3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at. 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs a question in reference to the Gazette notification of vacancies in the Public Service. These notifications sometimes reach Tasmania after the date on which the nominations close, or, at any rate, at such a time that it is not possible for persons to apply. I desire to know whether anything can be dona to remedy that state of affairs?
– The practice in all cases is to advertise the vacancies two or three times prior to their being filled. The honorable member was good enough to submit to me the particular cases he has in view; and it has been discovered that, although they were omitted from’ the issue of the Gazette immediately prior to the one he showed to me, they were advertised in the previous issue, so that there was ample time for applications to be sent in. For the further information of the honorable member, I may say that the Public Service Commissioner always allows sufficient -time for applicants in other States to send their papers in, ‘so that no applications may be missed.
– Can the Prime Minister inform the House whether any payment has been made by the Queensland Government to the Commonwealth Government on account of the expenditure involved in the repatriation of kanakas?
– At the commencement of the repatriation the Queensland Government put at our disposal the whole of the staff which had charge of the introduction and care of the kanakas. Since then the staff has rendered to the Commonwealth every assistance, although I do not for a moment recollect receiving any contribution directly.
– Was there not a sum of £5 per head due ? .
– I have not reckoned, as perhaps I should, the contribution bythe Queensland Government of the sum deposited for the return of the kanakas to their islands.
– Where is it?
– I shall inquire, and let the honorable member know to-morrow.
-At the beginning of the session I drew the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact ‘that the Imperial Government contemplated dealing with oneof the London docks; and I asked whether he would make a recommendation to that Government, with a viewto having some accommodation in the way of cool storage or otherwise for Australian produce provided for in connexion with any Bill introduced. I understood that subsequently a report was received from Captain Collins, and this morning a newspaper cable mentions that there is a prospectof some recommendation resulting in something being done. I should like to knowwhether the Prime Minister has had any official in formation on the question from the Imperia Government ?
– The information we received is, of course, five or six weeks behind that recently cabled. At that time, there were still conflicting proposals, the more important of which were from persons privately interested in the docks, who desired fresh legislation. The answer received up to that time to our representations was that, as the matter was in private hands, the Board of Trade, although it might make some general representations, had no authority to press them. According to the cables in the press, however, there has been an entire transformation of the situation. “ It is now possible, if not probable, that the Imperial Government will undertake the care of the docks, and their reconstruction. In that event, Captain Collins’ former instructions to keep himself closely in touch with the whole question are evidently being carried out by him. In addition, as soon as any steps are taken, further representations are intended to be made by the Commonwealth Government, with a view to obtaining the advice of the States, and I am communicating with the States Governments on the subject.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs on what authority 6d. per gallon is being charged at the Customs House on kerosene, seeing that this House decided that kerosene should be free?
– I have no knowledge that the Customs authorities are charging any duties not authorized by this House. I shall be glad to make inquiries, and let the honorable member know whether or not some mistake has been made.
Discharge Fee : Guards of Honour : Interruption of Training - Naval Proposals
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
In reference to regulation 185 of Part II. tinder the Defence Act -
Does the regulation require a soldier of six and eleven years service to pay a larger discharge fee, if he, after that period, applies for his discharge, than a soldier with five or eight years service?
Under this regulation did it recently happen that a N.C.O. (Sergeant R. T. Evans), with over ten years service, had to pay £4 for his discharge, whilst another, with five years service, was discharged free ?
What discharge money does an officer pay who resigns his commission after ten years service ?
Will he consider these regulations with a view to their revision, so that longer service shall not act as a penalty?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow - 1 and 4. Yes. The regulation referred to reads as follows -
No soldier in the Permanent Forces can claim his discharge until the expiration of his term of service, but, at any time within three months after enrolment, he may, subject to the approval of the District Commandant and his Commanding Officer, obtain his discharge “ Free.”. At subsequent periods he may, subject to the approval of the District Commandant and his Commanding Officer, purchase his discharge at the rates set forth below -
Under one year’s service, £10.
Over one year and under two years’ service, £8.
Over two years and under three years service, £6.
Overthree years and under four years service, £4.
Over four years and under five years service, £2.
The above sums shall be added tothe unexpired value of the soldier’s uniform and kit.
The rates for re-enlisted men are -
For under one year’s re-enlisted service, . £4.
Over one year and under two years re-enlisted service, £2.
Provided that such payments may, for special reasons, be waived by the Commanding Officer, subject to the approval of the District Commandant.
In the case of the Permanent Forces, the Commanding Officer, for purposes of “ discharge,” shall mean the senior permanent officer of his regiment in the district.
It is, however, intended to amend this re gulation by altering the rate for reenlisted service as follows -
For under two years re-enlisted service, £2.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
In reference to the Company R.A.A. mentioned in his reply (Hansard, 19th March, 1908)-
Was the Company then referred to as having its training interrupted No. 6 Company R.A.A. ?
Did the CO., R.A.A., Queenscliff, recommend to the District Commandant that this Company should undergo its annual training last October?
Did the District Commandant then refuse to permit same, and why?
Did the O.C., R.A.A., Queenscliff, then successfully appeal to the Military Board to direct such training to commence in October or November?
Did the District Commandant then so direct the Company to undertake other duties as to render its training at that time impossible and the order of the Military Board nugatory ?
Was the present training of this Company still interfered with by the District Commandant’s order to send its members to act as Guard of Honour to him on Commodore Bouchard’s visit?
What objection has the District Commandant to the annual training of No. 6 Company being completed?
Is the authority of the Military Board over its District Commandant so weak that it can have its orders for immediate training of a Company disregarded for five months?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
As the company training is of the greatest importance to the artillery branch of the service, and entails the expenditure of ammunition to a considerable money value, the Commandant postponed the training to a later period, when senior officers who were absent from the State, going through a School of Gunnery, had returned, and would be available to assist in the training operations. The Commanding Officer, Royal Australian Artillery, afterwards concurred with the Commandant as to the expediency of having senior officers to control company trainings. 4 and 8. No such appeal was made.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether, since he announced the Government Naval policy, in
December last, any further correspondence, in the way of letters or cables, has been received, and, if so, whether he objects to lay that correspondence on the table of the House ?
– I am not quite sure what cabled communications have been published, but shall look into the matter, and inform the honorable member.
In Committee of Supply (Considera tion resumed from 25th March, vide page 9630) :
Department of External Affairs
Division 16 (Miscellaneous),£29,250.
– I should like to offer a few remarks upon the proposed vote in connexion with the repatriation of kanakas. The Prime Minister appears to have forgotten the arrangement which Queensland entered into with the Commonwealth, under which that State agreed to pay £5 per head for the whole of the kanakas deported.
– Oh, no.
– I say that Queensland entered into an arrangement with the Commonwealth’ Government, under which that State contracted to pay £5 per head for every kanaka repatriated. The Prime Minister says “ No.” My answer to his interjection is to be found in the following extract from a letter written by Mr. Kidston, the Premier of Queensland, which is dated 23rd July, 1906 -
The Queensland Government is prepared to co-operate in the work of repatriation to the following extent -
By maintaining and placing at the service of the Commonwealth the whole staff of the Pacific Island Department, and the offices and buildings now occupied by that Department.
By handing to the Commonwealth the sum of per head for every islander deported -
Is not that clear enough? Mr. Kidston added - the amount which was contributed by the employer for the repatriation of each islander.
– Hear, hear.
– Then, what does the Prime Minister meanby saying that no such arrangement was made?
– Evidently we are at crosspurposes. I understood the honorable member to say that I had forgotten the arrangement. It was in reply to that statement that I said “ No.”
– Evidently the Department over which the Prime Minister presides has forgotten it, because no reference to the matter is contained in these Estimates.
– There could not be revenue returns of this kind.
– Why not? Such refunds appear elsewhere in the Estimates. In any case, the total sum payable by Queensland in connexion with the deportation of kanakas ought to have appeared in the estimated revenue.
– I can assure the honorable member that I have had these figures - and our claim in that regard - before me quite a number of times.
– The Prime Minister will note the distinct promise made by the Queensland Government in this connexion as far back as July, 1906. Further, that he, in reply, accepted these terms in the following letter, dated 3rd August of the same year -
I have the honor to inform you that the Federal Government is prepared to accept the responsibility for the execution of the deportation clauses of the Pacific Islanders Act of 1901, on the terms as to co-operation by Queensland, stated in your letter.
– I believe that the money has been credited to a trust fund, and that from the trust fund an amount has been paid towards the cost incurred in deporting kanakas to their island homes.
– That trust fund has been misappropriated by the Queensland Government.
– We have had the money.
– No. The Government may have had what was left of it.
– I think we have received £5 per head for the islanders whom we have repatriated.
– Then where is it shown? I should like to know what has been the total cost of deporting these kanakas from Queensland. We are entitled to this information before we vote the amount which we are asked to appropriate. The kanakas were introduced by Queensland into that State for the benefit of the local sugar planters, and now a tax is being imposed upon the people of the) whole Commonwealth to send them back to their islands.
– That is all “ fudge.”
– It is “fudge” to the honorable member because it exposes to some degree the humbug by which ‘this
House lent approval to the scheme of excise and bonus which requires a Philadelphian lawyer to disentangle. But he cannot impose upon me. His disapproval will not affect my language. I repeat deliberately that the money paid by the Queensland planters into a special fund for the repatriation of the kanakas at the end of their period of service has been misappropriated. I can prove my statement from the facts collected by a Royal Commission which was appointed by the Queensland. Government itself. I wonder whether the honorable member for Wide Bay will call that. “ fudge.”
– That was not the question which prompted my interjection.
– It ‘s a question of this money, which was legitimately subscribed by the Queensland planters for a special purpose, not being available for that- purpose.
– My interjection was prompted by the statement that a tax is being imposed upon the people of Australia for the benefit of the Queensland sugar planters.
– So it is. The charges of repatriation are being borne by the whole people. What is it but an imposition upon the people of the Commonwealth that 75 per cent, of the total sugar revenue finds its way into the pockets of the planters themselves, instead of into the Treasury? I propose to show that this trust fund has been misappropriated by the Queensland Government. Mr. O’Neill Brenan, the Queensland immigration officer, gave the following evidence.
The fund has had to pay out large sums at various times for purposes which were not bond fide charges upon it. For instance, an agitation was got up against the islanders on account of leprosy, and the examination which was made cost nearly £1,000 and, I think, they only discovered one or two lepers. All returned passages collected stand as a credit under its own heading, and I take it that the Government of Queensland have accepted the responsibility of running special hospitals for the islanders, which created the heavy loss standing to the debit of that account. It will, when necessary, carry out any liability to the fund which may exist, up to £5 per head for eac] islander going home.
That money was paid to the Queensland Government. What did thev do with it? I find that they spent upon “ general purposes “ - I suppose that means ordinary expenditure of the State - ^13,168 17s. 7d., and upon hospitals, .£21,530 os. 10d. ; or a total of £34>698 l8s- Sd-
– Upon what hospitals was the money expended ?
– - It was expended upon hospitals prior to 1891.
– Kanaka hospitals.
– - Not altogether. The sum of £1,000 was expended in connexion with a scare. It was alleged that the kanakas were developing leprosy, and that sum was spent in inquiry into the allegation.
– Did the Queensland Government actually deduct .that amount from the money deposited by the planters ?
– Yes, and, in addition, they subtracted £13,168 17s. 7d., which was expended for “ general purposes “ - which I presume means the ordinary services of the State. In other words, the Government of that- State spent £34,000 of that money, so that only a little over £10,000 remained to the credit of the fund. The honorable member for Herbert says very truly that some of this money was expended on hospitals. It must not be forgotten, however, that those hospitals were erected for the use of kanakas as far back as 189 1. With all respect to the honorable member, I should like to know how we can be held responsible for that expenditure, seeing that our legislation was passed at least ten years later, and could not possibly have affected it. The Government appear to have been prepared to accept any proposal made by the Royal Commission appointed by the Government of Queensland. That Commission recommended that nearly £55,000 should be expended on the repatriation of kanakas, and that a large proportion of that amount should be devoted to the erection of buildings which, like the sugar bounties, were to be a gift to the State. I do not know why honorable members do not insist upon Queensland carrying out it’s bargain with the Federation. The only explanation I can offer is that they are tired of everything relating to the kanakas and the sugar industry, and are willing to agree to any vote for which the! Government ask. Even if the Queensland Government had not in hand the money which the planters were required to deposit, the least’ it could have done was to return the kanakas to their islands. Queensland introduced the kanakas for her own purpose, and she should have returned them.
– Were not the planters required to deposit with the Queensland Government £5 for the return of every kanaka -they introduced ?
– They were, and the money so received constitutes the fund which the Queensland Government has misappropriated. I have no desire to labour this matter, but think that an explanation should be given by the Prime Minister. I feel very strongly on this question, because documents in my possession establish a distinct bargain between Queensland and the Federal Government, that the Commonwealth should be paid £5 per head in respect of all kanakas repatriated.
– The honorable member’s statement of the case is perfectly correct, but need’s to be supplemented by the explanation that the Queensland Government have paid the sum of £5 per head in respect of every kanaka whom we have deported.
– In what paper is that fact shown ?
– The item appears in the statement of receipts and expenditure of Trust Funds during the year ended 30th June, 1907, published in the general Budget statement laid before the House. It shows that at that time we had incurred! an expenditure of £13,890, while our receipts were £15,000. We had evidently received some money in advance.
– -Does the statement show that the money was received for the repatriation of kanakas?
– Yes, the amount is credited as receipts.
– From what’ source?
– That does not appear.
– Then how was I to know that the money had been paid over?
– The. honorable member could not tell from what source the money came.
– Was the money received from the Queensland Government?
– Yes; they have paid some £17,000 odd..
– That does not represent £5 in respect of every kanaka repatriated.
– Up to date we have deported 4,187, but of that number 351 went to Fiji at the expense of either the Fiji Government alone, or of the Governments of Fiji and Queensland combined.
We incurred no expense in that case. Up id 30th June, 1907, the. Commonwealth returned 3,553 islanders.
– Many of whom were children.
– There were some children, including a few half-castes. I am informed that we have received payment in respect of all the islanders repatriated up-to-date, and that we shall be paid for the few more remaining, to be returned. Had the honorable member given me notice, I should have put before him these statements, because, unless one were curious enough to look up the item in the last Budget-
– Even then, one could not have identified it.
– It can be identified, because the item, although it does not show the sources from which the receipts were derived, specifically refers to the repatriation of Pacific islanders. As a matter of fact, they were paid in accordance with the agreement. Thev were paid into a trust fund out of the consolidated revenue of Queensland. That, however, is immaterial for a sovereign’ is the same whatever its source.
– Will the honorable gentleman tell us what the work has cost us?
– A sum pf .£8,015 was expended during 1906-7 ; among the items are £2,165 f°r passages to the islands, £3,241 for coastal fares, and £1,114 in respect of salaries of officers.
– I thought that the services of the Queensland officers were to be given free of charge.
– The item relates to salaries of our own officers, who supervised the return of the islanders. We thought it necessary in some cases to employ additional, officers, because there was a great rush at the particular time. The item of £8,015 also includes £686 for the maintenance of islanders awaiting deportation at Brisbane and other ports. Up to 30th June, 1907, 1,867 islanders were returned to the Solomons, 1,360 to the New Hebrides, and 351 to Fiji. The deportation, I am happy to say, has been almost completed. It must be a source of great satisfaction to the House that, despite the very threatening prophesies as to the consequences of the return of the islanders in this way, the work has been successfully carried out. I do not insinuate that there was no warrant for those prophesies, because the experiment of returning in such a- short time so large a number of natives to islands Like the Solomons, which are always in a state of unrest - where inter-tribal quarrels are very frequent1 - was necessarily very hazardous.
– The report of the Royal Commission showed that there were 7,000 Pacific islanders in Queensland.
– There were, but of those 1,000 were exempt, under the Queensland Act:
– About 600.
– I am relying on my recollection of the number, and the honorable member is more likely to be correct, if he has recently examined the figures. Then, again’, some kanakas were exempt under the provisions of the Commonwealth Act, while a few yet remain to be returned.
– That does not account for the 7’, 000.
– I think that I have accounted for nearly the whole of them, but shall be happy to supply the honorable member with a statement on the subject.
– According to the honorable gentleman’s figures there are nearly 3,000 kanakas still in Queensland.
– The honorable member is entitled to have the exact figures, and I shall lay on the table a statement showing the number that were supposed to be in Queensland, the number disposed of, and how many still remain.
– We have not yet learned the net cost to the Commonwealth of returning these islanders.
– I should say, from these figures, that the net cost for the year has been about £8,000, but shall obtain further information on the subject. When in Queensland, I visited the depots where the Pacific Islanders lived while awaiting shipment, and found them to be literally children of a larger growth. In reply to questions put by the officer in charge, they seemed undecided as to when they would go, and I was informed that it was not until a vessel was alongside, and friends or leaders aboard, that many of them determined to leave. To prevent anything but the best of feeling, they were given considerable latitude as to the vessel bv which they would travel, and there was little abuse of this freedom. Some were indifferent about going, others said that they were glad to be getting back to their own country; those who were reluctant to go had become attached to a man or a place. It was gratifying to know that the work was being done without coercion or ill-feeling. The kanakaslooked upon their repatriation as necessary, and accepted it with philosophical equanimity. Others were highly pleased, most were indifferent and variable. I have spent more anxious hours over this business than over any other matter of administration, and the remarkable success which has attended the repatriation has been so gratifying that I have paid comparatively little regard to the exact cost.
.-I understood lastnight that the moment the item before the Committee, when progress was reported, was disposed of, we should proceed with another Division.
– Is no one else to speak?
– Any one may speak who wishes to do so; but last night the debate had practically petered out. I asked for an adjournment to enable the Prime Minister to make his statement regarding immigration to-day, and he then requested me to assist in bringing the discussion to an early conclusion this afternoon ; but I hope that, under the circumstances, he will not hold me responsible for any discussion that may take place. I wish to say a few words regarding immigration. The debate which “we have had has not been too long, considering the importance of the subject. No other lies more at the root of our national existence, and, therefore, as much light as possible should be thrown on it. In the first place, I take exception to the dilatoriness of the Prime Minister in bringing his immigration proposals to a head. The honorable member for Flinders chided me the other night for speaking rather severely on this subject, and said that we should not quibble about mistakes in the early stages. But, were he an old member of the House, he would know that this matter has been before us during the last four or five years, so that it has now become an annual one. It is time, therefore, that a definite proposal was made. ‘ If the Prime Minister cannot take a definite step forward, he should let the people of Australia know it, so that the States Governments may be left to their own responsibilities, to take such action as they think best.
– I was pressing for a definite statement.
– I am expressing impatience at the tardiness shown in regard to this matter. Last year we voted £5,000, of which£i,209 was spent, and this year we are asked to vote£20,000, although the Prime Minister says that it will not be possible to spend more than £5,000. It is a vicious principle to vote larger sums than can be expended during the financial year, because there is nothing to prevent the Ministry from using the money for purposes other than those for which it was voted.
– That will not be done with this vote.
– I do not suggest that the honorable and learned gentleman would do that; but it might be done in the future. Therefore, I think it would be well for him to move to reduce the vote to such a sum as he thinks will be spent. I have listened to many of the statements made during the debate, and especially to the perfervid utterances of Labour representatives. The honorable member for Hindmarsh, speaking with the earnestness and fervour which always characterize his remarks, complained that there is too often what is euphemistically called the “ stinking fish propaganda “ carried on by. Australians resident abroard. It is a strange commentary on that speech of the honorable member that, almost immediately afterwards, a member of his party should rise and contend that there is no need to rapidly press on with this matter - that we should take the greatest care as to how we proceed. The honorable member went on to substantiate that statement by saying that there were thousands of people in Australia to-day working for what is far below a living wage. He gave us a harrowing picture, filling in the details, of men who are employed at a pound a week, and of girls who work for 5s. a week or for nothing. I do not pretend to say there is not a basis of fact for the statements made, but I submit that we neednot drag these details of our secondary industries into a debate of this character. And it seems to me thatthere is a very simple; answer to all that was said. If we make our primary industries as prosperous as they ought to be - if we multiply and broad-base those industries - we shall secure the very best foundation for the prosperity of the secondary industries. Immigration, so far from hindering and fettering secondaryindustries, will make a broader and more certain basis than exists to-dayfor their prosperity. In other words, if we secure such immigrants as will assist in the development of our primary industries, that is the surest way
I know - and I think I am on sound economic ground - of building up those enterprises in the city, which, after all, depend for their life, vitality and prosperity on the people out in the “ farback.” Any welldirected and well -organized scheme of immigration so far from taking a farthing from the wages in the city, will tend to very materially increase them. The honorable member for Wannon last night suggested, quietly and calmly, the desirability of altering our Constitution so as to admit of the Commonwealth acquiring all the lands and railways of the States. That is the honorable member’s idea of facilitating the flow of immigration. There is only one very serious defect in the suggestion, namely, that to take such a course would be to go far beyond the powers of the Federal Government - far beyond the arrangement which was. honorably made with the States when union was effected. The Federal Government will do no good for itself until it makes up its mind to -work well within its constitutional powers as conferred at present. I am not now speaking for the first time on this question in this Chamber; and I say that a great deal of our Federal ill -repute has been brought about by our tendency ‘to work the Federation onthe marginal line between the States and the Commonwealth. Instead of working well within our own powers, and developing them - a process which would give us plenty to do - we have all the time been engaged in a tug of war with the States on the question whether we or they have some particular power. To me the question of population is the riddle of the Sphinx for Australia ; and now, when we approach this supremest of all problems, we. are quietly told that we ought to uproot the Constitution - no doubt by legitimate means - and acquire the lands and railways of the States.
– Is not one of the difficulties of immigration the land question ?
– I know that the remedy proposed opposite is a graduated land tax.
– The honorable member knows that I voted against such a tax.
– I am referring to the Labour Party as a whole. Instead of minding our own Federal business, we have all the while been minding the States’ business, and that has brought about a great deal of our trouble.
– Give one instance where the Commonwealth has interfered with theStates’ business.
– I dare say the honorable member will find a very definite instance at the end of this week, or the beginning of next. I desire to say a word about the remedy suggested, in the shape of a graduated land tax, for the purpose of bursting up large estates. In my judgment, the land of Australia is, in some cases, locked up in far too large areas;’ and something will have to be done to make some of those areas less, and our settlement more concentrated, and, therefore, to make our land production very much more efficient.
– We ought to do thai.
– The people who ought to do it are those who own and control the land.
– The “other fellow” has to do it, while we excuse ourselves.
– The trouble with the. honorable member is that he is the “ other fellow “ to tackle this problem, and he wishes to take away from the States the real power to do so. -If we were to take over all the lands to-morrow, we could not do the work so well as the States could, if. only the States had the will and disposition. Members of the Labour Party say,-. “Hear,- hear;” but may I remind them that the States Parliaments are broadbased on the people’s will, just as much as is the Federal Parliament.
– Is the Legislative Council of Victoria broad-based on the people’s will?
– Or the nominee Legislative Council in Queensland?
– The nominee Legislative Councils in Queensland and in New South Wales are, because they are nominee, easily’ controllable by the popular Chambers. I remind the honorable member for Yarra, that Victoria is not all Australia - that when we are talking about land, Victoria represents only a very small slice. Where there are large areas of fertile land in Australia, the Parliaments are controlled on a basis of one man one vote, and, in some cases, one adult “one vote. It is not a question of whether large estates shall be broken up - the question is by whom is the breaking: up to be done, in order to bring about closer settlement and more intense cultivation throughout the length and breadth of Australia.
Let those who own and control the land do the breaking up ; we are only wasting our time in discussing such proposals as a means to immediate immigration.
– If the States will not do the breaking up, let us exercise our power.
– I remind the honorable members that if the States do not, or will not, do the breaking up, it is because the people of the States will not permit, or do not desire, the breaking up to take place. The States Parliaments represent the same people as we do, and on the same franchise.
– If the States Parliaments will not do their duty, why should we not do our duty ?
– Does the honorable member suggest that the States Parliaments are not doing their duty ?
– Certainly, if they are not breaking up the large estates.
– I remind the honorable member that the States. Parliament have power to do that kind of thing, whereas we have not. Reference was made last night to New Zealand ; and it is strange that the Dominion should be quoted constantly as a place where large estates are broken up, and the lands are easiest of access, and, consequently, where there is the most intense cultivation. But the figures show that) the average holding in South Australia is 800 acres, and in New South Wales 640 acres, while New Zealand stands third on the list, with 550 acres. This shows that New Zealand has larger average holdings, legislation notwithstanding, than there are in the case of Victoria. It is all very well to look over into your neighbour’s field, which always looks green, until you get there. The same table of figures goes on to show that the average holding in France and Germany is 20 acres, in England 56 acres, and in the United States of America, about which we heard so much last night, 128 acres. It would appear, therefore, that a graduated land tax is not the only means of securing closer settlement, seeing that! there is the closest settlement where there is no such tax.
– Averages may be most fallacious.
– I do not desire to push the argument further than it should legitimately go. I only say that, in my judgment, a graduated land tax is not a proposal calculated to give immediate effect to an immigration policy. I wish to say, further, that in many countries where no graduated land tax is operative, there is concentrated production and close settlement. So long as we continue to deal with airy schemes we shall get no genuine scheme of immigration propounded. It seems to ‘me that in discussing this question and that question which do not come within the scope of the powers that we can exercise, we are “ in the clouds.” It would be far better for us to exercise our own powers to their full extent, and to endeavour to attract people to Australia - : -
– We have a lot of “schemes.” What we want is an immigration policY
– That can be propounded only by the Prime Minister. I complain that we have been waiting four or five years for a definite immigration policy. The Prime Minister blames the States for the delay, and the States themselves declare that- they can deal with the question of immigration better than the Commonwealth. Tt is about time that the Prime Minister ceased to dangle this question before the people of Australia, and set about doing something upon his own account by the exercise of the powers vested in the Commonwealth by the Constitution, or tell the people frankly he cannot.
– Does the honorable member think that the States have co-operated properly with the Commonwealth in this matter ?
– No. They affirm that they can deal with the question of immigration better than can- the Commonwealth. They have told the Prime Minister again and again that they do not wish to be troubled with his proposals, and that they are doing well on their own account. If I were in the Prime Minister’s place to-day I should frame an immigration scheme of my own, by the exercise of such powers as we possess, and let the States do the best that they can. Of course, if the States would place areas at our disposal it would be an excellent thing. But we cannot bludgeon them into doing that. At the same time, their refusal to co-operate with the Commonwealth is not a justification for the Commonwealth continuing to do nothing.
– I thought that we ought . to be exceptionally careful in the exercise of our powers, lest we .should infringe States rights.
– I am pointing out that it is time the Prime Minister began to act upon his own account.
– The honorable member is urging me to take anti-State action.
– Not at all. The Prime Minister has been waiting on the States for many years. It is time that he formulated a scheme of his own if he will not assist. I venture to think- that we can do a great deal ourselves without reference to the States. It. is time that the Prime Minister ceased making the beautiful speeches to which we have been accustomed to listen during the past four or five years, and commenced to act. I confess that when I have heard Kim discoursing upon this subject I have been tempted to let my fancy roam, and, in my mind’s eye, T have seen ships laden with immigrants for Australia, who were assured of a warm welcome upon their arrival. I have had these sights burned into my imagination, by listening to his fervid deliverances upon this question during the past four or five years, and he really must forgive me when I grow a little impatient, and ask what he is doing in regard to the matter upon which he discourses so eloquently ?
– The Prime Minister’s oratory is an Australian asset.
– I quite agree with the honorable member. But when we touch his speeches with a little sober reason they somehow melt, into thin air. It is unfortunate that they should be buttressed by so small a substratum of practical reason. I heard some time ago of a meeting which the Prime Minister addressed in London upon the question of Australian defence. I am assured that, as he rolled out his fine periods and told his hearers how we com,.menced our military training with the boys at school, and how every boy was trained to be a-soldier; some of the old wise heads exclaimed, “ My word, that was a speech worth listening to. We aire learning something to-night.” An Australian who happened to be present, interjected just here, “Yes. I am. learning something too.” No doubt, the speech served its purpose. In saying this I do not wish to detract for one moment from the . great service which the Prime Minister rendered to Australia during his recent visit to Great Britain. But after the cloud of lavender language, spoken in “ liquid lines, mel 11fluously bland “-
– The Prime Minister had better resign.
– I can assure the honorable member that I am not a competitor with the Prime Minister in the matter of rhetorical embellishment. All I ask for is some tangible result from all the beautiful speeches to which we have been so long accustomed to listen. I stated the other evening that the £20,000 proposed to be expended in advertising our resources in the Mother Country was too much to fritter away. If we are going to adopt an effective scheme of immigration, the amount is not nearly sufficient. It is merely a drop in the bucket. The sooner that we have a bolder scheme than any that has yet been forecasted the better.
– Is it practicable to get such a scheme in the absence of the cooperation of the States?
– The honorable member is really too impatient. I think I shall have served my purpose if I induce the Prime Minister to tell us what is really in his mind upon this matter, so that wemay be enabled to view the future with whatever equanimity may come to us from his discourse.
– The honorable member said just now that we ought not to interfere with the States.
– I cannot endow the honorable member with the wherewithal to appreciate my argument. I have pointed out again and again that there are certain things that we can do irrespective of the States, and I do not think that we ought to wait upon the States if they will not fall into line with us. At the same time, if they would co-operate with us, our proposals would be infinitely more effective. Now, what are we to do in this matter? There can be no doubt as to the gravity of the question. Only the other day, I read an article which seemed to me to put the position in a nutshell. It is all very well for us to concentrate our gaze, on the crowded cities, and upon the poor sweated operatives there whose condition every one of us, I am sure, .desires to better. But that is not all that we have to consider in connexion with the settlement of Australia. There is a view which is even more vital to our national existence, and that view is put very concisely in the article to which I refer. In it the writer says -
The present population of the globe may be roughly estimated as 1,700 millions, of which some, goo millions are in Asia. On the basis of an increase of only i per cent, per annum these figures will be doubled in 60 years. The present increase in Australia is about 2 per cent., so that in taking the lower ratio for the world a good margin has been allowed for the decimating influences of plagues, famines, and wars. We must thus face the problem of some 1,700 millions of additional people having to spread themselves over the unoccupied areas of the globe within the next 60 years, or within the lifetime of some who are children to-day.
Thus while 1,700,000,000 will be added, to the population of the globe during the next fifty years, at our present rate of increase, Australia’s population will then be only comparatively few. The question, therefore, arises whether theworld will permit an empty continent like this to continue unsettled while its own population has doubled in the already congested areas outside of Australia. We ought to keep that view in mind when we discuss the ways and means of filling up. Australia with what I hope will be a happy and contented people.
– That used to be a popular argument eighty years ago.
– I do not see the relevance of that interjection.
– The danger then apprehended was that of over-population, but that has ceased to be a difficulty.
– -The honorable member is referring to the teachings of Malthus.
– I am not discussing that aspect of the matter. I am in entire agreement with all the disproof of the theory propounded by Malthus, and .1 do not believe that the world is overpopulated at all, if we are able to make the teachings of science and the growing knowledge of the community available to the’ people. Otherwise there is a very serious problem of over-crowding ahead of us- For instance, it is said that bv the adoption of only ordinarily intelligent methods of production, America could sustain a population of 660,000,000 in lieu of 80,000,000. But that statement rests upon the supposition that we have in future a system of good government, and that we shall be able to do those things which to-day are but remote possibilities. If we could press into the service of mankind all the knowledge that we possess to.dav, what a better world it would be. But somehow or other when we attempt to do that, the human ego will creep in and upset all our schemes. We must, therefore, endeavour from the experience of the past to forecast the future.
There is the fact that the population of Australia is increasing very slowly, whilst the peoples of other countries are running ahead of us. They are filling their cradles whilst ours are comparatively empty.
– Our rate of increase, it is estimated, will be doubled.
– But even if it be doubled, in fifty years’ time we shall be only a few in Australia, whilst the world .will have added 1,700,000,000 to its already congested areas. That is the point I wish ‘ to make. In connexion with a scheme of immigration, we must keep our eyes on these cardinal facts. of the situation, because they alone are the guiding stars that we should follow. While congested areas exist outside, what is happening with .regard to immigration to Australia ? A return issued by the Emigration Information Office, in London, shows that last vear 85,000- emigrants left the United Kingdom for the United States of America, where there is a population of 80,000,000; whilst only 9,000 left for Australia, where there is a population of 4,000,000. That is a very serious aspect of affairs.
– It is much easier to get from Great Britain to America than it is to come out here.
– I know that it is; but does not that fact emphasize the problem we have to meet? Our difficulties must be met.
– -The figures quoted by the honorable member show that the number of immigrants to Australia in proportion to our population was greater than the number of immigrants to the United States of America
– But the proportion relatively to our area of unoccupied lands was infinitely less.
– Is the honorable member taking into consideration the whole of Central Australia?
– I am. I venture to say that just as there is every conceivable kind of land in America, so there is in Australia. We have our arid and semi-arid tracts of country, and America has the’ same. The right honorable member, who has given a great deal of attention to this matter must be aware that in the United States of America there are no less than 11,000,000 acres under irrigation. Intense cultivation, rather than large areas of sparsely and imperfectly cultivated lands, is to-day the basis of the prosperity of other countries.
What can we do to remedy the present state of affairs? The first step is the appointment of a central authority in London for the purpose of looking after the work. I have been very tardy in coming to the decision that we require a High Commissioner for Australia, having in view the fact that all the States have agencies in London. We were told definitely by the Prime Minister and his colleagues in pre-Federation days that one of the advantages of the union was to be the doing away of the States agencies, and the centralizing of our authority in London by the appointment of a High Commissioner for Australia. I believed that that was the way to proceed. But here again the States will not do anything towards the consolidation and economising of their agencies in London, and the time has come for us to have our own High Commissioner, and to set up our own authority and influence in the great metropolis of the world. The very beginning of this question of immigration seems to me to be the appointment of a representative of the Commonwealth in London, clothed with all the authority and appurtenances to enable him. to bring the case for Australia adequately before the people of the old world. After appointing a High Commissioner, what else can we do? Tha answer comes at once in another question : “ What are they doing elsewhere? What, for instance, are Canada and other countries doing?” Are honorable members aware that last year 250,000 immigrants went to the Argentine, and that this year it is anticipated that 400,000 more will go into the States of South America which have unsettled government, and where there is nothing like the security for capital and enterprise that exist in Australia? Into those unsettled portions of the globe emigrants are streaming by hundreds of thousands from the overcrowded centres of Europe. How is the Argentine securing them? By going about the work in a business-like way; showing the people the advantages to be derived from going to the Argentine, assisting them if need be to get there, and doing every thing possible to make easy their lot when ‘they arrive. They do not stop to find every man a block of land before he emigrates. I believe that only 10 per cent, of the immigrants to Canada go directly on the land, and I venture to say that a very small proportion of ‘the immigrants to the Argentine go directly to settle upon the land. They go there as many of us came to Australia - ready to turn ‘their hands to anything that will enable them to make a comfortable living, and in the hope of ultimately getting on their feet and prospering. That is what must take place here if we are to have a steady stream of immigration such as will benefit Australia.
– Reasonable facilities for getting on the land are offered both in Canada and the Argentine.
– It is strange then that only 10 per cent’, of the immigrants to Canada find their way to. the land. As the honorable member knows- it is one thing to go on the land, and quite another matter to maintain themselves on it. The best men we can have to settle on the land are those who have some knowledge of the country, and who know something of its methods, customs, and laws. If we are merely going to bring here people who can be conducted to a piece of land immediately on their arrival, we shall not do anything to solve that grave national and racial problem to which the figures I have quoted unmistakably point. We have to consider, not the perfect plan - not what’ we should like or what would be best - but what is possible, and make the best use of our possibilities. The other day I saw in the Manchester Guardian, an advertisement which struck me as being a rather cute one. . lt related to the advantages of New South Wales, but evidently some cute Canadian had put a heading to it’ so that it read : “ Canada - New South Wales.” Immediately beneath that heading appeared a statement in plain language as to good wages and work being available for healthy, strong young people, and as to assisted passages to New South Wales. The advertisement also indicate3 where reliable information could be obtained.
– Probably the man who wrote it thought that the people to whom it was directed had never heard1 of New South Wales, and possibly that was true.
– Very probably ; but it is still more probable that some cute Canadian had had something to do with tHe advertisement. This, at all events, is a specimen of the way in which Australia is being advertised to-day. Could anything better demonstrate the wisdom of at once making our advertising appliances effective and adequate? I do not know exactly what is being done by older countries, but it occurs to me that, instead of confining our efforts to the great metropolitan centres of Great Britain, we need to get right down to the rural villages of the Old Country to intercept that steady stream of men and women leaving for the metropolitan centres at Home, and get them out here upon our sparsely populated lands. Here they would do very much better than they would by go:ng to sweat and swelter in the metropolitan centres of the old world. I saw the other day a very admirable suggestion by a clergyman who had lately returned from a trip to the Old Country. He urged that we should enlist the services of the clergymen of rural villages, and give them every facility to secure immigrants for Australia. The ministers are the most influential personages in the rural districts of the Old Country, and would make admirable recruiting agents, securing for us the very best class of immigrants. We must first establish our authority in London, and then have our ramifications stretching through the rural districts of the Old Land. We must let the people know that in Australia there is every advantage that can be found elsewhere ; that we can match and overmatch every facility to be found in Canada or the United States of America, and that we have room for hundreds of thousands of healthy, strong, brawny, intelligent people who care to come here and carve out homes for themselves. That is the way to settle the industrial problems of Australia. We must give intending immigrants a favorable bias rather than urge, as is constantly alleged by some honorable members of the’ Labour Party, that it is impossible for them to get a living, or even a bare existence in our cities. This is the kind of immigration that would help the cities and advantage all concerned. We shall have to cease constantly decrying our own conditions and resources. I am glad to see the honorable member for Calare in his place, because I want to say that if the speech that he made last night were cabled Home it would cause more fish to stink than any other speech which has been made for a long time either in or outside this Chamber. The picture which he drew last night of the sweated conditions of our cities - I have not a word to say about its accuracy
– It is unfortunately true.
– I have not a word to say against it on that score, but I think that it was ill-timed, and may be used to our detriment in other portions of the globe. The better way to proceed is, first, to develop our primary industries, the prosperity of which will enable the sweated population of the cities to demand higher wages and healthier and pleasanter conditions. There are other’ suggestions which I could make, but I do not wish to occupy too much time. The Prime Minister has indicated that, in his opinion, there is a favorable .field for immigration in the Northern Territory. Whatever may happen in the future, we cannot, at present, dump immigrants there. That is not a proposal which could be discussed in connexion with practical measures for peopling the continent.
– Immigrants, if placed there, would drift away again.
– Yes. ‘ We cannot keep our own people there, people inured to tropical conditions ; therefore, it is not likely that people from colder countries would stay there.
– How does the honorable member expect to keep out the millions of Asia ?
– I do not know that the question is relevant. I think that so long as we have the protection of the British Fleet, we shall be able to keep out Asiatics. Perhaps, at some future time, the Northern Territory will fill up ; it is the wish of my heart that it may. That would help to solve the defence problem. But just now we are discussing ways and means for peopling our. temperate latitudes, where offspring may be reared under conditions making for the virility of the race. The populating of the Northern Territory must be left to the future, as our teeming millions expand. I ask the Prime Minister to tell us, frankly, what is in his mind regarding immigration. To keep the continent empty, in view of the congested millions of other countries, is nothing less than an affront to the civilization of the world.
.- The’ honorable member for Parramatta observed that the speeches of many honorable members showed them to be in the clouds in this matter, and I must admit that I am in the clouds as to what he proposes.
– He asked what the Prime Minister intends to do with the money voted.
– Yes ; but I should like to know what his position is. He has found fault with every proposal put forward from, this part of the Chamber, and with the Government for having done nothing. Of course, it is not the business of an Opposition leader to propose a definite scheme, though any definite suggestions promising success would be listened to with great interest; but we should know what his general views are. His statement that a High Commissioner should Be appointed to organize the immigration department, and to advertise our resources, did not assist us very much, because we all admit that such an appointment is necessary. I have been in favour of it for years, and shall vote for the Bill when introduced. I think that a High Commissioner has not been appointed because of the difficulty in choosing a suitable person. Such an officer would do a great deal of useful work, not only in regard to immigration, but in advising the Government about finance, in putting the Australian ‘ view, and in combating the “stinking fish” party’s utterances against Australia. The deputy leader of the Opposition took exception to the statement of the Labour Party that, before any scheme of immigration can be adopted, a certain area of land must be made available for immigrants, and that a progressive land tax is necessary . to make land available. He told , us that if we wish to increase our population we must develop our primary industries, which will benefit our secondary industries. We all admit that; but it is quite apart from the statement which has been made regarding the need for unlocking our lands. The honorable member admitted that all the more easily accessible and fertile land is now locked up ; that there is not enough land available for applicants in Australia. But he says it is the business of the States to unlock it, and he complains that many troubles come upon us because we exceed our powers. He practically stated, however, that the States show no inclination to unlock their land.
– On the contrary, in New South Wales that work is proceeding apace.
– The honorable member seemed to be of the opinion that, if the States would not throw open their lands, that was their business, and not ours, because the States Parliaments are controlled by the people of the States.
– Is it not true?
– Of course it is. If the States throw open their lands, Federal legislation for the purpose will be unnecessary ; but those charged with bringing immigrants here must know that there is land for them to go on to. To complain that the Commonwealth Government is doing nothing, while admitting that the land is all locked up, is ridiculous. It is useless to complain of the inaction of the Commonwealth Government while the States do nothing to render immigration possible. The charge against those who are continually emphasizing the need for unlocking the lands a.s a preliminary to an immigration movement, that thev are trying to prevent immigration, is absurd. What was the use of the honorable member dwelling on the march of population in other parts of the world, and the immense advantage which would accrue to Australia by having a larger population here ? Those facts are admitted ; but nothing can be done until the land is unlocked by the States, or, as the’ result of a progressive land tax imposed by the Commonwealth.
– We must first take care to hold our own population.
– Exactly. It will be admitted that for some time we have been unable to do that, though there has been an improvement recently in this connexion. I am glad to say that in South Australia there has been a large gain of population, as the result of some good seasons and the opening up of fresh country. Undoubtedly, Australia will ultimately carry a large population, but we must remember that a great deal of the continent is arid land, which cannot be profitably occupied under present conditions. We hear honorable members saving that we should be unable to hold or defend Australia, because our population is only so many to the square mile ; hut when we talk like that, we ought to limit our remarks to that part of Australia which can be profitably occupied. There are large areas in Australia- which at present can only be used for grazing or breeding stock, and, indeed, there are many parts where it would be impossible to do even that. As for a progressive tax, that is a .reform ‘which at present appears to be impossible in the States. One difficulty is represented- by the Legislative Councils, which - and it is of no use blinking the fact - are a complete barrier to a progressive land tax. Of course, in New South Wales and Queensland, the nominee
Legislative Councils can, in the last resort, be compelled to respond to the people’s will.
– They are a barrier all the same.
– But not an insurmountable barrier. I question very much, however, whether at the present time it would be possible to pass a land tax measure of any sort, even through the Legislative Council of Queensland.
– There is a heavy land tax in Victoria.
– That is not an unimproved value tax. I should say that Melbourne and suburbs represent most of the land values of Victoria, and yet the lands there bear no taxation.
– Those lands could not be “ burst up,” and it would not do any good if they could.
– That is very questionable. However, I am now only dealing with the general principle, and contending that the States Parliaments, as at present constituted, will not pass progressive land tax measures.
– As at present constituted the Federal Parliament will not pass a progressive land tax.
– I do not know whether it will or not, but I do know that the people of Australia can, ifthey choose, send to this House a Parliament pledged to a progressive land tax.
Colonel Foxton. - And they can do the reverse, as, indeed, they have done.
– At any rate, they have the power to elect such a Parliament as I have indicated. In the States, however, the people have no such power. In South Australia, although the people might, by an overwhelming majority, be in favour of a progressive land tax, they could not have that reform because of the opposition of the Legislative Council, which represents only a fraction of the electors. We were told by the honorable member for Parramatta that the people govern the States ; but that is true only in a limited sense, so long as one House, which represents only a fraction, has as much power in the legislation as the popular House.
– I say that no nominee House can prevent the will of the people prevailing.
– I have just said so; and, therefore, in New South Wales and Queenslandthe people are all right.
– And Queensland and New South Wales represent half the population of Australia.
– But what about the other half?
– Does the honorable member say that it is impossible to get any reform in the other States?
– Then what is to be done?
– Under the circumstances, the people are turning to the Federal Parliament as the only one which truly represents them as a whole.
– Let the honorable member tell the people of South Australia that, with a Labour Government in power, nothing can be done with the Upper House !
– The honorable member knows that that is the fact.
– Why did Mr. Price not ask for a double dissolution when he was challenged ?
– Ask another conundrum. At present, I am dealing with the broad question whether the people of the States can bring about the legislation they desire.
– They can if they will.
– And Isay that, with the Legislative Councils as at present constituted, it is impossible for the people to have their way.
– That is so in Victoria.
-And also in South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia. Four States, therefore, are controlled equally as much by Legislative Councils, representing a fraction of the people, as they are’ by Legislative Assemblies, representing the whole of the people. . In South Australia, for instance, the property qualification under the Constitution is high enough to give two-sevenths of the people a representation in the Legislative Council equal to that exercised by the whole people in the popular House. That ‘is the reason why this land question has become a Federal matter, though I admit it would be infinitely better if the States could do the work themselves.
– What the honorable member says in effect is that, if there had beenno Federation, reform would have been absolutely impossible for all time in Australia.
-I do not say anything of the kind. What I say is that the States can do nothing in the way of a progressive land tax until that reform has the support of the majority of the very small minority which governs the Legislative Councils. This has become a Federal question, not because we desire to infringe on the rights and privileges of the States, but because the Federal Parliament represents the only way out to the people, who are, all round, urging, notwithstanding some States politicians to the contrary, that the Commonwealth should have more and more power. Personally, I feel quite certain that, so far from being limited, the powers of the Federal Parliament will be extended in the future. When a progressive land tax is proposed as essential to a scheme of immigration, we are usually met by the stock argument that such a tax means confiscation. But the compulsory purchase suggested as the alternative is, I contend, equally confiscation- if one is confiscation, so is the other. It has been suggested by, amongst others, I believe, the leader of the Opposition, that the States Governments should undertake a large system of compulsory purchase-; but, if the States Governments were to go into theland market at the present time, when there are more applicants than there is land to supply, the very fact would give rise to fictitious values, the advantage of which ought by no means to go to the present holders. Of course, the producing value of the land would not be altered’, but the purchasing value would be so increased if the Government entered upon any large re-purchasing system that the community generally would have what really belonged to them confiscated. Whicheversystem we may adopt, we cannot avoid either sacrificing the few in the interests of the many, or sacrificing themany in the interests of the few. Personally I do not agree that the term “ confiscation “ is the correct one to employ in this connexion, but I hold that so far as confiscation does take place, it cuts both ways. If the Government were to enter upon a large re-purchase scheme with a view to securing land upon which immigrants might settle, the effect of their action would be to enormously inflate land values.
– To give land a fictitious value.
– Exactly. However much honorable members oppositemay declaim about the iniquity of anyproposal which would have the effect of artificially decreasing the value of land, and however much they may term it “ confiscation ‘’ and “ robber,” the fact remains that to artificially inflate land values is equally robbery.
– How can land values be artificially increased ?
– The answer to that question is obvious.
– Order ! I am afraid that the honorable member is now travelling a little beyond the scope of the question.
– I do not think that the honorable member for Franklin requires a reply to his inquiry.
– The Victorian boom showed how land values may be artificially increased.
– Those values very soon “ bumped back “ again. Land is like everything else - it is only worth what one can get out of it.
-I think that the honorable member’s statement is altogether a too narrow one. The real value of land is its productive value, which is quite another matter from the value which one may be able to get out of it. Whilst the lands of Australia are locked up, and whilst the States which control them refuse to unlock them, it is idle for honorable members to urge - as did the deputy leader of the Opposition - that the Government ought to go in for a large scheme of immigration. So far as the Labour Party are concerned, we believe in immigration, but we do not believe in an immigration scheme which will simply result in the overcrowding of the cities, and in men competing against each other for the small amount of employment that is at present offering. Unless we can enlarge the opportunities for employment in our primary industries, it is idle for us to bring more men hereto compete for the work that is available. Until we can extend our primary industries, and thus develop our secondary industries, it is useless to talk about immigration. Consequently, the position that we have taken up is a logical one. We hold that it is essential that the unlocking of the lands of Australia should accompany any system of immigration. The deputy leader of the Opposition stated to-day that only 10 per cent. of the immigrants to Canada settled upon the land, and that, therefore, we did not need to provide land for every immigrant introduced. That statement is perfectly true. But in
Canada land was under offer to every immigrant before he set foot upon the vessel which was to take him across the Atlantic. Under the conditions which prevail in the Commonwealth, however, there is no guarantee that immigrants would be able to obtain land upon their arrival here.
.- I admire the attitude taken up by the Government upon this matter, and I was rather surprised at the criticism of the deputy leader of the Opposition this afternoon. I think that it is our duty to assist the Government - by making suggestions,’ for example, some of which may prove of value - to frame a successful scheme for attracting immigrants to this country. We have plenty of landavailable, but we lack” a proper system of settling immigrants upon it. I am advised that only 5 per cent. of the Crown lands of Queensland have been alienated. Therefore, there is still 95 per cent. of those lands available for settlement. Of my own knowledge I know that on the Darling and Murrumbidgee Rivers, if money were expended in irrigation, a large population could be established upon small areas on which they could grow lucerne and other stock fodders.We also know that if a private individual desires to let land he first of all improves it by the erection of a homestead. Should the Commonwealth assume control of the Northern Territory, my own view is that each block should be properly marked out and houses erected upon a certain number of them, so that the moment an immigrant arrived there he would have a roof over his head.
– Was not that what the Victorian Government did in connexion with the Exford Estate?
– No. They started to erect two or three cottages-
– Would not the honorable member provide them with a wellstocked store-room in addition to the cottages ?
– I may tell the honorable member that when the early immigrants arrived in Victoria we had an Immigrants’ Home established for their accommodation. The same provision is made in Canada. At Winnipeg 1,000 immigrants are accommodated in the Home which has been established there. Because there has been one failure in Victoria that does not show that the policy involved is a bad one. As illustrating my contention, I might point to the fact that the Tourists’ Bureau in New
South Wales is one of the best managed institutions that I have seen in any country. Any person who has visited it in search of information concerning the favorite resorts of that State will freely acknowledge this. If our Labour Bureau in Victoria were only conducted upon similar lines I do not think that we should hear any complaints to the effect that twenty-seven men had been unable to obtain employment. But I look to an immigration scheme chiefly from the stand-point of our defence. Population means safety. Is there any danger, for example, of a foreign nation seizingthe United States? Yet 100 years ago those States probably did not possess a greater population than we have to-day. It is all nonsense to argue that there is no room for immigrants in Australia. We all know that every person settled upon the land must employ labour. We must also recognise that in every country there is a percentage of unemployed. If there were only two men in Australia, the probability is that one of them would be occasionally unemployed. I suggest that the States and Commonwealth in times of prosperity, when there is an overflowing Treasury, might set apart a certain portion of the surplus revenue to meet bad seasons, when there would be a considerable number- of unemployed. At such times national works which have been carefully prepared beforehand - such as big irrigation works and the construction of railways - might be proceeded with. If, for instance, we are going to build what is called the “ desert “ railway, its construction might be undertaken in times of depression.
– We could not make a small population bear the cost of a big irrigation scheme.
– A big irrigation scheme would pay for itself. I think it was the deputy leader of the Opposition who stated that 11,000,000 acres of arid country in the United States were now being irrigated. We have in Australia at times a magnificent rainfall. I have seen the Murrumbidgee overflow its banks for 7 miles in one night. If at such times the surplus water were conserved, I venture to say that the area which could be irrigated would provide employment for a very large number of persons.
– Why not settle the country which enjoys a good rainfall ?
– That is all right. But some honorable members have urged that there is no land upon which we can settle immigrants upon their arrival here. I wish to point out that there are 6,000,000 acres available in Victoria, in addition to large areas in New South Wales and Queensland. There is plenty of room for the people to settle on the lands of Australia if they are only worked on a proper system. In the National Review’ for February, there is a very excellent article by Mr. James J. Hill, with reference to the future of the United States. In the course of that article, the writer, in dealing with the increase of population, and the settlement of the land, says -
Men are scarcer as the movement of population to the cities grows more pronounced. A considerable portion of our magnificent annual crop is either reduced in quality or altogether lost by reason of the impossibility of getting labour to handle it properly.
And yet we are told that we have a great number of unemployed in Australia. The trouble is to transfer the unemployed to the districts where employment from time to time is offering. We need a Federal Labour Bureau, having branches in different parts of the States, and equipped with facilities for transferring our unemployed to any district in which there is an. active demand for labour. All that is necessary is system and good management. In the article to which I have referred, the writer deals with the position of Japan -
For half a century Japan has been studying and assimilating the best to be found in the world, Japan is a world’s university for instruction in the art of agriculture. Her national greatness is not merely built upon that, it grows out of that as the grain itself- springs from the soil. Of her 45,000,000 people, 30,000,000 are farmers. The whole body is supported by a cultivated area of but 19,000 square miles.
We have near the coast plenty of good land suitable for settlement, and if in Japan a population of 48,000,000 can exist on 19,000 square miles of cultivated country, how many people should Australia, which is one of the finest countries in the world, be able to carry? We hear a great deal about New Zealand, but, taking acre for acre, Victoria has far superior resources.
– And Tasmania, in that respect, is better than both.
– In some parts of Tasmania, there may be still better land. It is idle to say that we have no room for more . people in Australia. We have ample room, and I am sure that the Ministry, if supported in their efforts in this direction, will submit a proper scheme that will make the unpeopled areas of Australia available to the surplus population of Great Britain.
– I made -one or two unsuccessful attempts last night to secure an opportunity to offer a few observations on this subject, and, although the debate has been a very long one, I propose to make them now. The honorable member for Balaclava has; charged the deputy leader of the Opposition with failure to appreciate the action of the Government in respect to this proposal, and with having seriously criticised it.
– I do not think that his complaint was as strong as that.
– I do not rise to vindicate the action of the deputy leader of the Opposition, but my analysis of his speech is that he thoroughly approves of some attempt being made by the Government to induce immigration to Australia, but regards this proposed vote as a mere placard.
– Most advertisements are placards. The item is for that purpose.
– Quite so; but we expect from a Government, not advertisements, but a policy. I understood the deputy leader of the Opposition to criticise the Government for having placed on the .Estimates a large sum - a sum which they themselves say cannot possibly be expended during the financial year - in order to make it appear to the world that they are doing their utmost to encourage immigration. My attitude towards the Government in this matter is one of congratulation. I congratulate them upon the entire change of front on the part of the honorable gentleman at their head. One cannot help recalling those national scandals which have so seriously affected the reputation of Australia - scandals popularly known as “the six hatters,” “the six potters,” and “ the groom, the housemaid, and the tourist.” We cannot forget that Australia has been made the laughing-stock of the civilized world by some of the absurd legislation passed by. this Parliament during the last seven years. One has only to refer to a Communication lately received by the Government from the AgentGeneral of New South Wales in order to show that the incidents which I have mentioned have done more injury to Australia than, anything else that has occurred in its history.
– The cases are three years old, and the legislation in question has since been amended.
– I repeat that my attitude towards the Government is one of congratulation that they have seen the error of their ways, and are now seeking to run to the other extreme, in order to remedy their mistakes. The feeling of the Opposition in this matter is correctly represented by the scriptural’ line that there is joy in “ heaven over one sinner that repenteth. Nothing could be more refreshing than this admission on the part of the Prime Minister that all our legislation which has had the effect of preventing honest, able, healthy men from coming to Australia has been wrong, and that the time has come, not only for removing restrictions on immigration, but for spending thousands of pounds to restore the flow of immigration to Australia.
– Many thousands came in last year.
– We have latterly been. paying money to induce them to come here.
– Most of them came to New South Wales, and the Premier of. that State was engaged in negotiating for many months with the Prime Minister with a view to induce him to remove the restrictions against immigration. _ The present position, therefore, is one for congratulation. It “is a sort of oasis in the desert:’ of “restriction to which we have been accustomed in this House. I have watched Australian politics as keenly as do most “men, and do not hesitate to say that, not “only the legislation pf this Parliament, but the action of the Labour Party, the labour press, the labour unions, and that of the Prime Minister himself in the past, have combined to so seriously stop the flow of immigration to Australia. If it were necessary to produce evidence as to the cause of this stoppage, I could refer honorable members to a very important document which appears amongst our Parliamentary Papers for 1905. I refer to a memorandum bv the Agents-General on the question of immigration. What I or any other honorable member of the Opposition might say in this regard would be open to the suspicion of being coloured by party feeling. If we were to attribute the dearth of immigration to the legislation of this Parliament, such criticism would be characterized as that of thoroughly partial critics. The Agents-General, however, are in a” totally different position. They are outside our political life; their tendency is to be loyal to the constituted authorities, and to make as light as possible of anything that is considered inimical to the interests of Australia. This memorandum, which is dated November, 1905, contains certain passages, which I think the public of Australia ought to have put before them, if they have not yet been published in the newspapers. Writing in regard to the causes that have operated to prevent immigration, the Agents-General say -
To these must be added the Immigration Restriction Act, especially the language test and contract provisions. As pointed out by us in our report upon “ Advertising . the Resources and Development of the Commonwealth,” the language test and contract provisions of the Act referred to have proved veritable stumbling blocks to us in our work, and have had a most prejudicial influence on the public opinion of every part of this Kingdom. Lest we should be misunderstood, we would like to emphasize the fact that we are strongly in sympathy with the desire of our fellow Australians to preserve Australia’ for the white races, and to maintain a high standard of living and of wages; but we should be. very blind indeed -if we were not aware that, of the many causes that have tended to prejudice Australia in the estimation of the public, none has had an influence so widespread and striking as’ the cases” which have arisen under the contract provisions of the Immigration Restriction Act. It is true that persons who have ill-will towards Australia have grossly exaggerated the cases to which we refer, but, however arising, the fact that these cases have happened has led the press and business, men to a close examination of the Act, and to the discovery of the sweeping range of the language test, and of the severe nature of the penalties imposed. The press of this country has not been slow to point out that if a mechanic or an agricultural labourer goes to Australia under contract to perform manual labour, he becomes liable to six months’ imprisonment ; and that the wording of the contract clause has a tendency so wide as to appear even to include domestic servants of all kinds. We have endeavoured to defend the position of the Commonwealth, on the grounds that the provisions objected to are for emergent use, and that common-sense is the prevailing characteristic of the Australian people ; but our explanations pass unheeded amidst the recurrent clamour which arises whenever the six hatters are mentioned. Nor have we found that it assists matters overmuch to refer to the legislation of other countries. The section of the Act itself is taken as typical of the real attitude of Australia towards the question of immigration. The title and wording of the Act, and the reports of the cases that have occurred, exaggerated as they have been by repetition, are deeply impressed upon the minds of the great bulk of the people. Even the more thoughtful elements of the community, who are aware of the genesis of the language test, and accept it as a more or less illogical compromise, made at the instance of the Imperial Government, strongly resent the contract provisions. They cannot understand why_ 4,000,000 of British people, living 13,000 miles away from the Motherland, and admittedly suffering from lack of population, should exclude the occasional British artisan or labourer, against whom the section is aimed.
There is much more of the same kind, showing that an impartial writer - obviously, by his language, anxious to vindicate the right of Australia to pass this legislation - has yet to admit, and to inform the authorities here, that these very cases have created a prejudice and a misconception with regard to Australia that has caused the flow of immigration to practically stop. The Government cannot say that they were not warned of the probable effects of the legislation in question. A number of honorable members of the Opposition, including myself, over and over again pointed out at the time that we were passing legislation which would lead to the sort of scandal that actually did arise under it. That six honest, reputable, competent workers in the hat trade should have been kept standing on the door step of this country waiting to be admitted - no matter how much the facts may have been exaggerated - must have come as a shock and a surprise to every civilized community. That incident was followed by the case of - six equally reputable and equally competent potters, who had been specially chosen in England for ‘“their skill, and brought to this country to further one of our own- industries. Then we have the extraordinary cases of the groom who came here to manage the horses of the present Agent-General of Queensland, and of the maid who accompanied that gentleman’s wife. Following’ them was the case of the tourist, a man of means, in business in England, who was arrested in Tasmania, and, with his daughter, detained until ‘ papers could be obtained .to show that, although a white man and a Britisher, he was entitled to travel in the Commonwealth. Exaggerated statements may have been made regarding these cases, but there was no denying the underlying facts, and their publication made us the laughing-stock of Europe and America. It is not surprising that, as the Agents-General say, our legislation and its consequences have had the effect of frightening people from coming here. One of the most notorious instances in which immigration has been blocked occurred in connexion with the proposal of General Booth to send out 5,000 families. Many persons may take exception to General Booth’s methods; but he is a man whose word is to be relied upon, and, knowing the exception taken by the working classes, of Australia to the importation of workmen likely to unfairly compete against them, he gave the assurance that those whom he sent out would be approved by the authorities here. He proposed to send out, not at our expense, but at the expense of the Salvation Army, with money provided by the English people, 20,000 eligible and desirable immigrants - allowing four to a family. They may not have been desirable from the labour stand-point ; but those who recognise Australia’s need for population were anxious that they should come. The labour newspapers, from Western Australia to Queensland, condemned the proposal as inimical to the interests of the Commonwealth, complaining, first, that those to be sent out would be paupers, and, next, that if they cameout supplied with money to buy farms, they would be capitalists. The honorable member for South Sydney, who was then leader of the Labour Party, also spoke of them as belonging possibly to an undesirable class,, and every discouragement was shown to the scheme. The honorable member for Angas has quoted correspondence on the subject of immigration between the Prime Minister and the Premier of New South Wales. I remember being astonished at the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister in regard to the proposals of the Premier of New South Wales. The latter pointed’ but that it was absurd to suppose that persons could be induced to come out to take up certain blocks of land before they had studied the conditions of the country. He stated, moreover, that his Government were willing to bring out from 250 to 500 agricultural labourers, if the Prime Minister would allow them to enter the Commonwealth; but the latter would not promise to do so until he had seen the formal- contracts. His attitude showed the difference between the theorist and the practical man. Had he had sufficient experience of business life, he would have known it to be impossible to produce contracts showing in every case the wages to be paid. The attempt was for the time abandoned, although the New South Wales Government have since brought to Australia a large number of suitable settlers.
– If I recollect aright, all the men were brought in afterwards.
– The honorable gentleman continuously hesitated about promising to remove the restriction until the contracts had been produced.
– I had not power to dispense with that requirement of the law.
– As I read the Act, the honorable gentleman could have waived it or otherwise granted permission, and should have done so, if he was desirous of encouraging immigration. According to the Agents- General, our legislation has scared the working classes of Great Britain, and even if the statements which have been published were absolutely false, it would take a long time to dispel the bad impression Created. No one who has observed what has been going on both inside and outside Australia can be surprised at the cessation of immigration. The honorable member for Boothby referred to the history of America. We all know that when the American Statesfede rated, their population was only a little larger than ours prior to Federation. They opened their arms, and invited the whole world to come in, irrespective of colour, creed, or nationality., and the result is a magnificent amalgam.
– Does the honorable member believe in America’s policy ?
-I certainly believe in her immigration policy, which, sooner or later, must be followed in other parts of the world. I do not, of course, include the policy of deliberately bringing the negroes into the country ; I speak of the generous policy towards the races of Europe, which has given the United States a population of 86,000,000, and a body of commerce which is one of the finest in the world. To improve the state of things here, we must first remove the bad impressions as recorded by the Agents- General. But what is proposed to that end ? Is it suggested that the contract test shall be removed?
– The party to which the honorable member belongs did not remove it while in office.
– This party was in power for only seven months, and had an opportunity to introduce only one measure. Had I anything to do with the legislation of the Commonwealth, I should say to the people of Great Britain, “ Our doors are open to every British citizen who likes to come to us, whether he be farmer, workman, or labourer.”
– What is there to prevent Englishmen from coming now ?
– What prevented the six hatters f rom landing ?
– The law.
-Has it been altered ?
– If in that respect, the sooner it is made known to the world that there is nothing to prevent Europeans from coming here, the better. The Government tell the people of Great Britain that they are convinced of the errors of their ways, and have removed all barriers to immigration. The honorable member for Parramatta suggests that Ministers are not sincere; but I am willing to believe that they are. I think that many honorable members, including some members of the Labour Tarty, are impressed with the need for a change of policy in this respect. It will lake many years to remove existing impressions abroad regarding Australia, but it can be done in time. The Labour Party asserts that immigrants should not be invited until we have land to put them on, and the honorable member for Balaclava went further, and said that not only should each immigrant have land provided for him, but, in addition, a cottage to live in. I add : Why not furnish the cottage, and stock it with groceries? It is obvious that the question will arise in the minds of democrats, why people from England should have a bit of land and a cottage provided for them, while those already here have to go without. It will be seen at once that the proposal is absolutely impracticable. It is absurd also to expect that every man who comes here will come as a ready-made farmer, prepared at once to go on the land provided. Every sensible man, who immigrates to a great continent like this, has first to look round in order to determine which State, under his personal conditions, is the most suitable. Then he will make observations in the particular State, and determine the district that is most suitable for his purpose, having ascertained by experience what is the value ofthe labour, his proximity to town, the quality of the land, and the terms on which he can obtain it and the probable market for his products. There is no better way of gain- ing this knowledge than by, in the first place, engaging as an agricultural labourer, in which capacity he can feel his way and accumulate a little money, while learning something of the country and its conditions.
– A man will not accumulate much on 12s. a week !
– We’ know the honorable member’s history and circumstances, and they are very creditable to him. I am sure that the honorable member himself would not undertake to come to Australia now, and take up a bit of land without inquiring as to the land laws and other circumstances.
– Quite so.
– The honorable member for Maranoa told us last night that if he were dumped down in Brisbane with his swag now, he could make his way.
– Hear, hear, and every man could do the same.
– That is because the honorable member has made himself acquainted with the laws and the other conditions under which land may be taken up in Queensland. The honorable member had not that knowledge when he arrived in Australia, but had to gain it before making up his mind where to settle. I do not know how Tong it took the honorable member to make up his mind, but he has a very quick intellect, and probably intuition helped him. I think the honorable member will admit that, as regards the average man, it is absurd to expect him to say at once, “ I shall take up that bit of land.”
– It is suicidal. ‘
– That is all I am contending for ; and, therefore, I suggest that it is much more rational that people on coming into the country should undertake work for others on the land in different places, until they have made themselves acquainted with the conditions.
– I say let them all come.
– I am delighted to hear such generous sentiments from the honorable member. It is idle to say that we should not bring people here until there are land and houses provided for them. We know that the farmers in every part of Australia are in want of labour, and we shall be doing a good work if we can induce a large body of useful men to come here, and, undertaking this work, enter not hurriedly and hastily, but with thought and caution upon occupation ofland on their own account. It is clearly not indispensable that land should be ready for their occupation ; but there ought to be farmers ready and willing to hire immigrants. The acting leader of the Opposition was perfectly logical and reasonable in asking the Government to state their policy, not with the intention of binding them down to the letter of their announcement, but merely to give some idea of the way in which it is proposed to spend this ,£20,000. Is it proposed to pay some shipping company ^10 a head for indiscriminately bringing people to Australia, or are we to enter into a policy of inducing the States to place land at their disposal ? I have already expressed, the opinion that land prepared for settlement by immigrants is not a sine qua non. There is nobody better qualified to ascertain where good land can be found than the man who comes out here with a view of settling; and, therefore, we should be very unwise in the restricting of immigrants to men with capital. We have only to look at the files of the Labour newspapers to see that in many cases men who have money are characterised as robbers, but that, i know, is the view of only a very extreme section of the Labour Party, and one that is not shared by many members of the party in this House. At the same time, the Labour Party should be the last in the world to take exception to a man on the ground that he has no capital. If a man has a sound body and mind, and an honest reputation, we ‘should, welcome him here as one likely to become a useful citizen. If it were not for the Opposition support, I am afraid that the Government would have a fair chance of having this vote defeated. If we may judge from the opinions expressed by the Labour Party, they are against the expenditure of such a large sum on the object in view, whereas the Opposition thoroughly approve of the policy of the Government, in taking some steps to assisting immigration. I should not have supported assisted immigration, had it not been that by our legislation in the past- much has been done to discourage it. Had we originally left the doors of Australia open, I should have been content to allow the people to come here who desired to do so. But, according to the Agents -General, our legislation has had the effect of scattering broadcast the idea that it is dangerous for a workman to come to Australia ; and, that being so, we can do no less than spend money.. in correcting the error. How that error is to be corrected is a matter of administration. I congratulate the Government on the view they take of the situation, and I shall stand by them in any honest attempt to increase the population of Australia by inducing British citizen’s to come out on a liberal and rational basis.
– It always affords me a great deal of delight to listen to the honorable member for Parkes, because, whether the subject be science, literature, or the arts, there is no question that he exalts it. But, as to the accuracy of his statements with regard to the Labour Party, they require deep and spiritual investigation. The fact of the matter is that the honorable member seems to be quite happy until he bumps up against the Labour Party. Whether that be due to the fact that the Labour Party has a tendency to wake him up from the lethargy that overtakes most people I do not know ; but there is certainly some cause for the effect I have indicated. But, while the honorable member believes in the rule of gold, he ought to know that the Labour Party believes in the golden rule. The honorable member had a great deal to say about General Booth and his emigration scheme. I regret that I did not know this subject was to be touchedupon, or I should have brought here some documents which I received from America, and which show that hundreds of General Booth’s emigrants are on the verge of starvation in Canada.
– That is denied.
– That may be, but I have copies of affidavits from Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg, which it would be hard torefute. I have been watching General Booth and his schemes for some time past; and, as I say, I have ample proof that there are hundreds, if not thousands of people, whom he sent to Canada now absolutely starving or sweating in the snow. There are two kinds of perspiration, one of which is caused by fear, and that in Canada is called the “ snow sweat.” I am glad if the Labour Party did anything to prevent ‘General Booth sending immigrants to Australia. The honorable member for Parkes told us that a great sensation had been caused in England by. the exclusion of the six hatters.
– That is what the Agents-Generalsay.
– I venture to say there is more Labour agitation and downright Socialism talked in Trafalgar Square or Hyde Park on a Sunday than in the whole of Australasia.
– But that all ends in smoke - laws are not make inHyde Park.
– Surely the honorable member for Parkes is aware that John Bull is a man who confines his attentions strictly to business. If an attempt is made in England to float a loan or dispose of a property, no inquiries are made about any agitation that may have beer* going on in Australia; all that is asked is, “ What is there in it, and. what do I get out of it ? “ The honorable member suggested that it would be well if the Prime Minister had a talk with some practical business men, thus indicating that, in his opinion, the Prime Minister is merely theoretical. The honorable member himself appears to be the more theoretical, seeing that he is of opinion that the people of England1 were agitated and frightened by the action taken in regard to the six hatters.
– Does the honorablemember disbelieve the Agents-General ?
– No, but I think they are impracticable - that they have got the “ scares.” I hope the day will never come when the intellect and thinking power of Australia’ shall be manacled by foreign menials of Mammon. The honorable member for Parkes missed the real point of this question when he spoke of the public feeling in England against Australia. The truth is that the people of Great Britain have a “ down “ upon Australia, not because of anything that the Labour Party has. done, but because some of the greatest names in Australian history have been placed atthe heads of prospectuses, and, as a result, widows and orphans have been induced to withdraw their money from British Consols, and to invest it in Australian securities in connexion with which they have been plundered. Instead of sending these great financiers to gaol, we send them to Government House in motor cars. That is why the British people have lost confidence in us. Within the past day or two, New South Wales has floated a loan which has not been underwritten. It has been guaranteed by the underwriters, but it has not been underwritten by the public. Of course, New South Wales had to pay a brokerage fee to obtain that guarantee. If the States will not co-operate with the Commonwealth upon the question of immigration, it is’ ridiculous to talk about bringing out to our shores hundreds of immigrants who will only give the country a bad name, when they are starving in our towns, just as some immigrants are doing in America. I scarcely receive an American newspaper in which I do not read that hundreds of starving men are constantly waiting upon the mayors of towns and declaring that they have been attracted to the country by means of false representations. Of course, the introduction of a larger population would be a good thing for the landlords, because it would enable them to raise their rents. The fact is patent to all, that men and women must be housed somewhere, and if there are a thousand persons waiting to occupy one house, its rental value must be increased, and if fifty men are after one job wages must fall. I do not believe in introducing immigrants . to Australia to allow them to go hungry. I would suggest to the Prime Minister that, after the High Commissioner has been appointed, and a great Commonwealth office has been established in London, in a building, the rental from which will pay the interest upon its capital value, he should seek to amend the Constitution by securing to the Commonwealth power to go upon the money market, if necessary, and to raise loans at a cheap rate of interest, purchase immense areas of land and settle people on them. It seems to me that the States are governed by a bureaucracy. They have adopted antiquated methods, and before any improvement can be effected, we shall require to kill off a lot of the men who have for years been at the head of affairs. In my opinion, we should appoint as a High Commissioner, not a fossil, but a wide-awake Australian who should be compelled to return to the Commonwealth every three years, so that he may drink from the fountain of Australian enthusiasm. I would also suggest the imposition of a heavy absentee tax.
– A good many absentees slander Australia.
– I would also suggest that we should establish a great national irrigation system in connexion with the purchase of land. I appeal to honororable members not to bring men from good homes abroad to worse homes in this country - not to distribute them amongst our great cities so that we shall have seething poverty here. At the present time, we are the richest and most progressive four millions of people in the world. Do not let us reproduce in any of our cities the Italian,
Hebrew, and Chinese quarters of New York. If we bring immigrants to the Commonwealth who are obliged to go hungry they will write to their relations in the Old Country, who will publish their letters in the great newspapers of England, and thus we shall receive a set-back from which we shall not recover foryears.
.- Reverting to the question of the proposedvote for the repatriation of kanakas, I think that the Prime Minister would do well to favour the Committee with a full and clear statement of the position. At the present moment, it is very much involved. I certainly understood the Prime Minister to say this afternoon that no money had been paid by Queensland at all.
– No; I gave the amount that Queensland had paid as £17,000.
– I am referring to a question which I put to the Prime Minister earlier in the afternoon. In the light of thefigures which the honorable gentleman has been good enough to show me, it would seem that there is no necessity to vote the £6,500 set down upon these Estimates at all. I do not recollect the exact cost per head which the shipping companies charged for conveying kanakas from Queensland ports to their own islands. But I remember the Prime Minister saying that it would be very little more than £5 per head, and I believe that it was about £5 10s. per head. If that be so, the only cost which the Commonwealth has had to incur is the extra 10s. per head, and the cost of maintaining these Pacific islanders during their detention awaiting deportation. But from the figures which the Prime Minister has been good enough to show me, 1 gather that up to the end of June last the Government had paid £2,165 for passages alone. That is the amount which has been paid for the deportation of 3,202 of these islanders. I utterly fail to see why £2,165 should have to be expended by the Com monwealth in addition to the amount which the Queensland Government provided. Altogether the cost incurred by the Commonwealth in connexion with the repatriation of kanakas has been more than £6,000, the coastal fares and the maintenance of the islanders, up to 30th June last, amounting to nearly £4,000. ‘ The figures which I have seen must suggest a doubt as to whether it is necessary to vote this additional sum of money. Up to the 1st February last, 4,187 kanakas had been deported, but included in this number were 300 odd who were sent to Fiji, and for whose passages the Commonwealth paid nothing. It is impossible to reconcile the figures as they stand.
– They are not complete. I shall make a statement of the whole case to-morrow, or, at latest, on Tuesday next.
– With that assurance. I am satisfied.
– Immigration is a very important subject. We all regret the sparseness of the population of Australia, and every one, I think, would like it to rapidly increase. We are not without blame for the present state of affairs, inasmuch as in our efforts to restrict the introduction of objectionable persons into Australia, we have passed a law which is rightly regarded as having operated adversely to the immigration of persons whom we desire should come to Australia. In the first place, the title to the Act - a title which we inherited from the legislation of the States - is a bad one. The words “ Immigration Restriction Act “ seem to suggest that we have in Australia too many people, and are desirous of restricting immigration. It is perhaps somewhat late in the day to suggest that the title should be altered, but if the Prime Minister has occasion to deal with the question again I hope that he will consider the desirableness of amending it. We should give our legislation a title that will clearly indicate that our desire is not to restrict immigration generally, but merely to prevent the admission of undesirable persons. The amendment of the principal Act, passed some time ago, was a great improvement, but did not go far enough. Under the original Act even an immigrant .from the United Kingdom could not be brought into Australia unless inquiries disclosed that he was not being introduced to compete with people already here who were willing and competent to undertake the work that he was to do. That provision was repealed by the amending Bill, but we allowed to remain in operation the section which declares that contracts entered into in the Mother Country must be approved bv the.’ Minister of External Affairs before persons engaged under them shall be allowed to enter Australia. That is a wholly unnecessary and mischievous provision. So long as a person, anxious to enter Australia does not. come within the provisions of the Act relating “to un desirable “immigrants there should be no objection to his admission. The object of the section in question was really to prevent persons engaged in other parts of the world from being deceived and being induced to enter into contracts to work here for less than the ruling rates of wages. Our desire in that respect could be achieved by other means. We might provide that an agreement by which a person beyond the Commonwealth contracted to work in Australia under conditions that were not in accord with those operating here should not be binding on the person engaged, and in that case could be cancelled by a magistrate. We are agreed that there must be some restriction . on the introduction of persons designed to take the place of men on strike, but the provision that a contract must be approved by the Minister of External Affairs is unnecessary, and, as I have said, mischievous when it does not relate to the admission of a person in connexion with an industrial dispute. A man should be able to renounce a contract, with the approval of a magistrate, entered into abroad if on arriving here he found that the conditions were unfair. I hope that such an amendment of the law will engage the attention of the Government. I have spoken to many men, including members of the Labour Party, and have heard no one say that it would be undesirable to repeal the. provision inthe Act that the Minister of External Affairs shall approve of a bond fide contract with a desirable immigrant before such desirable immigrant can enter Australia. We have heard during, this debate a good, deal regarding what the Commonwealth’ should do to encourage immigration. It has been said that the Commonwealth has not yet done anything, and that we should lose no time in establishing in London a central office to advertise Australia. I could readily understand efforts being made abroad to advertise Australia with the object of encouraging immigration if we had plenty of work available for immigrants when they came here, or could settle them on the land. But I fail to recognise the utility of spending money on advertisements designed to attract people without any means except perhaps farm labourers to Australia, if we cannot provide them with either work or land upon their arrival. We could, of course, endeavour to induce people with some means to come to Australia to enter upon the occupation of the land, but
I am one of those who think that the provision in the Constitution giving the Commonwealth co-ordinate power with .the States to legislate in respect to immigration and emigration, was not intended to empower the Commonwealth Parliament to have anything to do with the occupation and settlement of the lands of Australia. I believe that the occupation and development of our land is a work that has been reserved under the Constitution to the States, and we must remember that the States are alive to the importance of securing increased population, and are doing all they can in that direction. The States Parliaments are as anxious and active in this matter as we are. I cannot find in the Constitution any provision, nor did I hear it mentioned at the Conventions, that it was intended that the Commonwealth should have power to invade State avenues in respect of the occupation and development of the lands. Our 00-ordinate power in this respect was designed to enable the Commonwealth to regulate the influx and egress of population, and to take steps to induce persons to come to Australia - to even pay their passages, and to bring them here ; but, having brought them to Australia, the Commonwealth Parliament has no power, in my opinion, to acquire land with a view of settling such immigrants upon it.
– Not to acquire it compulsorily.
– I do not think that the Commonwealth is empowered to purchase land with a view of settling people upon it. Such an idea was foreign to the minds of those who accepted the Constitution. That being so, I fail to see how the Commonwealth would be justified in bringing large numbers of people here, to dump them down at our different ports, and to leave them there to fare as test they can. It ought always to be the desire of the Commonwealth Government to carry out a policy of immigration in cooperation with the States. The Commonwealth Government has gone so far as to undertake to select immigrants, giving the States every opportunity to share in the selection, and to bring them here, free of any expense to the States, if the latter will take charge of them upon their arrival at the principal ports, and either find them employment or settle them upon the land. I should be sorry to see the Commonwealth embark upon the work of bringing thousands of immigrants to Australia and leav- ing them immediately on their arrival to shift for themselves. It would be not only unjustifiable, but almost cruel to treat in that way people without means. No doubt some would find employment. Stalwart young men, like the honorable member for Maranoa, would be able to look for work, and no doubt would find it. But what would be the position of men with wives and families? They could not leave them on the beach and, shouldering their swags, seek their fortunes inland, as the honorable member for Maranoa, and many of us, when we were younger, would have been ready to do.
– There are still young people in the world.
– There are; but does the honorable member advocate a policy under which thousands would be brought to Australia at the expense of the Commonwealth and left to look after themselves? .There is plenty of room for employment in Australia, but experience teaches me that the present number of employers is not sufficient to find work for a constant large stream of immigrants without means, who must at once have it, unless under the control and supervision of the Governments of the States. We should seek to populate Australia by a wellconcerted scheme of action, carried out by the Commonwealth and the States. Efforts in that direction so far have been unsuccessful. There may have been faults on both sides. I am not going to attribute fault to any one, certainly not to my friend the Prime Minister, who has given much anxious consideration to this question. But there is no doubt that since the inception of Federation there has been a sort of armed neutrality between the Commonwealth and the States. The States have been jealous of the Commonwealth, whilst the Commonwealth has been desirous on many occasions of invading States powers.
– And yet the right honorable member says that there is no one to blame.
– We must remedy this state of affairs. The cause of the trouble is not far to seek. Most of us came here from the Legislatures of the States. To use an expression which honorable members will readily understand, we were “roads and bridges men.” We had been accustomed to interest ourselves in the1 construction of roads, bridges, railways, harbor works, water conservation works, &c, with a view of opening up tha country and extending settlement. Our attention was devoted almost wholly to such matters, and to certain social legislation, which I need not mention at this stage. But when we came here we found that practically everything that had engaged our attention as members of the States Parliaments had passed from our control, and that with the exception of the Post and Telegraph Department, the Defence Department, and the Department of Trade and Customs, we had nothing left to us. That is why the Post and Telegraph Department to-day receives so much attention. It is practically the only Department in which honorable members can interest themselves as they used to do as members of States Legislatures. We have been accustomed to the exercise of fuller powers, and find it difficult to realize our present limitations.
– Should not the national Parliament dominate?
– Not in regard to matters on which the Constitution gives us no power to legislate.
– What are they ?
– All matters not mentioned in section 51 of the Constitution.
– What States’ Tights have we invaded?
– We tried to invade State rights by our arbitration legislation relating to public servants; but the High Court came to the rescue of the States.
– Did not the right honorable member support that Bill?
– The Government of which I was a member left office because it would not agree to the proposal to bring State servants under the Commonwealth Arbitration law.
– Did not the right honorable member support the Ministry which finally passed the Bill?
– The Labour Party turned the Deakin Government, of which I was a Minister, out of office for refusing to allow the Bill to be amended to make it apply to State servants. I hope that a modus vivendi will be found which will enable the Commonwealth and the States to act harmoniously. Both this and the States Parliaments represent one people, and have the one object in view. I hope, therefore, that friction will shortly disappear. I see no reason why, in these early days, we should try to stretch the
Constitution to its utmost limits. Once harmony is restored, the States will, I am sure, join with us in a great national movement to fill Australia with desirable settlers.
– Does the right honorable member suggest that the Commonwealth is powerless to act without the co-operation of the States?
– I do not know what the Commonwealth can do without States’ co-operation, except by advertising in London, to induce persons possessing sufficient means to look after themselves on arrival to emigrate to Australia.
– If we cannot do anything, had we not better cease using immigration as a political placard ?
– We can da something, but not very much, without the aid of the States. It was never intended by the Constitution that we should do more than control immigration and emigration and work with the States in this matter. We cannot do very much without the cooperation of the States, who are the ownersof the land, and specially charged with the opening up and development of its resources.
.- Before the Prime. Minister addresses the Committee, I wish to supplement the few remarks’ on this subject I made the other night. I should be sorry to think the Commonwealth Parliament powerless in regard to immigration without the co-operation of the States. It is not my part to frame a policy, but every honorable member should contribute what ideas he may have on the subject under discussion. The opinion that we can do nothing without State cooperation is basedupon the belief that we should invite here only persons who will be able to, at once, take possession of land. That, to my mind, is a wrong belief. What proportion of the thousands who, since the commencement of our history, have voluntarily left the centres of civilization in the Old World to come to Australia did so in the hope of at once becoming possessors of land? An extremely small one. I agree with the right honorable member for Swan that we should endeavour to obtain the cordial co-operation of the States. But should we not also, as the Dominion of Canada has done, endeavour to make it easier for persons who have no immediate hope of obtaining land, but who may, nevertheless, be useful citizens, to comehere ? If we had in London a High’ Commissioner his officers would be able to test the character, health, and general qualities of persons wishing to emigrate, and to say to them, “ Having satisfied us that you have the energy, will, and physical and mental abilities necessary to make VOL useful citizens, whether you can or can not immediately take possession of land, we are ready to pay part of the cost of sending you out “ ? We can do much in that direction without the co-operation of the Stales. I do not suggest that persons should be dumped here; but we do not want immigrants who will need taking in hand and nursing.
– Are not the States doing as much as they can?
– That should not stop the Commonwealth from doing what it -can. Until the Dominion took the matter in hand, the efforts of the Canadian provinces to encourage immigration were practically futile.
– Immigration to Canada was encouraged by a number of large companies.
– The CanadianPacific Railway Company has done a great deal. But because our circumstances are different, we are not therefore powerless, and I put forward this skeleton idea for the consideration of the Prime Minister. Much can be done without the co-operation of the States, because I am” sure that Parliament will vote a far larger sum than is asked for to make our resources known to the people of the older countries of the world, and to assist desirable immigrants who wish to make this country their future home, by defraying part of the expenses of the long and costly voyage. I read in the press to-day comments about going back to a- system of assisted immigration, Australia has, in the past, derived enormous benefits from that system, notwithstanding occasional abuses.
– In very many cases persons have come out on the invitation of friends.
– That is the best kind of invitation that can be extended to intending immigrants. But what we have to do is to direct the stream of immigration towards Australia, and the mere issuing of newspaper advertisements and pamphlets, telling of the resources of the country, is not sufficient. We should be prepared to tell suitable emigrants, “ If you are willing to rely on your own resources, and to make your own way, we will pay a considerable part of the cost of the voyage which you at present are incapable of paying yourselves.” There is no want of definiteness in my suggestion. The question is, shall we, ‘ or shall we not, adopt that simple means of encouraging immigration independently of State co-operation?
– Persons without means will have to be looked after on arrival.
– It should be understood that those who come out assisted by the Commonwealth, are willing to do as settlers in other countries have done, and as our own early immigrants did. We should not invite them here to be nursed, or to be put on farms. What we wish to do is to draw Australia 10,000 or 15,000 miles nearer to the Old Country, so far as suitable persons, desirous of emigrating, but not possessing the means to pay for the long voyage to this country, are concerned. I should not have spoken, had I not desired it to be understood that, in mv opinion, it would be an .abdication of one of the most important of our functions if we were to confess ourselves helpless to move in this matter without the aid of the States.
.- The honorable member for Flinders has undoubtedly made his intention very clear. His purpose, as well as his language, is explicit. He palpably intends to introduce, if he can, a horde of penniless workers into this country, and he would do this, despite the fact that there is’ a large contingent of unemployed people in every State in the Union. I distinguish between unemployed and unemployable. We know there is a large number of unemployable in every State, but there is also a considerable body of men who are desirous and capable of honest labour, yet who are unable to find it. I should like to know how the honorable member would view a proposal to bring out here a contingent of lawyers to compete with him in his occupation.
– I should welcome them gladly 1
– The honorable member might welcome them, now that he has got to the ‘top of the tree in his profession; but would he welcome eminent meru, of the English Bar if he were a junior starting the battle of life afresh? And yet that is the position in which he would place a great many of the workers in Australia. What the honorable member desires is to bring out additional competitors - men who would have absolutely nothing when they arrived, and who would -foe compelled, by sheer necessity, to accept the first offer. That is not a proposal which the Government should consider for one moment.
– Does the honorable member not think that such immigrants would provide more work for those who are here ?
– I have heard tha’t old economic wheeze many a time; but it is to gentlemen who have big incomes of ^2,000 or £3,000 a year, that the argument appeals with most force. Such immigrants would, of course, give more work ; but what consolation would that be to the man who was walking the wharves or trudging the great inland wastes of the country looking for a job?
– It might be a consolation to every patriot to know that the country had an additional asset in every unit that arrived.
– I do not think that the country would suffer much if some of the present “ assess “ went out of it.
– I agree with the honorable member, but I hope that he will not be self-sacrificing.
– I am quite satisfied with Australia, if the honorable member is not. But I am not entering into a dialogue with him. At present I am dealing wilh the serious argument of the honorable member for Flinders. The right honorable member for Swan has, I think, put the matter very fairly. It is very proper to encourage the immigration of people who have a little capital, and are able to take up land; but it would be very unwise to bring men here to compete with those who already find the battle of life sufficiently keen in city industries. As the Government will probably find out, the class of men able to make a success of bush life are getting very scarce in the United Kingdom, as well as in America and Canada. I suggest, however, that the Government are more likely to get men . of that desirable class from the two latter countries, than from anywhere in the old world- There can be found men with some experience of new countries, and, considering the greater attraction which Australia presents, we should have a chance of securing in those directions, a considerable number of excellent colonists. But the tendency everywhere is for people to congregate in the towns. A great deal is often made of the fact as it affects Australia, but the same tendency can be observed in England, and other countries. Farmers’ sons do not take to their fathers’ business, but prefer to find employment in the towns as policemen, tram conductors, clerks, and so forth. Twentyfive years ago, when I was in the old country, that tendency was operative, and I suppose it has been accentuated since.
– The tendency has increased in Australia since a land tax was proposed.
– I am very glad the honorable member has made that interjection, because it enables me to say that, in my opinion, a land tax would, in this country at any rale, have the contrary effect of inducing people to go upon the land. The great trouble in Australia is that settlers have to go so far back, and a land tax which had the effect of. bursting up the big estates in the coastal areas, where there is a good climate and a reliable rainfall, would result in the closer settlement of prosperous inhabitant, while as time went on the population would radiate to the remote localities. We must recognise that life in the Australian bush is not too attractive; and side by side with any reasonable effort to promote immigration, something should be done to remedy that state of affairs. A few years ago I suggested, as an ideal to which our administrators should work, that every settler’s house in Australia ought to be connected with the telephone service ; and I am sure ‘ that some outlay in this direction would be much more remunerative in the long run than the expenditure of the ,£120,000 a year, which is wasted on an ocean mail service. It is the isolation of the bush that makes it difficult for the people to be contented there ; and the suggestion I have made, if carried out, would, so to speak, annihilate distance, and bring the people there into closer contact with one another. There can be no doubt that the usefulness and convenience of a service of this sort is immeasurable. I should not have risen but for the remarks of the honorable member for Flinders ; and I merely wish to enter my protest against the suggestion he makes that people should be dumped down here at the ports in order to enter into competition with the workers already here. As I said before, I think the right honorable member for Swan has put the matter very fairly. I should not be particular whether immigrants were British, German, Italian, or from any other European country, so long as they were prepared to go on the land, and presented material of which good colonists could be made. But we do not desire immigrants whose natural habitat is the city and the town.
– Such immigrants would only intensify sweating.
– Quite so. Every fresh competitor would undoubtedly present an encouragement and temptation to employers to indulge in sweating. I trust the Government will proceed with a spirited immigration policy on sound lines, of which the country can approve, because, undoubtedly, more population is necessary in order that the country may be adequately defended.
– The honorable member is in favour of immigration in the abstract.
– And also in the concrete, as the honorable member must be aware, if he heard me say just now that I should not be particular as to what European race the immigrants belonged, so long as they presented material of which good colonists could be made. I should like to say a word or two about the contention of the right honorable member for Swan that the Federal Government is continually quarrelling with the States.
– I do not think . I went so far as to say that.
– At any rate, the right honorable member said that the Commonwealth was continually trying to trench on State rights.
– In some cases, yes.
– I admit that the High Court has held that the Federal Parliament in one particular went too far, but I remind the right honorable member that we are not all lawyers, and that the Constitution is in many respects somewhat obscure. To be guilty of an offence there must be intent.
– We all knew there was a doubt.
– That does not constitute a crime. Where the Constitution is obscure, this Parliament being supreme, is perfectly justified in maintaining . its supremacy ; and I consider that we had the right to take the course we did. But so far as germinating and generating hostility is concerned, I say that the States Premiers and the States Parliaments-
– I am with the honorable member in that.
– Then the right honorable member should not have stated only one side of the question.
– I stated both sides.
– But theright honorable member emphasized and enlarged on the crimes of the Commonwealth, while he glozed over the offences of the States as venial.
– I shall adhere to what I said.
– The right honorable member ought to remember the insolence he met with at the Premiers’ Conference in Brisbane.
– I do not think there was any insolence; I did not complain.
– But . I think the right honorable member felt very sore at! the time.
– No; I was treated with courtesy.
– That does not accord with statements made at the time. At any rate, those Premiers’ Conferences have not treated the Federal Government with courtesy. I remember how, at one of the Conferences, the Premiers actually deliberated for some time whether they should admit the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth to their presence. I regret that I have not my marked copies of the reports of those Conferences, so that I might read the passages to honorable members; however, I shall take a future opportunity of doing so; in order to show the studied insolence of those Jacks-in-office to Ministers of the national Parliament. I do not think that the right honorable member for Swan should airily dismiss this matter. He ought to uphold the dignity of the national Parliament and its Ministers.
– I always try to do so.
– The right honorable member ought not to so readily ignore the flouts and affronts to which the Federal Government has been subjected. An ex-Premier of New South Wales deliberately flouted the selection by this Parliament of the Federal Capital, and attempted to deprive us of the power that we possess underthe Commonwealth Constitution.
– What about his action in seizing uncustomed goods?
– That is another infraction of the law.
– Why was he not prosecuted ?
– That is what I want to know. When the Tight honorable member for Swan enlarges upon our offences against the States, he ought to keep alongside him a little catalogue of the offences by the States against the Commonwealth. When the future historian comes to sum up the position, I think he will say that the Prime Minister must have been a remarkably amiable man to have quietly submitted to all the studied affronts by the States Premiers. He will also recognise that the honorable gentleman was doing his best to reduce the friction that is inevitable in the early stages of the Federation. At the same time, I am inclined to think that he has gone too far in attempting to placate the States’ Premiers. I would ask any self-respecting man to read the correspondence which has taken place in connexion with the selection of the Federal Capital, and to say whether he would submit to be bullied and reviled as the Prime Minister has been. I would nothave touched upon this matter had it not been for the remarks of the right honorable member for Swan. Upon the next occasion that he rises to enlarge upon the sins of this Parliament he ought to recollect that there is something to be said upon the other side.
.- It was unfortunate that in the remarks which he made this afternoon the honorable member for Parkes should have relied for his data upon his memory. The passage which he quoted from the report of the Agents-General in reference to the misconception caused in England by certain provisions in our Immigration Restriction Act relates to provisions which were amended three years ago, since which period the allusions in question have become more and more rare. The words of the Act which were misconstrued have been altered to such an extent that during my recent visit to England “ I do not recollect seeing a single allusion to the alleged exclusiveness of this country. Whilst he was speaking, I handed the honorable member for Parkes a copy of the Act, showing that certain sections had been removed, but unfortunately he did not refer to it. He was also wrong in his facts. He next mentioned the correspondence which took place between the late Premier of New South Wales and myself inregard to the introduction of certain contract labourers, but unfortunately forgot that that correspondence closed with a letter from myself, in which I pointedout a means by which the labourers whom the New South Wales Premier desired to introduce could be brought into the Commonwealth”. I believe that these labourers were subsequently introduced, though the honorable member for Parkes seemed to labour under the impression that some action upon our part had closed the door against them. In reference to a comment by the honorable member for Darwin, I may say that one of our ablest journalists, Colonel Reay, made it his business to visit the Tilbury Docks for the purpose of seeing a detachment of immigrants whom the Salvation Army were sending to Canada. He informed me that a better set-up and more promising class he had never seen. He moved amongst them, and ascertained that they had been well treated, that they were well-informed, that they knew the conditions which they had to face in the new country to which they were going, that they were full of hope, and that many of them had money in their possession. His testimony was that of a perfectly impartial pressman, who was only anxious to become acquainted with the facts, and he assured me that the selection of the immigrants had evidently been made with great judgment, and that they were leaving the Old Country under the best possible conditions. This Government never at any time discouraged any scheme of General’ Booth for settling immigrants in Australia.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45p.m.
– In discussing the vote for advertising the resources of Australia, we must recollect that, although the encouragement of immigration is a very prominent purpose to be served in this way, yet the use of the word ina restricted sense is apt to lead to some mis.understanding. Under the circumstances of Australia in particular, and of new countries in general, a certain amount of what may be termed “ advertising “ is necessary, whether in connexion with immigration or not. Quite naturally, the discussion in this Chamber has turned upon the very important question of how best to attract settlers. . But it would be a mistake to overlook the fact that a good deal more than that is aimed at by this vote. For instance, the commonest complaint made on behalf of our industrial and rural investments is that they suffer owing to the
Sack of knowledge of critics in the Mother Country of our climate and conditions. In the centres of financial strength and political influence we are also liable to lose for want of accurate information of our aims and opportunities. For this reason, it is necessary for us - as a mere matter of general business, and quite apart from any particular end that we may have in view - to take steps . to make ourselves and our. resources better known, especially in the Mother Country. If for no other reasons than those of private finance, action would be called for. But when we recollect the great importance of public finance - especially to Australia- and realize that some misconceptions which are current may have an injurious effect upon our credit and unduly increase our burdens as borrowers, it becomes very patent that, under any circumstances, we require to take steps to make accurate knowledge of our circumstances available. We have to protect ourselves both against the calumnies of interested parties and the mere mistakes which arise from want of information. Under- these circumstances, I venture to say that, even apart from the encouragement of immigration, a vote of this kind judiciously expended is necessary. I cordially concur in the opinion which has been expressed by several honorable members, that the appointment of a High Commissioner is - if not a condition precedent to the inauguration of any scheme of immigration - at all events one of the most powerful factors to be employed in connexion with it. But a High Commissioner - quite apart from his relation to immigration - has also a distinct value to us, because of what may be termed - without derogating from the importance of his high office - his advertising value. One of his chief duties will be to correct the misconceptions to which I have referred, and to place the country which he represents in its true position before those who criticise it either in Parliament or in the press. Whenever he so acts he is advertising the Commonwealth. Many activities .of his which might be summed up under the same heading remind us of the necessity for making some provision of the sort.
– How does this vote apply to the High Commissioner?
– It does not apply at all. I am merely pointing out an objection to this vote being regarded merely: as one to encourage immigration, because by advertising our resources it will serve a number of other purposes which are also served either by a High Commissioner or by means of other agencies that we can employ. Those who complain that we are suffering because we have no central office in London where inquiries may - be made and action may be taken, do not overlook the fact that the establishment of such an office will in itself be a valuable advertisement. When we are reckoning up its usefulness to us, we must make allowance for that aspect. In connexion with the appointment of a High Commissioner, we have to face the existing separate representation of the States, which, though it may not directly impair the usefulness of our official, will necessarily involve a considerable duplication of the work in London that’ will be done on behalf of Australia. A great many of the duties at present cast upon the representatives of the States could, undoubtedly, be more effectively performed by a High Commissioner.
– Does the Prime Minister think that the fact of having a High Commissioner in London, and palatial buildings there, will be a good advertisement for us?
– Among the values of a High Commissioner, we must not. forget that he will be an advertisement to Australia. He will be there to correct misconceptions, and to circulate unchallengeable information, and these may be properly designated a kind of advertisement. Of course, that will be only one phase of his work, but still it will be a useful phase. It is quite certain that the present AgentsGeneral - able’ and zealous as they are - can not make anything like the impression upon behalf of Australia even .collectively that a. High Commissioner will be expected to make, if we obtain a man strong enough to fill that post. We must recollect that when we affect opinion in Great Britain, we affect the financial standing of Australia. We shall enhance it, and that in itself is a form of advertisement. We can affect our political weight in the counsels of the Empire. . In point of fact, reputation is a great asset. It is a particularly great asset to a country as remote as is Australia, and it is a particularly necessary asset to a country which has often been so unfairly abused. We cannot expect to receive that consideration in political circles, in the press, or internationally to which we are entitled, unless we are better knownand understood. All efforts that enable us to achieve that end are good, because they give us a better advertisement. Portion of this vote has been expended upon hand-books which we have circulated, setting out in an abbreviated form the statistics relating to Australia as a whole. Out of it I propose to purchase a number of copies of the valuable and exhaustive work which our Statistician, Mr. Knibbs, has very nearly completed, in order that we may place in the chief libraries of the Mother Country a work of reference containing figures relating to every detail of life, production, progress, and settlement in Australia. I have dwelt upon this topic thus far, because it would be a mistake if honorable members merely looked at the proposed vote, and asked what bearing it had upon immigration. If they regarded the matter merely from that stand-point, they would misunderstand its value and its varied influences. Coming to the question of immigration which has engaged the attention of horiorable members to the exclusion of all other matters, may I point out that our investigations show that advertising takes protean shapes. In point of fact, our Canadian cousins have run the whole gamut of possible advertising. They have found it necessary again and again to alter their modes of appealing to the people in order to keep alive the interest in their great country. When we come to consider the particular methods to be employed, 1 think we shall do well to attach first of all very considerable responsibility to the High Commissioner himself, and, subject to him, to the advice of experts, as to the particular means to be adopted in order to make known in Great Britain any demand for a particular kind of labour or for persons possessing special qualifications. It is not for us to endeavour to determine too closely the course to be followed. It is not for us to say whether an appeal shall be made by means of advertisements in the newspapers, contributed articles, illustrations, the placarding of hoardings, scrolls upon buildings, bioscopes, or any of the other methods that have been submitted to our consideration. One becomes lost in an ocean of possibilities when one endeavours to determine from this distance which of these methods ought to be applied, and how and when. We must be content to give our agents on the spot general instructions and leave them a free hand. We must limit the expenditure, but empower them to employ what at the moment appears to be the best means of catching the attention of the class whom we desire to attract.
– We must provide them with the sinews of war.
– And beyond thatwe shall do well to give them a free hand in their efforts to attract the rural population to whom we make our chief appeal.
– The Canadians have found platform work the most effective in rural districts.
– In the first place they resorted to platform work, and the attractions of illustrated lectures having almost’ died out, they resorted to practical illustrations of the many details of agriculture and cattle rearing in the Dominion. Those methods, too, have been rather exhausted. Then resort has been had to the travelling caravan, which in its turn seems to have lost its vogue. Whether or not they have reduced their efforts I do not know, but they appear to think it necessary from time to time to vary their appeals. They, have scattered throughout Great Britain a dozen offices as well as the one in London, and these keep to no single device. In connexion with this question of advertising we are face to face with the probability of unnecessary duplication if the six States, according to their impulses, are to be more or less in evidence as advertisers of the sectional attractions of their own particular portions of Australia. A noticeable feature of the confusion that exists in the rural mind in regard to Australia is that they apply to the whole Commonwealth statements in regard to any one State. In that way they acquire mistaken views as to the nature of the choice that is open to them, when, as a matter of fact, the whole of Australia lies before them. Then there is the unnecessary expense involved, by advertising in sections, information which becomes more impressive and effective if it is advertised as a. whole.
– Do not the Canadian provinces and the American States have separate offices in London ?
– They have provincial representations supplementing that of the Dominion. One never sees the provincial totals so advertised as to obscure the general. The figures in regard to Canada; as a whole are invariably impressed upon the public mind, and that work is supported with details by the various provincial agents, who put themselves in communication with he people, and enlarge upon the special attractions of their own provinces. But the duplication and the competition of advertisement against advertisement does not seem to be pushed to anything approaching the extreme that is likely to occur in respect to this country. The chief advertisers of Canada are the Canadian Dominion, with its great interests in its new north-western territory, and above and beyond all, the Canadian-Pacific Railway Company and the enormous financial influence that it brings to bear. Not only steamship, but railroad agents, throughout the United Kingdom, axe kept in touch by that very great, prosperous, and enterprising company. Wherever the Canadian Government goes, the Canadian-Pacific Railway Company is beside it, and sometimes in front of it. It has great blocks of land to sell - areas which were part of the price paid for the construction of its railway. .
– They give away some of their land.
– They do in some cases. If my memory serves me rightly, the new Trans-Continental Railway .in Canada is endowed in a similar main,ner, and likely to employ its resources in the same way. Agents go to the rural settler with extremely attractive prospects, offering to convey him to land which they show him on a map, and enabling him to establish a homestead.
– I believe that the Canadian Government are about to construct 700 miles of railway.
– I understand that is so- There is, therefore, in the first place, no overlapping in respect of the advertisements published on behalf of Canada. Then, again, the work of the Government is supplemented by the enormous private influence of the CanadianPacific Railway Company, the power of which is felt not only in the advertising world, but throughout all social and political circles. It is a most potent influence in keeping Canada to the front in the English press without any direct expense to the ‘ Dominion. “ We have no such organization behind us. Our task both as regards overlapping and competition, is more difficult. Although I believe that the Agents-General discourage it as much as possible, they cannot prevent’ their re spective agencies throughout the Mother Country, when some one appeals to them for information, from unduly exalting the prospects of their own State at the expense of a neighbouring State.
– That is only natural.
– But it is most undesirable.
– If I were in England and were asked what was the best State in Australia to go to, what answer should I give?
– Of course I should.
– It is to be hoped, however, that the honorable member would refrain from insinuating a poverty-stricken condition in one of the other States, or from endeavouring to show that it was subject to special disabilities.
– I should tell the people all the good things abou.t Queensland, and leave them to find out anything that was bad about the other States.
– Some of the agents not only make these statements, but indulge in comparisons.
– We have just had what I think is a very admirable demonstration of State feeling in a Federal House. Such a feeling will always be, and ought always to be, subject to the qualification which the honorable member for Maranoa has mentioned, that he would glory in pointing out the advantages of his own State without detracting from those of other States. Unfortunately, this exalting of a particular State at the expense of its neighbours is done not only by word of mouth, which cannot be traced, but even by means of publications issued by some of the States in which they reflect upon their neighbours in order to boom their own part of the union. We cannot entirely get rid of overlapping, unnecessary expense, and this suicidal competition of State against State unless the task of advertising Australia as a whole in the Mother Country is placed in the hands of one authority. That authority, as 1 have more than once submitted to the Premiers, would give a guarantee of its good faith by publishing in regard to each State only those particulars officially furnished by the Government of that State, for which the State Government would accept responsibility. In no sense would it so interfere that one’ State would be pre*judiced to the advantage of another. Such a national work can be done only by the Commonwealth. I have ventured to impress upon the States Governments that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by the Commonwealth undertaking this task for them. We are being criticised - and no one objects to criticism - because, we are supposed to be depriving the States of some income which they have received or which they believe they ought to receive. Here is an opportunity which we have offered and continue to offer to them of relieving themselves of certain expenditure. We offer to undertake this work on behalf of the States ; to relieve them of the expenditure which it! involves solely for their advantage’, and not for the benefit of the Commonwealth as distinguished from the States. We, of course, gain by every citizen who enters Australia no matter into which State he goes. If he is a valuable asset to one State he is equally valuable to Australia as a whole. We have no need to discriminate and do not wish to do so. It may be suggested that since we control Papua and the Northern Territory may become another territory of the Commonwealth, some bias might be shown in that connexion by our representatives. The States, however, will always be able to rely, as my honorable friend has said, upon the advantages in the matter of climate which they possess. Surely we may take it that it has been proved incontestably that, looking at the interests of Australia as a whole, this work should be undertaken by the Commonwealth. . Australia is a whole. It is divided into Stares for local purposes and endowed with a Commonwealth of restricted powers in order that its proper development may be secured by both political organizations. Both the States and the Commonwealth are instruments to be used by the people as a whole for the benefit of Australia as a whole. They are to be employed for the industrial and .rural development of the country as a unit. In its defence there is no distinction possible between the States. In that respect no boundary line can be drawn. Consequently this question of immigration, regarded even as a mere matter of advertising, requires to be dealt with nationally in order that justice may be clone to all “the States without impairing any influence which the Commonwealth ought to exercise. Then to come - so far as I can in connexion with a vote which deals only with advertising the resources of Australia - to the vital question of immigration, may I emphasize the remarks that have been made to-day. by the right honorable member for Swan and the honorable member for Coolgardie, as well as by others, upon the great value of the cooperation of the States. It seems to me that there is an irresistible case for intrusting to the Commonwealth the work of advertising Australia as a whole abroad, each State furnishing the facts it wishes to have advertised. Under such a system we could not pick and choose, we should not select the data in any way. We should take what the States themselves gave us ; bear the expense of advertising it, and choose the methods which seemed to us, after full inquiry, best suited at the moment, to the Mother Country or to any of the other countries to which allusion has been made. But when dealing with immigration into this country we cannot help being impressed by the many difficulties that will be removed if we can enlist the cordial co-operation of the States. In the first place it is not only essential to reach the desirable people - avoiding the unemployable - of the Mother Country, and in every other country but to recognise that we have not accomplished our task by merely bringing them here. We must provide for their reception, as the United States and Canada, in particular, have done.
– The railway companies have done this work in America.
– Companies having interests similar to ‘those of the ‘CanadianPacific Railway Company have looked after immigrants on arrival in the United States. Because of the difference between the methods and conditions of farming here and in the Mother Country, and the strangeness of bush life to those who are unused to our sparse settlement, immi-grants should be provided on arrival with proper accommodation, information, and all knowledge necessary to fairly launch them on their new careers. Yesterday I ventured to interject the truism that the best advertisement a country can have is the letter written home by the successful immigrant. Such an advertisement cannot .be surpassed, nor can the injury done by. the letters of discontented or dissatisfied immigrants be repaired. If immigration is to be a success, the immigrant must be given all the assistance -he may require to make -a fair start. It may be asked why should more consideration be shown to the newcomer than to the citizen of the Commonwealth? I see no reason why a distinction should exist. The provision now made from winter to winter, in’ time of stress, and in haste, to disseminate knowledge as to where employment is to be found, and where labourers are wanting work, is extremely defective. Much of the difficulty in dealing with the unemployed is due to the fact that applicants for work are neither properly classified nor informed of their opportunities.
– Is there any organization for that purpose?
– Every winter such’ an organization is improvised ; and in New South Wales there is a permanent Department which makes inquiries and disseminates information regarding the state of the labour market. However, I do not wish to discuss what is at present a State matter, beyond paying that it is hardly a fair answer to those who advocate proper organization for the assistance of immigrants that there is not such an organization for those already in the country. Both classes should be assisted. We should have effective machinery for making known where employment is obtainable, and under what conditions, for the information of the seeker after work, be he immigrant or citizen.
– In Victoria there has been for some years a bureau doing work of that kind.
– I have not sufficient knowledge to criticise it, but it seems to me that its operations have been confined to the winter.
– It has not solved the unemployed problem.
– I have yet to hear of a country where that problem has been solved, though excellent work has been done in the attempt. Bull I fall to see that the fact that unemployment exists is a reason why we should cease from applying to the development of the Commonwealth all the labour we can devote to its undoubtedly enormous unused opportunities. The States being the large landholders, and in possession of Larger local public services than are at the disposal of the Commonwealth; have much better means for collecting and transmitting information from one place to another than the Commonwealth could obtain without large expenditure. If we can secure their co-operation, we shall be able to give a much better guarantee to those whom we wish to attract to our shores that, without delay or needless cost, they will find employment or land available for those who seek it.
– The trouble is to get available land in most of the States.
– That is a trouble with which the States alone can deal, since the Commonwealth possesses no land.
– The question is whether we cannot proceed in another way.
– That remains to be seen. While pointing out the great value of State co-operation, I shall, so as not to detain the Committee, make no reference to the many directions in which it is most desirable that the States should pursue the task of welcoming and furnishing immigrants with information. When I come to the possibility that the States may not cooperate with the Commonwealth, I feel myself under an even greater disability, because we are likely shortly to meet the Premiers of the States to discuss this question, and I desire neither to reflect on what they have done nor to use language which could be fairly construed to imply anything in the nature of a threat. If we must look forward to the possibility of our proposals for co-operation being rejected, I agree with the honorable and learned member for Flinders that even that will not bring us to a full stop. We shall have to adopt other means, which I hesitate to describe, because I do not wish to assume an aggressive attitude. The honorable member for Angas detailed up to a .certain point the negotiations which have taken place in this regard between the Governments of the States and that of the Commonwealth. While there is a distinction between the Government and Parliament of the Commonwealth and those whom we represent, there is, I believe, an even greater distinction, where national questions are concerned, between the Governments and Parliaments of the States and their constituents. We have not yet had an opportunity - we may not soon have, and do not desire it - to ascertain the judgment of the people in regard to these vexed questions; but if the Commonwealth takes the true national path, avoiding any extinction or invasion of State rights, but seeking to serve national ends by national means, the people, who are the electors both for the States and the Commonwealth, will support us. Whenever we propose to carry out national work with national machinery, we shall have their support, and the Governments of the States, if they venture to appeal to them to resist it will not be supported by those who are their masters as well as ours. It is to the constituencies that we shall then appeal, and .in their hands judgment will lie. But it will be an unfortunate thing if we are obliged to appeal to them in such emergencies.
– What is the honorable and learned member suggesting now ?
– I am dealing with the misconception that a refusal of the State Governments to co-operate must mean an abandonment of our proposals. I have gone further by saying that, after such a refusal, should there be a marked difference of opinion in regard to the handling of this national question, the Commonwealth Parliament will more truly interpret the national feeling and sentiment than the Parliaments of the States.
– Does the honorable and learned member suggest that an appeal should be made at some election?
– I am pointing our that the proper course to follow, if we do rot secure the co-operation of the States will be to submit the matter to the people. We cannot then be charged with invading States’ rights, since we shall be appealing” to the possessors of all the powers distributed between’ the States and the Commonwealth. But I deprecate the idea that I am even hinting at the possibility of a conflict between the Commonwealth Government and Parliament and the States’ Governments and Parliaments as if they were antagonistic in origin or opposite in their true interests. The real solution will be to submit the question at issue directly to the electors, of whose interests we are both of us the custodians.
– Conflict could arise only if we sought for additional powers. There can be no conflict while we are content to work within our own limits.
– Exactly. But we have already had warning from- one, if not more, of the State Premiers that, if we attempt to introduce immigrants without the consent or against the will of State authorities, there may be serious trouble. That was a direct intimation that, under certain extreme circumstances, we might not only have to proceed without State assistance, but in defiance of State antagonism. I have never suggested such a possibility, but it was suggested at one of the Conferences. Consequently I reply that if that misguided view prevails it will become necessary for us to appeal to the people.
– I should not take the suggestion seriously:
– I would rather not take it seriously myself ; but it was made seriously.
– If I recollect aright: a suggestion of the kind was made by the Prime Minister himself at Ballarat during the last election, when he reminded the States that we had the power - he gave them a pretty good Hint.
– It is possible I mayhave given that hint, but do not remember it. In connexion with immigration what: we have to fear is, as I say, if, from any circumstances, we bring people here who find that the representations made are unjustified, and they cannot obtain an opportunity to take part in the development of the country, that would be fatal to any expenditure we might be undertaking oversea. If, therefore, we have to face the possibility of State inaction and want of sympathy, it will make our task very much more critical, and we shall have to proceed with so much greater caution. It will be adifficult matter to introduce more than a very limited number. The value of State co-operation is that with it we can venture,, with the greatest confidence, to introduce immigrants in large numbers, whereas, without the cordial co-operation of the States, we shall require to introduce them with great circumspection, in order that they may not find themselves deceived, and may not, therefore, react on our advertising agencies abroad by demonstrating that the promises held out are not, or cannot, be fulfilled. Here we see the value of a High Commissioner in London, with his finger on the pulse of the emigration movement on that side, assisting the Commonwealth on this side, in close touch with the whole of the continent and familiar with all the circumstances of our land and land settlement. We can then govern the influx of immigrants so as to meet the varying conditions of seasons or circumstances. When we speak of land settlement, I hope we remember - although it is a point which has been overlooked or ignored by several speakers - that there is an immense amount of labour employed on land which is not necessarily the labour of the owners. In this country large numbers of men are occupied in making homes for themselves and families, who are short cf assistance required all the year round.. When speaking of land settlement I have in contemplation those who come here sufficiently qualified by the possession of knowledge and capital to take up land, and also those who come out, in the first instance, as agricultural labourers with a view, no doubt, of taking up land for themselves when they shall have become qualified by knowledge of the country to decide where to make their selections. The number of settlers who will arrive with money will, I think, be much larger than anticipated, if those eligible are made aware of the circumstances and conditions of Australia. I do not mean particularly in Victoria, where the price of land to-day is quite high compared with prices ruling elsewhere, but other parts of New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia, where land can be purchased at much lower prices. These men will want skilled labour, and they will not bring with them immigrant labourers as innocent as themselves, but will require men who have served their apprenticeship here. However, that is digression. What the States Governments will be entitled to know, when we are debating the question with them, is that if they co-operate with us, we can at once commence what I have termed the large immigration. But if we have to watch the course of employment, study the various land systems, and consider the overplus of applicants for all land that is being thrown open, at all events. in the States of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, we shall have to proceed with extreme caution. There are moreland seekers than Crown land left open for selection in the populous “States. For my own part. so far as I am able to judge. through minds better informed than mine on this subject, I believe that, even if we commence with a small stream, it can be steadily increased without risk or danger. Those in the first and small stream will be a source of employment for the second and larger stream.
– Every good immigrant who comes here will become an immigration agent.
– That is so. Every man who takes up land, is providing work for other men. The vote we are discussing now is merely for advertising purposes, and, though I am dealing with the general Question of immigration, that can onlybe properly debated on a new vote which will appear on the Estimates for next year. Those Estimates will be prepared after the coming Conference with the
Premiers, and according to the encouragement they hold out with regard to cooperation. Should co-operation be refused, that will not prevent a vote from being submitted, though it may determine the amount for the first year or so, and modify the scheme in other particulars, which we need not now discuss. In any case, a vote will appear on next year’s Estimates. With the co-operation of the States, we shall be justified in asking for a liberal sum, in order to inaugurate a continuous stream of desirable immigrants.
– Will that vote be discussed prior to the appointment of a High Commissioner?
– I hope the events will be contemporaneous.
– Have the Premiers invited the Prime Minister to their Conference ?
– Not yet; but I notice they have been exchanging newspaper paragraphs which seem to point in that direction. When the vote is proposed next year, I shall be prepared, of course, to lay a scheme before the House, and discuss it in detail with the qualification I have already indicated. We shall then give particulars of the scale on which the immigration will be instituted, and the rate at which it can be continued without apprehension, even if we cannot count on the co-operation for which we hope. I believe that in the last resort, we shall find it possible to proceed with the introduction of immigrants under proper conditions, without delay. I most earnestly hope and trust, however, that the experience which the States have had with this Government during the last three years will satisfy them that we have been as patient as men can be in waiting for some realization of the plans submitted as long ago as 1906. I do not desire to weary honorable members with quotations, but it will be remembered that the Premier of Western Australia was not able to attend the Sydney Conference in 1906, and that in March of that year I wrote to him as follows -
If the States, in their own way, at their own terms, and according to their own judgment will make sufficient land obtainable without difficulty to supply the needs of a steady inflow into Australia of suitable immigrants such as con naturally be absorbed by them, the Commonwealth Government will supply those im- migrants. Next session we will make adequate recommendations to the Federal Parliament, first for advertising Australia in the Mother Country, on at least the scale proposed by the AgentsCeneral ; next for subsidizing the passages of suitable immigrants by lines of steamers at cheap fares; and, in addition, for taking any other action that may be considered expedient for fostering rural pursuits by means of bounties. These things can be done much more economically and effectively by the Commonwealth acting for Australia than by the States separately. Bounties can only be granted by the Commonwealth. The several States would, of course, supplement these activities to any extent they thought desirable, according to whatever arrangements here, or as to their joint labours at Home, they may decide to adopt. The proposal now made needs no elaboration. It is a business offer. The Commonwealth would undertake the responsibility of carrying it out effectively. If it is accepted we shall at once become united in a truly Federal spirit for a truly national object. I have no doubt of the response of the Parliament to any measure submitted in this regard.
That offer went before the Conference in 1906, and was politely declined on the ground, amongst others, that certain States would benefit more than other States by the immigration, and, therefore, should pay a proportionate share of the expense. As I said, that argument had no weight from our point of view- - that it was a matter we were quite willing to leave them to settle amongstthemselves. Wherever immigrants may land, they at once become citizens of the Commonwealth. The proposals in the letter have been pressed on the Premiers in different! forms at successive Conferences so far without result. If I may say so, I join with” the deputy leader of the Opposition and with the honorable member for Flinders and others, who have said that under these circumstances, after this next Conference, we shall have fairly discharged our obligation to the States Governments. The people of Australia will understand that we have not entered on this great and important field without having given the States Administrations every possible chance to co-operate with us, inviting them, if they so preferred, to name their own terms and methods. So far, we have been unfortunate in that we have not obtained any encouraging response. The Sibylline books are lessening, and at the nextConference we shall burn the last of the series.
– I hope it will not come to that.
– I hope not, and venture to believenot.
– Have the Premiers invited the Commonwealth Government to be represented at the Conference, and in what capacity ?
– They have not invited us at all yet.
– A great deal depends upon the way the Premiers propose to meet the Commonwealth.
– May I venture to differ from the acting leader of the Opposition in the rather pessimistic view he appears to take of the prospects of the Northern Territory. I am well aware that one of the Premiers said at a Conference that any settlers we might send there would in a few months be found in some of the other States. Having been forewarned we should be forearmed against such a contingency ; but those who have recently visited the Northern Territory, amongst them the honorable member for Illawarra, hold, I believe, a strong opinion that there are large areas of extremely fertile country offering admirable opportunity to young and enterprising settlers for mixed farming.
– Is it proposedto construct any railways in the Northern Territory ?
– Some railway works must be carried out.
– Immigrants are expected to go where our own settlers will not go.
– I think that the settlers we shall draw to the Northern Territory will be mainly Australians. If we offer encouragement by providing railway communication, and, perhaps, freezing works for meat and butter particularly, there are large tracts of land adjoining the Victoria and other rivers, which can be occupied at comparatively small expense, on which cattle are now thriving, and from which a considerable business could be done direct with the East.
– There is a great diversity of opinion on that point.
– There may be, and I have yet to find the subject, particularly the prospect’s of any stated portion of this country, about which there is not a diversity of opinion. Still, we thrive.
– Is it correct that the white residents in the Northern Territory are decreasing?
– They are certainly not increasing.
– Mining is going down.
– I think that the latest reports as to mining are unfavourable.
– There is only one hope, and that is by a large expenditure of public money on special settlements.
– I hope it will not be too large.
– About £8,000,000 or £1.0,000,000.
– Speaking without any reference to any such expenditure, or even to an expenditure of £800,000 or £1,000,000 in any immediate sense, I take it that if we acquire the Territory it will be our object to settle it, and the evidence which has reached me, at all events, is by no means discouraging to our prospects there.
– I think that it can be settled, but only by the expenditure of many millions sterling.
– I quite agree that advertising in itself is not sufficient to encourage immigration. In my opening remarks, I pointed out the many other uses that advertising serves, but I freely admit that if immigration is to be successfully encouraged, it will involve some expenditure here - even in the settled States - that it will require a considerable expenditure - though nothing like the amount mentioned by the honorable member for Wimmera - to make settlement possible in the Northern Territory ; and that it will further involve a steady judicious outlay in the Mother Country, Scandinavia, and elsewhere. The expenditure in those countries need not be large. This will give us a reinforcement of people who are competent to face the difficulties which surround our pioneers to-day, and which will continue to surround them for many years. But, just as our own fathers undauntedly conquered their surroundings, the same task will, and must, proceed around the whole coast of the Commonwealth. The enterprise is a very great and ambitious one, and may prove costly. But I thoroughly agree with the deputy leader of the Opposition that we have either to undertake it as a nation, or consent to cease to be. Because of the gravity of this problem, and because of the responsibilities involved in carrying it out, I look to the future with considerable anxiety. Failure would be better than not to attempt the task. Fail we cannot if we pursue our end with circumspection and judgment, steadily pushing forward the boundaries of civilization into the almost unknown parts of our territory. There are many encouraging omens. I have been jested at not ungenerously because of the speeches which I have made upon this subject during the past year or two. When outside the House, I intend to continue making such speeches until the people realize the necessity for taking definite action. I shall be only too glad if those who have been jesting at my efforts will join me in undertaking this necessary missionary work, because we shall presently require to ask for a great deal more money than we have hitherto been granted. Further, we may be quite certain that we shall not get that money from the people of this country until we have satisfied them that this is an absolutely necessary work, and that it is being done in the right way.
– There is nothing that the people are more earnest about at the present moment.
– I hope and believe so. I am greatly encouraged by the fact that in Victoria, no later than yesterday, this question was dealt with, at Maryborough, by a representative gathering of the Australian Natives’ Association. That Conference discussed the subject of immigration, both from the State and from the national point of view, and carried a resolution, from the national point of view, indorsing this movement. This means much. What young Australia thinks today, all Australia will think to-morrow. If we can succeed in impressing the young Australians throughout the States, we shall not have to wait long for the support which we ask in Parliament to enable us to perform our duty in this regard. There are two or three outstanding duties very patent in the Commonwealth. In the first place, we must occupy this country, because, without occupation, it cannot be retained. Next, we must utilize it thoroughly to maintian our several standards ; and, lastly, having occupied and utilized it, we must take care that it does not pass from our race and from our flag. Without these three essentials our future would be absolutely hopeless. It is only with them that we can accomplish any of the great social tasks to which we have set our hands. Everything depends upon these three achievements - our occupation of the country, our use of it, and our retention of it. Therefore, the proposals which I hope to submit upon the next Estimates -will contain a provision for commencing the great work of adding to the population of this country much faster than it is being added to by our natural increase. We are getting a certain stream of immigration without State encouragement, and . some little trickles of immigration with State encouragement, but we need something much more than both combined if the Australia of 1920 is to be adequate to the trials which will lie before her.
– I am very unwilling to make any further remarks upon this subject. But I wish to make a brief reference to the question of the unemployed in Australia. Before doing so, I should like to say with what pleasure I have listened to the speech just delivered by the Prime Minister, as I have listened to him upon many other occasions. -When he was reading the letter which he wrote two years ago bearing on this question of immigration, the honorable member for Dalley interjected that it was a beautiful letter. So it was. All the speeches delivered by the Prime Minister are beautiful. But I venture to say that at last the honorable gentleman is getting down to bed-rock. I congratulate him upon that fact, and I hope that later in the year we shall have submitted to us as wellmatured and complete an immigration scheme as his ingenuity can devise. I understand him to say that whilst nothing can be done during the present financial year, something of a definite character will be undertaken during the next financial year. The Prime Minister will then submit a definite scheme for an early procedure with this important undertaking.
– Hear, hear !
– The remarks that I specially desire to make at this stage refer to the methods in vogue in Australia for utilizing our surplus labour. I have often thought that there need not be a jingle man unemployed in the Commonwealth if we only possessed a thorough system of organization. With our wide diversity of climate and our great natural resources, all that is needed to insure employment for every man in Australia is a complete organization of our unemployed forces. I am looking forward with some hope to the establishment of a Department of Internal Affairs in connexion with the suggestion that has been made for the creation of a Board of Trade in Australia. It seems to me that a very useful function might be performed by such a body in connexion with the registration of labour in various parts of Australia, by directing the unemployed in one part to other! parts where employment could be obtained. I think that this work might be done in each of the States through their systems of local Government. I see that Mr. John Burns is organizing a similar scheme in connexion with the United Kingdom. I venture to say that with his practical mind, if he seriously addresses himself to the task, he will succeed. Everybody is aware that at all seasons of the year, when there is a dearth of employment in one portion of a State, there is an abundance of employment in other portions of that State or in other States. There is scarcely a time when one State is not more prosperous than another - when one State of the Commonwealth is not suffering from drought, whilst another is receiving copious rains. In travelling bv rail between Albury and Melbourne, the outlook at present is of the blackest description. Scarcely a blade of grass is to be seen.
– That is unusual.
– It is very unusual, and along that line things are looking worse than I have previously seen them. But on the other side of the border, the country is clothed in verdure and beauty in consequence of the copious rains that have fallen. In some portions of Australia there is always a condition of drought, whilst in other parts there is a condition of plenty and a profitable field for labour. Clearly, therefore, instead of saying - as we are constantly doing - that there are plenty of unemployed in Australia we should say that there is an abundance of opportunity for labour in Australia, and we should set about completing the requisite organization to transfer the man who wants employment to the place where that employment can be found. There is a great field open to some person in authority who has the means at his command for perfecting this organization. If that were done we should hear no more about the unemployed question as a bar sinister to bringing people here from outside.
.- In reference to the proposed vote for the advancement of the study of diseases in tropical Australia, I should like to know from the Prime Minister how the money is to be allocated, by whom it is paid, and if any information is forthcoming regarding the way in which it is being utilized? Does he receive any annual report in regard to this expenditure, and, if so, from whom ?
– Up to the present we have received only a few letters, but I will look into the question to-morrow and ask the honorable member to see all the papers that we have relating to it.
– I should like to know to what the appropriation of £500 in connexion with the New Hebrides refers.
– It is intended to assist the British settlers in the New Hebrides.
Mr.W. H. IRVINE (Flinders) [8.53]. - Seeing that I initiated the discussion upon the question of immigration, and that I invited the Prime Minister to make a definite statement upon it, I should like to say that honorable members in this corner of the House accept the very definite and clear statement, which the honorable gentleman has just made, with the greatest satisfaction. I feel confident that if he will follow the lines which he has laid down - and I believe that he will - he will effectually carry out the desire of the great majority of the people of Australia.
– I should like to know how much of the £20,000 set down for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth has been granted to immigration leagues, and whether any has been devoted to the organization that is presided over by Dr. Arthur. If so, will the Prime Minister take steps to see how that money is expended? I should also like to know whether he intends to continue this kind of a ssistance ?
– During the current financial year the sum of £75 has been granted to the New South Wales Immigration League. Vouchers have to be exhibited showing that the amount has been spent in advertising outside Australia. That sum has been paid to the Australian league, of which Dr. Arthur was president ; no money has yet been paid to the Australasian Leagueof which he is at present president. If that league shows that it is incurring useful expenditure outside, it will be favorably considered. These expenses, however, are only temporary ; they are incurred pending the inauguration of a proper system of advertising abroad.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Attorney- General’s Department
Division 17 (Secretary’s office), £3,364.
.- I notice that this division provides for an increase of officers in the Department. Is that increase due to an increase in work or to additional appointments to the High Court staff?
– The increases are not numerous. Hitherto, the only professional officers in the secretary’s office have been the secretary and the chief clerk, who acts as assistant parliamentary draftsman. It has been found necessary, however, to obtain an additional professional . officer, owing to the immense increase in the work of the Department.
– Is that increase due to newlegislation ?
– The functions of many of the Departments are increasing. The Department of Trade and Customs, for instance, has now to administer the Comnerce Act, whilst the work of the Department of Home Affairs has been extended. The preparation of regulations under new Acts has to be undertaken by the Department of the Attorney-General, and advice has to be given from time to time by it. In that way, the work of the Central office has been greatly increased. A junior clerk at a salary of £50 per annum has also been added to the staff.
– I find that the salaries of two officers in the clerical division have been increased. Do those increases represent increments granted in the usual way, or are they special increases ?
– They are the ordinary increments which have been granted on the certificate’ of the Public Service Commissioner.
– What about the clerk in the D grade, in respect of whom a salary of £310 is provided?
– The position was. created and has been filled by the appointment of an officer at a salary of £210 and not , £310 per annum, as shown in the item.
– Why is he in the D division ?
-Because he is a professional officer.
– Is he a lawyer ?
– Yes; he is a graduate of the Melbourne . University, named Knowles. He came originally from Queensland, and whilst employed in the Patents Office, attended the Melbourne University, and succeeded in passing the law examination.
– Although the Minister has said that this clerkis to receive a salary of, . £210 instead of . £310, as shown in the item, in the total the full amount is taken into account.
– The balance will lapse.
.- There appears in this division the item, “ Secretary to the representative of the Government in the Senate, £360.” The Secretaryto the Prime Minister, however, receives only £335per annum. I believe in every man being well paid, and I should liketo know whether the duties of the Secretary to the representative of the Government in be Senate are more arduous than are those of the Secretary to the Prime Minister? I do not insinuate that the first-named officer is being too highly paid ; in the absence of information, it seems to me that the Secretary to the Prime Minister is being underpaid.
– The Secretary to the representative of the Government in the Senate is a professional officer, who, when Parliament is not sitting, is engaged in professional work . in the Department of the Attorney-General. He is really an officer of the Department, who is assigned to the representative of the Government in the Senate.
-Is he not a lawyer?
– It seems that a. man must be a lawyer in order toget a bigsalary.
– This officer is a lawyer, but the salaries of the professional men in the Department, compared with salaries paid outside, are remarkably low.
.- It seems to me that a man must bear some sort of professional stamp in order to secure a big salary. If this officer is Secretary to the representative of the Government in the Senate, he cannot, whilst attending to the duties of that office, be performing work in the Department of the AttorneyGeneral.
– : He is engaged inboth capacities.
– Then he must beoverworked.
– He is a very hard-worked officer.
– I have never met the gentleman, but if he is such a useful man in the Department, his services should be retained for the Attorney-General’s Department, and another officer should be obtained to act as Secretary to the representative of the Government in the Senate.
I can understand a secretary being necessary for the representative of the Government in the Senate when he is an honorary member of the Cabinet but that is not the present position. It seems to me that either the salary of£360 per annum, is too high, Or that that paid to the Secretary to the Prime Minister is too low.
.- I agree with what the honorable member for Dalley. has said. Whilst I admire any man who, by close study,has succeeded in passing certain examinations, and so increased his learning, I trust that the fact, that a man has passed such examinations, will not be used as a reason for putting him before men who have not done so, but can render equally good service:
– That, is not being done. The professional positions are only such are absolutely necessary.
– Is a professional man necessary for this office?
.- I hope that when the AttorneyGeneral considers the anomaly which ; the honorable member for Dalley has discovered, he will do so without prejudice to either of the officers.Iam convinced from the little I know of the work theyhave-to perform thata salary of £360 per annum isnot too high.
– The Secretary to the Prime Minister is not -in a Department, and has no chance of advancement.
– Quite so I do not wish to advocate the claims of any particular officer, but if there is to be any levellingprocess in this case, let it be a levelling up, and not a levelling down. : The work is distinctly arduous, requiring greatknowledge and experience on the part of those called upon to perform it, and should be well paid for.
Secretary to the Representative of the Government in. the Senate secretary to the Vice-President of the Executive Council or Secretary to the Minister of Home Affairs?
– He is secretary to the Vice-President of the Executive Council, though he assists bothMinisters in all legal and other matters.
– Notwithstanding that they are both lawyers?
-If we had had another barrister to assist Ministers here, we might not have had so much trouble in connexion with the harvester legislation:
-I think that the trouble that has occurred has been due to there being too many lawyers. If this gentleman is required in the Attorney-General’s office, he should be permanently appointed there; and another officermade Secretary to the Representative of the Government. If, after the Attorney-General, the Secretary to the Attorney -General, and all the other Crown Law officers, have been through a Bill, he has to advise the representative of the Government in the Senate whether it is all right, he is not paid enough, and so that the Committee may mark its disapproval of this arrangement, I move -
That the item “ Secretary to the Representative of the Government in the Senate, £360,” be reduced by £1.
– I would remind the Attorney-General that an honorable member asked by interjection for information regarding item 9 of subdivision 2, “ Defence of prisoners, £20.”
– The Judiciary Act. provides that if a Judge of a Supreme Court certifies that a person charged with an offence against the laws of the Commonwealth is without means to defend himself, the Commonwealth may make provision. During the year 1906-7, £ii was spent in this way, and , £20 is asked for this year to meet contingencies
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 18 (Crown Solicitor’s Office), £3,360
– The Attorney- General promised to make a statement regarding the increases in this division.
– It was found necessary to establish a branch office in Sydney, because of the enormous amount of work to be done there. Accordingly, the Chief Clerk was transferred from the Melbourne office and put in charge, and the next in seniority to him made Chief Clerk in Melbourne, two junior clerks also being appointed in Melbourne at a salary of , £50 each.
– The Chief Clerk received last year £400, but this year only £310 is voted for him.
– The officer transferred to Sydney received £400 a- year ; butwhen he was succeeded by the next in seniority, the Public Service Commissioner fixed the salary at £310.
Proposed vote agreed to. .
Division 19 (High Court), , £6,645.
.- Pro vision is madein this division for two ad-: ditional associates. I do not object to each Justice of the High Court having his associate ; but it seems to me that when these dignitaries travel, it should not be necessary for them to take their associates with them. If reasonable economy were aimed at, they might very well utilize the services of the associates of the Judges of the Supreme Courts of the other States.
– The more distinct the High Court and the State Courts are kept, the better.
– Of course, a few pounds more or less do not matter much to the Treasurer. If he had a wider knowledge of the practical working of the High Court, he would know that the Registrars are State officials, and that half its work is done by State officials. If he were to study economy in this and other matters, he could afford to be more liberal in granting postal facilities.
– I am as liberal as I should be, and more liberal than many others would be.
– The Judges of theStates Courts do not travel, and thereforetheir associates do not cost so much as theassociates to the Justices of the High Court, whose- travelling expenses come to , £3,000 per annum, or £600 a year for each Justice. No doubt the Justices carry with them their tipstaffs as well as their associates. Apparently economy is to be practised only in connexion with parliamentary services. 1 shall not move a reduction; but I hope that the Attorney -General will see whether a saving cannot be made. The Justices probably require associates ; but I think that when away from Melbourne’, they might utilize the services of persons on the spot.
– It would be impossible for the associates of the States Judges to serve the Justices of the High Court. An associate is an officer in close personal contact with the Judgewith whom he is connected. He takes charge of the papers in the various actions which are being tried, and assists generally.
– He is virtually a private secretary.
– The work thrown on the
Justices of the High Court is much; more continuous than that thrown on the State Judges. In their appellate jurisdiction, they sit continuously during the legal year.
– That is about thirty-nine weeks.
– In vacation they have work to do in connexion with the preparation of rules, and so on. Last year fifty appeal cases were listed in Melbourne, fifty in Sydney ; eleven in Brisbane, and six in Perth, or 117 in all; and it took the Court, sitting continuously, all the time it had at its disposal to get through the work. The associates have to be in continuous attendance on the Justices, so that it would be impossible to carry out the honorable member’s suggestion.
– When the Court sits as a Court of Appeal, with three or five Judges, would one or two associates not be ‘sufficient ?
– No, because each Judge has his particular work, and has to be prepared to move when required to act in original jurisdiction. For instance, Mr. Justice Higgins, who has been doing Arbitration work, found it necessary to go to Adelaide and Sydney from time to time, and also to Perth and Hobart, to hear actions against the Government for compensation. It is absolutely essential that each Judge should have his associate with him when travelling ; and I can assure the honorable member that the expense is kept down to the minimum.
– I should like some explanation of the item of £530 for the compensation for services of Commonwealth and State officers. If this means payments to Commonwealth officers, they ought to appear in the Estimates in the ordinary way.
– I should also like to know how it is that this vote is the same for last year ; because one would naturally suppose that, like other similar votes, it would vary.
– There are two Commonwealth officers who receive payment under this item, one of whom discharges the duties of Principal Registrar, and receives the sum of £40, while the other acts as Marshal of the Court, and receives a similar sum. The balance of the £530 is paid as compensation for services performed to the Commonwealth by State officers, such as Deputy Registrars and Deputy Marshals. The sum is fixed because it is paid by arrangement with the States.
– Do the officers individually receive the money?
– Only in the case of New South Wales. It would be unnecessary and undesirable to appoint Commonwealth officers to perform duties necessary only when the High Court happens to be sitting in a State; and therefore it was arranged that the States officers should act The Commonwealth Government took the view that the officers individually should receive this money, but the Premier of Victoria replied that such action would be contrary to the policy of his Government. Similar replies were received from all the other States ; and the result is that the money is paid by the Commonwealth to the States- and not to the officers direct. The general question was discussed at Premiers Conferences;and it was decided that the States Governments should receive the money and then decide how the officers should be remunerated. The work performed in the case of the registrars and others is of a “skilled nature, and the whole scheme of the Judicature Act contemplates the utilization of the services of States officers wherever possible.
– I think that if the officers themselves do not receive the extra money, we ought to reduce thevote.
– These services are rendered by the States Governments through their officers, and the States Governments decide what salaries are adequate for individual officers. We have pressed on the States the view that the officers ought to receive the extra payment for increased work; and I may instance the case of Mr. O’Halloran, in- Victoria, who has done such excellent work for the Commonwealth ; indeed, there was so much work, that he had to do it in his own time, and it was found necessary to appoint an officer to assist him. My opinion of Mr. O’Halloran’s work was so high, that in June, 1907, I addressed a special letter to the Premier, pressing the view that he should receive the extra payment, and the result was the communication from that Minister to which I have referred. Of course the States Governments have full control of their own servants, and may recompense them as they choose.
– Under the circumstances, are the services not given grudgingly ?
– On the contrary, I am glad to say that the Commonwealth has been most loyally served by the States officers in question. The policy of utilizing the services of Commonwealth officers for the States and vice versa, has always been followed, with a view to avoiding duplication of officers, with the resultant increase of expenditure, and it is applied, for example, in the administration of the Commerce Act and the Electoral Act, and the Post and Telegraph Department, and the Treasurer’s Department.
– Would it not be well to show in detail tie officers and the amounts paid?
– Every detail could not be given in the Estimates; but there are eight persons contemplated in the item under discussion, including Mr.. Addison, of New South Wales, who, I think, receives . £140 in addition to his salary, and Mr. Walsh, of the same State, who receives £30. These sums are paid to the Government of New South Wales, which distributes them as it thinks fit. We have done our best to see that deserving officers receive the remuneration to which they are entitled, but we cannot insure that they shall do so. We have expressed ourselves strongly upon the matter.
– The Attorney-General would express himself much more strongly upon it if he sent those officers a cheque direct.
– We cannot go behind the States and avail ourselves of the services of their officers any more than the States can go behind the Commonwealth and avail themselves of the services of our officers.
– When the Attorney-General filled the position of Minister of Home Affairs, he utilized the Postal Department to secure the performance of electoral work for which he did not pay the officials.
– But we were then dealing with our own servants. 1 can assure the honorable member that in this matter we cannot do more than we have already done.
– I know of a case similar to that cited by the AttorneyGeneral, in which the Commonwealth pays £5 to a State for services rendered to it by a State officer, and that officer receives only£1 of it. The State pockets the balance. It appears, from the remarks of the Attorney-General, that New South Wales is the only State which pays anything to its officers for services, which they render to the Commonwealth. I should like to know whether the Commonwealth Government pockets the money which is voted to our officers for the services which they render to the States?
– No. But this is a matter in which the States themselves are the judges.
– The same taxpayers contribute to the Commonwealth revenue as contribute to the States revenue, and in this Parliament we have just as much right to safeguard the interests of the taxpayers as have the representatives of the States in the States Legislatures. I will not be a party to voting money to create a surplus in the States Treasuries by depriving public officers of the money which they have fairly earned. I therefore move -
That the item “ Compensation for services of Commonwealth and State officers,£530,” be reduced by£330.
.- The explanation of the position given by the Attorney-General was absolutely accurate. The officers who perform work for theCommonwealth are State officials who are amenable to the States Governments. They work under the Public Service Acts of their own States, and it would be imposs ible for the Commonwealth to deal directly with them. They would not be allowed, without punishment, to receive direct from the Commonwealth compensation for services which they had rendered. But it seems to me - especially in the case of the prothonotary who initiated all the machinery of the High Court in the early stages of its existence, and who also presided at several disputed elections in this State - that an injustice has been done. This particular officer has performed a good deal of Commonwealth work in his own time.
– I stated that Mr. O’Halloran had worked overtime.
– That officer has performed a lot of Commonwealth work in his own time, but owing to the bias of his official superior, he has not been permitted to receive any remuneration for it. It seems to me that the Attorney-General might put a little more vim into the diplomatic letters upon this subject which he forwards to the State Government. Of course,he may incur the risk of being told to mind his own business, but where he knows that a manifest injustice is being done, he ought to present the matter to the State Government in a form in which it is not accustomed to receive official communications. . I suppose that we can do nothing but agree to the vote. At the same time, I would suggest that a deal of confusion might be avoided if, in the future, the amount set apart for this particularpurpose were subdivided, so as to show the sum allocated to each State, and the officers who were entitled to receive it.
– -We might obtain from the Blue Books of the States the salaries which the various officers receive, and we might see whether they were adequate.
– But the State would very naturally say, “ These are the salaries which we pay to our officials for performing State work, and we consider them sufficient.” Thus we should have no locus standi. I see no way out of the difficulty, but I think that the Attorney -General might impart a little more fire to his future communications upon the subject, although nothing can be said upon Mr. O’Halloran’s behalf, stronger than what was said by a previous Attorney-General. Nevertheless, owing to the prejudice of a certain official who is his superior, that officer’s services have not been recognised.. Seeing that the amount involved in his case was a small one, and that its payment -would not have established a precedent - because we shall never have to organize the High Court again - itwas a contemptible . act on the part of the Victorian Government to refuse to allow him to accept it.
.- It seems to me that the Attorney-General has admitted the case made out by the honorable member for Maranoa. He has acknowledged that Mr. O’Halloran has worked overtime. .
– He has constantly devoted his own time to the performance of Commonwealth work.
– Therefore, in the opinion of the Attorney-General, he is being unjustly treated?
– That was the opinion of a former Attorney-General. My information is that Mr. O’Halloran has faithfully performed a good deal of Federal work during his own time. Of course, we paid the State for the services which he rendered to us.
– Then the AttorneyGeneral must admit that Mr. O’Halloran is being treated unjustly, especially as Mr. Addison of New South Wales is receiving over£100 a year for doing similar work. The Attorney-General has said that he desires these officers to be paid for these services. If that be so, all that he needs to do is to send Mr. O’Halloran a cheque for £8 6s. 8d. monthly. Why does he not do that?
– Because he cannot receive pavment direct from us. .
– Because it would be contrary to the provision of the. State Public Service Act, and it would not be fair to place Mr. O’Halloran in an invidious position. Besides, we can make an arrangement with a State officer only through the State Government.
– I hold that the AttorneyGeneral should send Mr. O’Halloran a monthly cheque for £8 6s. 8d. ; and. if he is not entitled to accept- it, he should beable to return it to the Commonwealth Treasury. The honorable gentleman has also stated that we cannot avail ourselves of the services of State officers to perform Federal work without the consent of the State concerned. I am very sorry that he should have taken up a position in direct opposition to a recent decision of the High Court. A similar position was taken up by a State Chief Justice. But what was the answer of the High Court? It was that, although the Chief Justice of the State in question was not a servant of the High Court, he was an officer of the law and had to obey the law. If the Commonwealth employs this officer to do certain work, and the Judiciary Act empowers it to do so, it is absurd to say that the Commonwealth cannot pay him for his services.
– It may be that we can by law impose duties on Mr. O’Halloran, but it is a question of his receiving payment contrary to the Public Service Act of the State.
– The State should be compensated in respect of any time lost by this officer in discharging Commonwealth duties during ordinary office hours. But it has been admitted by the Attorney- General that his work for the Commonwealth is not done in State time. That fact is also within my own knowledge, and I trust that the honorable member for Maranoa will receive support in his effort to secure justice for State officers who are engaged at times in doing work for the Commonwealth.
.- I am anxious to help the Attorney-General in the obviously difficult position in which he finds himself, but do not think that he is attempting to meet the difficulty: He seems to assume that our liability to these officers ceases the moment” the State is paid.
– They are not our officers.
– No ; but they work for us, and our moral liability is to them. If the honorable member employs a railway porter to carry his luggage he compensates him for his trouble, although he is not his servant, but is employed by the Railways Commissioners. In this instance we are getting special work done for us - it is not here a question of tipping- and only one of the States hands over to the officers concerned money paid to it by the Commonwealth for services so rendered. If the Attorney-General will not give us satisfaction I hope that, if we are driven to take the only step “we can take when we see an injustice done, he will regret his action.
.- I shall be satisfied if the Attorney-General will undertake to make a special appeal to the State Government to hand over to this officer the amount paid to him in respect of the services rendered by. him to the Commonwealthin his own time in connexion with the petition against the return of the honorable member for Echuca, which was dealt with by the High Court. The Commonwealth ought to have given him a bonus. ‘ As the honorable member for Coolgardie has said, because this man’s superior officer has a bias against him no . recommendation has been made that he shall receive payment in respect of the services rendered by him to the Commonwealth. We ought to. bring the State Government up with a round turn by refusing to make any payment to it.
– Then we should not have any services rendered by States officers. We must compensate the States.
– Where does the officer come in?
– He is in the same position as the police, who prepare our rolls.
– The amount paid by the Commonwealth to the Queensland Government in respect of services rendered by the police in the preparation of the electoral rolls has been distributed amongst the men. I do not know Mr. O’Halloran, butfrom what has been said. I think that he has been unjustly treated. It seems to me that we can secure justice in this case only by striking out the item.
– The practice of which complaint ismade,is a very old one.; it has been going on since the inception of Federation.
– I am fighting for States officers who render services to the Commonwealth, believing that they should be compensated.
– I am afraid that, fight how we may, we cannot provide for their payment, for the simple reason that we have no controlover them. They are merely loaned to us for these purposes, on condition that we pay so much in respect of their services to the States.
– The Government of New South Wales are allowing officers to be compensated by the Commonwealth for services rendered to us.
– We pay the Government of New South Wales, and they pay the officers.
– I. am glad to hear it.
– The Railways Commissioners retain what we pay them in respect of services rendered to the, Commonwealth by railway officials.
– That is so, and
I fail to see how we can get over the difficulty. The work of managing a railway station, and looking after a post-office attached to it is assessed at a certain value. If we paid railway officers- acting as postmasters directly for their services to the Post and Telegraph Department, the probabilities are that a corresponding reduction might be made in the salaries which they receive from the Railway Department. Even if the individuals concerned are not permittedto receive this money, wmust pay it over to the States. We owethe money to the States, who have granted the services of these officers to us.
– We owe the money to the men who do the work. I have a strong objection to middlemen.
– Itis the middleman with whom we made the contract in this case, and whom we must pay.
– This is a very serious matter, whose discussion will do good, in that it will inform the Governments of the States of the dissatisfaction felt by honorable members with the mariner in which they have been acting. Where their servants do work for the Commonwealth in the time for which they pay, the States Governments are entitled to keep the money received for the services rendered. But much of this work is done in overtime, without those who do it receiving extra remuneration. It has been said that the New South
Wales Government has dealt liberally with its public servants in this matter ; but that is not so in every case. In the Railway Department, a number of officers act as postmasters, and do a great dealof extra work for which they receive no additional remuneration, notwithstanding that we pay the Railways Commissioners for it. These men have to do work for the Commonwealth in what would be free time if they had only their State duties to perform ; so that, under the present arrangement, they are virtually being sweated by us. I strongly protest against this. Although the position is a difficult one, we should not hesitate to express our disapproval of the. arrangement.
– Under the Judiciary Act, certain duties have to be performed by district registrars, and the States were asked to allow us to utilize the services of their officers, to avoid the appointment of Commonwealth officers, whose time would not be fully occupied. It was shown that one of the officers asked by the State to do Commonwealth work was overworked, and strong representations were made on his behalf to the State Government by several Attorneys-General. Since I have been in office, he has been relieved to some ex-, tent by the appointment of a Commonwealth officer to assist him. When it was represented to the State that those of their officers who were doing Commonwealth work should receive payment from the Commonwealth, the New South Wales Government replied that, where officers were doing work for the Commonwealth which took up additional time, they were compensated for it. The reply we got from Queensland was that the duties of district registrar and deputy marshall were performed by the State officer in his ordinary office hours, and, as the State paid him for the period during which he was employed, it was considered that he was not personally entitled to the remuneration paid by the Commonwealth, and that it was due to the State. The Government of Western Australia pointed out that, in consequence of the attendance of its officer in Court on Commonwealth business, it had to pay other officers to do his work, and, therefore, considered that he was not entitled to the Commonwealth remuneration. We cannot compel the States to pay these men the amounts we pay, but we must compensate the States for work that is done for us’.
– The services for ten months out of the twelve have been paid for. .
– Yes. When the Committee brings under the notice of the Government particular cases in which State officers have to do Commonwealth work out of office hours, and are unjustly treated, it is our duty to make representations with a view to getting matters put right.
– The Minister is inviting the officers of the States to agitate.
– How shall we know of injustice unless they do agitate?
– The Department knows from the returns of work made to it.
– Why have not representations been made?
– They have been made, and, as I have pointed out, a Commonwealth officer has been appointed in Mel bourne to assist the State officer.
– Mr. O’Halloran was being overworked after Mr. Stewart’s appointment.
- Mr. O’Halloran has since been relieved of some of his work. I shall not hesitate to make strong representations in every case in which it is thought that officers are suffering injustice. The States and Commonwealth are working together to save expense, and it is the duty of the Public Service Commissioner, where Commonwealth officers are performing State services, to assess the value of the whole of the work done, while the same filing should be done in regard to the States officials who are performing Commonwealth services. In many of the States railway officials do a great deal of work.
– A very good arrangement.
– An excellent arrangement though in some cases I do not think the officers are fairly remunerated for their additional duties.
– The Commonwealth pays the States Governments a lump sum.
– We pay a lump sum to the Railways Commissioners. Strong representations will be made in regard to any case in which” it is thought that injustice is being done.
.- Although I asked the Attorney -General to make an explanation, I am inclined to regret that he complied with my request, because he has practically given a public invitation to State officials who consider that they are suffering injustice to bring their cases before honorable members.
– No. I did not.
– I am glad to know that I misapprehended the Minister. Such an invitation would have been very improper. I have risen mainly to suggest that when the next Estimates are prepared the Minister should formulate a comprehensive scheme for dealing with this matter, so that those who do work for the Commonwealth may be actually paid for their work. As payments have been made for ten months of the current financial year, this discussion is not of much value, except as an indication of our wishes in the matter.
I am at all times opposed to the working of overtime, and I am still more opposed to the working of overtime that is not paid for, but I recognise a difficulty in this case. The Commonwealth utilizes the services of State officers, for which it naturally has to pay. If the workis done during the time for which the States pay those officers, they have no claim upon the sum paid by the Commonwealth ; but if it is done in overtime they should be reimbursed. The proposal of the honorable memberfor Maranoa, if carried, may do some good. It might be advisable to send to the Premier of Victoria . copies of Hansard containing the report of this discussion, when, perhaps, Mr. Bent, who with all his ruggedness has his good points, might see that an injustice is being done. I shall take every opportunity of bringing under the notice of honorable members cases of officers who work overtime and are not being paid, because the Commonwealth is rich enough to pay its officers for all the work that is done by them. I am glad that the AttorneyGeneral confirms the high opinion held of Mr. O’Halloran by all who know that gentle- man ; and the strongest recommendations ought to be made to the State Government to hold the scales of justice evenly.
.- The Attorney-General hasput the Committee in an unfortunate position. He is asked 0 take some definite action, and the only suggestion he can make is that he shall once more communicate with the States Governnents on the subject, a course which has hitherto met with no success. I think the Attorney-General might agree to the amendment.
– We cannot refuse to pay the States for services rendered.
– The remedy seems to be either to accept the amendment or to indict the -Treasurers of the States for the misappropriation of trust funds. Personally, I prefer the amendment of the honorable member for Maranoa: and, moreover, I think that there is a constitutional point involved, inasmuch as there is discrimination between the States in that Mr. Addison, in New South Wales, is paid for services precisely similar tothose for which Mr. O’Halloran, in Victoria, refused payment.
.I recognise the difficulty of the AttorneyGeneral, and also the difficulty of the Committee. This work has been performed, and must be paid for under the agreement between the Commonwealth and the. States Governments. The States Governments hold that, as the services of their officers are rendered during office hours’, the individuals are not entitled to the money paid by the Commonwealth. This Parliament has declared emphatically against sweating ; and yet we find the Commonwealth using the States Governments as a mean’s to sweat States officers. I had personal experience of Mr. O’Halloran, who is afirst class officer, during the proceedings in my election petition. Had Mr. O’Halloran been occupied only during office hours in that work, I should have nothing further to say ; but, as a matter of fact, for fourteen nights he was engaged up to 11 o’clock, and on one occasion until after midnight ; and he performed his duties so admirably that this Parliament’ voted a sum of money as compensation to him. However, as has been pointed out, the State Government decline to allow him one farthing.
– Had the State Government to employ another man to do Mr. O’Halloran ‘s work while he was engaged on the election petition?
– No ; Mr. O’Halloran did his State work during the day; and the Commonwealth work at night. Further, Mr. O’Halloran was engaged in the election petition of Kennedy v. Palmer, and for that work he has not received any of the money we voted as.compensation. I think we. might intimate to the States “Governments that, inasmuch as we have declared against sweating, we shall in the future employ our own officers to do this kind of work. A very grave wrong is being perpetrated in the case of Mr. O’Halloran, and I hope that the Attorney-General will make such strong representations to the Premier of Victoria that in the future compensation so voted will go to those for whom it is intended.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 20 (Court of Concilia/ion and Arbitration), £920, agreed to.
Mr. AUSTIN CHAPMAN laid upon the table the following paper -
Bounties Act 1507. - Provisional Regulations - Statutory Rules1908, No. 32.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) pro posed -
That the House do how adjourn.
.- I do not know whether the attention of the Minister of Trade and Customs has been drawn to some figures published in the Herald of this evening and in the Age of yesterday, relating to the white man’s burden. These figures show that wheat bags have been weighted up to 475 lbs., and that others range down to 350 lbs. I know I am voicing the opinion of every honorable member when I urge that the Minister should take steps to prevent this sort of thing being continued.
Question resolvedin the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.38 p.m. .
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 26 March 1908, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19080326_reps_3_44/>.