3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to draw the attention of the Postmaster-General to the following paragraph, which recently appeared in the Transmitter, the official organ of the postal employes of Australia : -
Skilled telegraphists at 7s. per day in Western Australia ! Think of it ! And the Arbitration Court will not allow a man to swing a pick under8s. per diem. The Department actually pays its casual labourers in Perth8s. per diem, and instrument fitters temporarily employed 10s. per diem. Who fixed the rate for telegraphists? Is advantage taken of the Government holding a monopoly of this class of employment? It looks like it, and such action is usually called sweating !
Is the Minister aware that this state of affairs exists, and, if so, will he take steps to put an end to it?
– No doubt, the honorable member is cognisant of the fact that I have nothing to do with the fixing of rates of wages for telegraphists, that being done by the Public Service Commissioner. I have given instructions that for casual labour, such as instrument fitters, the rates ruling outside must be paid, and have made representations to the Public Service Commissioner in regard to the rates of pay of permanent hands; but he holds that there are circumstances which make service in the Department better, at the rates of pay which are given, than service outside. I should like it to be clearly understood that the fixing of rates of pay is not within my province; that I can merely make representations on the subject to the Public Service Commissioner.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– I am not aware of the circumstances referred to, but am having inquiries made, and will give replies to the honorable member’s questions as early as possible.
Recruits : Royal Australian Artillery - South Australian Military Forces - Military and Naval Defence Expenditure - Compulsory Training : Lieut. -General Hutton’s Approval
Mr.KELLY. - Among the regulations circulated this morning is one which provides that recruits joining the Royal Australian Artillery will be paid the full amount for which they undertake to serve only in the event of their service being considered satisfactory during a period of three months. If, before they have served for three months, the Department decides not to retain them, they are to be paid less than the full rate. Is it intended to apply this rule to the recruits who have enlisted within the last three months?
– The regulation will not be applied retrospectively, however worded. As in one State alone a loss of some hundreds of pounds has been caused by men joining the Royal Australian Artillery for very short periods, it was found necessary to deal with the matter ; and, if the honorable member will put a series of questions on the notice-paper, I shall let him know exactly the state of affairs.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The information has to be obtained from South Australia, and may not be available for some little time. I shall lay it upon the table as soon as it is available.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
What was the amount of the actual expenditure (exclusive of “ special defence material “ and “new special defence provision”) on account of the Military and Naval Defence of the Commonwealth for the year 1906-7 and for the year 1907-8. Also, his estimate for the first year’s expenditure under the new system, including “ special defence material “ and “ new special defence provision.” In both cases excluding the payment under the Naval subsidy payable to the Imperial Treasury ?
– The honorable member’s question is answered by the information contained in the following table : -
This takes no account of the , £200,000 paid under the Naval Agreement.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Whether he will place on the Table of the House the full text of the letter from Lieut. - General Sir Edward Hutton, in which he approved of compulsory training, without pay, as set forth in the Defence Act now being considered, vide the Minister’s statement to the House on 14th inst.(Hansard, page 1132)?
– The interjection in question was to the effect that Major-General Sir Edward Hutton approved of the intentions of the Government with regard to defence. This was made clear by interjection immediately following; by the Prime Minister. The communication as a whole was not intended for publication, being, in fact, a private letter. Major-General Hutton’s views have evidently undergone no change, since he presented a report to Parliament while commanding the Military Forces of the Commonwealth, in which he contended that the danger to Australia was not merely through a raid. He speaks of “ the invasion of Australia for purposes of territorial aggression as being under certain possible circumstances a military undertaking of no serious difficulty.”
Debate resumed from 27th October(vide page 1553) on motion by Sir William Lyne -
That the item, “ The President, £1,100,” be agreed to.
– I shall not detain the Committee long, but I have a few remarks to make in . reference to the new protection. Members of the Corner party and of the direct Opposition have said that there is no need for new protection, because the Wages Boards in operation in some of the States, and the Arbitration Courts in others, cover most of the industries affected by the Tariff. But those who have taken an interest in factory legislation know that in Victoria, at any rate, a Wages Board can be established only after a special resolution has been passed’ by both Houses of the State Parliament.In many of the protected industries no Wages Boards exist. I have not had time to compare the schedule of industries protected by Wages Boards with the Tariff Schedule, to see what industries are not protected, but I know severaltrades which are without protection. Some industries have obtained Wages Boards since the passing of the last Tariff. For the first seven years of Federation, during six of which the old Tariff was in operation, they were without that protection, and in some cases the Wages Boards . have not yet met. The leader of the Labour Party has placed on record the rates of pay for agricultural implement workers fixed by Mr. Justice Higgins. His decision could not be enforced because of the judgment of the High Court; but I have prepared a table which shows in parallel columns the
Wages Board rates and those fixed by him. It is as follows : -
– That, the honorable member says, is his charter.
– I say that since the schedule prepared by Mr. Justice Higgins was the result of careful consideration of evidence given before him respecting all matters relating to the industry it should be at least the standard minimum rate, and that the Wages Board should not have fixed a lower scale.
– There is an average difference of about 6s. per week between the two scales.
– Not so. much as that; let us say that there is an average difference of about 5s. per week. I do not know who is the chairman of the Agricultural Implement Makers Wages Board, but I do know that very often the determination of what should be the scale of wages fixed by a Wages Board rests with the chairman. Many representatives of the workers on such Boards have to meet their employers round the table. I am glad that the honorable member for Fawkner is present since, believing him to be a fair- minded man, I wish to point out to him as the President of the Employers Federation, the weakness of the Wages Board system. When an employé, as the representative of his fellow-workers on a. WagesBoard, has to meet his employer at thetable, he cannot fight against him as he might be expected to do if his bread and butter were not at stake. During the consideration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, 1 pointed out that in some instances representatives of employés on Wages Boards had been dismissed from their service. I fail to see why a man, because he is chosen by his fellow-workers to represent them on such a body, should be dismissed by his employer ; but in onecase - that of the Wages Board relating to the butchering trade - four out of fiverepresentatives of the employes lost their employment. The fifth representative was the secretary of the union, and the employers therefore had no power over him. Fortunately, those men were able to obtain other positions.
– They were butchered.
– The honorable member may say that they were slaughtered or butchered as he pleases, but it is hard that men should be dismissed from their employment merely because of their efforts to stand up for their fellow workers.
– I am sorry to hear of such cases.
-I am glad to say that there has been some improvement in this respect, and that employers are showing, more and more a readiness to give the Wages Board system a fair trial. Perhaps, like the honorable member for Fawkner, they think that if they do not they may have something worse. The Honorable member is now prepared to support the, Wages Board system, although a few years ago the Employers’ Federation, of which he is president, was bitterly opposed to it, and is to-day hostile; to conciliation and arbitration legislation.I believe that in nearly every industry to-day the manufacturers are prepared to give their men a fair show, and that the positions of men representing their fellow employes on Wages Boards are not jeopardized as they were a few years ago. Still, there are some who find that they cannot obtain work whilst they are members of Wages Boards. After their Boards have made their awards, and have ceased to exist, they have experienced less difficulty in obtaining employment. Some honorable members have declared that there is no necessity for an amendment of the Constitution to provide for the new protection, because the Wages Board system is already in operation in most of the States. I have here a report of the evidence given before a Royal Commission in Tasmania, which throws an interesting light on this subject, and I regret that no representative of Tasmania on the Opposition side of the House is present, since I should like to show the opponents of industrial legislation from that State what were the conditions of labour there less than two years ago.
– Does the honorable member know of any honorable member of the Opposition who is opposed to industrial legislation ?
– Yes, the honorable member himself is one.
– That is incorrect.
– When the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill and the Workers Trade Mark legislation were under consideration, the honorable member was prepared to back up the bogus union of shearers. The figures that he quoted went to show that the membership of the bogus union - the Machine Shearers “Union was increasing, while that of the Australian Workers- Union was decreasing. The honorable member then prophesied that the Australian Workers Union would soon cease to exist.
– When an honorable member tries, to point out the way in which labour secretaries are exploiting a number of labour unions, he is described as an opponent of industrial legislation.
– The honorable member is evading the question.
– I am not.
– Tha honorable member on the occasion to which I refer backed up the bogus union of the shearers, and said that the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill would be beneficial to it. I admit that some honorable members of the Opposition are not opposed to industrial legislation. Among them are the honor - able member for Dalley, who favours the new protection, and the leader of the Opposition. When interrupted, I was about to point out the necessity for a Wages Board system in Tasmania, and was regretting the absence from the House of some of the representatives of that State, whose political creed, I believe, is the same as that of the present Tasmanian Ministry, which has made no effort to introduce industrial legislation for the protection of the workers. The conditions prevailing in Tasmania at the time the Royal Commission took evidence were so bad that the Commissioners considered it advisable to withhold the names pf those who gave evidence. Thus, instead of the statement that “ Jahn Brown, John Jones, or John Robinson,” gave evidence, we find a blank, and then the statement “ was sworn and examined.” I have not had time to go carefully through the evidence, but some of the examples are very striking. I have compared some of the rates paid there with those paid in Victoria under Wages Boards. Low as the rates fixed by the Wages Boards are in many cases, and handicapped as the system is by the fact that the employe has to meet his employer at the same table, and is afraid in many cases to bring forward all the facts that are within his knowledge regarding the place where he works, because his employer would ask : “ What right have you to say that regarding my factory when you know that my opponent, whom I am selling against, is sitting alongside me?” - notwithstanding that weakness of the Wages Board system - the wage earners under Wages Boards in Victoria are in many cases receiving from 33 per cent, up to 50 per cent, more than is paid in Tasmania in similar industries. On page 16 of the report appears the following: -
The Commission met at Timber Mill. called, sworn, and examined.
Those blanks were evidently left to save the faces of persons engaged in business in Tasmania who were afraid of having it known what ridiculous sweating rates they were paying. I do not know whether the Postmaster-General happens to have a copy of the evidence. »
– I have already acted on it in regard to clothing. I have insisted on the Victorian Wages Board rates being paid for all work done for the Government.
– The Victorian Wages Board rates are quite low enough. If the New South Wales rates happened to be higher I should rejoice to find that the Minister had taken them as a basis. I always believe in giving the highest rates in the Commonwealth where Government work is concerned. I suppose some rates would be higher in Victoria than in New South
Wales, and vice versâ, seeing that the log often includes thousands of articles.
– They average about the same.
– I suppose that is so. The report of the Commission continues -
By the President. - Your name? -
The name is left out.
Are you one of the proprietors of this establishment? - Yes; my partner is
Do you produce the pay-sheet of the establishment giving the names of the several employés and the rates of wages they receive? - Yes, the pay sheet is as follows : - £113s. ; £110s. ;£15s.
Those are millmen in the Tasmanian timber industry. To show the wages in the same industry in Victoria under a Wages Board, I have here a copy of the report of the Chief Inspector of Factories. I admit that the name “ millman” is not included, but I will assume that those men are sawyers or machine workers. It does not matter what particular line you take, the lowest rate fixed in Victoria is 45s. per week, as against£1 5s. which that employer swore he was paying in Tasmania. One of the men employed at that establishment gave evidence as to the wages he received, as follows -
Your name? -
Your occupation? - I am a sawmiller.
In the employment of ? - Yes.
Are you a benchman, or what?- I am at the saw-frame.
How much ? -£1 13s. per week.
For the work that that man is paid£1 13s. to perform in Tasmania, a man here would receive from 48s. to 64s. a week. That, at any rate, is what the Wages Board system, even with its drawbacks, has been able to do in the way of increasing the rates of wages in Victoria. There follows the evidence of another man who was evidently in the same mill, and who was getting £1 7s. per week. I have not had time to compare the rates in other industries, which, under our Tariff, receive the same protection in Tasmania as in every other State. I have heard honorable members on the other side say that they intend to oppose any alteration of the Constitution in the direction of the new protection. If so, they must admit that they are prepared to see men engaged in industries in Tasmania paid 5s. or £110s. a week for work for which from £2 5s. to £3 per week is paid in Victoria.
– They ought to get a Wages Board there, certainly.
– They ought to; but does the honorable member think that there is any hope of getting a Factories Bill or Wages Boards resolutions through the Legislative Council of Tasmania, an institution which the honorable member for Darwin humorously calls “the dead house”?
– There arequite as good men in that Council as there are here.
– Quite as advanced in their political views as is the honorable member, perhaps. I am glad the honorable member has come in. I have just been reading extracts from the evidence taken by a Commission in Tasmania, where the employers were too ashamed to have their names attached to their statements as to the wages they were paying. I hope to be able to get a list of the names of the persons who gave that evidence. As there does not happen to be an official Hansard. in Tasmania, it would be interesting to place it on record in our Hansard. When; the new protection proposal is before us in the shape of a Bill for the amendment of” the Constitution, I hope I shall be able to extract more information from this volume as to the wages that are being paid in Tasmania, and to prove the necessity for the proposed amendment. What manufacturer in Victoria will pay£2 5s. to £2 10s. per week when he could go to Tasmania and escape Wages Boards? I know, and so does the Postmaster-General, that when the brush-making industry was placed under a Wages Board in Victoria, one manufacturer, I think he was Mr. Mitchell, moved his factory to Tasmania.. The honorable member for Fawkner last night, referring to land settlement, said they were doing very well in Victoria. There is a greater need for a land tax in Victoria than in any other State.
– I admit that it is more urgent here, because there is more agricultural land.
– It has been my privilege to go over part of the electorate of the honorable member for Grampians. One can travel for about ten miles over some of the estates in the neighbourhood of Skipton. One may go for miles through land there which has been cut up by Mr. Gardiner, and has proved very good for purposes of closer settlement. Something should be done in order to compel land-owners to pay a fair tax municipally ; because, as every honorable member in the Opposition corner knows, fair taxation is not paidat the present time.
– The honorable member knows that in the same division there have been from 110,000 to 120,000 acres thrown open to farmers in the last four or five years, and that that land is now under cultivation.
– It is necessary that a great deal more land should be thrown open. On many of the estates, not only at Skipton, but in the railway area between Ballarat and Ararat, down to Hamilton and Warrnambool, and thence back to Geelong, there is some of the finest land in Victoria; and yet we are told that there is less population there now than there was thirty years ago. If we eliminate Colac and Camperdown, and the mining population at Beringai and Pitfield, there is, as has been shown by Mr. Anstey from the figures of the Government Statist, less population now than there was formerly. Down at Werribee, only some twenty or twenty-two miles from Melbourne, there is a landholder, Mr. Percy Chirnside.
– Why not reform Victoria ?
– I am doing my best. The Labour Party returned one man of our ranks for Richmond into the State Parliament the other day, and assisted to get another in for Carlton, so I do not think we are doing badly. Further, I think that we shall do very well in Tasmania at the next elections, and be not very far from having a majority in the Legislative Assembly of that State.
– And what then?
– Then I hope we shall soon have a majority in this House, and be able to find out exactly how honorable members, who profess to be radical, will vote.
– Andwhen you do get the majority, what then? What was tried before?
– If I may speak without having to answer so many questions, I shall say that we hope to govern Australia much better than ever Australia has been governed before. If I thought otherwise of my party, I should not remain in it. In the case of the land to which I was referring at Werribee, it was valued, for land tax purposes, at £1 per acre; but for the purpose of purchase by the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works, the value was £17 10s. per acre.
– The honorable member knows quite well that that valuation of £1 per acre was placed on the land’s carrying capacity.
– That I admit. My desire is to prove that the land tax and the municipal rating are both absurd; and in this connexion I should like to read the following relating to the land valuation for tax purposes, as compared with valuations by the Water Commission, in the shire of Echuea.
– What about the drought period, when the land was not worth£1 per acre?
– The honorable member is rather slow; I have now moved from Werribee to Echuca, whither I invite him to follow me. Some of these areas, I believe, have been taken up by settlers under the Closer Settlement Act. No one will say that the Water Supply Commission has valued the land too highly. So far as I know, there has not been a single charge brought against the Commission in that regard.
– Does the honorable member suggest that this Parliament can deal with the matter?
– I suggest that if we, in this Parliament, imposed a land tax we would have the land properly valued, which, of course, would be necessary before a tax could be charged.
– Who makes the shire valuations?
– I presume the valuations are made by the men employed by the shires; and as most of the large landholders have control of the shire councils, they select officials who must keep down the valuations or go. If a shire valuer were to value the land honestly, he would know that his position was not worth very much ; I doubt whether such an official would find his position worth more than that of employes who have to meet employers on Wages Boards.
– Is the honorable member not giving valuations as applied unfairly to drought areas and irrigable areas ?
– I am contrasting the valuations for the same pieces of land.
– One portion is irrigable and the other is not; and yet the honorable member applies the same rate to the whole.
– I am dealing with precisely the same blocks. I admit that a piece of land in Collins-street and a piece of land in LittleLonsdale-street would have different valuations, but I am now speaking of precisely the same blocks valued by the shire official and the Water Commission. The latter body is independent and not under the control of farmers and graziers, who are members of the shire council ; and I have no doubt that the Commission’s valuations are the more accurate. Honorable members know that the Victorian Taxation Commissioner has recently raised the value of many Victorian estates, having proved that they were worth more, from a taxable point of view, than they were twelve or eighteen months ago.
– Because the seasons have changed. In the same area to which the honorable member is referring, land could have been bought for10s. or 15s. an acre.
– I am talking of valuations made at the same time of the same blocks of land. Does the honorable member think the shire valuation in his case the correct one?
– No. The valuation should be a fair one.
– If the honorable member were selling the land, he would not insist that the water supply valuation is too low. But if he were buying, he would emphasize the other valuation.
– Would not the honorable member for Yarra do the same?
– All the land I have, or am likely to have, is an allotment 8 feet by 4 feet in the cemetery. Those who own land sit in the Opposition corner, not on the Labour benches.
– It is on the Labour benches that the Tories and the possessors of property sit.
– I do not wish to deal at length with the land question ; but as the honorable member for Fawkner referred to it last night, I thought it just to show that the Victorian land laws have not conduced to settlement. There never would have been a Closer Settlement Act but for the agitation of the State Labour Party, and everything possible has been done by the other political parties to prevent land valuation.
– The Labour Party has helped to kill the Land Valuation Bill.
– That statement is as inaccurate as others made by the honorable member in regard to the Labour Party. He is generally fair, but in regard to the Labour Party he is what would be called “ a one-eyed barracker,” who sees good only in anti- Socialists and those who are opposed to the Labour Party.
– Is not an eye that looks straight better than two that squint?
– The honorable member may be an authority on squinting. I am not.
– Is it not a fact that the State Labour Party did not support the Land Valuation Bill ?
– Question time has passed, but I do not mind replying that the State Labour Party had not an opportunity to vote on the Bill, as the other parties prevented it from going to a division. Last night the honorable member for Lang again stated that if the Labour Party had its way. the marriage tie would be loosened.
– I did not say anything of the kind ; I said the very opposite. The honorable member will find my words recorded in Hansard.
– But, no doubt, he will keep on repeating it, although it is not true.
– It is not the members of the Labour Party, but their opponents, who pursue those tactics. At the time of the Balaclava election, Mr. Hewison, one of the candidates, waited on the Women’s National League, which was supporting another candidate, and pointed out to it that the Labour Party does not favour the loosening of the marriage tie. The President of the League replied : “ We know that that is so, but the statement makes so good a cry that we must use it for all that it is worth.” That was published in the
Age or Argus, and I placed the circumstances on record in Hansard when speaking on the Address-in-Reply on the first opportunity which followed. On the other hand, a paid agitator controlled bv the Victorian Employers’ Association, of which the honorable member for Fawkner is President, goes about the country preaching that marriage is a luxury for the workers. Mr. Walpole made that statement at Lilydale.
– That has been denied.
– Mr. Walpole has not denied it. I have placed on record in Hansard a letter from the man who reported his speech - Mr. Oliver, of Lilydale - and others from the chairman of the meeting, and a reverend gentleman who was present.
– Was it not a Labour candidate for the Senate - a Mr. Tunnecliffe - who first advanced that opinion?
– No; the statement was made by the . paid agitator of the employers’ organization, and not a word has been published in the press to show that his views are not supported by that organisation.
– The honorable member must be hard up for an argument when he harks back to a statement which was denied ten years ago.
– Then the honorable member admits that it was made?
– No; I say that it was denied.
– The statement was made about 1903 - five years ago; the honorable member’s arithmetic is as faulty as Mr. Walpole’s denial. I have a letter written to the newspapers by the latter, in which he said that the statement was made as a joke. A Methodist newspaper published in this city denounced him at the time for making the statement even as a joke. When others make jokes, they have to abide bv the consequences. But although Mr. Walpole deliberately said that marriage was a luxury for the workers, he is still acting for the Employers’ Federation, and, as far as I know, has never been reprimanded.
– Have those of the Labour Party who put forward the same view been reprimanded ?
– No member of the Labour Party has put forward that view. I should be one of the first to reprimand any one who did.
– I have not heard if put forward by others than members of the Labour Party.
– The honorable member cannot mention the name of any one who has made the statement. We know that immorality and the weakening of the marriage tie is not to be charged against those in this part of the Chamber.
– Oh. dear !
– If the honorable member reads the records of the Divorce Courts, he will find that, as a rule, it is not the workers who are parties to the proceedings there.
– Surely the Labour Party does not arrogate to itself all virtue, as it has claimed merit for all the beneficent legislation of the past? Surely its members have sufficient modesty to admit that virtue may exist elsewhere too?
– There are exceptions. Some honorable members spasmodically vote rightly, and, I suppose, are occasionally virtuous. I had not intended to deal with this matter; but as the Women’s National Leagues of Australia are continually repeating the lie, it must be referred to. It was not a representative of the labouring classes who put forward the doctrine.
– As the honorable member knows the statement to be false, why does he persist in discussing it?
– lt is true. Mr. Walpole has admitted that.
– I do not deny that some one may have made the statement, but is it worth while to waste time over a remark which is known to be untrue?
– The statement is continually being made to injure the Labour Party by those who supported the honorable member. The Treasurer, in his Budget, dealt with the coinage of silver. I thought that he was in favour of encouraging Australian industry, and would give opportunity for the minting of silver in Australia. If no settlement has yet been arrived at, I hope that another attempt will be made to come to a definite conclusion. The Postmaster-General, when I spoke of the Government having decided’ to get the work done abroad, said that that had not been decided. That being so, I hope that the decision will be come to that silver shall be coined here. We should know how long the present arrangement is to last.
– Tha Treasurer has said that he does not know whether the work is to be done here or abroad.
– I understand that a definite statement has since been made, and therefore I ask the honorable gentleman whether the minting of silver is to be done here ?
– Will the honorable member give notice of the question?
– The right honorable member for Swan, the ex-Treasurer, said the other day that he had received a letter from the Prime Minister, stating that the matter had been definitely arranged, and that the silver would be minted in Great Britain. We should not be kept in the dark.
– The Treasurer said at first that the minting of silver was to be dona in Australia, and, later, that he did not know whether it would be done here. I think that it can, and should be, done here.
– The Government, which the honorable member follows, has put prohibitive duties on goods which cannot be manufactured in Australia, and allowed the manufacture of goods which could be made here to take place abroad.
– That is not correct.
– The Treasurer said-
A similar proposal has been made by the mints in other States. The work will be done here by the Imperial authorities. Gold is minted in Western Australia, and the coining of silver will be done here.
Gold is minted in Western Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales. Later on, the honorable gentleman said -
I believe that it will be done here.
Then the Prime Minister said -
I do not think that the coinage of silver will take place here.
I wish to know what is the position in regard to this matter.
– Silver is produced here.
– We are producing far more silver than we require for currency purposes, and we ought to mint our own silver coinage. I desire now to refer to the Estimates of Expenditure. Yesterday I asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs whether the Public Service Commissioner had brought in an amended classification under which increased salaries were provided for all heads of Departments. I was informed in reply that it was not proposed to grant an increased salary to the heads of “ all “ DepartmentsI believe that as a matter of fact about one out of nine heads of Departments is not to receive an increase - and that as they were administrative heads it was not necessary to refer to the Public Service Commissioners proposals to increase their salaries. I think, ‘however, that we should learn exactly how we stand with regard to such increments. When the classification scheme was before us we found that it fixed the salaries of all heads of Departments, and it seems to me tha’t the fixing of the salaries of such officersshould rest entirely with the Public ServiceCommissioner. When the Public ServiceBill was before this House, we decided toexempt from the Act the officers of Parliament, and in that respect I think that we made a big mistake. The officers of Parliament have as much right to be graded by the Public Service Commissioner as have any other members of the Commonwealth Service. Appropriations have to be made in respect of these increases, and we have a rightto ask how far it is proposed to go. Members of the Public Service lower down the ladder have not received an increment for years, although they are serving the Commonwealth to the best of their ability. They are as much entitled to consideration as arethose who happen to be in close touch with Ministers. As I pointed out on a former occasion, members of the Public Service Commissioner’s staff receive special treatment, simply because their duties bring them under the immediate observation of the Commissioner. Thev are singled out for special treatment, just as honorable members might be disposed to give special’ consideration to officers or to the messengers in Parliament House, because they happen to be brought into close touch with them. The principle, however, is a wrong one. The recommending of increases to heads of Departments should rest entirely with the Public Service Commissioner, and I intend to vote against all such increases, unless good reason is shown for granting them. We find, in the first place, that provision is made for increasing the salary of the. Secretary of the Department of Externa! Affairs from £800 to ^900, and for a similar increase in the case of the Secretary to the Department of the Attorney-General.. I believe that when the last-named gentleman entered the service of the Commonwealth, he received a salary of ,£750 per annum. Since then his remuneration has been increased to £800 per annum, and it is now proposed to grant him a further increase of £100 per annum. Where are these increases to stop? We have a right to hear from the Treasurer a statement on the point, so that we may intimate to the Government, if we think fit, that, in the event of these increases being granted, corresponding increments should be allowed Throughout the service.
– - The service gets a fine increase as it is.
– I know of officers discharging important duties, who are receiv- ing_wh.it I consider a sweating wage.
– The Commonwealth Service is the best paid public service in Australia, or almost anywhere else.
– J believe that. If that is the Treasurer’s opinion, is he in favour of these increases?
– The salaries received by men in the higher divisions of the Commonwealth Service are by no means equal to the salaries paid to States officers filling corresponding offices.
– Does the honorable member believe in these increases ?
– Yes, when the work is done, and good men have to be obtained to do it.
– The work is being done, so that we may take it tha.t the Treasurer favours the proposed increases. How is it that the special work performed by these officers has not been recognised before?
– I have always said that they have not been well enough paid.
– I have not heard of any of them leaving the Public Service for a better job outside.
– The honorable member is quite right. We never hear of these men, with all their ability, fumbling over each other to leave the service.
– Nor do we hear of any other public servants doing so.
– Quite so. I cannot help recalling the struggle we had to secure the passing of the minimum wage provisions of the Public Service Act. Even the Treasurer at that time opposed those provisions.
– And who placed them on the statute-book?
– I consider that I had more to do with their passing than had any other honorable member.
– And I consider that I did the work.
– I well remember what the honorable member said -at the time.
The minimum wage provisions of the Public Service Act were carried largely as the result of a return, which I had secured and put before the House, showing the low wages paid in some branches of the service. The minimum wage is only £no per annum, or 7s. per day. Those who receive that wage, so far as I am aware, are not to have an increase, but the men on top of the ladder are to have a big advance on their former salaries. I trust that the Treasurer will be able to give the Committee information regarding the work done by these officers, so that we shall not have to vote in the dark. I hope also that he will supply some information with regard to the coinage of silver in Australia. If an agreement has been entered into with the British Government, we ought to be made familiar with its terms, so that we may be able, if necessary, to take steps to have the minting of silver carried out in Australia.
.- I wish to make a personal explanation in reply to certain remarks made by the honorable member who has just resumed his seat. As- Mr. Walpole is not a member of this House he cannot defend himself here, and, believing that the honorable member for Yarra is a fair-minded man, I wish to say that when Mr. Walpole was first accused of making certain remarks about the Labour Party, and the marriage tie, he vigorously denied the statement attributed to him. The evidence, including that of the Methodist clergyman .referred to, so far as I have been able to gather, is entirely in favour of Mr. Walpole’s assertion that he made no such statement. I make this explanation, because, although the statement attributed to Mr. Walpole is alleged to have been made by him nearly ten years ago, and has been denied by him again and again-
– It was made at the general election of 1903.
– The charge that he had made such a statement was first levelled at him many years ago, and has been repeatedly denied. The evidence, I repeat, goes to show that Mr. Walpole made no such observations.
– - The debate during Friday and yesterday took a somewhat unusual turn. Instead of discussing the Budget, we appear now to be considering the social structure of the universe; and I do not mind taking part in such a discussion for a few minutes this afternoon. It may be that now that the recent danger has passed, honorable members breathe a little more freely. We have listened, at all events, to a series of speeches from the Labour corner that have been far removed from the Budget, but have been none the less interesting. Honorable members of the Labour Party have hurled at honorable members on this side of the House - as they have done many times before - almost every conceivable kind of epithet that would denominate them as reactionaries to all social progress..
– The honorable member himself at times makes fairly strong statements.
– I am going to make one or two remarks this afternoon in reply to some of the allegations made against the Opposition. I do not intend to allow to go by the board all the statements that were made in the heat of debate by the Prime Minister and honorable members who support him in reference to the Opposition. I do not believe that I am associated either with a party of social wreckage or with a party of social reactionaries. I have not the slightest intention of permitting myself to be so labelled by men whom I regard as pursuing paths that are inimical to ultimate social progress, or by those who are, in my judgment, the enemies of the best interests of the very men whom they profess to represent here.
– What peculiar spectacles the honorable member must wear.
– May be; but 1 shall confine myself this afternoon to one or two statements, and my authorities will be chiefly found in labour literature. I do not seek outside for justification of my reply On Thursday, we had the leader of the Labour Party, followed on Friday by one of his most brilliant henchmen - the honorable member for Kalgoorlie - urging that we, on this side, believed in the doctrines that Malthus propagated. I should like, in passing, to congratulate the honorable member for Kalgoorlie on the speech that lie made. I disagreed with many of the sentiments expressed by him, but his address was a valuable contribution to the debate. There were, however, one or two passages in his speech that impaired the effect of the whole. One of them was the statement from Malthus that he read to the House in support of the allegation of his leader that we, on this side, believed in the doctrines of that writer.
– I did not make that statement. I said that that would be the position that would be reached by an extreme application of the principle of individualism.
– I repudiate that statement. I hold that so far from individualism pointing in any such direction, there can be no real progressive constructive individualism until we have, so to speak, knocked Malthusianism on the head. What is the doctrine of Malthus? Simply that there is not enough food on the globe for the population that might possibly be born. Every one knows at this time of day that such a doctrine is obsolescent. And by-the-bye, Malthus was not the author of it; he merely crystallized the teaching of men born thousands of years before him. Plato taught it, and all down the ages there have been exponents of what I do not hesitate to describe as the same devilish doctrine. If honorable members will refer back to Hume, Franklin, and other philosophers of the same type, they will find that they were the real authors of Malthusianism.
– Henry George, the great free-trader and individualist, knocked that doctrine completely on the head.
– Quite so. My point is that in disproving Malthus, you open the way for a constructive individualism - a competition and struggle which pushes a nation up rather than drags it down. The first of our tenets is a repudiation of any such doctrine as Malthus taught, and we certainly stand for the stripping from the policy which we believe to be at the base of all human progress of any such inhuman and degrading attributes as those with which the honorable member sought to clothe it. I believe there is a constructive competition as well as a destructive one, and it is for that constructive side of individualism that I, at any rate, stand, as I believe do the majority of those who are with me on this side of the House. If such a charge as was made by the honorable member could lie against any section of the House - and I do not say it can - it would more properly lie against my friends in the Ministerial corner. For of all the distorted statements of this same doctrine commend me to an article, published in the Worker of Sydney, on Thursday last, by a gentleman named H. Ingemann.
– It is a contributed article, not an editorial.
– It might as well have been an editorial for it has been boomed by that paper and is put forth as an authentic statement of the beliefs and doctrines, of the Labour Socialists of Australia. Here is what the author calls the “ introduction !! -
This essay is an endeavour to define and elucidate the principles and objects of Socialism as indorsed by the majority of the supporters of the Labour “Party in the Australian Commonwealth.
– We never heard of him.
– I presume the honorable member has heard of the paper, which is certainly the best of its kind in Australia. It is the most important, and, I suppose, the most widely read of the many well-conducted Labour journals in Australia. I should not care to say that it is conducted with as much ability as is the Brisbane Worker, but it is even more influential, and has a greater circulation. This series of articles has been written with the approval of the editor.
– He distinctly says that he will not be responsible for the statements of contributors.
– Did he say that? He also said that the series would be put forth in reply to the enemies of the Labour Party,, and in justification of the Labour movement of Australia. In quoting these statements, I am simply replying to the allegations made by the leader of the Labour Party in this House last Thursday night, and practically spoken of again to- day in another way by the last speaker -
The writer hopes in the following pages to convince his readers that all such statements are false and malicious, and to show that the objective of the Socialist Labour Party is based on the best scientific, moral, ethical, and social principles.
– That is very good.
– I tell “the honorable member frankly that my trouble is to find out what the honorable member and his party really do believe in.
– The honorable member used to know.
– Unhappily, that time has passed, because there is nu longer a straightforward intelligent Labour Party in existence. There is, to-day, a party of twists and turns, and politics in perfection.
– That from the king of” twisters ! I mean that in a political senseonly.
– I hope it isonly political. But it does not matter to me what the honorable member calls me > I am used to being called names by thehonorable member’s party. I think that every name in their vocabulary has beenapplied to me, and so it does not much matter whether another epithet or two isadded. In the first place, what do these men, or these honorable members, agreeupon? I had better use the word “men,” because this gentleman is not a member of Parliament yet, although there is hope for him to become one, as the result of writing this series of articles. It is only fair to say that fie begins with human nature. One cannot begin on a better basis, but I am bound to say that my honorablefriends often leave it out of account. When they soar aloft into the vague Empyrean, building their beautiful castles inthe air, all of which they surmise may be realised at some time of day, I am afraid’ they leave human nature struggling on theearth as they fly. This gentleman says -
It is often stated by the enemies of Socialism that to bring it about you must alter humannature, and that human nature is human nature, always the same and unchangeable. Others allege that human nature is changeable but isevolving in the direction of individualism. It is my object to show in this chapter that both contentions are erroneous.
I turn now to Mr. W. M. Hughes’ The Case for Labour. The writer of that article says that the statement that humannature does not change is erroneous. Mr. Hughes, on the other hand, says -
The sum of human knowledge has increased’ ten thousandfold ; yet human nature remainspiractically unchanged.
Which of them are we to take? Onegentleman says the object of his essays isto prove that human nature is not an unchanging thing, while the other says that human nature remains practically unchanged, and that -
Men are still moved by the same motives,, stirred by the same emotions, loving, hating, fighting’, lying, accusing others, excusing themselves, raucously pointing out the mote in their fellow’s eye; silent as to the beam in theirown.
That is an excellent passage, but which iscorrect ?
– Up to the present thetwo statements do not disagree. One mansays that human nature is changeable; the- other says that up to the present it has not changed.
– I will make my honorable friend a present of that point for what it is worth. If human nature has not changed in all these thousands of years, the odds are very much in favour of it not changing in the next thousand.
– That is merely a contention on the honorable member’s part that Hughes is right and the other fellow wrong.
– I believe that Hughes is right.
– Then the honorable member is quoting against the Labour Party a person whom he believes to be wrong. Is that fair?
– I will tell the honorable member what I am doing. I am inquiring whither I am to go for the authority for statements made by honorable members opposite. Will they take this authoritative essay, styled and boomed throughout Australia as” The Rising Tide,” in their organ, or the statement for labour by one of their members in this chamber? The two are in direct conflict. Remember always that this is a fundamentaland far-reaching conflict. If human nature is changeless, or practically changeless, my honorable friends may be sure that this same old human nature will pull down many of the airy castles that they propose to build. If it is a changeable factor there is another answer to be made, to the effect that its results have been pretty uniform throughout all the years of the past.
– Does not the honor- able member think that we can improve the surroundings ?
– This man says so. He says that by improving the surroundings you necessarily improve the quality of the ego - the individual himself. That brings me to another statement to which I take strong exception. After stating in his own way the doctrine of Darwinism, on which he proposes to base his whole scheme - I have no fault to find with his definition of Darwinism, except that he leaves out some material points, although, so far as he states it, it is correct - he deduces from that law the following : -
We see, then, how the law of natural selection applies as absolutely to the mental qualities of man as to his bodily development. We see that man’s moral character is inspired by natural demand and necessity. For this reason it is clear that there can be no absolute morality.
I take strong exception to that doctrine. It is not in accordance with the ethical teachings of our time, or with the views of some of the best Socialists of to-day. It is a travesty upon the ethical side of a doctrine which is held, however mistakenly, yet sincerely, by many earnest and good-minded men. He says further
The European believes in monogamy and chastity in women, because it is by the aid of these propensities that our race has been enabled to multiply and conquer the earth ; the sexes are so evenly divided that the nation which abandons these practices would retard its own growth.
Here is a bit of Malthus, if you like -
The Japanese have multiplied to such an extent that the population has virtually outgrown the means of support, hence there is a national demand or necessity for some check to the growth of population.
I forbear to quote the language further to a mixed audience, but there is a statement from my honorable friend’s own champion’s essay, that the law of Malthus obtains todayin Japan. He had better denounce that; not denounce us. We repudiate a doctrine of that kind as applying to Japan or anywhere else. We say it is a ghoulish doctrine.
– That man is not advocating it. He points out what is in existence in a certain country, but he does not subscribe to it.
– I deny that it is in existence.
– It is in existence in Australia.
– Does the honorable member say of Australia that population has outgrown the means of subsistence ?
– No; but the doctrine is applied in Australia.
– It is so in Australia, and the honorable member knows it. Wherever population is artificially checked, Malthusianism is practised.
– I am not talking about the checking of population. I am speaking of Malthus’ premises, which I say are wrong.
– Of course they are wrong.
– But they are subscribed to in this Labour paper of Thursday last by a gentleman who actually declares this condition of things to be operating now in Japan.
– Does the honorable member approve of every advertisement in a newspaper that supports him?
– It is not my object to attempt to tie honorable members opposite to these statements. I am simply speaking in reply. We on this side of the House have been saddled with this kind- of belief, and I am merely pointing out that if that doctrine is supported anywhere in this House, the Labour corner is the home in which it might most probably be found, according to the statement of their own essayist.
– Who is lie, and what is lie?
– I am quoting from the first of a series of articles under the heading of “The Rising Tide; an Exposition of Australian Socialism.” The articles, of course, refer to the rising tide of Socialism ; and the writer purports to speak on behalf of the Labour Socialists of Australia - of the Labour Party especially.
– Who is he?
– His name is Ingemann, and his exposition is not of Continental Socialism, but of Australian Socialism. If the honorable member does not know anything about the gentleman I have no doubt that, on application in the proper quarter, he will get all information. The writer makes a number of other statements to which I cannot subscribe, because I do not believe that they are correct. Of course, he lays every evil under the sun almost at the door of our present industrial system ; showing how that system is ramifying through the personnel of the community, and undermining character and moral qualities of every kind.
– Doss the honorable member deduce from the article that the writer advocates the adoption of Malthusianism ?
– I deduce from the article that the writer accepts the premises of Malthusianism as a natural fact existing to-day in Japan.
– That mav be, but, in addition, the honorable member is seeking to charge the Labour Party with taking up a similar position.
– Not at all: I have already said I desire to make no such allegation. I simply say that if this charge of belief in a doctrine of this kind - a doctrine that is repulsive to every intelligent man with a progressive mind - lies anywhere it would appear to more properly lie in the Government corner than in the Opposition.
– The writer shows that he himself does not believe in the doctrine, because, in words which the honorable member has not quoted, he refers to it as “ immoral.”
– I do not think that the writer does so refer to the doctrine in the sense implied bv the honorable member. The whole point of the writer’s statements is that morals are changing and changeable, determined by environment, and by the struggle for existence. In other words, the writer fixes the morals of the community on a rationalistic basis.
– We are not debating that point at the present time, and the fact remains that the writer, in words the honorable member has not quoted, refers to Malthusianism as an immoral doctrine.
– No. The writer says that what is immoral in some countries is not in others. Here is a further quotation -
- Under the present system, the most cowardly, the most bigoted, the most selfish are given a better chance of success than the noble-minded and generous.
Is that why, I wonder, so many of my honorable friends opposite are doing fairly well? I regard such expressions of opinion as a travesty on the present state of affairs ; and I cannot subscribe to such a monstrous doctrine.
– It is true, all the same !
– True, is it? Whenever it is desired to bring some particularly striking pictures before the wandering attention of an audience, the plan is to darken the room in order by contrast to heighten the effect.
– Is that what the honorable member has been doing to-day in regard to the Labour Party?
– No, but it is what this writer does. He paints the present position unduly black. It is badenough,’ but we need not make it worse than it is. I do not believe that in order to “ get on “ to-day a man must be a coward, a bigot, and everything else which the writer has called him. Life to me would not be worth living if I entertained such thoughts of my fellow man.
– Apparently the qualification for success in some directions is tomake unfair charges against the Labour Party.
– I never try to make charges for which I -have no authority. I am making no charges now, but simply quoting and repudiating the expressions of one of the champions of the Labour Party. The writer goes on -
There is no doubt that enterprise, in itself an admirable quality, and a quality which aids man in his evolution, has become exaggerated into a habit of greed without regard for the interests of others, and in its present form is detrimental to the advancement of the race. It has grown to disregard honesty, merit, and sympathy, and many other moral qualities conducive to the evolution of the race.
Again, I repudiate that as a travesty of our present conditions. I believe there never was so much honesty, sympathy, kindness, and genuine humanity in the world as there is to-day.
– When millionaires feed pigs while people are starving !
– I have as much sympathy with such millionaires as lias my honorable friend.
– Quite so; but the honorable member does not show his sympathy so well since he left the Labour Party. He is not so good ai man as he was.
– There are other statements made by the writer of a verystriking character, but I do not desire to weary honorable members by quoting them. I can only say that, to my mind, the writer goes right in the teeth of the fundamental tenets of latter-day progress.
– What has this to do with the question of finance ?
– That is what I was wondering on Thursday and Fridaylast. If it had not been sought to introduce these matters into the political arena and to fasten charges on honorable members on this side, there would have been heard no word from me in reply. But these statements trip off the tongue almost daily, and they will be believed unless there is an answer to the contrary-. I desire to say, once and for all, that, so far as I know, honorable members on this side of the House would repudiate any such ghoulish doctrines, so contrary to fact.
– The honorable member is trying to show that the Labour Party has adopted the views he condemns !
– May I say, for about the twelfth time, that I make no such charge.
– Then it is not worth bothering about.
– The honorable member and his friends do not seem to repudiate this kind of thing.
– We do.
– Here we find the Labour Party’s own organ promulgating this kind of stuff.
– Why does the honorable member read it?
– Because I think it ought to be read and repudiated. We ought to discuss our differences on fair and common ground.
– The honorable member is giving the writer a good advertisement.
– I may be, and I do not mind doing so. When statements of this kind are put forward by the most influential labour organ in Australia as authentic - as showing the trend of thought in the Australian labour movement - they are worth taking notice of.
– There is nothing in the article to justify the statement that it is put forward as an authentic utterance on behalf of labour.
– We disclaim any responsibility for signed articles.
– Honorable members had better read the announcement a week or two ago of the series of articles to be published.
– I agree with the greater part of the writer’s statements; and if the honorable member were to go on the road with his swag, he would realize their truth.
– The honorable member need not talk like that, because I have had -as hard a time, and possibly a great deal harder time, than he has had. I should be very sorry if I thought I was placing anything in the way of the legitimate aspirations of the working men of Australia. But I do not say that to believe in the uplifting of those at the bottom in the industrial scale, it is necessary to indulge in painting our civilization in the blackest of all paints, in the wa,y so characteristic of my friends in the Labour corner. We are all going in the same direction - we all desire to help those at the bottom, but in these later days, the Labour Party are developing the idea that the only way to help the man at the bottom is to pull down the man at the top. After all, we must remember that the few at the top - battening and luxurious as they may be - even if they are all that Upton Sinclair has said of them - do not prove that the way I have just indicated is the best to assist the man at the bottom. In regard to the criticism offered on honorable members on this side, and referred to again by innuendo to-day by the Secretary of the Labour Party, I should like to say that whatever statements have been made by those who support us such statements can be matched and over-matched by statements from men who vote for the Labour Party. These absurd, totally unnecessary, and unjust statements regarding designs on the home, are being made as freely to-day as ever they were, not by theoretical Socialists like Karl Marx, but by men who advocate the political Socialism of to-day. Such statements are still being ma.de throughout the Continent of Europe, as is shown by the magazines which lie about the tables in the Library of this House. Honorable members who desire to know the facts, have only to refer to such periodicals in order to ascertain that the Socialists of the Continent advocate these theories every day of their lives. For myself, I dismiss that kind of argumentation ; it is not worth while, and I should not have troubled myself if suggestions had not been made as to the attitude and sympathies of men with whom I am associated. If honorable members opposite desire to repudiate that kind of sentiment, they need not bother honorable members who sit with me, but should turn their attention to the utterances of those who are supposed to have the same international aims as have many of the men who support the Labour ‘ movement in Australia. I have already referred to Malthusianism, which was quoted, and enforced, by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie on Friday. I am aware that, in the newer school of economists, there has been evolved a theory, namely, that the struggle for existence is no longer an individual struggle, but has become a corporate struggle, and that, therefore, to Socialism, as an expression of the corporate sense, we may subscribe as an engine of progress. That doctrine has been stated clearly by such writers as Benjamin Kidd, and, I think, most beautifully of all, by Professor Henry Drummond, in his Ascent of Man. I regard that book, from its literary side alone, as worth reading by any man, and I am bound to say that I subscribe to some of the tenets to which he gives such unique and admirable expression. There is one factor which my honorable friends, in quoting these economists, nearly always leave out of sight. No writer em- phasizes it so clearly and decisively as does Henry Drummond. It is that, lying at the root of the corporate struggle for existence, is the principle of sacrifice, of self-suppression, of self-abnegation. Drummond illustrates this very beautifully by pointing out that the lovely blossoms of the fruit ‘.ree die in order that fruit may be produced, and the species propagated. It is the law of the tree, and the law of life, that there can be no progress without sacrifice.
– At present, the workers have to make sacrifices, so that those of a certain class may live in idleness and luxury.
– I believe that the workers in some cases make an undue sacrifice, one which should not be expected of them, but which will lessen as the world becomes more enlightened. I have no word to say against those referred to by the honorable member. We must try to lift them up from the bottom. But there is a radical difference between the ways in which it is proposed that this should be done. Stripped of the ghoulish doctrine of Malthus, the law of struggle, as stated by Henry Drummond, Benjamin Kidd, and other writers,, is constructive in its nature. Competition is no longer regarded as inherently hellish and tigerish, a thing of tooth and claw; it has its constructive side, and is needed to lift up the race to higher ideals, and to push it forward to greater prosperity, peace, and permanence. It is the constructive side of the competitive struggle that we feel it our duty to emphasize, since the members of the Labour Party nearly always leave it out of account. We must, from time to time, in debating the questions which come before us, go down to the fundamental principles of progress. The conditions of employment must be discussed with reference to the principles of personal freedom ; not necessarily freedom to amass millions of money, and to oppress one’s fellows, but freedom to use one’s powers of initiative, and one’s God-given intelligence to better one’s own position, as one betters the world around him. All these questions must, in the last resort, be settled, if they are to be settled at all, by taking into account the principle of personal freedom. For instance, the existence of trusts, although a mighty, ever-pressing and menacing problem, must be considered in the light of the principle of freedom for voluntary combination). We must not, to stamp out trusts, destroy this right to combine. My honorable friends would abolish trusts by nationalizing industries, but I do not think that that would make things better. I especially commend to those who have not seen them, a series of articles which recently appeared in the’ British Weekly, in which is set out the very latest word on Socialism and Collectivism. The best and most practical socialistic writers of to-day have come to the conclusion that under Socialism there will not be much more comfort and luxury for the working classes than there is now.
– There will not be so much.
– Is that the latest word on the subject?
– That is the latest word from the Continent of Europe. That is the opinion of a German writer named Kautsky.
– I think that he is a Pole.
– An Italian Socialist has come to much the same conclusion ; and so, too, has M. Renard, a French Socialist. Socialism, to-day, is taking upon itself a soberer garb. Karl Marx has been put overboard. If its writers keep on their present course, they will soon cease to inspire the extravagant hopes which, in days gone by, did so much to account for the success of their propaganda. The question of employment must always be considered in relation to personal characteristics, which are in their essence moral, and lie at the root of all human progress. Initiative, personal freedom, the relation of reward to. ‘the quality and volume of the service rendered, these and other factors must be considered in regard to State employment. Although it is a truth which my honorable friends put in the background, we must recognise, if we are to be honest in the discussion of the social question, that some of our inferiority is accounted for by lack of character, defective moral fibre, want of ability, ignorance, intemperance, and improvidence. I do not say that these are not due in part to adverse environment, but I say emphatically that, however favorable the environment, they will not necessarily disappear.
– At any rate, they will be reduced.
– The latest socialistic writers confess that they do not yet know what to do with the lazy man, and there are many other questions which they have not solved. The further their doctrines are probed, the more they are found to be merely the expression of admirable sentiments, with no scheme behind them. They have nothing but shifting expedients, which vary with time and place. In other words, Socialism is a cry for something better by those who do not know precisely what would be better ; and I take exception to this want of definiteness. I am not prepared to throw overboard all that is worth keeping in our civilization until I know what we are to get in exchange.
– What that is worth keeping in our present civilization does the Labour Party ask the honorable member to throw overboard?
– Capitalism, for one thing. The members of that party describe capitalism as an upas tree, which must be uprooted and destroyed. I admit that on its bark are many blotches and many pests; but I say, cleanse it, and make it bear the fruit that it should produce, instead of cutting it down in the belief that it is merely cumbering the ground. My honorable friends see the barnacles on the hull of the ship of State, and say, “ The vessel is rotten. Throw her. on the scrap heap, and build a new one.” But wisdom dictates that we should strip off the barnacles, and still trust our fortunes to the old ship, which has ridden so many storms, and served us so well for so long, letting her bear us proudly to our destiny. I had not intended to make these extended references to Socialism, but I thought it worth while to repudiate the statements of honorable members opposite, and particularly that of the Prime Minister, that ours is a party composed of the wreckage of political beliefs. He said, amongst other things, that we contain the wreckage of the black labour party. My reply is that one of my first actions in this Parliament was to move an amendment to the first AddressinReply, declaring that the white labour proposals of Sir Edmund Barton, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, and the honorable member for Hume, were not satisfactory. Whatever wreckage there may be on this side, there is no wreckage of self-respect. Whatever we may have forfeited as a party, we have not lost our self-respect, nor trailed our political reputations in the dust, as the honorable gentleman opposite has done. The Treasurer likes the dust. He has bitten it many a time, and does not mind it. I desire to make the truth appear, and therefore I have taken the trouble to repudiate some of the statements which have been made during this debate. A great deal has to be done before everything can be said to be fight from an industrial and social point of view. At present, social wrongs need » righting, and the industrial pyramid may begin to rock and quake at its base unless the unappeased misery that ramifies throughout this modern world of ours can be alleviated and ameliorated by some action, State or otherwise. But we must not confuse the troubles of society with the structure of society itself. We must not confound those accretions that have gradually grown about our social structure with the belief that the social structure itself is rotten and insecure. I do not believe that it is, and, therefore, I say let us deal with all these problems. Let us regulate our trusts, control them, clip their wings, prevent them from doing damage, but do not let us debar individuals from voluntary combinations of a constructive and beneficial kind. And so with almost every other aspect of our social problems. There is a right and a wrong way of dealing with them, and I believe that my honorable friends in the Labour Corner are wasting much valuable time in preaching the panaceas they do. The troubles of society are keen enough and deep enough to merit all our sympathy and our desire to assist in their betterment. Instead of realizing that, however, the Labour Party call names. That is what their propaganda consists of nowadays. They abuse “ the other fellow,” who does not see eye to eye with them as to the precise means that should be taken to deal with this terribly complex problem. Instead of doing as they are doing - instead of desiring to uproot the whole social structure - they should join hands with us in an effort to uproot those evils that have grown round it, and which are, undoubtedly, impeding its progress to-day. I subscribe almost entirely to a statement as to the difference between Socialism and Liberalism, which was made at Dundee recently by that brilliant young statesman, Mr. Winston Churchill. The Socialists there were opposing him tooth and nail, and making every effort to prevent his return to the House of Commons. Here is what he said -
Socialism wants to bring down the rich men at the top. Liberalism seeks to raise those at the bottom. . . Socialism would destroy private interests. Liberalism would preserve them and reconcile them with public rights.
Socialism would kill enterprise. Liberalism would free it from privilege and preference. . . . Socialism attacks Capital. Liberalism attacks and regulates monopoly. . . . There is a great gulf between the two. Difference in principle, in aim, in political philosophy. . . Socialist professions are not sustained by practices. . . They preach universal brotherhood and self sacrifice; they practice spite, envy, hatred, and all uncharitableness. They hate each other as well as us. . . They try to reconstruct the world, but leave out human nature.
That very accurately sums up the essential differences between a liberal and constructive programme, and that advocated, and sought to be furthered by the Labour Party, who believe in the brotherhood of man. It is after all a difference of method. Broadly speaking, we both seek the same object. We desire to see society elevated and purified, so that men who wish to work honestly for their sustenance will have every opportunity to do so, and having done so, will be guaranteed the right to a life of decency, comfort, and well-being. In that, we have a common aim with them, but we do not believe that the destructive principles which they preach and propagate will bring about such a result. On the contrary, we believe that such principles will tend in the end to accentuate the very evils from which they now desire to escape. There are some matters connected with the Budget to which I had intended to refer, but I shall content myself with a reference to only one of them. I should not mention it, but that it has been dealt with very vaguely by the Treasurer, and I should like it to be cleared up. It has to do with the severance of the financial relations of the States and the Commonwealth, and particularly with the taking over of the States debts. The Treasurer, in delivering the Budget, made a. statement which was repeated almost word for word by the Prime Minister during the debate on the censure motion. The statement was -
The State Treasurers have not, however, so far realized the advantages offered them. At present the States are paying annually - Interest, £8,840,000 ; Expenses, £50,000 ; Sinking Fund contributions, £800,000; Old-age Pensions -
I do not know why they should be brought into this calculation- £990,000; total, £10,680,000. To place themselves in the position which the Commonwealth Treasurer offers to place them in-r-that is, of being relieved of their debts, now totalling £247,974,624, in thirty-five years - an annual payment to Sinking Fund, accumulating at 3 per cent, interest, would be necessary of ^4,101,000. Deducting the amount now paid to» Sinking Fund by the States, £800,000, £3,301,000 is left. So that they would pay in all £13,981,000.
The honorable gentleman practically said that it would be necessary for the States to make a payment of £4,101,000 a year to a sinking fund to place themselves in the position which the Commonwealth offers them. I desire to know what is meant by that statement. Does the Treasurer suggest that if we took over the debts of the States we should begin to incur that liability ? In round numbers, he offers to relieve the States of a payment of £14,000,000 on account of their debts and the item of oldage pensions. Are we to understand from this that the honorable gentleman proposes at once to undertake a payment of this kind on behalf of the Commonwealth ?
– No ; it will take thirty-five years to make the full payment
– But this estimate, in respect of interest, is a yearly matter.
– There is an item of over £2,000,600 that would not come into full payment for thirty-five years. But there is an item of £6,000,000 odd that we should have to pay if we took over the whole of the debts.
– Under the Treasurer’s scheme there is to be no payment of interest, if I remember rightly, for five years; the amount is to gradually decrease in thirty-live years.
– The whole payment is made for five years, and the amount gradually decreases during thirty years.
– Does the Treasurer propose to liquidate the debt in thirtySi ve years?
– Then where is the point of this statement?
– The proposal is to take over the debts, we becoming responsible for the payment of interest. But it would take at least sixty-five years to pay off the debts.
– Then why should this statement be made as an inducement to the States to believe that they would be relieved of a payment of £14,000,000 sterling?
– Simply to let the State Governments realize the nature of the offer made to them - an offer which, perhaps, will not be repeated for many years.
– I think that it will be made since it means nothing. The
States are not paying anything like £4,000,000 to a sinking fund.
– The honorable member will find that they are making large payments to sinking funds.
– The honorable member referred, in his Budget, to a payment of £800,000 per annum, and he proposed a scheme that would relieve them of the payment of £4,000,000 a year to a sinking fund. .He tells us now that that is a mere placard.
– I have not said anything of the kind.
– The honorable member said that he had no intention of beginning a payment of this kind after the debts were taken over.
– I did not.
– Order ! The Treasurer will have an opportunity to discuss this matter later on ; I cannot allow a dialogue to take place.
– The Treasurer says that he offers to the States an advantage equivalent to a payment of £14,000,000 sterling per annum in connexion with their debt and its liquidation, and this payment of £4,000,000 to a sinking fund is brought into the statement as it was afterwards by the Prime Minister. Why do they drag it in, unless the Treasurer intends to foot a bill to that extent for the purpose of paying off the debts?
– Otherwise, the debts are on the shoulders of the taxpayer in either case.
– So they are; but part of them will be paid off in sixty-five years.
– Then, the honorable member says to the States that so far as the people of Australia function in their State capacity, they will be relieved of their debts in thirty-five years; but, as they function in their Commonwealth capacity, they will be relieved in sixty-five years.
– I do not say anything of the kind.
– I should like to know precisely what the honorable member does mean.
– If the honorable member would only read plain English and figures, he would find it all set out.
– I have just read it. The Treasurer’s statement is that the States do not realize what a favorable proposal he is making to them, as his proposal is equivalent to a saving on their part of£14,000,000 per annum with a liquidated debt in thirty-five years.
– A liquidated debt on the interest in thirty-five years.
– Then, the honorable member simply means that the States cease to pay interest in thirty-five years?
– That is it.
– But meantime, where is the debt ?
– The debt is taken over by the Commonwealth.
– Then, the same people pay the interest. We are getting daylight on to the honorable member’s marvellous statement. He says to the States, “ If you will give us your debts, the poor struggling taxpayers will be relieved of their liability in thirty-five years ; but immediately they are relieved, as State electors, they must begin again to pay for sixty-five years through the Commonwealth.”
– That is not correct.
– Doesthe honorable member propose a sinking fund of £4,000,000 a year?
– I cannot interject; and I am not going to make a piecemeal statement.
– As the Treasurer cannot explain it, I shall have to leave it.
– I can explain it; but the honorable member does not understand it.
– I understand the honorable member’s figures to this extent - that they are a piece of bluff, and nothing else, to the States. There is really to be no relief. It is only a make-believe, and the honorable member is disingenuous when he puts forth such a statement. I should have said nothing about it, had the Prime Minister not emphasized the point in his speech the other night. He repeated the Treasurer’s statement, and took care to say that if sinking funds were established in all the States, to the extent that they are established now in some, a payment of £4,000,000 sterling per annum for a sinking fund would have to be made. Now, the Treasurer tells us that there is not going to be any such payment.
– The honorable member is attemptingto put words into my mouth.
– Does the Treasurer say that he is not going to pay £4,000,000 per annum to a sinking fund ?
– It is shown in the figures ; I shall not reply piecemeal.
– I protest against this kind of reckless statement being made to the States, which, on being sifted, means nothing. The Government are going to relieve the State, maybe; but while they relieve the taxpayers of the States in that direction they put the same burden on them through the Federal medium, and so it must go on, not for thirty-five years, but for from sixty-five to eighty years, which, I believe, was the broad statement made by the Treasurer.
– No ; I said sixty odd years.
– We are approaching a very serious financial position that will have to be faced sooner or later.
– Very soon - in 1910.
– The honorable member hopes to reach that position in 1910 without any mishap, and then he will make the money fly. Judging by the way he is going, he will need to make the money fly by that time, for his obligations are piling up at an alarming rate. He now wants£1, 000,000 extra with which to finance his old-age pensions scheme.
– I do not.
- Mr. Waddell said so; and he has had far more practical experience than has the honorable member.
– I have had experience, for I passed the Act in New South Wales.
– The honorable member passed it, and immediately bolted over to the Commonwealth. He did not find a copper to pay old-age pensions in New South Wales.
– I provided the money on my Estimates.
– No money was needed until a return had been made from the Federal Customs revenue. That is how the honorable member financed oldage pensions in New South Wales, and he need not try to make this audience believe anything to the contrary, because we know the facts. My leader baited the honorable member night after night as to where the money was to come from, but the honorable member did not care. There was no money when the Act was passed, and immediately afterwards the honorable member left State politics. The money to pay the pen- sions came, as I said, from the Federal Customs [revenues. Now the honorable member is doing the same thing. Mr. Waddell says that the Commonwealth pensions scheme will cost £2,200,000 per annum.
– Ridiculous ! That means that the breadwinners of Australia will pav £2 per head.
– Already practically £600,000 a year is being paid in New South Wales.
– That is about £200,000 - say, £150,000 - too much.
– I quite believe that the honorable member’s bowels of compassion incline him that way. He is a great believer in political placards, but when it comes to footing a bill-
– My compassion is very much greater than that of the honorable member.
– I must ask the Treasurer not to interject continuously.
– I bow to your ruling, sir, but it is very hard to have to listen to statements which are not in accordance with fact.
– The honorable member will have a right to reply. If I allowed these interjections to continue they would lead to an irregular debate.
– The Treasurer says that £200,000 a year too much is being paid in New South Wales.
– I said ,£150,000.
– I will take that statement.
– It will prove to be true.
– All will depend upon the administration. The honorable member need not pay ‘ half as much as is being paid in New South Wales; if he likes he can starve the poor old people after entering into an obligation to pay them, but it would not be honest, fair, or human. Does the honorable member believe that the Government of New South Wales are wasting that ,£150,000?
– I do, a great deal -of it.
– The honorable member knows absolutely nothing about it, or he would not make statements of that kind. I know hundreds of people in New South Wales who are praying for the Commonwealth pension scheme to come into operation as speedily as possible, so that they may obtain pensions . to which they are morally, and now, I am glad to say, legally, entitled. The honorable member will find when he comes to make the payments that there will not be £150,000 less, but in all probability nearer £150,000 more, to find for New South Wales. The Prime Minister declared the other night that we had passed an Old-age Pensions Act which was verymuch more liberal and broad than that of any of the States. If, therefore, we have passed a measure that is to be more liberal than that of New South Wales, how is it to be financed for a paltry £1,200,000 a year? The honorable member is no miracle worker. He may be a verbal juggler, as the Prime Minister is, but, that will not find the money. The money is not in existence. I am entitled, therefore, to say that the honorable member needs another million pounds to finance his oldage pensions scheme, and he wants £600,000 more for the Government’s new defence scheme. We voted this year about £1,100,000. The new scheme is to cost £1,700,000. Here again, by some species of legerdemain, which is a peculiar attribute of the Prime Minister, he tells us that only £200,000 more is required to finance the new scheme. We are paying £1,100,000 now; the new scheme is to cost £1,700,000, and the Prime Minister says there is a difference of only £200,000 ! Of course, the trick that the Prime Minister has played on the House is by dragging in the amount paid into the trust fund last year for naval defence. By the way, that item of £250,000 is wrongly stated in the Estimates. It is for no part of our land defence. I take harbor and coastal defence to be part of our naval defence. Why, then, is that money included in the Estimates under land defence?
– There is really no provision in the Estimates for the new scheme.
– The money was voted last year and held back.
– It was voted last year, and the Estimates were debited with it. That brought the total for defence last year to considerably over .£1,400,000. That is how the Prime Minister works his financial trick to show that we want only another £200,000 for the new defence scheme.
– That money is in existence in the trust funds and in the bank, earning interest.
– I shall leave that point and allow myself to be sidetracked by the Treasurer’s statement that the trust funds are bearing interest. We have, I believe, about £666,000 in the trust funds. In the year 1906-7, £150,000 was placed to a trust account, and the next year £165,000. I cannot find that either of these funds has ever earned a copper of interest through the whole of those two years. Here is a man who is supposed fo be husbanding our money and looking after our resources, yet for two years large sums of money are allowed to earn no interest.
– Go to the late Treasurer and find out why
– Ever since the honorable member has been in his present office he has been, politically speaking, skulking behind his predecessor. Although that honorable member is a man with n broad enough back to get behind, it is not playing the game.
– It’ is not playing the game to put the blame on my shoulders.
– The honorable member has not done much better up -to date. The first return made to the Senate the other day showed that out of ,£666,000 a paltry £53,000 was earning interest. That was under the honorable member’s regime.
– Nonsense; £500,000 is bearing interest.
– I know that, since the matter has been brought to the notice of honorable members, the Treasurer has rushed away and placed nearly £500,000 at fixed deposit.
– That is absolutely incorrect ; it was done before the House met - months ago.
– How long ago?
– As soon as I got the money
– If this money has been earning interest all the time, why does that interest not appear on the revenue side of the ledger ?
– It has been earning interest for three or four months at least.
– Thousands of pounds have been placed in Trust Funds for two or three years, and we are told that it has been earning interest for only three or four months ! In 1906, £165,000 lay for a whole year to the credit or the Trust Funds, and did not earn a copper of interest.
– That is incorrect !
– I point out to the Treasurer that he will have ample opportunity to reply.
– But such statements ought not to be permitted to go abroad.
The CHAIRMA.N Order ! The Treasurer has ample opportunity to reply ; and I must ask him to cease interjecting, or otherwise it is impossible for the Committee to follow the remarks of the honorable member for Parramatta.
– I shall not have “ ample “ opportunity to reply.
– I am simply quoting statements furnished by the Treasurer to the House. In 1907 a sum of £[150,000 did not earn a copper of interest, and to-day there is £666,000 in the Trust Funds, and, up to three months ago, only £[53,000 of that was earning interest.
– That is not correct f
– As I said before, I am merely quoting statements made by the Treasurer to the House ; and, if the honorable gentleman likes to put tlie matter to the test, he can easily do so.
– And I shall do so f
– The honorable member can easily put the matter to the test by showing me where the items of interest appear in the Estimates on the revenue side.
– I shall show the honorable member the full particulars, and he will see how wrong he is.
– The honorable member told us a little while ago that this money has been earning interest for only three or four months.
– I did not say anything of the kind !
– I shall really have to give the Treasurer up !
– The honorable member ought to have done so long ago !
– I really should not have bothered with the Treasurer, who does not know anything about the statement of accounts-
– Do I not?
– All this is the result of the Treasurer coming down to the House and reading a statement prepared by another man who does know something about the matter. If we could gel that gentleman on the floor of the House, he could no doubt offer us an explanation.
– I shall show the honorable member before I have done with him.
– Does the Chairman hear those threats?
– I must warn the Treasurer to cease interjecting. If he does not do so, I shall have to take some other course.
– I did desire to make a statement as to what is to be done after 1910, but that matter can wait until we have definite proposals before us. In the meantime, I protest as strongly as I am able against what I regard as the anti-State note which pervades the whole of the Budget statement. There is no reason that I know of why we should be constantly girding at the States in the effort to keep our own house in order. The States have their rights, as much as we have.
– Hear, hear; but the States are girding at us !
– That is the proper way to put it !
– The States are naturally and properly anxious as to what is going to occur, and when thev hear of statements made every day in this House that the States are, and always have been, too liberally treated - when the Treasurer, at least half-a-dozen times in his speech, said that this kind of thing was going on until
T910 - the States may be pardoned for being somewhat apprehensive. The States in 1 9 10 will have their obligations remaining, and so shall we. The Braddon clause will have expired, if we so determine, but there will still be the obligation on this Parliament to do what is just and fair by the States, and that obligation will not be removed in the slightest degree. In the meantime the Treasurer should stop this girding at the States, which cannot help in the adoption of a satisfactory scheme for the future. I confess that if I were in the position of some of the States Treasurers, I should decline to be talked to as the Treasurer talks to them. I should prefer to trust the good sense of the electors and people of Australia, rather than be talked to as the Treasurer has been talking to the States Treasurers lately
– Does the Treasurer talk in a worse way to the States Treasurers than they talk to him ?
– Is that any justification ? I do not pretend to say that the States Treasurers are angels, financial, or political, or in any other way.
– But the honorable member says that he would not be talked to by the Treasurer if he were a State Treasurer.
– I say I should not be disposed to discuss matters amicably with the Treasurer if he were constantly girding at me behind my back. The States have a right to reasonable treatment. We must remember that, after all, the Commonwealth is not an entity cut off from all relationship to the States;’ and that after 1 9 10 we are trustees of the States, so far as the Customs and Excise revenue is concerned, and also so far as a great part of the States income, on which they depend to keep them solvent, is concerned. We cannot rid ourselves of the trusteeship, and we ought not to try. I, therefore, hope that the Treasurer will , sing a different tune in the near future, so that we may get to close grips, and that the States may discuss with us, in an amicable way, the best means of solving an intricate question in a form satisfactory to all concerned.
.- The remarks of the honorable member for Parramatta have taken two distinct forms. The honorable member opened, I think, by calling attention to the curious turn the debate on finance has’ taken, deprecating it, and, by some strange process of logic, that seemed to be charming only in its absurdity, he proceeded at once to make the debate still more curious by dragging into it a phase that hitherto had been absent. The latter part of his remarks seemed to have taken the form of, probably to him, an interesting dialogue with the Treasurer. If I were permitted to use the language of yesterday, I should say that it was an interesting dialogue between two sly “old dogs”; but, as that would be unparliamentary, I must not say it. At any rate, if my reading of the temper of the House be correct, there did not seem to be much interest in the latter portion of the honorable member’s remarks, or, at any rate, in the dialogue which he carried on so lengthily with the Treasurer. For present theatrical effect it might have been better had the honorable member for Parramatta kept the first part of his speech to the end ; but, with that cleverness with which we must credit him, the theatrical effect was altogether ignored in the desire to impress a section of the outside world, who will ic him the honour of reading his remarks.
Manifestly, had the latter portion of his remarks - that is, the dialogue between himself and the Treasurer - come first, those who read Hansard might have carelessly thrown the volume on one side as not of very valuable national interest; but, as it is, the first portion of his speech takes the form of an attempt to do injury to the Labour Party.
– That certainly was not my intention.
– It may not have been the honorable member’s intention - I give him credit for that - but that was the effect of his remarks. More particularly would that have been the outcome of his utterance, but that some of us were able to point to the curious method the honorable member was adopting, and to the fact that he was quoting, only in part, the statements of a practically unknown writer, and endeavouring, not merely to fix the responsibility on the Labour Party, but to charge that party with subscribing to the doctrines mentioned. We were treated to a carefullyprepared little essay on the Labour Party and the evil effects of their policy and professions - the honorable member was careful to use the word “ professions “ - on the national interests. The honorable member endeavoured to show that we were really the worst enemies of that section of the community whom Labour members are generally supposed to represent. It is curious that, when challenged, the honorable member could name only two points, neither of which appear on the platform of the Labour Party, and to neither of which at any rate I personally subscribe. I should like to say that these few words in reply are not offered on behalf of the Labour Party, but only on behalf of myself as a member of that party. I regard it as necessary, at any rate as concerns myself, that the statements of the honorable member should be repudiated in no unmeasured terms, and that, if possible, in the same copy of Hansard as that containing the honorable member’s speech, the repudiation may appear. I am glad to say that the honorable member now declares that he had no intention to injure the Labour Party ; but, nevertheless, it should be shown that his remarks regarding the party have not been allowed to pass without reply. As I say, the honorable member referred to two points, neither of which appears in the programme, policy, or methods of the Labour Party ; and if I may, for the occasion, alter a few lines of Elliot,. I would say -
The honorable ‘member is like a preacher
Inspired, when he’s vexed He never lacks a sermon ;
Labour members (his old friends) are his text.. He prates of their few faults and flaws,
And pays them back in kind. But most he hates, aye, more than all !
The faults he cannot find.
And so this afternoon the honorable member sought to saddle the Labour Party with two particular faults, which he, in hisinmost soul, must know do not, at any rate, lie at my door. If the honorable member now repudiates them utterly, it will be a gentlemanly act on his part. During thewhole course of his remarks he must haveknown that the particular fault with which he sought to charge the Labour Party isnot one which can be laid at their door.
– What was that?
– The honorable member will hear in a moment. In the attempt to do the party harm, the honorablemember quoted, not from its printed programme, nor from the published utteranceof any member, but from an article in theWorker, a newspaper published in Sydney. He spoke of it as the organ of the Labour Party, though, as he is well aware, it isnot our organ.
– The association whichpays for the production of that newspaper insists that all its members shall vote foi Labour candidates. The paper is run by the Australian Workers’ Union.
– The honorable member is scarcely correct. There are members of the union who do not vote for Labour candidates, and, so far as my memory serves, there is nothing in its ruleswhich requires them to do so.
– That has been so withinthe last year, the State Arbitration Court having compelled the union to amend itsrules.
– Then the honorable member must admit that his interjection was wrong, and that he sought to convey a wrong impression. No doubt he would” have liked it to remain unqualified in Hansard, to be used later, perhaps, in the constituencies, when no one could reply to* him.
– My statement, though aloose one, was infinitely nearer the truth than is that of the honorable member.
– The honorable member for Parramatta is able to care for himself better than the honorable member can take care of him. I shall deal only with the remarks of the honorable member for Parramatta, who is exceptionally qualified to look after himself in political debate, and shall reply only to interjections which are relevant, and by which it is not sought to convey a wrong impression. The honorable member for Parramatta incorrectly - it would not be parliamentary for me to add knowingly - spoke of the Worker as the organ of the Labour Party. It is not the organ of our party.
– Then I shall say that it is the organ of the workers, whom Labour members are popularly supposed to represent.
– That is not a correct statement. It may be, and I believe is, a newspaper which belongs to a section of the workers, but it is not the organ of the workers. Despite his ability, which is of no mean character, the honorable member must admit that he was in error in terming it the organ of the Labour Party.
– I am glad to know that the Labour Party repudiates these organs.
– That is another interjection calculated to convey a wrong impression. I have stated that I am speaking for, not the party, but myself, and I have said merely that the Worker is not the organ of the Labour Party. There has been no repudiation. I am glad to have the honorable member’s admission that his -opening remarks were incorrect. It may reasonably be supposed that his arguments, having been based on incorrect premises, must fall to the ground. The foundation being unstable, the superstructure, when touched by the zephyr breath of truth, must fall.
– I hope that the honorable member is a better logician than he is now showing himself to be.
– I have been learning in Parliament for many years, and would therefore be pleased to hear where my logic is at fault. It has, at any rate, obtained from the honorable member, not merely a modification, but the repudiation of his utterance, and has pulled the foundations from under the elaborate structure which he raised.
– Not at all. The honorable member has not touched my position.
– The honorable member quoted from an article in the Worker, a special article, which does not necessarily commit the newspaper to the doctrines therein contained.
– In a previous issue the editor disclaims any responsibility for the opinions expressed, and says that he is opening his columns to these articles to give an opportunity for public discussion.
– Is that all that he says ? The honorable member knows better.
– I have not read the previous issue; but there is nothing in the article justifying the conclusion of the honorable member for Parramatta that it is published with editorial approval, and sets forth the doctrines of the Labour Party. He quoted only selected sentences from that article- He asserted that the members of his party had been charged with standing behind the doctrines of Malthus and other monstrosities which have been put forward at various times to injure political parties, and proceeded to hit back at the Labour Party by charging it with subscribing to what he properly called these “ ghoulish and devilish doctrines.” He said that the writer of this article subscribed to those doctrines, that he is a Labourite, that he was writing on behalf of the Labour Party, and that, consequently, every member of the Labour Party was bound by what he said. Nothing could be meaner than this attempt to saddle me, a member of the party, with the doctrines which the honorable member described in such appropriate terms. But not one of his statements referring to the Labour Party’s aims as inimical to the interests of the community will bear investigation. That is not the worst. The members of the party can state here their own views, if they feel disposed to do so; but the writer of this article cannot. I charge the honorable member with quoting only passages from the article, for purposes which he has not made public. His attempt to saddle tha editor with the doctrines and teachings of the article was deliberate; but I have now been furnished with a copy of the issue of the 8th October, in which, in an explanatory note, the editor says -
The Worker has arranged for the early publication of a series of articles upon Australian Socialism. They are written by a keen student of social problems, who brings to his task a well-trained mind, and independent judgment.
The members of the Labour Party have been charged with not being independent, so that, on the showing of the honorable member, the writer cannot be one of them.
– If they are not independent, they will soon become so, at the rate they are going on. They are doing very well.
– They are growing rich every day.
– It may be that, in the mind of the honorable member for Wentworth, independence is possible only where there is an accumulation of riches.
– I believe that humour is impossible in the mind of the honorable member.
– I assure the honorable member that independence is not incompatible with poverty, and does not necessarily run in double harness with riches. The editor distinctly says -
The Worker will not indorse every line of the articles.
– There is nothing very substantial about that.
– It proves conclusively that the honorable member was incorrect.
– I do not think so.
– The honorable member deliberately charged the editor of the Worker with approving of these articles. He said that they were put forward with editorial approval, and committed, not merely the Worker, but the Labour Party. There is no need to read further. I have clearly proved that the statement which the honorable member made was built upon a foundation that will not bear much investigation. And to what, after all, does his argument amount? The honorable member attempted to saddle me, as a Labour member, and Labour members in general, with subscribing to what he called the “ devilish doctrines “ of Malthus.
– When we distinctly repudiated the inference that he sought to draw, the honorable member changed his ground with a rapidity that almost deceived, and said that, at any rate, the writer of this article subscribed to those doctrines.
– I did not think that the honorable member would repudiate the Worker.
– The honorable member cannot side-slip by saving that I am repudiating the Worker. He has got himself, as it were, into a horrible mess by wrongly quoting an article ; by making statements which he has now to admit are incorrect, and which he must repudiate if he has left in him a vestige of those qualities that would deter almost all men from making such assertions.
– I repudiate, as being absolutely incorrect, what the honorable member is saying.
– The honorable member asserted that the writer of this article in the Worker, at all events, subscribed to those doctrines, and he read from the article an extract relating to Japan, which I shall also read, so that honorable members may follow the further Quotation I intend to make. The portion of the article read by the honorable member was as follows : -
The Japanese have multiplied to such an extent that the population has virtually outgrown the means of support, hence there is a natural demand or necessity for some check to the growth of population.
He did not go any further. It was not necessary to read the remainder of the paragraph.
– That is not all that I read.
– The honorable member, for a reason that has my approval, deliberately refrained from reading the closing words of the paragraph. But, having read these lines, he charged the writer of the article with subscribing to a certain doctrine. Having a copy of the paper before me at the time, I challenged him with not having deduced the right inference from the particular portion of the article that he quoted. In the next paragraph but one, the writer himself refers to that doctrine as an immoral one. Could anything show more clearly that the writer himself does not subscribe to it? Could anything be more wicked, under the circumstances, than the attempt of the honorable member for Parramatta to charge the writer - having failed in a similar attack on the Labour Party - with subscribing to a doctrine which in this very article he repudiates as immoral ? The writer goes even further, and makes, with evident approval, two quotations from Darwin, which show conclusively, if further proof is necessary, that the honorable member for Parramatta went out of his way to do injury in a direction where he ought to be seeking to do good. This is what the writer quotes from Darwin, with the greatest possible approval - “ Looking to future generations,” says Darwin, “ there is no cause to fear that the social instincts will grow weaker, and we may expect that virtuous habits will grow stronger, becoming fixed by inheritance. In this case the struggle between our higher and lower impulses will be less severe and virtue will be triumphant.”
Could there be a clearer repudiation of the methods adopted by the honorable member ? Could there be a more convincing proof that he has quoted in a wholly wrong sense - if I may not use a harsher term - in an attempt to do injury where, as a matter of fact, no injury ought to be done? Then the writer goes on to use a still stronger quotation from Darwin -
The moral sense, perhaps, forms the best and highest distinction between man and the lower animals; but I need say nothing under this head, as I have so lately endeavoured to show that the social instincts are the prime principle of man’s moral constitution, which, with the aid of active intellectual faculties, and the effects of habit, naturally lead to the golden rule - as ye would that men should do to you .do ye to them likewise - and this lies at the foundation of morality.
And yet the honorable member for Parramatta quoted this article in an effort to do that which does not reflect much credit on him. I am sure that in his quiet moments, when he is free from the heat o£ debate, the honorable member will regret having made such a quotation, because of a desire to place on record- in Hansard something which persons who generally vote on his side of politics mav use at their various conferences or little tea meetings - something that he is far too clever to use himself - to do still greater injury to a section of the community which, after all, is merely trying tq do what he claims to be doing - to uplift the general standard of humanity.
– A very nice subject for a tea party.
– When the honorable member’s giant intellect sheds its effulgent rays of approval on my remarks I cannot be otherwise than happy.
– The honorable member is too conceited to shed anything but feathers.
– The honorable member ought not to be angry, even if I have succeeded in plucking a few peacock’s feathers out of his political tail. I do not know that I need trouble honorable members with any further remarks on this subject. It seemed to me, however, that some reply should be made to the statements made by the honorable member for Parramatta. The honorable member also charged the Labour Party with standing behind a policy that was inimical to the interests of Australia. It is very easy to make such a general statement, but it is not easy to build it up by substantial facts. The Labour Party have, at all events, a policy that does not contain any of the fearful doctrines that the honorable member alleges it does include.
– I allege nothing of the kind, and it is most unfair for the honorable member to continue to repeat such an assertion.
– Our policy will bear investigation, lt will stand open debate, and its beauty, character, and value is shown in the fact that the honorable member, in a specific attempt to do injury to it, utterly failed to seize upon any statement made by a member of the Labour Party, or in the printed and public programme of the party, that would assist him. He sought to injure the party b urging against us a belief in doctrines to which we do not subscribe, and in attributing to us sentiments that we have repudiated time after time.
– By way of personal explanation I should like to say that the honorable member stopped quoting in the middle of a sentence.
– That is incorrect.
– The honorable member, for twenty minutes, has been chasing a bogy ; he certainly has not touched the statement that I’ actually made. I said that I believed that the statement of the writer of the article entitled, “The Rising Tide,” had the approval of the editor of the Worker. I was then speaking from memory, and do not wish to be held, any more than would my honorable friend, to every word that I uttered when speaking in such circumstances. I quoted a sentence only part of which was read by the honorable member for Adelaide. I now have the foreword to which I referred -
The Worker has arranged for the early publication of a series of articles upon Australian Socialism. They are written by a keen student of social problems, who brings to his task a well-trained mind and independent judgment. The Worker will not indorse every line of the articles, but prints them as a valuable addition to the scanty literature of Australian Socialism.
If that does not show a general approval of the article I should like to know what does.
– I read that.
– The honorable member stopped in the middle of a sentence.
– I leave Hansard to prove what I did quote.
– Whatever I said that conflicts with that statement I withdraw. Having regard to that foreword, and to the fact that he has given over the columns of his paper in this way to the discussion of the subject, and boomed it throughout Australia, I still think that I am justified in saying that the editor of the Worker gives a general approval to these articles. The honorable member accused me of misrepresenting the writer, and said that he quoted the views of Malthus, and then expressed his disapproval of them. This is what the writer says -
We see then how the law of natural selection applies as absolutely to the mental qualities of man as to his bodily development. We see that man’s moral character is inspired by natural demand and necessity. For this reason it is clear that there can be no absolute morality.
These are the writer’s own statements. They do not consist of a quotation made by him-
The European believes in monogamy and chastity in women, because it is by the aid of these propensities that our race has been enabled to multiply and conquer the earth; the sexes are so evenly divided that the nation which Abandons these practices would retard its own growth. The Japanese have multiplied to such an extent that the population has virtually outgrown the means of support. . .
Those are the statements of that writer. Does the honorable member mean to impute that the writer makes them in cold blood, and immediately afterwards repudiates them ?
– He is dealing with what he believes to be a fact.He does not necessarily subscribe to the conditions which produce that fact.
– He said that it is a fact in Japan. I do not believe it to be a fact in Japan, or anywhere else. That is all I meant to indicate by my quotations. I said that I did not subscribe to the doctrine, and that I did not believe that in Japan, or any other part of the world, population had overtaken the means of subsistence. What the honorable member has been girding at all this time I do not know.
.- Although we are not all in agreement as to the details of the Budget, we might cordially congratulate the Parliament and people of Australia upon the great advances that have been made during the period of Federation. While it is our duty to criticise adversely any signs of extravagance or unjustifiable expenditure, we, as the Federal Parliament, should take every available opportunity to place the true facts before the people, and to express our faith in our Federation. The revenue, as disclosed by the Budget, has increased from £11,296,985, in 1901, to £15,015,789, in 1908. That is a very substantial increase. The Customs and Excise revenue has risen from £8,894,000, in 1901, to £11,645,000, in 1908. Of the total increase of revenue the Post and Telegraph Department is responsible for nearly £1,000,000. Last year the increase in Customs revenue was £2,013,000, or nearly £1,000,000 over the estimate. The expenditure on the Post and Telegraph Department, in 1907-8, was , £3,297,000, or slightly above the revenue, but we must deduct £429,000 set apart for new works and buildings. Even including that amount, the total loss on the Department last year would not come to more than the extra sum paid to the railways for the carriage of mails. A business department of such rapid growth and great magnitude, that can earn a profit of over £400,000 in one year, should not be allowed by this Parliament to retrograde, and certainly should not be starved in the matter of new postal services or the provision of suitable buildings for the conduct of its business throughout the Commonwealth. While the increase of expenditure has been great, the earnings have also been great. In 1901 the total expenditure of the Commonwealth was £3,733,000. In 1908 it was £6,158,000. That shows an increase in Commonwealth expenditure of £2,425,000, most of which is accounted for by an increase of nearly £1,000,000 in the expenditure of the Post and Telegraph Department, and of £500,000 on defence, the latter sum including £250,000 placed to the Harbors Defence Trust Fund. In those two items there is an increase of expenditure of £1,500,000. The sugar bounty accounts for an increase of expenditure of nearly £600,000. Consequently those three items alone account for an increased expenditure of £2,100,000 out of the total increase of £2,425,000. The other increases are mainly £30,000 for External Affairs, and that Department has increased its administrative expenditure on account of Papua; £32,000 for the Attorney-General’s Department, which covers the High Court; and £48,000 for Home Affairs, which is largely the result of the supervision of the erection of new buildings. Consequently the whole of the new expenditure that should be debited to the Commonwealth does not amount at the outside to more than £300,000, or about the sum that was put down as the cost of Federation during the Convention debates. Last year, notwithstanding the passage of the Surplus Revenue Bill, the States received £331,000 more than the three-fourths of the Customs and Excise revenue to which they were entitled. This made a total of £6,058,000 paid to the States in excess of their threefourths share. The Treasurer’s estimate of revenue for the present financial year is £14,577,000, as against an actual revenue of £15,015,000 last year, or an estimated reduction of £438,000. The Treasurer anticipates a decrease of £600,000 in the Customs and Excise revenue. On whether the Treasurer’s estimate of revenue will be exceeded or not will depend any extra amount to be set apart for ‘new services, particularly in the Post and Telegraph Department. I do not think that the big reduction anticipated in the Customs and Excise revenue will take place. With our increasing consumption, and a population which I hope to see growing, our revenue from that source is not likely to diminish. By the old Victorian Tariff, under which Only about one-third of the items were dutiable, a Customs revenue of about £2 per head was collected. The present Federal Tariff makes about two-thirds of the items dutiable, and yet we anticipate an increase of only about 12s. 6d. per head. Consequently, I hardly think that there will be a very large reduction in Customs and Excise revenue in the future. Whilst we are making such rapid progress In the expansion of our Commonwealth affairs, a total increase of £354,000 for all services, such as is proposed this year, seems altogether inadequate. I can see no reasonable possibility, under present circumstances, of the additional money being derived in order to’ provide the absolutely necessary new services out of revenue, unless there is to be a large increase on the Treasurer’s estimate. The only solution is for the Commonwealth Parliament to enter the market and borrow the money. According to estimates made by Mr. Hesketh, the Chief Electrical Engineer, we require £700,000 or £800,000 straight away to bring the postal and telephonic services reasonably near the requirements of the public. A very large proportion of that would be expended in reproductive works. I do not propose that we should enter the money market and raise short-dated loans for the money to be expended on ordinary services. The whole of it should be devoted to reproductive works in the shape of post-office buildings, and telephonic connexions which are known to be thoroughly sound and profitable business investments. The Treasurer, in delivering his Budget, mentioned that Sir George Turner’s proposal in 1902 to float a loan of £500,000 to carry out certain works was repudiated by Parliament. But there is no parallel between the conditions of 1.902 and those of the present day. At that time large sums of money were being handed back out of the Commonwealth’s quarter of the Customs and Excise revenue to the States, and to have raised a loan in those circumstances would have been unsound financing. But under present conditions we have reached the limit in expenditure of our one-fourth, so that the need for a loan for reproductive purposes exists now where it did not exist then. I can quite understand the hesitation of the Government to bring down a proposal to borrow sufficient money to bring the postal and telephonic services up to date, because the policy of the Labour Party is against borrowing. That party advocate the imposition of a land tax to raise all the revenue required for the Commonwealth for several years to come. They are quite within their rights in advocating that policy.
– The honorable member must not forget that the Treasurer subscribes to it.
– We propose a land tax, not for the purpose of raising revenue, but to promote land settlement. If it raises revenue it will not effect our purpose.
– Such a tax must, in the first instance, raise revenue, although I know that its ultimate object is a kind of confiscation of land - to dispossess people who hold it.
– Is it not rather to possess the people of the land ?
– It is, much in the same way as the burglar possesses himself of other people’s property. While the imposition of a land tax would raise revenue, I am satisfied that it would not have theulterior effect that its advocates anticipate. The imposition of a land tax sufficiently heavy to sweat down land values would, I admit, cause the owners of land to subdivide and sell it. But the result, according to experience in Victoria, is that the land does not become distributed amongst the class whom /the Labour Party are anxious to serve - those people who have no capital. The result is merely that large estates are cut up and distributed amongst a sort of middle class, consisting largely of those who are already farmers. There is only one straightforward, honest method of acquiring land for closer settlement; and that is for the Government to go into the open market, and purchase it at a reasonable value. The Government have power to provide for compulsory purchase.
– What Government?
– I am speaking of land taxation, which has been introduced into the discussion ; and I am opposing such taxation, because I regard it as immoral. It is, therefore, my duty to state how I think the land should be acquired honestly, no matter by which Parliament or Government the legislation is introduced.
– Is it not immoral for a few people to hold land which is necessary to the life of others?
– I quite agree that it is the duty of’ legislative bodies of Australia to endeavour to put people on the land, and they are quite at one in the belief that the Government is in the best position to achieve that end. The Government being a permanent institution, is able to extend terms and conditions which are impossible in the case of a private individual, who exists for only a lifetime.
– Some States have millions of acres of land unalienated.
– In my opinion the true principle of closer settlement is to place the people on good and fertile country ; and I can see no other agency except that of the Government who can settle the class of people we desire to see on the land.
– Would the honorable member allow further land to be alienated, or would he have it remain Crown land?
– I should make the land freehold to the settler. I believe in the old saying that, if we give a man a piece of freehold land in a desert, he will make it a garden, whereas if we give him a leasehold garden it will become a desert.
– What sort of freehold?
– I favour the principle of the Victorian Act which allows a man only one block, thus absolutely preventing any accumulation. “Under that Act a man cannot traffic with the land, seeing that there is the condition of perpetual residence. As an example of the “ padding “ by which we were cajoled we had that paragraph in the speech of the GovernorGeneral, which states that the Government have in view the establishment of an Agricultural Bureau, and the encouragement of immigration. I admit that some real attempt has been made to establish a very necessary Agricultural Bureau; and this is certainly a matter which should be taken in hand at an early date so that our productions may be sent to the Old Country bearing an Australian brand ; and, further, I hope that, simultaneously, there will be appointed a High Commissioner to see that due effect is. given to the institution.
– But the Government have left no money for an Agricultural Bureau or a High Commissioner.
– So I understand, although we have been promised the High Commissioner over and over again. The honorable member for Parramatta, in one of the ablest, most erudite and searching speeches I have had the privilege of listening to in this Chamber, has shown the absolute unreliability of the Treasurer’s estimate in regard ‘ito old-age pensions. On the Treasurer’s own figures, old-age pensions will this year cost, in New South Wales, about £[590,000.
– That includes invalid pensions.
– The Commonwealth Old-Age Pensions Act is very similar to (hat of New South Wales, only that the former is, perhaps, a little more liberal.
– In the Commonwealth Act, there are greater powers to prevent imposition.
– Those greater powers will not operate.
– They will operate, so far as I am concerned.
– According to the Commonwealth Statist, 40 per cent, of the people of New South Wales are eligible for old-age pensions, and over 30 per cent, receive them ; whereas in Victoria pensions are drawn by only 16 per cent., or 18 per cent, of those eligible.
– In New South Wales 40 per cent, of the people receive old-age pensions.
– Then, the Commonwealth Statist is wrong; and I can only say that I have appealed to the highest authority. However, assuming that the figures are correct, it is only reasonable to suppose that, if there are certain restrictions in the Commonwealth Act, the people passing over the borders, who have not te undergo the residence test, will more than make up for any little discrepancy as compared with the results of the New South Wales legislation. According to the Commonwealth Statist, the cost of old-age pensions will be. ,£1.580,000, and, until I am furnished figures, on an equally sound basis, I must accept that estimate. I should now like to refer to the Pacific Cable, on which there is a loss of £18,000 a year. The Treasurer has told us that negotiations are taking place in the Old Country as to the possibility of further popularizing this means of communication ; but he has not explained what those means are. I suppose, however, we shall have the information when we are discussing the details of the Estimates. Last night, there was circulated a paper dealing with the question of new protection. An amendment of the Constitution is proposed, in order that certain industries which enjoy protective ‘ duties may be brought under legislative control by the Commonwealth. I fail to see, however, any reason for laying this memorandum or paper before us at this particular stage in our history, unless, as usual, pressure has been brought to bear on the Government by the Labour Party. Section 128 of the Constitution provides -
This Constitution shall not be altered except in the following manner : -
The proposed law for the alteration thereof must be passed by an absolute majority of each House of the Parliament, and not less than two nor more than six months after its passage through both Houses the proposed law shall be submitted in each State to the electors qualified to vote for the election of members of the House of Representatives.
Of course, there might be some means of getting over the difficulty, in order that the question might be submitted at the next general election ; but; in view of. that section of the Constitution, where is the necessity for the introduction of the measure this session?
– Once the law is passed, the appeal can be made. We never can tell when there may be a general election.
– It seems as though we might expect the referendum to be taken during the recess,, presuming the measure passes both Houses ; but if that be the intention, we ought to be so informed.
– We may pass the measure up to a certain stage.
– Then, I suppose, that simply means that the measure has been introduced in order, as usual, to satisfy the pressure brought to bear by the Labour Party. If the new protection proposals are not to be submitted to the electors until the next general election, why have not the Government the backbone to say that it is a proposal which will be brought before us next session?
– The course taken by the Government is unprecedented.
– It is temporizing or befooling the members of the Labour Party, at any rate, it is deceiving the House. Of course, these little acts to stave off the evil day - those little baits held out to the Labour Party - we can readily understand, seeing that on the Labour Party the Government depend for their existence. In the course of this afternoon, the honorable member for Yarra made some reference to the valuations in connexion with the land tax. I should like to say, in justice to the municipalities, whom he attacked very virulently, that the valuations made have no relevance to legislation, either by the States or Federal Parliaments. The municipalities have the complete auton’omous power to make their own valuations ; and these they make only in order to raise sufficient revenue to enable them to meet their anticipated expenditure. They may either have a high valuation at a low rate, or a lew valuation at a high rate, so long as they raise sufficient revenue for their purposes. Under the circumstances the attack was uncalled for. I should like again to emphasize the need for a sufficient expenditure upon urgent and necessary improvements in the services of the Department of the Postmaster-General. The Government should provide money for this purpose, and should be careful to prevent its expenditure on any but sound reproductive works. I do not propose that money should be borrowed by means of loans at long date, like most of the State loans; it should be possible to raise it on short-dated Treasury bills, or, as suggested by the Cabinet Committee, by means of loans of a ten years’ currency. Instead of locking up money in trust -funds, and starving necessary services, the Government, professing as it does to represent the people - though, in truth, representing only a section of them - should bring forward proposals for assisting the rapid expansion of our commerce. Better telephonic, telegraphic, and postal communication is required, particularly in the country districts. The prosperity of the country is due chiefly to the efforts of our primary producers ; but these are now greatly hampered by the failure of the great Departments of State to keep pace with their growing requirements.
– Undoubtedly the finances of the Commonwealth are, and have been from the first, in a peculiar position. I am not one of those who say that in the past too much money has been returned to the States. It must be remembered that the financial position of the States differs greatly. The Tariff, in spite of everything said to the contrary, produces an immense revenue, with the effect that a State like New South Wales, which, prior to Federation, relied very little on the returns from Customs and Excise, now has an enormous surplus every year with the direct result that the State Government has reduced direct taxation and expended money lavishly in developmental works to the advantage of its people. Victoria, too, is in a similar position. But Tasmania receives about 60 per cent, less revenue from Customs and Excise than she raised prior to Federation. Whilst New South Wales, owing to the large return of Customs and Excise revenue, has been able to increase its expenditure, and to remit direct taxation, the Tasmanian Treasury has been so depleted that retrenchment of the Public Service has been necessary, and the increase of salaries quite out of the. question - though many of us would like to see the emoluments of, at any rate, the poorlypaid members of the service considerably increased - whilst many public works essential to settlement have been retarded.
– This state of things exists only in Tasmania and in Queensland.
– And, to some extent, in Western Australia.
– The Government is naturally desirous of helping the needy States, whose representatives cannot blameit for not having spent more money on the transferred Departments, thus still further impoverishing the State Treasuries. But the bookkeeping system should have been discontinued long ago. It was intended’ that at the end of five years Parliament should deal with the question of bookkeeping as it thought fit, and there will never be a true Federation so long as the system continues.
– The honorablemember contends that the revenue returns should be per capita to all the States ?
– Yes. The artificial barriers which divide the Statesshould be removed, so far as trade and commerce is concerned. The continuanceof the bookkeeping system is a great embarrassment to business men in their Customs transactions, and the time has comewhen this Parliament should deal with thematter in a Federal spirit. It may be replied that Tasmania would gain an advantage by the abolition of the bookkeeping system. That is so. But I think that the representatives of the larger States will agree to the abolition notwithstanding that, fact. Coming now to another matter, I consider that the proposed provision for old-age pensions will not be sufficient. I have again gone through the report presented in 1906 by the Royal Commissionwhich inquired into the question. Itsmembers, after visiting the capitals of all the States, and taking all the evidencethey could obtain, came to the conclusionthat £1,500,000 would be necessary to pav old-age pensions at the rate of 10s. a week, and invalid pensions to persons over theage of sixty. They based this estimate on the expenditure of New South Waleswhere, at the time they made their report, there were 22,000 persons in receipt of pensions, totalling £508,000. In Victoria, where the rate of pension was then 8s. per week, 11,452 persons were receiving an aggregate amount of £205,000.
– During the past twelve months the Victorian rate has beenincreased to 10s., and, according to the last returns, the State expenditure is £260,000- per annum.
– The New South Wales system is practically the same asthat provided for in the Commonwealth’
Act. I am aware that our Act contains some restrictions.
– Very strong ones.
– Some of them are right and proper, and I assisted the Government to retain them.
– Our Act does not contain so many restrictions as that of New South Wales ; it is much more liberal.
– One restriction which covers a wide ground, and which I regard as a proper one, is that requiring that the recipient shall be of fairly good character.
– That restriction is much weaker than a similar provision in the New South Wales Act.
– In New Zealand t here are 11,770 persons in receipt of pen- sions at the rate of10s. per week, totall ing £325,000 per annum. I draw at- t ention to the great difference between the number of the recipients in New South Wales and New Zea- l and and that of the Victorian recipients. The Victorian Legislature passed an unending Bill by which the number of re- cipients of old-age pensions was reduced by between 2,000 and 3,000. The restrictions of that Act are not to be found in the Commonwealth Statute. We also decided, and very properly I think, that under the Commonwealth system, unlike that in operation in Victoria, the right of the incapable poor to receive a pension should not be governed merely by the question of age. This Parliament deliberately affirmed the principle that any person physically incapacitated from earning his daily bread should be entitled, whatever his age might be, to receive a pension of 10s. per week. In these circumstances I am confident that the majority of honorable members believe that the provision of £1,100,000 made by the Treasurer for invalid and old-age pensions will prove insufficient, and I fail to understand why so many honorable members voted a few evenings since against a motion in. which they were asked to declare that it was inadequate. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie, who did not speak to that motion, has said during the course of this debate that he was confident that the provision made by the Treasurer was inadequate, but he voted against the motion believing that to vote for it might be to embarrass the Government. We all know how sensitive is. the honorable member in his desire not to embarrass the Ministry. I cannot think that that was the real reason for his voting against the motion. If, as I believe, he and others voted against it because of a desire that a Federal land tax should be imposed in order to make good the deficiency, I would point out to them that it would be little short of a calamity to attach to the proposal to pay old-age pensions such a fightable proposal as is one for the imposition of a Commonwealth land tax.
Sitting suspended from 6.28 to 7.45 p.m.
– When the House adjourned for dinner, I was expressing the hope that we should not make what might be described as a political football of the helpless and infirm in the community. No greater calamity could happen to the great principle of old-age pensions, which has been properly regarded as a non-party question in this House, than that it should be dragged into the arena of party warfare by being tacked on to a proposal for the imposition of a Federal land tax.
– Who desires to do that?
– I am expressing the hope that no attempt of that kind will be made. Let the question of the imposition of a Federal land tax be dealt with on its merits. Nothing can now be gained by tacking on to any party programme the proposal for a Commonwealth system of old-age pensions. Turning to another subject, I do not think that this House or the Commonwealth is satisfied with the proposals made by the Government with regard to the transferred properties. We know now that their value is something like £9,000,000, and that, taking the rate of interest at 4 per cent., the States will have paid during ten years over £3,500,000 by way of interest upon them by the time that a settlement is arrived at. It is true that we have returned to the States large sums in excess of the three-fourths of Customs and Excise revenue to which they are entitled.
– We have paid them over £6,000,000 that they ought not to have received.
– I grant that we have returned to the States a large surplus of . their own money ; but my contention is that the question of the transferred properties should have been dealt with when we had a large surplus, and were prepared to do business with the
States on much better terms than we can offer now. The highest tribunal in the land has held the Surplus Revenue Act to be constitutional, and under it the Commonwealth will only pay to the States their 75 per cent. of the Customs and Excise revenue.
– We have never had a surplus. It has been impossible for the Commonwealth to have one.
– Quite so; but I would point out that under the Surplus Revenue Act surplus revenue that we formerly returned to the States will now be paid into trust funds. Since we have determined to return to the States only their three-fourths of Customs and Excise revenue, they can very properly demand that we shall deal promptly with the question of the transferred properties. Nothing can be gained by postponing again and again the settlement of a question which must become more acute as time goes on. Further delay must result in conflict, since the States themselves are anxious for a settlement. They have handed over to the Commonwealth properties on which they have been paying interest ever since we assumed control of them, and a settlement should have been arrived at long since. I am sure that this House will not accept the proposal of the Treasurer to pay the States out of their own money for the transferred properties. We took them over on the understanding that we should pay for them, and we should carry out our part of the agreement. There is another agreement, that ought to have been dealt with many months ago. The Prime Minister, acting on behalf of the Commonwealth, nearly two years ago entered into a contract with the Premier of South Australia for the transfer of the Northern Territory. South Australia has carried out her part of the bargain. The State Legislature has passed a Bill confirming the contract, but no effort has been made by the Prime Minister to induce this House to deal with it. Whilst we are doing nothing, and still holding on to the agreement, the Northern Territory is becoming more and more a noman’s land. In 1906, when negotiations were proceeding for the transfer of the territory to the Federation, it had a population of 1,313 whites, and 2,387 aliens. At the Medical Congress held last week, however, Dr. Norris, in the course of a very thoughtful paper on this very question, stated that the white population of the Northern Territory now consists of 680 males and 50 females. We have there an area of 325,000,000 acres, and, as the result of fifty years of settlement, a white population of only 730. We know that the settlement of the Territory has been too great a work for South Australia, and if the Prime Minister is not prepared to ask this Parliament to accept the agreement made with that State, it is only fair that the Government of South Australia should be so advised without further delay, so that it may take other measures for peopling that vast area.
– I have already said that I hope within a fortnight to submit the agreement to the House.
– I am glad to hear that. It is time that we dealt with the question. It brings us face to face with a subject of vital importance to the Commonwealth, and that is the control and settlement of tropical Australia. I am one of those who believe that the Commonwealth Parliament adopted a proper policy when it determined to make, if it were possible to do so, Australia a white man’s country. We had the effects of the introduction of black labour into the United States fresh in our minds. We know that there are 10,000,000 negroes in the United States to-day, or double the whole population of Australia. We read of scenes of the utmost atrocity arising from the presence of that alien race. It matters not whether the whites or the blacks are the instigators, it is almost impossible to read the papers that come by any mail without being shocked by the atrocities arising from the racial war that is going on in what is known as the black belt of America. With these facts staring us in the face it was our bounden duty to make an earnest endeavour to make Australia a white man’s country, but, in the eloquent language of the Prime Minister, a White Australia must not be considerd synonymous with an empty Australia. Yet up to the present, although we have deported the kanakas, the Federal Government have done nothing to remove from Australia the stigma that practically four-fifths of its area is empty.
– And the Northern Territory will continue to be empty for many years to come.
– Sometimes we make rather a bugbear of the Northern Territory, and throw upon South Australia in that regard a reproach which is not altogether deserved. Four-fifths of Western Australia is in almost the same position as the Northern Territory. The settlement of the great State of Queensland is practically confined to one little corner of it so far as regards what in Queensland would be called closer settlement. The electorates of Brisbane, Oxley, “Moreton, and Wide Bay cover about one-fifteenth of the State. Omitting Capricornia, the electorates of Kennedy, Maranoa, and Herbert cover practically seven-eighths of the entire area of Queensland. Yet we reproach South Australia for having done nothing to settle the Northern Territory, while four-fifths of Australia is only to a slightly less extent unpopulated. Even in New South Wales the electorates of Gwydir, Calare, Darling, Barrier, and Riverina comprise about three-fourths of the entire State, so that even in the Mother State the greater portion of the population is confined to the sea coast. The great question before Australia is what we are to do with the tropical country. This is not a new problem. One has only to read the history of the settlement of tropical countries in all parts >of the world to find that no European nation, not even Great Britain, has attempted to deal with the question as Australia proposes to deal with it. We are starting out on altogether new lines in endeavouring to make a tropical country a white man’s country, surrounded as we are by coloured people. It is not creditable to us as a Commonwealth Parliament that up to the present we have absolutely shirked the great question of dealing with tropical Australia. We made a start in connexion with the sugar industry ; but that will never settle any great portion of Australia, because we have almost reached the limit of our sugar production. I do not mean that we have reached the limit of Queensland’s capacity to produce sugar, for she could produce enough to supply the world ; but we find it imperative now to impose a duty of £6 per ton in order to keep the Australian market for Australian sugar. The moment the production of -Queensland sugar reaches the limit of Australian consumption, the increase of production must cease. It is therefore idle to look to the sugar industry for the solution of the great problem of the settlement of our tropical area by white labour. With those questions before us and the financial problem facing us like a brick wall, we have a right to complain that the time of Parliament is being taken up by matters which could very well stand over until these greater and more national subjects have been dealt with. What has Australia done inregard to Papua or the New Hebrides? We hear a great deal of the desire to strengthen Australian relations in the Pacific, but in the whole history of British settlement there is nothing more pathetic or more disgraceful than the manner in which Australia has practically driven the New Hebrides and other Pacific settlements away from all social and trading intercourse and sympathy with herself. One canread how splendidly loyal the Islanders have been towards the British and Australian connexion, when their every directand pecuniary interest lay in throwing in their lot with the French settlers and the French Government, who give them enormously greater facilities for trade than does Australia. Whilst we talk a great deal about extending our connexion and influence in the Pacific, we are by our trade and commerce barriers - our Tariff - practically prohibiting all trade between us and the Pacific Islanders. Australia will never secure the sympathy and co-operation of the Islands outside her own territorial* limits until she is prepared to treat their settlers as brothers in the Pacific Ocean, and to make them part and parcel of her community. It is time the external affairs policy of the Government assumed practical importance. The Prime Minister has made statement after statement in the House to the effect that his one great object was to populate this great continent with white people, but not one shilling is. voted to give effect to that policy. The necessity for the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth, in order to make a start towards the solution of the problem of white settlement in the tropics, has frequently been urged on us, but so far it has all ended in talk. There is nothing more deplorable in the whole history of British settlement than the present condition of affairs, not only in the Northern Territory, but in the whole of the northern provinces of Australia. There comes a time when an individual has to show to the rulers of his country that he is effectively occupying his possessions, especially his lands. That which applies to the individual may very well be made applicable to nations. The time is very near when Australia will have to give an account of her stewardship, and to show the world, as other countries have had to do, that she is effectively occupying her tropical territory. If she cannot do that she will be told that she must not shut out other people. That happened in the case of tropical Africa, which was divided amongst the nations of Europe because it could not be shown that it was effectively occupied. Can any one say thatwe are effectively occupying the Northern Territory with a population of about 730 whites on an area of 325,000,000 acres? Even across the border in Western Australia the same thing applies in practically the same degree, and is true also of Northern Queensland. Whilst Australia has declared against alien immigration - and with that declaration I agree - we are doing nothing to make Australia a white man’s country with proper white settlement. It is high time that we gave this matter our serious and earnest consideration. So far as my information goes the office of Minister of External Affairs has been more neglected than any other in the Commonwealth. All the great matters which affect the very nationhood of Australia have not received the slightest attention from this Parliament. In the control of Papua, the trade of the New Hebrides, and other important directions, no attempt has been made to make the office of External Affairs a live administrative office for Australia. Despite the fact that the House, by a deliberate vote the other night, declared that the Commonwealth finances are satisfactory, I do not think that the Australian community regards them as such. If we are in earnest as to the purchase of the Northern Territory, we are face to face with an enormous expenditure in that direction. If we are in earnest in our defence scheme we must provide for increased expenditure there. If there is any earnestness in our immigration scheme; if we are to populate Australia and to give the question of white settlement in the tropics a fair and serious trial, we must be preparedto spend money on it ; but not a shilling is provided in the Estimates to meet those demands. During this debate, as during many others in this House, justice has not been done to those who did the great work of settlement in Australia in the pre-Federation days. There were enormous difficulties in the way of our earlier settlers, separated as this continent was by 12,000 miles from the Old Country, with inefficient means of transit. In some of the States settlement was begun under very unfavorable circumstances, yet the development has been marvellous. When we carp at the States Governments and charge them with unfairness and incapa city it is only fair to remember the enormous work of development done by them in pre-Federation days. And at what cost? We often hear it said that the States have plunged Australia over head and ears in debt. The Government Statist of Tasmania, to whom I appealed for confirmation of my figures, states that the total receipts from works constructed out of loans amount to £16,943,000 per annum, and the net cost to the people of Australia for the whole of the Australian borrowing is only 6s. 6d. per head. That is the result according to Mr. Johnston. But the honorable member for North Sydney, who has given to this matter, as he does to all matters that he takes up, the closest and most careful consideration, arrives at an even more satisfactory result from an Australian stand-point. He estimates that it costs the people of Australia to-day under1s. per head per annum for the whole of our enormous national debt. The earnings from the works for which the money was borrowed practically pay the whole of the interest on the debt. In New South Wales and Victoria the railways are an asset, and we know that there is not one State in the Union which could not sell its railways for the whole, or more than the whole, of its national debt. It will be seen, therefore, that the old pioneers, who carried out work from which we are receiving such benefit, did not do badly. It would be well, indeed, for the Commonwealth Parliament, if, after fifty years, it could be said that every penny spent or borrowed was returning to the Commonwealth 20s. in the £1, andthat there remained a commercial asset which could be sold for as much as or more than the total national debt.
.- It was brought home to me this afternoon that, perhaps, the reporting of our debates would be much enhanced in value to the outside public if, by some scientific discovery, there could be reproduced side by side with the written words, the attitudes and facial expression of honorable members. I listened carefully to the very clever and interesting address of the honorable member for Adelaide. But I fancy that, if those who read H ansard could have seen that honorable member’s obvious satisfaction at the success of certain phrases, and at the ability with which he turned quotations to advantage, they would more or less discount, as, I take it, the Committee did, that speech, clever as it was. Inasmuch, however, as
Hansard is not given the unique opportunity that honorable members have of judging the sincerity of a speech, it is only right to say that the quotations he made to prove that the honorable member for Parramatta had not approached the subject in an honest and straightforward way, did not help his case for a moment. The honorable member for Parramatta, it will be remembered, said that he did not attempt to fix on the Labour Party - nor do I - the sentiments or policy expressed in the quotation ; he merely pointed out that in the last issue of the Sydney Worker, which is described as the Labour organ, there appeared a signed article which practically indorsed Malthusianism. The honorable member for Adelaide was able to read one sentence, which he certainly led us to believe referred to that quoted by the honorable member for Parramatta. The sentence quoted by the honorable member for Adelaide was this -
An immoral custom can also, by being practised by a family or a nation, become hereditary.
Honorable members who read the article will see, however, that that refers to something quite different from the matter dealt with in the quotation read by the honorable member for Parramatta. Immediately following the sentence quoted by the honorable member for Adelaide there is this -
The Indian Thug considered it a moral duty to strangle and rob the lonely traveller.
That has nothing whatever to do with those sentences which betrayed a Malthusian tendency, and to which the honorable member for Parramatta referred, and said we ought all to deplore.
– If the honorable member reads a little further, he will find that the writer approves of Darwin’s position, which is contrary to that of Malthus.
– I have only had this paper in my hands for a few moments, and have had time to read merely the paragraphs immediately in contest.
– Why should the Labour Party, or even the writer, be charged with holding these views?
– The honorable member will recollect that neither the honorable member for Parramatta nor myself charge the Labour Party with holding such views.
– Where is the point, then ?
– My point was to re- .pudiate statements made against honorable members on this side.
– I understood the honorable member for Parramatta to express thedoubt and difficulty there are in knowing what the Labour Party and the Labour movement really mean in Australia. That honorable member did not make a chargeagainst the Labour Party, but the LabourParty do charge other people with Malthusianism.
– The honorablemember for Kalgoorlie quoted Malthusianism on Friday, and inferred that that was what we believed in.
– The honorable member for Kalgoorlie quoted us as disciples of ‘ Malthus, and the honorable member for Parramatta merely sought to show that Labour people of importance - because, I suppose, a writer must be of importanceto have pages at his disposal - held similar views.
– We are bound by our platform only, and not by these writings.
– But our difficulty is to find out exactly what the Labour platform means. I should like to direct attention to a motion which has been submitted by the honorable member for Coolgardie, tothe effect - I have not the exact words - that, inasmuch as an army, or defence forces generally, conduce to the security of” property, a tax to meet the cost should belevied on property in all its forms.
– The honorable member is free to do what he likes.
– And the members df. theLabour Party will support him to a man !
– A land tax is one of the planks of the Labour Party’s platform; they say that the cost of defence should be defrayed by means of such a tax.
– I was not aware of that fact.
– It is quite true.
– I presume that the Labour Party recognise that defence meansdefence of property, as well as of the homesand the people - otherwise the proposal would have no equity. I listened to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, and’ other honorable members, in order to get light and leading, and I find that property is to be defended by a citizen defence force. Then I turn to the Brisbane Worker, theLabour organ- that very able Labour Socialist paper which is financed by the- union, which, on the authority of the honorable member for Maranoa, returned five members to this House in the second Parliament, and I find -
It is not for the defence of capitalistic property and institutions that we advocate an armed citizenry. We would not fire a pop-gun to save them. It is for the defence of the co-operative Commonwealth to see clearly ahead of us. The gun must be ready at home, if needs be, to second the resolution carried at tlie ballot-box, “ That the people do now take possession of their own.”
– That is reviving the French Revolution !
– It is a revolutionary project. On the one side we are told by a distinguished member of the Labour Party, and, inferentially, by the Labour Party itself, that defence, for the major part, is a project for the defence of property ; while, on the other hand, we have a French, communistic proposal to arm their people in order to get what they can by force, if not by argument. I find the utmost difficulty iri interpreting the real intentions of ray friends in the Labour corner.
– The editor of that paper is free to write what he likes, without any responsibility to the Labour Party.
– Then I understand that the only responsibility he has is to that large organization of the Workers’ Union, which the honorable member for Maranoa said returned five members to this House in the second Parliament. That newspaper is financed bv the largest political labour union in Australia.
– The largest in the world.
– At any rate, one of the most influential labour organizations iri the world. The honorable member for Cook tries to make out that the editor is free to express his own opinion, without reference to’ the Labour Party.
– He is entirely free.
– Then he is in a happier position than that enjoyed by the honorable member ! Let me turn to another subject. One of the planks of the Labour Party is the nationalization of monopolies, and we have heard members of the party indignantly repudiating the idea that they were seeking to nationalize any industry belonging to private persons or corporations, without paying its solid worth.
– Hear, hear.
– We have that sentiment indorsed by the honorable member. The Labour Party complain bitterly of the number of monopolies in Australia. Am I right in saying that the honorable member for Cook declares the sugar trust to be a monopoly ?
– Yes. Mr. KELLY. - And also the tobacco industry ?
– Hear, hear.
– Here we have two monopolies, which, at the most conservative estimate, would cost ,£4,000,000 or £5,000,000 to nationalize, on the principle of purchase. Here we have the honorable member for Cook prepared to buy monopolies, because he said they could not steal them-
– Not because we could not steal them - that is a bit of the honorable member’s own.
– I do not speak in an offensive spirit. The honorable member is too lofty a character to wish to take what does not belong to the State, without paying full value.
– In that respect I am just as good, and no better, than honorable members opposite.
– Then, doubtless, the honorable member is prepared to adopt our view, and will pay for the monopolies in the coin of the realm. The honorable member has to carry out his pledge to the electors to nationalize these two industries, and. therefore, he has to consider how the necessary money has to be obtained. Then he is brought face to face with another pledge, that there is to be no Commonwealth borrowing. On the honorable member’s own showing he has either to humbug his electors in a transparent, and almost indecent way, or has to break the second pledge, and so outrage his own lofty spirit in a way I am sure would prove overwhelming to him. Here we have an excellent instance of the humbug of the Labour Socialist programme and platform. I do not go into these matters with any satisfaction ; it is one of the griefs of my life that I have occasionally to show up the inconsistencies of honorable members opposite.
– If it is a grief to the honorable member it is one of the amusements of our lives.
– I have noticed that honorable members opposite are never happy, unless they are throwing something ; and it is unfortunate for them that the missiles thev throw are equal in weight to the persons who throw them. One of the fads of honorable members on the Ministerial side has. for a long time, been immigration.
Members of the Labour Party have not spoken openly in favour of immigration, but recently they have denied that they are against the policy. I always find, however, that when there is a proposal to further immigration there is an outcry against it from the Government corner. I express my regret that the Government have not seen fit to put into tangible shape all their protestations in favour of immigration for the last five or six years. We have had perorations from the Prime Minister on the necessity of filling up the empty lands of Australia. We have had the honorable gentleman filling large halls in Sydney or Melbourne with addresses on the one subject of the imminent need for population ; and we were promised, I think, in reply to the honorable member for Flinders, that some definite step would be taken on these Estimates, in the event of the States not being able to co-operate, to carry out the policy. The statement was made in the closing hours of the session, and is, doubtless, recorded in Hansard.
– The matter has been recently revived in a letter addressed to the Premiers of the States, pointing out that, if we do not get their assistance, we shall be called upon to act without it.
– No doubt, the next stage will be the writing of another letter by the Prime Minister !
– We have advanced this far, that the reply from an important State shows a desire to meet us.
– The Parliament has been in existence for over seven years, during all which time it has been recognised that the most urgent need of Australia is more population ; but, notwithstanding the vast vocal energy displayed by the Prime Minister, we have not got further than the receipt of an indication from, one of the States that its Premier is prepared to cooperate with us ! We have not yet ascertained the opinions of the Governments of the other States, and have not the spirit to act ourselves in the interests of the people.
– The report of the last Conference with the Premiers indicates what we may expect from some of the States, if we do that.
– As regards land?
– As regards the immigrants who come out without their consent.
– No State Government can prevent a man from earning a livelihood in Australia, though it might refuse to place land at .the disposal of the Com monwealth Government for the benefit of agricultural immigrants.
Colonel Foxton. - Queensland is partly subsidizing a line of steamers to increase immigration.
– New South Wales has also done something in this regard, though not so much as I should like to see done.
– So far as the Government is concerned, while the spirit may be willing, the support is weak.
– Yes. Its trouble is that Labour members are interested only in stifling the question, and the Prime Minister cannot live without their support. The land difficulty, however, need not deter us. Only one in’ every ten of the immigrants, who enter Canada takes up land. We should do all we can to bring here, not petted capitalists, who are, apparently, the only immigrants whom the Labour Party would welcome, but men whose capital is the best the citizen can possess - good brains and healthy bodies. The Prime Minister has had every opportunity to provide for the bringing out of such men ; but he shelters himself behind the miserable subterfuge that the States will not co-operate with the Commonwealth, in this matter.
– When in Brisbane, I saw a Scotchman who was in Sydney for a month without finding work, and had been unemployed in Brisbane for a fortnight. He was willing to do any kind of labour.
– He could not have looked very hard for work in Queensland “without finding it.
– In every country a percentage of the population is unemployed. That always will be so. But the industrial conditions of Australia are infinitely happier in this respect than those of other countries. If honorable members of the Labour Party hold that the more men there are here the less work will there be to do, they brand themselves as followers of Malthus, about whose doctrines we have heard so much to-day. Every immigrant must provide additional employment for those who are .here already, and must increase the market of our producers.
– China must be a happy place if that is so, because it has an immense population to give work to each other.
– I am glad to have the honorable member’s assurance in regard to China. The members of the Labour caucus number a good many, but that does not seem to be a happy place, judging by the noises which I hear coming from its meetings now and again. If the Prime Minister is sincere in regard to immigration, he will do all he can to encourage persons to come here. We were told that the Tariff would give work to thousands. The Minister of Trade and Customs spoke of the factory chimneys rising in every city of Australia. Should not the Prime Minister add the coping stone to this fiscal creation by bringing out highly specialized workers to further stimulate Australian protected production? The public will soon begin to ask him straight-out questions on this and other points. Before resuming my seat, I should like to refer to a fund which I did not expect that the Government would cease to make provision for - that out of which the payments for advertising our resources are made. It is too useful to the Government to be abolished, since it satisfies the literary aspirations of Australasian writers on political subjects, makes known the possibilities of distant places like New Guinea, to which no great flow of immigration can be expected - and advertises the Prime Minister. By means of this fund the services of Mr. Frank Fox, of the Sydney Bulletin - the newspaper’s political representative in Melbourne, and consequently a person to be considered - were obtained.
– The Bulletin is a good paper.
– I thought that the honorable member knew of only one good paper; I am glad to find that he thinks that there are two. The arrangement made with the Bulletin was that Mr. Fox should be paid so much a page for an article on Australia, for information for which he was to have the free run of the Government Departments. He wrote an article, about which I make no complaint, which appeared in the first number of the Lone Hand, a monthly magazine published by the Bulletin Company. The Commonwealth undertook to receive so many copies of this article - I think 100,000 or 200,000. The papers seem to show that the negotiations in regard to it took place before the Prime Minister went to England, between him and an advertising agent for the Bulletin. I do not know that the Government knew exactly what the arrangement meant. Undoubtedly its promise to take so many copies of this article insured a certain circulation to the magazine, and thereby enhanced the value of its advertising columns. The redeeming feature in the transaction is that Mr. Fox, realizing that he owed a debt of gratitude to the honorable gentleman for the way in which he had been treated, wrote an appreciation of the Prime Minister, which appeared a couple of issues later, in which he was spoken of as second to no one who has ever inhabited this earthly sphere, the equal of Disraeli, the compeer of Gladstone, and an infinitely firmer character than Bismarck ! The Government has also engaged the services of Mr. Randolph Bedford.
– A good man.
– Another good man.
– What is the opinion of the honorable member for Bourke in regard to him ?
- Mr. Bedford stood for a seat in this Parliament, but was not elected, so that he must be a good man. He is certainly a powerful political writer, and an important figure in the Australian journalistic world.
– How was it that Mr. Caldwell Smith, the editor of Liberty and Progress, was overlooked ?
– I do not know that gentleman. Has he, too, written an article on New Guinea ? It seems to me that, excellent though such articles may be, they do not increase immigration here by advertising our resources. The chief advantage we gained from the payment made to Mr. Fox was the appreciation of the Prime Minister, to which I have referred. I have no quarrel with Mr. Fox. If the work of writing articles on Australia was to be done, I do not say that I should prefer any one else to write them ; but the arrangement was one which I should not like a Ministry which I was supporting to make. It is a bad practice to provide a fund for advertisements of this description, and as the system shows a tendency to increase, I call attention to the matter, in the hope that this misuse of the fund may be abolished. In conclusion, I have only to say that I am gratified that the Labour Party has admitted in this debate what they would not admit when their votes would have had effect, that the financial proposals of the Government are not satisfactory. We gave them an opportunity last week to declare straightforwardly that that was so, but we did not then hear even a whisper from them, except by way of interjection. They refused to say “yes” or”no.” They preferred their usual course of running cunning; but have since confessed that the finances are not sound. They have admitted that the Government have put in the political shop window a number of show goods, without being in a position to pay for them, and that if the Ministry carry out all the proposals now before us, bankruptcy within the next few years will stare the Commonwealth in the face. They practically admit that the provision made for the payment of old-age pensions is insufficient; but we hear no clamour from the Labour Party, who have always sought to obtain an advertisement at the expense of the aged workers.
– They say that £1,100,000 per annum will be sufficient.
– But one of them said that1s. 3d. par day was enough to pay a soldier ! We do not pay much attention to views expressed by individual members of the party, but I think that there is a general consensus of opinion amongst them that the provision made by the Treasurer for the payment of old-age pensions is insufficient.
– They voted that it was sufficient.
– Yet I think that they now confess that it is insufficient.
– We say that no matter what Government is in power, Australia will be able to find sufficient money to keep its aged poor.
– But the Labour Party, I think, now admit that if the Treasurer’s estimate of the revenue to be received is correct, we shall not have enough to pay old-age pensions. If the Prime Minister, with the assistance of his friends, were to pass all the measures that he now has before Parliament - if he succeeded in carrying his proposals in respect of defence, the transfer of the Northern Territory, the construction of a transcontinental railway, and a hundred-and-one other expensive projects, and began to try to find the money for them, there is more than an odd chance that the aged poor would have to wait, whilst honorable members of the Labour Party did a little more electioneering on their account. The Opposition placed clearly before the House the unsatisfactory position of our finances. The Labour Party, however, would not say that they were unsatisfactory. They preferred to vote that they were not, and to try to shelter themselves behind some subterfuge or excuse at the next general election. The excuse advanced in this House by one or two members of that party is about the most paltry that could be used. They said that they preferred to trust the Ministerial party, rather than to trust the Opposition. Honorable members in the direct Opposition do not desire any political association with that party, so that the Labour Party evidently fears that we might, unassisted, carry out our method of advancing the interests of Australia - a method of which they have expressed strong disapproval. They did not think that they were going to swop one instrument for another. They knew that if they gave up the control which they hold over this Government, they would have to stand alone, and by refusing on the noconfidence motion to express a simple “yea” or “ nay,” they confessed to the people that they realized that they cannot stand alone, and that the most they can hope to do is to use some one else’s brains to achieve their objects.
.- We have had, during this debate, a repetition of misrepresentations of the Labour Party, which sounds very like the playing of an old tune. Much the same criticism has been levelled against us again and again, and that to which we have listened during this debate is just as untrue as is that which has been indulged in on former occasions. The honorable member who has just resumed his seat, referred to the Labour platform adopted at the recent Brisbane Conference, and in order that there may be no excuse for the Opposition misquoting our objective and platform, I intend to put before the Committee what that Conference evolved as a programme for the next Federal elections. It is all very well for honorable members to attempt to attach to the party opinions expressed by individual contributors to Labour journals ; but the true expression of the Labour movement is to be found in the compromise arrived at between the different sections of opinion, some moderate, and some extreme, voiced at the Conference, and embodied in the Labour objective, platform, and pledge. These constitute the only basis upon which the Opposition are fairly entitled to criticise us.
– The Labour Party freely criticise some of us, yet they squeal when we say anything about them.
– We do not squeal when any honorable member speaks the truth about us, but the Opposition have lived on the misrepresentation of our party. The Labour Party’s policy is set forth in what may be described as four divisions. We have, in the first place, the labour objective; then we have the fighting platform, which crystallizes the general platform that follows, and finally the pledge. These are as follows -
The cultivation of an Australian sentiment, based upon the maintenance of racial purity, and the development in Australia of an enlightened and self-reliant community;
The securing of the full results of their industry to all producers by the collective ownership of monopolies, and the extension of the industrial and economic functions of the State and Municipality.
– Maintenance of a White Australia.
– The New Protection.
– Nationalization of Monopolies.
– Graduated Tax on Unimproved Land Values.
– Citizen Defence Force.
– Commonwealth Bank.
– Restriction of Public Borrowing.
– Navigation Laws.
– Arbitration Act Amendment.
– Maintenance of a White Australia.
– New Protection - Amendment of Constitution to ensure effective Federal legislation for New Protection and Arbitration.
– Nationalization of Monopolies - if necessary amendment of Constitution to provide for same.
– Graduated Land Tax - Graduated tax on all estates over£5,000 in value on an unimproved basis.
– Citizen Defence Force, with compulsory military training, and Australian-owned and controlled Navy.
– Commonwealth Bank of Issue, Deposit, Exchange and Reserve, with non-political management.
– Restriction of Public Borrowing.
– Navigation Laws to provide - (a) for the protection of Australian snipping against unfair competition ; (b) registration of all vessels engaged in the coastal trade ; (c) the efficient manning of vessels; (d) the proper supply of life saving and other equipments; (e) the regulation of hours and conditions of work; (f) proper accommodation for passengers and seamen ; (g) proper loading gear and inspection of same ;(h) compulsory insurance of crews by shipowners against accident or death.
– Arbitration Act Amendment, to provide for Preference to Unionists and exclusion of the legal profession, with provision for the inclusion of all State Government employés.
– Old-age and Invalid Pensions.
– General Insurance Department, with nonpolitical management.
– Civil Equality of Men and Women.
– Naval and Military expenditure to be allotted from proceeds of direct taxation.
– Initiative and Referendum.
I hereby pledge myself not to oppose the candidate selected by the recognised political Labour organization, and, if elected, to do my utmost to carry out the principles embodied in the Australian Labour Party’s Platform and on all questions affecting the Platform to vote as a majority of the Parliamentary Party may decide at a duly constituted caucus meeting.
I for one most emphatically object and refuse to be bound by anything beyond those labour principles to which I have subscribed and my own opinions, no matter how able and reputable various quoted writers and speakers may be, nor how good or evil their views. In addition to this, another question of far-reaching importance was dealt with at the Conference, a question which, with the approach of the time when the operation of the Braddon section will expire, is likely to become one of the burning issues before the country. It will be necessary for the Commonwealth Parliament to arrive at some solution of the conflicting interests of the Commonwealth and States Governments with respect to the Federal revenue. Both the States and the Commonwealth Governments represent one and the same people, and whatever scheme will best serve the people themselves should prevail. The present scheme is but temporary, and after 1910, the responsibility for the adjustment of Federal revenues will devolve upon the Commonwealth Parliament. Section 87 of the Constitution reads as follows -
During a period of ten years after the establishment ofthe Commonwealth and thereafter until the Parliament otherwise provides, of the net revenue of the Commonwealth from duties of Customs and of Excise not more than onefourth shall be applied annually by the Commonwealth towards its expenditure. The balance shall, in accordance with this Constitution, be paid to the several States or applied towards the payment of interest on debts of the several States taken over by the Commonwealth.
I wish to emphasize some very important words in section 87, namely, “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides.” They fix upon this Parliament the responsibility of determining the distribution of the Federal revenues after the expiration of this provision in 19 10. In accordance with section 87, the States have received from 1st January, 1901, to 30th January, 1908, £57,776,002. The three-fourths to which they were entitled under the Braddon section amounted to £51,601,929, so that they received £6,174,073 over and above the three -fourths to which they were entitled under the Braddon section, this amount being the unexpended portion of the one-fourth which the Commonwealth was entitled to expend. In other words, the Commonwealth did not expend its full one-fourth, but handed to the States its own unexpended balances.
– We owed them half that amount in respect of interest on transferred properties.
– That is really a. bookkeeping matter. Another provision of the Constitution - section 85 - enacts that the Commonwealth shall compensate the States for transferred properties by agreement, and, failing that, as the Federal Parliament may decide. One of the reasons why this question has not been dealt with is that the States have themselves valued these properties at from £10,000,000 to £14,000,000, whilst the Commonwealth, on the other hand, has valued them roughly at from £8,000,000 to£10,000,000. As no agreement had been arrived at, a Commission was appointed, consisting of a valuer, representing the Commonwealth, and valuers representing the States, to recommend a scheme for settlement. In to-day’s papers, I notice a statement that thatCommission considers that the amount payable in respect of transferred properties will be, roughly speaking, £8,500,000. This justifies the refusal of the Commonwealth to accept the higher figures.
– Not payable.
– I mean the amount of value fixed. The manner in which the payment is to take place is a matter to be afterwards decided. As the interest on these properties would be a charge against t he revenues returnable to the States as part of the cost of maintenance of the transferred Departments, the settlement of the question is merely a bookkeeping matter. As 1910, the year of the expiryof the Braddon section and the trial period provided in the Constitution, approaches, another difficulty - the transfer of the States debts to the Commonwealth - presents itself. Section 105 provides that -
The Parliament may take over from the States their public debts as existing at the establishment of the Commonwealth…..
The financial scheme of the Constitution with respect to the allotment of the Commonwealth revenues, as provided in the Braddon section, no doubt contemplated that the final settlement of the questions of revenue returnable to the States and the transfer of the States debts should take place together. To re-quote the second portion of section 87 -
The balance shall, in accordance with this Constitution, be paid to the several States, or applied towards the payment of interest on debts of the several States taken over by the Commonwealth.
– A very wiseanticipation.
– I agree with the honorable member. The aggregate States debts on 30th June, 1907, which mature annually up to 1952, were as follow : - Amount owing in London, £185,831,848; in Australia, £58,903,451, or a total of £244,735,299. Since then the debt has grown. On 30th June, 1908, the amount owing in London was £183,422,390, and in Australia £64,552,234, or a total of £247,974,624. I take thefigures for 1907 as they relate to the same year as the other latest figures I am using. The average percentage of the interest is 3.21, and the total interest bill on the 1907 basis amounts to over £8,750,000 annually. Incidentally I should like to state that the imports into Australia for 1907 were £51,809,033, whilst the exports were £72,824,247, or an excess of exports of £21,015,214. Deducting from the excessof exports the amount of interest payable on the debts of the States, there is, roughly, a balance of £12,250,000 of excess of exports in value or kind. That amount has gone to some authority outside the Commonwealth, and there is no explanation on the face of it to show who has received it. I have no doubt that some of the money has gone to pay interest on some of the private debts owing by institutions in Australia to persons abroad. At the same time it is not reasonable to suppose that those debts are greater than the total public debt of Australia. It is, therefore, fair to assume that some millions of money are being drawn from Australia annually by persons outside as incomes in respect of properties held within the Commonwealth. I agree with the honorable member who said that it was a wise provision in the Constitution that the Commonwealth should take over the States debts. If this huge debt could be federalized and financed through a Commonwealth Government bank the immediate saving and the total wiping out of the debt in a comparatively few years would be an immense beneficial national undertaking. At the same time, it is one of those questions in which it is impossible to travel in advance of public opinion. It would be hardly worth the effort to relieve the States of this great debt incubus if they competed against the Commonwealth in raising loans and embarked on a further unrestricted excursion into the domain of borrowing. The States Governments have shown conclusively that they will absolutely refuse to be limited in any way in their policy of borrowing. In fact, they will not even agree to refrain from competing with the Commonwealth in the raising of loans. If the Commonwealth is to take over the huge debt of the States only to be met in the money market, when trying to wipe it off in a number of years, by the States Governments raising loans in competition with them, and if the States on being relieved of the debt are simply to continue with fresh enthusiasm in the direction of public borrowing, it appears to me that the great effort that would have to be put forward by the Commonwealth Administration and the great self denial which the Commonwealth Parliament would have to practice in order to relieve the people of this immense debt hanging round their necks would scarcely be worth the sacrifice. This attitude of the States Governments appears to render impracticable at present the transfer of the States debts to the Commonwealth, and consequently the question must await the time when an enlightened public opinion will show the States Governments their duty more clearly. We have therefore to determine upon some scheme for the division of the Customs and Excise revenues between the States and Commonwealth Governments upon a fair and equitable basis. This question was dealt with exhaustively by the recent triennial Labour Conference at Brisbane, at which the whole of the political labour organizations of the States were represented, sending the best brains of the movement, including parliamentary and lay members, to attack the great problems which face the people of Australia in the immediate future. Their scheme is as follows -
That this Conference expresses its approval generally of the following scheme as the basis for an adjustment of the financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States : -
That the States should continue to receive a share of the Federal revenue.
That such annual share be paid to the States in the form of a fixed sum per head of the population, such sum to be ascertained during or before the year 1910 on the basis shown in the fourth paragraph.
That the proportion of revenue allocated to the Commonwealth must be sufficient to cover -
All existing expenditure apart from reproductive services ;
Old-age and Invalid Pensions through out the Commonwealth ;
An additional sum, not to exceed one million pounds, for the expanding necessities of the Federal Government, such as the creation of the Federal Capital, railway undertakings, and the development of the Northern Territory.
That the amount of the fixed payment per capita to be returned to the States be ascertained by -
Taking the average total of the Customs and Excise revenue of five representative years before 1910;
Deducting therefrom the average total of Commonwealth expenditure, for the same representative years, under the three heads enumerated in the third paragraph ;
Dividing the amount so arrived at by the average number of the population of Australia for the same representative years.
That in view of the exceptional position of Western Australia, a further capitation grant should be made to that State, to gradually diminish upon a sliding scale until its share of the Federal revenue coincides per capita with thatof the other States.
Before proceeding to explain this scheme, it will be interesting to note the notices of motion tabled by the New South Wales State Premier on 2nd September last, covering the resolutions agreed to by the recent Premiers’ Conference, which further agreed that those resolutions were to be submitted to the States Parliaments. The resolutions, containing the proposals of the States Premiers, are as follow -
Leaving out those clauses in the State Government resolutions referring to the Public Debt - these are to be allowed to stand as at present, pending the adjustment of revenue returns, according to the Labour scheme - it is interesting to note that the principles of our party’s scheme meets the State Governments’ objections. Resolution 1, clauses a and b, of the State Governments, is met by paragraph 2 of the Labour scheme. Resolutions 3 and 4 of the State Governments are met by noninterference by the Labour scheme. Resolution 5 of the State Governments is met by paragraph 5 of the Labour scheme as relating to Western Australia, and as relating to Tasmania, by treating her the same as other States in the general scheme, thus allowing Tasmania an equal return, although her Customs and Excise revenue is much less than that of other States. This concession is made because of the loss of Customs and Excise revenue by Tasmania. This is known to exist, but cannot be traced, because Tasmanians periodically travel to the other States, buy largely, and take goods home as persona] effects. The State Governments should, therefore, support the general principles of the Labour scheme. Indeed, I should like it to be recorded that this scheme has already been brought under the notice of Mr. Waddell, the State Treasurer of New South Wales. The Sydney Morning Herald, of nth July last, states -
The State Treasurer, Mr. Waddell, finds himself in complete accord with the object of the Finance Committee of the Commonwealth Labour Conference on the subject of the transfer of the State debts to the Commonwealth.
Mr. Waddell did not express complete approval of the whole of the scheme, but some of its features commended themselves to him ; and in the recognition that the present time is inopportune for taking over the States debts, for reasons previously given, the State Government of New South Wales, through their Treasurer, express complete accord with the Labour scheme. I have made a calculation, with a view to explaining the Labour Party’s financial proposal.
– Not a bad scheme either.
– Then I hope that when the time comes, the honorable member will be found supporting it by his vote. The following calculation has been made as a means of explaining the scheme to honorable members. The figures are worked out on the basis of five years prior to 1910, as per clause a of paragraph 4. There will no doubt be differences of opinion as to the years upon which the calculation should be based. The years chosen, therefore, are only taken to serve as an example, and may not be the period finally determined upon as the basis.
Expenditureto be deducted, as per paragraph 3, Clausea, for the same five years : -
Clause 4 (f) average population, 1902-1906, latest available figures, 3,991,495. This, divided into. £4,145,286, equals, roughly, £i os. gd. per head.
Annual Payments to States.
On this basis, the States would receive on their 1906 population : -
The difference between £4,132,143 allotted and £4,145,286 returnable, is accounted for by the fact that I have not worked to the fraction, but it is near enough for illustration purposes. There would then be a special grant from the Federation to Western Australia on account of the fact that her average payment of Customs and Excise revenue is about £1 per head in advance of other States, and she is therefore to have an increased return for that reason. This, however, need not be entered upon now. I know that the honorable member for South Sydney, whose calculations are regarded as having the weight of authority, estimates the amount returnable at 23s. per head. I do not know how that figure is arrived at, but I find that over the five years I have taken, it amounts, roughly speaking, to £1 os. 9d. To give an example of how the States would fare under the scheme which provides for their receiving an increase with an increase of population, I may say that on 31st December, 1907, the population was 4,178,000 - these figures were not available when I worked out the calculation - and on that basis the States would, roughly speaking, be entitled to receive another £400,000. Let us see how the State of
New South Wales would fare under this scheme -
For the six years before Federation, the expenses of collection have to be allowed for, except in tha case of the last half of the financial year of 1901, which was paid by the Federation, whilst the revenue returned after Federation was net - i.e., after expenses of collection had been allowed for. For 1901, New South Wales received £1,958,344, gross amount, from Customs and Excise. Taking the figures I have stated under the Labour scheme, and on the basis of population for 1906, New South Wales would receive £1,531,467. Even without allowing for cost of administration of Customs Department, this is only about £400,000 short as compared with 1901, but to make up for this, the Federation has taken over expensive non-paying Departments, such as the Defence, the cost of Customs administration, the loss on the Postal Department, and must also take over shortly quarantine and lighthouses. Besides all this, there are other great national responsibilities placed in the keeping of the Federal Parliament which have to be provided for. I would emphasize again the fact that the period taken as the basis for calculation is only for illustration purposes, and in no wise can it be connected with the party’s scheme. As a matter of fact, Mr. Watson thinks the -per capita amount returnable to the States will be about £1 3s. per head. This would mean the return of about £5,000,000 to the Spates annually. The honorable member for North Sydney, by a different process of reasoning, in the Daily Telegraph, fixes upon £5,250,000 as the returnable amount. This would mean a great deal, indeed, to the States. I trust honorable members will carefully preserve this scheme for future reference, as the financial question promises to be one of the burning issues of the next Federal election. I should like to emphasize the fact that in New South Wales we have a Government composed of the remnants of the old freetrade party. Those persons who go about telling the people that they do not believe in using the Customs House for revenue purposes, at the sama time base the whole of their financial complaints and clamour against the Commonwealth on the basis that enough money is not returned to them from the Customs and Excise revenue, and they would compel the Federal Government to impose the heaviest of revenue duties on the necessaries of life of the working people.
– And the honorable member does their bidding.
– The honorable member, as usual, misrepresents me.
– That is a very improper remark.
– The honorable member must remember that I have stated time after time that I would not vote for revenue duties and I have not done so. Had not honorable members of the Opposition come to the rescue of the Government by supporting revenue duties, the working man would be paying much less taxation than has been imposed on him. I voted for protective duties to save our workmen from cheap coloured labour competition on the new protection basis, but never for revenue duties. Revenue should be obtained by direct taxation.
– The honorable member voted against increased piano duties.
– In doing so I voted for a sufficient duty to protect and encourage the piano-making industry, and that action has been justified by the recent opening of a new factory at Richmond, to which honorable members were invited. The period on which I have based by calculations was fixed upon merely for purposes of illustration, and the years chosen must not be regarded as indorsed by the Labour Party, because other honorable members may think that another period should be taken. The honorable member for South Sydney, as I have already pointed out, believes that, on a per capita basis, about £1 3s. will be returnable to the States, and one of the ablest members of the Opposition, the honorable member for North Sydney, has arrived at the conclusion that a fair thing would be about £1 5s. per head.
– No. I said that the States are practically entitled to between £1 5s. 6d. and £1 7s. per head.
Mi. J. H. CATTS.- The honorable member showed that about £5,220,000 would be annually returnable. That amount is equivalent to about 25s. per head. I have his scheme here in .the *Daily Telegraph, if it is necessary to quote it. As the settlement of this question is to be made an issue at the forthcoming Federal elections, I hope that every elector, man and woman, will give it the closest attention, so that the interests of Australia may be intelligently dealt with, and we may in the future, for some years, at any rate, have peace in regard to a matter which, in the past, has caused considerable disturbance.
.- I am not in the habit of occupying much of the time of the House or this Committee, and shall not do so now. But on an occasion like this it is due to oneself, and to one’s constituents, to explain his position in regard to the various matters brought forward for discussion. It seems to me that I and others who supported the motion of no confidence would have only to refer to the speeches since delivered by many of those who voted against it if we felt that we need to justify our attitude. Almost every speech since delivered from the other side of the House has condemned the Government for its management of the finances. Some honorable members, like the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, have been very severe, and others have been milder in their criticisms j but the tone of the Committee shows that we do not clearly know whither we are drifting, and that there is a general fear that the ship of state is leaving the deep water of solvency for the shallow waters of very risky finance. The criticism of the leader of the Opposition was fully justified. H*a did not charge Ministers with extravagance, but he laid bare the inevitable results of their policy, so far as the finances must be affected by it. He pointed out that no proper provision is made in this year’s Estimates for their various commitments. It would be wearisome to the Committee were
I again ,to go into all the details connected with this subject ; but it is very plain that no proper financial provision has been made for the proposals directly enunciated or foreshadowed in the Government policy. The honorable member for Flinders has shown that, at the beginning of the next financial year, we must have a deficit of about £1,500,000, assuming the Treasurer’s figures to be correct, the estimates of revenue being £6,500,000 and the probable expenditure about £8,000,000. It is impossible to get any explanation from the Treasurer, who makes no answer to these criticisms, and is apparently satisfied to drift along until he bumps against something solid. The action of the leader of the Opposition was amply justified. We do not expect, or particularly desire, to shift the Government at present; but his motion had the effect of sharply calling attention to the state of the finances. It is not to be wondered at that those responsible for the development of the States, especially where there are vast unsettled coastal territories, as there are in Queensland and Victoria, are exceedingly uncertain as to the future. The public is only just waking up to the value of much of our land, and within the next few years there will be a great increase in settlement, which will necessitate a great increase in expenditure. The Governments of the States are charged with the work of development, and they realize that, after 1910, they will be absolutely in the hands of the Commonwealth. No’ doubt when the time comes this Parliament, realizing that it, like the Parliaments of the States, is responsible to the people of the States, will agree to a reasonable solution of the difficulty. A great deal has been said about the aggressive attitude of the States, and the manner in which they growl and whine. But New South Wales is practically the only State whose revenues have benefited greatly from Federation.
– The money returned to the State Treasury has been taken from the people of the State.
– Yes ; but I am looking at the matter from the point of view of the necessities of the States Governments. In the first year following Federation, Queensland suffered a loss of revenue amounting to £500,000, and although she has, in the last seven years, received money over and above her proportion of the three-fourths of the Customs and Ex cise revenue, her receipts last year were £71,000 behind what they were prior to Federation. This year she has just about made up the deficiency of her three-fourths share.
– It must not be forgotten that the State has received all the money to which it has been entitled.
– I am not now dealing with that, but am replying to the taunts that the State Governments are too restive, and am showing that it is not fair to instance the position of the New South Wales Treasury by way of illustrating the benefits of Federation. New South Wales is not the only State concerned. The aggressive attitude adopted by the Commonwealth authorities towards the States has given rise to ah uneasy feeling on their part. No doubt I shall be told that aggressiveness was first shown by the States themselves.
– That belief is due to the fact that many honorable members, and particularly the representatives of Victoria, can see only one other State in the Federation and that is New South Wales. That State stands out in all their quarrels and battles. We say, however, that no State is more sincerely Federal than is Queensland.
– Mr. Kidston does not say so now.
– I know from personal conversation with him that he is a sincere Federalist.
– A Rockhampton one.
– He entirely agrees that Federation was absolutely necessary for Australia.
– He spoke and voted against it.
– I am speaking of what is within my own knowledge and of what has happened since I have been a member of this Parliament. I repeat that Mr. Kidston is now, at all events, a sincere Federalist and admits the necessity for a Federal Parliament.
– The Queensland people, and not Kidston, carried Federation.
– I did not mention Mr. Kidston until the honorable member referred to him.
– I am not afraid of him.
– I do not suggest that the honorable member is. The people of Queensland are Federal in spirit, but I know that many of them feel that there is a distinct inclination on the part of a certain set of politicians not confined to the Labour Party to try to acquire, at the expense of the States, greater powers for the Federal Parliament. That, perhaps, is a natural inclination ; but those who realize, as we do in Queensland, the absolute necessity of the States controlling their own local development recognise that it must be combated. The Federal power has taken up in many cases a distinctly aggressive attitude towards the States.
– Give one instance of aggressiveness on the part of the Commonwealth.
– There is no longer an inclination but a conviction on the part of honorable members on the other side of the House that the Federal Parliament should acquire more power at the expense of the States.
– There is a distinct inclination to go beyond the Constitution and to throw upon the States Governments the onus of appealing . to the High Court to determine whether we have exceeded our powers. I heard to-day a member of the Labour Party blaming the States Governments for having put the Commonwealth to the expense of defending proceedings in the High Court to determine the constitutionality of the Surplus Revenue Act. When the High Court determines that the Commonwealth has exceeded its power in passing any measure honorable members of the Labour Party criticise St severely, and hint at political bias on the part of the members of the High Court Bench. That is the attitude they usually take up when a decision is given against them. The honorable member for West Sydney, and some other members of the Labour Party, have been declaring in New South Wales, that Parliament makes the laws and not the High Court, and that it is time that the Court ceased to rule the people. That tribunal is the only security to which the people, as electors of the States, can look to preserve their power to govern themselves and to control their own local affairs.
– The honorable member had better not tell the people that at the next general election ; if he does they will “ blow him out.”
– They do not need to be told that the High Court is their only protection as electors of the States Parliaments. I was asked by the honorable mem ber for Melbourne Ports to give an instance where the Commonwealth had taken up an aggressive attitude towards the States. I think that a case in point is to be found in the way in which it is proposed to bring the Commonwealth system of old-age pensions into operation. At the present time Queensland, and several other States, have their own systems in force, and yet the Commonwealth Government are calmly appropriating revenue - which would go to the States - to provide in the future for a Federal system.
– The honorable member believes in old-age pensions?
– Certainly. The people of Queensland are to-day providing for a local system of old-age pensions, and at the same time they are being called upon to contribute to a fund to provide for a Federal scheme to come into operation nearly twelve months hence. That is obviously unjustifiable. If contributions towards a fund to provide for a Federal system in 1909 have to be spread over more than one year, how are we to get on when the total sum required for the payment of those pensions has to be found each year ?
– If the people contribute a little now they will have to find less later on.
– But why should they pay now?
– Because we are endeavouring under a Commonwealth system to provide a pension for all the aged poor, whereas that is impossible under the State laws.
– I agree that that is the great justification for a Federal system.
– But some effort ought to have been made to come to an arrangement in the States.
– That is the point I set out to make ; that the action of the Commonwealth has been aggressive, and that no effort has been made to meet the States in an amicable way. There has been no effort: on the part of the Commonwealth Government to discuss these matters with the States Governments as ordinary business men would do. If, after such an attempt had been made, an arrangement could not be arrived at, and the Commonwealth Parliament felt that it must have the power to provide for any particular function it has not at present, the matter could be referred to the people.
– What is to prevent the States Treasurers making an agreement with the Commonwealth Government at the present time?
– It is not for them to come to the Commonwealth Government. It is for the Commonwealth Parliament, which is seeking to obtain further power, to take the first step towards arriving at an amicable arrangement.
– Is not this a national Par- l iament ?
– It is; but, unfortunately, many honorable members of the Labour Party, and several supporters of the Government, seem to entertain the belief that the Commonwealth Parliament is the paramount power in the political life of Australia.
– That is my idea.
– That was not the intention of the people when they voted for Federation. The Federal Parliament was created by the States to carry out certain specific functions, and it is not the paramount power in the political life of Australia. Some honorable members undoubtedly favour unification, but the honorable member for Herbert is the only one who, to my knowledge, has openly declared himself, in this House, in favour of it. While a number of others obviously believe in unification, they are not prepared to come into the open and to make such a declaration.
– Name them. That is an insinuation.
– I am judging them by their own speeches in this House. I cannot name them, but the honorable member must know, as well as I do, that there are such members.
– I do not.
– In the course of a personal explanation last week, the Prime Minister was at pains to explain away a statement attributed to him with regard to the Labour Party being a machine. I refer to this matter only because it is a live political question.
– Our machine is geared right up to date.
– There is no doubt that the Political Labour Leagues keep it geared up to the highest pitch. The Prime Minister was at pains to explain that when he spoke of the Labour Party as a machine he was not referring to the individual members of that party in this House.
– I did not explain it; I simply read the words I used at the time.
– Exactly. The honorable member first of all spoke of the party as a political machine. He then pointed out that he did not refer to honorable members of this House; that his personal relations with the members of the Labour Party in Parliament had always been of a pleasant character, and that he found it easy to work with them. There can be no doubt that our personal relations with the members of the party are of a pleasant character. Honorable members in the Labour corner and I are the best of friends. We enjoy one another’s society, and I do not think that there is the slightest feeling between us. We can work together, so far as many political and social objects are concerned ; but, at the same time, it appeared to me that the explanation made by the Prime Minister did not fill the bill. If the Labour organization outside this House is the machine, the members of the Labour Party in this House are machine-controlled.
– We are running the machine.
– We know that that is not so. Those who run the machine very often are not in politics. The fact that honorable members of the Labour Party are dependent on men who are not in politics - men of various shades of political thought, some of them out - and - out Socialists and some of them leaders of political unions - shows that they are controlled by the machine outside. Honorable members of the Labour Party would not be here unless they secured the nomination of the Political Labour . Leagues. I fail to see how we can dissociate the members of the party in this Parliament from the hard-and-fast organization which controls them outside. As to the remark made by the Prime Minister that he could work politically with the members of the party in the House, although he could not work with the terrible machine outside, it seems to me that the connexion between the party and the machine was well illustrated in Queensland a few days ago. I notice that when a proposal was made to the Queensland Labour Party to enter into a coalition, the offer was handed in writing to their leader, Mr. Bowman, and the answer came back, not from him-
-That is Mr. Kidston’s statement. It is not true.
– I admit that it is Mr. Kidston’s statement; but I see no reason to disbelieve it I have seen no denial of it by Mr. Bowman or anybody else.
– I will deny it.
– Does the honorable member assert that it is not a fact that the answer to that offer came back from the Central Political League, or whatever they call it - a small political ring that runs the Labour Party - and not from the leader of the Party ? Can he deny that of his own knowledge? Until it is denied, and it has been given out for some time, one is justified in assuming it to be a fact.
– Mr. Kidston stated in Melbourne that the leader of the Federal Labour Party had advised Mr. Bowman to work hand-in-hand with him.
– It is absolutely untrue. I can tell the honorable member that there is no power in any organization that can in any way control Labour members in Parliament in any circumstances whatever.
– Does the honorable member mean to tell me that if his party were offered portfolios in the present Government they could accept the offer?
– Without hesitation?
– Would he be game to do it?
– Do not be insulting.
– I do not mean the word “game” in any insulting sense. Is it not a fact that the organizations outside have decreed that the Labour Party shall not take any seat in a Government in which they are not in a majority?
– Not in the Federal Parliament.
– I understand that the recent Labour Conference in Brisbane declared against any such thing.
– They declared against alliances.
– There could not be a stronger alliance than to go into a Cabinet. Would not the fact that the Conference that controls the party outside the House has declared against alliances block the honorable member?
– There is nothing to stop us from making an alliance to-day.
– Not even that resolution ?
– That is for the next Parlia ment
– I used the word “game” in the same way as the word “ hands “ was used the other day. That roused the honorable member’s ire also, but it was not intended to be insulting. In the face of the resolution by the outside organization controlling the party that alliances should not be entered into, would the leader of the party be prepared to agree to an alliance?
Mr.Hutchison. - We could if we liked.
– What about the political future of honorable members if they did it?
– It would not affect us.
– The platform drawn up at the present time has no effect at all in the present Parliament.
– At the same time, I may take it that the members of the party in the House, knowing that such a course of action would be very much disapproved of outside, would not feel disposed to take the course I suggested. The actions and policy of members of the party in this House are directed and controlled to a large degree by an organization outside, which is not responsible to the people.
– The honorable member should not say that, because it is not so.
– The moral control is there.
– There is no control whatever in any shape or form.
– I understand that it is quite within the power of the Labour members to go against the resolutions of that outside body, but it would mean political suicide for them if they did. I know that in Queensland men who have gone against the decrees of the Labour Party are politically dead.
– Will the honorable member admit now that he is wrong ?
– I cannot admit it. I feel that the control is still there, although it is quite open to the honorable member to break away from it if he likes. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie addressed himself at considerable length the other day to the question of Socialism, and I interjected that the Socialism which was spoken of in politics here was a political term. It is not exactly the theory of Socialism that is meant, and anti-Socialism is simply another political term. The term “ Socialism “ that we use refers to the policy of the Labour Party in favour of nationalization. I notice that when we criticise the members of the Labour Party as Socialists, we have to explain what we mean. It is rather an inexpressive word, for the whole matter is wrapped up in the idea of nationalization. We on this side, maintain that to carry the idea of nationalizing all the means of production, distribution, and exchange, to its logical conclusion, would absolutely entail the controlling and limiting of the freedom of every man. woman, and child in the country.
– We do that now.
– Not absolutely; but only in certain directions for their own good. To get the proper perspective in considering these industrial questions, we have to go back a long way, and consider them from the historical point of view. We must trace the way in which our industrial and economic life has gradually evolved, from first of all a state of extreme Socialism in far-back ages, and then a state of extreme license of individualism, while now we are gradually working back into a system involving limited control. According to our arguments, the Socialism which the Labour Party advocate in the nationalization of all the means of production, distribution, and exchange, means really complete and entire Collectivism. It will leave no room for individual initiative and enterprise. If the State carries on all the vast, intricate, and complex functions of industrialism and commercialism, it must utterly wipe out the very characteristics of healthy mankind - -Tlie initiative, energy and enterprise which have built up our civilization.
– How does the honorable member account for the action of the banks in going to the Government for assistance when they failed in 1893?
– I shall deal with that presently. If Government control is Socialism, we are all Socialists to some extent; but where we differ from the members of the Labour Party is that they are going to extremes. They go to such extremes that one feels that they will check the building up of character, and that we must drift back to a low grade of civilization. Each proposal, however, must be judged on its own merits. I can imagine that as time goes on the State may have to undertake different commercial enterprises. But that policy will only be justified by the fact that we have proved from experience that we cannot control them otherwise.
There is no doubt that individualism isopen to gross abuses. It puts vast power,, through the aggregation of capital, into the hands of a very few, who may use their opportunities for the oppression and starving of numbers of people. But when it hasbeen proved that we cannot take away thepower of evil from these people without nationalizing the industries,, then, and then’ only, shall we be justified in going to theextreme of taking them over.
– Is not that exactly what the Labour Party proposes to do?
– No. The Labour Party admits straight out that it advocates the nationalization of monopolies, simply because they are monopolies, and not because they have been proved to be harmful. The only difference between the Federal objective and the State objective is that in the latter complete nationalization is honestly advocated, whereas In the former there is a vague statement about the equal distribution of wealth, and all that sort of thing, which admits of any interpretation one likes to put upon it. The leaders; of the party in the country have told usplainly that they are simply going forward’ step by step. But there is no doubt they will be forced forward at a faster rate by the organizations outside Parliament. 1 was very glad to learn that provision is to be made for the establishment of anagricultural bureau. In the first speech I made when I became a member of thisHouse, I pointed out what an excellent thing it would be to have an agricultural’ bureau, and went into particulars, and further indicated that I hoped this would’ be the first branch of a Department of theInterior, which would lay itself out to assist and advance every branch of industry, and’ especially the primary industries. I wishalso to refer to a remark made by the Prime Minister in his recent speech. He said that he could not work in any degree with honorable members on this side of theHouse, who were reactionaries, and so onAs a comparatively new member, I claim to be just as liberal as the Prime Minister himself, and as many of those who support him.
– My argument was that there was no unifying principle on thatside.
– Where is the unifyingprinciple on the Ministerial side of the House? The very reason why many of us sit on the Opposition side is that we cannot see any principle uniting the Ministerial and
Labour parties. It seems to us that the fundamental principles are not so evident as the fundamental differences between the Prime Minister and those who keep him in office. But we have proved by our votes that we are prepared to support many of the proposals of the Government. We have criticised the details of their projects, and have not approved of certain methods lay which results were desired to be obtained, but otherwise we have supported them. I may mention the Australian Industries Preservation Act, which we criticised in detail, and which is showing signs of breaking down. We objected to the power proposed to be placed in the hands of an officer under political control. We likewise objected to the idea that any’ man may lay .a written information against any person or corporation without responsibility, and that a political officer without legal knowledge or experience in the weighing of evidence may launch a case against individuals.
– I am afraid that the honorable member has not read the Act recently.
– Perhaps I have not re-id it lately. But I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether it is not a fact that under the Act the Comptroller of Customs can take action in regard to demanding information ami the exposure of the affairs of a company at the instance of any individual whom it is impossible to challenge.
– That is only one step.
– We criticised the” Government in regard to such details as that.
– The honorable member admits the necessity of having an investigatory power ?
– The Government have received support from the” majority of honorable members on this side of the House, who have only criticised their measures in detail. Most of us would probably have done the same had we been sitting- behind the Government.
– The devil’ said of the Ten Commandments that he would approve of them if the “ nots “ were taken out.
– I deny that the Prime Minister and his party are alone representative of the democratic sentiment of this House. The honorable gentleman! has made no effort to bring about any other -state of affairs than that existing. He has taken no. step to bring together the Liberal forces.
– Where are they?
– Everywhere except in the Labour corner.
– I must ask the honorable member for Maranoa to cease these interjections.
– I arn obliged to him, because I am afraid that my remarks are dry, although I felt bound to make them. The honorable member has introduced a little amusement into the proceedings. As far as I know, the Prime Minister has never endeavoured to come to an understanding with the Liberal members of the House. From the little experience I have had here, I should say that there must be some personal feeling that grew up before I became - a member of Parliament that is keeping the Libera] forces apart.
– I rise to a point of order. I desire to know whether the honorable member is in order in now holding out the olive branch to the Prime Minister after endeavouring to politically tomahawk him last week?
– I would point out that the honorable member for Maranoa is distinctly out of order in interrupting the speech of the honorable member for Capricornia,
– I think that the honorable member for Maranoa is merely forecasting the time when the Prime Minister will seek his support with a political club. I cannot see that the Prime Minister is justified in declaring that progressive ideas are held only by honorable members upon the other side of the House. At any rate, he has never attempted to bring about a union of the progressive forces in this Chamber.
– Let us all march over to the Government side of the House.
– I shall never do that. Whatever action may be taken to unite the progressive forces in this Chamber, must be initiated by the other side. Before concluding my remarks I. wish to say a few words in regard to immigration. We are persistently told that in Australia there is no’ land available for immigrants. In refutation of that statement I wish to quote a few figures which show the area which was taken up in Queensland during the week ended 24th October - not an exceptional week by any means. The return from which I am about to quote shows that during that week there were two grazing selections comprising 20,000 acres, 48 agricultural selections embracing 16,138 acres, and’ 33 prickly pear selections containing 52,720 acres, taken up, or a total of 88,858 acres. It is therefore farcical to urge, as members of the Labour Party frequently c>o, that there is no land available for settlement in Australia.
– Only last year Queensland lost 9,000 more by departures than she gained by arrivals.
– I ain satisfied that Queensland has not lost population, although I believe that Victoria has. Not long ago I quoted certain figures in this House which showed that the former State was gaining population at a considerable rate, and I feel certain that if the statement of the honorable member be true, the exodus which she is now suffering is merely a temporary one. Possibly it is due to the return to the other States of a large number of workers who annually visit Queensland in connexion with the sugar harvest. , I thank the Committee for the patient hearing which has been accorded me.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether he can indicate when it is likely that the debate on the second reading of the Defence Bill will be resumed - this week, next, or ever during this session. I should also like to ask the honorable gentleman if he is in a position to indicate the views and policy of the Government in regard to the proposed scheme of naval defence, which, is not incorporated in the Bill before the House. It is- somewhat difficult to debate the defence question, and confine ourselves solely to the military branch, and, therefore, it is’ most desirable that the Government should indicate in some way what their proposals are in regard to naval defence - whether or not they intend to carry out the scheme submitted to the Admiralty, and commented on in the .recent despatch. It would greatly conduce to a free, full, comprehensive, and satisfactory debate if . we could deal with both branches of the question instead of being limited to military defence, and in the dark as to the Government policy on the naval aspect.
– - As soon as the debate on the Budget closes, we shall ask the House to pass the Works and Buildings Estimates - which are not a lengthy part of the Estimates - in order that the works may be nut in hand at once. The desire is then to send the Manufactures Encouragement Bill to another place, and to resume the discussion on the Defence Bill. I remind the honorable and learned member that an amendment has already been moved on the Defence Bill, which indirectly raises the question of naval defence, and in the course of the discussion an indication of the view of the Government on naval defence will naturally be given.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.27 P-m-
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 October 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19081028_reps_3_48/>.