3rd Parliament · 4th Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I have to inform honorable members that I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General a commission authorizing me to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to honorable members.
– When the Coinage Bill was under discussion here, the Treasurer undertook that the word Imperator should not appear on the new coins, but, judging by an apparently inspired paragraph in yesterday’s press, because the wording was practically the same in both newspapers, it is intended to reconsider the matter. As the Bill was allowed to pass on the faith of the honorable gentleman’s promise, does he propose to depart from the undertaking which he gave without bringing the matter again before honorable members?
– The Bill will be before honorable members in a few moments, and I shall then be able to give the information that the honorable member desires.
– We shall be confined to a discussion of the Senate’s amendments when the Bill next comes before us in the ordinary way.
– I wish to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether, in considering the message from another place in regard to the Coinage Bill, we shall be strictly limited to the amendments made by the Senate, or whether it would be competent for an honorable member to move a new clause?
– It would not be competent for an honorable member to move the insertion of a new clause at that stage.
– It is published in the newspapers to-day that Lord Kitchener has made his farewell address in India. Has the Minister of Defence any information as to when he may be expected in Australia?
– We anticipate a visit from this distinguished soldier about Christmas time; at present I am unable to announce a definite date.
– Has the Prime Minister, since I asked a question on the subject last week, been in communication with the Imperial authorities relative to a further search for the Waratah, and is it correct, as reported in the press, that they have declined to renew the search.? If so, were other reasons, besides those printed, advanced?
– I transmitted a request to the Admiralty through the representative of the Commonwealth in London. After consideration, the Commander in Chief replied that, as fifteen vessels had crossed, or were about to cross, the probable track of the Waratah, the despatch of war vessels was regarded as unnecessary ; also that at present there were none which could be spared from other duties. As the honorable member has taken a special interest in this question, let me add that a deputation, which waited on the Minister of Trade and Customs this morn ing urged that this Government should consider the matter, and its representations are under consideration. A week ago, having obtained, through the courtesy of a naval officer here, particulars of the drift of the Waikato, a steamer which, ten years since, broke its propeller while off the coast of South Africa, I had the six important points of its course telegraphed to Cape Colony, and have since been informed by the Premier that he has caused them to be published in the press, for the information of all vessels likely to cross the track.
– Is the Prime Minister in a position to give the House the terms of the agreement come to at the Imperial Conference regarding the Australian naval unit? Can he say whether it is an extension of the present agreement, or whether the vessels are to be wholly owned and controlled by this Government, subject to subsidiary arrangements with the Imperial navy authorities? I have been unable to discover from the press reports of the remarks of the Prime Minister of the United . Kingdom what arrangement has been come to.
– To prevent misapprehension, it would perhaps be best to reserve the statement of particulars in the agreement until we can present them as a coherent whole. I am in a position to say that the proposal which will be submitted in accordance with the recommendations of the Conference provides, not for an extension of the present agreement, but for the substitution for the existing squadron of a new unit, which, in times of peace, will be wholly under Commonwealth control. This unit will consist of Commonwealth ships, manned, as far as possible, by Australian seamen, with officers and men lent by, or transferred from, the Royal Navy, to make up the full strength. The construction of the three additional destroyers will be undertaken in Australia, if sufficient inducements offer. Our advisers say that the arrival of the third of the three destroyers already ordered, which is to be put together here, will make it possible to determine what Australian ports possess facilities for the construction of vessels of this type. The new unit will be entirely Australian, and on a basis quite different from that of the existing squadron.
– Can the honorable gentleman give any information regarding the financing of the unit?
– Not yet.
– In case of war, will the Imperial authorities have the right to use the ships of the Australian unit, whether we desire it or not ?
– The Australian unit will be under the control of the Commonwealth in time of peace. What will be done in time or war, or when there is imminent danger of war, has not been fully defined.
– If. as I understand, the new arrangement is to take the place of the present Naval Agreement, will Sydney cease to be the head-quarters of the Admiralty in the South Pacific?
– Not so far as I am aware, but I have not been informed of the intended procedure of the Admiralty. It is evident that when the new unit is complete, it will take the place of the existing squadron, and I presume that it will occupy the naval depot at Garden Island, now used bv the Admiralty.
– I understood the Prime Minister to say, in reply to the honorable member for Wide Bay, that the new navy would be purely Australian, but subject to the control of the Admiralty in time of war or danger of war. I wish to ask him whether that answer applies to the whole fleet, including the cruiser of the Indomitable class, which is to form part of the Australian Navy, or whether a distinction is to be drawn in regard to the control or operations of any of the vessels, so that while some will be Australian, others will be more or less Imperial in their scope?
– There is no distinction. The cruiser of the Indomitable, or, rather, of the Indefatigable, type - the armoured cruiser of the highest efficiency at present in the British Navy - as well as every other item of the unit, will be governed by the agreement.
– I understand that the Minister of Home Affairs had an interview in Sydney; on Saturday, with the Premier of New South Wales, in reference to the Federal Capital Site. I should like to ask him whether any arrangement has been made, and, generally, what is the present position in regard to the question ?
– I had an interview with the Premier of New South Wales on Satur day morning in regard to this question, and he sent to the Prime ‘Minister a telegram, asking for information with regard to two points. The Prime Minister forwarded an affirmative answer, which, I am sure, will satisfy the Premier of New South Wales.
– What were the two points of inquiry ?
– Mr. Wade inquired whether this Government approved of the area, and also of the location, as described by Mr. Scrivener, and indorsed by the Board: An affirmative answer was sent by (he Prime Minister, who has also received from the Premier of New South Wales a letter which is practically a summary of the whole proceedings, and in which reference is made to the two matters which I have mentioned. I have just drafted an answer which, as soon as time permits, I shall submit to the Prime Minister, with a view to its being sent to Mr. Wade. I have formed the opinion that the matter will now come to a successful issue, and feel sure that the Premierof New South Wales, like the Commonwealth Government and Parliament, is prepared to settle it as quickly as possible.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Dry Farming- Report by Senator J. H. McColl of proceedings at third Trans-Missouri Dry Farming Congress, Cheyenne, Wyoming, February, 1909; and further investigations in America.
Defence Acts - Military Forces - Regulations Amended (Provisional) -
No. 2a Added - Statutory Rules 1909, No. 97.
Nos. 18, 141, 144, 160, 161, 163- Statutory Rules 1909, No. 98.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired under, at-
Baulkham Hills, New South Wales- for Defence purposes.
Baulkham Hills, New South Wales- for Defence purposes.
Baulkham Hills, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Public Service Act - Home Affairs Department - Public Service Inspector’s Office, Melbourne - Promotion of E. J. Macquard, as clerk, 3rd class (transferred from Postmaster-General s Department, Victoria).
-On 13th August last, I furnished an interim reply to questions put by the honorable member for Werriwa, in which he asked -
I beg now to submit the following supplementary answer : -
– I have received a reprint from Hansard of the Budget speech delivered, according to an announcement on the cover, by “ The Right Honorable Sir John Forrest, G.C.M.G., LL.D., M.P., Gold Medallist of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, in the House of Representatives.” That list of titles is repeated on the title page of the pamphlet, and I wish to ask the Treasurer whether there will be any objection on the part of his Department to honorable members placing on reprints pf their speeches, if they desire to do so, their various titles, and the associations with which they are connected ?
– None whatever.
– I wish to ask the Treasurer if the copy of his Budget speech which he presented to Mr. Foster Fraser was bound in vellum and cross-headed ?
– The question put by the honorable member for Boothby in regard to the Treasurer’s long list of titles and distinctions-
– All of them well earned.
– All of them earned, prompts another, as to a title which is perhaps not earned. I refer to the position of Honorary Colonel of a Regiment in
Western Australia, which the right honorable gentleman holds. I should like to ask him whether, since he is the only Parliamentarian enjoying the rank of HonoraryColonel in a Commonwealth Regiment, he will inform the House on what grounds such distinctions are conferred, and whether they cannot be scattered broadcast among honorable members?
– I should like to reply to the question, that the distinction was conferred on my right honorable colleague in view of the fact that he was the first Commonwealth Minister of Defence. In the circumstances, it was thought fitting that he should receive such a compliment at the request of the Regiment whom he has favored by taking that position.
– Did any medals go with the distinction?
– My right honorable friend needs no medals ; his history is behind him.
DRY FARMING: SENATOR McCOLL’S REPORT.
– In view of the splendid report made by Senator McColl, who recently attended in America one of the greatest conferences ever held, I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether he does not think that the honorable gentleman should be granted something towards his expenses out of pocket?
– It is not customary to consider such a question unless it is put with the consent of the gentleman referred to. Until the honorable member has consulted him, I am not prepared to consider it.
– I have not.
– I have a question to put to the Minister of Defence. In view of the great success of the flying machines at the mammoth trials held recently in France, and the fact that the £500,000 per annum which will be required for the upkeep of the prospective fleet would establish a fleet of flying ships for the protection of Australia, while the warships would be on the scrap-heap in eight or nine years, does not the Minister of Defence think the matter of an aerial fleet is worth looking into before entering into other obligations?
– I assure the House that the Government are looking into the matter; and if the honorable member can furnish us with a machine guaranteed to fly, and do all that is needful in the air, we should be very glad to treat with him and pay him handsomely.
– I desire to know whether the Order of the Day for the further consideration of Supply in Committee is to be debated on the understanding that the Budget proposals made by the Treasurer are to stand, or whether, in view of what has taken place since they were submitted, the honorable gentleman contemplates any alteration?
– The intention is to proceed with the Budget debate when we reach that Order of the Day, and the honorable member will then be able to say what he likes.
– That is not the point at all.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The DeputyPostmaster General, Melbourne, has furnished me with the following information : -
PROMOTION:10th AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY REGIMENT.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Motion (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That a return be laid upon the table showing -
The number of -
Females permanently employed in the Commonwealth Public Service who are receiving less than the minimum wage of£110 per annum. 2. (a) The ages of these employes.
The wages they receive.
How long they have been employed by the Commonwealth, and, where possible, the length of their service in the State previous to transfer.
How long they will have to wait before they get the minimum wage.
In Committee (Consideration of Senate’s amendments) :
Clause 4 - (1.) The Treasurer may cause to be made and issued silver and bronze or nickel coins of the dimensions, designs, and denominations specified in the Schedule. (2.) All coins to be so made and issued shall be of the weight and fineness specified in the Schedule. (3.) Any silver coin to be so made and issued shall be of the same fineness as is specified* in the Schedule for silver coins, and shall be of a weight which bears the same proportion to the weight of a shilling specified in. the Schedule as the denomination of the coin bears to a shilling. (4.) In the making of coins, a remedy (or variation from the standard weight and fineness specified in the Schedule) shall he allowed of an amount not exceeding the amount specified in the Schedule.
Senate’s Amendment - Leave out “ or nickel,” line 2.
– May I, at this stage, make a short statement in regard to questions which were put to me when the Bill was considered in Committee, in reference to the inscription on the coins?
– Is it the pleasure of the Committee that the Treasurer have leave to make a statement?
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear !
– When the Bill was in Committee two questions arose, which I promised to look into. One was in regard to the style and title of His Majesty the King on the obverse side of the coins, and the other with regard to what should appear on the reverse side - whether there should be an outline map of Australia with “ Australia “ across it, or there should appear the coat of arms of the Commonwealth. I undertook, in regard to the style and title of His Majesty, to make inquiries; and I findthat, by the Imperial Royal Titles Act of 1901, the King was empowered, with a view to a recognition of the Dominions beyond the seas, to make such additions as he might think fit. On the 4th November’ following, a proclamation was issued, copies of which were sent to all the Governments in Australia, adding to the style and titles already in existence the words “ and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas,” in English. That was how the matter stood when the Coinage Bill was introduced.
– What preceded the additional words?
– The words which were there before the words I have quoted were added.
– Not at all.
– What I am stating is a fact; I myself saw the proclamation to-day. On the 6th of this month, the Prime Minister, at my request, asked the Imperial Government, through the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whether there would be any objection to inserting on our coinage, instead of “ King and Emperor,” the words “ King of the Dominions beyond the Seas,” or “ King of all the Britains.”
– That is on the coinage now.
– It is not on our coinage.
– It is on ours. .
– The honorable member is referring to the British coins. A reply has been received from the Secretary of State to the effect that His Majesty’s Royal style and titles were fixed by proclamation of 4th November, 1901, under the Royal Titles Act 1901, and that inscriptions upon coinage ought to conform to the wording so prescribed, subject to such abbreviations as may reasonably be necessary for numismatic reasons. It is added that -“ of the suggestions of your Government, the former - King of Dominions Beyond the Seas - is, in the opinion of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, open to objection as entirely omitting some of the most material parts of the style and title, whilethe latter - King of all the Britons - has the effect of substituting a national for a territorial designation.” The Lords of the Treasury fear that it would be somewhat difficult to formulate any alternative to the abbreviation “ King and Emperor,” which would, with respect to the English style and title, satisfy the above conditions. The cablegram concludes with these words “ presume that in the circumstances of the case, your Ministers will wish to adhere to the inscription ‘ King and Emperor.’ “ I may say that the Government propose to do so. In Canada, which is the great Dominion similar to Australia, with a separate silver coinage, and with a Constitution in many respects like ours, the inscription on the coin is “Edward VII., by the Grace of God, King and Emperor,” in Latin. The inscription in Cyprus is the same, while in nine other British possesssions - British East Africa, British Honduras, Jamaica, Nigeria, Uganda, Ceylon, British Guiana, Hong Kong, and Straits Settlements - the inscription is “ Edward VII., King and Emperor,” in English.
– Are they on the same plane as the Commonwealth?
– I said that Canada was in exactly the same position as was Australia, and that there the inscription on the coins was “ Edward VII., by the Grace of God, King and Emperor.” There are, therefore, ample precedents for the course which we propose.
– On the British coins the King is described as “ Emperor of India.”
– That is so.I have considered the question of the design on the reverse side of the coin since the debate in this Chamber, and am prepared, unless there is some very valid objection, to substitute for the map of Australia with the word “Australia” across it the coatofarms of Australia as was suggested by many honorable members. It seems to me and to the Government, after giving the matter consideration, that that is more in keeping with the custom with regard to inscriptions on coins than would be a map of Australia, which is, perhaps, more suitable for a medal. We therefore propose to have the coat of arms of Australia on the reverse side, and on the obverse to follow the example of Canada ; but to have the inscription in English instead of Latin, and to leave out the words “Dei gratia,” which would take up some room, and are used only in a few places. We are influenced in the course which we have decided to take by the cablegram that we received, and that shows that there are difficulties. Reading between the lines the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury really express in it a hope that we will not seek to alter that which is customary in other parts of the British Empire. That being so, and having no objection personally, I have recommended that we should retain what is the custom in Canada and in a great many other parts of the British Empire.
– What willbe the cost of the new dies?
– Only a few pounds.
– I desire to say a few words on the statement of the Treasurer.
– Is it the pleasure of the Committee that the honorable member for Wide Bay have leave to make a statement ?
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
– Leave is granted; the honorable member may proceed.
– I sincerely regret the Treasurer’s action. The cablegram upon which he put so much stress is a very mild one for a Government to found a policy on. The words “ King and Emperor “ which the right honorable gentleman desires to place on the obverse of the first Commonwealth coinage are not true in fact, whatever they may be in the minds of the Government. The King is not Emperor of the whole of the Dominions. He is King of Great Britain and Emperor of India. To say that he is Emperor of the Commonwealth is to say what is not a fact.
– No one would ever think it. Everybody knows what “ Emperor “ means on coins.
– That is the same reply as was previously given by the Treasurer and other Ministers. They said that everybody understoodthat the King was not Emperor of the Commonwealth. The honorable member for Parkes will surely agree with me that as an intelligent community we ought to express our ideas on our coinage in an intelligible way. Jf the Government are determined to have the word “ Emperor “ on the Australian coinagethey should add the qualification “ of India.”
– Why not put the union label on it?
– That would be better than “ Emperor of the Commonwealth.” The description “King” alone would be quite understandable, but “ King and Emperor “ is a travesty of titles and wilfully misleading. The Treasurer has evidently made up his mind to have that inscription on our coins, and apparently is determined to have his way. I desire that I and those who think with me should be afforded an opportunity to put our views of the matter on record, and to test the question of whether the Government have taken the right step or not.
– Does the honorable member want a headline on the coins ?
– The honorable member for Indi is quite incapable of understanding a subject of this kind, and endeavours to be amusing when he is only rude. I discussed the question at great length before, and the Treasurer resisted my contention as long as he could. I listened carefully to the cablegram from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, which was read by the Treasurer, and, as I understand it, the Imperial authorities will at once agree to any inscription that we maydecide to place upon our coinage. But apparently it is the express wish of the Government that a misdescription shall be placed upon the first coins issued by the Commonwealth.
– I do not understand why we should trouble ourselves about the inscription which is to be placed upon the proposed new coinage. The chief trouble of the people of Australia will be to get a sufficient number of these coins when they are in circulation. I do not know why the Treasurer desires us to place upon our new coinage the words, “King and Emperor,” seeing that he apparently wishes us to include the word “ Commonwealth.”
– I would point out to the honorable member that the two speakers who have preceded him obtained leave to discuss the question of the inscription to be placed upon the proposed new coins. In the absence of that leave the only question before theChair is the amendment which has been made by the Senate. Unless the Committee choose to give the honorable member leave to debate the matter of the inscription to be placed upon our Commonwealth coinage, I must rule his remarks out of order.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
I would point out that all the amendments in this clause are consequential upon the insertion by this Committee of the word “ nickel.” It is only with a view to making the Bill more perfect that they have been adopted by the Senate on the suggestion of the officers of the Attorney-General:s Department.
– I should liketo know whether the Treasurer is willing to take the opinion of the Committee upon the question which we have just been discussing? Will he afford us an opportunity of voting upon it? Of course, I am in favour of the amendments, but before the Bill passes from this Chamber, the Committee ought to have been given an opportunity of recording its judgment upon the matter of the inscription to be placed upon the first Commonwealth coinage.
.- Do I understand that the Government have abandoned their proposal to take power under this Bill to issue nickel coins?
– Oh, no. The matter is merely being put in a better form.
– As the Treasurer has remarked, these amendments are really consequential upon an amendment made by this Committee. When the Bill was previously before this Chamber, the honorable member for Balaclava moved that the words “ or nickel “ should be inserted in the clause under consideration. I pointed out at the time that as no provision had been made in regard to the fineness of the nickel to be used in the coins it would be necessary to make consequential amendments. These have been made by the Senate, and in the form in which the Bill now appears the provision prescribing the fineness of that metal will be made by proclamation. The words “ dimensions, designs, and,” have been omitted from the clause because there are no “ designs “ or “ dimensions” mentioned in the schedule. The dimen sions and designs of silver, bronze, and nickel coins will, therefore, be settled by proclamation under clause 8. I think that when we come to discuss that clause honorable members will have an opportunity of expressing their views upon the question of the inscription which should be placed upon the proposed new coins.
– - When this Bill was previously under consideration inthis Chamber, the words “ or nickel “ were, at my instance, inserted in this clause. I think that the amendments of the Senate constitute an improvement on the Bill as it left this Committee. Since then, I have ascertained that the nickel coins issued by the United States are not composed exclusively of nickel. They contain a certain quantity of alloy, and as we propose to issue similar coins, it is necessary that we should agree to amendments somewhat upon the lines of those made by the Senate.
Motion agreed to.
Remaining amendments in clause 4 agreed to.
Senate’s Amendment. - Leave out “dimension,” line 3, and insert “ dimensions.”
Motion (by Sir John Forrest) proposed -
That the amendment be agreed to.
– Under this amendment I think it will be possible for honorable members to discuss the question of the inscription to be placed upon the proposed new coinage which was mentioned by the honorable member for Wide Bay.
– The only point now before us is the Senate’s amendment.
– The question whether the Governor-General shall have power to determine the dimensions of the proposed new. coins is before us and that question must be considered in connexion with their design. To some extent the design of the coins must determine their dimensions. I assume that the Government desire to obtain the opinion of the Committee upon this question. We ought to have an opportunity of expressing a clear opinion upon the proposition. Even so autocratic a gentleman as the Treasurer is surely not anxious to have this inscription placed upon the coins without affording the Committee an opportunity of expressing its view.
– The honorable member might secure his object by submitting a proposition in regard to the proclamations provided for in clause 8.
– How could I do that ?
– Not in considering this Bill, but the honorable member might table a motion.
– Does the AttorneyGeneral seriously suggest that, as a means by which honorable members may arrive at a determination on the point at issue, I should submit a motion to be discussed on private members’ day? Surely we can proceed in a more satisfactory manner than that. I am disposed to take a test division on the Senate’s amendment now before us on the question of the addition of the letter “s” to dimension. Honorable members could regard the division as one affording them an opportunity of indicating their entire disapproval of the attitude which the Government have assumed in this matter.
– Honorable members would not understand the real intention of the honorable member in calling for a division.
– I think that those who took part in the division would understand what the object was. Personally, I do not care whether the word “ Emperor” is agreed to or not ; but it is a most improper position for the Government to take up to refuse facilities for the Committee to take a clear vote on the question. So long as a division is taken it is a matter of indifference to me whether I am on the winning or the losing side.
– The honorable member does not care whether “ head “ or “ tail “ wins ?
– I do not ; but the matter should not be allowed to pass without some clear indication as to what the desire of the Parliament of Australia is.
.- If the honorable member for Boothby desires to secure a convenient opportunity of taking a vote on the question, a better one can be found than the one which he has suggested. The difficulty of following the course suggested by him is that honorable members who are not now present would not, when they came in to vote, understand the real question underlying the proposition regarding the addition of the letter “ s.” But I draw the honorable member’s attention to the fact that in amendment No. 8 another place has suggested an entirely new sub-clause which is now before this Committee for the first time. It is, therefore, possible to add any words to that sub-clause. I suggest that the honorable member for Boothby might move to add any words he pleases to the sub-clause to enable him to test the proposition which he wishes to make with reference to the King’s title. It would then be clear, from the pages of Hansard, what the intention was. I do not think there could be any reasonable objection to such a course.
– I quite agree with the honorable member ; I think that what he suggests might be done.
Amendment agreed to.
Senate’s Amendment. - After paragraph(a) insert the following newparagraph : - (aa) Determine the denominations, weight, and fineness of any Australian nickel coin and the amount of remedy allowance to be allowed in the making thereof.
Motion (by Sir John Forrest) proposed -
That the amendment be agreed to.
– I move -
That the Senate’s amendment be amended by inserting after the word “ denominations “ the word “ design.”
The proposed new paragraph refers only to nickel coins, but if my amendment be accepted it can be taken by the Government as an indication of the desire of the Committee, and we can, on this amendment, discuss what design should be adopted. I intend to take advantage of the opportunity to vote only in favour of a recognition in the inscription on the coinage of the actual position of His Majesty the King, so far as Australia is concerned. He is not Emperor of Australia. If he were, no one would object to say so on our coin. The title of Emperor is one which Britishers generally do not worship. They prefer the old English title of King. I shall object to the use of the word “ Emperor “ on our coinage unless the words “ of India” are added to it. If we inscribe on our coins “ King of Britain, Emperor of India,” there can be no objection.
– The words “ King of Britain “ are not inscribed on the existing coinage: The words “ King and Emperor “ are the only words used. Those words are used on the Canadian coinage.
– I do not care what they do in Canada. It is absurd to put such an inscription on Australian coins. I believe that it is the desire of the Committee that our coinage should bear the inscription “ King of Britain and Emperor of India.” That is precisely the title of His Majesty.
– We should have to abbreviate that inscription.
– It could, of course, be abbreviated, and I should prefer the Latin abbreviations.
– It would not be right to have the same inscription on our coinage as that on the English coinage.
– The Treasurer is aware that coins minted in Melbourne and Sydney bear a special mark to indicate where they are made.
– If the inscriptions were alike, one could not tell one from the other. Does the honorable member propose that our coins should circulate all over England ?
– I do not care where they circulate.
– The Imperial Mint authorities would care.
– The honorable gentleman forgets that, apart from the inscription, the design of the Australian coinage would be different from that of the British coinage. All we ask is that the inscription on our coinage shall be accurate, and shall be the same as that on British coins - “ King of Britain and Emperor of India.” The most abjectly and devotedly loyal member of the Committee, including even the Treasurer, could not complain of that.
– The honorable gentleman is not loyal if he advocates the use of the word “ Emperor.”
– I am not doing so. I suggest the use of the words “ King of Britain and Emperor of India,” which is His Majesty’s title.
– It is only a courtesy title.
– By Imperial legislation the King is “Emperor of India.” I should think that no member of the Committee would have any objection to that title being inscribed on our coinage. But to use the inscription “ King and Emperor “ would be absurd, since it would indicate that the King is Emperor of Australia, which is contrary to the fact. If we adhere to the inscription on British coinage we shall have no difficulty. I ask the Committee to agree to accept my amendment with a view to testing the question as to what should be the titular inscription on our coins.
Mi. WILKS (Dalley) [4.9].- I do not think the public are very much concerned about the inscription to be placed on our coinage. As one of the representatives of the public, I should be satisfied to have one coinage only for the Empire, if we might secure the profit on the minting of the coins we use in Australia, I personally have no wish that the design of the existing coinage should be altered, and I do not think the people of Australia desire it either. But if we are to adopt a distinct design, and for the first time use the word “ Commonwealth “ on our coinage, it is certainly absurd that we should attach to it the word “ Emperor.” The use of those two words would be inconsistent. It is bad enough to speak of “ King” and “Commonwealth,” but even sticklers for loyalty must agree that it would be absurd to speak of “the King and Emperor of the Commonwealth.” Even the term “ His Majesty.” is not in accord with British loyal sentiment. It is an adaption from the time of Louis XI. lt is a. French term. I think it is absurd for honorable members to plead for the use of the word “ Emperor “ on our coins, in order to show their loyalty. It is on h a few years since the Earl of Beaconsfield, who imagined that he was performing a gracious act, took steps to proclaim our late illustrious Queen Empress of India. That change in the Royal style, however, was due to no national movement, but simply to the act of a Prime Minister, who was anxious to signalize a political act- of his own.
– It had to be approved by the House of Commons.
– Exactly ; and the honorable member for Boothby is now asking Australia’s House of Commons - that is to say, this House - to approve of an inscription for our coins. Why should we empower a Minister to use the style “ King and Emperor “ on our coins, merely because he sees that* inscription on other coins? The Treasurer may rest assured that those who take our coins will not bother their heads about the inscription. It would be foolish on our part to sanction the use of the words “ King and Emperor.” I am quite content with the use of the word “King,” because His Majesty is King of the Commonwealth. If, however, honorable members would like to use the style “ King of all the Britains “ I should not object, but I do object to the use of the words “ King and Emperor.” I think that scarcely a Britisher - cares for the title of Emperor, and that style is only used by His Majesty in relation to India. He is Emperor of India, but King of the British Dominions. It would place the Commonwealth in an absurd position if we adopted the style “King and Emperor.”
– I hope that the Committee in its wisdom will not take a course which I maintain would be opposed to British law. It was in 1876 that, for reasons pertaining to the East, not the Earl of Beaconsfield, but Mr. Disraeli, desired to clothe her late Majesty with a title which would raise the Queen of England to a higher altitude in the Indian mind. The natives of India are referred to as our Indian fellow subjects, but the proper term to employ would be our “ fellow servile subjects,” because no man would dare to mount a platform in Australia and say that a man or a woman of this country should not have a vote. In India, however, no person of British blood is entitled to vote. The Englishman who has the suffrage in England is disfranchised as soon as he lands on the shores of India.
– The native population are represented in the GovernorGeneral’s Council.
– No; the National Council of India would disgrace the Russian Government in the Province of Finland; the latter is pre-eminently higher than the former. It is possible that there are members of the National Council appointed from the various Presidencies, but there is no franchise similar to that which obtains in the French and Portuguese Indian territories.
– The honorable member knows that the result of Lord- Morley’s late alteration has been to put more than one Indian on the Council.
– Where does that Council meet?
– In India.
– Has the honorable member ever attended any of its meetings? If he had, he would laugh at the pettiness of the ‘body. He is aware that the Indian in French territory has the right of electing a man to represent him, but that privi lege England has not yet given to an Englishman, an Irishman, or a Scotchman in the Empire of India. I resent strongly the use of the word “ Emperor “ on Australian coins. I know of only one civilized country in this world where the name of “Emperor” is tolerated, and that is Germany. But the German Emperor is King, not Emperor, of Prussia. The Royal Titles Bill was not palatable to the English mind when it was brought in. It will be remembered that at that time the House of Commons was elected on a degraded franchise which was the laughing stock of the civilized world. In 1876 the British franchise was an abomination that would stink in the nostrils of any honest Australian politician. Is there one member of this House who would dare to ask Australia to accept the British franchise of to-day, let alone what it was thirty odd years ago? I ask the attention of honorable members while 1 read a few quotations from G. Barnett Smith’s History of the British Parliament -
The Additional Titles Bill, passed in 1876, enabled the Queen to add to her other titles that of Empress of India, by which she was proclaimed on 1st January, 1877.
Not Empress of England. The adoption of that style would not have been permitted, and the Government Whips had exceeding great difficulty to keep a House together to pass the Bill in the form in which it became law.
Mr. Disraeli, in moving the second reading of the Royal Titles Bill on 9th March, 1876, in the House of Commons, referred to the contention of the Right Hon. W. E. Forster, that in this addition to the Queen’s title we are treating without consideration the Colonies. But Mr. Disraeli held that the condition of India and the condition of the Colonies have no similarity, and the Bill therefore did not affect them.
– Our coinage will not affect India, so that there is no necessity for us to use the word “ Emperor “ thereon.
– Exactly. No man in India knows what his rupee is worth until he looks at the daily newspapers. Even poor Tommy Atkins was paid on the assumption that the rupee was worth 2s. when it was worth only is. 1½d. He was robbed of 10½d. on each rupee simply by the infamy of the exchange which today bleeds India to the amount of from ^10,000,000 to ^12,000,000 a year -
Mr. Disraeli said, “ In the Colonies you have, first of all, a fluctuating population - a man is member of Parliament, it may be, for Melbourne this year, and next year he is member of Parliament for Westminster.”
In which Act of the Imperial Parliament is it provided that His Majesty should be called the “ Emperor of Australia?” The Treasurer dare not say that a single member of the House of Commons woma be so lost to reason as to have the impertinence and the insolence to put a provision of that kind in an Act of Parliament. What is it for? I arrived in England in 1880. The view of the public then was that it was a case of, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” I remember seeing statuettes showing Her late Majesty - God rest her, she was a good woman - receiving the title of Empress of India, while Disraeli was being made Earl of Beaconsfield.
– Disraeli was ma.de Earl of Beaconsfield many years after the Queen assumed the title of Empress of India..
– The seeds of titles are often sown long before they mature. A sum of money is given to assist perhaps a college or other educational establishment, and, ten years afterwards, a title for the giver follows. There are wheels within wheels, and at times it takes a good deal of grease to keep the machine in motion. I do not say that any honorable member here is now influenced by the desire to obtain honours, but I declare that the title Emperor can never be properly used in connexion with the ruler of the country which has the freest franchise in the world. Is it not an insult to our intelligence to propose the use of that title on our coins? The budding Australian Democracy will look with contempt and loathing on the Ministry which is the means of bringing it about, and, whatever honours may be earned in consequence will not repay the recipients for the disgrace. In the House of Commons, the Liberal party, which was then in Opposition, was strongly opposed to the assumption by Her late Majesty of the title of Empress of India. In 1876, the Marquis of Hartington moved that-
It is inexpedient to impair the ancient and royal dignity of the Crown by the assumption of the style and title of Emperor.
The Treasurer will riot assert that the Marquis of Hartington was not loyal to his Sovereign. The meaning underlying the title “ King “ is the possession of superior qualities, making the holder a leader of men, such as were the chiefs whom the old German tribesmen . bore on their shields after election. The king is the “ cunning “ man, that is, in the old sense of the word, the man of much knowledge. As for the term “ Emperor,” wherever it is used, with one exception, human beings are debased. It is ridiculous that, in this twentieth century, the Government should consider such a title applicable to the ruler of Australia. Ministers could not defend their proposal on any platform. The amendment of the Marquis of Hartington was defeated by 305 votes to 200. On the 3rd April following, when the Royal Titles Bill was in Committee in the House of Lords, the assumption by the Queen of the title Empress of India was objected to. Would any one speak of the House of Lords as disloyal, although that glorious assembly, by a majority of 39 in 1884, declared that it was not absurd for three members to constitute the quorum of a House of six hundred members? The Earl of Shaftesbury moved that the title Empress be objected to, but the amendment was defeated, the “contents” being 137, and the “noncontents “ 91. I dare say the whips never had a harder eight hours’ work than in getting together that majority. On the 2nd May, 1876, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in reply to the Honorable Sir Henry James, said, inter alia, that it had been stated - on the 20th March, 1876 - that it was the intention of the Government to advise that the title of Emperor should not be borne in Great Britain, but should be a title of’ a local character, to be confined to India. What right has the. Treasurer, or the Ministry, in the face of these precedents, to try to apply the title to Australia? No Act has been passed by the British Parliament so applying it. Twenty years ago, I was an acknowledged Republican, and, theoretically, ‘ am so still, though willing to acknowledge the King of England, because of the danger looming in the East. But I am not willing to acknowledge an Emperor. I detest, loathe, and look with contempt upon that title. Why should we have this impertinence thrust upon us? If the Ministry is able, by reason of the support given to it, to have the title of Emperor placed on our coins, I shall denounce it on every platform, and quote what has been said in the House of Commons and the House of Lords on the subject. Let us be content with the profit which the English Government is generously giving to us. I do not think that it wishes to smear its gift with slime. If Great Britain wished us to place the title Emperor on our coins, it would have declared its wish in an Act. God give Ministers sense to change their minds, so that this foolish proposal may not be persisted in ! It may be asked, why should it matter whether the title Emperor or the title King is used? I have never seen, under the English flag, as I have seen on the Continent, a citizen spit on a coin because of the effigy- stamped upon it. I do not wish that to happen in any British country. Yet there are men who feel as strongly as I do, that the title of Emperor should not be used. Should it be adopted, I shall use all my influence to bring about an altera, tion. Have the Government intimated that they have received instructions from England that the word “ Emperor “ is to be used?
– They have not received “ instructions.”
– Certainly not. Is the Ministry, which comprises several titled members, proceeding on the principle of “ Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours ? “ Do they think that the King of England, who displays acute perception and a charming grace in meeting ambassadors and courtiers of other countries’, and paving the way for peace, will be pleased if this word appears on our coinage? Will he not rather say that the matter is too contemptible for his notice? Will he look with favour upon the Ministry because they propose to make this inscription, or will he not rather say : ‘ ‘ Without any direction from us the Commonwealth are going to use this word.”
– He will say that they are cringers and crawlers.
– He may use an even harsher term. I have yet to learn of a powerful newspaper that has heartily supported the use of the word “Emperor” in connexion with our coinage. Who are the Kings of the world? I do not know of one King who is worshipped as a deity, but I know of Emperors who are regarded as something in the nature of a deity.
– Such as the Emperor of Japan.
– No Emperor has lived to see his country advance with such rapid strides as Japan has made. Generally, where the title “Emperor” is observed there is injury to the people; but under a limited monarchical system, as in the case of Great Britain, the people are better governed. This is the only Parliament that dominates a whole continent, and is it because of that fact that the Government desire that the word “Emperor” shall appear on our silver coins? I hope that the Treasurer will agree to do away with this absurdity. If he will not do so, then I trust that the Committee will throw it on the dung-hill of oblivion, and leave it there to rot and finally to disappear. If adult suffrage prevailed in Great Britain, the servile population of India would be much better governed than it is. The only country in which I would allow the word “ Emperor “ to be used is India, where more people starve than’ in any other part of the world. The “ King of England” is a great title running through the history of the British race, and with its use I am content. I do not suggest that I should have been satisfied with it when it stood for greater power than the King of England possesses today. Since the days when Oliver Cromwell taught the kingly power that it should not try to oppress the people, every King of England has had his power more restricted, and I laugh to scorn the proposal that we should use the word “ Emperor ‘.’ on the coinage of the white people of a great continent.
.- The question involved is one, not of loyalty or disloyalty, but of fact. I have noticed that the word “Emperor” is not used on British coins except in conjunction with the word “ India.” To be correct we must either omit from our coinage the words “Emperor of India,” or we must use the word “India” in conjunction, with the word “ Emperor.” I am strongly opposed to the use of the words “ King and Emperor,” without the correct qualification. It may be said that the question is of no importance, but there is a constitutional principle at stake.
– And it is not true to say that the King is Emperor, in this connexion.
– It is incorrect. We ought to see that our new coinage is correct in all essential particular’s. I regret that the Treasurer has thought fit to depart from the decision which he arrived at with the assistance of the Committee on a previous occasion. ‘He has given no good reason for the change, and I hope that the Committee will show him that he is in error.
– I feel strongly on this question, and would remind the Committee that when this Bill was before us on a former occasion I first opposed the use of the word “ Emperor.” As a matter of history, I opposed its use on a previous occasion, and was very much surprised when the Treasurer announced to-day that he proposed that it should appear on the new coinage. When I asked why the Imperial authorities should have denied us the right to place on our coins what words we thought fit to use; he said that, under the Royal Titles Act of 1901 a certain proclamation had been issued adding to His Majesty’s previous title the words “ and of the British Dominions beyond the seas.” I am inclined to think that the right honorable gentleman has read the proclamation carelessly. I find that it reads - ……. And whereas Our present
Style and Titles are……. in the
English tongue, “ Edward VII., by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King, Defender of the. Faith, Emperor of India.” We have thought fit, by and with the advice of Our Privy Council, to appoint and declare, and We do hereby, by and with the said advice, appoint and declare that henceforth . . . the following addition shall be made to the Style and Titles at present appertaining to the Imperial Crown of the United Kingdom and its dependencies; that is to say … in the English tongue, after the words “ of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,” these words “and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas.”
The title, therefore, reads not “ Emperor of India and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas,” but “ Edward VII.’ by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.” The phrase “ and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas “ is inserted before the word “King,” and “Emperor of India” strictly limits the title of Emperor to the Indian Dominions. And this must be so under our Constitution, because “Emperor” is entirely foreign to us, and something we cannot understand. The word “Emperor” is either useless or useful ; if it is useless we do not desire to apply it; and if there is some purpose in it, there is the assumption of an unknown power, which, as I say, is entirely foreign to our Constitution. If the word is intended to be useful, it is full of danger; but the Prime Minister, when
I first drew attention to the matter, said that “King” stands for Australia and “ Emperor “ expresses a connexion with and an obligation to the Empire. But does it? The only part of the Empire to which “Emperor.” is applied is India, and, therefore, in using the word as applied to Australia, we are deliberately cutting ourselves off from Canada, South Africa and the other self-governing parts of the Empire. The word “ Emperor,” instead of being inclusive of Empire is exclusive, since it is limited to India. I am sorry that the Government after observing the tone of the Committee-
– We knew what the tone of the Committee was.
– Then I am surprised that the Government should so weakly give up their previous position, seeing that the dies had been prepared.
– We desire honorable members to be unanimous.
– The use of the word as proposed, instead of meaning loyalty, will mean disloyalty to the rest of the’ selfgoverning colonies where “ King “ is the only word recognised. If the Treasurer is acting under misconception as to the words “ and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas” being added at the end of the list of titles, perhaps he will see his way to graciously yield to what is undoubtedly the desire of honorable members.
– I said that the words were added, but I did not say where.
– The Treasurer certainly gave me to understand that the words were added at the end ; but the rather archaic form of completing the sentence shows that the word “ King “ is separated from “ Emperor “ as applied to India.
– We were both right.
– If the Treasurer had done himself justice, he would have inquired into the circumstances of the creation of the late Queen Victoria, as Empress of India, and have <acquainted himself with the fact that there was much indignation and alarm in England at the proposal, there being a feeling that the idea was to apply the title of “ Empress” in England as well as in India. The objections were got over by a subterfuge, ‘ as is shown clearly by a recent criticism by Mr. Wilson. Dobbs published in the Melbourne Herald. It was there stated that the real reason for conferring the title was that, when certain of the Queen’s daughters went over to Germany, they would not take precedence of the daughters of an emperor; and, at any rate, the title of “Empress of India” was conferred only on the distinct promise that it should not be used out of India. If this were purely a Ministerial idea I should say that it was only a display of weakness, but we find that as a result of communications from the Colonial Office the desire apparently is to extend the use of the word “Emperor” from India to all the self-governing dominions, and finally to have it applied to the United Kingdom. In 1901 I protested, as I still protest, against the use by the English sovereign of the word “ Emperor “ in relation to us. It is applied to us now in proclamations by means of the title “ Edward R.I.” The King does not attempt to use that addition in England, nor do his advisers permit him to do so, but this is now a serious attempt to apply the title “ Emperor “ to all the rest of the Empire and finally to England. As far as we can support the forces of freedom we should do so, for once the right to apply the title of “Emperor” as regards us is granted, we shall see a repetition of the advice given by George III. to his own son George - “ George, be a king.” An Emperor will attempt to justify and live up to the title. There are a lot of people who are now trying to stem the forces of Democracy. Seeing that the House of Lords has lost its old constitutional position as a protection against the increasing tide of Democracy, and that the House of Commons has obtained a supremacy which was not originally intended for it in the Constitution, there is not the slightest doubt that many people are trying, by magazine articles and in other ways, to increase the influence of the Court and Sovereign as a bulwark of property and other forms of Conservatism. Every attempt is, therefore, being made now to magnify the position of the King by statements as to his great influence in foreign affairs, and by allowing him to act as his own Foreign Minister in different directions. All these things represent an attempt to magnify the King’s office and take him out of the constitutional position which has been created for him by at least 100 years of precedents. In this attempt to increase the office of the King, certain persons are using first the oversea dominions and afterwards will seek to include the United Kingdom. Even in this apparently small matter we should stand up for our rights, because we are fighting, not merely against the application of a word, but for loyalty to constitutional principles. In grave issues of this sort, words are sometimes taken at their true and fullest meaning. If we once admit the word “ Emperor “ on our coinage, as we unfortunately get it now in proclamations from the Colonial Office, an attempt will be made by some sovereign on a later occasion to live up to the title and to be an Emperor to us. We do not want an Emperor. We have a Constitution. We know where the King stands, and what he stands for. We are loyal to the idea of King, because we know that he has limitations and duties as well as privileges. But because we too have our rights and duties and responsibilities to the people of Australia, we ought to resist in every way this attempt to use words in a way which is not justified by the Constitution.
.- I regret that the Government, after so many expressions of opinion have been calmly and deliberately offered to them-
– We have taken a lot of trouble in the matter. We have telegraphed Home, and have not acted hurriedly.
– The Treasurer is a little impetuous. The first intimation we had of this move was a statement that the Government contemplated using the words “ King and Emperor,” and, without receiving any authority from Parliament, had communicated with the Imperial authorities, and actually caused the dies to be cut, so that everything should be ready to stamp Commonwealth coins with that inscription.
– They tried to do more than Disraeli ever attempted to do.
– That was done by a responsible Government in the. youngest, except one, of the self-governing dominions of the British Empire - in the Commonwealth of Australia, which it was the proud boast of the present PostmasterGeneral had included as the first words in its Constitution the statement that, “ We, the people of the States of Australia, agree to federate.” We, the people, not subjects at the command of any one, agreed to federate. The people themselves decided to do this, and then a Government of this young Commonwealth, having the control of the representative Chamber, communicate with the British Government and ask them if in their view the word “Emperor” should be put on our first coins. It is a deliberate insult to the people of the Commonwealth.
– We did not ask them that. Why does not the honorable member try to be accurate?
– What did the Government ask them?
– We asked if there was any objection to inserting the words “ King of the Dominions beyond the seas,” instead of “ King and Emperor.”
– The right honorable member has forgotten his earlier action; that was his secondary action. Over three weeks ago I endeavoured for more than half an hour to induce the Treasurer to agree to the omission of the word “ Emperor,” or, if he was determined to include it on our coins, at least to define and limit it by using also the words “ of India.”
– We did not suggest it originally.
– The first time it was mentioned in this chamber the honorable member for Corio interjected that there was no warrant for any such title.
– I brought it up on the adjournment.
– They had suggested it then.
– The matter was mentioned first in a casual remark dropped by the Minister. The honorable member for Corio caught it up and referred to it further on the motion for adjournment. Next, in answer to a query by myself, the Treasurer admitted that he had agreed to the use of the words, that the die was cast, and that everything was ready to go on with the minting of the coin.
– That is only a matter of about £60.
– I would still take the same view if it was a matter of£60,000. If the Treasurer regards the matter lightly, allow me to tell him that if I have any influence in this Parliament, and if this House is so foolish as to adopt the proposal, I shall do my utmost to stop the coins and get the inscription altered. So far as I can see, we have nothing less than subserviency-
– The honorable member is getting on very well at calling people names and insulting them.
– Surely it is not calling names to say that it is subserviency to accept an inscription of that kind? I go so far as to say that we have the right to decide what designation shall be put on our coins.
– I do not think we have - not altogether.
– I speak as a layman. I do not think it wise to exclude the word “ King” from our coins, but I think that constitutionally we have the right to do so if we so desire. I should as strongly object to the omission of the word “ King “ as I object now to the inclusion of the word “ Emperor,” because the King is the authority under which our constitutional government is carried on. We have heard from time to time that this great country of Australia may at some future date be made a sacrifice for the benefit of the Empire. I do not believe that Great Britain will ever sacrifice Australia in bartering with other nations for her own protection or safety, but if we admit that we are a people living under the rule of an Emperor, of course it could be claimed that we were absolutely subject to the Emperor’s commands. Everybody knows what the Australian people would do if an attempt . ever were made to offer them up as a sacrifice to another nation. The Prime Minister has really attempted to shirk proper consideration being given to this question. In the first place, he declared himself in favour of the inscription
Avhich is suggested by the Treasurer, but subsequently - before I left Melbourne for Brisbane some three weeks” ago - I understood him to say that he was” prepared to alter that designation.
– The honorable member is quite wrong in making that statement.
– I certainly understood the Prime Minister to say that he was in favour of altering the suggested inscription.
– We asked the Home authorities a plain question.
– I take strong exception to the implied statement of the Treasurer that the Government are bound by any communication which may be made to them through the Colonial Office. I am sure that the Postmaster- General will not agree with that dictum.
– I have not stated that we are bound by the view which is entertained by the Colonial Office.
– The Treasurer wishes to buttress his position-
– The honorable member talks too much.
– I think that I have talked too little upon this question. The point at issue is of much greater importance than the Treasurer seems to imagine. Whether he has made any secret promise that he will see his proposal through Parliament, I do not know.
– Why does the honorable member make that insinuation? lt is absolutely without foundation.
– It is not an insinuation.
– It is a dirty insinuation, and a dishonest one, too. I have done nothing of the sort.
– I am glad to have that assurance.
– I have no feeling in the matter.
– Then why does not the Treasurer accept the suggestion which has been made by honorable members upon this side of the chamber?
– What is the honorable member’s suggestion? What words would he like to appear upon the coins?
-I should prefer the words “ Edward VII., King.” The inscription would then be true in fact as well as in law, whereas the words which the honorable gentleman desires to place upon the obverse side of the new coins do not contain a statement of fact.
– I do not desire to put any special words upon the coins. I merely wish to adopt an inscription which will be acceptable to all.
– I object to the inclusion of the word “ Emperor,” because it does not contain a statement of fact.
– The Treasurer is going to withdraw that word.
– I am not going to be forced to do so.
– I have no wish to compel the Treasurer to do something which I can induce him to do.
– The words “ Edward VII., King “ in themselves will not be sufficient. I know that there is an objection to placing upon colonial coins the inscription which appears upon British coins.
– Under our Constitution, the Government have the power to place any inscription they may please upon the proposed new coins. Whilst we should extend the greatest consideration to any communication made to us by the Imperial authorities, we ought not to accept any view of theirs which is contrary to fact and common sense.
– There is no difference between the Imperial authorities and ourselves in substance. The difference is merely one of expression.
– But the Treasurer does not put the matter in the way the AttorneyGeneral puts it. He practically says that he has the authority of the Imperial Government for the view which he holds. This is a young nation, which is destined to become great, and in the future the British Empire will be stronger just in proportion to the independence which is shown by the young nations included in it. Therefore, I trust that we shall not make the initial error of placing upon our proposed new coins an inscription which does not convey an accurate statement of fact and which will not impress the people of the Commonwealth.
– I am sorry that this question has been debated at such length, and that the suggestion has been made that I particularly desire the word “ Emperor “ to appear upon the proposed coinage. I should like to tell the Committee the whole history of this question. When we’ were arranging for the issue of the proposed coins, the Imperial Government was asked to suggest what words should be placed on the obverse side of the coins in addition to the King’s head, The Mint authorities cabled to say that they suggested the adoption of the words ” Rex et Imperator,” or, in English, “’ King and Emperor.” I consulted the Prime Minister, and we thought that ft would be better to adopt the English form. The question whether any objection would be raised to the use of the word “ Emperor “ did not then arise, because it did not occur to either of us that the meaning could be other than that His Majesty was Emperor of India. We never thought that any one would put the view that it was possible to construe the designation so as to infer that he was Emperor of Australia. We knew very well, of course, that he was not. Another reason for using the word “ Emperor “ which occurs to me is that, when giving a designation to any person, the rule is to use his highest title, if he has several. If a person be a Knight of the Garter, and also a Knight of some other Order, the higher one is invariably used. It is quite true that when the Bill came before this House objections to the use of the title “ Emperor “ were made; but I did not take it that the
House was by any means unanimous, or even that there was a majority against the adoption of that term. Honorable members knew what the title “ King and Emperor “ meant. No one thought that it meant that His Majesty was Emperor of Australia. But being desirous, as I always am - though I may be a little hasty sometimes - to meet the wishes of the House, I said that we would consider the matter. Accordingly, I asked the Prime Minister to telegraph to the Imperial authorities again. He sent a cablegram through the Secretary of State for the Colonies, asking whether there would be any objection to inserting on our coinage, instead of the title “King and Emperor,” the words “King of the Dominions beyond the Seas,” or “ King of all the Britons.” The reply that came from the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury in response to the Prime Minister’s telegram stated “that the inscription on our coins ought to conform to the wording of the Royal Titles Act, with such abbreviations as might reasonably be adopted for numismatic reasons.” The reply went onto deal with the suggestion which we made to use the style “ King of the Dominions beyond the Seas.” In the opinions of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury “ that style was open to the objection of entirely omitting reference to some parts of the Empire.” The title so suggested omitted all reference to His Majesty being King of Great Britain and Ireland. That, I consider, was a very proper criticism. As to the alternative suggestion - that we should use the designation “ King of all the Britons,” the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury said “ that it. would have the effect of substituting a national for a territorial designation.” If we had suggested “ King of all the Britains,” I do not know that that objection would have been raised. They “ feared that it would be somewhat difficult to formulate an alternative to the abbreviation formerly suggested,” and they went on to say that “ they presumed that, under the circumstances of the case, the Ministers of the Commonwealth would wish to adhere to the inscription ‘ King and Emperor.’ “ We considered that, as we had made an inquiry and had received that reply, Parliament would be satisfied, and that this Committee would allow the matter to go without further suggestion. I see now, however, that a considerable number of honorable members still adhere to their objection to the use of the word “Emperor,” and the only way out of the difficulty would appear to be to make further inquiry. We could express the meaning more briefly in Latin than in English.
– Could we not abbreviate the English designation as easily as the Latin one?
– I do not think we could abbreviate the English designation quite so well.
– We write “ r-e-c-d “ for “ received,” and abbreviate many other words.
– In a question of this sort, I consider that unanimity is desirable. It is largely a matter of sentiment, and I do not think that we should force our idea through Committee by virtue of a narrow majority, or even a considerable one. Before, however, I can come to a final determination, I must have a further opportunity of considering the matter. If honorable members will allow the Bill to go through now, they will be in no worse position in regard to the matter than they are at present; and, in the meantime, we will see whether we cannot despatch another cablegram suggesting an inscription in Latin. We might adopt the style”Edwardus VII., Rex, et ImperatorInd.” That would distinctly state that His Majesty was Emperor of India.
– Will the right honorable gentleman say definitely that he will not have inscribed on our coins the words “ King and Emperor “ ?
– I am not prepared at present to say that.
– ThenI shall carry the matter to a vote.
– If the honorable member does that he will settle the question. My object is to see whether we cannot secure unanimity.
– Why does not the right honorable gentleman make a promise that he will not adopt the words “ King and Emperoi “ ?
– I am not prepared at the present moment to say de- finitely that those words will not be used ; but I shall send another cablegram to ascertain whether we cannot adopt a form of wordsthat will be unanimously agreed to by honorable members.
– The word “ Emperor” is the cause of the objection.
– There is no objection if the word ” Ind.” is placed after “ Imperator.”
– Is this a matter about which we have to consult the Colonial Office at all ?
– I think we ought to do so. The issue of coinage, including the inscription of the King’s titles, is a prerogative. We all know, however, that the Imperial Government are desirous of meeting the wishes of the Legislatures of the Dominions ; and we should not in these matters, which are to a great extent of national importance, act independently and without consulting the Imperial authorities. My advice is that we should get on with the Bill now, and leave the title in abeyance. The inquiries which I propose to make would perhaps take a week.
– Does the right honorable member propose to postpone the further consideration of the Bill ?
– No, I want to get on with it.
.- I asked the Treasurer, in the course of his remarks, whether he would agree to omit the word “ Emperor “ or to limit it by a definition. He said that he would make inquiries. 1 do not feel that I am in a position to accept the right honorable gentleman’s view. He has merely promised to send a telegram to London. I maintain that the Colonial Office has no power to say what we should put on our own coinage, although the greatest consideration should be given to any advice that they may offer. I shall have to call for a division, because the presumption is that the Treasurer will ‘ accept the advice that is offered to him.
– I shall see when we get the advice.
– It is better for those who hold strong opinions against the use of the word “ Emperor “ on our coins to record their votes, even though there may be a majority against them. I certainly shall never agree to the suggestion which the Government have made, that we should use the words “ King and Emperor.”
– The honorable member should not pledge himself as to what he will do in the future.
– I may not be here in a future Parliament.
– We hope that the honorable member will be.
– But if I am here, and have an opportunity of expressing my opinion, I shall never agree to the word “ Emperor “ being used on our coins. I consider that its adoption would be a reflection on the intelligence of the Commonwealth.
.- As the Leader of the Opposition desires that we should have an entirely distinct and separate Australian coinage, it is, no doubt, consistent with that desire that he should ask that the King’s title, as appearing on our coinage, should be different from that which appears on coins minted in other parts of the King’s Dominions. As Australia is amongst the King’s Dominions Beyond the Seas, it is impossible that the King’s title, as regards Australia, should be inscribed in full on our coins. I regard the whole matter as a storm in a teapot. What does it matter whether the title inscribed on our coinage is King “ or “ King and Emperor “ ?
– “ King and Emperor “ would not be in accordance with fact.
– Honorable members opposite have suddenly become great sticklers for facts.
– That push !
– I rise to a point of order.- The honorable member for Indi has just made use of a remark which I think he ought to be called upon to withdraw. He has referred to honorable members on this side as “ that push.”
– I often heard certain honorable members referred to as the “ Corner push “ by honorable members opposite.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Will the honorable member for Indi withdraw the remark?
– What for, sir?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Will, the honorable member withdraw the remark ?
– Very well, I suppose so.
– As honorable members opposite are determined at this juncture to test the opinion of the Committee, I suggest that the Treasurer should ask those who are prepared to allow the matter to be settled after negotiation with the Imperial authorities to support the Government, whilst those who have such an objection to consultation with the Imperial authorities, and desire that the matter should be settled before there can be any consultation with them, could record their votes against the motion submitted by the Treasurer. With the information we have at present on the subject, it is quite impossible for any member of the Committee to cast an intelligent vote on one side or the other, but honorable members opposite are anxious to express an opinion beforehand which they think will be contrary to the views of the Imperial authorities. That is only in consonance with the whole trend of their actions during the last five or six years. As keen students of heraldry, they have pressed their other suggestion, that the Australian coat-of-arms rather than the map of Australia, should appear on our coinage. I suggest that the issue to be placed before the Committee should not be that put by the Leader of the Opposition, who may be an infallible authority on heraldry, if not on titles, but should be whether the Committee desire that this matter should be the subject of negotiation with the Imperial authorities, trusting generally that something reasonable will be done.
– The honorable member is making a party question of the matter.
– That is a very extraordinary interpretation to place on my remarks. Honorable members opposite have succeeded in inducing the Treasurer, to consent to change the proposed design of our Australian coinage from the map of Australia to the coat-of-arms of Australia. If we are to change the Imperial design - and I shall not go into the merits of that question now - the map of Australia will, in my humble opinion, be a much better design than would be the coat-of-arms of Australia. Who on earth cares a twopenny dump about coats-of-arms in these days?
– What about the fauna of Australia - the kangaroo and emu ?
– Much as I reverence the kangaroo and emu, I respect still more the map of Australia, and I think the Treasurer would do well to reconsider his determination to adopt the coat-of-arms of Australia as a design for our coinage.
– I understood- that honorable members generally desired that.
– We do not all desire it. The Treasurer has listened to the Leader of the Opposition, who is probably more interested in heraldry than are other members of the Committee, but I can assure him that many think that, if it is intended to alter the Imperial design in minting our coinage, no better design than that of the map of Australia could be adopted. It would, on the face of it, indicate the country for which the coinage is made, and would be infinitely preferable to the coat-of-arms of Australia. I hope we shall have no more of this snobbish rubbish about coats-of-arms. Let us show a proper pride in what we all have good cause to be proud of, namely, the country we represent.
.- The last remarks made by the Treasurer have extended the area of discussion, and have raised a very serious issue. The right honorable gentleman has stated that, -in his opinion, in dealing with the coinage, which we are distinctly given the power to deal with under the Constitution, we are raising a matter of the King’s prerogative, and should not proceed without cosultation with the Colonial Office.’ It is extraordinary that such a statement should be made by the Treasurer as a responsible Minister of the Crown, We are given full power under section 51 of the Constitution to deal with” the coinage, and the Treasurer should know that even in England the coinage is no longer a matter within the King’s prerogative. If there were anything in the Treasurer’s statement, it would be about time that we should return to the rule of “ the man Rogers,” notorious in Victorian political history. What is our position, if we cannot legislate in such a matter without the consent of the Colonial Office ? Believing that honorable members were against him, the Treasurer admitted that the word “ Emperor “ should not appear in the inscription on our coins.
– I never said that.
– As I understood the honorable gentleman, when he found that a large minority of the Committee was against the use of the word and that such keen feeling and sentiment had been aroused, although he thought that the word should not be used, and that some Latin word should be used, he did not think that we should alter the inscription without the consent of the Colonial Office. If that is the case, we are getting into a very funny position, and the House had better shut up shop. What is the use of having a Constitution and a Parliament if the Colonial Office is to govern us by instructions? It would be an insult to my constituents to ask them to return ‘me if I am only to come here and submit to the direction of the Colonial Office in connexion with Australian affairs. The Governor-General, who is stated to be the representative of the King, should not receive instructions from that office. If other honorable members had taken up the same attitude as I did some time ago> we should have no further interference from that quarter.
– We have had a long debate on this matter.
– Yes, and it has been brought about by the injudicious action of the honorable member. I should be very sorry for the statement to go forth in Hansard, and to be quoted hereafter against the Commonwealth, that a responsible Minister of the Crown, sitting at this table, said that this Parliament is not to do a thing without the sanction of the Colonial Office.
– I never said anything of the kind.- I referred to the titles. I think that the honorable member misunderstood me.
– I am glad to find that the Treasurer has repudiated that which I attributed to him. If the result of my remarks has been to elicit that he never said anything like that, and does not mean it, I am glad that I misunderstood what he did say. Such a declaration is certainly necessary and advisable.
– I referred to the titles of the King.
– There is not the slightest doubt that the Colonial Office has nothing to do with the matter, and if it were to alter in any sense the inscription or even to advise the Governor-General to alter it, I know what the Government should do. They could quickly bring the Colonial Office to their bearings by stating that they alone were the advisers of His Excellency. Unless we act promptly when such instructions are received here, it is of no use to call ourselves a Parliament or a responsible body.
– I am pleased that the Treasurer is now showing a more conciliatory spirit. It seems to me that he might go a little further in that direction. I understood him to say a few minutes ago that he was prepared to leave the matter in abeyance pending further inquiry.
– I did not say that. I want to get these amendments dealt with and the Bill sent back to the Senate.
– I understood the right honorable gentleman to say that he was prepared to leave the question in abeyance pending further inquiry, and possibly further cabling to England.
– That is right.
– The whole question is whether the words “ and Emperor “ shall appear on the coins or not. If the right honorable gentleman is desirous of proceeding with business he can achieve the object I think in the course of a few moments by giving a public promise that he will not allow the words to appear on the coins until we have had a further opportunity of discussing the question, and dividing upon it.
– Honorable members can take a division now if they like.
– I would rather that a division should be taken now than that I should miss the opportunity of voting against the inclusion of these words in the inscription. The King is Emperor of India, but he is not Emperor of England, or Emperor of Scotland, or Emperor of any other part of the British Dominions. If the words “ and Emperor ‘-‘ signify anything they signify that His Majesty is Emperor of that part of the British Dominions in which the coins are issued.
– I shall communicate further when I have considered the matter.-
– Will the right honorable gentleman agree to postpone the clause?
– Do I understand the right honorable gentleman to promise that these words shall not appear on the coins until we have had another opportunity of discussing the matter?
– Until I have instituted an inquiry and made another communication to honorable members.
– Which communication we shall have an opportunity of discussing ?
– I cannot regulate the business of the House, but so far as I am personally concerned, I have no objection to the matter being discussed.
– If the right honorable gentleman desires to proceed with business that can be done in the course of a few seconds if he will promise definitely that the House will haw an opportunity of discussing this matter before he finally decides that the words shall be used on the coins.
– If honorable members want an opportunity, certainly. There has been great delay. The coins ought to have been here by this time.
– In the House of Commons the settlement of the question of title was delayed much longer.
– Do I understand the Treasurer to accede to my suggestion ?
– Does the honorable member mean that we should set apart a day for the consideration of the matter ?
– No particular day.
– We have no time to spare for anybody.
– We were assured that the right honorable gentleman had no feeling in this matter. As a number of honorable members feel so strongly that they are prepared to record their votes he might, I think, give the additional promise that we shall have an opportunity of discussing the matter before he finally decides what the inscription shall be.
– The honorable member wants a wholeday for the discussion, and I cannot agree to that.
– I am not wanting anything.
– Honorable members have already taken all the afternoon.
– This is the first time on which I have spoken on the subject.
– The time has been taken or lost, nevertheless.
– From my point of view this is a matter of vast importance. The House of Commons occupied many days in discussing, not whether Her late Majesty should assume the title “ Empress of Great Britain,” but whether she should assume the title “ Empress of India.” The House of Lords thought the matter of so much importance that it, too, discussed the proposal, and carried it by only a narrow majority. Even those who voted in favour of the assumption of the title were opposed to its use in any part of the Dominions other than India. I suggest, in the interests of conciliation, that the business before us should be allowed to proceed; but that the Minister should give us the assurance that he will, to some extent, meet the views of those who feel strongly on this point. He tells us that he has no feeling in the matter himself, and that a number of his supporters are in that position. That is an additional reason why he should try to meet the wishes of those on this side. Another opportunity should be given to discuss the proposal, because it is too important to pass without discussion. The Treasurer may have a majority, though probably a smaller one than he thinks ; but on a question of this kind every effort should be directed towards securing unanimity.
– I undertake to institute a further inquiry, to consult my colleagues, and to make another statement to “the House, before anything is done in this matter. I cannot do more than that. I do not feel able to promise that a day shall be set apart for the discussion of the proposal ; we have had too much discussion already.
– Will the Treasurer, if the word “ Emperor “ is retained, limit its application ?
– I shall not make apy promise beyond that which I have just given. The objection of many honorable members to the use of the word will be duly considered. The Government must take the responsibility for its actions. If it does something of which honorable members do not approve, there is a way, to punish it.
.- I keenly regret that the Treasurer, in his anxiety to compass the impossible, by giving more assurance to the honorable member, should give away the whole case. His original attitude reflected credit on him as a Minister. He said, “ I take the responsibility for what is done, and I think my action the correct one.” Unfortunately he has now receded from that position, and proposes to give honorable members an opportunity, after the Bill has passed, to express their dissatisfaction with what is done.
– A proclamation must be issued.
– Honorable members will then be able to express disapproval of the action of one Minister only by voting against the Government. It would be better if there were a concrete proposal to vote upon. The matter is not of sufficient importance to endanger the position of a Ministry ! Does he believe that the Committee regard this matter as so unimportant that it will not be decided upon its merits ? Do the Opposition think that if the Treasurer succeeds in his proposal there is any method by which they can have their desires known, other than that of defeating the Government on a motion of noconfidence, or on a division on a crucial question which will affect their fate?
– Certainly not.
– I think the honorable member is right. If the Opposition wish to have a test vote taken now, without any party feeling-
– We hoped that the intelligence of the Committee would be applied.-
– I assume that the intelligence of the Committee will be applied to every matter brought before it. But if a question of such slight importance is to involve the fate of the Government, honor - able members must know how the vote will go. I therefore suggest that my right honorable friend should back down from his unheroic attitude and again have a spasm of determination, so that -we may have a vote at once upon this trifling matter. -
.- The whole matter could be settled in a few minutes if the Treasurer would assume a reasonable frame of mind. Why should he not agree to the use of the words “ King and Emperor of India,” instead of “ King and Emperor”? By agreeing to such an inscription as ” Rex Ind. Imp.” the difficulty would be removed, and no further time would be occupied in dealing with this question.
– I propose to make a statement later on as to my intentions.
– Will the right honorable gentleman promise to submit to the authorities the proposition I have made? Such an inscription would be more accurate than that which he proposes, and would clearly show what His Majesty is Emperor of.
– Several honorable members have put forward the suggestion now made by the honorable member. This question does not affect the Bill.
– What is the Treasurer’s attitude towards the inscription that i suggest?
– I shall mate known my opinion to-morrow.
– By refusing to accept such a proposal the Treasurer is really *’ stone-walling “ his own Bill.
– - I agree with the honorable member for Corio that, if we cannot place on our coinage any words that we think fit, provided that we do not interfere in any way with the British Government, Parliament might as well close down and hand over the government of the Commonwealth to the British Legislature. Such a change would not be very serious, so far as the honorable member for Corio is concerned, because he is in reality willing now to hand over to the State Parliaments the functions of this Legislature. It is strange that the Treasurer will not agree to an inscription which would show exactly what is the King’s title in relation to Australia. It is well known that he is not Emperor of the Commonwealth, and most of us recollect the discussion that took place when it was first proposed to confer on Queen Victoria the title of “ Empress of India.” Our silver coinage will be current only in Australia, and yet we are told that we cannot place on it what words we please. So long as we use no words suggesting disloyalty to the Throne, we ought to be permitted to place on our coinage any inscription we think fit. I believe that the objection has been raised, not by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, but by the Treasurer himself, who has given us recently an evidence of his love of titles, and no doubt wishes to place on our coins something that he thinks will sound and look well. Why should he not agree to something purely Australian, since our coins will not circulate outside the Commonwealth? Earlier in the afternoon he appeared to be ready, to agree to the dropping of the word “ Emperor,” and to stand by his former decision that the title “ King of all the Britains” should be used.
– I only said that I should make inquiries.
– The title “ King Df all the Britains “ would be just as effective as the words “ King and Emperor,” and would have the additional advantage of being strictly accurate. This is purely an Australian coinage, and the title should be one that applies to Australia only. We have tried to coax and wheedle the Treasurer to agree to something sensible ; and if he does not do so he and his party must take the responsibility before the people.
.- If the Treasurer had shown himself firm, when the honorable member for’ Adelaide asked for an assurance, the trouble would have been ended. On the one side of the shilling which I hold in mv hand there appears ” Edwardus VII. Dei. Gra. Britt.
Omn. Rex “ - to which no one can take exception ; while on the other side there appears “ Fid. Def. Ind. Imp.” The latter need not appear, and I suggest that there should be a map of Australia with “ Australia “ across it as a good advertisement for the Commonwealth, with an inscription “Fid. Def. Australiensis Rex.” What we require is a typical Australian coin ; and I think the matter might be settled by, adopting the suggestion I have made.
.- I had hoped that the matter would by this time have been settled; but the Treasurer seems most determined. The honorable gentleman will allow me to quote the word of an older parliamentarian than himself - one who was acknowledged to be one of the most able Premiers we have had in Victoria - namely, the late Duncan Gillies, who said that while any one could explain away a speech to his constituents,, it was very hard to explain away a division. We say that it is our desire to have a division now. I know that when the Government once put their foot down, they can control certain members, who will be compelled to vote against their consciences ; and I, as a member of the Opposition, do not care to place any of the followers of the Government in that position. We certainly ought to have the map of Australia on our coins, so as to imprint on the mind.*, of the untold millions who will follow us the only continent that is really a white one. I should like honorable members to know what was said by Mr. Disraeli when he introduced the Bill conferring the title of Empress on the late Queen. He had at his back a large Conservative majority ; and yet it appears that, contrary to the usage of Parliament, leave to introduce the measure was not granted without debate. Mr. Disraeli, on 18th February, 1876, quoted the following paragraph from the Queen’s speech : - 1 am deeply thankful for the uninterrupted health which my dear son, the Prince of Wales, has enjoyed during his journey through India. The hearty affection with which he has been received by my Indian subjects, of all classes and races, assures me that they are happy under my rule, and loyal to my throne. At the time that the direct Government of my Indian Empire was transferred to the Crown, no formal addition was made to the style and titles of the Sovereign. I have, deemed the present a fitting opportunity for supplying this omission, and a Bill upon the subject will be presented to you.
Mr. Disraeli spoke at some length, and in the course of his speech said -
I trust that the House will support Her Majesty’s Government in the course they are adopting; because we have reason to feel -that it is a step which will give great satisfaction not merely to the Princes, but to the nations of India.
That paragraph shows clearly that he never dared to intimate a desire to give the Sovereign the title of Emperor over the British race. The division list on a very strong amendment which the Marquis of Harrington subsequently moved includes many names that have become imprinted on the history of English Liberalism; and in face of their example I dare any one to say that a man who objects to the use of the title ‘ ‘ Emperor ‘ ‘ is disloyal to the Throne of England. I have sworn fealty to the King, and will loyally keep that oath ; but I have never sworn fealty, to an Emperor, nor will I ever demean my lips by doing so. Mr. Lowe, who had once been a resident of Australia, spoke after Mr. Disraeli, and in the report of his speech appears the following passage : -
It is not very abstruse. The notion of the Crown of England being an Imperial Crown, is a very old one, as the 24th and 25th of Henry VIII. will show. At the time he had his quarrel with the Court of Rome he passed two successive Acts declaring the Crown to be an Imperial one.
I doubt if Henry VIII. would ever have passed those Acts if it had not been for that quarrel.
That was reiterated when James I. succeeded to the Crown of England and Scotland, and it was again reiterated in the year 1800 at the time of the Union of Great Britain and Ireland. It is, therefore, perfectly well established that the Crown of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, and Ireland is an Imperial one.
The Treasurer knows that it is desired to have a vote on this question, and he naturally wants it to be taken at once; but I prefer that the matter should be put clearly first, because the question will not be ended by any division . in this Parliament. It will undoubtedly come forward again. The honorable member for Corio, who was a member of the first Federal Parliament, saw the danger, and to him should be the meed of praise for his foresight, although he little . thought that the danger would come as soon as it did. Can the Treasurer see his way clear to promise that the same inscription will be put on our coins as is put on the English coins, with the map of Australia on the reverse, which, as thehonorable member for Wentworth said, would be quite a sufficient index? Surely the right honorable gentleman does not think that England would object to that. If he will agree to that course, the difficulty will be ended. He says now that he will consult his colleagues. That is quite right. He says he will telegraph to England again. That is also right; but then, he says, he will make a statement to the House. The right honorable gentleman is too old a parliamentarian not to know that that will make the position very different, for if we then desired to take action it would be necessary for us to move a motion of want of confidence in the Government. If he cannot agree to my suggestion, I must try to put the matter to him a little more fully. Does he think that Lord Palmerston looked with any favour on this new-fangled title? If he has any doubt on the matter, let me tell him what Mr. Lowe said -
Both Governments no doubt - certainly that of Lord Palmerston - very carefully considered the question, and did not think it advisable to add anything to Her Majesty’s title. In these matters, precedent goes for a great deal, and I have just brought under the notice of the House two cases in which the title of Emperor might have been, and was not assumed by Sovereigns of this country.
The Treasurer has taken up a position that neither Lord Palmerston nor Mr. Gladstone nor John Bright would take up, and I may later mention perhaps fifty other names great in the history of English Liberalism. The real advantage of the title of King is that the King rules under the law. In other words, it is the law that makes the King, whereas an Emperor is above the law, and a dictator and tyrant if he wishes, so long as he can hold sway. The title of Emperor also indicates that the country has been taken, and is being held, by force. That might by a stretch of imagination be said to apply to India; but it surely cannot pertain to Australia, which was won without the loss of a single drop of white blood. I cannot understand why the Treasurer is so tenacious for the inscription of “ King and Emperor.” The word “ Emperor “ comes from the time of Imperial Rome, and surely we should not go to the time of the Roman Emperors, besmirched as it is by infamies, and brightened only here and there by the record of a great. and good Emperor, for a name to put on the coinage of Australia. Our coins will be a greater lesson in geography, if the map of Australia is put on them, than any other that I have heard of ; but if on the other side the words “ King and Emperor “ appear, every man, woman and child who reads history will feel a distaste and dislike for the latter word. Its inclusion is as ridiculous as was the retention of the title “ King of France “ by the Kings of Great Britain for over three centuries after the British had been driven out of France. No one can forget the carnage of the second Empire of France. The title of Emperor was assumed then, and was confirmed by the slaughter and bloodshed of the barricades.
– The title of “ citizen “ was rather bloodstained in France in those days.
– The title of “citizen” had to be fought for and won against the powers of Kings and Emperors. The name of “citizen” is honoured in all the white parts of the British Empire; but it cannot be claimed in India, because to be a citizen is to have the right of the franchise, and in India no one has that. India, therefore, falls under the shadow of infamy which is cast in every country where the name of “Emperor” is assumed by the ruler, with only one exception. That exception would not exist if the people had power to prevent it. What became of the Empire of Brazil? It was degraded and polluted by bribery and corruption, and was ultimately swept away. Then there was the Empire of Mexico. How was it ruled? Its ruler was above the law, above right, above reason, and above the Constitution. That is what the title of Emperor implies, whereas a King is always subject to law and to the Constitution. Whenever he breaks the law and arrogates to himself more powers, he becomes a dictator, and ultimately an Emperor. Upon this question I wish to pay my meed of praise to the honorable member for Corio. I must compliment him upon having foreseen this danger.
– Let us have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– Upon the day upon which the first Commonwealth Parliament met, the honorable member for Corio - as will be seen by reference to page 86 of volume I. of Hansard - said -
I wish to point out to the House, and also to bring under the notice of the Government themselves, that that commission was signed by King Edward VII., under the title of King and Emperor. I think that the matter of privilege arises with regard to this House, which arose in the British House of Commons when the Royal Titles Bill was before the Legislature. The House of Commons had a very long discussion on that Bill, and it was distinctly promised then that the use of the title of Emperor should be strictly limited to India. As far as His Majesty the King is concerned, I am as loyal a British subject as there is. I do not wish to be misunderstood in this matter. I am a good subject of the King. I swore to bear true and faithful allegiance to His Majesty. I know a constitutional King, but I know no Emperor. I take it that it is a matter of importance to me, and one affecting the liberty of the citizens of this land, that King Edward VII. should assume in this commission, and that the Governor-General should have been asked to accept in it, the title of King and Emperor. Of course, I know there are some people who do not see that there is anything in this point.
That was the first intimation that we had of danger. Apparently the Treasurer is determined that the word “Emperor” shall appear on the proposed Commonwealth coinage. In this connexion I propose to quote the remarks made by Mr. Lowe, upon the motion for leave to introduce the Royal Titles Bill, because they embody the view which is held by the Liberals of England. He said -
Suppose we say the Queen of India. The Queen is Defender of the Faith. “ Defender of the Faith “ is a title which has done much hard work in its time, from the period when Henry VIII. received it for supporting the Roman Catholic faith, and retained it after he had suppressed that faith. Therefore, as the title has borne so much, it may be considered that it can bear a little more.
Sir James Campbell also spoke upon the motion, and he was succeeded by Sir George Bower, who said -
The idea of an Emperor, that of King over Kings, was an Oriental idea, as was shown by the title Shah-in-Shah, and the Queen in India might well be called a Sovereign over Sovereign princes.
Mr. W. E. Forster also spoke at great length upon the motion for leave to introduce the Bill, and Mr. Newdegate is thus reported -
While no one was more anxious that everything should be done to secure, and, if possible, enhance the dignity of Her Majesty’s titles, he hoped nothing would be done to disturb directly, or indirectly, or in any way, the title by which the Queen and Her Majesty’s predecessors had been long honoured as Kings and Queens of the United Kingdom. He remembered .that in 18^0, with reference to the question of a new coinage, an attempt was made to abridge the title of Her Majesty. It was sufficient at that time to call the attention of the House to the change that was contemplated, in order to induce the Government of the day to abandon the idea of curtailing Her Majesty’s title as Queen of the United Kingdom.
What do we find to-day? The Treasurer desires to abridge the title of the Sovereign. He dares to do what the Government of Great Britain did not dare to do upon this coinage question -
The Crown of the United Kingdom was undoubtedly Imperial by the title of centuries. Nothing could add to its force, and it could only lose by being tampered with. Whatever additional titles Her Majesty might be advised to assume, he trusted that Her Majesty’s present title to the Crown of the United Kingdom - “ Victoria, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith “ would remain inviolate.
Mr. Anderson also spoke somewhat upon the same lines.
– I again give the assurance to the Committee that, though I am not prepared to make any promise that the word “ Emperor “ shall not appear on our coins, I will make further inquiries into the matter. I will consult others, and at a later date make a statement to the House as to the course which we finally determine to adopt - either to retain the words “ King and Emperor “ or to modify them. Further, I shall do my best, in the event of our determining to retain the word “ Emperor,” without any limitation, that is, by inserting the word “ Ind.”, to give honorable members an opportunity of expressing their opinion by a vote.
– What does the right honorable gentleman mean by doing his best ?
– I shall ask the Prime Minister to afford an opportunity for taking a division.
– If the Prime Minister says that he will allow us to take a vote, I shall accept the assurance.
-I do not mean that we are to have a long debate.
– I do not ask for a long debate.
– There will be an opportunity for taking a division.
.- All that I asked for three hours ago was that an opportunity should be given to honorable members to express their opinion if it were determined to retain the word “ Emperor.”
– I suggested a means.
– But the AttorneyGeneral’s suggestion was that I should table a motion to be discussed in private members’ time. If the Government will facilitate the taking of a vote on the question I am satisfied.
– I understand that the Government wish to finish the discussion on the Bill now and take a vote later ?
– I do not object to reasonable debate before the division.
– All that I want is that we shall have an opportunity of expressing our opinion by means of a division.
– We will afford that opportunity.
.- I am delighted to hear the assurance given by the Treasurer. I shall conclude my remarks by making a short quotation from a speech by Mr. Gladstone in the House of Commons. The words which I shall quote were uttered in answer to Mr. Percy Wyndham on the 9th March, 1876, as reported in the English Hansard for that year, vol. 227, column 1736. Mr. Gladstone said :
The honorable member for West Cumberland (Mr. Percy Wyndham) who is well known for his ability, on the night when the right honorable gentleman first made his proposal, said that an Imperial title would be the one most suitable, because it would signify that Her Majesty governed India without the restraints of law or constitution.
Mr. Gladstone’s remark was so strong that Mr. Percy Wyndham said by way of personal explanation : -
I said that the Government of India was a _ despotic Government, not in the hands of one ‘ person, and not, as in this country, a Constitutional Government in the hands of the Queen and the Houses of Lords and Commons. The Government of India is essentially a despotic Government as administered by us, although it includes more than one individual.
Mr. Gladstone then went on :
I am very much obliged, and I perceive completely the honorable member’s meaning ; but I am sorry that to that meaning as it stands I take the greatest objection. If it be true - and it is true - that we govern India without the restraints of a law except such law as we make ourselves - if it be true that we have not been able to give lo India the benefit and blessings of free institutions - I leave it lo the right honorable gentleman, if he thinks fit - to boast that he is about to place that fact solemnly upon’ record. Bv the assumption of the title of Empress, T, for one, will not attempt lo turn into glory that which, so far as it is true, I feel to be our weakness and our calamity.
On the 16th March, 1876, The Marquis of Hartington, who was leading the Liberal Party during the temporary retirement of Mr. Gladstone, moved -
That, while willing to consider a measure enabling Her Majesty to make an addition to the Royal Style and Title, which shall include such Dominions of Her Majesty as to Her Majesty may seem meet, this House is of opinion that it is inexpedient to impair the ancient and Royal dignity of the Crown by the assumption of the style and title of Emperor.
Lord Hartington was followed into the division lobby bv no fewer than 200 men, representative of the best Liberal thought in England at the time. It is interesting to look over the list of names, which included Mr. Gladstone and Mr. John Bright; and it is also remarkable that whereas 80 per cent, of the members who voted with Lord Hartington were again returned to the House of Commons at the next general election, not 50 per cent, of those who voted in the contrary direction were returned. I am glad that the Treasurer at last realizes that there is something in the idea of those who opposed the use of the title of Emperor. I am an Australian, loving my country, and ‘ I do not want to see the name Emperor used on our coinage. It is a title which I loathe and detest. I cannot conceive that it is possible for the word to be used on Australian coins except in the contingency of this country being conquered and dominated by one of the Eastern races - perhaps China or Japan.- I for one shall never be willing that the escutcheon of Australia shall be soiled and besmirched by the use of a word which means that he who rules is above the law and independent of any Constitution.
– I take it that the Treasurer has promised that a vote shall be taken on this question at a later date, in the event of the Government deciding to retain the word “ Emperor “ on ou,r coinage? If it is understood that the vote will be taken after a brief discussion, I am willing to accept such an arrangement.
Amendment (Mr. Batchelor’s), b leave, withdrawn.
Motion agreed to.
Reported that the Committee had agreed to the amendments; report adopted.
/// Committee of Supply: (Consideration resumed from 25th August, vide page 2587). on motion by Sir John Forrest -
That the item “ The President, ^1,100,” be agreed to.
– We were told that the Budget now before honorable members was to be the most important ever delivered in this House ; but when we come to criticise it, we find that, apart from the borrowing policy indicated, the Treasurer’s financial statement is absolutely commonplace, and as unsatisfying to honorable members as would be mustard without beef to a hungry man. The brightest portions of the Budget are not the Treasurer’s own. I allude to the poetry. I was amazed at the way in which the right honorable gentleman sprawled from one poetic gem to another. He reminded me of nothing so much as of an elephant tramping about on a lovely flowerbed, very much to the detriment of the beautiful blooms. What honorable members were thirsting for was not poetry, but information, and I am sorry to say that the information they expected was not forthcoming.
– What information did honorable members expect that they did not get?
-We expected a good deal of the information that was given to a secret caucus of Premiers. I may say that all that transpired at that secret caucus we probably will never know.
– The honorable member ought to be accustomed to secret caucuses.
– Whatever is done in our caucus can be revealed to the whole world. It is no wonder that, in the language of the Age, we found that the Premiers’ Conference failed utterly. It failed, as the Age said, in what it achieved, and in what it left undone. I believe that every member of the Committee agrees with that statement, whether he proposes to vote for the proposals of the Government or not. I think that that statement expresses the general feeling, not only in this House, but throughout the country. I regret very much that any proposal of this or any other Government of the Commonwealth should be discussed by some secret body before being submitted to this House. Surely this is the place in which these great national problems should first be dealt with, especially when they affect questions which We have entire authority to settle, and which we were sent here by the electors to settle. Itis, of course, our duty to do justice to the States; but, above all things, we must conserve the interests of the Commonwealth. I maintain that that has not been done by the Government. I should like to ask from whom the Premiers’ Conference derived authority ?I can find no authority for it. It seems to me that an attempt has been made to set up a kind of Federal Council to settle questions over which this Parliament, and this Parliament alone, has absolute and unfettered control.
– We have that still.
– Yes, after the Treasurer and the Prime Minister have tried to coerce Parliament into accepting decisions arrived at by the Premiers’ Conference. It was the duty of Ministers in the first place to induce this Parliament to arrive at certain decisions, and then see if the Premiers of the States were willing to accept them. If that course had been fol lowed, I am satisfied that justice would have been done to all interested. The whole object of the various Premiers’ Conferences which have been held from time to time has been to coerce the Federal Government. The State Premiers had hoped that they would be able to squeeze something out of weak Federal Ministers which would be to their advantage, regardless of the extent to which the interests of the Commonwealth would suffer. I think 1 shall be able to show how the Commonwealth will suffer under the agreement arrived at with the Premiers of the States. Apparently the State Premiers were anxious that the people of Australia should believe that an eighth Parliament was established in their midst. That this might appear more likely, the Conference was opened by the Governor of the State of Victoria, with all the pomp and ceremony with which a Parliament is usually opened. That was an extraordinary procedure in the case of a body that was without authority from any one. The State Premiers who were members of the Conference had to report to their Parliaments, and the Federal Ministers who attended it had to report to this Parliament, and later the approval of the people must be secured for what has been done. I am very glad that that is so. I direct attention to the fact that no provision is made in the Budget to finance the offer to Great Britain of a Dreadnought, or, the afterthought, its equivalent. We find now that the equivalent is to take the form of a warship of the Indomitable or Indefatigable class, and will cost a large amount of money. From the Budget I find that it is proposed that the amount to be spent on defence shall be£524,629 more than was spent on that Department last year. At first blush that seems satisfactory, but when we come to analyze it we find that it does not amount to very much. The Fisher Government proposed to spend this year 150,000 extra on defence.
– Where were they going to get the money from?
– I was just going to tell the right honorable gentleman that the Fisher Government made provision to find that money. In his Gympie speech Mr. Fisher explained that his Government were going to find part of the money by the imposition of a land tax.
– How much would that have provided towards the cost of a Dreadnought ?
– If the Labour Government had been given an opportunity to give effect to their proposals we should by this time have been in a position to say about how much revenue could be derived in that way.
– The point is, where does the present Treasurer expect to find the money?
– It is characteristic of the present Treasurer that, when asked where he proposes to find the money to finance his own schemes, he should ask where some other Government expected to find the money for their schemes.
– The honorable gentleman was boasting about it, and that is why I asked the question.
– I had good reason to boast. The Labour Government would have carried out that pledge as the Labour party have carried out every pledge they have made. I am concerned to know vhere the present Treasurer is going to find the money, not only to meet the proposed increased expenditure on defence, but for many other things. We find that out of the proposed increased vote for defence,£227,314 is for new works, material, etc., and £297,315 for services. Then £163,000 is for the new cadet scheme, leaving an increase of only £134,211 to improve the efficiency of the Defence Force, irrespective of the works vote. That is not a very large sum for the purpose. I point out that in 1908-9 the Defence vote for works and material was £161,327 less than was provided for the same purpose in the previous year, 1907-8. In 1908-9 the most rigid economy was practised. The defence vote was not only retrenched, but cut into the bone, for the last Deakin Government could not find enough money to send the cadets into camp. I am glad to see that the present Government are making fair provision for that purpose, but various other matters are not provided for. A very large expenditure on medical equipment is required. If we intend to have a very large cadet force, then we must provide the necessarymedical equipment, and that in my opinion has not been done. The vote for works, etc., this year is only £33,278 more than the vote was for 1907-8, so that, after all, the increase is a mere bagatelle. Foryears the members of the present Government have been going all over the country telling the people how much they intended to do for the defence of Australia.
– The vote for new works totals £524,000.
– Yes, but that is only £33,278 more than the vote for 1907-8. Again, take the naval vote ; the increased expenditure amounts to the paltry sum of £9,293. That is the great provision which the Government propose to make for the naval defence of this country. But they have not the money to do even that. I do not know where they are going to find the funds; certainly we have not been told. Through their incompetence and stupidity former Governments handed over to the States large sums and seriously crippled two great services, namely, those of the Defence Department and the Post and Telegraph Department. If they had retained one-half of the money which they handed over and which they were entitled’ to expend we should not have the complaints about the latter Department which we hear every day of our lives.
– The honorable member cannot blame past Governments for that result, because they did not know that they could keep that money.
– They did.
– Not until the Surplus Revenue Bill was passed.
– I am referring to the action of the Commonwealth inhanding back to the States £6,000,000 out of its one-fourth share of the Customs and Excise revenue.
– But the Commonwealth Government did not know that they could keep that money.
– Of course they knew that they could spend every farthing of the amount. In one year they could have spent £1,000,000 on the Post and Telegraph Department, and in the following year £1,000,000 on the Defence Department.
– Yes, but the money had to be spent within the financial year.
– I venture to say that the Fisher Government would have had no trouble in spending £3,000,000 on defence in one year.
– It was a very superior Government.
– Yes ; they received the country’s approval wherever their representatives went, because they were superior to any Government that the Commonwealth, had had lately. Every day we read evidence of what even the most conservative section of the community think of the present Government, and that is not very much, according to the votes cast in one of the most conservative districts of South Australia.
– We won, did we not?
– If the honorable member calls the election of a supporter by such a majority in one of our conservative districts in South Australia a win I do not.
– Order !
– I think, sir, that the Wakefield election has a great deal fo do with the Budget. At any rate, the vote of the new member will have a good deal to do with the work of this session, and we shall have to get somebody to help to undo the work, which probably will be done by the Government.
– What work have they done this session?
– I am more concerned with what work they intend to do this session that with that which they have done. They do not seem to be in a hurry to do anythingof consequence.
– Honorable members do not want us to do anything.
– Perhaps it will be a good thing for the country if the Government are not allowed to do very much this session. At all events, some of their proposals will meet all the opposition I can bring to bear upon them.
– The opposition seems to be directed against all of them.
– No. The honorable gentleman has not yet brought down a proposal of any consequence, except the proposal to take over the Northern Territory, and even on that the Government are not sincere or solid.
– The honorable member is not justified in making that remark.
– Does the Minister tell me that the members of the Government give an undivided support to the agreement as it stands?
– The Government have submitted a proposal to take over the Northern Territory, and we want the honorable member to assist us to carry it, but honorable members on the other side do not appear to be in a hurry to help us.
– The conduct of the Government resembles that of some honorable members who extended all kinds of sympathy to South Australia, but announced their intention to vote against the proposal. Perhaps that is the kind of sympathy we shall get from some Ministers, although South Australia will not be very much disturbed if they do act in that way. In spite of the fact that some Departments have . pressing needs to be provided for, and that no money is available to carry out works which are admittedly necessary, the only policy that suggested itself to the feeble minds of the Government was a borrowing policy.
– Did not the late Government’s policy include a borrowing proposal ?
– Not for a temporary overdraft ?
– No. We have tapped so few of our sources of taxation that it should not be necessary, for many years to come, for the Commonwealth to engage in a borrowing policy, in spite of the great works which are needed. How has the borrowing policy of the Government been received? It has been cursed by their own supporters. So far we have only heard two Government supporters on the Budget, and they denounced the action of the Government, of whom they were ashamed, and said the country must understand that it was actually proposed to borrow money to pay old-age pensions. According to recent cablegrams, it is intended to borrow, I do not know how much, to build, not an Australian Navy, but a section of the British Navy, to be stationed in this part of the world.
– The British Navy is built out of current revenue.
– Of course, it is; and there is no reason why a small fleet should not be built here out of current revenue. We have sources of taxation which have not yet been tapped, and some of them will have to be tapped in the very near future, if not by this Government, by another. It is no wonder that Ministers have been cursed by supporters for submitting a borrowing policy. It is no wonder either that we find the Joss of the Prime Minister - the Age - cursing him day after day for bringing down that proposal.
– That is a bad. Joss.
-About election time, the honorable member thinks it is a verv good Joss. If there is one Joss the Victorians are afraid to offend it is the Age, and they are very wise, too. Here we have a Government with a shortage of £1,200,000. It went cap in hand, and on bended knee, to the State Premiers, praying them to get it out of the difficulty of having to borrow. It actually accepted the paltry sum of £600,000 to tide it over the interval between now and the approaching election, so that it might tell the constituencies that it is not going to borrow. No doubt if the Government comes back with a majority in the next Parliament, it will have to borrow some millions of pounds, or leave untouched many of the great works which have been projected. No Jewish money lender ever exacted such a heavy interest for his accommodation as the State Premiers ask for the£600,000 which they have promised to this Government. We must hand to the States every year, for all time, 25s. per head of the Customs and Excise revenue.
– No Parliament can determine anything for all time.
– Ministers used those words in the agreement with the Premiers, although, of course, they know that such an arrangement could not be irrevocable. The Prime Minister told us, earlier in the session, that
A temporary arrangement for a term of years, to replace the existing distribution, in which the obligations of the Commonwealth are recognised, is being prepared for submission.
It has not yet been submitted to us, and apparently was not submitted to the Premiers of the States. The Government has changed its ground on this, as on every other question. The agreement it made with the State Premiers is not temporary, but to stand for all time, although the Constitution prevents any Parliament from binding its successors.
– It will be difficult to strike out of the Constitution any provision inserted in it.
– Yes, and I hope that the Ministry will experience the greatest difficulty in obtaining the amendment of the Constitution which it is to propose. Had it asked Parliament to make a temporary arrangement, the proposal might, under the circumstances, have received favorable consideration in some quarters.
– The Brisbane proposal was for a permanent settlement.
– I shall deal with the Brisbane proposal presently. The adoption of it would have left the Com monwealth free and unfettered, and would have compelled the States to raise a fair proportion of taxation to carry out their services.. But, under the agreement with the State Premiers the Commonwealth will have to pay to the States, yearly, out of its Customs and Excise revenue, no matter’ how that may shrink, 25s. per head of population. I ask the honorable member for Maribyrnong if it is not his desire, and that of all Protectionists, that the revenue from import duties shall shrink because of the increase of production within Australia? The States, however, are free to bring here asmany immigrants as they can get to come, no matter how poor they may be. Of course, I shall welcome all for whom we can find work.
– The Budget does not affect the agreement with the State Premiers.
– I wish to avoid speaking twice, and the two things are inseparable.
– Will not the honorable member wait until he has heard the Prime Minister’s statement?
– We shall get only words from the Prime Minister, and no one will be able to obtain any definite information from his statement. How will the Treasurer find the money to finance the proposals confronting us if he has to pay to the States 25s. per head of population, even though many may be paupers?
– Say “ unfortunate persons in straitened circumstances.”
– It is better to call a spade a spade than to speak of it as an agricultural implement. Unfortunately, we have paupers in this country already, and the party with which the honorable member is associated is to some extent, responsible for the fact. We are now inducing the States to encourage the influx of immigrants, whether there is or is not room for more, merely with the object of increasing their revenue.
– Will not the Commonwealth revenue he increased by the growth of population?
– If immigration takes place without restriction, many persons will come here with practically nothing to spend, who will not contribute to the Customs anything like 25s. a year.
– Every one who comes here will contribute £4 or £5 a year to the Customs.
– I do not think so. The adoption of the agreement with the Premiers will mean the postponement of urgent national works.
– Will the honorable member show how it will increase the revenue of New South Wales?
– I intend to do so. In order to carry out these works, it will be necessary for us either to float a very heavy loan, or to take another action which I shall indicate. Is it any wonder that the Age has been flogging the Ministry ever since the agreement has been made known? I amglad that it has, and that it has expressed what is undoubtedly the feeling of the country - a feeling of gratification that the agreement must first be approved by Parliament before steps can be taken to give effect to it by an amendment of the Constitution. Clause 3 of the agreement reads -
In recognition of the heavy obligation incurred in the payment of old-age pensions, the Commonwealth may, during the current financial year, withhold from the moneys returnable to the States such sum not exceeding£600,000 as will provide for the actual shortage in the revenue at the end of the said year…..
Out of last year’s revenue a sum of £650,000 was saved to provide for the payment of old-age pensions this year, and yet we had a shortage of £1,200,000. We have in reality a shortage of £1,850,000.
– I said so.
– Notwithstanding that fact, the Treasurer asked the States only to contribute £600,000, to render it unnecessary to raise a loan. He might well have asked the three States which, by the establishment of a Commonwealth system of old-age pensions, we have relieved of a liability of over £1,000,000, to contribute £1,000,000 to this fund. Having regard to our financial position, he would have been quite justified in preferring that request, and in asking the remaining States to contribute a less sum, since, although they had not been paying old-age pensions, their payment would have been forced upon them in the near future. The honorable member for Corangamite desired to know how the revenue of New South Wales would be affected under the agreement with the Premiers. If the Prime Minister is true to his Protectionist pledges, which are of many years’ standing, we shall have a Tariff granting higher protection, and with increased protection we must expect a shrinkage of revenue. In 1907-8 the revenue from Customs and Excise amounted to £2 15s. 5¾d. per head of the population.
– Too much.
– It is coming down. In 1908-9 the revenue from Customs and Excise was equal to £2 10s. 8¾d. per head of the population, and the Treasurer estimates that for the current year we shall not receive more than£2 9s. 7¾d. per head. Coghlan’s Year-Book for 1899- 1900, gives, at page 774, the Customs and Excise taxation per head of the population for the year immediately preceding the inauguration of the Commonwealth. It shows that during that year the Customs and Excise revenue of New South Wales was only £1 5s. 7d. per head of population.
– That was under Free Trade.
– Under so-called Free Trade. Last year the Customs and Excise returns of that State amounted to £2 13s. 7d. per head of its population. In Victoria, which was regarded as the great Protectionist State, it amounted during the year immediately previous to the establishment of Federation to £1 19s. per head of the population. If the Victorian ideal of Protection is to be adopted by the Commonwealth, our Customs and Excise revenue must fall.
– A great deal of the revenue under the Victorian Tariff prior to Federation was derived from revenue duties.
– The Tariff in force in Victoria prior to Federation was regarded as a highly protective one. In Queenslandfor the year immediately prior to Federation the Customs and Excise taxation amounted to £3 6s. 8d. per head ; in South Australia, to £1 14s. 8d. per head ; in Western Australia, to £5 9s. 2d. ; and in Tasmania, to £2 9s.10d. per head of the population. Despite the enormous revenue received under these headings in Western Australia and Queensland during that year, the average for the six States was only £21s. per head. According to the Statesman’ s Year-Book the Customs taxation of the United Kingdom amounts to only £1 9s. 8d. per head of the population, and that of Canada, where Protection prevails, to £1 19s. 2d.
– There is a revenue Tariff in force there.
– Then let us take the Customs taxation, of the United States of America, which is generally regarded as a. highly Protectionist country. Only approximate figures are obtainable, and it is set down at £i 9s. per head; whilst m Germany- another Protectionist country - it amounts to only 16s. per head of . the population.
– The honorable member has been reading the Age.
– My honorable friend reads the Age now, because he is bound by it, and must do what it tells him.
– I read it every morning to learn what is not true.
– As a supporter of the Fusion Government, he has not only to read the Age, but to mark, learn, and inwardly digest it. The figures I have quoted show that in all human probability the Commonwealth revenue from Customs and Excise is likely to shrink to £2, if not less, per head of the population. If the majority of the members of the Fusion have their way, we shall have a Tariff approaching that of New South Wales before Federation, namely, £1 . 5s. 7d. per head, out of which we shall have to pay 25s. per head to the States, leaving 7d. per head for the Commonwealth services.
– What does the honorable member think the Tariff ought to bring in ?
– I do not think it ought to bring in more than £2 per head.
– It ought not to be more than 30s., and that is too high.
– Here we have one of the most consistent Protectionists in the House declaring that 30s. is too high. If, however, it be no more than £2, the services which are in confusion at the present time will be a thousand times worse confounded, and the Government will be compelled to do what they have denounced up to the present time, namely, impose direct taxation even more heavy than that proposed by the Fisher Government, or they will have to borrow very large sums, and thus burden the taxpayers with an enormous interest bill. There are two other alternatives - the Government will have to drop a good many of the schemes on their programme, or they will have to do what both consistent Protectionists and consistent Free-traders detest, namely, raise the revenue duties; and the latter is a step which I shall do all in my power to prevent the Government taking. Then, at the very least, there will be required 10s. per head for old-age pensions. If the Government are in earnest, and carry out the Act, including invalid pensions - and surely they will have some consideration for invalids - the cost will approach 15s’. per head, but certainly 10s. per head will be required in the near future. After paying 25s. to the States, and 10s. per head for old-age pensions, there will be a revenue of 5s. per head for all the other services and undertakings of the Government. We have before us schemes, some of which are on the business-paper, and some of which have only been talked about. The gift of a Dreadnought or its equivalent has not been provided for.
– The Dreadnought is a phantom ship.
– It will prove a substantial phantom when we have to foot the bill of £2,000,000, to which the Government, as far as they can, have committed the country. , The PostmasterGeneral admits, as every other PostmasterGeneral has admitted, that £2,000,000 is required to put his Department in order, and he has made substantial provision for this year. Putting the sum required in the near future at £1,000,000, the PostmasterGeneral will find that he will have to provide another £1,000,000. or allow the Department to get into even greater confusion. Invalid pensions, at the lowest, will cost ,£250,000, and there is not the slightest doubt that the Treasurer has under-estimated the cost of old-age pensions next year by £250,000.
– I said the cost would be about £1,750,000.
– I think the honorable gentleman will find the cost nearer £2,000,000, unless, as at present, the intention is not to find out the persons entitled to old-age pensions, but how many we can deprive of pensions. During the whole of the discussions on this question, in this and another place, I never heard it once suggested that if a person otherwise qualified had earned ^£52 last year, and was, it may be, not earning 6d. this year, he should have to wait for twelve months before he could receive a pension. That was not the intention of any honorable member, and vet the Government are trying to save £250,000 by starving the poor old people. In regard to taking over the Northern Territory, the very least that ought to have been provided in the Budget, if we are to do anything with the country, was £300,000. The Federal Capital-
– That is gone !
– Does the honorable member think that the Government are not in earnest in regard to the Federal Capital? The Fisher Government, who were in earnest, would not have provided only £5,000, when the smallest sum required will be £50,000. For lighthouses, beacons and buoys, only £100 is provided, although the Government are announcing to the public that eleven new lighthouses are to be built at a cost of something like£15,000 each.
– Would it be possible to build the lighthouses in six months, or to prepare all the designs, plans, and so forth, in that time?
– No; but I take it for granted that matters are so far advanced that, before the end of the financial year, the Government ought to be able to spend a large sum in starting the work. We have a Surplus Revenue Act, and it would be the simplest thing to appropriate money for the purpose. I hope we shall not find the Government pursuing the same policy that is being followed in regard to the under-grounding of telegraph and telephone wires - that we shall not see three or four months’ work delayed until the Estimates are passed.
– Why did the honorable member’s party not discover all this when they were in office?
– We did, but we were not given an opportunity to act. The honorable member, with others, rushed over to the other side of the House before we were able to open our mouths ; and the little that the Fisher Government were able to do, the present Government are trying to take the credit for. I ask the Minister of External Affairs how long he is going to talk about an Agricultural Bureau?
– The Government are asking honorable members to pass the Bill now.
– Why was money not provided for the purpose?
– There is money for the preliminary step.
– How much?
– Quite enough for preliminaries.
– Quite enough to make the farmers believe that something is to be done for them.
– Pass the Bill and see.
– If there is any good in the Bill we shall pass it ; if not, it would be a pity to do so. At present it is doing duty in filling up time, and that is about all that it appears to be useful for. Then we have the Inter-State Commission foreshadowed. Is that another sham? It is to undertake such an enormous number of duties that it ought to be set to work at once. The honorable member for Maribyrnong could tell it exactly where it could start work the day after it was appointed in looking into Tariff anomalies, but there is not a shilling in the Budget for that Commission. We are also promised a State Debts Inquiry Commission. Is that to be gone on with? If it is to be a Commission composed, not of members of Parliament, but of experts, as has been stated, its members will have to be paid. Are they to be appointed after the next election? It seems to me that everything is to be left until the next election, and that the Government do not intend to do anything. No money is provided to carry out any of the great works foreshadowed in the Ministerial programme. I have just read a little list amounting to £3,900,000 odd, or nearly , £4,000,000, all unprovided for, and all in connexion with that programme.
– A whole £250 is provided for the Agricultural Bureau by these friends of the farmers !
– It is not sufficient to let the farmers know that there is such a thing in contemplation. What do honorable members think the development of the Northern Territory will cost? There are no roads in the Territory. A very large deficit on the railway, already built and big interest on the £3,000,000 of loan money will have to be provided for, and the Government will not do much there unless they are prepared to spend from £4,000,000 to £5,000,000. That is without spending a penny on the new railway construction, which will assuredly cost another £4,000,600 or £5,000,000. I come now to the Treasurer’s railway - the one to the West. That is in front of us. It has been talked of in this House for years, and are we never to do anything with it? I am ready to go on with it, for I have supported and voted for it in the State as well as in this Parliament, but the Treasurer is doing absolutely nothing to help it on. Let him try this side of the House, and we will give him his railway. Then we have postal and telegraph extension for the year following, for which another £1,000,000 will have to be found. There is also the immigration policy. Is that another sham ? We cannot get immigrants unless we are prepared to spend some money, and I do not think £50,000 would be too much for that purpose, if we are to people the Northern Territory and other unsettled parts of this great continent, but no such vote appears in the Estimates. The appointment of a High Commissioner is also promised. It is not too much to anticipate that in the near future, if we appoint a High Commissioner, as we should have done long ago, £20,000 will have to be expended. We shall have next year also old-age pensions to provide for. I have read a little list that covers nearly £17,000,000, and yet honorable members on the Ministerial side have not made the slightest attempt to find further revenue. They are giving away the revenue that we have, and are making no effort to put something else in its place. To give 25s. per head back to the States is absolutely impossible, except with entire stagnation in the progress of Commonwealth undertakings, and yet it is desired to make that arrangement for all time. They cannot do that, but it only shows what the Fusion Government would do if they had the power. Not only do we find Ministers rushing to give away the revenue of the Commonwealth, but the right honorable member for East Sydney, until recently Leader of the Opposition, and now a humble private member of the Fusion party, actually writes to the Premiers’ Conference a letter setting out precisely what the Fusion Government must do. The Government must do what the leading members of theFusion tell them. If they do not, out they go. The moment a protest was made from the Ministerial corner by two pf the humblest members of the party, who do not speak with great authority as a general rule, the Government went away and carried out their behests. The right honorable member for East Sydney put in his letter the following statement -
It seems to me that there is, whilst the matter remains open, an increasing danger of an arrangement, which can be determined in a short time, not by conference or compromise, but by the will of the Federal Parliament.
Who constitutes the danger? I think it is a very nice thing when a private member of this House can write to a member of the Premiers’ Conference a letter which he hopes will be brought before the Conference, saying that honorable members of this House are a danger to the States, and not likely to do them justice. I protest against any action of that sort. I am sure if I had written to the Conference a letter, saying what I thought was best for the States and the Commonwealth, it would speedily have been relegated to the waste-paper basket, as the right honorable member’s letter ought to have been. I wish to deal now with the scheme put forward at the Brisbane Labour Conference. After the arrangement was come to by Federal Ministers and State Premiers, the Prime Minister stated in an interview that it in some measure approximated to the Labour party’s Brisbane Conference proposals. It does not approximate to those proposals in any way. I am sorry that the report which we have here of the Brisbane Labour Conference is such a meagre one. Those who have perused it will know that I was strongly averse even to the proposals carried at that Conference, because I felt that we were not in a position two years before to say what the necessities of the Commonwealth would be. It has turned out to be so. For all that, the Brisbane Conference scheme provides for carrying out the services of the Commonwealth, and leaves £1,000,000 a year to spare. Does the 25s. agreement leave us enough? If we use10s. for old-age pensions, 5s. for defence,and pay 25s. to the States, we shall not have a single penny to spend upon anything else, with a revenue of £2 per head. The Brisbane Conference proposals were introduced in the following words: “ That this Conference expresses its approval generally of the following scheme.” I wish to emphasize the fact that the Conference only approved of the scheme generally, and that what was carried was simply that the scheme should be referred to the organizations for their approval. Unfortunately, that motion does not appear in this report, nor does a motion moved by myself. Paragraph 3 of it states -
The proportion of revenue allocated to the Commonwealth must be sufficient to cover -
All existing expenditure apart from reproductive works.
Then provision had to be made for the payment of invalid and old-age pensions throughout the Commonwealth. In addition, a sum of £1,000,000 had to be set aside with which to meet unforeseen Federal expenditure. I believe that when they attended the Premiers’ Conference Ministers thought it would be a very clever move to endeavour to secure the adoption of a scheme which approximated as closely as possible to that agreed to by the Brisbane Labour Conference. But owing to the meagre report of the proceedings of that conference they fell into error. I am prepared to stand bv the proposals of the Brisbane Labour Conference, although I believe that they are inadequate to meet the needs of the Commonwealth.
– Can we get a copy of the report from which the honorable member has quoted?
– Yes, they are obtainable for sixpence each.
– On account of the expenditure which would have been involved in. printing, the report of that conference does not set out all that transpired there.
– Did the scheme adopted by that conference represent a permanent settlement of the financial relations of the States and the Commonwealth?
– Certainly not. That is where the strength of the Labour party lies. No Labour conference can bind the members of that party for more than three years. Any scheme which it may adopt is subject to alteration whenever the necessities of the Commonwealth demand it. The scheme is an elastic one - just as elastic as the agreement arrived at by the Premiers’ Conference is rigid.
– Mr. Holman stated the other day in the Sydney Daily Telegraph that the scheme in question was that of the Labour party.
– In speaking at that conference I said -
I wish the Committee had made it clear what the Commonwealth wants were likely to be. To my mind a sufficient amount had not been set aside for the payment of old-age and invalid pensions.£1,800,000 would not be enough.
– It will be for some time to come.
Mr. HUTCHISON said that they had to look ahead. It was estimated in Federal circles that£2,000,000 would have to be spent in the Post and Telegraph Department to make it thoroughly efficient. As for the Northern Territory, they would have to meet the interest on £3,000,000 and the large yearly deficit. If that Territory were to be properly developed a considerable amount of money would have to be spent there. It was only a question of time when the Transcontinental railways would have to be built - west and north - whilst lighthouses, beacons, &c., had yet to be taken over by the Commonwealth.
– Where did the Labour party propose to obtain the £3,000,000 which it would be necessary to raise upon taking over the Northern Territory ?
– The Fisher Government were denied the opportunity of putting their proposals in that connexion before honorable members.
– But the Brisbane Labour Conferencespeaks of paying interest upon that amount. To whom would that interest be paid ?
-The Commonwealth would have to take over the £3,000,000 which at present is debited to the Northern Territory.
– And the Commonwealth would have to pay that £3,000,000. Under the scheme adopted by the Brisbane Labour Conference where would that money come from?
– There are various methods by which it might be raised. The honorable member should put his question to the Treasurer.
– The conference intended that a loan should be floated.
– It intended nothing of the kind.
– Then how was the money to be secured ?
– The £3,000,000 in question is already represented by a loan, and the Labour party would have paid the interest upon it out of the Consolidated Revenue.
– But from where was the £3,000,000 to be obtained ?
– That is a matter for future consideration. It is equally fair for me to ask the Treasurer how he intends to raise the money.
– But he is not going to finance the Labour party’s programme.
– The Labour party will finance its own programme when it has a majority behind it.
Further, there was the development of Papua and Norfolk Island, both of which would have to be dealt with by the Commonwealth. Therefore he felt that he was well within the mark when he reckoned£1,000,000 to be too small for the growing functions pf the Commonwealth. The Tariff, too, having a protective incidence, was likely to shrink and not expand in the future. The Committee were committing the Commonwealth to more than it could afford to pay back.
I maintain that although this scheme is infinitely more liberal than is the agreement which was arrived at by the Premiers’ Conference it does not make adequate provision for the needs of the Commonwealth.
– It does not contemplate payment for the Northern Territory at all.
– As a rule we embody only principles in our platform.
– From where did the Brisbane Labour Conference propose to obtain the£3,000,000 which is at present debited to the Northern Territory?
– The honorable member should understand that the delegates to that conference met merely for the purpose of framing a platform. It was the first occasion upon which a gathering of that kind determined to embody details in its platform, and I think that in doing so a blunder was committed. The Fusion Government are very careful not to set out details in their platform. If they did so, they would not be allowed to wriggle. But we were not afraid to put our views in black and white. Mr. Watson, who supported the Brisbane Labour Conference scheme, acknowledged that -
He had carefully scrutinized Commonwealth expenditure, and admitted that the amount set down would not do all he would like it to do, but on the other hand, to take even what they were asking would possibly be a bit of a wrench for the States.
It seems to me that some members of that conference were over-considerate for the States and under-considerate for the Commonwealth, just as was the right honorable member for East Sydney in his letter to the Premiers, in which it seemed that he did not care much about the interests of the Commonwealth so long as the States were all right. I do not see why we should do an injustice to the Commonwealth by being overgenerous to the States. We should do the generous thing by the States, but at the same time remember the need for Commonwealth expansion. In my opinion this Parliament will have to pay the penalty for this policy of overgenerosity when we are compelled to raise taxation in the near future. Mr. Watson also said -
It would take careful financing for the Commonwealth to carry on under the proposal, and might possibly warp Federal expansion.
How true that is to-day.
– The Labour Party could not have financed their scheme without a loan.
– We could have financed every proposal contained in the Governor-General’s speech without a loan.
– By a land tax?
– And by other proposals. The land tax was only part of the revenue-raising proposals of the Fisher Government.
– The Micawber Party.
– The honorable member for Parkes was one of those who prevented a fair discussion on the proposals of the Fisher Government. He was afraid to have our programme fully debated. We not only formulated proposals, but at the earliest possible moment laid our taxation policy before Parliament. There was nothing Micawber-like in that attitude. Oddly enough, our proposals are on the notice-paper to-day ; I do not know why the Government have left them there.I also wish to point out that the Prime Ministry were formerly in favour of a fixed sum being paid to the States. I think that the honorable member for Hume will agree with me when I state that all the old followers of the present Prime Minister were in favor of the fixed sum, and not of the per capita plan. I know that after the Brisbane Premiers’ Conference the Prime Minister declared publicly that he was in favour of a fixed sum.
– He was, right up to the time when we separated.
– The Prime Minister was also in favour of taking over the State debts and of bringing about a separation of Federal and State finances. Let me quote his words used at the Melbourne Conference. He said -
It is recognised that it is desirable in es far as possible, within certain limits, there should be a separation of Commonwealth and State finances. He wanted that independence within their own spheres which all desired.
But now the question of taking over the State debts is to be relegated to a Commission. The Prime Minister is going back upon every proposal he laid before the country. Even within the last few weeks the Prime Minister stated to this House that a five years’ settlement was to be made. But without telling Parliament that there was to be a departure from that policy, he now seeks to make a definite provision in the Constitution.
– He was dependent upon the honorable member’s party when he made the five years’ proposal.
– No ; the Prime Minister was at that time dependent upon the honorable member for Parkes and his friends. Since the present Government came into office, and since the honorable member has Been supporting him, the Prime Minister said that he was in favour of a rearrangement of the distribution for five years. What has the honorable member for Parkes to say about that? Dees he support what the Prime Minister said in this House, or what he arranged at the recent Conference? He cannot support both policies.
– Perhaps I support neither.
– If so, the honorable member will do what he occasionally manages to accomplish - a very sensible thing.
– I did not say that the Treasurer does a sensible thing even occasionally. We are having first government by fusion, next government by memorandum, and then government by boards and commissions ; for, as I have said, the State debts question is to be relegated to a commission. We are having anything but responsible government. Yet we .were told that the Ministry came into office to restore responsible government. In my belief no arrangement will be satisfactory to this House that does not provide for taking over the State debts. At one time the Treasurer, as well as the Premiers, of the States, were in favour of only having one borrower for Australia, namely the Commonwealth. We had a scheme put forward by the honorable member for Mernda, another by the honorable member for Koo),ong, practically on the same lines ; we had the scheme of the Treasurer, the scheme of the honorable member for Hume, and the scheme of Sir George Turner. Every one of those schemes favoured the taking over of the State debts by the Commonwealth. ,1 know that the honorable member for ‘Hume holds the same view as he always did, but where does the Treasurer stand in relation to the question? Does he recollect the statement he made in 1906? It was a very, good statement, and one of the few good things that he has done. He then told the country that if the debts of the States were taken over by the Commonwealth, and we were able to re-float their loans at a little over J per cent, below the present rate of interest, by 1952 we should have saved £26,768,273.
Is the Treasurer as anxious to save that amount to-day as he was in 1906 ?
– That calculation is based ‘on the supposition that the Commonwealth could float loans at per cent, less than the States have done.
– My opinion is that in the near future the Commonwealth will be able to float loans at £ per cent, less than the States.
– What does the honorable member mean by “ the near future” ?
– We should be able to do so in five or six years. But if no action is taken we are losing millions of money. The Treasurer was sanguine that we should save per cent., and I know that a good many leading financial experts are of the same opinion.
– The leading financial experts in London told Mr. Coghlan, as he has reported, that the Commonwealth could not just now float loans for less than can the States.
– I do not take much notice of what the London experts say.
– They are the people who take up the loans.
– I take very little notice of them, because we are, unfortunately, in the hands of a ring in London.
– How are we to pet rid of the ring in London?
– If the national bank proposed by the honorable member for Darwin were established, we could get rid of the ring. In suggesting the establishment of a Commonwealth bank, the honorable member for Darwin put forward one of the best proposals that has ever been submitted in this House. So far no one has attempted to adversely criticise the honorable member’s scheme.
– If we floated our loans through the Bank of England we should burst up the ring.
– If we had our own bank established we could work more easily with the Bank of England. If the scheme proposed by the’ honorable member for Darwin could have been adversely criticised, we should have found the press from one end of the Commonwealth to the other denouncing it. The ex-Prime Minister, on the advice of gentlemen having a knowledge of finance, was, I find, also under the impression that we could, by establishing a sinking fund of £ per cent., and reinvesting the money at 3 per cent. compound interest, pay off the whole of the £250,000,000 indebtedness in sixty-six years.
– Not at all. It would take forty years with a sinking fund of 1 per cent.
– The right honorable gentleman will find, if he makes the calculation, that the statement is correct. I say that if we were to effect a saving of £ per cent., or even less, on our loans we should establish a sinking fund of J per cent., and begin in that way to wipe out our indebtedness. The present Government propose to relegate this matter to a Royal Commission We are empowered under the Constitution to take over certain of the debts of the States, and why, in the circumstances, should we appoint a Commission? We now find that the State Governments are hostile to the taking over of the State debts. If that be so, of what use would it be to appoint a Commission to consider the matter? Whatever the finding of the proposed Commission might be, the State Governments would probably continue hostile to the transfer of the State debts to the Commonwealth.
– They fear that they will no longer be able to borrow if existing debts are taken over by the Commonwealth.
– They have changed their attitude on the question, and I am sorry to say that the Commonwealth Government have changed their attitude with every change on the part of the Governments of the States. I say that in the interests of the States themselves the Federal Parliament should take over the debts of the States. Members of every section in this House have expressed themselves in favour of such a course.
– We would save £7 in every £100.
– It looks splendid on paper.
– That is absolutely the position. One of the resolutions carried at the Premiers’ Conference held in Melbourne in 1907 or 1908 was to the effect that they viewed with apprehension the proposals of Sir William Lyne. Why have they rushed in now to take a great deal less than they would have received under the offer which they viewed with apprehension?
– Because they thought it was their last chance.
– They thought at one time that they could drive almost any bargain they pleased. The honorable mem ber for Dalley says that on this occasion they thought they had their last chance, but they should have been given no such chance. They had repudiated and rejected! every generous offer made to them year after year, and could not agree upon any scheme that any member of this Parliament would look at. At the last moment we find several of the Ministers flouting this Parliament, and without telling honorable members what they proposed to do agreeing to tie the hands of the Commonwealth..
– The honorable member speaks as if the States were foreign communities.
– I explained that I desired that the Commonwealth should take, over the State debts to save money in the interests of the States. I think that in this matter we ought to do for the State Governments what apparently they do not know how to do themselves. That doe* not .look as if I regarded the States as foreign communities. I always speak with the highest regard for the States, because I know that the electors of the States and of the Commonwealth are the same,’ and that an injury to the Commonwealth must be an injury to the States just as an injury to the States, would be an injury to the Commonwealth. We all know how extravagant the State Governments have been in the past. They have borrowed many millions of money, and have squandered a great deal of it.
– To what State does the honorable member refer?
– I shall say that the Government of Western Australia has been the best of the group. I believe that nearly all the . money borrowed by that’ State is returning interest. But it is not so in New South Wales) Victoria, and South Australia.
– All the Victorian loans have been invested in reproductive works.
– I believe that in all the States, with the exception of Tasmania, the railways were reproductive last year.
– Mr. Johnstone, the Tasmanian statistician, published the statement that the assets of the different States would pay the whole of their debts.
– His statement was not correct; he was £2,000,000 out.
– I take the statement with a grain of salt. Perhaps Mr. Johnston reckoned as we are in the habit of reckoning in dealing with Post Office finance. We have had one PostmasterGeneral after another telling us that the Post and Telegraph Department has had so much revenue and so much expenditure, but not one of them has taken into account a penny piece for depreciation of departmental buildings all over the country. We are invited to consider what a splendid asset these buildings are, and yet, to my knowledge, since Federation was accomplished, not a single sixpence has been allowed for depreciation of those buildings. The honorable member for Parkes will not say that that is a sound system of finance.
– I say that it is not. But I also say that the increments on the real estate would more than cover the depreciation of the buildings.
– I do not know that I have very much more to add. I can only say that this is the most unsatisfactory Budget we have had to deal with.
– The honorable member has not referred to it.
– I have referred in detail to a great part of it, and have compared the schemes which are not provided for in the Budget with tnose which are provided for.
– The Budget does not deal with the question of the transfer of the State debts at all.
– That is so, but it should have dealt with that question. The Treasurer had no right to deal with the other financial proposals without including a reference to that question. I have analyzed the Defence proposals of the Government, and have shown what a hollow mockery they are. 1 have shown that practically nothing is provided iin order to bring the fighting force of the Commonwealth into a state of efficiency, and that the total amount provided for defence is entirely inadequate. It is a farce to propose to spend only £9,000 extra on naval defence. I have shown that no provision is made in the Budget to meet the Government’s commitments to the Imperial Government, and if that is not criticising the Budget, the honorable member does not know what criticism is. It is the most unsatisfactory Budget that I have everhad the misfortune to listen to, and that view was expressed by the honorable member for Robertson and the honorable member for Moreton ; the only two Government supporters who have spoken. They only stated the actual facts. I am very disappointed indeed with the Budget, and I fear very much that, bad as was the muddle out of which the honorable member for Hume had to extricate the Treasurer on a previous occasion, it will be more difficult to extricate the country from the very unsatisfactory position in which it now is.
– Owing to the very peculiar circumstances in which we are placed, I do not intend to deal at length with the Budget. It will be impossible, I take it, to make an intelligible speech on this part of the Budget alone. It may be said that the Budget consists of two or three sections. One is the section that was delivered some days ago by the Treasurer. Another is the new development in connexion with the arrangement with the Premiers.
– That will necessitate an amended Budget.
– Quite so. In these circumstances, I do not think it wise to attempt to go into details. So far as the expenditure is concerned, the figures do not approach those which were recommended by some of the Departments on the last occasion I delivered a Budget. The increased expenditure on several items is very small indeed. As to naval policy, the Budget does not provide for the expenditure we may expect to be required shortly ; the provision in that regard is inadequate.
– The figures are almost double what they were in the honorable member’s time.
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon ; he is quite wrong. In one case - and a very important one - the expenditure shows an increase of only £16,000.
– Yes, but as regards the totals, the expenditure is more.
– The honorable member will find that on the main items, the totals that were debated as against the then Government have not been increased very much. In the case of the Post and Telegraph Department there is no adequate provision made as to the items, or as to. the totals, to meet the claims put in by officers for additional expenditure. Therefore, I think that the Budget quite fails to deal in a comprehensive way with our requirements. As regards the naval expenditure, there was a large sum placed to credit by the late Government for that purpose, andthe increase in that item is not really so substantial as it should be.
When we know the details of the expenditure for the year, it will certainly be found that there is no adequate provision made for the naval proposals which are likely to be submitted. I do not intend to deal in detail with the various items.
– How long does the honorable member think it will be before the Commonwealth, will have to make a substantial payment on account of the new naval policy?
– The money is supposed to be in London when the ships are ordered. Whenever an order has been sent to London it has been accompanied with the money.
-i am speaking of the large naval policy.
– That. I suppose, will depend entirely on the activity or non-activity of the present Government, but the moment a decision is come to, and an order is sent to Great Britain for supplies of any kind, the money will have to be transmitted. Therefore, it will not be very long before a considerable amount will have to be remitted. In view of the additions and alterations to be made, I think that the Budget should have been amended or withdrawn, so that another could be submitted. The latter would have been the proper com se for the Treasurer to take, and then honorable members would have known what they were doing.
– For what reason?
– Because the Budget makes inadequate provision, and because a paper which was tabled last Friday, foreshadowed a different method in regard-to which I propose to put a question, not only to the Treasurer, but also to the public, and to the press. When I had the privilege of being Treasurer, I stated one night that I had had prepared an estimate of the probable expenditure required by the Commonwealth up to 1920. I was pressed - by the honorable member for Flinders, I think - to lay the paper upon the table. In order to protect the officers at the Treasury, I said that I could not quite vouch for its accuracy, but it was as near an approximation as could be made by them. I laid the document upon the table; but by some extraordinary coincidence it was not printed. Through the courtesy of one of the Hansard officials, I found what I quoted on that occasion, but I was not able to find the document itself. I think that an important paper like that should have been printed. On page 11265 of Hansard, Vol. XLVI., I am reported to have said-
I am not referring to any question of solvency at the present time; but I desire to emphasize the point that we must look ahead. I have at hand a statement of the estimated expenditure of the Commonwealth twelve years hence; and it shows that in 1920 we shall probably have an expenditure of , £9,519,000.
– It is very desirable that the statement should be read.
– It is largely speculative. Every one must recognise the difficulty of forecasting, with anything like accuracy, the expenditure of the Commonwealth in 1920.
– The honorable member might give us a rough outline of the statement.
– I asked the Department to prepare for my guidance a statement of the approximate expenditure in 1920. The officers were very chary about making such an estimate on the basis of our present expenditure, because they pointed out that they might be tied down to it, and blamed if it was not accurate.
– Surely we shall have an opportunity to test it.
– I shall give an outline of the statement on the condition that the officers of the Department are not to be considered as being bound by it.
– Does it relate to, automatic expenditure ?
– As nearly as possible. I think that the Government Statistician’s figures have been made the basis of the calculation as to the increase of population, which will necessarily involve an increased expenditure. I did not wish to lay the paper on the table without the consent of the officers, because I told them that I should not use it in such a way as to bind them to what, after all, was a mere approximation. This estimate allows for an expenditure of£1, 500,000 in respect of oldage pensions. In the first place, it shows that the amount provided in the Estimates for 1907-8 was£5,967,992. From that sum£580,000 is deducted in respect of the sugar bounty, to be abolished in 1913, leaving a total of£5,387,992. Then it is estimated that there will be an increase of£685,000 in the expenditure of the Post and Telegraph Department.
In view of the information which has since been made public, the expenditure on that Department is likely to be a great deal heavier -
It is assumed that the increase of that branch of expenditure will be equal to the increase in revenue if the population increases only at the rate experienced since 1901. An increase of £402,988 is also estimated in the Defence expenditure.
That expenditure will be quadrupled under the new arrangement.
– This year there is an increase of £524.000.
– Perhaps so; but in criticising my estimate, differences in revenue must be taken into account. To continue the quotation -
– The estimate takes no account of policy.
That gets to the point. We did not know what the policy was, nor what expense it would entail.
– We do not know now.
– Replying to the interjection of the present Minister of Defence, I said -
Then again, the deficiency in connection with the administration of the Northern Territory in 1905-6 was £121,000, and it is estimated that a further expenditure of ,£25,000 will be required, so that a total of £146,000 is set down in respect to the expenditure of the Territory in 1920. Provision is also made for a deficit of £50,000 on the working of the Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie railway; £210,000 in respect of the deficit in connexion with the Oodnadatta to Pine Creek railway, and £93,000 in respect of interest and sinking fund on the cost of Port Augusta to Oodnadatta line. Then we come to an estimated expenditure of £450,000 in respect of interest and sinking fund on transferred properties, a further sum of £50,000 for advertising and immigration ; £20,000 for general elections, £24,000 in connexion with the census, and £20,000 for additional pay to members of Parliament.
– Is a further increase proposed ?
– No. The £20,000 represents an amount not included in the Estimates for 1907-8. An expenditure of £50,000 is estimated in connexion with further State services to be taken over at an expenditure of £30,000, in connexion with the office of High Commissioner, and provision for other increases. As a margin for under-estimates and increases not specified, £400,020 is set apart.
That statement was prepared by the officers of the Department, to make their position as secure as possible -
– Is that to meet additional expenditure arising from increased population?
– This estimate takes into account expenses arising from increased population, and the total, as I have said, is £9,519,000. That does not include expenditure in the erection of London offices for the Commonwealth, or in connexion with the Federal Capital.
I wish now to refer to the second table in the document relating to the proposed financial agreement, which has been laid upon the table, giving the gross Customs and Excise revenue to be retained, after 25s. has been paid to the States per head of population. It shows that for the year 1920-1 we shall have only £5,490,000 to expend, as against an expenditure of £9,519,300. According to the Treasurer’s own estimate, we shall therefore have in that year a shortage of over £4,000,000.
– What about the postal revenue?
– It will just about balance the expenditure.
– But the honorable member includes in his estimate of expenditure the expenditure of that Department. He is in deep water.
– The Committee knows that I am not, and I am not in any way criticising the agreement in a captious spirit. If the right honorable member can show that the statement I have put before the Committee to-night, and which was prepared by the officers who compiled his table, is incorrect, I shall be glad to hear from him. I am open to be convinced ; but it seems to me that in 1920-1, under the proposed agreement, we shall find the Commonwealth in a very awkward financial position,
– Long before that.
– I do not wish to make. a confusing comparison. I rose tm submit that which I have put before honorable members, and I should be glad to have an answer lo it consisting, not of mere assertions, but of detailed figures. There will be some difficulty in reconciling the figures in the statement laid on the table of the House on Friday last with that which I submitted last year. Reference has been made to the debt incurred by the South Australian Government in connexion with the Northern Territory, and to what the Treasurer intends to do in regard to it if the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill be agreed to. If the financial scheme promulgated chiefly by the honorable member for Mernda, and which with, some alterations I adopted; were carried out, that liability would be taken over with the other debts of the States, and no further trouble would arise. It would become a Commonwealth loan.
– I am glad to hear that some one on the Opposition side of the House is prepared to speak of a Commonwealth loan.
– The honorable member must not misrepresent me. I am absolutely opposed to the proposed issue of Treasury bills and to the floating of any loan at the present time for Commonwealth works, and especially to a loan to provide for the payment of old-age pensions. I am not, however, opposed to the Commonwealth taking over the whole of the debts of the States and becoming responsible for them, for I believe that we should be able to convert them on a satisfactory basis. The debt incurred by South Australia in respect of the Northern Territory would form part of that conversion, and until that took place there would be no necessity to pay South Australia more than the interest on it. It would remain as a debit against South Australia, and the interest would be paid by us. I am very strongly in favour of a proper separation of the finances of the States from those of the Commonwealth. By the transfer to the Commonwealth of the loans of the States, including some that have not been enumerated in the Budget, the whole of their finances, as well as those of the Commonwealth, would be placed on a distinct and equitable basis. I did not intend to make a long speech to-night, but rose only to emphasize one or two points which I hope will be appreciated by the people. If my speech does not appear in the newspapers, it will, at all events, be widely circulated in Hansard. I wish the people to ask themselves before we accept the proposed agreement, how we are going to meet our expenditure in 1920-1?
.- I listened to the honorable member for Hume with a good deal of interest and curiosity, because I expected, from the way in which he approached this subject, that he was going to enlighten the Committee on the difficult problem as to what would be our financial position ten years hence. I made considerable allowance in listening to his statement for the natural irritation-
– I am not irritated.
– I may be wrong, but I make a great allowance in the first place for the natural irritation which the honorable member feels in finding himself in opposition, while the right honorable member for Swan holds office as Treasurer.
– I was never happier in my life.
– Then the honorable member has a curious way of displaying his happiness ; for since he has been in opposition he has given me the impression of being the most miserable man taking part in the business of this House. I thought, however, that we might obtain from him a ray of light upon the prospective situation. The honorable member has attempted to forecast what the financial position of the Commonwealth will be ten years hence. How has he gone about his work? He begins on the debit side by calculating every possible liability on a distinctly swollen scale. He has estimated every obligation that he can conceive of the Commonwealth entering, into, and, aggregating all these debts, has arrived at the grand total of £9,500,000. The deduction which I expected he was about to make was as to how the Commonwealth would stand, on the assumption that those debits were set against the prospective credits. What justice did the honorable member do to the Commonwealth in calculating our financial position at that date ? He takes on the credit side one item only, namely, the Customs revenue, and he entirely omits the whole of the Post Office revenue as well as the whole of the increase which will take place during the next ten years in that revenue. By looking at the figures he can see that the Post Office revenue has advanced by leaps and bounds - by, in some cases, from £200,000 to £300,000 per annum - although he has taken all the expenditure into his debit calculation.
– Be fair for once !
– I am taking the honorable member’s own figures. He has done his best to swell the debits in his calculations by taking the increase in the Post Office expenditure; and the largest sum he can arrive at, in order to give colour to this ex parte statement of the finances of the Commonwealth in 1920, is £9,500,000. What sort of accountancy is it that takes all the possible debits in a swollen form, and then on the credit side has regard to only one item of revenue? The honorable member has the statement of the Treasurer that in 1920-1 the Commonwealth will have £5,500,000 over and above what is given to the States if the Conference scheme is carried out. The payments to the States we know at the present time will come to about £5,500,000, so that, if the amount which has to be handed to the States, according to the honorable member’s calculation, is added to that which the Treasurer has said the Commonwealth will have, it means £11,000,000.
– That is a misstatement.
– There certainly is a misstatement, and that is why I have risen.
– It is not £5,500,000 - it is under £5,000,000.
– That makes my calculation the better, because it will mean £10,500,000 instead of £11,000,000. The honorable member has based his calculation on the supposition that all the Commonwealth will have, even in Customs revenue, is £10,500,000. Would he tell this to a parcel of schoolboys? To-day the gross amount is between £11,000,000 and £12,000,000 ; and does the honorable member suppose that with the great increase which will take place in population between 1909 and 1920-1, our revenue from the Customs will not advance many millions?
– And at a greater ratio than our population.
– And at a greater ratio than our population.
– It is the Treasurer’s figures the honorable member for Parkes is criticising now !
– The honorable member for Hume made up his estimate by taking the amount that will be paid to the States, and adding it to the amount that the Treasurer said the Commonwealth will have left, and, as I say, has omitted the Post Office revenue, although, if I remember rightly, it has advanced by something like from £200,000 to £300,000 per annum, and the rate of increase is cumulative.
– There is the corresponding expenditure.
– The honorable member has the corresponding expenditure in the £9,500,000. The revenue from the Post Office in 1901-2 was £2,372,000, and it advanced year by year to £2,400,000, £2,500,000, £2,600,000, £2,800,000, £3,100,000, £3,300,090, £3,400,000, and, this year, to £3,500,000.
– What is the expenditure ?
– The honorable member has included both the normal and increased expenditure in his £9,500,000. Between 1901-2 and 1909 the Post Office revenue has increased to the extent of £1,200,000 ; and if it continues to increase at the same ratio, we shall by 1910 have a revenue £1,500,000 higher than we have to-day.
– What is the expenditure?
– The expenditure is calculated by the honorable member for Hume in his total of £9,500.000.
– The Treasurer wishes to borrow on Treasury bills.
– What has that to do with the matter? I complain that the honorable member for Hume is trying to frighten the people and the Committee by making an inflated calculation of the expenditure for 1920-1 - that he is calculating the revenue from the Customs at what it is to-day and omitting altogether the revenue from the Post Office - and I say that such a calculation so made is not worth the breath the honorable member has expended in making it.
.- I desire to show that the honorable member for Parkes has made a deliberate misrepresentation to the Committee, and that the increase in expenditure has gone on step by step with the increase in revenue from the Post Office. In 1901-2 the expenditure of the Post and Telegraph Department was £2,383,815 ; in 1902-3 it was £2,568,846 ; in 1903-4 it was £2,697,454; in 1904-5, £2,699,667; 1905-6, £2,784,664; 1906-7, £2,966,100; 1907-8, £3,345>84i; and 1908-9, £3,612,778, while for 1909-10 it is estimated at £3,994,665, or, roughly, £4,000,000. With the increase of revenue that increase of expenditure runs nearly side by side, and the estimate made by the officers is on the same ratio. They have taken the increase of revenue and the increase of expenditure, and so have arrived at the increase that will be required at the end of. 1 920-1.
– I do not think so, but I shall have the matter investigated and let the honorable member know tomorrow.
– The honorable member for Parkes says that I am very angry and out of sorts and disappointed, but I am not so much so as he will be when he meets a man who is going to oppose him and who will make him sit up. His face, not mine, will pale then. The increase of expenditure corresponds almost exactly with the increase of revenue, and at the end of 1920-1 there will be practically no balance of increase of revenue in the PostmasterGeneral’s Department.
– When I rose a few moments ago it was to comment on the fact that the honorable member for Hume had swollen all the debits he could think of in order to make up the sum of £9,500,000. I then took the credits to show that his accountancy was absolutely faulty, because he had taken one item on the credit side at no higher amount for 1920- 1 than it is to-day, and that he had wholly omitted the normal Post Office revenue, as also the increase of that revenue, which, as’ I showed, would alone amount to £1,500,000 on the same ratio as the increase which has taken place from 1 90 1 until now. The honorable member, seeing the dilemma in which my figures put him, kept crying out, “ How about the increased expenditure ?” My answer was that it was calculated in the £9,500,000 of debits, and I shall now read from his own paper to prove it. After arriving at the sum of £5,387,000 in building up this edifice of expenditure, he says, “ Then it is estimated that there will be an increase of £685,000 in the expenditure of the Postal Department.” That amount is taken into his £9,500,000, so that he has already included in the debit side all this predicted increase in the Post Office expenditure, but has not credited the ordinary revenue of the Post Office or the £1,500,000 of increased revenue which I have shown will accrue according to the ratio of increase up to the present time.
– I should like the Treasurer to agree to report progress, as the hour is late.
– Not yet. The honorable member can debate the question on the agreement arrived at at the Premiers’ Conference.
– I am afraid that I may be shut out then.
– The honorable member will be able to debate the whole subject, because the question will be that of the finances of the country.
– I do not wish to speak in any hostile spirit, but I must enter the same protest as I did at the Labour Conference at Brisbane. There is no other federated country in the wide world where the central Government has ever surrendered its great powers. I am an absolute believer in the States, and according to my scheme the Slates would get more for many years than the proposed agreement would give them.
– If the honorable member’s scheme is in print, I should like to have a copy of it.
– It is in print, and I sent one to the Treasurer. We ought really to look into this question more fully. We are asked to give the States a first mortgage on the revenue of the Commonwealth. As a Federalist, with the experience of Canada, the United States, and every other Federal country to guide me, I think this question is most serious ; in fact, I do not believe that honorable members have looked at it from the same stand-point as they would if they were handling their own private property. We are sent here as trustees of the public estate, and we should examine the question thoroughly. The first thing we do is to give to the States an expanding mortgage over the Customs and Excise revenue.
– All the honorable member is saying would be apropos of the statement which is to come.
– I quite agree with the honorable member, but I fear that I may be handcuffed, as I have been before, if I postpone my remarks until then. I am afraid that I may be put in a straightjacket, as we are now putting the Commonwealth. I do not want honorable members to think that I am hostile to the Government, for I should like to see everybody get a “ show “ on the Treasury bench. There is no hog about me on that question. It is proposed to make the States preferential shareholders in the Customs and Excise revenue.
– Why not deal with this question at the right time?
– I want the Treasurer to see that we have made a mistake. Any business man knows that if he has a first mortgage on a property, no trustee company will be willing to give him a second loan, no matter what margin of security he may have. I am an Australian - a better Australian, perhaps, than are many who are native-born - because, after intelligently studying other countries of the world, I decided to settle here. Under the agreement arrived at by the Premiers’ Conference the Prime Minister proposes to give the States a first mortgage on the Customs and Excise revenue of the Commonwealth.
– Did not the Constitution give them such a mortgage in the first instance?
– As a financial man, I wish to address my remarks to another financial man, in the person of the Treasurer. When we take over the State debts and create a sinking fund for their redemption, those debts will form part of the asset which we have to offer bondholders when we goupon the London market for the purpose of borrowing. But if we hand over those assets to the States, and give them a first mortgage upon the Commonwealth revenue to the extent of 25 s. per head of their population, we shall then be called upon to pay them £125,000 every time that 100,000 women and children, who are not producers in the ordinary sense, land in Australia.
– They are revenue producers through the Customs House.
– I wish honorable members to viewthis question from a financial stand-point. Do infants produce wealth ?
– Yes, through the Customs House.
– I recognise the difference between the honorable member and myself. I am a Protectionist dipped in the dew and dyed in the wool, and I am bound to confess that the greater the measure of protection we accord to our industries, the less will be the revenue which we shall derive through the Customs. Viewed from the stand-point of a revenue tariffist, I admit that women and children are producers. I say without fear of contradiction that if we embody the agreement arrived at by the Premiers’ Conference in our Constitution, the bonds of the States will appreciate, whilst the power of the Commonwealth to float loans will depreciate. Every honorable member must recognise that the money market is extremely sensitive. The representatives of financial trusts in New York, Berlin, Paris, Frankfort, and Chicago - indeed, in every city which undertakes foreign exchange and the transaction of credits as between those who possess them and those whorequire them - are always particular to examine the nature of the security which is offered to them. I unhesitatingly declare that if we give the States a mortgage over our Customs and Excise revenue to the extent of 25s. per head of our population, we shall destroy the ability of the Commonwealth to go upon the markets of the_ world and float loans. In my judgment, the financial question is of greater importance than is any other question. It is more important even than is a land tax. Millions of our people may never own a foot of land, but no individual can pass through this world without handling money. A question of such magnitude ought not to have been discussed by the Premiers’ Conference in secrecy. With the assistance of the representatives of the Government that Conference has forged a cast-iron constitutional straight- jacket in which the giant body of this Commonwealth is to be perpetually confined so that the future growth of its vital organs will be rendered impos sible, and it will be for ever reduced to the position of a financial cripple on constitutional crutches. As the States increase in population their revenue will simultaneously swell. If Protection is efficacious, the Commonwealth revenue will correspondingly decrease. Every effort put forth by the Commonwealth to expand this continent will be at the expense of its own finances, and will mean for it less prestige, power, and revenue.
– The honorable member is a financial pessimist.
– I have not made one financial mistake throughout my business life. I have sometimes gone down because I could not get others to see my side of the case; but this time I am “ running my own show,” and time will prove that I am right. 1 ask honorable members to consider this policy carefully before we enter upon it. There is nothing wrong in admitting a mistake. Sir Robert Peel, England’s greatest finance Minister, made many mistakes, and was not ashamed to acknowledge them. When a person mortgages a property, the effect is to destroy its margin of security value to a certain extent. If the mortgagor goes back to the same mortgagee he maybe able to increase the mortgage at a higher rate of interest, but he certainly will not be able to get a second man tb give him a second mortgage at the original rate of interest. Now what we are entering upon is an ever -expanding mortgage. It expands eternally. Under my scheme, I proposed to give to the States£6,970,000 per annum to start with. It must be seen, therefore, that I am not trying to take revenue from the States. I proposed to give them more than they will receive under the Government scheme in the first instance. I proposed to pay them £6,100,000 for revenue purposes, and to take £870,000 a year for a sinking fund at½ per cent. That, I maintain, was a wise project. Why was it that the present Treasurer was able to keep good the credit of Western Australia? Because with every financial proposal that he laid before British investors he had a sinking fund. As the sinking fund rose, the debt diminished. I am anxious to induce honorable members to see the difference between giving the States 25s. per head, and making that a perpetual charge on the Commonwealth Customs and Excise revenue, and giving them a definite sum per annum.Under my scheme, in sixty-one years three-fourths of the debts would have been wiped off.
– The honorable member will be able to enter fully into this matter when the Government scheme is brought before the House.
– I want to put in my protest now.
– The honorable member is a financial Judge Jeffreys ; he is hanging the scheme first, and is proposing to try it afterwards.
– I can assure honorable members that the scheme of the Government is, to me, an alarming one. [ am a Protectionist, and I know that the effect of a sound protective Tariff is to decrease revenue from Customs and Excise. Trade, commerce, credit, and confidence go hand in hand. They are, it may be said, one and inseparable. The great function of credit is to secure the transfer of capital from those who possess it to those who require it. If this Parliament is going to put an expanding mortgage - a mortgage expanding with the increase of population, whether that population consists of children or of helpless women, or of feeble old people - on the Customs and Excise revenue of this Commonwealth, it will be injurious to our credit.
– And Protection will have to go by the board.
– I do not want to say that. If I did not look at this matter very seriously, as a successful business man, I would not say a word about it. By putting this expanding mortgage in the Constitution, we shall be destroying a great Commonwealth asset. If we were to go into the money market to float a loan, there is not a financier in Paris, nor a financier true to his trust in London, but would say that -our credit was injured by the fact that 25s. per head of our Customs and Excise revenue was already mortgaged under a bond. The State Governments will be preferential shareholders and those who lend to the Commonwealth must come in later, and, if there is any dividend, take it. I find that Russia has a Customs and Excise revenue of 7s. id. per head.
– Why not give the figures for New Zealand ?
– I shall come to New Zealand presently. Germany has a Customs and Excise revenue of 15s. 2d. per head.
– Are these figures gross, or is allowance made for the upkeep of the Departments ?
– I am giving the gross figures. The United States has a Customs and Excise revenue of j£i gs. 6d. per head. This is the great America, with her 85,000,000 of people.
– How does the honorable member account for all that revenue through the Customs in the United States?
– I account for it by the number of millionaires in the United States who will not wear anything but foreign goods. We have not these millionaires in this country. Most of our people are poor, like “ myself. In the United Kingdom the Customs and Excise revenue is £1 11s. sd. per head.
– How does the hone-table member account for that revenue through the Customs in a Free Trade country ?
– The United Kingdom is a Free Trade country with a revenue tariff.
– Will the honorable member give a few items that are taxed in England through the Customs?
– Tobacco, tea, whisky, and a lot of other things. The table from which I am quoting is as follows -
– The honorable member might continue to-morrow, but he has not given the figures for New Zealand yet.
– 1 find that, taking all the Protectionist countries into account, the average revenue derived in them from Customs and Excise is 18s. sd. per head.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I am sorry to further delay honorable members at this late hour, but there is a case which I should like to bring under the notice of the Minister of Defence. I have already exhausted means of redress by application to the Department. I do not blame the officials, because they have done their utmost to deal with the matter. I think that the Minister might very well inquire into a case of extreme hardship. An old man named Charles Anderson joined the Defence Force in 1878. For reasons of economy, he was put off, with a number of others, andsubsequently was called in again. Pensions were abolished in Victoria on the 24th December, 1881. He was taken into the service on 1st January, 1883, and continued therein until last year when, by reason of age, he expected to receive a pension, but was informed that he had no claim, because he was not in the employment of the State Government on the 24th December, 1881. The peculiarity of his position is that his discharge shows continuity of service from 1878 until 1887, and it is admitted that he was in the service of the Post and Telegraph Department up to last year. He claims that his discharge was accepted as evidence of continuity of service, but the officials in the Department say that he cannot receive a pension.I know that a difficulty arises from the fact that while the Commonwealth has the right to say whether or not a pension should be paid, the State may object to the payment of it. I ask the Minister to kindly institute an- inquiry, and see if something cannot be done for the man.
– Thehonorable member has been good enough to tell me the particulars of this case. It certainly seems to me to be one of great hardship. I shall have an investigation made with a view to seeing if something can be done, and if that is possible I shall be glad.
– I thank the honorable member.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.46 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 31 August 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1909/19090831_reps_3_51/>.