3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to know from the Prime Minister when we may expect the Government memorandum on the new protection.
– Probably next Tuesday or Wednesday.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been directed to the report of the Queensland Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the pearl shell andbeche-de-mer fishing industries, and particularly to the evidence given by Mr. Farquhar, who has been engaged in the pearl shell fishing business for some years, in reply to questions 3318 to 3328, in which Mr. Farquhar states that there is no reason why white divers should not be employed in the pearl shelling industry? In view of Mr. Farquhar’s evidence, and the report of the Royal Commission in this connexion, will the Prime Minister consider the advisableness of refusing to grant any further permits for the introduction of aliens to work in the pearl fishingindustry, either as crews or divers?
-I have the report of the Queensland Commission, and, although I have not read the evidence of Mr. Farquhar, am aware that the Commission found that white could be substituted for coloured divers. I did not find that white could be substituted for coloured crews. I am having a digest of the report made, with a view to the consideration of the question how far the matter comes within Federal and how far within State competence.
– In April, 1907, a treaty was made between New Zealand and South Africa, under which South African wines are imported into the Dominion on payment of a duty of 2s. a gallon, which is less than the duty imposed on Australian wines. I am informed that this differentiation is now beginning to seriously interfere with the importation of Australian wines into New Zealand, and I therefore ask the Prime Minister whether there is anything in our policy to which New Zealand objects, which accounts for the differentiation, or whether there is a possibility of successful negotiation for the admission of our wines on the terms given to South African wines.
– My attention has been drawn to the circumstances. No doubt the honorable and learned member has not forgotten that the late Mr. Seddon concluded an agreement with us for a treaty of reciprocity which would have obtained for our wine-growers reasonable advantages in the markets of New Zealand.. That treaty was rejected by the Dominion Parliament ; consequently the Dominion can have no grievance against us.
– Will the Prime Minister inquire further into the matter?
– I am doing so.
Mr. EWlNG laid upon the table the following papers -
Defence Acts -
Naval Forces -
Regulations Amended (Provisional) - No. 31- Statutory Rules 1908, No.
Financial and Allowance Regulations Amended (Provisional) -
Nos.49a, 50, 78a- Statutory Rules 1908, No. 104.
No.50 - Statutory Rules . 1908, No.
Military Forces -
Regulations Amended (Provisional) - Heading before No. 563 - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 106.
Preparation of Defence Scheme :
Views of Military Officers - Naval Depot, Coode Canal - Instructors - Examinations for Commissions, Military Forces
– A short time since, the Minister of Defence informed us that the members of the Forces had been asked to give their opinions on the defence proposals of the Ministry, and that these were duly tabulated for his consideration. Will he favour honorable members with a copy of the tabulation, to assist us in arriving at conclusions regarding the Bill?
– Doubt has been expressed as to the wisdom of giving publicity to all the opinions which have been expressed ; but I shall look into the matter, and give honorable members what assistance I can in supplying them with information.
– Perhaps I did not make myself quite clear. I asked the honorable gentleman if he will furnish honorable members with a copy of the tabulated opinions of military men in reference to the Defence scheme.
– I shall look into the matter, and give the honorable member a definite answer in a day or two.
– It is stated in this morning’s newspapers that the Defence Department has decided to establish a naval depot on the Coode Canal. Has the Government already decided the head-quarters of the proposed Australian Navy ?
– No conclusion has been come to with regard to that momentous question. In connexion with transferred properties adjustments have been made and reasonable provision allowed for future requirements in every port. The action taken at Melbourne is not exceptional ; similar action has been taken in connexion with all the capitals.
– Is it a fact that there is at present an insufficient number of military instructors, and that the Military Board recommends the appointment of more. If so, does the Minister intend to have more instructors appointed, and, in that event, will he allow applications from men who, although they have left the service, possess proper knowledge and qualifications, to be favorably considered?
– Provision was made on the Estimates for a larger number of instructors than we have now, and all competent men will be eligible for the appointments. If I can meet the honorable member in any way, I shall be glad to do so.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Will the warrant and noncommissionedofficers of the Commonwealth Naval Forces have the right to submit themselves for examinations for Commission ranks as applied in the Military Forces ?
– In reply-
Any member of the Commonwealth Naval Forces, who possesses the qualifications laid down by regulations, is eligible for appointment on probation to commissioned rank in the Commonwealth Naval Forces.
There is no entrance examination as in the case of Military officers, but, in view of the fact that the. requisite knowledge of the responsibilities attaching to the position can only be acquired by experience, the regulations provide that a candidate -
Must hold either -
Preference would be given to members of the Commonwealth Naval Forces who are qualified.
The question raised by the honorable member will receive full consideration when the new Naval proposals are being dealt with.
I have instructed the authorities to take the matter into consideration forthwith.
Post and Telegraph Commission’s Report - Electric Plant, Adelaide General Post Office - Delayed Telephone Connexions - Country Mail Services
asked the Postmaster- General, upon notice -
– The Postmaster- General has asked me to reply to this question. It is the intention of the Commission to take evidence from country districts if offered, and in view of that fact, and of the volume of evidence already known to be awaiting formal acceptance, it is impossible at this stage to name a definite time when a report will be presented.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice-
How many applications for telephone connexions and extensions in the State of New South Wales, that have been approved by his Department, are delayed for want of funds?
– In the absence of full particulars I cannot give this information, but I am conferring with my honorable colleague, the Treasurer, who is most anxious to give me sufficient funds to enable me to comply with most, if not all, of the telephone connexions and extensions that have been approved of in New South Wales.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Debate resumed from 29th September (vide page 456), on motion by Mr. Ewing -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– I quite reciprocate the hope expressed by the Minister of Defence that we should discuss this vital matter of naval and military defence in a spirit entirely free from party animosities ; but I trust that those who ask us to do that will give us equal credit for a desire to do the best for the country, whether our views agree with those of the Minister or not. One of the duties of an Opposition becomes, I think, the duty of every honorable member upon questions gravely affecting the welfare of the community. It is the duty, not only of members of the Opposition, but of every member of the House, upon such occasions, to give the country the benefit of his best judgment, whether it does or does not accord with Ministerial policy.Fortunately patriotism, by which we mean the love of country, is not the prerogative of any political party. I am glad to believe that it is an attribute of all political parties and of people of every religious creed throughout the length and breadth of Australia. To arrive at any useful decision on questions. of defence, we must clearly separate questions affecting the present time from those of the future - not separating them entirely, and not forgetting the future altogether - but dealing with them in two sharply defined ways; first, with reference to the position of the next six, seven, or eight years, and afterwards with reference to the ultimate responsibilities of the future. As we all know, there is not a ship of war on the ocean to-day, not a weapon representing the most advanced naval or military experience and science, that may not become absolutely worthless in the space of a very few years. When we are dealing with the problem of defence during the next six, seven, or eight years, we must steadily keep that in view. No mistake could be greater than, that of spending money upon the basis of the usefulness of weapons or ships of any lengthened duration.
– The right honorable member is not fixing that time, is he, because it agrees with the termination of the Anglo- Japanese treaty ?
– I had not that in my mind. On the present occasion I am not haunted by fears of Japan, or any other nation on the face of the earth. I am thinking of this matter entirely from an Australian point of view, and my observation should commend itself to the military knowledge of the honorable member for Corio. He must have come to that conclusion, which is obvious even to persons who have not had his military training. Remembering that factor, let us consider the next vital question - what are the possible or probable dangers to which Australia is exposed? I suppose there is no man in this community so affected by military glamour as to wish to indulge in any unnecessary provision for chimerical possibilities. This Commonwealth is not rich enough to throw money away upon shadowy, conjectures. It has to meet too many solid pressing claims, connected with the development of this continent, and the advancement and prosperity of the people. The one thing which I think will not distinguish the members of this Parliament is love of military display, or a feeling in favour of warlike adventure. I believe that we should address ourselves to the subject, not forgetting our duty to the country, but seriously asking ourselves what are the dangers for which we should make preparation.
– It is difficult to argue that candidly in public.
– I am going to show no reserve on this occasion. I shall speak with perfect frankness, but I can deal with this branch of the subject without treading on any tender ground. There are only three possible dangers to which Australia can be exposed - (i) invasion with a view to hostile settlement, (2) a sudden raid upon our coasts, and (3) attacks upon our floating commerce. I suppose those fairly embrace all the possible lines of danger to which we can be exposed. Whatever the future may have in store for us, we never expect any additional dangers arising from internal disloyalty or disaffection. One thing inconceivable, fortunately, in a country possessed of the political institutions which we enjoy, is that we shall not. be able to develop to the utmost possible extent in a peaceful way our industrial and political destinies.
– Is it more inconceivable than it was in the United States before the Civil War?
– Fortunately we are not afflicted with that terrible difficulty which was the cause of the schism between the North and the South in the United States.
– It is a thousand times less likely here !
– We are singularly free from any internal dangers arising from racial differences. One of the strongest reasons for the policy of a White Australia is that, by its means, we escape from the most fearful of all social dangers - a war of races.
– Is the honorable member not overlooking the “ States rights “ party ?
– I should like the honorable member on this occasion to allow me to deal with this matter in all seriousness. I have, as the result of considerable care in studying the question, arrived at a conclusion which leads me to ask the House most earnestly to give me their attention, while I deal with” matters which, to my mind, are the most grave that can possibly, at the present moment, engage the Federal Parliament. One of the main reasons for the existence of this Parliament to-day is that we have the” responsibility of providing for Australia a national defence; indeed we are now engaged on one of the most important duties that we can ever be called upon to perform. So far as I am concerned I desire to discharge that duty in the best way of which I am capable. Now let me take in turn the three possible dangers I have mentioned, and first deal with the danger of invasion. Is there any honorable member who regards this as a danger within a measurable period of time? I am not speaking of the remote future, but of a period within reasonable contemplation - say, eight or ten years.
– It will take us longer than that to evolve an army, if we start today.
– I hope to deal with all those matters as I proceed. But if honorable members think that invasion is one of the reasonable probabilities within the next eight or ten years, then I say that would justify any extreme measures we could take; because the national danger of invasion creates a situation in which every man, and everything a man has, must be placed at the disposal of his country. I admit that I should regard more seriously, and as a matter of grave concern, the possibility of invasion, within a measurable distance, if this great Commonwealth stood alone - if we had to depend on our own strength in the beginning days of our national manhood. But I cannot help remembering that we do not stand alone - that we are related, by every tie which can unite one community with another, to Great Britain. And “ Great Britain “ is a name which stands for much in power - power of defence, power of attack, power in times of peace, and in power in diplomacy. I believe there never was a time at which Great Britain stood before the world in a position of more real power than she does to-day. Then, invasion means, as we all know, the equipping of a large expedition. Do we need to dwell on the serious problem of equipping a large expedition to move from some distant base into these southern waters, and land here troops capable of possessing and remaining in any part of Australia, which involves maintaining communications between that distant base and the point of conquest? A time may come when our flag is stricken down, when all sorts of dangers may surround us, but to my mind - and one feels proud in the conviction - that little bit of bunting which flies from the British vessel of war is the greatest protection upon the oceans of the world that any nation, however rich or powerful, has ever had. We may long for a time when our Australian flag will fly on the seas - when our fleets of battleships and cruisers will dominate the oceans of the southern hemisphere - but I think that that is one of those patriotic dreams in which we do not desire at present to indulge, except when enjoying the lofty perorations of the Prime Minister.
– The right honorable member does not find that in my perorations !
– I am glad to hear that, because it keeps us on the solid earth.
– I think I have a recollection of the right honorable member for East Sydney himself making a few remarks in favour of the principle of an Australian navy.
– Every one with a command of language occasionally tries to fly in a higher atmosphere. I now - desire to deal with the next danger which has to be more seriously considered, namely, a possible raid. Our local authorities, and the Imperial authorities,, agree that that danger cannot extend beyond a small squadron of unarmoured cruisers, up to a possible number of four, with 1,000 men in the shape of an auxiliary force. Such is the force that represents the extent pf our danger from raid - 1,000 men of a landing force, on the decks of one to four unarmoured cruisers, which have to come across the wide ocean, and get past the British fleets. That is no light undertaking; if we have the slightest notion of the strength of the British Navy to-day, it represents no small adventure. And there can only be a raid, and not an occupation ; because, I suppose, Australia is not afraid of meeting 1,000 men.
– Or 100,000 men.
– We might be afraid of 100,000 men, but not of 1,000 men. I do not think our fears are raised by the possibility of 1,000 men arriving on the coasts of Australia in three or four unarmoured cruisers. The third danger is a real one inseparable from any state of war - the danger to our floating commerce. The moment war is declared between Great Britain and any other country, a situation arises that requires immediate ‘attention. There never was a time, I believe, when Great Britain was more competent to protect her floating commerce than she is now. By-and-by I shall ask the House to consider some facts which bring this home to us with marvellous force.
One of the defects of any scheme which aims at protecting Australian commerce within a zone of Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, or any other Australian capital, is that we may establish a perfectly impregnable defence of those ports, without persuading the fly to come into the spider’s web. Ships that raid vessels of commerce on the ocean do not generally make for ports where there are submarines, forts, mines, and soldiers, seeing that they have so vast a range of choice in their point of attack.
– Is the alternative to have no harbor defences?
– Will the honorable member let me develop my argument? It is too much to ask me to deal with every phase of the matter at once. When I have concluded, the honorable member’ will see that I have endeavoured, at any rate, to cover the whole of this question. I am seeking to clear the air by considering what are the dangers against which we have to guard. Any man of business or of common sense will recognise that to be a proper course. In time of war commerce is endangered in the shape of every ship in any degree of latitude and longitude. The attack on our floating commerce will not be under the guns of a great battery or within the range of coastal defences, when the attacking vessel can choose any point four hundred, or four thousand miles away. The advantage enjoyed by the raider is that he need not and does not come into the mine field that has been carefully laid for him. The more we fortify our coasts _the more he will keep clear of them, and the more likely he will be to pounce upon our vessels where there are no submarines or destroyers - where there is nothing but a lonely waste of ocean waters to mark the point of his attack. I think, from the information I have gained, that our commerce was never more efficiently protected than it is to-day by the British fleets.
– We all say that.
– I think so; but I want to proceed from point to point. I have spoken of the three aspects of naval danger. “ I wish now to come to the problem of military defence. Clearly, we do not need an enormous military force to meet any danger out that of invasion. We do not need to arm all Australia in order to repel a force of 1,000 men on the decks of three or four unarmoured cruisers. If we had money to throw away, that would be a delightful way of spending it. It would be in accordance with our racial, instincts and ambitions. As an object on which to expend public money I can think of none that would appeal more strongly to our national instincts and weaknesses. But we are not in a position to throw away money; we have very seriously to consider every proposal of public expenditure. Unnecessary expenditure under the guise of creating an Australian fleet, would be just as great a wrong as it would be under any other guise. Coming to the present arrangement between Great Britain and Australia, we pass from fields of suggestion and patriotic inspiration to a solid Act of Parliament. What was the agreement which the Prime Minister, as a leading member of the Barton Administration, put on the statute-book of Australia.? It was one by which the naval defence of Australia was to be undertaken by the fleets of Great Britain, and the land defence of Australia was to be provided by Australia herself. That agreement stands to-day between Great Britain and the Commonwealth. What is it worth? Is Great Britain’s solemn pledge to see to the naval defence of Australia enough? Is it sufficient for our protection? If it is not, let us do something to strengthen her position, or our own. This undertaking on the part of Great Britain to defend our floating commerce, and provide the naval defence of Australian territory is expressly recited in the Naval “Agreement. On our part, under another understanding much older than that, we have assumed responsibility for the fixed land defences of our harbors and our coasts. I would point out that Great Britain not only guaranteed our naval defence, but agreed to station here a squadron of cruisers, subject to their right, in time of war or emergency, to employ them vithin the limits of the Australian, East Indian, or China stations as necessity might arise. Great Britain not only guaranteed our naval defence; she did something more. She guaranteed our defence and that of our floating commerce everywhere and always. Do not let ‘ us forget that the tracks of Australian commerce traverse the whole globe. Australian produce, the sale of which is vital to our very existence - to the comfort of every workman’s home throughout the length and breadth of Australia - speeds its way across every ocean to the most distant ports. If it traversed 10,000 miles in safety, and were destroyed in the next mile it would be destroyed just as utterly as if it were destroyed in our own harbors. The protection of our commerce involves a gigantic task which all the submersibles, torpedo boats, and torpedo-boat destroyers in the world could not accomplish. It is a gigantic task extending over tens of thousand of miles of wide ocean, any point of which may be one of sudden attack and destruction. I should like to show the House how Great Britain has performed her duty in maintaining a strength equivalent to the honorable performance of this compact. In considering that compact we are not called upon to regard this or that cruiser in Australian waters. It is a guarantee behind which stands every man and every ship of the Mother Country. Do we not remember that, when a point was to be gained during our Tariff debates, the country which maintains these splendid fleets was described as containing twelve millions on the verge of pauperism. How lias Great Britain, with millions of human being on the brink of want and starvation, discharged hee obligations even to this distant Commonwealth, remote to the furthest point from the centre of her Imperial strength?- Referring to her expenditure - and that talks more loudly than the most eloquent peroration, because it comes out of the pockets of the British people - I find that her naval expenditure has been nearly doubled within the last few years. Those poor people across the seas spend £40,000,000 a year on the upkeep of British fleets, and in the building of new ships, and about £30,000,000 a year in the maintenance of the British military forces. Fifteen times the amount of our subsidy is spent by Great Britain on naval repairs, the expenditure for one year being something like £3,000,000. We have heard of the sudden rise of other navies, and have been told that the power of the British arm is becoming paralyzed, that the strengh of the British Navy is failing in comparison with that of the navies of other countries. I have taken the trouble^ to” ascertain the real strength of the leading navies of the world, the figures I am about to give embracing not merely the ships in commission, but also those which are building. Every ship that has been laid down in the countries named is included.
– And the dates at which they were laid down?
– I have not the particular dates, because I do not wish to weary the Committee with too much detail. The information is in Brassey’s last Naval Annual. As my honorable and .learned friend is the real author of the conscription scheme, and will probably follow me, as he is entitled to do, he will then have the opportunity to criticise as he thinks fit my statements to the House. Built and building, Great Britain has sixty battleships to Germany’s twenty-eight - or more than twice as many ; to twenty-four belonging to France, and to sixteen belonging to Japan. Of first-class cruisers - honorable members know what magnificent ships such cruisers of modern type are - Great Britain has forty.-eight, while Germany has only ten, France fifteen, Japan thirteen, and Italy seven. I shall not mention the fleets of the United States because it is inconceivable that Australia and the Mother Country will ever be engaged in war with the United States of America. That is a possibility which we refuse with horror to contemplate.
– There will be merely friendly battles between the two countries to show which is the better.
– In first-class cruisers, Great Britain has three more than those of Germany, France, Italy, and Japan put together, and, in addition, possesses a large fleet of second and third class cruisers. Only the other day, 250 British war vessels were gathered for a series of manoeuvres in the North Sea. Captain Creswell, the very able naval officer in the Commonwealth service, has reported to the Prime Minister, as the result of his recent visit to England, that the British Navy of to-day is three times as strong as it was ten years ago. Admiral Fisher has cast on the scrap heap great hulking vessels that had ceased to represent the highest type of fighting efficiency. There we have a power strong enough to. protect the commerce of the British Empire, which includes that of Australia. Can we improve upon that achievement? Is the security inadequate, the defence suspicious, inefficient, or doubtful? Under the protection of the British flag are the oceans not secure for Australian commerce? And if they are not, will a few submersibles under the waters of Hobson’s Bay or Port Jackson, or other vessels capable of going from 200 to 400 miles away from the coast,- make good any deficiency that may exist? If any of us were in command of a raiding squadron, we should not be simple enough to tilt against the Prime Minister’s mosquito fleet in the waters of Australia when we could intercept Australian merchantmen at some convenient spot 500, 5,000, or 10,000 miles away. The idea, of an Australian Navy makes a grand appeal to sentiment. .When one thinks of the magnificent fleets of Great Britain, what ai noble ambition it seems to endeavour to lay the foundation of an equally great navy here, carrying the Australian flag. The idea is magnificent. But while we are restricted by considerations of finance and of commonsense, let us postpone its realization.
– Why should the Australian Fleet carry a separate flag?
– That is another question. I have spoken of the manner in which Great Britain has fulfilled her obligations to us. In contrast to the attitude of the Prime Minister on behalf of the people of Australia, let me refer to the attitude of the Admiralty in connexion with this agreement for the defence of our floating commerce and the integrity of our coast. Australia has been represented as endeavouring to get out of this solemn agreement, ratified by Act of Parliament, in order to abstract our contribution of ,£200,000 a year from the pockets of the British taxpayers, of whom 12,000,000 are said, I think absurdly, to be on the verge of starvation. That is the position in which Australia has been placed. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has represented us in the Mother Country as a people wishing to escape its statutory obligations, and regarding the agreement with anything but feelings of satisfaction. The British people have been told that the agreement has never been popular in. Australia; has never been satisfactory to the Commonwealth Parliament; that it raises no feelings, of patriotic enthusiasm. If the Prime Minister took that view, he should have long ago tabled a motion or introduced a Bill to enable honorable members to express an opinion.
– It is not my fault that I have not tabled a motion. It is only just now that we have got the’ Admiralty to come to the point.
– Indeed. I shall deal with “just now” presently. I wish to contrast the attitude of the Admiralty with- what is said to be the attitude of Australia, though really the attitude of only one party in this House. In 1903, the Prime Minister andhis colleagues, and, generally speaking, nearly every member of the House, with the exception of the members of one party, voted for the agreement.
– The right honorable member spoke against it.
– I shall deal with that interjection later. I am substantially correct in saying that the Labour Party voted solidly against the agreement.
– It was absolutely solid on that occasion.
– We have here another il lustration of the way in which the political power of Australia is being twisted by the Prime Minister. He got us to vote for the agreement ; but he is now carrying out the wishes of those who voted against it, in endeavouring to destroy it. There are two ways of annulling such an agreement. One is to ask to be relieved from its. obligations, which would not be an offensive, though it would be a miserable, thing to do. The other is to take money out of the. pockets of the British taxpayer to spend on: our own concerns. That is a wretched’ way of dealing with this business. If we are too poor to afford a contribution of ^200,000 towards the .£40, 000,000 necessary for the upkeep of the British Fleet, let us say so to the grand old Mother, who has stood by us in all our troubles, and she will forgive us.
– The right honorable member now suggests that we should lean on the Mother Country altogether.
– No; but I have none of that spurious pride which feels degraded: by the protection of the British Fleet. It. is absolutely necessary, under our presentcircumstances, to have the protection of theBritish Fleet, or to see how we can get on without it. I wish to contrast the attitude of the Prime Minister, who so ill represented the opinions of the majority of” members, with that of the British Government. I ask the House to bear with me while I read the words of the First Lord of the Admiralty -
We want you to give us all the assistance you can, but we do not come to you as beggars. We gladly take all you can give us, but at the same time, if you are not inclined to give us . the help we hope to have from you, we acknowledge our absolute obligation to defend the King’s Dominions across the seas to the best oF our ability.
An interjection was made, to which I shall now reply. It was said by the Prime Minister that I spoke against the agreement. In one sense that is true, but only in the sense that I pointed out that the former agreement, which it replaced, was of greater advantage to us than was the new one - that under the former one we had advantages which we gave up under the new.
– I do not think that is so. That is a matter of opinion.
– That may be, but that is the view I took. I went on to reiterate in the strongest possible language that in view of the enormous benefits we derived from the British Navy we could not shrink from supporting this miserable contribution of £200,000 a year, and I voted for it. The Prime Minister voted for it, and within a year or two he was busy endeavouring to destroy the agreement. I think it is an unhappy position to put Australia in. Australia, with all her troubles, is still able honestly to perform this bargain for the period represented by our Act. Contrast again the statesmanship of New Zealand with that of our Government. Over and over again that lamented statesman, Mr. Seddon, took the initiative in all sorts of broad and noble things, and the Australian Government dutifully followed in his wake. At the time when our Prime Minister is endeavouring to manoeuvre Australia out of its obligations under an Act of Parliament, what is little New Zealand doing? I think her contribution under the agreement is , £40,000 a year, and her Prime Minister, has introduced a Bill to make it £100,000. Just contrast the position in which Australia must appear before the people of. the Mother Country with the position which New Zealand occupies ! Of course, we have the grand consolation of knowing that the Prime Minister did us infinite credit by the magnificence of his orations. Wemust not forget that.
– Is it not fair to state that Lord Tweedmouth said that the British Government were not satisfied with the present arrangement under the agreement ?
– I intend to quote a despatch which is contrary to that. Lord Tweedmouth’s attitude in standing by that onerous compact and guarantee, which protects every bale of Australian wool and the humblest product of Australian labour to all the markets of the world, against all the powers of the world, stands out in bright relief to the attitude of the Australian Prime Minister, who, in the face of his own Act of Parliament, endeavours tosecure some money that belongs to GreatBritain, in order to carry out a new policy of his own.
– He wants to give them men and ships instead of money. They arebetter than money at any time.
– Beautiful ! It is a good way of getting out of an agreement - to give something else.
– They thanked us very much for sending men to South Africa when they were in trouble.
– I am much obliged to the honorable member for his interjection. Thepresent Government think it is necessary todrive young Australia into a yoke in order to defend the country against 1,000 men 011 those four unarmoured cruisers.
– Where is the yoke?
– May I be allowed to goon with my address?
– That is not a yoke. It is a joke.
– It is a joke ! I believe that will be the end of it. To show the difference between the principle of compulsion and the principle of voluntary selfsacrifice, there was no need to dragoon young Australia into the battles of the Mother Country on the distant plateaux of South Africa. Eighteen thousand Australians volunteered to that distant scene of bloodshed and hardship.
– And we could have got plenty more, too.
– And there were many more if they had been wanted. There is a proof that if you appeal to young Australia for the defence either of the Mother Country or of Australia, you will get a response which is sufficient for all your requirements. I wish to refer to the policy of the Government in the matter of defence, and to say at once that in matters involving professional skill and knowledge, no one can severely criticise any honorable member or Minister, if, with better enlightenment, he changes his views. Those are matters with which, as laymen, we are not familiar, and I should be the last to criticise unfairly any Minister who, having better knowledge, manfully alters his opinions and policy. I do not want to push what I am going to say now beyond any reasonable limit, but I wish in a brief way to point out what the Government policy has been. Before I do so I desire to answer another question. I pointed out how the Imperial Government have kept their part of the bargain. I shall now show how our Government have kept their part. Are our land forces, small as they are, efficient ? Have we equipped our men properly for defence? It is not a large obligation, but have we honorably performed it? Do honorable members recollect how, a few months ago, the Prime Minister, after his Ministerial Committee had revealed the horrible mess that had been made in the Post and Telegraph Department, made a beautiful speech, in which he reviewed the situation, and caused many honorable members to feel a degree of rapture that we were honored in having a gentleman so able to grasp all the threads of the administration of a great public Department? I then took the report of his own Committee, and out of the mouths of his own colleagues I showed that the Department had been allowed to sink year after year to the lowest depths of inefficiency. Day after day we have revelations which should be sufficient to shock any average Minister who had been connected with the public Departments for six years, as the Prime Minister has been. If the Prime Minister would only devote some of his brilliant talents to affairs of some of the public Departments generally instead of laboriously constructing beautiful speeches, I believe he would perform a novel yet useful public service. When I had the opportunity of appointing a Minister of Defence, I put into that Department the best man for the purpose who could be found in Parliament, a gentleman more eminently fitted for such a Department than was any other honorable member. But I wish now to quote a few items from the annual reports of MajorGeneral Finn and Major-General Hoad, to show that the state of chaos which exists in the Postal Department also characterizes our military administration to-day.
– The right honorable member’s model Minister did not put it right.
– We were not in office very long, and we never had an opportunity of submitting a set of Estimates of our own, but the then Minister of Defence, Colonel McCay, lost no time in bringing under notice the enormous amount required to place his Department in a condition of efficiency. However, I will spare the present
Minister. I shall quote only two or three items from the annual reports for 1906 and 1907. Major-General Finn says in his last report - that for 1906 - regarding musketry, that a more up-to-date system would be welcomed by_ the Citizen Forces. Who is to supply that more up-to-date system?
– It has been supplied.
– I am glad to hear it. Evidently something has moved. MajorGeneral Finn goes on to speak of the position of the infantry and light horse. He says that he cannot consider them sufficiently skilful in the use of their chief weapon, the rifle. A possible reason may be found in the fact that -
Practically no instruction is given in range finding in the light horse and infantry.
One of the obvious lessons of recent wars has been that range finding is the vital point of all military efficiency on the field of battle. He adds -
There are instruments available and at present lying idle; steps should be taken to have these issued…..
There is a marvellous revelation of inefficiency. Parliament has voted the money, the instruments have been procured, the men are there giving their services to the country, but the range finders are in the Government stores, and the men who are expected to defend the country at the risk of their lives are not taught by means of those instruments the vital point of attack or defence in the field.
– Should not the General have the power to issue them?
– I should think so, but he had actually to report this fact, and to express a hope that the instruments would be issued. I wonder what would become of the British Navy if it were administered on those lines? It is a much bigger contract than the one we have. Major- General Finn points out that the horsing of the field batteries is such as to endanger the lives of the men who run thebatteries and expose them to the ridicule of the public. I believe that condition still obtains. He adds -
The large deficiency of ammunition waggons, reported last year, still exists…… The want of military maps…… would, in the event of war, be severely felt.
Major-General Hoad is still more emphatic on a number of points. May I stop here to say that, whilst it seemed to suit the Minister of Defence to depicf our volunteers and militia as if they were not in a proper state of zeal and efficiency, MaiorGeneral Hoad bears testimony to the present condition of the Volunteer and Militia Forces of Australia? Speaking of the infantry, he says -
The personnel is good. There has been a distinct advance in practical training, and more attention has been given to manoeuvres, outposts, marches, &c. It is evident that all ranks take great interest in their work.
Surely that is not a sign of decay, or that the volunteer movement has exhausted itself? We have the highest officer in the forces praising the men for their distinct advance in efficiency, and the zeal which they throw into their patriotic work. MajorGeneral Hoad also says -
I understand that the Minister has given instructions for the early preparation of - what ? - a scheme of defence.
This is after seven years of Commonwealth control !
– The States had things in such a hideous mess that it took a long while to put them right.
– In 1901 every man in the forces was handed over to the Federal Government; and these gentlemen who are so brilliant in their submersible arrangements, and with their coastal destroyers, say, at the end of seven years of management of our little military forces, “ You must remember the horrible mess they were left in eight years ago ‘ ‘ !
– The forces were better in some of the States than they are to-day.
– I think they were. Then, Major-General Hoad points out that the strength is 2,000 less than Parliament had provided for. With regard to the Warrnambool battery, allow me to mention a brilliant piece of administration. At Warrnambool there is a battery of 40-pounders - formidable weapons. In 1904 those guns were put in a position to deal havoc to any invading forces that might land in that delightful spot; but, during the ten years, they have been used only once. And why ? First, because, as Major-General Hoad points out, there were no horses; secondly, if there had been horses, there was no harness ; and, thirdly, if there had been horses and harness, the trailers and limbers were so rotten as to make it impossible to move the guns.
– They could not gethorses to shift 40-pounders.
– May I suggest that rotten trailers and limbers are not the latest in warlike improvements?
– If the honorable member sticks to the limbers he will be all right !
– I am dealing with MajorGeneral Hoad’s view; I do not pretend to be competent to express an opinion myself.
– The right honorable member is on the wrong track !
– Unfortunately, the Honorable member for Maranoa is not InspectorGeneral, or I might quotehim.
– I know what a 40-pounder gun is !
– And so, I suppose, does Major-General Hoad.
– I doubt it, if he talks about horses shifting one.
– Major-General Hoad draws attention to the fact that quantities of the stores in the Government service are obsolete and unusable, and points out that the Sherwood magazine, which he had previously reported on as liable to floods, and in a perfectly wrong place for the purpose, now contains more ammunition than ever. Major-General Hoad then goes on to say that many of the country units have no rifle range accommodation. Consider for a moment what that means ! The men are ready to help in the defence of the country with rifles, and yet they have no rifle ranges.
– And sometimes no rifles !
– That may be. But here is another case in the very heart of the Permanent Forces. Surely we might expect in our Permanent Artillery something like a sound state of things; but Major-General Hoad, speaking of the Royal Australian Artillery, says that the men are taken from their duties as gunners and converted into orderlies, cooks, assistant cooks, and grooms. One inspection and inquiry he made elicited the fact that 40 per cent. of the men had never been in the forts at all, that 40 per cent. had been in the forts for only three days, and that only 20 per cent. had been trained as garrison gunners.
– Where were the men?
– I suppose they were doing useful duties as grooms, cooks, and orderlies.
– It would appear that a few officials require sacking !
– I quite agree with the honorable member. Our militia and our volunteer forces never will have a chance until they have proper leading and equipment.
Parliament finds the money for the men and equipment, but the men are not put to their proper duty, and the equipment is not there. That is the lesson I wish to be drawn from the facts which I have stated.
– I find that there are 400 more rifle ranges than there were at the inauguration of Federation.
– I am delighted to see one gleam of sunshine; but I suggest that Major-General Hoad in his report for 1907 says that there are many more required.
– There are twice as many rifle ranges as there were before Federation.
– There are nearly 850 now.
– One of the strong points of the Ministry is training in the larger camps. Here is a little announcement from Major-General Hoad, showing that in the larger camp there was six days’ training instead of the eight authorized’, because there was not enough money. This is another specimen of that marvellous, niggardly economy which cuts down expenditure at vital points. Authority was given’ for a large camp for eight days’ training, and the period had to be cut down to six days, not because the men were not ready to go and be trained but because the funds were not adequate.
– The want of money is the reason the militia is not larger.
– I do not know whether recruiting was not stopped.
– Well, if recruiting was not stopped, the effect of this new scheme has been to paralyze the vitality of the existing forces. I desire now to briefly refer, without speaking too harshly, for the reason, as I have already mentioned, that we are only laymen, to the policy of the Government. So long as we honestly make use of the latest information, I do not care whether a man changes his opinion or not; it is no ground of reproach, because we - have to learn from others. But, in 1905 the Prime Minister made his first approach to the Admiralty on the question of the Naval Agreement. Did he then suggest costly destroyers and submersibles ? It may be, perhaps, that submersibles were not so well known then as now; but, at any rate, I ask whether the honorable gentleman suggested the torpedo boats and destroyers. Nothing of the sort. In 1905, the Prime Minister suggested to the Admiralty that it would be a grand thing to build a line of steamers which could carry our produce and mails, and could be made available for use in time of war. A butter fleet was then the naval policy of the Prime Minister. No doubt such a line would be perfectly admirable and useful ; but it was one which we might have found at our own expense. The Prime Minister suggested that it would be well to devote the £200,000 of the Naval Subsidy to building and equipping vessels which would carry our produce and our mails, and in time of war might be useful.
– It was in accord with the Admiralty’s agreement with the Cunard line of steamers. The Admiralty had already initiated the idea.
– I am only pointing out that the suggestion then was not that we should build destroyers or torpedo boats. ‘ I have no desire to unfairly criticise the Prime Minister in these various schemes ; because, personally, we are absolutely unfitted to judge of these matters, and have to take the best information we can get. As I say, I do not wish to harp on this one fact unfairly, because the proposal may be to the Prime Minister’s credit instead of his discredit ; I merely mention the fact that in 1905 his idea was that the Naval Agreement should be got rid of, in order to obtain a mail service and better transit for our butter. It is the getting rid of the responsibility of the £200,000 subsidy that I complain of. The idea of new mail steamers was grand, and equally grand was the idea for better transit for our produce; but it was ineffably mean to try to take £200,000 out of the pockets of the British taxpayers’, so that we might obtain those advantages.
– Those vessels would have been available for the Admiralty as unarmoured cruisers.
– The mail steamers would have been cruisers?
– Yes; according to the Cunard agreement.
– Unfortunately, the Prime Minister made another statement in that despatch ; because some Admiral here had suggested that we ought to pay a larger subsidy. The Prime Minister mentioned how unpopular the agreement was in Australia, and said something to suggest that probably the Admiralty were just as anxious for a change as he was. Well, the honorable gentleman received a very short cable- gram to the effect, “ The Admiralty absolutely dissociates itself from any desire to terminate the existing agreement, and considers your scheme needlessly expensive and inefficient.” So that, from first to last, in all his despatches, the Prime Minister has been trying to make out - I shall not say that - but trying to induce the Admiralty to express dissatisfaction, and a desire to terminate the agreement, and each time the reply is, “ We will not join in cancelling this agreement, and you must not put us in the position of wishing to terminate it; if you wish, in effect, to be relieved of the responsibility for your £200,000 a year, take your £200,000 a vear.” That is the attitude of the Admiralty, and it only sinks Australia into a deeper mire of humiliation. What is the use of professing our loyalty and readiness to shed our blood if we cannot shed £200,000 which we owe under an Act of Parliament? What ineffable folly and fustian it is to talk of patriotism while we contemplate retaining the beggarly pittance we owe for the magnificent protection we get on all the oceans of the world !
– What a dreadful opinion the Admiralty must have of Canada !
– Canada did not pass an Act of Parliament making a contract, and. then try to sneak out of that contract. Canada took a manly course, whether it was patriotic or not, and said, “ We won’t ; we have a number of expenses here which we think are really Imperial.” I do not mind Australia saying that she will not do a thing - she may be right or wrong but she has a right to say so. What I do say is that when Australia passes an Act of Parliament to pay a trifle for magnificent services rendered, the contract ought to be kept. The position of honorable members who object to the agreement is slightly different from that of those who stood for it, and even the former, I think, might honour the contract when it is law. That is a fair view to take of even their case, but I am speaking of those who asked Parliament to enter into this contract, and who, the moment Parliament agreed to do so, sought to vary it, and to vary it always in the way of taking money from others to provide for a duty that belongs to ourselves. Under the existing agreement we are responsible for our land and fixed defences. If we choose to enter upon a naval defence policy, it cannot be because the British
Navy is not good enough for us, and, therefore, that policy, if we adopt it, should be carried out at our own expense. Do not let us take away from Great Britain the £200,000 per annum that we give for the real protection of our floating commerce and our coasts. I come now to a point that I wish to impress upon honorable members. One of the wrongs in connexion with this policy of the Government is that it was kept back until after the general election of 1906. What was the attitude of the Prime Minister in September, 1906, just before the general election took place? In a speech on the Estimates, the honorable gentleman then said-
We have had a policy which though it has varied has gradually been taking a fixed shape. The present Estimates- 19,06-7 - represent a continuation and the broadening of the policy which had previously .been followed, whilst the report of our Military Committee adopts that system as the basis of any recommendation that it makes.
In that speech we had an endorsement of our policy as it “had been built up for years. That was made on the brink of a general election, and not a word was then said by the Prime Minister as to a scheme of compulsory training or floating naval defence. Let us now consider the question of finance, concerning which my honorable friends of the Labour Party have become very keen. Can we forget the demonstration of patriotic prudence from below the gangway when the Treasurer sought to restore to the business-paper the Manufactures Encouragement Bill ? The Minister declared that he could find the money necessary for the payment of the proposed bounty on iron ; but the Labour Party were indignant with him. They asserted that a promise made by the Prime Minister had been broken, and they insisted upon knowing something of the financial position before the Bill was restored to the business-paper. Let me ask my honorable friends1 whether they are concerned with the financial side of this new departure, unprecedented in any country inhabited by the British race.
– Undoubtedly we are.
– I should hope so. In 1906 the Prime Minister pointed out that the local Military and Na.val Committees suggested a scheme that would cost .£1,650,000 a year, and that his own scheme would cost, during the first year, £1,700,000, or a little more. After dealing with the scheme to provide for torpedo boats and coastal destroyers - submarines at that time were not suggested - at a cost, including the ordinary expenditure, of £1,650,000 a year, the Prime Minister declared -
Such a scheme is beyond our means.
The honorable member for Darwin exclaimed, “ It would spell bankruptcy,” and the Prime Minister said -
It would mean the diversion from productive uses of a very large sum of money.
That was a sound utterance. On the same occasion, he said -
Such an inroad on our finances would meet with the disapproval of the great majority of the people of the country.
That statement was made on the brink of a general election; the House, I think, was dissolved in the following month. The Prime Minister then affirmed the military system that had been built up, and which was part of the policy of the Government of which- he was a member in 1902-3. The existing scheme was approved by that Government, and embodied practically in the Defence Act of 1903, which was passed in the same year as the Naval Agreement Act. On the brink of a general election the honorable gentleman declared that an expenditure of £1,650,000 per annum in this direction was beyond the means of the people, that it would be unjustifiable, and that the people would disapprove of it. When a Prime Minister makes such a statement, he has no right to propose a greater expenditure without some reference to the people who at the time had his policy before them. Has our financial position so improved that what was impossible in 1906 is in 1908 a practicable proposition? Let us consider our position. Since then, we have agreed to a Commonwealth system of old-age pensions, involving an expenditure of £1,800,000 a year.
– I wish to make a most moderate estimate, and therefore I say that the expenditure on old-age pensions will be anything up to £1,800,000 per annum. We also know now that hundreds of thousands of pounds must be spent on the Post and Telegraph Department to secure common decent efficiency. Such an expenditure was not dreamt of when the Prime Minister spoke in 1906; but we have had from the Commonwealth Royal Commission revelations that show us that any amount, up to £2,000,000, must be expended, in order to bring that Department up to a reasonable state of efficiency.
– We have also proposals for penny postage.
– That is a proposal which, I think, I need not consider in this connexion. Since the Prime Minister’s statement to which I have referred, we have also had a proposal, I think, for the purchase of the Northern Territory. What does that mean ? It means the purchase of about 500 miles of railway from South Australia - the purchase of one line from Port Darwin to Pine Creek, and another from Port Augusta to Oodnadatta. It means also an engagement to build a railway between those two points, a distance, I suppose, of 1,000 miles.
– Eleven hundred miles.
– The Prime Minister said the other day that the Government proposal would be brought before the House without delay.
– Hear, hear !
– I cannot say, for the moment, what we shall have to pay in respect of the back debts of the Northern Territory; but I think that the total is over £2, 000,000.
– That is still another item. Then, again, we do not know what we. shall have to pay for the many miles of existing railway, or for the construction of the 1,100 miles of railway that I have mentioned. But in addition to those items, we have a proposal to construct the transcontinental railway, extending over another 1,000 miles to Western Australia.
– And the contemplated expenditure on the Federal Capital.
– That certainly ought not to be a large expenditure. I utterly repudiate any suggestion that it should be. But I ask honorable members how can the Prime Minister, in the face of these facts, come before us and propose defence expenditure amounting, in the first year, to about £1,740,000; in the second year, to £1, 600, 000 ; and in the third year to about the same amount?
– And that will doubtless prove an underestimate.
– Quiteso; and we hear something now about a proposal to pay, the conscripts. I come now to the position of the Minister of Defence - and here again I do not desire to speak unkindly, because the matter to which Iam about to refer occurred four or five years ago. The honorable member for West Sydney submitted a proposition that all British subjects who had been six months in the Commonwealth, and who were from eighteen to twenty-one years of age, should be subject to compulsory military training. Those are almost the very words used in this Bill. I think that the honorable member for West Sydney deserves every credit for this. The Minister of Defence, in criticising the honorable member’s proposal, said that he supposed that these men would have to be paid 7 s. per day.
– And there was also a proposal to compensate the employers of men called upon to engage in military training.
– I think that there was some claim in that respect. I do not criticise the claim that these men should be paid, because it is a natural one. I do not see why this burden should fall only on men from eighteen to twenty-one years of age, while those from twenty-two to fifty are free. What sort of fairness would there be in such a proposal ? Letme tell the House that in spite of the proposed penalties, some employers will make a distinction between men who are over twenty-one and those who, being under twenty-one, have many days of compulsory service before them. It is easy to talk about taking a lot of young fellows out of our factories; but such a procedure would involve a very serious dislocation of business. It is not merely a question of money that is involved. From the point of view of our protectionist friends our manufacturers have a pretty hard struggle, and one of the worst features of this proposal is that under it employers would have to choose between dislocating their industrial enterprises, or conveniently employing men over twenty-one years of age. Let it be clearly understood that if there is any necessity now to arm the manhood of Australia I have nothing to say in condemnation of this scheme. It is the absolute right of the country that calls men out in time of war to have those men properly trained, so that when they are called out they can make a good show before the enemy. I base my objection to this proposal on the ground that there can be no justification for this gigantic dislocation of industry and diversion of Australian labour - and human labour is more precious here than anywhere else - from productive energies to the field of war, unless there is some danger of invasion; and if there is a fear of invasion I have nothing to say.
– That is the law now.
– I was going to point out that one of the curiosities of this Bill is that it expressly provides that every youth who, when, say next year, the Act comes into force, is eighteen years of age, must register, and that any one who is over that age will not have to do so. It is only onthose who are eighteen years of age this year, or who will be eighteen years of age next year when the Bill comes into force, that this burdenwill fall. But men who are from nineteen up to sixty years of age are told’ under the Act of 1903 that in time of actual war -not in time of danger only - they can be brought out - to do what? To enlist as soldiers.
– To be murdered.
– I should think so. It is monstrous that the whole burden of thisscheme should fall on men who will be eighteen years of age next year, and that the burden of serving in war should be put on all other men, leaving them absolutely without any training.
– What age would the right honorable member start at?
– Not at any age. I am not going to criticise the policy of the Government without suggesting my ownviews in this matter. They are not those of a military man, but I shall give them for what they are worth.
– What the right honorable member is complaining of has been the law since 1903.
– I am aware of that, but I am interpreting it in the light of this Bill.
– That does not make the position any worse - it makes it better.
– If there is to be compulsory training, why should not the system apply to all men of a fighting age? To the proposal to call out every one in time of war we shall all agree, although there must be many exemptions.
– The definition of “ time of war” includes “danger of war.”
– The definition appears in the interpretation clause ?
– I missed it.
– It is the same thing.
– There is adifference between the two. That interpretation gives an elasticity of which I was not aware. My main point is that there is no need for this gigantic effort. Our committee of naval officers agreed with the view of the Admiralty. The Government asked the Imperial Defence Committee to frame a scheme for Australia. That Committee is composed of eminent soldiers and sailors, who framed a scheme in which was pointed out the possibility of attacks from raiders carrying, perhaps, 1,000 men in two or three ships. Our Naval Committee, in reporting on the scheme of the Imperial Defence Committee, agreed that there was a possibility of the visit of raiding ships, and that there should be some provision for meeting it.
– The Prime Minister concurred in that in his policy speech of last year.
– I should like now to show how views have varied and authorities differ in reference to naval defence. The Prime Minister is at issue with his naval advisers on his naval policy. That is an extraordinary state of affairs. The naval advisers of the Government - Captain Creswell and a commitee of naval officers - are absolutely opposed to the obtaining of the submersibles which the Prime Minister desires - probably on good advice from the Mother Country. Captain Creswell, however, was not long since sent to England to specially inquire into matters affecting naval architecture, and reported in August, 1906, as the result of experience in Government and private dockyards there, that submersibles are not suited for the defence of Australia. Captain Creswell is the gentleman who, more than any other officer, has inspired the movement of naval defence. Our own Naval Committee also submitted a scheme of defence in which there is not provision for a single submersible, although expenditure over a period of five years is provided for. Our naval experts will not have submersibles; and Captain Creswell, after a visit to the Mother Country, says - “ My opinion is confirmed by what I have seen. It would be a mistake to have submersibles. While they are exquisite pieces of mechanism, they involve a tremendous expense, and their value cannot be determined until they have been tested in actual warfare.”
– Our experts a few years ago declared that vessels like the Protector were too small, and yet they are now proposing torpedo boats.
– Captain Creswell some years ago suggested the employment of cruisers.
– Yes, but of a decent size.
– The proposal was to spend £300,000 a year for ten years - £3,000,000 - on four or five cruisers. I am now emphasizing, the fact that he and the Commonwealth Naval Committee are opposed to the employment of submersibles. No doubt the Prime Minister has received advice from eminent authorities in the Old Country which has led him to propose them. The value of submersibles is yet to be demonstrated. What did the Imperial Defence Committee say on the subject? It said, “You do not want these torpedo boats or coastal destroyers, and you do not want submersibles. We are responsible for the defence of Australia, and if there is any need to bring our ships into your waters, we will bring them there. If vessels are needed, we will provide them. “ But under the influence of the exquisite affability, amiability, and ability of the Prime Minister, there has been a notable change. Seeing that the eminent sailors and soldiers comprising the Imperial Defence Committee say that we do not need these vessels, and that if they ever should be needed they would provide them, are we going to rush into the naval expenditure proposed by the Prime Minister? I do not disparage the ambition to have an Australian Navy. In years to come it may be a grand thing. But while the Commonwealth is in its infancy, and its finances are limited, we can postpone development in that direction. Those who doubt the efficiency of the naval protection of the Mother Country may hold different opinions. But if we have an efficient protection, why should we duplicate vessels merely for the sake of hoisting our own flag? I now come to a vital point. The Prime Minister says that there is a constitutional principle involved in the control of the Australian Navy. May I, incidentally, point out that we are falling into a singular looseness of language in thus using great terms to express little things? A few destroyers and torpedo boats will not make a navy. It is an abuse of the word to apply it in such a connexion, and has led the public to think that it is to get an imposing fleet of battleships. The word is a ludicrous one to apply to the proposals of the Government. The constitutional principle which the Prime Minister says is involved is that we must have command of the ships which are here, because we have the responsibility. I believed there might be something in it at the time, but I have thought over the matter, and I suggest for the honorable gentleman’s consideration a different view of the matter. Let me put an illustration. Our law makes every one in Australia liable to serve anywhere within the Commonwealth. Suppose that the people of Mildura wished to form a special battalion, and asked to be allowed to control it, because they were providing for it. They might say, “ We wish to make it a condition that our men shall not march away from Mildura.” Would not the Government of Australia say, “ We cannot have a divided force. We must have an undivided force under the Executive, subject to the one set of rules, under the one control.” It is the same on the water. The British Fleet, being our main naval defence, must be under one Executive control. The statement of the Prime Minister, that we have the responsibility, proceeds from the fallacy that the responsibility for Australian ships, in time of war, would be Australian, not Imperial. A blundering captain on one of our torpedo destroyers might involve Great Britain in another Alabama claim. It is the British Government that would be responsible for every shot fired by our. ships, and for the stoppage on the seas of every vessel under suspicion. The Imperial Government, and the people of the Mother Country, are responsible for every act of the Military and Naval Forces, whether Imperial or Colonial. They would be responsible for the act of a Colonial officer at the Heads which offended the rights- of a foreign power. Germany would look, not to the Government of the Commonwealth, but to the Government of the Empire, for redress, should she have any complaint. The responsibility in time of war is absolutely with- the Imperial Government and the British people, not with Australia. It would be dangerous to “leave a young group of loyal and good subjects in a position to compromise the vast responsibilities of the British Empire.
– The whole of that argument was put by the Admiralty in its last despatch but one.
– I was not aware of it, but it seems to me a fair subject for consideration. I come now to the next proposal of the honorable and learned gentleman. When his project for a butter fleet was squelched, he went on another tack. He said that additional reflection had confirmed him in the wisdom of his conclusions, but he spoke no more about the butter fleet. Apparently, he had been confirmed in the view which inspired this precious idea, and yet he dropped it ! There is a bit of brother Jonathan in the Prime Minister. I give him every credit for his exploits in the domain of high finance. We were to get a mail service, and good transport for produce, out of the £200,000 to be paid .to the Imperial Government for defence. That was a splendid idea, but it did not come off. The next proposal was that, in time of war, vessels should be left here for our .protection. It might, however, be necessary to- take them elsewhere. If there is one sea in which hostile vessels would not be stationed, and which it would take them some’ time to visit, it is that which surrounds Australia. Who would dream of shadowing nothing? The mighty sea power of Great Britain has to shadow possible enemies wherever they may be. Should they start for the Antipodes, British war vessels would get there as soon. The Admiralty says - “ Our policy is that of the race. Our vessels are rot a line ot defence, but must search for the enemy all over the world, and either destroy his ships, or be destroyed. We do not care where hostile vessels mav be. whether in the Mediterranean, or off Trafalgar, or elsewhere, we shall follow them to the ends of the earth. But we will not send our war vessels where there is no enemy.” According to the wisdom of those who study the movements of the warships of every nation of the world, we are defended everywhere. The Prime Minister then put forward a new idea. He suggested, “ We will give you 1,000 men, and take £100,000 from our contribution to pay for them.” Might not the Admiralty be allowed to manage its navy in its own way ? The Prime Minister wishes to become a non-official member of the Board. He says, “ I will find 1,000 men, and pay for them by deducting £100,000 from the contribution of £200,000. You must give us two ‘ P ‘ cruisers. But these 1,000 men are to be worked on ships which are not to leave our coasts.” Thus he proposed to keep two “ P “ cruisers to Australian waters in peace or war. It is not strange that the Admiralty reminded him that this was a new idea ; that nothing was said in London about cruisers. The Prime Minister admitted that, and dropped the cruiser project. It was a splendid idea to anchor two “ P “ cruisers to Australian waters, getting the training of 1,000 men, and the cruisers, too. Although I cannot praise the honorable and learned gentleman’s patriotism, I admire his slimness in matters of finance.
– The right honorable member will see that Lord Brassey is still advising it.
– Very likely. All I can say is, that if Lord Brassey entered into a contract to pay money, he would probably pay it. He is not undera contract to pay anybody money : we are. Does the Prime Minister really think £200,000 too much to pay for the protection of the Imperial Navy on all the oceans of the world ?
– I have said, over and over again, that it does not pay for it, or anything like it.
– If the Prime Minister would only act up to that, having said it; if he would only leave these people the £200,000, and go on-
– How can he, with the Labour Party behind him?
– That is a matter between him and them. The Prime Minister thinks that he has gained a distinct advance, and that the Admiralty are coming towards his views ; but I have read the’ despatches very carefully, and I venture to say that the assertion of the unity of command is just as explicit and strong now on the part of the Admiralty as it ever was. It is, however, only fair to say that the Prime Minister has got some of the officials to admit that torpedo boats and submersibles might be a splendid thing ; but in what contingency ? First of all, the enemy would probably never get here, and, in any case, those vessels are intended to work in connexion with a battleship fleet. If there were a battleship engagement in the South seas, they might be useful ; but if there is no such engagement, they are simply coast defences as before, and nothing more.
– Lord Tweedmouth said! differently at the 1907 Conference. Herecommended submarines as the most effective weapon for the Colonies to adopt.
– The honorable member is right. I practically said that a little while ago, without mentioning Lord Tweedmouth’s name, when I stated that the people of England were beginning to talk of the value of such vessels in a certain contingency ; but the contingency is one that is certainly in the distant future. They might be useful if battleships came here and found these ancillary vessels readv provided for them ; but to talk of attacking with them the few unarmoured cruisers which we may expect to see in these waters is an idle proposition. Much as the Prime Minister has done in the way of making the Admiralty officials come near his view, there is no doubt about the uterances of the Imperial Defence Committee.
– Why does not the right honorable member deal with the Bill now before the Chamber?
– I consider that both naval and military defence are involved in this Bill. I absolutely repudiate the attempt to cut our defence into two.
– I am talking about procedure; hot about the right of the honorable member to his opinion.
– If I am out of order, I am sure that I shall be called to order ; but the Bill covers both naval and military defence. I wish to show what the Imperial soldiers and sailors on the Imperial Defence Committee say; not what politicians say. I ask honorable members to listen carefully to this passage, which is in reply to a request of the Australian Government for a scheme -
The protection of Australian floating trade, whether on the high seas or in local watersdemands for its effective accomplishment, as explained in paragraphs 3 to 5, the closely concerted action of powerful sea-going ships. Localized vessels of the destroyer type could play no effective part in securing this object.
There is the deliverance of those distinguished experts, both naval and military. Our Naval Committee say, “ We agree with the statement of the Imperial Defence Committee as to the most probable nature of an attack.” They therefore agree that the probable mode of attack would be such a raid as that to which I referred. AsI have said, Captain Creswell and the Naval Committee of Experts in Aus- tralia repudiate the submarines by, making no provision for any of them. I do not think I have been out of order in what I have said, but if I have I am glad to have had the indulgence of the House. Having dealt with that question, I come back now to the Defence Bill as one branch only of the subject. From my point of view the sea is the vital point of our danger and defence. I believe that on the sea the magnificent efficiency of the British Fleets guarantees us as far as any human prevision can, and it is no service to the Empire to duplicate defence at points where duplication is unnecessary. There is no economy and no efficiency in that. Now I come to the question of a military force. The Government of which the Prime Minister was a member in 1902-3 adopted a scheme, of course under professional advice - I do not hold them responsible in any .sense except in the ordinary one - under which it was thought that a war establishment of about 40,000 men and a peace establishment of about 25,000 would be sufficient. That was approved by the Government and has been practically approved by all the authorities since. Would not a force of that sort be equal to any land service necessary in connexion with our defence for years to come? I am not speaking for 100 years hence but for, say, the next ten years. In a case of national necessity I say at once that the right to compel men to train, serve, and fight is absolute.
– That may be too late.
– I said the right to compel nen to train, because service without training is the worst sort of policy.
– But they must be trained before the emergency arises.
– I am agreeing with the honorable member, but all I want to say is that within the next ten years no such training, beyond the training of our Militia and Volunteer Forces, is necessary.
– How long does it take to train an officer in the British Navy ?
– I am speaking at present of the land forces. I look to the training of the British Navy as good enough for us for many years ahead. National defence may be a national emergency in years to come. I do not think it can possibly come within the reach of serious provision yet.
– Is not that waiting for 4he emergency to arise ?
– I admit that it is all a matter of opinion. To-morrow, for aught
I know, Great Britain might be involved in war with Germany, France, Japan, and Italy.
– And the honorable member’s policy is to delay till too late.
– My policy is that in the British fleet, with its preponderance over practically all the fleets of the world - for I have shown that in cruisers it beats Japan, Italy, Germany, and France together - the present power of Great Britain for our defence is large enough for the next ten years, supplemented by our present forces enlarged and improved. In any reasonable emergency the sea power of Great Britain will keep any of her enemies away from our coasts, and will protect our commerce.
– We must prepare for the eleventh vear.
– I am coming to that point presently. Our present forces developed, expanded, and properly equipped, are good enough for the next ten years. Believing that, I am not going to drag all the young men who may be eighteen next year in Australia out of their industries into camps. That would be a criminal, cruel wrong to them. I may be mistaken, but that is my opinion. I do not think that this question will come up as a reasonable probability for many years to come, but let us say that it may arise in ten years’ time. The men of ten years hence are children of eight or nine to-day in the public schools. Train the right young men of eighteen. Do not train the men of eighteen ten 3’ears before they are wanted. Those boys in our schools are the ones who may have to be trained, and I would begin with their training now. Both the Imperial Defence Committee and our local Committees agree on that. Cadet training is the basis of every system of national defence. If a national emergency required it, I would have out not only the men of eighteen, but the men of nineteen also. Why of eighteen, and why not of nineteen ? That is a question that I put to any advocate of this scheme. If we have to train the men now, let us train the whole. We can train the whole by beginning in our public schools. They are places where compulsion prevails. While the boys are at school, they are compelled to learn, and they would probably rather learn drill than many other things. Let us begin the training of our school boys of nine or ten to-day, for they will be our men of ten years hence. We cannot begin too early in our schools to give youngsters the rudiments of military instruction. It is a pleasure to them there, and, so far from interfering with their industrial struggle in after life, it fits them in every sense for national responsibilities and for their industrial . future. But the Government cannot justify laying hands on all the young men of eighteen in Australia at present. If they say that there is the necessity, they have no answer to those who ask: “Why should the necessities of today fall only upon the young men of eighteen years of age? Why should this national sacrifice be limited to a young man at the most critical stage in his industrial battle”? When a man becomes an efficient workman he gets a hold in a factory or warehouse which enables him to get away often, because his value is known, but boys of eighteen are just beginning the struggle to m;ike places for themselves in the battle of life. My honorable friends may perorate as long1 as they like, but the proposal will be a handicap to those young men in their industrial future. If sacrifice is called for, do not cast the whole burden on the young men of eighteen.
– With their wives and families !
– That is just it; they have no wives and families, and, therefore, I suppose, they are to bear the brunt of this national emergency. And what is more, these young fellows have no votes. We know how the Indians in South Africa are rebelling against being registered ; but what has first to be done under the system laid before us by the Government? Every young man of eighteen years of age has to go to an office and register himself - like & dog.
– A man has to register himself in order to get a vote.
– Nothing of the sort.
– He has in Victoria.
– May I suggest that registering in order to get a vote and registering in order to be taken eighteen days from work are two different matters. It is a grand thing for all who are exempt, but these young men, who have no votes, and cannot express their indignation or give effect to their opinion at the ballot-box, are all “roped in.” There is no doubt that this is a prudent beginning on the part of the Government - in fact, it is a stroke of genius.
– But the right honorable member proposes to go further, and begin with the boys 1
– The difference is that we begin with the boys at a time when training will be an enjoyment instead of a loss to them. I know that when I was at school if I had been taken out to march for an hour or two instead of learning geography I should have thanked God for the statesmen who had arranged such a pleasant diversion. But to create a parallel between taking school boys away to drill instead of their learning geography or grammar, and taking young men of eighteen, whose employers are liable to penalties if the young men should not present themselves, away from their employment is idle. Will employers be eager to employ men whose movements may subject them to prosecutions and penalties? It is a nice phase of modern liberalism to penalize and prosecute the other fellow ! We must not expect employers to run after young men of eighteen years of age, because they will prefer the young men of nineteen, whose employment will lead to no trouble.
– The age is from eighteen to twenty-one.
– The honorable member ‘ does not know the Bill yet. May I suggest that there is a clause to the effect that it only applies to those who are only eighteen years of age in the precise year the Bill becomes law?
– But the following year the men of nineteen years of age will be called upon.
– They will be the same men, who have become nineteen years of age ; and this is the joke of the Bill. There was an idea, which I see is, shared by many, that the scheme includes all young men of eighteen, nineteen, and twenty-one years of age. That is absolutely not true.
– They start at eighteen years of age.
– What I am saying is that many thought that all young men of eighteen, nineteen, and twenty-one years of age were included.
– I never heard of that.
– I thought that the honorable member’ himself just now said so.
– That is a mistake. I said the age was from eighteen to twenty-one.
– The same young men of eighteen ?
– That is what I mean; if this Bill is proclaimed next year every young man of nineteen, twenty, or twentyone years of age will not be affected.
– And so with every man over twenty-three.
– That only emphasizes the inequality of the Bill.
– We must begin somewhere.
– If there is an emergency distribute the sacrifice more fairly ; but I say there is no emergency. If the present forces were properly encouraged and equipped, and an appeal made to the patriotic zeal of the young men of Australia, the response would be amply sufficient without resorting to the yoke of compulsion.
– It is impossible to get officers at the present moment.
– I should like to refer to the matter of the officers. We hear of “ little Englanders,” but there are men whom I call “little Australians” - men who will not, for the benefit of all the people in Australia, obtain the services, as instructors, of veteran soldiers, officers, and non-commissioned officers of the British Army. The course of instruction should be at the hands of the most experienced instructors.
– The right honorable member’s Government instituted the Military Board.
– That does not prevent the importation of instructors - the Board is not composed of instructors.
– The Inspector-General was appointed by the right honorable gentleman’s Government.
– The Inspector-General is not an instructor, and I am not talking of him. May I suggest that the present InspectorGeneral was not appointed by my Government ; and, with all respect to the distinguished man who at present holds the office, it is, in my opinion, a fatal disqualification for the command of the Australian troops, in peace or war, that the Inspector-General should not have had practical experience in command of large bodies of men on the field of battle. Honorable members may call me a “ little Englander,’ ‘ or what they may. I say it is a political crime to put at the head of those men, who are supposed to defend the country at the risk of their lives, a man who has never led a considerable body of men on the field of battle.
– Such a contention a few years ago would have disqualified over 90 per cent, of British officers.
– I am speaking in the light of the actual fact, that there are now thousands of officers, commissioned and non-commissioned, in the British Army, who have gone through one of the biggest wars of the last thirty years. Had there been no Boer war the remark of the honorable member would have been accurate, but, as there has been a Boer war, the remark is a missfire.
– If such a condition did not apply to British officers, why should it apply to Australian officers?
– Are not these continuous interjections disorderly? You, Mr. Speaker, have called honorable members on this side to order by name for far less disorderly conduct than is now going on without any intervention.
– This gives me the opportunity to mention what ought to have been obvious, namely, that the interjections come from the side opposed to the honorable member who happens to be speaking, and, therefore, the interjections on the present occasion have not been from the Opposition side. I will only express the hope that, when some honorable member on the other side of the House is speaking, he will have as quiet a hearing as the right honorable member for East Sydney has had to-day. In the last few moments, however, interjections have multiplied to a large extent. I hope that honorable members will give the right honorable member the hearing he has hitherto had.
– -My only objection to the interjections is that they prolong my speech more than I desire ; I have been received with perfect courtesy and fairness by honorable members on all sides. I desire to show how inconsistent the Government are, and how ungenerous was that exclamation by the Prime Minister a few moments ago, that I was objecting to the Inspector-General because he was an Australian.
– I did not say so.
– It sounded very like that, though I may not have caught the remark accurately. Any man, with the slightest desire for the advancement of Australia, would like to see our Military Forces have the benefit of the best ability and experience in the world. There is no littleness in that sentiment; it is common-sense and common humanity. How inconsistent the Government are when they say, practically, that we do not need instruction by trained and experienced soldiers. Do honorable members know that the enormous number of eight officers have been sent to England to gain the benefit of instruction in the Mother Country? What an enormous crowd - three officers and five noncommissioned officers !
– There have been twice as many.
– I am relying on the InspectorGeneral’s report, but, even taking the number at double, the figure is ridiculous. If we had half-a-dozen real live instructors sent out here they would not cost more than sending these young fellows Home, and those instructors could teach 200 or 300 men. At present it is only one who benefits by the instruction and a trip to England at the expense of the public.
– But the officers come back and instruct those here.
– But while they are away learning in this time pf national emergency - when so much counts, and we must reach all men of eighteen years of age - does the honorable member not think we could have half-a-dozen or even twenty or fifty instructors sent out here, instead of waiting for ‘the return of those eight officers, some of whom, by the way, may not turn out well ?
– The officers are returning, six every year.
– It is wonderful.
– It is much more wonderful than what the honorable gentleman did when he was in office, because he did nothing.
– If I were so full of faults in eleven months of office, what a load of iniquity the Prime Minister must have spread over his seven years? Will the sucking dove just sweetly coo a little against the men who have had control for seven years?
– Why did not the right honorable gentleman alter matters when he had a chance?
– I altered a good many; and the first thing I did was to put the best man I could at the head of the Department.
– Colonel McCay was frank enough to say that he could not do as a Minister what he would have approved as a private member.
– That only showed that Colonel McCay was a little more honest than others; and I have no objection to a man who speaks in that frank way. In regard to the Volunteer and Militia Forces, the Government admit, in effect, that they must be men of wonderful efficiency, seeing that out of their ranks no less than 7,000 officers are to be taken.
– The Government never said so.
– The Minister of Defence said that in the course of the first three years there would be 7,000 vacancies for officers, and that they would be open to the gentlemen in the militia and the volunteers. This was a little sop - the twig was limed - but they are now told that these positions are intended for others.
– The right honorable member does not object to these men being made officers ?
– No ; but if they are fit to be officers, they must be pretty good men. We were further told that at the end of eight years there would be 18,000 vacancies ; and if the members of the militia and volunteers are good enough to fill them, they are too good to lose. In my opinion, the only justification for compulsion, in the matter of service, is a national emergency within a reasonable prospect of time.
– Even for cadets?
– In the schools the boys are under compulsion all the time, and the compulsory principle would naturally apply. But I believe that cadets could be obtained by the thousand.
– I am told that 40 per cent, of the boys’ parents object.
– That leaves 60 per cent, which would be sufficient. My belief is that we could make the Volunteer and Militia Forces amply sufficient for all reasonable purposes.
– Is not the real difficulty in foretelling sufficiently early when an emergency is likely to arise?
– Emergency can only arise in the nature of invasion, after a state of things which is at present inconceivable.
– Is it not difficult to foretell when the emergency is likely to arise, and to be prepared for it?
– That would be an excellent argument in Switzerland, which is surrounded by France, Germany, Italy, and
Austria. It would be an excellent argument if it came from a little place like Switzerland, where recruits can be obtained for 4½d. per day, and a private receives only 7 Jd. per day. This would be a splendid system if we proposed to pay Australians such a small remuneration ; but I hope that we shall not do so. We shall not treat Australians on that basis, but pay them as Australians should be paid. Switzerland is a little place, hemmed in by great nations, and where would it be without its mountains? If it were a little bit of flat country, it would hs.ve been annexed long ago. It has been kept intact by its mountains and its men. But with us, removed as we are thousands of miles from any possible base of attack, the position is absolutely different. I believe that the sea power of the Mother Country protects us from invasion, and will protect us at least for ten years to come, and that the moment it ceases to be sufficient to protect us from invasion, that moment the” most serious effort should be made to begin military training.
– It would then be too late.
Mr. REID. We could more clearly anticipate than that if that is the emergency that this Bill is proposed to meet, whyshould we limit its application to youths of eighteen ? Why should men of from nineteen to fifty years of age be shut out? The proposal to limit it to young men of eighteen, shows that it is not designed to meet a real emergency. It is a mere speculative movement. I say frankly that I have no objection to compulsory military training, if it is absolutely necessary. Years ago, when I had not read up this question, I had a strong opinion that we ought to have some form of compulsory service. I considered then that it should be applied to young fellows, from school up to eighteen years of age, remembering that the battle of life for ‘the young commences at that period. But, as the result of the study I have given for some time to this question, I have come to the conclusion that there is no emergency that requires even that to be done. My views may be expressed in a few words. My first point is, that for the next ten years, the guarantee of the Mother Country for our naval protection, is sufficient, without any naval development on our own part. My second is, that so far as our duties of land and coast defence -are concerned, the Imperial Committee’s recommendation, indorsed by our Committee of military officers, is sufficient. The local Committee go further in regard to the question of ships; but so far as the land defences are concerned, the two Committees recommend a development of our existing system. Both the local Committee of military officers and the Imperial Defence Committee, concur that our present military system, properly developed, and with proper equipment, is good enough. May I say, incidentally, that the Prime Minister has publicly stated that the report of the Imperial Defence Committee has saved the Commonwealth £330,000, and that I think we are under an obligation of gratitude to that Committee for its report. The two Committees agree that our present Forces, if developed, are sufficient, and I think, on that authority, that that development is the better course to follow. We should more properly equip the Forces and make an appeal, say to the rifle clubs. There are in the rifle clubs of the Commonwealth, 30,000 or 40,000 members, thousands of whom, I believe, would be prepared to join the existing forces. I would exhaust an effort first of all to develop the volunteer system, and if that failed, and danger threatened, I should be prepared to consider any method of compulsion that the national emergency required.- I have a strong feeling with regard to the training of our school boys. In 1.883, when I was Minister of Public Instruction in New South Wales, I gave a start to the school cadet movement, believing even then that the playground was the place to give our boys the first rudiments of military instruction, and that if a proper system of encouragement were maintained, the boys would come without compulsion into the Cadet Forces, and afterwards into the national Volunteer and Citizen Forces. Do not let us forget that Great Britain, the Dominion of Canada, South Africa, and every other British Dominion, have been able, from time immemorial, to solve their difficulties in even darker .hours than these, without resort to this foreign method of compulsory training. And, after all, it is compulsory service that is proposed. Anything that takes a man by force from his occupation is compulsory ; and if we will call on these young men, as I think, unnecessarily, to make this sacrifice, we are bound in honour to pay them. The men who are over eighteen are bound to pay the men who are eighteen years of age for the sacrifice they make. How easy is this patriotism of penalizing employers and making theia pay, as an offering to the community, for services not rendered. I should hope that every employer would be .patriotic enough to respond to the call. Most of us would think it no sacrifice; but still, there are others who may have different opinions, and in any case, it is compulsion - and compulsory sacrifice - that is proposed. This scheme has not the merit of a voluntary sacrifice; it has all the force and odium of compulsion. If these young men are to be taken away from their work, they ought to be paid, and paid well, and those whom they are in training to defend ought to pay them.
– There is not much wrong with that proposal.
– But it would raise a vista of -finance that would appal Ministers.
– And that is the object with which it is suggested.
– Surely if it is right, the incidental effect of embarrassing the Ministry should not deter one from making such a statement. I hope that the honorable gentleman will recognise that criticism is the justifiable exercise of a parliamentary position. I repeat that this will create a financial question. The cost of our naval and military defence, including the amount paid under the Naval Agreement for 1906-7, was £1,035,000, and under the Prime Minister’s scheme of December last it will be in the first vear £1,714,000.
– What we are discussing does not mean that expenditure.
– The Auditor-General’s report for 1906-7 shows that our naval and military expenditure for 1906-7, including everything, -was £1,035,000, whilst the Prime Minister’s scheme would mean an outlay of £1,714,000. The object of calling on our young men of eighteen was to get rid of the expense of paying the militia. That is the whole secret’ of this movement.
– The right honorable member now says that we shall have to pay more than we should pay the militia under the old scheme.
– But the honorable member must not forget that he wanted to get these young men for nothing. I .have heard utterances that suggest that that is so. Officials have been inquiring what is the average wage of a youth in a factory, and have ascertained that it amounts fa £1 os. 8d. per week.
– That was inquired into two years ago.
– Then why was this proposal kept secret? Two years ago means practically September, 1906 - the very time that the Prime Minister said that the existing system would be developed. The Minister of Defence has just given us a little piece of information : that before the last general election, and notwithstanding the Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament in September, 1906, the Government were already on this track, and had worked out the question of money, compensation.
– The Government Statist told me that he had worked it out twenty years before.
– No doubt. I .sum up my attitude upon this subject by. stating that I regard these projects as wild ‘and impracticable, as. being not founded in necessity, or even in prudence, but as arising either from hysterical fear or from a craze for militarism that is foreign to the history and the spirit of the British race.
.- We are asked now to discuss a question which the right honorable member for East Sydney described in his opening remarks as being perhaps the most important to which this Parliament has addressed itself. Although the right honorable member has spoken for nearly two and a half hours, his actual . criticism of the provisions of the Bill itself, I venture to say:, did not occupy more than twenty minutes. Something like two hours were devoted by him to matters completely beyond the scope of the Bill. No doubt he was in order; the elasticity of our procedure is very convenient for those who, like the leader of the Opposition, give to every question just that amount of consideration that is expedient. I shall not attempt to follow the right honorable member through his argument in respect of the naval policy of the Government, because we shall have later on an ample opportunity to discuss that question, and probably to hear the right honorable member again express himself upon it. He may then have matured his opinions, and perhaps have changed them. I cannot help saying at the outset that his attitude in regard to’ defence is characteristic of his whole career. He has told us that when he was in office he appointed a soldier as Minister of Defence. No doubt that is true, but it would be difficult for the right honorable member to tell us what he or his Minister did for the defence of the Commonwealth whilst they were in office. “It may, perhaps, not be difficult for the right honorable member to explain why his own attitude on this question has so often changed. There was a time when he was at least tolerant of this proposal. I am given to understand by my co-secretary of the Defence League that he was a member of that association, or, at all events, extended to it some support.
– I would not go as far as the league. I refused to address any meeting under its auspices, because I did not go as far as it did.
– The right honorable gentleman at one period was entirely in favour of the principles of this Bill.
– Then I have been misinformed, and accept the right honorable member’s denial.
– The league has advanced so far that its own president has left it.
– The honorable member must allow the leader of the Opposition to dohis own fighting in this connexion.
– Years ago I threw out the suggestion that there might be a system of compulsion for youths up to the age of eighteen years; but I did not contemplate the present scheme.
– At any rate, it isclear that the right honorable member’s attitude now is not that which he assumed at one time.
– I never had to discuss the matter seriously.
– I mention the fact only because it, in a measure, affects the arguments which he has put forward this afternoon.
– I still agree that the system of compulsion-
– Order !
– If you will pardon me, sir. I hope you will permit me to interject once.
– When the right honorable member was speaking, he specially asked that there should be no interjecting.
– The honorable member for West Sydney has not made that request.
– Other honorable members refrained from interjecting when the right honorable member was speaking.
– This is too bad. Surely I may ask a question?
– The right honorable member, as a Parliamentarian, is old enough to know that the course which he is now following is entirely out of order.
Mr.Reid. - This is most unfair.
– I merely commend to the right honorable member the attitude which he desired that others should adopt in regard to himself.
– I am willing to allow the right honorable member to say whatever he pleases.
– What I wish to say is this-
– The right honorable member is too old-
– With the permission of the honorable member for West Sydney, I may be allowed to make a statement.
– The right honorable member may not during the speech of the honorable member.
– I have been for twenty years accustomed to doing so.
– I am afraid the right honorable member has hardly made himseif acquainted with our Standing Orders.
– The right honorable member must know better than I do what his position is, and I accept his statement.
– Unfortunately, I cannot explain my position now.
– The right honorable member’s speech was a criticism, not of the Bill, but of the general policy of the Government in respect to the Naval Agreement. He found fault with the audacity of doing something, of getting out of that rut into which he conveniently plunged when in office, and in which other Ministers have wallowed in their time. He believes in the all-sufficient protection afforded Australia, in common with other parts of the Empire, by the British Navy. That is the beginning and end of his naval policy. So far as his military policy is concerned, he says that present conditions are sufficient, if they are developed as they may well be ; practically, his policy, if he has one, is that things, as they are, are good enough.
– No ; they are very bad.
– The right honorable member made no effort to establish that. He was satisfied to reiterate time and again, first, that the British Navy was never more powerful than it is to-day ; and, secondly, that we have always acted in a very niggardly fashion in not contributing more than £200,000 a year towards its maintenance. Lastly, he ridiculed the proposal to establish an Australian fleet. I think that, under the circumstances, I am justified in calling the attention of the House to the remarks which he made on the Naval Agreement Bill in the second session of the first Parliament, as reported on page 1969 of vol. xiv. of Hansard. Whatever may be said as to his dives into the past, his dives into the future have not been of late sufficiently successful to advance his reputation as a political seer. Evidently he did not know what was coming when he uttered these words -
There was a time not so very long ago when so jealous was the feeling in the minds of the Imperial authorities as to their colonial possessions, that the last thing in the world a British Minister would have dreamt of proposing would have been any sort of partnership between the ; Imperial Government and the British dependencies, whether for military or naval purposes. The view in Downing-street then was, that the last thing which it would be prudent to do would be to encourage the development of either a military or a naval spirit in the various outlying parts of the Empire. A much happier phase has now come over the relations between the British Government and the other governing bodies in the Empire upon this and many other important questions, and we now find the Imperial authorities profoundly eager to draw us all into partnership, whilst on the part of the self-governing States of the Empire there is a profound disinclination to adopt that course.
– That was what was called Imperial Federation, which I always opposed.
– In 1903, the right honorable gentleman criticised the Government of the day in most overwhelming fashion because it declined to do what this Government proposes.
– That is not so.
– The right honorable member’s words stand in Hansard. He congratulated us upon the progressive spirit which now marks the British Government, pointing out that in times gone by it had viewed with distrust efforts by -the Colonies to launch out on their own; that the Mother Country was now only too desirous to see her children fast arriving at years of discretion take upon themselves the responsibilities of manhood. If any one can deduce from those remarks the opinion that the right honorable member is consistent in what he now says in respect to the naval proposals of the Government, he is welcome to do so. In so far as he criticised the military scheme at all, he declared that if conscription was necessary, he did not object to it. “ By all means compel every one to train,” said he, but he went on to say that it was not necessary. In any case, he declared we should not commence at the age of eighteen, but should include every one at all ages. For his part, he would start at school - and, no doubt, stay there. In my opinion, we should regard the measure, not from the right honorable member’s point of view, which is narrow, parochial, and shortsighted, but as one which will effect a complete revolution more nearly touching the lives of the people than almost any other legislative project that could be introduced into this Parliament. We should, therefore, bring to it a broadminded but careful criticism, signally lacking in the right honorable member’s speech. He would have us believe, that everything is well with the British Empire ; that there is no fear of war ; that we may securely fold our arms, and rest in peace under the aegis of the mightiest fleet that the world has ever seen. But we should look the facts in the face, and see what reflection lightens or darkens the heavens therefrom. At the present time the British fleets are being drawn closer and ever closer to Great Britain. But three years ago, when the Naval Agreement Bill was being discussed, they were policing the most distant seas. There was then a respectable squadron in the China seas, and a fleet in the Pacific. To-day, except for the Mediterranean squadron, all the British warships are within a stone’s throw of Great Britain, encircling with a triple Avail of steel, the island’s which are the heart of the Empire. _ The right honorable gentleman believes that ‘ everything is well, although circumstances tell a very different tale. Similar action on the part of a private person would be regarded as .significant of his apprehension of danger.. When a man takes the precaution to be always within a stone’s throw of his house, all men accept it as conclusive evidence that he believes himself to be in imminent danger of attack. A few years ago, Great Britain had but a handful of ships outside the Channel Squadron, in home waters, and her fleets were sailing unchallenged and unchallengeable in every ocean. It was felt then that the heart of the Empire was safe. But of late there has been a profound change in the naval policy of the Empire. Germany has gone on steadily building a navy, and to-day, as every one knows, under Admiral Fisher’s regime, British warships - except those few at our doors - have been withdrawn from the uttermost parts of the earth, to be concentrated in the narrow seas surrounding the British Isles, to guard them from invasion. That is a complete admission of the power of the nation which has successfully challenged our supremacy in the mercantile marine of the world, and is daily putting us to greater straits to hold our own. That power now challenges us boldly. It does not come as a suppliant, or as a. beggar asking for the crumbs from a rich man’s table ; it is our rival for the sea borne commerce of the world and almost our equal. Germany is a great nation, ruled by a man of insatiable ambition, determined that it is the destiny of the Empire over which he rules to be a world power. It was stated the other evening that in a few years Great Britain will have to make great efforts if she is to maintain the naval two-power standard.
– Then are we to deprive her of our contribution of £200,000?
– In view of the manner in which the equilibrium of naval power has been lately disturbed, Great Britain will, in a few years, be unable to keep her present position. I shall, in a moment, show how that statement is borne out by those who may be regarded, as authorities. There can be no earthly doubt that the present allocation of the British Navy is a complete admission of the fact that it now takes the might of that great fleet merely to conserve the heart of the Empire itself. It is a fact which cannot be denied that the German Empire to-day is infinitely superior to us as a military power, as I suppose she has been for the last thirty odd years ; and while, as a naval power, she is not now equal to us, she is every day making efforts to become so. A number of my friends - and by my friends I mean those who hold political opinions similar to my own - have views on this matter not at all unlike those expressed by the right honorable member for East Sydney. It is a subject upon which parties are by no means united. It is a non-party question in the very best and widest sense of the term. I should therefore be treacherous to the movement in which _ I have taken the liveliest interest from its inception if I attempted to surround it with a party atmosphere, or view it in a party light. I desire to deal with it in a broad and national spirit and to summon to my aid distinguished men of all parties. I will first quote Mr. Hyndman, who holds a high place in the Socialist movement in Great Britain. In The Clarion of Friday, 31st July, r9o8, he writes a remarkable article which no man could read without feeling that, whether it be true or not, the man who wrote it believed it right down to the last comma. He says, amongst other things -
There is not the slightest doubt that German)’, under the leadership of Prussia, is steadily making ready, at heavy cost, which the German Empire can at present ill afford, for a crucial naval engagement in the North Sea, followed by an invasion of this country. This is perfectly well known to all our leading politicians, and conclusive evidence of the truth of this statement is on record in the War Office and at the Admiralty. Everything is being got ready with that scrupulous care and minute attention to detail for which the Germans have been famous in military matters for nearly half a century.
– The honorable member’s friend, Mr. Lloyd George, does not believe that.
– I shall come to Mr. Lloyd George in a minute. Mr. Hyndman then deals with the optimists. He must have had in his mind the right honorable member for East Sydney, who is surely the most genial and complete optimist of them all. Those were persons who said : “ Oh, this would never be permitted. The Germans are our very good friends, and would never allow their Government to commit such an outrage on a peaceful power. The Social Democrats of Germany would also have something to say.” Mr. Hyndman says, in reply -
It is just as well to get this rubbish out of the way at once. Our Comrade Bebel, expressing the opinions of our Social-Democrat comrades, said plainly more than once in the Reichstag that the German Navy is being built in order to attack England, and opposed the voting of the money for the ship-building programme now being carried out on that ground, and because the carrying out of such a programme must inevitably lead to war. Yet German Social-Democrats cannot hinder the completion of the programme for the moment. . . But the German people most assuredly have no control over their Government. Moreover, we here have very short memories. Most of us have already forgotten how Germany threatened France with war but yesterday unless the Republic dismissed M. Delcasse” immediately on account of Morocco, a country in which M. von Bulow declared just before Germany had no interest whatever. _ M. Delcasse” was ejected and peace was maintained. … I regard German Imperialism and German jack-bootery as a menace to Europe, and I believe firmly that the success of the German pan-Teutonic, antiEnglish, anti-French scheme of aggression would throw back Socialism in Europe for fully two generations.
I come now to an opinion expressed by Mr. Blatchford, editor of The Clarion. I am quoting these men on one side. The Labour Party of Great Britain put forward a manifesto of which, although phrased in other language, the remarks of the right honorable member for East Sydney are an echo. They are perfectly satisfied, as he is, that there is no danger of war. They are like ostriches with their heads in the sand, or hens whose senses have been dulled by their own clucking. Of them Mr. Blatchford says - the Labour Party resolution is based upon a misconception of the political situation. I do not believe that any person can accuse Great Britain of provocative action. If there is any menace it comes wholly from Germany. All the threats are German threats. No British politician wants war with Germany.
Those are the words of a man who to the last degree is opposed to war, and who represents, if any man does, that feeling of Internationalism which aims at throwing down all the barriers that stand between the races of mankind -
Germany is or is not increasing her Navy and preparing for the embarkation of an invading army. Which is it? If Keir Hardie or the Daily News or the Daily Chronicle can produce any theory to account for their strong condemnation of our warning as a 15 scare :’ let them speak, and we will listen.
He goes on to quote the New Agc, a Fabian newspaper, which says -
The international” situation is full of disquietening possibilities, due to German ambition and Russian desperation. With the death of the Emperor of Austria, Europe must be brought to the verge of war. The nightmare of King Edward and his Government is a confederation of Germany and Austria under one sovereign whose influence, paramount in the Balkans and Turkey, would extend in a great belt across Europe from the North Sea and the Baltic to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Against such a Power we should be impotent with our present armaments, because we should be incapable of offensive warfare.
That article speaks of the .possibility of the very disturbance in the Balkans that arose only the day before yesterday -
The choice, then, lies before us. Either we must create a compulsory and efficient territorial force that would set our regular army free for foreign service in case of need, or else we must be content to accept with all its humiliating consequences the ignoble policy of alliance and intrigue for which Sir Edward Grey stands. If we refuse the burden of organizing a citizen army we renounce thereby the honorable position which no other nation is able to fill. Fortune has marked out this country as the champion of liberty in Europe. With the exception of France we are undoubtedly, our incorrigible conservatism notwithstanding, the most freedom-loving and the freest of the great Powers, and, as compared with France, we have the enormousadvantage of our insular position. If, then, we withhold our support from the popular partiesabroad for diplomatic reasons there is no one towhom they can look. Our weakness is their weakness, and our entanglements are their doom.
Those are the opinions of men who arecertainly not jingoists, certainly not men’ desirous of creating a scare, but men who have everything to lose amongst their supporters in Great Britain by preaching such doctrines. The LabourParty in Great Britain, as a whole, are bitterly opposed to war, and therefore men who speak in that way s regoing directly against their own interestsso far as those interests are identified with popularity amongst the men who support them. I come now to authorities of a quite different kind. The military correspondent of the Times, an authority which even the right honorable member for East Sydney may recognise, in a letter to the editor of The Call, in May, 1908, said -
In considering external dangers, it is the part of statesmanship to regard all Powers as potential enemies, no matter what their present attitude. History shows that international alliances and friendships only endure for so long as the interest of allies and friends coincide.
There never was a statement made which more accurately defines our position.
– Instance the treaty of Berlin, which has just been broken.
– The treaty of Berlin is trampled- under foot to-day. While three army corps are marching towards the Bosnian frontier, and 120,000 Servians are being mobilized, Great Britain, France, and, I believe, Russia, are - protesting ! This gentleman continues -
Australia has hitherto relied, and she reliesstill, upon the protection of the British Navy. But the pressure of foreign- naval competition has compelled us- to concentrate out armoured fleets at Home. We no longer maintain quasipermanently an armoured fleet in the Pacific, and it is uncertain whether we shall be able to do so again. Our main battle-fleets - exclusive of the Mediterranean Fleet, which, if it be removed, must be replaced - are 11,257 miles from Sydney by the Suez route, 12,500 miles by the Cape route, and 12,250 miles by Panama when the canal is opened. Allowing an average and” continuous sea-speed of J 2 knots for a battle fleet traversing such distances - an average which would scarcely be maintained in practice - our battle-fleets, provided all preparations for coaling and supply were made beforehand, would take thirty-nine days to steam to Sydney from Plymouth by the quickest route, and forty-seven days by the two other routes. But Sydney is twenty-two days’ steaming at the same speed from San Francisco, fifteen days from Yokohama, and sixteen days from Shanghai. Suppose an attack from one of these ports upon Sydney ; and allow that our fleets and those of the enemy start simultaneously, Sydney wouk have the enemy at its doors and on its hands for 17, 24, and 23 days respectively before the British Navy came in. The time might be much longer. It could scarcely be less. Australian trade on the high seas and round the coasts would, equally with Australian interests ashore, be in peril for that time, provided, of course, that the enemy’s force is superior to that of our Eastern Fleet at the time. The enforced concentration of British battle-fleets in Home waters has radically altered the situation of Australia in war, and has seriously altered it for the worse. When, therefore, Australians are asked, as I judge from a speech by Mr. Reid that they are asked, to be confident that their greatest danger is a raiding attack by a few unarmoured cruisers and a landing by 1,000 men, I think that the enemy is credited with a degree of forbearance, and a capacity for sauntering, on which you cannot count.
– Our own Naval Officers Committee agree with the Imperial Defence Committee.
– The man who wrote these words has been engaged in actual war ; and his opinion may, therefore, be accepted. He goes on to say -
There is only one means by which Australia can remain secure, and that is by making herself so strong that the temptation to attack her may be removed. The best defence of nations is attack, and an insular State cannot attack without naval force. Consequently, it is the duty, as it appears to be the wish, of Australia to create this force, if the naval power of the Mother Country does not, or may not in the future, completely cover Australia as with a shield. The idea that in an Empire of 400 millions of people, occupying 11,000,000 square miles of territory, the cradle of sea power rests exclusively in certain islands containing 44,000,000 people and measuring 122,000 square miles, is not a proposition that can easily be demonstrated. I should rather say that fifty years hence the predominance of the British fla? in distant seas is not conceivable unless the selfgoverning Colonies begin at once to lay the foundations of their future navies.
Then Captain Mahan, of the United States Navy, in the August number of The Call says -
It is very different for those who are severed from their like by sea, and, therefore, must stand on their own bottom. All the naval power of the British Empire cannot suffice ultimately to save a remote community which neither breeds men in plenty nor freely imports them.
The opinion of Admiral Dewey is that it i& not sufficient for the United States to have a navy in the Atlantic, but that there must also be an efficient navy in the Pacific - that the mere fact that America is supreme in the Atlantic offers no guarantee of its prestige in the Pacific. Viscount Esher, in the May number of the National Review, writes -
Twenty years ago, in the eighties, France appeared to be the only rival to Great Britain at sea, and the centre of gravity of maritime power in Europe was still sought for in the Mediterranean. To-day it has shifted to the North Sea, while in the Pacific the Naval Power of England has yielded to the United States on the western littoral, and to Japan in the Far East.
Lieutenant A. C. Dewar, R.N., uses the following words in the United Service M Magazine -
The Australian may somewhat angrily ask, where our boasted control of the sea is to be found. The answer is that it does not exist, so far as the Pacific is_concerned, unless one of the great European or Pacific Powers (i.e., Japan and United States of America), is allied with us.
Admiral Fremantle writes - . . . the National Service League is justified in its demand for a strong home army to relieve the Navy from being tethered to our shores to insure us against a sudden blow at the heart. I should like to clear the ground further by saying that, while I acknowledge myself to be a whole-hearted advocate of what is somewhat loosely spoken of as “ the blue water school,” I am also “a member of the National Service League…….
It was pointed out the other night by the Minister of Defence that there are some fifty Admirals in the National Service League. The right honorable member for East Sydney relies on the British Navy, and holds the opinion that there is no necessity to resort to compulsion, the present means of defence being ample to protect us. To that I reply that there is every reason to believe that, at least, one Power has the deliberate intention of invading, or striking a blow at, Great Britain, in which event, of course, we must suffer in common with other parts of the Empire. It is clear that by the readjustment of the British Fleet there is in the whole of the Pacific only the Australian Squadron, which consists of one firstclass protected cruiser, two second-class, five third-class, and two small ships unclassified. Of these vessels there is only one which, if in England, would not be on the scrap-heap - that is the Powerful. When in England last year, I passed down a line of war vessels in company with Lord Brassey, who pointed out quite twenty of them only one remove from’ the scrap-heap ; and yet each one was better than any on the Australian station, except the Powerful. Lord Brassey further said at the time that he had no doubt the Admiralty would willingly lend the Australian Government any of the ships we had seen. There is nothing between us and invasion, or even a raid, except the Powerful, which, on the face of it, is quite unable to police, much less to defend, 8,000 miles of coast line. The right honorable member for East Sydney spoke of there being no danger of invasion, and in this connexion I should like to quote from Colonel Gaedke, a German military authority, who, speaking on the position of France and Germany in the case of war, says -
In this train of thought it is suggested that on the first outbreak with England the choice should be offered France of “ War or alliance.” If she decided for us the entire position would be altered; the English fleet would no longer concentrate ; Egypt and the Suez Canal, Cyprus, Gibraltar, would be threatened ; the road to India in danger. A landing in England not impossible. Many people consider it brutal, immoral, to take from a people its right of choice and deny it the freedom of neutrality. Brutal ? Perhaps ! But for a people there is only one law, only one morality - to make themselves, at any price, victorious; to secure their national position, at any price, even if others should be ruined thereby.
We find that, as a matter of fact, that policy was pursued a century ago by Great Britain in regard to Denmark, who, because she declined neutrality, was bombarded by the British Fleet, and reduced to terms. Before dealing with the Bill itself, I desire to refer to one or two other remarks by the right honorable member for East Sydney, who takes the view, apparently, that there is no danger of trouble here for the next ten years. That may, of course, be true; but it has been the uniform experience of all nations that precisely at the moment when the national horizon was absolutely clear of the slightest cloud or indication of disturbance, calamity has come. Prussia, just before hex overwhelming defeat at Jena, was congratulating herself on her position, and chanting the glories of peace ; France, immediately before the FrancoPrussian war, declared her complete readiness to meet and defeat all comers, though she was in a few months reduced to confusion and despair. Such has been the fate of nations who have persuaded themselves that no danger existed ; to them has applied the Scriptural quotation, “ Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” In dealing with the Bill, we have to ask ourselves whether, in view of the very great danger there is in this country from invasion or raid, we should not do that which every nation which has ever lived to tell the tale, has been compelled to do. The right honorable member for East Sydney said there is danger only from a raid of a few thousand men; but he has not supported that statement by any evidence or authority. Major-General Hutton, who may, at least, be regarded as an authority, declared that our present system was entirely unsatisfactory, and that he approved completely of compulsory training. Lord Roberts, who, of all men, must most nearly approach the ideal of the right honorable member for East Sydney - having spent half a century in active warfare - declares that the position of Great Britain to-day is one which approaches the desperate, and that nothing but the adoption of a most radical policy can save her. His proposal is compulsory universal service. There is growing up in Great Britain a volume of public opinion, slowly surmounting that wall of conservatism which ever marks a Britisher in such matters, in favour of our proposal ; and I venture to say that, in a. very few years, compulsory service for Home defence will be adopted there. If such a system is necessary in Great Britain, it is ten times more necessary in Australia. Great Britain is protected by the greatest fleet the world has ever seen, lying a few miles from her doors every moment of the day and night; and there is no time when any of these vessels is out of communication with the shore by wireless telegraphy or other means. Yet, under such circumstances, the Minister of War, Mr. Haldane, declared it to be absolutely necessary, in order that the Fleet might be effective, and the regular army free to defend the Empire abroad, that there should be a territorial army for Home defence. It is true that Mr. Haldane’s scheme does not involve the principle of compulsion ; but it is a clear recognition that in the Fleet itself, there is not that absolute immuniy from invasion claimed by the honorable member for East Sydney ; and which, indeed, there can never be with merely human protection. In the very nature of things, there must always be a weak spot through which the enemy can pierce ; and hemmed in, as Great Britain is, by potential enemies, and by one, at least, that is something more than potential, every wise Englishman has long ago come to the conclusion that England must depend on something more than her Navy ; and the territorial army is the result. Based upon the voluntary system, it has admittedly failed. Mr. Haldane spoke hopefully of a force of some 800,000 men, and it was expected to be, at any rate, 320,000; but, on 1st June of this year, the total strength was only 144,620. That shows conclusively that the volunteer system in England has utterly failed. When soldiers, sailors, and civilians intrusted with the management of affairs in Great Britain assert that it is necessary to supplement her present line of defence by a strong territorial army, is it not necessary that we should do something in the same direction? Can it be said that a force of 21,000 men - or one out of every forty of our population - can be regarded as a sufficient or effective proportion for a country with 8,000 miles of coast line? At present we have only one ship capable of offering anything like a defence to even a raider, and we have some 21,000 men, of whose willingness and efficiency I wish to say nothing. I rely entirely upon the statement of the Minister of Defence that that force is in no sense satisfactory, and would be wholly inadequate to do that which would be required of it. In these circumstances a radical change is necessary, and this measure, which will effect a complete revolution in the present system, has been introduced. When the Defence Bill was before Parliament in 1903, I moved an amendment covering this ground, and .then said, as reported in Hansard, volume xv., page 3098-
What I propose would provide an efficient system of training, which will have none of the disagreeable or objectionable features of conscription. The amendment, if agreed to, would do incalculable good to the growing youth of the country, and would afford the Commonwealth an effective shield and weapon for its liberties against both internal and external foes. It would enable our people’ to realize .the saying that .no country is truly free unless its citizens are worthy of freedom, nor likely to remain so unless they are ready to fight in defence of it.
That, broadly, is the basis upon which this system of universal training rests. We declare the necessity for it, and take leave to declare also that this has been amply made out. There has been only one authority against it - the leader of the Opposition - who, upon his own showing, knows absolutely nothing about the question of defence. However great an authority he may be on other subjects, he cannot be regarded as an authority on military questions, and I shall beg leave to accept as correct the opinion of the military correspondent of the Times that the right honorable member in this matter does not know what he is speaking about - that he is ignoring the most patent facts - that he is overlooking the withdrawal of the British Fleets from the outermost posts of the Empire to the narrow waters around Great- Britain herself. With us there is a general recognition that Great Britain herself is in danger, that consequently every portion of the Empire is, and* that we can best perform our duty to the Empire by defending ourselves, and thus enabling the British Fleet to remain perfectly free to strike wherever the exigencies of the situation require it. If we do that we shall do our part in the defence of the Empire. The leader of the Opposition said that compulsion in itself was undesirable. Every one will admit that it would be much better that people should perform a duty without compulsion ; yet ‘civilization itself is based upon it. It extends to almost every avenue of physical and social activity, and is being extended more and more as time goes on. Compulsion is perfectly justifiable once the necessity for it has been made out, and I take it that the necessity in this connexion has been shown by the authorities I have quoted, as well as by the statement of the Minister of Defence last week that the present system is quite inadequate. The volunteer system, after ample trial, has proved insufficient, and in its very nature it must be inefficient. The right honorable member for East Sydney said that we had not a sufficient number of rifle ranges; that our men had not been taught the art of range finding; and that, in short, the Department of Defence was in a very sorryway. That may be true. I am not concerned with a denial of what the right honorable member has said, but I know that the Department is better than it was when he was in office.
– The Minister admitted in moving the second reading of the Bil] that the Department was iri a deplorable condition.
– But I said that it was infinitely better than it ever was.
– The Minister said that the condition of our defences prior to Federation was a parody on their condition at the present time, and that, bad as the Department was now, it was better than it used to be. T am not blaming the right honorable member for his failure to turn the Department inside out during the few months that he was in office, because I know that he had a great deal to think about at that time. I am concerned only with the facts, and I remind the House that the facts are that the system itself, while it may be susceptible of very great improvement, will not be capable of doing that which is asked of it. Another point is that the volunteer system is wrong in principle. We were asked this afternoon why this burden should be cast onlyon the men of 18, 19, and 20 years of age,and it was urged that it should be equally distributed over men of all ages. If that argument is applicable to universal training it applies with twenty times more force to the volunteer system. Why should only one man out of every forty be asked to bear upon his shouldersthe responsibility and burden of defending his country? It is true that under the present system that burden is voluntarily undertaken and whilst that is much in the volunteer’s favour, it is very much against those who decline to do their part in the defence of the Commonwealth. It appears to me and to all who support the principle embodied in ‘the Bill, that since defence concerns every one, every one has a right to take part in it. The right honorable member for Swan, when Minister of Defence, provided in the Defence Act for a> levy, en masse, applicable to all males between 18 and 60 years of age, in time of national danger. The leader of the Opposition said that no doubt in the hour of danger every one ought to be called out, but what would they do when they came out? If there is anything in the right honorable member’s argument let us apply it to the educational system.
– I am not asking for that. I said that that was the result of the two measures read together.
– The point is that at a certain time when men are summoned to defend their country, they may say, “ We are willing to fight, but we do not know how to fight.” We might just as well say that every one, while willing to be educated declined to go to school, as to say that every one was willing to defend his country but declined to submit himself to the necessary training. A man who says that he is willing to defend his country, whilst at the same time he refuses to submit to training, stands convicted of something more than mere inconsistency. There is no patent way of becoming a soldier; a soldier is not made in a day, and although the leader of the Opposition said there might not be a war for ten or twenty years hence, we should not forget that when it does come we shall require a force to cope with the emergency, and that that force cannot be created in an hour, a day, or a year. Even if we start next year with this scheme three years must elapse before we can reap the full benefit of the services of those within the ages of 18, 19, and 20. It will take some time to get the new system in working order, and an enemy is not going to wait until we are ready. The leader of the Opposition seems to imagine that our enemies - and we do not know who they may be - will notify us when they propose to attack us, and that if we are not ready they will put off their attack until we are prepared to defend ourselves.
– The honorable member is assuming the absence of the British Fleets.
– There are many features of the scheme before us to which on their face exception may be taken. The right honorable member for East Sydney mentioned one. He said that it would mean a great interference with industry and that employers would prefer to employ a man of twenty rather than one of eighteen who was liable to devote a certainnumber of days to military training. There has been a great deal of talk in this country about loyalty and patriotism, and I think that employers will be afforded an admirable opportunity under this Bill to exhibit their loyalty and patriotism by permitting their employes to leave their establishments for the necessary period of training. That will be the crowning act of patriotism to which the employing class will be able to point with some degree of pride. That this is not Utopian or unusual will be demonstrated by a quotation from a speech made by Sir J. Wolfe Barry, a London merchant.
– Is he not an engineer, and one of the directors of the Eastern Telegraph Company ?
– I think that he is On the occasion in question he said -
I happen to be connected with a very largecompany in the city, and we have agreed to pay half the wages of all those who undergo military training ; many firms have done the same - banks, warehouses, manufacturing firms - all from a sense of public duty. But is it not grossly unfair that their competitors should be allowed to go free?
Let me now point out how similar lawsoperate in Switzerland and in Norway, where the number of days spent on recruit training is, respectively, sixty-five and forty-eight. In Norway, the percentage of employes absent on military service from the Roros ccopper mines, Trondhjem, wwas 3.1 in 1906, and 2.1 in 1907, the number of hands employed in those years being 665 and 685especticely. OOut of these, in 1906, twenty-one men were away at recruit courses, and twenty-four at repetition courses, which have to be attended by men who have passed the recruit stage. In 1907, fifteen recruits and sixty-five others were away. In the sawnd pplaning mills belonging to a Mr. Andersveaas,oonly two recruits were absent in 1906 and one in 1907. Mr. Sveaas ssays, speaking as to the employment of substitutes -
It is always necessary to have the full number of men to work at my mills, and, consequently, the vacancies have to be filled in one way_ or other. Of course, when the men come Back they are replaced in their former posts.
Of eighty-two men employed by a goldsmith in Christiania in 1906, only one was absent training as a recruit, and another in attendance at a repetition course ; while in T907, of eighty-eight men employed, one was absent as a recruit, and four at repetition courses. In 1906, the percentage of absences was 6, and in 1907 10. The interference with business was, therefore, slight. A Committee appointed by the House of Commons to inquire into the working 6t the Swiss system presented a report last year stating that the interference with business in Switzerland was also comparatively slight, while the general effect was good. In an appendix to a work entitled The Territorial Army, a practical study of the Swiss militia, by Lieut. -Colonel C. Delmé-Radcliffe,tthe writer says on this point -
A most careful calculation made by an employer of labour . . . shows that during the main period of training …. employers would be deprived of not more than 2.58 per cent, of the nation’s available labour. . . . An entirely independent investigation by a volunteer officer . . . shows that the average number of youths of eighteen liable for the three or four months’ recruit training in all these works, amounts to 3.48 per cent.
The actual average percentage of employes absent from eight very large Swiss firms in
T906 was 2.32, and in 1907 2.17. The British Committee’s report of the Swiss system, which was signed by all but five labour members, who, because of their official positions, did not feel able to join in a common report, says -
The system is extremely popular in Switzerland, and has produced results of which the Swiss nation may well be proud. It forms an integral part of the national education, and conduces to the moral and physical welfare of the Swiss people; it brings together all classes of the community in friendly comradeship and co-operation in a common cause ; and it appears to entail but slight interference with the industrial life of the people.
Furthermore, I would point out that whereas, before 1907, the period of training in Switzerland was forty-eight days per annum for the recruit course, it has since, by a new law, been extended to sixty-five days. Under the former system, the training for infantry amounted in all to 135 days - forty-five days for recruit training, and five repetition courses of sixteen days each in the Auszug oor Line, and two courses of five days each in the Landwehr, or 1st Reserve. Now there is a recruit course of sixty-five days and seven repetition courses of eleven days in the Line, and one of eleven clays in the Reserve, a total of 153 days. In Norway, where, in the first year, forty-eight days are given to training, the age at which training is finished is twenty-five years. There are three courses of twenty-four days, or in all, seventy-two days’ training in the line, and one course of twenty-four days in the Landvarn. But before any person is exempt, he must serve in all 144 days. A man goes first into the line, then into the Landvarn, ; and lastly into the Landstorm. It is important to note that the effect of this system has been, not to check, but to stimulate volunteering, there being more volunteers in Switzerland now than there were before. Quite a number volunteer to serve after the completion of their compulsory training, the volunteer gymnastic club is always well attended, and various corps on a volunteer basis are well recruited. In considering this measure, we ought to pay regard to the fact that it completely revolutionizes our military methods. Compulsion, in itself, can never be desirable; it is justified only where it is impossible to do without it ; and any scheme adopted must be effective. I believe so strongly in compulsory training, that I yield to none in my advocacy of it, But in this measure there is in some particulars not sufficient recognition of the vital nature of the changes proposed. The right honorable member for East Sydney said that it would impose, perhaps, a greater burden on the community than the Commonwealth finances could stand. But if military training is necessary to provide for our defence, we must find the money to pay for it, whatever it may cost. It is useless for a person to complain that it costs him a lot to live. If he desires to live, he must somehow find the means to live. Assuming compulsory training to be necessary, as those who believe with me do, we must ask ourselves what will it cost, and how are we best to give effect to it? My objections to the Bill are, first, that the period of training is insufficient ; and, secondly, that there has not been an adequate financial statement of the ways and means by which a satisfactory defence system can be carried out. In some respects, it is too naked a proposition. It provides the skeleton for an admirable measure, and I should, under any circumstances, support it; because it goes along the road which I desire to travel. But we should not be asked to support a measure which will revolutionize the habits of the people, and involve the disturbance of long-settled methods, unless it provides a scheme likely to be successful. One need not have had military upbringing to know that a soldier cannot be trained in eighteen days. I do not deny that in 1901 or 1902 I myself proposed that there should be fourteen days’ camp and fourteen days’ detached drills, but I was then like one crying in the wilderness, and my action may be excusable. I said then that what had converted me was the effect of drill upon the militia. The militia in England go into camp annually for six weeks, and I think it may be said, subject, of course, to the criticism of those who understand these matters from personal experience much better than I do, that you cannot make a man efficient, in less than forty days. At any rate, I feel sure that if only eighteen days per year are to be given for three years, it would be better to give thirty-six days in the first or recruit year, and nine days in each of the two following Tears I admit that if to the eighteen days’ continuous training there are to be added a number of detached drills, in which a man may learn those rudiments which will enable him to take some active part in camp life, then perhaps eighteen days per year will do very well. But eighteen days is a period quite inadequate in which to impart to a raw man, who knows absolutely nothing about military matters, the simplest forms of drill, and to inculcate him with ideas of discipline and field training. I shall therefore move that the period be extended. If it be urged, as it may very properly be, that we ought not to take men away from their work for a longer period in later years, then it would be better to take the longer period in the first year when they, would not be earning so much. This would be better than to spread the training over a longer space of time with no one period of instruction long enough to make men effective, especially as in the later yea.rs they would be taken from their industrial occupations at a time when they were more efficient, earning more, and consequently bearing greater responsibilities. I desire to urge upon the Government the point that in this country men mature very much earlier than they do in Europe. This is recognised in the Bill. In Switzerland, a man does not go up for service until he is in his twentieth year. It would be better to give a recruit drill in his seventeenth year if a period of thirty-six days could then be more conveniently arranged for. This would insure a sufficiency of training, and would certainly secure more efficient results than those likely to flow from the Bill as it now stands.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.4.5 p.m.
– It was found, as I have said, after some years of experience in Switzerland, that forty-five days’ training was insufficient, and the period was lengthened to “ sixty-five days. I ask the Minister to consider the advisableness of adopting one of three alternatives. The first is to lengthen the period in the first year from eighteen days to thirty-six, and allow nine days in each of “the two succeeding years. That would be very much better, so far as the young man himself was concerned, as it would interfere less with him industrially, while enabling him to get a better training in drill and discipline, particularly in discipline, while the nine days in the later years would enable him to do all the militia do now. Few of the present militia get eight days in camp. Under my proposal the National Guard would get nine, and with thirty-six days’ preliminary training in the first year, they would turn out reasonably efficient. Another alternative is that there should be a number of detached evening or Saturday afternoon drills, sufficient to teach the rudiments of the business, in addition to the eighteen days’ con- tinuous camp training. And now for the last alternative. It is proposed in this Bill to continue the cadet system. The right honorable member for East Sydney said a great deal about it, regarding it as very proper to teach boys drill while at school, and familiarize them with military evolutions. He said they would like that better than learning geography or history. I have been a teacher as well as a boy, and I quite agree with the right honorable member that anything would be preferable to learning either geography or history, and I have no doubt that the training would do the boys a lot of good. But I wish to state most emphatically that the cadet system in itself as a serious contribution towards the Defence Forces of the country is a house of cards. It may satisfy some people who are easily satisfied and who want to have some excuse for not doing what is obviously necessary. I do not speak of the usefulness of the system as a means of physical training for boys. So far it is an admirable idea. Nor do I say anything about it as a stepping-stone towards further achievements, but in itself it is almost, if not quite, worthless. After all if, as the Bill provides, it is not to be made compulsory from the ages of fourteen to eighteen, I do not hesitate to say that public money spent at the rate of 30s. per cadet will be money thrown away, because physical training for boys could be obtained at a very much cheaper rate by means of physical exercise or drill without any accoutrements or arms. That would cost little, if anything, more than the ordnary public school education does now. But if the system is made compulsory between the ages of fourteen and eighteen it can be made a most valuable means towards the end we desire to achieve. Suppose we stop training the boys at fourteen. How many things does the right honorable member for East Sydney remember today that he learnt at school? Any one who is familiar with schools knows that a boy in the fifth standard remembers little or nothing that he knew perfectly when in the fourth standard. He has forgotten it in a year. So a boy who learns drill when he is fourteen and does nothing more until he is eighteen has practically forgotten it by then. If, however, he is kept in training each year and enabled to improve his knowledge and familiarizehimself more intimately with the art, that training becomes very useful. So I would suggest to the Minister, as another means by which efficiency can be achieved and the training kept down to eighteen days per year - an object most desirable in itself, because we do not wish to take people away from their industrial occupations more than is necessary - that he should make the cadet system compulsory from the ages of, say, thirteen to eighteen. My experience of children is that all that they really learn before they reach twelve or thirteen - except reading, and, perhaps, a little figuring - could be taught to them in six or eight months. They learn all that they are going to learn in a year or two after that. If the cadet system is made compulsory from the age of thirteen, you will gain by the age of fourteen just as much as if you had started at twelve, and it will not cost so much money. If, after the age of fourteen, the boys are called senior cadets, and offered the inducement that every one who is efficient, according to a standard laid down by the Department, will be required to put in only eighteen days in his first or recruiting year after he reaches eighteen, while those who are not efficient will have to put in thirty-six days, every parent will impress upon his child the necessity of becoming efficient, in order to avoid handicapping himself in competition with his fellows - if handicapping or hardship was involved. The young man who had been a cadet from thirteen to eighteen years of age would then be more fit, and a better soldier, after the eighteen days recruit drill than if he had not been a cadet, and were given thirty-six days in his recruiting year.
– Most of the lads leave the State schools at thirteen.
– That offers one obstacle, and perhaps the only one, to my suggestion, in that we would not be able to start with the lads at school. The honorable member will admit, however, that the value of teaching a boy between the ages of twelve and thirteen cadet drill is in itself almost infinitesimal. What we really require is cadet drill between the ages of fourteen and eighteen ; and then we shall get something definite for our money. It would be a real inducement, involving no hardship, and in its essence voluntary ; and, at the same time, there would be that gentle compulsion sufficient to induce lads to submit themselves to a course of training which the right honorable member for East Sydney, in common with every one else,, declares to be nothing more than a pleasant and healthful exercise. I quite agree with the Minister that, in itself, the cadet system, as now carried on, while affording satisfaction at the youthful enthusiasm and patriotic spirit exhibited, is of very little use. It costs, I understand, close on £50,000 per annum, and the result, if there were war, would be practically nil - that is, if we are to leave off the training when the boys reach the age of fourteen. The only justification for the system which it is proposed to introduce, arid which is to effect such a revolution in our methods, is its complete efficiency ; and to take a man of eighteen years of age, who has had absolutely no training beforehand, and put him into training for eighteen days, will not familiarize him with the drill required of a soldier, nor, what is most important of all, will it discipline him. He will have little or no opportunity to acquire skill in rifle shooting, which, in these days, is secondary only to that discipline which distinguishes a mob from an army. Honorable members will notice that the Bill is to come into operation on a day to be fixed by proclamation. That is very uncertain; and I submit that the Bill should commence to operate on a certain day. What we require is something not contingent, but immediate and necessary, so necessary that it is generally admitted here to be a nonparty question. The right honorable member for East Sydney, speaking presumably for those of his followers who agree with him in this matter, says that the Bill can be justified only by its necessity ; and if the House agrees to the measure, it is on that ground ; and being necessary and imperative, therefore, it ought to come into force on a date set forth. In sub-clause58a it is provided that all the male inhabitants of Australia shall be liable to be trained. But it is not liability to training that is in question, because that was always supported by the right honorable member for East Sydney. What is in question is that all the male inhabitants of Australia shall be trained. I conceive we are here for the purpose of inaugurating at a very earlydate a system of training our youth according to the provisions of the Bill.
– It looks as though the Government had baulked at the difficulties !
– I am not going to say that. This provision, it appears to me, is the result of copying the section in the principal Act, which has reference to the liability of a man to be called out to defend his country in the hour of need ; and in such connexion the phraseology is proper. In this Bill, however, the phraseology is not proper, because it is notliability to training that we are discussing, but training with liability to be called out for service. So far as I can see, this provision is not at all consistent with the meaning and purpose of the Minister; and, therefore, I think it should be struck out. According to sub-clause 58b the prescribed training shall, in time of peace, not exceed in each year in the Defence Force, for the first three years, eighteen working days, or their equivalent as prescribed.” In the first place, I conceive eighteen working days to be insufficient, and, therefore, the clause should provide for not less than eighteen days; and I shall move that the period be longer, or that one of the three alternatives I put forward be accepted. I also take exception to the words “ or their equivalent as prescribed.”
– What dothey mean?
– They are indefinite; besides, nothing in my mind can be equivalent to eighteen days’ training. There might be forty detached drills on forty Saturday afternoons, and, although in the aggregate those drills would be greater in number, they could not have the same effect as eighteen days’ continual training under actual war conditions. Therefore, I say that these words ought to be deleted, and also paragraphs a and b of subclause 58b. In regard to the Naval and Military Forces, the artillery and the engineers, it is provided that the training shall not exceed annually in the first five years, twenty-eight working days. Whatever may be said of the infantry, it is idle to expect even moderate efficiency in the artillery or engineers in anything like that period. In Switzerland sixty-five days are allotted to the infantry, and in “the case of the engineers it is extended to seventy days ; and a similar step should be taken here. Sub-clause 58f provides that no employer shall prevent or attempt to prevent any employe from rendering the service required by the Bill, or in any way penalize or attempt to penalize any employe for rendering such service by reducing wages, dismissing him, or in any other manner. Since there will be no way of proving the charge, except by the admission of the employer, I take it that the onus of proof should be thrown on the employer, as . under section 35 of the old Conciliation and Arbitration Act of New South Wales, and section 9 of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Under these Acts the employer is called upon to prove that he dismissed the employ^ for some other reason than that he was a unionist; and a similar course should be taken under this Bill. I may say that under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act only one conviction has been secured in the local Court, and that was in the case of an extremely foolish employer who went into the box, and admitted the offence. While I think that this provision ought to be altered, we must rely on that public spirit, and sensitive national conscience which will be aroused by the introduction of such a system as this. I take it that one of the greatest benefits that will flow from this Bill will be a vigorous growth of the national conscience - that people will begin to realize that they live in a country to which they owe much, and -which, for the first time, they propose to pay, and, paying for that which they have hitherto taken freely as water, will value it all the more. In sub-clause 581 it is provided that the prescribed training shall be carried out with respect to persons residing within such portions of Australia as are prescribed; and to that I object most emphatically. If a Government were in power who were opposed to this system they might, by proclamation, exempt practically the whole of Australia that was populated ; indeed, there is nothing to prevent them exempting the whole. We, as a Parliament, ought not to legislate in the dark. If we are to have compulsory service, do not let us go about it in fear and trembling ; but let us say that the compulsory service which we propose shall operate over Australia for the one purpose, namely, the defence of all Australia. I can quite conceive that, perhaps, in sparsely populated districts, it would.be inadvisable, or almost impossible, to carry out some of the provisions of the Bill; but I submit that we can meet such circumstances by exempting individuals and not districts. Sub-clause 58H says that the burden of proving exemption shall rest on the person claiming exemption. By an extension of this clause we can do what is required in this connexion, and it would be a more proper and straightforward course not to exempt districts. I now come to a very important part of the Bill, which deals with the penalties to be imposed on persons who fail to comply with the requirements of this part of the Bill. Sub-clause 58G provides that such persons shall be and remain ineligible for employment of any kind in the service of the Commonwealth, disqualified from being an elector, and from receiving an invalid’s or old-age pension. It appears to me that, to a youth of eighteen years of age, the fact that in forty-seven or forty-eight years he will not be eligible for an old-age pension, is not likely to prove an effective deterrent. Nothing is so certain as death, and nothing is more certain than that disease follows vicious practices; but I have rarely heard of either proving sufficient to deter youth from folly, vice, or sin.
– Is there one youth of eighteen in the whole of Australia who would stop to think that he might be in poverty in his old age?
– I do not think there was a youth ever born, who would be moved by the consideration of consequences at the age of sixty-five. To youth, age is an impossibility, and death only a remote contingency ; and to say that in forty-seven years, a person may not get an old-age or an invalid pension, will not be any deterrent. Who expects to be an invalid? Every man goes forth into the world believing, that though death, disease and accident, attack other men, he will be immune. I do not think that a young man would be inclined to serve his country merely because of a fear that failure to do so would render it impossible for him to secure an invalid pension. On the contrary, he might think that if he did serve his country he would require such a pension sooner than would otherwise be the case. He would be disposed to chance the contingency for the certainty. I quite agree that it’ would be very proper to debar from employment in the Public Service those who declined to take up this duty.
– The service could only take a small section.
– They should be debarred from employment in the Commonwealth and State services. It is right that we should employ only those who are keenly alert in respect of, and ready to perform, those duties which are the mark of a: good citizen. I question very much whether those who declined this service - except in those rare cases where they might decline because of religious scruples - could be regarded as being in any sense desirable citizens. As to the proposal that they should be deprived of the franchise, I agree with the leader of the Opposition, and others, who say that that would not deter some persons from declining to perform this, the first duty of citizenship; but, while it would not do so, it would certainly remove them beyond the pale. They would not be even pawns in the game of politics. At present many people regard the privilege of voting as hardly worthy of consideration. But when voting is a privilege belonging only to some, and not to all, it will be regarded as being of some little importance. It was thought at one time to be worth righting for, to be worth suffering imprisonment for, and to be worth dying for. That is the position in Russia to-day. But here, where adult suffrage prevails, it is thought by some not to be worth anything. If we say to our young, men, “ If you do not serve your country you shall not be allowed to have a voice in its government,” some may not at first regard the matter very seriously”; the deprivation of the right to vote will be felt by those who refuse to serve when other men propose to alter the law, and they realize that it will be impossible for them either to hinder or help in that alteration. Those who refused to serve would be thus, to all intents and purposes, pariahs and political outcasts.
– Under the present Defence Act, the penalty for not complying with the provision as to compulsory service is six months’ imprisonment.
– That is compulsory service in time of war. I do not think that this Bill goes far enough in another direction. The leader of the Opposition asked this afternoon why persons between eighteen and twenty-one years of age, under circumstances such as will exist at the coming into operation of this measure, should alone be called upon to bear the whole sacrifice. I do not think that they should. There is very good reason why they should not. Before this scheme can be carried into effect, we shall require to expend more than the Minister of Defence imagines. If it is going to be starved because of insufficient financial backing, it is better not to have it. It must either be made effective or let alone. It, therefore, appears to me that we have first of all to consider what is done in other countries, and how far their experience rr.ay help us here. In Switzerland, every person who, for any reason, is exempt from service, pays a tax. Under this Bill all persons will be exempt save those who arrive at the age of eighteen after it becomes law. That is to say, all persons from a little over eighteen years of age to the end of the fighting age of fifty-five or sixty - or, in other words, the effective part of the nation - will be exempt from service. If we pass such a scheme as this, it will be because we realize the necessity for taking a new departure. I emphasize the point that this will be a revolution in British methods, and I most emphatically believe that we have good cause for making it. That cause in itself should be quite enough to demand that every one shall contribute in one way or another. The sacrifice should not be borne only by those who reach eighteen years of age after the passing of this Bill ; it ought to be borne, so far as it can be borne, equally by all sorts and conditions of men of all ages. I would, therefore, while exempting all those over eighteen years of age from compulsory service, give them the option of becoming efficient or paying a tax. There are two reasons why this should be done. First of all, we require much money to carry out this scheme. It may be that the funds at the disposal of the Treasurer are capable of greater elasticity than now appears possible. I understand, however, that that is unlikely, and, therefore, I say plainly that there ought to be imposed, for the purposes of defence, an income tax upon all persons who are not engaged in training or in complying with the requirements of this measure, so far as training is concerned. My suggestion would apply to all persons within the fighting ages, and it will be for us to determine what those shall be. In Switzerland the liability to pay .the tax to which I have referred expires at forty. Under our Defence Act the liability to service expires at the age of sixty. There ought then to be imposed a graduated tax upon income for the purposes of defraying the cost of this scheme, and it should be imposed upon all persons without respect to position. It is idle to put forward a scheme of this sort accompanied by a declaration that it will not cost more than, say, £100,000 per annum, in addition to the cost of the present system. I think that it will, and I propose to give one good reason for that belief. In saying that we shall impose a system which in its very nature is - I shall not say repugnant to the genius of the British people, for we have to remember that before our lifetime it was a common practice to recruit for the British Navy by press gangs - but something we have not experienced. The scheme proposed in this Bill is a proper legal system of compelling training for a definite and well-considered purpose.
– It is a scheme for a legalized press gang.
– It is nothing of the sort. Just as we educate a boy that he may be able when the time comes to give an intelligent vote, so we propose to educate a man physically and in the art of war, in order that he may be able to give a good account of himself in a time of emergency. Recruiting for the British Army is carried on at present with the most cruel compulsion ever known. It is the lash of starvation that drives into the British Army half its recruits. In support of this statement I have only to remind honorable members of the accounts published as to the degenerating physique of the recruits for the British Army. Read the reports of those who have to do with the measurement of recruits. Year after year the minimum chest and height measurements have been reduced until now a man of 5 ft. 4 in. in height with a chest measurement of 33 or 34 inches will be admitted into the infantry.
– And only a small percentage of those who present themselves pass even the reduced standard.
– Of the number presenting themselves in Manchester in one year only some 33 per cent. passed the test. It cannot be said that the system is voluntary when a man has to choose between what is practically starvation or service. We are introducing a new system in a country where the youth has never been taught to reverence authority or compelled to do anything save to go to school ; we are calling upon our young men to go into camp and undergo eighteen, twenty, thirty, or thirty-six days of training, as the case may be, without receiving any reward. That, in my opinion, is undesirable. I freely admit that when I first spoke on this subject Isaid that these men should not be paid ; but I have come to the conclusion that since I have, and could have, no other object in view than that the scheme should be successful, it would conduce marvellously to its success if some sort of remuneration were paid to those compelled temporarily to leave their business for the purpose of undergoing military training. In Switzerland a recruit is paid 7½d. per day, and in Norway, I understand,2½d. per day. I should say that7½d. per day in Switzerland would be equal to about double that amount here. Taking all circumstances into consideration, the very least we could give recruits during their eighteenth year - and we should give them more in succeeding years - would be 10s. per week, in addition to their board and lodging. The average young man of eighteen working on a farm in this country receives from 10s. to £1 per week; if working in a factory he gets anything from £1 to £1 10s. per week. These amounts are not regarded in any country as wages; they are a sort of set-off against the sacrifices required to be made. In Switzerland, in addition to this payment to the recruit, under the November law of 1907, an allowance is paid to all families embarrassed by the withdrawal of a male member for training purposes. That has remedied the one hardship previously created by the military system of that country. If we are to make this Bill operative, we can do so only by obtaining for its provisions the cheerful acquiescence of the people at large. In England and Wales we have seen an Education Act, which was passed by an overwhelming majority, opposed by large numbers of usually law-abiding persons. Passive resistance has become a fine art, many preferring rather to suffer the penalties of the law than comply with its provisions. I am persuaded, therefore - and I hardly need say that in this statement I speak only for myself, and do not commit the party to which I belong - that we must put our system on a firm footing financially, by providing at least sustenance for those families which would be seriously embarrassed, if not reduced to extremities, by the withdrawal of their bread-winners.
– It would not suit Australians to make a distinction between poor and rich, by giving a charitable allowance of that kind.
– My view is that there should be equality of sacrifice. One man may leave his family with confidence, because he has no one dependent on him ; but with another it may be different. The allowance to dependents would be given only in cases where it could be shown to be necessary, and where, through unemployment or special circumstances, hardship would otherwise arise.
– That is contrary to our present practice. The rich juryman gets the same fee as the poor business man, who is losing perhaps £50 in attending the case.
– And every member of Parliament draws the same allowance.
– Itis impossible to absolutely adjust the inequalities of every system. By compelling a poor widow to send her child to school, the State may put her to endless inconvenience and much loss. But where inequalities can be remedied, provision should be made with that object. This cannot be done without the imposition of a special tax. As I am, above all things, desirous that our military system shall be effective, I am of opinion that a tax should be imposed upon all, remission, wholly or in part, being obtained only by the acquirement of efficiency. The volunteer who has become efficient, has made himself so by personal sacrifice, and the man who is not efficient should, as a set-off, be taxed. There is one other matter to which I wish to refer. The Minister proposes to maintain, for some time, at any rate, the present militia and volunteers. Their ultimate fate is not clear; but I gather that they are to be used as an instructional staff. Just as our educational system would be useless without a properly equipped and sufficient staff of trained teachers, so our military system will be useless, no matter what numbers of recruits attend the camp, without a sufficient and competent staff of instructors. In the British Army, recruits are first instructed to march, and learn the preliminaries of drill, and then distributed throughout their respective regiments, whose efficiency is not impaired by their inclusion’, while the recruits rapidly improve by their association with trained men. I have read that in the American Civil War, it was a practice of the State of Wisconsin to make good casualties in its regiments with recruits, while other States formed entirely new regiments out of recruits, with the result that one Wisconsin regiment was said to be equal to five regiments of other States. The present Volunteer and Militia Forces should be the nuclei of the new regiments, the trained men that we have now being used to stiffen the recruits. Good results will not be obtained by keeping trained and untrained men apart. It has been found difficult in Switzerland and Norway to obtain sufficient officers. Officers cannot be trained in eighteen or even forty -eight or sixty-five days. In Switzerland, an officer must have had at least a year’s training, and may have had more. Men of particular aptitude should be encouraged on the completion of their period of ordinary training to follow a special course to gain the knowledge required of instructional officers. Until we have created new officers, we must rely upon the trained men in the existing forces, who will, for some time, be sufficient; but every effort must be taken to keep up the supply of commissioned and noncommissipned officers for the huge body of men which will be formed. I do not think that the greatness of the proposed change is quite realized by those who are responsible for the Bill ; and I have mentioned! these matters because they are not plainlyprovided for in it. Too much is left toregulation, as was the case in connexion with the famous measure dealing with local government introduced into the New South Wales Legislative Assembly by the right honorable member for East Sydney. Whenasked for the explanation of any of its clauses, he referred the House to the regulations ; and while the Bill was ananaemic leaflet, the regulations could hardly have been laid upon the table.
– There are at present1,000 regulations governing the Department of Defence.
– I possess a neatlybound, red-covered volume, which containsthem. The Bill, when it becomes law, should legislate plainly in regard to every matter of principle. There must, of course, be regulations ; but there is at present too great ‘a tendency to evade the difficulties inseparable from a great reform of” this kind, by dealing with them in regulations instead of in the clauses of the Bill. I should like to see a statement in the measure of what it is intended to do with the militia and volunteers. At any rate, we ought to have some scheme laid on the table, so that we may understand what is to become of them, and how they are to be utilized. I do not profess to be a soldier, but from what I have gathered from other men who do know something about the subject, and what I have observed in garrison towns elsewhere, I know it is the invariable practice to put recruits in amongst trained men. That method could, with advantage, be followed here. Any other scheme is likely to be followed by disaster. I am a whole-hearted advocate of compulsory service. I advocated it when it had few friends, and I have lived to see quite a number of its then opponents befriend it now. I am certain that we are destined to see the conversion- of those gentlemen who still oppose it, and that conversion, although belated, will be none the less welcome. This is a matter which is essentially non-party. The members of the National Defence League of Australia are recruited from all sorts and conditions of men, and from every political party. Those of us who believe in this measure realize thoroughly the importance of compulsory service, which we conceive to be not only absolutely imperative with regard to national defence,, but also the finest possible thing for the nation as a whole in other respects. I know of no better method - I know of none half as good - of toning up physically and morally, and even industrially, the people of this nation. Its effect upon the Swiss people is that they emerge from their period of training physically and mentally braced up, and more efficient in every way. They realize, perhaps for the first time, and very much to their own advantage, the value of the privileges of citizenship through the performance of this its first duty. The Swiss, when his period of training comes round, goes to it with feelings of joyous elation, and is depressed to the last degree if for any reason he is told that he is unfit to present himself. Men speak of war and peace as though war were’ the greatest curse that afflicted humanity, and peace a thing that could be had for the asking. Men who cry peace when there is no peace are enemies of peace. There is but one way by which any man or nation can get peace, and. that is by being ready for war. Great Britain has secured, and is securing, peace now by an expenditure which, as the right honorable member for East Sydney said, has trebled itself in the last few years. The British nation to-day is spending on naval defence three times what it spent twenty years ago.
– I said it had trebled its strength, and doubled its expenditure.
– It has certainly more than doubled its expense. The naval and -military expenditure of Great Britain and other countries has been piled up at an enormous rate, and with what object? No one can say that Great Britain wants war. She wants peace, but peace can be obtained only by eternal vigilance, by ceaseless preparation for war, and by the expenditure of her last available farthing. How much longer can the noble British taxpayer, for whom my right honorable friend was so sorry, and whom we assist to the extent of £200,000 a year - a contribution that cannot amount to more than £d. or id. per year per head of our population - go on bearing this everincreasing burden? Peace can be obtained by the Britisher, by the Australian, only by being ready for war. There are men who talk about the brotherhood of man, and urge that no one will attack an inoffensive nation. If we are inoffensive, it is because we have no means of offence. Is Great Britain inoffensive? Is there a nation upon which she has not declared war upon occasion? What is our right here, we who prate about peace? By what virtue are we here to-day, except by brute force? We came here and displaced those who were placed in possession, if any were, by the hand of Providence. Where are they now ? In Tasmania, there is not one to be found, while here there may be perhaps one in every 100 miles. And we talk about peace ! We have arrogantly declared to the world that this is to be a white man’s country. There are 4,200,000 of us, of whom 21,000 beat arms, and perhaps 5.000 or 6,000 could bear them efficiently. We debar the coloured nations from entry. To the 400,000,000 of Chinese, to the 44,000,000 of Japanese, flushed with their triumph over a nation that humbled every other country in Europe in its turn, we have said, “You must not come in.” And the weapon with which we propose to keep them out is a parchment Act of Parliament with a red seal on it Beyond that, and Providence, and a noble opinion of ourselves, we have no means of making good our boast. If the White Australia policy is to be a permanence in this country, there must be behind it a sufficient force of white Australians ready, if necessary, to make good their claim. There is no other way of doing it. Men speak of war as though it were the greatest curse on earth; but what is war, after all, but. the Nemesis which overtakes . nations, just as disease, and casualties, and death, overtake the individual. A man is ill, and why? Is there anything that we do contrary to nature’s laws for which nature does not avenge herself? When a man is diseased, it is in consequence of a violation of nature’s laws. When a nation is sick it is not without a cause; when she becomes an easy prey to a conqueror she meets a doom she has invited and deserved. War is not a vindication of brute force, but is the operation of natural laws. The commission .of a national crime brings about a national calamity. Look at the great nations of the world that have disappeared. ‘Greece went down, and why? In the Nemesis of Nations, by Mr. W. R. Paterson, there are some words most appropriate in this connexion -
Never, indeed, have internal and external causes combined so suddenly for the destruction of a State. The Athenians had become the parasites of their slaves, but it was still more ominous that they had become the parasites of their allies. Aristotle tells us that more than 20,000 citizens - in other words, almost the entire free adult male community - were supported by the tribute of the allies. In this way, he says, they earned their living. Thus the causes which were wrecking Athens from within were really the same causes which were threatening to wreck her from without ; and she was like a human being who, although suffering from inward disease, is placed in the least favorable environment. A mass of discontent had developed within her own walls and was now developing within the communities which recognised her sovereignty….. States, like individuals, appear to suffer from a kind of haemorrhage, and Greece opened her own veins. The moment of her exhaustion was the opportunity of the northern invader. Every Greek State had reached, for the same reason, the same stage of decay. Thus when the leadership had passed from Athens it was held only for a” short time by Sparta and by Thebes. . It was when Philip of Macedon saw that Greeks had ceased to fight for Greeks that he began that series of aggressions which ended in the subjugation of the entire Hellenic race.
What was true of Greece was true also of Rome -
We may notice the growing hazards of a State in the creation of an opulent society in which military ardour gradually declines. Whereas in early Rome the burghers formed the battalions, during the Empire the army was reorganised on a mercenary basis, and was separated from the people.
When it became no longer the practice for Roman citizens to defend Roman liberties, Rome, although she reached her topmost pinnacle of greatness long after that time, the canker of decay deeply planted in her bosom. She had bought world-wide power, but had sold her honour; she ruled the nations of the earth, but was herself a slave to the worst vices. In the end she tottered to her inevitable doom and fell supine under the virile blows of the virtuous barbarians. And we - what are we doing? If ever there were men who utterly Tailed to realize their responsibilities, it is the Britishers of to-day, the Australians of to-day. What are we doing to defend our liberties and privileges? Absolutely nothing. We do not even realize that we have privileges. We prate about peace, and about the glorious might of the British Navy, we invent any excuse, we put forward any plausible lie, rather than do our plain duty.
– 1 do not propose, after the great speech made by the leader of the Opposition today, and the extremely interesting address to which we have listened from the honorable member for West Sydney, to occupy the attention of the House long. I believe that the House will be more ready to hear those honorable members who have a greater technical knowledge of the subject than I can pretend to have; but I thought it desirable to speak at this early stage, because there is one broad aspect of the question that ought to be brought before, and pressed upon the House, at the very initiation of the debate. That is the aspect which I have endeavoured to embody in the amendment that stands in my name. That amendment declares a view which not only cannot help being accepted by members on all sides of the House, but has in itself been eloquently stated by the Minister in introducing the Bill - that when we are dealing with the defence of Australia, we are dealing with a great problem, of which only one thing may be said to be absolutely certain, and that is that the defence of Australia rests primarily upon the control of the sea. I listened with the greatest pleasure to the peroration of the honorable member for West Sydney. I agree with the general sentiment which was so eloquently expressed in it. The whole course of history teaches us that nations which have allowed their manly sense of independence, and the duty of’ defending themselves, to sink into abeyance, have lost, by failing to realize the duties that lay upon them as nations, the privileges which they had acquired. While we admit the principle, there are certain differences of a most important character in its application to Switzerland, to ancient Athens and Rome, and to Australia. The circumstances are so entirely different, that we here cannot necessarily accept the principle as applied to those other countries. The Bill has been put by the Minister as a measure to test the opinion of the House on the question of compulsory military training; I think I fairly state what the honorable gentleman asks the House to determine. I feel that, as a layman, I am as well entitled as any other honorable member to speak on the general principle; that is, the question does not necessarily involve any considerable knowledge of technical or military details, but is one on which every man is entitled to fully and freely express his views. I cordially accept the invitation which the Minister put forward” that members should treat this question as one free from.’ all party considerations; and it is in that light that I have submitted the amendment which stands in my name. I say at once that if we were able to view the question of compulsory universal military training apart from all other considerations - if we had unlimited financial capacity, and there were not other claims on our limited financial means - compulsory military training would present very great attractions to my mind. As a means of strengthening the character of our young men, and of possibly evoking in them latent feelings in regard to the defence of their country, I think it would have a very good educational effect. But this is not the solution of the problem of the defence of Australia. If we could, as the Prime Minister said in his speech in December last, adopt such a system for our young men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one for an expenditure of £200,000 in addition to our present expenditure, I, for one, should say that, notwithstanding the extreme difficulty of our financial position, the- experiment might be worth trying. The Minister of Defence, in his statement the other day, for some reason reduced the additional expenditure by £100,000. I have not been able to discover the grounds on which the honorable member did so.
– They are the same figures.
– Then the same figures which resulted, according to the Prime Minister, in an increase of expenditure by £200,000 result according to the Minister of Defence, in an increase of only £100,000.
– For land forces. I think the honorable member will find that he is adding capital expenditure.
– Here is a most remarkable fact, to which I invite the attention of both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence. In his statement of the financial position made by the Prime Minister in December, 1907-
– There was an error, there is no doubt.
– There were two errors - two huge errors - the result of which has been to place the whole of this question of the adoption of this system before the House and the country on a thoroughly false basis. Let me point out how that is so. Here is what the Prime Minister said, giving the figures which are reported in the published pamphlet of his speech, page 20-
– And revised bv him.
– And revised. Here is the net result.
That being so, this scheme, which covers both the naval and the military proposals of the Government, including the building of fifteen vessels, the cost of their maintenance, an immense increase in the land forces, an increase in the field artillery, and the expenditure upon fortifications, means, in the’ third year, according to the best estimates that we can frame, an increase of only ^200,000 on our present annual expenditure.
Now, when I tell honorable members that, owing to two purely arithmetical blunders - -
– They were pointed out very soon.
– They were not pointed out at the time.
– I pointed them out immediately after the pamphlet -was printed.
– The figures have been allowed to go, and have been adopted by the Minister of Defence, and, for my own part, I never heard a word of explanation. The result of the two arithmetical blunders - for which I am sure the Prime Minister personally is not responsible, but somebody who placed the figures before him - is that the £200,000 ought to be £636,000. I ask the attention of honorable members to a proof of that statement. Honorable members will remember that the figures were placed before them in four columns, giving the proposed expenditure for the first 3’ear, “the second year, and the third year, and the present expenditure respectively. The comparison on which the Prime Minister rested, and on which he said the new scheme would cost £200,000 more than at present, was as between the present expenditure and the proposed expenditure for the third year, which comes to a total of ,£1,650,000, omitting the hundreds. If we add the figures, which are correct, we find that that ought to be £1, 805,000.
– Yes, that is it.
– The Prime Minister admits the fact.
– It was admitted at the time; immediately after the speech was printed my attention was called to it.
– Of course, I do not for one moment suggest that the Prime Minister is responsible for the figures, but, as I have said, I have never heard any explanation, and they have been copied into Mr. Knibbs’ book, and remain there to this day as the official figures of the Government.
– Copies of the speech were circulated.
– That is so. With whom the fault really lies is not the point; J am endeavouring to show the facts, and, so far, as I have shown there is an expenditure of £200,000 in addition to the £200,000 mentioned by the Prime Minister. But there is another mistake, almost as simple and almost as absurd, in regard to the present expenditure. In the first column, the total present military expenditure is given at £1,033,000, on the Naval Agreement £200,000, and on the local Naval Forces £60,000, or a total appropriation of £r, 293, 000 for 1907-8. Then we have shown, as presumed unexpended balance, £125,000, and, as the Prime Minister immediately afterwards pointed out, that ought to have been deducted from the estimate. The Prime Minister said -
It will be seen that for this year the actual appropriation proposed is ,£1,300,000, although £125,000 has been deducted from the full cost, because it is not expected to be expended within the year.
In that column the £125,000 has not been deducted, but added. If we correct these two errors we have the somewhat remarkable result that, instead of the first column, namely, the present expenditure being £1,419,000, it should be £1,168,000, or £250,000 less. I am taking the figures, and simply correcting a couple of mistakes that the merest schoolboy would be ashamed to make ; and, correcting them, I find that the present expenditure is £1,168,000 under the heads I have mentioned, and that the proposed expenditure, at the end of the third year, will be £1,805,000, or a difference of £636,000 on the Minister’s own figures.
– That error was made because the original column contained an error. When it was sent back altered, the totals of the former column, by some mischance, remained added ; but the items are all there, and they correct the totals.
– Hut the inference that the Prime Minister asked the House and the country to draw from the figures is wrong by £436,000 a year. The error is not merely stated in the speech, but is repeated with exaggeration six months later bv the Minister of Defence in introducing this Bill.
– I made no reference to those figures last week. If there is any mistake in the figures. I am responsible.
– That will hardly “ hold water,” because, a few moments ago, when I called the attention of the Minister of Defence to the fact that he had reduced the £200,000 to £ j 00,000, he immediately replied by interjection, that his calculation was based on the “ same figures.”
– What I said was perfectly accurate. We are dealing with the land forces figures, which are just the same as they have been from the beginning.
– We have here an important statement from the most responsible quarter in the Commonwealth to this Parliament and to the whole of Australia, in which figures, presumably prepared by some responsible official, are actually allowed to come before us, showing the additional cost to be £200,000 when, in fact, assuming the figures I have referred to to be right, it should be £636,000. That such a statement should have, filtered from this responsible officer, whoever he was, through the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence, and never have been detected, even ‘ by the Treasurer, whose duty it was to look through these figures, and that we should have the blunder repeated seven or eight ‘months later, shows that of which we have already had sufficient evidence in many regards, namely, a lack of sufficient care in statements regarding the finances of the country.
– What has the question before us to do with the Treasurer ?
– I am asked by the Treasurer of the Commonwealth to say what a difference of £436,000 a year has to do with the adoption of compulsory training. I do not desire to harp - as, apparently, I, with other honorable members, are always forced to do- upon the irresponsible attitude taken up by the Government in regard to the finances. I have dealt with that matter almost ad nauseam; but I venture to say again that before we are asked to pledge ourselves to the adoption of a scheme which will cost an indefinite amount, we ought to have some general statement as to the future financial prospects of the Commonwealth. Now, what are the facts? We are asked to adopt a system of compulsory service.
– Compulsory training - we adopted compulsory service in the Defence Act.
– I prefer to call it compulsory service, because any satisfactory solution of the defence question must involve service. I think the honorable member, is wrong in adopting a kind of argument which is open to a logical fallacy. We have accepted compulsory service in one sense - we have adopted the principle that the Government have a right, to call on every citizen in time of danger to take his part, and I do not think that a single honorable member on either side would venture to dispute the principle. It is the law of nature and of every community. But the principle that, in case of necessity, every citizen may be called upon to serve is totally different from the adoption of a universal system of compulsory service by all youths between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one. I think I am entitled to ask the Prime Minister, or the Minister of Defence, to admit, before we proceed further, that it is fair to discuss this Bill on the basis of the figures I have given, showing that the additional expenditure, which the scheme will involve, will be not £200,000, but over £600,000.
– Not on the particular point on which the honorable member was speaking. He was speaking of the cost of the land forces only, and the figures he has quoted include capital and naval expenditure. If the honorable member deducts the capital and naval expenditure from the total, he will find that the difference is about £100,000 in respect of the land forces, and it is to the land forces only that this measure is applicable.
– That is not what is put. I do not want to “ rub in” the series of slips that has been made, but we are entitled to get at the true facts as a basis for our discussion. The Prime Minister, after giving these figures, said -
This table includes expenditure on cadets, rifle clubs, &c, and capital spent upon fixed defences, factories, and works. It will be seen that for this year the actual appropriation proposed is ,£1,300,000, although ^125,000 has been deducted from the full cost, because it is not expected to be expended within the year.
– That includes the Naval Subsidy, I suppose?
– The total includes everything. During the present year the total expenditure will be ,£1,300,000. The first year under the new system of National Training will include a capital expenditure on the rifle factory and the ammunition factory, but the total expenditure for that year is not expected to much exceed ;£i, 700,000. That is an increase of about ,£300,000 on what is provided for this year, or ,£400,000 on what is proposed to be spent during this year. Next year the total will drop a little below ,£1,700,000, and in the third vear it is expected to fall to £1,600,000, any further capital expenditure not being included.
– Will that expenditure be paid out of ordinary revenue?
– It will. Consequently, as against the present year’s proposed expenditure of ,£1,400,000, it means in the third year an increase of ,£200,000, or, allowing for the proportion of the amount on this year’s Estimates that we do not expect to expend, it will mean an increase of ,£325,000. That being so, this scheme which covers both the naval and the military proposals of the Government, including the building of fifteen vessels, the cost of their maintenance, an immense increase in the land forces, an increase in the field artillery, and the expenditure upon, fortifications, means, in the third year, according to the best estimates that we can frame, an increase of only £200,000 on our present annual expenditure. If this scheme can be accomplished for that cost as according to our professional advisers we have reason to believe it will be, I do not think the country, having regard to the transformation to be effected on sea and land, will consider it unduly expensive.
Nothing could be more explicit, and I think that the House is entitled to know from the Minister of Defence, before we proceed further, whether the increased cost of this scheme will be £200,000 or £600,000 per annum.
– The honorable member is alluding now to the increase in respect of naval expenditure. When he was speaking originally, he was not doing so.
– I do not think that the honorable member is fair. I am taking his own figures.
– But the honorable member was speaking wholly and solely of this Bill, which relates to the land forces.
– And the Prime Minister was speaking of this Bill.
– Not on any Bill last year. The total given includes both naval and capital expenditure. The point, however, is not worth discussing.
– I think that ;t is worth our while to place the discussion on a correct basis.
– The honorable member will find from the Hansard report of the present proceedings that I am right as to what I said.
– My memory is that I took up a copy of the Prime Minister’s speech, and said that I proposed to show certain things.
– That is the point that I say is not worth arguing. I think I am correct; but I may be wrong.-
– What I ask on behalf of honorable members who want to approach this subject with some rational idea of what the cost of this scheme will be, is that the Government shall tell us what the additional cost will be.
– What is the latest revision of the clerical slips?
– I think that we should have this information from the Minister of Defence.
– At page 449 of Hansard the honorable member will see a report of my speech in moving the second reading of this Bill, in which I reiterated the statement made by’ the Prime Minister. The figures given there are accurate, and they are the only figures relating to this Bill.
– The figures are repeated ?
– Yes, the figures, given by the Prime Minister are repeated, and they are accurate.
– The House having been informed explicitly that the additional cost of the Government’s new scheme, both military and naval, would be £200,000, and the Government having subsequently found out, if they did find OU[ that that estimate was wrong by £450,000 did they ever inform the House of that discovery ?
– I think that they gave the naval expenditure as £250,000, after allowing for the present outlay.
– I find at page 449 of Hansard for this session a. report of the speech made by the Minister of Defence.
– And the figures given there are all accurate.
– Certainly they, are.
– They are the same figures as were given by the Prime Minister.
– I thought that there might be some explanation, but I find that the explanation is worse than the original fault. I have read this statement very carefully. All that the Minister gave, as shown by the Hansard report of his speech, was a repetition of the figures given by the Prime Minister immediately before the summary that I have read. Those figures relate only to the military branch of the scheme.
– Exactly ; that is all that the Bill is dealing with.
– I was endeavouring to deal with the summary which the Prime Minister gave of the additional cost of all the military and naval expenditure, and surely I am entitled to do that? The figures that were then given were merely a repetition of that portion of the figures that was afterwards summarized, and from which the Prime Minister asked the House to draw the inference that upon the whole the only additional cost would be £200,000.
– Come back to the question of what this compulsory military training is going to cost.
– Will the honorable member allow me to seek a little further information ? We have a right to ask the Minister to tell us, say, to-morrow - before the debate proceeds further - whether I am not right in stating that the sum of £200,000 which the Prime Minister informed this House would be the additional cost of the whole of his new scheme, should not really be at least £630,000.
– The honorable member should give notice of his question.
– We have here al further example of a hopeless, irresponsible drift in finance, that will land us before long in a position from which it will be very difficult for us to extricate ourselves. I am not going to repeat the figures I gave a short time a.go, and which the honorable member for South Sydney, says were similar to those given by him two years before. They were reiterated the other day by the honorable member, supported by a great many members of his party, and they show that, apart altogether from the great decrease which the Treasurer anticipates in the returns from the Customs, we shall practically be brought, with the commitments to which we have already pledged ourselves, to the end of our tether within the next two years. Even assuming that the Customs revenue will continue to be as. large as before, those figures show that within two years we shall practically find ourselves with a deficit of over £2,000,000. Those figures have been repeatedly put before the House, and have not been challenged by a member of the Government. Nevertheless, we are asked, on a statement that this scheme is going to involve an additional expenditure of only £200,000, to agree to the Bill in the absence of any Ministerial statement as to what our future financial relations with the States are likely to be, and as to what we may anticipate in the way of revenue. We are asked suddenly to pledge ourselves to a ‘system which, on the very figures given by the Government themselves, will cost within three years nearly £750,000 more than the amount we are now expending on defence.
– One hundred thousand pounds.
– The Minister repeats that statement.
– I do, and it appears in the report of my speech which the honorable member has before him.
– If we drop the naval part of the programme.
– This really relates to naval and military defence.
– The word “ naval “ as used there has, as I shall explain, a very minor operation. We could almost have done without it. I wish now that I had left it out; it would have saved a great deal of this debate.
– I am not going to quibble over the use of words, but I sincerely desire that, even if we do not get a general statement of the intentions of the Government with regard to the financial arrangements for the immediately succeeding year we shall have, before proceeding with this Bill, a correct statement of the additional expenditure that the adoption of the whole of the naval and military proposals of the Government will involve. We were referred by the Minister of Defence, in his speech the other day, to the figures given by the Prime Minister as stating the general cost, and we are told to take those figures as correct. I find that they are at fault by £400,000 or £500,000, and we are entitled to have that fact stated. We are not like children on the pavement, playing some foolish .game. We are not playing a game of chuck-farthing. We are charged with the responsibility of doing the work of the Commonwealth. We have presented to us a huge problem relating to the defence of Australia, and the Government say to us, “ In the first place, shut your eyes to naval defence ; put that question aside, and take up the question of military defence. Deal with this Bill. We want you first of all to adopt a revolutionary change providing for a system of universal compulsory training.’-‘ What I say, in reply to that, is that we ought to know how much the whole policy is going to cost. Assuming that the additional cost is, not £200,000, but nearly £700,000, I would direct the attention of the Minister to one or two further points. In the first place, I ask him if he seriously contends that the estimate of the cost of the compulsory system here put down will cover the actual expenditure? Mr. Ewing. - Yes.
– Is it, then, not proposed to train and employ additional instructional and other officers for the new regiments? Has financial provision been made for that work? As he does not appear to be prepared to answer that question, I should like to ask him another.
– The question I would ask the honorable and learned member is, will he, under any circumstances, vote for the scheme ? ‘
– That is hardly a fair question, seeing that I have not the material which would enable a reasonable man to reply to it. I am not prepared to sign a blank cheque; before signing, I must know the amount for which I am making myself responsible. I have read carefully the speeches of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence, and I wish to know whether it is intended that, within three years or so, the existing militia and volunteers shall be absorbed in the National Guard. Is that the proposal of the Government ?
– The Minister pf Defence said “ No.”
– But the Prime Minister said “ Yes.” This is part of the speech which he delivered six months ago-
We have every reason to believe that this increase will continue. National training for young men will occupy on an average only sixteen days a year for three years. Those who qualify as senior cadets need only put in twelve days a year. I may be asked, “What of the present militia?” The whole of its effective strength will be absorbed, being required to supply officers and non-commissioned officers to train the new levies.
Is that still the intention? Are the existing forces to be absorbed in the National Guard, or has the Minister of Defence adopted a variation of that proposal ?
– The honorable and learned member will see that, if the Minister replied, it would close the debate.
– I know that I have not the right to compel the Minister to reply to my questions; but I wish for information on a few crucial points.
– I gave it all last Tuesday.
– I have been unable to find, in the honorable gentleman’s speech, the information for which I am seeking. We should be told whether the absorption of the present forces in the National Guard will really provide sufficient instructional and other officers. Is it seriously intended that the officers of the present militia, which number about 20,000 men-
– About 15,000.
– That is fewer than I thought. Proportionately, the number of officers is very small. Will they te enough to direct and instruct the new forces?
– A full statement has been made on that point.
– There have been many statements on this and other points, though none of them were very clear. I cannot pretend to expert knowledge, but I imagine that only a small proportion of the present commissioned and noncommissioned officers would at once be capable of taking in hand the effective training of the new forces.
– That is a very severe commentary on the present system.
– Not at all. We have a number of thoroughly competent instructional officers; but the honorable member will admit that their hands are now very full, and it cannot be expected that other officers who are themselves now under instruction will immediately be able to instruct the new regiments.
– The proposed force will not be created in a moment.
– Is it not true that the present officers are not more than sufficient to do the work which now has to be done?
– They could drill 100 men as well as fifty.
Colonel Foxton. - Not for instructional purposes.
– The presentofficers do their work practically for nothing, if they are paid at all ; but if they were called upon to instruct, drill, and control large numbers of men all over the country, their time would be taken up verv largely, if not wholly, with their additional duties, and they would have to be paid accordingly. That would mean a large additional expense.
– The honorable and learned member would be surprised to know how many competent men present themselves for every vacancy in the instructional staff.
– I am glad to hear that that is so. The enthusiasm and desire to be competent are two of the finest things about the present system, and we should be careful lest we do anything to diminish them. But we cannot put such a huge strain on our volunteer officers as to require them, in two or three years, to perform, not only their present duties, but also the instruction and commanding of the new forces which are to be created. Then we have heard it suggested from both sides of the chamber, that the young men who are to be compelled to go into camp shall be paid. I do not think that the beggarly pittance proposed by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney will be commendable to any but himself. I cannot conceive of it being treated with anything but scorn, even by those who are the support of families. I would sooner ask men to drill without pay, as we may have to do, than ask them to drill for a miserable pittance. We should know from the Government if it is intended to pay them.
– I wish that the honorable and learned member had read my speech, or had been here last Tuesday.
– I have read it ; and a good deal of it twice. It has convinced me that the honorable gentleman is an adept in the controversial art of putting arguments into the mouths of opponents simply to refute them. He also showed himself possessed of a very fine sense of humour ; but I failed to get from his speech an answer to this and other questions upon which we should be informed. If the answer is in his speech, the Minister can tell me by interjection.
– It is in the speech ; but Mr. Speaker would call me to order were I to attempt to reply to the honorable and learned member now.
– I shall not permit the Minister to reply by interjection. When he rises to speak, his reply will close the debate.
– Then, I’ shall content myself with suggesting a few questions, to which I think we are entitled to a rePlY before proceeding to consider the Bill. First, is it intended - yes or no - that the militia shall be absorbed in the proposed «ew organization? Then, is it intended that additional payments shall not be made to the officers who will be called upon to undertake the enormous burden of training these forces? Is it intended to pay the men themselves anything, and, if so, approximately how much? In my opinion, additional expenditure will be incurred In all these directions, and we have not the means to estimate how much. We should have this information before we are asked to pledge ourselves to the new proposal. In conclusion, I ask the attention of honorable members, even at this hour of the evening, to one or two general observations on the scheme. I said, at the opening of my remarks, that the idea of giving our young men instruction in military exercises is very attractive to me, provided that wecan afford to do it. But when we have So, 000 men who, at some period of their career have been engaged in the pleasant occupation of camping out for a few days, each year, and have received a little instruction in the use of the rifle, and - know the simpler military formations and words of command - when we have these men, scattered about through the length and breadth of Australia, on our runs and farms, how much nearer shall we be to the military defence of the continent? To answer that question, we must consider what form the danger for which we wish to pre pare is likely to take. Suppose that the control of the sea - our main shield - were lost, the defence of the eastern seaboard might be comparatively simple; but were an Oriental nation to attempt to land a force in the Northern Territory, of what service would the 80,000 men I speak of be in repelling it ? Suppose that they could be brought together in various centres, and properly officered and organized, has either the Prime Minister or the Minister of Defence ever seriously considered the enormous difficulties and the huge expenditure connected with even the simplest system of mobilizing such a force? Even in those countries where military knowledge has grown up for generations, and has been reduced to a great and perfect science, where all the means of communication are easy, and where the whole organization and staff are complete, the movement of troops for purposes of war over comparatively short distances is a huge and costly operation. Suppose we could get some of these troops together, and carry them to a point hundreds of miles distant, often through unknown country, to meet a possible attack, could it be said that that is any step towards the effective defence of the Continent of Australia?
– Is the honorable member suggesting that the smaller the force the better?
– What I intend to suggest is that the defence of the Continent of Australia is not a military but a naval problem. The idea of a military occupation of a continent of this great extent, with 8,000 miles of coastline, and a population about the size of that of the city of New York, is to any one who has studied even the rudiments of military science, or the outlines of military history, absolutely inconceivable. There is no use in blinking the fact. We might, and could, easily maintain and defend against all comers our possession of the more thickly populated districts on the eastern seaboard of Australia. If that were all that we desired to defend, I am prepared to admit that we could do it ; but the problem before us now is the defence, not of Victoria, New South Wales, and Southern Queensland alone, but of the whole continent. The first and cardinal principle that we must recognise, because it is based on absolute truth, is “that the defence of Australia as a continent rests on naval control, and naval control only.
– We might as well abandon the scheme, then?
– Abandon the military forces? No. With any naval force we must have a considerable land force working in co-ordination, and complementary to it. But the main point, which the people of this country must realize before we shall ever arrive at anythink like a solution of this great problem, is that the defence of this place as a continent, our right to hold it, our right, so eloquently put by the honorable member for West Sydney, to assert the principle of a White Australia, placed as our territory is so near vast hordes of oriental races, is not a military problem at all, but a naval problem.
– A problem of immigration.
– That is rather another question. Every one mult admit that our right as well as our power to hold this huge continent ultimately depends on our effectively occupying it. But, taking it even as it is, or with’ any increase of population that we are likely to see in the next three or four generations, the only real problem of Australian defence is: In what way we can maintain such a naval control over the oceans that surround us as will effectively protect the whole of the continent. I may perhaps be permitted to indulge in a little flight of imagination. After listening to a speech by the Prime Minister on the subject of defence, I “dream dreams of a nation in arms, and of a powerful navy capable ultimately of not merely guarding the shores of Australia but of policing the whole of the neighbouring seas. These are glorious dreams, but I am rapidly dashed to earth when I look into the facts and figures, and examine the means at our disposal. Let me,too, for a moment exercise my imagination. I will suppose that the naval. force of the Empire, which has hitherto been our one protection in the enjoyment of our rights, is either destroyed, or so effectually weakened that we can no longer rely upon its support. Let us imagine, if we can, that terrible catastrophe to have happened. In what direction would the danger to us arise ? That there would be danger, and great danger, is absolutely incontrovertible. But I do not anticipate that even in those circumstances the danger to be immediately apprehended would be the armed incursion of a large aggressive ‘force, even in remote parts of the continent. I should not regard that as the immediate danger. If the naval power of the Empire were seriously weakened, what we should have to fear would be that powerful and aggressive nations both in the west and the east - it would perhaps be unwise and imprudent to mention names - would graduallyset up claims to rights of one kind and another against us. They would first of all object strongly to any steps that we might take for preventing the ingress and egress of their citizens, and would probably lay claims to concessions, in the Northern Territory and other parts of Australia, which they would back up by demonstrations in force if need be. In that way they would gradually acquire rights which, whilst probably notinvolving the direct invasion of our territory, would gradually deprive us of a great deal of the real control and sovereignty of Australia. That is the kind of aggression that I should apprehend if the naval control which has hitherto been our guard were seriously impaired. In that case, just as in the case where we might anticipate actual invasion in some remote part of Australia, the possibility of our holding. the continent against such aggression is not conceivable. With a population, perhaps, of 40,000,000, instead of 4,000,000, we might possibly maintain an army of 100,000, or even 200,000, men, and sustain the enormous expenditure for equipment, mobilization, organization, transport, military railways, and everything else necessary to utilize such a force. But, with our present resources, such a defence would be quite impossible. I do not want to weary the House with a long speech on the subject, upon which, with most other people who have thought at all on public affairs, I have pondered as deeply as my limited knowledge of it would permit me. I have read a good deal on the general subject of defence, especially naval defence, and the conclusion that is absolutely forced upon me is that the real problem before us is this: in what direction ought we to proceed in order to do our part in the maintenance of that huge burden of Imperial naval supremacy which gives to us, and to every part of the Empire, the only security that we possess? Whether we ought to inaugurate a navy of our own, with all its difficulties, or subscribe, either directly or indirectly, in much greater degree than we do at present, towards the maintenance of the Imperial Navy - with all its difficulties and the almost impossible position of contributing money without representation - in whatever direction we should go, the one problem for us is : what is Australia’s part in maintaining the supremacy, not only in these seas, but on all the oceans of the globe, of that naval control and domination upon which our liberties rest? We are asked by the Government to shut our eyes to the whole question of naval control. No matter what policy we adopt, whether we expend much or little money, whether we intend to have a mosquito fleet with a few torpedo boats or destroyers, whether we attempt in earnest - at something like appropriate, although enormous, expense - to create a naval force wholly or partly under our own control, or whether we propose to enlarge and amplify under some altered conditions the character of the Naval Agreement which we have hitherto had - whichever of those directions we may take, in that question and that question alone lies the solution of the problem of the defence of Australia. Without having the opportunity of expressing an opinion upon any aspect of that question, we are asked here and now by the Government, on the kind of information given to us and which I have been putting before the House tonight, to shut our eyes, and open our mouths, and swallow a general universal compulsory training system for military service. Was anything more absurd ever placed before a responsible Parliament ? We are told, “ Do not consider whether you will have to spend £500,000, or £r, 000, 000, or £2,000,000, or even more, upon our share in maintaining the naval supremacy of the Empire; that is not before you yet. Do not consider the question of your finances at the present time. We are going to tell you all about that a little later on, but we are not quite ready to tell you now. Shut your eyes to all that, and say whether or not you will commit this country, at this moment, to the adoption of a huge system of universal compulsory military training.” The thing, with all respect to the Government, is absurd. I realize that the Prime Minister - and his speeches have shown it - has undoubtedly - grasped the necessity that exists for Australia to tackle the problem of Australian Defence. The honorable gentleman has made this a prominent question, and for that he deserves the highest credit. But he asks us to take the minor and auxiliary proposition first, although it must absolutely depend on what course we adopt in regard to the pri mary policy of naval defence. That seems not only to place the House in a false position, but to commit us, the taxpayers, and the people generally, to a scheme which may render it impossible for us to adopt that policy of naval defence which we may think proper. If we adopt a course now, which I have shown may cost, together with the existing naval arrangements, small and trifling as they ate, an additional £600,000 or £700,000, but which I think will cost a great deal more, and we are in addition asked to provide for old-age pensions and other proposals, desirable though they may lae, how can we afterwards properly consider the real question, namely, the Naval Defence of the Continent ? I regret that I have occupied a great deal more time than I intended, but I thought it right to accept the invitation of the Prime Minister to honorable members on all sides to deal with this as a non-party question, and I hope that we shall bring our united intelligence and effort to bear in an endeavour to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. For the reasons I have given I believe I shall meet the views of a large number of honorable members if I move, as I now do, the following amendment -
That all the words after the word “That” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words. - “ in the opinion of this House, the defence of Australia depending primarily upon control of the sea, it would be unwise to commit the country to any scheme of compulsory universal military service until Parliament is in a position to determine the naval policy of the Commonwealth.”
Debate (on motion by Mr. Crouch) adjourned.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
In submitting this motion I think I ought to make further reference to the statement I made by way of interjection, when the honorable member for Flinders was speaking, in regard to the error appearing in a table which I read’ to the House in the course of a speech delivered nine months ago, but-
– Does the honorable member desire to make a personal explanation ?
– If I can get the information before the House in no other way I desire to make a personal explanation, because I think honorable members should know the facts. Honorable members will recollect the circumstances under which that speech was delivered on the last day of last year’s sittings. The particular table in question was brought to me during the day on which I made the speech. I used that table in speaking, and had to send it across to the printer or to hand it to Hansard just as it was. After the table was before us, we made certain alterations increasing certain amounts. The table, with the addition at the foot of the final column, then showed a correct total ; but, after the alterations were made, though all the items were correct, that, of course, became an incorrect total. I made the alterations myself, after discussion with the Minister and the experts who were advising us, and handed the table on to the printer, assuming that the addition would be corrected. The printer evidently did not check the total in that column, and the table was published in its present erroneous form. Of that I did not become aware until some weeks later.. I do not remember the circumstances, but it was during the Christmas recess, when I was at the seaside. Some one called my attention to the fact, or I discovered it myself - I forget which - but I at once telegraphed or telephoned that the correction should be made in all succeeding publications. I have assumed from that time that the corrections had been made.
Mr,W. H. Irvine. - What about the other error?
– There is no other error. My colleague, the Minister of Defence has been looking the matter up. In that case there is shown the actual expenditure for the year as it occurred, and the £125,000 set apart for other defence works, which ought to have been expended, but which we were not able to expend before the end of the year. We treated it, as the proper total of the authorized expenditure for that financial year, by which we were measuring future years.
– But the Prime Minister himself said that it ought to have been deducted.
– Yes, “ from the full cost,” but the figures are correct.
– Not the figures - the Prime Minister means that the items are correct.
– The items and total are both correct. That sum was intended to be added, but when I was reading from the table in the course of my speech, I spoke of it as being deducted from the total cost. I may have used that word in an unfortunate sense; but it was not incorrect. My colleague has turned to the full accounts published, which show that the figures£125,000 - which the honorable member for Flinders deducted - ought to stand.
– The Prime Minister’s own remarks are to the contrary, and show that the £125,000 was to be deducted.
– The£125,000 could not be deducted from£1,293,000, because it did not occur in that total, and it had to be added to give the authorized total.
– Then it should have been only £125,000 and not £250,000?
– It should not have been anything.
– It must have been something.
– The table, as is shown by the actual accounts presented, is in this column quite correct, and the sum of £125,000 must be added to make up the total of the year for the purpose of the comparison we were conducting. The other error, I understood, had been corrected, and I regret to find that it has not. I had not time to check the addition, because the altered table was put into my hands while I was addressing the House, and, under the circumstances, I read it in haste.
– Where are the published official figures to be found relating to this £125,000?
– On page 74 of the Estimates for 1907-8. Of course, the honorable member for Flinders is entitled to make all the use he can of the circumstances, and I do not take any exception to his doing so.
– I was merely taking the Prime Minister’s statement.
– But my statement is nine months old, whereas the speech delivered by the Minister of Defence only the other night contained the correct figures, and has no errors.
– There was no correction of this statement.
– No, but there was no statement in his speech that was erroneous or required to be corrected. He gave the true figures, and a full statement of all the facts requisite to an understanding of those figures. He also gave both on the very subjects on which the honorable member for Flinders said that a further statement from him was necessary. However, I do not desire to enter into controversial matters.
.-I should like to draw the attention of the Prime Minister to the table which he caused to be published, and which appears in Hansard.
– The standing order governing procedure of this kind is No. 258; and reads as follows : -
By the indulgence of the House a member may explain matters of a personal nature, although there be no question before the House ; but such matters cannot be debated.
– I thought that the motion for the adjournment of the House had been put.
– Yes, but I pointed out to the Prime Minister just now that it was impossible to refer to a debate which had been adjourned, as that would be anticipating debate of a later date, and that he could only do so under a personal explanation. If the right honorable member can obtain the information which he desires by making a personal explanation, I shall be glad to meet him.
– I shall be happy to put what I have to say in that form.
– Perhaps I’ had better inquire whether it is the pleasure of the House that the right honorable member be permitted to make his statement?
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
– I merely wish to draw the Prime Minister’s attention to the fact that in the table which appears in Hansard above the figures to which the honorable member for Flinders has referred, there is the line, “ Estimates, 1907-8 military (including special defence provision), £1,033,359.I draw attention to this fact. Including that special defence provv sion in the total has the effect of loading the ordinary Estimates with part of the cost of the new scheme. The amount is swollen to £1,033,359, by the inclusion of part of the expenditure on account of the new scheme. The effect is to make it appear that the expenditure under ordinary conditions was about £200,000 more than it really was.
– There was a vote for rifle clubs, and all that sort of thing.
– That expenditure did not run up to £200,000. It seems to me that moneys on account of this new scheme have been included in the ordinary expenditure.
– The right hohorable member is mistaken. The items appearing in the Estimates are for special defence material, £130,000; additional works, £52,177 ; works, buildings, repairs, and rents, £34,265 ; there is also the £639,000 to which the right honorable member refers, and increase for rifle club expenditure and cadets, £24,417. It was by adding those amounts together that we got the sum of £1,079,860, that we considered that we were entitled to reckon in the sum intended to be spent ; and we threfore added it in the table to; which reference has been made, because we had intended to spend the money within the twelve months. All the years are treated on the same basis.
– I see.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at10.10 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 October 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19081007_reps_3_47/>.