House of Representatives
14 September 1911

4th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 460


Report (No.1) presented by Mr. R.

Edwards, read by the Clerk, and adopted.

page 460


Motion (by Mr. Fisher) agreed to -

That Mr. Groom be appointed a member of the Library Committee.

page 460




– The new Naval

Agreement is not among the papers which have been issued to honorable members. When may we expect it to be made available?

Naval Agreement [14 September, 1911.] Rotorua Town Government. 461


– I regret it has not already been issued to honorable members, but I hope that it will be made available immediately.

page 461




– I wish to know from the Minister representing the Minister of Defence why the tails of the cavalry horses are banged just as summer is approaching ?

Minister (without portfolio) · KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP

– I shall ask the Minister of Defence for a reply to the question.


– Is the Minister aware that since the last encampment the greater number of the artillery men have never seen a departmental horse, much less drilled. with one? Will the Minister make inquiries, and inform the House to-morrow of the facts of the case ?


– I am ready to obtain for the honorable member the fullest information as to the opportunities given to artillerymen to become skilled in the management of horses, but I cannot ask the Minister of Defence whether it is true that they have not seen a horse since the last encampment.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– They have not seen the horses that they used when in camp.


– If the honorable member will put a specific question on the notice-paper I shall obtain a reply. The artillery horses are used during periods of the year, and are now, probably, in paddocks resting. Unless the men are to be in camp all the year, it seems useless to keep the horses there.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Surely the men need the horses to drill with?


– It has been the policy of the Department to procure horses of its own, first because it was thought that its own horses would be more efficient than hired horses, and, secondly, by way of economy. The anticipation as to greater efficiency as well as that in regard to the saving of expense has been realized.

page 461




– Will the Minister inform the House how many applications were received from persons in the Commonwealth for the position of manager of the woollen mills?


– I shall be pleased to get the information.

page 461




– In the tourist town of Rotorua, the land is held by the Government of New Zealand in a manner similar to that in which we hold the Federal Territory, and I ask the Minister of Home Affairs if he will obtain a report on its administration as a guide in administering our Territory.

Minister for Home Affairs · DARWIN, TASMANIA · ALP

– Yes.

page 461


Mr. THOMAS laid upon the table the following paper -

Public Service Act - Papers relative to the promotion of J. L. Cantwell to the position of accountant, Postmaster-General’s Department, New South Wales.

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asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Whether it is true that a previous Government arranged a Conference of the chief officials of the Insolvency Courts of each of the States for the purpose of discussing the necessity and form of Federal legislation on Bankruptcy and Insolvency?
  2. If so, was a report of the proceedings furnished, and will the present Government make it available for the consideration of the commercial community?

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. Yes.
  2. The Conference was purely a Departmental one, of an informal character, for the purpose of obtaining information for the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, for use in the drafting of the Bills, as to the working of the State laws, and for discussing suggestions for their improvement; and in order that the State officials attending the Conference might speak freely and without restraint, an assurance was given that the proceedings would not be made public.

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asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice - 1. (a) How many telephonists in New South Wales have been fined since 1st January, 1910, up till the present; (4) for what breaches of the Public Service Regulations; and (c) what amounts were they fined? 2. (a) In how many cases have telephonists in New South Wales been deprived of their increments; (4) for what reasons; and (c) for whet periods?

Postmaster-General · BARRIER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– Inquiries are being made, and the desired information will be furnished as early as possible. 462 Governor-General’s Speech : [REPRESENTATIVES.] Address-in-Reply.

page 462




asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

  1. What amount has been expended on the Military College up to date?

    1. What is the total number of staff employed there ?
  2. What amount is being paid per annum to the staff?
  3. Whatis the total number of cadets at the College (a) from Australia, and(b) from New Zealand ?

– The Minister informs me that a return embodying the information desired by the honorable member will be prepared and supplied to the House as soon aspossible.

page 462


Motion (by Mr. Greene) agreed to -

That a return be laid on the table of the House showing the amount of land tax received from -

City and town lands; lb) Country lands; as disclosed by the assessment forms.

page 462



Debate resumed from 13th September (vide page 42.3), on motion by Mr. Brennan -

That the Address-in-Reply to His Excellency’s Speech, as read by the Clerk, be agreed to by the House.


.- When we adjourned last night I was dealing with the reference in the GovernorGeneral’s ‘Speech to the passing of the Navigation Bill., and I suggested that the Inter- State Commission should first be appointed, in order that that measure might be properly administered. Section 98 of the Constitution provides that the power of the Parliament to make laws with respect to trade and commerce extends to navigation and shipping, and to railways the property of any State, and it seems to me therefore that we shall be putting the cart before the horse, in passing a Navigation Bill before the Government have appointed the InterState Commission for which the Constitution provides to deal with all matters relating to navigation. We have in section 100 of the Constitution a further reference to trade and commerce, that section declaring that theCommonwealth shall not by any law or regulation of ‘trade and commerce abridge the right of a State to the reasonable use of the waters of rivers for conservation or irrigation. These subjects have to be dealt with by the power that deals with trade and commerce, and while the Ministry have been asking for new powers, the fact stares us in the face that many things have been left undone that ought to have been done by the Commonwealth. We are told in His Excellency’s Speech that the exactions of trusts make an extension of Commonwealth power imperative. I can hardly understand the Attorney-General agreeing to the inclusion of that paragraph in the Speech, having regard to the views expressed by him in an article which he contributed to a Sydney daily newspaper. In that article he wrote -

It is not only illogical and unfair to complain about the Trusts; it is also very foolish. For the Trust is really a labour-saving device, and the latest and most effective. The anti-Socialist who. wishes to destroy Trusts isl ike the ol d Luddites who wished to destroy machinery. The early trades unionists fell into the vulgar error of regarding machinery as a device of the Evil One, which ought to be destroyed. They ‘have now learned better ; they no longer seek to destroy machinery, but to control it. But the antiSocialist is still a troglodyte in this matter. He wants to club the Trust. Yet the Trust or combine is not merely a labour-saving device, and the best : and latest at that, but it marks a notable epoch in the history of production and of civilization. The central ideas of the combine are cooperation and systematization. It substitutes order for chaos and combination for competition. It takes cognizance of factors utterly ignored by the old barbaric ways of cut-throat competition.

These being the opinions of. the Attorney - General, surely any proposal on the part of the Government to interfere with, or injure in any way, trusts and combines must be contrary to his idea of what ought to be done. The paragraph I have just read from the article written by the honorable gentleman was quoted by the Barrier Miner, and in commenting upon it and upon his reply to a leading article appearing in itscolumns, that newspaper - a friendly critic, as it points out, of the honorable member’s indiscretion, and more disposed to shield than to expose his weakness - does not hesitate to describe as a distinct untruth his denial that he was ever against trusts. In a pamphlet dealing with” the subject we find this comment -

We should not be inclined to call it more than an unconsciously biased misrepresentationof fact ; but could certainly quote dozens of extracts from Mr. Hughes’ speeches on hisreferenda proposals which would simply blow his claim to consistency out of the water. Of course, we cannot tell what Mr. Hughes meant to say, but what he did say over and over againwas in very startling contradiction to the statements contained in his article. We are not particularly concerned, however, with this aspect of the matter; nor to show, as the Barrier Miner easily does, that the second extract from his article, which Mr. Hughes triumphantly quotes, in no way really qualifies his previous eulogy on trusts and combines. The baselessness of Mr. Hughes’ claim to consistency is ruthlessly exposed by the Barrier Miner.

Surely the Attorney-General brought, his party into disrepute during the referenda campaign, seeing that he then publicly advocated proposals to deal with trusts and monopolies that were altogether foreign co the opinions expressed by him in articles contributed to the Sydney newspapers. In exposing the Attorney-General, the Barrier Miner has done a great service to the Commonwealth. That newspaper stated that it had only refrained from exposing him before ,the referenda was taken because it really held the position of a Labour jourMai. It. felt, however, that it must expose him as soon as the vote was taken, since, although he held the exalted position of Acting Prime Minister, it could not put up with his inconsistencies. Therefore the proposition to deal with trusts surely cannot have been inserted upon the advice of the Attorney-General. One would almost think it was necessary to obtain his advice before any action was taken. Regret is expressed at the result of the referenda, but why regret? The Labour party practically asked for a vote of confidence in their platform from the people, and they did not get it. They got, instead, a vote of confidence in the Liberals. The Prime Minister, as he left Australia, sent a final message to the people worded somewhat in this way : “ The people’s wish will prevail.” It did prevail, and I hope it will again if such propositions are put forward. It is stated in the speech that “ Important measures for the welfare of the people of the .Commonwealth will be submitted for your consideration.” I presume that had the referenda been carried, the words “ for the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth “ would have been left out, because certainly measures might have been submitted that would not have been for the people’s welfare. An alteration of the Electoral Act is foreshadowed, and I claim that that Act requires very grave alteration. While the readjustment of the boundaries of many of the divisions is highly necessary, no stronger argument for a move in that direction could be put forward than the figures published by the Age of nth October, 1910, in an analysis of the voting at the last Federal elections. That paper, which was then a supporter of the Labour party, said boldly that the Electoral Act had hopelessly broken down.

Mr Frazer:

– Did the honorable- member say that the Age was a supporter of the Labour party ?


– Certainly it was at that time, but when it analyzed the position of things, it went the other way, because it saw it was barking up the wrong tree, and that in the end the Liberal party must come to the front. I rather, admire the pluck of the present Ministry in proposing to revise the Electoral Act, which is at present the most unsatisfactory measure in existence in the Commonwealth. According to the Age, the total number of votes cast for Labour in New South Wales was 259,630, and the total for other candidates was 244,860, or a majority for Labour of 14,770. Yet in New South Wales the Labour party had seven members more than the other party. In Victoria, on the other hand, where the Liberal party had twelve members and the Labour party only ten, it took a majority of 40,413 votes to put those two extra members in. In Queensland the Labour party has six members and the Liberals three, but the number of votes polled by the Labour party over the number polled by the other side was only 4,861. Adding the majorities polled in New South Wales to those polled, in Queensland, we get a total majority of 19,000 odd, returning no fewer than ten members to this House, yet in Victoria it took a majority of over 40,000 votes to put in two members for trie Liberal party. Surely the Electoral Act requires alteration if such results obtain on the aggregate voting. In Western Australia, the most thinly-populated State of the Commonwealth, it took 15,012 votes to put Sir John Forrest in for Swan ; yet, in New South Wales, the most thickly-populated State, 14,000 odd voters put in seven members.

Mr Page:

– What does that prove?


– It proves unequal representation.

Mr Page:

– The honorable member will get equal representation before long, and out he will go.


– That will not worry me so much as it will some of those gentlemen who are getting a living at the game.. The Age, summing up the position, said, speaking of the Labour party -

In the whole of Australia they polled only a minority of votes, the small surplus- of 2,26a being against the Labour party. That is a very extraordinary state of things. No one can contemplate the facts without feeling that our electoral machinery has hopelessly broken down-.

It is therefore very nearly time that the machinery was altered or repaired. I hope some better system of recording votes will be introduced, and that the divisions will be so altered that equal representation may be obtained. It seems almost impossible to secure anything like reasonable representation under the present system, which should, in fairness to all parties, be altered. I hope we shall be able to arrive this session at a system more equitable to the people of the Commonwealth. There is also a paragraph in the speech regarding the question of life, fire, unemployment, and invalidity insurance. I think it will probably be best to leave life insurance alone, but I am certain that fire insurance had better be left alone. I am not so much against State life insurance as I am against State fire insurance. Some one asked me once on the platform why I was against State fire insurance, and my answer was that I had never known an employer or any one else who would purposely injure an employé or any other person; but we have heard of smart gentlemen who would realize on their assets if they thought their demands would be met by the State. In this connexion I heard a good story the other day that may be new to honorable members. A fire had occurred in a large building, and one of a group of gentlemen who were discussing it suggested that it was caused by a gas light on the top floor. A second gentleman ventured the opinion that it was caused by an incandescent light on the second floor; but the owner of the building said he was almost convinced that it was caused by an Israelite on the ground floor. Such a story as that indicates very good reason for rejecting this fire insurance proposal. I have before insisted that it is absolutely necessary to appoint an InterState Commission ; and my opinion is borne out by an article written by one of the leading legal authorities of Australia. The article, in my opinion, proves conclusively that the Government of the Commonwealth cannot be carried on unless an Inter-State Commission is appointed. The writer says -

One of the main ends of union is to insure that trade and intercourse throughout the Commonwealth should be absolutely free and untrammelled. …. The power thus to act as the guardian of inter-State trade and intercourse is given by the Constitution in the widest terms. It is involved in the power “ to make laws with respect to trade and commerce amongst the States.” … It may be that powers will be conferred upon it respecting navigation and shipping, particularly the navigation of interState rivers, and, beyond doubt, it will be endowed with the fullest powers, judicial and administrative, in respect of inter-State trade and. intercourse upon railways throughout the Commonwealth. The latter powers are of more immediate and practical interest, and with them only I propose to deal in this article. Let me now answer a question which is likely to be put at this point. Why should not the enforcement of the right of the citizen of the Commonwealth in these matters be left to the ordinary Federal1 judicial tribunals? Why should it not be left to the Federal Courts to decide in any case whether a railway rate, or charge, or regulation is in contravention of the laws of the Commonwealth? The answer is plain. Experience has shown that a Judge, no matter how high his qualifications, and whether sitting with or without a jury, is an exceedingly unsatisfactory tribunal for the decision of such matters. Expert knowledge in the management of railway traffic, in the local conditions of different parts of the country, in the statistics of trade and produce ; expert knowledge immediately and at all times available is essential to satisfactory dealing with such cases. Not only so, but there is necessity for a body with administrative as well as judicial functions. . . . But with its great authority and knowledge, and its large discretion in dealing with rates judiciary, it may well force an agreement between State railways upon a reasonable system of Inter-State rates.

F should like honorable members to notice this part of the article -

So, also, in regard to the adoption of a uniform gauge, the traffic arrangement under Commonwealth control for the mobilization of the Commonwealth Forces and other railway matters of Australian concern, such a body cannot fail in exercising a potent influence in bringing about agreement and harmony in the working of the State railway systems. If the experience of England and America is, as it undoubtedly has been, in favour of the permanent expert judicial and administrative body, rather than the merely judicial tribunal, how necessary it is that we should profit by that experience in the conditions obtaining in Australia.

That clearly proves that in advocating the appointment of an Inter-State Commission I am supported by one of the highest legal authorities in this country.

But the Australian Inter-State Commission will have to investigate and decide upon the validity of rates, charges, and regulations, not only in their trade and business aspects -

It will be seen that it is contemplated that the Commission will have to deal with trade and business. but from other points of view arising out of the position which our State-owned railways have hitherto occupied as factors of State policy.

Then again -

Indeed, the more the subject is considered the more evident it becomes that the Inter-State Commission must contain within itself expert knowledge of a .high order in railway and trade matters, and in the condition of Australian manufacture and production, and that it must also contain within itself judicial experience and attainments which will command the confidence of Australia.

The Constitution has recognised the importance of the work of the Commission by the status which it has given its members. They are to be appointed by the Governor-General in Council.

The appointment of an Inter-State Commission should be regarded seriously. We are entering into all kinds of schemes, including the building of railways to connect with the State railways; and in the administration there will be required expert knowledge, which, in my opinion, is not at present available by this or any other Government. With the writer of the article I believe that a fixed body would administer these matters in a manner creditable to the country. The present haphazard way of dealing with intricate problems, for which experience and high class professional knowledge is required, must result in disaster. We ought to obtain the best men available for the Commission, and put them in a position to deal with the commercial and other questions which must arise, before any serious steps are taken to obtain uniformity of gauge on our railways. They should be provided with a proper engineering staff, and a staff of metallurgical chemists, with advisory boards. In fact, they should be able, on touching a button, to produce any kind of knowledge required for the efficient discharge of their duties. The Inter-State Commission should be a body beyond reproach, to which Parliament could refer at any time for information on any subject connected with trade and commerce ; and trade and commerce, we must realize, embraces all means of communication and transit. The framers of the Constitution being of the opinion that the Commonwealth could not be managed properly without the appointment of an Inter- State Commission, it is merely muddling along to continue from year to year without appointing it. This is not a party question. The Commission was to be part of the machinery of government, and it has been shown that many of the functions of the Federal Government cannot be exercised without it. Had it been established when it should have been, many powers would have been readily granted to the Federation. In such matters as the establishment of a uniform hall mark the States would have been pleased to give the Commonwealth full jurisdiction.


– Who is the high legal authority of whom the honorable member spoke?


– I referred to opinions expressed in a paper by “ R. E. O’Connor, Q.C., New South Wales, member of the Drafting Committee of the 1897 Federal Convention.” If that gentleman was good enough to be appointed a Justice of the High Court, his opinion on the Constitution of which he was one of the framers is worth reading. In regard to postal administration, I have to complain that we are still very far from uniformity. On two or three occasions I have pointed out that the returns supplied to Parliament by the different States are not uniform. Steps towards uniformity have since been taken, but the returns from New South Walesstill differ in form from those from Victoria. I have a word of complaint, too, regarding our position in connexion with wireless telegraphy. It was recently stated in the newspapers that the British Admiralty finds it impossible to get into touch with Australia by means of wirelesstelegraphy. I am pleased to know that an expert has been appointed to deal with the subject, but he should have been appointed before the tenders for wireless stations were advertised. The form of the tender was ludicrous. One could hardly say whether it was a tender form or an offer. There must be something radically wrong in the administration of the Postmaster-General’s Department, seeing that money for wireless telegraphy installations was voted by Parliament in 1906, and nothing has been done yet. A monopoly was then given to the Department, but it has since been handed on to an irresponsible syndicate which has done practically nothing. I should like to know who was responsible for altering the tender form to which I have referred. Tenders were asked for the installation of stations at Sydney and Fremantle, but after the forms had been sent out, intending tenderers were notified that alterations were to be made, and -it was written on the forms in red ink that preference would be given to any system having a distinctive musical note.

Mr Thomas:

– It was explained to the honorable member last session that that provision was inserted at the request of the British Admiralty by my predecessor.


– The whole thing has been a muddle from the beginning. The only system then possessing a distinctive musical note was the Telefunken system, and some one behind the scenes had sufficient influence to get the tender forms altered in its interests. I fail to see that the British Admiralty was to blame. It was prepared to recommend any system with which its vessels could communicate, find finds now that it cannot communicate with the system which has been adopted.

Mr Thomas:

– We are installing two stations from which we shall be able to communicate with the rest of the world.


– For years no progress has. been made with the installation. A private individual could within two or three days install at King Island a station which will communicate with Sydney, but the Postmaster-General’s Department has been unable in six years to install stations at Sydney and Fremantle. I hope that the expert who has- been appointed will not be hampered by the officers who are responsible for the present muddle.

Mr Thomas:

– He will have a free hand.


– He should have a free hand. I hope that now things will’ be pushed ahead.

Mr Kelly:

– Has the ground been cleared at Fremantle yet?


– It must have been cleared by constant walking over it. I. visited the site with the PostmasterGeneral. We met and conversed with the surveyors on it, and had our photographs taken. Some time afterwards, on my return to Melbourne, I rang up the Department to ask how things were getting on, and was informed that the surveyors would take charge within a short time. I ventured to reply that I had seen them on the ground some weeks before, but I was assured that I must be mistaken. I wonder whether the head office is equally well informed in others matters. If the administration is as bad in matters that we know nothing of as ib has proved itself to be in regard to the installation of wireless telegraphy, we need a new system. The time has arrived when the Post, Telegraph, and Telephone Departments should be administered by a Commission of four or five or more members. A bank or an insurance company cannot be governed without permanent heads. It . is absurd to have the management of a big Department like that controlled by the Postmaster-General, subject to continual changes of policy by reason of changes of Government or alterations of portfolios. I think that the Customs Department should also be controlled by a permanent Board. These big Departments cannot be satisfactorily controlled by Ministers, who possess noi special knowledge.

The establishment of the Inter-State Commission should be a step towards better management. In conclusion, I express the hope that the Government are seriously considering the report submitted by Admiral Henderson, and that they will recognise that it is idle to spend money on an Australian Navy until we ha-ve provided depots, coaling stations, and’ so forth, along the coast, as recommended by that officer. To build ships before we have the means for repairing and maintaining them is very like purchasing a horse before you have a stable to put him in. I do not say that every recommendation made by Admiral Henderson should be carried out at once, but all that is essential to the maintenance and upkeep of the vessels now on order at Home should be attended’ to without delay.

East Sydney

.- In my opening speech in this House last session, I made what was regarded as a rather strong comment on the practice of debating the Address-in-Reply to the Governor-General’s Speech, when I said -

Personally, I regard the debate upon the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply as a superfluity, which should’ be abolished at the earliest possible moment.

In the face of that expression of opinion, some honorable members may think that I am guilty of inconsistency in rising to-day to address myself to this motion ; but in view of the ridiculous position in which certain members of the Opposition have placed themselves before the electors of the country, I cannot resist the temptation to deal very briefly with some of their statements. The opening’ paragraphs in the Governor-General’s Speech, dealing with the Prime Minister’s visit to the Old Country, and with the work of the Imperial Conference, were referred to at length by the Leader of the Opposition whose remarks I carefully followed. I was determined to grasp what he was driving at, and his speech when summed up appeared to me to be nothing more than an expression of very grave doubt as to the loyalty of the people of Australia. If there is one1 feature more than another of the honorable member’s public life that I have always admired, it is his consistency and his attempt at all times to play the part of a big Australian. Australian aspirations have always been uppermost in his- mind, but when- we examine the speech’ made by him on the motion now before us, we can come to no other conclusion than tha£ he has serious doubts as> to the loyalty of the people of the Commonwealth. Let me say at once that I have none. The people of Australia are as loyal as are His Majesty’s subjects in any other part of the Empire, and they have emphasized their loyalty on all occasions. When we come to inquire into the origin of the Australian people we find that 93 per cent, of them are British born. Can any honorable member doubt the loyalty of the Trish race? Will not every one admit that they are amongst the most loyal subjects of Great Britain, and that the children of the Irish abroad, up to the third and fourth .generation, are as strong in their loyalty to Ireland as ever their forefathers were? Then again, no one sings more about the bonnie hills of Scotland than do the Scotsmen in Australia, although by the way very few of them go back to Scotland. It cannot be denied that they have a great admiration for their native land, and “that they would readily come to its help in time of trouble. And so with the Welsh and the English. I never ‘have a moment’s doubt as to the loyalty of the people of Australia. The Canadian Magazine for July last contains an article written by a Canadian dealing with the education which, the King received in his youth, and the knowledge that he obtained, in his early manhood, of the oversea .Dominions of the Empire. The writer points out that no British monarch has ever had the same opportunities to visit the oversea Dominions as have fallen to the lot of King George, and that he has availed himself of those opportunities to the full. He quotes a paragraph from the work on the cruise of the Bacchante, which is full of meaning, and tends to confirm the views I have enunciated -

Our Australian fellow subjects consist of the stoutest, staunchest English, Welsh, Scotch, and Irish men, who are showing at the present time an amount of energy and activity in everything that makes a people great which has never before been surpassed .in the whole course of English history.

The writer emphasizes the spirit, aims, and ambitions of Australians. I felt) constrained to make these remarks on the question of loyalty, believing that the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition, suggesting as it did some sort of disloyalty on the part of the people of Australia, -should not be allowed to go forth without a protest. It seems to me that Parliament has reason to congratulate itself -on the fact that -during ‘the life of the present Government we have had no complaints as to its administrative ability. “We all recognise that it is the duty of an Opposition to play the part of critics, and since no reflections have been cast by it on the administrative abilities of the Government it seems to me that Parliament, and especially the Labour party, has reason to feel well satisfied.

Mr Kelly:

– Does the honorable member differentiate between administrative ability and administrative acts?


– When I have concluded my .speech I shall be pleased to educate the honorable member, and to give him all the information that is so necessary to make him a useful member of this House. There being no complaint against the administrative acts of the ‘Government, the Ministerial supporters have little to which to reply. I shall probably be hauled over the coals when I urge that some limitation should be placed on the speeches of honorable members. After all.; however, it is only a’ very .small concession to ask, and if the proposition were seriously considered I think that it would soon be conceded. The conclusion has long since been arrived at by public men in other parts of the world that those who make long speeches show that they have failed to marshal their facts. A man who had done so would not be tempted to make long speeches, which, after all, tend only to confuse those who listen to them. Mr. McKenna, First Lord of the Admiralty, in submitting to the British Parliament his Navy proposals, providing for an expenditure of something like £45,000,000 or ,£50,000,000, had so marshalled his facts that he was able to deal with the whole of them in one hour and a quarter. Contrast this with the speech made last week by the honorable member for North Sydney. Some allowance must be made for the fact that he is a new member ; but no one can deny that his address ‘was a “marvellous one. It related almost solely to something done ten or twelve years ago, and to men who had been elected since then three times to the Federal Parliament, and every one of whom had held Ministerial office. The honorable member’s address occupied two and a half hours, and the Liberal press thought so much of it that it devoted exactly 2 inches of space to it. Then, again, the honorable member for Parkes, on Tuesday, spoke for two and three-quarter hours, and, dealing with the ‘Imperial Conference, made observations which were in very bad .taste. He ought to know very well that the Imperial Conference is simply a gathering of representatives of the various Dominions and the British Government, called to allow of an interchange of views on Imperial questions. The Conference has no executive power ; but it may pass resolutions expressing the aspirations or wishes of the oversea Dominions, and in that way may bring the future legislation of the various Dominions into accord, as far as possible, with that of Great Britain. The fact that the resolutions were turned down after being debated does not mean that they had no effect. Our representatives gave expression to their opinions, and that was all we expected of them. No Parliament of an Oversea Dominion would give the Imperial Conference executive power. This is the place in which all these questions should be decided, so far as Australia is concerned, and I am equally confident that the British Government and the Parliament would refuse to delegate their powers to their three or four representatives at the Conference. I consider that the honorable member’s remarks were made with a view to belittling our representatives, but, whatever the object the honorable member had in view, it cannot be denied that our three delegates did more to advertise Australia than any previous delegation. They did not go along Pall Mall shaking hands with duchesses, and dukes, and lords, and humbugs. They went among the people and made them understand that in far distant Australia a welcome hand would be held out to them. That is the sort of delegation that we want. We do not want a few Australians decorated up with feathers in their hats, like peacocks, parading the streets of London. We want men to tell the people of . the Old Country about our resources, and about the opportunities that exist in Australia for those who come here to better themselves, lead happier and more comfortable lives, and rear families under conditions that are not known in the older world. That is the real object of the people of Australia in sending such delegations Home, and I am confident that the people of Australia are satisfied that our representatives knew their work, and did it well. No other honorable member in this debate has mentioned the Papuan trip. During the recess, I believe most of the members of this Parliament were invited to take a trip to Papua. When the first replies were received, I believe about fifty members accepted. Before I deal with what took place, let me define what I consider to be the duty of a member of the

Federal Parliament. During the recess he ought to see what Australia really is. The people did not elect him simply to travel from his own State to this Parliament, and to sit on the cushions, and wear them out. They expected him to see what Australia really is. Very few members know anything of Australia as a whole, and I believe some members of the House were actually not aware that the Federal Parliament had control of Papua. I know there are thousands of people in Australia who had no idea that Papua is a Territory of the Commonwealth. In every recess, the members of this Parliament should travel beyond their own States, and be educated as to the real, wants and interests of Australia. I understand that after the first list of members was made, out for the Papuan trip an article appeared in the Age calling the Government very strongly to account for the project. I believe the Leader of the Opposition was prevented by business from getting away, but, at any rate, as soon as he withdrew his name, the list dwindled down until finally not a member from the other side of the House made the trip. That seems very strange. I can assure them that those who did- go had a very good time, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We were shown over Papua in a manner that did credit to those administering the Territory. Every facility was placed in our way, in order that we might secure all the knowledge possible about the place, and every official in Papua rendered every service he could to us. Whoever appointed the administrative staff, I honestly believe that they appointed men who are thoroughly capable, and understand their duties towards the Territory and its people. The administration, so far as we could see it, was humane from top to bottom. I look forward to the time when the Possession will be of great value, and 1 am sure that all of us who went there will be glad to place the knowledge we obtained on the trip at the disposal of any Government which desires to legislate for the benefit of Papua. I hope that kind of excursion will be continued in every recess for the benefit of honorable members, and of Australia itself. The Leader of the Opposition informs me that he did not accept the invitation to make the trip to Papua, and that if his name was on the list it was a mistake. If that is so, I gladly make the correction. We have had a great deal of trouble in connexion with the Public Service Act. I have nothing to say against the Public Service Commisssioner, because I realize the difficulties of his position; but I hope the Government will alter the Act. One matter that I should like to see attended to in any amendment is the abolition of the classification. There is too much discrepancy between the wages in the General Division and the Clerical Division, and between the opportunities’ offered in the two divisions for rising in the Service. This applies particularly to the Postal Service. If a man enters the Public Service as a mechanic, I do not see why he should be prevented from rising ; but those in the General Division have not the same chances as those who do clerical work in the Clerical Division. Since the present Government came into power the minimum wage at the age of twenty-one has been raised to £116 a year. Let me illustrate my point by the case of two brothers, one of whom, with an aptitude for mechanics, enters the General Division, and the other the Clerical Division. The one who enters the General Division finds that it will take him seventeen years - it used to be nineteen years, but it is regarded as a great concession that the period has been reduced to seventeen -^before he can receive £150 a 3rear._ The man in the Clerical Division receives £116 a year at the age of twenty-one, and in four years rises to £160 a year. This is part of an old system that has been handed down to us for many years, by which those who follow clerical occupations seem to get priority in the making of any appointment. The only qualification necessary seems to be that they do not dirty their clothes. Apparently, as soon as a man soils his hands with any kind of tool, he is placed in an invidious position. I do not think that sort of thing ought to obtain. I have been at the Postmaster-General over this matter for some time, but I can get no redress, because the Act requires altering. In Sydney, there is one branch of the service in which there are eighty-five employes, and the authorities say that there is no clerical work done in it. To my knowledge, however, shortland work is done in it, plans and diagrams are drawn out, and other clerical work is done, and yet the men are kept in the General Division. That is not right. If the men are doing clerical work, and only getting General Division pay, they have good grounds for complaint, and are justified in asking for redress, j trust that the Government will give us an opportunity of amending the Public Service Act this ses sion. The honorable member for Richmond referred last night to the remarks made by the Prime Minister at Brisbane. The honorable member, I understand, told us that the Prime Minister in the course of that speech said that the desire of the Government was that the Commonwealth Parliament should be given the same powers as those exercised by the State Parliaments. If that be so, I do not see how the honorable member for Richmond could find any fault with the remark, because it was always understood that, in regard to the powers handed over to the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth should be as free to exercise them as had hitherto been the States. Under the State Constitutions, the State Parliaments may do whatever they like for the good government of the people, and there is nothing to prevent a State nationalizing even a fish-shop, an oyster-shop, or any other business. The Federal powers, however, are by no means so extensive, as was well shown in the case of the Seamen’s Compensation Act and the recent case of the boot trade. Some honorable members of this Chamber, during the referenda campaign, made some very silly remarks when addressing the people ; and I think it ill became them to cast contempt and ridicule on the proposal. The object of every member who went throughout the country on that occasion should have been to educate the people as to what the referenda really meant; and we were told by the Leader of the Opposition and members of his party that the question before the country was not a party one. I do not know whether he was affected by the company he was in, but the Leader of the Opposition told the people, when in Victoria, that everything would be centred at YassCanberra, and when he was in Sydney he told them that the centre would be Melbourne, which was quite enough to give many persons there a nightmare. However, I should like to read to honorable members some of the stuff that was talked to the people of the various States by some of the opponents of the referenda. Miss Grace Watson is, I believe, a fairly intelligent woman, and it seems a pity that her ability should be put to no better use than spreading falsehoods and misrepresenting the position to the Ladies’ Liberal League and others. Addressing a meeting of that league at Port Pirie, Miss Watson said -

If the Referendums are carried you ladies will have Justice Higgins regulating the quantity of sauce you will Se allowed to put on your meat and the quantity of lemon peel you can put in your cakes. I am sure all you ladies are interested in church work, and if these proposals are passed the Labour unions will not allow you to make cakes and sweets for church bazaars. The railways will belong to them,, and that will, be very nice for the Labour men to go riding round the country, but we pay for it. You have an early train from Port Pirie, and that is only a convenience for the Labour men. It is altogether too early for us women to use, and we have not been considered in the matter.

Then, the honorable member for Wakefield - and it is a wonder he did not wear his boots out, seeing how much he ran about - when addressing the Chamber the other evening had nothing but abuse for persons belonging to trade unions, and of him we read -

Mr. R. W. Foster, M.H..R., evidently had a bad’ nightmare at Henley Beach last week. This is a specimen of the balderdash he uttered : - “ The grouping together of the four questions in one is the biggest confidence trick that has ever been palmed off on the people of Australia, and if the Referenda are carried there will be a revolution in Australia more bloody and more terrible than that in France over a century ago..”

That is from a gentleman on the Liberal side, who went out to educate the people of Australia. I did think, however, that the honorable member for Parkes would have shown a little consistency, considering that he cultivates the tone of a gentleman, and is altogether a very superior individual. Outside of this House, however, my opinion of that honorable member is rather small. He told us that he had addressed seven meetings during the campaign; and I may say that to every one of these meetings there was a special invitation to ladies; indeed, at three meetings out of the seven only ladies were admitted. In my opinion, one of the reasons that the honorable member is returned to this House is that there are more women than men in his electorate ; and I am certain he could not get an audience of males in the city of Sydney to listen quietly to such balderdash and nonsense as he talks. An intelligent man could not listen to the honorable member without throwing something at him or leaving the meeting, or I do not understand what Australians are. When the referenda proposals were before the House the honorable member raised no opposition to them. The honorable member for Flinders on that occasion, in reply to the Attorney-General, said it would require neither more nor less than was asked by the proposals to make the Constitution what it should be, and, as the honorable member for Parkes knew very well that he could not go before a meeting of men without having, that opinion slung in his face, he had the common sense to talk to women, who did not really know what the Constitution is. At one of those meetings the honorable member for Parkes said -

I am quite satisfied that if the Federal Labour Party were given full control of affairs we would soon be on the brink of a civil war, because if these political buccaneers get the power in their hands they will rapidly bring about a state of affairs that peaceable, quiet, and lawabiding men would not stand for any length of time. I am quite sure that something would break.

That is the sort of stuff talked by an honorable member who certainly enters this House with a good deal of dignity, and whose appearance, manners, and style of dress are very presentable. Honorable members laugh, but this is a serious matter, although I may be deemed to deal with it in a somewhat humorous style. It is hardly credible that a man who possesses the confidence of the electors- of the National Parliament, should make such speeches. The aim of every honorable member should be to add’ dignity to this assembly, and to make his fellow-citizens understand the aims and objects of -the Parliament in which he is a representative. We are told over and over again that the aim of the referenda was party advantage ; but, as a fact, the object was to give this Parliament the full power that it was always understood had been taken over from the States. “At any rate, that was the opinion of all until the High Court gave what I regard as erroneous decisions, though I cannot blame the High Court, because the Constitution is open to the construction given. The honorable member for Parkes, however, as I have said, told, women things which he dare not address to a meeting of men ; and we can quite understand the fear that was put into his audience. I feel that I would be neglecting my duty if I did not call attention to such conduct on the part of a man,_ who has been repeatedly elected to the highest position short of that of a Minister of the Crown. The people of Australia can offer no better gift than a seat in the. National Parliament. I hope that when the referenda are discussed again such nonsense will not be talked, but that the welfare of the nation will be the first consideration. I do not propose to weary the House, because, as I have already indicated, I am not in favour of this debate on the Address-in-Reply, but the temptation

*Governor-General's Speech :* [14 September,1911.] *Address-in-Reply.* 471 to speak was too great, in view of the statements that have been made from the other side. Some reference has been made to the press, especially in connexion with the referenda ; and I do not think there ever was such unanimous opposition as was shown by the press during that campaign. Never before, I should say, did the press get so many advertisements, both metropolitan and provincial; and here it may be interesting to consider what the press really is. There are people who imagine that the press is run in the interests of the people; but that is the biggest mistake which could be made. If a newspaper is owned by a company it is conducted in the interests of the shareholders, and, if by a proprietor, in the interest of that proprietor alone. Those who run the press are business people. Naturally they serve the side from which they get their emoluments. Those who manage them would be false to their shareholders or to their proprietors if they did not do so. On Saturdays the morning journals are all very big productions, so that you wonder that you get so much for your penny. I have measured up the columns of some of them, and find that in a Saturday's edition, the advertisements account for seventeen and a half pages of matter. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Is that in the *Sydney Morning Herald* or the *Daily Telegraph?* {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST: -- The difference between them does not amount to 3 inches. There is another three pages of what is known in newspaper parlance as scissors stuff, and three and a half pages which are the work of the leader-writers, reporters, and news editor. All the papers charge 6s. an inch for advertising matter, which is equivalent to £5112s.apage,so that a Saturday edition brings in £1, 008 for advertisements. Carpenters, miners, rouseabouts, and people like that do not advertise or read advertisements, and therefore the conductors of newspapers do not consider them particularly. I have assisted to run a couple of newspapers, and the first thing I have said in each case is, " We need a smart fellow to get advertisements," because it is the advertisements that make a paper. Those who conduct our newspapers opposed the referenda because the press is the biggest monopoly in Australia. I doubt whether the shares of the Sydney Ferries Company have been more watered than those of the Sydney *Daily Telegraph,* a concern which pays 22½ per cent. on its capital, and a reading of its balancesheets suggests that it may put something to reserves for the future advantage of shareholders. All the newspapers are subsidized by the Governments of both the Commonwealth and the States. The postage on newspapers is a tenth of the ordinary letter rate, and the State Governments provide early morning trains for the conveyance of metropolitan newspapers to the country. The newspaper proprietors know that they have a soft thing, and are not going to give it up; hence their antagonism to the referendum proposals. From the way in which strikes have been referred to during the debate, it might be imagined that there is only one party to a strike, but there must be two, and, in my opinion, the strikers are not more, and sometimes less to blame than the other fellows. We have heard a great deal in the press about what the trades unionists do and say, but let me draw attention to the following statement of a doctor dealing with the strike of medical men in Adelaide, and published by the Melbourne *Herald -* >Any doctors coming here under engagement to the dispensary will be absolutely ostracised, and they will not be allowed in the hospitals, and we shall, of course, refuse to meet them in consultations. I have told my patients that if they are dying I will not attend them in consultation with a dispensary doctor, and we all mean to stick to that. The newspaper adds - >To put the position more strongly is difficult. But by way of stressing his point, this doctor added : " We will not touch the dispensary people with a 40-foot pole." Those are the views of a gentleman who has had the advantages of a college education, and occupies a very different position from that of some honorable members on this side, who have had a hard road to travel, and have educated themselves by their own exertions. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr Carty Salmon: -- Does not the honorable member approve of the attitude taken up ? {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST: -- I have the greatest respect for the medical profession. For nineteen years I was secretary to the largest friendly society in New South Wales, and for twenty years I was on the Medical Board of an institution having 16,000 members and 50,000 persons to look after. My opinion is that doctors should be well paid, but I do not think that language such as I have read will do good. During the debate, much has been said about the sugar strike. On my return from Papua I stopped at Cairns, and made inquiries, whichled me to believe that the men had good reason for striking.The business people of Cairns informed me that it would be a good thing for Northern Queensland if the strikers won the day, because if decent wages were given, those engaged in the sugar industry would be likely to make that part of Australia their permanent home, instead of being content to rush up from Melbourne and Sydney and other places in the south merely for the harvesting season, spending elsewhere the money earned in-the district. The men ask for an eight-hours' day, and would any honorable member dare to advocate on the public platform the abolition of the eight-hours' principle? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr Carty Salmon: -- Would any member of the Labour party dare to do so? {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST: -- No; because we have had experience of the hardship of working for more than eight hours, and know how social conditions have been improved by the adoption of the eight-hours' day. The shortening of the hours of labour makes for better citizenship. Twenty-five years ago. in the city of Sydney, the men in the baking trade used to work for very long hours. We tried to get for them an eighthours' day, but were opposed by men like the honorable member for Parkes. At the time, I used an illustration which I will use again now. On one occasion a little child came running to its mother in tears. The mother asked, " What is it, dear child ?" and the youngster, sobbing, replied, " Mother, I have seen a man in your bed." She was told that it was her father. The incident is a forcible illustration of the interference with family life caused by unduly long hours of toil. Honorable, members opposite do not understand, as we do, how necessary it is to have an eighthours' day. From the age of fourteen years until now, I have never known what it is to have a day's rest. When I am in Sydney every night is occupied with attempts for the bettering of some one's condition. The sugar strike will benefit Northern Queensland by establishing there a yeomanry which will settle the land and bring prosperity. In the busy season the men may have to work twelve hours a day, but there will be four hours overtime to be paid for, and the wages then earned will carry them over the slack season. In this matter I share the opinion of the business men and property-owners of Cairns, who no doubt secretly supported the demands of the men. The honorable member for Nepean has referred to the Lithgow strike, and I may say that, together with another unionist, I went to Lithgow in the early days to form a union amongst .the miners there. We found the men working under conditions that were anything but creditable to those who were controlling the mines and other industries in the district. After some time, unions were formed, and the conditions of the workers at Lithgow were improved ; but I was very sorry to see the local ironworks fall into the "hands of **Mr. Hoskins.** I believe him to be a good business man, but he has one fad, and that is that he should be able to do just as he pleases with those whom he employs. He does not care a button for any one save himself. He thinks that he ought to be able to play the part of a Czar or dictator over those whom he employs. Perhaps he cannot help it, but that is really his character, and as long as **Mr. Hoskins** controls the Lithgow ironworks he will want such conditions to prevail. The day for that sort of thing, however, is gone. Those who work in an industry should have a voice in the determination of what their pay and hours of labour shall be. I am one of those who hold that the workers in an industry have just as much right to say what should be done in that industry as the man who owns it. The proprietor of a factory has no more right to say that his men shall work twelve hours a" day than I have to say to the Opposition, " You must resign your seats in this Parliament." If **Mr. Hoskins** had been prepared to bend to reason, no strike would have taken place. He sought, however, to destroy one of the principles of unionism when he dismissed from his employment a man who had attended a meeting as a delegate from his union. Over thirty years ago, I was a representative of the miners in Newcastle at a delegates' meeting, and it has long been the practice when such a meeting is called to allow the delegate from each pit or district to attend it. It is just as necessary that the delegates from the unions should be allowed to attend these meetings as it is that the proprietors should attend meetings of their own-. Mutual understandings can be brought about only by this double combination, and for the safe working and the interests of every industry it is essential that the delegates from the workers' organizations, as well as the proprietors, should meet from time to time to discuss questions affecting them. But because the delegate in question went to such a meeting, **Mr. Hoskins** dismissed him. He had nothing else against him ; he ' was a good workman, but he was simply told that he was not wanted. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Still **Mr. Hoskins** receives the bounty. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST: -- I am dealing, not with the bounty, but with the strike itself. Some twenty-five years ago, the boilermakers union had a dispute with **Mr. Hoskins,** who then said that he would see the union to a place that I shall not mention. He has consistently held to that attitude from that day to this. The boilermakers union is a powerful organization, and it has never had a man in the industry outside its ranks save in the case of men employed by **Mr. Hoskins.** From these facts, honorable members will gather some idea of **Mr. Hoskins'** disposition, and the manner of man he is to run a great concern like that of the Lithgow ironworks. During the last twenty-five years, we have progressed not only in the production of dollars, but in respect of the conditions of those who produce the dollars. **Mr. Hoskins,** however, says, " I am going to do just as I have done in years gone by." He knows that disorganization amongst the men must tend to his advantage, and he views the situation in a purely selfish' light. One can come to no other conclusion than that **Mr. Hoskins** is prepared to take all and give nothing. We are promised in the Governor-General's Speech that a Bill will be introduced to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and I am sure we shall all endeavour to make that measure as nearly as possible perfect. Every one thought that the original measure would be fully operative; but again and again, when an attempt is made to take advantage of its provisions, a ruling of the High Court declares those particular provisions to be invalid. There is now before the Court a case with which I shall not deal at length, but which has gone on so long- {: #subdebate-11-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must not discuss that matter. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST: -- Very well, sir. There must be something wrong with the Act, or with the machinery under it, when it costs the workers in an industry from £8,000 to £10,000 to bring their case before the Court. It was never the intention of this Parliament that a body of men trying to secure redress should be put to such cost. Unfortunately, it often happens that, even after all this expense has been incurred, the whole proceedings are declared by the High Court, on appeal, to be null and void. 1 am sure that the people of Australia are prepared to sanction any legislation that will do away with so expensive a system of litigation. I am no lover of strikes, and it is a pity that in this intelligent age we cannot devise a means of doing away with them. But all these obstacles in the way of bringing a case before the Conciliation and Arbitration Court are largely responsible for the present situation. A union without money cannot attempt to appeal to the Court for redress; and, however much we may be disposed to disagree with strikes, we must admit that, while this state of things lasts, some machinery must be available to the men to protect themselves from the exactions of those who would take from them more than is their fair due. I congratulate the Government on the way in which they have administered the affairs of the country during the recess ; and I may say at once that I am very pleased with the effect of the progressive land tax. I am confident that if we should be so unfortunate as to be removed from office twenty years hence, there will be no attempt on the part of our successors to repeal the Land Tax Act. I was recently given an illustration of the benefits of the Act in a direction that is probably new to some honorable members. The illustration shows that the tax has put the needle into some of the monopolists. A gentleman carrying on business in Sydney, and owning over £80,000 worth of land there, desired to purchase a piece of ground in another part of the city, in order to prevent another man in the same line of business from coming into competition with him. On making inquiries, however, he found that the price wanted for the allotment was £480 a foot, and, since he owned £80,000 worth of land, and would, therefore, be liable to pay land tax at the rate of *66.* in the £1, he recognised at once that if he purchased that block of ground he would have to pay in respect of it taxation to the extent of £12 per foot. That fact led him to give up his idea of acquiring the block, and another very decent firm was, consequently, able to secure it, and to start business in a part of the city where, otherwise, it would have been impossible for it to open up. The tax, in other words, knocked out the monopolist. I should like now to have the views of honorable members on the question of immigration. I have recently been looking up some works on Canada, which were not obtainable in the Parliamentary Library, but which I secured from another source. These works deal with the question of wages in the Dominion, and I gather from them that the temptation which Canada offers to British workers to emigrate is very great. British tradesmen find that they can earn as much as 16s., 17s., and 18s. per day in Canada. Stonemasons there receive as much as *£1* per day, and in the United States, not far from the Canadian frontier, bricklayers and stonemasons receive from *£5* 10s. to *£6* 10s. a week. If such high wages are obtainable in Canada, is it likely that those intending to emigrate from Great Britain will come to Australia, where bricklayers and stonemasons receive only is. 4d. an hour? Many recent arrivals are not tradesmen. Although they came out as tradesmen, it is found that they have been specializing in some particular branch of their several trades, with the result that they have not been receiving very big wages in the Old Country. But good tradesmen are just as scarce in London, and some other large cities in the Old Country, as they are in Australia. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- Are tradesmen scarce in Australia? {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST: -- Special classes of tradesmen are scarce here as well as in Great Britain. One cannot help expressing regret that so many people are averse to putting their sons to a trade. I know that, in my own case, my mother .said, " What ! Put Jack to a trade where he would get his hands dirty? Not I." And so I was put into an office, where I remained for a time. I did not like it, however, and I knocked the chairs and the books about with such results that at last I was allowed to leave. I then had to be put to a trade. The tendency in Australia appears to be the same. Mothers apparently desire that their sons shall be "respectable," through wearing a clean coat and being able to eat their dinner in the evening in the same clothes that they work in. Something ought to be done to induce our Australian lads to follow trades and callings instead of rushing to desks. Every one can see how they are running after billets in the Clerical Division of the Postal Service. A great cause seems to be the respect tharsis attached to collars, cuffs, and ties. It does not seem to satisfy the ambition of lads to send them to a trade or calling. I have two apprentices in my trade now, but they do not seem to take to the work with the same love as they would to a clerical calling. One of the temptations is that a lad of sixteen or seventeen can earn more by serving over the counter of a shop than he can at a trade. There appears to be the same tendency in the Old World, and that is one of the reasons why we are not obtaining really good tradesmen among the immigrants. I have engaged some of these men, and they have' done the most stupid things that could be imagined. Many people have a dread of giving a position to any of the new immigrants, because they do not seem to understand their business. It is not that the people here have any feeling against them as " new chums," or even that they will not give them assistance. It is simply because the newcomers have not the mechanical ability which their trade or calling requires. We ought to bring out immigrants who know their business. They would be an asset to the country ; but the immigrant who does not know his trade is a disadvantage to the man who employs him, and is in a false position himself. It is very disagreeable for an employer to have to discharge him, knowing that it will be a hard jobfor him to obtain another (position. I notice that Canada is having the same experience ; and I read that in fifteen towns in Canada the only persons unemployed are the new arrivals. I am confident that Australia has in power a Government who are looking after the best interests of the country ; and, so long as that Government remain inoffice, the people will deserve to be congratulated. I notice in the Speech that my old friend **Sir George** Reid is to have a new office in London, and I hope he will have good accommodation when he comes to occupy it. {: #subdebate-11-0-s3 .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON:
Wimmera -- The Address-in-Reply deals with many measures which we shall have an opportunity to discuss individually at a later stage of the session but I can find no other means than the Address-in-Reply debate by which the policy of the Government can be attacked or criticised in a comprehensive manner. One justification for a debate of this kind lies in the fact that the whole of the Government policy is before us, and that it is open to every honorablemember to express his opinion upon it ina way which would be impossible when individual measures are before the House. The programme placed before honorable members for the session comprises a fairly comprehensive list of paragraphs ; but it does not contain a very large number of measures to be introduced and discussed in this House for the first time. Most of the Speech is made up of an historical review dealing with acts of administration, or of amendments of measures already on the statute-book, with some promises as to future legislation. The gorgeous ceremony of the Coronation is referred to in a brief paragraph, and the work of the Imperial Conference is dismissed in almost the same space. The Prime Minister's speech, on the work of the Conference, also occupies a very small space in *Hansard,* and, generally speaking, the result of the meeting of that body will be regarded by most honorable members as disappointing. A large number of subjects were listed and debated, but very few of a practical character were passed in anything like a concrete form, which would help the consideration of larger questions of statesmanship by the Parliaments of the self-governing Dominions. It is to be regretted that, in two practical directions, where the Conference might have done important service, nothing useful, resulted. I refer in the first place to the proposal made by the representatives of Australia at the previous Conference for the institution, of a Secretariat, representing all the self-governing Dominions, and, in the second place, to the large and important question of preferential trade, upon which the people of Australia have spoken with no uncertain sound - a policy laid down by that distinguished *statesman,* **Mr. Joseph** Chamberlain, a few years ago. An explanation is due from the Prime Minister to the House of why the Australian delegates did not fight the Declaration of London more vigorously, and why, after opposing it, they failed to vote on it when it was finally put. The Declaration of London has been criticised, and, considering the important trade relations, of Australia and Great Britain, and the large amount of produce being carried' in our ships, an amendment of the clause which deals with the prizes of war and the rights of belligerents in time of war to seize goods to be landed on the shores of Great Britain, was highly desirable. It is not at all surprising that the Prime Minister did not push forward the practical question of preferential trade, seeing that he is out of sympathy with it, and I venture to say that, in that regard, he is not in harmony with the feeling of the great majority of the people of Australia. I am pleased to observe the statement that the youth of Australia are responding loyally to the call of duty under the operation of the compulsory training system. I think that is one of the best results of the legislation of this Parliament. Not only shall we be able to equip the youth of this country to defend it when called upon to do so, but we shall be helping under that system to develop proper character in our young men, and thereBy assist the State Parliaments in their work of character-building. I believe the necessary complement to the compulsory training principle is a system of technical education, which should be established by the State Parliaments throughout Australia. If that is done we shall have two most powerful influences at work building up the character of the youth of the nation, and supplying that element of selfreliance so necessary in the formation of all strong characters. I desire to congratulate the previous Government, and the honorable member for Parramatta, who was Minister of Defence in it, upon having passed the first measure establishing a system of compulsory training for the Commonwealth, and the present Government upon indorsing that policy and extending the principle. I believe the Government have interpreted the feeling of the great majority of the people aright by continuing our naval policy. That policy was the product of a Conference held in London in 1909. At this, Australia was represented, and the resulting recommendations were accepted by this Parliament. The Government are amplifying that policy, which, I believe, is enthusiastically approved of by the overwhelming majority of the people of the Commonwealth. The project for the creation of the Federal Capital will merit the most serious consideration of this Parliament. The honorable member for Echuca has already given notice of a motion that no further money should be expended by this Parliament in that direction until the people have an opportunity of giving their indorsement. I am not prepared to speak dogmatically as to the feeling of the whole of the people on this question, but I know the State of Victoria, and, I believe I can speak safely as to the State of South Australia. I think, indeed, the majority of the States of the Commonwealth, if the question were submitted to them, would record an overwhelming majority against the expenditure of millions of pounds in the Federal Territory before we carry out the important public works now awaiting execution. While we have thousands of miles of railway to build throughout the continent, it is absolutely unjustifiable for this Parliament to spend the money drawn from the people by taxation in building up a Capital at an enormous expenditure at this early stage of our history. The failure of the Government to deal more effectively and decisively with Tariff anomalies shows also that they are out of touch with the feeling of the people. The proposal of the previous Government was to appoint a Tariff Board to collect exact information, to be presented with certain recommendations, so that Parliament might scientifically remove anomalies which necessarily arise from time to time. That, in my opinion, was a statesmanlike idea, but nothing has been done, owing to the displacement of the previous Government. The number of .votes gained by the present Government on account of their Protectionist professions is, I think, overrated. My own opinion is that the present Government was returned because it had been struggling to get into power for some time, and it presented an aggressive policy, with all sorts of extravagant promises. At the same time, I believe that a large number of Protectionists voted for the present Government because, for some reason or other, their promises in favour of high Protection seemed more acceptable than those of the late Government. How sadly the confidence of those electors was misplaced is shown by the fact that, up to the present, nothing has been done to carry out the hustings pledges. The action, of the Minister of Trade and Customs in sending out circulars, in an endeavour to compel traders and others, as a condition of improved Protection, to lay bare the secrets of their business, deserves the condemnation of every right-thinking man in the community. Such a circular, if carried into effect, would compel every manufacturer, trader, and business man to reveal the inner operations of his business, which alone make for successful and healthy competition ; and such a procedure Parliament should not sanction on the part of any Minister. It is proposed by the Government at an early date to introduce a Bill for the construction of a line from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie; and, under the circumstances, it may not be possible, when the Bill is brought forward, to make any alteration in respect to the gauge. It is most unfortunate that, now we are linking up the whole of the capitals by railway, greater endeavour is not made to have adopted the widest gauge. {: .speaker-KTU} ##### Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- Why ? {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- Because the tendency on the part of congested populations the world over is to widen the gauge. The gauge of 4 ft. 8$ in. is, I know, regarded as the standard, but the present Government have frequently stated that they make their own precedents, and are not bound, even by practice, where they think improvement is possible. No doubt 4 ft. 8J in. is the gauge in the United Kingdom, and the gauge agreed to many years ago by the Society of Engineers ; but the late **Mr. Harriman,** who was, perhaps, the greatest authority on railway construction and management in the world, expressed the opinion that it would be necessary, before very long, to broaden the gauge of the railways connecting the main centres of the United States, in order to increase the traffic over the one pair of rails - that, probably, it would be found necessary to extend the 4 ft. 8£ in. gauge in America to at least 6 feet. It is true that in the United Kingdom there was one main line on the broad gauge, and that it was removed, and the standard gauge substituted. It is only reasonable to suppose, however, that where there was the one single line on the broad gauge, side by side with railways on the narrow gauge, the traffic! could not be worked satisfactorily, and, therefore, the alteration was justifiable. {: .speaker-JWY} ##### Mr Chanter: -- Does not Australia offer a parallel case? {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- I do not think so. {: .speaker-JWY} ##### Mr Chanter: -- The bulk of the mileage here is on the narrow gauge. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- That may be ; but I do not think any engineer would seriously contemplate reducing our gauge to 3 ft- 6 in. For some peculiar reason, 4 ft. 8 in. is regarded as the standard, but every constant traveller must admit that the broad gauge offers a steadier run for passengers, and is capable of a larger train load. {: .speaker-JWY} ##### Mr Chanter: -- That is all right, but the question is the cost of the alteration. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- That, of course, is very important; but I am now dealing with a proposal to build a new railway over 1,000 miles in length. When the Bill is introduced the Government may be able to give us some information as to the investigation made before the decision to adopt the 4 ft. 8i in. gauge. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- Gradients affect the possibilities of a railway more than do the gauge. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- I understand that on the proposed line the gradients generally are not difficult. Regret is expressed in the Governor-General's Speech that the referenda proposals were not carried; and that is only to be expected. I addressed *Governor-General's Speech :* [14 September, 1911.] *Address-vn-Reply.* 477 a large number of meetings; and I can say emphatically that the people of Australia, in voting against the referenda, were not opposed to any reasonable amendment of the Constitution. Any definite proposal of the kind was received more heartily than any other remarks I had the opportunity to offer. The proposal of the Government was to transform the present Constitution into one which would give us neither unification nor Federation. That was one of the principal objections, and the people voted against the referenda more because they were not inclined to extend the power of the present Government than because they were opposed to necessary amendments. The people are agreeable, 1 believe, to give a reasonable extension of constitutional power and authority, but they opposed the referenda proposals as being of too sweeping a character, and probably the greatest influence was their objection, at this stage at least, to trust the present Government with more legislative authority. In the Governor-General's Speech it is stated that the progressive tax on land values is having a satisfactory effect on land settlement, and is attracting a desirable class of immigrants. We shall require a little more concrete evidence as to the truth of that statement. The attractions to the immigrants are being offered by the State Governments, which are purchasing land from private owners. This process of repurchase commenced long before the Fede~ ral land tax proposals passed this House, and would have continued had those proposals never been introduced. The increased immigration is entirely due to the efforts of the State Parliaments, and the provision of the necessary land is the work of the same authorities. Under the circumstances the claim put forward on behalf of the Federal Government contains, in my opinion, no element of truth. Living as I do in the country, and understanding something of country conditions, my experience is that the land tax has been successful in four directions. It has drawn from the people of Australia £1,500,000, thus creating an enormous surplus of, perhaps, *£1,* 000,000, and offering opportunities for the greatest extravagance on the part of the Executive. It has placed a tax on country producers, and thus rendered them less able to compete in the London market with the primary producers of the world. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- How much are the general producers paying towards this tax? {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- They are paying pretty considerably. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- How much? It is a very small fraction. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- It will not be possible to say accurately until we have the return which has been asked for by the House; but my experience is that a large number of the most important section of the producers are at present contributing very substantially to the tax. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Not to the Federal tax. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- Yes, to the Federal tax. Thirdly, the tax has depressed land values all over the country districts of Australia, prices having gone down to the extent of £1 and £1 10s. per acre, as mentioned by the honorable member for Grampians. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Is that not good for people who desire to buy land? {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- While the tax has depressed values, it has not, in any instance, enabled the class of people whom we desire to help to get on the land. 'For two or three years prior to twelve months ago, before this tax was imposed, there was a busy market in land throughout Victoria, and land-owners were actively engaged in subdividing holdings, and selling them readily on terms so liberal as to make it impossible for any Government to give easier conditions. While the tax has brought down the value of country lands, it has not stimulated the subdivision of estates, nor increased settlement. In fact, during the last twelve months there has been almost a cessation of land sales in the country parts of Victoria. In the cities landholders have passed on the tax to the tenants by increasing rents, and these, again, have, in many cases, passed it on to the consumers by raising prices. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- How can a land tax decrease values and increase rents? {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- The tax has decreased values in the country, where the worth of land depends upon its productivity; the price of products being determined by the demand for them in London markets. The country landholders are not in a position to pass on the tax, but city landholders, in many instances, can pass it on to the tenants, and the tenants, if they are shopkeepers, can pass it on to consumers by increasing the prices of the commodities which they retail. The prices of country lands have been depressed to the extent of from 25 to 30 per cent. In that statement I have the corroboration of the honorable member 478 *Governor-General's Speech :* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Address-in-Reply.* for Grampians, who speaks for the. Western District, as I do for the Wimmera.. Only last night I heard, on reliable authority, that several blocks, which fifteen months ago were sold at from *£6* 10s. to *£7* an acre, did not fetch more than.£5 5s. an acre twoor three weeks ago. A certain amount of.' subdivision is: still proceeding ; but the sales are very few, compared with the activity of the three or four years preceding the last twelve months. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- Would the Liberal party repeat the land tax if it got into power ? {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- I am not discussing what may lake place in. the future. I am merely criticising the statement in the Speech that the progressive tax on land values is having a satisfactory effect on land settlement, and attracting a desirable class of immigrants. My reference to. the sugar question will be short, because I shall have another opportunity to discuss it. There is, as. every one knows, a duty of *£6* a ton on. all sugar imported into Australia.. During the recent strike the. Attorney General threatened the Colonial Sugar Refining Company with the remission of that duty; and, according to figures which he used,, the yearly consumption of sugar in. the Commonwealth is something like 200,000 tons, on which the. company makes a profit of£90,000, or about 18s. 6d. per ton; but in New Zealand, where there is no duty, and the. consumption is only 50,000 tons a year, the company makes a profit of . £70,000, or about 28s. a. ton. If those figures are correct, it would suit the company to have the duty removed, because that would enable it to' import free crude sugar grown by coloured labour in. Fiji and. other Pacific Islands. The company is a large and wealthy concern, which should have been dealt with long: before by the Government under the anti- trust law. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- Does the honorable member suggest that it. is a trust ? {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- As to whether its operations are in restraint of trade is a question on which we require more light; but no serious endeavour is made by Ministers to deal with the trusts, the anti-trust law being a dead letter. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- What about the Coal Trust? {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- Although the Government take credit for initiating the prosecution of the Coal Vend, it was really commenced by the previous Government: {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- **Mr. Wise** told the Court that he was instructed to say tha those for whom he was appearing did not intend to injure the Vend in any way. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- Evidently the Government have no great disposition to deal with the trusts, and the fulrninations of Ministers' against them are mere flamboyant hypocrisy. {: .speaker-KTU} ##### Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- Who pays the. Excise duty? {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- The people of Ausr tralia. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The company must be doing well, because it is the only Victorian concern that is not asking for more Protection. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- I think that it is doing too well ; and its operations should be inquired into. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- Nothing would suit the company better than the abolition-, of. the duty. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- The figures used by the Attorney-General indicate that, so that *his* threat was an absurd one. As for the measures foreshadowed in the Speech, I shall deal with them as they come before us-. We all desire that our legislation shall1 foster the great industries of the Commonwealth and attract people from the Old Country, who will increase our population and strengthen our defence. I trust that the Government, having seen the wisdom of the proposal of the Deakin Administration to appoint a Royal Commission to. inquire into the sugar industry, will adopt its other proposal, the. appointment of a Board for the thorough investigation of industrial and manufacturing conditions, so that the Tariff may be. considered by honorable members in the light of. full, exhaustive, complete, and exact information. {: #subdebate-11-0-s4 .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON:
Laanecoorie -- I desire to address myself briefly to the motion at. present under discussion, realizing, as I do, that by my speaking nowin general terms upon the proposals of the Government time will probably be conserved when we are dealing with them in detail. In the first place, I must express my disappointment at. the manner in which the Governor-General's Speechhas been prepared and presented to Parliament. I fear that it was first of all submitted to the: various subCommittees, which, I understand, the supporters of the Government are in the habit of. appointing, and that theirreports were furnished in such a. way that the members *Governor-General's Speech :* [14 September, 1911.] *Address-in-Reply.* 479 of the Cabinet ultimately intrusted with the duty of placing them in a readable form before the House found the work somewhat difficult. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- The honorable member only dreamt that. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The honorable member looks as if he had had a very bad dream. Time will probably cure him. of the nightmare from which he is suffering. There is no continuity of thought in the Speech as presented to us. Matters relating to Home Affairs and External Affairs are inextricably confused, showing that the sub-Committees to which I have referred have not done their work quite as faithfully as one might have expected. The Government are to-be congratulated upon their statement with regard to the Australian Navy. The paragraph dealing with the question is probably the shortest in the Speech, and it is certainly remarkable for its modesty. The party responsible for the Governor-General's Address on this occasion has never been lacking in a full appreciation of the value of its efforts, and we find in this case that it is content simply to state that steady progress is being made in the construction of the ships of the Australian Navy. I do not wish to strike a discordant note, nor do I want to put forward what is known as the purely Stateidea, but I hope that the Government in the future will pay a little more attention to the pressing necessity for a proper expansion of this work. I 'trust that they will not put all their eggs in one basket, and that they will not adhere to the policy of settling in one part of the Commonwealth for all time the important work of constructing the ships of the Australian Navy. Mr.Cann. - Amongst how many ports would the honorable member divide that work ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Not more than three. I do not say that the advice which has been tendered to us by experts has not received some attention at the hands of the Government, but it certainly ought to receive from them the fullest and most careful consideration at a very early stage in our navy-building efforts. The work is a great one for us to undertake, andit is wellthat we should remember the recent fate of the Russian fleet, which was bottled up in a harbor whence it found it impossible to emerge. We do not desire that our naval works shall be confinedto any one partof the Commonwealth where they will either be subject to attack or may be rendered inoperative and useless by an effective blockade. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- Concentration of the Navy is now the policy. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I am talking now of the building of the Navy. The concentration of a navy to enable it to strike an effective blow is very different from the concentration of shipbuilding yards - yards in which our ships are to be constructed - so that we may be able to strike a blow wherever it is required. The reports presented to the Government - regarding the suitability of a spot on the coast of Victoria should receive the attention of the Government, and we should have, at a very early date, an indication of their policy in this respect. We all hail with much satisfaction the project of building these ships within our own borders. We want to have them built here. We desire that our people shall be employed in this very necessary and urgent work. We desire, above all, that Australia shall be self-contained in this regard, so that wemay not have to depend on other parts of the world for a supply of the proper class of ships. In paragraph 12 of the Governor-General's Speech we have the statement that - >The effect of the Tariff upon Australian industries is being carefully watched by my Advisers, with a view to revision whenever the information obtained by them shows this to be necessary. I commenced with the statement that I had formed the opinion that the preparation of the Speech as a whole was the work of several sub-Committees. I certainly think that this paragraphcontains the combined wisdom of the whole of the Labour party. Nothing could be more non-committal. 1 defy the most ardentFree Trader in the House to find any fault with it. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- How many Free Traders are there on the honorablemember's side of the House ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- My trouble at present is that the dominant majority in this House has evidently in its rankssufficient Free Traders to completely chloroform such Protectionists as my honorable friend' who has just interjected. They have been able to put the Protectionist section of the party in such a condition that all they can do is to point to the fact that there are on this side of the House a few Free Traders. 480 *Governor-General's Speech:* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Address-in-Reply.* {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The Opposition can have some more from this side whenever they want them. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- We shall be prepared to take the honorable member whenever he chooses to cross over. We realize, however, that the ties which bind him, as well as others, to his party are far too strong to allow even a man of his independent spirit to go one inch across the dividing line. History has shown that no one could expect from the Labour party more severe opposition than it offers to the man who asserts his independence. We have seen during the last few months some telling instances of the enormous disciplinary power which that party wields over its members. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- It is nothing to the treatment, of **Mr. Henry** Willis by the Liberals of New South Wales. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The honorable member is extremely unfortunate in his illustration. He ought to know that in the New South Wales Parliament his party was strong enough, not only to take one Speaker from the chair, but to obtain another from the other side. He cites that as an example of the discipline exercised by the Liberal party, but I think he will be rather sorry that he saw fit to give it. I am somewhat; amused with the attempts that are being made by the more vociferous of the party opposite, and also by the (members of the Free Trade party, to divert my attention from paragraph T2 of the Governor-General's Speech, to which I desire to direct attention. That paragraph does not deal with Speakers, or happenings in other States ; it deals rather with the position to be adopted by the Government regarding a policy vital to the Commonwealth. That; policy has been placed before the people time and again, and on each occasion has been affirmed by larger majorities. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Cannot the honorable member ' ' bide a wee ' ' ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- It was last submitted to the people on the occasion of the general election of 1910, and I venture to say that some of my honorable friends opposite would not have entered the doors of this Chamber but that they were regarded as staunch supporters of the Protectionist policy. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- And we still are. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Yet, to use their own words, they are prepared to "bide a wee." They are prepared to accept a non-committal statement of this character, and to ask Protectionists who are not bound by party ties - who are not bound by caucus rules and methods - to do the same. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- They tell us to " Watch and pray." {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I believe that they are watching, but whilst they are doing so the importer is " preying " upon the people of Australia, and upon our trade and commerce generally. These honorable members will have a very heavy indictment against them when they appear before their constituents. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Does the honorable member for Parramatta indorse all this? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I am sure he will agree with my statement regarding the punishment to be meted out, even to members of the Ministry like the Minister of External Affairs, who has time and again stated in this House that he places the question of Protection above all others. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Never. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The honorable gentleman has time and again demanded a proper and efficient revision of our one-sided and mutilated Tariff. We are not permitted to lift the veil from what occurs in another place where policies are made, and where every movement taken by the present Government is carefully marked out for them by those who for the time being hold them in the hollow of their hands. We are not allowed to penetrate the veil. But perhapsthe honorable member for Maribyrnong, who asks us to" bide a wee" - who would have us believe that something is to happen in the immediate future, but does not say that it will - may have in mind something that has happened in the chamber with the locked door which no one is allowed to enter unless he takes the oath of allegiance. The honorable member for Corangamite a few moments ago said something about dreams. I wonder what kind of sleep is being enjoyed by those members who only a few months ago were urging upon the previous Government the necessity for an immediate revision of the Tariff. They talked about Tariff anomalies with tears in their eyes, and, I. was going to say, with curses in their throats. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- We saw old Bill's crocodiles. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The honorable member has seen the tears, and has drawn attention to them on more than one occasion. I regret that) the Minister of Trade and Customs is absent, for he was in the very vanguard of this movement. In the name of all that was Australian and patriotic, he demanded that an immediate revision of this iniquitous Tariff should be undertaken. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- New Protection is what he demanded. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Not at that time. The honorable member's memory is playing sad tricks with him. I am afraid that the pure ozone of the vast ocean over which he has been travelling failed to penetrate his brain ; or that, if it did, the good effects have been dissipated by the fifty banquets which he and some of his colleagues attended in forty days. The Minister of External Affairs has apparently a proper appreciation of the title of his office. Seemingly, he pays far more attention to the outside world than he does to Australia. If he were paying attention to the Commonwealth, he would realize the condition to which our home trade has been drifting ever since the last revision of the Tariff. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- What did the Fusion Government do when they had a chance to deal with the matter? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- There is that puling cry of the mind utterly deficient in argument. I will tell the honorable member what the Fusion Government did. They attempted to get this House to pass an Act which would provide for the establishment of a Board of Trade, having for its object {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- When was that Bill submitted ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Who said a Bill was submitted ? The honorable member ought to recollect what occurred in another place with regard to the matter about which I am speaking. If he read contemporary history as carefully as he apparently scans the sayings of all those unfortunates who happen to be opposed to him in politics for the time being, he would get a better idea of policy than he now seems to have. I have told the honorable member what the previous Government attempted to do, and what their desire was. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- I asked what they did. They did nothing. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- At any rate, they went with a definite promise and a pledge to the country, which they would have carried out had they been returned with a majority. If they had not carried it out, they would not have been supported by honorable members like myself. Happily, I am not tied like the honorable member for Indi, who has to support his party right or wrong as soon as they have come to a decision on any matter affecting the platform. He may oppose them up to the hilt, and may form part of a minority which numbers only one less than the majority, and yet he will be compelled to vote with the majority, which has the power to dragoon him into voting against his wishes and his pledges. Happily, I am not in that position. Had the late Government been returned to office, and had they not immediately dealt with the matter in the fashion they had promised to deal with it, they would have received very short shrift at the hands of Protectionists like myself, who are bound, not to a Caucus, but simply by the pledges we give to our constituents. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- Did not the honorable member's Caucus have to support him for the Speakership, when he only had a few votes ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- No. The honorable member ought to know, if any one does, that statements made regarding private meetings have to be taken with a grain of salt. One thing for which I admire members of the Labour party is their loyalty to each other and to their Caucus meetings. Without that loyalty it would be impossible for. them to have achieved anything like the success they have obtained in the past. The honorable member for Werriwa has made two statements in one sentence, which I am very glad he has given me an opportunity to deny. He asked, " Were not your party compelled to vote for you for the Speakership when you had only a very few votes?" {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- I meant to say that the honorable member had only twenty votes. I was repeating the statement of the honorable member for Fawkner. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I am not going to discuss with the honorable member the number of votes given on that occasion. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- The honorable member would be revealing Caucus secrets if he did. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I am not bound, like the honorable member is, to keep secrets of that character. No pledge is given by the members of the party to which I belong to maintain secrecy regarding the party meetings. The honorable member said my party were bound to support me for the Speakership when I was 482 *Governor-General's Speech:* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Address-in-Reply.* nominated. Not only were they not bound to support me, but they did not support me. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- **Mr. Tilley** Brown said so. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- This is about the first time the honorable member for Maranoa has quoted that gentleman as an authority. I give the honorable member for Werriwa my word of honour that not only was no promise binding any members exacted, or even asked for, but every member of the party did not vote for me on that occasion. I hope that that three-fold denial will convince him, and convince also those who so industriously circulated that story, not only in Victoria, but all over the Commonwealth, as an evidence of the fact that the Caucus system did exist in the Liberal party. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- The honorable member for Balaclava gave a different impression. He said he was trapped, and would not attend a Caucus like that again. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I refuse to be tempted into a discussion of the actions of other honorable members. It is quite enough for each of us to defend his own actions, but I may say that the action of the members of the Labour party on that occasion, when they tried to draw a number of other honorable members from what they said was their allegiance, did not reflect credit on them. Let me return to the question of Protection, and the utter failure of the present Government to deal with it in any fashion at all, to say nothing of a satisfactory fashion. The Minister of Trade and Customs was one of the most ardent and constant advocates in this House for relief from those Tariff anomalies from which he and a number of other Protectionists pleaded that the community were suffering. He no sooner reached the position of Minister than he showed, not only a forgetfulness of his previous protestations, but a callous disregard of the position of a large number of workers in the trades which are at present inadequately protected. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- He is seeing the light - becoming a Free Trader. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I believe he has been kept in the dark. Under the present system of government, he is not allowed to exercise his own free will. He has not the opportunity of doing what he said he would do if he had the chance. He is not allowed to come down to this House with a list of the very anomalies which he himself presented to the House and asked the House to deal with on a former occasion. It is more than significant when a Minister acts in this fashion. He has shown a callous disregard of the fate of certain industries, and his treatment of deputations was not that of a friend. He desired to pose before them in a sphinx-like fashion, pretending that if only they opened their mouths and shut their eyes something would be given to them. When specific instances of distinct hardship were brought before him from time to time, they were treated by him in a careless and off-hand fashion, which no Free Trade Minister sitting in that chair under any' previous Administration would have dared to exhibit. But we have to accept everything from this party, realizing that the Minister is not the mouth-piece of Parliament or the people of this country. He is not there to carry out the policy of Protection, which has been affirmed over and over again by vast majorities of the Australian people. He is there simply to act asthe mouth-piece of the body which meets upstairs. It is not good enough for the people of Australia that this sort of thing should be allowed to continue. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- How will the honorable member alter it? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The only way to do it is to put the present Government out of office ; and I realize that nothing but an epidemic is likely to effect that. Their majority is so solid that not a single vote on their side would be cast against them, no matter what act of political turpitude was committed by them. The solidarity of the party is so strong, the loyalty so perfect, and the discipline so cruel, that there is not the slightest chance of removing them from their place. The Government are trifling with a great national policy, which has been placed before the people in an unmistakable fashion. It was placed before them by the very men who are betraying it to-day as the reason why they should be elected to this House. I am' alluding now particularly to the State of Victoria. I know that, in New South Wales, Protection is not thought so highly of now as it will be in the near future. {: .speaker-KTU} ##### Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- What industry requires more Protection in the honorable member's electorate? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The two principal industries in my electorate are mining and agriculture. Under the system *Governor-General's Speech.:* [14 September, 191 1.] *Address-in-Reply.483* which the present Government have pursued, agriculture is in no better position than it was, and mining is in a very much worse position than it was a few years ago. Mines have been closed down in my district owing to the added cost of machinery and other materials,, due to the ineffective Tariff that we now have. Honorable members opposite, including the honorable member for Barrier, the most ardent Free Trader in the House, laugh at us. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- The honorable member for Hume said that I put the last Protectionist Tariff through by my votes, when some of his own supporters would not vote for him. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- We know how the Postmaster-General pleaded for one. particular branch of the mining industry when the question oforegon timber was before the House. We know how he. button-holed members, and went round this place doing his duty to his constituents in, the fashion that he believed would best benefit them, and we also know how he. caused other industries in this country to suffer irretrievably by the votes he then gave. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- The honorable member said I did my duty to my constituents. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The honorable member is proud to have in his constituency, and to regard as his constituents,, those silver lords, to. whom members of his party have more than once directed their attention in no very complimentary terms. The honorable member did good service to them. I' believe he increased considerably the dividends paid to those who were already drawing fat returns from that particular branch of the mining industry, but his trouble and concern for the industry ended so soon as the confines of Broken Hill were passed. The honorable member had very little concern for the mining industry in other parts of the States. The engineering and machinery industries of this country are suffering from the unfair competition to which they are being subjected from outside. The result is. that they have closed down, and our supply has been practically limited to that from oversea, and that we have been compelled to pay higher prices for very necessary parts of machinery. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- It is not true, then, that some of the manufacturers are short of men? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Yes, it is. One of the reasons why a mine in my district suspended operations was that the Postmaster-General, or his. Department, attracted the men from, their ordinary avocation by the bribe of higher wages for a limited period They were attracted to the city, to. which they came in crowds, in order to get work at the undergrounding of the telephone lines, for which work the Minister had increased the amount of. pay-. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Are the men being paid too much ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I do not. say that. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- What is the point, then? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I trust that the. Minister will not put into my mouth words I have not used. No one is more competent to make use of a suggestion of the kind than is the Minister ; and I cannot allow to pass the suggestion he has just made that I think the men are being paid too much. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I- merely asked the question. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I do. not think they are being paid too much, and I have never said so. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- What is. the point, then? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Broughtup, as I was in a mining district, no one knows better than myself what the men suffer who work underground.. The honorable member for Grey knows my district, and the conditions under which these men are employed and' he further knows that if they are offered a temporary job at high wages elsewhere, the temptation is often too strong, and they find their places filled' when the temporary work is over. There is no more unsettling thing in any com-, munity than the. giving of higher wages to men for work not of a permanent character. No true political economist - and every honorable member opposite thinks he is. a political economist - can view with equanimity a proposal in the direction of a temporary rise in wages which will have the effect of unsettling an industry. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Then I suppose wages ought to be kept lower ! {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I do not desire to enter into a discussion of that question; I was asked for an instance, and. I have given one. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- Were- the. miners in the honorable member's district specially sent for? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I have so far refrained from interfering, but I must ask honorable members, and the PostmasterGeneral especially, to cease these continuous interjections in the form of questions to the honorable member for Laanecoorie. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- On many platforms, and before many boards of directors, I have said that the pay which the miner receives is nothing like commensurate with the work, or with the danger to which he is exposed. But, no matter how poorly paid he may be, it is better that he should have steady employment than that he should be attracted away from his wife and family to the city, under the system of centralization which has been so prejudicial to the advancement of our people in the past. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- That argument would apply against bringing immigrants here. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- To honorable members opposite, immigration is like what King Charles' head' was to the unfortunate **Mr. Dick** ; they refer to it on every conceivable occasion, and I confess I do not see the pertinence of the interjection. Before I leave the question of Tariff reform, from which my honorable friends opposite seem most anxious to draw me, I desire to say that, amongst the people of the country, there is a feeling of grave disappointment and dissatisfaction, and that feeling is most keen amongst members of the Labour party. Members of political leagues throughout Victoria, at any rate, have in the street and from the platform voiced their disapprobation of the inaction of the Government on this all-important matter. The Government are putting too great a strain on the loyalty of their followers by asking members of those leagues, who are pronounced Protectionists, to sit still and suffer the present inaction on the part of those they have supported. As to the Post and Telegraph Department, the Postmaster-General seems to have failed lamentably to appreciate the true position that it occupies in a country such as ours. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- The honorable member for Echuca said the present PostmasterGeneral is the most successful we have had. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Is the honorable member for Indi so wedded to the opinions of the honorable member for Echuca that he is asking me also to adopt them ? When an honorable member speaks on this nide, he speaks for himself, while honorable members opposite, we know, are specially selected to speak for the party. On this side we have independence of opinion, as well as independence of action ; and if an honorable member thinks fit to eulogize the Minister, there is no reason why the rest of us should eulogize him in the same way. Postal communication is, perhaps, the most valuable of all the forces that are created by the Government ; but the Minister seems to have placed the Department on a pounds, shillings, and pence basis of a most sordid and mercenary character. He regards himself as the particular custodian of the revenues of the Department ; and he desires, on every occasion when applications are made for facilities, that those facilities shall not only not result in a loss, but shall actually provide a profit. The consequence has been that facilities are being denied to people who undoubtedly deserve them. Opportunities for closer and more frequent communication have not been made available ; and the last order issued from the Department is in the direction of cutting down, to the extent of 40 per cent, in some instances, the already meagre allowances paid to certain people who are doing the country's work. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- To what does the honorable member refer? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- To the cutting down of the pay of the already poorly paid officers in the allowance offices established in various country districts. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- It is not so. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I am sorry that I have not my papers with me; but I ask the Minister to take note of the case of the officer at Leonard's Hill, where the pay of ,£19 has been reduced to ,£17. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- The business has dropped off, I suppose? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Not only has the business not dropped off, but the officer has now a telegraph and a telephone to attend to. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- He gets paid for attending to the telephone. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- No, he does not; under the new arrangement he receives a lump sum, which is not anything like that he previously received. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Is the honorable member sure that this officer gets a lump sum, irrespective of the work? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -Yes. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I shall be glad to have the facts of the case. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The officer's name is Wilkie. Under the old rule he received 3d. per telegram, and id. per telephone message, representing about 10s. per month, but that payment is to be discontinued, and he receives a lump sum which, as I say, is not nearly so large as the previous remuneration. There are other similar cases in my electorate- The PostmasterGeneral seems surprised; but I cannot credit that such things can _ be done without his cognizance, or even without his order; at any rate, we hold him responsible. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I am not shirking any responsibility. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The Minister has started a new practice of closing all post-offices at 6 o'clock. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- The best thing I have done since I have been in office. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- It seems to be very easy to satisfy some people. If the Minister is satisfied, 1 presume that all the people have to do is to say that they are also satisfied. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- If they are dissatisfied they can shift me ! {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I venture to say that the thousands who are inconvenienced are not saying that they are satisfied. Although the Minister has made merry on more than one public occasion in reference to the number of messages handed in at certain offices after 6 o'clock, if he will take the aggregate number handed in throughout any given year, he will find that it amounts to many thousands. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Such messages are now being handed in before 6 o'clock. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The honorable gentleman is placed on a pinnacle of selfsufficiency, which, I venture to say, no other Minister has reached, and he cannot be expected to know to what extent the curtailment of this particular privilege affects a large number of persons. The people are the best judges as to what is the effect on them; and I fail to see the cogency of the argument of the Minister as to what has been done in Western Australia. I have never regarded that State as particularly up to date. When the Commonwealth started there was no one more subject to the ridicule of the honorable members from New South Wales than the right honorable member for Swan, who was recognised as the leader of the Western Australian party. That State was regarded as the most backward of all, and openly called the " Cinderella " of the States, and yet it is from the West that the Minister is drawing his inspiration for up-to-date methods. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- It is a good thing for Victoria that there is a Western Australia ! {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Perhaps it is a good thing for Western Australia that there is a Victoria. I do not wish to improperly praise my own State, but none in the Union has done more for the Commonwealth than has been clone by Victoria. Its people not only settled their own territory, but did much to settle New South Wales, Queensland, and the greater part of Western Australia as well. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- We should like more Victorians in Queensland. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The honorable member shows a truer appreciation of Victorians than does die Postmaster-General, although he represents the Barrier, and it was Victorian capital and enterprise, and, very largely, Victorian miners, who kept the Barrier mines going at a time when they were threatened- with extinction. 1 am sorry that there is a lack of appreciation of Victorian character by a man who owes so much to the State. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- What about Queensland ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I am sorry that the Minister has compelled me to make a statement which, I think, he would prefer should have remained unmade. The Central administration of the Postal Department of the Commonwealth has suffered more from having too many Queensland officers in high positions than from any other cause. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I "do not think so. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I should be sorry to speak as an apologist of the Minister, and am now voicing, not his opinions, but my own, and do not expect his concurrence. He would probably have more sympathy with the people in our country districts if he had a better knowledge of their conditions. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The honorable member should withdraw what he said about Queensland officials ; it was grossly unjust. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- We owe a great deal to **Sir Robert** Scott. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- He is one of the best officers the Commonwealth has had. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I agree that we owe a great deal to **Sir Robert** Scott, and, as his name has been mentioned, pay him my meed of praise. 486 *Governor-General's Speech :* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Address-in-Reply.* {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -And Victoria owes fa greatdeal to **Mr. Bright,** the Deputyhere. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Whenever the Ministers are in trouble, they cry out that the industrial rights of the people are in danger, and endeavour to work up sympathy,with a viewto getting themselves retained in office. That cry is their sheetanchor. What amazes me most is the arrogant claim of the Labour party that the credit for all the industrial legislation passed by the Commonwealth is due to its efforts. Similar claims are made by the Labour parties of the States, even where they haveneverbeen in power. 'Only a few hours ago the Leader of the Victorian Labour party, speaking in regard to an application for a Wages Board for night watchmen, complained that the AntiSweating League, as well as the Trades Hall Council, hadbeen favorably mentioned. He added that the Anti-sweating League was a Tory organization, having no true Labour representation. As a matter of fact, it was the Anti-sweating League alone that got the night watchmen what they wanted. The Trades Hall 'Council had nothing to do with it, although there are on the Anti-sweating League members of the Trades HallCouncil, who spend their time, week after week, in endeavouring to ameliorate social conditions. It is surprising that **Mr. Prendergast** knows so little about the constitution of the League, which has been in existence tor so long, and has done so much for the workers of Victoria. The case of the night watchmen was brought under the notice of the League, not under the notice of the Trades Hall Council, and owing to the representations of the League, relief wasgranted to them many months 'ago. 'The attempt to take from the League the credit due to it, to giveit to the 'Trades Hall Council, was part and parcelof thepolicy of the Labour party in arrogatingto itself not only the right to legislate for the workers,but the credit for all that is done on their behalf. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- The only thing that the Anti-Sweating League hasdone is to well advertise itself. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -I hope 'that the members of the Trades Hall Council who are members of the league 'will mark that statement. They will not consider it a compliment. 'The league does its work in avery quietandunobtrusive fashion. I daresaythe honorablemember does not know that I am a member of at. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -Ihave seenthe honor- rable member'sname in the newspapers. Dr.CARTY SALMON.- Not inan advertising way, in association with any motion. A. member's name appears in the newspapersonly when he takes the chairat ameeting. The league's resolutions are published inthe pressimpersonally. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- That isnot correct. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- At any rate, that is the instruction. The membersof the leaguedo not desire to get advertisement out of their work. They wish to 'do good unmolested by party leaders. The league is non-party and non-sectarian,and any one in distress may apply to it. Hundreds have done so, and have not appealed in vain. Adeputation of night watchmen called on the league to thank them for what they had done. Itwould have done the honorable member good to hear the tales they had to tell 'about theamelioration of their conditions. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- Ihave nothing good to say 'for the league. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The Speech says that Ministers are strongly , of opinion that "theever-increasing exactions of the trusts make an extension of the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth imperative " - an extraordinary statement, seeing that some of the Ministers have spoken highly of the trusts,andhave given glowing testimonials to them forthe manner in which they treat their employes. We are told that the Government intend tore-submit their referenda proposals ; but thereis no indication as tohow they are to be resubmitted,or when. No doubt they will treat this matter as they are treating Tariff reform, by shuffling out of their promises. There may be a submission to the people of one or two proposals which it is known will be agreed to, and then a great victory will be claimed ; but the proposals, as a whole, will not be re-submitted. The Labour party were warnedin advance that their proposals would berejected, and would not take the warning. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- The people are regretting italready. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- That is very cold comfort for my honorable friends. Thosebehind the Labourpartyarenot satisfied ; and atthe nextLabourConference - -which,I believe, is tobe held at Hobart - there will besomeplain speaking. I wish that we could have a full and free independent pressreportof thedebates. *Governor-General 's Speech :* [14 September, 1911.] *Address-in-Reply.* 487 It would be good reading. The criticism to which the Government have been subjected by the Opposition will be nothing to the castigation which it will get from its whilom supporters. The whole vocabulary of abuse will be poured upon them, and Ministers will wish they had never been born. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- What has been said by the Opposition is nothing to what we get upstairs. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- If the discussions which take place upstairs were published, it would be unnecessary for the members of the Opposition to say anything. It would be enough for the people to hear what the Government's friends and supporters say of it. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- The honorable member is very mild. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- My methods are always mild; but I am afraid that the honorable gentleman is presuming upon his knowledge of them. I am keeping in reserve a little that will cause him to regret the flippant attitude he has recently adopted. It has been the constant desire of the Labour party to belittle the vote cast against them at the recent referenda. They give various reasons for their non-success, but it is rather difficult for them to explain away the enormous majority that was polled against them. If the position had been reversed - had the Opposition been in the same minority - many of us would hardly have dared to enter this chamber again; we should have been subjected to such a perfect cyclone of ridicule that we should scarcely have had the courage to put in an appearance here. The Labour party are prepared with various excuses for their failure, but they cannot get away from the great fact that the people of Australia gave such a reply to the proposals submitted to them that they will never dare to submit them again in anything like the same form. We need never fear a repetition of the referenda proposals in the same shape and form. Even Labour members themselves did not take the trouble to go on the platform to explain their proposals. They kept carefully in the background. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- Who did? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The Labour party. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- I addressed eighty-five meetings. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- At the last general election seventeen parliamentary members of the Labour party visited my electorate in order to secure the seat for one of their party; but in connexion with the referenda- {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- We gave the honorable member a good go for it. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- It was a very good go, and my honorable friends are welcome to all the satisfaction they can get out of it. They have not the slightest hope of ever getting within " cooee " of me again. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- There may not be another Laanecoorie election. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- That would not worry me very much. I do not know what is in the minds of the Government as to a redistribution of seats. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- The honorable member knows that that matter is not decided by the Government. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I accept the information given by the Minister of Trade and Customs, and shall do my best to take advantage of it. As a matter of fact, the Labour party were so halfhearted in the support of their referenda proposals that many of them did not care to recommend them to the people. That is one reason why such a large vote was cast against them. The members of the very party that was responsible for these proposals were loudest in their complaints regarding the want of information concerning them. They did not understand fully their force, and members of the Political Labour Leagues frankly made that admission at public meetings throughout Australia. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP -- Whose fault was it that they did not understand them? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The fault of the Labour party. {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr Anstey: -- But the honorable member explained them, so that the people in his electorate ought to have understood them all right. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- They voted all right, andI have no complaint to make regarding their understanding. The complaints in my electorate as to men being unable to understand the effect of these proposals were made before, and never after, a meeting addressed by me. *Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.* {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I desire to draw attention to the question of immigration with a view of urging the Government to make it a truly Commonwealth matter, and to prevent, as far as possible, the unfair competition that is now taking place between the States. I have been told by a passenger on one of the large oceangoing steamers that within the last few weeks a steamer, having on board a large number of immigrants, on arrival at Fremantle, was boarded by the Premier of Western Australia, who delivered an address to the immigrants, with the result that the great majority of them left the ship, arid proceeded to take up their quarters in that State. I do not know whether any of these immigrants were assisted by the Governments of the other States, but since the whole of Australia is intimately affected by this question of immigration the Commonwealth should take over the work, and see that a fair distribution takes place as between the various States. Coming to the question of Defence, it is to be regretted that the principle of compulsory training has been subjected to so many untoward happenings. We have had to contend with all sorts of difficulties owing to the unpreparedness of the Department for the new work, and consequently a fair trial has not been given to the system. I know that a great deal of work has been done, especially by the Area Officers, who are being shockingly underpaid. They are all men of experience, and had to submit to a very searching examination. They had also to give up their private businesses, and to go into camp for a considerable period in order to properly fit themselves for the work expected of them, and they are receiving from the Department the magnificent remuneration of £150 a year. I know, from personal inquiries, that it was anticipated before these officers were appointed "that they would not be required to devote more than one evening a week to their work. As it is, the majority of them are working every day, and many of them far into the night to overcome the pressure of work put upon them. It is a pity that the principle of compulsory training has not had a better send off. It ought to have had a better start, having regard to the long period that elapsed between the decision of the House that it should be introduced, and the call made upon the Defence Department to provide the necessary material. The uniforms for which the cadets were measured many months ago are just com ing to hand. I have inspected some of these uniforms, and, speaking as one whohas had personal experience - since I acted1 for the Victorian Minister of Defence during the time that contingents were being, sent to South Africa - I do not hesitate tosay that the material and workmanship are first class. Great credit is reflected on all concerned. The greatest abuses of the contract system have taken place in other instances, notwithstanding the supervisionand control of the Army Department, and it is pleasing therefore to find such good material being used in this case. I would refer specially to the leather used in the manufacture of the belts. All that I saw were made of firstclass material, and the only wonder is that the contractors have been able to supply the goods for the price at which they tendered. The provision of drill halls is a very urgent matter. Happily, the winter has passed, but the training of the lads indie open anr during the winter months must have a very prejudicial effect upon them. It will also detract from the popularity which the system has gained. As an ardent believer in the system, I am sorry to see anything interfering with the appreciation of it by the people. I hope that municipalitieshaving halls suitable for drill purposes will1 allow the Defence Department the use of them free of charge, and where these arenot available, I trust that the Department will see its way to provide them. Many parents object to the compulsory training system on the ground of the exposure to which their boys have beensubjected during the winter months. The officers and all concerned have been most considerate, but the wholeexperiment has not had a fair trial owing to the fact of drill halls not being available. Such halls are not costly structures. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- But in most municipalities; they would have to be built of brick. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Some municipalities have halls that are utterly unsuitable. Special floors, special ventilation,, and a minimum of dust are necessary. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Patriotic citizens out my way are building halls. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Those whoare coming to the rescue of the Department are to be highly commended, and *I* envy the honorable member the representation of such citizens. In my electorate,, also, a great deal has been done by individuals to popularize this system, which most of us believe will be for the benefit of the *Governor-General's Speech :* [14 September, 1911.] *Address- in- Reply.* 489 country. Before we adjourned for dinner I referred Co two postal matters. I have since refreshed my memory by reading the letters relating to them. I find that in one case a person in charge of an allowance office has been informed that the allowance will be reduced from £34 to£28 a year ; whilst the person in charge at Leonard's Hill has been informed of a reduction from £19to£17 a year. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- For what reason? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- That is more than I can tell. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- But the honorable member is explaining the facts. Probably the reductions have been made because there is less work to do. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- There is more work, telephone and telegraph business having been added. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I shall inquire into both cases. As the honorable member is aware, those in charge of allowance offices are paid according to a scale. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- Quite so. Last year the Department proceeded to reduce the remuneration paid in respect of allowance offices; but the Minister put a stop to the practice. We are now having a return to it. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Because the allowances may vary every year. Next year there may be a rise of *£5* in the cases referred to by the honorable member. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The person in charge of one of these offices was told that, with the introduction of the telephone and the telegraph, payment would be by results, and that system was followed for a brief period. An intimation has since been given, however, that a fixed sum of£2 per annum is to be paid in respect of that one branch of work. Considering that it is yielding 10s. a month,£2 per annum is scarcely a fair remuneration. The Governor-General's Speech is one of the lengthiest and most portentous that the Commonwealth has ever seen, and we have in it indications that the Government intend to pursue the policy of their party - that they intend to perpetuate the system regarded in other parts of the world as an Australian experiment - of making Parliament merely a registering machine. This Parliament is to divest itself of all its powers of deliberation and choice. Those powers are to be handed over to an irresponsible body, formed without either the sanction of the great body of the electors, or any proper method ; and that body is to dictate to the Parliament, which is to become a mere registering machine, the legislation from time to time to be brought into effect. Would our honorable friends opposite view such a proposal with the equanimity they at present display if they were in Opposition, and it came from the Government side of the House? {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- Circumstances alter cases. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The honorable member is able, in his present circumstances, to view with a good deal of equanimity a proceeding which he would most forcibly oppose if it emanated from a party of which he was not a member. The question that we have to consider transcends all others. It is the question of the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth. If our friends opposite can show that this so-called method of government - this method of control - will cause the greatest good to the greater number, then they will have justified it. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -Do we not appeal on our programme to the people in the same way as the honorable member's party do? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- No, the honorable member altogether loses sight of the great difference between the body to whom he appeals and the body to whom we appeal. The honorable member appeals to a body which is tied hand and foot, and which is bound to vote for the party programme and the party nominee, while on this side it is the policy and the policy alone for which people are asked to vote. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- The trouble is to name the party on the honorable member's side. It is variously called the People's party, the Liberal party, and the Old Ladies' party. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- I am sure the last-named party would welcome the honorable member as a recruit. I am surprised at so profound a student as the honorable member for Werriwa adducing such an argument. I do not say that he believes in it, for he must know the enormous difference there is between the appeal made by a free and independent candidate to a free people and that which is made by the nominee of a party to those who arc bound to vote for that nominee. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- I was the nominee of one party, and Colonel Ryrie was the nominee of another, and we went to the same people. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- The honorable member talks about appealing to the same people, and also of appealing ona platform, but all the sophistry in the world cannot alter the actual difference that exists between the two parties. The 490 *Governor-General's Speech:* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Address-in-Reply.* one is composed of people who are bound. From! the moment that a man joins a Political Labour League he binds himself to vote for the selected candidate of that league. There is no league of a similar character on this. side. The Liberal leagues offer the most perfect freedom to their members to vote as they please. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- What about poor Willis? What are the Liberals going to do with him? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr CARTY SALMON: -- That is the kind of argument which is advanced by the irresponsible members of the party. The honorable member is talking of people who have nothing to do with the party or with the bond that binds the party together. The honorable member could not conceive of a member of his party doing what the gentleman whom he calls " Willis " has done. Will he not see the enormous difference there is between the two parties? The one man is free to do as he pleases ; the other is bound to do as his party tells him to do. The appeal made by the members who are following the Government today is an appeal to class prejudice, and it is only by that means that they have secured the temporary majority which they enjoy. When the people of Australia thoroughly realize the ineffectiveness of the policy placed before them by honorable members on the other side they will speak with no uncertain voice, and will undoubtedly repeat the decision they gave upon the 26th April last. {: #subdebate-11-0-s5 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta -- I almost hesitate to obtrude myself into a debate in which every one seems so happy, and when all the faces confronting me are so smiling and jocund. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- Are we to have a change? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I hope not. I shall do my best to make the few observations I intend to make so as not to provoke anything differing from what has been witnessed this afternoon. After all, the country is happy, and prosperous, and smiling, thanks, my honorable friendssay, to the existence of a Labour Government in office. But, whatever may be the cause, I think we all ought to congratulate ourselves that the country is in such a prosperous condition. I suppose this accounts for the fact that during the administration of the high offices of State by the Labour Government it has not been found necessary to summon Parliament too hastily, or to sit too lengthily. This Government, amongst other things, set out to make precedents. They have done so in more respects than one. They have been' in power for about two years, adding together their two terms, and they have been working in Parliament six: months out of the. twentyfour. The other eighteen months they have been in recess.. That, of course, does not matter when we have a good Government in power, and when the country is prosperous. I presume that this is a. foretaste of the new unionism in which they so strongly believe - small work and. large pay ; 25 per cent. of parliamentary work and 75 per cent. of. play, or shall I say of rest? At any rate, that is their record. I congratulate them on it, and presume that what Robert Blatchford calls " the bottom dog " is still weltering away in his misery outside; but there are not many of him, and. the country is very prosperous, and so I suppose it does not matter. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- How . does the honorable member make out that the Government have been twenty-four months in. office? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- J am talking of their two terms. The last time the present Government were in office they occupie their places for seven months, out of which they met Parliament for three weeks. Now, again, in about eighteen months of office-, they have five months of parliamentary work to their credit. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- It only shows what they can do when they get there. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Indeed it does ; but I have been all the time picturing what would have happened had any other Government treated the House and country to the same thing. My honorable friends would have taken apoplectic fits in their furious denunciation of any Government which could so trifle with the interests of the public, and particularly with the industrial conditions of the country. Now, however, everything seems to be quite right. As Browning would say - >God's in His heaven; > >All's right with the world. And here, under the Southern Cross, a Labour Government reigns supreme. I am aware that this Parliament meets later than usual, because of a very interesting fact. We are reminded of it in paragraph 3, which states that a delegation was specially invited to the Coronation of His Majesty King George V. ; and accordingly three Ministers deemed it necessary to travel to London to transact Imperial business there, taking with them a very largestaff. Here, again, I must congratulate theGovernment on observing fully all the comventionalities of the situation, and, if I may say so, again setting up precedents, in that they took with them the largest suite that ever journeyed from Australia to London. Iam sure we ought all to be very glad that the Prime Minister has sustained the dignityof Australia ina way that is in every way becoming and worthy. If, occasionally, it has led to some curious incidents abroad, Iam sure the 'Prime Minister is not altogetherresponsible for them ; but, really, some *of* the things that happened during this journey are worth quoting. I propose to quote one which came under my notice a little while ago. The Prime Minister, in his travels, visited Rome. Naturally, an Imperialist of the first watersuch as the Prime Minister is to-day would want to obtain a glimpse pf Imperial Rome, and accordingly he and his large suite journeyed thither. This is what the *British Australasian* says of that journey - >The Roman papers on May 5 came out with a special paragraph headed, " The Australian mission in Rome," and saying, " His Excellency the Prime Minister of Australia, **Mr. Fisher,** arrives to-night in Some with his suite, which is composed of seventeen people, *en route* for the Coronation of King George of England. Apartments have been engaged for His Excellency at the Hotel Regina, Rome." {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- That must be a comic paper. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Not at all. I am surprised at the honorable member suggesting such a thing. The facts are correctly set out. There were seventeen people inthe honorable member's suite. At any rate, he may be congratulated on having upheld the dignity of Australia in a way that some of the miserable people on this side have never thought of doing. I feel I ought to congratulate him on doing it so thoroughly. Whenever a delegation of the kind has gone Home previously, a couple of Ministers have been considered enough, with an Under-Secretary between them; but, on this occasion, there were three Ministers, three Under-Secretaries, a private secretary, and a courier, to make up the suite of the Prime Minister. Ministers are to be congratulated on having stood out all through for higher union wages, for even here prices have gone up. **Senator Pearce** told us the other day that his price for going to London was *£700.* Colonel Foxton was paid £500; and I believe that no subordinate Minister, who ever left the shores of Australia on a London mission, has ever received more. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -I do not think that is. cor- rect. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I think it is. In the old days, whenever a PostmasterGeneral was sent to a Postal Conference, that was the recognised amount, with £300 for the Under-Secretary. I think that **Mr. Dugald** Thomson and the AttorneyGeneral, when they went to the Navigation Commission, were given£500 each. We have not yet seen what the Minister 'of External Affairs received'; but, just before the Prime Minister came back from London, the Acting Treasurer stated that the sum total paid on account of this mission was . £7,390, made up of £1,000 each for the Ministers, *£450* each for the UnderSecretaries and the private secretary, and £250 for a courier. The Ministers did what was befitting the dignity of Australia on this very important occasion. We cannot blame them for putting up the price, since the Prime Minister always believes in good wages; and I, for one, shall make no complaint on that score. As to the Governor-General's Speech itself, its length appals one, and its importance is first rate ; but there are some marked omissions. For instance, the term " new Protection " has disappeared.. For many years past, it has appeared in all Government programmes, but now the Labour party have dropped it out ; and the Prime Minister has not yet vouchsafed any explanation for the throwing overboard of this inconvenient plank. {: .speaker-JWY} ##### Mr Chanter: -- Surely the honorable member will not quarrel with the Government about that? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I do not know as to that. I have asked for a working explanation of new Protection, for I have always been a believer in it, if it can be carried into practical effect. Since we are to encourage the industries of Australia through the Tariff, the worker is entitled' to a good share of the Protection ; and I desire to see a scheme elaborated by which he may receive more. The worker has been led to believe he will get more; but, though an opportunity now presents itself to provide for it, the whole thing has gone overboard. It is lost; and, I suppose, it is twenty fathoms deep in the Pacific by now. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- It is buried in the High Court Law Reports ! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Even that fact might have been mentioned here, considering the important part new Protection played in the recent referenda. Whether it is to be resurrected or not, I do not pretend to know. The Government express their sincere regret at the defeat of the referenda; and we can well believe in their sincerity; but here again there is no reference to new Protection, or industrial matters of any kind. The trusts, which did the Labour party such good service at the referenda on every platform, are again pushed to the front. Either to cover up a retreat on the part of my honorable friends opposite, or, as a matter of propaganda on the public platform, these trusts have been their best friends. Day in and day out, the Labour party have denounced trusts with a fury that,has made the welkin ring ; and now the trusts are used to cover up the defeat, they suffered on the 26th April last - to soften down their poignant regret at the tremendous victory of Liberalism and common sense which then occurred. There are two Bills mentioned here ; and I wonder why. One is to provide for compensation to seamen, and the other is a Navigation Bill. Since the referenda took place, the Attorney-General has declared that neither of these proposals can be given legislative effect; and, if that is so, why are they in the programme? I shall presently quote a statement made by the AttorneyGeneral in an interview after the referenda, in which he particularly referred to these measures, and declared that this Parliament could not now legislate in regard to them. Is this mention of them in the programme pretence and make-believe, or was the interview a make-believe? It must be one or the other; either the Parliament has the power to pass these proposals, or it has not. If there is no power, the Bills have no business in the programme; and if there is power, then the Attorney-General had no right to deceive the public of Australia. I do not propose to say much in regard to the GovernorGeneral's Speech itself, which is as vague as it is comprehensive. Paragraph 32, for instance, informs us that consideration is being given to the question of life, fire, unemployment, and invalidity insurance. That is a large order, covering four or five fields of experimental social legislation; and yet these are grouped in a vague statement, which means nothing. At any rate, such measures cannot be touched this session, as all who know anything of our business are quite aware. This paragraph is merely inserted lest some honorable member on this side should give notice to deal with any particular aspect of such legislation. However, it has now been relegated to the sweet by-and-by. The next paragraph tells us that the progressive tax on land values is having a satisfactory effect on land settlement, and is attracting a desirable class of immigrants. As to that, I shall quote a statement made the other day at Mudgee by a State Labour member, **Mr. Dunne,** who said - >The Labour party would terminate the land hunger by making available several million acres in different parts of the State at one time. At Wagga there were 1,600 applicants for 14 homestead blocks at an upset price of *£n* 5s. per acre. That is a very scathing commentary on the paragraph in the Governor-General's Speech. I have the figures regarding settlement for the first six months of the year in New South Wales, which, I suppose, is typical of the rest of Australia. The record of the Liberal Government in New South Wales for some years shows an aver age settlement at the rate of 4,365 holdings per annum; while under the Labour Government- {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- What figures is the honorable member quoting? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I am quoting figures that the honorable member cannot controvert. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- The figures are absolutely incorrect ! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Does the honorable member say that before I have quoted the figures? {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- I mean the figures already quoted. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The figures are taken from the I *'ear-Book of Australia,* and have, I believe, been brought up to date from departmental returns laid on the table of the State -House. These returns show that in the first six months of this year the original and additional holdings numbered 1,423, or at the rate of 2,846 per annum ; or just half the number unde'r the Liberal Government in the preceding year. No doubt honorable members opposite can do all the talking necessary for both sides ; but, now that they are in office and clothed with responsibility, they do not come up to the level of those they so bitterly denounced. The figures show that, with a crushing land tax helping them, they hive brought about only half the settlement that took place in the corresponding period last year. So much for the satisfactory way in which this land tax is assisting settlement and attracting a " desirable class of immigrants." I wonder what my friends opposite mean by " a desirable class" of immigrants. Here we have land being thrown open by the Labour Government at an average price of £4 5s. an acre; and that is not much encouragement for the poor man to go on the land. It would take him a long while to buy such land, even from the Government ; but this is the way in which (his tax is cheapening land, in order to assist the man without means to become a land user and an independent citizen of Australia. The figures show that this lax is proving an unmistakable failure. The first year, beyond all others, should show the effect of the tax in forcing land on to the market and in promoting settlement. In succeeding years its results must be less evident. But, notwithstanding that the tax is a crushing imposition on the large land-owners, we have seen that it has not facilitated settlement, and that there is less settlement under Labour Governments than there has been for many years past under Liberal Governments. Nearly every honorable member on the Ministerial side of the chamber who has spoken has told us that we cannot challenge the administration of the Government. We give instances in which the administration is defective, and yet that cry is repeated. If they mean that the Government is not to be challenged on the ground that it is corrupt, or that Ministers hold their offices improperly, they are right. But for Ministers to be honest and incorruptible is a negative virtue at this time of day in the political history of Australia. If, on the other hand, it is claimed that Ministers have obtained better results from the Departments which they control than have been given in the past, I advise them to wait a little longer. The Budget has been promised foi the 20th September. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- Not so early as that. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I read the statement in a newspaper. During the Budget debate detailed reference will be made to the administration of the Departments. At present, I shall content myself with saying that some of the claims in the Governor- General's Speech are most impudent. It will be shown later, for in stance, that the Naval Agreements of this Government are absolutely, and almost word for word, the proposals of their predecessors. As to the land defence policy, the sketch outlined by what was called the Fusion Government has been given effect. There are only two points on which 1 would seriously criticise the Defence Department, and I shall defer the criticism for a week longer. When I see this Labour Government spending millions of the people's money in creating a navy and army for the defence, not only of Australia, but of the Empire, it is my place to support it, and to reserve all criticism which is not absolutely necessary. I congratulate Ministers, upon giving effect to the recommendations of Lord Kitchener, though they have departed from his scheme in some directions in a manner that may in the long run prove disastrous. The administration of the Postmaster-General's Department is not perfect, though the criticism of that, too, must await a more convenient season. We shall then ask for explanations as to the delay in installing wireless telegraph stations, and as to why men have been put into the service without being asked to compete against others, and placed over the heads of men already there and eligible for promotion. As to the occupants of these snug billets, I know nothing, and make no allegation, but I wish to know why Ministers have set aside the practice which has been in force since Federation? ' {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- To what does the honorable member refer? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- To the appointment of **Mr. Binnie** as accountant at the Military College, among others. Honorable members must not imagine that everything is right because all our complaints have not been voiced in this debate. There is more reason for criticising the administration of the Departments to-day than there has been for some years past. Nothing could exceed the importance of the last Imperial Conference. It is a matter for congratulation that the Empire responded cordially and willingly to the invitation of the Home Government, and that another milestone has been passed in the progress of the Empire towards its more complete and effective organization. If nothing has been done to better the organization of the Empire, I do not know who is at fault; b*t the Minister of External Affairs, in an interview - I am not sure whether in London or here - declared that that is so. No more severe criticism could be passed by an outsider upon the proceedings of the Conference. The Minister, in effect, said that if nothing had been done to improve the organization of the Empire, we should be thankful that the doors were not shut in our faces. At anyrate, Ministers made good advertising agents when in London, though what the representative of the Northern miners thinks about that I do not know. He sits silent like a sphinx, and not even the Prime Minister's speech at Ton-y-pandy will bring him to his feet. His delegate Board may be furious, but he is as complacent as the honorable member for Nepean, who is quite content, although he has not been able to get from this Government, which has paid **Mr. Hoskins** £50,000 in bounties,an authoritative statement as to the labour conditions atLithgow. After eighteen months, the Labour Minister cannot tell us what wages are paid and what conditions are observed there. He is now making a secret inquiry. What its result will be, I do notKnow, but it is a serious reflection upon the honorable gentleman's administration that he could not give *instanter* the information for which he was asked. The people of Lithgow have been told that it is the Opposition that is to blame. That is not fair. We, on this side, are not in power, and cannot control the payment of bounties. The honorable member for Nepean knows that I allude,not to him, but to a gentleman who has triedto make political capital out of the fact that there wasno provision in the Bounty Bill for wages and conditions. There would 'have been no such provision had I not moved its insertion. Should the blamebe put where it ought to lie, the Opposition would be quite content. I shallnot say anything about the merits of the dispute. I am sorry that that strike has lengthened out, and hope that it will be brought to an end asspeedily as possible. But Parliament should be informed ofthe wages paid and the conditions obtaining at Lithgow.We are, to some extent,partnersin the iron industry. Wehavepaid £50,000 in solid cash to Mr.Hoskins, and there is in the Act a condition, to which hehas consented, that the wages andconditions of labour in theindustryshall besuchas a Court set up by this Parliament shalldetermine.It iscer- tainly no compliment to the administration of a Labour Minister that he cannot tell the House what are the wages paid and the conditions observed in the industry. Adverting again to the Prime Minister's journey to London, 1 congratulate him on the admirable work he did there as an immigration agent. Strange to say, the further he got away from Australia the greater courage he displayed in this connexion, and the more outspoken, frank,and free he became regarding the requirements of Australia.He not only gave interviews to prominentnewspapers, but : also one to the *Penny Pictorial.* The sentiments expressed in that interview are so much in line with those for uttering which in Australia members of this House have (received the severest castigation, that I take leave to quote them in justification of ourselves, and in commendation of thePrime Minister. My only regret is that he did not get these views into the daily newspapers as well as the *Penny Pictorial.* {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr Anstey: -- Has the honorable member anything from *Illustrated Bits?* {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The *Penny Pictorial* contains an excellent portrait of the Prime Minister, and the interview with him is headed "Australiafor the Briton " ; ' The Honorable Andrew . Fisher, Premier of Australia, gives advice to *Penny Pic- torial* readers." {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The *Penny Pictorialought* to have given him his full title. {: #subdebate-11-0-s6 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Perhaps the right honorable gentleman had not succeeded tohis title atthe time. I should like tocongratulate him on hisaccession to the Privy Council of the Empire.It is an honour of which any manmight be proud. Let us not lose sightofthe fact that it is a distinction of substance - and never more , so than now with Imperial development proceeding as it is. It is one that gives the recipient a status and precedence above those of almost every other titlein Australia. I hope at is not true that, whilst takingthis title for himself, the right honorablegentleman declined to do what a PrimeMinister generally does in these matters, with respect to the bestowal of a title onany one else. He stands almost alone, in this dignity, in Australia. Noone, as far as we know, received a title of any kind which canbe traced to the FederalGovernment'sadvice.I trustthat it is *mat* true, as is commonly rumoured, thatthe might honorable member declined *Governor-General's Speech:* [14 September, 1911.] *Address-in-Reply.* 495 to recommend any one else for a title at the same time that he accepted this distinguished title for himself. Let me say at once that I think he did right in accepting it. Here, however, is the interview, and 1 make no apology for quoting it *in extenso.* It is so good that it ought to go into *Hansard -* >Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting of our Colonial visitors during the recent Coronation festivities was the Hon. Andrew Fisher, the Labour Premier of Australia. Twenty-six years ago **Mr. Fisher** was a collier in Scotland ; today he is Prime Minister of one of the largest countries in the world. > >With the idea of getting some good advice to intending emigrants I waited on **Mr. Fisher** at the Hotel Cecil. " I was born," **Mr. Fisher** said, in answer to a question - Honorable members will see presently why I refer to these details - in Ayrshire, Scotland, on August 29th, 1862. The right honorable gentleman spoke then of his work in the mines, of his decision to try his luck in North Queensland, and of how he went in 1886 to the Gympie gold-fields. He told his interviewer that he had never regretted his action. I should think he had not - >It was work from sunrise to sunset, but the result justified it, and I still have interests there. I congratulate the right honorable member on his being a capitalist of the Gympie gold-fields. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The honorable member surely does not object to the Prime Minister being one of his crowd ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I decidedly object, and I fancy there are a few thousand people outside who also object. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Judging by the votes they gave him they did not object. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- And another interest that I have in the place is that my wife is a native of it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Quite so. In this interview, the Prime Minister went on to speak of the conditions of labour in Australia. The interviewer writes - " And now, can you tell me," I asked, " what are the prospects of the average working man who is thinking of going out to Australia?" " Excellent, without doubt," was **Mr.** Fisher's reply. " He need never be afraid of getting work to do so long as he is willing and able to do it Mind you, I do not say he would be able to pick and choose ; far from it, but I know, in my own trade - mining - that there is a continual demand for good men from 10s. per day upwards. It is much the same in other branches of industry ; good tradesmen need never be out of work." " What class of people would you advise to go to Australia then?" " Every one who is dissatisfied with his present position in England. Of course, we. mainly want people who are willing to settle on the land, and there is also a very good opening tor manufacturers, but in any case, they will all get a welcome. Australia is big enough to take millions of the right sort of people; but, at the same time, I would strongly caution people not to come out without a little money." " Is there any prejudice against the new comer in Australia, **Mr. Fisher?"** " None whatever ; nearly all the people in Australia are either British or of British descent. Take myself, for instance, I found people only too willing to give me a helping hand." " How do wages in Australia compare with wages in England?" " They are a good deal higher. In some trades they are twice as much as in England, but, of course, vary considerably all over Australia. Carpenters, bricklayers, and miners are a few which might be instanced as well paid men." " Now, it has often been stated here, **Mr. Fisher,** that though wages are' high in Australia living is correspondingly dear. Do you find that so?" " Well, house rent may be a little higher, but food is very much cheaper." {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Hear, hear. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Where is the honorable member for New England with his motion in regard to the nationalization of the means of distribution? I hope that in view of this statement he will remove his notice of motion from the business paper. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Food is very much cheaper and better here. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Then the trusts are not doing very much harm? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The honorable member has condemned them in every speech thathe has made. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Have I really? I think that trusts, if you leave them alone, will put up prices ; yet members of the Labour party now say that food is very much cheaper here than it is in Great Britain. Does the honorable member think that is so - that the cost of living, as far as food is concerned, is less than it is in Great Britain? {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Yes. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- It is comforting to know, then, that trusts are not throttling Australia. Sugar enters into this list, and also tobacco. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Is tobacco a food? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- It is for the working man. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Tobacco is very much dearer here than in England. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- What about beer? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I do not know whether it is included in this list, but at all events, despite the depredations of these trusts, which are supposed to be throttling the industrial life of the community, which are supposed to be robbing the people, to use an expression that we hear every day of our lives, the Prime Minister says that the cost of living in Australia is very much cheaper than it is in the land in which he was born. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- Did I enumerate the items ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The right honorable member did. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Let us have the lot. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Certainly. The Prime Minister is reported to have continued - " Look at it this way. We ship large quantities of meat, fruit, wheat, and butter to England every year. Surely they ought to be much cheaper in the country they are produced in." "Are there many unemployed in Australia?" " No, the percentage is the lowest in the world. Every country, of course, has a certain number who won't work." Are we to take it, then, that the only unemployed in Australia at present are those who will not work? It seems to me that the Prime Minister cannot escape from that position. He went on to say - >But in Australia a man can always get agricultural work at 20s. a week and his keep. {: .speaker-L0I} ##### Mr Ryrie: -- Is that all? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- Is that too much? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I do not think so, but it was stated in this House at least twenty times last session by honorable members opposite, that farm labourers received much less. There is the answer given by the Prime Minister far away to all the gentlemen who made those statements. He was asked - >Could you recommend people any particular States to go to? and replied - > >It all depends on a man's trade. Queensland and Western Australia employ a large number of men in mining, but Victoria and New South Wales offer unlimited scope to agriculturists. The interviewer said - >Do you prefer living in Australia to Britain, **Mr. Fisher?** That seems to have been a superfluous question. The honorable member replied - >Yes, certainly I do. Australia has been very good to me, and I think it is an ideal workingman's country. You see, Australia is so sparsely settled that a man does not get the fierce competition existing in older countries. Perhaps I had better read also the last reference to the honorable member's trip to London, or the honorable member for Maranoa will think I am keeping something back. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I know the honorable member of old. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- And the honorable member knows my real opinions. I am where I have been now for many years, I am perfectly content to be there. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I hope the honorable member will be there for much longer. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I am where the honorable member ought to be. The honorable member is a Socialist in theory, but he conducts his business on individualistic principles. I should like to see anybody attempt to socialize his run. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I have told the honorable member times out of number that I do not own a sheep or a horse, or a head of cattle, or an acre of land in Queensland, except, a few town allotments; but the honorable member will keep fastening sheep runs on to me. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Then am I wrong in suggesting that the honorable member is a member of the Page Company ? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I will say nothing about that. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- These statements of the Prime Minister are accurate in the main. It was an excellent thing for the Prime Minister to make them; but why so admirable an interview as this appears in the *Penny Pictorial,* while every big daily paper in Great Britain would have been glad and proud to publish it, I do not pretend to know. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- I gave interviews to every one who came, and asked no questions as to whether they represented big papers or little papers. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- This is so excellent an interview that even now the Minister of External Affairs might spend a few hundred pounds in broadcasting it over the British Isles. The Minister has paid for very much worse stuff than this. It is really good advertising material ; but I do not know what the honorable member who represents the Northern miners thinks about it, or what his outraged delegate Board will have to say about it. "However, they must make their peace as best they can. *Governor-General's Speech:* [14 September, 191 1.] *Address-in-Reply .* 497 I propose to say nothing at present by way of adverse criticism with regard to the conduct of Ministers in London. They did practically nothing, so far as the Imperial Conference is concerned, and they say so themselves. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- That is not accurate. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I am quoting the honorable member's own statement in an interview, as follows - >The results of the Imperial Conference were practical and useful. Although it had been found impossible at the moment to further develop the organization of the Empire, yet the aspirations for a better organized political union had received no kind of a set back. On the contrary, the feeling of close comradeship among the members of a united Empire had been strengthened. " No one," he added, " has banged any doors." {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- And the honorable member says they did nothing ! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The Minister himself says that they did nothing to further the organization of the Empire. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- I said nothing of the kind. I said the Conference was a failure from the point of view of those who desired to see a different organization - a better organization - of the Empire. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Could there be a greater condemnation of the honorable member's mission? The honorable member himself said that those who desired a better political organization of the Empire had nothing to look to this Conference for. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- That is true. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Then the practical results of the Conference are *nil,* except that there has been an exchange of courtesy, and a development of the feeling of comradeship. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- There is a great deal more in the interview than that. The honorable member has left out the beginning and the end. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I know there is more; but nothing relating to this question of all questions - how best to develop the political organization of the Empire. That is the supreme, dominating, overmastering, question, and on that the honorable member says nothing has been done. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- What my statement in the interview meant, and clearly expressed, was that nothing had been done to develop an Empire Parliament. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I hope the next time the Prime Minister goes abroad he will come back with slightly better manners. I am sorry to have to say that; but, in an interview given almost immediately on his arrival in Australia, the honorable member spoke about some of the personalities whom he had met at Home. As was to be expected, he put in the first category **Mr. Asquith, Mr. Lloyd-George,** and **Mr. Churchill,** three brilliant and able men. He then spoke of **Mr. Balfour,** and compared him with the honorable member for Ballarat. While he said he had to give the palm to the honorable member for Ballarat, so far as oratorical powers were concerned, he thought **Mr. Balfour** was a better reasoner. The honorable member might very well have left that out. Every one knows the Prime Minister's ability to judge the reasoning powers of other people. I do not think it was in quite good taste for him to make such invidious comparisons with our own people. One is tempted in this connexion to quote the opinion of some of the competent judges at Home as to our delegation. I have it here, but perhaps I shall forbear from following the honorable member in that direction. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- The Prime Minister said nothing about the honorable member for Ballarat to equal what the honorable member himself said about him a few years ago. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The honorable member never heard me try to belittle the powers of the honorable member for Ballarat. On every occasion I was glad to pay my tribute to his great ability, of which I have always been proud. Honorable members opposite touch a sore point when they speak about the reasoning powers of our leader, because the Liberal party depend upon their appeal to reason. It is the only thing we have. We cannot appealto the prejudices of the people, nor would we if we could. We cannot appeal to class instincts, nor would we if we could, as honorable members opposite do. Ours is always an appeal to reason, and therefore when they talk of the reasoning powers of the head of our party they touch us on a very tender spot. However, I am in so generous a mood to-night that I shall not retaliate, except to advise the Prime Minister when next he goes abroad not to do that kind of thing on his return. So far as I am able to estimate the doings of the Imperial Conference, it is safe to say that they showed a complete absence of any constructive suggestion for closer Imperial political union. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- That was not our fault. 498 *Governor-General' s Speech :* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Address-in-Reply.* {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I am afraid the honorable member must take a little responsibility for it. The honorable member did not make a single proposition for closer and better organized Imperial relations. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- The honorable member evidently has not read the report of the Conference. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I have read it, and read also the contemptous way in which the Australian delegates turned down the only proposition made in that direction - the proposition of **Sir Joseph** Ward. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- The proposal for an Empire Parliament? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- At any rate, it was the only proposition before the Conference for closer political union with the Imperial Government. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Would the honorable member have supported it? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- No; but I should have fried to find a reasonable alternative to it, and that is what these delegates did not do. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- That is not correct. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Then they must have done something which is not in the Blue-book, for certainly there was no proposition of any kind for any other Imperial machinery than that suggested by **Sir Joseph** Ward. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- What about **Mr. Harcourt's** suggestion? I accepted and advocated it strongly. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- That could not be called a matter of substance. It dealt only with the relationship of Australia with the Colonial Office, and a proposal for making better use of the High Commissioners. I. do not know that the honorable member waxed very enthusiastic even over that minor proposition. The honorable member made a very tame speech about it. Altogether the result is that the Conference has not furthered the Imperial political relationship at all. The honorable member acknowledges that frankly. Therefore, so far as concerns the supreme objective of the mission, the whole thing might as well be a blank. Some minor matters have been attended to, and no doubt good will come of them. Therefore I do not say that the mission was an entire failure. There are many things to be done, even in the process of development along our present lines, well worth journeying to London to consider, and some of these stand to the credit of the delegation. But really the num ber of proposals that were " turned down " peremptorily, and after the slightest debate in some cases, seems to suggest that we are not yet ready for closer Imperial political relations, and that the Imperial frame-work remains absolutely undisturbed so far as the mission is concerned. In my opinion, our relations to the Imperial Government are no better as a result of the Conference. The Prime Minister has plumed himself since coming back on two facts. " First of all, he claims that we have the right now to make an independent treaty with a foreign nation without reference to the Imperial Government ; and, secondly, that he has been promised that the Imperial Government will consult us in any matter likely to affect the Empire as a whole before taking definite action. Does the Prime Minister think that that is a fair deal ? To me it seems a one-sided affair, since we claim the right to be consulted before the Imperial Government moves finally, while we claim the right to move finally ourselves without consulting the Imperial Government. I am very much surprised that **Mr. Asquith, Mr. Lloyd** George, or any Imperial Minister agreed to that for one instant j and I can only imagine that, if they did, they wished, in a sense, to humour the Prime Minister. 1 am the more inclined to think it is a claim of the Prime Minister which has not been discussed seriously with the Imperial Government. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- I do not think it was to humour us, or that that was quite what I said. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I hope I am not misquoting the Honorable gentleman when I say he claimed that as one of the great gains, of his visit Home. Am I right? The Prime Minister is evidently not in a humorous or a very courteous mood to-night, since he disdains even to say whether I am quoting him rightly. I can only take the newspaper interview, which appeared in either the *Argus* or the *Age,* or both, as follows - >On the subject of the commercial treaties entered into by the Dominions, he (the Prime Minister) said that he now regarded it as perfectly open for any Dominion to enter into a commercial treaty with a foreign nation without submitting it to the Imperial Government. In the same connexion the Imperial Government - He links the two things together ; I do not - had undertaken that the Dominions would be informed of any pending commercial treaties wherever possible, before any serious negotiations with other nations were commenced. Where is the reciprocity in that? *Governor-General's. Speech:* [14 September, 1911.] *Address-in-Reply.* 499 {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND · ALP -- The words " affecting the Dominions " ought to be there. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- There is no suchqualification here. But even so, I doubt if that carries the honorable gentleman much -further. I take it that almost any treaty affects the Dominions. Our trade is almost as widespread in its ramifications, and almost as varied, if not of quite such volume, as the trade of the Mother Country. All sorts of commercial relations affecting the Mother Country affect us also ; and I doubt if it would be possible for the Mother Countryto make a treaty of substance or importance without affecting the Colonies, or for us to negotiate any such treaty without affecting the Imperial Government. There ought to be absolute fairness,equality, and reciprocity in those matters which profoundly affect the relations of the Empire as a whole. We ought not to negotiate treaties without paying the Imperial Government the compliment of consulting it, and neither should the Imperial authorities conclude treaties without reference to the Dominions. 'There are other aspectsof the Imperial 'Conference 'to which I 'should 'like to refer, but Imust pass on to other matters. The whole position seems tome as summed up by the *Times,* which isnot an unfriendly critic ofthe present Prime Minister, and is certainly a warm advocate of all that tends to the closer political organization of the Empire. The *Times* says - >No part of the Empire can be a part of the Empire merely at such times as suits its convenience.Either it flies the British flag or it does not. There is no middle course. To make war in common and peace in common is the ordinary undertaking of any two Powers which enter 'into an offensive 'ana defensivealliance. It must bemanifest that Imperialpartnership can have no stabilityif based upon a weaker sense ofmutual obligationthan that whichbinds two allied people however remotetheir systems and their race. This applies to all the Imperial relations, as well as to the flag. The Prime Minister is pluming himself on what is not at all a fair reciprocal relationship, but -rather a selfish one which can have no permanency. I should now like to say a word or two on the question of the -referenda. I hope that the " Glorious 26th " may be held to cancel the " Glorious 13th." During last session we on this side did not take very much stock in the number thirteen, but we are beginning to think that it is not such a bad number afterall - notso very unlucky, when consideredwith its multiples. The " Glorious 26th " cannot cancel the Government out just yet - worse luck for the country - but it certainly has wiped out all stigma attaching tothe 13th April last year. I hope, amongst other things, that the 26th has cancelled the selfcomplacency of honorable members opposite; and, although they are displaying : alittle just now, I cannot help thinking it rather partakes of the nature of Dutch courage. Duringlast session the humblest member of theLabour party would sitaloneon those benches, and jeer outsomething about the 13th, and theyall lookeddown on usover here with the utmost condescension. I hope that since the 26th that attitude will cease. Mr.Frazer. - We have not"gagged" honorable members opposite,as they " gagged " us ! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I hope we shall be '" gagged "' if ever wemakesucha politically indecent display as honorable membersoppositedid ; weshall deserve to be " gagged " if we ever imitate their tactics. The people of Australia are beginningto appreciate honorable membersopposite and their propaganda at their proper value. A year or two ago there was a feeling thatthe Labour partyought tobegiven a trial. That party have modified their programme in recent years tosuch anextent as, in many instances, to trench on a good Liberal programme, and many good Liberal planks have been annexed andput into their propaganda * 'so* that people began to think that no serious harm could result if they were given a trial at the helm. But immediately the LabourGovernment began their career, they concocted means for the destruction of the States - forwhittling away the powers of the States until they shouldbecome mere municipal bodies, instead of the sovereign States they are todayby the Imperial Statutes, which allocate their powers and our own. When the LabourGovernment began to put their mauling hands on the State Constitutions and powers in this way, many of the very people who gave thema trial decided that they were going beyond their platform and pledges to the people, and were initiating a programme which had notbeen submitted totheelectors. It was because of this that theLabour Government were ; given such shortshrift on the 26th April; and the Labour party didmore to defeat their own propagandathenthaneven we on this side could hope to do. There was such a multiform and varied : array of arguments used to suit the particular complexion and prejudices of the various States as to make it impossible to know exactly where the party stood with reference to the referenda. For instance, at a great meeting in the Sydney Town Hall we were told by the Attorney-General that, unless those powers were given, the Commonwealth Parliament would be like " limping cripples," unable to move in the direction of carrying out the wish and will of the people as expressed at the last election. I am sorry the AttorneyGeneral is not here, and particularly regret the cause. Trusts, which, on the authority of the Prime Minister to-night, are not doing much damage, so far as the food and home comforts of the people are concerned, were regarded by the Attorney-General as very bad in some places, and very good in others. For instance, when addressing the Chamber of Manufactures in Tasmania, he was emphatic in the statement that the Government were not against trusts, but against any damage they might do, and that the powers were required as reserve powers, not necessarily to be used, but to be held, in order to prevent the trusts, which were rather favoured than otherwise, from going to extremes. On the other hand, if a Labour constituency were visited, the tune was immediately altered, and trusts were described as octopi crushing and squeezing the life-blood out of the people. Altogether, the community were really flabbergasted, and unable to judge where the Attorney-General and his *confreres* stood in regard to trusts. While the Prime Minister told the people that the power of nationalization was not necessarily to be used, and while the AttorneyGeneral said they were reserve powers that were asked for, **Senator Pearce,** two days later, in Hobart, said, " We intend to use the powers, and that intention is known to the trusts. Hence all this trouble. If these powers are given to us, we should proceed to nationalize the sugar, the shipping, and the tobacco industries. We mean to use them, and they know it right enough." While he was saying that, the AttorneyGeneral was telling the people here that the powers asked for were only reserve powers. In London, the Prime Minister told the same fairy tale. He said that there was no question of nationalizing :any industry; that the Government only desired the power to do so. The tender regard of the Prime Minister, and of the Premier of New South Wales, while in London, for vested interests and the investing public was very remarkable. When the Labour party was in opposition, its members constantly denounced the investing public. The Stock Exchange was the *bete noire* of the present Postmaster-General. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- What did I say about it? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The honorable member continually asserted that we were doing all we could do to favour and benefit the Stock Exchange. He declared that the appointment of accountants to investigate the accounts of the Telephone Department was a sop to the Stock Exchange. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I might have said Chamber of Commerce. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The honorable member referred to both bodies. There would be no difficulty in finding the passages in *Hansard-* This is a statement of the attitude of the Prime Minister when in London - >Asked whether he had found that the advent of the Labour party to power had disturbed the British investors, he replied, " There is still an uneasy feeling among some ill-informed circles." . . . He emphatically declared, however, that this fear was groundless. . . . "The Labour party's proposals and policy contemplate no attack on legitimate investments. Their only aim is the safe development of the Commonwealth. It is quite foreign to the Labour party's policy to attack special interests." He said to the moneyed people of Great Britain, " Your investments will be quite safe; send your money to Australia." The Premier of New South Wales said much the same thing. This is one of his statements - >Statistics showing the expansion of business and the increases in the people's production and expenditure had also helped to ensure the confidence of the investors, and to destroy the canards of interested politicians. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- What is wrong with such statements? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The members of the Labour party tell different tales, according to their environment. When the Prime Minister is among capitalists, and those controlling the money power of the world, his voice changes. They discovered in Great Britain that he has two voices. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Who said so? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The *Morning Post.* {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- That was in regard to Stead's interview, the accuracy of which was denied by the Prime Minister. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- It was that which gave occasion for the comment. The newspaper accepted the Prime Minister's denial, but said that it had been learned in London, while he was there, that he spoke with two voices. No men can be more accommodating than the Labour leaders to those whom they denounce from the public platforms. The Government has recently received the encomiums of many of the capitalists of Australia. The Chambers of Commerce speak in the highest terms of the good work which the Ministers are doing. How Labour members manage to ingratiate themselves with both sides I do not know. If Liberals went on to the Labour platforms they would be told, " You are not Caucus men, and we have no time for you." It was surprising to hear a leading politician on the Labour side tell his people, during the recent campaign, not to go near a Liberal meeting. That was playing it pretty low down. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- What would the honorable member have liked the Prime Minister to say ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- He should have said what the Attorney-General said, and what the whole party said in its manifesto issued just before the vote was taken, that it was a fight with the money power of Australia. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- So it was. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The Prime Minister assured the money power of London that it had nothing to be afraid of. Which statement is correct? The AttorneyGeneral thunders his anathemas at those controlling the money power here, while the Prime Minister, in smooth, suave tones, tries to win their confidence in London. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The people do not invest money here for philanthropic reasons. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- No; but it is a good thing for us if they invest here. What this country needs most from overseas are men and money. The Attorney-General spoke of vested interests as something to be abolished. I am dealing now with arguments that had to do with the defeat of the referenda proposals. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Then the defeat was not due to the Opposition appeals to reason? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- These are some of the things done and said to get the referendum proposals carried, and appeals to passion and prejudice are weightier in many quarters than appeals to reason, though I make no reflection on any class of the community by saying that. The AttorneyGeneral said that just as a battleship was scrapped about every ten years, so a Constitution should be re-shaped and remodelled every decade to suit the Democracy. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Is not that true? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- No. Constitutions are not to be treated like ordinary Acts of Parliament, which may be scrapped from time .to time. In scrapping a Constitution, you need to take care you do not scrap the liberties enjoyed under it. Our Constitution was accepted deliberately by the whole people, and they have decided that it shall not be scrapped - that it is not something to be melted in a crucible and moulded every decade. Its provisions are elastic enough to meet the needs of the growing Democracy. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- In other words, the honorable member advocates scrapping? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- There is an inherent power of expansion in the Constitution which will enable it to meet the needs of Australia for many years to come. I am not .averse) from making alterations when they are shown to be necessary. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- That is what the AttorneyGeneral said. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- No. The AttorneyGeneral wished to change a Federal into a Unitary Constitution. He would have absolutely destroyed all substantial State powers. The people declined - being good Democrats- to sanction that. They felt that their domestic concerns should be as closely as possible under their own control. In other words, local government won the day on the 26th April. In spite of the appeals to passion made by honorable members opposite; in spite of the variegated voice with which they spoke, the people decided against them and in favour of a reasonable view of the case. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- Will the honorable member tell us what is '' a variegated voice " ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- A variegated voice, if the honorable member will have 1 definition, is one which declares in this case that the money power is the one thing to be destroyed here, and the thing to be coaxed and approved in London. In Melbourne, the Attorney-General told the people that the only way we could secure increased wages, particularly on the railways, was by voting for the referenda ; going into the country districts of Victoria, 502 *Governor-General's Speech :* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Address-in-Reply..* he told agriculturalists that that was the only way to secure reduced fares and freights. I happened to follow the honorable gentleman in. Orange, and saw by the local newspapers that some people there had been questioning him in regard to the institution known in Tasmania as " Tattersall's." Some of the good people of Orange were very much inclined to vote for these proposals if they would enable them to deal a blow at Tattersall's, and the Attorney-General told them, " The, Federal Government is the only party that can deal with this institution in Tasmania." Whenhe went to Hobart, he. solemnly assured the people there that the, Federal Parliament, under the powers proposed to be taken, could not touch it. {: .speaker-KTU} ##### Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- I was chairman of his meeting there, and he never mentioned the matter. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I say that in Tasmania the Attorney-General told his audience that the powers proposed to. be taken would not affect Tattersall's. Was, the honorable member chairman of all the Attorney-General's meetings in Tasmania? {: .speaker-KTU} ##### Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- No. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The honorable member spoke of Hobart. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- If I did, I withdrawthe word Hobart," and substitute for it the word "Tasmania." I congratulate the honorable member on all he can get out of that. My statement is quite right Tasmania being a very small State is keen on the question of State rights, and the Attorney-General assured the people there that they need have no fear in that regard. Their State rights, he said, were secured under the Constitution, and no power could take them from them unless they agreed to their surrender. He termed the constitutional provision which gives Tasmania an equal voice with the larger States in the Senate the principle of " Federal Democracy." I do not know what Federal or State Democracy is, but I do know what Democracy itself is. The Attorney-General, however, invented this title for the Democracy of Tasmania, and he assured them that their State rights would not be interfered with. It was my business, of course, to quote to them the real **Mr. Hughes.** I showed them how he had contemptuously referred to Tasmania as not being bigger than his own electorate, and how their State rights had been declared to outrage every principle of Democracy. Then we find that the Prime Minister, in my own electorate, invited the people to vote for the referenda proposals as they would safeguard the interests of the toiling masses, as well, as the interests of the investing public and. those who belong to the more fortunate part of the community. **Senator McGregor,** who followed him, declared that everybody who was opposed to the proposals was a lunatic. Then we had the manifesto issued by the Government, in which we were solemnly adjured to look at America, where there had been a tremendous war, costing 600,000 lives and 2,000,000,000. dollars. The alternative to voting for these proposals, said the manifesto, was possibly a repetition of that state of affairs on Australian soil. Statements like these, exaggerated and wrongin everyparticular, could not fail to have but. one effect. Then, again, we have heard a great deal about the literature circulated throughout the campaign, and it has been said many times during this debate that we made the question a party one.In. reply, let me quote from a dodger which was circulated throughout Tasmania. When the Labour party found the ground slipping from under their feet, they turned on the old engines, and ground out thesentiment which has done service on so many occasions - >Working men and women : This is a party question, a national party question. The Labour party is. the national party. The Fusion party is the anti-national party. > >Workers ! Look around you and you will find on the one side (the " No " side) solidly ranked in force, every sweater and monopolist, every Conservative and reactionary, every capitalistic paper without exception throughout Australia, every parochial politician. On our side, stands Democracy. Another paragraph ran - >Vote "Yes." This is a party question. One of the greatest party questions, if not the greatest, that Australia has yet had to face. The people are again opposed by the force that has oppressed them for centuries past - The honorable member for Denison must have had something to do with this circular. {: .speaker-KTU} ##### Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- I never saw it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- It continues- >The fight is a continuation of the same struggle for freedom that has. scarred the ages since greed first strove to fatten on its weaker brother; the issue - the pitiless, tearworn, heartrending issue - the same, Money *versus* Humanity-. Vote "Yes"-This is a party question. The Federal Government has been elected by an overwhelming majority to carry out certain reforms. To obey the will of the people it asks for certain powers. Without those powers the will of the people cannot become the law. Vested interests - The Prime Minister assured investors in London that they were not to be interfered with - would seek to choke the voice of Democracy by distortion of the issue ; the same interests that the people have turned down. Could there be a more clear-cut party issue? Vote "Yes." This is a party question. There are many more paragraphs, each headed with leaded type, " This is a party question." " Where do you stand? For Australia or against it." {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Who signed that circular? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- It was authorized by the Bass Divisional Council of the W.P.L., whatever that may mean. {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- It means Women's Political League. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- It means the Workers' Political League, or, it should be, the Workers' Political Leg-pullers. In view of that statement, let us hear no more about the party issue which was raised in that contest. This was the last straw to which honorable members opposite clutched, and they worked the cry for all it was worth. However, the electors took a sane and reasonable view of their Australian duty, and ignored these party appeals to passion. I come now to the last quotation which I intend to make, and it is from an utterance by our old friend, **Mr. King** O'Malley. He declared that all those who were opposed to the referendum were - advocates of human slavery . . . whose lineal descendants were those in the United States who wished to extend the slave area so that the bloodhounds, with clots of human blood clinging to their hanging jaws, might chase escaping niggers over the plains of Western America. All those who are against the referendum you can smell them before you can see them. What was the result of this appeal to the people? Every Liberal division voted to preserve the Federal character of the Constitution. Twenty-eight Labour divisions, irrespective of the views which they held upon other matters, also voted in favour of Federation as again Unification. Those divisions comprise Calare, Cook- {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- The honorable member's party won at the referendum? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Yes. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Then why rub it in? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I hope that we shall never rub it in as my honorable friend and his party rubbed into us the results of the 13th April last year. I am merely tabulating the results of the recent referenda. I think I may fairly be permitted to enumerate the electorates which had the good sense to turn down the proposals submitted to them. Those electorates included Dalley and East Sydney. Where is brother West? What "was he doing during the campaign? They also comprise Gwydir, the Hunter, Macquarie, and the Nepean. In reference to the. Nepean division, we are told that the result means nothing. At any rate, we shall see what we shall see. I was very glad to learn that my old friends at Lithgow also turned down these proposals. {: .speaker-JW6} ##### Mr Cann: -- Only 1,100 electors voted in that constituency out of 5,000 whose names are on the roll. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Did the honorable member say his "friends" at Lithgow? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Yes, I did. I had a very successful meeting there. {: .speaker-JW6} ##### Mr Cann: -- How did the audience treat the honorable member? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Very well indeed ; and whoever told the honorable member anything different misrepresented the facts. I could never hope to have a better meeting. The other electorates which voted against the Government proposals included New England, Riverina, Robertson, and Werriwa. Even the profundity of **Mr. Hall's** arguments, with all his constitutional law, could not avert that result. Then the electorate of Bourke voted in the same direction. Where was the representative of that constituency, with all his turgid rolling eloquence? The other divisions which voted " No " also included Corangamite, Corio, and Gippsland. The people of Gippsland are good sensible Federalists, and do not believe in Unification. Then there were the electorates of Indi, Wannon, Adelaide, and Boothby. The last-named constituency ran away from the Minister of External Affairs for once. The electorates of Brisbane, Herbert, and Wide Bay, also voted " No." Even the Prime Minister's constituency would not be " bull-dosed." {: .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr Bamford: -- In the electorate of Herbert, there was a majority of over 3,000 on the " Yes " side. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Then that constituency is wrongly issued in my list. The electors of Wide Bay voted " No," as did also those of Bass, Denison, and Darwin. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- What about the electorate of Yarra? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I need not trouble myself with the electors who were so benighted as to vote " Yes." How *is* the position affected by the result of the referendum ? That is a pertinent question to ask. *In* this connexion, it is well to remember that the Attorney-General declared that without these powers we should be " limping cripples." {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- So we are. What about the sugar industry? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Are the Government " limping cripples" so far as their ability to help the workers of Australia is concerned ? {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Yes. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I hope that that statement will go forth to the country tomorrow. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Every other Ministry will occupy the same position. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- If the statement of the Minister of External Affairs be true, he and his colleagues are occupying their positions with degradation to themselves, and to the political institutions of Australia. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- To the degradation of those who kept the Federal Constitution in hobbles. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Any Ministry which clings to office, which has behind it *a* great majority, and which tells the country that they are " limping cripples," is degrading its position, and ought not to continue in power for ten minutes. Ministers have been defeated on all the essentials of their policy, and yet they still clutch to office, place, and power, whilst telling the people that they "are " limping cripples " who cannot help thiem. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- The honorable member's party would limp still more badly. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I hope we should never attempt to succeed to the positions occupied by Ministers if they vacated them. But there is another alternative which I might mention with bated breath. An Honorable Member. - What is that ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I dare not mention it, because I should have some honorable members opposite flying at my throat. The Attorney-General did not make this statement on the spur of the moment when he was disappointed and depressed. He took a few days to survey the situation, and that is the conclusion at which he arrived. He also said - >The Commonwealth still remains unable to legislate in respect of New Protection, trusts and combines, monopolies, industrial matters, navigation and shipping, and those other matters which are closely related with them. It cannot make a general company law. I was very much surprised to hear that that is so - >It cannot grant compensation to seamen. What are the people of Australia going to do about it? I think that there is a prior question to that one. It is not so much what are the people of Australia going to do about the matter as what this Government is going to do. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- We did not vote " No." {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- The AttorneyGeneral continues - >For my part, I see no reason to alter my opinion. I feel perfectly convinced that the defeat will in the near future be turned into a signal victory. The facts and circumstances necessitating the amendment of the Constitution remain. We were elected last year by the people of Australia, by the biggest vote ever recorded during the history of the Commonwealth. We were elected to carry out a certain definite programme, which was clearly set before the electors, and vigorously denounced by our opponents. The Attorney-General, after enumerating the legislation passed last session, continues - >But all attempts to carry out the rest of our programme must prove abortive. We cannot give effect to ' the New Protection. We cannot insure to every worker a fair and reasonable wage. We cannot nationalize monopolies. We cannot deal effectively with trusts and combines. We cannot pass general navigation laws. ls that correct, and, if it is, why is a Navigation Bill included" in the programme for the session? - > >We cannot provide compensation to seamen. Here, then, is the question. The people put us in by the largest vote on record to do certain definite work. The Constitution will not permit us to do it. We ask that the Constitution be amended in order to enable us to do what the people sent us into Parliament, by the largest vote on record, to do. The people, by the smallest vote on record, refused to agree to these amendments. Regarding that small vote, I have only to make this observation, that if all those who voted on the previous occasion had voted with my honorable friends opposite, they would not have won by many scores of thousands of votes. The poll at the referendum was 148,000 less than at the general election. The majority was 250,000, so that, if every one ot" the 148,000 votes had been counted on the Labour side, they would still have been in a minority of over 100,000 votes. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- That is not the way to count them. The honorable member should count all those who did not vote as being on our side. That is the method he adopted at the last election. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- That is the method which I am following. 1 have said that if every one of the number had been on the side of the Labour party they would still have been in a minority of over 100,000. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- No. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- There are the facts - a poll of 148,000 less than at the general election, and a majority of 250,000 against the referenda. My honorable friend is here, and his colleague is away sick, but it is time that we knew what the Government intend to do about the very serious situation which has arisen. Do they intend to ignore it? Are they going to treat the verdict as if nothing had happened? Let them listen to the wise words of an eminent statesman in another part of the world as to the seriousness of the results of the referenda on the position of the Ministry as representing responsible government in Australia - > **Mr. Asquith,** while disclaiming any intention of making any controversial reference to the Commonwealth's internal affairs, said he did not pretend to say what effects the decisive majorities against the referenda proposals might have in Australia, but he asked whether, if the like situation occurred in England, such a rebuff would not seriously damage the prestige and authority of any Government in upholding the legislative and administrative system developed and perfected in Great Britain, and the basis of the general lines of policy the country desired their representatives to pursue. It is quite clear, from this statement, that the British Prime Minister would have found it his duty instantly to return the seals of office to the King had this referendum taken place with a similar result in Great Britain. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- (He does not say anything like that. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- He could not say it, of course, because he points out that he is careful in the statement which he is making. But to any one reading between the lines it must be clear what was in his mind, namely, that the referenda sent the Government reeling back, and denied them the power to carry out their own policy. In this respect he agrees with Ministers themselves. But, although they are limping cripples, they are here. I do not know how they are going to get along ; I suppose that they will crawl, if they cannot walk or run - perhaps limp along. Here they are with every vestige of authority and power stripped from them, on the statement of the Attorney-General, to carry out their programme. Although all their efforts have been " rendered abortive," yet they come here as if nothing had happened, and submit to us a string of propositions, some of which they declare themselves not to be in the possession of the requisite power to carry out. However, there is one thing outstanding in all this debate which I think is very satisfactory to both sides. These proposals are to be re-submitted to the electors. We have the positive statement of the Prime Minister on that point ; *we* also have the definite statement of almost every other Minister. I hope that there will be no shirking of that issue between now and the next general election. Let it go to the constituencies again, and let my honorable friends have all the advantage which they think their advocacy will give them. Let the issue from now on be straightforwardly faced, and I for one shall welcome the next appeal. It will be a great deal more decisive than the last one. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- I think it will; we shall have none of the other side returned next time. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I do not believe that my honorable friends will ever persuade the people of Australia to tear up their Federal Constitution, however prolonged the issue may be, or however potent their eloquence and their organization. My honorable friends have raised one of the issues in Australia which rises far above party. I believe that the Australian people in their sanity, wisdom, and deliberate judgment, and in view of the teachings of history, will turn down these proposals as often as they may be submitter! to them. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- You will get a surprise. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- If we get a surprise, I hope it will not be a greater one than my honorable friends got on the 26th April. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- We were not surprised at all. If we did not let you win once there would be an end of it. It did not concern us last time whether we won or not; we wanted you to be here. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- Here is another statement which I hope will go with the rest, that on the last occasion they were simply fooling the people, or trying to take rises out of them, that they were not earnest and sincere in their advocacy of the proposals, and it did not matter to them whether they were carried or not. I hope that that will go down in *Hansard,* because it will be a very useful thing to tell the people. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- As the statement of the honorable member, it will go down, but not as that of any one else. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I hope that all the statements are going down. The honorable member for Gwydir said that last time it did not matter whether they won or lost. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- If it had not been for *Hansard* you would nothave had any arguments to use last time. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- There is the position. Our position will be as it was on the last occasion - a declaration of the Federal principle as applied to the Government of Australia. I shall quote again, as I did at the referendum, these wise words of His Honour **Mr. Justice** Higgins, when the industrial power was incorporated in the Constitution many years ago - >Of course, I shall be told that this is a matter forthe States. I admit that if a dispute is confined to a State it ought to be dealt with by that State. . . . All I ask for by this amendment is that just as Victoria can deal with Victoriantrade disputes, that just as New South Wales can deal With New South Wales trade disputes ... so the Federal Parliament shall be enabled to deal with disputes which are Australian. I say that that is a Federal axiom, true now, and true for all time. It marks a distinction from the un-Federal proposals of my honorable friends opposite. I have a profound belief in the discernment of the people of this country. I have a profound belief that, in their ultimate judgment, they are nearly always right. They may make a mistake, and come to a wrong decision occasionally ; but, given time, they soon turn to a sound, wise view of political proposals. I also believe that, with the wisdom and energy and clarity of view *possessed* by the great body of the electors of Australia, they will repeat the same vote when next they are faced with the same issues at the general election. {: #subdebate-11-0-s7 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- The chief impression I gained when listening to the eloquent and able speech of my honorable friend the member for Parramatta was one which, I think, will be shared by all honorable members on this side of the House. That impression was one of the extraordinary difference in the manner with which honorable marchers opposite greeted the results of the last two appeals to the Australian electors. On the previous occasion my honorable friends were honestly triumphant. They viewed the result of the appeal to the electors with something more than public satisfaction. They felt that, whatever was in store for the country, they - and especially those of them who occupied seats on the front Ministerial bench - were "all right." The resultof the last appeal, on the other hand, leaves them comparatively unmoved. Their policy seems to have gone by the board, but they themselves are "all right." And that is what I understood to be the idea underlying the interjection of the honorable member for Gwydir, for the honesty : and straightforwardness of which this House is deeply indebted to him. He told us that the results of the referenda did not matter, so long as the members of the Opposition continued to sit in opposition in this Chamber. {: .speaker-KTU} ##### Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- If the results did not matter, why did we work so hard to secure a different decision? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I observe that since the last appeal to the people my honorable friend who interjects has tried to disguise his identity. Whilst I was listening to the honorable member for Parramatta, I am bound to say that, for a moment or two, I felt that he was going to persuade honorable members opposite to throw the cause of self interest overboard, and again face the electorate upon their wide altruistic mission of bettering Australian conditions by means of the great, noble Labour policy and platform. For a moment, I say, I thought that he was about to convert them ; but when I looked at honorable members again, when I saw the happy, the comfortable, the almost - I may say it without offence - well-fed appearance of those who occupy the benches opposite, I confess that I felt a slight feeling of satisfaction that the severe course of dissolution was not about to overtake them for some months to come. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- I omitted to quote the Attorney-General as saying, immediately after the referenda, that his party did not regard the result as a vote of want of confidence. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I could not understandthat one so adroit as the Attorney-General is should have so betrayed his Ministerial security as to make the statement which has been attributed to him. I could not think that he, a Minister of the Crown and acting leader of his party, would have stated without qualification that the results of the referenda made his party powerless in the country for the remainder of the period of this Parliament ! Such a confession would have been tantamount 'to admitting that he would be false to his trust to the people of Australia if he remained in office under those: circumstances. However, I desire to pass, away from these disagreeable topics, and to consider some of the more pleasing episodes of the recess through which we have just passed. Reference has been made in this House to the. work done at the recent. Imperial Conference. I am not one of those who cavil at the late meeting of this Parliament. I. believe that the work done at the Imperial Conference, and the work attempted there, was well worthy of the attention of the whole Australian people. For, after all, what is done at these periodical Conferences affects as vitally the Australian people through their security, and the insurance upon their labour, as almost any action that can be taken in the Parliaments of the Dominions. I was rather gratified with the spirit in which the Prime Minister and the other members of the delegation visited the Old Country. The first statement made by the Prime Minister upon his arrival in England was one which, I think, showed the great advance which my honorable friends opposite have made in the direction of racial unionism during the. last few years.. When I say that I was gratified, I do not wish to. make honorable members opposite uncomfortable. I should not think of doing that.. I shall quote some of his remarks, because, coming from the source they did, they will be invaluable in educating public opinion as to the true position of Australia in the. Imperial Constitution, and as affording a gratif ying instance of the change of opinion on the part of the Prime Minister. I intend to quote first the statement which was made by him to the London *Daily Mail* on the 16th May. This was practically my honorable friend's first statement in London. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Is this another message from " Julia "? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- No; this is quite on the other side. The Prime Minister stated that "we" - that is Australia - are prepared to put at the disposal of the British Admiralty in time of danger to the Empire the Australian Navy. {: .speaker-L0I} ##### Mr Ryrie: -- The Prime Minister did not say that the other night. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I am gratified to know that he said so in London when he was free from any of those influences which might divert his better judgment. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- He always says the same thing. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I wish we could say the same of my honorable friend. It is not in any cavilling spirit that I say that the opinion I have quoted shows the remarkable change in the views of our honorable friends opposite of recent years. The change has been brought about by external' pressure upon Australia. I can remember the time when our honorable friends opposite used, to say that expenditure upon defence was a wicked waste of money. They unanimously supported a resolution in this House that the defence of Australia must not cost more than about £1,000,000 per annum. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- £500,000. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- That was when the other side had control. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- No; itwas when my honorable friends opposite thought they had control, and had not. I have forgotten the exact amount that was suggested, but I think that our honorable friends considered that, taken together, the expenditure upon naval and military defence should not exceed £1,000,000 per annum. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- No, £500,000. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- And later they made it £700,000. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Yes, eventually. It was £700,000 plus the amount paid under the hated Naval Agreement, which would bring the total to nearly £1,000,000. Honorable members opposite have, since that time, been greatly influenced by the increasing external pressure upon the Commonwealth. They have begun to realize what every sane person must realize in time - that, after all, the defence of Australia is not merely a question of defending Australian coasts, but of defending the interests of Australia wherever they may be threatened. Faced with that obligation, honorable members opposite have had to look beyond the shores of Australia to the progress of the produce of Australian labour across the trade routes of the world. . They found that the question was not to be considered from any parish-pump point of view, but as a matter for co-operation with the Mother Country for our mutual advantage. It is because they have begun to realize that view that the Prime Minister, when free from the restraints of any influence which might be exercised in this country, was able, on landing in the Mother Country, to make such a statement as that which I have just quoted. I do not think that the Imperial Conference was at all wasted. It has undoubtedly taken us a considerable step onwards, and, although that was not done on the initiative of our delegation, I do not quarrel with them on that account. They were extremely fortunate in being able to take part in the first Conference at which questions of Imperial foreign relations were laid open to the representatives of the self-governing Dominions. As an Australian, I have often thought that, after all, whilst we claim to tie a self-governing people, we are without full powers of self-government. Our position is really this : We are charged with the duty of defence, but we have not the opportunity of knowing officially against what we have to defend ourselves. The diplomatic agencies, the expert knowledge, and the channels of international information are at: the disposal and direction of only one of the Parliaments of the Empire. The other Parliaments have, in the past, been absolutely without any information of an official character upon foreign affairs. We may trace the effect nf that in the past history nf defence movements in the Australian States. Honorable members, and especially those who represent Victoria, will remember the stir made in Australia in the early eighties which led to the creation of a series of Australian Navies. These Navies owed their rise to the friction existing at that time between the Mother Country and Russia, and to the presence in the Pacific of a Russian Fleet. The newspapers, and not the Governments, brought this danger to the minds of the people of the various Australian Colonies, and they all started to create Navies. Victoria began on a big scale by importing two POStcaptains and establishing a Navy of no less than thirteen vessels ; and, for the time, the Victorian Navy was by no means a /natter for contempt. It was organized on efficient Imperial models, so far as they could be arrived at at the time, and every- thing went on merrily for a few years. In the early nineties financial depression came upon the Australian people, and the interest of the newspapers was diverted from the menace of the Russian Fleet in the Pacific to the crying need for economy in the finances of the various States. Although the Russian Fleet was still in the East, and the necessity for the defence of Australia continued to exist, if it existed in the early eighties, Australian politicians, being without any knowledge of, or responsibility for, foreign affairs affecting the Empire, were easily able to divert their minds from the problem of defence to the problem of retrenchment, to which the press and the people insisted they should devote their attention. As a result, the Navies of the different Colonies were wiped out of existence as offering the easiest opportunity for a retrenchment without offending voters. This extraordinary piece of Colonial history was due to the fact that the Australian people, whilst being self-governing in local affairs, were not given full information in respect of their national position. In ray humble judgment, we shall never be able to make sane preparation to defend ourselves until we have an official and continuous means of knowing what our risks really are. This Conference, for the first time, has had discussed in secret amongst the representatives of the various Dominions the risks to which all our people are exposed. I understand that the conversation on the subject was absolutely full and frank. But how soon afterwards was it that a new situation arose in European politics, .which has not yet been removed from the chess-board ? The Minister of External' Affairs will know that only a week or two before the German Empire sent war-ships to Agadir Bay, he was having placed at his disposal all the knowledge with which the British Foreign Office was endowed, and there was not one whisper at that Conference, nor could there be, of this new move in the international rivalry Of nations, though it is one which vitally affects every producer in Australia. If any one of the possible contingencies occurred, and the ambition of the German Empire was to establish a naval base at Agadir, that naval base would command the approach to the markets in Europe of the produce of more than half the Australian population on the last available trade route open to us in time of war. I quote this, not to minimize the effect of what was done at the Imperial Conference, but to show that, with the best desire in the world for mutual co-operation, there will always be difficulties in the way of the proper participation of Colonial peoples in the affairs of Empire, until there is some reconstruction of the Imperial Constitution which will enable Australian representatives to be constantly in touch with these things. I admit that the time is not yet opportune to begin to discuss them constructively, but the time is opportune to point out the difficulties in front of us. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- The difficulties will be much greater now because of the promise to consult us before doing anything. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- That makes our position infinitely better. I cannot help feeling that you cannot bring about a better state of affairs until you put the whole difficulty into the limelight. That is what will be done now more or less so far as it can safely be done by the Mother Country consulting the Dominions, and showing them the importance of foreign treaties before asking their participation in them. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- We cannot make any recommendationswithout taking the responsibility for them, and, in the absence of machinery, we must take the responsibility without full knowledge and discussion. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Of course, we must take the responsibility, and the moment the Australian people recognise that we have to take responsibility for all that is done in our name, they will begin to see that it will be worth their while to think of getting into the Imperial cart, instead of being dragged at its tail. I compliment Ministers upon the clearness with which they have seen the necessity for Australia knowing, in the interests of Australians, what is taking place in the wide world beyond our borders. I compliment them upon the frankness with which they admitted the great step forward taken at the Imperial Conference in this regard, and I sincerely hope they will follow up what has been done there by arranging that, whichever Minister holds the portfolio of External Affairs in the Commonwealth, shall have an opportunity, at least once every year, of going to England to consult with the British Foreign Minister as regards the foreign perils of all our people. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- It should not be necessary once a year. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I would make it as often as possible. ' The difficulty is that foreign alliances are entered into for purposes of selfinterest, and, generally speaking, to arrive at a safe balance, which will prevent any disturbance of the public peace. The friend of to-day may be the enemy of tomorrow, and the man who is charged with directing the foreign policy of England will not be likely, as I was informed when in England, to place upon record with anybody not directly responsible to himself or to the same authority - the House of Commons - as he himself is, information which might be extremely inconvenient if it leaked out ten or twelve years hence. Consequently, he can only afford, in the public interests, to be truly frank if he is face to face with the person to whom he is giving the information. He will give that information freely and frankly, as I understand the position, to any representative of the Dominions who cares to go to consult him. The office of Minister of External Affairs of the Commonwealth would at last become worthy of the name if the Minister could constantly be obtaining such information as that which we are now proud that our delegates have received, but which will be outofdate a year from to-day. It must be constantly renewed if the name of " External Affairs Ministry" is to be anything more than a mere pretence. Before dealing with the balance of the affairs of the Conference, I may be allowed, perhaps, leave to continue my remarks to-morrow. Leave granted ; debate adjourned. {: .page-start } page 509 {:#debate-12} ### BANKING COMPANIES RESERVE LIABILITIES BILL Message received from the Senate requesting the House of Representatives to resume the consideration of this Bill from last session. Motion (by **Mr. Greene)** agreed to - >That the consideration of the message be made an Order of the Day for Thursday next. {: .page-start } page 509 {:#debate-13} ### ADJOURNMENT Address-in-Reply Debate. {: #debate-13-s0 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
Treasurer and Prime Minister · Wide Bay · ALP -- In moving That the House do now adjourn. I wish to express the hope that honorable members will make up their minds to close the Address-in-Reply debate to-morrow. I think that is a fair thing. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 10.37p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 September 1911, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.