3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– A constituent of mine has written to complain that he has been asked to pay duty on tissue paper used for the making of paper patterns. Is it a fact that, in spite of the determination of this Parliament that tissue paper for paper patterns should be admitted free, attempts are being made by officials of the Customs Department to impose duties on paper for patterns on the flimsy pretext that such papers contain an infinitesimal amount of grease, which competent authorities state it is absolutely impossible to eliminate in its manufacture? Will the Minister see that bonafide importers of paper for patterns are not harassed by vexatious interference and compelled to pay duty on articles which Parliament has declared are to be admitted free of duty?
– I shall be obliged if the honorable member will let me have the letter to which he has referred. Paper is one of the most difficult commodities with which the Customs Department is concerned. The Department is dealing with a similar matter at the present time.
– A day or two ago I asked a question in regard to the experiments which are being conducted to determine the value of Mr. Brennan’s monorail system, and was informed that the Minister would be in a position to give me an answer in a few days. Can he do so now?
– The late Government, before replying to Mr. Brennan’s offer, desired the examination of his patent, and a report upon it by Sir A. H. Rendel, the consulting engineer to the Indian State railways, and Mr. Brereton, the Government director of the Indian railways. According to a cablegram recently received from Captain Collins -
Demonstration insufficient for positive opinion as to the ultimate success of system, but tests warrant completion car and continuance of ex- periments. Further financial assistance from India office not advised, as all money available required for pressing needs Indian railway Brennan anxious about decision Commonwealth on offer by the end of year, when present money exhausted.
Whether Parliament should be asked to authorize expenditure in this connexion ii a question still under the considerationof Ministers.
– On behalf of the honorable member for Brisbane, I wish to know from the Minister representing the Minister of Defence if he is yet in possession of the information promised as to alleged maladministration in connexion with the Ordnance Stores Branch of the Department ?
– Full inquiry has been made, and it has been found that the statements are to a certain extent correct. The work was, however, carried out a considerable period ago, and the practice has been discontinued for some time; in fact, the time sheets from 1st January to 7th July, 1908, only show a total of eleven hours so occupied, and there has been no work of the kind done since the latter date. Instructions have been issued to the Department concerned that the regulations are to be strictly adhered to in every respect, and that no work of a private nature is to be undertaken under any pretext whatever. Colonel Stanley further states -
I will lay the rest of the information in my possession on the table of the Library, where it can be perused by honorable members.
– As Mr. Lennon, by twice refusing to give evidence asked for by the Harvester Committee, has treated that body and the Parliament with contempt, will the Prime Minister immediately take steps to convert the Committee into a Royal Commission, sothat it may be armed with the power to compel witnesses to give the information for which it seeks? The matter is one which might well be treated as a question of urgency and privilege ; but I do not propose to deal with it in that way.
– The Government has given attention to the matter, and the powers necessary to enable the Committee to obtain the evidence which Parliament has instructed it to obtain will be furnished, either by enlarging its privileges, or by converting it into a Royal Commission.
– Can the Minister of Home Affairs expedite the work on the rifle range at Bunbury, for which £350 was voted in the Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Act recently passed. Both the late Minister of Defence and the late Minister of Home Affairs promised that this should be done; but I have been informed by a telegram, which I sent on to the present Minister, that no action has yet been taken.
– I have not seen the telegram ; but shall make inquiries, to ascertain the cause of the delay.
– I sent the telegram some days ago.
– Two or three weeks ago I read a letter which I had received from a Britisher whose father and grandfather were Britishers, and whose mother was born in Jamaica, complaining that he was being kept on board the German mail steamer Bremen. According to Truth, this man is a good unionist, a competent workman, an engineer, and a Freemason. As this man has British blood through his father and grandfather, I desire to ask the Minister that he may be permitted to stay in the Commonwealth.
– The application has already been granted.
– I understand that, prior to Federation, there were negotiations between the Governments of South Australia and Queensland with a view to connecting Hergott Springs with Boulia, via Birdsville, by telegraph. As the Sydney to Brisbane telegraph line is very much congested, and a line such as I have mentioned would relieve the pressure of work on it considerably, will the PostmasterGeneral have inquiry made as to the possibility of connecting those two townships?
– I shall be glad to have a report made on the question.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been called to the following published statement: -
An important scheme for linking Australia and New Zealand with many of the Pacific
Islands has received the preliminary approval of the Commonwealth Prime Minister. . . .
The scheme is the child of an English Syn dicate, the Pacific Islands Radio Telegraph Company, whose representative, Mr. Hamilton, had several interviews with Mr. Deakin when he was in Melbourne. The plan’s of the Syndicate are comprehensive. … So sanguine are the promoters of success, that they propose to have the installations made early in January, 1909.
Is the Commonwealth backing up schemes promoted by (British syndicates with funds; and, if so, to what extent? Further, will the Prime Minister lay the papers in connexion with the matter upon the table of the House?
– No such papers have come before me, nor do I know of any such official promise. What the honorable member states may be correct, and I shall be glad to look at the papers in order to ascertain the facts. I do’ not think the Commonwealth will support any syndicate scheme when there are so many opportunities of entering into national or international undertakings.
asked the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Bowral Telephone Exchange - Sydney- wollongong trunk telephone–
Corowa Post Office Clock - Bellambi Telephone Service - Wollongong Post Office - Nullagong to tulloweena mail service. Mr. FULLER asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Postmas ter - General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– Inquiry is being made, and the desired information will be furnished as early as possible.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The Public Service Commissioner furnishes the following answers to the honorable member’s questions : -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made, and the desired information will be furnished as early as possible.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
3.£1,354,555, made up as follows : -
Gross profit, £1,957,983. Deduct estimated charges (assuming that the coins would be made by the Royal Mint in London) - Coinage (3 per cent on face value of£2,957,983), £88,739; freight and other expenses (1.4 per cent on face value), £41,412 ; rehabilitation in perpetuity (16 per cent on face value), £473,277- £603,428 ; nett profit (being 45.79 per cent. on face value), £1,354,555.
Mr. SPEAKER laid upon the table the report of the Joint Library Committee.
Motion (by Mr. Batchelor) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act to amend the Immigration Restriction Acts 1901-5.
In Committee of Supply (Consideration resumed from 2nd December, vide page 2576) :
Department or External Affairs
Division 16 (Miscellaneous), .£27,275
.- I think the whole Chamber is convinced of the necessity for more population in Australia. My idea is that the Defence problem will be solved rather by a proper system of immigration and the filling up of the vacant areas of our great country than by any other scheme that can be proposed.
– I have repeatedly called honorable members to order for conversing in a loud tone. It is not possible for me to hear the honorable member who is addressing the Chair.
– I rose to call attention to the proposed vote of £750 in respect of the New Hebrides, and to express the hope that the item will not again appear on the Estimates. I do so not because of any want of sympathy with British settlers in the New Hebrides, but because when the Tariff was under consideration we had a distinct promise that the House would be invited to deal with a preferential Tariff in respect of their products.
– And the draft Tariff is now among the departmental papers.
– It has not been put before the House, and we have not had an opportunity to express1 an opinion upon it. I hope that before next year’s Estimates are submitted, British settlers in the New Hebrides will have received better treatment, and that, as promised, this House will have had an opportunity to pass a preferential Tariff in respect of their produce. It is absolutely impossible for them at present to compete on equal terms with the French settlers. The latter, have what is practically an open market. Their products are received into New Caledonia and other French possessions free of any duty or charge, and they are also carried at preferential rates on French steamers. British settlers in the New Hebrides are greatly- handicapped by the fact that they have to pay full freights, and that we impose upon their products the same duties as are levied in respect of imports from foreign countries. As to the proposed vote of £650 in respect of the collection of Australian historical records. I should like to know what action is being taken by the Government. Last year we voted a similar amount, but only £144 was expended. There can be no doubt that the historical records of the Commonwealth ought to be collected and codified. The Government of New South Wales has spent some thousands of pounds in collecting, codifying and publishing, for the public benefit, the early records of that State; but as the early history of New South Wales is really the early history of Australia, there is a feeling that the work should be undertaken by the Commonwealth.
– We are co-operating with New South Wales. That is why thisamount appears on the Estimates.
– I am glad to have that assurance, and hope that the collectionof these historical documents will be continued. I should like to have some information as to the proposed vote of £1,000 towards the expenses of press representatives to the Congress of Chambers of Commerce. How is the money to be disbursed, and amongst whom it is to be distributed? It is apparently a new and a non-recurring, item, and I should certainly like to know what object is to be served by the proposed expenditure ?
.- Last year a sum of £20,000 was voted for the purpose of advertising the resources of Australia, but only .£3 ,’946 was expended. I understand that this year ,£4,000 has already been expended- under this heading; but that, to my mind, is altogether inadequate. We could not be called upon to discuss a question of greater importance to Australia than is that of advertising our resources in the Old Country with a view of attracting to our shores a class of people who will help to still further develop them..
– Except that of opening, up our lands.
– No question has been paltered with to a greater extent since theinauguration of the Commonwealth. If the Commonwealth Parliament is to have a proper conception of its duties in thisrespect, it must agree to an expenditure, not merely of £20,000 per annum, but of aconsiderably larger sum in this direction, and steps must also be taken to offer other inducements to the people at Home to emigrate to Australia. We cannot hope to properly advertise our resources in Great Britainuntil a High Commissioner is appointed. Unfortunately that appointment has been delayed, but the discussion which took placeon the item relating to the retention of Captain Collins in London must have de- monstrated to the Government the fact that honorable members generally recognise, that the High Commissioner Bill should be passed without delay. We have from time to time discussed the question of advertising in the Old World, and a great deal of information on the subject has been collected, so that it cannot be said that the delay in taking proper steps to make known our resources there has been due to a failure on the part of the House to recognise the urgent necessity of attracting suitable immigrants. When last year’s Estimates were under consideration the honorable member for Parramatta pointed out that the population of Australia was increasing by only about 2 per cent, per annum, and that if the population of Asia continued to increase by about 1 per cent, we should soon have not less than 1,800,000,000 Asiatics within a few days sail of the Commonwealth. At present about two-thirds of the world’s population is in Asia, within a few clays of the Australian coast, and the honorable member for Parramatta pointed out that at its present rate of increase that population would double itself in something like sixty years. I agree with the honorable member for “South Sydney, that the question of immigration is inextricably interwoven with that “of land settlement. We cannot afford to ignore that fact; and if the Commonwealth Parliament is really anxious to people the great empty spaces of Australia it can do a’ great deal not only by advertising our resources abroad, but by making some provision for those who come here. Some of the northern States of Australia are, I understand, already making land available for immigrants; and, in this connexion, I see no reason why the Commonwealth should not have taken over the Northern Territory before now. I was in that part of Australia about eighteen months ago; and I am satisfied that there is room for millions of people, if proper public works are undertaken.
Colonel Foxton. - What would the people do there?
– They would -enter into different classes of agriculture.
Colonel Foxton. - I should be sorry for them !
– It is extraordinary that India, with something like one- third of the area of Australia, carries a population of 300,000,000, although the rainfall for the most part is very scanty.
– Is the honorable member in favour of introducing an Indian population into Australia?
– I am not.
– Indians can live where white men cannot.
– There has been no proof, so far, that, under proper sanitary and other safeguards, the white man is not able to live in any part of the world where a coloured man can live. In India, at the present time, there are something like 53,000,000 acres of irrigated land, which carry about two-thirds of the population.
– Would it not pay better to have the irrigated lands on the Murray ?
– I admit that that is where irrigation should be. tried first; but, while the Commonwealth has control over the rivers, so far as navigation is concerned, it has no control over the lands.
Colonel Foxton. - We have not the Himalayas.
– Quite so; but, at the same time, we are not making proper use of the lands we have along the Murray. I submit that an opportunity is now presented of making a start in the way of bringing people from the Old Country, and settling them in the Northern Territory. The Commonwealth has control over the navigation of the Murray and other large rivers in the eastern States; and, according to one engineering authority, there are about 50,000,000 acres,; which, with sufficient water supply, could be successfully settled and irrigated. It is the duty of this Parliament to see whether, under the powers of sections 98 and 100 of the Constitution, a report cannot be procured as to the expediency and practicability of making these waters available for irrigation.
– There is already in existence an excellent report in regard to the Murray, and also as to the locking of the Darling.
– But Ave require something more comprehensive and up to date from an irrigation stand-point. There is at present an official in Victoria who, if he were assigned the duty, along with, perhaps, engineers from New South Wales and South Australia, could submit a comprehensive report on the whole question of our taking over the large inland rivers for navigation purposes. I admit that the fees from- the navigation control would not recompense the Government for the expenditure, but the utilization of the waters for irrigation would bring wealth to Australia. If we have to wait until such time as this question can be tackled as one of national policy we shall have to wait for a long period. There have been attempts by the States to arrive at some kind of agreement, but they have failed during the last few years.
– Does the honorable member not think that South Australia is asking too much?
– That is a State matter, which I do not care to discuss. I am satisfied that if we, as a Parliament, have the rights - and I believe we have - to cope with this great national question, we ought to take some steps to prevent this waste of water, representing millions and tens of millions of wealth.
– Surely the honorable member does not wish the Commonwealth to take this matter in hand? If the States cannot agree amongst themselves, how can we step in ?
– We can step in under sections 98 and 100 of the Constitution, which, after full and exhaustive discussion, gave the Commonwealth full powers over the navigation of the rivers.
– That would have been done, but for the jealousy of the honorable member’s own State.
– I am not talking in the interests of any particular State, but in the interests of Australia; and I think we ought to have some scheme for the locking of the rivers. To return to the question of immigration, I find that, as far back as September, 1905, Mr. Coghlan, the eminent statistician, who is now, I understand. Agent-General for New South Wales, issued an able and comprehensive report, in which he showed that the disadvantageous position of Australia was partly due to distance from the Old World, and partly to ignorance of our resources, and misrepresentation by the London press. That ignorance and misrepresentation, Mr. Coghlan said, it was impossible to combat under existing conditions, and he contrasted the loyalty of the Canadian representatives in London with the disloyalty of some of those from Australia, who ought to have had more to say for the country that had served them so well. The pre-eminent position of Canada, Mr. Coghlan pointed out, was largely due to the fact that there is one great central power in the person of the High Commissioner as regards the matter of advertising the Dominion.
Under the Canadian system, the High Commissioner is the directing force. He has received the hearty support of the provinces, which have contributed large sums for the advertising of their resources, and the co-operation of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Being looked upon as the representative of the Dominion, he has not aroused provincial jealousies, and, as the result, hundreds of thousands of valuable immigrants have gone to Canada.
– It is a pity that that immigration was overdone.
– That has been sufficiently explained by Lord Strathcona, who says that those unable to find work have been mostly persons sent out by charitable institutions, unfitted to cope with the conditions which prevail. Mr. Coghlan also pointed out that the Canadian exhibits always make a respectable show at fairs and exhibitions in London and large provincial centres, because they are classed together as Canadian exhibits, and not as the separate exhibits of the various Canadian provinces.
Mr.Deakin. - At the Franco-British Exhibition, this year, Canada had one set of exhibits, while Australia was represented by the separate exhibits of the various States.
- Mr. Coghlan has stated, as the result of his observation at Home, and his knowledge of our resources, that if Australian exhibits were shown under one authority, they would make a finer display than those of any other part of the world. It has been said that the success of our immigration movement will depend upon the action that the States take in providing land for settlers. There is a great deal in that contention. We should be in a position to make known the fact that work and land will be found for those who come here. Land occupation is a matter which is controlled by the Governments of the States ; but we might have made more effort to induce them to fall into line with us, and could have done a good deal by appointinga Royal Commissioner, and providing alt machinery necessary for the proper advertisement of Australian resources.
– The late Government undertook to advertise, free of cost to the States, whatever land they would place at our disposal, and to ask Parliament to consider means for bringing immigrants here.
– But the States would not do anything.
– We must put our own House into order before blaming the States.
Colonel Foxton. - Queensland alone has done more than the Commonwealth to bring immigrants to Australia.
– According to Mr. Coghlan, those who went to Canada in the year in which immigration was the largest were chiefly farm labourers. The free land which is offered as an inducement for immigration is from 40 to 50 miles from a railway. He points out that, whereas in Canada the wages paid to a farm labourer vary from 14s. to 16s. a week, here they vary from 15s. to £1 a week.
– They are higher than that.
– What a farm labourer earns in Australia depends largely on his qualifications. Mr. Coghlan was writing in 1905. To show the result of systematic advertising, he points out that the immigrants to Canada, in 1897, numbered 21,000; in 1898, 31,000; in 1899, 44,000; in 1900, 48,000; in 1901, 49,000 ; in 1902, 67,000; in 1903, 128,000; in 1904, 130,000 ; and in 1905, 200,000. He says that if Australia opened up her lands, she could offer much larger inducements to immigration than Canada can give.
Colonel Foxton. - In Queensland 10,000,000 or 11,000,000 acres are awaiting selection.
– But no reasonable effort is being made to put men on the land.
Colonel Foxton. - Nonsense
– To show the value of immigration, Mr. Coghlan points out that it has been estimated that every immigrant to the Dominion brings on the average £100 in cash, and thus in 1905 the wealth of the country was directly augmented by ,£20,000,000. Moreover, economists say that every able-bodied man is worth at least £200 to a community before he commences to work. Thus immigration not only increases the population available for the consumption of local products and for defence, but also the number of workers, while it adds directly to the wealth of the nation by the money actually brought by the immigrants. In the light of these figures, what risk would we incur if we at once took over the Northern Territory, and liberally spent money on public works there? We have an opportunity thus to show our earnestness about making land available for immigration.
– Will land in the Northern Territory be as suitable for settlement as land in Canada?
Colonel Foxton. - No. It is chiefly gravel and desert.
– It would be much more suitable. In Canada, settlement has extended to districts where the ground, for three or four months in the year, is covered with snow ; but during my visit to the Northern Territory, I found that those who had been there longest had most to sa v in favour of the country. The late Prime Minister, commenting on Mr. Coghlan’s report, spoke of it as interesting, and likely to be practically useful ; but we are still awaiting the exemplification of the fact. He also spoke of the way in which Canada advertises its resources by the circulation of illustrated books and other means of information in the United States and Great Britain. He said that he was filled with admiration of the resource displayed by the Canadians in advertising a country which is not more worthy of advertisement than is Australia. Last year, £^20,000 was voted to advertise our resources, and only £3,900 was spent, and this year, although another £20,000 is asked for, the Minister of External Affairs says that not more than £10,000 will be spent.
– And the expenditure will delude people at Home.
– Honorable members opposite have not the courage to move a reduction of the vote.
– The insular, conservative policy of the Labour Party in respect to immigration will, if followed for a few years more, cause that party to disappear. The late Prime Minister, speaking in this Chamber in March last, said that the advertisement of Australia at Home was a great and ambitious enterprise, which, though costly, must be undertaken, unless we as a nation were to cease to be. He also said that next year lie would lay a scheme before Parliament, and hinted that if the Premiers of the States failed to come to an agreement with him, it might be necessary to appeal to the people for an amendment of the Constitution to enable us to give effect to a comprehensive immigration policy. What has been done? Our population between 1901 and 1905 increased by only 278,000 persons. As our progress is only at a snail’s pace, we must not be surprised if some day the nations who occupy territory close to our borders claim lands which we have proved ourselves incapable of developing. I hope that the Government will take notice of what is said on the subject, that a scheme will be. inaugurated’ for future development, and that the question of taking over the Northern Territory will be brought before the House for discussion at an early date. I hope the Minister will also take into consideration the question of placing before Parliament a full and comprehensive report as to the practicability of locking our great inland streams, as we are entitled to do by the Constitution, as an evidence that we desire to do our best to bring the land there under cultivation if the States themselves are paltering with the problem and failing to carry out their duty in that respect. I trust the Minister will give us information regarding the contribution towards the funds of the Antarctic expedition under Lieutenant Shackleton.
– That money has been spent. There is no such item this year.
– I know that the money has been spent, but will the Minister give us any later information respecting it that is available?
– In the item “ Advertising resources of the Commonwealth, £20,000 “ we have an instance of -
- ’ Will you walk into my parlour?” said the spider to the fly.
If any item should be wiped out, this is it. Last year £20,000 was voted for the purpose and only- a small portion was spent. We are assured that this year the Government will not be able to expend much more. The reason is that the Commonwealth Government is not really able to offer to the people of the Old World any share in the resources of the Commonwealth. This Parliament doe§ not control a single acre on which to place one immigrant. It has to depend on the States to carry any liberal land policy into effect and to place people upon the land. The evidence shows that it is useless to bring people out here not only in the numbers that we want, but even in the numbers that are offering. The exPrime Minister made strong efforts to in duce the Premiers of the States to come te* some arrangement by which the Commonwealth Government could assist the StatesGovernments to bring desirable people toAustralia, and not to land people here in* order still further to stagnate the labour markets in the cities. The honorable gentleman endeavoured to induce the StatesGovernments to open up ‘the land so that suitable immigrants could be settled on it. I admit that some of the States have tried’ to a certain extent to do so, but Victoria, if it made any attempt at all, did it to sosmall a degree that the effort was a lamentable failure. I believe Queensland hasbeen fairly successful in that direction, but there are more people in England anc? Scotland offering to come to Australia than Queensland could take.
Colonel Foxton. - Not more than wecould take, but more than the honorablemember’s party will allow to come.
– No one has been stopped’ from coming. The “ stinking fish “ party is lying about Australia all the time.
– The emigrationagencies in the Old Country are delusions and snares to the unfortunate people wholisten to them. That is so, even in regard to the agencies for the State of Queensland. I do not say that we have not thecountry to place the people upon, becausewe have it, if it were available. It is thefact that it is not available that I am grumbling at. It is a waste of money for the Commonwealth to take action in the direction of advertising the resources of Australia when it has not the land to offer and cannot get the co-operation of theStates. The States are willing to allowthe Commonwealth to spend money in advertising our resources if those resourcesare advertised in the particular way that the States want. But if the true state of affairs were placed before the people at Home, every State would raise the cry that, the Commonwealth was interfering in something with which it had no concern. Upto the present, practically every State hastold us that it does not want our interference. As matters stand, it is a piece of impudence on our part to tell the people of the Old Country that there are opportunities for them here when we have no opportunities to offer to them. If the Stateswould co-operate with the Commonwealth. Government in placing the true state of affairs before the people of the Old Country, instead of lying statements being circulated, the Commonwealth Government, hav- ing the supervision of the matter, and being able to speak on behalf of Australia, would insist on the advertisements conforming to the truth. But that is exactly what the immigration agents in the Old Country do not want. I desire to quote an extract from a well-written article from the special correspondent of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, published on Tuesday last. That is not a Labour paper, but a well-known Tory journal, which endeavours to rule the political destinies of New South Wales. The article, which is dated from London on 30th October Last, is as follows -
Briefly the position is that thousands of emigrants of the very best types are offering themselves to Australia, and Australia, as represented by its State agencies in London, does not want them. This year between 6,000 and 7,000 emigrants will be assisted by the various State Governments to proceed to the Commonwealth. This number could have been increased to 20,000 without any more expense in advertising, and without anyfalling off in the quality of the people sent. For every assisted passage there are dozens of applicants. When these are sorted out there are from three to six eligibles for every assisted passage.
Yet the Commonwealth Parliament is being asked to spend £20,000 for this purpose when thousands of desirable immigrants are already clamouring to come to Australia, and large numbers are being deluded to come here under State supervision. That statement can be proved, as I have had to bring before the House three cases of men who were lied to, and who came here thinking that they could obtain land. Two of them were mechanics, and the other an agriculturist. The article continues -
The Agent-General’s office says to them in effect, “ If you are a good, steady man, you will get permanent work at a good wage. If you prove a loafer, you will promptly get the sack, and we will not be responsible for what becomes of you. Everything depends upon yourself.”
That is a base calumny upon the men who are now out of work in Australia. In every State there are hundreds and thousands clamouring for work and unable to get it.
– It is their own fault.
– I am not surprised at the statement of the honorable member, in view of the district that he represents; but I can assure him that I know hundreds of honest working men in Melbourne and suburbs who are willing to take work and cannot get it.
– They will not leave the towns.
– Is it of any use to take a bricklayer, a carpenter, ironmoulder, tailor, butcher, or shoemaker from Melbourne, and place him on land at £42 an acre? Where is he to get the money to pay for it ? Or would the honorable member send him to the grass-tree lands of Victoria, at 10s. an acre, from which he could not get any return for some years? Yet’ we are told that these men are loafers, and that that is why they get the sack. Such a statement is unfair. I know that honorable members opposite do not believe it, even when they say it. They are only making the statement for party purposes. The writer adds -
Scotland is proving the best hunting ground, and the four agents across the border are making good money.
Those are the agents who are deluding people to come here under false pretences.
– Whose agents are they?
– The agents of the States, who are deluding people to come to Australia to still further swell the ranks of the unemployed. Those people are told that they can get work as domestic servants or agricultural labourers or may go upon the land, and we are asked to vote another £20,000 to still further encourage this delusion and snare. I believe the late Government meant well when they placed this vote upon the Estimates, feeling that it was demanded of them to attempt to do something; but they found they) were working on sterile ground, and I am surprised at the present Government perpetuating the thing. We are told, as a sort of sop in order that we may let the item pass, that the money will not be spent. Last year it was found impossible to spend more than one-seventh of it, and this year possibly not one-half of it will be used. What is the use of passing the item when we know that the money will not be expended.
Colonel Foxton. - Who is decrying Australia now?
– I am not. I am decrying the system which exists in Australia, and decrying the leaders of the States Governments who have charge of the country’s affairs. Some of them are, perhaps, trying to do their best, but we know what the States Governments generally are. It is only in view of the relationship between the States and Federal Governments in this matter that I object to the placing of this money upon the Estimates. I believe there is no better country in the worldthan Australia. Almost every known agricultural product can be cultivated here with success, and we have almost every mineral in the world.
– Does the honorable . member think that we have all the people that Australia can carry?
– I believe that Australia could carty 200,000,000 people. Victoria, with its population of 1,250,000. has not one-tenth of the number that it ought to have.
– Would the honorable member put them all on the land?
– It is evident that at present too large a proportion of our population is living in our cities. If the agricultural districts of Victoria were worked as they ought to be, there would be ample room for thousands more than are at present to be found there. It is only recently that many of the men in the honorable member’s own electorate have had an opportunity to get on the land. The point that I wish to make, however, is that it is idle to endeavour to attract to Australia men who have no money to spend. Agricultural labourers from the Old Country need money to enable them to settle here. The Commonwealth has no land to offer them, and honorable members know what steps I would take to make large areas available for settlement. The Sydney Daily Telegraph, which publishes an article in favour of immigration, conclusively proves, by the publication of a letter from its own correspondent, that there are in Great Brittain thousands clamouring to come to Australia, and yet we are asked to spend £20,000 per annum there in advertising our resources. A few clays since, a recent arrival from the Old Country endeavoured in his own clumsy way to demand from the State Government the work which he said he was promised when he left England for Australia. He was only laughed at for his pains ; but he succeeded in ventilating his grievance in the press. His case is only one of many. Honorable members know that the statements in the letter in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, of the 1st instant, to which I have referred, are correct; and I ask them whether they think that the Commonwealth, which has no land to offer immigrants, should expend £20,000 in this way. We have endeavoured to find more work for the people already here by means of the new Tariff, but we still have a large number of unemployed. It is’ foolish to continue to pass votes for advertising our re sources in the Old Land’ when we know” that the Commonwealth itself cannot find! avenues of employment for any who may be attracted in this way to our shores. The Minister of External Affairs has admitted that the whole of this proposed vote cannot be expended this year; and since the States themselves do not wish us to expend it, in order to assist them, he might well withdraw the item until the Commonwealth Parliament has some better means of developing the resources of Australia in this way. By advertising in the Old Country, the Commonwealth is simply assisting the States, and deluding the peopleat Home.
.- I am gladthat the honorable member for MelbournePorts, towards the close of his remarks,, seemed to exhibit once more that confident spirit which he displayed throughout thediscussion of the Tariff. It was rather depressing to honorable members, after the.stimulating temper of the speech made bv the honorable member for Wimmera, tolisten to the remarks of that archprotectionist, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who seemed to think that theonly necromancy required to enable us toimmediately obtain our full production out of the land was the Tariff, and to hear him, perhaps unintentionally, disparaging thepossibilities of Australia and our capacity < to receive a few thousand immigrants. Apparently, however, the honorable member did not mean what his words suggested.
– He did not disparage the possibilities of Australia.
– I am as much entitled, as is the honorable member to draw deductions from the remarks made bv the honorable Member for Melbourne Ports, and I say that the impression left on my mind by his opening statements wasthat he mistook a passing phase - the present dislocation of labour, whichwould be just as apparent with a population of 40,000,000 as it is with a population of 4,000,000 - for evidence of incapacity on the part oi Australia to receive a few additional immigrants. .1 am sorry that he should think that, because.; ne , of the phenomena of our prosperity is that 3 good many of our unemployed are to be found in the cities of the Commonwealth, our response to the cry of immigration therefore should not be as great as some consider it ought to be. I agree with’ the honorable member that the proposed vote of £20,000 will do very little at pre- sent to encourage immigration. It is not the advertising of her resources that has caused so many immigrants to go to Canada during the last six or seven years, nor do I think that the Commonwealth is likely to gain much from the somewhat showmanlike methods of advertising which Canada has adopted in England.
– It needs to be backed up by legislation.
– It must be backed up by an absence of legislation of the character of some that we have recently passed. It must be backed up by expressions of confidence in Australia, which have become rather rare in this House; and it must also be backed up by a judicial reticence .regard.ing the alleged designs of other nations to settle Australia, because it is not settled as it ought to be.
– Does the honorable member mean that we should repeal the Immigration Restriction Act?
– No; but I have heard attempts made in this House to justify an alleged design on the part of Japan - a design which probably does not exist - to consider the possibility of settling Australia for us. The honorable member for Wimmera referred to that point this afternoon, and urged that, owing to the lack of expedition displayed by us in developing our own resources, other nations might feel justified in turning their attention to settlement on our shores, and to forcibly finding an outlet for their population here. I would remind honorable members that fifty years ago, England was not very thickly populated, and that going back another 100 years we find that it was then by comparison but sparsely populated. When Froude wrote one of his chapters extolling the prosperity of the English beef-fed labourer, the population of the agricultural districts of England comprised only a few millions. Still, no one would say that the measure of agricultural development in England had then been reached. I therefore think that we ought not to be pessimistic or depressed by the fact that in what is practically the first fifty years of our real development our population has not exceeded 4,000,000. We have marvellous powers of recuperation. Between 1902 and 1904 we had practically drought years, and although our exports and imports then fell away to a value of something like £90,000,000 per annum, they have practically increased 50 per cent, within the last two or three years. I think that our imports and’ exports last year represented a value of £130,000,000 - a volume of business indicative of a prosperity which had not been previously reached, and which has not been exceeded by Canada.
– Nor by any other country with a like population.
– The prosperity of Canada has been vaunted to the disadvantage of Australia, but it is not the theatrical advertising to which Canada has resorted that has caused a stream of immigration to turn towards her shores. Immigration to Canada has really been due to the fact that the western portion of that country has during the last five years been thrown open for settlement. Mr. Coghlan, in the report to which the honorable member for Wimmera has referred, points out that during the three years ending, I think, in 1907, no less than 13,000,000 acres in Canada were taken up by over 80,000 settlers or actually more than the whole settlement of a similar class in Australia at that date. It is the opening up of these lands that has turned the tide of immigration towards Canada. That emigration has !not necessarily been from the Old Country. Many thousands have gone there from the United States, finding that the conditions of settlement are far more tempting than are those in the adjoining States of the great Union. There is another reason why immigrants are perhaps not coming to our shores as freely as we would desire. A good deal has been said about our isolated position. It is said that we are practically on the outskirts of that portion of the world in which the prowess of the western nations would give us immunity from attack, and if such statements are repeated again and again, they may affect emigration to Australia. Then, again, the class of men who would provide emigrants to Australia does not exist in England as it did thirty or forty years ago. The last census returns show that out of a total population of 42,000,000, only about 9,000,000 were residing outside the cities of England. That population of 9,000,000 provides the men of the class that we desire as immigrants, and fifty or sixty years ago it was, proportionately, nearly double that number. The parents of children who will now emigrate to Australia are to be found in the cities of the Old Country. They constitute a class that is gradually becoming effete ; a class that we do not want here.
The encouragement of their emigration to Australia is condemned, if I remember rightly, by Mr. Coghlan in his report for 1905-6. Reports as to New South Wales published a few years ago in the Times also pointed out that the class that the colonies desire does not exist to anything like the extent that it is believed to exist. In view of these facts, we can well understand why our population is not being augmented by a stream of immigrants. At the same time, I do not say that immigration can do much for any country. We could not induce many immigrants to come here even if we could at once settle them on the land. No matter what our untouched resources mav be, we cannot hope to obtain them except at very great cost. We have now four States with policies of assisted immigration.
– The honorable member includes Victoria?
– I do. In various ways these four States have assisted immigrants to Australia. Western Australia, for instance, pays a portion of their passage money, and when they land, takes charge of them, and advances them sums ranging from £25 to £500 in individual cases. In that way, it has incurred an outlay in connexion with its Agricultural Settlement Acts which, up to the middle of last year, amounted to about £791,000. Four out of the six States have already engaged in a policy which honorable members say will produce a revolution in our industrial conditions. If it will, why has it not done so? I might remind the House that for many years Western Australia and Queensland had an independent policy of immigration.
– They have now.
– I am referring to a policy .different from that to which I have already drawn attention. They paid from £5 to £11 in respect of the passage money of every immigrant. Some years ago statistics were published showing that in ten years the total addition to our population by means of immigration was less than 50,000; and we cannot expect much increase, even by the expenditure of .£5 or £10 a head.
– The Queensland Government pay the whole cost, while the New South Wales. Government and the Western Australian Government pay £5 a head.
– That supports my position. We must not get an exaggerated notion of the stimulus to prosperity which might arise from an exorbitant outlay on immigration. No matter how fertile the country, or how genial the climate, we cannot absorb people, except at a certain rate, because, apparently, the conditions of development forbid it.
– No one is advocating exorbitant expenditure.
– I think I heard the honorable member for Flinders speak of an expenditure of £100,000 ; and we have, time after time, on the platform and at Premiers’ Conferences, heard a lot of cant about the marvellous power of immigration to develop our resources. All I say is that assisted immigration can never be the great success that some people say; though it -may aid development, it cannot completely transform the country in a year or two. If 50,000 people were landed on our shores to-morrow, ito matter what their capacity, we could not immediately absorb them in productive lines. There is a lot of talk about the value of each man who is landed on our shores, apparently without regard to whether his head is full or empty - whether he be a politician or a worker. I ought, perhaps, to have put that the other way about.
– The honorable member is an extraordinary combination of both.
– No matter what a man’s capacity may be, he is not worth much to the country unless he is in a position to apply his labour productively. If the mere totting up of heads indicated prosperity, then China, who has been asleep for 2,000 years, ought to be one of the richest countries, and England, with a population of only 42,000,000, but with a trade running into 1,100 millions of pounds, ought to be one of the poorest. As a matter of fact, we know that England has applied intelligence, capital, and, of course, labour as a first condition, with excellent results. I do not like to take a depressing view of the effect of immigration. I merely urge that we should not rely too much on that policy, and pass such a vote as might lead us to adopt the theatrical methods of Canada. At the same time, we are somewhat behind the Old Country in the instrumentalities of industrial development. I occasionally read the report of what is done in Great Britain and Ireland ; and I find that even Ireland, which has been somewhat backward of recent years, is far in advance of Australia in voluntary cooperation in the development of local production and of outside markets. There is State aid in Ireland in these directions, and that country is, as I indicate, far before us in the way of agricultural colleges, lectureships, and the teaching of the people, not
Only through the Government, but through voluntary associations. I hope that the new Ministry, with the opportunity they will have during the recess - if they reach it - will look into this question, and see whether this £20,000 cannot be applied with better results than have obtained in the past. A great deal could be done by placing the real position of Australia before the British public, and imbuing them with the confidence that inspires us as public men. Our political institutions ought to be dwelt on, because they are in comparatively excellent working as contrasted with similar institutions in other countries. Attention might also be directed to the peculiarities of our climate, our marvellous powers of recuperation, and the virility which inspires our youth, who look rather to the future than to the past. Even through an exalted dignitary like the High Commissioner, these facts could be with advantage placed before the British public, and would have much more force than if communicated by the somewhat mercenary mouths of theatrical paid agents.
– I intend to oppose this vote of £20,000 for advertising the resources of Australia unless the Government give some assurance that they will make available to immigrants those resources. While I agree with the honorable member for Angas as to the possibilities of Australia, I disagree with him in his view of immigration. We can absorb millions quite as rapidly as Canada has done; but, in so far as this ill-advised and ill-regulated immigration has been conducted in the various States, it has resulted simply in the flooding of the labour market. It has come under my own personal notice that immigrants have been encouraged to come here for whom no openings are presented when they arrive. At the present time, I am endeavouring to secure for an able and fairly well educated man, who was induced to come to New South Wales by an irresponsible immigration agent, a position on the tramways in South Australia. He is a skilled tramway driver, and is not qualified to immediately go on the land ; and yet such men are brought out indiscriminately without due regard for the occupations for which they are fitted. Then in a town in my own electorate an immigrant labourer sued his employer for six weeks’ wages at 10s. a week ; and it appeared that the immigrant, who had tramped up country looking for work, had been engaged at 2s. a week. The magistrate gave a verdict in favour of the employer, although the plaintiff was an able-bodied English farm labourer. Such a case is an outrage on the decency of this community, and I am strongly opposed to the continuance of indiscriminate immigration. I cannot understand the attitude of the late Government, seeing that the control of immigration rests entirely with the Commonwealth. The power seems to have been relegated to the States, which, apparently, are dominated by no desire but to furnish a certain class of the community with cheap labour. Recently, I saw a large printed placard from England, headed, “Wanted, 4,000 farm hands for Australia.” Such an announcement is a reflection on the Central Government, because, if such a number of farm hands were to come, they would starve before the crops were ready, even if then there was a demand for them. Unless the Government will show that, by the imposition of a heavy progressive land tax they propose to open up the lands - or else stipulate that no one who has not £500 shall be acceptable, or if they do not, out of Government funds, finance immigrants who come, I must oppose any further expenditure on immigration.
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [4.5]. - I am in favour of advertising Australia in the Old Country, and I am somewhat surprised at the two speeches we have heard from honorable members behind the Government. This vote has been denounced, in unmeasured terms, but none of thesehonorable members concluded his remarksby moving a reduction.
– Surely the honorable member does not think we are sparrows to becaught with chaff?
Colonel FOXTON.- The Minister last night told us that it would be impossibleto spend perhaps more than £10,000 of this vote ; and I should have thought thatthe two honorable members who havevociferously denounced the item, would have had the courage of their opinions. However, I shall relieve them of the odium of submitting such a proposal, and give them an opportunity of demonstrating their consistency, by moving -
That the item, “ Advertising resources of Commonwealth, ^20,000, “ be reduced by £10,000.
Mr. THOMAS BROWN (Calare) [4.8’j. - The honorable member for Brisbane is very much concerned about honorable members on this side, and desirous of giving them an opportunity, not only to express 511 opinion, but to give a vote on this item. The honorable member suggests inconsistency because honorable members who preceded him took exception to the conditions under which immigrants are brought here - to the absence of provision for them when they arrive. There is a great difference between a desire to discourage immigration, and a desire to make proper provision for immigrants. I do not think there is any man on this side who is opposed to immigration. We have a large empty territory j and while it remains empty, there is always the danger of invasion and trouble from outside. The comparatively small number of people here have to bear the whole cost of developing this immense territory ; and we ‘know that an increase in their numbers would divide the burden to the advantage, not only of the people here, but of the people in the Old Country who are desirous of becoming citizens of the Commonwealth. What we on this side wish is that Australia should be properly advertised. We desire a ‘system of immigration which will settle our territory, develop our resources, and reduce the individual burden in the new nation we are forming. Whilst there is perhaps a general agreement as to the need for immigration, there is wide divergence of opinion as to the character of the immigrants needed. There are some who wish to see brought out to Australia working people who will congest the labour market to such a degree as to considerably reduce wages.
– No one has spoken about reducing wages.
Colonel Foxton. - Wages were never so high in Queensland as when we were getting 1 .000 immigrants a month.
– I leave it to Queensland representatives to reply to the honorable member’s statement; but I would remind the honorable member for Robertson of a circular issued by the Pastoralists’ Association of New South Wales not long since, and recorded in Hansard, which practically directed its members to curtail employment as much as possible in order to bring down the rates for shearing.
– The rates for shearing have gone up.
– That is because of a decision of the Commonwealth
Arbitration Court. The circular referred to was issued prior to that decision, at a time when there was a dispute between the Bush Workers and the Pastoralists’ Union.
– Shearers who are not unionists receive more than is paid to unionists.
– Many of my friends, the free selectors, have always given more for shearing than has been given by the large pastoralists. I refer to this matter to show that there are those who cry out for immigration, not because they desire the development of our resources by the settlement of the country, but so that they may obtain labour at lower rates. The members of the Labour Party desire to encourage the immigration of those who will assist in the development of our resources without congesting the labour market. But it has bean attempted to attach to us the stigma that we are opposed to immigration because of wishing to corner the labour market. We differ in our views of this question, I shall not say from honorable members opposite, but from a number of persons outside. The Commonwealth, by voting sums of money to assist immigration, may bring here the scum, the ne’er-do-wells, and the poor and the miserable of the Old Country. Those are not the immigrants who will assist the country to progress and prosper. At present, we cannot retain our native born; the sons of Australia, possessing grit and determination, are going elsewhere.
– Are many young men leaving Australia?
– Yes, and they have been doing so for several years past.
– Whither are they going?
– Many have gone to New Zealand.
– The balance of emigration and immigration between the Commonwealth and New Zealand is in our favour.
– During the first five years of Federation, our immigrants exceeded our emigrants by only 6,000 or 8,000 persons, while in New Zealand the excess was about 48,000 persons, of whom a great number had come from Australia. Farmers in my district have gone to Canada to seek for an opening.
Colonel Foxton. - And have returned to Australia.
– As evidence that the position is as I am stating it, let me show what happens in New South Wales, when Government land is offered for selection by ballot under any reasonable conditions.
– More land should be made available.
– -That is what the people of the State say. There is not now sufficient land available. Men waste their energies in trying to find land on which to make homes for themselves, notwithstanding that we have practically an empty continent. The speculator and monopolist have gone on ahead, and settlers are deprived of the opportunity to get decent land. My electorateis part of the great wheat belt in the centre of New South Wales, but, according to the Sydney Morning Herald of 13th June last, when 20,000 acres were made available in the Barmedman district, in twenty-two blocks, of which fourteen were offered as conditional purchase leased areas, and six as homestead selections, there were 195 applicants.
-No doubt each applicant applied for every one of the blocks offered.
– Not in this case. The tenure mentioned is a new tenure, not the right oflease attached to the ordinary conditional purchase. The deposits lodged in connexion with these applications amounted to £3,750.At Dubbo, in the Darling electorate, nine blocks were offered as conditional purchase leases, for which there were 284 applicants, and 302 applicants for eighteen settlement lease blocks.
– Does the honorable member say that there were no “ repeats,” that men did not put in applications for more than one block?
– I do not say that; but I do contend that there is not nearly enough land available to meet the demand. At Narrabri, there were seventy- eight applicants for a conditional lease, and fifty for a settlement lease. On 22nd October last, the Sydney Morning Herald had a paragraph headed -
1,200 Applicants for 8 Blocks. £12,500 Deposited.
– In New SouthWales, thousands of young men have vainly striven to make homes for themselves, and numbers are going to New Zealand, Queensland, and elsewhere, in the hope of getting land. Then, in Victoria, according to the Age of this morning -
For years our farmers’ sons, unable to obtain land here at a reasonable price, have been pouring out of the State in an unceasing stream. The exodus has not only diminished, but seriously vitiated our population. Five years ago we possessed more men than women, we had only a reasonable proportion of aged people, and we had more wage earners and fewer dependents than any other State.
Our population is vitiated and stagnant, immigration has ceased, the farming exodus proceeds unchecked, land stands at a prohibitive price, much of the most fertile portion of the State is an unpeopled wilderness, industrial enterprise of every sort is decadent, and unemployment is rife in our midst.
Yet we are asked to spend large sums of money in bringing out immigrants who will repeat the experiences so graphically described. We should be honest in the matter. I had the privilege of listening to one of the latest addresses delivered by Lord Northcote in the Commonwealth. He dealt with this question at Young, pointing1 out that if the people of Australia wanted immigration they must make the conditions suitable for the immigrants that came here. He referred to the large areas of valuable land locked up in big holdings, to which access could not be obtained under reasonable conditions, and said that if immigration were desired, something should be done to make the land available. He told the people - and this impressed itself very strongly on my mind - that the best advertisement the Commonwealth could have would be for the immigrants who came here to be satisfied, and themselves to become, as it were, immigration agents by writing to their friends in the Old World and recommending that they also should come to Australia. He added that the worst thing the Commonwealth could do was to dump immigrants down to starve. The honorable member for Macquarie gives an instance of how immigrants are treated in his electorate, where a man was expected to work for 2s. a week; and that is not an isolated instance. Whilst the opportunities of getting upon the land are so restricted, and whilst we have disgraceful sweating conditions in our factories and shops, we are not in a position to invite desirable immigrants to come here. We should see to our internal affairs, and make the conditions such that we can retain our nativeborn. Then we can hope to secure immigration. Under present conditions, I fail to see that we shall get the right class of immigrants; although we might get a lot of scum and riff-raff to come out by paying their way for them ; but that is not the kind of people that we want. While I desire to see Australia! advertised, and the right kind of people coming here, I will not lend myself to presenting our conditions in the glowing language which the pro-immigrants often put before the British public. If we want to serve the Commonwealth well, our duty is to put down sweating, and open out our great estates. When we have done that, we shall have no cause for complaint on the score of immigration or the necessity for increased population.
.- The idea appears to prevail in the Committee that the item of £20,000 for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth is intended only for the purpose of inducing working people to come to Australia. There should be a great deal more in it than that. We do want certain classes of workmen, but I agree with those honorable members who object to bringing them here without a reasonable prospect of their being absorbed in the labour market. There is, however, a big work to be done in quite a different sort of advertisement. We should advertise the resources of Australia with a view to encouraging capital to come here. An appeal could be made to quite another class of the British population by advertising the trade returns of Australia, its productiveness, and so on. Those figures would show people with capital what can be done here, and how much better returns and freer openings for their capital are possible in Australia than elsewhere. To look at the matter simply from the point of view of inducing the poorer section of the community to emigrate to Australia, is to take altogether too narrow a view. From what I have heard of the cost of the advertisement in the Standard, advertising appears to be fairly expensive. At that rate, we could spend £20,000 without much trouble, and from that point of view it does not seem to be an unduly large amount. If we can only bring more capital to the country, to be spent in opening up our resources, it will make work for the men whom we desire to see here for defence and other purposes. The honorable mem ber for Calare referred to our young men going to New Zealand. On the 25th March last, I quoted some figures on that subject, handed to me while I was speaking by the honorable member for North Sydney. They showed that in 1906 when we were just beginning to get over our terrible drought, 22^98 people came from New Zealand, and 22,426 left for New Zealand, a balance in favour of the Dominion of about 220. In 1907, however, the arrivals from New Zealand were 27,425. and the departures for New Zealand 24,292, showing a balance In favour of the Commonwealth of over 3,000. I think the honorable member for Calare quoted the years from the beginning of Federation, but the years, from 1900 to about 1904 were, a time of the greatest depression in Australia, and a number of people left the country to seek openingselsewhere. Since then we have had an exceedingly good time, and the turn of the tide is shown by the figures for 1907 , which I have just quoted. You, Mr. Chairman, yesterday asked a question in regard to some men who were being brought out by Mr. Kidston, the Premier of Queensland, under contract. I take no exception to the form of the question. The Minister of External Affairs, in his answer, was evidently fully seized of the facts relating to the matter of wages, as he showed that the special award secured by the shearers did not affect the general wages of ordinary station hands. He indicated that the men who were being brought out under contract could not be employee? at the wages mentioned - 20s. per week and keep - at any work connected with the shearing sheds.
– That is so.
– As to the general question of whether the wages offered are sufficient or not, while 20s. per week may be stated to be the average wage on the coast, it is not the average in the inland centres. I believe that there the average wage isfrom 24s. to 25s. per week, while at timesit goes up to 30s., according to the work which the men have to do. But that work is more or less casual. The men are liableto be dismissed at any time. In any case, they are experts, such as stockriders, and’ well acquainted with the country. If the honorable member for Maranoa, for instance, had come out in the early dayswith an assured job for twelve months at 20s. a week and tucker, he would have felt more happy than he did when he had to take the chance of any employment that he could find.
– I should have snapped it. Mr. ARCHER. - Therefore, putting on one side the question of whether there is or is not room in Australia for more men, I contend that it is a fair thing for raw hands from the Old Country to be brought here with a steady job at 20s. a week and all found ahead of them. Those are men who as agricultural labourers in the Old Country are accustomed to work for from 12s. to 15s. a week and nothing found. I know that in the Old Country the wages for agricultural labourers used to be as low as 12s. a week, sometimes with a cottage and sometimes without. On that wage a man had to keep a family, and the poor wretches often did not get meat twice a week. If there is room for these menin Australia, and we can bring them out with an assured job at 20s. a week and tucker, so that at the end of twelve months they will be efficient workers, acclimatized, and on a sound footing, that is the very best way that we can start our immigration policy. I quite agree that to bring out raw hands from all sorts of trades with the idea of dumping them on the land to make a living is sheer cruelty. They will simply starve. I am certain that there is room to absorb workers in Queensland. In the Parliament of that State recently the returns of the Government Labour Bureaux were quoted. They showed that every class of labour applying to the bureaux for work was being absorbed. Certain honorable members stated that a great number of men would not go near the bureaux, and that therefore the figures were not to be relied upon ; but if people will not go to the bureaux the inference is that they can do better without them-.
– It is the case everywhere that they will not go to the bureaux, because they get no results from them.
– The actual figures, which appear in the Queensland Hansard, show that in every class of work the men who applied found employment. As to the question of the land notbeing available even if it were available, as I understand it is in certain parts of the Commonwealth, the workers that we are bringing out could not go on to it straightaway. It is undoubtedly a fact that plenty of land can be secured in Queensland. I can only speak of the State that I know. It is a very noticeable feature of this Parliament that each member speaks only of the country with which he is acquainted. The great complaint of the Victorian members, for instance, is that land is not available. We know that Victoria is to a certain extent congested, owing to the large areas held under freehold, but statements made in this House, based on the state of affairs in Victoria, should not be published to the world as applying to the whole of Australia. In Queensland there is any amount of land readily available, and the quantity will be continually increased. Right up the coast, where the greatest opportunities for settlement exist, there is any amount of land that only wants opening up by means of roads and railways, and that is entirely suitable for closer settlement. It is certainly held at present under some form of tenure. In many cases it is held only under occupation licences pending the making of railways, but in others, the coastal leases have anything from a few years up to twelve’ or fifteen years to run The Queensland Government are meeting the situation as rapidly as possible. They are undoubtedly entering upon a very big policy of railway construction. The last two Parliaments have agreed to the construction of something like 500 miles of railway, and that policy is being continued. It is because of the enormous work which confronts them in the development of the State - a work which they are eager to tackle - that the people of Queensland show some anxiety as to the outcome of the negotiations in regard to the financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States.
– Mr. Kidston would not be satisfied if he got the lot.
– I hope that an amicable settlement will be arrived at. That, however, is not a matter with which I now desire to deal. To show that land is available in Queensland, and is being taken up, I should like to requote some figures which I recently put before the House as to the area taken up in that State during the week ended 24th October last. The return shows that during that week there were taken up two grazing selections comprising 20,000 acres, fortyeight agricultural selections, embracing 16,138 acres, and thirty-three prickly pear selections containing 52,720 acres, or a total of 88,858 acres. With the exception of the two grazing areas the land so taken up consisted of small blocks. The grazing areas were probably sheep selections in the western part of the State.
– How many people were settled on the land as the result of that selection?
– That is not shown by the return. Altogether eighty-three blocks were taken up.
– Did they carry residence?
– The grazing selections would not necessarily do so; but-
– Those who desire to take up land as residential selections are giver, the preference.
– That is so. The man who applies for land under the homestead provision of the Act receives a preference over the man who desires it as a grazing selection. The honorable member for Maranoa is more conversant than I am with the western selections, but I think he will confirm my statement that in the vast majority of cases those who take up gracing areas live ora them.
– That is so.
– I sincerely trust that the Commonwealth Government will throw no obstacle in the way of the introduction of men under a system of secured employment, so long as the wages to be paid are fair and reasonable. I have no more desire than you have, Mr. Chairman, to see mcn brought here under engagement to work for low wages. The average wage in the western part of Queensland is from 14s. to 30s. per week, with rations, according to the efficiency of the worker. That rote does not necessarily apply to permanent employment, and in the circumstances I do not think that young men who are brought out from the Old Country, and secure steady work at 20s. a week and tucker, can complain1 that they are unfairly treated. I sincerely hope that the Government will do nothing to stop so desirable a form of settlement. We shall, of course, always have men out of work. When, for instance, industrial metals were of very high value, it was almost impossible in Queensland to obtain men willing to enter into contracts for fencing, damsinking, and other station work. Many men found Hint they could make a very good living out of their wolfram and other metal shows, but as soon as the metal market fell they were “ frozen out,” so to speak, and naturally came on the labour market. It is impossible to avoid such occurrences, and to point to the fact that there are many unemployed is not toadvance oil unanswerable argument against immigration. If it could be shown that we had all over Australia a vast body of men seeking employment, and that, notwithstanding that proper steps were being, taken to bring employers and employestogether, work could not be found for these men, that would certainly be an unanswerable argument against the policy. But such a state of affairs does not exist in Queensland. As to the Commonwealthcooperating with the States, with a view to encourage immigration, it seems to mp that it would be undesirable to vest in the Commonwealth Parliament alone the control of immigration. After listening to this debate, honorable members must recognise that there are many reasons why that should not be done. Every honorable member’s view of this question is undoubtedly coloured by his immediate surroundings; and it is almost impossible for him to take a view embracing the whole of Australia. The Commonwealth can certainly do a great deal in the way of advertising our resources, but it seems to me that to the States themselves might well be left the work of bringing out immigrants. The States Governments know what scope they have for them, and what they have to offer. That being so, I think it would be well to allow them to deal with that part of the work, the Commonwealth undertaking the duty of advertising in a big way the resources of Australia. The Commonwealth should endeavour to attract men with capital to our shores, by showing that there axe here ample opportunities for the profitable investment of their money. In that way we may forward this movement, and so assist the development of Australia as 10 enable it to find employment for all the labour we can obtain. That is an object that the Commonwealth might very well do its best to achieve.
– I intend to support the Government proposals, but I trust that they will see that the money we are voting for advertising the resources of Australia is spent in s. more practical and sensible way than it has been in some cases. I entirely object, for one thing, to the advertising contract entered into willi a London newspaper, which is almost unknown in the provinces of the Old Land - a newspaper that circulates,. I may say, exclusively amongst that class of peoplethat we do not desire in Austrafia. Then, again, I do not think it is advantageous to Australia , to have the money spent on a gorgeous office in London, with flaring electric lights and exhibiting views of the Blue Mountains, Sydney Harbor, and other Australian scenery. That may attract the casual immigrant. It may even have some fascination for that unfortunate class of immigrant of whom we get too many in Australia - the ne’er-do-well who, receiving a hint from his friends that he had better clear out, is naturally attracted by the possibility of a life of ease and indolence under our beautiful southern skies, and amid such magnificent scenery as the photographs frequently reveal to him. This particular phase of immigration deserves the serious consideration of the Parliament. Scarcely a ship comes to Australia that does not carry one or two of these unfortunate in-. dividuals, who have always been a curse to. themselves, and to every one else who has had the misfortune to be associated with them. Australia, in fact, is regarded in the Old Country very largely as a dumping ground for its objectionable individuals. It would be wise indeed if in our immigration legislation we took cognisance of this class of immigrant, with a view of shutting them out as much as possible. Men who come here with ho method of making a living - with nothing more than the assurance of a remittance - can, I think, be very well dispensed with by us. I think that while there is room in Austialia even for men without capital but with plenty of energy and ability, the introduction of these ne’er-do-wells, seriously deteriorates our population. We need only to look round the streets of our large cities to find evidence of their demoralizing effect. My idea in regard to the expenditure of this money is that it should be devoted largely to advertising in the provinces of Great Britain, and that a minimum of it should be expended in the great centre of London. The honorable member for Angas argued this afternoon that therather theatrical advertising of Canada had had very little to do with the considerable influx of population to that part of the Empire. I hold an entirely different opinion. I contend, from my own personal observation during a recent visit to the Old Country, that the methods of advertising adopted by Canada were precisely the means by which such an enormous number of immigrants were attracted to that part of the Empire. Canada’s advertising was done to a very large extent in the provinces of Great Britain. One is scarcely able to open a provincial newspaper, printed in any part of the Old Country, without seeing in it some attractive reference to Canada as a field for both capital and labour. It is really surprising to any one who visits England to meet with the ignorance regarding Australia which is everywhere to be encountered. Then again, I believe that: the Government, in spending the proposed vote, will have to determine into what part of Australia that immigration for which we wish can be most advantageously directed.I agree with those who have said that Victoria in particular, and New South; Wales in a less degree, offer very few opportunities at present for an immigrant with a limited amount of capital-a capital of say, two or three hundred pounds.
– New South Wales is attracting the largest number.
– That is so; but, having had the advantage of seeing some of those immigrants, I say, without hesitation, that many of them are men whom we could very well dispense with.
– They area mere drop in the bucket; I am referring to the increase that has been going on for years.
– That may be so; but if the honorable member were able to trace those immigrants, he would find that a considerable proportion of them have made their way either to Queensland or to Western Australia.
– I am speaking of the surplus of immigration over emigration.
– A good many immigrants who find their way to New South.I Wales, attracted by the glowing advertisements of the magnificent harbor and the mountains, desire something more substantial than scenery, and ultimately go to either Queensland or Western Australia.
– But the balance is in, favour of New South Wales.
– I admit that.
– The honorable member misunderstands me ; I am not referring to the immigration policy of the State, under which very few people arrive, but to the attractions of’ New South Wales.
– It would be most re- markable if a State, which is considerably less than one hundred years old, and which has many undeveloped resources, did not still have surplus immigration of a permanent character.
– The statistics show that the surplus is not nearly so large as it should be,
– I shall not discuss that matter, because I am not fortified with the statistics. There are practically only Queensland and Western Australia which offer opportunities to people with limited capital to go on the land and make homes for themselves. Of course, there is plenty of land for settlers in the other States, if that land were made available on reasonable terms. Merely referring to Victoria, we know perfectly well that that State could carry millions of population in the rural districts, and yet we may travel for a day in the railway train and see very scant evidence of human beings. It struck roe with astonishment, when I first came to Australia, and travelled from
Melbourne into a remote part of the Western. District of Victoria to see magnificent country with so few evidences of occupation ; and I regret to say that, in all the intervening years, there has been very little improvement in this direction. As a matter of fact, the tendency has been rather for the population in rural parts to be reduced by emigration to other States. There are some young friends of my own, born and brought up in the magnificent Western District, who have had to leave for other parts of Australia and New Zealand in order to find land on which they might make homes for themselves and become useful citizens. Western Australia, I believe, offers better advantages to the immigrant than do any of the other States ; and there is a considerable influx of the right sort of people into that State. I was struckwith the fact when in England that people who had emigrated from there to Canada, had returned dissatisfied with the conditions, and were meditating a change to Australia. Even in the ship in which 1 came back to Australia, there were two men who, after having been in Canada for a number of years, were returning with the intention of settling in the western State. There are in the Old Land, I believe, many who, born and brought up in the farming business, and having limited capital, would be only too glad to settle in the Australian States, where land is available on easy terms, if they were conversant with all the condi- tions. When staying in a country district in Scotland during my recentvisit. I was interviewed by several farmers, who asked me for information regarding Australia, and particularly as to Western Australia. They pointed out that, necessarily, they had a certain amount of capital, without which they could not work their farms, but that they were simply slaving, year in and year out in order to pay rent to the landlord. I very soon satisfied them that they would be able to better their condition very materially in Australia, andI believe that it only requires a certain amount of judiciousadvertising in the rural districts of the Old Land, utilizing the newspapers and able lecturers, to bring to our shores men with both ability and capital to enable them to take up land and become good citizens. I hope that the Government will proceed, somewhat on the lines I. have suggested, to spend this money; and if they do, it will be spent with good results to Australia.
.- This vote is one which appeals to our imagination, especially when we regard it from the point of view of the density of population. We make it our boast that we are part of the greatest Empire the world has ever seen ; and, therefore, we have an identity of interest with the other portions of that Empire. In our own official Year Book we are told that, while the population in England and Wales is 586 persons to the square mile, the population in. Australia is 1.38. I notice a disposition on the part of some Victorian representatives to view this question simply from the Victorian point of view ; but, when we consider that, while the population in Australia is only1.38 to the square mile, it is fourteen to the square mile in Victoria, we can see that to use the position of this State as the basis of an argument for a scheme of immigration for Australia as a whole must lead to erroneous conclusions.
– But is the view asto the density of population not rather misleading, seeing that nearly one-half of the Victorian population is in the very big cities?
– That no doubt is an important factor in the case, and should give the Government a lead as to the class of immigrant they should endeavour to obtain.
– We do not wish to have immigrants for our cities, but for our rural districts.
– I quite agree with the honorable member. One of the evils in Australia to-day is centralization; and our efforts should be directed to securing population for the empty portions of our territory. We have a huge empty country, which we desire to develop and maintain with a white population ; and it is absolutelynecessary for us to promote any reasonable increase. However, interest in the question flags when we consider that there is no serious intention on the part of the Government to expend this proposed vote. It appears to me somewhat nonsensical to place sums on the Estimates year after year, without any reasonable intent to spend them.
– Surely the honorable member will give the Government five minutes in which to prepare a workable scheme?
– I am not speaking of the present Government. I desire to dissever myself from all petty local considerations ; I have no wish to support anyparticular class of men, but always to promote the interests of Australia as a whole. In dealing with the Estimates, I desire to get away from those small considerations, which, apparently, influence honorable members behind the Government. With their salaries of £600 and £2,000 a year, honorable members on the Government benches can afford to smile. We have the welfare of a growing nationality to consider; and that is of much more importance than the £600 a year which the honorable member for Kalgoorlie receives, and to which he desires £2,000 added.
– God help the nationality which depends on the honorable member’s consideration !
– The question would be of greater interest if we could have some sort of assurance from the Government that they will introduce a reasonable scheme for the encouragement of immigration. As it is, we are entirely in the dark - we are practically asked to give the Government a signed blank cheque. By continuing this item on the Estimates, the Government evidence their desire to encourage immigration, and I hope they will rise superior to the considerations presented by honorable members who sit behind them, and who, apparently, wish to prevent anything being done.
– Nothing of the kind ; provide opportunities for immigrants, and we shall welcome as many as we can get.
– The broad fact remains that we have only a little over one person to the square mile for the whole of the Commonwealth, and any argument that we have not room for people .here must fail.
– Nobody advances such an argument.
– I’ venture to say that the honorable member for Calare attempted to advance an argument of the kind.
– It is only a little time ago that the honorable member for Echuca was crying out about some stranded men from South Africa in his electorate !
– That is a stale tale. The Melbourne Age, which is noted as being the greatest liar in Australia, hasstated that a number of young men of Vic toria are leaving that State for other portions of the Commonwealth. Doubtless that statement is true; but the fact is not surprising, considering that there is a population here of fourteen to the square mile, while other States are practicallyempty. So long as they are able to offer larger areas at lower prices than can be obtained in Victoria, those of our young men who have sufficient enterprise to leave home and endure hardship* will go to other States to better their positions. The Governments of New South Wales and Victoria have fostered schemes which will give opportunities for the maintenance within their borders of much larger populations than they possess to-day. Irc Victoria, large irrigation schemes have beer* carried out, and larger ones are promised, while New South Wales has already donesomething, and is about to do more, “in this direction. The result will be to bring toAustralia a new class of agriculturists. The men who have been accustomed to dear with large areas will, many of them, bedisinclined to follow the methods necessaryfor the intense culture associated with irrigation, and must therefore go where they can get what they desire. This will leaveroom for those who are prepared to work the land under conditions similar to those which obtain in thickly populated parts of the world. I deprecate the “ stinkingfish “ cry of honorable gentlemen oppositeThere is a great future for Australia.
– The “stinking-fish” cry has come from the corner where the honorable member sits.
– What has Mr. Ben.. Tillett said about Australia? When a man. who has enjoyed our hospitality, and knows our position, misrepresents us as he has done, he should, if he ever returns, be booted out of the country. Australia is gradually being made more attractive to those who . are accustomed to the more settled conditions of the older parts of the world, and we are gradually increasing the means for maintaining a large rural population. I would be the last to advocate the immigration of persons whose presence here would glut the labour market. I do not think that we should be wise in dumping a number of working people here, leaving them to do the best they could for themselves. Reference has been made to a case in which a man .was given work at 2s. a week. One swallow does not make a summer, and the possibility is that the man in question asked for employment from some one who had little or nothing for him to do, but was willing to give him food and accommodation, and as. a week, so long as it suited him to stay.
– In my district, men absolutely cannot get work.
– My reply to those who say that Australia is one of the worst countries on the face of the earth is that it is one of the best, and, could my voice reach the people of Great Britain, I would seek to impress upon them the fact that we have great possibilities. What we need is a population which will make us, to a large extent, independent. Many of the speeches made this afternoon will be used on the other side of the world to dissuade pei.sons from emigrating. As an Australian native, I desire the progress and development of the Commonwealth. Therefore, I shall vote for the proposal to spend ^20,000 a year on advertising, and I hope that when next the Estimates come before us, they will be accompanied with a reasonable scheme for giving effect to the desire of the great majority of the people that our resources shall be proclaimed abroad.
.- I was pleased to hear the Minister declare that he would spend part of the recess in formulating a practical scheme for the advertisement of Australia. The intention is good, and I am sure that he will endeavour to get value for any money that he may expend. The late Government cannot be accused of extravagance in this direction, and I am pleased that the new Minister is determined that the vote shall not be reduced, and that profitable means shall be found for expending the money. I have been sorry to hear the remarks of some of the supporters of the Government. There is any amount of room here for immi-. grants, if we get men of the right class. Australia is progressing by leaps and bounds, and any man who has grit enough to go into the country districts can obtain fair remuneration, with, what is better, the prospect of an independence later in life. There are plenty of openings for the man < who has brains, health, and the determination to press forward. In Queensland, the number of persons employed in the secondary industries, in 1902, was 20,008, and, in 1907, 28,856; a large increase in five years. But the progress of the State has not been confined to the cities. The primary industries have also progressed, as is shown by the increase in their output. For instance, in 1902, the number of sheep frozen was 117,729, and, in 1907, 242,384. The quantity of leather tanned, in 1902, was 23,782 cwts., and, in 1906, 27,166 cwts. - the information for 1907 gives the number of sides, and not the number of hundredweights, tanned, so that it is useless for purposes of comparison. The output of skins, in 1902, was 132,221, and, in 1907, 279,877; of bacon, in 1902, 6,512,952 lbs., and, in 1907, 10,015,008 lbs. ; of butter, in 1902, 4,845,866 lbs., and, in 1907, 22,789,158 lbs. ; of cheese, in 1902, 952,013 lbs., and, in 1907, 2,684,558 lbs. ; and of wheat, in 1902, 1,338,346 bushels,’ and, in 1907, 1,406,583 bushels. The increase in the production of sugar cane and molasses is also very marked. These figures show that the closer-settlement policy of the Queensland Government has attracted persons from other States of the Commonwealth, and from other parts of the world. We should hail with delight- the immigration of persons who come here to add to our population of good and reputable citizens. There is room for a great number of people of that kind. Before resuming my seat, I have one or two questions to ask the Minister regarding the items now before the Committee. I must congratulate the Minister on his judicious reprimand of the honorable member for Nepean the other night when he asked for information. It struck me then that a very good place for a man to finish his education was the Treasury bench. The Minister now resents questions which at one time he used to ask. However, I am not asking for information regarding items in this division with the object of tangling the Minister up in any way. There is an item °f £20° f°r the annual payment to the International Agricultural Institute at Rome. The House and the country have a right to know the objects of that institute, and the benefits obtained by the Commonwealth from it.
– I have all the information here; but it is not a new item.
– I voted for it on the last Estimates ; but I do not think the country knows much about the advantages that are being derived from the vote. If there aire any benefits which private individuals can derive from the institute, I hope the Minister will make them public. With regard to the item of £500 for an investigation as to the shearing- of wet sheep, I read in the press an interview which the honorable member for Grey had on the subject with the late. Prime Minister, who promised to place a sum on the Estimates to investigate the question. Perhaps the Minister of External Affairs can state whether the investigation is to be undertaken from a health point of view?
– It is from a health point of view, and also to ascertain the dangers of combustion when wet wool is pressed in a pack. This is a joint request from the Pastoralists’ Association and the Shearers’ Union.
– That is satisfactory. The vote of £20,000 for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth has now been fully debated, and as there is only a small minority against it, the Government should see that the money is judiciously spent.
– I am glad that the Government have retained on the Estimates the item of £20,000 for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth. I am sorry that they have not even increased it, because, if they undertake a general scheme of advertising, that sum will not go very far. At any rate, they are to be congratulated on retaining the item, as it helps to remove from them the possibly undeserved stigma that rests on the Labour Party generally of being opposed to immigration. I am satisfied that the Minister will do his best to see that we get full value for the money. If he takes the advice of the honorable member for Perth, I have no doubt that, with the exercise of a little judgment, we shall make a satisfactory start with our immigration policy. At present the question is not too satisfactorily treated. We need one central
Office in London, working for the Common wealth and for all the States. If we had such an office under a High Commissioner, at which all the States were also properly represented, the intending emigrant would get a much better idea of the state of affairs in Australia than he does now, with five or six separate States having offices in different parts of London, and acting like so many competitors for immigration. With one office in London, we should get harmony between the States and the Federation, and this would gradually lead to a settled policy of immigration, that must eventually benefit the whole of the Commonwealth. If people are of the right sort, it does not matter .what State they come to, for they are an asset to the Commonwealth, and it is to their mutual interests that the States and Commonwealth should do their best to devise a harmonious scheme for furthering so great a project. Every young country requires a steady stream of immigrants of the right sort. It practically means a supply of life-blood, which it should be our aim to secure. Immigration is essential if only from the point of view of defence. We cannot allow great tracts of country to remain always empty. In that condition they constitute a big excuse for foreign nations to try to effect settlement there. The more immigrants of the right sort, British people for preference, that we can get, the less room we shall leave for the occupation of any of our territory by possibly undesirable immigrants. If we are going to hold Australia we should do our best to fill it with the right sort of occupants. No one can doubt that there is plenty of room here for millions of people, but our population was practically stationary for a considerable number of years. I am glad to say that during the last year or two there has been an increase, and things seem to be tending the right way once more. At the same time the increase is very slight, and at the present rate something like a century or more would elapse before we had a population of 20,000,000 people. That is altogether too slow a rate of growth. If we set to work in earnest we can accelerate that speed very much, and many of _ us now living may see a fair population within our borders. We have to feel our way in this matter, and undoubtedly we must make a start. One of the first steps taken to advertise Canada was the offering of medals to the State school children of England for the best essay on the
Dominion. It was a great surprise to the initiators of the project to find how many children competed. Canada, of course, advertises very largely, not only in a theatrical fashion, but in a systematic way throughout the provincial press of Great Britain. I have no doubt that by that means a great many desirable people are induced to go to Canada. Australia has plenty of room for immigrants. If it cannot carry a greater population than it possesses at present, the sooner those of us who want to improve our positions in life leave this country for another the better. But its resources are practically unlimited, and very varied, and we have not only room, but also plenty of occupation, for a very large population. For twenty-seven years, or thereabouts, prior to 1903, no fewer than 114,000 people emigrated yearly from Great Britain. About 65 per cent, of them went to foreign countries, and 35 per cent, to different parts of the Empire. About the year 1903 Canada came vigorously into the field with -an immigration policy, and chiefly owing to that fact the proportion of emigrants from Great Britain who went to other parts of the Empire was greatly increased. Unfortunately, the number who emigrate to Australia is still very much smaller than it ought to be. The honorable member for Calare said he was in favour of immigration, so long as we got the right sort of immigrants, but I waited in vain to hear him state what he considered the right sort. To my mind, any one is acceptable to us who has health and strength and his faculties, with a. fair education, and who comes oat intent on making his way, seeing better opportunities here than offer in the congested centres of the Old World. If a man of that stamp comes here with very little, it will not be long before he has a good deal. I have no doubt that he will find land if he wants it, or make his way in whatever walk of life he chooses. An immigrant of that sort is good enough for me, although I prefer men who wish to look out for land.
– With a little cash.
– If they have a little capital so much the better. It is necessary that the Commonwealth and the States should work in harmony, because the control of the land still . remains with the States. If the States have plenty of land available there is no reason why that fact should not be well advertised in England, and an office established in London where information as to the areas open for selection, and the character of the soil, mav be obtained. If that course were adopted, I have no doubt that in a few years we should have a steady stream of immigration. Those who came here, and found that the land was as good as we had represented it to be would lose no time in communicating with their friends at Home, and in that way our population would be still further augmented. Another reason why the Commonwealth and the States should work in harmony is that we have in Australia many large tracts of country on which there must be a considerable expenditure to render them fit for continuous occupation. The States will have to engage in extensive systems of irrigation. In this connexion, immigration and irrigation are inseparable. There are vast areas of Crown lands that might by irrigation be made available for settlement. I had intended to quote some statistics showing how idle is the cry that we have no room for immigrants, but I think that it must be so evident that we have ample room that I need not do so. A reference to one or two figures, however, may point my argument. The area of England, Wales, and Scotland is about that of Victoria, but whereas Victoria has something like 12,000,000 sheep, those countries have 25,000,000, and an annual wheat production of 58,900,000 bushels, as against an average production in Victoria of say 23,000,000 bushels. The difference between the oat crop of this State and that of England, Scotland, and Wales is still greater. Denmark, which comprises something like 10,000,000 acres, annually produces butter of the value of £8,000,000, whereas Victoria, with an area of 56,000,000 acres, has a production of wool, wheat, butter, and cheese valued at only about £6,000,000 per annum.
– Denmark has a genuine system of closer settlement.
– I quote these figures only to show that we have plenty of room for’ immigrants, and that production here is capable of enormous expansion. If we could induce people to settle in the interior, there is no doubt that our large cities - our manufacturing centres - would be still more prosperous. One form of occupation would give employment in others. The honorable member for Herbert has referred to the excellent system of closer settlement in operation in Denmark.
I am not conversant with the details of that system, but I believe that the honorable member is right. I would remind him that we are doing something in the way of closer settlement, although we do not seem to be able to induce people to come here in such numbers as we should like.
– There is not enough land available.
– It is not so much the area of land available as the price charged for it that is the obstacle. The States should improve the Crown lands by irrigation, and in other ways, and so make them available for settlement at a reasonable rate. It .cannot be denied that the question of immigration is one of the most important with which we have to deal. We must be prepared to expend far more than £20,000 per annum on an immigration policy, and should recognise that such an expenditure may be reproductive. The question whether considered from the stand-point of defence or from any other view-point, is of the utmost importance to Australia, and this Parliament must sooner or later deal with it effectively.
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [5.47].- I am not aware to what extent honorable members will avail themselves of the opportunity which the amendment I have moved will give them to support by their votes the opinions that they have already expressed with regard to the undesirableness of spending money on advertising the resources of Australia, but I wish to make perfectly clear the vote that I shall give. I have not submitted the amendment because I do not believe in advertising Australia in the Old Country. On the contrary, I consider that we should spend a great deal more than we are, and I am certain that the Minister charged with this work will be able to devise a means by which next year the advertising of Australia can be carried out, possibly at much greater expense, but with excellent effect. I should not have moved the amendment but that the honorable gentleman himself has said that he cannot spend this year the £10,000 which would remain at his disposal. It will certainly give those who have a dislike to such a vote in any shape or form an opportunity to record their decision. I do not propose to make a long speech, although this is a matter on which I feel strongly. My views may be summed up in a few words. I hold that Australia should throw open her doors to any white man of European extraction who can show that he is not a pauper, that he is not afflicted with any communicable disease likely to prejudice the population here, and that he is not likely to become a charge upon the Commonwealth or any State. We should be glad to welcome such men to our shores. My views on this subject, perhaps, are too broad for many honorable members.
– They are very profitable - tothose who want cheap labour.
Colonel FOXTON.- That is a very narrow view to take. I would remind the honorable member, as I reminded the honorable member for Calare, that at no time has the labour market of Queensland been> more favorable to the labourer, both in the matter of wages and the employment available, than when that State was spending huge sums in assisting immigrants, whowere then coming in at the rate of from i, 000 to 1,200 a month.
– Is the honorable member alluding to kanakas ?
Colonel FOXTON. - No ; I am referring to European immigrants. So much for cur actual experience, which is in perfect accord with the deductions to be drawnfrom the statistics prepared by Mr. Coghlan, and quoted this afternoon.
– What were the wages paid” at that time?
Colonel FOXTON. - I do not “know now what they were.
– That is the point of difference between us. We object to cheap labour.
Colonel FOXTON. - There was nocheap labour; every one was well and profitably employed. Mr. Coghlan reported: that it was estimated that every one of thosewho were recorded as having gone to Canada took with him on the average- £100. When that statement was made this afternoon the Minister interjected that that was probably a very liberal estimate. I remember reading a couple of yearsago that, on an average, the estimated sum which each immigrant tothe Argentine had taken with him was double that amount. We may rest assured that on the average - taking the capitalist who goes out as the result of the development that is going on, andthe man who goes to give his labour only - £100 is a very moderate estimate. That does not take into account the valueof the man himself, which is estimated by various financiers and statesmen as being from £100 to £300*
The late Mr. Seddon estimated that every immigrant in New Zealand, even without any money in his pocket, was worth ,£300 to the country. The argument that there is no land available for immigrants in Australia is absurd ; and, on this point, I should like to read a few figures from the last report of the Under-Secretary for Lands of Queensland’. At the beginning of 1907 there was open for selection land, for the most part actually surveyed and eminently fitted for the purpose, 13,600,000 acres in round figures, and during the year 6,000,000 more acres were added. Against that, however, we have to consider 3,000,000 acres which were withdrawn from selection.
– Probably the best part.
Colonel FOXTON.- Not at all. As :i matter of fact, it is usually the worst or the land that is withdrawn and proclaimed open on another occasion under other conditions or at a lower rental. In any case this left a balance of 3,000,000 acres in addition to the 13,600,000 acres. The area selected was 4,700,000 acres, leaving a balance at the end of the year of 11,902,000 acres. It will be seen that Queensland is doing her best in a practical way to bring people on the land.
– I do not think that any exception was taken to the action of Queensland, but rather to the inaction in the southern .States.
Colonel FOXTON. - But honorable members talk of Australia, while in their narrowness they seem to have regard only to the southern States.
– What about the climate?
Colonel FOXTON.- It is the best in the world, and that of Darling Downs is practically the same as that of New England.
– Is the land spoken of on Darling Downs?
Colonel FOXTON.- Much of it is, or in districts having a similar elevation. Do the honorable member for Capricornia and the honorable member for Moreton suggest in their physique men who cannot live in such a climate?
– And yet the agencies in the Old Country will not bring, all the applicants out to Queensland.
Colonel FOXTON.- The Queensland Government, under a penalty of £4 per head for any shortage, have to insure to the British- India Company, to which th~ey
Pay £37>°°° a year as a subsidy, 200 immigrants for every ship. The number nf selectors for the land, of which I have just spoken, was 3,181, which represents something like 1,500 acres per selector. Of these no fewer than 589 caine from the other States, and these latter selected 580,000 acres. These young fellows are no new chums, but know what they are about-; and yet there are 12,000,000 acres, approximately similar to those selected, yet remaining, and other areas are constantly being opened up as the pastoral leases fall in. Whatever may be the condition of affairs in the south, where, possibly, the population is more congested, there is ample room for every immigrant who chooses to come to Queensland.
– Why “stone-wall” this item?
Colonel FOXTON. - I intend to say just as much as I choose in regard to this item; and I do not think that the figures I have quoted are altogether useless. Honorable members, as it whole, may not quite realize that such figures are possible ; but I may add that some 66,000 acres of Queensland territory were actually selected in London last year.
– How many million acres have the Government repurchased ?
Colonel FOXTON. - The Government have purchased a good many acres, but not millions.
– I think the Government have repurchased 500,000 acres.
Colonel FOXTON.- I am now dealing with Crown lands.
– Every acre was taken up as rapidly as repurchased.
Colonel FOXTON. - It is nonsense to talk of there being no land for selectors.
– Those remarks were not made of Queensland.
Colonel FOXTON.- But we are a Federation, and Queensland is part of Australia; and it is time we heard the last of the cry that there ought to be no immigration, because there is no land. It is only a small proportion of the emigrants to Canada who go on the land ; but their presence gives an additional value to it, and causes the opening up of the country and increased employment and prosperity ah round. I am not one who believes that the farm labourer is the only person who should be subjected to competition by immigration. We hear from various sources, both inside and outside this House, that there should be no competition withthe artisan in this connexion; but with that idea I have no sympathy.
– That idea comes from the Trades Hall, in Lygon-street.
Colonel FOXTON. - I do not know where it comes from, but we hear it constantly ; and. we know that the moment there is a proposal to introduce artisans, objections are raised from honorable members opposite.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta.) (6.6]. - I have been patiently waiting to hear what the Minister has to say in regard to this vote, in connexion with which the honorable member for Brisbane has moved a reduction by no less a sum than £10,000. Have the Ministry any views?
– I can give the honorable member my views in two or three words. As I previously informed honorable members, it is not very material whether the vote be reduced by £10,000. So much of the year has passed over and so little of the £20,000 has been spent, that it is extremely improbable that we can wisely or judiciously spend more than £10,000 in the remaining interval.
– Is it proposed to spend £10,000 ?
Mr.BATCHELOR. - I have no scheme before me which would justify any expectation of spending the full amount. I desire to have an opportunity to consider this question of advertising Australia, and of seeing to what extent the States are prepared to go in the matter. Some replies have yet to come in from the States ; and until we have some definite scheme before us to take the place of the present desultory method of advertising, I do not think that we are likely to spend more than the sum I have mentioned. At the same time I see no reason for reducing the vote by £10,000, because, while it might make no actual difference, it would tie the hands of the Minister if he should think it desirable to spend a. larger amount.
– And the Government are going to stop the present system ?
– The contracts entered into must, of course, be carried out, but each case will be judged on its merits, when the question of renewal arises.
– We shall use common sense.
– Precisely. Therefore I ask the Committee not to agree to the amendment, though I repeat that, as a matter of fact, less than £10,000 will, in my opinion, provide for all the advertising that can judiciously be undertaken during the remainder of the financial year.
– I am obliged to the Minister for his explanation. After stating the best of reasons for reducing the vote, he appealed to the Committee not to reduce it.
– It was a bit of Yes-No work.
– Yes. That has been continually the attitude of honorable members opposite during the past fortnight. On that side of the chamber we have both a Ministerial Party and a Ministerial Opposition, and this afternoon the honorable member for Melbourne Ports showed that he possesses qualities which should make him an admirable leader of the latter. One must admire the straightforwardness of his speech, because he uttered plainly what nearly every member of the Labour Party thinks. He is opposed to the giving of encouragement to immigration until certain legislation has been passed in Australia, including, of course, the imposition of a land tax, for the bursting up of large estates. He would make that a condition precedent to the indorsement of any immigration scheme.
– I think that it should accompany it.
– Honorable members have now the opportunity to do what for a long time they have said should be done. The Minister has told us that he does not expect to be able to spend half the amount of the proposed vote. He might have said that there is not much likelihood of spending £5,000 of the £20,000 for which he asks.
– I mean to push the advertising business genuinely, so soon as I have a proper scheme.
– Will the honorable gentleman be able to assure those in the Old Country that he can give them land if they come here?
– At any rate, I shall not allow Commonwealth money to be spent in the circulation of lies.
– I am sure that the honorable member will not. Will he. as the Attorney -General did in London a few months ago, tell the people of Great Britain that there is not room in Australia for one additional artisan?
– When I was in London, I published a telegram received from ‘ the Boilermakers’ Union here, to the effect that there were more than enough boilermakers in Australia, and requesting that no more should come here. Except for doing that, I did not say a word about immigration while in Great Britain.
– The statement has been quoted repeatedly in both Houses of the Parliament.
– Beyond publishing that telegram, I did not, while. in England, say a word about immigration to Australia or to any other country.
– I am glad to have this contradiction. The statement has appeared in Ilansard, and has been concurred in by the honorable and learned member’s colleagues. I came across it only to-day. Hansard is a very edifying record, though it is not wise to go back too far.
– How far does the honorable member go back ?
– It is not necessary to go back many months to find evidence of very surprising changes of opinion on the part of my honorable friends. Does the Minister propose to invite able-bodied men to come to Australia, promising them opportunities for acquiring comfort and a competency for their families?
– The honorable member does not believe that.
– I believe that no other country offers such facilities for getting on as Australia does. The answer to mv honorable friend’s diatribes against immigration is a statement in the Queensland Year-Book, that in that State nearly 12,000,000 acres of Crown lands are available for settlement.
– Then why is the Government resuming private land?
Colonel Foxton. - Last year, 4,700,000 acres were selected.
– The resumption of private land shows that the Crown land available is not too good.
– Private land is changing hands in all the States.
– With the result that big properties are being accumulated.
– That is so in New South Wales.
– I would remind honorable members that, being in Com mittee, they will have an opportunity to express their opinions when the honorable member for Parramatta has finished.
– I have not heard of successful legislation for preventing the aggregation of big estates, even in New Zealand. No one deplores this evil more than I do; but are we to let the country slip from our hands merely because evil tendencies are at work?
– No. ‘Attack these evil tendencies.
– That is what should be done, and the most effective means should be adopted.
– A Commonwealth land tax should be imposed.
– I should welcome any fair and reasonable proposal for dealing with this evil. But, although honorable members are always referring to the example of New Zealand, they cannot show that anything has been done there in the direction needed.
– Why do the owners of big estates oppose propositions for taxation?
– It is possible to do injury to the holders of large estates without benefiting the community. Merely meddlesome legislation is injurious to the owners of both large and small estates.
– To insure the passing of a land tax, I kept in office for five years a Government of which the honorable member was a Minister,
– Does the honorable member regret it?
– The honorable member for Parramatta seems to regret it.
– I do not; though I regret that the measure was not. more scientific.
– The tax has now practically disappeared.
– Its control has been handed over to the shire and municipal councils. I regard the measure referred to as a useful piece of legislation y but my honorable friends who assisted to pass it seem to have forgotten the man who risked everything for that great reform.
– We recognise the good work which he did. He has fallen away since.
– I do not think so. I desire to prevent the aggregation of large estates, and wish to see the country teeming with a busy and prosperous population, cultivating reasonably small areas.
The establishment of such settlement would foe the best security for the safety of the State- But legislative reforms cannot be expedited^ by any such forcing process as is applied to the growing of mushrooms. It will be many years before all the evils of our land system disappear. Most of us will be under the soil before then. Are we, in the meantime, to do nothing for the progress of Australia? To my mind, we should do everything possible to advance its interests, at the same time struggling, as best we may, against the evils which face us. There is one matter upon which I have spoken annually for many years past. My honorable friends always seem to forget, or ignore, the fact that the most progressive countries of the world, those that pay the highest wages and give the best conditions, are countries into which immigrants are teeming by the hundred thousand every year.
– That is because the conditions are there. That is New Zealand’s case.
– The New South Wales statistics for last year showed that IG.000 immigrants came to that State from New Zealand alone.
– That is not the cause; it is only the effect.
– I say nothing about the cause. I simply state that New Zealand is getting her immigrants because she is encouraging them, to come, advertising for them, helping them by assisted passages, and inducing them to set up for themselves. But honorable members opposite say that unless there is a job cut and dried for a man, he must not be brought to Australia at all. A good many of us in this House did not come here in that way. I came with the firm intention ov going for anything that might turn up in the way of an honest living, and I venture to say that other honorable members came here in the same spirit, and with the same motive. The countries which at this moment are furnishing the most striking examples of industrial comfort and decency are those which are absorbing the populations of the older countries of the world - America, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia now more and more every year. In my own State things are quite as good today as they have been for many years past, and yet last year six or seven thousand families were settled in the interior of that country, many of them assisted immigrants. I have yet to learn that with a country like ours, with our virgin soil and magnificent opportunities, we must discourage immigration, except on such conditions as prevent the possibility of carrying any scheme into effect. My honorable friends ought to admit that, if all that they suggest must be done as precedent things, it simply means that they do not propose to make any serious attempt at immigration for years to come. It would be far more honest for the Minister to tell the Committee so, as his friends behind him have done to-day, instead of piloting this vote through, and telling the Committee that he has not the slightest intention of spending ali this money.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.4.5 p.m.
– One can readily admit that there are many troubles perplexing Australia - troubles of settlement, of fixing the people on the soil of the country - and yet one can see by an elementary survey of the situation that something needs doing with regard to the peopling of Australia. If we are going to wait until every obstacle to absolutely consistent action is removed, it is evident that no good will ever be done in the direction of inducing good citizens from other parts of the world to make their homes here. Granted that there are difficulties, the major fact stands out that there is a crying need for something more to be done in this direction. Reference has been made to the legislation enacted from time to time in this Parliament with a view to safeguarding the workers of Australia from unfair conditions imposed through the medium of immigration. I believe that legislation of a prudent kind is absolutely necessary. I have never taken any other attitude. It would be a calamity to Australia if any body of men could be dumped down here from anywhere, and in any circumstances, it might be at critical times in our industrial history, to wrench from the workers of Australia the fruits of victories which they had won on many a hard-fought field. But it makes me annoyed when I see my honorable friends opposite taking a course which does not bring them one whit nearer their goal, and which interposes obstacles of quite another kind. Take the Immigration Restriction Act. I am with them that certain restrictions and conditions ought to be imposed upon the wholesale bringing here of labour of any kind from abroad. I am with them to the full in their contention that some kind of safeguard must be imposed to prevent what I should regard as an industrial calamity to Australia. With them, I want to maintain Labour ideals at their highest point in Australia, but their legislation seeks to do that in the most cumbersome way. When there is a ready and simple method of achieving the same result, it is absurd, for purely theatrical and political effect, to take a course which is cumbrous, and not one whit more effective. It is a fact that some of our immigration restriction legislation has had a deterrent effect. The honorable member for Brisbane did not mean to-day that people are actually turned back from Australia. His point was that men are sometimes deterred by our laws from coming to Australia.
– By infamous and lying misstatements made by interested parties as to the condition of things in Australia.
– Admitting even that for the sake of argument, it does not touch the point I am putting. The risk that a contract immigrant runs in coming to Australia may very well be such as to prevent him from making the attempt. Whilst differing from them as to the methods to be employed, and deploring the results of some that have been employed, I am with honorable members opposite to the full in every effort to keep our gOod1 industrial conditions intact. But, having admitted that, there is still need to look about to see if we cannot induce good citizens from other parts of the world to fill up our empty spaces. The Attorney-General admitted as much in his eloquent speech on defence recently. What are we to do about the matter? The honorable member suggests that the only thing to do is to begin to burst up large estates.
– I said that was one thing. I did not say it was the only thing.
– It would be easy to quote from the speeches of nearly every honorable member on that side of the House passages showing that the only thing to do in regard to the question of immigration is to tackle the precedent question of bursting up the big estates.
– That is the first thing to do.
– Without controverting even that, and assuming for the moment that it is one of the things to be desired, I still say that immigration ought not to wait upon it. With a thorough systematization and organization of the Labour opportunities of Australia, such as I have already foreshadowed time and again in this chamber, very much could be done to curtail the unemployed problem, if not completely to overcome it, and still leave abundance of space open to whoever cares to come, bringing with him the best of all assets -a clear brain, stout muscle, and a good heart. That is the kind of immigration we wish to encourage. I could well wish to see this vote greatly enlarged. We could spend ,£20,000 a year, and more, in advertising the unbounded resources of Australia, without paying a single shilling of it towards assisted passages. The current history of the world shows that the highest wages and best conditions obtain in those countries to which constant and steady streams of immigration are proceeding. It is no answer to that fact to say that the problem of land settlement has been tackled in those countries. Ithas not. lt has not been tackled in the greatest country of them all - the United States of America - whither go more immigrants in the year than to all other parts of the world. Artisans and labourers go there by the million per annum,, finding the opportunities that prevail there, and are absorbed in that great republic. So far from America being the worse for it, what has made that country has been the admixture of the virility of the Continent, and of the ability, skill, and genius which is to be found in every part of the world.
– There is no general exodus from Australia to that grand El Dorado. If it is such a paradise as the honorable member suggests, we ought all to go to it at once.
– I am not suggesting that it is a paradise. I hope that we shall be able to keep all our people. I think the conditions here are as good as the honorable member thinks they are.
– The best in the world.
– I think so. We are at one in regard to this paradise. The honorable member has reason to be proud of Australia, and so have I. I hope that we shall remain here, and see it develop steadily along industrial lines because that, after all, is the true test of any country’s stability. Where the workers are prospering - - where those who do the hard work are most comfortable - the best conditions must prevail. I do not wish to even lift a finger against any legislation that would prevent the realization of these ideals to the full; but I do think that my honorable friends opposite are not always wise in their methods. I hope that we may agree to disagree with their methods without being accused of desiring to fill Australia with immigrants with the object nf exploiting labour, and for purposes which it is inhuman to even think of. The suggestion has been made to-day by an honorable member opposite that all we seek to do is to bring a surfeit of human labour to Australia so that it may be exploited by heartless capitalists here. I should be sorry to think that such a scheme was in contemplation. I. do not believe that any honorable member thinks that anything like that is possible in Australia, or would help to bring it about. Here is the practical question with which we are faced : Can we anything in a legitimate and reasonable way to bring people to Australia, and so fill up -our empty spaces with a view to making the Commonwealth safe in the times of stress that are unquestionably ahead. I think that we can, and should have liked to hear from the Government of a more diligent searching of this problem in order to put before the Parliament definite proposals by which this money may be wisely expended in other parts of the world. If the Government did that, I should most heartily support them. I do not think that we should adopt indiscriminate methods. I do not want to see people dumped here with the certainty that they will become a burden to us. There is a method of procedure which, while avoiding those evils, will enable us to make substantial progress in the direction we all so much desire. I shall vote for this item of £20,000, and would vote for another £20,000 for the same purpose if it were on the Estimates. I have only to say in conclusion that I hope we shall dead with this question - and there is no more important one connected with these Estimates - free of party feeling. We have got into the habit of bringing everything into the arena of party strife, and one is tempted, when one hears certain statements coming from the other side of the
– They are as nothing compared with what we have heard from the Opposition. I have heard some most reprehensible statements from the Opposition side of the House.
– The honorable member has heard nothing that could not be matched and overmatched by statements from his own side. I am not going, however, to follow in that strain. Some one has been good enough to hand me a copy of statements made b<- the Prime Minister only a year ago, but I think that it would be profitless to quote them.
– The honorable member promised that he would not hold a post mortem.
– I do not intend to do so. I hope that if the Government are going to remain in office they will formulate a strenuous policy, doing something to clear away the misapprehensions that they allege to exist, and using this money to the fullest advantage in advertising the resources of Australia, and inducing people of the right class - if they have a little capital all the better - to come to this Continent and help to fill it up.
.- I do not suppose that among those who view the circumstances of Australia with serious eyes there can be two opinions as to the necessity of our straining every effort to fill up the vacant spaces to which the honorable member for Parramatta has just alluded. From the stand-point of defence alone, it is necessary, if we are to have not merely a training of our adult population, but also a sufficient malepopulation to adequately defend Australia should the need arise. There is no doubt that it is with other cognate matters, the most important problem confronting the politicians of Australia to-d’ay. I am not among those who say that even under present conditions there is no room for a vast addition to our population. In many parts of Australia there is still Crown land available, although I admit that it is not to be found in settled districts, or largely in districts in which settlement has proved successful. I am not too sure that it would be wise to settle immigrants ignorant of Australian conditions in new districts where they would be without the advice of men of local experience. In opening up new land, it is preferable to have young men who ha.ve been trained in our more densely-populated areas, and who, knowing something of Australian conditions, are more likely to be successful. However, I do not sympathize with those who say that the conditions prevailing here to-day are such that we could not welcome people here. I believe that there is room, particularly in country areas, for a large number, but while I object to the pessimistic attitude of some men - including some of the members of my own party- - as to the policy of immigration. I must even more emphatically object to statements like those made this afternoon by the honorable member for Brisbane. The honorable member said that our laws were preventing people from coming to Australia. I presume that when he spoke of “ people,” he had in mind desirable immigrants - that he was not referring to coloured aliens. As a matter of fact, we have no law which prevents any person who is not a native of Asia coming to Australia as a free immigrant.
– We have neither law nor regulation of the kind.
– And no method of administration calculated to restrict the entrance of such people into Australia has been attempted. There is certainly a restriction on the introduction of people under contract, but so far as it applies to British subjects it is of small importance.
Colonel Foxton. - I question that.
– My own opinion is that it is only in special circumstances that the contract system ls justifiable. It is intrinsically objectionable, but the conditions imposed by the law in regard to British subjects coming here under contract are very easy. In the first place, the wages to be received by them must be the wages current in the district where they are to work, and, secondly, contract immigrants are not to be brought here for the purpose of breaking a strike.
– Is not a strike contrary to law?
– As a matter of fact, the Act refers not to a strike, but to an industrial dispute. Those are the only two conditions attaching to the introduction of British immigrants under contract. If they are not under contract there is no restriction to their introduction.
Colonel Foxton. - What about Sir Horace Tozer’s servant?
– That was only a “ Tozerism,” which, as the honorable member ought to readily understand, does not count for anything.
Colonel Foxton..- - I do not think that that is fair.
- Sir Horace Tozer had sufficient intelligence to know that the certificate that he gave his maid was un necessary. It was contrary to the distinct instructions he had received as a temporary agent of the . Commonwealth. He knew from his instructions that it was not necessary. The girl came out with the certificate in question, but was not asked to produce it, and it was not necessary for her to have it. I suppose that Sir Horace Tozer was not in sympathy with the idea that there should be any restriction, and it struck him that it would be a good thing, from an advertising stand-point, to give his maid the certificate. It was one of those clever movements for which, I understand, he was famous in Queensland politics, but it did not achieve its object. As- soon as the Minister explained that the girl was not asked to produce any certificate, and need not have produced it, the whole story was exploded. The honorable member for Brisbane, if he was speaking without knowledge, has only to turn to the Statute.
Colonel Foxton. - I know what the law is.
– That makes the hon- .orable member’s statement this afternoon still less justifiable.
Colonel Foxton. - No.
– It is of a piece with those deliberate misrepresentations to the detriment of Australia that have been spread broadcast, in the most infamous way, by the British press. A citizen who will spread such foundationless reports against his own country in Canada would be .sent to gaol. There is in force in Canada now a law which deals with people who make unfounded statements to the detriment of the country.
Colonel Foxton. - My statement is not unfounded.
– It is. No person has been denied admission to Australia unless he was a coloured man ; the honorable member ought to know that.
Colonel Foxton. - I question that statement.
– I repeat it. If the honorable member questions it, there is a ready means of testing the accuracy of his impression.
– I know a clergyman who was stopped because he was under contract.
– The honorable member may think he knows that, but he ought to know that it is not a fact.
– The clergyman himself told me that it was.
– That does not prove anything.
Colonel Foxton. - It disproves the honorable member’s statement.
– Here is the law.
Colonel Foxton. - I know it as well as the honorable member does.
– The honorable member is supposed to be a lawyer. If the plain facts are before him and he cannot read them for himself, is he able to point to an instance where the Minister has gone beyond the law ? The statement made to the honorable member for Moreton counts for nothing. The clergyman was not under contract to perform manual labour in Australia, and there is no prohibition in respect of any other kind of contract.
– He was objected to as an undesirable immigrant.
– Then he must have been a coloured man.
– He was a Scotchman.
– I defy the honorable member to prove that his admission was objected to. Many people have been making statements of the kind which have no foundation in fact. The ex-Prime Minister, who has been in office practically since the passing of our Immigration Restriction Acts, has assured us - and we also have the definite assurance of the officers - that in not one instance has a white man been stopped in such circumstances.
Colonel Foxton. - Attempted to be stopped.
– Nor attempted to be stopped. I am sure that the honorable member for Brisbane will not back up the statement of the honorable member for Moreton’s informant. A minister could not possibly be stopped under the law, seeing that the Act defines a contract immigrant to be one under agreement to perform manual’ labour. If the labour is other than manual, the person is held not to be a contract immigrant within the meaning of the Act. For instance, a shop assistant may come in tinder contract, because his is held not to be manual labour.
– -In my opinion, a marine engineer would not be held to come within the meaning of the section.
– At any rate, manual labour has a very clear and very narrow significance in law.
– I question whether a domestic servant comes within the Act.
– At any rate, it is perfectly clear that a clergyman would not be brought here to perform manual labour, and, therefore, the statement of the honorable member’s informant falls to the ground.
– Unless there was maladministration.
– We have not heard of any maladministration; and, as a fact, I do not believe that our officers would make such asses of themselves as to stop a clergyman. Of course, there are general immigration laws against the admission of persons suffering from contagious or infectious diseases, but I take it that these laws did not apply in the case referred to.
– At best, what a wretched lot of cases are trotted out !
– There are practically no casesin justification of statements of the kind that have been made. Every Government has welcomed every person who desired to come as an immigrant, so long as he was of our own colour.
– There was a case of a native-born Australian, who unfortunately became insane.
– That is another matter, which comes under a general immigration law now in force in every part of the world. I admit there may have been mistakes in that connexion ; but it is not the point we are now discussing. There is, I think, room in Australia for a great many more people than are here now ; but, as a necessary prelude to any large expenditure on immigration, or to the inception of any general scheme, we should have some large measure of land taxation. To-day, in New South Wales and Victoria, Crown lands suitable for close settlement are practically non-existent. The circumstances are altogether different from those of Canada in this regard, because in the Dominion there are large areas of Crown land which are suitable for settlement, and which may be had on easy conditions.
– Has not Queensland such lands?
– Queensland has some, certainly.
Colonel Foxton. - Enormous areas.
– The honorable member for Brisbane assented to a general proposition that it was not wise to send immigrants into new districts, and the clearest proof that Queensland has not land in the vicinity of districts already settled is that for some years land has been resumed for the purpose.
Colonel Foxton. - That is quite adifferent matter.
– But it is an indication that land in districts where the methods of settlement are understood, and where the local conditions ‘are appreciated by the existing settlers, is at a premium, and has to be bought back by the State.
– All thatthat indicates is that it is desirable to resume land in a particular place.
– I hold the contrary view - that the land in eligible districts has reached a minimum, if it has not disappeared altogether.
Colonel Foxton. - The honorable member does not quite realize that there is constantly falling into the hands of the Crown land within settled districts on the expira- tion of leases.
– There were 4,000,000 acres last year in Queensland alone.
– We talk of millions of acres in New South Wales, but, so far as Crown lands are concerned, we generally find them to be broken hill-tops or other unsuitable country. I admit that Queensland and Western Australia are in a different position from that of Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales. Within a comparatively short time, I believe that there will be a very large agricultural popu lation on the coastal strip of Western Australia.
– Western Australia is half Australia.
– But the suitable land is not half Australia by a great deal. It must be borne in mind that the greater part of the country available for settlement in Western Australia ought not to be peopled by immigrants ignorant of Australian conditions. What I saw of it a short time ago convinces me that the settlers required arc those used to the conditions of the eastern coast, and more especially the north-eastern coast.
– They will not go.
– Some of them are going, and I am glad of the fact, because I am convinced that as pioneers, they will make a success, even though it may takea little time for them to find out the most suitable methods for the different conditions. However, the main point is that facilities for land settlement should precede any large expenditure by the Commonwealthor the States on immigration. In the meantime we can welcome all who come of their own free will, and who, by that very fact, demonstrate their enterprise, and strength of character. But what will be the result if we spend such sums as honorable members have occasionally mentioned on immigration, under present conditions? If we were to spend £250,000 annually, as some say we ought, it would be simply putting a subsidy to that extent into the pockets of private landlords at the expense of poor taxpayers. Every pound we spend on immigration will send up the value of private land proportionately ; and what we are asked to do now, in the absence of any provision for land taxation, or for preventing the aggregation of estates, is to subsidize at the expense of the community those who are already well off. I am not prepared to agree to that method of distributing largesse at the expense of those who cannot afford it. Speaking generally, landlords are sufficiently well off without any doles of charity from the State.
– They do not want charity.
– But they would take advantage of anything in the way of increased values.
– The same may be said of manufacturers.
– In the case of manufacturers there is the possibility of. competition, which does not exist in the case of land monopoly. We cannot make land as we can other commodities; and, therefore, the conditions are different. There seems to be on the part, not only of honorable members, but of people outside, a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the attitude of the Labour Party in regard to immigration.
ColonelFoxton. - Then it is not a ques- tion of what is the law, but a question of what is the view of the Labour leagues whichdominatetheLabourParty.
– The honorable member is begging the question. His statement was that men were being prevented from coming into Australia ; and I say that that statement is absolutely incorrect. The hon orable member then goes off at a tangent, and asks what is the opinion of the Labour leagues outside.
Colonel Foxton. - My contention has been the same all through.
– But that has nothing to do with the point we are discussing. The Labour leagues have nothing to do with the administration of the Act; and, as a matter of fact, the leagues are not against immigration.
Colonel Foxton. - I do not agree with the honorable member.
– That does not alter the fact that at the last conference the Labour leagues carried a resolution in favour of spending money on immigration, so long as steps were first taken to open up the land. The Labour Party are taking a common-sense, business-like attitude in insisting that we must have the ground work secure before we spend a large amount of public money. What some of our friends wouldhve us do is to distribute a million or two for the benefit of the landlord.
– Who says so?
– The actions of the honorable member and his friends say so ; what is desired is that we should spend money like water on immigration, and thus put upth value of land.
– It is absurd to make such a statement !
– The Minister has told us that he cannot spend all the money that has been voted ; and, personally, I should not place £20,000 on the Estimates until there was a progressive land tax on the statute-book.
– Will the honorable member show how that would cheapen land ?
– I have already said that expenditure 011 immigration will make land dearer, because every additional person on the lookout for land puts up the price. The object of every big landlord is to have as many immigrants as possible at State expense, so that the value of his land may be increased.
– That is an unfair statement !
– It is absolutely true; all the landlords are “barracking” for immigration; because they know that the value of land will go up at somebody else’s expense.
– Not at all.
– It is one vast conspiracy to rob the taxpayers of Australia.
– The honorable member has broken out !
– Nothing else can be said of it. We have men throughout Aus tralia making a stalking-horse of immigration, so that the value of their land may be appreciated.
– Immigration is advocated by men without an acre of land.
– There are, no doubt, misguided individuals who are used by the people mainly responsible.
– Is the honorable member opposed to immigration at present?
– I am not.
– But the honorable member says that every additional immigrant puts up the price of land, and that, therefore, he is against immigration.
– It is very kind of the honorable member to put my case in his own way, but it does not suit me. I welcome every person who comes as an immigrant; but I decline to spend the taxpayers’ money in bringing in immigrants when the only effect can be to raise the price of land to our own settlers, and to the immigrants themselves.
– If immigrants come of their own free will, they will still raise the price of land.
– We cannot interfere with that, though itprovides an additional reason for land taxation. I shall be prepared to spend public money in bringing immigrants here in large numbers so soon as the land is made available.
– Does the honorable member think that a land tax would make land available to persons with limited capital?
– Yes. The number of artisans which Australia would be able to absorb must for some time to come be comparatively small, though we have room for an immense number of farmers and persons used to agricultural work.
– Farm labourers.
– Yes, providing that land is madeavailable for settlement. If townspeople are brought here in large numbers, we shall soon have a surplus which we cannot absorb. Our industries cannot expand rapidly enough to absorb large numbers of immigrating artisans and town dwellers, unless there is an enormous expansion of pastoral, and, particularly, agricultural settlement.
– How would a progres sive land tax cheapen land for immigrants ?
– At any rate, such a tax would prevent its undue appreciation.
The late Mr. Seddon told me that that had been the main effect of the New Zealand tax.
– Land is dearer in New Zealand than it is in Australia.
– That is why some New Zealanders have come to Australia.
– The dearness of land in New Zealand is due to the increase in the value of agricultural products, and partly to speculative investment. I do not object to land values created by the values of agricultural products.
– Those are the only real values.
– High prices are due also to scarcity of land.
– That is not the cause of high prices in Australia.
– It is largely the cause in the settled districts.
– How will a land tax make land available for the class of people whom the honorable member wishes to bring to Australia ?
– A sufficiently high progressiveland tax will compel large owners to cut up their holdings for smaller settlement.
– And the land will be bought again by capitalists.
– No ; because the more a man holds, the greater the taxation which he will have to pay. We have heard a great deal about what has been done in New South Wales in the cutting up of estates for settlement, but, as fast as large estates are cut up, others come into existence, the land which is sold being frequently bought by persons already possessing large holdings.
– And by others possessing only moderate or small holdings.
– I do not know about last year, but in the previous two years there was an increase in the number of estates in New South Wales containing more than 20,000 acres. .
– The same thing has happened in New Zealand.
-According to figures produced by the honorable member for Fawkner, there has been a diminution of large estates in Victoria.
Mr. WATSON.I am not going to argue land taxation under the conditions in which we are placed to-night ; I rose to protest against the suggestion that the Labour Party opposes immigration.
– Its members have said this afternoon that they are opposed to immigration.
– I do not think so. My honorable friend’s impressions are not always reliable. Sitting near the gangway, he has many difficulties. It is sometimes not easy for him to decide how to vote.
– I would recall to the honorable member’s recollection the speech of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports.
– I did not hear the whole of that speech, and do not agree with part of what I heard. But the honorable member was right in objecting to State assistance being given, as is being done in New South Wales, to the immigration of town dwellers.
– That was not his main objection.
– It was one of his objections. I shall be prepared to vote for even larger expenditure on immigration if it is preceded by practical steps in making land available to the people.
.- The honorable member for South Sydney possesses the esteem of his fellows because of the fair and intelligent way in which he generally presents a case, and his tirade to-night against the land-holders of Australia was unworthy of the position which he holds here and in the country. He repeated the statement that the effort to encourage immigration is due to concerted’ action by the land-holders of the Commonwealth witha view to appreciatethe value of their holdings. Nothing could be more ridiculous. They do not take nearly as much interest in public affairs and the making of laws as they should take.
– Up our way, at election time, they fight like tigers.
– A different set of conditions prevails in Victoria. My honorable friend said that the Labour Party has never resisted the introduction of white persons into Australia under legitimate conditions. As a member of thefirst Parliament, I took up the position that the Parliament was justified in placing such restrictions upon immigration as would prevent the importation of men to defeat an industrial conflict or to reduce wages, and, fortunately, the legislation which we then agreed to was subsequently amended, at the instance of the honorable member for North Sydney, and a very serious blot removed from the statute-book.
– We supported that amendment.
– Very reluctantly.
– Australia, in the early days of Federation, suffered greatly because of the “ Six hatters’ case.”
-It was the lies which were circulated in connexion with that case that caused all the trouble.
– I do not say that the representations as published in Great Britain were accurate. There was, no doubt, considerable misconception as to the real position; but the result was unhappy for Australia. It would be idle to say that our early legislation allowed Britishers to come here without hindrance.
– Who caused the false impressions which prevailed ?
– That is beside the question. The effect produced in the minds of British people was that restrictions and hindrances were placed upon their immigration to Australia.
– That was due to the malicious misrepresentation of our legislation.
– I was travelling in England and Scotland at the time, and did what I could to refute the statements which every newspaper contained about our restrictions on immigration. We are still trying to live down those lies. But it would be idle to say that our legislation did not give ground for the beliefs that were current.
– Yet the Labour Party was returned with increased strength at the following election.
– Next time its numbers will be reduced, though I do not wish to lose my honorable friend, whose voice there is no mistaking. The discussion to-night has shown the difference between the views on this subject held by the members of the Labour Party and those of the members of the Corner Party. Although the honorable member for South Sydney said in his concluding sentences that he favours immigration, the speeches of other members of his party, and their interjections of assent, show that they are not favorable to a policy for the promotion of immigration generally. The honorable member for South Sydney stated that the Labour Party were favorable to immigration provided that they got their land tax. That means that they do not favour immigration unless they get a land tax.
– Not assisted immigration.
– All this only shows what brought about the change that has been effected in the last few days. The line of demarcation between the party now on the Ministerial benches and the party that occupies the Ministerial Corner is becoming more definite and distinct, and it is fortunate that it is so. The ex-Prime Minister de- , clared that he made increased population one of the foremost planks of his platform. He said - and this was a proper position to take up - “ I will spend the money to secure population, and to give Australia the necessary advertisement, so long as the States will give me the land.” Now the party in possession of the Treasury bench come down and ask us for a Federal land tax; but no law that we pass can differentiate between one State and another. Figures have been quoted to-night showing how much land is available in Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory. Yet that party would place those great territories on the same plane as New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, which are already fairly occupied. Where is the land tax which the honorable member for South Sydney advocates? Will he apply it to those large unoccupied areas?
– There will be no tax on unoccupied areas.
– We are asked to pass a paltry £20,000 to advertise Australia. An amendment has been moved to reduce that amount, not because the mover thinks the. full sum is not necessary if judiciously expended, but because the Government have not made a specific statement as to the way in which they propose to spend it.’ I believe that the Minister’ of External Affairs will see that the amount is expended, and I hope he will judiciously employ the full sum in comprehensive advertisements throughout Great Britain and other desirable countries. We should not restrict our advertisements entirely to Great Britain. There are men of other nationalities whose resourcefulness and capital might advantageously be attracted to our shores. We should give an opportunity to all desirable white races to come to Australia. The secret of the success of America lies in the fact that it attracts desirable immigrants from all parts of the world. Canada does the same. Those countries do not confine themselves entirely to British people, but all those who go there become loyal and faithful citizens of the American Republic or loyal citizens under the Crown in Canada. I intend to support the Government in the vote, and, if I believed it could be judiciously expended, I should vote for doubling the sum, if such an amendment were possible.
.- When we have the lie hurled at us day after day that the Labour Party are opposed to immigration and to the increase of population in Australia, it is our duty to refute it at every opportunity. I was pleased to hear the honorable member for Kooyong admit that one of the greatest obstacles to immigration to this country was to be found in the lies told with regard to one or two little cases where men were blocked from coming in under contract. The stories circulated at that time by those who were opposed to progress in Australia had a damaging effect which it will take us years to live down. The leader of the Opposition referred tothe glorious fact that Canada and the United States were receiving immigrants by the tens of thousands; but he did not tell us that the main reason was that those were two great manufacturing countries with splendid systems of protection. He also failed to tell the Committee that the United States of America were so particular that they turn back thousands of men every year on account of defective eyesight and other physical shortcomings. The United States have a very severe Immigration Restriction Act, and refuse toaccept the flotsam and jetsam of the slums of Europe. They have even turned back people from Australia and New Zealand. So stringent is their restriction of immigration that the shipping companies which carry immigrants to America are particular to have them examined before they start, because they are obliged to take them back if rejected. Another half truth told to us by the honorable member for Brisbane, was that there are millions of acres of Crown lands ready for settlement in Australia. There are also several millions of acres that could be made ready for settlement. Some are Crown lands which are locked up under long leases to large land owners. It is high time that they were made available.
– You can open the doors to them any day with your cash.
– The immigrant with £1,000 in his pocket does not need much assistance from any of us. He can get land, but the immigrant that we have to depend upon, and fight for, is the man of small capital.
Dir. Wilson. - You can help him by closer settlement.
– Exactly, and I should like to show how immigration is being helped in my own State by closer settlement. The State Government are moving along slowly and tardily, throwing open a small estate here, and a small estate there, keeping the land hunger so keen that the land-owners are getting double the price that they ought to get for the estates that are cut up. The result is that the unfortunate men who are taking up homes have to pay anything from £4 up to even £8 an acre for grazing land. The honorable member for Calare, than whom there is no better authority on land in the House, dealt exhaustively with that phase of the question. Those who advocate indiscriminate immigration are anxious to have, not only several hundred Australians, but three or four hundred immigrants as well, applying for one block of land, so that their dear friends - the men who are trying to get out before the progressive land tax is imposed - may secure high prices, utterly careless of how the unfortunate mart who takes up that land fares afterwards. Reference has been made to New Zealand. but that Dominion, within the last few years, has made remarkable progress on account of her laws and her policy of advertising herself.
– Good seasons, and high prices for her produce.
– She had good seasons all the time that the Vogel policy was being carried out, but she did not have good laws until the advent of the Seddon Administration. Then came the encouragement of the small men who went there to make their homes. The advertisement that New Zealand went in for was, first, the imposition of a progressive land tax. This made more land available, and has caused improvements, amounting in value to nearly £50,000,000, that otherwise might not have been made, to be effected. When men have to pay a fair tax 011 their land they see that it is put to better use. The ideal of land administration is to get the land into the hands of the men who will make the best use of it. The squatter who runs one sheep to the acre must, if he has to pay a big land tax, get a bigger income from his land, in order to preserve the balance between his income and expenditure. That causes him to employ more labour, or sell his land to men who will put it to better use in smaller holdings. It is sheer hypocrisy for honorable members to stand on the floor of this House and- let it go forth to British immigrants that there is land in abundance available in Australia, when they know that those Crown lands are so difficult to work at first that only the man with capita! can do anything with them. Our whole trouble in regard to closer settlement is that we demand for the purpose land which is adjacent to a railway line, and which mav be reached by good roads. Our desire is that large areas so situated shall be subdivided into blocks on which men mav make a fair living. Those who speak of land being available for settlement forget to mention the number of applicants for it, and the inability of many of our own people to secure blocks on which :to settle. When I referred by way of interjection to the climate of Queensland, I did not wish in any way to disparage that State. I recognise that Queensland has probably more land available for settlement than has any other State, but having lived there for two years, I must say that I do not like the climate north of Brisbane. It is very hot, and people from Great Britain would not be quickly acclimatized.
– Some of the best men in the sugar districts of Queensland came direct from England.
– They probably are the exceptions.
– No one will admit that if a man desires to settle in a certain district, he will not be deterred from doing so because of considerations as to the climate. We constantly hear honorable members grumbling in this House of the heat during the summer months, and we have also heard complaints of the cold climate of Tasmania. If honorable members were advocating immigration from, say, India, then I should say at once that some thousands of white people from that country could readily be settled with success in Queensland. There are certainly thousands of square miles in Queensland where the climate is all that could be desired.
– Some of the finest types of men I have ever seen are working on plantations in Queensland.
– It is only men of the finest type that can stand the climate of “Northern Queensland, and I have some feeling for the weaklings to whom it would be unendurable. A Britisher of the finest type will do well anywhere. He is a success even on the Alaskan gold-fields.
– How are we to people the Northern Territory?
– It will be peopled by those who, like the honorable member, can stand the heat. I repeat that I have no desire to disparage Queensland. It is a great State, and is attracting population from the other States of the “Union because of its liberal land policy, and the effort that it is making to promote settlement. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same of some of the southern States.
– Would a progressive land tax provide immigrants with cheaper land than is available in Queensland under the land system now in force there?
– The imposition of a” progressive land tax would probably make more land available, proportionately, in the other States than in Queensland. I do not think that, in so far as some parts of that State are concerned, the need of such a tax is so great as it is in regard to other parts of the Commonwealth. But a progressive land tax is urgently necessary to make more land available in New South Wales, Victoria, and the southern parts of South Australia and Queensland. It is all very well for honorable members to talk of the beautiful Darling Downs, but the land there, with the exception, perhaps, of a few prickly pear areas, is all privately owned.Something more than a progressive land tax is necessary to promote settlement. We may make large areas of land available, but we cannot expect men to work it successfully if they have no money. Next to the provision of the land itself is the necessity for providing cheap money. That is why New Zealand, in advertising abroad for farmers, took care to state that she had iv. operation not only a. progressive land tax, but a system under which a man who went on the land could obtain a loan at the lowest rate of interest, the repayments extending over seventy years. Under that system, a loan can be obtained at 4J per cent., and per cent, of the principal is repayable annually. If this Government remains in power, it will be its duty not only to pass a progressive land tax, in order to provide cheap land, but also to introduce legislation providing for a national bank which will enable cheaper money to be obtained. Such a system has worked admirably in New Zealand, where thousands of mechanics have also been attracted bv the action of the Government in passing legislation raising wages as far as possible to a living rate. .When that fact became known, mechanics from all parts of the world expressed a desire to settle there. No better advertisement could have been secured. The farmers there also found that, as the result of the good wages that prevailed they were able to obtain better prices for their products. Although his Government was described as that of the “ Seven demons of Socialism.” the late Richard Seddon enabled the farmers of New Zealand to reach the markets of the world with their produce. He took care that their products, When exported, should bear a Government brand, and they were of such excellent quality that people abroad were led to inquire what sort of country they came from. That is the kind of advertising that I should like to see adopted bv Australia. I. have no desire to delay the passing of these Estimates, and I have only to say, in conclusion-, that I have the fullest confidence in the Government. I shall vote for the item of £20,000, feeling confident that the money will not be spent extravagantly. It will not be the first time that money has been voted, and not spent, and I absolutely trust the Minister who is charged with the distribution of this amount.
– Trust him not to spend it.
– No; I trust him to spend it judiciously. I wish once more to enter an emphatic protest against Australia being advertised in a way that is calculated to create a false impression. I object to people in foreign countries being led to believe that they have only to come here to find a fortune ready to fall into their hands.
– I would remind those who have been protesting against the proposed vote of £20^000 to advertise the resources of Australia .that we have to consider the primaryproducer. We must do so apart altogether from any question as to the imposition of the progressive land tax which we are told the Ministry intend to propose next session. Those who have decried this movement need to be reminded that if, as the result of advertising, our people are able to obtain better prices for their products in the markets of the world, they will be able to pay better wages. The more attention we draw to our produce the more likely are we to attract people to our shores.
Many honorable members who have spoken to-night have sought to depreciate die usesof capital, but they have had to admit that we cannot do without it. The honorablemember who has just resumed his seat hassaid that a man who has £1,000 at hiscommand can buy a suitable area and work out his own salvation. Every man who desires to become a primary producer must be prepared to do that. As one associated with the primary producers, I do not hesitate to say that it is the duty of the Commonwealth Government, as senior partner in the firmto which the Australian States belong, todo their level best to draw attention to our resources. That, I think, is sound commonsense. We have been told to-night that weneed first of all to impose a land tax. I’ would remind honorable members that whenthe power to impose such taxation was conceded, it was believed that it would never be exercised save in a case of special emergency.
– We are only to spend themoney !
– We must certainly advertise our resources. The honorable member for New England has pointed’ out that Australia comprises an area of 3,000,000 square miles, and yet we are told1 that we have no land available for settlement. Our population is little more than’ 4,000,000, so that we have about 750,00c- square miles to every million people in Australia. The honorable member for New England must be aware that there is land’ available in all parts of the Commonwealth. The honorable member for Wannon could tell tha House that in his electorate, where settlement has rapidly increased of recent years, the farmers will’ average about five bags to the acre, or say 18 bushels, and that every man will netsomething like £2 per acre off his land. That land was bought at an average price, not exceeding £6 an acre, representing athreeyears’ purchase; and I should like to know what country could show better results. There are tens of thousands of acres of similar quality to be obtained on the same terms and conditions all over Australia; and yet we are told it is urgent and necessary, in the interests of labour, that there should be a land tax imposed. In my opinion, there is another object inview, namely, to keep out immigrants, and’ make Australia a “ close borough “ for the Labour Party and their adherents; I’ told1 the honorable member for South Sydney that all through the country districts, there is at present employment for thousands of men at fair wages harvesting, but that they prefer to remain in the large towns and Capitals. The policy of the Labour Party apparently is to build up the cities, and not to take much notice of the country ; but we should have our labour in the country, which produces the wealth on which the artisans exist, and the burden should be made as light as possible for the man on the land. I intend to support the vote, and would have done so if it had proposed an expenditure of £50,000, because it will be well spent in advertising, and causing a keener demand and higher prices for what we produce.
– I know that members of the Ministry profess to think that there is some “ stone-walling” on this side, but if there be any it is from honorable members behind the Government, whose speeches are such as to draw replies even from honorable members who had no intention to speak. The honorable member for South Sydney contends that it is wrong to suggest that the Labour Party, as a party, are against immigration; but the remarks we have had from that honorable member and others show that the suggestion is a true one. Statements which the Labour Party have made with such clearness, and repeated so often, leave no other conclusion possible; and the attitude of the Government on this very item is further proof of their opposition to immigration.
– The Labour Party have always been against indiscriminate immigration.
– I never objected to a moderate expenditure ; but I do object to any large measure of immigration being entered upon, unless there be also a scheme of land taxation. I have no objection to the work the Government are now doing.
– Honorable members on this side have been charged with reflecting on Australia, but if any reflections have been cast in this debate they have been from honorable members opposite. The honorable member for Calare, who is not usually given to extreme language said that to encourage immigration wouldbe to bring people here to starve, and that, while we had disgraceful sweating in our cities, more people should not be invited to come.
While, unfortunately, there may be acertain degree of sweating in our cities, I think that in this respect, Australia can compare with any other part of the world ; and, therefore, there is no reason to stop immigration on that account. We are offering the people of the older world better conditions than they at present enjoy ; and we ought to offer a share of our prosperity to the nation which is the source of that prosperity. These “close borough “ proposals are not to the advantage of the people of Australia or of the Empire. I do not say there should not be selection when immigration is encouraged.
– And preparation.
– There is some preparation, as shown by the admission of the honorable member for South Sydney.
– There is not sufficient.
– There is sufficient for hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
– That is merely a matter of opinion.
– Then, I shall give some facts to support my opinion. The honorable member for South Sydney admits that in Western Australia and Queensland there is any quantity of Crown land available for immigrants; and it would be wrong not to avail ourselves of the opportunities thus presented. In the other States, there are facilities, though to a lesser degree; but the honorable member for South Sydney contends that facilities will only be provided by a progressive land tax, which willnotapplytoproperties under the value of £5,000. That exemption is an absolute departure from the first tenets of the Labour Party in regard to land taxation. At one time, the Labour Party were in favour of no exemption. An exemption, however small, they regarded as striking at the basic principle of the policy.
– When did the Labour Party say that?
– I refer to the speeches of the earlier Labour Party in New South Wales.
– There has been a similar exemption in the platform of the Labour Party in South Australia for eighteen years.
– At any rate, the Labour Party objected to an exemption of estates under£240whereas now they propose an exemption of £5,000.
The effect of such a tax would certainly not be what is anticipated. In the first place, if it did dispossess holders of land, it would only operate in the case of land of the least value, because those with good land would be able to pay the land tax and retain it. It will, therefore, be seen that the land which would be thrown open by taxation would be that on which it was most difficult to make a living. The figures in regard to the New Zealand land tax support the contention that the land tax there has not had the effect claimed. According to my reading, the results do not agree with the statements made by honorable members opposite. We are told that the progressive land tax in New Zealand has been highly successful ; and I may admit that though it is not quite the tax favored by the Labour Party here, it is a progressive land tax. In addition to the tax, the New Zealand Government have been for years purchasing estates and cutting them up. What is the combined result? In 1902-3, the holders of 5,000 acres and upwards numbered 862, whereas in 1906-7, although there had been cutting up of estates in the interval, they numbered 918. The total area held by those who owned 5,000 acres and upwards in 1902-3 was 20,892,000 acres, and in 1906-7 the area was 20,154,000 acres. That is considerably over half the occupied land ; and we have those results, notwithstanding the progressive tax and the cutting up of estates by the Government.
– The holders were wait ing to be bought out.
– These are the results; and it does not matter what the reasons were.
– It does matter.
– The same reason would apply in any case. This land tax has been lauded as causing the success of New Zealand ; and we are asked to follow that example. The honorable member for New England pointed out that, in consequence of such legislation, the population of New Zealand had grown by leaps and bounds ; and the honorable member for, Calare told us that the young men of Australia are leaving for the Dominion.. But figures previously quoted show that Australia, by the interchange of population with New Zealand, is gaining about 3,000 a year. Doubtless, some of our young men went to Canada, but most of them have returned or are trying to return ; and we had to vote a considerable sum of money in order to pay the passage of several hundred back from South Africa. Whatever our policy is, it is clearly one which, so far from driving people away, attracts them to Australia.
– It is better to starve at home than in a foreign land.
– These men, by going abroad, showed that they are enterprising and active, and the fact that, after their experiences in another country, they desired to return, speaks well for Australian conditions.
– They were brought back.
– Some had to be brought back, which proves that they were not doing well abroad, and felt that they would be better off at home. Then, notwithstanding all that has been said about the results of New Zealand legislation, the exchanges between that country and the Commonwealth tell in our favour to the extent of 3,000 persons per annum. It has been claimed that the New Zealand land legislation has attracted to the Dominion a larger number of immigrants than have come to Australia ; but while as between 1901 and 1906 her population increased by 115,000, which was 36,000 more than the increase in the previous five years, and the largest she has had, that of New South Wales increased by 150,000.
– It has been said that that was due to protection.
– Then it is very curious that in Victoria, the home of protection, there was a loss of population. It must be remembered, moreover, that the years which I have taken were very prosperous ones for New Zealand, while during a large part of the period. New South Wales was suffering from one of the most severe droughts known in her history.
– The immigrants to New South Wales were city folk. About 80,000 of them went to swell the population of the cities.
– There was an increase in both city and country population. During the drought years many persons left the country to reside in Sydney, because their stock was dead, and their properties could not be worked. The figures which I have given disprove the arguments which have been used. Then as to land values : I was in New Zealand eighteen months or two years ago, and found that land values there were so high that it seemed almost impossible that they could be sustained. Many persons, indeed, are finding it profitable to sell their Kew Zealand properties to buy land in Australia.
– Thirty came over in one day.
– Then why spend money in advertising to attract immigrants here?
– The immigration should be still larger than it is. I admit that there should be selection. We desire immigrants who will settle in the country rather than in the cities. Two of the largest States - Western Australia and Queensland - have made preparation for immigration, and the others are following their lead. Therefore the Commonwealth will do well to assist in attracting immigrants to Australia. Character is often worth more than money. Many of those who in the past came here with nothing are doing a great deal for the country. We ought to encourage the immigration of men of stamina and good character, as well as of farmers with money in their pockets. I should like to see a stream of sturdy immigrants who would assist our progress and advancement.
– So should I.
– The fathers of some honorable members, and other honorable members themselves, came to Australia, in some cases, without money, and it would be unjust to exclude others of our countrymen because they had little.
– They are not excluded.
– I shall support a policy which will assist the immigration of sturdy men of various occupations. In dealing with land taxation the honorable member for South Sydney overlooked the fact that the buyer of large blocks of land, subject to a. tax, would discount his liability for taxation in the price he would pay. I am assuming that it is proposed to impose an honest tax, not a confiscatory one. Consequently the second holder would not feel the taxation, which would have no tendency to force him to cut up his estate.
– There might be causes which would prevent the discounting of the tax.
– The circumstances surrounding the sale of land vary greatly, and many considerations be sides liability to taxation affect values. But the results of the New Zealand legislation do not bear out the contentions of the honorable member for South Sydney. The honorable member for Calare spoke of the number of applicants for Crown land in New South Wales, and said that in the Moree district there were 1,200 for eight blocks. I saw it stated in the newspaper that the number was 800, and a member of his party said that that was so. It must be remembered that an applicant can apply for each of the blocks available without making more than one deposit.
– Still there must have been at least 100 applicants.
– The applicants probably did not number so many. The honorable member for Maranoa knowsthat when people have an opportunity te take part in what is virtually a lottery, they often associate to improve their chances. That multiplies the number of applications, but not of genuine applicants. Probably the applicants for these blocks did not number more than fifty or sixty.
– Are they examined separately?
– I presume that each application is examined, but there is nothing to prevent applicants from applying personally on one deposit f«r each of the blocks, or from also making applications through others with whom they would work in partnership. A man who lives in the district told me that the immediate .money value of these blocks, if they could be transferred, would be from £800 to £I,000. Thus we have a Government lottery, in which big prizes a.re obtainable. There are restrictions on transfer, but they are often evaded. Ill -health is a ground for permitting a transfer, and a man who knows a good deal about land operations tells me that the taking up of Crown land seems to be one of the most sickly businesses possible-, judging by the number of those who fall ill after securing land by ballot, and consequently ask for permission ti transfer.
– That is quite true.
– In this case, the number of applicants was not more than fifty or sixty, and each prize in the lottery was worth £800 or £1,000.
– I know an instance where there were t 30 applicants, and only five were bond fide. ‘ ‘
– That supports my contention that the figures which are so often produced need close examination before we arrive at their true value. If more people knew the worth of these properties, there would probably be a great many more applicants. Many who are not associated with the land do not understand the value offered in these lotteries. lt is the fact that the Government are giving something at less than its market value that causes people to take part in them. I have already stated that there should be assisted immigration with careful selection of immigrants. If- honorable members refer back to the assisted immigration periods in Australia, they will find that the most prosperous times were those when there was the largest amount of assisted immigration. I do not say that there may not be some confusion of cause and consequence there. It does not absolutely prove that the whole of that prosperity was due to that immigration. It may have been that a certain amount of prosperityinduced the expenditure on that object, but the fact remains that, in spite, if not in consequence of the assisted immigration, those and the immediately succeeding periods were the most prosperous in certain States. We should consider the expenditure that a number of immigrants cause in Australia. In connexion with 1,000 men, there will probably be from £50,000 to £100,000 expended in a year, even the workers here have a great deal to 5a in from that immigration. Every honorable member admits that we require more population. The only difference is that some honorable members say, “ We will not assist immigration,” fearing that it will interfere with those already here. I have no such fear. I do not say that we should bring in an immense number of one particular trade. They should be judiciously selected, and then I have every confidence that immigration would improve matters, while giving us the population which we want for future developments, and which will be of advantage if we ever have to defend ourselves against other nations. In saving that, I would point out that I am not affected bv the panic that is often raised about an attack on Australia. I support a reasonable immigration policy. If the Government wish to show that they are in earnest, it will not do for them to 9 - “ Immigration? Oh, yes, but not now ; some other time.” They will have to come forward with a policy that will support immigration, not at some far distant date, if the Government live fill then, but at the earliest possible moment. They cannot justify the claim that they are in favour of immigration by the remote support which they profess to give.
Mr. JOHN THOMSON (Cowper) [9.45J. - We were given to understand when the Government submitted the Estimates that a considerable amount of energy would be put into their passage. Being anxious for them to be disposed of, in order that we might be able to get on with other business, and ultimately go into recess, I had not intended to occupy much time in their discussion, but, as the Government and their supporters have been very arduous in prolonging the debate - the Minister made a statement last night which was responsible for a considerable amount of discussion - I hope I mav be permitted to say a few words. I ‘ was struck last night with the remarks of the ex-Treasurer. They showed the great necessity that exists for advertising Australia. His statement, which is borne out by a number of other gentlemen who have visited the Old Country, that it is very difficult ‘to get information there regarding what is being done in Australia, shows the necessity for supplying the demand for such news. One of the best ways to achieve that end is to adopt the honorable member’s suggestion to keep up constant cable communication with the Mother Country, supplying by that means, from a reliable source, the best information on Australian public matters. As the representative of a primary producing district, I would point out that the producers are anxious that advertising should be done in such a way as will bring the productions of Australia more prominently before our consumers, who at present are unfortunately located in countries across the sea. I am confident that the Government will spend this amount judiciously. I am not anxious for the Minister to keep the promise that he made last night that only a moderate amount would be spent. I shall not find fault with him if it is all spent, because if used wisely, it will be a good investment, from which the people of Australia, including the producers, in whose interests it is voted, will derive considerable benefit. We should also let the people of the Old Country know the openings for settlement in Australia. Some time ago we passed a Tariff which will have the effect for a little while, until industries are established, of making a good many of the articles consumed by the people somewhat dearer. We admit that that is so from a consumer’s point of view, but people in a primary producing district such as ours also expect that, as the result of the protection extended to the manufacturing industries, a large number of people will be employed in them, and that those people, if not available in Australia, will be brought here. We want this money spent on bringing them here, to make a market for our produce on the spot. We want the people to come from other parts of the world and consume our products’ here, because we should then, have the first claim on the Australian ‘markets, and not be in such fear of competition as we are when we have to send our produce abroad. It will hardly be keeping faith with the producers if we do not follow a policy of ad- %’ertising and bringing more population to Australia, as we were led to believe would be done. Some of the statements made in this debate have somewhat surprised me. The honorable member for New England professed, with a good deal of lung power, to be strongly in favour of immigration, but added that only certain parts pf Australia were suitable for white people to live in. I always understood that the honorable member and the party to which he belongs were in favour of a White Australia. If white people cannot live in the Northern Territory and the north of Queensland, does he now advocate the introduction of coloured immigrants ?
– The honorable member knows very well that white people can live there.
– I was in Port Darwin, and saw that the second and third generation of white people born in the place were quite as healthy as is the honorable member for Maranoa. There is no reason why white people there should not be healthy. We have decided that Australia shall be peopled with white races. The honorable member for New England is inconsistent in advertising himself as an advocate of White Australia and of immigration, and then asserting that white people cannot live in certain parts of the continent. It has been stated that if immigrants are brought here there will be nothing for them to do unless we can settle them upon the land. We all know the value of having people upon the land, and recognise that in some respects it is difficult to obtain land suitable for settlement, but honorable members on the Ministerial benches advocate a« a cure-all the imposition of a land tax. They say, “ We cannot have immigration unless the land is made available, and the land cannot be made available without a land tax.” While I favour immigration, I am opposed-fo a land tax. I fail to see how it will bring about the effects which honorable members opposite predict. Whatever the merits of land taxation may be, we are not without it already in several of the States. We have heard a. good deal in this House about interfering with States rights and activities, and that proposal involves a serious interference with the States. . In most of the States a land tax is the only means available for raising revenue to provide roads, bridges, and other local requirements.
– Then where are we to get increased taxation from ?
– We have not yet found any necessity for increased taxation. In any case it is not my duty, but is the duty of whatever Government is in power, to consider that question, and be prepared to submit their proposals to the House at the proper time. Even if the imposition of a Federal land tax were desirable, we have no right at this juncture to take away from the States one of the sources of their revenue, which is now being used by their Governments to the best of their ability for the benefit of the people. I fail to see that the imposition of a land tax, with the object of causing the subdivision of large estates, would bring about the result anticipated. I had intended to speak at some length with regard to that phase of the question, but I think that the honorable member for North Sydney has shown conclusively that the large landowner could easily rid himself of the tax which it is expected would be borne by him. It is certainly the duty of this Parliament - and I think that every honorable member is pledged to it - to carry out a system of immigration. We were also pledged to pass a protective Tariff. Such a Tariff has been enacted, and we wish now, by bringing more people to our shores, to create a wider local market for our producers, who do not benefit so directly by protection. If we do not adopt a sound policy of immigration, we shall break faith with them. T trust that this proposed vote of £20,000 will be spent, and that the Government will avail themselves of every opportunity to induce a desirable class of immigrants to come to Australia. We have had the experience of what suitable men may do. Our fathers and grandfathers were induced to come here, although they had not much money at their command, and Australia is in their debt to the extent to which they have developed it. We have had the services of the very best class of people in developing the Commonwealth, and if, by advertising in the way proposed, we induce more of the same type to come here, the money will have been well spent.
– I should like to have some information from the Minister as to the proposed vote of £200 as a contribution to the Imperial fund for the investigation of tropical diseases, and also as to the item df £550 for the advancement of the study of diseases in tropical Australia. Is the last named amount to be handed over to the institute at Townsville?
– Why should we contribute £soo to the Imperial fund when we have an institute in the tropics for the study of tropical diseases?
– The one is an International body, and the other is local.
– Does not the honorable member think that tropical diseases can be studied to greater advantage here than in England ?
– There is no overlapping.
– Very well, I approve oi the proposed grant to the Townsville Institute, but I certainly object to the proposed vote of ,£500 as a contribution to the funds of the Imperial Institute. I move -
That the item, “ Contribution to funds of Imperial Institute, .£500,” be left out.
– I hope that the honorable member will not press his amendment. I believe that at one time the Imperial Institute had the reputation of being more of a social club than anything else.
– That is what it is.
– The Institute has been remodelled during the last two cr three years, and under the present management is designed to promote the commercial and industrial interests of the Empire. Arrangements have been made for a permanent, comprehensive exhibition of natural products, and the collection of Australian products sent to the Institute some time ago is sadly in need of being brought up to date. A great many people visit the institute at South’ Kensington, and it would be a matter for regret if an inferior exhibition of Australian products were allowed to be displayed there. The Committee have undertaken that if this grant of £500 be made the exhibition of Australian products will be made as complete as possible.
Colonel Foxton. - Are we represented on the Committee?
– We nominate a representative. The object of the Institute is the collection and dissemination of scientific, technical, and commercial information relating to the natural products of the Empire. The collection of the exhibits of each country is so arranged as to provide an object lesson of its economic conditions. I have here bulletins and reports to the Board of Trade, which have been forwarded by the Institute.
– Every civilized country is represented on it.
– The honorable member is referring, I think, to the International Agricultural Institute at Rome.
– The AgentGeneral of one of the States has been complaining about it.
– We are not to take our policy from a statement made by the Agent-General of any one State. The proposed vote is so small that I think it would be a great mistake to reject it, and to refuse to join with the rest of the Empire in this undertaking.
– I hope that the Committee will reject the item. We find in this division proposed votes in respect of a number of institutions that are alleged to be carrying on scientific research work. We have also a vote of £500 for investigation as to the shearing of wet sheep.
– A very desirable work.
– I quite agree with the honorable member. If we can determine in this way when sheep are unfit to be shorn, we shall confer a great boon on those who earn a livelihood as shearers. The proposed vote in regard to the Imperial Institute is a new item, and very little information in regard to it has bea supplied by the Minister. At one time the Institute was a kind of semi-political and social club; but apparently it has recently decided to extend its operations in ether directions. I notice that the paper from which the Minister has quoted tonight shows that with the exception of Western Australia all the States have discontinued ‘their contributions to it.
– They discontinued them some time ago. I have already said that the Institute has been entirely reorganized.
– The information at the disposal of the Minister is of the most meagre description.
– No; I have full details as to the work of the Institute.
– All that the Minister has are a couple of printed documents and a typewritten statement as to the achievements of the Institute.
– I have a great deal mure information than that.
– Does the Minister mean to say that he has absolute personal information beyond that contained in the documents ?
– What does the honorable member mean ? As a matter of fact, I do not know, of my own. knowledge, that there is such a place?
– I do not blame the Minister for not having first-hand information, but, in view of our present financial necessities, we should not incur any additional responsibility. I ‘take it that the States did not deliberately decide to cease to contribute without some strong justification ; and we, as the representatives of the people, should be at least as careful with the public funds as we would be in our own personal concerns. This is a new item for which I see no reasonable ground ; and, therefore, I think that it ought to be struck out.
– I do not know, of course, what honorable members propose to do in regard to this item, but the only opposition to it comes from a certain part of the House. The Minister has defended the item, though V cannot say that he has done so very strongly.
– It would not do for me to “ stone-wall “ my own Estimates.
– My hope is that the Committee will pass the item as it stands. The Imperial Institute is conducted under very different conditions from those which prevailed for many years after its inception. It is calculated to perform most useful service, and to no part of the Empire more than to Australia. My own opinion is that £5,000 would be little enough for us to contribute.
– I* seems to me that this vote is intended to increase the attractions of a “boodleiers’ ‘”’ club in London.
– It is now a scientific club.
– But I cannot understand an item, of this kind being supported by an economic Labour Government, who ought to be the trustees of the people’s earnings, and see that every penny is judiciously spent. I regard this item as a monstrous outrage when there are thousands in our midst who require the necessaries of life. Ministers laugh, but this is a serious matter, and ft is sad to see such levity on the part of men drawing Ministerial salaries. I take it that the Imperial Institute is a place where there gather wealthy Australian absentees. This seems to be a sort of glorified London club for those who have left their country - not for their country’s good, because they are still sweating Australian people and drawing Australian rents. I do not see why this Government should father all the proposals of the previous Government. The present Administration ought to set a good example, and do something of which their children and the Australian people will be proud ; but they seem to be supinely f following in the footsteps of their predecessors. 1 do not see why we should be called upon to contribute a shilling towards any foreign institutes of the kind.
– Yes, foreign. When the interest becomes due on our foreign bonds, this Institute could not prevent the bailiffs being put in. The amazing part of the case is that the present Ministry, who are supposed to be a popular Ministry, whom the Lord hath lifted up to do something “big.” should adopt a “proposal of this kind.
Question - That the item “Contribution to funds of Imperial Institute, £500,” be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … a6
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the item, “Contribution to funds of Imperial Institute,£500,” be reduced by £250.
– This is a toffs’ club.
– If the honorable member puts the Government out, where will he be?
– I am responsible for the votes which I give in connexion with the expenditure of the public funds. It cannot be supposed that the Government is enamoured of its predecessor’s Estimates, and would make a crisis in connexion with a proposal to pay money to a political institute. There may be a reason for this expenditure, but it has not been given to the Committee. I hold in my hand all the information on the subject in the possession of the Minister, and it is most meagre. We have not been told why the late Government was induced to place this item on the Estimates. If there is a reason, it should be stated. Let me read, for the edification of thosewho believe that this is an institution designed for scientific research, the names of the committee of management. It consists of three members, each nominated by a Government Department. They are the Right Honorable Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, G.C.M.G. ; Sir Alfred Batman,. K.C.M.G. ; and Colonel Duncan Fisher, late of theIndian Army.
– There is also a scientific staff.
– The staff is entirely scientific, and very large.
– The Institute Has conducted its operations in such a manner that all the States but one have withdrawn their support from it.
– Then it was the right thing for the Commonwealth to take up the matter.
– Perhaps so; but that seems a strange reason for accepting; this responsibility. I see no justification for contributing £500 per annum to the Imperial Institute when, every day, requests for telephonic and postal services are put on one side because funds are not available. This is a matter on which honorable members must vote irrespective of party considerations. No justification for the expenditure has been shown.
– It is a pity that the honorable member expended so much energy in a manner which I believe to be wasteful. The statements which he has made concerning the Instituteshould not go unchallenged. In his first speech he spoke of it as a semi political club.
-i said that it was that originally.
– In the honorable member’s second speech he told us that it was altogether a political club.
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– I shall withdraw my remark and apologize when the
Hansard report is available, if what I say is not borne out.
– It is a boodleiers social club.
– I shall not attempt to traverse the honorable member’s picturesque description, though, as a matter of fact, the Imperial Institute is managed mainly for the benefit of the distant parts of the Empire. The committee, whose names were read by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, have little to do with its management, which is in the hands of a distinguished member of a great scientific family, Professor Wyndham R. Dunstan, who has done yeoman service for the Institute, and who, even the honorable member for Kalgoorlie will admit, is one of the leading scientificworkers in the Empire.
– What scientific work does the Institute do?
– I recommend the honorable and learned member to read its bulletins. The Director is Professor Wyndham R. Dunstan, M..A., LL.D., F. R.S., V.P.C.S. Those degrees, to my mind, convey more distinction that the title G. C.M.G. The scientific and technical department is under T. A. Henry, D.Sc. (Lond.), F.C.S. ; the senior assistants being H. Brown and E. Goulding, D.Sc. (Lond.), F.C.S. There are also, as special assistants, H. H. Robinson, M.A. (Oxon.), F.C.S.. and J. W. Evans, D.Sc. (Lond.), F.G.S. In addition thereare eight other assistants. The superintendent of colonial collections is W. G. Freeman, B.Sc. (Lond.), F.L.S., and he has three assistants. The superintendent of the Indian section, appointed by the India Office, is C. E. Jones, B.Sc.(Lond.), F.L.S. ; and the special curators appointed by the Governments of Canada and Cape Colony, are Messrs. Harrison Watson and Lewis Atkinson. Their business is to make a scientific analysis of all sorts of products sent 10 them from various parts of the Empire. In this bulletin there are reports of recent investigations of some forty different products not of some political club in Great Britain - not specimens of Toryism - but products from portions of the Empire which need only to be brought before the commercial people of Great Britain to find there a ready market. When an honorable member talks about a vote of £500 to such an institute as a gift to a Tory club, he is stating something which is not in strict accordance with fact. The Imperial Institute has a number of rooms which are hired by various people for dinners and meetings, but those gatherings have nothing to do with the Institute itself. If the honorable member were a trustee of an A.N. A. hall in Kalgoorlie, he would not like to be held responsible for every meeting held within its walls. He would object to take upon his shoulders the responsibility for all the utterances of an Employers’ Federation meeting held there, ready as he is on all occasions to adapt himself to any circumstances that may arise. Honorable members have acted wisely on previous occasions in refusing to omit the item, and will, I am sure, refuse to allow it to be reduced for the reasons advanced by the honorable member. I hope we shall not get into such a condition in this Chamber that a proposition has only to be labelled Imperial to be immediately jumped upon by those who seem to regard all our Imperial relations as anathema.
– I hope the Committee will help us to save the Australian people from being thrown to the dogs. We desire, in our humble capacities as the representatives of the people, to try not to be hucksters of politics, who have two prominent maxims - “ Love your party better than your country,” and “ Love yourself better than your party.”
– Does the honorable member intend to connect this with the question ?
– I wish to show that we must recognise that politics are national morals - the morals of John William and Tom multiplied by the four millions of the people of Australia. We are theIIIthatthepeoplehaveselected to come to this Parliament, to see that the lambs of this country may not have the fleeces taken off them by the foreign wolves. Yet here we are asked to pass a vote of . £500 per annum for all time and eternity, because once we agree to give this away, the wolf that gets his teeth in from the other side will never let go. It is a wellknown fact that no man ever surrenders a salary once he grabs it. He surrenders it only when he loses the power to hold it. It makes me sad to think that honorable members are frightened, and of what? Because the late Ministry made mistakes, are we to perpetuate them? This Ministry of ours came into power as the financial Administration to straighten everything. It is not right for this Committee to vote away the money of the Australian people in this fashion, when we cannot get post-offices built in our districts. At Wynyard, in a big farming community, the late Postmaster-General agreed to give us a post-office. Yet I get a letter saying, “ We cannot do anything until the vote for next year is passed.”
– The honorable member is delaying it now. I want to get on to the Postal Estimates.
– The, PostmasterGeneral is helpless for want of money, and yet this sum is being expended, not to build post-offices in the remote corners of Australia, not to construct telephones to enable the people that are toiling and moiling in the forests and mines of the Commonwealth to have a little information, but in order to glorify and exalt the fatted ox in foreign countries. That is wrong, and the sad part to me is that it is. the Labour Ministry that propose to do it.
– And the honorable member is not in it.
– I am not troubled about that. I would not change places with any Minister. The country has lost more than I have - it has lost my knowledge, which I have still got. I am here, not as a huckster, but to preserve the rights of the people of Australia, to watch their property, and to see that their money is not voted away carelessly any more than Parliament would carelessly” vote the private money of its members away. No honorable member ought to be in this House that will vote one dollar of the money of the taxpayers of Australia in a direction in which he would not give his own money. Any honorable member who does that is dishonest to the country. It is unfortunate that in this and every other country we have so many politicians sitting on the fence, between dishonest stagnation on the one side-
– Will the honorable member confine himself to the question?
– Am I out of order in proposing to support the honorable member for Kalgoorlie in knocking off half this sum?
– The honorable member would be quite in order in doing so.
– I thought I had a right to speak on that subject. I was under the impression that I was sent here to represent the sovereign electors of Darwin, the most intelligent constituency in the Southern Hemisphere, the blue riband electorate of the Commonwealth. We have no right to vote this money away, and I shall vote to reduce the item by one-half.
.-I should not have spoken but for the remark of the honorable member for Darwin that no man is honorable who votes for this item. The honorable member was not so anxious about the poor people of Australia, or about post-offices in outlying districts, when he voted for an increase in his own salary.
– The honorable member has drawn, the increased salary ever since.
– I am worth quite as much as the honorable member is, but whereas he draws the allowance of £600 per annum and regards it as insufficient, I think that it is too much.
– It is too much for the honorable member, but not for me. He knows his own value.
– The honorable member may think that he is very clever and that he is entitled to say what he pleases with regard to my honour and that of other honorable members.
– I said nothing reflecting on the honorable member’s honour.
– The honorable member said that those who agreed to a certain vote acted dishonorably. As I was one of those who supported that vote, according to the honorable member I am not an honorable man. He has a more flippant tongue than I have, and certainly makes remarks which do not add to the dignity of the Chamber. I shall not allow him to dictate to me the course of conduct I should follow, and I object to his describing me as dishonorable because I voted for what I believed to be a fair and reasonable proposal. If I were sitting behind a Government I should support every measure brought forward by it that I considered reasonable and proper, and certainly I do not think that I should be justified in voting for an increased grant for myself, whilst at the same time I objected to a proposed vote towards the maintenance of a profitable and useful institution.
– Is it a profitable institution ?
– The members of the late Government have said that it is.
– They have said nothing about it.
– They placed the item on the Estimates, and they would not have done so had they thought it unreasonable. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie accused the Minister of External Affairs of knowing little about this item. Could he be expected to be familiar with every detail of the Estimates when he has been in office for only about a. fortnight?
– Did I not say that the Minister might justifiably plead that he was not acquainted with the details of all the items?
– According to the honorable member’s contention, the Ministry ought not to submit any business to the House at the present stage. Ministers have brought forward these Estimates on the good faith of their predecessors and the officers of their respective Departments. It is unfair to denounce them for doing so and to say that they know nothing about them.
– I did not say so.
– Ihave before me a report to the Board of Trade as to the work of the Imperial Institute, from which it would appear that it carries out an exhaustive work in regard to tropical agriculture and the examination of plants. There is one paragraph in the report which is of great importance to Australia. We all know that large quantities of fodder are imported from South Africa, and therefore the following statement appearing in. the report should be of interest: -
It has been alleged that the oats grown in Cape Colony are unsuitable for use as forage, and that they produce a peculiar bone disease in animals fed with them. Four typical samples of oats produced in Cape Colony were sent to the Imperial Institute by the Agricultural Department, and were carefully examined. It was found that the oats were deficient in certain mineral constituents which are important as bone-forming materials, and it is probably to this deficiency that the ill effects observed in horses fed with these oats are due. Suggestions have been made to the Government of Cape Colony that the investigation should be extended, in order, if possible, to find a method of improving the quality of the oats.
– That item alone is worth more than the £500 proposed to he voted to the Institute.
– It is certainly of the greatest importance to Australia.
South African oats are imported by us, and I know that the bone disease referred to in this report has made its appearance in certain parts of New South Wales. A neighbour of mine told me recently that it had broken out upon his holding, and I know that it exists in other parts of the State. There is in Melbourne a firm manufacturing a “ lick “ for this form of disease. It was thought that the outbreak was due to a deficiency of lime in the soil where the cattle were depastured; but the investigations of the Imperial Institute show that it is also caused by stock being fed on oats imported from Cape Colony.
– Itwas upon that information that the various States Governments prohibited the introduction of certain products from South Africa.
– That is certainly interesting news. I do not think that the proposed vote will be lost to us, and I hope that it will be agreed to.
– I regret that I was not present at the outset of the debate on this item, but I trust that as the result of it, the Minister of External Affairs will hesitate to place a similar item on the Estimates next year. I am glad that it is proposed to reduce the item by £250. I know a little of the history of the Institute. In 1887, it was determined to commemorate the Jubilee of the late Queen Victoria, and subscriptions were invited’ from all parts of the Empire. A resident of Victoria contributed £1,000, and was subsequently knighted. The Government of Victoria also subscribed £1,000, and continued that contribution for two or three years. Eventually a member of the State Parliament inquired what was the nature of the work being carried out by the Institute, and the Agent-General was instructed to ascertain what had become of the exhibits forwarded by the Government to this great scientific institution, which was supposed to display products from all parts of the Empre. He found that the Victorian exhibits were crushed into a small case that could scarcely be seen.
– When was this?
– About 1898 or 1899. The people became so disgusted with the Institute that it ceased to exist as an independent organization. If we agree to the proposed vote, the money will be paid really to the British Board of Trade, which now conducts the Institute. We are asked to grant a subsidy to an Imperial office.
The Imperial Institute was a “white elephant,” and was used largely for the creation of billets. It was at first regarded as a rival to the Royal Colonial Institute, which does good work, but the latter has enormous properties and revenues, and could not be fought successfully. The Board of Trade has a scientific Department, and it was thought well to house it in the Imperial Institute. We read in the Bulletin of the Imperial Institute for 1904 -
In1900, the building became the property of Her Majesty’s Government, by whom the western portion and galleries were leased to the Governing Body of the Imperial Institute, the greater part of the eastern and central portions being assigned to the use of the University of London. In July, 1902, an Act of Parliament was passed transferring the management of the Imperial Institute to the Board of Trade, assisted by an Advisory Committee, including representatives of India and the Colonies, us well as of the India and Colonial Offices, the Board of Agriculture, and the Board of trade. This Act took effect on January 1st, 1903.
The Imperial Institute, as a separate organization, ceased to exist in 1903 ; and I am sorry that the honorable member originally responsible as Minister for this item, is not here to give some explanation to honorable members. I do , not blame the present Minister, who cannot be expected to have an intimate knowledge of all these items ; but, in any case, we ought not to be called upon to contribute to a dead institution.
– Every penny of the money will be spent in scientific investigation.
– No doubt, but the Board of Trade carried on this work previously without any contribution from Australia, and would doubtless continue to do so. It is just as though the Exhibition Building in Melbourne had been utilized by the Commonwealth Government for a particular Department, and the States were asked to contribute towards the expense.
– The question is whether we shall participate in the advantages of the researches of the Board of Trade.
– That may be one phase of the question ; and no doubt we should obtain some advantage, but the logical conclusion would be that we ought to contribute to every Government Department in England which, in any way, furthered our interests. Doubtless, if the British Government had to pay us for any advantages derived from Australian research, we ought to adopt an item of this kind; but, as a matter offact, the work carried on by the Board of Trade at the Imperial Institute is more particularly for the benefit of English trade and commerce as represented by, say, Manchester and Birmingham.
– Is the Institute not more effective now than it was before being transferred to the Board of Trade?
– I do not know, but I should imagine that it was, because departments must become more effective as time goes on.
Question - That the item, “Contribution to funds of Imperial Institute, £500,” be reduced by £250 - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 25
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I should like to know the meaning of the item “ Towards expenses of press representatives to the Congress of the Chambers of Commerce, £500.”
– It refers to the visit of press representatives to Great Britain.
– I desire an explanation of the item “ Collection of Australian historical records, £650.”
– We are co-operating with the Government of New South Wales, which had undertaken the collection of historical records relating to that State, and this money is being expended in the collection and classification of historical records of Australia.
– I am satisfied with the explanation of the Minister.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Attorney-General’ s Department.
Division 17 (Secretary’s Office), £3,556.
.- I move -
That the item, “ Secretaryand Parliamentary Draftsman, £900,” be reduced by £100.
It was my intention to have moved to strike out the increase proposed to be granted to the Secretary for the Department of External Affairs, but owing to the sudden collapse of the Parliamentary Witnesses Bill, that item slipped through rather hurriedly. At a later stage, however, I shall move in the direction that I have indicated. I think it is a pity that the heads of Departments are not under the control of the Public Service Commissioner, who would then be responsible for the increments which they receive. They would not then be able to obtain increases by reason of theirclose attendance upon Ministers. Whilst on general principles I am not opposed to the payment of a reasonable salary to an officer who is rendering good service to the Commonwealth, I hold that there is no justification for granting these increases to departmental heads, especially in view of our present financial position. Honorable members cannot but recognise that similar increases are not being granted to officers who are in receipt of only £126 or £150 per annum.
– What interest have Ministers in them?
– I do not unduly blame Ministers for their action in this connexion, I admit that they are saddled with a certain amount of responsibility. But that responsibility has now been transferred to Parliament. I do not agree with increasing the salary of the Secretary for the Department of External Affairs in view of the fact that he is already in receipt of £800 per annum. I know that the Minister can point to an officer employed in a similar capacity in one of the States, who is in receipt of an even larger salary. But I would point out that such salaries are not paid by any of the other five States. I object to granting an increase of £100 a year to an officer who is at the top of the tree, whilst ignoring the claims of officers who are at the bottom. I do not say that the Commonwealth will not be able to meet any liabilities that we may incur, even carelessly., in this Chamber. But the finances of the Commonwealth at the present time are not in a buoyant condition such as would justify us in rushing into rash expenditure. When applications are made for works for the good of the country, and for the convenience of those who are battling in the interior, the replies received are that there is no money to improve services. Only a few days ago an honorable member saw a man in Melbourne pay over £3 10s. to one of the Commonwealth Departments, in discharge of his personal liability on account of the maintenance of a mail service to an outlying district. When citizens are being called upon to make these personal sacrifices, we cannot afford to make considerable increases in the salaries of heads of Departments. I make no attack upon these officers. The ground of my objection is that the increases ought not to be granted, having in view the condition of the finances’. I regret that the opportunity was lost of moving a reduction of the salary of the Secretary to the Department of External Affairs. If the amendment which I am now about to submit is carried, it will, however, be taken as an indication that the Committee desires to reduce the salary of that officer also.
– I should like to offer some reasons why the amendment should not be carried. The Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department and Parliamentary Draftsman occupies a very responsible position. He is generally recognised as an extremely capable man. I quite agree with what the honorable member for Kalgoorlie has said about the desirableness of increasing the salaries of officers of lower grade. But I remind the honorable member that those officers are subject to the Public Service Commis sioner. Moreover, they have received in creases to which they were entitled under the Public Service Act.
– Only up to the maximum of their class.
– That is so under the Public Service Act, which this Parliament passed. It is only fair that I should state the conditions upon which the Secretary and Parliamentary Draftsman undertook the duties of his office. When he accepted office at the inauguration of the Commonwealth, he asked for a minimum salary of £800 per annum. That was granted.
– I will tell the Minister what happened when I have an opportunity.
– The salary that I have stated has been paid ever since. But in 1901-2, the salary appeared on the Estimates as , £750 for the Secretary, and £50 for the Parliamentary Draftsman, the extra money being paid on account of the extra duties and the night work thrown upon the officer. When the honorable member for Ballarat was Attorney-General, he set forth clearly that in the following year the amount set down would be £800. That amount was then paid, and has been paid every year since. The officer has been in receipt of this salary for seven years. He has never had a penny of increase, whilst officers receiving lower salaries have had them increased considerably.
– Did not the officer start with a salary of £650?
– He did not. He started with a salary of £750 for the secretaryship, and £50 for the draftsmanship ; that is to say, he has received £800 from the day he commenced his duties until now. In 1901-2, the Secretary for External Affairs was paid £800, the Secretary for Home Affairs £750 ; and the Secretary to the Treasury £750. At the time of the inauguration of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, the officers in it numbered only four apart from the Secretary and Draftsman. Now there are thirtythree officers in the Department. At the commencement of the Commonwealth, the Secretary had comparatively little to do. At the present time, as honorable members are well aware, he has very much to do. The work done by him is of an extremely technical and important character. In the Public Service of every one of the States the Parliamentary Draftsman is an officer who does no other work. At any rate, that is so in Victoria and New South Wales. In New South Wales, theParliamentary Draftsman receives a salary of £855, though he is not Secretary to the Department. In Victoria, the work of the officer holding the position is confined to parliamentary drafting, any he receives £1,300. The Commonwealth officer, in addition to drafting Bills and superintending the office, acts as adviser to the Government, as well as performing those duties which devolve upon the head of an important public Department. His work embraces the drafting of all Government Bills for Parliament, the drafting and revising of regulations under Acts of Parliament, the advising of the Public Departments upon matters of law, and he is also responsible in the case of difficult constitutional questions which are continually arising. Then there is, of course, the usual work of a Crown law office, including the supervision and conduct of Commonwealthlitigation, and the prosecution of offences against the Commonwealth law, and administrative work generally in connexion with the whole Department. The work of drafting and advising in connexion with litigation necessarily involves the consideration of questions of considerable technical difficulty and complexity, and the questions raised, as honorable members are aware, are frequently quite without precedent, and so call for a very wide and sound knowledge of constitutional law, as well as of affairs.
– What does the Crown Solicitor or the Attorney-General do?
– The interests involved in the questions raised are of very considerable magnitude, and necessarily affect the Commonwealth. The heads of other Departments in the Commonwealth service receive the following salaries: - ComptrollerGeneral of Customs, £1,200; Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, £1,000; Secretary to the PostmasterGeneral,£1,000; Secretary to the Department of Defence, £900; Deputy PostmasterGeneral,New South Wales, £800; Clerk of the Senate, £900; Clerk of the House of Representatives, £900; Director General of Public Works, £900; Commonwealth Statistician, £1,000.
– Some one must have had a good dealof time to spare in order to prepare this historical account.
– The honorable member asked me for information, but apparently all he desires is a meek assent to his assertion. He has declared that £100 a year too much is being asked for this officer, and he wishes me to say: “Quite so; I agree with the honorable gentleman.” I regret that I cannot do so. I am supplying him, and, incidentally, other honorable members, with information. If they do not want it, or if it is not the kind of information they want, and they will tell me what kind they do want, I shall get it for them.
– No doubt the honorable gentleman will adapt himself to any position. If he were here he would sing a different tune.
– I do not know what the honorable member means.
– I am speaking plainly enough to the honorable gentleman any way.
– I suppose the honorable member for Maranoa will say what he pleases, but I think that it is ‘a perfectly proper thing for me to supply the information which has been asked for, while it is most improper to suggest that this information has been supplied for any other purpose. It is only fair in the circumstances to ask that this officer’s salary should be increased by £100 a year. He has been serving the Commonwealth in this responsible and honorable position for eight years, and is entitled to an increase in salary. Will honorable members contend that his salary should remain at £800 a year all his life? If not, I think the increase is justified, and ought to be granted.
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [11.35]. - I have not much to say upon the amendment, but, in view of the fact that such an amendment has been moved, there is an aspect of the matter which I think ls worthy of consideration. On one or two occasions, T have had to go to the Parliamentary Draftsman to get certain parliamentary work done. On the first occasion, I was told by the gentleman himself that the amendment, or whatever it was that I wished to have drafted, should be submitted, first of all, to the AttorneyGeneral.
Colonel FOXTON. - I was. There may have been some misapprehension, and I hope there is. My idea of a parliamentary draftsman is that he should be open to instructions, for the purpose of drafting parliamentary documents, Bills, and amendments, from any private member of this Parliament, and that the work done for honorable members in this way should be regarded as confidential work, until it appears in print. After it is printed and circulated, of course, it becomes public property. Of course, in the most pleasant way possible, I told Mr. Garran, when the statement I refer to was made to me, that that was not in accordance with my idea of the work of a parliamentary draftsman.
– There must have been some misunderstanding.
Colonel FOXTON. - That may be so, but an unfortunate thing happened, as the late Attorney-General will probably remember’: I drafted an amendment-
– In connexion with the Quarantine Bill ?
Colonel FOXTON.- Perhaps so; I think it was. I wish honorable members to understand that I do not impute anything unfair, and that I fully accepted the explanation which was given at that time; but, in view of the fact that I had been told by Mr. Garran that he would have to go to the AttorneyGeneral first, it was a somewhat extraordinary coincidence that the late Treasurer should have come down’ with an amendment before mine, which completely took the wind out of my sails.
– But which, as a matter of fact, had been drafted before the honorable member came to the AttorneyGeneral’s office.
Colonel FOXTON.- So I understand. But honorable members will see that my mental attitude towards the Department, until I received certain assurances from the late Attorney-General, was - of a very peculiar character. Unless it is clearly understood that the Secretary is a parliamentary officer, and, so far as that position is concerned, the servant of the House and its members, and not the exclusive servant of the Government, I shall object to any increase of his salary, and advocate the appointment of a separate individual as Parliamentary Draftsman.
– Unfortunately, the Parliamentary Draftsman in Queensland or Victoria does not care about drafting a Bill for a private member.
Colonel FOXTON.- That is the duty of the Parliamentary Draftsman. He is called upon constantly to hold confidential communications with honorable _ members, who, perhaps, do not desire that their amendments or Bills should be made public or a matter of comment by the Government before they are ready for submission to the House. I felt the matter very keenly at the time. I ha.ve no complaint to make against the Parliamentary Draftsman. He has been most obliging to me, and, so far as I can judge, has done his work admirably. I believe that his drafting in connexion with Bills generally has been excellent.
– As regards the last remark of the honorable member for Brisbane, I think that there must be some misunderstanding. I was in the Department for two years, and my experience is that the Minister never interferes with, and does not even know what the Secretary is doing in. relation to Bills drafted for honorable members.
Colonel Foxton. - It has just occurred to me that in that particular case the remark was made to me that the Secretary would have to refer the matter to the AttorneyGeneral, because he was aware that a similar amendment was being prepared at the instance of the Government. That may be the explanation, of whatoccurred, as I hope it is.
– That is quite true. I can give another illustration in the honorable member’s own case.. I understood that he had given notice of a Bill in connexion with the Representation Act. I do not even know whether it has been circulated.
Colonel Foxton. - It has been.
– I did not see the Bill when I was Attorney-General.
Colonel Foxton. - It has been introduced and set down for second reading.
– I have not gone through the Bill. I can assure the Committeethat any honorable member has had the right of access to the Parliamentary Draftsman. Sometimes, when he was doing important work for the Minister, he would naturally go to him and say thathe had been asked by an honorable member to prepare a Bill, and he would be instructed to do that particular work. Beyond that, the Minister, so far as I know, knew absolutely nothing of what he was doing for private members.
Colonel Foxton. - Not even as to the subject-matter of theBill?
– The Minister does not even inquire as regards the subject-matter of the Bill. But in the particular case which the honorable member mentioned, it happened that the Quarantine Bill was being debated in the House. The Minister of Trade and Customs, who was in charge of it, had arranged to go to Tasmania on, I think, speaking from memory, a
Friday afternoon, and before he left he gave to me orally an instruction which I communicated to the Secretary to prepare a clause on certain lines. Later on the honorable member came with his amendment, and consulted the Secretary, who informed me of the fact. I think that the honorable member saw me on the subject at the time,
Colonel Foxton. - Afterwards.
– But as regards the form of the amendment for the Minister, although it had been drafted and settled by the Department, it had not been approved by. the Customs authorities. In the circumstances we were not in a position to communicate to the honorable member what action the Minister intended to take. I think that the explanation was made at the time, and accepted by the honorable member. I hope that the Committee is perfectly satisfied on that point. It is clear that the Parliamentary Draftsman is available to a private member, and no Minister, so far as I know, has yet interfered with any work he was doing in that way. That is as it should be, because there should exist a. confidential relationship between the Parliamentary Draftsman and an honorable member. My opinion is that this salary should be granted. The officer is entitled to be paid for the work which he does. He is called upon to do highly technical and skilled work, of the greatest importance to the Commonwealth. If we had not a competent officer in charge of the Department it might cost the Commonwealth thousands and thousands of pounds.
– And well we know that it has.
– It has done so already.
– Taking the legislation which has been passed for the Commonwealth and comparing our experience with that of other countries possessing a written Constitution of this kind, we have been eminently successful, right through. Take for instance, the experience of the United States, and refer to any recent volume of decisions given there, and honorable members will find case after case in which Federal powers have been questioned. These cases must constantly arise when we are working under a written Constitution in which our powers are put in general language, and could not be specifically defined. Our Constitution was intended to be adapted to changing conditions of life year after year, and of necessity questions must arise which could not hare been contemplated by the Convention. From the very nature of our Constitution we shall be faced from time to time with important questions as to what are the respective powers of the Commonwealth and the States. The High Court was constituted for the peaceful determination of claims made by the States on the one hand, and by the Commonwealth on the other. It is above all things necessary that the head of this Department should be a man who is thoroughly versed in the principles of constitutional government, and acquainted with the working of similar Constitutions and also a highly skilled constitutional lawyer. I do not wish to appear to be speaking with undue praise of the Parliamentary Draftsman, but I will say that during the first years of Federation we could not have had a better officer. He has been of invaluable assistance to the Commonwealth on every occasion which has arisen. Recently, when the South African Governments desired to form’ a Federation, they applied to us for information, and subsequently sent their thanks for the help rendered by this officer in connexion with their constitutional difficulties. The Secretary to the Attorney-General’s Department is responsible for the administration of the Department ; assists in the preparation of cases submitted for the opinion of the AttorneyGeneral, which involves a great deal of research work; and supervises the drafting of Bills, which is a much more complicated and difficult business than was the drafting of Bills for a State Parliament under the old conditions, or even under the present. He also supervises the framing of regulations, work which is increasing every year.
– What is to be the maximum salary of the office?
– The Public Service regulations provide a maximum of £1,000 for officers in the professional division.
– Then why are we not told straight out that this officer is to get £1,000?
– The practice has been to increase salaries gradually. The work of the Department is becoming larger. It has already had to deal with considerable litigation. Of course, the instruction of counsel in Court, conveyancing and similar detail work, is done by the Crown Solicitor ; but the Secretary to the Department has to assist in the consideration of the constitutional issues at stake. The cases in which the powers of the Commonwealth or the validity of Federal legislation have been questioned are these : in the Privy Council - The Peninsular and Oriental Company v. Kingston, in which the breaking of seals was concerned, The Colonial Sugar Company v. Irving, arising out of the Excise Act, and Webb v. Outtrim. In the High Court - D’Emden v. Pedder, the stamp tax. case ; Murray v. Collector, arisingout of the Western Australian Tariff; Municipal Council of Sydney v. Commonwealth, which related to the stamp duty on deeds ; Miller v. Commonwealth, as to the existing rights of officers transferred to the Commonwealth ; Commonwealth v. New South Wales, as to the stamp duty on Commonwealth transfers; Cousins v. Commonwealth, as to the existing rights of transferred officers; Robteimes v. Brenant a deportation case ; the income tax cases ; Attorney-General of New South Wales v. Collector, the State Customs case; King. v. Sutton, as to penalties ; New South Wales v. Commomvealth, a gratuity case; the surplus revenue case; the Jumbunna Coal Mine v. Victorian Coal Miners’ Association ; and the Federal Amalgamation of State employes; Rex v. Registrar of Trade Marks - workers trade marks ; King v. Barger, as to penalty - new protection ; and Commonwealth v. McKay, as to Excise duties - new protection. In thirteen of these cases in the High Court we were successful, and in three unsuccessful, but in two of those three the Court was divided, three Justices being against us and two for us.
– Matters affecting the Commonwealth’s right to legislate , are questions of policy.
– They are questions of law. When it appears that the Commonwealth has the right to legislate, and American authorities sustain the contention, should we refrain from exercising our powers from the fear that some one may question the constitutionality ?
Colonel Foxton. - Whether the Commonwealth will exercise its powers of legislation is not a matter for the Secretary to the Attorney- General’s Department.
– No; but he is concerned in drafting the measure and with the litigation which arises from the challenging of Commonwealth Acts. In the United States many Statutes are challenged. That must frequently happen where Parliaments are legislating under written Constitutions in which their powers are only generally, and not specifically, defined. .
– The test drafting cannot make a measure constitutional.
– That is so; but this officer has constantly to consider the most perplexing constitutional questions, and endeavour to keep within the Constitution. The difficulty of his duties is shown by the fact that, in some instances, the High Court in giving judgment has teen divided, three of the Justices taking one view, and the remaining two another. We need the best talent for a position like this ; and surely the labourer is worthy of his hire? A banking or insurance company would not hesitate to pay a big salary to a man in such a position:. The services of the honorable member for Darwinas a canvassing agent could not be obtained for less than £2,000 a year. In private life, if you employ ability, you must pay for it. The Commonwealth needs the services of the best men, and should reward them suitably. We have not treated the lower paid officials unfairly ; every year they get increments. We have shown them more consideration than the Parliaments of the States showed to them. The condition of such officers in Tasmania has been greatly improved, and, while we may not. yet be paying as much as we ought to pay, we hope ultimately to still further improve the condition of our servants. There is no reason why, having dealt fairly with the rank and file, we should not give those at the top of the tree remuneration commensurate with their services. The four heads of Departments for whom increments areproposed are the Secretaries to the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, the Department of External Affairs, the Treasury, and the Department of Home Affairs. The Secretary to the Postmaster-General’s Department and the Comptroller-General of Customs already receive £1,000 a year and , £1,200 a year respectively.
– There is no comparison between their position and that of the Secretary to the Attorney-General.
– The work is quite different, but equally important and difficult, and these officers have all done their duty faithfully.
– So has each one of us in his station of life.
– I think so. Icould refer to other salaries, such as that of the
Public Service Commissioner, but all I ask the Committee to consider is whether the duties which this officer has to perform are worth , £900 a year. After my experience of the office, and from what I know of the work the officer has to do, I say that £900 is by no means excessive. I believe the officer should receive even more. While we are acting on the principle of giving increments to other public servants, I can see no objection to applying it to those who are at the top of the service also. The office of necessity is professional. The increments in the professional scale under the regulations are as follow: £650, £700, £750, £800, £900, £1,000.
– Then he would have been a lot better off under the Public Service Commissioner.
– He would have been, on that scale.
– Why not put him under it?
– That is a matter of law.
– The honorable member knows that these officers do not want to be brought under the Public Service Commissioner.
– That is no reason why we should not do justice to them. The work that this officer does is exceedingly responsible and important, and the position is one in which we shall always require the very best officer that we can get in Australia. I hope we shall hold out to our public servants the inducement that they will have the same opportunities of rising in the service and getting a reward for their labours as they would if they were engaged in outside occupations. It is only by doing that that we can call forth the best that is in them. I believe we have in the service men who have the talent and ability to rise to any position, but we ought to offer them the ordinary encouragement, that every individual naturally likes, to achieve success in life. I ask the Committee not to reduce the item. The hours that this officer has to work are long, the duties are responsible, and the Committee will be only doing justice to him by voting him this salary.
– As regards the individual who fills this office, I have nothing to say. I think Mr. Garran is one of the most capable officers in the service. The present Attorney-General and the ex-Attorney-General have made out as strong a case as it is possible to make out for any public servant ; but there is something else to be considered. When the honorable member for Ballarat was Attorney-General in the Barton Administration he brought down a proposition that the salary of the Secretary to the Attorney-General’s Department and Parliamentary Draftsman be increased by £50, making it£800. He said it would bring that position into line with those of several other officers, and he thought the officer concerned would be well satisfied at that time. The man who proposed a reduction on that occasion was the then leader of our party, the honorable member forSouth Sydney. That was in 1902.
– Surely he is entitled to an increase after seven years.
– I think that his present salary is quite enough. The honorable member for Kennedy on that occasion - May 27, 1902 - remarked -
Some explanation is required of the “ allowance for extra duties, *£s°>” to be paid to the secretary.
The honorable member for Ballarat defended the proposed increase of £50, and then the honorable member for Angas said -
I do not say that the allowance is not deserved in this case ; but the payment of allowances introduces a bad principle. Our present Parliamentary Draftsman is, I think,’ a good man, but we have to judge of these officers in the abstract ; and it is better to have a fixed salary to cover all duties. I would prefer to sea a salary of ^Soo rather than a salary of £750 with an allowance of ^50.
The Attorney-General interjected -
The salary of heads of Departments has been fixed at /750, and in future it will be necessary to have a secretary with that salary.
The honorable member for Robertson observed that -
The sum of ^750 should be the entire salary of this officer. At an early period of the session, I was under the impression that this salary was to be ^500.
– What ! For the Chief Parliamentary Draftsman?
– Yes. and I think that is the general provision, and if a division be galled lor, I- shall certainly vote against this., or any similar allowance. I have seen this officer in the House twice.
– I have known Mr. Garran to lie here four nights a week for more than eight consecutive weeks.
– I have seen the officer in the corridors on many occasions, but he is not entitled to extra remuneration for attending to the duty of seeing that a Bill is thoroughly explained to the House.
– It may be right on special occasions to grant an allowance for extra duties.
– I always thought the honorable member was in favour of increasing wages.
– So I am. I remember the honorable member for Ballarat standing at the table as Attorney-General on that occasion, when the Estimates were going through. I asked him, “ What is going to be the limit of these officers salaries”? and he said “£800.”
– Where does that appear in Hansard ?
– I heard him say it. I have not looked it up.
– The honorable member for Ballarat did not say that Mr. Garran was never to have an increase of salary.
– I did not say that he did. He said £800 was to be the maximum. The late Attorney-General has referred to the good work which this officer has done as a draftsman. He is a servant of the Commonwealth, and if he were not capable of discharging the duties of his office he would not be employed. . The honorable member for Darwin made a very pertinent interjection, when he said that the only measures passed by us that had gone wrong were those relating to industrial matters. We knew that the union label provisions of the Trade Marks Act, the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Implement) Act, and part of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act have been declared invalid.
– The Parliamentary Draftsman had nothing to do with the extension of the provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill to State servants. That amendment was made in Committee, and was not prepared by him.
– The Parliamentary Draftsman had to do what we requested him to do.
– The honorable member has picked out all the good plums, so far as this officer is concerned, and I am now referring to those that are specked. I am not questioning Mr. Garran ‘s ability as a draftsman ; I am simply objecting to the proposed increase of his salary. Some time ago thirty constituents of mine, living at some distance from a main road, and doing pioneering work in the western part of Queensland, desired a mail service that would cost something like £27 per annum. The late Postmaster-General said that the money could not be found, but the Government of which, he was a member prepared these Estimates, providing for an increase of £100 in the salary of this officer, and the Attorney- General now comes forward, and says, ‘’ Yes, Mr. Mauger.” On the 26th September, 1902, the honorable member for Bland, now the honorable member for South Sydney, moved in Supply -
That the item, “ Secretary and Parliamentary Draftsman,£800,” be reduced by£50, and after a very keen debate that amendment was lost by one vote. The honorable member, in the course of the debate, asked -
Are we to pay several other officers to do the work ? Admitting that the Secretary to the Attorney-General’s Department occupies a responsible position, I say, nevertheless, that his work is not so responsible, and does not involve so much work, care, and anxious consideration as do the duties of the secretaries of some of the other Departments.
– The honorable member for South Sydney then said that a salary of £750 was sufficient for this officer, as he had only four officers under him.
– The officers of the Department have since been increased. It has grown out of its swaddling-clothes.
– And the responsibilities of the Secretary have increased. Why is a. general paid more than a colonel?
– -Because his responsibilities are greater.
– And that is the position in this case.
– In answer to the honorable member for South Sydney, the then PrimeMinister, the honorable member for Ballarat, said -
I take the liberty of differing from the honorable member entirely.
The Hansard report continues -
– I suppose there is nothing like leather, and I can quite understand the magnifying effect of the glasses through which the honorable and learned gentleman looks at anything connected with the law.
That remark will apply to the AttorneyGeneral and his predecessor in office. They show their teeth, and, so to speak, are prepared to tear in pieces those who make an attack on any one connected with the law. I have no objection to lawyers, and I must say that I have never seen a body of men stand more firmly together than do the lawyers in this House. One lawyer begs to “ differ from the honorable and learned member “ on a legal question, but when a vote is taken upon it we find the honorable and learned members coming together like oil.
– Is not the honorable member a good trade unionist like myself?
– I certainly am a good trade unionist. The amendment moved by the honorable member for South Sydney was defeated by sixteen votes to fifteen. The honorable member was not satisfied, and after a division had been taken, inquired -
Why was not the Chairman in the Chair? Was it because the Government was in trouble?
– No, because the Speaker had gone.
– The Chairman has always taken the Chair previously in division. I think that we ought to have an explanation as tothe practice when the Chair is filled by a temporary Chairman.
This took place on a Friday afternoon after Mr. Speaker had left to catch his train. The honorable member for Riverina left the chair on that occasion and voted. In that way the Government secured their majority. The honorable member for South Sydney concluded with a declaration that he would take another opportunity to move a reduction. If a salary of £800 per annum was unnecessary then, I fail to see why this increase should be granted to-day. What is to be the maximum salary attaching to the office ?
– This officer has not had an increase during the last seven years.
– And, so far as I am concerned, he shall not have an increase now.
– Surely this officer is entitled to a rise at some time?
– If the finances will permit; but when we have the PostmasterGeneral, as to-day, telling us that there are no funds available for the extension of the facilities of his Department, it is no time to make increases of salary to the extent of £100.
– I shall support the Government, who, I am bound to say, have my admiration for the way in which they are insisting on their Estimates, and standing up against the blustering of their own supporters. If this sort of thing takes place in the “ green tree “ of the public gaze, I wonder what takes place in the “ dry “ of the caucus.
Colonel Foxton. - The honorable member has an invitation to the next caucus meeting.
– I shall give the honorable member an invitation to the next meeting, without exacting any pledge.
– I should Hunk the honorable member would, seeing that I am sticking to his Government just now like a limpet.
– I have my doubts as to the Government when I see the honorable member “ sticking “ to them.
– In all seriousness, I cannot regard this proposed increase of salary as unreasonable when I consider all the circumstances of the case. This officer has never had an increase for six or seven years.
– He has never had an increase at all.
– And the increase now proposed, after years of hard work, is equivalent to no more than about 12 J per cent. These salaries were fixed low at first, as compared with the salaries paid for similar services in some of the States. I believe that the under-secretaries in New South Wales are paid .£1,000 per annum, and, in my opinion, the status of the Commonwealth officers ought to be equal to that of similar officers in the most important of the States. There has been some movement in the matter of wages during the last six or seven Years owing to the wonderful seasons we have experienced.
– What about the increase in the price of commodities owing to protection ?
– I suppose that, increase is felt by public servants.
– I believe in the lower-paid men having a living wage, and not in “greasing the fat pig.”
– The increase proposed for this officer is relatively not more than that given to lower paid officers, whose increments are automatic up to a certain point. Under all the circumstances, we must come to the conclusion that these Secretaries of Departments are not overpaid. I am not in favour of undue salaries, but we ought to see that reasonable pay is given for high service. Testing this case bv the elementary principles of justice, it seems to me that this officer is entitled to the increase proposed. Throughout the service there have been increases during the last six or seven years, and the higher officers ought now to have some consideration.
– I have nothing to say against this particular officer ; and I have no reason to suppose that he has not discharged his duties with the maximum amount of satisfaction to the Commonwealth. But it seems to me that there ought to be some system adopted in regard to increments. I understand that certain Secretaries and other leading officials are exempt from the operation of the Public Service Act so far as the Public Service Commissioner is concerned, and, in my opinion, that is entirely wrong. If the Public Service Commissioner is capable of controlling the rank and file, and fixing the basis for salaries and increments, surely he is equally capable of dealing with the higher paid public servants. In fact, I should think that he is more capable than are Ministers themselves, seeing that Ministers come and go. For example, we know that one Ministry is responsible for the framing of these Estimates, and that another Ministry is endeavouring to pass them. Under existing circumstances, even-handed justice cannot be meted out to our public servants as it would be if these Departmental heads were under the control of the Public Service Commissioner. At present, we do not know to what extent their increments represent the special favour of Ministers, neither do we know the extent to which an officer who, in the fearless performance of his duty, has occasion to “ cross ‘ ‘ a Minister, may be penalized. If increments were being granted to officers throughout the service, or even to the whole of the officers under the immediate control of the Executive, the position would be different. But, as a matter of fact, it is proposed to increase the salary of the Secretary of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department from £800 to £900, whilst the Chief Clerk and the Assistant Parliamentary Draftsman, who has to bear upon his shoulders a great deal of responsibility, and who receives only £560 .er annum is to be granted an increase of a paltry £20. The Secretary to the representative of the .Government in the Senate is to have his salary- increased bv £20, whilst the salary of the Clerk immediately below him is to suffer a reduction of £79- Take the increases which are proposed in respect of other Departments. The Secretary of the Department of External Affairs is to receive an increase of £100.
– The honorable member will not be in order in discussing that matter.
– I desire to refer to it only in an incidental way.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member will have an opportunity of discussing the items which he wishes to discuss when they are under consideration.
– If, sir, the debate is to be limited in the way that you suggest, I shall be debarred from pointing to the grave inequalities which exist. For example, the Comptroller- General of Customs, who has very important duties to discharge, is to receive no increase whatever. Surely his duties are as responsible as are those of the Parliamentary Draftsman ?
– I should think so; seeing that he receives about £500 ayear more for his services.
– The duties performed by the Chief Electoral Officer are of an extremely onerous character, vet, notwithstanding that he receives only £700 a year, it is not proposed to increase his salary.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member must confine his remarks to the item which is before the Chair. If he were permitted to continue upon the lines he is now following, his observations might range over the whole of the Estimates.
– Again, it is not proposed to increase the salaries of the Deputy Postmasters-General throughout the Commonwealth. My complaint is that no plan has been followed in the granting of these increases. If individual Ministers desire to press up the salaries of their immediate advisers, they are pressed up accordingly. That sort of thing is bound to create dissatisfaction in the service. Everything points to the fact that the sooner all these officers are subjected to the control of the Public Service Commissioner, the better will it be for all concerned.
– The honorable member has just mentioned one of the worst instances to be found in the whole of the service. The Deputy PostmastersGeneral are all sweated.
– That is my contention. They are to receive no increments whatever. But some specially favoured public servants, who have the ear of their Ministers, have received sympathetic consideration. That is an unjust position, and the injustice will continue as long as the present slip-shod method of dealing with the Public Service is perpetuated. Why should we divide the Service by placing the majority of the officers under a Commissioner, whilst those at the head of Departments are placed directly under the control of Ministers, who can at their own sweet will, recom mend increases in their salaries? I also point out that some of the heads of Departments have been accorded increases, whilst others have not. The cases where increases have not been provided for on the Estimates are just as much enititled to favour as are those in which increases have been made. I trust that the majority of the Committee will support the amendment.
– As a country member, I feel strongly on the question of raising the salaries of highly-paid officers of the service. The principal reason why I am disposed to vote for the amendment is that frequently, when I have had occasion to approach the Post and Telegraph Department to ask for facilities for country townships, I have been met with the reply that there are not funds available. In some instances, notwithstanding that the extra facilities asked for would only mean an increase of £3 or £6 in the cost, the request has been refused. When funds are not available for extending country facilities, I can see no. reason for increasing the salaries of highly paid officers. I can mention an instance which has come under my notice, where a person in a country township is paid only £1 a year for looking after an office. In another case, between £4 and £5 per annum is paid. In view of facts like these, I am determined to vote against these increases of salaries and trust that the Committee will not allow them to be made.
– We may congratulate ourselves on the fact that the honorable member for Wannon has at length demonstrated’ that he has not kept silent so long because he cannot discuss the matters that are brought before this Chamber. He has proved, by the utterances which he has just made, that when matters involving great principles arise, and the interests of his constituents are involved, he is prepared to fighttheir battles. It is most unfortunate that the Government have fathered these proposed increases in the salaries of heads of Departments. I have nothing to say concerning the officer whose salary is now under discussion. But the Government are to blame for coupling with his case those of other officers who are not so deserving. The Government have not shown discrimination or discernment in failing to distinguish between an officer who performs important and technical services, and others who are not so fully entitled to our consideration. What would be our position if we voted for this increase? Here are honorable members all around the Chamber, who have frequently made application for the improvement of services, and have been refused. What would our constituents think if, when they read their newspapers to-morrow, they found that we had increased the salaries of officers already highly paid? Most of us are sending letters to our constituents day by day, telling them that there is no money available for various little services for which they have applied. I say again that there are other men in the Public Service who have not been given a fair deal. There are men in the lower ranks who have frequently had to work late at night, and have not been paid overtime, much less had their salaries increased for the extra services that they have performed. Until the Government can afford to redeem their liability to these officers, who have stood by the service during a time of great trial,” they have no right to increase the salaries of heads of Departments. It has been said that the officer under discussion has not yet received an increase in his salary. I know of one case where an officer in a highly responsible position. has not only not received an increase of his salary, but has had his salary reduced £100 a year. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
– Was his salary reduced because he had done something wrong ?
– No. For some time after the establishment of Federation, the Deputy Postmaster-General of New South Wales received a salary of £900 per year. To-day he receives a salary of only £800 a year.
– He is not the same man. £800 a year is the salary now attached to the office.
– If Mr. Garran retired, and another man were appointed to lis office to-morrow, he would get the salary proposed for Mr. Garran. It is the office that carries the salary. If there is a responsible position in the Federal Service, it is that held by the men who are called upon to guide the destinies of the great Post and Telegraph Department in the different States. When the salary of the office to which I have referred has been reduced from £900 to £800 a year, some very substantial reasons must be given for the proposed increase in the salary of the Parliamentary Draftsman from £800 to £900 a year. I am not arguing that Mr. Garran is notentitled to an increase of salary ; but, because the Government have not discriminated in arranging the increases of salary. I. with others, must enter a protest in this case, in order that we may be able to take effective action in dealing with other votes in the Estimates. I have nothing further to say on this question, and, though I shall probably be dumb while most of the Estimates are being considered, later on I expect to have something to say which will be of benefit to the country.
– I do not intend to speak at length, but I feel that I ought to enter my protest, in common with other honorable members, against this proposed increase of salary; and against every increase proposed to the heads of Departments. I regret that the Estimates were brought on unexpectedly, and that we had not an opportunity to deal with a similar increase in a previous Department. B ut I hope that the protest which is being made in this instance will be a sufficient indication to the Government of the feeling of honorable members, and that we shall be able to take advantage of some other opportunity to deal with similar increases to the heads of other Departments. I have the greatest respect for Mr. Garran, and if I vote against the increase proposed in his salary, it is not because I do not appreciate his ability, courtesy, and the diligence with which he performs his duties. The Attorney-General has said that this officer has not had an increase of salary for a certain length of time. Is it to be laid down as a general rule that, say, every three years each officer must receive an increase of £100, no matter what salary is being paid to him ? If that is the course to be followed, we may be asked to go on increasing this officer’s salary until we are paying him £2,000 or £3,000 a year.
– The Public Service Act recognises the principle of regular increments, and this officer, having commenced his duties at a certain salary, has a right to an increase.
– Not necessarily. The Public Service Act lays down a maximum salary, which is to be reached by regular increments. The heads of Departments were given salaries that were considered sufficient for the work they were called upon to perform. Parliament has not dealt with them as it has dealt with other officers. I am prepared to do what I can to have these officers brought under the Public Service Commissioner, and deprived of their present opportunities to bring influence to bear.
– Does the honorable member think that Mr. Garran should not receive as good a salary as the Crown Solicitor?
– I say that £800 a year is a fair salary for the office. If other officers are overpaid that is no reason why the Parliamentary Draftsman should also be overpaid. We have a declining revenue, and our financial responsibilities are increasing. ‘ In similar circumstances the States Governments suspend all increases to their public servants. I ask with the honorable member for Gwydir what we are to say to our constituents, who are refused postal and telephonic facilities, if we agree to vote an additional £2 per week to already highly-paid officials?
– We must get some more money next year.
– Exactly ; we must tax the poor people to give more to those who already have plenty.
– A land value tax would not fall upon the poor.
– I am not anxious to see extra taxation imposed; but if it is necessary, I am prepared to put it upon the right shoulders. It is unfortunate that the present Government did pot have an opportunity to thoroughly revise the Estimates. I believe that by the lopping off of increases of this kind it would have been possible to make sufficient savings to enable us to provide many services that are now denied to the people.
– If the present Government were not in office does the honorable member think that these increases would be passed?
– The fact that the present Government are in office will not affect my vote. It will look strange next year when we are called upon to pay old-age pensions if we have not enough money for the old men and women in the Commonwealth when we have given increases of £100 a year to these highly-paid officials.
My reference to the old men and women of the Commonwealth provokes only laughter from the Postmaster-General, but I should like to see the honorable member before the miners of Broken Hill justifying an increase of £2 a week to an officer who already receives , £800 a year when he cannot find enough money to provide the postal facilities required in his electorate.
– Suppose that we take a division now?
– I am prepared to remain here so long as it is necessary to transact public business as it should be done. We shall be very ill-advised, and not doing our duty, if we allow such items as this one to pass without recording an emphatic protest, because this is certainly not the time when we should increase very largely the salaries of high public officers.
.- I desire to congratulate the honorable member for Cook upon the fact that he holds such an independent position that he is not responsible to any party, but is a party unto himself. He stated that when the revenue is falling we should do what the States do, and that is tackle the salaries of. public servants.
– I said no such thing.
– The honorable member said that in such circumstances we should do the same thing as the States do, and that is deal with the public servants.
– That is absolutely untrue, because I made no such statement.
– The honorable member must withdraw that statement.
– I withdraw so much of the statement as will comply with your ruling, sir, but I do assert that the honorable member is making a statement which he knows is absolutely incorrect.
– I must point out that the honorable member made the statement twice, and that it is customary for one honorable member to accept the denial of another honorable member.
– I take the responsibility of the statement I made. As regard’s the honorable member’s remark, that I represent the fat man.
– I did not say that.
– The honorable member was so excited that he did not know what he was saying.
– He said “ Batman.”
– The honorable member said that the honorable member for Batman must represent the fat man on many occasions. I well remember him taking about twenty-four hours to make up his mind to vote for the fat man
– That is incorrect.
– I do not think that the honorable member can charge me with doing that. According to him every one of my statements is incorrect.
– They are, indeed.
– Any statements I have made here have been absolutely correct. If the revenue of the Commonwealth is declining, why should we tackle the public servants? Let everybody take his responsibility. The man on the lowest rung of the ladder is entitled to an increase of his pay.
– He is not getting it under this arrangement.
– Why do not theGovernment give it to him ? The Ministry have accepted the responsibility for these Estimates. It is all very well for honorable members to say that Ministers have not had time to go through the Estimates. They created their present positions, and if they chose to adopt the Estimates of another Ministry they are responsible for them. If the man on the lowest rung of the ladder is not getting an increase of pay the Ministry are responsible for that fact. If they say that the man on the highest rung of the ladder should get an increase of his salary they are equally responsible. I am in favour of every officer receiving what he is worth. If an officer is worth any increase which is recommended, it should be granted. I trust, however, that the Ministry will see that other men who are entitled to an increase of their salaries get it. If provision has not been made on the Estimates for such officers, the responsibility rests with the Labour Ministry to see that the man on the lowest -rung of the ladder, as well as the most highly paid officer, gets an increase.
.I cannot allow the misrepresentations of the honorable member for Batman to go without challenge. What I said was that the State Governments generally withheld Increases to the salaries of public servants when the revenue was. falling. I did not advocate that the Commonwealth should adopt that policy. I merely pointed to the fact that many State Governments had done so.
– And that the Commonwealth should do as the States had done.
– I did not say any such thing.
– The honorable member did.
Mr.J. H. CATTS.- I deny that I did. I said that this was not a time when we should vote an increase of £100 to an officer who is receiving a salary of £800.
– Thehonorable member will deny anything.
– I said that this was an inopportune and unhappy time to do that. What I said about the honorable member for Batman protecting the fat man against taxation he brought upon himself by his nasty interjection while I was speaking.
– Mr. McDonald-
– I point out to the honorable member that I have put the question.
– You did not put the question fully, sir.
– I declared that the “ Ayes “ have it.
-Put the question again.
– Let us be fair. Surely the Labour Ministry is not going to start this game.
– This is not a matter for the Government. I shall put the question again ; but I cannot allow further discussion.. .
Question - -That the item “ Secretary and Parliamentary Draftsman, £900,” be reduced by £100 - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 15
– I move -
That the item, “ Secretary and Parliamentary Draftsman, £900,” be reduced by£50.
I take this action, not out of spite or ill feeling, but because the men drawing small salaries are not being thought of. They seem not to have friends in this Committee. We have an accountant, an honest, good man, and efficient officer, who is getting only £210 a year. Why is no increase proposed for him?
– I think that he has recently had an increase.
– We desire that the small men shall share in these increases.
– So do we.
– Why are certain high officials to receive increases which are not to be given to others? There seems to be a sordid, sinister influence abroad, carrying with it a sort of Tammany Hall stamp. There are men of great ability at the head of other Departments. Is the Secretary to the Department of Home Affairs to get an increase?
– Good. But it seems to me that increases go chiefly to those who are subservient to Ministers ; that there is an element of “creep.” I want our officers to stand erect, with their chests thrown out, like ancient Greek statues, instead of trembling before Ministers. If men are entitled to increases, let them get them without having to demean themselves in any way. I do not like the way this thing is done. I have no ill-feeling to wards this officer, who, I believe, is a strong and able man. It is the principle to which I take exception.
Question - That the item “ Secretary and Parliamentary Draftsman, £900,” be reduced by £50 - put. The Committee divided.
Majority …. … 13.
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- I wish to draw attention to the fact that in the last division not one of the Devil’s brigade voted on this side of the House.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 18 (Crown Solicitor’s Office), £3,408.
Amendment (by Mr. McDougall) put -
That the item, “ Crown Solicitor, £1,000,” be reduced by£50.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 12
In division -
– I see that the honorable member for Macquarie is leaving the chamber. He must not do so.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. I had paired with the honorable member for Maribyrnong, and was under the impression that, as long as I left the chamber before tellers were appointed, no objection could be taken. I was leaving when you, Mr. Chairman, told me that I must remain.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 19 (The High Court), £7,339,
– In reference to the item of £3,250 for travelling expenses, I should like to ask the Attorney -General whether there is to be any limitation to the travelling expenses of the High Court Justices? Do they parade, with their associates and tipstaffs, from the railway stations to their hotels? Are we going to say to them, “Spend what you please”? The AttorneyGeneral in the Reid-McLean Administration had something to say on this question, and it seems to me that a Labour Ministry, believing in economy of administration, should look into it. I do not wish to abridge any right or power that the Justices of the High Court may possess, nor do I desire to strip them of any of their glory ; but I hold that the time has come when we should fix a limit to their travelling expenses. The Justices of Australia ought to set an example of economy, as do the Justices of the United States Supreme Court. For instance, Justice Fuller travels from his house at Rosepark to the Court on a tramcar for five cents, and his salary is only £2,100 a year, although he presides over a Court which controls the destinies of 90,000,000 people. I do not see that it is necessary for each Justice to take an associate and a tipstaff when he travels; and in the absense of any explanation from the AttorneyGeneral I shall move that the item be reduced by £50.
– The honorable member for Darwin will understand that, after all, a Justice of the High Court, when travelling, is not exactly in the position of an ordinary individual.
– He is no better.
– It has always been considered that a Justice should travel in some sort of circumstance, and that, for the good of the Commonwealth, he should have some privacy. Owing to the great extent of our territory, which, of course, cannot be travelled in five-cent trams, a proper allowance has to be made. It has been estimated that the Justices collectively travel 750 days, or 150 days each in a year.
– I suppose they are allowed travelling expenses while they are away from their own State.
– The Justices certify to a daily allowance for expenses not exceeding £3 3s., which cover the associate’s expenses as well as their own, and that allowance is paid from the time they leave their own State until they return. In1907-8 the appropriation was £3,000, and the actual amount spent for the travelling allowances of Justices and associates was £2,200.
– We have just learned that the Justices travel on an average 150 days each per year, and that works out, according to the figures submitted, at £25 a week, or £4 6s. 8d. perday for each Justice.
– For Justice and associate.
– And tipstaff.
-I do not think it is necessary for the Justices to take a whole retinue of servants when they travel. We must remember that this £3,250, last year set down as “ Contingencies,” is not for fares, but really for living expenses.
– The £3,387 includes allowances and fares of Justices, associates, and tipstaffs.
– These Justices are paid very high salaries, and for 150 days in the year each Justice has not to provide for himself out of his salary. I should like to see the vote reduced by a small amount as a protest against extravagance, because, if we do not take some such step, the expenditure will become out of all proportion to the necessities of the case.
– I move -
That the item “ Travelling expenses, £3,250,” be reduced by £50.
I submit this amendment as a protest against extravagance. It is our duty to watch the interests of the taxpayers, and to see that not a shilling is given away unless there is a string attached to draw it back.
– I hope that the honorable member for Darwin will not persist with this amendment. If there is any expenditure at which we should not cavil it is that of the High Court. No doubt if this expenditure is. deemed excessive, attention has only to be drawn to the fact in order to insure that, if possible, it will be curtailed. As the AttorneyGeneral has said, the Justices when travelling require some privacy, and, perhaps, special conveyance to that end. I hope the amendment will not be pressed to a division.
– I, too, hope that the honorable member for Darwin will not press his proposal to a division. These expenses are charged in accordance. with a regulation which was framed by an Order in Council. Every item of expenditure has to be certified, and if it is desired to attack these expenses I think that it should be done upon a specific motion in the House.
– I appeal to the honorable member for Darwin not to press his proposal. The reason underlying the payment of travelling expenses to the Justices of the High Court is that when that tribunal was established it was felt that its members should visit the different States in order to obviate the necessity for suitors requiring to come to the Seat of Government to obtain justice. A close examination of these expenses will reveal the fact that they are not excessive. They include not merely the personal expenses of their Honours, but also their fares by railway and sea. The amount was subjected to careful consideration, and after a great deal of controversy, reduced to a minimum. The honorable member for Dar win can rest assured that no expenses are paid in the absence of a certificate that they have actually been incurred. It is highly desirable that the privacy of the Justices of the High Court should not be invaded, and I am sure that the total amount of their travelling expenses is not excessive. In the early days of the United States Federation the Justices of that country were in the habit of visiting the different States, and we are merely following the example which they set.
– In view of the plea of the Prime Minister and of the honorable member for Darling Downs, I shall not press my proposal, in the hope that the criticism to which the item has been subjected will induce their Honours to adopt a Jeffersonian simplicity in the matter of their travelling arrangements.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 20 (Court of Conciliation and. Arbitration), £1,215, agreed to.
Department of Home Affairs.
Division 21 (Administrative Staff),
– In this division an increase of £100 is proposed in the salary of the Secretary to the Department of Home Affairs. My opinion of that Department is well known. I regard it in the same light as I would view the fifth wheel of a coach. It is bound up with bundles and bundles of red tape. It is the circumlocution Department.
– No. I used to think so, but I do not hold that view now.
– The present Minister has not filled his office sufficiently long to become familiar with the practices of the Department. Let me just relate astory in connexion with a proposed expenditure of £8 on behalf of the Defence Department. That amount was required for the painting and re-canvassing of some targets in Queensland. Application was made to the Defence Department, which agreed to the repairs being undertaken. The matter was then referred to the Department of Home Affairs, and Colonel Owen sent it on to the State Department in Queensland for a report. Later on an officer was sent from Toowoomba to inspect the target. He forwarded a report to the Works Department in Queensland, recommending that the work should be undertaken. That report was again forwarded to the Departmentof Home Affairs in
Melbourne, its transit occupying no less a period than four months. It was then found that there was a discrepancy in the recommendation of the officer who reported upon the work. Accordingly, the report was returned to Queensland where it remained pigeon-holed in the office at Brisbane for six weeks. At the end of that time a fresh officer was sent to report upon the condition of the targets, but by this time the vote for the purpose of repairing them had lapsed, so that the work has not yet been carried out. In the face of facts like these, we are asked to increase the salary of the head of this red-tape Department by £100. Personally, I should like to see the Department wiped out of existence. God knows what useful purpose it serves. It has simply resulted in the creation of positions for public servants and in the appointment of an extra Minister. Who knows better the requirements of the Defence Department than that Department itself? When the honorable member for Darling Downs was Minister of Home Affairs, he wished to bring under the Department as many services as he possibly could.
– As for instance?
– The Meteorological Department and the Quarantine Department. He affirmed that the Department of Home Affairs was the most important in the Commonwealth. He desired that the Commonwealth should be bound up with that red tape which he was accustomed to use with such efficacy.
– I am afraid the honorable member is a novelist.
– I wish I were. I move -
That the item, “ Secretary, £900,” be reduced by £100.
– At an earlier stage of the sitting, the Committee would have been considerably entertained by the remarks of the honorable member for Maranoa.
– The honorable gentleman knows that they were true.
– I do not. Though I shared some of the honorable gentleman’s views about the Department of Home Affairs before I obtained a more intimate acquaintance with it, I have since had reason to modify my opinions. The honorable member stated that it is purely a cir cumlocution Department. He forgets the various branches of which it consists. There is the Meteorological Branch, the Electoral Branch, the Public Service Commissioner’s Office, the Census and Statistics Branch, and a number of other subdepartments, all performing functions of importance to the Commonwealth. The honorable member’s suggestion that the Department should have a completely equipped Works Branch of its own is utterly impracticable. We must, to some extent, work through State officers.
– There is often a Commonwealth officer and a State officer engage’* upon the same work.
– No. State officials work for us in some cases.
– I have seen two men on the one job.
– There cannot be both the Federal officer and a States officer engaged upon the same work.
– I shall give an instancedirectly.
– I am speaking of the general rule. I agree with the honorable member that there is a great deal of circumlocution, but, unfortunately, no Government has ever yet been able to devise a perfect system of direct control and management of the whole of its affairs. Probably the matters which have given rise to the honorable member’s complaint are due to the fact that the Home Affairs Department has no Public Works Department of its own. We are dependent upon the favour of the Public Works officers of the States. They have their work to do, for which they are directly paid by their own Governments. Naturally they attend to that work first. It is only natural that the)’ should. Consequently they leave Commonwealth work to be done last. It is not fair to condemn the Home Affairs Department for the situation in which it is left in consequence of the action of this Parliament ; because we have repeatedly refused - and I think rightly, under the present financial circumstances - to create a separate Public Works Department. This country is too large to allow of the whole of the public works of the Commonwealth being at present supervised by Commonwealth officers. The cost of travelling expenses alone would be enormous. Therefore, we have to work through the officers of the States. In nine cases out of ten that is the explanation of the delay that occurs in carrying out public works. I do not think that the honorable member for Maranoa intended to cast any reflection upon the Secretary of the Department. I may tell him - it is by no means a matter of secrecy - that no one was more surprised than the Secretary for Home Affairs was when the Estimates were published, and he found that he was down for an increase of salary. The Secretary never asked for that increase, never suggested it, never even desired it.
– Perhaps he will not be disappointed, then, if we knock it off.
– He would have a right to be surprised if the Committee agreed to do so, bearing in mind what has been done with the salaries of the heads of other Departments. This gentleman has rendered valuable public service. Only the other day when a number of State officers met iti connexion with the valuation of transferred properties, although the Secretary for Home Affairs was not there, they unanimously passed a resolution complimenting him upon the manner In which he had carried out his share of .the valuations.
– I do not think that that fact is too good from the Commonwealth point of view.
– That is a rather farfetched inference. The honorable member will admit that the valuation was a very onerous undertaking. I doubt whether greater expedition would be found amongst any other class of men, or even amongst members of Parliament, in relation to the discharge of public work than has been displayed in reference to the valuation of transferred properties. At all events, this gentleman has carried out his duties in that respect creditably to himself and with great advantage to the public. There has been no increased charge to the Commonwealth on account of the work excepting a slight advance to the assistant secretary. When the result comes out, I am satisfied that the honorable member for Maranoa will admit that the work of the Secretary for Home Affairs has been very creditably done. There is nothing debatable in these Estimates.
– Is the Secretary entitled to an increase of £100 in his salary?
– I think that he is well entitled to it. When the Home Affairs
Department was established, the Public Service Commissioner graded the office at £850. Parliament, in its wisdom, and according to its right, reduced the amount to £800. This officer was transferred from the service of one of the States, and he did not make much out of the transfer. As I previously said, he did not expect this increase.
– I wonder at these chapssacrificing themselves for the Commonwealth in this way !
– We all sacrifice a little. I am sure that the ex-Minister of Home Affairs will substantiate everything I have said as to the officer’s capacity.
– I wish to draw attention to a very important fact in connexion with these Home Affairs estimates. Last Friday evening’ the Prime Minister, speaking at a banquet, stated that the policy of protection had been beneficial to Australia, and that it was in consequenceof the policy carried out bv the honorable member for Ballarat that the country was able to congratulate itself on having a good’ year. One would have thought such a declaration would have been followed up bv a continuation of the same policy. But one of the first Ministerial acts of the present Minister of Home Affairs was to call’ for tenders for supplying certain fans for use in the General Post Office, which, it was stipulated, were to come from “thecountry of the honorable gentleman’s birth.
– My birthplace? I never saw the advertisement.
– Then the honorable gentleman should look after his Department. The advertisement calling for the tendersappeared over his name. Tenders are invited for fans and other articles for theMelbourne General Post Office. Fanssuitable for the purpose are being manufactured in Australia; Parliament has imposed a duty of 25 per cent, upon the imported article, and the party to which the Minister of Home Affairs belongs, declared at the Brisbane Conference that all goods required in Australia should, if possible, be made in Australia. The specification is for a Sirocco fan, and the motive powernecessary to work it is stated. Surely theCommittee will not permit the Minister to call for tenders in such a way as to prevent any Australian manufacturer fromtendering for these fans? Under the specifications provided for in this case, no Australian manufacturer can put in a tender, notwithstanding the fact that fans made in Australia are in use, and can be purchased for £50. less than the imported article. The specification to which I refer reads as follows -
No. 7 Sirocco Fan with capacity of not less than 17,000 cubic feet per minute, with11/2inch water gauge, suction and free delivery requiring motor ofII horse power, giving 450 revolutions per minute.
I venture to say that a better fan can be produced in Australia, which would not require half that power to get the same work out of it. I ask the Minister whether he is prepared to extend the time within which tenders are to he sent in, and to have the specification altered in such a way that an Australian manufacturer can tender for these fans.
.I think the Minister should consent to an adjournment. It is now 2.30 a.m., and the House will meet again at 10.30 this morning. There are many matters involved in these Estimates which require careful consideration. I agree with the honorable member for Maranoa that there is a good deal of circumlocution in the Home Affairs office which requires to be done away with. The method at present followed in carrying out public works seems to have been devised merely to waste time. The simplest works are not carried out for six or twelve months, and little jobs, involving an expenditure of£25 or £30 which ought to be carried out by the Departments concerned, are handed over to the Home Affairs Department. Plans are sent from the Home Affairs Department to the Works Department of the State, and back to the Department concerned, with a delay of some months in each case. When at last tenders are sent in, they have to go through the same circumlocutory course, and it may take any time from ten months to two years to get the simplest job done. It seems to me that the States Works Departments give precedence to works required to be done for the States Government. Within the last week, I have had five or six letters from the Postal Department, to say that certain plans are being prepared, and that they will be sent to the Home Affairs Department, and that Department will then have to be written to. I have had the same kind of information given to me before.
– There is another Minister in charge now.
– I hope the new Minister will be able to do better but I think it is the system, rather than the administration, which is at fault. If works are delayed until after the 30th June in any year, they have then to stand over until the Estimates for the following financial year are dealt with. A new post office is urgently needed in one portion of my electorate, and it is now nearly two years since instructions were given for the preparation of the plan. I believe that a rough sketch plan was drawn up by the Public Works Department in Sydney, in the first instance. It was sent on to the Home Affairs Department, where some alteration’ was suggested in order that it should be brought into harmony with a style of post office buildings adopted by the Department. It went back then to the State Works Department, where it was altered in the way suggested, and it was then sent through the Home Affairs Department to the Postal Department. This Department suggested that sufficient accommodation for the postmaster had not been provided for, and the plan had then to go through the same channels again to be altered to provide for increased accommodation suggested. After it again reached the Department it was proposed that a post office only should be built, and not a residence, as the land was not very extensive and was very valuable, and it was accordingly decided to erect a post office without a residence upon the site for which they paid £10 or £20 a foot, and take a cheaper site in another part of the town for the erection of a residence. Accordingly, new plans were prepared for a. post office without a residence, and, so far as I know, they are somewhere between the State Public Works Department and the Department of Home Affairs, and the Post and Telegraph Department. That sort of thing takes place in connexion with almost every public work.
Bill returned from the Senate with amendments.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 December 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19081203_reps_3_48/>.