3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
IMMIGRATION: WHITE AUSTRALIA.
Mr. McDOU GALL. - I wish to know from the Prime . Minister if his attention has been drawn to the following paragraph which recently appeared in the Argus: -
The question of “filling the empty spaces” in Australia, which The Times insists is the price which the Commonwealth must be prepared to pay for the Empire’s support, is attracting a great deal of attention, and references to the subject have been made in several newspapers in connexion with the departure of Lord Northcote and the arrival of the new Governor-General, the Earl of Dudley.
A few days ago The Times urged Australia to “set asidethe jealousies between State and State, and between the States and the Commonwealth, which now check and hamper the needed stream of immigrants.”
Since then The Times has published a cable message from its Australian correspondent, who says thatthe State Premiers, at their Conference last Easter, decided to hamper and resist the Federal Government’s encouragement of immigration. Commenting on this message the Westminster Gazette remarks that the success of the White Australia policy depends on whether a sufficient number of immigrants are attracted to justify the exclusion of non-whites.
Does not this cablegram suggest that, if the Commonwealth wishes to secure the support of the Empire, it must sacrifice its White Australia policy?
Mr. DEAKIN.- On the contrary, I regard it as conveying an argument for more active effort on our part to increase settlement in those districts which are now largely unsettled, and as such welcome it. Once we have composed our differences of opinion, and the States and the Commonwealth have come together in this matter, we can take more decisive steps to plant settlers in the unpeopled portions of the Commonwealth, and thus comply with the suggestion that to have a White Australia it is necessary that there must bea large population of white men in the Northern Territory and elsewhere.
– As a rumour is current in the city that a certain gentleman has been promised the High Commissionership
– Who is it?
– I do not wish to mention names. I am merely asking the Prime Minister whether he has arrived at any determination as to the making of this appointment, or has been in communication with any one in regard to the filling of it.
– The population of Melbourne is over 500,000, of whom . 1 large proportion are males.. For all I know, every one of them, except myself, may have been promised this office; but I do not know that any person has been promised it, or approached in connexion with it.
– It has been announced in the press that the Government are negotiating for the purchase of a site for Commonwealth Offices in London. I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether it is intended to make the purchase of such a site subject to the ratification of Parliament?
– All purchases of such importance are subject to ratification by Parliament.
– Can the Prime Minister inform the House when he will be prepared to proceed with the Seat of Government Bill?
– I had intended to propose a motion to-day, but, after the decision come to yesterday afternoon, further reflection is necessary. The House haschosen a district in which there are several suggested sites, and, even if its choice be concurred in by the Senate, there will still remain the designation of some particular one. The area selected embraces what are known as the Canberra, Lake George, and. Yass sites, and, since the Barren Jack works were commenced, a fourth site, near Mahkoolma has been suggested. The question for us to decide, sooner or later, iswhich of these sites should be chosen.
– Or any other in the district. There is a number of good sitesthere.
– Then there is an embarrassment of riches. It is doubtful whether a settlement will be advanced by passing an Act approving of the choice as madeyesterday, thus leaving the selection of theparticular site to a subsequent determination.
– In any case, having determined and obtained the necessary territory, the site of the Federal Capital mustbe specially selected.
– I had intended to submit a motion this morning, had any particular site named been chosen. But an area which embraces several sites having been selected, further consideration is necessary. I hope to bring forward a definite proposal on Tuesday.
– The Prime Minister says that there are four suggested sites in the Yass-Canberra district) and perhaps others. But is he not aware that yesterday the House deliberately rejected the Canberra and Lake George sites?
– Although they were specifically rejected, the House thought fit to select a district which includes them and other sites. As the bounds of this district are not defined, we are confronted with a problem which was not anticipated. If the district’ contained only the three wellknown sites of Canberra, Lake George, and Yass, the House might at once proceed to choose between them.
– We know nothing about the district.
– The three sites named have been reported on. If new sites are to be proposed, we are at the beginning of another investigation.
– The Prime Minister is conjuring up non-existent difficulties.
– The honorable member suggested them.
Mr.DEAKIN. - I am pointing out the possibility of delay. That is my difficulty. We brought the Seat of Government Bill forward at this early stage of the session, notwithstanding the sacrifice of valuable time involved, in order to obtain finality speedily. If the three or four already recognised sites in the Yass-Canberra district alone have to be considered, we can at once proceed to select one of them, and then, having amended the Bill, forward it to another place without delay.
– I wish to know whether the Prime Minister does not regard the decision arrived at last night with respect to the Yass-Canberra site as a direction to the Government to instruct a surveyor to select the most suitable site in the district and to report ; the Government then to bring in a Bill providing for the establishment of the Capital on the site so chosen. It is not for a layman to recommend a site.
– The honorable member must not argue the point.
– Professional skill is required to select a site, and I wish to know whether the Government do not consider that the decision of the House last night throws upon them the responsibility of introducing a new Bill dealing with this question.
– If the selection of Yass-Canberra be indorsed by both Houses that undoubtedly will be the responsibility of the Government. My only regret is that the adoption of the course suggested by the honorable member would involve further delay.
– It will not involve a delay of more than three weeks.
– That I think is an under-estimate, for the report when presented would have to be considered by Parliament. Had a definite site been chosen we could have proceeded at once. As it is, do what we will, we are confronted with a prospect of delay.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether it has not been considered by the Government that the proper procedure as contemplated by the
Constitution is that the Federal territory as a. whole should be first of all either acquired by the Commonwealth or granted by the State; and that it would be useless, and certainly not within the contemplation of the law, to proceed with the selection of a particular site until the territory as a whole had been determined.
– If the State of New South Wales is willing tomake the YassCanberra district a territory of the Commonwealth, there will not be the least difficulty or delay. If, however, we are to discuss with the State Government the territory to be granted, within which the capital is to be established, we shall at once be asked to indicate whether that which we desire is on the Yass side, near Canberra, or in the central or Lake George portion of the district. The Government of New South Wales will not consider a proposal to transfer the whole district. That implies a selection as between Canberra, Lake George and Yass, to say nothing of other sites which it is suggested by the honorable member for South Sydney are within the district. All this means delay. What we are anxious to discover is the most expeditious method of dealing with this question. It is desired to settle the matter finally without any further postponement.
– I should like the Prime Minister, in the interests of the promptitude which he expresses a desire to show, to consider another aspect of the matter. We all know thatthere is in force an Act in which Dalgety is named as the site of the Capital, and that yesterday’s decision did not repeal the Act. Since the House has been asked to express an opinion by resolution in the face of that Act, I think that the Prime Minister will see that it is only proper that the Ministry should immediately adopt some course to enable the Senate to express its opinion upon this new departure.
– The honorable member is, in effect, repeating a question that I answered before he arrived.
– I was not aware of that. I do not wish to raise any controversial question. I simply wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he does not consider that steps should be taken to see whether the other branch of the Legislature is prepared to depart from the measure which both branches of the Legislature passed.
-As I have already pointed out, every other proposition submitted last night, save the one approved, related to a definite site, and we had prepared an amendment of the existing Act to provide for the inclusion of whichever was selected. We find ourselves, however, confronted with a problem. If we simply amend the existing Act by substituting for the word “ Dalgety “ words covering the district of Yass-Canberra, a question will arise whether we ought not to define, before we send the Bill on to another place, the particular portion of that district on which we propose to establish the Capital. If an Act be passed indorsing the choice of Yass-Canberra, we shall still have before us the selection of the particular portion of that territory to be acquired from New South Wales. I wish to avoid delay, and, in answer to other questions put this morning, said that we were willing to consider any suggestion for dealing with this unanticipated situation - the selection of a district containing several sites.
– Do not the Government propose to make any suggestion?
– As to which of the sites should be chosen?
– No ; as to the mode of procedure.
– Had any of the other nominations been indorsed, I should have proposed a course of procedure that we had already considered. But the selection of a district including several well recognised sites, and also, I am told, several other fresh sites, brings us face to face with a new problem.
– What does the honorable member propose to do?
– The matterrequires some consideration. We are, in effect, faced with a situation similar to that with which we were confronted before the decision of yesterday afternoon. In other words, we have to choose a specific site within the area selected.
– I have a question to put to the Prime Minister. The vote given yesterday for Yass-Canberra was largely influenced by a statement made by responsible members of the House, that a definite promise had been made by the Premier of New South Wales, that, in the event of its selection, the Government of that State would be prepared to make Jervis Bay a Federal port, and grant the Commonwealth sufficient territory to provide access from the site to that point on the coast. I wish to know–
– Who made that statement?
– The honorable member for South Sydney and the honorable member for New England.
– I did not make it. I am prepared to inform the House what I did say.
– And I only said that it was suggested.
– We were told that a promise had been made privately by the Premier of New South Wales.
– Is the honorable member asking a question?
– I am, sir. I wish to know whether the Prime Minister will communicate with the Government of New South Wales and ascertain whether they intend to grant the Jervis Bay as well as the Yass-Canberra territory to us, and a strip of land giving us access from the site to the sea ?
– The Premier of New South Wales has publicly stated that he could not approach this Parliament with any proposition, from which might be inf erred a desire on his part to give it a lead or a direction. Consequently he proposed to say nothing except that he was prepared’ to consider very favorably any proposals that might be made by this Parliament. So far as his public utterances are concerned, I am not aware that he has gone further. The obstacle in the way of the course that the honorable member now suggests–
– I do not suggest it. I simply wish to know if the statement on which certain votes were cast for the Yass-Canberra site is to be confirmed.
– If the Yass site were chosen, I do not know whether the promise of which the honorable member has heard would relate to that side of the district as well as to Canberra or Lake George.
– It would have the same relation to Jervis Bay . as would the other side.
– Except that it is at a greater distance from that port.
– It is rather unfair to ask the Prime Minister on the spur of the moment to define the attitude of the Government, and all I wish to know is whether he will consider the matter between this and the next sitting of the House.
– I have said so.
– I am quite satisfied with that assurance. Might I ask him” to consider also whether the first step taken should not be some method, such as the Government took in this House, to ascertain whether the other branch of the legislature - is of a similar opinion with reference to our decision-, because, if it is not, it would be idle to proceed further in connexion with the site ? It would be a waste of time unless both Houses are willing to depart from the Act of Parliament.
– I shave already stated that the Government, in the circumstances, instead of taking the course which they would have been prepared to take with any one definite site, thought that there should be some reconsideration between now and next Tuesday. I hope that I am not understood as by any means resenting questions or suggestions, or implying that they are not most proper in the special circumstances in which we are placed.
– I wish to make a personal explanation in view of the remark of the honorable member for Corio to the effect that I made a certain statement relative to the intention of the Premier of New South Wales in certain contingencies. I did not make the statement which the honorable member attributed to me. What I did say to honorable members and reiterate now is that the Government of New South Wales, so far as I was able to ascertain, were prepared, in respect of access to the sea or the question of the area of the Federal territory, to treat the Commonwealth much more liberally in the case of Canberra or a site in the vicinity than in the case of any other site that was not approved of by themselves. Mr. Wade, in reply to a question put to him in the New South Wales Parliament, said that if any of the sites approved by the Government of New South Wales were selected by the Commonwealth the most liberal terms would be extended by the New South Wales Government to the Commonwealth in respect of the area and facilities generally. I am not in any position to pledge Mr. Wade on the matter, but I have every confidence that the most liberal treatment will be accorded by his Government to the Commonwealth i’n those circumstances.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question.
– Mr. Speaker–
– The honorable member for Darwin.
– I desire first to make a personal explanation. I understand that in those circumstances I have the right to address the House immediately after the speech to which I desire to reply.
– As a matter of courtesy the House does extend to honorable members who have been in any way misunderstood the privilege of making a personal explanation, but there is no suggestion of any time when that> privilege can be claimed. It is claimable ordinarily in the same way as any other honorable member would claim the right to proceed if he rose without any other honorable member rising before him. In this case, however, the honorable member for Darwin had already risen two or three times to address the Chair, and I therefore called upon him.
– I am quite prepared to give way to the honorable member for Corio. I desire, if the honorable member will allow me, to ask the Prime Minister whether, when he introduces a Bill for the final settlement of the Capital Site question, he will see that 1,000 square miles is specified as the area of the Federal territory, and that access to Jervis Bay is also included?
– Without considering whether it would be desirable to introduce those propositions, I may express the hope that they or some similar proposals will be cordially made to us before the matter is settled.
– As a personal explanation, I merely wish to say that I do not agree with the statement of the honorable member for South Sydney, but I do not think it is worth while further discussing it here.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether, in considering the generosity or liberality of the Government of New South Wales as regards an exceptional grant of territory, he will bear in mind that anything outside our absolute power to acquire will not be given under section 125 of the Constitution, but under section in, which would require an Act first on the part of New South Wales, and, secondly, on the part of the Commonwealth, altogether independently of the Seat of Government Bill ?
– No doubt what the honorable and learned member states is correct, but the purport of my answer to the question put by the honorable member for Darwin was intended to be that we, at all events, would not endeavour to set any bounds whatever to the liberality of the State of New South Wales.
– I wish to ask the Minister of De’fence whether the Gov.ernment intend to gladden the hearts of the few remaining Indian Mutiny and Crimean veterans by repeating the dinner that they gave last year?
– The procedure of last year will be adhered to.
Appointment of Administrator
– Is the Prime “Minister yet in a position to say when a permanent administrator will be appointed to Papua?
– The only delays are those occasioned by the pressure of other public business upon the Government.
Post and Telegraph Department : Telephone Service
.-! desire to move the adjournment of the House to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely: - “The unsatisfactory condition of the telephone service, connexions and extensions.”
Five honorable members having risen in their places,
– I take this action because I have found it absolutely impos sible to get any satisfaction from the Department on this matter in any other way. I have taken the opportunity on several occasions, both on the Address-in-Reply, and during the consideration of the Estimates, to draw the attention of the PostmasterGeneral to several matters of urgency in connexion, not only with my own electorate, but with the whole State of New South Wales. Those representations have been treated with absolute indifference.
– Has ‘ the honorable member brought the matter before the Postal Commission ?
– I considered the advisability of taking that course, but the matters are so urgent that I saw no possibility of getting any immediate relief from the Commission itself. The first matter to which I wish to refer is the extension of trunk lines to Katoomba. There is already one trunk line to that place. It was erected four or five years ago. Before it was erected the inhabitants of Katoomba were asked to guarantee to the Department-
– Order ! Conversations are still continuing. I do hope that, for the sake of common fair play and that courtesy which is due from honorable members to every honorable member addressing the Chair, conversations in loud tones will not be persisted in. They cause inconvenience on every hand, and, in common politeness, to say nothing of the Standing Orders, they ought to be discontinued.
– I was saying that the original telephone to Katoomba was erected under the guarantee of the residents - a guarantee which I consider outrageous - to return ten per cent, on the capital outlay. The line was erected on these terms, and, from Katoomba alone, it was found to pay excellently well. But the Department “ cut in “ two other lines to Wentworth Falls and Lawson, and that led to a good deal of delay in the service of Katoomba. Not content with that, the Department connected Black Heath, Mount Victoria, and Leura with the Katoomba Exchange, and when the shale works were commenced the NewnesClarence line was also connected. That led to such delays that, so far as the Katoomba people were concerned, the service was absolutely inadequate, and almost had to be given up. As far back as two years ago, that is, on the 8th January, 1907, Mr. Peacock, the proprietor of the Carrington Hotel at Katoomba, wrote to the Department a letter, in which he said -
One day last week I had to wait five hours, and several visitors have been unable to get communication at all during business hours. This morning, out of four calls, I got the first in two hours, and the others in three.
On Mr. Peacock’s letter the Department had an inquiry ; and, without burdening the House with details, I may say that Mr. J. H. Nash, who was then postmaster at Katoomba, reported that the line was not sufficient to carry the system that had been placed upon it, and he drew attention to the fact that the line, on which ten residents had guaranteed ten per cent., or about ^114 per annum, had paid so well that it had been taken over by the Department in, I think, 1901. Mr. Nash went on to show that the lines which I have already mentioned had been “ cut in,” that
Katoomba had a local subscribers’ list of forty-four, which had since been very much increased, and that there were ten more waiting to be connected on She toll system. Mr. Nash went on to say : -
Visitors complain bitterly that they should have to wait so long for a circuit, and revenue is being lost almost daily, from the Bureau especially. When, after inquiry, a visitor finds the line engaged for fifteen 01 twenty, sometimes thirty, minutes, the call is not registered ; and it is a difficult matter to explain away satisfactorily to each customer who sutlers disappointment. Wolgan Shale Mining Co. invariably occupies the line every circuit the full extension time - six minutes. Medlow Bath (29 Katoomba Exchange) is another big user; in fact, the line is a most popular one, as the speaking is so good ; but its attractions will very soon suffer, as far as Katoomba is concerned, if another trunk line is not soon constructed so as to relieve this line, and also to meet the ever increasing demands for the telephone.
That was the report of the Department’s own officer, and it was borne out by further inquiry. Then the honorable member for Parramatta, in whose electorate Katoomba then was, brought the matter under the notice of the Department, and the reply he got was that, at present, nothing could be done, but that when the tourists’ season of 1906-7 was commenced further inquiry would be made. The residents of Katoomba, knowing that there was sufficient work for one line without any “ cut in “ lines or outside connexions, again wrote to the Department, through the local council, asking that another line might be erected, on which they were prepared to guarantee ten per cent. That offer- was voluntary; and the Department, after, a good deal of correspondence, accepted the offer and consented to erect a line. The Department then sent up officers to make inquiries ; and it was found that the existing line was already paying more than 10 per cent, on the estimated outlay on the old line and the new one, so .that a guarantee was absolutely unnecessary. I believe that ten per cent, on the outlay of the two lines represented about ^3°°; whereas, taking everything into consideration, the revenue was somewhere between £600 or .£700 a year; and, after more delay, the Department informed the municipal council at Katoomba that they were prepared to erect a line without a guarantee. In answer to a question which I asked, it was said that no provision had been made on the Estimates of 1906-7 for this line, and that the people would have to wait until the’ 1907-8 Estimates were considered, but that in the meantime tenders would be called for the material in order that, as soon as the Estimates were passed, the work might be proceeded with. I asked the Postmaster-General whether this line was included in the vote on the 1907-8 Estimates, and I was told that it was; but, as nothing further was done, although tenders had been called, I made further inquiries and found that this was one of the lines that had been abandoned in consequence of the reduction of the vote. It was said, however, that new tenders would be called.
– There is not, I believe, a line in the whole of the Commonwealth that would pay so handsomely.
– I speak very often with Katoomba, and I never experience any delay.
– I understand, then, that the Treasurer does not consider this line in the least necessary - his interjection shows where the shoe pinches. The present Minister of Trade and Customs, when PostmasterGeneral, paid a visit to Lithgow, and, while passing through Katoomba, promised a deputation that this work should be proceeded with. I understand that second tenders were called for the supply of material, but, instead of being accepted, they were delayed pending a vote of the House. After numerous letters and personal representations, I asked the Postmaster-General in the House whether he anticipated that the promise he had given, that the special trunk line would be supplied for the ensuing tourists’ season, would be fulfilled. The PostmasterGeneral replied : -
I am unable to state definitely, but this work, with others of a similar character, is being carefully considered in connexion with the Estimates now being prepared.
The tourist season at Katoomba extends from September to Easter. The resident population of the township is about 2,000, but the visitors number about 6,000, so that its summer population varies from 8,000 to 10,000. Even in the winter months I received numerous complaints about the inadequacy of the telephone service, and this season it will be impossible to obtain communication between Katoomba and Sydney except after waiting for one or two hours. During . the last election, nearly two years ago, as Katoomba was the centre of the Nepean electorate, I had occasion to frequently ring up the township, or to speak from it to my. office at
Parramatta, and it was only when, by interviewing the postmaster, which I was very loth to do, I obtained an urgent connexion, that I could commence my conversation without having waited from twenty minutes to an hour and a half. The settlement on the Blue Mountains is increasing by leaps and bounds, and almost every new resident wants a telephone. Not only is there difficulty at Katoomba; similar trouble exists at the Medlow Hydro, and at Blackheath. As mentioned by Mr. Nash, the Commonwealth Oil Corporation at Newnes uses, the telephone a great deal, and its general manager has complained to me that often, when they are unable to finish their conversation in the six minutes allowed, they have to wait two or three hours for an opportunity to renew it. This, I understand, occasions such serious inconvenience, that the company has asked permission to erect a line of its own from Newnes to Sydney; but that has not been given. The company ha.s a line from Newnes to Clarence, but between Clarence and Sydney it has to use the general public line. The Katoomba municipality, various public bodies, and local residents have all made representations to the Department, but without success. I am sure that, if the Postmaster-General stated that he has not the necessary money to give them relief, but that they could erect a line for themselves, they would undertake the work, on the understanding that the Department should pay - not io- per cent., which is what it demands - but 5 per cent, on the outlay. The residents are willing to meet the Department in every way they can, to put an end to the present unsatisfactory state of affairs. Newnes is now a, place of from 1,000 to 1,500 inhabitants. These people are without telegraphic or telephonic communication, except through the courtesy of the Commonwealth Oil Cor,poration in permitting the use of its line. I saw the representatives of the corporation, and they consented to let the Department use their posts, thus saving the cost of erection, should it be determined to give a telephone or telegraph service to Newnes. The Department, however, says that there is no money available. At Blackheath, matters are nearly as ba.d as at Katoomba. The people there agitated, some time ago, for a local exchange, and in August of last year, more than twelve months ago, when the Department asked for twenty subscribers at £4 each, the names were speedily furnished, the guaran- tee given, and the forms supplied by the Department filled in and returned. They were then told that there was no accommodation for a ^telephone exchange in the Blackheath post-office, which is a rented building. The Progress Association saw the owners of the building, and got them to consent to make any alterations for which the Department might ask. Government officers were sent up,, plans were prepared, and the necessary alterations were completed. Those who signed the guarantee were practically promised an exchange before the end of last season. On the 15th July last, the new premises were taken possession of, and the Progress Association wished to know why the exchange had not been installed. These delays show how chaotic is the condition, of the Telephone Department.
– Are the affairs of the State described as chaotic when a Government says that it is not in a position to build a railway which has been demanded?
– The Telephone Department makes a pretence of giving a service which it does not give.
– Its administration might well be described as chaotic, since it cannot do its work.
– The Department offers the service, but, when the public try to use it, nothing but delay and annoyance isthe result. At Katoomba one may have to wait from two to four hours for the use of the telephone, and is very lucky to be able to converse with Sydney within halfanhour. So far as that exchange is concerned, I say advisedly that the administration of the Department is chaotic.
– It is the same all over Australia.
– All the more need for something to be done.
– We have a Postal Commission. What more does the honorable member ask for ?
– I desire a substantial improvement of the service, and am sorry to say that the Blue Mountains are not the only place in my district where dissatisfaction exists. Some time ago, the Bankstown and East Hills Progress Association asked for telephonic connexion. An inspector reported that it would not pay, but when a further report had been obtained, . the Association was told that a line would be erected if a certain amount were paid down and the requisite revenue were guaranteed. “Public meetings were held, and the necessary money collected and paid in to the Department, and the guarantee obtained. Now the people are told that -the Department has not the money to build the line. I am informed that money paid in in this way goes into the Consolidated Revenue, and cannot be drawn upon until it is specially voted. “That seems to me to be improper finance. -Such payments should go into trust accounts, and the money should be used only for the purposes for which it is advanced. There are other matters to which I might well call attention, but the facts I have already given will serve to illustrate how business is conducted by the Department in reference, not only to the particular lines I have mentioned, but the telephone service generally in New South Wales. I should like to mention, however, one other case. A large sanatorium for consumptives has been erected at Wentworth Falls by Dr. Mclntyre Sinclair, who, as far back as July last, applied to have his establishment connected with the exchange at the Wentworth post office, and - if I am not confusing his case with another that has been brought under my notice - paid his subscription fee for three years in advance, in -order to provide for the cost of making the connexion. The Department now tell him that they have not at their disposal the money necessary to provide for the construction of the line. Surely a special arrangement might be made to deal promptly with applications by medical practitioners for telephone connexions, since it is often a matter of life and death that speedy communication should be obtained with them.
– The time allotted the honorable (member under the Standing Orders has expired.
.- I feel sure that honorable members will agree that no one has a monopoly, of complaints against the Post and Telegraph Department.
– It is the Department that has the monopoly.
– This is not very encouraging, so far as the nationalizing of more undertakings is concerned.
– When we have a Government monopoly we can, at all events, talk with some effect to the men who are responsible, but if the telephone service were a private monopoly we. might talk till we were blue in the face, so to speak, and get nothing. Bad as the position is, I am satisfied that if we could only see the condition of private telephone services elsewhere we should feel grateful for what we have.
– We should not have half the facilities that we now enjoy.
– I do not wish to enter into a general discussion of the question of private as against publicly owned telephone services, nor do I wish to weary the House with a list of the small places in my electorate that have been treated in the same way as towns in the electorate of Nepean have been served.
– And the position is the same in every electorate.
– We all have a list of grievances, and when I compare mine with those of others I do not think that I can complain that I have been ungenerously treated. I have had a fair share of what has been offering, but the service in my electorate is marked by the very . features of which the honorable member for Nepean complains. People give guarantees and enter into agreements with the Department, only to find that it is not prepared to carry out its part of the bargain. Want of funds seems to be at the root of the trouble. I do not complain of the officials in the service. They make their recommendations with reasonable promptitude, but in connexion with our representations to the Department we soon seem to reach a stage at which proposed works are held up for want of funds. In this regard we have a special complaint against the Treasurer.
– And also against the Postmaster-General for not insisting upon his rights.
– I understand that the Postmaster-General has repeatedly asked for a larger vote, and that his Estimates have been cut down. The House has always been prepared tq support any vote for the Department for which the Government have asked, and I cannot understand why so astute a politician as the Treasurer should have gone on year after year returning to the States hundreds of thousands of pounds that were required to give much-needed services to our own constituents. We have missed our best opportunity.
– I wish that the honorable member would talk of what he knows.
– I know something about this matter; I know that the Treasurer has gone on month after month returning to the States large sums of money that were really required to provide for Commonwealth services.
– I have not done so, and I have got into trouble with the States because of my attitude.
– I know that the Treasurer has not done so since the creation of Trust accounts to provide for Old-age Pensions.
– And also for the new Australian navy.
– I would point out–
– Order ! Under the Standing Orders the honorable member has only a quarter of an hour within which to state his case, and it is most unfair that that limited time should be broken up by interjections and conversations across the chamber.
– Before the Trust funds to which reference has been made were established, large amounts were returned to the States, and they have gone to make up the big surpluses which the States to-day enjoy. Why should we have returned to them money of which we were in urgent need to provide our own constituents with necessary services? That is a question to which the Treasurer might be asked to reply.
– Have a go at those who were in office before me.
– It is very easy to say, “I am not to blame; it was the other fellow.”
– And so it was.
– My contention is readily capable of proof. I may be mistaken, but I am inclined to think that an examination of the records will show that since the honorable member for Hume took office as Treasurer a large amount has been returned to the States.
– A smaller amount than was returned to them before I took office.
– The Treasurer is out of order.
– But the honorable member is making against me an accusation to which I object.
– I cannot help thinking that the failure of the Government and of the House to provide sufficient funds for telephonic and postal extensions has arisen from a want of appreciation of the difficulties under which people in country districts labour.
– We realize the needs-
– The honorable member for Bass is out of order.
– Better provision is made for the residents of cities and large towns than is made for those residing in rural districts. We have, for instance, a telephone line between Sydney and Melbourne which traverses my electorate. Residents of Goulburn, Cootamundra and Yass are prepared to pay any reasonable charge for the right to converse over the line, but the Department says in effect, to them, “ We are going to retain this service for the people of Sydney and Melbourne. They may use it, but those living in between the terminal points may not be connected with it.” That is an illustration of the special attention given to the needs of the people residing in large centres of population whilst those of the people of more thinly-populated districts are forgotten.
– Is it not a fact that if what the honorable member suggests were done the line would be of no service to any one ?
– The honorable member is out of order.
– The residents of some of the towns in my constituency would find it of great service to be connected with the main line. I mention this as an illustration of the unfortunate policy under which Governments in the past have given to city constituencies a measure of attention that has been denied country districts. One of the problems of the present day is how to encourage people to live in rural districts, and the greater the facilities for communication the more readily’ shall we be able to settle the land. In Sydney we have opportunities to converse with our neighbours, and to exchange views with people living some miles from us. With an up-to-date telephone system the position should be the same in country districts. I have in mind a case where, for lack of some seven or eight miles of telephone poles, a circuit which would connect some forty or fifty miles of country cannot be provided. The work is being held up until the necessary funds are available and the want of funds is due to want of reasonable consideration of the claims which country constituencies have on the Treasury. I do not speak merely for the purpose of complaining.
– I do not know what else the honorable member is doing.
– Whilst supporting a Ministry I always endeavour to give to it a support that self-respecting men may readily accept. I have been led co make these observations by the knowledge thai we shall have within the next few days a financial statement from the Treasurer. If different sections of the House now voice their appreciation of the need of increased postal and telephonic facilities, possibly something will be done to provide for them on the Estimates for the current financial year.
– Such remarks cannot have the slightest effect. I am giving the Department all that I can.
– I hope that the honorable member will have a good look round and make sure that he is doing so.
– He ought to give us all that we need.
– It would be impossible for the Treasurer to provide sufficient funds to do away with all cause for complaint, but I trust that, in giving the finishing touches to the Estimates, the Treasurer will strain a point to do all that he can to provide the money required for telephone connexions and postal facilities which are urgently needed in country districts.
Mr. HANS IRVINE (Grampians) (11.40]. - I agree with all that the honorable member for Nepean and the honorable member for Werriwa have said. I have presented requests and petitions to the Secretary of the Department, who has always received me courteously, and promised to bring each case before the PostmasterGeneral, and, if at all possible, to arrange that just requests should be granted.’ But over twelve months ago the Department promised that if certain conditions were carried out, they would erect the Waubra and Lexton to Ballarat line. Those conditions were complied with, yet six weeks or two months ago those interested received from the Department a notification that there were no funds available to fulfil that absolute promise given over twelve months before. Instances of the unsatisfactory condition of the service in the country may be found in connexion with the Ararat to Ballarat and Stawell “line, while, in the case of requests for telephone facilities from Willaura, St. Arnaud, ‘Bealiba, Tarnagulla, ‘Buangor, and various other places, in no single instance has the Department endeavoured to facilitate business, or to grant the residents the conveniences which they require.
I have mentioned these matters to the PostmasterGeneral, but I do not bother him ‘ much. I go to the permanent head of the Department and put the case before him. I am certain that in many instances he has recommended that the requests should re- .ceive immediate attention, but we always find that the bone of contention is the want of funds. The- policy of the Department apparently is that the country cannot be considered. The town must be considered first, and everything must be centralized. The residents of the country are neglected, but this House, which largely represents the country, should recognise that the primary producer is the man who, above all others, should be encouraged. It is to the interests of manufacturers, and, in fact, of almost every resident of the cities, that the man on the soil should be considered, because they depend on his products for their prosperity. A man in a large way of business at a little place called Natte Yallock, who finds it absolutely necessary to communicate with Ballarat, and from Ballarat. on to Melbourne, is no further forward in the matter of getting telephone facilities than he was over twelve months ago. In the case of the line from Waubra and Lexton to Ballarat, I handed to the Department about six weeks ago their own letter of over twelve months before, in which a promise was made that telephone facilities would be given if certain conditions were complied with. Yet, as I said, they now reply that they can go no further because they have no funds. How long is this state of things likely to continue? I hope that the Postal Commission will do some good, and that some of these injustices to country residents will be brought to light, in order that the PostmasterGeneral may be seized of the importance of his duties as head of a great Department. I hope that when the Estimates come before the House he will put His foot down firmly and insist on a large sum being reserved for telephonic, telegraphic, and postal facilities in country districts. I am satisfied the honorable member for Nepean has voiced the opinions of country residents throughout the length and’ breadth of the , Commonwealth. I trust that the PostmasterGeneral will take notice of what has been said, and draw the attention of the Treasurer to the urgency of the situation, so that immediate action may be taken to prevent the present state of affairs from continuing.
– The very fact that honorable members feel it necessary to complain of the management of the Post and Telegraph Department now in spite of the fact that a Royal Commission has been appointed shows what a chaotic condition the Department has got into. I agree that to a great extent the question is one of money, but there is another side to it. We must not forget that the House has reduced the charges for the telephonic and telegraphic services, and yet no provision appears to have been made by the Department to meet the increased business that was bound to follow.
– Our anxiety to hand back the surplus revenue to the States was the cause of the whole trouble.
– I believe that is true, and that this state of things has dated from the beginning of Federation. Yet to-day the Federal Parliament is being kicked for its kindness to the States. But that does’ not explain cases such as I have experienced, and I suppose other honorable members have also, where even in a matter of the expenditure of £5 or ^10 the Department has replied that the question must stand over until Parliament makes the necessary provision. It is most humiliating that such a big Department should have to send out letters of that description. Another example of lack of good management in the Department is this : If it is proposed’ to construct a telephone line of about 100 miles or- more in length, an order must be given for the necessary copper wire iri England, and twelve months must elapse before the wire is delivered to the Department, no matter how urgent the work may be. Although the copper is produced in Australia, it has to be sent Home, and then brought back by the Government at greatly increased cost, to say nothing of the delay occasioned thereby. Surely some arrangement might be made by the Government to avoid that state of things, either by keeping up a stock sufficient to carry out works that are found necessary from time to time, or by some other method. The present arrangement shows gross mismanagement. The officers of the Department say that a work is urgently necessary, but all that they can do is to make an order, knowing full well that it will be twelve months before they can get the material to carry out the work. The same thing applies in an even greater degree to the supply of switchboards. It is time the Government took steps to make ample pro vision, for carrying out the work of the Department in a proper way. If they bring down Estimates to meet the requirements of this growing service, I do not think the House will be found wanting in voting the necessary money.
.- I rise to emphasize the statements “made by previous speakers with respect to the condition of the Department. I anticipatethat the reply of the Postmaster-General, will be that the Postal Commission is now sitting, that when their report is presented’ the whole question will have to bethoroughly gone into,, and that after theBudget statement is made next week a further opportunity will be given to honorablemembers for discussion. But in the meantime the Postal Department, one of themost important that the Commonwealth has. charge of, is falling into disrepute be-“ cause the most necessary services are hungup for want of funds. So far we can find’ no sign whatever of any financial schemebeing evolved by the Government to meet the grave and serious exigencies of our great commercial Department. I hope that this discussion will force upon the PostmasterGeneral and the Government thenecessity of tabling some scheme in connexion with the Budget to place the Department on the requisite financial footing, in order that works which are urgently demanded throughout the Commonwealths may be undertaken without further delay. I recognise that it is a question of money.
– Should not the Treasurer be present to hear the debate ?
– Certainly. The great needs of the Commonwealth in connexion with” postal, telegraphic, and telephonic - facilities have for several months past been absolutely flouted. We have only to glanceat the evidence that has been tendered to the Postal Commission to see the chaotic condition into which the finances of theDepartment have fallen. I do not say that the Postmaster-General is not doing” his very best to meet the rapidly growing requirements of the Commonwealth, dueto its general prosperity, and I believe that the responsible officers of the Department are generally doing what they possibly can to meet these constant demands. But it is a question of money, and the House has not heard of any real attempt being madeby the Treasurer to make the necessary provision.
– I do not think the honorable member ought to say that in the absence of the Treasurer.
– It is the Treasurer’s duty to be here to listen. He was present when the motion was moved, but he walked out of the chamber a few minutes ago in the middle of a direct attack by an honorable member opposite on his administration of the Treasury. That was treating the House with scant courtesy. I hope this debate will induce the Cabinet to formulate some scheme in connexion with the Budget to meet the serious and pressing necessities of the Commonwealth.
.- I am sorry that certain honorable members have tried to introduce into this discussion the question of town against country.
– It is quite true.
– It is absolutely incorrect, or it applies only to certain portions of the city.
– Will the honorable member name a case where a guarantee has been demanded in a city ?
– The honorable member for Grey was not present when I pointed out that each honorable member had only a quarter of an hour in which to debate this motion, and that it was grosslyunfair for other honorable members to take up portion of that time.
– I, for one, asked that a guarantee should be required for the MelbourneSydney telephone line just as in the case of the country, although I was a town member. It may be news to the honorable member for Grampians to learn that the industrial suburbs throughout the metropolitan area have practically no telephone exchanges. Whereas residential suburbs, such as Malvern, Brighton, Cheltenham, Canterbury, Windsor, and Hawthorn, are well provided with exchanges, there is none in Richmond, Collingwood, Carlton, or Fitzroy. Only certain portions of the city, which, perhaps, have been able to bring pressure to bear in Parliament, have received consideration. I am sorry the question of town against country was introduced at all. I hope that the Treasurer will provide in his Budget for an increase in the rates charged to telephone subscribers if the telephone service does not pay to-day. I understand that, according to the evidence of the gentleman in charge of this branch of the Department, the people of Australia enjoy the advantage of paying only about one-fourth of the rates charged in other parts of the world.
– The charges are higher now than they were before Federation.
– I do not know where the charges are higher. I hope that the Postmaster-General will, as the result of this debate, bring down a table showing the rates in operation in the various cities in the world for various distances. It will be found, I believe, that the rates in Australia are absolutely lower than in any other part of the world, and since we have cheapened our telephone and telegraph service, we should see that it is selfsupporting. We know that these works cannot beprovided for out of the present revenue ; and I should be very loth to vote for any system of borrowing in connexion with this Department. In my opinion, the flat rate system should be abolished, and the toll system brought into operation throughout Australia on a given date, so that every person may pay according to the service rendered. To-day the lines to some establishments are always engaged, and the users certainly ought to pay according to the time occupied. I hope the result of the inquiries of the Royal Commission - and not particularly the result of this discussion this morning- will be that the telephone system will be put on a more businesslike basis than at present, and made to pay. I am given to understand that it is impossible to say which branches of the Post and Telegraph Department are paying and which are not ; and if it be found that the town, much as it is derided by honorable members, is not returning a fair share of revenue on the telephone service, then the rates should be . increased, and the same principle should apply to country districts. I for one do not claim that the town should reap all the advantage ; but the town should not be continually aimed at and made the subject of adverse comment by honorable members in this connexion.
.- Some honorable members may, perhaps, think that this discussion might well have been held over until the Budget or the report of the Royal Commission was before us : but the object of the honorable member for Nepean is to direct special attention to this matter, in view of a declaration made by the Treasurer, in answer, I think, to a question, that he was not prepared to make provision in his Estimates for these increased telephone conveniences, which almost every member thinks are necessary. It is with a view to ventilating the matter that the honorable member foi* Nepean has taken action this morning, in the hope of inducing the Treasurer to reconsider his expressed determination. I have complaints to make similar to those submitted by other honorable members. In my electorate, in some cases weeks after telephone applications have been approved by the Department I have received letters from progress associations, stating that no steps had been taken to carry out the work ; and, on further inquiry, I have found that the reason of the delay is that there are neither instruments in stock nor the necessary money available. Most honorable members are now familiar with the stereotyped reply, in cases where official approval has been given, that works will be carried out “ when funds permit.” So invariable is that qualification of the approvals that it has become a standing joke amongst honorable members. Sometimes there may be involved only a matter of £5 for a line, or £3 for a cabinet; and it is ridiculous and humiliating to honorable members to have to write a serious letter to the secretary of a progress association or a municipal council stating that the work will be carried out “ when funds are available.” It places honorable members in the position of seeming to make sport of their constituents, and, in connexion with a large Department like this, letters and replies of the kind are calculated to bring the whole institution and administration into contempt. The PostmasterGeneral must accept his share of the responsibility for this state of things. It is all very well for the Minister- and I think he does so with some justification in part - to shift the whole of the responsibility on to the Treasurer, but the Postmaster- General must remember . that he, as Minister, is responsible for the control of the Department. If he has not sufficient influence in the Cabinet to insist on money being provided for proper administration he ought to consider his position, and, perhaps, allow some one else to have a show who will be a little more determined. I know that the desire of the Postmaster-General is to see the fullest development and extension of telephones throughout the Commonwealth, and that he is hampered by considerations of finance. But I have been informed by responsible officers - I do not know whether it is true or not - :lhat when they have made provision in the Estimates for their sections of the Department they have had them returned with a request for reductions wherever possible.
– That came out before the Royal Commission the other day.
– I know that when I asked the Postmaster-General a question on the subject in the House it was denied1 that any such requests had been made.
– Denied ?
– Yes, it was denied by the Postmaster-General himself, who gave me to understand that no Estimates had been returned.
– It is the Treasurer who returns the Estimates.
– As has been pointed out, the natural purpose and result of a general reduction in telephone and telegraph rates was an increase of business. Ordinarily a private business firm would anticipate such an increase, and have made, provision financially and otherwise to meetit; but no steps were taken by the Department to either provide sufficient funds or lay in stock sufficient material. That is an act of neglect for which the administration is blameable, and I do not think that either the present Postmaster-General, or past Postmasters-General, can wholly escape responsibility. My sympathies go out to the Chief Electrical Engineers, particularly the engineer of New South Wales, and it is really a wonder that the latter gentleman is not worried into his grave.
– He has more funds available now than ever he had.
– That may be, but at the same time he has not nearly enough. If the Treasurer had been in the chamber a few moments ago he would have heard my statement, which can be borne out, that even in the case of approved works the invariable reply is that they will be carried out “ when funds permit.”
– That is right enough, is it not?
– It. is ridiculous in the case of small amounts, and development should be reasonably anticipated and provided for. I had occasion to make some inquiries about short distance lines and public telephones, which had been approved after report by the inspectors. It was complained by secretaries of progress associations and others, that, although approval had been given, the work was not carried out; and, when I made inquiries, I found 1 hat there was no possibility of having the work done during this year, because no provision had been made on the Estimates.
– Perhaps the works were not necessary.
– They must have been or the inspectors would have reported adversely. From my experience of inspectors, they are not over anxious to make favorable reports when they know the difficulties of getting work done, and only do so when the evidence in favour is incontrovertible. They know the condition of the finances and do not like to make recommendations which they are aware have little chance of being carried out. They are more inclined to overcautiousness than other - wise. I hope that the Treasurer will reconsider his expressed determination not to make any further provision for telephone extension ; and I call his attention to the fact that his attitude is really responsible for this motion for adjournment. When the Treasurer occupied a different position in the Cabinet he established a reputation for liberality almost amounting to recklessness. But since his assumption of his present office he has developed a parsimony which has almost earned for him the sobriquet of miser.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) Ti 2. 7]. - Like other honorable members I have innumerable telephone grievances in my electorate.
– Who has not?
– It appears that some honorable members have much greater cause for complaint than have others. We have been told by ope honorable member, who, singularly enough, is a firm supporter of the Government, that he gets a very fair share of the money that is going round.
– I have fifteen distinct grievances.
– The honorable member is very lucky to have no more in a large electorate ; some of us, if we started to count, would fmd, not fifteen, but fifty grievances.
– The complaint against me is that I give the honorable member’s electorate too much !
– The Treasurer is deeply concerned in this matter, and it appears he is “ putting his foot down “ in an unjustifiable and unwarrantable manner. It occurs to me that the statement of the Department that certain works shall be constructed “ when funds permit “ is just a little bit political, as well as departmental.
– I wish I had the funds.
– This is a very good way of tuning members up to pass any Estimates that may be submitted, and criticise them with as little rigour as possible. I have only to say that when the Estimates appear the attitude of the Government will not deter me from doing my duty. In my judgment, the reply given by the Department to almost every letter in connexion with even the most trivial matters will not hold water for an instant. It is overdoing it. As, year after year, we have been told that works would be constructed when funds would permit, we are beginning to see through this departmental ruse. Will the Postmaster- General say that, during the last two or three years, the funds have never permitted the completion of the works which have been promised? The honorable member for Nepean has referred to a service the improvement of which has been promised during the last two ot three years, and is urgently necessary. The statement of the Treasurer in regard to the Katoomba service reflects gravely upon himself.
– I have lived in Katoomba.
– When I was representing that district, the honorable member went there once a month, or once a fortnight. He tells us that he has never had any difficulty in obtaining telephone communication with Katoomba. What does that argue?
– That the line isnot congested.
– It shows that the Treasurer is given preference over the general public, or that he has some surreptitious way of manipulating the instruments. During the tourist season the delays are serious, and prolonged, and if the Treasurer has never had to wait more than five minutes, he should keep the fact to himself, and not make his privileges the measure of other people’s needs.
– I have no privileges.
– I should like to know whether similar statements bv the Treasurer have caused the Postmaster- General to postpone other promised improvements? It may be that he is responsible for the fact that improvements on trunk lines in my electorate, which have been promised for years, have not been carried out.
– To which trunk lines does the honorable member refer?
– The Gosford line, for instance, needs improving. It is practically useless at present. Those who pay for conversations are irritated, and get practically no return for their expenditure. I should like to know when funds will be provided to meet the promises which have been made? Surely money is available when the Estimates are passed. But year in and year out. and at every period of the year, we get the same stereotyped replies.
– I have never interfered with the votes of Parliament.
– The amounts necessary for individual works are not itemized in the Estimates. The cause of the whole trouble is, in my judgment, due to the lack of an efficient system of accountancy, and I commend this suggestion to the Commissioners who are now engaged in a titanic struggle to investigate the affairs of the Department. I do not say that the accountancy in each State is defective. I d.o not think it is. But a central system of audit is needed, so that Parliament may be furnished with yearly statements and balancesheets, showing the value of the services rendered.
– The Department has undertaken to give such a statement.
– Sir George Turner asked for one five years ago.
– I have been asking for one for a still longer period.. Ever since Federation began, we have been promised an annual report from the PostmasterGeneral, but have never got one. The Department does not know where it i.? going, because there is no satisfactory statement of its accounts. When the PostmasterGeneral visits New South Wales, and deputations are introduced to him, he sends them away saying, “ Mauger is a good fellow; we are going to. get these works carried out at last.” But the works are not carried out. I have introduced many deputations to him, and I do not think that one promise has been fulfilled. The honorable gentleman should see that his undertakings are adhered to. I am constantly receiving complaints on this he?.d, and all I can do is to send them on to the Department. If I saw the PostmasterGeneral himself, he would say, “ I shall have it done “ ; but nothing would be done. It may be that the Treasurer prevents works from being undertaken.
– If I have money, the Postmaster-General gets it.
– Then I should like to know where the money goes. The trunk lines, above all, should be kept efficient, because they affect the country more than the towns. If there must be precedence, it should be given to “them, because without efficient trunk lines, all others are of little use. Of course, the PostmasterGeneral cannot make bricks without straw, but I am convinced that the present position of affairs is due largely to the lack of efficient central control. Until we get that, the present delays will drag out their weary length, and confusion will become worse confounded.
– I do not think that I have reason to complain of the matter which has been brought forward, but I have cause to complain of the manner in which it has been brought under my notice. The leader of the Opposition strongly protested against .the postponement of the discussion of the Defence Bill, and immediately afterwards one of his supporters, without giving me the faintest intimation, changed the whole course of business by moving the adjournment. lt seems to me that his action lacked the courtesy due to one in my position.
– I did not know, until I came here this morning, that this action was to be taken.
– The honorable member is not Postmaster-General.
– No ; but I am whip of the party, and would know of any action of a party character which was intended.
– No doubt, the neglect to inform the Postmaster-General was inadvertent.
– I am sure that the honorable member for Nepean recognises now that he should have given me notice. Knowing him- as I do, I can but regard his action as inadvertent. But he will see the reasonableness of my complaint. When a motion is suddenly sprung upon me, I cannot supply myself with the information which honorable members have a right to expect. However, I am not going to do what I think it is useless for the House to do at this juncture. The Estimates will be submitted next week, and ample oppor- tunity will then be afforded for discussing the administration of the Department.
– Ample funds are more necessary than ample opportunity for discussion.
– The funds placed at the disposal of the Department this year and last, exceed by hundreds of thousands of pounds its receipts, and are larger than have been placed at its disposal for a long time past.
– We need £500,000 more.
– According to the engineer, an expenditure of nearly £700,000 a year for the next three years is necessary. But the whole of that amount cannot be found at once. When it comes to deciding between commercial requirements and those of holiday resorts, the former must receive consideration first.
– If all this money is available, why are we continually told that money is not available?
– The demands made upon the Department are enormous ; but they are being met as quickly as funds will permit.
– We have been giving away our money.
– Yes, to a large extent. Treasurer after Treasurer has strained every effort to keep down expenditure, with a view to returning to the States as large a sum as possible.
– The Old-age Pension Fund has settled that.
– Money must be provided for that fund.
– We should have had a Surplus Revenue Act long ago.
– Yes. I have issued instructions that all works in New South Wales estimated to cost under £25 should be completed at once, and in that I have the co-operation of the Treasurer.
– Why only those in New South Wales?
– Because similar works in Victoria have been finished.
– Why are Victorian demands complied with while New South Wales works are left unfinished?
– Because the demand in New South Wales is, perhaps, greater than that in any other two States.
– As the Minister, when he rose, had about twelve minutes in which to reply to a two hours’ debate, it is unfair to reduce his time by constant interruptions.
– I feel that I must reply to the suggestion of the deputy leader of the Opposition that political favoritism has been shown.
– What else is to be inferred from the statements that some members are satisfied, while others are not ?
– I am extremely sorry that my honorable friend should draw such an inference from the remark made by an honorable member of the Labour Party. All that that honorable member said was that he had no reasonable ground for complaint, and surely one cannot fairly draw from such a remark the inference suggested by the honorable member for Parramatta, that he has received favours that have been denied the Opposition.
– I am in the same boat as the Opposition, I have complaints to make.
– The honorable member’s interjection supports my contention. Although he is a stalwart supporter of the Government, I have not granted him concessions that have been denied the Opposition. I think that I am entitled to protest most emphatically against such an inference. I have endeavoured to extend the utilities of the Department and to deal with all requests for new services without considering for one moment the quarter from which they came. During the present week my honorable colleague the honorable member for Bourke complained that the claim for a new Post Office in his district had been overlooked, although provision had been made for one in a district represented by a member of the Opposition.
– That is true.
– I most strongly resent the inference sought to be drawn by the honorable member for Parramatta, and am sure that he will agree that I am right in entering this protest. The amount placed at the disposal of the Department during my term of office has been hundreds of thousands of pounds in excess of that granted for its use during any previous year. The great trunk lines that are demanded, not only in New South Wales, but all over Australia, cannot be erected out of ordinary revenue within the time desired by honorable members. They must betaken in hand as funds for their construction become available, and in their order of importance.
– In other words, the Minister says that -he cannot meet the requirements of the Department.
– I say that we are meeting the requirements of the public as fairly and as rapidly as circumstances will allow.
– Put up the shutters !
– There is no need to do that, but there is occasion to emphasize the point that, like great national railways, great undertakings connected with this Department can be carried out only when special provision is made for them. They cannot be provided for out of ordinary revenue.
– How does the honorable member account for the general dissatisfaction with the Department throughout the country?
– I think that many people are unreasonable. They want services for far less than is paid for them in any other part of the world, and they expect works that should be spread over three years to be carried out in’ one year.
– Three years have elapsed since a work to which I have* referred was promised.
– I recognise the importance of the work, and am anxious to have it carried out as quickly as possible. I recognize, however, that there are other works of even greater importance. It is only during a certain season that the service to which the honorable member has referred is said to be inadequate. We have in Victoria a holiday resort, where the service during certain seasons is just as congested. But when a Minister has on the one hand requisitions for telephone extensions that are necessary for commercial interests, and for which there is a permanent demand, while on the other he is urged to grant extensions to meet a temporary rush at a holiday resort, honorable members will agree that he ought to give precedence to the former.
– Hear, hear ! What about the Sydney-Wollongong line? That will serve a commercial purpose.
– It will be an important commercial line, and will be constructed as quickly as possible I hope.
– The business people ot Katoomba want the service of which I have spoken.
– They are fairly well served. It is only during the holiday season that any delay occurs. The questions relating to rates and charges, new works, guarantees, and country lines already under consideration will be dealt with when the Estimates are submitted, and I would urge honorable members, in representing their claims, to consider the enormous demands that are being made on the Department. The Treasurer is doing his best to meet them, and unless special provision is made for such great works as trunk lines, involving an expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds, we cannot hope to have them constructed out of revenue during the year in which the urgent need for them arises.
Debate interrupted, under Standing Order.
Debate resumed from 7th October (vide page 887), on motion by Mr. Ewing -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Mr. W. H. Irvine had moved, by way of amendment -
That all 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.”
.- I was glad to be present when the leader of the, Opposition spoke on the motion for the second reading of this Bill, and I feel that he dealt with the subject rather as the member for East Sydney than as leader of the Opposition. The right honorable member opened his remarks by stating that the question involved should be above party considerations, and, but for an occasional lapse, he dealt with it as one interested mostly in securing what is best for Australia rather than as one desirous of attacking a Government measure. Consequently, I can appreciate, although I do not concur with, all the conclusions he arrived at. The right honorable member dealt most ably with one phase of the question of defence, and to his whole address I listened with great interest. He was followed by the honorable member for Flinders, whom I suppose we have to regard as representing on this occasion the other wing of the Opposition, and he seemed to be consumed with a desire to find fault with the Government measure, and to make preparation for an attack upon it. The honorable member discovered a slight error in a published report of a speech delivered by the Prime Minister in December last. That error, which appeared in the first and not in the revised pamphlet edition, was the substitution of the figure “6” for the figure “8,” and the honorable member inferred from it a want of good faith on the part of the Prime Minister.
– He was not to know that it did not appear in a later issue.
– The inference to be drawn from his remarks was that the Prime Minister had published a report of his speech containing figures that would deceive the House. Those who know the Prime Minister know that he would be the last to wilfully mislead any one. The remarks made by the honorable member for Flinders were designed to justify the amendment which he moved, that the Bill, dealing as it does with the land forces of Australia, should not be further proceeded with until the naval policy of the Government had been declared. The leader of “the Opposition, when criticising the Bill, said that one of his chief objections to it was that we had not properly carried out our part of the Naval Agreement in that we had failed to give proper attention to the land forces of the Commonwealth. That argument is controverted by the amendment which the leader of the other branch of the Opposition has submitted. The two arguments are mutually destructive, and they show that even as oil and water will not combine, so in their solidified form Ice and Fat will not amalgamate. As long as such divergent views come from the two branches of the Opposition, the proposed fusion of parties is not likely to be brought about. I wish at the outset to meet an objection to the defence policy that has not yet been touched upon during this debate, although it is one that will have to be met more and more by those who consider this question. I refer to the large number of persons throughout the Commonwealth who are opposed to any form of militarism or defence. I do not know what lias caused that objection to spread so largely among Australians, but that it does exist cannot be denied. We are all aware of the enormous influence which Tolstoi, the great Russian writer and philosopher, has had on the thought of
Western civilization. I suppose that no man of his age has more strongly influenced current thought in Europe.
– I doubt that very much.
– Those who have read his books My Confessions and My Religion, and particularly his great work Lay down your Arms, must recognise that he has endeavoured to influence people against war by a literal reading of the words in the New Testament “Resist not evil.” His philosophic teaching seems to rest on that basis, and there is not the slightest doubt that the opposition to militarism comes not only from the material side, but from the higher regions of thought in relation to which the ideals of Tolstoi are becoming largely effective. Although the Labour Conference which recently met at Brisbane passed a resolution and adopted a fighting plank in agreement- with the main lines of this Bill, there is a dissentient movement in labour circles, which is emphatically voiced by al] the labour newspapers. So far as one can ascertain, those papers express the views of branches of the Political Labour League, and there is a movement to bring about a second conference to discuss the question of defence and to delete that resolution. I was surprised to find in Ruskin, whom I thought I knew pretty well, a quotation which is worth putting in the very forefront of the discussion of this phase of the question. Ruskin says -
All the pure and noble arts of peace are founded on war. No great art ever rose on earth but among a nation of soldiers. There is no great art possible to a nation but that which is based on battle. When I tell you that war is the foundation of all the arts, 1 mean also that it is the foundation of all the high virtues and faculties of men. lt is very strange to 1116 to discover this ; and very dreadful - but I saw it to bc quite an undeniable fact. The common notion that peace and the virtues of civil life flourished together, I found to be wholly untenable. Peace and the vices of civil life only flourish together. We talk of peace and learning, of peace and plenty ; and of pence and civilization ; but I found that those were not the words which the Muse of History coupled together; that on her lips the words were peace and sensuality - peace and selfishness - peace and death. I found in belief that all great nations learned their truth of word, and strength of thought, in war ; that they were nourished in war and wasted by peace, taught by war and deceived by peace ; trained by war and betrayed by peace ; in a word that they were born in war and expired in peace.
– The honorable member should qualify that by one of his essays in Unto this Last, in which’ he condemns war.
– I was, as I say, surprised to find that passage in Ruskin, but there is a large amount of truth in it. I cannot for the moment quote the words of Tennyson in Maud, but I remember that in the opening verses he speaks strongly of the fact that peace leads to decay in a nation, whilst war brings out its best virtues. Consequently we must recognise that the anti-military movement may not bring out the best virtues in Australia, even if we are able to secure neutralisation on our borders. France, that great fountain of democratic ideas and democratic strength, has a distinctly anti-military school - men who go up and down preaching that not only conscription, but any service in arms is a wrong to their fellows. That antimilitary spirit has led to such a. large amount of revolt against authority in France, that it has been found necessary to amend the criminal code to make those teachings a distinct crime, and they are being punished as a kind of treason. We must recognise, therefore, that there is a phase of life which may shortly come to us here, seeing how quickly we respond to all these democratic movements, and that will influence greatly the future of this defence scheme. Another phase of this same anti-militarism ‘to be considered is the international movement, according to which the soldiers of one nation, who are largely the workers, would make up their minds to throw down their weapons rather than use them against the workers of other nations. There is not the slightest doubt that wars in the past have been not for any national benefit but have been largely questions of dynasties. It is claimed that the national debt of England, to the extent of ^700,000,000, was incurred in an effort to establish the peace of Europe, but it was really incurred through England attempting to save the dynasty of the Bourbons and to crush the desire of France for her own democratic leader. The people of England to-day are trying to wipe out a public debt incurred in an effort to impose a monarch on a nation who desired a republic. But this international movement, and the cry for the suppression of war and militarism,’ fails to recognise the existing facts, one of which is that the power to bear arms, the power of defence and offence, is no longer confined to that group of nations who are influenced by European ideals. General Ian Hamilton says : -
There are millions outside the charmed circle of western civilization who are ready to pluck the sceptre from nerveless hands so soon as the old warrior spirit is allowed to degenerate.
So that apart altogether from the increaseof carnage which would result from the revolt of . European nations- against constituted authority in a resolve not to fight, we must reckon with other powerful nations which are not affected by thoseideas. Unless we propose to turn aside wrath by die soft answer - a method which we are told is sometimes effective, but which is at present outside -the range of practical politics - or to act in the spirit of “ resist not evil,” in the hope that by that means we shall be safe from aggression, we must not shut our eyes to the rise in the Orient, to use the English phrase, or in the east of Asia, as I prefer to call it,, of nations which will not allow us to remain in our present position. General Hamilton also says -
With our education anti-military, and an army, organized on a basis of wages, we are marching, straight in the footsteps of China, who onethousand years ago became so clever as to see that war was a relic of barbarism. Hague conferences and anti-militarism take no notice of Asia and Africa, and the certain uprising of other nations who will object to European domination and exploitation.
If that is so, we, in Australia, will be absolutely the first to feel the effects of the new movement that is stirring those nations, especially of the. new military movement in China, in comparison with which the Japanese revival of military and naval strength will be puny indeed. When China adopts the ideas of her new school-
– When she does !
– Nobody can read recent books about the Chinese Empire without realizing that there is a new movement and a new heart stirring in that great country, and that in a very short time China will have to be reckoned with as one of the great warlike nations of the world. One of the most valuable books that I have read on the subject lately is’ The Coming Struggle in Eastern Asia, by . Putnam Weale. If the honorable member for Parramatta will read that, it will make him think, and may eventeach him something. Another question which we might face as a Commonwealth is that of neutralization. I had hoped that the time would come when we, as a people, could say, “Hands off” for offence, and ask for a similar arrangement as regards defence; that we could get a kind of universal guarantee of our independence, so that we might feel that we were not concerned with the affairs of other nations, that we had no intention of being aggressive or offensive to them, and that in return we might expect to be allowed to work out our own destiny, and develop our own country in peaceful isolation. I admit that the time for that aspiration has gone by, whatever chance there might have been for its fulfilment before the Soudan and South African wars. In addition to that, we have definitely taken up a position which exposes us more than any other part of the British Empire to the risk of offence at the hands of other nations. That is true of our White Australia policy, which is, undoubtedly, a standing provocation to the nations in the east of Asia.
– Certainly not.
– What would the honorable member think if the Australian people were distinctly warned off one part of the world and that part largely unoccupied and belonging to nearest neighbour?
– What is the position of the white man in Japan?
– Unfortunately, it is fifty years since British and American warships enforced at the cannon’s mouth the demand that white men should be allowed to land and trade in Japan. That was the beginning of the new movement in Japan which holds that force, and not knowledge of the arts, is the power that moves the world. That was the phase of Western civilization that made the greatest impression on the Japanese. It woke Japan from its sleep of centuries to take up a position that, to-day, concerns Australia very seriously. If the honorable member for Darwin belonged to a nation that was individually and discriminatingly warned off a country containing millions of acres of unoccupied land, he would resent it, and, undoubtedly, our legislation in that regard affects almost entirely the particular nations which are growing daily in strength, and are our most immediate neigh- bours. The White Australia policy has made it impossible for us ever to arrange for a policy of neutralization in offence or even in defence of the Commonwealth.
– That question was raised more than forty years ago in Victoria.
– We were not then in a position to make such arrangements as we desired, for we could not speak with a national voice. Another factor affecting the question of neutralization is that the Imperial call of the blood has come to us as a people. We have more and more a feeling of Imperial responsibility and Imperial union. Whether that ultimately takes the form of Imperial Federation or continues in its present form of an alliance of sentiment and friendship, there is no doubt that we are, and will continue to be, largely affected by it, and influenced by the necessity of helping the Empire in any trouble, just as in our turn we should rely upon its support. Consequently it will be impossible for us to feel that we are outside the immediate area of complications in any part of the world, because the interests of the Empire affect every part of it. In considering this Bill) I have endeavoured to ascertain our requirements as the bases of effective defence if we are to take our part in raising armies. I have put those requirements into five propositions - first, a knowledge of the danger to be met; second, a sound military system which will inspire confidence ; third, careful preparation for a definite object, to be pursued with energy and determination-; fourth, proper training, with an appreciation of our capabilities and limitations ; and, fifth, discipline and enthusiasm. It is because I think this Bill - though I should like to see several amendments and additions - will meet the five propositions of national defence which I have submitted, that I should like to see it pass its second reading and become law.
– It is the only basis for the whole of them.
– It is the only basis, it seems to me, for the whole of those propositions.
– Does the honorable member think that compulsion and enthusiasm are compatible?
– I do. We are immediately concerned with youths up to twenty-one years of age, who are at a time of life when compulsion is largely a habit.
– Do all boys like school ?
– They are none the worse scholars because they are compelled to go to school.
– As a matter of fact, the compulsions of youth become the pleasures of later years. I suppose there is hardly one of us who would not be glad to go back to his school period, or who would not determine to use the compulsory tasks of his youth to better advantage. In my opinion, we ought to face the tact that this is a compulsory system.
Colonel Foxton. - Why not call it so?
– Because some persons like to have their words covered with sugar. But I do not agree with those who describe the system as one only of national military training, simply because they are afraid to use the word “conscription” or “compulsion.”
– It is rather rough on the Government to relegate this Bill to the realm of quackery !
– I do not do so, although we all know that words often influence ideas and policies. I think I have heard the honorable member say that the word “protection” has covered a multitude of sins - that because of the word numbers of people have accepted the policy, not thoroughlyunderstanding what it meant. Labels are very useful things, and even “window dressing” has been very graphically set forth by the honorable member as no mean accomplishment. As I say, it is just as well to face the fact that what is proposed is a form of compulsory training; and 1 shall endeavour to show that compulsion is advisable and necessary for the needs of Australia. Before considering the details of the scheme itself, however, I desire to ascertain what is the danger that we have to meet. We do not expect any danger from an internal war - from the interior of the continent. What is aimed at is largelycoastal defence, embracing harbor defence and ports of refuge, with military support. Is that the best form of military defence against coastal attack? As I have said, we do not contemplate any attack from inside the Commonwealth. Australia is entirely Australian ; as has been said, we have a continent entirely under the domination of one people. Therefore, what we have to meet is the possibility of coastal attack, and we have to consider to what extent the British Navy might fail us in the time of danger.
Sitting suspended from1 to 2.15 p.m.
– When the House adjourned for lunch I was dealing with the necessity of Australian defence without absolute dependence on the British Navy. I have to remember that since the acceptance of the Naval Agreement, the British Navy has been called upon to perform duties, and to face risks and dangers, which, at that time, may have been in con- templation, but were not imminent, as they now appear to be. So much is that the case, that one” writer, Admiral Bowden Smith, who was in command of the Australian Squadron some years ago, and whose name is respected in Australia, said, as recently as 7th August last, in & letter to the Times: -
Hitherto when we-
That is the British Navy - have spoken of the command of the seas we have meant what the term implies. Now, it would appear, by the present distribution of our fleet, we mean the command of the North Sea and the English Channel.
There is not the slightest doubt that, following on the institution of a German Navy League, and a feeling that the Navy is a necessary accompaniment to a large commercial life and a growing shipping trade, the rising naval power of Germany is becoming a menace. Until very recently I regarded this menace as a bogy ; but I know that a number of people, not only in England and Germany, but in several other European countries, have, unfortunately, an interest in the creation of war. Financiers, who are cosmopolitans, belonging to no nation, and others interested in contracts for shipping and general equipment, reaped so much profit from the South African war that they feel it would be to their advantage, apart altogether from any question of patriotism, if they could get a “cut in” - perhaps that slang phrase is the only one to express the meaning - at the war expenditure of both Great Britain and Germany. When I find men like Blatchford, Quelch, and Hyndman, who have always been for peace, and opposed to every form of militarism, asserting that the German menace actually exists, and must be faced without delay, I can appreciate the position of those British publicists who are of opinion that the British Fleet should be disposed almost entirely round the heart of the Empire. When Sir Edmund Barton, as Prime Minister, was trying to induce Parliament to accept the Naval Agreement, he contended that we did not require to keep the British Squadron around our coasts - that our duty was to seek for the enemy wherever he was to be found - and he read long extracts from Malian, and others of the “blue-water school,” who urge that it is better for us to carry the attack into the enemy’s waters. As a consequence, we were induced to give up asafeguard we had previously enjoyed - namely, the retention of the main body of the Australian Squadron on Australian waters. We permitted an arrangement, under which the Chinese and East Indian Squadrons and the Australian Squadron are combined, and any part of the seas may be patrolled by the combined fleet. Lord Tweedmouth, at the Colonial Conference and since - and I state this as a fact which, I think, should have been mentioned by the right honorable member for East Sydney - has said that this arrangement under the Naval Agreement is not satisfactory- to the Admiralty - that they do not desire any limitation as to the area over which the Squadron should operate. When we find that that is so, we see that the Prime Minister of Australia, although his ideas are not always acceptable to the Admiralty, is with them to the extent that both desire an amendment of the Naval Agreement. There is no doubt that the Pacific has been largely deserted by the British Navy, and that since the British- Japanese treaty the Pacific Ocean has been left, to a certain extent, to Japan. Now, however great Japan may be as a commercial friend of England - however much the interests of tlie Manchester school may still predominate in Imperial politics - Japan is certainly no friend of Australia, nor is the Anglo-Japanese treaty, save as a breathing space for ourselves, to our advantage. As a consequence, we have to see to it that any preparations we make are largely based on the view that there is a possibility, first, of no British fleet being here to defend us, and, secondly, of the defeat of that fleet. Under either “circumstances, what are we to do? Are we to be left purely at the mercy of any invader? The honorable member for East Sydney does not see any danger of invasion ; .but he admits that, if there were danger of invasion in the next ten years, he would think it right to prepare some such scheme as that the Government proposes. At the same time, the right honorable member does not contemplate permanent invasion at any time. What would happen if the British Navy, on which the right honorable member seems to plank the whole of his confidence, and the whole of his opposition to the Government scheme, were to be defeated or were to desert the Pacific, as it deserted the West Indies, which formed the principal Colony at the time of the Napoleonic wars’!* What would happen if the Imperial authorities were to withdraw the whole of their fighting strength to European waters? Are we - a country with a national existence, and 4,000,000 people, whose duty it is to defend our own land - to allow our shores to be invaded? A possibility to be faced is that the Japanese - though I do not think they would try to interfere with our civilization, which is fixed for all time on the south and east of the continent - may, by forceful penetration, land a large number of people on the north or north-west. What could we do in such event ? We could not drive them out with our present military forces. If we depend on the British Navy, which may or may not be. able to defend us in time of need-
– We should, I suppose, require a fleet as big as that of Japan to ‘keep the Japanese out?
– At present I am dealing solely with the question of land fighting, and we should certainly require men equal to the number Japan could land. England shipped 250,000 to South Africa. We now come to .the question whether it is necessary to have compulsion in order to obtain an efficient fighting force. I do not speak with the experience of the honorable member for Brisbane, who is much my senior, and necessarily carries greater authority ; but I have been nearly seventeen years in the militia, and all that time, and longer, I have tried to make a study of defence. In this connexion, let me give the House the result of my own experience of militia work. It has been said that compulsory training will kill enthusiasm ; but in Ian Hamilton’s book on the Russo-Japanese War - one of the most interesting of the many I have read on the subject - there is a story which exemplifies that. The writer says that one morning, when watching some’ digging being clone by a number of coolies, working apart from themain gang, all of whom had been compulsorily enlisted, he overheard one of -them say, “If we were working like this at Nagasaki, we should be earning five or six c yen.” The others, who overheard the remark, were intensely annoyed by it, and one of them replied, “If you loved your country, you would be glad to pay six or seven yen for the privilege of doing thiswork.” The unpatriotic character of theremark provoked’ an absolute commotion, and the coolie who made it was led to seethat the general feeling was completely against him. In my opinion, compulsory training will not kill enthusiasm. Even in the present Act, there is a section under- which, in time of danger, as denned by the interpretation clause, every male member of the community, between the ages of 18 and 60 years, may be called out in defence of his country. But men who have merely enthusiasm and no training are almost useless. It is dangerous to take untrained men into the field. Zola, in The Downfall, shows that even the trained troops in Sedan, when disturbed by the knowledge that desertions were taking place, and suspicious of the treachery of Marshal Bazaine, became a mob, and could not stand, when shrapnel was being poured upon them; while the raw levies of Gambetta and others, though, fired with patriotism by the attacks on Paris and the threatened dismemberment of France, were quite incompetent.
– Men can be trained to stand shrapnel only by actual experience in war.
Colonel Foxton. - At the time of which the honorable member speaks, France had a system of compulsory training.
– The levies to which I refer were almost wholly composed of untrained volunteers ; the trained men had already been drawn on. Besides, at that time, training was not so general as it has become since, as the result of the lessons of that war. We have been told that the British Empire, in spite of its enemies and its splendid isolation, has been able to hold its own without compulsory military training. But is that so? Are not those who join the British Army virtually compelled to do so? From what class do they mostly come? I have nothing to say against the British soldier. Those who fought with him in South Africa, as did the honorable member for Adelaide, know that when trained he is a splendid man; but it must not.be forgotten that 60 per cent, of those who enlist are driven to it by poverty and the fear of starvation. That is shown by the physique of the men. Would-be recruits, whom we in Australia would not accept, are wel.comed by the British Army authorities. Consequently, the British Army gets, not the flower of the country, as Continental armies do, but men of comparatively poor physique. This is emphasized by the fact that, while in the Franco-German war only 29 per cent, of the casualties resulted from enteric fever and other illness, in the South African war, 56 per cent, of the British losses was due to those causes. The Japanese loss in their recent war was, I “believe, only 20 per cent, or 25 per cent.
Colonel Foxton; - Would not differences in sanitation account for those results ?
– The conclusions of the honorable member for Corio are not fair.
– The honorable member for Maranoa can make his own deductions from my figures, and his experience in the first Boer War enables him to speak with authority, but I hold to the view which I have expressed. As for accounting for the difference by differences in sanitation, let me point out, first, that the British Army ideals of sanitation and cleanliness, and all the details of camp life, are not excelled by those of any other army.
Colonel Foxton. - That is since the Japanese war.
– Let me further point out that the Franco-German war took place’ twenty-five years before the South African war, and yet, although the sanitary ideas of the time were a quarter of a century behind modern ideas on the subject, the loss, through illness, was only 29 per cent., while our loss was 56 per cent.
– The conditions under which the two wars took place were entirely different.
– Young officers, as ‘well as men, died from illness in large numbers in South Africa. How does the honorable and learned member reconcile that fact with his theory?
– I am not prepared to answer the interjection, as I do not know the ratio of the deaths of officers in the South African war to that of the deaths of officers in the Franco-German war.
– To substantiate the honorable member’s conclusion, it would be necessary to compare the relative losses from disease among trained and untrained men.
– Ninety-three per cent, of the recruits of last year were out of employment.
– It must not be forgotten that thousands of men in the Japanese army were recruited from a population which is miserably poor.
– I ask honorable members to allow the honorable and learned member to make his own ^speech.
– I obtained my information from a work which will soon be available to all honorable members, entitled A Briton’s First Duty, by Shee.
– The British Army is the best fed army in existence.
– According to the phrase, an army travels on its belly. The interjection of the honorable member for Maranoa supports my argument, because it shows that, despite excellent feeding, British soldiers could not stand the strain of the South African campaign. What would have happened had they not been so well fed?
– Had not the water supply in South Africa a good deal to do with the sickness there?
– I shall not deal with the matter further now; but I commend to honorable members the book which I have mentioned. From the report of the DirectorGeneral of the British Army Medical Department for 1907, issued only in August last, I find that 95 per cent. of the new recruits of the year were out of employment at the time of enlistment. The right honorable member for East Sydney has said that he does not think compulsion is necessary, because we do not need as large a force as the Bill provides for. Even if the number of men provided for is not required for national defence, would it not be of great advantage to the nation to train at least that number? Has not the industrial development of Germany been advanced in every way by the military training which has been given to her people?
– Have not the French people had a similar training?
-Yes; and greatly to their advantage. As a militia officer, I know that military training smartens men up. Men at the time of their acceptance as recruits often take little care of their personal appearance, and have but small idea of their personal dignity and importance. But once a man is put into uniform, he begins to look after himself at other times, and to improve his bearing. One comes to have a high regard for the men of one’s company, and does not like to speak of them as ever being unpresentable. But if I could parade before this House a body of recruits in plain clothes, and present them again twelve months later, after they had undergone military training, honorable members would at once appreciate the change which that training had made in their bearing. Military training uplifts men in every way. It raises their physique and morale, increases their sense of self-respect, gives them a greater regard for organization, discipline, and order, and because of its advantages in that respect alone - apart altogether from any fear of invasion - we should be prepared to agree to universal training. No one can say that his education is complete. We are ever learning, and a lad of eighteen cannot be said to have been properly educated until this branch of his training has been attended to. We have placed in the hands of the men and women of the Commonwealth the power torule it. True, we have a GovernorGeneral, but the absolute rulers of the Commonwealth are those who vote at our general elections. If our men felt that every time they shook an aggressive fist in the face of the yellow or black races, they were imperilling their own lives and liberties, if they felt that the men who make our lawsshould be ready in their own persons to defend them, do not honorable members; think that it would conduce to a moremoderate tone on their part ? When a man knows that in voting for a certain policy he must be prepared in his own person to defend that policy, he will be impressed with a sense of the responsibility of his; vote. The power to vote should go hand in; hand with the ability to defend the policy- which that vote may help to bring about, and it seems to me utterly contemptible that, so many leave this national duty to a few. Those who will not voluntarily enter our forces should be compelled to join them; . and to fit themselves to do their duty by their country. I do not know that objection has ever been raised to the compulsory features of our educational system-; and those who admit that the form of military service for which this Bill provides is only a continuation of that training- will agree that the same principle of compulsion should apply to it, and that when the nation’s peril makes it call upon its sons for help, they should not- only be ready, but able, to defend it. But there is another very important side to this question. We cannot properly compel men to take part in a military system unless we are satisfied that it will bring about good results. We desire that every man shall feel, not only that he is doing his best, but that the best possible use is being made of his services. The present system of ruling the Commonwealth Forces by Committee has-, however, been disastrous. No one can deny that the Defence Act of 1904 has had a most harmful effect on the forces of theCommonwealth.
– Did the honorable member vote for it ?
– I did not, I opposed it all I could. I am referring, not to the measure introduced by the right honorable member, but to that introduced by the Reid-McLean Administration in 1904, under which the office of General Officer Commanding was abolished, and provision was made for the appointment of a Military Committee. A great mistake was made in doing away with the office of General Officer Commanding, to which responsibility must necessarily attach, and in substituting for it an irresponsible Board. In reply to a question put yesterday by the honorable member for Wentworth, the Minister of Defence, according to the newspaper reports, said that the Military Board had no responsibility.
– In matters of policy.
– The reports gave no such limitation.
– There was such a limitation.
– I accept the honorable member’s assurance. The Minister says that the Military Board has no responsibility in respect of matters of policy, and I intend to show that it is conducted without any sense of responsibility whatever. When the Defence Bill of 1904 was under consideration in this House, I said in the course of a speech which predicted most clearly all the evil times into which we have fallen, as reported in Hansard, volume XXIV., page 7511-
Under whatever scheme we may adopt, there must be one man who will have the final word to say. In an autocratic body like an army there must be a head man, one supreme control. Otherwise the .whole organization breaks down. If there is an organized body in the world, which is essentially autocratic in its character, it is an army. Therefore, I think, that as this scheme develops itself, we shall come back more or less to the old system, and that there will be some person - whatever we choose to call him - who will develop into a Commander-in-Chief, and virtually take the position which the Commander-in-Chief occupies at the present time.
I pointed out that it was impossible to control the affairs of an army by means of Committees, and made the following quotation from an article written by the Hon. J. W. Fortescue, and published in the Nineteenth Century -
As to the War Office itself, past experience seems to indicate pretty clearly the broad lines upon which reform should proceed. People talk vaguely of a Board and point to_the Admiralty, merely adding the words mutatis mutandis. But mutatis mutandis is, in this case, a large order; the army is not the navy; and a Board of tomorrow’s creation must be a very different thing from an ancient body with the tradition of more than two centuries of imperious independence. First, then, is a Commander-in-Chief necessary to the army ? History teaches most emphatically that he is. Whenever the army has been w’ithout such a Commander-in-Chief - whenever, that is, its military government has been in the hands of other than a single military chief - its discipline has suffered severely ; and an army without discipline is naught. The present time is no exception. There are too many symptoms of the spread of slack discipline in the army at this moment, symptoms which a student of our military history can trace directly to the degradation of the CommanderinChief’s position, and to the encroachments upon his independence. We are reverting to the state of things to which the Duke of York, with infinite industry and labour, put an end a hundred years ago.
Honorable members will find that in that speech I prophesied to a large extent the condition of affairs prevailing to-day in connexion with our military forces. I pointed out that the new system would lead to lack of responsibility and lack of discipline ; no man knowing to whom he was to look for his orders, or to whom lie would be responsible for mistakes. Those prophesies are being daily fulfilled.
– When we had a commander-in-chief he was always being interfered with in this House.
– With such, an officer there was some one whom the Minister could make responsible for the state of chaos that had been brought about. At the present time to whom do we look if there is anything wrong with the forces?
Colonel Foxton. - To the Minister.
– And to whom does he look?
Colonel Foxton. - That is the point.
– Exactly. When anything is wrong, the Minister should be able to say to some person, “ You are responsible, and unless this state of affairs is altered, you will have to give way to some one capable of bringing about better conditions.” Every other Department has a permanent head who is responsible to the Minister ; but what is the position in regard to our Defence Forces? At the beginning of the present session, and without any desire to obtain material for this speech, I asked the Minister of. Defence, who, in the absence of the Inspector-General, was the senior officer of the forces. He replied that the senior officer was ‘Colonel Wallack, the chairman of the Military Board. On the following day, however, he explained that Colonel Wallack was not the senior officer of the forces, that he was only the senior officer in charge of administration. As a matter of fact, the officer who has to direct the State Commandants, and who may reprove them, as I have known him to do, is their junior in many instances, and less paid than they. I have seen a letter addressed by Colonel Wallack to a brigadier-general, reproving him for placing a man under arrest without authority. It was right’ that such a reproof should be administered, but was it right that it should come from a junior officer? We started with a Military Board, consisting of five members. That number was increased to six by the appointment of Lt.Colonel Legge. Then it was suggested, very properly I think, that certain militia and volunteer officers should be continuously consulted, and the number ofmembers of the committee was increased to twelve. All the members of that Board are irresponsible.
– The permanent Board is presumed to be aided by a representative of each branch of the Military Forces. I do not see how that could be: avoided.
– I merely want to point out to the House the composition of the Board, and its unwieldy nature. We have already had some three or four directors of ordnance during the short history of this Board. Colonel Stanley, who was director of ordnance, is an artillery man, and he was appointed to the Board because he was familiar with artillery work. My contention is that the members of the Board should receive the highest salaries, since they have to administer the affairs of the Department; but because that is not the position today Colonel Stanley, the artillery expert. has found it convenient to be transferred from the position of director of ordnance on the Board to a command which required him to deal almost entirely with infantry of which he knew nothing. He had spent most of his life cooped up behind big guns in a garrison, but as a member of the Board he had the power to appoint himself to an infantry position, and he has been made district commandant of Victoria, an office which carries with it a higher salary than does that of a director of ordnance. A director of artillery surely ought to. know something about artillery, but the present occupant of the position, whose engineering qualification I freely admit, would not pretend to know anything about big guns.
– He is not Director of Artillery.
-He is Director of Ordnance, which includes Artillery.
– He has a Director of Artillery under him.
– Surely that is no reason. Because he knows nothing about ordnance and artillery, he has to have under him somebody to teach him, and so Major Dangar, who does know something about artillery and ordnance, but who is not on the Military Board at all, is put there to teach the Director of Ordnance and Artillery his duties as Director of Ordnance and Artillery. Could comic opera go further? A little while ago it was discovered that a certain gun had been landed on the wharf at Sydney, and had lain there unpacked for twelve months. When we endeavoured to find out who was responsible we were told that it was not the then Director of Artillery, or the previous Director of Artillery. In fact, nobody seemed to know. The previous Director of Artillery had been made Commandant of Western Australia, a position dealing almost entirely with infantry and rifle clubs, and all sorts of trouble has arisen with the rifle clubs through his advent there. That officer whenasked also seemed to know nothing about the unpacked gun. It lay idle on the wharf when the Commonwealth Forces were actually wanting guns, and yet nobody is held responsible.
– What would that gun have cost?
– I believe about
– Would compulsory service improve that sort of thing?
– I am dealing now with the question of command and control, and individual control would create responsibility. If the 100,000 or 200,000 men that it is now proposed to enlist in our forces have to go to war, they must be led. The honorable member for East Sydney stated the other day that there was no military officer in the Commonwealth who could lead them, as no Australian officer had undergone the necessary training. If the Minister is asked who is to be the CommanderinChief in time of war, he says it will be the Inspector-General. But the InspectorGeneral has nothing to do with training or leading the men. All he has to do is to inspect the men annually. Since he was appointed he has never commanded a man or a brigade in the field. He has not had the slightest experience in tactics or manoeuvres since his appointment in 1904. Therefore I and the men of my constituency, whom I am to ask to join the new force - and’ I believe they should join it - and the men all over Australia whom other honorable members will ask to enlist, are to be led in time of war by a CommanderinChief who has not trained or led a man for four years !
– I thought all modern generals led their armies from behind.
– There is no doubt that modern fights have been fought in some cases by men sitting on camp stools three or four miles behind the scene of action. Although I have the greatest respect for Major-General Ho?.d. and believe that he is the best man in the Commonwealth for his present position, he has not directed forces in the field since 1904. He ought to be given a chance in times of peace to learn to lead men. He should be offered the position of General Officer Commanding. If he shirks the responsibility, let the Minister get somebody else to take it, but there can be no question that the necessity for some one to do the work exists. I come now to the District Commandants. They are responsible for their own districts, but I know of no District Commandant who has ever led or directed his men in time of peace. What they will do in time of war, only that day of catastrophe will disclose. The Victorian District Commandant is said to be a good artillery officer, an expert in his profession, and one who would do good- work behind the guns at the forts, but he has never drilled more than three companies in his life at infantry drill. Is it not cruel to the Military Forces- of Victoria to put them under his charge, as happens under the present system of military control, seeing that during the fifteen months that have passed since he was appointed District Commandant he has neither led nor directed any men at all? All this shows that in addition to getting men to join the ranks, an effective control is required at Head-Quarters, where the spring of the whole of the military action of “the Commonwealth must lie. So if the Minister finds that the Inspector-General will not take the position of General Officer Commanding, he should go down the list until he finds a man who is ready to take the responsibility. Then let that man prove himself. He may fail at first, and then succeed from the lessons of failure; or he may succeed straight away ; but some one should have the opportunity of taking the position of Commander-in-Chief, instead of the Minister going to twelve men only, each of whom tries to pass the responsibility on to a Board which has neither heart, soul, nor body. That state of things should, and could, be cured at once.
– What about the other Commandants ? The honorable member should criticise the Sydney one.
– I am not going to criticise any of the Commandants. I am credibly informed that the InspectorGeneral, in his unabridged report, strongly urged the Minister to retire one of them. The only reason why I spoke of the Victorian Commandant was that I knew his history as an artilleryman. He should have been retained as an artilleryman by being offered in that position a salary equal to that paid him as District Commandant. Under the present system the Government attempt to put square pegs into round holes. For the sake of saving £100 or £200 a year, they lose for the Commonwealth the benefit of a life’s experience, by. taking an officer away from work for which he is well fitted, and putting him into a position which he cannot maintain with dignity to himself or with satisfaction to others. Another point which I wish to deal with is the fact that the Defence Department has not yet become a Federal Department, after seven years of Federation. The Minister., in one of his speeches, saM that he wanted the Department to become one Federal Department instead of a number of State Departments. Yet, since Federation, the only alterations that have been made in the administration of the Military Forces are that we have one Minister instead of six, while we have six districts, with six District Commandants, and a Military Board, which has replaced the six military and naval officers commanding. That is far from a satisfactory result, after seven years of Federation. One of the’ objects of Federation was to bring about a Commonwealth defence system. That has not been achieved, because every district coincides exactly with the State boundaries. Although Broken Hill, for instance, might be much better administered from Adelaide, it continues to be controlled from Sydney, because a big Commonwealth Department continues to recognise an imaginary line between two States. There are many parts of Victoria that might be better controlled from New South Wales, whilst parts of New South Wales, which are connected by rail with Melbourne, and not with Sydney, could be much better administered from Melbourne. The whole of the - Northern Territory should be administered from Queensland, and not from South Australia.
– The administration of the military affairs of the Northern Territory would not add much of a burden to Queensland.
– There are, unfortunately, only two rifle clubs there, but the fact that a scandal exists - and it is a scandal that Port Darwin should be so badly defended - only strengthens my argument. Its necessities cannot be judged or met from Adelaide. We should have unification in the Defence Department, and wipe out the State lines. In distinctly Federal Departments such as this, there should be no grouping according to State boundaries. The present system is anti-Federal, and does a great deal of harm to the Military Forces. Instead of corps being regarded as New South Wales. Victorian, or South Australian, they should all be Australian.
– Broken Hill is to be administered from Adelaide.
– At last the Minister is going to take one Federal action.
– Instructions were given some time ago to that effect.
– Then the Minister has taken a most desirable step. In defence matters,- I should like to sweep away the State boundaries altogether; and the State Commandants, instead of locally inspecting or administering from an office stool, would be far better concentrated in the Federal Capital, allowing the senior officers on the spot to do all that is necessary. The only reason for retaining the District Commandants is that the State Parliaments shall have their’ proper display, and that there may be some men through whom communications can go to the Centra] Administration. We should have in the Defence Department a complete grip of the military work of the whole Commonwealth, instead of letting it filter through the States in a way which, so far from assisting, rather retards Federal development. If we are to continue the present system of State divisions, it will, be far better to revert to State control, with centralization in, and absolute control from, the State
Capitals. I believe we had1 a better grip of military work in Victoria under State control than we now have under Federation. The following, in relation to the Military Board was published in a newspaper -
When I was an officer in the State forces, I knew where I would be stationed if war broke out.
– So do I - in a hollow log 1
– Honorable members laugh at the interjection of the honorable member for Dalley, but that honorable member’s superior military knowledge triumphs over ignorance. The greatest feature of modern military work is that advance is by the spade - the spade is equal to the rifle - and if a spade is not available, then the men get behind a log. What the honorable member for Dalley means is that cover, either by throwing up earth or by getting behind a log, is most necessary in warfare. At any rate, I knew my particular “ hollow log “ was at Langwarrin, in order to defend the approach to Melbourne from that direction. The Senior Cadets, the Artillery, the Rangers, the Militia, and Light Horse all knew their stations, so that, if. war broke out, a definite mobilization was known to every man.
Colonel Foxton. - Is that not so now ?
– Does the honorable member for Brisbane, who is commander of the Field Forces of Queensland, know where his special work would be in case of hostilities?
Colonel Foxton. - I am like the Minister, in that I am no prophet, and I do not know how or where the enemy would land. My own is a field force, and mobile.
– Quite so; but should there not be a mobilization scheme prepared for all contingencies? In case of a landing of an enemy in Northern Queensland, does the honorable member for Brisbane know his duty as commander ? Does he know the position he would have to take up?
Colonel Foxton. - Yes.
– Then all I can say is that Queensland, in this connexion, is far ahead of Victoria. I am only a junior officer, and, therefore, may not be supposed to have the information ; but I knowsenior officers who would not know their stations if hostilities were to break out.
When the militia officers met the Military Board last week they asked for -
– That does not necessarily mean the allotting of special positions.
Colonel Foxton. - Positions are allotted to the Garrison Forces.
– I presume that what the honorable member for Corio has read means that this class of work is very special, and that an ordinary militia officer has not full knowledge of it; and that, therefore, the Chief of the Intelligence, Department ought to see that proper instructions are given.
– Mobilization means the defined positions for probable contingencies. Since Federation it has never been thought necessary to give, not merely junior officers like myself, but officers much senior in position, the information to which I refer.
Colonel Foxton. - There was a scheme of defence before Federation, and I myself was on the Board in Queensland.
– Has there been any such scheme since?
Colonel Foxton. - Not so far as I am aware, in the sense meant by the honorable member.
– That is what I have been trying to convey to the House. It would appear, then, that, since Federation, no scheme of defence has been communicated to a senior officer like the honorable member for Brisbane, who is in command of the Field Force ; and that seems most extraordinary after four years of the Military Board. The next demand of the Militia members, and one which, I think, will be supported by the House, is -
Is there anything of the sort now done in Australia? The other demands of the Militia officers are -
– All laudable things - it is progress.
– They are not only laudable, but vital demands; and that they should have to be made after seven or eight years of Federal Administration, shows that theCommonwealth system is not a success, and that the Military Board, which now consists of twelve members, is not doing much service.
– Will the honorable member mind saying how all this bears on the principle of compulsion?
– I have already explained that I believe in compulsion, but hold that, unless there be proper control, organization, and efficiency, it is unfair to compel men to serve.
– In other words, the mere multiplication of numbers will not touch these problems.
Mr.CROUCH.- No ; it is of 110 use trying to create an army unless we are sure it can be efficiently used ; otherwise it represents so much waste of good money, effort, and men. ‘I should like here to say that, in my opinion, it is a great mistake to be constantly extending the retiring age of officers in the Permanent Forces. There have always been kind Ministers who have hesitated to act harshly towards men who are entitled to no pensions, and, as a consequence, officers are allowed to remain on the active list much longer than is the case in any European army. In Australia, a colonel is called up to retire at sixty-two years of age, in Germany at forty-five, and in Great Britain, I think, at fifty. I know that Major-General Hutton was retired as soon as he was returned to England.
– He got a pension.
– That is the point; and the Minister admits that a wrong practice is permitted, simply because the Commonwealth is not prepared to face the situation. Here lieutenant-colonels should be retired at sixty, majors at fifty-five, and captains at fifty-three, and they do not receive pensions. In England, the age limit is insisted upon, because the authorities refuse to have an army of old men, mental and physical fitness being an absolute requisite for a soldier. In England, however, the authorities are prepared to face the position, and grant pensions or retiring allowances ; and theCommonwealth will have to do the same, if we are to have satisfactory results.
– That would add to the cost of the scheme.
– Not necessarily. There are officers who can scarcely talk, and some who can hardly walk or ride, and who have to almost be helped on to their horses; and yet, with all this physical unfitness, they are allowed to hold commanding positions. It may surprise honorable members to hear that an officer is never medically examined. When I joined the forces, seventeen years ago,I underwent a very rigorous examination, but I have not been examined since. My heart might be wrong - I might be a physical wreck - but, if I can walk about and give orders sensibly enough to be understood, I am continued in office. There might be men - I do not desire to go further than that - who are known to be utterly incapable of taking the field, and yet they are allowed to retain their positions, and, under the new Commonwealth regulations, no officer need be medically examined.
Colonel Foxton. - Suppose an officer had lost an eye or an arm?
– It is obvious that he would be retired.
Colonel Foxton. - Then Nelson should have been retired before he fought Trafalgar.
– When a man has earned the reputation of a Nelson, physical fitness is not so much demanded as his magnificent brain. I have not yet found any Lord Nelson in the Australian Navy; but, when I do, I shall ask that he be exceptionally treated. As an example of how officers are selected, I may say that a man who was too short to be a gunner, and was, therefore, refused enlistment, was received as an officer a month afterwards. Another matter I desire to draw attention to is defective equipment. I belong to a regiment which prides itself, not so much on drill- although we can both drill and shoot well - as on field work, to which our commanding officer puts us on all possible occasions. A little while ago, through the kindness of the Minister - permission having teen previously refused by the State Head-quarters - we were allowed to have a three-days’ trek, at Heidelberg. We expected certain transport arrangements to be made by the Head-quarters Staff; but the transport broke down, and the men that evening were provided with neither kettles nor their tea. Fortunately, some pressmen were present - we cannot complain officially - and they brought the state of things under the notice of the Minister, who obtained a report, and elicited the fact that there was actually no transport available. All these defects ought to be cured; and this leads me to say that I fancy we shall have to face a larger expenditure than that asked for by the Minister.
– This speech is a vote of no-confidence in the administration !
– It is; I have no confidence in the present system of administration. I have confidence in the Minister, but none in the organization of the Military Forces of the Commonwealth, because there are good men being spoilt by the absolute disorganization of the Department. As to the militia, I think that the Bill allows the force to be retained.
– Not only temporarily.
– According to the Minister, the Militia will be merged.
– They are to be merged after the present term of enlistment.
– According to the Bill, the Minister may retain the Militia as long as he likes.
– That is so, but I desire to know what justification there is for the proposed extra pay for the Military Forces. The Minister proposes to pay the men at the rate of about 17s. 6d. per week.
– I did not say anything about that.
– We cannot pay them more than that. It must be remembered that the permanent artilleryman is paid only 17s. 6d. a week.
– But he also gets board and lodging free.
– That is so.
– While rations are to be given to the National Guard, in addition to the 17s. 6d. ,
– Yes. If it is provided that these men are to get more than 17s. 6d., I shall try to have the pay of the permanent men increased. I would like honorable members to know a little of the history of our militia. The state of the Volunteer Force in Victoria, prior to 1883, was unsatisfactory ; but a Militia Act was then passed which gave effect largely to the ideas of the late Sir Frederick Sargood, then Minister of Defence, and was copied in the other States. Major-General Hutton told me that he found the Victorian Infantry Militia so capable that it was unnecessary to inspect them as often as those in the other States were inspected, and on his asking me to account for this, I said that it was largely because Sir Frederick Sargood saw that good men were obtained to administer the Act at first. I think, too, that the system of having separate orderly rooms is largely responsible for it. We still have a Militia Force, and although it seems incongruous to have militia men parading with volunteers, I am of opinion that the militia system is a good one, because of the better control and discipline which it allows. When the New Zealand Inspector-General addressed us at Langwarrin last Easter Sunday, he said that he considered militia absolutely necessary, because of the superiority of the militia over the volunteer system. The militia men take home little or none of the money they receive. There are too many calls upon them - rifle-shooting and other necessaries.
– In any case, it is only a reimbursement.
– Yes ; but the power to fine, which the system gives, enables officers to control the men better. In my company, which has consisted of about no men, the fines inflicted during the last seventeen years have not totalled £1, and in other militia companies the state of affairs would be similar, because I do not feel that I have been particularly lenient. This is accounted for by the fact that the power to fine makes fining unnecessary. I do not know that this power will be absolutely needed with the proposed new system, because other penalties can be exacted.
– The penalties in the Bill are ineffective and unjust where they apply to youths.
– I will show that later. In my opinion, they will be sufficient, because an officer can say to a man whose work does not satisfy him, that he will not pass him as efficient, ‘ in which case that man will have to do another year’s work. The Bill seems to make provision for the continuance of the present system of drilling in large centres, and that I think an advantage. In Victoria we have to drill for three whole days, fourteen half days, and on twenty-four nights, which is regarded as the equivalent of sixteen full days. This drilling, thus spread over twelve months, is much more effective than a drill of eighteen consecutive days would be. The Bill provides for eighteen days’ drill “ as prescribed,” and in large centres of population, where there are orderly rooms, and the necessary instructional machinery, it would be a mistake to depart from the present system of training. One of the advantages of the present system is that it enables an officer to get to know the capacity of his men. Furthermore, the constant repetition of drills enables the instruction to sink into the mind of the man, and at each successive drill he advances in his knowledge of military matters.
Colonel Foxton. - In between drills, the men have an opportunity to ponder upon what they have been told.
– Yes. Under the continuous system of drilling, officers would lose touch with their men to a great extent. At present, an officer meets his men frequently throughout the year. He gets to know and respect them and to feel that he can trust them, and the men trust the officer. But if I met my company only once a year, probably only one-third of those I drilled this year would present themselves next year, Australians being such a migratory people.
Colonel Foxton. - The honorable member might have an altogether different cornpan v.
– Yes. At present I meet my men frequently, though, unfortunately, the average term of service is too short. On the range at Williamstown, meeting them in plain clothes, I get to know their trades, and learn all about their condition, and if a time of supreme effort for the defence of the country were to arise, I should know what each could do. I would know who are carpenters, and who can dig trenches best. At trench exercise, one man, who is, perhaps, a navvy, will do his work in one-fourth of the time set for the “ Task,” while his fellow, perhaps a draper’s assistant, can hardly do the work at all. If I met my company only once a year, and then for eighteen days continuously, I should know much less about them, and knowledge of your men is the basis of good work. ‘Therefore, I hope that in Committee the Government will give effect to my suggestion in regard to the continuance of the present system of training in large centres of population. Of course, in the” country a different system is to be followed, because of the way in which the men are scattered. For instance, the “ C “ Company of Victorian Rangers has its head-quarters at Murtoa, a squad at Horsham, another at Jung Jung, and another at War- racknabeal, while the Queensland Wide Bay infantry is located at Maryborough, Gympie, Bundaberg, Childers, and Howard. The permanent drill instructor to the Victorian company” to which I have alluded probably has to spend half his time in the train. To travel from Murtoa to Jung Jung,, to drill, perhaps, halfadozen men’ some nights, he has to go very many miles, and return the same distance, and a number of orderly rooms for the company have to be maintained. But if the whole company were occasionally concentrated, the sergeant-major could instruct them in three weeks, and would then be free to devote himself to the instruction of another company. In this way there would be a great saving in respect of travelling allowances. One sergeantmajor could be appointed to deal with seventeen companies in a concentrated camp in a country district, and travelling allowances would be materially reduced.
– At the present time, some men are carried over 1,000 miles for a few days’ training.
– Quite so. Unless the House is thoroughly familiar with the details it will have to accept the departmental estimate of expenditure, although I am inclined to think that the cost will be greater than is anticipated. In the speech which he delivered in December last, the Prime Minister said .that under the heading of uniforms a great saving would be effected. He went on to point out that all that a man would require would be a rifle, a bayonet, scabbard, and bandolier, a pair of leggings, and a pair of boots ; and he stated that every member of the forces w.ould be permitted to retain these as his own property. Men at the present time receive no more. Under the existing system we endeavour to economize in every direction, and one uniform often does for three or four men.
– And one boot a rear.
– The men down south are not supplied with boots by the Department. What the Prime Minister described as a simple uniform will not result in any saving. I agree that the men should 1”? supplied with uniforms, and I would go further) and allow them to wear them upon retirement, just as officers do. But in this way our expenditure will be increased. Then, again, the Prime Minister promised that every ‘ officer would be supplied with a uniform. That will entail a further outlay, although for reasons quite apart from the expense involved, ‘ I should certainly like the proposal to be carried out. It is just as well that the House should recognise that ‘the provision of uniforms is going to cost more than has been suggested.
– Every item that I mentioned had been priced out for me, and the statements I made were based on ascertained figures.
– The equipment can be supplied for the money.
– Of course, such an authoritative statement is conclusive. I wish to come now to what I regard as a vital feature of the Bill. Clause 8 provides for the insertion of the following provision in the principal Act - 58A. All male inhabitants of Australia (excepting those who are exempted by the regulations) who have resided therein for six months and are British subjects shall be liable to be trained. . .
I do not think that there should be any .exemption by regulation. Parliament itself should determine what exemptions shall be granted. This provision is fraught with great danger. The exemptions must be fixed by this House, representative as it is of the people, because this Bill means a great interference with the* liberties of the people. We do not desire any class to be exempt. Various applications for exemptions are likely to be made. Some one has already written to me suggesting that ecclesiastical students should be Tiree from service.
– The Seventh Day Adventists would object to service.
– Because of conscientious religious scruples. The suggestion made to me is that young parsons should be exempt because they are training themselves for high spiritual duties. I can conceive of no better training for the discharge of high spiritual duties than that which would be secured by eighteen months’ military service. It would humanize these young clergymen.
– The honorable member thinks that it would help them to fight the good fight of faith.
– That is so. This question was fought out in France, where a democratic Government determined that the seminarist priests should do twelve months’ service. I believe that the men have been all the better for their contact with young priests leading good and pure lives. Then, again, we shall be asked to exempt University students, who, by the way, are drawn almost entirely from one section of the community. A lot of other men will also seek exemptions. I repeat that no exemptions should be granted save by the direction of Parliament, and I hope that this provision will be struck out. It appears to me, also, that in this clause a very serious reflection is cast upon the senior cadets. The senior cadets are youths who have left school and who voluntarily pay for their uniforms, and devote themselves to splendid work for which they receive very little credit. The clause provides that the training shall be -
Why should not these youths be regarded as constituting part of the Defence Force? I should describe all members of the Cadet and Senior Cadet Forces as members of the Defence Force. I object to the phrasing of this provision, since it must be offensive to youths who do not like to be classed as mere boys.
Colonel Foxton. - How would the honorable member distinguish between cadets and senior cadets?
– I would describe them all as members of the Defence Force. Then, again, it is proposed to insert in the principal Act the following provision -
Every person who evades or fails to comply with all the requirements of this part of this Act with respect to personal service in the defence force shall unless and until he has performed equivalent personal service as prescribed -
be and remain ineligible for employment of any kind in the service of the Commonwealth ; and
be and remain disqualified from being an elector of Members of the Parliament; and
be and remain disqualified to receive an invalid or old-age pension.
Does the Minister suggest that a lad who “ plays the wag “ and does not put in the requisite drill, is to be deprived of all these rights?
– Of all rights as a cadet.
– Is it fair to apply a provision of this sort to the thoughtless lad of eighteen? A lad of that age does not regard very seriously the privilege of voting, and for that reason, I think we should do well to provide a different form of penalty. If we are to have this system of compulsory training, do not let us be afraid of it. Let us say straight out that it is to be compulsory, and apply it to every class. A lad who fails to turn out should be arrested as a deserter, sent to a central camp, and there made to do double service. This is a form of legislation that will apply largely to the poor. One of the penalties for failure to comply with the law is ineligibility for employment in the service of the Commonwealth. Whoever heard of a rich man’s son seeking employment in the Public Service. Then, again, another penalty is disqualification for an invalid or old-age pension. So a rich man’s son is to lose his right to an old-age pension ! The only penalty that will really be inflicted upon him is that of being debarred from electing a member of Parliament. Is it not absurd to apply these penalties to a thoughtless lad of eighteen ? If they are to constitute the punishment for failure to comply with the Act, the compulsory system will go by the board. Let us imagine what is the outlook of life, taken by a lad of eighteen? He is told, under this Bill, that unless he joins the National Guard, he will be ineligible for employment in the Public Service. As a matter of fact, at the present time a lad of eighteen is, to all intents and purposes, ineligible. Eighteen years is too late an age at which to enter the service, so that the first of the proposed penalties will not apply. Then, again, those who evade the Act are to be disqualified from voting. Unfortunately, too many young men have no regard at the present time for the exercise of the franchise.
– Some of them need an elephant to pull them up to the polling booth.
– Or a motor car.
– Then, again, let us consider the third penalty - disqualification in respect of an invalid or old-age pension. What lad of eighteen thinks of an old-age pension? At that time of life, a youth is, or should be, full of ambition and high prospects of a future, and one who would think of an old-age pension would be a worthless individual. I have dealt with the whole of the penalties provided for, and I do not think that any one of them will prove effective. If we are to have a compulsory system, we must have real compulsion, and I shall ask honorable members, when we go into Committee, to strengthen the clause by providing that those who fail to comply with theAct with respect to personal service, shall be liable to arrest as deserters, and to be taken to a central camp and made to do the required work. I wish now to bring under notice a letter from a gentleman, who will not permit me to use his name. He is an old officer, of whose many virtues and services I am afraid to say anything, lest I should in that way disclose his identity. He is now seventy-nine years of age, and he writes to me as follows -
I had under me Sir George Turner, the Messrs. McKinley, and about 130 others, most of them since holding prominent positions. . . . I have also the honour to have drilled the Honorable the Prime Minister- and others too numerous to mention. I am sure over 15,000 have passed through my hands, and I am proud to say many of them went to South Africa and gained prominent positions,’ and have been complimented by the authorities.
He goes on to say -
I see that the cadets and others will be compelled to attend drill one hour a week for fifty-two weeks; in fact, the school attendance at. the public, private, and secondary schools does not exceed forty weeks, and how are they to attend fifty-two drills in that time?
– “ Or their equivalent.”
– He said that it was very hard to get the schools at the present time to grant him even one hour a week, and that he would rather the provision was made more elastic, as the ordinary school year consists of about forty weeks.
– That is why we take the suggestion of the honorable member for East Sydney, by putting in the words “ or their equivalent.”
– The honorable member for East Sydney said he favoured compulsory cadet service, and that most lads at school were only too glad of the opportunity to learn drill instead of geography. The honorable member quoted his own case to illustrate that. But this gentleman says -
I always try to impress on my cadets and others the duty that they owe to their King and country, and the danger that may exist in the future if we are unprepared to defend ourselves, and protect our homes and relatives. I must tell you that I have trouble with some cadets. One school I have with about eighty non-cadets, and the excuses they make for not joining are ludicrous - “ Mother says she does not want her boy to be shot at “ ; “ Father says he does not want to see his son in uniform.”
There is no doubt that the principle of compulsory service for cadets must be introduced.
– The cost of the uniform is something.
– It would be partly paid for in this case.
– There will be a capitation of 7s. 6d.
– I find that there are still a number of clauses with which I wish to deal, and feel that I am giving the House good stuff, for I am applying personal experience to these clauses, and I hope that the information I am giving will have the effect of shortening subsequent discussion. There is too much left by the Bill to be prescribed by regulations. The Bill is a sort of blank cheque for the Administration. Only about four clauses are positive in themselves, and the whole of the heart of the work is left to be prescribed, and regulations are immovable. For the last seven years I have been trying in this Parliament to get certain reforms in the regulations, but have failed. As soon as things get to “ regulations “ the House is helpless. Some of the regulations actually defy the will of the House. Some people may think that this subject is to me like King Charles’ head was to Mr. Dick ; but it is of great importance, because, at present, ability is prevented from finding its true position - at the top - in the Defence Forces. The highest positions are given to men who are brought in from outside, because military ability is disregarded, and recognition is given to educational ability in directions which are absolutely useless in military life. On my motion, although it was slightly amended in conformity with a request made by Major-General Hutton to the then Minister, section 11 of the Defence Act of 1903 was passed as follows -
In the first appointment of officers preference shall be given, in the case of equality of qualifications, to persons who have served in the Defence Force for three years without a commission.
If that is not a positive direction that the ranker, who has served for three years in the forces without a commission, should have preference and priority, I do not know what is.
– In practice, that section is deliberately broken.
– I am glad to have the indorsement of another military man. who » has seen a lot of military service, and knows how heartbreaking it is to men to find, when they reach a certain level, that they can rise no higher. It takes the heart out of them; they become careless in their professional studies, and are as men without ambition or hope for the future. When a man thinks that he has made his final and supreme effort, and can go on drawing his salary comfortably, so long as he performs the duties of his position respectably, a sort of dry-rot sets in.
Colonel Foxton. - That does not apply to Queensland.
– Then the honorable member has no permanent engineers in his State.
Colonel Foxton. - I thought the honorable member said that no man could rise from the ranks. Men can rise from the ranks in the militia in Queensland.
– I say that no man in the permanent engineers in Queensland can rise from the ranks. Of course, the case with regard to the militia is different, but permanent men should have equal opportunities, especially as it is the permanent forces that really have the final control, finally advise the Minister, and train the militia.
Colonel Foxton. - The argument does not apply to the militia, because I can give the honorable member instances where men have risen from the ranks and become commissioned officers.
– I quite admit that, for, at present, in my regiment my commanding officer insists on every man serving two years in the ranks before he becomes an officer.
– Show me how the permanent men cannot rise.
– How can the Minister make such a request, seeing that I brought the matter up on the last Estimates? The Minister promised to go into it, and I wrote out regulations which would have met the difficulty, sent them to the Minister, and obtained from him a promise of early consideration.
– Were not those alterations made?
– They were not made. This is the existing regulation on the subject -
To be eligible for appointment in the Royal Australian Engineers, a candidate must be between the ages of twenty and thirty years, be certified by a medical board to be physically qualified, and must have -
Served as a pupil for three years in engineering workshops, during which one year shall have been spent in the drafting office ; or
Served for three years as an articled pupil, or its equivalent, in a reputable civil engineering, electrical engineering, or architectural firm, or in a Government engineering or architectural office ; or
Completed the three years’ course for a degree of Bachelor of Engineering, or its equivalent, in any university or technical school.
How can any man in the engineers comply with those requirements? A man who is a sapper knows, so far as military engineering is concerned, ever so much more than do the men who come in from outside. From his first year, when he enlists as a lad of eighteen, he has been amongst torpedoes, electric lights, searchlights, and all the apparatus connected with military engineering. How is it possible for him to leave his employment and become an articled pupil for three years, or a bachelor of civil engineering at the University ?
– What is the honorable member quoting from?
– I am quoting section 68, on page 45 of the volume of regulations and standing orders which has been distributed to every member of the House.
– The matter will be attended to at once as the Minister is making a note of it.
– On the last occasion the Minister was sympathetic. I think that he took a note of the matter at the time.
– I went through all these matters, and I think that there is a considerable improvement.
– That, I admit, is a very proper interjection for the Minister to make. Things have enormously improved since he took office. He has done all that he could, but he seems to be tied up by persons by whom he should not be controlled.
– Does the honorable member say that a compliance with these conditions would not be necessary to properly qualify a man for a commission?
– Certainly. As a noncommissioned officer or a sapper in the engineering forces a man is learning his profession all the time. Often he is more qualified than his officer. The warrant and non-commissioned officers are the real instructors and leaders of the corps. They know far more than do the men who come in from an outside service, and hold perhaps a University degree. The latter have to get their instruction from the men whom they afterwards command. A man has only to go down to the depot to find out who are the real leaders.
– Does the honorable member say that University men who have not had an engineering course should get a commission ?
– No. What I urge is that it is impossible for a man who is engaged in the practical work of supervising electric lights; torpedoes, and mines to become a bachelor of engineering.
– I understood the honorable member to say that University men who are not qualified by their previous training obtain commissions.
– I did make that statement, not in regard to engineers, but in regard to artillery work. There is no doubt that in connexion with the artillery the preliminary competitive educational ex. animation embraces not artillery and professional work, but trigonometry, hydrostatics, logarithms, Euclid, and a crowd of subjects which a man engaged on practical work with the guns has no chance of mastering. He is beaten at the preliminary competitive examination by University men.
– Let the honorable member ask leave to continue his speech.
– I have decided to go on, but of course if honorable members want to leave they can go.
– I am very sorry that the honorable member will not ask leave to continue his speech on another occasion, as many of us would like to hear it.
– The loss is the honorable member’s.
– I admit frankly that it is. It is most unfair on the part of the Government not to agree to an adjournment now.
– I want now to allude to the question of discharge fees which has been brought before the House pretty frequently. It is an extraordinary thing that it is left to regulations. The honorable member for Brisbane knows that a man who has had five years service in the forces can retire for nothing. If he has six years service he has to pay a fee of £2. The reason given is that he is charged a fee for the training which he had in the first, second, third, and fourth years. In the fifth year it is free. If a man re-enlists, and becomes more valuable, he has to pay a fee of £2.
– When he re-enlists he has a new kit.
– We must have a quorum if we are kept here from our trains.
– The honorable member is continuing at his own desire.
– He is continuing after the Prime Minister’s consultation with him, and persuading him to go on.
– The Prime Minister said that he would allow me to continue to-night or on Tuesday, just as I choose. The Minister asked, Does not a man have a new kit when he re-enlists ?
– I remember going through the whole thing, and I thought that we had adjusted matters to a very great extent.
– No. Last year the Minister had put to him a question in which the subject of discharge fees came in, but it is provided -
To the above sums shall be added the unexpired value of the soldier’s uniform and kit.
That is a matter about which there is a good deal of trouble, and I have given notice of an amendment to meet it. Another thing which is proposed to be left to regulation is the question of uniform. In his statement the Prime Minister has promised that the uniform shall be a serviceable thing of the value of about £10.
– I have a very good mind to count out the House. I have to leave now.
– Since I find that I shall occupy much more time than I had intended, I ask leave to continue my speech on another occasion.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned. 9th LIGHT HORSE.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Whether, pending the restoration of the “ wing system “ in connexion with the 9th Regiment of Light Horse, he will consider thepropriety and justice of making a fair distribution of regimental appointments between the squadrons located in the Bendigo and Ballarat districts?
– I have already answered a. question put by the honorable member for Bendigo with regard to this matter, and am awaiting a statement from the authorities. When I receive it I will furnish a further reply.
Federal Capital Site - Purchase of a
Steam Yacht - Immigration - Afghans in Western Australia - Bound Volumes of Hansard.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- There is a matter which I deem to be sufficiently urgent and important to warrant my directing the attention of the Prime. Minister to it. It relates to the proceedings in connexion with the Federal Capital Site. Can the Prime Minister inform the House whether the Senate will have the same opportunity of considering a resolution with regard to the various sites as this House has had? Will the Senate have an opportunity of indorsing the Yass-Canberra selection? I should also like to know whether the Prime Minister contemplates asking this House to express its view again as to the area that we think desirable for the purposes of the Federal Capital, and also with reference to obtaining access to the sea ? If the Government have made up their minds on these points, it will be as well to have a statement with regard to them. If we obtain information now as to the opinion of the Government, it may have some influence upon the result.
– I should like to inquire of the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that the Government have purchased a steam yacht for the use of the Customs Department in New South Wales, and whether the yacht purchased was formerly the property of Mr. Samuel Hordern? If so, what was the price paid for it, and did the Government obtain a proper estimate of its value? I consider that the Commonwealth Government, in purchasing a valuable piece of property like a steam yacht, should at least have obtained a new vessel. I should like to know the conditions of purchase. It appears to me that Mr. Samuel Hordern, one of our wealthy men. is very fortunate in his method of getting rid of encumbrances, because he is now in possession of a new large electric launch, and was naturally glad to sell his steam yacht, especially if he could find a purchaser in the Government.
.- May I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the danger arising from the growing number of Afghans within Western Australia, and their aggressive attitude towards the white population? Apparently their number is increasing - the returns published by the State Statist indicate as much. Recent occurrences show that these aliens are becoming a menace to the white settlers. I have here a newspaper published on the rim of north-west civilization,
The Pilbarra Goldfields News, of Friday, nth September. It shows that an armed
Dand of Afghans have practically “ held Lip “ a whole district -
TheTrouble which arose some weeks ago with the Afghans in connexion with the carrying trade between Port Hedland and Marble Bar, and which was believed to have been satisfactorily settled, assumed a serious aspect at the beginning of this week. The strike having been declared off, teams under contract to local storekeepers loaded between 40 and 50 tons of goods, and after being stopped at the Causeway by some other Afghans, eventually reached the 32-mile Well in safely. At that point a numberof Afghans came up and dispersed the whole of the camels, about 250 in number, and drove them into the bush. This action was followed up by threats of violence if any attempt should be made to take any loading inland. The goods carried to the spot named were allowedto remain there. The attitude of the Afghans has been defiant throughout, though on one occasion they made it appear as if they had submitted, and it is alleged they have been purchasing rifles and ammunition, the object of which has now been openly shown, as about forty of their number, mounted and fully armed, are on the road and declare their intention of enforcing their demands.
That statement is corroborated by a tele- gram from the Resident Magistrate and Warden of the district, Mr. Durrack, to the Premier of the State. It is stated further down in the same report -
The position is still very serious indeed, Several white and law-abiding Afghan teamsters lives are in danger, besides£10,000 worthof camels and £2,000 worth of foodstuffs. We trust Inspector Osborne will be instructed to take no uncertain steps to quell what is practically ar armed attempt to starve into submission inland residents by a handful of Asiatics.
It is the duty of the State Government to maintain law and order ; but we also may do something by a more rigid policy of exclusion. Some time ago I drew the attention of the Prime Minister to the character of some of the immigrants who were coming out to Australia under contract to the Queensland Government, or under its auspices.
-Not under contract.
– The facts then submit ted indicated that insufficient care is taker in the selection of immigrants in the Old Country. Since then I have had additional proofs that the statement made was correct; and that not merely one, but several shiploads had created disturbances on their arrival at Fremantle. I hope the Government will see that, in their desire for cheap labour, an undesirable class of people is not introduced at the instance of the sugar planters.
– I should like to ask the Prime Minster a question with reference to the distribution of the bound volumes of Hansard. I understand that the volumes have been ready for distribution for some weeks, although nothing has yet been done in the matter. Some honorable memberswish to have their copies. I am told that the cause of delay is that arrangements are being made for the simultaneous distribution of various. Commonwealth publications. It would surely be better that the volumes of Hansard should be distributed separately as soon as they are ready. We have not only had to wait during the recess, but well into the present session before receiving our copies. I should be glad if the Prime Minister would give the House some information as to when the copies will be available.
– The question regarding the Capital site raised by the honorable member for Werriwa is one of extreme importance, and the Cabinet will consider it carefully at its next meeting. The honorable member has alluded to one condition of the question which is vital. It is provided in the existing Act, No. 7 of 1 904, that-
The territory to be granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth within which the Seat of Government shall be should contain an area not less than 900 square miles and have access to the sea.
If a single site had been selected - if, as appeared probable, we had been called upon to proceed with a single site such as Canberra itself - what would have happened would have been that the Bill we should have introduced would have left that section practically untouched.
– I do not think that there are 900 square miles in the Yass-Canberra district.
– As there are no fixed boundaries, it is possible that the YassCanberra district, as defined within the mind of the honorable member, embraces less than the area indicated by others which, geographically, I can assure him, covers a very much larger tract of country. I am informed that it means a strip of territory about 50 miles long and 40 mileswide - in other words, an area of 2,000 square miles.
– As a matter of fact, no such site as that of -Yass-Canberra has even been discussed in this House.
– I do not know that any one site can claim both titles, but the merits of several sites within the area vaguely described, and not yet defined, have been discussed.
– All those sites could be put within an area of 900 square miles.
– All I desire to say is that the intention of the Government was to retain the provision which fixes the area of the Federal territory, . and requires access to be granted to the sea. So far as I know the opinion of the House, I think it is unlikely that that provision in the present Seat of Government Act will be varied, at any rate, in more than a trifling degree.
Colonel Foxton. - Had not the area of 900 square miles special reference to the Dalgety site?
– No. The intention was to include, not only the site at Dalgety, but also the watershed, for which a liberal allowance was made. Regarding the steam launch, that was purchased for the Customs Department some two months ago. It was purchased after it had been inspected by two naval architects-
– Was Mr. Reeks one of them?
– The two naval architects were Mr. Reeks and Mr. Christie. Their inspection included a partial stripping . of the copper from the vessel, and tests of several descriptions. The launch is said to have cost . £7,000. A valuation was obtained, and the vessel was purchased for , £1,700. The Customs authorities consider that they have made an extremely good bargain. Another boat was required by the Department, and this was the cheapest one available.
– How long has she been in service?
– About fifteen years.
– She is built of teak, and is thoroughly sound in every part.
– I hope that we are not going to have a repetition of what occurred in connexion with the purchase of the launch Ena.
– The rumoured outbreak amongst Asiatics, to which allusion was made by the honorable member for Coolgardie, has, so far, not involved any such breach of the peace, order, and good government of the. Commonwealth as to call for interference by this Government. At the same time, it is an incident which requires careful watching. It also conveys a lesson of the consequences . which may follow the introduction of strangers of that class. I have no desire to reflect upon these men, because they are reared in a country where the carrying of arms is a condition of their daily life. To them arms are a means of enforcing claims in daily use in their own country. But the danger of introducing into the Commonwealth people of such a stage of civilization is now obvious. In reply to the honorable member for Nepean, I may say that there has been an alteration in the procedure in regard to the distribution of Hansard. It was made without authority, but instructions have been given which will effectually prevent its recurrence.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 October 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19081009_reps_3_47/>.