3rd Parliament · 4th Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Letter-Sorters’ Examinations - Clothing Contracts - Electricians’ Wages - Case of Mr. C. A. Beard-Erection of Telephone Lines, New South Wales
– Is the PostmasterGeneral yet in a position to give me a reply regarding the complaints about the tests to which applicants for the position of letter-sorters in the General Post Office, Sydney, have been asked to submit themselves? I brought . the matter under his notice a month or six weeks ago.
– The matter was brought under my notice when I visited Sydney. I consulted the Deputy PostmasterGeneral of the State, the Secretary of the Department, and the Public Service Commissioner, regarding it, all of whom advised me that the tests applied are directed to the ascertainment of whether candidates are generally efficient forthe work of sorting.. The object of the suggestions submitted by the honorable member was to limit the tests to a small portion of a letter sorter’s duties. To that the Public Service Commissioner and the Departmental officers object. They say that the tests must be sufficiently general to guarantee efficiency.
– It was stated in yesterday’s Herald that the clothing contractors to the Department of the PostmasterGeneral view with considerable anxiety the statements made in favour of the establishment of a Commonwealth Government clothing factory. A Sydney official has ventured on the assertion that a saving of 10 per cent, would be made on the cost of uniforms if a Government factory did the work. I do not wish to comment upon that statement, but I think it may be correct. The firm in question, however, says that the statement is unfounded, and has quoted figures to show that it is cheaper for the Government to get the uniforms from private manufacturers. I wish to know whether it has stated what it saves by applying the task system instead of paying the piecework log. Does the Postmaster-General know that more than 50 per cent, is saved in that way ?
– I am not aware of anything of the kind. I know that the manufacturers who supply clothing to the Department under contract have to comply with the usual conditions respecting wages.
– I understand that £1,900 is to be paid for the rewiring of the General Post Office, Melbourne. Inasmuch as 10s. a day is the union rate of wages for outside electricians, I wish to. know if the work will be done at that rate?
– I believe that the work will be done by day labour, as it requires particular qualifications. If it is done under contract, it will be stipulated that the minimum rates of wages for skilled labour of this class shall be paid. On Wednesday last the honorable member for Riverina asked the following questions : -
I promised that inquiries would be made, and the Deputy Postmaster-General, Sydney, has now furnished the following replies :. -
On Thursday last the honorable member for Cowper asked the following, questions’: -
I promised that inquiries would be made, and the Deputy Postmaster-General, Sydney, has now furnished the following information : -
Supply of Bayonets - Cadet Uniforms
– Will the Minister of Defence, before giving an order for the supply of bayonets, call for tenders for their manufacture in Australia ? I am advised that they can be made here.
– We hope to be able to make bayonets at the proposed Small Arms and Ammunition Factory, but I am informed that they cannot yet be made in Australia.
– I have seen a man who says that they can be made here.
– Will the Minister, before ordering a supply of bayonets, invite tenders for bayonets manufactured in Australia, to determine’ whether they can be made here?
– A supply of bayonets has been ordered, but the order was not sent until a report had been made that it would not be possible to obtain bayonets here.
– Win the Minister state whether, in view of the Tecent campaigns in Manchuria and South Africa, it is now the opinion of military experts that bayonets are a necessity in modern warfare?
-I am afraid that bayonets are still necessary, notwithstanding the experience of those campaigns.
– When discussing the Defence Bill I suggested to the Minister that the junior cadets should be allowed to wear uniforms if provided by their parents. He explained his objection to that arrangement, of which I saw the force, but added that he would consider the advisability of providing the cadets with caps or belts. I suggest that they might be supplied with hat or cap ribbons with a crown upon them, such as are worn ‘by men-of-warsmen, and also with belts. I am told that this will not cost more than1s. for each cadet. The wearing of caps and belts would distinguish them as having been accepted by the Government as junior cadets.
– I am very much inclined to do what the honorable member suggests. I quite see the force of having a distinctive badge for the junior cadets, and, if. it can be managed, it will be done.
– Would it be possible to dispense with questions without notice, in view of the extremely favorable opportunity now afforded to the Government to get on with business in the absence of the Opposition ?
MINISTERS laid on the table the following papers : -
Preferential Trade - Deputation from the Seventh Congress of the Chambers of Commerce of the Empire to the Minister for Trade and Customs, 4th October, 1909 - Report of Proceedings.
Ordered (on motion by Mr. Knox) to be printed.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired under, at Port Melbourne, Victoria - As an Addition to the Post Office Site.
– As there are still twenty -one Bills on the notice- pa per, and it will be impossible to get through them all before the session ends, will the Prime Minister pick out those which are urgent, and which he desires to have pushed through, so that honorable members may have an opportunity to devote themselves to the serious consideration of these necessary measures, with a view to ending the session on a date which will give them time to get back to their homes a few days before Christmas ?
– I shall be very glad if the honorable member will communicate his anxiety to deal with as many Bills as possible to the largest number of honorable members. If he looks at the list, he will find that quite a number of the measures contained in it have already passed the Senate, while some are consolidating Bills, which require consideration only in their technical aspects. I should be very sorry to surrender my hope of passing all the measures on the business-paper without imposing an undue strain on the House.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 22nd October, vide page 4954) :
Motion (by Mr. Kelly) again proposed -
That the following proposed new section be inserted - “ 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.”
.- In view of the amendment which the Government succeeded in effecting in proposed new section 152, by striking out the proviso, it seems necessary to propose a further amendment in the new section now before the Committee, in order to make it workable. I beg, therefore, to submit the proposed new section with the following proviso : -
Provided that seniority shall date from the day subsequent to the creation of the Military College upon which officers have lodged their applications for the said Military College course.
Without some such provision, difficulties might arise. It might become impossible in the working of the Department to allow men to take the Military College course in the order of their applications, and a man whose application was in first, but heard last would, under the new section as first proposed, be penalized. My object in proposing it was really to encourage men to take advantage as early as possible of the superior education to be afforded, but I am afraid that it would be fraught with difficulties unless some such amendment as I suggest be inserted. I know that the Minister is not prepared to accept the new section at all, but if he will agree to my amendment we can’ then take a vote oni the section itself. With the amendment, there can be no objection to it, unless, of course, honorable members are not prepared to interfere at all with the existing state of affairs among militia officers. The attack which has been made upon honorable members who have sought to improve the education of our officers is one of the finest possible arguments for the necessity for some such change as we now propose to make. We are charged with desiring to victimize honest persons, and to hit persons who are not named. I was asked in the leading columns of the Argus this morning to quote the names of officers who I thought were inefficient. I could imagine no more indecent action for any honorable member to take on the floor of the House than to adopt that suggestion. I cannot understand the reason for all this excitement regarding the alleged injustice done to existing military officers by asking them to prove their fitness. I’ trust to the loyalty and efficiency of those officers, so soon as opportunities are afforded to then% to make them not only ready, but anxious, to prove, and capable of proving, their practical fitness in the way that we wish to see their fitness tested. However, it is of no use to discuss these questions now. This red herring has been drawn across the track. We are made to appear as if we are making an onslaught upon existing officers, instead of doing what we are bound to do - to consider first, last, and always the efficiency of the Forces with whose control we are primarily charged, and the safety of the country which we all hold dear.
– The honorable member for Wentworth has said a great deal about the efficiency of the Forces. My point is, that to begin by perpetrating an injustice is the wrong way to secure that efficiency.
– What is the injustice?
– The injustice is that the honorable member calmly proposes that any militia officer who has passed for lieutenant-colonel at the Military College may become the senior colonel of the Forces. That, I think, is a gross and grave injustice. I can conceive of jio greater injustice to the senior officers of the Forces, who are at present fit and capable, than to require them to begin again by the process of examination to prove their fitness to command. Put in a nut shell, . that is the position which I take up. May I remind my honorable friend that his proposal would subject militia officers to tests to which he does not propose to subject our permanent officers.
– Then let us make my proposal applicable to all of them?
– I hope that we shall not do so in the interests of the efficiency of the Forces. In his amendment my honorable friend- says plainly that our militia officers are unfit, and that until they prove their fitness they shall be liable to be superseded by officers who have been privileged to attend the Military College. That is the assumption underlying his proposal.
– How can they possibly be fit, seeing that they have had only sixteen days’ training during the year?
– I do not wish to discuss that point, which I submit is quite irrelevant. My own intention is to persevere, as best I can, with a view to establishing a higher standard of efficiency for our officers by providing them with all the educational facilities which it is possible to provide. I have already taken steps with that end in view, and I am not prepared to subject all the senior- officers of the Forces to an examination in order that they may demonstrate their fitness for the commands which they hold. If I did so, I should expect to receive their resignations - not because they are unfit - but because they are fit, and would have been told by this proposal that they were unfit.
– I wish to ask the honorable member for Wentworth whether - in view of the exhibition which we had on Friday last - he thinks it is worth while persevering with any amendment unless he has at first ascertained that it commands the approval of the Minister.
– Let us fight to a finish.
– We fought to a finish on Friday last.
– I rise to a ‘ point of order. I desire to know whether this discussion is in order, seeing that the question before the Chair, namely, the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Wentworth, has not yet been stated.
– I point out to the honorable member for Lang that the ques. tion before the Chair .is, “ That the clause, as amended be agreed to.”
– On Friday last the honorable member for Wentworth was led to believe by some of his friends that they were in entire sympathy with an amendment which he had submitted. But what happened? The moment that they saw they were in a position to carry it, one honorable member walked out of the chamber, and another rushed over to support the Government. What kind of legislation can we expect if such tactics are to be adopted? I would suggest to the honorable member for Wentworth that it is idle to submit any amendment unless he has first ascertained that it has the approval of the Minister.
– That is sound advice.
– I think that this farce ought to be at once ended.
.-! am afraid that the indignation of the Minister of Defence is largely assumed.
– There is not a tittle of indignation about me.
– When the Minister suggests - as he did - that it is the desire of the honorable member for Wentworth to subject militia officers to a test which they cannot pass, to submit them to indignity by inserting in the Bill an amendment which would call forth their resignations, I feel justified in declaring that his indignation is assumed. When any honorable member desires to improve the Bill, it ill becomes the Minister of. Defence to suggest to our militia officers that if Parliament expresses its opinion upon this question, they should at once hand in their resignations. I have heard nothing more lamentable from the mouth of a responsible Minister during m> Parliamentary career. To deliberately suggest, as the Minister did, that if Parliament dares to express its opinion by inserting the amendment of the honorable member for Wentworth in the Bill, he will receive the resignations of a large number of our militia officers, was distinctly undignified. It is a suggestion which ought not to emanate from any honorable member, much less from the head of the Defence Department. 1 protest against the Minister suggesting to these officers that they should be superior to Parliament, and that if their interests are in any way interfered with, they should at once tender their resignations.
– What nonsense !
– The Minister’s utterance was more than nonsense. It was positively cruel, if not indecent, on his part to suggest to our militia officers that they should protest against Parliament taking any course which might commend itself to it by at once tendering their resignations.
– I hope that there was no such suggestion.
– I see nothing in the amendment to warrant any such suggestion, neither is there one word in it which is calculated to reflect on our militia officers. I quite recognise the valuable work which they have performed in the past - the services which they have rendered without pay during a long series of years - but I believe from my own knowledge of a goodly number of them, that they are anxious that, if better men than themselves are forthcoming, those men should be given opportunities for advancement. The opportunities which have hitherto been enjoyed by our militia officers have not been what they ought, and I feel sure that every one of those officers who is worthy, of the rank that he holds would cheerfully undertake to demonstrate his fitness for his position. At the present time every militia officer is subjected to an examination before he can pass to a higher rank. Th junior officers are passing examinations-
– But the proposal under consideration would subject our militia officers to examination after they have attained their present rank.
– The Minister must know that there are many officers who have not passed any examination, but who have attained their rank solely by virtue of influence. They have not been subjected to any test. I repeat that at the present time our militia officers are being subjected to an examination. They have to pass it or stand down, so that the indignation of the Minister is transparently assumed.
– But they need not go up for examination.
– That is practically the same thing. My experience is that if a junior officer submits himself to examination and emerges from it successfully, his superior officers - if. they have failed to pass a similar test - cheerfully submit to the inevitable, and place themselves upon the unattached list. They are not iri any way hurt by the situation. On the contrary, they are always prepared - should circumstances render the adoption of that course necessary - to return to the Forces, and even to accept a lower rank than that which they held previously. I cannot believe that the Minister is satisfied with the present position. The ‘only real difference now proposed is that, instead of being put through an examination by the means at present adopted, they shall undergo an examination at a thoroughly impartial, disinterested college. The Minister knows the sense in which I use those words. I fail to understand why there should be any objection to this provision. If we desire to obtain efficiency in connexion with our Forces, we must start at the head. It is absurd to have an efficient soldiery of “non-coms.” and the rank and file if, on the other hand, our officers have not given some proof of their fitness to command. The very best regiment or brigade in the world might be led into danger, difficulty, and disaster, merely because the individual at its head had not given any proof of his efficiency. I frankly admit that even the most efficient officer is liable to make mistakes, but Ave have here an opportunity to minimize the possibility. The Minister, without advancing a reasonable argument in support of his contention, suggests that we ought not to put officers to this test, and that honorable members on this side are desirous of doing injury in some way or other to the officers at present in our Defence Force. I say emphatically, as one of those who favour this proposal, that I would not for a moment lend either my voice or my vote to an attempt to do injury to any officer. On the motion for the second reading of this Bill, I made a well-deserved reference to one of the finest militia officers whom I know in Australia. I honour the militia officers for the work they have done, and desire to see their services, as far as possible, retained. I should like, however, to see some of them put through a practical test of their fitness, and not retained as the Minister knows they are retained-
– But this provision has nothing to do with that matter.
– It practically means that an officer who has held his present position for some years, and is unable to rise above that rank, shall not continue to retain his seniority when there are coming along others who are able to prove their fitness, both in practice and theory, to command.
– But this provision means a great deal more than that. The point to which the honorable member refers is already provided for in the Bill.
– The honorable gentleman is mistaken. He objected to a proposed new section, which would have provided for it. This provision merely means that where we have, say, two captains, the one senior to the other, if the senior is unable to pass at the Military College, a test, both practical and theoretical, which the junior is able to pass, then the latter shall take the senior position. If the senior man had any love for the Force, and desired that it should be efficiently officered, he would raise no serious opposition to the junior man, who was able to prove his greater efficiency, taking the senior position. I hope that we shall not have a repetition of the cases in which men have been not merely retained, but promoted, when every person in authority knew that they had no right to promotion, and that it was unfair to the general efficiency of the regiment under their control that they should be promoted. That is practically the situation which the Minister desires to retain, and, on behalf of the Forces and the large number of officers who have honoured me with their confidence in this matter, I regret it very much.
.- In view of the fact that the Minister was so unwise as to refuse to accept proposed new section 152, as submitted by the honorable member for Wentworth, and that this provision depends entirely upon it, I think that honorable members must recognise that it could npt well be embodied in the Bill. The majority against the adoption of proposed new section 152 in its entirety was certainly very small, but. in the circumstances, I suggest, as one of those who have been supporting all the provisions relating to the establishment of a Military College, that we should allow the question to be put without further discussion.
Mr. KELLY (Wentworth) f3.37.l– Ithink that there is a clear majority against this proposed new section, and, as I do not wish to obstruct business, I ask leave to withdraw the proposed new section.
Proposed new section negatived.
Motion (by Mr. Kelly) agreed to -
That the following proposed new section be inserted - “ 154. Officers attending the Military College shall receive such pay and allowances, as may be prescribed.”
. -I move -
That the following proposed new section be inserted : - . “ 153A. Applicants for commissions who are re quired to qualify at the Military College in accordance with section one hundred and fortynine shall submit to a preliminary examination in military work. The successful candidates shall, in the numbers required, and in the order in which they pass, be given a free course at the Military College.”
Proposed new section 149, which has been agreed to, provides that -
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.
That obviously applies to any one desiring to become an officer in our new Defence Forces. I am anxious that the College shall be conducted on the broadest democratic basis possible. It seems to me that it will not be safe to leave the matter to the administration. If candidates are selected haphazard, or as the result of influence or personal friendship, we may not get the best results, and certainly shall not be opening the way - as it ought to be opened in a country such as ours - for many capable men who are qualified to serve as officers to secure training. It is because I wish to see every safeguard afforded for ability to secure its opportunity, and desire the country to take advantage of the best military capacity that it possesses, that I propose this amendment. We do not wish to leave the selection of candidates to the caprice of any individual or to chance circumstances. Only those who have shown some aptitude, and who, bypreliminary examination and preliminary work have given evidence that it is worth while to give them a course at the College, should be received there. I have stipulated that the examination shall be in military work, and that the examinees shall be received in the order in which they pass the examination. That seems to be a perfectly fair and legitimate proposal. Although I am prepared to hear the Minister urge that the matter should be left to the administration, I point out that that will mean leaving it to chance - leaving it to an individual who may be swayed by influences that should not operate. It is a much wiser course for us who are the direct representatives of the people, to lay down clearly defined lines as to the course to be pursued in admitting candidates. If we allow the Bill to go as it stands, it will contain no provision regulating the admission of candidates, and it will be quite competent for the Director or Administrator to fix some arbitrary system, or to select candidates on account of personal friendship, or under pressure of social influence. This may lead to the exclusion of capable young men who are without means or influence. I’ trust that the Minister will give serious consideration to my amendment. It cannot injure the Bill. The Minister himselfhas admitted that it is right in- spirit, though he urges that it is unnecessary. I say again, that we cannot afford to leave such a serious matter to the mere caprice of administration. We want to make the way absolutely clear for any young fellow of capacity to enter upon a course of training at the College.
– I hope that my honorable friend, the member for Macquarie, will not press the amendment. We have already carried a clause, 154, which provides that officers attending the Military College shall receive such pay and allowances as may be prescribed.
– Officers are not applicants. The rank and file should be provided for also.
– The same principle will apply to those who go to the College for their preliminary military education. It may be assumed that one of the first things to be done will be to set up a system of scholarships, which will produce a healthy . competition, making for efficiency, among the examinees. This is a matter for regulation.
– By this Parliament.
– We are merely passing an enabling Act; and if we are to prescribe everything that is to be done to the end of time, we might as well do away with administration altogether. The more details we put into this Bill, the more we shall tie the hands of the administration. The Committee must understand that Parliament will always have control over the Military College through the medium of the Estimates. Control is by 110 means surrendered by the passing of this Bill. lt will be exercised year bv year. The matter in question is essentially one for regulation, and’ is so regarded in -every part of the world.
– The matter dealt with in the amendment of the honorable member for Macquarie is not one which should be left for regulation. The Bill provides that officer-,, while undergoing training at the Military College, shall receive pay and allowances.
What the honorable member for Macquarie is concerned about is that privates and noncommissioned officers shall have the same advantages as officers when they are undergoing training. As the Bill stands, pay and allowances might be refused to them. Payment would not commence until a man became a’ lieutenant. The Minister has argued that we can exercise control through the Estimates. We could have a discussion on the Estimates ; but, as we all know, Parliament can exercise no real control in the direction of the ordering of expenditure. If we were able to place a sum on the Estimates to provide for pay and training of privates and non-commissioned officers who wished to become officers, there might be no necessity for the amendment. But we are unable to do anything of the kind. The honorable member for Macquarie has directed attention to what is virtually an omission from the last clause with which we dealt. It should have made provision for “applicants and officers. “ But, as we have passed the clause without making such provision, we should now make sure that privates and non-commissioned officers will receive precisely the same treatment as those who have attained the rank of lieutenant.
.- The Minister has given me just the characteristic reply I anticipated from him, and it was as contradictory as usual. He first of all admitted that what I propose to provide for would no doubt be carried out in the administration of the Act, and he then proceeded to say that to embody such a provision in the Act would be to tie the hands of the administration. If those charged with . the management of the Military College will naturally follow the course I suggest, how can it be said that we shall tie the hands of the administration if we make provision for that course in this Bill? The Minister also said that if my amendment were agreed to we might just as well prescribe all kinds of details of administration in ‘the measure. But I draw a very distinct line between prescribing details of administration and the laying down of the broad lines on which the Military College shall be conducted. It would, for instance, be absurd to prescribe the use of certain text books in the college or to frame a curriculum, but we shall be on absolutely safe lines in laying down such a democratic principle as I propose. We shall not be interfering in any way with the proper administration of the Defence Act if we say that the selec tion of applicants for commissions shall be made from those who have passed the preliminary examination required, and in the order in which they have passed. If there is anything in the great principle of equality of opportunity that is the course which should be followed, and its adoption could only do good, and could do no possible harm. The Minister admits that, but contradicts himself immediately by saying that to provide for the adoption of that course would be . to hamper the administration. I wish to provide that the Director of the College shall have no choice in this matter,and shall be given no opportunity to show favour to any one.
Question - That the proposed new section be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed new section negatived.
– I intend to submit a new section which should naturally follow the new sections providing for the establishment of a Military College. I move -
That the following proposed new section be inserted : - “A special school of instruction shall be established at the Military College for the training of an instructional staff of noncommissioned officers, and all future appointments of persons to act as instructors shall be made from amongst those who have at the close of a two years’ course satisfied the Director or some person duly appointed by him that they are competent. Provided that persons who have acted as instructors in the British Army or those who, having served in the British Army, satisfy the Director that they have the necessary qualifications may be appointed without passing through such course.”
Since the Minister has agreed to the insertion of a provision for the establishment of a Military College, he ought to agree to the insertion of this clause, that deals with a matter which, in my opinion, is even more important than the training of officers. As he knows very well, the training of soldiers is, after all, wholly in the hands of the instructors. It was pointed out, during the second-reading debate, by the honorable member for Adelaide, and, at a later stage, by the honorable member for Maranoa, that the men who are appointed to drill the territorial troops in England are .those who have passed through the regular army and are of, at least, seven years’ standing. I feel quite satisfied in my own mind that we shall not be able to get a staff sufficiently numerous and competent to deal with the immense increase in the strength of our Forces unless we have men who have gone through a course. In the case of education, it has been found expedient for many years to teach the staff before setting them to teach others. For many years in this country, and in England, it was the practice to set teachers to work before they had been taught to teach children. That was found, as it might have been found at the very beginning, to be the wrong method of procedure ; and a teacher now goes through a course before he is intrusted with the teaching of children. That is, I think, equally necessary in the case of training soldiers. Competence is more required in this case because of the shortness of the period for which the men will be up for instruction. Everything will have to be done in the most up-to-date and most effective fashion; and, in order to attain our object, we must have trained men. We must not merely pick the brightest of the trainees, call them corporals or ser- geants, and expect to get from them an effective result. I trust that the Minister will accept my proposal, since it merely makes provision in the Bill for that which he himself declares he is providing for on the Estimates. We ought not to permit this matter to depend upon the vagaries of different Ministers. On the contrary, there should be a fixed and immutable rule, and men who are not thoroughly competent should not be intrusted with the instruction of our citizen soldiery. I submit that a man cannot be made a thoroughly competent trainer of others inside two years. He ought to receive the best training at the hands of other men, and, of course, to have every opportunity to exercise his growing abilities on the troops. We ought not to place our trainees under the direction of men who are not thoroughly competent. I trust that the Committee will approve of my amendment. If honorable members will look at the excellent proposals which are due to the honorable member for Wentworth for the establishment of a Military College, they will see very clearly that there is created the machinery by which my proposal can be carried out with the same staff, so far as direction is concerned, and at the expenditure of no more money. It will be very much better to get all dealt with in the one Bill than that one matter should be dealt with in the Bill and another on the Estimates. Naturally, Ave shall expect to come out of the Military College men who have ‘ been moulded by the one system. It would not be a good thing to have officers trained in one way and the non-commissioned officers in another way. They should all be subject to the moulding influence of one supreme head, who would have an idea of what was wanted. and set about producing in the most effective way the desired result in the necessary number.
– It seems to me that Ave are to som- extent being asked to re-enact new section 149, which reads in this way -
No officer shall be appointed to … . the Administrative and Instructional Staff until he has passed …. a course at the Military College.
– The question is whether the word “ officer “ in that provision covers a non-commissioned officer?
– No, it does not.
– In each case, the same language - “ Instructional Staff “ - is used.
– The Minister knows that in new section 149 “officer” does not mean a non-commissioned officer.
– I know that it means both to an extent.
– No, the section means an officer appointed to the Instructional Staff.
– According to section 4 of the principal Act, “ officer “ means a commissioned officer.
– I know that, and, therefore,- think the honorable member for West Sydney had better omit the words “ Instructional Staff,” and insert the words “ non-commissioned officer.”
– No, we do not want to omit the words “ Instructional Staff.”
– I desire that the wording shall be clear. I do not see much objection to the proposal, and am willing to accept it.
– We have already agreed to certain provisions which, we were assured, were sufficient and desirable, but now, in regard to at least one of them, exception is taken by some of those who supported them and a new proposal is made. I do not object to the proposal, but the position into which we have got is a very undesirable one. . The Minister stated originally that he was willing to accept a mandatory provision regarding the establishment of a military college. That provision having been agreed to, further provisions were moved which did not attempt to deal with all the necessities of the case. We were asked to make a partial provision for a military college, although the Minister has told us that he is not yet aware, notwithstanding that officers have been specially appointed to draw up a scheme, what course it is desirable to follow. We are deciding important matters of detail in anticipation of information which we should have. We are making a one-sided provision, and this we should not do. The Minister should ascertain what is necessary in the ‘circumstances of Australia. Without guidance of this sort I am very chary about supporting these proposals. I do not oppose them on their own account, but I am doubtful of the wisdom pf agreeing to them without the statement from the Minister, or, through him, in our circumstances, from his officers, that they are desirable at the present time: They may clash with other provisions which it may be necessary to make when a fuller inquiry has taken place. We now discover that one proposal of the honorable member for Wentworth was insufficient, and it may be that the others will also prove insufficient, or, perhaps, antagonistic to what must be provided for later.
.- I cannot understand the attitude of the honorable member for North Sydney. If it were pushed to its logical conclusion no honorable member would dare to move an amendment until the permission of the Minister in charge of the measure under discussion had been obtained. The other night he flagellated most unmercifully a number of those who take an interest in the subject of defence, notwithstanding that he has shown an interest in quite a number of matters himself. His attempt to demonstrate that we are proceeding unreasonably was without good ground. Although I myself thought that the term “officer” would cover a non-commissioned officer, what I and the Committee have been principally concerned about is providing for the training of officers. The complementary suggestion of the honorable member for West Sydney for the training of noncommissioned officers is most valuable. Honorable members have a right to propose amendments.
– And others to ask for more information.
– Exactly, but surely a Committee is not ipso .facto to refuse to make amendments because the Minister has no information to give. Under the system which the honorable member for North Sydney thinks should prevail, a Minister who wished to prevent the amendment of his Bill would simply declare that he had no information to give, in which case those who agree with the view of the honorable member for North Sydney would vote against all new proposals, and would defeat them, were they numerically strong enough to do so.
.- I have spoken to the honorable member for West Sydney, and he agrees to amend the proposed new section by leaving out the words “ at the Military College,” and by substituting a “prescribed” course for a “two years’ “ course. It will then remain for the Director of the Military College to prescribe a standard for the instructional officers, but they will not have to be dragged to one centre to be examined.
Proposed new section amended accord-
.- It seems to me that the standard of examination in practical work prescribed by the Director will not be adhered to, but that differences will creep in, because the examination will be held at different centres throughout the Commonwealth. The examinations will be conducted at different centres by different officers.
– But according to a standard prescribed by the Director.
– Yes, but a standard only as far as the set papers are concerned. I do not mind so far as the theoretical examination is concerned ; but on the. practical side officers will have to be appointed in the various States to conduct the tests, and although there may be a manual or standard prescribed, yet different officers in different States may have different methods of interpreting that standard or manual. I can call to mind cases where officers .were appointed to put others through tests which, although holding rank, they were not able to pass themselves. I wish to impress on the Minister the necessity for providing by regulation that the examiners in the different States shall as far as possible conform to the same standard.
– I wish to say a few words in reply to the honorable member for Wentworth, in support of what I have already pointed out. I said that we were asked to make very important amendments in the Bill without, as the Minister informed us, sufficient inquiry having been made by him as to whether some of the proposals at any rate would be found justifiable; yet the honorable member for Wentworth, who moved these important amendments, to the main one of which I am not at all opposed, now says that his knowledge of military matters was not sufficient to inform him whether the word ‘ officers ‘ ‘ did not include noncommissioned officers.
– I think every one knows that.
– I should think so, but the honorable member for Wentworth said that he did not. I’ am not going to reflect upon that ignorance, but wish simply to point out what moved us to action. It is not merely the principle which the Minister accepted at once, of having a military college, but it is also) a question of the important details in con nexion with it, which require certainly a greater knowledge than the honorable member for Wentworth has, in his recent statements, admitted that he possesses.
Proposed new section, as amended, agreed to.
. -I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - Section sixty-three of the Principal Act is amended by adding the following sub-section :- “(3.) In* appointments to the Ordnance, District Pay, and Clerical Staffs, except in the Ministerial Office, preference shall be given in the case of equality of qualifications to members of the Defence Force who have served foi not less than five years in the Permanent Forces.”
This is one of the_ most necessary amendments yet moved. Honorable members will no doubt remember that some two years ago I brought before the House the case of a man who had been in charge of the naval launch running from Williamstown all over the Bay, and applied for a position in charge of the Customs launch. No man had stronger recommendations for such a position than he had, and he felt confident that he would get it, as did the officer commanding the Naval Forces. He had excellent recommendations, and was willing to undergo a practical test as to his fitness. Being in the forces, he was confident that he would receive the same fair treatment as would be given to an outsider, but unfortunately he found that his trust in the Department was misplaced. His only disqualification was that he was in the Naval Forces of the Commonwealth. The Public Service Commissioner could not entertain his application on that ground. Even the honorable member for Indi with all his Conservative ideas would, I feel sure, agree that a man who has given faithful service to the ‘Commonwealth should get, if not preference, at any rate an equal run for his money when he applies for a position.
– All things being equal, he ought to get the preference.
– I provide that in my amendment.
– Why should he get preference?
– If a man gives the best years of his life to the Defence Department he ought, if there are any soft positions going, to be given the preference in his declining years, all things being equal.
– Let us start bysaying that, all things being equal, there should be no preference.
– If the honorable member is so blind that he cannot see what I am driving at, I shall be satisfied. to let him vote against the amendment.
– How does the new clause amend section 63 of the principal Act? That section does not deal with this matter at all.
– It gives members of the Defence Forces the preference.I shall look up that point later. At present there are permanently employed in connexion with the Defence Department over go civilians performing clerical work, and there are also 90 of the general division of the Commonwealth Public Service employed. Only last year,, the position of storeman in the Military Depotat Brisbane became vacant. Applications were invited through the medium of the Commonwealth Gazette from persons who were willing to fill the vacancy, and a man who had been discharging the duties attaching to the position, and who had been twelve years in the Defence Department as a permanent hand, sent in an application. But the Public Service Commissioner said, “ You are part of the military organization, and are outside the Commonwealth Public Service. Consequently, you are not eligible to receive the appointment.” As a result, a broken down saddler was selected to fill the office, the duties of which this very individual had been faithfully discharging. The naval officer to whom I have already alluded was disqualified upon a similar ground; and in that case a man who had been employed in pulling a ferry boat across the Yarra was appointed to the vacant position. If this sort of thing is to continue, the sooner the public know of it, the better. When the Australian Contingents were being despatched to South Africa, the members of them were assured that, upon their return, thev would not only be honored, but would be given employment, wherever opportunity offered, in the Public Service of the States.
– But the State Governments did not keep their promise in that connexion.
– Exactly. A statement cf the case placed in my hands contains the following : -
These positions could be filled by trained men from the various . branches of the forces, particularly the Permanent Forces, where a thorough knowledge of the work is obtained. At present such appointments are unobtainable by the soldier, the Commonwealth Public Service Act debarring him from’ appointment. The posi tions as they now stand are for public servants only. Any positions in the Department should be open to the soldier having the qualifications for the position. At present, trained soldiers in completion of their period of engagement, seek employment in the Police Force,. Penal Warders, or elsewhere, as they see nofuture area ahead of them. Thus the servicesof sergeant-majors, sergeants, and other’ non-commissioned officers, the most valuable and thoroughly trained men, are lost.. The fact that the permanent soldier serves his period of engagement on a very small rate of pay should be the strongest reason why theseselect positions should be placed within thecompass of his attainment. It is decidedly wrong to have employes, who are not governed by the provisions of the Defence and Discipline Act, dealing with the defence matters. Noargument need be put forward in support of this contention.
I, too, am firmly of that opinion. The reports of the War Office (Reconstruction)’ Committee, 1904, of which Sir George Sydenham Clarke was a member, are very plain in their denunciation of the employment of civilians in the Military Forces.. The following are a few extracts from those reports -
The sporadic growths . of small financial’ branches at the Head-quarters of three of the Army Corps accentuate rather than diminish the centralization in the War Office of civiliancontrol over military policy and administration. We have made proposals for dealing with thisserious evil, which lies at the root of military inefficiency. To these proposals, we attach vital importance, and we are finally convinced that no internal reform of War Office organization can be permanent and effective which is not based upon a sound system of decentralization.
We desire to repeat that the criticism of military policy by civilians, whose functions should be limited to examination of estimated cost and expenditure,, has become a habit, incurable unless drastic reforms are applied.
And further, the War Office papers teem with minutes proving that the clerks of the Finance Branch freely express opinions on matters of military policy. This, which is a natural result of a dominant theory, has the effect of destroying the responsibility of the military heads “of the War Office, of confusing the administration, and of delaying action.
While the present system of financial control is futile in peace it is ruinous in war. Officers unaccustomed to bear any financial responsibility, and -ruled by’ excessively complexregulations, cannot at once improvise a system’ for the control of expenditure in the field, when the restraints are suddenly removed. The result, as in South Africa, is the waste of millions.
The responsibility of the military heads has been rendered nominal, except in time of war, when the Finance Branch is effaced as a controlling power.
The Secretary pf State has been led to give decisions upon a partial presentment of a cases.
The members of the Finance Branch, not contenting themselves with purely financial criticism and the framing df estimates, have acquired the habit of freely expressing their
Opinions on questions of military policy.
Thus, one principal clerk may convey, over his own signature, an implied censure to the General Officer Commanding an Army Corps, while another may copiously minute, in an adverse sense, papers, on which a military head of the War Office has expressed his opinion. Such conditions appear to us intolerable, and they fully account for the administrative inefficiency of the War Office.
I do not desire that the members of our Military Forces should have any claim whatever upon vacancies which may arise in the Defence Department, unless their qualifications are equal to those which are possessed by outside applicants. No proposal could be fairer than that. When the’ honorable member for Richmond was Minister of Defence, he promised a deputation which waited upon him that he would insert some such provision in his Defence Bill ; and, from the tone of the House at the time, I am satisfied that his action would have mel with unanimous indorsement
– There can be no objection to the reform in principle.
– If the Minister of Defence is willing to accept my proposal, I need say no more. But he may argue that there are so many Commonwealth public servants employed in the Defence Department, that it would be difficult to remove them. I will undertake to say that the Public Service Commissioner could place those officials in other positions within a very few weeks.
– But I doubt whether this proposal would direct him to <io that.
– Why? If we affirm that only military men are to be employed in our Defence Department, he will have to do it, But I have no desire to displace a single public officer ; and if the Minister will promise that the rule which I advocate will be observed in reference to all future appointments, I shall be satisfied. I hope that honorable members will support this proposal, so that those who have served their country well, even in time of peace, may be suitably rewarded when the opportunity offers for their promotion to positions that they are qualified to occupy.
– I am entirely with the honorable member so far as the principle underlying the amendment is concerned. Many anomalies exist at present in consequence of the fact that about one-half of the clerical staff of the Defence Department are under the Public Service Commissioner, while the military authorities control the remainder. For instance, the Department has nothing to do with officers of the District Pay Staff; they are all under the Public Service Commissioner. There is no possibility of passing from the one service to the other, and this system is working very detrimentally to the Military Forces. Only a few days ago we advertised for applications for the position of, I think, military surveyor and supervisor of works in New South Wales. There is an officer there doing military survey work in connexion with the Department of Home Affairs, and I could not conceive of a better or more competent man -for our purpose. If he stepped from the Department of Home Affairs to the Defence Department, however, he would sacrifice all his public rights and opportunities for promotion under the Public Service Act He could not be taken back, and would lose all chances of promotion. That is certainly anomalous and wrong. The system seems to affect the efficiency of the military, as well as the Public Service; but what to do exactly I do not know. I suggest to the honorable member for Maranoa that he withdraw his amendment on my definite assurance that I will go into the whole matter with the Public Service Commissioner, and, if necessary, bring forward special legislation to meet the situation.
– This session?
– If possible. If it were found necessary, we might take steps to have such a provision as this inserted in the Bill when it is before another place; but I should like to consult the Public Service Commissioner before taking action. Whatever is done will be with the view of enlarging the possibilities of service for these men. I agree with the honorable member for Maranoa that they should have the preference, but to pass this proposed new clause might be to create further complications without achieving the object which my honorable friend has in view. I suggest to him that he allow the matter to remain in abeyance for the present, and I will have it thoroughly gone into, with a view of ascertaining whether we cannot do what he desires, and which I thoroughly favour.
.- I am prepared to accept the Minister’s suggestion, as I recognise that he shares my view of the situation.
– We must see that the anomaly is rectified in some way or other.
– The honorable member means his proposal to apply only to future appointments?
– That is so ; I do not desire it to be retrospective, but I am convinced that honorable members generally think that something should be done to enable those who serve their country well in the Defence Forces to be rewarded. I am prepared to withdraw the amendment.
– If I cannot do better, we shall take steps to have this amendment inserted in the Bill when it is before another place.
Mr.KELLY (Wentworth) [4.47].- Before the amendment is withdrawn, I wish to ask the Minister of Defence whether, in his discussion of this question with the Public Service Commissioner, he will make certain that the opportunities for advancement and so forth among the clerks under the control of the Defence Department shall be equal in all respects to those which men under the Public Service Commissioner now enjoy.
– That is to say throughout the whole length of the Public Service? If this amendment were carried it would mean making more exclusive our military appointments.
– Like the Minister of Defence, I am entirely with the honorable member for Maranoa with regard to the desirableness of giving opportunity for promotion to those who have served their country .
– I would rather open the whole range of the Public Service if I could to these clerks.
– I do not see why it should not be done. If it is there will be an outcry on the part of some unthinking persons in the Public Service who may imagine, in the first instance, that the few persons concerned in such a provision as this would offer them serious competition, surely on reflection they will perceive that it is, after ail, a proposal only to deal fairly with another body of public servants.
– Men going from the Defence Department to positions under the control of the Public Service Commissioner would have to pass the necessary examinations.
– The examinations would denend entirely upon the class of work that they wished to take up. In the Department of Trade and Customs, for instance, there are positions in connexion with which the one desideratum is trustworth- iness.
– Such as the position of tide waiters.
– Quite so. An ex-soldier would be an excellent man for such a position.
– I do not see any difficulty in the way of these men passing examinations for such a position if. they have to pass one.
– Nor do I. The military clerks are anxious to come under the Public Service Commissioner, because, under him, they have more opportunity of advancement. It has been urged by past Ministers of Defence that the requirements of the Defence Department necessitate certain officers being under the distinct and exclusive control of the military authorities, and if those officers are kept under the control of the Department, I desire the question of the limitation of their opportunitiesof advancement to be taken into account. They should receive salaries, and be granted increments on a scale corresponding with that of the officers under the Public Service Commissioner, with whom they wish to be associated. I sincerely trust that the Minister, in discussing this matter with the Commissioner, will endeavour to see that that is done.
– I shall discuss it with a view of enlarging the opportunities of men in our own Department.
– Had the honorable member for Maranoa pressed his proposed new clause I should have moved that it be amended by the substitution of the word “ three “ for the word “ five,” so that it should applyto those who have served for not less than three years in the Permanent Forces. I do not think we desire to deprive any one in the Defence Department of obtaining employment under the Public Service Commissioner after he has been in the service of the Defence Department for three years.
– The honorable member is referring to the period of enlistment.
– I am. There are men in the Defence Department who are now eligible after three years’ service for certain appointments. I think that the honorable member for Maranoa was wise in agreeing to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move -
That the following proposed new section be inserted after section 139 : -
There can be no doubt that a large number of people - though small in proportion to population - have conscientious objections to prepare for the work of killing others.
– I suppose that the passing of this proposed new section would increase the number?
– Those who entertain such objections, might very well be permitted to give to the country other services which both in times of peace and of war would be equally valuable.
– If the service prescribed under the honorable member’s proposed new section were equally onerous, the number of non-combatants would not be increased.
– I think not. The history of warfare has shown that the ravages of disease have carried off more people -than have bullets. More soldiers die during campaigns from diseases, not only unpreventable, but preventable, than are killed on the field. I hold in my hand a valuable little book called The Real Triumph of Japan, which demonstrates how it was that Japan attained herreal triumph in her war with Russia, by triumphing over the diseases which usually play such havoc with armies. The writer says -
Longmore’s Tables, which are accepted as the most reliable statistics of war, and which are based on the records of battles for the past two hundred years, show that there rarely has been a conflict of any great duration in which nt least four men have not perished from disease to every one from bullets. In the Russo-Turkish war eight thousand died from disease and twenty thousand from wounds. It is asserted on emiment French authority that in six months of the Crimean campaign the Allied Forces lost fifty thousand from disease and two thousand from bullets.
Further on, the writer says -
In the French campaign in Madagascar in 1804 fourteen thousand men were sent to the front, of whom twenty-nine were killed . in action and seven thousand perished from preventable disease. In the Boer war in South Africa the English losses from disease were simply frightful, greater even than our civil war record. But the crowning piece of imbecility was reserved for our war with Spain, where in 1898, fourteen were heedlessly sacrificed to ignorance and incompetency for every one who died on the firing line or from battle casualties. That, too, in a war, the chief campaign of which lasted only six weeks.
So that the Americans succeeded, in a campaign lasting only a few weeks, in losing fourteen soldiers by disease for every one killed in the firing line. Mv proposal means that those people who do not care to take part in the work of preparing to kill folks, shall have the opportunity of fitting themselves to cure people and to prevent disease. There is, I believe, a new hemisphere awaiting discovery in this direction in connexion with military enterprise. I had originally purposed to submit a schedule to the Bill, to specify, the classes of work or kind of examination to be provided for non-combatants who desired to evade military service. I admit, at once, that if any man, by merely declaring that he had conscientious objections to passing the prescribed examination, could evade military service, the effect would be to do away with compulsory service altogether. But I propose an equally onerous class of service - that the time that would be occupied in passing the military examinations during the six years that a young man is expected to put in, as a senior cadet, and a citizen soldier, shall be spent in passing examinations in sanitation, military hygiene, and first-aid. The history of the war between Japan and Russia shows what an enormous amount of care was taken by the Japanese to insure the health of their troops. It is a fact that, in the Japanese Army, there were a number of men whose duty it was to go ahead of the troops and make preparations for insuring their health. Whenever they came to a pool of water, they examined it and determined whether it was fit to drink. If it was not fit for consumption, they ascertained what steps would be necessary to make it so. When the Japanese soldiers came up, they saw a notice at each pool telling them whether the water therein was fit to drink, and how it was to be treated if unwholesome. The consequence of these precautions was that the Japanese succeeded in so reversing the percentage of deaths from preventable diseases occurring in other armies, that, although British and American Armies have lost three men from disease for every one killed by bullets, the Japanese lost only one from disease for every three killed by bullets. Under this amendment, it would be possible for us to train a body of men who would devote years of study to hygienic questions. In the event of hostilities, these men would be able to distinguish between water fit for human consumption and that which was not. They would be able to apply the principles of sanitation to camp life. A number of them would attain a knowledge of veterinary science that would enable them to do -good work amongst the horses in the military camps. In this way, they would render quite as valuable service to the country in time of war as would those who were discharging more arduous duties in the field. Furthermore, my proposal would have the effect of training a body of men who would have considerable influence for good upon the community in times of peace. They would be missionaries of health and cleanliness in the community. Anybody who has lived in some country municipalities will know that there is often room for influences of this kind to be exerted. I commend my amendment to the Minister, and trust that it will be embodied in the Bill.
.- I am quite in accord with the principle underlying the amendment of the honorable member for Werriwa. I know that there are some men who have conscientious objections to rendering military service.
– Their cases are already provided for in the principal Act.
– I am aware of that fact. What I would “suggest for consideration is this : There will be a vast number of non-combatants, and I think that we are not really competent to decide now as to how work shall be allotted to them in times of peace.
– It is hard to get noncombatants on active service.
– We may have troops being trained in a continuous camp moving about from place to place, involving marches across country. In that case we could train these non-combatants in their work. Indeed, that is the kind of training for all arms that I should like to see.
– What is a non-combatant - a man who eats without fighting?
– No. The non-combatant is a man who carries the food for the man who eats and fights. He carries the water bag, . the food, and the ammunition. I am satisfied that the right honorable member for East Sydney would prefer the lighter job of fighting to that of carrying the other fellows’ food. It is very difficult to define- the services which might be asked of non-combatants, but, if they are attached to moving columns, they are such that we need have little fear that there will be many sham conscientious objectors.
– When we begin to define the duties of a non-combatant we limit the possibilities of helping the persons about whom the honorable member for Werriwa is concerned. It seems to me that the original Act provides for all that is necessary. Section 61 reads -
That provision it appears to me meets what the honorable member desires more directly than would the limitation which he suggests by way of amendment.
-But these men might escape service altogether.
– The honorable member’sproposal is permissive, but if the men came in they would have to perform such service as was prescribed.
– The amendment proposed would meet the difficulty only to a certain extent. The conscientiousreligious objections to war are so strong in some persons that it is possible they would not feel justified in performing even the non-combatant duties which the honorablemember has referred to.
– Does the Minister suggest that a man’s conscientious convictions would not permit him to bind up a broken leg ?
– I was not referring particularly to service in an Army Service Corps.
– I am not asking that these men should be included in an Army Service Corps.
– What is really the distinction from the point of view of non-combatant dutiesbetween the bakingof bread for an army and the binding upof broken limbs? I think the honorablemember might leave the matter as it standsunder the existing Act. By attempting any definition of non-combatant duties thehon- orable member must necessarily limit the possibilities of meeting the views of the people whom he desires to serve.
– From my own experience I am satisfied that the Minister will not go far wrong if he accepts .the amendment. On active service it is the hardest thing in the world to secure men for the performance of non-combatant -duties.
– All my officers tell me that there will not be the slightest difficulty in meeting all these cases.
– It is only with the greatest difficulty that men of the active force can be induced for instance to drive mule trains to bring up provisions, even though they may be offered twice what they are paid for service in the field force. I know that when volunteers from our battery were asked for to perform non-combatant work, although three times the pay was offered, no one would volunteer. All preferred to remain in the active field force. If the honorable member for Werriwa desires that the noncombatants should form part of the Army Hospital Corps or Army Service Corps, there can be no objection, but if he knew what the active forces call those belonging to the Army Service Corps and transport service lie would not desire that any of his friends having conscientious scruples should join these corps.
– What do they call them?
– I shall not tell the right honorable gentleman. The name they give them is unprintable.
– Yet there are some -of our finest men in these corps.
– That is so; but those who start in petticoats find no difficulty in continuing to wear that dress. Probably that is the reason why the honorable mem”ber for Hindmarsh desired to put the whole of the navy into kilts. If the honorable member. for Werriwa desires that the persons about whom he is concerned should be included in the Army Service Corps or Hospital Corps the Minister need raise no objection, because I repeat that it is the hardest thing in the world to induce men on active service to voluntarily join any of the non-combatant forces.. When we were about to cross the Tugela and enter Zululand we desired to leave a force behind at “Rorke’s Drift, and volunteers from the infantry, cavalry, and artillery were asked for to form that force. Only the sick, the halt, and the maimed could be induced to volunteer to defend that position, and we know that the defence that was subsequently put up there was one of the noblest in the history of the Empire. Those in authority were obliged, in order to make up the force, to select every second man from the ranks, as the. men preferred what they believed would be active service. If the honorable member for Werriwa wishes to serve his friends he will withdraw his amendment, because no men are harder worked than are those employed in the transport and other non-combatant services, and none are sworn at or grumbled at more frequently. They are the butt of any one and every one. Men engaged in the transport services require to have conscientious scruples, and strong ones at that, to stand some of the epithets hurled at them when rations or fodder are not ut to time, not only by officers commanding corps, but by the whole of the active service corps. Many men engaged in the transport services have deserved the Victoria Cross times out of number for the work they have done in bringing up supplies foi the field forces.
– In bringing this proposal forward I have been anxious to go a little further than the original Act provides for. The provision in the existing Act was made at a time when there was practically no compulsion upon any one to serve in the Defence Force. Unless the conditions under which men may obtain exemption from active service are made equally onerous with those under which men will work, we shall offer a premium to hypocrisy by allowing the Act to remain as it has been hitherto in this respect. Conscience may make cowards of a good many men when there is a provision to evade. Hitherto we have scarcely heard of the existence of section 61 of the Act, because no one had to assign a reason of that kind for getting out of service. In this Bill, however, we provide that everybody must give service, and if any persons should allege that they had religious scruples or conscientious objections, they would be able to evade their responsibility. I am anxious not to offer a premium to hypocrisy while retaining real sympathy with men who are actuated by a conscientious scruple or a religious belief. I desire to bring before the notice of the Minister the fact that a great deal more work is being done in the direction which I have indicated than has been done in the past.
– All that the honorable member suggests is that these persons shall be required to pass an examination ?
– Yes, an examination the preparation for which would occupy practically as much time as the period of- active service. No doubt many honorable members will recollect the insanitary state of certain military camps in Australia before the men were sent to South Africa. I do not hesitate to say that if some of the men” had gone on to a mining rush and behaved themselves in a similar way they would have been either shot by some of the old miners or kicked out. The most necessary precautions were not taken. Again and again in Sydney the inspectors recommended to the Mayor that those in charge of camps should be prosecuted for not keeping them in a sanitary condition. I desire to impress upon the Minister the necessity of doing a great deal more in the way of making preparations, to save life than has ever been done previously. With that object in view, I ask the honorable gentleman to reconsider ‘.he effect of section 61 of the Act, so that he may be able to prescribe regulations which will not offer a ‘ premium to those who simply desire to evade service. Perhaps he will tell me whether he has further considered the matter.
– My own opinion is that we shall better meet the conscientious scruples of these persons by retaining the provision as it is, and leaving the Department to prescribe as it miay deem fit.
– Will the honorable gentleman give me an assurance that he will prescribe some service which will be equivalent to that which men would avoid by reason of their conscientious objections ?
– Yes, and that is the spirit of the Bill, I think.
– Will the honorable gentleman also consider the question of having a better knowledge of hygiene spread amongst the camps than has been done in the past?
– Yes. the honorable member need not trouble about that.
– With that assurance, sir, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment., by leave, withdrawn.
.- I move-
That the following new clause be inserted : - 13A. After section one hundred and twenty- three of the Principal Act the following section is inserted : - “ 123A. No intoxicating or spirituous liquors, shall be sold or supplied at any naval or military canteen, camp, fort or post.”
I think that from every stand-point thisamendment if inserted will be one of the most important provisions in the Bill. We have declared to the people of Australia that there shall be compulsory training,, and that every boy must enter a camp as: required by the law. That being so, the use of intoxicating liquors should be prohibited. We should not encourage boys who will be brought into camp to drink, or in any way assist them on the downward” path. Every honorable member will no doubt admit the evil effects of strong, drink. On one occasion the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman said -
Good laws may not always make good people, but good people always ought to make good laws.
I believe that this House is composed of good men, and as such they ought to support my proposal. The late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman continued -
The man who upholds the liquor shop must be a little lower than the liquor shop, or he could not do it. I believe that temperance is the real keystone, or almost the cornerstone, of the edifice of the prosperity of this country.
On more than one occasion Mr. Joseph Chamberlain has asserted that the greatest enemy of the working classes is strong drink. Mr. Asquith, the present PrimeMinister of Great Britain, has made a similar statement. Only a little while ago Mr. Lloyd-George, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that a large percentage of the working classes were thrown out of work through the use of strong drink; and that from 25 to 75 per cent, of the workmen are unable to recommence work on Monday morning because of their intoxication on the previous days. The statement is so important that I feel justified in reading it to the Committee. Mr. Lloyd-George says -
We have discovered - well, it is not a discovery, except for a Government Department - that the liquor trade in this country is a greater handicap to our commerce and our industry than all the tariffs of the world put together.. It is an annual bill of something between- £150,000,000 and£200,000,000. At a very moderate estimate half of that is excess - something . which impairs the faculties, depresses thevitality of the nation, consumes energies mental and physical, and from the trade point of view, is the wasting of a great national asset. Therefore, as Minister of Trade, I watch the-
Tavages of drink with an anxious eye. Takeone thing alone. We find on inquiring of the employers, that on Monday mornings from- 25 to 75 per cent, of the people do not tura up owing to the drink. Another thing I find in these reports is the effect that drink has on the problem of unemployment. Employers of labour are perfectly unanimous in their statements with regard’ to this. They attribute 30 per cent, of the permanent unemployment of the country to drink.
Mr. John Burns, speaking on the same subject, says -
In many cases drink is fruitful as the chief cause of dismissal of individual workers. Intemperance in the General Post-Office (1903) was responsible for 21 per cent, of the whole number of dismissals, and for 67 per cent, of the losses of good conduct stripes. A similar proportion could fairly be applied to the police, municipal, military, naval, and every other branch of public service and private employment.
One of the strongest advocates of temperance who ever lived, a man who entered upon a crusade against the use of strong drink because he had seen its evil effects in the hospitals, Father Matthew, has testified that -
There is not one strong enough or firm enough to resist temptation, and no one is so strong or firm that he may not fail. I have seen the proudest boasters humbled to the dust, steeped to the very lips in poverty and sunk in dishonoured graves.
That is the opinion of a clergyman who, during a short campaign in the Old Country, persuaded something like 160,000 persons to take the pledge. Phillips Brooks, another social reformer, thinks that- If we could sweep intemperance out of the country there would hardly be poverty enough left to give healthy exercise to the charitable impulses.
Then the Honorable John D. Long has termed drink “ the dynamite of modern civilization.” If this provision be not agreed to, and the present system remains, from 37,000 to 40,000 young men, between the ages of eighteen and twenty years, will be given the opportunity in camps of training to obtain strong drink. Perhaps many of those who will thus be subjected to temptation will be youths who have promised to be total abstainers. It is estimated that in the Old Country 600 children are killed annually through being overlaid bv intemperate mothers. In the Age of 13th May, 1907, this statement appeared regarding over-indulgence in alcoholic beverages -
Indeed a point is soon reached where it is not possible to get a pure stimulation, so that the drunkard is seen to be a person who is hopelessly trying to escape from misery rather than one courting pleasure. The recognition of this element of risk in alcoholic stimulation is producing the greater caution in handling strong drink. Even although in Australia the average drinker takes only two-thirds of the British amount of liquor, one man out of thirty who consumes alcohol regularly is bound to be taken to the lock-up in the course of a year on a charge of drunkenness. But for every one who is taken into custody each year there are several who manage to confine all the wretchedness of their drunken sprees within the private sphere of their wives, children and neighbours.
I have quoted the views of statesmen, social reformers, and journalists. Let me add what has been written by Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, a gentleman with whom the members of the Opposition are familiar, who took a prominent part in our last elec: tion. He is the editor of The Socialistic Library, and, with Philip Snowden, has expressed himself on this subject in the following terms -
To sum up our indictment of the drink traffic in relation to social waste, we submit the foregoing facts to prove that the traffic is largely responsible for murder, suicide, immorality and petty crimes ; it is poisoning the bodies of children before they are born, it sends thousands to their graves before they have learned to lisp; it gives the tens of thousands who survive, a shattered constitution and weakened will; it predisposes them to every form of illness; it is destroying the capacity for motherhood, and weakening the natural instinct of the mother. Drink is, in fact, one of the most destructive evils, destroying mind and body, which curses the human race.
– I must ask the honorable member not to open up a general discussion on the temperance question.
– This is a question of whether we are to have an open or a closed bar. Behind that bar, I presume that it is intended to sell something stronger than water, and I propose to show the evil effects of such a course.
– I simply wished to prevent a general debate on the temperance question, as apart from its bearing on military canteens.
– I wish to show the evil effects of drink. If I cannot show that drink is an evil, it is of no use to submit my motion. The number of arrests for drunkenness in Australia have been as follow :- 1901, 57,212 ; 1902, 53,514; 1903, 50,961; 1904, 50,368; 1905, 51,641; 1906, 53J451; and i9°7> 59>5°-* Mr. Knibbs states, in his Year-Book for T908, page 923 -
Examination of the prison records of New South Wales some years ago disclosed the fact that over 40 per cent, of the gaol population had commenced their criminal career with a charge of drunkenness.
We must also take into consideration the waste. When the Tariff was under discussion, honorable members on all sides used to ask, “ Is this industry worth encouraging?” I wish to ask the same question to-day regarding the drink industry. Is an industry worth encouraging which means the locking up of 60,000 people in Australia every year ? The yearly average drink bill of the Commonwealth, for the years 1902 to 1907, was £13,1 10, 500. According to the recent balance-sheet of a brewing company, a total of ^£5,223 was paid to the directors, while the workmen received only £5,600 in wages all told. The capital employed in brewing gives to labour only is. 6d. in every j£i of value produced, while the wages paid in other industries are as follow : - Textiles, 4s. 5d. ; furniture, 4s. 10d ; cotton, 5s. 4d. ; farming, 5s. yd. ; railways, 6s. 3d.; and coal mining, us. . for every £1 so invested. On the 19th March of this year, the late Premier of South Australia, Mr. Price, attended a conference in connexion with social reform in Great Britain. He said that his experience was that the factory girl, after marriage, who, as a mother, should be at home, was often, through her husband’s drinking, driven back to the factory at a low wage, and thus became the competitor of the working man. From the medical stand-point. let me quote Sir Frederick Treves, who was at the Boer war, and made the following statement regarding the men who fell out on the way to Ladysmith -
As a work producer alcohol is exceedingly extravagant, and like other extravagant measures it is apt to lead to a physical bankruptcy. It is well known that troops cannot march on alcohol. I was with the relief column that moved on to Ladysmith. It was an extremely trying time apart from the heat of the weather. In that column of some 30,000 men, the first who dropped out were not the tall men, or the short men, or the big men, or the little men, but the drinkers, and they dropped out as clearly as if they had been labelled with a big letter on their backs.
The late Sir Andrew Clark, physician to Queen Victoria, said -
From personal experience and from experiments most carefully conducted over large bodies of men, it is capable of proof, beyond all possibility of question, that alcohol, in ordinary circumstances, not only does not help work, but is a serious hindrance to work. I am bound to say that for all honest work alcohol never helps a human soul.
Those are the opinions of leading men in their respective branches of the medical profession. I suppose it will be argued in this debate that to shut out intoxicating liquor from the canteens will jeopardize the lives cf some of the men, because alcohol is used medically; but nearly all the leading medical men of the day are now dispensing with strong drink for medical purposes. Let me quote some figures to show that in the leading hospitals alcohol is now very little used, although a few years ago it was used in large quantities. In discussing this question in this city a short time ago, Dr. Devine gave some interesting figures in reference to the use of intoxicants in the Melbourne Hospital. He pointed out that, whereas in 1874 the amount spent in strong drink upon 3,394 patients was ^1,382, last year, upon 4,410 patients, it was only- .£97.
Mx. Richard Foster. - Previously, the patients used to be fed upon it.
– That practice has now been abandoned, because medical science recognises that, instead of alcohol doing a patient good, it really does him harm. Dr. Devine said -
The systematic drinker’s chance of recovery in case of accident was infinitely less than that of the total abstainer, and during his experience at the Melbourne Hospital many cases had come under his notice in which drink was the primary cause of the fatality.
A similar reform is taking place in the Old Country. There the amount expended upon strong drink in one institution containing 3,832 patients was ^672 in 1840, whereas in 1906 the expenditure upon 11,216 patients was only ,£194. These figures clearly prove that medical science is opposed to the use of intoxicants. Coming to the next phase of the question, I might fairly urge that the opinions of the leaders of men ought to carry great weight. When “ Stonewall “ Jackson was asked to take a glass of brandy and water, his reply was, “No, I never use it; I am more afraid of it than of Yankee bullets.” Speaking of the use of alcohol, Lord Charles Beresford says -
I do not believe that alcohol in any form ever has or ever will do any one any good. I am now sixty years old, and since I have entirely given up wine, spirits and beer, I find that I can do as much work, or more, physically and mentally than I could do when I was thirty. I am always well, always cheery, laugh at the “ downs “ of life equally with the “ ups,” and always feel fit and in condition.
But I have no need to go to the Old Country for expressions of opinion condemnatory of the use of alcohol. I hold in my hand the statement of an honorable member of this House, who has seen active service in South Africa, upon the liquor traffic, which
I propose to read. This statement is extracted from an English newspaper. It reads -
When I was with the troops in South Africa, awaiting the sending out of reinforcements from England after the reverses at Isandula and Rorke’s Drift, we were kept seven months without grog, and during that time not one man was sent up for punishment. But when we got to Dundee,- the men were able to get liquor from the stores, and the first night after our entrance into the town there were thirty-seven in the guard-room for drunkenness. Thenceforth until we marched into Zululand again, there were several confinements each day from the same cause. I determined then that if I had the chance to put an end to the canteen system on active service I would do ,_so.
These are the words of the honorable member for Maranoa, and I have neither added’ to nor substracted from them., In connexion with the return of the Imperial Troops from South Africa, Lord Roberts said -
I therefore beg earnestly that the British public will refrain from tempting my gallant comrades, but will rather aid them to uphold the splendid reputation they have won for the Imperial Army.
With that statement, I venture to say every honorable member will agree. I might make numerous other quotations to the same effect; but I feel sure that the majority of honorable members are prepared to support the new clause which I have submitted, and therefore it is unnecessary for me to do so. I am sure that if a vote of the people were taken to-morrow upon the question of whether or not the canteen system should be continued, an overwhelming majority would declare in favour of wiping it out. Seeing that we have affirmed the principle of compulsory training, it is important that we should insist upon removing temptation from the path of our boys.
– But the honorable member is not in favour of limiting the system to compulsory training.
– I believe, that the drink evil is one which ought to be put down, and the only way in which that can be accomplished is by wiping it out. The period between sixteen and twenty years of age is the most susceptible period of a man’s life.
– Hear, hear !
– I am glad to hear the honorable member approve that statement.
– I am not an advocate of the unrestricted sale of liquor.
– A Russian expert, Dr. Korovin, who is connected with the Moscow Asylum, has found that -
Out of every 100 cases of habitual inebriety fifty-four were of subjects who commenced drinking ‘ at various ages between fourteen and twenty-four.
Dr. Clouston, of the Royal Asylum, Edinburgh, found an even larger percentage. Speaking of the age at which the craving for stimulants, and the want of control over that craving is established, he says -
In ninety cases out of 100 this takes place during the. adolescent era of life - between fifteen and twenty-five.
We cannot make our soldiers efficient unless we give them effective training. We may build battleships and cruisers, and arm our soldiers with rifles of the latest pattern ; but behind all these is the man, and we must not place within reach pf our forces, anything that will detract from their efficiency. We have said to the farmers of Australia, amongst others. “ We intend in the near future’ to compel your sons to go into camp,” and I contend that we have no right to place a lad from the country who, perhaps, has never been in a big city, amongst a lot of men in a camp where drinking takes place. I think I am correct in- saying that we shall shortly have in camp 35,000 youths between the ages of eighteen and twenty, and it is undoubtedly our duty to protect them bv closing the canteens. No provision in the Bill is more important than that which I now propose shall be inserted, and I hope that it will receive the serious consideration ot the Committee. I place it before honorable members with the fullest confidence that it will meet at their hands with a sympathetic reception.
Mr. MATHEWS (Melbourne Ports)
T5-53]- - Honorable members, generally, must recognise that the honorable member for Batman is actuated by a desire to do something in the interests of those whom we have determined shall be compulsorily trained. I am afraid, however, that he will defeat the object of his proposed new section unless he confines it to youths up to twenty years of age. We must all agree that the compulsory training of youths up to that age should be conducted on strictly teetotal lines. I am not an advocate of the liquor traffic - honorable members know what my opinions on this question are - but at the same time I am not prepared to say that those who have reached manhood’s estate, and who serve in our Military Forces should not have an opportunity of doing that which they would do in this respect, as ordinary civilians. It is all very well for us to endeavour to lay, down hard-and-fast lines for the guidance of others, but I am not prepared to support the proposed new section as it stands. If the honorable member for Batman amends it in the direction I have indicated I am sure it will be carried unanimously. I have always insisted that all organizations of youths, with which I am associated, shall be conducted on the lines I have just indicated ; but I fail to see why men of mature years in our naval and military forces should not have an opportunity to obtain fermented or spirituous liquors if they desire to do so.
.- This proposed new section, excellently well intentioned, in a House such as this where we have as temperate a body of men as could be found anywhere, proportionately to our numbers, is sure to be received with great cordiality. But I would point out to the honorable member for Batman that if applied to permanent barracks - to places in fixed centres of population where we have large bodies of men - it would earn for him the unanimous and enthusiastic support of every publican in the district. I saw some time ago an anonymous letter addressed to the Minister of Defence, obviously by a publican in Paddington, clamouring for the abolition of the canteen in the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, on the ground that it unfairly competed with his own business.
– It must, certainly be unfair to him if it is true as reported that these canteens are open on Sunday, whilst hotels must be closed.
– It would be not only unfair, but very improper. From the reports we have had in regard to military canteens in big centres of population I am cure, however, that no such malpractice takes place.
– I have had a letter this week saying that it does.
– In the anonymous letter written to the Minister, and which, 1 believe, came from a publican, the honorable gentleman was assured that he would have to watch the position closely, as two honorable members were going to move the adjournment of the House in order to discuss the question.
– How did the honorable member come to see that letter ?
– It was shown to me as a curious twist of the temperance question that publicans and temperance people should be shoulder to shoulder so far as canteens in barracks are concerned.
– My letter was not from a publican.
– The honorable member alleges malpractice, and I hope that the Minister will look into the complaint. If drink is served on Sundays, in the way he suggests, the practice should be stopped, but surely the State law, applying to public houses, would apply to a canteen in the Victoria barracks. The canteens in barracks should be left to the control of the Minister, who should act as he thinks best. I quite agree that the more temperate a soldier is the better it is for him. But it is impossible suddenly to stop men from taking drink by simply shutting up canteens. The result will be that soldiers will go to public houses in the immediate vicinity. That indeed is the consideration which I am sure will make many a publican hate me for the views to which I am giving utterance now. In regard to those youths and young men who are undergoing compulsory training, of course, there can be no doubt that canteens should not sell to them intoxicating liquors. But I have heard no argument’ which leads me to believe that disaster will result from permitting canteens to be retained in barracks. The Minister should see that every safeguard is observed, and that as little liquor as possible is consumed by the permanent troops therein ; but certainly no inducement should be offered to men to go outside and drink at worse places. I fear that one or two honorable members may wish to address themselves to this question with a view of influencing votes at the next election.
– Has that been the course of procedure in regard to other clauses of the Bill? If not, why suggest it in this case?
– Because, as the honorable member knows as well as I do, this is a burning public question. We have in this Parliament as temperate a body of men as are to be found in any House of Parliament in the world.
– That is not disputed.
– That being so, every honorable member can approach a temperance question in a perfectly temperate spirit. I have expressed the same views as these to temperance advocates in my electorate and elsewhere, and I am glad to say that they have realized that this is the only sane way of looking at the question. Some time ago the honorable member for
Maribyrnong accused a number of honorable members of being lost to salvation because they would not support total prohibition in Papua. Afterwards he saw the error of his ways, and voted against prohibition in the interests of the natives. I suggest that the question now at issue should be approached in a more temperate vein. We might fairly allow the Minister to exercise control, whilst agreeing that liquor should at all events be prohibited in camps of compulsory training.
– Has the honorable member ever heard of anything wrong being done under the present regulations in connexion with canteens in barracks?
– No, and I am sure that no wrong is done. The honorable member for Batman gave statistics concerning convictions for being drunk and disorderly in this country. We all deplore those cases. But the honorable member gave no figures concerning the misuse of canteens in barracks. The Minister of Defence is charged with the welfare of the men of the permanent artillery. He will be blind to his duty if he consents to any proposal of the kind under consideration without looking to the consequences.
.- I shall support the amendment. The argument which principally weighs with me is that we make no particular effort to supplytroops in barracks with other things, and I do not see any reason why we should go out of our way to provide them with drink.
– Do we not provide them with food?
– Undoubtedly, but drink is not regarded as a food. It is a special kind of luxury. We know what the effect of drink is in many cases. Certainly there will be very great objection to permitting those youths who undergo compulsory training to have access to canteens. Many parents would refuse their consent to their boys being trained under those conditions. If the canteen system be extended I feel sure that there will be a feeling of unrest created in the minds of the people. The arguments in favour of suppressing canteens seem to me to be unassailable. We ought to have regard to the welfare of our troops,, and not supply them with things which in numberless instances have proved to be not to their welfare, but to their detriment. I do not know what attitude the Minister intends to take up, but I hope that he will see his. way to accept the amendment, which will be generally approved of in the country. It will be approved, not only by those who are interested in public houses, as has been suggested, but by those who are serving in the ranks, and those who are intrusted with the control of our forces.
.- The proposal is -
That no intoxicating or spirituous liquors shall be used or sold at any naval or military canteen, camp, fort, or post.
My views on this question are well known. I intend to support the amendment. Knowing the views with which the Minister of Defence is credited on the temperance question, I expected that he would have included such a clause in the Bill, and that it would not be left to a private member of the Committee to contend fox the recognition of this principle. It might suit the views of both sides of the temperance question, to support the proposed new clause. Those who support the interests of the liquor trade may believe that it would be a good thing if persons attending military camps were required to get any liquor they wanted from the ordinary licensed houses. A really strong reason for supporting the amendment is that we are providing in this Bill for compulsory attendance at these camps of training, and the parents of young men who are obliged to attend them may very reasonably object to their being exposed to the temptation to form habits of drinking at an age when their character is being formed, and they are unable to understand exactly what the effect upon them will be. If parents knew that their sons would be exposed to this temptation they would be disposed to do what they could to prevent them from going into camp. It is not necessary to argue the question at length. I hope that the Minister will accept the proposed new clause, and that if he does not it will be pressed to a division.
.- I wish to say that I was one of those who moved in a similar direction during the last Parliament, and got a private Bill through this House. It was, however, I believe, defeated in the Senate. I then spoke strongly in favour of the proposal now put forward by the honorable member for Batman. As I am paired with another honorable member, should a division take place on the proposed new clause, I shall be unable to vote, but I have thought it well to state that I -support the proposal.
.- I do not intend to traverse the question in its broad aspect, but I wish to say that I have very strong reasons for believing that it would be a good thing if the honorable member for Batman extended his proposal to cover canteens established in barracks. I have had very serious complaints from people interested in temperance reform and morality about the habits inculcated in barrack canteens. I am glad to know that the feeling against the canteen is practically unanimous where the compulsory service of youths is in question. From statistics lately collected and carefully compiled it was found that of 600 cases investigated in no less than 70 per cent, drinking habits were begun before the age of eighteen years. I think that it is rightly urged that the Roman Catholic Church in pledging youths at the time of their confirmation to abstain from drink until they are twenty-one years of age is doing a very great deal to help forward the temperance movement. As there is no doubt about the wisdom of keeping this temptation away from young people, might we not go a step further and say that the Government of the Commonwealth shall not be associated with the canteen in any shape or form? I have had very serious complaints about the goings on in the canteen in Sydney. I speak, not from my own knowledge, but from correspondence received from different persons. ‘ I have received one letter from a parent of a young soldier, another from a person in the service, and a third from a neighbour, to the effect that if the Minister of Defence instituted a careful and a searching inquiry fie would find that quite a number of civilians go to the canteen in Sydney to get a drink when they cannot get one at a public house, and that really the law of the land is being evaded in this way. I say that I cannot personally vouch for the correctness of these statements.
– The honorable member gives no names, and no authority for his statistics either.
– There is a good reason why the names of my correspondents should not be mentioned. Surely the fact that the statement is made is sufficient to justify an inquiry ? If there is nothing in the statements, an inquiry will do no harm.
– Is there any reason -why these people should write to the honorable member, rather -than to the Minister of Defence ?
– I suppose the only reason why they wrote to me is that I am prominently connected with the temperance movement. As a matter of fact, I was addressed by my correspondents as “ President of the National Temperance League.” I know of no other reason why the letters should have been written to me.
– The Minister of Defence is known to be a loyal temperance advocate.
– I quite admit that. I cast no reflections upon any one. I ask that an inquiry should be made into the statements made by my correspondents. If it is found that they are without foundation, no one will be better pleased than I. The time has gone by for regarding this as a party or personal question. Scientific research of every kind is on the side of total abstinence. I do not know that there is much in the advocacy of- the temperance movement from an advertising point of view. I know that 1 got an advertisement some time ago which was not of a very helpful character; on the contrary, it insured for me a great deal of opposition politically which I might have avoided if I had left the subject alone.
– That was when the honorable member said that the miners of Newcastle were all drunkards.
– We can consider this matter without going into past history ; but if the honorable member for Coolgardie could have the papers connected with the incident to which he refers tabled in the New South Wales Parliament, he . would find ‘that I’ was not very far wrong in what I” said.
– The honorable member introduced the subject.
– The provision is one which will, I think, receive the cordial support of a vast majority of honorable members. I hope that the Government will discountenance in every possible way the sale of intoxicating drinks.
– I had not the advantage of hearing the speech of the mover of this amendment : but if he has offered no better reasons for it than the last two speakers used, it ought to be rejected. It seems rather curious that the Government were prepared to allow a vote to be taken without intimating’ the position which they intended to take up. That is rather unusual. ‘ ‘ ‘
– Not at all.
– I think ‘so. ‘ .
– We will take care that it does not go to a vote before that is done.
– Here is a totally new principle which is sought to be embodied in the Bill. If it be a good principle, why did not the Government themselves propose its adoption? If it is in the interests of the Defence Forces, then it was Ministers’ duty to father it without waiting for a private member to move in the matter. Before we go to a vote, we are entitled to know what they propose to do. The removal of unnecessary temptation, especially from 5’Outh, is an admittedly wise proceeding ; but this amendment goes too far. Full-grown men may surely be trusted to safeguard themselves, independent of such grandmotherly precautions as this. It places a ban, not only on the sale, but upon the use for any purpose, of intoxicating or spirituous liquors. Now, the honorable member for Batman is aware that the medical profession has not altogether abandoned the use of alcohol.
– Nearly all the doctors have.
– Not all. In the past, alcohol was administered by nearly every medical man in certain emergencies. The pendulum swings very far the other way now, which is simply another illustration of the falsehood of extremes. Every man who has used alcohol knows that in certain circumstances it is very useful.
– So are strychnine and chlorodyne, in fact, all poisons.
– Would the honorable member prohibit the use of strychnine in certain cases?
– Certainly not, nor yet alcohol.
– This amendment, if enacted, would do so. If a medical man were present in a camp, he could not supply alcohol to a. person who was suffering from an illness.
– Yes, he could.
– If I understand the English language, this amendment is absolutely prohibitive of tlie use of alcohol.
– Not if it is medically prescribed.
– If the honorable member were to propose that alcohol could be prescribed by the medical officer or the officer in charge of the detachment or company, he would be approaching the bounds of reason.
– Surely nothing else was ever intended?
– Is not this amendment plain English?
– There is always the reservation that a medical man can prescribe what he likes.
– The amendment reserves nothing. Its plain intent is to forbid the sale or supply of liquor.
– It could not be used.
– The only suggestion of reservation in favour of its medicinal use is that no penalty is fixed for supplying intoxicating liquor. Honorable members who have not altogether forsaken common sense on the liquor question, or who have not gone through life with their eyes shut, must be convinced that a provision of this sort will probably do mora harm than good. Experience has, at any rate, satisfied me, that when people who want liquor are denied the usual means of obtaining it, they will procure it from other sources. The sly-grog shop is very often the answer which human nature returns to legislative puritanism. Of what avail will it be to shut down the camp canteen, where good liquor may be had, if you open in the vicinity of the camp sly grog shops where men will be half-poisoned? And how will you prevent the man who puts a bottle in his knapsack from extending spirituous hospitality to his mates and friends? While not a total abstainer, I am as much opposed as is the honorable member for Batman to the abuse of strong liquors. I wish to see every reasonable precaution taken to prevent excessive drinking by the Military Forces, especially in the vicinity of a camp of cadets. But I certainly would like a reasonable provision submitted, and not a proposition of this kind. I warn the honorable member for Batman, whose intentions are admittedly excellent, that he is running the risk of substituting a greater abuse for any now existing amongst the forces.
– No; they drink O.T. instead.
– r do not know anything about that article.
– It is much better for them.
– It may be a medicinal compound, for aught I know.- As to that, the danger of alcohol is not eliminated. One patent medicine has been found to contain 47 per cent, of alcohol - I refer to Peruna, which is extensively advertised.
– I have no desire to lessen reasonable precautions to ensure sobriety in military encampments, and, indeed, would be glad to know that temperance will be supreme there. But it is idle to ignore the fact that people habituated to liquor will get it, if not openly, then surreptitiously. The honorable member for Batman will be wise in amending his proposal, to provide that liquor shall be obtainable for medical purposes, and under medical supervision.
– Is not that understood ?
– I am dealing with the proposal as printed and moved, though I understand that the honorable member for Batman contemplates some amendment. Even if the proposed modification be made, the proposal is still open to objections that are suggested by knowledge of human nature. You will have illicit and secret drinking, often to excess, instead of the moderate enjoyment of liquor under official supervision. Those of us who have had acquaintance with the outback camps of Western Australia know that the slygrog shops flourished in the early days, and were not to be suppressed even by the imposition of heavy fines or terms of imprisonment.
– They flourished even where there were licensed houses.
– Yes, because the business was so profitable as to tempt people to defy the. law. There heavy penalites were provided for ; here there is none. As it stands, the amendment merely amounts to a pious aspiration that no one may bring into or sell grog in a military encampment. The mere prohibition of the sale of liquor is not sufficient to prevent” its introduction and use. Men who are accustomed to drink alcoholic beverages are likely to bring a supply into camp, and, in the exercise of hospitality, to offer it to others; who, in turn, will repay the compliment. If no penalty is attached to a breach of this provision, it will not only prove ineffective, but will be farcical. A man who brought a gallon of whisky into a camp and gave it to all-comers might be censured by public opinion ; but, under the proposal of the honorable member for Batman, could not be made to suffer, either in person or pocket. Surely Ministers are not going to allow this burlesque of legislation. The Attorney-General knows that the provision will be inoperative in any case, and utterly ridiculous unless a penalty is attached to its violation; but we are entitled to hear the Government view regarding the whole proposal. The underlying principle is not new. Experiments in .enforced abstinence from intoxicating liquors in military encampments were made before the honorable member for Batman appeared on the planet, bur, they collide with, if not an imperative or irresistible, certainly a strong craving of human nature. Another aspect of the matter calls for the attention of Ministers. The financial agreement with the State Premiers is to some extent affected by the provision. How are we to raise £2 10s. from Customs and Excise duties per head of the population if the consumption of spirituous liquors is reduced? This may be referred to only incidentally, yet it is both relevant and important. Should the Committee determine to adopt the proposal, it ought to insist that persons needing alcohol for medicinal purposes may be able to obtain it without violating the law, and that a penalty shall be attached where the law is violated.
– Section 85 of the original Act provides a penalty for all contraventions of the law to which specific penalties are not attached.
– We should be informed what that penalty is.
– A fine not exceeding ^10.
– The Minister should also say whether offenders are to be dealt with by a military court or a civil tribunal. A jury might be inclined to take a more sympathetic view of an offence of this nature than would be taken by a military court. We have not yet been able to draw the Minister regarding the Government’s intentions in this matter. We should be told what penalty may be inflicted, and who will have the right to inflict it. I do not desire that military camps shall become saturnalia of intemperance, being as anxious as is the honorable member for Batman that sobriety shall prevail in our Military Forces, especially in the Cadet Force. But honorable members will probably recognise that there are dangers of this new provision over-reaching itself. T shall not dwell upon the aspect of the matter mentioned by the honorable member for Wentworth, who implied that the mover was merely out to catch votes. T hardly think that that expression was justifiable in the circumstances ; because, if the honorable member for Batman desired to> gain political applause by a movement of this kind, he would have been out long ago to abolish some alleged hotels in Collingwood.
– T made no reflection on the honorable member for Batman.
– I heard the honorable member distinctly imply that this was a project to enable some honorable members to catch votes.
– I said “ If any honorable member used it so.” I did not refer to the honorable member for Batman.
– The honorable member for Wentworth is generally lucid in his references, and he was so in this instance. We understood perfectly to whom he’ referred. The reflection is not likely to affect the ultimate decision of the Committee. At any rate, I shall follow the course which I consider to be best in the interests of the Defence Forces and of the country, regardless of whether my action loses or gains me votes at the forthcoming election. We have now arrived at the stage when the Government should disclose its intentions with respect to this amendment. If they intend to support it, then let its prohibitive tendency be toned down, and let it be made as effective as possible by attaching to any breach such a penalty as circumstances demand.
.- I desire by leave of the Committee to amend the proposed new clause by adding to it the following words “except as prescribed for purely medical purposes.” I think that will meet the view of the honorable member for Coolgardie. I quite agree with him also as to the penalty, and will support him if he will move to include one.
Proposed new section amended accordingly.
– I am satisfied that the honorable member for Batman’s intentions are of the best, but if he thinks he is going to banish liquor from camps, he can have had but little experience of camps, and less of men. ‘I have been at a good many military camps in my time, and took part at one small camp in South Australia in an experiment. No canteen was allowed there, but one could get as much liquor as if there had been a canteen; with this difference, that the canteen would have been under military supervision, which can be made as strict as is thought necessary. If men want liquor at a camp they will get it. If the supervision is too rigid to allow them to bring it with them, their friends will bring it in for them. Before we pass a provision of this nature, it ought to be shown that there is drunkenness in camps. I have not found it to be so, although I admit that I have seen occasional cases of drunkennessThe honorable member for Batman wishes liquor to be supplied only for medical purposes, but he must recollect that military camps are shared in by young and older men, who are accustomed to sedentary occupations, and he cannot realize what it means to those men to be twenty-four hours on guard, perhaps on a wet night.
– Did the honorable member ever know a man to be twentyfour hours on guard ?
– A man is always put for twenty-four hours on guard. The period has very seldom been less at camps that I have been in. I have been continuously on duty for sixty-five hours. 1 was on guard for twenty-four hours on a wet night, and then had to march fifteen miles and take part in a sham fight, and afterwards go on duty for another twenty-four hours. I assure honorable members that I was very glad to have a nobbier of whisky in the middle of it. It wouldsometimes be very injurious to the men t have referred to, who are not teetotallers, but are strictly sober men,- and not accustomed to training or being out in alii weathers at a camp, if they could not get some alcoholic liquor to drink when they required it. It would be a serious mistake to let them have an unlimited supply; but if no canteen is allowed they can still have an unlimited supply, or, what is worse, there are always opportunities of getting away from camp, and men who want liquor will go to the nearest public house, where they will not get as good drink as is supplied under Government supervision in the canteens. At the experimental camp in South Australia to which I have referred - I believe it was the only experiment of the kind tried there - the men were a sober lot and there was no drunkenness, but if any one had wanted liquor he could have got it. It is fair that the absolute necessity for a proposal of this sort should be shown, but the honorable member for Batman has shown no necessity for it. He has not proved that it will be a beneficial reform. If it would make a number of men sober who are not so now, I should be delighted to assist him ; but as it will not have that effect he ought to withdraw it.
– Withdraw it? We can carry it easily.
– I should like to know what the honorable member for Maribyrnong’s idea is. Judging by some of his public utterances, he seems to fear that a man who takes a glass or two of beer will become a drunkard. I remember what he said about the miners at Maitland, and understand that he now holds that the papers show that all he said was justified.
– I did not say that.
– The honorable member said it was nearly all justified. He did the right thing when he went to Maitland and apologized for his statements.
– What has that to do with this question?
– It has this much to do with it, that many of the .very men to whom the honorable member referred are likely to go into camp. If I thought they were of the character that he says they are, 1 should do all I could to prevent them from getting liquor, but they are not. It is a pity we cannot deal with men who when they take intoxicating drinks do not know when to stop, but the great body of men who will go into camps are not of that class. I am satisfied that this is only another of many honest attempts which are made without a knowledge of the circumstances or of human nature, and which, instead of accomplishing something, make things worse than they were before. I shall oppose the proposed’ new clause.
– I do not complain about the action of the honorable member for Batman in bringing forward this proposal. He is in favour, I presume, of prohibition. I am not. If there is prohibition in the State, there will be prohibition in the camp. So long as the canteen is controlled, there will be no more drunkenness in camp than there is in any other well-organized gathering. Upon some other occasion we may have an opportunity of discussing upon the floor of this chamber the question of whether or not prohibition shall obtain ‘in the Federal Territory.
– I hope so.
– At any rate I should very much like to see any such experiment conducted in a place where it was possible to exercise adequate control.’ Pro hibition has been tried in Papua, but all the reports go to show that the liquor trade there is thriving.
– The honorable member was one of those who assisted to get prohibition tried in Papua, but since the introduction of the system ‘ there a great deal of information has been forthcoming which goes to show that a’ considerable quantity of illicit spirit is being consumed in the Possession. I shall not assist any honorable member to abolish our military canteens. Those gentlemen who have attended our military camps, and who are most temperate in their habits, are unanimous in assuring us that in any wellorganized camp there is no fear whatever of drunkenness. I hope, therefore, that we shall not adopt the proposal of the honorable member for Batman, but that upon some future occasion the experiment of prohibition will be tried in a place where it is likely to achieve more good.
– I have been very much exercised as to how I should vote upon this proposal. At first I was inclined to support the honorable member for Batman, and even now I believe that it is proper to keep intoxicants from cadets till they are twenty or twenty-one years of age. There is only one opinion amongst honorable members upon that subject. But I feel that the principal underlying the clause as it has been presented savours more of prohibition than of the promotion of temperance. Its adoption would be tantamount to casting upon the members of our Defence Forces - whether they be permanent or volunteer - a disability which would not apply to civilians under similar conditions. ‘ If my honorable friend wishes to introduce the principle of prohibition, I scarcely “ think that he ought to begin where he proposes. I wish to give an illustration of the way in which the canteen system works in connexion with the police force. I believe that the police forces throughout the Commonwealth have their canteens at the head barracks. I know that the system has been in vogue in South Australia many years, and that the Commissioner of Police and the principal officers of the force affirm that since its introduction the condition of the men ‘in the barracks is infinitely better than it was previously. The system is under the control, of the principal officers of the force, and there is no abuse of it whatever. Until the honorable ‘member for Hindmarsh rose I had listened vainly in an endeavour to learn whether the canteen system at our military bar- . racks was attended with bad or good results. The honorable member for Batman delivered a very excellent address upon the temperance question generally, but did not challenge the vote of the Committee from the stand-point of the bad results which flowed from the establishment of the canteen. He did not tell us that there was drunkenness in military camps as the result of the canteen. His quotations from Lord Roberts, Lord Kitchener, and others, were to the effect that it would be a good thing if soldiers were more temperate. But those authorities did not declare that intemperance was promoted by the establishment of military canteens. As a matter of fact, I believe that if the proposal of the honorable member for Batman were adopted, instead of minimizing any evil which may exist, it would tend to aggravate it. In short, it would prove an excellent thing for the individual who conductedthe nearest licensed hotel to the barracks. He would certainly drive a thriving business. But my chief reason for voting against the proposed new clause is that it would impose a disability upon men who ought not to be subjected to disability. It would penalize the members of our Military Forces as against civilians, and I cannot assent to the adoption of that course. I would vote as earnestly as would any honorable member to assist the cause of temperance; but I do not think that this proposal would operate fairly, nor do I imagine that it would result in a better condition of affairs obtaining in our military barracks.
.- If carried to its logical conclusion, the argument of the honorable member for Wakefield would mean that we ought to establish a canteen in every post-office, and, indeed, in every Department in which public servants are employed.
– It would be better to do that than to have a condition of affairs similar to that which used to prevail at Renmark and Mildura - at any rate, at Renmark.
– I have visited Mildura, and must say that I never saw a single individual unemployed there; nor, indeed, did I see a man with a ragged coat. I acknowledge that a large quantity of drink is consumed there; but I saw no case of drunkenness. The honorable mem ber for Hindmarsh stated that, after the members of our Military Forces had been required to be on guard duty for twentyfour hours, and had then been obliged to march a number of miles, it was necessary that they should be supplied with a little whisky to give them strength. Now; whisky may act as a stimulant for a time, but it can impart no strength to any individual. The athlete who wishes to’ excel always abstains from the use of alcohol.
– Who made the statement to which the honorable member has referred ?
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh stated that when men had to march a number of miles, after having done twenty-four hours’ guard duty, it was necessary that they should be given a little whisky to give them strength.
– I did not say anything of the kind. The honorable member misunderstood me.
– Then the honorable member did not say that it was necessary for a man to . take some stimulant after he had been a long time on duty?
– I said that it might be necessary, but not for the reason stated by the honorable member.
– Riflemen who desire to become expert marksmen find it necessary to abstain from the use of intoxicating liquors.
– Plenty of moderate drinkers are good shots.
– I agree with the honorable member, but I would remind him that athletes who are not teetotallers find it absolutely’ necessary to abstain from the use of strong drink whilst they are in training.
– That is what the total abstainers say.
– I have in mind the testimony of men who are not abstainers, but who practice total abstinence when training.
– I have met moderate drinkers who as men are just as good as total abstainers are.
– I have met good men on both sides. I do not say that the taking of alcohol in itself makes a man a good or a bad citizen; it depends upon how much he takes. Under this Bill boys and youths . will be withdrawn from their homes and from parental control to undergo military training, and we must see to it that they are not placed in the way of temptation. Many fathers and mothers have refused hitherto to allow their boys to join cadet corps on the ground that from time to time the Cadets go into camp where alcohol is obtainable, and they are afraid that their lads might take their first glass there. Under this Bill the sons of such people will be compelled to train, and, in the circumstances, we ought to take care that they are not put in the way of temptation.
– No one has said that the boys and youths in our forces should be enabled to obtain strong drink in camp.
– The honorable member has already spoken. If he desires to make another speech I will sit down. I am advocating the closing of canteens for the sake of men as well as boys. I know a man who, having kept sober for some years, went into camp, and there got drunk. It took me a long time to get him sober once more. There may be in our compulsory trained forces others of the same temperament, and we should not place temptation in the way of persons liable to fall. The temptation to drink in companyis stronger than in other circumstances, and if we desire to have a strong, healthy body of men composing our Defence Forces we should do all in our .power to keep them in the path of sobriety. If they take drink when not undergoing training that will be their responsibility, not ours. I hope that the proposed new clause will be passed.
– The -honorable member for Batman, in submitting this proposed new clause for the consideration of the Committee, covered a considerable amount of ground, some of which may not be considered relevant to the question immediately before us. The first part of his address went a long way to prove that stimulants are neither necessary nor helpful, and the latter portion went to show on the testimony of the authorities that from the military point of view they are also unnecessary. During the debate we have been favoured with the experience of men connected with military movements, who say that troops are better without strong drink, whilst others have said that experiments in the direction now proposed have not been successful. The honorable member for Hindmarsh spoke of his own experience, and I regretted to learn that in the instance he mentioned the experiment of abolishing strong drink from camps was not as successful as he had antici pated. I am not quite sure whether the experience to which he referred was that to which he alluded when the Canteen Bill was being debated in this House on the 19th July, 1906. The honorable member then said -
I personally know of young soldiers who, if liquor were available in camp, would certainly become the worse for it. These same men attended the camp at which there was no canteen, and did their work exceedingly well, and were much more creditable to the Force than they would have been if liquor had been obtainable. The testimony that we have had placed before us as to the lines upon which canteens have hitherto been conducted, shows that they ought to have been abolished long ago, and I hold that liquor should be entirely excluded from military encampments.
The honorable member has been twitting some honorable members on this side of the House on a sudden change of front on their part, and I congratulate him upon being equally acrobatic, although I am sorry to say, he has taken a backward direction. I should like also to refer briefly to the remarks made by the honorable member for Wentworth, the honorable member for Robertson, and the honorable member for Wakefield, which were on somewhat similar lines. They said that they had had no proof that canteens were injurious to camp life. Looking for information on the subject I found in the Hansard report of the debate on the Canteen Bill the following statement made by the honorable member for Corio : -
I have received from a non-commissioned officer at Queenscliff, who knows what he is writing about, a letter in which the following passages occur - “ I see that Mr. Mauger’s Bill comes on for second reading on the 19th. I have sounded a good many and listened to the others here, and I can say positively that if a vote as to the abolition of canteens or otherwise was taken here 75 per cent, would vote for its abolition, and that would include, almost without exception, all the heavy drinkers in the regiment, the feeling amongst these old topers being that if it was taken away from their elbows, as it were, they would have a chance of squaring up. At present it is alongside them all day, placed there by official sanction. I have during my time here, on several occasions, seen young lads of nineteen or twenty land here hardly knowing the smell of liquor, and in twelve months’ time develop into heavy drinkers, to the ruination of their careers. It is argued that if canteens are abolished that soldiers will go out of barracks to get it, and, getting drunk in public, will disgrace the corp and cause crime. It is not so. Men, as a rule, start drinking in barracks, then, wanting more, and realizing that barracks is no longer a safe place, go into the town and get drunk there, whereas if they ‘ ad not had a start in barracks there would have been no trouble.
Ninety per cent, of the crimes here are caused directly or indirectly by drink, and I am quoting the opinion of all the senior noncommissioned officers I have asked about the matter when I say that the abolition ‘of canteens will mean the almost entire abolition of crime. The man in barracks has tea daily at c, p.m. He has no means of getting anything more to eat till next morning. If hot coffee, sandwiches, &c, were provided in barracks at a small fee in the evenings it would be greatly appreciated.”
– Ninety per cent, is an extravagant estimate.
– That was the statement of responsible officers, but if the honorable member desires a further authority on the subject I will quote a statement made by an ex-Minister of Defence, Mr. McCay, who said -
As an officer commanding a regiment, I have had something to do with canteens, and I frankly admit that the Commanding Officers will be relieved of a certain amount of anxiety and responsibility if the matter of dealing with canteens is taken out of their hands. At the last encampment I did not have a canteen in connexion with my regiment. I did not want it myself, and I did not think that my regiment wanted it. On the whole, the weight of evidence shows us that there is no choice between the risk of exposing some members of the forces to the temptation to drink unwisely, and abolishing the danger altogether. After having tried an experiment which met with the approval of those interested, but which did not prove so satisfactory as one might have hoped, I propose now to support this’ measure.
That is the experience of a man to whom we ought to pay attention. The statements of honorable members who oppose the amendment are those of men who are inclined to make excuses concerning what they know to be a serious danger. I am satisfied that if honorable members look at the evidence, they will have no hesitation in supporting the amendment. We all know, as men of the world, that when men are brought together into camp, or are in other ways associated with each other, there are unusual inducements to take stimulants. Responsibility is cast upon this Parliament, now that we are passing a measure which, in defence matters, sets an example to other parts of the world, to take a course which will be not only worthy of ourselves, but worthy of emulation by others. I did not rise with the object of making a long speech, but rather to bring under the notice of the Committee arguments used on a. former occasion, -and which are quite as applicable now. It is useless, in connexion with such a question, to repeat old set phrases for or against total abstinence. We are all conversant with them. But we also know the harm which drink does ; and I appeal to honorable members, as sensible men, to remember that the responsibility is upon us of not inaugurating a system under which young men will be brought from a wholesome atmosphere into places where they will be led into temptations to which they would not otherwise be exposed. If we do, who will be responsible for the downfall of any of these young men ? This Parliament will not be relieved of its measure of responsibility. There is another consideration which weighs with me. .1 am given to understand that large demands are made upon the sometimes very small means of officers in the matter of entertainments. I do not speak as a military man ; but I am given to understand that these demands are considerable. It is the intention of this Parliament that young men of promise shall have an opportunity of serving in the Defence Forces irrespective of their means. What we want is efficiency. We should not create conditions under which young men find themselves in positions in which they may not be able to fulfil financial demands which are made upon them in reference to entertaining each other. Therefore, we should do all we can to diminish the temptation which may be offered in this direction. I trust that the proposed new clause will be agreed to, and hope the Government will support it. If they do. they will become associated with one of the most useful reforms inaugurated in connexion with this Bill.
.- On the 19th July, 1906, a question with regard to canteens was raised in this chamber. In December of the same year, a general election took place. That is to say, th question was raised just a few months prior to the election. We now find that after the question has been allowed to sleep peacefully for three years, it is once more raisedjust prior to an election.
– Surely this is an appropriate time to raise the question, seeing that we have a Defence Bill before us?
– From the - honorable member’s point of view, no more appropriate time could be imagined.
– If the honorable member thinks that this matter is an advertisement for me, he is making a ridiculous mistake.
– The dates which have been supplied by honorable members who support the proposed new clause, nevertheless, suggest an interesting coincidence. On the previous occasion, the Minister c-f
Defence promised that he would devote at-, tention to the matter of the disposal of liquor in canteens to those permanently engaged in the Defence Forces and housed in barracks. In view of that promise, we ought to have an official statement from the Minister of Defence, who is the only person competent to tell us what has happened in the barracks since that time. But the Minister has been as silent as the Sphinx.
– I do not know what has been going on in barracks.
– The Minister has not yet made a statement as to what his intentions are. He tells us that he does not know what has been going on in barracks. Consequently, we must assume that he will vote blindly. As consideration of the question was promised by the late Minister of Defence, surely a report ought to have been forthcoming as to the effect of the present regulations ?
– We are not dealing with a Government proposal.
– Apparently, it is going to be a Government proposal ; and it is being accepted in silence’ by the Minister.
– The Government could not anticipate what a private member would propose.
– The Minister of Defence has had numerous opportunities of expressing an opinion; and he does not hesitate to. tell us his views when amendments are proposed by the Opposition ; but he makes no statement when an amendment comes from a supporter. Do the Government intend to accept the proposed new clause without furnishing the Committee with any statement as to their views ? Do they not intend to tell us what is going on in barracks in connexion wilh the canteens? Apparently, the present system is working quite satisfactorily. Whilst 1 am in favour of prohibiting the sale of liquor at camps where youths are trained, I am not prepared to take away a privilege that for years past has been enjoyed by men living in barracks. I believe that the arguments of those who object to the taking away of this privilege are unanswerable.
– They have been taken away in America.
– If the honorable member goes to America for his examples, he will find many which he will not regard as satisfactory. We should be given some evidence to justify the radical change pro posed. It is the duty of the Minister to tell us the exact conditions at present existing in the barracks. I believe that if men want -strong liquor they will get it, and it is better that they should be able to get a glass of good liquor within their barracks than that they should be forced to go outside for it and drink in worse company than they would find in the barracks. The Minister of Defence should say what he thinks of this proposal. I believe the honorable gentleman has made up his mind to accept it in silence, because he fears to say something which might at a future date be awkward for his colleagues or himself. To justify the opinion that the effect of the proposed clause would be in the direction of increased intemperance, I need only point to the fact that under the New South Wales law closing the public houses on the Sunday and at11 o’clock on Saturday night the consumption of liquor in the State is greater this year than it has ever been before.
– The general revenue of New South Wales has increased.
– I say that is due to a considerable extent to the increased consumption of liquor in ihe State, and that again may be due to the fact that people who before the passing of recent legislation in New South Wales could get a drink at an adjacent hotel on the Sunday, now take a bottle of liquor home with them on the Saturday night. Whilst that may not be a complete answer to those who support the proposed new clause, I think that the removal of the canteen from the barracks would not reduce the consumption of liquor, but would lead to men going away from the barracks to get worse liquor than they could obtain in the canteen. I intend to oppose the proposed new clause in its present form.
.- The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has tried to encourage opposition to this proposal by imputing motives , to the honorable member for Batman. He has said that it is very singular that it should be brought forward only a few months before the date of an election, implying that the honorable member for Batman wishes to serve some political purpose.
– I merely stated a fact.
– It is no doubt a fact that the proposal is made a few months before the date of an election, but it is quite unworthy of the honorable mem- ber for Kalgoorlie to suggest that it is made now for political purposes. The honorable member for Batman tells me that he gave notice of his intention to submit the proposal twelve months ago, or about eighteen months before the date of an election. In any case, I remind the Committee that the honorable member had no previous opportunity during the life of the present Parliament to submit such & proposal in connexion with a Defence Bill. I was surprised to hear the argument put forward by the honorable member for Wakefield in support of maintaining the canteen system. The honorable member suggests that, while the canteens should not be open to cadets or persons under a certain age, they should be available to young men of about twenty-one years of age, the most critical time in their lives, and when they most need to be safeguarded from the pitfalls which lie in their path in connexion with the drink traffic. If it is advisable to remove this temptation from youths up to the age of twentyone, it must be wise to continue the safeguards which will protect them from temptation after they have reached man’s estate. I do not think that practical experience shows that there is much in the argument that if men are unable to get the liquor they require in the barracks they will go outside for it. I have had many conversations with military officers in New South Wales in connexion with this matter, and I am very glad to be. able to say that the majority of them have told me that they think that on the whole it would be a very good plan to abolish the canteen altogether. It is not their experience that men, and especially those who have not developed the drinking habit, leave the barracks in order to visit neighbouring public houses. There is this danger, however, that young fellows who have contracted the habit of drinking in barracks because the drink has been continually under their noses may be tempted to go outside the barracks and- become intoxicated, when they find that they cannot get all the drink they require at the canteen. That is very undesirable. A little while ago, I read that, in connexion with some of the European navies, there is a movement to get rid of the canteen, and that, in connexion with the French Navy,’ an experiment is being tried with a view to seeing how the abolition of the .canteen would answer, and that for some time it has been abolished in connexion with its
Mediterranean Squadron. No intoxicating liquor is supplied to the sailors in that squadron, except on the order of the captain, and then only in special circumstances, when it is served out under strict supervision. The result is that the conduct of. the men in that branch of the French Navy is said to be more satisfactory than previously.
– Is the honorable member sure that that is the case ?
– I have read that it is so. Of course, none of us can speak from personal knowledge in such a case.
-^ Wine is allowed.
– According to the article I read, no intoxicants of any kind are served from the canteen, except in special circumstances, and then only on the order of the captain. In the American Navy the canteen has, I believe, been practically abolished. There is only a sentimental objection to the abolition of the canteen. I think that nobody who has studied the conditions generally obtaining where there is an absence of liquor, and the conditions obtaining where it is supplied indiscriminately, can doubt the beneficial effects of preventing the use of stimulants except for medical purposes. General Sir George White has compiled a number of statistics comparing the conditions prevailing, as between drinkers and non-drinkers, especially in connexion with sickness, among the troops in India. As regards hospital cases,he has made a very instructive comparison between men who utilized canteen facilities and men who abstained therefrom. He has shown that troops who had been addicted to the use of alcoholic stimulants had not been able to withstand the ravages of sickness to anything like the same extent as those who had been temperate in their habits, and that fatal consequences of illness had been much rarer in the case of the temperance section of the troops than of the others. So far as the practical experience of military men is concerned, the great weight of the evidence seems to be in favour of the temperance people. I hope that the proposed new clause will be carried.
Mr. RICHARD FOSTER (Wakefield) [8.48I. - I move -
That the proposed new section be amended by leaving out all the words after “be” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words “ permitted on the ground at any camp of training except in cases prescribed by the Medical Officer.”
– That is what we had in Kansas. They could get that rooster to prescribe liquor every time.
– I have no information to that effect, except from the honorable member. I would point out that a camp of training is covered by the compulsory provisions, and that, under existing regulations, cadets cannot enter the canteen. I am just as desirous as is the honorable member for Cowper to protect the Cadets. I feel quite sure that those who do not see eye to eye with him are equally desirous with him to protect the Cadets, and maintain temperance in the canteens. I would remind him that very many persons who take the same stand on the temperance question as he does believe in the State controlling the sale of intoxicating liquors. In this respect, the State will have absolute control under proper regulations. We are not so well-informed as we might be with regard to the conditions obtaining in camps and canteens to-day. Instead of there existing such evils as the honorable member would have the Committee believe do exist, only beer and wine are allowed to-day in the canteens. Under existing regulations, the sale of spirits is not allowed at all, so that the conditions are infinitely better than he would have us believe.
– He did not say that there was anything wrong in the canteens. The honorable member is misrepresenting him.
– The honorable member suggested that there was in existence an awful evil which we ought to take the earliest opportunity to stem. My contention is that the clause proposed by the honorable member for Batman would not decrease any evil that exists to-day, but would rather intensify it. It is because I believe that arbitrary restrictions placed, and I think unfairly placed, on the men would lead to an increase of the evil if any exists to-day, that I submit my proposal.
– It was this House which made the conduct of the canteens as good as it is to-day.
– If the House has so improved the canteens, it cannot do better than continue its excellent work. I can assure my honorable friend that if they are properly controlled, and the Department, by means of suitable regulations, looks after the conduct and health of the men, infinitely better results will be achieved than by driving them into the nearest public house. If my amendment is not carried, I shall have no alternative but to bow to the inevitable.
– I trust that the Committee will not accept the proposal of the honorable member for Wakefield. In all human undertakings, experience is the unerring test. My experience in the State of Kansas, which had a population of 1,500,000 persons, and a provision for the issue of a doctor’s certificate to those who wanted spiritualization, was that, if not the whole of the community, a great number of the people, were sick every day, and the end of it all was that the State became one of spirituous hypocrites. I believe that the honorable member for Wakefield is conscientious, but if we agree to his amendment, we should have three-fourths of the Army sick all the time, under doctors’ certificates. It is very easy to get a doctor’s certificate. All a man has to do is to prick his arm a bit, and when the pulse gets high, the proper medicine will be prescribed. In the United States, prior to the abolition of the canteens, they were constantly court-martialling and punishing men in the camps of Western America for being intoxicated. Since then, that state of things has ceased. A reform, which has proved successful in a country where they follow the latest and most up-to-date methods, is at least worthy of our consideration. I am grateful to the honorable member for Batman for having had the courage to move the proposed new clause in the face of an almost hostile people.
– I think that the people are sympathetic.
– Interference with vested rights is not popular, especially when it is proposed to stop the circulation of the “ stagger-juice.” Not America alone, but every civilized nation, is gradually abolishing the liquor traffic, or reducing it bv regulations which circumscribe the flow of the “stagger- juice” or “dizzy water.” Alcohol has its uses ; let no one doubt that. But if our soldiers have money to spend and wish- to drink, the publicans who pay licence fees and bonuses to get into hotels ought to have the benefit of their custom, lt is not fair for the Government to interfere with the licensed victuallers, whom it employs police to watch night and day, by running an opposition shop.
– The canteens are the men’s clubs.
– Our legislation will affect the officers as well as the men.
– The officers can get out every five minutes, day or night.
– It is our dirt) to soberize the officers. Apparently the country expects to be at war any moment - whether with rabbits, the elements, 01 its imagination, I do not know. We should not be asked to work for days at the creation of a scheme for a great army and navy, unless it were meant to kill something. We are looking for blood.
– The honorable member is not now in order.
– I agree with you, Mr. Chairman. If we get ready for war, we are likely to have war. I hope that the amendment of the honorable member for Wakefield, which is a sort of secret dagger for the assassination of the proposal to abolish the “ boozery “ element of the canteen, will not be agreed to. . Of course, there is nothing that can be said this side of heaven which will affect those who have made up their minds. The Danes were not in the habit of attacking the Scotch, but one night, when they did so, a lot of them fell into a bed of thistles, which made them scream out, so that the Scotchmen knew where they were, and fell upon .hem Ever since the thistle has been the national emblem of Scotland. We do not wish the canteen to be the emblem of our Army. Let there be no “ stagger-juice “ sold there. The time haj> passed when men will fight drunk. At the battle of Shiloah, Alfred Sydney Johnston filled 4,000 of his men with powder mixed with whisky, and yet Grant knocked them out.
– I understand that the objection of the honorable member for Darwin to the amendment of the honorable member for Wakefield is that it permits alcohol to be prescribed for the use of members of the Military Forces. Although the word “ prescribe “ is frequently used in Acts of Parliament, it is not generally used, as in this case, in reference to medical prescription. The honorable member seems afraid that sympathetic doctors may issue prescriptions permitting the use of alcohol so freely that the sobriety of the troops will be seriously affected. A similar objection might be taken to the clause proposed by the honorable member for Batman. I recognise that as we are now adopting a defence system which will bring about the enlistment of a large number of youths, we must consider how we can best guard them from temptation in respect to strong drink and other things. To meet the new circumstances I shall be prepared to go further than 1 have hitherto been prepared to go. I think that the amendment of the honorable member for Wakefield does what is needed. It will practically exclude canteens from all places at which troops are located, except the barracks of the -Permanent Force. Surely, that is a very great restriction, and removes any temptation that a canteen iri the training camps might offer to the younger members of the forces. I do not say that they will be removed from all temptation’; in fact, the argument of the honorable member for Cowper would mean that we should shut up all our hotels, because youths gather in numbers, pass the doors of hotels, and, if they have money, can indulge in liquor, which they must have money to buy in a canteen. The temptation is always there outside a camp, but I quite agree that, as the Government is taking so many youths from their families into camps of training it should act on the side of safety. To that extent I will support what I understand is now the Government’s intention. But it is rather hypocritical to go further than that, and prevent those in residence in barracks from obtaining within those barracks, and under the supervision of officers, anything in the way of wine or beer that they may desire. We might- at once face that question if we are determined on it, by saying that none but teetotallers shall be admitted to the Permanent Forces.
– They would be all the better if we could get them.
– Then let us face the question boldly in that way. To me, however, it seems hypocritical, because we do not place such a restriction on others, or even on ourselves. Why not abolish the bar in this Parliament?
– We ought to.
– Very well, let us begin with ourselves. Not being in residence, we are not as dependent upon our bar as men in barracks are on their canteen. In the same way the illustration of the honorable member for Bass was not a good one when he asked if we should; put canteens in the post-offices Postal employe’s are not confined to or resident in the post-offices. The Permanent
Forces are resident in barracks. We are more likely to furnish a safeguard as regards them by having’ a canteen on the premises than by causing them to seek refreshment, if they want it, in public houses near or far. I do not wish to impose that necessity. If we take into the Permanent Forces men who are not total abstainers, I should not refuse them an opportunity of getting refreshments under what I think are the best conditions. I may be wrong, but it appears to me that the conditions would be better in the canteens under supervision than in public houses under none.
– We might get them to sign the pledge when we enlist them.
– If the Committee wishes to do that, let them put the provision in the Bill. We ought not to try to do it in a roundabout way, which is more likely to do harm than good, especially when we are not seeking to impose limitations on other places which are under our own authority. I shall support the amendment of the honorable member for Wakefield, but if it is not carried I shall have to support the fuller proposal, because I do not wish to see temptations extended to the large number of youths who will be taken to the camps. At the same time, the fairer, more reasonable, and more desirable course is that proposed by the honorable member for Wakefield.
.- Does the honorable member for Wakefield mean that no man shall get intoxicating drink from a canteen in any camp without a doctor’s prescription?
– Yes; there would be no canteen except in the permanent barracks.
– In any case I shall be compelled to vote against the amendment, and I intend also to vote against the honorable member for Batman’s proposal.. The amendment seems an utter absurdity. No spirits are allowed in the canteens.. Only wine and beer can be obtained, and no doctor would give a prescription for a man to get a drink of wine or beer. The amendment seems very weak and uncalled for. I served eleven years in the Defence Forces, and my experience of camps was that there was no intemperance at allThere was always a non-commissioned officer in charge of the canteen, and he would direct the soldier serving the liquor not to supply any more drink to a man who appeared to be getting more than was good for him. That man would get no more there, and if he showed signs of intoxication he would not get leave to go elsewhere for it. If he absented himself without leave he would be liable to punishment. The canteen hours are also strictly regulated. I think lights are out at 10 or 10.30 at the latest, after which no one can get drink.
– Lights are out at 8 o’clock now.
– That makes the case very much better, lt must be remembered also that officers are not restricted as to the drink they can get. The men have not the same privilege. If they cannot get it at the canteen, they cannot get it at all. Some years ago, as a member of the Military Forces of Queensland, I -… into camp one day when it was raining very heavily. All the tents were blown down, and it was impossible to re-erect them’-owing to the heavy wind which prevailed. As a result, all of us got soaking wet1. Next day, Sir Arthur Palmer, Chief Secretary of ‘ Queensland, ordered rum and quinine to be supplied. A cask was placed upon a dray, two men were put in charge of it, and the liquor was served out to every man who would drink it. As a result, only three cases of -illness followed, all of which proved fatal. In each o’f these cases, the men who were attacked either with severe cold or gastric fever were teetotallers. They refused to drink thf» liquor upon principle, and, as a result, sacrificed their lives. That is my experience of the serving of spirits to soldiers under conditions which conclusively proved that the use of it was beneficial. A little while ago, I heard a lecture delivered by Lieutenant Shackleton, upon his experiences in the Antarctic Seas.. He relates that when his party were landing the ponies at the base of their operations, one of them fell into a crevasse where it lay for some hours. After great difficulty, it was extricated; and, in order to restore animation half a bottle of brandy was poured down the animal’s throat, with the result that it was completely restored. I understand that, subsequently, the time of two members of the expedition was exclusively occupied in watching that pony, which was constantly on the look out to discover another crevasse into which to fall.’
– I did the same thing to a pony, and it killed him.
– It appears to me that we are attempting to carry this legislation a little too far. When the Honorable Thomas Playford was Minister of Defence, he authorized the issue of a regulation under which only wines and beers can be served at military canteens. That regulation has since been honestly observed; and I think that we shall do well if we allow things to remain as they are. If the proposed new clause be amended at all, I trust that it will be in the direction of making it permissible for the Minister of Defence to declare whether or not a canteen shall be established at any camp. I shall oppose the amendment, and also the clause moved by the honorable member for Batman.
.- I do not intend to trespass upon the patience of honorable members for more than a moment or two. We are all indebted to the honorable member fox Wakefield for having placed before the Committee a clear-cut issue. This discussion was originated by an appeal to the temperance views of the vast majority of honorable members. But the honorable member for Batman did not attempt to argue that any grounds exist for the adoption of his proposal; though I am willing to believe that some grounds do exist. But I know that there are very serious reasons why we ought not to abolish the canteen which exists under proper supervision at the Victoria Barracks, Sydney. The Minister has received an anonymous letter in reference to that canteen, and so also has the honorable member for Maribyrnong. I would ask him whether, in his opinion, the correspondent who wrote to him did so as a temperance man, who was desirous of suppressing the drink traffic, or as one who was obsessed and annoyed at the “ unfair competition” of this canteen with honest tradesmen outside the barracks. I have no doubt that the honorable member has an accurate memory of the contents of the letter ; and 1 again ask him whether the .tone of that communication was such as would come from a temperance advocate ?
– One of the letters which I received was perfectly genuine ; but I did not like the tone of the other.
– I can quite understand that. One of the communications received by the honorable member is simply redolent of spirit ! My contention - which is based upon accurate knowledge - is that if we close the canteen which has been established at the. Victoria Barracks, Sydney, the men in those barracks will be driven in their leisure hours into infinitely less desirable surroundings, where they will take infinitely more harmful liquor. I had drafted an amendment upon this proposed new clause, in which I had hoped to make it perfectly clear that canteens at military barracks should be exclusively for the use of the officers and men who “are resident there; and that they should be permitted to exist purely at the Minister’s discretion. I do not think that anybody would distrust the Minister in a matter of this kind.
– The honorable member would not trust him very far the other day.
– Upon this question, I would trust him very much further than I would the honorable member for Batman, because, ever since the Minister of Defence has been in the public life of Australia, he has been in the forefront of the temperance movement. What I feel is that we are legislating this evening with that haste to which the honorable member for North Sydney objected on a former occasion. We are legislating in the absence of any; statement whatever from the Minister. We do not know what is the actual position in regard to canteens at our military barracks. If the Minister were to assure me that they are being abused, I would confess myself a convert, and would be prepared to support the proposal of the honorable member for Batman. But years ago an inquiry was conducted into this very question ; and it was then shown that these canteens are conducted in an exemplaryfashion Has the Minister any other information in reference to them? If he has not, I think that a very serious injustice would be done to the men in the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, if we abolished the canteen which has been established there ; and thus compelled them to obtain their liquor amid worse surroundings. . I am confident that the Minister might well be vested with discretion to abolish these canteens the moment that he was satisfied that that course could be adopted without worse results ensuing. If my amendment were carried, the Minister could abolish any military canteen to-morrow, if in his sober judgment - I use the word “ sober “ advisedly - he believed it was to the best interest of the men in those barracks. The amendment that I was going to propose, but which I do not think it will be necessary for me now to move, reads as follows -
Provided that the Minister may,, at his discretion, subject to prescribed conditions and restrictions, allow the sale, supply and possession of such liquors in permanent barracks for the exclusive use of officers and men quartered in the said barracks.
The only difference between that and the amendment moved by the honorable member for Wakefield is to be found in the use of the words “ for the exclusive use of the officers and men quartered in the said barracks.” I think it is only just to the anonymous correspondents of honorable members, who carry on a very laudable occupation outside the limits of the Victoria Barracks’, Sydney, that no “ unfair competition “ should take place between the canteens and the hotels in the immediate vicinity. I should like the honorable member for Wakefield to amend his amendment by inserting words confining the use of liquors in canteens to the officers and men quartered in the barracks.
-i can meet the honorable member’s desire.
– Meantime, I think that we are entitled to call upon the Minister to state why the Committee should impose upon the permanent men in barracks these very serious disabilities. It is a question, not of temperance, but of moral safety and temperance sanity. No temperance man who understands the situation would for a moment think of driving the men from the Victoria Barracks into hotels in the immediate neighbourhood. Some of those hotels are of a high grade, but not all of them. I paid my first and only visit to the canteen in the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, one morning when this question was last before the House. I went there, unexpectedly, either just before or immediately after lunch, and found no one in the canteen. There were a number of men playing dominoes in the card rooms, and a few watching a billiard match, and, on making inquiries, 1 learned that the billiard table, the library - in which I also saw men - and the dominoes had been purchased out of the profits on the liquors supplied in the canteen. The “ honest tradesman “ outside, who is so indignant at this arrangement, would, under another state of affairs, be obtaining the profits that are now being devoted to the well-being of the men in their hours of leisure. I do not think it is right for the Minister to allow this question to go to a division without stating the position of the Department. I have been very loth to say anything in this connexion, but I think the honorable gentleman owes it to his high position to put the Committee in full possession of-the facts. I do not know whether he intends to speak-
– I do.
– Then I shall at once sit down.
– It is well that the original proposition for a total prohibition of canteens has been reduced to the reasonable proposal to protect those under age, infants according to law, from the temptation of drink whilst in camp. That is a very desirable object, and I shall support the amendment. The wider proposal to abolish from the Military Forces the canteen system is an effort to do good that the wisdom of the wise is called upon to restrain. It would merely offer a premium to illicit trafficking in drink. I am not quite satisfied with the way in which the amendment is framed, but, so long as it is clearly designed to protect young men from coming into contact with the drink traffic while in camps, I think that the desire. of honorable members will be fairly well attained.
– I shall be glad to withdraw my amendment in favour of that outlined by the honorable member for Wentworth.
– Will the honorable member move it for me?
– I will. I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move-
That the following words be added to the proposed new section - “ Provided that the Minister may, at his discretion, subject to prescribed conditions and restrictions allow the sale, supply and possession of such liquors in permanent barracks for the exclusive use of officers and men quartered in the said barracks.”
I ask the Minister of Defence to say whether he considers he would be justified in placing on the men permanently quartered in barracks more severe restrictions than I now propose?
– For the benefit of those who think that a clause has only to be inserted in the Bill to bring about total prohibition, I desire to read the following statement by a delegate from New South Wales to the Licensed Victuallers’ Conference, which met in Melbourne to-day. The article from which I make this quotation appears in this evening’s issue of the Herald, under the heading “ Reference to Evangelists “ -
Mr. Sutton (New South Wales) said that a temperance hotel had been started in Sydney with a great announcement, “ Without a liquor bar.” The evangelists who had recently flooded Australia with eloquence did not stop there. They went to the best liquor hotel in Sydney.
Mr. J. C. Dillon. They could get better liquor.
Mr. Sutton, continuing, said that teetotallers were never fair in their arguments, but he had heard of a lady in New Zealand who loudly proclaimed her strenuous belief in prohibition. He asked “Why?” She replied, “Because previously my husband always went out for his drink. He quite forgot his wife at home. Now he brings a gallon home, and I get my fair share.” 1 am surprised that the honorable member for Bass should have been under the misapprehension that 1 said that a man who had been twenty-four hours on duty during a wet night needed .a glass of liquor to strengthen him for his work. I said nothing of the kind. What I did say was that temperate men, who were accustomed to take a glass of liquor, and followed sedentary occupations, found a nobbier of whisky did them good after strenuous duty on a wet night. That has been my experience. A number of extracts from; speeches made in a former debate on this question have been quoted. But I remind the Committee that no vote was taken on that occasion. Apparently some honorable members appeared to be afraid to demand a division.
– The motion was carried without a division.
– Exactly. But’ I would remind the honorable member for Maribyrnong of another division which took place on this question. I will remind him of how he voted, and of how the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, and Mr. McCay, the former Minister of Defence, voted. It will be remembered that we had a discussion as to whether we were to permit liquor to be imported into Papua. A proposition was made on October 24, 1905, that - The sale or manufacture of intoxicating liquor or opium excepting for medicinal purposes should be prohibited. The present Minister of Defence voted with me on the right side, so as not to allow the blacks of Papua to have intoxicating liquors. The honorable member for Maribyrnong voted on the other side. If the honorable member’ was prepared to allow blacks to have liquor, surely he can- not object to our soldiers having it if they wish to do so. If the abolition of the canteen would prevent men from consuming intoxicating drinks there might be some wisdom in what is proposed, but we certainly should not follow the honorable member for Wakefield in setting up a line of distinction. His amendment would mean that certain officers and men belonging to a particular class would be able to have all the liquor they required, whilst others would be deprived of it. Whether one goes to a camp, a race-course, or any other place of resort, men who are the worse for liquor will always be seen. But they are exceptions. Nothing we can do would make such men sober. They will get liquor whether we like it or not. If they cannot get it in one place they will get it in another.
– Some will even drink out of a shoe.
– Neil Dow, a great temperance man in the country from which the honorable member for Darwin comes, admitted that people in the prohibition States of America imported liquor in what purported to be Bibles. I can assure honorable members that there is very little drunkenness at military canteens. Not only are men under the influence of drink refused liquor, but there is the additional safeguard that there is a non-commissioned officer in every tent. If they are not allowed to obtain liquor at the canteens they will sneak out of their tents, cross the lines, and go to the nearest public house or buy a bottle from any person whom they may meet. No proof has been advanced in the course of this debate that there is drunkenness in our forces. As the honorable member for North Sydney has said, this is a hypocritical proposal in view of the fact that we have our own bar at Parliament House. Some people outside used to say that the use of the bar at Parliament House showed that this was a drinking assembly, but when the figures were published it was demonstrated that only about 4jd. per member per week was spent on stimulants.
– Why talk about it?
– We did not talk about the subject until the honorable member began to talk about what he knows very little of ; that is, human nature as it manifests itself in military camps. I am sure it was not the intention of the honorable member for Wakefield to create a distinction, but that is what his amendment will do. It will create a distinction in favour of certain high-class officers belonging to the Permanent Forces.
– They have their military clubs.
– If the officers are to have their military clubs, where they can obtain any quantity of liquor, why should not the non-commissioned officers and men have their clubs?
– The higher officers are not permanently housed at the barracks
– But they can get champagne or other wines at the barracks if they like. I shall be no party to the making of a distinction. I have for years belonged to workingmen’s clubs, and have done all I could to encourage their members to be temperate. I have taken part in the expulsion of members who were the . worse for liquor. Some have afterwards come back reformed. But what is the use of prohibiting one set of men from doing what you afford facilities for another set to do? In South Australia we ‘have a non-commissioned officer’s club with a bar attached to it. I am sure that any one who has frequented it will acknowledge that no drunkenness has been seen there.
– I remember . that a distinguished prelate went from this country and said that he had never seen any drunkenness in Australia.
– I have been to the club to which I refer night after night, and year after year, and have never seen one man the worse for liquor. But if that Canteen is abolished what will happen? The men, instead of going to their canteen, will go to a hotel. At a hotel there will not be the same counter attractions as there are at the canteen, where they can enjoy all sorts of games. They will stand at’ the hotel bar drinking by the half-hour. That will not be an improvement. We should do everything possible to discourage excessive drinking in our forces, and I certainly trust that everything will be done to keep temptation out of the way of the toys. I would not allow any intoxicating liquor to be introduced where they are being trained. But if we admit to the forces men who are not teetotallers, but who are accustomed to take stimulants in. moderation, we shall not succeed in making them abstain by abolishing the canteen. I’ would rather see prohibition than the par tial arrangement now proposed. There are vices that can be prohibited by Act of Parliament, but that cannot be prevented and should be regulated, and kept within narrow limits. I think that we have regulated an admitted evil by means of canteens. I do not think there is a teetotal officer in South Australia who would say that there would be any advantage in abolishing the non-commissioned officers’ canteen at the drill ground in Adelaide. We ought to do all we can to keep men sober. I have been astonished to hear honorable members twitting each other about their votes on this question. I was a miember of a. committee that worked with the temperance party to prevent the supply of liquor to the natives of Papua, but I think every member of that committee deserted me.
– The committee agreed as to the course which should be followed.
– As a member of the committee, I never . agreed to the course that was followed. I attended every meeting of the committee. I know all about what took place, and I know that, ‘ for party reasons, certain information was sent to the Temperance Alliance in New South Wales and in South Australia. If honorable members will consult Hansard for 1905, they will find that a telegram was then received from the Temperance Alliances, approving . of the Government’s attitude towards the sale and manufacture of liquor in Papua.
– The honorable member is misrepresenting the facts.
– I am stating the facts as they appear in Hansard. I have before me the names of honorable members who voted with me on the question. Amongst them were the present Minister of Defence, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Lonsdale, Mr. McDonald, Mr. Tudor, Mr, Wilkinson, Mr. Fuller, and Mr. Wilks. If they are consulted, they will admit that they voted precisely as I say they did, because they were against the manufacture or sale of liquor in Papua. It is clear that this is being made a party question, because of the approach of an election.
.- I am exceedingly sorry that the honorable member for Hindmarsh should have introduced such a spirit into this discussion. What other time, and what more opportune time, could be selected for bringing forward this proposal than when we have a Defence
Bill before us? To say that it is submitted now for electioneering purposes is utter nonsense, and the honorable member knows it. I am not going to discuss the reference to the supply of liquor to the natives of Papua, because nothing is to be gained by discussing it. Both the Temperance Alliances referred to, and the party, approved of the course followed in connexion with that matter. But I do take the strongest exception to the honorable member quoting from speeches made at a meeting of licensed victuallers, and dragging the evangelists who recently visited Australia into this discussion.
– There is the report for the honorable member.
– It is the report of the proceedings at to-day’s meeting of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association.
– But the evangelists did stop at an hotel.
– So do thousands of total abstainers. We are not out against hotels, but against the liquor traffic. The honorable member tried to throw opprobium upon those people because they stopped at an hotel.
– I read exactly what was said.
– What did the honorable member read it for? He read it for the purpose of holding up to ridicule as fine a body of men as ever visited Australia.
– To let the honorable member know, what was said by the woman whose husband brought home liquor.
– The honorable member quoted the statements of persons interested in the liquor trade. He is a Labour man. and . yet he stands up here in the interests of the drink traffic. He quotes from a licensed victualler’s speech what was said about a woman getting drink. I am ashamed of the honorable member.
– May not a fact be quoted ?
– Statements made by partisans need not be quoted in a discussion of this kind. I say that the fact that some of the evangelists stopped at an hotel is no reflection upon them, or upon their total abstinence principles.
– Some of my total abstinence friends have told me that they considered it was a reflection upon them to stop at an hotel.
– They are like some of the honorable member’s publican friends. He quotes them when it suits him, and leaves them alone when it does not suit him to quote them. What- these people did or did not do has no bearing on the merits of the proposal under discussion. The decision arrived at in regard to Papua has nothing to do with it either. The question we have to decide is whether it is the duty of the Government to directly traffic in intoxicating drink. This House, in the last Parliament, decided, if not by a unanimous vote, at all events without a division, in favour of an anti-canteen Bill. In doing so, we followed the example of America, where the canteen was abolished, even in the Navy. Every one of the magni-. ficent American warships that visited Australia’ last year is a prohibition ship; not a drop of liquor is allowed on any of them. We all admired the character and behaviour of the men of the American Navy who visited us. The only offences with which any of them were charged were due to drink supplied them by our own people.
– They left with a splendid character.
– They left without a single one being charged with any offence here the commission of which was not attributable to the supply to them by our own people of liquor.
– They may have done a great deal worse.
– The honorable member is now edging off to something else.
– Did not a number of them desert their ships when they were here ?
– What has that to do with the matter ?
– Desertion is a grave offence.
– What has that to do with the discussion in which we are now engaged ? I have referred to the only offences with which they were charged. They could not charge men with deserting if thev did not catch them. We have in this matter the example of America, and it should be remembered that America is maintaining this prohibition in the teeth of the opposition of leading naval and military officers. Militaryofficers especially have always opposed the anti-canteen movement in the United States, but it is more strongly maintained there to-day than ever before in the history of naval and military affairs in America.
.- When these total abstainers have finished wrangling with each other, in a manner which suggests that if they have not taken bad spirits into their stomachs they have at least got them into their heads, I should like to offer a suggestion or two. I think it would scarcely be fair to accept the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Wakefield. If I understand it aright, it would involve the abolition of the non-commissioned, officers’ club now situated on the Parade Ground in Adelaide, while at the same time the members of an officers’ club in Grenfell-street, of which I have the honour to be a member, would continue to be at liberty to attend the club and obtain liquor there. I am confident that the honorable member for Wakefield does not intend that that kin( of distinction should be made, and I suggest that it is inadvisable to accept the amendment in its present form.
– It is about time we came to a vote on this matter. I do not at all underrate its importance. The reason I did not speak before was because I wanted to hear just what could be said against the proposal of the honorable member for Batman. I do not think that there is any need for me to say very much on the question. My attitude has always been well known to honorable members ; and I see no reason to change my opinion. I recognise, of course, that as Minister I am bound to look to the facts as they present themselves to me, and to hear all that can be said both for and against proposals which, if adopted, would make a somewhat drastic change in the condition of affairs. There is no need to labour the matter. In the first place, I should like to brush away any suspicion which may have been created, that a great quantity of liquor is consumed in the canteens. Such is not the case. I have only been able to glance at the papers as to the condition of affairs which existed in the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, in 1905, when spirits as well as wines and ales were sold. I find that the consumption of liquor there was very much below the outside average, ft should be remembered that, in addition to those who permanently lived on the premises, there was a great deal of what might be called casual drinking-. I understand that militiamen were allowed to make use of the canteen, and that if a militia regiment were passing, its members could enter and obtain drinks. Notwithstanding all the casual drinking, the average consumption for the whole establishment was below the outside average. Since then, there have been very strict regulations framed which further limited the possibilities for drinking there. One of the regulations reads as follows : -
At all canteens and institutes established under the regulations the supply of all alcoholic liquors except ales and wines is strictly prohibited.
In these institutions, only wines and ales are now supplied.
– Does that regulation apply to the canteen in a camp?
– I should think so.
– It does not.
– Does the honorable member say that it does not apply to camps?
– It is not carried out in the camp canteens.
– I do not know anything about that. I only know that the regulation is supposed to apply to “ all canteens and institutes.” We must take the honorable member’s statement as evidence that the regulation is sometimes evaded in camps. Wherever liquor is sold the law is liable to be evaded. We cannot, it seems to me, strictly regulate the traffic and prescribe bounds which may not be at any time exceeded. We have to take the thing as we find it. In all matters which have to do with the appetities and passions of people, we must allow a very large margin between the prescription of the Statute and the actual state of things as we know it to exist. That is why it is always a safe thing, in connexion with the liquor traffic, to make the statutory requirements as strict as you can, because, as T say, there is more or less evasion. In my judgment, these canteens, having regard to the liquor which is sold, are well conducted and kept strictly under control. Here and there a case of drunkenness may occur. I believe that in 1905 there were only two’ cases of drunkenness at the barracks in Sydney, and since then further restrictive regulation has been imposed.
– That is a marvellous record.
– Perhaps it is. I think that, in the interest of the men, it is only fair to put that side of the case. Now the question arises whether we ought to encourage the sale of liquor, under the auspices of the Government, at any of the camps or canteens. There is a unanimous opinion in the Committee that intoxicants ought to be kept out of the way of all young trainees; and that, even as regards the older people, there ought to be no sale of liquor in camps. Every honorable member has said that during the debate ; and, moreover, further proposals have been made for strictly regulating the sale of liquor in canteens. The last amendment of the honorable member for Wakefield provides that only those who are permanently quartered in the barracks shall be permitted to obtain intoxicants at the canteen. He therefore proposes to shut out a large number of militiamen who, until now, have been permitted to go to the barracks and get beer or wine if they so desired. The question arises whether, if we are going to narrow the thing down to so fine a point, it is worth while to run a canteen for the sake of from 200 to 250 persons out of, say, to, 000.
– It would be far better to get rid of the canteen altogether.
– Every section of the Committee is agreed that the sale of intoxicants to our troops should be narrowed down to that fine point ; and the question arises whether, if we think it wise to give thousands of men no facilities for the purchase of intoxicants of any kind, it is worth while to continue the business for the sake of a couple of hundred men.
– One man is a permanent resident, and the other is not.
– Yes; but I take it that the honorable member for Batman has so arranged his proposal as to place no disability upon those in the barracks, as compared with those outside. It would be just as easy for the men in the barracks to get their glass of beer as it would be for those outside to get theirs ; and, therefore, it seems to me that no relative injustice would be done. This question has been brought before the House on several occasions. In the last Parliament, the honorable member For Maribyrnong introduced a Bill which was passed through all its stages here without a division, but which met with a different fate in another place. I venture to say that the opinion of honorable members has not changed much since then. I shall vote, as I have always voted, and with the other members of the Government, shall support the amendment. Having determined to apply a principle, it is not worth while to make a distinction, for the sake of the few permanent men in Sydney, or elsewhere, between them and the rest of the forces.
– It would be within the discretion of the Minister to close the Sydney canteen at any time if he thought fit.
– I have already pointed out that, according to the official reports, excessive drinking does not take place there, less than the usual quantity of alcoholic liquor being consumed. I deny the allegations pf intemperance regarding these canteens. An anonymous communication on the subject reached me the other day, and I should have torn it up at once had not the honorable member’s name been mentioned in it. I showed it to him for that reason, but I think that communications from persons who have not the pluck to sign their names ought to be at once thrown into the waste-paper basket. The Government feel that no injustice will be done to the service bv agreeing to the amendment.
– I heard the announcement of the Minister with considerable satisfaction, and congratulate the Government upon having taken a decided stand on this question. The attitude of Ministers makes it unnecessary for me to deliver the address which I had intended to make. I hope that they will be able to command the loyal support which is usually given to them on big questions.
– Which honorable members opposite gibe at.
– Only when we think the Government to be in the wrong. On this occasion, I consider that the Government is in the right, and shall therefore have much pleasure, should a division be called for, in voting with it. In reply to what was said by the honorable member for North Sydney about the unfairness of legislating for the military in a way in which we do not legislate for ourselves, I have only to say that I am quite willing to support any proposal to abolish the canteen in this building.
– And the refreshment room with it?
– No ; that is legitimate. The attitude of the Government to the proposed new clause shows the healthy state of the temperance movement. At one time it was thought that the best drinkers made the best fighters, and in the old days a great deal of drinking was done toy the military, with the result that the Army was greatly demoralized. Experience and modern thought and research have since caused our best and most competent military authorities to side with temperance reforms, and many of them have pronounced definitely in regard to the evil of intemperance. Indeed, it is generally accepted that temperance is necessary where physical strength and endurance are required, or great mental effort needed. The superiority of the abstainer over the man who indulges in alcoholic beverages is very marked, and has received confirmation in many directions. Without labouring the question, I should like to read a short extract from a work recently issued by Dr. Zacher, the Director of the German Imperial Statistical Department. He has at his disposal wide means of investigating the question, he deals largely with industrial and general insurance, and has given special study to the effects of strong drink upon the human system. On pages 36 and 37 of his work Social Progress, published in 1906, he expresses himself thus -
The continued and detailed statistics of the working men’s insurance have demonstrated that alcoholism, that is the excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks, leads to increased exposure to sickness, accidents and invalidity, consequently increased mortality. Moreover, people addicted to alcohol readily contract diseases of all sorts, convalesce slower, and are prone to relapse ; while, on the other hand, the members who abstain from such excesses are far less exposed, and their recoveries are surer and more rapid. It is certain that the abuse of alcohol tends not only to largely increase the liability to accidents and unfavorably influences their consequences, but also promotes and spreads the national disease of tuberculosis.
Objections have been raised to this proposal by those .who favour the liquor traffic. It is most extraordinary that, whilst the pro-liquor people allege that the efforts made by temperance reformers to limit the consumption of liquor have actually increased it, they take up the paradoxical position of opposing temperance movements, which, to be logical, they should support, if, as they allege, they benefit the liquor traffic. In America, the proposal to abolish canteens, was brought into operation in 1901, after a great struggle -between the temperance and anti-temperance parties, which has continued up to the present time. I am not unbiased in regard to this matter, because I have never cultivated a taste for drink, and if it could be abolished tomorrow it would not affect me; but at the same time, I do not wish to set myself up as a pattern for my fellow men. I recognise that others take a different view, and if they had not facilities to obtain* drink, would feel that they were being deprived of something in which they not only find pleasure, but from which they probably think they derive a great deal of benefit. I recognise that this matter is one for public opinion. It is possible to place upon, the statute-bocks the strongest prohibitive laws ; but if they are not backed up by a healthy sympathetic public opinion, they become obsolete and a dead letter. A great part of the temperance movement is in the direction of educating public opinion, and it has to some extent been successful. In this case, members are generally agreed that it would be unwise to offer facilities for drinking in the newer conditions of the military service, into which we are introducing so many youths. It would be a national calamity to instil into them a liking for alcoholic drinks. It is suggested that a line of demarcation shall be drawn between that young element and the more permanent side of the forces ; but I do not see the justice or reason for any such distinction. If it is good for the Permanent Forces to have canteens, we cannot reasonably deny them to the others. If it is desirable ‘to limit or abolish the facilities for obtaining drink with regard to the rank and file, and especially the younger portion, we ought to be logical and apply the same principle all round. I cannot support the amendment of the honorable member for Wakefield ; but I shall vote for the proposal of the honorable member for Batman, which is a wise one, and should be carried, particularly, in. the interests of the young element that we are introducing into the forces, and also in the interest of others who have cultivated a taste for drink, but who might well be asked to exercise a little self denial in camps. I hope that we shall train our young men under the best and the most healthy conditions, so that they will prove, not only good soldiers, but also good citizens.
.- I was glad to hear the Minister’s statement. I do not think there is much to be gained by pressing the amendment if the Minister does not wish to accept the responsibility of saying whether or not such canteens in permanent barracks as the honorable member for Wakefield, myself, and others wish to exempt from the proposed new clause, are hurtful or otherwise to the men they serve. The Minister has asked for enough responsibilities to be cast upon his shoulders throughout the conduct of this Bill ; and if he will not accept this respon- sibility, it is of no use to endeavour to force it upon him. I therefore suggest that the amendment be not pressed; but this provision should be enforced wherever there are camps. I know a place where those present are drawn up into two camps, and almost always in a state of war. The time has come when the canteen which has been established , in that place ought to be abolished.
– Does the honorable member think that his remarks have any relevance to the question which is before the Chair?
– I designedly mentioned the matter in vague terms, in the hope that, in a spirit of forbearance, you, sir, might assume that I was referring to a military institution ! As a matter of fact, the camps to which I was alluding are those to be found inside of this House, and the canteen which I wish to see abolished is the Refreshment Room upstairs.
.- It seems to me that the amendment which the Minister has agreed to accept will work injustice in two directions. In the first place, it will mean the abolition of the non-commissioned officers’ club, . which, by permission of the authorities, has been established on the Parade Ground, Adelaide, whilst it will leave the officers’ club untouched. I take it that the noncommissioned officers’ club will be regarded as a “ military post,” and that, as such, it will be abolished, whilst the commissioned, officers will be permitted to carry on without let or hindrance their club, which is situated a few yards up the street.
– The noncommissioned officers might also establish their club uo the street.
– They could only do so at very heavy expenditure to themselves. Further, I doubt whether the authorities in Adelaide would grant them a licence. The provisions of the Local Option Act are such that the non-commissioned officers would be unable to obtain a licence in any other part of the city of Adelaide at the present time. If the proposed new clause be adopted, canteens at military barracks throughout the Commonwealth will be abolished. But the officers’ and sergeants’ messes will not be abolished, and at those messes the officers and sergeants will be able to obtain whatever liquors they may desire. The effect of the clause will therefore be to prevent privates from obtaining beer at their barracks, whilst permitting non-commissioned officers and officers to obtain liquors at their messes. It will thus create a distinction which ought not to be permitted, and which will be calculated to breed envy in the minds of the members of our Defence Forces. I do hope that in the circumstances the Minister will not accept the amendment in its present form. I should like to assist him to complete the consideration of the Bill this evening, but rather than that injustice should be inflicted upon so many members of our Defence Forces, I should prefer to see its passing delayed for a day or two.
– Does the Minister of Defence intend to take any action in reference to the position which has been placed before him by the honorable member for Adelaide?
– How can I? Under the amendment, all will be treated alike.
– No. The canteen which is established at any military barracks supplies only the private and any soldier below the rank of sergeant. The sergeants and the officers have their own messes.
– If the amendment be accepted, the sergeants’ mess will be un- . able to obtain liquor at the barracks. All will be placed upon the same footing.
– If that be so, I am satisfied. What is sauce for the goose ought to be sauce for the gander. I am quite content to accept the Minister’s assurance.
Amendment (Mr. Richard Foster’s) negatived.
Proposed new clause, as amended, agreed to. “Dr. WILSON (Corangamite) [10.34].- I move -
That the following new section be inserted : - “ No person shall sell or supply cigarettes in any form to any junior or senior cadet. Penalty £20.”
– Does the honorable member mean that they must not be sold or supplied in barracks?
– I mean that they must not be sold or supplied at any time. Under the Bill as amended all male inhabitants of Australia from twelve to eighteen years of age are to serve in the Cadet Forces.
– Does the honorable members desire that shopkeepers shall not be allowed to supply cigarettes to cadets ?
– That no one shall be allowed to supply them with cigarettes.
– How could we control the shopkeepers ?
– I presume that this Parliament has power to control the sale of cigarettes under this Bill to members of the Cadet Forces.
– We shall have to employ the boy scouts to detect sales.
– They might assist to save their brothers in arms from one of the greatest scourges of the day.
– Hear, hear, but we cannot stop it.
– I want the Parliament to try to stop it.
– We cannot do so by means of the honorable member’s amendment.
– I am quite prepared to recast the amendment in any way that will make it effective. It is universally acknowledged that the habit of cigarette smoking is sapping the moral, physical, and mental strength of the youth of the world, and I hope my proposal will be carried.
– I am absolutely with the honorable member for Corangamite as to the undesirableness of youths smoking cigarettes to the extent that many of them do.
– Youths of tender years should smoke neither cigarettes, pipes, nor cigars.
– I agree with the honorable member, but we ought to know whether it is within our jurisdiction to give effect to such a provision as this. If it is not, the only result of our passing it would be another High Court action with an unsatisfactory issue. I ask the Attorney-General to inform the Committee whether it is within our power to pass such a proposal as this.
.- I take it that the honorable member for Corangamite has made this proposal because of the youth of our cadets. A good deal of nonsense has been written and spoken in regard to this question. It was my privilege when in London to carry out with others some experiments with regard to the relative effects of cigarettes, and an equal weight of tobacco, smoked in a pipe, or in the shape of a cigar, on the human system. The experiments were conducted by means of the sphygmograph, a pulse registering instrument, and it was found that the cigarette was certainly least harmful. I am willing to present to hon orable members a gentleman living in our midst who has inhaled cigarettes for fiftyfive years, and who, to look at, is a fairly healthy individual. I have never yet met a man who has inhaled smoke from a pipe or a cigar for five years and lived. The inhaling of a cigarette is very different from the smoking of one.
– What about the man who does not inhale any ?
– He will be in better health than those who do. When a cigarette inhaler seeks medical advice, it is always well to tell him to take to the pipe since he will not in that way inhale the smoke; but the mildness of cigarettes which permits of inhaling should not be counted against them. Whilst I agree that those who are not of adult age should not smoke either cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, I thought it well to- correct the popular misapprehension which exists in regard to the effect of cigarette smoking by citing the result of experiments such as have been made by very few medical men in Australia, or even in Great Britain. I am a cigarette smoker, and strongly “resent the rubbish that is both written and spoken by men who have not given much consideration to this question. If the honorable member for Corangamite will go a step further and propose that youths of tender age shall not be allowed to use tobacco in any form I will support him. I take it that the proposed newclause is designed to prevent cadets from obtaining cigarettes from the canteens, but I cannot see that it would enable us to interfere with the sale of cigarettes by shopkeepers. Before committing ourselves we should have the opinion of the AttorneyGeneral as to our power to pass such a provision. We could certainly prevent cadets of tender age from obtaining tobacco in any form from military canteens.
– It is quite clear that however desirable it may be, we have no power to do what the honorable member for Corangamite suggests. I think that every honorable member would enthusiastically support his proposal if we had the power to give effect to it.
– If we have not the power how can we regulate the drink traffic ?
– All constitutional lawyers are agreed that we have no such power as this to prevent the sale of cigarettes to boys. We haveno control over the Cadets, except when they are training.
– Could we not provide that the canteens shall not sell cigarettes to boys while they are training?
– Yes, we have that power.
– I intend to propose to add the words “while in training.”
– Even so, I doubt whether we could prevent a storekeeper from selling cigarettes to cadets. I am afraid that the honorable member cannot accomplish his object in a Bill of this kind. We shall have to leave the matter to the States. All that we can do is to prevent the boys from smoking cigarettes while they are under our control. 1 should be very glad to compass that end by regulation, and honorable members may rely upon the vigilance of the Department to prevent the boys from smoking cigarettes while they are under the control of our officers.
.- I do not wish to leave everything to the Minister. The Committee should express its own common sense in regard to that point. The Attorney-General and other legal members have signified some doubt as to what I propose, but I shall act upon the rule “When in doubt, play trumps.” I desire to amend my amendment, by adding after the word “ cadet” the words “ while in training.”
Amendment amended accordingly.
– I suggested to the honorable member for Corangamite that he should add the words “ while in training,” but I also pointed out to him that it was doubtful whether the amendment, even if amended in this way, would carry out his object. We can, without the amendment, exercise control over the cadets while they are undergoing training, but not at anyother time.
– I should like the Minister of Defence to consider whether he is not jeopardizing part of this Bill by attempting to legislate for a class. He has suggested that the subject should be left to be dealt with by regulation. If that be done, no constitutional question can arise. I suggest that it is unnecessary for this Committee to be concerning itself with a question which is even now being discussed by the Legislature of the State of Victoria. At any rate, it is rather undignified to be spending so much time over a question that can be regulated by the Minister in ten minutes. It reminds me of a story concerning the Bank of England. The Court of Directors wished to stop their officers from wearing moustaches. This was at a period when the wearing of moustaches was unfashionable. But it was objected that to issue such a rule would be to interfere with the: liberty of the subject. One member of the Court of Directors, however, got over the difficulty by suggesting that officers of the Bank should not be allowed to wear moustaches “ during business hours.” That suggestion obviated the objection that the liberty of the subject was being interfered with ; and some guide may be drawn from it in the present circumstances. Honorable members who have regard for the dignity of this Chamber should, I think, leave the matter to be dealt with by the Minister by regulation.
Question - That the proposed new section be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed new section agreed to.
– Inviewofthe factthat some doubt has been raised as to the validity of the new clause just agreed to, I am disposed to move the insertion of a further new clause to provide that it should be submitted at the next election to a referendum of the people.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ The Minister shall have power to make regulations for the payment of pensions.”
I submit the motion pro formâ in order to get some reply from the Minister on the question. The honorable member for Corio is not too well, and has not been able to proceed with the clauses he intended to move dealing with the question of contributory pensions. I think the Minister might undertake at this stage to appoint a Committee from his own Department to draw up a scheme of pension? to be submitted to this Parliament in the form of a separate Bill. The absence of pensions constitutes one of the main difficulties in the way of dealing with permanent officers, who ought to be retired. No reasonable opportunity is afforded of getting rid of an officer who has passed his years of usefulness if by his retirement he is thrown upon the streets. I ask the Minister whether he cannot undertake to introduce without unreasonable delay, and that means, I hope, this session some time, a Bill to provide for military pensions, which, 1 think, are absolutely essential.
.- I wish to say briefly that- the matter to which the honorable member refers is a very important one, and that when we do address ourselves to the consideration of pensions it will not be in connexion with a Bill of this description. The question of providing pensions for the whole of the Public Service will, I think, require very serious consideration before long.
– We deliberately decided against them in the first Parliament.
– I am aware of that, but since that time proposals to establish Public Service pensions upon a contributory basis have been made to the Government, and will be seriously considered by them. We shall require to go very thoroughly into the question of the payment of pensions, especially in relation to the Navy we propose to establish. If we are to establish an up-to-date Navy on the basis of the Navy of the Old Country, and standardized in every way with that Navy, pensions will become, I am afraid, a necessity of the situation. 1 shall not say that I am afraid this will be so, because if they are established upon a proper basis I do not see why they should not result in great good to the Public Service as a whole. The matter is a very large one, and I can only say now that the Government will consider it seriously and earnestly.
– I ask leave to withdraw my proposed new clause.
Proposed new clause, by leave, withdrawn.
Bill reported with amendments.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– Victoria is holding a very important meeting next Tuesday. I suggested that we should adjourn over the last Cup Day. There is a large number of people dependent on the whim and will” of this House for an opportunity to see the Melbourne Cup race. I venture to say that it would do some of our honorable friends opposite good if they went to Flemington on Tuesday ‘next. ‘ I am asking the Prime Minister to be good enough to say whether there is any possibility of this House adjourning for the Melbourne Cup.
– I venture to suggest that the House should adjourn. I may mention that the Legislative Assembly of Victoria always meets at 7 o’clock on that day. If we were to follow that example, I have no doubt we should do as much work in the eveningas we should have done if we had sat all day. I ask the Prime Minister to bear in mind the position which Victoria holds in the Commonwealth. If this were a matter affecting New South Wales, I believe . that honorable members would readily agree to adjourn over the Tuesdav afternoon.
.- It is not often that I agree with the Honorable member for Indi, but I suppose that misfortune or otherwise must come to us as we grow older. I think that the spectacle at Flemington Race-course, on Tuesday next will be as beautiful as any presented on Sydney Harbor, which has no greater admirer than myself. Honorable members from other States should be afforded an opportunity to witness the great racing carnival of Victoria. It is very unlikely that I would attend if the House refrained from sitting on Tuesday afternoon ; but I know that if it should sit many persons who desire to go to Flemington will be prevented from doing so. I do not believe that there is an honorable member who would care to bar any one who wishes to see the Cup race. Of course, it is not necessary for persons to bet if they go. I know a Victorian official who has seen twenty-five Melbourne Cup races run without wagering a sixpenny piece. 1 am making this appeal to the Government on behalf of those who otherwise, will have to attend the sitting o’f the House, including the members of the fourth estate, the officers of the House, and a number of other persons. If an opportunity arises I shall move that the House adjourn over Tuesday afternoon.
– I shall consider the question ; but I believe it will be quite possible by an adjustment of the business to meet the desire of those who feel that the state of the notice-paper does not permit an ‘ adjournment at present, and to allow those who so desire to absent themselves without detriment to their public, obligations.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at11.9 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 26 October 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1909/19091026_reps_3_53/>.