to imitate the patent-pill man - by inserting huge advertisements in newspapers - will not be sufficient. If we have any originality I hope it will be brought to bear in the effort to bring Australia to the front.
.- I, like some members of the Opposition who have discussed the advertising resources of Australia
– Will not the honorable member’s remarks keep until tomorrow ?
– That will suit me.
– I should like first of all to dispose of the item ‘ ‘ Australian Men of Letters Fund, £500.”
– I wish to know why only £5 was expended out of the sum of £500 which we voted last year in respect of the Australian Men of Letters Fund?
– Because I bad to give an undertaking, in order to get the item through, that until a scheme of distribution had been considered by the House no money would be expended.
– Perhaps the Prime Minister will explain what he has done in the matter.
– The scheme of distribution has been in print, and on the table of the House since 24th October last. It proposes -
The scheme further provides that a Committee of three, which will be of a nonpolitical character, shall be chosen, upon whom will be the responsibility of protecting the fund. This Committee will have in each State the assistance of a representative who will inquire into cases arising there and forward particulars. Their reports will be considered by the Committee, who will send on proposals to the Executive Council. If it approves, an Order in Council will be passed, and thereupon the proposed provision will be made. The scheme further provides -
That the provision made in each case be at the rate of not more than £1 per week for an adult, and 10s. per week for each child ; provided that no one family receives more than £2 per week, and provided also that special provision may be made, within the limit of £2 per week, in the case of orphans.
This scheme was drawn up by Sir Langdon Bonython, Professor McCallum of the Sydney University, and the Rev. E. H. Sugden, principal of Queen’s College, affiliated with the Melbourne University. Considering thesmallness of the sum proposed to be voted, they have made proposals which will enable it to go as far as pos- sible. If we can take the scheme to be approved we shall appoint the Committee.
– Will the members of the Committee be politicians?
– No; it will be a nonpolitical body .
. -I have not the slightest objection to the suggestions contained in the printed paper from which the Prime Minister has quoted. The proposal has been gone into as thoroughly and asimpartially as possible, and the recommendations are in every way admirable. Having regard to the amount proposed to be voted. I do not see what else could have been proposed. I am sure that no honorable member of the Opposition will have any objection to the scheme. It isour first recognition - and a very smallone- Australian literature, and as such we ought to pass it unanimously.
– I take that as the unanimous opinion of the Committee ; but before we report progress should like the item to be passed.
– I wouldpoint out that if I were to. adopt the Prime Minister’s suggestion complaint’ might be made later on if I refused to put the items seriatim, . and there might be no finality to our work if items were so put. ‘
– I think that the Prime Minister can take the word of the leader of the Opposition that there will be no objection to the item.
– Will the honorable member support it on behalf of his party?
– I shall individually ; but I am not a leader.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until 3 p.m. to-morrow.
Suspension of Standing Orders - Ruling by Mr. Speaker.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– Before putting . the motion I wish to refer to a point of order raised early this afternoon by the honorable member for Parramatta. I then ruled that our practice had always been to put, without debate, a motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders. I find, however, that there have been exceptions to that rule, and that’ on two ocasions . at least debate has ensued on such a -motion. I shall be pleased, if it be the will of the House, to observe in future the better practice of taking the question without debate.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.19p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 March 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19080324_reps_3_44/>.