3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m. and read prayers.
Distribution of Plans and Booklets
– There has recently been circulated among honorable, members a report upon the Tooma site, in which reference is made to a plan prepared by Mr. Chesterman, which, however, does not accompany, it. I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether he will cause it to be distributed amongst honorable members .
– I will make inquiries from the Department of Home . Affairs, and whatever information it possesses shall be made available to honorable members. I have receivecf to-day from the Premier of New South Wales 200 booklets relating to the Canberra site, which were sent in response to the suggestion of the honorable member for Illawarra.
– Why not pass them round?
– They will be distributed to-day.
– Will the Prime Minister be good enough to intimate to the House the procedure to be followed in regard to the fixing of the Seat of Government ?
– A Bill dealing with the Seat of Government has been on the table for months, and the proposing of amendments in it will be in order.
– Has the covering message been received ?
– I find that the message recommends an appropriation for expenditure in respect of a site in the neighbourhood of Dalgety, making it impossible for Parliament to vote money for another site. Will the Prime Minister deal with that difficulty before we get into Committee on the Bill? The resolution in regardto the Bill reads -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of money be made for the purposes of a Bill for an Act to determine more definitely the Seat of Government in the neighbourhood of Dalgety and the territory there within which it shall be, and to provide for the grant to and acceptance by the Commonwealth of the territory,, and to provide for other matters in relation thereto.
I fail, therefore, to see how in Committee we can discuss any other site.
– On the proposal to omit certain words conveying the instruction of the House, an opinion can be expressed that some other site should be chosen, and then the steps necessary to another selection will be taken. I have consulted the AttorneyGeneral on the point, and he says that the omission of those words would require the Bill to be set aside, and leave the field open for the selection of another site.
– With all respect to the Attorney-General, I do hot think that it is within his functions to express an opinion on a question of Parliamentary procedure. Will you, Mr. Speaker, permit me to ask you a question in regard to this matter, which is before Parliament, though not immediately before the House? I wish to know in what position we stand in regard to the message, and its effect on the Bill.
– May I answer the question, subject to correction by Mr. Speaker? The Bill and its covering message undoubtedly relate to Dalgety only ; butthe opinion of the House can be ascertained on a motion to . omit certain words, implying that Dalgety is not acceptable. If such a -motion were carried, the Bill would be laid aside, and we should have to begin de novo. The consideration of the measure is, however, the first step that must be taken, in view of the fact that Parliament has already chosen Dalgety. The Bill was introduced as a Government measure, but Ministers will vote in regard to it according to their opinions.
– Is there any reason why another message, making no mention of Dalgety, should not be brought down?
– That can be done if Dalgety is rejected.
– I s I should like to ask the Prime Minister a question without notice. In view of the fact that the honorable gentleman has announced that next week we shall deal with the question of the Capital Site, I wish to know whether he has any photographs or pictures of Dalgety, showing tho immortal Snowy River, the heights of Kosciusco, and the peaks covered with perpetual snow, so that we can see these features when forming an opinion of the beauties of the situation?
– I do not know whether any illustrations can equal the honorable member’s vivid descriptions, but whatever we possess shall be placed at his disposal.
– With reference to the question put by the,, honorable member for Darwin, I wish to ask the Prime Minister, whether, if such, photographs are available, he will see that the boulders are shown, instead of their being turned into beautiful shrubs and trees, as was done on some postcards issued with reference to this particular Capital Site.
– I shouldlike to ask the Prime Minister, without notice whether beforewe go into the question of the Federal Capital Site, he will obtain information with regard to water conservation, and as to whether we shall have to adopt a gravitation or a pumping scheme at Tooma?
– If there is any inforrnation oh the subject.
– Fullparticulars are contained in Mr. Chesterman’s report.
– Has the Prime Minister noticed that Mr. Mitchell, a King’s Counsel of the Victorian Bar, in asking for admission to the New South Wales Bar a day or two ago, had to rely on his English, and not upon his Victorian qualification ? If so, does he not think that, having regard to what should be Federal reciprocity, such a state of affairs is anomalous?
– I do not know that it is profitable to discuss what Federal reciprocity exists between the States, but understand that, as a matter of fact, reciprocity between the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and Victoria does not at present exist.
– I - I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether or not the Select Committee on Parliamentary Privileges, to the appointment of which this House agreed yesterday, will investigate the specific charge made by the Sydney Bulletin that certain members of this Parliament received £10,000 from the Standard Oil Company for votingfor free oil, and also whether it will also inquire into the correctness or otherwise of the statement made by Mr. Beale in a circular issuedby him that certain firms subscribed certain sums to enable lobbyists to influence the votes of members during the Tariff debate?
– It was generally agreed, when the question was considered by the House, that the present method of dealing with such libels was inadequate. A new method is to be substituted. The Committee, which will consist of members of both Houses, will recommend a simpler and more expeditious way of dealing with offences of the character named. As I have already said on two occasions, there will be no objection, if the House thinks it necessary, to refer the cases mentioned by the honorable member, or any others, to the Committee for inquiry.
– Whilst recognising the difficulty of dealing with such offences under the existing system, I would ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of the very serious imputation upon every member of this Parliament, he could not directly request the editor of the Sydney Bulletin and Mr. Beale to furnish more definite information as to the charges made by them ?
– The paragraph in the Bulletin was brought under notice by the Secretary of the Manufacturers’ Association of New South Wales. I asked that further particulars be obtained. The Secretary acknowledged my reply, and if my recollection serves me rightly, led us to suppose that lie would endeavour to take some action. We have received no further communication. I do not know that the Government ought to put questions to particular papers or individuals, but if it . isdesired have no objection to asking for further information:
– Is the House to understand from what the Prime Minister has just said that he does not deem it to be his duty as leader of the Government to take action specially to preserve the reputation of the House?
– I have already stated that it is the duty of the Government.
– But the honorable member said just now that the House, if it chose, might take action.
– The honorable member has misunderstood me. I have stated, on other occasions, that our reason for not availing ourselves of the existing methods for dealing with such cases, is that they are utterly inefficient. What I now say is that a definite complaint having been made to the Government some weeks after the publication of the paragraph referred to, I requested the Secretary of the Association making that complaint to supply us with further information, and that, although my recollection is that we were led to infer that the Association would look into the matter, we have had no further communication from it. I can ask Mr. Beale for anything he has to say with reference to the charges, if any, contained in his remarks.
– In the event of the Committee recommending a procedure which will apply only to future cases, will the Prime Minister object to the appointment of a Royal Commission to thoroughly investigate the charges already made, so that the stigma cast upon honorable members may be removed?
– I think the Committee can be trusted to deal with this question in the present and for the future, so far as suggesting to this House the proper method of procedure.
-Does the Prime Minister intend to take any action in regard to the facts alleged, irrespective of the report of a Select Committee, or anything else?
– Does the honorable member mean to ask whether I propose to institute an inquiry in this House, as to whether there is any foundation for the charge? If so, my reply is that I certainly do not. I cannot believe that there is any truth in the allegations. I regard any such implications as absolutely incredible.
– The Prime Minister is only shunting the question.
– I am not.
– I am sure every honorable member will agree with the Prime Minister in regarding as incredible the extraordinary slanders contained in the paragraphs referred to. But it is the people outside whom we desire to satisfy that the state of affairs alleged does not obtain, I may say, further, that the fact that this Bulletin article was brought under the Prime Minister’s notice by an important body like the Chamber of Manufactures of New South Wales, shows that these slanders are believed. In view of the fact that people think there is something in the statements that have been made, I ask whether’ the Prime Minister will investigate the matter for himself, or ask the House to appoint a Committee to do so?
– It Was already been pointed out - though the honorable member made a new suggestion in conclusion - that we are practically powerless in a case of this kind with the machinery which Parliament at present possesses. I am now asked whether I will -move for a Committee to make inquiry into the statements, and without any expectation of results say that if the House wishes I have no objection.
– Willthe Prime Minister give time for a motion for appointment of a Select Committee or Royal Commission to be discussed?
Mr.SPEAKER.- There is a proper way to ask questions, and that is by rising in the House and addressing the Chair. Further, it is necessary under the Standing Orders that no honorable member should ask two consecutive questions to the exclusion of other honorable members who may desire to ask a question. It is not proper to ask questions whila seated, and I ask honorable members to keep to the method which has hitherto been, customary.
– If an honorable member should catch your eye, sir, would it not be in order to ask the question sitting, in order to maintain the continuity of the information? .
– It is not in order to ask questions sitting at any time, nor can I guarantee the continuity of questions - quitethe reverse. The Standing Orders provide that no honorable member may ask two questions or more in succession to the exclusion of other honorable members.
– I think the appointment of a Committee is a very desirable step; andI ask the Prime Minister whether the duty should not be cast on that Committee of inquiring as to the truth of the allegations that have been made? Surely, it ought to be possible to obtain some additional information.
– Although this is a slight departure from the terms of the appointment, the suggestion, if there is to be any action, is an excellent one. The Committee might be asked to do as suggested.
– I have received the following message from the Senate -
The Senate, having taken into consideration Message No. 23 of the House of Representatives, dated 1st April, 1908, acquaints the House of Representatives that the Senate has agreed to the following resolutions : -
That a Select Committee be appointed, to join with a Select Committee of the House of Representatives, to inquire and report as to . the best procedure for the trial and punishment of persons charged with the interference with, or breach of, the powers, privileges, or immunities of either House of the Parliament or of the Members or Committees of each House.
That the Members of this Senate upon such Committee be Senators Colonel . Neild, Henderson, Turley, and Chataway; two to be a quorum.
That such Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records; and that the first meeting of the Committee be held in the Senate Committee-room on Wednesday next, the 8th April, at half-past Ten o’clock a.m.
That a Message be sent to the House of Representatives conveying the above resolutions.
– The Prime Minister, in reply to the honorable member for Kooyong, has stated that he has no objection to asking the proposed Committee to inquire into the truth or otherwise of the statements which have been made. But supposing the alleged offenders refuse to appear before the Committee, is there any power to compel them to do so? I am of opinion that there is no such power, but it is for the Prime Minister to say.
– I have in my hand the terms of the appointment of the Committee, and see that according to paragraph 3, they are given power to send for persons, papers, and records.
– But, I think, they will not be able to compel the attendances of witnesses unless there is some legislation.
– I am not certain as to that.
– I suggest to . the Prime Minister that, by leave of the House, he might move at once that it be an instruction to the Committee to investigate the charges to which reference has been made. This would give the Committee the requisite authority to undertake the inquiry.
– With the assistance of the Attorney -General, I shall draft the necessary addition to the resolution.
Adamstown Rifle Range - Field Artillery Guns - Allowance to Officers
– Is the Minister of Defence aware that, although he has given instructions to have the rifle range at Adamstown repaired after the damage done by the floods, no work has yet been carried out? Will the Minister see that the range is repaired, so that it may be ready for the annual shooting competitions, which come on very shortlv ?
– Under the circumstances, yes.
– I beg to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, a question concerning an inquiry which I made of him a few days ago. I then desired to know whether the new18?-pounder guns had yet been distributed to the artillery. In reply, the Minister stated that a proportion of the guns had been distributed. I now wish to know what proportion has been distributed?
– I cannot inform the honorable member exactly in detail, butI think that the guns have been distributed in all the States except one. I will ascertain for the honorable member.
– Does the Minister mean that they have been distributed to the whole field artillery of the States?
– I think that nearly all the States now have the18?-pounders.
– Have they been given to the regiments yet?
– I understand so.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, when the return with reference to allowances made to military officers in lieu of quarters will be available?
– I will make inquiries, and inform the honorable member tomorrow.
Sir William McGregor Land Scandals.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether, when Sir William McGiegor declined the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of Papua, he made a statement encouraging the belief that he might at a future period consider the offer?
– Speaking from memory - I have had no notice of this question - Sir William McGregor’s difficulty was caused by his existing relations with the Colonial Office, and the conditions on. which his -pension became available. I believe, however, that the obstacle disappeared after a certain time.
– I wish to know from the Prime Minister if it is true, as stated in the press, that nothing has been done in regard to the land scandals in Papua?
-I understand that the first statement made was that the scandals arose because of inaction on the part of the Government, whereas the fact is that, since the report of the Commission was received condemning certain parts of the Administration, we have got rid of twelve or fourteen officers of the Papuan service, which, honorable members know, is a very small one. Most of these have resigned, some under compulsion. .
– The elements of trouble were there before the Commonwealth took over Papua.
– The late Administrator, four resident magistrates, two or three assistant magistrates, the Government Secretary, several other officials, and an officer whose term of service will expire in a month or two, have left, or are about to leave. In point of fact, we are changing the whole Administration as rapidly as possible, having due consideration to those concerned, and the difficulty in filling vacancies.
– The position seems to be worse than it was.
– The scandals became known because whatever was done - and I expressed a very strong opinion on the question - seems to have been done in the light of day. I have been sorry to read in the press reflections on Mr. Staniforth Smith, whose conduct of affairs in Papua has been most energetic and valuable. In his endeavours to encourage land settlement as the basis of future prosperity and development, he undoubtedly went too far when he allowed an officer sitting with him on a Land Board to be an applicant for land.
Mr.Fisher. - Are the proceedings of such Boards conducted in public?
– I think so. At all events, they must come before the Executive Council., The Government, so far from having rested upon the old Papuan Administration, are rapidly and thoroughly re-constituting it.
– And getting good experienced men to fill the places of those who are leaving?
– I think so. We have been censured for not appointing a new Administrator long ago; but the office of Administrator will not be vacant for a week to come, and there are the charges I have previously mentioned to be disposed of.
– Will the Prime Minister say whether the Cabinet Committee appointed to report on the demoralization of the postal service is for the purpose of allaying the public clamour against the Government for shirking responsibility for culpable mismanagement?
– I should say that such questions are the best possible instance of demoralization.
Report (No. 14) presented by Mr. Storrer, read by the Clerk, and adopted.
– In reference to the payments on account of services rendered by States’ officers to the Commonwealth, I desire to know whether the. Minister of Home Affairs has sent to the Premiers of the States that immediate and forceful letter he promised last Thursday ?
– I am not aware that I promised an immediate and forceful letter. What I promised to do was this : I promised to look into the case, and find out whether the officers were doing work which required special remuneration. The representations have , not yet been sent. But whatever promise I made I will faithfully keep.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister in what order he proposes to take the business of the House during the next few days?
– As soon as we have disposed of the Estimates we hope to take up the question of the Federal Capital Site. Of course, the most important matter is the Tariff. Until we are in a position to deal with the requests made by the Senate we shall proceed with the question of the Capital Site; and in what time offers with the Surplus Revenue Bill.
– When will the Tariff be dealt with?
– I should hope early next week.
– I should like to ask the Treasurer, without notice, when we may expect to see the Additional Estimates? . 1 put the question to save time. There is likely to be a debate, I understand, on the Estimates of the Post and Telegraph Department.
– What ! A debate on the Post Office Estimates?
– I will put a hypothetical case. “If” we are to have a debate on the Post and Telegraph Estimates, and a new set of Estimates are to be dealt with immediately after, it is a fair thing to suppose that there will be a full debate on them. Time would be saved, I think, if we had them on the table now.
– I cannot state the exact date when the Additional Estimates will be tabled. I have been . working at them this morning. I think they will be in rough print to-morrow.
– Does the Treasurer mean that they are not ready yet?
– No, they are not. It takes some little time to get the Estimates into proper order.
– It is over a month since they were promised.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister, without notice,’ whether he’ will afford me an opportunity, during the present session, to submit a motion of which I have given notice, for the appointment of a Select Committee. The matter in question is one of urgency. I desire that the House shall have all the information available. I believe that the House would be glad if I had an opportunity of proceeding with the motion during the present session.
– I quite recognise that the question to which the honorable member refers is a very special one. It relates to the case of Messrs. Freeman and Wallace. Inasmuch as the motion indirectly challenges the action of a colleague of mine, the Government desire to offer no opposition to the appointment of a Committee ; but I cannot undertake to afford an opportunity of interposing at any time unless the motion is to be carried without opposition.
– I desire to ask the Treasurer, without notice, whether he will be good enough to circulate, as soon as possible, a schedule of the requests which have been made by the Senate in connexion with the Tariff? It is believed that the Senate will complete its consideration of the Tariff to-day.
– A schedule, clearly defining the alterations suggested by. the Senate, will, I hope, be ready tomorrow. Probably I shall not be able to lay it upon the table then, but if it is ready I will do so. I think the honorable member willfind that the schedule will clearly show the requests which have been made.
– Many honorable members will be leaving tomorrow for the other States, and as it is desirable that they should be able to take with them copies of the schedule of Tariff requests, I should like to knowwhether the Treasurer will make an effort to have them ready for distribution in time.-
– Certainly. I think that they will be ready.
– I desire to ask . the Postmaster- General a question without notice. It has reference to some questions which were put to the same Minister yesterday with regard to the annual leave of telegraphists in his Department. I wish to know whether he is aware that’ the officers in the Sydney Telegraph Office last year had to pay £3 5s. per man for substituted service, in order to permit them to attend a military camp. Is the Minister aware of their having been refused leave this year for such purposes ; and that it is the custom in his Department to refuse these men two hours’ leave on Saturday afternoons in order to attend drill ? . .
– I have already issued instructions to the effect that all the men who can be spared-
– That is the “ get out.”
– What does the honor- . able member mean? The instructions are that wherever men can be spared they must be allowed, without any cost to themselves, to go to the encampments.
– The military men cannot be spared. What does the Minister say now?
– I will make further inquiries, and will see what can be done.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question relating to the point raised bythe honorable member for Parramatta. Does he think it is a right thing, ‘ when private employers allow their men to go away to attend encampments - often to the inconvenience of their business - that the Government should not strain a point to allow their own employes to attend.
– I know that instructions have been given that the officers of the Department shall strain all the points possible, and if these instructions are not being carried out, shall be happy to have inquiries made why that is not being done.
Mr. HUME COOK laid upon the table the following paper -
Public Service Act. - Third report on the Commonwealth Public Service, issued by the Commissioner.
– In view of the fact that 40 minutes have been devoted this afternoon to questions without notice, will the Prime Minister take into consideration the desirableness of ‘ insisting upon all questions being asked upon notice?
– In another session it may, perhaps, be desirable to take action in that direction. Meantime, having regard to the volume, variety, and interest of the subjects discussed, although one is not able to reply as completely as one would like to questions without notice, I think that, on the whole, business is likely to be furthered at this stage by the present practice.
Prize Money : Northern Rifle Association - Easter Training : Unattached Officers and Senior Commands
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Whether he is aware -
Will he - in consideration of the foregoing facts - take such action as will result in placing at the disposal of the Council of the Northern Rifle Association, the sum of money appropriated, to allow of the prize meeting being held on the. rifle range at Singleton?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow - 1. (a) Yes.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows - 1 and 2. Officers serving on the unattached list are not regarded as “ officers who have retired from active service,” as they are really officers on the active, list, but not attached, to any special unit. Section 24 of the Defence Act and Commonwealth Military Regulations 129 and 132 specially provide that such officers may be employed for duty with any corps or on the staff.
Certain officers on the unattached list have been employed as provided for in the Act and Regulations.
No instance is known of any officer on the unattached list having been given a senior command.
Telegraphists : General Post Office, Sydney - Registration of Applications for Employment, Melbourne
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made and replies will be furnished as early as possible.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice-
– The Acting Deputy Postmaster-General, Melbourne, has furnished the following replies to questions 1 and 2, namely -
asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answersto the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
Dr. Danysz’s Experiments
asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
What action does the Government intend to take in reference to the continuance upon the mainland of the experiments with the Danysz microbe ?
– The information at the disposal of the Government and the results of the experiments at Broughton Island . are not deemed to justify the granting of permission for carrying . on any similar experiments on the mainland.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
In regard to tenders for paper accepted by the Treasurer within the past two months, will he state -
Were some accepted that . were not the lowest ?
If so, by what percentage each such ten der accepted exceeded the lowest tender?
The reason for such preference?
What Tariff preference existed in each case ?
– If the honorable member is referring to an inquiry as to the purchase of Japanese copying paper at an increased price over that previously paid, I declined to do. so. This being the first time that I knew that the Japanese paper was used, I gave instructions that its use should be discontinued. If, however, the honorable member refers totenders for paper which have been recently placed before me, I have not yet accepted any. I am considering, however, whether to accept British tenders, which are about 7 per cent. higher than foreign, principally American.
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
Is he aware that the resolutions referred to are as follows : -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow-
In Committee of Supply (Consideration resumed from 1st April, vide page10003):
Department of Defence
Division 46 (Central Administration)
– I recognise that, as the Prime Minister has foreshadowed a new scheme of defence, any debate on the question of policy must centre round the introduction of that scheme. I have, therefore, no wish to delay the passing of these Estimates by entering now upon that question, but should like to put to the Minister a question relating to the reply which I have just received to a query that I put to the Treasurer in regard to the calling of tenders. I wish to know whether, in calling for tenders for supplies, the Department of Defence grants to goods coming from the United Kingdom a preference, in addition to that fixed by the Tariff asagainst imports from other countries.
– Before replying to the honorable member I desire to state, in answer to a question put by the honorable member for Wentworth as to the location of our pounders, that there are eight in Victoria, eight in New South Wales, four in Queensland, and four in Western Australia. Four more are on order for Tasmania, and four for New South Wales and Victoria respectively. Wehave twenty-four on hand, and twelve on order, making a total of thirty-six. Coming to the question raised by the honorable member for North Sydney, the Department calls fortenders in Australia in respect of everything that can be made here, but that nearly the whole of our remaining supplies are, I think, obtained through the War Office. That practice is followed in order that the munitions of war used throughout the Empire may be uniform.
– Tenderers are becoming very restive in regard to the way in which tenders are dealt with, and this may tend to the injury of the Departments. As the Minister of Defence has informed me, however, that most of the supplies for his Department are obtained through the War Office, I shall not raise the question on these Estimates, but shall bring it forward when those relating . to the PostmasterGeneral’s Department are under consideration.
– Some time ago I asked the Minister of Defence whether cadets were medically examined, and received a reply in the negative. The honorable gentleman said last night that it was useless for us to purchase guns unless we had the men to put behind them. I agree with him, but go further and say that money is wasted in training the material to put behind our guns unless we make sure that that material is sound. Sir John Gorst, who was Minister of Education in the Balfour Government, writes in his book entitled Children of the Nation
Millions are spent in providing ships and rifles and guns for wars that will never take place : the smallest outlay is grudged towards providing the men to man those ships and fire those guns should the occasion ever arise for the people to defend their country.
It is the duty of the Minister to see that the medical examination insisted upon in regard to candidates for admission to other branches of the Defence Forces shall take place also in connexion with the enrolment of cadets. A Royal Commission appointed by the House of Commons instructed Dr. McKenzie to examine the children attending one of the large schools in Edinburgh, and he discovered that no less than 7 5 per cent. of them were suffering from some defect of the eye, ear, nose, or lungs. In many cases the defects were small, and could, no doubt, be cured in time; but they were such defects that, if the boys were not examined before being trained, might prove injurious to the individual, and lose us the services of a soldier after the expense of training had been incurred. It will be seen, therefore, that, putting aside the humanitarian aspect, it would pay the Department to have these boys medically examined. In Adelaide, a leading medical gentleman of large experience is quite satisfied that, if. the school children of South Australia were examined, 50 per cent. would be found to be defective; and we must remember that the conditions there are infinitely better than they are in the slum cities of Birmingham, Leeds, or even Edinburgh. The Premier of South Australia has appointed Dr. Rogers, an able medical gentleman, to examine 1,000 school children; and I am anxiously awaiting the report, because I believe it will be shown that, in spite of any defects, a military training will be of service both to the boys and to the country. In view of the new defence scheme and of the fact that all the vote for this year has practically, been spent, there is not much use in discussing these Estimates ; and I content myself with expressing the hope that the Minister will see his way tohave the same examination in the case of the boys as in the case of the adult members of the Forces.
Mr.EWING (Richmond - Minister of Defence) [3.28]. - When the honorable member for Hindmarsh discussed, this matter previously, I informed him that instructions had been given to all the local authorities to see that such views as he had expressed were carried into effect.
– A proper medical examination ?
– A proper examination, though I do not think it went as far as the usual medical examination. The instructions were that those in charge should take special care that boys were not allowed to take part, who did not appear fit to undertake the training.
– How could an officer know that?
– An officer could discriminate as to the very good and the. very bad, though I admit that intermediate cases might present some difficulty.
– The Department would not be satisfied with such an examination in the case of the men !
– However, I shall take into consideration what has been suggested, and see whether it can be carried into effect. There are some 270,000 boys; and it will be readily understood that some difficulties may disclose themselves.
.- Before I became a member of this House, I was always struck by the fact that the Estimates seemed to come up for consideration after the money had been actually expended ; and I am very sorry that I am now taking part in what appears to be a farce.
– The honorable member is censuring himself, inasmuch as he assisted to pass Supply Bills.
– Had I been as old a bird as the honorable member, I should have resisted Supply Bills ; and I shall know better the next time . Defence, I know, is expensive, but I am surprised to find an increased outlay in view of a decreasing staff, and the other facts of which we have been informed.
– And a decrease in efficiency.
– Who says that?
– I refer the honorable member to the Prime Minister who, some months ago, told us that we were 14 per per cent, short of the proper complement of officers, and 10 per cent, short of the proper Strength in rank and file. The question of defence is one to be taken seriously.
– Not in Australia !
– It is a question that ought to be taken seriously. We have already had two schemes prepared by persons more or less efficient ; and there is another scheme in prospect. These changes themselves make for inefficiency ; and we should endeavour to attain some sort of continuity. There is an compression abroad, which I share, that the present system is not receiving the encouragement that it might receive at the hands of the Government.
– In what respect?
– I do not think the existing forces are being encouraged as they might be, simply because there is another scheme in prospect.
– There has been no interference with the existing forces.
– In July, 1907, a number of young men in my constituency wrote to me expressing their desire to establish a troop of Light Horse; and, although I laid that letter before the Minister, no success attended my efforts to meet their wishes. A volunteer is worth half-a-dozen pressed men at any time ; and I understand that the forty-four men who were concerned in sending. the letter, have since increased to over eighty. As a layman, like the Minister, I venture to say that “the most valuable arm of our defence is the Light Horse. It is a force more mobile than troops on foot, and, therefore, more likely to render effective service in time of war.
– ‘Were these men volunteers?
– They were volunteers desirous of forming a troop of Light Horse.
– But members of tha Light Horse are paid.
– At any rate these men volunteered to serve in the militia.
– That is, they volunteered to serve for pay.
– At all events, they desired to form part and parcel of the present scheme of defence; and my point is that that scheme is being discouraged, though it cannot Tse said to be a failure, if the means are not provided to make it a success. In his speech on the defence policy the Prime Minister said that of the 22,000 militia, not more than half were available for active service. Here I think there is room for some inquiry, seeing that, according to the Prime Minister, not more than half of the men are, available, after we have gone to the expense of training them. Before we undertake any scheme of conscription we ought to exhaust our resources in the way of volunteers.
.- This .is no occasion for a speech on the general defence question; but Parliament, ‘ and the public generally, are waiting for the Bill which must precede our third scheme of defence. My object now is to impress on the Minister of Defence that he should avoid in .the new scheme all the inefficiencies and defects of the second scheme. The Military Board I regard as an unfortunate experiment. Only a short time ago we were told of a gun which arrived in Sydney, which was not unpacked, and had been lost1 for about twelve months. The Minister of Defence, with his usual generosity, took all the re,sponsibility ; and ha could not point to any officer who could really be said to be answerable for the occurrence. It is the absolute absence of responsibility that seems to make the Military Board so unsuccessful, and to have brought about the present chaos in the Department. It is . not the fault of the Minister. ‘ I believe that if the Minister were working with a General. Officer Commanding, whether permanent or militia - with a man who had control, and who felt some’ responsibility - things would be very much improved. The Minister has done very good work. No Minister has faced the problem with a stronger determination to work hard, or has shown greater enthusiasm in his task. But, unfortunately, the Minister is purely a political head. He holds his position because, in the first instance, a constituency chooses him, and then because the GovernorGeneral selects him as a colleague of the Prime Minister.
– The Prime Minister selects him to be a colleague.
– I am speaking from the true constitutional stand-point. The Prime Minister recommends the Minister of Defence for the choice “of the GovernorGeneral.
– I think that the Prime Minister selects and recommends.
– However, that does not matter. On some other occasion, I will show the honorable member that he is quite as wrong as usual. The point is that the Minister of Defence cannot look after his Department without the support and assistance of expert military authorities. The expert who advises him, whoever he may be, ought to be responsible to the Minister for the condition of the Forces. When Major-General Hutton was here, that was the situation. But in 1905, a very unfortunate change took place. We had a new Defence scheme initiated, and a Military Board was appointed, of which the Minister became a member. When the Minister sits as a member of the Board, he cannot very well afterwards criticise his own work. He has to stand or fall as part of the Military Board, on which he isnot a success, because he is not an expert.
– Does not the Minister ignore, the Board ?
– The more the Minister ignores the Board, the better chance he will have of being successful.
– Except that two can play at ignoring. If the Minister ignores the Board, the Board will ignore him.
– With the difference, however, that if the Board ignores the Minister, its members will “ fall in.”
– Technically, yes ; but in practice it is not so.
– The Minister, as the civil head of the Department, is supreme. At all events, the honorable member for Parramatta will accept this proposition : that training in peace must always be directed to the work required of a military force in time of war. The object must, therefore, be in times of peace to place the Military Forces under some control, and some system of organization in which some person will be responsible who will command in time of war. Under our present system, that condition is not attained. The Inspector-General does not command. He only inspects. It is true that he has powers of veto and of obstruction, but he has no powers of construction. He does not command or direct or control in time of peace, and vethe is to be the commanding officer in time of war. Consequently, I think that the whole military service at the present time is in an unfortunate position. We cannot blame the members ofthe Military Board, nor can we blame the Minister. It is like a man placed in a responsible position surrounding himself with a Committee. The Committee gets the blame for everything that goes wrong. The Military Board has turned out to be utterly different in’ working from what was expected when the new scheme was approved.
– Were there no troubles before it was appointed?
– There were, but when trouble arose the Minister of Defence could always turn to the General Officer Commanding, Major-General Hutton, and say, “That thing ought to be altered.” Major-General Hutton was the responsible man. He was in command, and could see that lie was obeyed.
– And he was bundled Home for doing it.
– That largely resulted from Major-General Hutton’s unfortunate want of tact in dealing- with other men, and also f rorri the fact that he had to bring into existence a new system relating to the defence affairs of six different States.
– I think that the General Officer Commanding system was in existence in all the States prior to Federation.
– Yes. I cannot speak of the effect in all the States, but in Victoria, considering the amount of money we had to spend on military matters - not more than £200,000 - our Defence Force was far more efficient, loyal, and content than it has since been. The members of the Force had the feeling that they were being properly led, and could face the work that they had to do with far? more certainty that if war. came they could, so far as their numbers would permit them, do themselves credit.
– That was unquestionably the case in New South Wales also.
– Very well, then; what is the reason for the discontent which exists at present ? It does not exist merely among politicians and among junior officers - of whom I class myself as one. If you talk to any senior man in the service he compares with great discredit to the Commonwealth regime the present with the condition of things that existed before Federation.
– We want a strong hand.
– We want a strong hand of command. If you start ruling an autocratic body, as a military force ought to be, by means of a Committee, the result is bound to be failure. If honorable members will do me the honour of reading the remarks which I made on the third reading of the Bill which inaugurated the new defence system in 1905, they, will see that I predicted the state of things which I say has since happened. I know that it is a dangerous thing to say “ I told you so,” but I do feel that I had the prescience to see clearly the position in which the Minister would be placed with a Military Board of no authority. Is there any one in this Committee who can look with any degree of satisfaction upon the present situation and consider what would happen if Australia were attacked ? ‘ I think that the Minister contemplates the position with less satisfaction than any of us. I must say that he has done his best to improve things. Now the Military Board is supposed to be composed of certain officers who will give to it continuity of purpose. That was the principal ground upon which its constitution was recommended. It was said that the system of having . general officers commanding was simply that of bringing officers from England who in a short time would go back again, without giving to our policy any continuity of purpose whatever. But since the Military Board was appointed, it seems to have become simply a sort of fighting ground for better pay and better- commands. It was stated in the press some time ago - I cannot say whether the facts are correct - that Colonel Wallack, the present chairman of the Military Board, was last year receiving£600 a year, whilst Brigadier-General Gordon was receiving £900, and the State Commandant of Victoria£800. That isto say, the man who presided over the Board, and had sometimes to severely criticise the Commandants as its chairman was receiving less pay than his subordinates. I do not blame Colonel Wallack for trying to obtain the State commandantship of Victoria, which meant a lift from ; £600 to£800. Nor do I blame Colonel Stanley, the Chief of Ordnance, who, I believe, was trained as an ordnance officer, for trying to improve his position, in which he received a salary of £650, by attaining a State commandantship at£800.
– The last D. A: G.received £900.
– I think that Colonel Wallack, while Chairman of the Board, received . £600 per annum. I do not see how he could get more, unless more was paid to him before Parliament authorized his increase.
-I think he received£750
– I do not understand how his salary was increased.
– The Board appears to have done a good thing for him.
– If the InspectorGeneralship, carrying a salary of£1,500, became vacant, there would naturally be a struggle for that position.
– I find that the last D.A.G., who is now Inspector-General, received £800. The £400 to which the honorable member refers was the salary for half a year. The salary of the D.A.G. on last year’s Estimates was £800.
– What salary did Colonel Wallack get?
– Whatever was paid on account of his last position. I think he was the South Australian Commandant.
– It appears that he is now receiving £750 a year.
– But the last D.A.G. got £800. Colonel Wallack’s salary is £50 less than was paid last year.
– But Colonel Wallack got less than it is proposed to pay him now, and less than the ‘State Commandants ?
– Yes, I have no doubt about that.
– My point is that he is getting less than is received by the State Commandants of New South Wales and Victoria, whom, as Chairman of the Military Board, he had to control and correct.
– The same situation arises in regard to the English Council of Defence.
– But instead of working out an Australian Defence scheme of our own, such as the Minister will perhaps some day lay before honorable members, we are slavishly following English precedents without having English conditions. If we had English conditions here - if we had an enormous body of troops, if those troops consisted principally of permanent men, if we had at our command a body of officers’ possessed of the experience and ability of officers of the British Army, if we had the tremendous range of ability that they have, if we had officers who were constantly getting experience in border wars all over the Empire - there might be some reason for following English precedents here. But it is a very great mistake to adoot the English system whenwe havenot English conditions. If without violating the Act the Minister could utilize the services of the Inspector-General as a General Officer Com manding, I believe that the system would be immediately improved. If, of course, the present Inspector-General failed in that capacity he would have to make way for another officer. But at present the situation is that the Inspector-General, who we are told would in time of war have to lead our troops, does nothing but make inspections and write reports. Certainly he is capable of criticising every part of our Defence Forces, but he does not occupy a position of command. The fault, that I find with our Defence system at present is that instead of having a Federal Defence Force as we ought to have, we have only a union of six State systems. We have no Federal defence system at all. I do not know what need there is for having State Commandants in every State. If -there is a necessity to have a senior officer in charge at Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, why should not the senior militia officer be appointed if he is the best officer available ?
– Would the honorable member make him a permanent officer then, or would he continue as a. militia officer ?
– Choose the best man, whether he is permanent or a militia officer.
– We all agree about that, but the point is this - would he cease to be a militiaman and become apermanent officer ?
– If he does Commonwealth service, he should be paid for it.
– A militiaman competent for the work would probably not take the salary offered.
– Has the Minister tried? In Victoria, six or eight months ago, one member of the Military Board was able to defeat another in a competition for the Commandantship of the State, the late Chief of Ordnance and artillery expert, Colonel Stanley thereby getting his salary increased from £650 to £800 a year. Colonel Robertson had previously been acting as Commander of the Field Forces and District Commandant of Victoria. He has led in the field as many as 4,000 troops, whereas Colonel Stanley has all his life been connected with big guns, and has never had more than 280 men under him. Although he has absolutely no knowledge of field work, he has been put in charge of the Victorian Forces. If war arose, I, with the other militiamen, would have to follow him into the field ; but if I asked any one to serve under him, I should be knowingly asking him to commit suicide. If Colonel Stanley was not receiving a sufficient salary, his salary should have been increased ; but he should have been kept in the position of Chief of Ordnance, for which his training fits him. It is not right that an artillery expert should be transferred from his proper duties to be put in charge of field forces. Although we have heard so much about continuity of policy, the changes of staff have been so frequent that it has been practically impossible. The first Chief of Ordnance, Colonel le Mesurier, was attracted by the State Commandantship of Western Australia ; but he has already grossly offended the rifle clubs there, as can be seen from the papers in the Library. Having promoted two. Chiefs of Ordnance, it w;as necessary to fall back on the officer who, I think, does not claim -to know anything about big guns, and who has been engaged all his life in submarine mining and field engineering.
– He is a first-class man.
– He is a splendid engineer; but the Minister has found it necessary to give him, as understudy and instructor, the Director of Ordnance.
– The two work together.
– Does the Minister allege that Colonel Parnell knows anything about ordnance?
– I find him an excellent man to work with.
– If he is an ordnance expert, why was the Director of Artillery appointed as his understudy ?
– Of course, the Committee does not charge me with being influenced politically. . These appointments are made on the recommendation of the Promotion Board and the Military Board. When a recommendation comes before us, supported by the Chief of Ordnance, the Deputy Adjutant-General and the Chief of Intelligence, I have to accept it, because, although I have been charged with refusing to hear the voice of experts, I know that in matters of this kind I must be guided by them.
– There is a good deal of human nature among experts. They will “ stick to a pal.”
– The Minister should be as good a judge of human nature as anyone.
Mr.Ewing. - If I were at the head of the Defence Department for three or four years more, I should know, enough about the subject to be able to say “ So-and-so is, in my opinion, the right man for the position.” .
– The Minister would really be the General Officer Commanding.
– I believe that one could learn a great deal about defence in that time. Nine-tenths of it is common sense. If an expert cannot satisfy me that what he proposes would be a sensible thing to do in every-day life, I refuse to sanction his proposal.
– What does the Minister do when experts differ?
– As a rule, if two experts’ are appointed to settle a question, the result is, not a decision, but a quarrel. All I can do in certain cases is to accept theopinions given to me.
– I thank the Minister for his interposition, and admit that he is doing his best. I have not brought any matter before him with which he has not tried to deal reasonably. My point is that the Chief of Ordnance should know something about ordnance, and when the new scheme is under consideration, I hope that the Minister will be able to provide for responsibility in regard to re-organization. I shall be glad for him to remain in office some years longer, because he has done good work. We have had too ‘many changes of Ministers.’
– This is the first Minister who has satisfied the honorable member.
– He has not done all that I wanted.
– He is the only Minister whom the honorable member has not attacked fiercely.
– The Minister should be grateful for ‘the light which I throw upon the working of his Department, which enables him to know of things which would otherwise be concealed fromhim. He usually finds my. suggestions reasonable, and acts accordingly.
– I am ready to inquire into any matter brought before me ‘by any honorable member, and to do what I think right in respect to it.
– The Minister has said that on more than ona occasion. With regard to the field artillery, he stated yesterday that, in his opinion, a- field artilleryman should have forty-two days’ training.
– I said that that would not be an extreme period.
– It might be “too short.
– it might
– Does not that reply give away the case for proposing to use militiamen or volunteers for field artillery ? Such men could not afford to undergo forty-two days-‘ training. The Boers found to their cost that, while they could train infantry quickly, knowledge of the complicated machinery connected with the modern gun takes long training to acquire. Unfortunately, under the Act we cannot have permanent field artillerymen.
– I do not know how that came about.
– It was done in the face of my protest. Field artillerymen cannot be employed permanently, and the Department gets over the difficulty, by using garrison artillery to form an instructional cadre for field artillery. The Minister stated in a recent interview that the garrison artillerymen- ought to be confined to garrison work, which is practically an indorsement of the opinion that there must be a nucleus of permanent men for the field artillery.
– Unfortunately, there is no provision for them.
– I hope that the Minister will consider the matter in connexion with the new defence scheme. Although he has been generally reasonable, I wish to mention an instance in which he has’ not done exactly what Parliament wishes to be done. There are some in his Department who deliberately try to prevent effect being given to the wishes of Parliament. The matter to which I refer is one to which I have been drawing attention during the last seven years - the granting of commissions to rankers. Section ii of the Defence Act of 1903 provides that -
In the first appointment of officers, preference shall be given, in the case of equality of qualifications, to persons who have served in the Defence Force for three years without a Commission.
– But that Act is not carried out.
– I am going to make an effort, so far as this matter, at all events, is concerned, to have it carried out. I may be described as an agitator for raising this question again and again, but I think that, in common justice to the ranker, we should see that this right is not denied him. If the Act had been properly administered for some time, the Minister would not find it as difficult as he does to secure efficient artillerymen. When Senator Playford held office as Minister of Defence, the Prime Minister, on his behalf, offered to arrange for me to meet him and some of the officers of the Department, with the object of discussing an amendment of the regulations relating to the granting of commissions to rankers. Unfortunately, at the last general election Senator Playford was defeated. The Conference, however, took place, those present being the Inspector-General, Major-General Hoad ; the Chairman of the Military Board, Colonel Wallack; the Secretary of the Military Board, Mr. Pethebridge; the present Minister of Defence, and myself. At that Conference it was agreed that arrangements ought to be made to enable rankers to compete for commissions, and, what is still more important, that, in all examinations, their military experience should be taken into account.
– That is precisely what is absolutely ignored.
– What is the use of military experience on the part of candidates unless they have a “ toney “ style?
– I was glad to find that military men like the InspectorGeneral and Colonel Wallack were strongly in favour of rankers being allowed this right, and to hear them admit the absolute necessity for better officers in the Department. The Prime Minister and the present Minister of Defence have always been in favour of rankers being eligible for commissions, and the Prime Minister, inSeptember, 1905, said that he could not conceive of a Department in which first consideration would not be given to the professional experience of a mani or an officer. At the Conference to’ which I have referred, . however, I could obtain no definite assurance from the military men present. There seemed to be in the background some person whom the officers were afraid to offend. It certainly was not the Minister, and the officers present agreed that the course proposed was the right thing to do.
– What did they do?
– After a good deal of correspondence between the Department and myself, new regulations, dated 4th February, 1908, have been issued in regard to appointments to first commissions in the Royal Australian Engineers. In the first place, I find that those amended regulations disregard the preference granted by the Act to candidates who have served for three years without a commission.
– They are presumed to be based on the Act.
– The Act provides that, inthe case of equality of qualification, preference shall be given to those who have served for three years in the ranks “ without a commission.” In these amending regulations those significant words are omitted.
– Does the omission make any practical difference?
– It does. I recognise that the Minister cannot do everything, but if I were a Minister, and my specific instructions ‘were disregarded by a subordinate, I should refuse to provide on the Estimates for his salary until I had from him a satisfactory explanation. Inthat way alone should we treat a number of officers in this Department who have deceived the Minister and Parliament. It is provided in the new regulations for the examination of candidates for appointment to first commissions in the Royal Australian Engineers, that -
To be eligible for appointment in theRoyal Australian Engineers, a candidate …. must have -
Served as a pupil for three years in engineering workshops during which one year shall have been spent in the drafting office ; or,
That will exclude many men -
Only such persons are eligible.
– The intention was to make the regulations as broad as possible, and to give ample opportunities to rankers as well as a preference to those who had served forthree years. If the regulation does not carry out that intention I shall see that it is amended.
– The officer instructed by the Minister to draw up this regulation has evidently induced the Minister to cause the Governor-General in Council to pass these provisions, in the belief that they give effect to his expressed intention.
– The officer may be under the impression that he has carried out our intention.
– Then the officer does net know his work. Will the Minister, before his salary in the Estimates is reached, give us the name of the officer who drew them up?
– Is it not a Board business ?
– Once again we find it impossible to sheet home the responsibility for these matters. The offender is a committee, not a man.
– I repeat that if the new regulation does not carry out the intention of the Act I shall seethat it does.
– Honorable members will remember the case of Corporal Watts, which was discussed in this House in September, 1905. General Gordon refused to allow Watts to go up for exanimation, holding that he had not the necessary qualifications; bu’t when he was permitted to present himself he beat all his competitors. When his case was discussed in this House the Prime Minister promised that military qualification should be considered in the making of appointments. A perusal of the syllabus for the examination of candidates for commissions in the Royal Australian Artillery will show how that promise has been carried out. Warrant officers and men who have served three years in the. Roval Australian Artillery, may go up for examination, but the regulations have been so amended as to deprive rankers of the advantage of the three concluding words in section 11 of the Act of 1903.
– How can the omission of the words “ without a commission “ take away the preference granted by section n to a man who has served three years in the ranks?
– The preference granted to such men is taken from them since the omission of the words places them on an equal footing with a large number of men who have held a commission for three years. The syllabus has been divided, with a cuteness for which there is no apparent reason, into obligatory and voluntary subjects. The obligatory subjects include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, euclid, plain trigonometry, mensuration, elementary hydrostatics and mechanics, and the use of logarithms. That is quite hard enough for a ranker to face.
– But things are better than they were, are they not?
– They are very much better, and all my remarks are subject to the consideration that the Minister, in this connexion, has made a very great improvement. Amongst the voluntary subjects are elementary hydrostatics and mechanics, English and Australian history, military engineering, map reading and field sketching. We must remember that this is a competitive examination, and see how it works out. According to the regulations a candidate, in order to count marks in a voluntary subject, must obtain . 5 marks in that subject. The regulation goes on to say -
The marks so obtained will be added to those gained in the obligatory subjects. The candidate who obtains the highest total number of marks in the obligatory and voluntary will (provided he has “qualified” in the obligatory subjects) receive the ‘appointment.
– The honorable member’s contention is that this addition of the marks, and so on, virtually renders the whole of the subjects obligatory?
– Absolutely. What chance would an ordinary soldier, after two or three years of service, have against any one who happened to know all about elementary hydrostatics and mechanics? The maximum number of marks is 1,350 ; and I have no doubt that any B.A. or matriculated student could easily obtain 1,250 or 1,300. But what I desire to point out most emphatically is that there are no subjects connected with the work which the soldiers will have to perform in the future. How can we have good artillerymen, if we do not find out their qualifications as artillerymen at the examination? Three years at Queenscliff or any of the other stations are not calculated to keep up a man in mere text-book education, and the examination, as I have said, is absolutely silent on real professional work.
– I shall look into the matter again, and I hope there will be as much’ improvement after the next revision as the honorable member has been good enough to acknowledge took place after the first.
– If the Minister will make as much improvement as he did the last time, he will satisfy a large number of men who desire to enter for this examination, but who at present regard such a step as absolutely hopeless. Four commissions in the Royal Australian Artillery are advertised for competition ; but, under such con ditions, . what rankers could enter? I am quite sure that if the Minister were put on military duty at Townsville or Thursday Island for two or three years, he would not care to face an examination in the first three books of Euclid, or1 enter into a competition with more highly educated or trained minds when his schooling had become rusty. I question very much whether the way in which these regulations are drawn does not render nugatory the desires and opinions of Parliament.
– I shall look into the whole matter again, and do the best I can.
– I have to thank the Minister for the attention he has given to this matter. I have to add that the honorable gentleman has been very good to the men whose cause I have been fighting - there has been no Minister of Defence so obliging and reasonable in every way.
– I do not intend to detain the House long, because in the first place it appears to me absolutely useless to address myself to the Estimates.
– Let the honorable member observe the sparse attendance, and then repeat his question. And this is so, when the greatest of all national questions is under consideration, and we are asked to vote away nearly£1,250,000. I think the Minister of Defence is to be congratulated on the fact that he is the first occupant of the office who has succeeded in satisfying the honorable member for Corio.
– I am not quitesatisfied, but nearly.
– This is quite touching ! Perhaps it would be just as well to banish from our minds all recollections of the past, when these Estimates are. under consideration, because my experience has been most unfortunate. I have a number of outstanding troubles, none of which I can get rectified.
– Has the Minister not promised anything?
– Yes; and one very serious complaint I have against the Minister is that he has deliberately broken his word to me in connexion with a very grave matter.
– I rise to a point of order. To charge a Minister with deliberately breaking his word is offensive to me as a member of Parliament.
– I ask the honorable member for Parramatta to withdraw the statement to which exception has been taken.
– Certainly, I withdraw, and say that the Minister did not keep his promise; though I think that is much the same as I said before. There is abundance of proof in the House of the truth of what I am saying; indeed, the Minister’s own colleague could confirm my statement. However, the matter is not ripe for treatment yet, though there is anice little drama unfolding.
– I am quite prepared to inform the House as to any action I have taken.
– But the matter is riot complete, and, in the interests of the men themselves, I do not care now to discuss it. I do not blame the Minister altogether, except for the fact that he promised, not only myself, but the House, that the matter should be rectified.
– I have much hope - I thought I could.
– In my judgment, there was absolutely nothing in the way of the Minister doing what he promised.
– I wonder why every Minister of Defence for the last eight years has not done it !
– Because the opportunity never occurred as it did to the honorable gentleman, who declined to take advantage of it.
– Is the honorable member referring to Major Leriehan?
– I am speaking of a captain who has commanded a regiment for two years, with a captain’s pay and privileges, and who has a career behind him such as few in this country have, or may ever hope to have. However, I do not desire tq deal with the matter now, because, as I say, the time is not ripe. I wonder why the Treasurer looks at me so pathetically when I refer to this subject ! I have no doubt that the honorable gentleman has an opinion of his own on the matter. Then, I. am unfortunate in other respects. For four or five years, I have been endeavouring to have a rifle range provided at Parramatta, a place of 12,000 inhabitants.
– There never has been one there, has there?
– No, and I cannot get one.
– I shall arrange for it - trust me, and it will be all right !
– It took all the resources of the Department to discover that a range could not be found at Parramatta.
– Who is the commandant over there?
– General Gordon, I believe.
– No wonder a range could not be found !
– I have not the pleasure of General Gordon’s acquaintance; but I suppose that in another five years we may hope for a range. Then, in another part of my electorate, the Minister has recently abruptly closed the rifle range.
Mr.Ewing. - I had nothing to do with it.
– Does the Minister say that he is not responsible?
– I say I knew nothing about.it. I shall make a statement when the honorable member sits down.
– I did not say that the Minister knew anything about the matter. His officers go the length of ripping up the arrangement of twenty years, and then they report to the Minister that they have done it.
– The honorable member is sometimes hard on me for not following the advice of experts, but experts did this thing.
– I say that this is a simple case of administration. That is all. It is no expert matter. Here is a case in which there is a company of riflemen seventy-five strong, who have had a range in a gully for eighteen years past; and all at once some interested land-owner reports that some bullets are dropping on his property. We cannot get to know who the land-owner is, or where the bullets have dropped. 1 They cannot be traced. All that the land-owner has to do, however, is to make a complaint to the Department, when, without an atom of consideration for the riflemen, the range is absolutely closed. The riflemen are not even consulted about it, or told that it is intended to close it. They have no opportunity of making a complaint before the thing is done..
– Is the honorable member quite sure that the Minister himself did not tell him about this matter first?
– No; the secretary of the rifle club told me about it. The Minister certainly did not. All the infor mation that the Department has on the subject is contained on one sheet of paper containing a report of about 100 words, and it has taken the Minister a fortnight to get even that. There is not a word from the State Commandant about it. The Commandant in New South Wales seems to have nothing to do with anything of this sort. One finds his initials on a paper or two, and that is all. If anything could be more inept and more absurd than the methods of procedure of the Defence Department I do not know of it. Do honorable members mean to tell me that the Minister is not responsible for that kind of thing ? It is a Ministerial matter pure and simple. If the Minister is content to allow his officers to do this sort of thing he must accept the responsibility.
– The Minister has too many military experts looking after things.
– This is not a matter of expert knowledge, or anything of the sort. It is a pure matter of business administrationas to whether officers are to be allowed to close ranges and deprive riflemen of privileges which they have enjoyed for twenty years, without paying them or the . Minister the compliment of reporting about it until called upon to do so. That is the complaint I have to make.
– They do. worse things than that.
– If I were Minister they would not do them.
– Does the honorable member think that I am too easy-going? I do not think that my officers think so.
– The most active Minister we have ever had.
– Even the deputy leader of the Opposition cannot find it in his heart to blame the Minister seriously.
– I seem to be the unfortunate victim, for certainly I cannot get a thing done in the Department. This range is closed in my district, and when I go to the Minister he says “ What can I do?” I have tried to help the Minister in every way I could. I furnished him with a series of photographs, showing, the range from every point of view. The report states that the district is thickly inhabited. There is not a single house on the range or anywhere near it - not one. The report also says that there are a number of cross roads in the neighbourhood. Now and again in the bush honorable members have, I dare say, kicked their foot against a stump marking a road. That is the sort of road that is to be found on this estate. The range is in a gully. A more perfect place for a rifle range there could not be. Nothing in the neighbourhood has been altered for the . last ten years. Not a house has been put up anywhere. If the Minister could see the place, he would not hesitate two minutes about restoring to the riflemen the privileges they have had, and of which they have been deprived without the slightest justificatlion. The men have been deprived of their opportunities of practising, and can get no satisfaction from any one. Surely some of these experts in Sydney could have gone up to the club and discussed the matter with the men, with a view of determining how best they could continue their useful practice. But instead of that the experts shut down the range and have since done nothing whatever. The men cannot find out for what reason the action has been taken. They would be delighted if they could ascertain who the land-owner is. But the Minister does not know. He must forgive me if, with all these things taking place, I say that I do not) think he is doing his duty in respect of the complaints that are made in my electorate. It is about time that a move was madein New South Wales in regard to administrative, methods. I am not pleading that the Minister should ride, rough-shod over , his officers, but I am saying that in connexion with the administrative work of his Department he should try to infuse a business spirit into them, so that grievances may be rectified without being dragged on week after week and month after month, with the red tape lengthening by the mile whilst the affairs of the Department stand still. I believe that the explanation of the matter about which I have been complaining is that some one had bought a block of land somewhere near the range. That is all we can surmise. If the riflemen could. find out the land-owner they might be able to make an arrangement with him.
– Has another range been provided ?
– No; the men have been simply told that their old range is closed, and there is an end of it. They have not even been paid the compliment of receiving an explanation from the officers responsible.
– That is pretty rough.
– I have done all that I could to bring tihe matter under the notice of the Minister. I got photographs for him showing the range from every point of view. I think he will admit that he saw no house in the whole series of views presented.
– Where is the range situated?
– It is near Gladesville. The condition of affairs which has been revealed in connexion with this case ought to be sufficient to make the Minister take action of a drastic character with reference to these matters in New South Wales. I know that the Minister is more or less in the hands of his officers, but . when hegets glaring cases like this, of high-handed action - for I call it nothing but ruthless roughs riding over men who are doing their best to serve the Commonwealth - he ought to see that fair treatment is secured. He should insist upon his officers over in New South Wales behaving as man to man, and should inform them that they ought not to have closed this range without at least discussing the matter with the club. I am not bringing this instance forward with the idea of ventilating a grievance. I do not suppose that my mentioning it will help me to get the trouble rectified. It may produce a nasty feeling on the part of the officers. But I cannot help that. I simply quote these cases as being symptomatic of great want of administrative aptitude in connexion with the Forces in New South Wales.
– If the honorable member considers the “ nasty feeling “ of military authorities when they are criticised, he will never get anything done.
– I am quite indifferent about that. I make these remarks with a view of bringing about a change for the better. Has the New South Wales Commandant nothing to do with a matter of this sort? Why in the name of conscience do we need to pay him £900 a year to control affairs if all he can do is to scratch his initials on a paper like this - which a boy could do for £50 a year? It is about time that these officers were held to their responsibility . I am afraid that they are not held to it as they ought to be at present. Perhaps, if they were, serious trouble would arise. There is a great deal of discontent, as the honorable member for Corio has pointed out. The whole service is seething with it.
There has never been anything like it so far as I know. Things were infinitely better in New South Wales under State control than they have been since Federation. The honorable member for Corio says that it was the same in Victoria. One of the prime functions to be developed by the Federal Parliament was the defence of Australia. The very greatest of all the questions with regard to which it was considered that Federation would secure advantages was this. We were told that at least we should have an efficient defence service. But, as a matter of fact, things are very much worse. Inefficiency is rampant, I am afraid. Certainly, dissatisfaction is. In my judgment, what is required in connexion with military affairs is not so much a strong Minister as a strong man at the head of the Forces.
– Give Major-General Hoad a” show.”
– I ventiire to say that if Major-General Hoad possessed all the strong characteristics that the honorable member suggests, in spite of his official limitations he would make himself felt.
– He cannot; he is made an inspector only.
– I tell the honorable member that if Major-General Hoad were able to express his opinions strongly and freely, in such a way as to appeal to the people of Australia, he need not trouble about the technical regulations.
– The honorable member wouldbe the first to denounce him for doing it.
– I should be the first to commend him for speaking his mind concerning our defences.
– The honorable member is inciting military officers to appeal from the Minister to the people.
-Not at all. All I want Major-General Hoad to do is to let the public know whether our. defences are in a state of efficiency. If heis not permitted to do that, the sooner we remove him the better.
– If that statement came from a Labour member, it would be said that we were inciting the military forces to rebellion. When all is said and done, this officer is only Inspector-General.
– That is so, but if, as the honorable member for Corio has told us, he is entitled to criticise the forces from top to bottom, where is this fearless criticism?
– The printing of his report has been ordered, and the document will, I am sure, satisfy the honorable member.
– We have had an Inspector-General for three years now, but no fearless criticism has been forthcoming. It is about time that we got some. All I suggest is that, if Major-General Hoad were the strong man we have been led to believe him to be, and I have nothing to say against . him, he would make his influence felt. The sooner we get a strong controlling power applied to the military forces, the better it will be for our defence system. Notwithstanding, the peregrinations of Major-General Hoad, and of General Finn before him, the discontent does not cease, nor the inefficiency become less. We want some one to cut the Gordian knot.
– The Minister must do that.
– The Minister pleads that he is not an expert. We want a strong man to show lis a way out of our troubles.
– We have had experts from the Old Country, with the result that confusion has been worse confounded.
– We have not given them a chance. . Major-General Sir Edward Hutton’s scheme had not time to mature. He wished to establish a mobile army 25,000 or 35,600 strong; but the proper equipment was not provided. Lieutenant-Colonel McCay asked for £800,000 for the purpose, but the money was not voted. It is useless to blame the experts. Major-General Hutton was bundled Home before effect was given to his scheme.
– That was the best place for him. He broke up the force in Hobart.
– Hobart is not all Australia, and, in spite- of our criticism, the forces have the profoundest respect for Major-General Hutton, and think that he did good wcrk. That is the view taken by the rank and file.
– I do not think so.
– They felt that they had a good soldier over them.
– The honorable member is depreciating Australians.
– The honorable member seems to think that every one who criticises the existing state of things is anti-Australian.
– I may be one-sided, but the honorable member is equally so, though in a contrary direction. He thinks everything imported good, and everything Australian bad.
– It is unfortunate that the honorable member permits himself to say what he knows is not correct. Something has been said about the Military Board. I have never been much in favour of having such a Board. While the devolution of power may be admirable in a large army, where supreme Imperial interests are at stake, I think that, considering the size of our Forces, the more direct and unitary we make the control, the better it will be for efficiency. It is said that the Board hardly ever meets.
– It is the Council that does not meet. The Board is always meeting.
– Does the Minister pay consideration to its recommendations ?
– When I think that they are right
– The Minister did not consider the Board capable of giving advice in regard to the defence of Australia.
– On general principles a well-informedlayman knows as much as a member of the Board.
– The present condition of the Forces is chiefly due to the Prime Minister, who has made himself the spokesman for the new order of defence. The Prime Minster hasnot given any Minister time to gather together the threads of the Defence Department, and to apply his experience and ability to the solution of its problems.
– There have been only two Minister’s of Defence under the present Prime Minister.
– This Ministry has been in office since the States federated.
– What about the ReidMcLean Ministry?
– It was in office for a very short time, but its Minister of Defence did more to get at. the bottom of things than any other whom we have had.
– He introduced the Board system which the honorable member condemns.
-He adopted a draft made by the Labour Government.
– My recollection is that he was not enthusiastic about the scheme, but determined to give it a trial. I do not think that the Board has done much good, and the sooner we have a unitary control the better it will be for the Forces. The trouble all along has been at the top. We are told that when anything important has to be done, the State Commandants are regarded as of no account. Where is there in Australia a Commandant who would be likely to be consulted tomorrow in regard to any important question affecting the defence policy of Australia?
– They were all invited to give expression to their opinions, and the invitation was extended to the honorable member amongst others.
– My complaint is that I do not know what I have to criticise and discuss. Some excellent speeches have been made. As I said last night the Prime Minister is a first-class showman to dress a shop window. He does the work admirably, but the honorable member for Maranoa does not know what he means in regard to the new defence policy.
– I do;and I am with him heart and soul.
– I venture to say that the honorable member does not know definitely what the new scheme is. He does not know for instance what the Prime Minister proposes to do in regard to the Militia or the Volunteer Forces.
– I do.
– I do not, and I shall listen with great interest to the honorable member’s exposition of the Prime Minister’s scheme. Meantime, I would point out that it seems to be varying every day. Day after daywehave some modification of it. That is rather a good thing, but we must wait at least until the comiplete scheme has been unfolded before we shall be able to criticise it as we have been invited to do. So far as I am able to judge, the scheme requires a great deal more explanation. We are supposed to be adopting the Swiss method of a citizen soldiery.
– Not wholly.
– I am coming to that point. I had not intended to touch upon this phase of the question, but there is one consideration that I should like to put before the Minister in passing. I understand that Switzerland - that little congested mountainous country, for which room could be found over and over again in one of our States - incurs on defence an expenditure of £1,500,000 per annum. Having regard to the difference in values that expenditure is equivalent to at least £3,000,000 per annum in Australia. That being so, how are we going to establish a system of defence over 3,000 miles of territory without any increase in our Estimates ?
– The Prime Minister says that there will be an increase.
– He says that there will be no increase on the militar side.
– There will be an increase of about , £200,000. Has the honorable member considered the number of men in the defence forces of Switzerland?
– That is not material to the issue as to the efficiency of the defences of Switzerland, and those of Australia. The honorable gentleman and his chief have laid it down that pur ideal should be to secure a force at least as efficient as is that of any other part of the world. How is that efficiency to be obtained from the expenditure proposed, when, having regard tovalues in the two countries, the cost of Switzerland’s defence is equal to , £3,000,000per annum. How are we going to defend Australia, with its vast territory, for. £800.000, or , £900,000 per annum, under a scheme approximating to that adopted in Switzerland, which involves an outlay of £1,500,000 per annum. I offer this criticism with the desire to obtain an answer. I do not intend to criticise the new scheme until it is placed before the House in concrete form. What has been done so far has been largely in the nature of fireworks. The Prime Minister is running what is justnow a very popular show, and we shall find, when we come to touch the fanciful dream indulged in by him and the Minister of Defence, that things will not work out as they have been forecasting.
– The work of mapping out a policy will be no dream.
– When we come to close grips with the question we shall discover that it is no dream. The question I am suggesting will then have to be threshed out and the Government’s scheme will wear a very different aspect.
– Is it not time enough to bid the devil good day when one meets him ?
– Of course everything in regard to the defence of Australia is all right. Under our present system our Forces have been encouraged to such an extent that they are 3,000 below the strength for which the Estimates provide. There is a shortage of 500 or 600 officers and of about 2,500 men. There used to be no shortage of either officers or men. Why is there one to-day?
– It must be due to Federation.
– It is due not to the act of Federation, but to the fact at which I have already hinted, that since Federation no Minister of Defence has had an opportunity to mature a scheme of defence and to carry it to success. Minister after Minister has passed through the Department as if it were a mere stepping stone to some other Ministerial position. Instead of obtaining the best man for the office, keeping him there, and backing him up, the Prime Ministerhas allowed five or six different members of the Government to act as Minister of Defence. The result to-day is chaos.
– Would the honorable member have a permanent Minister of Defence?
– No; but no Minister can formulate a scheme and carry it out successfully in twelve months. We have had five Ministers and five schemes in five years. With every new Minister of Defence we have had new defence proposals. And here we are to-day still going to do something. I am blaming not the present Minister of Defence, but the Prime Minister of Australia, for permitting such a procedure. He seems to have given more attention to the passing of Ministers through the Department, with an eye only to the political movements of the moment, than to the maturing of a proper defence scheme. We shall find the same trouble ramifying through other Departments.
– That is the fault of party government.
– We have had one party in power during all these years. Why was the right honorable member for Swan removed from the office of Minister of Defence? Why was the honorable member for Eden-Monaro taken from that office?
– Because he was full up of it.
– The present Minister intimated last night that he too was tired of it.
– The trouble so far has been the constant changing of Ministers. The position is the same in regard to the Post and Telegraph Department. On the average no Federal PostmasterGeneral has held office for more than about nine months. I appeal to the honorable member for Balaclava, as an old PostmasterGeneral of Victoria-
– The honorable member should speak for himself. He, too, has held office as Postmaster-General in New South Wales.
– I am speaking for myself, and I am also appealing to the honorable member to say whether, as the result of his experience, he thinks that a Minister is able to gather up the threads of the Department, stretching, as they do, over a whole continent, in six or seven months. That is the problem which we have to face, and for its existence we must hold the Prime Minister, who disposes of these offices, primarily responsible. It is this system of changing that has caused the chaos existing at the present time both in the Department of Defence and in the Department of the. Postmaster-General. Thehonorable member for Corio asked this afternoon what would happen to-morrow in Australia if war broke out. If we desired to move 5,000 or 7,000 men from one of the States capitals 400 or 500 miles inland we should find it impossible to do so for many weeks, owing to the lack of equipment. Our Forces would fall an easy prey to any enemy that might descend upon them, not because they are not well trained but because, for want of equipment, they could not be moved rapidly from one place to another. The matter is one not so much for expert knowledge as for Ministerial action. The Minister, if he be a man of common sense and penetrative ability, is justas able as any soldier to discuss questions of equipment and mobilization, though, of course, in regard to all the technical arts of war he must rely on his experts.
– The commissariat is the chief consideration in war.
– Quite so; but I understand that the defects in equipment are to be remedied. This is a step in the right direction, which I hope to see followed until we have a mobile army capable of moving at short notice to repel any raid made on our coasts. When we have done that it will be time enough to talk of some new and airy scheme. We have never yet had a perfect scheme carried out ; we have never taken the trouble or time or gone to the expense of evolving a perfect scheme. It is very convenient when one scheme is not working well to propose another; but these changes only lead to chaos and trouble. I should hope and believe that our defence system could be changed with efficiency and ability, and every prospect of success, if I saw that the most was being made of the present limited means at the command of those in authority. We have 21,000 officers and men, and yet I guarantee that tomorrow we could not raise an army of any description for immediate effective work. These men could not be moved, and all the trouble, in my judgment, arises from the absence of administrative ability at the head. Our trouble is not with the rank and file or ordinary officers, but is with those at the head ; and the sooner that condition of affairs is altered the better for Australia and all concerned. Whether we have militia or permanent forces, we must have the best ability at the top ; and if that best ability be amongst the volunteers - and I believe a good deal of it is there, though it does not receive proper encouragement - it ought to be recognised1 and placed in command. There should be no feeling of estrangement between the two branches of the forces. So far as I can ascertain, volunteer and militia ability is being squeezed and starved to death - it gets no “show” at all; and it is about time this state of things was altered. I refer again to the way in which we have treated our men in Australia who have proved their worth in the defence of their country. I know of half-a-dozen men in the militia or the volunteers who did splendid service in South Africa, and yet whose value is not recognised by the Government. What has been done is to strip them of the attributes which were rightly theirs on the battle-field, and to take their privileges from them. There are to-day men in Australia who could have commissions in the British Army if they chose ; and yet we can find no means of promoting them to even a subordinate militia position here.
– If there was any “ stripping “ it was done by General Hutton.
– I do not think that the honorable member for Parramatta is correct in his latter statement, seeing that there are retired Imperial officers who are endeavouring to find positions in the Australian forces to-day.
– That has no relevance to what I said. What I said was that there are officers in Australia to-day who have been invited to enter the Imperial service.
– Hear, hear ; that has been publicly stated.
– And, therefore, we may take it that those men are qualified to serve in high positions in the Imperial Army, though they are not considered good enough for such positions in Australia.
– I do not think it is right to say that the Australian officers are not considered good enough.
– It is the fact. I have just told the honorable member of one case-of a man who is commanding a regiment on acaptain’s pay, although he was good enough to be a colonel in South Africa, where, time and again, he received the personal commendation of Lord Kitchener. That man, however, is a captain to-day.
– Whose fault is that ? Was that not General Hutton’s own action?
– I can show how General Hutton advised the Government in the matter.
– Does that relieve Ministers of their responsibility?
– The honorable member has been talking about matters being all right when General Hutton was here, and I am pointing out that the action complained of was taken on his advice.
– I dare say that General Hutton recommended that promotion should not be made until the opportunity arose.
– General Hutton advised the Government not to make promotion in the cases referred to. I agree with the honorable member in this matter, and, in my opinion, it is unfortunate that the Government acted on General Hutton’s advice instead of following their own judgment.
– I think the Minister’s sympathies are with the Australians.
– And I wish to measure the Minister’s sympathy in practical effort.
– The officers cannot all be made colonels.
– Quite so; all that is expected is that promotion shall be given when opportunity offers. When opportunity does offer we do not desire those men to be subject, I was going to say, to the indignity-
– Of an examination.
– In my opinion the best men are the colour-sergeants, who never get any higher. In this respect the same thing occurs in a democracy as in an autocracy.
– There should be no test in the army but the test of ability, and the best soldiers should have the best positions.
– That is not the case, however.
-It is about time that there was a better recognition of our militia and volunteer forces.. I do not blame the Minister except in the one case when he felt himself weighed down by the traditions of his Department. The people of Australia have.no desire to stint the defence expenditure so long as they are satisfied that the money is put to the best possible use.
– We have not got much for our money so far.
– We havegot very little so far for our money ; and that is the point of my criticism this afternoon. Indeed, I am not sure that we are living in a fool’s paradise. It is of no use having trained and willing men, if we have not the power to combine them in a mobile force, and so put their training and ability to the best. The Minister is doing something to rectify matters in this connexion, and I say goodluck to him. But the honorable gentleman ought to take hold of the Department on its administrative side, and shake it up. Such a step could do no harm, and might do a great deal of good. I do not intend to discuss the new scheme of the Government, and, as the Minister himself said last night, the Estimates are now so much Dead Sea fruit, seeing that nearly the whole of the year has expired, and we have bit by bit parted with our control of the finances. There appears at last a prospect of something being done in the way of the proper equipment of our forces. This is a work which should have been carried out long ago, representing as it does a crying need in Australia. Without such equipment our forces will continue to be inefficient, and unable to meet the demands that may be made upon them; and the sooner the present state of things is altered, the better for us all.
– I should not have risen to reply at this stage, but for the remark made by the honorable member for Parramatta about my breaking my word.
– I withdrew that statement.
– There isa great deal in the point of view from which honorable members regard Defence questions. There was much with which I agree, and much with which I disagree in the remarks of the honorable member for Parramatta ; but to reiterate, a good deal depends upon the point of view. First, the honorable member said that thepresent system is deplorable, and cannot be allowed to continue. On that point we are agreed, and the Government intend, as soon as possible, to introduce a scheme which will place the whole of the people of the country, not behind the Government, but on the line of defence. .
– The Minister says that the system is faulty, whereas we say that the administration is faulty.
– Will the Defence Bill be introduced this year?
– Certainly. A number of officers and other people - I am not talking of permanent officers especially - say that a change will mean a great deal of trouble, and will never be carried out. We shall never have the desired change, unless the people of Australia are in earnest. There is no trouble in the scheme outlined by the Prime Minister, if the people are alive to the danger of Australia. The Minister of Defence, whoever he may be, can do his share if the people really feel that this work of reform is worth doing. The honorable member for Echuca saidquite truly that there are a number of young men who desire to jointhe Light Horse, and he asked why they are not enrolled. But it must not be forgotten that the Light Horse is the most expensive branch of the service.
– And the most useful.
– At any rate, each man costs about £17per annum.
– Why should it cost so much?
– That is what it costs under the . present system. Each man has to have a bridle and so forth, and be paid £7or£8ayear and the total cost is what I have said. Such a force of. 100,000 men would mean an expenditure of £ 1,700,000 per . annum, on this branch alone. The system really breaks down from cost, and there is a feeling that every man ought to assist in defending his country, and ought not to use his work of defence as a means of making money. The present system provides for a little over 20,000 men on a peace footing. It is simply ridiculous to regard the training of such a number of men as an adequate defence for a continent like Australia.
– If we cannot make 20,000 men efficient, how can we make 100,000 men efficient?
– There is a better day coming. I could never understand how any one connected with any branch of the military organization could oppose the augmentation of its numbers. It is all right in time of peace. It is very pleasant to wear a uniform. But we have to contemplate these matters, not fromthe aspect of times of peace, but from that of our requirements in time of war. Our military preparations are all a farce, unless they are adapted for war. There is not a man in the Force to-day who, if war broke out, would not be thankful that Parliament was wiser than he was in making provision for from 100,000 to 200,000 armed men in Australia. We cannot go on in the present way. It is impossible. I am glad to have the support of the honorable member for Parramatta in that respect.
– Not with regard to’ the sentiment as to numbers. I attach very much more importance to efficiency than, to numbers.
– But the honorable member is constantly saying that our . Forces are not efficient. No man in a responsible position in this Chamber should speak either highly or depreciatingly ‘ of an officer. The man you speak well of is, of course, very well pleased, but the other man says, “ Why was I not mentioned?” Therefore, a Minister should endeavour to keep out names. It is not fair to mention any. When honorable members mention any officer’s name the Minister must be silent. If ever I have occasion’ to mention a name it will be for the purpose of asking Parliament to enable me to deal severely with the officer in question.
– It is not right to mention officers in that way, unless the Minister is prepared to deal with them.
– I quite agree with my honorable friend. When an honorable member says that such-and-such a State Commandant is not doing his duty, I say nothing. If I have; occasion to say that a commandant is not doing his duty, I shall go further than that. Just one word with regard to the honorable member himself. He has referred to matters in connexion with his electorates I may state that when honorable members have brought matters before me I have never considered them from the point of view of the part of the House where honorable members sit. They have been dealt with solely from the aspect of whether the complaint was right or wrong. If a complaint is right, then, subject to my judgment, matters are mended. If it is not well-founded, the facts are discussed with the honorable member who mentions them, and -we generally agree that the matter should not be interfered with. The honorable member for Parramatta has mentioned particularly the case of Colonel Cox, and has said that I broke my word. I wish that he had put the case a little more pleasantly, but, of course, we are accustomed to little compliments of that sort.
– I did not put it too strongly.
- Colonel Cox is an officer who obtained a certain position in South Africa. I maintain, and have always maintained, that any officer who on the field of battle wins a . certain position should not afterwards be subjected to an examination up to that grade. If an officer in active service has won the rank of major he should not be put through a book examination to see whether he is fit to be a major. If on the field of battle he wins the rank of lieutenant-colonel, he should not afterwards be put through a book examination to see whether he is fit for that rank. Now, when I’ first went into the case, I found to my astonishment that although every Minister of Defence had tried to solve the problem - which seemed a very simple one - they had all given it up. I have frequently told the honorable member for Parramatta that if I had my way Colonel Cox would not have been a cause of discussion.
– The Minister said that he would give him his promotion.
– I found that the Commonwealth Government in the first instance held the same view as I have expressed with regard to these officers. In fact it had been determined to give them the brevet rank to which they were entitled. But then MajorGeneral Hutton appeared on the scene, and said “ No, this must not be.” Thereupon the Government of the day accepted Major-General Hutton’s view. The honorable member for Parramatta states inone breath that if Major-General Hutton were at the head of the Forces everything would be all right; and in the next breath he condemns me because I have, from the time which has elapsed, been forced to adhere to Major-General Hutton’s dictum. The Government of the day withdrew from the position they had intended to take up, and the officers who had won their rank in South Africa were not made substantive. All that happened years ago. Of course, it will be understood that the mere giving of honorary rank is practically nothing.
– The Minister is leaving out some facts. He should tell the Committee that two colonels got their rank.
– I did not want to mention that fact in justice to Major-General Hutton. It is, however, a fact that he did choose officers for superior rank.
– Did he give any reason for favouring two only ?
– I do not remember whether any reasons were given.
– They were two very influential citizens, whereas Colonel Cox is only a clerk in the Railway Department.
– What the honorable member is saying is virtually a charge against Major-General Hutton. I want to keep clear of that.
– The Minister is not putting the facts quite as they are.
– Yes, I am. I have had too much worry about this matter not to know the circumstances thoroughly well.
– I shall supply the missing details.
– Major-General Hutton advised the Government of the day not to promote these officers. The Government took his advice and left the great mass of them without their promotion.
– It is this kind of discussion that fills the service with discontent.
– I presume that MajorGeneral Hutton must have had good reasons for what he recommended. He advised the Government to do certain things, and they did them. We will dismiss him absolutely from consideration. I will grant that what he did was right in his opinion.
– He did not like Australians, and they did not like him.
– When, in my enthusiasm, I looked into these cases, I said to myself, Surely I have power to put right this wrong.”- We were all apt to think hopefully that it could be arranged. But when investigating the matter fully, I discovered that to deal with Colonel Cox’s case meant dealing with fifty other applications from officers who wanted promotion without going up’ for examination. They all desired to be promoted up to the rank which they had won in South Africa. One officer would say, “ I was’ a major in South Africa, and now I want to be promoted to the rank of major without examination.” There were about fifty applications at the time. Then I commenced to “ smell a rat,” to use an expression which a member of the Opposition might employ ; although we do not talk like that on this side of the Chamber.
– How would the Minister express it?
– In other words, I commenced to realize that my sympathetic inclinations were taking me further than was justified by prudence !_ I asked for the matter to be looked info departmentally to ascertain how many cases of the kind there were. I found there were about 100 of them.
– And I say that there is not one case in the hundred that is analogous to Colonel Cox’s case.
– The essence of the thing is ‘ obtaining- the colonelcy without examination.
– No, obtaining the privilege of command when the opportunity occurred.
– Without examination. The point is whether the examination shall be held or not. When I found that there were 100 cases, I began to have a little doubt as to whether the problem could be solved. It was further complicated by the fact that a large number of men who had attained certain ranks in South “Africa had afterwards passed the examinations for those ranks in this country. I therefore found that to do what was desired meant putting 100 officers up in the service without examination. In fact, it was an apparently impossible task. I do not say that I have abandoned it yet. As the poet says, “ Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”
– The Minister has’ abandoned it.
– I tell the honorable member that I should be very glad to carry out my own desire. I told the honorable member that I would promote Colonel Cox if I could do it.
– The honorable member told the House too.
– I believed then that I could do it. But honorable members will see the difficulty when there are. 100 men to be dealt with.
– How did Major-General Hutton come to promote two colonels and leave out the others?
– There are only three cases of this kind.
– What I have referred to happened years ago, when a recommendation was made by Major-General Hutton that certain men should get certain pro- . motion.
– -Surely it is not too late to repair the injury and to give Colonel Cox his promotion.
– The honorable member for Parramatta is aware that Colonel Cox will be provisionally gazetted in the next * Gazette.*
– But has he not been commanding a regiment for a couple of years ?
– The point is that he has not passed his examination. It is only a question of examination.
– Was he the only officer of his grade who did not receive promotion? Has not the Minister promoted other officers who have not passed examinations?
– There have been cases of provisional promotion. I felt that the provisional appointment of this officer was all that I could do before he passed the examination.
– The Minister jumped the hurdle.
– He has done nothing at all. It is too late to do anything in that case now.
– Colonel Cox- was asked to go up for examination, and he went. He passed in three subjects, and there was sufficient justification in my opinion for promoting him provisionally until he passed in the others.
– Other officers have not had that advantage.
– I know he is a good officer, and worthy of any consideration which is departmentally possible. Letme now refer to another matter. Parramatta has existed for many years. It was established before I was born, and even before the birth of the honorable member who now represents it in this Parliament. The people of Parramatta have never had a rifle range. When the Honorable member brought the matter under my notice I felt that there ought to be a range there. I not only took action departmentally, but I wrote to personal friends on the subject.
– Have we got it yet?.
– The honorable member, will get it. To show that matters have not been neglected in the honorable member’s district, I wrote to personal friends there, and asked them to assist in finding a suitable place for the range if the military officers could not find one. A suitable place was discovered on the catchment area. Then arrangements required to be made with the Water and Sewerage Board. If I can get a matter concerning the Department helped along by using a little outside influence of this kind, I always do it. The result is that we shall have a rifle range in Parramatta, where there has never been one before. I trust there may be no further hitch - but one is never quite sure till finality is reached.. Then, take the case of the Ryde rifle range. For nineteen years the riflemen of Ryde were, in the habit of using a certain gully as a rifle range. But the officer in charge of rifle ranges reported it to be dangerous, and the Commandant closed it. When I heard of this, I informed the honorable member for Parramatta, telling him’ that I would do the best I could. We had a discussion, and the papers were sent for. Finding that they contained only a brief statement, a sketch and a further report were called for, and when these were sent I showed them to the honorable member, who placedbefore me photographs of the locality, and stated facts which I think would have justified drastic action. Of course, a Minister cannot dismiss an officer for want of the business knowledge which is brought to bear on the affairs of everyday life. Before anything of that kind is done, he must be given a chance to understand what is required of him. Something has been said about the need for obtaining brains, ability, and energy in the service. There is plenty of brains and ability, and if I can interleave it with a little commonsense and. practical business knowledge, as in bacon the fat is streaked with the lean, it will be a good thing for the country. Unfortunately, many officers seem to be content to do the little thing that falls within their department, and then drop the matter altogether, the trouble with armies everywhere being that intelligent action is rendered almost impossible by red-tape. I have sent another officer to Sydney with instructions to report to me exactly what he thinks of the position.
– For what reason was the range declared dangerous? Because persons might walk over the hill from behind, not knowing that shooting was taking place ?
– There were other reasons, such as the position of the road on the eastern side, and the fact that population was increasing to the north-east.
– Any member of the general public could have been warned off the range by a notice board or a flag.
– An expert would probably not think of such an alternative. Mr. Kelly. - When the Minister finds that an expert has advised him unwisely, does he trust him again?
– I accept the opinion of experts only when they can show me that it is right. There must be a rifle range at Ryde ; but if all the experts declare the present range to be dangerous, I cannot accept the responsibility of allowing it to be used.
– If the Minister cannot trust his experts, he should sack them.
– It would be a terrible thing for any one to be killed.
– No Minister would allow the range to be used if all the experts reported it to be dangerous.
– Not after visiting it himself?
– Although the experts recommend the closing of the Ryde range as dangerous, they refuse to recommend the resumption of land behind the Randwick range, notwithstanding that all the residents of the locality say that the present arrangement is dangerous.
– No doubt, there will always be something to be put right, and, do what I may, I shall leave something for my successor to deal with.
– When defence questions are under consideration it seems to me - and I say this without any particular reference to the remarks of the deputy leader of the Opposition - that everything Australian is pretty certain to be- attacked. The InspectorGeneral has been traduced, and his ability doubted.
– Who has traduced him?
– The honorable member, at any rate, is not satisfied with him, and would rather have an imported officer belonging to the British Army.
– I have not said so.
– We are told that if we want a better military system we should obtain an English officer and put him in charge, because our own officers will neverbe able to bring about a satisfactory state of affairs. But those who have studied the history of British wars know that mistake after mistake has been made, and that it has only been by blundering through, that victory has been gained. I could give hundreds of instances in which, although battles have been won, nothing but blundering took place at the commencement of the campaign. This is true, indeed, of the operations of foreign as well as of those of English armies. When the British Army was before Sebastopol, and the question was whether to make an attack or wait for developments, we know how greatly the troops suffered for want of proper provision for their health and comfort. So, too, at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian war, the Pomeranian army was wiped out by the French, notwithstanding the fact that the German Army subsequently proved itself to be the best in the world. There were similar occurrences during the Boer -war. Opinion was divided as to whether Colenso should be taken by a frontal attack or be outflanked, and although a frontal attack would have meant” an immense loss of life, it is Questionable whether as many men did not subsequently die of typhoid and other diseases as would have been killed in actual fighting. Australians are probably as good fighters as any other people, and I believe that there is nothing that we cannot do as well as others. But the men in the ranks of our Defence Forces differ from those in the army of the Old World, and if they were similarly handled there would be a revolution. Australian officers understand their men, and know how to treat them, and although they have been adversely criticised, from the Inspector-General down: wards, I believe that, in the long run, Australian supervision will be best. We must not follow slavishly the methods of the Old World. There was a time in the- history of Great Britain when commissions were purchasable, so much being paid for a lieutenancy, so much for a captaincy, and so on.. That system seemed to be bad, and the examination system replaced it. It wasalso provided that men might rise from the ranks to be commissioned officers ; but the want of education and social status of most of the rankers caused that to be discouraged. The same thing is happening here to-day. In my opinion it is very necessary that menshould be able to rise from the ranks on proving their ability to command. At the present time, however, there are many ob’stacles in the way of such promotions. For one thing, although a man who has risen to the rank of sergeant-major is supplied with a horse and uniform, if he were given a’ commission he would have to provide both for himself. Uniforms are very costly.
– A uniform costs £40. ‘
– More than that in some instances. We must bring about a system under which it will not be expensive to be” an officer. That is necessary if we’ are to get the brains of the community into’ our Defence Forces. I have no desire to speak slightingly of the value of a University training. It is well that every man should have a good education, but an educated man is not necessarily the best of fighters. Yet, what do we find? Is it not a fact, that again and again a sublieutenant, who, because perhaps of a University career,” has been able to pass certain examinations, and so to qualify for a commission, is placed in charge of a detachment, although the sergeant-major below him, who has risen from the position of a private, and is familiar with every branch of the work, is far better fitted to command? We must deal with these matters from a purely Australian stand-point, and get away from old-world usages. The only inference that could be drawn from a statement made this afternoon by the honorable’ member for Corio was that artillery officers were unfit to handle large bodies of men.
– He did not say that.
– I think that was the inference to be drawn from his remarks. There is a good deal of esprit de corps in’ the Army. The cavalry officer has very often a contempt for the artilleryman, and the artilleryman is very often .inclined to look down on the infantryman, and vice versa. Any one who has been in the regular forces or the militia in the Old Country, as the honorable member for Maranoa and I have been, knows that that is so. There is really no reason why an artillery officer should not be able to handle a big body of men.
– There is no case on record where a permanent artillery officer has been allowed to command citizen forces. ‘
– Lord Roberts was an artillery officer.
– One of the most successful generals of whom Great Britain can boast, Sir Charles Napier, was an officer of the engineers.
– And so was Lord Kitchener.
– I could name hundreds of artillery officers who have shown their ability to handle large bodies of men.
– Lord Roberts, until he reached the rank of major, was an artillery officer.
– As a youngster in India, I used’ to have the impression that he was a major in an infantry regiment. The present State Commandant of Victoria was a ranker, but, by study, qualified for a commission. It is idle to say that because a man has been in the ranks he is not fit to take charge of a body of men. There is nothing like experience ; it is only by experience that men can fit themselves to command. How is that experience to be gained ? Happily, we are not always at war, and our men, therefore, must be afforded opportunities for training in connexion with various manoeuvres. I have no desire to labour this question, but, as one whose ancestors for six generations were rankers in the British .Army - my grandfather was with Wellington, from the lines of Torres Vedras to the Loire, and my father enlisted for the Crimean war - I feel strongly upon it. The mere fact that the Victoria Barracks are in my electorate does not entitle me to pose as an expert, but we have abundant evidence that men of the ranks are as capable of learning, and of qualifying for leading positions in our forces as are men in higher walks of life. These Estimates do not provide for the extension of the Naval ‘ and Military Forces foreshadowed by the Prime Min ister, but I am rather surprised tha’t they do not include an item for enlarging the present naval depot at Williamstown.
– -Arrangements have been made, not for enlarging the Williamstown depot, but for a larger depot.
– I should prefer the depot to remain at Williamstown. The exigencies of the situation mav require it to be removed; but, to my mind, the Williamstown! site is a good one. We have had a depot there for some years, and there are many reasons why that depot should be retained. There is ample land, for its extension’. I desire now to draw the attention of the- Minister of Defence to the Estimates relating to the Ordnance Department. I notice that provision is made for an inspector of ordnance machinery in the Estimates relating to Victoria. The duties of that officer extend all over the Commonwealth, and I fail to see why he should not be a staff officer in the Central Administration.
– The honorable member is referring t’o Major Harding.
– I am. If it is necessary at the present time to have an inspector of ordnance machinery, surely that necessity will be greater by-and-by. It will be observed, however, . that no provision is being made to train men for that position. The office is in the professional division, and the occupant of it ranks as a major. We are told that nearly every man one meets in America is a colonel, and .military titles certainly seem to be on the increase here. The machinery section of the Ordnance Department was at one time on the civil side of the service, but we now have an ordnance machinery corps.
– Artificers. I. think they have always been on the military side.
– I do not think so. In the old days the officer in charge, who was a man of exceptional ability, showed that the men were not receiving payment commensurate with their services, and ultimately a change was made. But whilst the head of the corps is a major, the “officer next to him in Victoria is merely a warrant officer artificer, and I believe that that post is. to be done away with. That’ being so, the next officer to the major in charge will be a staff sergeant artificer, drawing ns. per day. How can we hope to have men trained and ready at any time to take the place of the inspector when we have so wide a gap? It seems to me that the officer in charge of the Department, whilst increasing the importance of his own office, keeps down those under him. It seems absurd that we should have one man drawing£560 per annum, and the officer next to him receiving only11s. per day.
– The honorable member thinksthat the gap is too wide?
– I do. In the event of the inspector being incapacitated, who is to take his place?
– He is a specialist, I presume?
– He is no greater specialist than is the officer below him, who is drawing only11s. per day. Major Harding himself was, I think, originally a fitter and turner or engineer; and, under the old system, he rose to his present position. Now, however, he has, by the present system, made it impossible for others of similar qualifications to rise in the same way, although they may possibly have had a better training than himself. We must not forget that these are professional men, who understand thoroughly the mechanism of a gun, and canrepair and make it fit for use. I may say that, in my opinion, the present condition of affairs is in no way due to the political head of the Department ; and I dare say that his attention has not previously been drawn to this anomaly. I shall feel compelled to vote against any proposal to give Major Harding a higher salary while there is such a’ discrepancy between his remuneration and that of the man next in position. When Major Harding has to go away to Queensland and New South Wales for, perhaps, six weeks or two months, his office is locked up, and no one is left in charge ; and it will be readily recognised that if the efficiency of the service is to be maintained, there should be some qualified man ready to take that gentleman’s place when he should die or retire, otherwise we may find an engineer appointed where an artilleryman is required, or a clerk put into a position that an artificer ought to occupy. I may further point out that these artificers are underpaid, and do not occupy that rank and position which should be theirs. I trust that the Minister will look into this matter, and make such arrangements as will be to the best interests of Australia.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) mittee again in connexion with the case of Colonel Cox; and I must express my regret that that officer’s name has been mentioned. I am conscious of the fact that what has taken place this afternoon may not help that officer; and I am not quite sure that what I am doing now will meet with his approval. However, I feel so strongly in the matter, that I must do what I am doing in the interests of simple justice to a deserving man. Since the Minister has mentioned Colonel Cox’s name, it is only fair I should let honorable members know what his career has been, and place the facts on record in Hansard, to show, if nothing more, how a brave man, who devoted his life to the service of his country is rewarded. I may say that Captain Cox was the first man to land in South Africa on behalf of Australia. When the war broke outhe was in London with a company of lancers sent there at the expense of Colonel Burns, and the offer of himself and the company to serve at the front was accepted. Captain Cox was in South Africa at the beginning of the war and remained until the finish, and the following is a brief statement of his career there -
Record of Service of Capt. (Bt. Major and Hon. Lieut.-Col.) Charles Frederick Cox, C.B.
Date of birth, 2/5/63.
In ranks, New South Wales Lancers, 8/6/91 to10/3/94.
Appointed 2nd Lieut.,11/3/94. G.O. 212-94.
Promoted1st Lieut.,13/5/96. G.O.99-96.
Promoted Captain,11/11/97. G.O.188-97, and G.O. 5-98.
Appointed Brevet-Major, 5/12/02. D.O. 805- 02.
Appointed Hon. Lt.-Col., 5/6/01. G.O.127- 01, and D.O. 4-03.
Command of Regiment (temporarily),18/7/06. D.O. 71-06, and1/10/06. D.O.107-06.
In Command of Detachment of New South Wales Lancers at Aldershot,1899 (six months’ continuous training).
Passed Country Course, No. 4, Class B, 25/2/95 to 7/3/95. G.O. 93-95.
Passed Country Course, No. 7,. Class B, 20/4/96 to1/5/96. G.O.116-96.
Passed for Lieutenant, G.O.112-96.
Passed for Captain, G.O. 193-97.
In command of the first body of Colonial Troops to volunteer and to land in South Africa. South Africa,1899-1902. Operations round Naawport, 2/11/99. (Horse shot under him, 12/12/99.) Operations in Cape Colony,1900. Operations in Orange Free State,1900. Operations in Transvaal,1900,1901, and1902. Present at the following general engagements : - Arundel, Riet River, Klip Drift or Modder River, Relief of Kimberley, Dronfield, Paardeburg, Poplar Grove, Driefontein or Abraham’s Kraal, Bloemfontein, Brandfort or The Glen, Ventersburgroad, Vanwyksrust, Klipriversberg, Doorn kop, Valkheuvelpoort, Diamond Hills, Olif antsfontein, Langkloof near Belfast, Swartzkop near Belfast, Waitberg Hills, and Barberton.
Minor engagements : - Colesberg. Operations including Arundel, Rensberg, and Slingersfontein, Waterval. (Release of Prisoners), Wilge River, Zaaiwater, Olifant’s River, Sterkwater. Operations around Strathrae, Elandsklbof, Waterval Onder, Zevenfontein,Welgelegen, and Goedwerwatkt.
Commanded 3rd New South Wales Mounted Rifles - 1,020 officers, n.c.o.’s, and men. Joined Colonel Rimington’s Column at Standerton on 2/5/01, and remained with it until Lord Kitchener’s big Drive started; then detached on 23/1/02, and given command of a Column to cooperate in the Drive, and remained until the. end of the war.
Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army, on the Field, in South Africa, 5/6/01.
Operations in Orange River Colony,1901, 1902.
Mentioned in Despatches, London Gasetta, 26/6/02, and awarded “ C.B.”
Queen’s Medal and Clasps, “ Relief of Kimberley,” “ Paardeberg,” “ Driefontein,” “Johannesburg,” “Diamond Hill,” “Belfast.”
King’s Medal and Clasps, “ South Africa, 1901,” and “ South Africa,1902.”
Diamond Jubilee Medal,1897. “ King’s Coronation Medal,” 1902.
Lieut.-Colonel Cox was sent for at the conclusion of the big Harrismith Drive, on 27th February,1902, and personally congratulated on. the Field by Lord Kitchener for his work on the night of the 23rd and morning of 24th February, when the Boers rushed the Driving Line.
In the official “ History of the Boer War.” published by the London Times, it is stated that : -
Garratt’s line from the river to the summit had been cut to pieces; Begbie’s pom-pom jammed, and its Commander killed, but Cox, on Rimington’s left, realizing the situation, swung round his nearest picquets, and faced the Boers - who had suffered somewhat severely themselves - with a square front, the issue of the fight being now in the balance, &c.”
Result of Drive : - 778 prisoners; 50 killed; 25,000 head of cattle ; 200 vehicles.
– What was his rank?
– He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel on the field. When he returned to Australia he went back to his position in the regiment, and, asking for nothing, was content so to serve. Later on, Colonel Burns resigned, and was succeeded by Colonel Vernon, who, however, almost immediately afterwards also resigned. Captain Cox then, became the senior officer ; and he was recommended for the appointment by both of his superiors. However, the authorities in New South Wales began to demur to giving Captain Cox the command, raising all sorts of obstacles. Captain Cox, not acting of his own accord, but on advice of others in the ser vice, made application. I may here say that Captain Cox desired to resign longago, rather than fight this matter; and it is not due to him in the least that we are discussing his position to-day. There were others in the service in New South Wales who thought it was time to take a stand for simple justice ; and, on their suggestion, Captain Cox put in a claim for a command under section 22 of the Defence Act, which is as follows : -
The Governor-General may appoint any person to be an officer or promote an officer for distinguished service, or for marked ability and gallantry in active service, without hispassing the prescribed examination.
That is how the trouble began. The Government declined to give Captain Cox his rank ; but, as he could not be passed over, he was appointed to the command of the regiment. One would have thought that an officer of such distinguished service would, at least, have been given the privileges and rank of such a position, if only temporarily. But, as a matter of fact, although he has been commanding the regiment for two years, he is still receiving the comparatively paltry pay of a captain. This is a position of affairs which the Minister could alter without doing an injustice to any officer in the service, because there is not one who would raise the slightest cavil if Captain Cox were treated in the manner to which he is entitled. It is all very well for the Minister to point to hundreds of. other officers, but I ask whether those officers have colonelcies to accept - whether there are opportunities to put them in command even if the Minister were so disposed. There were two officers who went through the war in command of mounted infantry.” The moment Colonel Carington came back to Australia from the war he was given a provisional command.
– Who did that? It was not the Minister.
– I am not saying who did it, and I am not complaining. I will put the matter fairly. Colonel Carington was given pay privilege and rank as a colonel. Later on another command fell vacant, and Colonel Riley was at once appointedto the provisional command of a regiment, with the pay and privileges of his rank.
– That was years ago, too.
– Not long ago. At any rate, these cases occurred when there were opportunities for promotion. That is the point. Further, Colonel Riley was given two years in which to pass his examinations. I say now that he ought not to have been asked to pass any examination in view of his distinguished services in South Africa. But in the meantime he enjoyed the pay and privileges of his rank.
– That is what I am going to do in the case of Colonel Cox now.
– That is what the Minister has not done.
– I told the honorable member outside to-day that that was arranged for.
– Does the Minister say that Colonel Cox is to get his pay and privileges from the time of his appointment to the command?
– I do not say that.
– That is the point.
– I have done all that I could within my powers.
– This officer has served two years in command of a regiment on captain’s pay. Then, finding that there was no other possible means of getting the recognition which was his due, he at last consented to go through the examination. He was considered good enough by Lord Kitchener to be intrusted with the independent command of troops in South Africa, and he was afterwards called up and congratulated uponthe splendid work which he had done. He is, I venture to say, one of the men whom Lord Kitchener would ask for to-morrow if Australians were going to take part in another war. But whenthis officer returns to Australia we find that he is put through out-of-door manoeuvres by men who have probably never been to a battle-field. Indeed, I doubt whether, if some of them were suggested to Colonel Cox as officers who should go with him into a fight, he would not ask for them to be left behind. These are the men who are now engaged in examining Colonel Cox as to his qualification to command troops.
– Does the honorable member say that he was a colonel in South Africa?
– Here is his record. He commanded the third contingent of New South Wales mounted troops, consisting of1,020 men.
– Did he have colonel’s rank in South Africa?
– He received his lieutenant-colonelcy from the British Government. He was promoted on the field. Not only that, but he was given a C.B.
– But was he actually a lieutenant-colonel in South Africa?
– Yes, most certainly. He joined Colonel Rimington’s column, and remained with that officer for a year - until Lord Kitchener’s big drive at Harrismith. Then Kitchener detached him from Colonel Rimington, and gave himthe independent command of a column. He went through the remainder of the war in command of a column. His rank was then that of lieutenant-colonel.
– The official list which I hold in my hand does not say that he received a lieutenant-colonel’s commission.
– I tell the honorable member the fact - that to-day he is a lieutenant-colonel in the British Army. I am quoting from the official record. There is no doubt whatever about it. But the Federal Government would not even pay him the compliment, when they gave him the command of a regiment, of giving him more than captain’s pay. I want to know why this man, who has no powerful friends, has had to wait for seven years for his opportunity, and why he is singled out for this treatment, so different from that accorded to others who have not seen a tithe of his service?
– Singled out for different treatment than that accorded to Colonel Carington and another officer ; but he was treated just the same as a number of others. I can only refer the honorable member for the reason to the General Officer Commanding at the time - Major-General Hutton.
– But is that an answer? If Major-General Hutton took no notice of this’ man’s claims, is that any reason why the Minister of Defence should not, when the opportunity occurs,do him a simple act of justice ? There is not a single man in the hundred of whom the Minister talks, who would have raised the slightest cavil at a mere act of justice being done to this officer. These are the facts of the case, and I propose to leaveit there. I have no doubt that Colonel Cox will get through somehow. I hope that he may, I trust that what I have had to say will not injure him in any way. Indeed, I do not know that it can injure him.
– They cannot treat him worse than they have done.
– Hear, hear.
– Such are the facts of the case. » Colonel Cox is to-day devoting himself, with all the assiduity and loyalty of his character, to the service of his country. He is a man who would have been in a far better civil position- today if he had not stuck so closely to this hobby of his.
– S - Such men ought to be encouraged.
– If the Citizen Forces are to be encouraged, the Government must not treat in this fashion men who- devote their lives to their hobby, and who have succeeded in winning the highest commendation from the best officers in the British Army.’ This is no proper return to make to such a man’ as that.
.- I wish to add a few words to what has been said about the. case of Colonel Cox by the honorable member for Parramatta. I agree that this officer has been very badly treated. When a man risks his life, and gives up comfort and the prospects of civil advancement, to serve his country in war, whilst the feather-bed soldier stays at home, it is humiliating, when he returns, to fin3 that the men who have looked after their own private interests, have received all the good things. There seems to be something very “ fishy “ indeed about the whole case;. We have been ,told that two officers, on their return from South Africa, got their local rank, and that, as soon as there was an opportunity, they were put into positions of command. This officer, however, after his fine service in South Africa, was required to pass an examination.
– There is another case of the kind in Queensland, as the honorable member knows.
– I am well aware of that. The Queensland officer, whose name I will not mention, served with honour and distinction in South Africa, and was mentioned in despatches. His services were publicly recognised, by both Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener, on the field of battle. He was given promotion for them, and was a born soldier, brimming over with enthusiasm for his work. But when he returned to Australia, what happened? He found that while he was away, he had lost his promotion iri his regiment, and was told that he would have to return to the same position that he occupied when he left, or take none at all. Being a highspirited individual, he said1, “ If this is the treatment I am to get, I will have no more of it”; and he -forthwith left the service. When an officer returns from war with the record that Colonel Cox has, there is something ‘wanting in our military system if we do not see that he gets a “ square deal.” The Department must know what this man has done. Surely it is more honorable fo be promoted on the field than by mere seniority. It is too humiliating to put such an officer under instruction or examination from men whom he could teach in matters of military tactics. When there was an opportunity for the Government to step in and do justice to this officer, I cannot understand why the Minister did not do it.
– He never asked for anything until the opportunity occurred.
– If a man proves himself to be a soldier on the battlefield, surely that is the best proof of his fitness that we can have.
– That is quite right.
– Surely this is a special case. There could be no better kind of examination than that which an officer undergoes in war.
– I quite agree that he should never have been asked to go up for examination.
– /The treatment that this officer has received seems to show that we do not want soldiers at all, but merely men who have a theoretical knowledge of military matters.
– Kitchener passed him with honours.
– When an officer shows ability’ in the field, and an experienced soldier like Lord Kitchener thinks fit to call him up and say that he is deserving of a particular rank, it is a cruel’ injustice to strip him of that rank when he comes back to his own country. We want experienced soldiers in Australia. We are constantly sending officers abroad in order that they may gain practical knowledge of the art of war. Here is a man whoreturns to us ready trained, and full of vim and enthusiasm; but simply because he has not social influence at his back, he ‘does not get a “ square deal.” T say that that is monstrous.
– Is this Committee impotent ?
– It seems that we are. I wonder the honorable member for Parramatta, considering his forcefulness, has not made the Government do something in regard to this officer much earlier.
– One has naturally some diffidence about bringing up the case of a particular officer.
– When a member knows that an officer has been cruelly wronged, he is wanting in his duty if he does not get the wrong righted. Although late in the day, I am glad that the action of the honorable member for Parramatta has had effect.
– But the Minister will not say that he will allow this officer his back pay.
– If I find it within my power to give it, he will get it. I shall look into the matter.
– I am certain that the honorable member for Parramatta may take the Minister’s word. He has never failed to carry out a promise made to me. No one in this debate has pointed out that, although we are paying £900 for a Secretary to the Defence Department, the officer filling that position has been for some years absent in London, as representative of the Common weal th .
-He is only paid for the work he does.
– Yes; but his salary should not be debited to the Defence Department when he is not doing defence work. I should like to know what the final arrangement is to be in this matter, and, to test the feeling of the Committee in regard to the present arrangement, I intend to move the reduction of the salary by £1. We are also asked to vote£580 for the Director of Stores, but the officer who fills that position is at present acting as accountant in the London office. Seeing that he is an expert in military stores, and particularly in clothing, the country needs his advice in connexion with the proposed new scheme of defence.
– Surely we are going, to have our military clothing made in Australia?
– I hope so; but these officers cannot remain in London and do work for the Defence Department. At the present time, the Chief Clerk is acting as Secretary, and, fortunately for the Minister, is doing the work well, he being one of the most capable officers in the De partment. If (Captain Collins and Mr. Savage are needed in London, their positions in the Defence Department should be either abolished or filled by other officers. Coming to another matter, no doubt the Minister saw the statement in the Age a few days ago as to what is done with officers who have received special training abroad. Or their return, they all seem to expect office billets. But men who have been sent to England or to India to increase their military education, instead of being put into offices, should travel about the Commonwealth, so that their knowledge may be imparted to the troops, and our Defence Forces made more efficient.
– Instructions have been given about that.
– On thelast Estimates I drew the attention of the Minister to this matter. At the present time, officers are employed in the capitals, doing routine work which could be better performed by ordinary clerks. I understand, further, that not one of the permanent artillerymen in the Commonwealth can instruct the volunteers or militiamen in the use of field guns.
– I think that there is an officer in Victoria who has passed through a course of field gunnery.
– Is he the only one in the Commonwealth? On active service the field artillery is the main arm of a force, as any schoolboy would know, and it is almost Gilbertian that we should have only one officer able to give instruction in the use of . field guns.
– There is more than one; but we have not enough.
– Artillerymen should not be schooled in only one branch of their profession. If there were a war scare, who would be sent to instruct the volunteers and militia to use the guns of the field batteries lying at the different depots? Only the officers who have been through a special course.
– There are no ranges on which to practise.
– It would not be difficult to obtain ranges for field guns.
– What about the 4.7 guns sent to Warrnambool?
– I understand from the honorable member for Corangamite that the 4.7 gun, a naval or fort weapon, was sent to Warrnambool to give the field artillery there practice.
– It was one of the South African cow guns.
– Yes ; but they had not the cows to haul it. In South Africa the Naval Brigade looked after these guns. The mechanism of the present field guns is as delicate as that of a watch, and it is farcical that we should have no one capable of instructing men in their management and care. Directly I found out the true state of affairs, I interviewed the Minister about it, and he promised me that it would be altered; but he says that nothing can be done under the present Act.
– The Act does not allow us to have permanent men in connexion with the field artillery.
– That seems to me monstrous.
– So it seems to me.
– Surely the Government can rectify matters. They should break through the Act. It is necessary that our men should be instructed in the management of these guns, and permanent men are certainly needed.
– We would handle the Act if we got a chance.
Mr.PAGE.- Yes. The Minister should have no hesitation about taking the matter in hand, and if he has to do anything before the Act can be amended, Parliament will indemnify him. One might as well give a musket to a cow as place field guns in the hands of men. without instruction. It is not very long since the Prime Minister made a famousspeech, in which he said that our defence system had gone through three stages, or periods, the first being the G.O.C. period, the second the D.C., and the third, I interjected, was the period of’ muddle. Unfortunately we are still in a state of muddle. I see, however, a silver lining to the cloud, and shall be heart and soul with the Prime. Minister in his new scheme, since I recognise that the present state of affairs must not continue.
– How are we to officer the Forces under the new scheme?
– I have always been an advocate of a Military College, and believe that only by the establishment of such an institution in Australia shall we be able to obtain all the officers we require.
– Weshould also make it easy for non-commissioned officers to obtain commissions.
– Quite so; but we must take care to have officers whom the men will respect.
– They must be trained.
– Certainly. An officer cannot impart instruction unless he has been well instructed himself. If we had a Military College in Australia we should have a full supply of officers. I hope, however, that we shall not deal with our officers as Captain Cox has been dealt with. As the honorable member for Parramatta has said, had that officer paid as much attention to his ordinary civil duties as he has done to his military hobby, he would have occupied a better position than he does to-day. When a man is prepared to sacrifice something for patriotism we ought to be ready to sacrifice something for him. I know of a Victorian who, after serving for some years in the hussars, has retired on half pay and returned to this State. He is only thirty-six years of age, has been an adjutant of a cavalry regiment, and when in South Africa was adjutant of a cavalry brigade. He knows his drill well, and has excellent testimonials. This man has proffered his services to the Commonwealth. Yet the Minister says to him, “ I cannot place you.” We are short of skilled officers, but the Minister does not want to offend the powers that be.
– What powers?
– The officers in the service who are running the show. The Minister is anxious to secure the services of this officer, but cannot place him because if he were to do so he would offend other officers. If I were Minister of Defence I should place him quick and lively if I found that he had the ability that he claims to possess. The honorable member for Corio has been good enough to hand to me the volume of Hansard in which appears the report of the debate on the amendment moved by Mr. McCay on clause 28 of the Defence Bill of1903. Mr. McCay said, as reported in Hansard of 5th August,. 1903-
From what the Minister has said, we havepractically no permanent forces as righting units; except the men required to man our forts.I move -
That the following new sub-clause be added : - “ No permanent military forces shall be raised, maintained, or organized, except for administrative staffs, instructional staffs, garrison artillery, fortress engineers, or sub-marine mining engineers.”
That is exactly in accordance with what the Minister has stated.
The report continues -
– There is the ordnance staff to provide for.
– That comes under the heading of “ administrative staff.”
The right honorable member for East Sydney supported Mr. McCay, whilst the honorable member for Corio said -
Field artillery approaches garrison artillery in this respect ; and the Minister is making a great mistake in accepting this amendment without putting in field artillery as well as garrison artillery.
– That would allow of field batteries as fighting units.
For what other purpose do we need them ? I do not know why the amendment was moved. The honorable member for Corio went on to say -
I do not see why there should not be permanent field batteries; they certainly would be better than militia and volunteer field artillery.
– They are all garrison artillery in reality.
– How can they be garrison artillery if some of them are drivers? A garrison artillery gun is fixed in large fortifications.
– Some of themen are detailed to act as drivers although being garrison men. They are all-round men.
Every artilleryman in the Imperial service, whether he is in the field artillery, the garrison artillery, or the horse artillery, has to be able to handle garrison, field, and horse artillery guns. He has to undergo every year a course of training at Shoeburyness.
– That is possible only in the case of permanent men.
– I have permanent men in mind. If we have three permanent men for each gun - one to load, one to train, and the third man to sponge out- the rest of the work can be done by any one, and we can rely upon the guns being properly handled. The reason why in the Imperial service nine permanent artillery men are attached to each gun in action is to prevent any one man being overworked and to provide for casualties. At the battle of Ingogo there were only one or two artillerymen at one of the guns ; the rest were infantry. The report of the debate continues -
– To the extent that a garrison artilleryman drives he is not a garrison artilleryman. The right honorable member means that, although we choose to call these men garrison artillery the whole of them can be made into infantry, because they are all-round men.
My opinion is that our artillerymen should be all-round men. They should be able to handle a carbine, a garrison gun, a siege gun, or a horse artillery gun.
– The sailors on board His Majesty’s ships are turned into infantry if the authorities choose. Sailors took that 4.7 gun up to Ladysmith from the H.M.S. Powerful.
– If there is anything wrong in the amendmentI will have it altered.
– I understand the Minister to say that he wants to have all-round men, so that if he chooses to employ them as infantry men he will do so.
Then I find that the honorable member for Dalley spoke to the question, saying -
It seems like butchery to “have a go” at the Minister now. lt is not real warfare. The right honorable gentleman has capitulated to the honorable and learned member for Corinella. But we have not merely to look to the present ; we have to consider the future also. During the last two years, Parliament has shown a strong . sense of economy in regard to military matters, and the Commandant, being wise in his generation, has cut down the permanent forces.
The honorable member proceeded to point out, as the honorable member for. Corio had done, that the Minister was making a mistake in accepting the amendment, but it was agreed to. I hope that the Minister will either cause the Act to be amended, or, so to speak, take the bit between his teeth, and see that the men are trained in field as well as in garrison artillery work. It is essential that we should have in our permanent men a skeleton army.
– That was the trouble in connexion with the cadre.
– The men belonging to the scientific branch of the service should be all-round soldiers. A man cannot know too much about artillery. The more skilful we make our gunners the better machines they will be when we want them. . Those who were members of the first Parliament will remember the debate which took place in this House with regard to the treatment of troops on the Drayton Grange. During that debate I attacked the officer in charge, Colonel Lyster, declaring that on the report of the Commission I thought that some of the men had been cruelly done to death. I still hold that opinion. I went on to say, however, that the man in charge of the troops on board, Colonel Lyster, who is now the State Commandant of Queensland, should have been hanged, because he was neither more nor less than a murderer. While in Queensland last year I had a long conversation with that officer in regard to the Drayton Grange case, and having heard all that he had to tell about it came to the conclusion that he had been the victim of circumstances. At the time he did not tell all that he knew, because an officer in a higher position asked him not to do so. Since that conversation I have again read the report of the Commission, and in the light of the information I have received from Colonel Lyster, recognise that in many cases, in the first instance, I placed a wrong construction upon statements in it. In justice to Colonel Lyster, therefore, I wish to withdraw unreservedly the remarks that I made, and to express my regret that I should have uttered them. I was not then in the possession of information that I now have, and I deeply regret that I made such a serious charge against him. I told him that at the first opportunity I should withdraw the statement I then made. I desire the Minister to tell us more particularly what is going to be done with Captain Collins and Mr. Savage. When the proper time comes, I hope to have a word or two to say about the proposed new defence scheme, which, as outlined, has my entire sympathy. Any country worth living in is worth defending ; and our arrangements in this connexion Cannot go on as at present. The Minister told us this afternoon that each mounted infantryman in the Commonwealth costs£17per annum; and something must be done to reduce this expenditure.
– Does the honorable member accept the proposed scheme without modifications ?
– No; but I believe in the scheme as outlined, being quite in favour of universal service. As honorable members know, one of the planks of the platform of the Labour Party is a citizen soldiery, because, if there is one thing of which we are afraid, it is the creation of a military caste.
– Can weprovide the cost of universal service ?
– I think so; because the Prime Minister informed us that it would not mean more than an additional £100,000 or£200,000 a year. If an efficient service can be got for an additional expenditure of that kind, I am sure there is no one here or throughout the country who would raise the slightest objection. At present our forces are little more thanan assembled mob; and on every side there is dissatisfaction. Arrangements should be made in order to prove whether or not our forces are efficient.
– How could that be proved?
– By assembling the whole of the forces, say, at Dalgety, on a certain day - that would prove whether they were efficient or not. I am satisfied myself that such an attempt now would end in chaos. About two years ago, two field forces were manoeuvring between Rockhampton and the border, and on the second day the men had to go hungry in the absence of any “tucker,” although they were within thirty miles of Brisbane. I am afraid, therefore, that if an attempt were made to assemble the troops from all over Australia in some parts of New South Wales, they would be starving before very long ; but, at any rate, the efficiency or inefficiency of the forces would be proved. I am sure we all desire that the hopes of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence may be realized in regard to the new defence scheme, which, if it does not mean absolute efficiency, will provide forces that can be made efficient. Personally, I should be willing to pay almost anything for an efficient service ; and I am sure that no one in the country would say a word against any reasonable expenditure. But, as I have said every session, we might as well throw the money into the sea as spend at in the way we are now doing. We are spending practically £1, 000,000 a year merely to provide billets for people, and, in the matter of defence, we have been living in a fool’s paradise. If the hopes of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence are only partially realized, we shall have a force of which every one in the country will be proud.
– We have had a very interesting address from the honorable member for Maranoa, who, as one who has seen actual service in the field, knows what he is talking about. I do not think that we can expect an efficient service for the amount we are now spending on the military forces, nor do I believe that we shall ever have efficiency until we have had some experience in actual warfare. It is rather sad to think that the British people have usually to suffer reverses before they wake up to the situation, but the United States, the South American Republics, and, indeed, almost every nation has had similar experience. In my opinion, we shall have to spend at least£2,000,000 per annum in order to secure a satisfactory defence force. I regard with dread the possibility of an invasion of Australia, because, in such event, . those honorable members who have been preaching economy in this connexion will stand the risk of being hanged to the nearest tree. No estimate df military expenditure can be made to a fraction j there must be a margin of hundreds of thousands, and, even then, we must have at the head able men, great financiers, and, above all, discipline throughout the forces. In Australia, I am sorry to say, we have no discipline. It is proposed by the Government that in the future there shall be spent £2,000,000 per annum, and, therefore, I think the result will be to that extent more satisfactory to the community. However, it is of very little use discussing or attacking the Estimates, seeing that about five-sixths of the money has already been spent; and, as it is proposed to substitute for the present system of defence another more in accordance with requirements of Australia, there is not much need to discuss the matter further at this stage. We have heard a great deal to-night about “ military caste,” and about there being cliques in the service here; but that only shows that there is in Australia what is rampant in every other part of the world, and I really do not see how we can mend matters except by having more efficient men at the head, and paying them adequate salaries. There is a cry pf “ Australia for the Australians,” and in the Military Forces an Australian is given preference, even though he may not have had experience in actual warfare. In my opinion that is the height of stupidity. I believe in Australia for the Australians; but, in order to keep Australia, we must have an efficient army. Adequate defences are the surest way of avoiding war; and I am prepared to vote what money is necessary. I am looking forward to the opportunity of saying a word on the crude and impracticable scheme enunciated by the Prime Minister ; but, at the same time, there is so much in the. scheme to ‘admire that I hope it will be introduced just as - laid before us a few months ago. The Opposition will see that the scheme is made shapely ; and we must remember that every perfect work is at first crude. It is a broad and comprehensive scheme that any one may work at and improve, and I believe that the value of citizen soldiery is a secret that we have to learn. But even in the new scheme, it is proposed to spend the paltry sum of £20,000 per annum on rifle clubs.
– That is a mistake. It is proposed to spend an additional £IO,000each year on rifle clubs ; that is to say,. £50,000 next year, £60,000 the following year, and so on.
– I got my information from the Prime Minister’s speech, where it is also stated that there would be the sum of £10,000 spent annually on the cadets.
– That, again, ‘is extra expenditure.
– It is a mere bagatelle.
– It is proposed to increase the amount voted bv so much every vear.
– The Government should propose to increase the vote by large lump sums. Then, in regard to the guns that we are importing at enormous expense, I am informed that we have no ammunition for them; and even if we had the ammunition, I believe that we have not the men to work the guns. Paltry sums like £10,000 for cadets, and £20,000 for riflemen, are utterly insufficient. It was found in the American war that the men who could use the rifle did the most valuable work. In the Boer war, too, the Boers, who were experts in the use of the rifle, could, hold their own against the more highly trained Tommy Atkins. If we had a strong force of Australian riflemen, they would be able to give as good an account of themselves as did the riflemen in the United States and in South Africa.
– Is the honorable memberaware that, after the battle, of Bull Run,, six months elapsed before the Confederate Army could proceed any further, because they did not know how ‘to feed themselves on the march ?
– At an early date, I hope we shall have an opportunity to legislate on defence matters. One can then say ‘ what one desires on the subject. In the meantime, I trust that the Minister will do all that is necessary to encourage the rifle clubs, and to make them more efficient. Everything should be also done to induce ; the cadets to take an interest in their work, and to so train them, that they may be afterwards drafted into the citizen forces.
.- The honorable member who has just resumed his seat has directed attention to the undoubted importance of having efficient riflemen in our forces. He did not go on to say - but I presume that he will quite admit - how necessary it is to have also those men organized and equipped under an efficient general staff and officers. It is of no use to have efficient riflemen unless we have the organization to bring the riflemen to the scene of action. We need to have ammunition trains, baggage trains, ordnance trains, and all that organization which goes to make a mob of armed men into an efficient fighting army. The honorable member, also omitted to say, but it is none the less true, that it is of no use to have a number of armed men, and the means of taking those armed men to the field of action, unless we also have the skilled brains to direct their energies to the best advantage. We need to have a general staff in the background, with the requisite knowledge and training to direct an army along strategic lines to ultimate victory ; and capable commanders in the field able to take the greatest tactical advantage from the actual fields of battle. But I did not rise so much to refer to the necessity for having equipment and brains as well as arms, and the knowledge of how to use them, among the rank and file. A very important point was raised by the honorable member for Maranoa in connexion with the permanent Secretary of the Defence Department. I do not wish to say a word against Captain Collins. I believe that he is a very valuable officer in. whatever secretarial position the Commonwealth may choose to put him. But he occupies a very anomalous position . when, for years, he has received his salary as Secretary of the Defence Department, whilst he himself has been permanently resident in London doing other than defence work.
– It is chiefly defence work, , is it not?
– The work done in Captain Collins’ office in London is largely defence work, but Captain Collins’ own duties take him very much outside his office. He is frequently away doing the work of an Australian representative - I do not mean, of course, of a High Commissioner - in London.
– Does he not purchase all our defence materiel?
– He has all sorts of duties placed upon him by the Government from time to time. These duties vary from his being asked to collect works on Australia to expediting the shipment of defence materiel. He discharges a variety of work, which entitles him to consider himself the chief Commonwealth representative in London. Of course, he is not a High Commissioner, but he is undoubtedly the representative of the Commonwealth, doing all the work that the Commonwealth wants done there. But he occupies an anomalous position, Because year after year he is drawing his salary as Secretary of the Defence Department, whilst he is 12,000 miles away, and’ another officer, Commander Pethebridge, is doing his work at a smaller salary. It is not fair that one officer should be down on these Estimates for . £900 a year, whilst the man who is doing the work is not getting the same salary. In common justice he should be getting the same.
– What salary does the honorable member suggest that Captain ‘Collins should get?
– I should say that he deserves every penny of£900 a year. The only fault that I personally could find with the late work of Captain Collins as Secretary for the Defence Department may not be regarded by other honorable members as a fault at all. Indeed, I am not sure that I regard it as a fault. I refer tohis minutely careful scrutiny of public money, which, in connexion with this Department, may occasionally be carried too far in a faddy way. But still, it is, generally speaking, a very fine fault for a public officer to have. I find that Commander Pethebridge is to receive an allowance for acting as Secretary for Defence, amounting to£200. But the moment Captain Collins comes back to Australia to take up his duties - if he is to be brought back- this other officer will have to be , found some work commensurate with the higher pay that hehas been receiving during Captain Collins’ absence. As far as I can gather from the Estimates, there is no place for Commander Pethebridge to fill at the increased salary. I suggest for the consideration of the Minister that it is essential that this question of an absentee Secretary for Defence . should be settled, in justice to Captain Collins and to Commander Pethebridge, at the earliest possible moment.
– The Prime Minister said the other nightthat the HighCommissionership required consideration, and that he would not much longer delay dealing with the question.
– I was very glad to hear that. In this debate a number of statements have been made about the qualifications of certain officers who are unable to get promotion in the Defence Forces. I do not propose to go into that subject. It has already been sufficiently discussed. But I regard those instances as additional examples of the demoralization that exists in this Department. That demoralization is also evidenced in the great shortage of men ofthe rank and file. The memorandum which the Minister has circulated shows that the rank and file is 3,000 short of what it ought to be, even for our small force. This fact undoubtedly proves that there is a lack of enthusiasm amongst the men. I have endeavoured’ to find out from the returns furnished by the Minister what is the similar shortage in officers. It is information that we ought to have.
– Major-General Hoad’s report shows that.
– At any rate, even in officers there is a considerable shortage. These facts, considered in conjunction with the sort of complaint’s that have been made during the’ course of this debate, prove conclusively that the Defence Forces are in a state of demoralization.
– The shortage of officers is 329.
– That is a very large shortage indeed for a small force of 25,000 men. Much has been said inthe course of the debate about the policy of the Government and the policy of previous Governments. It is quite ridiculous to talk about the policy of the Government in defence matters, when we have not yet had in Australia a defence policy at all ! No Government has yet given us what we can call a defence policy. I regret to say that the new “ policy “ foreshadowed by the Prime Minister is no more a policy than any enunciated by his predecessors. A policy is, I take it, a parliamentary or governmental decision as to the country’s political dangers and as to what ideas ought to guide the country in the general conduct of its defence. On that decision you then ask your expert officers to proceed to build. In that sense no Government has yet given us a policy. No Government has yet decided what dangers they think or imagine that the country has to fear.
– Except in general terms. Theexceptions are, first, a raid, and secondly, national existence.
– Could anything be more vague? Every country that ever existed has been subject to a raid or to an attack on its national existence !
– We can get no “ forrader “ than that.
– Surely the Ministercan see that he must take into consideration the politics of the East in formulating any Australian defence policy.
– That is the national existence part of it.
– In taking into consideration the politics ofthe East, we must also consider, from our own point of view, the adequacy of the Imperial Navy to hold the Eastern seas continuously from the outbreak of any possible war until its successful termination. The Government have never yet attempted to solve that problem.
– The British Admiralty could not tell us definitely whether the British Navy could hold Germany in check.
– But the British Government have undoubtedly laid it down as the basis of their defence schemes that the British Navy is, in their opinion, adequate to maintain the general command of the sea. That is the policy of the British Government. They always keep the Navy at what they conceive to be the requisite strength for that purpose. We, in Australia, admit that we are dependent upon the British Navy to protect us from the great risks which Britons everywhere depend upon their Navy to defend them from. That is all well and good. We must do so obviously. But wehave never yet decided in our official mind-Parliament has never yet decided - that the Imperial Navy is adequate for this very purpose in the East. We have never yet decided in our official mind whether the Imperial Navy would be able, continuously from the outbreak of war, to maintain the command of Eastern seas against a possible combination of powers in Europe joined by Japan, with whom, however little we wish it, we may some time come in conflict. We have never yet attempted to solve this question.
– Is it not reckoned that if Great Britain were involved in such a struggle, i per cant, of the fleet would be detailed for service in Australian waters ?
– Ships tied to Australia would not .protect Australia from those greater risks of war - invasion - to which I have been referring. As a matter of fact, the proper defensive naval base for Australia in an Eastern war would be Hong Kong, whether we have a navy of our own or hot. I refer to the alleged policy of the Government simply to point the moral” that, until Ministers decide their minds upon- the question of the ability of the Imperial Navy to maintain command under all probable circumstances of the Eastern seas continuously from the outbreak of a war, they cannot lay the basis of an Australian defence policy. If I might offer, in passing, a criticism, though a friendly one, of the foreshadowed scheme - because I am seeking information, and the scheme is not before us in the concrete - I would say that the Prime Minister has treated naval and military defence as if they were independent, whereas they are inter-dependent, being both complementary to each other in the protection of the country. If Ministers believe the Imperial Navy to be inadequate to protect us from invasion, an Australian Navy will be a waste of energy, because, if the command of the seas were lost by Great Britain, every man in the Australian .Navy would be so much expensively trained energy locked in ships in blockaded harbors. If the” Imperial Navy lost command of the seas, Australia would be constrained to put up on land about her populate3 centres as good a fight as she could. She would have to try to keep up her end until Great Britain could send help from the main centre of war. If, on the other hand, Ministers think that the Imperial Navy can maintain control of the Eastern seas, why do they propose a great military expenditure ? What purely raiding- expedition do they think would then come here which 200,000 or 300,000 men would be needed to repel ? Military training may be excellent for the improvement of the national stamina, .but huge military preparations presuppose from a defence point of view the loss of British supremacy in Eastern waters. I present this passing criticism only to point out the need for a defence policy. We have had a General Officer Commanding and a Board system of organization,- and ‘ now a third’ is proposed, it- being thought, apparently, …-. a system of organization means a policy. A system of organization is only a means to carry out a policy, and to fight about systems of organization with-, out a policy is to fight without knowing what we are fighting about. Until we have a policy, it is hardly useful to organize.The blame .-for the demoralization of our forces rests mainly on Parliament. It is useless to attack the Board system, and to point out that it has not led to improvements in organization, unless it can be shown that it has been given the opportunity, and it cannot build an organization until we have given it a policy as a foundation. Again, the allotment of troops to different parts of the Commonwealth cannot proceed until it is known what points on the coast line are to be- defended. That has not yet been settled, I understand, the Minister being unable to decide between the recommendations of the Imperial Defence Committee and those of Major-General Hoad’s and Brigadier- General Gordon’s Committees.
– Yes ; a decision has been made.
– The Imperial Defence. Committee recommended that two fortresses should cease to be defended.
– Yes; those at Albany and Townsville.
– How long is it since a decision was arrived at?
– The final decision was’ come to a few days ago.
– And yet it is more than two years since the Imperial Defence Committee was appealed to ! The Military Board could not allot troops without knowing what forts were to be defended, and the Minister has kept it waiting !
– It was not necessary to decide this question earlier, because we were not ready to defend the places named. lt really had such a small bearing on the whole scheme! of defence, that it was hardly worth bothering about. Still, I have dealt with it in deference to the theoretical view of the subject.
– There seems to be more than a theoretical view. For instance, has the Minister decided to defend Albany ?
– It must be left alone for the time being ; but I have no doubt that, when money is available, Parliament will say that it must be defended.
– Let me show the’ bearing of the defence of this port on our military organization. The militiamen, who will furnish the garrison for this fortress, will have to be brought in from, the Western Australian gold-fields ; but if Albany is not defended, they can be sent to Perth or Fremantle. The Minister apparently thinks that it matters little where men who have to be brought a distance of some 800 miles are sent’, and that the Board should be able to carry out its organization with such a question unsettled ! I agree with the honorable member for Maranoa that the military position is farcical. The naval position is no more satisfactory. For this state of affairs, too, we have to blame, not the naval officers, or those administering the Naval Agreement, but the Minister and Parliament. Into what an absurd position have Ministerial irresolution and indecision placed our naval defence ! Shortly after the first meeting of this Parliament, the Naval Director recommended that six cruisers, under separate Australian control, be obtained for the naval defence of Australia, and the Government of the day, of which this Government, is the heir, decided against that recommendation, and in favour of the Naval Agreement, which aims at Imperial naval cooperation. The Naval Director subsequently made further representations on the subject, and it was decided - owing, as Mr. Playford told the Argus, to differences of opinion in the Board - to refer the whole question to the Imperial Defence Committee, the highest expert authority in the Empire. The Committee considered Captain Creswell’s report during several months, and condemned it, declaring that it showed an inappreciation df the latest developments of naval strategy.” On the receipt of its report, two courses were open - to act on it as the highest expert opinion in the Empire ; or to refuse to do so, from political considerations, of which the Government is the judge. The irresolution of Ministers permitted them to take neither course. They referred the report to the officer whose scheme was so adversely criticised by the Committee, and he naturally adhered to his first opinion. Then the matter was shelved again, and although other policies Have been brought forward, we have not discovered to date whether the Government intend that there shall be one. control for all the King’s ships, in whatever part of the Empire they may be, or whether the Australian ships shall be under separate control, as if Australia formed no part of the Empire. Surely our officers cannot be blamed for inefficiency when Ministers will not state a policy? We already see signs of .demoralization. Under the Naval Agreement, 500 Australians and New Zealanders are being trained at Australian rates of pay in the best school of seamanship in the world. But this vear fewer volunteers are going to England to qualify for higher ratings, because of the want of encouragement, due to the indecision of the Government. The men do not -know what may happen to the Agreement three or four years hence. The suggestion of the honorable member for Maranoa, to test the efficiency of our field forces by a sudden mobilization many miles from a centre of population, should commend itself to the Minister; though he must admit that it would probably be six weeks or two months before even 1,000 men could be equipped as a self-supporting and mobile unit. There is not the equipment the stores, or horses.
– Would the honorable member keep all the necessary waggons and horses in stock?-
– Certainly ; if we are to be ready for an immediate raid on the outbreak of war.
– It would be sufficient to know where we can get what we want.
– Does the Minister know where he could get horses?
– I shall know that presently.
– The Defence Forces have been under Commonwealth control for seven years, and the Minister tells us that “ presently “ he will know where he could get horses on the outbreak of war !
– I have established a corps for the purpose. The honorable member should really find fault with those who preceded me.
– I am not finding fault with the Minister, though he is responsible for what is being done now. My criticism is not only a personal one. The whole House has been wickedly slack in regard to military matters, and largely because of that wicked slackness our forces are in a state of demoralization. In the speech in which the Prime Minister foreshadowed the new organization ‘we had estimates of the cost of the proposed Australian National Guard,but in 1 those estimates I find no provision whatsoever for horses or equipment. If the force is to be organized on the basis of the present organization in Australia, the actual cost of horsing it will amount to some £561,000.
– No sane man would think of keeping £500,000 worth of horses in stock.
– Then what would a sane man do?
– He would know where to get them when he wanted them.
– Does the honorable mem.ber know where to obtain them? 1 suppose that he will say that he will know “ presently “ !
– We have created a body of men to obtain that information. When I went to the Defence Department there was not even a map there. It is time that we made a start.
– The honorable member has been at the head of the Department for about eighteen months, and it is certainly time that we made a start ! I do not intend,, however, to criticise him personally. I find that some 48,000 sets of saddlery would be required for the new force, but there is no reference to such an outlay in the Prime Minister’s estimate? On the Imperial service scale a division which numbers some 20,000 men will require 1,585
Tiding horses and nearly 6,000 draught horses. Apparently,, however, there is no intention on the part of the Government to organize the vast horde of unequipped, if armed men which it is proposed to bring into existence. I speak not as a captious critic, but as one anxious to ascertain how the Government propose to overcome this difficulty. Are we simply to have a horde of men who will remain in the one place in the hope that the enemy will come to them, or are we to have a mobile army ?
– The honorable member would be a fairly clever Minister if he could induce Parliament to grant him £500,000 for the purchase of horses.
– Then is the expense which has-been foreshadowed to be a mere instalment of the total expenditure that the Government have in mind ? Does the Minister think that if he can induce the country to bear with resignation that instalment he will be able to induce it to submit quietly to additional expenditure? The proper way to deal with a matter of this kind is to make a straightforward statement to the Committee. The Minister’ should take the Committee into his full confidence and trust to the patriotism of honorable members. I would only say in conclusion that I think that both in respect of their land and sea defence proposals the Government are put ting the cart before the horse. It takes from six years to ten years to train a warrant officer, let alone a commissioned officer, for the highest rating in the navy ; only one year to build a ship. What should we do first of all.? Should we buy our ships without training our men, or should we first of all train our men if we can obtain from the Admiralty vessels in which to train them, and seek afterwards to purchase our ships ? On the completion of the Naval Agreement we shall have enough Australians and New Zealanders trained in the Imperial Navy to man four Australian cruisers if we desire to purchase them. The Government instead now propose to borrow men from the Imperial Navy and to buy ships that will be under the patronage of this Parliament. In other words, we are to have our ships before we have the men to man them ! Would it not be better to feel our way and first of all to train our men? In the same way the Government are proposing, in regard to the land forces, to obtain a horde- of men before they ascertain how they are going to secure the necessary officers. The militia is utterly inadequate to provide at once the number of officers who will be required for the forces which it is proposed to raise. The Ministry should first think about the establishment of a Military College. They should set to work to train officers as quickly as possible - to build up the forces from something that we have at present - and eventually arrive at universal service if it is desired. I am not saying anything in opposition to the principle of universal service. I recognise that if we believe that Imperial naval strength is inadequate to our purposes, and if we consequently feel that our policy must be to protect the country from invasion, we must have something like universal service. But we must have efficiency. The only way to secure that efficiency is to begin by adopting a proper method of training our officers. During this debate the Minister has made several observations which seem to me to show that he has no confidence in the experts in his Department. I think I can safely say that he appears to have lost confidence in a number of them. ‘ The Minister prefers, perhaps, not to answer “Yes,’’ but he cannot very well say “-No.”
-^1 say that an expert is valuable only up to the point of his natural ability and training.
– Quite so..- But his training ought to be valuable to a layman when technical questions have to be dealt with.
– It is. I never think of passing over an expert when I have to deal with such questions.
– The honorable gentleman would naturally cease to have confidence in an officer as an expert when he believed that his training had not been what it ought to have been. I do not wish to ask him to say anything thathe thinks would be disloyal to his staff.
– I have not lost confidence in any one ; I always have hope.
– Here we have another statement that proves conclusively that the Minister has not implicit confidence in his officers.
– In every officer ? I do not think that any one has.
– In that case the duty of the Minister is not to attempt to shield the officers. He will never place the Department on a satisfactory basis until he settles his policy, and clearly takes the Committee into his confidence as to the ability of the officers to carry it out. When his policy is dealt with he will have to obtain the men to carry it out, and if he has no confidence in his officers he should plainly say so.
– If I said to the House, “ I desire to select certain officers to do certain work,” would the honorable member support me?
– I have never raised a quibble about any particular officer.
– Quite so. But supposing I said that I knew certain officers fairly well, and thought that they were essential to the work I had in hand, would not the honorable member reply by asking what I knew about the matter?
– I should rather regret the Minister usurping the position of alay General Officer Commanding - making appointments over the head of his Board, whilst allowing that Board, which is responsible for such appointments, to continue. If the Minister wishes to take up such an attitude he must frankly tell the Committee that he has no confidence in his responsible officers in this regard.
– I do not say that; I have not said a word to-night about the Board.
– I am not referring to the personnel of the Board, nor do I desire to place the Minister in a false position. In speaking of officers, I had in mind the officers generally. The Board has the responsibility of recommending promotions, and if the Minister relieved it of that duty his action would be tantamount to a vote of want of confidence in it. I say, therefore, that he ought to come to the House and say, “I do not believe in the Board for this purpose, and think it should be abolished.” If he freely and frankly takes the House into his confidence, and urges it on this nonparty question to set the Defence Department right, I am sure that he will be supported, and that he will make a successful appeal to the patriotism of every honorable member.
– Despite the strong temptation which such a subject as the Estimates of the Defence Department offers for discursiveness, as evidenced by many of the speeches that have been delivered, I do not propose to deliver a lengthy address. I shall reserve my criticism of defence matters until we have before us the Government’s new defence scheme, recognising that, as ten months of the year to which these Estimates relate have expired, it would be little short of beating the air to discuss them. I have risen to protest against the supersession of the British flag by what is called the Australian flag in connexion with our Military and Naval Forces.
– It has not been superseded.
– The King has approved of what has been done.
– I hope that we are not to have a permanent supersession of the British flag.
– In the Navy, the Union Jack is flown from the bow and the Australian ensign from the stern. The King has approved of that being done.
– I merely desire to guard against the dropping of the practice of flying the British flag over our public buildings, and in connexion with our Naval and Military Forces. We have no reason to be ashamed of the British flag.
– The honorable member means the Union Jack, which is only one of about twenty British flags.
– That is merely a quibble. Every honorable member knows I refer to the Union Jack and British ensign. The Australian flag cannot be described as the British flag, but the Union Jack is the British flag as we know it.
– It is perhaps the only one of which the honorable member knows.
– It is one of which I am proud, and of which the honorable member himself need not be ashamed. He would not be able to remain here for twenty-four hours without risk of being turned out of the country if it were not for the protection of that flag. I raise this point, because I know that there is on the part of a certain section of the representatives of the people in this Parliament a strong undercurrent of antipathy to anything British. I do not wish to see anything in the nature of an indignity offered to the British flag.
– Do not discover another mare’s nest.
– There is no mare’s nest. I am basing my remarks on a regulation recently issued by the Government, under which the Union Jack is in future to be discarded for the Australian flag. It ill becomes some of our young Australian friends to attempt to put a slight on the British flag. I remind them that their forefathers were Britishers, and would not have been in this country but for the protection of British rule.
– T - Their forefathers would not have come here if they had not been starved out of England.
– At any rate, it was the Union Jack which made it possible for their forefathers to come here and enjoy the freedom which is theirs, and which they assert even to the extent of insulting the Mother Country. They would never have been able to come and take possession of Australia, and hand down the national colours, under the flag of any other country.
– There could be no White Australia policy but for the Union Jack.
– Quite so. People may talk about Australia for the Australians, but they would find there would be no Australia at all for us if it were not for the Union Jack. The honorable member for Cook may sneer at the Union Jack, but were it not for. that symbol of power our position here would be very precarious.
– As a matter of personal explanation’, I should like to say that it is not true I sneered at the Union Jack ; it is an untruth, and the honorable member knows it.
– I must ask the honorable member for Cook to withdraw the statement he made in reference to the honorable member for Lang.
– I withdraw it. 1 did not sneer at the Union Jack, and I- never have done so, but I certainly was amused at the stage thunder of the honorable member for Lang.
– - After all this wordy warfare, perhaps I may be permitted to say a few quiet words on the Defence Estimates. I disagree entirely with the opinion of the honorable member for Lang that there is any desire to belittle the Union Jack. I also deny, that the Union Jack is responsible for our presence here, or for the privileges which we now enjoy. The Union Jack” is simply an emblem of British .spirit and pluck.
– It has proved to be potent at, any rate.
– I admit its potency, but I do not concede that it is ali potent in the matters under consideration. I hope that in the Commonwealth there will be cultivated a love for the Australian flag as strong as the love of the Britishers for the Union Jack, and that along with the love for the Australian flag there will be a love for the institutions of the country from which our forbears came.
– I do not object, so long as there is no- anti-British sentiment.
– When the honorable member sees in love for the Australian flag a desire to cultivate an antiBritish sentiment, he has certainly discovered a mare’s nest.
– There is a good deal of talk about “ cutting the painter.”
– The best reply I can give to that is to point to the unanimous and whole-hearted support which Australia lent to the Mother Country during the trouble in South Africa. When the ‘time of need arose, the rank and file of the people of Australia offered their lives for the Empire. However, that is not what I rose to talk abou?. I- am not disposed to adversely criticise the Minister in charge of these Estimates. I am aware that he did not find a bed of roses when he took charge of- the Department, and. that reforms were necessary. Though they cannot be brought about in a way, I believe that the Minister is doing- his best to place this Department on a footing that will secure for it the respect of the community. That ideal - and I regret it - has not yet been attained, but, if any one can attain it, I think it is the present Minister. Whatever criticisms I offer, therefore,’ are not directed to frustrating his efforts, but rather by way of assisting him to make the Department more effective. The Minister will admit that there is a very large measure of justification for any adverse criticism that may be offered. From its inception the Commonwealth has been called upon to spend annually about £1,000,000 on defence, and there is a feeling abroad that up to the present we have obtained very little for our money. The honorable member for Parramatta, who made a very excellent speech, emphasized that point, but he seemed to miss the cause. In the opinion of that honorable member the cause lay not so much in the Department as in the fact that there had never been a substantial Ministerial head - that Ministers had come and gone so rapidly that not one had been able to find and give effect to a proper working system. I disagree with the idea that that is the main reason for the failure of the Department. The reason is deeper rooted, and is in the Department itself rather than in it’s administration. The Commonwealth, rightly or wrongly, decided at the outset to depart from the old ideals that had animated the advisors of the States Governments in the matter of defence, and to have, instead ot a professional military class, a citizen soldiery. That was the policy laid down, and there came a tug-of-war between the men who believed in the. Old’ World professional military systems, and those who believed in a citizen soldiery. T make bold to say that the efforts of a very, large section of the military authorities have been in the direction of discrediting and frustrating the policy laid down by the Commonwealth Parliament. Those authorities have set themselves, not openly but covertly, to bring discredit on the principle, with a view to establishing their own ideal ; and to my mind that has been the main- cause of the friction and dissatisfaction. The trouble will continue until such time as we have at the head, not only a Minister but also an officer who is thoroughly in sympathy with the Commonwealth policy. We require a man there who is in touch with the spirit- of Australian democracy, and who desires to build up a system of defence on the basis of a citizen soldiery. While there is this antipathy to a citizen soldiery we can expect nothing but the chaos which has prevailed during the whole seven years of Federation. I have been forced to these conclusions by a feeling that there is an antipathy on the part of the professional military man against the unprofessional military man, the former regarding the latter as something beneath him. The surprise is that our citizen side of the Defence Forces has remained so strong and active. We have to make up our minds now whether we shall have a citizen soldiery or a- professional soldiery. Are we going to place on the shoulders of this young Commonwealth those old-world methods which, by their excessive cost, have ground down democracy ? Are we not to have practical effect given to our ideal of a citizen soldiery which, while being efficient and effective, will not be costly. Let us lay down definitely the lines of such a policy, and see that we work up to it. We must have a certain permanent force for the purpose’ of securing efficient drill, but we must make our permanent officers understand that our ideal is ‘to defend Australia by means of a democratic citizen soldiery. If our officers will not work up to .that ideal, let them be sent about their business. Let them go to the old world, where they will find opportunities of giving effect to their own antiquated ideas of defence. No matter what Government we’ have in power, so long as the wishes of Parliament and of the people of this country are practically set at defiance, there will be difficulty and confusion. While I do not wish to enter into a discussion of the new defence proposals of the Government ‘ just now, the present affords an opportunity for honorable members to offer suggestions which may be useful to the Government in preparing their scheme. When we were dealing with this subject in the first Parliament of the Commonwealth, I was one of the few members who expressed the idea that we were committing a mistake in not attaching greater importance to the naval side of defence. I believe that that aspect of the question has been too much neglected. Indeed, the neglect has been little short of criminal. First, I would emphasize the importance of the defence of our harbors. We ought to spend a little more on providing torpedo boats and small fast cruisers that we could place along our coasts. “ I do not think that there is any need to engage in the construction of large war vessels. So long as we are associated with the British Empire we’ do not need to do more than look after the defence of our coast-line. We are peculiarly situated in this respect. We are not in close proximity to the territory of any large power that may be hostile to us or to the Empire to which we belong. Any hostility that may arise must come from a distance. The enemy must concentrate his large warvessels at some point distant from Australia. Where Australia might be made to suffer in this connexion is through damage done by commerce destroyers. Our commerce is of vital concern to us. The first aggressive action by an enemy would probably be, not to send a fleet of ships to Australia to take possession of any part of our country, but to despatch a few swift commerce destroyers to damage our trading vessels and harass our coasts. We want to be in a position to meet that danger. We have no need to fear troubles within our own borders. But, so far, our principal preparations for defence have been made inland without any consideration to the dangers that may come to us from oversea. A very effective means of defence could be provided for the protection of our harbors. In addition to that, we need to train and equip our young men in the country districts to participate in the defence of their country. First of all, in pursuance of that policy, we need to develop our rifle clubs, and to give every opportunity for our young men to become proficient in shooting. Good shooting is largely a matter of practice. Many of our young men have acquired skill in marksmanship, and have been able to hold their own in competitions abroad. We need to afford increasedopportunities for such practice. I feel sure that if we encourage our young men, in their spare time, to devote themselves to this training, providing them with skilled instruction, they will be an invaluable asset for defence purposes in time of danger. We also need to encourage the Australian Light Horse. I have found on the part of the military authorities a certain hostility to the formation of light horse corps in the country districts. The officers seem to want to keep the corps near to the city. In fact, they have laid it down as a principle that a light horse corps must not be established outside a certain radius of a city.
– Perhaps they do not like to travel for instructional purposes.
– I have heard it said that the officers do not.like to go into the little, bush towns and country centres to train our light horsemen. But they need to be reminded that the Defence Force exists for the Commonwealth, not for the officers. They should be plainly told that if they do not like to go into the country districts to give instruction to men who desire to participate in the development of this valuable arm of our forces, we have no need for their services. It has to be remembered that city men who join light horse corps have means of earning alivelihood that are not, as a rule, associated with horsemanship. These young men generally occupy positions in banks or stores or offices. Horsemanship is not a matter of daily occupation with them. It is rather an exercise or a pastime. But in the country districts men almost live in the saddle. They practically make their living by their horsemanship. These are the kind of men whom we want for this sort of defence.
– Those were the men who rendered most valuable service during the Boer war.
– They were the men who, without any previous training, enlisted for service in Africa, and proved their fitness largely in consequence of their skilled horsemanship. I am asking that the Defence Department shall not discourage these men in the formation of light horse corps, but shall rather endeavour to utilize their services. By way of practical illustration of how the Department treats this branch of the service, I may mention thatthere is at Condobolin a company of men who have been applying for five years past to be registered by the Department as a half-company of light horse. These men didnot wait for the Department to come along and register them. They constituted themselves a corps without any departmental influence. They number about fifty men now, and include some who went to South Africa during the war and rendered valuable service there. One of the promoters of this very company is a young man, long resident in the district, who, without any previous military experience, went to South Africa, acquitted himself well, was promoted, and was selected as one of the Australian representatives who went Home to the King’s Coronation. He has come back and has made use of his knowledge by inducing his young friends in the district to form this light horse corps. He gave them, instruction, and for five years they have continued their operations with little or no sympathy from the Department.
– The new scheme would take in such a corps.
– I was told that the old scheme would do so; but I found that the military heads were so strongly opposed to the idea of a citizen soldiery that they would give no assistance.
– The difficulty was, perhaps, that that corps could not be linked up with another.
– There are other corps at Forbes, 40 miles away, and at Molong,. all three places being connected by railway ; but I have been told that under the new system they will be wiped out, because they are too far from Sydney. I have also had applications, asking that corps may be formed at Cowra and Temora, both on the railway line.
– Cowra hasnot a rifle club.
-It is desired to form rifle clubs in both places. Although men are ready to place themselves and their horses at the service of the Department, the Department refuses to accept their offer. The Minister has said that the equipment of the Australian Light Horse costs ‘ the Department something like£17 per man, and that funds are limited. Why should the cost be so great? Is it not possible to work on more economical lines? I am certain that the corps at Condobolin has not cost anything like£17 per man per annum. The men there have offered to serve without remuneration, if the Department will register the corps, and provide it with an instructor ; but it was not deemed a wise policy to allow them to do so. I wish the Minister to try to establish an Australian Light Horse corps in every little centre, but on cheap lines. Showy garmen’ts and trappings are not’ needed. We do not want what the honorable member for Darwin calls gilt-spurred roosters.
– Australian soldiers are not needed to adorn social functions.
– No. The honorable member for Parramatta brought forward a pathetic case, which, although a disgrace to the country, is characteristic of our military system.
– It is not the only case of the kind.
– Unfortunately, it is not. Three officers did good service in South Africa, two ofthem obtaining promotion on their return, while the third, who, so far as the papers go, was the best, was left out in the cold. The two who were promoted are of high social standing, whilethe third has little social status. It is social position that largely determines promotions under the present system. That is in accord with the military ideas of the old world, but is incompatible with a citizen soldiery. The man who desires to be captain of a little country corps has to fight for the position if he does not possess social standing; but if he is a big land-holder, or a local magnate, he gets the position without trouble. We shall never have a satisfactory citizen soldiery until an end. is put to this. I hope that every encouragement will be givento the development of our citizen soldiery on true democratic lines. I desire also that the Minister will do what he can to give members of rifle clubs opportunities for acquiring proficiency in the management of firearms, instead of permitting treatment suchas the honorable member for Parramatta has complained of, and which has been extended to many districts. The development of the Australian Light Horse is also desirable. We should not confine our defence preparations to the big cities, but should utilize the services of the men who, living in the saddle, have not to be taught how to handle and manage horses. I am pleased to know that the matter of providing equipment is receiving attention. Men may be properly drilled, but, without proper equipment or the ready means of obtaining it, they must be at the mercy of a foe. One of the first things to be done is to establish a small-arms factory, so that we may be independent of outside sources, for the supply of ammunition and weapons. In this way, we can base our defence svstem on safe and sound lines, gradually developing it as time goes on. However, as the Minister wishes to get through the Estimates, I shall not offer any further criticism now.
– - It is notmy intention to deal at length with the Military Estimates, because most of the money set down for the financial year has been already spent, and we can now only lament its expenditure. Above all things, military expenditure is the one eternal waste. We get no return, no equivalent, for what we spend. Occasionally I see a General at the races, and he looks all right, or dancing at the Town Hall, or on horseback, and he still looks well.” But it seems too bad that nearly £1, 000, 000, or 5s. per head of the population, should be spent for no earthly advantage. Only lately, in the United States, President Roosevelt ordered these roosters. out on horseback, and found that half of them, could not ride. The same thing would happen here. Without wishing to say .anything disagreeable, I suggest that the Minister should start by dismissing the whole service.
– Would the honorable member depend on the Salvation Army?
– Who Whom “have we to fight? There is the British Fleet, and there is the United States Fleet to protect US; because the American Navy Board has decided to keep fourteen battleships at the Philippine Islands continuously, and to have a fleet in the Pacific equal to any other there. Only eight of the battleships visiting Australia ‘ will return to America. Therefore, I propose that, instead of wasting our money on military expenditure, we should give ^100,000 a year to the British Fleet, and another ^100,000 to the Yankees, and say to them, “ You look out, and when the other chap is out fighting, take care of this place.”
– Why not subsidize the Japanese as well ?
– And the Germans.
– I w I would not object to do so if we could depend upon their promise to be peaceable. The enormous sum of money that we waste on militarism would fill the Northern Territory with immigrants. It would buy millions of acres of land, and settle it with a population whose very magnitude would keep out invaders. But I suppose it makes no difference what I say. This military system of utter waste will go on. No one seems to have the courage to attack it. I have been longing to be the . Treasurer if only that I might be able to do so; but that seems further away than ever. I am almost afraid to say a word against the military, for .it seems that the time has come when Australia must take all its orders from the men on horseback. Are we to make any change ? . If we could turn the whole country into a great military school so that we should haw no “common soldiers” I should not mind. Our officers, with few exceptions,- hold the “ common soldier “ in utter contempt. The lines of demarcation, caste and rank, are really so rank that one can smell them on turning a corner sixteen miles away. The honorable member for Parramatta has referred to-day to the case of an officer who has a real grievance. He has fought for his country, shown his ability, valour, and genius on the battlefield, and has returned to Australia only to find that he is not wanted. I learned recently of another officer who went with one of the Australian contingents to South Africa, fought there, was wounded, taken prisoner, and ultimately released. At the close of the war the High Commissioner of South Africa appointed him judge. of compensations, his duty being to distribute amongst the Boers the ,£9,000,000 which the British nation, in the greatness of her generosity, chose to give those whose property had suffered during the w7ar. Although that man was a major in South Africa, he was not given the rank of major on returning to Australia. The Minister will never succeed in- establishing a satisfactory system until he secures officers who are in sympathy with the citizen soldiery. When one talks with the regular men who draw regular pay - the;regular soldiers whom we know as the “dancing masters,” and the “Toorak Society Roosters” - one finds that they have no sympathy with the Prime Minister’s scheme. All these men ridicule it, and yet neither the Prime- Minister nor the Minister of Defence has the courage to go beyond them. The Minister to-day spoke of. experts in his Department. An expert is a man who knows something about everything except the question on which he is an expert. This country is full of experts, and yet some of them do not know enough to come in out of the rain. Experts suffer mostly from brain storm. I am amazed that my brother members of the Labour Party - the representa1tives of the toilers, the battlers and the strugglers - should talk about defence. In the name of Heaven what have we to de-, fend ?
– It is said that the honorable member owns a few terraces.
– I - I listen with amazement as my brother members of the Labour Party talk of defence. For all time the working men have done the fighting, and while they have been away Mr. Boodlier has generally been grabbing everything they have left behind. Hundreds pf Australians who fought in South Africa are to-day walking the streets of Melbourne, Sydney, and other State capitals. We well remember what their employers said when, they volunteered for service : ‘ ‘ Yes, my boys, go forth and fight for your country.” They wanted to get them away so that during their absence they could snatch everything that’ their fathers and mothers had. Many men are so patriotic that they are always ready to send some one else out to fight for them. In the United States of America, when £200 was being offered to men to go to the front the fat men were all travelling to Canada.
– We should touch them with a Federal income tax.
– I - I should support an income tax for military purposes. Why should not those who have property pay for its protection ? I repeat that we ought to have a great military school in Australia, so that we need have no common soldiers. Let us have no one below the rank of a colonel, and let every man wear a badge on his shoulder to denote his rank and authority. The Labour Party is the only party in this House that can boast of a fighting man. We have in our ranks a man who carried the flag in South Africa, and yet it is said sometimes that we are not loyal. We are all proud of him, and as I listened to his speech to-night I could not help feeling glad thathe was the man who had done the fighting instead of me. The honorable member for Went worth talked about spending £500,000 on horses for the forces. He should remember that horses grow old and die, and that such an expenditure would be wasteful. The country which has not learned to encourage men to go to the front by looking after them on their return - by making heroes of them - has not learned its business. Only lately in the United States of America the pension valve has been opened, so that every man who has smelt powder will receive a pension. Nothing but an earthquake sufficient to bring down the pyramids of Egypt would change our military system. There seems to be a sort of bureaucracy which prevents the Minister’s orders being carried out. If a change is ordered, it is so made that there is no difference. I am in favour of an Australian Navy, but it may very easily be shut up like other navies; and in any case, why this scare about war? So long as the Anglo- Japanese friendship exists, there can be no onslaught on Australia by Japan ; indeed, I believe that it is this friendship that has prevented a war between the United States and Japan.
– I must ask the honorable member to confine himself to the item.
– I s I solemnly protest against this waste of money on a useless military system. I object to be taxed to buy braid, feathers, and other ornaments for roosters who are of no use to me. It would be much more profitable to utilize our permanent army in shooting Western Australian rabbits for sale in England. However, I suppose that whatever arguments we advance, these Estimates must be passed ; but it is time that we cut down this foolish expenditure, and utilized the money in encouraging immigration, and in irrigating our lands. The most expensive gun or war vessel becomes obsolete in ten years ; and, as I said before, there is no reason for a scare about war, seeing that we are thousands of miles away from everywhere. No fleet in the world could carry sufficient provisions to enable an army to land and penetrate twenty miles inland, and even if that could be done, we are well able to defend ourselves. Let us give over drilling men in bodies and squares, because the time is past for that kind of warfare. We now require men with heads to do the fighting, and every man must be a general to get out of the way. The Minister ought to take courage and inaugurate an entirely new system with new men and new ideas.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Naval. - Divisions 48 to 60(New South Wales), £6,582;(Victoria), £25,989; (Queensland), £19,088 ;(South Australia), £8,415 ; (Western Australia), £300 ; and(Tasmania), £150, agreed to. Divisions 61 to 76(Thursday Island), £14,540; (King George’s Sound), £5,464, agreed to. Military. - Divisions 77 to 96 (New South Wales), £201,788 agreed to. Military. - Divisions 97 to115(Victoria), £179,572.
.- The Inspector-General has reported that the office of D.A.A.G. for Victoria is not necessary. He has stated that one of the duties of that officer is to prepare tickets for reviews and issue them.
– Not only with regard to that, but with regard to other matters mentioned in the Inspector-General’sreport, consideration will be given. Every reference made in the Inspector-General’s report will be sent on to the State Commandants or other officers concerned for further report, and will subsequently be dealt with.
– I also have an observation to make with regard to the Victorian Permanent Artillery Band. In New South Wales the bandsmen are paid 6d . per day extra. I should like the Minister to consider the propriety of extending the same treatment to the bandsmen in Victoria. I also believe that the bandmaster in New South Wales is given the position of warrant officer whilst the bandmaster in Victoria is not. A proposal that the bandmaster in Victoria shall be similarly treated has, I believe, been made to the Military Board, but I do not know whether it has reached the Minister himself. It will probably be sufficient for me to put this observation on record in Hansard in order that the Minister’s attention may be drawn to it when he is giving consideration to other matters.
– The same treatment will be given to the Victorian bandsmen that is given to other bandsmen, unless there is some good reason to the contrary.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Military. - Divisions116 to188 (Queensland) £92,043, (South Australia) £46,700, (Western Australia) £39,144, (Tasmania) £35,382, agreed to.
Bill returned from the Senate with a re quest.
Bill returned from the Senate with re quests.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
Bill returned from the Senate with a message intimating that the amendments made by the House of Representatives had been agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the remaining business be postponed until after the consideration of motion No. 2 (General business).
– I do not know by what authority the Prime Minister proposes the postponement of all notices of motion until after the consideration of the second motion on thelist standing in the name of the honorable member for Riverina. I understand that the Standing Orders provide for dealing with Orders of the Day in a certain manner ; and standing order149 provides that, unless the House otherwise orders, the Orders of the Day shall be disposed of in the order in which they stand on the noticepaper.
– It is the custom for the leader of the House to move such a motion as this whenever he deems that the requirements of business may demand it. But at the same time it is the right of an honorable member who has a matter of business on the paper to object and to take the matter into his own hands. Of course, when an honorable member who has a motion on the paper objects, that motion has to be dealt with separately from the other motions covered by the proposal of the Prime Minister.
– Do I understand that the Prime Minister has power to dispose of private members’ business in their absence?
– The honorable member will see that, if honorable members who have motions on the paper are not present, the House cannot, by their absence, be precluded from going on with other business.
– ButI never knew that the Prime Minister had power to dispose of private members’ business.
– The necessities of the House require that some member shall have power to take action with regard to the order of business. Otherwise, the absence of an honorable member - who might be absent intentionally or otherwise - would prevent the whole House from being able to proceed with business as it desired to do. That would be an impossible condition of things. Therefore it is that the leader of the House always has power, in the absence of objection from honorable members having business on the paper, to proceed in this manner.
.- I suppose that the object of thismotion is to bring to the top of the paper the proposition standing in the name of the honorable member tor Riverina, with reference to theappointment of a Committee. For my own part, I think that it is highly undesirable -although I quite bow to your ruling that the procedure is in order - that there should be power for any one in this House, in the absence of honorable members who have certain motions on the paper, and without the motions being called in order, to propose that those motions shall be dealt with in a certain way. Apart altogether from that, however, I think it is very invidious to make such a selection of a motion and to give preference to it.
– It is always invidious, and special reasons have, of course, to be given. There is a special reason in this case.
– I cannot see that there is any special reason. The firm in question are not the only people whose correspondence has been stopped by the Post and Telegraph Department, although they are the only firm who have been fortunate enough to get a member of this House to move in their interest. I do not think it is desirable that preference should be given to this motion, or that there are strong reasons why this course should be taken. I believe that the Prime Minister stated earlier in the day that he would not take this course if the motion were to be debated.
– We cannot if it is to be debated.
– The Prime Minister can take it that the motion would be debated. I understood that he said that he would not afford an opportunity for the consideration of the motion if it were to be objected to.
– If there were to be a long debate, he said.
– I can assure the Prime Minister that there will be a debate.
– Why does the honorable member debate the question at this stage?
– Because it has no right to take precedence of other members’ business.
– The honorable member has supported Governments which have done this often.
– The honorable member must mention cases to convince me. There is no reason for giving precedence to this motion. I know that the restriction is affecting a certain firm, but it is also affecting many others. Are we to have Committees in connexion with all the restrictions imposed by the Postmaster-General, and are motions for their appointment to take precedence of all others?
– I have asked that it take precedence, because of the stage of the session, if it is done without debate.
– There is other more important business on the paper. I object to precedence being given to a motion merely because a supporter of the Government desires to bring it forward. Would any other honorable member receive such consideration?
– Yes, under the circumstances. Personally, I have no sympathy with the suggestion underlying the motion ; but as the action of the Government has been challenged, and there is no other inquiry open, consider it proper to give an opportunity for its investigation.
– Will the honorable member support the motion?
– No ; I leave it to the House.
– I have no objection to the motion in itself, though, as it reflects on the administration, Ministers should have.
– Then let it be brought forward. If the honorable member refuses an opportunity to bring it forward, he must take the responsibility of burking inquiry.
– Not at all; but I see no reason why precedence should be given to it.
.- It seems to me that the proposal to give precedence to the motion is unreasonable. The Prime Minister, in answering a question asked by. the honorable memberfor Riverina to-day, said that he would not allow the motion to be brought forward if it would be debated at considerable length, and the honorable member for North Sydney has pointed out that, if brought on, it will be so debated. I protest against the bringing on of such a motion at this hour, when many honorable members who would oppose it are absent.
– As it is now11 o’clock, new business cannot be taken.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the Select Committee of this House, appointed to inquire into and report upon procedure in cases of breach of Privilege, be empowered, jointly with the Select Committee similarly appointed by the Senate, to inquire into and report upon any recent allegations reflecting upon. Parliament or any of the members thereof, and for such purposes to exercise all such powers as have been conferred by this House.
That a Message be sent to Senate asking it to similarly empower the Committee appointed by it so as to enable it to act jointly in these inquiries with the Committee of this House.
.- The motion contains a very proper extension of the Committee’s powers; but I wish to explain my position in regard to the Committee’s appointment. While I was not strongly .in favour of its appointment, I am strongly of the opinion that it should remain a Committee, and not be constituted a Royal Commission.
– There is no need for that.
– There must be no attempt to convert Select Committees into Royal Commissions. In the past, we have had the Ministerial power to do this abused, and I shall offer strenuous opposition to such action in the future, and shall take the most serious view of anything done by the Government in that direction.
– Sometimes it is necessary, to enable a Committee to finish its work.
– If that is found necessary, the Committee should first report to Parliament, and be discharged as a Committee.
– Some honorable members have accepted positions on the Committee on the understanding that they are not to be asked to sit during the recess.
– If it be found necessary to appoint a Royal Commission, the case should be placed before Parliament, so that we may know what is to be done.I emphasize this because I am strongly against the practice to which I have referred. On a former occasion I said nothing, because I thought that nothing could be gained by raising the matter then.
.- I am glad that the honorable member for Wide Bay has taken this stand. I have always been against the easy appointment of Select Committees and Royal Commissions. In this case, I would point out that the Committee may not finish its work before the prorogation.
– Then it will be reappointed next session.
– That makes the case for it still weaker than it was. I understood that the object of appointing a Committee was that procedure might be devised to immediately deal with certain cases. Certain opinions have been circulated for. months past, and the sooner an effort is made to remove them from the public mind, the better. I thought that the Prime Minister would have been able to devise a mode of procedure; but when a Select Committee was proposed, I was surprised that Mr. Speaker and the President were not to be members of it, because they are the custodians of our rights, powers, and privileges. The arrangement is a clumsy one. The Committee will find that the parties will refuse to come before them, and that they will have no power to summon them. Consequently, both the alleged offenders will be able to laugh the House to scorn, equally as, it was thought, they would have laughed it to scorn under the ordinary system of bringing them before the bar.
-The whole thing is grandmotherly.
– Exactly. I had hoped that the Prime Minister himself would devise the means of procedure, but he now admits that, even if the Committee does discover some system, it will still be necessary to introduce legislation to give effect to it.
– It occurred to me this afternoon that the Committee might well investigate the two cases which have been brought before the House, but I see there is a difficulty. I apprehend that the Committee will recommend the adoption of some summary legal procedure before the High Court in connexion with such cases in the future. But what will happen if the Committee do recommend such a course, and in the meantime have already investigated the two cases ? On the whole, I am inclined to think that the Prime Minister would be well advised to separate the two things.
.- Any legislation that might be devised to meet similar cases in the future could hardly be made retrospective, and put into force against these two particular sources of slander.
– We do not want them to escape.
– We do not want any slanderer to escape. In this case certain definite charges have been made. My object was not to force those concerned to give evidence, because they would probably refuse, but to put them in the position of being called on and of refusing to substantiate their charges. A slanderer is usually a cowardly person who is not prepared to come forward to substantiate his accusation. If they did refuse, it would then be the duty of the Government to advertise the fact throughout Australia, to show what cowardly slanders a journal like the Sydney Bulletin is capable of, and the extent to which trade competition can induce a man like Mr. Beale to distort the truth.
– It would be rather a stupid method of procedure to ask the Committee to arrange some method to be followed in dealing with these or future offenders, and also to inquire into the offences themselves. That would put the Committee into a terrible tangle. I agree with the honorable member for Wide Bay regarding the turning of Select Committees into Royal Commissions, which the Prime Minister tells us is not going to be done. There are reports that the House will rise within the next fortnight or three weeks. Consequently, nothing will be done in this matter at . all, because a Select Committee cannot sit during the recess. It would be necessary to amend the. Standing Orders to allow it to do so. I hope the Prime Minister will withdraw the proposed addition to the motion, or otherwise endless difficulty will ensue. The matter should have been referred to the Standing Orders Committee to bring up proposals for altering the presentprocedure, and, if it was necessary to get the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, the Government could have done so’. The whole matter could, in that way, have been fixed up in one or two meetings, and we should have known where we were. The. course now proposed means shelving the matter to a future date.
– As thismatter concerns the whole of Australia, I ask the Prime Minister whether it is because of their deficiency of intellect that no representatives of South Australia or Tasmania have been appointed to this Committee, whilst Queensland has three, and the other States have two each ?
, - I should say it was because of the excess of zeal and ability of some of those honorable mem bers that it has been thought desirable to keep them off the Committee. I promised to-day to submit a proposal, as I thought the Committee could do some useful work in these two cases by calling upon the persons responsible for a statement, but admit that, beyond that, there is no immediate prospect of their dealing speedily with their assertions. I- am content to leave it to the will of the House whether what is suggested should be done or not.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- In consideration of what has taken place, and the gravity of the question involved in the motion which I desired to submit ire-‘ garding Messrs. Freeman and Wallace’s correspondence, and in view also of the . fact that the matter was talked out to-night . by some who should not have taken that course, will the Prime Minister give me an opportunity of submitting the motion tomorrow’ at an early hour, in order that the House may express its opinion upon it ? Honorable members are very tender about their own’ grievances, and pass a motion such as has just been, dealt with, since it affects themselves, but they appear to be utterly careless as to what’ embargo may have been placed on people outside. We are here to do justice to all. I was surprised to-night at the. action, of the honorable member for North Sydney. I have known him for many years, and what he did to-night was against all his previous actions in Parliament. I have no personal interest in the matter, other than to see justice done, and so far as I can, I shall see that justice is done in this case, no matter whom it affects.
– I simply want . justice to be done to other honorable members who have motions on the notice-paper.
– I look to honorable members to help me, and to the Prime Minister to allow me the opportunity I ask for.
– However important this matter may be to certain persons, or even to the honorable member, it is perfectly impossible to set aside the: whole course of Government business and the Estimates for the consideration of such a question. I am sorry the honorable member did not get an opportunity to put his views before the House.
– I could not get that in five minutes.
– No; that was at a preliminary stage. It is impossible for me to promise the honorable member any more Government time at this period of the session.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at11.15 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 April 1908, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19080402_reps_3_45/>.