3rd Parliament · 4th Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. HALL presented a petition signed by M. Courtenay Smith-, president, and others, on behalf of the Annual Convention of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of New South Wales, held in Sydney during the months of September and October, praying that the clauses in the Defence Bill providing for the compulsory military training of the boys .and young men of the Commonwealth should be made optional.
Mr. ARCHER presented a petition from certain sugar-cane growers of Australia, praying that an inquiry be made by a Royal Commission or by such other means as the House may deem expedient, to ascertain the facts as to the position of the canegrowers, and to grant them relief from their present disabilities.
Petitions received and read.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence a question based on one that I put to him yesterday in regard to the current rumour, that the ironworkers who proceeded to the Old Country some time ago to obtain specific training in the construction of torpedo destroyers are, because of certain prohibitions, not receiving that training. Has the honorable gentleman any further information on the subject to put before the House?
– I have no offi-rial information, but have had from those interested private advices that the men sent Home are under the disabilities already alleged. We are cabling to ascertain the facts.
– Will the Minister of Defence see that those disabilities are, ifpossible, removed?
– Certainly. We could have no other object in cabling to the Old Country. I shall do all in my power to see that the conditions are observed.
– I desire to direct the attention of the Prime Minister to what purports to be a copy of a letter forwarded to him by the Lord Mayor of Sydney, which is published in the daily press, and from which the following is a quotation :-
Referring to the interview I had in Melbourne with yourself and your colleague, the Hon. the Minister for Defence, on the and September, at which we discussed the question of the Dreadnought Fund raised in this State for the purpose of assisting to procure a battleship ‘for presentation to the Homeland, but which by reason of resolution’s arrived at by the Imperial Defence Conference recently held in London was no longer required for that purpose. . . .
Will the Prime Minister state what are the resolutions to which reference is made, and whether any have been submitted to - the Lord Mayor of Sydney and the Committee managing the Dreadnought Fund of New South Wales., before being placed before this House?
– The latter part of the honorable member’s inquiry is so far without warrant that I do not even know, except from press reports of the proceedings, what the resolutions are. I assume that the reference is to the proposal to. establish an Australian unit for service in the Pacific instead of offering to the British Government ‘ a Dreadnought, which would . be stationed elsewhere. That, I think, is the only inference.
– The honorable member has not laid before the Lord Mayor of Sydney any resolutions carried at the Imperial Defence Conference?
– I had none to lay before him.
– Did not the Prime Minister mention to the House some time ago that the Conference held in London was consultative, and that any resolutions arrived at by it would not be binding upon the Government, or upon this Parliament? Would he regard the resolutions, if such have been passed, as so far binding upon his Government as to allow them to accept from the Committee of the Dreadnought Fund money that was subscribed for the purpose of making the gift of a Dreadnought to the British Government?
– The Conference was consultative. If the honorable member asks whether there is any condition in the resolutions to prevent us from accepting a gift of money for naval purposes, I know of none, and, if there were any, do not know that it would bind us.
Vacancies in Clerical Division.
– I wish to call the at tention of the Prime Minister to a notice that recently appeared in the Gazette, to the effect that an examination for entry into the Clerical Division of the Public Service will take place in January next, of persons between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two. This will debar a large number already in the service, who are over the age of twenty-two, from competing, although, acting practically under instructions from the various Deputy Commissioners, they have been educating themselves with a view to passing the examination. Would it be possible to alter the Gazette notice so that persons in the service, who are over the age of twenty-two, may be allowed to compete, and, if successful, obtain employment in the Clerical Division ?
– The condition of affairs alluded to by the honorable member is unknown to me. It will be inquired into at once.
– Has the Treasurer taken steps in regard to the supernumerary employes in the Government Printing Office engaged in stamp printing ? Some of them have been employed by the Victorian Department for twenty years, and are still supernumeraries. If the right honorable gentleman has not taken action, will he look into the matter, with a view to having them placed on the permanent staff?
– I do not think the matter has been brought under my notice for a long time - at any rate, not since I have been in office on this occasion. 1 shall be glad to make inquiries; but the Public Service is controlled under the Public Service Act, and, therefore, the powers of the Government are subject to the provisions of the law.
– Stamp printing is in the right honorable member’s Department.
– The Public Service Commissioner practically controls the whole of the service under the Public Service Act.
Mr.STORRER.- The tenders for ballotboxes specify that the timber used shall be Queensland pine. Is the Minister of Home Affairs aware that pine grows in other States than Queensland?
– I am aware that pine is grown in portions of the Commonwealth other than Queensland.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK laid on the table the following paper: -
Military Forces - Cadet Corps - Report of the Director-General for year ending 30th June, 1909.
Ordered to be printed.
Manufacture of Telephones - Accom- . modation : General Post Office and Haymarket, Sydney - Semi-Official Offices - Telephone System : New South Wales Extensions : Actuarial Investigation.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral state when tenders are likely to be called for the manufacture of telephones, whether he will, if possible, give preference to Australian woods, whether he has included labour conditions, and whether he has inserted a regulation as to juvenile labour in the conditions of contract?
– Some time ago I approved of the terms and conditions of a new tender for the manufacture of 20,000 telephones in Australia. I am not quite sure whether they have been .advertised. If not, they will be very shortly, and full details of the specifications and conditions will be available to the public. I think that all the matters referred to by the honorable member for Maribyrnong will be provided for.
– Before deciding upon using any particular Australian timber for the purposes specified, will the Postmaster- ‘ General cause inquiries to be made of coachbuilders and others interested in the timber trade as to whether the timber used is suitable for the work? Will he also consult the Minister of Defence, who had some limbers made of Australian timber, in order that he may profit by the experience of the Defence Department with regard to the type of Australian timbers suitable for the purpose?
– I recollect now that one of the conditions of the proposed contract is that preference shall be given to Australian timber, provided that the sam- pies submitted are satisfactory, and comply with the necessary test’s and conditions. I see no necessity to consult “the Minister of Defence upon a question relating to the manufacture of telephones.
– Is the PostmasterGeneral aware that tenders have been called, and that the specifications state that Queensland pine is to be used? If that is correct, why is Queensland chosen, and why are none of the other States to have an opportunity of tendering?
– I cannot recollect the detail referred to by the honorable member, but I shall make inquiries and inform him as soon as possible.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Can he state what progress has been made towards providing sufficient accommodation for the business transacted at the General Post Office, Sydney?
– The matter is in the hands of the Department of Home Affairs, which has furnished the following reply : -
Designs have been prepared for the following work at the General Post Office, Sydney : - Enlarging the mail-room and its approach to the sorting-room ; remodelling the upper floor rooms, corridors, and lighting; to more fully use the available space ; extending the public space and counter for letter delivery ; extending the private boxes; providing additional stamp sales counter; increasing the number of telephone silence cabinets; and other works. The work of extending the mail-room and gallery is in progress by day labour as fast as the exigencies of the postal service will admit. The other works will follow in the sequence mentioned above. Contract has been let for steel chimney, which will admit of the existing chimney stack being abolished, and approach to sorting-room widened. In order to relieve the congestion in the General Post Office, negotiations are being concluded with the New South Wales Railways Commissioners .for part of the railway property at Central Station, upon which to erect a building for parcels work and mail sorting. The preliminary designs have been approved, and the working designs are being prepared. The proposed building will he directly connected to the railway platforms by means of subways. The bulk of parcels work will be conducted at this building, thus relieving the congestion in the General Post Office basement, and the mail sorting of all postal matter, except that directly connected with the city, will be conducted at proposed new building at Central Station.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1 and 2. No public complaints have been received, but I am aware that the accommodation provided for the public at the Haymarket Post Office, Sydney, is insufficient.
Provision has been made on the Estimates for the current financial year for the_ purchase of a site, and an advertisement inviting tenders up to the 25th instant appears on page 1588 of the Commonwealth Gazette of the 16th idem, and in the Sydney press of 6th inst.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice. -
Will he approve of fixing deductions for quarters from persons conducting semi-official offices on same proportionate scale on allowance’s as on salaries of permanent officers?
– Deductions for quarters are not made from: persons conducting semi-official offices, but the actual value of the quarters is treated as part of their emoluments. It is not proposed to make any alteration in this respect.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made, and the desired information will be furnished as early as possible.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 20th October,, vide page 4788) :
Clause 15 (Persons who are liable to be trained).
Proposed newsection 126 agreed to.
Proposed new section 127 -
The prescribed training shall be, in each year ending the thirtieth day of June, of the following duration : -
In the Junior Cadets one hundred and twenty hours; and
In the Senior Cadets four whole-day drills, twelve half-day drills, and twenty-four night drills; and
In the Citizen Forces sixteen whole-day drills or their equivalent :
Provided that, in the case of those allotted to the Naval Forces and to the Artillery and Engineers in the Military Forces, the training shall be twenty-five whole-day drills or their equivalent.
Provided also that the duration of a wholeday drill shall he not less than six hours, of a half-day drill not less than three hours, and of a night drill not less than one hour and a half.
– Although it has been agreed that a test vote shall be taken as to whether the Government are prepared to extend the time of training, I wish to move an amendment in another direction, upon proposed new section 127. Paragraph c provides that the prescribed training shall be, for the Citizen Forces, sixteen whole-day drills or their equivalent. I consider that that is insufficient. I therefore move -
That the words “ whole-day drills or their equivalent,” lines 9 and io, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ days in camps of continuous training.”
– The proposed new section also provides that the period of training for the Artillery and Engineers’ shall be twenty-five wholeday drills or their equivalent. The Minister has recognised that it is necessary that these arms of the forces should have a more extensive training.
– Does not the honorable member know that some authorities hold that infantry require more training than artillery ?
– But we have decided that infantry shall not have so long a period of training. Any one who knows anything about the training of the Military Forces is aware that spasmodic training for artillery and engineers is of practically no value, especially in the case of the horse artillery. I therefore move -
That the words “or their equivalent,” lines 14 and 15, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words, “ of which at least sixteen days shall be continuous.’”
– I have only to say that this year we are proposing that the Artillery arm of the service shall spend seventeen days in camp. The amendment is really unnecessary, and I trust will not be agreed to.
Proposed new section agreed to.
Proposed ‘new sections 128 and 129 agreed to.
Proposed new section 130 -
Persons who are being trained under the provisions of paragraph (c) of section one hundred and twenty-five of this Act shall receive pay as prescribed.
.- It is my intention to move the amendment, of which I have given notice -
That the proposed new section be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following : - “ Every adult person undergoing training shall be paid at the rate of Eight shillings per day for each working day or part of a working day on which he is so undergoing training. Every other person undergoing training shall be paid for each working day or part of a working day on which he is so undergoing training, at a rate equivalent to that which he was being paid in any employment in which he was engaged for an average period of four weeks prior to the commencement of such training.”
Defence is required primarily for the protection of property.
– And for the protection of our homes and privileges.
– That is so to a certain extent, but many men who will have to be trained have no homes to defend, and some of them can ill afford the time which they will have to devote to this purpose. The matter is of very great importance to a very large number of men who will be compelled to give up their working time to prepare themselves to defend, amongst other things, the property of the landlords of Australia. We quite understand that there is no other way of having a defence force in this country except by training our manhood. But men should not be asked to leave their wives and children, or their widowed mothers, and others who may be dependent upon them for the necessaries of life, without recompense while they are taken into camps. There may be some who can well afford to give up the necessary time, and may be willing to do it. But many others may not be so well able to afford the sacrifice. In connexion with defence there should have been a twin proposal providing for the raising, by means of direct taxation, of the money necessary to pay for this scheme.
– There is no proposal for getting money in any way.
– That is so.
– I ask the honorable member not to discuss that matter.
– For an adult, 83. a day is little enough. I desire to make that sure.
– What does the honorable member mean by an adult?
– A person of twenty-one years or more of age. Of course, many who are under twentyone will be as efficient as those who are over that age, but we must draw a distinction between youths and adults, and the age of twenty-one years is a convenient line of demarcation. Those whose interests I have particularly in view are the unskilled workers, whose wages are so small that they cannot afford to take holidays or to lose time from work. If the country compels them to submit to training, it should compensate them at a rate which will provide for their necessities.
– Is not 8s. a day the rate now paid to the Militia?
– Yes, and it is proposed to continue the militia system. This makes it the more necessary that our adult soldiers shall be all on the same footing. I desire to confirm the present rates for the Militia, and extend such rates universally. The proposal with regard to those under the age of twenty -one is that they shall be paid amounts equivalent to the average of the sums which they have been receiving during the four weeks previous to their period of training. It might be possible to provide for the payment of a fixed sum, such as 4s. or 5s. a day, but against that proposal it could be urged that younger lads would probably be earning much less. If a simpler arrangement than mine can be proposed, I shall- be happy to accept it. I am not prepared to support compulsory training, if the working-men are to be compelled to bear the whole burden of it. There are those who desire to train the working man for the defence of the property of the well-to-do, who shirk their responsibility and escape their fair burden of taxation. Similarly, when Protection was proposed, it was associated with new Protection, but when a heavy burden of taxation had been imposed on the working classes, the Prime Minister broke his word to honorable members, and refused to carry out that part of the bargain relating to the new Protection. I do not like that kind of business, and shall not support compulsory training unless democratic provisions such as I am now proposing are associated with it. Some honorable members think that public opinion on the subject of compulsory training is changing, and are extremely anxious to appear in favour of it. But, in my opinion, the compulsory principle will not be very popular when it comes to be applied, and will cause reaction. In any case, it’ should not be applied except under conditions which are fair to all. Men who are taken from their employment should be reasonably compensated. No doubt the Government will use the old argument in opposing my amendment - that they have no money.
– Is the honorable member aware that he is proposing a reduction in wages?
– I am not doing so.
– Every proposal from the Opposition in connexion with payments to the military has been in the direction of reducing wages.
– That is distinctly inaccurate.
– The Bill makes no provision for paying 8s. a day to adults.
– It would be better to define an adult as a person over twenty years of age. It is at the age of twenty that the Cadets will finish their training.
– That is a very good suggestion. I would rather increase than decrease rates of pay.
– Make the rate 10s. a day.
– I should do so if it were likely that the proposal would be carried.
– Why not make it£1 a day?
– The honorable member, notwithstanding that he represents a working-man’s constituency, ridicules the idea of paying the workers for the time they lose. He will have a different yarn to tell when he is appealing to the electors for their votes. I shall think over the suggestion of the honorable member for Hindmarsh, and consider the payment of 8s. a day to every person over twenty years of age.
– With regard to the other part of the honorable member’s proposal,. I would point out that he takes no account of those who for the four weeks prior to the period of training may have been earning nothing.
– The honorable member does not make the interjection for the sake of helping me. If he desires to meet that case, and has a suggestion to make, I shall be very glad of his assistance. We shall see when the vote is taken what his opinion really is.
– Does the honorable member mean that as a threat?
– The honorable member for Balaclava is not in the habit of voting in a direction different from that in which he has spoken, but some honorable members opposite are. We shall see how they will vote on this amendment.
– They will all follow the honorable member.
– We want from these men something more than the wages paid to Italians. In accordance with the suggestion made by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, I shall propose to recast my amendment.
– The desire of the honorable member is that men shall be paid when in camp.
– Whenever they lose time. An honorable member who interjected’ just now in an undertone is going from the sublime to the ridiculous. No doubt he would tax working men to provide for the defence of the wealth of Australia, and call upon them also to sacrifice their time and, if need be, their lives, in its defence.
– To whom is the honorable member referring?
– If the cap fits the honorable member, he can wear it.
– If the remarks are intended to apply to me, I certainly object to them.
– It is evident that the proposal that working men shall be paid for the time lost by them whilst being compulsorily trained, is objectionable to honorable members opposite.
– The honorable member’s party proposed to pay them is. 3d. a day.
– I repudiate the statement. The honorable member makes some reference to a payment of1s. 3d. per day. I do not know whether he is referring to the pay of men on some of the railways which he built in Western Australia. Perhaps that is what he paid the Italians whom he employed.
– I am building no railways in Western Australia. How can I be employing Italians to do what I am not doing? I take exception to the honorable member’s statement.
– I would remind the honorable member that if he persists in interjecting it is not possible for me to control the honorable member who is addressing the Chair, or any one else. I ask honorable members to assist me by refraining from interjecting.
– But have I no redress, Mr. Chairman? I. object to the statement of the honorable member that I am employing Italians.
– If the honorable member takes exception to the remark, I am sure that the honorable member for Cook will withdraw it.
– I did not say that the honorable member is at present building a railway. I used the past tense, and the honorable member, in his denial, made no reference to what he had done in the past. I should be glad to be allowed to proceed without irrelevant interruptions. The issue is a simple one, and I hope that a vote will be taken upon it without any feeling. The simple proposition is that working men who are compelled’ to train to fit themselves to defend the country shall be reimbursed for the time they lose. If the Government propose to pay any section of the forces, more than would be payable under my amendment, I shall be glad to accept the higher rate. I have been unable to find in the Bill, however,’ any scheme for reimbursing by any fixed amount those who lose time in compulsory training. The education system of the States is compulsory and free. Parents are compelled to send their children to school, but they have not to pay for their instruction. In the same way, if we compel a man to lose time in training to fit himself to defend Australia, we ought not to require him to forego any portion of his wages by reason of that loss of time.’ In many cases, considerable hardship will be suffered if some such provision as this is not inserted in the Bill. It is often said that we ought to encourage our young people to marry, but if such young men know that they will be called upon to lose time in undergoing military training, and will suffer thereby a monetary loss, they will not be disposed to take upon themselves the responsibilities of family life. That is another reason why these men should be paid.
– To what extent would the honorable member’s scheme increase the defence expenditure?
– The difference between honorable members opposite and the Opposition, when we come to an issue as between money and flesh and blood, is that we take the side of humanity, whereas they think only of the question of cost.
– In this instance, the honorable member is proposing less than we do.
– The honorable member cannot show that that is so.
– That will be the effect of the honorable member’s amendment until compulsory training has been in operation for some years. Youths of eighteen and nineteen years of age in the Militia now get 8s. a day.
– But my amendment deals with members of the Citizen Defence Forces, who have to undergo compulsory training, and not with the Militia. I desire to extend the Militia pay to all.
– Will the honorable member allow me to explain the matter ?
– Very well. We are in Committee for the purpose of an easy conference together, to try and arrive at such improvements as are acceptable to a majority of members.
– The honorable member has not yet moved his amendment, and I cannot allow the Minister to deal with something that is not before the Chair.
– Then I will formally move the amendment, and, if the Minister makes an explanation showing that the Government proposition is better than mine, I shall ask leave to withdraw it.
-The honorable member cannot formally move the amendment. He must move it, or else refrain from doing so.
-The proposed new section, Mr. Chairman, deals with the question of pay, and a general discussion of the question is, I submit, permissible.
– The honorable member for Cook has drafted his amendment without pausing to think what it means. No one would accuse him of intentionally trying to cut down the pay of the Militia, but his amendment would have that effect. The honorable member for Hindmarsh was righMn interjecting that, at present, a member of the Militia who is only eighteen years of age is entitled to 8s. a day.
– I desire the members of the Citizen Forces to receive the same rate of remuneration.
– But if the honorable member’s amendment were carried, its immediate effect would be to prevent youths of eighteen now in the Militia from receiving 8s. per day until they were twenty-one years of age. Youths enter upon their compulsory training in the Citizen Forces on reaching the age of eighteen years.
– But will ‘they be entitled to 8s. per day while in those forces ?
– I desire to provide that they shall.
– If that is the honorable member’s intention, he has not expressed it. Does he really think that every youth of eighteen ought to receive 8s. per day ?
– A youth of eighteen in the Militia receives 8s. a day at the present time.
– I am aware of that, but we are proposing only to pay the members of the Citizen Forces during the time of compulsory training, and whilst they are actually in camp, reserving the better pay until they join the Militia.
– The Minister will admit the necessity for some alteration. At present, youths of eighteen in the Militia receive 8s. per day, whereas those being compulsorily trained will, at the same age, receive only 4s. per day.
– But they will be compulsory trainees.
– Under the honorable gentleman’s scheme, youths of nineteen in the Citizen Forces will be brigaded with the Militia.
– That is so, and he will be putting in his training prior to joining the Militia a little later on. The honorable member’s proposal would also have the effect of cutting down the pay of every non-commissioned officer in the Militia to 8s. a day, because they are persons coming under the category which he has suggested. It would also mean that all the Senior Cadets would have to be paid the moment they began to train at fourteen.
– The honorable member specifies only “every adult person.”
– Yes, but later on he says ‘ ‘ every other person undergoing training,’’ so distinguishing them from adults.
– They will get only what they are losing. He does not say 8s. a day for them.
– No, but he says they shall be paid. We are not proposing to pay the Senior Cadets at all.
– Are they to be trained on working days?
– Not on whole days, except four days in their holidays. The honorable member’s proposal will reduce the pay- of the militiamen as at present and until the compulsory scheme comes into operation two years hence, and it will result in reducing the pay of the noncommissioned officers. I am sure the honorable member has not stopped to think of the effect of his amendment. If he had, he would not have moved it. I must give him credit for trying to do what he believes *o be best for these men, but in reality his proposal would not benefit them. I suggest that he should leave the question of pay as at present, leaving it for the Minister of the day to pay such allowances as may from time to time be voted by Parliament. It is a matter that Parliament will always be able to control by the medium of the Estimates. That is so in every army. I believe that would be a more satisfactory way of dealing with the matter - adjusting the pay from time to time as it is found necessary - than the insertion in the Bill of a provision of this sort.
.- The Minister is deserving of thanks for pointing out that the honorable member for Cook did not intend to reduce the pay either of the Militia or of the compulsory trainees. However the amendment may be drafted, Ave must give the honorable member credit for a desire to do the reverse of reducing wages. I frankly admit that the amendment is not very clearly drafted, but I understand the honorable member’s desire to be that no person shall lose by reason of the time that he spends at his compulsory training. The Minister proposes that youths between the ages of eighteen and nineteen while undergoing compulsory training shall be paid at the rate of 3s. per day while in camp, and from the ages of nineteen to twenty 4s. per day while in camp. I interpret thai: to mean that those youths will not be paid for the half-day trainings or night drills. It is quite possible that some youths between eighteen and twenty mav be earning more than 3s. or 4s. per day outside.
– I think very few.
– I was earning more at that age, and I am sure, that a large number of our youths will be in a similar position. The object of the honorable member for Cook was to insure that they should not suffer financial loss .during the period that they were forced to train for defence purposes. In spite of the interjections and gibes of one or two honorable members, who, to put the matter in the most kindly way have not given too much attention to this Bill, the object of the honorable member for Cook is worthy of our serious consideration, and if we can meet it, we ought to do so this afternoon. We should not necessarily be bound to’ the 3s. and 4s. per day suggested by the Minister, because the pay may not be as much when it comes to a matter of prescribing. Those amounts are merely an intimation of the Minister’s present idea. He may prescribe whatever rates he pleases.
Mi. Joseph Cook. - He can prescribe them only after Parliament has voted the money.
– I know that Parliament has a certain amount of control over the Estimates each year, but while the Minister may to-day suggest 3s. and 4s., the Government may, when the Estimates are being considered, announce that financial exigencies necessitate the payment of lower amounts.
– Like the old-age pensions.
– Yes, the matter maycome under the administration of a gentleman like the right honorable member for Swan, who, as a matter of fact, expressed his fear that if the Labour party were left in power that Act might be too liberally administered.
– The honorable member had better quote me exactly, and not misrepresent me.
– The right honorable gentleman misrepresents himself often enough without my adding to his difficulties. We ought not to be strictly bound down to the rate suggested by the Minister if we can do something that will make our young men view the Defence Forces with more favour than might otherwise be the case. The honorable member for Cook deserves our thanks for drawing our attention to the possibility of many young men suffering loss, and having their enthusiasm dampened rather than kindled. If the honorable member can re-draft his amendment to make his intention clear, I shall be’ only too pleased to give him my assistance, and I thoroughly believe that other honorable members, irrespective of party, will do the same, in order that we may refrain as far as possible from subjecting young men undergoing training to loss.
.- After all, what the Defence Department is concerned about is the value of the services rendered to it, and not the value of services rendered to some other persons with whom it is not concerned. I understand, for instance, that the honorable member for Adelaide occupied a highly responsible position before he reached twenty, and it is possible that a young man may be drawing £1 a day from his employer at that age.
The Department must have a uniform system for paying these young men if they are to be paid. Unless they are paid purely on the basis of the services which they render to the Department, we shall have different men receiving different pay, with the rich man serving alongside the poor man and drawing more. The Minister would be very ill-advised to accept any such suggestion.
– - I wish to help the honorable mem, ber for Cook, because it is a serious matter for young men to be called away from their work. There is no question that many of them will lose their positions. When men volunteered for’ service in South Africa they were promised reinstatement in their billets when they returned, but very few were reinstated. If the property-holders of Australia desire to have their property defended they ought to pay for that defence. It is a small matter to them, but it is a big matter to the young man. who is called away from his employment, with a liability of losing it,, and compelled to put in fifteen or sixteen days’ training without pay, or, perhaps, without being recouped even his ordinary expenses. If the honorable member for Cook can secure adequate remuneration for the young men who are compelled to leave their work and go into camps to be drilled by gentlemen on horseback, wearing spurs and feathers, I shall be glad to help him. Of course, I am opposed to all this military business, but, at the same time, I want to make the scheme as effective as possible, if it is to be passed. It would ‘be far better to use, for the purpose of settling people on the land, the money that we are going to waste on building fighting machines. The extension of our grain fields and sugar-cane fields will constitute a far stronger defence of the country than war-ships, guns, or forts. We must put in the four corners of this Bill every stipulation that will prevent an unsympathetic Minister from making young men come out for service without pay. Seme Ministers will carry out the Act sympathetically. Others will not. What we require to do is to fix an absolute minimum rate of pay. I shall vote for the! amendment.
.- We cannot object to the desire of the honorable1 member for Cook that a fair payment shall be made to workmen who undergo militarytraining. But I cannot agree with the argument which he has used in favour of his amendment. He has alleged that the object of the Defence Bill is to protect the property of the wealthy. If I thought that, I would not vote for the Bill at all. Such an argument is almost an insult to the men who take part in the defence of this country. The idea is not to make them mercenaries. I refuse to believe that the working classes of Australia take so low a view of the duties of citizenship. Personally, I have very little property to defend j and what I have does not require much looking after. Probably, I am not so well off in that respect as are the honorable member for Cook and other members of his party. That may be my bad luck or their good luck. But when I hear such an argument advanced, I, as one who has been associated with the working classes all my life, feel compelled to reply that I do not regard the amount paid to the Militia as payment for services rendered. If the honorable member for Cook seriously thinks that the whole object of this Bill is to provide for the defence of the pro’pertied interests, I sincerely trust that he will oppose tho measure at every stage.
– I did not say that it was the only object j but that it was the main object.
– I take quite a different view of the situation. The British people, and especially the Australian section of them, are actuated by quite other motives when they take part in the defence of their country. ‘ I am quite with the honorable member when he contends that the cost of military service should not be an extra tax upon the masses. That is to say, we should not pay for our defence by means of higher Customs and Excise duties. When we approach the financial aspect of the question, I shall be ready to assist the honorable member and others ‘in seeing that the wealthy pay their proper proportion of the cost of defence. As to the rates of pay proposed, I think it likely that young men between eighteen and twenty years of age will neither lose nor gain much if they receive 6s. per day while in camp. It is quite true that- there’ are men amongst the working classes who cannot afford to be three or four days out of employment. Many labourers do not earn more than 36s. a .week. Many of them have families to keep. Some are the mainstay of their old parents. The loss of a day or two’s pay is a serious consideration to such people. A man with a small wage has no margin to provide for living out in the clover paddocks to learn to drill. 1 appreciate the motive of the honorable member for Cook in that respect. But his argument that the rate of pay should bear some proportion to the earnings of members of the Militia Forces would, if adopted, be likely to land us in difficulties. A sum of 4s. per day might be adequate for some young men nineteen years of age. But there are others who earn’ far more. An engrosser in a lawyer’s office, who may be a. very fine penman, may be earning a guinea a day. He is just as much a worker as is a moulder or a carpenter’s apprentice. The working classes do not thank their representative men for singling out sections of them for special treatment, especially in a matter like defence. If we were to lay down the principle that We should make up the shortage of wages lost through young men undergoing military training, we should get ourselves into a most awkward position. Furthermore, under this Bill, about 65,000 men will go into camp. It is a serious matter to think of paying them more than the Government propose. The honorable member for Cook, under cover of his amendment, has asked where the money for the payment of the men is to come from. That is an independent question. No one will assist honorable members opposite more earnestly than I shall to see that the wealthy classes do not escape their proper contribution. But, at the same time, I am voting for this Bill because the masses ought not to escape the performance of the duties of citizenship. I am not so idealistic as to think that the world to-day is governed on the principle that “ right is might.” I am rather inclined to think that the principle that “might is right” holds sway. It is necessary that the citizens of the country should bear their share in its defence, and I am satisfied that my constituents do not wish to escape their duty. All that they ask is that they shall not carry the whole of the burden on their backs; that is to say, that they shall not pay for the military service as well as performing the duty. But, between recognising that principle and treating our troops as mercenaries, there is a very wide difference. It has been said that we might leave the matter in the hands of the Minister, if we knew that he would handle it sympathetically. But no Minister in Australia can afford to be unsympathetic in such a matter as this. For the sake of his own political welfare, he will take care to administer the measure sympathetically. I do not think that the honorable member for Cook intended to be insulting, but I say again that, in my view, it is an insult to suggest that men will only join in the Citizen Forces for the sake of the pay which they will get. A fair thing should be done by them, and they require no more. I may here point out that the proposition of the Government treats the men in a fairer manner than would have done the suggestion of that hard-shelled, democratic member of the Labour party, the honorable member for West Sydney, who, when he was a supporter of the .Deakin Administration, contended that the rates of pay should be 10s. and 12s. 6d. per week.
– That was a mere expression of opinion from an individual.
– - It was the opinion of an influential member of the Labour party. Indeed, the Leader of the party, in his speech at Gympie, did not advocate that the rates of pay should be so high as are those contained in this Bill. It is essential that our manhood should render the service to the country that they are being called upon to perform, but they ought not to expect to make money out of it. All that they can hope for is to be, to some extent, recouped for money out of pocket. I do not know what the object of the honorable member is in proposing that the rate of pay shall be 8s. per day. Surely there is nothing magical about the figure “ 8 “? We cannot introduce that numeral into everything political. “ Eight hours a day and eight ‘ bob ‘ a day “ is a very taking phrase, and if we could say, “ Eight hours’ labour, eight hours a day, eight hours’ war, and no more,” I should be glad. But, as we cannot, I see no particular virtue in the figure. So long as a fair thing is done by the men who undergo training, and thus perform their duty to the community, they will have no reason to complain.
– The honorable member for Cook has a very worthy object in view, although his proposed amendment may not accomplish what he desires. The honorable member for Bourke interjected that the rate of pay fixed in the Fisher Bill was 12s. 6d. a week, but that is not so.
– Does the honorable member deny that” that rate was referred to in the Gympie speech, and that the speech declared the policy of the Fisher Governnent ?
-When the Gympie speech was delivered, the Bill had not been finally drafted. There was no provision for a rate of 12s. 6d. a week, or for any other rate, in that measure, just as no rate is provided for in this measure. Under the Bill, the pay is to be. “ as prescribed,” and, if the Government were in financial difficulties, only 2s. 6d. a day might be prescribed. In the view of the Minister, however, the proper rate will be ss. a day for youths who have arrived at the age of eighteen years, and 4s. a day for those who have arrived at the age of nineteen years. That being so, surely the honorable gentleman will not object to an amendment which, in place of leaving the rates to be prescribed, will declare that the amounts which I have just mentioned shall be paid. If the honorable member for Cook chooses to propose higher minimum payments, it will be for the Committee to decide whether they shall be adopted. A compulsory system of military training should not favour either rich or poor.
– Nor town nor country.
-That is so. All serving in the ranks should be on an equality, and promotion should be the reward of merit. The Bill will not be in full operation for .”several years to come. I do not expect that this Government will hurry things.
– That is a distinctly non-party declaration !
– At any rate, we know that the measure will not be fully in operation for several years to come.
– I have allowed the Committee to fix the date when it shall come into operation.
– The Minister knows that that amounts to nothing. Those who are now eighteen years of age will be too old to come under the compulsory provisions of the measure, but they may join the Militia at any time, and, on so doing, will receive 8s. a day. I understand the honorable member for Cook to contend that, as 8s. a day is paid to youths in the Militia, the same sum should be paid to youths who are being compulsorily trained.
– My proposal is that all over the age of twenty years shall receive 8s. a day.
– Under the law as it stands, every person joining the Militia must be paid 8s. a day. I object to the use of the words “ as prescribed,” because I regard.it as dangerous to leave to the discretion of a Minister the determination of matters which Parliament is able to determine itself. Most of the people of this country think that the Invalid and Oldage Pensions Act provides for the payment of pensions at the rate of 10s. a week to all qualified to receive them, but I know a case in which only 9d. a week is being paid. If we leave the rates of pay to be fixed by the Minister, he may make them very low indeed, if his Government is in financial difficulty. The force of public opinion may compel him to do so.
– The force of public opinion might cause the repeal of the Act.
– If the rates which I have mentioned are provided for, it will be necessary to increase taxation to provide the money with which to pay them. These rates cannot be paid under the existing financial conditions.
– They will be paid, if the Bill is passed.
– We have a right to know how it is to be done. The honorable gentleman, when in Opposition, repeatedly stated that in cases of this kind we should be told how the necessary funds are to be provided. In my opinion, the rates to which I have referred - 3s. a day for youths of eighteen, and 4s. a day for youths of nineteen - are reasonable.
– We are erring on the generous side.
– The amount is certainly a generous one.
– It is more than apprentices get.
– Not more than every apprentice gets.
– More than apprentices at those ages get.
– At any rate, I am satisfied with those rates, and if the honorable member for Cook does not move an amendment, I shall move to have them inserted in the Bill. It is not that I think that the present Minister would not prescribe them, but that we do not know who his successor will be, and Commonwealth Governments succeed each other very rapidly.
– I hope that the Minister will stand to the Bill, in the interests of those who have to serve under it. I am surprised that the proposal of the honorable member for Cook should be seriously supported. He wishes to provide that every adult shall be paid 8s. a day, or at that rate for part of a day. Now, one hour is part of a day, but it would be difficult to determine what pay should be given for an hour’s drill.
– The wording is that of the Attorney-General’s Department.
Mr.Sampson. - A man might lose a whole day in attending an hour’s drill.
– In regard to the proposal that youths under the age of twenty should receive a rate equal to their average incomes during the four weeks preceding training, I would mention that I know an insurance clerk under the age of twenty who is getting from£200 to£250 a year. The honorable member for Cook proposes to pay such a man£5 a week, and to pay others serving with him, who may be as good, or better, soldiers, perhaps only 3s. or 4s. a day, because their ordinary earnings are much smaller. Such inequality of payment would at once create discontent. I desired the honorable member for Hindmarsh to mention in his speech that the honorable member for Wide Bay, when enunciating the policy of his Government at Gympie stated that they proposed that youths up to twenty years of age should receive only 10s. a week whilst undergoing compulsory training, and” that members of the Citizen Defence Forces of the age of twenty years and upwards should receive only 12s. 6d. a week. When I asked the honorable member whether he still supported the policy, he said that it was notembodied in any Defence Bill, and that it was not the policy of the late Government.
– I said we had not finally decided upon our policy.
– Then the honorable member for Wide Bay stated that his Government proposed to do that which they had not finally determined to do.
– The party was never consulted. I should not have agreed to any such proposal.
– We have now an interesting view of the inner workings of the Labour caucus. The honorable member for Hindmarsh says that the policy of the Labour Government with regard to the payment to be made to members of the Citizen Defence Forces while undergoing training, had not been finally decided upon when the Gympie speech was delivered, and the honorable member for Cook suggests that the late Prime Minister could not make an official statement without consulting his party.
– That is not so, but it is near enough for the honorable member.
– If the statement is not correct, the honorable member must blame the honorable member for Cook, who made it.
– He meant to say that the party generally were not told what the policy was to be.
– I must ask the honorable member for Corio not to continue his present line of argument.
– The statement made at Gympie by the Leader of the Labour party in regard to the payment which his Government proposed to make to members of the Citizen Forces is, I submit, relevant to the question now being discussed.
– The honorable member is in order in referring to that speech, but he is not in order in proceeding to discuss in detail what a certain caucus may or may not have done.
– Very well, sir; I am glad, however, that the statement made bv the honorable member. for Cook will be on record.
– It will not be cut out of Hansard, like some of the honorable member’s statements are.
– A voice crying in the wilderness ! The Labour Government passed two sets of Estimates in both of which the pay of members of the Permanent Forces in this State was fixed at 25. 6d. per day ; that of the permanent engineers - in accordance with what had been the practice for some years - at 6s. 6d. per day ; members of the Victorian Naval Forces, 5s. per day.; and Australians in the Imperial Navy 4s. 3d. per day. Even those rates, however, were high compared with the proposal of the Leader of the Labour party in his Gympie speech that members of the Citizen Defence Forces should receive a weekly allowance amounting to about is. 5d. per day whil’st training. When the proposal for compulsory training was first made I recognised that the difficulty associated with it would be that of finance. I’ spent three Saturday afternoons in visiting various cricket and football grounds in my constituency and discussing with young men whom I met there the question of how the system would affect them. At a cricket match at Geelong I met three lads of nineteen years of age who were married, and two of whom had children. They were earning about 30s. a week. I recognised that it would be a serious thing to compel young married men receiving such a small wage to go into camp for a number of days every year and to pay them during that time only 10s. a week, as proposed by the Leader of the Labour party, although that was better than the proposal originally made by the honorable member’ for West Sydney, that the payment should be only 7s. 6d. a week. When I found that the present Ministry were prepared to pay lads of eighteen £1 is. per week in respect of the time actually spent in training, and lads of nineteen 28s. a week. I thought that the scheme could very properly be accepted. The payment proposed by the Government is as much as the Commonwealth can at present afford. I fear, however, that the whole scheme will be wrecked on the rock of finance. Although the Minister has made provision for the payment of the men, he will not be able to extend that provision to the extent that I desire. I certainly do not think that 3s. or 4s. per day should be the permanent rate of pay. Youths of eighteen in the Militia at the present time receive 8s. per day. They receive is. a night for recruit drills, and as soon as they pass into thi; ranks are paid 8s. a day in respect of time lost. I hope that the Minister will endeavour to bring the general rate of pay up to that level. I do not say that it should apply to all, but during the last three years of the conscriptive period it ought to prevail. I do not wish to see any rate fixed in the Bill, because I believe that it will be the duty of the Minister to endeavour gradually to increase the pay as funds permit. If, as the honorable member for Cook proposes, however, the rate of pay is fixed, the hands of the Minister will be tied. The Militia pay at present is £fi 8s. per annum. In 1892 thi: Militia in Victoria received ^12 per annum; subsequently that payment was reduced to “^10 per annum, and thereafter to £l per annum, until the year 1902, when it was further reduced to L6 8s. a year. If the amendment suggested by the honorable member for Cook, is adopted, the rate of pay which he proposes will become the maximum - instead of the minimum. We should endeavour to get for every man at least 8s. a day. I ask the Committee to say that if the pay of the members of the
Citizen Forces is fixed at 3s. per day in the case of youths of eighteen, and at 4s. per day in the case of youths of nineteen, the members of the Permanent Forces shall receive a similar minimum wage. It is a disgrace to the Commonwealth that members of the Permanent Forces should be receiving only 2s.. 6d. per day, and that rate of -pay, I may add, has been placed on the Estimates on two occasions by a Labour Administration.
– In considering the question of the cost of this scheme one naturally asks what sincerity there is in the proposals of the Government. After examining their financial proposals I am constrained to ask how they intend to finance the . scheme as it stands. If its cost is increased as proposed bv the suggested amendment, still greater difficulties will be encountered.
– Does the honorable member support the suggested amendment?
– Not as it stands. I have considerable sympathy with the object which the honorable member for Cook has in view, but I am not in sympathy with the proposal to increase the pay of lads serving in the Citizen Forces until the forces are made effective. If we are short of funds, and those who oppose the honorable member’s proposition say that we are, we should take care to so spend the money at our disposal as to make our defences as effective as possible. We shall certainly need to increase our expenditure on the training of our forces in order to secure an effective system of defence, and I should not like to see any man forced into a position that would lead him to want. Is a man to be compelled to undergo military training to his loss or for his benefit? Undoubtedly that training is designed to benefit him. Our young men visit cricket and football grounds and places of amusement for their pleasure, and 1 believe that the average Australian, if appealed to in the right way, will readily display his patriotism. I indorse the remark of the honorable member for Dalley that we must not regard our citizen soldiery as mere mercenaries. I hope that such a spirit will never prevail in Australia, and that the poorest men in the Commonwealth will recognise that they are being called upon to undergo military training for their own benefit as well as for the benefit. of others. The position of a man with wealth or a good income to fall back upon is decidedly different from that of another who has to depend upon a meagre wage for a livelihood. I hope that whoever is administering this Act will strive to see that men who are taken away from their only means of support are caused to suffer as little loss as possible while under training. I should not worry, at all if wealthy men received no payment while undergoing training, because it would not matter much to them, but one must worry -about the man who has no other support than the wages that he earns. I hope the suggestion of the honorable member for Hindmarsh, that the payment be not less than 3s. per day for youths of eighteen, or 4s. per day for youths of nineteen, will be adopted. That seems a very small pittance, and it would be hard to make the pay less. I agree with other honorable members that it is wise to leave the intricacies of this measure to experts. No doubt we laymen can see what is right and what is wrong as regards the general principles of the Bill, and in the matter of expenditure, but in the intricate details the experts have such a lead of us that it is rather fortunate that they are taking charge of the measure.
.- I desire to move presently to fix a rate of payment in the Bill. The Minister has professed certain ideas of his own, but he may not always occupy his present position. We have seen even the present Go:vernment change their opinions frequently, and they may change theirs on this matter, so long as it is left open. The Minister himself was not in favour of compulsory training a little while ago. He has altered his opinion on that question,, and may alter it on this.
Mi. Joseph Cook. - That is what a man gets for treating the honorable member generously.
– In what way did the Minister treat me generously? 1 hope he does not wish to infer that I have received generous treatment from him in any administrative matter connected with his Department. I do not know that he has shown me any generous treatment in the House.
– Perhaps not; go ahead.
– I hope the Minister does not refer to anything that occurred to-day in connexion with his Department ?
– If anything that I have said has induced the Minister to go further in regard to the pay than he originally proposed, I shall be glad, but I have heard nothing to lead me to such a belief. This question is one of the most important in connexion with the whole measure I represent a large working-class district, where the men cannot afford to lose time unless pay is assured to them. Their wages are not large. There are 30,000 electors in my district, and you can go from any one point to any other in it in twenty minutes, so that honorable members can see that it is a closely settled working-class district. After consideration of statements made during the course of this debate, I move -
That proposed new section 130 be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following - “130. Every person of twenty years and over undergoing training in the -Militia shall be paid at not less than the rate of 8s. per day for each working day or part of a working day on which he is undergoing such training. Every person undergoing compulsory training shall be paid for each working day or part of a working day on which he is undergoing such training at a rate of 3s.” per day for persons between the ages of 18 and 19 years, and 4s. per day for persons between the ages of 19 and 20 years. Such payment may be made out of any appropriation made by Parliament for that purpose.”
That will mean that all those compelled to train between the ages of eighteen and twenty will be guaranteed at least from 3s. to 4s. per day. Those who voluntarily join the Militia from eighteen years upwards to be paid 8s. per day. I would like the pay uniform, but from the debate I find that impracticable at this juncture. The amounts that I have foreshadowed in it are not what I should have liked, but I have consulted a number of my friends, and I find that they are the amounts for which 1 can get some support. I desire to go further on the first opportunity I get, but this provision, if carried, will be an instalment, and an indication to those who lose time from their work in drilling for the defence of Australia that they will be guaranteed some fixed amount to reimburse them.
Question - That proposed new section 130 proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed new section agreed to.
Proposed new sections 131 to 133. agreed to.
Proposed new section 134 - (1.) No employer shall prevent, or attempt toprevent, any employee who is serving in the Cadets or Citizen Forces from rendering the personal service required of him, or in any way penalize, or attempt to penalize, any employee for rendering such personal service, either by reducing his wages or dismissing him from his employment or in any other manner :
Provided that this section shall not be construed to require an employer to pay an employee for any time when he is absent from employment for the purpose of training.
Penalty : One hundred pounds. (2.) In any proceedings for any contravention of this section, it shall lie upon the employer to show that any employee, proved to have been dismissed or to have been penalized or to have suffered a reduction in wages, was so dismissed penalized or reduced for some reason other than for having rendered the personal service required by this Part.
.- I would direct the attention of the Minister to the following phrase in the second and third lines - any employee who is serving in the Cadets or Citizen Forces.
That does not meet the position of men who have not . yet started their training. The Minister will meet both cases if he substitutes for “serving” the words “ liable to serve,” or, perhaps, “ liable to be trained.” Proposed new section 125 provides that all male inhabitants of Australia shall be “ liable to be trained.” The unfortunate feature of this Bill is that eight or nine different persons seem to have been engaged on it. In one place the words “liable to serve,” and in another the words “ liable to be trained” are used. Section 59 of the original Act, which still remains in force, uses the words “ liable to serve in the Militia Forces.” It would be better to use the phrase “ liable to be trained.”
– I suggest that the honorable member should allow this proposed new section to go at this stage, and, in the meantime, I shall look into the matter. I have been consulting the AttorneyGeneral ; and, if we find that an alteration is required, we will recommit the Bill.
– I am not troubled about an inconsistency in the use of phrases. But say that an employer tried to stop a lad from going into training at all, and took the objection that he was not “serving.”’ This provision says that an employer shall not prevent an employ^ “ who is serving.” It is one of the strongest penal provisions in the. Bill; and it has to be watched very closely, because it will not be readily accepted. When we are passing a Bill of this nature, we have to see to it that the penal clauses do actually penalize. If the matter were merely one of phrases, it might be left to the Attorney-General. But if the Minister wants the proposed new section to be effective, he should not leave a’ loophole to any dishonest employer to render the provision nugatory.
– I quite agree with what the honorable member for Corio has said. I should like to ask a further question. Let us assume that an employer has in his service a youth who is engaged, not for a fixed term, but by the week. Suppose that the youth is called out for service, and that at the end of his service, the employer refuses to Jake him back again, saying, “ The man whom I took on in your absence suits me better than you did. I will keep the older man, because he will not be liable to be called out for training.” In the majority of cases, employes are not permanently engaged, but are employed from day to day. I want to know what the Minister would do to meet a case of that kind. I do not ask him to draft a clause forthwith, because hasty legislation to meet the cases of wily per-sons is not desirable. But I hope that the Attorney-General will endeavour to meet all cases as far as possible.
– This Bill was not drafted entirely in the Attorney-General’s office. The word “ serve “ is used rather generically. I should prefer not to suggest an amendment now; but will promise to go through the Bill carefully and see whether there are any inconsistencies which require to be remedied.
– I would rather have an amendment made now.
– If, at the recommittal stage, it is still thought that there is a danger in the direction indicated, will the Minister agree to recommit this clause?
– Certainly ; but if the honorable member would prefer to put in the words “ liable to,” that could be done now.
Amendment (by Mr. Crouch) agreed to -
That after the word “ serving,” line a, the words “or liable to serve” be inserted.
– The proposed new section provides that no employer shall prevent, or attempt to prevent, any employe from rendering personal service, either by reducing his wages or by dismissing him. But an employer may penalize a youth, not for rendering service co the Commonwealth, but for not rendering service to him. He may say, “ I did not dismiss this man for the service which he rendered to the Commonwealth; I dismissed him because he did not render service to me.”
– That would be almost a direct way of saying that the man was turned away because he had served the Commonwealth.
– I have known employers to refuse to allow their apprentices to attend camps of training. I fear that there will be the greatest difficulty in enforcing this penalty. It is difficult to prove why an employer dismisses a man. I have known employes to be dismissed because they gave evidence before a Royal Commission, but, of course, that reason was not stated.
.- I understand that the point which I mad( a few moments ago will be considered by the Attorney- General, and that if he considers that this proposed new section is not satisfactory in its present form, it will be recommitted. As to the point raised by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, it does not protect another large class of persons who are engaged in military service, .and who are as deserving of our protection as those who are rendering compulsory service. I refer to the first line of militia created from the compulsory service cadets. The proposed new section speaks of “ rendering the personal service required of him,” and again, lower down, there is a reference to “ rendering personal service “ ; but no regard is paid to the militia services, for which payment is made.
– The Citizen Military Forces include the Militia under the definition clause.
– I am inclined to think on reconsideration that that is so. As regards the safeguard against an employer simply not re-engaging a man who had been serving, and giving as his reason that he likes a new employe better than the old one, the matter certainly requires the attention of the Attorney-General. I hope that amendments will be submitted at the recommittal stage to meet the point.
– If, on reconsideration, I can make this provision more stringent, I shall be glad to do so. My desire is to !give absolute protection to those who have to undergo training. But I tell honorable members frankly that I doubt whether we can provide for every contingency. We cannot, I am afraid, legislate to prevent an employer, who is unscrupulous and mean enough to take advantage of his position, dismissing an employ^. I would far rather rely, and do rely, upon the patriotism of employers, after we have done our best to safeguard the trainees under the Bill. I am glad to see that already there is evidence of a very good spirit amongst the employers in this matter.
– The Commonwealth itself deprived men of the opportunity of going to Easter encampments until the Prime Minister intervened.
– I have no doubt that our Departments are as .bad as private employers. Human nature is not much better inside than outside the Service. But my desire is to safeguard the trainees to the fullest extent, and if any one can suggest a more stringent provision, I shall be glad to consider it.
.- I agree with the Minister of Defence that, whatever provision we frame, we shall have to depend upon the fairness and generosity of employers. If an employer insists upon dismissing a man, it will be difficult to sheet home to him any other reason than the excuse which he offers, and I believe that when the new system becomes uni versal, difficulties will not occur so often as they do now. I would, however, urge upon the Minister that he should make the provision as stringent as possible. There are undoubtedly men who would avail themselves of every opportunity to evade their legal responsibilities.
.- We cannot make a provision of this kind too stringent. No doubt where a number of boys were being employed, it would be easy to replace them with others, and when they returned from their training, they could be taken on again, and summarily dismissed a day or two later on the plea that they were not doing their work properly. In such a case, what action could the Defence Department take? In Queensland, employers dismiss lads perhaps a week before they become entitled to receive certain rates of wages. The employes are told that there is no more work for them, and they have to leave. We know that in Victoria on one occasion some of the Public Departments were preventing militiamen from attending an Easter Encampment, and the Prime Minister had to issue a minute directing that all militiamen- in the Public Service should be relieved of duty io attend camp, and should be paid as usual while absent. He added that the Commonwealth should be model employers in a matter of this kind.
– I had to issue an imperative order to the same effect.
– When the Commonwealth Departments themselves transgress, what can we expect from private employers? However stringent this provision may be made, there will be a loophole of escape. Like the honorable member for Maribyrnong, I hope for much from the loyalty and patriotism of employers. Without their co-operation, the system must break down. My fear is that in the capital cities large numbers of boys will be thrown out of employment after the annual period of training. Those who have reared families know that it is very difficult to obtain work for lads who are between the ages of seventeen and twenty.
– It is harder to get work for them then than at any other time.
– That is my experience. Fathers and mothers, especially those who are partly dependent on their children’s earnings, naturally look askance at the compulsory provisions of the Bill, because they fear that their children may be thrown out of employment.
– This matter has been considered very carefully by Ministers, because one has to be very cautious in guarding against the easy evasion by employers of the prohibition against the arbitrary dismissal of employes for absence on military service ; but I think that the provision in the Bill is inadequate. There is a similar provision in the Arbitration Act, and a Bill to which the name of Senator Needham is attached goes even a little further. Taking advantage of the criticism of honorable members, I move, with the approval of the Minister of Defence -
That after the word “ rendering,” line 6, the words “ or being liable to render “ be inserted.
Amendment agreed to.
Consequential amendment also agreed to.
– There is another point which I think worthy of the attention of the Attorney-General. The proposed new section throws the burden of proof on the employer who prevents an employe^ from rendering “ the personal service required by this Part.” Between the ages of eighteen and twenty, men will be compelled to serve in the Citizen Forces, and between the ages of twenty and twenty-six will have to attend one registration and one muster parade in each year. But there will be those who will voluntarily enlist in the Militia, and it seems to me that we are not providing against interference with their service on the part of their employers, because it will not be “ the personal service required by this Part.” Part XII. does not require voluntary enlistment.
– A man who enlists in the Militia is required to render personal service.
– But that is not “the personal service required by this Part.” The man whose patrotism compels him to voluntarily increase his term of service should be protected, if necessary, from his employer.
– Although enlistment in the Militia may be voluntary, as soon as the militiaman is sworn in, his personal service becomes compulsory.
– But, as I have said, it is not “ the personal service required by this Part.” No doubt what employers^ will object to will be attendance at the eightday camps. We should protect men from interference by such employers. To do so, I move -
That the words “by this Part” be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “of him.”
– The proposed new section provides that -
No employer shall prevent, or attempt to prevent, any employee who is serving in the Cadets or Citizen Forces from rendering the personal service required of him.
The Militia will form part of the Citizen Forces.
– But service in the Militia under the circumstances suggested by the honorable member for Wentworth will not be “the personal service required by this Part.” .
– Does the Bill deal with regulations, or are they covered by the principal Act?
– They are covered by the principal Act, of which this will form part.
Amendment agreed to.
Proposed new section, as amended, agreed to.
Proposed new section 135 - (1.) Every person who in any year, without lawful excuse, evades or fails to render the personal service required by this Part, or its equivalent, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall, in addition to the liability under section one hundred and thirty-three of this Act, be liable to a penalty not exceeding One hundred pounds and not less than Five pounds. (4.) In default of any penalty imposed, or (where the Court is of opinion that the imposition of a penalty would involve undue hardship) in lieu of imposing any penalty, the Court may, if it thinks fit, commit the offender to confinement in the custody of any prescribed authority for a time corresponding in duration to the time which, in the opinion of the Court, would be taken up in rendering the personal service required. ….
– I should like to know the meaning of the words “or its equivalent.” The proposed new section seems to provide a method by which, men may buy themselves out, by paying a fine of not less than £5 nor more than £100. Those who have rea.d anything about conscription know that men have often cut off a finger or a toe, or ha,ve otherwise mutilated themselves, to evade military service.
– Such men are now put in i he non-combatant forces.
– I fail to see that any good purpose will be served by the retention of the words “or its equivalent.” A sympathetic Bench might fine a man £5, and the payment of that monetary penalty might be held to cover the period of service evaded.
– The words “ or its equivalent “ refer to trainees who have evaded some part of their service. If they evade any part of their service, they have to make good the time lost. If a boy does not train in the first year, he has to undergo a double term of training in the second ; and if he fails to do any training in the first and second years, the whole of the training prescribed must be undergone by him in the third year.
– How long can that go on?
– Until the end of his cadet term. When that term ends, we can get hold of a lad who has not done any training, and may fine him, and make him train under duress.
– Would the Minister send him into barracks?
– Probably we should. We might let him attend to his ordinary work during the day, and compel him to train in barracks at night. He might be placed under military arrest.
– But sub-clause 4 of the proposed new section would operate only in default of any penalty being imposed.
– The imposition of a penalty would not relieve the offender of his obligation to serve.
– Sub-clause 4 will have to be amended if that is the honorable member’s intention.
– No. In proposed new section (133 it is provided that-
Those who are classified as non-efficient, either for failure to attend during the prescribed period, or because they have not attained a sufficient standard of efficiency, shall be required to attend an equivalent additional training for each year in which they are nonefficient.
In other words, those who do not come up and do their training in one year will be made to do it later on.
– That is, if the Court thinks fit.
– The Court might determine, if a case were brought before it, that the offending boy ought .not to be trained. It might find that he had not the requisite ability to enable him to assimilate the instruction given. We must trust to the discretion of the Court in the last resort. Who else is to be the final judge ?
– But sub-clause 4 is not mandatory so far as the Court is concerned.
– Of what use would the Court be if it were given no discretion?, We must simply fix upon a certain standard, and leave the Court to determine whether that standard has been subscribed to by the offending trainee, and, if not, why not? The Judge must have a discretion.
– The proposed new section is very unsatisfactory. The Minister of Defence tells us that, in addition to the fine that may be imposed for evading service, the offender may be compelled to attend an equivalent additional training. In subclause 4, however, it is provided that -
In default of any penalty imposed or (where the Court is of opinion that the imposition of a penalty would involve undue hardship) in lieu of imposing any penalty, the Court may if it thinks fit commit the offender to confinement in the custody of any prescribed authority. . .
– That is what will be donein the case of the poorer classes.
– Exactly. They will be placed in confinement in every casebecause they are unable to pay any penalty.
– The penalty is milder, I think, than that provided for in theprincipal Act, which provides for imprisonment.
– My objection isthat sub-clause 4 differentiates between rich and poor. We want to see that the rich man’s son. does not escape; to a rich man a money penalty would be as nothing. We must insist that all shall’ undergo the prescribed training, but under the proposed new section as itstands that cannot be done.
– The provision which thehonorable member lias just quoted means that in default of payment of a fine theoffender shall be committed to confinement.
– The Minister of Defence referred us a few minutes ago toproposed new section 133 and said that under it any person evading training would be compelled to make good the time lost and, in addition, would be liable to apenalty.
– That applies to every one.
– The Bill does not say so.
– It does.
– In the proposed new section before us we have the words -
Every person who . . fails to render the personal service required . shall in addition to the liability under section 133 of this -Act be liable to a penalty…..
– I do not like the proposal to vest the Court with discretionary power. It will lead to differentiation between rich and poor.
.- The Minister of Defence has not shown that it is necessary to retain the words “ or its equivalent.” The honorable gentleman referred the Committee to proposed new section 133. The service therein referred to, “however, relates to the same part of the Bill as does the proposed new section now before us, and I am sure that the words “or its equivalent” may be read as meaning a money equivalent. Does the Attorney-General say that any good purpose will be served by retaining the words.
– There was a doubt about the matter, and they were inserted for greater caution.
– The Courts will endeavour to read into them some meaning. This measure will be fought in the Courts, and we need to provide a penalty that will stand. I am sure that no one desires that many men shall be able to -evade service (owing to a defect in this Bill. A lawyer who appeared for the defence might urge that the person charged was going to do his equivalent service, and a fine could not be imposed until every attempt had been made to force him to serve that equivalent. The danger is that these words will be read as referring not to a personal, but to a monetary equivalent, and I should like them to be struck out.
– I widerstand the phrase “ or its equivalent “ to refer to an equivalent service that should have been performed in some year that has passed. If a man does not undergo the specified training in one year he must perform its equivalent in the second.
– Unless the words “ or its -equivalent “ mean something else than personal service they are unnecessary-
– I do not think that the retention of the words is very important, and if honorable members desire them to be omitted, I shall offer no objection. I move -
That the words “or its equivalent,” in subclause 1, be left out.
Amendment agreed to.
.- I have read the whole of proposed new section 135 carefully, and it certainly does not seem to provide any adequate penalty.; It appears to be totally unworkable. Under it offences might apparently be piled up from year to year and carried forward, and in the end I am afraid that the offender would escape scot free. Of course it is the duty of the Government and of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department to provide the necessary machinery for giving effect to the Bill, but these provisions seem to be totally, inadequate.
– I move -
That the words “ default of,” in sub-clause 4, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ addition to.”
The penalty mentioned is a money penalty. I want the young man whose father can afford to pay a fine for him to be still liable to do his term of service.
– I agree with the honorable member for Corio. The sub-clause as it now stands will allow the Court, if k wealthy man’s son comes before it, to merely impose a fine of from £>5 to £l°o> a»d let him go. That relieves him of the obligation to put in his training.
– The Minister says that he will have to serve even then.
– The Minister may say it, hut wc want the Act to say it. At present it says that, “ In default of any penalty imposed,” the Court may commit the offender to confinement.
– It provides also that where the imposition of a penalty would involve undue hardship the Court may commit. That refers only to the poorer classes.
– The Court might apply it to the richer classes. The words “ in default of any penalty “ may apply to a man who can pay the fine as well as to the man to whom it would be a hardship to pay it. In the one case the wording is “in default of,” and in the other “ in lieu of.” What is the difference? There seems to be none. The sub-clause as drawn makes it clear that the Court can, if it chooses, allow a man to escape his service by merely fining him £5. The Attorney-General would be well advised to accept the amendment
– The sub-clause seems to need recasting. There is nothing to save a person who has no money from being imprisoned, whereas the person who has money may escape that inconvenience. Such a provision offers a premium to those who have rather than those who have not.
– I confess that there seems to be a possibility, under the sub-clause as drawn, of a man with plenty of money being able to pay the fine and so enabling his son to evade the service. I therefore accept the amendment.
– Will the amendment really accomplish the honorable member for Corio’s object? I question whether it will compel the oflender to still do his training.
Mi. Crouch. - I shall afterwards move to substitute “ shall “ for “ may “ in relation to the Court.
Amendment agreed to.
.- The subclause says, “ the Court may if it thinks Fit.” Is this a case of “ trust the Court “ ?
– No; but the Court, after imposing a fine, may ask, “Are you content to do your training?” and the training may be performed without any necessity for duress.
– What if the man does not do his training then?
– Then, of course, he goes’ to confinement..
– Had we not better make this sub-clause compulsory?
– Would it not be fair, if a heavy fine had been im-. posed, to give a boy a chance to do his training in the ordinary way, if he wilfl do it ? The purpose of this provision is to give the Judge a discretion.
– In such a case the Court would adjourn the case for a time to see if the boy did his training.
– The Judge should be left some discretion whether he should send the offender to duress at once after fining him, or not. A fine of £100 is very heavy, and will straighten some of them up.
.- Would it not be possible to provide that the Court “ shall commit the offender to confinement unless he gives sureties to complete his training under the Act”? The Minister’s intention seems to be that the Court shall impose a fine and let the offender do his training, but that if he does not do it he shall be committed to custody.
– A youngster may be absolutely incorrigible, and when the Court has imposed the fine it may consider whether it is worth while to send him to be trained. Will such a boy be worth anything to us to train in view of his incorrigibility or other undesirable traits?
– - Will the Attorney-General state the effect of the word “ may” in this connexion, as applied to the Court? We cannot say that the Crown “ shall “ do something. Does not the Court represent the Crown in the interpretation of the law?
– The word “ may “ leaves it optional with the Court.
– This is not a question that we can leave to the discretion of any person. We all know that there are extraordinary discrepancies between the sentences imposed for similar offences by different magistrates in the lower Courts in all the States, and I am sorry to say that they are usually in favour of the rich man’s son. Numbers of articles have appeared in the press pointing out these discrepancies, even in the same Court, to say nothing of different Courts. I am sure that the Minister’s intention is that every boy liable to be trainedshall put in his training asprescribed.
– Yes, if he is worth training.
– If he is not worth training he deserves punishment all the same. Surely a boy is not to be let off because he is incorrigible. The sub-clause provides for the incorrigible boy, because the Court may commit him to custody. Even if he cannot be trained, he ought not to escape confinement. But the sub-clause leaves a loophole for the rich man’s son to escape.
– Oh !
– It is admitted by great authorities that justice is bought. One of America’s greatest lawyers, in Figures of the Past, a magnificent work that I have just read, expresses what some of our own lawyers havesaid over and over again. The partner of the present Attorney-General, in a splendid address at Adelaide some time ago before the Justices Association, said something even stronger than I have said. When we have these facts staring us in the face, why leave this loophole? I only want a fair thing done. We cannot help what happens under the law. We cannot help one magistrate being unfair1 as compared with .’another. But when we have power to provide that all shall be treated alike, we should do our duty in that respect. The honorable member for Corio would be well advised if he extended his amendment to provide that the Court shall have no discretion.
– I propose to move to insert the word “ shall,”
– I cannot see why any honorable member should oppose such an amendment, except with a desire to assist some persons to escape doing their duty.
– What an infamous thing to say !
– It must be so. The Minister is rather fond of making such remarks. He has told us that his desire is to have every man trained except incorrigibles. That ought to be the desire of all of us. But if we leave the sub-clause as it stands, that object cannot be accomplished. If I were opposed to the scheme of the Bill, I should object to an amendment, but I want to get every adult male brought under the measure. I do not want my own boy to get through nor any one else’s boy.
. I object to the honorable member for Hindmarsh slandering our Courts and our Judges, simply because dishonest things have happened in other countries. No doubt there have been corrupt Judges in some countries, but I am satisfied, after a long experience of the law in this State, and with a knowledge of the conditions in other States, that our Judges are absolutely incorruptible, and that the administration of justice in Australia is as fair and honest as it can be. The honorable member has merely spoilt his case and his argument by slandering people who have honestly endeavoured to perform their duties.
– I rise to order. I object to the honorable member for Balaclava saying that I have slandered any one. I merely stated what the AttorneyGeneral’s partner said.
– May not that have been a slander?
– I say that it was no slander. I ask that the word “ slander,” used by the honorable member for Bala clava, shall be withdrawn. I would not slander his profession or any other profession.
– I do not think that I can call on the honorable member for Balaclava to withdraw the word to which exception has been taken; but as the honorable member for Hindmarsh objects to its use, I ask the honorable member to withdraw it.
– I should be sorry at any time to hurt an honorable member’s feelings, and if the honorable member for Hindmarsh thinks that I have used too strong a word, I shall be pleased to withdraw it. But I certainly think that he used a very harsh term regarding the administration of- justice in this country. My experience has been exactly contrary to his own.
.- In my opinion the remark that “ Justice is bought,” used by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, was most uncalled for. The record of the Australian Courts does not justify such an assertion. I was at first of opinion that the language of the provision under consideration was not strong enough; but I am. now satisfied that the’ word “may” would fit the case, because under proposed new section 133, any person who does not attend, or otherwise makes himself inefficient, will have to go through his training again. There will be no alternative but for the Court to commit an incorrigible person. It is not the object of the Bill to give any person a chance of escaping his training. I feel satisfied that whether a youth was a rich man’s or a poor man’s son, justice would be meted out to him.
.- I agree that where it is prescribed that a certain penalty shall be imposed for a definite offence, a discretionary power ought not to be left to a Judge or magistrate. Therefore, I shall support the strengthening of this provision. At the same time, I wish to say that I cannot support the interpretation placed upon the statement of the honorable member for Hindmarsh. I do not know of a single case in which justice has been bought in Australia.
– I did not say that.
– I should not like to be committed to the honorable member’s words, whatever they may mean. 1 know of no case in which it has even been suggested that the administration of justice iri Australia has been corrupt.
– Hear, hear j neither do I.
– I do, however, know of cases where justice has not been administered, not because the fountain of justice was polluted corruptly, but because of an unconscious bias on the part of those presiding on the bench at the time. I have known of cases where decisions have been given that were not in accordance with the evidence, and of cases in which it appeared to me that there was a very strong leaning indeed.
– The remarks which have been made do not justify the honorable member in entering upon a discussion as to what has happened in certain law courts.
– I am giving reasons why I think sub-clause 4 should be strengthened. We ought not to afford an opportunity for social and class distinctions to be made. I have known cases! where the class line has been strictly drawn.
– Magistrates may have been biased.
– That is what I am saying, and that is the reason why we ought to make sure that there shall be no waiving of penalties when the sons of the well-to-do try to escape the compulsory training prescribed by this Bill. No such thing as social influence or club influence or association influence ought to have any effect upon the administration of the measure. I think that the honorable member for Hindmarsh has been totally misunderstood by some honorable members- opposite. Perhaps there has been a desire to make it appear that he said something which the words that he used do not actually convey.
– The honorable member began by condemning him, and now he seeks to excuse him.
– I am not going to accept the interpretation placed on the honorable member’s words by honorable members opposite. Of course, an election is pending, and we know what honorable members and their supporters are capable of doing.
– I did not hear distinctly the statement of the honorable member for Hindmarsh, but I feel sure that he could not have meant to impute that any member of the Judicial Bench in this Commonwealth has in any case been “bought.”
– I never said so.
– I feel sure that, whatever the expression used by the honorable member may have been, he did not mean that because, if he had said such a thing, or meant it, it would have been the grossest and most undeserved slander that any human being could utter against the occupants of the Judicial Bench, and against the character of the people of Australia.
– I regret that any honorable member should have sought to misrepresent what I said. The words which I used I will repeat, and Hansard will show that what I say is correct. What I said was that a great American lawyer, in a book called Figures of the Past, said that justice could be bought.
– The honorable .member said more than that.
– Will the Minister of Defence be kind enough to keep quiet while I am explaining that I have been misunderstood? Even the American lawyer, from whom I quoted the phrase, did not assert that the American Courts were corrupt. I was dealing with the rich’ and the poor, and I stated - what is undeniable - that we find different magistrates giving different decisions upon the same kind of evidence. We repeatedly see articles in the press commenting upon the different character of the decisions given by magistrates in similar cases. The partner of the AttorneyGeneral has said something quite as strong.
– If so, I repudiate it. I have not heard him make any statement of the kind, nor have I seen such a statement attributed to him.
– What he said before the Justices Association was that half our law was Judge-made law.
– That is quite another thing from saving that Judges are bought.
– The right honorable member will agree with me that in Australia justice is bought, though not by the corruption of Judges or magistrates. I had to pay pretty dearly for legal assistance on one occasion, and yet failed to win my case, though afterwards my opponent was put into gaol, it being proved that he had robbed the country of ^60,000., Had I not been able to pay for the assistance of counsel, thus buying my law, I should have been mulcted in a heavy penalty. I ask those who say that justice cannot be bought what chance would they have of winning a case against the righthonorable member for East Sydney or the
Attorney-General ? A man who tried to present his own case when such lawyers were appearing against him would have a very poor show of winning.
– The honorable member’s expression was very unfortunate. He would not like it to be said that any member of his party could be bought.
– I have mentioned that a great lawyer used the expression.
– I understand now what the honorable member meant ; but the expression he used was unhappy. It might be used all over the world in a wicked sense.
– I would be the last to suggest that our Courts are corrupt. I do not even suggest bias on the part of magistrates whose decisions have differed. Bui, as some men would be able to pay lawyers to appear in their defence, while others would not, and as magistrates are influenced by the representations of those who appear before them, I say that we should not pass the Bill in such a form that either rich or poor mav be able to evade military service.
– If a fixed penalty were provided, injustice might be done.
– We have left it at the discretion of magistrates to say whether the penalty shall be ^5 or £100. What; I contend is that, in any case, the defaulter should be compelled to undergo his. period of training.
– The question is whether the word “ may “ or “ shall “ ought to be used.
– The honorable member far Corio suggests the substitution of the word “ shall “ for the words “ may if he thinks fit.”- Not only do members not listen to the arguments of those who are trying to perfect the measure, but they also try to misrepresent them. I am in earnest regarding this matter. In my opinion, the Bill does not go far enough. However, it is not worth while to discu&s the matter further, in view of the little interest shown by the Committee.
– I am surprised that the honorable member for Hindmarsh has forgotten that in all the battles in British history the sons of rich and poor have fought side by side, and died together as comrades. What has happened in the past will happen again in the future. In Australia the sons of rich and poor will do their duty together, without fear or favour. There are incorrigibles belonging to all classes, and this provision is intended to deal with them. It seems to me that the amendment which has been made on the motion of the honorable member for Corio renders the parenthesis ‘ ‘ where the Court is of opinion that the imposition of a penalty would involve undue hardship “ unnecessary.
– 1 hose words provide for the possibility of a man having a good excuse Even a fine of ,£5 might prove ruinous.
– If any distinction is created, it is in favour of the poor man.
– If that is so. it is better to leave the words as they stand. In my opinion, the substitution of “shall” for “ may “ is unnecessary.
.- I am afraid that the proposed new section will place the interpretation of the measure in the hands of magistrates. Sub-clause 4 provides that -
In default of any penalty imposed the Court may, if it thinks fit, commit the offender to confinement.
While agreeing with all that has been said about the integrity of our Courts of Justice, I cannot ignore the fact that magistrates are at times unconsciously biased, and I am opposed to allowing the administration of the measure to be affected by such bias. The person proceeded against may not be able to pay a penalty, and the magistrate before whom he is brought may, as the provision stands, out of the kindness of his heart let him go. There should not be this loophole for evasion. To place this discretion in the hands’ of the magistrates is to undermine the principle of compulsory service, in regard to the application of which there should be no room for caprice.
– In my opinion, the Minister might well agree to the substitution of the word “ shall “ for the words “mav, if he thinks fit.”
.- We know that the word “ may “ in Acts of Parliament is generally regarded as mandatory, or, at any rate, so construed.
– If it is intended to make this provision mandatory, the word “shall” should be used.
– I think a still further amendment is necessary. If the alteration suggested by the honorable member for Corio is made - and, in my opinion, it should be made - the proposed new subsection will provide that the Court shall “commit the offender to confinement in the custody of any prescribed authority.”
– I suggest that he should be committed to the custody of the commandant of a camp.
– The “ prescribed authority “ might be the devoted mother of the erring lad. The provision is so drawn that any authority might be prescribed.
– Would such committal amount to the imposition of a penalty ?
– -No doubt, the cares of office have dimmed the honorable member’s memory of his youthful days ; but there is a time in the youth of perhaps every young man when to be confined within his own home is a serious penalty, and a future Minister of Defence might take the view that it would be a sufficient penalty to impose upon offenders under this proposed new sub-section. I should like to know definitely what it is proposed to do with such offenders. What is the prescribed authority to whose custody they will be committed ?
.- I should like to ask the Minister of Defence, or the Attorney-General, for an opinion as to the meaning of the words “without lawful excuse” in sub-clause 1 of the proposed new section. A great deal may depend upon them. The expression seems to refer only to excuses in law. If it does, then difficulty may arise. Cases may occur in which the failure to render service has been due to circumstances that would excite the sympathy and consideration of the Court and of every one else. I can conceive of a case in which not a rich man, but a poor man, might be grievously affected. A young man might perhaps be the sole support of his mother, and the remaining members of her family, and it might be vital for him in a particular year, owing to the specially urgent circumstances of that family, not to give up to training the time that the law demands. If the words “lawful excuse” would cover a case of that kind, I should have an easy mind, because, in that event, the person charged would not be punished. But I am afraid that “ lawful, excuse “ would not cover such a domestic emergency.
– -Why not substitute “ valid “ f or “ lawful”?
– The Court would ask for a lawful excuse, and would say to the offender, “ There is nothing in the Act dealing with cases of emergency affecting a breadwinner.” If the words “lawful excuse” mean only an excuse in law, some most distressful cases, in which the person who had absented himself would have the sympathy of every member of the community, would have to be punished by the imposition of a fine of not less than £5. Such a penalty would be ruinous to a man in the circumstances I have mentioned, and, if sub-clause 4 were made mandatory, as has been suggested, his position would be further aggravated by his compulsory removal from the duty of earning bread for those dependent upon him.
– He would have only to serve in confinement the time he had evaded.
– But that might be allimportant to those whose daily bread was dependent upon his labours. While I strongly concur in the desire to make this provision as uniform as possible, so that no invidious distinctions shall be made between rich and poor, I am very much afraid that in endeavouring to achieve that object we might inflict very serious injury upon the poor. A young man might have dependent upon him a family, some member of which was permanently invalided. All sorts of urgent cases might arise, but, under sub-clause 4, as it stands, the Court could take the special circumstances into consideration, and in doing so would carry out the wishes of the whole community.
– The right honorable member is showing how- many interpretations can be placed on the provision as it stands.
– I am speaking, not of the interpretation of the proposed new section, but of the circumstances of those who may be brought before the Court. If the word “shall’’ were substituted for the word “ may,” a most cruel course might have to be taken, which would expose the whole system to odium. In the exigencies of the poor, the taking away of a breadwinner might work the most serious” consequences. I do not say that such cases would be frequent, but an acute case might arise, and if the word “ shall “ were substituted for the word “may,” the person concerned would have to be sent into confinement. If the word “ valid “ were substituted for the word “ lawful,” as the honorable member for Balaclava has suggested, I should see no objection to the use of the word “ shall,” because, in the circumstances to which I have referred, there would be no offence. There would be a valid excuse if such a case came into Court, and, as a matter of fact, I dc not think the authorities would bring it before the Court.
– Then the authorities would be the arbiters of the matter?
Mi. REID. - We cannot always trust implicitly to the authorities. I certainly wish to secure uniformity, and if the word “valid” were substituted for the word “ lawful,” I should have no hesitation in supporting the suggested amendment of subclause 4. But if we provide that every person who absents himself “ without lawful excuse “ shall be punished, the Court may be compelled to separate a man from his family in circumstances that would excite the indignation of the community, and throw the whole system into public odium.
.- The speech just made by the honorable member for East Sydney, appealing as it does to the sympathies of honorable members, places me somewhat at a disadvantage, but the right honorable member has pointed out so many avenues of escape from compulsory training as to occasion me some alarm, and I feel bound to press my proposal. I certainly should not like to see the word “valid” substituted for the word “lawful.” If the honorable member for Hindmarsh thinks that I suggested that I had aught but respect for our Australian Courts, he is mistaken. In cases that excite high political feeling, the Courts should not have a discretionary power. Under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, we have expressly provided that strikes shall not take place. No discretion is vested in the Court so far as they are concerned, and, as a further illustration on the point that I wish to make, I would remind honorable members of what took place when the Victorian Factories, and Shops Act first came into force.- The State Agent-General then ‘ found it necessary, again and again, to write to some of the justices in suburban courts, because, owing to their political feelings they declined to impose penalties in cases brought under that Act. It. was some time before the Act found its way into public favour, and there is not the slightest doubt that, as soon ns this system comes into force, it will give rise to a great deal of feeling. The people have not yet realized what it means, and. when it is brought into operation, we shall have to face a class of public opinion that will doubtless occasion honorable members some surprise. That feeling is likely to unread, and it would be a mistake to give the Court a discretion in such a matter as this. Let us place upon the authorities the responsibility of pressing for punishment in hard cases. Under this measure we shall have a public prosecutor. There cannot be private prosecutors.
– That is to say the honorable member would not trust a Judge, but he would trust the authorities.
– No; my point is that the authorities are subject to public opinion. The honorable member for East Sydney has made an appeal to our sympathies by referring to hard cases, such as the newspapers like to publish. I am convinced, however, that we ought to make sub-clause 4 mandatory, recognising that, if the responsible Minister instituted harsh proceedings, he would come und,:r the lash of public opinion. I move -
That the words “may, if it thinks fit,” in sub-clause 4, be left out.
.- The honorable member for Corio has convinced me that ‘ his amendment ought to be rejected. If the authorities are to determine whether or not punishment should be inflicted, many cases that ought to be brought before the Court will never see the- light of day. This provision will meet all the cases that are likely to arise. I think it would be unwise to make sub-clause 4 mandatory, since, by doing so, we should lay down a hard-and-fast rule to apply to future events, the circumstances of which we cannot foresee. If the Court has no option but to commit a person into custody for evading service, great hardships may arise. I agree with the right honorable member for East Sydney that it would be better perhaps to substitute “ valid “ for “ lawful,” so that only those who were unable to offer a valid excuse would be punished; but I think we shall do well to leave sub-clause 4 as it stands. If the Court is compelled to punish men for not attending to their military duties, even when they have been prevented bv necessity or other just cause, hardship will be inflicted. We might possibly alter the word “ lawful “ to “ valid,” but I see no reason for adopting the amendment of the honorable member for Corio.
.- I do not see eye to eye with the honorable member for Corio on this occasion, because, as the right honorable member for East Sydney pointed out, cases of exceptional hardship may require special treatment. We ought to leave a discretion to the Court.
– Leave the whole principle to the Court?
– It would not be leaving the whole principle to the Court. We trust the Court in many vital matters, and we might safely do so in this case. If we substituted “ valid excuse “ for “lawful excuse” and at the same time substituted “ shall “ for “ may,” we should still give the Court a discretion to exempt certain cases. It is far better to leave the text exactly as it stands. I think that exceptional emergencies requiring special treatment will be very few and far between, but when they do occur the Court should be empowered to meet them.
Proposed new section, as amended, agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7-45 i>-m-
Proposed new sections 136 to 141 agreed to.
Proposed new section 142 -
All male inhabitants of Australia, who have resided therein- for six months, shall register themselves, or be registered by a parent, guardian, or other person acting in loco parent is, in the manner prescribed -
during the month of January in the year in which they will reach the age of fourteen years (or, in the case of persons who in the year in which this Part commences will reach the age of fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen years, during the month of January in that year), or
– I desire formally to move -
That after the word “seventeen” the words “ eighteen or nineteen “ be inserted.
I do not want to debate the question, as we have already taken a test vote; but I wish to indicate what I desire to have inserted in the Bill. My object is to have more youths trained.
Proposed new section agreed to.
Proposed new sections 143 to 145 agreed to.
Proposed new section 146 (Record book).
. _ Is any penalty provided for a breach of this section?
– We do not think that any will be needed.
Proposed new section agreed to.
Postponed clause 3 agreed to.
– I beg to move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ All promotions in the Citizen Forces to the rank of officer and non-commissioned officer shall be from those who have served in the ranks of the Citizen Forces, and the appointments and promotions shall be allotted to those in the next lower grade who are most successful in competitive examinations. The competitive examinations shall be of a practical character, and no written work shall be demanded other than of the nature required for the rank concerned in the field and in the ordinary exercise oi duties. The standards and manner of holding such examinations shall be prescribed in the regulations. All books required for such examinations shall be issued to candidates without charge.”
I hope the Minister will accept this proposal. In the past men who have served for many years, and gone through the ranks, have had the greatest difficulty in obtaining promotions. I have known men who never did a single day’s drill receive commissions, although I have known them to develop into first:class officers. At the same time, when men who had been through the ranks applied for commissions at the request of the commanding officer and of the men themselves, all kinds of attempt., were made to block them. If we are to have a citizen force, we ought to have the very best brains among the officers. Another method by which promotions from the ranks might be blocked is by prescribing unnecessarily severe examinations. That would give a great advantage to young men whose fathers could afford to give them an expensive training. That sort of thing obtains now. I want to see the examinations as severe as the duties will warrant, but they should not go beyond the duties which the candidates will be required to perform. Examination papers set, not only in this, but in other Departments, have been most unfavorably criticised by the public and press because of the extraordinary questions asked. In the Postal Department candidates for positions in which they would simply have to dress and paint telegraph poles, have been asked questions relating to geography and other subjects, which very few members of this House could have answered. There is nothing in the proposed new clause that will alter the Bill in any way, and no extension of any kind is proposed. My only desire is to have a citizen force in the best sense of the word, with equality of opportunity to every man according to his ability.
.-I am inclined to meet the honorablemember in this case, but in return I ask him to eliminate the words restricting the character of the competitive examinations, leaving it to us to fix the standards and character of such examinations. If he does so I shall be glad to accept the clause. I agree with him that in the Citizen Forces promotions should be from below as far as possible.
– I should have preferred the clause as it stands, but I believe we can rely upon the spirit of what I propose being carried out by the Department. I therefore agree to the excision of the words -
The competitive examinations shall he of a practical character, and no written work shall be demanded other than of the nature required for the rank concerned in the field, and in the ordinary exercise of duties.
Proposed new clause amended accordingly, and agreed to.
– I beg to move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ The regulations for the drill, training, inspection, discipline, and government of the Defence Forces shall be in accordance with the following principles : -
The Citizen Forces shall be instructed only in those duties that are required of them in war.
There shall be no military funerals in uniform except on active service, or in the case of those who have been on active service.
Military uniforms shall be of one character only as prescribed, and shall he wom only on parade or other military duty. Uniforms shall be supplied free of charge to all ranks, including officers.
The system of military salutes shall be reduced to the simplest form for military discipline.”
With regard to paragraph a, a great deal of time has been taken up in the past by unnecessary show parades. I am sure that in order to obtain an effective citizen force the Minister does not want a single hour of the limited training provided in the Bill to be wasted. Within the last few years show parades have been much restricted, but there are still too many of them. As the Department recognises that they should be still further diminished, it is well to set it out definitely in the Bill. Our forces ought to have a practical training in the duties that they will be expected to perform in time of war. With regard to paragraph b, the honorable mem”ber for Richmond, when Minister of Defence, was good enough, at my request, and at the request of others, to agree that Indian Mutiny and Crimean veterans should be given a military funeral so long as the Department was not put to expense. I am sorry to say that quite a number of such veterans have passed away quite recently. In every case the relatives greatly appreciated the funeral accorded in pursuance of that permission, and the Department was not put to any expense. With reference to paragraph c, military uniforms should certainly be all of one character. My meaning is that one uniform should not be finer or more showy than another. Of course, they ought to be distinctive, and this paragraph would not interfere with the use of different coloured materials for different arms of the service, or different facings for the Infantry. All uniforms ought to be as simple and as nearly of one character as possible, with, of course, all the distinctions that the Minister may think desirable. I believe that is in accordance with the Minister’s own wish.
– This would do away with the kilt.
– I think not, but if it had that effect it would be for the Minister to say that there should be an exception. It would be possible to provide that all the Scottish regiments must wear kilts of the same material, though, of course, the tartans would be different. But no regiment should have a finer or more expensive uniform than any other. With regard to military salutes, I think that they should be insisted on when men are in uniform, but not otherwise, because that has led to trouble in the past, and will do so in the future.
– I regret that I cannot accept the amendment. I do not think that it would be wise to provide that the Citizen Forces shall be instructed only in the duties required of them in war. Of course, the main object of their training will be to fit them for warfare, but a limitation of the kind proposed might prove very inconvenient. I do not agree with the honorable member that military funerals should not be in uniform. I can conceive of nothing more impressive than such functions. In my opinion, they help to strengthen the feeling of comradeship. Naturally soldiers, when bearing a deceased comrade to the grave, like to wear the dress which he wore as one of their number, and this sentiment of comradeship should be encouraged. If, as the honorable member proposes, our military uniforms were all of one character, the Scottish corps would be robbed of their kilts, unless we put all the regiments in kilts.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh would like to have the Naval Brigade in kilts.
– As to saluting, we propose to standardize the training, drill, and discipline of our troops with that of the rest of the Empire. Having determined to do that, it would be unwise to depart from the principle in respect to saluting. To do so might lead to complications, if our officers or soldiers were sent to other parts of the Empire and officers and men from outside were exchanged to serve here in their places. It must not be forgotten that the utmost economy will become a necessity of the situation because of the expense of our Military Department.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh will be wise not to press his proposals. I should not like the Highlanders to be deprived of their kilts.
– That is not intended.
– I agree with the honorable member that uniforms should be supplied free of charge, both to officers and to the men in the ranks, and that they should be simple in character. By providing the officers with uniforms, the Government will make it possible for men who are now debarred from accepting commissions, because of the expense, to gain the promotion to which their merits entitle them.
– Officers’ uniforms are not as expensive as they used to be.
– That reform has been brought about by the drastic criticism in Parliament of the old practice. To supply the officers with uniforms will tend to make our Citizen Forces more democratic. No doubt the other proposals of the honorable member, while it would not be wise to embody them in the Bill, are worthy of consideration, and will probably form the basis of useful reforms. As to saluting, I agree with the Minister that we should try to make our .practice and discipline the same as that of other parts of the Empire.
– The question of uniform can be dealt with without the insertion of a provision in the Bill.
– That is so. If the Government determines to supply uniforms to all ranks, it will have to establish and control a factory for their manufacture. I understand that power is taken to do that.
– I would like it to be understood that it is not my intention to deprive the present regiments of their distinctive dress. I feel very strongly on the subject of uniform. While it may not be necessary to insert a provision regulating the supply of uniforms, we should have an assurance from the Minister that both officers and men will be provided with uniforms by the Government. Officers’ uniforms must not and cannot be expensive, because of the number of officers required. It will be more difficult than the Minister thinks to get the necessary officers. At present, we are short of officers by some hundreds, but we should make every effort to get officers, and to promote those who possess the best qualifications. To poor men the cost of uniforms means a great deal.
– The number of officers will be so great that this matter will have to be considered very seriously, and, no doubt, the necessities of the situationwill compel us to do what the honorable member wishes to have done.
– We should like to know that it will be the policy of the Department to provide officers with uniforms.
– I should like to have a provision inserted in the Bill requiring the Government to supply officers with uniforms. I have known many desirable men to be prevented from applying for commissions because of the cost of officers’ uniforms.
– The honorable member was so prevented
– Yes, for some years, and when, after pressure from mv commanding officer and the men, I agreed’ to accept a commission, I found the expense of a uniform very considerable. Inmy case, a Highland uniform had to beobtained in addition to the ordinary dress. I believe that we all desire that the cleverer and more active members of the forces shall become officers, and that nothing shall prevent the promotion of the best qualified’ men. If the Minister will say that it will’ he the policy of his Department to provide uniforms for officers, that will go a longway to insure it being done.
– What will it cost?
– The officers’ uniforms need not be made much more costly than those of the men. Our forces are to- be trained on a war footing, and we knowthat in South Africa the dress of the officers was assimilated as closely as possible to that of the men.
– What does the fancy uniform to which the honorable member referred cost?
– The cost of a Highland uniform ranges from £60 to £150, and that of an officer in the Infantry about £44- .
– Not now.
– I am aware that mess dress is not now compulsory, but officers who do not possess mess clothes are practically debarred from attending functions where they know their fellow officers will appear in full dress. In my opinion, the mess dress is not required, and I hope that it will be abolished.
– I am going into the matter very thoroughly, and I think that if the honorable member leaves it to me he will be satisfied.
.- I have given notice of my intention to move the insertion of a new part providing for the establishment of a Military College. It is as follows: -
Part XV.- Military College. 147. The Governor-General shall establish a Military College under a Director, who shall be a highly qualified officer with a general knowledge of the science of war, and a staff consisting of not less than four Assistant Directors, who shall each be a specialist in the duties allotted to him at the College. 148. There shall be allotted to the Military College, for such periods and at such times as may be prescribed, to. assist in the education of officers, a permanent field artillery battery, and such other permanent units for instructional purposes, as may be found necessary to secure the practical efficiency of” the College. 149. No officer shall be appointed to, or receive promotion in the Administrative and Instructional Staff until he has passed, as prescribed, a course at the Military College. 150. No officer, other than officers of the cadets, shall be promoted, except probationally to any rank higher than that of Captain until he has passed, as prescribed, a course of practical and theoretical instruction at the Military College to perfect him in the practice of his own arm of the Forces, and to accustom him to the uses and possibilities of other arms. 151. No officer shall be promoted above the rank of Major until he has passed, as prescribed, a course of instruction at the Military College during which he shall have shown himself fitted to command in the field a force of all arms. 152. Sections 149, 150, and 151 shall not disqualify any existing officer of the Commonwealth Military Forces for the Tank he holds on the date on which the Act comes into operation provided he receives, as prescribed, a cer tificate of his fitness for the said rank from the Director of the Military College within two years of the establishment of the said College. 153. Militia officers, who have passed the prescribed course at the Military College, shall take seniority over other officers of similar rank in the Commonwealth Militia Forces who have not passed the said course. 154. Officers attending the Military College shall receive such pay and allowances as may be prescribed.
It is a curious thing that while the Bill provides for training the rank and file, no provision is made for training the officers who will be responsible for the discipline and efficiency of the men.
– I do not think that any other Bill does it.
– That is no reason why this Bill should not.
– Is the experience of the world worth nothing to us?
Air. KELLY.- So far as this Bill is concerned, it is not, since it is entirely different from the Military Acts of other countries. There is no doubt that, to any impartial student of this measure, its one outstanding weak feature is that, while we are endeavouring under it to provide training, which some consider inadequate, for the rank and file, there is no attempt made by it to provide efficient educational training for the officers who have to command them. Let us consider for a moment the position of the existing officers in Australia, apart, nf course, from any personal considerations. We have recently provided, at considerable cost, a new7 artillery arm. The new 18- pounder field gun provided for the Australian Field Forces is, perhaps, as good agun as is to be found in the world, but do honorable members know that in the Commonwealth’ there are only two officers who have passed through a proper field artillery school ?
– Who are they ?
– One officer is on the Central Administration, in Melbourne, and the other has recently returned from England, after undergoing a course of training thereThere is a third officer undergoing training in England; but we have in Australia a.t the present time only two who understand the use of this new arm. Let us go now a stage further, and consider the position of the superior officers - officers of the rank of colonel - who would have to command columns in time of war.
– I presume that the honorable member, in speaking of officers who have qualified, is referring to those who have passed through the School of Gunnery at Woolwich?
– I am speaking of officers qualified to give instruction. There are a number of officers who have been for a long time in militia field batteries, and from what I can gather from them, they have only recently begun to appreciate, at all events in New South Wales, how infinitesimally little they know. They have been led to do so by the visit to New South Wales of an exchange officer from India, associated with the Field Artillery. With his arrival they began to understand for the first time that there was such a thing as indirect fire in connexion with field artillery. I do not wish to delay the Committee, but desire to point out that it is far easier to train the rank and file than it is to give an officer sufficient knowledge, experience, and confidence in himself to make him a fit commander for the troops we have when the time for action arrives. I have drawn up these provisions after consultation with a number of persons. The only objections with which I have been met so far may be briefly stated. In the first place, I am met with the plaint, “ What is the good of Parliament doing anything? Why not leave it to the Defence Department?” I am not disposed to leave it to the Department, because I have a very shrewd suspicion that its permanent officers, the vast majority of whom have not qualified themselves as they would have had to do in the Imperial or any foreign service for their offices, will show as great reluctance in the future to insure the proper education of their colleagues and themselves as they have in the past. So much for that objection. Another objection that has been urged is that it would be very difficult to induce a militia officer to undergo the course requisite to make him efficient. My answer is that, if that is so, the sooner the Parliament understands it the better for _ the people of Australia. We are living in a fool’s paradise if we go on imagining that our officers are reasonably efficient, when it is known that they are not, and when it is thought at Head-quarters that they would object to any course proposed to make them efficient. I shall explain very briefly the proposed new clauses. My idea is to have a central college, to which every one who -seeks the rank of major will have to go, and pass a course of instruction, receiving while there a pay allowance.
– The honorable member is following, to some extent, the Canadian system
– No. Canada has a college - Kingston - partly devoted to ordinary educational subjects, and dealing partly with military training. Under our Constitution, which leaves to the States the subject of general education, such a departure would be out of the question. I propose a college for the education of our higher officers. I still propose that all examinations for officers under the rank of major shall remain, as at present, entirely under the Department. But when a man wishes to go up to field rank - that is to say, when he desires to become a major - he should prove himself thoroughly qualified in his own particular branch of the profession, and should prove, in addition, that he is so conversant with other arms that his own force might have to meet in time of war as to be able to lead his men with a fair chance of success. Further, I propose that, when a man goes up for the rank of lieutenant-colonel in our Militia Forces, he shall pass an examination equivalent to that which, in the Imperial Service, is called “Tactical fitness for command.” A man who seeks that rank in the Imperial Service must show himself to be versed in the use of all arms and able, to lead a composite force in the field. That is all that I ask that our officers shall do. I am asking, in fact, that our militia officers shall have placed before them opportunities which they have never had to make themselves as efficient as they could hope to be as militia officers, and, I trust, as efficient as permanent officers could hope to be. I propose that they shall go to this Military College, where they will receive the assistance of experts in the various branches of military science.
– What will be the basis of admission ? Does the honorable member propose that students shall have previously matriculated ?
– Any man desiring to- go up for the rank of major must have passed the course laid down by the Department.
– He must at least hold the rank of captain.
– Yes. When he goes to the college, the Director and AssistantDirector will have to test his capacity, and help to educate him outside the theoretical schools. He will have the services, from time to time, as the Department decides, of a permanent field artillery battery, and such other permanent arms as may be found necessary for his proper education. It has been suggested that Camberley, the great staff college in England, has no permanent arm attached to it. That is true. It is. not necessary that it should, because, as the honorable member for Maranoa knows., after a man has completed his staff course there, he can be sent to Aldershot, where he can be placed in command of a column, and put through his facings in the same way. We have no means in Australia, unless we adopt some such plan as this, of testing an officer’s knowledge of an arm of the service to which he has not been used. A man who desired to become a lieutenant-colonel of infantry, to be efficient, would have to prove that he knew something about the use of artillery. In such a case, what does the Minister do? He sends the officer to a sixteen days’ camp of the Australian Militia Artillery. ‘ The brigade has allotted to it a period of training - about one-fifth of that thought necessary in other countries, where there are citizen forces, and it has to cram into sixteen days what other forces attempt to cram into sixty. The result is that, long before the men have got through their sixteen days’ course, they realize that their time is all too short. They have no time to instruct themselves, let alone to instruct any* one else who comes to witness and stays to interfere with their operations. It is essential to the efficient working of a Military College in Australia to have, at all events, a permanent battery of field artillery, able, not only to educate officers, but to test the capacity of artillery officers generally. I submit proposed new section 149, because under the state of affairs ruling in, the Department, a man has only to pass a theoretical examination to become an instructional officer. He may be without fitness to instruct. I am informed by officers in a position to know, that a large proportion of our instructional officers are a travesty upon the name. How can we expect to have our rank and file trained if our instructional officers have received no instruction to fit them for the very high responsibilities they are called upon to bear ? The other proposed new sections I commend to the attention of honorable members.
– What about a Naval College?
– That will be absolutely essential when the Naval Bill is brought before us. We do not know what the provisions of that measure will be. Proposed new section 152 compels men to become efficient within two years, and the next provision that I propose to insert is designed to encourage them to become efficient as soon as possible, by enacting that -
Militia officers who t have passed the prescribed course at the Military* College, shall take seniority over other officers of similar rank in the Commonwealth Militia Forces who have not passed the said course.
That will show us immediately what officers we have who are energetic and keen; such officers ought to go up to the highest positions that we have at our disposal. The last of the proposed new sections that I desire to insert merely specifies that officers attending the Military College shall receive while there pay and allowance. I am not attempting to bind the hands of the Government of the day.
– On the contrary, the honorable member is trying to free their hands.
– I am trying to make certain that the Defence Department will at last take some action to do its duty in this regard. I wish to direct the attention of honorable members to the fact that all questions of detail under these proposals are still left to the Department. Everything with regard to technical questions with which we, in this Parliament, are not competent to deal, is left to be prescribed by the Governor-General. But if these provisions are inserted, we shall at least give to the Militia officers of Australia an opportunity to become truly efficient. The most energetic officers will be able to rise to the highest ranks. That is an opportunity they have not had before, and to that fact is traceable the disorganized state, so far as training is concerned, that we see them in to-day. I commend these propositions with confidence to the Committee, believing that honorable members will see that at least something in the direction I propose shall be provided for in this Bill. I move -
That the following proposed new section be inserted : - “ T47. The Governor-General shall establish a Military College under a Director, who shall be a highly qualified officer with a general knowledge of the science of war, and a staff consisting o? not less than four Assistant Directors, who shall each be a specialist in the duties allotted to him at the College.”
.- Honorable members generally should be pleased that the honorable member for Wentworth has gone out of his way to. endeavour to perfect this scheme. The honorable member is to be complimented on what he has done, and I think that the Minister can with safety adopt his proposals. The desire of the honorable member for Wentworth is to insure the efficiency, not only of the rank and file, but the officers who, in time of war, will have the lives of tens of thousands of men within their keeping. The Minister’s scheme, so far, is only on paper.
– The same may be said of the amendments now before us.
– Precisely. The whole scheme is on trial, and the Minister cannot raise the objection that what the honorable member for Wentworth is proposing is an innovation, and, for that reason, should not be accepted. Unfortunately, m public life, as in other spheres of action, if a man wants to make enemies, he has only to endeavour to excel others ; if he desires to make friends, he has only to let others excel him. The honorable member for Wentworth has unquestionably excelled many others in his study of military questions, but I hope that his proposal will be favorably received. The only real test of the whole scheme, whether in regard to the Minister’s Bill, the present Central Administration, a Military College, or future officers, will be actual war conditions. All that Parliament can do is to adopt what it considers the best and most progressive scheme, and see that its policy is carried out. The honorable member for Wentworth has pointed out that the Minister must first grapple with the question of whether his own Central Administration is competent enough for the high standard which he desires the rank and file to reach. The difference between the average highly skilled non-commissioned officer who has seen active service, and the ordinary officer who has not, is that the former is able to deal with men and impart instruction, and the other often is not. Many men can be found chock-full of book lore, but unable’ to impart their knowledge. That is the difficulty that the honorable member for Wentworth is apparently trying to get over. All I am afraid of is that he may be trying to make the training too theoretical. As an instance of the value of theory, in my younger days there was a highly theoretical officer in the Army, named Major-General Cleary, whose book on minor tactics was regarded as the standard text book for officers. Any one who could pass an examination in it was considered to be an excellent officer, but what was the practical, result? That officer, who was sent to South Africa on active service, was actually one of the first Generals captured by the Boers. The Boers did not work on his lines. If they had done what that highly skilled tactician told them to do on, say, page 646 of his book, he could have beaten them every time; but they did not bother about that. This shows that we can paint the advantages of a college in too bright colours, although I agree that we ought to have a college for the instruction of the higher officers.
– I have endeavoured to insure practical efficiency also.
– While the honorable member has drawn certain deductions from his study of the subject, there are other men who draw their deductions from practical experience, or perhaps by peeping into some of the very works that have been quoted in this debate. All I wish to say is that the theoretical business can be driven too far. As an illustration, there can be found in any city in Australia, men who are profoundly versed in the knowledge of the law, and can teach it in the universities, but they are absolutely useless in the Courts. They do not understand human nature, and cannot handle a jury. If you put some of these theoretical military scholars about 60 miles from the theatre of war, they could write splendid articles and directions, but in’- .toe handling of human documents - mankind - they would be very much at sea. I hope the Minister will not disregard the strong plea which the honorable member for Wentworth has made. I suppose if the Minister were candid, he would admit that he did not know the port side of a drum. He has done remarkably well in mastering the details of the subject in so short a time; but he should remember that the mere fact that a proposal is an innovation, and is disliked or looked upon unkindly by his present Central Administration, is not a sufficient reason for throwing it under the table. If he makes; inquiries, he will find that the Head-quarters Staffs in the various States have not been remarkable in the past for military sagacity. Any public man could name scores of officers in the States who have been fit only to draw their pay, and look well on parades.
– Does that apply only to Australia ?
– I am sorry to say that the Boer war showed it to be true also of Great Britain. Before that event, any public man who said that the British militarry authorities were lax in their control or discipline, or lacking in ability, would have been scouted, and there would have been a -demand for his suspension from the nearest tree. But the Boer war taught the sad lesson that, while the sprigs of nobilitywere courageous enough, they had not sufficient knowledge to lead troops, and thousands of the rank and file had to suffer in consequence. The Minister has been fortunate in getting this Bill through, and in having an awakened public to back him up in the matter. I hope that it will stand to his credit for many years to come, and, if it- passes, it will be a living memorial to him, but he should look further ahead to the contingency that we may have to face, and make sure that when our efficients have been drilled, they will be officered by men who will not lead them to the shambles. There is no doubt the Australian officer will have courage enough, but will he have enough ability to lead our forces in time of war? The lesson of the Boer war was a timely one to the British Empire, and every year since then, leading authorities in Great Britain have been hammering away to secure an improvement in the Central Administration, and a greater standard of ability among the officers of the Army. Surely we are not going to forget that lesson, or to ask the taxpayers to be bled almost to their last. shilling in order to put an efficient military force in the field, while neglecting the training of efficient officers, which should .be one of the main features of a first-class force? The proposition of the honorable member for Wentworth is most timely. Three weeks ago I said that if the Minister carried out the intention of the Bill, and tried to improve the Australian Forces, he would be for two years the most hated man in the Commonwealth ; and that the test of his ability and firmness would be the fact that he was hated. No doubt the late Minister of Defence, Senator Pearce, did what he thought was correct, but what made me doubt his usefulness was the paeans of admiration which arose from the officers of the Central Administration when he left office. Can the Minister show the Committee why a college should not be established ? Is it a matter of expense, or does he think that it will be useless ?
– As a matter of fact, T have money on the Estimates for a college, and am now elaborating a scheme.
– Then why object to provide for it in the Bill ? We know that the mere placing of a sum of money on the Estimates does not mean that the work will be done. This proposal is a splendid finish to the Bill. Honorable members know that the principle of universal service has now been practically adopted, but they are not asking for anything in the nature of a standing army.
– Do not forget that this is not a standing army.
– I quite recognise that; but we want to make our men efficient. It is not enough to give them a sort ofphysical drill up to the age of twenty, and then throw them out, and call the result an army.
– The mere passing of these clauses will not make the Army efficient.
– Their adoption will affirm the usefulness of a Military College. Men have often got commissions in years gone by without sufficient knowledge or experience to warrant it. I was amongst the number myself. Too many men have been “jockeyed” into the position of officer in Australia. It is all very well for afternoon tea parties and ball rooms, or for filling out tailor-made clothes, but when the responsibility comes, there will be a different tale to tell. This is a serious matter. Australia recognises that she will have to play her part in actual warfare, perhaps very soon, and she must be prepared. There are men holding positions now as colonels, majors, and captains galore. You can put six of them in a bag together and the worst one will generally be found at the bottom. This picture may be strongly drawn, but it is not drawn dishonestly. Men who were more fit to be instructed by their corporals than to give instruction have obtained commissions. If you asked many of these so-called officers to-day to explain in a few sentences an ordinary movement, they could not get beyond a stutter or a stammer, but would have to fall back on their coloursergeant. The honorable member for Maranoa knows that that sort of thing is rife in Australia to-day. There are men who could not explain an ordinary brigade order, if called upon suddenly to do so, holding high positions. Are we to allow that system to continue? The honorable member for Wentworth has admitted that compulsory service will bring into the forces many of the brightest intelligences, and openings should be made for them. The establishment of a Military College will be no bar to their advancement. I am with any honorable member who wishes to perfect this scheme. I do not know whether the Minister objects to the establishment of a college on political grounds, because he will not know where to put it, but he should not let that hinder him. It does not matter where it is established.
– Let us have it at the Federal Capital.
– That would ,be the natural home for it, but we hope that its establishment will be taken seriously in hand by the Minister before the Federal Capital is established. I trust that other honorable members will strongly support by voice and vote the proposition of the honorable member for Wentworth.
– Of course I have no objection to a Military College. 1 am as anxious as is the honorable member for Wentworth to make the forces as efficient as possible, but so far as I see at present, and according to the best advice I can get, I am afraid his proposal would make it almost impossible to officer the service in Australia.
– Who says that? If we cannot get efficient officers the sooner we know it the .tetter.
– I am saying it to the honorable member. It is not so easy to get efficient officers. It is all very well to talk about other countries’ standards of efficiency, but two things must always be remembered in connexion with our forces. One is I hat ours is a Citizen Force, and the other is that Australia is a large place. Our force is scattered over an immensely large area.
– America is a large place; but it has a Military College.
– Surely the honorable member will not compare Australia with America. As to Canada, which has also been mentioned, if we are only to get out of the college a result equal to that obtained there, it is not worth undertaking.
– The best officer the Minister has came from Kingston.
– The Canadian Military Force to-day is not as good’ as ours in point of efficiency, in spite of their colleges. I do not want honorable members to think that I am opposing the establishment of a Military College. One of my first acts on assuming office was to take steps to obtain one.
– Then why does the honorable member oppose the insertion of these provisions ?
– I’ have not said that I do. I merely wish to have them amended, as they must be, to be .of any service. As they stand they are unworkable. 1 do not object to making provision for the institution of a Military College. Indeed, the principal Act provides that-
The Governor-General may establish an institution for the purposes or imparting education in the various branches of naval and military science, and in the subjects connected with the naval and military professions, and for qualifying persons for the naval or military service.
– The Act says “may”; the proposed new part says “ shall,” which is a. very different thing. After six years nothing has been done in the -way of establishing a Military College.
– A requirement such as the honorable member wishes to set up would be unsuitable for Australia. He proposes that every officer shall go to the college to receive instruction. That would not be possible. The college would be located in, say, the Federal Capital.
– Only those who wished to qualify for promotion to the rank of major would have to go to the college.
– The honorable member makes the passing of the college course a condition to. the- promotion of officers. To pass that course they must go through the college.
– There will be only 200. majors.
– In the beginning, the Australian Military College must be more or less peripatetic. We shall have to take some of our instructions to our officers.
– And, no doubt, the present officers will appoint themselves- to the responsible positions of instructors.
– We have officers fitted to do the work of instruction.
– I suppose they have advised the Minister that they are so qualified.
– My honorable friend seems to think that no one in the Defence Service knows anything. In that he is quite wrong.
– I have never said that. The honorable member’s own officers would Ix; the first to admit that the Instructional Staff is not full v , qualified.
– There are some excellent officers in the Defence Service.
– That is quite true.
– One of the best of them, whose brilliancy my honorable friend would be the first to admit, is to-day engaged in considering proposals for the establishment of a college j but after three months’ study of the question he is not ready to formulate proposals. Yet honorable members seem to think that the whole matter can be settled in half an hour.
– Would the Minister wait three months, if the enemy were at the gates?
– I do not understand the bearing of the interjection. I am speaking of the difficulty of inaugurating a college which will be efficient, and will” work on right lines. That is a matter of supreme moment. I desire to establish an efficient college; but we must have regard to the conditions of Australia and the circumstances under which our citizen officers must do their work. Tt would not be wise to prescribe rigidly in an Act of Parliament the lines on which the College must be run.
– The proposed new sections would allow the Department to prescribe the lines on which the college must be run.
– No; they would only allow the Department to prescribe the Standards which must be observed. My criticism of the proposal is that the honorable member prescribes the machinery to be used, which is not yet possible. In all else I am in agreement with him. X believe with him that we should set a high educational standard for our officers. But the Department must be allowed to shape the machinery of instruction according to the contingencies which may arise.
– What amendments would the Minister suggest?
– In the first place, I think it unwise to provide that the staff shall consist of not fewer than four Assistant Directors.
– I have accepted a suggestion from the honorable member for Hindmarsh in regard to that matter.
– My suggestion is that the Assistant Directors should be such as the Minister may prescribe. As to proposed new section 148, I think it would be wise to leave out the reference to a permanent field artillery ‘battery. The Department may well be left to deal with that matter, especially in view of the fact that, at the beginning, at any rate, the college staff must travel. The purposes which the honorable member has in view will be defeated if he insists that all the officers in Australia shall be dragged to one centre to be trained. There must be the greatest elasticity in the working of the college. I see nothing to cavil at in proposed new section 149. All the members of the Administrative and Instructional Staff should be fully qualified officers. As to proposed new section 150, does not the honorable member think that it gives the man who has plenty of leisure an advantage over the man who has not?
– The man who will have most difficulty in getting time to go to the college is the man who has a big business to look after.
– I am speaking of men of leisure.
– There are so few in Australia that they do not count.
– If we can get the services of men who have leisure and brains, too, it will be all the, better for the Commonwealth.
– The proposed new section will handicap the man who has not leisure, but who has brains. I doubt whether it will be possible to give effect to those numbered 150 and 151, as they stand. In my opinion, 152 contains a very unfair proposal. In regard to persons in any other walk of life such a proposal would not be made.
– Does the honorable member wish to make the Defence Service an asylum?
– It will be agreed that in the Old Country the standards of efficiency are at least equal to ours. But when a measure was passed requiring colliery managers to obtain certificates of efficiency, it was provided that those already in existence should be given certificates, so that they might retain their positions.
– They were making their living as colliery managers.
– The officers of the Department are making their living by soldiering.
– A man who is managing a colliery is thereby proving his ability to do so.
– The assumption seems to be that those who are performing the duties of military officers in Australia are more or less incompetent. Some of the I est officers we have are not likely to pass technical examinations easily. This provision should be made more elastic.
– Does the Minister suggest that we should prescribe efficiency for newcomers and allow the existing staff of officers to remain inefficient?
– That is a delicate question to answer. It assumes inefficiency on the part of the existing officers..
– We can have no guarantee that they are efficient until they have proved themselves to be so.
– I would not submit some of the best officers in the service to a technical examination.
– Then the honorable member would show favoritism. There has been a good deal of that in the past.
– The honorable member places too much emphasis on the value of technical examinations so far as the present officers are concerned. If proposed new section 152 were rigidly applied, it would rule out, or keep down, officers who are thoroughly efficient - good, practical soldiers who cannot be expected to begin their schooling again.
M’r. Kelly. - It would only “keep back those who could not get a certificate of their fitness for the rank which they hold.
– Within a period of two years? !
– It is not easy for a man of forty-five to qualify to pass examinations.
– The Minister could prescribe practical examinations for the officers whom he has in mind.
– I retort upon my honorable friend that in doing so J should be making, unfair “distinctions.
– How would it do to confine the provision to the permanent officers ?
– I should not object to that. If these provisions are made too rigid, it will be difficult for some years to come to officer our Citizen Forces.
– That is a serious statement to make.
– Yes; but it is my duty to make it. I do not object to the setting of the very highest educational standard for officers ; but there should be elasticity in provisions such as these. I ask the honorable member not to make it impossible for us to officer our new forces by making the machinery of education and examination too rigid.
– I agree with the Minister that the proposals of the honorable member for Wentworth need amending, but the honorable member is to be commended for having brought them forward. I am astonished that the Minister, after expressing a desire to establish a college, has put so many difficulties in the way. Why is there a sum on the Estimates for the establishment of a Military College, if it cannot be used ? ‘
– I have not said that.
– The honorable member said that there would be the greatest difficulty in getting officers to go to the proposed college. Not to have a Military College would be like allowing our educational system to be without training colleges for teachers.
– I am taking steps to provide for the establishment of a college.
– We should begin, with a college in which to train instructors to be sent all over the Commonwealth. School teachers - are trained in this way, and are required to pass pretty stiff examinations. I agree with the Minister that there should not be a strict limitation regarding the staff of the college. There must be a good Director, and he must have under him a thoroughly qualified staff. I would leave’ it to the Director and the Department to say how the staff should be formed. The honorable member for Wentworth proposes that we shall have a permanent battery attached to the college. A permanent battery will become an absolute necessity under the proposed organization, not only in one State, but in two or three, if not more. A permanent battery, properly horsed, could be obtained for less than . the present cadre system costs. If this amendment is carried, the Military College will be established at one or other of the large centres of population in the Commonwealth, and there will be a battery attached to it.
– All this is being done. I have decided to abolish the cadre and to put the money into two extra batteries.
– Then what is the difficulty? At the present time, officers are sent from one State to another to attend the instructional schools. If we can send a hundred officers from one State to another at the present time to receive instruction, we could send just as easily a thousand officers to a Military College. No difficulty was experienced in sending a number of officers from Adelaide to Sydney to attend the instructional school there, and, under the compulsory system, it will be still easier to make arrangements for officers to attend a Military College. I was surprised to hear the Minister talk of the unfairness of proposed new section 152. Under it, not one of our existing officers will be deprived of his present rank if, within two years, he is able to produce a certificate of fitness from the Director of the Military College. I am glad that it provides that that certificate shall be as prescribed.
– That gives the elasticity for which the Minister asks.
– Quite so. An officer might have a thorough practical knowledge of his work, but, as the Minister said, might be unable, owing to the fact that he had been away from school for many years, to pass a rigid examination such as young officers would be compelled to pass. But the honorable member for Wentworth provides for such a contingency, and if an officer cannot pass a fairly easy theoretical examination, he is not fit to hold his position. We are proposing compulsory training, not because we desire to have all over Australia a show force, but because we believe” that there is, in the near future, a probability of danger to Australia. If that danger is at hand, the sooner we get rid of officers who cannot pass a prescribed examination the better. Subject to one or two alterations, I shall support the proposals made by the honorable member for Wentworth, who, I think, is to be commended for having brought them forward. The Minister has shown no reason why they should not be substantially adopted.
.- The honorable member for Wentworth is to be commended for having submitted these proposals to the Committee, and I trust that, even if they do not meet with the approval of tha Minister as they stand, he will yet see his way to incorporate in the Bill the principles for which they provide. The general principle of the amendment is in keeping with the tone of the Bill. It will make, in the first place, for efficiency. An efficient force might be led into disaster by inefficient officers; but, under these proposals, provision will be made for adequate instruction. Another feature of the amendment which appeals to me is that it makes room for merit to come to the front. We ought to have a college where our officers can be thoroughly trained, and we should have, in connexion with it, the best instructional ability that can be obtained. If the Minister extends sympathetic, treatment to this amendment, I am sure that he will give satisfaction, not only to the Committee, but to the people of Australia generally. One of the objections to the present system is that a number of senior officers are doing work that they were never trained to do. An officer who has devoted his attention to one department of military science may be found controlling a totally different branch, and in this way a number of promising and hard-working officers are precluded- from securing promotion. The Bill provides for the training of the rank and file, and by the establishment of a Military College we- shall be able to properly train our officers, and so bring about a military organization the officers and men in which will have the fullest confidence in each other.
– I would point out to the honorable member for Wentworth that it is not usual, even in an Act of Parliament, to direct the GovernorGeneral in the mandatory way proposed by him.
– And it is not usual for a Minister to suggest an alteration in an amendment that he does not intend to accept.
– I am going to accept the proposed new section. I thought that I had made that clear. But I suggest to the honorable member for Wentworth that he move the substitution of the word “ may “ for the word “ shall.” in the first line.
.- The Committee would perhaps regard it as an advantage to give effect to the Minister’s proposition, but in such a way as not to still further delay the establishment of a Military College. I do not wish to use the word “ may “ if it can possibly be avoided. The principal Act provides that a Military College “ may “ be established, but, although that Act was passed some years ago, the college is not yet in existence. I wish to make it clear that it is the desire of the Committee that a college shall be established at the earliest possible moment, and I therefore ask leave to amend my amendment by omitting the words “ The Governor-General shall establish,” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “There shall ‘be established.”
Proposed new section, by leave, amended accordingly.
.- I trust that the Minister will agree to the proposed new section as amended. It is necessary to insert in the Bill something of a definite character; otherwise no college will be established. In the principal Act, which was passed in 1903-4, there is a section providing that the Governor-General may establish a Military College, but that college has not yet been established. Unless we make this provision definite, the “ may “ business will probably continue for another five or six years, and the time of Parliament will again be occupied in considering such a proposal. Ministerial promises made in connexion with Bills in Committee are of a varied character. The remarks made by the Minister of Defence did not go far in the direction of showing that he approved of the proposed new section, although, as it came from his own side, he seemed rather afraid to offer it an outandout opposition. If it is amended as the honorable gentleman suggests, our time will have been wasted. The need for educating our officers is manifest in every direction.
– The Minister said that provision was made on the Estimates for establishing a college.
– Provision has been made on the Estimates for many things for years past, but Ministers are always afraid to spend the money. The Minister of Defence is forced to admit the need for improvement in this direction. He knows that certain officers hold positions who cannot pass the examinations proposed, and while I have no desire to be harsh in dealing with them, it seems rather hard that the whole of the Defence Forces should continue to suffer because there happen to be in high positions certain officers who ought never to have been there, and who have never attempted to quality themselves for their posts. Whilst we have a number of excellent officers, there is, nevertheless, a number holding office for no other reason than that, at a particular juncture, they had influence with the Minister of the day, or moved in certain social circles. When an honorable member suggests that there should be an educational standard in the future, it is our duty to support bini, and not to permit the Minister, by any such subtle proposal as he has made, to so affect the proposed new section as to cause its operation to be farcical.
– We will see what the honorable member will do when all this has been fixed up.
– The Minister ought not to be so offensive in tone.
– The honorable member is as offensive as he can be.
– There is no need for the honorable gentleman to be offensive. He would lend more dignity to the position that he holds by acting differently.
Mr.- Joseph Cook. - This is tedious repetition.
– It is necessary to repeat the statement, because the honorable gentleman’s conduct is so repeatedly offensive. No member of the Opposition has been permitted to offer a suggestion without being met by him in the most offensive and insulting way. When an honorable member opposite makes a suggestion, it is quite clear that the Minister can act differently. Throughout this debate there has been manifested by the Opposition but one desire, and that is to improve the Bill. That desire ought not to be met in the way in which the Minister has received it. I am anxious that this Bill shall leave the House in as perfect a condition as honorable members can make it, and I am satisfied that if we adopt the Minister’s suggestion that the word “ may “ be substituted for the word “ shall “ merely because the word “ shall “ will, it is said, be offensive in certain quarters, no educational military institute will be established. On the contrary, we shall go on as before, and officers will be appointed to positions that they are not qualified to fill. I hope the alteration suggested bv the honorable member for Wentworth will be accepted.
– I support the honorable member for Wentworths proposal, because its tendency will be to secure greater efficiency in our Defence Forces. Objection may be taken to the stringency of the conditions that the honorable member would lay down, but I understand that all he desires is the establishment of a college on a basis that will make it efficient and effective. He has simply indicated those conditions because they appeal to him as achieving that end. I was surprised to hear the Minister say that the conditions could not be brought into operation in the Commonwealth. The Minister seems to think that it will be difficult to secure competent men to take charge of the college. If the Minister is correctly- advised in that respect, it shows a lamentable state of affairs, and the sooner the Defence Department look outside of Australia for qualified men the better it will be for the whole service. But I believe that competent and capable men can be obtained here. Whilst I desire to secure efficiency, I do not believe in decrying the capabilities of Australians, and I wish to give our own men a fair opportunity to prove themselves. If the state of affairs indicated by the Minister exists to-day, there is no reason why it should continue. I believe that the young Australian will speedily qualify himself if given training and opportunity. If the Minister cannot find young Australians to take these positions now, that difficulty will soon disappear if he carries out the scheme of the honorable member for Wentworth. With respect to the peripatetic college that the Minister speaks of, I can quite understand the advantage of giving instruction, but I cannot conceive of a college worthy of the name being a moving affair.
– He is going to have an instructor and call it a college.
– It is very desirable to send an instructor to different parts pf the Commonwealth, but the Minister’s idea is to constitute that instructor the college. The honorable member for Wentworth has something very different in view. Probably he will not object to instructors being sent around as adjuncts to the college, but he wishes to see a properly equipped establishment created. I support the honorable member in that view because whilst practical knowledge is indispensable, there is also room for theoretical training, and if this college is to serve its purpose, it must impart both practical and theoretical instruction. As the honorable member for Dalley very properly pointed out, officers ‘ after passing examinations will have to take up active work, and deal with human documents. They- will have to know how to handle men - a knowledge which will not be gained by mere theoretical training. I wish to impress upon the Minister that what the Committee want is not a college in name, but a college in reality. I am sure the honorable member for Wentworth is prepared to give the Minister a maximum amount of elasticity in the scheme, but he does not desire to give it so much elasticity that nothing at all will be done. Present conditions show the absolute necessity for the great departure which is now proposed.
We train the rank and file, but do not insist on corresponding training for those who have control of them.
– This House is playing a new regimental march now.
– I hope it will play it effectively, and no longer enact legislative ideas without useful results following from them. It is time this House began to march towards something practical. We have hitherto taken it for granted that the higher officers possess the requisite knowledge and efficiency to qualify them for their positions, and one of the weak points of the Defence Service has been the fact that the men have known more about their duties than” the officers who are supposed to instruct and lead them. That sort of thing does not encourage a spirit of loyalty or respect towards those holding important positions. Another weakness of the forces hitherto has lain in the fact that to be an officer gives a certain amount of social standing, and a number of men with means have endeavoured to secure those positions, perhaps with the laudable desire to assist in defence matters, but also for the sake of the social status .which accompanies them. The result has been a close class preserve with respect to military promotions in a number of the higher grades. The essential condition for promotion in- many cases, v. hen men have endeavoured to qualify as officers, has not been ability, or a knowledge of the duties, or capacity to handle men, but the possession of sufficient wealth to discharge the duties of the social side of the position. Men without wealth who have endeavoured in the past to secure promotion have been denied it for that reason. In the earlier days in New South Wales a young man who had a most brilliant career at college, and I believe at the University, chose a military career and secured an appointment in the Defence Service. But, unfortunately. his parents were not wealthy and he could not command the money that was supposed to be essential for entrance to the higher ranks. He was boycotted, his life was made miserable, and the result of the odium cast upon him because he happened to be a poor brilliant man was a tragedy.
– Will a college prevent that?
– I am advocating it because I believe that it will be one of the means for preventing that kind of thing, and that men with brains and ability will be able to pass through the college and obtain positions, while the man without brains and ability and perseverance, but with only the recommendation of hard cash in his pocket, will be no longer top dog in the service. If we get a Defence Force on that basis, it will be a credit to us. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will come down from the pedestal which he has mounted, and agree to the proposal of the honorable member for Wentworth. I trust the result will be something substantial in the shape of a Military College that will help merit to get to the front, and give it a chance that it has never had before.
– As a general principle it commends itself to me as most desirable that we should have a properly equipped college for the education of the officers who are to control the great Military Force which this Bill contemplates, and for which the Commonwealth is now committing itself to a large expenditure. 1 indorse the view forcibly put forward by the honorable member for Wentworth. The whole scheme will be inadequate without having as its centre some college of this character - not a. peripatetic one as has been suggested, but one established with facilities to give instruction to those who possess capacity and brains, and to enable them to secure positions in which they can be of service to their country. I hope and believe that we have within the Commonwealth young men who will show themselves as capable to take positions of command as any men from other countries. Inadequately equipped as we have been in the past, we have already shown that we possess capable men of that class, and 1 earnestly hope that the Minister will agree to this proposal, which appears to commend itself to the Committee. There seems to be a very small line dividing the Minister’s position from the proposition put before the Chair by the honorable member for Wentworth. It is difficult to draft on the floor of the chamber amendments for important proposals of this character. But the Minister having expressed himself as favorable to the establishment of a college, and having intimated that he has already taken steps to provide for that being done, it is extraordinary that he should resist these proposals. It has been suggested that, although he will not come down at once, he will come down gradually. If our Citizen Forces are to be what we hope they will be, we must provide for the education of the officers who are to control and instruct them. If the Minister will undertake to accept and redraft the proposals, better progress will be made.
– He ought to redraft the Bill.
– The Bill is an excellent one, and the Minister is to be congratulated, not only for having introduced it, but for the manner in which he has piloted it through Committee. As he has recognised the need for a Military College, I hope that he will accept the proposals as a direction from the Committee that such an institution should be established without delay. The Bill has been generously supported, and the establishment of a well-equipped instructional Military College, which will turn out officers possessing the proper qualifications, seems essential to the success of the scheme of defence for which it provides.
.- I arn sorry to have to differ from many honorable members in reference to the proposed establishment of a Military College. Notwithstanding what has been said by the honorable member for Calare, it seems to me that a poor lad at a college of this kind might be quite as uncomfortable as was the person to whom he referred.
Mi. Thomas Brown. - There are plenty of poor men going through the Sydney University.
– Have honorable members considered what the proposed college would cost? The honorable member for Hindmarsh suggested that 1,000 officers could be brought to a central college and trained ; but how are we going to get the money to provide for that? I know that in the past some of our officer have not been as competent or as diligent as they should have been, but we have had many intelligent officers, who Mer as good as any we shall have in the future. I cannot understand why they should be spoken of with disparagement. If the honorable member for Wentworth had anything to do with it, the proposed college would be located in Sydney, and officers would be brought from all parts of Australia to be trained there. The arrangement would be a good one for youths whose parents were in a position to give them an expensive education, but men who had their living to earn could not be expected to give up the time necessary for a course at the colloge. In my opinion, it would be wrong for us to shut the door to promotion on men who, as volunteers and militiamen, have done good work in the past, but who cannot spare time for a college’ training. I hope that the Minister will be more firm in his opposition to the proposed new section. Six of our officers are now receiving instruction in India, and there are others away in. England. Surely that method of training is sufficient at present. It will be a good thing to have instructional officers travelling from State to State. The Minister has told us that for three months past an officer has been engaged in considering how this work can be best done. It is strange that, if the establishment of a Military College is necessary, none of the Minister’s predecessors thought of establishing one. In my opinion, the proposed college would be a very expensive institution, from which the Commonwealth would get very little. The Bill as it stands will be sufficient for the present day. Under it the Minister will be able to provide for the instruction of the officers in the States in which they are serving, instead of having to compel them to go to Sydney, where they would have to be maintained at great expense to the taxpayers.
– I agree as to the need for a Military College, but I am not prepared to accept the proposals of the honorable member for Wentworth in globo. In some directions they do not go far enough, while in others they go too far. The honorable member does not go far enough, inasmuch as he does not provide that all positions above the rank of colonel shall be filled by members of this Parliament. The possession of intimate, and, indeed, superior, knowledge of military matters which has been displayed by some speakers in the debates on the Bill, accompanied as it was by serious reflections on nearly all our present officers, would, if these reflections are sustained, seem to entitle honorable members to the higher positions in the service. We are asked to commit ourselves to a scheme which the honorable member has elaborated pretty fully, but about the cost of which he has said very little. If the Minister proposed a series of amendments like these, the Committee would expect full particulars as to cost. We should want to know to what we were being asked to commit ourselves, and the necessity for doing what was proposed.
– The Minister has admitted the need for a Military College.
– Neither he nor the honorable member has said anything about the cost.
– The need is the first consideration.
– A time will come when cost will be the first consideration. That time will come very quickly, if we adopt every suggestion that is made to us. We are being asked to commit ourselves to a fairly complete scheme. The honorable member wishes us to provide that there shall be a college. A college will not be established any the sooner because the word “ shall “ is used.
– There “ shall “ be an Inter-State Commission.
– The honorable member’s interjection illustrates my meaning. Not only are we asked to say that there* shall be a Military College; we are also asked to say that it shall have a certain staff, that there shall be a battery and permanent units for instructional purposes, and that there shall be. examinations for appointments and promotion. The nature of the examinations for the ranks above those of captain and major are prescribed.
– No; it is left to be prescribed by the Minister.
– The details are to be prescribed ; but we are asked to commit ourselves, without being supplied with sufficient information, or being apprised of what is being done in other parts of the world, to a course of practical and theoretical instruction, and the nature of the examinations which are to follow is prescribed. The Minister would be treating the Committee improperly if he sprung such amendments upon it, and did not inform us as to the probable cost of the proposal. We should, moreover, expect from him a statement as to the best, most effective, and most economical system in force in other countries. Officers now in the service who within two years cannot pass examinations, are not to retain their present rank.
– It is only proposed that they shall obtain certificates of fitness.
– Prom the Director of the Military College.
– Nothing is said about the passing of examinations. Their fitness is to be ascertained as prescribed. That matter is left to the Minister.
– No ; to the Director of the Military College.
– The word examination is not used in the clause referred to.
– This is an instance of the . insufficient knowledge which we possess of what is intended. The passing of examinations is referred to in previous clauses as proof of fitness, and how is the Director to ascertain the fitness of the present officers unless he examines them? Those who pass the prescribed examinations are to have seniority over those who do not. That provision applies to the present officers. Provision is also made for the giving of pay and allowances ; but we have no information as to what that will amount to. I am in favour of the establishment of a Military College of some sort. One of our great deficiencies at the present time is the lack of opportunities for the instruction of officers. I shall support any measure for supplying the deficiency if I feel that the probable cost will not be more than we are justified in incurring.
– There is already a sum on the Estimates.
– That is so. I do not blame the honorable member for Wentworth for having brought forward these proposals; but it is too much to ask the Committee to accept them without further information. They will involve considerable expenditure.
– How does the honorable member know that?
– I wish to know, and the Committee ought to be informed, what the probable cost will be. The honorable member gave us no estimate of cost. I give him credit for the way in which the clauses have been framed. The scheme seems very complete; but I do not know enough about it to accept it as being the best that could be devised. The supporters of the Government especially should be satisfied with the statement of the Minister as to what he is prepared to do in this matter. He is prepared to accept even the mandatory provision in regard to the establishment of a Military College, and I do not think that the honorable member for Wentworth, or any other Government supporter, should try to force upon the Minister something that he is not prepared to accept in the absence of the necessary information.
– The honorable member says that we should obey the Minister.
– I have not said anything of the kind. I am simply pointing out that this is a farreaching proposal, and that we have no information as to what it will cost, as to what systems are in force in other countries, or as to which of them we should imitate. In the circumstances, therefore, surely it is enough for the Minister of Defence to commit himself to the establishment of the college, and to say that we shall have a further opportunity of considering the precise scheme to be adopted.
– Does not the honorable member think that we ought to consider it before we pass this Bill?
– Not the precise scheme to be adopted in regard to the Military College. The honorable member for Hindmarsh supports this amendment, although, earlier in the day, he submitted an amendment providing that promotions in the Citizen Forces to the ranks of officer and non-commissioned officer should be from those who have served in the ranks of the Citizen Forces, and that the competitive examinations should be of a practical character, no written work being demanded other than of the nature required for the rank concerned in the field and in the ordinary exercise of duties.
– Is that inconsistent with the proposal now before us?
– The hon orable member proposes that officers shall not continue to hold their present positions unlets their fitness is declared.
– Officers who hold field rank. Proposed new section 152 applies only to field officers.
– It applies, at all events, to officers.
– Not to all officers, as the honorable member endeavoured to show.
– I did not endeavour to do so. I said that it applied to officers, and it certainly does. It proposes that officers shall be dealt with more drastically than the honorable member for Hindmarsh desires.
– I said that old officers should not be dealt with drastically, so far as theoretical examinations were concerned.
– I admit that. I think that those who, like myself, are in favour of a Military College, should be satisfied with the Minister’s offer. I am convinced that the use of the word “ shall “ will have no effect, but beyond that, I am against our committing ourselves to a scheme, the effect of which we do not know.
– If it will have no effect, why is the honorable member making such a noise about it?
– I am not.
– Why is the honorable member cracking the whip?
– If any one makes a noise in this House, it is the honorable member ; and as for cracking the whip, I have only .to say that I do not wield it.
– The Minister has handed the whip to the honorable member. He is not game to use it himself.
– I have not spoken to the honorable member about the matter.
– The Minister did not suggest that I should speak; and, in view- of tha assurance which he has given the Committee, surely it is better that we should not commit ourselves to proposals which, in the long run, may not be found to be the most suitable.
– On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I desire to ask whether the amendment moved by the honorable member for Wentworth is in order ? Is it competent for an honorable member to make a proposal which will mean increased expenditure, and, consequently, an increase in the burden of taxation.?
– I have no knowledge of any increase of expenditure in connexion with the proposed new section, and I rule that it is in order.
– The Committee is indebted to the honorable member for North Sydney, who has had the courage to endeavour to persuade the Committee to pursue ordinary business lines ; and, before pledging itself to the establishment of a Military College, to ascertain what it will cost. A Military College will be a very expensive show. The maintenance of West Point, which is about thirty or thirty-five miles from New York, involves an annual expenditure of many thousands of pounds. West Point is an establishment for the production of snobs, bluffers, and cads. All over the western States of America, young officers from West Point draw a strict line of demarcation between their men and themselves. They have introduced into the United States the caste of the Brit:st Army. Here, it is proposed to provide for directors, assistant directors, captains, generals, and a lot of high-toned gilt-spurred roosters. During the American War, a young officer complained that whilst he was walking with his young lady at Winchester, Virginia, some of the country lads in the Army had failed to salute him. A court-martial was held, and when it was explained that the officer was in private dress and was not recognised by the men, the reply was made, “ The officers shall parade before the men for an hour each day, so that they may be known to them.” Men like Grant .and “Stonewall” Jackson, did not descend to the caddishness and snobbery that is associated with West Point to-day ; they were the sons of poor men from the western States. Why should we adopt this proposal, just as we went in for the bounty system, without ascertaining what it is going to cost the country ? We were returned to do something to benefit the people; and, unless we are careful, the country will become so top-heavy with taxation that property-owners will be sold up, lock, stock, and barrel, in order that military caste, which will be a menace to the nation, may be maintained. The money that we shall waste on powder and smoke, as well as on the proposed college, would be sufficient to place thousands of men on the land, and to enable them to increase the production of the country. It is time that a protest was entered against the way in which this House is involving the people in extravagant and unnecessary expenditure. I am afraid that honorable members will need an army to protect them from indignant taxpayers, if they go on as they are doing.
– Would the honorable member start to build a ship, and then refuse to provide it with engines? That is what we should be doing, if, after providing for compulsory training, we refused to establish a Military College for the training of the officers.
M.r. KING O’MALLEY.- We want to encourage farms, not fighting machines.
– That is logical ; but if we stait to make a fighting machine we must see that it is efficient.
– This proposal means the beginning of a military caste, and the creation of a condition of affairs in which private citizens will have to salute the soldier on horseback. In Austria and Germany to-day a private citizen is nobody ; a soldier is everybody. We are going now to introduce into Australia a system which has pauperized Europe. In England, where militarism has prevailed for centuries, there are 7,000,000 unemployed. The military system has been a plague to Europe; and
I fail to see why it should be introduced into Australia. If Canada had had troops along her frontier and warships on her lakes, she would have been lost to England long a.go. It is because of the absence of fighting men along her frontier that there is no danger of trouble between the United States and Canada. Japan has had wars ever since she went in for a naval and military system, and every nation in Europe that has had recourse to militarism has had to fight. It will be the same with Australia. As honorable members are bent on evil and extravagance, I suppose no one can stop them from rushing, Niagara-like, to their own destruction.
– The time is coming when we shall have to establish a military school, but it will be long before any Government will be justified in agreeing to a scheme put forward for the purpose by a private member. Any such scheme must come from a responsible Minister, who has about him competent men to advise him. The honorable member for Wentworth provides all sorts of curious qualifications in the scheme as laid down by the person who has given him instructions. I cannot suppose that: he would presume to know anything about military matters himself.
– The honorable member is almost as jealous of me as he is of the honorable member for Brisbane.
– I believe the honorable member is priggish enough to think that he knows something of military matters.
– The honorable member is grossly insulting.
– I ask the honorable member for Robertson to withdraw that remark.
– Certainly, if it is offensive. The honorable member for Wentworth belongs to the class of men to whose presence in the service he objects, and any information that he has to impart must be second-hand. It is to be hoped that when this House is called upon to consider the establishment of a Military College, a Bill will be drafted by a responsible Minister upon the information of men who are capable of directing him. If the Minister himself brought down a proposal without consulting his officers, he would probably fail, because he is not. and does not profess to be, a military expert. It is only an innocent person, who knows nothing about the matter, that would presume to draft four or five clauses, for the establishment of a college, and lay down what the qualifications of the men in that college should be. The honorable member for Wentworth does not know that a great deal of valuable instruction is at present imparted at i he Sydney University, and that schools are established through which educated young men have to pass before hey are qualified for admission. Those qualifications are quite sufficient for our present service, and quite as much as our finances will stand. The Government would not deserve to remain in office for twentyfour hours if they accepted from any private member a draft scheme for the establishment of a Military College. I admire Mw .Minister of Defence for the amount of contempt that he has shown for the proposals of a man who is absolutely unaware of the way in which a Military College should be conducted. I do not suppose the honorable member for Wentworth has seen even the outside of such an institution, and I am certain that he has read nothing about the subject. Let honorable members read the qualifications which he has set out for a captain. Under his scheme, an incompetent person, a man who has had no instruction at all, may be a captain of a military force, and under certain conditions may take the rank of major. The thing is farcical. There is no place under this scheme for such men as Hector McDonald.
– Or Colonel Foxton.
– I do not know that gentleman’s qualifications for the position of colonel. I do not know that he ever passed an examination to obtain that office, but it is very indecent to bring his name into the discussion. Personally, I should not obtrude him on the Committee as a military officer of any account. Some one has remarked that he is an aide-de-camp to the Governor-General, but that means little or nothing. He may be one of the gentlemen who would be qualified under the honorable member for Wentworth’s scheme to be a major. He may be fit to be an aide-de-camp, who has only to carry messages.
– What does the honorable member think of “Colonel” Forrest?
– I must contrast the modesty of the right honorable member for Swan with the demeanour of the honorable member for Wentworth. When the former was Minister of Defence and brought down a Bill, he was so desirous of making it acceptable to the military experts of the House that he made overtures to an honorable member of the Opposition, perhaps one of the ablest men in our service to-day, and accepted important suggestions from him, and those were admitted to be the .best part of the Bill. That is the difference between a man who knows his- business and a man who does not. The man who has the responsibility will take the advice of those who are competent to advise him, but it is absurd to ask the Committee to follow a person who is incompetent in everything, and sets up to be a military director and the drafter of a Defence Bill.
– Will the honorable member find out what the Minister intends to do with these proposed new sections?
– If the Minister has accepted them on the advice of a private member, I shall vote against him, but I am certain that I shall not be called upon to do so, because the Minister is a man of mature judgment. He has been pulling the legs of a number of the “ military experts “ of the House all yesterday and to-day, and by doing so has been able to get his Bill through in less time than any other Defence Minister has required for the same task. He has done that simply by tickling those gentlemen. I understand that the Government will have nothing to do with these proposals. At some future time they may find it necessary to establish a Military College, but that time is not vet.
.- It would be very ungrateful for me to devote more than a passing reference to the eulogy which the honorable member for Robertson has just passed upon me. I am afraid the honorable member has against me two grounds of complaint, both of which are thoroughly justified. In the first place, I know nothing myself about military matters, and confess that I have to obtain my knowledge elsewhere, and in the second place, as the honorable member puts it, that I have had the unwarrantable impudence to put my name at the head of a series of amendments. If I could get the benefit of the honorable member’s erudite mind and wide experience I should let him; place even the name of “ Henry Willis “ at the top of this sheet, so long as I was sure that I was doing the right thing in having him on my side. I have heard the honorable member ask whether any one in this Parliament had ever heard the name of one of our most distinguished members - the honorable member for Brisbane - because he had the misfortune to be selected to go to England in place of my honorable friend. He has on several occasions indicted other honorable members - equally as warmly as he indicted me just now - for putting forward schemes involving large financial responsibilities, because he had not the extreme good fortune to originate those ideas in his own intelligence. It would be as ungrateful of me to pay further attention to his remarks as it was ungrateful of him to treat me in the way he has just done, seeing that I have been his warmest friend and most unctuous admirer ever since I have been in this Chamber. I have recognised his capacity for every high office that has ever been before this Parliament, and have myself advocated his claims not only for the position of general officer commanding the Australian Forces, or envoy plenipotentiary on behalf of the Commonwealth in defence matters, but also as High Commissioner in the United Kingdom. The honorable member for North Sydney offered one criticism which was fair, but elaborated it far more than was necessary, unless the question is regarded as a party one, which I should very much regret. He referred to the question of cost. It is impossible for a private member to explain to Parliament the complete cost of a proposal, but so far as I have been able to obtain information, the cost of the professorial staff, in salaries, and so on, of the college would amount to about ,£5,000 per annum. Of course, that does not include the cost of the building, or the transfers, etc., of student officers.
– It would be only a small modicum of the total cost.
– It would be, but until we have some chance of making our militia officers truly efficient, this Bill is so much waste paper as a scheme for Australian defence.
– I quite agree with the honorable member.’
– Then, why cannot the Minister accept, if not this proposition, any reasonable modification of it?
– I told the honorable member that we were hard at work carrying this idea out.
– I think the Minister admits that the training of our militia officers is a matter of supreme importance. He made a statement to the effect that it would be impossible for the existing militia officers of Australia, to a number sufficient to keep the organization going, to obtain from the Director of this establishment, as prescribed by the Minister himself, certificates of their fitness for the ranks which they are holding. Such a statement will shock the Commonwealth as soon as it is understood. It means that we cannot depend upon our militia officers of the higher grades to do anything more than lead their men into a shambles if the time of trial ever comes.
– It means nothing of the kind.
-If it does not mean that I cannot understand the King’s English. I would suggest to the Minister the advisability of reporting progress.
– Let us get through.
– It is not reasonableto try to push through a matter of this kind when the Minister has himself admitted the urgency of a fair discussion of it. A number of honorable members have gone away not expecting it to come to a head to-night.
– I told everybody that I should try to get it disposed of.
– What honorable members who favour this proposal were so informed by the Minister? He did not tell me so until this moment. Surely I am entitled to at least as much consideration and courtesy as other honorable members. Is this being made a party matter?
-This is not quite the honorable member’s form.
– I have not often been treated in the same way.
– What is the Minister going to do?
– I have told the Committee plainly what I shall do.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) agreed to -
That the proposed new section be amended by leaving out the words “ not less than four Assistant Directors” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ such Assistant Directors as may be prescribed.”
– May I suggest that the remainder of the clause is mere verbiage, and might well be omitted?
.- The words to which the Minister refers amount to a direction that the Assistant Directors shall be specialists. Without them, it would be possible to appoint an officer who had passed through a garrison school of gunnery as an Assistant Director of field gunnery work, in regard to which he would not be an expert My desire is to obtain qualified instructors for each branch.
– It would be better to leave this matter to the Director. There is no accepted definition of specialist.
– I am willing to allow the words to be left out if the Minister so desires.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) agreed to -
That the proposed new section be amended by leaving out the words “ who shall each be a specialist in the duties allotted to him at the College.”
Proposed new section, as amended, agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. Kelly) proposed -
That the following proposed new section be inserted - “ 148. There shall be allotted to the Military College, for such periods and at such times as may be prescribed, to assist in the education of officers, a permanent field’ artillery battery, and such other permanent units for instructional purposes, as may be found necessary to secure the practical efficiency of the College.”
– It is a necessity of the situation that the military instructors must travel from State to State. Wherever there is a college, there must be a permanent field artillery battery for instructional purposes. But such a Battery could not be taken fromend to end of the Commonwealth. To begin with, and for some years to come, the instruction must be taken to the officers. It would be impossible to establish a college In each State, and to attach a battery to each college. All the experts, including those to whom my honorable friend pays the greatest deference, and whomI dare say he has consulted, agree that the instructional officers must travel. I think, therefore, that the proposed new section should not be inserted.
– Surely the Minister is aware that there is a permanent field artillery battery in each State?
– What he said was that we could not establish a college in each State, but that a permanent field artillery battery would have to be attached to each college.
– There is a battery in each State, and the. battery in any State could be allotted to the college there. If there were a college in each State there would be a battery for it.
– The battery would not be attached to the college for all time.
– That is so. The arrangement would be similar to that in connexion with the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. When a batteryis needed to put officers through a course of field or siege gun instruction, it can be placed at the service of the college.
.- I propose to allot a battery to the college so that officers who apply for promotion to field rank may have an opportunity to gain information regarding arms of the service other than that in which they have been trained. I should be very loth to have it definitely provided in an Act of Parliament that the college must be ambulatory. If we do so, it will never be anything else.
– But it goes without saying that the college must have a battery when it needs one.
– The battery will not be needed for more than a few weeks in the year. I think that there is justification for prescribing the permanent nature of the college.
Question - That the proposed new sectionbe inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority …. 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed new section negatived.
Motion (by Mr. Kelly) proposed -
That the following new section be inserted : - “ 149. No officer shall be appointed to, or receive promotion in the Administrative and Instructional Staff until he has passed, as prescribed, a course at the Military College.”
.- The Minister’s proposal shows clearly what his intentions are with regard to this college. He proposes that even the officers who are to be charged with the duty of training the troops in Australia shall not be trained in the college; they are tobe trained “ as prescribed by the Director.” We are to have a college on paper - a college to delude the public into the belief that our Defence Forces are something more than a mere drain on the resources of the country.
– No. Wherever the officers can be taken to the college, they should be.
– The members of the Administrative and Instructional Staffs are permanent men, and few in number. Does the Minister mean to say that it is impossible to send them where they can obtain the highest tuition ?
– Under this Bill, there will be, I dare say, a thousand.
– Even if we do have a thousand permanent instructors, surely they can be made worth their pay. Is it not a waste of money to appoint instructors, as at present, after they have passed a merely theoretical examination? Very often, they have followed other professions in life and know nothing about soldiering.
– What is the honorable member girding at? If I were trying to cut down the instruction, I could understand his diatribe.
– The honorable member is refusing to give the Australian defence system its only chance of securing efficient instructors and officers.
– I have agreed that there shall be a Military College.
– But no one is to be trained at it.
– That is utterly incorrect.
– Then what is the meaning of the honorable member’s amendment?
– To give the instruction where it is practicable.
– If the Administrative and Instructional Staffs cannot be trained at the college, who is going to be trained there? Why talk about defence, in these days, for purely platform purposes?
– So far it has been nothing but talk.
– I agree with the honorable member. I think the Minister will see that it is useless to pay these permanent officers unless we know that they are efficient. Why should they not go through a proper course, and have a chance of becoming truly efficient?
– I want them to be.
– Then why, not agree to my proposal as it stands?
– Because it is not practicable.
– I fail to understand on what grounds the honorable member bases that statement. The trouble is that a number of officers in the Permanent Forces, many of them in close contact with the Minister, realize that if we establish a great educational institution on practical and theoretical lines, not necessarily such as I suggest, but on any such lines as may be proposed, they themselves will eventually have to come out and show their fitness.
– Will the honorable member believe me when I tell him that I have not consulted an officer near me, save one, in regard to this matter, and that the one whom I have consulted is very favorable to this proposal? It is a pity that the honorable member cannot be fair.
– I am endeavouring to be fair.
– The honorable member is making all sorts of allegations.
– I must call the Minister to order. He will have an opportunity to reply.
– I assure the honorable gentleman that I have no desire to be unfair.
– The honorable member is making allegations that are grossly unfair.
– The whole burden of the remarks made by the Minister and the honorable member for North Sydney, who cracked the Ministerial whip so successfully, was that the combined intelligence of the Department had declared that this system -was not practicable. . We are now to understand that the combined intelli gence of the Department has not been consulted; that only one officer coming into close contact, with the Minister has been consulted.
– Again a misrepresentation.
Mi. KELLY. - It is certainly not a. misrepresentation of a statement to which I think I have every right to take some exception.
– Indeed it is.
– I can assure my honorable friend that I am not differing with him for the mere sake of differing. I regard the training of officers as the most important feature of the defence of Australia. To create a force and to neglect to train the officers who will command it is like building a ship and failing to engine it. Surely the honorable gentleman recognises that there is something more to be done than training a few levies. Indeed, they cannot be trained unless we have proper instructional officers, and cannot be led into action unless the; have efficient officers to lead them. If the Minister is not prepared to accept my proposal, I hope the Committee will divide on the question, so that the country may know who does and who does not wish to see our Defence Forces capably led, efficiently instructed, and well-officered.
– For the last fifteen minutes, the honorable member for Wentworth has been doing nothing but making imputations unworthy of him and of the subject under discussion. I tell him again that I have not consulted my officers regarding this matter.
– We were told, not by the honorable member, but by another honorable member sitting behind the Government, a little earlier this evening, that they had been consulted.
– I made no such statement. I have said that a Military College is’ already in process of creation, and I am so impressed with the necessity for giving this instruction to the officers that I do not think it is- possible to concentrate it in one central institution. That is my sole point of difference with the honorable member, and it is, after all, only one of method. My proposal will carry out the honorable member’s object far more effectively than his can possibly do. That is the only reason why I suggest it. I want to give the officers all the instruction possible, and I desire to make it more easily available to them. The honorable member has made imputations unworthyof him.
– What imputa:ion have I made? The Minister of Defence is losing his head.
– The honorable member is not, I am glad to say. I congratulate him on the absolute command of the Opposition which he seems to possess to-night.
– This is surely a non-party measure.
-It is, so far as this side is concerned.
Mr.Kelly. - The whip was crackiing pretty hard this evening.
– Setting aside all that, I tell the honorable member candidly that he will be well advised in his own interests, in adopting my suggestion. I am seeking . to help him to achieve his object in a practicable, workable way. That is all I desire, and I ask him to take the experience of the Department.
– But the honorable mem- ber says that he has not consulted the Department.
– What I have told the honorable member in regard to this proposal is correct. I have not consulted the officers of the Department, so far as this proposition is concerned; but as the honorable member has been told half-a-dozen times to-night, I have been consulting with my officers for three months with regard to the establishment of a Military College. Is there anything inconsistent in the two statements? My honorable friend ought to stop this paltry pointing ; it does not help the discussion in the least. The honorable member is treating me very unfairly. I am trying to put his proposals into working shape, yet I am given credit for every motive save that which I’ have. I think that I have a right to complain of the honorable member’s treatment of me in connexion with this matter. I suggest to him a course by which his proposal can be carried out effectively. We cannot take all our officers to one central college. Australia is an immense continent, and it would cost an enormous sum to carry out the project in the way the honorable member suggests. I should not object to the expenditure if the course proposed by the honorable member were the only practicable one ; but I do not think it is, and I suggest to him a means of achieving his ob ject, which, while saving expense, will be equally efficacious. I am leaving the whole matter in the hands of the Director, whom he suggests should have control of the college. I propose to give him the power to prescribe the examinations, and to see that they are faithfully carried out.. So long as that is guaranteed, what more does the honorable member want?
– The honorable member is suggesting, I think, that the Director should take the place of the Examination Board.
– I am endeavouring to meet a geographical difficulty; I do not wish to water down the examinations. On the contrary, I desire that they shall be as stiff as we can possibly make them, consistent with our obtaining the requisite officers. I suggest to the honorable member that he accept my amendment. It will make his scheme workable, having regard to the vast continent over which our officers are spread.
.-. May I respectfully point out that at present it is the practice to take officers from Queensland and Western Australia to the schools of instruction at Sydney, so that geographical difficulties are not now being considered.
– We are not taking them from Western Australia.
– Only recently I met an old friend who was travelling from Western Australia to Sydney, to go through a course of instruction at one of the military classes there.
– An odd one or two may be sent there from Western Australia.
– That is the practice now in regard to all the administrative and instructional officers, and the proposed new section refers only to them. They are’ hut few in number.
– About 250…
– The number who will require to attend the college is scarcely as large as that, more especially as the Minister is not inclined to accept proposed new section 152, which relates to the present officers. I congratulate the honorable member for Wentworth on his evident desire that our officers shall in future be instructed in a practical manner. To have a peripatetic director, with a staff and a lot of paraphernalia, going from State to State, and holding in ‘Western Australia probably a different examination from that which he might hold in Queensland, would involve an expenditure almost equal to, if not greater than that which would be incurred in bringing the officers from the various centres to the college. The honorable member for Wentworth’s proposal is worthy of serious mnsideration. The Minister has already accepted the proposed new section providing for the establishment of a college. For what purpose is that college to be established? Surely for no greater purpose-than that of educating the Administrative and Instructional Staffs up to the standard essential for the welfare and guidance of our Defence Forces. If the Committee agrees to the suggested amendment of the proposed new section, the whole of the procedure at present adopted, so far as I understand it, will have to be altered. One or two officers may travel all over Australia, and give examinations in certain centres, but 1 firmly believe that we shall obtain greater uniformity and a higher standard of education if all officers are taken to the college. I am not going so far as the honorable member forWentworth does at present by suggesting that every militia officer should be sent to the college for a course of instruction, although that might be done in the not far distant future. But we ought to demand that ourpermanent officers, and particularly the Instructional Staff, shall be educated up to a uniform standard in some central place where the work can be carried out most effectively. If we leave all the conditions to be prescribed we may have in the future the conditions which exist at present, and which are not as satisf actory as they ought to be.
– If the honorable member will permit me. to interrupt him, I should like to say that the numbers are not quite so large as I thought they were, and that in the circumstances, I think that we may well stretch a point, and adopt the honorable member for Wentworth’s proposal. It will mean more expense, but I do not mind that.
– The honorable member for North Sydney told us to-night that we ought to have regard to the question of expense in dealing with these proposals.The Minister now says that the question of expense does not concern him.
– Only so far as this proposed new section is concerned.
– I wish only to point out that whenever a proposal is made from this side, with which the Government do not agree, we are told by them that we ought to consider the question of expense.
– On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I desire to point out that the Minister of Defence has just stated that this proposed new section will mean additional expense. I desire to know whether it is competent for an honorable member to move a proposal which will increase the public expenditure, and in respect of which no message has been received. It has been held before that a private member may not move to increase the burden oftaxation, and I fail to understand why the honorable member for Wentworth’s amendment should be held to be in order.
– The increase in expenditure is only incidental. No appropriation is made.
– But the Minister made the distinct statement that the adoption of this amendment would increase the expenditure.
– The proposed new section does not make any appropriation.
Proposed new section agreed to.
House adjourned at 11.41 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 October 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1909/19091021_reps_3_52/>.